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Posts Tagged ‘injustice’

      Want to be happy?  Live out loud, be who you are, conduct yourself with integrity, reach out to others, stand up to injustice, satisfy your soul, don’t allow yourself to continue to live with regrets or leave things undone; and, peace will be yours forever!  Words to live by.

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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       In Texas, an appeals court overruled the state’s decision to remove the children of the sect, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The appeals court has found that the CPS department had not proven evidence of immediate danger of physical health or safety of children who had not reached puberty.  The court also said that their beliefs, in and of themselves, did not place children in danger of abuse.

          This is a victory for the 41 mothers who brought the suit against the state for removing their children.  Initially, the state had said that 31 of the mothers were under the age of 18.  It has since been determined that 15 of that 31 are OVER the age of 18.  What that means, for the other mothers, isn’t clear.

        Does this mean that the children will be returned back to their families?  No one seems to know for sure.  The ruling is being reviewed.  It is possible that the 450 children who were removed; could be removed from temporary foster care and returned to their families. 

          No one really seems to mention the fathers.  It is almost as if by accusing some of the fathers of sexually abusing young women…they all are guilty by association.  This is wrong.  Damage has been done to “whole” families…some of them may even be “INNOCENT”. 

          Part of the problem here is that in America, we are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  That didn’t really happen here.  Truthfully, children need to be protected.  However, in “protecting” them…the system damaged others.  This whole case is disturbing.  Allegations that can be proven true, of abuse, are horrendous…and should be prosecuted.  Those who were under suspicion and are proven to be innocent have been done a great injustice.

          The mothers had been represented by the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.  TRLA is a non-profit organization.  They help people, in southwestern Texas, with low income to receive legal services.  http://www.trla.org/   TRLA has been instrumental in helping these mothers to find a pathway to once again regain custody.  Update 5-23-08  Today it was announced that the state of Texas child welfare officials will appeal this landmark decision.  In a notification to the court the state says that a motion will be filed later today!   Keep watching to see what happens….as the outcome will surely define the limits or lack of limits on the department of child welfare that the courts will enforce.  This affects us all!!! 

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       This recent news item flipped my sense of injustice/justice button.  I read a news report about an elderly woman who lives in New York City.  This woman’s name is Galila Huff and she is a smoker.  She owns a restaurant in town; but, she isn’t allowed to smoke there because state law forbids smoking in restaurants or bars. 

       Ms Huff has lived in her apartment for 15 years which is a few blocks away from her restaurant.  She has smoked in her apartment for years with no problems.  It is her personal place of residence.  The problem started about 5 years or so ago when new neighbors moved into her building.  They  allegedly started complaining about smelling smoke in the communal hallway. 

       Ms Huff made attempts to contain the smoke in her personal living space; after she was made aware of the situation by a letter from her neighbors.  She had the walls of her apartment insulated, she tried to quit smoking…and wasn’t successful, she purchased four large air purifiers, she had the airducts sealed, improved the windows, and still the neighbors complained about the smell of smoke.

       The neighbors allegedly filed a lawsuit.  They first sent her a letter telling her to quit smoking IN HER APARTMENT until such a time that she could ventilate the smoke away from the hallway outside of her door.  For the record, the neighbors are each lawyers.  They have a small child.  They claim that the smoke in the hallway endangers their health and that of their child.

      Since they moved into the apartment, long after Ms Huff established the apartment building as her residence, you would think they would have noticed the smell when they were considering moving into the building. 

        Regardless, i am not a huge fan of cigarette smoke.  I am myself allergic to it.  But, this legal fight seems a bit over the top to me.  I mean it would be different, i think, had Ms. Huff not taken some corrective actions to reduce the amount of smoke that could be released into the hallway. 

        She didn’t ignore their request. Doesn’t she have a right to smoke in her home?   Certainly, i can understand their right to a smoke free environment; but, since Ms. Huff did take action if they still felt that an excess amount of smoke was entering the hallway endangering them …shouldn’t they consider moving themselves?  Or perhaps, they could consider installing an air purifier in their own apartment.  This i am sure is very stressful for all involved.

