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Category Archives: Government Oppression
East Turkistan Government in Exile Applauds US Senate Passing of Uyghur Human Rights Bill – PRNewswire
Posted: May 15, 2020 at 8:04 am
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --As China continues its brutal repression of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan, what China calls Xinjiang, the US Senate just held a session in which they unanimously passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.
Senator Marco Rubio tweetedearlier that "moments ago we passed our Uyghur human rights bill in the Senate which holds the Communist Party of China accountable for grotesque actions."
"The Uyghur people have been anxiously waiting on the US Congress to pass a Uyghur Act for over a decade, especially since the building of concentration camps starting in 2016," saidSalih Hudayar, the recently elected Prime Minister of theEast Turkistan Government in Exileand Founder of theEast Turkistan National Awakening Movement. "We have high hopes that this bill will help to alleviate if not end China's oppression of East Turkistan's people."
TheEast Turkistan National Awakening Movementhas been pushing for a Uyghur Act since June 4, 2018 and has organized numerous demonstrations, events, and lobbying days to apply pressure on Congress to pass the Uyghur bill.
On December 3, 2019, theUS House of Representatives passed the Uyghur human rights billwith an overwhelming majority of 408 against 1. The bill would call for tough sanctions on China over its Uyghur concentration camps. China later announced it released Uyghurs from the "vocational training centers" which many human rights groups and lawmakers have called concentration camps. However, there was no confirmation of detainees being released, in fact numerous reports emerged stating that some Uyghurs were being transferred to prisons while otherswere being transferred to Chinese provinces for forced labor.
"China continues to intern millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps and prisons," Hudayar said. "Tens of thousands of Turkic people are being transferred into Chinese provinces for slave labor, while tens of thousands of Chinese are being brought into to colonize East Turkistan."
While the world remains largely silent on the East Turkistan / Uyghur oppression, the East Turkistan Government in Exile hopes that passage of this bill will encourage other countries to follow suit and pass similar bills to push back against China's persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.
Media Contact:Hashimjan Turak[emailprotected]202-599-2244
SOURCE East Turkistan Government in Exile
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Posted: at 8:04 am
Almost by the minute, data and research are pouring in confirming that government at the local, state and federal levels has disastrously overreacted to SARS-CoV-2.
The news is almost universally encouraging. Yet the stay-at-homers will not relent.
Neither critiques by a multidisciplinary cohort of credible scientists nor tens of millions of lives harmed (if not ruined) by a self-inflicted economic catastrophe have proven to be persuasive. From a disturbingly unhinged New Jersey teacher screaming at teens tossing a ball in a park to elected officials preening that if a single life can saved to the sob-sistering of anyone who writes for The Atlantic, defenders of government lockdowns zealously focus on the negative, confidently postulate that the worst is yet to come and slander all who do not share their perspective.
Many Americans fighting to liberate their country from intolerable COVID-19 controls must be asking a Seinfeldian question about their opponents: Who are these people?
Plenty of theories have been proffered. Media elites, concentrated in the New York City tri-state area, are unaware that not everyone uses a subway to get to work. Professional pols fear that the loss of just a few votes could torpedo their lifelong goal of escaping the perils of the private sector. Coronavirus Karens, seething at their ex-husbands, and/or enraged at their spoiled kids, and/or regretting their poor career choices, love power trips, virtue-signaling and day drinking.
But self-absorption alone does not adequately explain the psychological posture of the stay-at-homers. The COVID-19 policy smackdown even more than advocacy for national health care, endless government-school expenditures for the children or compulsory unionism exposes fundamental ethical contrasts in modern American ideology.
The work of Jonathan Haidt, who explores the origin of the concept of right and wrong, is must reading for anyone drilling toward the core of this issue. Author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, the New York University professor has distilled the six taste receptors of morality: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, Sanctity/Degradation and Liberty/Oppression.
Care/Harm, Haidt avers, evolved in response to the adaptive challenge of caring for vulnerable children, and it makes Homo sapiens sensitive to signs of suffering and need and despise cruelty and want to care for those who are suffering. Unsurprisingly, liberals, across many scales, surveys and political controversies turn out to be more disturbed by signs of violence and suffering, compared to conservatives and especially to libertarians.
Fairness/Cheating, at least for those on the left, manifests itself as concerns about equality and social justice prompting the accusation that wealthy and powerful groups are gaining by exploiting those at the bottom.
Few of us would volunteer to live in a world without kindness and sympathy. Few of us would volunteer to live in a world without comity among individuals and equal treatment at least in theory under law. But with their Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating knobs cranked to 11, doctrinaire liberals leave no room for the other moral foundations. People are hurting, and the underprivileged are being victimized most of all! We must act, now! Theres no time to consider any unintended consequences!
Morality, Haidt explains, both binds and blinds. Aligned ideologues bond with one another over the virtues they treasure but frequently fail to note the existence of other noble principles.
Is it any wonder, then, that in the COVID-19 conflict, Sanctity/Degradation (people of faith not being allowed to pray, worship, confess and atone side-by-side with their brethren) and Liberty/Oppression (mutually beneficial exchange between buyer and seller is the best mechanism to generate economic growth, itself an important source of health) are ignored by the stay-at-homers?
