Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Child Maids Posed As Family In The US?

Huffington Post- IRVINE, Calif. — Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door. They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn't much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms.

To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.

The trafficking of children for domestic labor in the U.S. is an extension of an illegal but common practice in Africa. Families in remote villages send their daughters to work in cities for extra money and the opportunity to escape a dead-end life. Some girls work for free on the understanding that they will at least be better fed in the home of their employer.

The custom has led to the spread of trafficking, as well-to-do Africans accustomed to employing children immigrate to the U.S. Around one-third of the estimated 10,000 forced laborers in the United States are servants trapped behind the curtains of suburban homes, according to a study by the National Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley and Free the Slaves, a nonprofit group. No one can say how many are children, especially since their work can so easily be masked as chores.

Once behind the walls of gated communities like this one, these children never go to school. Unbeknownst to their neighbors, they live as modern-day slaves, just like Shyima, whose story is pieced together through court records, police transcripts and interviews.

"I'd look down and see her at 10, 11 _ even 12 _ at night," said Shyima's neighbor at the time, Tina Font. "She'd be doing the dishes. We didn't put two and two together."

Read More

Thankyou Knowledgium for the heads up.

Am I Not Human Participant Posts

To streamline the area where you share your links, we've created this post to collect the links you share to your human rights posts offered on the 27th of the month for the 'Am I Not Human' campaign. There's been a wealth of information shared among us and we are truly grateful for your participation. Some of your pieces may be re-posted here on the main blog with your permission, of course and a link back to your original blog.

Thankyou for participating and know your voice is assisting in raising the awareness needed to shed light across the world, until there are no more dark corners for cowards and tyrants that abuse others to hide behind.

We will be attempting to go back and add many previous links, but do encourage you to share your links each month so others can come back to check for them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? (Dec 2008)

We truly appreciate all bloggers and blog readers who support our monthly 'Am I Not Human?' campaign on the 27th of each month. Here is a list of blogs (human rights abuser in parenthesis) supporting the blogging campaign this month:
  1. Electronic Village (United Nations)
  2. From My Brown Eyed View (United Nations)
  3. Lisa C Writes (Somalia)
  4. Living Life Abundantly (Africa)
  5. Sojourner's Place (United States)
  6. Stop Genocide (Zimbabwe)
  7. The Jose Vilson (United States)
  8. thinkbridge (India)
  9. Ultraviolet Underground (Chad)
  10. Why Am I Not Surprised (US)

Please let us know if we've missed any blog posts from this month's campaign!

Am I Not Human: The Relationship between Chad and Darfur


With the roads between Chad and the Sudan border becoming passable at the end of the rain season, there are worries that conflict will resume, leaving civilians at risk.

A high ranking official in the Chadian government spoke with Enoughproject.org and told them: “We know the rebels are just across the border [in Sudan]. They are coming as soon as the roads are accessible, but we are ready for them, because we monitor their moves.”

An ongoing conflict between the Chadian government and several groups of rebels quickly ignited in violent confrontation in Jan of this year, causing many Chadians to flee in Nigeria and Cameroon. This attempt at a coup (government overthrow) is the 3rd in 3 years. What you is key here, however, is who is supporting the rebels and causing instability in Chad.

The Sudanese government responsible for the scourge of genocide in Darfur, supports the Chadian rebels in an effort to block the Chadian government's support of rebels in Darfur, and no doubt refugees, as well as the deployment of a United nation peacekeeping mission to Eastern Chad.
The effect this has on the people of Chad, as well as Darfur Refugees is unacceptable, especially considering the Chadian government's influence which is said to be far from stainless, and responsible for the consistent disenfranchisement of the people.
Something must be done to ensure the stability and end conflicts.
The Sudanese government must be made to pay a price for supporting coup (usurping/imposition of a new regime) attempts of the Chadian government.
The call for Bashir's arrest, must be fulfilled with an actual arrest. The people of Darfur have paid for the soulless evil of the Sudanese government and the people of Chad have been made to feel its effects as well (as if the effects of their own corrupted government have not been enough).

Please spread the word, and urge your representatives to push for more action to be taken to hold the Sudanese government accountable for genocide, and what is a blatant attempt to spread their influence over more territory..

While I am still learning as I research and read differing viewpoints, I know one thing for sure, action must be taken. Talk upon talk only leaves a window of opportunity for the already cowardly and tyrannical to grow bolder and exact more horrors. The ICC must take action.

Uhurunews has another take on the problems in Chad, blaming French imperialism. You can read about it here: Uhurunews.com

Action. Meditation. Word of Mouth. Prayer. Research. These are all things we can do with the little privilege we've been afforded by the actions of our own less than stainless (understatement) government.

We owe solidarity, because we are one.

Thankyou to all of those who participate in this campaign on the 27th of every month.

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground

The Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt considered the signing of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights to be her greatest triumph. It was signed by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

Roosevelt once said, "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Universal Declaration for Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore, The General Assembly proclaims
This Universal Declaration of Human Rights

as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

I encourage you to review the 30 articles that make up the complete UDHR.

