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Ordinary People Help Migrants as Asia Struggles with Crisis

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An Acehnese man hands out bread to ethnic Rohingya children at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, May 18, 2015. Boatloads of more than 2,000 migrants — ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty — have landed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in recent weeks. Aid groups estimate that thousands more are stranded at sea after a crackdown on human traffickers prompted captains and smugglers to abandon their human cargo. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

An Acehnese man hands out bread to ethnic Rohingya children at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, May 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Eileen NG and Jocelyn Gecker, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — For hundreds of migrants stranded at sea in sinking boats, the first helping hand came not from governments but from fishermen who towed them to safety. The desperation of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh has not compelled neighboring countries to take them in, but has inspired compassion — and pleas for help — from ordinary people across Southeast Asia.

Sympathetic Malaysians have launched donation drives to help feed migrants who have flooded ashore in the past two weeks. In Indonesia, where fisherman rescued three boats last week and saved 900 lives, villagers have donated clothing and home-cooked meals.

Aid groups estimate that thousands more migrants — who fled persecution in Myanmar and poverty in Bangladesh — are stranded in the Andaman Sea after a crackdown on human traffickers prompted captains and smugglers to abandon their boats.

But more than two weeks into the spiraling humanitarian crisis, the stance of Southeast Asian governments remains unchanged — none wants to take the migrants in, fearing that accepting a few would result in an unstoppable flow. A political cartoon in Thailand’s The Nation newspaper on Monday summed up the official reaction, showing a boatload of Muslim Rohingya refugees being kicked back to sea by people on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“On the one hand, we’re seeing governments quibbling and struggling to find ways to deal with these boat people. But on the other hand, it’s encouraging to see that the people in this region have responded very generously to these boat people,” said Vivian Tan, a Bangkok-based spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.

“The public response has been overwhelming and governments really need to follow this example and let people disembark as soon as possible,” Tan said.

One prominent Islamic scholar in Malaysia noted that the government is still searching for a Malaysia Airlines plane believed to have crashed at sea over a year ago, “while those who are still alive, we leave to die out at sea.”

“Where is our humanity?” Asri Zainal Abidin, a state mufti in Malaysia, wrote on his Facebook page.

Navy ships from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia intercepted boats last week packed with desperate, hungry migrants, giving them food and water and then sending them away — a move that drew strong international criticism. The U.N. warned that pushing away boats of starving people could create a crisis of “floating coffins.”

It also sparked outrage in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, where sympathetic citizens and Muslim groups have launched donation drives to collect food, clothing and medical aid for a boatload of more than 1,100 migrants who landed at a Malaysian island on May 10 and are being held at a detention camp.

Another prominent Malaysian, Marina Mahathir, a social activist and daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, issued an appeal last week for anyone with seaworthy boats to send aid to the migrants still at sea.

“Our chief concern is those still out at sea because this is a real humanitarian crisis,” she said. “We need to provide some sort of solution. I don’t think we can wash our hands of this.”

An online petition is calling on the Malaysian government to put humanity before politics. “We the people want incoming migrants who have been abandoned at sea by traffickers to be rescued and cared for by our elected Malaysian government,” it says.

Malaysia is the current chair of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and has called for a meeting of the foreign ministers of Malaysia, Indonesian and Thailand on Wednesday.

But Malaysian officials have said they will not take in more refugees. Malaysia is the desired destination for most of the migrants — it has already hosted more than 45,000 Rohingya over the years, according to the U.N. — but now says it can’t accept any more.

The Rohingya Muslims have faced decades of state-sanctioned discrimination in Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist. In the past three years, Rohingya were targeted by violent mobs of Buddhist extremists, leaving hundreds dead and sparking an exodus of more than 120,000 people, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

The U.N. has called the Rohingya one of the most persecuted groups in the world.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, officials have appealed to villagers on loudspeakers not to get too close to the migrants who were towed ashore in eastern Aceh province by fisherman, fearing they could spread disease.

But villagers have ignored the orders. Hundreds have thronged the two warehouses where the migrants have been housed since their Friday arrival, bringing rice, instant noodles, clothing and even some home-cooked meals.

“We have to help them, because they are our brothers,” said Hayaturrahman Djakfar, who came with a group that donated sarongs, towels, headscarves, children’s clothes and food. “And because they are struggling for a better life and protection. There is no reason not to help them.”

