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Archive for the tag “Peace”

Happy New Year! 2014 is already looking up for some

Happy New Year. Hope that the holidays were kind to you.

I briefly went on the National Geographic website not really looking for anything when I came across an article about Intel’s “promise” to ban “conflict minerals.” This is a HUGE first step to improving the lives of thousands of people, maybe millions. Because this can set the example for other companies that profit from  violence and instability. This announcement came from Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, who has only been on the job for six months. Is well informed about the supply chain from the mining field to the production factories, since he was in charge of all of Intel’s supply chain.

This announcement made by Mr. Krzanich represents a step in the right direction following SEC’s adoption of a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which now requires U.S. companies to disclose the use of conflict minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries.

I was glad to see that Mr. Krzanich’s initial reaction was to completely stop using minerals from the DRC and other surrounding areas. Which would have resulted in Intel only using minerals from conflict-free areas. But this idea was immediately disregarded by the supply chain team, do to the notion that this decision would eliminate a key source of income for local residents. So in 2012 Intel decided to only use minerals taken conflict-free areas by 2013.

The minerals that are required for the microprocessors include tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin. Tantalum being the most important in this situation. Intel is the worlds number one commercial consumer of tantalum, so it is no surprise that it has the most power to change the market.

It took two years for Intel to follow the supply chain, from an actual electronic product to the smelters. And it can now proudly say that all the minerals in their microprocessors are conflict-free.

When writing this post I ran across Enough Project, which is an organization dedicated in fighting genocide and crimes against humanity. The have a list that was finalized in 2012 that lists all the major companies that provide us with electronics and how they rank against each other, regarding the use of conflict minerals. Intel takes the top spot on their list; you can find the list here.

Intel claims that all the conflict-free areas have been looked over by a third party. “You’re really going like a plumber into the depths of these smelters,” explains Sasha Lezhnev, policy director at the Enough Project, which works with Intel on its conflict-free sourcing. “These are highly secretive industries. They’re just not used to public scrutiny. This is just an organizational and cultural change that they in some senses have to react to.”

And just in case you were worried about the price electric gadgets increasing due to this great new step; that will not happen. Mr. Krzanich confirmed that the company decision will not affect prices of gadgets, the only results are pricey airfare and more manpower. So why did this take so long?

Below is a video put together by Intel about the Democratic Republic of Congo, the people there, minerals and much more relating to the matter.  It is a good starting point.

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Below you will find a copy of the article from the National Geographic.

Photo of miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province, Congo.

Miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province.

Photograph by Marcus Bleasdale, National Geographic

Tom O’Neill

National Geographic

Published January 9, 2014

Intel’s announcement that every microprocessor that it ships will be made without conflict minerals from Africa hit both a personal and professional nerve for photographer Marcus Bleasdale.

Bleasdale has spent the past decade photographing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to bring the issue to the world’s eyes: workers, including children, toiling in brutal conditions in mines overseen by militias in eastern Congo. In October National Geographic magazine published “The Price of Precious,” which featured Bleasdale’s powerful photos dramatizing the suffering of people caught in the middle of the violent, illegal grab for minerals like tin, tungsten, and gold. They’re referred to as “conflict minerals” because of the ongoing strife between army commanders and militia chiefs over control of the mines.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company’s action is the culmination of years of effort to track down the smelters, more than 60 in all, that provide the company with minerals such as tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin and then auditing them for where the minerals came from. The result is that, now, all the smelters that Intel contracts with use minerals from mines not involved in the DRC conflict.

National Geographic spoke with Bleasdale in Washington, D.C.

What was your reaction to the Intel announcement?

It was: “Wow!” I have been working closely with the Enough Project to find ways to engage companies on the issue of using conflict minerals, but I didn’t expect such a significant action. Intel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of microprocessors. What they did is huge. It gives the effort momentum. Almost one-fourth of the smelters used by electronic companies have been audited as conflict-free. Plus, more and bigger mines in the DRC are coming on tap as certified conflict-free.

There are so many players in this; it is so complex. Conflict minerals are not like diamonds that are relatively easy to source. We need a tracking system.

It must be gratifying to know that your photography has played a role in creating public pressure for such an action.

