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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.

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not self-enforcing,

Whereas statement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and supposedly inalienable rights of all members of the human family achieves little without a struggle against greed, injustice, tyranny, and war,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights could not have resulted in the barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of humankind without the cowardice, laziness, apathy, and blind obedience of well-meaning but unengaged spectators...

Dec 12

To Hell With The Intelligence

By Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analysis | Op-Ed

On 3 December 2012, BBC News reported on the plight of Libyan activist Magdulien Abaida. When the Libyan revolution broke out in Benghazi back in February 2011, she played an important part in developing a positive image of the revolt among European audiences and helped arrange material aid for the rebel forces. She did this against the backdrop of Western governments describing the rebellion as one that sought "democratic rights" for the Libyan people. Upon the collapse of the Qaddafi regime, the U.S. State Department issued a statement (2 November 2012) applauding the rebel victory as a "milestone" in the country's "democratic transition." This matched Ms Abaida's expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent experience belied the optimism.

Over an 80 year lifespan, we spend 15 years watching television. What effect does that have on us in the long run?

Today, Gazan farmers from Kuzaa, a small village near Khan Younis, worked on their land in defiance of Israeli military harassment. Farmers ploughed approximately seven dunams and then sowed wheat in a plot that they had previously been denied access to before the November 21st, 2012 ceasefire. The farmers successfully worked up to 100 meters from the separation fence. The Israeli military arbitrarily designates this area as a restricted military buffer zone, otherwise known as the "kill zone." According to the workers, they have not been able to farm on this specific plot of land for the past ten years. Formerly an orchard, Israeli forces bulldozed the field multiple times during military incursions and regularly shoots at farmers who attempt to work there.

Dec 12

Nationalization Works

By James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario | Report

The Treasury Department today announced that it has sold off the rest of its stake in A.I.G. Treasury will focus on the claim that taxpayers made a profit on the deal. As I've written before, the story is a bit more complicated.

But that's a sideshow. The point of nationalizing A.I.G. (what else do you call it when the government buys 80% of a company?) wasn't to make money; it was supposedly to save the global economy. In any case, things have worked out pretty well: the global economy is intact, though still not healthy, and A.I.G. is a private company again.

Flagstaff, Arizona - On the same day that secretary Tom Vilsack of the US Department of Agriculture issued a final report on Sacred Sites and an inter-agency memorandum to work towards Sacred Sites protection, the Coconino Forest Service filed federal charges against four Sacred Sites advocates who were part of a protest at the Forest Service offices three months earlier.

Dec 11

Peaceful Revolution in Asia and Beyond

By Matt Meyer, New Clear Vision | News Analysis

In hindsight, there may have been no better way to bookend a trip to the 2012 biennial conference of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) than by visiting Beijing and Hiroshima. Two unique and very different cities project to the world the themes which underscore the work of peace studies today: the need for revolutionary action in the face of seemingly impossible odds, and the need for nonviolent resistance against the forces of militarism which still leave us on the brink of global devastation. Though this year’s recent IPRA conference did not quite pay homage to revolutionary nonviolence, it did contain substantial presentations indicating some roads we must follow and still uncharted paths.

Today, Gazan farmers from Kuzaa, a small village near Khan Younis, worked on their land in defiance of Israeli military harassment. Farmers ploughed approximately seven dunams and then sewed wheat in a plot that they had previously been denied access to before the November 21st, 2012 ceasefire. The farmers successfully worked up to 100 meters from the separation fence. The Israeli military arbitrarily designates this area as a restricted military buffer zone, otherwise known as the “kill zone.” According to the workers, they have not been able to farm on this specific plot of land for the past ten years. Formerly an orchard, Israeli forces bulldozed the field multiple times during military incursions and regularly shoots at farmers who attempt to work there.

Dec 10

Under Tents: Statement on Forced Evictions

By Under Tents Staff, Under Tents | Open-Letter

On the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call on the international community to act against the human rights abuses taking place in Haiti in the form of arbitrary and illegal forced evictions.

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, killing over 250,000 people and displacing 1.5 million. 358,000 men, women and children still remain in displacement camps in and around Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s displaced face not only the challenges inherent to living in tent camps, but one in five are currently at risk of forced eviction.

We the people of Detroit are seeking justice in the international human rights arena because we have no avenue of redress in state courts. Duly elected school board members have been sued by the state attorney general for being elected to our office. The court which has been designated to hear our case continuously delays the hearings. The people of Michigan voted to repeal the unjust emergency manager law (Public Act 4), which strips all Black and Brown communities in the state of our voting rights, and yet the emergency managers remain.

The will of the people is being ignored with impunity. The state has set up a separate and unequal school district (EAA), which relegates the poorest and most vulnerable students into classrooms of despair.