___

Gecker contributed from Bangkok. AP video journalist Kiko Rosario in Bangkok, Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Indonesia and Fakhrurradzie Gade in Langsa, Indonesia contributed to this report.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Activism

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Biden Administration for Hosting the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference

Congresswoman Lee was inspired by her predecessor, Congressman Ron Dellums, to establish the framework for the Global Fund. She worked closely with Republican Congressman Jim Leach to get H.Res.3519, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000, through the Banking Committee, which was eventually signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The legislation was later championed at the United Nations by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

Post News Group Staff

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee applauded President Biden for announcing that the United States will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference on Sept. 19, 2022 in New York City. The United States is proud to be a founding contributor of, and the largest single donor to, the Global Fund, having contributed nearly $20 billion since 2002.

Founded in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) is a unique financing mechanism that relies on a dynamic partnership among governments, the private sector, and civil society to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria in ways that contribute to strengthening health systems.

“Over the last two decades, the Global Fund has maintained strong bipartisan support in Congress,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Since the United States became the first country to pledge to it in 2001, the Global Fund partnership has saved over 44 million lives from the three deadliest infectious diseases before COVID-19 arose — AIDS, TB and malaria. Hosting the next Replenishment will speed the world’s progress toward ending these epidemics, while showing U.S. commitment to preventing future pandemics.

“This has been a top priority of mine spanning decades. We must invest in programs like the Global Fund and PEPFAR, which have saved countless lives, contributed to reducing health inequities and protecting human rights and health services for those around the world. As we continue to fight our current public health emergencies and prepare for those in the future, gatherings like the Replenishment Conference are crucial. I applaud President Biden for reaffirming the United States leadership in the fight for an AIDS-free generation.”

President Biden’s FY 2023 budget includes a request for $2 billion for the Global Fund intended to be a first part of a total U.S. $6 billion three-year Seventh Replenishment pledge, to save lives and continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The Global Fund raises funds ahead of each three-year grant cycle at replenishment conferences when donors formally pledge their intended contributions. The Seventh Replenishment Conference will raise funds to be used in the 2023-25 grant cycle.

Congresswoman Lee was inspired by her predecessor, Congressman Ron Dellums, to establish the framework for the Global Fund. She worked closely with Republican Congressman Jim Leach to get H.Res.3519, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000, through the Banking Committee, which was eventually signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The legislation was later championed at the United Nations by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest-ranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.

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Bay Area

Liberian Presidential Candidate Tiawan Gongloe Makes Visit to Bay Area

As the next president of Liberia, Liberian presidential candidate attorney Tiawan Saye Gongloe has unveiled a 10-point plan for “A Better Liberia Agenda” and a 12-point strategy to fight corruption in Liberia, which is chief among his plans. He believes fighting corruption in Liberia will be his biggest challenge due to the characters that he wants to purge.

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Liberian presidential candidate Tiawan Saye Gongloe at the Federal Building in Oakland holding the broom symbolizing his intent to sweep out corruption in his home country.
Liberian presidential candidate Tiawan Saye Gongloe at the Federal Building in Oakland holding the broom symbolizing his intent to sweep out corruption in his home country.

By Uche J. Uwahemu

Liberian presidential candidate attorney Tiawan Saye Gongloe is making a tour of the United States to gather support for his vision of a corruption-free Liberia.

Beginning May 12, Gongloe visited several cities across the U.S., touching base with centers of the Liberian Diaspora, including the Bay Area, where approximately 10,000 Liberians live.

Known as the ‘poor man’s lawyer’ because he has helped protect the rights of the poor and journalists, Gongloe has participated in several meet-and-greets, Town Halls and high-level meetings with government officials, business and community leaders from Atlanta, Ga., to Columbus, Ohio, to Fargo, N.D., and Minneapolis, Minn.

The Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb, Nigerian natives Uche Uwahemu, and Kayode Gbadebo sat down with Gongloe and some of his supporters at the Post’s downtown headquarters to discuss his vision for Liberia on July 13, 2022.

