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January 20th, 2016
Water is life. Unfortunately, it is increasingly used as a weapon. And it can be a deadly one when political conflict meets drought.
For decades the Israeli government has had varying degrees of legal and coercive control over the Palestinian water supply. Eighty-five percent of Palestinian water resources are controlled by Israelis and all-too-often, wells and other agricultural projects are demolished or confiscated.
The result is a gaping inequity: Israelis have swimming pools, and Palestinians can barely survive.
The average Israeli uses 300 liters of water per day, but Palestinians are limited by bureaucracy and lack of access to 30-70 liters – and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum 100 liters per day.
Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.
When two dams owned by transnational mining companies burst in Brazil, a flood of toxic mud and wastewater poured into neighboring villages and began its journey down the Rio Doce (“Sweet River”). This tragedy could have been avoided if companies heeded warnings sounded more than two years ago. Instead, authorities estimate over 2,000 people have been affected in the immediate area of the dam, with more than 600 people evacuated (many rescued by helicopter), hundreds left homeless, and dozens of people who are still unaccounted for feared dead.
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
By La Via Campesina
August 10th, 2015
A longtime partner of Grassroots International, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the first member of LaVia Campesina from the Middle East. UAWC has received several awards for their work advancing sustainable agricultural development, including two last year: the US Food Sovereignty Prize and the United Nation’s Equator Prize.
The challenges faced by indigenous peoples often transcend geographical location, so it’s not surprising that indigenous groups in India and Brazil share similar stories of oppression and strife.
Grassroots International supporter Richard Smith has just published Green Capitalism: The God That Failed (a downloadable e-book). It's an important read because it argues convincingly that environmental destruction is an inevitable result of production for profit, so that advocates of "regulated" or "green" capitalism are raising false hopes.
"Sometimes we feel the sun must be lower in the sky..." said one of our partners during our recent site visit to Haiti.
While Israelis water their lawns and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinians a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst.
California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to declare a water “state of emergency.”
Ordinary Californians are bearing the brunt of this disaster. While the governor has imposed restrictions to reduce residential water consumption, businesses in the fields of agriculture and hydraulic fracturing have been largely exempt. Brown’s unwillingness to take on these gargantuan corporate water-wasters lends a sharp political element to an otherwise natural disaster.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Susya, who UAWC (Union of Agricultural Work Committees) introduced us to in October 2014. These are people who welcomed us, fed us, gave us a place to sleep and shared their stories with us.
“We gather to bring our voices to the on-going struggle in the face of imminent demolition by the Israeli Military.