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A petition to FIFA – no slavery in our World Cup!

I’m not a soccer fan as such, but my father in law, husband and son all are. We are sure to be watching the World Cup in Brazil this year.
But can you believe that “Since 2012, roughly 900 workers have already been killed working on infrastructure for the World Cup [in Qatar], astronomically more than have died in any construction project in recent history. ” And that by 2022, thousands more may have died? And that many of these workers are effectively enslaved (passports removed and so forth)? And that FIFA have said nothing about this outrage?

We all think that if we had lived back in the days of slavery, we’d have sided with William Wilberforce (or insert a suitable abolitionist for your nationality here) and worked hard and campaigned to have slavery eradicated. But it hasn’t been eradicated yet – it’s still, shamefully, going on among us today – this is just one example. It shouldn’t be happening, but since it is, here’s our chance to stand with anti-slavery campaigners such as Stop the Traffik and make a difference.

If you have a minute, please sign the petition at this link. It states:

PETITION TO FIFA: Speak out against the atrocious labor abuses and needless deaths of migrant workers in Qatar, and call on the World Cup organizers there to improve conditions and compensate the victims’ families if they want the tournament to go forward.

Please also consider sharing the link with your followers, retweeting it and so on.

If you have more than a minute, you can read the Guardian article on the subject, or Amnesty International’s documents about Qatar. Or what FIFA itself has said about it… which isn’t much at all but still, in the interests of fairness…

Here’s the petition link again: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4432?share_ref=tLdhR4VoGC4
And there’s also a different one here.

No slavery in our World Cup!

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Precious 3 Auction…

soft dollMy friend S at Tripping Differently has set up an auction to help two families bring home the special-needs kids they are adopting. One of the kids in particular needs medical care asap.
I would be very grateful if you would click through to her blog post here:

Precious 3 Auction….

or just visit the auction here:

https://www.facebook.com/Precious3Auction

I made one of the items, the soft doll shown here.

Thank you for reading this!

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Some thoughts on short-term missions

Summer is coming and for lots of people that means it’s short-term mission season! I’ve only been on one STM. India when I was 18. I was woefully ill-prepared – as much my own fault as anyone else’s perhaps – and I’m sure I committed any number of faux-pas. Like dancing without shoes on because flipflops are so hard to dance in. No one told me how inappropriate it was to have no shoes on. No one told me that flip flops are for indoor wear in India – until years later my friend who is married to an Indian mentioned it. Who knows what other worrying things I did on that trip in my ignorance!

Anyway I wanted to link to an excellent blog post by Tara Livesay, whose name some of you may recognise from the Haiti Earthquake coverage last year. She blogs about some of the problems that can arise for long-term missionaries after the short-term mission has gone home (or even while they’re still there). It’s worth reading if you’re thinking about going on mission, just so you can be better prepared than I was. If you read the link, do read the comments too, many people have made interesting points and given helpful advice for would-be short-term missionaries. And if you don’t read it now, do bookmark her blog to read later anyway. It’ll make you laugh and weep and cry out to God for Haiti (and other things) – sometimes all in the same post.

Here’s the link: http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2011/03/thinking-through-stm.html

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An eco-friendly time of month?

So this post may be a little TMI, especially for any men reading this. Just stop reading if you get grossed out, okay?

I had no idea how many sanitary towels/tampons one woman can go through in a lifetime. And now I’ve forgotten the figure. But it was a lot, like 7000 or something. And all of those end up in landfill, or floating around at sea somewhere. Now if you thought they were gross in your litter bin, how gross is thousands of them in a landfill? Also, how environmentally unfriendly are they?

OK, I know that there are organic, biodegradable pads out there… somewhere… but they’re expensive and for me at least hard to get hold of. I’ll be honest though, expensive matters more. Switzerland is dear enough without buying expensive disposable stuff! I also know that you can make or buy re-usable pads. From where I’m standing, that is a great idea. If you have your own washing machine. But if, like me, you live in a block of flats with a shared machine in the laundry room, you don’t want to be saving all that stuff up to wash once a week on “your” day to use the machine. And I absolutely do not want to be handwashing them. Eww. (Although I am still bearing it in mind for if my current solution doesn’t work out).