Friends of Gongloe Global, a group formed and dedicated to electing Gongloe to president of Liberia organized his California visit, which included a stop in Antioch. Group member and long-time Liberian civil rights activist Lovetta Tugbe could not contain her enthusiasm and support for Gongloe. “Attorney Gongloe exemplifies what a true public servant is about. He has for decades fought for all Liberians and has on many occasions almost paid with his life. He is the candidate for any Liberian that believes in freedom.”

For decades, Liberia has been plagued by corruption and insecurity. Gongloe sees no end to the suffering and lack of opportunities for the majority of the population. So, he was compelled to run for president.

Now 65, Gongloe has served the Liberian people in other official capacities, among them Minister of Labor and Solicitor General, resigning from his post in 2010.

According to Front Page Africa, “Gongloe has helped in drafting legislation for civil service reform, local government reform, forestry reform law, jury reform, anti-press laws, code of conduct for public officials, land authority act, whistle-blower and witness protection act.”

As a civil rights lawyer, he has devoted most of career to fighting for freedom of speech and equal rights for Liberian people. He has fought to bring to justice the politicians and their supporters that engaged in human rights violations in Liberia.

In addition, he has represented victims of human rights abuses.

Challenging the status quo comes at a high cost and Gongloe has the battle scars to prove it. He has been arrested and imprisoned many times. The civil rights icon has worked with many international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In 2003, Gongloe was awarded the prestigious John Humphrey Freedom Award by the Canadian government.

As the next president of Liberia, Gongloe has unveiled a 10-point plan for “A Better Liberia Agenda” and a 12-point strategy to fight corruption in Liberia, which is chief among his plans. He believes fighting corruption in Liberia will be his biggest challenge due to the characters that he wants to purge.

He carries a tightly wrapped broom that represents his unwavering commitment to fight and sweep corruption out of Liberia.  “From top to bottom, we must respect and abide by our Constitution. The president should not have the power to change the Constitution whenever she/he feels threatened or uncomfortable with the letter of the law.”

After corruption, Gongloe wants to address education. “Access to quality education is a right, not a privilege,” he said.

In order for Liberian youth and the nation to compete in the global market, Gongloe will make both primary and secondary education free. As a nation, he wants to create economic opportunities for all Liberian and he is using this U.S. tour to meet with business leaders to discuss bilateral synergies.

Gongloe wants to re-establish a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States.  He urged all Liberians across the globe to get involve and retake their country from corrupt politicians.

To learn more or support Gongloe’s presidential campaign and to learn more, contact Dr. Tuwe Mehn and Shad Mongrue (209) 242-1974.

Front Page Africa reports contributed to this story.

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Activism

Protest of Palestinian American Journalist’s Killing by Israeli Police Draws 500 in S.F.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

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Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.
Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

Starting at noon on May 14, over 500 people rallied and marched in San Francisco’s Mission District to protest the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and 74 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

Abu Akleh, who had worked for the Al Jazeera news network for 25 years as one of the most prominent journalists reporting in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, died of a bullet wound on May 11 while covering an Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

She was wearing a blue vest with large white letters stating “PRESS.” During Abu Akleh’s massive funeral on May 13, Israeli police beat people carrying her casket.

“We’re not even able to bury our dead in peace,” said AROC organizer Sharif Zakout during a speech at the San Francisco protest. “It’s disgusting.”

AROC, Palestinian Action Network, Palestinian Youth Movement, and Jewish Voice For Peace organized the San Francisco demonstration. It was one of at least 60 such actions occurring between May 14-16 around the world to remember Abu Akleh and to mark Nakba Day, an annual commemoration for Palestinians that began after 1948, when the British government formally stopped recognizing the state of Palestine and recognized Israel in its place.

This sparked the Arab-Israeli war when Zionist military forces expelled over 750,000 Palestinians and captured 78% of Palestine’s land.

In an interview at the protest, Lisa Rofel, a member of Jewish Voice For Peace, spoke out against Israeli occupation and explained why the Jewish group was present.

“We’re here because we strongly support the Palestinian struggle for liberation from Israeli occupation,” Rofel said. “It’s an occupation which has been vicious, cruel and inhumane and now has turned into military rule over almost every aspect of Palestinians’ lives. We also demand an end to U.S. complicity in that occupation.”

According to a report by Congressional Research Service, the Biden administration has allocated over $3.8 billion in military financing and missile defense funding to Israel this year.

