Gal 1:1  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Gal 1:2  And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Gal 1:3  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Gal 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Gal 1:5  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

The fall issue of Quaker Religious Thought is now out: Our lastest issue is heading to your mailbox! Contributors include David Harrington Watt, James Krippner, Christy Randazzo, Cherice Bock, Oscar Lugusa Malande, and Jay Miller. Need to order your copy or subscribe? Go to: https://qtdg.org/subscribe Henry Cadbury, the Peace Testimony, and the First World War by […]

via Fall 2019 issue #133 Is Out — Quaker Religious Thought and Quaker Theological Discussion Group

09.10.2019 – New York City – Democracy Now!

This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action
Climate Rebels are occupying the bull in the heart of NYC’s financial district. (Image by Twitter / Extinction Rebellion NYC)

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: “This is not a drill.” That’s the message of thousands of activists who took to the streets of major cities across the globe Monday to raise the alarm about the climate crisis, gluing themselves to buildings, blocking roads, occupying public landmarks and being arrested by the hundreds in the first day of a two-week protest led by Extinction Rebellion. The group reports more than 700 activists, from Brisbane to New York City, have been arrested in just the first day and a half of protests.

Nearly 300 were arrested in London after shutting down major streets and taking over 11 sites in Westminster. One group superglued themselves to a parked hearse in Trafalgar Square as hundreds occupied the area. Other demonstrators shut down Westminster Bridge long enough for a couple to get married before the crowd. This is protester Jake Lynch speaking from the streets of London.

JAKE LYNCH: Well, it’s now five months since Parliament declared a climate emergency, and yet we’ve seen no emergency legislation brought forward to take effective action to stem the climate crisis. So we’re still subsidizing fossil fuels more than any other country in Europe. Globally, carbon emissions are still increasing. We’re heading in precisely the wrong direction. We here at Extinction Rebellion are taking action to interrupt the flow of normality, because it is that flow that is carrying us towards disaster.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Extinction Rebellion launched in London last year and has since grown into a global movement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attacked the group’s protesters Monday night, calling them “uncooperative crusties.” Climate activist George Monbiot responded, tweeting, quote, “I’m proud to be an #UncooperativeCrusty. #ExtinctionRebellion continues. Come and see why Boris Johnson hates it so much, and how it challenges the life-destroying system he defends.”

AMY GOODMAN: In New York City, nearly 90 activists were arrested after staging a die-in on Wall Street, pouring fake blood on the iconic bull statue outside the New York Stock Exchange. Dozens were also arrested in Amsterdam, Vienna and Madrid. In Brisbane, Australia, an activist hung from Story Bridge in a hammock for six hours. Activists also took to the streets in Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Brazilian protesters held a die-in on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Protesters shut down the street in central Paris near the Notre-Dame, and hundreds flooded the streets of Berlin to demand action to combat global warming. This is German climate activist and migrant rescue ship captain Carola Rackete speaking from Berlin.

CAROLA RACKETE: [translated] As Extinction Rebellion, we demand that net emissions be reduced to zero by 2025 as part of an emergency program, as well as an immediate halt to the loss of biodiversity. What we also demand, and this is the interesting part, is that there be a citizens gathering which votes on the necessary measures. Extinction Rebellion will never make concrete policy proposals. We are saying the issue has to be handed back democratically to the citizens, who then decide on the measures together.

AMY GOODMAN: Protests continue today in cities around the world. In London, Extinction Rebellion plans to plant at least 800 trees outside of Parliament.

For more, we go to London to speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the scope of the protests? And once again, remind us how Extinction Rebellion was founded and got its name.

GAIL BRADBROOK: Yeah. Good afternoon, Amy. And I just wanted to say what an honor it is to be on Democracy Now! You asked how this started. I think the first thing to say is this movement stands on the shoulders of our elders across the world who have been protesting about the environment for many years. In many countries, that means death. I mean, 200 environmental activists die each year across the world. And I would include Democracy Now! as one of our elders. You have many fans in the U.K., so thank you for your broadcasts over these years. You’ve kept us going, actually, with your truth and ability to forward the voice of ordinary people and of activists across the world.

We got going because we did quite a lot of research, actually, into social movements. We looked at social science. We also looked into our hearts about how we were feeling. And we said that a movement would need to be driven both by some techniques called momentum-driven organizing, and we had some training by a fantastic organizer based in the States called Carlos Saavedra from the Ayni Institute. And we also did a lot of research into people like Gene Sharp, the father of civil resistance.

