Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Plus ça change

Via Black Amazon:

Smugglers toss hundreds of refugees to sharks

Knife-wielding smugglers forced 450 Somalis and Ethiopians overboard into stormy seas along a remote stretch of Yemen coastline at Ras-Alkalb in the Gulf of Aden last Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.

The smugglers forced their passengers overboard so they could make a speedy departure after being spotted by Yemeni security forces, UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid van Genderen Stort said.

It was the latest case of smuggler brutality involving boats carrying people across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It brings the total number of dead and missing among people trying to reach Yemen so far this year to 262.

"We are horrified by this latest tragedy," said Erika Feller, the agency's assistant high commissioner for protection.

The victims are people "who are desperate to escape persecution, violence and poverty in the Horn of Africa," she said.

..."Several recovered bodies showed signs of severe mutilation," UNHCR said. "Survivors also reported that several Ethiopian women and at least one Somali were raped and abused by the smugglers during the voyage from Bosaso in Somalia's Puntland region. Survivors also alleged that some Yemeni security forces confiscated their money once they reached shore."

Since January 2006 at least 30,000 people have fled violence and hardship in Somalia and Ethiopia for Yemen, according to UNHCR. About 500 people have died and at least 300 are missing and believed dead.

Meanwhile, not very far away: a number of people had mentioned this one, actually:

Shaquanda Cotton

I am a 14-year-old black freshman who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. I have no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. I was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until I turn 21. Just three months earlier, Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation....

Blogher amplifies:

During her imprisonment, Cotton has tried to seriously hurt herself three times. She says she is depressed and afraid of the other girls, most of whom have prior criminal records and serious felony convictions. She told Chicago Sun-Times reporter Howard Witt:

"I get paranoid when I get around some of these girls," Shaquanda said. "Sometimes I feel like I just can't do this no more--that I can't survive this."

A guard at the prison where she is being held is accused of molesting four girls. The board responsible for overseeing the Texas juvenile justice system amid charges that they covered up sex abuse scandals in several of the facilities it oversees.

Cotton's supporters say that her case reflects a long-standing pattern of racist treatment in a town whose best-known landmark is the public fairgrounds where black men were routinely lynched as white spectators cheered. The court and prosecutors reportedly denied a Chicago Tribune reporter's request for comment.

Cotton's mother said her daughter was singled out because she accused the school district of racism on several occasions. In fact, 12 discrimination complaints have been filed against the school district in recent years. School district officials dispute the charges, but the US Department of Education, which is still investigating, has reportedly asked the US Department of Justice to investigate.

Calls to action at both sites.

Temple3, The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum, Vox ex Machina, Prometheus 6, Solar Souls, the Young Black Professionals Guide and My Private Casbah all have good coverage and/or commentary on this as well.

Finally, what i was reminded of when this story broke:

yesterday was the 96th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

1 comment:

Faith said...

Good fucking goddess...