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Index November 2006

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Homogenization of Global Consciousness

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Linked with Jerry Mander – USA.

Published on Lapis Magazine online, 2001 , by Jerry Mander, and mentionned in wikipedia/Jerry Mander:

The Homogenization of Global Consciousness, Media, Telecommunications and Culture:

One of the main goals of economic globalization is that every place on earth should be more or less like every other place. Whether it’s the US, Europe, or once-distant places like Asia, Africa, or South America, all countries are meant to develop the same way. The same franchise fast food, the same films and music, the same jeans, shoes, and cars, the same urban landscapes, the same personal, cultural, and spiritual values. Monoculture. If you’ve traveled a lot, you’ve seen that this is rampantly happening already.

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Sister In Islam’s battle

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Linked with Zainah Anwar – Malaysia, with TAM – The American Muslim, with Women’s learning partnership WLP, and with The Sisters In Islam SIS.

Published on TUFTS e-news of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12-10-2002 – Tufts grad Zainah Anwar takes a leading role in the controversial struggle for expanded freedoms for Muslim women. Zainah Anwar refuses to wear the tudung, the scarf traditionally wrapped around Muslim women’s heads. For that matter, the Tufts graduate refuses to do a lot of things. Tired of the constrained women’s role in Muslim society, Anwar is baring her face – and leading a group calling for expanded freedoms for women under Islam.

“The solution to society’s ills does not lie in the shrouding, segregation and control of women,” Anwar told the British Broadcasting Company. Anwar – who graduated from Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – has dedicated herself to fighting against this type of “control.”

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about reducing child poverty

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Linked with Kamala Sarup – Nepal.

Published on on Peace Journalism, by Kamala Sarup, Nov. 25, 2006).
Even much effort,and money were spent reducing child poverty but the action is always relatively not effective. Among many factors the poor status of the development activities are also more responsible for the whole cause. From century children’s economic system remain unchanged in the poor countries. Poor political system, and poor programs are equally responsible. Children literacy rate is still low, infant mortality rate is still high. This is very bad signal for reducing child poverty. Other serious problem are seen in the policy area, such as in school curriculum development, and quality of education. Even there are many ways to enhance children development. Some of the important instruments are to raise children education, better hospitals and services. But existing programs are not capable to develop children status.

Today, the fight to reduce poverty will succeed only by elaborate campaigns to change our programs, a task for which we are admirably suited.

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Theatre West launches play development program

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Published in The Edmonton Journal, by Liz Nicholls, Nov. 25, 2006 – Playwrights to pitch projects blind to jury and audience. It has the whimsicality of Survivor without the ritual sadism. It has something in common with the Banff TV Festival. And nothing whatever to do with baseball.

Welcome to Pitch To Play, a new way to kick-start new plays (and new playwrights) by Workshop West’s new artistic director Michael Clark. It’s his first official act in this job, and the company’s first public appearance of the season. The idea, says Clark, is to add a public face to the theatre’s traditional specialty, play development, a rarity in these cautious times.

“After all, the full name is Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre,” he says. “We want to be a home for playwrights.” Especially new-ish ones, since pitching ‘blind,’ with a secret identity, is an idea that will appeal less to the established stars, as Clark concedes. “It’s open access for anyone, a way of levelling the playing field.(Read the whole article on above link).

… about the former Highland Village …

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Published in The Times Tribune, Scranton, PA, on Nov. 26, 2006, BY MEGAN REITER – Highland Village, but that name is changing — is located around the Tamiment Resort property and is expected to bring roughly 12,000 new residents into 49-square-mile Lehman Township, which had an population of 9,456 in 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Mr. Wolfington, president and owner of the Wolfington Companies based in West Conshohocken, says he is just contributing to the ongoing, inevitable population growth in the Poconos. “It’s a large program. It is overwhelming, probably, to some of the community members who live there,” Mr. Wolfington said. “I’m not the only developer in the Poconos. I’m just one person who’s trying to do it right. If it’s not me, it’s going to be someone else.”

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Four Indian troops, two rebels killed in Kashmir

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SRINAGAR, India, Nov 25, 2006 (Reuters) – Four Indian soldiers and two suspected Islamist militants were killed on Saturday in a fierce gunbattle in restive Kashmir, an army spokesman said. The exchange of fire between the militants and Indian troops broke out late on Friday and was still continuing in the Shopian area, 55 km (35 miles) south of Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, he said.” On a tip off, (the) army laid siege to a hideout and asked militants to surrender, the militants opened fire which resulted in an encounter,” Lieutenant-Colonel A. K. Mathur said.

