U.S. begins paying out reparations from France to Holocaust survivors and their heirs – The Washington Post

“Transportation U.S. begins paying out reparations from France to Holocaust survivors and their heirs Add to listBy Katherine Shaver September 15, 2016The State Department has paid or approved 90 claims for a total $11 million in reparations from France to former World War II prisoners who were carried to Nazi death camps in French trains — the first French reparations paid to Holocaust survivors living in the United States, officials said Thursday.

The payments apply to Holocaust survivors who were deported from France to concentration camps on stifling trains operated by the state-owned French railway, SNCF, or, if the survivors have died, to their spouses or heirs. It is the first French compensation to Holocaust survivors who settled in the United States as well as Israel, Canada and other countries that haven’t had a reparations agreement with France.It’s also the first World War II reparations program to include heirs considered to be “standing in the shoes” of people who died before receiving compensation for the atrocities they or their spouses endured, State Department officials said.

“In many ways, this is belated justice for the worst crimes in history,” said Stuart Eizenstat, the State Department’s special adviser for Holocaust issues. “But it also underscores a long relationship with France.”SNCF was paid to transport 76,000 Jews and other prisoners, usually with no food and only a bucket for a toilet, to Nazi camps. All but about 2,000 were killed.[Video: On a French train to Auschwitz, a daring leap for survival]While the French government has paid more than $6 billion in Holocaust reparations since 1948, including to deportees, those payments previously covered only French citizens and those of four countries that had bilateral agreements with France.More than 700 claims have been filed under a 2014 agreement between the United States and France in which the French government pledged a total $60 million for the deportations carried out by SNCF, officials said.

In exchange, the U.S. government agreed to ask courts to dismiss any U.S. lawsuits against SNCF or the French government.U.S. Jewish groups and aging Holocaust survivors have pushed for French reparations since at least 2000, both through class-action lawsuits and state and federal legislation. However, their cause gained political traction in 2010, when survivors began protesting SNCF and a company in which it holds a majority stake, Paris-based Keolis, as they pursued state and federal rail projects.

Survivors said SNCF and Keolis shouldn’t be awarded U.S. contracts supported by their tax dollars until they had been compensated.So far, Eizenstat said, 29 Holocaust deportees have received $204,000 each, while 11 spouses of those who died in Nazi concentration camps or before 1948 are receiving $51,000 each. Spouses of Holocaust victims who died in or after 1948 — the start of France’s own Holocaust reparations fund for French citizens — will receive $750 for each year that the survivor lived after 1948.

Source: U.S. begins paying out reparations from France to Holocaust survivors and their heirs – The Washington Post

Africatown USA Trailer on Vimeo

 

A Slave Auction

“This amazing story tells the events of these men, women and children, who were kidnapped from their native land in West Africa, enslaved in Ouidah, a coastal town in the Kingdom of Dahomey, the current day coastal country of Benin, and brought to America on what is believed to be the last slave ship, the Clotilda. Through their resilience, they not only survived the horrific Middle Passage, but the American Civil War, the reconstruction of Alabama, and the Jim Crow period, but they also fought to preserve their African memories, culture, and community over the generations. “For out of the bowels of slave ships they rose, and their descendants are, in the powerful words of Langston Hughes: Still Here.”After the Emancipation Proclamation, the newly freed Africans tried, but failed to return to their beloved homeland Africa. The story describes the group reuniting from various plantations, alongside American-born, formerly enslaved men, women and children. The Africans bought land and founded their own settlement, which came to be known as Africatown.The Founders appointed tribal leaders and governed Africatown according to customary African laws, spoke their own regional language, kept their own customs, used African irrigation and gardening techniques, and built their own social structures. The people of Africatown formed their own self-sufficient world.Marine archaeologists and researchers from Search, Inc. have confirmed the location of the schooner Clotilda-the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans from Benin, West Africa into the Mobile Bay. The search team discovered the schooner in a remote area of Alabama’s Mobile River.”

 

 

Roots of Transformation International

Roots of Transformation International (“Roots”), now an international non-governmental organization (NGO)

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Roots of Transformation International (“Roots”), founder, Carmen delRosaario, announced earlier today that Roots of Transformation International has been recognized as an international non-governmental organization (NGO).

She writes,

“Dear Friends,
I am happy to share with you that Roots of Transformation International (“Roots”) has been recognized as an international NGO, and it up and running! As many of you know, I have spent years reflecting and talking about creating Roots. This idea has been in the making for many years, and this idea is now a reality. 
Roots is committed to equipping people with the knowledge, wisdom, and tools needed to make decisions that will positively impact their futures- as individuals, for their families and for their nation. 
Roots is guided by knowledge and experience acquired from over 25 years working in different parts of the world, learning and sharing knowledge in diverse cultures and communities, working with men, women, and young people from all walks of life. The focus of Roots’ work is on how violence, including genocide, female genital mutilation, child soldier, sexual violence, racism and more affects the physical and mental health of so many people around the world. However, we do not stop there. The goal of Roots is to engage and empower individuals, families and communities to interrupt the cycles that perpetuate these forms of violence, starting with the self. 

