It’s an undeniable fact: Green spaces are crucial to our health and wellbeing. Again and again, researchers have found that access to urban green spaces – from parks to gardens to greenways – positively impacts multiple measures of health, such as community satisfaction, social cohesion and access to healthy foods. Having a stable, quality place to call home is associated with various positive life outcomes, from lower mortality rates to lower rates of drug use. However, in a process known as ecological, green or environmental gentrification, green amenities can contribute to gentrification and, over time, the displacement of low-income residents.
We journeyed through the dirt tracks in the middle of the savanna—the vibrant crimson of the Maasai shukas making cardinal dots in the arid landscape. Zebras grazed in polyphony with cows, and the occasional giraffe paced gracefully, stretching its freckled neck towards the sky. Wildebeest and gazelles stampeded through the lands, a cloud of dust trailing behind them. From the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the landscapes of northern Tanzania are mesmerizing. The Ngorongoro Crater, often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world,” is a natural marvel—a massive volcanic caldera teeming with wildlife amidst many shades of lush golden hues.
Jackie Lara describes coming to the Fulton Houses as “her best Christmas present.” She and her children moved out of a shelter into Fulton Houses, a public-housing development in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, just after New Years Eve in 2002. “My application [for public housing] came in after a year and a half of being in the shelter,” Lara says. “And I remember when they called me to come and see this apartment. I planted my seed here. This is my home.” Celines Mirandas is of the same mind. Her family has lived in the Chelsea-Elliott complex, about half a mile away, since 1975. “My mother is at an age where she gets disoriented a lot.
Jessica Bellamy wants to stop paying almost a thousand dollars a year to help displace the community that shaped her as a child: Louisville’s historically-Black Smoketown neighborhood. That’s the current property tax bill for the camelback shotgun house her grandmother gifted her a few years ago. It’s the house where Bellamy spent part of her childhood, just steps from her grandmother’s soul food restaurant, Shirley Mae’s Cafe. The restaurant, where Bellamy often took orders and served drinks over the years, is still hanging on as a neighborhood landmark. But like so many other homes in the redlined neighborhood, the house had gradually fallen into an unlivable state of disrepair.
On Monday, the Israeli occupation authorities approved the construction of 5,623 new colonial settlement units in the occupied West Bank. This moves comes in the midst of a nearly week-long wave of Israeli colonial settler violence against Palestinians that has included burning Palestinian villages, beating children, burning Muslim holy books, invading mosques and uprooting Palestinian olive trees. The wave of violence has been condemned by the international community, including representatives of the French and US governments, who called on Israel to halt its illegal settlement expansion – which is illegal under international law.
The United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday released its annual report on forcible displacement across the globe, revealing that the refugee population has hit a new record of 110 million people who have been driven from their homes due largely to violent conflicts and climate-related disasters—with the numbers showing the crisis is rapidly intensifying with each passing year. At the end of 2022, more than 108 million people were living as refugees—up nearly 20 million from the previous year, according to the report, Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022. The recently erupted conflict in Sudan has pushed millions more people out of their homes this year, bringing the mid-year total to 110 million.
Between 750,000 and a million Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Zionist militias in 1947-49, never to be allowed back. Hundreds of villages and towns were destroyed, thousands were killed, many of them in massacres that terrorized Palestine’s native population. Seventy-five years later, many of that first generation have died. But some are still alive to tell stories of the Nakba – Arabic for catastrophe. Fatima Abu Dayya, 82, was 7 when her family was forced to flee their village of Yibna, which was seized by Zionists in 1948. Yibna is 15 km southwest of Ramla. “My father took the key of our house along with some clothes and then we traveled on a donkey-drawn cart.
Residents of West Jackson are in the midst of a severe water crisis due to the failure of a water treatment facility and don't know when they will have clean water in their homes again. The state is failing to get water to everyone, so many local groups are organizing mutual aid efforts. The governor refuses to access federal funds to fully repair the city's water infrastructure, which has been failing for decades. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kali Akuno, a co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, about the current crisis, including how the wealthy residents were spared, how it fits into the bigger picture of systemic racism and the drive to privatize, and what you can do to support efforts to build water sovereignty.
