Friday, May 30, 2008

They Thought They Were Free

Photo: Iraq War protest, copyright 2008 Essential Works Limited

“They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945” This is a book written by Milton Mayer. He interviewed ten Germans extensively and wrote down how ordinary Germans felt during the years 1933 to 1945. This was done in the 1950’s.

Here are some notes I took from this book:

This point about how we (in later ages and different countries) know Nazism and how the people who lived and were the Nazis knew it is important:

“As we know Nazism, it was a naked, total tyranny which degraded its adherents and enslaved its opponents and adherents alike; terrorism and terror in daily life, private and public; brute personal and mob injustice at every level of association; a flank attack upon God and a frontal attack upon the worth of the human person and the rights which that worth implies. Those nine ordinary Germans knew it absolutely otherwise, and they still know it oberwise. If our view of National Socialism is a little simples, so is theirs. And autocracy? Yes, of course, an autocracy, as in the fabled days of “the golden time” our parents knew. But a tyranny, as you Americans use the term? Nonsense.”

As one man interviewed said “no one imagined it would lead to war”.

As for how the Germans came to a point where they openly persecuted the Jews, Mayer had this to say:

“Ordinary people – and ordinary Germans – cannot be expected to tolerate activities which outrage the ordinary sense of ordinary decency unless the victims are, in advance, successfully stigmatized as enemies of the people, of the nation, the race, the religion. Or, if they are not enemies (that comes later), they must be an element within the community somehow extrinsic to the common bond, a de-compositive ferment (be it only by the way they part their hair or tie their necktie) in the uniformity which is everywhere the condition of the common quiet. The Germans’ innocuous acceptance and practice of social anti-Semitism before Hitlerism had undermined the resistance of their ordinary decency to the stigmatization and persecution to come.”

The author then goes on to point out the incidences of social prejudice and discrimination against various groups in the USA, and how these were publicly tolerated and unchallenged in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Mayer speaks about how this continuing assault on a certain groups (Social Democrats, Jews, Communists) were guided to the point that they never overstepped the boundaries of the ordinary German’s awareness, thereby leaving them tolerated by the mass of the population. There really was not much active resistance, as people continued going to work, live their lives, go to public celebrations, and pay taxes. He also spoke about how the pressure of conformity pervades throughout the community. All of this, plus a growing prosperity for most of the people, lead to an acceptance of the Nazi program - and certainly prevented any resistance from becoming wide spread.

And how exactly did the government of Germany pull this off? Well, here are some clues:

“What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.”

And how did the German people react – again, some clues:

“To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, then most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion ‘regretted’….. Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow….. Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing)…. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.”

I recommend the book.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

South Carolina Welcomes Salee

Pretty soon, Asheville hopes to welcome Rusul, who is Salee's sister. She was injured in the same bombing. The name Rusul means "messenger", by the way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recent Quotes

"Security and human rights are inseparable issues -- you cannot have one without the other. Human rights are not only for times of peace -- you need to hold onto them always even during difficult times and times of war. My last message to the U.S. administration is that torture will not stop terrorism -- torture is terrorism." ~ Sami al Haj, upon his release from Guantanamo prison, where he was held for six years without charges. He was working as a cameraman for al Jazeera news when he was kidnapped by US forces near the Afghan border. He was tortured by US forces also, and has been force fed for the last 16 months of his imprisonment. He was released this week.

This war in Iraq is about oil – and McCain lets that slip: “I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will -- that will then prevent us -- that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” ~ John McCain

And Hilary Clinton was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons (which Iran does not have): "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." The Iranians filed a complaint with the UN.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

To the Dark Side.......

Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib ... who is accountable. Clips from Academy Award Doc "Taxi to the Dark Side," arranged by an independent filmmaker.

This is the America that our leaders want us to be proud of? This is the America we have built. This is who we are. Who is accountable? You Are. I am.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Simple answers to simple questions

Is Obama Muslim? ANSWER HERE, with references.

Is bush a Christian? Same Answer.

Is cheney a Christian? Same Answer again.

While they profess to be Christians, real Christians do not start wars of aggression and kill a whole lot of people. They also don't torture, kidnap, rape or take trips "to the dark side".

This is all for simple answers to simple questions for today.

Masters of War - Bob Dylan

Memorialize this!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week


Peace and justice events this week in Asheville - are actually in Greenville, SC! Many of us will be joining up with WE OBJECT and Greenville Anti-war Society to protest the arrival of a certain person who resides (unfortunately) in the White House. Join us if you can! And then there is the Activist Summit on Radioactive Waste. That last one is in Columbia, not Greenville.

Also, the WNC Peace Coalition has started up their own blog..... where I will be putting the weekly updates on events from here on out.

PEACE VIGILS and WEEKLY EVENTS

Sunday, 5:30 to 6 PM All Souls Episcopal Church [Biltmore Village]
Tuesday, 5 to 6 PM Vets for Peace Vigil [Vance Monument]
Wednesday, 4:30 PM Haywood Neighbors for Peace at Waynesville Post Office
Wednesdays, 5:30 PM Votive Mass for Peace at St. Mary Episcopal Church in Asheville
Friday, 5 to 6 PM Women in Black Vigil A’ville [Vance Monument]
Friday, 12 to 12:30 PM Women in Black Vigil H’ville [Main St at Old County Court House]
Saturday, 12 to 1 PM Transylvania County Vigil for Peace [County Courthouse]

Other: Food Not Bombs: 3:30 on Saturday at Pritchard Park. Info at 303-929-9713
Other: The Street Action Group (SAG) will hold meetings to plan actions, hold a potluck, and to work on projects most Sundays at 3 PM. Contact Kindra at impeach_now@bellsouth.net for location.
Other: Asheville Citizen Awareness (COP WATCH) meets at 6:30 PM at St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand Street in Asheville on Wednesday.
Other: Veteran’s Voices on WPVM at 5 PM on Wednesday. 103.5 FM or www.wpvm.org

OTHER EVENTS

05/23/08 to 06/03/08 Congressional Memorial Day recess

05/28/08 Panel and lecture series called “Assessing the Bush Presidency” in Greenville, SC. Chris Hedges, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, will be the Keynote Speaker. This is at Furman University, Younts Center at 7 PM.

