Prometheus and Pandora XVIII

Our featured image shows Athena and Hephaistos, who had been ordered by Zeus  to create a woman, Pandora, admiring their handiwork.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Prometheus and Pandora hope that you will visit the site, take the actions and make the donations.

 

IN MEMORIAM

NEIL SIMON July 4, 1927-August 26, 2018

'THE ODD COUPLE' PLAY OPENING NIGHT POST PARTY, NEW YORK, AMERICA - 27 OCT 2005

Neil Simon, one of the rare late-20th century playwrights who was a brand name for plays such as “The Odd Couple” and “Barefoot in the Park,” died on August 26. He was 91. A statement from his reps said, “Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, died on August at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. The cause was complications from pneumonia. His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with Mr. Simon’s daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon.” In addition to his four Oscar nominations and 17 Tony nominations, Simon’s works brought an unsurpassed 50 Tony nominations for their actors. His competitive Tony wins came for “The Odd Couple” (best playwright) and for best play for “Lost in Yonkers” and “Biloxi Blues.”

Detailed obituaries can be found in the NYtimes and Variety.

 

John T. “Jack” Gosling 10 July 1938-10 May 2018

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John T. “Jack” Gosling died 10 May 2018, in Louisville, Colo., after a battle with cancer. With his passing, the field of space physics has lost one of its most insightful, productive, and influential scientists, and many of us have lost a dear and treasured friend. A detailed obituary and account of his great scientific achievements has been written by his colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory. and published in EOS. the journal of the American Geophysical Union. Rest in peace, dear friend.

UNRANT

For once we want to be a bit positive. We have found a fascinating site called Brainpickings, run by a lady named Maria Popova. Prometheus and Pandora recommend that you take a look at it and maybe cough up a donation to keep it running.

Pandora and Prometheus would like to link you to a review of a beautiful book by the great Shel Silverstein, The Missing Piece. Enjoy!

RANT OF THE MONTH

Prometheus and Pandora have been ranting for quite a while about the erosion of democracy in Israel and elsewhere. At the risk of being redundant we will link you to a hard-hitting article by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz in which he analyzes the spooky symbiosis between Trump and Netanyahu and draws a parallel between the pogrom of Charlottesville a year ago and the Nation State law in Israel. Both support white/Jewish supremacy and as Shalev writes-“We’re all Jews, Netanyahu is signaling, we know why we’re here, and nothing else matters:.”

Of course much else does matter, especially the rights of minority communities, Arabs, Druze and others. The problem is in many ways the assertion that the Jewish nature of the state trumps human rights. If the rightist interpretation of Judaism is adopted, Israel will find itself disconnected from the largest Jewish community in the world, that in the USA, most of whose members are liberal.  Shuki Friedman writing in Haaretz makes the point that the definition of Judaism is the critical point in the struggle for the soul of the nation. If the closed parochial version continues to be dominant then democracy has no chance. We shall also lose our connection to the liberal nations still left in the EU.  Eva Illiuz, also in Haaretz, points out the catastrophic effect for the Jews of the world of Israel’s alignment with the populist, often anti-Semitic countries around the world. Hungary and Poland are strong examples of this trend.

poland

An illustration depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Auschwitz. Credit Eran Wolkowski

Despite the hostile environment, there are people, including human rights lawyers and other activists, who are struggling in Israel to protect minority rights. David Shulman writing in the NYRB extols their courage and persistence . He reviews two books, one on the connection of Jews to human rights in the 20th century and the struggle for human rights in  Israel seen  through the eyes of a human rights lawyer.

A RANT IN A PICTURE

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGY!

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In a few weeks our dear friend and colleague Margy Kivelson, professor emerita at UCLA, will celebrate her 90th birthday. Over the decades we have shared  several spacecraft missions and have greatly enjoyed both working with her and hanging out in her delightful company. She has had a remarkable career and is still going strong in science and in everything else. We had an email from her a few weeks ago that warmed our hearts. For a description of her life and career we refer you to the NYTimes who do it much better than we could.

