Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks) was born on February 14th, 1913. She is widely regarded as 'the mother of the freedom movement'. Her most famous act was to refuse to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama for a white passenger. Her refusal sparked a civil disobedience movement that propelled not only her but also Martin Luther King, Jnr. to international fame. Rosa Parks died in 2005. She was the first woman and only the second non-government official to be buried at the Capitol Rotunda.

One of the interesting things about Rosa Parks was that although she became a leading figure in the Black Civil Rights Movement in America she was not an intellectual, a radical or a preacher. She was just a normal woman who worked as a seamstress. She said she acted as a private citizen that was 'tired of giving in'. Rosa Park's protest was one that was not based on an intellectual position but a deep seated visceral feeling of injustice. Nobody needed to tell her that black and white people should be treated equally. She knew because she felt it every day of her life. She probably hadn't read Gandhi's articles about civil disobedience. She just knew that she should protest, and that she should do so in a non-violent manner. For these reasons she has gone down in history. She represents the everyman (or everywoman) who has had enough and who will no longer toe the line.

The main issue with civil disobedience is that it is breaking the law. Many intellectuals, most notably Gandhi and Martin Luther King, have propounded the theory that it is people's duty to resist unfair laws. Because something is a law it does not make it just. This is hardly a contentious issue since man makes the laws and man is fallible. Even in the area of religion, laws can be changed. They are not carved in stone. Jesus famously broke the commandment about not working on the Sabbath stating that the laws were made for man, not man for the laws.

It is those brave people who take action against unjust laws and unjust situations who are the real guardians of democracy. Sometimes the only way the will of the people will be heard by a government is through protest. Most recently this has been the case in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. For too long the people complained but their protests fell on deaf ears. Many were imprisoned and tortured for their comments. Eventually, enough was enough and mass protests ensued. This is truly the will of the people in action and represents the true meaning of the word democracy? 'demos' meaning people and 'cracy' meaning rule.

Societies and mores are evolving. The general consensus is changing about what is acceptable behavior. In the 1930s in America few whites stopped to think about the injustice of racial segregation. Now it is a given that the policy of barring black people from the amenities, facilities and educational opportunities that white people enjoy is abhorrent. The same movement can be seen in terms of the environment. Before 'nature' was morally neutral and pollution was just an inconsequential by-product of economic activity and human expansion. Now people are beginning to espouse the notion of an inherent value to natural resources such as trees. They need to be protected by the law.

Other people have articulated the idea that animals deserve to have rights to be protected against cruelty. Many regard animal liberationists as a looney fringe, but they too have made an impact on public mores. This is seen in the fact that cosmetic companies now go to great lengths to advertise the fact they do not test their products on animals.

Not all causes are just or find sympathy with a wider public. However, it is necessary that people like Rosa Parks continue to stand up and say 'enough is enough'. Civilizations are judged as much by their sensitivity to human and other rights as by their architectural and other cultural achievements.

This website is a forum for debate about issues that matter. It is the place to say 'I'm tired of giving in'. The Twenty-first Century is the age of information. It is our duty to publish information about injustice and perceived wrongs. If the cause is truly just then others will respond and act. Suffering the tyranny of injustice in silence is a crime in an age where the World Wide Web gives everyone with access to the internet a voice.

A New Direction for Your Life

Almost fifty years ago, Rosa Parks made a simple, however daring choice that started a revolution. On December 1, 1955, Rosa was riding on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa refused, despite the fact that the law required her to achieve that.  This act of defiance sparked a revolution that would change the world for the better, her bravery and courage inspired others.  Check out the Rosa Parks documentary created by the BBC if you want to learn more (try this for outside UK}

What gave the motivation to Rosa Parks ? Rosa imagined herself as instigator, and the architect, goalkeeper of that vision.

Her vision was supported by her with a clearly defined principle which was firmly ingrained in her core values and beliefs.

The years’ vision was ground-breaking and grand and the world altered. Your private vision wants just be enormous in your own life. Your views are your views whatever the scale. And every vision is caused by knowledge and a strong sense of purpose about exactly what you need, and who you are.

