Blood Along the Border: Environmental Activism and Violence in Juarez, Mexico

Saul Reyes Salazar is a man who understands loss. In January 2010, his sister Josefina was shot in the head, following a botched kidnapping in their hometown of Guadalupe los Bravos, across the border bridge from Tornillo, Texas. She was, at the time, one of the best-known activists in the Juarez Valley, the agricultural region that follows the Rio Grande river east of Ciudad Juarez.

No Picture

What the UN Owes Haiti

Source: The Nation

I contracted cholera by the breezy beaches of Port Salut, Haiti, while attempting to escape a burnout, a broken heart and the lingering pangs of Dengue fever. Cholera’s not a whole lot different from food poisoning, and it’s no big deal if you’ve got a clean toilet, potable water, know how to treat it and aren’t malnourished.

But in Haiti, where there is no sewage system, and where access to water and sanitation is mostly privatized, cholera has been a death sentence: more than 8,000 people have died and 640,000 (and counting) made ill since the South Asian strain was imported, likely by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal in October 2010, according to a host of scientific studies. It is now the worst cholera epidemic in modern history. read more

Farmers and Consumers V. Monsanto: David Meet Goliath

Bordering an interstate highway in Arkansas, a giant billboard with a photo of a stoic-looking farmer watches over the speeding traffic. He’s staring into the distance against the backdrop of a glowing wheat field, with the caption “America’s Farmers Grow America.” It’s an image to melt all our pastoral hearts. Until we read the small print in the corner: “Monsanto.”

No Picture

Coming Out as an Activist

Source: Waging Nonviolence

I trudged down the side of the road carrying a small sign: “I am waiting for YOU to shut down Guantanamo.” We were marching toward the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., on Good Friday. I was grateful for the orange jumpsuit that added a layer of warmth and the black hood that blurred my sight. Not because I like not seeing, but because it was nice to not be seen. Not just yet.

This is not my normal M.O. at demonstrations. I like to be out and about; I like the give and take with passers-by. In New York City, where I was an activist with the War Resisters League and Witness Against Torture for 12 years, I often opted to pass out leaflets or hold a lead sign. I even honed an outgoing, chatty, aw-shucks persona that helped me greet everyone with enthusiasm and openness. read more