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By Salena Tramel
January 28th, 2009
For the most part, Gaza has been quiet for the past 10 days. News coverage from the region has faded from headlines as direct conflict between Hamas and the Israeli military halted in the eve of President Barack Obama's inauguration and the subsequent transitions of power.
By Maria Aguiar
January 27th, 2009
Nikhil Aziz, Grassroots International's Executive Director is in Brazil this week attending the World Social Forum (WSF), which is happening in Belem in the Amazon region of Brazil. For four days before the WSF our partner, the Landless Workers Movement (MST) did a special site visit to show international visitors including members of media the destruction that has been brought about by the agribusiness expansion in the Amazon region. They traveled through the southern part of Para state and saw the impacts of mining, logging and hydroelectric projects on the Amazon and its people.
Peasant organizers in Haiti - including Grassroots International's partners and allies - are uniting their efforts to collaborate in rebuilding their country. These organizers plan and mobilize across the island, linking issues such as environmental degradation and food scarcity to failed agricultural and economic policy and demand political action. Their advocacy and education activities are centered on reducing prices of food by increasing natural production and warning that the international financial crisis could have a deadly impact on Haiti if economic and agricultural policies fail to change.
The Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) - a longtime partner of Grassroots International based in Mexico - denounced a recently conducted study in the Zapotec region by U.S. geography scholar Peter Herlihy. Prof. Herlihy failed to mention that he received funding from the Foreign Military Studies Office of the U.S. Armed Forces. The failure to obtain full, free and prior informed consent is a violation of the rights of indigenous communities as codified in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the United Nations in 2007. In addition, UNOSJO fears that this in-depth geographical mapping of indigenous communities may be used in some harmful manner by the military.
In 2006 Grassroots International received a report from the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (Rede Social), one of our Brazilian partners, about rapid expansion of agrofuels production based on large scale plantation-style cultivation of sugar cane for ethanol. We also heard from them about massive expansion of soy plantations and U.S.
January 12th, 2009
By Annie Leonard
Since The Story of Stuff was launched online on December 4, 2007, the site has been visited by millions of people in over 224 countries and territories around the world, and we have received literally thousands of requests for the film to be translated. We are pleased to launch this international site, which includes translated versions of the films with subtitles, as well as the contact information for the organizations around the world that did the translations.
The end of 2008 showed a new wave of violence against humanity with the Israeli war against the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip. The attack by Israeli forces starting on the 27th of December- under the pretext of a war against Hamas - have already killed hundreds of Palestinians and injured thousands of peoples, many of them women and children.
The war in the Gaza strip is destroying houses, schools, hospitals and also Palestinian farmland. Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are currently facing a lack of medicine, water, accommodation and food. Meanwhile, Palestinian farmers are not able to produce their own food. The situation is getting more tragic day by day.
You already know that the news looks grim:
- Both Israel and Hamas have rejected international calls for a cease fire and the violence has escalated
- Gaza's border with Egypt and Israel remains closed
- Humanitarian aid has halted due to attacks on UN and Red Cross/Red Crescent workers.
Direct updates and news make it out of Gaza only in short bursts, when there is sufficient power to feed cell phone batteries and computers. Grassroots International's locally based partner organizations within Gaza continue to send us word as they can about how they are responding to the crisis and facilitating relief and reconstruction. Because of their ongoing commitment to social justice and human rights in the region, their efforts stand the greatest chance of having a lasting impact.
As the death toll rises in Gaza to over 650 with thousands more wounded in
the 11 days since the Israeli military campaign began, mainstream U.S. media
outlets are toeing the official Israeli government line, scarcely mentioning
statements from the international human rights community, progressive Israelis,