Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Feminine & God (via Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi)

The following is a condensing of an article on Women and Rumi:

A woman, Rabi'a al-Adawiyya (717-801 A.D.), ...first expressed the relationship with the divine in a language we have come to recognize as ...Sufic by referring to God as the Beloved. Rabi'a was the first human being to speak of the realities of Sufism with a language that anyone could understand. Though she experienced many difficulties in her early years, Rabi'a's starting point was neither a fear of hell nor a desire for paradise, but ONLY LOVE...Her aim was to melt her being in God.

Throughout the centuries, women as well as men have continued to carry the light of this love...Within some Sufi circles, women were integrated with men in ceremonies; in other orders, women gathered in their own circles of remembrance and worshiped apart from men. Some women devoted themselves to Spirit ascetically, apart from society, as Rabi'a did; others chose the role of benefactress and fostered circles of worship and study. Many of the great masters with whom we in the West are familiar had female teachers, students, and spiritual friends who greatly influenced their thought and being...

Ibn Arabi, the great "Pole of Knowledge" (1165-1240 A.D.), tells of time he spent with two elderly women mystics who had a profound influence on him: Shams of Marchena, one of the "sighing ones," and Fatimah of Cordova. Of Fatimah, with whom he spent a great deal of time, he says: "I served as a disciple one of the lovers of God...Fatimah bint Ibn al-Muthanna of Cordova. I served her for several years, she being over ninety-five years of age... She used to play on the tambourine and show great pleasure in it. When I spoke to her about it she answered, 'I take joy in Him Who has turned to me and made me one of His Friends...using me for His own purposes. Who am I that He should choose me among mankind?'...With my own hands I built for her a hut of reeds as high as she, in which she lived until she died. She used to say to me, 'I am your spiritual mother and the light of your earthly mother...

When Bayazid Bestami (d. 874), another well-known master, was asked who his master was, he said it was an old woman whom he had met in the desert. This woman had called him a vain tyrant...Her words gave him spiritual guidance for some time.

Another woman for whom Bestami had great regard was Fatimah Nishapuri (d. 838), of whom he said, "There was no station (on the Way) about which I told her that she had not already undergone." Someone once asked the great Egyptian Sufi master Dho'n-Nun Mesri, "Who, in your opinion, is the highest among the Sufis?" He replied, "A lady in Mecca, called Fatimah Nishapuri...Further pressed to comment on Fatimah, he added, "She is teacher." She once counseled him, "In all your actions, watch that you act with sincerity and in opposition to your lower self...

The wife of the ninth-century Sufi Al-Hakim at-Tirmidhi was a mystic in her own right. She used to dream for her husband as well as for herself. Khidr, the mysterious one, would appear to her in her dreams. One night he told her to tell her husband to guard the purity of his house. Concerned that perhaps Khidr was referring to the lack of cleanliness that sometimes occurred because of their young children, she questioned him in her dream. He responded by pointing to his tongue: she was to tell her husband to be mindful of the purity of his speech.

Among the women who followed the Way of Love and Truth, there were some who rejoiced and some who continually wept. Sha'wana, a Persian, was one of those who wept. Men and women gathered around her to hear her songs and discourses. She used to say, "The eyes which are prevented from beholding the Beloved, and yet are desirous of looking upon Him, cannot be fit for that vision without weeping." Sha'wana was not only "blinded by tears of penitence, but dazzled by the radiant glory of the Beloved."

...One of those who rejoiced was Fedha, who was also a married woman. She taught that "joy of heart should be happiness based on what we inwardly sense; therefore we should always strive to rejoice within our heart, till everyone around us also rejoices."

...Though the Qur'an strongly encourages education for women as well as men, women sometimes received fewer opportunities for instruction than men in similar circumstances... women in general around the world have often faced prejudicial treatment because of their gender. Within Islamic society as well as within our own, difficult treatment of women has occurred...Though local cultural overlays...may have increased restrictions on women in various areas, (we) are enjoin(ed to offer) mutual respect and valuation of the human being regardless of sex or social situation. Within Sufism, this...attitude has prevailed.

...we are discovering (today) the work of many Sufi sisters. Among these was Fatimah or Jahan-Ara, the favorite daughter of Shah Jahan, the Mogul emperor of India (1592-1666). Fatimah wrote an account of her initiation called Risala-i Sahibiyya, which is known as a beautiful and erudite exposition of the flowering of Sufism within her heart.

Aisha of Damascus was one of the well-known mystics of the fifteenth century. She wrote a famous commentary of Khwaja 'Abdo'llah Ansari's Stations on the Way (Manazel as-sa'erin) entitled Veiled Hints within the stations of the Saints (Al-esharat al-khafiys fi'l-manazel al-auliya'). Bib Hayati Kermani belonged to a family immersed in the Sufi tradition. Her brother was a shaikh of the Nimatullahi Order, and she became the wife of the master of the order. After her marriage, she composed a divan (collection of poems) that revealed her integration of both the outer and the inner knowledge of Sufism.

Among the Bektashis, an order in which women have always been integrated with men in ceremonies, many women have continued the tradition of composing sacred songs (illahis). In 1987, a songbook entitled Gul Deste ("A Bouquet of Roses") was published in Turkey. It brings together sacred hymns written by women and men of the Bektashi tradition from the nineteenth century to the present.

Sufi women around the world today continue to teach and share their experience personally as well as in written form. In the Sudan, for instance, there continue to be shaikhas (female shaikhs) who are particularly adept in the healing arts. In the Middle East, women continue to mature in many Sufi orders. In Turkey in particular, the teachings continue through women as well as men, perhaps even more so now than in the past because of Ataturk's proscription of the sufi orders early in the century, which drove much of Sufi practice into private homes. One luminous lady, Feriha Ana, carried the Rifai tradition in Istanbul until her recent death; Zeyneb Hatun of Ankara continues to inspire people in Turkey and abroad with her poems and songs.

In central Turkey, the mother of a friend of ours one day heard someone knocking and answered her door. A man stood at her threshold with a message. He had come to ask her to lead a Naqshbandi women's circle. He explained that his shaikh, who lived quite a distance away, had seen her in a dream and had sent him to the place that had been indicated. When she protested that she did not know his shaikh and felt inadequate for such a responsibility, the man replied, "Do not worry. Our shaikh has seen your purity. He says that whenever you have a question you should hold that question in your heart, and in your dreams he will bring you the answer." Thus began her apprenticeship.

Sufi schools spread from the Middle East to Europe long ago, and new waves continue to arrive...A popular strain of Sufism that has been very welcoming of women is the Chishti Order, which was brought to America by Hazrat Inayat Khan. Of the many women involved, Murshida Vera Corda is perhaps the best-known; her work with children in particular has been a great inspiration to many parents.

One branch of Sufism that has become better-known in the West in recent years is the Mevlevi. Within this tradition, which was founded upon the example of Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi, women have always been deeply respected, honored, and invited to participate in all aspects of the spiritual path. Rumi's family itself had a long tradition of recognizing the spiritual beauty and wisdom of women. It was his grandmother, the princess of Khorasan, who first lit the spark of inquiry in Rumi's father, Bahaeddin Weled. Under her care, he grew to be the "sultan of the learned" and a great spiritual light in his time. Rumi's mother, Mu'mine Hatun, a devout and saintly lady, was very dear to him. She died shortly after Rumi's own marriage to Gevher Hatun, the daughter of one of Bahaeddin's closest disciples. Gevher Hatun had grown up beside Rumi, listening to his father's discourses. This beautiful woman, who was known to have the heart of an angel, was the mother of Sultan Weled, to whom Rumi's own teacher, Shams-i-tabriz, conveyed many mysteries. In his Conversations (Maqalat), Shams himself stressed the equal capacity of women to be intimate with the Ineffable and to "die before death."

...Within Sufism...women and men have always been respected as equals on the spiritual path. Everyone is expected to establish his or her own direct connection with the divine...

Within Sufism, the language of the Beloved and the recognition of the feminine helps to balance some of the old cultural stereotypes that were sometimes used in expository writing and which the Western media have chosen to highlight. Rumi often speaks beautifully of the feminine, presenting woman as the most perfect example of God's creative power on earth. As he says in the Mathnawi, "Woman is a ray of God. She is not just the earthly beloved; she is creative, not created."

It is precisely this creativity and capacity for love and relationship that suits (the feminine) so well for the Sufi way of opening to relationship with the divine. As we come to recognize the magnificence of the benevolent Source of Life...

