PHOTO: Palestinian children travel to an UNRWA school to seek shelter after evacuating their homes near the border in Gaza City on July 13, 2014.On August 24, nearly half a million Palestinian children in Gaza who were scheduled to start a new school year were unable to do so because of Israel’s latest military assault on the occupied and besieged coastal strip, “Operation Protective Edge,” which began on July 8 and killed more than 2100 people, including at least 1462 civilians.With a fledgling ceasefire agreed to on August 26 taking hold, the children of Gaza are struggling to cope with the horrors they experienced during Israel’s brutal attack, and to return to some semblance of normalcy.
The following fact sheet provides an overview of the impact that Israel’s latest assault and its siege and blockade have had on the children of Gaza. For further reference, see our recently released fact sheet, Gaza Crisis Update (August 22).
CHILDREN KILLED & INJURED BY ISRAEL’S LATEST ASSAULT
- According to the United Nations, between July 7 and August 25 the Israeli military killed at least 495 Palestinian children in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge.” The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights puts the number at 518, while the Palestinian Center for Human Rights puts it at 519. All three figures exceed the number of Palestinian children killed in the last two major Israeli assaults on Gaza combined, approximately 350 during “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-9 and 35 in November 2012. The number of children killed also exceeds the total number of Israelis, civilians and soldiers, killed by Palestinians in the last decade.
- According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between July 7 and August 20, 3106 Palestinian children were injured by the Israeli military in Gaza.
- Of the more than 3100 children wounded, the UN estimates that 1000 of them will suffer a permanent disability as a result of their injury.
- Thousands of unexploded bombs and shells pose a danger to civilians returning to areas they fled from during the fighting, putting children at particular risk.
CHILDREN TRAUMATIZED BY ISRAEL’S LATEST ASSAULT
- The UN estimates that 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS), while all of Gaza’s approximately 900,000 children have been affected by the war and need some level of psychosocial support. On July 28, UNICEF released a statement entitled “No safe place for children in Gaza.” In it, the head of the organization’s Gaza field office, Pernille Ironside, declared: “The physical and psychological toll that the violence is having on people is almost indescribable… We see children killed, injured, mutilated and burnt, in addition to being terrified to their core.”
- Symptoms of trauma being evidenced by children include wetting of the bed, clinging to parents, and nightmares.
- At least one Palestinian minor, a 16-year-old boy (now 17) named Ahmad Abu Raida, was held hostage for five days by invading Israeli soldiers and used as a human shield during their search for tunnels near his home near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to an investigation carried out by Defence for Children International - Palestine.
- Most children six and older in Gaza have lived through three major Israeli military assaults during their short lifetimes: the first in the winter of 2008-9, and the second in November 2012.
- According to the UN, between July 7 and August 22 at least 140 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in a single Israeli attack, for a total of 735 lives lost.
- According to the UN, as many as 1500 children may have been orphaned by Israeli attacks that killed their parents.
- The UN estimates that 6000 children will have a parent with a lifelong disability.
HOMES & LIVELIHOODS DESTROYED, FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE
- Since July 7, more than 100,000 people have been displaced by Israeli attacks that destroyed or severely damaged their homes. (Prior to Israel’s latest assault, there were 12,000 Palestinians still displaced from Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.)
- Even before Israel’s recent onslaught destroyed thousands of homes and much of Gaza’s industry and civilian infrastructure, families were struggling under Israel’s siege, with 70% of the population receiving humanitarian aid and an official unemployment rate of 40.8% as of the first quarter of 2014.
- According to UNICEF, eight out of 10 of Gaza’s approximately 900,000 children are dependent on humanitarian assistance.
- Most children seven and younger in Gaza have lived their entire lives under Israel’s suffocating, illegal siege and blockade.
(ADDITIONAL) OBSTACLES TO EDUCATION FOR GAZA’S CHILDREN
(See here for fact sheet on Israel’s violations of Palestinian academic freedom and right to education.)
- On August 24, nearly half a million Palestinian children in Gaza who were scheduled to start a new school year were unable to do so because of ongoing Israeli attacks.
- According to UNICEF, 244 schools were damaged during Israel’s latest assault and are in need of repair, including at least two kindergartens. According to the UN, at least 25 schools were severely damaged and can no longer be used.
- Many of Gaza’s schools continue to serve as shelters for the more than 100,000 Palestinians made homeless by Israeli attacks since July 7. According to the UN: “Schools currently used as shelters will require varying degrees of rehabilitation in order to be ready for normal schooling. Initial repairs must also be carried out in war-damaged schools, and unexploded ordnance will need to be cleared to restore safety.”
- Despite repairs made to infrastructure since the implementation of a ceasefire on August 26, most parts of Gaza still suffer electrical outages of up to 18 hours a day (up to 20 hours a day in Gaza City) hindering the ability of children to read indoors and at night, and to use computers.
