Monday, April 4, 2011

Khalil Karbani: Idi Amin: Uganda to Canada

Idi Amin were president of Uganda, as well as head of military from 1971 to 1979 ruling with a politically repressive regime.  Extreme human rights abuses, corruption, killings without trial, and ethnic persecution occurred under his dictatorship. The number of people killed while Idi Amin were in power estimates between 1 to 500,000 including members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, homosexuals, students, intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. 

Many were killed for criminal motives or simply at will.  In 1972, Amin declared what he called an "economic war" seizing all property owned by Asians and Europeans issuing a decree ordering the expulsion of 80,000 Asians. Amin took all property, finance and business. Families fled to the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, India, Kenya, Sweden and Tanzania.     

Khalil Karbani, born in 1965 in Uganda, along with his family, fled to the United Kingdom with a mere 40 pounds.

As refugees in another nation, Khalil's family were placed in housing estates enduring racial abuse. Khalil learned through his Father the merits of sacrifice and hard work and came to learn of world cultures, religions and people.  With a degree in Business Marketing, he and his brother Nash launched a business in the UK, with a second branch to follow.  Eleven years later, they were the largest independent French car parts specialist in all of the United Kingdom. 

In an attempt to give back to society, a charity were formed in honor of Nash's [Khalil's brother] two children who were struck and killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. This charity now helps over 375 orphans, widows and poor people in Uganda, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan. The charity feeds and clothes people, as well as providing an education to learn a trade to become self sufficient. 

In 2000, Khalil visited India to witness the progression of this charity and witnessed a number of young girls society had cast aside. Affirming his commitment to the equality of women, Khalil opened a trade school for them with the aim of equipping the girls with training and education to become successful for themselves. 

Ten years ago, Khalil moved to Canada with his wife and four children. Once in Calgary, he began working as a realtor and in 2005, became the top realtor in the city of Calgary. With this success, he ventured into residential land development and started a home building company. Two years later, Khalil moved to commercial land development and has been overseeing projects in the Calgary Northeast for the past four years. 

Presently, Khalil Karbani has been nominated for the Calgary McCall WildRose MLA. The Wild Rose Alliance is a grassroots legislative body.  MLA stands for Member of Legislative Alliance. With this behind him, Khalil will then able to make positive progressive changes for the community and people of not only Calgary, but globally through all he is affilated with. In order to see this to fruition, anyone residing in Canada please go HERE to become a member. Khalil will personally speak and meet with you to talk about his platform for positive global change starting in his own community.

Some of Khalil's achievements are:

1. Bowden Penitentiary Coordinator [inmate education]
2. TaraDale Community Association of Calgary President
3. Al- Hedaya Islamic Centre President 
4. NE Centre of Community Society VP
5. FDC Committee Co-Chair
6. Public Art Committee Chairman
7. Airport Trail Access Committee Chairman
8. Tournament Committee Chairman
9. MCC Stampede Parade Float Committee Chairman
10. Mutli Cultural Faith Builders Group 
11. Canadian Winter Olympics 2010 

Khalil's passion in his community is apparent ranging from organizing community events, raising funds for causes and volunteering his time and skills. His platform focuses on  "HEFTY" prioritizing:  H for health care, E for education, F for foreign accreditation, T for tourism and Y for YOU. Khalil Karbani wishes to see a more progressed Alberta. He knows Albertans deserve more than what is currently in place. They deserve the best. Khalil Karbani will make positive changes on various levels.

Currently, what is needed is a leader who is active and in touch with the people. Khalil listens to people in order to have a better understanding of what the community wants and needs. This is what is inspiring about Khalil. He truly believes in putting people first. He cares about his community and its people. He wants to know what everyone wants to see in Alberta and Calgary McCall, as well as the world.

Join me in welcoming Khalil Karbani as an MLA candidate by becoming a member of Alberta Wildrose Alliance Party if you are a resident of Canada.  The deadline to become a member is April 20th, 2011. Becoming a member will enable you to vote for Khalil.  Globally, connect with Khalil on FaceBook, Twitter, and his Website.