You’ve discovered your own voice; when you find what what you’re enthusiastic about, what gives you pleasure, and what drives one to attain personal success. Your voice is not going to be refused. Unexpectedly, you discover yourself connected so greatly to a more profound sense of purpose that the very motive for being changes.

It is a fresh chapter in your life’s start. It is possible to create all the targets and set all the strategies which will take you there, knowing what it’s you wish to accomplish, be, and understand. This is an exhilarating and thrilling discovery when you create your individual vision and discover your goal.

From this new position of self knowledge and comprehension, it is possible to start to assimilate all of your previous experiences, failures, and disappointments with the activities that will move you forwards, and allow you to create a narrative that is completely new.

Jennie Agutter: Life Coach

Is Netflix Worth it for Kids

For several years now I’ve been paying a small fortune in cable bills for hundreds of TV stations that I never watch. I had presumed though that my children were at least making use of this expense, but I recently discovered that the most watched channel on my TV was actually the two free BBC kids ones.

So after reviewing my options I decided to save myself this bill and look for alternatives to provide some entertainment for my children at a more affordable price.

I had a range of multimedia devices but the two that seemed to work best were a little device called the Roku and the WiiU my children’s favorite games console. There are lots of other devices like the Playstation and Xbox that would work just as well.

My first port of call was the Amazon service that was called Love Film but is now bundled with a membership for Amazon Prime. A free trial was on offer (which is easily cancelled) and I decided to try it out for a month. First of all the interface on the WiiU is awful, there seems to be a huge amount of lag when you select anything or press a key. There’s quite a lot of content on it but nothing that brilliant, most of the latest stuff you have to pay for though to stream. It’s probably worth a look but the interface on the WiiU put me right off as it’s a nightmare to use. If you have access on something else like your TV or Xbox perhaps it will work better – it costs about £72 a year but that it includes all the fast Amazon delivery if you buy lots from them.

Next I checked out Netflix, which worked both on my WiiU and the Roku, slightly prefer the WiiU as you can use the gamepad and screen to browse when someone is watching something else. Be warned though there are lots of different country versions of Netflix and the US one is by far the best – watch this if you want access – How to Get US Netflix.

The cost is £5.99 a month and there’s a huge amount of choice. There’s nothing absolutely new, but hundreds of complete series that you can get your moneys worth – we’ve watched loads of UK series we’d missed, Lost (all 70 odd episodes), Grimm and a load of others. There’s really an awful lot of content and lots of films from about 12 months plus – neat little system to find and recommend. Well worth the investment and I have watched more on Netflix for £5.99 than I ever did on my £69 monthly subscription to SKY TV.

It is worth investigating the different versions though, there’s loads more content on the American version and being able to switch countries is most useful – I did it by changing the DNS settings on my router using a service like this.

So What About Digital Equality

For many  the phrase digital equality has very little meaning, but for others it’s an important concept.  If you look at the news events for any given week you’ll normally find some examples of how are access to free communication over the internet is being curtailed somewhere and somehow.  Take for instance Turkey, at the moment there is growing discontent with the Turkish Prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan primarily for allegations of corruption. His response has been typical not of a democratic republic but more of a dictatorship, at least as far as the digital world is concerned.

In Turkey as we speak, Twitter is banned and YouTube is being actively blocked, this is together with one of the biggest lists of blocked sites in the democratic world. A person accessing the internet in Turkey does not have the same access and rights as someone in the USA would. The justification given for blocking these sites, is very weak but in essence it comes down to one thing – these social networking sites are being used to spread the corruption allegations and the government don’t want people to talk.

There are of course much worse places than Turkey to access the web, in reality most of the blocks implemented there don’t work anyway. Just as people will circumvent all sorts of restrictions there are lots of ways to bypass the Turkish blocks, my sister relays her connection through a Canadian proxy server run by a friend of hers. Turkey is a relative well connected country and the citizens are mostly able to afford things like proxies and vpns to bypass even the best filtering attempts. If you try and access the net in China it’s a different story as it’s actually quite hard work bypassing some of the Chinese blocks (of which there are many!).

