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Archive for November, 2009

Update: in case you don’t get to the comment section on this post, Swarna Rajagopalan has provided a WordPress link to Prajnya Trust’s list of their activities for the 16 days campaign HERE.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

“Our goal is clear: an end to these inexcusable crimes – whether it is the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, sex trafficking, so-called “honour” crimes or female genital mutilation/cutting. We must address the roots of this violence by eradicating discrimination and changing the mindsets that perpetuate it.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message for the International Day for the

Elimination of VIolence against Women

25 November 2009

November 25th marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The attendant 16 days campaign dedicated to the elimination of violence against women, is marked by a series of events hosted around the world. The international Theme is “Commit, Act, Demand”.

At Rutger’s Center for Women’s Global Leadership, organizations offering specific websites have been featured for their efforts in the elimination of violence against women. Rutger’s supporting theme is to “Take back the Tech”. The idea is to use median and the internet to revitalize and catalyze and engage the world against violence to women. The sites below are in English unless otherwise specified.

Brazil –

The “AGENDE” (in Portuguese) site could be found using Yahoo, not Google. They have had active yearly campaigns since 2003.

India –

The “Prajnya Trust” has chronicled it’s campaign against violence to women. I had trouble loading it directly but you can reach it by going first to the Prajnya Trust website HERE. If you are searching for resonance in your belief for a knowledge based, peaceful, diverse and democratic world, you will find it on the “More About” page of Prajnya.

International –

The “World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters” (French, also English and Spanish) was also found through Yahoo. They state that “Community radio producers from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean will dedicat(e) their 16 days campaign to highlight the effort of women and men working to put an end to gender violence

International –

“Save Darfur” has produced a list of actions to take for each day of the 16 days campaign. Today’s for November 30th asks that you write a letter to your editor telling them about the 16 days campaign, the violence in the Sudan and urging others in your community to get involved.

Ireland –

Women’s Aid”  has been working to address women’s issues for 30 years. They set up a WordPress blog for just this event. In addition to other actions, they have developed a reading list of books that they believe pertain to the issue of violence against women.

Mongolia –

The “National Center Against Violence” has bee operating since 1997. The have begun a “white ribbon” distribution campaign to men to encourage them to take a personal stance against violence. In addition to other activities, on the 29th, they distributed information regarding “Human Rights Day’ and the work of women in this field.

Uganda –

The “Gender Based Violence Prevention Network” again found by Yahoo, has it’s own 16 days campaign. They state that over 35 member organizations are participating in activities and providing information kits.

So, what’s happening in your neighborhood?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline might be one place to check out.

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I haven’t achieved old age yet, nor am I a man. However, Dylan Thomas’s villanelle seems the appropriate beginning to the week. It’s a reminder to us humans, with a ways to go, that time is short and we better get busy, or prepare for the angst we are sure to have at the end.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Although I am wary of pronouncements that suggest Palin just needs the right support team, Black Agenda has the correct view about her status:

Freedom Rider: President Sarah Palin

Posted Tue, 11/24/2009 – 20:30 by Margaret Kimberley

[By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Smug Democrats love to imagine they are a species apart from Sarah Palin, the “pit bull with lipstick.” However, U.S. political history teaches us never to overestimate the intelligence of the American electorate, or trust a Democrat – many of whom were Republicans not very long ago….]

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/freedom-rider-president-sarah-palin

One of the good things that has resulted from putting Democrats back in charge, is to give some breathing room in the fight over national resources. The three-year moratorium instituted in July was a start.  However, as the article below demonstrates, the real work is only beginning:

Keeping Uranium out of the Grand Canyon

Marty Durlin | Nov 23, 2009 12:53 PM

[Are 21- year-old documents adequate to approve reopening a uranium mine about 15 miles north of the Grand Canyon? The Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Trust say no, and they’re suing the Bureau of Land Management for giving the go-ahead, claiming the agency is violating multiple federal laws by using the decades-old environmental assessment to approve the uranium mine….

http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/keeping-uranium-out-of-the-grand-canyon

I find this news fascinating. Just think, Citibank is now 36% USA government owned, and more than 26% foreign owned, a large chunk by Abu Dhabi and Singapore.  And who was it that wanted to buy our port management businesses just a little while ago? Oh yeah. Then six months later who bought it from them and got bailed out? Oh yeah. Then who teams up together? Oh yeah.

After Dubai World debt panic, UAE guarantees all bank deposits

The United Arab Emirates central bank guaranteed all deposits in the banking system Sunday, seeking to calm markets made nervous by Dubai World’s debt payment crisis. Asian markets rose Monday on the news.

[DUBAI, UAE – The United Arab Emirates’ central bank sought to reassure investors rattled by the debt woes of the politically-connected conglomerate Dubai World on Sunday with an announcement that it was backing all deposits in locally owned and foreign banks.

Asian markets were cheered by the news, rising more than 3 percent on Monday after falling by between 3 and 5 percent last Friday, though UAE stock markets fell by up to 8 percent on Monday on concerns over a deepening local recession….]

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1130/p06s07-wome.html

Fanning the flames of bigotry even when we are afraid or angry is wrong. The results demean all of us. Does anything more need to be said about this?

Muslim Soldiers See ‘Teachable Moment’ in Ft. Hood

Attacks From Right Raise Pressure on Soldiers After Ft. Hood Shooting

By SPENCER ACKERMAN 11/26/09 6:00 AM

[Jamal Baadani was driving home from work outside Washington on November 5 when a friend called to tell him a gunman had shot up the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas. It didn’t take long for Baadani to learn that the suspect, Nidal Malik Hasan, was an Arab-American, a Muslim, and a member of the U.S. military. In other words, nothing like him and everything like him, all at once…]

http://washingtonindependent.com/68976/muslim-soldiers-see-teachable-moment-in-ft-hood

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Burqa Barbie

As a child I had a collection of dolls that were designed with a selection of international costumes. I believe the color choices of the costumes generally reflected the national colors of each country. The ones I remember mostly were the Spanish and Afghani dolls. Perhaps it was because of my creamcicle SoCal life then, that the strong red yellow and greens attracted me. Today, when I see President Karzai in his perpetual green cloak, it still makes me think of that Afghani doll and the strong associations we make of national colors.