It is YOUR time to make a difference for yourself, 
your community and OUR world. 

© Khalil Karbani, Sana Khan

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ben Gardane Ras El Jedire: Libyan Refugees Need Our Help


Ben Gardane Ras El Jedire: Libya Needs Our Help© William Murphy Dublin Ireland

Ben Gardane is a town in southeast Tunisia, close to the Libyan border, Ras El Jedire.  In 2011, during The Libyan Uprising, two entities became government of Libya. Muammar Gaddafi controlling Tripoli and Western Libya and Mustafa Abdul Jalail in Benghazi, controlling Eastern Libya.  Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa and 17th largest in the world.  Libya is one of the world's 10 richest oil-producing countries.

In 1959, oil reserves and income from petroleum were discovered raising Libya, one of the world’s poorest nations, to an extremely wealthy state. Americans, Italians and British in Libya aided in wealth and tourism following WWII. Britain was a supplier of arms and The United States kept Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya. This discontent mounted with the rise of Nationalism in Africa and the Middle East.

In 1969, military officers led by a 27-year-old army officer Muammar Gaddafi, staged a coup d’état against then King Idris, beginning The Libyan Revolution. In 1973, Gaddafi delivered his famous "Five-Point Address."  Gaddafi set up surveillance, had 10 to 20% of Libyans work in Revolutionary committees, executed dissidents publicly, rebroadcast on state television, and employed diplomats to assassinate dozens of refugees around the world.  Amnesty International listed 25 assassinations between 1980 and 1987.  Libyans died due to war while Gaddafi financed Libya's income from oil on arms and sponsoring paramilitaries and terrorist groups around the world.  From 1969 to 2011, the Eastern parts of Libya became beyond impoverished under Gaddafi's theories.

In 2011, Libya began a full scale revolt spreading to Tripoli. Saif al-Islam, son of Gaddafi, on Libyan television feared that the country would break apart and be replaced by Islamic fundamentalist emirates. Economic wealth was at risk.  Shortly after Saif's speech, Libyan Ambassador to India [on BBC Radio 5] resigned in protest of the massacre of Libyan protesters under orders of Gaddafi, who threatened to destroy the movement. 

Al Jazeera, front runner in reporting The Libyan Revolution, conveyed that Gaddafi's government armed pro - Gaddafi militia to kill protesters and defectors against the regime in Tripoli.  In March 2011, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, a no-fly zone, with use of "all means necessary" to protect civilians in Libya. The first began with French military jets into Libyan airspace followed by The United States and United Kingdom as Operations Odyssey Dawn and Ellamy. 

Human rights were nonexistent under the authoritarian regime of Gaddafi. Abuses included poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest, and prisoners held incommunicado, political prisoners held for years without charge or trial, no right to fair public trial, no right to change government, no freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, or religion.  All were restricted. Independent human rights organizations were prohibited. Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council, March, 2011.

Hind Houas, of the Revolution in Tunisia under the former regime of Ben Ali, a human rights advocate, freelance journalist and university student, visited the Ben Gardane Ras El Jedire Refugee Camp on her own.  This is her firsthand account: 

"The whole view was beyond overwhelming. For me, seeing a huge number of people, those tents everywhere were scary and relieving at the same time. The moment I entered the refugee camps located in the Southern Part of Tunisia in a place called “Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire”, I knew that so many people needed and still need help.  In the very beginning, I did not know where to go, whom to ask and how to introduce myself. I saw different faces, different people from different places all united by the same thing.  They were refugees in Tunisia. They all witnessed the hardships and austerities of the Libyan President Qaddafi.

The first people I met were members of the International Organization of Immigration “IOM.”  I entered their tent and told them that I came to write an article about the situation in the Refugee Camps. They asked me to take a seat in a small white tent and in front there were a blue flag of the organization with three letters, IOM.

