Thursday, June 30, 2011

Murder in the Amazon #Avaaz

The Amazon is in serious danger, the lower house of the Brazilian congress has approved a gutting of Brazil’s forest protection laws. Unless we act now, vast tracts of our planet’s lungs could be opened up to clear-cutting devastation.

The move has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country. And tension is rising -- in the last few weeks, several prominent environmental advocates have been murdered, purportedly by armed thugs hired by illegal loggers. The timing is critical, they’re trying to silence criticism just as the law is discussed in the Senate. But President Dilma can veto the changes, if we can persuade her to overcome political pressure and step onto the global stage as a leader.

79% of Brazilians support Dilma's veto of the forest law changes, but their voices are being challenged by logger lobbies. It’s now up to all of us to raise the stakes and make Amazon protection a global issue. Let’s come together now in a giant call to stop the murders and illegal logging, and save the Amazon. Sign the petition below -- it’ll be delivered to Dilma when we reach 500,000 signers:

People love Brazil! The sun, the music, the dancing, the football, the nature -- it’s a country that inspires millions around the world. This is why Brazil is hosting the next World Cup, why Rio has the 2016 Olympics and next year’s Earth Summit, a meeting to stop the slow death of our planet.

Our love is not misplaced -- the Amazon Is vital to life on earth -- 20% of our oxygen and 60% of our freshwater comes from this magnificent rainforest. That’s why it’s so crucial that we all protect it.

But Brazil is also a rapidly developing country, battling to lift tens of millions out of poverty, and the pressure to clear-cut and mine for profit on its political leaders is intense. This is why they’re dangerously close to buckling on environmental protections. Local activists are being murdered, intimidated and silenced, it’s up to Avaaz members across the world to stand with Brazilians and urge Brazil’s politicians to be strong.

Many of us have seen in our own countries how growth often comes at the expense of our natural heritage, our waters and air get polluted, our forests die.

For Brazil, there is an alternative. Dilma’s predecessor massively reduced deforestation and cemented the country’s international reputation as an environmental leader, while also enjoying huge economic growth. Let’s come together now, and urge Dilma to follow in those footsteps -- sign the petition to save the Amazon, then forward this email to everyone:

In the last 3 years, Brazilian Avaaz members have taken massive leaps towards the world we all want: They won landmark anti-corruption legislation, and have lobbied their government to play a leadership role at the UN, protect human rights and intervene to support democracy in the Middle East, and help protect human rights in Africa and beyond.

Now, as brave Brazilian activists are being killed for protecting a critical global resource, let’s come together, and build an international movement to save the Amazon and herald Brazil as a true international leader once more. Sign the petition, then forward this email to everyone:

With hope,

Emma, Ricken, Alice, Ben, Iain, Laura, Graziela, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz Team


BBC -- Brazil passes 'retrograde' forest code:

AP -- Another Amazon activist killed in logging conflict:

Mongabay -- Majority of Brazilians reject changes in Amazon Forest Code:

Science Insider -- Furor Over Proposed Brazilian Forest Law:

Guardian -- Death in the Amazon: a war being fought for us all:

Washington Post -- Brazil’s lower house approves looser forest protections:

Brazil's forest bill threat to Amazon


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Editor Who Blamed Lara Logan for Her Gang Rape Must Go!

Remember Lara Logan, the CBS reporter who was separated from her crew while covering the revolution in Egypt and brutally raped by a mob of men? When she spoke publicly about her attack, she bravely broke a longstanding silence on the part of female reporters assaulted on the job.

But Dan Rottenberg, editor of the online arts magazine Broad Street Review, doesn't have any sympathy for Logan or outrage on her behalf. Instead, Rottenberg says Lara Logan is to blame for her gang rape because she once showed cleavage at a US award show.

Rottenberg's editor's letter, published on June 6th, is titled 'Male Sexual Abuse and Female Naivete,' six words that from the get-go suggest if women were to act more responsibly, men wouldn't commit "sex abuse," i.e rape. The letter is accompanied by a photo of Logan (above) on the red carpet, wearing a v-line neck dress and smiling for the cameras. The caption under the photo reads, "What message was the TV journalist Lara Logan sending here?"

Rottenberg goes on, "Earth to liberated women: when you display legs, thighs, or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign you want to get laid. Forewarned is forearmed."

