Category Archives: human rights

The genocide you haven’t heard about

 

More than 340,000 people fled the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, this year. Millions of people have been internally displaced, along with the hundreds of thousands who have fled into Uganda since fighting began at the end of 2013. More than 50,000 people have been killed in the civil war. Now, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says, “the risk of these mass atrocities, which include recurring episodes of ethnic cleansing, escalating into possible genocide is all too real.” Continue reading

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Sanctuary: What it is, what it isn’t, why it’s important

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Minnesotans demonstrate in support of refugees – 2015 (Photo by Mary Turck)

UPDATED 1/25/2017  When Donald Trump targeted “sanctuary cities,” threatening to cut off all federal funding, what was he talking about? Turns out – as usual – that the answer is more complex than the sound bite. Here’s a quick primer on sanctuary, both in misnamed “sanctuary cities” and in the real and resurgent sanctuary church movement – and a note on what Trump’s January 25 Executive Order fails to do.  Continue reading

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Latest on Standing Rock

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Click here for edited 90-second video from November 20 police attack on water protectors at Standing rock. 

 

Lots of news from the water protectors at Standing Rock, so here’s a quick update on:

  • police repression
  • continuing encampment
  • Army Corps of Engineers actions (okay, this is more of an educated guess – I doubt that the Corps itself knows what it’s doing)
  • three calls you can make

Continue reading

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More than a safety pin

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Four thousand people gathered in Minneapolis on November 9 to protest against Trump’s election. Photo by Fibonacci Blue, used under Creative Commons license. 

Yeah, I get it. Wearing a safety pin is a quick-and-easy way to show that you support all the people getting slammed by the rising tide of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. When I grew up, safety pins were a very temporary and unsatisfactory fix when something badly needed mending. Right now, the whole fabric of our community and nation badly needs repair. So here are some things you can do, right now this week in Minnesota, that go beyond the safety pin: Continue reading

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Watching history, live from Standing Rock

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UPDATE,  10 a.m. October 28: More than 100 people were arrested on October 27. Police fired beanbag rounds and teargas. Meanwhile, an Oregon jury  said that the armed white men who forcibly occupied federal offices for 41 days are not guilty of anything. For more reports on October 27, see: 

When I tune in to the live Facebook feed, less than an hour after  it begins, some 4,000 people are watching police move in on protesters – water protectors – who have barricaded Highway 1806 in North Dakota. They are trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to protect the waters of the Missouri River from the oil pipeline that is planned to run under the river, trying to protect sacred sites of the Dakota Sioux people. This is the frontline camp, the north camp. Less than an hour later, the number is up to 16,000 people and climbing.

A young Native American man, E’esha Hoferer broadcasts live from the site, saying he is reporting for One Nation TV. We hear the police telling protesters to move south, to take their tents with them. We see people carrying straw bales and American flags. We hear the police broadcast loud, ululating noise to disrupt communications or to warn people to move back. We see the lines of law enforcement, like wings extending in both directions from their vehicles on the road. Continue reading

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What’s wrong with Sheriff Stanek?

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Demonstration outside Minneapolis City Hall

More than 400 of us gathered outside Minneapolis City Hall October 25 to demand that Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek bring back county officers and equipment sent to North Dakota. Stanek sent the county forces to support North Dakota’s repressive police action against Standing Rock water protectors, aimed at stopping protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Continue reading

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Stop U.S. war crimes in Yemen

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Photo from funeral bombing, posted on Facebook.

As the campaign circus goes on across the United States, U.S. bombs are killing civilians in Yemen, potentially making the United States complicit in war crimes. Last weekend’s bombing of a funeral is only the latest and most dramatic case. The funeral in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, had been announced in advance. Saudi warplanes hit hard, twice. Then, after first responders arrived on the scene to help victims, the bombers returned to hit them two more times. The bombers killed at least 140 people and wounded 525 more. One rescuer described the scene as “a lake of blood.” Continue reading

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Dakota Pipeline Part 5: Jailing journalists and paying sock puppets

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Photo of Sacred Stone Camp by Tony Webster, published under Creative Commons license.

As thousands of Native Americans gather in North Dakota to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), local law enforcement has pushed back by arresting journalists covering the protests and the Sacred Stone Camp and by outright lies about the protests and protesters. In addition, misinformation and propaganda is flooding social media, posted through sock puppets and other sources. Continue reading

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Dakota Pipeline Part 4: Protest on the prairie

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Photo by Joe Brusky, published under Creative Commons license

The Stone Spirit encampment began back in April with 50 people. By August, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chair David Archambault II wrote in the New York Times that it was “a spectacular sight: thousands of Indians camped on the banks of the Cannonball River, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. … The Indian encampment on the Cannonball grows daily, with nearly 90 tribes now represented.” As summer slides into fall, the protesters — or protectors, as they call themselves — plan to stay through the winter. Continue reading

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Dakota Pipeline Part 3: Water protectors and the Emperor’s New Pipeline

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Photo by Jeffrey Putney, published under Creative Commons license

I remember the old story of the emperor’s new clothes. The emperor bought new clothes from a charlatan who sold him on the idea of clothes so fine that they would be invisible to anyone who was stupid or unfit for their position. The emperor paraded before his courtiers and sycophants and everyone admired the new clothes. Only a child said, “But he isn’t wearing any clothes!”

Today pipeline companies and their buddies in government dismiss the threats posed by pipelines. Nobody should worry about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), tunneling underneath the Missouri River. Maybe some old pipelines leak, but this is a new pipeline. Can’t you see the difference? The emperor’s new pipeline poses no problems. Continue reading

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