- 30 April 2013
- Alabama Media Group
- By Barnett Wright
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Arnetta Streeter Gary vividly remembers turning a corner in downtown Birmingham 50 years ago and being met by the force of water coming at her at an estimated 50 to 100 pounds per square inch.
“We had been taught that if they put the water hose on you, to sit down and cover your face so that the pressure of the water would not hurt your eyes,” said Gary, an Ullman High School student at the time. “If we balled up into balls, then the water would not hurt as much. But that was not so. I can remember us balling up, hugging together, and the water just washing us down the street.”
Gary was one of thousands of students from Birmingham’s elementary, middle, and high schools and nearby Miles College who participated in the May 1963 demonstrations. Called Demonstration Day, or D-Day, and later dubbed the Children’s Crusade, these marches led to concessions from the city’s white power structure.
On Thursday, thousands of area high school and college students will assemble at Birmingham’s historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church–where students gathered 50 years ago–to re-enact those pivotal civil rights-era demonstrations.
Birmingham Councilman Jay Roberson said the way child marchers responded nonviolently to conflicts in 1963 is a lesson for young people today.
- 4 April 2013
- compiled by George Stromboulopoulos
On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot while delivering a speech from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
It’s been 45 years since that night. To pay tribute to King and his legacy, here are some photographs from his remarkable life, along with some of the powerful things he said over the years.
- 9 March 2013
- Victoria Times Colonist
- By Katherine Dedyna
The value of video games far surpasses fun for geeky guys in the basement, but the stereotype remains despite the cultural upheaval games have created, says a writing professor at the University of Victoria.
In fact, video games play an increasingly positive role in society, says David Leach, organizer of today’s Games Without Frontiers session at UVic’s Ideafest.
- 1 April 2013
- Foreign Policy
- By Joshua Keating
In the months leading up to the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the radio station Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines blanketed the country with anti-Tutsi propaganda, inciting its Hutu listeners to “exterminate the cockroaches.” During the genocide, the station took on an even more active role, reading out lists of people to be killed and their locations.
The role played by the station only became widely understood outside of Rwanda after the violence was over. Three of its former executives were eventually indicted by a U.N. tribunal for their part in the genocide, but what if the world had been monitoring Milles Collines before the killing started?
That’s the idea behind Hatebase, a new initiative from the Sentinel Project, a Canadian group that aims to use social media and other technology to identify early warning signals for ethnic conflict.
- originally published 11 January 2013
- Electronid Intifada
- By Asa Winstanley
As a film, 5 Broken Cameras works on both an artistic and a political level. It’s a deeply personal film to Burnat in many ways, while also being a chronicle of the struggle of his village, Bilin, against Israel’s apartheid wall and policies of dispossession.
- 19 February 2013
- By D.H.
IN 2005 Emad Burnat was given a video camera to record the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. It was while he dutifully chronicled the formative years of his son that Mr Burnat unexpectedly became the film-maker behind “Five Broken Cameras”, a sombre documentary about the struggle of his native West Bank village of Bil’in against Israel’s construction of the separation wall.
The film’s premiere in the Palestinian territories took place recently at the Ramallah Cultural Palace, a multimillion-dollar centre unmatched in its size and facilities in the territories. The audience featured mainly young Palestinians and foreign expatriates, a common mix in a city that has become the West Bank’s administrative capital.
- 18 February 2013
- CS Monitor | Editorial
- A new study shows how children display more empathy if given pro-social media to watch or play. Parents can be encouraged to demand video games and other media that teach social skills.
To cool off a hot argument, sometimes it needs to be turned upside down. That may well happen in the national dispute over media violence if enough Americans heed a new study that reverses the terms of that debate.
The study, by researchers in Seattle and published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that young children who are encouraged to watch TV programs that depict kindness, respect, and cooperation are more likely to express those traits than kids who watch everyday TV fare that includes fictional violence.
Two other surprising results of the study are worth noting: Low-income boys, who tend to watch the most television, benefited the most in displaying empathy after watching nonviolent shows. And many of the parents who were guided on what kind of pro-social content to watch and how to avoid violent shows asked that such advice continue even after the study.
