Documents

http://www.ohioyearlymeeting.org/documents/

 

Il Signore passò davanti a lui, e gridò:
“Il Signore! Il Signore!
Il Dio misericordioso e pietoso,
lento all’ira,
ricco di bontà e fedeltà,
che conserva la sua bontà fino alla millesima generazione,
che perdona l’iniquità, la trasgressione e il peccato,
ma non terrà il colpevole per innnocente;
che punisce l’iniquità dei padri sopra i figli e sopra i figli dei figli, fino alla terza e alla quarta generazione!”
(Es. 34, 6-7)

Aderisci come noi alla Lega contro la caccia
http://www.abolizionecaccia.it/ vai sul sito e fai la iscrizione 2019 con 20 Euro. Con Bonifico, bollettino postale come ho fatto io o carta di credito.

Un segno tangibile di nonviolenza anche contro gli animali. Come animatore nazionale sono entusiasta della cosa e purtroppo non avendo un auto non posso dare un aiuto concreto per gli spostamenti degli animali. Siamo soci  dal 24 aprile  anche della http://www.lav.com contro la vivisezione. 

La prima decisione fu con acquisto a parte del loro calendario è avvenuta due anni fa. La Lega è membro della EFAH, dice testualmente la tessera LAC. Sono Iscritto 2019 anche ad Emergency, sebbene non sia entusiasta del gruppo locale di volontari. Troppo fissati sul capo locale.

Maurizio

PS: Puoi donare per confermare i domini di 6 nostri siti e le due pec. Non abbiamo fondi 8 per mille come gli altri o contributi pubblici come i cattolici e valdesi (anche per le scelte indirette! Un vero scandalo dei protestanti e cattolici).

Aiutaci con un bonifico bancario dunque

Ecco IBAN di Maurizio Benazzi, animatore blogger QUACCHERO CRISTIANO CONSERVATIVE IN ITALIA,:
IT 22W0305801604100571954856 di Che Banca!

For Europa as Sepa system: MICSITM1 (XXX optional only if request)

For USA and World (except Europe): MICSITM3 (XXX optional only if request)

Info point – Telefono/fax 0039 0331 641844 o 392/1943729 anche Whatsapp
Indirizzo postale: via Luigi Tovo 3, I 21057 OLGIATE OLONA VA
skype maurizio.benazzi email quaccheri@quaccheri.it o pec quacchericonservative@pec.quaccheri.it

04.08.2020 – Deutsche Welle

Journalists under threat: August’s 10 most urgent cases
(Image by Zumapress.com)

Every month, the One Free Press Coalition draws attention to unresolved cases of crimes against journalists. This month, the list includes the cases of Omar Radi, Solafa Magdy and Maria Ressa.

1. Austin Tice (Syria) 

This month marks eight years since freelance American photojournalist Austin Tice went missing while reporting on the civil war in Syria. The then-31-year-old had contributed to The Washington Post, McClatchy publications and Al-Jazeera English. Tice’s family believes he is still alive, and the U.S. State Department is also operating under the assumption that Tice is still alive. The F.B.I. has offered 1 million US dollars as a reward for information leading to his return.

2. Maria Ressa (Philippines) 

Filipino-American dual citizen Maria Ressa returned to court on July 30 for a second cyber libel case, after a June 15 criminal conviction stemming from an article published in 2012. Her privately owned news website, Rappler, had reported about a local businessman’s alleged ties to a former judge. Ressa and her former colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr. were each ordered to pay 7,950 US dollars and serve at most six years in jail; all of that is pending appeal. In July more than 70 organizations launched a campaign and petition supporting independent media under attack in the Philippines.

Maria Ressa talks to reporters after a court appearance

Read more:

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

01.08.2020 – Global Voices Online

Secret trials threaten open justice in Australia
(Image by by Andrew Mercer / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0))

Whistleblowers, lawyers and journalists face prosecutions without proper public scrutiny

A government illegally bugs the office of a foreign country’s Prime Minister during treaty negotiations. The spy in charge who turned whistleblower and his lawyer face secret trials. Connections are exposed between government politicians and a big oil company that gained financially from the treaty.

A cold war spy novel or a modern scandal involving Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) or America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)? Think again!

Spying on Timor Leste

In 2004 Australia and the new nation of Timor Leste were negotiating a treaty over their border in the Timor Sea. The future of rich oil and gas fields was at stake.  The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) bugged PM Xanana Gusmão’s office to steal an advantage in the talks. The Australian Foreign Minister at the time, AlexanderDowner, apparently ordered the surveillance. He later took a consultancy with Woodside Petroleum, the company that benefited from the original treaty. There have been other suggestions of conflicts of interest. That treaty was eventually renegotiated in 2018 after the deception was made public.

Global Voices reported on the unfolding story in 2013:

‘Australia Spied on Timor Leste to Gain Commercial Advantage’

https://globalvoices.org/2013/12/13/australia-spied-on-timor-leste-to-gain-commercial-advantage/embed/#?secret=34XvR8sr1x

East Timor: ‘Australia Spied on Us for Oil Secrets’

https://globalvoices.org/2014/01/23/timor-leste-australia-spying-oil-court/embed/#?secret=but7bcUqvf

Veil of secrecy

The identity of the whistleblower, known as Witness K, has been suppressed. In 2018 he and his lawyer Bernard Collaery were charged with conspiracy to give secrets to Timor Leste. This required the consent of the minister in charge of justice, the Attorney-general Christian Porter. They are facing separate trials.

Witness K has pleaded guilty but maintains that his only breach was to prepare an affidavit for arbitration hearings between the governments at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Collaery, who is a former Attorney-general of the Australian Capital Territory, has pleaded not guilty. Part of Collaery’s trial will take place in secret following a court decision that protects sensitive or classified information.

Many people on social media have been outraged by the prosecutions, fearing the direction their country is taking:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1282061898599432193&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F08%2Fsecret-trials-threaten-open-justice-in-australia%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=500px

“A crime against one of the poorest countries in the world by one of the richest.” This is our Australia. #bernardcollaery #witnessk #DroptheProsecutions https://t.co/RY9JC8V8JK

— Jenny Coles (@meerpup11) July 11, 2020

The Bernard Collaery persecution has to be one most evil prosecutions (that we know about) in Aust history.
A lawyer, assisting a whistleblower going to International Court of Justice, being secretly tried for calling out morally bankrupt if not criminal conduct by Aust Govts https://t.co/8gE4Dmi4cj

— Philip Thalis (@PhilipThalis) June 15, 2020

Many also question just who or what is being protected. The intelligence agencies? Government ministers who authorized the spying operation or have approved the prosecutions? The commercial oil interests and others who profited from the original treaty?

Human rights campaigner Tom Clarke is a vocal advocate for Witness K and Collaery:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1286181233412591616&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F08%2Fsecret-trials-threaten-open-justice-in-australia%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=500px

The Howard Government spied on our Timorese neighbours in an attempt to plunder their oil & gas. Now the Morrison Government is trying to hide the truth and ‘bury the bodies’. It’s outrageous, morally bankrupt and must be challenged https://t.co/pxpauDh9gD

— Tom Clarke (@TomHRLC) July 23, 2020

Others believe that the real purpose behind the drawn-out legal proceedings is to deter possible future whistleblowers.

In August 2019, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Four Corners program examined the Timor Leste scandal in Secrets, Spies and Trials. It explored ‘the tension between those who say national security is paramount and those who fear the steady encroachment of state security on the public’s right to know’.

Stephen Charles, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria and barrister, has represented both ASIS and ASIO ( the foreign and domestic intelligence agencies) in past cases. He was just one of several senior legal figures interviewed in the program who were disturbed by the direction of the trials:

It is a fundamental aspect of the rule of law that proceedings take place in public. It is difficult to imagine any justification for these proceedings taking place in secret.

Everyone who reads the newspapers is aware that ASIS officers entered and bugged the Timorese cabinet premises. Everyone is aware that the result of bugging those premises was that Australia got a huge and very unfair advantage in the negotiations being carried out between Timor and Australia.

Prisoner in the iron mask

The trend to prosecute whistleblowers has been alarming. In an unprecedented case, decorated military intelligence officer Witness J’s identity, trial, conviction and prison sentence were kept completely secret. He and Bernard Collaery have been given Empty Chair Human Rights awards by civil rights organisation Liberty Victoria:

The secret trials… challenge one of the fundamental bases of our legal system: the requirement for open justice and accountability.

The cases… highlight the need for strong action to ensure that any such trials are held in open court and subject to public scrutiny.

The Afghan files

Former military lawyer David McBride also faces a potentially secret trial for blowing the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. His “Afghan Files’ revelations were behind a Federal police raid on the ABC and possible criminal charges against one of its journalists.

There is an official investigation being conducted by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, with alarming claims continuing to emerge such as the murder of non-combatants. The slow progress of the inquiry is a concern for some on social media:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1284006181770457091&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F08%2Fsecret-trials-threaten-open-justice-in-australia%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=500px

Australia and War Crimes: Mistake – Same AK-47 planted twice on two dead Afghan civilians killed by Australian soldiers: For more than four years, Inspector-General of Australian Defence Force has been conducting inquiry into allegations of war crimes. https://t.co/4ViqaWX6BK

— Lionel Bopage (@Leonine111) July 17, 2020

Closed justice

These trials are being held as Australia is fast becoming a security state with surveillance laws undermining digital rights and police raids on news organisations and journalists attacking media freedom. Journalist Paul Gregoire, writing on The Big Smoke opinions platform, argues that the decline of open justice in Australia has “glimmerings of totalitarianism”.

Journalists at the ABC have taken to Twitter to add their voices:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1278639932995710976&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F08%2Fsecret-trials-threaten-open-justice-in-australia%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=500px

How can Australia ever pursue arguments for the importance of free speech in places like China when it criminalises public interest journalism at home? What a shabby, shameful affair this is. https://t.co/BVJNCxcAbk

— Linton Besser (@lb_online) July 2, 2020

In a recent development, proposed national security legislation would allow children as young as fourteen to undergo compulsory interrogation by intelligence agents. their parent or guardian could be removed from an interview for being disruptive.In addition, tracking devices could also be planted on cars or in bags without a warrant.Written by Kevin Rennie

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

01.08.2020 – Global Voices Online

Secret trials threaten open justice in Australia
(Image by by Andrew Mercer / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0))

Whistleblowers, lawyers and journalists face prosecutions without proper public scrutiny

A government illegally bugs the office of a foreign country’s Prime Minister during treaty negotiations. The spy in charge who turned whistleblower and his lawyer face secret trials. Connections are exposed between government politicians and a big oil company that gained financially from the treaty.

A cold war spy novel or a modern scandal involving Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) or America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)? Think again!

Spying on Timor Leste

In 2004 Australia and the new nation of Timor Leste were negotiating a treaty over their border in the Timor Sea. The future of rich oil and gas fields was at stake.  The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) bugged PM Xanana Gusmão’s office to steal an advantage in the talks. The Australian Foreign Minister at the time, AlexanderDowner, apparently ordered the surveillance. He later took a consultancy with Woodside Petroleum, the company that benefited from the original treaty. There have been other suggestions of conflicts of interest. That treaty was eventually renegotiated in 2018 after the deception was made public.

Global Voices reported on the unfolding story in 2013:

‘Australia Spied on Timor Leste to Gain Commercial Advantage’

https://globalvoices.org/2013/12/13/australia-spied-on-timor-leste-to-gain-commercial-advantage/embed/#?secret=34XvR8sr1x

East Timor: ‘Australia Spied on Us for Oil Secrets’

https://globalvoices.org/2014/01/23/timor-leste-australia-spying-oil-court/embed/#?secret=but7bcUqvf

Veil of secrecy

The identity of the whistleblower, known as Witness K, has been suppressed. In 2018 he and his lawyer Bernard Collaery were charged with conspiracy to give secrets to Timor Leste. This required the consent of the minister in charge of justice, the Attorney-general Christian Porter. They are facing separate trials.

Witness K has pleaded guilty but maintains that his only breach was to prepare an affidavit for arbitration hearings between the governments at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Collaery, who is a former Attorney-general of the Australian Capital Territory, has pleaded not guilty. Part of Collaery’s trial will take place in secret following a court decision that protects sensitive or classified information.

Many people on social media have been outraged by the prosecutions, fearing the direction their country is taking:

“A crime against one of the poorest countries in the world by one of the richest.” This is our Australia. #bernardcollaery #witnessk #DroptheProsecutions https://t.co/RY9JC8V8JK

— Jenny Coles (@meerpup11) July 11, 2020

The Bernard Collaery persecution has to be one most evil prosecutions (that we know about) in Aust history.
A lawyer, assisting a whistleblower going to International Court of Justice, being secretly tried for calling out morally bankrupt if not criminal conduct by Aust Govts https://t.co/8gE4Dmi4cj

— Philip Thalis (@PhilipThalis) June 15, 2020

Many also question just who or what is being protected. The intelligence agencies? Government ministers who authorized the spying operation or have approved the prosecutions? The commercial oil interests and others who profited from the original treaty?

Human rights campaigner Tom Clarke is a vocal advocate for Witness K and Collaery:

The Howard Government spied on our Timorese neighbours in an attempt to plunder their oil & gas. Now the Morrison Government is trying to hide the truth and ‘bury the bodies’. It’s outrageous, morally bankrupt and must be challenged https://t.co/pxpauDh9gD

— Tom Clarke (@TomHRLC) July 23, 2020

Others believe that the real purpose behind the drawn-out legal proceedings is to deter possible future whistleblowers.

In August 2019, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Four Corners program examined the Timor Leste scandal in Secrets, Spies and Trials. It explored ‘the tension between those who say national security is paramount and those who fear the steady encroachment of state security on the public’s right to know’.

