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.
I arrived inErbil five days ago. Since then, meetings, family visits, efforts to relearn the exchange rate and opportunities to become familiar with new surroundings have peaceably filled my time. I'm also beginning to understand the current reality faced by millions of new arrivals to Erbil who fled their homes, seeking refuge. The first time I stepped out of the apartment building where I am staying with an Iraqi friend, I was approached by children, women and youth begging for money.
Egyptian security forces are carrying out widespread raids and repression in response to growing social and political discontent, which led to the first widespread stirrings of popular protest since the military regime led by Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi came to power nearly two years ago. As educators and members of the academic community in the United States, we feel a particular responsibility to speak out against a regime that has targeted academics and students, in addition to many others, with the financial support and political cover of our own government.
By international standards, the number of Americans who trouble themselves to vote is low, far trailing nations as diverse as Sweden (whose 85.8 percent participation in their most recent election was the highest by a populace from whom voting is not required), South Korea and New Zealand. If voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election stays consistent with a trend dating to 1972, nearly half the nation's eligible voters will sit the election out.
"Alternative farming" may not be a phrase that everyone recognizes, but thanks to solar-powered hydroponic grow systems, it might be the future of agriculture. These earth-friendly, space-conscious innovations make it possible to grow fresh, nutrient-rich food just about anywhere -- from a barge floating off the coast of our biggest cities, to a window in a tiny, urban apartment and even all the way on Mars.
The idea of a peace dividend surfaced in 1969, when the Johnson administration asked what the federal government should do with its savings when the war in Vietnam finally ended. The thought was that the peace dividend could provide money for roads, clean air, education, housing and foreign economic aid. But it did not happen because the Vietnam War continued and drained our resources, while critical areas of our infrastructure, manufacturing sector and educational system began a decades-long decline.
Our small three person delegation from CODEPINK: Women for Peace (Leslie Harris of Dallas, Texas; Barbara Briggs-Letson of Sebastopol, California; and Ann Wright of Honolulu, Hawaii) travelled to Greece to volunteer in refugee camps. We spent our first day in Athens at the refugee camp on the piers of Piraeus harbor, known as E1 and E1.5 for the piers on which they are located -- away from the busiest piers from which the ferry boats take travelers out to the Greek islands. Camp E2, which held 500 people, was closed over the weekend, and the 500 people in that location moved to Camp E1.5.
Campaign Nonviolence is a movement to build a culture of active nonviolence. We share the stories of nonviolent action, drawing lessons, strength and strategy from the global grassroots movements for change. Throughout the year, we look at historic struggles. This week commemorates the 39th anniversary of the first protest of the Argentina's Mothers of the Disappeared.
Everyone knows that the 2016 presidential campaign, particularly on the Republican side, is a media-driven circus. Schoolyard insults and scurrilous language rule the day in this presidential race; issues hardly matter. And there is no greater beneficiary than the mainstream media (which I also refer to as the corporate media, since six corporations control 90 percent of the daily newspapers, television, radio and Internet news outlets in the United States; one of them, Time Warner, is a major donor to Hillary Clinton).
Last week, on Earth Day, many heads of state gathered in New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate. This celebratory photo opportunity is a dangerous distraction from the reality that the voluntary pledges made by 195 countries in the non-binding Paris Agreement do not add up to what we need to prevent major global catastrophe. Despite the rhetoric, these governments and corporations are complicit in the climate crimes that are increasing all over the world.
I was orphaned and began my new life with my sister's family in Phoenix the summer I turned seven. I was sent to a school of predominately white children. He went on to compare my skin to the mud he threw at me at recess. This act of aggression was a rarity, subtly was the norm. In those first months and year, my thick accent and Brown skin made me stand out. I was one of less than a dozen children of color at that school. I was "different" than these children.