TIDBITS FROM SCIENCE

GALILEO LETTER DISCOVERED

galileoletter

The original letter in which Galileo argued against the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church has been rediscovered in London. Credit: The Royal Society

The original letter of 1613 — long thought lost — in which Galileo Galilei first set down his arguments against the church’s doctrine that the Sun orbits the Earth has been discovered in a misdated library catalogue in London. The letter was used in the process against him by the Inquisition. It appears that he modified the letter to soften his claims against Scripture as science, but the version that was used in court was the strong one. The new discovery resolves the question of how the softening was done. It appears that Galileo himself did the editing and lied about the first version.

LANDING ON AN ASTEROID

japast

This spectacular photo shows the view from asteroid Ryugu of the Minerva-II1A rover during a hop after it successfully landed on Sept. 21, 2018. The probe is one of two that landed on Ryugu from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft. It’s the first time two mobile rovers landed on an asteroid.
Credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Two tiny hopping robots have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu–part of a sample return mission of the mother spacecraft Hayabusa2. The  robots now have a companion on the surface of   Ryugu. A shoebox-sized lander called the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) deployed from its mothership, Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, as planned at 9:57 p.m. EDT Tuesday (Oct. 2; 0157 GMT on Oct. 3) and came to rest on Ryugu shortly thereafter.

mascotphoto

The German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander captured this photo of asteroid Ryugu during landing operations on Oct. 3, 2018. The lander’s shadow is visible at upper right.
Credit: German Aerospace Center (DLR)

SILLY TIME

WhatIf

What would the world be like if the land masses were spread out the same way as now – only rotated by an angle of 90 degrees?

—Socke

The answer from Randal is very interesting. You will enjoy reading it.

SPELLING IS IMPORTANT

HERE IS A LINK TO A WUMO

Prometheus and Pandora do not wish to run afoul of WUMO’s copyright.

WE HEAR MUCH ABOUT AI…

 

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 3-10

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1
Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.
bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Mercy Corps, a non profit that responds to disasters and need around the world. Their mission statement: They are on the ground in Indonesia where the needs are huge. Please donate.

Indo_happymother

Our mission

Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

We believe

  • In the value of every human life and that, as members of a global community, we have a responsibility to support one another.
  • In the right of all people to meet their basic needs, feel hope for their future and have opportunities to thrive.
  • That every man, woman and child deserves to live in a secure, peaceful community and to be empowered to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

Crisis and challenge provide an opening to act courageously and offer solutions that spark long-term, transformational change.

Mercy Corps is highly rated by     Charity Navigator Charity

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is enforced contact which can be deadly. Please act for people on the Peruvian contact border.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview

You can download this book

Look for these logos:

logo_rfa

utz_certified

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and ask the crucial question “who picked my tea?”

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

INDONESIA

Yakonias-Womsiwor

Urgent Action: Activist Shot by Police Denied Proper Medical Care

Papuan political activist, Yakonias Womsiwor, has been suffering from severe pain in both his legs for more than two weeks after being shot by police. Despite being unable to stand as a result of the gunshot, proper medical care has been denied by police.

TAKE ACTION

THAILAND

 

Urgent Action: Chinese Refugees at Risk of Refoulement

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Chinese human rights defenders YANG Chong and WU Yuhua, UNHCR-recognized refugees, have been charged with immigration offences in Thailand. They could be deported to China, where they would face risks of unfair trial and torture.

TAKE ACTION

Democratic Republic of Congo  (DRC)

Mino Bopomi - Filimbi Activist

Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Activists Sentenced in Unfair Trial

On 24 September, a court in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found Grâce Tshiunza, Mino Bopomi, Cedric Kalonji and Carbone Beni guilty of “insulting the president”, “publication of subversive writings” and “civil disobedience”. The same court acquitted Palmer Kabeya. Amnesty International believes that the court’s decision against the four human rights activists is baseless and criminalizes legal and peaceful activism by human rights activists.

TAKE ACTION

NIGERIA

image1170x530cropped

An aerial view of Ogoniland shows oil floating on the water’s surface.

Urgent Action: Community in Nigeria Drinking Polluted Water

There is an urgent need for the government and multinational oil company Shell to ensure a regular supply of safe water to people in the oil-producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Their right to water continues to be violated as they are forced to drink dangerously polluted water or buy water at unaffordable prices.

TAKE ACTION

Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update September 27-October 5

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great human rights defender.

