Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Other Items

Six Iraqi women who've worked in the Knight Ridder and McClatchy Baghdad bureau received the International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award Tuesday.
[. . .]
In introducing the six McClatchy reporters — Shatha al Awsy, Zaineb Obeid, Huda Ahmed, Ban Adil Sarhan, Alaa Majeed and Sahar Issa — ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff said: "These six Iraqi women have reported the war in Baghdad from inside their hearts. They have watched as the war touched the lives of their neighbors and friends, and then they bore witness as it reached into the lives of each and every one of them.
"All the while, they have been the backbone of the McClatchy bureau, sleeping with bulletproof vests and helmets by their beds at night, taking different routes to work each day, trying to keep their employment by a Western news organization secret," said Woodruff, who himself was grievously wounded while covering the war in Iraq.
"All have lost family members or close friends," he continued. "All have had their lives threatened. All have had narrow escapes with death."
Issa, the only one of the six who continues to report from Iraq, described a visit to the morgue in an item she wrote for the blog maintained by McClatchy's Iraqi journalists: "We were asked to send the next of kin to whom the remains of my nephew, killed on Monday in a horrific explosion downtown, can be handed. From the waist down was all they could give us. We identified him by the cell phone in his pants' pocket. 'If you want the rest, you will just have to look for yourself. We don't know what he looks like.' Now begins the horror that surpasses anything I could have possibly envisioned."
"I left my home Monday," al Awsy wrote in a blog item as she was forced to leave Iraq. "As my family fled the fighting that's engulfed our neighborhood in Baghdad, I gazed out the car window, thinking that I might never again see the fruit stand off our street, the shops where my sisters and I bought soft drinks, the turquoise-domed mosque where we prayed in the Holy month of Ramadan."

The above is from McClatchy Newspapers' "Women in McClatchy Baghdad bureau receive courage award." "Blog item" refers to Inside Iraq, McClatchy Newspapers' Iraq blog run by their Iraqi correspondents. A New York Times' editorial this morning also notes the award and reporting from Iraq by featuring the speech by Sahar Issa.

Staying on the topic of women, from AP's "Peace activists to test U.S.-Canada border policy again" (via International Herald Tribune):

Two U.S. peace activists who were denied entry to Canada because their arrests for protesting the war in Iraq landed them on an FBI crime database say they will try again to enter the country on Thursday.
The activists and their supporters presented petitions at Canadian consulates in several U.S. cities on Tuesday demanding that Canada, a country that welcomed American draft resisters during the Vietnam War, reverse the policy that is keeping foes of the Iraq war from visiting there.
"The Bush administration has convinced the Canadian government to do its dirty work, to deny entry to people who are dissenting against Bush administration policies," said Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and diplomat who was turned back at the border with Medea Benjamin of the anti-war group Code Pink.

From the Feminist Wire Daily (in full) "CODEPINK Activists Refused Entry to Canada" (October 10, 2007):

CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin and fellow peace activist Ann Wright, a retired colonel and former US diplomat, were turned back when trying to enter Canada at Niagara Falls. They were on their way to a discussion of peace and security issues with the Toronto Stop the War Coalition.
According to Benjamin and Wright, they were questioned by Canadian customs officials about their anti-war efforts, including their arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience. "The border guard pulled up a [FBI] file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women’s Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition..." said Benjamin in a statement. "For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country."
Added Wright, who left her last US government job in protest of the Iraq invasion, "The FBI’s placing of peace activists on an international criminal database [known as the National Crime Information Center] is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies. The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country."
Four members of the Canadian Parliament voiced their outrage and vowed to change the policy. Meanwhile, Benjamin and Wright plan to request their FBI files and demand that their arrests for peaceful actions be expunged from international records. CODEPINK has also started a petition drive to protest the Canadian policy.

Feminist Wire Daily offers news briefs Monday through Friday. We generally do not quote in full from FWD but the item above is no longer on the main page. You can also refer to the October 4th "Iraq snapshot." Feminist Wire Daily is part of the Feminist Majority Foundation. Which is a good time to note that Ms. magazine is celebrating it's 35th anniversary. We noted that Sunday in "Ms.magazine: This is what 35 years looks like" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). Below is a cropped scan of the front cover of the 35th anniversary (there's nothing up at Ms.'s website yet about the 35th anniversary).


I'm not sure if the 35th anniversary issue is on sale yet but, if it's not, it will be shortly. Make a point to check it out. (We'll note some things from it Thursday night in "And the war drags on . . .") Lastly, as Ruth (and Brandon) noted yesterday, Free Speech Radio News had news on Canada's new border 'policies':

Code Pink at the Canadian Embassy Over Denial of Entry
Canada has, in the past, been a destination for conscientious objectors to US wars. But some anti-war activists have found out from experience that Canada is using the FBI's National Crime Information Center database to stop war resisters at the border. Karen Miller has more.
The original purpose of the database was to share information about dangerous criminals, sex offenders, fugitives and members of terrorist organizations among different levels of law enforcement. It has since become apparent that peace activists have been added to the watch list. Medea Benjamin of the anti-war group, Code Pink, was recently refused entry into Canada when she was on her way to attend a peace rally. That's why Code Pink members decided to protest today in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington DC. Benjamin has been arrested a number of times for anti-war actions, but she says Canada's decision to bar entrance to some activists is troubling. (clip) "One, the FBI should never be putting non-violent misdemeanor offenses on a criminal database. Second, Canada should not be using a US database to say who can come into a country." At today's protest, Code Pink delivered over 20,000 petitions from US and Canadian citizens collected over the last 2 weeks urging Canada to change its policy. For FSRN, I'm Karen Miller.

No, that's not lastly. A guest on Democracy Now! is either an idiot or a liar. I'm really getting tired of people who self-present as experts but do not know their facts. Ned Parker did the same nonsense yesterday. The PKK did not form in the 1980s.

From BBC sidebar:

Formed in late 1970s
Launched armed struggle in 1984
Dropped independence demands in 1990s
Wants greater autonomy for Turkey's Kurds
Leader Abdullah Ocalan arrested in 1999
Ended five-year ceasefire in 2004

From Pam O'Toole's BBC report:

The group, which has Marxist-Leninist roots, was formed in the late 1970s and launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984, calling for an independent Kurdish state with Turkey. Since then, more than 37,000 people have died. During the conflict, which reached a peak in the mid-1990s, thousands of villages were destroyed in the largely Kurdish south-east and east of Turkey, and hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled to cities in other parts of the country.

From Reuters' "Factbox: Who Are the PKK?:"


-- Abdullah Ocalan founded the party in 1974 and it was formally named the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in 1978, a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group fighting for an independent Kurdish state.

And, as Ruth noted, NPR's All Things Considered provided background on the PKK via guest Aliza Marcus who also cites the 1970s as when the PKK began (she wrote Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence,). I believe the DN! guest also referred to US and Turkey calling the PKK a terrorist organization -- so does the Eurpopean Union. Nobody likes a liar. And if you're going on a program as a guest, you should be informed. The guest today (a Kurd) is either a liar or uninformed. History is basic and altering it to argue your case is no way to 'win.' And the friend the latter part is dictated too (PKK part) isn't sure that there's not a problem with font for excerpts on PKK. If there are, oh well.

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