10.09.2020 – UN News Centre

UN denounces Kabul attack targeting Afghan Vice President
Morning traffic in downtown Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. (Image by UNAMA/Nasim Fekrat)

The United Nations has strongly condemned the attack, on Wednesday, in Kabul, targeting the official convoy of Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh.

The Vice President survived the attack but dozens of civilian casualties – mostly bystanders – were reported in the blast, which took place in a crowded part of the city.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres extended his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

“The Secretary-General reiterates the urgency of achieving a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the country and reaffirms the United Nations commitment to supporting the people and Government of Afghanistan in this important endeavour,” added the statement.

In a separate message on her twitter account, Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, and the head of the UN Mission in the country (UNAMA) expressed “shock” at the initial high number of civilian casualties.

“Perpetrators must face justice,” she said.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=UN_News_Centre&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1303626616552206336&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fun-denounces-kabul-attack-targeting-afghan-vice-president%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

The latest attack comes as Afghanistan prepares for the launch of direct peace negotiations. Briefing the UN Security Council last week, Ms. Lyons described the intra-Afghan talks as a historic moment to end the brutal conflict in the country.

The conflict, which has raged for four decades, has claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions over the years – most of whom have no prospects of return.

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

09.09.2020 – Los Angeles USA – Robert Hunziker

Brazil’s 63,000 Fires
Wildfires at Manuel Urbano Acre Brazil. Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Day, a day of celebration for over 100 years on September 5th has passed. Amazon Day commemorates the year 1850 creation of the Province of Amazonas, encompassing 60% of Brazil and extending into Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and French Guyana.

Meanwhile, illegal fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rage on, and on, and on stronger than ever. Nowadays, in spite of the spirit of Amazon Day, suicidal spates of lawlessness rule Brazil’s precious rainforest.

Indeed, leading scientists believe there is genuine concern that the Amazon rainforest ecosystem could collapse. Already, severe devastating drought sequences have hit every fifth year like clockwork so closely spaced together that normal regrowth does not happen. Thus, the ecosystem is inordinately weakened in the face of human-generated firestorms, further weakening this beleaguered ecosystem.

As substantiated by NASA, the rainforest doesn’t react like it used to. It does not have enough time between droughts to heal itself and regrow. Throughout all of recorded history, this has never been witnessed before, a fact that is horribly concerning and downright depressing. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science News Team, August 9, 2018)

Not only is an ecological breakdown apparent above ground, the breakdown is also found underground. Based upon current images by NASA’s GRACE satellite, the Amazon is in tenuous condition in an unprecedented state of breakdown. The GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) satellite system monitors water levels stored deep beneath the Earth’s surface. GRACE’s images detected large areas in what’s classified as “Deep Red Zones,” meaning severely constrained water levels. Nothing could be worse.

Furthermore, the peak rainy season, which runs from December to February, was among the top 10 worst on record this year, with just 75% of the season’s usual rainfall.

Additionally, and of consequential concern, the world’s two leading Amazon rainforest scientists made a startling announcement only recently: Thomas Lovejoy (George Mason University) and Carlos Nobre (University of Sao Paulo) reported: “Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.” (Source: Amazon Tipping Point: Last Chance for Action, Science Advances, Vol. 5, no. 12, December 20, 2019)

Tipping points define the equilibrium between life and death.

Furthermore, it is important for world opinion to realize that raging fires are not normal in rainforests, which contain tons of wetness, dripping moisture, and cool air. In fact, even during normal dry seasons, if a fire starts in the undergrowth, it peters out quickly because of extreme wetness throughout rainforests, a moniker that perfectly describes the ecosystem… “rain… forest.”

Not only are fires an aberration under normal conditions, but also deforestation, which brings on the fires in the first instance, is illegal, especially in Brazil. Yet, deforestation is rampant with massive fires as part of the clearing process. It’s highly probable that nearly all 63,000 fires for the current year are the result of illegal deforestation.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, it committed to eliminating all illegal deforestation — which, according to Human Rights Watch, accounts for 90 percent of all deforestation — in the Amazon by 2030.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) monitors and reports on the fires, 63,000, and still counting for the year 2020. (Source: Brazil: Alarming Number of New Forest Fires Detected Ahead of Amazon Day, Amnesty International, September 3, 2020)

The Amazon contains the world’s most precious natural heritage, teeming with the richest biodiversity on the planet, including break-thru medicinal resources, many not yet discovered, and most importantly, serving as the single most significant global climate regulator. Without the Amazon, life throughout the world turns miserable, beyond the wildest imagination, like a Stephen King horror movie.

Yet, it is burning, and it is unnecessary, and it is mostly illegal.

After all, the world can get by “just fine” without burning down the most precious resource on the planet in order to grow palm oils and soy and cotton and to raise cattle and dig for gold and oil and logging. But, the world cannot get by “just fine” with a crippled rainforest. That’s happening right now smack dab in front of the world’s eyes closed wide shut.