Rape is not "getting laid" and no one ever, ever does or wears anything that "asks" to be raped. To suggest that Lara Logan's choice to wear a dress perfectly appropriate for a US awards show sent a message to Egyptian men that she wanted to be raped while doing her job as a foreign correspondent takes rape apologism to new heights.

Rottenberg ends his column by blaming a neighbor for her attempted rape and the molestation of her daughter because she cleaned her house in a halter top and shorts.

There is nothing redeemable about anything Rottenberg said; he makes excuses and blames the victim multiple times in multiple situations. He has far overstepped the bounds of an editor of a culture magazine and appointed himself arbiter of which rapes are a victim's fault and which are not. This is unacceptable.

We call on the Publisher and Board of Directors of Broad Street Review to take Mr. Rottenberg's offensive piece off the site and remove him from his position as editor.

Remove Rape Apologist Dan Rottenberg as Editor of Broad Street Review


I am writing to ask the leadership of Broad Street Review to remove Dan Rottenberg as editor of the publication because of an inexcusable editor's letter he wrote in which he blamed journalist Lara Logan for her rape.

Mr. Rottenberg overstepped the bounds of an editor of a culture magazine to blame Logan, and other women, for being sexually assaulted and in doing so has lost the trust and respect of Broad Street Review's readership. 1 in 4 American women (and 1 in 6 American men) will be the victims of sexual assault. Attitudes like Mr. Rottenberg's make victims less likely to come forward because they feel the rape is somehow their fault and protect rapists by giving them cover for their crimes.

Readers turn to Broad Street Review for local arts and entertainment news, not to be blamed for being raped. Please take action immediately to remove Mr. Rottenberg as editor of the site.

Huge wins on Bahrain F1, War on drugs and more!

Just days ago, two things were different – questioning the global “war on drugs” was a huge taboo in government circles, and Formula 1 was set to hold their Grand Prix in Bahrain despite a brutal government crackdown on peaceful democracy protesters.

Then our community got involved.

Within 72 hours, more than 1 million of us joined these two campaigns, and we won! Formula 1 has, under intense pressure, reversed its decision to race in Bahrain and the UN Secretary-General has agreed to establish a new task force on drugs, with world leaders beginning an historic new debate on regulation and decrimalisation.

People power works, and we are seeing it more and more all over the world. Here are two stories of how …

Victory in Brutal Bahrain!

Bahrain's brutal regime uses shotguns on peaceful protesters, and locks up the nurses and doctors that treat them, but wants the world to believe all is normal. They worked hard to get the prestigious Formula 1 Grand Prix to return to the country. Then, with 48 hours until the Formula 1 decision, Bahrain reached out to the U.S. for help and Avaaz kicked into gear!
In two days, nearly 500,000 Avaaz members joined the campaign and, together, we left over 20,000 messages on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the F1 teams. The Avaaz team spoke to legendary driver Damon Hill, who added his voice to the effort. And media attention mounted.

But the F1 bigwigs decided to go ahead with the race. The Avaaz campaign was cited in thousands of articles worldwide (NYT, AFP, Reuters, ESPN) and our spokespeople were interviewed on CNN (pictured at right), BBC and many major networks.

Then, Avaaz obtained a leaked internal F1 report which shockingly concludes that Bahrain has "no human rights violations" -- turns out F1 only spoke to the government and visited a supermarket! We released our reaction, igniting a media firestorm, and finally ... the F1 teams unanimously objected to the race date in Bahrain, forcing F1 to cancel the Bahrain race for 2011!

Victory Against the War on Drugs!

The war on drugs has cost billions in tax money, funneled trillions of dollars into organized crime, cost countless lives, and achieved zero results.

Yet, for decades, any debate around ending the war on drugs has been quashed. In official circles, it's "taboo" to talk the about regulation or decriminalisation -- some even lose their jobs for doing so.

Then a group of former presidents formed The Global Commission on Drugs to boldly speak out for reform. They faced one problem -- politicians claimed they couldn't act because there was no public support for change! So Avaaz joined the fight.
We launched the campaign, and in one week, our community proved the politicians wrong, with over 600,000 Avaazers calling for an end to the war on drugs. The ex-presidents and billionaire Richard Branson called a press conference, presented their expert report proposing reform, received the Avaaz petition -- and the response was incredible! Over 2000 media articles were written (AP, IPS, The Guardian), virtually all of them positive!! The taboo was broken...