Once we realize that the nations of the world accepted human rights as being inalienable it becomes more difficult for us to sit by idly when we learn about human rights abuses. Our hope is that you will take action!
Please make a note on your calendar to join our blogging campaign, 'Am I Not Human?' on the 27th of each month. We want all concerned bloggers and blog readers to support this effort. It is one way that we can lift up the powerful example set 60 years ago by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Darfuri Youths Raised In Camps Form Opposition


"(NY Times) Angry Youths Become a Force in Darfur: The sheik was in a panic. The agitated youth in this West Darfur refugee camp, young men and adolescents who traditionally would have deferred to his authority, had gotten wind of his presence at a ceremony also attended by an official with the Sudanese government, their longtime antagonists.

Terrified that the youths would accuse him of treason, the sheik begged United Nations officials to rush to his aid and vouch that he had not even broached the topic of compromise involving his people’s cause.

The youths are known collectively as the “shabab,” the Arabic word for young men. And they have become a vehemently pro-rebel political force in the camps for the 2.7 million people displaced by years of war between the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Increasingly angry and outspoken about their uncertain fate, the generation that came of age in the camps is challenging the traditional sheiks, upending the age-old authority structure of their tribal society and complicating efforts to achieve peace."

Read More

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bush to meet Darfur activist, bloggers

US President George W. Bush was to mark Human Rights Day by meeting with an activist from Sudan’s troubled Darfur province and speak with bloggers from Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, and Myanmar, the White House said. [SOURCE]

First, Bush will meet in the Oval Office with doctor and writer Halima Bashir “to get a first hand account of the horrible conflict and suffering taking place in Darfur,” said spokesman Carlton Carroll.

Bashir, the co-author of “Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur,” has spoken out internationally “about the atrocities committed” in Darfur, the spokesman said.

Bush, who hands the reins to successor Barack Obama on January 20, will also talk — in person and by videoconference — with the bloggers “to discuss their use of blogs to push for democratic change and greater freedom,” said Carroll.

Those from Egypt and Venezuela will join in by teleconference, while those from Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran and Myanmar will be in the Roosevelt Room in person, said the spokesman.

The bloggers from China, Cuba, Iran and Myanmar now live in the United States, he said.

Does anyone know who the US-based bloggers are?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The girls of Kenya are fleeing female genital mutilation a.k.a "circumcision"


Though its against the law in Kenya, traditionalists still practice female circumcision to the horror of what has numbered 200 young girls subjected to the torture each day.
Parents, even when in disagreement with the disfiguring and infection-causing 'rite of passage' have faced pressure from traditionalists, to the extent that some of the parents encourage their daughters to run for shelter during the ritual times between November and December, when it is practiced.

Despite the high infant mortality of newborns born to mothers who have had their genitals mutilated, the practice has persisted, as a rite of passage into womanhood. Many girls have dropped out school in January after the practice thinking of themselves as commodities who will be married off, with no further need of school after the process.

But not all the girls are willing to be tortured for tradition. At least 300 girls have fled Western Kenya to avoid having their genitals mutilated, seeking refuge in churches that are guarded with the aid of police. The girls are in the care of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, two churches that have formed an organization to aid young women in their evasion of the illegal rite of FGM.
The organization has expressed praise for the assistance of the police in their efforts to carry out their mission as providers of sanctuary whose purpose coupled with the protection of the police spell hope in a dismal mess where tradition has, at least until now, defied the rights of women and literally, babies anywhere from infancy to age 15, despite the protection the law is meant to provide.

Let's hope the practice of hacking at the genitals of innocent young women, or older women for that matter is put to a stop. The women's body is designed without error, and should be revered as such. The dangers of patriarchy must be put to rest, if the world in its entirety is to ever regain its sanity.

Crossposted at Ultraviolet Underground

Intel: BBC

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blood Coltan

Blood Coltan is a full documentary that details the reality surrounding the coltan use in our wireless devices, and the Congolese who have paid the price in blood.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

School Violence Correlation with Prescription Drugs

An online reader writes:

We have an inadequate school system within a culture that is lacking and we medicate ourselves with substances that we really don't even understand. Virtually every school shooting has involved people taking these meds.

Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) investigated the data and found an astounding 2,736 cases of people going berserk while taking or withdrawing from psychotropic prescription drugs. There is a frightening correlation between meds and violence. This now tilts the scales of sanity, which begs to ask: How much of our sanity is influenced by prescribed medication?


Monday, December 1, 2008

'Am I Not Human?' Blogging Campaign

Please let us know if you plan to participate in our monthly campaign. We seek bloggers interested in sharing information about human rights violations with their blog readers on the 27th of each month.

All of us need to do something. Protest. Meditate. Pray.

In the case of bloggers ... we want you to blog on the 27th of each month. Just share information on behalf of our human siblings in all suffering areas who are either barred from communication by their governments, or lacking in technology to ask: Am I Not Human?

Will you join us?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Am I Not Human? (Nov 2008)

We truly appreciate all bloggers and blog readers who support our monthly 'Am I Not Human?' campaign on the 27th of each month. Here is a list of blogs (human rights abuser in parenthesis) supporting the blogging campaign this month:
  1. A Slant Truth (United States)
  2. Eddie G. Griffin, BASG (United States)
  3. Electronic Village (Multiple Countries)
  4. From My Brown Eyed View (Multiple Countries)
  5. Hagar's Daughter (Multiple Countries)
  6. Living Life Abundantly (Haiti)
  7. On The Black Hand Side (United States)
  8. Sojourner's Place (Multiple Countries)
  9. The Jose Vilson (United States)
  10. Thinkbridge (Multiple Countries)
  11. Ultraviolet Underground (Congo)
  12. Why Am I Not Surprised? (United States)

Please let us know if we've missed any blog posts from this month's campaign!

