Springing into Inspired Resistance and Resilience!

Hi Everyone! I have been very busy organizing like I haven’t in a while. As you’ll see below, the Pacific Life Community is meeting on line this coming weekend. Instead of a welcome visit back to see my Vegas tribe as an attendee, I have been shepherding our on line effort instead. I’m enjoying the necessity for some phone conversations instead of screen-time organizing. But creating events and updating the PLC social media that we let sit for far too long. Well, here I am, finally!

I’m relieved that F. in state prison and Morganne of Vegas seem to be recovering from their covid infections. Prayers and energy still welcome, of course. I was scared thinking about my friends in Texas, especially the three I know there in federal prisons. I was relieved when I heard back from Mufid and then Reality. I had heard of power out at a women’s prison near Ft. Worth, and I figured it must be Carswell. She said that they weren’t muchworse than everywhere in this instance, and Mufid said he was warm. Mufid is still hopeful for word on his request for release. He deserves to be free, and his wife needs him. He was even was momentarily pronounced not guilty on all charges, but then the jury was polled and one changed to guilty, so it was a mistrial and he got 20 years at the rigged second trial. Next Missive I’ll be sure to include another story he sent me.

Marshall Islanders Call for Short Videos for March 1 Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day; deadline 2/24, 6 pm Pacific Time

From: Ariana Tibon <educate@rminuclearcommission.net>
Subject: Nuclear Remembrance Day Videos
Date: February 20, 2021 at 9:55:32 PM MST
To: stillhere-coalition@rethinkmedia.org

Iakwe from the Marshall Islands, 
In our decades of fighting for nuclear justice in our home, we join hands with other frontline communities worldwide addressing the legacies of nuclear testing. We also take great comfort in receiving support from around the world reminding us that we are strong and resilient people and that we are not alone in our pursuit of justice for the Marshallese people. This year’s Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day theme, “We Are Not Alone,” reflects our shared efforts to uplift and provide comfort to one another.

I humbly ask that you send a short “you are not alone” message to the people of Marshall Islands and to encourage your networks to do so as well. We ask that videos be no longer than 15 seconds. 
These videos will be compiled and played during the commemoration ceremony on March 1st, 2021.
Here’s the link for video submissions below:

https://forms.gle/MCwzV2fWX4Ls6yZg6

Best,

Ariana Tibon, Education and Public Awareness Director, Republic of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission Tel. Office: +692-625-3394/3291 Ext. 240 

WEBINAR: Arab American Studies Is Ethnic Studies!
Jewish Educators Say YES to Liberatory Ethnic Studies 
Thursday, February 25, 5pm PT / 8pm ET
Register here.  

Ethnic studies is under attack. Anti-racist, decolonial, and liberatory ethnic studies is being attacked for being too critical of US history, too centered on the stories of the most marginalized communities, and not patriotic enough. But these attacks started because California’s proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum included Palestine. And at the heart of the attack is the claim that teaching Arab American studies and including Palestine is antisemitic.   We will address:

  • Why Arab-American studies, including Palestine, is central to ethnic studies.
  • The difference between antisemitism and criticism of Israel, and why it matters.
  • Why all students will benefit from a liberatory ethnic studies curriculum that promotes collective liberation.
  • How teachers can prepare for and deal with backlash for teaching authentic ethnic studies.

Bowing to pressure from pro-Israel and other rightwing lobbyists, the CA Department of Education is about to approve a watered-down, “all lives matter” Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that marginalizes Arab American Studies and erases Palestine. How did we get to this point?   Please join us to hear from Jewish educators who support an authentic ethnic studies curriculum that faces the true history of the United States and explores the connections between US policies abroad and the racialization and marginalization of people of color here in the United States.    Featuring:

  • A special guest appearance by Josh Healey, spoken word artist and comedian
  • Ethnic Studies Instructor Margot Goldstein
  • African American Studies Professor Alex Lubin

…and others   Moderated by Jody Sokolower of the Middle East Children’s Alliance’s Teach Palestine Project and Save Arab American Studies Campaign.   Register here. Join the Facebook event page for updates.  
“If we can find the courage to tell our children the truth, they can begin to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.”   — Jeff Duncan-Andrade , professor of Latina/o Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Pfc7u2z2S46ImggfhYeV1g

Pacific Life Community 2021: Going Global!

Click here to visit the information about the 14th annual Bravo Nuclear Test Weekend of Repentence and Resistance. (I just made that up, but it’s what we do.) The way the 3 pm session is being shared is exciting for me because the question seems to have struck a cord for people. The network will take time to check in with ourselves in a couple of morning sessions first. We are small, and last year’s gathering coulda/shoulda been cancelled as covid was really starting to emerge sorta up where we were, outside of Seattle. A couple people do think/know they got sick there, but I don’t think severely so. I still went and then decided to get arrested as you may recall. It was great reconnecting with folks, if a little insular. This year is NOT insular, that is for sure! I was looking forward to returning to Vegas, but no! Not only no fun travel, but also, I seemed to be the one to step up and help shepherd our weekend into a gathering (not alone, but principally) or we might not have met this year. Now seems like a time to engage, not disengage, so I am very glad people are glad we are to meet. It is needed.

Check out and sign our petition/letter of grave concerns about the US nuclear posture to President Biden. He may never see it, but I think it came out pretty clear and strong, but not vitriolic. For 14 years, the creed and annual practice of the PLC is to cry out against the immoral and illegal madness of nuclear weapons and the decades long, nuclear racism of the United States. This year, as the struggle for Black Lives Matter continues to resonate and internationalize, we are duty bound to draw attention to the fact that this struggle is yet another case of deadly, violent, white supremacy and settler colonialism.

I’m hosting a movie watch ‘n’ talk on Sunday with a 15 minute intro at 3:00 pm. followed by a post-movie check in from 5:00 to 5;30. https://fb.me/e/Avx8AQGm

We’ll gather on zoom, but people will stream the movie, most easily renting through Vimeo for $5. It is a very good film, but not a blockbuster. A little remuneration to Adam J. Horowitz who made it will be some worthy positive reinforcement for his great effort.

Challenging Antisemitism with Communal Solidarity
Sunday, March 21 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Kehilla Community Synagogue’s Middle East Peace Committee is pleased to present an powerhouse panel of wisdom and sensitivity featuring Liz Jackson, Penny Rosenwasser, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi and Binya Koatz to discuss creating Communal Solidarity as we Challenge the rise in Antisemitism. Rabbi David Cooper will be moderating the program.
Antisemitism is real. We must confront it. How?False accusations of Antisemitism are also real. How shall we confront them?Both of these are serious obstacles for people in the Jewish community and for those organizing against the Israeli Occupation and the oppression of Palestinians.
What can inter-communal solidarity do to meet these challenges?
For more details and to learn more about the panelists for this important discussion, here is the download link for a beautiful flyer and the link to the Facebook event . Please join us as we explore these challenges – REGISTER HERE

Eamon 2.2

Eamon is amazing me all the time. At 2 years and 2 months, he has a picture of me and can say and spell out d-a-d-d-y which I doubt I could have done at that age. I get wistful as I see parents with small children on Page St. or in the Panhandle near where my work truck is kept. Little ones on little wheeled bikes and scooters, or walking, learning. They all make me smile and chuckle and get quiet. Sometimes we visit and I’m on my computer instead of my phone. I have been playing with capturing moments with screen shots. That has been fun too. Eamon also loves my favorite all time book (maybe), and we both have copies. Today I read him a couple of stories from over WhatsApp. I am looking forward to holding the squiggly wiggly wonder this year, sometime, but for now, as he keeps learning, our distance does shrink a little each day.

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A Year of Plenty. A Year of Renewal

Let’s do what we can to make it so. 2021, a year of plenty and a year of renewal.

A Difficult Year for So Many, but Positive Environmental Stories Emerged: “In a difficult year, species were brought back from the edge of extinction; new protected areas were created; and Indigenous women leaders got long-overdue recognition. Mongabay looks back at some of the top positive environmental stories from 2020.” https://portside.org/2021-01-02/difficult-year-so-many-positive-environmental-stories-emerged

Covid Stuff: I wasn’t clamoring for vaccine access for myself in any way, A. I don’t like being a guinea pig for big pharma, B. I have to deal with white privilege guilt about getting protected when others are at least as in need and being denied it. With my work though, which involves going into other people’s living spaces to fix and move things, I know I deserve whatever protection I can muster. Work came through, and I got the first of two Moderna shots the last day of 2020. Soreness at the injection site ramped up over the next six or eight hours and lasted for two and a half days. Not bad. I expect worse after the second dose.

I had hoped to wait for one of the less profit-driven versions to come my way, but given the opportunity, it would not have been right to wait. It helped that almost all of my more diligently informed friends were clear on recommending going forward. Publicly funded research shouldn’t lead to large corporate profits. That isn’t the whole story though, and I must not be overly cynical. It did spark renewed interest in what is being developed elsewhere. I am aware that even in news outlets like Democracy Now!, when discussions of the covid vaccine variants is discussed, Cuba isn’t mentioned or other efforts other than the Oxford one and maybe the Chinese one. Today I found some answers, and something comforting of my fears for Iran due to sanctions. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/456441/Iran-Cuba-coproducing-COVID-19-vaccine

500 Richest People Added $1.8 Trillion to Combined Wealth in 2020: “Surging billionaire wealth hits a painful nerve for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and experienced declines in their health, wealth, and livelihoods.” https://portside.org/2021-01-02/500-richest-people-added-18-trillion-combined-wealth-2020 This Common Dreams article by Julia Conley (not familiar to me) can help when the stark numbers are needed to punctuate a point.

Access Denied -Asian Dub Foundation (late 2020 release): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRnDtTLgA0c or purchase it or some tracks wherever you do such things. A lot of old groups have some inspiring, powerful new works coming out.

Fr. Louis Vitale and Dennis Duvall outside Creech Air Force Base in 2009.
After entering Creech Air Force Base, the group knelt reverentially and were threatened by a nervous guard with an M-16. They were arrested and taken to Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Ground the Drones Lest We Reap the Whirlwind” was true in 2009 when we said it as the Creech-14, and sadly it is truer 12 years later. Looking into the sudden surrender of Armenia in Ngorno-Karabakh, I found a very revealing Forbes article. I was intrigued to learn that in addition to Israel, Turkey has a robust and effective drone development, production and export industry in the region. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhambling/2020/11/10/the-magic-bullet-drones-behind–azerbaijans-victory-over-armenia/?sh=535867b05e57 I am guilty of a tad, bittersweet feeling of relief that Israel can’t automatically woo and buy off despots worldwide. There is competition, if not balance of power in the murderous drone industry. It would appear that Israel’s drones helped Azerbaijan, but their recent purchase of Turkish drones was decisive. Armenia’s new, handful of fighter jets were of little consequence. I’m not cheering for Erdogan’s militarism or violence! Just before posting this Missive, I received another article worth sharing from James Dorsey, an academic based in Singapore who I started receiving notifications from. I learn a lot about geopolitical machinations and large scale projects from him. This one is about Turkish influence being substantial and growing in the greater Middle East amid Erdogan’s own imperial intentions amid tensions with the UAE, Israel and others. https://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2021/01/erdogan-positions-powerful-turkish.html

12 of the Creech 14 outside of court in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010.

Armed Right Wing Groups Aren’t ‘Militias’–We Need to Stop Calling Them That (Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, Oct. 30, 2020) Here is a great and extensive article in as quintessentially mainstream a news magazine as has ever existed. https://time.com/5905374/armed-rightwing-groups-are-not-militia/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-article&utm-term=ideas_extremism&fbclid=IwAR0UEdVNJoAd8QtPtyUV94Ira236hbxI8o8yiBY81LH-3MSb8uh6CtGHZlg The link is to the article via a Facebook share. When I tried to simplify the link, it worked, but I hit their paywall. Hopefully this link works for you too.

Meanwhile various prisons if not the entire federal Bureau of Prisons are starting to return mail that is printed on home printers. First it was Pine Knot, Kentucky, but I just got a Missive returned from Carswell outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. I send Missives to people as you know. The photos mean a lot, I know. Some people can type better than they can write. Maybe it is the printing of articles they want to stop, so they overreact, assholes and their “security” concerns!

In the last Missive, I had a simple list of resources that inform and inspire me. I included a good one (The National Priorities Project), but I actually was confused and meant to plug The Cost of War Project. (https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/2020/AirstrikesAfghanistan) Works out to include it here, now though since this leads into my next item.

