1. A ‘devout atheist’ on the role of religion in development
The From Poverty to Power blog, by Oxfam research guru and ‘devout atheist’ Duncan Green, had a post a few weeks ago with an interesting case to make for the importance of religion in international relief, development and advocacy work.
2. New civil rights movement?
The New York Times has an interesting editorial and slideshow on the fallout from Alabama’s “oppressive” new immigration law, suggesting that immigration reform has become a new civil rights movement.
3. Mayan Guatemalans frustrated that their government can’t spell
Guatemalans went to the polls earlier this month for a runoff election in which Otto Perez Molina, a former army general, was elected president. The Christian Science Monitorhad an interesting story leading up to the election about how some 400,000 Mayan citizens have had trouble getting ID cards because of the complicated spelling of their names. Some aren’t buying the government’s excuses, though, saying this is just the latest evidence of anti-Mayan discrimination by the state.
4. A different kind of gold mining in Guatemala
My friend Tomas shared with me this heartbreaking story about those trying to make a living by scavenging through Guatemala City’s landfill in search of discarded jewelry and metal scraps:
At dawn, the scavengers arrive much as if coming to a regular work place. Many are wearing clean, ironed shirts and even whistling. They carry shovels and backpacks filled with their garbage bags, snacks and change of clothes. They leave their dry clothes at an improvised camp and start looking for treasures. Scavenging, which is prohibited by the government, can get particularly dangerous during storm season. The workers say many have died while trying to pick garbage out of water raging through the ravine. Dozens perished one day in 2008 when a mountain of garbage collapsed on them… Still, the “miners” call the dangerous heavy rain “the blessing of winter,” because the increased flow of water improves their chances of finding more metal.
5. Migration & development in Latin America
In October Bread for the World and Church World Service released a fact sheet about the connections between migration and economics in Latin America. Not surprisingly, economic hardship is the number one reason for migration from Latin America to the United States. These two groups are calling for an integrated approach to US development aid in Latin America with domestic immigration reform, which seems like a no-brainer to me. You can’t really address either problem on its own. I’d love to hear a presidential candidate offer a compelling vision for this sort of an integrated approach.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!