TRUTHOUT 20 March 2020
In a world in which the majority of human suffering is perpetrated by a small minority against the vast majority, a small silver-lining of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is that it seems to have us all on the same side. A scourge with the capacity to terrorize those in charge means that we are, ironically, both more scared and safer. We are increasingly made aware of, and given some of the best tools available to confront, the emergency of “life under COVID-19,” in a way that we are not for the everyday terror that is “life under capitalism.”
Climate change, war, genocide, economic exploitation, famine and curable disease take more victims daily than COVID-19 will in its entire reign. Because these phenomena are foundational to the status quo, victimizing those subjected to it rather than those who subject others to it, they aren’t shocking but routine. As such, they will never inspire the coordinated global response that coronavirus already has.
But of course, even an equal-opportunity virus exists in a social context that is anything but equal, ensuring that a nondiscriminatory illness has discriminatory impacts.
Coronavirus’s entrance into public consciousness has reinvigorated long-standing, anti-Chinese narratives, swiftly piercing many Western countries’ thin veneer of multicultural civility. Our friends, co-workers, neighbors and community members of East Asian descent — including children — have been experiencing ostracism, harassment, ridicule and economic persecution. That British immigrants weren’t similarly targeted amid the “Mad Cow” disease outbreak scares, exposes the ugly truth underlying this phenomenon. As Edward Hon-Sing Wong of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto chapter has written, this “latest health epidemic is a reminder of the pervasive racism that deems Chinese populations to be inherently foreign, unhygienic and carriers of disease.”
To read more visit TRUTHOUT
POLITICO 21 Mar 2020
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the United States.
Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted. POLITICO also reviewed and previously reported on documents seeking the authority to extend deadlines on merger reviews and prosecutions.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the documents.
Photo: Oil palm plantation invades the rainforest. Photo: courtesy World Rainforest Movement
Global Justice Ecology Project: About COVID-19 – Resources and Information
Dear friends and supporters Global Justice Ecology Project,
We, like you, are doing all we can to keep our families and loved ones safe and healthy.
At the same time, we continue to pursue our mission, which includes understanding the root causes of this crisis and its connection to social and ecological injustice. For the best way to prevent the next pandemic is to understand the roots of this one and ensure we do not make the same mistakes in the future.
Below is a new article that links emerging pandemics like COVID-19 to the destruction of the world’s wildest places. It turns out protecting forests isn’t just about protecting biodiversity, it is also about avoiding another pandemic.
In a March 18th article in The Guardian, John Vidal wrote:
“Increasingly [these] diseases are linked to … disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth [which] is …resulting [in] transmission of disease from wildlife to humans.
“…change must come from both rich and poor societies. Demand for wood, minerals and resources from the global north leads to the degraded landscapes and ecological disruption that drives disease … Otherwise we can expect more of the same.” –from ‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for COVID-19?
Meanwhile, social injustice and ecological destruction are not stopping for COVID-19. If anything, corporations are looking to the virus to distract people from their ongoing plunder–as well as the government’s support for same, such as the Trump administration’s recent bailout of the oil and gas industry.
We at GJEP are joining others in tracking how corporations and governments are using the COVID-19 virus to crack down on basic personal freedoms–just as they did after 9/11. Never before have so many borders been shut down, travel restricted, millions locked down or quarantined, and businesses shuttered as fear of the unknown mounts.
The data they are collecting on the crisis and its response could forseeably be used as a guidepost on the treatment of civil unrest caused by a future pandemic, climate catastrophe or other emergency that threatens government or corporate power.
Resources for COVID-19 community support and mutual aid, as well as a call to remember ongoing struggles:
As the coronavirus spreads across North America, communities are coming together to support those most vulnerable. Low-income workers, communities of color, people with disabilities, the house-less, and those who are incarcerated, are among those who will be disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and efforts to contain it.
Here are a few things you can do this week:
1. Act in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en:
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are continuing their fight to stop the Coastal GasLink Pipeline through their ancestral lands. Our solidarity cannot stop. This is when the companies will try to take everything.
What you can do: A company called KKR is in the process of buying 65% of Coastal GasLink. If we can stop the sale, we can help stop the pipeline from being built. Take 5 minutes to tweet, email or call KKR and tell them to divest from the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. Don’t forget to sign the #ShutDownKKR petition. It has 125,000 signatures and growing!
2. Take action for a just response to the coronavirus:
· When Every Community is Ground Zero: Pulling Each Other Through a Pandemic (Mutual Aid Disaster Relief)
· Demands from Grassroots Organizers Concerning COVID-19 (Transformative Spaces)
· Calls for a Just Recovery Response to COVID-19 that Centers The Most Vulnerable (The Climate Justice Alliance)
I hope that you find this information helpful in navigating the uncharted waters in which we find ourselves. Global Justice Ecology Project is taking pains to safely continue to advance our campaigns for protection of forests and defense of the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Thank you and best wishes to you and your family,
Global Justice Ecology Project
A logger (employed by a South Korean multinational corporation) with a chainsaw in the Bosawas rainforest; the Bosawas is the largest rainforest north of the Amazon Basin. Illegal logging threatens the rainforest’s biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples. (Nicaragua 1997) Photo: Orin Langelle/GJEP
The Guardian 18 Mar 2020
Mayibout 2 is not a healthy place. The 150 or so people who live in the village, which sits on the south bank of the Ivindo River, deep in the great Minkebe Forest in northern Gabon, are used to occasional bouts of diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever and sleeping sickness. Mostly they shrug them off.
But in January 1996, Ebola, a deadly virus then barely known to humans, unexpectedly spilled out of the forest in a wave of small epidemics. The disease killed 21 of 37 villagers who were reported to have been infected, including a number who had carried, skinned, chopped or eaten a chimpanzee from the nearby forest.
I travelled to Mayibout 2 in 2004 to investigate why deadly diseases new to humans were emerging from biodiversity “hotspots” such as tropical rainforests and bushmeat markets in African and Asian cities.
It took a day by canoe and then many hours along degraded forest logging roads, passing Baka villages and a small goldmine, to reach the village. There, I found traumatised people still fearful that the deadly virus, which kills up to 90% of the people it infects, would return.
Villagers told me how children had gone into the forest with dogs that had killed the chimp. They said that everyone who cooked or ate it got a terrible fever within a few hours. Some died immediately, while others were taken down the river to hospital. A few, like Nesto Bematsick, recovered. “We used to love the forest, now we fear it,” he told me. Many of Bematsick’s family members died.
Only a decade or two ago it was widely thought that tropical forests and intact natural environments teeming with exotic wildlife threatened humans by harbouring the viruses and pathogens that lead to new diseases in humans such as Ebola, HIV and dengue.
To read more visit The Guardian
Josey Tenorio Peyestewa is a Hopi descendant born in Third Mesa Hotevilla, Arizona and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is an Advocate for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. She organizes Prayer Runs through many states asking for justice for our sisters and brothers who have been murdered. Josey also raises awareness for our Missing Women and Men and Man Camps and Human Trafficking.