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5 former slaves who are changing the world

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Five astonishing stories.  Click the link for the details.
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Iqbal Masih was sold into bonded labor at a carpet factory in his native Pakistan at the age of four[…] At ten, he ran away […] refused to return to the factory, and began to travel the world, visiting rallies, meetings, and even elementary school classrooms, to tell the story of the abuses he had suffered as a child slave, imploring others to help fight for an end to human trafficking […]

Hadijatou Mani was sold into slavery at the age of 12 for $500 […] [At 24] Mani brought a lawsuit against the Niger government, claiming that they hadn’t enforced their anti-slavery laws to protect her […] Mani won the case—a landmark ruling in the human trafficking world. A regional tribunal forced the government to pay Mani $19,000 in damages […]

in southern Sudan, Simon Deng was abducted at the age of nine […] Deng, now 47, is a United States citizen who works as a lifeguard on Coney Island. But his primary mission is raising awareness of human trafficking in Sudan, both through speeches and as the leader of the Sudan Freedom Walk, a 300-mile trek from the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City to Capitol Hill […]

Somaly Mam, a Cambodian orphan, never knew her parents. She doesn’t even know how old she is […] Around the age of 16, she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh […] When she finally escaped the brothel at age 21 after a friend’s murder, Mam vowed to devote the rest of her life to helping other sex slaves go free […] Since escaping the brothel, Mam has helped more than 4,000 former sex slaves to go free […]
Given Kachepa from Zambia, was a member of a children’s choir […] a charity organization asked the child singers to move to Texas and perform there […] he would receive an education and a salary […] [Once in Texas] they were forced to perform up to seven concerts a day, and were forced to go without food when they misbehaved. […] the boys never saw a penny for their work. […]the INS removed the boys […] Today, Kachepa is committed to speaking out against slavery […]
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The world mapped by population

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Check out this astonishing graph from GeoHive:

Size of countries based on population


note: this graph only shows countries with a population over 5 million on July 1, 2002 (est.).
The color indicates the size:
Orange means a country >100 million
Blue means a country between 50 and 100 million
Green a country between 40 and 50 million
Yellow a country between 30 and 40 million
Lavender a country between 20 and 30 million
Pink a country between 10 and 20 million
Grey a country between 5 and 10 million.
note: two-letter code refer to ISO codes of countries.

Things that surprise me:

  • Russia is about the size of Pakistan.
  • Sweden and Finland and Denmark are in the range of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • No African nation compares with Nigeria.
  • Brazil towers over S. America.
  • Japan is in the neighborhood of Mexico and Russia and Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Mexico is much larger than Canada.
  • The world is mostly Asian.
  • South Africa doesn’t appear.

What do you see?

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Written by Monte

April 12, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Posted in Politics

A landmark: Text of the Obama speech on race

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“A More Perfect Union”
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Constitution Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday 18 March 2008

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Posted in patriotism, Politics, Race

Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man

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Why Hillary’s race comments matter

I saw two groups excusing Senator Clinton’s suggestion that LBJ made Martin Luther King, Jr., successful.

The first comprised middle-class white people, who reverted to the rolling of eyes and labeling the controversy “just politics” (the implication being that no sensible person would see the comment as anything significant—along the lines of “these blacks are so touchy!“*) The second set was the older, authoritarian set of African-American civil rights leaders (their implication being “The Clintons are icons; we’ll not allow that talk.”)

Ishmael ReedA deeper view was offered by author Ishmael Reed: “[Bill] Clinton was able to seduce black audiences, who ignored some of his actions that were unfriendly, even hostile, to blacks.”

Reed is brilliant (the headline above is his, for instance), and I encourage you to ponder his entire post, which details the Clinton record, then thumbnails the history of black America’s rocky relationship with white feminism. To pique your curiosity, a couple of excerpts, followed by a video of Hillary’s comments: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 18, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Politics, Poverty, Race, Religion

The Total Falafel Awareness Program

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While we sleep, ever-vigilant agents battle sinister forces:

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tahini bombsBay Area FBI agents wanting to find Iranian secret agents data-mined grocery store records in 2005 and 2006, hoping that tahini purchases would lead them to domestic terrorists, according to Congressional Quarterly‘s Jeff Stein. The head of the FBI’s criminal investigations unit – Michael Mason – shut down the Total Falafel Awareness program, arguing it would be illegal to put someone on a terrorist watch list for simply sticking skewers into lamb, Stein reports.
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.
The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

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Written by Monte

November 8, 2007 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Islam, Terrorism