Dr. Hakim, chief advisor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, joyously making a point. 10 years later, and several of the youth in this picture are still active together; some are in university also.

In March, it will be 10 years since I visited Afghanistan (mostly Kabul) with Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. Here are my pictures from that trip on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimhaber/albums/72157626321254424. Let me know if you want more details of any. The impetus for that trip–which was a large, ungainly delegation full of touching, lifelong inspiration and connection–came from organizing against drones at Creech Air Force Base. I quickly learned however, that bad as drone strikes were, most deaths and US-inflicted terror were actually due to night raids with boots on the ground. Now, both are terrible problems as my friend and guide Kathy Kelly wrote in The Progressive a little over a month ago. https://progressive.org/dispatches/unending-war-in-afghanistan-kelly-201125/

Clockwise from lower left: Tank graveyard on the outskirts of Kabul. Woman in Kabul refugee camp next to tank graveyard washing pots. Memorial to children killed in a bomb at the site of an important hospital operated by the Italian group “Emergency.” Peace dove on wall near one of our hotels. One of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteer banners.

Speaking of delegations, I will always remember that for New Years 2020 I was in Sarura outside of A Tuwani in the south Hebron Hills of the West Bank. It was a warm gathering in many touching ways, and the weather could have been far more of a problem than it was. I was with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, Youth of Sumud (resilience), friends from Um Il Khair, A Tuwani, Bethlehem, Jerusalem. It was heartwarming and bittersweet, like so many stories that move me. Reporting back got truncated by the corona virus and black lives matter focus, and maybe the election. In my January and February, 2020 Missives I covered the delegation’s beginning in Masrura, Jerusalem, learning about the plight of the Mizrachim brought in as human shields by the European Zionist leaders in the 1940s. I also shared how great it was to see Chava, David, Yona and friends on Kibbutz Gezer, and of course, my most recent visit with Eamon was on my way home from that excursion. Here are a few images from Isawiya on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a very beleaguered neighborhood I also visited in 2017.

Clockwise from the right: The home of the man in the wheelchair was just demolished for the fourth time. Officially, just the top floor was deemed illegal and destroyed. The ceiling of the first floor is clearly not okay. Where the second floor was, you can see his parents’ home next door. The second floor would have given easier wheelchair access. During the third demolition was when the man was thrown from his home, and he became disabled.

Clockwise from the left, Dec. 31, 2019: CJNV’ers planting olive saplings on rocky terrain in A Tuwani. Neat rows of trees were impossible there due to the large rocks. The army arrived when we did for our first work day. We did our thing, but they declared a closed military zone where we were planning to have our New Years Eve celebration. We pivoted well, having it in the caves of Sarura: the Sumud caves we cleaned up in 2017. On the other side of the village, I helped prepare olive trees on a hill so the little berms would keep some water from running quickly downhill. Nearby, Palestinians show us where an IDF bulldozer destroyed a shed.

Upon my return, three of us held a quick report back at Kehilla, and I shared a few stories by others about helping Palestinians reassert their right to access water at the Ein Al Beida spring near A Tuwani. That action remains poignant for me since my role was to try to protect a Palestinian friend and leader from arrest during whatever chaos and response the settlers and IDF would confront us with. Since 2020 saw black activists, politicians and regular folk being threatened and attacked in the United States with increasing shamelessness and visibility, I feel like saying–and I hope I will never have to say– “Over my dead body!” to a white supremacist attacking a person of color. The prep and action days a year ago definitely come to mind when I imagine what it could be like and what I might do.

I want to apologize for taking so much of your time, but I still need to recommend six more important, outstanding articles. They all bear on longstanding issues I will continue to bring to your attention. They start with Israel but lead into nukes. (Surprise!) Then we’ll finish up celebrating MLK birthday awareness and Eamon. Share back sources you rely on, please, or let me know if you find fault with my suggestions, please.

  1. About bullsh*t charges of antisemitism derailing careers of people of integrity fighting for justice: Here’s an article in Mondoweiss about the situation in Labour in Great Britain should ring alarm bells for people everywhere. https://mondoweiss.net/2020/12/the-real-corbyn-tragedy-and-jewish-currents-refusal-to-publish-an-opposing-view/ The object in this piece, the longstanding British Zionist publication Jewish Currents, is one I am familiar with because of my work for Allan Solomonow who died a year ago. (May his memory be for a blessing…) In his files were quite a few contentious back-and-forths between he and the editors. I’m sad to see they are still pushing the racist anti-Palestinian line there. I pray for a reprise of Jeremy Corbyn somehow, and that any friends of mine see the smears of him for what they are.

2. “The Israeli Nation-State Law Had Its Day in Court” by Orly Noy in 972 Magazine on New Years Day. “During the hearing, the High Court justices saw no problem with demoting the status of Arabic and claimed that ‘equality’ is something best left for the future.” I saw the article through Portside Snapshot. https://portside.org/2021-01-01/israeli-nation-state-law-had-its-day-court

3. Here was an interesting article from The Forward about Birthright: New data suggest Birthright effect on Jewish marriage, connection to Israel lasts up to 2 decades. (https://forward.com/news/national/459286/birthright-israel-study-data/) Birthright would be okay if it really weren’t about pumping up young Jews not to give a sh*t about dispossessing, dehumanizing and invisiblizing Palestinians. Feeling connected to Biblical places and to our existence as Jews is good. The bad stuff doesn’t make up for it though.

4. Desmond Tutu says (The Guardian, 12/31/2020): Joe Biden should end the US pretense over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons: “The cover-up has to stop – and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/31/joe-biden-us-pretence-israel-nuclear-weapons Now would be a particularly poignant time for the world to force Israel to stop ducking its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon state, especially with its formidable, operational and very advanced nuclear weapons arsenal.

5. Tutu’s call came as Israel’s nuclear armed “Dolphin” submarine was passing through the Suez Canal to be more illegally threatening to Iran. Thanks, Sisi! Israel and the United States have already been attacking Iran and Iranian leaders as well as ratcheting up the sanctions regime, even during the pandemic. https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2020/12/30/israels-german-built-nuclear-armed-sub-opens-new-front-against-iran-and-allies/

6. I had to add this article by James North which I only saw a few minutes ago. Maybe it is why I didn’t send this Missive out last night, knowing it (and James Dorsey’s article) would show that my fears of Trump and Netanyahu goading Iran into more retaliatory violence aren’t just my own trumped up fears: https://mondoweiss.net/2021/01/trump-and-netanyahu-keep-trying-to-goad-iran-conflict-they-have-18-days/ North also names the horrid Sheldon Adelson of Birthright infamy as a major force pressuring Trump and Pompeo to nuke the Persian state.

January 22: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) Comes Into Force! Here is the best page I have found for background on this monumental treaty: https://www.icanw.org/updates What might you do to pump up the potency of the day? We don’t have the luxury of surrendering to these quintessential weapons of mass destruction.

Let’s Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birth and Life: Nothin’ new here. I am still so moved by the sermons and speeches of the Reverend Doctor King that I consider him a prophet. My two favorites of his teachings for the past couple of years have been the sermon “Love and Forgiveness” (May 20, 1964, transcript) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vNe7kEkNR89vvrU_OdTTOgpMp6HjWUFm/view?usp=sharing, and his keynote address, “The Three Evils of Society” (August 31, 1967, audio) https://youtu.be/6sT9Hjh0cHM.

Our Cat can be a Comfort, but I Really Miss Eamon!

It has been a year since I got to hold Eamon, for him to feel my strength and love in person. A year since I had the joy of rocking them to sleep, or watching him throughout a day or a night. I don’t expect this separation to last much longer, but I know it isn’t over yet. I try to nurture the patience of a lifetime, or multiple lifetimes (lived concurrently, not all mine). I’m moved by how stable he seems in their body. Not a baby anymore!

Posted in Afghanistan, corona virus, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fruit of Justice is Peace

“Fruit of Justice is Peace” T-shirts are Ripe for the Picking!

Someone made a run of t-shirts with this profound quote/image in 2015, and mine is pretty well worn out. I decided to get the image and find a shop to print me a new one. Instead, I had 40 made thinking that some of you would also like one. Half are v-neck; half are regular. All are a charcoal grey/heather to sort of match the background which is the stucco color of the uranium processing building (reputedly the oldest building in the nuclear weapons complex) at the Y-12 facility in Oakridge, Tennessee.

The photo of this graffito was obtained by the defense as part of the discovery process of the trial of the Transform Now Plowshares in 2013. Yes, I do take a certain joy in using a photo taken by the forces of evil to highlight the good work of my friends.

The image I use is the detail above. I got sizes S to XXL. I ordered them through 4imprint, so they don't have a union bug. (Sorry.) However, the material is 100% recycled content. I am making them available on a free will offering basis. That means I'll send you one as a gift, or we can work out the money thing when you tell me which style and size you want and where to send it. They cost me $12 or $13 each (plus postage). I got them to share and show, so just ask if you want one.

Watch the Spiral Dance…Free at Reclaiming.org…but just until Winter Solstice

https://www.reclaimingspiraldance.org/reclaiming-spiral-dance-2020

It was amazing! I finally made time to watch the ritual in its entirety. I was preoccupied with hosting the Awe Cult Cafe which morphed into welcoming people who didn’t quite find their way to the event through the Reclaiming Spiral Dance page above, instead, happening on the tail end of the earlier, interactive zoom gathering the Beloved Dead team produced.

The power of the magic shines through, and there are so many different voices that together raise the energy from all over the world! It made me proud of our tradition, what we do and how much we have grown. So much beauty was included by the tech wizards, on top of the poetry and potency that imbued each element, deity and remembrance…It will draw you in and lift you up. It is a heart-touching introduction to this form of spiritual practice, and you will learn a little ASL as well! It’s about the length of a movie, so next time, reach for this instead and enjoy the floe flow! And let us bring in the “rains of justice and renewal” with each step we take.

From Colonization to Solidarity: Narratives of Defeat and Sumoud (Steadfastness/resilience)

JVPBA was a co-sponsor of this event.  Here’s information about how to watch the recording.

Thank you for your support and co-sponsorship of our event From Colonization to Solidarity: Narratives of Defeat and Sumoud. We appreciate your continued support and solidarity with AMED Studies.

If you missed the event you can watch it here: https://fb.watch/259crG8VnM/

We ask that you please share the following links with your circles and social media followers:

Recorded Facebook Live: https://fb.watch/259crG8VnM/

Evaluation form to help AMED improve our future programs: https://forms.gle/awGc5KU1U2WXqPmbA

The bios of Panelists/Moderators link:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_p7BISUIHwtIg2-ZKNgD5rGO-4iXZOW0ASOEyfJcPDo/edit?usp=sharing

Please encourage others to donate and support AMED’s Teaching Palestine project: https://donorbox.org/teaching-palestine

You can find us on social media platforms below:
 
AMED Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMEDStudies (@AMEDStudies)
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AMED Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amedstudies/ (@amedstudies)

Best,

AMED Studies
Teaching Palestine at SFSU

Center for Jewish Nonviolence-Great vid…and Hineinu project pilot

The Center for Jewish Nonviolence is starting something new: A pilot project of a few diaspora Jews staying for three months or so with our friends in the south Hebron Hills. This is a pivot in response to sharp uptick in wanton and dispossessive violence by the Jewish state and its marauding “settlers.” Since the onset of covid-19, Jewish groups in Israel that work in solidarity with Palestinians are not able to go in support and to add a bit of protection as much as before, and the need is worse than ever.