And we welcomed people to feel how these times are for them. And I think the fuel of grief is important to our movement, and the fuel of fear, in all honesty, because what that means is that people are willing to open their hearts up and feel the love for life on Earth and say, “Actually, I am not willing to put up with this anymore.”

I guess the thing to add to that, in a way, is, especially for Westerners like myself that sit in a degree of — quite a degree of privilege, is that there’s something about consumer capitalism that both traumatizes us and then offers us a lot of comforts to stay quiet and silent and to just keep our heads down and keep sort of slightly stressing about keeping our jobs going and so on. And somehow, I think this movement has helped break through that mold by welcoming grief and feeling, and then encouraging people to get on the streets and take risks with the possibility of getting arrested.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Gail Bradbrook, what are the immediate demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement?

GAIL BRADBROOK: So, we have three demands. The first one is for government and other institutions to tell the truth. And also, in that way, it is not just a lip service by declaring emergencies and then carrying on with business as usual. That also means reversing policies inconsistent with that truth, so stopping immediate harms that are happening. In the U.K., what that means, for example, is that we have fracking happening in this country. We’re opening up new coal mines. We have the planned expansion of the railway system, but through what’s basically an aviation shuttle service called HS2, that’s going to deforest Britain bigger than has happened since World War I. So, tell the truth and reverse inconsistent policies.

The second demand is for net zero carbon emissions by 2025 and halt in biodiversity loss. And the reason we have such a tight target there is that this is definitely and absolutely an emergency. And what we need is for governments to act like it’s an emergency. If Britain — again, I know the U.K. situation more — carries on as it’s doing with very, very minor reductions in its emissions, it will have run out of its so-called carbon budget — I don’t believe there are any carbon budgets myself, actually — within a few years’ time. And they keep missing targets. So this idea we can have a 2050 target is nonsense.

The third thing is, then, how do you go about seeing these changes. What policies should we have? Should we have carbon budgeting or carbon taxes? Should we put pressure on people to stop flying or go vegan or whatever? Should we look at the farming community and how they could farm differently? Well, within all of that are loads of great ideas and loads of debate, and Extinction Rebellion is very clear it’s not up to us to have a position on any of that. Within the movement, there have been lots of opinions and so on and lots of debates.

We want a citizens’ assembly. It’s a form of democracy that comes from the older times, from Greece, from Athens, and it was actually how democracy used to be. It wasn’t all about voting, by a long way. Most things were done by citizens’ juries. So, you select, through a lottery system, like a jury, a demographically representative sample of your citizens, and they’re given critical thinking skills. And they are given lots of information by experts and well facilitated. And they tend to come up with really good policy solutions. And it’s a really good way to handle these kinds of issues, that, frankly, our current democracies are just not able to deal with.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One of the things you mentioned earlier, consumer capitalism and its ability to basically disarm the population in dealing with the climate crisis. You’ve talked about the relationship between the mushrooming debt in the world and the climate crisis. Could you expand on that?

GAIL BRADBROOK: So, yeah. What I would say is that in its first iteration, Extinction Rebellion is really about democracy, by calling in for these new democratic forms for people to have their power. And frankly, in many countries of the world, democracy is in just absolute shambles. It certainly is in the U.K. As people understand that there’s an emergency, there’s — this democracy is not working. There’s going to be two directions of travel. One is in the direction of more democracy, and so that means people’s assemblies and really understanding how we can work together. And the other is in the direction of less democracy, which is the very great risk of ecofascism. So that’s the focus on democracy.

What some of us are looking at, and it’s an early focus, and as a movement we will write papers and share ideas for feedback, but we’re talking about how we’re going to take on the finance system. So, we have an economic system that essentially is killing life on Earth. Let’s put it that way. It’s very simple. As one economist once said — Kenneth Boulding, he said that to expect that you can have exponential growth on a finite planet, you either have to be a madman or an economist.

And I think, increasingly — and I’ve spoken to members of the elite really recently, to investment bankers and so on — people are frightened. And actually, their children are putting a lot of pressure on them. And they know some kind of change has to come.

And in Extinction Rebellion, we are generally not — well, I’m not speaking for everybody personally, but as a movement, we’re not ideological. We’re not taking a position against one kind of economic system or for another. We’re saying, basically, this is not working. We need to have a grown-up conversation about what kind of system do we need, both politically and legally and culturally and economically, that will stop this ridiculous, outrageous harming that we’re doing to ourselves and the planet. And obviously, there’s some people absolutely on the frontline of the crisis. And it’s an intergenerational injustice. And how do we then move into a situation where we can repair the harm that we’ve done?