Let me say that an individual photograph can have a powerful impact. But the real power is what you do with it and whom you partner with. By working with Human Rights Watch, beginning in 2004, my work hit a nerve and was instrumental, for instance, in making a Swiss company stop buying Congolese gold.

What has the response been to your photos in our October issue?

The response has been massive. I have been surprised by how many people were not aware of where the minerals in their cell phones and computers and other electronics came from. I know the article will also engage industries, and there are hundreds of them that use these minerals.

I have also been amazed by the reaction to “The Moment,” a page in the back of the magazine with a photograph of a child’s funeral at the St. Kizito orphanage in the Congo. As a result of that picture, tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the orphanage have come in, from donors ranging from a media company in L.A. to a law firm in Oslo where I recently spoke. Every cent donated has been spent by the orphanage for the children.

Why do photographs have this potency?

With every conflict it is very difficult to show the enormity of the suffering. You have all these statistics, 4.5 million people killed, 30,000 women raped. To get through to people you have to show individuals touched by the conflict. That’s how you engage people, how you shock them to maybe change their behavior. I want to repeat, though: It’s difficult for photographs to do this work on their own. You need an advocacy group to partner with who can knock on the doors of Congress and corporations. This advocacy work is as satisfying to me as taking a photograph. (Related: “Marcus Bleasedale on Shock and Change.”)

It sounds like a personal brand of photojournalism.

Objectivity is important to me. But when you face such horrific suffering and you know that it’s fueled in great part by [the] conflict minerals industry, you want it to stop; you are human and say it has to stop.

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For those who hope for a better world. This should be a sort feel like a step in the right direction.

Again Happy New Year

Peace

Happy Birthday Bobby Seale

Hello!

Today is Bobby Seale’s 73rd birthday. Bobby Seale is one of the co-founders of the Black Panthers Party, (originally the Black Panther for Self Defense). Since the 1960’s Bobby Seale has shown commitment in serving the people of this planet. This is why I wanted to honor his birthday.

The video below features Mr. Seale talking about how he helped establish the Black Panther Party. The interview/speech was facilitated by Professor Harris via three focus topics. But you will notice that the event evolved to be spontaneous, free flowing and fun. Mr. Seale spent about an hour telling us about his early childhood, how he and Huey P. Newton started the Black Panther Party of Self Defense, and why today’s youth should get involved in social issues. The event was filmed at the University of San Francisco (I was there!) on February 24, 2011. You can read more about Bobby Seale here and more about the Black Panther Party here. You can also join the campaign against the Koch Brothers here.

You will notice towards the end of the event, Mr. Seale points out the Koch Brothers. And this was before (late 2011-early 2012) people in this country knew who the Koch Brothers were and how much influence they have in America. I was impressed how current and informed he was.

It is good to be back!

Peace

Jay-Z must have viewed one of my posts, have you?

In my previous post, “Dr. Cornel West’s response to  George Zimmerman’s acquittal and relative topics,” you will find a video, featuring Dr. West talking with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now. There are two things that Dr. West says in the video that have importance in this post. Just in case you missed it I posted the video below, for your convenience. The first thing that he said was that Stevie Wonder publicly stated that he will never perform in Florida as long as, ‘Stand Your Ground,’ law is active. The second thing that is relevant in this post is that Dr. West also said that Jay-Z has something to learn from Mos Def. Referring to the Yasiin Bey’s decision to under go force feeding as a sign of solidarity with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners; among other things. I wrote this post because I ran into an article posted by on slumz.bosxden.com???? Well, the article says that Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, just to name a few. Have also decided to to follow Stevie Wonder’s foot steps and Boycott Florida. So I am being sarcastic when I say that Jay-Z read my blog and heard what Dr. West said. Causing him to boycott; I have copied and pasted the article below Dr. West’s video.

  Dr. West: Force-feeding, torture in its core—didn’t our dear brother Yasiin Bey point that out, the former Mos Def? God bless that brother. Jay Z got something to learn from Mos Def. Both of them lyrical geniuses, but Jay Z got a whole lot to learn from Mos Def.

to see how it felt, and broke down and started screaming “Stop! Stop!” in the middle of it, and it was a videotape that went viral.

The article below.

Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West Join Stevie Wonder’s Florida Boycott Following George Zimmerman Verdict

> Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West Join Stevie Wonder's Florida Boycott Following George Zimmerman Verdict - Photo posted in The Hip-Hop Spot | Sign in and leave a comment below!

Florida concert ticket sales may be plummeting soon.

Performers such as Rihanna, Jay-Z Jay Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Madonna have reportedly decided to follow Stevie Wonder’s footsteps in boycotting Florida in protest of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. April Ryan of American Urban Radio Network first broke the news, crediting “a source close to Wonder” for leaking a list of A-listers who’ve vowed to not perform at the Sunshine State in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the 2012 k#lling of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

Wonder earlier announced his intention to boycott any state with “Stand Your Ground” laws after a jury found Zimmerman — who police did not arrest weeks after the k#lling due to the law — not guilty of second-degree murk. The “Stand Your Ground” defense also appeared in instructions to jurors during the trial.

“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said during a concert in Canada earlier this month. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”

According to Ryan, other notable celebs on the boycott list include Usher, Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and will.i.am.

Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, also showed their support for Martin, appearing at a recent rally in New York City to support the slain teenager’s family.

I like the article above, because it makes me think, ‘how far can this go?’ Will musicians also boycott states that have laws like, ‘Stop And Frisk,’ or states that have anti-immigration type laws? How many musicians will join?

In memory of Trayvon Martin.

While I was writing this post I found an interesting video on Youtube, posted by FPTV. The video is about FPTV’s coverage of people in River Oaks, protesting Trayvon Martin’s death, the ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ etc. Watch this video it will make you HAPPY, sad, ffffffffrrrrrrrruuuuusssssstttrrrraaaaateed, ShOcKeD, DISAPOinted, and many other feeling. Some things that are said in this video are interesting, to say the least.

Reporter: Wouldn’t it be good, if we let all the black people and all the white people finish each other of?

Reporter: What is your motivation to come out today?

Protester A: Bull****

Reporter: What is your motivation to come out today?

Protester B: I am very upset about the, ‘Stand Your Ground Law!’

Protester C: Some of them, were either leaving! Or arming themselves.

Reporter: Can we ask you some questions?

River Oaks Resident: No!

Reporter: Do you think that Obama is a closet homosexual?

Protester D: I understand from his time in Chicago! That he is well known in the bath-house community!

Protester C: aaawww, it bit me!

Reporter: Can we come together in PEACE, LOVE and HARMONY?

With that said, I am so pumped about playing futball this morning. Then gardening after; have a wonderful day or night. Oh, I had some people from Sri Lanka visit this blog, a couple of days ago. I hope that you found something to take away from this blog. I am really have been working on improving what I do on this blog. As fellow bloggers know, running an active blog is a lot of work. Especially if you are writing about specialized fields, social issues, recent news, literature, politics, etc. In fact, I did not even expect to write this post, I am currently working on at least three other posts. I really do have a lot planned for this blog. Thank you to everyone that has shown support, commented (Charlster!) (Nancy!), liked (Mr. Nguyen), visited, helped (Amico!) etc. Thank so so Much.

Peace!

What will it take for the youth to take over the American government?

I do not know about you but for me the result of the George Zimmerman trial was a real disappointment. In the last post, I put up videos and did not write anything because I wanted to take sometime away from the blog, so that I could think about the case. I have decided to break down the issues surrounding the case over several posts.

This post will touch light on why the American government looks like this.
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and not like this.

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When Trayvon Martin was killed, people took to the streets because George Zimmerman was not arrested right away; he was arrested about 45 days after the incident. I believe the youth represented a large majority of the protesters in 2012 and they make up the majority of protesters today. So with that said I want to continue fueling that youth power.

One would think, after seeing the public outcry after Trayvon Martin’s death, that George Zimmerman’s trial would result in the prosecution of Zimmerman. Because the public through petitions and protesting expressed that they wanted to see a fair system. On Change.org, about 2.2 million people signed a petition for the prosecution of  George Zimmerman. Any one in their right mind would just look at the number of petitions and see that the public have spoken. Than how is possible that the trial ended the way it did?

