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.
Attica Correctional Facility, built in the northwest of the state of New York, 342 miles away from the capital, between the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, became famous for a bloody rebellion in September 1971. The inmates took over the place and made 42 staff members hostage. The state police, under the command of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, broke into the prison, acting ruthlessly. When the battle ended, the dead bodies of 33 prisoners and 10 guards, as well as countless injured prisoners, occupied the courtyards and the cells. The uprising was caused by the murder of black activist George Jackson, imprisoned in San Quentin, California, two weeks earlier. A trail of penitentiary uprisings served as a response to police brutality.
Two years ago, a mine waste dam in British Columbia, Canada, breached, releasing 24 million cubic meters of mine waste (or tailings) sludge into the Fraser River watershed, a group of lakes and rivers that bear salmon and sustain the livelihoods of First Nation communities. The disaster at the Mount Polley mine should have served as a wake-up call for stronger regulations and scrutiny of an industry that too often remains out of the public spotlight. Unfortunately, far too little has been done to prevent such a disaster from reoccurring.
The water infrastructure in our country is over 100 years old, so an upgrade is long overdue. The American Water Works Association estimates that replacing the obsolete water infrastructure in the country would cost at least $1 trillion. All the public attention to the water infrastructure was occasioned by the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan. While the incident was tragic, it opened the nation's "eyes" to the little known water infrastructure problem being experienced across the United States. It also drew anger and emotions, which are the key drivers for change.
While the scientists have been doing their job in calling attention to the multiple ways in which environmental decline threatens the planet, we hear less and less from political leaders. Their focus is on the here-and-now -- terrorism, jobs, immigration -- and not on commitments to the future. Last year's Paris Agreement on climate change seems like a distant memory. Here is some of the latest scientific evidence, which points not only to the magnitude and immediacy of the problem, but also to the interdependence of its parts.
The annual gathering of the World Social Forum (WSF) -- the left's response to the elitist annual Davos World Economic Forum -- runs in Montreal from August 9 to 14, with several thousand people from dozens of countries attending. More than 1,000 self-managed sessions have activists discussing and creating progressive alternatives to traditional political, economic and social policies that they will take back to their own countries.
The Hiroshima Memorial Park is an expansive park in the center of Hiroshima, Japan, located where the first atomic bomb denoted above the Earth. The park is dedicated to the legacy of the bombing, offering visitors a place to memorialize victims and to think about peace. The skeletal remains of the Atomic Bomb Dome watches over the park and is a gripping reminder of the severe devastation. The structure stands exactly as it remained after the blast exploded overhead, destroying nearly every building within 1.2 miles of the hypocenter. The dome is a powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humans, and it now stands as a symbol of peace.
On August 5, 2016, all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro for the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympics. It will be three weeks of intense competition and inspiring performances from the world's top athletes. As it draws near, we look at how the city is preparing to host this prestigious event, including the work of civil engineers who played a pivotal role in building the infrastructure and stadiums for the event.
On August 6 each year, the world commemorates the dawn of the atomic age by remembering the obliteration of Hiroshima. In May, President Obama laid a wreath in the Peace Park that marks ground zero there. This is also the time each year when politicians, historians, veterans and peace activists revisit the decision to use this new weapon for the first time, then for the second three days later at Nagasaki. The rationales are familiar: nukes would shorten the war, save American lives, and demonstrate the country's overwhelming military and technological superiority.
On July 12, 2016, former US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad accused a close US ally of supporting terrorism. In his testimony before a joint subcommittee of the House of Representatives, Khalilzad argued that the Pakistani government aided terrorist organizations. Convinced that the Pakistani government supported terrorism, Khalilzad called on the US government to designate the Pakistani government as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Michael Jordan recently announced his plan to donate $2 million in response to the shootings of Black Americans and police officers. For some, Jordan's actions come at a curious time. US law enforcement officials have been killing, brutalizing and harassing Black people for as long as we have been here. Despite all of the names that have been consecrated through hashtag burials, it seems that police officers had to die before Jordan was sufficiently moved to open his mouth and wallet.