© Chuck Duboff
© Chuck Duboff
At the end of the year, Word Press sends a report on the year’s blogging…some amazing statistics, including the fact that this Blog has been viewed in 120 different countries. Surreal.
See the fireworks Chuck & Geoff’s Eclectic Blog… created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out their 2015 annual report.
© Julie Nugeus,
So, it happened. Terrorists executed 17 people on January 7 in France. They organized and planned it. They intentionally attacked journalists of the « Charlie Hebdo » newspaper and killed Jewish people in a kosher grocery store. These words, when said or written, still don’t seem real to me…
On the day it happened, the emotion was so big that my brain could not process it. I had to repeat the same words many times to my friends and to whomever crossed my path : « a terrorist attack killed journalists of Charlie Hebdo and four Jewish people in Paris »
No ! It can not be !…
Charb, Tignous, Honoré passed away too. Focusing on these caricaturists, who embodied the figure of freedom of speech, is an attack against freedom and the other values of the Republican state that France stands to represent. Whether you like Charlie Hebdo’s respect-less, impetuous and controversial tone or not, they defended with courage the uncensured expression within their drawings. For that, I admire and grieve for them.
But, light is never far. On the night of the same day, when I reached the square of the first gathering in Lyon, I realized we were so many overwhelmed with the same emotions : rage and sadness. But we had the will to express this rage all together, united. On a square in Paris, four words came out of the crowd just like a light : « we are not afraid ».
I spent the next three days watching this big solidarity movement that spontaneously organized itself in public spaces : in the cities, on social networks and among journalists everywhere in the world. I realized a major event was taking place. History is marching on every day, yet, we barely notice it. Though, during a great event like this one, it takes on significant importance. I caught a glimpse of its shape when aware of the impact of a terrorist killing against committed journalists.
This movement ended up in a big march on Sunday, January 11. Joyfully, even if heavy hearted, people marched the streets of Paris where 1.4 million people gathered, but also in Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Strabourg… and even small cities and villages. All together, around 3.7 million people expressed their support.
I am very moved by the ability of part of the French people to stand up for their values in solidarity and equality. I find it very beautiful.
Although, we have to be careful as not everyone was marching. People are divided. That major event woke us up to what was already in front of us. The big issues are still here. Some French people turn toward the extremist view of the Islamic group. French people descended from an immigration that other French people don’t tolerate. Is the French integration model right ? It is time for the French and European politicians and citizens to take the responsibility to rethink notions like integrity, secularity and put together sustainable solutions to progressively rebuild a tolerant and mixed society. If not done, the risk of an escalation of Islamaphobia and racism on one side and of violent radicalization on the other side is real.
As real as the feeling of hope which fills up my heart. I believe new resources will be developed and I have faith that education and culture will bring out healthier responses to such issues.
I wrote this article on August 26th…both Tina Fontaine and Michael Brown representative of the hidden and not so hidden racism which exists in both Canada and the United States. The events of the last few nights on the streets of the US speak to the simmering anger which is boiling over. Where are the leaders? Where is Atticus Finch when you need him?
© Chuck Duboff
Last evening, while watching the news of yet another funeral for a teenager, a Minister came on and spoke: “This is not a singular act, this is symptomatic of a societal problem. This can’t continue; the young people in our communities are losing hope…and dying”.
No, this wasn’t the funeral for Tina Fontaine, a young Aboriginal teenager; it was for Michael Brown, a young African-American teenager.
The parallels between the two murders are haunting, yet symbolic of the horrible conditions which face African American teenage boys in the United States and Aboriginal teenage girls in Canada. The Minister who spoke at Michael Brown’s funeral said that he has come to realize that his own three boys are on “the endangered species list”. When young men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are gunned down for “being black and wearing a hoodie”; when young girls like Tina Fontaine…
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The Centre for Disease Control stated yesterday that without a quick resolution to the Ebola outbreak in the next two months…there will be as many as 10,000 new cases a month with 70% of those patients passing away.
The ethical questions begin:
How will priorities be set for urgently needed drugs that are in short supply? Will one or two high profile American cases receive priority over thousands of patients throughout the world?