Stephen Charles, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria and barrister, has represented both ASIS and ASIO ( the foreign and domestic intelligence agencies) in past cases. He was just one of several senior legal figures interviewed in the program who were disturbed by the direction of the trials:

It is a fundamental aspect of the rule of law that proceedings take place in public. It is difficult to imagine any justification for these proceedings taking place in secret.

Everyone who reads the newspapers is aware that ASIS officers entered and bugged the Timorese cabinet premises. Everyone is aware that the result of bugging those premises was that Australia got a huge and very unfair advantage in the negotiations being carried out between Timor and Australia.

Prisoner in the iron mask

The trend to prosecute whistleblowers has been alarming. In an unprecedented case, decorated military intelligence officer Witness J’s identity, trial, conviction and prison sentence were kept completely secret. He and Bernard Collaery have been given Empty Chair Human Rights awards by civil rights organisation Liberty Victoria:

The secret trials… challenge one of the fundamental bases of our legal system: the requirement for open justice and accountability.

The cases… highlight the need for strong action to ensure that any such trials are held in open court and subject to public scrutiny.

The Afghan files

Former military lawyer David McBride also faces a potentially secret trial for blowing the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. His “Afghan Files’ revelations were behind a Federal police raid on the ABC and possible criminal charges against one of its journalists.

There is an official investigation being conducted by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, with alarming claims continuing to emerge such as the murder of non-combatants. The slow progress of the inquiry is a concern for some on social media:

Australia and War Crimes: Mistake – Same AK-47 planted twice on two dead Afghan civilians killed by Australian soldiers: For more than four years, Inspector-General of Australian Defence Force has been conducting inquiry into allegations of war crimes. https://t.co/4ViqaWX6BK

— Lionel Bopage (@Leonine111) July 17, 2020

Closed justice

These trials are being held as Australia is fast becoming a security state with surveillance laws undermining digital rights and police raids on news organisations and journalists attacking media freedom. Journalist Paul Gregoire, writing on The Big Smoke opinions platform, argues that the decline of open justice in Australia has “glimmerings of totalitarianism”.

Journalists at the ABC have taken to Twitter to add their voices:

How can Australia ever pursue arguments for the importance of free speech in places like China when it criminalises public interest journalism at home? What a shabby, shameful affair this is. https://t.co/BVJNCxcAbk

— Linton Besser (@lb_online) July 2, 2020

In a recent development, proposed national security legislation would allow children as young as fourteen to undergo compulsory interrogation by intelligence agents. their parent or guardian could be removed from an interview for being disruptive.In addition, tracking devices could also be planted on cars or in bags without a warrant.Written by Kevin Rennie

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

01.08.2020 – US, United States – Pressenza New York

John Lewis and My Montgomery

By Nan Frydland

When John Lewis headed to Montgomery in 1958, I did, too. He was going to meet Martin Luther King, and my mother was taking me to meet my grandparents. My mother was no stranger to Montgomery, having lived there until the Great Migration swept her parents up in 1938, which is how I came to be born in New York. And although I would spend relatively little of my life in the state where both sides of my family had labored since 1734, it was there that my identity was forged, starting with an incident at a family gathering in Wetumpka. I was almost five.

At a bustling family restaurant, I urged my mother to show me the way to the restroom, but a waitress pointed to a hall. I knew what to look for and was proud of the words I recognized—sight words as English teachers call them—although I couldn’t yet read.  I stood before two doors with words I didn’t know, and the waitress helped again.  “That’s white,” she nodded to one, “ the other’s for colored.” I put my arm against the white wall. It certainly wasn’t that, especially in August, when I was brown as a chestnut. But what color was “colored”? Back at the table I pulled my mother’s elbow, and now yelling with urgency, asked, “Mom, what color am I?” It seemed like every knife and fork clattered to the table before my ears were filled with silence. Then the roar of my grandfather: “How you raisin’ that girl not knowin’ what color she is?” and mother yanked me away. It is hard to convey the terror that was imparted in that event. The entire restaurant seemed to seethe with a malevolent force that terrified me with its intensity and bewildered me because I didn’t comprehend how I could have evoked that response.

“Because that’s the way it is.” —the parents of John Lewis

When I asked my folks why Alabama was different than New York, they answered: Because that’s the way it is. But even as a child, I knew it was wrong. There was something wrong, too, with all those shacks where black children played in dirt just down the road from the whites, who had nice yards full of flowers. My grandfather often drove up to one shack, where black children ran up to accept a bucket of our swamp catch. I saw those faces, and I shuddered as we drove off. Psychologists say that a child’s moral sense is formed by the age of six, and I know that mine was. During subsequent summer visits to Montgomery I witnessed systemic racism, on the buses, in the coffee shops, in living quarters. The impact of these experiences combined with tv images of brutality and the literature I devoured developed into a kind of trauma that I couldn’t dispel. As Eddie S. Claude, Jr. describes James Baldwin’s experience in “Begin Again,” “his own feeling of being trapped by it all weighed heavily on how he navigated the world.” Even in my own privileged skin, I felt that way, too.

As I approached fifteen the summer of 1968, my father decided it was “high time” I stopped reading “those N-word books and get interested in boys.” He and his pal Al, who worked for George Wallace and bragged about casting graveyard votes, decided the pal’s son would be a good first date. Al, Jr. picked me up in his daddy’s yellow caddy and raped me on the floor of his family’s living room with impunity. I was ordered to keep my mouth shut to protect the rapist and his dad.

In 1969 I attended Sydney Lanier High School in Montgomery, along with Al, Jr. and George Wallace, Jr.  Police lined the hallways. Although the classrooms were integrated, the cafeteria wasn’t.  Miscast as a mulatto because of my swarthy Welsh skin, I was unwelcome at white and black tables, but I finally befriended a black girl and went to her home. When we entered the house her mother called, out of sight: “Henrietta, is that you? You better clean that filthy room right now. You lazy as a white lady!” And suddenly she stood before us, staring at me with a bewildered look. I laughed. “You know what? My grannie says the same thing about you folks!” And the three of us laughed our heads off.

I wish that more white people had the experiences I’ve had, both with black people and with white bigots. My experiences left no wiggle room for identifying the malevolent forces at work in America, what Baldwin and Claude refer to as “the lie” upon which white America marches on, pretending not to know. But once you have been awakened, you can’t go back. Like admitting you’re an alcoholic, you can never again pretend that you’re just a social drinker. So too, you can never lie to yourself about that white man who expected your granddaughter to pick up something he dropped on the supermarket floor because she’s black. You can never pretend that it’s a coincidence that the security guard who has seen you a dozen times follows you when you’re with your black girlfriend. You cannot pretend that the cab light went off because it was time to go home, not because you’re with your black boyfriend.