Enter the eternally popular and political lightening rod, Barbie. Christian Science Monitor has reported that Sotheby’s will auction a 500 piece Barbie doll collection, to raise funds for “Save the Children”, with international outfits that include a burka(burqa). From my position, It’s hard to imagine how anyone thinks arguing over the one outfit out of the collection, that a whole lot of women in other countries wear isn’t somehow misguided and inherently bigoted.

In the United States we have a lot of freedom over what to wear in public, although I think some places like Brazil may have more under the right conditions. Other places have more proscribed views about what people, and especially what women, should wear.

A US made doll, Barbie, on the other hand, has been getting bashed almost since her beginning over her shape, accessories and clothing. Each generation picks a new field of battle. This argument, however, is wrong. No matter what we think in the United States think about the Burqa, it’s not up to us to throw it off. We aren’t their mom’s, people. Those burka wearing women, wearing an outfit older than Islam, that Burqa Barbie represents, decide that.

And if a Barbie in a Burqa isn’t an educational tool, I don’t know what is.

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I’ll have more in a bit, but the vote to cloture just ended and the Senate has passed it’s first hurdle. After debating whether to debate the bill they now agree, that they will. (I know, it seems redundant, but this is how this goes. The Senate had to decide if they and the bill were ready.)

Today’s debate over whether to introduce the Senate Health bill to the Floor, illustrates the circuitous route a bill sometimes takes. HR 3590 is a case in point.

HR 3590, was entitled “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees, and for other purposes”. It was agreed to and sent to the Senate for consideration on Oct 8th of this year. The two page document can be seen HERE.

The Senate then ordered the document to lie on the table. The bill was amended using AMDT. NO. 2786. The document’s title was revised to  the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, the original contents removed, and the Senate’s 479  page  health care platform was inserted.

Also see the previous related posts :

Senate Health Debate May Begin Soon

More Info on H.R. 3962

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The ninth anniversary, on Oct 31st, 2009, of UN Resolution 1325, dedicated to women peace and security, was marked this year by a series of events starting with open debate at the UN Security Council and leading up to adoption of the  “Third Resolution On Women, Peace & Security, SCR 1888″.

As is usual, a report of the Secretary General, in preparation of the debate was delivered on dated Sept 16, 2009. #S/2009/465, Entitled “Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security”, HERE, is an 18 page document outlining events, conclusions and recommendations relating to how women last year, in various places around the globe, were affected by war, it’s aftermath, and the difficulties of finding a voice. I encourage you read it.

WomenWatch has a webpage HERE, devoted to information about this important global resolution directed toward the advancement of peace and security for women. It’s section entitled “Background to Resolution 1325, From the UN Charter to Security Council Resolution 1325” provides a wonderful synopsis of the path taken from the beginning of the UN, to the resolution’s adoption.

The geographic area of United States is not technically in a theater of war. Therefore, the events that happened last year in places like Somalia or Afghanistan do not apply to us. However, one cannot help but find resonance in some of the actions that are taken against women in our country. Deliberate destruction of medical supplies and measles vaccinations targeted for women and children strike a chord with unequal medical treatment provided here. Gang rape as an act of war, an old enemy of women, as well as men and children, is not too far off from the gang rape that occurs in our streets. Many countries around the world now have better representation of women in government than we.

The Security Council reports that there is an absence of “a clear monitoring mechanism” for implementation of 1325, therefore, it has continued to play a strong advocacy role. Part of this problem may relate to it’s own difficulty in promoting women to positions, such as higher council levels and monitoring, which in turn relates to how successful the member countries have been at providing them.

In any event, sixteen countries have thus far made an effort toward advocacy of women’s goals by developing national action plans. They are Austria, Belgium, Chile, Côte d’Ivorie, Denmark. Finland, Iceland, Liberia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Plans of Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and Nepal were reported to be under development.

So despite the fact that that we are permanent members of the Council, we have not so far produced a national action plan. Not us. Nowhere in the report are we mentioned. Yep, that’s global leadership! Now it’s true that we just had an election and we have some new blood[1] [2] staffing the upper levels of the Security Council. I take the UN’s point, however, if we want to lead, that we must do a better job of achieving gender parity. We must be willing to develop our own national action plan.  In doing so we will see the similarities.


[1] Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Adoption of a UNSC Resolution to Combat Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

 

[2] Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, during a Security Council Debate on Women, Peace, and Security, in the Security Council Chamber

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Update: Senator Boxer has just sent an email stating the STUPAK AMENDMENT NOT INCLUDED IN THE SENATE BILL! She is asking to petition signers to help prevent the amendment from being included once the debate starts. Here is her petition page:

http://action.barbaraboxer.com/page/s/fightforwomen?source=ffwh_bulletins

Politico.com reports Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will vote to begin debate, leaving them only one shy.

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Sac Bee has just reported the possible demise of the Sacramento Monarchs, WNBA pioneers. Apparently this is another example of when the tough get going, the women get gone. Maloof Sports has decided to concentrate it’s energies on the Kings, the men’s basketball team.

I understand there are economics involved and attendance and all that. However, I think this reiterates how choices tend to be made when profit is the first motive, especially in hard times. The Monarchs deserve a new owner, if one can be found, that sees women’s basketball as the first priority.


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