Category Archives: Uncategorized

Prometheus and Pandora XIX

Our featured image shows our protagonists as Pokemons.

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 Montserrat Caballé, April 12, 1933-October 6, 2018

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Montserrat Caballé on stage in Santander, northern Spain, in 2006. Photograph: Victor Fraile/Reuters

The great diva who conquered the opera world with her magnificent voice and commanding presence has died at age 85. She had a colossal career spanning decades. Few opera singers rocketed to fame more swiftly than she. When Caballé substituted for Marilyn Horne in the title role in a concert performance of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall on April 20, 1965, she was virtually unknown beyond a few provincial European opera houses. After the performance—and a twenty-five-minute ovation—all that would change. Record companies stormed the backstage while the applause was still going on. RCA won.

Pandora and Prometheus are fortunate enough to have in their collection an operatic event that took place outdoors and was preserved on video—Norma at the Orange Festival in 1974, opposite tenor Jon Vickers, a white-hot performance  and one that Caballé herself regarded as a major highlight of her career.

Detailed obituaries can be found in the Guardian and in Opera News. We can all be glad that she did not heed what she was told at her first auditions in Italy. The Italian maestros who heard her in Milan and Florence advised the already buxom young soprano to return to Spain, get married and raise a family.

Her collaboration with a rock singer was a unique phenomenon. In 1987, the mayor of Barcelona invited her to provide a theme song for the Olympic Games to be held in the city in 1992, giving the BBC the music for its television coverage. For this, she collaborated on the album Barcelona (1988) with the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, whom she knew to be a keen opera lover and who called her voice “the best in the world”.
We would like to share with you her performance of the Puccini aria Mia bambino caro

 

RANT AND RAVE

RANT ABOUT THE PITTSBURGH MASSACRE

We cannot ignore the horrible event of the shooting of innocent people by a criminal in Congregation Etz Hayim in Pittsburgh. We honor the memory of the martyrs, the holy ones who were killed only for the “crime” of being Jewish. We lower our heads in shame at the totally inappropriate reaction of the Israeli government to the massacres.

IN MEMORIAM

Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59 and David Rosenthal, 54
Husband and wife Sylvan Simon, 86 and Bernice Simon, 84
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69

Read the obituaries.

A Pittsburgh newspaper put the opening words of the Kaddish on its from  page.

 

We salute the members of the Pittsburgh community, Muslims, Christians, whatever, who have rallied around the Jewish community. Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Pittsburgh Islamic Center, says the Muslim community has raised more than $70,000 for the victims of the synagogue attack and their families. Mohamed said: ‘We just want to know what you need … If it’s people outside your next service protecting you, let us know. We’ll be there.’

Nothing, not even the massacres coming one after the other seems able to get the US body politic to enact civilized gun control legislation.

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Of course there are compelling political reasons for this:

RANT ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT

This section of our rants  will focus on sexual harassment by men in power and the culture of impunity that has always protected them. The recent exposures in Hollywood and New York of sexual corruption in the entertainment industry have given rise to a unity of protest and disclosure as exemplified by the #meToo movement. An online data base called Rotten Apples enables one to see if anyone involved in a show, film or series has been accused of sexual harassment.

Pandora tells us that this goes back a long way, to the gods of ancient Greece, such as the pursuit of the nymph Daphne by the amorous Apollo. Her father turned her into a tree to save her.

apollodaphne

Apollo and Daphne
By John William Waterhouse

Today, alas, no such miraculous means are available and powerful men have used their positions with impunity to pressure and harass female employees and colleagues. On the other hand mass media and the internet have played a great role in exposing and shaming them. We shall focus on a few cases in Israel and in the entertainment business in the US.

ALEX GILADY

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Gilady, who founded the Israeli television broadcaster Keshet, served as a senior executive of NBC in the United States in the ’80s and ’90s, rising to the post of senior vice president. He also sits on the International Olympics Committee. He has been forced to step down from his position at Keshet  in the wake of accusations of serious sexual misconduct. The claims are by Neri Livneh, a columnist with Haaretz, and Oshrat Kotler, a journalist on Channel 10 television. Livneh wrote a column that appeared on Haaretz’s Hebrew website in which she said she was contacted by Gilady’s secretary in 1999, who said that Gilady, then a top TV executive, wished to meet with her on the premise that he
had an interesting offer for her. She eventually found herself at his home where Gilady exposed his penis to her, saying “Talk to it.” Livneh alleged that many people were aware of sexual misconduct of this kind committed by Gilady but preferred not to make it public. She described the incident on a women’s program in 1999 but had been asked not to mention Gilady’s name for legal reasons, Livneh says.