So, what I think we’re going to need to move into is a mass debt refusal, where we say we’re not going to pay the debts that we have, and some of us with some privilege might take on some debts and actually give the money to people at the frontline of the crisis. That’s the kind of direction I’d like to see us move into.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Bradbrook, we played the clip of the German climate activist, the migrant rescue ship captain, Carola Rackete, who makes that link between immigration and climate. Since this is such a key issue all over the world, the issue of migrants and the industrial, polluting countries blocking migrants from coming in, can you talk about that link, climate refugees?

GAIL BRADBROOK: Yeah, and I think this is this issue of ecofascism. Up to one in 10 people will be on the move, without wanting to be, due to mass drought, due to places becoming too hot, due to flooding. And the idea that we can sit in our racism and close our borders is simply not going to work for us. Obviously, it’s a moral issue. Also, there will be mass migration within countries. So, in the U.K., 10% of the population will be on the move by 2050. That’s the predictions. Actually, the recent IPCC report, which was about the cryosphere and the ocean sea level rising, yet again said that things were worse than thought and that flooding events that were once every hundred years are going to move into being every single year in many locations. So there’s going to be mass migration, and that’s already happening. We’ve already seen some of that. And what we need to do is have a very compassionate approach to how we tackle that issue and how we look after a planet that is destroying places so that they become uninhabitable. And obviously, the people on that frontline, as well, who are doing the migration, tend to be the people that did the least to create this damage. And so we have a moral responsibility to take care of people.

I’m very in favor of, and I’d like to see it actually placed in some international demands — again, the movement needs a conversation about that — with the law of ecocide, which is a law that the lawyer Polly Higgins was working on, and she has a team taking it forward — she died, unfortunately, earlier this year — which would put a fifth crime against peace in at the Rome Statutes level, at the U.N. level. And what that would do would be to criminalize mass damage and destruction of the environment, so many of these damaging actions that are happening in indigenous lands and elsewhere, created by corporations, would literally be criminal.

And then, secondly, what that law also does is it bakes in the insistence that there’s a repair of the harm that happens, which includes compensating people, finding homes for people. And actually, in order to do this repairing of the harm, that needs to happen, you’ve got Sir David King, the former chief scientist of the U.K., who’s setting up a climate repair center and saying that, actually, we can’t even go to one-and-a-half degrees C. You know, the ice is already melting. We’re already over 410 parts per million. What really needs to happen is we have to go into drawdown. We have to be bringing carbon out of the atmosphere, and we can’t wait for these magical technologies that are somehow going to suck the carbon out of the atmosphere in the future and mean we can do business as usual. And so, what we have to do, what we’re going to need to do, is really work with nature to repair the climate. And that’s also going to tackle this evil twin or evil triplet, you know, of biodiversity loss. We’ve got the evil twin of ocean acidification and how we’re wrecking our oceans. All of this has got to be cleaned up.

And what that means is we need, like, a lot of human labor. So, humanity has to rise up in a really beautiful way and tend to the damage that we’ve done. And that needs all of us, and it needs all of us together in the places of the Earth that’s going to sustain life, working together to rewild areas, to restore ecosystems, to clean up the rivers, to plant trees, you know, to basically sort the plastic out in the ocean and so on. And I actually think that there’s so many beautiful innovations out there, and humanity could do that together. And it needs all of us. And, for me, this is part of reweaving a human family back together again. It’s part of dealing with systemic racism, white supremacy and the wounds of patriarchy that want to separate us, make us feel powerless and, you know, destroy our togetherness and make us think that the whole planet is kind of scarce, when actually nature is abundant and it replenishes itself.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I’d like to ask you about those who — your response to those critics who agree with the goals of Extinction Rebellion but oppose your tactics. For instance, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she supports the right to protest, but, quote, “Blocking people from being able to go and do their day-to-day job doesn’t necessarily take us any closer to the climate action they are calling for.” London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has said something similar. Your response?

GAIL BRADBROOK: Well, when you look at the results of the protests, if you look at the graphs of how much people are talking about the ecological crisis, it absolutely spikes when the protests happen. So, there’s like two data points here. One is how many people are active in our social movement. And we know from the research of Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan that you need between 1 and 3.4% of the population to come together and to be willing to support people to get on the streets and be on the streets themselves. And that, by the way, means that people can be part of Extinction Rebellion without being willing to get arrested, because it’s not right for everybody, for many people. They might have caring duties. We can’t guarantee that black people will be treated in the same way as white people and so on. So, this is a movement for everybody. There is a space for everybody.

