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Index March 2008

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Bertha Oliva Guiffarro de Nativí – Honduras

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

When Bertha was about 20 years old, she fell in love with “the tenderest man in the world.” Both were in love with a world they wanted to change. They fought for bread and smiles. One night in 1981, he was kidnapped. He is one of the 184 missing people in the country. Bertha Oliva de Nativí is today the General Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras COFADEH.

She is also named as Political Heroe.

She says: “We have learned to live together, to work, to give, to embrace our pain. I maintain categorically that there is no resentment, but pain and hope, always hope”.

She says also: “Since then, we have ‘planted’ ourselves in La Merced Park, on the first Friday, of every month. They look at us with contempt and call us ‘the lepers’. Slowly, we have demonstrated that those with leprosy in their souls are the ones capable of causing so much hurt”.

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Bertha Oliva Guiffarro de Nativí – Honduras

She works for the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH.

This organization was founded by Bertha, along with other women like her, who are searching for their loved ones.When Bertha was about 20 years old, she fell in love with “the tenderest man in the world”, and this man, Tomás, fell in love with her. Both were in love with a world they wanted to change. They fought for bread and smiles. One night in 1981, he was kidnapped. He is one of the 184 ‘missing’ people in the country.

Bertha de Nativí, is today the General Coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras. This organization was founded by Bertha, along with other women like her, who are searching for their loved ones. “They entered my home, killed our friend, and beat my husband until he was unconscious. Just before he became unconscious, Tomás said to me: ‘They may leave you alive to ..’ give birth to our son.” On that day, June 11th, 1981, Bertha Oliva Guifarro de Nativí was 25 years old.

She continued to fight for justice.

Without a father and with a mother obliged to hide her real name, the boy was born secretly. He was named after his ‘missing’ father, Tomás.

Professor Tomás Nativí is one of the 184 ‘missing people’ in Honduras. That was the information given, some years ago, by the National Committee for Human Rights. Bertha was the driving force behind the creation of this committee, along with her companions in the COFADEH, the Committee of Relatives of Missing Prisoners in Honduras (created by them, in 1982).

Among other of their achievements, in 1987, Honduras became the first State to be condemned by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, because of its violation of guarantees to citizens. One year later, a new case, this time concerning disappearances, was presented to the Court by their organization, the COFADEH, achieving a similar sentence. They have managed to cause the dissolution of the Department of National Investigations “the most criminal body in the country”, the repeal of Compulsory Military Service and, in 1992, the liberation of the last political prisoners.

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Anthony Ravlich – New Zealand

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Linked with International NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR, with Human Rights Network AOTEAROA New Zealand; with Complaints Procedure At The UN, with Liberal Dream Turning Sour, with Social Justice is Gaining Momentum, and with Western Double Standards and the new United Nations.

Also linked with our many older posts about op-icescr on our NGO-Blog: during February 2005, and during March 2005, then with op-icescr: the Optional Protocol of the International Convent of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, op-icescr on August 31, 2005, op-icescr and Intellectual Property, with Again: op-icescr & NGOs … and on the Humanitarian blog: what’s about the endless op-icescr, and with Background Doc on op-icescr.

Anthony Ravlich, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation has some concerns about privacy and misuse. While the system is voluntary now, he sees no reason why that couldn’t change in the future:

  • “There seems to be little to stop a government from making such a scheme compulsory at some future date despite it involving people being forced to give information” Ravlich says …
  • “Privacy is only protected by ordinary law, the Privacy Act 1993, which government can change” …
  • “However if the right to privacy were included in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 which was then made supreme law this would provide some protection. However it is very unlikely for this Act to be made supreme law at a time when civil liberties are being curbed globally to address the problem of terrorists and other undesirables” …
  • “However the Department of internal Affairs is at pains to stress the voluntary nature of the IVS saying people ‘will always have an option to use or not use the IVS and GLS (Government Log-on Service) service” … .

Tony is Chairperson of the Human Rights Council who have been involved in the community educating people in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a covenant that is less well understood and perhaps less applied in New Zealand, than its sister covenant on civil and political rights. He is interested in eradicating poverty and feels that it often leads to conflict in UN forums and also weaken countries internal instability (human rights filmfest.net).

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Anthony Ravlich – New Zealand

His book: Freedom from Our Social Prisons, The Rise of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, to be published on May 2008, allBookstores.

He writes: … But putting this into perspective during the recent Open-Ended Working Groups discussions on whether to draft an Optional Protocol for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (a complaints procedure for those suffering social injustice) which could be of assistance the bulk of humanity who live in poverty countries such as the US, Australia, the UK, Canada and India have opposed the drafting of the Optional Protocol. These countries prioritize civil and political rights thereby marginalizing economic, social and cultural rights, and in the case of the US this is to the point of exclusion. The US is the only industrialized country not to have ratified the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights under international law.

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Jagan Suba Gurung – Nepal

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

As a single woman seeking higher education and working for the improvement of women’s lives, Jagan Suba Gurung stands out in her Gurung community village. Her involvement in women’s empowerment and community development has made her an icon for societal alteration in a largely conservative social setting.

It is said: As a single woman promoting higher education and working to improve women’s lives, Jagan Suba Gurung has become a challenging icon for change in a traditionally conservative social setting.

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Sorry, no photo able to copied found for Jagan Suba Gurung – Nepal. But you may see her picture in this pdf-document (find her by scrolling down to page 9).

In 1990, when Jagan Suba Gurung began to work with women in her community, women did not generally step out of their homes in the evening and nights to attend adult literacy classes. It was an uphill task for her to launch such revolutionary programs in her village, Ghndruk, a Gurung hamlet located in the Annapurna Conservation Area, a protected area rich in environmental and cultural diversity.

However, much has changed in over a decade: Jagan’s work, which involves appraisals, home visits, and organizing meetings and adult literacy classes, has made a crucial difference:

  • women have availed of educational opportunities, and are able to make critical decisions about their lives; children’s health and levels of education have improved;
  • their mothers are today well aware of the value of nutritious food and reproductive health issues, and have contributed hugely to cleaning up their villages through clean-up campaigns;
  • women have been encouraged to send their children to daycare centers and to school, and have become involved in nature conservation;
  • organic farming and filtering water to make it potable are new activities that have entered their lives.

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Pablo Ouziel – Spain

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Linked with The Grim Reality of Economic Truths, and with Failed Fascist States.

Pablo Ouziel is an activist and a freelance writer based in Spain. His work has appeared in many progressive media including Znet, Palestine Chronicle, Thomas Paine¹s Corner and Atlantic Free Press. (full text).

And: He is a sociologist … located in Barcelona, Spain.
And: Pablo Ouziel has international experience in Business Development and Corporate Communications having worked from London and New York, developing communications strategies and dealing with investor relations for many world leading companies. He was also co-founder of Latinia Corporation and Appareo Corporation, and currently is CEO of Can Poeti SL, a branding communications company which he runs together with his wife, and focuses on supporting projects around the globe in the areas of sustainability, ecology and health. Pablo also sits on the Board of Directors of Mas Claperol, the oldest organic dairy farm in Catalunya, Spain, (on Atlantic Free Press, scroll down, down, down … ).

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sorry, no picture found for Pablo Ouziel – Spain

He says: “If one believes that Auschwitz was a consequence of the rise of fascism, it’s certainly too late now to avoid Guantanamo” … (in failed fascist states).