The trouble is that in China and restrictive regimes like Iran and North Korea, they have actually spent a lot of time an money in making sure people don’t have free access to the internet. Sure proxies and UK VPNs still work – like this iPAd VPN service, but with enough resources being put into tracking these methods you would have to keep changing. China for example have even been found to track and block TOR outlet nodes which is not an easy task in itself.

So this is the problem, the internet is arguably the greatest advance in communication since the telephone. Yet for many it’s still dictated and controlled by the people who run the country they are in. Most democratic governments have no need or inclination to block access to the internet and social networking sites but for many regimes it’s often a priority. An invention that should bring us closer together and make our rulers more accountable is often just another inequality that some people have to suffer.

Gay Equality Takes a Huge Step Forward

The day was the 29th March, and the event may have passed you by – but for all gay couples it was an important date.  For many it represents a landmark in the country that for many epitomizes a fair, equal and tolerant society – the United Kingdom.  It’s important because it now pretty much represents legal equality with heterosexual couples, which when you think about it makes perfect sense.  For gay people living in fear in countries like Russia, Uganda and many strict Muslim countries, such a situation seems almost surreal.

It’s a great day and one that does our country great credit.  Of course many gay activists will rightly argue that although the gay community now have legal equality, there is still a great deal of social inequality and prejudice around.  I think though it’s something that will be achieved slowly and gradually, not with aggression and protests.

Let’s face it the British people are pretty tolerant and accepting, well mostly.  They tend to appreciate what is fair and what is right in their own time.  There are obviously some very anti-gay opinions out there, but mostly these belong to older generations and such are slowly drifting form the public mainstream.  They will continue to have an negative impact of course, but the effects will slowly diminish.

As it stands today, I think the social stigma has reduced drastically – many  teenagers are quite happy to admit their sexuality, although it is of course still incredibly difficult for many.  The way for continued change in my opinion is through education of our young people.  There is little to be gained from rallying against ingrained bigotry in the older generation, the battle should be fought in the classrooms and when necessary in the law courts – strategically of course.

But that’s enough for this piece, it’s been a great week for Gay rights in the UK.  But there is still an awful lot of inequality for other members of society and of course throughout the world.  I spoke to a young man who was trying to run an internet based business the other day, who was facing huge obstacles.  The reason was he was based in Nigeria, a country famed for it’s internet scams and fraudsters.  His problem was that living in this country he was tarred with the same brush and blocked and restricted at every digital turn.

It doesn’t sound like the same thing but this inequality has huge effects on millions of people online, discrimination creeping into the digital world.  There are technical solutions to his issue of course where people can use proxies based in different countries like Russia or the USA if required.  Digital inequality exists all over the world and it also has a huge impact on peoples lives – it might sound trivial that Viooz is blocked in my country, but that may have impacted the income of many families.   But still it shows that equality is not restricted to any single cause or sector of society.   It exists everywhere, and we are better placed to fight it as a whole rather than on specific issues.

University Fraud Scandal – North Carolina

It’s been ongoing for a while now, but the academic fraud scandal in the University of North Carolina is beginning to gather pace. Slowly pieces of information supporting the allegations have been leaked out to various sources with the latest an essay of the namesake of this site.

To summarize the story briefly – it is alleged that the University’s academic courses taken by the athletes in the University have been little more than a charade, with students having to do virtually no academic work at all to pass their courses. In support of these allegations the last tidbit of information has come from a former tutor who has released a paper on Rosa Parks.

The paper was part of the final exams and received an excellent grade of A- and here it is -

On the evening of December Rosa Parks decided that she was going to sit in the white people section on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During this time blacks had to give up there seats to whites when more whites got on the bus. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Her and the bus driver began to talk and the conversation went like this. “Let me have those front seats” said the driver. She didn’t get up and told the driver that she was tired of giving her seat to white people. “I’m going to have you arrested,” said the driver. “You may do that,” Rosa Parks responded. Two white policemen came in and Rosa Parks asked them “why do you all push us around?” The police officer replied and said “I don’t know, but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.

 

That is it, in it’s entirety – there is nothing missing. But there’s not only a problem with it’s brevity, the fact is that it’s very likely pinched from the first page of the Rosa Park autobiography. An amazing piece of academic research I’m sure you’ll agree ! For an assignment to be given n A grade, it should represent the highest level of attainment that can be reasonably expected of a student at that level. The phrase outstanding promise is also used in the registrar’s guidance.