...God's mercy and benevolence is always emphasized as being greater than His wrath; the encompassing generosity and nurturance of the divine is the milieu in which we live.

As women, we come from the womb and carry the womb. We give birth from the womb and can find ourselves born into the womb of Being. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is very much revered in Sufism and Islam as an example of one who continually took refuge with the divine and opened to receive divine inspiration within the womb of her being...

Sufism recognizes that committed relationship and family are not contrary to the flowering of spirituality, but rather are wonderful vessels for spiritual ripening.

...The way is opening in our own time for greater recognition of equal partnership. We have much to learn form each other, and male and female need to recognize each other so that we can come to balance within ourselves as well as creating balance outwardly in the world. The male attributes of strength and determination also belong to women; the feminine attributes of receptivity and beauty also belong to men. As we look to the divine in each other, encouraging each other to rise to the fullness of is or her own divine nature, we push against our limitations until they dissolve and a gift unfolds. As we learn to witness the miracle of creation, a time comes when "wheresoever you look, there is the Face of God; everything is perishing except the One Face."

Whether we choose celibacy or committed partnership, whether we are female or male, the same work remains of polishing the mirror of the heart, of being in remembrance moment by moment, breath by breath. Each moment we reaffirm the inner marriage until there is no longer lover or Beloved but only Unity of Being. Little by little, we die to what we thought we were. We are dissolved into Love, and we become love, God willing. As Rabi'a says:

In love, nothing exists between breast and Breast.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
The one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose Presence you are blotted out?
And in whose Being you still exist?
And who lives as a Sign for your journey?

Stories report that on one occasion Rabi'a was asked, if she hated Satan. Hazrat Rabi'a was said to reply: "My love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him."

I found the above painting and these excerpts today, 31st December 2010 here
See also the Transcript of Radio Program | The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi -
Ms. Fatemah Keshavarz - an Iranian Rumi scholar - who although admitting that Rumi wasn't a "feminist" as such, used feminine metaphors and expressions at times in his poetry. Ms. Keshavarz said: "I think, if anything, {Rumi's) vision is that all humanity is pregnant with God." She was interviewed on an award-winning episode of On Being / formerly Speaking of Faith which has been rebroadcast recently.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recovery Starts with Bridge (Flooded Pakistan Village)


Originally published on 22 December 2010

The villagers of Zoladher in the Swat valley indicate where they will build the bridge that will allow their children to go to school.(Copyright: WFP/Martin Penner)When the monsoon flood waters surged down the Swat River near the village of Zoladher, they smashed the only bridge linking the two sides of the village. Many children now have to ride a rickety cable car to get to school. With help from WFP, villagers have started work on a new bridge.ZOLADHER (Swat Valley) – Nizarmuddin Gulbarmain, 39, understands the importance of education and desperately wants his five children to go to the village school. Unfortunately, he lives on the wrong side of the River Swat.The school is on the other side of the river and the bridge was carried away in August by flood waters. For his kids to get to school, they must either swim or use the cable car. At 10 rupees per person, per journey, the cable car would cost him 100 rupees a day. That's about the cost of 500 grams of chicken at a market.“We are poor people. Most of us have lost our crops and some of us have even lost our farmland. We can’t afford to pay all that money every day,” says Gulbarmain.

READ rest at or GO here

Plz post in comments below other such stories of aid and recovery in Pakistan. (Small actions over time are often the most helpful). These humanitarian - people to-people efforts combining local and other help are certainly one of the best ways to contribute to peace and understanding.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Warmth & Human Rights: Groups Caring for Asians

Photo: Muzammil Pasha/UNICEF - The best way to prevent measles may be immunization - See Irin News under countries/Pakistan

(We in US and Europe have much to learn from groups featured here)

Photo UNHCR GO here

Providing warmth during a cold Pakistan winter: Report from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

22 December 2010
By Kathy Mueller

Dawn is breaking in Pakistan. In the northern part of the country, a fine mist hangs, suspended in valleys between the mountain ranges. Frozen crystals sparkle in the early morning sun as the temperature slowly climbs above the freezing mark. Winter has arrived in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

This region was one of the first that was devastated by the monsoon floods in July this year. Landslides, triggered by the raging torrents, erased entire villages from the face of the earth. Roads and bridges – the only links to the people who live here – were destroyed.

“When the floods came, we were in our home. We ran towards the forest or to relatives who lived far away,” says Mubarak Shah. “We lost our land, our generator and our windmills. Our homes were destroyed too. The floods took it all.”

With rocks of all shapes and sizes still blocking the only road to his village, Mubarak Shah, his family and neighbours are virtually cut off from civilization. Today, he has walked more than 20 kilometres to Dasu because he has heard that shelter kits will be handed out by the Red Cross Red Crescent. He stands with other men, waiting patiently for his turn at the front of the queue.

As part of its effort to help 150,000 flood-affected families, the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and their partners are distributing shelter kits to 70,000 people in these northern regions of the country.

Read Full Article here

Also go here

InshaAllah, I hope to post a synopsis and update on another moving effort to help flood affectees soon after the beginning of the New Year 2011.

The Asian Human Rights Commission's Seasonal Message:

New Years Wishes from The Asian Human Rights Commission and their local partners:
On this occasion, we are presenting messages from several countries through a video presentation in which a number of people present their Christmas and New Year greetings and appeals.

See this humble, striking VIDEO greeting and hopes for the New Year by a number of dedicated human rights workers across Asia here

Find more on the Website humanrights dot asia


ASIA: Christmas and New Year Wishes from the Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission wishes everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. In all countries of Asia, this Christmas and new year will be celebrated in very difficult conditions. We extend our wishes to all families who are struggling in the midst of these difficulties to fight for their rights. We particularly remember the families of disappeared persons and victims of extrajudicial killings, victims of torture, illegal arrest and illegal detention, and those who have been deprived of fair trial. We also remember the millions of people who suffer from effects of poverty and deprivation such as starvation, malnutrition and other serious problems. We remember the indigenous people whose habitat is in serious danger due to various forms of expropriation of the forest and natural resources. We bring greetings to all those who, despite of these problems, struggle for democracy, rule of law and human rights.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


Asian Human Rights Commission
19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,
998 Canton Road, Kowloon,
Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339
Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

RUMI's Secret Path

Find a great and heartfelt Persian scholar discussing Rumi with Krista Tippet ON Being here

How have you found Rumi's lyrical poetry nourishing for your soul?

Your Voices, Your Stories here

And plz feel free to comment below this post as well.

Thanx for coming by. :)


Plz CALL OBAMA at White House to VOICE Opposition.! When/if he signs we MUST do all we can to AMEND this bill and or cancel it out with a brand new one truly about food safety and power to the local grower. At any rate, we need to bring much more education and awareness to the general public - many if not most who go to supermarkets to shop for produce and who as few questions as to the method of growth, pesticides and genetic modification often involved. Nor do they ask who grows this food and whether or not the purchase benefits our local growers?

This is NOT a Democrat,Republican, Libertarian or Independent issue alone and this does involve RIGHTS: Human, animal and EARTH RIGHTS. This one little bill which slipped by effects us all and will eventually affect the whole world and corporations like Monsanto getting upper hand. Many other corporations are likely to learn from this that might (and SNEAKINESS) makes right.

This also involves Worldwide PEACE. All you need to do is a half-hour on Monsanto and Iraqi farmers to see what happens when western corporations wreck a whole farming environment where for hundreds of years families have survived by the same.

SEE the report after the

The opposition believes that the controversial Bill will may make it ILLEGAL to GROW, SHARE OR TRADE HOME-GROWN FOOD! It may also force small farmers and food processors into burdensome and excessive requirements. It may give large corporations such as Monsanto CONTROL OVER US SEED and put US food and farms under the Department of Homeland Security.

SO, what is this if NOT about controlling the masses with the least common denominator at best and fascism at worst?

Unfortunately, many people will be deeply saddened by the approval.Read more at Suite101: S510 Food Safety Act APPROVED! Headed to OBAMA

THE consoling part is that so many voted AGAINST this bill showing that with more activism, the people who are for THE PEOPLE and the small farmers/gardeners/promoters of organic and non-processed food may eventually once again get the upper hand.



KEEP your comment short and ask receptionist your plea is NO to the current food safety bill HR 2751 since it is NOT about true food safety but rather allows Gov and Corporate interests to have UNDUE control over our family and small farms.

