Global issues March 2011 USA


Arizona is an unique state with distinct politics. It is a far right wing state that makes the Deep South look liberal by comparison. It seems unlikely that the politics will change anytime soon. The residents are conservative. The Republican Party of Arizona is not only one of the most far right in the country but enjoys practically a one party dictatorship over state politics. Baring an influx of progressive voters moving into the state it appears that only outside pressure will force the needed political changes to bring Arizona at least to the 1970s rather than the 1870s.

To facilitate political change will require a two prong strategy. The first strategy is to mobilise mass protests and marches defending the political and legal rights of immigrants as well as the civil rights of Hispanic American citizens. The second strategy entails organising an economic boycott of the state. These pressure tactics are the only way to to facilitate needed political and social change to the State of Arizona.

Just as many Northerners organised Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate bus travel and joined on the Freedom marches in Alabama and Mississippi during the 1960s, Americans from all over the nation must organise a mass protest rally and march in the state of Arizona. In addition, Americans from other states must confront the various vigilantes that claim to “patrol” the border along with Mexico. Americans must have a “vigilante watch” to ensure that there isn’t any violence committed against Hispanics near the border. In other words, the vigilantes who are nothing less than latter day Ku Klux Klaners must be confronted and stopped much along the vein of activists that defend clinics providing abortion and the women seeking treatment at them.

The focal point of the mass rally and protest should be the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department facility as well as the Maripoa County jail where many suspected “illegal” immigrants are detained. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International must demand to inspect these facilities and interview prisoners held there in order to document any human and civil rights abuses. Just as protesters are currently occupying the Wisconsin State House, protesters should occupy the Mariposa County Sheriff’s office to demand the resignation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and to demand an end to the practice of racial profiling of Hispanics and to end the arbitrary and illegal jailing of Latin American foreigners in the county.

There must also be a political march across the state from Phoenix to Tuscon much like Dr. Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. One theme of the march should be against right wing political extremism as manifested by the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Giffords. Another theme of the march should be the demand that the state of Arizona not only obey US civil rights legislation but also adhere to International law and treaties covering human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. A march on this scale should include not only Hispanics of the state but also American Indians as well to highlight their plight of official racism on both the federal and state level. A one week march from Phoenix to Tuscon would last about five to seven days. In addition to rallies and marches held in Arizona, there should be solidarity rallies and marches not only other US states but internationally as well. The best would be to organise mirror rallies and marches in Mexico as well. There must also be political pressure exerted against the federal government. The Justice Department must be pushed with demands that it enforces the civil rights laws of the country in Arizona.

An economic boycott would complement direct political action. Arizona does have a significant tourism industry. The Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most famous national and international tourist destination. The city of Sedona is also a magnet for many hippies and those into New Age religion. Organising a boycott by not visiting Arizona will make a significant impact on the state economically. If enough people stop traveling to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona, the state politicians will be compelled to act soon enough.

A consumer boycott of corporations based in Arizona would be another effective and easier way to effect political change in Arizona. The airline US Airways has its corporate headquarters in Phoenix. Organising a boycott of US Airways would take a huge bite out of Arizona’s economy. As most flights that use Sky Harbor airport are by US Airways, it would also be a hit against Mariposa County. If empty planes are flying in and out of Sky Harbor, the airline would use its resources to lobby for political change in the state. Moreover, US Airways has many other competitors in the national airline market. By boycotting US Airways, the people of the country will send a powerful political message to the state of Arizona.

The Dial Corporation which makes Dial Soap, Coast as well as deodorants such as Right Guard is based in Scottsdale. The Dial Corporation makes many other household cleaning products. Consumers in other states should be the subjects of an information campaign about the politics of Arizona and how their money supports repression when they purchase household and personal care products from Dial.

The political and social climate in Arizona is intolerable as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. The ideas presented above are just some practical solutions which ordinary people can participate. As Dr. Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”It is up to the citizens of the rest of the country to stand up for justice and to end human rights abuses in Arizona.

March 2011 News USA World


Hundreds of troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived in Bahrain on Monday, March 14 under the auspices of the Gulf Co-Operation Council to help the kingdom control a wave of anti-government protests that began on February 14. No one knows how the troops will be deployed, but human rights organizations and numerous foreign governments have urged Bahrain to exercise restraint. Protesters are still camping out on the Pearl Roundabout, where there have previously been serious incidents of violence and at least eight deaths. Adding to the trouble is strong sectarian tension between Shiites (majority) and Sunnis (minority) that several power brokers seek to magnify.

he following text is from an email sent to Global Voices by a blogger who has asked to remain anonymous. It is republished with permission.

