Wednesday Reads: Refugees, Whistleblowers and an Egyptian PrincessPosted: May 18, 2011
Dorothy Parvaz has been released. She is in Qatar and in good condition.
An Al Jazeera spokesman said: “I’m delighted to let you know that Dorothy Parvaz has been released and is safe and well and back with us in Doha. She has been in contact with her family, and we are with her now to find out more about her ordeal over the last nineteen days.”
Her fiancé Todd Barker, posted on Facebook: “She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver BC soon. We can’t wait to see her.”
Good morning, allergies are hitting me hard today…so keep that in mind as you read this post. If it tends to wander or seems unmotivated, blame it on my extremely stuffed up head.
An estimated 25,000 refugees leaving Libya have come to one little island in the Mediterranean. The situation is one of desperation. Last week, over 800 people died when a refugee boat sank just off shore. Michelle Chen: On Italian Island, Refugees Wait at Intersection of Europe’s Hope and Fear
On the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, perched between North Africa and southern Europe, exhausted young men pile onto the shore from rickety boats. Those who arrived before them wait in makeshift encampments under the anxious eyes of local townspeople. No one knows when they’ll be allowed to leave, or who will accept them.
This is not what democracy looks like.
Imagine the feelings and emotions these people are experiencing. They leave the violence of Libya and Tunisia only to find themselves stuck in limbo.
The unrest in Tunisia and Libya have turned Lampedusa into a makeshift Ellis Island. Several thousand have already arrived from Tunisia, and there is a growing wave of migrants from Libya. The latest rush includes many migrants from elsewhere in Africa or Asia, who were working in Libya when war broke out.
Berlusconi has asked for help in dealing with this “human tsunami,” but Europe is not keen on taking the refugees in.
A generation ago, Europe was leading the way toward a saner approach to national boundaries…The Schengen Agreement, which covers many countries including Spain, Italy, and France, moved Western Europe toward a so-called “border-free zone” to help manage migration into and across the continent.
Now French and Italian officials are seeking to roll back Schengen and temporarily tighten borders. Denmark has joined the rising anti-migrant backlash by seeking to resurrect its border controls. And while Germany criticized Denmark’s border tightening as unprincipled, last year, it was Chancellor Angela Merkel who fanned the flames of xenophobia by declaring that multiculturalism had “failed” in Germany.
Sad to see this reaction from some of the same countries that pushed for intervention in Libya.
Here is an update on Dorothy Parvaz: Iran Says Missing Al Jazeera Reporter Committed Offenses – NYTimes.com
Iran said Tuesday that it was pursuing information about a missing Al Jazeera reporter sent to Tehran by the Syrian government in early May, saying she had committed “several offenses,” including traveling without a valid passport.
The disclosure, by a Foreign Ministry spokesman at a Tehran news conference, was the first public indication from the Iranian authorities of their intentions toward the reporter, Dorothy Parvaz, who has apparently been in Iran for more than two weeks and is possibly in Iranian custody.
I hope she is being treated well. The article mentions that Iran has 34 journalist (possibly more) in custody, which is more than China.
As if we already didn’t know the media is full of lies and stupidity, two new examples have surfaced in recent days, with former administration officials and their media mouthpieces vying for who can pronounce the most incredible lies about the torture policies of the U.S. government. What’s even more amazing is that one ostensibly progressive website and its members have taken at least one of these lies as good coin, a lie so blatant that it only takes a moment’s reflection to realize it’s total BS.
It is a great post by Jeff Kaye, so check it out.
Over at MoJo Kevin Drum has this to say: Chart of the Day: Unemployment Falls Off the Radar | Mother Jones
National Journal’s Clifford Marks goes looking for evidence that the chattering classes are chattering a lot more about the deficit these days, and he finds it: mentions of the deficit are way up in the country’s five biggest newspapers. The explanation is pretty simple: “The broadening gap demonstrates just how effective conservatives have been at changing the narrative of economic policy from one dominated by talk of fiscal stimulus to one now in lockstep with notions of fiscal austerity.”
Drum goes on to point out that of the five largest newspapers, unemployment gets mentioned only two times a week. With numbers like what Dakinikat discussed last week, it makes you wonder what the media is doing with their time…Oh wait, we know.
Here is a new insult from Scott Walker, this time his target is same sex couples. Walker does not think that gay couples should have the simplest of rights, like being able to visit your partner in the hospital. Gov. Scott Walker Doesn’t Want Gay Couples to Have Visitation Rights
Republican Governor Scott Walker has done a lot of things under the guise of cutting spending — taking away union bargaining power, fighting high speed rail, eliminating birth control and STI programs for teens and low income adults and fighting against mandatory paid sick leave laws.
But now the governor has picked a new battle: ending the state’s defense of its domestic partnership registry, a means for same sex couples to obtain a few of the rights married couples have, such as hospital visitation. The governor calls the registry unconstitutional and states that it is a waste of taxpayer money to defend it.
I wonder what big money donor has this new Walker agenda written in the memo section of their campaign contribution check.
This article by Jane Mayer is one you must read. Charges Against the N.S.A.’s Thomas Drake : The New Yorker
Glenn Greenwald was very enthusiastic about it and discusses some of Mayer’s key points here: Jane Mayer on the Obama war on whistle-blowers – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com
…the Obama administration’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers generally, and its persecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake in particular (Drake exposed massive waste, excess and perhaps illegality in numerous NSA programs). Mayer’s article is what I’d describe as the must-read magazine article of the month, and I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety.
I read the Greenwald piece before reading Mayer’s article. You may want to do the same.
A recent study of ancient Egyptian mummies may interest anyone who has first hand experience with Coronary Artery Disease. Ancient Egyptian princess now known to be first person in human history with diagnosed coronary artery disease
The Egyptian princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, who lived in Thebes (Luxor) between 1580 and 1550 BC and who is now known to be first person in human history with diagnosed coronary artery disease, lived on a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and a limited amount of meat from domesticated (but not fattened) animals. Wheat and barley were grown along the banks of the Nile, making bread and beer the dietary staples of this period of ancient Egypt. Tobacco and trans-fats were unknown, and lifestyle was likely to have been active.
“Overall, it was striking how much atherosclerosis we found,” said Dr Thomas. “We think of atherosclerosis as a disease of modern lifestyle, but it’s clear that it also existed 3500 years ago. Our findings certainly call into question the perception of atherosclerosis as a modern disease.”
So, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle did not keep Ahmose-Meryet-Amon from needing bypass surgery…makes you wonder doesn’t it.
I will end this post with something else for you to think about. Stephen Hawking gave an interview recently and had this to say. Heaven is a fairy tale, says physicist Hawking | Reuters
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
When asked how we should live he said: “We should seek the greatest value of our action.”
That last quote sounds like something Lincoln would say…it is so expressive and to the point. I love it…
What are you reading and blogging about this morning?