Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WHAT IF IT WERE US? Rattling the Cage: A taboo question for Israelis

"We have to dare to put ourselves in those people's place. And we have to stop doing to them what we would never allow anyone to do to us. Otherwise, we Israelis (Americans, Germans or to whomsoever this concerns) have no conscience, and little by little we become capable of anything."


Dec. 30, 2009

Larry Derfner , THE JERUSALEM POST
There's a question we Israelis won't ask ourselves about the Palestinians, especially not about Gaza. The question is taboo. Not only won't anyone ask it out loud, but very, very few people will dare ask it in the privacy of their own minds.

However, I think it's time we start asking it, privately and in public. If we don't, I think there's going to be Operation Cast Lead II, then Operation Cast Lead III, and each one is going to be worse than the last, and the consequences for Palestinians and Israelis are going to be unimaginable.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: If anybody treated us like we're treating the people in Gaza, what would we do?

We don't want to go there, do we? And because we don't, we make it our business not to see, hear or think about how, indeed, we are treating the people in Gaza.

All these shocked dignitaries, all these reports, these details, these numbers - thousands of destroyed this and tens of thousands of destroyed that. Rubble, sewage, malnutrition, crying babies, humanitarian crises - who can keep up? Who cares? They did it to themselves. Where to for lunch?

IT'S NOT that we can't imagine life in Gaza. It's that we are determined not to try to imagine. If we did, we might not stop there. Next we might try to imagine what it would be like if our country were in the condition in which we left Gaza. And sooner or later we might try to imagine what we would do if we were living over here like they're living over there.

Or not even what we would do, just what we would think - about the people, about the country, that did that to us and that wouldn't even allow us to begin to recover after the war was over. That blockaded our borders and allowed in only enough supplies to keep us at subsistence level, to prevent starvation and mass epidemics.

What would we think, what would we do, if somebody, some country, did that to us?

A lot of people here, I'm sure, would reply angrily: So why won't the Gazans try making peace?

But is that how we would react? Is that what Israelis would do if a foreign army did to this country what the IDF did to that one a year ago? If another country sent F-16s, Apache helicopters, white phosphorous, drones, tanks and battalions into Israel, if any nation bombed and killed over here like we bombed and killed in Gaza, then rubbed our noses in it afterward, would we want to make peace with them?

Forget we; does anyone know a single Israeli who would?

I'M SURE a lot of people would argue: What about Sderot? Didn't the terrorists in Gaza bomb and kill in Sderot? Let's the turn the question around: What would the Gazans have done if another country did to them what they did to the people in Sderot?

Fair enough. Yes, they would have hit back, too. They're not pacifists, either, to say the least. In fact, their elected leaders are fanatical, murderous Jew-haters sworn to Israel's destruction. That's extremely important to remember, and we do. But what we don't want to remember, what we make 100 percent sure to forget, is that we do all sorts of hateful things to Gaza that they don't do to us, and that this is the way it's been since 1967.

Aside from choking the flow of goods to Gaza by land, we blockade their entire coast. We don't allow ships to sail into Gaza or out. Does anyone stop ships from coming and going at the ports of Eilat, Ashdod or Haifa? What would Israel do if anyone tried? (Think of what Israel did two weeks after Egypt blockaded the port of Eilat in May 1967.)

We also blockade Gaza's airspace, preventing planes from flying in or out. Does anybody stop planes from flying in and out of Israel? Would we stand for it if someone did?

For 37 years, between 1967 and 2005, our soldiers and settlers were the overlords of the Gaza Strip. If foreign soldiers and settlers tried to come in and take over Israel, what would we do?

And regarding the years of rocket attacks on the people in Sderot, I've never been through such an ordeal, but I imagine it's hell. However, I've also never been through the ordeal that people in Gaza have gone through, and are still going through, yet I know - as everyone in the world knows, except Israelis - that life in Gaza is incomparably worse than life in Sderot ever was.

DURING THE 2008 US presidential campaign, Barack Obama visited Sderot, saying, "If missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that."

Absolutely right. I wonder, though, what sort of empathetic reaction he might have had if he'd also visited the Jabalya refugee camp that summer. I wonder how he'd react if he visited Jabalya now.

And how would we react? If we Israelis could go to Gaza and see in person what we've done to that place and its people, would we be capable of empathy? If we thought of our children living in a country that was just like postwar Gaza, would we allow ourselves to think what we might do?

We can't go to Gaza, but we have to start using our imagination. We have to dare to put ourselves in those people's place. And we have to stop doing to them what we would never allow anyone to do to us. Otherwise, we Israelis have no conscience, and little by little we become capable of anything.

find URL here

Copyright 1995- 2009 The Jerusalem Post - here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

US Media Can Be Deeply-Aware and Entertaining!


Smart Teen loving her book Credit to photo: npr dot org

SEE one of a variety of stories below...this one is from: "Three Books for the Smartest Teens You Know" and includes this description of - Rumors of Peace - "What no one who markets or sells them likes to dwell on is that young adult novels are a steppingstone, not a stopping place. Smart, curious teens turn to books to discover the adults they will become, not to see the kids they already are." See 4th Audio below...

photo from npr dot org
EXCLUSIVE First Listen (Music) a most unusual innocent yet savvy folk singer, songwriter & instrumentalist about whom one reporter said, listening to her live it's hard to pay attention to not be entranced just watching her. Hear the whole wondrous Album: "I see your tracks" here Laura Veirs official website here

My habit of listening to BBC all during the night in between napping and then National Public Radio in the early morning was finally severed months ago in the need to focus on my own writing and studies...However, this my am I was pleasantly surprised to hear the variety and quality presented on NPR. In going to the home page, I found even more such reports... So I wanted to share these items with you...
Connie

Today, I want readers here to see how media can be both American and also refreshingly encompassing of more than the usual sort of same ol' same ol'...
Below find as well something on Law, the Baboon and holiness, a Detective Novelist on the craft and much more...Connie the dinner npr dot org photo
See story on the young Queen Victoria below...

AUDIO/Video/Text:

"Holy Be Thy Name?" © Momatiuk — Eastcott/Corbis See 2nd AUDIO

Elena Kagan SOLICITOR GENERAL who "Holds Views Close To Her Chest" Go 3rd AUDIO down for this story...

These are mostly very short AUDIOS - most items aired on NPR.org today.

Sometimes, I'm afraid all other countries know about our media is either the most dishonest and war-mongering writers or our most necessarily self-exposing side revealing the most corrupt and vile aspects of our imperial designs.

So, if at all possible, don't miss out on US National Public Radio's programs today which are so much more compelling and aware than most US media often is - yes, some items bring up the tremendously worrisome aspects of the SURGE and with a little more questioning than usual for a mainstream source albeit often leaning toward aware on NPR dot org

(I'm mixing up the order a bit to please myself - with a few more comments in parenthesis below)

MUST HEAR: When asked how she came to write mysteries, P. D. James has a ready answer. As a child she wondered about Humpty Dumpty: 'Did he fall or was he pushed?' Hear: P.D. James, Talking And Writing 'Detective Fiction' (why not Urdu readers here re-read and compare James to the Imran Series - the first book in English translation coming out soon! (See more information below about this incomparable series***) P. D. James AUDIO - GO here More Items about PD James here

HOLY BABOON! And An Amazing 'Mystical' Moment In Africa (A wonderful reflective AUDIO)here

SOLICITOR GENERAL Holds Views Close To Her Chest By Nina Totenberg (one of my favorite reporters - do you like her unique journalism too and the details she notices? Keep reading her.) Excerpt: Kagan - "As she tells the story: "I looked out at them and said, 'You are not my people,' and everyone laughed, and then I said, 'But I love the Federalist Society,' and I think that is when I got a standing ovation. People, it turns out, loved to be told that they are loved."...Or, as one Kagan fan at Harvard puts it ruefully, "Elena is a master pool shark, and we are all the balls she is shooting in the pockets." Those who know and have worked with Elena Kagan say her core beliefs elude them." (Also report on her first case, her appreciation for Thurgood Marshall and definition of a Solicitor General: here

THREE BOOKS for SMART TEENS (Text) (most popular item on list - first aired December 21st) "The publishing world likes to say that young adult literature is in a golden age, full of great writing, and most important, growing sales in an otherwise dismal market.But the genre is not without flaws: Many young adult novels don't set the bar very high in their language, character complexity or emotional nuance, which is why I — a young adult author — like to encourage young readers to venture into the adult shelf. Here are three non-young adult novels featuring young protagonists that anyone — young or old — will read with both joy and fervor." Excerpt from this review.

