Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript.
Jenkins' view of the 'recovery' gives me hope, the editorial cartoon is now about the only part of the Globe I can look at without laughing.
something did so get my attention this week which gave me real hope, FRADES, it's a community cooperative, the acronym comes from 'Fonds de Reseaux d'Aide pour le Developpement Economique et Social,' or Fund for Social and Economic Development Resources, operating an orphanage for 20 or so children in Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, a young Pentecostal pastor named Gerald Bataille or Battiye seems to be the main man, or maybe they are father & son, I can't tell ... started in microloans but ready to switch to orphans and who trust one another, so I have asked them, "How can I help you?" and maybe I will be permitted,
two remarkable young women with uncertain futures, Michaelle Point du Jour, a thirteen year-old who appears to be running the minute-to-minute at the orphanage, and Daphne Joseph a few years older who maybe used to be doing about the same ... here is Pastor Battiye and Croix-de-Bouquets on YouTube, and the NYT where I began, and here are a few links:
FRADES - Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti,
Gerald Bataille Ministries (not sure if this is connected),
Ushahidi March 26: Aid Appeal,
Ushahidi March 29: 17 children need food and essentials,
... ahh, nothing is simple, it probably helps to understand how closely-coupled are Haiti & America for good or ill, my view is still murky, FRADES is original in Croix-des-Bouquets, maybe coming out of the university in Port-au-Prince, not sure what a coalition of liberals & Pentecostals might look like? and an apparently loose network of friends in America who come and go to Haiti, nothing is simple and the issues are delicate and fraught with correctitude,
when you say "How can I help you?" many people jump straightaway to money, but not everyone - the woman in Croix-des-Bouquets, Rachelle Elien, thinks about food & clothing & a place for the children to live, of course these things may involve money too, I am having to remember how to speak French, though I think Haitian French is quite different ... creole, yeah, God bless 'em for having already helped me :-)
but I have pissed 'em off somehow you know, I have a way of always doing that ... still and all, hope is good even for a few days, and if hope goes like everything else that's good too I guess, easy come easy go (as someone who used to be a friend of mine said about miscarriage).
Globe headlines like to have it both ways, what do you call this? pandering? but in this case pandering, not to the Lowest Common Denominator but to any and every and all denominators:
'Climategate' probe mostly vindicates scientistsNoxious Weeds: something like this may have been why she dropped her master's program in biology :-) we have a host of well-educated bureaucrats & scientists & technicians & support staff, armed with the latest & best in GIS and mapping tools trying to eradicate noxious weeds, they have to know it is entirely futile don't they? unless they decide to deploy herbicides or other biological 'agents,' at which point it becomes both futile and dangerous ... and what do people at jobs like this do after work? I guess they spend their money and vote for the government who pays 'em ... "Dance with who brung ya!"
(Inquiry chides scientists for failing to share data, but says no evidence of dishonesty after more than 1,000 e-mails posted to Internet last year)
Dutch agency admits error in UN climate report
(But review says mistakes didn’t affect fundamental conclusions)
Climategate shows the need to raise the bar on transparency
(Those dealing with issues of great public interest and consequence, even if they are not public officials, have a duty to be transparent and accountable in their work)
do I have to spell it out?
there was a problem with spruce bud worm in Newfoundland and in the 60s sometime they brought in shrews to deal with it, and for a few years the shrews took over the forests like a moving furry rug (Harold Ryan used to say that God bless 'im), and the story goes that the government then decided to bring in snakes to eat the shrews ... but, the Patron Saint there being Paddy and all, they got talked out of it ... after a while the shrews were not so many, spruce bud worm is still there, whatever ... even the Zebra Mussels seem to have established some kind of balance, on their own I assume or at least despite any 'best efforts' that were directed their way, that and copper plates on the water intakes down the street,
a movie, Lantana, by the same guy who made Bliss (the story of Harry Joy & Honey Barbara) which I came at having read Peter Carey's novel ... sometime in the early/mid 80s ... I had an uncle, my namesake even, who, like Harry Joy, died twice, so the story stuck pretty good ... and at the end of Lantana is Celia Cruz singing a saccharine salsa tune, Te Busco:
Al cielo una mirada largamaybe later I will translate this ... maybe not ...
buscando un poco de mi vida.
Mis estrellas no responden
para alumbrarme hacia tu risa.
Olas que esfuman de mis ojos
a una legin de tus recuerdos.
Me roban formas de tu rostro
dejando arena en el silencio.
Te busco perdida entre sueos
el ruido de la gente me envuelven en un velo.
Te busco volando en el cielo
el viento te ha llevado como un pauelo viejo.
Y no hago ms que rebuscar
en lugares tan extraos
que no puedo dar contigo.
En cualquier huella te persigo
en una sombra te dibujo
huellas y sombras que se pierden (en la soledad)
la suerte no vino conmigo.
Te busco perdida entre sueos
el ruido de la gente me envuelven en un velo.
Te busco volando en el cielo
el viento te ha llevado como un pauelo viejo.
Y no hago ms que rebuscar
en lugares tan extraos
que no puedo dar contigo.
Lantana brush figures in Bliss as well ... interesting flowers, new to me ... lovely ... and I have always loved both Purple Loosestrife & Scotch Broom, coming across these flowers unexpectedly is truely a blessing to the eyes:
in the 70s I lived for a while with some hippies in the bushes by a riverbank on an indian reservation, we made it into the local press a few times, they called us 'shrubbies' but the only ructions were not with the red-necks but with the band council, and over land tenure and welfare rolls, bureaucratic pissing matches not cultural differences, Ray Lawrence's images of the Lantana brush reminded me.
and then there are the bureaucrats and architects and engineers spending their time building suicide fences on bridges:
they have to know that this will not have any effect on suicide beyond where it takes place don't they? so what they are doing amounts to avoiding public embarrassment, in this case 6 million dollars worth of avoidance, here's the study: A suicide barrier on a bridge and its impact on suicide rates in Toronto: a natural experiment (only thing worse than pdf is Scribd - ugh!)
thank goodness for André Dahmer:
Comics For The 10s:
Healthy was selling food that caused high blood pressure and heart attack.
Life was a motorcycle that took lives.
The logo of the Friends of Nature oil company used two shades of green.
The Most Expensive Lecture In The World:
Therapy for example. Everyone pays to cry and tell a few little secrets.
But nobody tells all the little secrets. The majority prefer to cry and tell lies.
Today we will learn to tell lies without crying.
(it's 'and tell lies,' not 'or tell lies' doh!?)
What do you want to be in the future? The ethical guy who dies pissing himself in the city shelter?
Or the winner who committed a few little sins to have his own motorboat?
Even so, a monster with a motorboat.
Crude Awakening, a photo essay by Jane Fulton Alt, she says:
"Living on the shores of Lake Michigan, I am acutely aware of the disastrous toll the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has taken on all forms of life, especially as our beaches opened to the 2010 swimming season. This environmental, social and economic catastrophe highlights a much larger problem that has inflicted untold suffering as we exploit the earth's resources worldwide.and a version on YouTube by Valerie Alt, her sister I guess ... I'm not sure how they simulated the crude oil on the people's bodies for the photographs, molasses maybe, something easy to wash off, I might have put a bit more thought into applying this makeup because the more closely you look the more the imagined narrative breaks down - in most cases I cannot imagine how they came to be in the state in which they were photographed except to imagine someone applying makeup, which undermines the power of the images, that said, it is pretty powerful stuff! and another of her photo essays, so eloquent, on Surviving Breast Cancer is so powerful as to be difficult to look at,
We are all responsible for leading lives that create demand for unsustainable energy.
We are also all responsible for the solution and we must work together to protect the balance of life."
someone who reads this blog carefully might ask why I have not reproduced any of her photographs here? I will leave that one with you.
they chased this Raoul Moat guy all over the place, if he was so bad, how come they only managed to arrest his friends (five of them yet!) and not him?, he had friends? ahh, but you see he was a Geordie - I have worked with some of them, they may look rough and tough as fuck but I know from experience that they do look out for their mates, and so, you know, their mates look out for them, if someone was watching my back I could wish he was a Geordie,
sounds to me like a re-run of Dudley Doright and the RCMP in Spiritwood chasing Curt Dagenais ... they seem to end up chased into corners, Darth Feminator seems to be involved ... only after he blew his head off did they reveal his middle name - Raoul Thomas Moat, why is that do you think? and in the last hours both his brother Angus & his uncle Charlie Alexander volunteered to talk him out "because we loved him" but the police didn't want it, why is that do you think?
