Many Stories: One World

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Editorial

During the course of human evolution, people have conceived various notions such as race, sexual orientation, nationality, gender and ethnicity to distinguish and alienate themselves from one another. These arbitrary divisions have deterred people from seeing individuals from other groups as their equals. For millennia, we as people believed that we only had a responsibility towards those who looked like us, thought like us, and spoke our same language. We were wrong.

Events such as the widespread genocides of the last century, the depletion of the Ozone layer, the fossil fuel crisis and the exponential growth of the AIDS epidemic have shown humankind that the invisible boundaries to which we adhere so ardently do not change the fact that we all share the same planet.  If positive change is the goal, then it is up to each individual to be the change she wants to see.

The articles in this publication were written by World Information Transfer’s Interns and address topics from  every corner of the globe. Yet, despite the different subjects, the articles convey one common theme: the health of Earth and its people are intricately linked; to forget one is to doom the other. 


--Kyle Waddy, New York University, World Information Transfer



HOPE

Although apartheid in South Africa has been dismantled for more than a decade, remnants of its vicious legacy remain a visible reality for residents of Paarl in the Western Cape. Racial segregation is no longer sanctioned by law, however the residents of Paarl continue to be divided along the lines of color and class. During the summer of 2005, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Paarl and work as a student teacher at a promising elementary school, Amstelhof Primary, and live with the principal, Claude de Jager, and his family. A vast majority of the students and members of the Amstelhof community are "Coloured" and many live in extremely impoverished conditions.


A map of regional map of Paarl on South Africa's Western Cape



As I began to teach Current Events and English Literacy to my 7th grade class, I was very intrigued by how motivated and enthusiastic the students were to learn, participate, and excel in their studies. The students wore uniforms, were very respectful, and eager to embrace me as if I were a longstanding member of their community. Though Afrikaans is their native language, the students were able to read and write English as well as 7th grade honor students that I have taught in the United States. However, after coming to the realization that many students in the classroom were without coats or shoes in the extremely frigid, winter weather, I understood the hardship and dire circumstances facing many of these extraordinary children.

As a result of the inherent poverty that plagues numerous Black and Coloured citizens of Paarl, many families do not own homes and live in unstable and unsanitary "squatter camp" communities comprised of makeshift shacks with tin roofs. In addition to South Africans, these sprawling communities also consist of displaced Africans seeking refuge from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and other impoverished regions of sub-Saharan Africa. These squatter camps are inundated with garbage, lack clean running water, sanitation, electricity, and other essential necessities required to survive. Considering that HIV and AIDS rates continue to increase in South Africa, individuals infected with the virus have lower chances of surviving because they lack adequate access to medical care. Furthermore, I explored a "squatter camp" adjacent to Amstelhof Primary and recognized many of my students residing there. I could not fathom how students subject to these dreadful and hazardous surroundings could remain so pleasant and eager to succeed academically.

Nevertheless, in the face of this adversity, I witnessed an unyielding determination from the humble school administration and faculty of Amstelhof Primary to make strides to uplift their community, albeit with limited resources. Prior to my departure from South Africa, a plethora of my 7th grade students made farewell cards and many bought me gifts to show their appreciation for my visit from America, in lieu of the fact that they had no means to afford these gifts. It is still hard for me to comprehend how a community with so very little would be willing to give one so much.

In 1990, as Nelson Mandela was released from prison in Paarl and marched in the streets with the community, he embodied the hope and optimism that is needed for achievement in Paarl. I have great hope for future of the disenfranchised members of Paarl. It is my belief that as the international community is made aware of the plight and perseverance of this special community - the unrelenting obstacles lingering from Apartheid will soon be eradicated.

-- Eric L. Adisa, Fordham University Graduate School of Education, Intern at World Information Transfer



Roma Health & Discrimination

Relegated to barren, infertile tracts of land blighting the outskirts of towns, forced to migrate constantly due to extreme poverty and refused even the most fundamental human rights, the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe bear an extensive and painful history of discrimination and abuse. Exile, execution and exclusion have characterized the centuries-long plight of the Roma people and culture (Gypsy being the more common and pejorative term). . Xenophobia and a fervent distrust of the Roma people have been little reduced by the passage of time. The effects of this acute discrimination are evident in the current situation of the Roma who are still excluded by and large from education, employment, housing opportunities, and, most damagingly, adequate healthcare

According to Karen Plafker of the Open Society Institute, the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe are "suffering the worst health conditions of the industrialized world together with some of the worse health problems associated with the third world." The poignant stigmatization and overall neglect of Roma issues, especially in the area of health, is evidenced clearly within the deteriorating walls of Romanian hospitals. One typical children's hospital in Oradea, Romania is supposed to shelter and protect abandoned Roma children, yet the nurses routinely refuse food, toys and care to Roma babies, whom they consider subhuman. Such an appalling instance of abuse illustrates the universal mistreatment of Roma within the healthcare system.