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to Innovation Africa, a nonprofit that uses Israeli technology to help Africans. The mission statement: “We are a nonprofit on a mission to bring innovative Israeli solar and water technologies to remote African villages. With the help of people like you, we have provided one million people across Africa with access to vaccines, light and water.” Worthy of your support.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is enforced contact which can be deadly. Please act for people on the Peruvian contact border.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call to suspend loans tainted with Uzbek forced labor

URGENT ACTION CASES

INDIA

dra-644x362

Urgent Action Victory! – Dalit Rights Activist Released

Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, a prominent Dalit rights activist, has been released from Saharanpur District Prison on 14 September. He was being held in administrative detention without charge or trial under the draconian National Security Act.

Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ was released from Saharanpur District Prison in Uttar Pradesh on 14 September 2018, where he was being held in administrative detention since November 2017.

Chandrashekhar Azad has been detained under the National Security Act (NSA) for almost 11 months. The NSA permits administrative detention for up to 12 months on loosely defined grounds of national security and maintenance of public order. It is a repressive law that has been used to target human rights defenders in India.

Speaking to the media upon his release, Chandrashekhar Azad said, “The government was scared that they would be rebuked by the Supreme Court for arresting me so they have decided to release me early. I’m very sure that they will re-arrest me again within 10 days”. However, the Uttar Pradesh police have told the media that they decided to release him early because of a request from his mother.

Chandrasekhar Azad was first arrested on 8 June 2017, for his alleged involvement in inter-caste clashes in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh in April and May 2017. He was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on 2 November 2017. The court was reported to have observed that the charges against him were politically motivated. However, before he could even leave jail, Chandrashekar Azad was arrested again under the National Security Act.

Many thanks to everyone who took action. No more action is required from the UA Network.

COLOMBIA

rio cauca_agencia prensa rural_web

Communities affected by Hidroituango dam in Colombia file complaint at IDB | Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)

Urgent Action Update: Two Relatives of Environmental Members Killed

On 22 September, two relatives of members of the Rios Vivos Movement were killed in Antioquia, Colombia. These killings come after several others of environmental human rights defenders, members of the same movement, affected by the environmental and human rights impact of the Hidrohituango dam construction.

TAKE ACTION

CHILE

karina-riquelme-680x300

Urgent Action Update: Lawyer at Risk for Defending Indigenous People

Lawyer Karina Riquelme was again intimidated by Chilean police intelligence agents several times because of her work as a defender of Mapuche Indigenous people rights. She fears for her personal security and feels intimidated.

TAKE ACTION

ERITREA

berhane_abrehe

Urgent Action: Ex-Minister Arbitrarily Held After Book Release

Former Eritrean Minister of Finance, Berhane Abrehe, was taken to an undisclosed location by security agents on 17 September. His arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention come just days after he published a book encouraging Eritreans to peacefully protest against government policies.

TAKE ACTION

NICARAGUA

Amaya-Coppens-2

Amaya Coppens

Urgent Action: Wave of Detentions of Students and Activists

Detention of student leaders and other social activists have increased in Nicaragua as the government persists in its strategy of persecution and criminalization as a punishment against those taking part in nationwide protests.

TAKE ACTION

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Blog September 13-18

Our featured image above shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012),  a great human rights defender

We are publishing a day early this week because of Yom Kippur

We wish our Jewish readers an easy fast and   חתימה טובה

 

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

Typhoon Mangkhut, a powerful storm 550 miles wide, has pummeled the Philippines, and the full scope of the damage is not yet known. Hurricane Florence has struck the east coast of the United States. The NYTimes provides a guide to helping the victims.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

 

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call to stop the exploitation of children in orphanages around the world. Unscrupulous individuals are profiting from the trafficking and abuse of children under their care in orphanages across the world. Traffickers, attracted by the funding orphanages receive from donations and organizations offering ‘voluntourism’ placements, effectively turn children into commodities by ensuring there is a constant supply of children who are used to attract funding.

