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Arundhati Roy with Alice Walker and David Barsamian – Part 1

I heard a speech from this one today and she touched my heart.

The history of the Kashmiris is shrouded in mystery as is the history of other people in that region. Most Kashmir researchers are of the opinion that many inhabitants of Kashmir are descendants of the Lost Tribes who were exiled in 722 BCE. They wandered along the Silk Road into the countries of the East, Persia and Afghanistan until they reached the Kashmir valley and settled there.
Others say the wanderings began approximately 300 years later. The wanderers settled in Kashmir, kept their traditions until they were forced to convert to Islam when the spread of Islam reached the valley. The priest Kitro in his book, the General History of the Mughal Empire, said that the Kashmir people are the descendants of the Israelites.

Read more @ http://moshiach.com/tribes/ns/4.html

Video Part 2 @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw3Lwj6imxo

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Hundreds Protest After Teenage Rape Victim Burned to Death in India

Hundreds Protest After Teenage Rape Victim Burned to Death in India

In India, hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the death of a 16-year-old rape victim who was set on fire. The victim was gang-raped in October. The next day, she was gang-raped again while returning from the police station after reporting the crime. Her family said they faced constant harassment from the rapists. Last week, the victim, who was pregnant, was set on fire, reportedly by two of her attackers. She died this week after identifying the men. At a protest Thursday, a lawmaker blamed authorities in the state of West Bengal.

Brinda Karat: “I stress that the government is answerable for the girl, who would have been present among us today if the West Bengal administration had exercised the laws properly. We do not seek anything else. But where is the law? A girl was gang-raped twice, and still you are unable to punish the accused. Why?”

The young woman’s death came two days after the first anniversary of the death of another woman who was gang-raped on a New Delhi bus. That case ignited the country and drew attention to sexual violence around the world.

Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/3/headlines#1311

When will men feel they have only the right to respect and treat the women who give them birth…. It has been a travesty throughout decades that men have felt that they were able to do to women what they please… That we are their property, their vessels for child baring, their sex toys with pleasure unknown to she because of this man’s lack of thought….

This sex inequality epidemic needs to see justice, no matter how a woman may present or carry herself. Rape is NEVER okay.

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India: 4 Sentenced to Death for Fatal Gang Rape That Ignited Protests

India: 4 Sentenced to Death for Fatal Gang Rape That Ignited Protests

The horrific gang rape that killed 23 year old Indian physical therapy student Jyoti Singh Pandey last December created an international uproar.

In the past, men treated women as open game, rapes were normal and the police and courts never did much to combat them. But after Jyoti’s death, tens of thousands took to the streets nationwide to demand the death penalty for the perpetrators.

On the evening of Dec. 16, Jyoti and her 28-year-old boyfriend had gone to a movie and then boarded a bus that was not part of a scheduled service. The driver and five men, who pretended to be passengers, beat the student’s boyfriend unconscious. Then they dragged the woman to the rear bench of the moving bus and attacked her, one after another. Later they threw the couple, naked and unconscious, onto the side of a highway, where 40 minutes passed before they were found by passerby.

A judge in India has sentenced four men to death by hanging for the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus that ignited mass anti-rape protests in December. The family of the victim, Jyoti Singh Pandey, was among those demanding the death penalty. The sentence must still be approved by India’s high court.

Not only in India, but across the world, men feel they have some sort of control over a woman. Whether it be her body and/or her mind. Human’s started off with the giving of a young woman to be a man’s vessel for child bearing, his sexual slave, his personal cook and cleaner, his property.

This has been the downfall of man in my opinion. This has been the root of man looking to our God(s) as Him/He, not She/Her. Woman gives life, she is GOD. When we understand the interlining links to this patriarchal system of dominancy, we will have richer societies.

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From the Ashes of Garment Factory Disaster, A Demand for Jobs with Dignity

From the Ashes of Garment Factory Disaster, A Demand for Jobs with Dignity

By Sonali Kolhatkar Published in Commondreams.org.

The soft-spoken, 5 foot tall, brown-skinned woman I met this week did not in any way appear to be a dangerous criminal. Yet, Kalpona Akter, the now-famous Bangladeshi labor activist, spent a month in prison last year, facing criminal charges brought by a subcontractor for Walmart. While serving her sentence, she was interrogated for hours on end, while her colleagues were beaten. Her crime: organizing garment workers. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world where nearly 4 million garment workers, mostly poor young women, toil in about 4,000 factories to make clothes for brands like Gap, Sears, Disney, and Benetton. Bangladesh’s factories export more garments than any other country in the world, second only to China. In the past year, thousands of women have died in Bangladesh in a series of deadly factory accidents. Last November, a fire at Tazreen factory in Dhaka killed hundreds of mostly female workers.

And this April, the multi-story Rana Plaza factory collapsed, killing more than 1,200 and injuring 2,500, again, mostly women workers. The world was shocked at the deaths, but the corporations whose clothes the women died making have done little to nothing in response. I asked Kalpona to describe a typical day in the life of a female garment worker in Bangladesh: she told me of the burdens of balancing family and work that most women endure, waking up at 5 am to cook meals for their husbands and children, clean, and keep house. At 7 am they head to work on foot or by bus.

At 8 in the morning they start their shift, breaking only once at 1 pm for lunch. The work is mindless and repetitive with unhygienic bathroom facilities and no clean drinking water. Although the work-day officially ends at 5 pm, workers are required to put in overtime until about 7 or 8 pm. By the time they return home, cook dinner, care for their children, keep house, and make their way to bed, it is usually midnight. For all this, a typical garment worker earns a minimum wage of about $38 a month, plus a few more dollars for overtime. When I remarked that many Americans would not think twice about spending that entire amount on a single piece of clothing, she agreed, unsurprised.

At only 36 years of age, Kalpona Akter has lived a life few of us can imagine. She began working in a garment factory at the age of 12, taking her 10 year old brother with her. Her parents had no choice: “we were the breadwinners of the family,” she told me. Akter would go to school one day and then to the factory across the street the next day. She recalls being able to see her school playground from a window in the factory and wistfully watching her classmates play while she worked. She calculated that for about 450 hours of work she was paid the shockingly paltry amount of $6 each month. “I didn’t have any idea about the law and my rights. All I understood was that the factory owner was so kind as to give us jobs. But I never knew that we were being cheated. We were being deprived of our legal rights!” Once she understood that she had rights, Kalpona began organizing her fellow workers at the young age of 15. She was immediately fired and blacklisted from working in other factories. She continued working and organizing and today she is the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity where she continues her activism on behalf of factory workers, demanding better working conditions and better pay.

Kalpona’s activism comes at a heavy price. In addition to her imprisonment and the on-going criminal charges she is fighting, she risks her life. One of her close allies, Aminul Islam, well known around the world and even in the US for his labor activism in Bangladesh, was found dead a year ago. Islam’s death brought global embarrassment to Bangladesh after numerous governments and international bodies denounced his murder and demanded an investigation. It is a testament to the work of Aminul Islam, Kalpona Akter, and other labor activists that Bangladesh’s garment factories are the subject of international debate today. But it was the deaths of thousands over the past year that has really galvanized the promise of any meaningful action.

While it made just a few headlines in the US, the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory this April took Bangladesh by storm. Akter described to me how ordinary people in Bangladesh watched their television screens with bated breath as the death toll was constantly reported, climbing each hour to everyone’s horror. “The whole nation cried together… people couldn’t eat.” The accidents and their unimaginable death toll brought to mind the famous Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City more than a century ago, where 146 immigrant women and girls perished, locked in a sweatshop and unable to escape. It was one of the worst industrial accidents in the history of New York. From the ashes of that fire came labor victories fought with the blood, sweat and tears of the survivors and their allies. What could arise from the ashes of Tazreen and Rana Plaza?

A meeting just this week in Geneva has brought together corporate heads, labor unions, and worker advocates under the umbrella of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to determine compensation for the families of those killed. Even though the factory workers in Tazreen and Rana Plaza were producing clothes for several American brands such as Walmart, most companies have remained shockingly indifferent to demands for compensation. Many, including Walmart, have refused to attend meetings like this week’s Geneva meeting or a similar meeting held earlier this year. Kalpona Akter tells me that over 80 fashion and apparel companies, mostly from Europe, have signed onto a binding accord to protect factory workers in Bangladesh but American companies like Walmart and Gap refuse to sign on. Instead they have proposed voluntary codes of conduct, and signed onto agreements that do not allow union activity. They have invoked the standard argument: that it is the factory owners, not them, who are responsible for the poor conditions and the resulting deaths. Kalpona told me, “The corporations now say that the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tag has become dirty. But I say to them, don’t dare say that because if it has become dirty, you have made it so… you didn’t do anything to correct these working conditions… or follow your so-called codes of conduct.” But Akter has a message for American consumers too – especially the ones who might spend $38 on a single piece of clothing – equivalent to the monthly base salary of a garment worker in Bangladesh – without necessarily thinking about where it was made or under what conditions: “We need these [factory] jobs. But we want these jobs with dignity… with safe working conditions, decent wages, and a voice in the workplace, and a unionized work place.” But how could ordinary Americans make that happen? “As a consumer, you have the power to ensure that,” retorted Kalpona defiantly. “You may think, ‘as one person, how can I do that?’ …But if you go to the internet, there are many groups in the US, across the country, raising their voices to make [Bangladesh’s] workplaces better…

Please join them and support them so that they become stronger. As a consumer you will see that you are not alone – there are many people raising their voices.” Here is a partial list of groups Kalpona Akter recommended that Americans can join: International Labor Right Forum: http://www.laborrights.org Solidarity center: http://www.solidaritycenter.org Workers Rights Consortium: http://www.workersrights.org Sweatfree Communities: http://www.sweatfree.org – See more at: http://uprisingradio.org/home/2013/09/12/from-the-ashes-of-garment-factory-disaster-a-demand-for-jobs-with-dignity/#sthash.TetAowpe.dpuf