A separatist revolt against Indian rule has killed more than 45,000 people since 1989 in Kashmir. But authorities say violence involving militants and Indian security forces has declined in the Himalayan region since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004.Both Islamabad and Pakistan claim the region in full and have fought two wars over it. (Read the rest of this news on reuters.com).

Writings from K.N.Pandita about the Kashmiri situation and the 350′000 Internal Deplace Persons – IDPs (Pandits) – of this conflict, about whom nobody cares since 15 years (because Pandits do not kill themselves on public places like Palestinians):

Other Kashmiri links:

Der Tabubruch der Gönül Alphan

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Ok, dieser Text ist schon etwas älter. Für viele Länder gilt aber immer noch die Frage, ist Frauengebet im öffentlichen Raum ein Menschenrecht?

Publiziert von der Berliner Zeitung online, Guenter Seufert, 24. Juli 2002 – Der türkische Religionsrat will, dass Frauen am Gebet in den Moscheen teilnehmen – eine Abgeordnete macht Ernst damit. Ausgerechnet eine Abgeordnete der Demokratischen Links-Partei von Bülent Ecevit hat im Mai in Ankara durch ihr Gebet in der Parlamentsmoschee für Wirbel gesorgt. Die Links-Partei des Ministerpräsidenten gilt als Bollwerk des Laizismus, denn außer ihr sitzen in der “Großen Türkischen Nationalversammlung” nur rechtskonservative Parteien, die auf die religiösen Gefühle ihrer Wähler Rücksicht nehmen müssen. Die Andacht der attraktiven Gönül Saray Alphan, die die weltoffene Industriestadt Manisa vertritt, hätte auch dann Kopfschütteln hervorgerufen, wenn sie es beim Besuch des Frauengebetsraums belassen hätte. Doch Alphan absolvierte die Kniefälle und Verbeugungen des Ritualgebets in der Parlamentsmoschee im Kreise der Männer, denen im türkischen Islam die Moscheen vorbehalten sind.

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Apostasy

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Linked with Eugen Drewermann – Germany.

Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt , from απο, apo, “away, apart”, στασις, stasis, “standing”) is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of one’s religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. In a technical sense, as used sometimes by sociologists without the sometimes pejorative connotations of the word, the term refers to renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to one’s former religion. One who commits apostasy is an apostate, or one who apostatises. In older Western literature, the term typically referred to baptized Christians who left their faith. Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: very few former believers call themselves apostates and they generally consider this term to be a pejorative. One of the possible reasons for this renunciation is loss of faith, another is the alleged failure of religious indoctrination and/or brainwashing.

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WEST PAPUA, the forgotten story of a people in crisis

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Linked with Paula Makabory – Indonesia, and with Agenda, Empowering Women for Gender Equity.
Published on Agenda by Rochelle Jones, without a date – Since Indonesia took over the rule of West Papua (Irian Jaya) from the Dutch colonial administration in 1963, indigenous West Papuans have endured human rights abuses, ignorance from the international community, and the destruction of their fragile ecosystems. As the situation now escalates, AWID considers the women of West Papua.

We are familiar with what happened in Timor-Leste. It took a human rights disaster for the international community to take a stand and support the East Timorese in their fight for independence from Indonesia. West Papua, it seems, is heading in the same direction. During the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’, where West Papuans were allegedly given the “choice” to decide on independence or Indonesian rule, the Indonesian authorities placed under detention any prominent West Papuans likely to protest [1].

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PAKISTAN – Afghan registration hits 343,000

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Published on IRINnews, Nov. 20, 2006 – Halfway into a 10-week exercise to register Afghans living in Pakistan, more than 343,000 Afghan refugees have now taken part after an initial slow start, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday. The process is aimed at providing millions of Afghan exiles in Pakistan with identity cards valid for three years. The campaign is to continue until the end of the year. The US $6 million exercise that began on 15 October, is a follow-up to a comprehensive Afghan census conducted in Pakistan in February and March 2005, which found more than 3 million Afghans were still living in the country. However, according to UNHCR, more than 580,000 Afghans have returned home with UN assistance since the census, leaving an estimated 2.4 million Afghans still living in Pakistan.

