Entries tagged with “United Nations”.


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In the past few years I have written about HIV/AIDS quite a few times (see them here). But let’s be honest here for a few minutes. Who really cares?

AIDS is a four letter word, that like so many others shouldn’t be spoken about in polite company. Do you even remember what the four letter’s stand for? Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  Yea, that means nothing to me. When you spell it out like that, it makes even less sense.

So what will actually make sense? We are very blessed that in the US, even though over a million people have HIV/AIDS (CDC), for many people it is managed through medication and is almost thought of as a type of cancer.  But did you know that babies die from HIV/AIDS related infections or were you to busy protesting at an abortion clinic?

You see, HIV/AIDS ravages your body so that something as simple as a winter sniffle could end up killing you.  That is the simple version, but it makes sense. Why did the baby get HIV? Her mom gave it to her, more than likely.  What kind of terrible mother would give her child HIV?  Who knows, maybe she was raped by a stranger in the middle of the night.  But does it matter how she got it? Only if you want to pass judgment. Why can’t we love someone without trying to pass judgment?

Ok, so babies and children are dying because of no fault of their own. A quick question, if the entire population of Spain had HIV/AIDS do you think someone would care? What about the entire population of Texas? Well according to World Vision, that is the current estimate of how many people are currently suffering with this ailment. 40 million.

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by the disease is expected to exceed 25 million — slightly more than the population of Texas — according to the United Nations. The impact on these children, both before and after the deaths of their parents, is catastrophic.

A few days ago was Black Friday.  Did you go waste your money on earthly materials that do nothing but provide five minutes of happiness to your child before being thrown in the bin with last year’s?  This year a Walmart employee was “trampled to death” by shoppers eager to purchase the latest craze.

Something is wrong with this picture.

This is truly a sad state of affairs.  As a culture we are willing to trample over fellow Americans to purchase a blender.  I guess it should be no surprise to me that no one cares about babies dying in a foreign land.  All of this makes me angry and sad.

But I am thankful for the organizations, churches, and individuals who are willing to stand up today and throw off the chains of injustice and care for the orphaned child and suffering widow.  These are our brothers and sisters and they deserve our love and admiration.

James 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

Will you sit idly by or will you act today?

Bloggers Unite

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Play this game (a little cheesy) of driving a dirt bike around Africa delivering Malaria Nets to individuals in need.

Malaria is one of several curable/preventable deadly diseases that is ravaging Africa. Nothing but Nets has this to say about the disease:

Malaria, from the Medieval Italian words mala aria or “bad air,” infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than a million— one person dies about every 30 seconds. The disease is particularly devastating in Africa, where it is a leading killer of children.

The disease is a self-perpetuating problem with large-scale impact on societies and economies. Malaria accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions and outpatient visits in Africa. In addition to the burden on the health system, malaria illness and death cost Africa approximately $12 billion a year in lost productivity. The effects permeate almost every sector. Malaria increases school absenteeism, decreases tourism, inhibits foreign investment, and even affects the type of crops that are grown.

Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is a simple and cost-effective solution to prevent malaria deaths. For just $10, we can purchase a bed net, deliver it to a family, and explain its use. Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than the family. When enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire communities safer—including even those individuals who do not have nets.

Although $10 for a bed net may not sound like much, the cost makes them out of reach for most people at risk of malaria, many of whom survive on less than $1 a day. Nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but we need your help to provide them to those in need.

You can make a monetary contribution or play their game. This is a partnership created by the United Nations foundation.

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I thought this was great when I found it –

In 2003, a couple of major things happened. 50 Cent blew up and G-Unit took over the music industry, Jay-Z “retired,” and Eminem won an Oscar. It was a big year for Hip Hop. These things we remember vividly, as they were the subject of endless media fanfare (seriously, how many articles did you read about Hova claiming he was done with the rap game?).

Sadly, while you and I were bumpin’ “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” and “In Da Club” that year, a tragedy that has been dubbed the number one humanitarian crisis in the world began – the genocide in Darfur.

Who knew that Hip-Hop had a soul and even a positive side? This particular post: Hip-Hop and Darfur:Part One give a pretty basic overview of the conflict and what has been done. The series continues with an interview with Ankh Amen Ra in part two. Ankh Amen Ra wrote a song called Darfur which can be heard here. Here is the final dialouge from the interview:

DX: What is the most important thing the “average” person can do to help?
AAR:
Raise awareness in his or her community – however they feel they can bring more attention to the issue. Talking to people at work, your neighbors, going door-to-door – we have to put this issue on people’s radar, and they have to feel that this is something that needs to stop immediately. Helping raise awareness in your close circle is really the way to make this issue resonate in the hearts and minds of the international community.

I would also like to personally call upon the hip hop community to peacefully assemble as a unified front on the steps of the United Nations and demand that the United Nations Security Council fulfill the promises of UN Resolution 1769, which effectively created the UNAMID Force, an international force consisting of African Union and European Union troops, responsible for establishing security in the war torn region.

In fact, due to the recent attempted coup of the Chadian government by allegedly Sudanese government supported rebels, the situation in that region is deteriorating rapidly as the Chadian prime minister has apparently called for the immediate removal of all Darfur refuges from the his country. Therefore, we must act now!