Lame Duck citizens and the global economy.

But it has got to happen. “Fascism is here today because we allowed it to be here,” writes Pablo Ouziel in his excellent short piece, “Failed Fascist States.” Yes, we allowed it to be here. We have been wretchedly stupid. And now we’ve got to wake up, look straight at it, and get rid of it. Otherwise, as said, we are doomed. Paul Craig Roberts is capable of looking straight at it, or at its effects … (full text, March 23, 2008).

Geopolitical Rebirth, Feb. 18, 2008.

He writes also: “One cannot deny that corporate greed, political fraud and financial theft, are upon us with such catastrophic magnitudes that the average citizen has lost all hope in equality and fairness. Democracy has become the slogan of the powerful to justify their actions before the masses, Christ has been caricatured as the symbol of irrelevance, and our climate and ultimately us, are suffering this calamity. All this is within the grasp of anyone who watches CNN with a bit of intuition and reads between the lines” … (full text).

Forgetting Gandhi on International Nonviolence Day.

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Paul Wellstone – USA (1944 – 2002)

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Linked with The Wellstone Action, and with The real threat.

Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 – October 25, 2002) was a two-term U.S. Senator from the U.S. state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College. Wellstone was a progressive and a leading spokesman for the progressive wing of the national Democratic Party. He served in the Senate in the 102nd, 103rd, 104th, 105th, 106th, and 107th congresses from 1991 until his death in a plane crash on 25 October 2002, 11 days before he was to stand in the midterm US senate election. His wife, Sheila, and daughter, Marcia, also died in the crash. They had two other grown children, David and Mark, who now co-chair the Wellstone Action nonprofit group … (full long text).

His Death.

excerpt chapter 3: … We know that in 2002 Vice President Lon Cheney told Senator Paul Wellstone that “If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.” We know that Wellstone did vote against the war in Iraq. And we know that soon afterward he was assassinated. This fact is terrifying. It is a matter not of politics clean or dirty, but it is a matter of terrorism … (full long text).

Wellstone Act will enable all to do well, March 14, 2008.

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Paul Wellstone – USA (1944 – 2002)

Watch him on the video: Charlie Rose with WELLSTONE (and SHORTZ and ANVERSA), Charlie Rose Inc., 57.03 min, 16 July 2001.

WASHINGTON – Five years after Paul Wellstone’s death, the U.S. House is poised to pass a mental health and addiction bill named for the late Minnesota senator who championed the cause in the last years of his life … (full text, March 4, 2008).

His other military votes.

Paul Wellstone was the only progressive in the U.S. Senate. Mother Jones magazine once described him as, “The first 1960s radical elected to the U.S. senate.” He was also the last. Since defeating incumbent Republican Rudy Boschowitz 12 years ago in a grassroots upset, Wellstone emerged as the strongest, most persistent, most articulate and most vocal Senate opponent of the Bush administration. In a senate that is one heartbeat away from Republican control, Wellstone was more than just another Democrat. He was often the lone voice standing firm against the status-quo policies of both the Democrats and the Republicans … (full text, and scroll down for more photos).

Wellstone and the Gulf War.

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Maude Barlow – Canada

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Linked with International Forum on Globalization, with the Blue Planet Project, with the Council of Canadians, with the World Future Council, .

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Maude Victoria Barlow (born May 24, 1947) is a Canadian author and activist. She is the national chairperson of The Council of Canadians, a progressive citizens’ advocacy organization with members and chapters across Canada. She is also the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works to stop commodification of the world’s water. She is also a director with the International Forum on Globalization, a San Francisco based research and education institution opposed to economic globalization; fellow with the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies; a board member of Food & Water Watch, the national US organization fighting for corporate and government accountability as it relates to food, water, and fishing; and a founding member of the European-based World Future Council … (full long text).

She says: “I go crazy when I see certain things and I have to find out why they happen. And I have to tell people. I have to do something so that other people will also take action”.

Listen her short video statement on Connected Life.

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Maude Barlow – Canada

She works for the Council of Canadians, for the International Forum on Globalization, for the Blue Planet Project, and with the World Future Council.

Kenyan children who have lost their eyes to river blindness; trash, blood, and sewage being dumped into rivers in Bolivia; huge, World Bank-funded dams turning fresh water to poison by blocking their flow. When it comes to the suffering caused by water shortage, water pollution, and water privatization (big private corporations buying up countries’ and towns’ water rights), Canadian activist Maude Barlow has seen it all … (full text).

An ideal future communication infrastructure … !

Maude Barlow will give documentational proof as to what the end results will be.There are places in other parts of the world where this has taken place and the price of a gallon of water is more than a gallon of milk … (full text).

the Canadian environmental activist Maude Barlow, this year’s guest speaker, will present a talk titled ‘Too Late to Panic – Protecting Canada’s Water and Energy Supplies.’ Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, as well as the founder of the Blue Planet Project, working internationally for the right to water … (full text).

… on the National Speakers Bureau.

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Nadine Gordimer – South Africa

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Nadine Gordimer (born 20 November 1923) is a South African writer, political activist and Nobel Prize in literature laureate. Her writing has long dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. She was active in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress during the days when the organization was banned. She has recently been active in HIV/AIDS causes … (full long text).

Her 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech.

Dozens of prominent South Africans have signed a statement condemning a racist video which surfaced at the Free State University earlier this month. The list of 81 signatories includes renowned authors Nadine Gordimer and Andre Brink, journalists John Perlman and Max du Preez, retired judge Arthur Chaskalson, cartoonist Zapiro, and academic Phillip Tobias … (full text, March 7, 2008).

Her video: Nadine Gordimer on racism, 3.25 min, 3 Oct 2007;

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Nadine Gordimer – South Africa

The Salon Interview with Nadine Gordimer, not dated.

A team-work video: Superpower Priciples, U.S. Terrorism Against Cuba, by Bernie Fox, 55 min 51 sec – 28 Oct 2006, with the participation of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Leonard Weinglass, Nadine Gordimer, and others … edited by Salim Lamrani, and published by Common Courage Press.

She says: “Learning to write sent me falling, falling through the surface of the South African way of life” (The Guardian).

Cynics may note that this is otherwise pretty familiar territory: The appointment of Suzanne Vega to the judges in 2001 caused some minor consternation at the time, and Nadine Gordimer has also announced that she won’t allow her books to run for the prize. Indeed, today’s headline star AS Byatt first expressed her reservations about the prize back in 1996, its inaugural year … (full text, March 18, 2008).

Her Political and literary activism.

Recently I discovered another writer – novelist and short story writer – whose new works I will await with great excitement and anticipation. That means he joins a short list that includes Ward Just, Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lorrie Moore and Ian McEwen. He is Jim Shepard, and he teaches writing and literature at Williams College … (full text, Feb. 28, 2008).

Writing And Being.

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Women Workers’ Cooperative WWC – Hong Kong, China

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They are proposed as a group for the 1000 women Nobel Peace Price 2005.

The Women Workers’ Cooperative WWC was established in the 1990s when Hong Kong industries were moved north to mainland China. The WWC opens up a new space that is based on mutual support and cooperation: women workers have the opportunity to rediscover and reactivate themselves through cultural and economic involvement. The Women Workers Cooperative WWC is a continuous self-strengthening group.

They say: “We can control our own fate through united force and be creative”.