05/29/08 to 05/31/08 Conference: Faith, Spirituality and Environmental Stewardship will be held at the Center for the Environment, Catawba College, 2300 West Innes Street, Salisbury, North Carolina. Contact: Amanda Hooker Lanier: 704-637-4295 or alhooker@catawba.edu. *Join us for a significant interfaith conference that will help to clarify the connection between faith and the environment. *Hear renowned thought leaders from across the nation discuss environmental challenges from a spiritual perspective. *Enter into dialogue with others about what the faith community can do about global and regional environmental challenges. *Participate in workshops that are geared for action. All Workshops, Keynotes & Evening Events - $150.00. http://www.centerfortheenvironment.org/

05/30/08 to 06/01/08 National Activist Summit on Radioactive Waste in Columbia, South Carolina. Please drop a message to Mary Olson nirs@main.nc.us or call 828-675-1792 if you want to be part of this event or want to get updates. We will follow up with a more detailed program and registration details soon. Note: due to industry attempts to participate in recent events intended for activists, there will be a pre-registration process. This event is open to all who are working positively for the end of the production of more radioactive waste (stop making it)! Attendance for the whole weekend costs around $110, and the meeting begins 1 PM Friday, May 30. In an event open to the public, Dr. von Hippel and Mr. Frishman will be speaking Friday evening at 7:30 at the Public Forum on Nuclear Waste, at the Green Quad of USC in Columbia, S.C. Please help spread the word about this event. Please RSVP to Mary Olson, NIRS, < nirs@main.nc.us> or 828 675-1792, or call Tom Clements, F.O.E. 803-834-3084.

05/31/08 The current White House resident will be giving a speech at the Furman University Graduation ceremony this evening. This is in Greenville SC.

06/01/08 Dr. Arjun Makhajani will be in Asheville to give a talk at the Owen Center at 7 PM. CORRECTION - TIME IS 8 PM. The talk is free and open to all. The talk will be preceded by a dinner with Dr. Arjun Makhijani, author of Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, in honor of the work of NIRS and WISE -- organizations supporting community efforts towards a non-nuclear energy policy for the past 30 years. The dinner will include a BOOK AUCTION of copies of Carbon Free, Nuclear Free, signed by Arjun in three languages. For more information, contact Mary Olson at nirs@main.nc.

They call it paradise

The song is "The Last Resort" and it is done by The Eagles in 1976. It is on the Hotel California album. I originally found this video on Daily Kos weblog.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The White Rose

Photo: A black granite memorial to the White Rose Movement in the Hofgarten in Munich with the dome of the Bavarian State Chancellery in the background.

I went to see the play 'The White Rose' last night at the NC Stage Company. I found it very moving.

It is the story of peaceful resistance. This resistance took place in Germany in 1942 and 1943. There was a group of students at the University of Munich (along with one professor) who made copies of leaflets called "The White Rose". They then distributed these leaflets around the university and mailed them to people around the country of Germany.

Here's what the Wikipedia article has to say about how they started:

In 1941 Sophie and Hans Scholl attended the sermon of an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, Bishop August von Galen, decrying the euthanasia policies which the Nazis maintained would protect the European gene pool.[4] Horrified by the Nazi policies, Sophie obtained permission to reprint the sermon and distribute at the University of Munich as the group's first pamphlet prior to their formal organization.

Under Gestapo interrogation, Hans Scholl said that the name had been taken from a Spanish novel he had read. Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn speculate that this may have been The White Rose, a novel about peasant exploitation in Mexico published in Berlin in 1931, written by B. Traven, the German author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Dumbach and Newborn say there is a chance that Hans Scholl and Alex Schmorell had read this. They write that the symbol of the white rose was intended to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil.

From the article "A Lesson in Dissent":
The date was February 22, 1943. Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, along with their best friend, Christoph Probst, were scheduled to be executed by Nazi officials that afternoon. The prison guards were so impressed with the calm and bravery of the prisoners in the face of impending death that they violated regulations by permitting them to meet together one last time. Hans, a medical student at the University of Munich, was 24. Sophie, a student, was 21. Christoph, a medical student, was 22.
The play left me in tears. I came home and started reading about this group called "The White Rose" and while some of the details I read about were not exactly as the play was written, the play definitely caught the spirit of what the dissidents were trying to do, why they were doing it, and how it was received. The members of the group were executed by guillotine for treason.

They are now considered heroes and heroines in Germany today. The picture above is from the Wikipedia page on The White Rose, and it is a statue at the University of Munich.

Here is a clip from a leaflet:

Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way ... The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals ... Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! — from the second leaflet of The White Rose.

It is amazing how much some people will do and give to further the truth. These young people gave their lives. There are only a few more plays in Asheville (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and I hope that many have the opportunity to see the play.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quotes

Photo: Some local activists in front of the Vets for Peace sign in Asheville in May 2008. Below are some quotes from some good people - including Ann Wright, in the picture here - and some bad people.

"Security and human rights are inseparable issues -- you cannot have one without the other. Human rights are not only for times of peace -- you need to hold onto them always even during difficult times and times of war. My last message to the U.S. administration is that torture will not stop terrorism -- torture is terrorism." ~ Sami al Haj, upon his release from Guantanamo prison, where he was held for six years without charges. He was working as a cameraman for al Jazeera news when he was kidnapped by US forces near the Afghan border. He was tortured by US forces also, and has been force fed for the last 16 months of his imprisonment. He was released this week.

This war is about oil – and McCain lets that slip: “I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will -- that will then prevent us -- that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” ~ John McCain

And Hilary Clinton was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons (which Iran does not have): "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." The Iranians filed a complaint with the UN.

Col. Ann Wright said this in her resignation letter to Secretary Powell: “When I last saw you in Kabul in January 2002, you arrived to officially open the US Embassy that I had helped reestablish in December 2001 as the first political officer. At that time, I could not have imagined that I would be writing a year later to resign from the Foreign Service because of US policies. All of my adult life I have been in service to the United States.” Col. Wright resigned because of her disagreements with administration policies on Iraq, along with the administration’s lack of efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the lack of policy on North Korea and the reduction in civil rights in America.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ann Wright in Asheville

This photo is of Jim Brown and Ann Wright in the Asheville airport. They are holding the National Threat Advisory from TSA. We are at Code Orange - have been forever. What a load of bs the TSA puts out.

It was great having Ann Wright here. We had about 8 people to meet her at the airport, and then we went to Rosetta's Kitchen for snacks and beer and talking. Well, I was driving, so no beer for me.

The next morning, Ann Wright went to the spiritual enrichment session of the Asheville Friends Meeting. It was not well attended, but it was an interesting discussion. Jim and Clare went there also. After that we went to WPVM for a interview session of Veteran's Voices.

Then Ann had a meet and greet at Malaprop's - again, not that well attended. I wish they had scheduled her for a reading, but.....

Then we went to eat at Havana's Resturant...... good Cubian food. After that, Ann did a reading and talk at Firestorm Cafe & Books. That was pretty well attended, with about 40 people there. And then we went out to eat again....

It was wonderful having Ann with me at my home. She is quite the diplomat.

Thanks to Asheville Friends Meeting, Firestorm Cafe & Books, and the Vets for Peace for supporting this effort. Ann will be in North Carolina the rest of this week, and I hope it is a successful week for her. It was good to hear her stories of people who have sacrificed to try and end this insane violent path this country is following.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Democratic Party District Convention 08

Well, on Saturday I attended the Democratic Party District convention (NC Congressional District 11) at Haywood College. We got there plenty early, and I brought in my two 30 x 40 inch displays of recent pictures from Iraq. The top of the pieces were labeled “These are pictures of Iraq from May 2008”. My intention was to let people know that this war and occupation of Iraq is still raging, even if our media does not cover it. The pictures I used can be seen on the Faces of Grief blog.

I tried to get elected as a delegate to the Electoral College, but lost out on that vote. I might try again at the state convention.

We had several votes to elect delegates to the Democratic Party National Convention in Denver. Considering that everyone has to pay their own way and it will cost them a small fortune, I was surprised that so many people actually want to go. That voting took a fairly long time. On the Clinton side, they have a few “write-in” candidates, one of whom was elected as an alternate. So, even though that person was elected, she cannot be seated unless the Clinton campaign approves. There are a bunch of people there that supported Clinton and seemingly don’t know that she will not get the nomination.

Then we discussed and voted on resolutions. They split them into three lists – uncontested, debatable, and inappropriate (meaning that they either were local county issues or actually were unconstitutional). Some were moved from the uncontested to the debatable column, including my resolution on helping the Iraqi immigrants. So, when the time came, I spoke about how the Iraqi refuges are in dire shape, how the US is not helping them, and how the US is not meeting it’s meager goals for admitting refugees into the US. I mentioned how Sweden has admitted ten times more candidates than the US has, and how the vast majority of these refugees are not going home, ever. My resolution asked for support for Rep. Water’s resolution to meet our immigration goals and help these people out. I also mentioned that I follow the news on Iraq closely – I believe I mentioned that right at the start.

So, some guy gets up and says that he watches the news on Iraq also. Of course, to those of us who are actually informed, we know full well that he might as well held up a sign that says “I am totally uninformed” because he used the word “watches”. If he is getting information from the TV, he is almost totally clueless. However, he did know that the Iraqi government now has a surplus… a pretty big surplus, from oil sales. And he knew that the Iraqi government is not spending that money to help Iraqi refugees at all (most likely, because bush told maliki not to do so – admitting so many Iraqis have left their homes (or sometimes the entire country) really does not speak to “success” with the surge). And that bit of information was enough for the people there to vote down help Iraqi refugees in Iraq and the Middle East. He also made the claim that we should not increase the Iraqis come to the US – I believe he said that they should stay in Iraq and build their own country.

So, the resolution was defeated. Ignorance and xenophobia won out. However, over in congressional district #4, the resolution passed – and I bet it will pass on the state level too. And that’s because there are more smart people in NC than dumb people, although this is not true in my part of the state.

And, just to show you that some folks WILL wake up (but it may take awhile) – this year Max Haner got up and spoke for impeachment of bush and cheney. I felt like standing up and yelling HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH! Max was the former chair of the Democratic Party in Buncombe County. We passed a resolution to impeach bush, cheney and Gonzales on the state level in 2005. We passed a resolution for the NC House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment in 2006. In 2007, I was told that they would not consider my resolution to impeach bush and cheney because ‘it was already done before’….. so I didn’t even bother to bring it up again. And here is Max, standing there telling people that we had better impeach these guys, even if it is not successful, because history will record that we did not even try, if we fail to do this. In short, he said that we have to show history that we recognized that these guys did things that were very, very wrong. Well, better late than never, but I sure wish he had started pushing for impeachment in 2005. And I think that if we had pursued impeachment in 2005 or 2006 or 2007 – it would have been successful.

I hope it is not too late.

Hallelujah

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Author’s week in Asheville

Photo: "There comes a time when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us." - MLK Jr. Army Colonel Ann Wright Retired in protest of Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Photo by Robert Whitlock.

As I type this, Ann Wright is signing her books at Malaprop’s – and she is going to Firestorm later today. But we have visits from two more author’s this week, both of which sound really interesting.

Three authors this week:

05/18/08 Colonel Ann Wright will read from her book “Voices of Dissent” at Firestorm Café & Books from 4 to 6 PM. This will be followed by a discussion. Free and open to the public. This is sponsored by Veterans for Peace.

05/22/08 Actor, Activist and veteran Mike Farrell will present his book “Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist” at Malaprop’s at 7 PM.

05/23/08 Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! will speak at 7:30 PM at Ferguson Auditorium at A-B Tech. She will present her book “Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times.” Cost $10, and tickets available at Malaprop’s or call MAIN at 255-0182.

Other events in Asheville this week:

PEACE VIGILS and WEEKLY EVENTS

Sunday, 5:30 to 6 PM All Souls Episcopal Church [Biltmore Village]
Tuesday, 4:30 to 5:30 PM Vets for Peace Vigil [Vance Monument]

Wednesday, 4:30 PM Haywood Neighbors for Peace at Waynesville Post Office

Wednesdays, 5:30 PM Votive Mass for Peace at St. Mary Episcopal Church in Asheville

Friday, 5 to 6 PM Women in Black Vigil A’ville [Vance Monument]

Friday, 12 to 12:30 PM Women in Black Vigil H’ville [Main St at Old County Court House]
Saturday, 12 to 1 PM Transylvania County Vigil for Peace [County Courthouse]

Other: Tuesday, 6 PM Run for Peace; Run for Impeachment at Vance Monument

Other: Food Not Bombs: 3:30 on Saturday at Pritchard Park. Info at 303-929-9713

Other: The Street Action Group (SAG) will hold meetings to plan actions, hold a potluck, and to work on projects most Sundays at 3 PM. Contact Kindra at impeach_now@bellsouth.net for location.