I’m not looking to go at this time, and the folks who are, are already making their plans. On my trip at the beginning of this year, I pledged to myself to go back for a longer trip, and one that wasn’t part of a delegation moving together all the time. That isn’t happening right now. I also pledged to engage with my family more, and especially young cousins who may enjoy Sheldon Adelson’s inherently racist Birthright trip. Family interactions are lifelong, our personal microcosms. I have written in dismay of loved ones who thought (think) Jeremy Corbyn of England is an antisemite, or who could think that there isn’t homelessness in (or caused by) Israel or that I must not have any Israeli friends, given my incessant (really?) ranting. I have failed, alienating and withdrawing instead. Well, here are a couple articles that make me want to try more and succeed. And I ask that you support the Center for Jewish Nonviolence (with their wonderful fiscal sponsor, Nonviolence International) as generously as possible at this end of year time of giving.
https://forward.com/news/national/459286/birthright-israel-study-data/
and
https://tribunemag.co.uk/2020/11/we-fought-apartheid-in-south-africa-and-were-appalled-by-jeremy-corbyns-suspension

Please, don’t conflate Judaism with Zionism. I beg you even more fervently not to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. You might not go as far as I am, seeing Zionism as a hypocritical attack on Judaism’s more wonderful tenets, but if we don’t change course soon, you’re likely to hate me or agree with me. I’m not abandoning Judaism to the assholes, but neither do I think that I or my good-hearted friends and family are the ones in a position to define Judaism for the world today. Israel and the many Christian Zionists who don’t care about a just God seem to revel in their support of despots with vicious arms, tech and training in exchange for ignoring Israel’s boot on the neck of everything Palestinian.

Normalization with Israel is normalization with genocidal aims against Palestinians, and leaders in the Arab world for the most part continue not to have backs of their brethren. May we, the people, including Arabs, Persians and us all over, care and stand with Palestine.

Woman at War
https://youtu.be/U2v3_jHrvBQ
(Watch the trailer)


[I was inspired to send an email to a few fine folk after I watched a movie. This is basically what I sent. I hope yu’ll explore the paragraph of recommendations. I am often tempted to send out impulsively Missives featuring one or another news portal’s wide ranging, weekly or morning roundup of news and thought. They all deserve featuring. For example Palestine DeepDive shares four or five stories per email, and the sources are all there, and they’re Israeli, and not left Israeli, so look inside.]

I actually recommend the whole film, Woman at War, to be sure! I saw a bit of this 2018 Icelandic/Ukrainian film outside during a free last year in a little outdoor theater in Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. I finally just watched the whole thing.
If that trailer isn’t enough for you, and you want a bit more wild fantasy for your viewing, you could always catch two seasons of Warrior Nun or The Umbrella Academy.
Mitchell just had me watch Eurovision, The Fire Saga Story, and I cried and laughed a whole lot, softie that I be. And for your listening pleasure, I highly recommend Public Enemy’s 2020 album “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down” including but not only for the “Fight the Power” remix.

And I will always recommend (too many links for me to bother activating. Cut and paste; you can do it, or get in touch) This is a very partial, partial list.

East Side Sushi

Singin’ in the Rain

Democracy Now!

OurJourneytoSmile.com

EdgeofSports.com

Portside Snapshot

Palestine DeepDive

Popular Resistance

World Beyond War

Color of Change

MPower Change

Jewish Voice for Peace

CODEPINK Women for Peace!

Stop Making Sense

Akeela and the Bee

Dawson City, Frozen Time

Al Helm (Clarity Films)

National Priorities Project

Nina Simone

The Nuclear Ban Treaty actually comes into force on January 21! We have to make it happen even if we have to fake it ’til we make it.

This is no joke, and improbable as it seems, the legal truth, despite how far from the facts on the ground it seems, is to be celebrated…and acted upon! Join groups worldwide in challenging nuclear assumptions, lies and hypocrisies.

As my friend Ardeth Platte who died recently pointed out at every opportunity, every anti-nuclear activist is a nobel peace prize winner as part of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Think of something to do to help enlarge this milestone and turn it into an earthen berm big enough to stop a runaway train. Thank you Tri-Valley CARES, Western States Legal Foundation and United for Peace and Justice for reminding me to include this item.

And at this writing, Steve Kelly, having served his time in Georgia for his Plowshares action there in April 2018, remains locked up! As far as I know, he is still in Glynn County Detention Center in Georgia awaiting word of extradition to Washington because he followed through on his refusal to cooperate with parole “obligations.” He was given more parole in Georgia, but he hasn’t been released, so he can’t yet not have reported. They don’t know what to do with his form of respectful refusal to honor any presumed authority they have over him, but they don’t want to let him go. God bless Steve Kelly and all who risk freedom for peace, which as we all know, is the fruit of justice.

Eamon is Two Years Young!

I am confident that I will make it to Maryland to visit Eamon and company in 2021. I don’t know when though. I’m thankful for the encouragement I receive to make it work, but at this point, that means being patiently grateful for the first year of visits.

I miss seeing Eamon grow at this stage and to see his learning and growing. I miss seeing him grow knowing my mother and family here, but life can be long, so taking that view helps.

Ralph went home on December 9, 1999. Debra went home on November 2,2020. What is remembered, lives.
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So many emotions! Singing in the Rain!

We need rain. Rain is good and lacking. Yesterday we got a few drops in the afternoon. A blessed bit of relief, hopefully a good omen, not a cosmic tease. Literally, and figuratively, I am going to be singing in the rain for the time being. I do have shelter and access to warmth, after all. May it pour. May the mud slides and mud slinging be minimal and merciful. (Lots o’ luck!) May I remember to look up. For a little musical moisturizer Listen to “Raining Revolution” by Arrested Development. Singin’ in the Rain is also one of my favorite comfort films. One time I just wanted to see Donald O’Connor’s phenomenal “Make ’em Laugh”, but I had to watch the whole thing. I laugh to tears throughout that old musical.

I am relieved more than happy or excited about the elections; dismayed by the increased millions of all types of USians who voted for more of the current administration. I haven’t rained on other dancers’ parades (much), I’ve even celebrated a little (fake it ’til you make it), but I have pain and tightness in my chest when I think of this country. A little less in power, the rabidly right wing is still strong, ignorant and deadly. May the lives of asylum seekers, Iranians, Venezuelans, and indigenous people everywhere know some relief from US driven suffering. I have minimal hopes that Biden will raise a finger to stop Saudis from slaughtering Yemenis or Israelis from butchering Palestinians in their homes. (Okay, my hair-splitting loved ones: At this point, Jewish Israelis are just demolishing villages with 15 minute notice, shooting eyes out of people in windows and attacking people who are harvesting olives at this crucial time.)

Cemetery of Injustice- My Spiral Dance/Dia de los Muertos Altar

Click the link below to read my brief artist’s statement about this scene. The skeleton and skull date back to my childhood, by the way, justifying years of paying for a storage space.

https://haberjim.wordpress.com/cemetery-of-injustice-samhain-2020/

Here are links for information about the legalized immoralities named on the headstones.

Debra McGee, my sister: What is remembered, lives.

Before and after Ralph died in December 1999, Debra always called me her brother. Our connection was a balm. He went home way, way too soon, like dad. It is heartwarming seeing all the photos in deb's online memorial book. https://www.swartzfuneralhomeinc.com/obituary/debra-mcgee

Biden and Harris Won Pennsylvania and the White House! A bit of relief among the heartache.

I wasn’t surprised by the close vote, since I have been writing about the weaknesses and internal contradictions of the Biden candidacy all along. As one radio commentator pointed out, there are perhaps a few thousand disenchanted, turncoat Republicans as opposed to millions of progressives and less wealthy people. The Democratic Party AGAIN doubled down on courting a few less-than-loyal, wealthy, (mostly, but certainly not only) white folks instead of sincerely including poor people and their issues. As I put it in a Facebook post sometime after Biden was anointed the candidate of choice and the putting down of progressives escalated, “They may fear Trump and company more than they fear us, and they may hate them more than they hate us, but they fear us more than they hate them, and they also hate us more than they fear them.” Looks topologically like something out of an MC Escher painting, but I think it rings true of the Dem Party leadership.

This election was a Hail Mary situation, but many people’s fears and the catering to wealth and power led the coaches of the Democratic Party to call a swing pass instead. To play the metaphor out: We’re nowhere near the goal line. Joe and Kamala are going to have to muster an incredible run after catch. We keep blocking upfield, but instead of following us towards the end zone, they keep turning towards the other team we’re clearing out of their way! It felt like fourth down, but not fourth and goal. The chains had to come out, but we got the first down. We made it, just barely, thanks to hella blocking up front by BLM outrage and organizing (and the voter registration spike it led to). Only the great timekeeper in the sky knows if it’s the final seconds of the last period, if there will be overtime, or where we are in the game. Just gotta get our game on, and keep playing because it really is life or death.

Juan Gonzalez‘s analysis of demographic trends stands out compared to many I have heard referred to including an oft cited New York Times report. Maybe Latinx voters saved the day. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/5/2020_election_ballots_electoral_college

I’m relieved that Trump didn’t siphon off a shitload of Jewish votes with the brutally cynical “normalization” deals with arab states recognizing Israel. These are horrific if minimally disguised arms deals for attacking domestic activists like me around the world. Did they contribute to the increases Trump saw with Muslim voters? Biden lost Florida because of Orthodox Jews in Miami said a Democratic pollster in a piece by Phillip Weiss on November 6 in Mondoweiss. How went the Zionist vote in the end?

I am excited that a Black woman is set to be vice-president, that she may become president. My problems with Harris don’t overshadow that truth.

Jessica Wildfire‘s piece I saw in Medium really knocked my socks off. I’ve noticed a lot of what she articulates very clearly. https://medium.com/the-apeiron-blog/donald-trump-won-no-matter-what-happens-next-203f7c3a55c7 I see that her next piece is about how Trump is smarter than we think, and that we got played. We may be getting played, but Trump’s ignorance of pretty much everything is manifest. When is the last time you think he actually went into a store to buy something? When was the last time he got into a car to drive somewhere…and he drove? What could he actually operate because he learned how to? Not much, I reckon. And he can barely read! He isn’t smart in an idiot’s disguise.

I wonder how many white voters went in thinking they would vote Biden/Harris, and then thought twice because Kamala is a woman of color? It would be very typical. Have pollsters figured out to figure that into their prognostications? I remember being relieved he chose her over former UN Ambassador Susan Rice who was also in the running. I would have bet on her because she is a proven, liar of a hawk in foreign affairs. The need for domestic appeal led to Harris’ nomination?

Biden and Harris got elected on the backs of communities of resistance and resilience, carried over the finish line by progressives they don’t want to be seen with. They intend to rule while standing on our backs too, making it still hard to impossible to breathe as they turn their backs from our cries for justice.

King’s Bay Plowshares 7: Major Updates

Final Sentencing hearings are scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 for the four, outstanding Kings Bay Plowshares activists. At the same time, “The U.S. Navy on Thursday placed a $9.4 billion order with General Dynamics Electric Boat for the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.” (DefenseOne.com) I listened to Steve Kelly’s proceeding, but I missed Patrick O’Neil’s the next day. So much has been said and cast aside, it is hard to do anything but shake my head as judges show such little discernment or wisdom despite all their pomp and faux equanimity.

Update on the Latest Revision of the CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum: It’s worse than we expected!!!!

This update just came in from JVP Bay Area leader Ellen Brotsky about the fight over the ethnic studies curriculum. I will happily put you in touch with her if you want to follow up on this at all. Ellen wrote:

“Friday, Nov 6th, the CA Dept of Education (CDE) posted its latest revision of the CA Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum. It was even worse than anyone imagined it could be. Tony Thurmond held a press briefing on Friday morning to announce the changes which have turned the original, robust, liberatory, anti-colonial ethnic studies curriculum into an All Lives Matter, multicultural curriculum. All mention of Palestine has been removed and it promotes teaching about antisemitism which defines criticism of Israel and Zionism as antisemtic.”

Click here to see four key changes and also next steps.

Veteran’s Day is a Militaristic Day that Dishonors Vets by Re-Branding Armistice Day, but I’ll take the paid day off.

Just look up Armistice Day, and check out World Beyond War. Send them or CODEPINK: Women for Peace or Veterans for Peace or Courage to Resist or the War Resisters League some money. Any little bit helps.

Eamon is almost Two, Runs and Talks and even asks to call “Daddy”!

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“Bring out your dead!” (That’s a very funny Monty Python reference, youngsters)

It is Samhain time again! This year, for the 41st annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance, we will trance and dance on line with our beloved dead. See ReclaimingSpiralDance.org for all the details. To accommodate our witchy friends Down Under, we are holding the ritual from 1 to 3 pm Pacific Time on Halloween day, October 31 which is a Saturday. This event will not be on Zoom, but rather will be streamed on the website above with the help of “Twitch,” SoMarts Gallery and Survival Media. I think people are finding out that they can be moved to tears and other heightened emotional states in virtual gatherings despite the technological hindrance.