We humbly suggest that the student should really do Rosa Park a little more justice in his assignment. It does give fuel to those who believe that the many sports/academic courses are merely facades and that there is no real academic content to these degrees. There’s some interesting commentary from various journalists available on the American online networks, if you’re outside the US you can access them by using this tool.

There is a notion that all these scholarships are not worth considering from an academic viewpoint and stories like this one from North Carolina are becoming more and more regular. But on the side note and the reason we posted this article, if you are looking for information on Rosa Parks check out the information on this site and there’s also a good article on her via the BBC website.

For information on accessing UK TV sites like the BBC abroad – please follow this link.

So What is Reverse Discrimination?

In the 60′s, several affirmative action policies and methods were set into place. These methods were designed to function as a means of making this up to formerly discriminated against teams their dearth of progress. The methods could suggest using extra factors to a work test or having some type of quota in position to ensure some amount of diversity was made or preserved inside the business or department.

As a consequence of the affirmative-action plans, there were numerous cases where non-minority folks have alleged they have become the casualties of reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is some thing like normal discrimination but it includes discriminating against an otherwise competent non-minority and only a lesser capable minority nominee. The explanation for the inclination might be the business might rather not seem to be racialist or may only desire to ensure a specific amount of diversity inside the corporation.

Pupils who’ve been denied access have so-called that these were denied access to the undergraduate or graduate plan simply because they were perhaps not a minority. In one single scenario entailing a regulation school, the individuals were told by the courts maintaining reverse discrimination which they were, quite honestly, insane for believing the law college would actually have accepted them. Yes these were handed over but maybe not because these were non-minorities. Instead, these were handed over because they actually were perhaps not qualified for the college.

Reverse discrimination at work could be more difficult to locate or effectively allege because there often will not be specific standards that could discover raises, onward motion, or hiring generally.

Reverse discrimination is usually alleged in the promotion of college administrators and instructors. This can occur because tests are sometimes carried by these positions together to discover who progresses to another degree.

There’s no doubt that reverse discrimination can be an issue, but model employers try and maintain a balance for all people. If you look at some of the web pages and documentaries covering this, most employers are aware of the issues involved. You can watch some good shows covering discrimination issues on the BBC web site, this method can help you watch it if you get blocked – video here.

It may be that to some extent reverse discrimination is a price we have to pay for ensuring that people do get a fair chance. It’s certainly a better situation than those who are actuvely discriminated where they even have to use a sercurity program like this proxy switcher just to surf the web safely. One young woman was last week sentenced and stoned to death in Syria for accessing Facebook.

Parents Win Discrimination Case in Ireland

Parents who whined of less-favourable therapy revealed to their own son with a Gaelscoil have been granted EUR750 by the Equality Tribunal.
The parents of a young boy claim he was discriminated against from the Nationwide School on spiritual reasons in contravention of Equivalent Status laws in Ireland.
They commented that he got worse treatment as he was of Church of Eire religion whereas a good many of the other students were of the Catholic religion.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “Simply think about the pressures that teenagers, particularly vulnerable young adults, encounter now.”

They further claimed that their son continued in course while a rather large amount of time was invested preparing Catholic kids for First Communion. They afterwards questioned why Catholic spiritual teaching only had been offered and were informed by the principal that as both religions are very similar, the teaching offered would be satisfactory for both.

The First Communion ceremony wasn’t attended by their son along with the parents allege consequently their son was handled less favourably from that point on by the institution and handled as if he’d done some thing wrong. Their son failed to attend Confirmation for the students at a subsequent date plus they alleged the principal again handled their son less favourably although not in the same way as before.

In its written submission the college defended its methods and ethos and contradicted a number of the claims produced by the parents in regards to the principal. The story has been covered by both the Irish and British media – you can follow the stories by using the following links wherever you are based.

For the BBC Use this link – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/bbc-iplayer-ireland/

For Irish Broadcaster – RTE Check this link.