Am I Not Human: Congo

It wasn't until Congo week that I realized people are dying in the Congo for the shiny wireless devices that have made our lives convenient. The coltan used in wireless devices like cell phones and laptops is a product of the Congo, but the Congolese do not benefit from the sale of it, nor do they even enjoy safety or basic resource needs despite the wealth of their land which is raped savagely by Western interests, while stirred up wars have continued in their region, which act as a convenient diversion for those interested in the valuable resources of the Congo, as is usually the case in similar conflicts.

The Sudan, for instance, is rich in oil, and savage depopulation posed as war becomes a distraction while it is procured and distributed. The list goes on. Track a war between rebels and government and look more closely to see which resources are being lifted by the greedy hands of soulless commerce.

On behalf of the people barred from communication whether by denied technology, their governments or both, we ask:

"Africa is suffering because of the West's policy of "divide and rule""

Please help to raise awareness for the Congo: www.friendsofthecongo.org

crossposted at Ultraviolet Underground.

War will never be the seed of peace
-Angela Morelli, Italy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Am I Not Human? Child Soldiers

The following is cross-posted from the Electronic Village.

I encourage all villagers to find a way to support this blogging campaign held on the 27th of each month. We use this monthly blogging campaign to shine a light on human rights abuses taking place all over the world.

My submission this month was inspired by a television show. I watched the season premiere of "24" a few days ago. I was struck by the use of children as soldiers for the rebels in this show. In fact, the rebels were actually kidnapping children from homes, soccer fields and schools.
The fantasy of television is born from the reality of our world.

It turns out that child soldiers are fighting in at least 17 countries including Angola, Burma, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda.

Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence. A UN treaty prohibits the participation of children under the age of 18 in hostilities. But too often, it is not enforced.

Physically vulnerable and easily intimidated, children typically make obedient soldiers. Many are abducted or recruited by force, and often compelled to follow orders under threat of death. Others join armed groups out of desperation. As society breaks down during conflict, leaving children no access to school, driving them from their homes, or separating them from family members, many children perceive armed groups as their best chance for survival. Others seek escape from poverty or join military forces to avenge family members who have been killed.

I rarely compliment President Bush ... but, I'm proud to know that he signed a new law last month that calls for the arrest and prosecution of leaders of military forces and armed groups who have recruited child soldiers.

I encourage all villagers to visit the Red Hand Day website. The folks on that website want us to urge the United Nations to take stronger action to end the use of child soldiers.

The aim of the Red Hand Day campaign is to gather one million “red hands” — the symbol of the global campaign against the use of child soldiers — and present them to UN officials in New York on February 12, 2009, the anniversary of the day the treaty banning the use of child soldiers took effect.

Participating in the campaign is easy:
  1. Use red paint to make a handprint on a sheet of paper, and add a personal message about your desire to end the use of child soldiers; organize others at your school or in your community to do the same;

  2. Upload photos or videos of your event to www.redhandday.org;

  3. Send your red hands by February 2009 to Human Rights Watch, 350 5th Ave, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10118

Will you join this effort? What are your thoughts about using children as soldiers?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Case Study: The Death of Darryl Turner

Amnesty International is tracking taser abuse as a human rights abuse issue in the United States. Since June 2001, more than 320 individuals in the United States have died after being shocked by police TASERs. Most of those individuals were not carrying a weapon. Amnesty International is concerned that TASERs are being used as tools of routine force -- rather than as an alternative to firearms.

They recently posted a case study about the taser-related death of Darryl Turner.

Darryl Turner, age 17, died in March 2008 after he was shocked by an officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina. Turner, who worked in a grocery store, reportedly went home for lunch with two snacks for which he had not paid. His mother told him to return to the store and admit what he had done.

When he returned to work he got into an argument with the store manager. A store video recording of the incident shows that Turner entered the store's customer service area and pushed an object off the counter. He walked out but came back into the room and pointed at the manager. A police officer entered the room with his TASER, which he immediately fired at Turner, who was standing behind the counter with his hands at his side. There was no visible attempt by the officer to talk to the teenager or calm the situation. With the TASER probes in his chest, Turner moved past the officer, after which he reportedly collapsed out of view of the camera.

Downloaded data from the officer's TASER shows that he held the trigger down for 37 continuous seconds until Turner collapsed -- and shocked him again when he was on the floor. Attempts to revive Turner were unsuccessful. The coroner later ruled cause of death to be a fatal disturbance of the heart rhythm due to stress and the TASER shocks. A police investigation subsequently ruled that the officer's initial decision to use the TASER was within departmental procedures, but that holding down the trigger was not justified. The officer was suspended for five days.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Front Opened In Congo

KINSHASA (AFP) — Fighting between rebels and pro-government forces opened up on new front in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as southern African nations said they were ready to send in peacekeepers.

As Kinshasa warned it may deploy Angolan troops, raising fears of igniting the volatile Great Lakes region, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said it was prepared to provide assistance to the DRC armed forces.

The clashes on the borders of the two provinces of Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu started before dawn on Sunday and prompted thousands of people to flee, the United Nations said.

The fighting that has erupted in August with rebels led by renegade Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda, in violation of a January ceasefire, had so far been limited to Nord-Kivu.