During the demonstration, a diverse array of people that included elders along with young children, marched about a mile-long route carrying signs, banners, Palestinian flags, and art as they chanted in English and Arabic. Over 18 marchers carried one giant Palestinian flag together.

Some protesters carried signs stating 55 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000, a figure The Palestinian Journalists’ Union cites.

Other protesters carried signs calling attention to Ahmed Manasra, a 21-year-old Palestinian who has been imprisoned since he was arrested at age 13 after being with his cousin, who allegedly stabbed two Israeli settlers in Pisgat Ze’ev.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, UN bodies and the International Court of Justice considers Pisgat Ze’ev an illegal settlement.

Chris Gazaleh, a Palestinian American artist based in San Francisco, made some of the art for the rally by creating signs inspired by Palestinian architecture and Arabic calligraphy to represent cities that Zionists ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba.

During a speech at this year’s San Francisco Nabka rally, Rivka Louissant, a Haitian cultural worker who organizes with the an anti-war and anti-racism coalition ANSWER, spoke about how people and organizations are increasingly supporting an end to Israeli occupation and the struggle for Palestinian autonomy.

“Support for Palestinian rights and BDS is more popular than ever,” Louissant said. “The public is waking up to the evils of imperialism.”

In April of last year, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of “crimes of apartheid,” and in February of this year, Amnesty International described Israel as an “apartheid system,” and characterized its treatment of Palestinians as “a crime against humanity.”

Some local politicians have recently shown support for Israel. During a speech at the rally, AROC organizer Sharif Zakout criticized San Francisco Board Supervisor Rafael Mandelman for his recent visit to Israel for the Israel Seminar in light of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing. Zakout characterized the seminar as “a propaganda trip.” The Israel Seminar is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, which has taken a public stand against the BDS movement, and has refused to denounce Israeli attacks against Palestinians. Photos from the trip, posted on May 15 and 16, also show Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, and San Mateo Councilmember Amourence Lee.

“We are here today to say the Bay Area does not put up with that BS,” said Zakout to cheers from the protesters. “We stand with oppressed people everywhere. From Haiti to Palestine to Sri Lanka, we stand by resisting all state violence, colonialism, occupation and warfare.”

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Ordinary People Help Migrants as Asia Struggles with Crisis

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An Acehnese man hands out bread to ethnic Rohingya children at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, May 18, 2015. Boatloads of more than 2,000 migrants — ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty — have landed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in recent weeks. Aid groups estimate that thousands more are stranded at sea after a crackdown on human traffickers prompted captains and smugglers to abandon their human cargo. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

An Acehnese man hands out bread to ethnic Rohingya children at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia, Monday, May 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Eileen NG and Jocelyn Gecker, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — For hundreds of migrants stranded at sea in sinking boats, the first helping hand came not from governments but from fishermen who towed them to safety. The desperation of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh has not compelled neighboring countries to take them in, but has inspired compassion — and pleas for help — from ordinary people across Southeast Asia.

Sympathetic Malaysians have launched donation drives to help feed migrants who have flooded ashore in the past two weeks. In Indonesia, where fisherman rescued three boats last week and saved 900 lives, villagers have donated clothing and home-cooked meals.

Aid groups estimate that thousands more migrants — who fled persecution in Myanmar and poverty in Bangladesh — are stranded in the Andaman Sea after a crackdown on human traffickers prompted captains and smugglers to abandon their boats.

But more than two weeks into the spiraling humanitarian crisis, the stance of Southeast Asian governments remains unchanged — none wants to take the migrants in, fearing that accepting a few would result in an unstoppable flow. A political cartoon in Thailand’s The Nation newspaper on Monday summed up the official reaction, showing a boatload of Muslim Rohingya refugees being kicked back to sea by people on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“On the one hand, we’re seeing governments quibbling and struggling to find ways to deal with these boat people. But on the other hand, it’s encouraging to see that the people in this region have responded very generously to these boat people,” said Vivian Tan, a Bangkok-based spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.

“The public response has been overwhelming and governments really need to follow this example and let people disembark as soon as possible,” Tan said.

One prominent Islamic scholar in Malaysia noted that the government is still searching for a Malaysia Airlines plane believed to have crashed at sea over a year ago, “while those who are still alive, we leave to die out at sea.”

“Where is our humanity?” Asri Zainal Abidin, a state mufti in Malaysia, wrote on his Facebook page.