Other: Asheville Citizen Awareness (COP WATCH) meets at 6:30 PM at St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand Street in Asheville on Wednesday.

Other: Veteran’s Voices on WPVM at 5 PM on Wednesday. 103.5 FM or www.wpvm.org

OTHER EVENTS

05/18/08 Ethical Culture Society will meet at 2 PM at the Botanical Gardens at UNCA.

05/20/08 WNC Peace Coalition will hold a meeting at 7 PM at Atlanta Bread Company. All are welcome, for more information contact Susan at dancewater2@gmail.com

05/22/08 Sierra Club meeting at Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville. Social is at 7 PM and program is at 7:30 PM. Dave Erb will discuss “Sustainable Transportation: A Future Worth Creating”

05/23/08 to 06/03/08 Congressional Memorial Day recess

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nakba

The Ongoing Nakba ~ Standing on His Destroyed Home

ABOUT THIS PIECE: The ongoing Nakba (house demolition). Man standing on his destroyed house, Old City of Jerusalem, 6 Feruary 2008. The Nakba continues for Palestinians in different forms including house demolitions. Since 1967 around 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished. It is still continuing.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: I am a French photographer who has lived in Palestine for the last four years. I have concentrated my work on daily life of Palestinians, refugees, the impact of the Wall on the communities and documenting human rights violations in the OPTs. In 2006, I developed a programme in Aida refugee camp called Images for Life whose aim is to empower refugees through photography and film-making. My work has been exhibited in different countries and published in various publications. Since 2006; I am a member of the collective Activestills who gathered documentary photographers who believe in photography as a tool for social change. - Photo by Ann Paq

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Nakba” is the Arabic word for “catastrophe” and it refers to the displacement and confiscation of the land of the Palestinians. This confiscation continues to this day. I find this very sad that the country of Israel has not address this catastrophe, has not stopped confiscation of land that belongs to others and has not stopped occupying Palestine.

I do not see how the Israelis can live in peace until they stop doing those things. More information on this tragedy is available at the AFSC website.

Good news for today:

US House of Representatives voted down more war funding!

California courts declared marriage is for everyone.

Last night, Keith Olbermann told bush to go to hell.

Bad news for today:

Ongoing natural disasters in Burma and China. Both countries are overwhelmed, and Burma is not allowing many to help.

US drone kills 18 in Pakistan, and once again, there were civilians in with the “terrorists”. The new Prime Minister said: “I strongly condemn this. It's absolutely wrong. It's unfair. They should not have done this action.” One of the "terrorists" said the bomb was meant to derail peace talks with the new government.

Once again our president shows how dumb he is – this time, he cannot tell the difference between talking/negotiations with enemies and appeasement. How did this man get re-elected in 2004? I can’t believe there were even ten people in this country that voted for him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From the Peace Alliance

From the You Tube link: The Peace Alliance marked the start of National Youth Violence Prevention Week 2008 today with the launch of its I Stand for Peace education and awareness campaign. I Stand for Peace focuses attention on the systemic cycle of youth violence in the U.S. and provides the public and communities with access to nationally recognized solutions to combat this issue. (more at the link)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Resistance!

Photo: People holding a portrait of late journalist Taras Protsyuk take part in a rally near the U.S. embassy in Kiev April 8, 2008. A couple of dozen people in Kiev on Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Protsyuk, who was killed at age 35 when a U.S. tank shell hit the Palestine Hotel that served as the headquarters for international journalists in Baghdad as troops entered the Iraqi capital April 8, 2003.

REUTERS/ Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE)

Winter Soldier testimony video archive

Courage to Resist audio archive of "The future of GI resistance" panel and behind-the-scenes photos

Additional testimonial audio from warcomeshome.org

www.bodyofwar.com

Body of War is Tomas' coming home story as he evolves into a new person, coming to terms with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war. The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, and features two original songs by Eddie Vedder. Body of War is a naked and honest portrayal of what it's like inside the body, heart and soul of this extraordinary and heroic young man. National openings featuring Q&A with Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro & Tomas Young's mom Cathy Smith begin this week in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, LA, San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Louis.

I have the music from Body of War - the DVD has not come out yet. There are a lot of songs on this CD - 30 in total. Some of them are old anti-war songs - like "Masters of War" (done by Pearl Jam, not Bob Dylan). But a lot of them are new ones, and there are a few in there that I really, really like - the song "NO MORE" by Eddie Vedder & Ben Haper is very, very good. I have been a fan of Michael Franti for some time, and they included his song "LIGHT UP YA LIGHTER" on this CD. I like to get in my car, turn the CD player up to max, and then drive around playing those two songs, and singing along. Of course, it is so loud that you really cannot hear my singing. A number of songs on the CD are good songs, but contain language that cannot be played on the radio. I personally don't care about cuss words, but I might feel differently if I had young children. I recommend this CD! HIGHLY!

Compare this -----

Photo from Christian Science Monitor:

In this photo distributed by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, center, and Communist Party leaders arrange relief work of the earthquake during his flight for the disaster area on Monday May 12, 2008. Premier Wen flew into southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday afternoon and left straight for the quake-hit county of Wenchuan to oversee rescue work there, Xinhua said.
Xinhua, Yao Dawei

Wow! This is impressive! The Chinese Premier was ON – SITE the very same day as the natural disaster struck. He used a bullhorn to tell some students trapped in the rubble of their school that the army was coming to rescue them. There were 50K troops in the area within 24 hours, and they were using heavy equipment to move the rubble and get the people who were trapped out. They were also distributing supplies like food, water and medicine, and setting up tents for shelter and medical centers.

Now, compare all of that to what bush and the military did after Katrina. I wonder if China will send in some private mercenaries to shoot the locals, like bush sent in Blackwater?

We have such a backwards and barbaric country. I guess we look good compared to Myanmar, but we look totally inept and callously uncaring next to the Chinese.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And evil grows, where ever he goes...

The picture is of Negroponte, who was behind death squads in Honduras and Nicaragua in the 1980's, who was likely behind the death squads out of the Interior Ministry in Iraq, is now in Pakistan. And, we can all guess what he is doing there - setting up right-wing death squads to go after the "bad" guys, except these death squads go out and kill anyone they want - mostly totally innocent people. The Honduras/Nicaragua stuff happened under the reagan administration.

Where ever he goes, evil grows and grows.

