Emergencies in Activism: Free Frontline Webinar


Mental-health therapist Robin Chancer, and Taggart Long, Firefighter/Paramedic, will discuss mental health, first-aid and other intervention strategies based on research and real-world experience in helping traumatized victims.
You’re invited to attend: Sunday the 23rd @ 12pm East Standard Time. Join the webinar here.
Among the topics Robin and Taggart (Frontline’s training director) will cover:

• Robin will discuss research on trauma in the aftermath of 9/11. Specifically, she’ll focus on studies of those who participated in debriefing sessions right after a traumatic event (“critical incident stress debriefing”) and fared worse than those who did not. What we’ve learned from debriefings can inform how we respond to people undergoing a highly stressful event. The focus now is on “psychological first-aid” for victims.


• How to promote a sense of safety: initiate contacts in a non-intrusive, compassionate manner. Help the person become as safe as possible, and state as much.

• How to promote calming: comfort, grounding, stabilization.

• How to gather info on current needs and concerns

• Offer practical assistance, meet basic needs

• How to promote a sense of self-efficacy: offer positive coping ideas, notice things the person is doing or has done well.

• How to improve connectedness with activists: linking social supports & resources

• Instilling hope, protecting activists from further harm. Taggart and Robin will discuss particular struggles they’ve encountered among activists, including:

*elevated fear and stress associated with crackdowns on activists—fear of consequences

*handling trauma, unexpected injury (tear gas, violence, etc.) & intense emotions that may result

*managing anger, grief, disillusionment, emotional sustainability

*dealing with the stigma that surrounds mental illness, seeking help

Taggart and Robin will also cover strategies that increase chances of success as we intervene. Bedside manner matters. We begin with, “How can I help you today?”

The costs of cutting U.S. humanitarian aid abroad


by Joel Preston Smith

The U.S. State Department just cut funding for refugees by $300 million. It says relief programs 'prolong the status of refugees.'

Apparently by feeding them & providing medical treatment. When they're dead they're no longer refugees. They get reclassified into a status category that appears, over time, to signify there are less and less refugees globally (and that signals that the world must, in fact, be 'improving').

The name of that category? DECEASED

Those cuts were directed specifically at Palestinian humanitarian aid. A question a reasonable person would ask: At what point in being persecuted, singled-out for repression, imprisoned, starved and killed does a people, or a community decide that the only way they'll survive is to pick up a gun and shoot back?

When the U.S. denies aid to any class of people suffering from the consequences of U.S. military aid to people who are trying to eradicate that class of people, this is called support for terrorism. And further justification, of course, for further militarization, which is further support for recruiting terrorists.

The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations notes, "President Donald J. Trump's budget blueprint for 2018 calls for deep cuts to foreign assistance programs, raising pointed questions about the role the United States should play around the world."

In "Addressing the myths surrounding U.S. foreign aid," PBS uses 2015 data to compare foreign aid spending by the U.S. relative to other nations. Americans like to think of themselves as hugely generous toward developing nations, but Western European nations far outstrip U.S. spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (and other indicators).

Those who subscribe to the generosity myth typically cheerlead about the dollar amount of U.S. foreign aid delivered annually. But, again, compared to other nations, it's like a billionaire dropping a dollar in the pocket of a penniless refugee and getting the warm fuzzies about his do-gooderism.

The PBS story notes, "In 1970, the United Nations General Assembly agreed that 'economically advanced countries' would aim to direct at least 0.7 percent of their national income to ODA. Although developed countries have repeatedly mentioned this target in agreements and at summits since then, very few countries have reached that goal. In 2015, only six countries met the 0.7 percent target. The OECD average is just 0.3 percent – almost twice the 0.17 percent the U.S. provides."

And now the acronym-free version: while slapping themselves on the back for generosity, Americans (via taxes) donate less than half the average percentage of aid donated by peoples of other nations.

Retired General Jim Mattis, secretary of defense, is quoted as saying, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition,” which we (mistakenly? wishful thinking?) translate to mean 'if the U.S. doesn't adequately deliver humanitarian aid, we're going to get more deeply embroiled in war.'

Why then openly admit that not helping developing nations leads to conflict ... and cut aid to them? Why, in particular, cut humanitarian aid to Palestinians? Wouldn't that be an indirect means of fueling terrorism? Perhaps to justify further military spending?

Fully 35 percent of U.S. 'foreign aid' in 2015 was for military equipment and training of state-security forces in nations such as Egypt, which severely restricts free speech, and Israel, currently in violation of at least 45 humanitarian rights protocols, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

So while the U.S. provides a tiny sliver of aid compared to other nations, once you weed out the bombs, guns and tanks classified in the same bleeding-heart category rice and wheat fall into, it's clear that we do relatively little to actually minimize suffering abroad.

This is foolish, because it undermines global peace and foreign relations, leads people to seek violence as a means of ending their suffering, or seek revenge for the U.S. having provided military aid to oppressive governments, and it results in the deaths of U.S. servicemembers who, as a consequence of the suffering we do not address, are then sent to prop up failing states or attempt to crush terrorist groups.

It is far wiser, far more ethical, far more fiscally sound to feed and shelter people than to turn our backs on them. When we do so, we turn our backs on what makes us human—if the desire to be humane has much to do with being human.


Protecting the Humanitarian Individual: Mindfulness and Self-Care in Humanitarian Action, by Alessandra Pigni


"I arrived in Nablus in 2008, amid the human and emotional devastation that followed the Second Intifada. As a psychologist with an international NGO, I came to the West Bank to provide therapeutic support to Palestinians who carried the wounds of the ongoing conflict and military occupation: I worked with former prisoners, mothers who had lost their sons in armed operations, families whose livelihood was constantly threatened by expansion of Israeli settlements".

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