Because apparently, you can’t have too many versions of a CV

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Messing About with the Many #Canva #Resume #Template

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Crowding The Island Ebook (view mobile) The Quest For An Objective Basis For Rights.

Click Here!

 

Are You in Control of Yourself? Or Is Someone Else in Control of YOU?

Where Do Rights Come From? What Rights Are Inalienable? How Do We Decide Whose Rights Have Preference Over Others? Do Beings Other Than Humans Have Rights?

How are rights defined?

Those of us who live in the mostly freest of countries get quite uppity when we feel that someone has violated our rights. Of course, very few understand where rights come from. This is true of all political persuasions. And most politicians are more interested in obliterating rights than protecting them.

In too many countries rights are not a problem because the people have very few rights at all. Why do they have so few rights compared to people fortunate enough to have been born in countries that have many rights?

How did one country in history create itself with so many rights? What did the founders of that country know so well that has been almost completely forgotten by their descendents of today?

There are so many kinds of rights that have been defined, so many categories. Are some really more important than others? How can we find an objective basis for rights when there are so many different rights to consider?

The Quest for an Objective Basis for Rights

There are so many claims about rights that confusion and conflict are inevitable. Is there some way to determine an objective basis for rights so that most philosophers can decide which rights truly are important and resolve some of the conflicts all over the world?

Can we take an expedition into our minds, our knowledge, to discover this basis among what we have already learned? A good understanding of history is a great tool to use to examine how humans have developed all of the confusing claims about rights. We might have to poke past the boxes that have been built around these concepts.

We may challenge some contemporary views of rights. We may bring up some controversial subjects. But this quest must first and foremost accept whatever truths it finds, even some we may not have been looking for.

The Answer to All of the Questions Above

A new ebook titled “Crowding the Island” conducts a quest for an objective basis for rights so that can solve some of the worst conflicts on the planet, if the politicians will only implement such solutions.

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Randal Allen Anderson III

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Today is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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“Human rights… It’s just not for me…”

Let me set the scene for you.

I’m at a Dartmouth College Activities Fair and I’m manning the Amnesty International table. Ya know, handing out the pamphlets and talking about what we do.

Then one student comes up the the table and asks “What do you guys do?”

I go into my mini spiel about our petitions, protest, activities, lectures and the workshops we organize.

His response, “Human rights… It’s just not for me.”

Now usually when people aren’t interested in Amnesty International, I’m like ok whatever, it is a time commitment that some people can’t do. But this response got to me.

“What do you mean human rights aren’t for you?” I asked. He looked weirded out by my question and he walked away.

But what is that even supposed to mean? It blew my mind and still continues to blow my mind. With my former years teaching ESL, I soon found out that many international adults had NO IDEA what human rights were and that they were entitled to  safety, water, citizenship, asylum, security etc.

There is this mentality that so long as you have human rights, it doesn’t matter if others have or don’t have human rights. But the truth of the matter is, if we, people who have human rights, don’t call for the human rights of others, our silence implies complicity. It implies that we think it is ok for others to get tortured for different beliefs, or sentenced to death for different ways of life.

That complicity then becomes normalization. The offence and clear disregard for human rights becomes normalized, like a domino effect… and how long before the normalized human rights offending ends up on our doorstep? Who is to say it’s not on our doorstep already?

Wake up. Human rights are for all of us and we all need to care about everybody because any one of us could be next. Not only that, but we should care about other’s human rights because it is right and just. Where are your ice cold hearts?

Human Rights Newsletter

mazin@qumsiyeh.org

Gratitude blog available here where you can leave comments

http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2016/02/grateful.html

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming

gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

I am so grateful for all that is happening in resistance to the incredible

odds and repression practiced by the elites in power. While some may get

activism or compassion “fatigue” , there are literally millions of people

deciding to leave their apathy behind and put their hands with other people

to work.  Our tiny little small part of the world (Palestine now an

apartheid sate called a “Jewish state”) has become a major center of global

activism. This centrality can be due to many factors:

1.Religious centrality to three main religions, one of which was hijacked

for political purposes locally in the past (Christianity –> Crusaderism),

the other hijacked in the past 150 years and is still strongly hijacked

(Judaism –>Zionism) and the other more recently and in nearby areas

beginning to be hijacked (Islam –> Isis and Wahhabism).

2. Nowhere else on earth is Western government hypocrisy more evident than

in Palestine. While the western leaders speak of democracy and human

rights, they support an apartheid racist “Jewish state” that engaged and

engages in racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing

(so far 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people).

Thus, this is the Achilles heel of Western propaganda.