CALL 202 224-3121 and ASK for your State's Representative(s)

IF it's busy, go DIRECTLY to your Rep's home office and register your URGENT plea.

SEE here
For NAMES of your state's representatives: Finding your state's Representative here or cut past and send you can also add # and your state's abbreviation) for QUICK search -- FOR example, you can find ALL your states representatives in NC by going

(and I often say that I'm voting FOR/ALONG with my family members and give the complete number of people in household.)

AND/or for more info GO to here Contact USA Representatives (Save these URLs for ALL Gov. officials along with those above for later date as well.)

Although a technical/unconstitutional revenue-raising clause has been removed the newest version is JUST as problematic as ever.

This is not a bill about food safety. It is about food control and profitability in the interests of large agriculture corporations. SEE MIKE's COMMENT below this announcement:

PLZ CALL the national Representative(s) from your state. (ALL your state's Representative whether Republican or Democrat.) Ask her/him to WAIT or NOT vote until this becomes in FACT about Food Safety and is not attached to Government control of family, organic and local farms.

ACTION: Calls to ALL Representatives by EARLY TUESDAY are NEEDED ALL across the US from Citizens. (Let your Representative KNOW how many people in your household you represent.) Some legislators are attempting to force passing of a MOCK food safety Bill without study available to legislators and the PUBLIC. This FALSE Safety Bill is about ruthless/detrimental government control.

Drive-By Media: Food "safety" bill still lives in Lame-Duck Congress
BY Gregory B. Hladky Hartford Advocate Monday, December 20, 2010 12:39 pm

To the surprise of many, the food-safety reform legislation that had been stalled in Congress because of technical problems won renewed life Sunday when the U.S. Senate managed to pass a revised version of the legislation.

An earlier measure that cleared the Senate last month had gotten hung up because it included fees and other fiscal matters that are supposed to start in the U.S. House. Critics of the legislation were hoping those problems would prevent passage in the final days of this lame-duck session.

Now, all that has to happen is for House lawmakers to act quickly before everybody goes home for the holidays.

Questions or comments? (To Editor of Hartford Advocate) Email

THIS COMMENT (found under the news above)SUMMARIZES THE PROBLEMS with passing this bill AS IT NOW STANDS.

Mike - This bill scares me -- This is not a bill about food safety. It is about food control and profitability in the interests of large agriculture corporations. I want to know where my food comes from and I would like to be able to grow it myself and feed my local community without the USDA taxing me for it. Farming is a job that embodies what being American means. It is about independence and self sufficiency.

Why is our government placing legislative controls on feeding our community through farms? I know many young people, and I am one of them, who are asking this question.


If you have time and want to read more history, GO to November 20th on this site or CLICK here

Friday, December 17, 2010

UPDATED: Aafia Siddiqui's Dilemma Needs Truth, Justice, & Compassion

"...the Islam of compassion and mercy has produced successes that the 'Islam' of be-headings and amputations has not." (Andrew Purcell - from his article below)***

CARDS for Aafia (I've asked for specifics and here's what I received):

Me: Do you think beginning a Letter-writing campaign to Carswell and/or authorities about allowing visits from family and/or family phone calls with her? Would asking for accountability on Aafia's treatment would be helpful, counter-productive or of no help?

Answers from officials/family:



Despite extremist leaders who continue to use Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's cause as a recruiting tool, she has stated CLEARLY that she wants no violence done in her name. "Her sister, her brother, and their mother have all repeatedly said in public...that they do not want people killing or dying or participating in any sort of violence in Aafia's name." from post below.

On behalf of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - be sure to see address for CARDS for Aafia end of this post. Find here: reports and analyses with links to scholars, a lawyer, a cleric and keen observers and I've just added below the items - on Tues, 21st December - a short video by Andy Worthington which is a plea to the Pakistani Government.

The following have all been featured recently on the Official Family Site:
Free Aafia dot org:

Respect the Law
By Khurram Shafique

... Before the common people in Pakistan and US even became aware of the existence of Aafia, she had already become well-known to human rights activists across the world as victim of abduction, rape and torture, whose minor children had also got abducted along with her. Pakistani, Afghan and US authorities were the accused in this case.

This was the world opinion in general. Since August 2008, the American media has been considerably successful in giving a different color to the story, alleging that Aafia had ties with al-Qaeda (a charge that was never brought up in the court at any point).

The power of mass media is itself its limitation: the news of tomorrow is bound to wipe out the news of today. Therefore with the passage of time, the world opinion viewing Aafia as a victim is likely to prevail over the perception created by the American media.

For the US, the consequences could be disastrous in the long-term because nobody can say how its legal system is likely to be judged once the world opinion about Aafia prevails over the American media version...

The same goes for the government of Pakistan. This government seems to be overlooking that the last round of troubles began for President Pervez Musharraf over the issue of "missing persons" and the demand for his impeachment gained support in the wake of the discovery of Aafia in July 2008. The present regime may have made a mistake by failing to behave any differently than Musharraf in this matter...featured on the official family site: Free Aafia dot com.

READ Full Article and find an early Chronology of Events with Archives and related reports here (Be sure to note Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib's classic analysis "Don't Blame the Victim" here including reports of Dr. Aafia speaking for herself- which like most of Shafique Sahib's work - have a strong universal element. this short note added by Connie of oneheartforpeace)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
By Mauri' Saalakhan
The Case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: A Profile in Persecution and Faith here

alQaeda vs Aafia - Again
By Andrew Purcell
Dec 16, 2010

My goodness! Aafia has become positively trendy amongst the elite in the world of terrorism. Last month it was Ayman al-Zawahiri attempting to turn her into a pin-up girl for suicide bombers. Now it is the turn of Abu Yahya al-Liby. At this rate I expect Aafia to be the covergirl for "al-Qaeda Chic: The Hottie in the Hijab" next month.

Liby, like Zawahiri before him, seems to have only now discovered Aafia, nearly eight years after she was kidnapped off the streets of Karachi, two and a half years after she surfaced dazed and disoriented in Afghanistan, and ten months following her conviction in a New York City courtroom.

Where have these guys been? Are they really hidden so deeply in caves that the news is only now reaching them? I don't believe that. Even the guys in the caves have cable TV.

They decided that she would make a great recruiting tool. Nothing more and nothing less. Read their statements. Watch their videos. There is no human warmth or concern for Aafia, her children, her brother, her sister, and especially for their mother. Just the tired calls for more mayhem.

Aafia has stated that she wants no violence done in her name. Her sister, her brother, and their mother have all repeatedly said in public and to me in private that they do not want people killing or dying or participating in any sort of violence in Aafia's name.

Do you want to know what success looks like?... SEE rest of Article here

Sentencing Update: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: "Fact vs. Fiction" : Transcript from her brother's talk posted here night before Aafia was sentenced to 86 years for a crime she didn't commit GO here and find plenty of posts re. the sentencing as well.

Find the above and more at the Official Family Site: FreeAafia dot org or GO here including this article: (Pakistan) Massive MQM rally seeks Aafia’s release - Wednesday, 29 Sep, 2010 Dawn

A Few Other Links:

International Justice Network dot org or GO here

Justice For Aafia Coalition here

Pasban here

Cage Prisoners here

She is now being allowed mail and magazine subscriptions though family visitation or calls are still prohibited.Cards and letters are the only way she knows that she is still remembered.

Aafia Siddiqui #90279-054
FMC Carswell
P.O.Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
END sources given at Official Family Site

***TO the short excerpt on top from Andrew Purcell about Islam, I want to add this note:

And of course the Christianity, the Judaism, the Hinduism and Buddhism of Compassion and Mercy are ALSO more fruitful for the whole and the highest in the present and over time as well - than any of their vengeful versions.

Here are a few more resources:
SEE Video of Andy Worthington speaking on behalf of Dr. Aafia and the site is here - an archive by Andy on Aafia is here

WikiLeaks Reveals Diplomatic Cables On Aafia Siddiqui. By Stephen Lendman. 03 December, 2010. OR GO here

Barbaric: 86-Year Sentence for Aafia by Andy Worthington here

Also be sure to look up items by ONDELETTE who's commented on both and Firedoglake as well as placed comments on other major items for Aafia news and Op Eds. Her work is unusually astute.

