Friday, 04 September 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

On April 26, 2011, a meeting that can only be described as sinister took place between the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The most pressing issue discussed at the meeting in Rome was how to deal with African immigrants.

Sarkozy, who was under pressure from his right-wing and far-right constituencies to halt immigration originating from North Africa (resulting from the Tunisian uprising), desired to strike a deal with the opportunistic Italian leader.

Another pivotal moment faces New Zealand (Aotearoa) and a radically interconnected Pacific region, also inhabited by millions of people on island continents and smaller islets with diverse ecological systems. Remaining true to a history of learning from, and then preventing "overkill," no wonder thousands of Maori and New Zealanders marched against the Trans-Pacific Partnership's industrial and financial excesses. Everywhere, there was a sea of signs reading: "Keep NZ Nationwide and Free of TPP," "TPP Is Corporate Rape of Our Whenua," "John Key Is An A$$hole" and "TPP Not My Future."

No US citizen should be subjected to the treatment that George Khoury and Habib Joudeh received when they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel last month.

George is a 70-year-old Palestinian-American from San Francisco. Habib, 62, from Brooklyn, is also an US citizen of Palestinian descent. During the third week in July, both attempted to travel to Israel/Palestine. Both told me they had been excited about their trips since neither had visited the area in more than two decades.

How is Gaza doing now? Short answer: "not well, not at all." War is war: no words can describe it. Everything is still the same, except for the sound of shells and bombardments, of course. Though wait, we can still hear the noise inside our heads: the shellings left us with many memories, physical diseases and mental illnesses, as you may know. We can't sleep at night. How are we supposed to forget? How can we move past these flashbacks?

As the wealth gap in the US widens, one group consistently finds itself at the bottom of the economic opportunity chasm. "On nearly every social indicator of well-being - from income and earnings to obesity and food security - Black women, girls and children in the rural South rank low or last." So finds an eye-opening new study by the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative of Black Belt counties in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

In "Unequal Lives: The State of Black Women and Families in the Rural South," researchers examined poverty, income, employment, education, health, public infrastructure and housing in nine counties across the three states.

Aug 18

Is Secret Power Becoming Sacrosanct in the US?

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, Speakout | Op-Ed

I brought a passion for truth everywhere I worked, which was mostly on Capitol Hill and the US Environmental Protection Agency. I also taught at several universities.

My work brought me face to face with a secret version of the US, not the country I thought about during my university studies. Secrets had something todo with this. I knew, of course, that individuals and governments have legitimate secrets.

Aug 18

What I Learned From Nine Months in Sanctuary

By Arturo Hernandez Garcia, Speakout | Op-Ed

For me Sanctuary has been a refuge and a protection from being separated from my family, to be able to continue fighting my legal case, as this is a sacred space that the authorities respect and where I can count on the backing of a great faith community.

Entering Sanctuary was a drastic change in my life as I had to make the decision whether or not to come in a very short time. Being shut in the same place for nine months has not been easy with a family to care for.

In recent years, US leaders finally categorized climate change as a global threat on the order of weapons of mass destruction. Since then, the bad news surrounding climate change has gotten considerably worse.

We are, as Eric Holthaus just wrote for Rolling Stone, at the point of no return. He offers many telltale signs, ecological and environmental, some familiar and others not. 

On a recent trip to Baltimore, I encountered something startling: a US city with a public transportation system that actually works. From buses to water taxis, Baltimore's Charm City Circulator (or CCC) was established in 2010 by former mayor Sheila Dixon. The program boasts a fleet of around 30 vehicles that shuttle more than 3,000 daily riders along four color-coded routes meeting over 100 city stops. The service has a smartphone app, it consists entirely of hybrid vehicles, and the fare is nonexistent.

Aug 14

Another US Affront to Venezuela's Right to Self-Determination

By John A. Salois, Speakout | Op-Ed

Tulio, a guide from Venezuela's foreign ministry, called over to us and waved excitedly. A woman from the neighborhood had approached him to ask why twenty US citizens were here in Venezuela, standing in the rain at the very top of the barrio named "23 de Enero," where Chavez' tomb sits. This barrio has been at the forefront of the Bolivarian revolution, and various political struggles under other Venezuelan presidents.