Excerpt from one of the books described: "Fergus finds his way to a ship sailing for Canada. Since this isn't a young adult novel, there's no sappy ending that eases our hero's hardship, only clean, elegant sentences and page after page of heart-stopping adventure. Fergus finds his way to a ship sailing for Canada. Since this isn't a young adult novel, there's no sappy ending that eases our hero's hardship, only clean, elegant sentences and page after page of heart-stopping adventure." from the description of "The Law of Dreams"

Also see comparisons made to scenarios in -Rumors of Peace- and similar scenes in WW II Go here

The Young Victoria -movies and an amazing actress- here Emily Blunt, Discovering A Vital 'Young Victoria' photo credits to Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

credit for photo to npr.org
If "time flies" you have more fun! GO here

Obama to-do list for 2010 GO here

FINALLY some current news and opinion on the US occupation in Afghanistan
Emilio Morenatti/AP
Afghan army recruits march as part of their daily training.

For U.S., Vast Challenge To Expand Afghan Forces - President Obama's strategy for Afghanistan includes an ambitious plan to churn out thousands of new army and police officers to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida. But the rapid buildup could create many more problems than it solves. here Links to VIDEO with striking photo...

About Radiolab: Radiolab explores the blurring boundaries between science, philosophy and human experience. Curiosity is king as Radiolab investigates the world and shakes up the way you think. Produced by WNYC, Radiolab podcasts come out every other week, and each year 10 new hour-long episodes air on NPR stations around the country.

Plenty More On Morning Edition - Playlist and more news -- GO here Such As:
* Economic Growth Weaker Than Previously Estimated
* Rural Shipping Company Finds Itself Going 'Backward'
* Moving Gitmo to Illinois
* Prisons: ...small towns rarely see long-term economic gains
* Health Care Bill still in Senate
* Dems on overhaul

And be sure to see all the BOOKS, MUSIC Albums and more for the past year...

==========================
More about the incomparable author, Ibne Safi and his Imran Series
here and also here The characters are evidently so vivid to those who grew up reading them that according to one friend - who's family all read the series, his Nana was so "in love" with Ali Imran that if Ali had come to her door wooing her, the friend is sure "she would have divorced Papa to marry Ali!" FIRST authentic Safi novel to be published in ENGLISH soon if not this week. I hope to post a little more on this series and the new English translation soon, Insha Allah!

IN closing, it's not just in the most horrific yet true stories of war we learn about one another. I have oft by my own near-despair over the state of the world and the US political and military leadership to feel there's nothing left to say to the world at large except how ashamed I am to be an American and for our most negative part in the world, to expose the same and do all I can for peace. Yet at the same time, some of the above genres and stories also demonstrate our universal community of such similar interests, concerns and loves. May your holiday, whether it be Chanukah, Christmas, New Year - one of several varieties with Eid, Ephiphany, Winter Solstice or any other special observance - be softened and reflective Connie

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nonviolence according to Wally Nelson

Wally with his Life Partner Juanita

Wally upon release from Prison

Photos of Wally and Juanita Nelson from Memorial Hall dot mass and from War Resisters dot org

“Nonviolence is the constant awareness of the dignity & humanity of oneself & others. It seeks truth & justice. It renounces violence both in method & in attitude. It is a courageous acceptance of active love & goodwill as the instrument with which to overcome evil & transform both oneself & others. It is the willingness to undergo suffering, rather than inflict it. It excludes retaliation & flight.” -Wally Nelson

More about Wally at War Resisters dot org here
And at Memorial Hall dot mass dot edu (oral history) here

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pakistan nuns' center shows way to a better life

Wazira Mariam (extreme right) teaching girls sewing skills (She is mentioned in this article.)

A sewing center run by Daughters of the Cross nuns has for the past 20 years been helping illiterate slum dwellers gain the skills to support their families. "We started crochet classes in the compound of a local Christian's house," said Wazira Mariam, the oldest teacher of St. Anne's Gharelu center, now located in Lahore's St. Francis parish.

LAHORE, Pakistan -- A sewing center run by Daughters of the Cross nuns has for the past 20 years been helping illiterate slum dwellers gain the skills to support their families.

"We started crochet classes in the compound of a local Christian's house," said Wazira Mariam, the oldest teacher of St. Anne's Gharelu (household) center, now located in Lahore's St. Francis parish. "There was no roof" and classes were conducted that way for three years, she recalled.

Most of the men in the slums are unemployed and the women work as house maids.

"We are trying to help the children from broken families and those who don't go to schools. The skills can help them earn a respectable living," said Sister Shamim Tariq, supervisor of the center.

Mariam says in the early days the nuns went door-to-door to persuade women of the value of learning sewing skills.

"We visited houses and urged both house maids and their children, wandering in the streets, to learn sewing. We showed them it was a way to an extra source of income and a respectable living," she said.

German Sister Anna Xaveria started the center in 1989. "She first conducted a survey of the area and taught poor Christians about hygiene and the importance of education or learning a skill" Mariam said. "Everybody used to call her baji (elder sister)."

Sister Xaveria died in Lahore in 2005 at the age of 71.

Now 40 students, including six Muslims, attend the sewing classes in the double-story building. The one-year course also teaches skills such as painting, knitting and recycling. Students pay 100 rupees (US$1.19) a month.

The staff of two nuns and two laywomen teach the teenage girls how to produce sweaters, caps, cushion covers, flower pots and priests' stoles.

Naseem Bibi, one of the center's past students, now runs her own sewing center and a beauty parlor. "Customers see our sewing machines and they make their orders," she said, adding that she is able to make a comfortable living, thanks to the skills she learnt at the center.

The center, however, is struggling financially.

"We don't have enough wool for teaching purposes," Sister Tariq says. She said the center's monthly income of 2,000 rupees from fees only goes to pay electricity bills and wages.

The center's 20th anniversary celebrations also had to be canceled because of security concerns in violence-plagued Pakistan.

Copyright © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company
115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111
(TEL 1-816-531-0538 FAX 1-816-968-2268)

Source URL: here

Links:
[1] here
[2] here

Friday, December 18, 2009

The U.S. TELLS China and others to follow US! (US on Climate; Surge)


Two radio reports caught my ear during my early morning and offer vivid examples for the "truth on the ground" and how it's so different from our American Rhetoric. In my small opinion CHANGES involving truth telling and humility need to happen SOON if the US is to be on an upward path. These missing elements come up time and time again even since the recent change in presidents.

First, where is our remembrance of the wisdom we've inherited such as “Oh, that God the gift would give us to see ourselves as others see us.” from the English poet Robert Burns.

Then, how often are we taking a really good look at the non-military aspects of our security here and elsewhere? Do we care into what manner and depth of we put our troops, our contractors and all those who still dare to cooperate with us by our ignorance of other cultures, other histories and the reputation our torture and other war crimes that go with Americans now wherever we go? And speaking of these war crimes, where are the US Acts and recommitments to the world that these will not continue to be repeated through another surge? These have not ended yet, despite the current administrations clear promises.

Additionally, we are not famouse these days for being truth-telling and it's our layers and layers of hypocrisy which are helping extremists to recruit angry disenfranchised people. So do we need more bombs, drones and young willing to kill for us or might a little humility and truth give us a better chance to begin to "get the job done" (Obama's words in requesting the surge)?

THE US NEEDS TO:

1) END ARROGANCE (Isn't it time we STOP TELLING other nations what to do given how little we've often done compared to the good we claim we will do? How much longer?)

2) BE MORE TRANSPARENT (For example in requests for the proposed surge: what about the ACTUAL figures of war/occupation costs and likely costs/years using historians as advisors?)

Although of course we keep hoping and praying in America that the horrific indelible scourge of the Bush administrations is less palpable in the US and abroad. Yet, isn't one thing for sure - that it's way too early for the US to be TELLING others HOW to follow us of ALL nations. Time is of the essence to start "BEING the CHANGE we want to see in the world"!