Heavy-handed measures pitched as tools to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus have already induced, among other things, massive unemployment and a huge uptick in mental-health trauma. But with blinders set to recognize only care and fairness, those who encourage, and acquiesce to, every control imposed in the name of public health reveal their adherence to an unsophisticated, and destructively narrow, ethical standard.
Posted: at 8:04 am
The shutdown was sudden, but the reopening has resembled more of a snails pace than the sprint some believed wed see once the economy began to restart.
One could count more television reporters from across the Ohio River in New Albanys downtown Monday than customers out and about deciding which restaurant to enter. Understandably our neighbors to the south are curious as to how we will handle the partial reopening, and Mondays arent exactly the busiest day of the week for restaurants, but largely the citys dining establishments appeared to be waiting to open their doors to in-person service as opposed to rushing back into business as usual after two tough months of being regulated to curbside pickup or delivery.
This is emblematic of the crisis to date. Do we need government regulations forced upon us in order to keep ourselves safe, or are most of us smart enough and disciplined enough to follow the suggestions of those who know more about health than what they gleaned from a Facebook post?
Unfortunately, the jury is still out.
We are a society that focuses on the extremes and the polar opposites. Those who make the most noise get the most attention, even if they represent a small minority of public thought.
We know some are upset that businesses were ever required to close, and theyve protested at statehouses and loudly opposed basic precautions such as wearing a face mask because they argue that it threatens their freedom.
As an aside, we are really going to be in a pickle if were attacked by another country or face an obstacle that requires total sacrifice. The fact that some believe that wearing a face mask and working from home for a few months is oppression shows just how spoiled weve become as a society.
On the polar opposite side of the extremism coin, we have those who believe we should shut everything down for months on end and not step outside our homes for fear that we may be infected with COVID-19. While it may be comforting to some to place themselves in a bubble where they have complete safety, its just not practical. We have to find a medium where people can practice social distancing while businesses are allowed to operate as long as they follow health and safety guidelines.
The past week in Southern Indiana has shown that can occur, and its also proven that we have a long way to go before masses of people will feel comfortable eating inside a restaurant.
Most people are sensible enough to protect themselves and arent going to hoard into the local diner or pub until they feel its reasonably safe. But there are outliers, and there are those who wont listen to the advice of medical professionals, so there must remain some government oversight to thwart a second wave of the coronavirus.
Business will increase as more people feel comfortable re-entering the public domain, but were a long way from recovery and normalcy. There will have to be some creative thinking for businesses to survive even after capacity restrictions are lifted because consumers are scared about the future after seeing how quickly our economy can crumble.
Theres also the unknown as to whether the virus will be even more widespread during the fall and winter. We are living the definition of a fluid situation.
The hesitancy to dive back into normal life isnt just affecting businesses. Many churches declined to reopen last weekend despite the governor lifting the order that closed in-service worship.
Ultimately, well all have to make our own decisions about what chances we feel are appropriate to take. Our government is watching, and no, Im not talking about a 5G conspiracy. Officials are observing how we handle reopening and if the virus spreads at a much higher rate as a result.
It behooves us to be responsible. The door to our old way of life is nudged slightly open. Lets not have it slammed shut because of careless actions.
Posted: at 8:04 am
NEIL Davidson devoted his life to fighting a system responsible for inequality and oppression. On Sunday, May 3, Scotland lost a great thinker and fighter for a more just and humane world.
I knew Neil for more than 33 years. He was a great friend and comrade who was kind and generous with his time.
Neil was born in 1957 in Aberdeen to Dougie and Margaret. His younger sister, Shona, followed. After attending Aberdeen Grammar School, Neil started work as a clerical officer with Grampian Health Board. He became a policy adviser for the Scottish Government in 2008.
Neil was a socialist and a highly innovative Marxist historian. He was the author of many books and essays. In The Origins of Scottish Nationhood, Neil demolished the idea of a timeless Scottish national consciousness stretching back to the Declaration of Arbroath. He pointed out that Scottish national feeling emerged alongside British national consciousness. Discovering The Scottish Revolution was awarded both the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher memorial prize and the Saltire Societys Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun award.
Neil was awarded an Open University degree in 1992. He and his friend and comrade Alex Law refused to wear the archaic graduation gown. Neil became an OU lecturer in sociology, encouraging many working-class students to undertake a degree. His writing allowed him to embark on a second career as an academic in 2008 at Strathclyde University and from 2013 at Glasgow University.
He challenged the Scottish intellectual giants Tom Nairn and Alasdair Macintyre. Along with numerous journal articles, he published four collections of essays. Discovering The Scottish Revolution led to his magisterial How Revolutionary Were The Bourgeois Revolutions? Neils reputation began to reach an international audience and his work was translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. His academic work was always linked to his political commitment. He was an active trade unionist throughout his working life.
In 1999, Neil was a founding member of the Edinburgh Campaign Against War in Europe (ECAWE). The group mobilised for demonstrations, one of which was addressed by the newly elected Nicola Sturgeon MSP. It helped lay the basis for the hugely successful Stop the War Coalition in the city.
While Neil supported Scottish independence, he did so from an internationalist perspective. He had no truck with sentimental Scottish civic nationalism that posited Scotland as inherently more progressive. He challenged this in the books Neoliberal Scotland and No Problem Here.
Neil was one of the key intellectual influences in the development of the Radical Independence Campaign. He went on to become a founding member of Conter a left-wing group based in Scotland and RS21 based in England.
