Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Taking on the government and armies of Britain without any weapon but a love for justice, Janet Jagan and her husband, Cheddi Jagan, rescued a nation built on slavery.
Janet Rosenberg was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 20, 1920. After high school, she attended Wayne State University and the Cook County Nursing School. In 1942, she met Cheddi Jagan at a party hosted by a mutual friend. He was a Guyanese dentistry student at Northwestern University whose grandparents had immigrated to Guyana from India. Both were involved in radical politics, and they married the following year against the objections of her family.
After Cheddi's visa expired in 1943, he returned to Guyana (then British Guiana). Janet followed soon after. Cheddi set up a dental surgery practice, with Janet working as his assistant. The couple quickly became involved with local politics and the Guyanese labor struggle, and Janet became a member of Guyana's first union, working with labor leader Hubert Critchlow to organize domestic workers to strike for labor rights. Janet's early political work in Guyana also included co-founding the Women's Political and Economic Organization and the Political Affairs Committee in 1946. The couple's first child, Cheddi Jagan, Jr., was born in 1949.
In 1950, Janet co-founded the People's Progressive Party (PPP) with Cheddi and trade union leaders Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard. The PPP was Guyana's first multi-racial political party. In addition to serving as the party's general secretary, Janet was also the first woman to be elected to the Georgetown City Council. Three years later, Janet was elected to the House of Assembly as the deputy speaker. American newspapers dubbed her the "second Eva Peron." Janet sent a Western Union telegram to her parents that read, "Cheddi, myself and Party won overwhelming victory."
The 1953 elections in Guyana were the country's first under universal suffrage. Although voters elected Cheddi as their chief minister, the British, fearful of the first Marxist leaders in the Western Hemisphere, ousted the PPP from office after only 133 days. In 1955, following the birth of Cheddi and Janet's second child, Nadira, the couple was jailed as political prisoners.
The 1957 elections once again elected Cheddi as chief minister, and Janet as Guyana's minister of labor, health and housing. Among her accomplishments were establishing health centers, maternity and child welfare clinics and improving wage and work conditions. Although the PPP was in office during this time, the party's power was minimal, as the British still controlled the country's government. In 1963, Janet became minister of home affairs, a post she later quit out of frustration over British control.
The early 1960s were turbulent times in Guyana, both economically and politically. In 1962, rioters tried to force the PPP out of office, and the American government continued to instigate unrest that led to the 1964 "reign of terror," which uprooted, killed and injured thousands of Guyanese. When bombs were planted at PPP headquarters, Cheddi and Janet decided to send their daughter Nadira to live in the United States, and Janet was forced to keep a low profile. As she explained in THUNDER IN GUYANA, "In the '60s I could not be seen for years. I couldn't be seen or they would start attacking, burning, killing. I had to just lie low for a long time."
Guyana finally won independence from the British in 1966, but by this time the PPP's government had been replaced by the People's National Congress (PNC), led by Forbes Burnham, a former PPP chairman who had since split with Cheddi and Janet. During Burnham's 25-plus years in office, Guyana accumulated the worst foreign debt in the hemisphere and banned open elections. By the 1980s, half of Guyana's population had fled the country. Janet continued her political work, editing the PPP-backed newspaper the Mirror and writing several children's books about Guyana's struggle for independence, and was elected opposition member of Parliament in 1973, 1980 and 1985.
In 1992, Guyana held its first free and fair elections in almost three decades, and with her husband elected president, Janet became the country's first lady. In 1997, after Cheddi's death, she became Guyana's first woman president and commander-in-chief. After resigning for health reasons in 1999, she still continues to work in her office at party headquarters each day.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
He was the man who saved the world by single-handedly averting World War Three five decades ago, yet he died humiliated, outcast and an unknown. Only now has his story has come to light.
A documentary shown tonight told how for 13 days during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, the world held its breath as the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. stood on the brink of nuclear war.
At the height of the Cold War, when paranoia on both sides meant the slightest provocation could spark nuclear war, four submarines secretly set sail from Russia to communist Cuba.
Averted war: Vasili Arkhipoy (pictured left, and right aboard a submarine), saved the world by single-handedly averting World War Three with one decision 50 years ago, yet he died humiliated, outcast and an unknown.