Speak up, speak out…find a way to create the beloved community… a world of peace.  John Lewis

Being witness to social injustice, being the object of sexual assault, being betrayed by people responsible for protecting you, can light the fire of rage inside a soul. Ta-Nehishi Coates speaks of menace in “Between The World And Me,” an omnipresent threat embedded in the very atmosphere of America, sometimes manifested in gangs that might sneak up from behind, but more insidious by the unknowing of how it might next appear. I know that my familial trauma is fundamentally distinct from being subjected to a prolonged, nation-wide attack on an entire population, but because I identified with the “ingrained sense that something major … had gone wrong” as Coates writes in “The Beautiful Struggle,” my moral responsibility is to be engaged in change.

The more I read to make sense of an insensible system, the more intolerant I became, and there was no outlet for my rage at white men. The death of the civil rights movement before I graduated high school meant I was alone to atone for my father’s and my grandfather’s and my great-grandfather’s sins. I sat in the back of the Montgomery bus, I gave my outgrown clothes to the black children near our fishing ground, and I poured over books by James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison for guidance. I too, felt invisible, betrayed, and powerless. I too, experienced the hypocrisies of mean-spirited Christians and left the church of my childhood. And I found no direction in their words, only the solace that I was not mistaken in my view of the world.

Eventually, I went to work for the NAACP LDF, word-processing stays of execution and reading about systemic racism in briefs filed against the Memphis and New Orleans police departments. I studied to become a public interest attorney at City College and became a vociferous union member at NYU. For a time, I managed a legal services office where righteous white lawyers defended black, poor and female clients. But my rage interfered with getting into good trouble and was increasingly directed at the well-meaning middle-class white folks who just didn’t believe there was any more racism in America. It drove me wild. I simply could not believe that educated white people did not see the evidence of racism in banks, education, housing, employment and society at large. They seemed worse than my poor, uneducated Southern ancestors because they weren’t just ignorant, they were collaborators.

As a middle-aged college returnee, I was offered the possibility of redemption, although I didn’t know it at the time.  A friend asked if I wanted a job teaching ESL at night, and I discovered for the first time in my life that I had something to give to others. It made me weep in the parking lot and work harder than I had ever worked in my life. In order to serve adult immigrants better, I went back to school and earned a degree in teaching TESOL to low-literate adults.

“Use what you have, use your education…it is your time.”  John Lewis

Through teaching, I have become a better person. Over the last fifteen or so years, I have found purpose in facilitating learners’ process of finding agency to change their lives, to question the status quo, to become voting citizens, and to discover the pattern of racism in America and speak out against it. One of my students was recently part of a MOFAD and Eat Offbeat collaboration called Food for Thought: Exploring the Experiences of Black Refugees in America, in which she talked about the racism she encountered upon her arrival from the Central African Republic. Many of my West African and Haitian adult students name racism as the most challenging obstacle to their adjustment to a new country and their inability to find safety as immigrants and refugees is heartbreaking.

I was a witness to racism and social injustice in America as a youth, and to racism and social injustice for the past six decades. Now, free of bitterness, I am witness to the possibility of the redemption of this country. I have labored for the freedom of others, and I have a moral obligation to continue to do so, out of the abundance of freedom and privilege I was born with, as a white American. Thank you, John Lewis, for the orders you left us, to walk with the wind. Because I live in the land of the free, I will fear no evil.


Nan Frydland, MFA, MEd TESOL, is an educator who practices culturally responsive pedagogy in adult education as it pertains to low-literate immigrants and refugees.

A quick followup to the July 28th post, “Why nonviolent protests are smarter, even/especially today”. The point, to reiterate, was that lots of academic & private polling research, plus my own movement experience, confirms the idea that nonviolent protests move public opinion in a progressive direction, while violent demonstrations nudge it toward the reactionary right,…

Stick to Nonviolence: A Followup — A Friendly Letter

31.07.2020 – US, United States – Countercurrents

U.S. Dollar’s Grip on Global Markets Might Be Over, Warns Goldman

After years of talking about abandoning the U.S. dollar, Russia and China are doing it for real. In the first quarter of 2020, the share of the dollar in trade between the countries fell below 50 percent for the first time.

By Countercurrents Collective

Goldman Sachs has issued a bold warning Tuesday that the dollar is in danger of losing its status as the world’s reserve currency. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has put a spotlight on the suddenly growing concern over inflation in the U.S.

With the U.S. Congress closing in on another round of fiscal stimulus to shore up the pandemic-ravaged economy, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) having already swelled its balance sheet by about $2.8 trillion this year, Goldman strategists cautioned that U.S. policy is triggering currency “debasement fears” that could end the dollar’s reign as the dominant force in global foreign-exchange markets.

While that view is clearly still a minority one in most financial circles – and the Goldman analysts don’t say they believe it will necessarily happen – it captures a nervous vibe that has infiltrated the market this month: Investors worried that this money-printing will trigger inflation in years ahead have been bailing out of the dollar and piling furiously into gold.

Gold is the currency of last resort

“Gold is the currency of last resort, particularly in an environment like the current one where governments are debasing their fiat currencies and pushing real interest rates to all-time lows,” wrote Goldman strategists including Jeffrey Currie. There are now, they said, “real concerns around the longevity of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency.”

The Goldman report makes clear that Wall Street’s initial reluctance to sound the alarm on inflation back when the pandemic began is fading. Having been burned badly by ominous forecasts of runaway price gains following the fiscal and monetary stimulus that followed the 2008 financial crisis, many analysts have been hesitant to repeat such calls now, especially as the economy sinks into a deep recession.

But with gold surging to record highs and bond investors’ inflation expectations climbing almost daily, albeit from very low levels, the debate on the long-term effects of stimulus has gotten louder.

The 10-year breakeven rate, the gap between nominal and inflation-linked debt yields, has risen to about 1.51%, up from as low as 0.47% in March. That’s seen real yields, which strip out the impact of inflation, plunge further below zero — to about -0.93% on similar-maturity bonds.

“The resulting expanded balance sheets and vast money creation spurs debasement fears,” the analysts at Goldman wrote. This creates “a greater likelihood that at some time in the future, after economic activity has normalized, there will be incentives for central banks and governments to allow inflation to drift higher to reduce the accumulated debt burden,” they said.

Gold’s record-breaking rally highlights growing concern over the world economy.

Goldman raised its 12-month forecast for gold to $2300 an ounce from $2000 an ounce previously. That compares with a value of around $1950 currently. The bank sees U.S. real interest rates continuing to drift lower, boosting gold further.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is on course for its worst July in a decade. The drop comes amid renewed calls for the dollar’s demise following a game-changing rescue package from the European Union deal, which spurred the euro and will lead to jointly issued debt.

The dollar is used in 88% of all currency trades, according to the latest triennial Bank for International Settlements survey. And it still accounts for about 62% of the world’s foreign-exchange reserves, although that’s down from a peak of more than 85% in the 1970s, IMF data show.

Ballooning debt pile

For Goldman, the growing level of debt in the U.S. – which now exceeds 80% of the nation’s gross domestic product – and elsewhere, boosts the risk that central banks and governments may allow inflation to accelerate.

