World Farm Animals Day Must Fall

A late post after the event.

“The Ghanaian protesters against Gandhi understand this at some fundamental level. Indeed the equation of Gandhi with power is the subtext of their protest: the petition calling for the removal of the statue insists that it is ‘better to stand up for our dignity than to kowtow to the wishes of a burgeoning Eurasian superpower’. Whatever India once meant as a leading postcolonial state speaking truth to geopolitical power, it weighs increasingly heavily on the African continent through its investment, infrastructure-building and hunger for resources, notably land. And in a striking parallel with the grouse against Gandhi, India increasingly features in African public consciousness via alarmingly frequent reports of racist hate crimes against Africans, especially students, in India. Prompted by the murder of a Congolese man in New Delhi, African Heads of Mission threatened to boycott the Africa Day celebrations organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in June 2016, the very month in which the Indian President unveiled the Gandhi statue in Accra. At least one of the Ghanaian protesters has noted that the best way to deepen relations between Africa and India might be to protect African students who are repeatedly under attack in India.”

A Gandhi statue ruining what would be a beautiful built landscape in Ghana. A pied crow flies by under a cloudy sky judging those who placed it there. Photo and quotes from http://tinyurl.com/jdv5lt5
A Gandhi statue ruining what would be a beautiful built landscape in Ghana. A pied crow flies by under a cloudy sky judging those who placed it there. Photo and quotes from http://tinyurl.com/jdv5lt5

 

The misconception that satyagraha is Gandhian when it is, in fact, Buddhist and Ambedkar held a Mahad satyagraha 3 years before Gandhi did. Both sources I linked are problematic and misinformed, in ways but very valuable.

Statute books describe the Indians as belonging to the “aboriginal or semi-barbarous race of Asia” while as a matter of fact there is hardly one Indian in South Africa belonging to the aboriginal stock. Santhals of Assam will be as useless in South Africa as the natives of that country…” Racist and Anti-Adivasi Statements by Gandhi. Mumbai Sept 26, 1896.

World Farm Animals Day is a Gandhi memorial, it needs to be abolished (as do animal exploitation farms). Why, white people, why are there so many more things to abolish in the world, only thanks to you? Why are you hating on human animals and worshipping a dead immoral guy, just to hide the fact that you hate oppressed Indians, Indigenous and Black folks (sexually assaulted or exploited survivors and women)? It’s not fine just because other Gandhians hate them too, along with some known leaders. In this day and age, there is no misconception possible, like there was before, at least for some deceased movement leaders outside India. Dumping Gandhi does not mean appreciating Godse. White vegans probably don’t even know who Godse is.

Readers, if you’ve seen it yesterday or elsewhere, you may have already signed this petition. Otherwise, please consider signing and sharing!


Footnotes if you don’t want to click certain links:

The facebook photo linked has the text and context in comment, it is as follows: 

I believe that caste has saved Hinduism from disintegration. But
like every other institution it has suffered from excrescences. I consider
the four divisions alone to be fundamental, natural and essential.
The innumerable subcastesare sometimes a convenience, often a
hindrance. The sooner there is fusion, the better….

One of my correspondents suggests that we should
abolish the caste [system] but adopt the class system of Europe –
meaning thereby, I suppose, that the idea of heredity in caste
should be rejected. I am inclined to think that the law of heredity
is an eternal law and any attempt to alter that law must lead us, as
it has before led [others], to utter confusion….

If Hindus believe, as they must believe, in reincarnation [and]
transmigration, they must know that Nature will, without any
possibility of mistake, adjust the balance by degrading a Brahmin, if
he misbehaves himself, by reincarnating him in a lower division,and
translating one who lives the life of a Brahmin in his present incarnation
to Brahminhood in his next.

-Young India, Vol. III, by M. K. Gandhi

Another quote h/t Thenmozhi Soundararajan

“The ideal bhangi of my conception would be a Brahmin par-excellence, possibly even excel him. It is possible to envisage-the existence of a bhangi without a
Brahmin. But without the former the latter could not be, It is the bhangi who enables society to live. A bhangi does for society what a mother does for her baby. A mother washes her baby of the dirt and insures his health. Even so the bhangi protects and safeguards the health of that entire community by maintaining sanitation for it. The Brahmin’s duty is to look after the sanitation of the soul, the bhangi’s that of the body of society. But there is a difference in practice ; the Brahmin generally does not live up to his duty, the bhangi does willy-nilly no doubt.

