Asia Bibi is the first female to ever be convicted of anti-Muslim ‘blasphemy’ in Pakistan. The sentence? Mandatory death. The Catholic mother of a poor bricklaying family, Asia Bibi claims she did not say whatever anti-Muslim words some of her fellow citizens feel make her worthy of death. Can lots of local activism save her?
Employees at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel are used to high profile VIPS, and regularly handle CEOs and foreign leaders. But when Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak rolled into town last weekend, suddenly the hotel’s Muslim employees were explicitly barred from doing their jobs.
They call themselves “The Dude Gooders” and their thing is “adventure philanthropy.” At the end of this month, they’ll climb Kilimanjaro to raise money for Falling Whistles, an advocacy group fighting to end the war in the Congo and rehabilitate child soldiers affected by the conflict.
Emmanual Jal, a Sudanese child soldier turned hip hop artist and activist, is pushing a music video espousing the benefits of peace in Sudan. Alicia Keys, George Clooney, Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter have all joined in, and in a Change.org interview earlier today, Emmanual argues that global pressure is the only thing left to save Sudan from civil war.
We last reported that a Starbucks locked a group of human rights advocates and the families of torture victims inside the store and then kicked them out. Starbucks refused to apologize, claiming the incident was not a big deal. The verdict? Starbucks is lying, and secretly launched a full investigation. After hundreds of Change.org members petitioned Starbucks to apologize, yesterday they finally did.
Things have been better for Bahrain’s 23 human rights activists, opposition activists, bloggers and dissident clerics all on trial for treason. After being tortured for months, today their entire defense team quit. Local activists are calling on their international supporters to up the pressure.
Israel touts itself as the bastion of democracy in the Middle East, a mainstay against the dictatorships and monarchies that characterize the region. But there have been some incredibly worrying signs over the last two years in the erosion of freedoms of expression in Israel. One local feminist peace organization is calling on the UN to do something about it.
President Obama has repeatedly pledged to protect Internet freedoms. But under rules just proposed by Obama’s hand-picked FCC chairman, Internet providers will be able to speed up access to sites willing to pay top dollar, while slowing down your connection to everyone else. With a vote on the new rules in two weeks, a new coalition is mobilizing millions to pressure the FCC.
A global pioneer in gay rights legislation, South Africa is also the world’s leader in rates of ‘corrective rape’, whereby men rape lesbian women to ‘turn’ them straight. Now one group of women from the Cape Town townships are organizing against rapists and taking on the country’s minister of justice.
Israel inflicted incredible damage to local civilian infrastructure in the 2006 Lebanon war – bombing bridges, schools, clinics, power stations and the airport and creating the region’s largest ever oil spill. What is the Lebanese Defense Minister doing to protect his country’s civilians and national infrastructure? Giving advice to Israel.
Last week we reported that a Starbucks in Bahrain willingly agreed to an unofficial government request to kick out a group of journalists, international observers, human rights advocates and the families of torture victims, all just sitting around drinking coffee. But after Change.org contacted a number of witnesses, it turns out that the Starbucks staff kicked out the observers and human rights advocates after having locked them inside! What does Starbucks have to say about this? So far, nothing… That’s where all of you come in.
Starbucks proudly claims to have “a positive impact” on the communities the company’s numerous branches all over the world serve, but their employees in the tiny Middle Eastern island kingdom of Bahrain don’t seem to have gotten the memo. Starbucks managers willingly and immediately agreed to an unofficial Ministry of Interior request to kick out a group of journalists, international observers, human rights advocates and the families of torture victims, all just sitting around drinking coffee.