Is Access to Clean, Potable Water a Basic Human Right?

Detroit - Water Shut Off - October 2014

Isn’t it? You would think that in a developed country, such as the United States, having access to clean, potable water would never be an issue. Yet, here we are in 2014 and Detroit has been “aggressively disconnecting the water for non paying customers” since spring, leaving thousands of households without water access. Winter is slowly creeping upon us. Are we really leaving our impoverished children, our single parents and our elderly without water, without such a vital necessity? Why has this been an issue since spring?

Water is a Human Right - Detroit - October 2014

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Teenage Girl Hero: Malala Yousafzai, Youngest Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

‘One child, one teacher, one book & one pen can change the world.’

Malala Yousafzai, 17 is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, announced today, October 10, 2014. Two years prior, in Pakistan, the young teenager was shot in the head by the Taliban due to her resilient campaigning for girls’ education.

Malala Yousafzai

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: ‘The true winners today are the world’s children.’

Shame on you, Sudan!

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old pregnant Sudanese mother is currently locked in Omdurman Women’s Prison, near Khartoum with her 20-month-old son for committing adultery (violation of Article 146 – 1991 Criminal Act – forbidden union between a Muslim woman and a Christian man) and apostasy (Article 126 – 1991 Criminal Act – ‘renunciation of the creed of Islam or public declaration of renunciation’). If she does not renounce her Christian faith by Thursday, May 15, 2014, she will face public flogging for adultery and death for apostasy. Again, Mariam is a 27 year old pregnant mother raised by a Christian Ethiopian Orthodox mother (her Muslim Sudanese father abandoned the family when Mariam was 6 years old) and has been married since 2012 to Dr. Daniel Wani, a US Citizen Sudanese Christian doctor. Despite all this evidence, Sudanese authorities insist she is in fact Muslim.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahi Ishag

Her religion and her husband’s religion are her only crimes and for this she faces death!

Stoning in Sudan

This case is unique in Sudan.

 We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs…approach Ms Mariam’s case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people – the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said in a joint statement.

woman whipped by police in SudanFlogging Whip

“It’s not only Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, in all the Muslim countries, it is not allowed at all for a Muslim to change his religion.” –  Ahmed Bilal Osman, Sudan’s Information minister.

Sudan map

URGENT! PLEASE put a STOP to this injustice by writing to the Sudanese Embassy!

Save Mariam!



Liberal Lifestyles



Bring Back Our Girls!

April 15, 2014, north-eastern Nigeria; almost 300 young girls are viciously abducted in the middle of the night from their boarding school and the building set on fire. In a region in which the rate of female high school graduates is as low as 8%, in a region, which has been in a state of emergency for a year due to consecutive terrorist attacks, these 300 young girls risked their lives by daring to be educated.

Bring Back Our Girls - 2

These brave students knew that the only way they could escape a future of violence and poverty was through education.

Access to education is a basic right and an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls.” Hillary Clinton

Nigeria - Chibok   Members of the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram (Western Education is a Sin) have been relentless in their fight against education. Last year alone, over 50 Nigerian schools were destroyed by militants. Bring Back Our Girls - 1Bring Back Our Girls - 4

Boko Haram is selling these young, educated girls into sexual slavery, auctioning them off for as little as $12. Is this really happening in 2014? Young girls unable to attend school safely, parents and relatives sending their children to school in fear… This isn’t a period piece, an old movie, an old documentary. This is happening right now and it is truly unfathomable!

Bring Back Our Girls - 5

Now, almost three weeks later, what have we done to ‘bring back our girls’? The parents and relatives of these young girls are absolutely outraged at the lack of commitment demonstrated by President Goodluck Jonathan’s corrupt Nigerian government. We must pressure the Nigerian government, we must pressure all the nations of the world to step forth and put a stop to human trafficking, to sexual slavery, to violence and to inaccessible education for young girls.


Bring Back Our Girls - 3

Terrorist leaders are educated, smart individuals, fully aware that the power of education is absolute!

We cannot allow anyone to interfere with the education of our youth! We must speak up!


