Alternatives International Journal

La droite vénézuélienne, battue depuis 1998 par le chavisme, a affûté sa stratégie électorale et infléchi hypocritement son discours vers "plus de social". Ultralibérale, elle s’est réclamée par exemple des "missions sociales" de Chavez. Le mensonge a payé..., mais il est une nouvelle fois battu, avec une marge plus limitée que celle que nous attendions. Manifestement le "quotient personnel" de Chavez allait au-delà du "vote socialiste". La campagne politique, très affective de Maduro, très émotionnelle après la mort du "comandante" Chavez, n’a pas entraîné l’adhésion de l’ensemble du vote (...)

Quick, send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.

Railway Privatization in Senegal and Mali

The 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago bemused visitors with its unique Middle Eastern Cairo Street. But the representation of Islam did not get a warm reception— the audience likened the Islamic call to prayer to the noise of a dogfight! Even in the twenty-first century, the Western media struggles to face reality: Muslims, far from being a mere sideshow, comprise a remarkably large part of those who immigrate to the West. Since the 1960s, Muslims in the West have progressed steadily from the realm of the “invisible—newcomers to new lands with little public voice of recognition— (...)
For the liberation movements of southern Africa, Israel and apartheid South Africa represented a racist, colonial axis. It was noted that people like John Vorster had been Nazi sympathisers, interned during World War II - yet feted as heroes in Israel and, incidentally, never again referred to by South African Zionists as anti-Semites. It is instructive to add that in its conduct and methods of repression, Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith— even surpassing its brutality, house demolitions, removal of communities, targeted assassinations, (...)
In January, the Norwegian government decided to exclude Canada’s Barrick Gold from its pensions investment fund, deeming the activities of the mining company in Papua New Guinea as “an unacceptable risk of extensive and irreversible damage to the natural environment.” This sort of indictment is not unique; Canadian mining multinationals in Africa face numerous allegations of environmental damage. Worse, their reputation for a lack of ecological respect pales in comparison to their other alleged activities, such as the violent confiscation of property, tax evasion, corruption, and (...)
“Let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam,” declared President Barack Obama before the Turkish Grand National Assembly. His words came in stark contrast to former President George Bush’s use of the word “crusade” to describe America’s post 9/11 efforts. Barack Obama’s speech in Turkey was a significant step toward mitigating the tensions that have been stewing between the United States and the Muslim world. His remarks were a marked effort to shake off the mistrusts that characterized the Bush administration’s dealings with (...)

Alternatives’ EMMANUEL
MARTINEZ recently
interviewed Haneen Zoubi,
the first woman to be elected
on an Arab party list to the
Israeli Knesset. She is a
member of the Balad party,
and the former director of the
I’lam Media Center.

