Readers' Forum

Tell us what you think of the ideas you find in YES!

Thanks for the Hope
Thank you, thank you, Zahara Heckscher, for your uplifting article that led off the Spring 2004 issue.  Your historical perspective is invaluable, especially now with the unfolding events in Haiti and implausible denials by U.S. officials of any involvement in the ouster of Aristide. 

I was feeling particularly saddened today while researching the history of Haiti, from its inception in 1804 through a slave revolt, to the present day.  I feel more optimistic having read your article, knowing that my efforts are a link in a long and very strong chain that extends over generations.

Sarita Sidhu
Irvine, California


A Conspiracy of What?
I read with great interest the Spring 2004 issue of YES! on the globalization of the social justice movement. While looking for a description of the issues that energize the demonstrations against international economic institutions such as the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, I mainly found descriptions of various organizations involved in the protests, none of their issues.

I thought that globalization began when the first humans migrated from Africa about 100,000 years ago. Thus, the so-called “antiglobalization protests” have left me a bit puzzled. Recasting the protest movement as a global social justice movement, as YES! did, is very helpful.

Anwar Fazal's clear description of the process for strategic planning needed to focus the global social justice movement was excellent. But I wonder who will provide the “information in useful form” needed to initiate this process, and who will provide the “Clear vision and mission statements” needed to “define both the future we want and the specific outcomes we seek.”

The Surman and Reilly article on “appropriating the internet for global activism” suggests a possible mechanism for organizing this movement, at least among the wired world. But the resource guide and websites mentioned in other articles indicate that this disorganized array has yet to develop sufficiently. We must hope that someone will be able to unify this effectively without stepping on too many toes or eliciting turf wars among organizations.

David H. Griffin
Jamesville, New York

The Power of Nature
“A Sewer Becomes A Water Park,” by Karen Charman (Winter 2004), is an amazing story. I was just talking with a friend last week about the possibility of using bacteria and other life forms to salvage landfills. It's remarkable how powerful and complicated natural forces can be.

Alan Wong
via e-mail


Whose Forests?
According to “Forests Win Protection,” in the Spring 2004 issue, the Pew Charitable Trusts of the U.S. has decided to set aside a massive amount of Canadian land for protection. Roughly 50 percent of the forests being protected will be open to development. This is over half a billion acres of forest and mineral wealth. The article also notes that several key parties, Weyerhaeuser and the Canadian government, are missing from the agreement.

Did I read correctly? Do we really have private U.S. groups with the power to set aside vast tracts of Canadian land without the consent of our democratically elected government? As a citizen in a free country, I do not recall being asked to debate the merits of this initiative.

The article says a consensus has been reached between the First Nations and environmentalists. But the First Nations have been involved in protracted legal disputes to reclaim their lost territories. Imagine the surprise of your readers in Canada when we read the World Wildlife Fund has accomplished what our law courts have been unable to resolve.

Gordon Schweers
Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada



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