In a strategy meeting that afternoon, the ex-presidents repeatedly looked to our community to help take the campaign forward, stressing that only grass roots pressure can create the political will for action.

The next day, the Global Commission and Avaaz met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In 30 minutes of discussion, the Avaaz petition was presented and repeatedly cited as evidence of public demand for an end to the war. Ban took an important step and decided to create a task force to look at new solutions to the problem of drugs! A real and desperately needed debate has finally begun ...

A Huge Thanks to Everyone

These two stories happened at the same time, and are just two among many, many more. See the Avaaz April reportback here. And in the same two week period that these campaigns took place, Avaaz also played a crucial role in breaking the blackout on international coverage of Syrian repression. Our network of brave citizen journalists in Syria, funded by Avaaz donations, is one of the only sources of information for the world's media on the nightmare unfolding there.

All of this is only possible because so many of us join Avaaz campaigns with such hope, energy, and vision - signing, telling friends, donating, making phone calls or posting messages. An enormous thank you and congratulations to everyone who's pitched in!!

When Avaaz started out, we were thousands, and we won sometimes. Now we're almost 10 million, and we're winning much of the time! If we keep believing in each other and in change, it feels like anything is possible...

Tell FIFA: Red Card to Homophobia

Even before the Women's World Cup 2011 kicks off this Sunday, the rules have already been broken.

This week the New York Times reported¹ that the Nigerian Football Federation has been conducting a witch-hunt to kick women off the national team² “not because they were bad players, but because they were lesbians.”

For so many young women around the world, playing at the Women’s World Cup is a dream come true. Can you imagine being kicked off your football team because of who you love?

This Sunday, Nigeria is going to take the field for the opening game of the Women's World Cup. Can you sign the petition telling FIFA--football's international governing body--to publicly condemn this kind of systematic discrimination? Tell them that homophobia has no place in the league. We'll deliver your comments to FIFA next week, during the games.

This should be a no-brainer for FIFA, which has a long history of standing up to discrimination around the world³. In 1961 FIFA expelled South Africa from the World Cup because of its racist apartheid system, readmitting them only in 1991 after the release of Nelson Mandela. In 2001 FIFA passed the Buenos Aires Resolution against racism, and followed it up with an ambitious “Say No to Racism” campaign, in response to the problem of racist taunts hurled at players around the world. And just last year the FIFA president responded to international pressure and apologized⁴ for a remark offensive to LGBT people, saying, "it was not my intention and never will be my intention to go into any discrimination ... this is exactly what we are against."

Now, as LGBT people around the world are gaining visibility and participating more fully in community life, including sports, they are too often met with discrimination, and violence. This has been especially true in Africa, where right wing Evangelical movements have recently singled-out and demonized LGBT people. One of the most high-profile recent cases in sport was that of Eudy Simelane, a beloved South African football player who was raped, beaten, stabbed and left to die near her own home last year.⁵

That’s why in Nigeria, where lesbians are sometimes ostracized and subjected to beatings, the Nigerian national football coach is playing a dangerous game with her homophobic witch-hunt. But there’s something we can do about it. In the battle against bigotry and discrimination, FIFA has real moral authority, and they can use that authority to take a clear stand against discrimination. With the Women’s World Cup launching this weekend, will you take a moment to ask FIFA president Joseph Blatter to publicly condemn Nigeria's anti-gay campaign and make clear that homophobia has no place in football?

All the best and All Out,
Andre, Erika, Guillaume, Jeremy, Joseph, Nita, Oli, Prerna, Tile, Wesley and the rest of the team at All Out

P.S. Stay up-to-date on our campaign by joining our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.


1. In African Women’s Soccer, Homophobia Remains an Obstacle, New York Times, June 23rd 2011

2. No more lesbianism in Super Falcons – Coach Uche, Sun News Online, March 16th 2011

3. FIFA against racism: a decade of milestones

4. FIFA Leader Apologizes for Gay Sex Comment

5. Football's stand against sexual violence and homophobia, The Guardian, June 19th 2010

Kicked off the team because of who you love? Demand that FIFA take a stand against homophobia:

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