According to the Rainforest Alliance, Brazil’s government knowingly looks the other way. As such, President Jair Bolsonaro deflects international criticism, going so far as to say that environmental NGOs start the fires to make his administration look bad. It’s obvious that he’s reading, and likely memorized Trump’s playbook.

World leaders, like France’s Macron, have called him out in the past, but Bolsonaro merely flips ‘em the bird. He’s living proof that mean-spiritedness, as it originates via purest of ignorance, goes a long way towards deflecting criticism. For proof, the international community has done nothing substantive to stop the illegal fires.

Bolsonaro wins as the world loses.

And, abiding by the precepts of the Trump playbook, in an address to the UN, he said, “the Amazon remains pristine and virtually untouched,” claiming that Brazil is “one of the countries that protects its environment the most.” At the time of his speech, the Amazon rainforest was burning at record rates and illegal deforestation had surged by 84% following his inauguration.

In his UN speech, Bolsonaro especially heaped praise on U.S. President Donald Trump for supporting him, even as he was under fire by the international community.

Meanwhile, because of excessive global warming, climate change has turned up its intensity way-way-way beyond the models of climate scientists as registered with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). From Antarctica to the Arctic, the climate system is out-of-control, including the all-important life-supporting integrity of the Amazon Rainforest.

Sadly, the facts are indisputable based upon numerous scientific reports; the world climate system is literally coming apart at the seams as excessive usage of fossil fuels spews CO2 that blankets the atmosphere that retains more and more heat that undermines the world’s major ecosystems. Given enough time, society has an insurmountable problem, like right now.

Look to Siberia, the Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland, Australia, and the Amazon Rainforest for incontestable evidence. Meanwhile, severe droughts haunt the world from the Amazon to the Middle East (900-yr drought) to Australia (800-yr drought), throughout SE Asia to all of Central America (“the Dry Corridor”), to a 10-year mega drought-turned-desertification in central Chile to a massive 60-yr drought in Brazil, to totally dried-out to-a-crisp portions of Africa, t0 China’s Lancang River (the Danube of the East) at 100-yr low water levels in Thailand where it streams, and the list could go on and on.

In turn, eco migrant footsteps follow in kind, kindling rightwing politics throughout the world.

All of which prompts the obvious query: Will the nations of the world never seriously coordinate efforts to combat fossil fuel-generated global warming with its deadly accomplice, abrupt climate change?

Notably, it’s already started everywhere nobody lives.


08.09.2020 – US, United States – Codepink

Biden Urged to Adopt a Good Neighbor Policy Toward Latin America
(Image by Social Fragments Archive)

By Medea Benjamin and Leonardo Flores

Election season is a difficult time to develop good policies towards Latin America, since both Democrats and Republicans cater to the small, but organized, conservative factions of the Latinx community in Florida, vying for their votes. But if Biden wins the White House, there is a chance to reverse the Trump administration policies that have been devastating for Latin America, policies that punish innocent civilians through harsh economic sanctions, destabilize the region through coups and attempts at regime change, and close our borders to desperate people fleeing north in search of safety and opportunity, often as a result of U.S. security and economic policies.

The Trump administration openly calls its Latin America and Caribbean policy the “Monroe Doctrine 2.0.” The Monroe Doctrine – asserting U.S. geopolitical control over the region – served as a pretext for over 100 years of military invasions, support for military dictatorships, the training and financing of security forces involved in mass human rights violations and economic blackmail, among other horrors.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt distanced himself from this doctrine, outlining a new vision for relations in the hemisphere. His “Good Neighbor” policy temporarily ended the gunboat diplomacy that characterized U.S. foreign policy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the policy had its flaws, such as FDR’s support for the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, his administration’s failures were often the result of not adhering to the Good Neighbor principle of non-interference.

That is why over 100 organizations that work on issues related to Latin America and the Caribbean sent a letter calling for the next administration to adopt a new Good Neighbor Policy toward the region based on non-intervention, cooperation and mutual respect. Among the organizations calling for a new approach are Alianza Americas, Amazon Watch, the Americas Program, Center for International Policy, CODEPINK, Demand Progress, Global Exchange, the Latin America Working Group and Oxfam America.

The letter to the presidential candidates warns that in January 2021, the U.S. president will face a hemisphere that will not only still be reeling from the coronavirus but will also be experiencing a deep economic recession, and that the best to help is not by seeking to impose its will, but rather by adopting a broad set of reforms to reframe relations with our neighbors to the south.

First among the reforms is lifting the brutal economic sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua that are causing widespread human suffering, especially during a pandemic. These sanctions have not fulfilled their objective of regime change; the past 20 years of U.S. wars in the Middle East has taught us that U.S.-imposed regime change brings nothing but death and chaos.