- Even before Israel’s latest assault, Palestinian children in Gaza faced severe, Israeli-imposed restrictions on their ability to receive an education. Although Israel does not specifically prohibit the importation of books into Gaza as part of its siege, doing so is extremely difficult, leading to a shortage of books on all subjects.
- At one point, Israel barred the importation of writing paper, notebooks, and pencils, leading to a shortage of the latter two. Additionally, since 2000 Israel has prevented students in Gaza from traveling to study at universities in the occupied West Bank, some of which offer fields of study and degrees not available in Gaza.
- According to a report from Haaretz newspaper, between 2000 and 2012 Israel let just three Gazans travel to study at universities in the West Bank, all of whom had received US government scholarships.
This speaks volumes.
We’re all thankful for a truce in Gaza as long as it lasts. Five hundred children have been killed in the last few weeks. A similar number of Palestinians have been killed in this round as Israelis killed by Arab terrorism in the history of the State of Israel.
A traditional Jewish response to this would be: “He who destroys a human life is as if he had destroyed the whole world.”
My own rabbi said a few weeks ago in this forum he was “done apologizing” for Israel, in a view that seemed to articulate the position of what is sometimes called “the organized Jewish community.” He described Israel’s strikes on Gaza as “surgical” and “defensive” and said he was “done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality.”
For five years in our synagogue like many others, a special prayer was made for Gil’ad Shalit — an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas — every Shabbes. But never in my experience was there mention of the five to ten thousand Arabs held over that period in Israeli prisons, sometimes indefinitely, without trial or charge. What happens, I wondered, when our kids learn “the rest of the story”? What are we telling them? Only Jewish lives matter?
One of the Jewish Torah ‘s three commands to “love” is to love “the Other.”
A Judaism that treasures Jewish lives and devalues Arab lives is no longer Judaism.
The U.S. Jewish community has largely had its political identity hijacked by an influential minority, including many community leaders and rabbis, who see its essential role as advocating for Israel no matter what it does, bolstering U.S. government support and billions annually in U.S. aid. Though research has demonstrated most American Jews oppose Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, the well-organized and vocal minority that supports them has commandeered our public and political identity.
This support is largely free of moral content. It’s what sociologists have called “amoral familism.” Israel’s actions are not subject to moral examination but presumed to define morality. Past crimes against us are forever used subliminally to justify new crimes by us. Israel’s insistence on”security” and more land trumps Arab people’s demand for basic rights and self-determination as it has for decades. The “organized community” and American aid help maintain Israeli intransigence against what’s seen as an uncaring and always at least potentially anti-Semitic world.
But blockade and occupation are recognized acts of war most of us would support resistance to anywhere else in the world. The West Bank has been occupied for almost 50 years, its residents subject to arbitrary arrest, control over movement, land seizure and home destruction. Nearly two million Gazans have been blockaded for more than seven years — malnourished, economy strangled, health ruined — in collective punishment.
Election of a Palestinian government was sabotaged by Israel’s refusal to deal with it and mass arrest of the winners. Israel likes to call itself the Middle East’s “only democracy” while effectively ruling nearly five million — and growing — unrepresented Palestinians.
It is unclear what choice Palestinians have beyond active resistance and meekly accepting permanent subjugation in their own land. The recent “Kerry Round” of failed peace talks made this newly clear.
Sadat went to Jerusalem. The Arab League accepted Israel. Remember the Oslo accords? But for Israel, it’s always as if it’s 1967. If not 1944.
But what about the children we actually blow apart in 2014? An Israeli child was killed last week. What if it were 500 Jewish children? American children?
Israel and its American supporters have long reversed the worldwide moral posture of the Jewish people, a disaster for American Judaism as we try to pass on an ethos radically compromised by the need to continually rationalize permanent oppression of another people by our own.
The synagogue is continually debased by regular prayers for the welfare and triumph of the occupying army, whose central mission has become subjugating Palestinians in perpetuity — policies few if any Jews would countenance practiced by any other state against any other people.
The founding event of the Jewish people was the greatest slave revolt in history. As a young Jew growing up in New York long ago, I knew every fight for freedom was mine. Jews supported human equality, the rights of all, with a reliability and enthusiasm that inspired people of other groups. What we looked down on most in our sub-culture was looking down on people.
Young Jews grow up today in a radically different world in which they are encouraged by the organized community to rationalize permanent suppression (and when they resist — “self-defense” killing) of Palestinian Arabs.
The “organized community” believes the explosion of intermarriage among non-Orthodox U.S. Jews from about 15 percent in 1967 — when Israel became a confirmed occupier — to over 70 percent today< is pure coincidence. But anyone who’s thought about it, or known young American Jews, knows better.
We are living through an effort to re-define Judaism into, “The belief system that supports the Israeli state,” that dishonors the Jewish message of freedom, hope and resistance to tyranny that echoes through history.