Kotler alleged that Gilady, then CEO of Keshet, made an “indecent proposition” when she met with him for a job interview. When she told him that she was married, he responded: “What has that got to do with it? Don’t you know how they get ahead in television in Hollywood?”

Other women have come out with allegations against Gilady and his reaction has been to file a defamation lawsuit, although in the case of Livneh he has publicly admitted the facts described. We shall wait and see how this case works out.

DAN MARGALIT

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Dan Margalit is an Israeli journalist who has announced that he will cease all journalistic work after eight women accused him of sexual assault and harassment. At age 80 he is currently an op-ed columnist for Haaretz. His career has included stints as a senior reporter and columnist at many papers; he was also a popular host of several television shows. He is considered one of the country’s most influential journalists, with close ties to many senior politicians.
Orly Azoulay, a journalist for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper,in October became the eighth woman to speak out and accuse Margalit of sexual assault and harassment.  Azoulay, 65, accused Margalit of sexually assaulting her in 1992 in the studio of the “Popolitika” television political talk show, which Margalit hosted and where she was a panel member.
Before Azoulay, seven women had come out with accusations of sexual harassment. Haaretz reported that five women had accused him over the course of his long career, and two more spoke out later.
Margalit is now accused of being a serial sexual harasser of young female journalists. It is regrettable that a distinguished career should be marred at the end by such disclosures from the past, but the victims have borne the pain for all these years and he does not deserve impunity.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN

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He was a extremely powerful Hollywood producer and a serial sexual predator who was brought down by Pulitzer prize winning articles in the New Yorker and in the NYTimes. The New Yorker articles by Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer, exposed the decades-long sexual predation by Weinstein and the complex system of private investigators, lawyers, and nondisclosure agreements that he used to cover it up. Two reporters at the Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, first reported on Weinstein’s sexual-harassment settlements, on October 5, 2017. Farrow’s first article, a seven-thousand-word investigation published five days later, disclosed the first accusations of rape and sexual assault against Weinstein. Farrow’s subsequent articles exposed additional rape and harassment allegations.

Weinstein is now facing sexual-assault charges in a court in New York. According to law-enforcement officials, the charges against him are based on the allegations of several women although the prosecution seems to have encountered difficulties relating to the functioning of the DA’s office.

LESLIE  MOONVES

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Moonves was until recently the CEO of the CBS Corporation. He too has been brought down by the writings and actions of Ronan Farrow. Farrow reported in the New Yorker:

“Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that, between the nineteen-eighties and the late aughts, Moonves sexually harassed them. Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result. “What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating,” the actress and writer Illeana Douglas told me.”
All the women said they still feared that speaking out would lead to retaliation from Moonves, who is known in the industry for his ability to make or break careers. “He has gotten away with it for decades,” the writer Janet Jones, who alleges that she had to shove Moonves off her after he forcibly kissed her at a work meeting, told me. “And it’s just not O.K.””

CNN reported that Moonves would step down from his position at CBS. Later the same day, CBS announced that Moonves had left the company and would not receive any of his exit compensation, pending the results of the independent investigation into the allegations. The company named six new members of its board of directors and said it would donate twenty million dollars to organizations that support the #MeToo movement and workplace equality for women. The donation will be deducted from any severance payments that may be due to Moonves.

Let us hope that the public shaming of these powerful and exploitative men contributes to the creation of a work culture and a social atmosphere in which women are respected and treated fairly

BOOK REVIEW/CLIMATE CHANGE

No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies by William T. Vollman Viking
No Good Alternative: Volume Two of Carbon Ideologies by William T. Vollmann Viking

The Most Honest Book About Climate Change Yet

William T. Vollmann’s latest opus is brilliant, but it offers no comfort to its readers.

This dystopian novel describes the world as it will be. He addresses a reader who lives in the future, under radically different circumstances—inhabiting a “hotter, more dangerous and biologically diminished planet.” He envisions her turning the pages of his climate-change opus within the darkened recesses of an underground cave in which she has sought shelter from the unendurable heat; the plagues, droughts, and floods; the methane fireballs racing across boiling oceans. Because the soil is radioactive, she subsists on insects and recycled urine, and regards with implacable contempt her ancestors, who, as Vollmann tells her, “enjoyed the world we possessed, and deserved the world we left you.”
In contrast to other writers about climate change, Vollmann holds out no hope and regards our attempts to mitigate as futile exercises. The two components of the book are reviewed together in the Atlantic by Nathaniel Rich. In a similar vein albeit in a different context, Gerta Keller, a Princeton geologist who rejects the asteroid impact hypothesis of dinosaur extinction, and attributes the mass die-off of 65 million years ago to colossal volcanism, compares what we are doing to our planet to the lethal effects of a series of colossal volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps. The story of the huge controversy between the impacters and the volcano camp appears in the same issue of the Atlantic.

