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American Autrocities
6 years ago

Let me preface this by saying I love America most American people which are good people and The Constitution.

I hate American politicians who are abusive criminal low life people.
Remember America that gave Native people small pox infected blankets. Soldiers used as guiney pigs to test radiation exposure, flu viruses sprayed over SF etc. And syhphilis given to black men in Tustegee. That is where my story continues. I am disgusted, sad, and hate the bastards behind the killing of Guatemalan by troops trained by Americans and direct intentional infection of Men, Women and Children with syphilis.
Watch Guatemala - An American Genocide - September 1999 Syphilis Laboratory - Guatemala

8 years ago
Third-World Tech Innovator Jock Brandis
10 years ago

Struck by the raw, bleeding hands of women shelling peanuts by hand in Africa, Jock Brandis developed a “universal nut sheller.” Today, he shares that technology -- free of charge -- through the Full Belly Project.


On a visit to Mali to help a friend in the Peace Corps repair some village machinery, Jock Brandis, a Wilmington, N.C., TV and movie engineer, saw women bloodying their hands while manually shelling peanuts to feed their families.

Peanuts, Brandis knew, can be a great cash crop, improving soil by fixing nitrogen. Potentially, they could complement the nitrogen-depleting cotton the villagers were already growing for sale — but these sun-dried peanuts were too hard to shell by hand. Before leaving, Brandis promised the head of a local women's cooperative to ship her a sheller, figuring he'd find something on the Internet. But all he uncovered were diesel-guzzling behemoths — totally impractical in a poor village 300 miles from Timbuktu.

After considerable effort, Brandis devised an inexpensive, virtually indestructible machine that lets an operator shell nuts 40 times faster than by hand, cranking out 125 pounds per hour. The real beauty of Brandis's butter-churn-size concrete sheller is that it can be made anywhere, using a pair of fiberglass molds.

An estimated half-billion people rely on peanuts as their primary protein source. Brandis and some Peace Corps veterans have launched the nonprofit Full Belly Project, which is distributing the device to additional countries, including Ghana, Zambia and the Philippines. Next up: a pedal-operated sheller that Brandis is perfecting. "Two human legs," he says, "create eight times the power of one arm."


Galen Sampson and Chefs in the Making
10 years ago

Serving Up Second Chances to the Disenfranchised


"Heroin, cocaine, alcohol…whatever was on the table, I wanted it," recalls Baltimore native Tyrone Lewis, who struggled with drug addiction for most of his life.

His addictions made it impossible for him to hold a job very long. For a time, he was homeless.

"After a while you just feel … alone," says Lewis. "That made me want to give up. "

But that all changed when he met Galen Sampson, a five-star chef who offered Lewis the chance to join Chefs in the Making, a culinary training program that offers jobs and education to people who’ve been homeless, incarcerated or have struggled with addiction. For Lewis, it was the chance of a lifetime.

"He was offering me a free education," Lewis says. "What he was doing gave me hope."

For many years, hope has been in short supply in parts of Baltimore. While some areas have been revitalized, much of the city is plagued by crime, poverty and drugs. According to the Census Bureau, nearly 23 percent of residents live below the poverty line and the city has an estimated 60,000 addicts.

As a chef at one of Baltimore’s elite hotels, Sampson often saw his employees struggling with these problems in their own families. When he met his wife, Bridget, a writer who ran literacy programs in the city, he got involved with her work and wanted to do more.

"I was a chef; that’s what I was good at," Sampson recalls. "How could I apply what I did to help?"

Sampson had always dreamed of having his own restaurant. So in 2005, he and Bridget decided to create a socially responsible business that could address some of Baltimore’s problems. They decided that part of their restaurant would be a training program, and Chefs in the Making was born.

In many respects, Chefs in the Making is run like any other culinary school. Apprentices take classes four hours a week and the rest of the time, they work at The Dogwood, Sampson’s restaurant, which also includes a deli and catering business. Students not only earn a living and learn a trade, but they also build a job history.

The program has partnered with other programs to give apprentices additional support; there’s even a counselor on staff who meets with them every couple of weeks. For Tyrone Lewis, the restaurant itself is a refuge.

"Here there are no secrets," Lewis says. "Most of us just know we are people who are trying to get our lives back together. "

Sampson admits this unorthodox approach had its skeptics.

"A lot of people think we’re crazy. We’ve pretty much put everything that we have into this project," he says.

But for Sampson, it’s well worth the risk.

"To see what our apprentices have been able to do here has been very rewarding. I think we’re setting the foundation for something good," he says.

In 2008, Chefs in the Making intends to provide training/jobs to more than 30 people. Apprentices make up about 25 percent of the restaurant staff and Lewis’ own situation suggests what potential the program has to change lives.

"Ten years from now, I see myself owning a home, maybe owning my own business," he says.

It’s a future that he wouldn’t have dreamed was possible before meeting Sampson.

"A lot of people say they want to help," says Lewis. "Galen actually makes a difference."