Confronting today’s Israel and demanding it change is not a rejection of Judaism but the most profound manifestation of it. Jews should not be fighting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement that struggles to hold Israel accountable. We should be leading it. It is our people that’s disgraced by Israel’s policies and the heartless, mindless cheerleading of AIPAC and its supporters.
The central narrative of the Old Testament is of a people freed from slavery that wins, then loses its land through losing touch with who it is, its ideals and its God, betting instead on the wrong deities and the wrong empires — in the language of the modern, the wrong values.
As the Maccabees, the Hebrew rebels against ancient Rome, the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto, all demeaned by oppressors as terrorists, said or would have said: Live with dignity or die trying.
just in case there’s anyone in Ferguson who’s following info on tumblr as well
sadly, with the way the police are out, marching, and ready for the curfew (with dogs), there are some people that may need this
"We are prepping for a night if jail support. Call 314 862 2249 if you or friend arrested."
With the death toll in Gaza rising above 2,000, its devastating to discover that over 1,300 of these deaths are innocent Palestinian civilians – a good portion of which are women and children.
Hamde Abu Rahma, an award-winning Palestinian photojournalist in West Bank, has been documenting the situation in Gaza. He says:
“This afternoon, I decided to go to Ramallah hospital to visit some of the civilians who were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Upon arriving at the hospital, I met a family who had a small child who was waiting for an operation. The child had arrived at Ramallah hospital four days ago, after waiting more than a week for the proper documents which would allow his transfer from Gaza to Ramallah. The hospitals in the West Bank have more advanced equipment and according to the child’s uncle, there was no more room for any victims in Gaza hospitals.”
When Hamde was at the hospital, he learned the devastating story of what had happened to a young boy and his family. Hamde believes that this story, and the many others like it, needs to be told. The struggles and tragedies of real people must be told alongside death tolls and statistics – to remind us that the bodies are not numbers, but humans no different than you and I. This is Hamde’s recollection of what he learned at the hospital:
“The story of Ibrahim Hamad, who is one and a half years old, begins when his family decided to evacuate their home in Rafah, after it had been struck by an Israeli missile. They sought refuge in an UNRWA school, because they believed they would be safe there. UNRWA schools are known to shelter women and children, and therefore are off limits to military strikes, so they thought.
Once they arrived at the school, Ibrahim went out to the playground to have some fun with his cousin and the other children. After about five minutes, their playing was abruptly halted by a loud explosion. The school was now being targeted by Israeli missiles. Ibrahim, frightened, as anyone would be, ran to look for the comforting arms of his mother. He knew if he could just find his mother, he would be okay. She would protect him. Ibrahim’s mother came running to her son. She wrapped herself around her little boy in an attempt to shelter him from any shrapnel.
As she was trying to calm the child down, another missile hit the school. This time, though, no one was safe. Shrapnel injured both the boy and his mother. Ibrahim survived the catastrophic event, but unfortunately, his mother did not. She was killed immediately as a result of her extensive injuries. She was killed trying to protect her son. Ibrahim’s cousin, also one and a half years old, was also killed, as were ten other children. Ibrahim is only one victim of many – but I chose to tell his story because I met him today. Ibrahim opened his eyes for the first time in weeks, today. The only person he saw was his uncle at his side.”
What the statistics and numbers we often see in reports of the Gaza conflict usually never communicate is loss. People are losing their families; children will be growing up alone. The long-term consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict couldn’t be more apparent than in Hamde’s description of Ibrahim upon meeting the boy:
“As I got closer to Ibrahim, I could see the pain in his eyes; pain that no one should ever have to feel, let alone a child. Ibrahim lost one of the most important people he would ever have in his life – his mother. His mother gave her life so that he could live.”
This conflict will affect generations to come. Those who do survive will never forget the fear, chaos and bloodshed. Many will be left with mental and physical scars. Hamde says:
“There are a lot of other children who lost both of their parents. This genocide has created many orphans. More than 400 children have been killed, and thousands more seriously injured. There is no telling how many more will succumb to their injuries. Ibrahim’s injuries include being hit by shrapnel in the legs, chest, and back, as well as having a piece of shrapnel lodged into one of his lungs. He will have surgery, and once he is given the okay by doctors, will return to Gaza. Ibrahim may be too young to understand what is going on, he may not remember what happened that horrific day, but he will always have the physical scars to remind him – his mother gave up her life trying to save him. One cannot imagine what it must feel like, knowing that the only reason you are alive is because your mother is dead.
This is something that no one should ever have to face. The people of Gaza are more than just numbers that you see flash quickly across your TV screen. They have names, faces, lives; each and every one of them has a story of their own. Each and every one of them has their own hopes and dreams. The people of Gaza are no different from any one of us. They want what we all want – to laugh, love, have peace, and freedom. Most of all, the people of Gaza want to live. They are dying to live.”
