Orphans To Ambassadors Meet and Greet

Orphans to Ambassadors

”Orphans to Ambassadors provides disadvantaged and orphaned children the opportunity to rise out of poverty with sustainable education and practices.  The skills, knowledge and abilities that come from developing their own long-term resource solutions empowers children and allows them to become ambassadors of goodwill and sustainability to other children and communities around the world“- Jake Gentry, Founder

http://www.orphanstoambassadors.org/

This is an amazing opportunity to get involved in something great.  This non-profit needs passionate individuals such as yourself to give your time, love, talents and support to help them change lives and the world.

Volunteer Meet and Greet:

The Orphans to Ambassadors Volunteer team is having an informal event on Thursday, February 17th at 7:00pm in the Community Room (@ 207 N. Dotger Avenue, Charlotte NC 28207) and we would like to meet you.  We’ll hang out and show a short presentation on Orphans to Ambassadors introducing our non-profit and some future projects you can get involved with. 

We want to learn more about those interested in volunteering and show you what our organization is doing for orphanages around the world.

Please contact Jacob Hanks @ Jacob@orphanstoambassadors.org or 336-467-0278 if you can come out or, if you have any friends you’ll be bringing.  Hope to see you soon!”

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Us + Electronics = the funding of genocide.

 The war over coltan is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of over five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998.

Electronics Fund Genocide :  We The People Politics

Genocide has been going on in Africa for decades now and, for some reason, they have been able to fund their operations even when countries around the world have backed off and not provided funding for those countries. In 2003, the Kimberely Process Certification Scheme was put into place in which countries could opt into the program where they’d agree to not allow the importing of diamonds that came from conflict areas. In other words, “blood diamonds” could not be purchased in countries that agreed with it. In a few years, this greatly reduced the number of diamonds purchased from conflict areas which limited the funds of these militants.

The same thing has started again, but this time, with the minerals that are used in items such as laptops and cell phones. Coltan and niobium are required for cell phones to function properly because, especially for coltan, it allows for smaller chips to work more effectively which is necessary in tiny cell phones. The downfall of this, though, is that each year, militant groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo make over $180 million a year on the control and trade of mines of all sorts of minerals including the coltan that is necessary for cell phones. In other words, when an American purchases a cell phone, they could be inadvertently funding genocide.

http://www.wethepeoplepolitics.com/electronics-fund-genocide-in-africa/

Funny how there was a phone ad directly beside this article…

Regulate Conflict Minerals to Help Save Lives in the Congo

(Tell the SEC that lives are more important than gadgets! Please sign this petition)

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/887/039/503/?z00m=19934321

No Blood For Gadgets.

In response to the Dodd-Frank Act we helped pass, The Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) is proposing a number of regulations placed on conflict minerals to require full disclosure, but many mining and electronic companies are encouraging the SEC to loosen its regulations to make it easier for them to trade.

I am immensely concerned that things we use everyday, our phones, our laptops, our game systems, our mp3 players, are FUNDING GENOCIDE.  They are contributing to the exploitation, murder, and displacement of so many people and the ongoing internal destruction of people, cultures, families, and a country.  I text, listen to music, and check my email all day long.  I know so many people who religiously update their electronics, and the rest of us are forced to quite often anyway because of the fast pace of technology and the cheap construction of our purchases.  I think there should be full disclosure on the part of electronic companies pertaining to conflict minerals.  If conflict minerals are directly linked to rape, murder, and displacement, there doesnt seem to be any other logical option.  Its not fair to consumers that they spend hard earned money on products they need in their daily life, and then those same dollar bills fresh out of their wallet go to an electronic company, who is purchasing conflict minerals from militant groups who control and trade mines.  Its an outrage.  That is not where I want my money to go.  My texting is not worth peoples lives.  And the worst part? Is that most of us go about our daily lives blissfully unaware of how our world really works.  And what its all about.  Money.  Not Love, not Life, but money.  How our world can be turned upside down into a twisted, violent, genocidal nightmare all because of some pieces of paper is beyond me.  As activists, we cannot STAND for this.  we have to represent a better way.  We have to advocate for change. 

