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.
It is hard to put my feelings into words. I am traveling as a peace witness in Iraqi Kurdistan. Just the other day, we visited a sheikh whom I had met in Fallujah in 2012. He and his family were forced to flee to Kurdistan about two years ago. Fallujah, as you probably know, is being held by ISIS. None of the residents are allowed to leave. People are literally dying of starvation. We met in the rented apartment of another sheikh who also fled Fallujah with his family. Although he himself is sick with cancer, both he and our sheikh friend welcomed us warmly.
Sunday, April 17, 2016, saw the Queer Confessions, Questions and Crushes -- a group of activists at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa -- making public the names of 11 male students who were alleged to have committed rapes against fellow students on campus. The list, published on the group's Facebook page, quickly went viral under #RUReferenceList. Subsequently, student activists rounded up some of the men named on the list and forcefully detained them to try and compel the university management to take action.
Anyone who has had a loved one locked up knows it's not easy. But I didn't realize how much it would feel like being kicked while you're already down. My brother has been incarcerated in a county jail in southern Indiana since December 2015, and has yet to be convicted. Trying to support him has been an uphill struggle. The first kick came when I learned that my parents and I can't even see my brother face-to-face. Instead, my parents and I are forced to go to the jail to "visit" through video.
Ever since the foundation of the American Republic, there has been both praise for and suspicion of the role the press plays in US political life. Thomas Jefferson famously remarked that, if it were left to him "to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I would not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." And yet, Jefferson was also profoundly disturbed by the politically biased and inaccurate articles that he saw published in the press. As he told James Monroe: "My skepticism as to everything I see in a newspaper makes me indifferent whether I ever see one."
I was one of twenty five arrested by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at Creech Air Force Base, the center of drone assassination by the US Air Force and the CIA some forty miles northwest of the city on March 31 and April 1. "Shut Down Creech" was a weeklong convergence of activists from around the country. Most of us staying in tents at a makeshift "Camp Justice" in the desert across the highway from the base, our days of discussion, study, song, reflection and strategizing built up to a dramatic series of coordinated actions, including street theater and blockades, that disrupted the lethal business as usual of Creech.
Schools are in the news. Teachers in Detroit recently organized a "sickout" to protest conditions in their schools. Among a number of issues in the district, The New York Times reported that many of the schools in the district have "… crumbling plaster, water damage and leaks, roaches, rats, and mold …" What happens to a child who attends aschool building in poor condition? What happens when a child attends a school that has dirty toilets, offensive odors, broken furniture or unattractive hallways, views of parking lots or vacant lots? Maybe the child's attendance is affected because the child is sick more often.
This article examines Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda as revealed in a New York Times interview and a major foreign policy address Trump gave at the invitation of the Center for the National Interest. On March 25, 2016, David Sanger and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times interviewed the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, about his views on US foreign policy. The lengthy interview provided the first detailed insights into what the United States' role in the world would be if Trump were elected president.
We can thank Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign for putting single-payer national health insurance on the front burner of today's national political discussion. This is long overdue and especially timely as the two parties debate alternatives for future US health care. It appears that political feasibility for NHI may finally be approaching a time of acceptance, if our democracy can prevail over oligarchy and plutocracy. The 20,000 physician-strong Physicians for a National Health Program has released today a Physicians' Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform, updated from its 2003 proposal, with an accompanying editorial.
About the death of renowned anti-war activist, poet and writer Father Dan Berrigan at the age of 94, the Rev. John Dear wrote, in part, that Dan: "inspired religious opposition to the Vietnam war and later the US nuclear weapons industry." But the phrase "religious opposition" minimizes the depth and breadth of the inspiration that Dan Berrigan gave to antiwar activism all over the world. Dan's razor-sharp wit and devastating clear-headed prose inspired nonreligious and religious activists alike.
What if we defined ourselves -- to the movement, the public, and the courts -- not as law-breakers but as law-enforcers trying to halt governments and corporations from committing the greatest crime in human history? Fundamental principles embodied in the laws and constitutions of countries around the world provide strong bases for such a claim. Basic human and constitutional rights include the unalienable rights to life and liberty. Under the "public trust doctrine," governments must manage the vital natural resources on which human well-being depends for the benefit of all present and future generations.