Nearly half a million Palestinian children in Gaza were unable to start the new school year as scheduled. During #Israel’s latest assault on #Gaza, 244 schools were damaged and at least 25 schools were left beyond repair.
In addition, many of Gaza’s schools continue to serve as shelters for the more than 100,000 Palestinians made homeless by Israeli attacks since July 7.
Learn more: http://bit.ly/1qGbab4
Alongside the addiction to news broadcasts and finding reinforced areas on the street in case of a rocket strike, the increase in defamatory speech on social networks was a characteristic of Operation Protective Edge. Calls for the destruction of Gaza with its inhabitants, together with wishes that left-wing activists would die in a rocket strike or from cancer, became a matter of daily routine.
Notices of the deaths of Gazan children on B’Tselem’s Facebook page sometimes drew as many as 20,000 comments, many of them expressing hatred toward B’Tselem or pleasure at the death and devastation. Statements advocating the boycott of Arab markets were shared by thousands; left-wing activists and journalists who opposed the war received private messages of hate mail, and some went so far as to publish their hateful remarks for all to see.
It was interesting to contact the people who had posted the hateful messages on Facebook to find out who they were and whether they had any second thoughts about their statements. Most of them would not agree to be interviewed. Those who did, after a brief conversation in which their statements were read back to them, retracted their statements, at least partially, saying that they had gotten carried away in the heat of the moment, and offered a softer stance.
Three people agreed to speak about their days of rage on Facebook: a marketing specialist who moved to the United States, a security guard from Yeruham and a customer service employee in Be’er Sheva. Every one of them was likable and completely ordinary. Maybe that is what should be more worrisome – the possibility that such statements, which would be defined as anti-Semitism in Europe if they were directed against Jews, are already a matter of consensus in Israel.
Nessi Ziv Corali, 34, a salesman originally from Tel Aviv, now living in the U.S.
Statement: “Bibi should just send in the Air Force to kill any living, breathing person in the holocaust known as Gaza. The place ought to be smashed to smithereens.”
“During this war, from the moment I woke up to when I went to sleep, I spent 20 minutes of every hour on Facebook,” recalls Corali, a former marketing employee of City Mouse, by telephone from Ohio. “I wrote heaps of comments, at least 30 per day. Suddenly I felt like a Zionist. I spoke with more than ten Americans every day and would show them videos on YouTube. I missed a pro-Palestinian demonstration and the Israeli counter-demonstration when I was visiting Hawaii, because I went on to a different island.”
I asked him whether he grinned from ear to ear when he saw reports about the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, and whether he would be happy if a rocket were to explode on people from B’Tselem, as he had written. “I had outbursts,” he admits, “and the way I wrote seems a bit childish. Of course I don’t want anyone to die in a rocket strike. I wrote that when I was upset and hurt.”
Still, he says that he does not regret what he said. “It’s an atrocious organization,” he says of B’Tselem. “This is not the right time to report things like that. There’s something known as timing. Soldiers who were killed – one cannot say that they were murderers.”
He explains his suggestion to kill every living man in Gaza as having been written in the heat of the moment. “Now, if I look at it, maybe I’d say that it wasn’t pertinent. It’s hard to believe that 100 percent of the people living in Gaza would be ready to blow themselves up. There’s definitely a certain percentage, even if it’s small, that thinks differently.”
Sometimes he makes statements during the conversation that are prevalent on the left. “If you take an Arab mother who never wanted to hurt us, then once her children have been killed, she will not want to live with us in peace and will become an enemy of the Jews. There’s no doubt that it’s a cycle. But we still need to make sure that the threat is removed. Like other people, I’m a slave to my emotions and speak from the heart. During the first days, I wrote posts in a strongly right-wing spirit. A week into the war, I started asking questions: What were the tycoons’ interests here? If the government could have eliminated the tunnels before, why didn’t they? But even if it’s obvious to me that there are political and financial interests, the threat to the communities in the south must be eliminated.”
Corali recalls that before he traveled to the U.S., he attended the social-justice demonstrations. Still, he says: “I was always very right-wing, not on the radical right. I don’t like the word ‘radical.’ If someone in my family were to be killed and then one of my friends came and talked to me about peace, I’d slap him.”
Corali drew a lot of protests for advocating war while he was on the beach in Honolulu, but he rebuts them. “In Israel, if you want to buy an apartment and a car here, the chances of that happening are low. It’s not right. It’s not right that you work 11 hours and have nothing left at the end of the month. It’s not right that there’s a defense establishment that doesn’t work the way it should. So why stay in Israel? For slogans? You can love the country from afar. You don’t have to live in poverty so that it will remain your country. If a student is living in a damp studio apartment in south Tel Aviv, in a place that is dangerous because of the Sudanese immigrants and has to work two jobs, he’s better off leaving.”
