———————— The Earth Shook & Burn But The World Only Moved Sideways ————————
A year of extremes but no breakthroughs. Records of the wrong kind (U.S.’s longest armed conflict in Afghanistan and worst environmental disaster ever, highest temperature indexes in several regions of the world, increased infection diseases mortality rates in the Caribbean and Africa, and staggering drug trafficking casualties in Latin America) plagued the world, with the additional bonus of a certified freak: a snowstorm in the middle of the Australian summer.
But there was no progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; no curbs on Iranian and North Korean authoritarian antics or scary nuclear ambitions; no meaningful proposals to solve political impasses in the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Disturbing tactics did get deployed, though, by the world’s superpowers but with the only intention of curbing whistle blowers and freedom of information acts such as WikiLeaks. It gave civil rights activists of every stripe a chilling pause to see Continue reading →
and What We May Need to Awake From in the New Year.
THE TOPS 1) July 26, December 19. The biggest story of the year, the two-punch WikiLeaks revelations about our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the startlingly dispirited diplomacy used to achieve them, had all the limitations of an attack led by drones: all fire, no eyesight.
What was far more revealing was the swift counter punch by the U.S. and its allies in reaction to them. Within days, a case of free speech was turned into a terrorist witch-hunt of the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, the Interpol was brought in and a personal misdeed in Sweden was quickly rolled in for good measure.
The effort to punish the messenger was enough to temporarily derail the essence of the allegations, force Assange to fight expatriation and jail term threats, and land Pvt Bradley Manning, his supposedly source, into an insalubrious location Continue reading →
It takes just a quick glance at the toll poor sanitation causes to public health to realize how lucky we all are. What with flushing water, plenty of soft tissue and as much privacy as we think it’s our right to demand, it’s hard to imagine that we still need an annual day like Friday to call attention to such a vital issue. That’s exactly what the World Toilet Organization is trying to accomplish.
According to estimates, in the developing world, diarrheal diseases spread via feces kill more children than HIV/AIDS. In great part of African, Asian and Latin American countries, running water is a luxury, and people use nearby open air sewages is their toilets. And it’s useful to be reminded that, while we as we flush once more, not too far away Haiti is facing a cholera epidemic that can be traced directly to poor sanitation. Along with access to clean water, proper nutrition and education, the right to have high standards of hygiene and improved sanitation should be inherent to human beings, if we expect to Continue reading →