Category Archives: society

Nadia Murad: A Yazidi Voice Against Slavery by Rene Wadlow

Nadia Murad, now a United Nation Goodwill Ambassador on Trafficking of Persons, is the co-laureate of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014 when she was 21, she and her neighbors in a predominantly Yazidi village in the Simjar mountainous area of Iraq were attacked by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These forces were following a pattern of targeted killings, forced conversions to Islam, abductions, trafficking of women, sexual abuse and slavery. In Murad’s village, most of the older men were killed, the younger men taken to be soldiers in the ISIS forces, and the women taken into slavery, primarily as sex slaves, in Mosul, the city which served as the headquarters of ISIS.

nadia01_400There were some 500,000 Yazidi in Iraq though Iraqi demographic statistics are not fully reliable. Yazidi leaders may give larger estimates by counting Kurds who had been Yazidis but had covertd to Islam. There had been some 200,000 Yazidis among the Kurds in Turkey but now nearly all have migrated to Western Europe, Australia and Canada. Many of the Yazidi are ethnic Kurds and the government of Sadam Hussein was opposed to them not so much for their religious beliefs but because some Yazidi played important roles in the Kurdish community seen as largely opposed to his government.

After a time in Mosul, Murad, with the help of a compassionate Muslim family, was able to escape Mosul and make her way to the Iraqi Kurdistan area where many Yazidis from the Sinjar area had already arrived. Once there she joined a newly created association of Yazidi women who had organized to defend their rights and so that the voices of women could be heard. A few of these women were able to be resettled in Western Europe. Nadia Murad was able to live in Germany where she became the spokesperson for Yazidi women and other women who had met a similar fate. In December 2015, she addressed the U.N. Security Council and became the public face both for the Yazidi women and for an even larger number of women victims of the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

The structure of the Yazidi world view is Zoroastrian, a faith born in Persia proclaiming that two great cosmic forces, that of light and good, and that of darkness and evil, are in constant battle. Man is called upon to help light overcome darkness. However, the strict dualistic thinking of Zoroastrianism was modified by another Persian prophet, Mani of Ctesiplon in the third century CE. Mani tried to create a synthesis of religious teachings that were increasingly coming into contact through trade: Buddhism and Hinduism from India, Jewish and Christian thought, Gnostic philosophy from Egypt and Greece, as well as many smaller traditional and “animist” beliefs. He kept the Zoroastrian dualism as the most easily understood intellectual framework, though giving it a more Taoist (yin/yang) character. Mani had traveled in China. He developed the idea of the progression of the soul by individual effort through reincarnation – a main feature of Indian thought.

Within the Mani-Zoroastrian framework, the Yazidi added the presence of angels who are to help humans in their constant battle for light and good. The main angel is Melek Tavis, the peacock angel. Although there are angels in Islam, angels that one does not know could well be demons, so the Yazidi are regularly accused of being “demon worshipers” (1).

While it is dangerous to fall into a good/evil analysis of world politics, there is little to see of “good” in the iSIS actions. Thus Nadia Murad can be seen as a bringer of light into a dark time.

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Women’s Critical Role in the Food Chain by Rene Wadlow

15 October is the U.N. designated International Day of Rural Women. It is a day in which to highlight the need to increase food production, especially in those countries that face a persistent food deficit. There is a need to increase production, create better storage methods to prevent post-harvest loss, and improve distribution methods.

Women play a crucial role in every link of the food chain: production, storage, marketing, and finally in the preparation of food for the family. Therefore it is important to look at some of the blocks and drawbacks that prevent better production and to analyse the persistent inequalities and discrimination that women face at the village level — discrimination in schooling, especially at the technical and higher levels, discrimination in land ownership and land tenure, discrimination in inheritance of land and access to resources. We must look at what factors stand in the way of transforming gender relations and of eliminating gender inequalities. Promoting gender equality is an important part of a development strategy that seeks to enable all people — women and men alike — to escape poverty and to improve their standard of living.

farm01_400We must look not only at drawbacks but give special attention to methods used for the empowerment of women and gender equality in the food cycle. There are a growing number of households headed by women in rural areas. The reasons vary but most often the reasons are associated with migrations, divorce, abandonment, widowhood, civil strife, and absent-father adolescent parenthood. I will use examples from Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where I have worked.

