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From: Thomas Rosen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:33 AM
Subject: RE: whats up
To: Bi Rosen <email@example.com>
Monday, Jan 25, 2010
Port Au Prince, Haiti
It's hard to sort through my feelings this evening; I struggle back and forth from pride from our accomplishments today to hopelessness at the magnitude of the problem. What a day! Dr. Ivankovich and I awoke at 3:30 am in order to meet a flatbed truck we had arranged the day before. Driving through the streets of Port Au Prince in the darkness, winding through the rubble and past small garbage fires and sleeping families in the streets, our destination was Carrefour Hospital. With the help of Dr. Colleen O'Connell, a Canadian rehab specialist with Handicap International, we had scouted out and found five patients with spinal injuries at this hospital yesterday, but were unable to return until now. The physician there is a French doc with Doctors Without Borders, and had done a great job caring for these patients as well as he could have under the circumstances. He had made sure each patient had a caretaker with them at all times, that the patients were bathed before we arrived, and that the patients and their families were informed and agreed with the plan for us to pick them up and take them to the American field hospital at the airport. What they didn't know is that the hospital wasn't expecting them and honestly didn't want them. We knew that, well at least we hoped that, if we could get them there they would receive better care and even possibly a trip to the states at some point, if we could work it out. We knew that they would die where they were, and although there were certainly no guarantees, their best chance of survival was at the airport hospital.
We arrived at around 5:30 am, and found the patients as we had seen them the day before, lying on dirty sheets or thin mattresses on the cement patio, under a tent, near the back of the hospital grounds. The patients are all young, ranging from 23 to 39 years old, men and women, all paralyzed from the waist down, some with multiple injuries. Their families are excited to see us, but the patients show little emotion. I can't imagine how they must be feeling right now.
There are no stretchers there, which is a big deal especially when moving patients with spinal cord injuries, so we are thankful we kept the makeshift stretcher we used the day before. It is a piece of used plywood, about 6 feet long by 18 inches wide, with rope handles and grafitti painted all over it. Not ideal, but we make do. One by one we load them into the back of the truck, being as careful as possible. No matter how careful we are, we are all worried of causing further injury by moving these patients. They are, after all, lying on the cold steel bed of a flatbed truck, and about to be driven over rough streets to our destination.
A slow, bumpy, 45 minute ride at dawn takes us to the UN building where we are hoping they can be airlifted by helicopter the rest of the way to the airport hospital. I rode with them in the back, cringing with each bump in the road, with really little to do but try to assure them everything was going to be OK.
We meet a little resistance at first with the military staff there; they are skeptical that the hospital will accept them, but Dr I works his magic and somehow gets them to agree to help us. The air force officer asked me for the coordinates of the "LZ", or landing zone. I said: "Dude, I have no idea; we just need to get them to the hospital at the airport." He smiled, and I realized he, as a military officer, probably wasn't used to being addressed as "dude". No harm, I guess, since he got on the radio and 30 seconds later a helicopter landed in the small soccer field 100 yards in front of us. Each of the first two choppers takes two patients each, with the fifth patient going in the third. Realizing there would be extra room with only one patient, and thinking it might be helpful to the hospital staff when we arrive, and also honestly a little excited about the prospect of riding in the helicopter, I ask the officer if I can go with. He agrees with no hesitation, and away I go. Dr I will continue to drive, and meet us there.
The short flight revealed the scope of the devastation. Flattened buildings as far as the eye could see, with intermittent tent cities and rising smoke, bathed in the early morning glow of the rising sun. I tried, unsuccessfully, to fully comprehend the sheer numbers of people affected by this earthquake, but I can't wrap my brain around it; even though it is right there before my eyes, just a few hundred feet below. Before I knew it, we arrived at the airport. The helicopter landing zone is at the south end of the airport, probably still a mile away from the hospital at the far north end of the hospital grounds. The army is waiting our arrival, and in true army fashion quickly and efficiently load the patients in the back of hummers, and again away I go. I have never ridden in the back of so many trucks before...bumpy, hot, dirty, uncomfortable, but actually a little fun.
As expected, I wasn't exactly met with open arms and a slap on the back, but rather a couple of pissed off docs. They remembered me from last night, and flat out told me they could do nothing for these patients, and to bring them back to where they came from. The army didn't want anything to do with this squabble, and at my direction quickly unloaded them under a canopy next to the triage tent. A small victory for me, since now that the hummers were gone, they had no choice but to take care of these patients that we had worked so hard for. The docs there still didn't see it that way, though, so I worked every angle I could, from ignorance: " All I know is that someone last night told us it was OK" (not true), to defiant: "Well they are here now, so if you want to tell the patients and their families that you're choosing not to care for them, then go ahead" to presumptive: "I have all the medical and background info on these patients written on this sheet, who should I give it to in the triage tent?". They didn't budge. Dr I was on his way in the truck, and they wanted to talk to him.