UNC Charlotte STAND is participating in the Eco Cell Project and recycling old cell phones to raise funds for STAND and the Genocide Intervention Network!!

To turn in phones contact me, Stephanie Mauvlyn Braun, 828-291-6467, stephaniemauvlynbraun@gmail.com, standuncc@gmail.com

-phones do not need to be working!  If you have old phones or know of anyone who does, send them my way!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=111651128850934

The Genocide Behind Your SmartPhone

It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo.

The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens.

A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.

http://www.disinfo.com/2010/07/the-genocide-behind-your-smart-phone-video/#

(This video was also on Sarah Silvermans Twitter!) : )

More on Companies associated with conflict minerals!

devastating.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://nataliepeart.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/conflict-minerals-company-logos_small.jpg&imgrefurl=http://nataliepeart.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/open-your-eyes-to-conflict-minerals/&usg=__fd4oXfglzmGv4O4_rrU3uNUOPxk=&h=363&w=486&sz=28&hl=en&start=3&zoom=1&tbnid=axZTk96Gu8hcyM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=129&ei=K4BATfCpFoGglAeTh7SEAw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dconflict%2Bminerals%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1

  

Also keep in mind that, 

  • Cell phones include coltan, a mineral extracted in the deep forests of Congo in central Africa, home to the world’s endangered lowland gorillas.
  • Fueled by the wordwide cell phone boom, Congo’s out-of-control coltan mining business has in recent years led to a dramatic reduction of animal habitat and the rampant slaughter of great apes for the illegal bush-meat trade.   
  • Recycling cell phones protects landfills from the many  potentially hazardous chemicals found in the phones, including antimony, arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, and zinc.

 Student action needed to end conflict minerals

Would you still buy your cell phones, TVs and laptops knowing the blood, war and rape behind the parts that make up your technology?

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We were refugees.

  On October 19th 2010, at 9pm, we became refugees. homeless wanderers. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We We gathered on the field, at the front of the university, to set up camp.  There were some friends, some strangers, some randoms.  It quickly became obvious who among us was a leader, and who was a follower, who was flexible, and who was a bit stiffer, who eagerly integrated themselves into the makeshift team, and who was more of a hesitant outsider. 

 

We began to construct our shantytown with the materials we had available.  At this moment we began to build a fort, not an ordinary home, but a structure  that would house refugees, a fort that would shelter us from unknown circumstances, a lodging built using teamwork, resourcefulness, and lots of duct tape.  We had to be resourceful.  We had to work together.  Some of us were more talented in architectural and design capacities, and these among us quickly became leaders, surprising us with their creativity and confidence. 

We watched astounded and one by one we immersed ourself in the team and the assembly of the hideout.  We did not have all of the materials we needed, so proceeded to scavenge for more.  more cardboard, and more wood, from garbage receptacles a sh0rt journey away.  We had to be resourceful in our erecting of the fort, and we had to be cohesive in our final goal. 

       As we completed our manufacturing of our shelter for the evening, we stepped back and soaked in the image of our team efforts.  It was beautiful.  We had not known previously that this group of individuals, was capable of combining into one force, to achieve great things.  We had become one unit, one body.  We were amazed and satisfied with our completed project.  The structure was not your average cardboard, wood, duct tape structure.  It had windows and doors, a roof, and separate rooms.  It was a masterpiece, complete with lighted candles in each room.

     We had no homes, no family.  We adapted quickly.  This was our home.  This was our family.  Strangers became friends.  Bits and pieces of debri became a humble abode.  We settled in and  arranged the rest of our temporary village.  We became a community, blankets and devices of warmth became public property and sharing was never once questioned.  Some of us had more resources than others, or stock of higher quality, but generosity was in the air.  All of our food rations were tossed in the center  of our shantytown, for the community to indulge in.  We had a box of airheads, a bag of cookies, a box of chips, and some trail mix.  We consumed our goods rapidly and pleasurably after the exhausting efforts of building and setting up our new homes and town. 

