Archive for the ‘Good News!’ Category

h1

Palestinian Shift Toward Nonviolence

August 10, 2007

Had the Palestinians had the good fortune to have a Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Mandela in their midst, they could have long since had a homeland and peace. Instead they were led by men who espoused armed conflict. In a potentially profound shift, the new Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is rejecting “resistence” (mukawamah) and stressing “steadfastness” (a tactic of peaceful, civic resistance to any taking of their land or livelihoods). The idea is to use resources to give the Palestinian people a better life so that they will reject bombing and killing as a way forward. This, indeed, is good news and to be celebrated. But to achieve their goal of a reasonably just end to this tragedy, even more will likely be required of the Palestinian people in the form of Gandhian satyagraha—willingness to use nonviolent, civil protest that at least initially may result in even more suffering by the Palestinians. That’s the way of nonviolent change of unjust situations. As Martin Luther King put it to explain civil rights workers’ willingness to be jailed or beaten: “We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our ability to endure suffering.” (PNCR) Los Angeles Times, 1 August 2007, Richard Boudreaux, “Shopkeepers enlisted in West Bank Struggle.”

Advertisements
h1

The US will have a woman President – Using the media for change.

August 10, 2007

Fox TV’s hit show “24” will cast a woman, Cherry Jones, as the U.S. President in the upcoming season. This is good news because, as the astronomer Carl Sagan once said, people have to experience chance in the stories they tell before actual change can happen. The TV show “Commander in Chief,” starring Geena Davis, was considered unusual. Having a woman President on 24 will still be seen as unusual. But the more frequently we see a woman in this role, the sooner it can happen in reality. (EW) The White House Project newsletter, 24 July 2007

h1

India Elects it’s First Woman President

August 10, 2007

Last week, India chose its first female president, 72 year old Pratibha Patil, a lawyer, congresswoman and former governor. Although the position is largely ceremonial, her post, which brings visibility, is a win for the country, where gender discrimination has long been a problem. (EW) The White House Project newsletter, 24 July 2007

h1

Big Subsidies for Coal Process

August 10, 2007

A New York Times article reports that there is a big push for providing subsides for companies working on coal-to-liquid fuels technology. The article stresses that this reflects a tension between slowing global warming and reducing dependence on foreign oil. But from the AFWW point of view, this is also a way to shift our economy to provide work for people and profits for employers that is not built on the war industry. (SOE) New York Times, 29 May 2007, Edmund L. Andrews, “Big Subsidies for Coal Process.”

h1

Liberia is Allowed to Export Diamonds

August 10, 2007

The enlightened ex-president of Botswana made certain that the diamond resources of that country would fund improvements in the life of his people, which they have done. The newly elected president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also wants to do the same for desperately poor Liberia, and she persisted and has convinced the U.N. Security Council to lift a 6-year-old ban on Liberian diamond exports. The ban, aimed at stopping blood or conflict diamonds from reaching the market, was lifted because of Liberia’s significant progress in setting up control on its diamonds. (IER, SD, SOE). Los Angeles Times, 28 April 2007, New in Brief: “Liberia allowed to export diamonds.”

h1

Arab and U.S. Women Scientists Build a Network

May 4, 2007

On 8-10 January 2007 at the Arab Organization Headquarters Building in Kuwait, a group of more than 200 scientists and engineers from 18 nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa and a delegation of about 20 from the United States held a landmark forum—and virtually all participants were women. The conference was under the patronage of Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Sabah and organized by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and several other organizations, including the U.S. State Department and AAAS (The American Organizations for the Advancement of Science). In February 2007, a symposium on the role of women and innovation in the Arab world was held at the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Said one of the opening address speakers in Kuwait: women “are becoming an important asset” to the development of Kuwait, and “We want more women to take part in the developmental process of the nation through their contributions to the society on firmly rational grounds…” Arab women in great numbers are seeking advanced degrees in many Arab countries…but they face huge hurdles afterward. Many Arab women had never experienced anything like the Kuwait conference and the contacts made there will enable women of the east and west to connect on many levels. (EW, FC)
Science, 23 February 2007, Becky Ham, “Arab, U.S. Women Scientists Build Network at Landmark Kuwait Forum.”

h1

The Human Journey into Space

April 11, 2007

Six separate private ventures are racing to lift our visions of what can be while lifting our bodies into space and making a profit (eventually). As these projects grow, they’ll provide work for legions who might otherwise be making war weapons—a way to help shift our economy from dependence on war for employment—and provide inspiration for young people, especially young men who need to be part of something exciting and grand and even a bit dangerous. From Sir Richard Branson’s “Virgin Galactic” to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s “Blue Origin,” these visionaries intend to grasp the glory and wealth to be had by making space access available to Everyman and Everywoman. The 100 first tickets on “Virgin Galactic” are already sold out at $200,000.00 a pop. Branson plans to make the first flight himself, taking his two kids and his mom and dad with him. Space also happens to be literally and figuratively a gold mine: comets and asteroids contain water and minerals, more gold than all the gold on earth and hydrogen and oxygen, the basics for rocket fuel. At last count, at least seven plans for spaceports for tourism and exploration have emerged, from New Mexico to West Texas to Wisconsin. Elon Musk operates his SpaceX from old shops and warehouses in El Segundo, CA, and has hired talent from Boeing, Grumman, and Silicon Valley. (EYM, SOE).

Time Magaine, 5 March 2007, Cathy Booth Thomas, “The Space Cowboys.”