The video below is Democracy Now’s coverage of George Zimmerman’s Trial. The person of focus (the person who I want you to pay attention to) in the video is executive director of Dream Defenders, Philip Agnew. Mr. Agnew is a young black man who is sharing knowledge, wisdom and hope with other youths.  Phillip Agnew points out many important things but for this post I will isolate quotes that will benefit my argument. Which is that the current judicial system is old and out-dated. The system needs more youth, people of color and women who are able to think differently than the ‘old white man mentality.’

Crucial statements made by Philip Agnew:

I watched CNN, as I watched HLN, I never saw a young person of color on there able to speak.

And what we see is a system not built for people of color, not built for the poor, and not built for young people.

I think we need to look at the environment that created a situation that grew a George Zimmerman and that snuffed out a Trayvon Martin.

The quotes above represent the reality of the system,  the youth are rarely given a chance to directly influence the present and future of this country. Which is important because the youth are the ones who have to live in the future America, not the older people who take up room in the American government now.

Below is a video about a group of African Americans and Latino teenagers, who were falsely accused and charged with raping a woman in 1989. The video below is  Democracy Now‘s coverage of the documentary called, The Central Park Five (2012).

Nermeen Shaikh: Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed.

Nermeen Shaikh: But in 2002, the convictions in the Central Park Five case were vacated after the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime. DNA evidence confirmed he was the sole attacker. This came after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years for the assault. To this day, their case continues to impact how the criminal justice system treats juvenile offenders.

Jim Dwyer: A lot of people didn’t do their jobs—reporters, police, prosecutors, defense lawyers.

Amy Goodman: Right now New York City is refusing to settle a civil lawsuit brought by the five men whose convictions were overturned after they spent years in prison, and now lawyers for the city are seeking access to footage gathered for the new film.

Sarah Burns: -I became fascinated by this story, this miscarriage of justice and how it had happened.

Nermeen Shaikh: One of the people, Jim Dwyer, I believe, from the New York Times in the documentary says that the way this case was represented in the media had to do—like the people who were actually convicted were proxies for other wars that were being fought in the city, had to do with crack cocaine coming into these neighborhoods, increasing rates of poverty, etc.

I thought that it was important to include the video above because it works as a reminder of how cruel the American judicial system has been to people of color in the past. America has changed since its birth, it was once a country that allowed slavery, than slavery was abolished but still a black man was prevented from being seen in public with a white woman. It took some time for segregation to be seen as something that is wrong, but still America was not an innocent country. Because it took part in immoral activities like using the war on marijuana as a tool to deport unwanted Mexicans. In 1989 America was a country that wrongly accused young black and brown boys of raping a young white woman. Because we all know that a white man would never do anything like that. This cruelty is in many ways is still present even though today we have a different America. The racial demographic of America is changing, the Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, one in three people living in America will be of Latin descent. And if the current trend continues, as it is now, by 2100 half of the entire population in America will be of Latin descent. So the judicial system should reflect the changing racial demographic of America.

The next videos below feature Democracy Now‘s coverage of Kenneth Chamberlain’s death.

Officer Stephen Hart: Mr. Chamberlain!

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.: Don’t do that, sir. Don’t do that. Don’t do that, officer. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Do not do that! I’m telling you I’m OK!

Officer Stephen Hart: Open up the damn door, nigger!

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.: I’m telling you I’m OK!

Officer Stephen Hart: [inaudible]

Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.: I’m telling you I’m OK.

Mayo Bartlett: But when you have the complete tapes, you know that he’s telling them repeatedly, for at least 15 minutes, that he’s fine, he’s OK, and he doesn’t need help.

Mayo Bartlett: And it’s clear that the White Plains Police Department and the city of White Plains as a whole turns a blind eye to these things.

Juan Gonzalez: The vice president of a bank, who claimed that he threw him to the pavement, beat his head on the pavement, broke his nose, while arresting him for disorderly conduct.

Juan Gonzalez: And then, finally, Sergeant Fottrell, one of the supervisors on the scene, who is facing a—who just finished a trial from an African-American woman who claimed that he used a stun gun on her while arresting her, although he was acquitted in that trial.

Juan Gonzalez: Three of them were facing, at that very moment that they were in Chamberlain’s house, charges by citizens who claimed that they had abused them. So, this is part of what you’re looking at in terms of calling for a federal investigation of the White Plains Police Department?