The cold air briskly surrounded us and we huddled around eachother for warmth.  We all came from different backgrounds and lifestyles.  How did we end up here?  Other nomads stopped in throughout the passing hours but refused to stay, going back to their lives.  We had to pool our supplies, we had to locate restroom facilities.  We had to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Our colony dwindled, as well as did our resources.

     Some members of the tribe had to start to see life through other members eyes.  We shared our lives and lifestyle choices with one another.  We temporarily fled our stomping ground to embark on a short adventure to gain more nutrients and necessities.  Two members of the pack escorted the freshly formed community to a new location and began to scavenge for more food for their current relatives.  We were adequately satisfied in our efforts and made our way back to our tent city.  Some had to make a pitstop to cleanup, some had to return to the dumpsters to locate a crucial misplaced communication device.  We all eventually reappeared at the site.  We proceeded to drift off into our individual head trips and hibernations together in our residences. 

     It wasnt hard to lose consciousness after our tiring efforts and adventures.  We were awakened around 5am to a frigid spurting of water.  I was immersed in chills and moisture that had intruded into my teepee from the outside environment.  Those in the cardboard hut were soaked as well.  Some of our homes were more durable than others, and some of us were more easily and rapidly removed from dormancy.  It was unexpected, it was shocking, it was the unsettling life of a refugee.

    As morning proceeded to creep over us, we realized that despite our bewilderment and debilitation, we had to start our day, and continue with life.  We reluctantly collected our belongings and expressed our parting remarks.  We separated and wandered away in small herds, forever changed by the evenings experiences. 

This was the STAND Refugee for a Night Campout.

There are 35 million refugees in the world today.

We chose to become refugees for one night. Chose. For One night.  

We did have the option to leave, to go to our real homes, families, places of warmth, and to go back to all of our abundant resources. 

These 35 million people? They dont choose this.  It is thrown upon them.  It attacks them without warning and their lives, homes, safety, and futures, are forever, immediately, drastically, changed.

  Its not usually a temporary happenstance, it usually becomes their lives.  They are not refugees for a night.  They are refugees for an undetermined amount of time in their future, and maybe for the rest of their lives.  It is a life of danger, a life of chaos, a life of terrible surprises. 

We should thank God everyday for everything that we have.  That we are not refugees.  But also we should ask him to remind us to never stop speaking up for those who are voiceless. 

For those with no home on this planet.  For those who wander no by choice, but by force.  For every individual Man, Woman, and child in our world who does not know what they will eat next or where they will sleep, or what the likelihood is that they will wake up tommorow. 

 We must never stop advocating for them, or fail to note the seriousness and the brutality of their daily lives, the longing and the emptiness. 

We must never stop saying thank you, and never stop protesting for our fellow humans who are refugees.    Stephanie Mauvlyn Braun

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Change the Equation for Congo: 5 Minutes + 5 Days = 10 New Congressional Champions

ECOCELL : http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=111651128850934&ref=mf

From the ENOUGH Project!

Yesterday hundreds of everyday citizens just like yourself used their online social networks to speak out and put pressure on key members of Congress and we’re hoping you’ll join us today to keep the momentum going. 
TAKE ACTION On Facebook Today
Click the following links to vist the Facebook pages of Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Dave Camp (R-MI), become their Friend, or Fan, and ask them to support HR 4128, the Conflict Minerals Trade Act. You can post your message publicly on their fan pages.

Here is a sample message you can use:
Representative {BLANK}, Change the Equation for Congo! Please co-sponsor HR 4128. Visit http://bit.ly/d44Xxp to learn more.

Ask your friends to take action as well. You can send them to our Change the Equation page for daily updates on what they can do.
Why We Need Your Help
The House of Representatives is primed to consider legislation that would create a practical and enforceable means to end the deadly conflict minerals trade in Congo. But the bi-partisan Conflict Minerals Trade Act of 2009 (HR 4128) must first pass two powerful committees – Foreign Affairs and Ways & Means – before it can receive an up or down vote by the full House of Representatives. We need your help. We need to secure the support of ten key committee members to make this happen, and time is running out to get the bill passed this year. 