Part Three is the final (at least for now) installment connecting Hip-Hop and Darfur at HipHopDX and is an interview with Don Cheadle and Adam Sterling. Here is a good excerpt from that interview:

DX: When actors get involve themselves in activism, it puts their careers into a different light. Do you talk to your friends about it, like George [Clooney] or Brad [Pitt]?
DC:
I don’t know where it fits, vis a vis. I think a lot of people think doing advocacy work really helps in your career. I think, as you are a human being, and you’re feeing off of being a human being, giving value and meaning to your life, then in all walks of your life it absolutely helps. As far as acting goes, it sometimes cuts against it. It makes it more difficult, as a career. It makes it more difficult in our business, because you get pigeon-holed. It’s just another way to get pigeon-holed and people don’t think you can do a bunch of things and those doors start shutting.

Does that mean that I stop doing it for me? No. Or George? Or others that I’ve spoken to? No. You keep doing it because that’s where your heart lies. It definitely puts everything in perspective. Way more than my acting, it puts my family life into perspective, it puts my children’s relationship to me in perspective–what are you trying to accomplish and achieve as a global citizen in the brief time that you’re here?

What do you want to do? Do you want to be on record between you and your god and your family and your friends as having tried to do something? Or just, you know, to make as much money as you can and get a nice big house and cool ass cars and nice clothes? You can do that too. But I don’t think that’s how you want to measure yourself.

These are well researched and well-written articles, not what I would have expected from a stereotypical Hip-Hop culture. You should go check them out.

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According to an e-mail sent by the Genocide Intervention Network, the Senate had the opportunity to pass the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) and failed to due so, thanks to Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE).

SADA simply put will help protect state and local divestment and prohibit federal contracts with foreign companies helping to fuel the genocide. Legislators and activists have learned from past campaigns and have made sure that the bill will not hurt future business transactions with China and Sudan after the genocide has ended. A summary can be found here (pdf).

The bill sets benchmarks for the Government of Sudan that include:

(1) abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007); (2) cease attacks on civilians;(3) demobilize and demilitarize the Janjaweed and associated militias;(4) grant free and unfettered access for delivery of humanitarian assistance; and(5) allow for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

The House version of the bill passed back in July 418 – 1 (the dissenting vote was Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul). It would seem that something with such an overwhelming majority would be a no-brainer for passage.  An October article in the International Herald-Tribune quoted Hagel saying, “I don’t think we want to give local governments authority in foreign policy decisions.” He eventually stepped aside to let the bill out of committee but is now blocking the bill again.

Take Action and contact your Senators.  Find out how your congressional delegation scores related to Darfur issues at the Darfur Scorecard.

Additionally, the UN was finally given permission to supply a peacekeeping force into the Darfur area.  To ensure that this force is fully equipped and prepared for success the US and other nations must keep their financial promises.  It is that time of year where the budget is being finalized for 2008.  Make sure we keep our promises.

We can end this Genocide that is still killing thousands and displacing millions.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: David Rubenstein, Save Darfur Coalition;
Date: Jan 10, 2007 6:46 PM
Subject: Breaking News: Cease-Fire Agreement in Darfur
To: me

Dear Nick,

I want to share some important news from Khartoum. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson just released a joint statement with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir that, if implemented, would bring some immediate security and relief to the people of Darfur as well as provide a clear path forward to long-term peace in the region.

We asked Governor Richardson to travel to Sudan to discuss ways to secure peace in Darfur and to end the genocide. The Governor was accompanied by Save Darfur Senior International Coordinator Ambassador (ret.) Lawrence Rossin, Refugees International Executive Director Kenneth Bacon, and Public and International Law and Policy Group senior attorney Amjad Atallah. Since Sunday, when they arrived in Khartoum, Governor Richardson and the delegation have visited Darfur and participated in a variety of meetings with government officials, rebel leaders, humanitarian officials, AU commanders and UN officials.

The promises from President Bashir in this agreement are encouraging. They include commitments to:

  • A 60-day ceasefire with an international peace summit to be held before March 15, 2007.
  • Sudan’s cooperation to work with the African Union and United Nations on the deployment of a hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur.
  • Ensuring “zero tolerance” policies for gender-based violence in Darfur.
  • Free access for humanitarian aid workers and journalists.

Click here to read the full joint statement and the press release.

Your concerns for the people of Darfur were voiced directly to President Bashir by Governor Richardson and Ambassador Rossin. We believe that today’s agreement offers a promising step forward to end this four-year nightmare for the people of Darfur. By no means, however, has the genocide ended.

We call urgently upon Sudan, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Bush Administration to make these promises become a reality for the long-suffering people of Darfur.

We must demand that the international community take advantage of this dramatic progress. Your help in this effort will be vital in the months ahead.

Thank you for your contribution to these new developments.

Best regards,

David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition

The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of over 175 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations whose mission is to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of more than two million people in the Darfur region. To learn more, please visit http://www.SaveDarfur.org.


To unsubscribe from the Save Darfur Coalition email list, visit this link.

http://www.savedarfur.org



If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has his foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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