BC special prosecutor Richard Peck has recommended that the case of the four RCMP who tasered, (killed, murdered, whatever) Robert Dziekanski be reopened, they will let the big fish go of course, do you want a list? it has gotten so long: William Elliott, Bill Sweeney, Peter van Loan, Al Macintyre, Wayne Rideout, Wally Oppal, Geoff Plant, Mike de Jong, Stan Lowe, Tim Shields, Pierre Lemaitre, Brad Fawcett, Nycki Basra, Paul Hoivik, Gregg Gillis, Peter Thiessen, Jennifer Pound, John Ward, Dale Carr, a-and then the four killers - Bill Bentley, Kwesi Millington, Benjamin Monty Robinson, Gerry Rundel, the agonizingly slow pace of these investigations is intentional too, fill Richard Peck's pockets with money and hope the great unwashed forgets ...
a-and finally, a word on Dignity: there was an excellent video of Bob singing Dignity on YouTube with his excellent drummer Winston Watson, but it is gone thanks to the anal retentives at Sony, oh well, I guess you had to be there ...
I was out last week to a talk by Peter Victor as I mentioned in the last post, and afterwards I was chatting to a couple of guys about it all, and we hit on how much our urban lifestyles compromise dignity, because so many decisions are made for us by bureaucrats & corporations - you live in an apartment and do not want to use Drano, you participate in the city recycling program but it does not accept all plastics and your particular apartment doesn't do the Green Box compostable part since they use the Green Box to hold salt for icy sidewalks, you can't have a bicycle because there is nowhere to keep it securely ... if this sounds petty & picayune, well ... it is.
I wish I were not so strange, I wish I could lose this mind that has become so incomprehensible, not only to me but apparently to anyone and everyone, or maybe I just wish I had been clever enough to put some away when I was earning the big bucks instead of giving it away.
"... on a rollin' river in a jerkin' boat."
and there's no end to it ...
this is Paul McAuley, a 'terrorista blanco / white terrorist' working with the De La Salle Brothers in Peru speaking in June 2009, here's the story in Português, and in English, he is not a priest but a 'lay brother' - a distinction I don't like to have to make, but there you go ... och! I am out of words ...
AI AI AI! the fucking Canadian Chamber of Commerce is trying to put down Bill C-311 too! where is our Madame Defarge? I hope she is knitting her heart out ... here it is in the Montreal Gazette ... here's a list of the Senators, all 105 of 'em more-or-less:
Raynell Andreychuk <email@example.com>, W. David Angus <firstname.lastname@example.org>, George Baker <email@example.com>, Tommy Banks <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu <email@example.com>, David Braley c/o Marjory LeBreton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Patrick Brazeau <email@example.com>, Bert Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Catherine S. Callbeck <email@example.com>, Larry W. Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Claude Carignan <email@example.com>, Sharon Carstairs <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Andrée Champagne <email@example.com>, Maria Chaput <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ethel M. Cochrane <email@example.com>, Gerald J. Comeau <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Anne C. Cools <email@example.com>, Jane Cordy <firstname.lastname@example.org>, James S. Cowan <email@example.com>, Roméo Dallaire <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Dennis Dawson <email@example.com>, Joseph A. Day <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pierre de Bané <email@example.com>, Jacques Demers <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Consiglio Di Nino <email@example.com>, Fred Dickson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Percy E. Downe <email@example.com>, Michael Duffy <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lillian Eva Dyck <email@example.com>, Nicole Eaton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Art Eggleton <email@example.com>, Joyce Fairbairn <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Doug Finley <email@example.com>, Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Francis Fox <email@example.com>, Joan Fraser <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Linda Frum <email@example.com>, George Furey <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Irving Gerstein c/o Marjory LeBreton <email@example.com>, Stephen Greene <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mac Harb <email@example.com>, Céline Hervieux-Payette <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Leo Housakos <email@example.com>, Elizabeth Hubley <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mobina S.B. Jaffer <email@example.com>, Janis G. Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Serge Joyal <email@example.com>, Colin Kenny <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Noël A. Kinsella <email@example.com>, Vim Kochhar <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Daniel Lang <email@example.com>, Jean Lapointe <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Raymond Lavigne <email@example.com>, Marjory LeBreton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Rose-Marie Losier-Cool <email@example.com>, Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Michael L. MacDonald c/o Marjory LeBreton <email@example.com>, Frank W. Mahovlich <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Fabian Manning <email@example.com>, Beth Marshall <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Yonah Martin <email@example.com>, Paul J. Massicotte <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Elaine McCoy <email@example.com>, Michael A. Meighen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Terry M. Mercer <email@example.com>, Pana Merchant <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Grant Mitchell <email@example.com>, Percy Mockler <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Wilfred P. Moore <email@example.com>, Jim Munson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lowell Murray <email@example.com>, Nancy Ruth <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Richard Neufeld <email@example.com>, Pierre Claude Nolin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie <email@example.com>, Donald H. Oliver <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Dennis Glen Patterson <email@example.com>, Lucie Pépin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Robert W. Peterson <email@example.com>, Donald Neil Plett <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Rose-May Poirier <email@example.com>, Marie-P. Poulin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Vivienne Poy <email@example.com>, Nancy Greene Raine <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pierrette Ringuette <email@example.com>, Michel Rivard <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jean-Claude Rivest <email@example.com>, Fernand Robichaud c/o James S. Cowan <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bill Rompkey <email@example.com>, Robert William Runciman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Hugh Segal <email@example.com>, Judith Seidman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Nick G. Sibbeston <email@example.com>, David P. Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Gerry St. Germain <email@example.com>, Carolyn Stewart Olsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Peter A. Stollery <email@example.com>, Terry Stratton <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Claudette Tardif <email@example.com>, David Tkachuk <firstname.lastname@example.org>, John D. Wallace <email@example.com>, Pamela Wallin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Charlie Watt <email@example.com>, Rod A. A. Zimmer <firstname.lastname@example.org>cut&paste it into your email (this is formatted for Gmail) and send them a message!