Since so many of us are already on Facebook and Twitter, we’re turning to these powerful  online tools to build momentum for HR 4128. Join us in flooding the Facebook pages of two key members each day this week with messages calling for them to support the bill, and then spread the word to your friends on Facebook and Twitter. By spending just 5 minutes each day for 5 days, it’s our hope to gain the support of 10 new Congressional champions. 
Check out this powerful video call to action from our friend and Congolese activist, Omekongo Dibinga, and share it with your friends.


   

Over 5 million people have died as a result of the war in Congo. The math is stark, and it has to stop. You can help us change the equation for Congo. 
Sincerely,
John Bagwell, Field Manager, Enough Project

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2: UNCC STAND frm: Manju SCHWANDT

Hi UNCC-STAND members,

Several people had asked about what the latest presidential election means for the Tamils.
In a nutshell – things have not changed for the better for Tamils. In fact things turned worse for a lot of the Sinhalese who opposed Rajapakse.

These are the issues:

Is this election is even valid?  Pres. Rajapakse, defying the constitution, called for this presidential election two years early. Presidential elections are to be held every six years, yet Rajapakse re-elected himself just four years into his first term. He wanted to win riding the current wave of Sinhalese “patriotism” and the euphoria of winning the “war on terror.” He knew if he waited two more years, when the reality of his dictatorship sinks in, it would not be too easy to win.

The Election Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake, resigned in disgust at the conclusion of the election. This speaks volumes. See the drama that unfolded after this in the Sri Lanka Guardian article below.
There was a low turnout from the Tamils and other minorities. Some reasons:

1) Tamils found it reprehensible that they had to chose between the person who ordered the massacre of their loved ones or the person who happily carried it out.

2) Intimidation at the polling stations. Several polling stations had grenades thrown at them. 

3) Almost 100,000 Tamils still being held in detention camps, most unable to vote. Most of the 200,000 released have not been allowed to go back to their home towns. Did they get a chance to vote?

4) Resignation by the Tamils (from decades of discrimination) that no matter who is elected, Tamils will never be treated equally.

5) Even considering the low turn out, it is interesting to note that the challenger handily won all the Tamil districts in the Northeast. This shows that the Tamils are desperate for a regime change and have rejected Rajapakse’s doctrine of “unified Sri Lanka.”

Now that Pres. Rajapakse has wrangled another term it will be the same old song for the Tamils.

1) There will more forced colonization of Tamil areas so Sinhalese can claim there really is no Tamil homeland.

2) In the pretext of developing the war torn Tamil areas, there will be a whole slew of hotels and resorts, owned by the Sinhalese, build on Tamil coastal  land.

3) In the pretext of improving the economy for Tamils, there are several garment factories being built, owned by the Sinhalese and foreign companies, resigning Tamils to becoming low-wage, low-class, slave laborers. In the pretext of improving harmony between Sinhalese and Tamils, more Sinhalese are being bussed into work in these factories. And Sri Lanka claims Tamils and Sinhalese are working harmoniously together.

Parliamentary elections will be next.  Tamils fear further disenfranchisement at this election too. Historically the Northeast districts had elected Tamil Members of Parliament (MPs). Tamil MPs face increasing obstacles in representing their constituents’ wishes. They are intimidated or barred from speaking out about the Tamil grievances. When the 300,000 Tamils were illegally detained in concentration camps at the end of the war, the Tamil MPs were not even allowed to go into the camps and visit their constituents. Sinhalese MPs and those who did not question the government were allowed in.With forced colonization in full swing, Tamil voting power, even in the Tamil districts, are being diluted on a daily basis.
Rajapakse announced to the world that Sri Lanka has conducted a historic “democratic” presidential election. The world may applaud and congratulate him. We Tamils call this a joke. Is this democracy?

