22/1/11 Peter Clifford –
PREVENT WAR WITH CHOCOLATE
In November 2010 elections were held in the West African State of the Ivory Coast and by all fair assessments the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo lost. Under the rules he should of course stand down and give way to the democratically elected winner, the Opposition Leader, Alassane Ouattara.
The African Union, the UN, the EU and many other countries support the election outcome and have called upon Gbagbo to give way and resign. He still refuses to do so.
The reason why this is important is that the Ivory Coast has a long history of civil war which was only ended by a peace agreement in 2007. Unless this situation is resolved quickly the war will erupt again and 1000’s of men, women and children will lose their lives. Already there are reports of sexual assaults on women who supported the winning candidate.
UN soldiers have been present in the country for a number of years to help maintain the peace. This Wednesday the UN Security Council voted to send another 2,000 troops following attacks on six of their vehicles, some of which were set on fire and two soldiers injured. Gbagbo’s latest move is to order that all UN vehicles should be stopped and searched – an illegal act of course under international law. He has also ordered the UN out of the country.
Faced with the prospect of yet another civil war many citizens with their families and belongings have fled in their thousands to neighbouring countries. Meanwhile Gbagbo is still resident in the Presidential palace, while his election winning rival, Mr. Ouattara, is holed up in the Golf Hotel in the Ivory Coast capital Abidjan, with a force of 800 U.N. peacekeepers protecting him.
CHOCOLATE – YOU SAID? WHAT ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE?
Chocolate comes into this story because the Ivory Coast is the world’s leading producer of cocoa, chocolate’s main ingredient. With concerns about a prolonged interruption to world supplies, the commodity price of cocoa has already jumped to a six month high and could hit $3,300 dollars a ton.
However, cocoa is also the main source of revenue for Gbagbo and his discredited government and the money from cocoa sales is paying the wages of the troops that are keeping him illegally in power. Without that revenue or the continued prospect of it, he will not be able to continue.
AVAAZ, the international voice of people worldwide, is targeting the world’s chocolate manufacturers to put pressure on Gbagbo to stand down and to withhold their orders until he does so.
So, citizens and chocolate lovers worldwide, protect your supplies of chocolate and vote for democracy at the same time! The Ivory Coast supplies between 30% – 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa ($1.4 billion dollars worth plus).
Global Witness, a London based pressure group, estimated in 2007 that more than $30 million of cocoa revenue was being diverted to the purchase of military equipment during the 2002 – 2003 civil war, in much the same way that the sale of diamonds and timber has contributed to propping up illegal regimes previously in neighbouring Liberia.
This must not happen again. The cocoa revenue needs to be used for development to benefit all the Ivory Coast’s citizens, not for sponsoring genocide (or ending up in Swiss bank accounts?).
AVAAZ is therefore petitioning the following chocolate manufacturers to get an effective response:
ADM, Barry-Callebaut, Blommer, Cadbury, Caobisco, Cargill, Cémoi, Cipexi, European Cocoa Association, Federation for Cocoa Commerce, Ferrero, Hershey’s, Kraft, M&M/Mars, National Confectioners Association, Nestlé, Olam, Outspan Ivoire, Pronibex, Révillon, Unilever, Valrhona, World Cocoa Foundation
To send a message to these companies, go to: AVAAZ.org – And send a letter (it’s easy! Just click on 4 boxes at the top of the page and hit “send”) – 227,000 messages so far – Let’s get to 250,000.
To those of you not yet familiar with AVAAZ, it has nearly 7 million members and is incredibly effective in using modern technology to bring the views of citizens globally to the attention of governments, companies and individuals worldwide to bring about rapid change. To learn more about AVAAZ go here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/about.php
The Economist magazine described AVAAZ as “a town crier in the global village, a cross-border fraternity that strives to be seen, heard and heeded.” The article goes on to note that “the movement, using 14 languages and engaged in a mind-boggling list of causes, has had some spectacular successes.” Read the full article…… Economist
So don’t delay, protect your chocolate supplies! keep chocolate prices low! And support Democracy in West Africa Now!
