Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why Idle No More Matters -- Winona LaDuke [What Happened in First Nation Villages]

Enter DeBeers, the largest diamond mining enterprise in the world. The company moved into northern Ontario in 2006 . The Victor Mine reached commercial production in 2008 and was voted “Mine of the Year” by the readers of the international trade publication Mining Magazine. The company states it is “is committed to sustainable development in local communities.” This is good to know. This is also where the first world meets the third world in the north, as Canadian MP Bob Rae discovered last year on his tour of the rather destitute conditions of the village. Infrastructure in the Sub Arctic is in short supply. There is no road into the village eight months of the year, four months a year, during freeze up , there’s an ice road. A diamond mine needs a lot of infrastructure. And that has to be shipped in, so the trucks launch out of Moosonee, Ontario. Then, they build a better road. The problem is that the road won’t work when the climate changes, and already stretched infrastructure gets tapped out. 
There is some money flowing in, that’s sure. A 2010 report from DeBeers states that payments to eight communities associated with its two mines in Canada totalled $5,231,000 that year. Forbes Magazine reports record diamond sales by the world’s largest diamond company “… increased 33 percent, year-over-year, to $3.5 billion….The mining giant, which produces more than a third of the world’s rough diamonds, also reported record EBITDA of almost $1.2 billion, a 55 percent increase over the first the first half of 2010.”  
As the Canadian Mining Watch group notes “Whatever Attawapiskat’s share of that $5-million is, given the chronic under-funding of the community, the need for expensive responses to deal with recurring crises, including one that DeBeers themselves may have precipitated by overloading the community’s sewage system, it’s not surprising that the community hasn’t been able to translate its … income into improvements in physical infrastructure.” Last year, Attawapiskat drew international attention , when many families in the Cree community were living in tents. 
The neighboring Kaschewan Village is in similar disarray. They have been boiling water, and importing water. The village almost had a complete evacuation due to health conditions, and , “ … fuel shortages are becoming more common among remote northern Ontario communities right now,” Alvin Fiddler, Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a regional advocacy network explained to a reporter. That’s because the ice road used to truck in a year’s supply of diesel last winter did not last as long as usual. “Everybody is running out now. We’re looking at a two-month gap” until this winter’s ice road is solid enough to truck in fresh supplies, Mr. Fiddler said in an interview.Kashechewan’s chief and council are poised to shut down the band office, two schools, the power generation centre, the health clinic and the fire hall because the buildings were not heated and could no longer operate safely. “ In addition some 21 homes had become uninhabitable,” according to Chief Derek Stephen . Those basements had been flooded last spring, as the weather patterns changed. Just as a side note, in 2007, some 21 Cree youth from Kashechewan attempted to commit suicide, and the Canadian aboriginal youth suicide rate is five times the national average. Both communities are beneficiaries of an agreement with DeBeers.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Idle No More Flashmob -- Westlake Cntr Seattle -- 12-29-12

Folks we met as we stood outside in solidarity with our "Palestine:  It's About the Land" banner.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

First Nation Chief Theresa Spence on 11th Day of Hunger Strike to Get Harper Govt' to Honor Treaty

She puts her peoples case very eloquently.  HARPER LISTEN TO HER!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sympathy from the Devil - William Norman Grigg


For the Obama Regime, child-killing is an instrument of policy. This was made clear in a recent story reported by the Military Times describing how U.S. troops in Afghanistan, fearful over the actions of a group of young men nearby called in an airstrike that killed all of the suspected guerillas – only to find out later that three of them were children, aged 8, 10, and 12. The families of the dead children said that they had been gathering dried animal leavings, which are used as fuel. 
The International Security Assistance Force in Kabul issued a statement acknowledging that the airstrike "accidentally killed three innocent Afghan children." That statement prompted Army Lt. Col. Marion Carrington to tell the Military Times that the children may not have been innocent. 
According to Carrington, whose unit is training Afghan police, "In addition to looking for military-age males, [we are] looking for children with potential hostile intent." Since hostility is the natural, and entirely commendable, reaction to foreign occupiers, Carrington is saying that any Afghan child with sufficient awareness to resent the occupation is a legitimate military target. 
What Adam Lanza did once in a fit of murderous irrationality, the Regime over which Obama presides does practically every day – and the killing is carried out by people who act with clear-eyed, clinical indifference to the suffering they inflict. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thoughts on the Newtown Shooting from Halfway Around the World -- Syazwina Saw

