On June 21, New Jersey-based animal rescue organization Eleventh Hour Rescue posted a photo on Facebook. Like most of their postings, the photo showed a dog in need of a home. But this time, the photo successfully tugged the heartstrings of many potential owners even more so than usual.
The picture was of a 3-year-old Labrador mix named Moose, sitting obediently by the side of an empty hospital bed. Moose’s previous owner had just died of cancer.
“Moose sat patiently next to his dad’s hospital bed, waiting for him to return, not knowing that ‘Dad’ had passed away,” the caption on the heartbreaking photo read. “Poor Moose has now been returned to Eleventh Hour Rescue and he’s taking the loss of his dad pretty hard.”
But the magic of the internet combined with the alluring force of a pup in need soon led the Facebook photo to spread all over the internet.
According to Linda Barish, a volunteer and a member of the executive committee at Eleventh Hour, the organization received hundreds of inquiries from all over the world asking about adopting Moose. They even had a few interested parties writing from Australia.
“When the owner passes away, Eleventh Hour’s policy is we take the dogs back no matter what,” Barish told Good Morning America. “We never in a million years thought that this would happen…and so many were willing to step up to help this grieving, homeless dog.”
The outpouring of interest in Moose came right after the photo was uploaded. Within three days, Moose was able to secure an adoptive family. The organization decided on a local family of four as the loyal dog’s new forever-home.
“They were one of the first applications we received on Moose,” Barish said, adding that the family wanted to remain anonymous. “They saw the post before it went viral.”
Although Moose’s story got a happy ending, he had a rough start to life. According to the viral Facebook post, Moose had been found tied to a railroad sign in front of an animal shelter in rural Georgia in August 2017. Nobody had shown interest in adopting him and so, to keep the dog from being euthanized due to overcrowding, Moose was moved to the larger Eleventh Hour Rescue shelter in New Jersey, where he continued to wait to be adopted.
Then, a year ago, Moose’s “dad” found him at the shelter, fell in love, and took him home. Unfortunately, tragedy soon cut Moose’s happy tale short when his new owner was diagnosed with cancer.
The shelter wrote that Moose adored kids and got along well with other dogs (though cats and birds were a different story). They also mentioned that the black pup loved people and would fit perfectly in a home where there would always be a human companion around. Fortunately for Moose, there were plenty of loving families eager to take him home.
Moose’s heart-wrenching photo no doubt helped fuel his search of a new home. Evidently, the image of an unsuspecting Moose patiently awaiting the return of his late owner touched many people. Dogs have a reputation for being loyal and loving animals, and Moose’s photo — next to a bed that would remain empty — embodied those best characteristics.
For some, Moose’s photo might evoke thoughts of another famously loyal pet, the true heartbreaking tale of Hachiko.
Hachiko was the beloved Akita of Eizaburo Ueno, a Japanese professor who lived in Tokyo in the early 1920s. Every day, Ueno and his dog Hachiko would walk together to Shibuya station. After his classes were finished, the professor would return to the station at 3 p.m. sharp, where Hachiko would be waiting for him.
Sadly, Ueno passed unexpectedly of a stroke during one of his classes. Although Ueno never made it back to the train station as usual, Hachiko was there waiting for him. Even after his owner failed to show up, Hachiko came back the next day, and the next after that.
Soon, locals caught wind of the dog’s tragic story and often sat with him or fed him while he continued his admirable but empty routine. He became a national sensation after a student of the late professor wrote a newspaper story of Hachiko’s fierce loyalty, inspiring people from all over Japan to visit the dog as he continued to wait.
Miraculously, Hachiko came back to the same spot at the Shibuya station every day without fail for 10 years.
Today, visitors can pay respects to the unrelentingly faithful doggo by visiting his bronze memorial statue that was erected right by Shibuya station.
Hopefully Moose will be equally — if not more — loved by his new family.