And still somehow, he still has a job with the US government, at least under the bush administration.

US trains Pakistani killing machine

United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, drawing on his experience in the Philippines and Nicaragua, is behind an initiative for the US to train up special Pakistani forces to go after high-level al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan's tribal areas. The move is an admission that operations by massed Pakistani troops have failed, but it gives the US further inroads into Pakistan.

But this all ties into his former position in the reagan administration - in that reagan was the one who allowed Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons (and caused India to do the same) and share the information on nuclear development with other countries. And today, the concern is that the al Qaeda and Taliban forces might get their hands on that nuclear material or information.

And this article is right that "massed Pakistani troops" have "failed" to stop the Taliban or al Qaeda...... and that is because they did not want to do so. So, this plan to have small death squads running around out there to control al Qaeda, is the next step. And, since this will have poor intelligence but loads of money for every "terrorist" killed - this means lots of innocent people will get tortured, raped, and kidnapped and killed.

People like Negroponte are so evil it is unbelievable.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

I think this week in Asheville could be called "Voices of Conscience". There are several events going on that revolve around people speaking out, or people having spoken out in the past - some of them at a great price to themselves, and all of them enriching our world.

Thursday – The play “The White Rose” starts at NC Stage Company. From their website comes this description of the group called the “White Rose”.

In 1942, a group of students in Munich stood up against Hitler’s regime in six anonymous leaflets titled The White Rose. Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl,Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and Alexander Schmorell used these leaflets to wage a war of propaganda in the hearts of the German people in the closing months of World War II. The movement eventually spread across all of Germany, becoming a voice for its people who were against what was happening to their country. “Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be ‘governed’ without opposition by an irresponsible clique the has yielded to base instinct.” -The 1st Leaflet of the White Rose

Thursday – Winter Soldier on the Hill testimony at the US House of Representatives. These Iraq War veterans are speaking their truth to our Congress. This is difficult, very difficult. There was a diary written up about this on Daily Kos. Here is a bit of that diary:

Once again, mark Your Calendars, drop C-Span a line and tell them you want this televised, write about this on your sites, let your local papers know about this historic event and testimony to the Congessional Record, testimony on the Failed Policies of War and Occupation of this countries recent history and Failed Incompetent Leadership!

Here’s what I got in an email to Veterans for Peace:

Winter Soldier on the Hill

Congress has heard from politicians, pundits, and generals, but not, up to this point, from the average boots-on-the-ground soldier. On May 15th, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) begin the process of righting this imbalance with Winter Soldier on the Hill. Nine members of IVAW will testify under oath before the CPC about rules of engagement, the killing and abuse of civilians, the use of drop weapons, and the true consequences of the "surge." Winter Soldier on the Hill will allow the US Congress to be more fully informed about the situation in iraq through soldiers' eyewitness accounts of the on-going military occupation, while they debate (more than likely for the last time during the Bush-Cheney administration) the funding for U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Who: Iraq Veterans Against the War & The Congressional Progressive Caucus
What: Winter Soldier on the Hill – An Open Forum
When: 15 May 2008 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Where: 2261 Rayburn House Office Building

THE POINT IS NOT TO PHYSICALLY COME TO DC. JUST CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN AFTER YOU READ THIS!!

Friday – Two groups in town are showing the film “I Know I Am Not Alone” – Michael Franti risks his safety to go to the scenes of violence in the Middle East and show them another side of the USA. This trip also produced some great music to go with the film. Here is some information on the film:

In 2004 Michael Franti decided to ‘walk his talk’ and traveled to the war zones of Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This wasn’t a USO green zone sponsored visit – Franti and his team organized a trip that would take him to the core of the red-zoned, war torn neighborhoods of Baghdad, the West Bank and Gaza Strip armed with only a guitar, video cameras and the intent to experience first hand the human cost of war. Throughout his journey he shares his music with families, doctors, musicians, soldiers and everyday people who in turn reveal to him the often overlooked human cost of war.

And the really big event: Next Sunday – Col. Ann Wright will read from her book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience” and speak at Firestorm Café & Books at 4 PM. Ann Wright gave up her job in the US Department of State to protest the Iraq invasion and she has been protesting ever since. She will be doing a “meet and greet” at Malaprop’s from noon to 2 PM the same day. Here is some information on her from her book promotion page:

During the run-up to war in Iraq, Army Colonel (Ret.) and diplomat Ann Wright resigned her State Department post. She was one among dozens of government insiders and active-duty military personnel who leaked documents, spoke out, resigned, or refused to deploy in protest of government actions they felt were illegal. In Dissent: Voices of Conscience, Ann Wright and Susan Dixon tell the stories of these men and women, who risked careers, reputations, and even freedom out of loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law.

Col. (Ret.) Ann Wright has given up a lot to voice her conscience – her career, and even the ability to travel to Canada. She is on a FBI ‘watch list’ and was not allowed into Canada. Ann Wright will be traveling all week across North Carolina, and giving speeches along the way.

(More information is below on all the above events.)

AND YOU HAVE A VOICE TOO! Here are some ways you can exercise your voice without risking your safety, quitting your job, or suffering any discomfort:

*Write a letter to the editor of the Asheville Citizen Times or Mountain Express about the Iraq occupation, our heavily militaristic and violent country, about the need for impeachment, torture issues, US Constitution issues, whatever you think is important!

"ACT Letters" letters@citizen-times.com

"Letters Mtn Xpress" letters@mountainx.com

*Ask Rep. Shuler to vote NO for more funding for war. Also mention “Winter Soldier on the Hill” where a panel of Iraq War Vets will testify under oath to the US House of Representatives on May 15th. Ask Shuler to attend this panel. Local number is 252-1651. A web form for emailing Rep. Shuler is here: http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=11351496&type=CO

*Cluster Bomb Ban: May 12 is Call-in Day - When more than 100 governments gather to negotiate a global treaty banning cluster bombs on May 19 in Dublin, Ireland, the United States won't be there. Help counter the image that the United States does not care about protecting civilians by calling your Senators on May 12 and asking them to ban U.S. use and export of the deadly weapons. Senator Dole is 202-224-6342. Senator Burr is 202-224-3154.

