Category Archives: Activism and Peace Work

97-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor scoring high on TikTok

Tik Tok a youngster gadget

We know already of Hadassah Tirosh who has amassed over 2 million followers on TikTok, where she proudly and openly shares about her Jewishness. She is not only Jewish, but also a Mexican Israeli trans content creator. whose early content, which begins in December of 2019 was posted under her previous name, David, who she remembers fondly and has taken the time to thank for helping her become the person she is today — she’s seen proudly wearing different colourful kippahs, her Star of David necklace and being generally proud and open about her Jewishness.

In 2021 Tik Tok is the seventh most used in the world, with the majority of its users being millennial and Gen Z. But it might be a very high surprise to find a 97-year old lady being a “hipster”.
Lily Ebert isn’t your typical 97-year-old. In June, after only joining the platform earlier this year, Ebert reached 1 million followers on Tik Tok and has now amassed over 1.2 million in total.
How?
Ebert is a Holocaust survivor and, together with her great-grandson Dov Forman who runs her account, is teaching the internet about her remarkable life and experiences as a survivor of Auschwitz and how she made a life for herself after liberation.

Lily Ebert from the camps

Lily Ebert

Lily Ebert, born in Bonyhád, Hungary on 29th December 1923

Originally from Hungary, Lily Ebert, the eldest of six children in a happy and loving family. When the Nazis invaded Hungary in March 1944, her family got to face the worst nightmare one can wish for.

Shortly after Germany invaded Hungary, Lily, her mother and her siblings were sent to the ghetto, and soon after were put on a train, crammed into dark and almost airless cattle wagons, to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Lily at the age of about 4 or 5 had received from her mother a small gold pendant. Even then it wasn’t very expensive or unique but young Lily was very pleased with her present and now in the camp she did not want it to be taken by the Nazis. The small pendant had gone hiding, safe inside the heel of her mother’s shoe. Lily and her mother wore the same size of shoe and as they arrived at the camp her mother asked Lily to swap shoes with her.

Although this happened over 70 years ago Lily can still remember her arrival at the camp. After the long and terrible journey, ‘everyone was half-dead’. They were ordered to climb out of the train and stand together five in a row. There was a man with a stick in his hand. It was Dr Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor who became known as the Angel of Death for his brutal experiments on inmates, though at the time Lily didn’t know who he was. With one movement of his hand Dr Mengele sealed the fate of the people before him. He sent people right or left — to life or to death. When they had arrived, Lily and her two sisters Renee and Piri were sent in one direction, while her mother Nina, brother Bela and sister Berta were sent to the left, the way to the gas chambers and crematorium. Lily never saw them again.

Lily had put on her mother’s shoes and was ordered to take a shower, whereafter her hair was cut, and their remaining belongings were stolen. It was her only remaining possession and a reminder of her happy childhood. It was a link to her murdered mother and a symbol of defiance. The Nazis would not be allowed to steal it! The Nazis left them with only their shoes, not having any idea of what was hidden in the heel of Lily’s shoe, the tiny pendant Lily’s last link with her mother. When the shoes wore out, she placed the pendant in her daily ration of bread. After about four months in Auschwitz, the sisters were transferred to an ammunition factory near Leipzig. The pendant went with them.

March to liberation after a human and a viral war

When the Front started closing in on the area, they were forced to leave Leipzig and sent on a two-day march. After seeing and suffering unimaginable horrors, on the second day of the march, April 13, 1945, they were finally liberated by Allied forces.

Lily tried to rebuild her life. She wore the pendant every day in memory of her murdered family. Eventually, she married and had children. In 1953 she was reunited with Imre, one of her brothers, who had been imprisoned in a Nazi labour camp. In 1967 she came to London with her husband and three children.

Having become a proud grandmother she came to face another life-threatening struggle: COVID-19. In January, she struggled with a brutal bout of the virus, but true to her nature, she fought through. For her it was her second chance to be alive.  It was then that her great-grandson Dov Forman decided to share a photo of his great-grandmother to Twitter celebrating her miraculous recovery.

Dov Forman

My 97-Year-old Great Grandma, Lily Ebert BEM – Auschwitz Survivor, has just recovered from Covid- 19. Today she went on her first walk in a month after making a miraculous recovery. A fighter and survivor

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The response was extraordinary; the photo has since been retweeted over 17,000 times and has received more than a quarter of a million likes, with people from all over the world responding to send their well-wishes and express their admiration for Lily’s strength and bravery.

Finding viral fame

On the back of this unexpected reaction, Dov set up a TikTok account for Lily. At first, their videos mainly consisted of Dov introducing his great-grandmother and encouraging people to follow the account in order to have her story reach as many people as possible. But once they started building up a following, people quickly began expressing an interest in the details of Lily’s extraordinary life.

Soon enough, the account became dedicated to answering followers’ questions about the Holocaust and Lily’s experiences of it, with questions ranging from asking what they ate in the camp, to what happened to babies that were born there, and what the sleeping conditions were like.

She also remembered some Hungarian poems and recites them on the application.

No human anymore, but just a number

Though it is not always easy to answer all the questions she gets, she finds it a necessary act:

“Of course it is hard but if I could survive it, I can talk about it. And for the future, to ensure that something similar [to the Holocaust] cannot happen again, I have to talk about it.”

