Bolivia for Sale

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Photo Credit to Sandra De Souza: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandra_de_souza/

This is pretty much the aftermath of last weeks Top Gear and Damian Lewis dancing to Gangnam Style on Jonathan Woss’s show. As much as it is apparently about Homeland, spending week after week wondering if a pseudo-American ginger man is going to be killed is equivalent to having a warm cup of milk after a long day. So lets put aside the already well known stereotypical American fear of a terrorist blowing their own arses up (and blowing theirs up as a consequence) and put the limelight on a more pressing and relevant matter: the true impacts of neo-liberalism.

Bolivia for sale illiterates the reasons why we should question the means of development and foreign intervention. Please have a watch:

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Do popular movements achieve their objectives

After volunteering finally with amnesty international I thought I’ll find optimism in the populist movement ideology. The idea of protesting for a greater good does not always result in what was wanted to begin with. It is usually the most radical parties that are organised enough to jump on the bandwagon of these movements and it seems to be a global phenomena.
I suppose we have the socialist and Islamic parties here jumping on to the bersih and Lynas movements here in Malaysia. The swpp supporting the tuition fees movement in the uk and the Muslim brotherhood and other affiliates working on influencing politics and taking advantage of discontent in the Arab spring.
Even if it doesn’t address the interest of the majority they often get popular support for fighting for a common cause or argue that they represent the majority by joining a popular movement.
There is always someone trying yo ruin the party

Ethical Buying- the iPhone Suicides

After the Dispatches feature on UK sweatshops supplying clothes for the High Street, the average consumer is more conscientious of where their good are coming from. Primark were amongst one of the High Street shops that had to redeem their reputation of being a fair employer and for not exploiting their employees. It’s led to the influx of fairtrade goods on sale in supermarkets, as awareness grew.

But how about the electronics industry. The same trend is happening now, where the cost of production is reducing to meet the growing demand for phones, computer, games consoles- anything electronic that uses a microprocessor. To obviously make this technology affordable for everyone, cost cutting exercises have to be made somewhere.

And this is when Foxconn, a subordinate company of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry comes under scrutiny. With 13 suicides, nets in place and 100 mental health workers now places on site there is definitely a question of abuse of human rights when looking at the working conditions in Foxconn.

However, the suicide rate is roughly 17 for every 100,000 people. The highest estimate of employees working in Longhua, Shenzhen is 450,000 people therefore lower than the suicide rate in China. Although suicide does occur, it is well within the national rate and does not conclude that Foxconn are absuing their employees.

This leads me on to sweatshops, and unethical working conditions. This is going to be rather a high-level comment on the issue and I will return to this at a later date. But we should really consider the alternative of no work in which will imply no money for the employees of these sweatshops. The implementations of not having any income is worst when the standard of living is so low. What does irritate me however, is the fact that a piece of clothing that make have cost around a pound to produce is sold for £20 minimum, which is 2000% mark up and £19 profit. Profiteering so much as a trade off to someone else’s well being is beyond greed. Personally I’m happy to pay £20 as long as I know the person made it was paid at least minimum wage.

We should generally learn that buying local and producing locally is the best way to ensure that all employees and consumers are treated fairly, and all transactions remain as transparent as possible by all parties.

KONY 2012- Learn from History!

Spread the word or maybe not:

Here are some conflicting ideas:

“...Russell is pretty much on the money about the nature of Kony. If such things still existed, he’d be a prime example of hostis humani generis. But if this works, then the world gets a little bit more dangerous. It presents a pretty simple and powerful idea: we identify a prime candidate for global public enemy number one, we get his name to the entire world with viral marketing and then leverage that to get policymakers to go after him.”

“I’m not using sovereignty here as a barrier, but it’s something to consider. Helpfully, the video excludes the fact that Uganda helped invade the DRC in the 1990s, DRC politicians are currently under indictment for war crimes committed in the CAR and when Uganda went into South Sudan to chase Kony, their own troops were accused of killing and kidnapping South Sudanese civilians. I’m no Africa specialist, but that sounds like a disaster in the making if one of them is going to be given carte blanche to go after Kony, if such a thing is possible.”

Quoted from: http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2012/03/joseph-kony-and-crowdsourced-intervention/

… I would like to address the harmful nature of your propaganda. I believe your actions will actually bring back the fighting in Northern Uganda. You are not asking for peace, but violence. The fighting has stopped in the past 5 years and the Acholi are finally enjoying some peace. You will be inviting the LRA and the fighting back into Uganda and disturbing this peace. The last time Invisible Children got politically involved and began lobbying it actually caused more violence and deaths. I beg you not to do it again.”