Tomaz Salomao, the head of SADC, told reporters after a summit meeting in Johannesburg that the region backed calls for a ceasefire and the creation of a humanitarian corridor.

"SADC should immediately provide assistance to the armed forces of DRC," he said, reading out the summit's communique.

"SADC will not stand by and witness any destructive acts of violence by any armed groups... and if necessary will send peacekeeping forces," he said.

Salomao said a military advisory team would be deployed immediately to lend advice to the DRC's armed forces, while another team would be sent to evaluate the situation on the ground to determine what other help might be needed.

A military monitoring commission will also be dispatched to monitor DR Congo's border with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, he added.

Salomao said the DRC armed forces needed help to protect the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

(Read More)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Amnesty International Executive Director Larry Cox sent us a message earlier today that we thought our Roots of Humanity blog readers would want to see:

UN peacekeepers remain the last hope for hundrds of thousands of affected civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly women and children. The current force is thinly stretched and cannot effectively enforce its mandate of stopping attacks against civilians and protecting humanitarian operations.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the spiraling crisis in the Congo. (...) We urge the Congolese Government, rebel leadership and the neighboring governments to take all possible measures to prevent human rights abuses by troops under their command. We condemn all attacks on innocent civilians and urge all parties to the conflict to ensure that such attacks cease. The cycle of violence and impunity must be stopped."

Powerful statement. The U.S. State Department issued it more than 10 years ago, in August 1998. It did not prevent what became known as “Africa’s first world war” (1998-2003), which was centered in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and involved several neighboring countries.

Today, the humanitarian and human rights crisis in eastern DRC will again spiral out of control – if we do not act now.

At least 250,000 civilians have been displaced by the recent fighting, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from this and previous rounds of conflict to well over one million. Many IDPs remain out of the reach of aid workers, and some humanitarian operations have been suspended because of the fragile security situation. There is a high risk that the situation will escalate into a regional conflict.

Amnesty International works continuously on addressing the underlying causes of conflict, trying to end impunity for perpetrators of the most egregious human rights violations. But, our priority now is to protect civilians through reinforcing the capacity of the UN’s peacekeeping mission (Mission des Nationa Unies en République Démocratique du Congo, MONUC).

A few hours ago, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, briefed the Security Council and stressed the difficulties facing the UN peacekeepers. Now, members of the Security Council must act to strengthen the peacekeepers’ capacity.

We must act to guarantee that hope for civilians becomes a reality, not a sound bite. Ask Secretary Condoleezza Rice for her support to strengthen UN peacekeepers in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

What are your thoughts about the crisis in the DRC?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Amnesty International Issues 100-Day Human Rights Challenge to Barack Obama

Many of you know that this blog participates in a human rights campaign on the 27th of each month. As such, I read with interest the recent efforts of Amnesty International to urge U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to make human rights central to his new administration. The organization is calling for certain concrete steps in his first 100 days in office that would demonstrate a genuine commitment to bringing the United States into line with its international obligations.

Specifically, they want the new administration to:
  1. Announce a plan and date to close Guantanamo

  2. Issue an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment, as defined under international law

  3. Ensure that an independent commission to investigate abuses committed by the U.S. government in its "war on terror" is set up.

These demands are part of a "checklist" of actions Amnesty International is asking the new U.S. President to take during the first 100 days in office.

Personally, I'm in agreement with all three requests ('demands') being made by Amnesty International. As such, I plan to sign their online petition. I invite villagers to click here to learn more.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Refugees

There is hope.
Enjoy this inspirational video displaying one of the ways hope is being cultivated for Darfur refugees.

Tents:The Patches Project
on Vimeo.


Learn More here:

Crossposted at Ultraviolet Underground

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dying For Western Creature Comforts


The Independent via Liberator Mag writes:

How we fuel Africa's bloodiest war; What is rarely mentioned is the great global heist of Congo's resources: The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again – and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness". It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.

Every day I think about the people I met in the war zones of eastern Congo when I reported from there. The wards were filled with women who had been gang-raped by the militias and shot in the vagina. The battalions of child soldiers – drugged, dazed 13-year-olds who had been made to kill members of their own families so they couldn't try to escape and go home. But oddly, as I watch the war starting again on CNN, I find myself thinking about a woman I met who had, by Congolese standards, not suffered in extremis.

I was driving back to Goma from a diamond mine one day when my car got a puncture. As I waited for it to be fixed, I stood by the roadside and watched the great trails of women who stagger along every road in eastern Congo, carrying all their belongings on their backs in mighty crippling heaps. I stopped a 27 -year-old woman called Marie-Jean Bisimwa, who had four little children toddling along beside her. She told me she was lucky. Yes, her village had been burned out. Yes, she had lost her husband somewhere in the chaos. Yes, her sister had been raped and gone insane. But she and her kids were alive.

I gave her a lift, and it was only after a few hours of chat along on cratered roads that I noticed there was something strange about Marie-Jean's children. They were slumped forward, their gazes fixed in front of them. They didn't look around, or speak, or smile. "I haven't ever been able to feed them," she said. "Because of the war."

Their brains hadn't developed; they never would now. "Will they get better?" she asked. I left her in a village on the outskirts of Goma, and her kids stumbled after her, expressionless.

(Read More)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The UN urges end to the conflict in the Congo


BBC writes:

The United Nations Security Council has condemned fighting by Congolese rebels, calling on the governments of DR Congo and Rwanda to work to defuse tensions.

