: Using Video Games in a Writing Classroom -
I’m going to give my students the option of playing Home (created by Benjamin Rivers)and writing about the experience instead of doing a more traditional writing assignment.
I’m not a huge gamer, but my brother got me this game and we played it the other day. It’s a horror-survival…
is real as fuck
(Source: deliciouskaek, via decolonizeyourmind)
toni morrison say: black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.
Raining cold hard facts right here.^
further reason to love her.
Bahraini Human Rights Activist Gets Three-Year Sentence for Anti-Government Demonstrations -
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, one of the most outspoken critics of country’s government, has been sentenced to three years in prison for leading anti-government protests last year.
Bahrain, a U.S. ally and base for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has seen a year of unrest and protest suppression since pro-democracy protests led by a Shi’ite Muslim majority erupted last year following the revolts of Egypt and Tunisia.
Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, led many of the country’s protests and is already serving three months in jail over a tweet criticizing the prime minister.
Amnesty International has identified Rajab as a prisoner of conscience.
“The court’s decision is a dark day for justice in Bahrain that further questions the independence of the judiciary. Like many others in Bahrain, Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly. He should be released immediately and his convictions and sentences quashed,” Amnesty stated today.
The Bahraini government imposed martial law last year in an attempt to quell the country’s uprising, but has received pressure from world powers to compromise with the pro-democracy protesters, put an end to the unrest and hold officials accountable for rights violations. But the US maintains close ties with the ruling family, which allows it to operate out of Manama — a key position in the Gulf oil trade.
Rajab’s wife Sumaya, who was with him at the reading of the verdict, told Amnesty International:
“The sentence, although harsh and unfair, comes as no surprise to Nabeel and I. It shows how biased and corrupt the judiciary in Bahrain is. There are no human rights in Bahrain. As the defense team said, this sentence is the biggest scandal in the history of Bahrain judiciary.”
Israel Kicks Out Migrants – By Changing Their Nationality and Sending Them to Another Country | Common Dreams -
Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel are being issued with documents changing their nationality, allowing them to be removed from the country or imprisoned.
The Bureau has identified migrants who have recently been issued with documents labelling them as South Sudanese – despite holding passports showing they were born in areas that remain in Sudan.
Four migrants from the Republic of Sudan have already been flown from Israel to South Sudan, an entirely different country that was formed last year. The South Sudanese authorities refused to accept them at the border and they were sent back to Tel Aviv.
NGOs estimate that over 100 other Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel may have been issued with the wrong nationality in the past three months, and fear there may be more attempts to remove them to South Sudan.
South Sudan only came into existence in June 2011 after a 21-year civil war. Intense hostilities remain between the newly formed country and the Republic of Sudan, with conflicts regularly breaking out on the border.
Israel is unable to deport people to Sudan as it has no repatriation agreement with Khartoum. But a recent deportation order allows it to deport migrants to the country’s newest neighbour: South Sudan.
But now NGOs based in Israel report that people from the Nuba mountain region of Sudan are being issued with temporary visas stating they are South Sudanese by the Ministry of Interior – which make them eligible for deportation. South Sudanese asylum seekers have been asked to leave Israel voluntarily, but those who do not face imprisonment.
Thomas Abdallah Tutu, 32, is one such case. He is from the Nuba mountains in Sudan and arrived in Israel in 2007. He lives in Arad, in the south of Israel. Thomas recently had his documentation recalled and was issued with a temporary visa for Israel that gave his nationality as South Sudanese. Now he is worried he will lose his job as a hotel steward, and could be imprisoned and flown to South Sudan.
‘I don’t know why,’ said Thomas, ‘I felt so bad. Many people here in Arad have families and children here. Now no one can buy a house and people are becoming homeless.’
The prospect of moving to South Sudan – which even before secession was in conflict with Sudan – is worrying for migrants such as Thomas.
‘It is a bad situation in South Sudan’, Thomas told the Bureau. ‘There is nothing there and no one has family, houses there or money. They are afraid to go, and confused,’ he said.