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Roots of Transformation working with men for non-violence in the DRC

According to a popular quote from Einstein, “the world as we have created it is a process of our thinking, and it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Roots is creating sustainable change in behavior by renewing individual, community and group minds.  For example, in my experience working on prevention of female genital mutilation with the people who cut the girls (sometimes as early as 2 months old), some of them are telling me that “well, they also did it to me” or “I want my girl to get married”, reasons based on a mindset that they have not themselves fully understood or agree with . I call this the cycle of knowledge, information, and practices that repeat from generation to generation, and which can be interrupted- not by simply telling or asking people to stop, but through transformational processes that result in people wanting and creating a different outcome for themselves and their children.

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OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, Carmen del Rosario, Founder, Roots of Transformation International

About Roots of Transformation International

Roots of Transformation International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that facilitates organizational stability, change, and transformation by the renewal of individuals’ minds through individual and institutional capacity building. Roots works in collaboration and partnerships with a wide range of government, religious and civic organizations, as well as both national and international NGOs. These partnerships are the means to provide technical assistance and support to local communities by increasing their knowledge of themselves in a holistic manner; a tripartite definition of self as being (1) physical, (2) mental, and (3) spiritual. Roots is committed to equipping people with the knowledge, wisdom, and tools needed to make decisions that will positively impact their futures-as individuals, for their families and for their nation. 
At this point, Roots needs your help in order to continue this work. This Mother’s Day, please consider supporting Roots in our efforts to support hundreds of women and girls of all ages in their struggle to survive the consequences of female genital mutilation, and in our work to bring an end to this harmful practice.

There is no such thing as too small, even just $10 or $20 can go far in some communities.
With much appreciation,
Carmen” del Rosario
Donations can be made via PayPal

OCG encourages you to donate. No where else has the need for non-violence work and transforming the meaning of community taking a deep meaning in the lives of each citizen more needed.  Roots has been there fighting a culture of non-violence in communities struggling to survive the cultural remnants of war and genocide.

You can listen to Carmen delRosario sharing her passion and hopes for Roots (ROT) here:

http://bit.ly/ROOTSCarmendelRosario

03-29 Carmen

We celebrated Michael Phelps’s genetic differences. Why punish Caster Semenya for hers? – The Washington Post

“The court seems to buy into the concept that there are exactly two genders, and that there’s a bright line dividing them: If Caster Semenya has 4.99 nanomoles of testosterone per liter, the “integrity of female athletics” will be preserved, but at 5.01, it won’t.So, if you were forced to submit to a testosterone test, would you bet your livelihood and your identity on the hope that your measurements would turn up on the correct side of the line? If they didn’t, would you alter your identity based on this new data — or might you argue that your personhood was more than a number? Most women have never been forced to submit to such a test; most of us are quite sure we know who we are without one.How should athletes who are born with hormonal differences be allowed to participate in the world?

If a higher-than-normal level of testosterone makes someone excel in certain pursuits, do we then dictate that they have to stay away from those pursuits — that they can only do things they suck at?”

Source: We celebrated Michael Phelps’s genetic differences. Why punish Caster Semenya for hers? – The Washington Post

When Your President is a Global Cancer

Right now we need to admit that our nation is sick and rapidly declining. There is little doubt that this President is a parasite, a national cancer—and his Administration is rapidly sucking the goodness and the progress from us day by day, offense by offense, attack by attack, violation by violation.

Source: When Your President is a Global Cancer

South Africa marks Freedom Day, apartheid ended 25 years ago

“A quarter-century ago South Africa’s blacks finally were able to vote, bringing democracy to the country. But long after the brutal apartheid system of racial discrimination, speakers said many still struggle to find a decent life.“What is the meaning of freedom if many people in a township are unemployed?” asked David Makhura, premier of Gauteng province, which includes South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria.“What is the meaning of freedom if you don’t have a job? Or if you don’t have a house or land?” Makhura said the government of the African National Congress party is working to get title deeds for black South Africans: “The land must belong to our people!”All South Africans must respect the rights of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex citizens, the premier added, saying many in the LGBTI community still suffer violence and discrimination in their workplaces, in church and elsewhere.”

Source: South Africa marks Freedom Day, apartheid ended 25 years ago

THE TRICONTINENTAL

 

“This history helps us understand how the world has been structured and how imperialism continues to play a role in the reproduction of inequality and indignity.”

Source: THE TRICONTINENTAL