Thanks for reading this. Please pass it on.
Regards,
Manju

Heavy underworld drama at the President’s Office
Sri Lanka Guardian – Feb. 3, 2010
http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/02/heavy-underworld-drama-at-presidents.html
‘It is now confirmed, the Election Commissioner (EC) Dayananda Dissanayake and his wife were held in captivity at the President’s office Temple Trees to agree to the President’s demand to cover up the heavily debated election fraud that produced the favourable results for President Mahinda Rajapakse. ”

“According to very reliable information from a source close to the President, the Election Commissioner Dayanada Dissanayake and his wife had gone to meet the President on his invitation on Monday (1/2) evening. At the lengthy meeting, Dayananda was asked to withdraw his resignation and to make a public statement that the election was conducted in a free and fair manner without any fraud as claimed by the opposition.”

“With the full glare of publicity Dayananda Dissanyake went on to praise the conduct of the Presidential election and also announced that he is withdrawing his resignation.
At the time of filing this report Mrs Dissanayake is still in captivity and it is unclear when she will be released.”
Sri Lanka: Historic Election Results Dash Minotity’s Hope
IPS News – Jan 29, 2010
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50151
‘The rhetoric of a unified country under the Sinhala Buddhist flag has always swung Sri Lanka’s elections in favour of the Sinhala politicians. But the minorities have voted very differently,” explained R. Bharathi, editor of ‘Sudar Oli’, a leading Tamil daily. “There is absolutely no doubt that Rajapakse’s slogan has been rejected by the minorities, the Muslims and Tamils.”

“The lack of political maturity in Sri Lanka is obvious. The voter cannot go beyond the rhetoric of the politicians. As long as the economic needs of the individual are looked after, there is no attempt by the voters to insist on addressing minority grievances, which is what should have been seen in this election by voting for a change,”
Crackdown on media continues
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – Jan 31, 2010

http://www.rsf.org/President-Rajapaksa-urged-to-halt.html
“This wave of post-election violence could cast a lasting stain on the start of President Rajapaksa’s second term and bodes ill for the political climate during the coming years,” said Reporters Without Borders, which highlighted an increase in election violence and censorship in countries such as Iran and Tunisia in its latest press freedom roundup.”

“It is quite normal for journalists and privately-owned media to side with a candidate before and during a democratic election but it is unacceptable for them to (be) the victims of reprisals once the elections are over,” the press freedom organisation added.

“Police and unidentified groups have been targeting the media, especially media that supported the leading opposition candidate, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, every since the announcement of the result, which some opposition sectors including Fonseka are disputing. Sri Lanka’s five main journalists’ organisations have issued a joint statement condemning the “post-election media suppression.””

Rights groups criticize Sri Lanka govt after vote
AFP – Feb 2, 2010
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iE27LNYjh2fKWEGJPPOsHBXNAYgg
“Victory against the Tamil Tigers followed by a historic election should have ended political repression in Sri Lanka, but instead we have seen a serious clampdown on freedom of expression,” said Amnesty’s deputy director for Asia-Pacific Madhu Malhotra.
“A pro-opposition newspaper was raided, several websites supporting Fonseka were blocked while Prageeth Eknaligoda, who wrote for the Lanka e-news website, disappeared on his way home from work two days before the election.
Sri Lankan journalists have given Amnesty a list of 56 of their colleagues who face serious threats, including some attached to state-run media organisations.
The independent Centre for Monitoring Election Violence reported more than 85 post-election incidents, including two murders and several assaults.”
Sri Lanka Opposition Complains of Government Pressure
The Washington Post, 2/1/10
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/01/AR2010020101302.html

Sri Lanka Says 12 Army Officers Sacked after Election
Wall Street Journal, 2/1/10
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100201-703629.html?mod=rss_Currencies
Sri Lanka’s president on Monday sacked 12 senior military officers over what one army source said were fears of a coup after last week’s presidential elections.
   
Government Moves against Media Raise Fears for Sri Lankan Democracy
Times Online, 2/1/10
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article7010450.ece
A crackdown on media organisations has raised fears for democracy in Sri Lanka days after President Rajapaksa’s disputed re-election.

Sri Lanka Police Arrest Staff of Election’s Loser
New York Times/Associated Press, 1/29/10
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/world/asia/30lanka.html
The police raided the office of Sri Lanka’s defeated presidential candidate on Friday and arrested 15 of his staff members, after officials accused him of plotting to overthrow the government and assassinate his victorious rival.