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Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

On April 26, 2011, a meeting that can only be described as sinister took place between the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The most pressing issue discussed at the meeting in Rome was how to deal with African immigrants.

Sarkozy, who was under pressure from his right-wing and far-right constituencies to halt immigration originating from North Africa (resulting from the Tunisian uprising), desired to strike a deal with the opportunistic Italian leader.

Another pivotal moment faces New Zealand (Aotearoa) and a radically interconnected Pacific region, also inhabited by millions of people on island continents and smaller islets with diverse ecological systems. Remaining true to a history of learning from, and then preventing "overkill," no wonder thousands of Maori and New Zealanders marched against the Trans-Pacific Partnership's industrial and financial excesses. Everywhere, there was a sea of signs reading: "Keep NZ Nationwide and Free of TPP," "TPP Is Corporate Rape of Our Whenua," "John Key Is An A$$hole" and "TPP Not My Future."

No US citizen should be subjected to the treatment that George Khoury and Habib Joudeh received when they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel last month.

George is a 70-year-old Palestinian-American from San Francisco. Habib, 62, from Brooklyn, is also an US citizen of Palestinian descent. During the third week in July, both attempted to travel to Israel/Palestine. Both told me they had been excited about their trips since neither had visited the area in more than two decades.

How is Gaza doing now? Short answer: "not well, not at all." War is war: no words can describe it. Everything is still the same, except for the sound of shells and bombardments, of course. Though wait, we can still hear the noise inside our heads: the shellings left us with many memories, physical diseases and mental illnesses, as you may know. We can't sleep at night. How are we supposed to forget? How can we move past these flashbacks?

As the wealth gap in the US widens, one group consistently finds itself at the bottom of the economic opportunity chasm. "On nearly every social indicator of well-being - from income and earnings to obesity and food security - Black women, girls and children in the rural South rank low or last." So finds an eye-opening new study by the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative of Black Belt counties in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

In "Unequal Lives: The State of Black Women and Families in the Rural South," researchers examined poverty, income, employment, education, health, public infrastructure and housing in nine counties across the three states.

Aug 18

Is Secret Power Becoming Sacrosanct in the US?

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, Speakout | Op-Ed

I brought a passion for truth everywhere I worked, which was mostly on Capitol Hill and the US Environmental Protection Agency. I also taught at several universities.

My work brought me face to face with a secret version of the US, not the country I thought about during my university studies. Secrets had something todo with this. I knew, of course, that individuals and governments have legitimate secrets.

Aug 18

What I Learned From Nine Months in Sanctuary

By Arturo Hernandez Garcia, Speakout | Op-Ed

For me Sanctuary has been a refuge and a protection from being separated from my family, to be able to continue fighting my legal case, as this is a sacred space that the authorities respect and where I can count on the backing of a great faith community.

Entering Sanctuary was a drastic change in my life as I had to make the decision whether or not to come in a very short time. Being shut in the same place for nine months has not been easy with a family to care for.

In recent years, US leaders finally categorized climate change as a global threat on the order of weapons of mass destruction. Since then, the bad news surrounding climate change has gotten considerably worse.

We are, as Eric Holthaus just wrote for Rolling Stone, at the point of no return. He offers many telltale signs, ecological and environmental, some familiar and others not. 

On a recent trip to Baltimore, I encountered something startling: a US city with a public transportation system that actually works. From buses to water taxis, Baltimore's Charm City Circulator (or CCC) was established in 2010 by former mayor Sheila Dixon. The program boasts a fleet of around 30 vehicles that shuttle more than 3,000 daily riders along four color-coded routes meeting over 100 city stops. The service has a smartphone app, it consists entirely of hybrid vehicles, and the fare is nonexistent.

Aug 14

Another US Affront to Venezuela's Right to Self-Determination

By John A. Salois, Speakout | Op-Ed

Tulio, a guide from Venezuela's foreign ministry, called over to us and waved excitedly. A woman from the neighborhood had approached him to ask why twenty US citizens were here in Venezuela, standing in the rain at the very top of the barrio named "23 de Enero," where Chavez' tomb sits. This barrio has been at the forefront of the Bolivarian revolution, and various political struggles under other Venezuelan presidents.