Another reform is to put a stop to the hundreds of millions of dollars of police and military equipment and training that the U.S. provides Latin American and Caribbean countries each year. In many cases, such as Honduras and Colombia, U.S. funding and training have supported troops involved in corruption and egregious human rights abuses, including numerous extrajudicial killings and attacks targeting local activists and journalists. Much of this militarized “aid” is transferred in the name of the decades-long war on drugs, which has only fueled a vicious cycle of violence. The letter asserts that the “war on drugs” is a counterproductive way to deal with a US public health issue that is best addressed through decriminalization and equitable legal regulation. It also calls for scaling down US “security assistance” and arms sales, as well as the removal of US military and law enforcement personnel from the region.

The letter points out that although the U.S. public has been rightly condemning any sort of foreign interference in our own country’s elections, the U.S. government has a history of flagrant interference in the elections of our neighbors, including training political groups it favors and funding efforts to marginalize the political forces it opposes. In Venezuela, the Trump administration has gone to the extreme of anointing a legislator, Juan Guaidó, as the unelected “president” of Venezuela and putting a multi-million dollar bounty on the head of the UN-recognized president, Nicolas Maduro. The letter denounces such blatant interference and calls on the U.S. to respect the sovereignty of other nations.

The endorsing organizations also denounce U.S. intervention in domestic economic policymaking, which occurs in large part through its enormous influence within multilateral financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Inter-American Bank. In order to obtain credit lines from these institutions, governments typically have to agree to austerity measures and other policies that lead to the downsizing of welfare states and a weakening of workers’ bargaining power. Moreover, as Latin American economies are reeling from the pandemic, the U.S. must cease demanding the implementation of neoliberal models and instead support public health, education and other basic needs.

Regarding human rights, the letter notes the U.S. has a role in advocating for them across the hemisphere. However, it warns against the instrumentalization of human rights for political gain, since too often human rights violations in the U.S. or in allied countries are ignored, while violations in countries considered adversaries are magnified. It says the U.S. should focus – both at home and abroad – on the rights of historically excluded communities, including indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and migrants and refugees. It urges the United States to speak out when human rights defenders, including environmental and land rights activists and labor organizers, are in danger—a situation all too frequent in Latin America and the Caribbean today. It also calls on the U.S. to help depoliticize and strengthen existing multilateral institutions that defend human rights.

With respect to immigration, the letter insists that the next administration must undo the brutal harms of theTrump administration, but also reject the status quo of the Obama administration, which deported more people than any administration ever before and built the infrastructure for the Trump administration to carry out violent anti-immigrant policies. The next administration must hear the demands for immigrant justice, including a moratorium on all deportations; an end to mass prosecutions of individuals who cross the border; the re-establishment of asylum procedures at the border; an immediate path to citizenship for the Dreamers and for Temporary Protected Status holders; defunding the border wall; an end to the “zero-tolerance” (family separation) policy and other policies that prioritize migration-related prosecutions; and an end to private immigration detention.

As the region–and the world–anxiously awaits the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections, groups in the U.S. are gearing up for the possibility of a Biden win, and the need to push a new administration to make a positive contribution to the well-being of people throughout the hemisphere.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books on foreign policy.

Leonardo Flores is a Latin American policy expert and campaigner with CodePink.

08.09.2020 – RT

If Berlin can bring Russia’s Navalny to Charite hospital, why can’t it help Assange? German MP asks
Julian Assange (Image by Pressenza)

A German MP is calling on her government to provide medical assistance to the “seriously ill” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying that Berlin spared no effort when it came to Russian opposition figure, Alexey Navalny.

Berlin should not be supporting the US-orchestrated attack “on journalists, on press freedom and on democracy,” said Heike Haensel, the deputy head of the Left Party’s parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, as she addressed a crowd of Assange supporters outside of the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales.

Dozens of people, including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood as well as journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger, have come to the Old Baily to support the WikiLeaks founder and call for his release on Monday ahead of yet another hearing on his extradition to the US, where he could face up to 175 years in jail.

The MP also had some questions for her own government, since Berlin did not hesitate to portray itself as a defender of justice and human rights in the case of Alexey Navalny.

I ask my government: if the German government can bring the Russian [opposition figure] Alexey Navalny to the Charite hospital in Berlin, why doesn’t it make the same offer to the seriously ill Julian Assange?

Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger turned opposition activist and ardent critic of the Kremlin, felt unwell while on a plane flying over Siberia. He was promptly hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk, where doctors stabilized his condition and placed him in a medically-induced coma.

Within two days, Navalny was flown to Germany on a privately-sponsored jet after his family and supporters pressed the Omsk doctors into approving his transfer. There, he was transported to Berlin’s renowned Charite hospital in a Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) intensive care ambulance truck and officially made “the guest of the chancellor,” Angela Merkel.