- 18 February 2013
- By Donna Gordon Blankinship, AP
SEATTLE – Teaching parents to switch channels from violent shows to educational TV can improve preschoolers’ behaviour, even without getting them to watch less, a study found.
The results were modest and faded over time, but may hold promise for finding ways to help young children avoid aggressive, violent behaviour, the study authors and other doctors said.
“It’s not just about turning off the television. It’s about changing the channel. What children watch is as important as how much they watch,” said lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
The research was to be published online Monday by the journal Pediatrics.
- 9 January 2013
- By Peter Mansbridge
I’ve noticed this strange thing about Twitter lately.
Followers, like viewers, expect me to be serious all the time and when I’m not they’re either surprised, horrified, or convinced it’s not really me (maybe that’s also because I’m not “verified,” however that happens).
Being “serious” comes with the territory of being a news person I guess. Because we deal with so many serious, often awful stories people are taken aback when they meet me and notice that I occasionally smile. I know when I’m on the public speaking circuit I can tell a mildly funny story and I suddenly see people rolling in the aisles. It’s not because I’m hilarious, it’s because they don’t expect anything funny from me.
And so, in some ways, the same goes for Twitter. Usually if I deal with something serious I’ll get reaction. Not a lot of it, but there almost always will be some. However if I deal with something lighter, the tweets, retweets and new follows come roaring in.
Case in point: I do an annual Christmas Eve shopping tweet-a-thon for two reasons – it’s fun and gives a few laughs, but it also finishes by saying “remember those less fortunate.” The “fun” part always seems to connect. This year added about 800 new followers in just a few hours.
So where am I going with this? Seems like a simple theory – fun is more popular than serious. Well, that was true until “Idle No More” came along.
- 8 January 2012
- By Duncan McCue
Ryan McMahon is hunkered over his laptop in his home office in Winnipeg, a self-proclaimed “chubby Ojibway comic” with a soft spot for bacon — and a hunger for some sort of indigenous resurgence.
He tests his microphone levels, ready to record the latest show for his podcast “Red Man Laughing.”
Of course, the day’s subject is Idle No More. He’s got jokes all lined up, including a top 10 list entitled “Things you might have heard a mall Santa say during the round-dance revolution over Christmas.”
His trademark humour, though, quickly shifts to more serious discussion when he brings on two guests: a pair of university students involved in Idle No More, the aboriginal protest movement that has swept across Canada and is now popping up in the U.S. and elsewhere.
- 7 January 2013
- Waging Nonviolence
- By Mary Elizabeth King
As 2012 came to a close, massive nonviolent demonstrations took place in Iraq, with thousands of Sunni demonstrators in Anbar province marching in protest of the allegedly sectarian policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Al Jazeera English (AJE) has carried live reports this past week showing tens of thousands of Iraqis, mostly self-declared Sunnis, as they demonstrated along a main highway leading to Syria and Jordan. Local councils called for civil disobedience because, they said, Sunnis are being sidelined in Iraqi politics, and pronouncements asserted that sit-ins would not end until protesters’ demands were met. AJE’s reporter commented that the challengers had a stated commitment to nonviolent action, and that local clergy had joined in the call to such action.
- 28 December 2012
- Prince Albert Daily Herald
- By Jessica Iron Joseph
On Friday, Dec. 21, Prince Albert held its Idle No More rally to raise awareness for Bill C-45. My husband, Kevin Joseph, helped organize it, along with Kirsten Scansen, Tammy St. Denis and Gabriella Lee.
The day of the rally things were still undecided. There were obstacles. We weren’t sure if the mayor was OK with the rally. We were unsure if police escorts were on board. People objected to use of their buildings, in fear of jeopardizing government funding. Still we prayed and moved forward in faith that things would work out. We aimed for peace.
When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see police involvement.
We walked slowly to the beat of the drum, stopping at each intersection for a short round dance. The police escorts were incredible — very welcoming and jovial. People shook their hands in gratitude.
- Huffington Post
- By Wab Kinew, Director of Indigenous Inclusion, the University of Winnipeg
What is “Idle No More”?