But that is not all. My ideal bhangi would know the quality of night-soil and urine. He would keep a close watch on these and give a timely warning to the individual concerned. Thus, he will give a timely notice of the results of his examination of the excreta. That presuppposes a
scientific knowledge of the requirements of his profession. He would likewise be an authority on the subject of disposal of night-soil in small villages as well as big cities and his advice and guidance in the matter would be sought for and freely given to society. It goes without saying that he would have the usual learning necessary for reaching the
standard here laid down for his profession. Such an ideal bhangi while deriving his livelihood from his occupation, would approach it only as a sacred duty. In other words he would not dream of amassing wealth out of it. He would consider himself responsible for the proper removal and
disposal of all the dirt and night-soil within the area which he serves and regard the maintenance of healthy and sanitary condition within the same as the summum bonum of his existence.”
Harijan : Nov. 28, 1936.

On the celibate sexual predator and other misogyny, excluding the fat-shaming of his wife (no sources at hand):

“During his years in South Africa, he once responded to a young man’s sexual harassment of two of Gandhi’s female followers by forcibly cutting the girls’ hair short to make sure they didn’t invite any sexual attention. He operated under the assumption that men couldn’t control their basic predatory impulses while simultaneously asserting that women were responsible for—and completely at the mercy of—these impulses. His views on female sexuality were similarly deplorable; according to Rita Banerji, writing in Sex and Power, Gandhi viewed menstruation as the “manifestation of the distortion of a woman’s soul by her sexuality.” He also believed the use of contraceptives was the sign of whoredom.

He confronted this inability to control male libido head-on when he vowed celibacy (without discussing it with his wife) back in India, and using women—including some underage girls, like his grand-niece—to test his sexual patience. He’d sleep naked next to them [naked] in bed without touching them, making sure he didn’t get aroused; these women were props to coax him into celibacy.”

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Unilever in Kodaikanal

Unilever’s brands and available alternatives are listed and linked below if you’d like to boycott them, for their devastation to humans and environment in Kodaikanal for which Unilever has refused to take responsibility (see 2nd heading). tl;dr: see the petition, block quotes and the list of kind products, the DIY page where all is linked except food recipes and reports on the Kodaikanal issue.

Jhatkaa.org created a petition asking Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, to clean up Kodaikanal’s toxic contamination and to compensate affected workers.

Unilever’s thermometer plant in Kodaikanal exposed many workers to mercury poisoning, without giving them any protective equipment or information about the disastrous health effects of mercury. This toxic mercury, dumped around the factory and in forests, continues to contaminate soil and groundwater, affecting thousands. The workers cannot afford private healthcare, and have been fighting for 14 years, asking Unilever to clean up the toxic contamination, and to compensate them for their medical expenses. They need us to stand with them […].

There has been a mobilisation for justice and compensation since 2008. Was Greenpeace involved and has Greenpeace now been driven out of India because Modi didn’t want pro-environmental groups in the way of business growth, I heard about it probably on DW news a while back. In any case I will continue boycotting Unilever as I did for years for animal testing before knowing about Kodaikanal, let us assume they clean up the region and compensate ex-workers families as well as stop testing on animals, I will keep boycotting them for colourism. What an amazing coincidence that they exploit poor brown workers while selling the most popular skin lightening brand I’ve seen in the Indian diaspora.

Unilever brands include Dove, Rexona, Axe, SunSilk, Domestos, Flora, Miko/ Ola/ Selecta, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Omo, Signal, Amora, Biotex, Brut, Cajoline, Cif, Cupasoup, Fair&Lovely [which promotes colourism e.g in the country they exploit and here], Impulse, Comfort, Jik, Lakmé, klondike, Maizena, Marmite, Mentadent, Pears, Skip, Solero, StYves, Coleman’s, Dawn, Fruit d’or, Gabi, Glen tea, Joko tea, Lyons, Mon savon, Organics, Robertsons… I’ve left out all that did not look familiar in their 13 pages of logos!

If only there’d been a fairtrade soapnut industry for these workers instead, I don’t know any risks associated with it, soapnuts is a plant local to them and we could use all sorts of detergents made from it (it didn’t need fabric softening), it’s also neutral for the planet. It’s a fact that detergents such as the Unilever ones listed above are toxic to fauna in the environment and waterways. Only a company that will never care would make a thermometer factory near forests and try save costs by not giving equipment to poor workers they targeted for their lack of awareness.

