Nelson Mandela, in about 1964.
Nelson Mandela is the father of modern South Africa, but he belongs to all humanity now, and all of humanity seems ready to embrace him at last.
The New York Times accurately observed that Mr. Mandela, who died today at the great age of 95, had become “an international emblem of dignity and forbearance.”
But we need to remember that Mr. Mandela is a towering figure in humanity’s memory not simply because of what he achieved, but because he achieved it despite the bitter opposition of people who hated who he was and what (Read more…)
Three days ago, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera gave birth to a son, Matthew Kaden, in a military hospital in San Diego. As soon as her hospital stay ends (which may have already happened), Kim will be taken back to prison. Her newborn baby will stay with his father and his siblings… but his mother will be forced to finish her prison term. Her release is scheduled for mid-December.
The US Army has rejected all appeals for clemency, and is insisting Kim serve the final weeks of her sentence, even though it means separating a mother and a newborn infant.
We’ve just seen “The Central Park Five,” the Ken Burns film about five young men of colour who were wrongfully arrested, indicted, and convicted of rape and attempted murder, and who served seven, and in one case, thirteen years, in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.
There was virtually no evidence linking the five teenagers to the crime, and enormous amounts of evidence showing they could not possibly have committed it. They were convicted on the strength of illegally obtained, coerced, false confessions.
In one sense, this story is one of the oldest in the United States. As former (Read more…)
There is an ancient Jewish folktale which tells of a man visiting hell and being amazed to find its inhabitants all seated at long tables with fancy tablecloths, beautiful silverware and delicious food in front of them. Yet no one was eating. They were all wailing. On closer examination the visitor saw that none of them could bend their elbows. So while they could touch their food no one could bring the food to their mouths.The visitor then went to heaven where the scene was identical: Long tables, fancy tablecloths, beautiful silverware and delicious food. And here too people (Read more…)
In the Fall of 2013 a Russian documentary filmmaker contacted numerous LGBTQ activists and filmmakers in Canada and the United States with whom they had worked with in previous years to screen their films. The message they sent was a request to help fund a film that they believe desperately needs to be made: a documentary by Russian LGBTQ identified people about the impact of the recent anti-gay propaganda law on LGBTQ identified young people.
They reached out to queer filmmakers, activists, and sympathetic video programers because their project would be impossible to make without the financial support from the (Read more…)
Last night we watched “Dirty Wars,” investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s documentary film exposing the United States’ covert, lethal, extra-governmental operations around the globe. It’s an important film. Depending on your level of knowledge of the US, it may be eye-opening, or it may be shocking.
If you have not yet seen this film, I urge you to. It’s available on US Netflix and from many public library catalogs. (The website has a link to agitate for cinema screenings in your area.)
Please note I have called this film “important” and I have urged you all to see (Read more…)
The Supreme Court of Canada’s 5-2 decision in Rasouli is a clear victory for the family. Sadly, it is a loss for common sense and common humanity. It is also a blow against physician integrity and potentially damaging to the Canadian health-care system.
Good ethics requires good facts. The salient facts in this case are these: Hassan Rasouli has been unconscious and on life support since October, 2010. He is in a near-vegetative state with no realistic prospect for recovery. Although his body will inevitably deteriorate further, he can be kept alive, almost indefinitely, in a hospital intensive-care unit: He (Read more…)
It's the human rights nightmare that just goes on and on. The case of Omar Khadr, and the travesty of justice that should shame us all.And today the latest chapter in this Harperland horror story. Read more »
A panel of three Supreme Court Justices has decided that the Supreme Court of Canada will, in fact, hear the case of the SFL et al, in the matter of the constitutionality of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Bills 5 and 6 – so-called “essential services” legislation and amendments to Saskatchewan’s Trade Union Act.
“It is extremely unfortunate that we find ourselves in this position,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President, Larry Hubich. “Obviously, we would rather not be forced into taking our government to court. Unfortunately, however, Bills 5 and 6 represent significant infringements upon the fundamental rights of Saskatchewan (Read more…)
Shutdown this, markets crashing that. Hey, if the Americans want to self-destruct their country maybe they should start with Guantanamo Bay.
Filed under: Politics Tagged: Force Feeding, Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights, Hunger Strikes, Institutional Evil., Torture
Today is World Day Against the Death Penalty. Al Jazeera has a fascinating infographic about the use of the death penalty worldwide, as far as can be known from on available evidence.