URGENT ACTION CASES

RUSSIA

Mikhail Benyash. Photo: 'Golos Kubani', https://golos-kubani.ru/v-krasnodare-advokata-siloj-vygnali-s-suda-po-delam-zaderzhannyx-na-akcii-protiv-putina/

Urgent Action: Lawyer assaulted and arbitrarily detained in Russia

On 9 September, lawyer Mikhail Benyash was arrested, beaten and detained by police after meeting his client who had taken part in a peaceful protest in Krasnodar, a city in the south of Russia. A court convicted and sentenced Mikhail Benyash to 14 days in administrative detention on 11 September. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

INDONESIA

Image result for meliana case indonesia

Urgent Action: 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR MOSQUE NOISE COMPLAINT

Meliana, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman, has been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to 18 months in prison for complaining about the loudspeaker volume at a local mosque. Amnesty International considers her a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

MAURITANIA

Image result for Abdellahi el Housein Mesoud

URGENT ACTION: ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS ARBITRARILY ARRESTED

Two members of the anti-slavery organization Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) were arbitrarily arrested on 7 August in Nouakchott, west Mauritania. Biram Dah Abeid, IRA president and candidate to the September parliamentarian elections, and Abdellahi el Housein Mesoud have been charged and denied access to legal representation.

TAKE ACTION

IRAN

Image result for Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostadghader

Houshmand Alipour (left) and Mohammad Ostadghader are feared to face death penalty by the Iranian government.

URGENT ACTION: IRANIAN KURDS FORCED TO MAKE TV “CONFESSION”

Iranian Kurds Houshmand Alipour and Mohammad Ostadghader were arrested by security forces on 3 August and held incommunicado for weeks. They were shown on state television on 7 August making a forced “confession” incriminating themselves. They have had little access to their families and no access to lawyers of their choosing.

TAKE ACTION

 

Miriam Shlesinger August 30-September 5

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012) a great human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

220px-holbein-erasmus1

Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Center for Biodiversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity works through science, law and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction. Learn more about the Center for Biological Diversity. They have a high rating from Charity Watch.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is land theft. Colonialism is alive and kicking. Act

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

tackling-modern-slavery-preview
You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

logo_rfa
utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and choose your campaign.

 

Demand dignity for domestic workers

URGENT ACTION CASES

VICTORY

TAJIKISTANI PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE RELEASED

On 22 August, independent journalist and prisoner of conscience Khai rullo (Kha y rullo) Mirsaidov received a non – custodial sentence and was released in the courtroom, after spending more than eight months behind bars. He had been detained and prosecuted following his allegations of government corruption

KAZAKHSTAN

PRISONER AT RISK OF LOSING EYESIGHT

Tungishbayev
Kazakhstani activist and blogger, Muratbek Tungishbayev risks losing sight in his left eye due to the penitentiary authorities’ failure to provide him with necessary medical care following surgery he had on his eye. He remains held in pre-trial detention in Almaty, on politically – motivated charges and requires urgent surgery immediately in order to save his sight. Amnesty International considers Muratbek Tungishbayev to be a prisoner of conscience.
TAKE ACTION

VIETNAM

vietnam_-_tran_thi_nga

URGENT ACTION: FEARS FOR PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE AFTER DEATH THREAT

Human rights defender Tran Thi Nga recently told her husband in a hurried phone call that she had been brutally beaten up and has received a death threats by an other inmate. After a previous call with her family, it appears that the attacks have been orchestrated by prison authorities to punish her. Detained for more than 18 months, Tran Thi Nga is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
TAKE ACTION

UGANDA

bobi

URGENT ACTION OPPOSITION POLITICIAN DETAINED; SIGNS OF TORTURE

On 14 August, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, a Ugandan singer turned politician was arrested and later charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition on 16 August. While being arrested, he was physically assaulted with visible injuries and swelling on his face and body.
TAKE ACTION

NIGERIA

Image result for Samuel Ogundipe

URGENT ACTION NIGERIAN JOURNALIST DETAINED AND THREATENED

Journalist Samuel Ogundipe is being detained at the Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters, Guzape district Abuja. He was brought to court without a lawyer present and has been charged with ‘ criminal trespass ’ and ‘ theft of police document ’ . He was arrested on 14 August after honoring an invitation by the SARS unit of the Nigerian police to report to their office as part of an investigation into a news article Premium Times, the online newspaper he works for, published.

