Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘tragedy’

Safety at Chemical Plants

Safety at Chemical Plants

In April a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, killing fourteen people and injuring hundreds. Since then, there have been at least six other chemical accidents, including two that included fatalities.

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But instead of letting state inspectors in to figure out what is going wrong, the five chemical plants have simply denied the inspectors entry and gotten away with it. We can’t let this continue.

Join us in demanding that OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspect the five chemical plants in Texas that kicked out state fire inspectors who were trying to prevent another West, Texas tragedy. Click here to sign our petition.

Back in April, a fertilizer plant exploded in the small town of West, Texas — killing 14 people and injuring 200. The plant stored explosive ammonium nitrate — but had no alarms, no automatic shutoff system, no firewall and no sprinkler system. And it was across the street from a school.

When Texas fire inspectors stepped up their enforcement after this tragedy, five chemical plants flat-out denied them entry. And there’s nothing under Texas law that mandates such inspections. The state has no fire code, and only scheduled inspections are required.

If Texas can’t protect its residents, the federal government must. Sign our petition to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) demanding that they inspect the five chemical plants who have denied access to the Texas fire inspectors.

Keep fighting,
Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

Help Congress Stand Up

Dear Gabriel,

Less than four months ago, the community of Newtown, Conn. suffered an unspeakable tragedy. Their world was shattered – just like the hundreds of other communities who have witnessed the scourge of gun violence. Stand with the clergy of Newtown in speaking out against rising gun violence across the country.

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Nothing any of us do will ever bring back those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As a nation, all we can do is make sure we prevent the next tragedy. The religious leaders of Newtown have spoken out to demand that Congress take action immediately, and pass legislation that will stop the slaughter. It is time that we stood with them.

Newtown does not want be remembered as a town of tragedy, but as a bridge to a new and kinder world. Sign the petition today, and send a message to Congress that you stand with the clergy of Newtown.

Thank you for all you do,

Jay C.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Muslim’s Condemn Bombings

Muslim Leaders Condemn Christmas Day Bombings
27 December 2011

From Kunle Akogun, Damilola Oyedele in Abuja, John Shiklam in Kaduna, Tunde Sanni in Ibadan, Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin.

The umbrella Islamic body for Muslims in the North, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), yesterday condemned the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State and another church in Jos, Plateau State, saying it is not in a religious war against Christians. Both incidents claimed the lives of over 40 persons.

But the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and FCT warned yesterday that the attacks may spark a religious war.

Secretary General of JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, while reacting to the bombings in a telephone interview with THISDAY, said Islam, as a religion, respects human lives and would do everything to preserve it.

“Human lives must be preserved and protected by all including security agencies; it is rather unfortunate that Nigerians are losing their lives to bomb blasts,” Aliyu said.

The Islamic body also tasked security agencies to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to justice, stressing that it is only when the culprits are fished out and punitive measures taken against them that it would serve as deterrent to others planning to carry out such nefarious activities.

In his reaction, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who joined other Muslims in voicing condemnation against Boko Haram, said taking of human lives in the name of religion was strange in Islam.

The sultan, at the formal opening of Islamic Vacation Course (IVC) organised by Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), B-Zone, said dispute could only be resolved through dialogue and not by violence or bloodbath.

He said Islam abhorred violence and called for unity among Muslims to address the challenges facing them.
“Violence is not part of the tenets of Islam and would never be allowed to tarnish the image of the religion,” the sultan said.
Chastising Boko Haram, another Islamic group, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), said “cold blooded murder of innocent worshippers” was “horrifying and sickening”.

In a statement by its Director of Media and Communications, Disu Kamor, MPAC described the perpetrators of the dastardly act as “criminal and devilish hate cultists bent on imposing their evil ideology on us”.

“On this occasion and in similar incidents, Nigerian Muslims and Muslims everywhere stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Christian brothers and sisters and we are determined to continue to work together to remove the mischief of those seeking to destroy peaceful co-existence and harmony. We feel the sorrow and share the grief of all that were affected by this tragedy – this evil attack is a crime committed against mankind,” MPAC added.

Also, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) said it is “shocked and petrified by this development”.
MURIC in a statement by Dr. Ishaq Akintola disagreed with Boko Haram, which had said it carried out the attack to avenge the killing of Muslims during the last Sallah.

He said: “The attackers cannot claim that they were revenging the attack on Muslims in Jos during the last Eid el-Fitr on August 30, 2011 which left many Muslims dead because Christians celebrating Christmas earlier on December 25, 2010 were the first to be killed in bomb explosions.

“Nothing in the scriptures of Islam justifies this kind of attack. We therefore assert clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously that Boko Haram is not fighting for Nigerian Muslims.”

Similarly, the Chairman of the Sokoto State chapter of Izalat Bida’a Waikamtul Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheikh Abubakar Usman Mabera, said the killing of innocent citizens, under any guise, is a case of murder and in contrast to Islamic teachings.

“Whoever takes the life of a fellow human being has committed evil irrespective of his religion – whether Christian or Muslim – and will pay for his sins. So, this is an act of terrorism which is against Islamic teachings,” he said.

