Mossarat Qadeem, Executive Director of PAIMAN ("Promise") Alumni Trust, does not make the nightly news or the front page of The New York Times, despite the fact she has worked miracles in Pakistan. She works every day promoting sociopolitical and economic empowerment of marginalized Pakistanis, keeping families together. Her goal: turning young Pakistani boys away from extremism.
Good things happen when a group of mothers determine to act on behalf of families. These moms have decided that the gun culture in the United States is a threat to their families and families everywhere and are acting to change that culture.
A recent headline read: "Moms Wholesome Win: Chipotle says "No Guns!" When extremists brought semi-automatic guns into a Dallas-area restaurant, Moms went to work and gathered 10,000 names on a petition in just a few hours. In less than 48 hours Chipotle Mexican Grill responded: "…we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel."
"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." - Jane Addams
In 1963, when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man made for doing identical work. Today women who do the same type of work as men earn 77 cents for every dollar a male worker earns. This clear form of gender discrimination should be a no brainer, but isn't. Progress for women moves in inches and has become a political football.
"The reality is that violence and asymmetric warfare will remain a symptom of the new Iraq for the foreseeable future. This isn’t due to an alleged shortage of military capacities, but rather a reflection of what Iraq essentially is: an unreconciled, broken state, plagued by deep ethno sectarian cleavages, weak institutions and a political system prone to relapse toward an authoritarian order." - Ramze Mardini The New York Times
Many people are not aware of torture as a routine phenomenon in the world, but it was this reality that moved the United Nations to act. On June 26, 1987 the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment began, and the U.N. declared June 26th "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture."
Every day for the last month, I have driven by a large billboard in Louisville (KY) that announces a huge gun show coming to the city, an annual ritual that draws thousands from around the region. At the same time my car radio blasts, "Guns! Guns! Guns!" with the enthusiasm of a person who just won the lottery.
Gun shows are troubling because they are not required to include a background check on persons who purchase guns, so, as often happens, a convicted felon can go to a gun show and purchase guns without concern of being caught. Those who oppose universal background checks rely on myths to make a case:
For sale: Nigerian girls: $12. The sex slave trade received a boost when the Boko Haram terrorists captured 276 Nigerian school girls in the dark of night. Fortunately, a few were able to escape.
There is much to be sad, mad and concerned about in this horrific event. Reports from the area indicate that Nigerian military commanders were warned four hours before the kidnapping that the terror group was on its way to raid the boarding school in Chibok. No effort was made to prevent the abductions. President Goodluck Jonathan waited three weeks before addressing the public on the abductions. He refused international help when it was first offered. The leader of the region recently gave a ten-minute speech of mumbled condolence. He did not meet with the mothers of the missing girls. Too busy? Really?
Clayton Lockett, an inmate on Oklahoma's death row, was executed last week. However, everything went terribly wrong. The medical report indicated that some of the three drugs used in the execution did not enter the inmate's system because the vein collapsed. Medical officials tried for nearly an hour to find a vein, with no success, finally inserting it in his groin. He was not given enough of the drug combination to kill him.
A reporter who was present described Lockett as "breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow." He died a few minutes later from a heart attack.
Recently a national news program taped a very telling experiment involving people who posed as homeless people on the street. The goal was to discover how many people make eye contact with homeless people. Those who posed as homeless people were actually relatives of some of those passing by. A husband quickly walked by his wife, who was sitting on the sidewalk with a cup for donations. A woman walked by her brother, also sitting on the sidewalk with a cup for donations. This experiment went on for an extended period of time, with the same results. No one made eye contact. The message is not new - the homeless are often invisible. If viewed, many cities are trying often to move them from view.
According to a recent communication from the United Nations, Earth Day 2014 will focus on green cities, mobilizing millions of people in an effort to create a sustainable, healthy environments by greening communities worldwide. Since most of the world's population lives in cities, and as the urban population grows, climate change worsens. Cities have to evolve. The Green Cities Campaign helps cities and communities around the world move more quickly to a more sustainable future.
Cities and communities around the world will celebrate Earth Day today, or as the General Assembly of the United Nations calls it, Mother Earth Day.