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27th July 2003

1:56pm: hey all. it's been a while. nothing like a ten page paper due tomorrow to lead one to find ways of stalling.
things have been good since i've been home. things with melissa are going really well, except we got some scary news the other day, and her over-excessiveness is causing a bit of trouble in paradise. but it's all good, we'll work through it.
i have a new job waiting tables at aladdin's. i like it alot, though it's quite stressful at times. i've settled back into my house and am readjusting rapidly now to the space around me. when i first got home, it was horrible, i felt like i had on new skin that didn't fit quite right. too itchy.
i got a scholarship and so i can attend school this semester. that's happy. i'll be out of here in no time. thinking about the future, it's auite uncertain. but it's forced me to really live in the moment, so that is good.
i hope everyone is well. happy travels.

27th June 2003

10:18pm: sowabona
hello all.
i'm writing a few days before i leave south africa to come back home. it has been an intense and beautiful experience, and i have been blessed to cross paths with many beautiful and inspiring people. my journey here has left quite an impression on me, and i'm sure i will be back here some day to carry out some of the work that i started here.
i hope everyone is well, and i will see some of you very soon.
love
r

10th May 2003

1:55pm: i'm leaving for the airport in half an hour. wish me luck!
later gators, love you!

5th May 2003

2:09pm: i can't tell where yours begins and mine ends
mel just left. i won't see her until july :(
but we're both going on amazing adventures.
i'm leaving on saturday, i'll be back in ctown on thursday. hopefully i'll see some of you before i leave.

katie, thanks for the post card, it made me smile :) i'll call you before i leave, sister

read this.

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030519&s=corn
Current Mood: sad

29th April 2003

12:49pm: changes in the time zone
hey all. i was reading about everyone's lives. lovely to know that you are all still breathing and whatnot, i've been a bit out of touch lately. i was about to jump out of here without updating and dive right into the pita pit that is waiting for me on my desk, but i saw this pop up ad that i had to share with y'all. it read as follows:

in stock now!

iraq deck of evil!

same cards used by the u.s. military in iraq to catch saddam and his gang

55-poker quality cards

click here to order!

WHAT THE FUCK??? if it's not bad enough that our president actually made cards like that to give to soldiers in iraq, but now they're selling replicas on the internet? this country gets more and more absurd everyday.

12 days until england
13 days until south africa
good fuckin bye

24th April 2003

11:16am: These Times
By Howard Zinn

You ask how I manage to stay involved and remain seemingly happy and
adjusted to this awful world where the efforts of caring people pale in
comparison to those who have power?

It's easy. First, don't let "those who have power" intimidate you. No
matter how much power they have they cannot prevent you from living your
life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships
with people as you like. (Read Emma Goldman's autobiography LIVING MY
LIFE. Harassed, even imprisoned by authority, she insisted on living her
life, speaking out, however she felt like.)

Second, find people to be with who have your values, your commitments, but
who also have a sense of humor. That combination is a necessity!

Third (notice how precise is my advice that I can confidently number it,
the way scientist number things), understand that the major media will not
tell you of all the acts of resistance taking place every day in the
society, the strikes, the protests, the individual acts of courage in the
face of authority. Look around (and you will ertainly find it) for the
evidence of these unreported acts. And for the little you find,
extrapolate from that and assume there must be a thousand times as much as
what you've found.

Fourth: Note that throughout history people have felt powerless before
authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by
organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to
change the world around them, even if a little. That is the history of the
labor movement, of the women's movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement,
the disable persons' movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement
of Black people in the South.

Fifth: Remember, that those who have power, and who seem invulnerable are
in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the obedience of
others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin
defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile.
Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight,
industrialists become powerless when their workers leave their jobs or
occupy the factories.

Sixth: When we forget the fragility of that power in the top we become
astounded when it crumbles in the face of rebellion. We have had many such
surprises in our time, both in the United States and in other countries.