10 years ago

We must not forget that he is not frozen in some world waiting for this day when he is free to begin his life. He is living his life right now!
There are many ways to define free. There are many committees that have formed to free Leonard’s body from the prison. Yet, we can also work to give him ways to free his mind from his prison every chance he gets. To free his heart from much of the pain that keeps him up at night. To free his soul from worry about things we can control. We can do all this by taking a serious look at the day to day rules and regulations that control his life. Can he practice his ceremonies? Can he buy his art supplies? Can he get the best quality of food available within the prison? Does he have the medical supplies needed? Is he protected by the knowledge that we will stand by him if they harm him in anyway? Is his cell full of letters from us telling him that we are there with him in the fight? If not, then we are failing him. Not the government but us.
We buy the shirts and bumper stickers. We post the banners on our myspace page. These are all great but what is he doing right this moment? What is in his heart that he needs? These are things we can control! We can’t forget that this is a real person that wakes up everyday and is behind bars. How can we make each step of that day better? We can write him and let him know that he is not forgotten. We can send Commissary to him! Not to some group but directly to him! He should never have to think about being able to get the things he needs to have! If he has to think about wanting something that Commissary could buy but does not have the money, then we have failed him! Not the government but us! Facts are facts. If he wakes up and needs for anything that can exist within his prison walls then we are at fault for that!
Let’ s take a serious look at the possibilities of Commissary for Leonard and see how we can bring as much as possible to this man to increase his quality of life. This is a system we can control. Let us show him the honor that he deserves!!! Let us also explore what else is possible within the system to send him?

Send Cards and Letters:
Leonard Peltier
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837-1000

Q: How do I send funds to Leonard?
A: In 1930, the Department of Justice authorized and established a Commissary at each Federal institution. The Commissary was created to provide a bank type account for inmate monies and for the procurement of articles not regularly issued as part of the institution administration. The purpose of individual inmate Commissary accounts is to allow the Bureau of Prisons to maintain inmates' monies while they are incarcerated. Family, friends, or other sources may deposit funds into these accounts.
Funds may be sent to Leonard via the United States Postal Service or via the Western Union Quick Collect Program.
U.S. Postal Service

Leonard's family members and friends choosing to send funds through the mail must send those funds to the following address and in accordance with the directions provided below:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Leonard Peltier
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

Leonard can only receive letters, cards, postcards, photos (not polaroid), and postal money orders for his commissary account.
Leonard can not receive gifts or cds. Books/magazines must be sent from a bookstore. Newspaper articles are not allowed however xerox copies of the articles are allowed.
He loves to hear from all of you!!!. Write! Write often! He will respond as he has time and materials.

The deposit must be in the form of a money order made out to to: Leonard Peltier #89637-132. The Bureau of Prisons will return funds that do not have valid inmate information to the sender provided the envelope has an adequate return address. Personal checks and cash can not be accepted for deposit.
The sender's name and return address must appear on the upper left hand corner of the envelope to ensure that the funds can be returned to the sender in the event that they can not be posted to the inmate's account. The deposit envelope must not contain any items intended for delivery to the inmate. The Bureau of Prisons shall dispose of all items included with the funds.
In the event funds have been mailed but have not been received in the inmate's account and adequate time has passed for mail service to Des Moines, Iowa, the sender must initiate a tracer with the entity who sold them the money order to resolve any issues.
Western Union Quick Collect Program

You also may send funds to Leonard through Western Union's Quick Collect Program. All funds sent via Western Union's Quick Collect will be posted to Leonard's account within two to four hours, when those funds are sent between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST (seven days per week, including holidays). Funds received after 9:00 pm EST will be posted by 7:00 am EST the following morning. Funds sent through the Quick Collect Program may be sent via one of the following ways:
1) At an agent location with cash: You must complete a Quick Collect Form. To find the nearest agent, they may call 1-800-325-6000 or go to www. westernunion. com.
2) By phone using a credit/debit card: Simply call 1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.
3) Via the Internet using a credit/debit card:
Go to www. westernunion. com and select "Quick Collect".
For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following information must be provided:
• Valid Inmate Eight Digit Register Numbe

10 years ago
Cynthia S.

I have been working hard on a 1-woman art exhibit to represent aspects of human rights. My first pieces have been in regard to abuse, poverty & international neglect of children. I am currently working on pieces regarding the devaluation of women. Reading Bear's article on Nibal and the magazine cover has led me to dedicate my next series of pieces to some of the heroes of Human Rights--particularly the "Everyman", lesser-known ones, such as in this article. Anyone having ideas, with access to pictures I may use, please post in the next few months. Thanks all!

10 years ago

Nibal Thawabteh

When Nibal Thawabteh was searching for a cover subject for the debut issue of her newspaper, she hit on an idea that hardly seems novel, let alone contentious: the Palestinian Authority's First Lady, the wife of Mahmoud Abbas. But Thawabteh knew that publishing her photo would cause a firestorm. According to Thawabteh, Abbas's wife had never been shown in public before - and hasn't since. When friends and associates heard of her plan, they urged her not to go ahead, warning her that she could be endangering herself by taking an unpopular step. But she was not cowed. "I believe it's important to do this," she told them.Publishing the photograph indeed triggered a furious response. Thawabteh came under heavy criticism and received threatening phone calls. PA officials even contacted her to register their dissatisfaction. But to the feisty editor, short story writer and local politician, it was worth it, as it has been for the four years she has unmasked important issues - and been condemned for it - in her monthly publication Al Hal ,("The Situation"). While one might think that Thawabteh's desire to kick off Al Hal by featuring the PA's first lady came from her desire to empower other women, the single 34-year-old says that wasn't her main motivation. Instead, she explains, it stemmed "from our rights as Palestinians to see her. "Asserting rights, particularly free speech and democratic principles, has been a major preoccupation for Thawabteh. Before founding the newspaper, which routinely covers controversial topics such as honor killings and polygamy, she became the first woman to serve on the conservative Beit Fajjar Village Council. After being elected, she helped train and organize other women. More...