Korea Future Initiative's report describes North Korean girls and women aged between 12 and 29 being sold, raped, and exploited online for a global, paying audience.
International sex trafficking is a big, despicable business all over the world — including in China and North Korea. According to The Independent, a new investigation has found that North Korean women who have fled poverty, famine, and sexual abuse in their home country have fallen victim to sex trafficking in China.
The London-based rights group Korea Future Initiative (KFI) has published its findings in a disturbing new report. It detailed the systematic patterns of an annual $105 million business where tens of thousands of North Korean women and girls have been trafficked and sold into China’s sex trade.
The reprehensible, shadowy landscape they’re forced into ranges from sexual slavery — such as prostitution and forced marriages that include rape — to cybersex trafficking and forced marriage.
“Pushed from their homeland by a patriarchal regime that survives through the imposition of tyranny, poverty, and oppression, North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers, and criminal organizations,” the report says, “before being pulled into China’s sex trade, where they are exploited and used by men until their bodies are depleted.”
Perhaps most disturbing — besides the blatant banality of evil abuse clearly uncovered — is the orchestrated network put in place to sustain this business. Sex trafficking networks employ “brokers” — a term usually reserved for real estate and finance — to make transactions, like selling small children to strangers to ultimately be raped.
Yoon Hee-soon, lead author of the report and researcher at KFI described a “complex and interconnected network of criminality” in place that generates around $105 million per year from “the sale of female North Korean bodies.”
“The exploitation of North Korean women and girls generates annual profits of at least $105 million for the Chinese underworld,” she writes. Victims are prostituted for as little as 30 Chinese Yuan — $4 in the U.S. — and sold as wives for just 1000 Chinese Yuan, or $146. They’re also trafficked into cybersex dens “for exploitation by a global online audience.”
The girls in question are as young as nine years old, and are physically forced to perform sexual acts with anyone with the right connections and the proper funds. While this occurs behind closed doors in unspecified locations, their sexual assaults are also live-streamed online to paying, international clientele.
“Commonly aged between 12-29 and overwhelmingly female, victims are coerced, sold, or abducted in China or trafficked directly from North Korea,” the report says. “Many are sold more than once and are forced into at least one form of sexual slavery within a year of leaving their homeland.”
The cybersex element is a “small, rudimentary, but expanding component” of the young North Korean victims. The most prevalent aspect of this cruel, for-profit enterprise occurs in rural towns and quiet suburbs across China — where irrevocable acts of inhumanity are perpetrated on a regular basis.
“Enslaved in brothels that litter satellite-towns and townships close to large urban areas in northeast China, victims are mostly aged between 15-25 and are habitually subjected to penetrative vaginal and anal rape, forced masturbation, and groping,” the report explains.
In terms of forced marriage, the report documents just how prevalent the practice has become within the Chinese sex trade. In both rural areas and countless townships, North Korean women have been “bought, raped, exploited, and enslaved” by their new Chinese husbands.
Prostitution has now overtaken forced marriage as the “primary pathway” into China’s sex trade. Unfortunately, some of those forced into marriage have even died under these involuntary new hierarchies they’ve been sold into.
“Prospects for North Korean women and girls trapped in China’s multi-million-dollar sex trade are bleak,” the report says. “Many victims have perished in China, while small rescue organizations and Christian missionaries struggle to perform rescue work.”
“Urgent and immediate action, which will run contrary to the prevailing politics of inter-Korean dialogue, is needed to save the lives of countless female North Korean refugees in China.”
In November 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report of its own that detailed how ubiquitous sexual assault on behalf of North Korean officials has become in the so-called “hermit kingdom.” With no available legal recourse by the regime’s citizens, this abuse has become so common it’s seen as normal.
The organization’s research saw North Korean women sexually abused by government officials, prison guards, police, soldiers, and interrogators on a regular basis. With a patriarchal foundation and decades-long dictatorship, women are left with no viable strategies to counter this system.
