The end of the first decade of the new millennium seems to have been marked by some of the worst natural disasters that has displaced and killed millions of people. Beginning with the earthquake in Gujarat, India in 2001; volcanic eruptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2002; followed by earthquakes in China and Algeria in 2003; the Tsunami in 2004, the earthquake in Pakistan’s north west frontier province in 2005; Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans later that year; the Japanese earthquake in 2009, and Haiti and Chile in 2010. The disasters, which now mirror the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have generated a complicated and fractured terrain on which human rights and economic justice are seriously compromised.Displaced people, scattered communities, devastated homes, and grieving families combine with acute health, resources, and food shortages.
In the wake of such life disruptions, neo-liberal policies and conservative political formations take root, penetrating the political-economic cracks, and simultaneously the collective consciousness of a people.This panel provides an update on the current situation in Haiti, the Congo, Pakistan and New Orleans. The panel also looks at the intersectionality of the psychological, socio-political and economic implications created by these natural disasters. What patterns and trends have been generated over the course of the decade? What are the long-term psychological after-effects? Under these conditions, how are local leaders and groups organizing? In solidarity with the people, how do we consider, organize with, and fight for justice. What structures of accountability can we generate when economies of the wealthy few are tied to the devastation of the disenfranchised many?
Beverly Bell is Coordinator of Other Worlds and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Beverly has worked for three decades as an organizer, advocate, and writer in collaboration with social movements in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the U.S. Most of her work has concentrated on Haiti. Her focus areas are just economies; democratic participation; and rights for women, indigenous peoples, and other excluded peoples. Beverly is author of the PEN-New Mexico award-winning Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance and co-author of Cry Justice, Cry Hope.
Mr. Kambale Musavuli is a Congolese activist, research analyst, student coordinator and spokesperson of Friends of the Congo. He has written for the Washington Post, Pambazuka News, Huffington Post and numerous other online publications. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Democracy Now, ABC News, Al Jazeera, Radio France International and myriad radio and television programs throughout the globe. He has toured the United States speaking to university students, religious groups, elected officials, community organizers and many others in an effort to generate support for the people of the Congo. Working with multi-sector organizations, he has served as a research consultant for a number of film projects and governmental agencies, such as the Department of Labor. Musavuli’s ultimate aim is to mobilize the global community to help bring an end to the conflict in the Congo and provide support to the people of the Congo as they strive to control their enormous natural wealth and build lasting peace and stability in the heart of Africa.
Beverly Bell, Ezili Danto, Kambale Musavuli & Adaner Usmani. Moderated by Judith de los Santos
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