These TWo reports speak of these heavy "MOTES" in our US eyes.

Hear and read these short NPR.org reports below...

ONE:
The president TELLS the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen that America is setting an example of bold action and other nations must follow or see the world suffer catastrophic effects.

* Two-Way Blog: Watch The President's Speech

Stalemate Blocks Climate Deal
here

TWO:
Listen carefully to the short yet comprehensive even-toned reporting for the implications below the surface. For example about the most inflammatory adjective used is the term "rogue" for contractors' behaviors - this has been reprenting the US in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The report is one of the best overall descriptions with numbers and implications I've heard for awhile to come from US press. See how the military is being anything BUT transparent with the US public and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Find here some easy to remember figures to give to your non-believing contacts.

Ratio Of Contractors To Troops At War? 1 To 1 - that's ONE to ONE folk! Already there and MANY MORE coming!

The use of contractors frees up troops and saves money — but it also has drawbacks.
Listen and Read the story and find related items - GO

Morning Edition - The Morning Show
here

Or GO to HOME page here

============

NOTE: there is an updated version on Wednesday, December 14th concerning the FREEZE Palestine/Israel GO here

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rooted in St. Francis of Asissi

This group may not be flashy or large yet they offer plenty of food for thought and action:

News Items: here

Youth led by Youth for Peaceful Change here

On the Oslo Opportunity here

Pace e Bene GO here

The Annual Report: here

For a series of articles related to St. Francis (among others) Go to this new blogsite No More Crusades here

Who Really is Mr. Galbraith? Is he being framed? Is he staking out an Oil Field?

"Mr. Galbraith, a former American ambassador and an influential voice on Iraq, also came under scrutiny recently for his stake in an oil field in the Kurdish region of Iraq."

Find this quote (which raises the hairs on my back) here

There's a lot of debate with plenty of unknowns in the article and the comments. Yet the questions raised surely are important enough to raise the question: Why the surge? and to hope historians worldwide bring their understanding and enlightenment to bear on these claims.

Go to the end of article to find all 65 or more unusually provocative comments.

Here are some more questions along the same line at one of the best independent sources of Op Ed, history and more here

Honorable Ben S. Bernanke: The Vote Pro or Con? Vote this AM

Honorable Ben S. Bernanke: The Vote Pro or Con for his nomination as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is 9:30 AM

NOTE: there are also votes Pro or Con for Mr. Eric L. Hirschhorn, Ms. Marisa Lago and Mr. Steven L. Jacques...see further information below.

Executive Session to Vote on Nominees
Thursday, December 17, 2009
09:30 AM
538 Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 538

The Committee will meet in EXECUTIVE SESSION to VOTE on the nominations of The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke, of New Jersey, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Mr. Eric L. Hirschhorn, of Maryland, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration; Ms. Marisa Lago, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; and Mr. Steven L. Jacques, of Kansas, to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for webcast hearings, should contact the committee clerk at 202-224-7391 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

===============

Politico dot com See News - this is the latest web reported on Bernanke at 6 am December 17 EST)

Delong's Analysis (around 12 hours ago at 6 am December 17 EST) here

Be sure also to see the Bernanke Times Magazine's "Person of the Year" on this oneheart blog in post just below Openings in Rule of Law

Video and information about Hearing available at banking dot senate dot gov

URL for Executive Session to Vote Today, December 17, 2009here

A Few Openings in US Rule of Law

Visit Bill of Rights Defense Committee - Plz Go here

Bernanke named 'Person of the Year' (By Time Magazine)

(SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE TO VOTE THURSDAY on whether he should be given another term!)

Bernanke has been praised and criticised for his handling of the recession [AFP]

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2009.

Wednesday's announcement comes a day before a Senate Banking Committee vote on whether Bernanke should be given another term.

Bernanke, who is 56, will be featured on the cover of the magazine that hits stores on Friday.

Last year's winner was then US President-elect Barack Obama and the 2007 winner was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Time said Bernanke was the reason the US financial crisis was not worse.

The saviour?

"The recession was the story of the year. Without Ben Bernanke ... it would have been a lot worse," Richard Stengel, Time magazine's managing editor, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We've rarely had such a perfect revision of the cliche that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

"Bernanke didn't just learn from history; he wrote it himself and was damned if he was going to repeat it," he said.

The magazine also considered the first woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and Nato's Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McCrystal, for the award.

Other previous title-holders have included U2 frontman Bono, former US President George Bush, and Amazon.com CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos.

Bernanke was sworn in as Federal Reserve chairman in February 2006.

He is a former Princeton University professor and an expert on the Great Depression.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera NOTE from Al Jazeera: "We look at the implications of the world economic crisis" and Counting The Cost: Watch Al Jazeera's weekly business show
Also coming - Fault Lines: The Colour of Recession"

See Announcement at Times Magazine timescanada dot com

SEE Contrast of "Person of the Year" awards:

oneheart blogger NOTE: The same year George W. Bush was on front cover of Times Magazine as the 'Person of the Year' Maher Arar was also on Times' front cover as Canada's 'Person of the Year' Watch soon for a profile on Maher Arar.

Here's from a report January 2005 on that event:

TIME (Canada) - Person of the Year - (a victim of US torture)

See excerpt from Democracy Now! January 2005:

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, in this new year, Time magazine for 2004 named President Bush as “Man of the Year,” but Time magazine Canada named Maher Arar, a name hardly known in this country.

MICHAEL RATNER (Center for Constitutional Rights): Maher Arar is our client at the Center, someone who was transiting Kennedy to go back to his Canadian home, Canadian citizen. They pick him up, interrogate him here for ten days, send him to Syria. He is put in an underground torture chamber, is tortured for a number of weeks. Finally released because the Canadian government or some part of the Canadian government that had not cooperated with the United States in this effort got him out. He's back in Canada. There's a public inquiry started. He was the first guy we surfaced ever in one of these outrageous, extraordinary rendition cases. Tortured very badly. As you and I speak, the numbers are probably in the hundreds of people in C.I.A. holes around the world being tortured right now.

Who is Maher Arar? We all know the basic contours of his story. In 2002, U.S. officials detained the Canadian software engineer at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. They alleged that he was linked to al-Qaeda and secretly deported him to Syria, where he says he was tortured. When Arar was freed more than a year later and the public got a glimpse of him, he seemed to be a likable, hard-working family man caught up in a monstrous international screwup. Was there more? Simultaneously, officials, most of them anonymous, were leaking information and dropping hints suggesting that Arar was a security risk with something to hide.

Well, if Arar is a terrorist, he is unlike any other. In contrast to other suspects dispatched to harsh justice, Arar did not vanish into oblivion in his Middle East cell. Nor, after his release, did he recoil from public view. Instead, Arar, who has a modest home in Ottawa, has stepped into the spotlight as a vocal proponent of human rights in Canada, a symbol of how fear and injustice have permeated life in the West since 9/11. To this day, it has not been revealed why Arar was detained. And no one has pushed harder to shed light on his case than Arar. “I have nothing to hide,” he said in late 2003. “I want a public inquiry.”

=============

Be sure to see the stellar Op Ed coverage NYTimes, Bob Herbert, gave to Arar over the years and more items in the Comments here...

Kerry's Copenhagen Announcement (Let's hold him to this!)

Kerry's Copenhagen Announcement (Let's hold him to this!)

here

Center for Constitutional Rights Opposes proposed GTMO move to Illinois

here

Scroll down to the post with this title and date

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bitter Lemons, KAIROS DOCUMENT, BOYCOTT with Update (Mazim Qumsiyeh trip to Madrid)

The Israeli settlement construction freeze (See Boycott & Kairos Document in both English and Arabic Below the article titles)

To see the following articles - different perspectives on the FREEZE of settlement building - then GO here

. The ball is now with the international community by Ghassan Khatib
With the settlement issue a focus of debate in Israel, international prodding can be extremely helpful.

. Dealing with Mr. Yes and No by Yossi Alpher
Abbas should acknowledge the freeze as the response he needed to enter negotiations and put Netanyahu on the spot.

. The moment of truth by Issa Samander
Move the settlers back to Israel. Let them behave there the way they behave in occupied territory.

. Rupture and its rewards by Yisrael Harel
The settlers cannot accept this situation.