An emergency session of the council expressed concern over the humanitarian consequences of the fighting.

Earlier UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to the fighting, which he said was creating a "humanitarian catastrophe".

Thousands of people have been fleeing a recent upsurge in fighting in the east.

Earlier, the Tutsi rebel leader whose forces are threatening the city of Goma declared a ceasefire and urged others to do the same.

Read More

Monday, October 27, 2008

Am I Not Human: Censoring Tibet

Despite the new "relaxed" media rules in China
, Tibet is excluded from free media expression. Recently China announced that the relaxing of reporting restrictions on foreign journalists
first exercised previous to the start of the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing, are now permanent...As long as you're not trying to interview anyone from Tibet.

According to Liu Jianchao on Oct 17:
"Foreign reporters still need to ask for permission to do reporting in Tibet and other areas that are off-limits to foreign reporters, like some military facilities”.

What news is China trying to suppress that may come out of Tibet?
While journalists have been granted permission to enter low-risk areas, areas where major protesting has occurred (and the killing of at least 13 Tibetans by Chinese armed police), like Ngaba county in the Amdo region, are off limits.

This month I ask on behalf of Tibetans censored from freedom of expression:
'Am I Not Human?"

Nuns have gone missing, and even been beaten in the street for defending their right to practice their religion, and refuse to denounce the Dalai Lama despite China's demands that they do so.
Tibetan filmmakers have been imprisoned for attempting to tell their story. When will China's soul become more important than it's face (the last thing China needs to do is mimic the Western pattern of denial)?

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground.

Am I Not Human? (October 2008)

We truly appreciate all bloggers and blog readers who support our monthly 'Am I Not Human?' campaign on the 27th of each month. Here is a list of blogs (human rights abuser in parenthesis) supporting the blogging campaign this month:
  1. Eddie Griffin, BASG (United States)
  2. Electronic Village (United States)
  3. From My Brown Eyed View (United Nations)
  4. Hagar's Daughter (United States)
  5. Sojourner's Place (United States)
  6. Springer's Journal (United States)
  7. The Jose Vilson (Individual)
  8. thinkbridge (Israel)
  9. Ultraviolet Underground (Tibet)
  10. Why Am I Not Surprised? (United States)

Please let us know if we've missed any blog posts from this month's campaign!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cell OUT


Please do not use your phones from 12 noon to 6pm as part of a protest against the raping and pillaging of the Congo for the coltan used in worldwide wireless devices.

Josh M says:

The Cell OUT is an organized cell phone usage boycott from 12pm - 6pm on October 22nd to bring awareness of the Congo conflict over the natural resouces. Coltan, used in many electronic devices has caused many Congolese people to be killed since 1996. Why?

- Nearly 6 million people have died in the Congo since 1996 due to a scramble for Congo’s spectacular natural resources.

- Coltan is a key source of the conflict in the Congo. It is a mineral widely used in numerous electronic devices such as cell phones and game consoles (Microsoft X-Box and Sony Play Station) and is mined illegally in the Congo by rebel militia and foreign forces then sold to multinational corporations.

- The boycott is to bring awareness to the war in the Congo, which started in 1996 and continues to this day with 45,000 people dying each month till today. We would like to invite organizations on college campuses and in the community to support us in our endeavor to raise awareness about the atrocities taking place in the Congo.

What do I do during the Boycott?

- Turn your phone off from 12 noon to 6 pm on Wednesday October 22, 2008. No texting!

- Change your voicemail to this: “Did you know that Congo has anywhere from 64 - 80 percent of the world's reserve of Coltan, a natural resource that is central to the operation of our cell phones? As we benefit from coltan nearly 6 million Congolese have died in the deadliest conflict since world war two as a result of the scramble for coltan and other minerals key to the functioning of modern technology. Join us in solidarity with the Congolese people and turn your phone off for a day”

For more information: www.congoweek.org | www.friendsofthecongo.org

Grazi Josh

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Solar Cooker Project

I have been wondering why solar technology was not being offered to Darfur, but Cooper at Darfur a Hell On Earth has published intel on a project doing just that.

Visit the: Solar Cooker Project

$30 SOLAR COOKER Support Provides: - Donate

* 2 Solar Cookers per family
* 2 Pots
* 2 Pot Holders
* Year supply of plastic bags
* Skills Training for refugee women and girls

Thank you Cooper

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Wealth Of The Congo

Next week join Break the Silence during Congo week

There will be a film and panel discussion at Howard as well as a talent show dedicated to the people of Congo on Monday October 20. Participate in the 'Cell-out' all day on Wednesday, October 22.There will also be a teach-in on October 24th.

Josh Myers has written an enlightening piece about this:

"An estimated 6 million people have died since 1996. That is 45,000 people per month. This is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here we have yet another example of the devaluing of black or African life and of the necessity of our fight to reclaim the humanity of all African people. Why? Because amid these atrocities, there has up until recently not been a peep heard from the international community. And even now, not many can point to this region on the map let alone tell anyone what is going on. So we will attempt to inform you now.