that's really it this time, the whole shebang society is sooo F***ED! F#$%ED! FUCKED!
ok ... be well ... och, lame! ok then, be as well as you can be ... I'm sorry.
1. Haitian Orphans Have Little but One Another, Deborah Sontag, July 5 2010.
2. Suicide barrier on Bloor Viaduct worked, but jumpers went elsewhere: study, Anna Mehler Paperny, July 6 2010.
3. More Dziekanski questions, July 2 2010.
4-1. Peru expulsa padre defensor dos índios e da Amazônia, 09/07/2010.
4-2. British activist in Peru wins right to stay, BBC, 7 July 2010.
5. Climate-change bill called threat, Mike de Souza, July 9 2010.
Haitian Orphans Have Little but One Another, Deborah Sontag, July 5 2010.
CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti — More than five months after the earthquake that killed her single mother, Daphne Joseph, 14, lost her bearings a second time when she was forced to leave the makeshift orphanage where she had felt at home.
Immediately after the earthquake, she watched with horror as her mother’s mangled body was carted away in a wheelbarrow from a shattered marketplace. Dropped at the doorstep of a community aid group, she contemplated suicide.
Yet within a couple of months, displaying a resilience that many in this shattered country exhibited, Daphne righted herself. She found an improvised family in a ragtag group of fellow earthquake orphans and the adults who nurtured them. Skipping cheerily to greet a visitor in March, she announced, “I’m so much better!”
In mid-June, however, Daphne was claimed by a relative who is not really a relative — the 23-year-old common-law wife of her half brother’s father — and moved into a squalid tent city. It made her feel unmoored once again. Where did she belong? she wondered.
What made her questioning especially poignant was that the makeshift, open-air orphanage where she longs to return is an unsteady anchor. The community aid group that runs the place — which is little more than a pair of tents — is caring, but lacks expertise and resources. And neither the Haitian government nor international organizations here have helped it in a lasting way.
Like Daphne, the orphanage faces an uncertain future, with an eviction looming.
“We don’t really know what to do next,” said the Rev. Gerald Bataille, the primary supervisor of the children. “Somehow, the whole world wants to help Haiti, but we feel like we’re on our own.”
The lives of Daphne and 14 younger children hang in the balance, although conditions at the makeshift orphanage are far from ideal.
On a recent Sunday, the newest arrivals, 11-month-old twin girls named Magda and Magdaline Charles, lay limp and entwined on a urine-soaked rug under a mango tree. They were covered with flies.
“They arrived naked and dehydrated,” Pastor Bataille said. “Their mother said, ‘If you leave them with me, they’re going to die.’ So although we’re not equipped for babies, we took them.”
Pastor Bataille’s organization, known by the acronym Frades, is a grass-roots collective that specializes in microloans. Although it was not a child-care organization before the earthquake, it assumed responsibility for local children who were orphaned or abandoned afterward, about 26 of them at first.
With the help of the mayor’s office, Frades board members found a place to keep the children: an idle construction site where a foundation had been laid for a nightclub that never materialized. Save the Children provided two large tents, but nothing to furnish them.
A Frades board member, through a personal connection, got a two-month supply of water and basic food from Ceci, a Canadian group. Readers of a January article in The New York Times about Daphne and the other children contributed about $1,000 in cash and Medika Mamba, a nutritionally fortified peanut butter, and they formed a support group.
But Frades needed more: mattresses, latrines, showers, medical care, money to pay cooks and counselors and a continuing water and food supply. And even with so many international aid groups in the country, sustained help was hard to find.