The two young volunteers, a man and woman, came to the refugee camps to work in groups of two from 8am to 6pm. Their job consisted in taking a last look at the refugees’ health condition before sending them to the next zone. They took their temperature and checked that the photo in their passports matched each person.  After doing this, the man ushered them to the entry of the zone every refugee wishes to enter. This last zone consisted of a large area in which there were many people all holding their passports waiting for the buses to come and take them to the airport.  Those who entered to this tent were sure they will be transported home to their families. They were happy and they smiled when I asked them if I can take some photos.

My second stop was at the TélécomsSans Frontières (TSF) corner.  

The first thing I noticed were massive numbers of people waiting in a long row. I spoke to two men:  Allan Sebastian and Florian Vichot. Volunteers for the Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), a French NGO founded in 1988.  Sebastian and Vichot are there to help the refugees by giving them the chance to call their families to relay that they are safe in Tunisia. Sebastian said that each phone call lasts 3 minutes. The total numbers of refugees in this camp are only allowed to make 17 thousand phone calls globally. Sebastian and Florian stated that the simple act of allowing refugees to call their families and loved ones brings them hope.  Exactly what they need in order to begin to escape the horrendous time spent, as well as the memories, of their journey within and out of Libya to Tunisia.

The volunteers stated that for the moment, the situation is more or less stable, yet they are worried about the future. The number of refugees coming from Libya has declined, not a good sign.  This means the refugees may all arrive at once adding strain to recovering Tunisia, as well as a scarcity of volunteers at Ben Guirdan.

Before I left, there were an area in the camp I visited where refugees gather to hear their names called to get their passports to be taken back home. I spoke to Nixson, a 26 year old Nigerian, a former mechanical engineer in Libya. Nixson came to Tunisia one week ago.  He fled Libya after witnessing horrific torture. He were unable to describe to me in detail.  He stated that it hurt him to think about it. All any of the refugees wish is to go home. Nixson said he had gotten to call his Mother.  All she had kept saying to him were “come back home son.” 

While speaking to Nixson, people behind me were waiting to hear their names announced. They stood in interminable lines, passport in hand, heading to the next stage, medical check.  Then onto the last waiting zone until buses arrive to take them to the airport. The approximate number of refugees were 6,000. 

This initial short journey at Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire Refugee Camp will remain inside of me forever. The world needs to know that Tunisia and the Tunisian people are helping as much as they can. I have learned valuable lessons from my people:  Humanity does not have a religion or color, help the ones who are in need as much as you can and wait for nothing in return.

It is a wish in my heart that all the refugees get back safe to home and family. The volunteers at Ras El Jedir Benguirdan receive a special thank you. They are helping the people. This is their choice just as it were my choice to visit one refugee camp quickly set in place due to the Libyan revolt.

I understand how the people at Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire felt, having just survived the 2011 revolution in Tunisia. As a result being free for the first time in 23 years, it is my duty as a human being to give to the refugees. What I witnessed was abject boredom. Already exhausted people waiting in long lines, talk of utter terror, pain, war, bombing, long journeys or no talk at all. Nothing positive to focus on but the last tent where one may board a bus home. 

My parents encouraged my wish to travel to Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire to help as much as I were able. While the entire world focuses on Libya, the refugees are forgotten. My will is to bring the refugees a new hope. My wish is to focus on the children.  For this, I require your help.

My name is Hind Houas. I am a university student in Tatouine Tunisia. I am free for the first time in my life. The children have nothing to occupy their time at Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire.  Assist me in helping humanity and join me in my conception:  A Toy for Every Refugee Girl and Boy.

I am making an honest plea to the international community to help the children until and if they are able to go home. My mission is to collect books, toys, games, puzzles, balls, dolls, anything at all that you feel a child will benefit from while standing in long lines daily with nothing to do but wish to go home. My home address is below. My Father will assist me in collecting all packages sent. I entrust this world with my address because the children at Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire need our help. This is a simple way to help even if you are not on the ground. The UN is there but they are there for emergent purposes only: food, water, and medical care.  

Please send a small item to: Houas Hind/Houas Othman Lycée Cité 7 November Tataouine 3263, Tunisia. It is legitimate, safe and Susan Marie Public Relations of New York, United States, is endorsing my initiative 100%.