Lily’s most viewed video, now with over 20 million views, shows her answering the question,

“How did it feel to get your number in Auschwitz?”

Revealing a faded tattoo on her left arm, Lily confidently tells her followers:

My number is A-10572. That is what I was, they did not call us by our name. We were no longer humans. We were only a number and we were treated like numbers.”

The video now has over 29,000 comments from people expressing their solidarity with Lily and gratitude for her honesty and strength.

Downsides of Tik Tok and Twitter, also platforms of hate talk

However, despite the overwhelmingly positive reactions and encouraging words of support, like all social media platforms, TikTok comes with its downsides, too. For Jewish creators on TikTok, the fun comes with a hefty dose of antisemitism.

It seems as if the kids on TikTok are churning out a new trend nearly every week. The never-ending scroll of the “For You Page” sends users on a twisting path of all sorts of niches and topics. The app truly has something for every interest, from sea shanty challenges to tortilla wrap hacks to — antisemitic caricatures?

In May, around the time when violence was escalating between Israel and Palestine, Ebert’s account received a slew of hateful antisemitic comments. In one particular instance, under a video of Lily simply wishing her followers “a lovely, peaceful weekend”, and by a repeated similar wish in Hungarian, her native language, she added “Shabbat Shalom,” despite the mundanity and kindness of this video, it quickly became the subject of a swarm of hateful comments. it went even so far that she was called to be responsible for the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Another said, “Happy Holocaust,” while another said,

“Ask her if she thinks the treatment of Palestinians reminds her [of] the treatment she got in the camp.”

Another response was

“Peace be upon Hitlar [sic]”

to one which asked if she believed the treatment of Palestinians reminded her of her treatment in the camps. All of this for a grandmother’s simple greeting. Sadly, this experience of antisemitic hate isn’t exactly unique.

Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert's TikTok account was hit with antisemitic messages. (Campaign Against Antisemitism via JTA)Although these comments were clearly abhorrent, unjustified and unacceptable, like everything else Lily and Dov handled them with the utmost dignity. Posting to Twitter, Dov wrote:

“Over the past few days my great Grandmother (Auschwitz survivor) and I have continued to receive messages of hate on Tiktok and Twitter… We will not allow this to stop us from educating about the horrors of the past, and what hatred can lead to. Hate only breeds hate.”

Hero Magnus, a university student and TikToker, explains how her Judaism-related content would often get slammed by offensive comments.

“The really vicious comments are usually from actual Nazis, and I just block and delete. When I was making a ton of Jewish content, I would get a couple of those on practically every video,”

she explains.

“I often also got casually mean stuff from Christians or culturally Christian atheists who wanted to tell me that Judaism is backwards, cultish or stupid.”

Additionally, Jews of Colour on TikTok experience vitriol both from outside the Jewish community and within.

Shekhiynah Larks, a Black Jewish TikTok creator, describes that, in fact, most of the antisemitism she experiences on the app comes from white Jews and Black non-Jews, not Neo-Nazis.

“When I do receive antisemitic comments, it’s more coded with anti-Blackness at the same time,”

Larks says.

“It’s more people posting ‘free Palestine’ on my page and asking me how I can be Black and a Jew, I’m being brainwashed by white Jews, and that I don’t care about Black people.”

She also notes that many white Jews comment on her videos asking her invasive questions that probe into her Jewish identity and conversion, showing they don’t really view her as Jewish enough.

Aviva Davis writes:

There are many white and white-passing Jews using their platforms to share information and educational resources about systemic racism and anti-Semitism and how one’s identities intersect and influence the way one is treated in society. This is great! Better yet, share resources created by Jews of Color (hint hint, nudge nudge).

Aviva Majerczyk remarks

While the invalidation of Jews of Color is rampant throughout the Jewish community in real life as well, on TikTok, these racist commenters may feel more empowered to voice their backwards views behind anonymous accounts.

Still going strong

Lily Ebert keeps going strong. She still wears the tiny gold pendant and shares its remarkable story with all those who have time to listen.

As part of their mission to teach people about the Holocaust and its devastating effects, Lily and Dov have now co-authored a book together called “Lily’s Promise: How I Survived Auschwitz and Found the Strength to Live.” to come out coming September.

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The Iranian American Frieda Afary looking with (republican?) American eyes at Iran

We wonder where the Iranian American Frieda Afary  gets it from that it would be

leftists and so-called socialists around the world who support the Iranian regime as “anti-imperialist” or refuse to criticize it.

Lots of leftists and communists groups are totally against the Iranian regime and any form of oppression of citizens in general. We do know that there are several by Americans “so called leftists” or “communists” are doing good work to support people in Iran and Afghanistan and even are working hard to get them out of the hands of the Islamic murderers.

Frieda Afary should also wonder who is helping a lot of the protesters in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. the “leftists” and “communists” are bringing slogans on the streets like:

“Down with Dictatorship.”, “Down With Khamenei”, “We Don’t Want An Islamic Republic”, “The People Want the Regime to Fall.”