I’m still coordinating the reading of the names of our “Beloved Dead” which in Reclaiming parlance means someone we want to remember who has died since the previous Spiral Dance. We won’t be together physically, so we can’t project the names and read them as people check out the altars and greet friends before the formal ritual. Instead the names will scroll and be read aloud on the Beloved Dead 2020 page on the Spiral Dance website all weekend (and before, but not until after the new moon). To offer names to be included in the reading add them (one at a time, please) at https://www.reclaimingspiraldance.org/the-beloved-dead
The more the merrier, strange as that may sound. (smile)

Since the ritual will be more presentation-like than usual, the Beloved Dead team is hosting pre-event for people to intermingle, to share a remembrance, to show off some finery or to highlight an altar. There will be a little music, group-as-a-whole time to start us off and finish up, with a large middle of smaller groups. We are calling it…

The Awe-cult Cafe!
11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Halloween Day

(on Zoom; Registration will be required, but donations are on a sliding scale down to zero (or maybe $1), and you will get the zoom link when you register)

I’m still very frustrated with the new WordPress editor. I can’t insert photos alongside text. It even makes it hard to choose a font color for consistent headlines! Just saying. They make the interface seem like I have more options, but the ones I like and use seem gone now. It feels like punishment for using their free version. Thanks for bearing with me.

-Jim

Fearing and Dealing with Arrests These Days

Please, click on the link above to learn more about her late September arrest and almost unbelievable charges. Then see below for how to let the authorities know you are paying attention followed by the paragraph I submitted.

Attica Scott is another glorious Black woman being attacked for her humanity, wisdom and courage. There are so many, it really gives me hope. I try to support them all, especially the ones who are also being undermined by the Democratic Party establishment. White, racist murderers are walking free, while people arrested with Scott and at other protests, even after being attacked, are finding themselves locked up and charged with felonies. We need to stand with them all! Support black women candidates. Bail them out, Drop their charges. Uplift their voices. Consider Kamala Harris Black or not, but vote for her and Joe Biden no matter how much they hate on us during the rest of the campaign!

Contact the Jefferson County Attorney

image
Please use the form below to contact the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office. After the link are the comments I submitted on October 4.

Arresting Attica Scott and others along with her is a disturbing escalation of state intimidation and violence against people advocating for themselves. Free them now, and drop their charges. They aren’t armed with weapons to cause bodily harm, unlike others who are attacking such as them with motor vehicles and firearms. If you are going to charge anyone, first, officers of the courts in all our jurisdictions need to indict the people who are actually committing acts of bloodshed and officers and first responders who fail to render aid to any injured person. The professionalism that their job demands, demands this of you in yours. –Submitted by Yours Truly

Meanwhile, My Charges Have Been Dismissed!

The cases from March against me and the others for crossing a line against the immoral and illegal Trident nuclear weapons systems (or for trespassing, depending on who you ask) up at Kitsap-Bangor Naval Submarine Base have been dismissed! Our arraignment for the Pacific Life Community action was set for Wednesday October 7, but we got word Friday afternoon that the prosecution has evidently decided not to proceed. We weren’t going to get much mileage out of pushing our cases forward, and I’m relieved not to face possible probation and or up to six months behind bars, and in Bill Barr’s America, white activists can’t assume the best. My friend Jed got a month or two for his first anti-nuke action a couple years ago down at Vandenberg at another PLC gathering.

On October 15, two more of my friends will finally be sentenced for their anti-nuclear war action at Kings Bay, Georgia in April, 2018. Steve Kelly has already served more time than the maximum of what the prosecution recommended as sentence, so they insist that he have his proceeding. In solidarity, Patrick O’Neil is also going to be sentenced then too. The remaining four are still trying to wait out covid for their home confinement to end. I’m afraid for Steve. He has felt relatively safe for being in a cell somewhere. Glynn County Jail in Georgia has been okay. He still faces extradition to Washington State for refusing to report for parole after serving time for a plowshares action at Kitsap-Bangor even though he asked the judge from that action simply to let him do his time and that he wouldn’t show up. Steve is scrupulous. He doesn’t even call the judge “your honor.”

I’m humbled by the danger people of color face when standing up for their lives. Anyone can be hurt and killed because shit happens, but my white privilege admittedly still give me a lot of protection by comparison. In the eyes of this state though, I am also the enemy, and they don’t give a…

If you have funds to share, I hope you have been helping out bail funds, or funds to help people pay their debts off in Florida so they can vote again. At this point, vter registration in Florida is closed. Some trusted sources have recommended a number of trusted funds, some of which I have donated to. Look them up, and you will find their urls easily: Unicorn Riot, Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions Collective, and the National Bailout Collective which includes the Black Mama’s Bailout Action of Southerners on New Ground and others.

Ardeth Platte, What is Remembered, Lives

Peace nuns, I love ’em! Ardeth just passed away, in her sleep. She was 84. She was adamant that all anti-nuclear activists should have claiming rights to the Nobel Peace Prize when ICAN–the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won it in 2017. That always felt good to hear. Our friends Felice and Jack report almost no nuclear actions with arrests and jail time are being organized. Too bad they remain an explosively existential threat.

I knew I had this great picture of Ardeth. It is from 2010, and action at the Y-12 plant in Knoxville, Tennessee. That is where all the uranium is for the United States arsenal. Ardeth is waiting to be arrested for crossing their line. Here is a little video I took of other people getting all of 50 yards further before being arrested. Symbolic. Reverential. Ardeth was on crutches at the time, so she just crossed the line and set up her chair. About my statement that shit can happen: Peace nuns put their lives on the line time and again, and sometimes they pay the ultimate price. Our friend Jackie Hudson, a Dominican sister, suffered health complications due to neglect and the sickening conditions in the jails she was held in for this otherwise upbeat weekend of resistance.

As I looked for the Ardeth photo, I was struck by the relevance of that action to me and to today. I didn’t remember the “Justice” on one side and “Not Just Us” on the other side of a peace crane. I say that often now. Did I get it there first from Food Not Bombs and then forget? I also saw this rather innocuous shot. This man wanted to drive into us with his car. I had forgotten that episode. It didn’t last long. The police made him leave after I stood in front of his car kinda like at a critical mass (but I wasn’t on a bicycle). and a few of us took turns talking him down.

Real Ethnic Studies Bill Vetoed by Gavin Newsom (angry emoji!)

I shouldn’t be surprised that Governor Newsom vetoed the Ethnic Studies bill due to unconscionable pressure from the Jewish/Zionist world, but it had survived numerous attempts to weaken it, so there was real cause for hope. I shared my synagogue’s spiritual leaders statement in support of an ethnic studies curriculum when the issue was before the Oakland Unified School District. By contrast, The Jewish Community Relations Council was so proud of their racist success, fear-mongering against Arabs and the others who want to shape the framing of their historical narrative for their children and their peers. Here is the press release from the Save Arab American Studies Coalition in its entirety, which I think is very clear, and also, very graciously strong:

Continuing a process marked by reversals, Governor Newsom vetoes ethnic studies bill

Press Contact:
Lara Kiswani, Save Arab American Studies Coalition
530-220-2842
info@araborganizing.org

Reversing his August decision to support the inclusion of ethnic studies in high school education, Governor Newsom gave in to pressure and vetoed AB331.  The bill, which was introduced by California Assembly Member Jose Medina, would have ensured ethnic studies as a mandatory requirement for high school students in California starting in the 2029-30 school year.

The Save Arab American Studies Coalition is increasingly concerned with the growing narrative surrounding ethnic studies as illustrated by both the amendments taken at AB331’s final hours, and the message sent by the veto, which are not happening in isolation. The racial disparities in the aftermath of COVID-19, the xenophobic targeting of Asian Americans as “vectors” of disease, national uprisings in relation to #BlackLivesMatter, a standing Muslim Ban and increase of Islamophobic hate crimes, and a plethora of other concerning and overt instances of racism across the state and country illustrate the need for anti-racist education that builds empathy, unity, solidarity, and strengthens movement towards a just society. Ethnic studies, in its truest form, centers the voices of communities of color, and is the key discipline that can achieve this need. This is the reason it is so contested.

Despite the flawed “guard rail” amendments added to the final bill sent to the Governor, having an ethnic studies requirement signed into law would have been a substantial step forward for education in California. With the most recent decision by Governor Newsom to veto the bill on the grounds of “concerns with curriculum,”  The Save Arab American Studies coalition is concerned that the State of California will try to appease critics by re-defining ethnic studies. Such a move would align with efforts such as the federal  Executive Order banning anti-racism training.

Theresa Montano,  Ethnic Studies Professor at Cal State and member of the original Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee makes clear what the veto represents stating, “What is so sad is that in a state where 76% of the school students are of color, a white man can still with the stroke of a pen determine that they can’t learn their history.” 

The Save Arab American Studies Coalition is clear on where the blame lies for the veto. Zionist organizations have attacked the curriculum from the beginning as being “controversial and deeply flawed” because it centers communities of color, and as antisemitic for discussing Israeli policies toward Palestinians in the context of Arab-American immigration to the United States.  In response to the CDE’s proposal in August to include a lesson plan on Arab-American studies, the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council immediately launched a #Jews Left Out campaign. Its Executive Director, Tye Gregory, boasted to the SF Chronicle of their success in urging the Governor to veto the bill: “Gregory said Jewish groups and synagogues across the state sent dozens of letters to Newsom’s office urging him to intervene. Gregory said he wanted Newsom to direct an overhaul of the curriculum or veto the bill — Newsom did both.” 

Many elected officials in California pride themselves for the ways they are standing up for what’s right in Trump’s America. The State of California and our elected officials can still do right by the imperative work of ethnic studies. However, to do so they must listen to the educators who created the original model curriculum, and stand fast with a true and critical ethnic studies curriculum. Legislators, the Governor, and the Department of Education must welcome greater partnership with ethnic studies professionals moving forward in this process. To do otherwise is to abandon California students at a time when carefully shaped pedagogy can serve them most. ###

Pussy Riot Flies Rainbow Flags on FSB (security services) buildings

I thank Bas Moreel for sending out interesting anarchist related news from Europe and beyond. I”m not sure how many locations they did, but let’s find out! Bas? https://zona.media/news/2020/10/07/riot

Palestinian Voices Continue to be Silenced by Zionist Pressure on Social Media and at the University Level too.

See below for a link to a sadly not sad article from northern California’s J Weekly and also a link to a petition to the social media giants calling out their racism and Jewish Voice for Peace’s press release. This particular affront to the free discourse of ideas occurred on September 23.

Click here for the petition against censorship.
Click here for the JVP Statement.
Click here for the J Weekly article.

My friend, David Spero, wrote the following:

“Words directed at university administrators under attack by Israel-identified organizations in the West.

“We have learned from experience that no compromises will ever satisfy the Israel Lobby. No concessions will get them off your back. Israel has a narrative, that they came to an unoccupied land and made the desert bloom. They won’t be satisfied until all evidence that contradicts that story, meaning Palestinian presence in the Holy Land, is gone.
“Likewise, the Israeli and Palestinian narratives cannot share space on campus, in the Zionist worldview.  Palestinian voices must be silenced, before Israel-identified students will feel comfortable. Their discomfort translates into direct attacks on Palestinians and on entire schools.”

It is important to contrast the expectations placed on Israeli/Zionist terrorists with those placed on Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. See below for a compilation of admitted Zionist terror attacks against Palestinians, Jews, the British, and others, over the last century. Some were orchestrated by Israeli PM’s who the world still welcomed as valid peacemakers, as though they were no longer terrorizing people and as though they repented of their past murderous acts. This immoral record should mute denunciations of Palestinians like Rasmea Odeh, Leila Khaled, Yasser Arafat, the Tunisian Zora Drif and others. Thank you to the late Allan Solomonow who had this handout in his volumes of materials that I was privileged to wade through.

Thank you to Henri Picciotto for including me in your circles. Your thoughtfulness and clarity are always helpful. Here are two paragraphs with a couple of references and resources I was glad to have brought to my attention.

Even some Republicans suspect that Trump may be hoping (or in fact planning) to remain in power even if he loses the election — in other words, a coup. (See this article in The Nation.) His being sick with Covid may actually make things worse, as his judgment may be impaired even more than usual, and his supporters may consider this one more reason to reject the election’s outcome.

This article offers a solid response. I don’t know whether it is 100% correct, but it’s got two things going for it:
– a clear definition of a coup, and
– reasonable suggestions on what we all can do to help avert it or defeat it.