Only a handful of the submariners on board knew that their ships carried nuclear weapons, each with the strength of the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.
Vasili Arkhipov, aboard the sub B59, was one of them. As his craft neared Cuba, U.S. helicopters, aeroplanes and battleships were scouring the ocean for Russian subs.
'At that period of time it was called "special weapon", not "nuclear torpedo",' said Viktor Mikhailov, junior navigator on Sub B-59. 'At that time we couldn't even imagine a nuclear torpedo.'
In a game of high stakes cat and mouse it wasn't long before the Russians were spotted. Arkhipov's sub was forced to make an emergency dive.
Remembered: Arkhipov is pictured left with his wife Olga in 1957, and right with his daughter Yelena, three years before he died in 1998
For 13 days during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, the world held its breath as the USSR and the U.S. stood on the brink of nuclear war.
Tense: As the submariners tried to stay hidden from their US hunters, conditions in the sub deteriorated. For a week they stayed underwater, in sweltering 60C heat, rationed to just one glass of water a day.
'Basically what we were trying to do was apply passive torture. Frankly I don't think we felt any sympathy for them at all. They were the enemy'
Gary Slaughter, USS Cony signalman.
Above them, the U.S. navy were 'hunting by exhaustion' - trying to force the Soviet sub to come to the surface to recharge its batteries.
They had no idea that on board the submarines were weapons capable of destroying the entire American fleet.
Gary Slaughter, a signalman on board the USS Cony battleship, said: 'We knew they were probably having trouble breathing. It was hot as hell in there, they were miserable.
Mr President: John F. Kennedy was in office in the U.S. between 1961 and 1963, at the height of the crisis
Tense: The documentary recreated the dramatic moment when Soviet sailors decided not to fire the weapon.
'They were cramped together and they had been under great stress for a long time. Basically what we were trying to do was apply passive torture.
'They said that the person who prevented a nuclear war was the Russian submariner Vasili Arkhipov. I was proud and I am proud of my husband always'
Olga Arkipov, widow of Vasili Arkhipov
'Frankly I don't think we felt any sympathy for them at all. They were the enemy.'
The Americans decided to ratchet up the pressure, and dropped warning grenades into the sea. Inside the sub, the Soviet submariners thought they were under attack.
Valentin Savitsky, the captain of B59, was convinced the nuclear war had already started.
He demanded that the submariners launch their torpedo to save some of Russia's pride.
The programme on Channel 5 revealed how in any normal circumstances Savitsky's orders would have been followed, and World War Three would have been unleashed.
'Close friend': Ryurik Ketov, commander of Sub B-4, said Arkhipov was 'cool-headed' and 'in control'
Memories: Viktor Mikhailov, junior navigator on Sub B-59, said they had a 'special weapon' on board, which was not even referred to as a 'nuclear weapon'
Ryurik Ketov, commander of another sub, Sub B-4, said: 'Vasili Arkhipov was a submariner and a close friend of mine. He was a family friend. He stood out for being cool-headed. He was in control.'
'One of the Russian admirals told the submariners: "It would have been better if you'd gone down with your ship". Extraordinary'
Thomas Blanton, historian
Savitsky hadn't counted on Arkhipov. As commander of the fleet, Arkhipov had the last veto. And although his men were against him, he insisted that they must not fire - and instead surrender.
It was a humiliating move - but one that saved the world. The Soviet submariners were forced to return to their native Russia, where they were given the opposite of a hero's welcome.
Historian Thomas Blanton told the Sun: 'What heroism, what duty, they fulfilled to go halfway across the world and come back, and survive.
Covert mission: In a game of high stakes cat and mouse it wasn't long before the Russian's were spotted
Proud: Arkopov's widow Olga said: 'I was proud and I am proud of my husband, always'
'But in fact, one of the Russian admirals told the submariners; "It would have been better if you'd gone down with your ship." Extraordinary.'
Four decades passed before the story of what really happened on the B59 sub was discovered. It was after Arkipov had died in 1998 from radiation poisoning.
'They said that the person who prevented a nuclear war was the Russian submariner Vasili Arkhipov. I was proud and I am proud of my husband always.'