InIran: A New Wave of Mass Protests and StrikesFrieda Afary for the rest of her wrong remark (perhaps part of her American citizenship and paranoia for everything that seems “social”) seems to bring a very good overview of the terrible situation. She also seems to overlook that there are leftist groups who support the people and not the regime, even though she brings the words of a statement of solidarity by the Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate:

“The lack of water in Khuzestan today is rooted in the unprofessional, rapacious and profit-centered policies of the prior decades of capitalism in oil extraction and use of water for the steel industry, the income from which does not go to the people.  These insatiable policies have deprived the people of Khuzestan of safe drinking water.  Water is shut off for long hours and it is lacking for basic needs.  Farmers and cattle growers have also been damaged and lost their livelihoods.”  (https://www.akhbar-rooz.com/%d8%b3%d9%86%d8%af%db%8c%da%a9%d8%a7%db%8c-%d8%b4%d8%b1%da%a9%d8%aa-%d9%88%d8%a7%d8%ad%d8%af-%d8%b3%d8%b1%da%a9%d9%88%d8%a8-%d9%88-%da%a9%d8%b4%d8%aa%d8%a7%d8%b1-%d9%85%d8%b1%d8%af%d9%85-%d8%ac%d8%a7/)

She writes:

The latest protests have followed a series of nationwide strikes of temporary contract workers in Iran’s oil and gas industry which is also heavily based in Khuzestan. The strikes which began on June 19 and have spread to a hundred production sites, are demanding permanent employment status, a $500 monthly wage, safe working conditions and the right to organize and be free of police surveillance. Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers on strike in Khuzestan are also asking for COVID vaccination and expressing solidarity with protests against the lack of water.

In her interesting article she further looks at:

  • Economic Crisis and COVID Pandemic
  • Women Prisoners and Afghan Refugees
  • Iran’s Continuing Regional Ambitions and U.S. Imperialism’s “Solutions”
  • Needed Progressive Solidarity with Struggles inside Iran

Any effort to engage in solidarity with the struggles inside Iran begins not only with calling for the removal of U.S. sanctions and an end to Israel’s attacks, but also simultaneously holding the Iranian regime accountable for its repression and exploitation of the people and environment of the region.

Frieda Afary should know that several “leftist”, “socialists” and “communists” groups go against all the American interferences in the Middle East and urge for the immediate release of political prisoners, expressing solidarity with striking workers, feminist and environmental struggles, oppressed ethnic, sexual and religious minorities, and demanding Iran’s withdrawal from Syria, Iraq and an end to its interventions in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Yemen.

Please find the article to read > Iran: A New Wave of Mass Protests and Strikes

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Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.

That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult. Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.

Luckily, there are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions. If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.

Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 bird, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.

Under the canopy in a tropical mangrove forest.
Mangroves are particularly good at storing carbon. Velavan K/Shutterstock

Peatlands – those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens – store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.

Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife. Diverse natural systems also bounce back better from climate extremes than do species-poor, highly degraded systems, and will keep helping biodiversity and people even as Earth continues to warm.

2. Manage farmland and fisheries sustainably

Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.

People currently use about 25% of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living. The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.

Rows of vegetable beds with lines of young trees.
Reforestation in tandem with food growing: lettuce, cauliflowers and tomatoes grow among saplings in Brazil. Luisaazara/Shutterstock

3. Create new forests – with care

People have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth.

Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place. Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.

A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single-species plantation.

We can do the same thing in the ocean by restoring seagrass meadows.

4. Shift to more plant-based diets

Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat. Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.

Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.

A vegan burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
A vegan diet is better for wildlife and the climate than a high-meat one. Rolande PG/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A note of caution

It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests. Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights. And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.

With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.

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About the authors:

Pete Smith currently receives research funding from UKRI, EU, Wellcome Trust and Scottish Government. He is on the science advisory team for Carbon Direct (https://carbon-direct.com/).

Mark Maslin is a Founding Director of Rezatec Ltd, Co-Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board and Sheep Included Ltd Advisory Board. He has received grant funding in the past from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding in the past from The Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Camille Parmesan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Europe’s catastrophic flooding was forecast well in advance – what went so wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Hannah Cloke  advises the Environment Agency, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, local and national governments and humanitarian agencies on the forecasting and warning of natural hazards. She is a Council member of the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, a fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, a fellow of the Centre for Natural Hazards & Disaster Science in Sweden and is also affiliated to Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is funded by the UKRI Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am a flood forecaster who helped to set up the forecasting system that was used to predict the recent floods in Germany and surrounding countries. I saw days in advance that they were coming. I read reports of rainfall and river levels rising. And then I watched with growing horror as the death toll surged.

The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), which I helped to set up, is part of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. It provides early information on flooding to national and local authorities across Europe. I work closely with people there in my role as an independent flood scientist at the University of Reading to improve and analyse EFAS data. I don’t work in the team that issues early flood information to authorities, but looking at the data with colleagues, I could see early on just how serious the floods looked.

Forecasts on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 for the Rhine catchment, covering Germany and Switzerland, had shown a high probability of flooding that would begin on Tuesday July 13. Subsequent forecasts also showed the Meuse in Belgium would be affected. The forecasts in the following days showed that there was little doubt that a major flood was coming.