And now…It’s Eamon Time! He’s 22 months old now!

Sorry folks, still just one pic. What can I say? I am not there to take more. I want to thank Lacy for letting me share a photo or two with y’all. This being a public blog, that is no small thing. Respect! Look at all those teeth! I’m glad to say that he is happy to see me when I call, and he kisses the phone-me.

Eamon at not quite 22 months. Keep the joy up, kiddo!

Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Labor more. Toil less. Peace.

“Man over Bamboo!” read my Facebook caption for this fun photo. Digging up bamboo roots that have been attacking the house I live in for years feels a bit sisyphean (not “sisyphisian” evidently). Still, it also feels triumphant since I am in fact extricating the grassy, running buggers! This photo only shows a moment’s…harvest. The mother of all bamboos still lives, and we will dance again soon. Good work. No pulled muscles. No tendonitis. (smile)

WordPress has changed again, making it harder to edit this Missive like I am used to. I can’t figure out how to indent paragraphs. I can insert a list of items, but converting paragraphs to a list is still eluding me. I can’t play with the photo layout either. I think they want me to stop using their free editor. Even to create and edit a numbered list is laborious. Maybe they are allowing me to insert named anchors though, which would be nice for readers to skip directly to items of interest. If I can figure it out…We’ll see…

The International Day of Peace is September 21. Let us remember that peace presumes justice, not pacification. Some activities will begin on or around September 11 and will build to larger actions like those organized by United for Peace and Justice (see below) and also We, The World. Let us not forget any of the September 11 tragedies that we may keep them from recurring. Salvador Allende and his duly elected government of hope were overthrown in 1973 on September 11. Love and memorial hugs to my friends of 9-11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and everyone who lost someone in 2001 or since. Every month on the 21st, the Afghan Peace Volunteers hold a Global Day of Listening. They welcome callers, and groups of callers, to converse with students in their “Border Free School” in Kabul. To sign up for a time slot, visit http://globaldaysoflistening.org/

The arraignment I mentioned last Missive was changed to October 7 at 8:30 am via zoom, so I haven’t been to Tacoma and back. Me and my three co-defendants, Betsy Lamb, Br. Charley Smith, OFM and Steve Dear have sort of been notified that we have to “appear” before the federal district court of southern Washington State for the anti-Trident action on March 2 as part of the annual gathering of the Pacific Life Community. We have been promised a letter with details, but the court was not even open in August, though paralegals in the prosecutor’s office and the court responded to phone inquiries.

I don’t think the people who blocked the road into Kitsap-Bangor Naval Submarine Base on the state side of the blue line on the ground haven’t had communication from the state court or prosecution. I’m glad I don’t need to travel there, at least yet. I fear repressive probation making a seemingly soft sentence much harsher than it may appear.

I am ever the anti-war activist. What can I say. United for Peace and Justice carries on too, since the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Like the Poor People’s Campaign for a Moral Revival which UFPJ strongly supports, they really connect the dots, not just decrying a laundry list of disconnected problems. They include calling out militarism in their platform, so they give me hope. As UFPJ National Organizer George Friday wrote:

On September 21st, there will be an online showing of the documentary film “We Are Many”. This moving film tells the inspiring story of the historic global protests demanding No War with Iraq. The film details why 30 million people in 800 cities throughout the world chose to come together on February 15, 2003 to protest against the Iraq War while also showing how it sparked other historic events. United for Peace and Justice played a leading role in organizing these demonstrations in New York and other U.S. cities.  With Danny Glover, Medea Benjamin, Phyllis Bennis, Jesse Jackson, and many more!  
This is a Virtual Screening & Benefit. This screening, on September 21, the UN International Day of Peace, will benefit UFPJ and other participating organizations.
For the film trailer, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsTCWm7lGcQ.
And to purchase tickets that benefit UFPJ, click here:  https://watch.eventive.org/wearemany/play/5f3d42f40a2ebc00781176ca
Don’t forget about UFPJ’s upcoming Member Group Gathering 12 September, 3-4:30 pm Eastern / 12-1:30 pm Pacific.
Six UFPJ member groups will share their current work:
·       Massachusetts Peace Action’s Raytheon Anti-war Campaign
·       Black Alliance for Peace’s opposition to imperialism and war against black people
·       Defending Rights and Dissent, Washington, D.C., “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”
·       Muslims for Social Justice, Peace and Justice in the South
·       CODEPINK’s Divest from the War Machine’s local organizing on the West Coast
·       PeaceWorks, Kansas City opposition to the trillion-dollar update of our nuclear arsenal
And, we will hear about the on-the-ground work of the Poor People’s Campaign A National Call for Moral Revival with Rev. Liz Theoharis. UFPJ is a proud national mobilizing partner of the Campaign.
Afterwards we will discuss plans and strategies for our shared efforts and movement building!  
If you are a member group representative and have not received an invitation to the Member Group Gathering, please contact UFPJ’s national organizer, George Friday, for further information at info.ufpj@gmail.com. If you are a member of an organization that might like to join UFPJ, please read our Unity Statement, and if it is consistent with your principles click here to join or contact George at the e-mail address above.

UFPJ used to take hits for being soft as activists and too aligned with the Dems, but also too anti-militarist to be included in policy circles. I believe in UFPJ and its steering committee.

Here was an oddly hopeful item from the Saudi royal family although this prince apparently isn’t one in current office. The UAE-Israel normalization of relations is a perverse and cynical use of a lofty goal–normalization of relations between hostile parties–to further oppressive political objectives. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/saudi-prince-palestinian-state-israel-ties-normalise-200821100424469.html

To keep up on real time news in Palestinian lands and life, I have been looking over WAFA. The reporting is very basic, by people experiencing various forms of torment but carrying on. Here is one example: https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/119136

I was recently informed (or reminded) that Trump’s still-guilty friend Roger Stone actually paid demonstrators to storm a critical ballot counting location in Florida back in 2000 while the Republicans were stealing the 2000 election from an indifferent Democratic party leadership. For things to go well in November, things need to shift. Democratic attacks on progressives like the outstanding Linda Sarsour need to stop immediately!

Attorney General Barr and Trump promise their minions that they will prosecute “rioters” meaning Black Lives Matter and other non-white-supremacist demonstrators for petty, hypocritical or made up reasons. I’m worried that AG Barr and Stephen Miller, who seems to relish separating parents from children, are going to go after activist children and their parents. They will bill the adults as negligent or worse, since they are endangering their children by allowing or even encouraging, their children to “break the law” as they stand up for black lives or a non-suicidal climate policy. Questioning the president and the government can be framed as treasonous, and they will. They are already attacking peaceful protests and then declaring them riots, illegalizing them. They don’t need to steal a page from Israel’s policy of declaring places “closed military zones,” but it is fairly reminiscent of the practice, and in truth, they are actually training in Israel in developing these tactics as JVP’s Deadly Exchange campaign clearly shows.

A sign of hope from the military? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/03/us-military-builds-bulwark-against-trump. It is becoming unusually common to hear my antimilitarist compatriots lament bemusedly that we are counting on the integrity of military commanders and their ability to discipline the ranks should Trump lose the election and refuse to accept such a result. I guess Trump’s team wanted to kill Stars & Stripes (or was it The Military Times?) for some slight, but pushback has prevailed. Let me know if you see media stories on the large socialized medicine system that is Tri-Care (tricare.mil) which serves active duty personnel and is well respected, even more than the Veterans Administration. In your face, socialized medicine demonizers!

I have a few more updates from my last Missive:

Palestinian director of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions national committee, Mahmoud Nawajaa has been released (for now, at least) from Israeli detention. https://bdsmovement.net/news/freemahmoud-mahmoud-nawajaa-free

My friends inside are pretty much as they were. I think Reality Winner and Mufid Abdulqader are getting through their covid exposures. Mufid asked me to point people to this article by someone who was in his unit at Seagoville, about how it has been there, with the pandemic and all. Check it out. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2020/aug/1/how-fail-running-prison-during-pandemic/

Regarding the fight over what should be in the California ethnic studies curriculum, that battle was won (for now) at the last moment after extreme intervention almost undermine the integrity of the process and the outcome. As the decision was looming, I got a terrible post from the Jewish Community Relations Council that infuriated me with its lies and distortions. I was mad at the apparent change of momentum. According to the victory announcement from JVP Bay Area and the Coalition to Save Arab American Studies:

“In a last-minute reversal, the California Department of Education (CDE) affirmed Arab American Studies as a field of ethnic studies and committed to its inclusion in the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). “There is an acknowledgment that Arab American studies is part of ethnic studies,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced on Thursday, August 13, at the meeting of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) devoted to discussion of the ESMC.” -Excerpt from the statement of the Coalition to Save Arab American Studies

The campaign is not over.  Based on this initial victory, the Coalition will continue to advocate for these demands going forward:   
1. Reinstate the original ESMC writers for all further revisions.
2. Consult with Arab community leaders, ethnic studies practitioners and students on the development of the section on Arab American Studies.
3. Maintain the integrity of ethnic studies as decolonial, anti-racist, and liberatory education.
4. Commit to an Arab American Studies that maintains the Palestinian struggle for justice within its central framework.

If I ever get indignant about someone keeping me waiting, it is okay to remind me that I have damaged and lost friends due to my incessant tardiness. Recently I accidentally disrespected one of my best friends. I was late for a simple errand on the day of another important farewell. He lost one friend to a distant move. I hope I didn’t leave him feeling like I’m not equipped to have his back.

If I’m not always reliable, am I reliable at all? Is “mostly reliable” inherently unreliable? Is this an exercise from basic philosophy? Is it like being impeccable? I find it hard to accept my imperfect impeccability. I try to do good, but sometimes I screw up. Then, I want forgiveness, I sort of hope for it but know I shouldn’t expect it, much less demand it. I question whether or not I deserve forgiveness.

I try to confirm the value of my humanity and my friendships by being a good person and showing up, but I also get tired, avoidant, self-absorbed, self-distracted, sluggish about going out. The flip side is when I am alarmed. May my sudden outbursts truly be of service to others and not just because I was caught off guard. When I am triggered, may I not react too fast or too loud–just right. Not every urgency warrants alarm.

Blessed Babies, Signs of Hope!

I received wonderful news that my friend Awdah (second from left) from Um Il Khair just became a father. When I last saw my friends there over New Years, he had just been married. As a man on a Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation, I met only a few Palestinian women in the south Hebron Hills. I don’t recall ever meeting his new bride. I pray they have long and healthy lives, full of love and loving visitors like yours truly. (May I be able to return soon.) And I’ll try to get a picture to share for the next Missive.

I love these guys! And now Awdah is a dad! Good for the world!

As I suggested in my last Missive…both Lacy and my cousin Lyndee have given birth, also to little boychiks! Tanner West Hermiston was born on August 27 to Lyndee and a lovingly excited new dad, Josh. My cousins Phil and Sue are grandparents again, one from each of their kids. Perfect!…

Tanner West Hermiston

AND…Quinn Greer MacAuley was born on August 20, 2020. Eamon’s little bro’ was born after a three day labor fest and c-section. Lacy was exhausted, as was Eli, but all are well, and they came home on the 22nd. Lacy’s sister Lorien was great at connecting up Eamon and me while Lacy and Eli were at the hospital. I was told that the photo below, just of Eamon, is his first selfie!

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It’s the 75th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Do You Know Where Your Nukes Are?

I have to go to Tacoma for a Sept. 2 arraignment for my March 2 Act of Resistance to Trident (or was it just my disrespect for lanes of traffic and blue lines?)

hiroshima2011-023_6006439671_o

Memorial to Sadako Sasaki in Hiroshima. Read “Sadako and 1000 Paper Cranes” or other accounts of her losing battle with radiation sickness.

It is August 6. If ever there is a day to consider nuclear weapons, Hiroshima memorial day is it. A hopeful point is that Hiroshima did rise again like a Phoenix. It is again a beautiful, welcoming city, but that doesn’t excuse the war crime committed against it in 1945.

The federal government is not expected to drop our cases, and at this point, my arraignment is to be live and in person even though the federal court in Tacoma is closed this month. I’ve received nothing about protocol or quarantining. and my arraignment is the day after Labor Day. My friends in the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 are perhaps finally going to be sentenced that same day, for their 2018 action against Trident weapons at the Georgia’s Trident base. I’m still not sure what I’m doing. Probably driving up there, car camping, mostly keeping to myself. We’ll see.

