Mina Remy's blog
By Mina Remy
March 4th, 2014
The occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) faced one of the worst winter storms seen in decades last month. The West Bank experienced record snow fall, which municipalities were ill-equipped to handle. While Gaza was spared much of the snow, the Strip received a devastating wintry mix of freezing rain, strong winds, and bitter cold that paralyzed an area considered a humanitarian crisis long before the storm.
Haiti’s peasant movements are reforesting the countryside, building irrigation systems, feeding communities – just to name a few activites that are improving lives for rural communities across the nation. In the video below, members of Haiti’s Group of Four (G4) and the Dessalines Brigade describe how Haiti’s peasant movement connects with the struggle for food sovereignty in the United States, and globally. The video includes Grassroots International partners from Haiti and Brazil speaking at an Occupy the Food Prize rally on October 17, 2013 in Des Moines.
Haiti, like everywhere else, has a complex relationship with women. Women’s work in and out the home is invaluable, sometimes the difference between: eating or not, schooling or not, and medical care or not. The majority of Haitian households are headed by women who are divorced, widowed, or never married. These women are eking out a living by the skin of their teeth—resourceful in a resource-strapped world. But despite Haitian women’s contributions to society and economy, they remain trapped invarious levels of social and institutional discrimination. They face barriers to adequate housing, education, employment, and justice. On the whole, urban-based women fare a little better than rural-based women, but not by much.
The $10-billion proposed canal would divert water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea in an effort to save the later from “environmental degradation.” The project is a partnership between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Grassroots International partners the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Stop the Wall are among the signatories to the statement below that calls for a halt to the project. Palestinian organizations cite both political and environmental reasons for their calls to stop this water and land grab that would impede Palestinian rights.
Strength through unity.
That is the motto on the Haitian flag, and it is being played out now in a new collaboration among the country’s leading social movements.
Each of the four largest Haitian peasant movements have storied histories individually and now collectively under the umbrella of the Group of Four (G4). In Kreyol the G4 is called “4 Je Kontre” or “4 Eyes Meet.”
Getting to Northwest Haiti takes the strongest of wills and an even sturdier truck or SUV. The roads, all of which somehow lead to Port-au-Prince, amount to nothing more than occasionally paved gravel. You’ll get lost in miles of beautiful blue sky while passing one mountain community after another; you’ll almost forget that you’ve been clutching your seatbelt for the better part of five hours. But if you can get through it, you will be rewarded for your troubles by one of the warmest and most engaging women in Haiti: Rose Edith Raymonvil Germain.
The catastrophic earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010 revealed two parallel stories, although only one has made it into the mainstream. The story most people are familiar with is how the international community swept into Haiti, some with the best of intentions, to deliver disaster aid amid a flurry of chaos. As those who followed that story know, the promise to “build back better” has led to disappointment, bewilderment, and handwringing as the nation still bears the scars of the earthquake, and millions in aid has yet to reach its shores.
Globally, activists at the forefront of human rights protection are coming under increased scrutiny and attack by state and non-state actors. Although being a human rights defender is becoming dangerous work, the commitment to human rights promotion and defense amongst activist has not waned. Nowhere is this truer than in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), where our partners have had their offices raided and equipment confiscated by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
Although the January 2010 earthquake suspended the government’s work on a national strategy to combat violence against women, women’s organizations led by SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen/Haitian Women’s Solidarity) have pressed on in their struggle.