Note also the following:

This from Arab News dot com (Opinion):

By TAQI KHAN, BY E-MAILLiu Xiaobo and Aafia Siddiqui

The US has incarcerated, abused, tortured and eliminated alleged terrorists or security risks globally without batting an eye.Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib have even women and children as prisoners. However when the Chinese government jails Liu Xiaobo, it becomes a human rights issue and Liu becomes an international celebrity.President Barack Obama calls on the Chinese to release Liu without delay. There are many people in the world who would walk free tomorrow if only Obama wanted it. I mean all those imprisoned without charges by the US or on orders of the US (for example in Afghanistan and Iraq)? Would Obama start with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui? He does not have to beg China or any other country.

CLICK here

Monday, December 13, 2010


There are two ways of spreading light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. (Edith Wharton)

Prayer at Sunrise

O mighty, powerful, dark-dispelling sun,
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring'st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight,
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.

O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day's race to run,
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.
Written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

Where there is much light, the shadows are deepest. (Goethe)

Invoke the aid of three witnesses to verify thy ‘Station’.

The first witness is thine own consciousness:

See thyself, then, with thine own light.

The second witness is the consciousness of another ego:

See thyself, then, with the light of an ego other than thee.

The third witness is God’s consciousness:

See thyself, then, with God’s light. (Iqbal)

Our hands imbibe like roots, so I place them on what is beautiful in this world. I fold them in prayer, and they draw from the heavens light. (Francis of Assisi)

Ending "Note" here

Photo & Painting credit: The Three Candles: Cathy Mallo; Fosco Maraini, Vallombroso: Cathedral Of The Pines (1928); Albert Blakelock's “Moonlight Landscape”

Friday, December 10, 2010

World Human Rights Day 10 December 2010

Tomorrow for our Saturday Peace Gathering, I hope to raise more awareness of and concern for our US reputation beyond our borders by some new posters on how drones are STILL reaping the whirlwind and how our ONGOING inhumane Renditions and Detentions continue to anger countless numbers of non-Americans. These are our sisters and brothers - who once were our friends. We need our international friends now more than ever and perhaps more than they need us - at this point - since most of our unfortunate US "diplomatic"? interaction for years - including the US Ambassador until fairly recently, Anne Patterson, has been counter-productive to say the least.

UPHOLD the Rights of Detainees & get out the word today:
GO here ( International Detention Coalition ) For a most appropriate and up to date item from Andy Worthington seeking a Worldwide Ban on Solitary Confinement and Prisoner Isolation GO to Andy Worthington dot co dot uk and look for Human Rights Day Public Figures Call for Worldwide Ban on Solitary Confinement and Prisoner Isolation. I've tried to make his TEN or so recent relevant post come up easily but at least in the US or on my preview the urls are auto aborted. See more of his posts listed below.

I'm particularly concerned about the inhumane detention and threats for TWO WOMEN who were born across the world from one another of two different faiths. Plz look into BOTH the Detention of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in TEXAS, USA.
For updated info regarding her horrific situation plz. GO again to and look for category/aafia-siddiqui/archive and 2010/12/ December Archive as well as 12/05/video-andy-worthington-speaks-at-bring-aafia-siddiqui-home-november-14-2010/ and ...numerous-reasons-to-dismiss-us-claims-that-ghost-prisoner-aafia-siddiqui-was-not-held-in-bagram.

Be sure also to check out Free Aafia dot org (the official family site) and Justice for Aafia Coalition. (both which provide a free email service)...Find more related among the URLS listed at end of this post and with a quick google: Aafia Siddiqui: oneheartforpeace and nomorecrusades.

Also, look into the detention and threat of execution by hanging of Aasia Bibi of whom I've posted at another blog here

While Aasia Bibi's case is quite different from Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's - the parallels are that there are two women opposite sides of the world facing injust and inhumane treatment and detention by two nations which claim to hold to both democracy and enlightened rights. As women, they are especially powerless and vulnerable. Their religion may be used against them and the US may have also (inadvertently?) revvged up displaced anger toward Aasia Bibi because of the treatment toward so many Muslims and toward Dr. Aafia? See several URLS below for the most objective and updated Op Ed from inside Pakistan where MANY Muslims as well as other Pakistanis are even more horrified than many Americans/Christians at this state of affairs.

Strange that these two nations are growing further apart when to deepen as democracies and to appropriately seek an ending to the extremist violence, there is a much greater need for each to seek more humanity within and without and more listening to the groups with the least power. I for one fault the US most of all for reigning terror and injustice across the world with secret detention centers ( a gulag archipelago of torture ) and for continuing ( maybe even expanding? ) the use of the unmanned (video-operated) drones in places where America has NO right to go. What a terrible death that is! And imagine all the civilians, babes, elder affected.

On a more Family-Friendly side, tonight with our evening meal we will show AMREEKA a universal story of a single mother, MUNA, who leaves the West Bank with FADI, her teenage son for what is imagined as a new safe place. This has been the winner of at least four BIG film awards. "A slice of American life, as seen through the eyes of Palestinian immigrants - nuanced, engaging and authentically observed." USA Today This should be a great discussion starter for our family (two of whom were born in Uganda and know some of the situations shown for youth who must engage American ways after living in another land.)

Human Rights Day December 10, 2010

December 9, 2010 at 22:58

Although this is a crazy time of season, we cannot forget people, animals and situations that are taking place around the world that need our support.

Friday, December 10, 2010 is Human Rights Day.

On this day, Amnesty International will be holding a global Human Rights Day letter writing event.

Write for Rights is designed to draw awareness to the pressing issues that people all over the world are dealing with as their human rights are being ripped apart.

To find out more about Amnesty International’s Write for Rights, please go to or you can call 1-800-AMNESTY (266-3789).

To learn more about the work of Amnesty International, please have a look at the sites below.

NOTE from oneheart blogger: I just called: 1-800-AMNESTY (266-3789) and found out that as well as asking about Write for Rights - this is the connecting number for the main switchboard. You may also want to go to


Human Rights Day is a time for people to reflect about the meaning, importance, and need for human rights.

What do people do?

Events focused on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are held worldwide on and around December 10. Many events aim to educate people, especially children and teenagers, on their human rights and the importance of upholding these in their own communities and further afield.

The day may also include protests to alert people of circumstances in parts of the world where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not recognized or respected, or where the importance of these rights are not considered to be important. Cultural events are also organized to celebrate the importance of human rights through music, dance, drama or fine art.
Public life

Human Rights Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted between January 1947 and December 1948. It aimed to form a basis for human rights all over the world and represented a significant change of direction from events during World War II and the continuing colonialism that was rife in the world at the time. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered as the most translated document in modern history. It is available in more than 360 languages and new translations are still being added.

The UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France, on the December 10, 1948. All states and interested organizations were invited to mark December 10 as Human Rights Day at a UN meeting on December 4, 1950. It was first observed on December 10 that year and has been observed each year on the same date. Each year Human Rights Day has a theme. Some of these themes have focused on people knowing their human rights or the importance of human rights education.

The UN symbol (an azimuthal equidistant projection of the globe centered on the North Pole surrounded by olive branches) is often associated with Human Rights Day. Copies of the whole Universal Declaration of Human Rights are also regarded as symbolic of Human Rights Day and are often distributed on or around December 10.
Human Rights Day Observances

I am leaving these URLS as they are for easy copy/pasting:

Reference to info above and the calendar at the end of this post:

See Comments to this article to show arbitrariness of who is chosen as the worst villain:

To see the free and informed discussions within the Pakistan community as many seek more human rights within and without their nation:\12\10\story_10-12-2010_pg11_10

More from Andy Worthington on GITMO detainees and related:

Select another year-range:
Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Wed Dec 10 1980 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Thu Dec 10 1981 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Fri Dec 10 1982 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Sat Dec 10 1983 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Mon Dec 10 1984 Human Rights Day United Nation day
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Sat Dec 10 1988 Human Rights Day United Nation day
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Mon Dec 10 1990 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Tue Dec 10 1991 Human Rights Day United Nation day
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Fri Dec 10 1993 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Sat Dec 10 1994 Human Rights Day United Nation day
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Fri Dec 10 1999 Human Rights Day United Nation day
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Tue Dec 10 2013 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Wed Dec 10 2014 Human Rights Day United Nation day
Thu Dec 10 2015 Human Rights Day United Nation day

Copyright © Time and Date AS 1995–2010.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Invisible Beauty

“Beauty is a primeval phenomenon, which itself never makes its appearance, but the reflection of which is visible in a thousand different utterances of the creative mind, and is as various as nature herself.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This following piece and author is NEW to me just tonight - so please don't hold me responsible for the entire blog as I haven't yet checked out the work and sure don't know about the medical tips - if they are even sound. However, I was wanting a bit of a break from my heavier research and postings. So, here in the middle of my night - after visiting some friend's blogs with all their beauty and truth - I thought how often truest beauty is invisible.