The danger of more explosive nuclear atrocities by the United States is very real as people who read any of my Missives must know. Recently I heard Chomsky say he fears a resumption of full-scale nuclear testing, something George HW Bush halted 39 years ago. Other experts decry an uptick in the nuclear arms race, sometimes acting like there had been a hiatus as a result of glastnost and detente. Russia is developing a new cruise missile. China  and the United States are helping Saudi Arabia develop their nuclear capacity.

hiroshima2011-020_6006436039_o

Building in the heart of Hiroshima left partially standing in remembrance of the city’s destruction.I thought about not going to the annual Pacific Life Community gathering and action to commemorate the first H-bomb test on March 1, 1954 because of news about the first death outside Seattle due to SARS-coV-2. That gathering stands out for several of us as our last shared hugs, kisses and joints. The last (for quite a while) retreat-like gathering and eating buffet style. I’m glad I went.

I crossed the line because as things get politically worse, I wanted to exemplify my belief that we all need to stand up more. But I’m also more afraid.  I almost cancelled my trip as I received news of what was wrongly billed as the first US corona virus outbreak, not because of the increasingly outlaw administration, but I went because Trump sees himself as the “most-est” person ever in every respect, so for the sake of peace, he’s going to have to use a nuclear weapon or he won’t be all he can be.

I went because nuclear issues aren’t even a pink elephant in the room, they are so invisible to most people’s thinking and vision. I needed my antinuclear community. So few people outside of it in the United States seem to consider the absurdly deadly Pentagon budget or the absolute wrong that lets the nuclear weapons states determine right and wrong. My efforts to engage Palestinian rights and other antizionists in discussions about this explosive stumbling block to a way forward for equality and respect for Palestinians and all non-Jewish Israelis usually garner no response or are treated as a distraction.

please-dont-defend-us-with-wmm-30x20

Poster produced by my friend Dennis Rivers.

As we commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the August 6 and 9 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I hope you’ll read this statement from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urging an end to the nuclear era. https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/press-release/international-red-cross-red-crescent-movement-urges-nations-end-nuclear-era/

I also recommend this article by documentary historian John Pilger: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/03/atomic-bombings-at-75-john-pilger-another-hiroshima-is-coming-unless-we-stop-it-now/

I’m honestly afraid of this arrest’s consequences more than at other times. The climate for political action has changed dramatically for the worse. Aggressive spite is scary and is less reserved for the usual suspects.

It isn’t “Arrests, left and right.” It’s “Arrests of the left by the right.”

Themis Free Vector Art - (25 Free Downloads)Themis‘s blindfold is in place, but one side is being overwhelmingly tipped with dishonest weights. The Goddess isn’t the one with the ethical problem. Maybe systems of justice would be fairer if the holder of the scales could watch over their use. Maybe part of our magical work will be to restore her sight. Consider…

The Palestinian leader of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, Mahmoud Nawajaa was taken blindfolded from his Ramallah home in the middle of the night on July 30. https://bdsmovement.net/news/freemahmoud-israeli-occupation-forces-arrest-bds-coordinator-mahmoud-nawajaa-during-night-raid. On August 6 in Mondoweis, this headline followed up: “According to the BDS movement, the Israeli Shin Bet declined to present any charges or evidence that they against Mahmoud Nawajaa with him or his lawyer — a common practice used by Israeli officials who routinely cite unnamed “security reasons” to justify the detention of Palestinian political activists.”

A No More Deaths humanitarian camp on the US/Mexico border in Arizona was raided commando style during the night multiple times last week. They came a day after the group published a report about undue influence of the border patrol union, a “pro-Trump and anti-immigrant extremist group.”

And of course, there is the Portland escalation of armed and armored government thugs, ignoring any semblance of reasonable justification for initiating violence. I first saw it as a screen news item on my phone from Yahoo, not my usual source or portal, pointing to an article by Peter Weber on July 16.

Such Clarity…What More Can I Say?

DN Pics for Missive 31July20

Calabresi was speaking about Trump’s tweet suggesting that the election in November maybe should be postponed.

Get Past Media Pay Walls and Use/Show Support for Your Public Library

I was wanting to read Rep. John Lewis‘ self-penned final thoughts to us, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation: Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.” The New York Times agreed to publish this posthumous op-ed on the morning of his funeral. My laughing friend Beth heard me say I was going to ask a friend with a Times subscription to cut and paste me the text. She told me that through her library she reads it and other newspapers for free all the time. I realized how much that made sense, and realized I should look into it. I thought this might be both obvious and news to you too.

JohnLewis_BLM_Bowser

John Lewis standing defiantly proud in Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington DC the day before checking into the hospital to die soon thereafter of pancreatic cancer surrounded in love, if not a roomful of loved ones.

I turned to the San Francisco Public Library. I expect a similar result elsewhere. There are different services for different materials. I’ve used Hoopla Digital and Kanopy for movies. They have ebooks and music. They’re great, although sometimes Kanopy movies krap out at some point. The SFPL’s elibrary pointed me to a service called Press Reader. You don’t need to create a Press Reader account unless you want to comment and use their social media features. You access Press Reader first through your library’s website. I had to search on “Newspapers” at the SF Public Library’s home page, not seeing an obvious route, but searching on one of their faq links pointed to their “Research & Learn” page. Complimentary access is granted 48 hours at a time. This includes the New York Review of Books and the New York Daily News but not the New York Times or New Yorker Magazine. And not Haaretz, unfortunately.

You can most likely get full access to the New York Times for three days through your library too. I noticed a link to it in question form on the left side of the elibrary’s emagazine & enewspaper page.

I was passionately moved by Reverend James Lawson‘s remarks at John Lewis’ funeral, but Lewis was wise and loving right to the end. What an inspiration…

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Implied Immunity, Stand Your Ground, Status of Forces Agreements…All have to go or none will.

Justice_Not_Just_Us“Stand Your Ground” has got to go! I anticipate many of the assailants-with-a-deadly-weapon will argue that they felt endangered, scared for their lives and needed to get out of there. And they will get more ear than their Orwellian train of thought deserves, armed as they are.
I remember being taught that driving at someone with a car is assault with a deadly weapon. What happened to that? Over 60 people have run motor vehicles into crowds of demonstrators in the past two months.

I remember learning that the use of lethal force was only justified when immediate life is threatened and then, only as is necessary to prevent the person from committing some grave harm, not to get even or settle justice on the spot. Even though it seems technically the opposite of standing your ground, driving into a demonstration is still saying “I get to use my deadly weapon against you only because I say I’m afraid.”

The police are not generally much, if at all on the side of the people under attack. What happened to the mandate to render aid? How can cops and first responders be seen standing around, allegedly “protecting the scene”? We must question who is calling something a riot, and the motive of someone driving their car in such a manner. It seems obviously wrong, but motive is beside the point, isn’t it? Motive is denied relevance at trials of anti-nuclear protesters, it seems that drivers should be apprehended as a first priority, by any protocol after the requirement to render aid to the injured (not just “victims.” Can someone actually articulate a sound, legal reason that someone should go armed to a demonstration full of people they despise? Motive and intent to kill seems really clear. (I don’t know how you find a jury that isn’t aware of all of this going on and who that would be and what it says about our presumed “peers”. But that’s another question.)

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Cool? Disturbing!

Qualified immunity and stand your ground and status of forces agreements all protect different sets of anti-Black, white nationalist violence from forces locally and around the world. They want to be able to kill and otherwise harm people just because they disagree with them. But somehow the question of rioting and looting comes up instead of this obvious affront to everything I remember being taught. We must question who is calling something a riot.

I also remember that deadly force was only supposed to be used if you felt actually threatened for your life and under attack, not if someone’s running away, not if they are bound or subdued, certainly not if they are unconscious. Such clarity has been severely eroded in the public mind.

We must resist becoming numb to incidences of racist assaults like that from Conway, Arkansas reporting that no charges will be filed against officers who killed a man in February by kneeling on his chest in a supermarket. (It isn’t just the neck guy who killed George Floyd. Chest man needs to be charged and tried for murder too.) Isn’t there something extra wrong about officers committing violence “under color of authority” or something like that? What about the failure to render Aid? How is that not obviously instantly actionable on the part of some system of accountability that supposedly exists ?

If you aren’t up to handling the stress of a job, you shouldn’t have that job. The stress shouldn’t be used to excuse wrongful behaviors on or off the job. Systemic racism is supporting the violence and shifting the attention and conversation to questions of riots and looting as the racist perpetrators get away with murder and thievery on every scale from the individual to the global. That impunity for the increasing murders and deaths of Blacks and Native Americans is sold to a willing audience, strikes at my heart, takes my breath away, and keeps me from resting peacefully.

Brief Reminder/Update: Ethnic Studies must include Arabs and Palestinians in their own voices. Here’s a link to an article two leaders of my synagogue wrote for the J Weekly for the winning discussion at the Oakland Unified School District: https://www.jweekly.com/2020/05/27/why-jews-should-support-the-states-ethnic-studies-model/ The struggle is ongoing at the state level. Antisemitism and our Holocaust, the Shoah, are already included extensively in the statewide curriculum in their own section. Clamoring for them to be included in ethnic studies is a red herring intended to deny all students from learning about the stories and lives of their Palestinian and Arab friends. You can search my Missives for more links about the fight for ethnic studies programs from university programs on down.

Blessings to Eamon, Lacy, Eli and…

Okay, I do know the soon to be born baby’s name, but I’ll wait to share it here until he’s breathing air, soon, in just a couple of weeks! When Eamon was born, his baby head was just too big for birth, and absolutely perfect. Ultimately, Lacy had a C-section. She is going in for induction, hopefully having a full vaginal birth this time. Inshallah! They’ll be in the hospital and ready though, if need be. So, they have a date, it is soon, and Eamon is going to have a baby brother. I had never been to a baby shower before, so I got to say a shechekiyanu, the prayer for a unique or first moment. [I pause to smile and sigh…children, babies are signs of hope.]

We’ve talked about me visiting, and i hope to, but not sure when yet. I can imagine driving cross country, camping, keeping mostly to myself, following the guidance of my laughing friend, Dick the Trucker (Dick the Sailor on his days off) that seems to be keeping truckers by and large well. But still, I’d have to quarantine when I got to Brunswick. I’d need a month off work though. Hmmm. This is now. Only God knows how things will go.

I don’t have a picture to share this month. Feeling a little protective of their privacy. Feeling my distance a little, so I am sharing that with you. Sorry. I’m part of the family there, but for now, I’m grateful for the times in Eamon’s first year that our connection could germinate from their earliest moments of me in his life as an essential, loving parent. I have confidence that he’ll understand my role in their life if he doesn’t now. Eli will be a very major, adult, if not parental figure to Eamon. Good for them both. I believe in our collective closeness and connection for the longterm.

And love to my cousins Josh and Lyndee Hermiston who is also about to pop up in Idaho. And cousin Tim Guandalini who’s wife Maryam just had a little girl named Lydia Noreen. It’s uplifting to see shining faces, growing (and then shrinking) bellies, and angelic babies. Thank you and blessings to all, for comfort, wellness and strength.

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A Friend’s Covid Alarm, A Few Jimly Observations and “Annexation” Just Doesn’t Sound Bad Enough

This Missive was going to come out for Father’s Day, then Pride, and now it is July 1. My first drafts usually suck, so it is hard to put them out in one sitting. When I revisit them later, I have new material to work in and old pieces that have lost or shifted relevance. I have an unfinished letter to the judge in the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 case I wanted to include and a testimonial about a friend’s film to write, but I needed to get this to you all and out of my computer. I missed June! I’m sure my train of thought can be dizzying. At the same time, I worry I spend too much time sitting contemplating plants growing, the cat sleeping and looking at the light and breeze playing with the nearby redwood tree. I envision sharing simple little bon mots of odd insights or observations, but then…

Covid Alarm from a Friend Inside

I have shared a couple of true stories from Mufid Abdulqader in the last year. He is one of the Holy Land Foundation 5 who were wrongfully convicted of abetting terrorism as retaliation for their humanitarian work in Palestine. Mufid isn’t due for release until December 12, 2025. Mohammad El-Mezain is due for release on September 17, 2021. He is in Oakdale FCI in Louisiana, and news of covid there surfaced in March. Now, Mufid tells me that it is present and growing where he is in Seagoville, Texas. Abdulrahman Odeh is in Milan, Michigan, and he is due out on August 21, 2021! I hope they all make it. The honorable Shukri and Ghassan received such long sentences that they don’t expect to make it out alive, but Inshallah they get a reprieve or any miracle. I’ve been so touched by you. God willing, the other three will survive the immediacy of the pandemic to breathe free soon. [Please forgive my shifting from 2nd to 3rd person. It is funny to write about people who also receive what I am writing.]

