Tag Archives: Human spirit

Men, We Can Do Better

Survivors of sexual assault like Christine Blasey Ford deserve our support, not our opposition.

By . Published 9-28-2018 by YES! Magazine

Rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the Supreme Court, Washington DC. Photo: Avery Jensen {CC-BY-SA-4.0} via Wikimedia Commons

Like millions of Americans, I sat riveted before the television on Thursday watching the quiet, calm, and dignified testimony of a woman, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who was scarred for life by sexual assault. She sat in a room full of powerful men and described her ordeal at the hands of another powerful man.

Then I watched that accused man, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, yell and scream about how it was all just unfair and a political hit job and a conspiracy by Democrats to get revenge for the 2016 election. His unbridled rage was shared by several other powerful men in the room, especially Senator Lindsay Graham, whose rant seemed to be an audition for a senior appointment in the Trump administration. Continue reading

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Two ‘Courageous’ Campaigners Against Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

“Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-5-2018

Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad were awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of their work to end sexual violence as a weapon of war. (Photo: European Parliament/Bundesministerium für Europa/Flickr/cc)

Two influential figures in the fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war were chosen as 2018’s recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Dr. Denis Mukwege was recognized for treating victims of rape, while Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who has spoken out about being held as a sex slave by ISIS, was awarded the prize for her work as a human rights campaigner following her experience. Continue reading

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World to Flint Kids: We Still See You

An 11-year-old social media celebrity collects thousands of encouraging letters from around the globe to remind her Flint schoolmates they are not forgotten.

By . Published 8-29-2018 by YES! Magazine

Eleven-year-old Mari Copeny helped raise funds to purchase 15,000 backpacks, which she and her team will stuff with school supplies and distribute to Flint children this week. Photo courtesy of Mari and her family

About 15,000 Flint children will return to school next week with new backpacks stuffed with goodies, some including letters of encouragement and support from people across the globe.

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year, which means it’s a new start for you … I feel really special that my letter would reach such a special person like you …

Dear Flint Kids: It’s the start of a new school year and anything is possible. Believe in yourself …

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The True Meaning of Christmas

Occupy World Writes is encouraging you to spend time with family and friends this holiday. If you are alone, please go to a place where others are gathered to observe something meaningful about this day. Our deepest wishes to you and your family for a joyous holiday and the best for the New Year.

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Criminalizing Dissent: Trump Inauguration Protest Trial Enters Fourth Week

Published 12-9-2017 by Unicorn Riot

Scene from J20 protest. Photo: It’s Going Down

 

Washington, DC – Several weeks into the first trial of the individuals who were mass arrested during President Trump’s inauguration in DC on January 20 (J20), the prosecution is almost ready to rest its case. The arrests occurred at 12th & L streets when police chased, trapped, and surrounded the ‘anti-capitalist and anti-fascist’ protest march.

The first trial group comprises those who insisted on their right to a speedy trial. Jury selection began on November 15, and the trial itself started with opening arguments on November 20. The next group of defendants exercising their right to speedy trial is set for trial later this month but may be delayed to January; many other trials for the remaining defendants are scattered throughout 2018. Continue reading

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What Democracy Looks Like When You Have to Disagree With Your Neighbors

As much as I dislike and distrust our current national administration, I also deeply value community harmony.

By . Published 6-8-2017 by YES! Magazine

Protestors gather outside the hotel where Republican Rep. John Faso is scheduled to speak in Schoharie, New York. Congressman Faso has an 89.7% track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. Photo by Reggie Harris.

I’m leafing through a stack of protest signs in the corner of the mudroom, reading the markered letters, looking to see what can be recycled for tonight. The subjects we’ve collected thus far are about human rights and the environment. It looks like we’ll need to draft something fresh and new for tonight, because the topic is health care. Our Republican congressman, John Faso, has an 89.7 percent track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. He hasn’t been holding town meetings with constituents, he and his staff have stopped responding to letters, I’ve never had a phone call even answered, and his recent vote to repeal ObamaCare in the House has sparked this last minute protest down in the village of Schoharie, New York, where he’s the keynote speaker at a countywide Republican fundraiser. Continue reading

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Nadia Murad recognized by Occupy World Writes on IWD

“I have met young girls who were raped at an age when they didn’t even know what the word meant. I met people who lost their entire families; whole families were wiped out.”

Written by Carol Benedict

In 2014, ISIS advanced on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq (also known as Şengal in Kurdish), capturing or killing thousands of Yezidi (Ezidi) people. Many of the women were taken as sex slaves into the ISIS barbaric practices. Nadia Murad Bassee was one of those women. She survived long enough to escape.

Driven to end the suffering for her community in captivity and to stop an enemy bent on genocide of the Yezidi people, Nadia began to tell her story. Again and again. It became a burden of reliving those moments of hell so others would not have to. It meant revealing the most horrific details of her ordeal to get people to understand and listen. It is easier to hide than to step out of the shadows. Nadia did that, knowing full well what it meant.

In an interview from October of 2016, Nadia commented, “I was not raised to give speeches. Neither was I born to meet world leaders, nor to represent a cause so heavy, so difficult,” she said.

But she would continue “so that one day we can look our abusers in the eye in a court in The Hague and tell the world what they have done to us,” she said. “So my community can heal. So I can be the last girl to come before you.”

Murad was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, was named a United Nations good-will ambassador on behalf of victims of human trafficking, and she was widely mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016.