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EMAIL from MANJU

Hi Stephanie,

Haven’t caught up with you in a long time. Hope all of you are doing well.

I justed wanted to catch you up to what’s going on in Sri Lanka lately. You may get  2 or 3 emails from under various topic. Hope you will have the time to read and pass this on to your human rights activists.

Thank You.
Sincerely,
Manju Schwandt
CNN, Becky Anderson – Jan 7, 2010
U.N. Special Rapporteur, Prof. Philip Alston, calling for investigating war crimes in Sri Lanka.
Three independent forensic experts have authenticated the extrajudicial execution video.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2010/01/07/ctw.anderson.intv.alston.cnn
“There are clearly enough allegations on the table to warrant investigating the Sri Lankan government has systematically blocked all access to the war zone, to the many witnesses to these events. I think the time has come for the international community to really push strongly for an independent inquiry to ascertain exactly what happened.”

“When allegations of potential or apparent war crimes are brought, it is not a very happy situation when a government then instead of addressing those allegations, instead of looking at the substance and real problems, turns to question of (internal) procedures within the UN.”

NY Times – Jan 12, 2010 – “Sri Lanka’s Choice and the World’s Responsibility”
Chris Patten, Co-Chairman of the International Crisis Group
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/opinion/13iht-edpatten.html
“Pity the poor Sri Lankan voter. As presidential elections loom on Jan. 26, the public is faced with a choice between two candidates who openly accuse each other of war crimes.”
“Now, put yourself in a Tamil’s shoes, and decide whom to vote for in the presidential election: Choose either the head of the government that ordered the attacks against you and your family, or the head of the army that carried it all out.”

“… However, a large portion of the more than 150,000 people recently sent out of the camps have not actually returned to their homes nor been resettled. They’ve been sent to and remain in “transit centers” in their home districts.”

“U.N. agencies and non government organizations should have full access to monitor the programs to ensure international money is spent properly and people receiving aid are not denied their fundamental freedoms.. In short, this means not giving Colombo any money for reconstruction and development until we know how it will be spent. And if we see funds not being used as promised, it means not being afraid to cut them off until.”

The Australian – Dec 28, 2009
Sri Lankan Aid Projects needs to be investigated
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sri-lankan-aid-projects-investigated/story-e6frg6so-1225813989191
“Berlin-based Transparency International has demanded an audit of the money received by the Sri Lankan government to help victims of the Asian tsunami that hit the island on December 26, 2004, killing 31,000 people.”

 “As the tropical nation marked the fifth anniversary of the tsunami, the group alleged that out of $US2.2 billion received for relief, $US603.4m was spent on projects unrelated to the disaster. Another $US471.9m is missing, the group said.”

Human Rights Watch – Peter Bouckaert, Director, Emergencies – Jan 22, 2010
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/01/22/uncovering-sri-lankas-war-crimes
“Now, the top United Nations envoy responsible for investigating extralegal executions around the world has added his voice to those believing the tape to be genuine. After commissioning three experts on forensic pathology, video analysis and firearms to review the tape, the envoy, Philip Alston, told the BBC, “You cannot fake the precise sort of reaction which the human body makes when shot at close range by such a weapon.”

“General Sareth Fonseka, the man in charge of last year’s offensive and who is challenging his former boss for the presidency, said that the orders to execute surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders in the final days of the war had come directly from the defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the powerful brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.”

‘For our March 2008 report, Recurring Nightmare: State Responsibility for “Disappearances” and Abductions in Sri Lanka, our investigators spoke to families and witnesses in more than a hundred such episodes. In most cases we were able to establish direct state responsibility. These were just a small fraction of the disappearances and executions carried out by state security services over the course of the armed conflict. But no one has ever been held responsible.”

“When the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon visited Sri Lanka shortly after the conflict ended in May, President Rajapaksa promised him that his government would investigate, but it has not kept that promise.”

