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As sports commentators and news reporters from all over the world endlessly discuss Sochi's not-so-cold weather and Olympian efforts to improve snow conditions, they often fail to mention that balmy winters may become the new normal in many long-established ski destinations, thanks to our changing global climate.
By tradition, the Olympic Games bring global issues to center stage, concerns that often have little to do with the athletic events themselves. From the 1968 Black Power salute of medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City to the 1980 and 1984 boycotts by the US and the USSR, respectively, the Olympics have repeatedly placed the world's most pressing concerns and crises in front of a world audience.
The Olympics can generate momentum for climate solutions in three ways: (1) by focusing international attention on the impacts of reduced snowpack and glacial melt on winter sports; (2) by constructing state-of-the-art, climate-neutral facilities, transportation networks, and even entire cities; and (3) by uniting the disparate states of the world to confront one issue that affects us all: global warming.
Many competitors are hesitant to stir up controversy around the Olympics. But athletes determined to stand up against Russian laws that discriminate based on sexual identity provide evidence that the Games remain a great stage for social protest and, this year, 105 winter Olympians have called for climate action.
Read More |
US Ski Team Member Andrew Newell & 105 Winter Olympians Call For Climate Action |
The Inside Line: Donna Carpenter, Burton and the fight to sustain snowboarding
Mazin Qumsiyeh writes:
Christmas 2013 in Bethlehem (Beit Laham, Aramaic for House of Laham, the Canaanitic God of Sustenance) is still a very special and meaningful time even under the brutal Israeli apartheid occupation. We are not talking about the visual aspects and the unique religious services at the Church of Nativity. It is special because reflection here is special. Nowhere is there an exhibit of “Occupation Art” shown in a “Peace Center” in front of a large Christmas tree in front of one of the holiest places in Christianity. Nowhere on earth do people pray that the wall suffocating them is dismantled then watch and listen to Christmas carols from around the world after admiring such exhibits....
The end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 is a time to reflect that some 2.5 billion human beings believe in a message that originated with a Palestinian child thought to be born in a manger over 2000 years ago. The land was called Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth and also for hundreds of years before he was born and it is still geographically Palestine today. It is also a time to reflect on the real message of Jesus, sometimes distorted (like happened with the Crusaders and with the marginal misnamed “Christian Zionists”). It is still a message of hope, peace, joy, justice, love, and harmony....
[Yet] on Christmas eve, Israeli forces also bombed Gaza killing at least two including a 3-year old girl and injuring others in her family. So many Palestinians in Bethlehem and in the Churches directed our Christmas gifts to people of Gaza and people of Syria. And most of us (me included) are barred from entering our city of Jerusalem which is methodically being stripped of its Palestinian population (Christians and Muslims) and isolated by walls (physical and psychological).
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This Week in Palestine, December 27th, 2013
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
The right whales were already hunted to near extinction when they received international protection in the mid-twentieth century, and only about 400 of the North Atlantic species remain. Each winter the whales migrate south to critical habitat along the coastline from Savannah, Ga., to Jacksonville, Fla., to give birth they go through the delicate process of separating children from their mothers, known as calving. Today, the biggest threats to the dark gray whales are ships that can strike them and fishing gear in which they can become entangled.
In the frenzy among cities to deepen harbors, expand railways and improve roads for truck traffic in order to be one of the ports to attract mega ships once the Panama Canal is enlarged in 2015, the North Atlantic right whale may be just one of the casualties.
On September 18, to protest against Arctic oil drilling, four inflatable dinghies left the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise and headed toward a Gazprom company oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya. Activists attempted to climb and establish themselves on the outside structure of the platform to protest against imminent drilling. The Prirazlomnaya is the first oil rig to start oil production in the ice-filled waters of the Arctic. A nearby Russian Coast Guard ship responded by launching inflatables manned with agents masked in balaclavas. They proceeded to ram and slash the Greenpeace inflatables, threatened activists at gun and knife point, and fired warning shots from automatic weapons. Further, the remaining crew onboard the Arctic Sunrise counted 11 shots fired across the bow from the Coast Guard vessel’s artillery cannon. The two Greenpeace activists who had attempted to board the oil rig were arrested at the scene. Remaining activists returned to the Arctic Sunrise
The following day, the Russian Coast Guard seized control of the Arctic Sunrise and all who were aboard. The ship was directed to Murmansk, Russia. The activists were held without bail and told that Russia was investigating those involved in the protest for piracy, which carries a potential 15-year jail sentence. A Russian court has now charged twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance videographer and photographer, with the crime of piracy.
A global day of solidarity with the jailed activists was held on October 5. Tens of thousands of people participated in more than 200 events held in 49 countries throughout the world. In San Francisco, a vigil was held on the waterfront on the bay. Local supporters told stories about their involvement with Greenpeace and their relationships to those arrested in Russia. The names of all of those arrested were read.
Save The Arctic 30 Protest San Francisco |
'Arctic 30' Global Day of Solidarity |
Timeline: Arctic Sunrise activists charged with piracy in Russia |
Protest or Piracy? Greenpeace Activists Remain Jailed in Russia |
Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign
As the U.S. government marched towards war with Syria in late August, anti-war groups and activists across the state responded with two weeks of emergency demonstrations. The ANSWER Coalition organized a series of protests, and actions were planned for the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer. Events were also held at well known anti-war protest locations such as Peace Crossroads in San Jose and on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.