At this website - bitterlemons dot org - you will also find past editions, an extensive documents file, information about us, and hebrew and arabic editions, along with relevant subscription information. (Receive free email alerts in your box)

Just an excerpt FROM A PALESTINIAN VIEW
The ball is now with the international community
by Ghassan Khatib

Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement in late November that his government would implement a settlement freeze was not taken seriously by Palestinians, Arabs or other interested and involved parties.

Palestinians warned that the announcement amounted to no more than a public relations gimmick aimed at reducing growing international criticism of Israel's settlement expansion policies. Palestinian officials made clear that the Israeli "freeze" did not signal any change to Israeli settlement expansion, which is responsible for preventing the resumption of negotiations.

It should be obvious why. The "freeze" excludes occupied East Jerusalem and environs, a total of 22 percent of the West Bank and the focus of most settlement activity anyway. It also excludes some 3,000 housing units already approved and construction projects for public buildings--anything from synagogues to kindergartens. Indeed, Israeli settlement watchers and analysts are on record as saying that this "freeze" will in fact allow Israel to maintain the same level of annual settlement expansion as over the last four years.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government didn't stop there. As Israeli settlers took to the streets and prevented government officials from serving the freeze orders--while stepping up their attacks on Palestinians and their property, including an arson attack on a West Bank mosque--the Israeli government decided that it would try to appease settlers some more. With its new "national priority map", Israel is now offering even greater economic incentives and subsidies to settlers. This clearly underlines that settlements are a priority over peace to this Israeli government. It also explains why population growth in settlements is higher than in Israel.

On the Palestinian side there is a consistent and firm insistence that settlement expansion is incompatible with the peace process. Both President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are clear that constructive negotiations will only take place if there is a complete freeze on settlement construction as well as clear terms of reference for the talks.

It is the position of the international community that can make a difference here. Clear messages need to be sent to Israel...

AGAIN to read the above articles - different perspectives on FREEZE them - GO here
========
KAIROS DOCUMENT (from the Christian Palestinian Inclusive Community - quite beautifully-written and profound about the Oneness of ALL humanity and the Centrality of Love in ending injustice and war)

In English PDF Doc.
here

In Arabic PDF Doc.
here
========
UPDATES - posted/added December 18, 20009 (See Groups to add to your Boycott list below!)

(I just love this personal, deep, spiritual way Mazin writes - bringing so much and so many together AS ONE...despite the deep divisions he and his people have undergone! I am supposing readers on all issues and from all manner of backgrounds will enjoy this personal story of his trip to Spain. Connie)

From Mazin Qumsiyeh:

Trip to Spain on behalf of Palestine:

The Air France jet landed in Madrid and I stepped out quickly through the impressive airport to the luggage area. There was no need for border passport check as the trip from Paris to Madrid is an internal European trip. No more are these national borders of utility and they are only being enforced between nation states like Jordan and Syria and Palestine/Israel (nation states created ironically by Europeans!). I walk through the airport noting the clean marble floors, beautiful arts, lighting that invokes museums, sharply dressed serious people going about from one area to another or shopping in the hundreds of shops in the spacious airport. These images are only intruded upon by thoughts of what to expect in Spain. Past and present melt together: conquistadores, bull fights, Al-Andalusia, Spanish conquests of the America, King Ferdinand, beautiful folkloric dancing, good foods etc… But my interest is always people of the present.

Of course I had met and worked with many Spanish activists before and we received many delegations in Palestine. But somehow being met by two lovely people at the airport in Madrid caries special significance. Manuel (Mano) is a 60+ veteran activist with white beard, a vibrant, easy and outgoing personality (a thoughts of a mix of Santa Claus and Jeff Halper cross my mind).

The other is a young and beautiful girl (Lina) who seemed like so many serious dedicated activists I met in 20 other countries: concerned that a guest is comfortable. We had a cup of coffee while we waited for another speaker. I noticed both new friends speak little English so I go to the bookshop next door to buy a Spanish phrase book.

I end up also noting and buying the book El Principito (the Little Prince). I was given the English version of this book some 30 years ago by a dear friend and have always found it useful in my life. It is a symbolic story that relays to us in childlike fashion the vanity of so many people who are living in the past, or in the future, or who are doing things but not knowing why they are doing them (unfortunately some like Zionists harming others in the process of doing what they do). Perhaps most of all it is a story of the importance of love and friendship and paying attention to little things.

Mano's son (also Manuel) who organized our trip was especially kind. We quickly developed deep friendship with people like Manuel, Mano Lina, Laura, Tina, and dozens of others we met along the way in Spain. I think to myself how lucky I am to have literally now thousands of friends around the world. What strikes me sometimes is the similarity between people in different countries who have similar interests. It is actually remarkable how the activists for human rights are in particular "birds of a feather who flock together" so to speak. Motivated, energetic, outgoing, concerned, not afraid to challenge own assumptions etc. During the two days in Madrid and two days in Barcelona, we met with politicians, journalists, students, professors, waiters, fellow passengers, and people of all walks of life. Again I am struck by our human similarities. A student in Madrid is like a student at Bethlehem University or Yale University. A politician or journalist in Spain also behaves the same as politicians or journalists in Ramallah. Those who care for people are easy to identify and are genuinely interested to know what is really going on and how it impacts people's lives. We explain to all how European governments have been complicit in violations of International law and human rights. We explain the importance of treating apartheid Israel just like apartheid South Africa to effect a restoration of basic justice starting with the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands. We are gratified by the positive response.

When we drove through Barcelona before dawn heading to the airport, I looked up at the stars in the sky and wondered if the sheep has eaten the flowers. !Y ninguna persona grande comprendera jamais que tenga tanta importacia! (And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!)

As I crossed the bridge back into the West Bank after a night in Jordan, I noted the grouchy Israeli occupation soldiers have added a new procedure (denoted by a blue sticker) without any explanation. The lines were a bit longer at bottlenecks where these stickers are checked. The thoughts of El Principito and that I am finally on the blessed homeland of Palestine (yes despite the occupation) gave me a smile…

Now for action: Here are ten products to boycott this holiday season for the sake of peace: Ahava, Delta Galil Industries, Motorola, L'Oreal, Dorot Garlic and Herbs (Trader Joe's), Estee Lauder, Intel, Sabra, Sara Lee, and Victoria's Secret. More info on each at: http://www.baceia.org/2009/11/top-ten-brands-to-boycott/

And if you are in the US and want to buy something for a gift, consider

here

Egyptian government shamefully trying to kill off lifelines to Gaza's 1.5 million besieged people

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA here

(you may still want to join the Gaza Freedom March here )

Guardian: CIA working closely with Palestinian Security services

here

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home here>
AND
here

For THOSE who died LOVING the POWERLESS

photo credit to fotopedia here

A Poem to be Written Collectively...

There has been a terrible accident and so far at least four people, friends of my friends have died. I'm feeling SO deeply for all involved. More on the specifics later. For now, the partial line which keeps coming to me is just the beginning of a poem...

For those who died loving the powerless...

I'm wondering if this poem might best be written COLLECTIVELY with various here who are activists and have a poetic-bent? - or even those with deeply-feeling hearts and souls - those who's own memories of loss are still unresolved or resolved or freshly remembered? Other activists who happen to come by today? Any who have gone through losing sisters, brothers, companions on this journey? Maybe we would write this together in a universal manner without details except the most common and without any nationality or religion or even ideology specified in this one case.

Here's another version of the above line:
Because of those who died loving...

Send your feelings and memories in ANY of the following languages as I now have people I know in each of them willing to translate:

French, German, Urdu, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Teso (Ugandan), and some languages from other African nations...Or even other languages for which together we might find translators?

No need even to send full lines or stanzas...just analogies, feelings, a line remembered from powerful literature or film, a partial line which comes to you with depth and emotion startling memory of your own?

I will try my best to somehow form what I am able to do - with or without the help of other poets - into One Poem or some sort of unified form...

As I was speaking with a lady who sold used books about this recent loss of friend across the world and mentioning the creature which may have been the reason for tragic accident (Perhaps the most detailed report said it was that it was a donkey.

