Social Justice E-Zine #21

R. Goforth rgoforth at u.washington.edu
Tue Jun 11 02:33:59 MDT 1996


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Alabama State Senator Charles Davidson, a Republican candidate
for the United States House of Representatives, defends slavery
as God's will, citing the Bible (Leviticus:  "You may acquire
male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around
you").  In a speech he said:  "People who are bitter and hateful
about slavery are obviously bitter and hateful against God and
his word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere
humans say concerning slavery...This humanistic thinking is what
the abolitionists embraced."
          --June 17, 1996 issue of The Nation magazine


                       SOCIAL JUSTICE #21
                         June 12, 1996
                          Ray Goforth
                          Kim Goforth

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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) OPENING NOTES ON THE ZINE
2) AFGHANISTAN: HUMANITARIAN AID FINALLY GETS THROUGH
3) DANGEROUS COMPUTER VIRUSES
4) EXPLOSION AND FIRE AT POINT BEACH NUCLEAR PLANT
5) STREET CHILDREN MURDERED IN GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS
6) FEMINIZATION OF POWER IN FRANCE AND INDIA

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   Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE.  The
name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people
everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government,
economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental
protection, and human rights.
   Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. Feel free to make copies
and share with friends (or enemies).  Think of this as a regular
magazine without the recycling.  If there's nothing you want to
read in this issue, just hit delete.
   Those wishing to be added to the subscription list (or
conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:

goforth at igc.apc.org

Some of our other projects:

Social Justice: http://www.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html
Progressive Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2915
Feminist Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2995
Human Rights in China:  http://www.tripod.com/~hric/hric.html

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      AFGHANISTAN: HUMANITARIAN AID FINALLY GETS THROUGH

In late May 1996, the International Committee of the Red Cross
was able to bring a relief convoy, the first since April 1994,
down from the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif to the war-torn
capital city of Kabul. This involved driving five lorries loaded
with 75 tonnes of vegetable oil (an essential cooking ingredient
in Afghanistan as in most of Southern Asia) across the Hindu Kush
mountains; the route included the notorious Salang Pass tunnel
which, at close to three thousand metres above sea level, is one
of the highest in the world. Apart from the fact that until then
the Salang road had been closed by a particularly active front
line, a 2.4 km stretch of the road was known to be mined. In a
gesture of humanitarian concern both the Kabul authorities and
the Jumbesh, the political militia based in the northern part of
the country, agreed to let this section of the front be cleared
of mines.

The mine-removal operation was carried out by Afghan specialists
recruited and trained by the British-based Halo Trust
organization. As an additional gesture of goodwill, both parties
allowed 60 civilians to cross the front line in the wake of the
convoy as it returned north laden with orthopaedic equipment to
manufacture prostheses for landmine victims there.

Apart from seeing an additional overland lifeline opened up for
the one million inhabitants of Kabul, the ICRC staff accompanying
the convoy were surprised and encouraged by the spontaneous
reaction from local people along the route. "People came up
waving flags and cheering us on", said Jean-Paul Jacquod, head of
sub-delegation in Mazar-i-Sharif. "We really had the impression
that more than a convoy had got through that time... we feel we
saw the emergence of a renewed feeling of hope."

International Committee of the Red Cross
Public Information Division
19 avenue de la Paix
CH 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
webmaster.gva at gwn.icrc.org
Fax: ++ 41 (22) 733 20 57

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                  DANGEROUS COMPUTER VIRUSES

PAT BUCHANAN VIRUS: Your system works fine, but it complains
loudly about foreign software; inexplicably defends slavery and
laughs like a wounded animal.

O.J. SIMPSON VIRUS: You know it's guilty but your anti-virus
program is too stupid to understand the scientific evidence.

NEWT GINGRICH VIRUS: It divorced it's wife virus on her cancer
bed, failed to pay child-support, and now lectures your system
about "family values."

BOB DOLE VIRUS: Could be virulent, but it's so old you secretly
hope it will self-destruct, because you really don't want to
support the Bill Clinton virus.

BILL CLINTON VIRUS:  Perceived as being liberal (but not by
liberals).  This virus will tell you what you want to hear and
then do the opposite.  It apparently is sociopathic...doing
whatever it takes to replicate itself.

BORIS YELTSIN VIRUS:  Erratic to the point of appearing drunk.
This virus cloaks itself in the image of democracy but actually
ruins your system like a dictator.

NIKE VIRUS: Ships your files to countries where child labor can
keep track of them.

