Blog | Page 41 of 58
Haitians Organize for Political Action
Peasant organizers in Haiti - including Grassroots International's partners and allies - are uniting their efforts to collaborate in rebuilding their country. These organizers plan and mobilize across the island, linking issues such as environmental degradation and food scarcity to failed agricultural and economic policy and demand political action. Their advocacy and education activities are centered on reducing prices of food by increasing natural production and warning that the international financial crisis could have a deadly impact on Haiti if economic and agricultural policies fail to change.
Zapotec Indigenous People in Mexico Demand Transparency from U.S. Scholar
The Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) - a longtime partner of Grassroots International based in Mexico - denounced a recently conducted study in the Zapotec region by U.S. geography scholar Peter Herlihy. Prof. Herlihy failed to mention that he received funding from the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U.S. Armed Forces. The failure to obtain full, free and prior informed consent is a violation of the rights of indigenous communities as codified in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations in 2007. In addition, UNOSJO fears that this in-depth geographical mapping of indigenous communities may be used in some harmful manner by the military.
City on Fire
All morning I have been talking to people in Gaza City while they were helplessly watching the United Nations headquarters and millions of dollars of much needed food and medicine go up in flames. The UN plays a critical role in Gaza as it is the primary vehicle for feeding more than 80% of Gaza's 1.5 million people who depend on food aid. A UN distribution coordinator in Gaza City explained to me that they had allocated scant reserves in three supply warehouses in Gaza City, Karni, and Rafah. All three have been incapacitated by Israeli attacks.
Israeli Human Rights Groups Press War Crimes Investigation
B'Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) has joined eight other prominent Israeli Human Rights organizations in calling on their government to put an end to their actions in Gaza. B'Tselem is Hebrew for "in the image of" and used as a synonym for human dignity. Since 1989, they have worked tirelessly to educate the Israeli public and policymakers on the reality of human rights violations in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Today-as the death toll in Gaza has just passed 1,000-B'Tselem's voice is needed more than ever to bring an end to the violence.
Behind Closed Doors
Grassroots International consultant Safa Joudeh has been reporting on the crisis in Gaza from Gaza City, providing first-hand accounts of the affects of the violence on the civilian population. Two of her accounts were recently published, Living in Gaza, Under Starlight and Bomb Blasts and Displaced and Desperate in Gaza. Both of these stories offer a glimpse of what is taking place behind Gaza's closed doors.
Sweep Down the Walls
When I talk to people in Gaza these days, two things usually come up. The first, even in the midst of such a devastating war, is sincere gratitude for keeping in touch. The second is the question of why the world - especially the US whose taxpayers are financing the war - is silent. Although our actions have not yet been able to halt the attacks on Gaza, I can honestly tell our Palestinian friends that we are not silent.
Talking Points for Engaging the Media, Elected Officials, and Others on the Crisis in Gaza
- Numerous reports, including by Amnesty International, have cited Israel's November 4th raid into Gaza as effectively breaking the ceasefire.
- The Israeli 'disengagement' of 2005 DID NOT end the occupation of Gaza – and an occupying power is responsible for the welfare of people under its occupation. An occupation is determined by whether there is effective control – not simply the presence of illegal settlers and soldiers.
- Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a ceasefire that included Gaza on November 26, 2006. However, Israel continued to conduct incursions into the West Bank and carry out “targeted assassinations,” some of which resulted in the murder of civilians.
Connections with Gaza Hang by a Thread
Yesterday, I was on the phone with a friend in Gaza when we were cut off by a loud noise. When I reached her a few minutes later, she politely apologized for the interruption, explaining that a missile had just hit a target next to her apartment building for the sixth time that day. "It's already totally flattened," she said, "I don't know what more they want."
Grassroots Grantee Gaza Community Mental Health Program Damaged in Attacks
Grassroots International's long time grantee, the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) has been hit by extensive shelling in the now weeklong military campaign against Gaza. GCMHP provides mental health services, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, women and victims of trauma and human rights violations. They are also the lead organization of the International Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, which Grassroots International has supported in coordination with alies such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Global Exchange.
The Israeli shelling caused massive damage in GCMHP Headquarter in Gaza
In an article I co-authored a few weeks ago, I wrote that Gaza continually redefines what it means to hit rock bottom. Since that time, the bottom seems to have dropped out as Gazans face an even worse reality.
Haitians Deserve Nutritious Rice
Last August, just before Hurricane Fay smashed into Haiti, I spent the day with MOREPLA (Mouvman Revandikatif Peyizan Latibonit-Peasant Movement for Justice in the Artibonite), a local movement of rice producers that works with the coalition of Grassroots International's partner PAPDA (The Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development). Leaders from MOREPLA explained to me that rice producers in the Artibonite potentially could have the capacity to provide livelihoods for more than 200,000 people in a department (state) that suffers a 78% unemployment rate.
Rep. Kucinich Urges Diplomatic Push to End Gaza Siege
We salute Representative Dennis Kucinich for his compassionate and courageous letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking her to use her influence to press the Israeli government to honor international law and end the blockade against Gaza. (Click the link below to read his letter.)
Confronting the Global Food Challenge
A group of civil society organizations, including Grassroots International, will participate in a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, entitled "Confronting the Global Food Challenge: Finding New Approaches to Trade and Investment that Support the Right to Food." The conference-convened by Grassroots' allies the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and FoodFirst Information & Action Network-will meet November 24-26 to explore the impact of trade and investment on the right to food and to develop new approaches that have human rights at the core.
Opponents challenge U.S./Mexico border wall 19 years after Berlin Wall falls
For several years Grassroots International has had a collegial relationship with Carlos Marentes of the Sin Fronteras Border Agricultural Workers Project in El Paso, Texas. Carlos is also a leader of the Via Campesina - North American Region and chair of the Via Campesina's international commission on Migrations and Rural Workers. The Via Campesina understands that most migration is a consequence of the corporate-led global trade model that has exacerbated rural impoverishment in many already poor countries.
Update on Gaza’s Blockade
Gaza is once again in a heightened state of emergency and panic as UN food aid has been unilaterally blocked by the Israeli authorities. According to UN and other sources, more than 80% of Gaza's 1.5 million residents are dependent on food aid. The Gaza Strip is completely sealed off from the outside world by the strictly manned borders with Israel and Egypt, and the Mediterranean waters patrolled by Israeli gun boats. Palestinian civilians are once again facing the threat of military incursions. On the other side of the border, some Palestinian rockets are reaching as far as the city of Ashkelon, terrifying the Israeli population as the cycle of violence intensifies.
Will Jatropha Invade Mozambique: Via Campesina Confronts The Global Agrofuel Industrial Complex
Recently I returned from the Via Campeisna's Vth International Conference in Mozambique, followed by brief visit with social justice organizations in South Africa. Also in Mozambique, as delegate to the Via Campesina Conference, was Grassroots International colleague John Peck of the Family Farm Defenders and the National Family Farm Coalition. John wrote the article below just days after hearing the President of Mozambique, Armando Emilio Guebuza, address the Via Campesina Assembly. In his address, Guebuza unfortunately noted that his government would be supporting the expansion of jatropha plantations for agrofuels production.