PUBLISHED: 25-26 September 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
You are giving the bullies exactly what they want -
You are handing them the victory.
You are showing the bullies that they are right,
And leaving everyone with the memory
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
On July 7, 2010, Diodora Hernandez, a staunch anti-mining activist, was shot point-blank on the right eye outside her home in the small community of San José Nueva Esperanza – only a few meters from a fence that delimits Goldcorp's Marlin Mine. One year after her miraculous recuperation, Diodora's anti-mining stance and activism remains as steadfast as ever.
A flurry of events in mid-2010 brought international attention once again to the controversial Canadian-owned Marlin gold mine:
May 24: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the government of Guatemala to "suspend mining activity at the Marlin mine and take steps to protect the health of the surrounding indigenous communities." (1)
June 16: James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, visits San Miguel Ixtahuacán and eventually issues a report concluding that "Guatemala is currently experiencing a high degree of social unrest in connection with the natural resource extraction activities taking place in the traditional territories of indigenous peoples, which has serious impacts on indigenous peoples' rights, and threatens governance and economic development." (2)
July 7: Three weeks after Anaya's visit, Diodora Hernández is shot point blank in the face.
Exactly one year after the shooting, Diodora expresses her thoughts on the local radio station The Voice of the People: "They tried to kill me because I do not want to sell my plot of land!"
Diodora, who lost her right eye as a result of the attack, lives with her daughter María and granddaughter Olga in what now seems the ghost town of San José Nueva Esperanza.
"I am sad because most of my neighbors have sold out and left. But me, hmmm, don't you worry, I will continue on with the struggle! I am firm as a tree. Standing I am, and standing I will remain."
During 2011, two Goldcorp shareholders have presented a resolution asking the company to suspend operations at the Marlin mine. (3)
Meanwhile, on September 19, 2011, Goldcorp was removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index due to "ongoing allegations of human rights violations and evidence of environmental contamination in communities affected by Goldcorp's mining activities." (4)
"Goldcorp's removal from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index will not make a difference in the daily lives of communities in Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere who are living with long-term impacts from this company's operations," says Jennifer Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, "but this is another indication that the company can't just paper over the damage that it's doing." (5)
2010-12. Legal Case. Choc v. HudBay Minerals.
December 2nd, 2010
On September 27th, 2009, Adolfo Ich Chamán, a respected indigenous Q'eqchi' Mayan community leader and an outspoken critic of harms and rights violations caused by Canadian mining activities in his community, was hacked and shot to death by security forces employed at HudBay Minerals' Fenix Mining Project near the town of El Estor, Guatemala.
December 1st, 2010, Guatemala City: Angelica Choc, Adolfo Ich Chamán's widow, announces lawsuit brought in Canadian courts against HudBay Minerals Inc. to seek accountability for the murder of her husband.
Canadian Nickel mining company threatens to contaminate Guatemala's lake Izabal.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Looking back, we might wonder what the world might be like today if the American electorate had chosen George McGovern instead of Richard Nixon. Think about it.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
As You Like It -Act 11 - Scene V11
We are more than merely "players".
We are also directors -
We can decide
If we will play
The heroes -
Or - as most do -
Herat police say their investigation found that Gul's husband and father-in-law were not involved in her killing.
Girls and women's families sometimes abuse and kill them. In July, the Taliban executed a woman in public, justifying the killing by saying she had committed adultery.
An ancient shrine in Timbuktu is destroyed in this photo taken on July 1, 2012.
They were all U.N. World Heritage sites
Islamist militants regard such shrines as idolatrous
"They started destroying the first mausoleum's wooden door with their axes," said Ibrahim Ag Mohamed, a guide. "Then they went inside and burned the cloth covering the grave before destroying the building with picks and axes."
Opinion: Attack on Timbuktu tomb is an attack on our humanity
"The local Islamists were reinforced by between 30-40 men carrying Kalashnikovs and axes," said Sankoum Sissoko, another resident. "They started destroying the mausolea and didn't finish until they had turned the tomb into rubble," he said.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Through the ages, wise individuals have dared to stand up and reach out to the powers of their time with the question that must expose the obvious truth. In the 1500's, in England, Shakespeare asked, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" In the 1870's, in America, Standing Bear extended his hand toward the judge and asked the same question.