Living on Twitter is a precarious existence. 
Events do not manifest themselves well in just 140 characters. What you get are soundbites and facts, retweeted as endorsement or vilification, made popular by approval or mockery. When I joined Twitter in the end of 2008, I became a spectator to the Iranian revolution which died almost as soon started. And then there was Egypt, which continues to be a battlefield of ideals, beliefs and morals. Sometimes we fixate on details. Sometimes these prove to be insights. 
And when you live several continents away from the United States, as I do, then waking up in the morning means bracing yourself for whatever happened eight hours ago. Before I went to bed on Friday night, I saw tweets of people sending prayers to Newtown, but without further detail. 
And we woke up to the news of 20 children murdered at school. 
Names and ages of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, California, published on the front page of the New York Times.
Names and ages of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, California, published on the front page of the New York Times. 
My timeline today is a picture of shared grief, horror and disbelief. It is an outpour of sympathy and vilification, of prayer and condolences, of anger and blame. The online debate immediately turned to gun control and mental health, and within the heady brew of blood and politics, a few facts are mentioned again and again: 
Eighteen hours before the shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, Republicans pushed through a bill which allows people to carry a gun or rifle into schools and kindergartens. Obama continues to champion the use of drones in Afghanistan and other countries in order to target terrorists, but which generates a high number of civilian casualties, many of them children. Israel continues to receive funding from the US, most of which goes into the Israeli Defense Forces – two days ago, an IDF soldier killed 17-year-old Muhammad As-Salaymah who was bringing home a cake to celebrate his birthday. 
It appears that there is a pattern here, which continues to perpetuate itself. 
While the culture of violence has become, as with everything else, an increasingly global phenomenon, how it manifests is local. It shows up in our communities and it happens to our children. The death of the young, whatever the circumstances, is always a tragedy in itself. They symbolize our dreams and hopes, our investment for the future which we dream of but may never see fulfilled. When children die, we are left with the scraps of our messes. The empty spaces they leave behind echo our loss, their silent screams creating a wall of grief. 
Unfortunately, when children die, we also reduce them to sound bites. We reduce them to spectacles of previously unimaginable tragedy; we speak of them in whispers and with stunned expressions, as though they are isolated events. We treat their deaths as if they are without context. We fault these tragedies on singular subjects, usually the killer presumed deranged or desperate, and not as if they are the result of years of permitted violence. 
There is something amiss, and its cause is great, its habits too ingrained, that we prefer to hide behind our grief and point fingers. 
We at Sixteen Minutes to Palestine extend our hearts and prayers to the families, friends, and victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Syazwina Saw
Syazwina Saw is a writer and editor for ISSUE Magazine and a graduate student based in Malaysia. She has also helped in the development of Sixteen Minutes to Palestine. She tweets here.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Free Bethlehem Singers at Seattle Figgy Pudding Festival -- 12/7/12

UPDATE:  The next day we serenaded shoppers at Westlake under a Boycott Israel banner



(Tune: Ode to Joy - L van Beethoven) 

Israel, end your occupation: 
There’s no peace on stolen land. 
We’ll sing out for liberation 
’till you hear and understand.
Ethnic cleansing and apartheid 
Should belong to history. 
Human rights cannot be silenced: 
Palestine will soon be free.

>Sing 3x through. 2nd time in ROUND<

We got some really great applause and donations for the Pike Market Clinic, while educating the public who wandered between the competing choral groups.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Israel and Palestine, An [EXCELLENT] Animated Introduction by Jewish Voice for Peace

Bring Leonard Peltier Home in 2012!

Bring Leonard Peltier Home 2012 Concert