I am trying to find campaigns to plug into on their behalf rather than trying to start something myself. Of course, action is needed across all carceral systems. This link will take you to the federal bureau of prisons form to “Voice Your Inmate Concerns.” Someon posted on a bulletin board recently that these online forms may be better for submitting comments than trying telephone lines or even email for reliable delivery. This is the simple message I left. I did one to Oakdale II also:

I got word from a friend in Seagoville FCI that covid-19 is spreading among the inmates and staff. If you love your families, I hope you will have the wisdom to care about the well-being of the people incarcerated with you. Don’t make inmates play a form of viral Russian roulette. People convicted of murder don’t even deserve that.
I may write again and include my info and that of the person I know there, but I fear retaliation against them, so for now I will sign off anonymously.

Here are two e-mails I just received from Mufid:

6/30/20
Morning Seagoville,
The number of inmates and staff that are infected keep increasing. As of Saturday they were 30 inmates and 3 staff. We see them taking many more inmates every day from other buildings and taking them to other quarantined building. The situation is scary and dire. There is no way you can social distancing in a place shared by close to 300 inmates using the same bathrooms, sinks, computers and phones and each five living in a room approx. 8X6 feet.
It is crazy but we will get thru it Insha Allah. Can’t change it because it is decreed.
Mufid

And this one arrived on June 30 too:

6/26/20
Today is Friday, 6/26 and things got worse than before. So far we have a minimum of 12 inmates as of right now who have tested positive for the CPVID-19. They are testing inmates in other buildings and we don’t know how many more do have it. Things are getting worse and worse. Limited phones and computers as a way to force social distancing.
Please pray for us as things will definitely get worse and worse before they get any better and I hope and pray that I would not catch the COVID-19 virus.
Allah knows best and we submit to his will all the time. He is the ever most merciful.
Mufid

Kehilla, Right on!

It is July 1, the day Israel insists it is annexing the West Bank but not granting any rights to the Palestinians who live there. I haven’t looked at the news yet. There are lots of conflicting possibilities, none of them amounting to equality in law or practice. I’m proud of the following statement from my synagogue, it shouldn’t be controversial, and it should be replicated in Jewish communities everywhere. It won’t be, but it should.

Statement Against the Annexation of the West Bank
Passed by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees of Kehilla Community Synagogue, May 26, 2020

Since 1985, Kehilla Community Synagogue has affirmed that Israelis and Palestinians must come to a resolution in a manner that honors the rights and the dignity of all the people living there. In 2016, we affirmed in the Kehilla Statement of Values on Israel/Palestine that the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the siege of the Gaza Strip must come to an end in that they not only violate the dignity of the people subjected to these conditions but also can defeat the prospects for a just and lasting peace and do not ultimately benefit the security needs of the people of Israel.
The annexation of lands in the West Bank as contemplated by the new Israeli
government, tentatively scheduled for July 1, 2020 will create or further an apartheid-like situation where Israeli Jews in the occupied territory will live with privileges and rights unavailable to the Palestinian people who will be surrounded by the land annexed to the State of Israel.
For the Palestinians under occupation, democracy is already highly limited, if not nonexistent. After annexation, we fear that any possibility of human rights and selfdetermination for those under occupation will be eliminated. This will make a peaceful resolution impossible and will create a total or near-total disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people defeating their hopes for self-determination.
In Kehilla, we aspire to live by these Jewish values that we have learned from the Tanakh and Talmud:

“Do not oppress the stranger, for you know the feelings of a stranger since you
yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9) וְגֵר֖ לֹא֣ תלִחְָץ֑ ואְתַּ םֶ֗ ידעְַתְּםֶ ֙ אתֶ ־נפֶ֣שֶׁ ה גַּר֔ כּ יִֽ־גר יִֵ֥ם ה יֱיתִםֶ֖ בּאְרֶ֥ץֶ מצִרְ יָֽם ׃ִ
“There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger who lives among you” (Exod 12:48-49) תּוֹ רהָ֣ אַחתַ֔ יה יְִהֶ לאָ זֶֽרחְָ֑ ולגְַּרֵ֖ הגָּרַ֥ בּתְוֹכ כְֶםֽ׃
“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the entire Torah” (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 31A) דַּעלֲךְָ סנְי לחְבַרְךְָ לאָ תּעַבֲיֵד — ז וֹה יִא כּ ׇ ל התַּ וֹרהָ כּ וּלּהָּ

Thus, as the Kehilla synagogue community, we cannot support annexation nor remain silent while maintaining any moral authority to teach Jewish values to our children. The annexation plan represents an egregious violation of our fundamental Jewish values, and, we believe, is not in the best interest of our Jewish siblings in Israel / Palestine. We therefore oppose the annexation plan, and call on our government to do the same.

Please also read this op-ed by Kehilla’s Rabbi Dev Noily, Senior Rabbi and
Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman, Music Director that made a real difference on the final vote at the Oakland Unified School District board meeting about including Arabs and Palestinians in the ethnic studies curriculum. Here’s the link: https://www.jweekly.com/2020/05/27/why-jews-should-support-the-states-ethnic-studies-model/

Please, my family and friends, don’t support Jewish institutions like the AJC, the JNF the ZOA, and the SF Jewish Federation that fund and encourage the dispossession of Palestinians, and tell them why! Illegal Jewish Israeli settlers are attacking people I know, my friends. They’re destroying water cisterns in the desert. They’re destroying trees and killing people with disabilities. …in the name of Judaism, or Zionism, they purposely conflate the two so people who look can be falsely accused of antisemitsm. It’s an affront! As I write, I realize: We’re poisoning our own water here and the minds our own children with lead and other chemicals, and we’re burning the forests of the world for short term profit, so why should I expect different from us for Palestine? I don’t know what I expect, except that we need to keep on keepin’ on. Let’s go!

Police Violence Isn’t Israel’s fault, but…

They need to charge the cop who was on George Floyd’s chest with murder, not accessory. I am not sure I have tried to breathe when my neck was pinned, but I know how hard it is to breathe when my chest can’t rise and fall even if I’m trying to breathe with my diaphragm.

Sadly, the knee-on-the-neck technique is something that Israelis have been using on Palestinians for years. Israeli courts have even come out against its use, but the IDF continues to train it to US and other police forces as well as many other suggestions on the table, like Joe WTF Biden’s call for police to maim people by aiming for their legs. Also, the shooting out of eyes of bystanders with “less lethal” projectiles…How can that be done in the name of Judaism? Blows my mind.

Fatherhood Notes

Well, I’m pretty far away from Eamon right now. I don’t have any of my own pictures to share. My story as a father is one of distance. I want to honor the fathers who are caring for their children. I have special feelings of love for Eamon, but I am not with them for the joys and exhaustion of day to day or even half-time parenting. I know Lacy hopes I can visit again soon, but it is probably going to be several months more before I make it there for a visit which would probably include some necessary quarantine time. I’m grateful that Eamon and Lacy visited the Bay Area and my mom and family twice. It is going to be a while again. Here is one wonderful picture from a day that Eamon and Lacy were in the streets recently.

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Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial (Day) for Whom?

Our World Needs You to end warIt’s Memorial Day here in the United States (and hence all over the world). Not a day for a picnic in my book. I want a day devoted to remembering militarism’s civilian dead instead of its late conscripts and enlistees. Soldiers can be victims too, but there is something that feels more “wrong” when I hear about civilians killed by some armed “actor” (as combatants are often named in the literature). God only knows how many dead civilians are wrongly counted as dead “enemies”?

Selfless, life-risking heroism doesn’t distinguish a soldier from a civilian. Isn’t boot camp primarily about learning to follow orders instantly and without question, including to fire weapons and kill people? Civilians aren’t in a position to do that, but civilians still risk and sometimes lose their lives being brave without threatening the lives of others.  Military preparedness means learning to kill on order, trusting leaders and commanders to tell us right from wrong. Before Trump, this problem already existed. Now, it seems absolutely wrong for anyone to subordinate their will to the sociopathic government of the United States.

The ethical thing for U.S. service members to do is to dessert now; go AWOL or UA “unexcused absence.” I know that is easier for me to say than for someone to do. The GI Rights Hotline provides accurate, helpful counseling and information on military regulations and discharges, AWOL and UA, and GI Rights. They have very useful fact sheets on different topics for each branch of the military. https://girightshotline.org/ 877-447-4487.

Anti-nuclear Updates: The Kings Bay Plowshares and Me

Kings Bay Plowshares 1At long last, a KBP 7 SENTENCING UPDATE:

Clare, Martha, Mark, Patrick, Carmen, and Fr Steve have sentencing dates currently set for June 29th and 30th. Liz McAlister will be sentenced remotely via video on June 8th at 9 am (EST). It is likely that there will be a phone number that supporters can call to listen to the sentencing. We don’t know the phone number at this time, but we will post it once we find it out. We will continue to provide updates as we become aware of them. Thanks for your continued support of the KBP7!

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Don’t worry, world. This ankle monitor will protect you from Martha Hennessy!

From Martha Hennessy’s Affidavit:

“What was temporarily damaged on the base doesn’t compare to blasting whole modern cities and killing millions of people if or when the purpose and preparedness of the base is carried out. It is near impossible for citizens to emphasize and prove this point in an alternative setting. If one were to cut the lock or fence to a concentration camp, the act of entering such a place would not become more of a crime than the purpose of the lock/fence to protect what is being done on the other side. I did not go to the base with violent intentions to put anyone at risk of harm. I went to expose the nuclear arsenal for what it is, a violation of God’s will for us to love one another as His has loved us (John 13:34).” #swordsintoplowshares #kingsbayplowshares #COVID19

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Maybe it’s my doppleganger?

Meanwhile, on the left coast, my three compatriots with whom I crossed the line at the entrance to the Kitsap-Bangor Trident sub and missile base outside of Seattle in March have received notices of an August arraignment date (August, not august). I have heard nothing. Strangely, I was treated with kid gloves up there once before for no apparent reason. Not sure how this will play out yet. Stand by.

God bless Cuba. Keep it (and the rest of us) safe from the United States!

Whenever I hear news stories about work on a covid-19 vaccine, I always listen for mention of Cuba and their trials of Interferon alpha-2b. The absence of mention of their research and testing is telling of bad journalism. Newsweek gets a shout out for their  March 24 piece by Tom O’Connor. The rest of the world knows of Cuba’s efforts and research, but it is almost as though news media here can’t be bothered, or are afraid to include them. Their groundbreaking research on treating many diseases including cancer, diabetes, viral outbreaks and their historic leadership in biotech innovation and gifting front-line “medical revolutionaries” (rather than “heroes” some say) to places in need. Help nominate them for a truly deserved Nobel Peace Prize through this CODEPINK petition. Sanctions and covert actions against Cuba from the United States must end now!” Check out the Saving Lives Campaign today for work on joint Cuba-USA-Canada work to stop covid-19.

heshcel_mlk_sign_2Researching Cuba and its global covid-19 effort led me to the Monthly Review Online piece linked  above. That, in turn, led me to their relatively brief but outstanding interview of Noam Chomsky.

To be informed and act on covid-19 responses (or lack thereof) for people in cages in the United States (prisons, jails, detention centers, etc.) please check out the Humane Outbreak Response campaign #HumanityNotCages initiated by Color of Change with many other outstanding co-sponsoring organizations.

And globally, as David Swanson of World Beyond War so rightly pointed out in his May 24 update, The UN’s Global Ceasefire Must Circumvent the UN.

Why Am I This Way?

Why do I refuse to turn away from the horrors of the day, even though they can make me pent up, agitated, unhappy? I blame great teachings and loving, conscientious upbringing. (Thanks, mom!) All of these brief passages of wisdom have made me who I am starting with the adage by Abraham Joshua Heschel featured in the above image: “In a free society, few are guilty. All are responsible.”

