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Entries in Human Rights (3)


A Farewell Letter to HSBC - Bankrolling Human Rights Violations at Standing Rock is Unacceptable

Dear Group Chief Stuart Gullive and fellow HSBC Executives,
As a longtime customer of HSBC, I am appalled that your bank is providing $189 million in revolving credit to Energy Transfer Equity and its subsidiary, Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Not only has the construction of DAPL desecrated burial grounds and related sacred sites on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, it also endangers the drinking water for 18 million people living downstream on the Missouri River. 
While these actions alone are enough to give me pause about doing business with HSBC, the civil liberty violations that Energy Transfer Partners have made are among the issues I find most disturbing.
Private DAPL security and militarized police have used excessive force including unleashing dogs, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas to attack Native American tribe members and their allies who have united in prayer and peaceful direct actions to halt construction of this unjust, hazardous pipeline. These attacks on water protectors in North Dakota have continued to escalate to the point of severely injuring Indigenous and non-Native women.
In the film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock, Cody Hall, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe asks "what is your spirit telling you to do?" Mine leads me to take action on a number of fronts including severing ties with any bank that prioritizes investments in oil pipelines such as DAPL over the safety of people. Today I'm writing this to inform you that I'm closing my account with HSBC and moving my money to a financial institution that is not bankrolling brutality against people, particularly Native Americans, who are exercising their rights to protect the earth and its natural, finite resources. 
Until your bank pulls out of its deal with Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, terminate its contract with them and halt all further funds from being dispersed to these companies, I will encourage other HSBC customers to withdraw their money and close their accounts as well. You and fellow decision makers have an opportunity to demonstrate that you all have a soul. If like me, you believe crimes against humanity is unacceptable, the time for HSBC to rise as the world's ethical bank is now.

Monday Movie Meme - The Chase

I wonder if we give car chases in movies too much credit. They clearly are not the only game in town that can provoke action-packed, heart pounding thrills on screen. So, the theme of this week’s Monday Movie Meme is dedicated to the characters involved in getaways or heavy pursuits, on foot:  The Chase.


Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies featuring an on-foot chase involving one or more of the main characters. They can be trying to run away from someone or something. They can be chasing other people or inanimate objects. So long as these on-screen chases are done without any form of transportation – be that a plane, train or automobile, you’re good to go. Here are my selections for this week’s The Chase theme.


Jesse is nimble, Jesse is quick, and Jesse cannot only jump over a candle stick, he can survive being hit by a car – multiple times, in this action thriller starring Chris Brown and Matt Dillon.

As a member of a sophisticated bank robbing team, Jesse remains unstoppable after leaping through glass windows and tumbling over fences, among other adventures, to get away from Detective Welles. Had I watched “Takers” just a year earlier, this movie character would have been fitting for my previous list of movies featuring Olympic runners.

The Bourne Ultimatum

A contract killer chases Nicky Parsons through the crowded streets and buildings of a Moroccan city when she tries to help Bourne, in this action thriller starring Matt Damon and Julia Stiles.


Bliss (Mutluluk)

As planned for my participation in the global discussion on human rights, for Blog Action Day 2013, this foreign film is partly why I chose the “chasing” theme.

There is a scene in “Bliss” where a girl who was scheduled to die in an honor killing, is chased through a field, by henchmen from her village.

What movies have YOU seen featuring a chase that takes place on foot?


A Netflix Recommendation Made Possible by Womens' Execution in the Name of Honor

In preparation for today’s global conversation on Human Rights, hosted by Blog Action Day 2013, I’ve adjusted my movie rental queue, to include the Turkish film “Bliss” (Originally titled “Mutluuk”) and recommend that you join me in watching it. Directed by Abdullah Oguz, this road-trip drama is about the self-discovery of two people struggling with brutal cultural norms -- a teenage girl who gets shunned by her village, following a rape – and the captor tasked with her community-sanctioned execution.

This girl’s family hires a military veteran to take her to Istanbul and kill her for dishonoring them – according to the value system of their village.

When the man decides to spare her life, they both end up on the run; he struggles between the brutal beliefs taught to him and those of his worldly experiences as a soldier while she attempts to prove her worth. If it were not for the recommendation from screenwriter Mark Hughes at Forbes Magazine, who calls this movie “Magnificent…one of the best films available to ‘Watch Instantly’ on Netflix,” I likely would have never heard of “Bliss.”Of all the tens of thousands (or more) films made every year, I’m both surprised and a little disappointed that there aren’t as many well-known movies featuring stories about honor killings as there are for other human rights issues such as child abuse, genocide and domestic violence.

In just 60 seconds, you and I could easily identify a large number of films about human rights – “Schindler’s List,” “The Battle of Algiers,” “Gladiator,” “Blood Diamond,” “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” the newly released “12 Years a Slave” and the list goes on. Few of us, however, can do the same when it comes to movies about honor killings. That changes today, as I plan to watch “Bliss,” to honor the girls and women slain at the hands of their family and/or friends.

I will watch “Bliss” in memory of Noor Almalecki, a high school tennis player from Arizona that I read about while browsing a 2010 issue of Marie Claire. After Noor’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, they (particularly her father Faleh Almalecki, according to reports) condemned her for being “too westernized” -- wearing jeans and socializing with boys, to name a few of their disagreements with the way this girl assimilated into Western culture. During a family trip to Iraq she learned of her parents’ plans for an arranged marriage but they returned to the states, where things went from bad to worse.

Noor’s home life eventually became so volatile that she moved out, got a job and sought a restraining order on her father. That did not stop him from running her down with his SUV in 2009. After being hospitalized and pronounced brain dead, Noor Almalecki took her last breath that same year.

I will also watch “Bliss” to remember teenager Laura Wilson, who was stabbed by her 17 year-old boyfriend in Britain for “shaming” his family. He has shown no remorse since being convicted for the murder, according to Laura’s mother, Margaret Wilson.

Here in the states, law enforcement agencies treat crimes like what happened to Noor as a Domestic Violence issue. While I understand how these acts fit that bill, we must consider the complexities that come with immigration; as well as the disruption that inhumane cultural traditions cause within households across the nation (and abroad), and address the needs of these matters as such.

The families and communities that support, defend and even nurture a culture with an ongoing tradition of murder, harassment and assault on women don’t see these acts as a crime. They see it as a necessary step in preserving their honor among the entire community at large. So, in a culture where honor killings thrive without consequence, the murder of girls like Noor and Laura is much bigger than Domestic Violence.

The Government shutdown is affecting shelters and programs that help girls and women who are in danger of harm by their families and/or significant others. These programs depend on funding from the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (which is part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act) that expired in 2008 and was restored in 2010.

It is also said in news reports concerning honor killings that suicide rates are high among women who feel like they have nowhere to turn – or no way out from circumstances that place more value on controlling women’s behavior through merciless codes of conduct, than that of human life. So as my “Bliss” movie night arrives, here’s hoping that October 16th, 2013 will be the day that more people take an interest in supporting initiatives that save women at risk of being put to death just so their families can keep an inhumane tradition alive. The irony of that is heartbreaking enough. 

What Human Rights issues do YOU find to be most important?

Have YOU ever volunteered, signed petitions, raised funds, donated goods/services or participated in related actions to bring awareness to a particular cause for concern? 

Here are some further viewing options with additional information about honor killing crimes in the U.S. and Abroad:

CBS aired an episode of 48 Hours: Mystery titled "A Family's Honor" based on the Marie Claire article about Noore Almalecki - WATCH IT HERE.

Fox News aired a special about honor killings, titled "Murder in the Family" - WATCH PART 1 HERE and WATCH PART 2 HERE.


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