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Women Workers’ Cooperative – Hong Kong, China

The Women Workers’ Cooperative WWC was established in the 1990s when Hong Kong industries were moved north to mainland China. Similar to situations in other countries, women workers were the first to be retrenched, as people believed that they could easily return home and resume full-time the care-taking role. In Hong Kong, it was assumed that women workers could easily switch to the then flourishing service industry and it was only a short-term adjustment issue.

It has however been neglected that many women workers had to continue working as a means of livelihood. And the sad and cruel reality was that these women workers, who entered the factories when they finished primary school, were in their mid 30s in the 1990s. They had encountered enormous hardships and difficulties in mastering new skills while their previous experiences had little, if not none at all, market value. Many remained unemployed for a long time. Many have had to take on jobs that are very low paying, with unreasonably long hours, and nasty working conditions.

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New Territories Female Indigenous Residents’ Committee – Hong Kong, China

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They are proposed as a group for the 1000 women’s Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Formed in October 1993, the New Territories Female Indigenous Residents’ Committee NTFIRC was active in the 1994 campaign to abolish the discriminatory ordinance on women’s rights to inherit property in the New Territories. Along with other groups, they encouraged their sisters to fight for their rights, using peaceful means, like signing petitions and singing songs, to lobby for public support.

They say: “The women are brave to form the (New Territories Female Indigenous Residents’ Committee) NTFIRC and to exercise their political rights in the face of violent reaction from conservative patriarchal powers”.

Excerpts of the books:

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New Territories Female Indigenous Residents’ Committee – Hong Kong, China

There were six core members in the Committee, including Tang Ying, Cheng Lai Sheung, So Ngan Shing, Tang Mui, Tang Yuen Tai and Wong Shui Lai.

They work with the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres.

The success of the campaign has not only guaranteed their civic rights, it has also contributed to the women’s and civil society movements.Indigenous women living in the New Territories of Hong Kong have long been deprived of the right to inherit land and were subject to the discriminatory New Territories Ordinance. Many became poor and homeless on the deaths of their fathers because their relatives seized their properties after their fathers died. In 1993, indigenous women formed the New Territories Female Indigenous Residents’ Committee (NTFIRC) to fight for their rights.

All of them had suffered because of this discriminatory custom. Apart from Madam So Ngan Shing and Madam Cheng Lai Sheung who have received primary education, the others members are illiterate. And they live in poverty. Here are two stories of the committee members: Madam Cheng Lai Sheung (52) and single, is a villager of Ma Tin Tsuen in Yuen Long. She has two brothers and she is the eldest daughter. All her life she was told that she had to work to improve her brothers’ living conditions.

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Shuk Man “Selina” Sun – Hong Kong, China

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

A Hong Kong native, Shuk Man “Selina” Sun (43) was ordained pastor by the Hong Kong Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship (Hkbmcf), a Christian group for sexual minorities. Selina serves as the pastor of the Hkbmcf and actively promotes dialogue and understanding between church organizations and communities. She stands firm on the side of this group and helps rebuild their self-esteem and confidence. In the past few years, membership of the Hkbmcf has steadily increased and sexual minorities are coming to be accepted by the church and society … (1000peacewomen).

She says: “People are biased against those of different sexual orientation. Isolation does more damage. Let’s learn to put away prejudice, be more flexible, and see people with Christ’s heart”.

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Shuk Man “Selina” Sun – Hong Kong, China

She works for Hong Kong Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship HKBMCF.

(She is) a Hong Kong native, Selina, Sun Suk Man (43) holds masters degrees in Divinity and Sacred Theology. She engaged in pastoral work for some ten years before joining the Hong Kong Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship (HKBMCF) in 2003.

Established in 1992, HKBMCF is a Christian Church for sexual minorities, and the only one of its kind in the territory. It was formed by a group of homosexual Christians. Its membership includes people with different sexual orientations. In the first decade of its formation, HKBMCF went through a period of instability and uncertainty, facing suspicion and disapproval from the institutional Church and even among some fellow homosexual Christians.

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Judy Thongori – Kenya

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Linked with Displaced women tell of misery in the chaos.

Judy Thongori is the Chairperson of CREAW and heads the board that comprises of eight (8) members. Her goal is to work in development and legal initiatives that gear towards achieving an equitable society in which there is zero tolerance to Gender-Based Violence and respect for human rights. She has the experience of seventeen years of practice as a lawyer with six of those years in implementing programmes on women’s rights issues. Part of her work has involved provision of legal services to the under-privileged and taking on public interest litigation. She has been in the forefront in spreading legal awareness through public awareness, seminars, workshops and the media. She has also been proactive in lobbying for laws that are responsive to the needs of women. Judy is married to John Thongori and they have two children. (CREAW).

She says: “Kenya lacks an automatic domestication clause, which provides ways for ratifying and implementing international covenants and charters. Thus, international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the Beijing Platform for Action remained undomesticated”. (full long text).

Read: Gender and Economic Growth in Kenya, 161 pdf-pages.

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Sorry, no photo found for Judy Thongori, Kenya.

Prostitution is illegal under Tanzanian law, and there is also a prohibition against brothels and defilement of children below age 14. The law similarly forbids child pornography and prostitution and considers any sexual act with a girl below the age of 18 to be rape, which is punishable by life imprisonment. However, enforcing these provisions is very difficult, because, although the law considers sex below the age of 18 to be rape, other provisions set the legal age for marriage at 15. The penalties for raping an adult woman are also very strict, with imprisonment ranging from a minimum of 30 years to a maximum of life. (Judy Thongori, in “The Proposed Amendments to the Laws on Rape and Defilement: Do the Proposed Amendments Fill the Gaps?,” 3 December 2003). In addition, the offender must pay the victim compensation for damages suffered as a result of the rape (ECPAT International Online Database, 24 April 2003).

ECPAT International, a network of organisations and individuals working together to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Judy has front line experience of providing legal services to poor women. She has acted in public interest litigation aimed at increasing their access to justice. A key aspect of her work has been to empower women and other marginalised sections of society through training and media campaigns. She trains to build capacity for self-representation through the justice systems, and on proactive advocacy for responsive laws and policies. She has worked with the judiciary and with Parliament on programmes to increase justice for women, and is currently a Visiting Justice for a women’s prison in Nairobi. (full text).

Matter: whether Sexual Harassment amounts to Sex Discrimination Under International Law and the Kenyan Constitution. Legal Expert Mr. Wachira Maina and National Lawyer Ms. Judy Thongori, September 2004.

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Sebastien Fath – France

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Linked with Pluralism of gate identities or pluralism of competing identities, and with ASR Association for the Sociology of Religion.

A specialist in the study of Evangelical Protestantism, Sebastien Fath is currently a full-time researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research CNRS. He lectures at Sorbonne University Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes EPHE, and is in charge of a scientific research program on contemporary mutations of religion in Western societies. He is the author of ten books and has recently published Dieu bénisse l’Amérique. La religion de la Maison Blanche (Paris: Seuil, 2004), Militants de la Bible aux Etats-Unis. Evangéliques et fondamentalistes du Sud (Paris: Autrement, 2004. This book was awarded the Chateaubriand History Prize), and Du ghetto au réseau. Le protestantisme évangélique en France 1800-2005 , (Geneva, Labor et Fides, 2005). He is born 1968 in Strasbourg, France … (full text).