The division of labor between men and women in agriculture can vary greatly from one ethnic group to another even within a limited region and often concerning the same crops and activities. That is why all generations are dangerous and why detailed study of specific patterns is important. A useful tool for study is the gender tool kits prepared by the World Bank’s Gender Analysis and Policy Section. While one may be justly critical of some of the World Bank’s loans and policy directives, the Bank has developed good guides for research such as Monica Fong and Anjana Bhushan’s Toolkit on Gender in Agriculture. See the Bank’s GenderNet The Net has two subsection on gender in Africa and gender in Latin America and the Caribbean. (1)

While recalling the danger of generalizations, there are nevertheless certain patterns that one finds so often that such patterns merit special attention — such as food preparation nearly exclusively by women. Thus it is important to note both the work in the fields, at the market, but also in the home with the preparation of food and care of children if we want to have a complete picture of the role of women. Household division of labor needs to be looked at closely. Because women in Vietnam do the household budgeting, it is often assumed that women do not need independent access to resources and that they have full control over household income regardless of who earns it. Field research now indicates that this is not always the case and thus it is necessary to look closely at the decision-making structure of rural households to see if there are unmet needs.

For more HERE!

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How Dare She ! by Leah Sellers

Well, what did you expect, Ladies ?

Especially those of you who Voted the Trumpian King into the American Presidency.

Yes, the Pussy Cat Grabbin’ (just because He can) Cheatin’, Lyin’, Usin’ and Abusin’ Womanizin’ Trumpian CEO Autocrat has been given tremendous Power over your Bodies, Minds, Hearts and Souls, Ladies.

And all of this present day (soon to disappear into another nano-second guided Algorithimic News Cycle) Circus of Chaos, HeartBreak, MindBlow and SoulRot is over another fine, upstandin’, possible Sex Offender Judge Kavanaugh’s ambition to be a LifeTime Supreme Court Judge, and all of the Republican Gangland Gameplayin’ to get him there over the corpse of a Truly Good Man, and former Teacher of Bret Kavanaugh, Judge Merrick (Oops ! He was former President Obama’s Centrist pick that the Republicans ran over with a Mack-Rack Truck). Oh well !

haras01_400And Ladies, if you have ever been Raped or Sexually Assaulted or had a Man hold his Hand over your Mouth to suffocatingly keep you from hollerin’ for Help, then you understand why the folks who are calling Professor Christine Blasy Ford dazed and con-fused are themselves twistedly and or ignorantly dazed and con-fused.

The Fear based Terror and Loss of Selfhood hurled upon the Lady, soon to be a Victimized-Survivor, is not something you Ever ForGet. The Dark Force within that Man during that Moment in Time (which lasts for a Life time for the Woman so Wronged and Wounded on so very many levels), and all of the things he forced her to Feel and Think and have to Deal with for the rest of her Life, is something Never ForGotten.

Women do not like talking about it or turning their Life-Wounding over to Others, because in most Cultures the Woman is almost always seen to be somehow at fault for the Incident. And the Others have a tendency to make a horrible Mess of things. Leaving the Wounded Woman even more greatly Wounded.

What were You wearing ? What did You do to bring it on ? What did You say to make him Act that way ? Are you Easy ? Were you drinking ? Are you a Party Girl ? Maybe he misunderstood Your intentions in the matter. Maybe You didn’t say “No” convincingly enough……..

And now, Ladies and Gents, Wife and Mother, Christine Blasey Ford, who tried to make her Painful Life Altering Kavanaugh Incident known as a matter of her Civic and Patriotic Duty to the entire Nation before he was elevated to one of the highest positions in the Land, but Anonymously, has been outed (for whatever fair and just or unfair and unjust Reasonings or UnReasonings).

And thusly, the fury of Hurricane ’How Dare She” comprised of the Red Ragin’ Republicans and their Womanizin’, PUssy Cat Grabbin’ Autocratic Trumpian King, and his Sycophants and MAGA Fans, is headed straight for Christine Blasey Ford’s Reputation, her Job, her Family and her very mortal Life.