Seventh: Don't look for a moment of total triumph. See it as an ongoing
struggle, with victories and defeats, but in the long run the
consciousness of people growing. So you need patience, persistence, and
need to understand that even when you don't "win," there is fun and
fulfillment in the fact that you have been involved, with other good
people, in something worthwhile.
Current Mood: erotic (audre lord style)

18th April 2003

11:32am: watched the movie "chelsea walls" last night. it was really lovely. it put me in a realy poetic. lovey sort of mood. i dare say that i had moments of perfection last night with. i love mel so much. sigh.
i'm going home for easter service on sunday. going to my family's house afterwards. mel's coming with me. my father and my brother and sister know she's my girlfriend, but my mother and other brother don't. and won't. it's always weird bringing people home where, as strange as it sounds, i'm still in the quasi-closet.
two more weeks of school. leaving for africa soon.
only two more weekends with mel :(
boo.
oh well, last summer i spent it without my girlfriend, too. it's all good. hopefully this doesn't turn out like that though, oi. i don't see that happening. we had a talk two nights ago about the status of our relationship when we're on opposite sides of the world. we didn't really set a clear picture of what was going to happen, but we decided to plan on being back together once we got home, and that no matter what happens on our trips that we are honest with each other. so we'll see. i'm gonna miss her a whole bunch.
OH and i found out yesterday that lindsay's moving to san francisco in a few weeks. i feel like i should see her before she leaves. i think things were still left a little weird, and i don't want things to end like this.
OH, and check this shit out.
peter mcpherson, the president of my university, is going over to iraq to help "rebuild." he's in charge of the treasury department.
that's some shit right there.
this is the same man, who, in exasperation at one of our meetings with him said, and i quote:
"how can you be pro-labor union and anti-NAFTA?"
????????
what a tool. anyway, this is a man who worked on the department of treasury under reagan and helped design projects for usaid. ugh.
so that's interesting.
alright, i'm out. anthropology final calls. peace.
Current Mood: mm hmm

15th April 2003

11:04am: thank god for michael moore
so i've been feeling very disillusioned and upset lately, and then i found this.
i'm feeling a bit better.
read on.


April 7, 2003

My Oscar "Backlash": "Stupid White Men" Back At #1, "Bowling" Breaks New Records

Dear friends,

It appears that the Bush administration will have succeeded in colonizing Iraq sometime in the next few days. This is a blunder of such magnitude -- and we will pay for it for years to come. It was not worth the life of one single American kid in uniform, let alone the thousands of Iraqis who have died, and my condolences and prayers go out to all of them.

So, where are all those weapons of mass destruction that were the pretense for this war? Ha! There is so much to say about all this, but I will save it for later.

What I am most concerned about right now is that all of you -- the majority of Americans who did not support this war in the first place -- not go silent or be intimidated by what will be touted as some great military victory. Now, more than ever, the voices of peace and truth must be heard. I have received a lot of mail from people who are feeling a profound sense of despair and believe that their voices have been drowned out by the drums and bombs of false patriotism. Some are afraid of retaliation at work or at school or in their neighborhoods because they have been vocal proponents of peace. They have been told over and over that it is not "appropriate" to protest once the country is at war, and that your only duty now is to "support the troops."

Can I share with you what it's been like for me since I used my time on the Oscar stage two weeks ago to speak out against Bush and this war? I hope that, in reading what I'm about to tell you, you'll feel a bit more emboldened to make your voice heard in whatever way or forum that is open to you.

When "Bowling for Columbine" was announced as the Oscar winner for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards, the audience rose to its feet. It was a great moment, one that I will always cherish. They were standing and cheering for a film that says we Americans are a uniquely violent people, using our massive stash of guns to kill each other and to use them against many countries around the world. They were applauding a film that shows George W. Bush using fictitious fears to frighten the public into giving him whatever he wants. And they were honoring a film that states the following: The first Gulf War was an attempt to reinstall the dictator of Kuwait; Saddam Hussein was armed with weapons from the United States; and the American government is responsible for the deaths of a half-million children in Iraq over the past decade through its sanctions and bombing. That was the movie they were cheering, that was the movie they voted for, and so I decided that is what I should acknowledge in my speech.

And, thus, I said the following from the Oscar stage:

"On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan (from Canada), I would like to thank the Academy for this award. I have invited the other Documentary nominees on stage with me. They are here in solidarity because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction because we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where fictitious election results give us a fictitious president. We are now fighting a war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or the fictitious 'Orange Alerts,' we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And, whenever you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up."

Halfway through my remarks, some in the audience started to cheer. That immediately set off a group of people in the balcony who started to boo. Then those supporting my remarks started to shout down the booers. The L. A. Times reported that the director of the show started screaming at the orchestra "Music! Music!" in order to cut me off, so the band dutifully struck up a tune and my time was up. (For more on why I said what I said, you can read the op-ed I wrote for the L.A. Times, plus other reaction from around the country at my website )

The next day -- and in the two weeks since -- the right-wing pundits and radio shock jocks have been calling for my head. So, has all this ruckus hurt me? Have they succeeded in "silencing" me?

