Wake up Call – World Burning Social Issues
New Orleans, USA
John McCusker, a respected photographer for the Times- Picayune in New Orleans, erupts in a frenzy of crazed depression over lost insurance claims and attempts to run down police in his car on Napoleon Avenue.
Hugo Chavez, reigning petro-socialist kingpin and president of Venezuela, spends his summer visiting the leaders of Iran and China, taking time out to express sympathy for his ailing friend Fidel Castro.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali quits the Dutch Parliament and leaves the Netherlands after controversy surrounding her film Submission leads the government to question her status as a citizen. The film, directed by Theo van Gogh (a descendent of Vincent), preceded his own murder at the hands of Islamic radicals, shocking the normally progressive culture of the country.
In the city of Bursa this summer, a mob of five hundred people scream, “There is no way out of here! You will die!” at approximately one hundred gays and lesbians from the gay rights group Gokkusagi. They were trapped by the mob while attempting to organize a protest against the government, shutting down their organization under a “general morality”Â statute.
Salih Mahmoud Osman, winner of the 2006 International Human Rights Award, continues to document war crimes in Sudan where he risks his life to represent victims of abuse and detainment in the Darfur region.
Snake oil sales are thriving in Durban where a former truck driver sells uBhejane, an herbal “cure”Â for AIDS that came to him in a dream from his grandfather. Over two thousand patients have ditched their antivirals in favor of this promised remedy for the virus that kills nine hundred South Africans a day.
“Night Commuters” continue to roam the landscape of northern Uganda. These children, as young as seven, leave their villages at night to escape abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army, composed in large part of children itself. Boys are forced to commit unspeakable acts of violence and girls are used as sex slaves.
Despite hundreds of millions of anti-narcotics dollars spent, Afghani opium production has increased by 40% over last year, yielding enough poppies to make 600 tons of opium, or 90% of the world’s supply.
India’s recent success in transforming itself into a world power is complicated by the fact that experts predict it will be a “next wave” HIV hot spot, rivaling Africa in the scope of its pandemic. Over five million Indians are infected with the virus currently.
Glasnost frosts over as Russian state-controlled media returns to its Sovietera ways. Top television anchors and magazine editors have been forced out of their jobs, and the Russian Television Academy has declared, “Russian television today is not free.”Â Bush looked into Putin’s soul and found a man that he could trust. Some Russians seem to disagree.
Zhang Qingli, China’s top official in Tibet, ramps up the rhetoric against the Dalai Lama, declaring a “fight to the death”Â with the celebrity monk. Secret negotiations between the religious leader and Beijing seek autonomy for Tibet, but seem to
The “Seoul Train” marches on as Christian missionaries such as Tim Peters from Michigan smuggle desperate North Koreans to safety in the south.
D Michael Taylor
Illustration by Andrew J. Newman
First published in movmnt Magazine “Army of Me” Winter 2006 issue