No Women, No Peace, Colltalers
Russia’s strike that may have killed dozens at a Ukrainian school has shown how far we still are from the bottom of this grotesque war. But no less terrifying is the prospect of a direct U.S.-Russia confrontation. A matter of time? Perhaps since American intel is already enlisted to help Ukraine.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s tone-deft move to reverse legal abortion has catastrophic social consequences, and one upside: it’s called the women’s movement back to the streets. Such fiery leadership is what’s needed to fight this and other issues, including hunger and a still rising Covid death toll.
Let’s begin in Northern Ireland where Sinn Féin, formerly the IRA’s political army, won a historic election and the right to nominate its leader Michelle O’Neill, the First Minister. It’s the first time a party identified with the unification of Ireland beats the two powerful pro-Britain unionist parties. Since 1921, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed and 26 counties out of 32 formed a new Republic, many on the other side long to reunite their nation.
In India and Pakistan, 104°F temperatures have exposed over a billion people to scorching heat even before the hottest time of the year. While richer and way more polluting countries ignore and continue to play their games of war and conquest, climate change-related threats devastate impoverished populations. “This heatwave is likely to kill thousands,” tweeted Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, a climate science research non-profit.
In Israel, a high court has ruled that about 1,000 Palestinians from West Bank can be evicted and the land repurposed for military use. It’s one of the biggest land expropriations since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967 and a violation of the Geneva Conference, to which it’s illegal to expropriate occupied land for purposes that do not benefit the people living there. There was hardly any coverage in the news, so “tell it to the judge.”
In Hong Kong, John Lee was appointed the new chief executive. It’s the consolidation of the brutal crackdown that China imposed upon the budding pro-Democracy movement, and a reward to Lee, its former security czar. He was a single candidate and will preside over a once-vibrant, now subdued territory that dared to challenge Beijing. Leaders of the 2019 movement have been jailed or expatriated and haven’t been seen or heard of for months.
In Colombia, the ACG drug cartel, known as Clan del Golfo, has shut down a number of towns and villages in retaliation for the extradition to the U.S. of its former leader, Dairo “Otoniel” Úsuga. The lockdown reawakened old fears of a revival of a past most Colombians want to forget. “High-profile arrests like that of Otoniel have done nothing to affect the structure of the organization,” said International Crisis’ Elizabeth Dickinson.
In Florida, Walgreens Boots Alliance has reached a $683 million settlement related to the opioid epidemic. Even without admitting to wrongdoing, what the settlement indicates is that the pharmacy retailer did profit from billions of pills dispensed through the state between May 2006 to June 2021. U.S. overdose deaths caused by opioid prescriptions often with flagrant signs of abuse went from 21,088 in 2010 to over 68,000 in 2020. Billionaire Sackler family, accused of dishonest marketing with its Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin, have paid up to $6 billion for states to stop all lawsuits against it.
Water scarcity will worsen this century in more than 80% of croplands globally, according to a new, peer-reviewed Earth’s Future study. But farming techniques can mitigate shortages. Researchers developed a new index to predict water scarcity in agriculture’s two main sources: green water, from rain, and blue, from irrigation from rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Growing demand for water presents a major threat to food security worldwide.
Which brings us to yet another report that found “the number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent life-saving food assistance and livelihood support continues to grow at an alarming rate.” The study, by U.N. and European Union-backed Global Network Against Food Crises, showed that 193 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021, over 40 million more than in 2020.
Saturday’s airstrike on a school in Eastern Ukraine that may have been sheltering hundreds in its basement has not been confirmed by independent sources, as much of this war. With reporters under mortal danger to report, the world is left at the mercy of aggressive propaganda from both sides. To some, the challenge is to balance opposite views of the conflict without falling prey to the rationale of colonialism which will always justify more war.
This invasion pushed us to the edge of nuclear winter, due to the high number of nukes under bombardment and in case of a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. And it’s possibly a final blow to the worldwide effort to fight climate change. There’s been not enough funding for hunger, inequality, human rights, and the rule of law, but there will never be a shortage of resources to fight each other. How can a common citizen fight these powers?
There needs to be a focus and if an excuse was needed, then the focus on reproductive rights came up at the right moment to put this show on the road. That’s why seeing women taking the streets again, here to protest the Supreme Court’s attempt at undermining a woman’s right over her own body, and in the rest of the world, out of solidarity, can warm the heart of even the utmost nihilist. In just a week, the pushback was way stronger than two years of a Democratic majority in Congress. Perhaps this Mother’s Day was the turning point leading Americans to elect the first woman to the White House.
The World Health Organization said the coronavirus pandemic has now caused an excess of 15 million deaths globally, more than double the official estimates. “Western governments and rich corporations who are based in the West have done very little to advance vaccine inequity,” said AccessIBSA project coordinator Achal Prabhala. “The U.S. is not prepared for new variants,” said Stanford University infections disease fellow Dr. Abraar Karan.
“War is no solution. And now we are going to have to foot the bill because of the war on Ukraine. Argentina, Bolivia will also have to pay. You’re not punishing Putin. You’re punishing many different countries, you’re punishing mankind,” says Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva about sanctions on Russia unfairly impacting other regions. The former two-times Brazilian president is again the frontrunner to the Oct. 2 presidential election.
“A woman wouldn’t make a bomb that kills you; she’d make one that makes you feel bad for a while. That’s why there should be a woman President,” said the late Robin Williams. “There would never be any wars, just very intense negotiations every twenty-eight days.” Show up. WC