Well, take a look at my Oscar "backlash":

-- On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the Academy Awards, attendance at "Bowling for Columbine" in theaters around the country went up 110% (source: Daily Variety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The following weekend, the box office gross was up a whopping 73% (Variety). It is now the longest-running consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks in a row and still thriving. The number of theaters showing the film since the Oscars has INCREASED, and it has now bested the previous box office record for a documentary by nearly 300%.

-- Yesterday (April 6), "Stupid White Men" shot back to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is my book's 50th week on the list, 8 of them at number one, and this marks its fourth return to the top position, something that virtually never happens.

--  In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting 10-20 million hits A DAY (one day we even got more hits than the White House!). The mail has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive (and the hate mail has been hilarious!).

-- In the two days following the Oscars, more people pre-ordered the video for "Bowling for Columbine" on Amazon.com than the video for the Oscar winner for Best Picture, "Chicago."

-- In the past week, I have obtained funding for my next documentary, and I have been offered a slot back on television to do an updated version of "TV Nation"/ "The Awful Truth."

I tell you all of this because I want to counteract a message that is told to us all the time -- that, if you take a chance to speak out politically, you will live to regret it. It will hurt you in some way, usually financially. You could lose your job. Others may not hire you. You will lose friends. And on and on and on.

Take the Dixie Chicks. I'm sure you've all heard by now that, because their lead singer mentioned how she was ashamed that Bush was from her home state of Texas, their record sales have "plummeted" and country stations are boycotting their music. The truth is that their sales are NOT down. This week, after all the attacks, their album is still at #1 on the Billboard country charts and, according to Entertainment Weekly, on the pop charts during all the brouhaha, they ROSE from #6 to #4. In the New York Times, Frank Rich reports that he tried to find a ticket to ANY of the Dixie Chicks' upcoming concerts but he couldn't because they were all sold out. (To read Rich's column from yesterday's Times, "Bowling for Kennebunkport," go here . He does a pretty good job of laying it all out and talks about my next film and the impact it could potentially have.) Their song, "Travelin' Soldier" (a beautiful anti-war ballad) was the most requested song on the internet last week. They have not been hurt at all -- but that is not what the media would have you believe. Why is that? Because there is nothing more important now than to keep the voices of dissent -- and those who would dare to ask a question -- SILENT. And what better way than to try and take a few well-known entertainers down with a pack of lies so that the average Joe or Jane gets the message loud and clear: "Wow, if they would do that to the Dixie Chicks or Michael Moore, what would they do to little ol' me?" In other words, shut the f--- up.

And that, my friends, is the real point of this film that I just got an Oscar for -- how those in charge use FEAR to manipulate the public into doing whatever they are told.

Well, the good news -- if there can be any good news this week -- is that not only have neither I nor others been silenced, we have been joined by millions of Americans who think the same way we do. Don't let the false patriots intimidate you by setting the agenda or the terms of the debate. Don't be defeated by polls that show 70% of the public in favor of the war. Remember that these Americans being polled are the same Americans whose kids (or neighbor's kids) have been sent over to Iraq.  They are scared for the troops and they are being cowed into supporting a war they did not want -- and they want even less to see their friends, family, and neighbors come home dead. Everyone supports the troops returning home alive and all of us need to reach out and let their families know that.

Unfortunately, Bush and Co. are not through yet. This invasion and conquest will encourage them to do it again elsewhere. The real purpose of this war was to say to the rest of the world, "Don't Mess with Texas - If You Got What We Want, We're Coming to Get It!" This is not the time for the majority of us who believe in a peaceful America to be quiet. Make your voices heard. Despite what they have pulled off, it is still our country.

Yours,

Michael Moore

10th April 2003

10:24am: it's quiet here except for this song
i just had the most vivid memories rush through me. of last summer. wow. what a crazy time that was. i'm so glad that i've finally made it to this place that i've been working towards for so long. the place where i can remember the love in the midst of the chaos and move on.

horoscope for the week:
"Feeling bereft because of the war, I found myself longing to connect with sources of inspiration that have fueled me over the years. I scoured closets, shelves, and storage lockers, collecting power objects from every period of my life. They included the books I've written and C.G. Jung's Psychology and Alchemy, photos of my daughter and the woman I love, a painting made for me by a friend, my favorite baseball card from childhood, and many other treasures. In the ensuing days, I made the freaky discovery that five other people I know had independently felt the urge to undertake a similar gathering. A ritual like this would be perfect for you right now, Pisces. I suggest you assemble 22 of your most important symbols and create a sanctuary to protect you from the world's chaos. "

happy travels.
Current Mood: peaceful

3rd April 2003

3:00pm: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!