Tragically, many of them internalize the abuse they receive as personal shame. With no ability to garner justice or accountability by their oppressors, they simply decide not to speak out.
“They consider us (sex) toys. We are at the mercy of men,” said Oh Jung-hee, a former trader in her 40s. “It happens so often nobody thinks it is a big deal. We don’t even realize when we are upset. But we are human, and we feel it. So sometimes, out of nowhere, you cry at night and don’t know why.”
In addition to the KFI report’s unnerving discoveries, it argues that these findings have essentially been sitting there all along — and sweepingly ignored by an international community for years.
The paper explains that if a small, non-government funded organization like KFI, which receives no grants from human rights institutions, can investigate atrocities like this, so can more established and better-funded entities.
To stop these sex trafficking rings, KFI recommends the entire international community to step up and help North Korean refugees, as well as push for human rights in North Korea.
The Trump/Pence regime has announced a new Domestic Gag Rule that will force healthcare providers that rely on Title X government funds into a lethal and immoral choice. Either these healthcare providers must join a theocratic conspiracy to deny women any information about abortion (even where they might find one at an outside provider), or these healthcare providers will be denied crucial federal funding and forced to deny these same women essential healthcare like breast cancer screenings, contraception care, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections. This law is aimed at all healthcare providers that serve women, including Planned Parenthood. For anyone who told themselves that Trump didn’t really mean it when he promised during the campaign to put an end to abortion, this should be a serious wake-up call. While Trump has a history of at least claiming to support abortion rights and Planned Parenthood, he has never truly been motivated by any genuine respect for women’s humanity and reproductive freedom. For this reason, he had no problem forging a strategic alliance during his campaign with a powerful movement of extreme and politically determined Christian fundamentalist fascists who are hellbent on criminalizing all abortion. This alliance is concentrated in Mike Pence and Trump couldn’t have won the presidency without it. It is also true that since day-one of his presidency, Trump (and Pence) have been steadily delivering what they promised to Christian fascists – from placing Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court along with a record number of other federal judges, to stripping away rights recently won by members of the LGBTQ community, to drastically curtailing women’s access to abortion, and even to birth control.
Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement
Having a child—if a person wants a child and is in a position to care for one—can be a beautiful thing. But being forced to have a child against ones will is a form of female enslavement. It forecloses women’s dreams, drives women into poverty, and traps many into abusive relationships. This all-around subjugation of women is exactly what the Christian fascists who make up a driving force in the Trump/Pence regime want. Already, millions of women—especially Black, immigrant, poor and/or young women—do not have meaningful access to abortion and, increasingly, to birth control. Currently, seven states have only one abortion clinic. Further, anti-abortion fanatics have carried out hundreds of acts of extreme violence—including murder, kidnappings, arson, clinic bombings, and more. This new law will now affect approximately 4,000 clinics, serving about four million women.
Reagan was the first to implement this Gag Order that Trump is now making law. But while every Republican administration has imposed this Gag Order internationally (and every Democratic administration has temporarily lifted it), the Republicans never felt they could fully implement it domestically (in the US), so they never really tried. With Trump/Pence in power, their calculation has changed. Now, they are going in for the kill. This regime is deadly serious about criminalizing all abortions for all women in all circumstances—denying women’s humanity and reducing them to incubators.
The Democratic Party’s Collaborationist “Resistance”
The problem we face is not merely with the fascists of the Trump/Pence regime. The additional problem is that all-too-many who hate what this regime is imposing on women are relying on the Democrats to stop it.
But, what did the Democratic Party—the so-called #Resistance—do in response to this vicious assault on half of humanity? They issued two mealy mouthed letters that accept the misogynist prejudices that underlie these policies. Rather than declaring that women are full human beings who must have the right to decide for themselves when and whether to bear children, the Democrats point out that “every dollar invested in Title X saves more than seven dollars in Medicaid-related costs.”(Title X is a federal program targeted by the Domestic Gag Rule that provides birth control and reproductive care for four million people.) Rather than criticize the outrageous fact that government funds were already being denied for abortion and that this has caused the deaths of poor women, they note that “Title X program has never funded abortion services” to suggest that cutting these funds won’t reduce abortions anyhow.