Good News Network: Individuals
11 years ago
I find this blog very inspiring
Thank you, Leagh, for bringing it to my attention

Muhammad Yunus - Project: Grameen Bank
12 years ago
2006 Nobel Peace Laureate

Location: Bangladesh, other services under the "Grameen Family of Organizations" operate worldwide.

Muhammad Yunus has had phenomenal success helping people lift themselves out of poverty in rural Bangladesh by providing them with credit without requiring collateral. Yunus developed his revolutionary micro-credit system with the belief that it would be a cost effective and scalable weapon to fight poverty.

Yunus told his story and that of the bank in the book "Banker to the Poor," co-authored by him and Alan Jolis. In the book, Yunus recalls that in 1974 he was teaching economics at a Chittagong University in southern Bangladesh, when the country experienced a terrible famine in which thousands starved to death.

"We tried to ignore it," he says. "But then skeleton-like people began showing up in the capital, Dhaka. Soon the trickle became a flood. Hungry people were everywhere. Often they sat so still that one could not be sure whether they were alive or dead. They all looked alike: men, women, children. Old people looked like children, and children looked like old people.

The thrill he had once experienced studying economics and teaching his students elegant economic theories that could supposedly cure societal problems soon left him entirely. As the famine worsened he began to dread his own lectures.

"Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me. How could I go on telling my students make believe stories in the name of economics? I needed to run away from these theories and from my textbooks and discover the real-life economics of a poor person's existence."

Yunus went to the nearby village of Jobra where he learned the economic realities of the poor. Yunus wanted to help, and he cooked up several plans working with his students. He found that one of his many ideas was more successful than the rest: offering people tiny loans for self-employment. Grameen Bank was born and an economic revolution had begun. More
12 years ago
A keen supporter of the scouting movement, Helvi Sipilä served as a member of the international committee of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and was also an adviser to new member states in the movement. In her actions she followed the motto: "Every scout is every scout's comrade". It was precisely the scouting spirit that made Sipilä into a leader who did not issue orders from above but walked the same path as her fellows and planned all her actions in collaboration with others and with consideration for the views of others. Sipilä realised that helping the individual also involves changing the world and that it was necessary to influence public opinion and national leaders in order to make the world wake up and take notice of the prevailing injustice, oppression and suffering.

It was in the scouting spirit that Helvi Sipilä served at the UN, where she made great contributions towards improving the status of women in particular. She refused to regard their inferior position as a problem in isolation, since women, children and men are bound together in the same society; but she nevertheless considered that women's rights were (and are) neglected in many societies. Since the subordinate position of women is a great obstacle to development, it is essential - for the sake of men and children as well - that women should be trusted and given the right to participate in decision-making, and that they should be granted general, recognised equality. Sipilä believes that change must start specifically with women.

Helvi Sipilä's work on behalf of women and men did not end with her term as a UN assistant secretary-general. She continued to play an active role as the chairwoman of the UN Women's Development Fund's Finnish association; instead of dealing with global-level issues, she now devoted herself to helping individual human beings through development aid. After her return to Finland Sipilä also took another step in opening to women the path to the top of the political hierarchy: in the presidential election of 1982, then still conducted by means of an electoral college, the National Liberal Party chose her as the first woman candidate ever to stand.

Author : Johanna Kekkonen

This post was modified from its original form on 26 Apr, 16:57
Helvi Sipilä (1915–)
12 years ago
Helvi Sipilä is the sort of person who understands changing times and the new attitudes and fresh challenges that they bring with them. When she announced the opening of her law firm on the front page of a daily newspaper in November 1943, she became the second woman in Finnish history to begin practising as a lawyer. Her additional voluntary work in the field of national and international co-operation led to ever more demanding duties, and in 1972 she was offered the position of an assistant secretary-general of the United Nations. Sipilä was the first woman to hold this important post, and she did so for almost ten years. After this she stood for the Finnish presidency in 1981 - another first for a woman. In short, it may be said that in her career Helvi Sipilä followed many new and challenging paths in the field of the enhancement and defence of women's rights.

Helvi Maukola was born in Helsinki in 1915, the daughter of Vilho Maukola, a wealthy farm owner, and Aleksandra Lucinda Manner. She grew up to be an independent and firm-minded woman who did not, however, lack the ability to take other people's feelings into consideration. If we bear a few facts in mind, we may better understand the decisiveness and strength shown by the young Helvi Maukola (Helvi Sipilä from 1939 onwards) as a pioneering female Law graduate. When she was awarded her Higher Law (Bachelor of Laws) certificate on 15 March 1939, she became Finland's thirty-eighth law graduate and, upon taking the oath two days later at the Turku Appeal Court, the eighteenth woman in Finland to begin practical training at an appeal court. Since this training occurred under exceptional conditions, she was awarded the title of Deputy Judge (Master of Laws) by the Appeal Court on 19 December 1941, being the sixteenth woman in Finland to gain this qualification. It was difficult for women to make a career in the law at a time when women Law graduates were a rarity and women judges were often regarded almost with suspicion. But Helvi Sipilä pushed ahead purposefully along the path that she had chosen.