The Guardian, UK – Jan 21, 2010 (same article above)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/21/sri-lanka-war-crimes-investigation
Amnesty International USA – Sri Lanka: Investigate Human Rights Abuses, War Crimes
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=13644
Other AI Online Actions/Petitions
http://www.amnestyusa.org/sri-lanka/action/page.do?id=YCA0991145000E

LIVE THE CHANGE.

PEACE.

STEPHANIE MAUVLYN BRAUN XOXO =D

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HEART MEANS EVERYTHING

Today STAND did a “Die In” Protest at the Belk Tower from 11-4. I was amazed at the number of assholes that we go to school with. I specifically remember one guy walking by saying “They must have known I was coming by cause there’s already chickDIE-IN Protest 10/28/09 UNCCs laying down for me.” I just can’t wrap my mind around how anyone who supposedly has a heart could be so cold. How they could be so cold and look only inward. I’m tired of talking to selfish people; people that only care how much money they make. I don’t, and I never will, care more about a dollar or two than the life of a person. So if you’re a selfish person I recommend that you go ahead and delete my off your friends list, because I no longer want to be friends with any assholes. There are too many problems in our world; we need to band together and stop these atrocities.

Tonight at the STAND meeting I heard one of the most emotional and passionate presentations that I have ever been privy to. I head a Sri Lankan woman bear her soul in order to tell us her story and beg for our help for her people, the Timal. To be honest it really affected me in a way in which nothing ever has. I’m not going to go into what is going on there but if you are curious, here’s a link: http://www.notosrilanka.com/about-us/background/history

I for one am no longer going to sit down. I’m going to STAND up for what I know is right. I’m going to fight for the oppressed and the needy. And, I am going to bring the evil to their knees. They will know that there are things which everyone of every religion can embrace. In closing I leave you with two quotes.

1028091314

.brenden.stephanie.maggie.jake.

“this is our triumph over all the forms of filth you’ve spread
well never let this go
right from the very start i knew this day would come
tonights the night we silence you
there’s nowhere left to run”
-Speak Of The Devil, A Day To Remember

“Do not kill, do not rape, to not steal. These are principles, which every man of every faith can embrace. These are not polite suggestions, these are codes of behavior and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.”
-Conner and Murphy McManus, The Boondock Saints

[MATT WILLIAMSON 10-28-09]

maggie wood–>matt I really love your passion against injustice, your amazing!! keep fighting and keep talking about what touches your heart. those people who constantly stand against you will bring that passion and fire to your heart. know that what we speak of and what we show people will influence them and one day you will look back and so many people will remember your courage and how you didn’t stand for cold hearted people. we all saw the world as a place that could be so much more and want equal rights for all people not just americans. were always here and were NOT giving up!!!

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the price of indifference.

stephanie braun–>sometimes we have to thank those individuals who stand in our way because they make us THAT much more passionate and THAT much more fueled to make a difference. i struggle with this because whether it be something like human rights, recycling wutever, I feel I have to work 10times as hard to make up for all the people who are apathetic and dont do ANYTHING. yesterday after meeting Manju and hearing her story, I ran the fastest miles I have ran since high school because she filled me with empathy, anger, and passion. Though the world would be a better place without these individuals, they give us a sort of fucked up passion to fuel our energy and efforts.
samer hawayek–> Matthew,  Although I was not tagged, I had to comment to say thanks for sharing your thoughts candidly and vividly with the rest us. You are genuinely among those who take from the earth a nation, and embrace the brotherhood of man. A global citizen, if you will.
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ignoring the issue doesnt make it go away

My reply to you is this: Embrace the uncarved block. Beauty is only beautiful when put next to what is ugly, and evil deeds are what give rise to the good. Their indifference, although a good indication of their ignorance and arrogance, only fuels those of us like yourself who then shout the truth louder than ten men ever will. Embrace this reality and march on.

 katie kocher–>follow the sun 

MATTHEW>it’s hard to wrap my mind around some of the things I heard today. first hand accounts of atrocities are much more powerful than just reading about them.

“And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police… They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”
-Priest, Boondock Saints

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