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Globalization and the Eradication of Poverty

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Linked with Noeleen Heyzer – USA, with Betty Reardon – USA, with What It Means to “Salvage U.S. Prestige” in Iraq, and with Human Rights as Education for Peace.

Globalization and the Eradication of Poverty“, by Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM, United Nations, December 5, 2003:

Excerpt: … “Addressing feminized poverty: Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 billion people live in abject poverty with women forming the majority of the world’s poor. Critical to efforts to eliminate this is the need to address the phenomenon of feminized poverty, which describes the differential incidence and impact of poverty on women arising from structures of inequality and discrimination that deny women equal access to power, resources and opportunities. For too long viewed solely in terms of income poverty, poverty is in fact experienced in different and multiple ways, including hunger, ill health, physical and emotional violation, degradation and lack of life choices – all of which are greatly aggravated by gender bias and unequal power relations.(see the whole long article on wfwp.org).

Netherlands Plans Public Muslim Veil Ban

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Published by Ion C, on November 17th 2006, on Playfuls.com:

The Netherlands is pondering a full ban on the Muslim veils (burkas). If it should pass in Parliament, women would be prohibited from wearing burkas in a variety of public venues, including schools, trains, courts and even on the street. By most estimates, fewer than 100 women in the Netherlands regularly wear a burka.

The Dutch are trying to justify the measure saying the full-body garb worn by a small number of Muslim women in the Netherlands posed a grave security threat, both to the country’s security forces and citizens. Basically the government says a terrorist could dress up with a burka to circumvent security checks and hide his face, facilitating a potential attack.

“The cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing – including the burka – is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens,” Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said Friday. “We want to see whom we are talking to,” Verdonk said last week. “That’s the way it is in the Netherlands.”

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Many Muslims believe that the Islamic scripture, the Qur’an, and the collected traditions, or hadith, require a woman to dress and behave modestly in public. However, this requirement, called hijab, has been interpreted in many different ways by Islamic scholars (ulema) and Muslim communities. (Read the whole article on above link).

Human Rights as Education for Peace

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Linked with Betty Reardon – USA, with Noeleen Heyzer – USA, and with What It Means to “Salvage U.S. Prestige” in Iraq.

Human Rights as Education for Peace, Peace Education Needs Human Rights Education’, by Betty A. Reardon, Director of the Peace Education Program, Teacher’s College Columbia University, Continued in ‘Human Rights Education for the Twenty-First Century‘, edited by George J. Andrepoulos and Richard Pierre Claude, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.

Peace education, a worldwide movement, is a diverse and continually changing field, responding to developments in world society and, to some extent, to the advancing knowledge and insights of peace research. As practiced in elementary and secondary schools and presented in the university programs that prepare classroom teachers, peace education goes by various names: conflict resolution, multicultural education, development education, world order studies, and more recently, environmental education.

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What It Means to “Salvage U.S. Prestige” in Iraq

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Linked with Betty Reardon – USA, with Noeleen Heyzer – USA, and with Human Rights as Education for Peace.

Read also this very long article ‘Will Daddy’s Boys Extend the War? No Exit? What It Means to “Salvage U.S. Prestige” in Iraq‘, by Tom Engelhardt, published yesterday on Peace, Earth & Justice News:

Things are always complicated. In the Washington Post, for instance, James Mann, author of Rise of the Vulcans recently suggested that it was far “too simplistic” to claim “the appointment of Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld [represents] the triumph of Bush the Father’s administration over Bush the Son’s.” Still, I prefer the analysis of Washington Post reporter (and author of Fiasco) Thomas Ricks. When asked by the Post’s media columnist Howard Kurtz whether a Newsweek headline, “Father knows best,” was just “an easy, cheap Oedipal way for the press to characterize what’s going on,” Ricks replied: “Well, just because it’s easy and cheap doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” At a moment when every version of the dramatic arrival of James A. Baker III and Robert Gates on the scene — and the scuttling of Rumsfeld’s Titanic — is at least suspect, it’s still worth considering the bare bones of what can be seen and known — and then asking what we have.

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Now, the dreamers, the greatest gamblers in our history, are departing official Washington and the “realists” have hit the corridors of power that they always thought they owned. It wouldn’t hurt if they opened their eyes. Even imperial defenders should face reality. Someday, it’s something we’ll all have to do. In the meantime, call in the Hellfire-missile-armed Predator drones. (Read the whole long article on Peace, Earth & Justice News).