Yet for the sake of universal connections any of us driving along such a road may well have encountered a similarly powerless deer or goat or a sheep?) she said "Well many consider something as powerless as such a creature to be without value and yet, who knows what that animal may have meant to the family to whom it belonged?" And suddenly my tears kept flowing as I imagined that the driver (and possibly the riders) collectively chose not to hit this creature for these reasons...as people whose life together was based on loving the powerless in many forms.


Children protesting the violence which kept their schools closed in Peshawar
found on news service IRIN February 2, 2006


Rural scene from a Day Out (on internet public space)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Everything is SACRED on its own Term

"Sacred River Photos" found at Google

Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib said...(and I believe him!)

There is nothing such as secular or holy per se, everything is sacred on its own term. The body, soul and spirit are all but one, needing each other to create a life. Sun rises and sets, ascending with warmness descending with coolness, turning crimson to gold and then gold to crimson, creating an authority that it possess. Moon from sublimity of crescent evolves to the majesty of fullness, in between concaving and convexing but retaining the magic that it inspires. River waters ebb and flow and so the river runs with the stir and strength that it entails.

These all and all other such analogies within each thing and between each and other is not a dichotomy but a wonder of creation. Man is a body, soul and spirit bind in a triple tie, a distinction that is only possessed by Man. This gives him a characteristic of creating, reflecting and evolving that is his sole prerogative. Animals, devils and Angels lack these attributes, as they are uni-cellular, having a body, a soul or a spirit. The completeness that Man has gives him the extra-ordinary vision that can see, feel and experience the reason of creation-LOVE.

Originally posted at One Heart For Peace as comment under "Secular or Holy Everything Aspires" (This post was Tuesday while the comment was GIFTED on Wednesday, December 09, 2009)

Find the latest and more from this poet, reader, contemplative GO here And while there look around at the other blogs on that cluster of blogs at Republic of Rumi dot blogspot dot com

THANK YOU So for this priceless piece which one day should be a poem!

(By the way, just in case you didn't notice the line in the Title - taken from the reflection below...Doesn't it sound like the very popular song: "Everything is Beautiful in it's own Way"? Any song-writers here? Connie)

BOEING Bounces Back to Court Dec 15

here

But Aren't the CRUSADES Long Gone?

The following post is only a sketch and mostly addressed to those of Christian or Western background or culture. This is not by any means comprehensive nor concise nor even a thoughtful attempt to answer the "starter question". My goal here is merely to open up dialogue and give a few leads. (An historian who simply -humbly? - signs with LMH gets credit for inspiring the following - see source - which offers more sources - at end of the post.)

"Undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of Heaven!" Pope Urban II

Pope Urban II - according to a number of historians - started 200 years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, 1095. Some say the Crusades began with this plea. According to one historian, he called upon those present to save their souls and become "Soldiers of Christ." The historian goes on to say that "Those who undertook the venture were to wear an emblem in the shape of a red cross on their body." And so derived, according to this source, the word "Crusader," from the Latin word cruciare - to mark with a cross. Evidently, the captivated audience began shouting "Deus le volt! -God wills it!" which became the battle-cry for of the crusades for the Pope's followers.

Yet many of us from all backgrounds might say, 'We thought Christianity was supposed to be a religion of peace?'

Yes, killing seems to be called for by God Himself all through the Old Testament and yet the Ten Commandments say emphatically: "Thou shalt not kill."

How could - did - the Pope justify a war?

While St. Basil and the early Church Fathers would unlikely have never accepted war, St. Augustine held that war could be justified in some cases.

European warfare in the age of feudalism included noblemen and knights and others fighting each other over land, possessions, romance, or right of succession. The Church (according to some recorders) may have justified war or killing in an attempt to control warlike behavior by the institution of a "Peace of God" in an attempt to protect the defenseless; the "Truce of God" which banned warfare on Sundays and holydays such as Advent and Lent; and the development of a "Code of Chivalry" for knights - a role which some powers (yet not all) of the Church honored through a Christian ceremony.

Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), following St. Augustine, was thought to begin a concept of "penitential warfare," ie using violent means when such warring was thought to be needed in defense the Church. Thus absolution was to be given to those who died "fighting for the Cross" in the reconquest (reconquista) of Spain.

Yet Pope Urban II was the one who formally established "penitential warfare" in the service and defense of the Church "for the REMISSION of sins", when he called for the First Crusade on November 27, 1095.

Skipping over a lot of history on the Crusades - look out how skewed interpretation of events can lead to more war. Evidently, after a bribe by Bohemond of one of the Turks, the Crusaders scaled walls to invade Antioch - June of 1098. The town became a bloodbath as evidently nearly every Turk was massacred. When Antioch had been taken over quite suddenly the Crusaders were besieged by an invading Turkish army from Mosul. Trapped within these walls, hopelessness and illness soon took over. Then, in the midst of despair, according to some stories, the Crusaders discovered the Holy Lance. (The lance named for piercing the side of Christ - claimed to be discovered in the Church of St. Peter.) Supposedly this is why the Crusaders rallied - considering this a sign. (What if the sword so named the Holy Lance was a instead of God's sign to do more killing - a reminder of Christ (and his Father's) chosen nonviolence and utter powerlessness on the cross and thus a help in ending the killing?)

Interesting reading (and I admit to knowing little at this point) so why don't we read and discuss this history in light of our huge dilemmas today? So you are still asking, what do the Crusades have to do with our time?

Historians report that on July 15, 1099 the Crusaders entered the city of Jerusalem. Maddened after three years of suffering and frustration, the Crusaders massacred every Moslem and Jew within the city.

(Look at our U.S. and Christian vernacular of leaders coming into full play right after 911 with the revenge-filled reasoning for the occupation of Afghanistan and then Iraq? What of the many years of suffering with our occupations - the growing frustrations on ALL sides and our repeating of history with "the surge")

Read Nicolas Davies: "Why Afghans dig Empire Graveyards"! Do we really want a similar legacy?

For those who insist on going to war - even in this age of nuclear weapons increasing and many madmen (with a few mad women?) on the loose - perhaps a mentor for all "sides" perhaps two mentors might be both Saladin or Salah ed-Dinand and St. Francis of Assisi.

Saladin was considered by many Christians and Muslims to be the greatest warrior of the Muslims. Noted for his chivalrous behavior, the Byzantine Orthodox of Jerusalem was recorded to have actually preferred rule by Saladin instead of heavy taxations by the Latin patriarch. Saladin, or Salah ed-Din, also was considered a skilled diplomat. Evidently, the Muslim world then was completely divided into the Shiite and Sunni religious sects, as well as the warring secular nations of the Turks, Syrians, and Egyptians. Saladin was thought to be the one who brought all of them into one unified Islamic force in the twelfth century. He is recorded to have extended the authority of the Sunni Caliph of Baghdad over Egypt, and also allow Shiites to practice their own form of Islamic faith. This was a large contributor, evidently, of the unification of Islam at that time. When the secular regent of Syria died, Saladin and the Saracens (Muslim warriors) were recorded to have captured Damascus in a BLOODLESS coup.

While Saladin, the new Sultan of Syria and Egypt, was uniting the Moslem world, the Crusader states were in a power struggle after the death of the peaceful King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem. Saladin set his sights on the Crusader states. Unopposed, all the Crusader cities except Tyre fell to Saladin's army as he swept through the Holy Land. Attacking Jerusalem on September 21, 1187 - the city was captured the city October 2, 1187. Unlike the Crusaders of 1099, Saladin SPARED THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM FROM BLOODSHED OR INJURY! (Has this EVER been a consideration with actual applied strategy in our US occupations? What should Blackwater in all the myriad manifestations including now the donning of more traditional miltiary garb say to us? What about the Crusade mentality of Blackwater founders? And what should the Drones tell us both metaphorically and in "real time" about dropping hell from the skies and the killing of civilians way beyond the figures so oft given?

Going back to this quick look at the Crusades, there was by comparison to Richard who's hot-temper marred his leadership. Too impatient in a negotiation with the chivalrous Saladin known as Salah ed-Din, Richard had 2700 Muslim prisoners-of-war slaughtered by the Franks. Thus, how then could war have been avoided? What IF these Christian, so-called, Crusaders had applied what they surely should have been taught about Christian non-violence and peace and had been at least as peace-making and chivalrous as Saladin? My understanding is that many voted to Obama simply to avoid the hot temper of McCain in the helm.