He writes: “In describing Christianity in France, History and Sociology have had lasting difficulties escaping from the “sect-church” opposition. The heavy dominance of Catholicism is a probable reason. Contrarily to the American situation, characterized by a competitive religious market in which religions are structured in various “denominations”, the French landscape seems to be defined as religiously “dry”, in a very secularized context. Today, with declining churches, the dominant trend would be the “decomposition” of religion, instead of its restructuration. This process takes two forms : “religious bricolage”, or narrow sectarian belonging. The field of Evangelical Protestantism invites us to question this interpretative scheme” … (full long text).

Barack Obama et le vote religieux, Janvier 4, 2008.

His english blog: FRENCH WINDOWS, Asterix goes Global – Civil Society, Religion & Politics, Evangelicalism.

Sébastien FATH, son Weblog scientifique et citoyen (en français).

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Sebastien Fath – France

His book: Politics and Religion in France and the United States.

Both France and the USA do like to teach the World about values. These two great democracies share a common emphasis on universal rights, and it is no surprise if the world debate about the Iraqi war in 2003 turned around what France and what the US had to say. How to explain that? By going back to History, particularly in studying the relationship between politics and religion in France and the US … (French Windows, scroll down to Dec. 14, 2007.

GSRL Groupe Société, Réligions, Laïcités au EPHE/CNRS.

He writes also: “The White House [has been] taken hostage by a fundamentalist sect” (Mercier 2003:44). This kind of comment, found in the columns of a major, Catholic friendly, weekly magazine is quite revealing of the French perception of religion. The president of the United States is not portrayed as a church member, because the word “church” is too positive a term for what the journalist wishes to say about the American President. Thus, he is shown as being under the influence of a “sect” (or “cult”), which is synonymous with bad religion. The “churchsect” dichotomy is characteristic of the French way of seeing religion. This might partly explain why Ernst Troeltsch’s approach of religion has only been discovered in the 1980s, decades after Max Weber’s sociology (Seguy 1980). While Weber usually favored a dual approach of religious structures (church/sect) familiar to the French, Ernst Troeltsch adopted a more nuanced view: he included the mystic type and the “Free church” model. (full long text).

Religion et Sociologie: 29 articles sur le protestantisme évangélique et 14 articles sur les USA et leur mutation socio.réligieuse.

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Steven M. Greer – USA

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Linked with Announcing the Orion Project, with The Orion Project, and with The Disclosure Project.

Steven Macon Greer (June 28, 1955) is an American physician known as a proponent of openness in government, media and corporations when it comes to advanced technologies that he and others believe to have been shelved and hidden from public awareness for reasons of profit and influence. To this end he has founded the Disclosure Project in 1993 and the Advanced Energy Research Organization AERO in 2007. (full long text on wikipedia).

It is said: It is said: He brings a unique combination of scientific knowledge, credibility , vision, humor and inspiration to his lectures. Dr. Greer relies on first hand knowledge of extraterrestrial activity world wide and has direct sources for information regarding covert operations dealing with the subject. Supporters of his world are as diverse as Apollo astronaut, Dr Edgar Mitchell, who walked on the moon in Apollo 14, to benefactor and philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller, to former British Ministry of Defense Head and five star admiral, Lord Hill-Norton, to folk legend, Burl Ives … (full text).

Books written by Steven M. Greer.

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Steven M. Greer – USA

See the following videos:

He says: “The universe is teeming with intelligent life. In fact, the universe itself is intelligent and alive. The multiplicity of life in the universe, while diverse, is essentially a singularity; beyond division, it exists in the unitive state, a marvelous, conscious Oneness. All that there is exists in its true nature as pure, undifferentiated, eternal Mind. And yet from the awareness of that which is relative, we find inner and outer, mind and body, good and evil, oneness and separation. Truth is often born from the contemplation of these paradoxes; both perspectives are true, but are dependent on the level of awareness of the observer. As we ponder the universe and a new cosmology which accounts for the existence of advanced non-human life forms, the lesson of the paradox will visit us over and over again. But if we look intently with the eye of oneness, perhaps the cosmos will offer up a few of its mysteries” … (full long text).

WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND IS “PLANET X” APPROACHING? January 1, 2006.

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Ann Njogu – Kenya

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Linked with WorldPulse Magazine, and with CREAW.

Ann Njogu is the executive director of the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness in Nairobi, Kenya. In recognition of her contribution toward gender equity, Njogu received the International Community Awareness Award given by Rainbow House in Chicago, Illinois. (OSI-Forum).

She asks: … “If indeed the commissioners were in possession of the files, how did they get access to them yet the chairman is on record that they needed a court order to access the documents? When did they obtain the order?” … (full text of Crucial files lost in ECK drama, March 3, 2008).

Listen her on this video on YouTube: Ann Njogu, 2.46 min, February 13, 2008. Same video on AOL-video, same video on e-mule.com.

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Ann Njogu – Kenya

She works as Executive Director of the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness CREAW in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ann Njogu named in Charity Ngilu’s wikipedia-text.

It was an assassination attempt on the life of Mwalimu Mati, Ouma Odera and Okoiti Omtatah. There was also a brutal attack on Ann Njogu and Hon. Charity Ngilu Minister of Health who was roughed up when she went to Ann Njogu’s rescue. All five leaders were removed from central police station without the knowledge of their families, olleagues and friends in an attempt to assassinate them. The police alerted the media that they had released the civil society leaders when in fact they had not … (full text, August 1, 2007).

Female Candidates in Kenya Say They Face Discrimination, Violence, Dec. 24, 2007.

… Sexual abuse on children and young adolescents is also increasing at family level. The World Health Organisation estimates a prevalence of 25 per cent for girls and eight for boys. Mrs Ann Njogu, executive director of the Centre for Rehabilitation and Education of Abused Women (Creaw) decries harassment by police when dealing with rape cases. The harassment, she says, discourages many victims from reporting rape cases. (full text, March 10, 2008).

Women’s Property Rights in Kenya’s Draft Constitution, A Joint Letter to Delegates of Kenya’s National Constitutional Conference, August 2003.

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Durre Sameen Ahmed – Pakistan

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Linked with Rationality And The Lived World.

She says: ” … Fundamentalisms are to be understood as political projects by certain groups in the different societies aimed at gaining or keeping political and/or economic power. They project a vision of community and more often of a nation, based on a certain identity-related understanding suggesting that only one societal concept is in accordance with the vision of community/nation. Behind these fundamentalist projects we can find special political forces that use religion – be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish or other religions – to impose a certain “holy” concept of society as the only true one. They deny the right to choose between different societal concepts, and present their vision as the only legitimate. They do not leave room for opposition, for alternative ways and for individual rights. They try to silence opposition, put pressure on it and form a homogenised society … ” (full text of her speak at the Panel-discussion: “Feminists versus Fundamentalisms”, 09.09.2005).

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Durre Sameen Ahmed – Pakistan

(She) started her academic education at Punjab University in Lahore/Pakistan, from where she received an MA in Clinical Psychology. She continued her education in the USA at Columbia University, where she received her PhD in communication and education after having finished an MA. Currently she is the director of the first research program of its kind in South Asia in communications and cultural studies at the National College of Arts in Lahore, where she has been working as a professor already for many years. Additionally she is a visiting professor at the Catholic University in Mechelen/Belgium and the director in Institutional Development of the Lahore Society for Education and Research. For her academic achievements she was honored with numerous national and international awards. She publishes regularly about gender issues, religion, family, drug addiction, tradition and women. Besides that she has done well reviewed work in Conceptual Art and has been working as an advisor to the Punjab government. (Read on Congress Femme Globale 2005).