TAKE ACTION

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Protect children exposed to gruesome violence in DRC’s Kasai region

Image result for kasai children amnesty

As the violence in Kasai continues, children continue to suffer the most, being exposed to horrid violence.

Thousands of children have beeN either forcibly recruited or tricked into fighting in the armed conflict by armed groups such as the Kamuena Nsapu. A military campaign launched by the government against the Kamuena Nsapu insurgency has cost thousands of lives and has displaced more than a million people, some within the Kasai region and others crossing into Angola.

TAKE ACTION

 

Prometheus and Pandora XVII

Our featured image shows Mercury presenting Pandora to Prometheus by Richard Westmacott

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human
Rights Action site. Prometheus and Pandora hope that you will visit
there, take the actions and make the donations.

IN MEMORIAM

URI AVNERY September 10, 1923-August 20, 2018

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Uri Avnery in July, 2014. credit אורן זיו

Uri Avnery was an icon and a great man who provided us in the peace movement the leadership that we need. We shall miss him sorely and can only hope that someone will rise to take on the mantle and try to fill these huge shoes. He was the first to put forward the idea of two states, Israeli and Palestinian living in peace, side by side. From the early 1950s, long before any talk of a Palestinian state by Israel’s side became fashionable, even among the left, Avnery supported a two-state solution. On a deeper level, he was the first Israeli public figure, in a generation when the Palestinians were perceived as indistinguishable from the wider Arab nation, to call upon other Israelis to see the Palestinians as a distinct nation, living beside them. The highlights of his career are shown in this graphic.

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While Uri was a skilled politician and leader, he, and many in his circle, admitted he had some difficulties when it came to people skills. A friend once said:
“Avnery is disabled like Trumpeldor was. Trumpeldor lacked an arm;
Avnery lacks feeling.”  Uri wrote in his memoir: “There’s something wrong with my emotional relations with people. And the worst thing about it is, I don’t really care.”

We recall meeting him at a demonstration opposite the Defense Ministry that had been poorly scheduled and conflicted with a human rights demonstration before an embassy  by Amnesty International. When he was reproached for this, his response was “shut up and pick up a sign.” While he could be thorny at times, he earned respect by showing up in his late 80’s to demonstrate in hard conditions including blows and tear gas, such as at Bil’in, where he provided a physical example to followers who could easily have been his grandchildren. His devoted wife Rachel was by his side until her death in 2011. We were even  helped by Rachel with an onion when the tear gas became dense.

bilin_onion

Uri was one of the people, along with the late Baruch Kimmerling, who led the way in dissent from the Zionist party line (more or less the same for all the parties). He left a huge legacy of clear rational thinking about our future with the Palestinians, something sorely lacking in our present leadership.

Here are six must reads written by Avnery for Haaretz, plus an interview marking his 90th birthday. We note that President Rivlin, who is far on the political spectrum from Uri and his group, had praise for him.

Rivlin said on Monday that Uri Avnery was “the eternal opposition figure” whose fight for freedom of expression “paved the way of Israel as a young country.”

 “We had strong differences, but they paled in contrast to the aspiration to build a free and strong society here,” Rivlin said.

 Detailed obituaries can be found in Haaretz, in the Guardian , in Forward and in the NYTimes.

Aretha Franklin March 25, 1942 August 16, 2018

aretha_2675
Regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time, Aretha Franklin has died of advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76. Aretha Franklin was one of the most iconic voices in music history and a brilliant artist. Over the course of her decades-long career, she inspired countless musicians and fans, and created a legacy that paved the way for a long line of strong female artists.


Known as “the queen of soul”, Franklin sold more than 75 million records in her lifetime and won 18 Grammy awards. She had 77 entries in the US Billboard Hot 100 and 20 No 1 singles on the R&B chart. Her last album was A Brand New Me, released in November 2017, which paired archival vocal recordings for Atlantic Records with new orchestral arrangements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Her last original recording was Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics in 2014, which included her take on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.

“American history wells up when Aretha sings,” former US president Barack Obama said of her performance of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. “Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock’n’roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope.”
In the wake of her death, some of America’s most prominent figures have paid their respects. Barack and Michelle Obama put out a joint statement, reading, in part:

“Every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”
Franklin performed at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, singing My Country, ‘Tis of Thee. Her final live performance was at a gala event for Elton John’s AIDS foundation, in November 2017. John posted a tribute on Instagram, saying: “The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favorite pianists.”