When finally the two mighty warriors of the Crusades at last decided to negotiate. they were evidently both tired of war. On September 2, 1192, they signed a peace treaty. The Crusader states would retain control of the coastal strip from Tyre to Jaffa, with their other holdings in Antioch and Tripoli. Jerusalem would stay in Muslim hands, but Christian pilgrims would be allowed free access to the Holy sites of the city. The City of Acre rather than Jerusalem became the center for the Crusader States. The Third Crusade and sublime idealism due to war were both over.

Skipping over the Fourth through Eighth Crusades, here are a few questions(mine and paraphrases from others):

Were the Crusades truly based on any ideals or principles? How could these bloody battles have been avoided? If we give that Pope Urban II had only the motives of recapturing the Holy Land, defending the Byzantine East, and uniting Europe - and stopped there, would that have been truly principled? Did he consider consequences, imperfect if not downright war-like noblemen and knights filled with greed for power, land, riches and easily corrupted by their own natures without spiritual and other disciplines?

Evidently, the first three Crusades were more consistent reported while many conflicting reports exist for the Fourth and following Crusades. Why? Might the historians have allowed their own biases to cause loss of interest? Might the Crusades become an embarrassment by so much that ended in disaster? So how are we not NOW repeating history with one disaster after another?

And the Crusader states lasted only from 1099 to 1291. Jerusalem itself was in Christian hands for 88 years alone. Much was left disunified in Europe. Christianity and Islam were thrown into complete opposition, a polarity that has lasted TO THIS VERY DAY.

Perhaps only TWO figures deserve and have received lasting respect: Saladin, the Muslim leader, and St. Francis of Assisi. Both were shown in a favorable light by Dante in The Divine Comedy. While the historians, both Muslim and Christian by tradition consider the Franks barbarians when they captured Jerusalem, Saladin was recorded to have recaptured Jerusalem in gentlemanly fashion, without loss of life to Christian citizens. St. Francis of Assisi, stood up eventually to the corruption and power of the Pope and renounced his participation in war as well as any connection to wealth. He called directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to bring peace. (By the way, St. Francis of Assisi has been my mentor since early childhood! One film to bring out now to an inter-generational audience may be "Brother Son, Sister Moon.")

Many consider the Crusades to be most relevant today, even with some necessary but easy to make exchanges or analogies to greed for oil and land, property for that purpose or for routes to make the oil monopoloies to prosper. Yet, popular support is gained by bringing up old religious conflicts and justifications in the name of God or Allah.

American troops still occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and now secretly Pakistan. More miilitary activity is planned and imminent. and Israelis and Palestinians are locked in an endless and bitter struggle with the Occupiers once again wrecking the land and massacres ignored.

The Crusades may well be prophetic for the future. Perhaps Osama bin Laden struck a chord when he called the West "Crusaders."

While recent inter-religious dialogues are ongoing and increasing perhaps beginning with an historic meeting in Jerusalem, January of 1964, and 7 December 1965 when the anathemas of 1054 were mutually revoked.

The Papacy of John Paul II visited Egypt in March 2000 in order to improve relations with Islam. He pointed out that Christian, Muslim, and Jew alike worship the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And shortly afterwards, in Jerusalem, referring to the Crusades (as well as other events), he asked God forgiveness for the sins of the Catholic Church. 69, 70

The Crusades leave the question: is there any just war?

Again, this quick sketch owes much in terms of key events and raising questions as well as format to a writer who simply signs off with LMH. To read this reference and see more Go here

I wonder what might happen if many of us would simply send such items or our own summations by letter, FAX, email or very shortened versions such as this one statement here to our leaders and contacts - political and religious?

The writer of this reference, quite likely a Christian - offers the following at the end of the paper - The Commandments direct us not to kill. And Jesus himself instructed us:

"Do not resist one who is evil;
if anyone strikes you on the right cheek,
turn to him the other also."

"You have heard it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Matthew 5:39, 43-44; 22:39


LMH, the source of inspiration for this post, ends that reference with this clear, URGENT conclusion: "May the Crusades be an important lesson to all of us who cherish peace."

==========
I also will now occasionally let readers here know of a new site I've just started No More Crusades. (Which will need lots of hits to be available by a "cold" search - so find it via this blogsite. Send suggestions and please read and comment here and on the new site which should come up through this oneheart site with a click here...GO here Also, if enough folk keep trying to go to nomorecrusades dot blogspot dot com this should help the site to come up easily. No More Crusades blog may not be for most oneheart readers as many recent items relating to the surge will mix with historic and sometimes philosophic and religious events and attempt a serious bringing to light of human and civil rights abuses and needs.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nicolas J. S. Davies Discusses Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Speech (Whitewash)

Plz Go here OR Go here

No More Crusades

Friday, December 11, 2009

ANNOUNCING A NEW BLOGSITE in Addition to One Heart for Peace

Introduction and Food for Thought

For several weeks I have been mulling over what would be on the sign I would hold this Saturday, in solidarity with the many people around the globe who would be saying NO to the surge planned by our US leaders. I had mentioned to just a few that the sign would be NO MORE CRUSADES.

Thus, I took as confirmation of my choice of signs the following blogpost from online friends in another part of the world. This world of Pakistan is much larger and holds so many keys to our world's well-being then many in the US appear to know.

Since there are dynamics today which bring the US and Pakistan into increasingly painful connections, I am introducing this my new blogsite with a post from a favorite site (or cluster of sites) which is both rare in insight and culture as well as universal in awareness and values.

(I will tell more about how I found this site, how to be sure not to miss any of the riches therein and why I continue to read it soon enough.)

From: "The Republic of Rumi"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No more crusades?

Some time ago, Mauj Collective organized an event where dancers from Lyari (a neighborhood in Karachi) were going to offer Pakistani folk dance on Western tunes being broadcast live from North America through the Internet. I was quite amused to notice that actually such a thing had been envisaged by the Urdu fiction writer Ibne Safi (1928-1980) in the early 1970s. In Bamboo Castle, Ali Imran danced a Pakistani folk dance on Western pop music in an Italian disco.

As I revisited that novel, I was struck by another detail whose symbolism had escaped me earlier. Imran's host in Italy is his friend from the Oxford days, an Italian count who is now a police commissioner threatened by a local drug overlord. As part of a plan to help his friend, Imran borrows the sword with which the friend's ancestor had fought against Saladin during the Crusades. "By the will of God, I shall slay your enemy with this same sword," says Imran to his Italian friend.

I interpret this symbolism at two levels. Firstly, the work of Imran itself is symbolically about a world which is moving on from hostilities of the past, and joining hands on fighting common enemies, such as crime and drugs in this instance. As a foriegner, Imran has no business fighting Italian mafia in their homeland, and hence his using the sword of an Italian crusader becomes an act of courtesy to the host country, giving him legitimacy in a deeper sense.

Secondly, just as Imran is helping his Italian friend to get rid of local mafia, so Ibne Safi can lend a helping hand to foreigner readers in warding off those yarns of literature which glorify crime. Very interestingly, his novel came out just when Mario Puzo's Godfather had started a new cult.

Posted by Khurram Ali Shafique at 7:42 AM
Labels: Literature etc, Regional Studies

2 comments placed at RR blogsite:
Connie L. Nash said...
Thank you for so often and so clearly pointing our where story can be metaphorical yet also have direct bearing on our own current history in-the-making. Which of Ibne Safi novels should I try to translate with the help of my Urdu-speaking friend?

Yes, so interesting on all these levels with food for thought for our "fights" today all around the spectrum and our long-standing and sometimes changing allegiences. Or perhaps more often these are "widening" loyalties when several principles are mixed. I.e.- the helping in warding off present local evil facing a friend in another locale or culture -with the purest and most beautiful value I'm sure seldom nearly as developed as among Pakistanis: courtesy.

Meantime, the title of this post with this perfect story you've chosen - leads to important inner reflections and to great conversations. I am askng a lot these days: how is who we are becoming as nations and as individuals influenced by who we are with, what we do, read, study and whom we are willing to help and even HOW we do THAT? I look forward to more comments, maybe even from a friend from my home town?

December 10, 2009 8:48 PM
Akhtar Wasim Dar said...
Ibne Safi was a visionary and a seer. Like all great artists he had the vision and imagination to see tomorrow, posterity and the world to come. Khurram Sahib as always” breaking codes”and deciphering metaphors.