Here, then, is what I suddenly found. I can take this little personal slice of Dr. Miller's off hand wonder into my own delightful places. Can you?

Also, I see that this doctor is quite generous to share what is known of health and applications along with the love of and experiences with the arts. The ending here, is quite amusing as well as wise :) (blogger, Connie)


Poetry is to seek beauty all invisible
By Dr. Miller:

Yes. Poetry is to seek beauty all invisible to the naked eye, the whole truth hidden..

I put myself in search of my character, which is actually somewhere. Yun Jung-hee is a legendary actress of Korean cinema of 1960s and 1970s, (who)was married with a pianist, lived in Paris and stopped playing for sixteen years. Yet from the moment I had in mind Mi-ja, I think of her. I do not know her well, but it was an instinctive feeling. Mi-ja has a beauty that goes against the passage of time, like a dried flower. It is old but speaks like a reckless girl eternal. ...the character was also the rather unrealistic Yun Jung-hee. Moreover, by pure chance, and maybe ...not ultimately was the real surname Yun Jung-hee is also Mi-ja.

How would you describe your relationship with the Festival de Cannes in 2007, you had this Secret Sunshine, which won the Best Actress. In 2009, you were a member of the jury. This year, you received the prize scenario for Poetry.

But I am a film director among many others. In reality, I do not like climbing stairs! The tuxedo, bow tie, I feel that all this does not suit me. When I am standing on the red carpet with flashing lights, I wonder what I’m doing.

I have already forgotten everything! The quota system (note: that promotes national film production) was considerably weakened. The Korean government wanted it that way for signing a free-exchange with the United States. It is in this context that I leave my office. The American oppression has succeeded.

I found the above piece at Dr. Miller's Blog here


Now, I want to end with a poem and the metaphor of water as the miracle between us which helps form invisible beauty of all kinds:

From Rumi:

The beauty of the heart

is the lasting beauty:

its lips give to drink

of the water of life.

Truly it is the Water,

that which pours,

and the one who drinks.

All three become one when

your talisman is shattered.

That oneness you can't know

by reasoning.

Mathnawi II, 716-718

* photo from

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dr. AAFIA: London Event Wednesday; Texas Incarceration; Updates and Related Items

“Aafia Siddiqui: Sentenced to Death” – Andy Worthington Attends Discussion with Moazzam Begg and Yvonne Ridley, London, December 1, 2010

On Wednesday December 1, from 6.30 to 9.30 pm, I’ll be discussing the fate of Aafia Siddiqui at the London Muslim Centre, 46-92 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1JX, with other speakers including Moazzam Begg, former Guantánamo prisoner and the director of Cageprisoners, and the journalist Yvonne Ridley, who is a patron of Cageprisoners, and has covered Dr. Siddiqui’s case extensively over the last few years. The event, which is free and open to all, will be chaired by Asim Qureshi, the executive director of Cageprisoners.

This event is taking place to raise awareness about the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist who, in September, was given an 86-year sentence in a court in New York for allegedly trying — and failing — to shoot two US soldiers in Ghazni, Afghanistan in the summer of 2008, after which she was rendered to New York to be put on trial. The event’s deliberately provocative title reflects how an 86-year sentence for a disputed crime in which no one was even hurt, let alone killed, is effectively a death sentence for Dr. Siddiqui, who will die in a US prison unless pressure is maintained on the US government — and on the Pakistani government — to examine her case again or arrange for her to be transferred to Pakistani custody with the opportunity for her sentence to be reviewed.

In the last few years, I have publicized and taken part in several events focusing on Aafia Siddiqui’s case — most recently in east London (where I interviewed former Guantánamo prisoners Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul) and outside the Pakistani embassy in London — and I never fail to mention how Dr. Siddiqui’s case is one of the most murky and troubling in the whole of the “War on Terror” initiated by the Bush administration, which led to countless horror stories, in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq, in the CIA’s network of secret prisons, and in the program of “extraordinary rendition” that involved — and still involves — prisoners being disposed of by being sent to torture prisons in third countries, or in their home countries.

In fact, Dr. Siddiqui’s case seems to be central to the darkest aspects of the Bush adminstration’s global torture program, as she was almost certainly identified as a supposed al-Qaeda operative by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, after his capture in Pakistan on March 1, 2003, and his subsequent torture — including being waterboarded 183 times — in a secret CIA prison in Poland, presumably on the basis that her second husband, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, whom she had reportedly married shortly before her capture, was KSM’s nephew. Ali was himself seized a month after her, on April 29, 2003, and also held in secret CIA prisons before his transfer to Guantánamo with 13 other men (including his uncle) in September 2006, but there is no evidence that Dr. Siddiqui had any knowledge of the 9/11 plans or of any planned attacks in the future, and it seems more likely, therefore, that she is an example of what I once referred to as the “tangled web” of those who are falsely denounced by prisoners when they are subjected to torture instead of being questioned non-coercively by skilled interrogators.

In an article following the ruling in September, entitled, “Barbaric: 86-Year Sentence for Aafia Siddiqui,” I presented the outline of Dr. Siddiqui’s story, and suggested how the sentence hinted at a cynical cover-up by the US authorities, as follows:

Such a disproportionate sentence would be barbaric, even if Aafia Siddiqui had killed the soldiers she shot at, but as she missed entirely, and was herself shot twice in the abdomen, it simply doesn’t make sense. Moreover, the sentencing overlooks claims by her lawyers that her fingerprints were not even on the gun that she allegedly fired, and, even more significantly, hints at a chilling cover-up, mentioned everywhere except at Aafia’s trial earlier this year. Seen this way, her sudden reappearance in Ghazni in July 2008, the shooting incident, the trial and the conviction were designed to hide the fact that, for five years and four months, from March 2003, when she and her three children were reportedly kidnapped in Karachi, she was held in secret US detention — possibly in the US prison in Bagram, Afghanistan — where she was subjected to horrendous abuse.

More of Aafia Siddiqui’s story can be found in my earlier articles...and on the website of the Justice for Aafia Coalition. Post-sentencing, she is now held in the Federal Medical Facility in Carswell, Texas, a notorious establishment described in an article by Yvonne Ridley for Cageprisoners as the “Hospital of horror.” Please visit this JFAC page for details about how to send letters of support, and if you’re in London, please come along to the event at the London Muslim Centre on December 1.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK)

Find his work at andyworthington dot co dot uk

By Andrew Purcell (find at Official Family Site: Free Aafia dot org)

November 20, 2010

"Our normal rules don't seem to apply to your sister"

After driving from Houston this is what the guard told Muhammad as we sat outside the Carswell prison facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
Muhammad just laughed. The guard had no idea how true his observation was.

Visiting Aafia Siddiqui has proven to be dificult. She and her brother have not been allowed a visit since May 2009 before she was sent to New York City from Fort Worth. Aafia has been repeatedly told that her brother hasn't made the arrangements to visit her. Muhammad has been told that she has to make the arrangements. This has been a continuing issue. Aafia and Muhammad are constantly being given conflicting information about the requirements for visitation rights.

Following her sentencing hearing Aafia has been returned to Carswell and Muhammad is still having trouble getting the information he needs to visit his sister. He filled out and returned all the forms needed for visitation priviliges but has not gotten any confirmation that he had been approved to visit. Phone calls to the prison administration were unreturned. Letters were unanswered.

Muhammad decided to try the direct route. Drive up to the front door and see if they will let him in. He asked me if I wanted to come along. I sat next to him for three weeks in the courtroom in New York City so a weekend in Fort Worth didn't seem to be too terrible (sorry Fort Worth, you are probably a beautiful city but all I have ever seen is the prison).

For those of you unfamiliar with the basic geography, there are nearly three hundred miles of Texas between Houston and Fort Worth. It is nearly all on modern highways, but the trip still takes about five hours.

When we got to the gate of the prison, Muhammad asked the guard to confirm the status of his visitation priviliges. The guard took his information and driver's license into his office and made a phone call.

About half an hour later he returned. I suspect he made more than one phone call, or at least spoke to more than one person, but it was obvious that he was told that all he needed to know was that this is just the way it is. While he maintained his professional politeness he was also visibly confused. Muhammad did have visitation priviliges but he would not be allowed to visit.