EFAS sends out bulletins of early information which are designed to be read, understood and acted on by experts. They are not directly available to the public. Public flood warnings come from the national and regional weather, environment and civil protection agencies, and EFAS information needs to be used by these authorities alongside their own forecasts.

The first EFAS bulletin was sent to the relevant national authorities on Saturday July 10. More updates continued over the following days as more precise predictions became available. Formal flood notifications were issued to authorities in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission throughout Monday and Tuesday. As the event neared and uncertainty in the forecast shrank, the predicted start of the flooding was pushed to Wednesday for smaller rivers and Thursday for the larger downstream rivers. Around 25 individual warnings were sent out to parts of the Rhine and Meuse.

The German weather service, DWD, had independently forecast extremely high rainfall too and issued warnings for more than 200 mm of rain in the same areas several days ahead of time, saying that flooding was possible. Regional warnings were also issued, for example by the Environment Agency in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the areas hit particularly hard by flooding.

The floods that did happen matched the scale and distribution of those that were forecast several days before. I was very surprised, therefore, that so many people died, given that authorities knew about the event and had sufficient warnings to get people to safety before the floods began.

Where flood warnings fail

Clearly, tragically, the whole system designed to save lives by ensuring people act on warnings before floods arrive, did not work as it should have done. It may be that individual parts of the system worked exactly as they were designed, and it is certainly true that forecasts were accurate, and there were some warnings issued through official channels. In some areas, many authorities did act in time, to evacuate people, erect temporary flood defences, and move vehicles to higher ground. But this clearly did not happen everywhere.

In the middle of an election campaign, some German leaders in national and regional government still seemed to defend the locally-devolved nature of disaster management in Germany, insisting that the warnings were adequate and agencies did their work well. It is like claiming that the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a success because 99% of its engineering worked perfectly throughout. While their arguments may be true on an individual scale, unless those in power admit that the system ultimately failed, they risk failing to learn lessons and put others at risk in the future.

Science, in large part, is about helping people see the invisible. What is the use of a perfect forecast if the people it is supposed to warn cannot see the danger they are in? Effective flood warnings require people to be able to see into the future and imagine their house full of water, to assess the likelihood of that happening, and to see the multiple paths they could take to keep them, their family, and their property safe.


Read more: Report from Europe’s flood zone: researcher calls out early warning system gridlock amid shocking loss of life


I recently took part in an exercise encouraging scientists, from senior professors to school pupils, to trace the path of water in a river through time using just their imagination. Weeks later, we are seeing what happens when people cannot visualise the threat of a river ripping down their street, or a lake appearing in their house. These are the elements of flood warnings that must improve.

As climate change increases risks from heatwaves, fires and floods, we need to not only slash emissions but prepare ourselves for the problems we already have in store. Even with sufficient decarbonisation measures – which we are still yet to see from any major government – there is no avoiding the consequences of a hotter, more turbulent environment.

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Suggested further reading

McEwan, L., Garde-Hansen, J., Holmes, A., Jones, O. & Krause, R. (2016). Sustainable flood memories, lay knowledges and the development of community resilience to future flood risk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 14 – 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12149.

Alexander, M., Priest, S. & Penning-Roswell, E. (2017). The risk of ill-informed reform: The future for English flood risk management. Area, 50, 426 – 429. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12393.

Forrest, S., Trell, E. & Woltjer, J. (2018). Civil society contributions to local level flood resilience: Before, during and after the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Upper Calder Valley. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44, 422 – 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12279.

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Decision Point

Food for thought.

thartiganblog

With our permission
We have a decision
What will we do for our future

Regarding our Earthly environment
Despoiling without real discernment
There’ll be nothing left for us to suture

tHartigan

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Plastic Free July is coming

In Belgium the government has already done somewhat to avoid plastic waste. Nowhere in shops and supermarkets, plastic bags are presented. Vegetables can be bought by placing them in the basket without a bag, or with paper bags provided by the shop, or in the reusable cotton bags.

Ear buds and a lot of body-care and make-up items are now all made of paper. But for the reusable cups, it is striking that they are not yet sufficiently reused … So there is still a lot of work to be done.

 

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Preceding

Plastic world under control

Helping end plastic waste

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Additional reading

  1. Freshwater, marine and coastal pollution
  2. The European Union – the environmental challenges and your voice
  3. Stepping forward with public commitments for Making different sectors carbon neutral by 2050
  4. Green Deal: new EU rules on limiting importing and exporting plastic waste

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Further related

  1. Plastic Pollution
    Too Much Plastic Waste on the Beaches
  2. How ‘Forever’ Can Be Destructive
  3. Plastics Waste in the Time of CoronaPlastic and Ocean
  4. Global Plastic Waste Contributors
  5. Plastic waste’s poisonous journey through food chain
  6. Ocean Plastic: Women Who Bear the Brunt, Women Who are at the Front
  7. The Future of our Oceans: Are we getting ‘Hung Up’ on the wrong issue?
  8. Formations of different Plastic
  9. Are your clothes feeding the fish?
  10. Just Keep Recycling: How Can We Save Our Oceans From Fashion Pollution?
  11. Reducing Our Plastic Waste Footprint
  12. What Is Plastic Waste & Why It Is The World’s Biggest Problem?
  13. These Four Plastic Items Make Up Almost Half Of All Ocean Trash
  14. Drive to rid world of plastic bags in spotlight
  15. EU bans some single use plastics
  16. Different Plastic Types & Which Types of Plastic can be Recycled?
  17. Microbes in cow stomachs can help break down plastic
  18. New method turns biodegradable plastics into foam to combat pollution
  19. An End to Pennsylvania’s Preemption on Local Single-use Plastic Laws?
  20. 5 Sneaky Plastics To Avoid This Plastic-Free July
  21. A Guide To Plastic Free July
  22. Thousands Sign Petition To Ban Plastic Packaging For All Non-Food Items

Recycle IT

What can you do this July?