Thomas’ future is uncertain: he knows he must leave Arad but is desperate not to return to Sudan or move to South Sudan. ‘If I go there I am sure something bad will happen to me.’
Yael Aberdam is project manager at the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC), an NGO based in Tel Aviv, which works with African migrants. The ARDC has seen around 70 people with passports and birth certificates suggesting they are Sudanese, who have been given South Sudanese documentation. It estimates the number of those affected may be twice that.
According to Aberdam, many migrants from the Nuba Mountain region, an area fraught with conflict, have been assigned documents stating they are from South Sudan.
‘We have no idea why they would consider Nubeans as South Sudanese,’ Aberdam said. ‘It gets me very, very angry to have those lives ruined and not even information on why, nor even an apology,’ she added.
The UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) and two other Israeli NGOs, the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Students For Refugees, also reported having witnessed Sudanese migrants being issued South Sudanese documentation and being imprisoned or coerced into leaving Israel.
Peter Deck, senior protection officer at the UNHCR in Tel Aviv said, ‘There have been cases of confusion of persons from Nuba Mountains and Darfurians considered as from South Sudan who had their visas taken away.’
Paul Hirschson, spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained how the confusion arose: ‘The vast majority of people arrived in Israel before South Sudan existed. We’ve been working very closely with South Sudan to identify who is South Sudanese,’ he said, adding that it is the South Sudanese government’s responsibility to issue identity and travel documentation, not Israel’s.
‘This is not an easy process,’ Hirschson said, ‘it is a very difficult one that Israel is trying to address with as much sensitivity as possible.’
Failing international standards
‘There have been cases of confusion of persons from Nuba Mountains and Darfurians considered as from South Sudan who had their visas taken away’- UNHCRUNHCR has voiced concerns over Israel’s immigration policy. The agency stresses there have been no official deportations and removals are technically voluntary. But it also notes that many have been told to leave or they will be imprisoned.
Recent changes have improved the situation, including the recent arrival of a delegation from South Sudan to assist the process, the agency added.
Still, there are concerns about the removal of people to South Sudan. ‘The return taking place from Israel to South Sudan does not meet UNHCR standards outlined in the formulated UNHCR Guidelines for voluntary return,’ Deck said. Several NGOs report that children have been imprisoned in unsuitable conditions, people are given insufficient time to make preparations, and some are imprisoned despite having signed up to ‘voluntary departure’.
‘We’re implementing the Refugee Convention to the letter, more than almost any other country in the world,’ said Hirschson.
South Sudanese in Israel
There are an estimated 1,500 South Sudanese in Israel, and around 12,000 Sudanese, according to the Israeli government.
Asylum seekers and refugees from South Sudan had been being registered under long-term temporary visas with collective protection. Now the government has deemed South Sudan safe it can potentially send people back to the country.
This is a concern for Deck. ‘There are some South Sudanese that have been in Israel over five years and their children’s only language is Hebrew – and they are forced to depart as the parents no longer have a Convention-related protection concern in South Sudan. The long-term application of temporary protection for this group has enabled Israel avoid the recognition of individuals as refugees and provide a durable solution for them and their families.’
A familiar problem
African migrant are an issue of concern for the Israeli government. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there are approximately 60,000-65,000 illegal immigrants in Israel. Of those two thirds, around 42,000-52,000, come from Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan – countries which Israel cannot repatriate citizens to.
Israel has previously faced a similar situation with Eritreans, who enjoy collective protection status. However, Israeli media have reported that the government have been using a loophole to allow for some deportations. In 2003 Ethiopia passed a law granting citizenship to anyone whose mother or father was an Ethiopian citizen. This is true of many Eritreans given that the countries split in 1993. The rule change allowed the Israeli government to deport Eritreans to Ethiopia, claiming that they could obtain citizenship there.
More recently, interior minister Eli Yishai is quoted in Israeli newspaper Haaretz responding to last month’s court order, which opened the door for the removal of South Sudanese migrants. He is quoted as saying he ‘hopes this is the first step in a series of measures allowing us to deport [migrants] from Eritrea and North Sudan’.