Navy ships from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia intercepted boats last week packed with desperate, hungry migrants, giving them food and water and then sending them away — a move that drew strong international criticism. The U.N. warned that pushing away boats of starving people could create a crisis of “floating coffins.”

It also sparked outrage in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, where sympathetic citizens and Muslim groups have launched donation drives to collect food, clothing and medical aid for a boatload of more than 1,100 migrants who landed at a Malaysian island on May 10 and are being held at a detention camp.

Another prominent Malaysian, Marina Mahathir, a social activist and daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, issued an appeal last week for anyone with seaworthy boats to send aid to the migrants still at sea.

“Our chief concern is those still out at sea because this is a real humanitarian crisis,” she said. “We need to provide some sort of solution. I don’t think we can wash our hands of this.”

An online petition is calling on the Malaysian government to put humanity before politics. “We the people want incoming migrants who have been abandoned at sea by traffickers to be rescued and cared for by our elected Malaysian government,” it says.

Malaysia is the current chair of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and has called for a meeting of the foreign ministers of Malaysia, Indonesian and Thailand on Wednesday.

But Malaysian officials have said they will not take in more refugees. Malaysia is the desired destination for most of the migrants — it has already hosted more than 45,000 Rohingya over the years, according to the U.N. — but now says it can’t accept any more.

The Rohingya Muslims have faced decades of state-sanctioned discrimination in Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist. In the past three years, Rohingya were targeted by violent mobs of Buddhist extremists, leaving hundreds dead and sparking an exodus of more than 120,000 people, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

The U.N. has called the Rohingya one of the most persecuted groups in the world.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, officials have appealed to villagers on loudspeakers not to get too close to the migrants who were towed ashore in eastern Aceh province by fisherman, fearing they could spread disease.

But villagers have ignored the orders. Hundreds have thronged the two warehouses where the migrants have been housed since their Friday arrival, bringing rice, instant noodles, clothing and even some home-cooked meals.

“We have to help them, because they are our brothers,” said Hayaturrahman Djakfar, who came with a group that donated sarongs, towels, headscarves, children’s clothes and food. “And because they are struggling for a better life and protection. There is no reason not to help them.”

___

Gecker contributed from Bangkok. AP video journalist Kiko Rosario in Bangkok, Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Indonesia and Fakhrurradzie Gade in Langsa, Indonesia contributed to this report.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Activism

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Biden Administration for Hosting the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference

Congresswoman Lee was inspired by her predecessor, Congressman Ron Dellums, to establish the framework for the Global Fund. She worked closely with Republican Congressman Jim Leach to get H.Res.3519, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000, through the Banking Committee, which was eventually signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The legislation was later championed at the United Nations by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

Post News Group Staff

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee applauded President Biden for announcing that the United States will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference on Sept. 19, 2022 in New York City. The United States is proud to be a founding contributor of, and the largest single donor to, the Global Fund, having contributed nearly $20 billion since 2002.

Founded in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) is a unique financing mechanism that relies on a dynamic partnership among governments, the private sector, and civil society to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria in ways that contribute to strengthening health systems.

“Over the last two decades, the Global Fund has maintained strong bipartisan support in Congress,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Since the United States became the first country to pledge to it in 2001, the Global Fund partnership has saved over 44 million lives from the three deadliest infectious diseases before COVID-19 arose — AIDS, TB and malaria. Hosting the next Replenishment will speed the world’s progress toward ending these epidemics, while showing U.S. commitment to preventing future pandemics.

“This has been a top priority of mine spanning decades. We must invest in programs like the Global Fund and PEPFAR, which have saved countless lives, contributed to reducing health inequities and protecting human rights and health services for those around the world. As we continue to fight our current public health emergencies and prepare for those in the future, gatherings like the Replenishment Conference are crucial. I applaud President Biden for reaffirming the United States leadership in the fight for an AIDS-free generation.”

President Biden’s FY 2023 budget includes a request for $2 billion for the Global Fund intended to be a first part of a total U.S. $6 billion three-year Seventh Replenishment pledge, to save lives and continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The Global Fund raises funds ahead of each three-year grant cycle at replenishment conferences when donors formally pledge their intended contributions. The Seventh Replenishment Conference will raise funds to be used in the 2023-25 grant cycle.

