June 25th, 2010
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
Grassroots International joins our partners in Palestine and Israel – and indeed non-violent activists worldwide – in the condemnation of Israel’s attack on the Free Gaza flotilla bound for Gaza. When Israeli forces stormed a multinational humanitarian fleet on its way to Gaza – in international waters – to deliver medicines, medical equipment, building materials and food they also assaulted Nobel laureates, holocaust survivors and civilians from 40 nations.
Cultures in different parts of our planet have long held rivers to be life-giving. Early human civilizations are even known by their connection to the river systems whose banks they arose from like the Indus-Ganga, the Nile and the Yangtze Kiang-Huang He. But today human actions and inaction have literally throttled our rivers through industrial pollution, mega dams, diversification, deforestation and the list goes on.... But people are fighting back -- especially those most directly impacted. In my home country India, numerous popular movements have emerged like the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA-Save the Narmada Movement) and the Ganga Mukti Andolan (GMA-Free the Ganga Movement).
Since a devastating earthquake shook Haiti more than two weeks ago, Grassroots International’s partners on the ground have been working to assess the situation and respond to the needs of the community – even as they themselves have suffered great losses. With help from hundreds of people who have donated in response to the crisis, Grassroots International has made three initial grants to three of our partners in Haiti.
The letter below comes from one of Grassroots International's allies in Honduras -- Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)-- and expresses solidarity with their neighbors in Haiti.
Solidarity with the Haitian People
Nitin Sawhney, a friend of Grassroots International and long time activist for Palestinian rights, was one of the 100 delegates, from the over 1300 international delegate-members of the Gaza Freedom March, chosen to go into Gaza through a last minute intervention by Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Nitin, and many of his colleagues including the American activist and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein decided at the last minute to not go.