A group of Roma children




















Over 75 percent of the Roma people live in poverty and, in certain areas, the Roma population suffers from 100 percent unemployment. In addition to ancient cultural prejudices, access to healthcare is hampered by such discriminating practices such as compulsory document fees and insurance plans that cover only a maximum of three children (Plafker).




This type of discrimination at the hands of those sworn to the Hippocratic Oath reflects why the European Public Health Alliance announced that the treatment of the Roma people is "one of the most pressing political, social and human rights issues facing Europe." To improve healthcare and the general quality of life the key is quite simply to effectively eradicate and challenge preexisting misconceptions that have plagued the Roma for millennia.

--Tiffani Harcrow, Young Harris College, World Information Transfer, Intern

Sources:


Karen Plafker / "The Social Roots of Roma Health Conditions"/ Open Society Institute European Public Health Alliance/ "

Improving health status of Romany gypsies one of the most pressing rights issues facing Europe " / Public Health News/
 



Where did the recyclable trash go? Exporting Harm

Many governments are encouraging the recycling of computers to keep them out of landfills and prevent heavy metals from seeping into drinking water. However, breaking computers down into reusable raw materials is labor intensive and expensive. Countries like China or India's role as dumping grounds for the world's unwanted gadgets is a testament to the drastic efforts of wealthier countries to protect their own environments. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered in a survey in California that the cost of dismantling and reusing materials in one computer monitor in the United States is about 10 times higher than the cost of shipping it to China. That explains why the streets of some impoverished towns in China are currently buried under mounds of outdated computers.



According to recent reports by the Chinese state-controlled Guangdong Radio and the Beijing Youth newspaper, in certain in towns along China's coast as well as in India and Pakistan, adults and children work for about $1.20 (USD) a day in unregulated and unsafe conditions; earning their livelihoods by scavenging metals, glass and plastic from the dumps. The technological garbage is poisoning the water and soil, which causes serious health problems. As rivers and soils absorb a mounting influx of carcinogens and other toxins, people are suffering high incidences of birth defects, infant mortality, tuberculosis and blood diseases, as well as particularly severe respiratory problems. "It's a little bit dirty, but okay," said Wang Guangde, 27, a farmer from Sichuan, as he sat on the floor of a shed, taking apart printer drums. The workers acknowledge the cuts on their fingers -which cause infections that do not heal. Stubborn, hacking coughs testify to the poorly ventilated places in which they breathe noxious fumes. Their main objective is monetary compensation. Everyone must do their part

Protect our environment, and also protect the others, do not shift the problem to someone else. Pick the responsible recyclers that do not export their e-waste! The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition published a list of responsible recycler locations and contact information that do not export the e-waste.

-- Judy SIN, DePaul University, World Information Transfer, Intern

Sources:

http://www.svtc.org/cleancc/recycle/pledge_signers.htm.

Peter S. Goodman, China Serves As Dump Site For Computers, Washington Post, February 2003; available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A56653-2003Feb24



Siberia's Environmental Lesson to the World

Southern Siberia is home to one of the most beautiful, pristine natural wonders. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world as well as the largest supply of freshwater amounting to one quarter of the world's supply. Surrounded by mountains and valleys this lake is part of a majestic landscape. Though constantly threatened by development, the lake has been protected due to the cultural attachment that citizens feel for their lake.

Undisturbed evolution has been the primary factor in the development of this unique ecosystem. A highly evolved crayfish known as epishura cleans Baikal's water. This organism eats the dirt thus maintaining the water's ever clean and clear state. Also, Baikal is home to the only fresh water seal known as the Nerpa. These mammals have been protected by the people; though the coats and fat are quite valuable.