Frades board members said they had visited the United Nations logistics base and asked Unicef for beds. They were directed to a supply request form on the Internet, which they filled out. They never received a response, they said. (Contacted by The Times, a spokeswoman for Unicef suggested that they try again, and offered contact information.)
Next, they sought further aid from Save the Children. In February, they submitted an application for a project they called “For Children to Reclaim Life in Croix-des-Bouquets.” They supplied three versions of a budget, they said, met with Save the Children administrators and followed up with phone calls in which they were passed from one person to another.
Finally, this month, a Save the Children administrator sent an e-mail message, which began “I regret to inform you ...” The letter concluded, “According to our current standards and operational criteria, we can’t unfortunately validate Frades’s proposal, as it doesn’t match with the objectives of our internal strategy nor with our areas of intervention.”
Kate Conradt, a spokeswoman for Save the Children, said the note meant that her group did not serve the Croix-des-Bouquets area; World Vision does. Why nobody told Frades this sooner is unclear. But as a result, the children at Frades were not registered in the program that was supposed to evaluate each stranded child’s situation, assign the child a government caseworker and either arrange interim care or link the caregiver to support.
Ms. Conradt said Save the Children would now ask World Vision to contact Frades, whose situation is increasingly dire.
The Miami-based landlord of the site is seeking to evict the group, having found a paying tenant — a Christian school — that does not want to share the space. The tents provided by Save the Children, swelteringly hot inside, are still unfurnished but for a few school desks. The children sleep on thin scraps of carpet laid over sandy concrete.
And their universe of caregivers has shrunk as the organization has run low on money. Mostly, the children, with their runny noses, distended bellies and homemade kites, take care of one another.
Thirteen-year-old Michaelle Point du Jour, who lost both parents in the earthquake, cooks for and feeds the younger children. She prepares rice and beans and, while many of the children appear healthier now than a couple of months ago, most if not all are malnourished and have chronic intestinal parasitic infections, said Dr. Patricia Back, a Cincinnati-based family doctor who visited them recently.
Michaelle is the oldest since Daphne left. Pastor Bataille said that Daphne’s half brother’s stepmother, Manouchca Deravine, came to take Daphne away when he was out. He said he could not go reclaim her because Frades had no right — even if Ms. Deravine had no legal claim to her, either. He has to tread lightly in the community, he said, where some displaced people are suspicious that Frades is using the children to get more assistance than everyone else.
Pastor Bataille said he did not know where Daphne had gone. But one of the other children and Chantal Dumas, a former school secretary who has been serving as a teacher at Frades, helped visitors track her down. It turns out that Daphne now lives in the tent city directly behind the wall of the Frades construction site. She shares a small camping tent with five others.
Daphne sat in her visitors’ car, looking down at her lap at first, with ear buds from a banged-up MP3 player in her ears. “It’s O.K.,” she said about her new living arrangement. When asked if she thought about her mother, she grew animated.
Right after the earthquake, Daphne had described her mother’s spirit as a wind at her back, pushing her forward. Now, she said, she is plagued by dreams in which her mother tries to smother her with a white towel. Her mother’s spirit haunts her. “She’s a zombie,” Daphne said.
She was speaking a few days after she had left Frades, and she said Ms. Deravine was treating her fine. But soon, Daphne said, the woman would probably start mistreating her, as she had in the past. Ms. Dumas, her confidante, said that Daphne feared she would be used as a restavek — a child servant.
“I lived at Frades since January, and nobody ever talked to me badly there,” she said plaintively, her head leaning on Ms. Dumas’s shoulder.
In a brief interview, Ms. Deravine complained that Frades had not sent Daphne to school. She is not, either.
When Daphne’s visitors were leaving, she clung to the side of their car. “You’re not going to leave me here, are you?” she whispered anxiously. “Please, take me with you. Please.”
Suicide barrier on Bloor Viaduct worked, but jumpers went elsewhere: study, Anna Mehler Paperny, July 6 2010.
Rates increased on other Toronto bridges after $6-million installation
Toronto — A state-of-the-art suicide barrier built to prevent people from jumping to their deaths on the second most deadly suicide bridge in North America has been 100-per-cent successful in its mission.
In some ways, it has also been a failure, according to a new study.
The Bloor Viaduct suicide barrier, a $6-million feat of engineering that managed to marry heritage preservation and life preservation, has eliminated suicides from a bridge that became notorious for them.
But it hasn’t stopped people from jumping to their death: They’re just using other locations.
A study to be published in the British Medical Journal Wednesday found that although the barrier stopped people from jumping from the Bloor Viaduct, it didn’t lower rates of suicide overall, and it didn’t lower the number of suicides by jumping.