Now, that doesn’t mean that everybody likes our tactics. And people don’t have to like us in order to start talking about the crisis. What happens if you stand passively by the side of the road with a placard saying, you know, “Stop climate change” is you just get ignored. When you get on the street and block it, people start to have a conversation about this existential situation that we’re in. When we say “existential threat,” what we mean is we’re in an apocalyptic situation. You have to use biblical language to talk about what it means to be in a sixth mass extinction event. And that’s the only way to get that information over to people — that I understand, anyway — is to be disruptive.

And when people say, “Well, we agree with your message, but we don’t like how you’re doing it,” my general answer is, like, “If you’ve got a better plan, tell us.” Because, literally, we’ve tried all the other stuff — writing to our MPs and our politicians and doing petitions and going on marches. I don’t see what else there is, other than getting on the streets.

And frankly, as this crisis worsens and we face things like food shortages — you know, the academic term actually is “multi-breadbasket failure,” when across the planet either droughts or floods mean that the farms can no longer produce enough food. When we’re facing that, and, literally, people are fighting over tins of beans in the supermarket, people are going to wonder why more of us weren’t on these streets in these times, when there was still the possibility of two things. One is making the harm less. The other is, you know, starting to repair the harm.

And the other thing that we have to do is professor Jem Bendell’s agenda, which is to start to adapt to the conditions that are going to meet us and are going to meet our children in the future. We have to start planning for, for example, the flooding of nuclear power stations and what that means, planning for localizing food systems and food crises and that kind of thing.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Bradbrook, we just have 10 seconds. Your response to your prime minister, Boris Johnson, calling you “uncooperative crusties”?

GAIL BRADBROOK: I’m sending him a lot of love. He actually met some Extinction Rebellion people recently, who sang to him a Taizé song about listen to your heart, let love lead the way. And he actually started to cry and to shake. So, I don’t think anyone is beyond redemption. His father is interested in ecological crises, as well. So, we have to reach out to everybody and say, “Join us, because you know this is real. Stop messing about, Boris, and get on the streets with us.” Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Gail Bradbrook, we want to thank you for being with us, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, speaking to us from London, England.

SMILE

Bring a smile

Lend an ear

Share a word

Of faith and cheer

David Herr

09.10.2019 – UNITED NATIONS – UN News Centre

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary
Nadezhda Petrova (centre), Vice-Director of the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow shows an attache case containing pages of Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace at Geneva airport. (Image by UN News/Daniel Johnson)

For the first time, part of the original manuscript of Tolstoy’s epic novel, War and Peace, has been unveiled amid tight security in Geneva, where it is the highlight of an exhibition helping to mark 100 years of cooperation between nations.

The precious cargo, which is widely regarded as one of the finest novels ever written on humankind’s conflicting desires to fight and live together, arrived late last week at the city’s international airport from Moscow.

Masked and heavily armed Swiss army soldiers clad in black, met the Swiss flight, as Tolstoy Museum Vice-Director Nadezhda Petrova emerged from the jet, clutching a metal briefcase containing six pages of the opus.

Because of the different humidity levels in Moscow and Geneva, they would have to remain out of sight for a little while longer, Mrs. Petrova explained.

UN Geneva

@UNGeneva

For the first time, a small part of Leo Tolstoy’s epic tale ‘War And Peace’ has left Russia. Six pages are now in Geneva, a highlight of an exhibition at Fondation Martin Bodmer, co-sponsored by @UNGeneva and @ICRC@euronews reports: https://is.gd/Iat8Cx 

View image on Twitter

The Russian VIP was then escorted around the lake in an armed convoy to Fondation Martin Bodmer, where one of three exhibitions is taking place to mark the centenary of multilateralism in the Swiss city. It is something that the author would have likely supported, she told journalists.

“Tolstoy was always against violence,” she said. “So, he was always against war. I think he would probably always call for peace. And that all the issues, all the problems were solved only by peaceful means – through negotiations.”

Taking pride of place in the “Guerre Et La Paix” (War and Peace) exhibition, the Tolstoy passage covers the period just before the Battle of Borodino in September 1812, between Napoleon’s troops, and their Russian counterparts, believed to number around 250,000 in all.