It is a loosely knit political movement encompassing rallies drawing thousands of people across dozens of cities, road blocks, a shoving match on Parliament Hill between chiefs and mounties and one high profile hunger strike.
It is also a meme tweeted and shared about thousands of times a day, for messages about indigenous rights, indigenous culture and cheap indigenous jokes (“Turn off your ignition #idlenomore”).
The name Idle No More comes from a recent meeting in Saskatchewan. Sylvia McAdam and three others were mad about Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill. Their biggest frustration was that nobody seemed to be talking about it. Two provisions in particular upset them: the reduction in the amount of federally protected waterways and a fast tracked process to surrender reserve lands. In McAdam’s view, if Aboriginal people did not speak out it would mean they “comply with [their] silence.” So she and her friends decided to speak out. They would be “Idle No More.” They held an information session under the same name. Co-organizer Tanya Kappo fired off a tweet with the hashtag “#IdleNoMore.”
- 12 December 2012
- Globe and Mail
- By STEPHANIE NOLEN
It began as a joke. Mohamed Tolba, an IT executive, had time to kill between meetings and told the receptionist in his Cairo office that he would be at the Costa Coffee around the corner if anyone needed him. “You go to Costa?” she asked, startled.
“Yes,” he replied patiently. “Even me. I drink coffee and eat cheesecake.”
His colleague couldn’t quite fathom the idea that someone like Mr. Tolba – who sports a bushy beard and prays fives times a day without fail – might hang out in an outlet of the British coffee chain that is a haunt of secular Egyptian urbanites. For Mr. Tolba, it was just one more incident of the misconceptions that dog Salafism, the stream of Islam he practises.
“I realized,” he recalled later, “we have issues.”
The interaction, though, spurred him finally to take them on. He resolved to try to address the image problem of his ultra-conservative Islam using, what else, Facebook. He started a forum for debate and outreach, and he named it Salafyo Costa – the Salafis at Costa – after his favourite latte joint. Within months, thousands of Egyptians, and Muslims in other countries, were participating in the online debates, and soon the group was meeting in real life. Over, of course, coffee.
- originally posted September 19, 2012
- Landfill Harmonic
Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made from trash.
- 5 December 2012
- Globe and Mail
- By CAMPBELL CLARK
Ottawa has backed away from warnings of reprisals against the Palestinian Authority for its move to obtain “observer-state” status at the United Nations, signalling it has no immediate plans to slash aid or take other punitive steps.
Instead, after a 90-minute meeting with four temporarily recalled Canadian envoys to the United Nations and the Middle East, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Ottawa will keep an eye on what the Palestinians do next, and support a return to peace talks.
- 5 December 2012
- Transparency International
- Press release
A growing outcry over corrupt governments forced several leaders from office last year, but as the dust has cleared it has become apparent that the levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings are still very high in many countries. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 shows corruption continues to ravage societies around the world.
Two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.
“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International.
“After a year of focus on corruption, we expect governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 results demonstrate that societies continue to pay the high cost of corruption,” Labelle said.
- 21 November 2012
- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
- By Brian J. Grim
Several recent incidents have drawn international attention to laws and policies prohibiting blasphemy – remarks or actions considered to be contemptuous of God or the divine. In a highly publicized case last summer, for example, a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan was arrested and detained for several weeks after she was accused of burning pages from the Quran. In neighboring India, a man reputed to be a religious skeptic is facing blasphemy charges because he claimed a statue of Jesus venerated by Mumbai’s Catholic community for its miraculous qualities is a fake. The man reportedly is staying in Europe to avoid prosecution. In Greece, a man was arrested and charged with blasphemy after he posted satirical references to an Orthodox Christian monk on Facebook.
Pakistan, India and Greece are not alone in actively pursuing blasphemy prosecutions. A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that as of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith) or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions or religion in general).
- 8 November 2012
- ADR Tech Blog
- By Bill Warters
From Conflict to Cooperationis a lovely series of five cartoon-style booklets from Cooperatives UK which aim to help groups not only deal with conflict when it arises but also to avoid unnecessary conflict…