*05/15/08 National call in day to the US Senate and US House of Representatives on Iran and Iranian policy in the US. This is organized by the Campaign for the New American Policy on Iran, in an effort to promote real diplomacy. Call Shuler, Dole and Burr. (Yes, this is a lot of calling!) Rep. Shuler at 252-1651, Senator Dole at 202-224-6342 and Senator Burr at 202-224-3154.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EVENTS THIS WEEK IN ASHEVILLE

05/12/08 to 05/16/08 STRIVE NOT TO DRIVE WEEK

05/13/08 WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility will meet at Unitarian Universalist Church – Asheville in classroom 4. Contact Lew at patrie.wncpsr@main.nc.us for more information.

05/14/08 Veterans for Peace will hold a meeting at 6:30 at Atlanta Bread Company on Merrimon Avenue.

05/15/08 Winter Soldier on the Hill – at the US House of Representatives. Information above.

05/15/08 The play “The White Rose” starts today at North Carolina Stage Company. The White Rose by Lillian Groag at North Carolina Stage Company from May 15-25, Thurs–Sat at 7:30 (2:00 Matinee on Sunday the 25th). Admission $15, Student Rush Tickets $10. Call 828-350-9090 for more information.

05/16/08 Unitarian Universalist Congregation will show “I Know I Am Not Alone” at 7 PM. Discussion will follow. Free, donations accepted.

05/16/08 The WNC Student Peace Alliance will hold a film showing and silent auction fundraiser at the WC Reid Center for Creative Arts from 6 to 9 PM. This event is to raise funds to continue grassroots campaigning for a US Department of Peace and to raise funds to attend the Department of Peace’s 2009 national conference. The film will be “I know I am not alone” by Michael Franti. Suggested donation is $5. Call Daniel Pinelli at (828)-505-0973 for more information.

05/17/08 Service Day to support veterans at the new Veterans Residence & Inn from 3 to 7 PM. It is located on Tunnel Road, a mile from the VA Hospital and next to Zaxby’s Chicken. Contact Connie at newlease7@yahoo.com for more information and to RSVP.

05/17/08 Dinner & music night at the new Veteran’s Quarters & Inn at 1329 Tunnel Road from 5 to 7 PM. They are looking for volunteers and food donations. Call Connie to coordinate food or for more questions at 828-384-1501.

05/18/08 Ethical Culture Society will meet at 2 PM at the Botanical Gardens at UNCA.

05/18/08 Colonel Ann Wright will have a “Meet and Greet” at Malaprop’s Bookstore from Noon to 2 PM.

05/18/08 Colonel Ann Wright will read from her book “Voices of Dissent” at Firestorm Café & Books from 4 to 6 PM. This will be followed by a discussion. Free and open to the public. This is sponsored by Veterans for Peace.

Hope to see you all out at the events!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cheoah River has water



Photo of one tricky rapid in the Cheoah River below. Water coming out of dam above.

Yesterday, I drove up to the Cheoah River, to see the river with water in it. Actually, they started releasing water into the Cheoah in 2005, but this was the first time I got to see it. I have been meaning to do this for years.

I first saw the Cheoah river about 15 or so years ago. It is way up in the mountains of western NC, close to TN and the town of Robbinsville. The road up there is very curvy, which makes it popular for motorcyclists. There are three dams up that way - Fontana, Cheoah, and Santeelah. The last two looked full, however Fontana Lake still looked low, and I was told there has not been the regular winter draw down of the lake since 2005. I was also told that the level is higher this year than it was in May 2007. The water for the Cheoah river is released via the Santeelah dam. I don't quite follow that, but that is how it is.

When I saw this river many years ago, it was dry. I remember thinking that it would have some great whitewater potential, and it does. However, I stopped boating four years ago, so running it now would be out of the question. Most of the river looked like Ocoee-stuff to me, but the rapid pictured above would be nasty for someone without the skills to run it. I was told the rafts run it on far river right, which is not seen too well in the photo.

The other photo is water coming out of the Santeelah Dam. It was the generation before me that build all these dams way up in the mountains to generate electricity. These dams certainly destroyed a lot of the area when built, but provided electricity and (some would say) "entertainment" opportunities. I do not consider anything with a motor to be entertaining, so the motor boats, jet skis, and houseboats do not strike me as very entertaining. It was people in my generation who got water released into the river for whitewater rafting and kayaking, and it is the next generation (mostly) who are enjoying that.

However, the number of people up there seemed low. Same for the Nantahala River and the area around NOC..... just not many people for a nice spring day. And dinner at River's End cost me $14 with the tip - which is about twice what it was seven or so years ago. I think the numbers are down because of the cost of gas and the sinking economy. Just my guess, though.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Roses for Rusul

This is a video put together by No More Victims, to help raise funds for Rusul. Rusul is coming to South Carolina (likely in June) to have surgery and get a prosthetic leg so she can walk again. Those of us working to bring Rusul here are very much looking forward to meeting her. The name Rusul, by the way, means "messenger".


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Any interest in impeachment?

I got the email below recently:

Dear Friends,
At the beginning of April, I submitted a guest commentary to the Asheville Citizen-Times on the need for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I waited patiently for them to print it. Each week, I would gently inquire when or if they would print it.
Over the last ten years they have printed, to the best of my recollection, all the commentaries I have submitted. Some have been highly critical of the Bush administration; some have been about peace in general; and some have been about climate change and energy use.
Friday, I finally received this response:
There doesn't seem to be any interest, Kim. Sorry.
Is that true?
Are people not interested in integrity in our national government?
Are citizens not interested in defending the Constitution?
Are folks not interested in seeing justice served?
Heath Shuler refuses to respond to this issue. NGOs that deal with public policy have also been unwilling to deal with it.Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.What's at stake: Without impeachment, the precedent of the "unitary executive" will become established. Imagine President McCain (or Clinton or Obama) acting with total disregard for Congress. Do you think we can demonstrate that there is interest in impeachment?
PLEASE TAKE ACTION:
1. Send a letter to the editor of the Citizen-Times. (Need some ammo? See http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Impeachment_campaign.vp.html.) Keep it simple if you like, even one sentence. It doesn't matter if they print it; it will tell them that someone is interested in impeachment. (Even if you're against impeachment, send a message. Maybe we can have a debate in the newspaper.)
Go to http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage and, at the upper left of the screen, click on "Submit Letter to the Editor."
2. Ask your e-mail connections and other listservs to do the same (forward this message if you like.)
3. Send letters to other publications.
Meanwhile, I intend to send my unpublished commentary to every publication I can think of. If you'd like to read it, let me know I'll send it to you.
For peace, justice, and eco-solidarity,
Kim

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AND HERE IS THE OP-ED PIECE (reprinted with permission):

Impeachment Is Not an “Option”

The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

--The United States Constitution

Human conduct is guided by mutually-accepted rules. Some are implicit and unwritten such as the cultural mores and customs that guide our social interactions. Others are formal and codified such as the bylaws of the garden club or the articles of incorporation for a business.