Let’s put it this way, so far it is not very clear what is happening. Yes, last night there was tear gas and rubber bullets all over pearl roundabout (not square!). Today, the town seems extremely quiet. They have blocked a good chunk of the city, and lots of people have not been able to go to work. I went out for a little cruise around town earlier today. In grocery stores, people are stocking up goods. In the booze shop too!

Many students were dismissed from school. Some schools have the week off, while others schools were forced by the ministry of education to stay open and have students attend classes. As for the university, a minor clash involving tear gas etc. occurred within one. I do not know what happened exactly.

The media is not doing a very good job here at alerting us to what’s going on… And now on TV, there are troops coming in on the Saudi Causeway in tanks, waving hello and showing the peace sign! And then there are intervals of the traditional dance with the Saudi King, and Bahrain’s King and ruling family, and that apparently is the traditional war song! It did not happen today, but they keep repeating clips of it.

What will happen next?

It’s all very odd!!! Tomorrow everyone has the day off. The guys at the roundabout asked their wives and kids to go home, and many are wrapped in – I do not know what you call it – it’s like ‘coffin’ cloth or this canvas they use here to wrap dead bodies. Maybe those are the ones who would rather die for a good cause and have nothing else in life, I really do not know. I think it’s insane and that everyone should just go home and stop going to the roundabout. I hope they do not get shot, but chances are bad if they resist and do not clear the area.

Gas stations have gone on strike, and there are warnings that ‘electricity might be switched off’. Other warnings and rumors included ‘Dear sunni’s if you approach a cop or a tank, you might be shot’. Another warning is not ro go out at night in groups, or else there is a risk of being shot.

And of course, the jokes are out too… Saudi troops are not heading to pearl roundabout, they are going to Exhibition Road!! (where the prostitutes and cheap pubs are).

Today at the Pearl Roundabout there are people giving their speeches, but it is quiet and fine. My friends walked around, the people there have always been friendly and inviting, for tea, coffee, food…etc… Only the media shows them in a different way. I also went there earlier on, and it felt like a carnival.

The pro-government people had to do their thing around the clock at the roundabout too, which is very close to the Royal Court, praising the King the family…etc.

People are glued to the TV hoping for something, but there is nothing, except stupid fluff like ‘We love you King Hamad’, and ‘We know that you don’t sleep if we’re awake,’ and tears and drama and thank you for sending those troops to save our lives!! There is nothing, no words, coming out from the Government or King or Prime Minister. We do not know what is coming next. Thank God for BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and things like that where we can keep track of what people are actually seeing.

Asia March 2011 refugee


UNHCR: United Nations Refugee Agency: Afghanistan – During her second visit to Afghanistan, United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie called for a greater focus to be put on the reintegration of former Afghan refugees; travelling for two days in the country, Jolie met with internally displaced people and former refugees still struggling to survive and reintegrate almost 10 years after returning to Afghanistan from years of exile. More than 5.5 million refugees have returned since 2002, mainly from Pakistan and Iran, and now make up 20 percent of the population. UNHCR is concerned that too many of these former refugees continue to live without jobs, shelter, health and education. The Goodwill Ambassador, returned to a warehouse in Kabul city that is now home to more than 50 families — the internally displaced and returned refugees who try to eke out a living on the streets of Kabul. It is one of 30 informal settlements in Kabul city where people struggle to survive in the cold winter months. Inside, Jolie was reunited with seventy-year-old BibiZamo Jan. The two met two years ago, but now Bibi is too sick to leave the damp room she shares with eight others. Jolie was moved by what she hears. Jolie also travelled to the QalaGadu village which lies north of Kabul on the Shomali Plain, where almost every family is a returned refugee or was internally displaced before 2002. Jolie met a group of young girls who will study at a new primary school that she helped build. The girls are now studying next to the local mosque. They were excited to meet the visitor who is supporting their education. During her visit to Afghanistan, Jolie called for a greater focus on the re-integration of former Afghan refugees who still struggle to support their families nearly ten years after returning home. SOUNDBITE (English) Angelina Jolie, Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Refugee Agency: “It is clear travelling through the country that what needs to be done is a very focused approach on these places of return. This idea of what return is and the difference between just returning and reintegrating. And the focus that needs to be put now on reintegration and that means not just putting a shelter up but making sure there’s water, making sure there’s job opportunities, making sure there’s a school for the children, and medical. So a lot of these plots that have been given, they have one thing or the other but they don’t have everything. And so it’s difficult for people really to properly to reintegrate and restart their lives and be independent. And I think that’s the focus where people need to come together and really help develop these areas in very comprehensive full way.”

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