So here’s what I think is the very very best option.

Last year I heard about menstrual cups and for some reason I didn’t really follow up on it till this year, when I made it a New Year’s goal to get one and at least try using it. A menstrual cup, in case you’ve not come across the phrase before, is just that, a small cup for collecting menstrual fluid. Not to keep, of course. 🙂 It’s like a tampon but it doesn’t soak up the fluid and is reusable – for about 5 or 10 years! This means that while they can be a bit pricey, you do save money in the long run. I worked out that in my case, at about 9 months I’m breaking even and from then on I’m saving money. That’s if I only buy one. Some people buy a smaller and a larger one. But even then I’d still break even after only 18 months of using them. And think how much stuff is not going into landfill. And then think of all the chemicals that are now not going into my body.

My husband can’t quite understand why I’m so excited about this. 🙂

So I’m not going to go into any more detail here but for anyone interested in finding out more, I found this brilliant blog by a lady who has tried out loads of different cups and writes about them to help other ladies decide which might be the best for them. And after reading the comparison charts carefully I chose one and ordered it, and today it has arrived and I am so excited! I can’t wait to try it out and see if it really lives up to what the people who use these things say about it! I’m also thrilled because the company sent me a second one free of charge (it has a tiny mark in the silicone which means they can’t sell it, but it’s still safe to use) which is a different size and style to the one I ordered. So if I don’t like mine, I can try that to see if I just have the wrong size, or if cups aren’t for me after all.

All of this means there will probably be another post about this sometime in March. I was just too excited not to blog about it straight away.

And if you’ve used a menstrual cup and been happy (or sad) with it, or just have thoughts about anything I’ve mentioned here, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment. 🙂

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Something good

I don’t know who is actually reading this but I wanted to talk a little bit about Haiti.

I’ve never been to Haiti. Like virtually anyone reading this, it only really got onto my radar back in January after the earthquake. So I can’t claim a special relationship or anything like that. But since then I’ve been following a couple of blogs of people who are out there, including that of the Livesay family, who simply blow my mind. Their love for the people and the country is amazing, and the things they have been doing out there and plan to do next are wonderful too.

I’m linking to this one post which is about the hospital they want to build, and why, and the funds that they will need, but I encourage you to read the whole blog, because these are wonderful people who really love God but don’t make out that it’s all easy or that they’re perfect. I find that encouraging and inspiring. And they’re funny too. 🙂

http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2010/09/bombard.html

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Burma

Hi all,

Just dropping by to say I’ve just read and signed an online petition asking Chevron to use its influence to stop the violence in Burma, and thought some/all of you might be interested.

The petition can be found here:

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/urgeChev/

I was going to put this behind a cut but I think it’s too important. For background on what’s going on, here’s what the petition’s author sent me (ERI = EarthRights international):

As peaceful protestors are being shot down ERI is urgently requesting that the oil and gas industry (especially companies such as Chevron and Daewoo) – the industry that sparked the protests — to use its influence with the Burmese military to respect human rights.

The protests began weeks ago in part due to spiking domestic gas prices, and protestors, led by Buddhist monks, are demanding democratic reforms. Nonetheless, the multinational corporations involved in Burma’s natural gas industry, such as Chevron and Daewoo, have shown no sign of using their influence to protect human rights and prevent further violence.

The current protests, in which up to 100,000 people have thronged the streets of Rangoon and 26 other cities, are the largest challenge to the military since 1988, when thousands were killed after mass protests were brutally suppressed. According to Ka Hsaw Wa, ERI’s Executive Director, who was a student leader in those protests:

“As someone who experienced this regime’s brutality in 1988, I am glad that this time around, the world is watching. But that is not enough. The international community, including multinational corporations, must act now to prevent further bloodshed in Burma. The people have suffered profoundly for too long—they have already sacrificed so much, and they will not stop.”