Without rules to guide human interactions, some activities would end in chaos (imagine a baseball game in which players disregard the Official Baseball Rules) or possible bodily harm and property damage (when a driver ignores the Rules of the Road).

Civilized society would degenerate into anarchy without rules of law. Nations are guided by their constitutions; conduct among nations is regulated by treaties and other international agreements. The U.S. Constitution has guided America for two centuries and become a model document for other emerging democracies; and our country is party to many international agreements including the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

When people abide by the rules, we have order; and to have order, all people must abide by the rules. No one, even at the highest levels of government, is above the rule of law. Yet high officials do occasionally challenge the rules. Richard Nixon gained notoriety for acting on his belief that the law did not apply to him. He once said, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Nonetheless, he was forced to resign his office under the pressure of impending impeachment on charges of obstructing justice.

With a similar sense of exclusive privilege, President Bush attaches “signing statements” to new laws enacted by Congress, claiming they do not apply to him. But beyond this contempt for the process of our nation’s government, Bush and Cheney have flagrantly and frequently violated long-established rules: the Constitution and historic international treaties.

Enough evidence has been presented (even in the mainstream media for goodness sake!) to support a very strong case that both President Bush and Vice President Cheney have broken laws with reckless abandon. Warrantless wiretapping violates our Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches. Torture violates the Geneva Conventions. Divulging the identity of a covert U.S. agent is treason. Lying to Congress and the American people to promote an illegal (in violation of the United Nations Charter) invasion and occupation of Iraq has resulted in hundreds of thousands of lost lives and hundreds of billions of dollars of debt to pass along to our children. And this is just the beginning of a long list!

Impeachment is the Constitutional mechanism for holding federal officials accountable for their actions. It is the first step of a process that could lead to trial in the Senate and removal from office. Impeachment is not an option, it is a duty—note that the opening quotation says, “shall be removed,” not “might be removed,” nor “possibly could be removed,” nor “removed if the political climate is right.”

When rule breakers are not held to account, breaking the rules becomes acceptable. The great danger of failing to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their misdeeds is that this administration’s actions would become precedent for all subsequent administrations. The mere thought that Bush-Cheney’s (mis)conduct could become the standard scares me more than any terrorist threat.

A number of House members are calling for impeachment; a bill has been introduced but it needs more support. To date, our member of Congress, Heath Shuler (who campaigned two years ago on accountability in government), has failed to respond when asked if he will hold Bush and Cheney accountable. Perhaps if more of his constituents would ask him to honor his campaign promise and his oath of office to defend the Constitution, he would take a favorable stance and help move the process forward.

You say, “Relax. They’ll be gone in January.” I say, “Wake up! Bring these serial abusers of our Constitution to justice! If someone abused your child, would you just relax and wait for them to go away? I think not!”

You say, “The Senate won’t convict.” I say, “Let them hear the evidence and feel the public pressure.”

You say, “It would be a distraction.” I say, “From what? What’s more important Congressional business than restoring the integrity of our government?”

For diehard supporters of the administration, look at it this way. Bush and Cheney have been maligned by the press, the pundits, and the public—poor George even gets booed at the national pastime! Let them clear their names. Let’s give them due process and a fair trial. (That’s more than they would do for us.)

Kim Carlyle is a member of Veterans for Peace. See more information on impeachment charges at http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Impeachment_campaign.vp.html and http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/.

(Photo is of me standing on a local bridge over I-240.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update on Iraq

This - what the US is doing - is just so very evil. Yesterday was election day, and I worked at Precinct 10. It was fun hanging with the Obama supporters, but I wonder if Obama will do anything about this situation. I know my Rep. (Shuler) will not. He will let this evil continue. I wonder if the Democratic candidate for US Senate (Hagen) will do anything. I think I will try to talk with her some day soon.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Day in Iraq


Photos: Members of the Iraqi Communist Party stage a rally on Labour Day, in Baghdad, Iraq, 01 May 2008. The 01 May, or May Day, is generally celebrated as a day to celebrate workers around the world. EPA/ALI ABBAS

This is just one of many photos that I have seen over the years of peaceful demonstrations in Iraq. This is relatively small, likely because the Iraqi Communist Party is small. But I have to say one thing - if I were an Iraqi, I think I would join this group. And there is only one reason for why I feel that way - they have the best parties. Seriously.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Today marks 38 years since Four Dead In Ohio.


Not much going on in the peace and social justice movement this week, probably because elections are going on - please vote and support the candidate/s you think will improve our world and our community.

05/05/08 Mountain Green Lunch & Learn Series Perspectives On Sustainable Development at WWC Gladfelter, Canon Lounge. Time is 11:30 to 1 PM, cost is $5.50 cash for the lunch from the Cafeteria. PLEASE RSVP - 828.771.3781 Cost: $5.50 cash - payable to the Cafeteria upon arrival. Topic is Sustainable Development: Perspectives from a Land Planning Company

05/06/08 NC Primary – please vote!

05/06/08 Asheville LETS New Member Orientation at 6 PM– learn about the Asheville Local Exchange Trading System and sign up for an account. This is at the Fireside Café & Books at 48 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville, across from the post office. For more information see www.ashevilleLETS.org Also check with Firestorm Cafe & Books to confirm events: http://firestormcafe.com/

05/06/08 Transition Town Asheville presentation at 7 PM – Naturalist Frank Cook will introduce the Transition Town movement and elaborate on the application of permaculture to climate-friendly city planning. This is at the Fireside Café & Books at 48 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville, across from the post office.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Oh, the evil that we do....


Photo: Ridh Hadi carries the body of his two-year-old nephew, Ali Hussein, from a morgue in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. The child died on Tuesday after U.S. forces struck back at militia fighters with 200-pound (90-kilogram) guided rockets that devastated at least three buildings in the densely packed district that serves as the Baghdad base for the powerful Mahdi Army militia. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)

While the US military is still occupying and destroying Iraq, and still killing little Iraqi children …. The US politicians back home are dreaming up new evil. They want Iraqis to pay for their own destruction!

