Archive for March 11th, 2013

11/03/2013

Ich bin ein Bil’iner! – “5 Broken Cameras" Strange Trip to the Oscars

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*, TRANSCEND – This does not happen every day: a Minister of Culture publicly rejoices because a film from her country has not been awarded an Oscar. And not just one film, but two.

It happened this week. Limor Livnat, still Minister of Culture in the outgoing government, told Israeli TV she was happy that Israel’s two entries for Oscars in the category of documentary films, which made it to the final four, did lose in the end.

Livnat, one of the most extreme Likud members, has little chance of being included in the diminishing number of Likud ministers in the next government. Perhaps her outburst was meant to improve her prospects.

Not only did she attack the two films, but she advised the semi-official foundations which finance Israeli films to exercise “voluntary self-censorship and deprive such unpatriotic films of support, thus making sure that they will not be produced at all.

The documentaries in question are very different in character.

One, The Gatekeepers, is a collection of testimonies by six successive chiefs of the General Security Service, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, variously known by its Hebrew initials Shin Bet or Shabak. In the US its functions are performed by the FBI. (The Mossad is the equivalent of the CIA.)

All six service chiefs are harshly critical of the Israeli prime ministers and cabinet ministers of the last decades. They accuse them of incompetence, stupidity and worse.

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11/03/2013

Hope from Fukushima

Human Wrongs Watch

By Junichi Sato, ED Greenpeace Japan*, March 11, 2013 — As we mark the second memorial of the March 11, 2011 triple disaster, we see tragedy, but also hope in Japan.

Image: Greenpeace activists join tens of thousands of people marching on the Japanese parliament on March 10, 2013 in remembrance of the 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima , and to demand the Japanese government to abandon its dangerous nuclear programme. | Greenpeace

* Greenpeace activists join tens of thousands of people marching on the Japanese parliament on March 10, 2013 in remembrance of the 2011 triple disaster in Fukushima , and to demand the Japanese government to abandon its dangerous nuclear programme | Greenpeace

While people mourn for the mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and children that were lost in the earthquake and tsunami, many of those that fled the natural disaster have been able to return home and rebuild their lives and communities as best they can.

The tragedy continues, however, for those still suffering from the impacts of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear accident. Many areas remain uninhabitable, leaving 160,000 evacuees stuck in limbo, unable to go home, but also unable to rebuild their lives as they lack proper compensation and support.

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11/03/2013

Farmers of the World: “Stop Land Grabbing, Reject GMO Seeds, Develop Food Sovereignty!”

Human Wrongs Watch

By Via Campesina* – From March 26 to 30, the International peasant´s movement La Via Campesina will be at the World Social Forum, in Tunis – capital city of Tunisia. More than 50 farmers from all continents of the globe will gather in Tunis, joining thousands of other activists from around the world.

Photo: Via Campesina

Photo: Via Campesina

This important event is happening in Tunisia, a country that was subjected to an oppressive regime many years, and whose people rose up and demanded democracy, something Tunisian civil society is still struggling to fully achieve.

Nor should we forget that the “Arab Spring”, in Tunisia started when a Tunisian street food vendor set himself on fire to protest against the confiscation of his produce and the humiliation he suffered in the hands of Tunisian municipal authorities.

La Via Campesina will defend food sovereignty as the solution to the food, economic and climate crises.

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11/03/2013

Hollywood’s Oscars: And the Winner Is… The USA Love Affair With Violence!

Human Wrongs Watch

By Silvia SwindenPressenza*, 10 March 2013 — Nobody can deny the fantastic work Daniel Day Lewis (Oscar for Best Actor) does in Lincoln. Released so close to Django Unchained they both make a strong case for “anything goes” in the fight against slavery. Argo comes closer in history; it is also a film about bravery. We sit down and relax, these much praised films, so well done…we let their message penetrate our consciousness uncritically, it’s all about heroism, justice, happy endings… But…

Photo source: Pressenza

Photo source: Pressenza

In Lincoln we see the man who ended slavery in the US and the first (in a strangely long line, for a “civilised” country) assassinated President.

In order to get his way, according to the film, he justifies the use of bribery, extortion, blackmail and threats to bend the will of some members of Congress to pass his amendment.

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11/03/2013

Myanmar’s First Census in 30 Years

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok (IRIN*) – As Myanmar readies to launch a pilot of its first national census in three decades on 30 March, activists and experts cite a number of challenges ahead of the actual count in 2014.

Photo: David Longstreath/IRINThe census is key to Myammar's development

**Photo: David Longstreath/IRIN
The census is key to Myammar’s development

At the time of the last official census on 31 March 1983, the population of Myanmar was 35,442,972. Current estimates put today’s figure at well over 60 million, including 135 recognized ethnic groups.

“The logistical and security challenges to the process are immense,” David Scott Mathieson, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW) who has focused on Myanmar, told IRIN.

“Just accessing some of the isolated and persecuted populations will be a huge undertaking, especially in areas where conflict has raged for decades, particularly in Kachin State and, most problematically, in Arakan State.”

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11/03/2013

When Work Becomes a Sexual Battleground

Geneva (ILO*) – Sisandra, 28, understands all too well the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Image: ILO

Image: ILO

As a telecommunications technician in Durban, South Africa, she works in a male-dominated environment.

“My executive manager came to the office and asked for my number and I gave it to him. I did not ask him why he wanted my number as he is a senior person and respected by all in the company because of his position. He then started touching my breast and private parts.”

“I started feeling very uncomfortable and stopped him. I then walked out of the office and told him that I was going to report this to my supervisor. I felt violated and scared. Even though I said I was going to report this, I felt I could not because I thought I could easily lose my job if I told,” she recalls.

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