Congresswoman Lee was inspired by her predecessor, Congressman Ron Dellums, to establish the framework for the Global Fund. She worked closely with Republican Congressman Jim Leach to get H.Res.3519, the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act of 2000, through the Banking Committee, which was eventually signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The legislation was later championed at the United Nations by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest-ranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.

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Bay Area

Liberian Presidential Candidate Tiawan Gongloe Makes Visit to Bay Area

As the next president of Liberia, Liberian presidential candidate attorney Tiawan Saye Gongloe has unveiled a 10-point plan for “A Better Liberia Agenda” and a 12-point strategy to fight corruption in Liberia, which is chief among his plans. He believes fighting corruption in Liberia will be his biggest challenge due to the characters that he wants to purge.

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Liberian presidential candidate Tiawan Saye Gongloe at the Federal Building in Oakland holding the broom symbolizing his intent to sweep out corruption in his home country.
Liberian presidential candidate Tiawan Saye Gongloe at the Federal Building in Oakland holding the broom symbolizing his intent to sweep out corruption in his home country.

By Uche J. Uwahemu

Liberian presidential candidate attorney Tiawan Saye Gongloe is making a tour of the United States to gather support for his vision of a corruption-free Liberia.

Beginning May 12, Gongloe visited several cities across the U.S., touching base with centers of the Liberian Diaspora, including the Bay Area, where approximately 10,000 Liberians live.

Known as the ‘poor man’s lawyer’ because he has helped protect the rights of the poor and journalists, Gongloe has participated in several meet-and-greets, Town Halls and high-level meetings with government officials, business and community leaders from Atlanta, Ga., to Columbus, Ohio, to Fargo, N.D., and Minneapolis, Minn.

The Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb, Nigerian natives Uche Uwahemu, and Kayode Gbadebo sat down with Gongloe and some of his supporters at the Post’s downtown headquarters to discuss his vision for Liberia on July 13, 2022.

Friends of Gongloe Global, a group formed and dedicated to electing Gongloe to president of Liberia organized his California visit, which included a stop in Antioch. Group member and long-time Liberian civil rights activist Lovetta Tugbe could not contain her enthusiasm and support for Gongloe. “Attorney Gongloe exemplifies what a true public servant is about. He has for decades fought for all Liberians and has on many occasions almost paid with his life. He is the candidate for any Liberian that believes in freedom.”

For decades, Liberia has been plagued by corruption and insecurity. Gongloe sees no end to the suffering and lack of opportunities for the majority of the population. So, he was compelled to run for president.

Now 65, Gongloe has served the Liberian people in other official capacities, among them Minister of Labor and Solicitor General, resigning from his post in 2010.

According to Front Page Africa, “Gongloe has helped in drafting legislation for civil service reform, local government reform, forestry reform law, jury reform, anti-press laws, code of conduct for public officials, land authority act, whistle-blower and witness protection act.”

As a civil rights lawyer, he has devoted most of career to fighting for freedom of speech and equal rights for Liberian people. He has fought to bring to justice the politicians and their supporters that engaged in human rights violations in Liberia.

In addition, he has represented victims of human rights abuses.

Challenging the status quo comes at a high cost and Gongloe has the battle scars to prove it. He has been arrested and imprisoned many times. The civil rights icon has worked with many international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In 2003, Gongloe was awarded the prestigious John Humphrey Freedom Award by the Canadian government.

As the next president of Liberia, Gongloe has unveiled a 10-point plan for “A Better Liberia Agenda” and a 12-point strategy to fight corruption in Liberia, which is chief among his plans. He believes fighting corruption in Liberia will be his biggest challenge due to the characters that he wants to purge.

He carries a tightly wrapped broom that represents his unwavering commitment to fight and sweep corruption out of Liberia.  “From top to bottom, we must respect and abide by our Constitution. The president should not have the power to change the Constitution whenever she/he feels threatened or uncomfortable with the letter of the law.”

After corruption, Gongloe wants to address education. “Access to quality education is a right, not a privilege,” he said.

In order for Liberian youth and the nation to compete in the global market, Gongloe will make both primary and secondary education free. As a nation, he wants to create economic opportunities for all Liberian and he is using this U.S. tour to meet with business leaders to discuss bilateral synergies.