“So these draft pages, written between 1864 and 1869, have left Russia for the first time, and it’s the first time they have left the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow too,” explained Jacques Berchtold, Director of Fondation Martin Bodmer.

Although the fighting causing tens of thousands of casualties and cleared the way for Napoleon to march on Moscow, it famously proved to be an ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

It was the futility and barbarity of conflicts like this that Tolstoy wanted to describe in detail as a warning to others in book three of the more than 1,000-page epic, Mr. Berchtold insisted.

“We have chosen a conversation that’s particularly intense and dramatic, between the protagonist of the book, who’s the Count Pierre (Bézoukhov) and one of his best friends, who’s an officer in the Russian army, and who’s going to fight Napoleon in the Battle of Borodino”, he said. “And just before this battle, the Count – the Prince Andrej – who is himself an officer, speaks with utter desolation. He says very clearly that the war cannot be compared at all to a game of chess, that war is a totally dirty, detestable affair.”

Although more than 200 years separate the world of War and Peace from our own, Tolstoy’s preoccupation with the human condition – and his support for pacificism – remains relevant today, said Pierre Hazan, human rights expert and one of the driving forces behind “Guerre et La Paix”.

“The world of Tolstoy is obviously radically different to ours; but what’s at stake is the same, the need for concord, the need for discussion, the need for multilateralism, the need for dialogue between different cultures, so yes, it’s essential that Tolstoy is part of this period of reflection today.”

This re-examination of the need for international cooperation is taken up elsewhere in Geneva, in exhibitions at the United Nations and at the International Committee of the Red Cross – where Martin Bodmer was Vice-President between 1947 and 1964.

The link between Tolstoy’s writings and a wider wish by some nations to tackle the enduring horror and constant threat of war, is clear, Mr. Berchtold insisted, pointing to co-founder of the Red Cross, Henri Dunant.

“The same year that he wrote War And Peace, Henry Dunant chose to show another war happening at the same time: the Battle of Solferino, between the French and Austrians, in Italy,” he said.

“Dunant shows, a bit like Tolstoy, a war that’s directly contemporaneous, the atrocities, the dying, the war-wounded whose agony is interminable”.

I think he would probably always call for peace. And that all the issues, all the problems were solved only by peaceful means;  through negotiations – Tolstoy Museum Vice-Director, Nadezhda Petrova

At the UN in Geneva, an exhibition on the evolution of 20th century international cooperation through the eyes of the League of Nations and the United Nations shows that while the jury is still out on exactly what multilateralism has meant in the past, and what it means today, the international community can still make a collectively positive difference.

Just after the First World War, when the League of Nations was founded, “at that time in history the Member States were not really ready to renounce war as a means for conducting foreign policy”, explained Stefan Vukotic, Chief of the Archives Management Unit in the Institutional Memory Section at the UN Library in Geneva. “It became clear after a while that this mission of the League of Nations was not going to be as successful as they had originally envisaged, so they focused more on the technical side of cooperation, so the League did wonderful things in this respect that were later taken over completely by the UN”, he said, citing for example the standardization of vaccines and medicines,

Maintaining that the United Nations “learned the lessons” of the League of Nations’ failure to prevent the Second World War, Mr. Vukotic pointed out that the founding Charter of 1945, explicitly prohibited war as a means of conducting foreign policy, except in exceptional circumstances. “The League’s Covenant didn’t explicitly prohibit war, it just asked Member States to refrain from war whenever possible.” he said.

PRAY

God is never

Far way

In that moment

We pause to pray

David Herr

07.10.2019 – London UK – Silvia Swinden

“Unprecedented’ rise in infant mortality in England linked to poverty
(Image by Ernest F – Own work, Wikimedia Commons)

Science Daily reports “New study, published in BMJ Open, links a rise in infant mortality in England to poverty.”

The research was carried out because “Infant mortality rate (IMR) has risen for the last four years in England, yet the role of increasing levels of child poverty in explaining these trends has been unclear… Given the urgent need to understand this extremely concerning trend in England researchers from the University of Liverpool, University of Leeds and Newcastle University conducted an analysis of trends in infant mortality in English local authorities over a 17-year period, 2000-2017 with the aim of providing an explanation for this rise.”

“…The researchers found that sustained and unprecedented rise in infant mortality in England from 2014-2017 was not experienced evenly across the population. In the most deprived local authorities, the previously declining trend in infant mortality reversed and mortality rose, leading to an additional 24 infant deaths per 100,000 live births per year, relative to the previous trend.

