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Four years of suffering

July 5, 2010

25 June 2006, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants close to the Gaza border. He has been held by Hamas ever since, most of the time incommunicado. Hamas has only passed on three letters from him, and has refused to allow either his family or the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit him.

In the four years since the capture of Shalit, Hamas, Hizbollah and other armed groups have fired innumerable rockets on Israeli border towns, and Israel has launched brutal attacks on Lebanon and Gaza – as well as on an international convoy of ships trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.

The result of all these acts of violence has – predictably – been nothing but death and disaster. Thousands have been killed and wounded, and the suffering has been – and still is – downright intolerable. After four years of escalating bloodshed and tragedy, the fate of one individual soldier might seem like a drop in the ocean. However, Gilad Shalit is not forgotten. Nor should he be.

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Raising voices

June 18, 2010

Burma’s so-called elections are drawing close. So is the 65th birthday of the woman who won the last elections – back in 1990 – Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been held under house arrest for nearly 15 years, and the Burmese junta seem determined to keep her locked up until well after the election.

The brutal military government do everything in its power (and in Burma, that means pretty much everything) to keep Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in, or influencing the outcome of the elections in any way.

Right now, the junta’s greatest hope is that both the Burmese people and the world at large will forget about her and the other brave activists struggling for a better Burma. We cannot let that happen.

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Outrageous and deadly

June 3, 2010

Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world. The exact details of the boarding of the aid ships and the tragedy that followed are still somewhat unclear, and the UN¹, EU, and innumerable governments and NGOs have called for a full investigation of the flotilla raid.

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A message for the heart

May 18, 2010

Send a message to Burmeses junta leader Than Shwe, demanding that democracy activist Ko Mya Aye is given  access to the medical treatment he urgently needs for his serious heart condition.

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Testing the borders of absurdity

April 29, 2010

The Belgian language communities: Dutch-speaking (Flemish) areas in gold, French speaking (Walloon) areas in red, German-speaking areas in blue. The red-and-gold striped dot in the upper middle of the country is the blingual area surrounding Brussels. Map: Lennart Bolks (public domain).

Last Thursday, Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme resigned after his coalition government fell apart.  This is the third time in two years that Leterme has offered his resignation to the Belgian king, and the country is now on the verge of a political crisis. Again.

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