A WORD FROM SCIENCE

A most exciting discovery has come from the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes. A moon orbiting a planet that itself is in orbit around a star other than the sun, i.e. an exoplanet has been discovered. In a paper published Oct. 3 in the journal Science Advances, Alex Teachey and David Kipping, both from Colombia University, report
that the detection of a candidate exomoon — that is, moons orbiting planets in other star systems — is unusual because of its large size, comparable to the diameter of Neptune. Such gargantuan moons do not exist in our own solar system, where nearly 200
natural satellites have been cataloged.  Stay tuned, more will certainly be coming on this subject.

WHY SCIENCE, IN PARTICULAR BIOLOGY?

SMBC has the answer.

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SILLY TIME

What IF?

I understand that the New Horizons craft used gravity assist from Jupiter to increase its speed on the way to Pluto. I also understand that by doing this, Jupiter slowed down very slightly. How many flyby runs would it take to stop Jupiter completely?

—Dillon

More than we can afford. The answer puts things into perspective.

WE GRANDPARENTS DO OUR BEST

WUMO has a special for dog owners… Because of strict copyright rules, we only give you the link.

WHAT PRICE MASS EDUCATION?

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update November 8-14

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, 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 Rotterdam”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bobmarleysomepeoplefeeltherainquote

 

CHARITY CORNER

This week we turn our attention to Amnesty International, a major human rights organization. It serves us on this blog by providing urgent action information. It is worthy not only of your donation but also of your active participation in its campaigns.

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 stop the persecution of anti-slavery activists in Mauritania.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

SOUTH SUDAN

Urgent Action Victory! President Pardons Two Men Sentenced to Death

James Gatdet and William Endley received a presidential pardon on 31 October 2018. The president also ordered the immediate deportation of William Endley to his home country, South Africa. They were released on 2 November.

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James Gardet

 

 

James Gatdet and William Endley received a presidential pardon on 31 October 2018. The president also ordered the immediate deportation of William Endley to his home country, South Africa. They were released on 2 November.

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William Endly

James Gatdet, the former spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO), and William Endley, a South African national and former adviser to the South Sudanese opposition leader, Riek Machar, were released on 2 November. Their release comes after they were granted a pardon by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir during celebrations attended by Riek Machar in the capital Juba, marking the latest peace agreement aimed at ending nearly five years of armed conflict in the country. The president also ordered the immediate deportation of William Endley back to South Africa.

James Gatdet was sentenced to death on 12 February after he was convicted of treason, while William Endley was convicted and sentenced to death on 23 February for espionage, terrorism, spying and attempts to overthrow a constitutionally-established government.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

PAKISTAN

Urgent Action: Christian Woman Accused of Blasphemy at Risk

Asia Bibi, in an undated handout photo

Aasia Noreen, known as Aasia Bibi, is a Christian farmworker who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010. Despite being acquitted of all charges by the Supreme Court, the Pakistani government gave in to demands by a violent mob, stopping her from leaving the country and having the Supreme Court review its ruling.

TAKE ACTION

HONG KONG

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Urgent Action: Nine Umbrella Movement Leaders to Stand Trial

Nine leaders of the 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests are being charged with three vague and ambiguous offences, each facing a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment. The continued prosecution of prominent figures of the Umbrella Movement is having a chilling effect on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

TAKE ACTION

BURUNDI

The Government of Burundi has failed to take effective measures to bring perpetrators of gross human rights violations to justice. Act to demand accountability

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Crowd celebrating appointment of UN committee to investigate human rights violations

TAKE ACTION

QATAR

Qatar: World Cup migrant workers unpaid for months

An engineering company involved in building infrastructure linked to the 2022 FIFA World Cup took advantage of Qatar’s notorious sponsorship system to exploit scores of migrant workers.

Mercury MENA failed to pay its workers thousands of dollars in wages and work benefits, leaving them stranded and penniless in Qatar. Please open the link and shore via all your social media. Shame the exploiters into paying their workers.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update November 1-7

Our featured image shows our beloved Miriam, 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 HIAS Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society .

HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has been helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.

The killer in the Pittsburgh synagogue was targeting the work of HIAS> Please make a donation in the memory of the victims.

Stand up for refugees

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 such as the tribes of the Congo basin.

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 the government of Australia to enact  a strong and robust Modern Slavery Act that sets new global standards in protecting victims and holding businesses accountable, other nations will have a higher bar to follow — resulting in better protections for victims and survivors both regionally and all over the world.

 

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

ISRAEL/OPT

Urgent Action Victory! Palestinian NGO Worker Released

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On 30 September, Salah Hammouri, French-Palestinian lawyer and NGO worker, was released from Ketziot prison in southern Israel. He had spent one year in administrative detention without charge or trial.

On 30 September, a French-Palestinian NGO worker and lawyer Salah Hammouri was released from Ketziot prison in southern Israel, after spending 378 days in administrative detention without charge or trial. Salah Hammouri works as a field researcher in Jerusalem for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian human rights organization based in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. According to Addameer, Salah Hammouri’s release came after an Israeli judge ruled to not renew his administrative detention again. He has now returned to his home in the neighbourhood of Kafr Aqab, in occupied East Jerusalem.

On 17 August 2017, Israel’s Minister of Defence Avigdor Lieberman issued a six-month administrative detention order against Salah Hammouri. Consequently, he was arrested during an overnight raid on 23 August 2017, at his home in occupied East Jerusalem. On 5 September, the day of the hearing to confirm the six-month administrative detention order, an Israeli district court in Jerusalem decided instead to reinstate a three-month sentence, the remainder of a previous prison sentence Salah Hammouri had served following a conviction in 2005. However, on 13 September, Israel’s High Court ruled in favour of the prosecution’s appeal against reinstating the sentence and approved placing him under administrative detention for six months. And on 17 September, the Israeli District Court confirmed the initial six-month administrative detention order, which was renewed twice by the same court on 5 March and 27 June, each time for a further four months.

In February 2016, the Israeli authorities deported and banned Salah Hammouri’s wife Elsa Lefort, also a French national, from entering the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and Israel, after detaining her for three days at a detention centre near Ben Gurion airport. She and their two-year-old child have not been able to see Salah Hammouri since his arrest.

Salah Hammouri spoke to Amnesty International after his release and delivered the following message of thanks to all those who took action on his behalf: “Despite my deprivation of liberty, I had no doubt that the mobilization would grow in support of my case. I had no doubt that supporters from all over the world would stand again to denounce the injustice and arbitrary detention and to demand my release.’

He added: ‘’This was a real hope for me, for my family, for my wife and son that I have not seen in over a year. I thank you all sincerely. I want to tell you that I will be worthy of the support you are giving me and keep fighting the injustice that strikes us. Our freedom is not for sale, even if we sometimes pay a very high price. The Palestinian people, like all others, should live freely. The fact that you do not intend to give up, gives me and others so much strength to continue our struggle against the occupation. The support and mobilization should continue until the release of all Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, including my colleagues from Addameer Ayman Nasser and Khalida Jarrar, which are cases that Amnesty International continues to campaign on.’’

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Urgent Action: Human Rights Defender Brutally Attacked

Alfredo-Okenve
Alfredo Okenve, an Equatorial Guinea human rights defender was brutally attacked on 27 October by unknown armed men. He was later abandoned in a lonely area outside the city of Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s capital.

TAKE ACTION

INDONESIA

End Shackling in Indonesia

In 2016, Human Rights Watch exposed the shackling of 18,000 people with psychosocial disabilities in Indonesia. Since then the government took promising steps to rescue people from chains while raising awareness and providing services. However, today, more than 12,800 people are still shackled—to beds, cement blocks, or in animal pens. Help end shackling once and for all by calling on the Indonesian government to monitor and end the practice of shackling inside institutions.

TAKE ACTION

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

 

uljan

Yuliy Boyarshinov

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Viktor  Filinkov

 

Urgent action update: Two Missing Prisoners Found; Torture Fears Remain

After weeks of uncertainty about the fate and whereabouts of IT specialist Victor Filinkov and civil society activist Yuliy Boyarshinov, on 31 October the two men were confirmed to being held at pre-trial detention centers in St. Petersburg, Russia. The authorities failed to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the two men, despite them being in their custody, which amounts to an enforced disappearance. Their allegations of torture and ill-treatment remain un-investigated and there are serious concerns for Victor Filinkov’s health.