Neil maintained a devoted partnership with his beloved Cathy. They loved to have guests stay over to enjoy their food and company. Neil would often entertain with his dry Doric wit.
He was passionate about music, theatre, film, literature and the arts. He could hold his own in conversation about 1970s disco, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry or 1980s hip-hop. His cultural breadth was immense.
Neil was one of the foremost public intellectuals in recent decades and has been taken from us too soon. We mourn his loss but will also want to celebrate his life. The best way to do this will be to employ and develop the arguments he helped create and the movement to which he devoted his life.
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Posted: at 8:04 am
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing ahead with a vote on a $3 trillion Democratic-only virus relief bill today despite the misgivings of some liberals and moderates in her party and the fact it has no chance of ever getting signed into law.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) is counting on key parts of the bill aid to states, more payments to individuals and extending unemployment insurance to generate enough public support that the White House and the GOP will be forced into negotiations on another round of stimulus for a hobbled U.S. economy.
I am optimistic that the American people will weigh in and make their views known, the speaker said yesterday, deflecting questions about pressing ahead with a partisan vote without any active negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or President Donald Trumps administration.
McConnell previously said Congress should wait and see the impact of $3 trillion in stimulus already passed before acting on another package. But last night on Fox News he said there is a high likelihood that there will be another bill.
McConnell said hes spoken with Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the next phase of stimulus but theyve set no date for getting it done. He dismissed the House Democratic legislation, known as the Heroes Act, as a $3 trillion left-wing wish list.
The White House said Trump would veto it if it ever got to his desk.
The toll of the coronavirus pandemic continues to mount even as some states begin rolling back lockdown orders, allowing businesses to slowly reopen. More than 1.4 million people have been infected and more than 85,000 have died. And since businesses began shutting down in mid-March 36.5 million people have applied for unemployment insurance.
Adding to pressure on lawmakers and the White House is the prospect of an autumn election campaign with the economic hardship continuing. Read more from Billy House and Erik Wasson.
Read an in-depth analysis of the measure in the BGOV Bill Summary.
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Pelosi at the Capitol on Thursday,
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Stealth Bailout for Oil Companies: Dozens of oil companies and contractors took advantage of a little-noticed provision in the stimulus bill Congress passed in March to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in tax rebates. They are employing a provision of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law, called the CARES act, that gives them more latitude to deduct recent losses. The change wasnt aimed only at the oil industry. However, its structure uniquely benefits energy companies that were raking in record profits in 2018 as crude prices reached $76.41 per barrel, only to see their fortunes flip a year later. Read more from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.
School Choice Groups Seek Tax Credits: Almost 50 school choice groups are calling for lawmakers to provide special tax relief for K-12 private schools that they warn are at risk of closure because of the pandemic. The groups want a 50% tax credit on private school tuition for both the 2019 and 2020 tax years and they want to have tuition payments labeled as contributions to nonprofits for tax deduction purposes. They also calling for emergency grants that states could use for scholarships for private school tuition. Read more from Andrew Kreighbaum.
House Democrats Set to Approve Proxy Voting: Democrats are set to push aside more than 200 years of House precedent with a vote today to let lawmakers serve as proxies for colleagues quarantined or otherwise stuck at home by the coronavirus pandemic. This low-tech version of remote voting is the Democrats temporary answer to health and travel concerns raised by dozens of lawmakers. It would alter House rules to let individual members cast votes on behalf of as many as 10 colleagues. Its been dismissed by Republicans as a way to let lawmakers stay home while other Americans are going to work and as a move that would have constitutional implications. Read more from Billy House.
Senate Passes Uighur Human Rights Measure: The Senate gave unanimous consent to legislation that would impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights abuses against Muslim minorities, an action sure to anger Beijing as anti-China sentiment grows at the Capitol. The bill from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would condemn the internment of more than 1 million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region of China and calls for closing the camps where they are being held. It would require the president to impose sanctions on and revoke the visas of any officials found to be responsible for the oppression of the Uighurs. Daniel Flatley has more.
Senators Urge Fed to Buy Long-Term Debt: A bipartisan group of senators want the Federal Reserve to buy longer-term debt issued by state and local governments to help ease the impact of coronavirus on municipal services. State and local governments are on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19, the senators wrote in a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Secretary Mnuchin yesterday. These entities are quickly deploying desperately-needed funds to hospitals, public health departments, nursing homes, water and power utilities, public transit, and other essential services. Read more from Daniel Flatley.
DeFazio Urges Airlines to Create Distance: House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) asked U.S. airlines to apply social distancing policies on their planes, citing reports of increasingly full commercial flights. In letters to two airline trade associations, he called on members to ensure that their reservation systems leave at least one seat-width of spacing between passengers and to dynamically adjust fares as needed to account for the effect on load factors. Read more from Ben Livesey.
Business Is Split on Partisan Lines Over Recovery: The politicization of Americans views about the Covid-19 outbreak, including whether to wear a mask, extends to small businesses. Firms in the Northeast and in Democratic-leaning states are more anxious about the future than their peers around the country, with many expecting economic pain from the Covid-19 pandemic to last longer than six months, a new U.S. Census Bureau survey shows.