Until the next time,
Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com
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9/1/11 Peter Clifford – http://www.petercliffordonline.com : BEING OVERWEIGHT – DEATH BY STONING – AVAAZ….
In the United States 70% of the population is suffering from being overweight and obesity, i.e. more than 30 lbs overweight from the perceived norm.
Even more worryingly, child obesity statistics indicate that a third of children between the ages of 2 – 19 are in the same category (at a time of life when we expect to be slim), the rates having tripled since 1980.
In the UK, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia the statistics are heading in the same direction.
The reasons are usually listed as lack of physical activity and eating fast foods. However, I think the reasons are deeper and much more subtle than that. Truly happy and contented people don’t let their bodies or their lifestyle deteriorate – why would they, it is not in their best interests?
If you really love yourself, you don’t overeat and underexercise, put excessive amounts of alcohol in your body or pollute it with drugs. For the truth is that these are all addictions that are indicators of deep seated discontent. So is overshopping, oversexing (if you see what I mean), overworking and compulsive gambling.
My thoughts on this (and maybe yours as you consider yet another New Year resolution diet) were prompt by the story of Paul Mason, who last year achieved the dubious accolade of becoming the UK’s fattest man at 70 stone (980 pounds).
Yes, it’s a terrifying picture. Poor man.
After living on a 20,000 calorie a day for years (normal average recommended intake for a man is around 2550 per day) he was unable to move, have a social life or any fulfilling relationships, or even go to the toilet or clean himself without outside assistance.This is not living and Paul, in the Channel 4 documentary aired this week, admits to hating himself for not controlling his eating.
The cost to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) of caring for him over 15 years is estimated at £1 million.
Fortunately for Paul, he is still alive. After a major operation some months ago he is down to 52 stone (728 pounds), on 1200 calories a day and able to get out and about on a powered mobility scooter.
UPDATE 18th May 2011: Paul Mason has reportedly now lost 37 stone (518lbs – 3 times my weight!) and is back home in Ipswich in the UK. Last seen outside the Fish and Chip shop where a friend was buying him food!
However, my view is that is that the reduced diet won’t help him (or any of us that are overweight) if he is not helped to tackle the underlying lack of self worth that exists in the first place. Unless that happens, instead of overeating he is just as likely to replace it with another addiction.
The same applies to the rest of us. If you are overweight by any significant amount or have any of the other addictions mentioned then it is time to take a long hard look at your lifestyle, your primary relationship, your job, your direction in life and most of all, a long, hard, deep look at how you feel about yourself and your place in the world.
Getting to the bottom of those deep seated fears, anxieties and low self esteem, that we all have to one degree or another, will change everything about your life. And turn you into a not only more contented human being but a more effective and creative one as well. This should be our New Year’s resolution for 2011.
Death By Stoning:
In my previous post I highlighted the case of Sakineh Mohammidi Ashtiani who is threatened by death by stoning. This week Iranina officials indicated that it is “possible” the stoning sentence may be dropped. That’s nice of them. It doesn’t mean she won’t be hanged or shot of course. This despicable farce has been going on since 2006.
In December, Sakineh was returned to her home temporarily to take part in a “documentary” in which she “confessed” to killing her husband.
The part of her husband was “played” by her son (also held in prison along with Sakineh’s lawyer).
Governments and individuals around the world have taken up Sakineh’s case. If you would like to support this go to
You might also consider supporting AVAAZ http://www.avaaz.org/en/index.php which has also previously run a petition to support Sakineh. AVAAZ is a very interesting international organisation, currently with 6.5 million members in 171 countries.
They are particularly skilled in using modern technology in a very powerful way to petition governments, companies and influential individuals to get effective, rapid results on issues such as human rights, protecting the environment, lack of democracy, poverty and climate change. Give them a look!
Until the next time,
Peter Clifford: www.petercliffordonline.com
Lastly, don’t forget to sign up (Top Right) for my mailing list for future information, advice, tips and reviews – for a limited time only there is a FREE 40 page giveaway on “Love Relationships”.
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