Since Aafia is now housed in the maximum security facility extra guards were required and had to be scheduled in advance, but the guard told us that even if the extra guards had been scheduled Muhammad would not be allowed to see Aafia. I thought for a second that he was going to tell us that Aafia would be required to pay for the overtime for these extra guards, but all he said was, "Our normal rules don't seem to apply to your sister."

He did give Muhammad a new phone number to call and a new name to ask for. This new number and new name may be helpful, but I doubt it. Their normal rules don't apply to Aafia.

After all, Aafia's first trip to Carswell was to determine whether she was competent to stand trial. It took the government a second try to get the finding it wanted.

The rules still didn't apply. This now legally competent Aafia Siddiqui immediately wanted to exercise her right to fire the lawyers representing her and replace them with lawyers of her choosing. She viewed the lawyer paid for by the United States as one more person representing the American government, and she viewed the three lawyers paid for by the government of Pakistan as agents of the Pakistani government. After the last seven years she doesn't have much trust in either institution.

All she wanted was a lawyer who was working for her. The rules say that it is her right to choose her own lawyer. The judge repeatedly denied her requests. I watched one such exchange in court when the judge told her she could fire the existing lawyers only if she could give him the names of her new lawyers. Her response, "You won't even give me a telephone book, how can I pick a new lawyer?"

Again, Muhammad, the normal rules do not seem to apply to your sister.

Aafia has been able to retain a new lawyer, a half year after her conviction. She has not been allowed any contact with this lawyer, which is interfering with her ability to file appeals in a timely fashion.

Muhammad has postponed surgery twice because he had hoped to visit Aafia. He is unable to postpone it any longer. This surgery will leave him unable to travel for a month and a half. He fully expects to get permission for a special visit the day after the operation and they will tell Aafia that he refused to see her.

This is the pattern of interference by authorities with Aafia's rights to consult her lawyer and her privileges to receive visitors. Keep her isolated, confused, uncertain, and feeling lost and abandoned. And most of all, keep her quiet.

So, no, the normal rules do not apply to her.
(END Andrew Purcell's article)

From 10 November, 2010: Kidnapping Attempt on Children of Aafia Siddiqui



November 13, 2010, New York, NY - At approximately 4:00 PM local time today, armed gunmen broke into the home of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's family in Karachi, Pakistan.

The incident was apparently a failed attempt to kidnap Dr. Siddiqui's two minor children - both of whom are US citizens, but now reside with relatives in Pakistan. It is unknown how the gunmen gained entry to the Siddiqui famlily home - which has been under 24-hour armed guard by Pakistani police since her eldest son, Ahmed, was returned to the family and came to live with his grandmother and aunt in Karachi in August, 2008.

The two gunmen, who were hiding in the children's bedroom, were discovered by Dr. Siddiqui's mother - Ismat. Upon opening the door of the room, Mrs. Siddiqui saw the two...Continue reading at Free Aafia dot org

Find URLS to the above and related here:


Besides Aafia: Related Recent Concerns - Injustices in the "War on Terror" / New Revelations / Pros and Cons with Most Recent Wiki-Leaks

Other topics related to Rendition and Torture:

Challenge to NY Psychology Boards' Evasion of Responsibility Archive for November, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

URGENT ACTION - UPDATED (20-21 Dec.) FOOD SAFETY BILL/ INTERNET "Blacklisting": Two Urgent Issues Needing Action

"Kinsman and Leaves" Photo credit goes to the nffc dot net , a US national group which explores and acts on concerns related to those in this post and update below GO here


Apologies for this extra long post but this JUST came in late Monday AFTER posting the corrected report with the recent sense of relief:

Dear Citizen for Health,

Urge your Representative NOW to oppose H.R. 2571/S. 510! NOW - ASAP

Last last night, while pretending to debate the START treaty, our allies in the U.S. Senate betrayed their strongest supporters and, after promising us never to do so, gave unanimous consent to move S. 510, the dangerous FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, to the House for lame-duck passage.

According to The Hill:

“The Senate unexpectedly approved food safety legislation by unanimous consent Sunday evening, rescuing a bill that floated in limbo for weeks because of a clerical error.”

Now Senator Tom Coburn [R-OK] has betrayed his promise to stand firm in the way of passing the bill by unanimous consent, and allowed the 11th-hour machinations that resulted in passage of S. 510 late Sunday night - with an unrecorded vote!

Next S. 510 heads to the House as part of H.R. 2751, with the unconstitutional revenue-raising clause removed. This means we have one last chance to stop efforts by big Agribusiness to control our food. The House meets TOMORROW - Tuesday, 12/21/10, to consider passage of H.R. 2571/S. 510. That leaves less than 48 hours to save food freedom!

The critical moment is now, during the last couple days before the Holiday recess. At this point both sides of the debate are certainly feeling the fatigue of the ongoing struggle, which is why it is more important than ever to stand strong. This is not a time to give up, but precisely the time where your efforts are most critical. This may be no dance contest, but the last one standing will win!

We must keep on pushing back! Please use the updated action item every day, and forward it to anyone you know who wants to keep the freedom to choose what they put into their bodies!

Send your message NOW - tell your Representative to vote "NO"!

Health freedom advocates across the country have made their voices heard loud and clear and stopped S. 510 at every turn - we must do so one last time, and ensure those who betrayed us know we will not forget when it comes time to vote.

Thank you for your perseverance,

The Citizens for Health Team

And, don’t forget to check out a powerful new resource that can support you personally as well as in your role as an advocate for our world’s health and wellness. WisdomFilms™ is a new genre in contemplative, life-enhancing media. These short, beautiful films provide unique experiences that reduce stress and are deeply inspiring. (Also see Voice for Hope.)

EARLIER RECAP (before ACTION release above) first for those new here: The food safety bill (HR 875) was first introduced in 2009 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) as House bill 875. Sounds good - right? Let's take another look: DeLauro’s husband, Stanley Greenburg,conducts research for Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

Question is who has been and is aware of this connection? Even the UN and the CDC have appeared to be pressured unduly by those connected with Monsanto.

The bill calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration which would allow the US government to regulate food production at all levels. (Perhaps not unlike what the US Gov has been doing in Iraq. They have allowed Monsanto to be part of confiscating Iraqi farmer's own heirloom seeds from decades of family farming and dignity. In Iraq at least this (was/is?) in exchange for the Monsanto-styled seeds and other supplies which like in the US poison both a farmer's independence yet also their families health. The current bill would be likely to follow some aspects of this kind of control here in the US.

So, this bill passed the house in 2009. Fortunately, the similar bill that passed the Senate a few weeks ago (read the item below posted for November 20th) was found to be unconstitutional (a revenue issue). The Senate bill was S 510. SO, S 510 was sent back to the House for passage Dec. 8 and the legislation inched forward as the House passed the Senate version of the bill as part of a larger resolution to fund the federal government in other areas for the next several months.

That bill passed the House, the Senate and the House again only to be sent
BACK to the Senate!

SO, there's some hope in the guise of two victories for us. First was that someone found the unconstitutional aspect of the Senate Bill and said something about it.

Second, even though it was sent back to the House and the House attempted to hide
the Food Safety Bill in a larger package laden with earmarks - it seemed destined to pass the Senate BUT it did not pass! Grace again...

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave up on the spending bill late Thursday night...

So we've got a little time once again...

STAY TUNED and do your own homework on your own. Do you mind putting what you find in Comments below?

Sounds like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) became part of the problem the day before the vote by coming out with fear tactics on food borne illnesses. If it sounds suspicious (like pressure from shady places?) it probably is. Unfortunately proper research and science has been missing all along in anything or anyone getting recommendations from Monsanto.

Because S 510 has been caught in so many snags, Mrs. Rosa Delauro has no really new proposal. She's simply RE-introduced legislation intended to create a SINGLE agency. This agency would claim to focus solely on overseeing the so-called "safety" of the US food supply.

Yet, in fact, the actual role the Gov would get is way too much control with methods proven dangerous. When is a name of something not a REAL name: when it deliberately seeks to confuse and mislead.

Yikes kids! (Stella, my expert friend says)

The blocking of this bill (S 510) is a small victory but there is still a lot to do.
What we need to do now it to keep an eye on any newly proposed legislation in regard to this, whether it is from Delauro or someone else and continue to fight the good fight.