Plastic Free July®is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of Plastic Free July by choosing to refuse single-use plastics? Choosing to refuse plastic packaging in July might be an option for you!

Ask you family, friends, sports club or office to commit stop buying or using items packed in single-use plastic. Swap to a reusable alternative. For example, you could swap out takeaway coffee cups for a reusable one, you could start buying plastic-free toothbrushes or use a personal reusable water bottles and so on.

Plastic Free Poster 1

Can you Refuse’ Single Use Plastic?

Each year in July people all over the world aim to exclude plastic bottles, cutlery, fruit packing, coffee cup lids and other common…

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Earth’s pandemic and T-shirts for young people

We at the Belgian Christadelphian office have passed a certain age, so that it would not be appropriate to walk on the street with a T-shirt. As elders, we tell the visitors in our churches about the task we as human beings have when living on this planet. We talk about our responsibility and the task God has given us. But we do know the majority of inhabitants of this planet are not believing in God and are mostly concerned about gaining as much money as possible, whatever the cost may be.

The last few months, lots of people were very worried about the Covid-pandemic, but for years there has been another big virus circling around us, which most people seem to ignore. Though for more than a decade, several of the Boom generation with the millennials and the Generation Z have been writing essays, articles and making posters for awareness about global warming and cried out into the world to save our planet. Because that planet is getting very ill. People have used and wasted earthly resources, if nothing. In our so-called ‘civilised’ countries most citizens were and are not concerned about the pollution they cause.

For us the time of publicly protesting and going on the streets, protesting for this and that, may be gone or not so appropriate.
But for young people, we would like to introduce some very interesting clothing and tote bags with a different angle. We are namely very concerned about the world where we and our children and grandchildren but also next generations have to live in. Therefore, we do find it five past twelve to call on all the responsible people to use their senses and to do something against the horrible state we have brought our planet. We cannot sit still and do if global warming does not exist.

Everybody can use his own voice to bring awareness to others. A T-shirt is a wearable message board that can pull the attention to our planet and to what we have to do about it. The world needs to change as we are currently hurtling towards climatic changes that will alter the way the planet is configured. This will certainly be to the detriment of humanity if not cause its extinction. Crazy you may say but 99.99% of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct so just because we can walk and talk and use a smart phone does not mean that we will not go the same way.

Scientists and philosophers don’t in general want to be celebrities but it is important that we listen to what they have to say because they offer the only way out of this current crisis. So enjoy our range and change the world at least in one tiny way, an environmentally friendly piece of clothing. {Scientist and Philosopher}

It is not bad to have a look at their products to make others aware of this dramatic situation.

Keep it cool V1BNo planet B design 1 V1B shopping bag

> A collection to highlight the need for us all to stop and think. > Think

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Find also to read

  1. Weather, climate-change and man-made global-warmingGlobal WARming: An Overlooked Pandemic
  2. Hot weather
  3. Global Warming
  4. Global Warming Was Explained in 1856. By a Woman
  5. Environment
  6. Climate explained: how the IPCC reaches scientific consensus on climate change
  7. Rapid Climate Change Makes It Hard for Butterflies and Moths to Adjust
  8. From CNN: Unprecedented heat, hundreds dead and a town destroyed. Climate change is frying the Northern Hemisphere
  9. Time to write again, getting the word out, climate change is a reality
  10. Too Dumb to SurviveThe Arctic’s last ice area
  11. Last Ice…
  12. Update on Climate Referendum in France
  13. Julia Conley: ‘This Is Our Future’ Without Climate Action, Advocates Warn After Pipeline Causes Fire in Gulf of Mexico
  14. IPBES/IPCC Report: Tackling the biodiversity and climate crises together
  15. The Climate Crisis Is Accelerating – Now What?
  16. An Actual Space Laser Shows How Devastating Sea Level Rise May Be
  17. Climate Change & Joshua Tree National Park
  18. Highest Ever Temperature Recorded In Finnish North
  19. Why Polar Bears are on The Verge of Extinction
  20. The monarch butterfly cab use our help to stay alive by Kalpana Sutaria, Austin American-Statesman
  21. Seabird Salvation
  22. Impeach Bolsonaro and Topic on Climate
  23. global participation…

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Necessity of free press for Hong Kong

We are convinced there always has to be free independent press. We find that freedom of expression, speech, press, is essential for a community.

Since more than a year that freedom of thought has been brought in danger by silencing critical writers. With regret we have seen the many difficulties which inhabitants of Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR) have to face.