Sipilä's period of court practice began in Hollola, the judicial district in which her home at Kärkölä was situated. It was marked by exceptional circumstances for the nation: on 3 September the Second World War broke out, and on 30 November the Winter War began for Finland. The peace concluded with the Soviet Union in March 1940 was a brief one, and Finland was driven into the Continuation War in June 1941. Sipilä and other female jurists constituted a significant labour reserve at the courts when men were forced to leave their civilian jobs. Sipilä was then working in a supernumerary capacity as a court clerk of the Hollola judicial district, and in these special circumstances, one action of the Turku Appeal Court was to assign her to sit as a judge at sessions lasting more than three weeks held in Helsinki Parish, which was then part of the Helsinki judicial district, and at the district courts of other municipalities in October 1941. This work was sufficient for Sipilä to be granted the title of Deputy Judge. Her 'war service' continued in the form of supernumerary posts at the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court.

It had, however, long been Helvi Sipilä's real dream to work as an attorney, and in November 1943 she opened her own office. For Sipilä this event had great significance: she was now a real lawyer, and her application for membership of the Finnish Lawyers' Association (Suomen asianajajaliitto) was accepted on 31 May 1946. Sipilä became involved in a number of voluntary activities in addition to her regular job. Her voluntary work for various national and international bodies led to ever more demanding tasks. Between 1960 and 1972 she represented Finland in a number of UN organisations. When an offer by the UN secretary-general to appoint her an assistant secretary-general followed, she felt unable, for the sake of her own country and the world in general, to say no to this position. She was obliged to leave her law office in Helsinki and to move abroad, first to New York and later to Vienna, for a period of more than nine years. Her name was, however, retained in the name of the firm, even though she ceased to own it in August 1972.

Her work as a lawyer had accustomed Helvi Sipilä to defending those in weak positions, and she now expanded her defensive role to cover the world economy and needy people in developing countries. As an assistant secretary-general, she was in charge of the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, which dealt, among other things, with women's issues and crime prevention. The major events during her period as an assistant secretary-general were the International Women's Year in 1975 and the first United Nations world conference for the advancement of women, of which she was the secretary-general.
Somaly Mam
12 years ago

Born in Cambodia, Somaly Mam fell into sexual slavery in her childhood. Beaten, raped and tortured as a child, at the age of 30 she became a spokeswoman for women and children tortured in the brothels of Cambodia. She, with her husband Pierre Legros, created the AFESIP (Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire) NGO in 1997 in Cambodia. Since then, this international NGO has developed in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Its goals are to save and socially reintegrate people who are victims of these kinds of hardships. Despite threats against her, Somaly Mam has been able to help thousands of young girls and teenagers who have been coerced into prostitution.

She has three children.

In 1998 she received the prestigeous Prince of Asturias Awards for International Cooperation, in the presence of Queen Sofia of Spain.

In 2006 she was one of the eight Olympic flag bearers at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Torino (Italy).

Shortly afterwards, her eldest daughter Ning, aged 14, was abducted and raped in Cambodia as retaliation for the humanitarian actions of her mother.

In October 2006 she was named a Glamour WOMAN OF THE YEAR at a presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her award was presented by Mariane Pearl, the journalist, who had been present in Cambodia at the time of the kidnapping of Somaly's daughter, and who reported on the incident for an article that subsequently appeared in Glamour.

Erin Brockovich
12 years ago
Erin grew up as the youngest of four children in a house where her father Frank was the disciplinarian—and also her hero.

Following graduation in 1980, 20-year-old Erin moved with a girlfriend to Newport Beach, California to find work, since her brother Tommy had also relocated there. Erin met Shawn Brown, her first husband, 1981 and they married 1982 and moved to Kansas City, 40 miles from Erin’s hometown. One year later she gave birth to Matthew, and to Kate 1984. When Shawn was transferred for work, the young family moved first to St. Louis, and then to Lodi, California.

The marriage wasn't good, and Erin started to get panic attacks 1985. A doctor concluded that it was anxiety, and when Shawn’s job uprooted the family again, Erin reached her breaking point. 1987 they divorced.

Erin knew she had to work, so she put her kids in day-care and took a secretarial job. By the spring of 1988, Erin started getting her life back on track. She also started dating her boss, a stockbroker named Steve Brockovich. The couple tied the knot in 1989. This marriage didn't work out either, even though Erin got breast implants to boost her self-confidence and later began showing signs of anorexia. During this difficult time in her marriage, Erin sought help from a therapist who put her on the road to recovery.

In May 1990, when she was just 29, Erin and Steve Brockovich divorced. Erin kept the last name Brockovich, only because she didn’t have the $675 to change back to her maiden name.

Then Erin found out that she was pregnant with Steve’s child and she decided to keep it. Just four months into her pregnancy, Erin had a major car accident. Because of her pregnancy, no X-rays or MRI’s were taken, and no one realized that Erin had herniated her spinal cord. Moving a mere inch caused Erin excruciating pain. So - she was divorced, single mom, pregnant, in pain and with no job...

In early 1991, Erin gave birth to her third child, Elizabeth. That summer, Erin took a short trip to Los Angeles with a friend. There she fell for Jorge Halaby, a biker, and she made an impulsive decision to move back to California.

Once Erin and the kids were settled in L.A., Jorge introduced Erin to attorney Jim Vititoe, of the law firm, Masry & Vititoe. Vititoe filed a lawsuit on Erin’s behalf and helped her get the neck surgery she desperately needed. During Erin’s recovery, Jorge moved in and helped care for the kids.