U.S. Changing Course In Iraq?

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Linked with Betty Reardon – USA,  with Noeleen Heyzer – USA,  with The harm at home and abroad, with Globalization and the Eradication of Poverty, with Human Rights as Education for Peace, and with What It Means to “Salvage U.S. Prestige” in Iraq.

Read ‘U.S. Changing Course In Iraq? No longer a question of if, but when and how they will pull out‘, by Njei Moses Timah (njemotim), Published today November 17, 2006, on Ohmy News, International World):

With regard to the war in Iraq, things seem to be changing at a surprising pace. A few months ago, we heard a uniform and familiar tune from the bosses of the participating countries of “the coalition of the willing” in Iraq. Macho statements came from Canberra, London and Washington reaffirming “the resolve,” “the commitment” and “the determination” to “prevail” in Iraq. “We cannot cut and run before the job is done,” we were told. The slogan that was used to summarize this thinking was: “We will stay the course.” Well, that was before the November midterm congressional elections in the U.S. that saw the governing Republican Party losing its majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to the Democratic Party. American public opinion has tilted against the war and that dissatisfaction was largely responsible for the poor showing of the Republicans at the elections. To make matters worse, Oct. 2006 was one of the bloodiest months for the U.S. military in Iraq. The first casualty of that election was the U.S. defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who tendered his resignation. Rumsfeld had become the symbol of everything going wrong in Iraq.

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It is no longer a question of whether America and her allies will pull out of Iraq. They are going to do so sooner rather than later. The big question is how they will leave without losing face and at the same time without sacrificing their allies in the Iraqi government to the consuming flames of Islamic insurgency. It is almost a certainty that the change that will come in Iraq will be painful for all the parties involved. The hope is that the Americans will draw a lesson from this foreign policy blunder that neo-conservative forces have plunged their nation into. (Read the whole long article on Ohmy News, International World).

The harm at home and abroad

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Read Stephen Lendman’s very long article about ‘The Price of Imperial Arrogance, the harm at home and abroad from Bush administration policy‘, published today Nov. 17, 2006 on San Francisco Indimedia.org:

Lyndon Johnson was a conflicted man about Vietnam almost from the time he took office. As early as May, 1964, he confessed his doubts about the conflict to his good friend Senator Richard Russell in one of the many phone calls he taped in the Oval Office. That was three months before the fateful Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave him congressional authorization for military action in Southeast Asia without needing a formal declaration of war for it. Later that year, he privately acknowledged the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened and told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara “we concluded maybe they hadn’t fired at all.” He was referring to the claimed attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two US destroyers which, on its face, seemed preposterous but which propelled this country deeply into the Vietnam conflict that didn’t end until President Gerald Ford evacuated the last of the US forces and a few South Vietnamese collaborators in humiliation from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon 11 years later in April, 1975. They left behind a nation in ruins, its landscape devastated and chemically poisoned that remains so today, and a few million dead Southeast Asians in three countries showing the kind of men Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were – imperial war lords who never had to answer for their war crimes as they never do under a system of victor’s justice. The only compensation the victims got was their freedom from US aggression when realizing it couldn’t win it decided to give up a futile fight and pull out.

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As for the public, it’s not even a player in this game and won’t come out a winner whichever side wins or loses. Neither will the people in the Greater Middle East short of a near-impossible eventuality nowhere in sight – a full and unconditional US troop withdrawal from the region, the freedom of Iraqis and Afghans to run their countries out of Washington’s clutches, a solution to the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict not even being addressed, and an end to the joint US-Israeli partnership of imperial aggression in the region. Even with all that, it would only be a beginning but what a major one well stated by the old Chinese maxim that the “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” or the joke about all those lawyers on the bottom of the ocean being a good start. At this stage, the best people of conscience, not at the table, can hope for is the beginning of a process that eventually will achieve the scenario just laid out that looks impossible now but one day may happen because enough people never stopped working for it in the region and around the world. (Read the very long article between the two paragraphs on SF.Indimedia.org).

Stephen Lendman’s web;
Stephen Lendman’s mail.

The Case of Shiyeyi in Botswana

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Linked with Lydia Nyati-Ramahobo – Botswana, with The Kamanakao Association, and with Africa and Poverty.

