Category Archives: Africa

Somali Pirates

The Somali Pirates have a one sided portrayal in American news media – murderers and thieves that are making a mess of international shipping. Of course, the vast majority of people then get the impression that the world is full of black and white – bad pirates and innocent ship workers just trying to make an honest buck.

Like all stories, the players are far more nuanced. Somalia currently lacks a functioning government. This is an opportunity for international fishers and polluters to overfish the waters and dump toxic waste that destroys the shoreline. “The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the tsunami had washed up rusting containers of toxic waste on the shores of Puntland.” (1) Many of these pirates were originally fishermen and other people who made a living from the water. “Since the containers came ashore, hundreds of residents have fallen ill, suffering from mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments.” (1)

So what does the United States and other nations do? Cut off the incentives for most of the impoverished people to become pirates by aiding the Somali people in protecting their environment and livelihood? Of course not. The international community suggests ships hire more mercenaries and do nothing to stop vessels using the water to violate international environmental standards. Very conducive to a safe and sustainable world.

Its the same problem with terrorism. Why to people become “terrorists?” Most do it because they are illiterate, poor, and easily manipulated into taking their anger out on who ever they believe to be the cause of their family’s suffering. The U.S. coming in an trying to stop terrorism with guns would be laughable if it wasn’t tragically devastating for all parties. This Onion headline sums it up nicely: link to article.

Sources:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/10/2008109174223218644.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy_in_Somalia

The World Is Awakened

I saw this on the Daily Dish – people aren’t supporting the Libyan protests enough. US and Europe both have strong business ties there. Report from Human Rights Watch.

2011 has been unbelievable. The Middle East – Iran is to have a huge protest this Sunday. The military may be refusing to hurt the people? Bahrain is so brutal. And Libya – I need to read more about that situation.

Wisconsin! My dear Wisconsin. The teachers and workers need to keep up their strikes. Wisconsin had a budget surplus!! And then Walker came in and gave tax cuts that resulted in a deficit. Then he followed those up with this union breaking bill. I hope those teachers strike until he backs down. They have more power. If I didn’t have class tomorrow I’d be driving up there tonight. The left forgot that we need to continuously be engaged. No one voted in 2010 and this is what happens.

Two great articles clarifying just what Walker did here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Speaking of fiscal responsibility. I am 100% for fiscal responsibility. People and especially corporations should be fairly taxed. The leaders should be held accountable for spending that money right – transparency! And first priority? An educated public. Invest in education and then maybe we wouldn’t need to spend as much on entitlement programs and prisons. Is that not obvious?

Next, a truly remarkable man, Russ Feingold. He embodies the progressive spirit. He’s started a new organization, Progressives United, to fight the influx of corporate money into campaigns and elections.

When I grow up, I want to be like Russ.

I would like to rant more, but there is so much to read! We’ll be protesting budget cuts in Chicago next week. Stay tuned…

 

I didn’t know Blood Phones, Computers, and Electronics existed…

I saw this video yesterday. As I try to be a more conscious and ethical consumer, I imagine that I’ll stumble across all sorts of mundane things that fund unthinkable evils.

One of the most horrific things going on in Congo is the continued use of rape as a weapon. Women and girls are robbed of their dignity, health, and countless more immeasurable facets of life during vicious gang rapes by armed forces.

I’m really glad Raise Hope for Congo made this video to empower consumers that were unknowingly supporting rapist and murderous Congolese militias. Pass it on!