Mabera, who frowned on the act, said: “Almighty Allah forbids the killing of a fellow human being. Whoever thinks that he is carrying out Jihad by destroying places of worship and killing innocent citizens is ignorant of Islam because the religion forbids that.”
The Muslim Congress frowned on the Madalla blast and said the continued killing of innocent Nigerians by the activities of Boko Haram is uncalled for and should be condemned by all Nigerians.

The Amir of the Congress, Mallam Abdulraheem Lukman, said in a statement that: “The endemic killings can best be described as inhuman, wicked, condemnable and totally unacceptable in civilised societies.

“The action is even more repulsive during the periods of celebrations and this is highly condemnable.”
CAN in the 19 Northern states and Abuja has warned that attacks on churches by Boko Haram are capable of igniting a religious war in the country.

But labour unions in the country have urged Christians not to retaliate the Christmas attacks on churches in Niger, Plateau and Yobe States which left scores of people dead.

The pan-Northern Nigeria group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), also condemned the attacks yesterday, warning that they serve no good in the prevailing circumstances.

At a news conference in Kaduna yesterday, Secretary-General of Northern CAN, Elder Saidu Dogo, said the bombing of churches and killing of Christians was an invitation to religious war in Nigeria.
Dogo urged Islamic leaders to call the perpetrators of the dastardly act to order to avert confrontation, saying that no group should push the other to the wall to fan the ember of religious war.

He said if the authorities fail to track down those behind the killings of innocent Nigerians, “we shall henceforth in the midst of these provocations and wanton destruction of innocent lives and property be compelled to make our own efforts and arrangements to protect the lives of innocent Christians and peace-loving citizens of this country”.

While calling on Christians to be law abiding, he expressed the need for them to defend themselves whenever the need arises.
He called on the Muslim Umma and Ulamas in Nigeria “to live up to their responsibilities by calling to order, all Islamic sects in the country to have respect for human lives and stop these killings. For we fear that the situation may degenerate to a religious war and Nigeria may not be able to survive as one. Once again, enough is enough”.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government and its security agents in trying to curtail these attacks. However, we are piqued that the efforts of government are being undermined by the sponsors of the Islamic fundamentalists in the North.

“We are particularly disturbed that the perpetrators of these dastardly acts and their sponsors are well known to government and no serious or decisive actions have been taken to stem their nefarious activities.

“The Federal and state Governments of Niger, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and such other areas that these wanton destruction of lives and property have been or are being perpetrated, should arrest and bring to book all the perpetrators and their sponsors.

“Government at all levels should provide 24 hours security services to all churches, Christian religious institutions and organisations in the county, especially in the North.

“We are also calling on the federal and state governments to urgently stem these massacres of Christians and the destruction of their churches and property in the North. The attacks so far have proved that some Islamic fundamentalists want to exterminate Christianity in the Northern states. We are assuring all Christians that the church will not allow that to happen,” Dogo said.

The ACF, on its part, condemned the frequent explosions, saying the Christmas attacks were capable of diverting attention to religious crises that would serve no one good.

The forum, in a statement emailed to THISDAY by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, urged Boko Haram to embrace dialogue in pursuit of the resolution of whatever grievances it had with the authorities, stressing that the bombings and killing of innocent Nigerians and destruction of property were misguided.

“The spate of bomb blasts on Christmas day, which were directed at places of worship across some parts of the North, is a serious source of concern to Arewa Consultative Forum, to Northern Leaders and to the good people of the North, indeed, to patriotic Nigerians.

“Source of concern not because past bombings were less serious but because those on the Christmas day are capable of diverting attention to religious crises that would serve no one, including the perpetrators, any good now and for a long time to come.
“Consequently, ACF calls on the perpetrators of violence to stop forthwith and avail themselves to due process of addressing perceived grievances that are in place.

“ACF also wishes to say killing of innocent Nigerians is not correct and offends God and many people’s sense of justice. This is because a good number of those who go to places of worship are not lettered in either Western or Islamic education.
“More so that Western education is not necessarily the cause of the collapse of national ideals, moral values and cause of indiscipline in the polity, since there are examples of Muslim countries and Christian countries with western education that are morally sound. Turkey belongs to the former and Nordic country of Norway belongs to the later.

“Nigerians of all faiths must therefore come together and confront corruption in all ramifications by inspiring cultural renaissance for collective good. Corruption in Nigeria is not an exclusive preserve of Western education but a national malaise that should be confronted by all, and not government alone. Enough of the bombings and killing of innocent Nigerians,” the ACF said.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) warned that there are certain disgruntled elements in the polity who want to divide Nigeria along sectarian lines.

President General of the TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, in a telephone conversation with THISDAY in Abuja yesterday, appealed to Nigerians, especially Christians, to be calm and avoid being incited to reprisal.
He added that it was necessary for Nigerians to stay united at these critical moments and not to allow any plot that is aimed at dividing the country along religious or ethnic lines to succeed.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called on the Federal Government to make the fight against crime and terrorism its priority rather than diverting the attention of Nigerians with its debate on the need to remove fuel subsidy.