Investors are poised to hear more about the Fed’s view on inflation with its latest policy decision Wednesday.

“Until we get through the Fed, the dollar could strengthen as investors lock in profits,” Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. said in a note.

Goldman Sachs has tied the metal’s rally to a “potential shift in the U.S. Fed towards an inflationary bias against a backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions, elevated U.S. domestic political and social uncertainty and a second wave of Covid-19 related infection.”

“Gold is the currency of last resort, particularly in an environment like the current one where governments are debasing their fiat currencies and pushing real interest rates to all-time lows,” the bank said. “With more downside expected in U.S. real interest rates, we are once again reiterating our long gold recommendation from March.”

Year-to-date, gold has gained more than 27% and is currently trading near $1,940 an ounce.

Fed faces currency threat

Predictions of the mighty U.S. dollar’s fall from its place as the ultimate measure of value are nothing new.

“Gold bugs” — the slightly disrespectful term for people convinced the yellow metal is the only truly safe investment — roll out an attack on the U.S. dollar’s safety every few years.

The euro has been an aspiring candidate, but has had many troubles of its own. Countries that do not get along with the U.S., including Iran, have complained about the absurdity of having to sell their oil to third parties priced in U.S. dollars.

After the global financial meltdown of 2008, China’s then central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan, criticized the use of a single country’s currency for a world standard, calling it a historical anomaly.

“The crisis again calls for creative reform of the existing international monetary system toward an international reserve currency with a stable value, rule-based issuance and manageable supply,” wrote Zhou.

But the comments from New York bankers Goldman Sachs just as gold is hitting new highs and the greenback is hitting new lows are quite different from bellyaching from those who would like to take the dollar’s place.

The Goldman comments act as a warning of what might happen if the U.S. currency eventually becomes debased through too much government spending and too much borrowing at interest rates close to zero.

The Canadian dollar is up two cents against the U.S. currency in the last month. But as usual, that is deceptive. With most of our trade happening with the U.S., the loonie tends to rise and fall with the U.S dollar. The loonie continues to trade lower against the euro.

The Goldman Sachs report is making lots of headlines and offers a little thrill of dread to those who are looking for an even more dire outcome from the current pandemic. But gold quite regularly rises in value during times of financial uncertainty and it tends to fall shortly after.

Russia and China speed up de-dollarization process

After years of talking about abandoning the U.S. dollar, Russia and China are doing it for real. In the first quarter of 2020, the share of the dollar in trade between the countries fell below 50 percent for the first time.

Just four years ago, the greenback accounted for over 90 percent of their currency settlements.

According to Moscow daily Izvestia, the share has dropped to 46 percent, tumbling from 75 percent in 2018. The 54 percent of non-dollar trade is made up of Chinese yuan (17 percent), the euro (30 percent), and the Russian ruble (7 percent).

The dollar’s reduced role in international trade can mainly be blamed on the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained that Moscow is continuing “its policy aimed at gradual de-dollarization” and is looking to make deals in local currencies, where possible.

Lavrov called the rejection of the greenback “an objective response to the unpredictability of U.S. economic policy and the outright abuse by Washington of the dollar’s status as a world reserve currency.”

Movement away from the dollar can also be seen in Russia’s trade with other parts of the world, such as the European Union. Since 2016, trade between Moscow and the bloc has been mainly in Euros, with its current share sitting at 46 percent.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

29.07.2020 – Pressenza Athens

This post is also available in: FrenchGreek

This Year, the Stuttgart Peace Prize is Awarded to Julian Assange.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks imprisoned in London for a year, received the Stuttgart Peace Prize 2020. The prize is awarded by Die Anstifter and aims to promote the right to unconditional freedom of information and of the press.

Annette Ohme-Reinicke, president of Die Anstifter, said the crackdown on Assange was also against comprehensive political information for all.

Heike Hänsel, Member of Parliament and Deputy Chair of the Die Linke parliamentary group, said: “I am very happy with this award given to Julian Assange, who has suffered political persecution from the United States for years due to his journalistic work and who is now in danger of extradition to the United States. This award recognizes investigative journalism and is a strong message in defense of press freedom. Recognizing the peaceful and political dimension of the work of the founder of Wikileaks is for him a very important support. As British justice treats Julian Assange as a dangerous criminal and keeps him in the most secure prisons, Assange is awarded this tribute for the US war crimes revelations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am waiting for the German government and the EU to stop being blind and finally offer political asylum to Julian Assange. ”

Assange, who has been in Belmarsh High Security Prison in London for a year, awaits a hearing to decide on his possible extradition to the United States where he is accused of espionage. His detention was denounced as torture.

The Peace Prize will be awarded in December in Stuttgart. With this award, Die Anstifter pays tribute to people who fight for peace, justice and solidarity. The prize has been awarded annually since 2003, some of the previous winners are: Sea Watch, Ashley Erdogan, Emma Gonzalez, Jürgen Greslin, Edward Snowden, etc.

See as well :

“If Julian Assange is extradited, it is the end of the rule of law in the West” Eva Joly (Interview)

Juan Branco: “The Greek people should put pressure on Julian Assange for asylum” (in Greek)

John Shipton in Berlin: father and ambassador of Julian Assange

29.07.2020 – US, United States – Common Dreams

Real Answers Demanded After Barr Dodges on Government Authority to Aim ‘Intrusive Surveillance Tools’ at Protesters
Attorney General Bill Barr testifies during a House hearing today. (Image by C-SPAN)

“The public needs to know whether Attorney General Barr thinks President Trump can conduct mass surveillance of protesters without congressional authorization.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer – Common Dreams

An exchange about government spying powers between Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Attorney General William Barr during a Tuesday House Judiciary Committee hearing prompted calls for an immediate explanation from the Trump administration about the legal basis for using advanced surveillance techniques on protesters nationwide.

Lofgren, a California Democrat, explained in a series of tweets that she asked Barr to detail under what authority the U.S. government can use “intrusive surveillance tools” against protesters. Barr, Lofgren said, declined to give a “real answer.”

The congresswoman specifically asked about the potential deployment of cell-site simulators, facial recognition, and sweeping surveillance of internet activity. Barr replied, “I really can’t speak to those instances if they’ve in fact occurred.”

After Lofgren clarified that she was seeking an answer about the legal basis of using such tactics, the attorney general said that “most of our cyber activities are conducted by the FBI under their law enforcement powers to detect and prevent crime.”

As the congresswoman noted on Twitter, her questioning of Barr came amid a federal crackdown on protests against police brutality toward Black Americans in Portland, Oregon and President Donald Trump’s threats to send teams to other major cities:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1288164837030350848&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F07%2Freal-answers-demanded-after-barr-dodges-on-government-authority-to-aim-intrusive-surveillance-tools-at-protesters%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

During our @HouseJudiciary hearing, I asked AG Barr about the surveillance of protests in Portland & around the country.