“There was no significant change from the pre-existing trend in the most affluent local authorities. As a result, inequalities in infant mortality increased, with the gap between the most and the least deprived local authority areas widening by 52 deaths per 100,000 births. Overall from 2014-2017, there were a total of 572 excess infant deaths compared to what would have been expected based on historical trends. The researchers estimate that each 1% increase in child poverty was significantly associated with an extra 5.8 infant deaths per 100,000 live births.

“The findings suggest that about a third of the increases in infant mortality between 2014 and 2017 may be attributed to rising child poverty, equivalent to an extra 172 infant deaths.

”Professor David Taylor-Robinson, the lead author on the research, University of Liverpool, said: “This study provides evidence that the unprecedented rise in infant mortality disproportionately affected the poorest areas of the country, leaving the more affluent areas unaffected.”

The fact that infant deaths are linked to poverty is not surprising. What is important in this research is that it follows the actual increase in specific areas whilst the most affluent ones remain unaffected.

Pressenza reported last year that “The UK government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity, the United Nations poverty envoy has found.

“Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that levels of child poverty were “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”, even though the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy” He concluded “in the UK “poverty is a political choice”. The Guardian

The effects on infant mortality are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the consequences of the draconian austerity imposed through neoliberal policies on the UK population whilst the better off continue to increase their wealth.

The success in scapegoating groups and institutions that are unrelated to the imposed trends (immigrants, Europe) speak of a media at the service of the financial powers that design the policies. It is not a matter of being more comfortable or enjoying better consumer goods, we can see clearly that austerity, the favourite child of neoliberalism, kills children. Other studies also show that it affects life expectancy.

Unfortunately at the time of elections information gets manipulated to make all kinds of promises that prove to be fake. Circulating widely verifiable and clear information is now more important than ever.

GOD’S LOVE

Sharing God’s love

Doesn’t take much

Just a kind word

Or gentle touch

David Herr

05.10.2019 – Countercurrents

Ambitious Turkish plan to resettle two million displaced Syrians

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Turkey has an ambitious plan to settle two million displaced Syrians in a 30 kilometer wide safe zone in northern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyi  Erdogan unveiled the plan at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly last month.

“Our aim is to settle 2 million Syrians, with the support of the international community, by providing a peace corridor of 30 kilometers deep and 480 kilometers long in the first phase,” the president had said.

Erdoğan offered to extend the safe zone to the Deir ez-Zor-Raqqa line and said that by doing so, even 3 million displaced Syrians can be resettled in the planned zone.

“We can take Syrians from tent, container cities and settle them in here, with U.S., coalition powers, Russia and Iran,” he said.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.

Resettlement plan

The settlement area Turkey proposes includes 140 villages and 10 districts. Each village is planned to host 5,000 Syrians while each district will have a population of 30,000, according to Turkish Daily News.

The villages will contain about 1,000 residences, including houses and barns. The houses will be 100-square-meters large. Two mosques, two schools, a youth center, and a closed gym will also be included.

Every household in the villages will also receive agricultural land with respect to the size of the area.

The districts, on the other hand, will have 6,000 residences, a central mosque, as well as 10 mosques for neighborhoods, eight schools, a high school, two closed gyms, five youth centers, a small stadium, a football field, two hospitals, and an industrial estate.

For the planned resettlement areas to actualize, about 92.6 million square meters of land is needed.

Some 140-million square meters are also needed for the agricultural land distribution.

A total of 200,000 residences will be constructed with respect to the plan, which will cost nearly $26.4 billion for the settlement of 1 million displaced Syrians, according to the Turkish Daily News.

Turkey-US agree on safe zone

Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed on Aug. 7 to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home.

If there is stalling or a delay in the process to set up a safe zone in northern Syria, Turkey is ready to single-handedly take the reins, Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar said Wednesday.

“We made our preparations. When necessary, we can take matters into our own hands,” Hulusi Akar said at an opening ceremony for the fall term of Istanbul’s National Defense University.

“We find it necessary to establish a safe zone, a peace corridor, free of heavy weapons and terrorists along the border some 30-40 kilometers deep into Syria, east of the Euphrates River,” said Akar.

The 30-kilometer wide area includes the settlements of Jarabulus, Manbij, Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), Tal Abyad, Suluk, Ras al-Ayn, Darbasiyah, Amude, Qamishli and al-Malikiyah, the Turkish daily reported.

