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Archive for the ‘Social justice issues’ Category

Somalia Piracy in the News Again

I consider piracy to be deplorable, and yet I have to wonder why people, especially those with families dependent on them, choose such a dangerous lifestyle. Is it, for some at least, their level of despair over joblessness? I’m not alone in thinking of that possibility. One of the cures listed in the quotation below is ‘building livelihoods ashore.’

“Piracy is like an ancient disease that should be extinct in this modern world,” said Commodore Simon Ancona of the British Navy, who is currently deputy commander of Combined Maritime Forces. “The cure is difficult and requires the disruption of pirate actions, building law and order and livelihoods ashore, and making the merchant prey less vulnerable. Although there are signs of remission, I would judge the medicine will be required for some time to come.” from the August 28  NYTimes online: Piracy around Horn of Africa has plunged

As I look at the faces and body language of imprisoned pirates caught on film by  Jehad Nga for The New York Times, I see youth, hunger, belligerence, fear. I wonder what I can do in affecting a cure for piracy.

In my novel, Pieces of You, my protagonist asks the same thing after one of their corporate tankers is attacked by pirates.  What they tried worked for three years, and they were proud of helping young Somalis learn skills and pleased with organizing a large network to deter attacks. Then another of their tankers was captured.

What do you think Americans can do to cure this “ancient disease that should be extinct in this modern world?”

The Bread We Stash Belongs to the Starving

I just read Peter Singer’s essay, Famine, Affluence, and Morality. In it Singer quotes from the Decretum Gratiani: “The bread which you withhold belongs to the hungry; the clothing you shut away, to the naked; and the money you bury in the earth is the redemption and freedom of the penniless.” Singer concludes that “we would not be sacrificing anything significant if we were to continue to wear our old clothes, and give the money to famine relief. By doing so, we would be preventing another person from starving.”

I have thought that just giving money, especially not at a sacrificial level, would not be making a difference. Singer suggests that is untrue.  His message haunts me when I think of my Lent “sacrifice.”  For those few weeks, I gave up buying things I could do without. The outcome was that when a friend was struggling to buy fuel, I had a few extra dollars to share. And I didn’t have to give up anything because I had not already spent the money on my own wants.

Sadly, I have reverted to buying for the few seconds of pleasure something new gives me. It’s time to go back to my Lenten practice.  Donating doesn’t mean we have to send money to an international relief fund (although Mercy Corps is one I strongly suggest when that is the plan); it does mean that our “extra dollars” will find a good home if we are sensitive to the needs around us.

If you have a good story of how sensitivity and stewardship paid off, please share with us! It may just motivate others, for as Singer wrote, “what it is possible for a man to do and what he is likely to do are both, I think, greatly influenced by what people around him are doing and expecting him to do.”

Let’s expect this of each other because it is wrong not to do so.

Songs on Social Justice Issues

Goodbye to a River by Don Henley

  The Faith by Leonard Cohen

Charter for Compassion

I added my name to the 78,506 others who have confirmed the Charter for Compassion. Will you join us? Here is the link:

Charter for Compassion

Ways to Take Back OUR Power

\”Why Growing Income Equality is Bad for America\” by Robt. Creamer, political organizer & author

How can we take back the power of the people so that our country’s laws/regulations reflect the interests of the majority rather than the richest?

1.  Become a participant in the democratic process. Here’s a way to begin: Democracy\’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public\’s Role\”

2.  collaborate

I echo what Annabel Park, founding member of The Coffee Party says: Democracy should be a collaboration, not a fight. Democracy is a coming together to overcome the rampant greed and/or indifference that allows a few to prosper and many to  despair.  We came together in the past and turned the tide on societal evils. Our heroes were not always the recognized leaders; instead, they were people just like us. Something or someone kindled the courage in their souls and they stepped out and became a throng shouting “no more” and “we shall overcome.”
The Beatle\’s song performed by Delbert McClinton

Isn’t it time for the people to come together again?

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