The constitutional rights of demonstrators should never be violated. (THREAD 1/3) pic.twitter.com/lXkl80YsMS

— Rep. Zoe Lofgren (@RepZoeLofgren) July 28, 2020

Demand Progress responded with a statement Tuesday calling on Barr to immediately disclose any legal basis he sees for the federal surveillance of protesters. The advocacy group also put the exchange into the context of Barr’s history and broader concerns about government surveillance under the Trump administration.

“Today, Attorney General Barr refused to acknowledge whether the government is conducting dragnet surveillance of internet activity,” said Sean Vitka, senior policy counsel at Demand Progress. “He further refused to acknowledge widely reported mass surveillance practices that he may have authorized when sending the [Drug Enforcement Administration] and other agencies after protesters.”

“The public needs to know whether Attorney General Barr thinks President Trump can conduct mass surveillance of protesters without congressional authorization,” Vitka argued, noting that Barr “has personally authorized lawless, mass surveillance in this country before, and did so by relying on radically aggressive interpretations of executive power, by secretly abusing statutory authority, and by hiding it under the DEA.”

The questions Lofgren posed during the hearing were “critically important,” explained Vitka.

“It is frighteningly plausible that Attorney General Barr has told the Trump administration it may conduct domestic mass surveillance with effectively no limits, potentially even in the absence of congressional authorization,” he said. “The consequences would be staggering and the chilling of free speech is already being felt.”

Referencing reports that U.S. government planes flew over Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C. last month and potentially spied on participants, Vitka added that “the planes are in the air. We need these answers now.”

The Demand Progress statement highlighted recent examples of other members of Congress demanding answers from the administration about surveillance, particularly considering that the controversial Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act expired earlier this year and has not been reauthorized by federal lawmakers.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter (pdf) to Barr and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on July 21 asking them to confirm that federal agencies have terminated surveillance operations authorized under the now-expired FISA provisions and other related questions about the government’s spy powers.

Along with highlighting the letter—which requests that Barr and Ratcliffe respond with answers by August 7—the advocacy group pointed out how Patrick Hovakimian, the nominee for general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, recently responded (pdf) to a pre-hearing question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Wyden asked: “Does the government collect web browsing and internet search history pursuant to Section 215? If so, what are or should be any limitations on such collection or the dissemination and use of such information? Does the government collect web browsing or internet search history pursuant to FISA Pen Register/Trap and Trace authorities?”

Hovakimian responded: “I believe it is important for the IC to use its authorities appropriately against valid intelligence targets. The amendments to Title V of FISA made by Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act expired on March 15, 2020 and, to date, have not been reauthorized.”

Given those recent exchanges between lawmakers and the administration, Demand Progress declared that “Barr’s refusal to answer Rep. Lofgren’s questions today adds to concerns that all of this may be occurring in secret without congressional authorization or oversight.”

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

27.07.2020 – Riccardo Petrella

This post is also available in: SpanishFrenchItalianPortuguese

Water as a public good for all
(Image by (Crédit image : RayMark | https://pixabay.com/fr/photos/sunset-l-eau-robinet-mer-r%C3%A9manence-1270563/ | CC0))

On July 28 this year we “celebrate” the 10th anniversary of the UN resolution which recognizes the human (universal, indivisible and imprescriptible) right to drinking water and hygiene. Unfortunately, the situation is such that this decade has passed as if the decision approved by the highest political organization of the international community had not taken place: 2.2 billion people do not know what drinking water is and 4.2 have not access to toilet facilities; more than 9 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diseases caused, among other things, by the lack of clean water. Hand washing is an impossible act for hundreds of millions of human beings, with the well-known consequences of this pandemic period (1)!

Water suitable for human use has become increasingly scarce: many of the most important rivers, lakes and aquifers in the world are dying, dried up by water withdrawals much higher than their natural renewal capacity (in quantity and quality), poisoned by pollution and contamination, suffocated by waste…Structural droughts are affecting an increasing number of regions of the world (including even Amazonia!). The land is turning into a desert and the devastation of the forests plays a decisive role in this regard. Finally, several major cities in the world (from New York to Nairobi, from Tokyo to Dhaka…) are seriously threatened by floods due to water level rise. Jakarta, for example, is already in the process of being abandoned (2).

In this context, speaking of the right to water and sanitation is an understatement. On the other hand, “experts”, political leaders and entrepreneurs, do nothing but talk about the scarcity of water in the world. With an obvious mystification, they blame the scarcity on the growth of the world population and climate change (which is only minimally correct). They forget, however, to mention the decisive role of the dominant world economy, which drains the planet’s resources until they are exhausted, and the role of our social systems based on the thirst for power and private wealth, favored by a warlike technological development, violent and predator of life. In the face of a scarcity of water that is given as inevitable, the dominant social groups indicate the way to salvation in a path of resilience, of ability to resist and adapt to the shocks caused by shortage. Under current conditions, however, resilience is only possible for those with a great technological and financial capacity (3). Can you guess which countries and which social groups will be resilient in the coming decades?

According to the United Nations, the right to water, to water for life, translates concretely into the availability of 50 litres of drinking water per day per person for domestic use and 1,800 m³ of water per year per person for all the combined uses. However, the very concept of the human right to water, which is equal for all and justifiable, has been replaced in the last 30 years by the concept of fair access to water at an affordable price. With the concept of “fair access at an affordable price” there is no obligation for the State any longer. We leave the field of law to enter the field of water needs to be met on the basis of the possibility of individual consumers to access them economically, politically and socially. The “affordable” price of water is a discretionary power in the hands of water service operators who set the price of water in such a way as to guarantee profits (4). Currently, whether they are private or “public”, the managers make money with water for life!

This profound cultural and political change has been possible thanks to the combination of four structural transformations: the commodification of life (everything has been reduced to goods: seeds, water, public transport, knowledge, health, housing, plants, animals, human genes…); the privatization of all goods and services (nothing has escaped this process, including money, which has ceased to be a symbol par excellence of the sovereignty of nations and states); the liberalization and deregulation of all economic activities in the name of free governance between interest holders (the famous “stakeholders“) and, finally, the financialisation of the economy which has subjected the main decisions on the allocation and use of the resources available to short-term productivity and efficiency financial logics. Human beings themselves have been reduced to “human resources” in order to be exploited to the maximum of their economic performance, despite and beyond human rights.

As a result, there are no longer any common goods and real common services, nor even real public goods. In 1980, the United States Supreme Court legalized the patentability of living things for private and commercial purposes. The patentability of algorithms (Artificial Intelligence) became common practice in the 90s. The private sector has thus obtained the recognition of over 50,000 patents on life. Idem in the field of AI. In 1992, at the Dublin International Conference on Water in preparation for the first Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, the final resolution stated that water should no longer be considered a social good, a common good, but a private, economic good, subject to the rules of the market economy. The thirst for water for human life has been replaced by the thirst for water for economic activities for competitiveness and profit. Even worse, during the Second Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002, it was declared that nature should be given a monetary value by calculating the costs and benefits of “environmental” services provided by nature. The monetization of nature (nature pricing, nature banking) and the patentability of living beings have killed every form of economy of the common good, public goods, of social and solidarity economy outside of micro-projects.