The statistics speak for themselves. In Quebec, the unemployment rate among those of North African origin is 29% compared to a rate of 7% among the general population. Discrimination exists, and the Quebec government is struggling to tackle it. A Quebecker of North African origin, Nacer, 50 years old, has lived in Montreal for 20 years. Despite his best efforts, he and his family have been unable to break off of the path of poverty. With an elegance and softness that are out of place with the harshness of the acts of racism that he recounts, he speaks of the employment (...)
In Africa’s Great Lakes region, fifteen years removed from the genocide, shadows still loom large. Although most Rwandans have returned to a life of normalcy, thousands of Hutus have remained in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they are led by veterans of the 1995 genocide in a group called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). For fifteen years they have fought in a series of wars that have devastated the DRC. Established in North and South Kivu, in the eastern part of the country just across the border from Rwanda, the FDLR, besides being (...)
It can come as no great shock when, after giving your credit card number and assorted personal details to a late-night television psychic, their subsequent prediction is that you will become a victim of bank fraud. And what, pray tell, happens when public money is given to resuscitate myopic and amoral private enterprises that are proving to be shrewd and rather discriminating paupers in spite of their dismal records of commercial ineptitude? Heads they win, tails we lose. There is a renewed poignancy to the tragedy of the commons, which began sometime in the distant past with (...)
Geeta Thapa falters when she talks about her future, “There are many pursuing me… and… I haven’t been able to say ‘yes.’” So why is an attractive, independent 22 year-old reluctant to commit to marriage? Geeta believes if she reveals her “secret” no one will love her, yet if she does not how will this diminutive young woman bear the enormous weight of her past and move into a brighter future? She was sixteen-and-a-half when the Rescue Foundation pulled her out of Mumbai’s dangerous network of gated brothels. For three years she had lived in a series of windowless single bedrooms. A (...)
March is International Women’s Month. And what better way is there to celebrate the contributions to our planet of more than 50% of the world’s people than to offer them a full 1/12 of the year as a token of gratitude. Yes, a whopping 31 days— note that Women were not short changed with one of those 30-day months like September, which incidentally and without a hint of bitterness, is (seriously and sadly) Be Kind to Editors & Writers Month, nor were they offered the diminutive February like those who are unfortunate enough to be (again seriously and sadly, but for altogether (...)
Wealthy states and multinational corporations are buying up long-term leases on sizeable tracts of farmland in developing countries. Inspired by the recent food crisis, it has become a veritable bonanza that reeks of colonialism and risks disastrous consequences. Saudi Arabia has gained control of around 1.6 million hectares of land in Indonesia, which is the equivalent of approximately three quarters of Québec’s cropland. Together with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia has also appropriated 1.4 million hectares in countries like Pakistan and Sudan. The Persian Gulf states (...)
She was ranked 59th in the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women last year, only just behind Queen Elizabeth II, whose great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, once subsumed India to the British crown. The media call her the Dalit Queen, but she simply calls herself by her given name, Mayawati. She is currently chief minister of one of India’s most important electoral provinces, Uttar Pradesh, and it is widely reported that she has her eyes set on the prime minister’s seat in the upcoming general elections. India is no stranger to female politicians or heads of government; (...)
Juana Mendez is an indigenous Mayan and mother of 11 children. Illiterate and speaking only K’iche’, she lives below the poverty line in a rural area of Guatemala. Following the discovery of opium plants near her home in December of 2004, Juana was arrested and arbitrarily imprisoned. One month after her arrest, she was brought to the Nebaj regional police station in the province of Quiché, where she spent the night before making her first statement in court the next day. During the night, at least two intoxicated police officers sexually assaulted her, threatening her life in (...)
I want to start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as far back as 1963 that “Israel is an apartheid state.” Those were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu or Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd. He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech, in contrast to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel. To be sure Verwoerd was correct. Both states preached and implemented a policy based on racial ethnicity; (...)
To improve the gender equity at the College of Engineering and Technology, dedicated members of the University of Dar es Salaam’s Gender Center began the Special Pre-Entry Program in 2004, which immediately increased the percentage of female students to 15.5% in the academic year 2004- 2005 (up from 7.3% in 2002-2003). In the academic year of 2007-2008, 24.5% of students in engineering were female. The program achieved this increase in enrolment by allowing girls with low marks coming out of secondary school to undergo eight weeks of intensive, targeted training in engineering (...)
The heated debate over African migration to the European Union (EU) is cast in divisive, hyperbolic terms. Depending on one’s national affiliation or political leanings, the undocumented migrants who undertake the journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Northern Africa to Southern Europe represent a security crisis or a humanitarian crisis. The solution is either to tighten borders or to tear down walls. Migrants— and Europeans— are caricaturized as villains or victims. These simplistic, discursive tactics are effective at generating support for either side of the debate. They (...)