Lying literally in the heart of Africa, the vast region that comprises the nation-state, Democratic Republic of the Congo is very important to Africa and its future. Leaders and historians such as George Washington Williams, Kwame Nkrumah, and even Barack Obama have researched, wrote about, or mentioned the Congo on numerous occasions. In his work, the Challenge of the Congo,Kwame Nkrumah sets forth a strategic agenda premised on the Congo’s importance to the liberation of the whole of Africa. Set aside as the personal playground, for King Leopold II, the Belgian government was allocated what was now known as the Congo at the Berlin Conference in 1884. As the Congolese fought for their independence, the first prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Emery Lumumba, recognized the need for Congolese people to benefit from the very resources that came from their native land and was extracted on their backs. This caused great controversy from the Western powers, including this country, which plotted to and eventually assassinated Lumumba in one of the more heinous assassinations in the contemporary history of Africa. Lumumba’s vision of a free Congo and a free Africa was too much for the West to stomach. Lumumba was replaced by a more manageable and eventually destructive Joseph Mobutu and the plight of the Congolese further worsened. Mobutu chose to lead the Congo towards its destruction by complying with the mandates of Western imperialism.

The very thing that draws the international economic powers to the Congo is the same thing that prevents or inhibits their action of at the very least exposing the atrocities of the region. These are the vast resources that can be found in the region. The Congo is home to immense mineral wealth in the form of diamonds, gold, silver, copper, zinc, uranium, iron, cobalt, and many more. Its rivers could provide electricity to the whole of Africa, and even half of Europe. Its soil could produce the agricultural potential to feed the entire world through 2050 when the population will be an estimated 9 billion people. Why then are so many Africans malnourished? It is simply the rape of these needed resources that is causing the secondary problems of wars, diseases, and women being raped. As long as this wealth is being used to prop up Western society, the Congolese will continue to suffer. The West has even aided the Congo’s neighboring countries to engage in conflict in order to get their hands on some of the mineral wealth. Congo holds 80% of the world’s reserve of coltan. Where does it go? It is in your pocket or in your bag. Coltan is found in every cell phone, computer, Xbox, Playstation, and many other electronic devices."

Read More

Monday, October 6, 2008

Make Art For Global Solutions


“Citizens for Global Solutions is holding its 4th Annual Multimedia contest for artists, designers, poets, activists and just about anyone interested in thinking about global issues and making some cool art. The top contenders will be published on our website.

We’re looking for short multimedia pieces (flash animation, spoken word, digital video) that can inspire, amuse and activate people out there who believe that a better world is possible. You are welcome to work alone, in a team, or as part of a classroom project (but the cash prizes remain the same).”

Please read more at the site: Globalsolutions.org

The deadline is November 10th.

Tremendous thanks to Cooper of Darfur: A Hell On Earth for the information.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Am I Not Human?


We all have the responsibility to inform ourselves of what is happening in our world to our human siblings, and why. After this is accomplished, we have the responsibility to do something. Protest. Meditate. Pray. Do something. You're effort is important to the health of the collective.
Please join us in consistent blogging on the 27th of each month, where we ask on behalf of our human siblings in all suffering areas who are either barred from communication by their governments, or lacking in technology to ask: Am I Not Human?

Let's ask ourselves if continuing to act like this level of suffering isn't present, serves the balance of the world at all. If this can go unchecked in Darfur, who is to say it wouldn't go unchecked here? Is our economic system not a mess now because of the usurper administration's criminal war? Is there not a food crisis?
We are all in this together. This is beyond being about national borders. This is about humanity. We are all one. We must act like it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Prosecution of Underage Captives labeled as Terrorists

Magnus Bergmar, Executive Director. Children’s World
World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child
Box 150, S-647 24 Mariefred, Sweden

Re: Unlawful Prosecution of Underage Captives labeled as Terrorists

Dear Magnus Bergmar:

As the United States of America prepares to choose the next President, I am fearful the next administration and the rest of the world will forget about the underage captives taken in the combat zone and branded as “terrorist”. Some of these children were only 14 and 15 years old when detained by the U.S. military.

In the past, we written to you and kept you abreast of their plight. Now one of the government tribunal prosecutors has quit and is ready to testify that the rights of one of these children were violated.

These children were taken into custody, originally denied representation and parental visits. They were held incommunicado in isolated areas and tortured.

Now a former U.S. military prosecutor at Guantanamo who accuses his superiors of suppressing evidence refused Thursday to testify in a war crimes case unless he is granted immunity… Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, who was called as a defense witness, revealed a day earlier that he quit over what he called ethical lapses by prosecutors. (Source: http://www.star-telegram.com/national_news/story/935093.html)

Mohammed Jawad, captured in Afghanistan in 2002, is now 23 and facing charges for which he could be given a life sentence, including attempted murder on allegations that he threw a grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter.

Previously mentioned cases include:

One child prisoner, Mohamed el Gharani, is accused of involvement in a 1998 al-Qa'ida plot in London led by the alleged al-Qa'ida leader in Europe , Abu Qatada. But he was 12 years old at the time and living with his parents in Saudi Arabia … After being arrested in Karachi in October 2001, aged 14, he has spent several years in solitary confinement as an alleged al-Qa'ida-trained fighter.

One Canadian-born boy, Omar Khadr, was 15 when arrested in 2002 and has also been kept in solitary confinement. The son of a known al-Qa'ida commander, he is accused of killing a US soldier with a grenade in July 2002 and was placed top of the Bush administration's list of detainees facing prosecution.

According to Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, Senior Pentagon spokesman... "There is no international standard concerning the age of an individual who engages in combat operations... Age is not a determining factor in detention.