Alternative brands to some of the above detergents and toothpaste and DIY. I bet it’s cheaper Bicarb or vinegar can replace your Cajoline if Dr. Bronner’s can replace Skip and dishwashing soap and personal care, it’s healthier for you, kids and pets (avoid the tea-tree type if you have dog friends*). I will see what I can list aside from dairy-like products I’m allergic to all these foods since long, and most of their alternatives, we have local black tea brands. I’m too disabled to shop or to know what you’d replace, say, Marmite with.

There’s an issue here with kind products, or rather with some places that sell them, I’m yet to find well-informed staff (probably the shop owners aren’t well-informed too) so as well as telling them stuff for free (these days on the phone) I’m blogging all the info I can. Drop me a comment or email if you have any questions on kind products.

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*Tea-tree when injested, can cause seizures to dogs. I do use the tea-tree one as antibacterial after visiting dog-friends – I’m allergic to them, unlike other fur-allergics I don’t use disinfectant. Lavender is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal but I hate the smell.

Free Our Springs

World water day is today, going by the official announcement – March 22nd or today because yesterday was Sunday. We are to expect 40% water shortfall in 15 years, easily more for some regions.

Climate is changing, one can’t know if next summer is going to be a drought or floods or both. Some regions of this island (Mauritius) got flooded and for all regions, for months there have been issues like gastro enteritis so severe that people need hospitalisation. I pay taxes but cannot access any of your healthcare nor clinics. I wonder how many disabled folks or those with allergies struggle with the same, thus for some of us, access to clean water and medicinal plants can be vital, not simply desirable and economical as it would be for others.

A call to mobilisation over this simple issue that could save energy, our money, electricity, health and the environment (how much waste is generated from water filters or worse, bottled water)

cool clear water flowing from an urban spring
cool clear water flowing from an urban spring

Natural springs which should be public property, have been closed off for either corporations benefits or they have been routed into the central water supply, thus already clean and potable water is being mixed with reservoir water and all of it is then treated to become potable, chlorinated and fluoridated water we pay for (yeah there was a change in the 2015/16 budget and I’m unsure if 6000m3 suffices for a family, still everyone, especially for children and the elderly boil/purify tap water). In flood season, the treatment plant struggles, water isn’t actually potable and in spite of boiling water, people are getting ill. Furthermore, this is a waste and of course, we pay for drinking water and the costs to purify and/or boil it in our homes. With open springs, we’d only pay travel costs to collect. At least for areas around the springs and those who visit them, it’ll be far more cost-effective. For the rest I haven’t worked it out, in some regions of Austria though they get spring water in their taps. We’re a tiny country.

If a spring is part of the commons, people would go collect the water in drinking containers. See findaspring.com. I have witnessed an example for years in the city of Capetown, an outlet has been in the middle of a busy suburb for some 50 years, there’s hardly a queue and recently because they want to close it the city even opened a collection point on a central suburb’s main road and near a bus and taxi (public transportation there, a minivan fuctions like our taxi-train) station and put a signboard. Still hardly a crowd, 3-5 people at most at a time, people buy 10 or 25L containers and fill them up when they need to, some good or privileged person offers to test the water sometimes and people know via social media, email or word of mouth. In that city, even box schemes delivery (like your Agribio or Vélo Vert, not to say that they should) offers to refill containers as a service. Post-apartheid urban exclusion aside, access to the spring is free, a city has the responsibility of providing the infrastructures but over there it may well be because they sold the rest of the springs without public consent, to the brewery.

Everyone on this island who has any information or wants to join a mobilisation or campaign is welcome to get in touch.

Resonance – ecology, disability and access

A note for those who read this recently: links updated Nov ’13.

Do you care about the bees, the birds and perhaps about humans? Here’s a film (88min41, no captions or subtitles yet) that may interest you:

RESONANCE – BEINGS OF FREQUENCY from james russell on Vimeo.

Also on youtube if the embed doesn’t work or in James Russell’s group where you’ll see the documentary link along with the trailer and another film, the description and the facebook page link are provided.