It is my fervent hope that the more people learn about the unjust, political, and often arbitrary use of the death penalty, the more they will question its use, and that, in time, such questioning will lead them to understand the inherent immorality of state-sanctioned murder.
For those agnostic but unconvinced, I recommend reading Dead Man Walking, by Sister Helen Prejean. This book had a (Read more…)
The heroic Edward Snowden, in his own words, via Jesselyn Radack, at the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee in Brussels. I thank the European Parliament and the LIBE Committee for taking up the challenge of mass surveillance. The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time. The success of economies in developed nations relies increasingly on their creative output, and if that success is to continue, we must remember that creativity is the product of curiosity, which in turn is the product of privacy.
A culture of secrecy has denied (Read more…)
This and that to end your weekend.
- Daniel Goleman writes about the role of wealth in undermining empathy: (I)n general, we focus the most on those we value most. While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work. The financial difference ends up creating a behavioral difference. Poor people are better attuned to interpersonal relations — with those of the same strata, (Read more…)
Oct. 4, 2013: Winnipeggers gathered at the Manitoba Legislature to remember the lives of 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, 75 of whom came from Manitoba. Photo: Paul S. Graham
Winnipeggers gathered at the Manitoba Legislature on Friday afternoon to demand an national inquiry into the causes for the disappearance or death of over 600 indigenous women in Canada in recent years. The demonstrators repeated a longstanding demand for a for national inquiry, something that has gained the support of all provincial premiers and territorial leaders, but which continues to be rejected by the federal government.
Appearing in (Read more…)
Winnipeg, September 28, 2013 – In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the coup d’etat against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, Winnipeg’s Chilean community held numerous educational and cultural events throughout September. On September 28th, the Chilean Human Rights Council of Canada held a conference at the University of Winnipeg entitled “Human Rights – The Chilean Experience.”
Speakers included: – Dr. Miguel Sanchez, University of Regina, School of Social Work – Fr. Eduardo Enrique Soto Parra, SJ, Mauro Centre, University of Manitoba – Claudia Garcia de la Huerta, Journalist – Dr. Clint Curle, Canadian Museum for Human (Read more…)
There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going. Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky […]
Today, September 28, women all over the world are taking action to demand the right to accessible, safe, and legal abortion.
Women and our allies in more than 50 countries have formed a global mobilization that seeks to decriminalize abortion, provide access to safe and affordable abortion services, and end the stigma and discrimination against women who choose to have an abortion.
This campaign, which started more than 20 years ago in Latin America and the Caribbean, has become a global day of action, as we recognize that women are the world continue to be denied access to safe and (Read more…)
Forty years ago, on September 11, 1973, the military forces commanded by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile led by Salvador Allende. Thousands of people were killed. Many thousands more were imprisoned.
The coup d’etat was swift, brutal and merciless. It was carried out by the Chilean oligarchs with the active assistance of the United States. Overnight, the progressive social and economic measures introduced by the Allende government were overturned, condemning Chile’s working class to lives of poverty and oppression.
Perhaps 500,000 Chileans were forced into exile, relocating to countries around the world. Several (Read more…)
Lots of stores, places, etc. have “no pets” signs up. That’s fine, but there are usually exceptions for service dogs. Preventing a visually-impaired person from entering a restaurant except without their service dog would be mean and generally intolerable.
A long time ago, however, it was quite common to deem these animals to be pets, and unwelcome. Society reflected, and decided that the rights of a person with a service pet are more important than the owner of establishment’s desire to keep animals out.
It’s not like service dogs are rabid, coked-up bulls in a china shop. By far.
So (Read more…)
I knew that something was terribly wrong when the very first thing he did when he came to power was go after the equality of women. I still remember the chill that went through me, when I realized we were now in the hands of some weird ideologue, with cold dead eyes, and a REALLY kinky streak.A horrible bully who got his kicks from seeing fear in the eyes of others, and would try to drag us into his dark dungeon, so he could do dirty things to us, and the country we loved.But it wasn't until I saw what he did to the Canadian (Read more…)
Today marks four years since Iraq War resister Rodney Watson requested sanctuary from the First United Church in Vancouver. Watson has been in sanctuary ever since.
We can honour Watson’s sacrifice and his commitment to peace by renewing our demand that the Canadian government allow Watson and all war resisters to live freely in Canada.