However, Berlin has so far demonstrated much less interest in the fate of the WikiLeaks founder, who has spent the last 16 months in the high security Belmarsh Prison while being confined to his cell for up to 23 hours a day with no visitors allowed. The 49-year-old repeatedly complained about his deteriorating health and was subject to what the UN rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, called “prolonged psychological torture.”

Haensel has called on her government to grant Assange “political asylum in Germany or within the European Union.” As it stands, however, the WikiLeaks founder is facing another extradition trial at the US’ request on Monday.

The charges leveled against the journalist include conspiracy, vague accusations that he recruited hackers to assist him, violation of the US Espionage Act, and conspiracy to “commit computer intrusion” for allegedly trying to help ex-US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

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

07.09.2020 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Redação Rio de Janeiro

This post is also available in: SpanishGermanPortuguese

The Amazon Rainforest Asks for Help!

By Daniel Bruno Vasconcelos and Jennifer Terriaga

September 5th is the Amazon Rainforest Day, but we have nothing to celebrate on this very remarkable date. The current president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro is ruining with the greatest natural wealth of the planet, an entire ecosystem is being destroyed in favor of agribusiness and mining. The Gore Capitalism¹ is increasing. It is present in policies and not only the forest that is being devastated, indigenous and traditional communities are suffering from the necropolitics² of the current government.

Brazilian people ask for help for all nations in an attempt to save the Amazon rainforest, we cannot let this ecosystem dies. With the advancement of the destruction of the forest, climate change will increase all around the world, it is not only about Brazil, everybody will suffer from these transformations.

According to INPE/Brazil (National Institute for Space Research), in August 2020, the Amazon rainforest had about 1,500Km² deforested, an increase of 33% over the same period last year. In the last 12 months, deforestation has exceeded more than 10,000Km², which represents about 50% of the total area of the Lombardy region (Italy).

Amazon´s destruction is not just happening due to Brazilian companies, the international capital from mining and multinational companies is fueling the devastation of the Tropical Forest. Amazon´s soil is characterized by being rich in ore, mainly gold and niobium. For these reasons, illegal mining is often carried out in the region, destroying not only vegetation but also rivers and soils due to the use of mercury to gold´s extraction.

An entire ecosystem has been destroyed in the service of agribusiness. The same corporate groups that export meat and soy produced in Brazil are responsible for the destruction of the rainforest. By not consuming these products anymore, you will be helping to preserve the Amazon rainforest.

In line with the speech of the current President of Brazil, the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, does not work to protect the Amazon rainforest and the people who depend on its resources but to protect the interests of large corporations. His speech is based on the exploration of natural resources and the consequent deforestation, in favor of converting the Forest into an economic resource, exclusively.

Global action is needed, in which nations and organizations continue to reprehend and press for an end to the destruction of the rainforest. People that live in the forest ask for help immediately, the extermination has increasingly in the last two years, if there is no international action, soon everything will change, even the air you breathe! The Amazon rainforest asks for help!

¹ In Gore Capitalism (2010), the author Valencia T. Sayak explains that the term refers to extreme and explicit violence. In gore capitalism, the predatory use of bodies, founded on the spillage of unjustified blood, has its destructive peak with the expansion of the necro-empowerment of organized crime based on genocide as a business and commodity.
² Consult the work of Achille Mbembe, Necropolitics (2018) to understand the politics of death in the contemporary world.

Just kidding about the Quakerism App. Or am I? I’m holding on for some “Way Will Open” gummy bears, and an autumn seasoned with SPICE Testimony Lattes, in five (or is it six?) flavors. I’m sure they’ll all be here soon. But when will they have a potion for Zoom Burnout & a Remote Committee…

Religion? Inner Peace? Quakerism? There’s Apps or pills for all of it — A Friendly Letter

06.09.2020 – Global Voices Online

Netizens across former Yugoslavia celebrate 75 years of women’s suffrage
(Image by znaci.net. Public Domain.)

On this day in 1945 women in our country earned the right to vote for the first time. Regarding that issue, as usual, various “anticommunists” crawled from under their rocks, with the thesis that this was not so important because that year a one-party system was created which didn’t allow free elections.’And women managed to win that right—be careful not to faint—under communism’

This past August 11 marked 75 years since now-dissolved Yugoslavia’s granted women the right to vote. Human rights activists and feminists from the successor states remembered the date by sharing photos from that period on social media — and used the opportunity to advocate for equal rights.

Universal suffrage was part of the political program of Yugoslavia’s communist-led resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and its allies. It became law in 1945 following Nazi defeat, and women voted for the first time in the November parliamentary election that solidified the power of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.

Compared to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia introduced universal suffrage a bit late — Russia did in 1917, Poland in 1918, and Czechoslovakia in 1920. Communist Bulgaria and Albania also granted women the right to vote after World War II, and anti-communist Greece only did so in 1952.