3. The 12 million Palestinians in the world, most refugees and others

squeezed into bantustans have been remarkably peaceful and tolerant and had

a long history of popular resistance for the past 130 years that provided a

stellar example to the world (see my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in

Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment”).

4. Israeli citizens and the global community are increasingly joining hands

with us to demand justice as the only road to peace.

5. More and more people realize that peace in the “Middle East” (Western

Asia) and around the world is dependent on peace for Palestine. Zionism

with its (sometimes dominant, sometimes subservient) twin US imperialism

are and have been most destructive forces in causing global conflict.

But what really gives us optimism daily are the people we interact with.

Students at the universities who see the importance of knowledge (power)

and come to school with enthusiasm even in the face of suppression of their

movement. Farmers that work hard in their fields even as land and water are

being taken from them by the occupiers. Unarmed young demonstrators showing

bravery in challenging the heavily armed Israeli forces (who occasionally

murder them). Thousands of political prisoners and “administrative

detainees” who resist the prisoners (one on hunger strike is close to

death). Activists who sometimes sacrifice comforts to be with us.

Organizers of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities around the

world who refuse to be silenced by illegal measures their governments try

to impose on them to suppress free speech. Volunteers at our activities

from refugee camp youth centers like Al-Rowwad to our Institute of

Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ ).

Sometimes small actions make us retain our sanity and gives joy and meaning

to our lives. Just this past week:

– A small village of Izbet al-Tabib managed to gather 300 demonstrators

protesting the illegal confiscation of land and resources to serve settlers.

-We saved a cattle egret (bird with long legs and beak from the heron

group) which had been shot and with a macerated wing. We did an operation

that saved its life (unfortunately the wing had to be amputated).

-We released a fox that was drowning in a water treatment pool in the

Bethlehem garbage dump site.

– My tourism class did an exercise to help in a local tourism promotion

project.

-We noted several species of butterflies in our botanic garden already and

the flowers of rare orchids and even the Star of Bethlehem

-We had our first class in biodiversity for the new master program in

environmental biology at Birzeit University.

-We received dozens of visitors to our facilities and added to our very

large network of friends (now tens of thousands)

-We submitted two small grant proposals (we hope to start to do major

fundraising soon for our museum, botanical garden, and institute of

biodiversity and sustainability)

-Our aquaponic system is doing great and we expect our first harvest next

week (lettuce)

– We said goodbye to some volunteers and we welcomed others who helped us

build this institution.

We expect to receive more volunteers next week including a professor from

Jordan and an aquaponics researcher from Switzerland and at least 10

students from Bethlehem University doing their community service. We are so

grateful for all the above and we welcome volunteers and supporters with

all backgrounds and skills. We are guided by love and respect (to

ourselves, to others, then to nature). We are strengthened amid all the

suffering (here in Gaza, in Syria, in Yemen etc) by human connections and

by caring for each other.

Israeli soldiers beat detained Palestinian teenaged boys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzw2D5iL0bg

Palestinian Teacher Among World’s Top 10

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/palestinian-teacher-among-worlds-top-10/

Reconstruction Of Gaza: Zero Buildings, Massive Profit

http://www.whoprofits.org/content/reconstruction-gaza-zero-buildings-massive-profit

Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery? Richard Kreitner

http://forward.com/culture/213776/should-jews-have-to-pay-reparations-for-slavery/

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have

roses.” Alphonse Karr

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Professor and (Volunteer) Director

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability

Bethlehem University

Occupied Palestine

http://qumsiyeh.org

http://palestinenature.org

[announce_onepalestine] Reminder: TODAY (12/10) Human Rights Day Action for Amer Jubran

Please remember to send e-mails/faxes on behalf of Amer Jubran today (12/10) for International Human Rights Day. Details and sample letter below.

***

Human Rights Day Call to Action for Amer Jubran, Thursday 12/10: 

Jordan’s Court of Cassation Fails to Review Evidence, Accepts Use of Torture

(please see sample letter and call to action below)

Jordan’s Court of Cassation issued an opinion in November affirming the verdict of the State Security Court in the case of Amer Jubran. It gave only a weak recommendation that the State Security Court “reconsider” its sentencing decision.

In reaching its opinion, the court did not even discuss the appeal arguments. Most importantly, it ignored the fact that the verdict was based on false confessions obtained through torture.

Unfortunately, this decision of the Court of Cassation conforms to the general pattern of impunity for torture and denial of justice in Jordan’s judicial system.

As we have written in earlier updates, the routine use of torture by Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate is well-documented by global human rights organizations. The UN Committee Against Torture has specifically condemned the State Security Court’s lack of independence from the GID and has been calling for its abolition since 1994.