The survey of around 90,000 firms shows that, while every U.S. region is affected by the outbreak, the extent of financial damage and peoples attitudes toward it vary widely by state. About 40% of respondents in blue-leaning states of Vermont and Hawaii, as well as Washington, D.C., see it taking more than half a year for business to return to normal. However, only 18% of those surveyed in the GOP strongholds of West Virginia and Idaho see it taking so long, the data show. Read more from Michael Sasso and Alex Tanzi.
CDC Posts Reopen Advice for Restaurants, Offices: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published guidance yesterday advising states on how they should reopen bars, restaurants and workplaces. The guidance outlines a series of steps that should be taken to keep their workers and customers safe, such as requiring hand-washing, social distancing measures, and how to check for symptoms. An earlier version of the guidance was held back by the Trump administration for being too prescriptive, particularly for states that have had less intense outbreaks.
The White Houses task force issued broad guidelines for reopening the country on April 16 but largely left the specifics to states on how to restart economic and social activities. Around the U.S., states have begun moving ahead with plans to reopen, even as cases of the disease continue to circulate. But in the absence of guidance from the CDC, providing rules and advice had largely been left to state and local groups, or not dispensed at all. Read more from Jennifer Jacobs, Emma Court and Justin Sink.
Under the newly issued CDC guidelines, businesses would be encouraged to follow a series of steps.
Trump Mulls Made-in-U.S. Order: The Trump administration is also preparing an executive order to require certain essential drugs and medical treatments for a variety of conditions be made in the U.S. The order comes in light of drug and device shortages during the pandemic. A draft of the order is circulating inside the government and was obtained by Bloomberg News. The order would limit any federal contracts for those supplies to manufacturers in the U.S. and would require that production be divided among multiple companies to ensure price competition. Read more from Shira Stein and Tony Capaccio.
Top Court Rejects Texas Inmates on Covid-19 Prevention: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate a judges order that required a Texas prison for elderly inmates to take more than a dozen specific steps to protect against the coronavirus outbreak. The justices yesterday rejected calls by inmates Laddy Valentine, 69, and Richard King 73, who said the Wallace Pack Unit in southeastern Texas isnt doing enough to protect them from possible infection. The case marked the first time Supreme Court intervention was sought in a dispute over the steps prisons must take to protect inmates from the coronavirus. Read more form Greg Stohr.
Mail Voting Opens Door to Disenfranchisement: Minorities, young adults and those with disabilities face barriers to voting by mail as states rush to prepare for holding elections as safely as possible. The effects of long-existing issues with voting by mail wasnt as perceptible in previous elections because only a fraction of the electorate in most states utilized absentee ballots. The coronavirus is expected to change that in November, but state officials are making decisions now on how voters will cast their ballots in the general election, as well as in dozens of primaries over the next several months. Read more from Emily Wilkins.
Biden Says People Who Believe Tara Reade Shouldnt Vote for Him: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said yesterday that any voter who believes the sexual assault allegations against him shouldnt vote for him, Jennifer Epstein reports. I think they should vote their heart and if they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldnt vote for me, Biden said during an interview on MSNBC. I wouldnt vote for me if I believed Tara Reade.
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Look at Tara Reades story, it changes considerably, he said. Biden was referring to Reades changing descriptions of the episode in media interviews over the past several weeks. Her narrative has also shifted from her initial claims more than a year ago, when she said Biden touched her shoulders in a way that made her uncomfortable, but didnt mention an assault. The truth matters. This is being vetted, its been vetted, Biden said. This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character.
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Amid the dire developments of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump is using the new actions to fire up his political base through renewed attention to what he described in a tweet Thursday as the biggest political crime and scandal in U.S. history. Hes also depicted Biden as a key player in those unspecified crimes. Read more from Chris Strohm.
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Posted: at 8:04 am
By Avner Pariat
I had forgotten how misunderstood and loathed Socialism still is in this state of ours. Most people still consider it to be synonymous with Stalinism, Maoism and other extreme forms of Collectivist Communism. It is easy to hate these ideas for they are often presented to us as cold, lifeless and brutal. And they were in many ways. But Socialism is a much older system than Communism. It is a more universal idea and can shrug off any accusations of being a Western invention. Socialism (much like Feminism) is not some weird and scary disruption to a perfect and well-oiled system. It is a system in itself and must be recognised once again as a valid alternative to the status quo. Maybe people who work in a government job, nine to five, might not think there is a deadly and massive rot around us and in our society but I think most people under 30 can see that inequality and open theft of community resources is taking place right in front of us. When will we act to stop this? When we have attained the age of retirement and got a fat and healthy superannuation package? Will we act when all the skies are choked with ash from unregulated cement factories? Or maybe it is when we are given some time off from our busy lives as useful tools in the machinery of the rich?
Socialism is an old, old system. In many ways it was the only system and we as tribal people lived under it for the longest amount of time. To me, claiming my tribal birthright is also claiming my Socialist birthright! Why do I say this? Because the fact of the matter is that the History of these Hills is a history of Socialism. Of course it is not a simple and easy history to understand, it has other elements as well; oppression, exploitation and poverty were around back in the old days as well. But we seem to have recently forgotten that words like imlang sahlang (live together, stay together) carry with them a deep-seeded meaning about sharing and looking after one another, which is what my idea of Socialism is about. Being a tribal I should think that Socialism would go hand in hand with our ways of living. Do we not pride ourselves in looking after our own? Do we not boast about having better moral values than the Plainsfolk? Or are these just empty hollow declarations that we tell each other to boost our inflated ego?