Gongloe wants to re-establish a mutually beneficial relationship with the United States.  He urged all Liberians across the globe to get involve and retake their country from corrupt politicians.

To learn more or support Gongloe’s presidential campaign and to learn more, contact Dr. Tuwe Mehn and Shad Mongrue (209) 242-1974.

Front Page Africa reports contributed to this story.

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Activism

Protest of Palestinian American Journalist’s Killing by Israeli Police Draws 500 in S.F.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

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Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.
Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

Starting at noon on May 14, over 500 people rallied and marched in San Francisco’s Mission District to protest the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and 74 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

Abu Akleh, who had worked for the Al Jazeera news network for 25 years as one of the most prominent journalists reporting in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, died of a bullet wound on May 11 while covering an Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

She was wearing a blue vest with large white letters stating “PRESS.” During Abu Akleh’s massive funeral on May 13, Israeli police beat people carrying her casket.

“We’re not even able to bury our dead in peace,” said AROC organizer Sharif Zakout during a speech at the San Francisco protest. “It’s disgusting.”

AROC, Palestinian Action Network, Palestinian Youth Movement, and Jewish Voice For Peace organized the San Francisco demonstration. It was one of at least 60 such actions occurring between May 14-16 around the world to remember Abu Akleh and to mark Nakba Day, an annual commemoration for Palestinians that began after 1948, when the British government formally stopped recognizing the state of Palestine and recognized Israel in its place.

This sparked the Arab-Israeli war when Zionist military forces expelled over 750,000 Palestinians and captured 78% of Palestine’s land.

In an interview at the protest, Lisa Rofel, a member of Jewish Voice For Peace, spoke out against Israeli occupation and explained why the Jewish group was present.

“We’re here because we strongly support the Palestinian struggle for liberation from Israeli occupation,” Rofel said. “It’s an occupation which has been vicious, cruel and inhumane and now has turned into military rule over almost every aspect of Palestinians’ lives. We also demand an end to U.S. complicity in that occupation.”

According to a report by Congressional Research Service, the Biden administration has allocated over $3.8 billion in military financing and missile defense funding to Israel this year.

During the demonstration, a diverse array of people that included elders along with young children, marched about a mile-long route carrying signs, banners, Palestinian flags, and art as they chanted in English and Arabic. Over 18 marchers carried one giant Palestinian flag together.

Some protesters carried signs stating 55 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000, a figure The Palestinian Journalists’ Union cites.

Other protesters carried signs calling attention to Ahmed Manasra, a 21-year-old Palestinian who has been imprisoned since he was arrested at age 13 after being with his cousin, who allegedly stabbed two Israeli settlers in Pisgat Ze’ev.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, UN bodies and the International Court of Justice considers Pisgat Ze’ev an illegal settlement.

Chris Gazaleh, a Palestinian American artist based in San Francisco, made some of the art for the rally by creating signs inspired by Palestinian architecture and Arabic calligraphy to represent cities that Zionists ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba.

During a speech at this year’s San Francisco Nabka rally, Rivka Louissant, a Haitian cultural worker who organizes with the an anti-war and anti-racism coalition ANSWER, spoke about how people and organizations are increasingly supporting an end to Israeli occupation and the struggle for Palestinian autonomy.

“Support for Palestinian rights and BDS is more popular than ever,” Louissant said. “The public is waking up to the evils of imperialism.”

In April of last year, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of “crimes of apartheid,” and in February of this year, Amnesty International described Israel as an “apartheid system,” and characterized its treatment of Palestinians as “a crime against humanity.”

Some local politicians have recently shown support for Israel. During a speech at the rally, AROC organizer Sharif Zakout criticized San Francisco Board Supervisor Rafael Mandelman for his recent visit to Israel for the Israel Seminar in light of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing. Zakout characterized the seminar as “a propaganda trip.” The Israel Seminar is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, which has taken a public stand against the BDS movement, and has refused to denounce Israeli attacks against Palestinians. Photos from the trip, posted on May 15 and 16, also show Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, and San Mateo Councilmember Amourence Lee.

“We are here today to say the Bay Area does not put up with that BS,” said Zakout to cheers from the protesters. “We stand with oppressed people everywhere. From Haiti to Palestine to Sri Lanka, we stand by resisting all state violence, colonialism, occupation and warfare.”

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