The highly developed territory and ranks fourth on the UN Human Development Index, its pictures show us a city that has the largest number of skyscrapers of any city in the world. Ranked 4th in the Global Financial Centres Index, one would think everything must go incredibly well in that city. But that is without regard to the overlooking and dominating power of the parliamentary communist apparatus.

What never should have happened, was presented by the agreement of the United Kingdom and China, Hong Kong being transferred to China on 1 July 1997, after 156 years of British rule. This instead of making Hong Kong an independent sovereign country.

Political debates after the transfer of sovereignty have centred around the region’s democratic development and the central government‘s adherence to the “one country, two systems” principle. After reversal of the last colonial era Legislative Council democratic reforms following the handover, the regional government unsuccessfully attempted to enact national security legislation pursuant to Article 23 of the Basic Law. {Wikipedia}

Before the British government handed over Hong Kong in 1997, China agreed to allow the region considerable political autonomy for fifty years under a framework known as “one country, two systems.” But probably they use another calendar than ours with very short years!  Soon they started to limit the inhabitants their movements and way of thinking.

From the central force in Beijing, everything was done to reduce the movements and influence of the Hongkongers. Beijing has cracked down on Hong Kong’s freedoms, stoking mass protests in the city and drawing international criticism.

In the wake of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement as a non-profit outlet funded by Hongkongers, the newspaper Hong Kong Free Press was launched in 2015. Hong Kong Free Press is a non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.

In 2020, we got to hear how Beijing passed a controversial national security law and came to see how dozens of pro-democracy activists and lawmakers were arrested. We could also see the inappropriate violence coming from the government, and violence provoking actions of the police force, dimming hopes that Hong Kong will ever become a full-fledged democracy.

On 15 October 2015 a video shot by a TVB film crew appeared to show seven police officers haul off a handcuffed protester from a freshly cleared Lung Wo Road to a dark corner in nearby Tamar Park, Admiralty. As the officers circled the protester, some allegedly took turns kicking and punching him while others stood over him, keeping watch. Despite an effort by the station to downplay the footage and remove it from subsequent broadcasts, the video quickly took Hong Kong by storm, stirring public outrage and catapulting the victim of the apparent attack, Civic Party activist Ken Tsang, to the status of an instant icon. The Occupy protests were violently crushed without mercy, and up to today we regularly get new shots of press people and protesters being arrested by the police. From some people apprehended by the police a few months ago, nothing is heard any more.

No wonder the public lost their trust in the local police after the many secret missions of the forces and the many police interrogations, certainly after the 2015 blockage of the Hong Kong Free Press website in China. Any websites or apps that undermine Party rule, or have the potential to, are typically blocked. This consists largely of western news media, social networks, and sites built on user-generated content. Other content deemed vulgar, pornographic, paranormal, obscene, or violent is also blocked. Some western websites, apps, and services are blocked in order to prevent competition with domestic, homegrown alternatives.

blocked in china hong kong free press
(Find which sites are blocked in China by the Chinese Communist Party’s technological and legislative efforts to regulate the internet: >  censorship watchdog websites greatfirewallofchina.org and blockedinchina.net.)

The easiest way to access censored websites in China is to use a VPN (Short for virtual private network) But because VPNs being not so cheap subscription services that encrypt internet traffic and route it through an intermediary server outside of China, this allows only a limited audience to use it to bypass the Great Firewall and freely access the web.

In 2020 Hong Kong Free Press has been shortlisted by the UK-based Index on Censorship for their annual Freedom of Expression Awards.

index censorship hong kong free press

Hong Kong pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily continued its operations and printed 500,000 copies of Friday’s paper after its headquarters were raided by the police on Thursday 17 June 2021, and five senior executives were arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law.

Apple Daily raid June 17, 2021

Dozens of Hong Kong police enter Apple Daily’s headquarters in Tseung Kwan O on June 17, 2021. Photo: Apple Daily.

It was the second time in 10 months that the newspaper, founded by Jimmy Lai, had been raided. Police said the warrant used on Thursday was issued under the security legislation, and gave them power to search for and seize journalistic material.

Lai, 73, who was arrested during the first raid last August, is serving 20 months in prison for protest-related offences and also faces charges under the Beijing-imposed security law, which provides for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

According to local media, those arrested included Next Digital CEO Cheung Kim-hung and Chief Operating Officer Royston Chow, Apple Daily’s Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Associate Publisher Chan Pui-man and Cheung Chi-wai, who manages the newspaper’s online news platform. All were arrested in the early hours at their homes.

Police said their operation was not targeting the press, adding the force “had no choice” but to enforce the law inside a media company.