Forty years ago, residents of Philadelphia won a subsidized housing community in the area known as Black Bottom after fighting the discrimination and displacement being used to clear the way for University City. Now the city is allowing that community, 72 residences called University City Townhomes (UCT), to be sold for gentrification. Clearing the FOG spoke with Rasheda Alexander, a resident of UCT, and Sterling Johnson of Philadelphia Housing Action about their efforts to protect UCT and stop the wave of evictions and displacement that primarily target low income black and brown people. Their organizing and actions have not only been effective in putting pressure on city officials but have also brought the community together and inspired others to stand up for their rights. See SaveTheUCTownhomes.com for more information.
Sweat trickled down Dan Bythewood’s forehead under the hot July sun. He promised the West Baltimore crowd he would keep his comments short so the 100 or so people who watched—activists, press, residents, and political leaders—could quickly retreat from the heatwave gripping the city. The developer, who is Black, stood behind a podium placed in front of the technicolor homes on Sarah Ann Street, a narrow stretch of concrete not wide enough for two cars to travel in opposite directions. Bythewood, president of the New York development firm La Cité (“the city” in French), trained his sight on the historic Sarah Ann Street homes almost two decades ago, with plans to redevelop the houses and the surrounding Poppleton neighborhood.
During his presidential campaign, Biden committed to rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. But a year and a half into his term, he failed to return the U.S. to the deal. He has also imposed additional sanctions on Iran, shamefully capitulating to Israeli pressure. In the Jerusalem Declaration, Biden, on behalf of the United States, signed a “commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and [pledged] that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.” When asked in an interview on Israeli television whether he would use military force against Iran, Biden ominously replied, “As a last resort, yes.” Biden has refused to reverse other Trump actions that pandered to Israel as well. He has not withdrawn Trump’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Washington, D.C. - On the first day of President Biden’s visit to the Middle East, young Jews affiliated with IfNotNow Movement gathered outside the White House to deliver a message amidst President Biden’s complicity in home demolitions and the potential forced expulsions of over 1,000 Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta region of the occupied West Bank. Standing in front of the White House, protesters unraveled a banner that said “Biden, Stop Forced Transfer, #SaveMasaferYatta”. Biden’s trip to Israel, which began this morning, does not include engaging with communities in Masafer Yatta or any Palestinian community under threat of demolition or forced transfer paid for with U.S. tax dollars. “President Biden says that he cares about human rights for all people, but his agenda in Israel would make Donald Trump proud. His refusal to condemn the imminent forced transfer of thousands of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta is deeply disappointing.
Thousands of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, in the area south of occupied Al-Khalil (Hebron), face the imminent threat of expulsion in what would be the largest expulsions carried out by the Israeli apartheid regime since the 1970s. We are witnessing through testimonies, images and videos shared from the ground Israel’s brutal violence and repression in Masafer Yatta since the Israeli High Court, a critical part of Israel’s apartheid system, ruled in favour of the ethnic cleansing of some 1,300 Palestinians living in eight villages there. Home demolitions and forced expulsion of Palestinian communities are the very method through which apartheid Israel entrenches its settler colonialism.
The Israeli Supreme Court has decided that the Palestinian region of Masafer Yatta, located in the southern hills of Hebron, is to be entirely appropriated by the Israeli military and that a population of over 1,000 Palestinians is to be expelled. The Israeli Court decision, on May 4, was hardly shocking. Israel’s military occupation does not only consist of soldiers with guns but elaborate political, military, economic and legal structures, dedicated to the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements and the slow – and sometimes not-so-slow – the expulsion of the Palestinians. When Palestinians state that the Nakba, or Catastrophe – which led to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and the establishment of the state of Israel on its ruins – is a continuous, unfinished project, they mean exactly that.
The Nakba is back on the Palestinian agenda. For nearly three decades, Palestinians were told that the Nakba – or Catastrophe – is a thing of the past. That real peace requires compromises and sacrifices, therefore, the original sin that has led to the destruction of their historic homeland should be entirely removed from any ‘pragmatic’ political discourse. They were urged to move on. The consequences of that shift in narrative were dire. Disowning the Nakba, the single most important event that shaped modern Palestinian history, has resulted in more than political division between the so-called radicals and the supposedly peace-loving pragmatists, the likes of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.