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 February 24, the Editor-in-Chief of Sierra Club Magazine, Jason Mark, published a long-winded excuse for meat consumption and the "moral" case for it. By the second sentence, Mark admits, "I had no problem with killing animals," in opening with how he "experimented" with being a vegetarian for environmental reasons. For any environmental organization, these reasons should debunk all arguments in favor of meat consumption.
Tremors from the upheaval surrounding the Trump presidency have been felt all over the globe. Citizens from the United Kingdom have pushed for legislation to bar Trump from entering their country. In cities from Sydney to Nairobi, millions marched in solidarity with women against Trump's discriminatory policies. And scientists, national leaders and citizens from around the world worry about the deleterious potential of Trump's denial of climate change. While in the United States, dissent is in the streets to a degree that has not been seen for generations.
Despite his obvious ignorance of the complexities, President Trump's line -- stated as Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu chuckled loudly at their February 15, 2017, press conference -- that he would support one state or two, whatever "both parties like," is a break from politics-as-usual when it comes to US views on the issue. The problem Trump and most of the bipartisan US establishment fail to acknowledge is that an authentic, lasting agreement requires "parties" more or less equally empowered to ensure their people's rights are recognized, respected and obtained to an acceptable degree.
Numerous groups within Jewish communities are working together to challenge Islamophobia -- from the Muslim ban to attacks on mosques and in the streets. Community efforts abound. For many Jews, standing in solidarity with Muslims is new. Some Jews and Jewish groups have been building partnerships for years with Muslim and other targeted groups, which have been tirelessly leading efforts against Islamophobia and racism. At the same time, many Jewish organizations -- including those speaking out against Islamophobia -- have also participated in furthering Islamophobia and racism.
Once again, President Donald Trump has declared that the media is "the enemy of the American people," most recently in a speech at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference. "It is more Nixonian than Nixon," exclaimed former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean while speaking with Amy Goodman to discuss Trump's relationship with the press. The big difference was that President Nixon only "did those things behind closed doors."
On May 19, 1992, I shot and killed Tecle Ghebremichaele and injured Efrem Isak. I was 14 years old. As I awaited trial, Anthony Powers sat in a juvenile detention center hundreds of miles away for committing a misdemeanor assault. A counselor showed him an article written about me and told Anthony, "You're going to end up just like this guy if you keep doing what you're doing." The 15 year-old just smiled, rolled his eyes, then read the article out of curiosity. In it, he learned that I might never be released.
The rules for building a successful movement are simple: mobilize your supporters, and neutralize your opposition. The challenge lies in making that happen. Fortunately, Donald Trump has helped tremendously with the first step. His "Muslim ban," his targeting of Latinos for deportation, his attacks on women and the environment, to pick a few, have brought millions out into the streets. Those predisposed to dislike Trump are digging trenches for the long battles to come. But it is not enough to mobilize one's base. A successful movement must also divide and demobilize the opposition.
Before making their home in Damascus, Gabe Huck and Theresa Kubasak had regularly visited Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, where they developed lasting friendships and deepened cultural awareness. Iraq was steadily deteriorating under thirteen years of US/UN imposed economic sanctions. Despite iron clad determination by US policy makers to isolate Iraq, Gabe and Theresa repeatedly challenged the economic sanctions by carrying medicines and medical relief supplies to Iraqi children, families and hospitals.
In light of recent executive orders by the Trump administration, it is essential universities both secular and religious open a dialogue and stand with refugee, immigrant and undocumented communities and discuss becoming a sanctuary campus. I am not a theologian nor am I a Catholic, however, I have worked, studied and taught at a Jesuit university for 10 years. I am inspired by Catholic social teaching, and as mentioned by Catholic and legal scholar Michael Scaperlanda, "Ideas expressed in Catholic social doctrine are objectively available to all of us independent of our own faith or non-faith traditions."
Constituting a form of collective punishment, sieges and blockades targeted at civilian populations are effectively prohibited under international humanitarian law. In recent times, and very rightly, Bashar Al-Assad's inhumane tactic of siege, bombardment and starvation that his regime has regularly employed to break the will of defiant populations in Syria has been a subject of fierce criticism.