Twenty years ago this month, war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the main act in the dissolution of Yugoslavia. In Sarajevo, the country’s capital that once proudly hosted the Winter Olympics, 11,541 red chairs on the main street mark the grim anniversary. One for every citizen killed during the almost four years of the city’s siege, the longest in recent history.
In 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United Nations held its landmark Conference on Environment and Development. Also known as the Earth Summit, the Conference set the global environmental agenda for the next two decades. Now, twenty years on, the world’s governments, development practitioners, and environmental activists are set to reconvene once again, in Brazil, in June 2012, for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development-Rio +20.
American conservatives seem to want white babies even more than they want fewer abortions.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Honduras on March 6 with a double mission: to quell talk of drug legalization and reinforce the U.S.-sponsored drug war in Central America, and to bolster the presidency of Porfirio Lobo.
The Honduran government issued a statement that during the one-hour closed-door conversation between Biden and Lobo, the vice president “reiterated the U.S. commitment to intensify aid to the government and people of Honduras, and exalted the efforts undertaken and implemented over the past two years by President Lobo.”
Complicated historic grievances between groups or inconvenient timing are no justification to fail to act against genocide.
There are many kinds of war. The classic image of a uniformed soldier kissing mom good-bye to risk his life on the battlefield has changed dramatically. In today’s wars, it’s more likely that mom will be the one killed.
UNIFEM states that by the mid-1990s, 90% of war casualties were civilians– mostly women and children.
A poem for the mother of a young man killed by a bomb at Hebrew University in 2002.
Three women are sharing the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace. One is Yemeni human rights leader Tawakul Karman. The other two are African: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s current president and Africa’s only female democratically elected head of state, and her countrywoman Leymah Gbowee who is a peace activist and spellbinding challenger of the ultra-male, brutality-wielding world of warlords.
Although she was never elected to parliament, Wambui is one of the few ex-Mau Mau who rose to public prominence in post-independence Kenya. As a young, Christian Kikuyu girl, Wambui, who was distantly related to Jomo Kenyatta, joined the Mau Mau at the start of the Emergency in 1953 as a scout and urban guerrilla, moving through the ranks until she had taken all 15 warrior oaths. In many instances she reported directly to the movement’s War Council. After the Mau Mau effectively lost the war in 1956, Wambui became a member of the resurgent trade union movement and worked closely with Tom Mboya and other trade unionists, becoming notorious for her activism against the colonial government.
On July 22, 2011 the newly appointed Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, a Harvard-trained professor of economics, announced his 49-member cabinet. There are only two women in it: one minister and one vice minister. Yet, Somali women and children are the primary victims of ongoing conflict and deepening drought and famine in Somalia. According to UNICEF, a child dies every six minutes in the areas hard hit by drought in the Horn of Africa. In addition, all international studies show that women and children are the most vulnerable groups in societies under stress.