• Discussion of Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (2nd Edition)
    Since November and December are busy months, we thought this would be a good time to take a step back and read a short background book on the history, development, and future of human rights. We'll read and discuss _Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction_ (2nd edition) by Andrew Clapham. Try to make sure to read the 2nd edition from 2016 if possible -- unfortunately the San Diego library appears to carry only the 1st edition from 2007. PLEASE DON'T FORGET THAT WE NOW MEET AT THE PANERA BREAD IN MISSION VALLEY MALL. Today it is usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue. Indeed, human rights law continues to gain increasing attention internationally, and must move quickly in order to keep up with a social world that changes so rapidly. This Very Short Introduction, in its second edition, brings the issue of human rights up to date, considering the current controversies surrounding the movement. Discussing torture and arbitrary detention in the context of counter terrorism, Andrew Clapham also considers new challenges to human rights in the context of privacy, equality and the right to health. Looking at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law, Clapham explains what our human rights actually are, what they might be, and where the human rights movement is heading. For those interested in human rights activism, you might consider attending one of Amnesty International Group 137's bi-monthly meetings, held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at http://amnestysd.org.

    Panera Bread

    1640 Camino Del Rio N · San Diego, ca

  • Discuss Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Gov't Segregated America
    We decided to read _Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America_ by Richard Rothstein for our October book but circumstances have caused us to move the discussion to Sunday, November 4th (some of you may remember that we originally chose the previous Sunday, October 28th, for the discussion). PLEASE DON'T FORGET THAT WE NOW MEET AT THE PANERA BREAD IN MISSION VALLEY MALL. In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research, Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north. For those interested in human rights activism, you might consider attending one of Amnesty International Group 137's bi-monthly meetings, held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at http://amnestysd.org.

    Panera Bread

    1640 Camino Del Rio N · San Diego, ca

    1 comment
  • Discussion of Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating
    [Please note the location change for this meetup! It will now take place at the Panera Bread in the Mission Valley Mall.] For our September discussion, we've chosen to read _Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America_ by Jay Feldman. A riveting and unsettling history of the assault on civil rights and liberties in America—from World War I to the War on Terror—by the acclaimed author of When the Mississippi Ran Backwards. In this ambitious and wide-ranging account, Jay Feldman takes us from the run-up to World War I and its anti-German hysteria to the September 11 attacks and Arizona’s current anti-immigration movement. What we see is a striking pattern of elected officials and private citizens alike using the American people’s fears and prejudices to isolate minorities (ethnic, racial, political, religious, or sexual), silence dissent, and stem the growth of civil rights and liberties. Rather than treating this history as a series of discrete moments, Feldman considers the entire programmatic sweep on a scale no one has yet approached. In doing so, he gives us a potent reminder of how, even in America, democracy and civil liberties are never guaranteed. For those interested in human rights activism, you might consider attending one of Amnesty International Group 137's bi-monthly meetings, held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at http://amnestysd.org.

    Panera Bread

    1640 Camino Del Rio N · San Diego, ca

    3 comments
  • Discussion of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
    For our August book discussion, we have chosen to read _Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea_ by Barbara Demick. [Please note the location change for this meetup! It will now take place at the Panera Bread in the Mission Valley Mall.] A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens. The book follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years, a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today--an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them. The book was first published in 2010, and is readily available, either inexpensively online or at the San Diego libraries. For those interested in human rights activism, you might consider attending one of Amnesty International Group 137's bi-monthly meetings, held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at http://amnestysd.org.

    Panera Bread

    1640 Camino Del Rio N · San Diego, ca

    6 comments
  • Discussion of The Cellist of Sarajevo
    For our July discussion, the Human Rights Book Discussion meetup group will discuss The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. This novel is set in the Bosnian capital during the siege of Sarajevo and through the stories of its three main characters, shows how people coped with the despair and precariousness of life in their beloved city during a brutal war that threatened to obliterate all semblance of humanity. A special guest, Biljana Monteleone, who lived through the war in Sarajevo, will join us for the discussion and share her experiences and answer questions. Review of The Cellist of Sarajevo: “Galloway threads these individual stories together, narratives crisscrossing: three weeks in the lives of individuals struggling to survive as their beloved city is besieged. The characters of Arrow and the cellist are based upon real people, but in his examination of their feelings and motives, Galloway makes them his own. They are worn out with war, fearful of what will become of them and their loved ones. Only the cellist and his music bring hope - hope that mankind is still capable of humanity, that the old world is not completely lost, that the war has not destroyed everything. Galloway's style is sparse, pared down; his prose has the deceptive simplicity of a short story. The work of an expert, The Cellist of Sarajevo is a controlled and subtle piece of craftsmanship.” –The Guardian