Dennis Kharkov, 22; a factory security guard from Yeruham who immigrated to Israel from Ukraine at age four
Statement: In response to a photograph of destroyed homes in Gaza on B’Tselem’s Facebook page, he wrote: “I am in favor of turning all of Gaza into one big parking lot.”
“There are things that can drive me mad, such as everything that has to do with [MK] Haneen Zoabi,” Kharkov admits. “During the military operation, it bothered me that the Israeli media gave too much weight to what was happening in Gaza. I don’t care what happens in Gaza, with all due respect. I care about our country and our troops. I don’t care that B’Tselem is taking photographs of dead children in Gaza.”
Today he distances himself from his remark about turning Gaza into a parking lot. “I have my own opinions,” he says, adding, “I didn’t mean it when I wrote that. It’s extremism, just like B’Tselem shows the most devastated neighborhoods in Gaza on its web page. When you turn on CNN, you see broadcasters in hotels that were not destroyed.”
Kharkov’s anger at B’Tselem also stems from his army service in the Border Police. “B’Tselem did everything it could to screw over every soldier. If you see their videos, you say that we were shown as unfair. But when I was in the Border Police, that’s not how it really was. People hate Israel because of them. In reality, we’re the most moral army.”
Kharkov says that he “supports this country first of all. They have training camps for children where they teach them to crawl and hold a gun. You see in the children’s eyes that they will do everything they can against Israel, as if Israel didn’t exist, and that bothers me. But the bastard hasn’t been born who is going to stop Israel.”
Sigalit Moshe, 40, from Be’er Sheva, a customer service employee in a high-tech company
Statement: “The King Messiah will conquer Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Italy. There will not be a single Arab left in the Land of Israel!”
“I was on Facebook a lot during the war. Every day, most of the day,” Moshe says, adding that when the military operation began, she changed her profile picture to the Israeli flag. “I had terrible arguments. One time, someone from Turkey wanted to friend me. I didn’t accept the request because I didn’t want to see curses against Israel. So he wrote to me that he also admired Israel a bit. Since then, whenever he saw photos on my page, he softened and started asking me, ‘What’s new over there?’”
Moshe is evasive at first about her statement, which called for leaving not a single Arab in the Land of Israel. Then she says: “The reason I wrote it is that our hope is lost. Not because of Hamas, but because of the opponents among us. Maybe the solution will come through religion. Maybe the King Messiah will solve the problem.”
She directs most of her criticism against the left wing, and her statements contain anger that has to do with the ethnic issue. Even though the leaders of the military operation – Netanyahu, Ya’alon and Gantz – are of Ashkenazi origin, she says: “It bothers me that there are people of Ashkenazi origin on the left, and they let us, the Mizrahim, who did not go through the Holocaust, fight in the war to protect the Jewish homeland. Everything that happened was because of B’Tselem and the left-wing demonstrators. After every demonstration in Rabin Square, rockets fell on us. I say to the left wing: Sit down and be quiet. If there was no left wing, there would be peace. The Mizrahim understand Arabs better than the Ashkenazim do. I was invited to a Jewish-Arab seminar once when I was young. I was very frightened but I went, and at the end I was the one who had Arab friends. The people who were of European descent had nothing to say to them.”
Ironically, while Moshe was busy fighting against Gaza, her husband was working as a truck driver bringing goods to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, and was friendly with his coworkers on the other side. “They’re friends. They work together, and they’re really friends of my husband. He says that they’re very worried there, mainly about whether Kerem Shalom will be open. When they ask my husband why Israel is bombarding Gaza, it annoys me that my husband doesn’t answer them. I tell him, ‘Answer them so that they’ll know.’ But he’s not so interested in politics. My husband’s friends in Gaza just want to make a living.”
Rape: It’s Your Fault
Every sexual assault case in India inspires a string of stupid and hateful remarks against women. This is our response to those remarks.
AIB 365 is a weekly sketch show from India’s edgiest, politically incorrect comedy collective AIB.
For Vishal Agnihotri, 33, a rickshaw puller in the Dwarka neighbourhood here in the capital, the Global Water Week that kicked off on Sunday in Sweden and the ice bucket challenge craze means nothing.
"I haven’t had a bath for the last four days. We don’t have water for drinking; forget taking a bath in ice cold water," he told Al Jazeera.
New Delhi, a union territory and the capital of India became the world’s second most populous city this year after Tokyo, more than doubling its population since 1990 to 25 million, according to the latest UN report. The city is expected to retain this spot until 2030, when its population is expected to rise swiftly to 36 million, the report says.
But does the city have enough drinking water for its bulging population?
Currently the demand for potable water is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) but the government only supplies around 800 mgd. About 81 percent of the households get piped water. The rest of the population relies on mobile water tankers.
Last year the Delhi government even had to insist that 35 five-star hotels cut down their consumption.