The settlement from Erin’s accident lawsuit provided less than she had expected, and her father suggested that she return home. But Erin refused to be defeated. Desperately in need of a job, Erin contacted the one place she felt owed her the chance to prove herself– the law firm of Masry and Vititoe.

In August of 1992, 32-year-old Erin started at Masry and Vititoe answering phones for $300 a week. Though her sexy attire set her apart from most others in the office, Erin showed she was an asset to the firm when boss Ed Masry came to her with a real-estate pro bono case that needed filing. On the surface, the case concerned Pacific Gas & Electric’s interest in buying a family residence in Hinkley, California—but Erin began to dig deeper when she noticed there were blood samples mixed in with the real estate files.

Though she had no formal legal training, Erin’s instincts kicked into gear, and she asked Masry if she could investigate the case further. What Erin discovered was that Pacific Gas & Electric had allowed the leakage of a contaminant called Chromium 6 into the well-water of Hinkley, California for over 30 years. Several residents of this small desert community were suffering from ailments ranging from chronic nosebleeds to cancer.

A combination of her feisty spirit and sex appeal gave Erin access to places where others had been denied. As she toiled to build evidence on the case, Erin and Ed Masry formed an unlikely, yet unbreakable, bond. Erin also formed close relationships with several of the residents of Hinkley.

Erin was relentless in her search for the truth, and the personal sacrifices she made were enormous. By now her romance with Jorge, the biker, had cooled. Yet the law firm employed him for several years as the children’s live-in nanny so Erin could commit herself fully to the Hinkley case. Erin’s persistence paid off, and in 1993, 634 Hinkley residents hired Masry & Vititoe to sue PG&E.

After nearly four years in arbitration, the Hinkley case was settled behind closed doors for $333 million—the largest direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history. The underdog, dyslexic girl from Kansas, who doubted she would amount to much in life, had brought a multi-billion-dollar corporation to its knees.

Erin Brockovich's homepage
Mechai Viravaidya
12 years ago
Flagging Efforts

Over recent years, Thailand's AIDS treatment and prevention budgets have shrunk. In 2000, the total amount dedicated to HIV/AIDS programs from all sources was just $65 million. According to the Health Ministry, in 2002 the HIV infection rate among teenagers rose from 11 percent to 17 percent.

"Some people wondered whether the success that occurred in some countries, including Thailand, would last," Mechai tells FRONTLINE. "And I would say that's a very relevant question because champions can always get knocked out." He has criticized the new Thai government for becoming complacent, and he is stepping back into the fight.

In 2005, Thailand launched the Citizen AIDS Assembly, under Mechai's direction. It holds meetings in every village to report on the local issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. The villages then report to the districts, which report to the provinces, and so on up to the national level. The idea is to keep an open dialogue between the government and the people and to make the county's leaders aware of exactly what work needs to be done.

Mechai also developed the "Positive Partnerships" program. This model of micro-economics grants a small loan to an HIV-positive person with an HIV-negative business partner. Mechai's philosophy is that charity alone is not the answer. He believes developing countries need to use their own resources to fight the epidemic, because assistance from the outside world will eventually run out. "Mother's milk will not last forever," he says.

Thailand's successes and failures highlight key requirements in the battle against HIV/AIDS: open-minded, frank education; political will; financial commitment; and strong leadership. As former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun responded when asked why Thailand has been relatively successful in its fight against AIDS:"We had a Mechai."

Mechai Viravaidya
12 years ago
Thailand: One Person Made a Difference

The relatively few success stories about HIV/AIDS seem to have one thing in common: a dynamic individual who rose to the challenge. For Thailand, that person was Mechai Viravaidya, known as "The Condom King." In Thailand's battle against AIDS, where Mechai appeared, success followed.

Thailand's first cases of AIDS surfaced in the mid-1980s among sex workers. Mechai quickly understood the challenge Thailand confronted; he had been working in family planning since the 1970s and had become famous for his frank approach to sex education. "You can't be embarrassed about a piece of rubber," he says. Many Thai dishes contain cabbage, so Mechai opened a restaurant called "Cabbages and Condoms" with the goal to make the condom as common as the cabbage. The word "Mechai" eventually became slang for condom in Thailand.

But when Mechai tried to mobilize the government to combat AIDS he met resistance. Many believed HIV was a disease of foreigners and it wouldn't become a national problem. However, in 1989, 44 percent of sex workers in the northern town of Chiang Mai were found to be infected with HIV. The virus spread from sex workers to their clients, and from there into the general population.

Mechai took matters into his own hands and went to the military. He found an ally in General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh who controlled 126 military-run radio stations and two of the country's five television networks. Chavalit agreed to make military stations available for an anti-AIDS campaign. He also agreed to help Mechai spearhead a three-year blitz to halt the spread of the disease.

Political commitment

In 1991, Mechai's old friend Anand Panyarachun was appointed prime minister following a coup. Over the years, during golf games and social gatherings, the two friends had discussed Mechai's worries about AIDS. Anand asked Mechai to join his cabinet as the minister of tourism. Although many fellow cabinet members and Thai businessman worried that acknowledging a problem with AIDS would hurt tourism, Mechai argued that dealing frankly with the epidemic would be good for the industry. He conducted a survey of tourists and found that 77 percent would be more comfortable traveling to Thailand if they knew that the government was working on tackling the AIDS epidemic.

Mechai also encouraged Anand to move the AIDS office to the prime minister's office and insisted Anand himself chair the country's national AIDS committee. From 1992 to 1996, the national AIDS program received dramatic increases in funding, with the government providing more than $80 million annually by 1996.