People with Disabilities and RVs

There are plenty of people who love the freedom of the open road that they are drawn to like a moth to a flame and owning an RV is one of the best ways of expressing that desire to drive to wherever your heart takes you and set down wherever you want to. You can do this without having to worry about motels or generally finding a place to sleep for the night.

But what about people with disabilities who might have those same yearnings to throw off the shackles of the limited choice of motel chains that cater specially for handicapped visitors? Are there RVs adapted for handicapped use? You bet!

There are several manufacturers that also make customizable accessories that convert a regular RV into a wheelchair accessible RV and even some that manufacture them to order. They encompass the many needs of the individual, which of course will vary from person to person but generally will adapt a vehicle so that they can be driven and used by a person with disabilities, of course as long as those disabilities are not so severe that would really make it dangerous to undertake, every bit as much as anyone else.

The driver section can be customized with driver controls to enable those with limited or no use of their feet or legs to drive. This is achieved using controls mounted on or near the steering wheel in much the same way as the smaller disabled automobiles are designed.

As for the mobile home section of the RV is concerned, there are customizable extras as well as wider aisles to accommodate wheelchairs, specially adapted showers and bathtubs with handrails and non-slip surfaces. There are kitchen accessories that make them easy to use with special faucets and levers that turn on and shut off at the lightest touch.

Special ramps and powered wheelchair lifts aid the user’s boarding and disembarking from the vehicle. For internal convenience in reaching those items from wheelchair level, things like lighting and plugs can be re-sited for easier access.

Above all, being able to hit the road in your own RV even if you are a wheelchair user or have some form of physical disability that might otherwise exclude you from this pursuit is a real pleasure. You can join the happy throngs of RV’ers who enjoy their freedom anytime and make the open road your home wherever you feel like setting down. To find out more, please visit: handicapeasylife.com for a full, detailed explanation of the whole process and more besides.

Promoting a Healthier House

There are so many ways in which a person’s rights are violated on a day to day basis, often without them even knowing about it. One of the most prevalent examples of this is the effects on their health that they have little or no control over. Whether they are travelling across the great outdoors, walking along a city street or just relaxing inside their homes, people are under assault from an environment that should be healthy for them but often is not.

So how do we recognize when our rights to a healthy life are being violated and what can we do about it?

Defining Right from Wrong

First of all, it helps to put a definition on how this actually violates a person’s own rights to be healthy.

Civilized society creates various laws to protect citizens from a variety of violations that can impact their lives. These include protection and recourse against personal injury, violence, robbery, fraud, libel and a whole host of other aspects of civilized life that a governing body of publicly elected people can confer on their charges. Those laws also protect an individual’s health up to a point, but become less effective when certain elements come into play.

Environmental Health

Governments will claim that they have little power to produce and then enforce certain laws over the way in which the environment happens to exist in any given place. For instance, it would be fruitless to attempt to control the weather or the tides, or to place limits on the amount of sunlight is available each day. But it can place controls on the way in which humans interact with that environment in ways that could bring  harm to others.

A major area is agriculture. Crops are routinely sprayed with a cocktail of lethal chemicals several times in every growing season. The existing controls in place over what chemical concoctions can or cannot be used are far too lenient and it is well known that extended exposure to these chemicals can be detrimental to a person’s health. Yet little is done to curb their use, with the excuse being made that we need the food to live and in order to make sure it is produced, we have to use chemicals to promote their production.

Keeping Your House in Order

While the individual can do little to sway the working practices of large industries such as agriculture, they can keep their own house in order. One way to do this is in only buying those foods that are certified organic and thus effectively snubbing the large growers and users of so many unhealthy chemicals.

A healthier body is a happier body and you can read more about it here: www.hhtb.org. Just make sure you do what you can. If every consumer did the same, large industries would be forced to change their working practises to obey and appease their customers and their human rights by ultimately falling into line with the way in which they spend the dollars in their pockets.

Discrimination in the American Workplace

Discrimination within the place of work touches Americans in various walks of life. In this specific article, we’ll briefly summarize a number of the various discrimination employment types which are protected by law.

The Law ensures that employees or candidates cannot be refused work or encounter harassment to the foundation of the racial group, their perceived racial group (whether or not they participate in it or not), having features owned by a particular racial group, or their relationship to somebody of the particular racial group.