The September 11 2001 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks shook the White House into a state of controlled panic and the nation into exhaustive asymmetric warfare. Worse, no one really knew if graver threats yet loomed. Led by George W. Bush’s itchy trigger finger and Dick Cheney’s nightmarish scenarios, this ignorance turned the ensuing counterterrorist war into a battle for the country’s soul. Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side is a well-documented and lucidly written testimony of how the Bush administration sacrificed the sacred habeas corpus. It will fascinate readers who were frustrated by the (...)
This year will see the implementation of a new piece of American legislation developed by the Department of Homeland Security called the Secure Flight Program (SFP). The bill contains at least one measure that has raised the ire of many Canadian civil liberties organisations; airlines must provide the United States’ Transportation Security Administration with such personal information as a passenger’s passport and travel itinerary three days before any flight goes through American airspace. All information gathered is subsequently cross-referenced against lists of suspected (...)
Two beings, alike in dignity, determination and dedication, became engaged in a standoff. Neither was willing to blink for fear that in that split second their adversary would finally strike. The result? Neither blinked. Their eyes dried-out, blinding them both. A scorpion happens across a frog and asks him for a ride across the river. The Frog, wary of his potentially lethal interlocutor, queries, “If I help you across the river, will you promise not to sting me?” Quoth the Scorpion, “Kind Frog, I am King of the Scorpions, if you help me I shall tell all of my subjects to protect (...)
The story of Dr. Awni Jarw, aged 37. His house was bombed by the Israeli air force. “Yousef was 18 months-old. My wife and I had been waiting for him for so long. He brought us joy and love, with his laugh and smile. He filled our home with happiness. But all of a sudden, I found myself searching for his tiny body parts all over my house. When looking for the body parts of my wife, I found Yousef’s tiny feet, the lower part of my wife’s body, my baby’s head and hand. I collected them and put them together so that they can be united in death.” (Source: Palestine Monitor) Story of (...)
It’s sixty years and counting since the founding of the State of Israel, and nothing seems to change, except for the worse. The torment of the Palestinian people is unending—as is the massive control of the United States by Zionist lobbies, the passive yet deadly acquiescence of other Western democracies, the corruption of compliant Arab states, and, above all, the ever-mounting brutalization of Israel. All these forces are locked together into a nightmarish embrace that sows despair among people of good will. The Zionist project once commanded the respect and sympathy of much of (...)
Part of the global outrage against the Israeli assault on Gaza has been a much stronger voice from dissident Jews. I was one of eight Jewish women who were arrested for an occupation of the Israeli consulate in Toronto on January 8. The next day, Jewish activists blocked the entrance to the Israeli consulate in Boston. The following Monday, 1,000 Jews demonstrated in front of the Israeli consulate in New York City and, a couple of days later, a group of young Jewish activists locked down the consulate in Los Angeles. The BBC reported that the Council of Jewish Communities in (...)
In July 2005, a large coalition of Palestinian civil society groups issued a call for a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy (BDS) against Israel until it complied with international human rights agreements and UN resolutions. Calling on people of conscience all over the world, these organizations propose a non-violent tactic similar to that of the African National Congress in their struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Israel’s dual laws for Jewish settlers and Palestinians, the segregation of roads and housing, and restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of (...)
“We are turning science and technology into a weapon that the poor can use to combat their poverty.” For almost 50 years, this has been the creed of Indian NGO Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), who have helped impoverished citizens to actively pursue the social change that leads to greater equality. The roots of Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, which translated from Malayalam means “The forum for scientific literature of Kerala”, date back to 1962. The primary objective of this small group of researchers was to translate scientific works into their local language in an (...)

When thinking about human trafficking, most of us
conjure up exotic images of gangs, flophouses and
forced prostitution. That is part of it, but in today’s day and
age we should be taking a good look at more mundane
activities. In Canada, as in many parts of the world,
human trafficking has also become a phenomenon in
the services and manufacturing sectors.

For a land where Buddhism is constitutionally
designated as the ‘foremost’ religion, peace and
compassion are scarce commodities in Sri Lankan
politics. Monastery bells generally toll prayer times,
but a few in Sri Lanka have come to toll a call to war.

To begin this month’s issue without a few words on the US election would be impossible. Every four years, when the
most powerful country in the world goes to the ballot box, the rest of the world takes notice. Although much ink has
been shed on the end of a unipolar world- including in this very space- the United States is still the world’s economic,
military, cultural, academic, etc, leader. It remains, at the very least, the first among equals. The attention lavished upon
this election from across the globe proves just that.

Despite the fact that Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai signed an agreement to form a government of
national unity, hapless Zimbabweans have, if anything,
seen their country disintegrate further.


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