sorry, had to get that out.

things to look forward to:

1. nap after work
2. the ice cream i'm about to buy
3. seeing mel when i get home
4. ani difranco, april 11th
5. leaving the country in five weeks
6. the end of war


word. i'm out.
1:03pm: IRAQ IS A TRIAL RUN
Chomsky interviewed by Frontline
http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=3369§ionID=15
by Noam Chomsky and VK Ramachandran; Frontline India; April 02, 2003 

Noam Chomsky , University Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, founder of the modern science of linguistics and
political activist, is a powerhouse of anti-imperialist activism in
the United States today. On March 21, a crowded and typical  -   and
uniquely Chomskyan  -   day of political protest and scientific
academic research, he spoke from his office for half an hour to V. K.
Ramachandran on the current attack on Iraq.

V. K. Ramachandran :Does the present aggression on Iraq represent a
continuation of United States' international policy in recent years
or a qualitatively new stage in that policy?

Noam Chomsky : It represents a significantly new phase. It is not
without precedent, but significantly new nevertheless.

This should be seen as a trial run. Iraq is seen as an extremely easy
and totally defenceless target. It is assumed, probably correctly,
that the society will collapse, that the soldiers will go in and that
the U.S. will be in control, and will establish the regime of its
choice and military bases. They will then go on to the harder cases
that will follow. The next case could be the Andean region, it could
be Iran, it could be others.

The trial run is to try and establish what the U.S. calls a "new
norm" in international relations. The new norm is "preventive war"
(notice that new norms are established only by the United States).
So, for example, when India invaded East Pakistan to terminate
horrendous massacres, it did not establish a new norm of humanitarian
intervention, because India is the wrong country, and besides, the
U.S. was strenuously opposed to that action.

This is not pre-emptive war; there is a crucial difference. Pre-
emptive war has a meaning, it means that, for example, if planes are
flying across the Atlantic to bomb the United States, the United
States is permitted to shoot them down even before they bomb and may
be permitted to attack the air bases from which they came. Pre-
emptive war is a response to ongoing or imminent attack.

The doctrine of preventive war is totally different; it holds that
the United States  -   alone, since nobody else has this right  -  
has the right to attack any country that it claims to be a potential
challenge to it. So if the United States claims, on whatever grounds,
that someone may sometime threaten it, then it can attack them.

The doctrine of preventive war was announced explicitly in the
National Strategy Report last September. It sent shudders around the
world, including through the U.S. establishment, where, I might say,
opposition to the war is unusually high. The National Strategy Report
said, in effect, that the U.S. will rule the world by force, which is
the dimension  -   the only dimension  -   in which it is supreme.
Furthermore, it will do so for the indefinite future, because if any
potential challenge arises to U.S. domination, the U.S. will destroy
it before it becomes a challenge.

This is the first exercise of that doctrine. If it succeeds on these
terms, as it presumably will, because the target is so defenceless,
then international lawyers and Western intellectuals and others will
begin to talk about a new norm in international affairs. It is
important to establish such a norm if you expect to rule the world by
force for the foreseeable future.

This is not without precedent, but it is extremely unusual. I shall
mention one precedent, just to show how narrow the spectrum is. In
1963, Dean Acheson, who was a much respected elder statesman and
senior Adviser of the Kennedy Administration, gave an important talk
to the American Society of International Law, in which he justified
the U. S. attacks against Cuba. The attack by the Kennedy
Administration on Cuba was large-scale international terrorism and
economic warfare. The timing was interesting  -   it was right after
the Missile Crisis, when the world was very close to a terminal
nuclear war. In his speech, Acheson said that "no legal issue arises
when the United States responds to challenges to its position,
prestige or authority", or words approximating that.

That is also a statement of the Bush doctrine. Although Acheson was
an important figure, what he said had not been official government
policy in the post-War period. It now stands as official policy and
this is the first illustration of it. It is intended to provide a
precedent for the future.

Such "norms" are established only when a Western power does
something, not when others do. That is part of the deep racism of
Western culture, going back through centuries of imperialism and so
deep that it is unconscious.

So I think this war is an important new step, and is intended to be.

Ramachandran :Is it also a new phase in that the U. S. has not been
able to carry others with it?

Chomsky : That is not new. In the case of the Vietnam War, for
example, the United States did not even try to get international
support. Nevertheless, you are right in that this is unusual. This is
a case in which the United States was compelled for political reasons
to try to force the world to accept its position and was not able to,
which is quite unusual. Usually, the world succumbs.

Ramachandran :So does it represent a "failure of diplomacy" or a
redefinition of diplomacy itself?