        I guess, i don’t understand what more they can realistically expect Ms. Huff to do.  It seems abusive to me to continue to bully her when she has made an honest attempt to improve the situation.

        From what i understand, this shared hallway is like 10 feet wide and a hundred feet long and the neighbor’s doorway is 50 feet approximately away from Ms. Huff’s doorway.  Is Ms. Huff legally responsible to do more?  I certainly hope not. 

        I do believe in people respecting each others personal space when smoking…but, i also believe that once she was made aware of the problem, that Ms. Huff truly attempted to correct it.  To me, the whole situation is over the top. 

         Hopefully, the judge who rules on this suit will use a heavy dose of common sense to decide the case.   If all is right in the world, the judge will refund any excess court cost incurred by Ms Huff, after she attempted to reticfy the situation, due to the continued legal badgering from her neighbors.  That would balance things a bit i think.

      

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        Wow, who knew that it mattered, when you were born, which side of the blanket you were born on when it comes to getting your birthright inheritence or whether your rights will be denied?

         Is a child’s birthright not automatic when that birthparent gives the child up for adoption?  No, it can be denied in the state of New York, anyway. 

          Today, i read in the news that a woman born over 50 years ago to a direct descendent of the jello fortune was denied by the highest court in New York the right to a portion of that said fortune. 

           It seems that the estate of the woman’s birthmother denied that she was entitled to a third of the estate; because, she had been put up for adoption and, because the laws of the state said that a child put up for adoption wasn’t considered a child of the person for whom the trust was established.

        The mother of the “child” went on to get married later after putting up the infant for adoption and went on to have two additional children who were entitled to their portion of the estate because they were born during her marriage.

         Does that seem fair?  The child did not have a say about when she was conceived or to whom she was born; she was born to the woman and allegedly, to a man who was married to someone else.  Is it her fault about the circumstances of her birth?  No.  Was it her choice to be adopted?  No.  Still, i guess legally…the decision has been made.

         My question is…morally is it a correct decision?  I wonder how the birth, half- siblings feel?  I mean, obviously the estate felt that they had a right to fight paying a portion of the trust fund to this woman; but, personally, if it were me….i would feel that she was entitled to a sum of money. 

         The woman started searching for her birthparents when she was 19.  She spent lots of money and time searching.  She didn’t start her search thinking that she was going to discover she was born to a family with incredible riches that she could inherit.  I am sure that she began searching strictly for the purpose of finding out more about herself personally. 

           Whatever her personal reasons for searching; I hope she found some kind of answers to her questions when she met her mother.  She did get to meet her and find out about her birth circumstances.  Hopefully she was able to heal those parts of herself that were filled with questions when she discovered she had a NEED to know about her beginnings. 

           It seems that these questions about the trust fund came up after the birth mother died.  Who knows what the birth mother’s feelings were on the subject.  That wasn’t reported in anything i have heard about this trust fund issue with the courts.  Was the woman and her siblings able to develop any type of postitive relationship?  If so, why the issue of money went before the court is curious. 

            If the half siblings contested sharing the money…i then wonder, what makes them in their own minds feel more entitled?  It is kind of sad.  Who knows how much richer their lives could have been otherwise.  I mean, i wonder if they would find joy in knowing their sister had there not been money involved?   Maybe it isn’t just an issue of money; could it be some other reason that they feel she is not entitled to a share of the wealth?   I wonder is the sister the kind of person that would not be welcome in a family whether they had money or not?  Is she a good, friendly, moral person?

             Some how, it feels like an injustice.  I mean, the half siblings got to grow up with their mother.  The woman did not.  They were born to a comfortable lifestyle; did the woman live in comfort?  Should she be compensated for being rejected at her birth?  I don’t know.  But regardless, it just feels a little unfair to me. 

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