Find her and her publications on Google Book-search; and on Google Scholar-search.

Her lifeworld is described in the following book: … Fifteen women of various age-groups, from different cultural, religious, social and geographical backgrounds, were asked to write about the lives of their grandmother, their mother, themselves and their daughters (or, if this was impossible, other women of those generations close to the family) … (full text):

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Stephen J. Gallagher – USA

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Linked with Council for secular Humanism, and with the Institute for the Secularization of the Islamic Society.

Stephen Gallagher is a philosopher and writer who lives and works in North Carolina. He recently addressed the International Philosophers for Peace conference on the history of religiously based prison discourse in America … (full text).

He says: “Quality is not a thing. It is an event … It is the event at which the subject becomes aware of the object…Quality is the event at which awareness of both subjects and objects is made possible … This means that Quality is not just the result of a collision of subject and object. The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects”. (full text).

Stephen J. Gallagher’s favorite links.

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Stephen J. Gallagher – USA

He writes: … At the moment I’m juggling several balls in the air:

  • Wrapping up a review of Barry Lynn’s book, “Piety and Politics”,
  • Fleshing out an essay tentatively titled “Forgetting Guantanomo”,
  • Reworking a short play I wrote into format suitable for a radio play,
  • Last but not least, the big kahuna on my list of To Do’s, I’m working on a book tentatively titled “Leaps of Faith: When Mania Meets Modernity”.

Yep, I’m a busy guy … (full text).

He writes also: … Even in a period when the fallibility of the death penalty has been repeatedly exposed, roughly two out of three Americans still support it. In Texas, current United States president George W. Bush personally supervised the executions of 152 people – and he is proud of that fact. That the blood of this slow-motion massacre on the president’s hands is a political asset says everything about current U.S. values. As the civilized world goes in one direction on this question, the United States goes in another. Proudly. If the whole, long, desperate struggle of rational thought is to have any meaning, then I must renounce my all-too-human craving for revenge and blood. We all must. (full text).

His conferences.

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Xinzhi Guo – China

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Guo Xinzhi (46) is the chief medical officer and director of the Shanxi Poliomyelitis Rehabilitation Hospital, and a State Council subsidized specialist and pioneer in the recovery, prevention and study of poliomyelitis and senile dementia. Through various tests, Guo has achieved many breakthroughs in the treatment of these diseases using a combination of Chinese and Western medicine.

She says: “We must solve the problems faced by the Party, government, patients and families, and improve the lives of Chinese people and the well-being of the human species. I have no regrets or grudges”.

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Xinzhi Guo – China

Guo was born in a family with a history of doctors in earlier generations. She graduated from Shanxi Medical University in 1978. From 1980 onwards, with her immense knowledge of Western and Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and her dedication to this life-saving profession, she has been working on testing, including continuous testing of the impact of acupuncture and medicine on her own body and important acupoints like fengfu and yamen.

Guo often contacted abandoned children with poliomyelitis. As a doctor, she could not accept such tragedies and felt a strong sense of responsibility to surmount the disease. After 20 years intensive research and exploration, she found over 10 new effective acupoint areas in the head, eye, neck, hands, waist, and belly, bringing a new rehabilitation theory and experiences to the treatment of poliomyelitis and senile dementia by combining acupuncture with western and traditional Chinese medicine. This is a great leap forward in the history of both Chinese and world medicine since these diseases were considered incurable before.

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Jo Vallentine – Australia

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Linked with SafeCom Inc., and with The Alternatives to Violence Project AVPbritain.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Jo Vallentine is a Quaker, peace activist, and social justice advocate who made history in 1984 when she was elected to the Australian Senate as the world’s first single-issue peace politician. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades at grassroots, national, and international levels, via People for Nuclear Disarmament, the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia, the Alternatives to Violence Project, the Greens (WA), and Abolition 2000 (UN) to put these issues onto the political agenda. She has two daughters. (1000peacewomen).

She says: “We did the lovely elm dance about gratitude, sending healing energy to a place or to people to cut through the violence. In no time the atmosphere shifted, the hostile energy just evaporated”.

Her Senate-Biography.

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Jo Vallentine – Australia

She works for the People for Nuclear Disarmament PND, for the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia ANAWA, and for the Alternatives to Violence AVP.

Look at The Perth Social Forum – 18-20 March 2005 (texts and photos).

Josephine Vallentine (b. May 30, 1946) is a peace activist and a former Australian Senator for Western Australia. Vallentine entered the Senate on July 1, 1985 after she had been elected as a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party but she sat as an independent and then as a member of the Greens Western Australia from 1 July 1990. She resigned on January 31, 1992 and after a brief respite, has been active in community issues ever since. Jo Vallentine grew up in Western Australia’s conservative Wheatbelt, around Beverley. As a young woman she travelled to the United States and was moved to hear and meet Robert Kennedy. In an interview in 2001 for a history of the WA peace movement she offered the following summary of the establishment of her political career: “The Quakers influenced me I suppose from the Vietnam Moratorium days because I was a teacher then, in 1967-69, when the marches were getting going in Perth, and I can remember being a bit nervous because in those days if you were seen in a protest you might have lost your job on Monday when you went to work … (full text).

What Crimenet Sells.

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Mark Z. Jacobson – USA

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Linked with terra choice.com.

He is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Professor by Courtesy of Energy Resources Engineering.

The main goal of Jacobson’s research is to understand physical, chemical, and dynamical processes in the atmosphere better in order to address atmospheric problems, such as climate change and urban air pollution, with improved scientific insight and more accurate predictive tools. He also evaluates the atmospheric effects of different solutions to climate change and air pollution problems, supports mapping and analysis of winds for wind energy, and studies issues related to combining renewable energies … (full text stanford 1/2).

He says: “These aerosol particles are having an effect worldwide on the wind speeds over land; there’s a slowing down of the wind, feeding back to the rainfall too”, … (full text).

Watch his video: Ethanol may lead to more ozone-related deaths, 3.54 min, April 24, 2007.

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Mark Z. Jacobson – USA

His Blog: Mark Z. Jacobson.

The study found that carbon dioxide increases ozone and particulate matter – unhealthful pollutants in smog – by increasing temperatures and water vapor in the atmosphere. What’s more, it showed that ozone, in particular, increases the most where it is already high. This does not bode well for California, which has six of the 10 most polluted cities in the United States: Los Angeles, Visalia-Porterville, Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced and Sacramento. (full text).

Newest articles with reference to Mark Z. Jacobson:

He says also: “Ethanol is being promoted as a clean and renewable fuel that will reduce global warming and air pollution,” said Jacobson, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. ”But our results show that a high blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater risk to public health than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage … ” (full text).

Effects of Ethanol (E85) Versus Gasoline Vehicles on Cancer and Mortality in the United States.

Mark Z. Jacobson, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, recently published that “a blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater [environmental health] risk than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage”. His paper, based on computer models, appeared in the online edition of Environmental Science and Technology. The study suggested a net few hundred more people in America might suffer respiratory illnesses if the nation were to switch all vehicles to 100% ethanol. It received mainstream media attention this week, given that ethanol proponents have long maintained that the fuel is substantially less polluting, citing volumes of data … (full text).

Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling, 16 pdf-pages.

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Biro Bala Rava – India

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

The story of Biro Bala Rava (born 1959) reads like an inspirational, if medieval, battle between good and evil: Biro lives in a remote, backward village in Assam, where she has been fighting to save women condemned to death as “witches”. She then moved on to other equally vitiating issues that affect the lives of those around her, showing exceptional courage in the face of personal danger and isolation by family and community, and perseverance in fighting against the custom that demonizes women. And she is winning. (1000peacewomen)

It is said: In Biro Bala Rava’s world, hunting those branded as ‘witches’ had an economic aspect. So, she used the modern weaponry of women’s education to counter a heinous practice.

Media reports suggest that, over the past decade, there has been an increase in incidents of witch-hunts in India. Some reports say that several women have been attacked and killed because they were allegedly involved in black magic. Most of the “witches” are women from dalit or tribal communities. (full text).

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Biro Bala Rava – India

She works for Borjhara Tobarani Mahila Samata Sangha (mentionned on Business Line and on South Asia One World.net).

Biro Bala Rava alias “Bogi” was born in 1949 in Tridumpur, Goalpara district in Assam to Kaleya Ram Rava and Sagar Bala Rava. She had two elder brothers, both of whom died. Her two surviving siblings are an older sister and a younger brother. Biro’s father was an illiterate cultivator of 10 paltry bighas. Biro’s mother had studied a little, and little Biro herself studied only up to Class V. She was married in 1964 at the age of 15 to Sandhi Charan Rava, also a cultivator from Barjhora village, who had studied up to Class X. The couple has three boys and a girl.

Biro’s eldest son has a mental illness, which was a constant source of trepidation through all the backbreaking housework, and other pressures of daily living. An ojha (traditional healer; exorcist) had declared that her son was “married” to a fairy, destined to die when they would beget a child. Her son is yet alive, a standing pronouncement against the hogwash of traditional and unthinking contumacy. She tried expressing this insight to some women, but in vain.

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Neidonuo Angami – India

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Linked with Mother’s Day, and with KUKNALIM.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Neidonuo Angami (born 1950), one of the founding members and former president of the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), has never known a peaceful life. She realized that the fierce fighting between the Naga underground army and the Indian security forces directly impacts the lives of mothers who lose their children to violence and resort to substance abuse in reaction to the conflict. So, she and other Naga mothers launched the Shed No More Blood campaign, which has proved to be a crucial link in the Naga peace process.

She says: “Starting with resolving the issues of conflict-driven drug addiction and alcoholism, the NMA has inserted itself into the state-Naga peace process, with women finally having a say”.

Watch this videos:

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Neidonuo Angami – India

She works for the Naga Mothers Association NMA, (named: in the Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, page 627; on Nagalim.nl/news; on India Together).

NMA dismayed over Tadubi incident, Vol. 4 Issue 11-12, August 22 – September 6, 2001.

Neidonuo Angami was born in a village in Kohima, Nagaland, on 1st October 1950, at a time when Nagaland was ravaged by fierce hostilities between the Naga underground army and Indian security forces. She spent her early childhood hiding out in the dense, precarious jungles. When she was six years old, her father, an interpreter with the state administration, was captured and killed.

Her mother did her best for Neidonuo and her four siblings under strenuous economic conditions. The conflict, and its personal backwash, seared all of them.

Neidonuo started formal education only at the age of eight, studying at Kohima’s Cambridge School (now the Mezhur Higher Secondary School). She then went on to Baptist English School and the Government High School, from where she matriculated in 1968. She was active in extracurricular activities, often leading her school’s contingent during interschool parades and National Cadet Corps activities.

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Beena Sebastian – India

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Linked with Save a Family Plan SAFP.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Beena Sebastian’s life and work illustrate how an ordinary woman with no special qualification can change the lives of many people around her. Among her most creative efforts are gender sensitivity training for police and lawyers and instituting an annual award for public officials who have done the most to prevent violence against women. These efforts have helped break the silence surrounding sexual violence in Kerala. She has also set up a shelter for abused women, providing them with both protection and a friend to accompany them to the police and the courts.

It is said: Through her years of working with women victims of violence, Beena began to make the larger connection between conflict in the public sphere and violence in the private domain.

Watch Forusa.org’s slide show.

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Beena Sebastian – India

She works for the Cultural Academy for Peace CAP, and for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation IFR.

Beena Sebastian was born in 1959 in an ashram in Kottayam, Kerala. The ashram had been set up by her father, who had also founded the Indian chapter of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation in the early 1950s. The ashram continues to serve as an orphanage and a shelter for battered women.

Beena, therefore, grew up with a sense of social responsibility towards the marginalized practically from infancy. Even after she married and moved to Kochi, where her husband’s home was, her focus in life remained unchanged – working to empower the poor, especially women, in Kochi.

In the early 1990s, she began classes in life skills for slum women and girls, many of them immigrants from Tamil Nadu, who came to Kerala seeking work. She also began a successful income-generation project, teaching women the nontraditional skill of making motorcycle batteries. She founded an NGO called the Cultural Academy for Peace (CAP), which also runs a shelter, Sakhi (literally, friend) for abused women and their children. The shelter provides emergency housing and food, legal counseling, and accompaniment to women to the police and court, if necessary. It also offers income-generating work.

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Marta Prekpalaj – Kosovo

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Linked with Motrat Qiriazi, and with the Kosova Women’s Network KWN.

She is one of the 2006-Winners of the WWSF Prize.

Her motto: “Go to the people, love them, live with them, learn from them. Start with what they know, build with what they have, and with the best leaders. When the work is done, the people will say: we did this ourselves”, (Lao Tzu).

Video in albanian language: 5 – Shtepia e Shqiptarit – AANO dhe AAWO – si mund te ndihmo, 4.47 min, October 12, 2007.

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Marta Prekpalaj – Kosovo

She works for Motrat Qiriazi.

Marta’s whole life is a living illustration of this (Lao Tzu’s) famous statement. Born in 1967 in the village of Zym in the isolated mountainous Has region on the Albanian border, she had to fight to go to secondary school, a two hour walk from her home which girls were not permitted to do.

At 23, she became involved in a literacy campaign and soon after cofounded an association for the education of women, Motrat Qiriazi, becoming in 1995 the first woman school director of her region.

Lao Tzu’s statement became the working motto of Motrat Qiriazi. From the start, all members of the community were invited to the meetings.

However, as in this profoundly patriarchal culture, women did not speak much in the meetings, Marta started by organizing separate meetings for women. When the whole community came together again, women were for the first time capable of not only clearly defining their needs, but defending them too.

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Stella Tamang – Nepal

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Linked with Articles for Indigenous Peoples on our blogs.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Stella Tamang (born 1948) is a member of the minority indigenous Lama community and, to boot, a Buddhist woman in the world’s only Hindu kingdom. Her situation has shaped her life and her values, making her a determined advocate for the rights of women, indigenous peoples, and religious minorities. The name of her organization, Milijuli Nepal, means “together”, and that is her message indeed: that diverse groups in society can work together for their respective rights, with mutual toleration, without violence.

