[I just want to make sure that people know to click on most of the multi-colored text to be taken to an article or video or other site. They are “active links” but I only rarely show the url (http://www.***). I know most of you know that, but I wanted to make sure, one time, that everyone is told. -Laughing Jim]
Start of Spring is Nowrooz, the New Year in the Muslim World.
Plant a Tree. Join a Peace Delegation.
I am heartened by the recent trip and reports about the CODEPINK delegation to Iran in February. It is good to know Iranians and to have friends who have visited there. We actually have a fair amount we share, as is generally the case. You travel the world, and cultures can vary, but people have a lot in common. I highly recommend Medea Benjamin’s recent book, INSIDE IRAN: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran (OR Books, 2018). Her books on Saudi Arabia and on drones and weaponized drone warfare are also very informative and readable. (Photo from Popular Resistance.)
I’m very happy that my friend David Hartsough is doing quite well despite having suffered a heart attack early in the trip. He needed surgery in Tehran, and he got it. He is home and seems to be unrestrained by the experience. His travel insurance refused to pay though, because of the sanctions against Iran by the United States. Fortunately, the cost was not what it would have been in the United States, and they were able simply to pay for the necessary services. Read Medea Benjamin’s report linked above about the trip in general.
In 2011, I joined Kathy Kelly and a crew organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence on a 27 person delegation to Afghanistan. We were met and hosted by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (now the Afghan Peace Volunteers). I have written about them before. I learned that planting trees is a common act of celebration for their new year, the Spring equinox. I think of them often, but especially at this time. I understand that the trees have done well! I hope you will consider joining some sort of peace delegation or citizen diplomacy effort. They are very worthwhile experiences.
This Interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates is so worth reading!
“Ta-Nehisi Coates Is an Optimist Now A conversation about race and 2020.” by Eric Levitz (New York Magazine, March, 2019). This is a great and wide ranging interview that is both personal and very political. I don’t have much to offer other than the link, and the promise to read it several more times myself.
Martin Luther King, Jr., August 31, 1967
The Three Evils of Society. This talk focuses less on Vietnam than his more famous, Riverside Church speech from April 4, 1967. In some ways, this one is more clearly prophetic, speaking to us today and less about that specific affront to humanity.
Remember, it was vitally important to MLK that we enlarge our criticism of society from being anti-racist and anti-materialist, to also being anti-militarist. That third one isn’t just included in the other struggles, but is its own horrifying pillar that must explicitly be opposed alongside our anti-racist, anti-capitalist (and I would add, anti-patriarchy) struggles.
Follow Ilhan Omar and other Rad Women of Color in Congress!
The article’s angle (from March 23, 2019) is about the right wing response to Ilhan Omar’s talk to the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) on March 23, 2019. Check out minute 18:11. I am amazed that she can say with such moving conviction, “Every country is able to live up to its BEST. Every leader has the ability to lead with compassion, to lead with justice.” The lead up to that is great, as is the whole 21+ minute video. Search on her name. Watch and listen to her. Be inspired to tears and stand with her. Not just her, but WOW!
A lot keeps unfolding about and by Ilhan Omar since I started writing this Missive. I hope everyone listens to her in her own words. I hope she is able to deliver some measurable good to her constituents at home. It is important that she and the other new leaders get reelected, and that is going to take some doing.
Rashida Tlaib on Twitter: “Our budget is a reflection of our values.” No particular reference to share, but she needs our ear and all of our support. I have a twitter account, but I don’t use it much. I have just started to follow some great people though who are under fire all the time. I think they look better if they have more followers, and also, it is a good way to find out what people say themselves instead of what is being said about them. Twitter, sadly, is a way to do that.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also has continued to speak out properly and boldly, including fighting back at the Green New Deal being accused of elitism, At last, a few politicians are pushing back at the hypocrisy of their attackers!
Nuclear Updates and Inspiring Resistance to US Military Bases
Latest Report on US Nuclear Weapons Production and Budget from the Best Source: Tri-Valley CARES Do read it. It is very readable, actually, and not so long. Think about nuclear weapons. Stand with people sitting in, blockading US bases. Smaller nukes like I wrote about last issue are here But they’re not alone. Also, watch this short (1:09 minutes) Love Letter from Kabul #9 from the Afghan Peace Volunteers to the people of Okinawa, and be inspired.
These are all from March, 2019.
Thank you to all the women of the world.
You deserve so much more than a day or a month here or there to be celebrated, honored…listened to, followed. Thank you, now and always. I will keep trying harder.
Free Chelsea Manning! Again!
Chelsea is an outstanding example to us all. She is languishing in jail and solitary confinement for the sake of truth and integrity. She is refusing to answer questions from a Grand jury that is after Julian Assange of WikiLeaks who also doesn’t deserve what he has been getting at the hands of this and the two previous US administrations (or the British). According to Courage to Resist, Manning had this to say on March 8 as she was being taken into custody:
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”