The settlements — except for Jarabulus, which was cleared of terrorists by Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016-2017 — are currently occupied by Kurdish Militia (YPG) /  Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to Turkish media.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the E.U. and the U.S. YPG is the PKK’s Syrian branch.

The Turkish Daily News said since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

Jerusalem Post

Commenting on the Turkish plan, the Jerusalem Post wrote: If Turkey succeeds it will have created one of the most lavish housing projects in the Middle East, with more modern facilities than people enjoy per capita anywhere else in the region, making northeast Syria one of the wealthiest and most well organized centers of the region. Potentially this will mean most Syrians from all over Syria, a country devastated by war where 500,000 have been killed and millions displaced, will all want to flock to the new housing projects.


Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@)gmail.com

04.10.2019 – David Swanson

This post is also available in: Italian

Italy Should Make Friends with the U.S. Public and the World By Kicking Out the U.S. Military

By David Swanson

In the late 1980s when I was a teenager and an exchange student in Bassano del Grappa I loved Italy for the same reasons I’ve loved it ever since, reasons that include natural and human-created and human beauty. I found Italians on average to be friendly, kind, generous, loving, fun-loving, humble, self-critical, and intelligent. It may have also helped a little that when I told other young people that I was from the U.S. they typically thought that was super cool. Older people told me that the United States had saved Italy from Nazism.

I didn’t know enough to point out that the U.S. government and U.S. elites had fueled the rise of Nazism which had drawn on Wall Street funding, U.S. segregation laws, U.S. eugenics programs, U.S. camps for Native Americans, and the support of the U.S. government. I didn’t know enough to point out that the notion of the United States as savior was being kept alive by the failure of the U.S. troops to ever leave Italy, but that they were in Italy for the purpose of aggressively attacking other countries for reasons that were anything but rescuing people from Nazism. I didn’t know that the U.S. government had considered Russia a threat to extreme wealth, inequality, and global domination, and had viewed the Soviet Union as the primary enemy right through the rise of Nazism and Fascism, right through the war, and following.

I didn’t know the U.S. left troops and saboteurs and spies behind, interfered in Italian politics, and viewed Italy from Day 1 (day 1 in U.S. culture is Pearl Harbor Day) as a piece of an empire to be imposed in the name of anti-imperialism.

I had no clue that there was more than one way for a people to be saved or to save itself. I had attended the best schools the United States had to offer, and nobody had told me that nonviolent campaigns had overthrown tyranny and even foreign occupations more successfully than violent campaigns. If Italy had been saved in some ancient time that I knew nothing of, and if that somehow explained why it was normal for there to be U.S. troops in Vicenza, who was I to question?

I made friends with one of those U.S. troops, skipped school, and went skiing with him. He was quite a nice guy, nothing violent about him. Nobody told me what the U.S. military did, that it illegally kept nuclear weapons in Italy, that it poisoned Sardinia practicing mass murder, that flying airplanes into ski lifts was not a price to be paid for something necessary but a price to be paid for something sociopathic. Italians told me that the most offensive thing U.S. troops did was wear blue jeans to go skiing.

I’d never heard of Evian, France, not far from Italy and the site of one of the conferences at which the governments of the world publicly and shamelessly decided not to accept the Jews out of Germany.

I’d never heard of Veterans For Peace or one of the heroes of that group, Smedley Butler. Here was the most decorated U.S. Marine there had ever been, a famous model general, a hero to all war lovers and all veterans, who was imprisoned for having publicly stated that Benito Mussolini ran over a little girl with his car and made some casual remark about only looking forward as he sped on. Speaking badly of Mussolini was bad for U.S.-Italian relations. The U.S. government loved Mussolini. So, Smedley was locked up. But later, the wealthiest people in the United States tried to hire Smedley to lead a fascist coup against President Roosevelt. Historians think it might have succeeded, except that Smedley went to Congress and exposed the plot. He also denounced war and his own career as a criminal racket.

Years later, when I did know a tiny bit of what I should have, I visited Vicenza to participate in protests against base expansion. I also met with U.S. Congress members in Washington together with Cinzia Bottene and Thea Valentina Garbellin, two of the leaders of the No Dal Molin resistance to the bases. I remember the Congress members and staffers wanting only to ask one question: If not in Vicenza, then where should we put a base? And Thea and Cinzia, to their eternal credit, answered: Nowhere! — which was far more polite than where I wanted to tell them to stick it.