The world to come is going to be an exciting one, no need to feel jittery, as all shall be well. The Creator has taken all necessary precautions to see the world go into the direction of perfection that it has to go. The winds are conducive and all our sails are in right direction. Always the few will disagree, jostle and create hurdles, but the majority although being disillusioned, will always wait for the miracle that happens and will continue to happen, though few understand its real implications.

December 10, 2009 10:39 PM

===============
Afterward:

So few people here in the US, I'm discovering, know or care WHO the people of Pakistan are and HOW many work day and night in various peaceful ways to improve their country from within and without. Why, then, are we sending over more challenges and turning the nation against the US which was there as a friend early in their founding and to which they have turned in the forming of their own democracy?? (The drones and the variations from Blackwater are only a few of the challenges we have sent their way.)

So then, how can our nation's leaders - who, given their knowledge of law, history and military engagements past (as well as recent Nobel PEACE Prize) dare to begin what looks like another crusade? Watch for more to follow or easily google to see how so much to come out of Blackwater uses crusade mentality. How could our leaders NOT know this?

Connie, blogger of No More Crusades

PS PLZ send suggestions, make comments and show post to your friends and contacts.

You can help my new blogsite get started by going here - until it begins to shows up in a google search - this first post here

The Blog itself:
here


Or simply google: no more crusades

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

INT'L Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) and Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15)

The Document for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"The version is always the same since all sources keep the document in it's orginal way. We suggest using the link to the UN-site: here

Items of Interest:

For INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Press release
8 December 2009

Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay calls on individuals worldwide to make an extra effort to tackle discrimination starting from their own homes and workplaces.

“Discrimination makes no social sense, no moral sense and no economic sense. In fact it makes no sense at all,” Pillay on 8 December told a press conference focusing on non-discrimination, the theme of this year’s Human Rights Day.

“We all, and here I include myself, have a tendency to hold ingrained prejudices against certain people because of the group they belong to rather than because of who they actually are as individuals.”

The High Commissioner shared how she confronted her own prejudices in an earlier stage of her life shaped by the fact that she grew up in apartheid South Africa.

“You cannot defeat discrimination by shutting your eyes to it and hoping that it will go away. Complacency is discrimination’s best friend,” she said.

“It is my hope that starting on this Human Rights Day, people will begin making an extra effort to think about these issues, and about how they as individuals can take action in their own homes, in the work place and in society at large to first of all identify discrimination, and then tackle it, wherever it raises its ugly head,” said Pillay.

Every year on Human Rights Day, 10 December, the global community commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Human Rights Day this year focuses on “Embrace Diversity: End Discrimination.” The High Commissioner will be in South Africa to preside over a panel of high level judges sitting in the first ever World Human Rights Moot Court competition at the University of Pretoria. Students worldwide will argue a fictional human rights case on the principle of non-discrimination at the event organised by the University and supported by the human rights office.

On Human Rights Day there is a public celebration planned for Freedom Park at which the High Commissioner will speak along with representatives from the Government, civil society and academia. This gathering, organised by the South African Government in partnership with the High Commissioner’s Office, will also feature a performance from the famous South African singer, Yvonne Chaka-Chaka.

In New York too, Human Rights Day is celebrated over a week which started with a special event to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. A special panel discussion on discrimination entitled: “Race, Poverty and Power” will take place, to be followed by the 12th annual student conference on human rights with an international discussion via a video link-up of students in New York, France and Mexico as a finale.

And in Geneva, women from 28 countries will convene for an international summit, “The Courage to Lead: A Human Rights Summit for Women Leaders”. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang will deliver a key-note address to delegates who will focus their discussions on the protection of human rights for women and the best ways women leaders can contribute in their own countries.


--> Learn more about Human Rights Day, 10 December 2009.

And be sure to see the Item posted below:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rights Group Exposes Immigration Detention System Abuses

Patterns and precedents similar to worldwide renditions (That is: use of fear, threat, disappearances (out of disorganization or design?) Time to see/show the film "The Visitor" for first or second time (Great Acting, nothing lags and pulls together all these concerns. This film is a good choice for a group because there are some funny and plenty of touching inter-cultural moments. Although the three states named are "most likely to receive transfers", North Carolina ICE and other states have reported similar abuses.

"Days or months later, with NO NOTICE, many of these immigrants are loaded onto planes for transport to detention centers in remote corners of states such as Texas, California and Louisiana (the three states most likely to receive transfers), the report found."

"...some detainees arrived at a new detention center without having been served a notice of why they were being held."

08 December 2009

by: William Fisher, t r u t h o u t | Report

"In New York when I was detained, I was about to get an attorney through one of the churches, but that went away once they sent me here to New Mexico.... All my evidence and stuff that I need is right there in New York. I've been trying to get all my case information from New York ... writing to ICE to get my records. But they won't give me my records; they haven't given me nothing. I'm just representing myself with no evidence to present." - (name withheld), writing from the Otero County Processing Center, Chaparral, New Mexico.

So reads testimony from one of the increasing number of immigrants transferred by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detention centers far from where they were apprehended - making it virtually impossible for them to retain their records, communicate with family members or hire lawyers to contest their deportation.
The number of individuals held in hundreds of different detention facilities by the DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in fiscal year 2009 is estimated to have reached 369,483, more than double what it was a decade earlier. A new analysis of millions of government records shows that to handle this pronounced surge in detainees, ICE made 1.4 million detainee transfers in the decade from 1999 through 2008 - with 53 percent of them since 2006.

An increasing proportion of all detainees are being transferred. In FY 1999, one out of every five (19.6 percent) of the detainees was moved from one detention facility to another. During the first six months of FY 2008, the latest period for which complete data are available, the majority (52.4 percent) of detainees were transferred.

Almost as startling was the growth in the percentage of individuals who were subjected to multiple transfers - starting at one detention facility, being transferred to a second, and then again (and sometimes again and again) to other detention locations. Ten years ago, only one out of twenty detainees experienced multiple transfers (5.6 percent). In FY 2008, one out of every four detainees (24 percent) was subject to multiple transfers.

This analysis is based upon previously unavailable data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearing House (TRAC) at Syracuse University and Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has published a new report, "Locked Up Far Away: The Transfer of Immigrants to Remote Detention Centers in the United States."

According to Alison Parker, HRW's US deputy director, "ICE is increasingly subjecting detainees to a chaotic game of musical chairs. And it's a game with dire consequences since it may keep them from finding an attorney or presenting evidence in their defense."

CONTINUE READING To go to the origional, here's the link From Truth Out GO here

Secular and Holy: EVERYTHING Aspires


"High above Munnar" Andreas Leo Urban

There is a secular world and a holy world, secular worlds and holy worlds. These worlds contradict one another. The contradiction, of course, is subjective. In our limited perception we cannot reconcile the sacred and the secular, we cannot harmonize their contradictions. Yet at the pinnacle of the universe they are reconciled, at the site of the holy of holies.

We cannot identify the abundant vitality within all living beings, from the smallest to the largest, nor the hidden vitality enfolded within inanimate creation. Everything constantly flows, vibrates, and aspires. Nor can we estimate our own inner abundance. Our inner world is sealed and concealed, linked to a hidden something, a world that is not our world, not yet perceived or probed.

Everything teems with richness, everything aspires to ascend and be purified. Everything sings, celebrates, serves, develops, evolves, uplifts, Aspires To Be Arranged in ONENESS.
"Orchard of the Torah"
David Friedman Kabbalah Art

The excerpts above are from the chapter, "Living in the Material World" p. 153 found in -The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism- original translations, commentaries, and guideposts arranged by Daniel C. Matt who dedicated this volume "For Ana - On her tongue - a Torah of love -- Proverbs 31:26"

How would we not ALL be treating our fellow creatures, our own self and Collective Self much more kindly - and with greater understanding - if we would pay attention to the Mystic Heart in our Sacred Contemplative works the world round?


TASHUV-HEY
"Body and Soul become one in the place of Unconditional Love"

From The Gallery of Mystical Art - an exhibition of the works of Tzfat artist Avraham Loewenthal.