During winter, the cleanliness of the water and the harshness of the Siberian cold cause the lake to freeze seven meters deep. People, cars, trucks and hydrofloats may be seen traveling along the ice. A highway connects the mainland with the island Olkhon, which cannot be reached by car during the summer. The lake begins to freeze in the north in October, subsequently thawing six months later in the South in April.

Plans to build a paper mill plant in the north of the lake caused widespread public outrage. Even though the mill was eventually built, it continues to be the target of public discontent. Discussion and debate on the effects to the lake have been highly emotional and poignant. Thankfully, other projects aimed to protect Baikal have been more successful. Citizens and non-governmental organizations around Baikal fought relentlessly to defeat several pipeline proposals. The proposals would have lead to the construction of pipelines that would have run from Southern Siberia to China and threatened the Baikal environment.

Cultural attachment to the beauty and natural wonder of this lake has been a major cause for its continuing health. Because citizens hold such pride in their environment, they continue to attempt to protect it from undue harm. Here we see a community united by environmentalism. Siberia then may offer an example to the world: feeling an individual attachment may not be enough to protect natural surroundings; rather development of a collective community attachment is a stronger and more formidable tool in the fight to protect the environment.

--Luis Lizarazo, Lehigh University, World Information Transfer



Second Blush

Most people have heard the adage "You are what you eat." This makes sense since the food you eat eventually integrates itself into your body's makeup. But what about the things you put on your body? The cosmetics industry has been successful in selling the importance of outer beauty, so people around the world try to perfect their appearance with blush, whitening toothpaste, moisturizer, hair dye, mascara, powders, among others. Yet few people actually stop to consider the effects of makeup. The skin is the bodies' largest and most vulnerable organ, and while it protects the body it also absorbs substances such as cosmetics. You wouldn't eat your makeup - so it is really safe to wear it?

The simplest way to understand the safety of makeup is to know the ingredients. Most individuals would be rather shocked to discover the true composition of their cosmetic products. Mica is a thinly layered mineral whose crystals can be crushed to add shine to blush. And "pearl essence" is a shimmering substance made from fish scales (primarily herring) and used in expensive lipsticks. Even stranger, the crushed bodies of the cochineal insect are used to make the red dye carmine which is found in many eyeshadows and even some food products.

But does the oddity of these ingredients make them unsafe? Ingredients like carmine and pearl essence are organic in origin, so unless you have an allergy to herring or cochineal insects, these ingredients aren't harmful. Synthetic ingredients are a different story. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel oversees cosmetic product ingredients. By reviewing scientific research and studies, the CIR publishes ingredient safety information and guidelines. Some examples of ingredients defined by the CIR as "unsafe" or "safe with qualifications" include chloroacetamide (an immune system toxin), butyl methacrylate (which causes skin sensitization) and p-hydroxyanisole (which causes skin depigmentation).

These ingredients are not used in makeup, right? Wrong. Chloroacetamide is found in Uhaircare products; butyl methacrylate is used in Pond's Clear Solutions Overnight Blemish Reducers; and p-hydroxyanisole is used in Scarguard Lightener. The lack of safety labels, combined with vague ingredient listings, make it difficult for the customer to really know what she or he is buying.

Perhaps the disparity between what is safe and what is actually found in personal products can be traced to the way the cosmetics industry is governed. While officially the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can take action against companies that use unsafe products, it does not conduct pre-market safety checks of cosmetic ingredients. Thus the FDA has the power to recall cosmetics, but lacks the knowledge to prevent the release of unsafe products. Usually it takes an adverse-events report - meaning someone becomes ill or has a bad reaction to a product - for the FDA to take action. Surprisingly, only 11% of personal care product ingredients have been evaluated for safety.

Avoiding the risk of cosmetics can be tricky. There are several ways to avoid the toxins and carcinogens found in products. One way is to try and create your own cosmetics. Researching natural recipes for moisturizers, shampoos, soaps, and lipsticks can help save your skin. A good guideline: if you can eat it, you can wear it. A second method is to know the effects of cosmetic ingredients. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) created a new "Skin Deep" study to help calculate the risk of over 7,500 cosmetic products. This is an easy way to research both dangerous ingredients, and safe alternatives. Read labels. If you can't pronounce the ingredient names, don't take their safety for granted.