Bring Back Our Girls


April 4 – International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

The United Nations has a proud record of helping millions of people in mine-affected countries. On this International Day, let us resolve to mobilize the resources, partners and resolve we need to further advance our vision of a planet free from mines.”  –  United Nations Secretary – General Ban Ki-moon


In 2005, the UN General Assembly has declared April 4 the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Millions of landmines and UXOs (unexploded ordnances) exist in over 60, mostly poverty stricken post war countries around the globe, causing the tragic death of over 15, 000 mostly civilian victims, including children, adolescents and women. Physical injuries are extremely severe, such as loss of vision, hearing and loss of limbs.

War Affected Children

However, the injuries are not merely physical. Imagine the mental state of a landmine victim. Injured male victims can no longer work to provide for their families. Injured children can no longer continue their education and lose hope of a better future. Injured women can no longer take care of their household and their families. The previously agriculturally rich land can no longer produce crops and feed its inhabitants. Clearly, it severely affects the victims, physically, mentally and socially. Note that the casualty number is merely a low estimate, as many injuries and deaths are not reported. Considering our current technology, the United Nations estimates another 1,100 years for the complete global clearing of landmines.


April 4 brings renewed awareness and interest in this critical problem. The high number of deaths and the even higher number of casualties is unacceptable!

09 limbs

Mine action aims to bring safety to those that live in landmine areas. Mine action aims to discard the world of landmines. Mine action aims to provide counsel to victims and their families and educate in order to promote safety and action.


How can people create a new life in countries recovering from war and conflict when they face the danger of landmines? How can children walk to school safely when they face the danger of landmines? How can women go to the market when they face the danger of landmines? How can men go to work and provide for their families when they face the danger of landmines? Imagine living in constant fear not only for yourself but for your family, your loved ones and your land.

Countries with the highest number of landmines: 

1. Egypt – over 23 million

2. Iran – over 16 million

3. Angola – over 15 million

4. Afghanistan – over 10 million

5. Iraq – over 10 million


International Campaign to Ban Landmines ICBL

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs


Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin


The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honoured guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.” Haji Ali

In his New York Times best seller, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson, a homeless American mountaineer, promotes peace through education, ‘fighting terrorism one school at a time’. His inspiring biography proves that when one door closes, another opens. Live life positively, be relentless, and transform failures and obstacles into new opportunities!

Mortenson discovers his life mission in 1993, when he becomes lost in the remote, dangerous mountain regions of Pakistan and nearly loses his life in a failed attempt to climb K2 (world’s second largest mountain). Rescued by impoverished villagers, Mortenson devotes his life to educating Muslim youth in secluded areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tijakistan. He learns that these regions’ youth are often overlooked by their governments and those lucky enough to attend school are often subjected to outdoor classes and writing their lessons in dirt. As men usually leave their families and villages to find work, Mortenson argues that the best investment for poor countries is in the education of girls. Educating and empowering women will lead to healthier, more sanitary, more organized and more stable societies.





You can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads or put in electricity, but unless the girls are educated, a society won’t change.” – Mortenson


Three Cups of Tea deals with pre and post 9/11 and the various difficulties Mortenson encounters as an American in Pakistan & Afghanistan. By providing a free, liberal education for the Pakistani and Afghani youth, Mortenson creates an alternative to the extremist madrassas (free extremist Muslim education centres geared towards militancy) thus literally fighting terrorism through education.

Facing cultural and political tension and a severe lack of financial support, Mortenson discovers that terrorism is best opposed not through war, but rather through understanding, cooperation and education.


Education is the key to positive change.


The real enemy is ignorance.”

Three Cups of Tea is beautifully written. It is also a critically important book at this time in history. The governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are both failing their students on a massive scale. The work Mortenson is doing, providing the poorest students with a balanced education, is making them much more difficult for the extremist madrases to recruit.” – Ahmed Rashid, best-selling author of Taliban: Militant Islam and Oil in Central Asia and Descent Into Chaos.

Mortenson has recently been criticized for his lack of organization and his finances in his Central Asia Institute charity.

Consider his humanitarian achievements! Mortenson brought inspiration and hope to countless Muslims, in remote regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikstan. He risked his safety and his life by working in extreme and dangerous Muslim areas during a time of severe tension and conflict. He revolutionized the lives of innumerable Muslims and their families by building and continuing to finance hundreds of schools (300 and counting) in nearly inaccessible, forgotten regions of Central Asia; thereby providing education and hope for a better life, because education is indeed the key to change!


Central Asia Institute

Pennies For Peace

Three Cups of Tea

Stones into Schools