KATHY LEE GIFFORD VIRUS:  Almost identical to the Nike Virus,
only it cries and whines when discovered.

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       EXPLOSION AND FIRE AT POINT BEACH NUCLEAR PLANT

Loading of spent nuclear fuel into dry storage containers was
suspended at the Point Beach, Wisconsin, USA  Nuclear Plant
following an explosion during a welding procedure May 28, 1996.
According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(NRC) initial report, at 2:45 am on May 28th, an unidentified gas
ignited inside a fully-loaded cask of nuclear waste containing 14
tons of spent fuel rods, causing an explosion.  The explosion
occurred just prior to the welding of the 9 inch thick cask lid
that weighs about 4,400 pounds.  The explosion inside the cask
lifted the 2 ton lid, leaving it tipped at an angle with one edge
1 inch higher than normal.  There were no injuries.

The NRC has suspended further loading of nuclear waste casks
until it can determine the cause of the accident and whether any
spent fuel rods were damaged by the explosion.  Each 18 foot high
cask is loaded with 14 tons of radioactive waste, including 170
pounds of plutonium.  Each loaded silo contains the equivalent
radioactivity of 240 Hiroshima-type explosions.  According to
U.S. guidelines, the waste must be kept safe for 10,000 years.

The explosion confirms environmental groups' concerns that the
VSC-24 dry cask storage system has not been sufficiently reviewed
to protect public health and the environment.  This radioactive
waste storage explosion demonstrates the real threat to the Great
Lakes ecosystem.

For more information contact:
Eleanor Roemer, Lake Michigan Federation, (312) 939-0838.

Reposted from GREAT LAKES UNITED  Little Zeros Watch #2 Week of
May 31, 1996.  Little Zeros Watch is a bi-weekly publication of
Great Lakes United's Clean Production Task Force.  The Task Force
is committed to encouraging and promoting citizen-initiated
efforts to achieve zero discharge of persistent toxic chemicals.
Contact Scott Sederstrom at(313) 998-0760, or fax him at (313)
998-0821 to get your issue covered.

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      STREET CHILDREN MURDERED IN GUATEMALA AND HONDURAS

WITNESS, a project of the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights
provides the following report.
nyc at lchr.org
http://witness.org

According to Casa Alianza, street children are being kidnaped,
tortured, jailed, and murdered in Guatemala and Honduras. These
unconscionable crimes are seemingly condoned by the state
governments.  The following was taken from Casa Alianza's recent
report on street children:

GUATEMALA:

In Guatemala, the major perpetrators torturing and murdering
street children are uniformed officers of the Guatemala
security forces and the national police.  These street children,
parentless, homeless, often resorting to prostitution or theft,
are easy targets. Bodies of murdered children are found with
grotesque wounds created by unspeakable tortures.

The tragic case of Nahaman Carmon Lopez is typical of the plight
of the defenseless street children. Late one night, a group of 10
street children were standing on a street corner sniffing glue --
something street children often do to forget their hunger and the
cold. Shortly after midnight four uniformed National Policemen
passing by noticed the children. One pulled out his gun and
ordered the children to stay where they were. Six escaped, four
did not. Nahaman was one of these unlucky four. The policemen
tortured the children by pouring the bags of plastic glue, toxic
liquid, over the heads and into the eyes of the children.
Nahaman, who was the eldest child at 13, tried to resist. Nahaman
was beaten by the four policeman and left lying on the street.
Nahaman was taken to a hospital by the other children.  Despite
the doctors' efforts, Nahaman died ten days later with 6 broken
ribs, bruising over 60% of his body, and a ruptured liver.

The older children are also defenseless against these attacks. A
group of boys aged 15-20 were picked up in a parking lot by four
armed members of the National Police in a truck. They were
handcuffed and taken away.  Several days later their mutilated
bodies were found in a remote area outside Guatemala City. Their
eyes had been burned out, their ears and tongues were severed,
and some of the boys' bodies revealed burns created by boiling
liquid having been poured over their body parts. Each of the boys
had ultimately died by a shot to the back of the head. Casa
Alianza tried to sue the policeman involved in Guatemalan courts.
There was very damaging evidence to convict the policemen,
including evidence that the deadly bullets had been fired from
the guns of two of the National Policemen, but the Judge trying
the case did not admit this evidence. The four policeman were
found not guilty. Casa Alianza appealed this case to the
Guatemalan Supreme Court, but the decision was not reversed. In
the fall of 1995, Casa Alianza submitted pictorial evidence of
the boys' bodies to the United Nations Committee Against Torture,
and to the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IAHR). The
case is presently being investigated by the IAHR.