Surprisingly, Dr I didn't have much more luck. They were ignoring us and the patients. We thought of just leaving, but were worried for the patients' well-being. We fed them a couple of hours later, a family member had alerted us that they were hungry. One of the patients, a young woman in her twenties, started crying while Dr I was feeding her. "What's wrong?" seemed like a silly question to ask a woman, lying on the ground, paralyzed, with multiple injuries, hungry, and scared, but we really didn't know what had prompted her emotions right there and then. After alerting a Creole interpreter, we soon found out that she was just overwhelmed with the whole situation, and had lost three children in the earthquake. We asked the interpreter if she could stay a few minutes to talk with and console her, and she did.
Within hours, a bigwig neurosurgeon who apparently had clout landed at the hospital. Dr. Green, it became obvious, was running the show, and made all the decisions regarding the hospital. Colleen, the physician from HI, was expecting him. We all sat on boxes under a canopy for an impromptu meeting. We explained our situation, and he readily agreed to accept and care for the spinal cord injury patients. "That's what we're here for!" was his response. Within an hour, it was decided to take care of all spinal cord injury patients, with a dedicated hospital tent, the intent to temporarily medevac them in the coming days to Miami for assessment and distribution to regional spine centers, and return in several weeks for rehab. That was all we needed to hear. It was around 2 PM. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. It had already been a long day, but we had more patients to get.
Subject: whats up
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 21:19:00 -0600
"we are what we think
all that we are
arises with our thoughts
with our thoughts
we make the world"
Friday, February 5, 2010
February 5, 2010
Open Letter from Soulforce to Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the Evangelical Christian broadcasters who are featured on Lighthouse Television, TBN’s affiliate in Uganda, including: Matthew Crouch, Joyce Meyer, Andrew Wommack, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Franklin Graham:
By now you are well aware of the anti-homosexual bill pending before the Parliament of Uganda. We urge you to denounce this bill. Use your personal friendships with President and Mrs. Museveni, with MP David Bahati (your Christian colleague who proposed this bill) and with Stephen Langa, (the Ugandan Christian organizer behind the bill) to take a public and passionate stand against it.
The media are blaming the visit to Uganda by three of your colleagues for this despicable and truly un-Christian law. In fact, for years you have used your Lighthouse Television programs, your radio broadcasts and your massive public meetings to warn Ugandans of the so called “threat homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African Family.”
In no small part, you are already responsible for the current call by Ugandan leaders to enforce the old law condemning lesbian and gay Ugandans to up to 14 years in prison. This new law increases that sentence to life imprisonment and even death by hanging. Denounce this new bill or the blood of lesbian and gay Ugandans will be on your hands.
It isn’t just the “liberal media” who are condemning the bill. In mid-November, Exodus International, the ministry that promises to assist homosexuals in overcoming homosexuality, warned, "If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.” While Soulforce does not agree with Exodus that lesbian and gay people need to be "cured," we wholeheartedly agree with their position on this hateful bill.
Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors warned that this legislation would make their mission “to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all” a difficult if not impossible task.
Your colleague, mega-church pastor Rick Warren, in a very public video appeal to his fellow clergy in Uganda, gives five reasons why Ugandan Christians should not support the bill: (1) it is “unjust, extreme and un-Christian; (2) it would “force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities; (3) “…it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting… homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported; (4) “All life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God… It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others…” And (5) “the freedom to make moral choices, and our right to free expression, are gifts endowed by God.” Warren reminds the clergy that Uganda is a democratic country “…and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.” Warren concludes by urging them “to speak out against the proposed law.” *
The People of Soulforce urge you to take these warnings seriously. It is very possible that your silence on this matter will convince the people of Uganda that it is God’s will to condemn homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death by hanging. Your powerful media voices have made you superstars to Ugandans. We implore you to use your power to denounce this bill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this time you and the Christian community behaved in the manner of love and justice rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the “liberal media” as ‘hate-filled bigots?
You often ask others, “What would Jesus do?” This is the perfect time to ask yourselves that question.
The People of Soulforce
Mel White, Founder | Bill Carpenter, Interim Executive Director | Chuck Phelan, Board Chair
* We wish to express our thanks to the Rev. Rick Warren for taking this rather courageous step on behalf of the lesbian and gay people of Uganda. Pastor Warren did everything in his power to avoid meeting with our gay and lesbian parents and their families in 2009 during the Soulforce American Family Outing. We have tried on many occasions to help him understand the tragic consequences of his own teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals. And though we continue hoping that he will meet with a Soulforce delegation to hear the scientific, historic, psychological and personal evidence that homosexuality is one of God’s gifts, we pause in our pursuit just long enough to give him thanks for reaching out to save the lives of our lesbian sisters and gay brothers in Uganda. Thank you, Pastor Warren. We are grateful!
