Archive for the ‘Washington, DC’ Category

Google Eduardo Kohn, PhD, Anthropologist to learn more about trans-species and multi-species  anthropology.

And, if you have time, read, for example, this Anthropology Essay_(c)Mediageode2015




Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (98)

Walkers took to the U.S. Capital to raise awareness about Female Genital Mutilation November 8 2014

By Diane Walsh – Washington DC

A momentous event took place in the U.S. capital city last weekend which I can confidently describe as nothing other than ground-breaking.

A first of its kind in the Washington DC area was this remarkable Walk against Female Genital Mutilation at the Washington Monument hosted by the Global Woman P.E.A.CE Foundation.

Full credit and accolade is due to the G.W.P.F. for the Walk’s bounding success.

Its courageous aim was designed specifically to have Walkers circle the paths around the Washington Monument in an effort to raise profile of the growing problem of FGM on Western soil. Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (89) The evidence of Female Genital Mutilation as the imported but ‘unseen’ underground practice occurring as a result of international migration continues to mount.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation is a well-vetted woman’s rights and peace organization with registered U.S. charity status based in Fairfax, Virginia. With its strong organizational reputation and links to the worldwide movement against FGM the Walk was successful in being able to attract a diverse group of participants from all over U.S. (including Canada) agreeing to participate as Sponsored Walkers.

Walkers raised their own sponsorship and joined in the cause on the freezing cold but sunny Saturday morning, and as one of the proud walkers I can say it was not only an incredible experience but a worthy measure to create globalized action with American leadership. Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (10) I met up with the tightly knit group of international anti-FGM activists who gathered together at the NW corner of the Point to raise needed awareness with specific emphasis on the US situation.

The event urged that immediate action be taken on U.S. soil to ensure complete prevention of FGM. Included in this commitment is the understanding of it never being able to take place in the U.S.

The Walk also emphasized the need to secure the goal of a U.S. commitment to complete eradication worldwide in partnership and solidarity with the 2010 UN resolution against FGM activists. The Walk, itself, on the day of, may have been missed by (a seemingly sleepy) Washington Post who failed to provide coverage of the event despite told told of its global importance. But that’s not to say they can’t make up for it! Washington DC FGM Walk - Nov 8 2014 - GWPF (c) mediageode 2014 with permision (85) The Walk was picked up repeatedly by the international press and news spread on social media with exuberance. Here in this video is one the speakers invited as a key note, Barbara Mhangami. She is a feminist poet and researcher who travelled from Michigan. She, among others, is an example of the shinning talent and commitment of the some of the ‘Activist Walkers’ who sought to promote the G.W.P.F.’s aim to open a Crisis Centre right in DC. Guaranteed preventive action against FGM for girls living in the U.S. and medical provision for women who have undergone FGM, is, key.

More pictures of speakers and walk attendees can be found here.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation is committed to real action on the ground. It has now raised leading awareness, publicly, in the U.S. Capital which can’t be denied. The Walk succeeded in pushing strongly against Female Genital Mutilation, focused on exposing incidents of the practice on U.S. soil and at the same time recognizing the importance of working in collaboration and in-solidarity with a global alliance of activists-against-FGM to help build identification and response services to address the problem.

FGM has spread to ‘Western soil’, this is undisputed in Europe. It leaked out just recently that FGM has occurred in the U.S. – and this must not be allowed to go unnoticed and unrecorded.

Information is that family groups have joined with other family groups to raise money to ‘import the cutter’ to perform FGM in secret. No one can argue that this isn’t heinous. Frankly it’s ghastly that it happens in North America at all.

The 2014 Walk again FGM in the U.S. Capital is being recognized worldwide on social media and is beginning to galvanize efforts to put this issue at the top of the U.S. political agenda. 

More information can be found on twitter, using the hashtags #GAFGM later #AntiFGMGlobal and you can follow me @dwalshmedia to learn more about Identification and Response Services, the Global Alliance activists and anti-FGM solidarity groups.

@1GlobalWoman Press Release is copy provided here:



November 12, 2014: Fairfax, VA. – Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) was joined by its partners and supporters on Saturday, November 8th on the Washington National Mall to “Walk to End FGM”. 

The day began with music, as the crowd gathered to get outfitted in warm clothing and t-shirts.  Families and their children assembled in the chilly early morning sun but the atmosphere was positive. 

Everyone was there to be a part of a memorable occasion; they were there to participate in the first annual walk to end female genital mutilation (FGM). 

No other organization has ever held a walkathon against the practice of female genital mutilation in Washington, D.C. As the temperature began to rise, 14 teams of walkers lined up after bananas, granola bars, peanuts and water had been distributed to the crowd by many volunteers.

The teams of walkers made their way up Constitution Avenue toward the memorials of World War II, Vietnam Veterans, Lincoln, Korean War, Martin Luther King and the Washington Monument.  The crowd returned with enthusiasm to the National Mall to listen to a series of speakers tell them about female genital mutilation. 

Participants came from as far as Canada, Massachusetts, Florida, Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Richmond, Virginia, Hagerstown, Maryland, etc. CEO and President of IMA World Health, Rick Santos shared stories of violence against women and girls in various countries he had visited.

Dr. Martha Allen, Director of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press read a list of FGM survivors and activists around the world, while David Rawls, In-Country Director of Hope 2 Liberia recounted his trips to Liberia where his organization is building a school to help end FGM through education.’s Board Member, Shannon Fisher told the crowd, “Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the United States since 1996, and transporting girls out of the U.S. for FGM is now punishable by five years in jail. But the procedure is still performed in private, and it has gone largely underground.” 

Vice President and Co-Founder of We Are Woman, Alaina LaTourette talked about the violation of the female body and FGM, while Summer Pearson, Global Woman’s Board Member read a special message from Dr. E. Faye Williams, President and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, “It is said that the civilization of a nation is determined by the way it treats its women and its children.  By that measure, most nations have a long way to go to be considered civilized.  Certainly no nation that permits mutilation of the genitals of its young girls can be called civilized.  This is one of the worst forms of violence against women.” 

Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, a Public Health Practitioner shared a special poem she and wrote and dedicated to all of the mutilated little girls, “Imagine a girl suddenly thrust onto a mat on a floor, in a hut in the forest, or on an operating table in a doctor’s office.  Imagine the shock, confusion and horror as she watches her mother, aunt and grandmother turn and walk away.” 

The crowd did not expect what came next, when the President of Change Agent Network, Annie Wright took the stage and told her personal story through tears about how her mother died in childbirth as the result of FGM, and she too was taken at 7 years old to the ‘bush’ and was mutilated.  Annie stood tall on the stage and divulged to the public for the first time, “I can stand here today and say that I am a survivor of FGM.  I was told never to tell anyone, and I never told anyone until Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation invited me to their focus group meeting.” Entertainment was provided by local groups, the Liturgical Dance Group and the Chosen Generation Dance Group. 

Media coverage was provided by PressThePresident, BRITE Radio, Loudon Woman Magazine, Diane Walsh and Alexandra Gerard. The program continued with Angela Peabody, President of the host organization reading a speech sent from Liberia by an FGM survivor, Eva Flomo. Flomo wrote, “America, do you want to be labeled as the nation that stood by and watched countless little girls get mutilated or die simply because it doesn’t affect you directly? You lead the free world; make it freer for little girls and women in Africa and other parts of the world actively practicing FGM.” In conclusion, Peabody announced the 3 winning teams. 

The Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press team took the first prize for raising the most money, the FGM No More team walked away with the 2nd prize, while the BRITE Peace Walkers team took 3rd prize. The proceeds raised from “Walk to End FGM” will help establish a special support center in the Washington, D.C. metro area, expected to open in 2015.  The support center is expected to include a hotline with trained phone counselors, career assistance and capacity building for the girls and women affected by FGM.

— Lydia Sherwood, Presto Public Relations

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  As such, your donations are tax deductible to the maximum extent required by law.

Amtrak is doing its best in the face of challenges presented by fracking boom in North Dakota.  
In Wisconsin there have been previous reports of freight train crews coming to the end of their shift and simply abandoning the train on the rail line. When they’ve finished their shift, off they go, but with no word or no one scheduled to take over from them.

A parked train, can you just imagine being behind that for umpteen hours? It’s all rather frustrating to Amtrak. The effect of this kind of brazen blockage on the tracks is that the Amtrak passenger train, honorably trying its best to keep to its own schedule, is simply unable to pass. It’s left hostage to the theatrics of the industry giants — the freight trains.

One wouldn’t think that freight train shortage-of-staff would be Amtrak’s problem but indeed it is. There have been instances of Amtrak actually having to call someone and plead to get a parked freight train moved so its own Amtrak passengers can get by.

Further reports show that only very recently, are there more freight staff that have since been hired.

On Saturday, Nov 1 2014, just before midnight, there was another rather odd incident. 10 to 15 minutes out of Spokane, going east en route to Idaho Amtrak’s Empire Builder was delayed behind a freight train that had collided with an unoccupied SUV. The freight train was going about 60 miles an hour needless to say demolishing the vehicle right in its track. It is unclear why it the vehicle was on the track and what the circumstances were around the incident.

The Amtrak passenger train, the Empire Builder, was behind the freight train and therefore it was halted for three hours while emergency services, the Sheriff and 20 BNSF staff swarmed the area. Cleaning up a big mess of debris enabled both the freight train and the Empire Builder to then continue on.

Incidents of this nature are apparently not that uncommon.

Even more troubling however is the impact of 3 times (3x) more freight trains running on the tracks in the last two years. Amtrak’s ability to gauge how long any particular journey is going to take is perpetually compromised. Amtrak is beholden to freight priority-traffic.

The boom is North Dakota is creating enormous freight traffic. Doubtless Warren Buffet and BNSF is delighted, mounds of money pouring in, with a cool $1000/a car to move oil and up to 100 oil cars per train.

Rabid capitalism steals the day as wheat farmers are taken as second priority. It’s $200 a car to move wheat. So it seems right to say that at the moment it’s tough times for the wheat farmer.

The bottom line means that the ‘choice’ is: oil brings in more money.

Amtrak passengers are delayed by the increased freights traffic be it CSX, BNSF, Norfolk Southern or whatever, industry freight has the right of way. Amtrak is paid a fee for any delay which is part of the contract.

No incentive on the part of Warren Buffet to support alternate routes for moving the oil because the numbers are working in the current situation.

Some Williston North Dakota landlords who see dollar signs bouncing everywhere have reportedly racked up rents and are preferably housing fracking-boom business workers whilst uprooting long term residents in favour of these folks who can pay the exorbitant rents.

Still 300+ men to one woman, isn’t much fun for barmaids.

The damage that can be measured is the boom’s impact on Amtrak schedules.

Amtrak trains have for years and years been able to say that they’ve had a 90% record of being on-time. But now, through no fault of their own, they are late more often than not as a direct result of the freight cars moving oil. Moving oil has tripled in the last two years, say workers who take the Amtrak near Williston.

Thousands of black stealth oil cars are dominating the railway line. Amtrak merely gets to use the railway line but always at the mercy of industry priority needs. There is nothing customers of Amtrak can do about it.

The oil boom may actually be said to be culpable in the unintended consequence of virtually ending on-time passenger rail travel. Amtrak has to tell its passengers it has to play it by ear. Literally.

How slick is the oil boom after all?

Maybe Warren Buffet should be made to be stuck behind a freight train and be told “Too bad, sit and wait”.

Further reading:

Following the tracks of the Empire Builder

Say No! to Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation is a heinous crime still perpetrated against girls.

On February 6 2011, throughout the day, the entire world is being asked to chant in unison a resounding, “NO to FGM!” with all activists against female genital mutilation.

This is the date marking the 8th International Day on Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Collectively we can honour the global concerted efforts which rarely get the media attention however represent both practical and existential struggles against FGM (as it is labelled for short).

Being that the 6th of February falls on a Sunday the UN-sponsored meeting backed by the World Health Organization will take place in Geneva, Monday 9 am Feb 7 at “Le Centre International de Conférences” (CICG).

It has been a long-time wait from many activists’ point of view, but it is encouraging news as the proud two-pronged theme for 2011 is finally emerging:

“Building Bridges between Europe and Africa” with emphasis on “Engaging media” and “Engaging governments”, an indispensable factor (say the experts) to being able to reach zero tolerance to FGM. The Inter-African Committee is scheduled to take the floor at Monday’s Geneva meeting issuing this statement in advance from IAC Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

“The objective of celebrating February 6 is to call International, Regional, National and Community attention to the efforts needed to free women and girls from the adverse tradition of female genital mutilation and to accelerate action towards its total elimination”.

“Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of basic human rights principles, as stipulated in Article 24.3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), other International and Regional instruments, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Relating to the Rights of Women in Africa, (Article 5) and the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, 2004″.

The main actors on the anti-FGM world front have traditionally been The Inter-African Committee, UNFPA, The UN Refugee Agency and UNICEF and so it makes perfect sense it is these organizations (said ‘branches of the UN’ that have been designated hosts for this UN-sponsored meeting.

There is formal media scheduled to be represented as well, including, Afromedianet. Equally, European Network-FGM will speak in a session.

This initiative signals to the whole world that concrete genuine steps are being taken to solidify the resources for anti-FGM initiative within government led by the United Nations.

For far too long FGM has been pushed under the carpet. That’s been the sentiment of many activists who have struggled to raise awareness over more than 40 years. 

Things are different now. For the first time in history chief world-actors alongside prominent activists have agreed to band together.

The work of all anti-FGM organizations across the world have been emboldened by the current UN culture, chiefly the sentiments of Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stating unequivocally, in September 2010 UN-New Work Meeting, his gender equality UN commitment (Diane Walsh, Vancouver Observer).

Coupled with this hopeful UN promise we’ve seen the emergence of the agency of UN Women on the scene, with a new website out in January 2011. Of course the impressive former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet which SG Ban Ki-moon himself appointed at the helm says a lot:

The Executive Director/Under-Secretary General of UN Women is designed to enable for a different climate to flourish, an anti-FGM policy commitment in global terms.

It is clear to anyone looking in, this year’s International Day is significant in that the overall strategy is upped in ranks and status with, as a political player, distinctly UN-Women driving in the shoulder and putting its weight behind the anti-FGM cause in a global capacity. UN-Women is seemingly poised to take the lead on the #AntiFGMGlobal narrative.

The formidable contribution of The AHA Foundation, No Peace without Justice, Ban FGM and FGM NETWORK are obvious central players as well adding to the current and overall political fervour galvanizing support behind ending the practice around the world.

TOSTAN out of Senegal, The Orchid Project (Davos winner) and with on-going endorsement from Nick Kristof of the New York Times and The Waris Dirie Foundation are also concurrently core developing partnerships with the same common goal of eradication.

As like UNICEF, many NGOs operate in tandem with the mandate of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices, whose personnel then work with several NGOs on the ground in Africa e.g. New Vision and Reach. By no means is this above list exhaustive.

Moreover, the commitment to eradicate FGM is exemplified by current initiatives taken place at a high-governmental level, both, nationally and internationally. These include: a global Appeal to Ban FGM worldwide underscoring efforts to bring forth an actual UN Resolution into the UN General Assembly at some point in the near future. This would seek a ban on the practice of female genital mutilation world-wide and would carry the weight of international law against torture behind it and along with it the goal to make the very UN Resolution— ultimately—the 9th— of the 8 Millennium Goals.

There is reason to have hope.

A draft-copy resolution is in the works spearheaded by the Inter-African Committee, a giant, in the anti-FGM movement. As it’s currently endorsed by UN headquarters in Geneva, Donor Working Group and Global Alliance against FGM(GAFGM), a German-Canadian group now operational out of Geneva, we’re seeing several federating efforts.

Using knowledge-sharing, a Global Portal is being developed by #GAFGM with the aim to centralize all FGM-based resources. In addition to providing an electronic-hub for monitoring situations on the ground it will also provide immediate media-outreach. Whilst it is in its infancy it is nevertheless already a one-stop click resource — able to view all resources pooled around FGM in one website — and with ability to add to it. And so, as a result going forward, mobilization and communications strategies between Europe, Africa and the Middle East can be ever enhancing. This is allowing for new partnerships and is evolving every day, to be posted on the portal.

GAFGM founder Elisabeth Wilson adds her voice to the struggle:

There is neither danger nor contradiction in the varying approaches to eradicating FGM which include legal and political and cultural. These can include but are not limited to strategies helping communities with unlearning harmful-to-girl cultural theory methodologies; sensitization and education; alternative employment measures for excisors; many different ways to fight FGM but always complementary” (translation from French).

Indeed there are reports of successful law enforcement and arrest of exisors making the criminalization of FGM an accepted paradigm and an integral part of any overall sensitization strategy.

In Geneva, this spring, Ambassadors from Burkina Faso, Egypt, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Kenya, Ethiopia will be heard speaking at session. Those African delegations (Nigeria rumored) to the UN who opposed going forward to take these greater steps [becoming clear] at the UN September 2010 New York conference have been successfully marginalized in part on account of the tremendous unification of mobilization efforts by the aforementioned plethora of organizations working on the front-line. Importantly 2011 at UN Geneva is a synchronization of strategies between Europe and Africa.

It is only through world-wide awareness of the on-going existence of FGM that true eradication can begin to take place.

As one Global Woman anonymous anti-FGM activist says,

“If you know something, get in touch. It only takes a tweet, email, or a FB post, to get involved. Know that excisors practicing FGM (anyone condoning, lending credence to babies, little girls and womens’ genitals being cut and sliced in societies of fear, coercion and confusion are under our watchful eye. It’s clear that the future can and will be better. If you see FGM happening, speak out. Don’t be a witness and do nothing”.

Tips: during the Zero Tolerance Day, please take the time to watch these two videos, which includes work and presentation by Ban FGM Campaign. Share with friends. Messages for UN Women – in pictures‬‬

Please note, Twitter hash-tag is: #FGM, #NOTOFGM, #STOPFGM #Feb6 #AntiFGMGlobal


For more information and March 2011 UN Geneva #GAFGM symposium article on the subject of anti-FGM activism, contact: mediageode at yahoo dot com

Geodes have always been a fascination on earth, let alone in outer space. This article caught my eye.