Together Mechai and Anand began what became known as the"100 Percent Condom Campaign." Brothels around Bangkok posted signs reading "No condom, no sex, no refund." Mechai's "Miss Condom" travelled the country holding condom-blowing competitions, and his "Condom Brigade" passed out condoms at every possible location. Police officers were involved in a "Cops and Rubbers" campaign, and sex education infiltrated every level of Thai society in a fun and informative way.

Combating Stigma

The condom campaign was extremely successful in lowering the rates of new infections through the urban sex industry. But in rural areas, stigma was still a huge problem. The government developed a second "National Plan for Prevention and Alleviation of the AIDS Problem," which covered the period from 1997 to 2001. It maintained the previous effective programs, while adopting a more holistic approach, including mobilizing and involving people living with HIV/AIDS. Mechai traveled the country appearing at schools and village halls with HIV-positive people. He would stand on stage and deliberately drink from the same spot on a glass as his HIV-positive colleagues, dispelling myths about transmission through casual contact.

Mechai also encouraged parents and teachers to allow children to receive AIDS education. He would tell them:"In your life there will come a fork in the road and both forks lead to flowers. One event for flowers is graduation. The other is the funeral of your child. You decide which road you want to take. If you want to take the first road then you'd better listen to me about HIV/AIDS, educate your staff, educate your kids and let it be done in school."

The overlooked population

While Mechai was focusing on his area of expertise, another burgeoning part of the epidemic was virtually ignored -- the spread of HIV among injecting drug users. HIV prevalence in this group ranges as high as 51 percent in Bangkok and the central region.

Drug use is generally socially unacceptable, but in Thailand drug users are not only ostracized. In 2003, nearly 3,000 people were reportedly killed by police when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra launched a war on drugs. A report by Human Rights Watch claims that thousands more were arrested and that the highest levels of government endorsed extreme violence. The report states:"In the process, Thailand's fight against HIV/AIDS, for which it has received international praise, has been severely undermined by a climate of fear that has driven injection drug users, in particular, underground."

Walid Shoebat
12 years ago
Walid Shoebat

Born in Bethlehem of Judea, Walid's grandfather was the Muslim Mukhtar (chieftain) of Beit Sahour-Bethlehem (The Shepherd's Fields) and a friend of Haj-Ameen Al-Husseni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and notorious friend of Adolf Hitler.

Walid's great grandfather, Abdullah Ali Awad-Allah, was also a fighter and close associate of both Abdul Qader and Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who led the Palestinians against Israel. Walid lived through and witnessed Israel’s Six Day War while living in Jericho.

As a young man, he became a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and participated in acts of terror and violence against Israel, and was later imprisoned in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem's central prison for incitement and violence against Israel.

After his release, he continued his life of violence and rioting in Bethlehem and the Temple Mount. After entering the U.S, he worked as a counselor for the Arab Student Organization at Loop College in Chicago and continued his anti-Israel activities.

In 1993, Walid studied the Tanach (Jewish Bible) in a challenge to convert his wife to Islam. Six months later, after intense study, Walid realized that everything he had been taught about Jews was a lie. Convinced he was on the side of evil, he became an advocate for his former enemy.

Driven by a deep passion to heal his own soul, and to bring the truth about the Jews and Israel to the world, Walid shed his former life and his work as a software engineer and set out to tirelessly bring the cause of Israel to tens of thousands of people throughout the world: churches and synagogues, civic groups, government leaders and media.

Walid has written several online books including "Dear Muslim, Let Me Tell You Why I Believed" and "Israel, And The World's Mock Trial”, where he exposes anti-Semitism and the hatred of Jews in both the Islamic Christian and secular worlds.

Walid is an American citizen and lives in the USA with his wife and children, under this assumed name.

“When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out”

"The Holocaust never ended but the victims have decided to defend themselves”

“The occupation is in the minds of Children who are taught hatred.”

“Israel was the solution for the world’s greatest refugee problem that went on for two thousand years”

“Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”

“When I finally realized the lies and myths I was taught, it is my duty as a righteous person to speak out”

“The Israeli Arab Conflict is not about geography but about Jew hatred; Throughout the Islamic as well as Christendom's history Jews have been persecuted, the persecution of Israel is just the same as the old antisemitism.”

“The Arab refugees are being used as pawns' to create a terror breeding ground, as a form of aggression against Israel”

“The Arab refugee problem was caused by Arab aggression and not Israel. Why should Israel be responsible for their fate?”

"No one (Arab or Jew) has a "right of return". Jews who fled Arab persecution from 1948 to 1956 should have no right of return to Arab lands, and Arabs who ran away in 1948 and 1967 should have no right of return either. This should end all argument. Yet the Jews accept this judgment, while the Arabs reject EVERYTHING."

-- When an Arab Awakens
12 years ago
Howard Zinn
Historian and social justice activist. His most famous book is A People's History of the United States. Some of his essays are collected in the Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy.

John Muir
One of the founders of the environmentalist movement; first President of Sierra Club.

Rachel Carson
Exposed how chemicals used in agriculture were polluting the water supply and ourselves.

Julia Butterfly Hill
Environmental activist; founder of Circle of Life Foundation. Wrote book on social activism, One Makes A Difference: Inspiring Actions That Change a World.

Wilma Mankiller
The first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Advocate for the Cherokee Nation; established the Cherokee Community Development Department.