War criminals and liars: House Democrats work on huge Iraq money bill


House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president's term.

Here are some more headlines from this week alone:

Hospital in Baghdad militia bastion damaged in US air strike

Sadr City bloodshed kills 925 Iraqis

37 killed as US troops battle militants in Baghdad

Several believed dead in US air raids in Baghdad

Iraq mass graves yield 100 bodies [These bodies are from bush times, not saddam times.]

Meanwhile, the American people are so uninformed and misinformed, they actually think that Sadr and his militia is funded and armed by Iran. Actually, it is the Iraqi army that is funded and trained by Iran – Hakim spend many years in Iran and his Badr Brigade was trained originally in Iran.

There is no major group in Iraq without blood on his hands – and while the Mahdi army may be religious fundamentalists, they are also nationalists who want the US occupation military out of there, and want their government free of US and Iranian influences.

Friday, May 02, 2008

These folks are my heroes!


Photo:

West Coast Dockworkers Hold Day-Long Work Stoppage To Protest Iraq War

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 01: Dockworkers with the International Longshoremen and Warehouseman's Union and anti-war protestors march along the Embarcadero during an anti-war protest May 1, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Dockworkers along the west coast of the United States staged a work stoppage today in protest of the Iraq war. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Well, these folks are my heroes! I would have joined them, except I don’t think anyone I work with in North Carolina would have realized what I was doing – and it would not have any impact anyway! But maybe one day, all Americans will join together and stop working entirely until this hideous war is stopped and the criminals who started it are arrested and thrown in prison.

Well, one can dream.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Help for Iraqis

Photo: Nine-year-old Salee Allawe with Marcie McGrath, “The Balloon Fairy,” at the First Congregational United Church in Asheville in September. An Iraqi child wounded by a U.S. bomb, Allawe was brought to this country for treatment by the group No More Victims, which is now trying to bring Allawe’s cousin over for medical care. (John Fletcher, Asheville Citizen Times)


I saw a video lately of an Iraqi man whose daughter got life-saving surgery in Nashville, and it was clear he did develop a bond with the US soldier who got that arranged - and prompted the Iraqi man to forgive a prior prison term under the American occupation. So, I think it healed some wounds, there - but, there are serious issues around having our military fulfill such a function.

I am such a bleeding heart for kids that I think they should all be helped, and I think it is good for the US soldiers to get medical care arranged for an Iraqi child or adult, but there are many serious issues around our military acting like the Peace Corps or a Developmental Agency. Actually, our military is often taking on the functions of the state department in Iraq. They have figured out that Iraqis need jobs and incomes, and have started providing that.... which is what the State Dept should have done from the start..... but the State Department was too incompetent to do it (or bush/cheney didn't want them too).

But there are a lot of problems with mixing humanitarian with military functions. For starters, it is less safe for the civilians and our military. Our military should function only to kill our enemies after they have attacked us. (I am a pacifist, so I don't agree with this, but that is what the military is for.) Of course, Iraq and Afghanistan and the dozen or so other places we are bombing NEVER were our enemies and never attacked us either. We created our own enemies there! And that was very, very stupid.

There was a church in NY that was collecting toys and school supplies for Mosul kids, again given out through the military (bad idea – should be through a humanitarian organization).... but what really upset me was some lady saying that maybe giving these kids some toys and stuff would make them realize that Americans are good and giving people!!!!! Well, after watching US soldiers shoot up your parents or siblings, no damn toy is going to change your mind!! It is beyond reason to think that this will work. Sometimes I think I could start a new blog – and call it MY STUPID COUNTRY.

I know that many folks in Iraq who have worked with Americans in any capacity are targeted, and I feel we should help them get out of Iraq as best we can. I passed a resolution about helping the Iraqi refugees at our Democratic precinct meeting this month – I expect it will pass at the state level also. Here is a copy of the resolution:

RESOLUTION TO ASSIST DISPLACED IRAQIS

Whereas the estimates of Iraqi refugees, both internal and external to Iraq, are well over 4.5 million and representing at least 14% of the total population; and whereas a large number of these refugees left their homes with nothing more than a suitcase, and whereas the majority of them are in dire poverty; and whereas they are lacking in clean water, food, health care, electricity, job opportunities and security; and

Whereas this situation came to be as a direct consequence of the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq; and whereas not addressing this situation would be a moral failure on our part. Whereas our lack of assistance will likely result in more instability and violence in the Middle East in that the role of “protector and provider” may be provided by sectarian actors in the pattern of Hamas or Hezbollah (as per Rep. Waters); whereas a failure to address this crisis could spell disaster for the entire region; and

Whereas the country of Sweden has resettled more than ten times more Iraqis than the country of the United States of America in the last fiscal year; and

Whereas the non-partisan Congressional Research Service said that “The impact of this level of displacement cannot be underestimated in terms of it’s impact on regional stability and the potential for humanitarian suffering.”, and whereas there currently is no coordinated plan or strategy to meet this crisis, therefore;

Therefore, be it resolved that the United States of America will meet the pre-established goals to resettle displaced Iraqis here in the United States;

Therefore, be it also resolved that the NC Democratic Party will ask all Democrats in North Carolina who are elected to the US House of Representatives to co-sponsor HR 5488 which is the “Recovery and Stability in Iraq Act of 2008” to assist in meeting our goals and basic requirements of humanity in regards to the Iraqi refugee crisis. This bill will provide for an Iraqi Displacement Coordinator who will report directly to the President and will identify programs that address the humanitarian needs of the displaced Iraqis and develop strategies to address those needs.

++++++++++

And, I and some other local women are working to help an Iraqi child get the medical care she needs here in the USA. There is a local newspaper article about this:

Help for the victims: WNC women seek to aid Iraqi children

In September, Anne Craig went from despair to hope when she met Salee Allawe, a 9-year-old Iraqi girl who lost both legs in a U.S. bomb attack near her home.

“I knew I could do something about the devastation that’s been caused in Iraq,” Craig said. “I decided then to start a chapter of No More Victims here in Asheville.”

No More Victims is a national relief organization that works to get medical sponsorship for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. It is the subject of the monthly movie night at the Unitarian/Universalist Church on Friday.

We are arranging other events for fund raisers, but if you wish to donate go to No More Victims website and put “Rusul” in the memo line. Rusul is the sister of Salee, and we are bringing her to South Carolina for medical care soon. Thanks very much!