I am sure the law would never require a 64 year-old woman like myself to bear arms, but if I am required to answer this question, I cannot lie. I must be honest. The truth is that I would not be willing to bear arms. Since my youth I have had a firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or in the bearing of arms. I deeply and sincerely believe that it is not moral or ethical to take another person’s life, and my lifelong spiritual/religious beliefs impose on me a duty of conscience not to contribute to warfare by taking up arms…my beliefs are as strong and deeply held as those who possess traditional religious beliefs and who believe in God…I want to make clear, however, that I am willing to perform work of national importance under civilian direction or to perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States if and when required by the law to do so.
They came from all around Istanbul. They came from all different backgrounds, different ideologies, different religions. They all gathered to prevent the demolition of something bigger than the park:
The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.
MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) — Seated at a table with his hands folded in front of him, twiddling his thumbs, an American soldier dryly spoke about how he slipped away from his base in Afghanistan last year in the middle of the night and killed 16 civilians, later setting some bodies on fire with a kerosene lantern.
The Terena tribe is occupying a farm in Mato Grosso do Sol, Brazil, that it says belongs to its ancestral land; the Brazilian government is sending 200 troops to kick them out to prevent the situation from “radicalizing”- the police already killed on protester from the Terena, two are missing, and another was injured by an unidentified gunman.
Other indigenous people are acting in solidarity: “Some 2,000 members of the Kaingang and Guarani groups are blocking highways in Mato Grosso do Sul in protest against the government’s decision to halt the granting of ancestral lands to indigenous communities.”
Meanwhile, of course, the Munduruku continue to protest and occupy the construction site of the Belo Monte dam, which would flood their territory.
To accept feminism as a Western concept is in the last analysis to concede the most visible discourses around women’s rights and gender justice as the property of the West and to marginalize the indigenous histories of protest and resistance to patriarchy by non-Western women. Therefore I use the term “feminist” as a description of Muslim women’s activities that are aimed at transforming masculinist social structures.
Muslim women and men with feminist commitments need to navigate the terrain between being critical of sexist interpretations of Islam and patriarchy in their religious communities while simultaneously criticizing neo-colonial feminist discourses on Islam. The fact that Muslim women resist both narratives while sometimes moving between their critiques is a consequence of the way in which they are situated within this larger mineﬁeld.
Obama waives sanctions for countries with child soldiers
For the third year since the law was enacted, President Obama’s administration offered a waiver to almost all countries that would have been sanctioned in accordance with the Child Soldiers Prevention Act. The administration offered full waivers to Yemen, Libya, and South Sudan, and a partial waiver to the DR Congo. This Foreign Policy blog offers a great take on it.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized Obama this month for offering the waivers last October, and suggested the law be amended to remove the option of a presidential waiver.
In his speech announcing an executive order to fight human trafficking, a week before granting these waivers, President Obama said:
"When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery. It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty."
If only we really had.
Vidal Vega, leader of a landless movement in Paraguay, was shot and killed outside his home Sunday. He was also the key witness in a conflict between landless activists and police that left 17 dead. More information here.
I feel angry that he joins the ranks of so many activists killed for standing up to those in power. I feel grateful that so many activists, like Vega, choose to stand up anyway, knowing it puts their lives in danger. I dream of a world where no one has to make such a choice.
Do you remember Tim DeChristopher? When the government tried to auction off a ton of land just before a law protecting that land went into effect, he thwarted them by illegally placing a winning bid he had no way of paying. By the time they sorted it out, the law was in effect and they couldn’t re-do the auction; the land was saved. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to two years in prison, of which he’s now served a year and a half.
Well, he’s recently been transferred to a halfway house, where he has to hold down a job. A local Unitarian church offered him a position in its social justice ministry, working to make the world a better place, basically. Here’s the “but”: according to his lawyer, Patrick Shea, "The Bureau of Prisons official who interviewed Tim indicated he would not be allowed to work at the Unitarian church because it involved social justice and that was what part of what his crime was."
Yep, that’s right. The government said he’s forbidden from working against racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry. Instead, he’ll work in a bookstore. Don’t get me wrong; I love books… but somehow that just doesn’t seem right.
Weibo had a very big impact on my situation because our local government tried to cover up this case and not let the public know. But this time, people around China and even around the world found out they put me in labor camp. And the local government couldn’t resist so many people’s power.