Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Category: People

Nov.
2nd

Darfuris tell of troubles in war-torn homeland

Ibrahim Mousa Adam starts his day like most people. He says he wakes up, thinks about what he has planned and mentally schedules his activities.


It’s not that simple for his countrymen.


"If you are in Darfur, you think differently," he said. "If you are a woman, you think, could I be raped today? Could my sister? Could my 12-year-old daughter?


"If you are a man, you think, could I be killed today? Could my brother? Could my father?"


Adam and Daoud Hari have an unenviable task: The two Darfuris are on a speaking tour, asking

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Nov.
2nd

More on Daoud Hari

Dafurian Daoud Hari is a pretty cool story (given the circumstances). After fleeing the violence, he went back to Darfur several times, translating for reporters. He worked with the BBC, the New York Times and National Geographic. His work with the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nick Kristof really helped the situation receive attention in the United States.


And Hari himself was in the headlines later when he and Chicago Tribune reporter Paul Salopek were arrested and charged with espionage. Both were released when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson mediated the crisis and flew to Khartoum to

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Nov.
2nd

More quotes from Darfur talk

Daoud Hari said Darfuris send girls to run chores, even though they might get raped:


They send the girls because if they sent the boys, they would be killed by the Janjaweed or the government troops.



Ibrahim Mousa Adam said the international will to end the genocide is there, but two countries with veto power on the U.N. Security Council have blocked any meaningful action:


China and Russia: Those are our enemies. Since they control the business and the oil in Sudan, they’ve never approved any resolution about Sudan.


And Adam said to keep

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Oct.
31st

Darfuri refugees to speak

I wrote this brief for the paper today:


Two refugees from the ethnic conflict in Darfur in western Sudan will speak Friday at the University of Puget Sound.


Daoud Hari and Ibrahim Adam fled the conflict in the Darfur region.


Hari left his village for a refugee camp in Chad and then re-entered Darfur to work as a translator for Western media outlets. Adam escaped after government-backed militias killed 20 members of his family.


The United States has labeled the conflict genocide, and the United Nations estimates as many as 450,000 people have died. About 2.5

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Oct.
30th

Yet even more homeless camps

I’m getting more calls about homeless encampments in Pierce and southern King counties. I’ve updated the Google map of the sites.


  • Federal Way: A caller left a voicemail saying there are "so many people" living in the park at South 304th Street and 11th Avenue.


  • Parkland: Another caller called about homeless people living in a vacant lot near 133rd and Pacific Avenue. She says they panhandle, try to flag down cars going by and stolen things from her yard.

Oct.
29th

The oath of citizenship

Listening to the nine new Americans take the oath of citizenship at Fort Lewis was pretty cool. The atmosphere in a conference room on a Monday in October had a more patriotic aura than most Fourth of July celebrations. But one thing got me thinking: Is it time to update the oath of citizenship? Most of it is still OK, but parts of it are a bit dated.


Seriously, how many people know what a potentate is?


I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign

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Oct.
29th

Spreading chocolate and a message

Todd Iverson and his friends celebrated Halloween a bit early and with a different twist: They went "reverse trick-or-treating," where they knocked on doors in Old Town Tacoma and handed out free chocolate.


They also passed along a message.


The chocolate was fair-trade – a growing trend in which consumers pay more for certain brands that guarantee they don’t exploit labor in developing nations – and Iverson said they wanted people to think about trade agreements the United States has with other nations, and to pressure lawmakers into rejecting a proposed free-trade

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Oct.
29th

Solar Richard profile in the New York Times

There’s a story about Richard Thompson, a champion of solar energy, in Saturday’s New York Times. It’s worth checking out.


(And for those who love to read what non-Tacomans think about Tacoma, the reporter called it a "port city just south of Seattle." That’s not so bad.)