Bono (Paul Hewson)
Singer/songwriter and social activist. Has lobbied for Third World debt relief, human rights, and the environment.     

Naomi Klein
Activist journalist; her award-winning book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, highlighted the far-reaching impact of global corporations on culture and poverty.           

Dennis Banks
Native American leader, activist, teacher, lecturer, and author. He founded the Sacred Run and co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM).
More suggestions :-)
12 years ago
Some Important Persons Dedicated to the Pursuit of Social Justice

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil Rights Leader
1964 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Mahatma Gandhi
Spiritual and political leader for India's independence from Britain through nonviolent protest.

Nelson Mandela
Resisted South African apartheid (imprisoned, 1962-1982); President of South Africa (1994-1999).
1993 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Nonviolent activist for democracy and human rights in Myanmar (Burma). Under house arrest since 1990.
1991 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Human Rights Activist for Rights of Indigenous Peoples
1992 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama
Spiritual Leader of the Tibetan people
1989 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Abraham Lincoln
(1809- 1865)
16th President of the United States; issued Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that declared the freedom of slaves.    

Frederick Douglass
Escaped slavery and became prominent activist for abolition of slavery and for the civil rights of all oppressed people.    

Rosa Parks
Civil rights activist who challenged racial segregation in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white man.

Susan B. Anthony
Social activist who lobbied against slavery and for women's rights. She is most notably known for her involvement in suffragist movement (women's right to vote).

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Pioneer with Susan Anthony in women's rights movement.

Jane Addams
Pioneer social worker and feminist.
1931 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Simone de Beauvoir
Philosopher and social essayist.
Her 1959 book, The Second Sex, had an important impact on 20th Century feminism.    

Betty Friedan
Feminist activist; co-founder of National Organization for Women (NOW). Wrote influential 1963 book The Feminine Mystique.

Patsy Mink
Feminist activist, first Asian-American woman as well as woman of color to be elected to Congress. A leader in the passage of Title IX and named NOW Woman of Vision in June, 2002.

Gloria Steinem
Contemporary feminist activist; founding editor Ms. Magazine.

Maya Angelou
Author, civil-rights activist, and feminist. Confronts themes of racism and classism in her writings and speeches.

Marian Wright Edelman
Founder of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), which advocates for rights of children.

Russell Means
Activist for Native American rights; first national director of American Indian Movement (AIM).

Cesar Chavez
Farm worker rights organizer; founded United Farm Workers (UFW).

Malcolm X
Activist for African American pride and empowerment.

Elie Wiesel
Jewish Holocaust survivor and advocate for peace.
1986 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu)
Devoted life to working among the poorest of the poor.
1979 Recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Amartya Sen
Economist whose work has helped understand world poverty and famine.
1998 Recipient of Nobel Prize in Economics.

Ralph Nader
Consumer advocate, environmentalist, critic of corporate abuse; founder of Public Interest Research Group (PIRG);

Jesse Jackson
Civil rights activist and religious leader; founder of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), now known as the Rainbow/Push Coalition (RPC).

Noam Chomsky
Equally famous in linguistics and politics. Has been a critic of abuses of power by government and corporations. Two of his notable books include Manufacturing Consent and Deterring Democracy.

Ronald Takaki
Historian who has addressed dilemmas of race and ethnicity in the U.S. Some of his influential books include Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th Century America; Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans; and A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America.    

Harvey Milk
First openly gay man elected to public office in U.S. (San Francisco City Council, 1977); assassinated in 1978.

Audre Lorde
Poet; activist for gay and lesbian rights; advocate for celebration of African American culture.

Eleanor Roosevelt
First Lady of the United States (1933-1945); head of U.N. Human Rights Commission that drafts Declaration of Human Rights (1946-1947); civil rights and human rights activist.

Frances Fox Piven
Political scientist whose work has addressed the role of welfare as a form of political and economic control over the poor and the working class. Two of her notable books include Regulating the Poor and Why Americans Don't Vote.    

Suggestions ;-)
13 years ago
What about Helvi Sipilä?

Would Aung San Suu Kyi do?

What about the other Nobel Peace Prize winners?

What about Zelim Skurbaty?

Is anyone else interested of this topic, or do we let it just die? Would you like to learn more of someone you appreciate? G.W.Bush? Is there someone whom you most definately would not like to see here?

13 years ago
In January 2006, Hirsi Ali used her acceptance speech for the Reader's Digest "European of the Year" award to urge action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and saying that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be taken at his word in wanting to organize a conference to investigate objective evidence of the Holocaust; "Before I came to Europe, I'd never heard of the Holocaust. That is the case with millions of people in the Middle East. Such a conference should be able to convince many people away from their denial of the genocide against the Jews." She also said that "so-called Western values" of freedom and justice are universal; that Europe has done far better than most areas of the world at providing justice, because it has guaranteed the freedom of thought and debate that are required for critical self-examination; and that communities cannot reform themselves unless "scrupulous investigation of every former and current doctrine is possible."