In 2020, Twitter users celebrated the anniversary by sharing photos — some of them contrasting sharply with the genocidal nationalism that plagued the region both during WWII and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

Twitter user @arthurgordonpy3 shared a photo of an ethnic Albanian female activist giving a public speech on International Women’s Day in 1945. Along with the photo, they said in Macedonian:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293142601969827843&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

На денешен ден, 11 август 1945, жените се избориле за право на глас во Југославија!

Фото: Историски музеј на Југославија, Менсура Шаќири држи говор на митингот на Антифашистичкиот фронт на жените (АФЖ) по повод 8-март 1945. pic.twitter.com/RqQdQJs42b

— Duchess🏴‍ (@arthurgordonpy3) August 11, 2020

On this day, 11 August 1945, the women won the right to vote in Yugoslavia!
Photo: Historical museum of Yugoslavia, Mensura Shaqiri holding a speech at a meeting of Women’s Antifascist Front on March 8, 1945.

Some users posted photos of the women fighters who were members of the anti-fascist National Liberation Army and Yugoslav Partisan Units. The celebratory comments stressed how women earned the right to vote by actively participating in the armed struggle and the post-war reconstruction — in contrast to often-used language that implies women were “given” that right.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293145114274136064&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Na današnji dan, 11. avgusta 1945. godine, žene u Jugoslaviji izborile su se za pravo glasa. pic.twitter.com/MJXlSUYacW

— zarko bogosavljevic (@zarkobns) August 11, 2020

On this day August 11, 1945 women in Yugoslavia fought and won the right to vote! Via @voxfeminaehttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293188845828108295&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Na današnji dan 1945. godine žene u Hrvatskoj, u okviru Jugoslavije, izborile su pravo glasa!
Via @voxfeminae pic.twitter.com/NL8SduJHjS

— Divljakuša (@mogualnecu) August 11, 2020

On this day in 1945 women in Croatia, which was then part of Yugoslavia, won the right to vote! Via @voxfeminae

Others reminded the public of a rather obscure piece of historical data: The one occasion when women from Yugoslavia temporarily had the right to vote, 28 years before universal suffrage became law. That took place in some parts of Vojvodina, a province of Serbia that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.

During November 1918 in 200 polling stations on the territories of Bačka, Banat and Baranja, elections of deputies for the future Grant Popular Assembly took place, which declared joining of those territories to the Kingdom of Serbia, with women having the right to vote for the first time in [sic] European history.

The heroines

Macedonian graphic artist Zoran Cardula celebrated the anniversary by drawing attention to his artwork “The Heroines of Yugoslavia,” a series of pop art portraits of the 91 women who received the Order of National Hero, the highest military decoration in the former Yugoslavia. Cardula originally made those for International Women’s Day in 2018.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293095616525078529&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Током новембра 1918. године, у 200 изборних јединица на територији Бачке, Баната и Барање, посланици су изабрани за предстојећу Велику народну скупштину, на којој би се та подручја неопозиво придружила Краљевини Србији, а жене су имале право гласа први пут у европској историји. https://t.co/NqoJWYMvfx

— Севастократор (@Sevastokrator3) August 11, 2020

In the introduction of the collection of portraits, he wrote that his goal with the series was to reinvigorate interest in the stories of those women, fighters, “who raised their voices against the occupier, against fascism, and many of them paid their freedom with their own lives. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, they remained forgotten, even with a tendency to completely minimize their struggle.”

The portraits contain short biographies of the women fighters, including their nom de guerre and the year they received the medal.

“Heroines of Yugoslavia” by Zoran Cardula, a collection of portraits of officially esteemed female anti-fascist fighters from World War II, presented alongside their nom de guerre. Used with permission.

Cardula said on a tweet commemorating the 75th anniversary of universal suffrage:

On this day August 11, 1945 women of Yugoslavia won their right to vote. During the World War II, 600,000 women were killed overall, 110,000 women fought in the anti-fascist resistance, out of which 25,000 female fighters were killed, 40,000 were wounded, 3,000 were deemed incapable for work (had permanent disability). There were 2,000 females army officers, 3,344 received the status of veterans of 1941, and  91 were declared national heroes.

Right-wing reaction

Right-wing social media users reacted negatively, denouncing the lack of full democracy under communist rule. Many argued that the right to vote is pointless in a single-party political system. This, in turn, triggered a debate on what it means to be a democracy:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-5&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293112920675622912&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Комуњарски идиотизам иде толико далеко да говоре како су жене 45′ имале право гласа.

И ајте ви мени, молим вас, каште какву аргументацију користити са таквима?

— Брат (@srbinjelud) August 11, 2020

Tweet 1: Commie idiocy goes so far as to claim that women had the right to vote in 1945.
Please tell me what kind of arguments should one use with such people?
Tweet 2: Bro, I’m attempting to argue the whole morning, but it’s no use. I tell them nicely that in a single-party political system, voting is pointless, has no influence on anything. Some of them say that there was more democracy then.

