DGI Brief - Dec 5, 2016
- AUSTRIA’s center-left politician Alexander Van der Bellen beat the far-right leader of the Nazi-founded, ultra-nationalist Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer in a run-off presidential election 53.6% to 46.4%. Why it matters: liberals across Europe rejoiced while at the same the reality sets in – almost half of Austria voted for a representative of a party first founded by Nazis. Bridging the divide will be a monumental task & we should never lose sight of its importance if we value peace, unity, humanity. Don’t fall asleep under the sun, for there is much work to be done, but you can bask in the sunlight for a bit after Austrians took a stand against populism, hatred, bigotry, extremism.
- GAMBIA: Local property developer Adama Barrow won in a huge presidential election upset, unseating President Yahya Jammeh who ruled the West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist. Why it matters: No amount of fear-mongering, violent suppression of dissent & even torture of his opponents, could stop fed up citizens from unseating the despotic ruler. Barrow won 45.5% of the vote, compared to President Jammeh’s 36.7% in what many call the greatest election upsets West Africa has ever seen. What a phenomenal example of what is possible when people stop fearing, get out & vote. May Mr. Barrow deliver on his promises of economic revival & needed constitutional amendments including 2-term presidential limit & 3-year transitional government. #Democracy
- USA: The Army Corps ruled against completing the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation as planned by its owner/operator Energy Transfer Partners. Why it matters: Ultimately siding with the Native American tribes & thousands of protesters, the decision confirmed fears that an oil spill could threaten the water supplies of the reservation. This is a great accomplishment after months of intense advocacy & massive standoffs that were met by police employing water cannons, pepper spray & rubber bullets. Yet the war is not yet won – ETP insists on completing the pipeline as planned & whether it is under Lake Oahe or elsewhere, the pipeline will have to cross the Missouri River, which means the risk of massive pollution is ever present. And we shan’t forget that the incoming US President – big fan of oil & big enemy of the environment – may erase this weekend’s achievement. Sigh.
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