Eddie Griffin pleads to the world on behalf of these children who are being maliciously prosecuted. The U.S. media will not cover these cases, because they know that these so-called terrorists were only children.

Eddie Griffin

Copy to:


Ursula Wynhoven
CC: unicef@unicef.se

The Child Protection Section
Programme Division UNICEF NY

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Amnesty International's Darfur Demonstration on the 27th

From Amnesty International:

On September 25, Amnesty International
and its co-sponsors will hold a demonstration for Darfur at the Dag Hammarskjold
Plaza, across from the United Nations. The purpose of the demonstration
is to call on the UN Member States to i) honor their commitment to aid
and protect the people in Darfur, ii) uphold their promise to provide funding,
equipment, and peacekeeping, and iii) uphold the UN Security Council’s
promise of justice for Darfur .

on behalf of Amnesty International. All the information is below in the
email and attached as a word document. If you need more information, or
if you have anyone who would like to assist Amnesty with the event, please
contact SARA BENNETT at sbennett@aiusa.org or 212 633 4160.


Lillian Tan

Corporate Action Network Intern
Business & Human Rights
Amnesty International, USA
5 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
(212) 633-4246


(Read More)

Thankyou Cooper for keeping us informed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bombing Darfur

Drumbeats from Amnesty International tell us that the Sudanese government used a Russian-made Antonov plane with the “UN” symbol on its wing to drop bombs on Darfur. This act shows that the Sudanese government does not intend to comply with the UN arms embargo. This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and a clear example of why the current UN arms embargo needs to be expanded to cover all of Sudan.

Amnesty International issued its new report Blood at the Crossroads with accounts of Russian and Chinese weapons used to violate human rights in Darfur. In one case, the report describes Russian-supplied Mi-24 attack helicopters being delivered to the Sudanese government in 2006. Since then, the Sudanese government has used these helicopters in indiscriminate aerial attacks in Darfur.

It is undeniably clear that the current UN arms embargo cannot effectively restrain the arms flow into Darfur. At the same time, Sudanese armed opposition groups in Darfur are allegedly receiving their weapons from Chad. The innocent people of Darfur are left in the middle of this conflict.

With our encouragement, our Senator and Representatives can help stem the flow of weapons to Sudan. Senate Resolution 660 and House Resolution 1462 1) condemn the ongoing flow of weapons into Darfur and 2) call for an expansion of the UN arms embargo to cover all of Sudan. Leadership from the United States is necessary to signal to the rest of the world that ongoing violence in Darfur will not be tolerated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ebook Series Announcement

Greetings all *_^

This is a quick note to announce the discontinuance of the ebook series due to lack of content. It was hoped this could be provided to readers monthly, but there haven't been enough submissions, and it makes more sense to provide quality content over quantity.

The blog posts may also be less frequent during certain periods, but the commitment to posting in solidarity on the 27th of month for the 'Am I Not Human' campaign will continue. Your voice is very important. Please join us to remember our human siblings who are barely acknowledged by mainstream media on the 27th of every month.

If you have updates, tips, and are interested in joining our group of coordinators, feel free to drop a message here:
rootsofhumanity@gmail.com or post them here in the comments.

Continue to shine

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Am I Not Human?

Join The Roots of Humanity on the 27th of every month in asking the unified, persistent question that has the answers collectively needed, within it.
We ask on behalf of our human siblings lacking in access to the most basic of communication tools, or barred from communication by their governments:

Am I Not Human?

Download this month's ebook: 'Where Do We Go From Here'

Click the image to download.

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground
and Liberator Magazine

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/8/08 Take Part In The Dalai Llama's Global Handshake

UPDATE below:

Extending your virtual hand is very easy and extremely meaningful to the world community. Please join this action before the commencement of the Olympic games. We can overcome the division of China and other countries who would ignore the need for real talk about global issues, with this symbolic act of unity.

Today also raises a very important question.
Where do we go from here?
There has been much uproar focusing on the host of this year's Olympic games, China. DreamforDarfur.org has worked hard to raise awareness and action for Darfur. Save Tibet.org has continued to strive for justice. Olympic sponsors have been boycotted (I still don't eat Mcdonald's or drink Coke right now... and will probably continue to boycott them).

But what next? The ICC has called for Bashir's arrest.
But there are still not enough peacekeeping troops deployed as promised.

Your ideas, and sentiments regarding where we go from here as a global village to take action even in the smallest of ways to cause magnificent ripples for our human siblings everywhere from Darfur to Tibet, to Haiti, to Burma to Uganda, To The Congo and so forth.

Email Rootsofhumanity@gmail.com and include a link to your 'Where Do We Go From Here' post before the 23rd of the month and we may print it in the next Roots of Humanity Ebook.

Shine on Freedom Fighters.

Crossposted at UltravioletUnderground

Watch Dream For Darfur's Opening Ceremony:
Alternative Opening Ceremony

Sign up For The Darfur Olympics

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sudan 'Lost Boy' Lopez Lomong Heads to Beijing Olympics

UPDATE: Lomong Will Carry US Flag at the Olympics!

The Electronic Village participates in the 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign on the 27th of each month. Our goal is to raise awareness necessary to eliminate human rights abuses in Darfur, Haiti, Tibet and elsewhere.

Joseph Lopepe "Lopez" Lomong is a Sudanese native who fulfilled his dream when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic track team.