I spoke with one young boy in the camp and he said to me, "All I want is to go home." - Hind Houas 2011 

* Note from Susan Marie: Hind is visiting the camp regularly; this is an account of her visit. She had asked me how can we help the people in the camp? They are so bored, sad and tired and only focus on what they went through with no hope or future to look forward to. She emailed me her account with her idea. It caused me to think of times when I am bored and feel I have nothing to do.  I thought then of the people of Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire.  They just went through a full scale revolt. The adults are barely able to comprehend the current situation, let alone the children, left to occupy themselves.

I met Hind 5 days after The Jasmine Revolt in Tunisia. Please take my hand in lending a hand to Hind, then all of us can lend a global hand to the children of Ben Guirdan Ras El Jedire Refugee Camp.

Youth are our future.

 Hind Houas speaking of no fly zone 
 Waiting lines for phone, food, medical 
 Waiting lines for phone, food, medical 
 Hind Houas of Tunisia speaking to Refugees 
 Refugees of Ben Gardane Ras El Jedire 
 "All I want is to go home." 
 Refugees Upon Arrival 
 Refugees of Ben Gardane Ras El Jedire 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Appeal from Gaza: Open Rafah Border Now!

Joe Catron's's account on ground in Gaza: 

Signs of an end to Egypt's ongoing complicity in the siege of Gaza:

**Egyptian Foreign Minister sends Israel strongly message

 Press TV

**Egypt's MB urges army to end Gaza siege

**Egypt tells Gaza that lifting the siege is a priority 


Tonight, fourteen Egyptians, along with one American, have camped out on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Border Crossing, awaiting Egyptian approval to enter Gaza with ten tons of cement for humanitarian reconstruction projects:  Press TV HERE and HERE   

This group includes several of my friends, including those who organized the delegation that brought me here:  Tahrir for Gaza 

Please take a moment to contact the Egyptian Mission to the United Nations at 212-503-0300, asking that they allow the Egyptian delegation to pass through Rafah and open their border with Gaza for both travel and trade by Palestinians, their own citizens, and the rest of the world. 

Feel free to quote Dr. Nabil El Arabi, Egypt's own Foreign Minister: "The Egyptian government's priority is the issue of the Israeli siege on Gaza. We are acting to open the border at Rafah and facilitate an easing of life for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." And if you get a recording, please leave a message.

- Joe Catron 2011 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April Is National Poetry Month: Center For Inquiry Apr. 6

Center For Inquiry

National Poetry Month is a month-long, celebration of poetry to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range. Since 1999, National Poetry Month has been celebrated internationally but in different months. In America and Canada, it is celebrated every April.  

The purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and to give fresh recognition to national, regional and international poetry movements.

On Wednesday, April 6 in Amherst New York, at the Center for Inquiry/Just Buffalo Literary Cafe, in honor of National Poetry Month there will be an open reading with MORE than 10 available slots. This venue is hosted by Perry Nicholas. The evening begins at 7:30pm. This evening will be different and exciting. A One and One Open Reading. Read one of your favorite works then read one of your own. This honors those before us, as well as ourselves as poets and writers. 

The Center for Inquiry is located at 1310 Sweet Home Road in Amherst. It is free and open to the public, a favorable venue with fresh faces and new ideas.

Perry states, "The idea of connection here is meant to be interpreted very loosely. The intent is not that the poems have to be strictly related, but simply that you share a poet you enjoy reading and a poem of your own. Ultimately, who can say how your creative process works?"

Join us to celebrate the written and spoken word.

Venue Information
Center for Inquiry
1310 Sweet Home Road
Phone: 716.636.4869

Monday, March 21, 2011

Free Henry!: On To Boston, Help Send Them To The UK

Free Henry! Productions, LLC

On Thursday March 11, 2011, Free Henry! performed a live concert in front of their most loyal fans as well as top music industry professional judges at Niagara Falls, NY's Hard Rock Cafe to compete in this years Battle of the Bands.  

Their first round performance won them a chance to move on to compete in the final live battle against 2 other bands from the WNY area; all seeking a chance to represent the Greater Buffalo Niagara region and ultimately win a performance at the 2011 Hard Rock Calling festival in London's Hyde Park.