There is a recent article (I recommend pages 8-10 in particular) and this blog post is short and to the point. I’ll use the word Electromagnetic Intolerance (EI) too, not interchangeably. With EI the access document linked below may not even apply but I wonder if it may to an EI sufferer with special clothing*.

Thinking about accessibility is not that controversial but Making Events More Accessible for People with EMS would be met with much resistance. This entry has a coupla worthwhile points and links but I’m looking for resources like what scientists elaborate on in Resonance which I find more compelling – such as a German study mentioned in a CBS insert concluding that EMFs are co-carcinogenic, in other words, like a stressor or a catalyst, e.g. scientists interviewed in Resonance explain a melatonin-inhibiting mechanism. Medical science is not expected to be hard science, except in this case seemingly.

One can’t imagine there will ever be a time EMFs are seen like tobacco smoke and regulations or negotiations made around their use? Non-corporate research suggests it would be long overdue and for some it’ll be too late. Forget convenience, leisure and work, picture not being able to get an ambulance and go to a hospital for treatment because one’s health would deteriorate more just by going there.

Thus far, only Sweden is providing accomodations for EI sufferers, which they recognise as disabled and a French political candidate is advocating for a zone such as ‘refugee camps‘ being set up around the world. There is a fiction film which I’m yet to see on the topic.

Please help our protest – dir non a sårbon

This petition, which anyone can and should sign (please do sign if you haven’t), has been circulating for months. There are over 1.2 million inhabitants on the island, activists and conscious citizens are few, and one activist is putting his life on the line to get the Government to show responsibility towards the people who put them in charge. Other actions around this issue including a case in the Supreme Court since 2003 has failed to stop the government from issuing a building permit to a Malaysian company to start building coal power plants in Albion, a coastal village last week. Update: there has been 18,300 signatures collected counting the physical petition as well.

My suffering is nothing compared to the suffering the Earth has endured, continues to endure and is programmed to endure

Jeff Lingaya, in spite of other activists trying to dissuade him, started a hunger strike in front of the Ministry of Environment and 3 basic requests regarding transparency and democratic process had to be submitted repeatedly, on several days by other activists, finally the Minister only addressed 2 of those yesterday, on day 8. While Jeff accepted medical treatment and a drip, he threatened to refuse treatment as he carries on with the strike [Update, Jeff has now refused treatment and said he’s prepared to fight to the end (in video)]. According to the conditions in the act, the government can withdraw the permit but they maintain that they can’t and the PM has tried to turn this into a racial issue. I’ll try my best to sum that up in another post, you’ll find more details below* although much of it in French and Creole (this video of his speech at the vigil and others).

Photos of candlelight vigil in support of Jeff and our protest

Jeff has rightly criticised both the Government and the Opposition party, none of them are benefitting from his strike (his choice but he had no choice, and emphasizes that it’s “our strike”) as he has stressed a few times, this is for the sake of everyone, human and non-human, by a concerned citizen who has had enough. Jeff is the kindest social and environmental justice activist I have come across, brave, determined, visionary, analytical, caring and dedicated. I remain honoured to know him as a friend and while I don’t wish to see him to continue with the strike, it is hardly him sacrificing his life, it is our government risking his life or Jeff about to lose it to show us how much the Government doesn’t care. I’ve never voted for them or the Opposition, never will and was never asked what form of governance I would like, or how land should be unfairly distributed, or how resources are to be exploited. No citizen of the country agreed to that, just like no one agreed to sell the land and the environment to a coal power project, and pay taxes as investment, suffer from the pollution and pay with our health.

People may see a strike having some consequences and many have gone to show their support to Jeff in Port-Louis especially last night (photos and video of the event linked above), and people may see some organisations of activists or citizens like CARES, Rezistans ek Alternativ and Say NO to Coal mobilizing, but these are citizens like you and I, organisations or collectives are not magical entities that can miraculously overcome oppressive regimes or fight the good fight for everyone else, everyone needs to get involved in social and other struggles, and help as they can, every voice and every bit adds up. People may see that the struggle seems to be moving forward right now, but please do realise that it is after 10 years, and more urgently  it is costing our friend HIS LIFE!!

Relevant Extract from the Environment Protection Act 2002.
Relevant Extract from the Environment Protection Act 2002.

*Links: Thanks to Say No to Coal for the image and there is a Say No to Coal group.

Update: Jeff survived 13 days of a hunger strike, and the artivism and protests continue.