However the Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects the notion it is using vagueness around nationalities to allow for the removal of some Sudanese and Eritreans to South Sudan and Ethiopia respectively.
The UK situation
When asked about the UK’s policy of deporting people to South Sudan a UK Border Agency spokesman said ‘We are working closely with the new South Sudanese Government to enable returns to South Sudan, but decisions are always made on a case by case basis.’
In the UK, refugee status is granted for a period of five years. After this time, status is reviewed by the UK Border Agency. UNHCR in the UK is not aware of any cases of those with South Sudanese nationality whose refugee status in the UK has been revoked.
A spokesperson from UNHCR UK went on to say: ‘There is quite a high number of persons originating from South Sudan who remain outside of the country and who have yet to have their nationality ascertained. If possible, they should approach the South Sudanese embassy to obtain the required documentation.’
Baseless Deconstruction: How Your Dollars Became Ghost Towns in Iraq -
A war and occupation thousands of miles away that lasted seven years and involved more than 1.5 million Americans, military and civilian, has passed into the history books and yet we still know remarkably little about so much of it. Take American military bases in Iraq. There were, of course, none in March 2003 when the Bush administration launched its regime-change invasion with dreams of garrisoning that particular stretch of the planet’s oil heartlands for generations to come.
At the height of the American occupation, in the face of Sunni and Shiite insurgencies and a bloody civil war, the Pentagon built 505 bases there, ranging from micro-outposts to mega-bases the size of small American towns — in one case, with an airport that was at least as busy as Chicago’s O’Hare International. As it happened, during all but the last days of those long, disastrous years of war, Americans could have had no idea how many bases had been built, using taxpayer dollars, in Iraq. Estimates in the press ranged, on rare occasions, up to about 300. Only as U.S. troops prepared to leave was that 505 figure released by the military, without any fanfare whatsoever. Startlingly large, it was simply accepted by reporters who evidently found it too unimpressive to highlight.
And here’s an allied figure that we still don’t have: to this day, no one outside the Pentagon has the faintest idea what it cost to build those bases, no less maintain them, or in the end abandon them to the Iraqi military, to the fate of ghost towns, or simply to be looted and stripped. We have no figures, not even ballpark ones, about what the Pentagon paid crony corporations like KBR to construct and maintain them. The only vague approximation I ever saw was offered in an engineering magazine in October 2003 by Lt. Col. David Holt, the Army officer “tasked with facilities development” in Iraq. At a moment when U.S. base building was barely underway, he was already speaking of the program being in the “several billion dollar range,” adding proudly that “the numbers are staggering.” So for the full seven-year figure, let your imagination run wild.
The same is obviously true, by the way, of the more than 400 bases the Pentagon built in Afghanistan, as well as another 300 or so meant for local forces. Think of it this way: America’s “stimulus package” these last years has significantly been in Baghdad and Kabul. All of this would be considered an extraordinary, not to say profligate, feat for any country — to be able to construct what I once called American-style “ziggurats” in a land thousands of miles distant: garrisons with 20-mile or more perimeters, barracks, fire stations, bus lines, PXes, Internet cafes, brand-name fast-food restaurants, electricity and water supplies, and so much else. It is, in fact, the kind of over-the-top, can-do feat that the world once associated with the United States and that Americans expected — not abroad, but at home.
Nowadays, however, as State Department officer and whistleblower Peter Van Buren makes clear in his latest post, “How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan — or America,” at home at least the can-do nation is a can’t-do nation. Of course, as anyone who follows the news will know, a caveat has to be put next to the “can do” abroad label as well, and no one has done that better than Van Buren in his book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, just now being published in paperback. It should be cautionary bedtime reading for America’s children. After all, what we built profligately but successfully — those bases — has now been abandoned to the elements; while what we were supposed to be “reconstructing” for others ended up mired in corruption, incompetence, and the sort of pure idiocy that would be amusing (and that Van Buren makes grimly hilarious in his book) if it weren’t so sad.