It is said about her: Stella Tamang, a Buddhist in a Hindu nation, is a determined advocate for the rights of women, religious minorities, and indigenous groups. Nonviolence is central to her mission.

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Stella Tamang – Nepal

She works for Milijuli Nepal (named on women peacemakers program,
on DEZA.ch, and on UN.org/esa ), and she works also for Bikalpa Gyan Tatha Bikas Kendra Ashram BGTBKA (named on women peacemakers program).

She was always dismayed by the lowly status of women in Nepali society. She was equally moved by the plight of indigenous groups like her own Lama community (and the Tamang community she married into), which lacked access to education and jobs, and were far from the power structure. As a Buddhist in the world’s only Hindu kingdom, she also felt compelled to work for greater mutual respect for diverse religious traditions.

A teacher by training, Stella founded Bhrikuti School in 1975, when she was still a student, with five children from her own locality.

Today, it is a low-fee secondary school with about 900 students. Stella later started Milijuli Nepal (milijuli means “together”), an affiliate of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists based in Thailand, and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation based in the Netherlands. Milijuli’s goal is to work for justice and peace in non-violent ways.

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Peter Nalitch – Russian Federation

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Linked with Russian Blog roundup.

Russia’s latest YouTube sensation sounds like a Balkan Gipsy Kings version of Borat. Why sounds? Because Peter Nalitch, a twentysomething architect whose true love is music was goofing off at his dacha one day with some friends when they decided to film an amateur video set to a remarkably catchy tune and some remarkably silly, utterly hilarious lyrics in intentionally botched English. The song, “Gitar” (the misspelling is intentional), has had nearly one million hits on YouTube and drawn rave reviews in a number of languages, including botched English … (full text).

His YouTube-video making him famous.

His Homepage in russian language.

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Peter Nalitch – Russian Federation

Peter Nalitch’s video Ty plenila menya … , 2.12 min, Dec. 25, 2007.

At last, Russia has a homegrown star to match Borat. Peter Nalitch’s cheesy pop video “Gitar” has taken the newly launched youtube.ru by storm, notching up more than 350,000 views already … So, what next for Nalich? Well, the former architecture student is following in the footsteps of his Bosnian grandfather – an opera singer – and is training as a singer at a Moscow music college. And with a number of other songs ready to go, international fame surely beckons … (full text, inkl his 2.57 min. Hit on the Russian YouTube).

59 videos from Peter Nalitch (from whitch 54 are NOT guitar) on imeem.com.

22 other videos than Gitar from Peter Nalitch on NME.com, (plus many videos with other artists on the following pages).

8 videos on YouTube from and with Peter Nalitch.

Find him and his publications on Google Video-search; on Google Blog-search, nd on Global Voices of November 29, 2007.

Peter Nalitch is Russia’s answer to Manu Chao. His video for the song Guitar is a Borat-like jab at low-budget, post-Soviet awkwardness — absurd English lyrics, Eurotrash earnestness, bad wipes, and cheap subtitles. But its tongue-in-cheekness is quite apparent, and the song is disarmingly catchy and romantic. (lost at e minor).

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Fred Halliday – Ireland

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Update April 27, 2010: Fred Halliday, 1946-2010: a tribute, by David Hayes, 26 April 2010: The death of political analyst and international-relations scholar Fred Halliday extinguishes a voice and a light that have illuminated world politics for more than forty years. David Hayes pays tribute and presents a selection of his work for openDemocracy … (full text).

Linked with Sovereign Wealth Funds: power versus principle.

Fred Halliday is professor of international relations at the LSE, and visiting professor at the Barcelona Institute of International Studies IBEI. His many books include Islam and the Myth of Confrontation (IB Tauris, 2003), 100 Myths About the Middle East (Saqi, 2005), and The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Fred Halliday’s “global politics” column on openDemocracy surveys the national histories, geopolitical currents, and dominant ideas across the world. (OpenDemocracy).

He says: “When you get Muslim groups in Europe saying in higher education colleges that Muslim women should not train to be engineers or doctors, that is going against Islam. The problem with groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir is that they say ‘this and only this is Islam’. Let’s take the Caliphate. I always tell Hizb ut-Tahrir to get on the plane and go to Tehran on Mecca and start talking about the Caliphate in those places – they wouldn’t come back. Most Muslims do not believe in the Caliphate as applicable to the contemporary world … ” (full long interview).

His official homepage.

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Fred Halliday – Ireland

Sharia Subjects VII: Beattie & Halliday in OpenDemocracy.

Fred Halliday studied at Queen’s College, Oxford, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the London School of Economics. Halliday wrote his PhD on South Yemen, and despite his prolific output it famously took him 17 years to complete and then publish (Sale, 2002). A one-time member of the International Marxist Group and writer for The Black Dwarf newspaper, since 1983 he has been lecturing at the London School of Economics, and he remains one of Britain’s leading experts on Middle Eastern politics. And a consultant to BP on the region.

At the LSE, Halliday is Professor of International Relations, and a member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. He is also a former Convener of the Department of International Relations of the LSE, and a former Chairman of the Research Committee of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He sits on the advisory council of the Foreign Policy Centre. He is also associated with the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), and appears regularly on ABC, BBC and CBC radio and TV broadcasts. He has lectured widely on superpower relations, development issues, the Middle East and international-relations theory. He is the author of numerous books, including The World at 2000, World Politics, and Two Hours That Shook the World. Six of his books have been translated into Arabic … (full long text).

A panel of human rights experts, including Professor Fred Halliday and Marion Haroff-Tavel, came together at LSE on Thursday 16 May (2002) to debate The Law of War in the Age of Terror. (full long text).

At the Kimmel, Salman Rushdie discusses Islam, fiction and the “aesthetic of dirt”.

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Abdullah Jafar Ibn Mohammad Rudaki – Persia/Tajikistan (859-941)

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Linked with In the company of Abu Abdallah Rudaki.

Abdullah Jafar Ibn Mohammad Rudaki, ( … text in farsi … ), also written as Rudagi or Rudhagi, (859-941) was a Persian poet, and the first great literary genius of modern Persian language, who composed poems in the “New Persian” Perso-Arabic alphabet script. Rudaki is considered a founder of Persian classical literature.

He was born in 858 in Rudak (Panjrud), a village in Khorasan, Persia[1][2] , which is now located in Panjakent, Tajikistan. Most of his biographers assert that he was totally blind, but the accurate knowledge of colors shown in his poems makes this very doubtful. He was the court poet to the Samanid ruler Nasr II (914-943) in Bukhara, but he eventually fell out of favour and ended his life in poverty … (full text).

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Abdullah Jafar Ibn Mohammad Rudaki – Persia/Tajikistan (859-941)

TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (Mehr News Agency) — Iran and Tajikistan will jointly celebrate the 1150th birth anniversary of the Persian poet Abu Abdullah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki (858-941) during a series of programs in 2008. (full text, Iran, Tajikistan team up to honor Persian poet Rudaki).

Poet Rudaki.