In a speech in Berlin in early February 2006, Hirsi said it was "correct to publish the Mohammad cartoons" and that the furore over the cartoons had exposed the fear among artists and journalists in Europe to "analyse or criticise intolerant aspects of Islam"

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
13 years ago

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia. Because her father, Hirsi Magan Isse, was an opponent of Siyad Barre her family was forced to flee the country. They fled to Saudi Arabia, later moving to Ethiopia and then to Kenya where she attended high school. In 1992, after being forced into an arranged marriage with a distant cousin in Canada, she did not catch her connecting flight at Frankfurt, Germany and took a train to the Netherlands instead. In the Netherlands she received a residence permit on humanitarian grounds (even though she had landed in Germany and under EU rules should have applied for asylum there) and later citizenship. In an interview in the New York Times Magazine she also said that she gave a false date of birth to the Dutch immigration authorities and told them her name was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, while her real name was Ayaan Hirsi Magan.

She attended the Nairobi Muslim Girls Secondary School in Kenya. Here, she was influenced by her teacher, Sister Aziza, who was an Islamic radical. Hirsi Ali has said that she and other students wanted to become martyrs in the struggle against Sadam Hussein's Iraq, which had invaded the Islamic Republic of Iran with Western support. At the time, Hirsi Ali wore a long and full headscarf, or hijab. For a while, Hirsi Ali was also a sympathizer of the extremist group Muslim Brotherhood.

She studied political science (MA) at Leiden University and after graduation became a scholar at the Wiardi Beckman Foundation, the scientific bureau of the labour party PvdA. Her research there focused on the integration of foreign, mostly Muslim, women into Dutch society.

For many years she worked as a translator and interpreter, mainly for the Dutch justice and immigration departments.

This research gave her strong opinions on the topic, resulting in a break with the PvdA. Her opinion was that there was not enough room or support within the PvdA for criticism of the negative consequences of certain socio-cultural aspects of migrant communities and Islam. In her book, De zoontjesfabriek (The Son Factory), she criticized traditional Islamic views on the position of women in society. The book also criticized certain cultural traditions such as female circumcision, which is common in Somalia, Egypt, and some other African nations. Furthermore, in 2004 she called for the medically unnecessary circumcision of boys to be outlawed, a request rejected by the Dutch government.

The Dutch (Liberal) VVD party adopted Hirsi Ali as a candidate for Parliament. She has called the opportunity offered by the VVD to become a member of the Lower House, thus allowing her to put forth ideas in Parliament, an important factor in her decision to change from social democrat to liberal.

After the publication of her book, Hirsi Ali received a number of death threats. As a result Hirsi Ali receives permanent police protection and personal bodyguards. In February 2005 she revealed that she had been housed at a military base in Amsterdam, with which she was fed up. The government found her a new secure home, the location of which has been kept secret.

In an interview with the daily paper Trouw (Saturday 25 July 2003), she said of the Islamic prophet Muhammad: "Measured by our western standards, he is a pervert. A tyrant." This referred to Muhammad's marriage to Aisha when she was allegedly nine years-old. (Some sources give her age as young as six or as old as fourteen. According to hadiths, she was six at the time of marriage and nine when the marriage was consummated.) Several Islamic organizations and individual Muslims filed charges for discrimination. However, Hirsi Ali was not prosecuted. According to the prosecutor, her criticism "does not contain any conclusions with regard to Muslims, and the worthiness of them as a group is not denied." In spite of this, even members of her own party questioned whether those specific remarks were helpful.

In 2004, together with controversial Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, she made the film Submission about the oppression of women in Islamic cultures. The title refers to Islam, which means "submission to God," and was heavily criticized by Dutch Muslims, who found it disgraceful and blasphemous. The movie shows nude or semi-nude women with texts from the Qur'an projected on their bodies. Van Gogh received numerous death threats after the film was released, and was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri, a radical Muslim, on November 2, 2004. A letter pinned to his chest with a knife was primarily addressed to Hirsi Ali.

In 2005, she was included in the Time Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Many Dutch, mainly leftwing, intellectuals accuse her of poisoning the political atmosphere of the Netherlands against Muslims. They claim that she is contributing to the very cause she claims to be fighting against.
Johan Galtung - the father of peace studies
13 years ago
Originally posted by
Ketutar has received 171 new, 2076 total stars from Care2 membersKetutar has been awarded 78 butterflies for taking action at Care2 Ketutar G. on October 21, 2005 6:48 PM
"This man is one of my ideals"

He was born 1930 in Norway and he has worked for peace all his life. He is a real Peace Mediator and has worked in the difficult places, like China-Tibet and Israel-Palestine. He wrote the United Nations' manual for peace workers and he continues to advise UN agencies on peace issues. He is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Hawaii and at other centres of learning, and he is the founder and director of the organization "Transcend", which is an organization promoting conflict resolution by non-violent means.

Here's a video link, , if you wish to hear him speak about his chief concerns in the world today.
He is Norwegian and has a slight accent, but he speaks calmly and clearly, so it shouldn't be a problem.

I find it comforting, encouraging and calming in this world of chaos... there are people out there like Johan Galtung. He makes me happy

He won the Right Livelihood Prize 1987

Some more links about him

Peace and International Co-operation

And it might be a positive experience in all these atrocities to stay a little longer in these websites and look around

Hugs, and peace to all

Human Rights Activists
13 years ago
| Human Rights Activists
To inject a little inspiration into the Group and put the spotlight on what is positive in regards to Human Rights, Democracy and Peace I will post a post or two about a specific person weekly. The people in this thread are actively working for Human Rights, Democracy and Peace in different areas of the World, they come from all creeds and all backgrounds. Comments are welcome. But in this thread it is of utmost importance that we stay on Topic. Suggestions of People to post about are welcome, please drop me a line using my Contact link or my email: cubsaver at

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