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By guest author Daphne Wysham


Oronto Douglas in the Niger Delta he worked to defend. Photo- Steve Kretzmann

If they knew him at all, the world knew Nigerian Oronto Douglas as the former attorney for the writer, playwright and Ogoni human rights activist Ken Saro Wiwa. Despite Oronto's and even President Bill Clinton's best effort, Ken was framed and hanged in 1995 together with 8 other Ogoni men who dared resist Shell Oil's drilling in their homeland under former dictator Sani Abacha. Or perhaps the world knew Oronto as a top advisor to the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

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By Beverly Bell

Popular radio advocate Sony Estéus in his make-shift radio studio just after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Photo Credit: Roberto (Bear) Guerra
Popular radio advocate Sony Estéus in his make-shift radio studio just after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Photo Credit: Roberto (Bear) Guerra

On the last day of his life, popular radio advocate Sony Estéus was to attend the opening of Voice of Ile-à-Vâche Community Radio (Radio VKI by its Creole acronym), the newest in an expanding network of grassroots stations throughout Haiti. Sony had worked with farmers and fishermen on the island of Ile-à-Vâche for seven years to establish the station.

On March 1, 2015, instead, the 50-year-old Sony died from as-yet-unknown causes.

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An interview with Stephanie Rearick
By Beverly Bell

February 25, 2015

 

One timebank member leads other members on an edible plant walk, teaching how to identify and use wild edible plants.

Stephanie Rearick is a former co-chair and interim co-director of  TimeBanks USA. She is also founding co-director of the Dane County [Wisconsin] TimeBank, and project coordinator of Time for the World/Mutual Aid Networks.

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An interview with Congresswoman Estela Hernandez of El Salvador

By Beverly Bell

Estela Hernandez, congresswoman, social movement leader, and radical democracy advocate.

Estela Hernandez is both a member of the national assembly and a leader in the transformational social movement, La Coordinadora of the Lower Lempa and the Bay of Jiquilisco in rural El Salvador. Here, Hernandez talks about a radical vision and practice of direct, participatory democracy by the citizens in the government of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or FMLN.   

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An Interview with Jackson Doliscar, Part II

By Beverly Bell

Jackson Doliscar organizing earthquake-displaced people to claim their right to housing. His work almost cost him his life. Photo: Ed Kashi, American Jewish World Service
Community organizer and rights defender Jackson Doliscar speaks to efforts of the Haitian government to silence advocates of human rights and land and housing rights, (See part I of Doliscar’s interview.) The attacks are part of the government’s strategy to leave opposition movements defenseless.

The cases that Doliscar discusses here are only a few of the many instances of violence and illegal imprisonment that the government of Michel Martelly has perpetrated since taking power in a fraudulent election three years ago. Other cases even include the public assassination of the coordinator of the Coalition of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH by its Creole acronym), Daniel Dorsainvil, and his wife, Girldy Larêche, on February 8, 2014.

The Martelly Administration is becoming increasingly autocratic, including disregarding elections and instead ruling by decree. Nevertheless, the US government continues to provide political and financial support, even including assistance to the lawless police.

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An Interview with Human Rights Organizer Jackson Doliscar

By Beverly Bell

Some things never change. In Haiti, no matter the century or decade in question, one can be certain that: the state and elite are trouncing the rights and needs of the majority, the population is protesting to demand land and justice, and the international community is taking the wrong side.

Five years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 (no one knows for sure) and rendered 1.9 million more people homeless, the fraudulently elected administration of Michel Martelly has abandoned any pretense of democracy. Having failed to hold elections three years in a row, instead letting national and local elective seats become vacant, the government now rules by decree. It is also attacking and killing human rights defenders. The elite, in combination with foreign corporations, are seizing land for agribusiness, mining, tourism, and free trade zones. The grassroots has taken to the streets to demand democratic government and an end to foreign occupation by the UN. Social movements are also mobilizing for defense of land, housing, and rights. The US has, until recent months, staunchly supported the government. It has backed this support with “security” funding, including more than $7 million for the police in 2015, for a nation not at war against anyone but its own people.

Jackson Doliscar is a community organizer and human rights defender. Since the earthquake, he has been the primary outreach worker in an international campaign for the right to housing for those left languishing under tents, through the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA, by its Creole acronym). This is the first in a two-part series.

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An Interview with Social Movement Leader and Parliamentarian Estela Hernandez

La Coordinadora of the Lower Lempa and the Bay of Jiquilisco in El Salvador is a grassroots, community-led organization of 27,000 families in more than 100 communities. It is transforming economic and political power and the health of the environment, across the department of Usulután. Pillars of La Coordinadora are participatory democracy, empowerment of women and youth, and – still in the works - education and health care for all. The communities are generating income through a green economy based on ecological agriculture and fishing. La Coordinadora is working to build food sovereignty, protect ecosystems, and preserve the largest remaining mangrove forest in the area.

Estela Hernandez is a leader of La Coordinadora and its affiliated non-profit organization, the Mangrove Association. She is also an elected member of the national legislature. There, Hernandez sits on the Environment and Climate Change Commission, the body that drafts environmental legislation.

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By Beverly Bell


Photo Credit: Beverly Bell

We will never learn of the names, lives, and deaths of countless Black men and boys murdered by police - and slavery enforcers, hate groups, vigilantes, and a host of others – dating back to the earliest days of this country’s history. The names and stories of a slew of recent victims of extrajudicial executions, such as Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the exoneration of their killers, have become widely known through the blowback of public fury.

This is a tale of another Black boy whose name and wrongful death were never reported in any official document or national media. The policeman responsible was not charged, indicted, or prosecuted. This child’s prematurely snuffed life was not spent in the US but in the Black nation of Haiti, though the US government subsidized his murderer.


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This is part 4 of a four-part article series “Cultivating Climate Justice” which tells the stories of community groups on the frontlines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.

 

Cultivating Climate Justice through Compost: the Story of Hernani


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By Stephen Bartlett, Agricultural Missions and US Food Sovereignty Alliance, and Beverly Bell, Other Worlds

Photos by Steve Pavey


What’s at stake for Honduras’ Garifuna people: Human rights, culture, and land. As throughout much ancestral territory, those who live on this beachfront in Triunfo de la Cruz are targeted for expropriation by a tourism corporation.

Honduras is the country with the highest level of homicide of any nation not at war, where government violence and human rights abuses have almost total impunity. It is also the country contributing most of the flood of children who have been recently forced to migrate to the US, because of that violence and by poverty – both, in part, a legacy of US policy in the region.

Yet something else is afoot. A fierce social movement, composed of many sectors, is pushing back to protect democracy, lives, and political rights. Indigenous peoples, including Garifuna, Lenca, Pech, Miskito, Maya Chortí, and Tolupan, are asserting their human right to autonomy, territory, and cultural survival.

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This is part 3 of a four-part article series "Cultivating Climate Justice" which tells the stories of community groups on the frontlines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.


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This is part 2 of a four-part article series “Cultivating Climate Justice” which tells the stories of community groups on the frontlines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.


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