I included the videos above because it shows where the American government is at today. It does not matter that a black man occupies the presidential seat, people of color are still considered second class citizens through the eyes of the judicial system.

The video below features Democracy Now‘s coverage of a documentary called, Gideon’s Army. This documentary follows the lives of young public defenders who work in the deep south, helping people of color  and the poor.

Amy Goodman: In some states, it’s estimated 80 percent of people facing felony charges cannot afford to hire their own lawyers.

Amy Goodman: Often the lawyers appointed to handle their cases are faced with overwhelming caseloads and virtually no resources. The problem is especially bad in the South. The average caseload for a public defender in Miami-Dade County, Florida, at any one time is 500 felonies and 225 misdemeanors.

Amy Goodman: I mean, the figures are astounding. The U.S. has the largest imprisoned population in the world—what, two million people.

Travis Williams: I really became a public defender to fight the system, to make sure the police are held accountable, to make sure that the court system is held accountable to make justice work.

Amy Goodman: Talk about the significance of what it means to say 90 percent of people charged with a felony actually plead guilty. They don’t go to trial.

Travis Williams: They do not go to trial. You know, we have an FBI statistic, is 12 to 13 million people get arrested. So, from those people, many millions will be charged. If 90 percent of those people are pleading guilty, we are funneling people into the prison system. We are not giving them their day in court, which is what the Sixth Amendment—you know, you have the right

Amy Goodman: The facts and figures in this film—I mean, the average caseload for a public defender in Miami-Dade County—I read this already, I’m going to read it again. In Florida, Miami-Dade County, at any one time, 500 felonies, 225 misdemeanors—what, 725 cases. How is it possible? If you’re working 40 hours—and I know you work more, but 40 hours, this is like three minutes a case. How do people deal? How do lawyers deal with this?

The story about the public defenders above is an important one. Because it shows how hard one has to fight if they want to bring change to the system. The young people featured in the video represent the change that we need to see in the judicial system. Instead of the system fighting the change it sees by throwing people in jail, it should welcome the change by educating people, provide jobs, providing universal healthcare, etc. Because the people who are being criminalized (people of color and youths) are the ones who are going to guide America in the future. The only way we will get to see a better America is if everyone is welcomed to the table.

Peace!

Egyptians are not Satisfied

I woke up to news about peaceful protests that turned violent in Egypt. I personally did not think that there was going to be so much friction in Egypt this early. I did anticipate some friction due to the journey that Egypt took  to get to this point. As well as the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood rose from the ashes of the 2011 uprising. It is not easy for a country to go from so much unrest to peace. Not to forget it is really hard to make everyone happy.

So, from what I have read, it seems that the Egyptian military suspended the constitution and ousted elected President Morsi. The reaction from the world is split. I have supported the uprising in Egypt since day one but I have to admit, the region to me is very complex.

Below I have provided a video that hosts individuals digging deeper into the issue surrounding Egypt. It was posted on Al Jazeera on July 4, 2013.

The video below is news coverage from Al Jazeera about the ousting of President Morsi; it was posted on July 3, 2013.

I wanted to add comments from world leaders about the steps that the Egyptian military took. I copied this from Al Jazeera. It was posted on July 4, 2013.

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The Egyptian army’s suspension of the constitution and removal of President Mohamed Morsi has drawn mixed responses from world leaders:

European Union

The EU has called for a rapid return to democracy in Egypt.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “I urge all sides to rapidly return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution, to be done in a fully inclusive manner, so as to permit the country to resume and complete its democratic transition,”

“I strongly condemn all violent acts, offer my condolences to the families of the victims, and urge the security forces to do everything in their power to protect the lives and well-being of Egyptian citizens.”

Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Abdullah sent a message of congratulations to Adly Mansour ahead of his appointment as interim president.

“In the name of the people of Saudi Arabia and on my behalf, we congratulate your leadership of Egypt in this critical period of its history. We pray for God to help you bear the responsibility laid upon you to achieve the ambitions of our brotherly people of Egypt,” the message said.

Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government, which had formed an alliance with Morsi, spoke out in favor of the ousted leader. Turkey’s foreign minister slammed the overthrow as “unacceptable” and called for Morsi’s release from house arrest. Turkey itself was hit last month by a wave of protests against Erdogan’s perceived authoritarianism and attempts to impose his conservative views on secular society.

Iran

Iran was disappointed at the fall of Morsi, with a prominent legislator saying the leader failed to reshape Egypt’s powerful military and other security agencies. After Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the new leadership formed military and security forces loyal to the clerics and others. Morsi’s government had ended more than three decades of diplomatic estrangement with Iran dating back to the revolution, when Egypt offered refuge to Iran’s deposed shah.

Tunisia

The ruling Islamists in Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, condemned the overthrow as a “flagrant coup”. Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi expressed astonishment, saying the overthrow undermined democracy and would feed radicalism.

Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed support for the Egyptian people’s choices and congratulated Egypt’s interim president, a spokesman said. The spokesman, Ali al-Moussawi, added that Iraq is “looking forward to boosting bilateral relations” and is “certain that the new president will move on with the new plan in holding elections and safeguarding national reconciliation”.

Syria

Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday praised Egypt’s protests against their leader and said his overthrow by the military means the end of “political Islam”. Assad, who is seeking to crush a revolt against his own rule, said Egyptians have discovered the “lies” of the Muslim Brotherhood. He spoke in an interview with the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper.

“What is happening in Egypt is the fall of so-called political Islam,” Assad said. “This is the fate of anyone in the world who tries to use religion for political or factional interests.”

United Arab Emirates

The UAE welcomed the change in Egypt, according to state news agency WAM, and praised the Egyptian armed forces.

“His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the foreign minister of the UAE, expressed his full confidence that the great people of Egypt are able to cross these difficult moments that Egypt is going through,” WAM said in a statement.

“Sheikh Abdullah said that the great Egyptian army was able to prove again that they are the fence of Egypt and that they are the protector and strong shield that guarantee Egypt will remain a state of institutions and law,” it added.

Qatar

Qatar’s new emir congratulated Egypt’s Adli Mansour after he was sworn in as an interim leader. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, “sent a cable of congratulations” following the swearing in.

The foreign ministry said: “Qatar will continue to respect the will of Egypt and its people across the spectrum,” the source said. Qatar was alone among Gulf Arab states in celebrating the 2011 Arab Spring revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

United Kingdom

The UK urged for calm in Egypt, but stopped short of calling the military intervention a coup.

“The situation is clearly dangerous and we call on all sides to show restraint and avoid violence,” said Foreign Secretary William Hague. “The United Kingdom does not support military intervention as a way to resolve disputes in a democratic system.”

The UK called on all parties to move forward and “show the leadership and vision needed to restore and renew Egypt’s democratic transition”.

“It is vital for them to respond to the strong desire of the Egyptian people for faster economic and political progress for their country,” stressed Hague.

This must involve early and fair elections and civilian-led government, he said.

United States

The US State Department expressed concern over the military intervention.

The US ordered the mandatory evacuation of its embassy in Cairo, just hours after the army deposed Morsi. A later travel advisory confirmed that “the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency US government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest.”

US President Barack Obama released a statement saying he was deeply concerned by the decision by Egyptian military to depose Morsi, and called for a swift return to civilian government.

“No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve,” Obama said.

“The long-standing partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.”

However, the US also stopped short of calling the military intervention a coup.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, noted that any country involved in a coup was not entitled to aid from the US.

Germany

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the military intervention was “a major setback for democracy in Egypt” and called for “dialogue and political compromise”.

“This is a major setback for democracy in Egypt,” Westerwelle said during a visit to Athens. “It is urgent that Egypt return as quickly as possible to the constitutional order… there is a real danger that the democratic transition in Egypt will be seriously damaged.”

“We call on all sides to renounce violence. We will watch developments in Egypt very closely. And then make our political decisions.

“Political detentions and a political wave of repression must be avoided at all cost. Now this is about returning to the path of democratic order.”

France

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris took note that elections had been announced in Egypt following a transition period after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

“In a situation that has worsened seriously and with extreme tension in Egypt, new elections have finally been announced, after a transition period.”