(This is an answer which came to me when I reflected further last night upon a blogpost by my friend, Akhtar Dar Wasim Sahib who operates My Page on the Web one of the many interesting and rewarding variations of blog-postings within a cluster at Republic of Rumi (go to the website and click on "blog" upper left) or go directly to his mypageonweb dot blogspot.com to see the "set-up" for the discussion here Thank you for the challenge of this your most recent, dear friend!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

No More War: RESOLUTIONS & SIGN IDEAS HERE (send some more)

"Yesterday, with the U.S. Secretary of Defense at his side, the President of Afghanistan declared that his country's security forces will need financial and training assistance from the United States for the next 15-20 years."

"We cannot afford these wars."

USE the following information to WRITE UP your own petition and hand-outs. Plz don't wait for January to get these out and make your calls.

==================

Kucinich Resolutions to End the War

Dear Friends,

(December 9, 2009) Congressman Dennis Kucinich is circulating two "privileged resolutions" to trigger votes to end the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Congressman Kucinich, in a written release, earlier today stated:

"Today, I will begin circulating two privileged resolutions which will trigger debate and votes on a timely withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Pakistan."

"Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States makes it Congress' responsibility to determine whether or not we go to war or stay at war. Consistent with Article I, Section 8, the privileged resolutions will invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973. I ask for your support of these resolutions, which will be introduced in the House in January."

"Yesterday, with the U.S. Secretary of Defense at his side, the President of Afghanistan declared that his country's security forces will need financial and training assistance from the United States for the next 15-20 years."

"We cannot afford these wars. We cannot afford the loss of lives. We cannot afford the cost to taxpayers. We cannot afford to fail to exercise our constitutional right to end the wars."

"Please sign onto the privileged resolutions to end the wars and to bring our troops home."

"Stand up for our troops. Stand up for the truth. Stand up for the Constitution and Congress' responsibility."

Thank you,
The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

NOTE: Let your elected leaders around your State know how you want you and your family represented....don't stop at just your own jurisdiction...call ALL possible officials in your state and a few more. Pass out printed copies of this resolution.

====
Demonstrators at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza used FCNL's federal budget information to illustrate how war funding restricts spending on other priorities: here
Photo: Susan Cundiff, Oregon Women's Action for New Directions.

WHY not copy these for your own local demonstration?

Order your own War Is Not the Answer sign and see where this movement is showing up across the country. Find out how to submit your own photo.
Friends Committee on National Legislation | 245 2nd Street NE Washington, DC 20002 | www.fcnl.org | 800-630-1330

Or GO to this link: here

UPDATED: COPENHAGEN (See Democracy Now! The ONLY Video of it's kind in world)

To see most the news on Copenhagen, go to Democracy Now! Also for Inspiration, go to
Sometimes it Takes a Flood for Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at my new blogsite: No More Crusades GO here and add your own comment here or there...

Copenhagen Climate Conference Opens to Dire Warnings
here

VIDEO...ONLY source for this GLOBAL broadcast from Democracy Now!

Ahead of Copenhagen Talks, Tens of Thousands Protest Across Europe Calling for Climate Justice
here

CREW Report Reveals Role Bush Officials Continue to Play in Shaping the Debate About Climate Change
here

Friends of the Earth: Obama Administration Makes Landmark Decision to Implement Clean Air Act
here

Why an expert questions the current administration on Climate Change as he has under the last US administration and three Scientists/three different views - all found at NPR dot org

here

here

Mystic & Activist: Heschel The spiritual audacity of abraham joshua on Speaking of Faith with krista tippett

Heschel, a prophet for our time...

December 3-7, 2009 A mystic who wrote transcendent, poetic words about God, Heschel marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and organized religious leadership against the war in Vietnam, embodying the extreme social activism of the biblical prophets he studied.

here

here

===============
Be sure to explore the recent links below & above...

The Other Occupation (Western Sahara) and Aminatou Haider By Stephen Zunes

Monday, December 7, 2009

Aminatou Haidar, a nonviolent activist from Western Sahara and a key leader in her nation's struggle against the 34-year-old U.S.-backed Moroccan occupation of her country, has been forced into exile by Moroccan authorities. She was returning from the United States, where she had won the Civil Courage Award

here

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally December 12 11 am to 4 pm White House

“No You Can’t!” Rally at White House December 12 11 a. m. to 4 p. m.
Unity Among Peace Movement Groups against Obama War Escalation - Warning of Reprisals to Troop Surge

Over 100 leading peace activists (and growing number of groups) have announced an ‘Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally’ at the White House on December 12, from 11a.m. to 4 p.m., to reject President Obama’s planned military escalation in Afghanistan. The rally is organized by End US Wars, a newly formed coalition of national and grass-roots antiwar organizations, with endorsements from leading peace leaders. Speakers include: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney, Sen. Mike Gravel, Kathy Kelly, Chris Hedges, David Swanson, Phyllis Bennis, Rev. Graylan Hagler, Gael Murphy, Coy McKinney, Debra Sweet, Brian Becker, Mathis Chiroux, Lynne Williams, Hon. Betty Hall, Elaine Brower, Marian Douglas, Michael Knox, Ralph Lopez, Ron Fisher, and statements from Col. Ann Wright, Stephen Zunes and Granny D (turning 100).

Featuring Musical Performances by Jordan Page, Head-Roc, Emma's Revolution, Precise Science.

here

More to Watch for from "Parliament of Religions"

This film was shown and was a winner!

Journey into America"
here

here

Some events happening soon -
See Blog, Chat, Children's Stories announced, etc.
here

Other blogs available, look for You Tube items or trailers/previews/descriptions of folk presenting
here

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Setting the agenda for cooperation from CPWR blog, PeaceNow

from - Friday, December 4, 2009
(from one of the Parliament blogs: Peace Next - here )

After reading this one from Friday, be sure to read the two earlier ones by
Amjad Mohamed Saleem
========
The scene was as touching as it was poignant. A Jewish rabbi running across nearly half of the room to embrace his imam friend as they met for the first time in 5 years. Oh the fact I regeretted not having my camera to witness such a kodak moment.

For the first time, I understood the power of the parliament. Here was truly an opportunity to embrace one another and truly forge relationships with each other across the great differences that exist between us. So you had priests and others attending the Friday congregational prayers whilst you had ladies in Hijaab and Imams attending programs presented by Jains and Native Americans. All in this spirit of cooperation

Shri Ravi Shankar in the opening plenary said that we can not negate the other person just because he/she is different to us. We need to be able to embrace and learn from each other. This is perhaps the greatest power of the parliament. Perceptions can be remoulded and stereotypes can be broken.

The film 'New Muslim Cool' can explore how a Latino American musician can convert to Islam and face the numerous personal and societal challenges on this journey or 'Not in God's Name' can show you the journey of the Dalai Lama. All of these stories, equally poignant and relevant and needed to reaffirm that we are on the ame journey, perhaps in different vehicles travelling at different speeds.

Of course, there is an element of cynicism that often goes with events like this. Katherine Marshall eloquently talks about such a cynicism that arises from gatherings of this nature. However in the space of watching that rabbi and that imam embrace each other, there is perhaps the hope that the parliament can move beyond the notion of tolerance to respect, understanding, and friendship.

Of course in doing this, the parliament will have to work towards the tasks of preventing conflict by anticipating it and addressing root causes, negotiating peace, and helping to build peaceful societies in the aftermath of conflict. This means that at some point contentious issues within and between religions will have to be tackled as Anwar Ibrahim eloquently put it in a dinner the other night. We may not agree with points of view that are put across, but we should be able to discuss it in an atmosphere of openness and humility with a view to agree to disagree. This is perhaps the key feature to take across. Whether it is the issue of Israel / Palestine; freedom of religious expression in some parts of the Muslim world; the rights of the traditional native people in Australia / America / Canada that have been eroded or negated with the excuse of democratic plurality (I met a Native American who told me about some of the issues found on the reservations) or what is needed for a greater push towards eradicating poverty and ending world hunger

If the traditional religious interfaith traditions can lead to this spirit of agreement and disagreement,then I think cynics aside, great strides would have been made. Yet much more needs to be done. The people who have come to this parliament will need to carry the message forward to others and more importantly engage new members into this new movement to be part of the change to make the world a better place. Posted by paths2people at 11:03 AM