Not only is it a cause I'm behind one hundred percent, but The Girl Effect is also a beautifully-designed campaign with plenty of easily-shared links and media. Well done.
To say today’s protest culture has fallen short of its goals is polite. To call it a complete fucking failure is honest. It is not 1967, it is 2008. There’s no such thing as a future you don’t have to fight for. Time for a better weapon.
Blog Coffee Tao offers a three-part, in-depth look at Fair Trade and direct trade and what's best to buy for coffee growers:
Thanks to TheWorstHorse, I discovered there's been a breakthrough in the case of the West Memphis Three, who have been in prison since the mid-90's, one on death row, for the murder of three boys. The new details?
... according to long-awaited new evidence filed by the defense in federal court on Monday, there was no DNA from the three defendants found at the scene, the mutilation was actually the work of animals and at least one person other than the defendants may have been present at the crime scene.
I learned about about the Three years ago through the efforts of Henry Rollins, who helped raise money to do this kind of evidence testing that was never done before. Maybe finally some of those lingering questions can start being answered.
This has been online for a while now, but it's been making the rounds of the blogs again just recently, so I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon. I think I linked to it before but, a) I'm too lazy to find it, and b) I didn't actually embed it. So, behold! The embedded video of the Miniature Earth Project:
At the risk of running this topic into the ground, there are a few more thoughts on Burma that I wanted to share.
First off, there's a thorough article from ForeignAffairs.org that details the rise of the military junta, the effects the regime is having not only on the country itself but those near it, and what steps should be taken by the international community about it. Read the article here.
With this historical background in place, I also wanted to mention something that cropped up on The Daily Show the other day. Very rarely do I have issues with the sainted Mr. Stewart and company, but every once in a while I'm reminded that they are first and foremost a comedy show - because every once in a while, they have to make a choice between telling the whole truth and going for a quick joke. And, every once in a while, they go for the joke. I can't find a clip of it right now, but, when covering a President Bush speech that referred to the Burma situation, they joked that maybe Bush didn't know Burma is now Myanmar.
This is something I've been asked recently more than once, and it is a bit confusing, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to help set the record straight. In this instance at least, Bush spoke correctly. Myanmar is a local name the junta made the country's official title after their forceful takeover, and because of this (and the humanitarian disaster their rule has become), it is not officially recognized as such by either the US or the UK. It would actually be even more wrong for the president of the United States to refer to the country in any other way than the US's official policy regarding it. So - Burma it is, at least officially. Unofficially, I suppose it's whatever you choose. Most of the organizations on the side of the Burmese people stick with Burma as well, most likely in another form of rebellion against the junta.
A thoroughly upsetting update on the Burma situation from the Buddhist Channel - a senior defected official says:
"Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand."
And Swedish diplomat Liselotte Agerlid says:
"The military regime won and a new generation has been violently repressed and violently denied democracy. The people in the street were young people, monks and civilians who were not participating during the 1988 revolt.
"Now the military has cracked down the revolt, and the result may very well be that the regime will enjoy another 20 years of silence, ruling by fear."
In the face of that, it's hard to feel that anything in one's power to do will actually make a difference. But awareness never hurts, and the excellent Buddhism-meets-pop-culture website The Worst Horse is putting together the Burma Is Important Project. I've donated a graphic to them (over in my sidebar), feel free to download it, or any of the others offered at the project page, and post it to your blog, MySpace, etc. If you need a hand doing so, just let me know.
Also, check out the Burma news and links on the front page of The Worst Horse.
As you have probably heard, there's some horrible things happening in Burma as of late. A concise description from the Guardian:
The protests began late last month after the government sharply raised fuel prices - an added hardship for people in one of Asia's poorest and most economically isolated countries.
Arrests and intimidation kept the demonstrations small and scattered until the monks entered the fray. On Sunday, around 20,000 people - including thousands of monks - filled the streets of Rangoon, stepping up their defiance by chanting support for the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ms Suu Kyi has been under almost continuous house arrest since 1990, when the military refused to recognise a landslide victory by her National League for Democracy party.
Within the past week, however, the situation has turned ugly. As of now, the government has cut off internet access, hundreds of monks have been beaten, arrested, and detained, and more deaths are being reported.
Other news and information:
- Buddhist Channel.
- Burmese blogger Ko Htike (warning - some graphic images).
- The Burma Project (good for general information).
- Killing the Buddha discusses the religious aspect of the protests.
Ways show support for the Burmese people:
- The Tricycle Blog published an action plan from the US Campaign for Burma. Visit the sites to see how to do what they are requesting, which includes petitions, donations, and spreading the word.
- Avaaz.org Petition
- MoveOn.org Petition
- The Burma Campaign UK has a list of companies who do business with Burma to contact and boycott.
- Ethical Traveler has one of the most interesting displays of solidarity, allowing supporters to upload a picture of themselves and a message to the Burmese people.
If you're into that sort of thing, you can also watch the latest PSA about Burma from Jim Carrey:
On September 6, Ann Coulter will be speaking at Cincinnatti's Xavier University. To welcome her, various Ohio human rights groups are banding together to raise money that will be presented to Xavier student groups of the kind that Coulter speaks against, including their Gay-Straight Alliance and Amnesty International. And Ann will receive a thank-you card with all the donors' names. If you'd like to add your name to the list, hop on over to Counter Ann Coulter and donate $5.
Recently I posted my take on honor killings and torture porn, inspired by the murder of Dua Khalil and writer/filmmaker Joss Whedon's reaction to it. Before that, I had posted in my quote section a paragraph from his article:
All I ask is this: Do something. Try something. Speaking out, showing up, writing a letter, a check, a strongly worded e-mail. Pick a cause – there are few unworthy ones. And nudge yourself past the brink of tacit support to action. Once a month, once a year, or just once.... Even just learning enough about a subject so you can speak against an opponent eloquently makes you an unusual personage. Start with that. Any one of you would have cried out, would have intervened, had you been in that crowd in Bashiqa. Well thanks to digital technology, you’re all in it now.
His plea for action has in turn inspired a group of writers and like-minded people. Enter Nothing But Red, an anthology of essays, fiction, and artwork that will be published via Lulu and in digital format. All proceeds will go to charity. They're currently accepting submissions, as well as looking for volunteers to help support the book and spread the word.
If this is a cause you're into - visit, sumbit, volunteer, link, blog. It doesn't take much to help.