Control of life has slipped from the hands of public authorities. Agricultural, health, information and technological development policies, as well as “sustainable development” and water security policies, no longer fall within the sphere of state sovereignty. They are much more dependent on the interests of large global private groups such as Suez, Vivendi, Big Pharma, GAFAM, but also of mining oligopolies and, last but not least, of large financial groups (banks, insurance companies). One of the most profitable growing activities in the water sector is the insurance sector in the face of meteorological changes (tourism activities, agriculture…) and “climate accidents” (drought, floods…). The more uncertainties redefine planet’s water, the more the market value of the water itself rises. In the dominant “logic” of financial speculation, it is clear that the more water scarcity is confirmed, the more the economic value of water will increase at the expense of its value for the global community of life on Earth.

Goodbye to the effective universal right to water? Yes, if the collective principles, policies and practices we have described are not reversed. Society and the State must be freed from privatization and financialisation. It is necessary to build the society of common goods and world cooperative public goods. It is urgent to build the global public political system based on shared and joint collective responsibility for the protection, care and promotion of life and the rights to life, and therefore to water for all. The re-municipalization of water is fundamental for the construction of a global public policy, provided of course that it is a real municipalization whose management is financed through general taxation and not by means of the revenues generated by the sale of water services, albeit at affordable prices.

In any case, the future of water and the right to life cannot be realized through technological water (5), but only through a new era of common engineering creativity and political and social culture guided by the desire to live together in the respect for the Mother Earth.

Notes

(1) https://www.un.org/en/observances/water-day

(2) See “Ocean & Climate change: New challenges”, https://ocean-climate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/fiches-EN-web.pdf

(3) See Riccardo Petrella, Water and Resistance. The strategies of the dominants in question, https://wsimag.com/fr/economie-et-politique/61408-eau-et-resilience and by the same author, Water security for all the inhabitants of the Earth, https://wsimag.com/fr/economie-et-politique/61870-la-securite-hydrique-pour-tous-les-habitants-de-la-terre

(4) In the framework of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030, water is Goal 6, which reads: “6.1: By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/. No reference is made to the right to water.

(5) The term “technological water” refers to water “produced” by humans, such as desalinated water, water from waste water treatment, water derived from “captured” icebergs.

Co-signer (s) invited

Riccardo Petrella, Co-fondateur Comité International pour le Contrat Mondial de l’Eau, (Belgique/Italie)

Leonardo Boff, Théologien (Brésil)

Luis Infanti de la Mora, Evêque du Diocèse de Aysen, « Patagonia sin represas » (Chili)

Federico Mayor, Ancien Directeur Général de l’Unesco, Président Fondation Culture de la Paix (Espagne)

Anibal Faccendini, Directeur Catedra de l’Agua, Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentine)

Joao Caraça, Co-fondateur de l’Agora des Habitants de la Terre, Président Université de Coimbra (Portugal)

Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, (Jérémie Chomette, Marion Veber) (France)

Marcelo Barros, Moine bénédictin (Brésil)

Jean-Pierre Wauquier, Médecin, président de H²O (France)

Roberto Savio, Co-fondateur de l’Agora des Habitants de la Terre, Fondateur de Other News (Italie)

Bernard Cassen, Journaliste, ancien Directeur général du Monde diplomatique (France)

Sylvie Paquerot, Professeure titulaire, Université d’Ottawa (Canada)

Pierre Jasmin, Artiste pour la Paix (Canada-Québec)

Roberto Colombo, Maire de Canegrate (Italie)

Jacques Brodeur, Edupax, OSB (Canada-Québec)

Marcos P. Arruda, Dir. PACS Insituto Politicas Alternativas para o Cone Sur (Brésil)

Deborah Nunes, Urbaniste, Prof. Universidad del Estado de Bahia (Brésil)

Lilia Ghanem, Anthropologue et Rédactrice en chef de Badael (France/Liban)

Jean-Yves Proulx, Connaissances et citoyens (Canada-Québec)

Philippe Giroul, Ecologiste (Canada-Québec)

Sergio et Clara Castioni, Libraires, (Italie)

Bernard Tirtiaux, Maître verrier, écrivain, sculpteur (Belgique)

Maria Palatine, Musicienne, Harpiste (Allemagne)

Pietro Pizzuti, Auteur et Acteur de théâtre (Belgique/Italie)

Margherita Romanelli, Spécialiste en coopération internationale pour le développement durable (Italie)

Andrey Grachev, Diplomate (Russie)

Consiglia Salvio, « Comitato regionale campano acqua bene comune » (Italie)

Alain Adriaens, Ecologiste, « objecteur de croissance » (Belgique)

Issam Naaman, Ancien ministre (Liban)

Domenico Rizzuti, ancien syndicaliste Université/recherche, Forum italo-tunisien (Italie)

Alain Dangoisse, Dir. Maison du Développement Durable, UCL (Belgique)

Pierre Galand (B), Impliqué dans plusieurs associations, en particulier l’Association Belgo-Palestinienne et le Centre d’Action Laïque, ancien sénateur (Belgique)

Monastero del Bene Comune (Paola Libanti, Silvano Nicoletto) (Italie)

Roberto Louvin, Professeur de droit comparé, Université de Trieste (Italie)

Roberto Musacchio, Ancien eurodéputé, Ass. Altramente (Italie)

Jean-Claude Garot, Journaliste (Belgique)

Angelo Bonelli, Président des Verts (Italie)

Patrizia Sentinelli, Présidente de “Altramente”, ancienne ministre à la coopération et au développement (Italie)

Jean-Claude Oliva, Président Coordination Eau Ile de France (France)

Cristiana Spinedi, Professeur Enseignement secondaire (Suisse)

Adriana Fernandes, Educatrice à la retraite (Chili)

Lucie Sauvé, Professeur titulaire Université du Québec à Montréal-UQAM (CND-Québec)

Francesco Comina, Journaliste, écrivain (Italie)

Ulrich Duchrow, Professeur, Université de Heidelberg (Allemagne)

Ina Darmstaedter, Présidente du Festival International de la Paix de Berlin (Allemagne)

La Boisselière, Espace citoyen d’innovation sociale (Philippe Veniel, Melissa Gringeau) (France)

Julien Le Guet, « Bassines Non Merci » (France)

Christian Legros, Directeur Belgaqua (Belgique)

Armando De Negri, Médecin, représentant du Brésil au Comité de l’ONU sur les droits humains (Brésil)

Vladimir Mitev, Journaliste Barricada (Bulgarie)

Valter Bonan, Echevin aux Biens Communs, Commune de Feltre (Italie)

Anwar Abou Aichi, Ancien ministre de la culture (Palestine)