We are urging people to express their outrage at the failure of Jordan’s highest court to give Amer’s case any meaningful review and its continued acceptance of false “confessions” obtained through torture in cases decided by the State Security Court. 

On Human Rights Day (Thursday December 10th), please write to Jordan’s ambassadors to the UN in Geneva and NY.

***Please send an e-mail and/or fax (see sample letter below) on Thursday 12/10 to: 

1) Ms. Saja Majali, Ambassador,  Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UN in Geneva: info@jordanmission.ch

Fax:  +41 22 748 20 01  (011-41 22 748 20 01 if faxing from US)

2) Mrs. Dina Kawar, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UN in New York: Missionun@jordanmissionun.com

You can also cc us at defense@amerjubrandefense.org

Sample Letter: 

Dear Mrs. Dina Kawar and Ms. Saja Majali,

I am writing to you about the case of Amer Jubran, a Jordanian citizen sentenced to ten years in prison by Jordan’s State Security Court on July 29, 2015. Jubran is a Palestinian speaker and writer with an international reputation as an advocate for Palestinian rights.

In May and June of 2014 Jubran was tortured by the Jordanian mukhabarat, in collusion with a state prosecutor, so that he would sign  false statements which were used, in turn, to convict and sentence him. Jordan’s Court of Cassation recently upheld Jubran’s conviction while failing to address the issue of the torture he experienced, his forced confession, or any of the appeal arguments submitted by Jubran’s attorneys. 

The Jordanian government has consistently violated the rights of Amer Jubran at every level of the judicial process: 

1) Arrest without a warrant;

2) Incommunicado detention for 2 months;

3) No access to legal counsel for at least 2 months while in detention;

4) Torture, including forced stress positions, sleep deprivation, beatings, 72 to 120 hour interrogation sessions, and threats to family members;

5) Forced confessions obtained through torture that the defendant was not even permitted to read before signing;

6) Charges that include “committing acts that threaten to harm relations with a foreign government” based on a law promulgated one month after his arrest and that effectively criminalizes speech or any expression of protest directed at a foreign government;

7) A trial in Jordan’s State Security Court, a military tribunal with no judicial independence (the UN has called for its abolition since 1994); and

8) The State Security Court ruling on July 29, 2015 which states openly that the Court is “not obliged to discuss defense’s evidence presented by defense attorneys since accepting prosecution’s evidence automatically implies rejection of defense’s evidence” and relies solely on the forced confessions obtained through torture that Jubran and all his co-defendants recanted during trial. 

Global human rights organizations including Alkarama Foundation, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns about the human rights violations involved in Jubran’s case. People around the world have called for justice in Jubran’s case and repeatedly petitioned Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, the Minister of Justice, Bassam Talhouni, and the Minister of the Interior, Salamah Hammad. There has been no response from the Jordanian government. 

Does Jordan approve of torture? As Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations, will you use your office to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or to justify its violation?

A just resolution in this case requires that Jubran’s conviction be overturned and that his torturers be held accountable for their crimes.

Sincerely,

_____________________________________________________________  

To subscribe, send a message to: announce_onepalestine-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

[announce_onepalestine] [Free_Amer] Court of Cassation Affirms Unjust Verdict; 12/10 Call to Action

Human Rights Day Call to Action for Amer Jubran, Thursday 12/10: 

Jordan’s Court of Cassation Fails to Review Evidence, Accepts Use of Torture

(please see sample letter and call to action below)

Jordan’s Court of Cassation issued an opinion in November affirming the verdict of the State Security Court in the case of Amer Jubran. It gave only a weak recommendation that the State Security Court “reconsider” its sentencing decision.

In reaching its opinion, the court did not even discuss the appeal arguments. Most importantly, it ignored the fact that the verdict was based on false confessions obtained through torture.

Unfortunately, this decision of the Court of Cassation conforms to the general pattern of impunity for torture and denial of justice in Jordan’s judicial system.

As we have written in earlier updates, the routine use of torture by Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate is well-documented by global human rights organizations. The UN Committee Against Torture has specifically condemned the State Security Court’s lack of independence from the GID and has been calling for its abolition since 1994.

We are urging people to express their outrage at the failure of Jordan’s highest court to give Amer’s case any meaningful review and its continued acceptance of false “confessions” obtained through torture in cases decided by the State Security Court. 

On Human Rights Day (Thursday December 10th), please write to Jordan’s ambassadors to the UN in Geneva and NY.

***Please send an e-mail and/or fax (see sample letter below) on Thursday 12/10 to: 

1) Ms. Saja Majali, Ambassador,  Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UN in Geneva: info@jordanmission.ch

Fax:  +41 22 748 20 01  (011-41 22 748 20 01 if faxing from US)

2) Mrs. Dina Kawar, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UN in New York: Missionun@jordanmissionun.com

You can also cc us at defense@amerjubrandefense.org

Sample Letter: 

Dear Mrs. Dina Kawar and Ms. Saja Majali,

I am writing to you about the case of Amer Jubran, a Jordanian citizen sentenced to ten years in prison by Jordan’s State Security Court on July 29, 2015. Jubran is a Palestinian speaker and writer with an international reputation as an advocate for Palestinian rights.

In May and June of 2014 Jubran was tortured by the Jordanian mukhabarat, in collusion with a state prosecutor, so that he would sign  false statements which were used, in turn, to convict and sentence him. Jordan’s Court of Cassation recently upheld Jubran’s conviction while failing to address the issue of the torture he experienced, his forced confession, or any of the appeal arguments submitted by Jubran’s attorneys. 

The Jordanian government has consistently violated the rights of Amer Jubran at every level of the judicial process: 

1) Arrest without a warrant;

2) Incommunicado detention for 2 months;

3) No access to legal counsel for at least 2 months while in detention;

4) Torture, including forced stress positions, sleep deprivation, beatings, 72 to 120 hour interrogation sessions, and threats to family members;

5) Forced confessions obtained through torture that the defendant was not even permitted to read before signing;

6) Charges that include “committing acts that threaten to harm relations with a foreign government” based on a law promulgated one month after his arrest and that effectively criminalizes speech or any expression of protest directed at a foreign government;

7) A trial in Jordan’s State Security Court, a military tribunal with no judicial independence (the UN has called for its abolition since 1994); and

8) The State Security Court ruling on July 29, 2015 which states openly that the Court is “not obliged to discuss defense’s evidence presented by defense attorneys since accepting prosecution’s evidence automatically implies rejection of defense’s evidence” and relies solely on the forced confessions obtained through torture that Jubran and all his co-defendants recanted during trial. 

Global human rights organizations including Alkarama Foundation, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns about the human rights violations involved in Jubran’s case. People around the world have called for justice in Jubran’s case and repeatedly petitioned Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, the Minister of Justice, Bassam Talhouni, and the Minister of the Interior, Salamah Hammad. There has been no response from the Jordanian government. 

Does Jordan approve of torture? As Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations, will you use your office to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or to justify its violation.

A just resolution in this case requires that Jubran’s conviction be overturned and that his torturers be held accountable for their crimes.

Sincerely,

_____________________________________________________________  

To subscribe, send a message to: announce_onepalestine-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

There is nothing casual about civilian casualties

Are you a Daily Mail reader? I won’t lie, I usually read the Daily Mail for a laugh. Some of these stories they come up with… they’re just interesting and chuckle-worthy to say the least. I do, however, know that I should never read an article concerning a serious matter on the Daily Mail website. But alas, I torture myself every time and even worse, I always scroll down to the comments section to read the vile things people feel so confidently typing, but rarely say in person.

Some of the worst things I’ve read include:

Comments about how “Real” refugees shouldn’t have phones- Many refugees are fleeing war. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have possessions. Cell phones are no longer a first world standard. Get over it because I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of refugees don’t have these fancy contracts and money to spend speaking hours on the phone.

Comments about how “real” refugees shouldn’t be allowed to wear makeup- First of all, I saw the video this ignoramus was commenting on and the woman did not have makeup up. She was and is naturally gorgeous. Perfect contours, skin and thick eyebrows. She’s prettier than all of us put together. That comment was pure jealousy. Plus, considering everything these refugees have been through, so what if she gets to put on a tiny bit of makeup. She deserves to feel beautiful and like her normal self after the torment of fleeing her country and home.

Comments about how refugees are only in it for the benefits- You know what benefit they really want. The benefit of life!!! I can’t entertain that nonsense.

Comments about how Syrians should fight for their country- This is the silliest comment of all. Syrians have been fighting for their country for years. They’re not only fighting against ISIS, you know. They’re fighting against the Assad regime and the US and Russia and the whole list of countries that have been striking Syria. What weapons do these innocent civilians have that they can use against a whole world? The numbers don’t add up. The worst part is so many refugees are children. Do we really expect children to fight? Because if we allowed that the Daily Mail commenters would comment about how child soldiers are wrong.

Comments about how refugees desire to continue their education makes them economic migrants and not refugees- You realize that these people have had their entire lives come to a complete halt. They’ve literally been sitting around starving and waiting to die. A whole generation of young Syrians is growing up illiterate and unable to do basic math or know much about anything other than war. These refugees aren’t coming over just so they can take advantage of university education. No, if they could have stayed in Syria and continued their education they would have. But there are no teachers left in schools in Syria because there are no schools left. The schools that are left get used as shelters and makeshift community centers.

Comments about how “we” should bomb “them all”- That is an incitement of terror and makes you complicit in murder. Just putting that out there, you horrible human being. I have no problem with seeing ISIS and Assad terrorist thugs get blasted off this earth, however the legal thing to do would be to capture them and try them in a court of international law, in which they would be found guilty and live a long and tortuous life in maximum security prisons. But there is nothing casual about bombing an entire city, killing innocent civilians and calling them casualties.

Comments about how everyone in Raqaa is an ISIS terrorist and that if they weren’t they would have left- Yes, Raqaa is an ISIS headquarter. Yes, ISIS controls the city, but is everyone there a supporter of ISIS, no? But to openly oppose it would leave you dead or tortured. Why don’t people leave? They don’t have the money. Sure smugglers could get you out, but where would you go? The smugglers will take all your money, risk your life and leave you penniless on a raft in the Mediterranean or in the desert on the way to a desolate refugee camp or in some other destroyed part of Syria.

Comments judging refugees for being separated from their families- Seriously? Is this the Olympic category for most vile comment made? Because if it is, you win. People get separated from their families in all sorts of ways that most people would find inconceivable. But it happens all the time. Talk to anyone whose family has been through a war or some sort of catastrophe: I can guarantee you that a majority of people will tell you they have at least one family member that ended up alone or separated from the rest.

Comments about how refugees have “such nice tents”- This dude commented on how her tent was so nice that she couldn’t possibly be a “real” refugee and that she probably has all this money stashed away. How deep in the dirt is your head exactly? Much of this type of supplies has been provided by aid workers, charity organizations and normal human people with hearts that donated much needed goods, such as tents. Do you want to live on a tent on a street corner when it’s raining and cold? No, especially since winter is nearing. You’re just a horrible person for thinking this

Comments stating the run of the mill stereotypes- The long list of racial slurs, insults, and stereotypes that I won’t humor by listing. You know the type orientalist rubbish that is slanderous, libel, disgusting and horrible filth, but Facebook won’t take it down because they’re too worked up taking pictures down of women’s bodies.

 

My conclusions: Firstly, humans are awful. I don’t know how people can be awful. I doubt most of these hateful commenters could handle  day in the life of a refugee. If you really think “we don’t owe them anything,” then you clearly have no idea how complicit our governments are in making Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the world, the situation that they are in today.

Secondly, we haven’t learned from history one bit. These comments– ugh just look at some of the things people said during WWII about refugees. Please and compare those comments to now.

And lastly, I can’t be the only one who sees comparison in 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq with the Paris Attacks and the subsequent bombing of Raqaa.

Civilians, particularly children are innocent and pay the highest toll in wartime situations. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know what the answers to terrorism, racism, discrimination and bigotry are. Offhand I would say education, but we all know the world isn’t that simple.

All I want is for people to think for 30 seconds before they type these horrible comments. I pray your ignorant minds become enlightened with knowledge, wisdom and empathy.

 

Stop sidelining women in Iran

#Watch4Women of Iran

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Can you imagine being arrested for entering a stadium to watch your favorite sports team, simply because you are a woman?

 

This is the harsh reality for women in Iran today.

 

Human Rights Watch needs you to join an important new campaign for women’s rights in Iran. The #Watch4Women campaign is fighting for women’s right to attend volleyball matches in Iranian stadiums.

 

Volleyball is a hugely popular sport in Iran and a great source of national pride. Among the longstanding, serious rights abuses and discrimination women face in Iran, women and girls are barred from entering sport stadiums.

Ending the ban preventing female spectators from entering stadiums would be a symbolically important step toward greater gender equality in Iran and should be a top priority for the International Volleyball Federation.

 

Our ask is simple: The International Volleyball Federation, the FIVB (think of it as the FIFA for Volleyball), should uphold its own rules and announce that Iran can NOT host future tournaments—unless they allow Iranian women to attend.

Tweet the FIVB now

Paste our #Watch4Women animation in their Facebook post comments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ninL7CmqBqg

 

Stand with Human Rights Watch and the women of Iran. Visit www.hrw.org/watch4women to find out how you can pressure the FIVB to ban Iran from hosting until they stop banning women.

 

With much gratitude,