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Bella Abzug Rememberance 16 Apr 1998


APRIL 16 – 30, 1998

Her voice was loud, clear and unique on the world stage, and for many years, in her provocative columns in The Earth Times



By Ashali Varma

New York—Bella S. Abzug, who died in New York on March 31 from complications after heart surgery, had a, special relationship with The Earth Times. She was the conscience of the major United Nations  conferences–of which The Earth Times was the newspaper of record and a source of balanced information that covered both the delegates and their governments and nongovernmental organizations, giving readers all points of view.

I say it was a special relationship because Bella’s point of view was always important to us. She was an important player in a world forum where she declared that women’s rights were human rights.

Bella and The Earth Times go back a long way, all the way to when we were born in 1991, months before the Earth Summit in Rio. That was the time when nongovernmental organizations were starting to be recognized as a force to contend with, and that was the time when Bella passed her hat around, literally, to delegates at the Rio Centro, to collect money to keep the NGO Forum open. And, as The Earth Times reported at the time, the NGO Forum got the money it needed to continue till the end of the conference.

There are other memories of Bella at the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. At both of these conferences Bella and her women’s caucus made an impact on the deliberations and The Earth Times was there to cover it, to give a voice to the NGOs and to report on their point of view. Bella’s voice was always clear and forceful.

The conferences are over now and Bella is no more.  But her work, the challenges she issued to governments to implement the many programs of action that came out of the conferences, remain.  And the women Bella inspired all over the world will continue to push for change.  The Earth Times remains committed to reporting on what national governments are doing to make this world a better place for future generations.  So the work Bella started will still be reported in these pages, and The Earth Times will continue to cover news about women’s rights, health, environment and development.  This newspaper will also continue to focus on communities and people striving at the grassroots level, in every corner of the world, to make this planet a more equitable place for women, children, the poor and the marginalized.  Bella has left us a powerful legacy.