With no ensured timely distribution of water to the inhabitants at many places, the water mafia has taken over.
"Government is the biggest problem. It doesn’t plan water resources," Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator with the New Delhi-based South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, told Al Jazeera.
That’s why in this water-hungry city, a parallel water industry is flourishing despite tough measures taken by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) which is responsible for maintaining Delhi’s water supply.
"The water mafia will work when there is a scarcity of water. It’s because of the unequal distribution of the water by the authorities. People who need water anyways see a solution in water tankers," Dewan Singh, an environmentalist at Natural Heritage First told Al Jazeera.
It’s estimated that more than 2,000 private tankers draw water from tube wells and the DJB connection and sell the water to residential localities and industries at exorbitant rates. This industry earns an estimated 400 crores ($66.15m) annually.
Water tanker rates differ on the basis of capacity, season and demand, and in some cases, the customer.
Almost half of Delhi’s population lives in slums where getting water is a challenge every day.
"Every day after school, I come to take a shower in this private bathroom for five rupees ($0.08), because there is no water at my home. We buy water for drinking but can’t afford it for other purposes," says Mohmmad Ansari, 12, of the Sanjay colony neighbourhood in South Delhi.
Overuse and exploitation has reduced the ground water levels so that open drains now mix with ground water in many places, making the water unhealthy. Water experts belive that the water table has been going down by three feet every year for the past 30 years.
Rows of water cans and jars, used by slum dwellers to store water, can be seen along the roads. Almost half of New Delhi’s population lives in the slums where the lack of water is severe.
"From the last 10 years, we’re facing water shortages and there is no relief. People elsewhere fight for secondary matters, but we are still stuck with basic issues like water," says Shaam Singh, 70, of the Kusumpur neighbourhood in New Delhi.
The water supplied to most households in the slums is dirty and unfit for normal usage. A water sample test done in 20 slum areas by an NGO called FORCE in 2013 found E. coli contamination was present in at least one or more samples in 18 slums.
An water ministry report in 2013 says the skewed availability of water between different regions and among various people in the same region, combined with the intermittent and unreliable water supply system, has the potential for causing social unrest.
"I don’t go to work these days. I keep waiting to get water everyday. This has been a real setback. Shall I work or get water for my family? If I choose to work, we may not get water. I take 200 liters of water everyday for daily usage from this public tap, which has no proper timing for water," says Rajinder, 45, of Sangam Vihar in South Delhi.
In the Kusumpur slums people lock up water containers with a chain so they aren’t stolen during the night. Swati, 35, says there is such a scarcity of water that people steal each other’s water drums.
With little public trust in government-supplied drinking water, the bottled-water industry has boomed over the years.
India’s ground water authority wants households to adopt rooftop, rainwater harvesting systems, but the effort has done little to thwart the water crisis in the capital.
With the water mafia on the prowl, many illegal drinking water manufacturing units have sprouted up in New Delhi.
A private water tanker fills the water tank of a bungalow in the upscale Sarita Vihar neighbourhood. Water tanker rates differ on the basis of capacity, season, and demand and in some cases the customer.
Prince - a distributor of potable drinking water in the Kalkaji neighborhood - says he has been in the business for the last 11 years. “Earlier the demand for water was less, now it’s high. There is lot of competition too. I distribute around 200 to 250 of 20-litre water jars every day.”
Women, men, children, the elderly, no one is safe under Nawaz Sharif’s government.
The Pakistani police are using rubber bullets and tear gas shells against peaceful protesters in Islamabad
Police brutality will not stop peaceful change. The joint PTI and PAT revolutionaries will continue to march towards the PM’s house to demand his resignation.
Join the revolution. Support change
A decade after leaving her home town of Skipton, Ruzwana Bashir finally felt able to return and testify against her abuser.
It was with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes that I read about the horrific cases of abuse and neglect revealed in the Rotherham report this week.
Much of the media coverage has focused on how men of mostly Asian descent preyed on vulnerable young white victims. The details of this abuse are awful. But what has largely been ignored is the report’s finding that sexual abuse has been systemically under-reported among Asian girls due to deeply entrenched cultural taboos – obscuring the reality that there is a similarly rampant problem of minority girls being abused by members of their own community.
I have first-hand knowledge of this problem. I’m coming forward to publicly share my own story in the hope that I can encourage others to do the same and help tear down the wall of silence that perpetuates further abuse.
I grew up in a small community of a few hundred British-Pakistanis in Skipton, less than 60 miles from Rotherham. When I was 10 a neighbour started sexually abusing me. Paralysed by shame, I said nothing.
At 18 I was fortunate enough to receive an offer to study at Oxford University. I was enthralled with the exciting new world around me and tried desperately to fit in. I replaced my traditional shalwar kameez with jeans. I bared my shoulders and cut my hair. I socialised more than I studied and became president of the Oxford Union.
An internship at Goldman Sachs led to a job in private equity in London, and after a few years I moved to the US to get my MBA from Harvard Business School. But all the while, I knew the girls I had grown up with didn’t have the same opportunities – and that my abuser was probably still preying on other children.
It was only after a decade away from Skipton that I was finally able to garner the courage to return and testify against my abuser. When I first told my mother about the abuse I’d suffered, she was absolutely devastated. The root of her anger was clear: I was heaping unbound shame on to my family by trying to bring the perpetrator to justice. In trying to stop him from exploiting more children, I was ensuring my parents and my siblings would be ostracised. She begged me not to go to the police station.
If I’d still been living in Skipton, surrounded by a community who would either blame me for the abuse or label me a liar, I’m not sure I could have rejected her demands.
Once the police began the investigation another victim came forward. Sohail described how he too had been abused almost 20 years before I was. Due to our combined testimony, the perpetrator was jailed for eight years.
Within a few weeks another young woman in the community, emboldened by the conviction, told the police that a relative had raped her for several years. It had started before Sara was in her teens. We have supported her through the process of taking this to court.Although Sohail and I had removed a proven paedophile from the community and helped empower another woman to end her torture, we were not celebrated. On the contrary, we were shunned.
The Rotherham report cites a home affairs select committee finding that cases of Asian men grooming Asian girls did not come to light in Rotherham because victims “are often alienated and ostracised by their own families and by the whole community, if they go public with allegations of abuse”.
This was our experience exactly – and the experience of everyone I’ve since spoken to. In each situation, victims and their families faced tremendous pressure to drop their cases.
During our investigation it became clear that for three decades many other women had suffered at the hands of our abuser, but they had refused to testify against him because of the indelible stigma it would bring. I learned that the parents of at least one of the victims had known their child had been abused but had done nothing. We also discovered that the larger community had long been aware of rumours of abuse by my neighbour but had chosen to ignore them – even when Sohail had attempted to come forward several years earlier.
This refusal to condemn perpetrators persists even after their conviction. Soon after our case, another convicted sex offender was released back into our community and was accepted as if nothing had happened. It was clear that the same would happen with our abuser.
Much has been made about the religious background of the offenders in the Rotherham report. But this problem isn’t about religion race: it’s about a culture where notions of shame result in the blaming of victims rather than perpetrators.
Although painful to read, the Rotherham report presents an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for leaders in the British-Pakistani community to stand up and speak out about the sexual and physical abuse in their midst. The Asian community isn’t unique in having evil-doers, and the overwhelming majority of its men and women are good people who care about protecting others.
I am and always will be proud of my Pakistani heritage, but I firmly believe community leaders must take responsibility for the fact that the taboos that prevent others from identifying perpetrators and supporting victims enable further abuse. And those taboos must be challenged.
The report also presents an opportunity to overhaul the public institutions that have failed in their responsibility to protect the defenceless – which includes everyone from the police to schools to social services.
On multiple occasions, beginning when she was 12, Sara went to her local GP and to walk-in clinics wearing her hijab to get the morning-after pill. She was never asked if she needed help. When she approached the police to share her story the CPS initially told her it would not pursue the case because there was too little evidence. It’s a testament to her resolve that she pushed back, demanding a chance to seek justice.
The system failed her, just as it has thousands of other children of all backgrounds.
We now have the chance to change that, and there are four immediate steps we should take to address this problem.
First, we need better training of social workers and police to effectively identify victims. The Rotherham report cited that one of the reasons for the widespread under-reporting of abuse among minority communities was the authorities’ focus on communicating with male leaders, who ignored the problem. Women and girls need to be included in these conversations, and government officials need to broaden the scope of their inquiries.
Second, we need mandatory reporting by people of authority when they signs of potential sexual abuse. One of the most damning parts of the Rotherham report was that schoolteachers were discouraged from reporting potential cases. For Sara, mandatory reporting by doctors serving young children could have saved her years of abuse.
Third, we need improved support for victims when they come forward. Sara’s case has been drawn out for far longer than expected, during which time she has faced pressure to withdraw her testimony. She has been passed from one counsellor to another, and struggled to get the help she needs to overcome her trauma. We need a judicial process that recognises the cost of delayed prosecutions for victims and better counselling services.
Fourth, we need a single person in each community who is accountable for ensuring these and other relevant policies are implemented. There are a lot of people with partial responsibility for this problem, but for this to be an effective, coordinated, comprehensive response, we need one individual who takes full responsibility for ensuring child sex exploitation is addressed and who can be held accountable for real change.
Some of these policies are already being implemented. But they are not being implemented everywhere, and they are not being implemented quickly enough.
The biggest risk of this terrible situation is that once the shock of this report dissipates, it will get swept under the rug, just like three previous reports in Rotherham. We cannot let that happen. We don’t need any further reports: we need system-wide change in the way we approach fighting sexual abuse against children of all backgrounds. This is not a problem in Rotherham or a problem in Oxford or a problem in Rochdale. This is a problem in the United Kingdom. And we need to tackle it together.
In the words of Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.” Let’s not be those people.
Some names have been changed to protect anonymity.
Saturday morning, over 1,000 people march for justice for Michael Brown.
A forensics expert points out hints that the James Foley beheading video was edited to give way to a change of actor.
Whiles experts has no doubt that Foley was actually killed, they were one in saying that the video showing his execution was edited to suit whatever purpose it wants to serve.
A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be U.S. journalist James Foley at an unknown location in this still file image from an undated video posted on a social media website. Britain is close to identifying a suspected British national shown beheading American journalist James Foley in a video released by Islamic State militants last week, the British ambassador to the United States said on August 24, 2014.
According to Ross Patel, a forensic expert, the change in stature of the man masked in black was a giveaway that there is another man or a second militant that acted the part. The second man could be the actual killer.
Patel pointed out that an obvious edit made it possible to conceal the appearance of the second man.
"There’s definitely a change of actor. There are noticeable, there are subtle but there are also noticeable changes in their build, their physical appearance," the expert said.
Patel suggested that for investigators to track down the man in the video, the measurements of his face can be compared through databases of passport photos.
Patel was keen to observe that the knife being held by the man in the video has dimensions and style different from the knife left beside Foley’s dead body anddecapitated head. Furthermore, the man’s pistol was holstered underneath his left armpit which suggests that he was right handed. However, the beheader who appeared in the video was left-handed.
Curiously, the whole footage appeared to be edited using “slick post-production techniques,” according to an international forensic science company, which requested not to be named.
"I think it has been staged. My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped,” the company’s analysis of the video published by The Times reads.
Video experts, who had also spoken with The Times, observed that some portions of the video have play-acting.
In the instance that Foley’s beheading video was elaborately edited using advance equipments, it will be logical to ask next as to how and where the ISIS gets its funding.
The group owns cash amounting to $2 billion amassed from private donations, taxes, ransoms and stolen millions of money from big infrastructures that the group had been seizing, The Guardian reports.
There is no way to determine the exact amount of funding that the group is getting, according to Australian National University’s Middle East terrorism expert Dr Rodger Shanahan.
Shanahan said that it is a known fact that the group is amassing money from the Gulf to Syria, or their sales of oil from the locations that they now control. But as for the exact amount of money coming in, no one can definitely know “unless you’re privy to their books of account.”
Calling itself as a caliphate means that the group has its capacity to do everything that a government does as “the notion of holding dams is as much about claiming to be a government as it is about revenue raising,” he said.
A few months after moving from Canada to a remote part of Guatemala to find religious freedom, a group of ultra-orthodox Jews have now been forced to leave their homes in a bitter conflict with villagers.
The Lev Tahor community packed its bags on Friday in San Juan la Laguna around 150km west of Guatemala City, to board buses bound for the capital after weeks of friction with sections of the local population.
The town’s Elders Council voted last week to force the group to leave because they say some members of the sect have mistreated indigenous residents and tourists in the area, the AP news agency reported.
Verbal abuse, threats to cut off power and eject them by force were, say the Jews, the last straw for the group who began arriving in March from Canada, where the Lev Tahor group’s strict religious ways had clashed with authorities.
Founded in the 1980s by Israeli Shlomo Helbrans, the Lev Tahor practice an austere form of Judaism.
Winning admiration from some Jews for its devoutness, the group is condemned by others as a cult-like sect.
Helbrans declined to be interviewed, but another Lev Tahor leader in San Juan, rabbi Uriel Goldman, fielded questions about the group.
Goldman insisted most of the Guatemalan villagers were friendly toward the group but that it was pushed out by an aggressive minority he said were motivated by local politics.
"I don’t understand why they don’t want us, we’re doing nothing bad here," said Goldman, who like other men in the Lev Tahor, which means "Pure Heart" in Hebrew, the Reuters news agency reported.
According to Goldman, the Elders Council issued an ultimatum to the Lev Tahor, saying water and electricity would be cut off if they did not leave.
"They also warned us they would remove us from the village by force," he added.
Miguel Vasquez Cholotio, a member of the council, said the villagers decided to expel the group because they refused to greet or have physical contact with the community.
"We felt intimidated by them in the streets. We thought they wanted to change our religion and customs," he said.
Eschewing technological trappings such as television and computers, daily life among the Lev Tahor, is steeped in religion.
Rejecting the state of Israel because it views the Jews as a people in exile, the Lev Tahor hope to find land elsewhere in
Guatemala to build 30 houses to resettle the 200-odd strong community, Goldman said.
Around 60 members of the group left San Juan during the night with the rest set to follow.