Last year Sarah Balabagan was brutally raped by her employer. She was only 15 years old and was a domestic worker in the household of a United Arab Emirates employer. During this attack on her person she killed him in self defense. In the ensuing trial it was accepted that Sarah had indeed been raped and she won compensation, but was also condemned to seven years in prison in the UAE for manslaughter.
The Philippine government sought a retrial in the case of Sarah Balabagan hoping to reverse the decision of the Court. Unfortunately in the retrial, the Court saw fit to sentence Sarah to death by firing squad instead, reversing the findings of the earlier trial that Sarah had been brutally raped. She is scheduled to executed on October 30th.
Sarah's case once again brings to the fore the plight of millions of Filipino overseas workers, many of whom are women domestic workers, who are in an extremely vulnerable position and lack any effective protection from either the Philippine government or the governments of the receiving countries. It is ironic that the death sentence on Sarah comes within the same week that the UAE representatives attending the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing committed themselves to taking action to protect children from exploitation. The World Conference on Women also agreed on a Platform for Action which condemns all forms of violence against women.
URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED NOW TO STOP THIS EXECUTION AND AS A CONDEMNATION OF ALL THE OTHER ATTENDANT INJUSTICES COMMITTED AGAINST SARAH. SHE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME TO HER FAMILY.
Please express your concern by writing to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates:
His Excellency Easa Faleh Al-Gurg, CBE
United Arab Emirates Embassy, 30 Princes Gate,
London SW7 1PT
Fax: 44171 581 9616
Kindly send a copy to the Philippine Embassy in London:
His Excellency Jesus P Tambunting,
9a Palace Green, London W8 4QE
Fax: 44171 937 2925
A sample letter is available from Graziano Battistella at email@example.com.
In the USA contact, concerned people should contact the Gabriella Network. They have been staging regular demonstrations in front of United Nations Mission of the United Arab Emirates. Call their hotline for demonstration schedules at 212-592-3507. You can also reach them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the UK contact KALAYAAN at email@example.com. A French organization is collecting appeals on her behalf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In common English "reconciliation" is an optimistic word, denoting peacemaking between feuding parties. But like every other word appropriated by Newt Gingrich and his meaning-twisters, the word now means its opposite -- an outbreak of total war between two feuding parties. In the coming weeks, Congress will cast an up-or-down vote on a gargantuan bill it calls the "reconciliation bill." Normally, this bill is voted on after all of the regular appropriations (spending) bills. However, the appropriations bills produced by the "revolutionary" Republican leaders are so extreme that the leadership cannot round up enough votes to pass them. So instead they are dumping the various bills into the "reconciliation" bill, which cannot be filibustered. As befits a revolution, it would be better to call the bill a "wreck- onciliation."
Fundamental programs, including Medicare ($270 billion), Medicaid ($182-187 billion), and AFDC, are on the chopping block. In fact, total cuts in social services are an incredible SEVEN times the cuts made during the Reagan and Bush years. Moreover, most of these cuts were made without any significant hearings -- they were simply rammed through Congressional committees by dictatorial Republican leaders. The "wreck-onciliation" bill cannot be filibustered. But it can be defeated, if we send enough e-mails to our Senators and Representatives urging them to vote NO ON WRECK-ONCILIATION. The House and Senate will vote the week of October 23.
In addition, President Clinton can -- and must -- veto the bill. Responding to GOP threats that they would shut the government down if Clinton vetoes the bill, Clinton said. "I would gladly, gladly terminate my tenure here if the price of continuing it was just shelving everything I believe in about this country." Urge the President to stick to his guns and "VETO THE WRECK-ONCILIATION BILL." E-mail email@example.com.
As mentioned in the last issue of DISPATCH a Wal-Mart in Miramar, Florida bought T-shirts made by local women with a picture of Margaret from Dennis the Menace comic strip and a quote saying "Someday a woman will be president." Soon thereafter, the store pulled the shirts off the shelves because of a complaint. Local women were furious and declared a boycott. Within days, Wal-Mart reversed itself and bought 28,000 of the shirts to sell throughout the chain. Congratulations to the local activists!Radical Right Rewrites Webster's Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary formally defines "pro-family" as "anti-abortion, pro-life" -- thereby making us pro-choice folks "anti-family" and "anti-life." Well, it turns out there's an obvious reason for this outrageous smear -- Webster's was bought by Thomas Nelson, Inc., one of the largest publisher of religious materials (including Bibles) in the country. We know how the radical right, from Ralph Reed to Newt Gingrich, deliberately manipulates the English language for their political purposes. Now we know that they have the ultimate ally in this battle -- the publisher of the dictionary! Humpty Dumpty declared "Words mean what I want them to mean, neither more nor less." But even he didn't own the dictionary!
The previous four articles are from "Political Woman Hotline" a newsletter of the Women Leaders Online (WLO) a group dedicated to opposing the political agenda of the radical right, electing pro-woman candidates in 1996, and restoring civility and integrity to American politics. You can write to them at PolWoman@aol.com and visit their web site at http://worcester.lm.com/women/women.html.
Illustration: Mac McGill
The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, in conjunction with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, is calling for an International Day of Education around the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Death Penalty, Police Repression Brutality and Political Prisoners to take place on Black Solidarity Day, Monday, November 6, 1995. People coming to Philly can join a march at 10AM from Progress Plaza at Oxford and Boad to City Hall. Come and stand up for Mumia. We need to show Pennsylvania that we will not allow Mumia to be murdered!
The recent 154 page decision by Common Pleas Court Judge Albert Sabo to deny Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial makes it very clear the necessity of continuing the pressure on the State of Pennsylvania. In this 154-page decision Judge Sabo sought to close the door on Mumia's chances of getting a new trial in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court when we go before them on the next level of the appeal in the next few months. The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition works to educate the people about the issues in this case, get the truth of what the witnesses testified happened the night of December 9, 1981, and expose the level of police corruption and how and why Mumia was framed.
You can point your web browser to http://www.igc.org/prisons/pps+pows/descrip/mumia2.html, http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm, and http://burn.ucsd.edu/~ats for additional information. For more assistance please call (212) 281-4973 or (215) 476-8812, (203) 847-6721.
On 12 October 1995 the second release of declassified VENONA documents will be available to the public. This release, over 250 translations of KGB-GRU communications, focuses on messages between the New York KGB Residency and Moscow Center during 1942 to 1943.
The VENONA project was initiated in 1943 by the Army Signal Intelligence Service, a forerunner of the National Security Agency (NSA). Painstaking analysis by U.S. cryptologists led to the breaking and reading of communications exchanged by the KGB and GRU with their stations in the Western hemisphere. The VENONA messages revealed extensive detail about Soviet espionage activities in the U.S. and other countries, providing insight into Soviet spycraft.
Highlights of this second release include a September 1943 message providing KGB Residencies instructions on how to handle intelligence sources within the Communist party after the disestablishment of the COMINTERN (Communist International - a Soviet-controlled organization that conducted liaison with the national Communist parties of various countries). There is a message from the head of Soviet state security L.P. Beria admonishing the KGB Residencies to improve their security practices and also included are several messages dealing with Soviet subversive activity in Latin American countries.
On 11 July 1995 the first VENONA release was announced in a ceremony hosted by Director of Central Intelligence John M. Deutch. That release covered 49 messages primarily relating to Soviet espionage activities directed at the U.S. Atomic Bomb Program. The remaining 1800 of the approximately 2200 VENONA translations will be released over the coming year. The third release is scheduled for early 1996.
The VENONA collection, including all released documents and the two accompanying monographs, can be accessed via the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.gov.nsa:8080/ as of 12 October 1995.