Proponents of equal rights responded by defending the significance of the development in light of its historical context:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-6&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293186672302014470&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Na današnji dan 1945. žene su po prvi put u našoj zemlji dobile pravo glasa. S tim u vezi, normalno da su se danas povampirili razni “antikomunisti” sa tezom kako to i nije toliko značajno budući da je tada stvoren jednopartijski sistem gde slobodni izbori nisu ni postojali.

— Viktor Stamenković (@Simpo_fotelja) August 11, 2020

Ti si neznalica i ignorant. Zene su izborile pravo glasa i izjednačile se po tom pravu sa muskarcima. To je poenta. Osvojile su pravo da glasaju u sistemu ma kakav on bio. To je sustina, kapish? I to pravo su zene izborile u, pazi sad da se ne onesvestis, komunizmu 😆.

— Damir Tatalovic (@damirtatalovic) August 11, 2020

On this day in 1945 women in our country earned the right to vote for the first time. Regarding that issue, as usual, various “anticommunists” crawled from under their rocks, with the thesis that this was not so important because that year a one-party system was created which didn’t allow free elections.

You are an unknowing and ignorant person. Women won the right to vote at equal footing with men. That is the point. They won the right to vote regardless of the nature of the political system. That is the essence, understand? And women managed to win that right–be careful not to faint–under communism.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-8&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293198466118819841&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Žensko pravo glasa u Jugi nije se odnosilo samo na izbore nego i na opštu ulogu žene u društvu, institucijama i političkim strukturama tadašnje države.

— igbala skalonja (@iggyscully) August 11, 2020

Women’s right to vote in Yugoslavia didn’t only refer to elections but also on their general role in society, the state institutions and the political structures of that state.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=PressenzaIPA&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-9&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1293223183923974147&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2Fnetizens-across-former-yugoslavia-celebrate-75-years-of-womens-suffrage%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

ni ja. ako nista, to sto su se zene jugoslavije izborile za pravo glasa (i to relativno rano, ranije od mnogih) je na simbolickoj razini vazno. ali ne mogu oni animozitet prema sfrj staviti po strani ni za takve stvari.

— Em. (@matr0shka_) August 11, 2020

I don’t understand the need of some people to mansplain this. Even considering the lack of democracy, the fact that women of Yugoslavia won the right to vote (which happened relatively early, compared to many other countries) is important in a symbolic way. However some people cannot restrain their animosity towards the SFRY even when discussing issues of this kind.

Fun fact: Women in Switzerland got the right to vote in 1971. This is for [Ripley’s] Believe it or Not.

Written by Kristina Hadzi-Vasileva

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

05.09.2020 – UN News Centre

25 years after Beijing’s Women Conference, significance ‘undimmed’
(Image by UN Women India)

Exactly 25 years after the historic world conference in Beijing on the advancement and equality of women, the head of the UN gender empowerment agency declared on Friday that “its significance is undimmed”.

Looking back on the Fourth World Conference on Women in the Chinese capital, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said in a statement that “we have seen the strength and impact of collective activism grow and have been reminded of the importance of multilateralism and partnership to find common solutions to shared problems.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=UN_News_Centre&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1301886508178251776&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressenza.com%2F2020%2F09%2F25-years-after-beijings-women-conference-significance-undimmed%2F&siteScreenName=PressenzaIPA&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=500px

Defining framework for change

The deliberations of the Conference back in 1995 resulted in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – an agenda for change across 12 critical areas to realize the human rights of women and girls – whose continued relevance “cannot be overstated today”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The Platform imagined a world in which every woman and girl could exercise her freedoms and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, attend school, participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work.

A quarter of a century later, no country is even close to fully delivering on the commitments of Platform, according to a major stock-taking UN Women report.

Hard-won advances under threat

UN Women said that the anniversary represents “a wake-up call and comes at a time when the impact of the gender equality gaps is undeniable.

“Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and threatening to halt or reverse the gains of decades of collective effort – with just released new data revealing that the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line.”

The far-reaching social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the significant increases in violence against women, “threaten to reverse many of the hard-won advances made in the last 25 years to empower women and girls”, flagged the UN Women chief.

“At the same time”, she maintained “the outstanding value of women’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic is in plain sight, along with the recognition of just how much women’s work and women’s movements have sustained the world, from domestic life, the fight for human rights, to national economies”.

She pointed out that by next year, 435 million women and girls are likely to have been reduced to extreme poverty, calling on Governments, local administrations, businesses and enterprises of all sorts to “not let this happen”.

‘Reset moment’

To tackle persistent systemic barriers to equality, the UN official stressed the importance of “transformative approaches and new alliances” that engage the private sector alongside Governments and civil society.

“This is a reset moment”, upheld Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. “The economic and policy lifeboats for our struggling world must put women and children first”.

Leaders matter

The political will of leaders can make a difference.