(Source: eol.jsc.nasa.gov, via heliocentra)
'U.S. violates domestic and international laws over Syria' -
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, director of Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Let’s look at what the Syrian envoy is saying; actually now, he’s called the new, I guess, “axis of evil”, the centers are Tel Aviv and Washington. How accurate is what he is saying?
Azikiwe: We have to first of all understand that there’s no secret involved in the whole process as it relates to what the United States is doing now in Syria. They have made it clear that their objective is to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
They just announced two days ago that they were going to supply, in fact, additional aid to the armed opposition in Syria. They’re claiming that this aid is non-lethal but in fact it is communication technology that’s been utilized to coordinate these attacks against Syrian civilians as well as Syrian military, political and civilian personnel.
This is clearly a violation of international law. It’s a violation of domestic law even within the framework of the United States government itself.
There’s not supposed to be aggressive military activity carried out by the United States government without a debate and without an action of Congress. This is going on in total disregard to the even norms, politics and values that are supposed to be enshrined within the United States Constitution.
It’s not surprising that this envoy has targeted both the United States and the state of Israel for the destabilization of Syria. Syria is still occupied by the Israeli forces in the Golan Heights and they (Israel), of course, are still involved in watching very closely all the developments that are going on right now in Syria.
The media reports began to filter in on Wednesday afternoon with the news that either four or eleven of the Lebanese kidnapped last May in Syria had died after the shelling of Izaaz by the Syrian army. Relatives of the eleven Lebanese family members of the Moqdad family and Shi`i supporters blocked the road leading to the Beirut airport. Along with other women, the daughter of one of the hostages started a spontaneous sit-in before the Lebanese army was deployed in the area to keep protesters from entering the airport. She said “for more than a week I had not heard news of my father. They say they have all died, after they said that only four died … they are playing with our health. We want them to be back, and this regime is doing nothing.” The travelers dragged their luggage as best they could through the fire, burning tires, and angry demonstrators. Some of them even stopped, suitcase in hand, to have their pictures taken with the background of fire, fueled by dozens of young men throwing gasoline and tires—a practice that is becoming a national sport, reaching unexpected records this holy month of Ramadan in Lebanon.
Many of the protesters are originally from the Bekaa region, and were condemning the inaction of the Lebanese regime before the hijackings of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). A member of the Moqdad family, one of the most powerful families of the Bekaa, was kidnapped by the FSA, which holds the men as alleged members of Hezbollah. The Moqdad family denies their belonging to Hezbollah and has threatened to use its military wing to fight the FSA in Lebanon and Syria, with the support of other powerful clans of the Bekaa region. To prove that their words are not merely a show, they claimed on Wednesday to have seized forty Syrians and one Turkish citizen suspected of being FSA members in Lebanon. This episode highlights the fragility (if not absence) of a Lebanese government, when families, militias, and sheikhs might decide to cut the country’s streets indefinitely, block the access to the main airport, or display their gunmen on the streets. — Natalia Sacha, Families of Kidnapped Lebanese in Syria Cut Off Access to the Airport in Beirut, on Jadaliyya
Dorothy Cooper, age 96 and a retired domestic worker living in Chattanooga, never had any trouble voting even in the Jim Crow era and missed only one election in her entire adult life. But when she went for one of the state’s new free photo IDs last month so she could keep voting, they turned her away. Why? Her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander, is on her birth certificate, and she didn’t have her marriage license.
Due to Tennessee’s new voting law, she has to have a state photo ID to vote and now, even with her current voter registration card, she can’t get one.
Links to the Times Free Press and Nashville Scene articles.
She is older than Voting Rights Act.
Like let’s get this really real yall
Mama has voted without bureaucratic bullshit in JIM DAMN CROW
but the new millenium is trying to keep her out cause her birth certificate ( which is older than the current incarnations of both parties) has her maiden name
from back when the probably write that shit in fountain pen…
I quit all of you
EVERY SINGLE ONE
doing math : She has been eligible to vote since 1937
SHE HAD LESS TROUBLE VOTING AROUND FDR vs. LANDON than OBAMA vs.ROMNEY