 

Please find to read:

  1. Hong Kong justice chiefs accused of ‘shameless double standards’ for dropping charge against reporter from state-owned media outlet
  2. Two senior execs at Hong Kong’s Apple Daily formally charged with national security ‘conspiracy’
  3. ‘Very heartbreaking’: Hong Kong media reel as security law targets democracy paper’s reporting
  4. Hong Kong police raid Apple Daily office, editor-in-chief among 5 arrested under national security law over articles
  5. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily may halt publication this Sat, pending Fri board meeting
  6. ‘#Hong Kong is very beautiful’ hashtag trends online after Watsons Water bottles taken off shelves
  7. Taiwan pulls trade office staff over Hong Kong ultimatum
  8. Embattled democracy coalition cancels Hong Kong’s annual July 1 march; will discuss disbanding

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Related

  1. Two Hong Kong newspaper executives charged under security law: police
  2. HK democracy supporters snap up Apple Daily copies
  3. Apple Daily: Hong Kong police raid sparks rush on newspapers
  4. Hong Kong’s RTHK fires popular pro-democracy radio host Tsang Chi-ho
  5. Post-Work Life in Hong Kong
  6. Blockchain could boost fintech in HK, but city is lagging
  7. Hong Kong newspaper chiefs on trial for security charge
  8. Pro-democratic executive of Hong Kong Media appears before court
  9. This is the worst of times
  10. Hong Kong court denies bail to Apple Daily’s editor, publisher
  11. Sunday Morning: News From Zurich, London, Copenhagen & Hong Kong
  12. Hong Kong seeks integration with mainland China, says Carrie Lam
  13. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily paper to shut within days
  14. John Ross: from Trotskyism to power-worship
  15. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily may halt publication this Sat, pending Fri board meeting
  16. Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily says to decide on closure on Friday
  17. UN rights chief eyes visit to China’s Xinjiang ‘this year’
  18. Hong Kong’s Biggest Pro-Democracy Newspaper Likely to Shut Down This Week After National Security Law Raid
  19. Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper may be forced to suspend operations after government crackdown

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A look at China wanting to be everywhere in the world

The last two decades we could see how china has more become a hyper capitalist state, it putting all interests in becoming the world-leader in all businesses no matter at what costs. Lots of people had to leave their house because they had to make a place for a great dam or for an immense stadium. Lots of people where put in small apartments with no garden because the government ordered them to move, making place for modern developments.

Nobody can ignore the neo-colonial expansion of China’s post-Mao economic model. The People’s Republic has become an economic superpower that has witnessed continued GDP growth while lifting millions out of poverty.

Head shot of Xi Jinping in 2019. He is wearing a black suit jacket, white shirt and a blue necktie.

Xi Jinping, (°1953), Chinese politician and government official who served as vice president of the People’s Republic of China (2008–13), general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP; 2012– ), and president of China (2013– ).

China wanted to show the world that it is able to restore overland trade routes from China to Central Asia and Europe — the ancient “Silk Road.” In Indonesia, president Xi Jinping of China introduced the concept of a “maritime Silk road,” which is essentially the already well-traveled sea corridor South from China to the Middle East and Europe.  In seven years of implementation, the initiative has become quite controversial, especially in the West.  The controversy is fuelled by a lack of transparency that makes it difficult to get reliable information on the financing involved in the initiative, as well as the specific projects and their terms. There are a growing number of academic efforts, however, to collect and analyse data on ‘The Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI), with a consistent set of findings.

The republic got a lot of African countries in its power by giving them loans and workforce, though many of those Chinese worker were forced to go to work in Africa, often in very bad conditions and months away from their family. At the same time China uses the same colonial tactics of getting as much treasures from those ‘colonies’ as possible, even worse than King Leopold II of Belgium did with the Belgian colonies or other colonial countries did. [Belgium controlled 3 colonies and 3 concessions during its history, the Belgian Congo (modern DRC) from 1908 to 1960, and Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) from 1922 to 1962. It also had a small concession in China and was a co-administrator of the Tangier International Zone in Morocco. ]

In a smart way the republic of China is gaining more control over several countries widely spread all over the world. By its technological and industrial espionage, it also managed to introduce its ‘own’ technological features in several capitalist countries, having created as such a good stable economic platform or insured economic outlet.

As the owings of developing countries to China have mushroomed debt sustainability is a mounting concern, exacerbated further by the impact of COVID-19 economic shut-downs.  China has given some short-term debt relief but it does not belong to the Paris Club of creditors, and sets its own rules and ethics. By now Beijing has those countries which can’t service their expensive loans in their clamps and power. Question might be if the loans will be converted into strategic extra-territorial acquisitions.

Sri Lanka, as a coveted geopolitical outpost of China, is a case in point. Since the end of the three-decade separatist war there, China’s role in the Indian Ocean has received much attention for its infamous debt-trap led extraterritorial approach. However, within Sri Lanka (and many African countries) the response is mixed – China is both the land grabber, the political influencer, the military supplier and the friendly brother capable of fuelling long-awaited economic growth.

The eyes of China are directed to countries often left aside by Europe and the United States of America, because too poor and of no economical interest because too dangerous or for being highly corrupt and conflict ridden zones. Counties who want some financial help from China may not have alliances with Taiwan or have to stop their relationship with them.

The narrative that China is engaging in problematic debt trap diplomacy has taken off since 2018. Coined the preceding year by an Indian pundit, the term implies that Beijing is purposely striking unsustainable debt-for-infrastructure deals with developing countries along the routes of its ubiquitous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which a Chinese state-owned firm acquired via a ninety-nine-year lease in 2017 after the Sri Lankan government could not service its loans, has been cited repeatedly as evidence that the Chinese government is practicing debt trap diplomacy. Many countries which do not receive enough aid from Europe or the U.S. hope that China will help them. China does not show any interest in the conflicts those countries may have as long as their are enough goods to explore and to transport to China.
Certain countries are starting to see how China wants to integrate in as many countries as it can.