Language Development for Literacy, The Case of Shiyeyi in Botswana, by Lydia Nyati-Ramahobo – Since independence, the government of Botswana has practiced an exclusive language policy in which only English has been used in government circles at the exclusion of all the 26 languages represented in the country, with a limited use of the national language, Setswana. However, in recent years more positive statements have been heard in Parliament, opening up to recognize the use of other languages in education and society. These statements have provided a conducive environment for Non-governmental organizations to develop other languages for use in education and out-of-school literacy. This paper focuses on the work of one such organization. It reports on a project this organization is undertaking to revive the language and culture of the Wayeyi people in North Western, and Central Botswana. It gives findings on attitudes towards Shiyeyi as a language of instruction for literacy and shows how the preference expressed for Shiyeyi has great potential for a literacy program.

Background:

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e-learning plans for Africa

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Linked with Dele Olejede – Nigeria, with Africa and Poverty, with Self-help Assistance Programm ASAP, with TO LIFT AFRICA OUT OF POVERTY, and with Corruption linked to poverty.

Africa University develops e-learning plans, officials say, by Sharai Nondo, program assistant in Africa University’s Information and Public Affairs Office, Nov. 13, 2006, MAPUTO, Mozambique (UMNS) – Africa University is on an e-learning threshold to become the pan-African institution it was created to be, school officials told United Methodist bishops.

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“We face the usual challenges of lack of requisite infrastructure, access to computers and connectivity,” she added. “This cannot deter us from our goal of setting up distance learning.”

Connectivity, however, remains a major challenge in Africa, with governments giving their major priorities to basic provision of health care, water and sanitation and education. Information technologies also are facing strict regulatory controls, she said.

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During an Oct. 30-31 session on a holistic strategy for Africa, the continent’s United Methodist bishops spoke of the need for translation of any content into Portuguese and French to cater to the diverse needs of people using those languages.

Ken Yamada, a Higher Education and Ministry staff person, said Africa University was designed to serve the entire continent of Africa. In order to do that, “it was important to devise a strategy whereby the university would go to the people” through satellite campuses in different locales, he explained. (Read the whole article on wfn world faith news).

Consciousness In The Cosmos, Perspective of Mind

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Linked with Ervin Laszlo – Hungary, with Planet Life Academy, with New Concepts of Matter, Life and Mind, and with The Club of Budapest International.

By Ervin Laszlo – This posting will examine the evolutionary views of Ervin Laszlo, a world-class philosopher of science. Additionally Laszlo is also the developer of Systems Philosophy–derived from General Systems Theory. He is a member of the Club of Rome and has taught at Yale and Princeton Universities . The founder of the General Evolution Research group and head of the advisory committee to the United Nations University, he is currently director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Laszlo concentrates on what he considers the “third state” of systems in the world, those non-linear systems that are farthest from thermal and chemical equilibrium. (The other two states being those systems either in or near equilibrium.) We humans are non-linear systems–and like other non-linear systems, we can increase our level of complexity and organization–and become more energetic.

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New Concepts of Matter, Life and Mind

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Linked with Ervin Laszlo – Hungary, with Planet Life Academy, with The Club of Budapest International, and with Consciousness In The Cosmos, Perspective of Mind.

by Ervin Laszlo, Author, Founder of Systems Philosophy – In light of the current, revolutionary advances in the natural sciences and in the study of consciousness, the concepts of matter, life, and mind have under-gone major changes. This paper outlines some basic aspects of these changes, taking in turn the emerging concept of matter, of life, and of human mind and consciousness.

The concept of matter:

The Western common sense view has held that there are only two kinds of things that truly exist in the world: matter and space. Matter occupies space and moves about in it and it is the primary reality. Space is a backdrop or container. Without furnished by material bodies, it does not enjoy reality in itself. This common sense concept goes back to the Greek materialists; it was the mainstay also of Newton’s physics. It has been radically revised in Einstein’s relativistic universe (where spacetime became an integrated four-dimensional manifold), and also in Bohr’s and Heisenberg’s quantum world. Now it may have to be rethought again.