HONDURAS:

In contravention of the Honduran Constitution and international
law, minors are being kept in prisons with adult prisoners in
Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. These children are easy
targets of older adult prisoners. Two boys named Geovanny
Fransisco Jako ?) and his brother Carlos Enrique (also 17) were
arrested. No charges were laid, and there was no conviction. The
boys had been living with their mother. They were taken to a San
Pedro prison in the small town of Choloma, and were held together
with adult male prisoners who had been convicted of rape, murder
and theft.

Geovanny and his brother Carlos witnessed the physical and sexual
abuse of other boys by the adult male prisoners. Both brothers
were stabbed by an adult male prisoner, referred to as El Chino
Machete, during a verbal argument. Carlos died later that day as
a result of the stab wound. Three days later, Geovanny was
released.

Geovanny is now 19. He is back at home with his mother and is
struggling to support them. He told Bruce Harris of Casa Alianza:
"I miss my brother.  And it's even harder now...how can I earn
myself what the two of us used to earn together?"

CASA ALIANZA:

Casa Alianza is working to bring the murderers of hundreds of
street children to justice. They use their Witness cameras to
document evidence and testimonies. They then submit this
videotaped evidence to national courts, and international bodies
like the U.N. Committee Against Torture and the Inter American
Commission Against Human Rights.

Through their shelters and their work programs for street
children, Casa Alianza has helped thousands of street children in
Guatemala. Casa Alianza is using its Witness camera to record the
construction of new prisons in Honduras and is investigating the
torture of children illegally jailed with adults in the Honduran
Comayaguan jail in November 1995.


Casa Alianza asks that you please consider writing a letter to
help protect street children. Here is a sample letter:

URGENT ACTION

Lic. Alvaro Arzu
President of the Republic of Guatemala
Palacio Nacional
Cd de Guatemala, Guatemala
Central America

Dear President Arzu:

For the past six years, dozens of homeless street children have
been hunted down, beaten, often tortured and many murdered. The
principal perpetrators of these shameful acts have been uniformed
members of the National Police.

In June 1990, two National Policemen illegally kidnaped, tortured
and then murdered four street children in Guatemala City. They
later killed yet another boy -- shooting him in the back. Despite
irrefutable evidence, the two policemen were released by the
courts. This case is now before the InterAmerican Commission of
Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States.

I would like to insist upon your ordering an immediate
investigation into the torture and murder of street children by
the National Police and to prosecute the perpetrators to the full
extent of the law. I recognize that most of these attacks against
the children have not been committed during your Presidency, but
now that you have assumed such a position, I believe that it is
your responsibility to investigate, prosecute and condemn those
responsible for these hideous acts.

Yours sincerely,

YOUR NAME

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         FEMINIZATION OF POWER IN FRANCE AND INDIA

On June 6th, 1996, ten women politicians in France launched a
feminization of power campaign to increase the number of women in
politics through a constitutional amendment. Only 5.5 percent
France's National Assembly and 5.6 of its Senate (upper house)
are made up of women. While parliaments in 54 European nations
and North America had an average of 16 percent of seats
occupied by women in 1985, that number fell to 11 percent in
1994. Last May, French Prime Minister Alain Juppe named a record
12 women to his cabinet but later dismissed eight because he
said they lacked political clout. Juppe said he would consider
the idea of a national referendum on a constitutional revision,
but noted that the "Equality Watch" he set up last year was
studying the issue.

A recent opinion poll conducted for the weekly L'Express, which
also published the women politicians announcement, found that the
French people overwhelmingly support gender equity, with 77
percent in favor of rewriting the constitution to add the
principle of gender equity in politics and 82 percent in favor of
a national referendum to achieve political equality. Seventy-one
percent felt equality in general society would be aided by
equality in politics.

In India June 5th, 1996, the new coalition government said it
would reserve one third of all Parliament seats and a third of
all government jobs for women. It also announced it would review
laws to remove discrimination against women.

[Source: Reuters-June 6 , 1996; The New York Times-June 6, 1996]

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For those who have inquired:  We (Kim and Ray Goforth) spent
several years doing progressive political organizing work in
southern California.  We moved to Seattle, Washington, USA in
1988 where we took positions with different social service
agencies. In 1995, we both completed undergraduate degrees in
political-economy at The Evergreen State College.  We are
currently law students at the University of Washington.  Kim's
area of interest is women's and children's advocacy.  Ray's is
sustainable development and human rights.

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