“This is the first study to show that when a barrier was put on one bridge, there was an increase in suicides on other bridges in the city,” said Mark Sinyor, a resident psychiatrist at Sunnybrook health centre and one of the study’s two authors.
The bottom line, he said, is that it’s not enough to set up physical barriers in single spots that prove popular for people trying to end their lives: There’s a need for comprehensive programs that address mental health and suicidal ideation in the first place.
"Bridge barriers work. They work at the location where they have been placed. But ... they’re only one piece of the puzzle," Dr. Sinyor said, adding that one tangential but important benefit is the barrier's protection of passing motorists in the Don Valley Parkway underneath.
“We’re doing a god job of preventing suicides but ... we have to do better.”
Keith Noble figures the Bloor Viaduct gave his cousin Donald an extra 10 minutes.
That’s about how long it took for Donald Noble to take the bus from the viaduct to Leaside Bridge. He got off, “walked over to the railing and went over” – within view of the bus driver who dropped him off.
Almost eight years later, Keith Noble still can’t fathom his cousin’s death: Donald, in his late 50s at the time, was about to get his taxi licence back after a year of struggling with eye surgery and his own demons. He had shrunk, Mr. Noble says; he was frustrated at having lost his livelihood, even temporarily. But “no one saw this coming.”
“This seems like a misplaced emotional response to a couple of high-profile suicides that had gone over the bridge,” Mr. Noble says.
“If they’re going to spend the money, it should go to helping people before they get to that position.”
When the city was first studying the possibility of building a suicide barrier on the Bloor Street Viaduct, the looming heritage structure was second only to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge for the number of suicides annually, and the rate of suicides far eclipsed any other bridges in the city, says Mike Laidlaw, the engineer behind the project.
They studied a similar case in Washington, D.C., where a structure on the Duke Ellington Bridge eliminated jumpers there but didn’t transfer suicide attempts to other bridges – notably Taft, which is of a similar height and extremely close by.
“There is documented information that basically indicates that’s not the case, that once you put a barrier up it doesn’t just transfer to other locations. … [The specific location] becomes romanticized,” he said.
In the past decade, barriers on bridges – often pricey and controversial, especially on heritage structures – have become one of the more highly regarded ways of preventing suicide: After years of debate, Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge got a barrier in 2004; the B.C. government has pledged to erect barriers on many of its new bridges across the province.
The Toronto Transit Commission vowed earlier this year to set up barriers at each of its 69 subway stations, although the TTC doesn’t know where the approximately $10-million per station will come from.
“[Barriers are] definitely seen as being effective within the suicide-prevention community,” said Alexis Martis, communication officer with B.C.’s suicide-prevention centre.
“Anything that’s going to get someone to take a minute and pause and think about it pulls them out of that space … can be very impactful.”
Last spring, the centre set up crisis phones at the Lions Gate Bridge, which sees an average of 16 suicide attempts a year. The phones got about 20 calls, but the centre is still trying to determine their impact on suicide attempts.
But suicide barriers are far from a panacea, argues Chris Summerville, CEO of the Winnipeg-based Schizophrenia Society of Canada.
“Rather than a preoccupation with putting fences on bridges and what have you I’d rather put money into ... getting to a place where we can talk about the s-word and how to do intervention.”
More Dziekanski questions, July 2 2010.
It's welcome news that special prosecutor Richard Peck has recommended the case of the four RCMP officers who tasered Robert Dziekanski be reopened.
But it also raises serious questions about the initial decision by the province's criminal justice branch not to lay charges.
That decision against charges in December 2008 was reviewed by senior officials in the Attorney General's Ministry. The branch spokesman said at the time that there was not sufficient likelihood of conviction to warrant charges.
But Peck's recommendation that the case be re-opened refers to "factual material that was not available to the branch at the time, including but not limited to expert video analysis and expert opinions relating to the reasonableness of the escalation and de-escalation of force."
Why was the needed information not available to the branch at the time?
Resources should not have been an issue; the RCMP sent four officers to Poland to investigate Dziekanski's background. And the criminal justice branch knew there would be concerns because of the RCMP's involvement in the police investigation of the death.
So before ruling out charges, why didn't prosecutors and criminal justice branch officials get expert analysis of the video of the entire incident? Why didn't they demand independent opinions on the officers' use of force?
They could have taken those steps -- as the Braidwood inquiry later did. Answers are needed.
Peru expulsa padre defensor dos índios e da Amazônia, 09/07/2010.
