Tag: WNV

A call center run by refugees fills a void in Greece

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Refugees arriving in Greece have found themselves forced to organize in order to survive. One of the most basic needs, after feeding oneself, is to be able to communicate — to be able to ask for help, to go to the doctor, to get a lawyer, to know your rights, to get out of the refugee camp and to work in a new country. These tasks can be extremely difficult for refugees in Greece, the majority of whom only speak Arabic.

Ramez Shame, who is a refugee from Egypt, speaks both Arabic and English, which is a second language for many in Greece. As soon as he realized how his language skills could help others, he went to work. After taking stock of the needs of refugees, Shame and three others started a cooperative hotline in Thessaloniki to act as a bridge for refugees, called the Refugees to Refugees (R2R) Solidarity Call Center.

Student protest blocks ethnic segregation plan in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Students in central Bosnia and Herzegovina return to school this week, but not with the usual nerves that accompany back-to-school season. This year, high school students in the small, medieval city of Jajce are returning with a newfound sense of purpose and empowerment.

Over the summer months, the students organized protests that successfully pressured the local assembly in the Central Bosnia Canton to postpone its plans for a new segregated high school teaching only Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) students. This proposed measure would extend a policy of ethnic segregation, already implemented in Jajce’s elementary schools, to the high school level.

North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux aren’t backing down to oil pipeline developers

On Thursday, nonviolent protesters outside North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux reservation entered their second day of confrontation with private security and local law enforcement. Armed with drums, tribal flags, and cell phones, demonstrators moved to block the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion dollar crude-oil conduit slated to cut just 1,000 feet from the perimeter of native land. Confrontations began on Wednesday, August 10, when construction crews and private security hired by Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based developers overseeing the pipeline, arrived to break ground. Arrests were made beginning Thursday, as 14 protesters were charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, while dozens more remained defiantly on site.

Thursday’s arrests represented a sharp break after months of quiet occupation on the site. Organizers, led by Standing Rock Sioux, established Camp of the Sacred Stones in April, after learning of the impending project. Concerned that the pipeline would wreak havoc on the sacred sites and delicate wildlife in the area, a group of about 30 indigenous tribal members and allies moved to occupy the proposed construction site. “This is a prayer camp movement to save our sacred land and water and has been entirely supported by the people and the campers,” the group wrote online. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a tribal historian and organizer, was confident as she spoke to reporters in April. “We will stop it. We have prayer with us.”

Wave of occupations marks step forward for Black Lives Matter

Activists in New York City seeking to defund the police have successfully occupied City Hall Park for a week and seen one of their demands met with the resignation of Commissioner Bill Bratton. While blocking roads and highways has been the tactic of choice for Black Lives Matter since it gained national attention two years ago, the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have sparked the resurgence of a tactic many thought had been left behind in Zuccotti Park.

Occupations against systemic racism and state violence started in Los Angeles, made their way to Chicago eight days later, and then ended up in New York City after another 12 days. But will these occupations end the same way the Occupy Wall Street protests ended? Does the adoption of this well-worn tactic represent an advancement for the movement, or does it illustrate the need for newer, more disruptive tactics?