He finished third in 1,500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. The top three finishers in the event earn Olympic berths. He made the U.S. team on his first anniversary as a United States citizen.

Lomong fled Sudan and spent 10 years in a refugee camp. He left the camp in 2001 and found a home and a family on Otisco Lake. He's one of six Sudanese boys who were taken in by Robert and Barbara Rogers.

When he became a citizen last July, Lomong said he wanted to represent the U.S. at the Olympics to show appreciation for the country that offered him a chance to start a new life.

His track career earned him a contract with Nike. Last year, he won the 1,500 meters -- almost a mile -- at the NCAA track and field competition, representing Northern Arizona University. He took time off from college to train for the Olympics. He has one more semester to finish his bachelor's degree in hotel management.

Lomong is an Olympic athlete who remembers his roots. He is a member of Team Darfur. Team Darfur is a group of Olympians using their fame to bring attention to the atrocities taking place in Darfur. I encourage all 'villagers' to cheer for any Team Darfur athlete that competes next month in the Beijing Olympics. They deserve it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

08|08|08 Protests and Rallies On and Offline

Crosspost from Modern Musings

Intel from: Reporters Without Borders


Come and demonstrate outside Chinese embassies and online on 8 August

Reporters Without Borders is calling for demonstrations outside China’s embassies in London, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Washington and Stockholm on 8 August, when the Olympic Games opening ceremony will be taking place in Beijing. Two demonstrations will be organized on 7 August in Rome and Ottawa. A rally is also planned outside the Olympic Museum in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

In Paris, those wanting to take part should meet at 1 p.m. at the corner of Avenue George V and Rue de la Trémoille in Paris’ 8th district. Reporters Without Borders will distribute “Beijing 2008″ T-shirts to participants, as well other material for a peaceful demonstration.

Here are the times and venues of the demonstrations in the other cities:

- Berlin: in front of the Chinese embassy (Jannowitzbrücke) from 1 p.m. onwards on 8 August.
- Washington: near the Chinese embassy (2300 Connecticut Ave) from 8 a.m. onwards on 8 August.
- Stockholm: outside the Chinese embassy (Lidovägen 8) at 1 p.m. on 8 August.
- Lausanne: outside the Olympic Museum (Quai d’Ouchy 1) from 5 p.m. onwards on 8 August.
- Rome: outside the 4th district town hall at noon on 7 August.
- Ottawa: outside the Chinese embassy (515 St. Patrick Street) from noon onwards on 7 August.
- London: outside the Chinese embassy (49-51 Portland Place) from 1 p.m. onwards on 8 August.
- Madrid: outside the Chinese embassy (Calle Arturo Soria, 113) from 1 p.m. onwards on 8 August.

The aim of these demonstrations is to call for the release of Chinese journalists and human rights activists who have been imprisoned, and for an end to the harassment of those who been placed under surveillance or forced to leave Beijing. The Chinese government has not kept the promises to improve respect for human rights that it made in 2001, when Beijing was chosen to host the 2008 Olympics.

Reporters Without Borders is also organizing a cyber-demonstration on 8 August at this web address: http://www.rsfbeijing2008.org.

Internet users all over the world will be able to come and protest outside a virtual version of Beijing’s Olympic Stadium, waving a placard with the slogan of their choice.

Quitterie de Livonnière
Reporters sans frontières
47 rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
Tél :+33 1 44 83 84 56
Fax : +33 1 45 23 11 51
E-mail : quitterie@rsf.org
Sans une presse libre, aucun combat ne peut être entendu. Soutenez Reporters sans frontières.
Without a free press, no struggle can be heard. Support Reporters Without Borders.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It’s Been a Year: Where’s the Darfur Peacekeeping Force?

From Air America Email Newsletter

It’s Been a Year: Where’s the Darfur Peacekeeping Force?

Dear Air Americans,

As you may know, in March of this year Air America’s Thom Hartmann traveled to Darfur to see firsthand the plight of the people of Darfur.

Five months later the question remains...

How long must the people of Darfur wait?

One year ago today, the UN announced that a peacekeeping force would finally be sent into Darfur to protect civilians and aid workers.

While not solving the crisis, the move was hailed as a ray of hope for the people of Darfur. At 26,000 strong, this force was planned to be the largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

However, a full year after its creation, the force has only 9,000 troops and is struggling to do its job. The world has failed to provide the troops and equipment that were promised. And the violence in Darfur continues.

We are asking the Air America community to help bring relief to those caught in the middle of this conflict by taking action with our friends at Oxfam America.

Tell President Bush to do all he can to fully deploy the international peacekeeping force in Darfur.

The troops now on the ground come largely from an existing African Union force that was unable to provide protection on its own. It’s not a recipe for success.

Worse, the troops lack proper equipment—from much-needed helicopters down to basics such as food, boots, and helmets. Some troops have resorted to putting blue plastic bags over their old helmets in order to make the helmets regulation UN blue.

Not surprisingly, many Darfuris say the force is unable to make a difference in their lives. The UN-African Union Mission UNAMID alone cannot solve the Darfur crisis—the world must pressure the parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and return to negotiations. But a full force of 26,000 could significantly improve the situation in Darfur by providing real protection for civilians.

Call on President Bush to keep his promises and protect the people of Darfur.

The people of Darfur have waited too long for protection. Thank you for taking action on this urgent issue.


Tim Fullerton
Oxfam America Advocacy Fund