ADDENDUM 1: EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WHO CONDEMN THE BILL
This bill has been condemned by leaders of Western nations including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, and Great Britain and the President of the United States. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the bill and threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda if it is enacted. They described the bill as “state-legislated genocide.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge Uganda to shelve the bill and decriminalize homosexuality.
The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS warned that excluding marginalized groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV.
The Sunday Times in South Africa warned Uganda that it is in danger of being "dragged back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin.”
The New York Times stated unequivocally “that such barbarism (in the bill) is intolerable and will make Uganda an international pariah.”
The Washington Post labeled the bill "ugly and ignorant", "barbaric", and "that it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations.”
The Los Angeles Times warned that the bill would cause gay Ugandans to face an "impossible, insulting, historical, cruel and utterly false choice of having to choose between being gay and being African.”
The Anglican Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha said that the Bill "would become state-legislated genocide.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has said in a public interview that he did not see how any Anglican could support it: "Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers."
The Vatican legal attaché to the United Nations stated that "Pope Benedict is opposed to 'unjust discrimination' against gay men and lesbians.”
ADDENDUM 2: AS IN THE U.S., PAUL CAMERON IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF THE HALF-TRUTH, HYPERBOLE AND LIES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS UPON WHICH THE BILL IS BASED
Stephen Langa, the March 2009 workshop organizer, specifically cited an unlicensed conversion therapist named Richard A. Cohen who states in a book that was given to Langa and other prominent Ugandans,
“Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”
These statements were based on faulty studies performed by Paul Cameron who has been expelled from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. Cohen, himself, confirmed the weaknesses of these studies, stating that when the book will be reprinted, these statistics will be removed.
ADDENDUM 3: OUR SOURCES
Jeffrey Gettleman, writing for the New York Times, January 4, 2010, reported on “Americans’ Role in Uganda Anti-Gay Push.”
Erin Roach, posted on Baptist News, November 18, 2009, the news that “Exodus Opposes Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.”
Baptist Press, December 13, 2009, announced that “Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill.
The editors of Wikipedia have assembled the best history of this bill and the world’s response:
YouTube carries the complete video of Rick Warren’s Open Letter to the Clergy of Uganda*
Last week, two men were hanged after being accused of inciting the post-June 12 election violence that erupted last summer in Iran. The Iranian government failed to answer one key question - how these men could have been responsible for the violence when they were being held in detention long before it even occurred?
As if this injustice wasn't enough, now the lives of 9 more men hang in the balance on similar charges. We fear some of them may be executed before February 11th - a date holding much significance in Iran and one that could signify an end to these abuses.
February 11th is known as Victory of the Revolution Day - equivalent to the Fourth of July in the United States; it is meant to symbolize liberty, independence and freedom. Authorities in Iran fear that February 11th will spark a wave of massive protests and unite Iranians in their calls for change and accountability.
That is why on February 11th we intend to do all we can to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people on this important date, but we need your help.
In the days following the contested Presidential election, Iranian authorities took aggressive measures to stifle dissent and stem the flow of information. No outside reporters were allowed in. Iranians were not allowed to freely report out.
Virtually the only way the Iranian people could expose the horrific treatment being inflicted on them was to share their stories online, using blogs and websites like Twitter and Facebook.
We expect Iranians will once again rely solely on the Internet to carry their messages during next week's expected demonstrations. That is why we are asking everyone to show their solidarity online on February 11th - whether it's on your blog, website, or social networking profile. Help us raise the voices of those calling for freedom and justice inside Iran.
Bloggers Unite: Join our network of blogger's covering Iran and the events on February 11th.
Twitter Followers: The hashtag #iranelection was one of the most widely-used in the post-election aftermath. Since the violence is still unresolved, we'll continue to tweet using this hashtag. Make sure your related tweets include: #iranelection.
Share Online: Help share the message of February 11th by adding our solidarity image to your blog, website or social networking profile.
We will be keeping a close watch over Victory of the Revolution Day events. Our collective voices can help keep high-level Iranian officials in check. If authorities yet again brutally suppress people's right to peacefully express their opinions, we will harness the power of the Internet to push right back!
Thank you for standing with us and the people of Iran,
Elise Auerbach, Christoph Koettl and the rest of the Iran crisis response team
P.S. If you know someone or if you, yourself, expect to be in New York on February 11th, then be sure to wear black and join our coalition of activists as they stand in a silent vigil for the people of Iran.
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