And who did the Democrats address these collaborationist letters to? They wrote to Alex Azar, Trump’s appointee to head Health and Human Services. Appealing to Azar—who has defended the “right” of insurers to deny birth control coverage and pledged to protect the “unborn”—for redress in this matter is like appealing to the notorious racist and segregationist Bull Connor for help against the Klan!
Only the People Can Stop this Nightmare
This latest escalation of the all-out war on women by Trump/Pence is part of a larger fascist agenda that includes the ethnic cleansing of immigrants from so-called “Shithole” countries (i.e.: those that are overwhelmingly made up of Black and Brown people), the banning of Muslims, the destruction of science, new threats of war, the ripping up of the rule of law, and the acceleration of environmental destruction.
The Democrats won’t stand up against this because they are more wed to maintaining order for their capitalist-imperialist system – even if it is the order of fascism – than risking the monumental upheaval it will take to dislodge this fascist regime and reverse its direction.
But, because of the threat this regime poses to humanity, it must be stopped. It is long past time to cast off the illusion that “fascism couldn’t happen here” and the self-delusion that the Democratic Party or the normal workings of official politics will solve this problem for us. As RefuseFascism.org has repeatedly insisted, it is time for all of us – coming from a great diversity of political perspectives – to get out of our comfort zones and prepare for struggle. The millions whose lives are being destroyed by this regime, the millions more whose futures are being threatened, and the many more millions who refuse to sit by must take it upon ourselves to stop this nightmare.
A husband priority changed to build better career whereas wife continued to support him selflessly. Finally he realized after 12 years. A sweet love story to read.
Life had changed for me. I never realized it. Moonlight walk changed into late night strategy workshops. Candlelight dinner turned into business meetings. Sweet and short phone calls from her transformed into long hour teleconferences. Gifts were no more priority now — there should be some tangible return whatever we invest, after all. Spending even 5 dollars on the bouquet for the Valentine’s Day seemed meaningless — you would lose at least half an hour searching for a parking space in the downtown.
Overall there was no respite from the hectic office and the future planning. Whenever she, in a very mild attempt, tried to express her feelings, I had pre-defined answer, “these all are for us only, darling” and she used to be quiet for another month or so.
Recently I had to go to Holland on a business trip for a week. I was working on an important assignment. I didn’t have even five minutes to talk to my parents who traveled more than fifteen hundred miles just to meet us. I called her to inform that I had to leave that evening. It was not new to her. It happened many times, and every time, in evening, I found her standing at the door, smiling, with my suitcase packed with all the necessary stuffs.
I checked in to Crown Inn in Eindhoven. It was 3 PM. I wanted to rehearse my presentation before I meet the senior management. I was sure that she would have kept the file. In past, she never missed what I needed, never ever. But I could not control my anger. I opened my leather cased Samsonite and file was not there!!! I took out or rather threw cloths one by one on the cozy floor of Crown Inn.
“Here it is” phewwww… what a relief.” I sighed. I knew she never missed even my minute taste and never ending petty demands. And for this important file, I had specifically reminded her.
I opened the file. There was a pink envelop, something similar to what we used to exchange, long time ago, before our marriage. Those days, loves were not made on the Internet. It had been more than twelve years.
I opened the envelope. It had our family photo, with her and our two little ones. We all were smiling. There was a pink greeting card with a red heart printed on it. Inside the card, it read, “Miss you my dear Teddy Bear.”
When I was returning, at the Schiphol airport, after many years I purchased something for her… just for her… a pair of diamond earrings. I was missing her badly, as never before. Continue Reading