On July 27, the Canaan protest village was built for the fifth time on annexed Palestinian land in the middle of the illegal Gosh Ezion Colonial block next to the illegal settler colony of Migdal Oz. The nonviolent protesters stayed in the tent on their land for around an hour and a half before the Israeli occupation soldiers tore it down, violently repressing the demonstration.
The tent village was built to remember the right of Palestinians to their land and to express solidarity with hunger strikers imprisoned for fighting for the Palestinian struggle. In statements, Palestinians taking part in the tent village have expressed their general support for negotiations to end the occupation, but condemned the current round of false negotiations that have been going on for years while Israel continues to build colonies and colonize Palestinian land.
There have been four previous incarnations of the Canaan village, all of which have reclaimed Palestinian land while protesting the illegal colonial annexation. The previous tent villages have been built by the South West Bank Popular Committee in the south of the West Bank and have all been violently dismantled by the Israeli occupation military, with arrests of nonviolent demonstrators.
Read More with Photos
On the morning of June 22, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists marched to the Israeli occupation military checkpoint blocking the West Bank from Jerusalem. There they were stopped by soldiers who violently prevented them from passing through. In reaction, the Palestinian activists prayed at the checkpoint, demonstrating their right to both freedom of movement within their own land, and freedom to worship in Jerusalem. Following the prayer, the activists stated that they were leaving, but that they would return soon and that the next time they prayed it would be in Jerusalem.
This demonstration aimed to highlight the human rights abuses that the Palestinian people are subjected to every day because of the occupation. Restriction of movement is widespread across the West Bank, with permission from the Israeli occupation authorities demanded of Palestinians in order to travel within their own land. This permission is granted very rarely, and usually excludes people aged 18-45.
In Islam and Christianity, Jerusalem is one of the primary religious sites. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion…to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” This human right is blatantly denied through acts committed by the Israeli occupation authorities and military every day.
Read More with Photos
As daily anti-government protests rocked Istanbul, demonstrators in the Bay Area showed solidarity against Turkish state repression with protests in Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and Oakland, in addition to the establishment of Gezi Gardens in San Francisco.
The protests in Turkey began May 28 at Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park, against plans to turn the loved and historic city park into a shopping mall. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brutally attacked the peaceful demonstrators. Protests then erupted in opposition to Erdogan's crackdowns on political freedom, and moves by Erdogan's semi-Islamist government to limit alcohol sales and to outlaw signs of affection in public. The subsequent police violence against the people of Turkey has resulted in a number of casualties and injured thousands.
Organizers of the upcoming Rally for Rights in Santa Cruz state: "It doesn't matter whether the government is led by reactionary Islamists in Turkey, secular social democrats in Brazil, or conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the U.S., the systems they rule over are the same, and serve only the interests of the 1%."
Berkeley: Stop The Attacks On The People Of Turkey-SF/Berkeley Rallies Against Gov Repression
| Occupy GeziParki Turkey (Solidarity with Turkey)
Occupy Gezi Gardens, San Francisco: San Francisco Police Swarm Gezi Gardens to Prevent Re-Occupation
| Neighbors in San Francisco's D11 join the battle for green space and community
| Hayes Valley Farm Raided by Police (with photo essay)
| Riot Police Raid Gezi Gardens and Evict Tree-Sit; People Prepare to Re-Occupy on Friday
| Gardens being demolished in SF
| Occupation of Gezi Gardens Continues as Hundreds Attend Saturday Event
| Statement of Solidarity of Gezi Gardens and March with the people of Istanbul and Turkey
| Tree Sitters Successfully Turn Away Workers Sent to Cut Trees at former Hayes Valley Farm
| Gezi Gardens Issued Eviction Notice! All Out to Defend Farm for June 8th Festival
| Interview with Ryan Rising at Liberate the Land Occupation in SF
| First Day of Land Liberation Action in San Francisco at new #GeziGardens
Santa Cruz: Confronting Uncle Sam at Rally for Rights
| Rally For Rights followed by Candlelight Vigil
Oakland:Hella Heart Gezi
San Francisco: SF Action To Protest Attack By Turkey's Government On Istanbul's Gezi Park
Palo Alto: Palo Alto No Keystone Project with Occupy Gezi (Solidarity with Turkey)
Statements of Solidarity with the People of Turkey: San Francisco Labor Council Calls For Defense of Labor & the Working People Of Turkey
| Solidarity with #direngeziparki and the people of Turkey
| Anonymous Operation Turkey
Read More on Turkey: Turkey: Epicenter of Police State Violence
| Despite Brutal Crackdown, Protesters Continue to Hold Gezi Park
| Brutal Police Action Takes Taksim Square By Force
| Turkey: Workers Begin General Strike as Protests and Government Repression Continue
| Photographic Evidence: Turkish police are hiding the bodies of their dead victims
| Anti-Government Protests Rock Turkey
| Turkey, Casualties Mount as Corporate Media Blackout Continues
| Despite Brutal Crackdown, Uprising in Turkey Continues