--Rebecca Green, Columbia University, World Inormation Transfer Intern

Sources:

Skin Deep report: http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php

Cosmetic Ingredient Review: http://www.cir-safety.org/findings.shtml

Food and Drug Administration Cosmetics: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-toc.html

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mica

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal



A Short Guide for Lifetime Protection

How do you imagine yourself 10 years from now? How about in 15? What do you think your will be the state of your health? Have you ever envisioned waking up with a fatal cancer and numerous scars? What if you were unable to recognize your once gorgeous body since your skin had acquired a leathery appearance, with dry, wrinkled patches? If you do not want this to happen to you, then read this article and heed its warning.

Most people are familiar with the harms of UVA and UVB rays, however, few people take their potentially hazardous effects seriously. Sun exposure causes more than 90% of skin cancers. In 2006, 1 in 60 Americans is at risk of developing invasive melanoma, one of the most harmful skin cancers. Leading researchers believe this rate will increase to 1 in 50 Americans in 2010. Many people think having a tan is beneficial to t their appearance, however, they should also be aware of the potentially disastrous effects.

Skin cancer is caused when UVA and UVB rays hit the epidermis, and begin breaking down the DNA cells. Your body, using its protective system, creates more melanin, thus the skin darkens. The immune system kicks in destroying damaged cells and replaces them with healthy ones. However; if you continue to tan, the repair system slows, and damaged cells can mutate and become cancerous within 5 years. The conclusion here is that tanning is the result of damaged DNA, which can very easily turn into cancer. Just five skin burns may boost skin cancer odds. Also, those readers who have more than 50 moles, numerous freckles, or have family history are in greater danger than the rest of the population.

How can you protect yourself?


1. Always wear a sun block that protects from BOTH UVA and UVB rays.
2. Use a sun block with SPF 15 at the very least. Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a lengthy list of these. You can find them at .
3. Cover yourself as much as possible.
4. Try to avoid direct sun contact between 10 AM and 4 PM.
5. Get familiar with your body and check yourself. Be aware of moles wider than a pencil eraser, or ones that have any irregularities.
6. Seek the shade, but still apply sun block: approximately one ounce every two hours.
7. Indoor tanning CAN be hazardous too: 20 minutes at a saloon are equivalent to 3 hours outdoors.
8. Indoor tanning also increases skin cancer by 50%.


Studies have found that tanning, whether indoors or outdoors may make one feel relaxed, or simply better. This can be linked to addiction to certain hormones released during the tanning process; however more studies are underway to confirm this. The truth is that when most people go to the beach, or to a salon, they do not think of the harm they are causing their bodies. Additionally, most people are of the mentality that "it couldn't happen to me". In reality, it can happen to anyone; it can happen to you and me too! And for those for whom a tan is a must, using sunless tanning lotions can provide the desired results without the risk. Skin cancer can be prevented; the question isare we ready to make it happen?

--Lindita Bojdani, Rutgers University, World Information Transfer




Hybrid Cars

With gas prices higher than ever and constant discussion of oil as a nonrenewable resource and source of dependency, hybrid vehicles and alternative sources of energy are on everyone's mind. From wind power to ethanol, developing new sources of energy is a primary concern of consumers as people continue to consume beyond their means. Especially in the United States where 5% of the world's population consumes 25% of the world's energy. Also, with the development of rising giants like China and India, the question of clean energy and how they can develop without contributing to global warming and O-zone depletion is now a global issue.

The widespread utilization of hybrid cars and other clean burning vehicles seems like a partial solution to the problem. With consumers being more aware of not only their rising gas bills, but also environmental concerns, hybrid cars and other fuel-efficient vehicles look like a smart investment. Beyond paying less for gas, other advantages include being able to drive in the car pool lane and federal tax credits. And with cars in every style and price range, there are no longer limits to models offered as more companies enter the formerly limited market of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. In addition, more efficient hybrids are continually being developed.

Whether consumers choose to purchase these vehicles to save money or help the environment, they are effectively doing both. Greenhouse gases that cause global warming are byproducts of automobile exhaust. Hybrid cars and alternative fuel vehicles cause less pollution, which in addition to having a positive effect on the environment, also carries positive long-term health benefits especially in highly populated urban areas. Big cities are taking steps to clean up public transportation, such as New York. Additionally, private companies are beginning to convert to natural gas powered vehicles.