O governo peruano expulsou Paul McAuley, que vive no Peru há 20 anos. O padre foi muito crítico às petroleiras que contaminavam a selva e apoiou reclamações indígenas.
A reportagem é de Carlos Noriega, publicada no jornal Página/12, 08-07-2010. A tradução é de Moisés Sbardelotto.
Em meio a uma atmosfera de tensão com os povos indígenas, o governo de Alan García ordenou a expulsão do país de um sacerdote britânico defensor dos direitos indígenas e do meio ambiente. Uma decisão que reforça a imagem autoritária de um governo que, com frequência, apelou à repressão violenta contra os protestos sociais.
O sacerdote Paul McAuley, de 65 anos, que vive no Peru há 20 anos e que trabalha na Amazônia há 10 anos, foi um constante crítico das operações petroleiras que contaminam a selva amazônica e respaldou as reclamações indígenas contra o governo e as transnacionais em defesa de seus territórios.
O primeiro-ministro, Javier Velásquez Quesquén, acusou o sacerdote britânico de agitador e o atacou duramente por questionar as políticas governamentais. "Não podemos permitir que um estrangeiro vá contra o modelo de desenvolvimento. Nós defendemos os investimentos", indicou Velásquez, em referência às críticas de McAuley às transnacionais que exploram recursos naturais nos territórios indígenas.
Em Iquitos, capital da região de Loreto e principal cidade da Amazônia peruana, o sacerdote britânico, que preside a Rede Ambiental Loretana, rejeitou as acusações do governo. "Essa decisão do governo chegou como uma surpresa. Não entendo a razão. Eu não animei ninguém à violência. O que fazemos é exigir que a lei seja aplicada. Isso é um crime? E trabalhamos pela defesa dos direitos indígenas e do meio ambiente, segundo o ensinamento social da Igreja Católica. Apelamos contra essa decisão, que é um abuso", indicou McAuley.
Nesta quarta-feira, horas antes de terminar o prazo para que o religioso abandonasse o país, um tribunal de Iquitos declarou fundada uma medida cautelar contra a ordem de expulsão, suspendendo temporalmente essa medida. "Agora vem o processo para anular a ordem de expulsão. Isso pode levar de um mês a seis meses ou mais", disse Rita Ruck, advogada de McAuley.
A decisão do governo de expulsar McAuley do país despertou uma ampla rejeição entre as comunidades indígenas, grupos ambientalistas e de direitos humanos, órgãos internacionais como a Anistia Internacional, intelectuais e organizações sociais e sindicais. No entanto, na mais alta hierarquia da Igreja Católica, representada pelo arcebispo de Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, membro da Opus Dei e próximo do governo, optou-se pelo silêncio.
A ordem de expulsão contra o sacerdote ocorre em um momento em que se reaviva a tensão entre os grupos nativos e o governo, depois que o Executivo vetou uma lei do Congresso para implementar a consulta aos povos indígenas antes de aprovar operações de exploração de recursos naturais em seus territórios.
Esse procedimento de consulta é exigido pelo Convênio 169 da Organização Internacional do Trabalho (OIT), o qual o Peru integra, mas o governo se nega a cumpri-lo. A tensão aberta entre o governo e os indígenas amazônicos começou em 2008, quando o Congresso aprovou um pacote legal que facilitava a entrega das terras indígenas às transnacionais. No dia 5 de junho de 2009, um protesto indígenas de mais de dois meses contra essa decisão terminou em um violento enfrentamento com a polícia, que deixou 34 mortos.
O governo acusou os congressistas do opositor Partido Nacionalista, organizações ambientalistas e membros da Igreja Católica que trabalham na Amazônia, entre eles o sacerdote McAuley, de promover o protesto indígena e a violência. O líder dos índios amazônicos, Alberto Pizango, teve que pedir asilo político na Nicarágua, depois que o governo o responsabilizou pelas mortes. Há pouco mais de um mês, Pizango voltou ao Peru e, embora não tenha sido preso, teve que enfrentar um julgamento, junto com outros dirigentes indígenas, por rebelião e outras acusações.
Nos últimos dias, Paul McAuley disse duras palavras contra a petroleira argentina Pluspetrol por causa do derramamento de 400 barris de petróleo no rio Marañón, afluente do Amazonas.
British activist in Peru wins right to stay, BBC, 7 July 2010.
A British religious activist in Peru has won the right to remain in the country while he fights an expulsion order. The Peruvian government accuses Paul McAuley of inciting unrest among indigenous people protesting against environmental destruction.