Hassan Chatila, Professeur en philosophie (France/Syrie)

Bater Wardam, Conseiller ministériel de l’environnement (Jordanie)

Mario Agostinelli, Physicien/ISPRAFondateur de ”Energia Felice” (Italie)

Guido Viale, Saggista, economista e ambientalista (Italie)

Université du Bien Commun (Corinne Ducrey, Cristina Bertelli, Gilles Yovan) (France)

Maurizio Montalto, Avocat, ex-président de la société publique hydrique de Naples ABC (Italie)

Fabrice Delvaux, Président de Kréativa, Education au développement durable (Belgique)

Catherine Schlitz, Présidente Présence et Action Culturelles, Angleur (Belgique)

Paul Saiz, Entrepreneur (France)

Zein Al-Abidine Fouad, Poète (Égypte)

Hoda Kamel, Écrivain (Egypte)

Kais Azzawi, Ancien ambassadeur, écrivain (Irak)

Roberto Malvezzi, Musicien, écrivain (Brésil)

Fernando Ayala, Diplomate (Chili)

Alassane Ba, Directeur du Centre Humanitaire des Métiers de la Pharmacie (France)

Amadou Emmanuel, Resp. Relations Internationales de AMT/WAFA (Cameroun)

Guido Barbera, Président CIPSI (Italie)

Ugo Mattei, Professeur de droit international à l’Université de la Californie à San Francisco (USA) et de droit civil à l’Université de Turin(Italie)

Luca Cecchi, Comitato Acqua Bene Comune Verona (Italie)

Valérie Cabanes, Juriste en droit international, Co-fondatrice de « Notre affaire à tous » (France)

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Président de l’Università Verde, Ancien ministre de l’environnement (Italie)

Marie France Renard, Professeur d’économie, Université de Clermont-Ferrand (France)

Fatoumata Kane Ki-Zerbo (Burkina Faso)

20.07.2020 – Global Voices Online

Solo protest in the Netherlands for the Uyghur cause: One man takes on the Chinese state
Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by Gheni to seek support for his disappeared family members.

The author’s identity has been kept anonymous for safety reasons.

Starting in 2017, the Uyghur community living in China has been subject to increased targeting and indiscriminate imprisonment by the Chinese authorities. This policy of racial and religious profiling has led many young Uyghurs to leave China or stay in exile, chiefly in Europe. The 11 million Uyghurs in the western region of Xinjiang in China are a Muslim Turkic nation that has been targeted by Beijing more systematically since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. Widely portrayed as ‘motherland separatists’ or simply ‘terrorists’ in mainstream Chinese discourse – including government statements and the media – Uyghurs have been deprived of their most basic human rights, including freedom of religion, movement, and of using their native language.

The persecution of Uyghurs takes different forms, ranging from imprisonment, often with heavy sentences of over 10 years, and more recently, internment in camps where, according to many different testimonies and sources, over 1 million Uyghurs – and other Muslim minorities — are detained. Given the secrecy surrounding these internment camps, the fact that China presents them as ‘vocational training centers, exact numbers are difficult to come by, but hundreds and possibly thousands of people are believed to have died in detention. More detailed information is available in the Shahit Xinjiang Victims Database.

Global Voices interviewed Abdurehim Gheni, a 43-year-old native of Aksu prefecture in the south of Xinjiang. Gheni currently lives in the Netherlands, and in June 2018 started a regular solo protest in central Amsterdam.

The interview was conducted over the phone in Uyghur and edited for brevity.

Losing contact with family members 

Abdurehim Gheni is an educated man: he graduated from university and later worked as a chemistry teacher in his hometown of Aksu for a couple of years. But due to discrimination against Uyghurs he moved abroad and has been living in the Netherlands since 2007.

The last time Abdurehim met members of his family was in 2014 in Turkey. This does not sound so long ago, but it feels like a different time altogether. Briefly, around 2014, the Chinese authorities eased up the measures Uyghurs were subject to. It was relatively easy for them to receive passports for international travel, something that had always been difficult for those without the right connections. But this apparent relaxation ended abruptly for Gheni on May 23, 2017, as he tells Global Voices:

Since that day I have lost contact with all my relatives in China. Before I could always contact them by phone. May was the fasting month of Ramadan, so I tried to call everybody back home, but strangely, no one picked up. At first I thought they were all busy because of the festivities. At last my father answered the phone. He said: “Don’t call us again. Just take care of yourself and your children.” Then after a few days I got a text message from my brother in which he wrote “You must not call us again! Don’t contact us under any circumstances!” I was so confused. We didn’t know anything about the camps or the intensified crackdown on the Uyghurs by the authorities. By the end of the year, we had heard about the camps, and from 2018 bad news just kept coming, each new piece of information worse than the last.

There has been no news at all about the 17 missing family members of Abdurehim Gheni, and he fears the worst:

Did the Chinese regime kill them all? I´m missing my father, stepmother, my brothers, my sisters in law and their children, my wife’s siblings. They are all ordinary people, law-abiding citizens. My father is a retired bank manager, my older brother a businessman, and my younger brother used to work for the government at the Water Agency in our hometown in Aksu prefecture.

Creative activism: solo protest 

Known in Russia as the one-person demonstration (because of local legislation requiring police authorization for demonstrations involving more than one person), the solo protest is less known in Western Europe, but this is how Gheni decided to speak out about his family and the fate of thousands of other Uyghurs who have lost contact with their relatives in Xinjiang.

As he explains, he first joined an Uyghur rally in Amsterdam, chanting anti-China slogans. But as he recalls:

I noticed that of the bystanders, no one came up to ask us who we were or what we were demonstrating for. It seemed like no one cared, and that we were just doing this for ourselves. Some time later, I saw a man standing all by himself on Dam square, with signs and folders to raise awareness of the Palestinian issue. I saw people coming up to him to talk and ask questions. I did the same, and got to know him. This way I realized that a dialogue seemed like the best way for me to raise awareness of how the Chinese regime is oppressing Uyghurs, including my family.

Since June 23, 2018, Gheni has been solo protesting every week-end until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Netherlands in spring 2020. He started his protest again on July 13, as can be seen in his Facebook video, and has attracted new supporters, including diplomats:

‪Today, the US ambassador in the Netherlands, Mr. Pete Hoekstra, met with Uighurs in the Netherlands to hear about the…

Posted by Abdurehim Gheni Uyghur on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

As he says, he is not alone anymore: “I have talked to a lot of people that had never heard of the Uyghurs before. A couple of them now join me on the square to protest.”

Gheni is determined to maintain high visibility: he has written letters to the reigning king of the Netherlands, the country’s prime minister and foreign minister, asking for help to find information on his family’s whereabouts. He has also posted a video on the Shahit Xinjiang Victims Database site (with English subtitles):

Gheni concludes: “I know that if I was still living in China, I would likely be detained in a camp, sent to prison, or even dead by now. But I was lucky enough to be living abroad. So as I see it, I have this chance to be the voice of the voiceless.”

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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