People in the state are facing a very difficult time under the Covid 19 Pandemic. It has reduced us to a husk but it could have been different. An all-encompassing and inclusive Healthcare system could have rendered calamities like this disease less powerful. It could have brought out the best in everyone with little stress and strain but instead we are chaotically running from pillar to post trying to tend to the new and swiftly emerging contingencies. Yes, it could definitely have been much worse and so far we have managed to act in time. That being said let me not lull you into a false sense of complacency. These events must show us the failures of the old system.
Covid 19 has jolted us from our daydreaming. Had we tended to Public Health issues more religiously from before we as a country might not be in the situation we are in today. If we had prevented the corrupt nepotists from sucking money and authority from our Public Health System we might not be in the situation we are in today. If we had stopped Private companies from buying up our Healthcare system we would not be in the situation we are in today.
Some people will say, Yes, I agree but we need nothing new now, we must simply reform the system. Reforms, alas, have been tried and tested and they can be implemented on paper everyday if a government so wishes but while the corrupt are still powerful these will be empty gestures with no weight in them. Public Health cannot be decided by people who have vested interests and that is why I go back to my advocacy for my version of Tribal Socialism.
I like this word: Tribal Socialism. Maybe it can be my tagline. But what does it mean? Well it might allude to the fact that we must dig deep to reconstitute the vital (and relevant) lessons from our Indigenous past. We must listen to the folk stories once again and go back to the basics of societal interaction that they teach us. These old tales are filled with moments of cooperation and solidarity. For instance, the flight of Syiem Latympang from her enemies was eased by the love and companionship of her subjects, friends and family. On another front, the hunters from the Khyndai Umtong, did not simply rush in to kill Sier Lapalang when he transgressed. They consulted with the Spirits of the Wild first before embarking on their faithful path. Also note that they never thought of themselves as outside of the authority and sway of Nature. They were human beings, yes, but not distinct from other creations.
In reality though there is no such thing as Tribal Socialism. It is just a version of Socialism for us, we few, we Khasi few; we who must decide now how to address the future. Will it be for the few who even in this crisis continue to rake in the big bucks from public coffers? Or will we snatch the whip away and install instead a government for the people, by the people and of the people. These are very widely used words and many a politician throws them around cheaply but no one can rob them of their power. We have lost the plot in the last few decades- consumed as we have with trivial and petty pursuits that make no mark on the world but maybe this disease can bring us out of it and if not at least start the good work by drawing us closer to one another.
(If you want to gossip about these people (maybe thwart them), please reach out to me in email. I can be reached at[emailprotected]which is linked to my Youtube channel, Ban Khan which I hope you will deign to check out!)
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Posted: at 8:04 am
54-year old street-vendor, Kashem,is a daily basis wage-earner who lives in a congested slum in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He lost his wife 9 years ago. He has a 16-yearold daughter, Kulsum, who is a low paid readymade garment worker. Recently, she lost her job due to the COVID-19. Kashemis also unable to re-open his street shop because of present countywide lockdown. Kashems life now stands on a double-edge sword: outside the house is the fear of rapidly contagious pandemic and inside the house is starvation and half-starvation without any income. Suffering is endless here for Kashem who without any kind of savings or income generation has to pay house-rent and maintain livelihoods.This story of suffering is not only about Kashemand Kulsum, but also about almost half of the population in Bangladesh and across South Asia: a garment worker, a street vendor, a rickshaw puller, a construction worker, a transport worker and it goes on and on. Even the fear of laying off hits the private sector executive level job market also. Recently, at least dozens of prominent mass media houses in Bangladesh sacked their officials and employees as the pandemic ascended. One of the prominent TV channels in the country not to be named fired 3 of its staffson the very day of the World Press Freedom Day this year. This demonstrates the magnitude of the crisis the country is facing today and going to face in coming days.
Researchers from Dhaka Universitys Institute of Health Economics estimate that, around 15 million people of different sectors will become unemployed in Bangladesh due to the slowdown of trade and business caused by deadly virus. Moreover, some Bangladeshi economist and analyst estimated that nearly 20 million people might lose their jobless due to COVID-19 crisis. They estimated that people who are involved in labor-oriented sectors like garment workers, construction workers, transport workers have already become temporarily jobless, which putting serious stress on the economy and it will have a huge adverse impact on livelihoods. Day-laborers, transport workers, hawkers, the employeesof hotels, restaurants, and different shops and other informal workers are the worst victims of the halt in economic activity as they have lost their means to earn bread and butter. According to the Labor Force Survey-2017, around 60.8 million people were involved in various economic activities while informal employment or labor-oriented sectors were dominating as 85.1 percent of the total population in Bangladesh. The contribution of informal jobs to urban areas was 13.1 million and 38.6 million in rural areas.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS),around 34 million people, or 20.5 per cent of the population, live below the poverty line. So, there is no alternative but to provide a huge amount of government assistance to keep this population alive. The government announced the incentive package but its not sufficient for the large number of population. People need basic things at the time of the pandemic. So, the government has to increase health care as well as grass-feeding and keep them alive.