JOHN MCCAIN August 29, 1936, August 25, 2018

Sen. John McCain has died from complications of aggressive brain cancer. He was just four days shy of his 82nd birthday.

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A Navy officer for 22 years, a tortured prisoner of war in Hanoi for more than five, a congressman for six, a U.S. senator for 31, and the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, McCain became one of the nation’s most prominent politicians. While he had vociferous critics for some of his views and many of his votes, he gained wide respect on both sides of the Senate aisle.

Former president Obama posted a moving tribute to John McCain:

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics.   But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.
 We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible — and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.”
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“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.”
The tweet by Trump, totally void of any real feeling is not worth quoting. John McCain left instructions that Trump should not speak at his funeral.

 

RANT ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The Israeli government is using its security service, Shin Bet, to harass leftists and Arabs and in general anyone who dares to criticize the government and the occupation, in particular the latter. This has been going on for a long time, but has become worse recently. The interrogation of Peter Beinart at the airport indicates that no one, no matter how highly placed and famous, is immune to the attack of the “opinion police.” The reasoning behind this systematic harassment of so-called leftists has been analyzed by Carlo Strenger writing in Haaretz. While the Netanyahu government strives to perpetuate the image of democratic Israel, in substance it is doing all in its power to destroy liberal democracy, which includes judicial oversight, press freedom and freedom of expression. Mordechai Kremnitzer also in Haaretz deals with the politicization of the Shin Bet which makes it play a role in delegitimization by the government of the opponents of the occupation.
Bradley Burston in Haaretz tells us flat out that the Israel we knew and loved has gone, destroyed by the actions of our antidemocratic government. Burston uses the Hebrew expression “sinat hinam”-gratuitous hatred, hatred without just cause, hatred which does nothing but take a place of conflict, despair, bigotry, violence, and make it worse. He gives several examples of which we quote one:
“… security services at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport’s departures area took aside and interrogated at length and with pronounced incredulity a prominent Jewish-American philanthropist who chairs Brandeis University’s Board of Trustees, is Orthodox, and has close family in the settlement city of Maaleh Adumim. The reason? His suitcase had been searched, and guards had found a pro- Palestinian pamphlet in his luggage, left over from coexistence meetings the philanthropist had attended between Jewish-American community leaders and Palestinians.”

Chemi Shalev in Haaretz makes it clear, the state of Israel is rotting away, falling into the hands of the likes of Ayelet Shaked and her colleagues in the illiberal government that cozies up to the likes of ethnocentric Hungary. As Shalev concludes “An Israel that stoops so low as to detain someone like Beinart, and implicitly threatens to brand him persona non-grata, is not my Israel. It is not the country I grew up in, and it is not a country that I would want my children to live in either.”
Prometheus and Pandora are waiting for the Israeli Jews who believe in the values of liberal democracy to stand up and struggle for the soul of the country we all love.

The erosion of democracy is not unique to Israel. We see it happening all over the world where populist demagogues  lead people to follow them blindly and cheerfully give up their rights and freedoms. Marcus Tullius Cicero is said to have reacted to the takeover of Rome and the subversion of the republic by Julius Caesar  with the comment–“blame not Caesar, blame the mindless people who dance for him in the streets as he deprives them of their freedoms”. More recently, Paul Krugman, writing in the NYTimes, explains how vulnerable US democracy is to the same demise that has happened in Eastern Europe and it is not because of economic stress.  He puts it bluntly-“The point is that we’re suffering from the same disease — white nationalism run wild — that has already effectively killed democracy in some other Western nations. And we’re very, very close to the point of no return.” The threat by Trump of violence if the Republicans lose in the forthcoming midterm elections cannot be dismissed. In Israel, blind hatred of Arabs and racism towards African refugees play the same role.

RANT ABOUT GENOCIDE IN MYANMAR

A UN report has said top military figures in Myanmar must be investigated for genocide in Rakhine state and crimes against humanity in other areas.

