SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
On the 16th of November, 2013, eight-year-old Hashim s/o Abdul Hamid and nine-year-old Zukoom s/o Abdul Majid were on the streets of Kabul polishing boots when a suicide bombing (in opposition to the U.S./Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement) killed them.
Johnny Barber, a peace activist from New York, and Ronya, an independent, freelance journalist from Germany, accompanied the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) to Hashim’s and Zukoom’s funeral in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp two days later. We had a conversation with Hashim and Zukoom’s classmates, Kahar and Naseem, which you can view at “At least 13 Afghan civilians killed, including Hashim & Zukoom”
Bucharest/Romania 10. December 2013 – After lengthy debates inside parliament and widespread demonstrations throughout the country, Romania's deputies today rejected a series of amendments designed to kick-start the hugely unpopular Rosia Montana mine development. This decision presents an unprecedented victory to Romania's civil society and a heavy if not mortal blow to Gabriel Resources, the mine project owner. Ahead of today's vote shares of Gabriel Resources (TSX:GBU) had risen by 20% over the weekend.
Authenticity is one of the most important qualities to teach young people. To be truly who you are, to be comfortable in your own skin and to walk your talk, is essential to not just personal happiness but is also requisite for building a better, more just and humane world. Unfortunately, teaching authenticity is challenging in a society that is dominated by hypocrisy. Politicians manipulate, deceive and outright lie with such regularity it is almost amazing when one does not do so. Celebrities demonstrate to children and youth that it is acceptable to say one thing and do the complete opposite Below is a short list of recent hypocrisy by leaders and celebrities.
Washington, DC - Representatives from a broad coalition including over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups called upon Congressional leaders Tuesday to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs by cutting runaway, dangerous military spending by 25 to 50%. In addition to a letter, the groups also delivered petitions signed by thousands of individuals.
In the year 1762 the King of Prussia, Frederick II, launched an unprovoked attack on Austria with the aim of conquering the province of Silesia. One hundred and two years later, in 1864, Otto von Bismarck, then prime minister of Prussia, provoked a war with Denmark in order to seize the Danish provinces of Schleswig and Holstein. Since its founding, the United States has launched over 330 mostly unwarranted foreign military interventions around the globe. Concurrently the U.S. existed as a slave state until 1865 and then practiced institutional racism right up into the 1960s. Throughout all of this history the citizens of these countries never doubted the legitimacy of their nation-states.
In late February of 1990, just two weeks after being released from prison, Nelson Mandela met with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasir Arafat. Afterwards Mandela spoke publicly of his affinity with the Palestinian people and his support for their struggle. He described the parallels between the two peoples' struggles for justice, saying in part,
"There are many similarities between our struggle and that of the PLO We live under a unique form of colonialism in South Africa, as well as in Israel..."
The passing of Nelson Mandela prompted me to reflect that both Nelson Mandela and Thomas Jefferson chose futures for their nations rooted in the essentials of democracy, and they made their choices in times when hell appeared to be the dominant choice. But perhaps it is always the case that freedom emerges when evil is forced to recoil back on itself. In the ranks of Justice, Jefferson and Mandela are up there with the very best of them.
Last night, BuzzFeed released a gripping video about one New Yorker's harrowing experience of being arrested for marijuana possession. A Marijuana Arrest tells the story of former Manhattan Public School art teacher Alberto Willmore, who recounts how his life was upended after NYPD officers aggressively seized and charged him with marijuana possession. Mr. Willmore immediately lost his teaching job, spent nearly two years fighting the case in court, and – even though the case was thrown out – he was still penalized by his employer, the Department of Education.
Washington – Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), a coalition of 325 national and state groups, reacted sharply in response to early reports of a budget deal that would take only modest steps to blunt the impact of new sequester cuts and not include closing any tax loopholes used by corporations and the wealthy – measures that are highly popular with the American public. Republican leaders have steadfastly refused to raise additional tax revenues by closing any loopholes during the current budget negotiations.
New York, NY – Today, Free & Equal, the United Nations (UN) campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, released “A History of LGBT RIghts at the UN,” a short infographic video telling the story of LGBT rights at the UN in advance of International Human Rights Day, 10 December. This year’s Human Rights Day marks the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948.