The hybrid taxi tour commenced in Chicago on June 8th. At this event the Ford Motor Company launched a nationwide tour of gas-electric taxis that are environmentally friendly. It continued from Chicago to eight other U.S. cities, and joins San Francisco and New York which already have hybrid taxi fleets in use. The Escape Hybrid, the featured vehicle of the tour, meets California's Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standard, the cleanest emissions possible for a vehicle requiring fossil fuel.

Certain states have lead the way in setting more stringent standards for emissions. The California Air Resources Board has set up classifications for their zero emissions program, and has certified that most hybrids meet the Advanced Technology- Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standard. Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles (PZEV) offer another alternative which are vehicles that run on gasoline, but have been modified with pollution preventative technology reducing evaporative emissions (those which cause greenhouse gases) to zero. Other states have now adopted this program, including: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont. Flex fuel vehicles, those that can run on ethanol or gasoline, or a mix of the two, and vehicles that run on natural gas are also available on the market offering other alternatives.

In addition to investing in hybrid fleets, there are other actions that can be taken by cities to actively encourage environmental friendly activities. Preference to companies in city contracts or incentives such as tax credits could be offered to those that use cleaner technology or clean burning vehicles. Many options now exist as an alternative to oil, they just need to be implemented by those ready to make the commitment.

--Justine Freisleben, Franklin and Marshall College, World Information Transfer, Intern



Celebrity Influence:
The power celebrities and musicians have in raising awareness to critical issues


Through my World Information Transfer internship, I had the pleasure of attending an evening event at the United Nations that commemorated the 25th year of the presence of the HIV/AIDS virus in our world. This particular event occurred towards the end of the United Nations international HIV/AIDS conference. After having witnessed the impact of the eloquent speeches and performances from actors and musicians featured at the event, I realized how influential celebrities can be in raising awareness of a cause. One of the featured actors of the night, Richard Gere, delivered a very personal and moving speech on the subject. I personally felt that Haitian singer Wyclef Jean's performance got the most attention and reaction; his songs were not only inspirational but were moving enough to get the entire crowd involved as they danced and sang along.

Through his powerful words and inspirational lyrics, Wyclef gets his message to a huge audience. In addition to being a passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, he established the Yele Haiti organization in his home country. Yele Haiti, a non-governmental association, uses a combination of music and active infrastructure development to help create many small-scale projects that contribute to Haiti's long term goals of improved education, healthcare, and environmental cleanliness.

Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, relies on the assistance of numerous organizations to help it realize its goals for a better future. UNICEF has created many programs for Haiti to help address the severe problems children face in the areas of education, health, and protection. Unfortunately, there are many instances where UNICEF, the Red Cross, and other NGO's are not effective at providing assistance because Haitian slums such as Cité Soleil, Bel Air and Martissant are so dangerous that their personnel are afraid to enter. Yele Haiti compensates for this problem by utilizing the popularity of Wyclef and other native Haitian performers to enter these dangerous areas safely to distribute food and supplies to the most destitute families.

In the United States and other industrialized countries, actors, musicians, and other celebrities have the ability to attract a great deal of attention that less well-known figures would never be able to receive; it is in the hands of these select few to decide how they want to utilize this great power. Many celebrities may just attract the attention of their fans and the media, but some of these famous figures have decided to use their unique ability to advocate the need for help and support of critical international issues. Some of the most notable celebrity advocates are the goodwill ambassadors for UNICEF, which include famous figures from all over the world. These goodwill ambassadors, and other celebrity advocates, provide many organizations and groups with the publicity they desperately need to fulfill their goals. In addition, they provide information about certain situations that the general public might not have ever learned of. At this point, their work is done and it is up to us to come together and help in any way we can towards the critical situations to which they open our eyes.

--Will Edison, Young Harris College, World Information Transfer Intern

Sources:
 
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ha.html

http://www.unicef.org/people/people_ambassadors.html

http://www.yele.org/index.html



The World Cup and the Environment


This summer millions of people, from all over the world, will pack up their bags and leave their lives at home to go support their team, and country, in the FIFA World Cup. The World Cup takes place every four years, and this year Germany is home to the tournament. For many people, though few Americans, the World Cup, and their country's performance, is a matter of life and death, as a few players, after poor performances, have been killed by enraged fans. Less dangerous, though sill hazardous, unruly fans often throw objects at opposing teams, notably the United States, where bags of urine and animals' blood has been thrown at them. However, players are not the only entities threatened by the World Cup. The environment also takes a toll during events which draw so many people. The leaders of FIFA and UNEP have realized that the environment takes a hit when such large crowds come to such a small area, and they have decided to take action in protecting the environment.