The UN Women chief pointed to those convening at the UN General Assembly, saying that they can use their power “to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

“Our humanitarian responses to COVID-19, our economic stimulus packages, our reinventions of working life and our efforts to create solidarity across social and physical distance – these are all chances to build back better for women and girls”, she underscored.

Recipe for success

In 2019, the UN launched the global campaign Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future, which called for renewed commitment by Governments in partnership with civil society, academia and the private sector.

On 1 October there will be a High-Level Meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action convened by the President of the General Assembly where Member States can put into action their commitments toward a more gender-equal world.

“On this important anniversary, let us reaffirm the promises the world made to women and girls in 1995”, the UN Women chief asserted.

“Let us draw on the activist spirit of the Beijing Conference and commit to forging new alliances across generations and sectors to ensure we seize this opportunity for deep, systemic change for women and for the world”, she concluded.

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

04.09.2020 – Argentina – Redacción Mar del Plata

This post is also available in: SpanishFrenchPortuguese

Multiconvergence Of Global Networks: The Second Meeting And Dialogue About The Initiative

The 2nd virtual meeting entitled “Multiconvergence of Global Networks”, held on August 29, 2020, was attended by representatives of eleven international networks and took place in an atmosphere of rich exchanges. The meeting was marked by the great diversity of approaches and the unity in the common engagement for a fair, solidary, democratic, and ecological world. A beautiful connection was established between people who care about the common good, both in the general plenary held in Spanish and in the four discussion rooms by language, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French. This connection was enriched by the practices of small collective meditations at the beginning and end of the meeting, using a methodology proposed by the Humanist Movement, the network that organized the event. The tower of Babel, in which many dozens of people took part, ended with a fun collective singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, which represents the aspiration of a world without borders where people can live in dignity.

The perspective now presented for the continuity of the meeting is the exchange of information among the networks by sharing the contacts via e-mail of the people present and a new meeting on September 20 in the framework of the Viral Open Space network. There was a proposal to forward a common letter to international authorities presenting key documents of the networks present in the meeting, with the purpose of mutual strengthening. In the same way, the articulated networks will strive to get closer to other processes of convergence of global citizenship that are underway today, so that there will be a greater political impact to enforce the generous objectives of organized citizenship.

The perspective for the coming months is that other networks will take on other meetings so that we can move forward in a co-constructed process that will strengthen the networks that are already in the process, as well as others that will come.

Next, we will continue the dynamic of publishing the opinions of people representing the participating networks about the process of multi convergence, this time with the voice of Carminda Mac Lorin (Viral Open Space), Alain Caillé (Convivialism International), and Andrea Caro Gómez (FSM Economias Transformativas).

–How did you feel about this effort of articulation among the global networks?

Carminda Mac Lorin: This articulation effort fed my hopes of seeing networks that complement each other, but do not always communicate systematically, to get closer. If we want positive and lasting changes on a planetary level, bringing different perspectives closer together is fundamental – even if it represents a methodological challenge. And I must say that I am particularly enthusiastic about the experience of virtual encounters (this is also the bet of Viral Open Space). What would not have been possible only six months ago is taking shape, planetization seems to be expanding.

Alain Caillé: I felt like great news. My conviction is that we will not be able to prevent disasters of all kinds that threaten us (climate, environmental, financial, economic, social and moral) if we do not succeed in causing a radical change in global public opinion. It is a kind of moral revolution that we must carry out; and none of our networks can do it alone. It is therefore urgent to unite our forces and, for this, the form of the archipelago seems to me the best possible. A big thank you, therefore, to Débora Nunes for taking this initiative.

Andrea Caro: I think it’s important that we find time to exchange ideas, to share our realities, to grow together in humanity. The networks around the table seem to me to be promising spaces to continue to bring forth an archipelago of global citizens and to continue to foster solidarity among the peoples of the Earth in a spirit of united globality.

–What possibilities do you see for the future of this process of articulation and multi convergence among networks?

Carminda: In the current context of pandemic and exacerbated crises, this process of articulation can play an important role. It can even open moments for experimentation with methodologies and for real networking respecting particularities, and mutual recognition.

Alain: The second Manifesto of Friendship was signed by about 300 intellectuals and activists from 33 different countries. If this archipelago of global citizen networks really emerges and affirms itself, we can ask each one of them to mobilize internally and join in. I think this could quickly represent many people.

Andrea: –It seems to me that the process should bring moments of meetings that will make us continue to exchange until the WSF 2021 in Mexico so that we can continue to make cooperation emerge from there.

Carminda Mac Lorin, Alain Caillé, Andrea Caro Gómez

–What are the difficulties you encounter in such a global networking process?