This is about health freedom, the freedom to choose for yourself what foods
you put into your own body and the freedom to grow or raise those foods and/or purchase those foods.


For now at least there is no new law that gives the FDA ambiguous authority
to close farms and bust down doors...You did hear about the raid at Rawesome Foods in California right?
If not please look it up.

SEE Dec. 19th and look for "food safety bill dies."

In the article for Dec. 12th "food safety bill victim of omnibus bill, "
the last paragraph reads:

Reid pushed through a bill that blatantly violated the Constitution and wasted time that he should have spent on the budget. Had Reid pushed the omnibus first, instead of having it public long enough for people to peruse it thoroughly, he might have gotten both. Instead, Reid appears to have lost twice, although certainly he won’t give up trying until time runs out on the lame-duck session and Democratic machinations.

In reference to the statement, Had Reid pushed the omnibus first, instead of having it public long enough for people to peruse it thoroughly, he might have gotten both,
Stella points out, "Oh, so it is harder to do bad things when the public knows what is going on~ wow."

This is why I am writing this now.

SO, Plz help get out the word.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stormy Times: Uncovering the Wealth

Eye of Storm*
Encouraged by my friend, Thinking, here at last is a fully personal post.

I had driven all one dark night clear from Western North Carolina to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the house of a dear elder friend whom I planned to take the next day all the way to South Carolina to surprise her son in maximum security prison for Mothers' Day.

Getting to Philadelphia was a bit lonely with only the weirdest radio stations available and the skies were unusually dark. I had to make a few short stops partly to help me stay awake and good places were hard to find.

Then - on the way back south - we drove all day and then into the night through one of the worst storms I'd ever encountered with strong winds and thick ribbons of rain. Again we had to go a lonely vacated road. Then we passed a sky looking a bit like the hurricane's eye atop this post. She kept describing it to me but I refused to look at the tornado's circular eye as it bent lower and lower in the sky coming. I just kept my eyes on the road and the way ahead, looking frantically for a safe place to stop. Yet there was none.

I gripped the steering wheel for all it was worth as the ever thickening rain and wind seemed to twist my direction time and again. The twister looked like it was coming straight at us (when I finally peeked). Everything got very black and of course I could barely see. I knew we had to stop yet all I could find was a flimsy abandoned gas station where there was another car. I don't know when I was so afraid to breath that I couldn't be sure I was breathing - yet with all our choices out of our hands, watching the sky and waiting was a bit like being in an exciting movie.

Finally the tornado got very close to touching down not far away and then skirted past the area.

In such moments there's little to do but to wait out the storm. YET, during that storm we found we could stay calm and could free ourselves up to choose the next best step. Just being in that moment felt strengthening but of what? To recognize human fragility and dependence on weather and God's help - or perhaps just the capriciousness of fate? How will we ever know? Still, to look back and know for other times that we did get through that is a nice feeling. Stopping later at a nearby motel, we were told that the motel folk were listening on the radio until everything went blank and it was supposed to be a big one. They'd figured by the radio report that the the twister was going to fall right over them and were visibly greatly relieved because they said their motel wouldn't have survived. I smiled wondering why we imagined the little flimsy roof we were under would do us any good?

The rest of the trip was especially rich with my friend, Roberta, in the closeness of unusually free conversation - as we spoke of her difficult life (five children each by a different man - often abusive and forceful). We spoke of the bright points too - how she overcame many challenges and of the music that she and her son loved and shared.

Yes, we did make it to the church on time for the special service. We did surprise the prisoner son. And he never sang more beautifully with his professional and passionate voice on this special Mother's Day. There were few if any other older mothers there that day and Roberta became a celebrity as many men young and old honored her with hugs, smiles and words of respect.

All of us can look at many such stormy - even frightening - moments which are deepening of bonds between persons and of inner strength if we only take the time to recall...

Now, here it is the end of another difficult night - another kind of storm: my husband and I were waiting for our son to come home from work because we knew he had a test in a most difficult class -- he'd studied hard but wanted our help and we had both offered. Well we were up late and no son when expected.

I stayed up waiting. Finally he came back late yet I didn't know until hours later that with him he'd brought home another young man. Soon after I'd said goodnight I heard the door bang and went out to see that our son's car was again gone. He returned not much later in a panic explaining that he didn't want to awaken or upset us but as soon as he'd brought the young man home the guy had taken off. Our son was concerned he'd get hurt during the night in his condition (another stormy night).

You see, my son works with him in a new job and had seen him intoxicated at a pub where a number of guys were watching a TV football game. The pub owner had taken the friend's keys so he wouldn't be able to drive himself in that state to his apartment which was an hour away. My son felt responsible that he not get left out in the dark and had brought him home to "dry out". yet the other young man suddenly disappeared.

There is a fairly recent history of a guy down the road who'd been also very drunk and disrupting the neighborhood and when the police came he'd run out of the house across the street and accidentally landed in a brook lined with lots of jagged rocks and drowned.

I'm quite sure the thought of finding another dead body in a ditch crossed all our minds as we racked our brains and looked in every direction in ditches and woods around our place. Finally we called a few folk and at last did call the police. He was found checked in - just a few moments before our call at a motel in town. So he had wandered about for hours in his drunken state.

All of us, my dear son and another son, my husband and I, the intoxicated new friend, someone I called to get the man's parents' number and then his parents - ALL of us had all lost a good night's sleep and faced a disrupted morning.

For me, this was the very morning I'd planned and prepared for all of yesterday in a special way: I was going to finally begin in earnest to end my haphazard work on a book project and to initiate my three-hour daily writing schedule starting at 4:30 am! Of all mornings after such a night.

Now instead of working on that book, I'm spending my morning writing this...still looking for a little silver-lining...:)

Well, it WAS a relief to finally locate the missing man (who turned out to be a son of friends). What a joy that we found no one conked out in a ditch.

Many across America - and in other societies as well - live in an alcohol-soaked environment: alcohol-based drinks at almost every party and places where people watch games. Often, when people spend an evening at a pub or party or even at a restaurant alcohol use leads to trouble not only for those imbibing but for others - if not right away - at some point.

Hopefully, there's enough pain left over from last night in all of our experience to seed some little changes - I pray - yet, I pray that this happens without the paralysis of guilt and shame and without the loss of the kind of satisfaction and sacrifice that comes with being compassionate - being the "good Samaritan" at other times. (Some helpful observations just might happen naturally as our son tries to take his test in his difficult physics class after such a painful night.)

Well, here's the little meditation that just showed up before I began my rant:

Stop Throwing Away the Treasure Called "Troubling Times"

by Guy Finley

Key Lesson: If we look at (unexpected) events as something placed in our way, a troublesome time we must pile through on our way to some imagined peace to come, then we literally throw away the possibility of discovering that each moment, regardless of its appearance, is divine in nature and can serve to help us remember the same... if only we so choose.

It's well known that storm-tossed waves often expose new treasures along the shoreline; there is unexpected wealth to be collected by those who know the secret value of rough seas. And yet, even though most of us have little tolerance for anything that "rocks our boat," the truth of the matter is self-evident:

Unwanted moments introduce us to parts of ourselves that would otherwise never get healed were it not for the difficulties that first reveal them and that lead us to release their pain.


Somehow, I wonder if this little piece applies to all chaotic/stormy situations? I can imagine - no I KNOW of happenings where I can find no such application.

Yet - at least in my one little life - I figure these words of wisdom apply to almost all of my most stormy occasions.

How about you, reader, have you healed or been enriched by such a stormy time?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi is LISTENING to the People

Internet cache/BBC

"I want to listen to people - I really want to listen to what the people want - what the other countries want"

Looks like this is the FIRST interview - at least it's the one I just heard Sunday AM
here yet it's minus the similarly light and lovely short remarks by the Amnesty spokeswoman which should be found soon on the usual BBC World Service site.

We have dear friends from Mynmar/Burma where some years back we watched films showing Aung San Suu's courageous leadership on the ground in the midst of bitter disregard from authorities while citizens in their varied and colorful dress marched for democracy and social equality. For that and because I appreciate seeing how persons with such integrity continue to rise beyond mere survival and to seek dialogue and listening to the people. How much more inspiring on a universal level this widely-embracing approach - rather than to allow celebrity status to block current on-the-ground possibilities.

Certainly, she is a kind of Mandela leader for our time - yet uniquely herself. She is clearly THE spiritual and practical leader of her nation and at the same time inspires worldwide work toward liberty for all. So this release clearly has my attention.