France hoped a timetable would be drawn up respecting “civil peace, pluralism, individual liberties and the achievements of the democratic transition, so that the Egyptian people can freely choose their leaders and their future”, he added.

 

We hope for Peace.

Happy Birthday Mumia!

Mumia-Abu-Jamal

Today is Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday he is turning 59 years old; Happy Birthday Mumia. Mumia is a political prisoner since 1982, he was sentenced to death row for the killing of Philadelphia police department officer named Daniel Faulkner; Mumia denies the accusation.”I never confessed to anything because I had nothing to confess to. I never said I shot the policeman. I did not shoot the policeman. I never said I hoped he died. I would never say something like that,” quote from Mumia. Mumia since his incarceration has had popular support from all over the world. A big turning point in Mumia’s life came forth, as recently as January 27, 2012, the day Mumia was allowed to join the general population after 29 years in death row. Mumia Abu-Jamal has written a number of books, has worked as a journalist, reporter and most of all he is a freedom fighter. More on Mumia’s life can be found here and here. Below is a video from Democracy Now, it features Mumia.

The next video is about a new documentary about Mumia called, “Long Distance Revolutionary.”

“We have made the unthinkable normal in this world, and the normal unthinkable.”-John Pilger.

“Mumia, how are you dealing with all of this darkness and despair and despondency and so forth?  He said, ‘Let me write about it. I’ll tell the truth about it.’ It is a living hell, it’s a NIGHTMMAAARRRRRE.”-Cornel West

Love the way Dr. West talks.

“They have moved Heaven and Earth to stop his voice from being heard here in the United States.”-Tariq Ali

Peace

“Love is the most powerful force in the universe.”-Mumia

University has a Crucial Place in Society

Tomorrow night (January 7, 2013), Brooklyn College in New York will be hosting a forum that will focus on the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott and ultimately free itself from the grasp of Israel. This forum is very important because it allows for the discussion, sharing of information and possible solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Unfortunately, New York politicians all the way up from Congress to council members have condemned this forum. According to Democracy Now (2013), ” In response, a group of New York City council-members has raised the possibility of Brooklyn College losing taxpayer support.” This should not be a surprise since there is an enormous amount of support given to Israel from Individual in America as well as top politicians. I mean we cannot forget that Obama’s 2013 budget, shows 3.1 billion in U.S. military aide to Israel, which is an increase from 3.075 billion in 2011. At the same time thousands of people who three months ago, were affected by Hurricane Sandy, still live in shelters and temporary hotels. As well as, all over America public schools are being shut-down because of the excuse of, lack of funding. With the support of Brooklyn College’s president, Karen L, Gould, the forum is going to continue despite the threats; the show must go on. So any of you who can make it to Brooklyn College, go to the forum and show your support for Important and beneficial information. The event I believe is in Brooklyn not New York at 6:00pm to 9:00pm. The exact address is this:

2900 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11210

Room: Student Center Building: Penthouse.

phone number: (718)751-9000.

This is a very important step/stand, right, because for those who listened to the talk called, “University as a Factory,”given by Max Haiven, which I linked to my previous post* you would see how crucial it is that we have universities that allow and encourage positive free ideas that engage our conscience. The university should be a positive place where we can develop, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How else would we be prepared for the world ahead of us? The link to Max Haiven’s talk can be found here. Democracy Now covered the events in New York; the video is below.

I would like to now transition to the Palestine-Israel conflict which is the fuel that gave fire to the events at Brooklyn College and New York as a whole. The Palestine-Israel conflict is one that has several stories, so ultimately it depends on who you talk to. But one story that is backed by documented history starts in 1967 when Israel under the order of the American military, defeated the Nasser regime. To this day America and Britain support Radical Islam because it prevents the rise of Secular Nationalism; this is why Israel was asked to defeat Nasser. Move forward several years (1970) and again Israel was called upon to scare Syria from intervening in the massacre of Palestinians by U.S. backed Jordan. There are other events such as the Yo Kippur War in 1973 and the peace treaties that were presented to Israel from Egypt (1971) and Jordan (1972). Two important points must be highlighted in these peace processes, the first is that they did not include the Palestinians who were being killed in the area. The second point has to do with the two countries (Egypt and Jordan) not giving up their territory. So, this is the beginning of the Israeli settlers who expanded within the territory that is today called Israel. So those Palestinians who were being massacred , are the same Palestinians who were being pushed back before: Till the only thing left was present the Gaza Strip and The West Bank.  November 29, 2012, was a day of joy for Palestinians and other supporters because finally the Palestine state was recognized by the U.N. (not including Israel and the U.S.)