    Panera Bread

    1270 Cleveland St. in Hillcrest near the Joyce Beers Center · San Diego, CA

    5 comments
  • Discussion of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
    For our June book discussion (we skipped May), the Human Rights Book Discussion meetup group will discuss Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. This is Trevor Noah’s highly-acclaimed, eloquent and touching account of growing up as the mixed-race child of a single mother during the twilight of Apartheid in South Africa, where his very birth “violated any number of laws, statutes and regulations” and it was dangerous for him to be seen in public with either his white father or his black mother. His mother taught him to use humor to cope with the tragedies and absurdities of life, and he used this knowledge to bridge the race gap and ultimately beat the odds. The book is available for a reasonable price when purchased used from Amazon.com, and also the library has several copies.

    Panera Bread

    1270 Cleveland St. in Hillcrest near the Joyce Beers Center · San Diego, CA

    1 comment
  • Discussion--Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders & the Birth of the FBI
    • What we'll do For our April book discussion (following our discussion of Blood in the Water on March 25), we have chosen to read _Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI_ by David Gann. The book covers a little-remembered tragedy in American history and shines a light on both the shameful treatment of Native Americans and the often unchecked greed of American capitalism. The San Diego public libraries have 50 or so copies of the book, but as it is still fairly new, all are currently checked out (as of January 21). However, the number of holds on the books has been decreasing, so hopefully it will be fairly easy for people to get over the next few months. The book is also available on Amazon. From Amazon: In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating. • What to bring • Important to know

    Panera Bread

    1270 Cleveland St. in Hillcrest near the Joyce Beers Center · San Diego, CA

    1 comment
  • Book Discussion: Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
    • What we'll do For our next book (after _The Seasons of Trouble_), we have chosen to read _Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy_ by Heather Ann Thompson. The book won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in history and the 2017 Bancroft Prize, and was a National Book Award finalist, Los Angeles Time Book Prize finalist, and New York Times Notable Book for 2016. It was named Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe, Newsweek, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. _Blood in the Water_ is the first definitive history of the infamous 1971 Attica prison uprising, the state’s violent response, and the victims’ decades-long quest for justice. Author Heather Ann Thompson, award-winning historian at the University of Michigan, previously studied and wrote extensively on the history of mass incarceration in the US, and in this new book details the role that the Attica uprising has played in that tragic phenomenon. Because the book is 570 pages long (not 720 as we’d once thought – that number includes the notes and index), we decided to schedule its discussion for Sunday, March 25th, to give folks plenty of time to obtain and read it after our discussion for Seasons of Trouble on January 21st. Synopsis: On Sept. 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. On Sept. 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men—hostages as well as prisoners—and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century. Reviews “Thompson’s book is a masterpiece of historical research; it is thoroughly researched, extensively documented and reads like a novel . . . Magnificent.” —Terry Hartle, Christian Science Monitor “Chilling, and in places downright shocking . . . tells the story of the riot and its aftermath with precision and momentum.” —Bryan Burrough, The Wall Street Journal • What to bring • Important to know

