"We Deserve To Do More Than Just Survive": Marshall Islands Poet’s Plea to the UN Climate Summit
Published on Sep 26, 2014
http://democracynow.org - We end today’s show with one of the most memorable speeches at the one-day United Nations climate summit this week. On Tuesday, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands read a poem to world leaders, written as a letter to her child. “Even though there are those hidden behind platinum titles who like to pretend that we don’t exist,” she writes, “that the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Maldives and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and floods of Pakistan, Algeria, and Colombia and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves didn’t exist. Still there are those who see us hands reaching out.”
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Peruvian anti-logging activist Edwin Chota killed | Amazon Watch
September 10, 2014
An outspoken Peruvian opponent of illegal logging and three other native Ashaninka community leaders were slain in a remote region bordering Brazil, tribal authorities said Monday.
The activist, Edwin Chota, had received frequent death threats from illegal loggers, who he had tried for years to expel from the lands for which his community was seeking title.
Illegal loggers were suspected in the killings, Ashaninka regional leader Reyder Sebastian Quiltiquari said by phone. Pervasive corruption lets the loggers operate with impunity, stripping the Amazon region’s river basins of prized hardwoods, especially mahogany and tropical cedar.
"He threatened to upset the status quo," said David Salisbury, a professor at the University of Richmond who was advising Chota on the title quest and had known him for a decade. "The illegal loggers are on record for wanting Edwin dead."
Chota, who was in his early 50s, and the others were killed about a week ago while returning to Saweto, the community he led on the Upper Tamaya river, from a meeting about the logging issue with Ashaninka leaders in the nearby Brazilian village of Apiwtxa, said Mr. Sebastian.
He said his information was still preliminary, but that a Saweto villager said via radio that the men’s dismembered bodies were found at the community’s edge. Chota would frequently confront firearms-carrying loggers, he added, a machete his only weapon.
The other slain men were identified by a police official in Pucallpa, the regional capital, as Jorge Rios, who was Chota’s deputy, Leoncio Quincicima and Francisco Pinedo.
Peru’s main indigenous federation, AIDESEP, expressed outrage at police and the judiciary in a statement for “doing absolutely nothing despite repeated complaints” to protect their brothers slain “defending their ancestral lands.”
A commission of indigenous leaders from Saweto’s district was expected later Monday in Pucallpa to meet with a government vice minister, said Mr. Sebastian. The police official, Carlos Quispe, said authorities later planned to fly by helicopter to retrieve the bodies.
Chota had campaigned for six years for the title for his community, emboldening other settlements along the Tamaya to similar seek legal claim to traditional lands, Mr. Sebastian said.
Now, he said, people in those communities fear for their lives. He said he would demand a meeting with President Ollanta Humala to obtain assurances for their safety.
Ashaninka are Peru’s No. 1 Amazon ethnic group, numbering some 92,000, and Mr. Sebastian says violence against them has been rising since they began agitating for titles to their territories.
Chota had written more than 100 letters to state institutions about illegal logging and titling efforts in Ucayali, said Mr. Salisbury, “and he was an incredible incredibly dynamic and charismatic leader who gave hope to not just his community but many others by his courage and convictions.”
He said he and Chota personally met with Peru’s national forestry director, Fabiola Muñoz, in July and that forestry inspectors had just visited forestry concessions that overlapped with Saweto that were being logged without permission.
Telephone calls to Ms. Muñoz seeking comment on the progress of Chota’s titling efforts weren’t immediately returned.
Chota’s region is home to about 80% of illegal logging in Peru, which thrives on a web of corruption involving the widespread issuance of counterfeit logging permits.
For years, said Mr. Salisbury, large amounts of timber have been taken from Saweto – and from the Brazilian side of the Tamaya River – and floated downriver to saw mills in Pucallpa.
"It’s impossible to monitor where the timber is coming from," he said.
The wood from a single old-growth mahogany tree can fetch more than $11,000 on the U.S. lumber market, the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency said in a 2012 report on Peru’s troubled forest-concession system.
"All my ex-girlfriends are Asian."
If you’ve ever come across this charming come-on, you’ve probably been exposed to yellow fever
YES, THERE IS NOW A MUCH NEEDED GIF SET FOR THIS!
A scene from the film ‘The Girls of Phnom Penh’ - following three underage Cambodian sex workers; Srey Leak, Me Nea and Cheata, over six months. A powerful insight into the lives of these young girls.
[image description: a portrait of renowned Cambodian transgender activist, Sou Southeavy]
Cambodian Transgender Activist Sou Sotheavy Wins 2014 David Kato Vision & Voice Award
I am tremendously moved to be given this award that to me symbolizes the struggle for rights and freedom for LGBT people in Cambodia… I think of the torture and suffering that I have endured throughout my life. Today, I am fortunate to live a life that I have always dreamed of, a life that allows me to help LGBT Cambodians escape the torture, contempt, and discrimination that exists in many families and in Cambodian society.