An important aspect of the Palestine-Israel conflict, that I like to look at is the mentality that surrounds some individuals in the Jewish culture. This mentality is connected to history that can go back to the biblical times (if you believe in religion). Nonetheless, one point in history that cannot be mistaken is the events of World War II (WWII). Basically what I am saying is that there is a significant population of Jews who believe that someone or some group of people is or are, trying to wipe them out of the the face of the planet: to this day. This can be noticed in the video below featuring Noam Chomsky (Cool Guy), interviewed on Channel 2 News in Israel. He is featured here because he was denied entry into Birzeit University.

Noam Chomsky.”Well you get a free trip.”

Noam Chomsky,”Let’s try to find one country that like all my views…..I do not plan on it but if I am asked!” “Israel is at a position of security, well beyond above that of many other states.” This is because America supports Israel.

I like how Noam Chomsky highlights the plights of the Native American People.

Noam Chomsky,”A person should take responsibility for what they are responsible for.”

Notice how the Interviewer, emphasizes the past and believes that there is some imminent threat against Israel.

I hope that the videos above got things moving in your mind but we can go further. The videos below will focus on what the people in Palestine and Israel go through everyday. The first video below focuses on  a documentary, “The Gatekeepers;” which is about the  six previous members of the once secret Israeli security agency force called, the Shin Bet , which hunts and or kills Palestinian militants but some of the time civilians are killed in the process. The whole broadcast can be found here. The second video will show what it is like to live as a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip or the West bank.

The director, Dror Moreh makes the argument that both sides are responsible for killing and causing harm to innocent civilians. Because, it is important to point out that the biggest problem that should be addressed is that children, women and whole families are being killed on both sides and it is not right.

It is inadequate to bring out facts, information, and not give people something to do, if the opportunity is there. So I want you to take action, Today, and it is very easy, just sign the petitions linked here and here. Not only that spread the word get other people involved because it takes all of us to make a change. We can look back in history/present times and see that our voices together are what keeps the,” change train,” going. Join majority of people who want to live a peaceful fulfilling life.

I have provided another video below that focuses on the corporations that support the Israeli Occupation of the Palestine state.This video (below), which features activist Dalit Baum (I saw her speak, at an University on the same issue) highlights corporations that are supporting the Israeli Occupation; boycott them!

Dalit Baum,”Israeli weapons companies, they start a subsidiary in the U.S, in order to win contracts with the Israeli army, … it is cheaper.”

Peace

*”The Spark that could Initiate the Transformation of the American Education System.”

References:

Haiven, Max. “University as Factory.” Against the Grain. KPFA. 10 Oct. 2012.

In Dedication to Martin Luther King Jr.

Last Monday(January 21, 2013) we celebrated Martin Luther King’s Birthday. A recent recognized federal holiday, is one that should remind us all to always strive for peace. Not just on Martin Luther King Day but everyday of the our lives. Too often conversations surrounding Martin Luther King Jr, only focus on the Civil Rights Movement. On the contrary, it must be emphasized that Martin Luther King Jr was a peace activist, who not only fought for the rights of African Americans but he also fought for Women’s Rights, the poor, he was an avid supporter of worker rights and had a strong anti-war stance. I wanted to share some speeches that highlight some of the important issues that Martin Luther King Jr, fought against.

Martin Luther King’s speech,”I Have Been to the Mountaintop.”

This is a speech by Martin Luther King, delivered on April 3, 1968 at Mason Temple(Church of God in Christ Headquarters) Memphis, Tennessee. He gave this speech in front of sanitation workers, in support for their fight for Worker Rights.

Martin Luther King’s speech,”Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam.”

“Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam,” was delivered on April 30, 1967 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church

Martin Luther King’s thoughts on poverty

Martin Luther King’s speech, “Where do we go from here?”

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