Carminda: ­This process, like all the others that aspire to open spaces of approach to the various networks, presents in my opinion an important methodological challenge. How can we be together without the words of some occupying more space than others? How can we get out of the logic of competition that prevails today in most circles, even in so-called progressive initiatives? I don’t believe there is a magic solution. Instead, I believe that the search for participatory methodologies must be a path to persevere. Probably the exploration will be tortuous, we will make mistakes, then we will find ourselves exalted by the sweetness of the exchanges, we will celebrate deep and meaningful encounters, and then we will retrace our steps, with our old habits and our egos … And even then, we will have to continue, because it is this path full of paradoxes that will allow us to learn to act together.

Alain: The first difficulty is to make us understand that what penalizes us most in the face of the neoliberalism that dominates the world is the absence of a doctrine capable of superimposing itself on the great political ideologies of modernity (liberalism, socialism, communism, and anarchism, not to mention the diversity of inherited religions). These ideologies functioned as “secular religions”. That is why they were able to mobilize and channel passions. These are new passions (the passion to protect living beings and humanity) that we must create.

Andrea: The main difficulty for me is that we close ourselves off and stop working with all stakeholders, including institutions, although the rhythms are different. That is why it seems important to me to dedicate time and regularity through the Viral Open Space, for example (open space for exchange via internet in the spirit of the WSF).

–Knowing that global networks are multifaceted and not focused on a single theme, which theme do you think the network in which you participate should focus on for the joint action of global networks?

Carminda: There are so many issues that must be taken seriously, such as the situation of refugees, the dangers of nuclear energy, systemic discrimination, misinformation, populism, and fascism, just to name a few. However, I believe that the organizing collective of Viral Open Space must remain focused on building open spaces, where various people, groups and networks can feel close and learn from each other. This will allow, I hope, to multiply effective rapprochements, from local to global.

Alain: The postulate of convivialism is that the main challenge we must face (that from which all others derive) is to finally master what the Greeks call hubris, the desire for omnipotence, from which the planetary domination of financier and speculative capitalism and the insane explosion of inequalities that this entails is the most obvious expression.

Andrea: The World Social Forum on Transformative Economies is an important issue in itself, I think the vision of a political economy that does not exploit the lives of humans and that respects nature is undoubtedly one of the important levers to bring humanity together. Above all, because it is at the crossroads of its two themes that we can work on the essential foundations, the values that we want to see grow in society. The work on these founding values adopted by all will make it possible to define a territory of values. This human political community will be capable of adopting a new socio-environmental pact that can be based, for example, on the founding principles that Native American peoples call good living (“buen vivir”).

To access other articles published on this same subject, click here.

03.09.2020 – Scotland – Craig Murray

Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense
Alexei Navalny (Image by Evgeny Feldman / Novaya Gazeta)

Once Alexei Navalny was in Berlin it was only a matter of time before it was declared that he was poisoned with Novichok. The Russophobes are delighted. This of course eliminates all vestiges of doubt about what happened to the Skripals, and proves that Russia must be isolated and sanctioned to death and we must spend untold billions on weapons and security services. We must also increase domestic surveillance, crack down on dissenting online opinion. It also proves that Donald Trump is a Russian puppet and Brexit is a Russian plot.

I am going to prove beyond all doubt that I am a Russian troll by asking the question Cui Bono?, brilliantly identified by the Integrity Initiative’s Ben Nimmo as a sure sign of Russian influence.

I should state that I have no difficulty at all with the notion that a powerful oligarch or an organ of the Russian state may have tried to assassinate Navalny. He is a minor irritant, rather more famous here than in Russia, but not being a major threat does not protect you against political assassination in Russia.

What I do have difficulty with is the notion that if Putin, or other very powerful Russian actors, wanted Navalny dead, and had attacked him while he was in Siberia, he would be alive in Germany today. If Putin wanted him dead, he would be dead.

Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a “Novichok” for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from “Novichok”, accidentally according to the official narrative. “Novichok” did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.

“Novichok” is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?

Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.

Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.

Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok

There are a whole stream of utterly unbelievable points there, every single one of which you have to believe to go along with the western narrative. Personally I do not buy a single one of them, but then I am a notorious Russophile traitor.

The United States is very keen indeed to stop Germany completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany on a massive scale, sufficient for about 40% of its electricity generation. Personally I am opposed to Nord Stream 2 myself, on both environmental and strategic grounds. I would much rather Germany put its formidable industrial might into renewables and self-sufficiency. But my reasons are very different from those of the USA, which is concerned about the market for liquefied gas to Europe for US produces and for the Gulf allies of the US. Key decisions on the completion of Nord Stream 2 are now in train in Germany.

The US and Saudi Arabia have every reason to instigate a split between Germany and Russia at this time. Navalny is certainly a victim of international politics. That he is a victim of Putin I tend to doubt.

The UK state is of course currently trying to silence one small bubble of dissent by imprisoning me, so you will not have access to another minor but informed view of world events for you to consider. Yesterday I launched a renewed appeal for funds for my legal defence in the Contempt of Court action against me for my reporting of the attempted fit-up of Alex Salmond. I should be extremely grateful if you can contribute to my defence fund, or subscribe to my blog.



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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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