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Defending Human Rights
By Claire Gilbert
July 24th, 2014
On the way to a camping trip on Cape Cod last week, my family made a pit stop at a gas station. My partner took our four-year-old to the bathroom and I picked up a copy of the New York Times. I felt the ground shift as I saw the image of a tiny boy lying dead on the beach.
The names of four children jutted out from my computer’s screen like daggers on the list of the dead by name as I refreshed it. Memories of children laughing while flying kites on a beach in Gaza flooded my mind. Are these the same Bakr children I knew, and are they now among the 211 dead in Gaza?
Of course it doesn’t matter if I heard the laughter of Ahed (10), Zakaria (10), Mohammed (11), and Ismail (9) when I spent time with the Bakr family known so well in Gaza’s fishing community. It matters that their parents and loved ones knew their laughter by heart, and will likely spend a lifetime trying to recall the innocent ring of it.
Grassroots International has longstanding relationships with community-based organizations in the region, which can help get resources – such as medical supplies, food, and water – where they are most needed as soon as possible. Your gift now will help provide much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the West Bank, and help them begin to rebuild.
As a group of us from Grassroots’ staff participated in an action to support a divestment campaign targeting corporations that profit from the occupation of Palestine, the words of our Palestinian partner echoed in my ears and heart: We have no right to give up.
The words from the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore came to my mind when I first saw Israel’s illegal wall in the West Bank in 2006. They signify a vision of what a just peace can (and should) be, for Palestinians, and, as well, for Israelis.
Imagine if three teenagers where you live disappeared, and, in response, authorities began to raid, terrorize, and arrest the population at large. That is what has happened in the last few weeks in the Palestinian Territories as Israel has conducted raids, attacks, searches, and arrests throughout the Palestinian Territories and especially in the West Bank after three teenagers from an Israeli Settlement went missing.
For the first time in Brazilian history, a decree will grant legal rights to people impacted by mega-dam projects. Tarso Genro, Governor of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, signed the decree creating a State Policy of People Affected by Hydroelectric Projects on June 23.
Grassroots International joins our partner, Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), in celebrating this huge victory. MAB played a key role in pushing for the rights of communities displaced or disrupted by dams, and works for the rights of dam-affected communities nationwide.
Thousands of families throughout Brazil face threats to their homes and livelihoods from large hydroelectric dam projects. Driven by corporate profit interests, the number of mega dam projects in Brazil has increase significantly in recent years, displacing farming and indigenous communities, diverting water from local communities, and increasing deforestation and methane emissions.
The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), a Grassroots Partner, organizes among these communities. In this video Alexania Rossato and Josivaldo Alves de Oliveira of MAB talk about the challenges and successes of their work, about building sustainable grassroots movements, and the value of international solidarity.
Modern production is based on extraction from the planet, and modern finance is based on extraction from the many for the benefit of the very few. What would a new economy look like and how can we rethink our relationship to resources, work and culture? Those are some of the questions explored in the video, How We Live: A Journey Towards a Just Transition.
Imagine fishers heading out to sea on a beautiful day, ready for a hard day of work to support their families. They might face challenges—a poor catch, storms, not enough buyers—but ordinarily their job is fairly straightforward. Now imagine these fishers getting shot at—routinely—when they go fishing. Imagine the fishers stripped, searched, detained and their boats confiscated by the navy. This is an everyday reality for fishers in the Gaza Strip who live and work under constant threat of Israeli attack at sea.
This fact sheet highlights the impact of increasing restrictions and violence faced by fishers in Gaza. For example: