Nonviolent action around the world – 20 November 2009 (Part 2)

November 20, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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SOUTH ASIA
Bangladesh: Freedom denied – Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
By: Franke Schein, Anchorage Conservative Examiner, November 19, 2009
Mr. Choudhury has spoken out against radical Islamism, as well as the hatred and the violence multiplying across this country of 140 million people, 106 million of whom are Muslims. For that he has paid a severe price. The court system has determined to put Choudhury on trial for sedition, blasphemy, and other crimes, crimes that carry the Death Penalty-by hanging.
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India: Bhopal victims protest against Dow
By: AFP, November 19, 2009
Indian survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster on Thursday protested outside the offices of the US company blamed for the toxic leak ahead of the 25th anniversary of the notorious accident. Around 200 protesters gathered in front of the Dow Chemical building in a suburb of New Delhi, shouting slogans and waving placards demanding the firm pay for years of contamination and health problems. “We want justice because Dow has yet to clean up the site and compensate us for years of suffering,” Hazra Bi, one of the protest leaders, told AFP by telephone.
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India: Bishops join in sit-in for end to discrimination against Christian dalits
By: Catholic Culture, November 18, 2009
More than a dozen of India’s Catholic bishops, including the secretary-general of the Episcopal conference, joined 3,000 dalit Christian activists in a sit-in demonstration near the national parliament in New Delhi on November 18, demanding an end to discrimination against Christian dalits; dalit  refers to the lowest castes of traditional Indian society, also known as “untouchables.”
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma: Jail term extended for 2007 activist
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, November 19, 2009
An activist whose group played a key role in sparking the September 2007 monk-led uprising in Burma has had his 10-year prison sentence extended by eight years, sources close to his family said. A source close to Kan Myint’s family said that he was sentenced on 13 November to eight more years in prison on separate under the Unlawful Association Act for having link with an unlawful association, and Act (17-2) for involvement with an unlawful association. The Unlawful Association Act is regularly used by the Burmese military government to imprison opposition activists, journalists and politicians.
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Indonesia: Interview with an antigraft activist
By: Zack Petersen, Jakarta Globe, November 19, 2009
Mohammed Fauzi has been camping out in front of the Corruption Eradication Commission’s office for more than two weeks now, protesting against the involvement of top government officials in graft. In this interview, Fauzi expresses a gritty resolve that not even the occasional downpour and other harsh outdoor conditions could break.
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Indonesia scores one for press repression and environmental destruction
By: Matthew McDermott, Tree Hugger, November 19, 2009
Seems the government of Indonesia didn’t much like Greenpeace activists trying to disrupt the continued destruction of rainforest as its converted into palm oil plantations. Nor did they appreciate foreign journalists documenting the situation. On Monday two non-Indonesian activists, as well as an Indian and an Italian journalist were deported from the country.
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Burma: Suu Kyi’s letter goes public
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, November 18, 2009
Burma’s main opposition party has released the contents of a letter sent last week by Aung San Suu Kyi to the country’s ruling general in which she requests a meeting between the two. The letter had initially been shrouded in secrecy until the National League for Democracy party had given its formal approval, although the basic gist was revealed by news agencies last week. In the letter, Suu Kyi expresses thanks to the ruling State Peace and Development Council for organizing a meeting between her and Mr Campbell, the senior United States’ government official who visited Burma last month.
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East Timor: The role of journalists in the freedom struggle
By: Clinton Fernandes, Pacific Scoop, November 18, 2009
The struggle for justice is not a contest between Indonesians and non-Indonesians. Rather, it is a contest between those around the world who want to justice to prevail and those who want to see impunity prevail. As Manuel da Silva, an East Timorese man, stated at the NSW coronial inquest into the murders of British, Australian and New Zealand journalists at Balibo: “The reason why I came to be a witness was that I believe that the journalists are martyrs for East Timor and I believe they are East Timorese as well.”
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Vietnam: Jailed priest suffers stroke
By: RFA, November 17, 2009
Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, 63, a Catholic priest, was jailed for urging authorities to allow religious freedom in Vietnam has suffered a stroke in prison and is now partially paralyzed, according to relatives. During his trial, which was attended by foreign press, Ly began to shout “down with communism” but-in a televised image that became an icon for advocates of free expression-was silenced by a security officer who covered Ly’s mouth with his hand.
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EAST ASIA
Obama’s China visit leaves dissidents disappointed
By: Francois Bougon, AFP, November 19, 2009
Although US President Barack Obama raised the thorny issue of human rights during his first visit to China this week, he left many political dissidents — those who were not locked up — disappointed. Obama spoke about his belief in “universal rights” on Monday and Tuesday but dissidents said it was not enough. “At first, I had a lot of hope for human rights, for Tibet and for Xinjiang. But President Obama only touched upon these issues, without insisting on anything. Even if he brought them up, he did it without force — it was very disappointing,” said female Tibetan writer and activist Woeser.
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Obama interview in China paper partly cut – censorship?
By: Peter Ford, Christian Science Monitor, November 19, 2009
A funny thing happened on the way from the printers. Before President Obama left China on Wednesday, he gave a brief exclusive interview to “Southern Weekend,” one of the bolder voices on the Chinese press scene. But when the paper arrived in subscribers’ mailboxes in Beijing on Thursday, it was missing the front and back pages. That meant that the interview, printed on the inside front page of copies freely available on newsstands, was missing too.
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China tries dissident from U.S. after Obama leaves
By: Chris Buckley, Reuters, November 19, 2009
A student leader of China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement who has long lived in the United States went on trial in China on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama finished a visit that raised human rights. Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students’ Autonomous Union in the 1989 protests that ended in a bloody army-led crackdown in the streets around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. He faces charges of financial fraud involving a bank in Hong Kong, but Zhang and other supporters say the charges were a pretext to punish him for his years of rights activism.
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China: Lawyers, activists denied access
By: Ding Xiao, RFA, November 18, 2009
Rights lawyers and activists in Beijing during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit were restricted from meeting with him to voice their concerns, they say. Well-known Beijing rights lawyer Mo Shaoping said that Beijing police had been alerted when the U.S. embassy inquired about his willingness to meet with President Obama when he arrived in the capital.
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China, Obama and cyber freedom
By: RFA, November 17, 2009
Chinese Internet users gave mixed reactions to calls from visiting U.S. President Barack Obama for freedom of information online during a town-hall meeting with some of China’s top university students. “I’m a big supporter of not restricting Internet use, Internet access, other information technologies like Twitter,” Obama told the meeting, in response to a question about the routine blocking of the microblogging service and other social media sites by the Chinese government. Ironically, Obama’s comments were censored from the live Internet translation by China’s official Xinhua News Agency and were later deleted from more than 30 Web sites, Web users reported.
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Tibetan web site founder sentenced to 15 years in prison
By: The Epoch Times, November 17, 2009
The founder of an influential Tibetan literary Web site was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a closed-door trial on Nov. 12. Kunchok Tsephel, 39, is accused of “divulging state secrets,” a vague charge used by the Chinese authorities to punish dissidents of all stripes. Under such laws, the Chinese authorities are not required to explain which state secrets the defendant is alleged to have divulged.
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OCEANIA
Indonesia, release Papuan flag-raisers
By: HRW, Thomson Reuters Foundation, November 18, 2009
Indonesian President Yudhoyono should exonerate three Papuan men convicted of rebellion on November 12 for raising a pro-independence flag, Human Rights Watch said today. Indonesian courts have treated the raising of flags associated with pro-independence sentiment as a symbol of sovereignty and, as such, a banned form of expression. HRW said that the prosecutions violate internationally protected rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly codified in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights…
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Papuan protesters hoist separatist flag
By: Free West Papua, November 17, 2009
Former political prisoners raised the separatist bintang kejora (morning star) flag Monday at the Papua People’s Council in Jayapura to protest the failure of seven years of special autonomy for the province. “We say special autonomy has failed,” said protest leader Sem Yaru. “If there isn’t any improvement, we’d rather demand independence.” The three men and two women hoisted the flag, associated with the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM), on a flagpole at the council building.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Honored for their work, threatened at home
By: Committee to Protect Journalism, November 19, 2009
At today’s press conference, CPJ also introduced awardee Mustafa Haji Abdinur, an Agence France-Presse correspondent and editor-in-chief of Radio Simba in Somalia. Two other CPJ awardees, J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka and Eynulla Fatullayev of Azerbaijan, were recognized but not present: They are imprisoned in their home countries in retaliation for their work.
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A Holocaust victim on Facebook: Crude or compelling?
By: Michelle, Change.org, November 19, 2009
Holocaust education is important. Adolf Hitler famously quipped, “After all, who remembers the Armenians?” – education and remembrance are critical for moving the world closer to the still-hollow concept of “Never Again.” Devotees of the anti-genocide cause, both educators and advocates alike, constantly search for new ways to engage and expand their audience. But is a Facebook alter-ego of a child victim of the Holocaust going too far?
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Joe Hill: The man who didn’t die
By: Dick Meister, Truthout, November 19, 2009
Joe Hill’s story is that of a labor martyr framed for murder by viciously anti-labor employer and government forces, a man who never faltered in fighting for the rights of the oppressed, who never faltered in his attempts to bring them together for the collective action essential if they were to overcome their wealthy and powerful oppressors. His is the story of a man and an organization destroyed by government opposition, yet immensely successful
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Activists to peg climate actions to science
By: Adam Groves, Common Dreams, November 19, 2009
In a week when world leaders concluded that it would be “unrealistic” to aim for a legally binding agreement at the upcoming UN Climate Conference, there are signs that activist groups are working to create their own systematic plans for reducing global emissions. The UK Camp for Climate Action is known to be considering a proposal made at a recent national gathering for a coordinated series of direct actions which could lower UK emissions in line with scientific recommendations.
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School of Authentic Journalism: Introducing the 2009 students
By: Al Giordano, The Field, November 16, 2009
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BOOK REVIEW
For youth – A disciplinary discourse only
By: Jean-Marie Durand, Truthout, November 15, 2009
In Athens, Tehran or the French suburbs, popular anger continues to erupt. Anthropologist Alain Bertho follows the tracks of these episodes on the Net, establishing a global map of a symptom of the times. Jean-Marie Durand for lesinrocks.com: “The present is a period of riots,” you write in your new book. In what respects does this interpretive lens centered on riots tell us something about our world, our time?
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NOTICES
Copenhagen activist guide
By: Green Muze, November 19, 2009
To help activists navigate the complex array of protests and actions taking place during the CO15 Climate Change Talks in Copenhagen, the Guardian UK has published a Copenhagen Activists’ Diary with a list of some of the major protest actions. However, probably not all demonstrations are included and there will be a few surprise actions taking place during these pivotal meetings.
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Call for submissions, the HRW international film festival, youth producing change program
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, November 18, 2009
The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in partnership with Adobe Youth Voices seeks youth-produced film, video and animated works on human rights issues made by youth ages 19 and under for its third annual youth Producing Change program. Armed with digital cameras, computers and their own boundless creativity, young people across the globe are bravely exposing human rights issues faced by themselves and their communities.
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Support Narco News, the sustainable next-generation newspaper
By: Ansel Herz, Narco News, November 17, 2009
The Narco News team often calls its project an “online newspaper.” Isn’t that strange? After all, newspapers are dying. Young people like me don’t read them. Newspapers are going out of business left and right. The circulation of major national papers is down across the board. Why associate your ground-breaking, independent blogging and reporting website with the stodgy, outdated newspaper model? Why not use a “new media” buzzword, something more attention-getting and edgy? “Online newspaper” sounds boring.
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November 30th the World March arrives in NYC!
By: Convergence of Cultures, Brama Calendar, November 2009
The World March for Peace and Non Violence will be coming to New York on Monday, November 30, 2009. Its base team of international marchers will have traveled across five continents since its beginnings in New Zealand on October 2nd, 2009. You and your community invited to join us in welcoming the international team in a monumental march across the famed Brooklyn Bridge, at 1:00 p.m.; attend the press conference at 3:00 p.m. on the steps of City Hall where the marchers will be greeted by City officials; and share in the cultural celebration Beyond Violence.
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