In the news, ethics and development

Hey everyone. Time to share with you some of the headlines that I’ve curated at work recently. You might have heard or read about some of them. Have a great weekend!

Amazon Packaging by Nic Taylor on Flickr


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Leave Beyonce Alone

Racism and miscommunication: “Today, we have that same paternalistic attitude of old white men claiming they know what’s best for young black women. Ironically, Kanye West has a lot in common with Huckabee and O’Reilly. In defending Beyonce, he, too, acted in a paternalistic way, as if he were some noble knight riding in to protect a damsel in distress. Beyonce, who is a much more powerful force in the music business than West, has proven she is fully capable of speaking for herself”.


Every year during awards season — which seems to last longer than the NBA season and have more flagrant fouls — outrage is expressed over those who are snubbed. In typical shoot-from-the-lip fashion, Kanye West on Sunday night denounced Beck winning the Album of the Year instead of Beyonce. “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us,” he threatened. “We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

There are several obvious things wrong with that outburst, including that it’s an insult to Beyonce as an artist and as a woman. But, more important, it once again highlights the monumental significance of Beyonce as a cultural icon that goes beyond her music. When we look more closely, we can see that whether she’s…

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Public Service Announcement: a new stance against child marriage

via Care:

No one could blame Amaranth Yadav for not remembering his wedding day. After all, he was just 7 years old and still half asleep.

child marriage care photo

What he won’t forget are the years that followed—the anger he felt because his wife, who was also a child, was never allowed to go to school. He resented how fast he had to grow up and all the pressure placed on him to succeed. And most of all he resented being forced into a life he didn’t choose.

But as the groom, at least Amaranth got to go to school and get a college degree. Today, at 27, he’s using his education to fight against child marriage by working with CARE’s Tipping Point—a project addressing child marriage through advocacy—and he now lives with his wife and kids in Nepal.

Amaranth was relatively fortunate. The brides don’t usually fare as well. Consider:

  • Almost 39,000 girls become child brides every day
  • 1 in 9 girls is forced into marriage before she’s 15
  • 142 million children will be married by 2020

Girls married before their 18th birthday don’t often complete their secondary education, let alone college. And they’re at a higher risk of being physically abused, contracting HIV, and dying while pregnant or giving birth.

But Amaranth is using his experience to help turn the tide. He’s teaching his neighbors how dangerous child marriage can be—for the boy and girl—and showing them sustainable alternatives to the practice. He’s even teaching his wife to read.

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Public Service Announcement: A drone killed my grandmother

Some e-mail subjects you can`t help but pay attention to:

“I wasn’t scared of drones before, but now when they fly overhead I wonder, will I be next?” – Nabeela, granddaughter of US drone strike victim Mamana Bibi
Demand justice for Mamana Bibi.

Child who witnessed her grandmother killed by a US drone while picking vegetables for dinner

President Obama needs to own up to the death and suffering he has caused Mamana’s family and start telling the truth about US drone strikes.

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Dear Luis,

Last October, 8-year-old Nabeela ventured outside while her 68-year-old grandmother Mamana Bibi picked vegetables in their family’s large, open field.

Moments later, this beloved grandmother was blasted to pieces by not one, but two US drone missiles apparently aimed directly at her. Nabeela and other nearby grandchildren were injured when the exploding missile lodged shrapnel in their bodies.

One year later, the US government has not even acknowledged Mamana’s death.

Now Nabeela wonders whether she will be next. How would you feel if this happened to your family?

Force President Obama to come clean about Mamana’s death and investigate this unlawful killing by a US drone.

No one is alleging Mamana did anything wrong. Her fatal “mistake” was living in North Waziristan, a region in Pakistan pummeled by US drone strikes.

Today, Amnesty International released a comprehensive report documenting dozens of killings and utter destruction caused by US drone strikes, including the unlawful killing of Mamana Bibi.

We interviewed 60 survivors and eyewitnesses, who describe a daily life of inescapable violence – death from above, and attacks on the ground by Pakistani forces, Taliban and Al-Qa-ida-linked groups.

Tomorrow, President Obama is meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. Mamana Bibi’s unlawful death should be the first item on their agenda.

Demand answers about Mamana’s death by US drone strike.

In May of this year President Obama pledged to increase transparency about drone strikes. 5 months later, nothing has changed.

No new information about drone policy. No legal framework for when and why the US would use this deadly force. No acknowledgment of responsibility. No investigations into cases like Mamana’s.

Drone strikes have destroyed families and fomented hate against the US.

Mamana’s grandchildren deserve better than this. They deserve answers. They deserve justice.

Stand up for Mamana’s grandchildren. It’s time the US government answered for these killings.


Zeke Johnson
Director, Security & Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA

That is why we are here

Via GHRC (Guatemala Human Rights Comission)
…Ríos Montt was found guilty of masterminding and overseeing the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the department of El Quiché, as well as the forced displacement of 29,000, and 1,485 acts of sexual violence and acts of torture. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison and was ordered into police custody. His director of Military Intelligence, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sánchez, was absolved of both crimes.
During a one hour statement, Judge Barrios recounted evidence of the indiscriminate massacres committed against the civilian Ixil population, systematic physical and psychological control meant to destroy the social fabric of the Ixil culture. She noted the brutal use of sexual violence. These acts were carried out as state policy and destroyed 5.5% of the Ixil population.
Over the course of the trial, 100 survivors testified in the trial which began on March 19. They were joined by dozens of expert witnesses. In closing arguments yesterday, Benjamín Jerónimo, a survivor and representative of the Association for Justice and Reconciliation, stated: “We are not looking for vengeance; we are looking for a true peace with justice, with respect, with equality, with dignity, that is why we are here.”