Some friends of mine held an event on April 4 to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s powerful speech at the Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination. In that speech Dr. King makes a powerful connection between racism and war. Kings’ clear vision lit a new path for us but we were not ready to follow. Now it is more relevant than ever.
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I had decided to keep a weekly journal. It seemed doable, but of course fate intervened. I lost 2 weeks attending a trial in Syracuse, NY. Well, one week attending and the next week processing. Four Hancock protesters were being tried for a civil resistance action at the Air National Guard Base 2 years ago. the Jury heard their unique arguments and acquitted them. Here’s the piece I wrote. You can find the original at ‘Hancock and Beyond‘.
Jury Acquitted Big Books Protesters!
Drawings by Dan Burgevin
A six person jury acquitted Hancock Big Books Protesters 2 years after demonstration resulted in arrests. The trial of Hancock protesters, Ed Kinane of Syracuse, James Ricks and Daniel Burns of Ithaca and Brian Hynes of Brooklyn, began on February 28th with jury selection, and ended after 11 pm on March 2nd with all defendants acquitted. They were tried before Judge David Gideon on charges of trespass and 2 counts of disorderly conduct, all violations, and on misdemeanor charges of Obstructing Governmental Administration (OGA).
I am so proud of Sarah for the amazing empowered woman she has become, and the wonderful work she is doing. Please listen to Helen Coban’s interview below to understand Sarah’s take on war and peace, on refugees and reconciliation in the Middle East. It is her home and her passion. ……….
You can learn more about Dr, Sarah’s work on her Facebook page “Because I Love Peace”
Dr. Sarah Ahmed talks about her work with survivors of ISIS violence, in Iraq
Nowruz, celebrated on the spring equinox each year in Afghanistan, Iran and Kurdish regions everywhere is a very special holiday that celebrates the New Year, literally, New Day. Families and friends gather on Nowruz to celebrate and to appreciate the beginning of a new cycle. The Global Days of Listening Skype Call also broadcast on Livestream on March 21 was very much a celebration of Nowruz with friends and peace lovers around the world sharing ideas and actions in solidarity.
Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) facilitated the discussion from Chicago. Over the course of three hours, Dr. Hakim Young with Zarguna in Bamyan and Hoor and the APVs (Afghan Peace Volunteers) joined the conversation from Bamyan and Kabul. Sherri Maurin called in with Dr. Fatih Faiz from Erbil, Iraq with his students Chra and Husan. Madelyn MacKay from rural British Columbia, Canada joined to talk about Nonviolent Peace Force. Bernie Myer from Olympia Washington shared his experiences as the American Gandhi in India, and George Fisher and Susan Peretti, Quakers from long Island discussed the atrocities at Kunduz Hospital and what can we do now.
“We are no longer in a system which allows us to hold the authorities accountable. I don’t feel that Afghans and the people of the Middle East are patient any more. I feel that we cannot wait for the authorities to act. I feel that the active thing to be done that would make us happiest is just to connect with one another and to flood our circles and relationships with what we know and what we can see because what we see in reality is so very different from anything that any politician today would say officially. So what we would say in our relationships and our communities would ring a bell. It would harness great support.
On the 5th and 6th of March, I attended the CodePink Saudi Summit at David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington DC. Saturday was jam packed with interesting speakers. Sunday we put our heads together to work out ways to address the multiple issues currently swirling around Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud. You can learn more about what is going on at End the US Saudi Alliance.
Rather than attempt to summarize an incredibly complex and nuanced conversation, I am going to post some recordings of the panel discussions. Rather than post the second rate videos from my Flip, I have posted my audio recordings, for those of you who would like to listen as you go about your day, at the end of this page.
If you have the time and the interest, CodePink has the entire set of recordings on the RealNews website. RealNews did an outstanding job of livestreaming the entire days worth of panels on Saturday and posting the reasonably high quality recordings on their website:
2016 Saudi Summit: Understanding The Saudi Kingdom and Its Global Role
To go with the audio recordings below, I’ve pulled in the excellent, wonderful, brilliant Keynote by Vijay Prashad:
Guest Post by George Payne Gandhi Earth Keepers International The great poet and novelist Alice Walker once said that “activism is the rent we pay for living on the planet.” Speaking as a white American male, who is able minded, non-handicapped, heterosexual, English speaking, Christian raised, university educated, and endowed with birthright citizenship, I know exactly what Walker means. My position on this planet is […]
This year, Peace Action New York State has been focused on building strong student chapters. They have been doing a great job. Judy Bello has had several opportunities to meet these young people who just might be the next generation of dedicated activists. In September Judy was invited to speak by the Western New York Peace Center at Canisius College in Buffalo. The subject was the war in Syria, a tough one for most Americans to wrap their minds around. Later she was invited by Peace Action, New York State (PANYS) to give some background on the recent flood of refugees fleeing into Europe, first at Hobart William Smith in Geneva and just this week at SUNY Geneseo.
Reverend Graylan Hagler spoke in Rochester this evening at an event sponsored by Christians Witnessing for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. Reverend Hagler is the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, immediate Past National President of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ) and has served on the Steering and Administrative Committee of United for Peace and Justice. Inspired by a visit to Palestine with an African American Delegation earlier this year, his topic was “Ferguson to Palestine”.
Hagler’s lecture was was deliberately sabotaged by two different Zionist groups in Rochester. First, he received a death threat on the phone last week from an individual who identified himself as a member of a local branch of CUFI, Christians United For Israel, Reverend Hagee’s Christian Zionist church. This threat was followed by the expression of a desire to ‘spit’ in Hagler’s face. The barbarism of these attacks was actually rather shocking. I mean, these are middle class folks from the local suburbs. A day or two later, Colgate Divinity School, who were to host the event, withdrew their invitation. Another local group, Roc4Israel, defiantly claimed responsibility for pressuring Colgate to cancel. A couple of days after that, the local NPR affiliate backed out of a planned interview with Hagler.
Reverend Hagler courageously decided to come to Rochester anyway,
Yesterday was International Peace Day. In the morning, I participated in a Global Day of Listening phone conversation with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group of Afghan youth who, with their mentor Dr. Hakim Young, have opened a Borderfree Community Center in Kabul and school for street children. They celebrated International Peace day with the launch of a new international campaign for building a network of peace around the globe. #Enough is a campaign to say that We have had #Enough of war and violence. These are young people who have never lived in a world at peace. Wars have raged in Afghanistan throughout their entire lives. And they are not the only ones.
The antiwar movement in the United States is severely divided at present. Even discounting the people who have drunk the Kool-Aid of the MSM or take at face value the pronouncements of US officials on foreign policy, there is much discussion around what divides the antiwar movement and how can it be reformulated in a broader context.
There are some who have said that as revolutionary socialists they don’t always agree with’pacifists’. I guess that is one guideline, but ‘revolution’ is different things to different people, and if you have ever gone to a nonviolence training you might have learned that the same is true of ‘pacifism’. I consider myself both nonviolent and a revolutionary thinker. There is a broad stroke that reflects the widest division of the antiwar movement as I see it. That is the division between those who ‘buy’ U.S. hegemony and those who don’t ‘buy’ it.