The report, based on hundreds of interviews, is the strongest condemnation from the UN so far of violence against Rohingya Muslims. It says the army’s tactics are “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”. Myanmar rejected the report.

At least 700,000 Rohingya have fled violence in the country in the past 12 months. Prometheus and Pandora are very disappointed in Myanmar’s de facto leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to intervene to stop attacks. The Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu called her out last year in an open letter:

My dear Aung San Su Kyi

I am now elderly, decrepit and formally retired, but breaking my vow to remain silent on public affairs out of profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority in your country, the Rohingya.

In my heart you are a dearly beloved younger sister. For years I had a photograph of you on my desk to remind me of the injustice and sacrifice you endured out of your love and commitment for Myanmar’s people. You symbolised righteousness. In 2010 we rejoiced at your freedom from house arrest, and in 2012 we celebrated your election as leader of the opposition.

Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya. But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated. The images we are seeing of the suffering of the Rohingya fill us with pain and dread.

We know that you know that human beings may look and worship differently – and some may have greater firepower than others – but none are superior and none inferior; that when you scratch the surface we are all the same, members of one family, the human family; that there are no natural differences between Buddhists and Muslims; and that whether we are Jews or Hindus, Christians or atheists, we are born to love, without prejudice. Discrimination doesn’t come naturally; it is taught.

Aung San Su Kyi File picture: Edgar Su/AP

My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep. A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country.

It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain.

As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again. We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again.

God bless you.

Love

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Hermanus, South Africa

 

We can add nothing to this call.

 

RANT ABOUT SEA LEVEL RISE

A recent study by a group of scientists led by Stéphane Hallegatte of the World Bank has estimated the dangers threatening   coastal cities around the world. They assess economic average annual losses (AAL) in 136 coastal port cities, using a method developed for assessing city-level flood risk and a new database of urban coastal protection. The results are horrific and we, as homo sapiens, have only ourselves to blame. Prometheus is again wondering if giving fire to humans was a good idea. Here is a view of flooding in Mumbai, India.

 

Read the article carefully and especially note the tables, which   unfortunately we cannot reproduce here.

EXCITING NEWS FROM SCIENCE

Higgs boson observed to decay to two bottom quarks

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An ATLAS candidate event for the Higgs boson (H) decaying to two bottom quarks (b), in association with a W boson decaying to a muon (μ) and a neutrino (ν). (Image: ATLAS/CERN)

CERN has announced that the Higgs boson that was discovered six years ago has been found to decay into two bottom quarks. The finding,  by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is consistent with the hypothesis that the all-pervading quantum field behind the Higgs boson also gives mass to the bottom quark. Both teams have submitted their results for publication. The result gives support to the Standard Model. Cheers all over geekdom.

BOOK REVIEWS

J. M. Coetzee, the Netherlands, 2005

J. M. Coetzee, the Netherlands, 2005

 

 

THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS

By J.M. Coetzee
Published 2013-09-03
Viking Adult

THE SCHOOLDAYS OF JESUS

By J.M. Coetzee
260 pp. Viking. $27.

This week we consider a pair of novels by the Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus (2013) and the Schooldays of Jesus (2017). The former was reviewed in the Guardian by Theo Tait and the latter in the NYTimes by Jack Miles. The Schooldays of Jesus also has a review in the NYRB by Colm Tóibín. The novels deal with a man Simon and a boy David who come to a new and unknown land. They have moved across Lethean waters to a new land, a place called Novilla, in order to start a new life. It may or may not be the afterlife; the boy and the man have been “washed clean” of all their memories, given these new names, and taught the rudiments of Spanish, the land’s language, at a refugee camp.
Coetzee has brought his characters to an island.  Simón tells Davíd:

“You arrived on a boat, just as I did, just as the people around us did, the ones who didn’t have the luck to be born here…. When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life…. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks at the harbor and we climb down the gangplank and we are plunged into the here and now. Time begins. The clock starts running.”
The novels are enigmatic as Coetzee uses the utopian setting to expound his philosophical ideas. In analogy to Robinson Crusoe, his two Jesus books play with the idea of how life on a desert island can become more intense, almost more true, as does his own version of Defoe’s story, Foe (1986). The life away from the noise of the world offers a zone where more searching questions can be asked,  in which the social space of the novel can be replaced by parable and commentary on what we deem important and how stories come to us.

