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Resources: 9-12-2010

September 12, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-Winning “Ruined”
Performance to Benefit Program for Torture Victims

Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped and brutalized in the Democratic Republic of Congo during that country’s civil war, and many survivors of torture in the DRC, now living in Los Angeles, have been helped toward recovery by the city’s Program for Torture Victims.
            A portion of proceeds from the September 19, 2010, performance of Lynn Nottage’s play, “Ruined,” at LA’s Geffen Theatre will benefit PTV if the tickets are purchased from the organization.

“Universally acclaimed for its emotional power, Ruined is set inside a bar and brothel where female survivors of Congo’s brutal war are given shelter by the owner, Mama Nadi. In exchange for protection, the women — most of them rape victims who have been sold to Mama Nadi by a traveling salesmen — serve as prostitutes in a world where conventional notions of morality have been turned upside down.”

(If ordering books or DVDs discussed in this blog from Amazon, please consider doing so through our website, which will help to support the work of The Refuge Media Project. Click on the cover image above to be redirected to our site.)

Myths and Facts About Torture

From Britain’s Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture: “Torture was once a practice that provoked unwavering condemnation…Yet in recent years some have sought to justify the use of torture as a means to the end of keeping the public safe from harm…Some governments and leading thinkers have sought to dress up torture as ‘interrogation’ or to legitimize its use…
             In response, the organization has published a fact sheet, Myths and Facts About Torture“The current misleading and inaccurate information surrounding the issue of torture has given rise to a new mythology. Here we seek to dispel some of those myths and describe the reality of torture that we see through the experience of our clients from countries around the world.”
             Some of the myths this valuable fact sheet counters: torture works, torture is a means to an end, only criminals and terrorists are tortured, rape is not torture, only women are victims of rape, the effects of torture are only temporary…

Immigration Myths and Realities

From the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service“With all of the talk about Arizona’s new immigration law, border security, and various state and local immigration proposals, you may be hearing incorrect information about immigrants and their contributions to U.S. society. Some people that “immigrants don’t pay taxes,” or “immigration leads to an increase in crime and violence, or that “immigrants come to the United States to take advantage of public benefits.” A fact sheet that LIRS is calling “Myth Busters” helps to correct these misconceptions. (Photo above from LIRS.)

Detention and Deportation: 
Community-based Alternatives?

From the Detention Watch Network – Did You Know: “The U.S. government detained approximately 380,000 people in immigration custody in 2009, in a hodgepodge of about 350 facilities at an annual cost of more than $1.7 billion. Immigrants in detention include families, both undocumented and documented immigrants, many who have been in the US for years and are now facing exile, survivors of torture, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children, and individuals who are seriously ill without proper medication or care.”
            A new policy brief, Community-Based Alternatives to Immigration Detention, prepared for the Detention Watch Network by the Mills Legal Clinic at Stanford University Law School powerfully argues that available community-based alternatives to detention are cheaper, more effective and more humane than the current U.S. immigration detention system. Download the full report 

Interestingly, it appears that the Obama administration is at last coming around to the same point of view. Julia Preston writes in the New York Times (August 26, 2010) that “Immigration enforcement officials have started to cancel the deportations of thousands of immigrants they have detained, a policy they said would pare huge case backlogs in the immigration courts…
             “The policy is intended to address a “major inefficiency” that has led to an unnecessary pileup of cases in the immigration courts…The courts have reported at least 17,000 cases that could be eliminated from their docket if ICE dismissed deportations of immigrants, like those married to United States citizens, who were very likely to win legal status, the memo says…”

How to Write Less Badly

Writing in the Journal of Higher Education (September 6, 2010) Michael C. Munger, a Duke University political scientist, reminds us that, even in this era of speeded up communication, it helps to be able to write…if not well, at least less badly.
            “I have seen a lot of very talented people fail because they couldn’t, or didn’t, write,” comments Munger. “And some much less talented people (I see one in the mirror every morning) have done OK because they learned how to write…”
            If this is an issue for you – and there are few of us who couldn’t stand to improve – check out the article. There are two of Munger’s ten points to which I will be trying to pay particular attention: 

  • Not all of your thoughts are profound
  • Your most profound thoughts are often wrong
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