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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