It added that it is necessary that the root causes of insecurity – poverty and unemployment – be addressed as budgeting huge sums of money for security would not solve the problem.

In a statement yesterday, the Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Comrade Owei Lakemfa, condemned the attacks in strongest terms, describing the perpetrators as “terrorists whose minds are as blurred as their vision”.

He called on Nigerians not to be deterred by the terrorists or give up on building a peaceful and united country where the will of the people would prevail.

Own Up Shell

Shell Oil considers the oil spils it caused in Nigeria a “tragedy.” Then why does the oil giant refuse to clean up its act?

Dear Gabriel,

There used to be life and hope in the Niger Delta town of Bodo, a village filled with thriving fish ponds and mangrove trees. Then in 2008, two oil spills changed everything — twice, nearby Shell Oil pipelines spewed toxic oil for weeks before they were repaired.

“It killed all the mangrove trees, the ecosystem, everything we put there. Everything just died in a day.” –Bodo resident Christian Lekoya Kpandei

What was Shell Oil’s initial response to the devastation in Bodo, to Christian’s ruined fish ponds and livelihood? Silence.

Although Shell has accepted liability for these two spills, it is still silent on the issue of undertaking a comprehensive clean-up of the affected area, fully compensating the people whose lives have been devastated by the spills, and rehabilitating the affected area.

Counter Shell’s silence with some noise of your own. Tell Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO that it’s time his company own up, pay up and clean up its human rights mess in the Niger Delta.

The facts are indisputable. According to a recently released UN report, Shell has failed to adequately clean up pollution in the Niger Delta for years. It’s a familiar story these days — yet another corporation trying to weasel out of a mess of its own making.

Today, on the 16th anniversary of the execution of Nigerian environmental and human rights defender Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his fellow activists, Amnesty is launching a new report that reviews the record of the Bodo spill and adds damning new facts.

Shell Oil, which recently reported profits of $7.2 billion for July-September 2011, initially offered the Bodo community just a few thousand dollars and 50 bags of rice, beans, sugar and tomatoes as relief for the disaster.

Shell Oil is one of the three biggest companies in the world by revenue, a juggernaut in international business. But when it comes down to paying for a cleanup fund in Nigeria — to pay basic compensation to residents like Christian who lost everything in the oil spill Shell is liable for — this multinational corporation refuses to take responsibility.

Of course, if Shell commits to a $1 billion cleanup fund in Nigeria, as Amnesty is asking it to do, Shell’s shareholder profits may suffer a little. But we believe corporations should not put the profit of a few over the health and human rights of entire communities.

Stand up for “the 99%”, wherever they are. We can’t be silent while the human rights to water and livelihood are being destroyed by corporations like Shell.

Let’s win a key victory in the fight against environmental abuses in the oil industry and for human rights. Sign our petition now calling on Shell Oil to clean up its Niger Delta mess.

For justice,

Tanuka Loha
Director, Demand Dignity Campaign
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Momentum is already on our side! Just last month the US Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases that will determine whether corporations can be sued in US courts for human rights abuses committed abroad. One of them involves a group of Nigerian nationals who sued Royal Dutch Petroleum and two of its Shell Oil subsidiaries, alleging their complicity in serious human rights abuses by the Nigerian government in the early 1990s to suppress activism against the oil industry.

Show On Oprah Hits Home

The promo for the story that was on Oprah yesterday reads, “In an instant, a car accident shattered their lives. And then, one year later, an absolutely miraculous twist of fate you have to see to believe.” The show highlighted the Cobles, who three and a half years ago had all 3 of their young children (Kyle, Emma and Katie) killed in a car accident and then a year later had triplets (2 girls and a boy). If they had simply talked about the tragedy and then jumped to them having the identical number of kids a year later, it would have been disappointing and misleading, but it wasn’t.

Lori and Chris Coble shared there journey (so far) with honesty, integrity and clarity. They let themselves be raw in the places that are raw and talked about the struggles, thoughts of giving up and most importantly, what they have found works for them to survive such a tragedy. They didn’t tip-toe around any subject. They have not, in any form or fashion, tried to replace their children who died with those now living. They’ve done what many find difficult, which is to keep those who have died in there lives and honor them by living the best they can and nurturing the children now in their care.

Oprah did a good job of compassionate listening and asking them to express themselves without telling them or the audience, what they should or shouldn’t feel or trying to rescue them and put some positive spin on their every word. The only comment that was made which seemed slightly off the mark and which continues to be propagated, was the idea of “stages”, as if you go through one at a time and then at a certain point in time you have “recovered”. It wasn’t portrayed that way strongly, but still somewhat implied.

A lot of what the Cobles have gone through seems so similar to the people I interviewed around the country for Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call. Over half the people I spoke with had lost children and they had all had to deal with despair, depression, anger, anxiety, terror and frustration. They also all ended up doing something to help others (as a result of there loss).

People aren’t all so altruistic and in many respects, it is quite amazing that anybody can keep living and moving forward when they have experienced the kind of loss that the Cobles have. The ultimate message seems to be that you can survive the worst that can happen and keep walking ahead, even if it’s just one step at a time, getting out of the chair or off the floor.

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