On March 11th, the judges votes were tallied, and the announcement came that Free Henry! would represent Niagara Falls, NY in this years contest and also perform live at the famous Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, MA.

The concert date will be announced within the next few months.  The band's video will be sent to the Hard Rock Cafe International corporate offices for final judging by a distinguished panel of judges.  

There are a total of 19 bands internationally that have made it to this point and on April 12, 2011 the Hard Rock Cafe will announce the top 10 list at Hard Rock Battle of the Bands.  All voting will take place online.  The top four bands with the most Internet votes will win a trip to perform alongside with international superstars Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart and Bon Jovi.

Last year's Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls winners, More Than Me, went on to win the national contest and opened for Sir Paul McCartney. The café is looking for a repeat in 2011.

Free Henry! has also been producing and recording their next studio album.  “We're definitely in a real groove and this upcoming record is undoubtedly a confident, deliberate plunge into something entirely special and sonically rejuvenating", said lead singer Bob Buckley.  

The album is being recorded at the acclaimed GCR Audio owned by Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls.  "The depth of what we've achieved through the expertise of the engineering staff at GCR is something to be sanctified by any band looking to take their step onto the national stage and that is truly our passion", said Buckley of Free Henry!

What we need to do as music lovers and musicians is connect to Free Henry! at their website, join their mailing list there, follow them on Twitter and Facebook and on April 12, vote as much as we can online to send our local musicians, four hard working guys that deserve every break they get, to the UK.  This is their chance to bring their music:  outstanding, healing, rock, blues and soul, global.  They need us to help them get there. 

For more information, contact Derek Presti below and link to the guys online. Their music, as well as each of them, are truly a gift to Buffalo, WNY, Niagara Falls and soon, to the world.  

Listen to a Live Interview with music from 2009 with Susan Marie.  

Contact Derek below to interview them again, they have come a long way since.  

Derek Presti - FHB Management

Friday, March 18, 2011

Amina Masood Janjua: Arrest/Threat/Request Support: Mar.20


Amina Masood Janjua Requests Your Help

What is the answer to grief and suffering? Who is responsible for blatant violations of Human Rights? 

Move a joint petition in the Supreme Court against Rehman Malik with Amina Masood Janjua, Chairperson Defense of Human Rights Pakistan, in regards to the illegal arrest of Families of Missing Persons.  Please give your confirmation so that Amina Masood Janjua can announce it in a press conference on Sunday 20th March.  Please join her there in support.

On March 16, 2011, The Islamabad police arrested Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua, her two children, 44 women/men, and 13 children on the anniversary of restoration of Judiciary.  Janjua has requested a joint petition in the Supreme Court against Rehman Malik, responsible for Islamabad Police and safety and security of citizens. 

According to Mrs. Janjua, Rehman is responsible for the emotional pain and psychological damage of aggrieved families of Missing Persons.  Janjua states, "The arrest was illegal, framing baseless charges against us. Instead of releasing our missing loved ones, they are releasing the real terrorists and killers like Raymond Davis."

The Incident

Defense of Human Rights Pakistan showed solidarity with the supreme judiciary on the anniversary of Restoration. The families of missing persons civil society, political parties and students started the Rally at 1600 hrs at D chowk Blue area Islamabad.  People were chanting slogans for the release of missing persons and showing solidarity with the supreme judiciary. The idea was to hand over a Memorandum to Chief Justice and present flowers to him on the anniversary of the restoration of judiciary. 

The Memorandum:  
"We want to tell our honorable Judges, please continue to serve the cause of Justice and Rule of Law in the interest of the Nation.  We are with you through thick and thin, the entire Nation stands behind you to accept fearless decisions you are making.  We want to convey to our Honorable Judiciary, that each citizen is honorable and deserves immediate justice and rule of law.  People of Pakistan, Lawyers, Civil Society, students and aggrieved families have suffered and laid down sacrifices for the sake of free and fair independent Judiciary.  Now on the day of Restoration of Judiciary, it is their turn to get their most basic rights.  Justice!"

The Procession:

The procession covered 1 km. from “D” chowk  Jinnah avenue to Judges Colony in Islamabad.  When the rally reached the
turning of Judicial Enclave, police did not allow the party ahead to cross over the barrier of Balochistan House.  Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua, with mutual consensus of all present, started a peaceful sit-in.  Families and supporters were peacefully participating, demanding the release of their loved ones. Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua were addressing the rally, "We are peacefully struggling for 6 years demanding the release of our loved ones, yet government is not cooperating with us.  The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is our last hope and today we are here to show solidarity with our Chief Justice." 

A meeting with the Chief Justice to hand over the memorandum were denied by The Islamabad Administration, as well any official of the Federal Government (MNA or Minister.)

The duty SHO of Police and officers of civil administration put extreme pressure on Mrs. Janjua to call off the sit-in, yet all families were determined to continue their peaceful dhurna [method of obtaining justice by sitting] till demands were met. Families had traveled from far areas hoping to meet the Judge. After midnight, when the children had fallen asleep, police began brutal violence, shouting at the families, breaking the sit-in forcefully and carrying all in attendance to prison vans.

13 children less than ten years of age, were shocked, terrified, and wailing.  Families were forcefully pushed into the prison vans, all bouquets of flowers brought were scattered at the spot.


The Arrest

Elderly aggrieved mothers, children, and a 3 month old baby were driven to Women's Police Station Sitara market F-7/2 Islamabad, while elder men and young boys to the Secretariat Police station behind the Prime Ministers House.  All campaign materials, megaphone, banners, placards and floor mats were confiscated.  Derogatory remarks,  and insulting attitude from the police women followed to further hurt grief stricken families.

The small container room kept ten children and seven women for 14 illegal hours. There were chairs, yet nothing to sleep on but a dirty floor.  Wet and hungry babies/children constantly cried and adults complained of the injustices done to the innocent.

Mr. Jameel Abbasi and Ghazala Minallah, both senior members of civil society and activists of the lawyers movement arrived. They met with police officer in charge, SHO Naureen Fatima.

For hours, a debate was negotiated for release of the innocent.  Mrs Janjua, chairperson, activist and organizer for the Missing and Detained persons sit-in were left in illegal custody.

The event exemplified contrasts and double standards of law. This occurred the same day CIA operative, Raymond Davis were released. The Families for Missing Persons were arrested on grounds of asking for the release of their loved-ones. Both events occurred on the anniversary of the Restoration of pre- Nov 3, 2007 Supreme Judiciary.

Mrs Janjua, her 15 yr old daughter Aishah, son Muhammad and 44 members of Missing Person’s [13 children, youngest 3 months] were released on 17 March 2011.  They were taken to Secretariat Police station to sign a pre-written bail document stating:  We did not know that section 144 is implemented in Islamabad, therefore we gathered and requested immediate release of our loved-ones in a memorandum. We also observed dhurna in the Judges Enclave. Kindly excuse us regarding this and allow us to go home on bail." 

Each person were required to understand the warnings and sign pledges never to protest.

The charges against the families were:  Taking law into their own hands.

Amina Masoods Letter to Mr. Rheman Malik


Mr.Rehman Malik,
Minister of Interior of Pakistan.

Subject: Security for Amina Masood Janjua

Dear Sir,

ost respectfully I would like to bring into your kind notice details of threats I am receiving on my cell number.  A man called from _________ on 26 February threatening me saying “your death warrants have been issued and you will be killed.”  When I asked why and who are you, he said “because of your activities on net” and he said, "I am your well wisher, don’t ask my name." He also warned me not to go to Karachi.  Second time he called on 5 March, said "My name is Ali Mustufa, your funeral is ready, don’t dare to go to Karachi."  I have also informed IG.Islamabad about this threat, unfortunately nothing has been done.  

Kindly take immediate notice of this and appoint for me guards for personal security.

I will be obliged for your timely action.

Thanking you.

Your most sincere,

Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua
Chairperson, Defence of Human Rights