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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

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The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

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Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Culture or Cruelty?

The Jakarta Globe, Titania Veda, March 4, 2009

Carriage driver Sain brushes down Imron, a horse he bought for only
 Rp 3 million ($249) because of its badly emaciated condition. (Photo:
Titania Veda, JG)

The pungent odor of horses and rotting garbage pervades the air behind the Golkar head office in Kemanggisan, West Jakarta. Across a waste-filled tributary that runs into the Grogol River is the site of a village slum. Piles of horse dung a few meters high line the stream’s bank where a man sits on a broken and tattered sofa, smoking a cigarette.

Horse carts, adorned with shiny embellishments, are parked along a narrow dirt road leading to a row of wooden hovels that serve as makeshift stables for the steeds that pull andong Betawi , or horse-drawn carriages.

The dark horses are barely discernible in the shadows of the battered wooden shacks. A lone horse stands tied to a tree, rib bones clearly visible under the noon sun and its head caked with sores and blemishes. Patches of gray are visible on its dull brown coat, where its hair has been rubbed away by the carriage traces, and not grown back.

Floppy-haired and wearing red shorts, Sain begins to rub down the horse’s flanks with a steel brush. The horse, called Imron, belongs to him. Flies land on the horse’s face, alighting in the corner of its eyes.

Sain has been a carriage driver at the Kemanggisan stables for three years, and has owned Imron for about a year.

“I have changed horses maybe 10 times. If they are not strong, I change them,” he says.

Femke den Haas, founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, tromps in rubber boots across the dung-carpeted, marshy dirt road in front of the stables. Her slender frame moves from one horse stall to the next, as she talks with the carriage drivers about the health of their animals. JAAN began working to improve the treatment and condition of andong Betawi horses in February 2009.

Carefully cleaning sludge from a horse’s hoof in a nearby stall is Pita van Deurzen, a JAAN volunteer. Bending beside the horse, Pita says: “If you look at the hooves, they are all soft, practically rotting away. They stand in their own shit and mud and it isn’t cleaned out.” The 23-year old is visiting from the Netherlands, where she works as a seasonal keeper at Apenheul Primate Park.

“The owners use homemade horseshoes and nails, so they don’t fit properly,” Pita says as she continues to dig out the mud and dirt from the horse’s hooves. “And that can hurt a horse. It can cripple a horse if infected. If the shoe doesn’t fit right, the outside of the hoof may also crack.”

A cloud of midges and stable flies rises and scatters as a man shovels slushy horse droppings from a stall to the heap beside the stream. Nodding toward a group of schoolboys in white uniforms as they passed along the dirt road, stable coordinator M. Yani says: “No one used to walk through here before there were stables because it was really unsafe. There were lots of robberies.”

The carriage drivers do not own the land they occupy, however. So far this year, Yani has received three eviction notices from the government. He explains that Femke is trying to help them to get their presence on the land legitimized.

“It is a dying tradition but it will still be around for many years,” Femke says. “I hope the government will accept the fact that the andong Betawi is still tradition and maybe legalize this land.”

Yani acts as spokesman for the drivers and is also the founder of the Association in the Fight for Betawi Horse-Drawn Carriages, or Persatuan Perjuangan Delman Betawi. The group seeks to stop the closing of the andong Betawi stables and is fighting for the right to drive the carriages at Monas. Since 2007, the Central Jakarta Municipality has banned the carriages from operating inside the National Monument park, deeming them to be disorderly and in an attempt to prevent animal waste polluting the area. Up to 50 carriages can be found by the outskirts of the national monument on weekends, but public order officials still try to make the drivers leave.

“The andong betawi is a unique Betawi vehicle,” Yani says. “So I am upset that the Betawi heritage is being condemned.”

“Because no one cares,” Budhy says. “If not us, who will help?

“We are worried for the welfare of the horses if they are always at places where they can be evicted any day,” Femke says. “For the horses it is horrible. During the last eviction, in a clash with the police, a horse broke its leg. But it is horrible also for the people. Some have been doing this for 30 years. It is their income.”

Mondays are a day of respite for the animals, weekends being their heaviest working days.

According to Kadan, an old-timer who has been an carriage driver for 35 years, drivers earn Rp 100,000 ($8.30) at most working a Sunday at Monas, charging Rp 15,000 for each 50-minute ride. During the week, the drivers head to villages, where they take children for rides at Rp 1,000 per person. That rakes in less — around Rp 30,000 a day, Yani says.