    Panera Bread

    1270 Cleveland St. in Hillcrest near the Joyce Beers Center · San Diego, CA

    1 comment
  • Book Discussion: Human face of Sri Lankan Civil War & its aftermath
    For our January book discussion, we have chosen to read _The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka's Civil War_ by Rohini Mohan. This award-winning book, by an Indian-based political journalist, has received across-the-board rave reviews. It follows the lives of three Tamils in the aftermath of Sri Lanka's brutal civil war: two former Tamil Tiger fighters and the mother of one of them. By weaving together intricate personal details of three human journeys, Mohan allows the reader to enter the minds of civil war survivors and gain a sense of the history, tragedies, and ethnic struggles of the Sri Lankan people. The book can be purchased for $4-5 plus shipping from Amazon.com, and the San Diego Circuit libraries (but not the San Diego Public Library itself) have a few copies as well. Book summary: For three decades, Sri Lanka’s civil war tore communities apart. In 2009, the Sri Lankan army finally defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers guerrillas in a fierce battle that swept up about 300,000 civilians and killed more than 40,000. More than a million had been displaced by the conflict, and the resilient among them still dared to hope. But the next five years changed everything. Rohini Mohan’s searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation looks beyond the heroism of wartime survival to reveal the creeping violence of the everyday. When city-bred Sarva is dragged off the streets by state forces, his middle-aged mother, Indra, searches for him through the labyrinthine Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Mugil, a former child soldier, deserts the Tigers in the thick of war to protect her family. Having survived, they struggle to live as the Sri Lankan state continues to attack minority Tamils and Muslims, frittering away the era of peace. Sarva flees the country, losing his way – and almost his life – in a bid for asylum. Mugil stays, breaking out of the refugee camp to rebuild her family and an ordinary life in the village she left as a girl. But in her tumultuous world, desires, plans, and people can be snatched away in a moment. The Seasons of Trouble is a startling, brutal, yet beau­tifully written debut from a prize-winning journal­ist. It is a classic piece of reportage, five years in the making, and a trenchant, compassionate examina­tion of the corrosive effect of conflict on a people. Reviews: “The Seasons of Trouble is devastatingly good. Rohini Mohan’s intimately rendered account of the brutal end-game and unfinished aftermath of Sri Lanka’s civil war is breathtakingly well-told. By focusing on the lives of three Tamils and telling their stories in novelistic detail, Mohan has revealed a modern tragedy of truly epic proportions. Haunting and unforgettable.” —Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker “A remarkable feat of empathy. Mohan paints her characters with such emotional richness that it’s hard to believe the work is not a product of her imagination but of five years of painstaking reporting.” —Adrian Chen, Slate (“Best Books of 2014”) “Mohan captures a country of dueling narratives as irreconcilable as those of the Palestinians and the Israelis, of suspicions and betrayals instigated by an all-powerful security apparatus.” —New York Review of Books “Rohini Mohan offers a fine-grained account of the Rajapaksa years. Her narrative interweaves the fates of two former LTTE fighters, and one of their mothers, as they navigate their way through postwar Sri Lanka. She enters the minds of her subjects with care, never presuming to know more about her subjects than they know themselves. She also never allows her portraits of people to obstruct the larger story, as she documents the continuities and ruptures between civil war and peace: the tortures that continue in Sri Lanka’s prisons, the reviling of former LTTE female fighters by those who once cheered them on, the rising animus towards Muslims, and a new economic regime which, in its pursuit of foreign investment, has caused the stagnation of real wages.” —London Review of Books “Using three lives—an abducted son, a searching mother, and a child soldier—Mohan gets close enough to show the unraveling of not only a people but individuals and families … Mohan combines years of superb journalism with a novelist’s touch to give a vividly brutal and beautiful look at humans surviving the still-violent aftermath of a civil war.” —Guernica “A penetrating account of the stories of Tamil survivors of the conflict.” —LA Review of Books “Gripping and profoundly moving ... Rohini Mohan has produced an astonishing feat of reportage.” —Charles Mahtesian, NPR (“2014’s Great Reads”) “In large part a chronicle of war and its aftermath, Mohan’s impressive study is also a Kafkaesque story of survival in a society riven by ethnic tensions and mutual distrust.” —Lucy Popescu, Times Literary Supplement “Extraordinary rendering of the brutal denouement of the war between the Sri Lankan state and the Tamil rebels … The effect of these three interwoven narratives is haunting, and The Seasons of Trouble is a work of daring empathy. Mohan manages to give us direct access to the worldview of impoverished Tamil villagers and the seemingly Faustian choices they face … This is Sri Lanka’s tragedy, but it is also Mohan’s triumph.” —Anand Gopal, Bookforum “Governments seriously contemplating Sri Lanka’s model would be wise to read The Seasons of Trouble. It isn’t a traditional political study, but Mohan doesn’t intend it to be. Instead, by focusing intimately on the lives of three individuals—their daily struggles, the shared hurt and trauma—she has produced an ambitious, thoroughly engrossing work that informs the mind while simultaneously unsettling the heart.” —The American Interest “Seasons of Trouble, though nonfiction, does what novels do best: it allows us into the hearts and minds of people who might be very different from us, but with whom we come to have a great empathy through inhabiting their lives.” —Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy and The Hungry Ghosts “Poetic … a thoroughly absorbing book.” —Economist “A significant, though heartrending, account.” —Alan Moores, Booklist

    Panera Bread

    1270 Cleveland St. · San Diego, CA

    9 comments
  • Write for Rights
    Amnesty International Group 137 will be holding our annual Write for Rights event during our regularly scheduled group meeting on Monday, December 11, 7:00 pm, at our usual meeting location, The Station Tavern and Burgers, 2204 Fern St. in South Park. We will be writing letters to government officials on 10 human rights cases, specially chosen for their potential global impact. Thousands of other volunteers around the globe will be writing on these cases this month. You are welcome to join us on the 11th!

    The Station Tavern

    2204 Fern Street · San Diego, CA

    1 comment