Poorly planned and badly executed energy and infrastructure deals involving China in Latin American countries like Venezuela and Ecuador have increasingly attracted critical headlines. Even in Europe, Beijing’s efforts to finance and build a railway between the capitals of Hungary and Serbia have run into obstacles and sparked backlash.
The colonial expansion of China is something we would have to watch with Argus eyes also investigating how they treat the people who work for their institutions of firms in that country where they so-called offer their help.
The Chinese government and the developing countries it partners with too often have failed to consult sufficiently with the people most directly affected by grandiose infrastructure projects.
The trending Chinese role model is that of an authoritarian goliath that can make its doctors and billionaires disappear while protecting favoured war-crime offenders and military regimes elsewhere, while meanwhile it exploits a lot of people and makes them work as slave labourers while the managers of the company rake in all the big money.

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The Plight of Uighurs beyond the Great Wall

Because too much money involved the EU and USA are not willing to make more effort of pointing their finger at the discrimination and forced labour. The Eu citizens should demand their governments more to react against the deplorable state of affairs and instances of rights violations.

Uighur = Turkish Muslim ethnic group having close ties with Central Asian nations, with a population of nearly 11 million living in the Xinjiang province of China

China’s government has gone up to the extent of curtailing the Uighur religious, cultural and commercial activities.

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To remember

  • gross + egregious human rights violations in internment camps in Xinjiang, China against Uighur Sufi Islamists > systematic repression Uighur Muslims in China ~~ to root out Islamic extremism and separatism
  • oppression of minorities
  • intolerance towards the religious minorities
  • re-education camps” functioning in Chin => serious violations of human rights by subjecting religious minority to forced labour and forced sterilisation supplemented by constant and intense surveillance.
  • systematic repression + political indoctrination => serious international humanitarian laws violation
  • global silence and inaction on the matter
  • stern actions ought to be taken
  • responsibility is on us to fight this evil that is breeding right before our eyes for if not curtailed timely this might find its place in the history as one of the biggest catastrophe upon humanity since the Second World War.

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Find also to read:

  1. Who are Uighurs?
  2. The Hard Edge To The Soft Power Of Chinese Patriotism
  3. Genocide of Uighurs Does Not End Muslim Support for China​
  4. China targets Uighurs with more prosecutions, longer prison terms: HRW
  5. Rape as a Weapon of Genocide: Systematic Sexual Abuse Within China’s Internment Camps
  6. Does Joe Biden relativize the genocide in China? “There are different cultural norms in every country”
  7. Dutch parliament: China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide
  8. China slams Dutch motion declaring genocide in Xinjiang
  9. Uighur author tells of imprisonment and China attacks
  10. China’s treatment of Uighurs is not ‘a different norm,’ but ‘genocide,’ activist says
  11. China committing genocide against Uighurs: report
  12. Legal Report on Uighurs: China breaches every Article in Genocide Convention
  13. Actions against Uighur minority: Trudeau stands exposed after refusing to meddle in China’s internal affairs
  14. Uighurs: China bans UK MPs after abuse sanctions
  15. China lashes out at H&M, Nike over criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang
  16. See, that’s what Uighurs are really afraid of…
  17. Human Rights Drives Deeper Wedge Between Beijing and Washington
  18. Canada’s parliament says China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide
  19. Canada’s parliament says China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide
  20. Canada should be ready to weather any export issues to deal with China: O’Toole
  21. The Plight of Chinese Uighurs – A Story of Structured Minority Cleansing
  22. 04/06/21 Reuters: Chinese ambassador to Turkey summoned over response to Uighur claims: source
  23. US senators match House bill to assist Uyghur refugees
  24. The Uighurs, Allies, and China
  25. Where do Ideas Come From?
  26. Uighurs and The Forgotten Protection
  27. Still no word from Toon Lampoon’s China correspondent
  28. Proposing #StopUighurHate Protests Across China
  29. Chinese hackers used Facebook to target Uighur activists with malware
  30. China-based hackers used Facebook to target Uighurs abroad with malware
  31. Xinjiang shakedown: US anti-China lobby cashed in on ‘forced labor’ campaign that cost Uyghur workers their jobs
  32. Blinken says US must deal with China as Beijing ramps up aggression abroad
  33. AI and its Impact on Government Surveillance Capabilities and the Suppression of Uighur Muslims in China
  34. John Kerry believes it’s OK to use slaves to fight global warming

The Human Rights Blog

This article is authored byAstha Sharma, the Senior Editor of the Human Rights Blog, CASIHR.


“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”

George Orwell (1984)

This article elucidates the predicament of Uighur Muslims in China. It traces the roots of the problem and sheds light on the deplorable condition of this community and their systematic repression. The oppression of minorities by majority is not a new story however in the current day and light oppression to this extent and through such means is chilling and deserves appropriate action from the global community.

Introduction

It was noticed after a long time, it took longer to condemn and even longer to act. The predicament of the Uighur Muslims gained…

View original post 1,127 more words

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