Advances in the new sciences suggest a further modification of this assumption about the nature of reality. In light of what scientists are beginning to glimpse regarding the nature of the quantum vacuum, the energy sea that underlies all of spacetime, it is no longer warranted to view matter as primary and space as secondary. It is to space or rather, to the cosmically extended ‘Dirac-sea’ of the vacuum that we should grant primary reality. The things we know as matter (and that scientists know as mass, with its associated properties of inertia and gravitation) appear as the consequence of interactions in the depth of this universal field. In the emerging concept there is no ‘absolute matter,’ only an absolute matter generating energy field.

The concept of life: (Read the whole article on PhysLink.com).

Un quartier à livrer / Neighborhood Deliveries

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Linked with Feroz Mehdi – Canada & Pakistan.

(To make his documentary ‘Neighborhood Deliveries’, Feroz Mehdi took a job delivering groceries at a convenience store in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood).

Publié sur Alternatives, le 27 août 2005 – Dans Un quartier à livrer, le cinéaste Feroz Mehdi, immigrant d’origine indienne débarqué à Montréal à la fi n des années 1980, endosse la condition d’un livreur de dépanneur pour nous faire découvrir « sa » réalité d’Hochelaga- Maisonneuve. Les méandres dans lesquels l’entraînent son triporteur et ses livraisons lui font poser un regard critique sur sa terre d’accueil et le passé militant de son faubourg. Ce film prend le parti de conjuguer divers espaces-temps. Montréal et Aligarh en Inde : le passé ouvrier du quartier Hochelaga-Maisonneuve et sa réalité d’aujourd’hui, sans-emploi et désaffectée, le passé de militants marxistes – désillusionnés ou continuant le combat – qui tentent de trouver leur place et le « bon discours » pour affronter la réalité contemporaine. À ces images et témoignages de militants montréalais, s’ajoute la lutte pour les droits des chauffeurs de rickshaws, ces vélos-taxis indiens, menée à l’époque par le beau-frère de Feroz Mehdi, I.G. Khan, mort assassiné.

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Alternatives in Pakistan

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Linked with Feroz Mehdi – Canada & Pakistan.

By Feroz MEHDI, 7 February 2006 – Find all on Alternatives.

Alternatives has been working with civil society organizations in Pakistan for over a decade. Our beginning point was to work with and support NGOs promoting peace in the region. Most of the organizations in all major cities of Pakistan are supportive of the people’s initiative of people to people dialogue between India and Pakistan. This lead us to work closely with organizations like the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Also, our work on women’s rights lead us to work with important women groups like Aurat Foundation. We had the opportunity to invite people to Canada from various organizations, including Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, HRCP, whose then Chairperson Asma Jehangir addressed a women’s rights conference in Canada.

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Speech of the UN special Rapporteur on freedom of expression

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Received by e-mail:

Statement by Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression addressing the Human Rights Council on 22 Sept. 2006. The SR addresses media freedom, the Danish cartoon crisis, WSIS and internet governance.

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Mr. Chairman, Members of the Bureau, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Freedom of opinion and expression is one of the pillars of a fair and democratic society. Indeed, the interpretation of principles related to its essence and implementation may extensively vary, particularly when it comes to the definition of opinion-related offences. Anyhow, the free flow of news, information and ideas, within and across national borders, contributes to the better understanding of societies that are culturally, and often physically, distant from each other. The increasing access to global information through modern technologies is also an essential component of a successful development strategy.

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Making Sense of Political Violence in Postcolonial Africa

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Linked with Mahmood Mamdani – USA & Uganda, with The Prince Alwaleed Bin Jalal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding ACMCU.

By Mahmood Mamdani – We have just ended a century replete with violence. The 20th century was possibly more violent than any other in recorded history. Just think of world wars and revolutions, and colonial conquests and anticolonial resistance, and, indeed, revolutions and counterrevolutions. Even if the expanse of this violence is staggering, it makes sense to us. The modern political sensibility sees political violence as necessary to historical progress. Ever since the French Revolution, moderns have come to see violence as the midwife of history. The French Revolution gave us terror and it gave us a citizens’ army. The real secret behind Napoleon’s spectacular battlefield successes was that his army was not comprised of mercenaries but patriots, those who killed for a cause, who were animated by national sentiment, by what we have come to recognize as a civic religion, nationalism. Reflecting on the French revolution, Hegel thought of man – in the generic sense – as different from animals, in that he was willing to die for a cause higher than life. Hegel should have added: man is also willing to kill for a cause higher than life.

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