The following section is hopefully going a very long way towards clarifying any doubt that people may have.

Discrimination predicated on National Origin
Another discrimination work type that dates in the Civil-rights Act of 1964 is discrimination predicated on national origin.

Discrimination Predicated on Faith
Discrimination predicated on faith is just another discrimination work type that dates for the Civil Rights Act. Employers might not treat employees or applicants less positively on account of the faith, and employees cannot be pressured to engage in spiritual activity for a condition of employment.

Employers must accommodate an employee’s genuinely held religious practices as he can, however he is entitled not to do that if this provides a hardship to the company. Employers should also take action to avoid spiritual harassment of the workers.

For an example an employee would not be able to claim some sort of ridiculous requirement of their religion – perhaps that they access Facebook every day or must be allowed to stream video across the company network like this - http://www.theninjaproxy.org/tv/how-to-use-a-bbc-iplayer-proxy/ would be clearly ridiculous.
A Brief Summary 

All the regulations mentioned, along with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, warranty that employees are free of discrimination as it pertains to damages for their work. To the foundation of race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, age or handicap this discrimination employment legislation prohibits payment discrimination.

Also, employers might not pay women and men different wages should they perform jobs that demand equal ability, work and obligation and are performed in similar environments inside exactly the same establishment. Different amounts of pay are enabled when they’re predicated on seniority, caliber, amount or quality of manufacturing, or some additional element besides the gender of the worker.

Technical Citation here

Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

It was only last year that the UN finally agreed that access to the Internet is a human right.  Furthermore deliberately disconnecting people from accessing the network is a violation against those rights and also against international law.  Now of course many might think that the right to browse Facebook or flick through an online newspaper a little far from a basic human right, certainly for the huge number of people who have never accessed it at all.

However the ruling really is focused on ensuring that the basic human right of freedom of expression exists everywhere irrespective of the medium used.  It’s not about confronting private companies and broadcasters for example however galling it is to find that price discrimination and the profit motive is becoming a powerful barrier to an open internet.  In any case in these situations, the communities inevitably fight back with tools, tricks and software designed to blunt the most sophisticated geo-blocking technology - try this video to start with.

The idea that the rights in the digital world should be protected to the same extent as the physical world is an important step in the development of the internet.  Many countries are beginning to recognise the potential the internet has for global development too.  It is important that all citizens of the world have access if at all possible.

There is a growing concern at how access to the internet is being increasingly filtered and censored.  Even in UN member states like Cuba and China extensive filtering and selective blocking takes place.  The Great Firewall of China blocks many thousands of sites and delivers heavily filtered pages on many subjects.  Of course it is possible to circumvent using proxies and VPNs like this site demonstrates - http://thenewproxies.com/, but again this creates a privileged class of people who have either the technical knowledge or resources to pay for such services.

The internet might be taken for granted in many countries, but in places like China,Iran and Syria to name just a few – that right is being controlled and eroded further every single day.

Is It Possible For Ethnic Studies To Cause Division Rather Than Understanding?

Recently, the state of Arizona was in the news again for information related to its Hispanic population. It seems that Tucson Unified School District sought to ban Mexican American studies from the curriculum. In March of this year, a federal judge made the decision that this was not an unconstitutional move. Oddly, the school district did not seek to ban Asian or African American studies from the curriculum. All of this causes one to wonder what the reasoning might be behind this sort of move.

 

The state put forth the concept that the Mexican American studies program tended to stir resentment rather than foster understanding. For this reason, the state claimed that the program did not meet the stated objective of ethnic studies in the high school setting. Generally, this purpose is considered to be an effort to help familiarize students with their own ethnic roots and background and that of their fellow students and to foster understanding. Because the state of Arizona has a long history of unwelcoming treatment of people of Mexican heritage, it is easy to imagine that their Mexican American studies courses may have taken on a negative tone.

Is banning the course the right response?

We asked a hispanic plumber in the Boise Idaho what he thought of this program.   Jimmy of Plumbers Boise stated that “he did not know much about the program bit of ot was causing problems then it should not continue.”