TAKE ACTION

MYANMAR

tinmyan

Urgent Action: Activist Charged for Peaceful Anti-Military Protest

Activist Tin Maung Kyi has been detained for staging a peaceful solo protest calling on the international community to arrest senior Myanmar generals. He has been charged under laws often used to silence peaceful activists and faces up to two years and one month in prison if found guilty. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.

TAKE ACTION

TURKEY

clamp-down-on-foreign-journalists-in-Turkey-1

Turkey, the most notorious country in the world in terms of jailing journalists, with 237 currently behind bars, has also come after foreign reporters in an ever-escalating crackdown on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Dozens of foreign reporters have faced administrative and legal action including false imprisonment by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which is bent on silencing all critical voices in Turkey including local, regional, national and even foreign ones.

A new report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom titled “The Clampdown on Foreign Journalists in Turkey explains in detail how reporters from other countries face serious obstacles in Turkey that at times suggest a deliberate, systematic and calibrated policy by the government is in fact being implemented.

Please download this report and post it on all your media–make it go viral.

The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 26-31

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 Human Rights Watch, a major worldwide human rights defense organization..

MISSION STATEMENT
Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice. Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization that works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.

The organization is rated highly  by both Charity Watch and Charity Navigator.

201810us_shooting_pittsburgh_synagogue

A Pittsburgh Police officer walks past the Tree of Life Synagogue and a memorial of flowers and stars in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in remembrance of those killed and injured when a shooter opened fire during services Saturday at the synagogue.
© 2018 AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

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 theft of their land. Please protest.

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 end forced child marriage in Niger.

URGENT ACTION CASES

Write for Rights 2018

Please sign up for the annual write for rights campaign. 11 cases of human rights defenders — all of them involving women — are counting on you. Some are in jail. Others under dire threat. All of them targeted for their human rights work.

Your voice can break the chains of injustice that thwart their work and put them at risk. Sign up for Write for Rights 2018, Amnesty’s most important annual human rights campaign.

SAUDI ARABIA-CAR MAKERS

SAUDI-WOMEN-DRIVING

A Saudi woman practices driving in Riyadh, on April 29, 2018, ahead of the lifting of a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in the summer.
Yousef Doubisi—AFP/Getty Images

Tell Car Companies To Do The Right Thing

When the Saudi government agreed to let women drive, major car companies publicly and rightly hailed that development. It was a step towards equality for women in the Kingdom and created a lucrative new market for the industry. Now, the courageous women that fought for their right to drive are being arrested, jailed, and harassed. It is a cruel irony that the women who fought for equality are in jail while the companies stand to make millions from the market those women have helped create. They should tell the government to stop going after these activists.

VENEZUELA

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Venezuela’s illegal traders have proliferated as grocery stores are fast becoming empty Credit: Eneas De

Venezuela is facing a heartbreaking human rights and humanitarian crisis that President Maduro’s administration denies is happening. His government is brutally cracking down on dissent while severe food and medicine shortages make it near impossible for many Venezuelans to feed their children and access the most basic healthcare. Infant mortality rates are soaring. According to the New York Times, hundreds of children have died from severe malnutrition. Some Latin American leaders are speaking up, while others are ambiguous or worse, silent. It is time to join together and tell Maduro that enough is enough!

PLEASE ACT

USA

Urgent Action: Mother and Son Separated by Border Authorities

In March, Valquira and her seven-year-old son Abel* fled Brazil and requested asylum in the US after death threats from drug traffickers. US border authorities forcible separated them and continue to detain Valquiria. The extreme anguish she and her son are experiencing may amount to torture. US immigration authorities must immediately free Valquiria while she pursues her asylum claim.

TAKE ACTION

CHINA

Image result for huang qi human rights

Urgent Action Update: Poor Medical Treatment for Detained Activist

Huang Qi, founder and director of Sichuan-based human rights website “64 Tianwang”, has told his lawyer that his health has further deteriorated due to the lack of appropriate medical treatment in the detention centre. Already facing the possibility of life imprisonment, Huang Qi has been notified that he will also be charged with “leaking state secrets”, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

TAKE ACTION

MEXICO

carrillo

Urgent Action: Indigenous Environmental Rights Defender Killed

Julián Carrillo was shot death on 24 October, after receiving several death threats for his work defending the territory of his Indigenous community in Mexico. He is the latest death in a series of killings, including several members of his family and Indigenous authorities. The community fears that other attacks could take place.

