What Can an Equitable Recovery Look Like?

Recovery from a natural disaster should be able to make survivors “whole.” However, when the starting point is life in one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the Western hemisphere, getting back to normal becomes a trickier proposition.  Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere.  In 2003, 80% of the population was estimated to live under the international poverty line.  As demonstrated by the extended recovery process from Hurricane Katrina, economic condition has a determinative effect on the ability to recover from a natural disaster, with the worst impact and least independent ability to recover suffered by the poorest residents.

Although this paints a bleak picture, and there’s no denying that the reality is grim, the only possibility for hope or optimism lies in a new roadmap for recovery.  Any attempt to rebuild Haiti must be developed with an eye to erasing past inequities.  It cannot be enough to rebuild the Haiti of January 11, 2010.  Most Haitians lived by subsistence farming.  With a lack of arable land, continuing deforestation, and destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure, Haiti’s economy must be rebuilt on a new basis.  If the country must begin anew, the opportunity to develop something entirely new exists.

The lingering effects of colonialism, racism, and poverty must be eliminated as the country begins to map out its future.  Internal and external factors that have perpetuated, and actually increased, the disintegration of Haiti – its infrastructure, its agriculture, and its people – must be left out of the country’s future.  The color line of Haiti’s elites must go.  An economy based on unsustainable agriculture must go.  Governmental instability and corruption must go.  Unacceptable mortality rates for infants, children under five, and women giving birth must go.  All of which leaves room for a new, more equitable, more self-determined Haiti – with the help of all of us.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.

AP covers Israel's campaign against protest and dissent

Adam Horowitz writing for Mondoweiss:

The AP has picked up the story on the ongoing Israeli campaign against nonviolent protest against the occupation. Ben Hubbard connects the dots between the arrests of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, Jamal Juma’, Mohammed Othman and the recent tougher response to the protests in Bil’in, Naalin and Sheikh Jarrah. The article opens, "Israel is arresting a growing number of prominent opponents to its policies toward the Palestinians, say critics who are accusing the government of trying to crush legitimate dissent."

Is it just me or does this whole article just reek of panic from the Israeli government? It seems that Israel has been caught flatfooted as activists have changed tactics. Hubbard writes:

The arrests come at a time of shifting tactics in the protests against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and annexation of east Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Israel captured both from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.
The violence of the second Palestinian uprising, with mass marches and violent attacks, has given way to carefully calibrated protests and legal action in which Israeli and Palestinian activists now often work together.

And of course Israel has responded in the only way they ever do – force.

The article also includes an interesting tidbit on Mohammad Othman’s case and the type of interrogation he faced during his detention:

Othman, who was arrested upon his return from an advocacy trip to Norway, said he was interrogated almost daily. "The questions focused on the boycott movement, ‘How do you work on this and who are your contacts?’" said Othman, 33.
Interrogators searched his computer, his cell phone and e-mail accounts, he said. He had to pay a $2,700 bond.

Sure seems someone has noticed the BDS movement, don’t you think?

For those not aware, BDS means Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

Perhaps due to the pressure of the news media, Juma and Othman were recently released. Rahmeh, however, remains jailed. Further news, the AP story was actually carried by the Washington Post. Now that's a new one.



Obama capitulates to Israeli colonialism

Just who is the world's Superpower? America?

Bruce Wolman who reports from Mondoweiss tells us:


[Mitchell's] main message will be the need to apply pressure, especially from the Arab states, on the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel. At last week’s meeting of the Quartet, Mitchell told the delegates there was no prospect of Israel agreeing to a complete halt in construction in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians have been demanding.

We are seeing the complete capitulation of the Obama administration to the Netanyahu government and the Israeli Lobby. Once again American Mideast foreign policy becomes a mere extension of US domestic politics. As in the Clinton years, it is demanded of the Palestinians that they be the ones to adjust to American and Israeli political realities.

As Americans, we should be ashamed of this capitulation to Israel, which is using our funding and military equipment to continue its ethnic cleansing and colonization of lands belonging to the Palestinian people.

Ashamed, Obama!


Global Suicide Pact:: The Darfur Engine, Pt 3

Suicide (n) - The most preventable type of death.

This is the ongoing story of a species whose leaders have a death wish, and whose members at large mostly don't. Also, sometimes they got to wondering what should be done about a large geopolitical concentration of fellow beings operating under the brand name "China".

"China's rise and ongoing transformation are the global story." - Bob Costas, who went on to point out that the country is home to one-fifth of humanity, commenting on the close of the Beijing Olympics, August 24, 2008.

"So who will be Tibet's Charlie Wilson? Who will bring the Chinese empire to its knees? Who will stop it from devouring the Earth's resources, sponsoring genocidal regimes, displacing its own people by the millions and keeping them in the dark about events within their own country?" - Glenn Hurowitz, April 14, 2008.

"China has become the world's leading polluter, and also continues to be one of the worst, if not the worst, human and worker's rights offender on the planet. However, considering that we imported 200 billion dollars in goods from China in 2004 (the most recent year for which I could find a figure), or about 10% of the entire Chinese economy in 2004, we are hardly in a position to criticize. Whenever you consume 10% of another nation's economy, you are giving more than tacit approval to the means by which that produces its economy." - Chris Bowers, August 9, 2008.

After reading that Glenn Hurowitz article back in April, it occurred to me that the leaders of China, whatever their faults, probably have one main goal in mind all the time: don't be another Russia. Don't let the country dissolve into an overtly kleptocratic enterprise whose young citizens' main choices are often between joining the mob, selling anything to leave, and drinking themselves to death.

China's leaders want half of their 2050 population to be able to have a car and travel abroad. They want to lift 80 million of their people out of poverty. [1] While they're trying to get to there from here, why should they listen to us?

Without meaning to diminish what's going on in Tibet and Darfur, I don't think it's right to wish Russia's fate on an entire country in collective punishment for their leaders' actions. I don't think it will help.

On the other hand, China's probably headed down that path all on their own. But it's nothing to smirk about. We're going to end up wherever they do.

There's more...

Snoop Dogg cancels Israeli gig

Last week, Mark Elf of Jews sans frontieres reported this latest development in the boycott and divestment effort against Israel until it provides a fair and just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of late, this has meant creating a sovereign contiguous independent Palestinian nation (as Bush declared in January, 2008), and dealing fairly with all of the associated issues.

So the peace effort continues with nonviolent protests on the ground in occupied Palestine, and around the world activity to divest/boycott Israel among other actions.

There's more...


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