Standing Bear's Footsteps tells the story of the Ponca Nation's exile from Nebraska to the malaria-infested plains of Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. After the banishment, to honor his dying son's last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear and his small clan set-off on a frigid, six-hundred-mile journey back to their former home. En-route, they were arrested and imprisoned at Fort Omaha for leaving the Reservation. Standing Bear and his starving band were about to be sent back to "death country" when a remarkable series of events unfolded.
A reporter from the Omaha Daily Herald * broke the story and Standing Bear was suddenly at the center of a storm of controversy. Though he spoke no English, the Chief's eloquence attracted powerful allies—including the famous army general who had arrested him. If he could prove he was a person in the eyes of the law, Standing Bear could return to his Nebraska homeland. In May of 1879, Standing Bear sued the U.S. government for his freedom. His courtroom trial ended with a plea directly to the judge: "My hand is not the same color as yours. If I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you too will feel pain. The blood that flows will be the same color. I am a man. The same God made us both."
The trial of Standing Bear sparked a national debate that also posed questions such as: Who were the Indians? Were they savages or human beings? Did they have the same rights as any immigrant? "This story turns the classic western upside down," said Joe Starita, author of I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice. "This is a man who personifies courage, perseverance, fortitude, love of family and love of homeland. The irony is not only was he not considered an American, he wasn't even considered a person."
This documentary interweaves storytellers, re-creations and present-day scenes to explore a little-known chapter in American history. "The film has much to say about present-day issues of human rights and what it means to be an American," NET Television Producer and Director Christine Lesiak said. "I was amazed to learn that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States—except the Indians. And it wasn't until 1924 that Native Americans were actually granted citizenship. This whole debate started with a father who wanted only to keep a promise."
"Today we are using the legal process to define who we are," said Judi gaiashkibos, who served as the principal consultant on the film and is the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs. "The law defines who we are as human beings, especially for Indians. People have to be empowered with the knowledge of themselves. We have to beat them at their own game. And Standing Bear was one of the first to do just that!"
* Timothy Henry Tibbles, reporter for the Omaha Daily Herald
Sunday, October 14, 2012
If you think the consequences of climate change can't be seen in action, think again. This week, photographer James Balog talks about the erosion of glaciers in Switzerland, Greenland, Iceland, and Alaska; his transformation from climate change skeptic to true believer; and what his amazing footage tells us about the state of our planet.
Most people won't get excited unless they think the danger is immediate. They expect someone else to do something.
In October, 1962, when we realized there were atomic bombs ready to strike us from Cuba, many people got serious. In the office in Montreal, Canada, where I was working at the time, men were signing up with the American Armed Forces for immediate action. We were all terrified. It was real and it was immediate. We didn't really fathom how real and how immediate. But we got the message. We felt the fear.
With melting glaciers far away, people just do not relate. They have to be hit with a bomb to get real.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I have reported all the details at http://dawnmcsweeney.blogspot.com.
Mme Isabelle Morin, députée/MP
De : Carter
Envoyé : 19 janvier 2012 12:48
À : Morin, Isabelle - Députée
What I suggest you do is contact your local MNA. For NDG that would be Kathleen Weil. Her office is located at 5252 de Maisonneuve boul. And her telephone number is 514-489-7581. For sure she can't say that this is not her jurisdiction. In the event that your MNA doesn't respect you or doesn't hear your cause, that is when maybe your MP could do something about it like calling your MNA to better understand her position.
In a message dated 06/02/2012 4:19:31 P.M. Eastern Standard
Mme Isabelle Morin, députée/MP
I am fighting for my life and for justice day and night.
Read the details world and weep for justice. In Canada, criminals are protected.
DAWN MCSWEENEY, YOGA GURU THIEF
It is all about Justice
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Attaché politique / Political attaché
Bureau de la députée de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce / Office of the MNA for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
5252 de Maisonneuve Ouest, bureau 210
Montréal (QC) H4A 3S5
DAWN MCSWEENEY AND HER PARTNERS IN CRIME