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The Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action Update October 19-25

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 Oxfam International and its attempts to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In particular, the issue of polluted water is of utmost importance and danger.  As of now less than four percent of fresh water is drinkable and the surrounding sea is polluted by sewage. A concerted effort by the international community with the cooperation of Israel is needed, but does not appear to be coming. Please support the efforts of Oxfam  to mitigate the crisis.

 Oxfam

 Millions of liters of sewage are discharged into the coast off Gaza every day. Photo: Oxfam

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 help HAART (Awareness Against Human Trafficking) HAART .is a non-governmental organization based in Nairobi,) Kenya to fight human trafficking.

Write for Rights 2018

Please sign up for the annual write for rights campaign. 11 cases of human rights defenders — all of them involving women — are counting on you. Some are in jail. Others under dire threat. All of them targeted for their human rights work.

Your voice can break the chains of injustice that thwart their work and put them at risk. Sign up for Write for Rights 2018, Amnesty’s most important annual human rights campaign.

 

URGENT ACTION CASES

SUDAN

Urgent Action Victory! Online Activist Released Without Charge

Ahmed Al-Dai Bushara Joudah, a social media activist, was released without charge early in the morning on 18 September. He had been unlawfully arrested by six NISS agents from his house in Omdurman on 16 July. Initially he was held at the NISS detention center in Khartoum North and then later transferred to Kober Prison.

During his sixty-four days in detention, Ahmed Al-Dai Bushara was denied access to, medical treatment, a lawyer and family visits despite the consistent requests by his family.

It is believed that Ahmed Al-Dai’s arrest and detention could be as a result of his intensified social media activism since January 2018 in which he shared many videos on Facebook critical of the Sudan government’s economic policy. Through social media, he called on people to reject the new economic austerity measures imposed in January 2018 by the government leading to a rise in the cost of living in Sudan.

Thank you to all those who sent appeals. No further action is requested from the UA network.

NIGER

Urgent Action Update: Activists Cleared of Charges, Two Awaiting Trial

Image result for ibrahim diori

Ibrahim Diori

Three activists, Ibrahim Diori, Maïkoul Zodi, and Karim Tanko were released on 5 October after they were cleared of all charges. They had been detained for almost 6 months charged with “organizing and participating in a prohibited protest” and “damaging of public property”.  Abdourahamane Idé Hassane was cleared of all charges on 19 April. He had earlier been released on bail. Two other activists are still awaiting trial in Zinder.

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USA

Urgent Action: Tennessee Man at Imminent Risk of Execution

Edmund Zagorski has been on death row in Tennessee for over 30 years after allegedly receiving ineffective counsel. He was scheduled to be executed on 11 October, using a three-drug lethal injection. After challenges made through litigation, the state Governor issued a ten-day reprieve to allow for preparation of the execution.

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COLOMBIA

Urgent Action: Several Indigenous Organizations Threatened

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) reported that several threatening pamphlets against indigenous organizations defending human rights were found on the streets and railroad tracks of the municipality of Uribia in the department of La Guajira, north of Colombia.

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VENEZUELA

Urgent Action: Councilman Dies in Custody of Intelligence Service

Image result for fernando albán venezuela

Venezuelan Parliament pays homage to councilman Fernando Albán

Fernando Albán, councilman for Primero Justicia, an opposition party in Venezuela, died while in custody of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) on Monday 8 October. His body fell from the tenth floor of the headquarters of the SEBIN in Caracas, although the circumstances around his death are unclear.

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MOZAMBIQUE

mozan

Journalists and activists face death threats in post-election witch-hunt

Urgent Action: Journalists and Activists Threatened

Local journalists and civil society activists have received anonymous death threats and intimidating phone calls and messages since 10 October. This began after their engagement in monitoring polling stations and publishing live municipal election results in Nacala-Porto and Nampula cities, Nampula province, in northern Mozambique.

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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

https://external.flhr5-1.fna.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQDcm0-ntrIUe24i&w=540&h=282&url=https%3A%2F%2Feos.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2018%2F09%2Fjohn-t-jack-gosling.jpg&cfs=1&upscale=1&fallback=news_d_placeholder_publisher&sx=0&sy=65&sw=820&sh=428&_nc_hash=AQC6Div_FDFRjTIr

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.

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THAILAND

 

Urgent Action: Chinese Refugees at Risk of Refoulement

photo-yang-n-wu-2014-china-004
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.

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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.

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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.

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