The protests began on August 19th, when the military’s decision to sharply increase the price of natural gas and other fuels sent shockwaves through the economy. The military has recently responded with violence, killing at least several protestors (including monks) and arresting hundreds more. But the oil and gas corporations themselves, who are partnered with the military government in gas export projects, have shown no sign of trying to prevent further bloodshed. Instead, Daewoo International and the Thai gas company PTTEP initially announced plans to export more of Burma’s natural gas, and on September 25 PTTEP issued a statement assuring the public that their investment was not jeopardized by the unrest. A third company, India’s ONGC Videsh, along with India’s Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, traveled to Burma amidst the protests to sign three new deals to extract and export natural gas. And Chevron Corporation, the largest remaining U.S. company in Burma, has simply remained silent.

“The corporations who can influence the military junta know who they are. They must pressure the regime to maintain peace, and respect the rights to speech and association of the people of Burma. Instead, however, they are pursuing their business interests while people’s lives are at stake,” added Chana Maung, Director of ERI Southeast Asia. “The regime has resorted to violence against the peaceful protestors, and the companies now also have blood on their hands, but it is not too late for them to act.”

According to ERI Burma Program Coordinator Naing Htoo, “Whether they like it or not, the companies are not socially or politically neutral in the current unrest in Burma. They say that their presence in Burma helps, not hurts, our people. It’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is.”

DO YOUR PART – Sign our petition urging Chevron to use its influence to help stop the crackdown!
Read the Burma Project’s op-ed in the Bangkok Post:
http://www.earthrights.org/files/Burma%20Project/BKKPost%20op-ed%209.15.07.pdf

Read ERI’s Background Paper on Chinese Investments in Burma: http://www.earthrights.org/files/Reports/BACKGROUNDER%20China%20in%20Burma.pdf
(referenced by BBC News in their coverage of China’s role):
http://www.earthrights.org/files/Burma%20Project/BBC-ChineseDilemmaOverBurmaProtests%209.25.07.pdf

LISTEN to Public Radio International’s interview of ERI’s Southeast Asia Director:
http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/12943

Related News:
The UK Telegraph – Burmese Military Murders Kenji Nagai, Agence-France Press Photographer:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/27/wburma827.xml
(the telegraph is a right-wing paper so this is not leftie-liberalism)

Total Denial continues – CNN Money Reports on French oil giant, Total SA
http://www.earthrights.org/burmareports/total_denial_a_report_on_the_yadana_pipeline_project_in_burma.html
and
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/apwire/D8RTOSE01.htm

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Yay Supreme Court!

And yay for the White House agreeing to bring their policy in line… now they just need to actually hold some trials.
Can you say pleased?

(A side note – CNN’s take on the matter this morning: “Detainees to receive Geneva Convention privileges”. Eh?)

Here’s the BBC article:

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Time for action

So you all know what I think on legal stuff in Guantanamo – here’s the action to go with it. A petition to the EU Council leader Chancellor Schlussel, run by Amnesty International, requesting him to discuss Guantanamo Bay (and renditions) with George Bush this week when they meet. See:

http://web.amnesty.org/pages/stoptorture-140606-getinvolved-eng

(There are also other petitions on Amnesty as usual, including one involving Sudan, as I know some of you are interested in the situation there).

Break over, back to your scheduled service of muddy skipping Swiss cows with bells to a backdrop of Argentina beating Serbia at footie, complete with accompanying dramatic fallings-over, naturally.

ETA: Baby just crawled for the first time! Yay! Investing in a large rug was worth it. 🙂

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Prostitution at World Cup

I don’t quite know how I feel about legalised prostitution, but it appears that Germany are going to be importing a whole bunch of (possibly unwilling) prostitutes for the World Cup – that’s today. I don’t know what they plan on doing with them once the WC is over, but anyway…

Please consider signing the petition at:

http://www.c-fam.org/stopwcpro.htm

More info

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