Chomsky : I wouldn't call it diplomacy at all  -   it's a failure of
coercion.

Compare it with the first Gulf War. In the first Gulf War, the U.S.
coerced the Security Council into accepting its position, although
much of the world opposed it. NATO went along, and the one country in
the Security Council that did not  -   Yemen  -   was immediately and
severely punished.

In any legal system that you take seriously, coerced judgments are
considered invalid, but in the international affairs conducted by the
powerful, coerced judgments are fine  -   they are called diplomacy.

What is interesting about this case is that the coercion did not
work. There were countries  -   in fact, most of them  -   who
stubbornly maintained the position of the vast majority of their
populations.

The most dramatic case is Turkey. Turkey is a vulnerable country,
vulnerable to U.S. punishment and inducements. Nevertheless, the new
government, I think to everyone's surprise, did maintain the position
of about 90 per cent of its population. Turkey is bitterly condemned
for that here, just as France and Germany are bitterly condemned
because they took the position of the overwhelming majority of their
populations. The countries that are praised are countries like Italy
and Spain, whose leaders agreed to follow orders from Washington over
the opposition of maybe 90 per cent of their populations.

That is another new step. I cannot think of another case where hatred
and contempt for democracy have so openly been proclaimed, not just
by the government, but also by liberal commentators and others. There
is now a whole literature trying to explain why France, Germany, the
so-called "old Europe", and Turkey and others are trying to undermine
the United States. It is inconceivable to the pundits that they are
doing so because they take democracy seriously and they think that
when the overwhelming majority of a population has an opinion, a
government ought to follow it.

That is real contempt for democracy, just as what has happened at the
United Nations is total contempt for the international system. In
fact there are now calls  -   from The Wall Street Journal ,people in
Government and others  -   to disband the United Nations.

Fear of the United States around the world is extraordinary. It is so
extreme that it is even being discussed in the mainstream media. The
cover story of the upcoming issue of Newsweek is about why the world
is so afraid of the United States. The Post had a cover story about
this a few weeks ago.

Of course this is considered to be the world's fault, that there is
something wrong with the world with which we have to deal somehow,
but also something that has to be recognised.

Ramachandran :The idea that Iraq represents any kind of clear and
present danger is, of course, without any substance at all.

Chomsky : Nobody pays any attention to that accusation, except,
interestingly, the population of the United States.

In the last few months, there has been a spectacular achievement of
government-media propaganda, very visible in the polls. The
international polls show that support for the war is higher in the
United States than in other countries. That is, however, quite
misleading, because if you look a little closer, you find that the
United States is also different in another respect from the rest of
the world. Since September 2002, the United States is the only
country in the world where 60 per cent of the population believes
that Iraq is an imminent threat  -   something that people do not
believe even in Kuwait or Iran.

Furthermore, about 50 per cent of the population now believes that
Iraq was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. This
has happened since September 2002. In fact, after the September 11
attack, the figure was about 3 per cent. Government-media propaganda
has managed to raise that to about 50 per cent. Now if people
genuinely believe that Iraq has carried out major terrorist attacks
against the United States and is planning to do so again, well, in
that case people will support the war.

This has happened, as I said, after September 2002. September 2002 is
when the government-media campaign began and also when the mid-term
election campaign began. The Bush Administration would have been
smashed in the election if social and economic issues had been in the
forefront, but it managed to suppress those issues in favour of
security issues  -   and people huddle under the umbrella of power.

This is exactly the way the country was run in the 1980s. Remember
that these are almost the same people as in the Reagan and the senior
Bush Administrations. Right through the 1980s they carried out
domestic policies that were harmful to the population and which, as
we know from extensive polls, the people opposed. But they managed to
maintain control by frightening the people. So the Nicaraguan Army
was two days' march from Texas and about to conquer the United
States, and the airbase in Granada was one from which the Russians
would bomb us. It was one thing after another, every year, every one
of them ludicrous. The Reagan Administration actually declared a
national Emergency in 1985 because of the threat to the security of
the United States posed by the Government of Nicaragua.

If somebody were watching this from Mars, they would not know whether
to laugh or to cry.

They are doing exactly the same thing now, and will probably do
something similar for the presidential campaign. There will have to
be a new dragon to slay, because if the Administration lets domestic
issues prevail, it is in deep trouble.

Ramachandran :You have written that this war of aggression has
dangerous consequences with respect to international terrorism and
the threat of nuclear war.

