Horror and Hope

By Andrea Brower

It has been a particularly depressing week on the news. From the violence of war to that of poverty, we lack no evidence that things are bad, perhaps getting worse. During commercials we are advised to seek-out prozac, isolated and pathologized for our sorrow.

We must not numb to the horror of the world, or turn a blind eye and pretend that “it’s all good.” It’s not. But at the same time we cannot end with the tale of despair and futility, taking the horror as evidence that we are incapable of something better. We must cultivate active hope, and turn it into a deeply political and subversive act.

Our global society is structured around competitive hoarding, manufactured scarcity and deprivation, hierarchy and distinction between the deserving and the undeserving. It’s tempting to blame the world’s troubles on “bad people”—greedy banksters, religious…

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Right-Wing Christian Group Tried to Convert This City’s Kids — But They’re Fighting Back


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States slow to change on life without parole for children

Children in Prison WHY THEY ARE THERE?

States slow to change on life without parole for children

06/25/14 01:15 PM—Updated 06/25/14 05:07 PMhttp://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/states-slow-change-life-without-parole-children#

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By Meredith Clark

The 2012 Supreme Court ruling that was supposed to spell the end of mandatory life sentences without parole for children hasn’t led to a sea change in the criminal justice system, a new analysis from the Sentencing Project has found.

Only a handful of states have passed laws to comply with the 2012 decision, which found that mandatory life sentences for individuals under the age of 18 without the chance for parole violates the Eighth Amendment. The decision also said that juries must be able to consider mitigating factors when deciding sentences because children have not finished developing physically and mentally and could be rehabilitated.

Thirteen of the 28 states that had mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles now ban the practice. Things are slowly…

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Syria: Armed Groups Send Children into Battle


Human Rights Watch

Recruitment Under the Guise of ‘Education’
June 22, 2014

Non-state armed groups in Syria[2] have used children as young as 15 to fight in battles, sometimes recruiting them under the guise of offering education, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The groups have used children as young as 14 in support roles. Extremist Islamist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) have specifically recruited children through free schooling campaigns that include weapons training, and have given them dangerous tasks, including suicide bombing missions.

The 31-page report “‘Maybe We Live and Maybe We Die’: Recruitment and Use of Children by Armed Groups in…

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Syrian rebels recruiting teens, says rights Group


Syrian rebels recruiting teens, says rights Group

Children walk along a street in Jisr al-Hajj in Aleppo, Syria

Syrian rebel factions have recruited teenagers as young as 15 to fight in the country’s civil war, using them in roles ranging from soldiers and snipers to stretcher bearers and suicide bombers, a rights group said on Monday.  Human Rights Watch said rebel groups across the ideological spectrum have employed children in the conflict, including the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front as well as the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.   Military and police forces in Kurdish-controlled areas have also used teenagers, it said.

`Syrian armed groups shouldn’t prey on vulnerable children – who have seen their relatives killed, schools shelled, and communities destroyed – by enlisting them in their forces,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, the author of the 31-page report. “The horrors of…

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