NADIA’S MESSAGE

Being a survivor of genocide comes with great responsibility –for I am the lucky one.  Having lost my brothers, mother and many more family members and friends it is a responsibility I embrace fully and take very seriously.  My role as an activist is not just about my suffering  — it is about a collective suffering.  Telling my story and reliving the horrors I encountered is no easy task, but the world must know.  The world must feel a moral responsibility to act and if my story can influence world leaders to act then it must be told.

After the Holocaust, the world decried, “never again” but yet Genocide occurs with haunting frequency.  What’s puzzling to me is that it occurs in full view of the world community.  When ISIS trapped the Yazidi community on Sinjar Mountains, the world watched and world leaders chose not to act.  In fact, we still find ourselves begging the United Nations to act – to stop ISIS – to hold ISIS accountable for all the horrific crimes committed. A fundamental goal for me is to fight impunity for crimes committed against all margined communities devastated by global terrorism.

I am committed to leading a campaign to prompt peace through de-radicalization. I will focus my power to deliver a message to the Muslim world to condemn extremism, particularly against children and women, carried out in the name of Islam.  We must work together to counter terrorism and deter the youth  from joining or supporting radical groups and united to teach all youth the importance of tolerance towards the beliefs of others.

Recent terrorism brought sufferings beyond our any understanding, and women and children have become the population mostly affected, notable, human trafficking and mass  enslavement have become a tool used by terrorists to humiliate societies and humanity at large, I am committed to fight human trafficking and mass enslavement.

We cannot depend solely on the actions of the United Nations and world leaders.  Individuals can contribute to the fight as well.  If we all do our small part, in every corner of the world, I believe we can end genocide and mass atrocities against women and children.  If we have the courage to stand up and fight for those we don’t know – who live thousands of miles away – we can make a difference.   The world is one community and we need to act as such.

I ask you as a survivor and a friend, to join my Initiative and help all victims in the conflict zones, especially those targeted for their identify .  ISIS must be stopped.  Please contribute to this important cause, for we all humans that deserve to live peacefully.

With much gratitude,

Nadia Murad Bassee

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.

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Women’s March Against Trump Turns Into Global Day of Action

Over 600 marches will take place in 57 countries around the world

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-19-2017

Shepard Fairey’s “Defend Dignity” protest art, designed for the Women’s March and other inaugural weekend actions. (Image: Shepard Fairey/Obey Giant)

The Women’s March on Washington on January 21 has gone global, with over 600 “sister marches” planned in 57 countries that same day, as an international display of opposition to the far-right populism embodied by President-elect Donald Trump.

A map on the Women’s March Global site shows the hundreds of events worldwide:

A map of the "sister marches" around the world

With protests planned in Berlin, Oslo, Toronto, Nairobi, and other cities around the world, many organizers cite the threat to human and civil rights posed by Trump’s election.

“The recent elections in the United States have shown how real the threat is to our collective rights and liberties. We march together for the protection of our rights, our safety, our families, our health and the health of our planet—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our society,” write organizers of the march in Nairobi, Kenya, on Facebook.

“We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”
—Women’s March in Berlin
“Nationalist, racist and misogynistic trends are growing worldwide and threaten the most marginalized groups in our societies including women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQIA community, and people with disabilities,” states the Facebook page for the march in Copenhagen, Denmark. “The violence of the global capitalist system only upholds and strengthens these dangerous trends.”

In Berlin, Germany, organizers declared: “This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”

And in Sydney, Australia, organizers write that they are marching “to raise our voices in defense of women’s rights and against hatred and bigotry.”

Artist Shepard Fairey, famous for the 2008 “HOPE” poster of Barack Obama, has also designed along with other artists a new series of downloadable protest art for the march called “We The People.” The posters, featuring only images of women, call on observers to “defend dignity,” “protect each other,” and be “greater than fear.”

Huffington Post reported last week that organizers are hoping the global day of action will result in new coalitions and a worldwide movement to fight the rise of hate, xenophobia, and the far-right around the world.

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Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists

By Rev. Billy Talen. Published 11-26-2016 by Common Dreams

"The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight," writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

“The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight,” writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

Earth-force meets money-force at Standing Rock. I’m so relieved I’m here. It scares me to think that I might have missed this.

We get up at dawn. Four hundred people walk slowly in a light snow to the river by the camp. A teacher is talking. His headdress is a crisscrossing of long, narrow feathers. He is of the Havasupai, the people who live by the blue-green waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He calls out across the river. “Water is life! Take me! My heart beats with you!”

It’s cold at 7am. The children don’t seem cold though. They run around in the mud and ice. There are 80 tribes here. Some say many more. As we stand on the shore with a slow drum beating, the people shout “water” in many languages.  Continue reading

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From Rio, Olympic Refugee Team Urges Compassion for Displaced People

“It’s only a name to be a refugee”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-3-2016

Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer on the Refugee Olympic Team.. Photo via Wikimedia commons

Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer on the Refugee Olympic Team.. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to imagine good news emerging from environmental chaos in Brazil and warfare around the globe, but a team of refugees competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this month stood in the spotlight on Tuesday, and took the opportunity to urge compassion for displaced people worldwide.

The 10 athletes on the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) were given a standing ovation as they joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“We are ambassadors for the other refugees. We cannot forget this chance that you gave us,” said Yiech Pur Biel, a track and field athlete originally from South Sudan. “We are not bad people. It’s only a name to be a refugee.” Continue reading

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