Quoted from: http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/qm349/why_the_kony_documentary_and_invisible_children/

Then there the questions of financial gain, where is the money going:

From the visible children blog:  “I’m talking about the amount of money that Invisible Children spends on active aid, as opposed to advocacy. I understand that their mission is primarily advocacy – my question is whether this is what’s best at this part of the conflict.”

The total worth all the assets owned by the Invisible Children initiative has gone up by 71% from $2,012,465 to $6,931,285 and the total revunue generated was $13,765,180 mostly from donations (and that is of course not taxed). The ‘cash at the end of the year 2011″ is equal to $6,036,803 so what are they doing with so much surplus!

Also this is what they spent donations on in 2010:

Source: http://c2052482.r82.cf0.rackcdn.com/images/737/original/FY11-Audited%20Financial%20Statements.pdf?1320205055

Not one cent goes to the redevelopment and support of the so called ‘invisible children’ and their communities in Northern Uganda…

Any form of genocide and crimes against humanity should be tried under the International Court of Juice, we as the world should know about what is going on but a report on such a sensitive matter should never be so one sided. The thought that this is issue is to be as simplistic as ‘eradicating’ one individual from the equation is in the words of both my sources, ‘dangerous’. It’s like Hitler and his actual control over Germany during the 1930’s-40’s, did he actually understand the consequences of what he was doing or was he a figurehead for the Nazi party that was really ran by radicals? And despite Hitler’s and other key members of the Nazi party being removed from German politics (they’re dead basically), Neo-nazism still exists- and perhaps it is because we did the same thing to him as Russell is trying to do to Kony during WW2. Hitler was still a prick and that statement is not trying to justify the holocaust, not by any means  but I think it proves that it’s a battle of an organisation and ideology not just one individual.

A video is not going to fool me!

Slavery in the fishing industry

Justice for All

A new focus on human misery

Mention human trafficking and most people will immediately think of the horrors of the sex trade. That is understandable because the exploitation of women and children are rarely out of the headlines, making this an issue of deep concern. But a recent surge in slavery cases involving men as the prime victims, has highlighted the need for anti-trafficking agencies to smash criminal gangs illegally exploiting cheap labour.

The fact that young men are trafficked into slavery in the fishing industry and condemned to spend months at sea in appalling conditions, is not new. This has been well documented by the International Labour Organisation, and Mahidol and Chulalongkorn universities. It is the increased scale of this exploitation that is causing alarm. And although police intensified their operations against traffickers in Suphan Buri and Ayutthaya this week and made…

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Kes Altantuya

Justice for All

Will Altantuya murder appeal be delayed again?
11:24AM Mar 1, 2012 Malaysiakini.com

On March 9, the appeal of the convicted murderers in the politically charged case of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu is once again set for the Court of Appeal after being delayed for a month because of boxes of evidence on the case had been sent to the wrong place.

Altantuya was killed on Oct 18, 2006. The interminable delays in getting justice for the murdered woman have led to suspicions that the delays are deliberate in order to erase the crime from the public mind.

She had been slain in particularly gruesome fashion – shot twice in the head and her body blown up with military explosives, raising suspicions that it was to hide the fact that, as she allegedly told one of her murderers, was pregnant.

Altantuya had been inextricably tied to a massive…

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Protes Rakyat sehingga Lynas (LAMP) berhenti operasi

Finally Malaysians protesting! I just wish politics there wasn’t so racial/ religious then I won’t mind living in Malaysia again

Justice for All

15,000 swarm Kuantan for anti-Lynas rally
8:32AM Feb 26, 2012 Malaysiakini.com

It’s a sunny morning in Kuantan where a growing number of people are gathering to oppose the construction of a rare earth refinery nearby, which they fear will pose radioactive risks.

The rally – dubbed Himpunan Hijau 2.0 (Green Gathering 2.0) – seeks to gather 20,000 people from all over the country at the Kuantan Municipal Council field.

Pakatan Rakyat’s top leaders have also pledged to attend the event, in protest of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp).

In a nod to the newly passed Peaceful Assembly Act 2011, the police have sanctioned the rally, albeit at the eleventh hour, and imposed 12 conditions. Rally organisers have agreed to the conditions.

The two-hour event is suppose to kick off at 10am.

Live reports follows:

NONE8.32am: Almost 1,000 people, mostly clad in the symbolic green, have gathered on MPK4…

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