She chose to go Beyond her Personal Fears for herself and her Family to reveal what she Knows to Be a very UnComfortable and InCon-venient Truth in a Moment of Time shared with Bret Kavanaugh in her Life, that Changed her Life ForEver, but seemingly had no effect/affect on Bret Kavanaugh’s Life at all……until Now, that is. “How Dare She” !

And is she to get a Fair Hearing ? Is the Incident to be Investigated as She wants it to Be, although, apparently, Kavanaugh and his Republican Congress and Fan Base do not ?

Is it to be just another Cruel, Forever Life Changing Moment in Time for Christine, while Bret walks away untouched and unscathed once again ?

Is she to be just another Woman in History put in her Place, so that, yet again, a Man may rise to a more Powerful Place in which he can tell many Other Women what they too, Can and Cannot Do with their very Own Bodies and Lives ?

Yes, Ladies and Gents, How Dare She ?!


Check Leah Seller’s EBOOK
A Young Boy/Man’s Rage, and A Knife He Wanted to Be a Gun
You can download it for FREE HERE!
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Lighthouse Bird by David Sparenberg

Lighthouse Bird

I am ok and will continue to be ok. I am not the center of the universe. Reality is peopled and diverse. But I am center of a circle of acts of beauty and cosmic awareness, and consequence.

How blessed I am to be one of the articulate; neither oppressed or intimidated into silence.  I am gifted with a voice.

light0001You are ok and you will continue to be ok. You too are not center of the universe. Reality is peopled and diverse. But you are the center of a circle of acts of beauty and cosmic awareness, and consequence.

How do our circles interconnect?

For us, we who have journeyed the paths of healing, love has already engraved its calligraphy inside our souls: we know what is to be done.  We foot the slope to the valley below.  Our eyes follow the valley water.

The Dove of Now is a lighthouse bird

Look out toward everyone. Pay attention here please. Listen. Care is part of our emergency. That is as sure as indifference fuels destruction.
Earth is in torment, confusion and rage! Brewing to category 5: to intemperate rage. To critical mass. This torment of Earth is aligned with the multiples of our angst.  Our anguish is crucifixion in the body of God. And you are startled, wondering, “What and where, in the name of the 21st century, is the body of God?”

Today is the day. Another day and yet the day. Right now is the hour. Another hour and yet the hour. What are we doing? Why are we here?

How do our circles interconnect?

Time if not something like inexorable fate has brought us together.  We persist
acting as if strangers. Only we are not.  Not strangers after all. We shallow lies; are terrifyingly forgetful. Life is betrayed.

Why are we like this? Why all like this?  And how long? I wouldn’t hold my breath, holding out for an answer.  Anymore than you should stop breathing about the perplexity of the body of God.

Now listen: I am determined to tell you civilization’s secret, the most denied, the one that survives and somehow remains most holy.  The haunting remains of holy: deathless images.

The Dove of Now is a lighthouse bird.

Somewhere on this troubled planet, somehow, someone passionate, I am compelled to tell you, found a spade and dug up a cask of buried scripture.  And shook out from that dust of time and this storm of history—look—a miracle of wings!


Check David Sparenberg’s NEW BOOK
THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!



David Sparenberg has also 2 more Books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
“Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold”
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Settler + Education + Work = Human Right



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Something from the past by Katerina Charisi

I’m getting old. I’m getting old and I feel my doors shut one by one. Yesterday I met with my childhood’s best friend, thirty years after, and I gave her my hand to shake. All I was willing to give her was a handshake! Do you get it?

mortal01_400We used to wear each other’s clothes, spent weekends together, chatting and dreaming until someone would ask us to be quiet. We shared the same lukewarm beer when we went to the beach in summer nights to meet with the boys. We even shared the same boyfriend once! I had asked her to kiss my boyfriend and tell me if he was a good kisser. All true.

And now, I gave her my hand to shake. Like she was just another neighbour I accidentally met downtown. I didn’t ask her to have a coffee with me and catch up. She didn’t ask my number when she walked away. The moment just passed and lost forever, like any of those old times ever happened. Like the life we shared was another life, not ours.

Why did I have to see her again? Why do I remember all these things now?


Check Mortals of Megapolis I & II EBOOK
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