Tags >> land rights
Sep 02
2010

Rebuilding in Kyrgyzstan

Posted by Bruce Robinson in war , volunteer , poverty , peace , nonprofit orgs , land rights , international , housing , history , government , families , economy , current events , construction , activism

Bruce Robinson

Of all the international hot spots where disaster assistance workers were needed last summer, Kyrgyzstan didn’t get a lot of attention. But that’s where one local volunteer spent most of July, working on rebuilding after a regime change and a spate of internal ethnic conflict.

cotton.jpgOver the past 11 years,  Chris and John Mason, co-owners of Emtu Winery in Forestville, have regularly traveled to distant, damaged parts of the world to aid in disaster relief efforts, regardless of the source of the troubles. (Here, John pauses for a picture with a cotton vendor in Osh, Kyrgyrzstan.)

As shown in this map, Kyrgyzstan lies mostly between China, to the south and east, and Kazakhstan on the north. But the southwestern bornder withUzbekistan and  Tajikistan is a cartographical jigsaw, whihc John Mason says was deliberately drawn to heighten historic mistrust between the ethnic Kyrgis and Uzbeks.
 
The ancient "Silk Road" passes through much of Kygyrstan, which John Mason found to be a beautiful and especially hospitable land.
kyrgyzstan.jpg 
 

 


 

 

Jul 26
2010

Eco-Tourism in Bolivia

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , tourism , state government , resources , recreation , poverty , planning , nonprofit orgs , land rights , jobs , international , Green , government , environment , employment , economy , conservation , business , activism

Bruce Robinson
A remote Bolivian valley full of rare birds and wildlife is becoming an eco-tourism destination, thanks in part to an assist from a Sebastopol non-profit, the Conservation Strategy Fund.
Doron Amiran of the Sebastopol-based Conservation Strategy Fund explains that while they helped local Bolivian groups successfuly oppose the dam project on the Beni river, they are not necessarily opposed to all dams.

Touring the Bala Valley, where the Amazonia jungle backs up against the eastern foot of the Andes Mountains, Amiran found that accommodations for visitors were comfortable, but basic.


As with most of the projects the Conservation Strategy Funds gets involved with, this Bolivian dam proposal was brought to their attention by local advocates for the people who would be directly affected by it.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifQBCA3_DQk&feature=related 360x240]
Jun 23
2010

Revisiting the Running Fence

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , Sonoma County , Sonoma , recreation , politics , planning , ocean , media , land rights , journalism , history , farms , families , events , environment , design , coast , California , art , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Thirty-four years after Christo’s  Running Fence snaked across the North Bay’s coastal landscape into the Pacific, the unique and short-lived artwork is still fondly recalled by most of those who played a part in its creation.

The large and unexpected projects envisioned and executed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude may not fit some conventional definitions of art, says documentary filmmaker Wolfram Hissen, but they certainly strike a chord with a huge number of people.

Some of the friendships that developed during the Running Fence project proved to be deep and enduring, Hissen discovered, despite the broad differences between the artists and the ranchers.

After the Running Fence was taken down, each landowner got to keep the materials that had been part of it. Some used the poles and  hardware in other construction projects, while the thousands of yards of while canvass was generally harder to reuse. One exception ot that was this jacket, made by Amelia Bruhn, and shown at the 33 year anniversary gathering in 2009 that became a substantial part of Wolfram Hissen's new documentary. See the trailer for the film below:

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBVpgN4JAsE 360x240]

In addition to the showing tonight in Occidental, The Running Fence Revisited will also be screened on the evenings of June 24 and 25 at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

 

Mar 17
2010

"Eclipse of the Sunnis"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , war , religion , poverty , politics , news , media , land rights , journalism , international , immigration , homeless , families , employment , author

Bruce Robinson

One little-reported consequence of the war in Iraq has been the displacement of an estimated 2 million former citizens who have fled to neighboring nations or even further. Their story is the subject of Eclipse of the Sunnis,  a new book by NPR Mideast correspondent Deborah Amos.

Amos began covering the Middle East for NPR more than 20 years ago, and renewed her interest in the region following the 9/11 attacks. Even though she sees the Iraqi Sunnis as complicit in their own downfall, as instigators of the sectarian insurgency, she also believes their situation as an enormous population of displaced professional and middle class families is an important story, one she felt could best be told by presenting the human faces of some of those involved.

The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims may appear to be the result of religious differences between two factions within Islam, but Deborah Amos cautions that this interpretation is a simplistic misreading of the complex geopolitics of the Middle East.

It’s a convenient shorthand to speak of the displaced Iraqis as “refugees,” but that, too, is an over implication, in Amos’s view. Because these are mostly middle class households, they are able to monitor events and their situation in ways that are completely unknown to most poverty-stricken refugees. But their circumstances leave them vulnerable to an eroding standard of living that may take generations to recover.

Amos writes about the significance of the Iraqi general election here.

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