Sorry that I haven’t posted in awhile. School has kept me extremely busy this semester, but I’m hoping to be back in full force this summer. I’m hoping to find more people who want to participate in making this site a success.
In the meantime, keep in mind that today is World Malaria Day. Let’s remember the importance global health initiatives and funding have for fighting diseases like malaria. Here are Partners In Health’s thoughts on the subject:
After the devastation of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, cholera emerged to terrorize many of the survivors, left without homes and lacking access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Then to make things worse, the rainy season arrived last year, causing the disease to spread and cases to surge amongst the island nation’s impoverished. This resulted in the deaths of thousands and the sickening of hundreds of thousands. Now, Partners In Health, a veteran healthcare NGO in Haiti and a stalwart partner of the Haitian Ministry of Health, is warning that cholera is still not under control in Haiti. They are asking that we help spread the word that Haiti needs assistance to save its people from this disease. This year’s rainy season is fast approaching and stands to increase cholera deaths again if those who can help don’t act quickly. So Partners In Health is preparing to begin an audacious cholera vaccination program. But Haiti needs as much help as it can get. After centuries of conflict and poverty, a deadly earthquake, and rampant poverty, the Haitian people deserve the world’s attention.
Once again, the government of North Sudan is working to devastate a particular ethnicity in a specific region. This government, led by International Criminal Court target Omar al-Bashir, is infamous for its inhumanly violent conduct in the civil war with those who are now the newly-christened nation of South Sudan and in the Darfur region. Now, despite poor coverage by the mainstream media, North Sudan is bombing and blocking aid to people in the Nuba Mountains, where some have formed a rebellion against this repressive regime. In the above article, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof reports from a nearby refugee camp, summarizing the situation and visiting the otherwise voiceless victims. The Sudanese government has been brutal in their response, targeting everyone in the mountains regardless of whether they’re involved with the rebels. They are bombing, imprisoning, raping, and murdering men, women, and children, all while preventing international aid and news reporters from entering the region and doing everything possible to keep their victims from escaping. This has led UN officials to warn of impending starvation as food supplies run out. As most of the world’s powerful ignore the crimes of North Sudan and the suffering of their targets, we as concerned global citizens must work to bring attention to the Nubans’ plight.
Here is an informative article on how big oil companies are trying to pressure the Securities and Exchange Commission into issuing lax regulations on the financial reporting of oil companies that pay foreign governments. They are doing this despite the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, which requires oil companies to reveal the payments they make in every country in which they operate. Oxfam, ONE, and other advocacy groups are working hard to make sure that the SEC does not give in and allow oil companies to continue to pay off corrupt foreign governments without the knowledge of the US or the people in these countries. Oil companies have historically violated poor countries, paying off the government and ignoring any harm they cause to the population. For instance, in Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, Peter Maass notes that in Nigeria U.S.-based oil companies use flaring, a process for burning off excess natural gas that comes to the surface along with crude oil. Flaring disposes of this excess gas cheaply, but it also poisons the impoverished people living near by, contaminates their environment, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Here is an excellent presentation, prepared by advocacy group ONE, that summarizes the Millennium Development Goals, which are a set of targets concerning the fight against extreme poverty, targets which 189 nations agreed to in 2000. ONE’s presentation succinctly describes each goal and includes videos with most.
Here is the letter that I’m going to start sending to as many different Occupy Movements as I can find, inviting them and their supporters to take part in Occupy Extreme Poverty:
Dear Fellow Occupiers,
My name is William. I am a member and supporter of Occupy Oakland in California. I’m writing you to introduce a new, autonomous initiative that I’m trying to start within the larger Occupy Movement. It is called Occupy Extreme Poverty. I’m hoping that some of my fellow occupiers who are, like myself, concerned about the poor suffering in third world countries and places of conflict can use some of Occupy’s powerful voice to advocate for the destitute and voiceless. I want Occupy Extreme Poverty to be a venue that occupiers from any locality can join up with and use to express their opinions on issues like global health, foreign aid, international policy, and other factors affecting extreme poverty. I also want it to facilitate the sharing of information and resources, so that those who are interested have an extensive starting point for educating themselves. As the diversity of Occupy is central to its power, and as extreme poverty is a complex subject, I realize and support the range of viewpoints, some of which will be conflicting, that my fellow occupiers will bring to this discussion. I do not wish to use Occupy Extreme Poverty as my personal soapbox. Rather, I am merely trying to act as a catalyst for what will be just one more example of Occupy’s ability to generate robust activism from the grassroots.
To further this goal, I have started a website for Occupy Extreme Poverty at: http://occupyextremepoverty.org and a Twitter account at: http://twitter.com/OccupyEP. Through this website, I have started to offer suggestions regarding how occupiers can get involved and links to and descriptions of resources for them to learn more about extreme poverty. I hope that what I have posted is only a small base on which to build and that others will supply knowledge, opinions, and discussion to make Occupy Extreme Poverty worthy of the Occupy name. I ask that if you think anyone in your area of Occupy would be interested in joining this cause that you please direct them towards this website. To be successful, the site will need content and the cause will need brainstorming regarding how to best proceed forward.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for the wonderful work you do for the 99%.
This post succinctly summarizes Partners In Health’s work in Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake. It’s a good read and reveals that PIH is doing amazing work:
Great event going on this evening at the San Francisco Civic Center. The panel is going to discuss human rights in Haiti, with a focus on women and girls. It features keynote speaker Gabrielle Paul, Haitian Attorney and co-founder of the Criminal Justice Clinic. For more info see sf.funcheap.com/panel-enforcing-human-rights-haiti-civic-center/