Category Archives: Activists

Thor Halvorssen supports Bernie Sanders with Reservations

The head of the Human Rights foundation, Thor Halvorssen, criticized Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton on The Intelligence Report. He appeared with Host Trish Regan on the Fox Business Network show in early March.

Clinton, according to the head of the Human Rights Foundation, has received support from Middle Eastern regimes. Many of these regimes support the use of torture and engage in other human rights violations. The Intelligence Report Guest informed the host that he did not donate to the Clinton campaign. Although Hillary Clinton held no official cabinet position at the time, her husband instituted a policy that let the CIA send people to countries that endorse torture. United States policy changed after the September 11 attacks, and the government began supporting enhanced interrogation techniques. Civil rights groups widely criticized these enhanced interrogation techniques, which included water boarding, as torture.

While he praised the ideals of democratic socialism and said it could work, he also warned that authoritarian candidates may rise to power using the ideals of socialism. As soon as these despots get into power, their promises of helping the people quickly become a human rights nightmare.
Even though Halvorssen ( donated to the Sanders campaign, he did so with reservations.

Hugo Chavez represents a modern example of this phenomenon, but the same thing also happened in the Soviet Union. Josef Stalin did not care about the ideals of Karl Marx and was more interested in advancing his own power. The Soviet Dictator may not have committed genocide, but millions of people suffered under his reign.

Racists Ramifications Ring Out Around the World

We know that racism, sexism and discrimination are still around. Despite the world of the 21st century being a connected, technological wonderland, these archaic issues are prominent today. So, when these wildly debated issues come up in our highly connected world, it’s easy for the entire globe takes notice.

The social networking site Twitter has grown to become a common place for news, debates, and information around the clock. Recently, the “#Woke” campaign has caught the attention of millions. The idea behind the movement encourages becoming aware of everyday controversies (or being “woke” to them), such as racism, sexism, gender issues and more. The movement has garnered a strong following, and early this January in South Africa, that following had a new topic to discuss.

Right at the start of the new year, KwaZula-Natal real estate Penny Sparrow angered millions with a highly controversial post on Facebook. While it’s tradition for many people around the world to celebrate New Year’s Day bay the sea, Sparrow complained specifically about about the crowds on her local beach. She notes a “discomforting” amount of litter and “black on black skins,” remarking further on the beach goers’ apparent “no education whatsoever.” In just a few days, the comment drew international attention, and she has since posted an apology on her Facebook account as well.

But the comments made by Sparrow aren’t just offensive; they carry potentially legal fallout. Brenda Wardle is a legal analyst and the Chief of Operations for the Wardle College of Law. She notes that “… free speech or even freedom of expression, unlike human dignity, is limited by specific clauses in the constitution.” The South African Democratic Alliance has since cut ties with Sparrow, and filed criminal charges against her.

Wardle’s understanding of human rights and their protection under law has made her an advocate for social justice. “Simply put,” she points out, “she unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impaired the dignity of black people by using racially offensive language.” She has taken to multiple social media platforms to address growing concerns of racism and other social injustices.

In addition to the legal ramifications, several people close to Sparrow have been targeted by angered activists. Charmaine Crowie (Sparrow’s daughter) and Jawitz Property (Sparrow’s former employer) have both made statements saying that they don’t share Sparrow’s views. However, for the people of South Africa, it’ll take more than words to heal this wound.


Balancing Rights Against Freedom Through Woke Twitter

Social and political awareness has found a voice. That voice is manifesting itself in the form of a movement that is taking aggressive action against those that they feel are committing cries of racism. Watching social media posts for what is believed to be insensitive, against the dignity of people because of race, religion or gender is how Woke Twitter is taking a stand against crimes of dignity.

Out of Cape Town South Africa three such perpetrators have been identified. The issue for some is how this new movement is causing irreparable harm to people like the three identified in the real world. People are losing their jobs, their form of self support and their viable way to feed their families.

While any are beginning to take notice of this new movement, it does leave some questions unanswered. Legal analysts, like Brenda Wardle worry about the implications that this movement will have on basic human dignity and rights. She has spent many years aiding the less fortunate in protecting their rights in the workforce, and the community as a whole.

She states that while Woke Twitter is a new idea and does bring to light many racist and derogatory remarks that should not be tolerated in any situation, she also feels that these individuals, in defending those who have been victims are further dehumanizing them. She sites some statements that likens these victims to monkeys in a jungle.

Another aspect of grave concern is the repercussions on the children of those accused. One such child was receiving threatening phone calls because of posts her mother had made. Ms. Wardle, and other activists do not feel that this is the right thing to do. Te best way to deal with the issue of racism is not to terrorize young children.

The key is that while people do have the right to state their own opinion, it should not take precedence to others rights and opinions. The Woke Twitter community feel that more whites in South Africa need to take a stand and speak out on the injustices that are happening all around them.

The online community involved in this situation seems to only offer the advice of staying aware of what is happening. This does not address the racist remarks, nor who gets to make the determination if they are racist at all. Will harmony someday ensue? It will take time to know for sure.

Follow Brenda Wardle


North Korea’s Youthful Defector

It is a common occurrence for those opposing the government to find themselves in an awkward situation where they could not trace back how they got in, at the first place. For instance, discrimination and cultural differences have lead to the fall of many countries upheavals. Besides, there are some who did not like the situation in their countries, hence making adjustments on how they will establish a new way of life. The brave ones have championed for the formation of the human rights groups that would offer support to other people’s lives. An example of such a person is Yeonmi Park, who is a renowned defector and human rights activist. At only 21, she has managed to prove her country wrong in matters relating to human rights affairs.

Due to political instability in North Korea, Park, and her parents fled to seek refuge in a foreign country. As she grew up, she believed that the North Korean leader was a god who could even read her thinking capability. She had an assurance that anyone who talked negatively about the leadership practice of North Korea would eventually die. Park spent fifteen years in her motherland and the years have been a critical part of her energy to bring salvation of human rights to the country. She later quoted saying that while in North Korea; she could never imagine that some countries offered all rights to their citizens.

Yeonmi once narrated her story on youngvoicesadvocates indicating that living in North Korea was extremely difficult for her family. They experienced all the characteristics of underdeveloped countries that included; poor means of transportation, constant power outages, and a very untidy. Despite all the suffering and continued torment, she was forced into worshiping the authorities, for there was no other option at the time. She was terrified by the way that people could disappear and never be seen again. It was like one day she would disappear too. In one of her speeches, she goes forward to explain how her classmate’s mother was punished publicly in an execution that she attended.

Yeonmi father used to work in a North Korean government where everything seemed okay until when he was arrested for illegal trade. He was jailed and offered hard labor, and it destabilized the family. After a short period, she stopped going to study in her enrolled university and opted to travel to Pyongyang and fled to China.

On getting to China, she realized that North Korean refugees are unrecognizable and had to seek job opportunities to support her life. On the same note, her mother managed to get a job as a dishwasher. She once told her congregation that there were times when she had to pretend that she could not speak for fear of being recognized as a North Korean defector.

Park is now focused on her course and believes that her opinion was right when she opted to move out of North Korea. Most of her family is in North Korea, and they have been kept under close surveillance by the government.