Running Out of Excuses, Colltalers
Rare protests erupted in Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, triggered by anger at China’s repressive Covid policies. As the World Cup dominates the sports headlines, attention is slowly turning to the fate of the estimated thousands of migrant workers killed constructing Qatar’s stadiums and infrastructure.
Trump’s tax records, which he’s been fighting to keep away from the public, may be reviewed by the House, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled. But given its recent history, don’t hold your breath just yet. Iran’s abhorrent “Morality Police” is using rape to silence and traumatize for life an entire generation.
Let’s begin in Brazil, where a 16-year-old killed three and wounded 13 in two schools in Aracruz, Espírito Santo state. The uncommon attack follows two other school shootings in the past six months. The suspect, who wore military attire with a swastika pinned to his bulletproof vest, is in custody. Presidente Bolsonaro is a supporter of the new gun culture emerging in the country and Brazilians now purchase more than a thousand weapons a day.
In Ukraine, a winter without power may be even more devastating than the Russian shelling, which now seems directed at disabling the country’s vital infrastructure. But when President Zelenskyy said that Kyiv residents were not getting what they need, local hero Mayor Klitschko, a former world heavyweight champion, took issue. “This is not nice. Not for Ukrainians or for our foreign partners,” Klitschko said of his political rival’s allegations.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban have reinstated public floggings as a form of criminal punishment, and 14 people got beat up this week. “Public flogging of women and men is a cruel and shocking return to out-and-out hardline practices by the Taliban,” said Amnesty International’s activist Samira Hamid.
In the U.K., two Just Stop Oil protesters were found guilty of criminal damage to an 18th-century frame. Emily Brocklebank and Louis McKechnieentered London’s Courtauld Gallery in June and glued their hands to the frame of Vincent van Gogh’s “Peach Trees in Blossom” (1889). The painting was not damaged but they’ll spend six-week in prison. The group has staged a few actions in museums calling attention to the global climate disaster.
In New York and around the world, Amazon workers used Black Friday to protest labor practices at the online mega emporium. As protesters rallied in front of owner Jeff Bezos’ Manhattan penthouse, employees staged flash strikes in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. It continues this Cyber Monday.
The rare and courageous wave of protesting in China, this time against the draconian policies to control the Covid epidemy, may be the flashpoint that re-ignites the Chinese to demand more of its government. But the student-driven rallies in such important cities may also provoke yet another violent crackdown as it happened in Tianmen Square and more recently in Hong Kong. Especially considering President Xi’s fervor for order and obedience.
Qatar was built in the middle of the desert by migrant workers coming from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. They’ve been working under miserable labor conditions since way before 2010 when the family-owned wealthy kingdom was granted the World Cup. The construction of stadiums, highways, hotels, and all tourist infrastructure necessary only aggravated the situation, and the number of workers who died from it has skyrocketed.
Human rights organizations estimate that some 6,500 temporary laborers have died this past decade, most penniless, deep in debt, and many forgotten. Cue the “Cards of Qatar,” a collection of ‘sports’ cards that attempts to memorialize each deceased worker with a picture, a bio, and info provided by relatives. “These workers are not just statistics. Their stories need to be heard,” said Blankspot‘s Martin Schibbye who created and runs the project.
Ever since he decided to run for office, back in 2016, we’ve been hearing from the former president that his tax returns would be known by everyone. By 2018, we were told that, unfortunately, they couldn’t because they were being audited. Both were lies, of course, and some of us knew it right then. But now the Supreme Court has let up and Trump is on his own: the House will get to see his filings. We want to see it too but one wonders: when?
The women-led movement that has rocked Iran confronted the hypocrisy of the Theocratic regime, as protests were triggered by the murder of Mahsa Amini, a young woman beaten to death for not wearing the hijab by the so-called “Morality Police.” But now, covert testimonies revealed that the unit is using sexual assaults on male and female activists to intimidate them, an interactive CNN reports, and some may face lifetime trauma as a result.
As the climate emergency continues to devastate the planet and world leaders remain unwilling to do the right thing, which is to phase out fossil fuels, scientists are trying to find some alternatives to cool down the temperature on Earth. Like dimming the sun. Or injecting aerosols into the atmosphere.
We do need to check all possibilities but anything would be harder than doing the obvious: switching to solar and wind power for what we now have the technology to rely upon. What we lack is the will to do it. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall, primatologist. Take a deep breath. WC