Why is so much attention being paid to one or two individuals in the United States, when thousands are dying in Africa?
Do we close the borders to countries?
Will there be a shut down of international travel of any form?
What do we do with the dead bodies?
Is it fair to ask soldiers to battle the Ebola virus?
These are only a few random questions…there are many, many more ethical dilemmas which will arise.
The Canadian Press – ONLINE EDITION
NAIROBI, Kenya – Gunmen in South Sudan who targeted civilians including children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies, many of them in a mosque and a hospital, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.
Toby Lanzer told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday that the ethnically targeted killings in a provincial capital are “quite possibly a game-changer” for a conflict that has been raging since mid-December and that has exposed longstanding ethnic hostilities.
There was also a disturbing echo of Rwanda, which is marking the 20th anniversary this month of its genocide that killed an estimated 1 million people. The Rwandan genocide saw kill orders broadcast by radio and it happened in South Sudan, Lanzer said.
“It’s the first time we’re aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities,” said Lanzer, who was in Bentiu on Sunday and Monday. “And that really accelerates South Sudan’s descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself.”
U.N. human rights investigators said late Monday that hundreds of civilians were killed last week because of their ethnicity after rebel forces seized Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state. Those rebel forces are Nuer, the same ethnic group that former Vice-President Riek Machar, who is now a rebel leader, comes from.
Lanzer said thousands of civilians from several ethnic groups are streaming to the U.N. peacekeeping base in Bentiu because many believe more violence is coming. The base now holds 25,000 people but has only one litre of water per person per day and only one latrine per 350 people.
“The risk of a public health crisis inside our base is enormous,” he said.
Raphael Gorgeu, the head of Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan, said people will die inside the U.N. base in coming days because of the water and sanitation situation.
As rebel forces entered Bentiu last week, residents were led to believe that by entering the mosque they would be safe, Lanzer said, citing accounts from survivors. But once inside they were robbed of money and mobile phones and a short while later gunmen began killing, both inside the mosque and inside the city hospital.
If you were not Nuer nothing could save you. The gunmen killed wantonly, including children and the elderly, Lanzer said.
Gorgeu said his team members in Bentiu — including 12 international staff — have treated more than 200 people wounded in the violence, including many gunshot victims.
British Ambassador Ian Hughes on Tuesday said the April 15-16 killings are a clear violation of international law. He said those behind the atrocities and those inciting the killings will be held to account.
U.N. officials began helping to clear the bodies from the streets and city buildings. Lanzer arrived in Bentiu on the third day of that operation but still counted 150 bodies. He said the U.N. is documenting the killings and will soon have “a pretty good grasp” on the precise number killed.
The violence is only one part of a dual crisis South Sudan faces. Because of the fighting, more than 1 million people have fled their homes, and very few residents are tending to their crops. Lanzer said there is a severe risk of famine in coming months because April and May is when residents should be planting and cultivating.
The U.N. hasn’t spelled out clearly who exactly the victims were last week, but because ethnic Nuers carried out the killings it is likely that ethnic Dinkas were among the dead. The U.N. also said former residents of the Darfur region of Sudan were among those killed targeted. Nuer residents who refused to take part in the attacks were also killed.
The U.N. has been warning of mounting evidence of ethnically-targeted killings in the world’s newest nation as both government troops and rebel forces lose and gain territories in back-and-forth clashes. Despite a ceasefire signed earlier this year, both sides continue to trade allegations over human rights violations.
Though thousands of people are cramming into the U.N. base in search of shelter, they may not even be safe there. Last week an angry mob attacked a U.N. base in Bor and killed about 60 people. In that case, ethnic Nuers sheltering inside bore the brunt of the attack.
Gorgeu said such a potential attack is a major concern for the safety of his staff but that he cannot abandon the civilians in need.
“All this violence, if you look at Bor, if you look at Bentiu, it’s a major, major concern. We can see the level of violence is having an unacceptably high cost on the civilian population and this must be addressed,” Gorgeu said.