I just awoke to the above short, compelling interview with both Aung San Suu Kyi and with an Amnesty commentator on the leader's release. Both women have beautiful voices which would seem to command trust and the desire to listen as long as the speaker is willing. Later I hope to add more comments and pull direct quotes from this interview. The BBC interviewer must be commended for questions which did not feel agenda-based but rather open-ended and full of respect.

Possibly the interview will also be available here long term - here Broadcast today 12:05 on BBC World Service and available soon on BBC iPlayer. Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the BBC...

The words this rare leader chose included deep concern as to the greater plight of so many others who've been and are incarcerated in much more difficult conditions than she (in her long house arrest). Yet she also expresses almost a childlike wonder that now, as a practical person she has perhaps a new window of opportunity. She says clearly she's here now to listen to her people - TO WHAT THEY WANT and TOGETHER to accomplish further inroads. She spoke of the rule of law and that her rule has always been to seek democracy for all.

From yesterday, Saturday the 13 November, an interview of 55 minutes appears currently available at the above site described as covering the internal, regional and international implications of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi (I am not sure whether or not the shorter is from that one or no?)

A helpful and inspiring summary note:

YANGON, Myanmar – Pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi walked free Saturday after more than seven years under house arrest, welcomed by thousands of cheering supporters outside the decaying lakefront villa that has been her prison.

Her guards effectively announced the end of her detention, pulling back the barbed-wire barriers that sealed off her potholed street and suddenly allowing thousands of expectant supporters to surge toward the house. Many chanted her name as they ran. Some wept.

A few minutes later, with the soldiers and police having evaporated into the Yangon twilight, she climbed atop a stepladder behind the gate as the crowd began singing the national anthem.

"I haven't seen you for a long time," the 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said to laughter, smiling deeply as she held the metal spikes that top the gate. When a supporter handed up a bouquet, she pulled out a flower and wove it into her hair.

Speaking briefly in Burmese, she told the crowd, which quickly swelled to as many as 5,000 people: "If we work in unity, we will achieve our goal."

Found here from a fellow worker for the people on a listserv

Friday, November 12, 2010

Updated Story/Links: On Dr. Aafia's Behalf: Sunday Many Speakers and Supporters Gather in London

Caged blue budgies and the Aafia I know
Written by Ayesha Kazmi Friday, 29 October 2010

"While the world continues to speculate what Aafia baji has been up to in all those years that she went missing, I will continue to keep alive my memories of me and her chasing those blue budgies around in circles and laughing together. Just like those birds wanted not be caught, caged and instead, fly free, I know for sure, so too does Aafia baji."

My mother knew that I would be a barrel full of trouble when she smelled cigarette smoke on my clothes once when I was in seventh grade. From that point on, she was quite adamant to clandestinely place a Muslim “big sister” every step of the way in my life – particularly when I was a teenager.

One of the appointed big sisterly figures to me was beloved Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia baji, as I called her, entered into my life when I was fourteen. One of my very first memories of her was at a women’s get together and Aafia baji was dressed from head to toe in maroon. Her hijab meticulously matched her stockings, which meticulously matched her shoes. Her small frame and high pitched voice didn’t match her hearty presence. For a college student, she was very mature in her stature. I remember thinking to myself how adorable she is – for an auntie. Yes, when I first met Aafia baji, I assumed she was an auntie. Next to her, I did appear very much a child. She is, however, only four years older than me. When I was introduced to her – knowing myself, I most likely stuck my hand out to shake hers – she gave me a look of recognition and sincere compassion. She didn’t accept my hand. Instead, she gave me a hug. I took to her straight away.

It was shortly after meeting Aafia baji that I learned she was a local college student in my hometown of Boston, MA. The students in the area were socially organised and often hosted a range of activities, not only for themselves but, in collaboration with the local Muslim community. Over the years, and at various events and social gatherings, I got to know her well. My parents’ home was a hub for many of the local students. As a result, Aafia spent a lot of time at my parents’ home. There was a large group of us, me being the youngest. We all spent a lot of time together –like an extended family. The familiarity between us all gave way to many inside jokes, Aafia baji often being at the brunt of many. We were merciless in teasing her in our best moments. From trying to get her to chill-out in her uber serious moments to threatening to set her up with random “brothers” in the community for marriage, and to her credit, she was good natured about being teased.

I did a lot of silly things as a teenager, but Aafia baji never judged me. She always kept an open line of communication through my mother and I always saw that she had a soft spot for me. She often called my mother to ask her to bring me to her university campus where she frequently put me to work – whether it was with her extra-curricular activities or her curricular ones.

One of my favourite memories of her was when my mother dropped me off one afternoon at her university dormitory when she needed help with creating artistic poster boards for a class presentation. There were a whole load of them that she needed help designing and colouring. When I arrived, she had an entire snack ready and waiting for me: orange juice in yellow plastic cups and vanilla cream cookies. We must have sat at the table for a good hour just talking. She was good about engaging with me and talking to me at my level – always encouraging me to be truthful and honest about who I am, never deigning to talk down to me. Our big sister/little sister match was quite perfect. I too, had developed a real soft spot for her.

That week, one of Aafia baji’s fellow dormitory residents was away and had asked Aafia baji to take care of her pet budgies. There were three of them – all of them blue. After our little snack, we went into her room where the three budgies were flying around and chirping away. They were taking turns sitting on her desk, on her curtain rod, or on top of the cage. Before we got started on her project, Aafia baji was insistent that the budgies had to be put back into their proper place so as to not distract us from our work. The trouble was how to catch all three of them as quickly as possible. It ended up taking us a long time. Together, we ran around the room in circles chasing after the birds – but they weren’t having any of it. They wanted to fly around free and not be caged. After a while, we just laughed at the silliness of it all. Then Aafia baji grabbed the dupata (shoulder scarf part of South Asian women’s suits) off of her shoulders and waited for the birds to land somewhere accessible. When one did, she carefully threw her dupata on top of the bird and grabbed it. She was gentle with these animals. I know Aafia baji – she would never harm a fly.

Aafia baji stayed in Boston even after she completed her studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Eventually, she went on to complete her PhD at Brandeis and then got married. I remember her, her husband – and I even remember hearing the news about the birth of her children. By that time I was in my 20s. Though I didn’t see Aafia baji as often as I did when I was a teenager, she was still a part of my life.

In 2004 when John Ashcroft stood on national television declaring several wanted Al-Qaeda suspects at large, naming Aafia baji as one of them, my mother and I stood in front of the TV in stunned silence with our hands over our mouths. I feel compelled to say that what is being said about her is not the Aafia Siddiqui that I know and love dearly.

Over the years, I have been haunted by all of this. There have been days where I thought I would see her in random places and had to literally rub my eyes and double check. There have been nights where images of her wouldn’t leave my mind so that I could sleep. I cannot even begin to imagine what has happened to her – I cannot bring myself to even picture the image of her small frame being put through years of trauma of an unknown kind. When the first images of her came out in 2008, I couldn’t even look at them without feeling panicked and sick to my stomach. Many members of my family cried. We didn’t even recognise the photographs. She had gone from the woman I knew, a confident adorable beauty dressed from head to toe in maroon, to a woman so visibly broken.

While the world continues to speculate what Aafia baji has been up to in all those years that she went missing, I will continue to keep alive my memories of me and her chasing those blue budgies around in circles and laughing together. Just like those birds wanted not be caught, caged and instead, fly free, I know for sure, so too does Aafia baji.

Ayesha Kazmi is a researcher at Cageprisoners
Read 541 times

GO to Free Aafia dot org for more RECENT items just sent out - including notice of a recent frightening attempt at Dr. Aafia's mother's home to kidnap Aafia's children and another moving article by a friend of Aafia and her family. Also find here many archived reports such as various responses worldwide to the news of Aafia's sentencing and a summary of the case.

Also find at

* Aafia Siddiqui: Sentenced to Death
* Hospital of horror is Dr Aafia's new home
* Apathy for Babar Ahmad
* Yvonne Ridley: US Judge bans defendant from sacking her legal team - even after conviction
* Aafia Siddiqui

Go to Andy Worthington's Post here

And also go to Umah dot com/JFAC here

Be sure to go to FreeAafia,, JFAC as well as Andy Worthington's Site for reports on this rally.

Please also go to the post just below for "Dignity in Difference" and try to hear the Radio presentation on Krista Tippett's BEING dot org and go to the happy interview above.