Sou Sotheavy was born on 8 December 1940 in Takeo province, Cambodia. Although born a biological male, Sotheavy identifies herself as a woman. Before the radical communist regime of the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975, Sotheavy worked as a military nurse and studied performing arts in the capital of Phnom Penh. In the period of the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, which resulted in the killing of more than 1.5 million people, Sotheavy was harshly persecuted for being transgender by being forced to marry a woman, tortured and repeatedly raped. Many of her LGBTI friends and loved ones did not survive the brutality of Khmer Rouge era.
In 1999, realizing the need for special attention to LGBTI issues, Sotheavy established the Cambodian Network for Men Women Development (CMWD), the first Cambodian NGO to support LGBTI people, where she still serves as president today. Through her work at CMWD, Sotheavy has brought together the largest network of LGBTI groups in Cambodia. Active throughout 15 provinces, CMWD has provided much needed capacity building to LGBTI groups, providing invaluable support for local programs and advocacy. Because of her persistent efforts against LGBTI discrimination, the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for the inclusion of LGBTI in all working fields during a speech in 2012 - a first in the country’s history.
Despite the challenges, Sotheavy has remained deeply committed to this work for 14 years. During all of this time, she has never received any salary for her efforts. Even at the age of 74, she travels to the provinces on a regular basis for outreach, trainings, and opportunities to meet with members of the network. Sotheavy has said that she intends to continue working for LGBTI rights as long as she can walk.
Until today, CMWD and Sotheavy’s efforts have received no international attention. By acknowledging the importance her work on this issue, Sotheavy hopes the David Kato Vision & Voice Award will inspire and encourage more people to join the movement against discrimination in Cambodia and around the world.
I have been working without funds for a very long time… This award will allow me to help my organization, train my team, and ultimately strengthen the rights of LGBT people in Cambodia. On the day I receive the award, my wish is that LGBT people from around the world will help support our LGBT communities in Cambodia, who are now facing a resurgence of violence from authorities. I will fight until the end of my life. I will not stop until the rights for LGBT exist like for other people.
The freedom to enjoy and express sexuality is an integral facet of life, happiness and well-being. Through the David Kato Vision & Voice Award, we honor Sotheavy’s commitment to the struggle for LGBT rights, as she and countless other activists around the world to continue working to secure our rights for generations to come.
This is a map of Asia. North Americans, you may notice this map is not solely comprised of Japan, Korea, China and Thailand. People in the UK, you may notice India is not a continent. That is, if those of you who generalize entire continents can even pinpoint India on a map. Indians are Asian, gasp! And not all brown skinned people are Indian, also, gasp! There are an alarming amount of people, of all ages, from all backgrounds, who seem to be unable to process this.
I’m ethnically Asian. Since Asia is an extremely large continent, I could be from any number of countries. I am neither from India, China, Korea, Japan or Pakistan, yet not so surprisingly, I am still Asian.
Yes, there are commonalities across regions, through the conflation of cultures, colonialism, globalization, transnationalism and movement of diasporas. Sometimes these are all the same thing. Rickshaws, rice and curry can be found across the continent. But let’s not overgeneralize. You can also find Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims and Hindus across Asia. Cantonese Speaking Chinese Muslims! English Speaking Indian Jews!
No, we are not all the same. Orientalism? (Please look up Edward Said for basic concepts) No thank you.
Geography, people. It’s important.
This pops up on my dash every so often. I reblog it again, not just because I wrote it, but because nothing has changed since I first posted this.
What’s cool about Iran is that it falls in 3 different regions of Asia so depending on what part of Iran you’re in, you can kind of get culture shocked a bit. The central and western part of the country is West Asia, the north east is Central Asia, and the southeast is in South Asia.
To the folks wondering about Russia being included, I want to mention that the cultural debates and angst about that has been going on for CENTURIES. While France has been pretty fetishized all the way back from Peter the Great, there is no question that we are not Europe, even with that influence showing really obviously in historical seats of power like St. Petersburg. Nonetheless, the whole country was under control of the Mongols (The Golden Horde) from roughly 1242 to 1480, and that left an enormous Mongolian and Tatar heritage that remains to this day. The ancient Scythians are huge in the cultural imagination as well. And besides… look at the Russians who are outside the standard “Kievan Rus” phenotype (which most folks assume is how all Russians look.)
Here are three of the 30 distinct ethnic groups in Siberia alone:
Buryat grandfather, photo by Alexander Newby
Evenk children, photo by Evgenia Arbugaeva
Young Yakut couple, photographer unknown