Chomsky : I cannot claim any originality for that opinion. I am just
quoting the CIA and other intelligence agencies and virtually every
specialist in international affairs and terrorism. Foreign Affairs,
Foreign Policy , the study by the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, and the high-level Hart-Rudman Commission on terrorist
threats to the United States all agree that it is likely to increase
terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The reason is simple: partly for revenge, but partly just for self-
defence.

There is no other way to protect oneself from U.S. attack. In fact,
the United States is making the point very clearly, and is teaching
the world an extremely ugly lesson.

Compare North Korea and Iraq. Iraq is defenceless and weak; in fact,
the weakest regime in the region. While there is a horrible monster
running it, it does not pose a threat to anyone else. North Korea, on
the other hand, does pose a threat. North Korea, however, is not
attacked for a very simple reason: it has a deterrent. It has a
massed artillery aimed at Seoul, and if the United States attacks it,
it can wipe out a large part of South Korea.

So the United States is telling the countries of the world: if you
are defenceless, we are going to attack you when we want, but if you
have a deterrent, we will back off, because we only attack
defenceless targets. In other words, it is telling countries that
they had better develop a terrorist network and weapons of mass
destruction or some other credible deterrent; if not, they are
vulnerable to "preventive war".

For that reason alone, this war is likely to lead to the
proliferation of both terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Ramachandran :How do you think the U.S. will manage the human  -  
and humanitarian  -   consequences of the war?

Chomsky : No one knows, of course. That is why honest and decent
people do not resort to violence  -   because one simply does not
know.

The aid agencies and medical groups that work in Iraq have pointed
out that the consequences can be very severe. Everyone hopes not, but
it could affect up to millions of people. To undertake violence when
there is even such a possibility is criminal.

There is already  -   that is, even before the war  -   a
humanitarian catastrophe. By conservative estimates, ten years of
sanctions have killed hundreds of thousands of people. If there were
any honesty, the U.S. would pay reparations just for the sanctions.

The situation is similar to the bombing of Afghanistan, of which you
and I spoke when the bombing there was in its early stages. It was
obvious the United States was never going to investigate the
consequences.

Ramachandran :Or invest the kind of money that was needed.

Chomsky : Oh no. First, the question is not asked, so no one has an
idea of what the consequences of the bombing were for most of the
country. Then almost nothing comes in. Finally, it is out of the
news, and no one remembers it any more.

In Iraq, the United States will make a show of humanitarian
reconstruction and will put in a regime that it will call democratic,
which means that it follows Washington's orders. Then it will forget
about what happens later, and will go on to the next one.

Ramachandran :How have the media lived up to their propaganda-model
reputation this time?

Chomsky : Right now it is cheerleading for the home team. Look at
CNN, which is disgusting  -   and it is the same everywhere. That is
to be expected in wartime; the media are worshipful of power.

More interesting is what happened in the build-up to war. The fact
that government-media propaganda was able to convince the people that
Iraq is an imminent threat and that Iraq was responsible for
September 11 is a spectacular achievement and, as I said, was
accomplished in about four months. If you ask people in the media
about this, they will say, "Well, we never said that," and it is
true, they did not. There was never a statement that Iraq is going to
invade the United States or that it carried out the World Trade
Centre attack. It was just insinuated, hint after hint, until they
finally got people to believe it.

Ramachandran :Look at the resistance, though. Despite the propaganda,
despite the denigration of the United Nations, they haven't quite
carried the day.

Chomsky : You never know. The United Nations is in a very hazardous
position.

The United States might move to dismantle it. I don't really expect
that, but at least to diminish it, because when it isn't following
orders, of what use is it?

Ramachandran :Noam, you have seen movements of resistance to
imperialism over a long period  -   Vietnam, Central America, Gulf
War I. What are your impressions of the character, sweep and depth of
the present resistance to U.S. aggression? We take great heart in the
extraordinary mobilisations all over the world.

Chomsky : Oh, that is correct; there is just nothing like it.
Opposition throughout the world is enormous and unprecedented, and
the same is true of the United States. Yesterday, for example, I was
in demonstrations in downtown Boston, right around the Boston Common.
It is not the first time I have been there. The first time I
participated in a demonstration there at which I was to speak was in
October 1965. That was four years after the United States had started
bombing South Vietnam. Half of South Vietnam had been destroyed and
the war had been extended to North Vietnam. We could not have a
demonstration because it was physically attacked, mostly by students,
with the support of the liberal press and radio, who denounced these
people who were daring to protest against an American war.

On this occasion, however, there was a massive protest before the war
was launched officially and once again on the day it was launched  -
   with no counter-demonstrators. That is a radical difference. And
if it were not for the fear factor that I mentioned, there would be
much more opposition.