The pandemic has brought much hardship to workers in informal sectors or labor-oriented sectors, including some unnoticed vulnerable class of workers like sex worker and transgender communities. SexWorker Network in Bangladesh, a sex-worker-right monitor, estimated that at least 8,000 of sex workers have already become homeless in Dhaka. About 150,000 sex workers in Bangladesh are one of the worst hit communities following the shutdown. On top of that these communities receive no attention from the government or civil society aid groups leading to exacerbated endurance for these communities.
The unemployment scenario is more or less the same across the South Asia. Similarly, in India, the countrywide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus has seen 122 million Indians lose their jobs in April alone. Indias unemployment rate is now at a record peak of 27.1%, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE). Unemployment hits 23.5% in April, a sharp spike from 8.7% in March. And the unemployment rate is the highest in the urban areas. The findings of the survey estimate that the worst situation is in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, and Bihar. There is an unemployment rate peaking about 50 percent. But hilly States had the lowest incidence of unemployment as of April, the survey said, pointing out that the rate in Himachal Pradesh stood at 2.2%, Sikkim at 2.3% and Uttarakhand at 6.5%.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, the Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Asad Umar, predicted that around 18 million people might lose their jobs as a result of lockdowns. But Pakistan makes a pleasant paradigm to prevent the worst unemployment situation. world fifth populated country Pakistan takes a green stimulus scheme, which is a win-win for the given environment and the overthrown unemployed population. Lahore has created more than 63,000 jobs for unemployed day laborers or labor-oriented workers and by relaunching the nations ambitious 10 billion Tree Tsunami Campaign. This project is a part of Pakistans existing initiative to plant billions of trees to counter the effects of climate change. Similar to other South Asian countries, Pakistan is badly affected by climate change, experiencing more than 150 extreme weather events between 1999 and 2018. Another step is, PM Imran Khan launched a web portal for the victims of lockdown. Those who have lost their jobs, will be able to register themselves on the portal. Under this Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, registered unemployed will be given a maximum RS 12,000.
In Afghanistan, according to data by the Biruni Institute, a local economic think-tank, as a result of the pandemic, 6 million people have already lost their jobs in the country where 80 percent of people live below the poverty line. The political crisis is the other reason for unemployment in the country. The political crisis, security threats, the lockdown of cities, and the reduction of international are the great matter of concern the war-ravaged Afghanistan. The Ministry of Economy had warned earlier that unemployment in Afghanistan will increase by 40% and poverty will increase by 70% because of unemployment and the spread of the COVID-19. But the ray of hope is, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $220 million in emergency aid for Afghanistan to help cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Other countries in South Asia are also experiencing the rampage of pandemic while poverty was already an embedded part of their economy. Pre-pandemic poverty rate as estimated: 8.2 percent in both Bhutan and the Maldives, 25 percent in Nepal, 33 percent in Sri Lanka.This rate is highly likely to increase in an unprecedented scale.
The International Labour Organization said, nearly half the worlds workers are at immediate risk of losing their jobs. The sobering statement will ring alarm bells in economies around the world, with every nation on the planet likely to be affected by the devastating fallout from the spread of coronavirus. Some 1.6 billion workers in the informal or labor-oriented sectors, almost half of the global labor force, as well as those at the most vulnerable end of the employment ladder are in danger of losing their livelihoods.
South Asia is home to over 1.8 billion people and houses half of the worlds impoverished communities. The region has the potential to become the factory of the world next to China as the world is turning back to China. But uncertainty remains how the region will overcome the upcoming post-pandemic recession and will feed the workforce to remain alive to take over the global labor market. Nonetheless, some employers are taking advantage of pandemic period by soaring the labor oppression which is not a humanistic approach and will lead to the trust-crisis and labor-unrest in the region. That said, South Asian leaders should work together to build the region during the pandemic and post-pandemic recession How was the May Day this year for laborers and working-class people was better understood by laborers and working-class people who lost their earnings or only means of livelihoods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish them a late happy May Day and long-lasting solidarity.
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As leaders of organizations committed to securing civil and human rights, we have been in constant conversation about the impact of coronavirus on communities of color. The global pandemic has highlighted just how much work is left to be done to build a just and inclusive society and serves as a tragic reminder that we are far from reaching that ideal.
With healthcare, food security and safe housing in jeopardy and job loss attaining levels that may soon exceed unemployment during the Great Depression, we are reminded daily of the structural barriers to justice and inclusivity and the racial inequities highlighted by the pandemic.
Today, the deep relationship in this country between race and povertyand its dire consequencesare inescapable. While no one is immune from the coronavirus pandemic that has quickly spread throughout the nation, the virus's stark, disproportionate impact on communities of color has been painfully clear.
The public health statistics lone are staggering. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population is black, but according to the CDC, black patients make up 33 percent of people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Black and Latinx individuals in New York City are twice as likely to die from coronavirus as are their white counterparts. In Chicago and Louisiana, where black people make up about one-third of the population, they account for 70 percent of coronavirus deaths. The Navajo Nation has more confirmed coronavirus cases per capita than every state except New York and New Jersey.
Many of the contributing factors for these gross disparities arise from systems and structures of oppression that have persisted in the U.S. throughout our history. These inequities have been amplified even further by the coronavirus.