… Rodaki’s life sets a solid example for the faithfuls to the effect that come what may, it is incumbent upon one to remain firm and unshaken upon one’s own faith, conception and attachment to the Lord of the Age, even at the time of breath taking circumstances, for the Real Life is gained and attained only through the infallible love and attachment to the Lord of the Age. True lover never dies. Rodaki set the just example. Although the enemies of the Imam of the Time deprived him of his eyesight, no tyrant could snatch of him the inner vision derived by his unfailing love and attachment to the progeny of ‘Ahle Bait’ and in spite of the most hardest turmoil he remained inexhaustible in his love for the Imam of the Time and, Inshallah. his name will remain ever shining, for: “Hargiz namiread anki dilash zinda shud bi ishk; Sibt ast bar jaridai aaiam dawam ma.” (full text, Rodaki – Famous Ismaili Poet and Intellectual).

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Raul Humberto Yzaguirre – USA

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Linked with National Council of La Raza NCLR.

Raul Humberto Yzaguirre (his name has sometimes been spelled Izaguirre / born July 22, 1939 in San Juan, Texas) is an American civil rights activist. Currently a life time member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he previously served as the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza from 1974 – 2004; and now works primarily as an advocate for the creation of a political union between the United States, Mexico and Canada through a variety of non-profit advocacy groups. He was born to Mexican American parents Ruben Antonio and Eva Linda (Morin) Yzaguirre, and grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Yzaguirre states that some of his first memories of social injustice involved what his grandmother called a ‘Race War’ in Texas. Mexican Americans lived under a curfew at that time and Yzaguirre’s grandfather was almost lynched one night when coming home after dark from his second job. In 1958 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service and served for 4 years … (full text).

He is Task Force Member of CFR … (and: scroll down) currently he serves as the Presidential Professor of Practice at Arizona State University (Community Development and Civil Rights). Mr. Yzaguirre, who recently retired as President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in Washington, DC (1974-2005), spearheaded the council’s emergence as the largest constituency-based national Hispanic organization and think tank in the United States.

Lubbock rally urges Hispanic vote in crucial’ election year, (full text, February 22, 2008).

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Raul Humberto Yzaguirre – USA

Yzaguirre is well-known in some circles for a controversal statement in the 1990s, when he said, “US English is to Hispanics as the Ku Klux Klan is to blacks”.

… Then following the special presentation by Yzaguirre, rally participants will be encouraged to early vote at the County Voter Registration Office, located at the Lubbock County elections office 1308 Crickets Ave. LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States, and advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. (full text).

… Raul Yzaguirre, now a national co-chairman of the Clinton campaign, first met the candidate at a training session in San Antonio in 1972. “She was very into the intricacies of voter registration and the politics and mechanics of the process”, Mr. Yzaguirre said … (full text, March 2, 2008).

Yzaguirre to strengthen ASU’s national position in community development and civil rights.

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Benedita da Silva – Brazil

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Benedita da Silva (1942) began her political career in the 1980s with the foundation and presidency of the Association of Women from Chapéu Mangueira, a slum in Rio, where she was born and lived for 57 years. She was elected town councilor once and federal deputy twice. She was the first woman to be elected for the senate (1994) and the first woman to govern the state of Rio. She occupied the Ministry of Social Assistance for one year. (1000peacewomen)

She says: “Peace is individual and it is inside of each one of us”.

Benedita Souza da Silva Sampaio, (born in Rio de Janeiro, April 26, 1942-) is an Afro-Brazilian politician. During her life she faced a lot of prejudice for her humble origin, but she overcame the adversities and was Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro and, later, Minister of State in the Government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (full text).

MINISTÉRIO DE ASSISTÊNCIA E PROMOÇÃO SOCIAL: Ministra Benedita da Silva.

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Benedita da Silva – Brazil

She works for the Partido dos Trabalhadores PT.

Daughter of a laundress and of a peasant, raised with 14 siblings, Benedita da Silva was the only one in her family to obtain a university degree. Her mother was a midwife in the community, and she was the inspiration for Benedita’s work as nursing assistant. She was able to conclude a course on social service in 1982, the same year she was elected for her first political term as a town councilor.

Her trajectory is marked by sexual abuse, which she suffered in her childhood; by the loss of a son, who died of starvation; and by the desire to have a different life. Several times, Benedita had to collect leftover food from the trash to feed her family.

Until she began her political mobilization, she was always a quiet woman.

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Daniel H. Yergin – USA

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Linked with Cambridge Energy Research Associates CERA, .

Daniel H. Yergin is an American author, speaker, and economic researcher. Born February 6, 1947 in Los Angeles, California to a Chicago Tribune reporter father and a mother who was a sculptor and painter, Yergin attended Beverly Hills High School. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1968, where he served on the board of the Yale Daily News, and was a founder of The New Journal. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations (1974) from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar … // … Yergin is the co-founder and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates CERA, an energy research consultancy. It was acquired by IHS Energy in 2004. (full text).

He is leading Expert on Energy and Global Economics … // … Daniel has been named one of the 500 most influential people in the US in the field of foreign policy by the World Affairs Councils of America … (full text).

He says: “High energy prices, climate change and energy security are converging as the new engine driving the development of clean energy” … “there is a major shift in public opinion towards clean energy, which is being bolstered by the growing conviction that new carbon policies will reshape the competitive landscape of the global energy business”. (full long text, Feb 23, 2008).

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Daniel H. Yergin – USA

A price tag to growth, Feb 23, 2007.

Find him and his publications on amazon; on daylife; on UNjobs; on wikipedia; on alibris; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

As a note of confession, I must tell the readers that in 2003 when I was Director of Technology for a large independent oil company, I had a discussion with the VP of marketing for my company. I asked him why on earth we paid for CERA’s research when their stuff was constantly wrong. He said he knew that they were wrong but that we always wanted to listen to alternative views. With that I agree, but in the press, CERA is constantly proclaimed to be a ‘highly respected’ research firm. There may be less respect than is proclaimed. I do agree with my friend, the former VP of marketing, that one should always listen to alternative viewpoints … (full log text, January 10, 2008).

Sorry, most of his articles are NOT available for free.

His bio on CERA.

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Xingjuan Wang – China

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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Wang Xingjuan became a reporter at 20. She has been particularly concerned with the scale of problems – many of them new – that women are facing during the process of China’s reform and opening-up. She founded an organization, the Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Center, which launched the first of many hotlines for women. Retired since 1988, Wang continues to work for women.

She says: “I have realized that when one is in despair, a helping hand can light up new hope in the one who is in difficulty”.

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Xingjuan Wang – China

She works for the Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Center.

“The latter idea lingered in my mind and would not go.”This is what Wang Xingjuan said after she retired in 1988. There were two choices for her – she could have chosen the career of writing since she had been dealing with words for decades, becoming a reporter in Xihua Daily when she was 20, then working as one of the first youth reporters of China Youth in 1951, and finally for the Beijing Publishing Company after 1974, or she could choose “to do something for our sisters while China is in a phase of reform and is opening up”. This was the “latter idea” of Wang. For the first idea, Wang had experience, but for the latter one, she would have to start anew.

Wang saw that Chinese women were facing many new problems with the economic and political reform. In the increasingly severe social competition, few women could be independent, skilful and successful with the commodity-based economy. Many women needed some sort of support and help to stand up to the situation; this condition of women is contradictory to women’s emancipation reasoned Wang. “I think I have the desire as well as the time to do something for women,” she thought, and some intellectual women supported her ideas and activities.

In order to help women find themselves vis a vis the new trend in China, in October 1988, Wang Xingjuan initiated a civil organization – Women’s Research Institute under the School of Management Science of China; later it was renamed The Red Maple Women’s Consultation and Service Centre.

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