In the final analysis, it is really impossible to know whether or any of the Arizona ethnic studies programs are divisive without thoroughly examining them. Everything from reading materials to instructional objectives would need to be critiqued in order to determine whether or not the materials are problematic. Of course, the way in which the curriculum is taught is also a strong determining factor.

In addition to considering the source of the ban and the materials in question, it is also important to consider the intended recipients of the teaching. High school age kids are not typically known for their skills at empathy, understanding and advocacy of those who differ from them. One need only look at the biography* of Howard Zinn, historian and activist whose 1980 best-seller entitled A People’s History Of The USA sparked student protests, to learn that even college age students often lack these qualities.

Be all that as it may, it would seem logical to say that actually teaching all ethnic studies correctly in a way that strives to foster empathy and understanding would be far preferable to simply banning an individual section of an ethnic studies program in order to avoid controversy.

Important Report on Disability

We like to think that discrimination is falling, however a recent study has shown that job seekers with disabilities are actually suffering worse discrimination than a decade ago.The report commissioned by Capability Scotland found that disabled people who were able and willing to work fared much worse in the job market than the able bodied.

This charity which is heavily involved with the disabled is calling for modifications about how employers are operating their recruitment procedures.  They have issues some guidelines and best practices to help employers with this situation.

The report was fairly comprehensive and looked at 100 different job application forms primarily in Scotland.One of the most obvious findings was that many employers were not complying with equality legislation in one important aspect. This was that the applicants were being asked to disclose too many details about their disability earlier in the process.

The report looked at the questions with regards health, disability and absence through sickness – all information that would be visible to short listing panels. This report is interesting because many will think employment practices have improved alongside legislation.

The problems seems to be that employers will frequently ignore the laws on employment and equality, this report seems to support this view.

According to Capability Scotland, over the period of the report from 1988.   There is over a 5% difference in employment levels between the disabled and able-bodied individuals. The gap had previously been improving and in 2004 it had fallen to under 2.5% but it’s been rising steadily ever since.

It is important that we change  these attitudes to both disabilities and also the legislation designed to protect disabled people.When employers start to realise that disabled people are capable and in many cases more capable than able bodied people – this difference will start to fall again.  For the latest in news, information on disability, legislation the it’s worth checking out the resources on the BBC website.  There are links there to all the relevent authorities and agencies too, if you have trouble watching any of the content from iPlayer because of location – this resource is worth checking – about how to watch UK TV - http://www.uktv-online.com/ or watch this video

Obviously the economic downturn is partly to blame for these figures, although it does seem to be unfairly affecting disabled candidates more than able bodied job seekers.

The Harlem Dance Protest

We have seen through the Arab spring how the internet is playing a big part in organising and coordinating protests across the middle East.  But now we seem to be seeing something new spreading again from Tunisia and Egypt, where young people are rising against the strict religious conservatism which is threatening their new found freedoms.

The phenomenon is based on an internet dance craze that if you’ve surfed the web in the last year you’ve almost certainly come across. It’s called the Harlem Shake and involves two scenes – first a single person dances to the Harlem shake song whilst people carry on around regardless, then all hell breaks loose and everyone joins the dance in various crazy ways.

It’s just some fun and has been mimicked by all sorts of group from offices, emergency services and colleges across the world.  However it is considered immoral and provoacative by many conservative religious groups in many middle eastern countries.  One group in Tunisia the Salafi’s who are attempting to gain a foothold in the country are calling those participating in this dance as unbelievers.  Of course in Religious loony land – unbelief equals apostacy which usually ends up meaning the death penalty.

However the young protesters don’t seem to care and more and more of  these videos are being uploaded, recently spreading across to Egypt and Palestine. Many are being cordinated by tech savvy students who use technology and proxies based in different countries like this one – http://www.proxyusa.com/usvpn. This video is actually outside the Egyptian leaders office – President Morsi. The following is how to access via an American proxy if needed.

There are hundreds of people protesting via the dance, deliberately targeting the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood.  It was also a direct response to the arrest of four students the previous week who had danced to the song in another protest.  Their crime was doing it in their underwear and thus violating the country’s decency laws. That’s got to be bad news for sequinned belly dancers who are so popular in Cairo !

The protests are fantastic, check them out lots more on YouTube.