It is important to recognize the widespread and deep-rooted systemic issues contributing to the high coronavirus infection and death rates for communities of color. For example: less access to quality and affordable health care, resulting in higher levels of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, which are now increased risk factors for coronavirus. The lack of bilingual, culturally competent information makes it harder for individuals to access facts about coronavirus and seek appropriate medical care during this crisis. And there's also fear of seeking medical care due to immigration policies that cause many marginalized communities to fear ICE enforcement against themselves, family or friends.
Additionally, the ability to practice social distancing is much harder because black people, Latinx people, immigrant and refugees are over-represented in essential, high-contact jobs in the fields of agriculture, transportation, sanitation, grocery stores, maintenance, food processing, and deliverynot to mention those working in health care facilities. In addition, communities of color also suffer from a greater inability to practice social distancing because of closer living conditions caused by historic and pervasive housing discrimination, as well as greater vulnerability due to dangerous living conditions resulting from higher rates of homelessness and incarceration.
The severe economic downturn triggered by the pandemic is also having a bigger impact on communities of color for numerous other reasons. Despite the enormous gains made by the civil rights movementand other movements combating and mitigating the pervasive harms caused by the history of discrimination and racism in this countrythere are still deep and widespread structural barriers to racial equity. We see this in the lack of opportunity and access many people of color have to vitally needed goods and services. Such barriers include lack of access to quality education (which in this country is significantly funded by local property taxes, often relegating children in poorer districts to severely resource-strapped schools), jobs that pay a living wage and good health care. Additionally, both the enormously disparate rates of incarceration we see between white communities and those of color and policies adversely affecting the humane treatment of immigrants and refugees are part of a well-documented connection between the oppressive systems of the past and the realities of today.
We also cannot afford to ignore the uptick in bias-crimes directed at Asian-Americans, the proliferation of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories accusing Jews of creating or spreading the virus and some of the extremist and problematic actors behind recent anti-quarantine protests across the country. The virus that is hate and anti-Semitism thrives and metastasizes in situations such as these, and we have already begun to witness that online and in the real world.
The National Urban League, Unidos US and ADL have long fought against government policies that have maintained these inequities. Further, our organizations have consistently maintained that words matter. When top leadership in this country uses the extraordinary power of bully pulpits to whip up anxiety and fear and to divide rather than unite the country, it leads to an environment of greater willingness to accept and propagate inequities.
In the context of the current pandemic, there are a few things our leaders can do now to address these racial disparities. We believe that states must include demographic data in their public reporting for individuals who have contracted, recovered from and died from coronavirus, that the federal government must take responsibility for mitigating risk to essential workers, that we must advocate for added protections for those in manual essential jobs and that we must ensure stimulus measures focus on increasing testing and economic support for marginalized communities.
Without action, these social inequities will persist and likely will even be exacerbated long after we flatten the coronavirus curve.
Acknowledging, understanding and mitigating oppressive systems and structures is a necessary step towards building a just and inclusive society. The impact of coronavirus is a tragic reminder of what we already knew: We have a long way to go.
Janet Murgua is president and CEO of Unidos US; Marc Morial is president and CEO of the National Urban League; and Jonathan Greenblatt is CEO of ADL (the Anti-Defamation League).
The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.
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THE EDITOR, Madam:
THE COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for the foreseeable future. This has left the Jamaican Government in a precarious situation in ensuring Jamaicas economy gets back on track and mitigating the social gaps exacerbated by the pandemic.
However, this is also an opportunity for the Jamaican Government to take the socio-economic issues by the horns and work towards developing our human capital and, by extension, create sustainable changes throughout our society.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Holness stated that our survival as a people is often based around small business such as corner or community bars; he called this the economy around bars. Based on ones anecdotal evidence, it could be argued that Jamaica has the largest number of bars per square mile in any developing country, and some argue this as a fact. The point is, Jamaica has a whole lot of bars. We may then ask ourselves the question: why is this a cultural phenomenon in a place like Jamaica? Then, we may start to think that historically we produce rum; we may also agree that bars are the poor mans escape from the harsh realities of Jamaica. The point is, Jamaica has a lot of bars because our society has failed to develop human capital and nurture creativity for the development of other economic ventures outside of bars and small merchant shops across the island.
Jamaicans are talented people, but we must admit that we have failed poor Jamaicans by not investing in their development, as a people, beyond remedial education. We have many bar owners and shopkeepers who had dreams of becoming something else in life, but they have not seen many others like themselves being authentic and successful. So we turn to what we know for survival, being shopkeepers and bartenders.
Our educational institutions need to inspire people to be not just lawyers or doctors, but successful people. For many years, human capital development has lagged behind because we are not able to teach students life skills, to nurture creativity and, ultimately, promote diversity and inclusion in the Jamaican society. Jamaicans are largely descendants of slaves and much like our brothers across the globe who had the same experiences, we are susceptible to poverty and anti-blackness in varied forms. Particularly in Jamaica, we struggle with colourism and classism.
Teach our people to love themselves beyond the vestiges of colonialism and this will inspire Jamaicans to look beyond systems of oppression and cultivate their unique creative spirits into economic powerhouses. But first, the Government must provide room for this growth by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in forgotten communities.