U.S. and NATO bases are not helping Italy. They’re not protecting Italy from . . . well, from what? They have no enemy. The United States spends half of the world’s military spending. The other NATO nations are badgered by Donald Trump into spending another quarter. That’s three-quarters of world military spending. NATO nations also account for some three-quarters of foreign weapons sales. The regions of the globe with most of the wars manufacture almost no weapons. The United States sells weapons to 73% of the nations that it considers dictatorships, and trains most of them. U.S. and NATO wars generate enemies. And yet, when you watch U.S. officials try to explain to Congress why they need over $1 trillion to fight their enemies, the results are comical. Russia spends a few percent of what NATO does on war. A recent drone attack on a Saudi oil plant, which was apparently far more serious than the bombing of human beings in Yemen, cost less than the student debt of a single U.S. college student, and could not have happened without the U.S.-led creation of drone wars and the U.S.-backed genocidal assault on Yemen.

So, Congress members shamelessly claim that expanding NATO to Russia’s border is a jobs program for weapons jobs in the United States. Jack Matlock said this to Vladimir Putin who looked at him like he was crazy. And U.S. military officials anonymously admit to U.S. newspapers that the whole new cold war is driven by the desire to keep NATO and the Army rolling along and weapons profits flowing, even though economists will tell you that war spending is the worst possible thing for an economy.

NATO has now illegally and disastrously bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya, exacerbated tensions with Russia, and increased the risk of nuclear apocalypse. But U.S. media tells us NATO is a way to cooperate with our friends in Europe, as if there are no nonviolent ways to cooperate with anyone — and that NATO is a way to legalize wars, as if a crime is not a crime when you get a gang together for it. And the mental disease called militarism has taken such root in Europe that plans are developing for a European military. The solution to NATO is not to clone it.

The case that we make at World BEYOND War is that, not only can no war be justified on its own, but no war can achieve the infinitely higher mark of justifying the existence of the institution of war. Three percent of U.S. military spending could end starvation globally; a little over 1 percent could end the lack of clean drinking water. A bit larger slice of military spending could put up a serious, and hardly dreamed of, effort to reduce the environmental catastrophe we are facing. Tiny bits of the military budget in humanitarian aid could make a nation loved and honored around the world rather than resented. War is a top cause of environmental destruction, of refugee crises, of the erosion of civil liberties, of the militarization of police and culture, of racism and xenophobia, of the risk of nuclear apocalypse.

By building a coalition that takes on war and all of the other evils it contributes to, we can find the numbers and the power to change things. This is why many of us risked arrest to shut down Washington for the climate on September 23rd.

World BEYOND War is working on three areas. One is education. We talk to college classes, and in less than an hour virtually every student is moved to drop the common belief that sometimes war is justified. Another is divestment. We’re getting local governments and universities and investment funds to take money out of weapons. The third is closing bases.

I believe that Italy should make friends with the U.S. public and the people of the world by kicking U.S. bases out. I recommend showing widely the video by CNGNN called “Italy is One Big U.S./NATO Military Base.” Second, let everyone in the United States know how much they’re paying for the bases, troops, weapons, and related wars. Tell them you want to save them money. They love money. Third, do everything you can to annoy Donald Trump and push him to demand that Italy pay higher fees for the privilege of being occupied by U.S. bases. Fourth, investigate the poisoning of drinking water near each U.S. base for carcinogenic permanent chemicals that kill forever, and which have sickened and killed people around U.S. bases all over the world. These chemicals are found in foam used to practice putting out fires, and much of the world uses safe alternatives. Fifth, make sure every person in Italy knows what they are paying, and knows that the United States can fight its wars without Italian bases or any foreign bases because it has airplanes, and knows that the United States views Italy as a colony, and knows that the United States builds its bases and poisons the environment without conceding any rights to Italians, and knows that Donald Trump thinks they are idiots, and knows that millions of people in the United States would be thrilled if Italy declared itself a peaceful and neutral nation.

By the way, a law passed by the U.S. House but not yet by the Senate would require that every foreign U.S. base be justified as somehow making the United States safer. So please start preparing reports on every base that does NOT make the U.S. more “secure.”

I’m on my way this week to World BEYOND War’s annual conference which is in Ireland this year near an airport that the U.S. military sends troops and weapons through purely in order to involve Ireland in its wars. We’re working to end that practice and establish Ireland as a model of neutrality.

I’m going to pass around a two-sentence pledge to help end all war that has been signed in 175 countries and is found at worldbeyondwar.org Please sign it if you agree with it. Perhaps one of these years we can have our conference and rally in Italy.

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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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