Claudo Reyna, Team USA midfielder in the World Cup against Italy

Eric Falt, the Director of the UNEP Division of Commerce and Public Information stated, "Environmental consideration will take centre stage in this competition for the very first time, with clear and measurable objectives, and we hope that it will leave a lasting legacy." One of the measures FIFA has taken into account, in order to improve the environment, is allowing match ticket holders to use their tickets to ride public transportation for free. Obviously, this will cut down on the large amounts of exhaust from large numbers of cars. The stadiums constructed and renovated for the World Cup have also been constructed to be more economically efficient, as they will use 20 percent less energy than they would have years ago. Rain water will also be collected, stored, and used to water fields. FIFA officials have allowed people to purchase the "Cup of the Cup" which will be able to be reused, therefore, eliminating the waste of numerous paper and plastic cups. Specially trained people will also hand out brochures which promote environmental literacy and ways which individual people can help out in their surroundings. One interesting measure FIFA has decided to implement involves waterless urinals.


Bryant Denny Stadium, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

After realizing that certain measures can be taken to make sporting events, such as the World Cup, more environmentally friendly, one might wonder how American events can be amended to help the environment. College football is an event much like the World Cup, as large amounts of passionate fans, particularly in the SEC, travel long distances to support their teams. Seven universities in the SEC including: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina all drew over 500,000 total fans to their home games in 2005. The total attendance for all twelve SEC teams' home games was 5,593,699. These teams will likely have around the same numbers in the years to come, which means policies to help the environment at one conference, in one sport, would do more than policies for the World Cup. However, it will be more difficult to have such policies accepted in the United States, as opposed to the World Cup, because, unlike the World Cup, very few events draw people from so many areas of the world, where the entire planet has the option to unite under soccer and the environment. Hopefully, athletic organizations in the United States will take heed of the progress from the World Cup and do their part to make athletic events better for the environment, which in turn, will help all people.

--John Franklin, The University of Georgia, World Information Transfer Intern


Sources:

"Green goal kicks off", UNEP Press Release. UNEP.com. . 17 May, 2006.

"U.S. national team prepared for the hate", Richard Drehs. ESPN.com. . 7 June, 2006.

"2005 National College Football Attendance". NCAA.org. .




Film Reviews:

"God Sleeps in Rwanda" & "Silent Genocide

Genocide, rape, torture, AIDS, political empowerment, personal independence, and hope-the two short documentaries "God Sleeps In Rwanda" and "Silent Genocide" are powerful and evocative in their honest and straightforward portrayal of humanity's most heinous crimes and the shattered lives left in their wake. The documentaries filmed in Africa after the 1994 Rwandan genocide and throughout other areas of the continent follow the lives of dozens of women who suffered shocking and ruthless tortures and humiliation as a result of a male-centric and violent culture. The Academy Award nominated short documentary "God Sleeps In Rwanda" narrated by Rosario Dawson interviews women ravaged by HIV/AIDS as a result of rape and infected partners. The film is most interesting however, in its focus on the complete upheaval of Rwandan culture once the genocide ended and almost 70 percent of the population was left female-the women of Rwanda were given an unprecedented opportunity for empowerment.

With a bitter and less redemptive spirit, empowerment is a distant realization to the women featured in "Silent Genocide" who recount their memories of rape as a tool of war. Crippling the symbol of life, the soul of the society with its long-term effects of physical and psychological trauma, depression, unwanted pregnancies, and the risk of HIV/AIDS, the perfect weapon is most malicious in its ability to silence its victims. Many women spoke of their fear of stigmatization, humiliation and the need to keep quiet. There is an urgent need however, for a voice to be given to these atrocities that continue to happen every day throughout the world, and "God Sleeps In Rwanda" and "Silent Genocide" are touching and effective advocates for the powerful and resilient women of Africa.

--Tiffany Harcow, Young Harris College, World Information Intern


Contributors


From right to left: Front row: Judy Ky Sin, Kyle Waddy, Rebecca Green, Tiffany Harcow. Second row: Luis Lizarazo, Justine Freisleben, John Franklin, Will Edison. (Not pictured Eric L. Adisa and Lindita Bojdani)