He has appealed against the order. The Catholic Church and indigenous and human rights groups are supporting his appeal. A judge in Iquitos local court granted the staying order on what would have been his last day in Peru.
Brother Paul, who is with the De La Salle Brothers, has lived in Peru for 20 years and received an MBE for his educational work in the capital, Lima. For the last decade he has worked with indigenous groups in Peru's vast Amazon region, where the current government has eased access for oil and gas companies. Brother Paul says he teaches native Peruvians their environmental and human rights, the government in Lima accuses him of political agitation against the Peruvian state.
Cabinet chief Javier Velasquez said that Brother Paul was being expelled because the government could not "accept that foreigners can continue furtively to stir up people to shatter democratic values".
Many oil and gas projects in the Amazon have met fierce resistance from indigenous groups.
Residents accuse the government of abusing their land rights and failing to consult them about big investment projects, the BBC's Peru correspondent Dan Collyns says.
Brother Paul has repeatedly said that oil exploration and logging are threatening to the indigenous population of the Amazon.
He admits that his work might lead to people asking for their rights.
"Education is often accused of inciting people to understand their rights, to be capable or organising themselves to ensure their human rights," Mr McAuley told the BBC.
"If that's a crime, then yes I'm guilty," he added. "As a member of a Catholic order, my life's been dedicated to human and Christian education."
Amnesty International said the expulsion order appeared "to be one step further in a campaign of intimidation by the government against indigenous communities and human rights defenders who work with them".
Hundreds of indigenous people have also demonstrated in support of Brother Paul in Iquitos in the Amazon state of Loreto.
Climate-change bill called threat, Mike de Souza, July 9 2010.
Chamber launches campaign to derail it
Canada's largest and most influential business organization has launched a lobbying campaign urging Canadian senators to kill legislation requiring the government to deliver a science-based plan to fight global warming and provide regular reports on its progress.
In a policy alert obtained by Canwest News Service, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on its members to sign and send a template letter complaining that the Climate Change Accountability Act, Bill C-311, adopted in the House of Commons, is a threat to Canada's economic competitiveness.
"Bill C-311 must die in the Senate," said the chamber in the message to its members. "This will require significant lobbying by Canadian business."
But supporters of the legislation, introduced by NDP MP Bruce Hyer, say the business community is deliberately trying to confuse people about its actual purpose and provisions, noting that its ambitious targets can be modified at the discretion of the environment minister and government.
"I found it pretty shocking," said Graham Saul, executive director of Climate Action Network. "What the chamber of commerce is saying is both uninformed and totally unproductive. The fact that they're trying to kill the only piece of climate legislation on (Parliament) Hill says a lot."
The legislation requires the government to regularly make public reports that measure and review the effectiveness of its policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A previous version of the legislation was also adopted by the House of Commons, but died in the Senate when Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an election in the fall of 2008.
Conservatives have always opposed the climate-change legislation.
This time, the chamber of commerce has warned that a recommended target of reducing Canada's emissions by 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 would impose "great costs on the Canadian economy," since it doesn't correspond to the targets set by the United States.
Climate scientists have estimated that developed countries need to collectively reduce emissions by 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 to ensure that average global temperatures do not rise beyond a tipping point of more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The chamber of commerce letter acknowledged that there is an urgent need for action on climate change, but said that an effective plan should instead include massive investments and a sustainable energy strategy to develop new technologies of the future.
"Globally, responding to climate change will take the biggest single investment in the history of humankind," said the letter. "It will be of monumental scale here in Canada, as well. We cannot simply tweak our way to success. And we cannot deal with climate change by eliminating consumption. That is simply not practical. It would cripple the economy, make it impossible to pay for the changes that are needed and destroy public support for strong environmental policies."
In an interview, Perrin Beatty, the president and chief executive officer of the chamber of commerce, said businesses want the 2020 target removed from the bill, even though the legislation allows the government to set its own interim targets toward achieving an 80-per-cent reduction in emissions by 2050. But he said that the 2050 target was "more achievable" and that he'd be willing to look at a revised version of the bill if the 2020 target is changed.
"If it's not meaningful, (the 2020 target) shouldn't be in the bill," said Beatty, a former cabinet minister in the Mulroney government. "If what they're saying is set a target and choose whatever target you want, then take that figure off the bill."
He said that any measures that damage the economy could also damage public support for moving forward.
The president of a coalition of Quebec businesses that has called for ambitious targets in a climate-change plan is also endorsing the chamber of commerce letter.
"It's just a matter of modifying the target," said Helene Lauzon, president of the Conseil patronal de l'environnement du Quebec. "I think the target (in the legislation) is too high."