20170115_134603My last Missive featured Martin Luther King Jr.‘s sermon “Love and Forgiveness” (May 20, 1964). In it he interpreted Jesus’s prayer uttered during Their agony on The Cross: “Then, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”” The following passage became rather famous; variations of it are in other talks of his. It makes me feel connected to struggles of other people, not just my own pain, or even that of my family and friends. Hundreds of millions of people seem destined to a. starve, b. risk being infected by and spreading a deadly virus, or c. stand up against violent, repressive governments that would rather they didn’t even exist. Therefore, as King said:

We must come to see that as long as some of God’s children are poverty-stricken, we are all insecure, because we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny, and whatever effects one directly effects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” And then he goes on toward the end to say, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

IMG_5351Holly Near in “It Could’ve Been Me”, a memorial song written for the first anniversary of the 1970 Kent State murders (the 50th anniversary just passed on May 4):

It could’ve been me, but instead it was you. So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if I were too. I’ll be a student of life. A singer of songs. A farmer of food and a righter of wrongs. It could’ve been me, but instead it was you. And it may be me, dear sisters and brothers, before it’s all through. So if you can (depending on the stanza) die for freedom/sing for freedom/work for freedom/live for freedom, I can too.

Hillel, probably the most quoted and revered Talmudic rabbi, from my Bar Mitzvah ‘drash (and any of yours?) This is always a tough balancing act requiring constant reflection, though we need to beware being “mesmerized by uncertainty” (another precisely poetic MLK-ism): “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

JVP-All-Responsible-logoIt is currently between Passover and Shavuot, the time when I and my people fled Pharaoh, made it across the Red Sea and wandered in the desert for seven weeks, arriving at Mt. Sinai for Moses to receive the Torah from God. It is customary each morning to read our way through a book from the Mishnah called Pirkei Avot (Teachings of the Fathers, or Ethics of the Parents). One of the first passages is especially short, but sweet: “You are not obligated to complete the task, but nor are you free to desist.”

I fear self-servingly forgiving my own hypocrisies, but I also feel like the question of scale effects forgivability and what is necessary for real repentance. I only found “The Three Evils of Society” three or four years ago, but Martin Luther King Jr. (again, I know), spoke forcefully against racist, deadly and blatant hypocrisies in a way that sadly transcends time:

We cry out against welfare hand outs to the poor but generously approve an oil depletion allowance to make the rich, richer. Six Mississippi plantations receive more than a million dollars a year, not to plant cotton but no provision is made to feed the tenant farmer who is put out of work by the government subsidy. The crowning achievement in hypocrisy must go to those staunch Republicans and Democrats of the Midwest and West who were given land by our government when they came here as immigrants from Europe. They were given education through the land grant colleges. They were provided with agricultural agents to keep them abreast of forming trends, they were granted low interest loans to aid in the mechanization of their farms and now that they have succeeded in becoming successful, they are paid not to farm and these are the same people that now say to black people, who’s ancestors were brought to this country in chains and who were emancipated in 1863 without being given land to cultivate or bread to eat; that they must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.

Dorothy Day, co-founder with Peter Maurin (look up “Easy Essays”) of the Catholic Worker Movement which inspired the creation of Martin de Porres House of Hospitality (or “Martins” for short): “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”

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Catholic Worker demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas.

The Last Few Days, Ramadan 2020
by Shukri Abu-Baker

One- of- a- kind Ramadan, indelible. In the thick of a pandemic, believer found solace in connecting with their Lord. Amidst all the chaos, nightly prayers ascended uninterrupted and Allah’s blessings found their way into the homes of the devout as they chanted softly in supplications and sang His praises with hearts that pulsated with unquestionable submission.

Dome of the Rock

Down to the last few nights. Nights packed with heavenly power as the angels roam around ready to encircle the deep-in-the-night worshipers. The wise believers don’t waste a moment of this wondrous time and do not look beyond what awaits them on the other side.

Ramadan candleSoon though, Ramadan will be gone. Tears will be shed, and hearts will feel the pang of separation from the magnificence of solitude__ and the magic of awakenings when everyone else in deep asleep.

O Allah, let these last few days not be the last few times we connect to Your glory, feel Your presence, and receive Your blessings.

Shukri  5/21/20 [https://notesfromshukri.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/the-last-few-days/]

Eamon is almost a year and a half!

Yup, Lacy says his personality continues to evolve as he gets closer to two than one, and he toddles faster than imaginable, in a blink of an eye! They’re still a smiley, giggly wonder, but they do get opinionated at that age, didn’t we? Good thing I outgrew that! (Hah!)

Eamon_flower

Posted in corona virus, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nonviolence, Nuclear Issues, Peacemaking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ramadan Kareem, Have a Generous Mothers’ Day and it’s Birthday Time!

Ramadan Kareem

I wanted to be sure to say the proper greeting to Muslims during Ramadan, so I looked it up. I didn’t want to say the ending prayer at the beginning of the month. I was reminded that most common is “Ramadan Mubarak” for “Happy Ramadan,” followed by “Ramadan Kareem” for “Have a generous Ramadan,” which is also very common.

Don't get more lovely than Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Given the state of things, I am hesitant to blithely wish people a happy anything, as it just feels a little flippant to me right now. I do still wish people happiness though, and I say it sometimes too. I’m just feeling so much not-happiness that it isn’t quite mine to offer. I’m grateful that I can wish generosity for people to honor Ramadan and Allah. In wishing generosity on (for?) someone, I do it happy in the thought of them either being the generous one or them being the recipient of the generosity of another.

In that spirit, since my birthday is coming up (May 17), wish me “Birthday Kareem” instead of a happy birthday. Please see the the last item of this Missive for an invitation to celebrate with me that evening and support the people of Gaza at the same time.  First though, a brief Mother’s Day greeting (including a way to help free Black mothers from prisons) and a relatively obscure Martin Luther King Jr. sermon in which he tells us not to be stupid.

Mother’s Day Kareem!

Graffito on the outside of the tunnel/culvert under US95 near Mercury Nevada and the Peacecamp site where nuclear abolitionists met and staged prayer circles, incursions onto the old Nevada Test Site to impede nuclear testing.I’m not giving up on happiness, really. If I see a woman I don’t know, I promise simply to wish her a happy mother’s day and not get into this discussion. May you all have a happy–and generous–Mother’s Day, my mother, my sisters, Lacy, my friends and family.

In celebration of motherhood, here is what came to be known as the original Mother’s Day Proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 as the “Appeal to womanhood around the world”:

Appeal to womanhood around the world
by Julia Ward Howe

Again, in the sight of the Christian world, have the skill and power of two great nations exhausted themselves in mutual murder. Again have the sacred questions of international justice been committed to the fatal mediation of military weapons. In this day of progress, in this century of light, the ambition of rulers has been allowed to barter the dear interests of domestic life for the bloody exchanges of the battle field. Thus men have done. Thus men will do. But women need no longer be made a party to proceedings which fill the globe with grief and horror. Despite the assumptions of physical force, the mother has a sacred and commanding word to say to the sons who owe their life to her suffering. That word should now be heard, and answered to as never before.

TruePinknikArise, then, Christian women of this day ! Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears ! Say firmly : We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, man as the brother of man, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

— Julia Ward Howe
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“Love and Forgiveness” by Martin Luther King Jr.

I finally transcribed a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. I bought on audio cassette fifteen or so years ago. Couldn’t find this one on line anywhere, a transcript or even any mention of it. Finally, in the on-line King archives at Stanford, I found a footnote in the description of a draft of a chapter of a book from 1960 that mentioned a sermon that evolved from then until he delivered “Love and Forgiveness” on May 20, 1964. In a passage that varied from presentation to presentation over those years, they had the exact version from my recording with the date. As always, Martin Luther King Jr. prophetically speaks to us from beyond the grave.

20170115_134603The sermon involves two main lessons derived from the prayer that Jesus uttered from the Cross.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” These sublime words from the lips of our lord and master on the cross at Calvary represent love at its best. They represent a magnificent example of the courage to love. Now we cannot fully understand the great meaning of Jesus’s prayer from the cross until we notice the word with which the text opens. It is the word “then.” The verse immediately preceding reads thus: “And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him. Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them.””

One main lesson was about the importance of walking our talk. The other lesson was to say that it is a moral imperative to be more than compassionate and conscientious, but also not to be stupid or ignorant.  To the first point, I always smile at how he marveled at our unsettling proclivity to do that which goes against our better nature, against what we know to be right:

There is something within all of us that causes us at times to cry out with St. Augustine in his confession, “Lord make me pure, but not yet.” There is something that causes us to cry out with the Apostle Paul, “The good that I would, I do not. And the evil that I would not that I do.” This strange dichotomy, this agonizing tension within human nature is one of the tragic themes of man’s earthly pilgrimage. But in the life of Jesus, the gulf was bridged. And there has never been a greater example, a greater demonstration of one being able to keep his deeds and his words in harmony.

CW-sign_wide3…and King continued:

A second lesson comes to us through Jesus’ prayer on the Cross. It is an expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual blindness. “They know not what they do.” Blindness was their trouble. Enlightenment was their need. We must never forget that Jesus was nailed to the cross not merely because of human badness but because of human blindness. The men who cried “crucify him” were not bad men; they were blind men. The men who nailed him to the Cross were misguided men. They knew not what they did.

Over the next several minutes, King showed how ignorance as much as evil perpetuates war, economic misery and racism. He didn’t yet refer to them as the “Three Evils of Society” as he would in 1967, but he was already speaking directly against the stupidity and immorality of war as well as racism and poverty.Our World Needs You to end war

Thank god we are beginning now to shake the lethargy from our souls, and we are coming to see more and more if we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ we must take a positive concrete stand against this evil system. And we must support those efforts whether they are working through the courts and legislative channels or whether they are working through direct action and demonstrations. All are necessary in order to solve this critical problem facing our nation. As we solve it, we must face this tragic fact, that many people who keep it going, are individuals who know not what they do. Many Negroes today are being crucified on nameless crosses by individuals who know not what they do.
All I’m saying is simply this: that sincerity and conscientiousness in themselves are not enough. Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. There is nothing more dangerous in all the world than goodness and sincerity placed in a small, closed mind. [emphasis added]
So we as church men have a responsibility to tell men to be good; to tell them to be kindhearted; tell them to be sincere and conscientious. But all of the moral voices in the world must say this, but beyond this they must go on to say that we have a moral responsibility to be intelligent.

My birthday is May 17, and this is what I want:

Jim_Bethlehem_retouchedJoin my friend Elliot’s “Gather for Gaza” virtual dinner party that night from 6 to 8 pm to support the desperately necessary United Nations Relief Works Administration (UNRWA) Please use this evite link and the donate button there so you can also be included in the festivities. Presentations include wisdom and entertainment from Hatem Bazian, Lynn Gottlieb, Lamees Dahbour, Laila Mokhiber and Sharif Zakout. If you are close to Oakland/Berkeley/San Francisco, we are coordinating food orders and deliveries through Mama Lamees Cuisine at the Emeryville Public Market. If you make a donation through the evite link, you will receive a zoom link to join the party from 6 to 8, and also ordering information for the food which will be delivered safely to your door.

To Exist is to Resist

A cross-over message of intersectionality. Justice for Palestine. Justice for women of color.

If you prefer a domestic cause, then be as generous as possible to the Black Mama’s Bailout. Some friends set up a fundraising challenge through the National Bail Out (#FreeBlackMamas).  NBO works in collaboration with state based organizations to free Black mothers and caregivers around the country. Here’s the link to donate: bit.ly/covid19-bailouts My friends are trying to track donations so they know when they surpass their $20,000 goal. Please let me know by text or email how much you are able to donate so I can let them know. To start it off, one couple gave their stimulus checks of $2400. I just gave $40. Anything helps.

Happy Mother’s Day, indeed!

 

 

Seeing Eamon (and Lacy) smile certainly helps me feel better! I don’t know when it will feel safe to visit them again. They are as well as can be. That’s enough for me. I have seen my mom twice since mid-March. We sat on opposite ends of a bench in front of where she lives and shmoozed not smooched. And last weekend we dealt with her car’s dead battery and went safely to Costco. I also was thrilled to see briefly a few of my friends (and exercise students) there who just happened to be outside as well.

Mom Jim.jpg

…I don’t know; a couple years ago.

Posted in Anti-Racism, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nonviolence | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment