Letter to Editor

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!

Letter to Editor in response to

Ilina Sen, An appeal for peace in South BastarThe Hindu, Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!

Dear Editor,

Dr. Sen’s appeal for peace touches the heart of the life-and death issues people of south Bastar are facing. Not only the state is ignoring the need for political dialogue, the rest of the country seems to be ignoring Chhattisgarh, where people have lost the right even to humanitarian relief as they live and die amidst the warring parties.

We cannot let this appeal appear and disappear!
The forum Dr Sen proposes, comprising members of all parties as well as civil society, may be our best hope for forging a lasting peace in the region. I hope that we can expect the parties and local organizations to respond to this appeal, or put forth alternative proposals and reach some consensus rather than accept this ongoing conflict as a way of settling scores.

And in the meanwhile people must have a democratic space in which to live – this is not asking anyone to ignore the valid and burning issues, but to recognize people’s efforts to return to their own villages and live on their own land also as an important political exercise in nonviolent resistance. Democratic struggles depend on these brave acts of ordinary people.

Unfortunately compounding this problem is the apathy of everyone whose life is not threatened by this chronic violence, no matter how loud it becomes.

Implementing Dr. Sen’s proposals, from PDS to voter rights, will bring hope, health and life itself to a region where the majority lives with chronic hunger and fear.

As a citizen living outside of the conflict zone, I urgently request more parties to comment on this appeal, discuss its ramifications, how soon any part of it, from PDS to voter rights, could be implemented? And what guarantee can the state give to people who return to their villages, that they will not be forced to flee again? When can we see the Black Laws repealed and those incarcerated by them, including Dr Sen and 75 others, released?

P. Aravinda

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Volunteers

Request for volunteers

Request for volunteers in Jadugoda

message from Shriprakah
Jharkhandi’s Organisation Against Radiation
Jadugoda

We are seeking volunteers in Jadugoda, who are looking forward to integrate their knowledge with their quest for practical reality. Jadugoda, Jharkhand (India) has had Uranium mining for past 30 years that led to serious ecological and health problems, consequently followed by social and economic problems among the local Adivasi populations. An organization Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation(JOAR) has fought over the years to assert the rights of the people and has come a long way. The organization has enabled scientific and health studies by Independent organizations such as Sanghmitra, IDPD (Indian doctor for peace and development – sister organization of IPPNW- international physician for prevention of nuclear war- noble peace prize winner 1984) and Pr. Koide of Kyoto University. (http://www.jadugoda.net )

The findings of these studies brought to light the health acute hazards of radiation among the local inhabitants. Apart from the serious problems of mining, there have been numerous problems with Nuclear waste disposal and Tailing pond leakages. Today these problems have become acute and need immediate intervention. After a long journey, today the movement wants to look into this issue in the rights discourse.We are looking for somebody with expertise and can provide this Adivasi movement their research abilities and campaign for “Right to health”. This would require living in the village interacting with Adivasi people and others and bringing a perspective on the issue and work in a way that would help the people and movement in the right path.

Expertise in Health sciences, nuclear sciences and Human rights would be appreciated.

further information please contact
shriprakash
for
JOAR
tel no 094315 80434(jharkhand)
090101 78837
prakash.shri @ gmail.com

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Resources

Gender Issues & AID: Brief Chronology

Gender Issues & AID: Brief Chronology

Chronology of attempts to raise women’s issues in AID meetings / discussion groups (work-in-progress)

May 1997: All chapters meeting (College Park) – talk about how women can participate more. Informal survey found that women were fewer than 10% across all AID chapters at the time. Some noted that often a woman who would come would be the only woman at the meeting, she would come for a few meetings and then stop coming, and not be there by the next woman came, so that she too would be the only woman during the time she attended. Difficult to reach critical mass of even two women. May intersect with other factors such as attracting only from NRI or otherwise limited communities (engg grad students). [Same issue comes up from time to time afterwards]

May 2000 AID Conference in Boston. Guest Speaker Mythili Sivaraman, President of AIDWA.

Savita Kini – conducted a survey – when??
Savita began by explaining the motivation and goal behind the discussion and survey. “There aren’t enough women participating in AID, and women’s issues aren’t being addressed enough. We can not speak about India’s development without the development of India’s women. It is fairly obvious that ther is no gender equality in Indian society …

… These social problem exist even in educated populations. The gender biases have to also be eliminated from the education imparted in schools.”

July 2000 Volunteers form yahoogroup “aid-women” to follow up on women’s issues such as family planning, dowry, child marriage, bride burning, early marriages, forced marriages, binding stereotypes that women are pressured into adhering, harassment and rape, female infanticide, domestic violence, prostitution. Sought to identify more projects in women’s empowerment and addressing sterotypes in textbooks, and addressing lack of support for alternative lifestyles, like working women’s hostels that allow children. Read complete message at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aid_women/message/1

Group message rate (number of msgs per year in AID Women yahoogroup

2000: 2
2001: 171 – discussion on dowry. linking to ECAAL campaign. na lenge, na denge
2002 – 401
2003: 445
2004: 348 – much cross posting
2005 129
2006 31
2007 4
2008 2

Apparently from above numbers, cross posting and many members’ “write-only” participation may have led others to stop reading as well and activity rapidly declined.

April- May 2002: Kalpana Karunakaran visits AID chapters, talks about “Women & Urban Poverty”

2002: P. Sainath brings photo exhibition on Women and Work.

May 2002 College Park. Anti-dowry skit based on volunteers’ true stories and anti-female foeticide dance set to Gaddar song performed at India Beckons. Video available?

May 2002: Aruna Roy is keynote speaker at AID conference, Bay Area. Volunteers pass resolution to ake anti-dowry pledge.

December 2002 AID India conference Bangalore, volunteers take Anti Dowry Pledge.

2003: Calendar on “Women and Work in Rural India” featuring photographs of P. Sainath.

2006: AID Delhi report: “Prayas has now started holding classes for the ladies in the community. This is a significant achievement since women are foundation of the home and society and can make a marked impact on the thought process of people around them. ”

2006: Women write to BoD about absence of women in BoD. Some members of BoD take part in informal discussion in Columbus conference on how to encourage more women to join Executive board, and take more leadership in inter-chapter teams.

2006: Discussion at TX-LA meet (in Houston) on “why women’s empowerment is important” reveals extent of gender gap and need for awareness.

2007: Men and women volunteers raise issue of “ad” perceived by some as demeaning to women. No consensus at chapter level, ad remains. Volunteers feel need to raise more awareness and sensitivity and make some kind of policy similar to pluralism policy, on gender equality and common respect or standards of decency.

2008: forum discussion on dress code, segregation in education and public transport, and sexual violence raises issue of gender gap and need for awareness

2008: gender survey and private email thread brings out bias, stereotype, harassment, violence women volunteers in AID have faced, limited avenues for acknowledging / dealing with these issues. Feel need to break silence.

2008: Session on gender sensitivity in Buffalo conference. Follow-up session in College Park. Nafisa Behn from Uthaan present in both sessions, raises critical questions. Volunteers express need for explicit policy on gender equality and sexual harassment.

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Moments

Re: Presenting . . . AID Calendar 2009!

Re: Presenting . . . AID Calendar 2009!

Image

Aquene Freechild presents the AID 2009 calendar, hot off the press in Berkeley at the Students for Bhopal Annual COnference.

ROTI: Sharing Food, Sharing Values, 2009 calendar of AID makes its debut in meeting of Students for Bhopal, Berkeley.

SfB volunteers gave the calendar a warm welcome, noting the strong solidarity between the causes of the Bhopal survivors, the struggling farmers and all whose livelihood and justice for Bhopal. Aquene noted that such connections were brought out in Dominique LaPierre’s novel 5 Minutes Past Midnight in Bhopal
as well.

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Resources

AID Calendar Video: Roti – Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain

AID Calendar Video: Roti – Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain

Dear friends,

This 3 minute video advertises the 2009 AID calendar Roti to the tune of Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain song with beautiful pictures and theme of food and agriculture.

Show at your chapter concerts, meetings etc!

Download high res version by clicking this link!!

The hi res link will expire in 7 days so download soon!!

Watch low res version in youtube:
[url]♫ Sharing Food, Sharing Values ♫: http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=tMZPIN_e63w[/url]

Hi Res version is far superior in picture quality….its worth downloading.

–Aravinda

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