Kadan’s two horses are in the villages today, being driven by his helpers. Kadan, 51, rarely drives carts himself these days as he says he is too tired to do so.

He speaks proudly about his horses. “One of my horses is new. It is healthy and fat.” If his animals fall ill, he tries his best to care for them. But when veterinary bills cannot be covered, a horse’s last ride is to a butcher’s, where it will be slaughtered and its flesh sold as meat.
“You can get about Rp 1.5 [million] to 2 million for selling a sick horse,” Kadan says. The cost of a healthy horse is closer to Rp 6 million. He points to Sain’s malnourished horse and says it looked better than when bought from Hasan, a horse trader. “Before, he was really skinny.” Kadan explains that the horse only cost Rp 3 million because it was so emaciated. Once the horse is nursed back to health, it can fetch a price of Rp 5 million.

“I bought two horses for Rp 7 million. They were in good condition,” Kadan says.
A few stalls down, Hasan is brushing down his own horse, a mahogany called Pelor. Hasan has been driving carriages since the 1970s, learning his business from his parents. Like many of the other carriage drivers, the 45-year-old only had an elementary school education, which limits his work options.

Femke goes into Pelor’s stall and cradles his neck, checking the horse’s body for sores. There is a gaping red wound on its back, caused by the carriage tracings, Pita says. Femke gently drips antiseptic from a syringe onto the wound.

After tending the horse, Femke gives Hasan a card.

Horse owners are asked to provide details of themselves and their horses, one of the few guidelines put in place by Femke in exchange for the free medication and regular checkups provided by JAAN.

“Before, people used traditional methods, like sticking a rope through the horse’s chest to release the bad air,” Yani says.

“They believe it lets the air and disease out,” Pita explains.

She says that puncturing the chest is also a common remedy for horse’s with leg ailments. “The owners move the pain to another location, so the horse doesn’t limp anymore.”

At another stall, Femke points out a horse with a torn mouth and a split tongue, both caused by the bridle’s bit, she says.

Elsewhere, Pita firmly lifts another horse’s leg to clean its hoof. Behind the horse’s hind legs was a pile of dung, bristling with flies.

“It is actually no use for me to clean the hoof if the owners don’t clean up the [stable],” Pita says. “So I just get the horses used to being touched in a normal way. They tend to get hit all the time.”

JAAN offered to train carriage drivers to re-shoe their horses, but the offer was rejected. “They apologized for not being able to come because they said a day not working is a day not eating,” Pita says.

A man digs through the horse manure and mud beside Sain, scavenging for crickets and earthworms, and dumping the writhing insects into a plastic container. A fish trader who works at Slipi Market, Kartawijaya says he would use the insects as bait. Toward the end of the cul-de-sac, another man carries a bundle of fresh grass to a stall.

In the early afternoon, Femke and Pita are joined by two veterinarians who lecture at the Bogor Agricultural University. Budhy Jasa Widyananta and Fitri Dewi Fathiyah are a young husband-and-wife team who have a practice in Bogor dealing with sports horses, used in racing, polo and equestrian events. This is their second visit to the Kemanggisan stables, where, like JAAN, they are working to boost conditions for the carriage horses.

“Because no one cares,” Budhy says. “If not us, who will help?

“Our aim is the well-being of the horses. If the horses look well, people will ride them. If people see the poor condition they are in, they will take pity on the horses and will not ride them.”
The JAAN team is trying to instill this philosophy into the carriage drivers. Budhy says that most carriage owners treat horses as mere tools, not living entities.

“If they are sick, they just change them,” he says. “I want the drivers to care for the horses because they depend on each other.”

Imron rears his head and edges backward when Budhy approaches him with a stethoscope. Holding tight to Imron’s reins, Sain manages to keep the horse still.

“His lungs sound good,” Budhy says. He moves toward Imron’s head and tells Femke that the caked skin and sores on the horse’s nose are due to infection from being constantly wet. Fitri, a petite woman in gumboots, pulls at the horse’s skin and as it remains pinched, says: “He also has dry coat. He is dehydrated.”

Two boys from the nearby village stand inside a stall, looking at the vets performing their check-up. One of them touches Imron’s snout. “He’s crying!” he says. Femke replies, “Yes, he is in pain,” as she gently wipes the horse’s eye.

As dusk falls, three boys linger by a corner stall, watching as Sain gingerly rubs hair growth salve on the bare parts of Imron’s flanks. Fading light streams through the beams. One of the boys points to a grey patch on the horse’s side and says, “You missed this one.”  

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