Instead, in the year 2020 we are scrambling to register these unregistered bars and shrink our informal economy. This is great; however, Jamaicans are more than unattached bar owners. We are diverse people with many dreams and aspirations. Jamaica needs to create room for this, to enable each Jamaican to be innovative and successful. We can do this by employing meritocracy in our institutions, diversifying educational curriculum and engender critical thinking and, last, we should invest in reducing classism and social exclusion of minorities throughout our society. This will prove beneficial for our future and beyond. Jamaica nice, but it can be nicer for everyone.
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Posted: at 8:04 am
Andrea Circle Bear, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation near Eagle Butte, S.D., was the 29th federal inmate to die due to the coronavirus in Bureau of Prisons custody. She was sentenced to serve 26 months. Circle Bear was being held at Tripp County Jail in South Dakota up until March 20. Then, because she was pregnant, she was transferred to Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. FMC Carswell is the only federal medical prison for women in the United States. (Indian Country Today, April 29)
Mural art depicting Indigenous triumph over snake-like colonial destruction of humans and land. Taken outside the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston. Mural by Deanna Santiago of the Estok Gna, also known as the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas.Credit: WW photo: Mirinda Crissman
Upon her arrival, social distancing and quarantine measures for prisoners and guards were not deployed to prevent the spread of coronavirus until after the facility officer of the American Federation of Government Employees Local filed complaints about the minimal guidelines they were given. This delay in implementing safe practices is but a part of the systemic negligence that killed Andrea Circle Bear.
After displaying symptoms for COVID-19, she was sent to a Fort Worth Hospital. Circle Bear was placed on a ventilator to help her breathe. On April 1, she gave birth while on the ventilator via cesarean section, and on April 4 she tested positive for COVID-19, according to the BOP. She died on the ventilator, and her baby was returned to her family in South Dakota. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 1)
Families Against Mandatory Minimums President Kevin Ring explained in a press release calling for an investigation into Circle Bears execution by the state: Not every prison death is avoidable, but Andrea Circle Bears certainly seems to have been she simply should not have been in a federal prison under these circumstances. In fact, nothing better demonstrates our mindless addiction to punishment more than the fact that, in the midst of a global pandemic, our government moved a 30-year-old, COVID-vulnerable, pregnant woman not to a hospital or to her home, but to a federal prison. (tinyurl.com/y7j258qt)
U.S. perpetrates racial and gender violence
Violence and neglect administered by the U.S. are nothing new to Indigenous nations, as theyve been steadfast in their resistance to ongoing genocide for six centuries. Imperialism and ongoing [settler] colonialisms have been ending worlds for as long as they have been in existence. (A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None by Kathryn Yusoff) This system was constructed, and it can be dismantled.
Legislation has been one of the ways this imposed order has tried to separate Indigenous people in North America. Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate scholar Dr. Kim Tall Bear explains that the Dawes Act of 1887 and state-sanctioned monogamous marriage functioned as colonial tactics to divide and conquer this land and its people. The act marked the breakup of collective tribal land into individual allotments, which forced Indigenous people into capitalist and proprietary relationships to land, which had not existed previously. (All My Relations podcast, March 19, 2019)
By offering 160 acres to a head of household, 80 acres for a wife, and 40 acres for each kid, there was a real incentive to be monogamously married and to biologically reproduce. Within this structure, women could not be considered heads of household. So women and children became legally codified as the property of those who could. As a man owned and possessed land, he owned and possessed his spouse and children.
Ongoing settler colonialisms and the recent execution of Andrea Circle Bear demonstrate why the U.S. is a central perpetrator of racial and gender violence. Indigenous people are arrested at high rates disproportionate to their percentage of the population. They are the only group that is killed by police at a higher rate than Black people.
At the same time, Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirits people are murdered or reported missing every year. To raise awareness for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit people, organizations like Missing Flowers, Native Justice Coalition and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women raise #MMIWG2S in our collective consciousness.
Violence against this segment of the population remains unbearably high. The Department of Justice found that the murder rate of Native American women is 10 times higher than the national average. And we know this is underreported. The National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2016, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the U.S. Department of Justices federal missing persons database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases. Human trafficking and mass murder, whether carried out by state or nonstate actors, is in the service of capitalism and white supremacy. (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Report, Urban Indian Health Institute, 2018)
Native people have been in reciprocal relationships with the land for generations, despite attempts to disrupt that. Where war is being waged upon the land via fracking for oil, abandoned uranium mines or the construction of the wall across the southern U.S. border First Nations people find themselves in zones sacrificed in the name of profit for a few. Destruction of the environment and other settler-imposed structural inequalities are the reason why infection rates for COVID-19 have been so high on reservations disproportionate to the Native makeup of the population. (Workers World, April 29)
Gov. Noem threatens legal sovereignty of Sioux tribes
As COVID-19 ravages Indigenous communities, we turn to Andrea Circle Bears tribal lands. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is threatening federal legal action against the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe because they refuse to take down highway security checkpoints, which they put up to protect their people from the coronavirus. Native nations understand that self-determination and self-defense are a matter of life or death. (NPR, May 12)
Support for Indigenous sovereignty must be central in our struggle for liberation. We must all change our relationships to this land and to each other. On our way to that not-so-distant future, we must recognize expressions of gendered violence take many forms, including police brutality, mass incarceration, immigration policies and state-imposed reproductive oppression, and we must fight against them. Solidarity with Andrea Circle Bears family and community, both inside and outside prison walls.
Prisons disappear people. We need to end cycles of colonial violence by disappearing prisons. Tear down the walls!
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