Critics have said that these two books are not as great as Diary of a Bad Year or Waiting for the Barbarians, which among others led to his 2003 Nobel Prize.  Pandora and Prometheus will leave that question to you.

SILLY TIME

What if–answers to absurd questions.

What would happen if I dug straight down, at a speed of 1 foot per second? What would kill me first?

Jack Kaunis

Enjoy the answer.

WE HAVE LONG HELD WITH THE PRINCIPLE “ESCHEW OBFUSCATION”

ABOUT KETTLES AND POTS…

Cheap flights have a long history as told by WUMO. Now you can fly for 50p.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update August 23-29

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam (1947-2012), a great human rights defender

HE WHO PERMITS OPPRESSION PERMITS CRIMES.-Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

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Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 as depicted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The Greek and Latin words on the book translate to “The Herculean Labors of Erasmus of Rotterda

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to the Mercy Corps, a non profit that responds to disasters and need around the world. Their mission statement:

Our mission

Alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

We believe

  • In the value of every human life and that, as members of a global community, we have a responsibility to support one another.
  • In the right of all people to meet their basic needs, feel hope for their future and have opportunities to thrive.
  • That every man, woman and child deserves to live in a secure, peaceful community and to be empowered to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

Crisis and challenge provide an opening to act courageously and offer solutions that spark long-term, transformational change.

Mercy Corps is highly rated by     Charity Navigator Charity

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Indigenous tribes do not simply die out. They are killed by the actions of so-called civilized nations. Survival International provides a long list of cases in which a letter from you can and will make a difference. Please open this link and write at least one letter. This link will be a permanent feature on our blog and we would be grateful if you gave it a bit of attention each week. We suggest going down the list in the order given. The letters are pre-written for you. All you need to do is send them. It would be nice also if a donation to Survival International could be forthcoming. They are the best conservationists--help that fact go viral.

A major calamity for indigenous people is enforced contact which can be deadly. Please act for people on the Peruvian contact border.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY

We have added this section to the blog in order to join the struggle against slavery worldwide. This week we refer you to the the ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labor which is all about modern slavery. We call your attention to the anti slavery campaign. There you can sign up for action updates.The importance of checking your sellers’ supply chains cannot be overemphasized.

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You can download this book

Look for these logos:

 

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utz_certified

 

 

 

 

Find a campaign to work for. Light must be made to shine in the darkest of places. We invite you to join Freedom United        and lend your voice to the call to stop forced labor in US jails.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action: PRISONER MUST REMAIN HOSPITALISED POST-SURGERY

ibrahim
24-year old detainee Ibragim Yangulbaev is gravely ill and was being denied essential post-surgery health care in pre-trial detention until 28 July when he was hospitalized. He must be allowed to stay in hospital until full recovery.

TAKE ACTION

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Urgent Action: JOURNALIST ACCUSED OF ‘JUSTIFICATION OF TERRORISM’

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Victor Korb, a human rights defender and journalist, is being unjustly prosecuted for “public justification of terrorism” on account of publishing the final statement of the person whose rights he defends. The charges against him should be dropped immediately.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Urgent Action Update: 42 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR FORCIBLY RETURNED ACTIVIST

According to a Chinese media report, Dong Guangping was sentenced to 42 months in prison almost one year after his trial in July 2017. No notification about the trial or sentencing has been communicated with his family and lawyer. Held incommunicado since being forcibly returned from Thailand in 2015, he remains at grave risk of torture.

TAKE ACTION

ANGOLA

Urgent Action: WHEREABOUTS OF COMMUNITY ACTIVIST UNKNOWN

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Joaquim Costa Zangui, the National Youth Secretary of the Democratic Bloc, was abducted by unknown men on 12 August 2018. He went missing a day after he had presided over the electoral process to elect the new Residential Commission President in Massaque, Viana Municipality, Angola. His whereabouts remain unknown.

TAKE ACTION

IRAN

Free Mohammed Habibi

Iranian teacher trade unionist Mohammed Habibi was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison on 4 August 2018. The sentence by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Court also included prohibition of social and political activities for two years, a travel ban of two years, and 74 lashes.  Please support the call for his release.