The government knows that it cannot carry out long-term aggression
and destruction as in Vietnam because the population will not
tolerate it.

There is only one way to fight a war now. First of all, pick a much
weaker enemy, one that is defenceless. Then build it up in the
propaganda system as either about to commit aggression or as an
imminent threat. Next, you need a lightning victory. An important
leaked document of the first Bush Administration in 1989 described
how the U.S. would have to fight war. It said that the U.S. had to
fight much weaker enemies, and that victory must be rapid and
decisive, as public support will quickly erode. It is no longer like
the 1960s, when a war could be fought for years with no opposition at
all.

In many ways, the activism of the 1960s and subsequent years has
simply made a lot of the world, including this country, much more
civilised in many domains.

30th March 2003

2:04pm: We live in very challenging times filled with pain, suffering, fear,
violence, hatred, and oppression in both the human and non-human world.
Yet, we also live in incredible times of possibility, love, joy,
celebration, co-creation and healing. Truly, these are the best and
worst of times.

We stand upon a precipice looking into an abyss; we stand on an edge,
peering into the infinite. All our hopes and dreams stand challenged,
trembling in the face of such adversity. Yet, in this is our chance to
learn, grow, and transform. Now is our opportunity to fly upon the
wings of Love and consciousness in ACTION.

It is one thing to be able to see all that is wrong in the world. It
is another to go deeper than that into the very innermost depth of
ourselves. Through this immersion we find that we are truly all ONE!
Every person, plant, animal, sun, soil, mineral, and water, we all
come from one source. Those who feel they hate us and those who we
must struggle not to hate, we too are all one.

Peace begins with this often times difficult and painful
understanding. It begins in the heart. It is that simple and it is
that profound. For there to be peace in the world, we must first
cultivate it in our hearts then extend it into our homes, communities,
and through this, the world‹ our global community and family. As
Ghandi said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." We
must realize that every action, every choice is an opportunity to
safeguard, heal, and create peace or hurt, destroy and perpetuate
violence. Let us choose hugging over hitting, kissing over killing,
planting over pillaging, reusing over throwing away, simplifying
over spending, sharing over hiding, singing over screaming, and
dancing with the heartbeat of the Mother Earth that connects us all.
For every single one of these choices, every single moment of every
day, we all are either creating peace or destroying it.

Let us choose to hold ourselves accountable to co-creating the world
we wish to see. Where there is Love and consciousness in ACTION,
there also, is a beautiful and peaceful world. Begin it here. If not
us, who? If not right now, when? It is time for the revolution of
the heart.

Peace Sisters and Brothers,
julia butterfly hill

27th March 2003

8:23am: MUST READ!!!
i know alot of you probably won't read this all, so short summary:
before reading this article, i had thought that the comparison of bush to hitler was a bit extreme . . .
this article tells the story of the rise of the nazi regime and it's UNDENIABLE parallels with our current situation here in the u.s. it's almost the exact chain of events that is going on as we speak:
1. a leader who illegitimately got in office
2. a terrorist attack that spawned a war
3. attacks against people of middle eastern descent
4. the merging of corporate power with government and their monopoly of the media
5. a supposedly "small" war that escalated into world war 2
6. passing of a homeland security act (it even has the same name) and other legislation that stripped people of civil liberties, complete with a sunset clause
7. the equation of dissent as anti-german (american) rhetoric
8. the creation of a new type of warfare, blitzkrieg (shock and awe)

extremely chilling, it's like the bush administration read a "how-to" book from the nazi regime. the only difference there seems to be this time around is that we have the atomic bomb.
let's hope that our nation soon wakes up, and that our dissent and disobedience, along with the rest of global civil society, can stop history from repeating itself again.

with love and hope for peace,
rp


"When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History"
by Thom Hartmann

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0316-08.htm


The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely
reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that
fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the
anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized
citizens all across the world.

It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic
crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign
ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the
media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence
services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed.
(Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the
intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research
implies they did not.)

But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in
part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be
the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the
majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted.
He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw
things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to
understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and
internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his
political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and
often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats,
foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and
media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an
occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls
and human bones.

Nonetheless, he knew the terrorist was going to strike (although he
didn't know where or when), and he had already considered his response.
When an aide brought him word that the nation's most prestigious
building was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorist who had struck and
then rushed to the scene and called a press conference.

"You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he
proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by
national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion,
"is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called
it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological
sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East
and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.

Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built in
Oranianberg to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous
terrorist. In a national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was
everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display.

Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular
leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating
terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that
suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas
corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected
terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without
access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without
warrants if the cases involved terrorism.

To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State"
passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil
libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the
national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then,
the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police
agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't
had time to read the bill before voting on it.

Immediately after passage of the anti-terrorism act, his federal police
agencies stepped up their program of arresting suspicious persons and
holding them without access to lawyers or courts. In the first year only
a few hundred were interred, and those who objected were largely ignored
by the mainstream press, which was afraid to offend and thus lose access
to a leader with such high popularity ratings. Citizens who protested
the leader in public - and there were many - quickly found themselves
confronting the newly empowered police's batons, gas, and jail cells, or
fenced off in protest zones safely out of earshot of the leader's public
speeches. (In the meantime, he was taking almost daily lessons in public
speaking, learning to control his tonality, gestures, and facial
expressions. He became a very competent orator.)

Within the first months after that terrorist attack, at the suggestion
of a political advisor, he brought a formerly obscure word into common
usage. He wanted to stir a "racial pride" among his countrymen, so,
instead of referring to the nation by its name, he began to refer to it
as "The Homeland," a phrase publicly promoted in the introduction to a
1934 speech recorded in Leni Riefenstahl's famous propaganda movie
"Triumph Of The Will." As hoped, people's hearts swelled with pride, and
the beginning of an us-versus-them mentality was sewn. Our land was
"the" homeland, citizens thought: all others were simply foreign lands.
We are the "true people," he suggested, the only ones worthy of our
nation's concern; if bombs fall on others, or human rights are violated
in other nations and it makes our lives better, it's of little concern
to us.

Playing on this new nationalism, and exploiting a disagreement with the
French over his increasing militarism, he argued that any international
body that didn't act first and foremost in the best interest of his own
nation was neither relevant nor useful. He thus withdrew his country
from the League Of Nations in October, 1933, and then negotiated a
separate naval armaments agreement with Anthony Eden of The United
Kingdom to create a worldwide military ruling elite.

His propaganda minister orchestrated a campaign to ensure the people
that he was a deeply religious man and that his motivations were rooted
in Christianity. He even proclaimed the need for a revival of the
Christian faith across his nation, what he called a "New Christianity."
Every man in his rapidly growing army wore a belt buckle that declared
"Gott Mit Uns" - God Is With Us - and most of them fervently believed it
was true.

Within a year of the terrorist attack, the nation's leader determined
that the various local police and federal agencies around the nation
were lacking the clear communication and overall coordinated
administration necessary to deal with the terrorist threat facing the
nation, particularly those citizens who were of Middle Eastern ancestry
and thus probably terrorist and communist sympathizers, and various
troublesome "intellectuals" and "liberals." He proposed a single new
national agency to protect the security of the homeland, consolidating
the actions of dozens of previously independent police, border, and
investigative agencies under a single leader.

He appointed one of his most trusted associates to be leader of this new
agency, the Central Security Office for the homeland, and gave it a role
in the government equal to the other major departments.

His assistant who dealt with the press noted that, since the terrorist
attack, "Radio and press are at out disposal." Those voices questioning
the legitimacy of their nation's leader, or raising questions about his
checkered past, had by now faded from the public's recollection as his
central security office began advertising a program encouraging people
to phone in tips about suspicious neighbors. This program was so
successful that the names of some of the people "denounced" were soon
being broadcast on radio stations. Those denounced often included
opposition politicians and celebrities who dared speak out - a favorite
target of his regime and the media he now controlled through
intimidation and ownership by corporate allies.

To consolidate his power, he concluded that government alone wasn't
enough. He reached out to industry and forged an alliance, bringing
former executives of the nation's largest corporations into high
government positions. A flood of government money poured into corporate
coffers to fight the war against the Middle Eastern ancestry terrorists
lurking within the homeland, and to prepare for wars overseas. He
encouraged large corporations friendly to him to acquire media outlets
and other industrial concerns across the nation, particularly those
previously owned by suspicious people of Middle Eastern ancestry. He
built powerful alliances with industry; one corporate ally got the
lucrative contract worth millions to build the first large-scale
detention center for enemies of the state. Soon more would follow.
Industry flourished.

But after an interval of peace following the terrorist attack, voices of
dissent again arose within and without the government. Students had
started an active program opposing him (later known as the White Rose
Society), and leaders of nearby nations were speaking out against his
bellicose rhetoric. He needed a diversion, something to direct people
away from the corporate cronyism being exposed in his own government,
questions of his possibly illegitimate rise to power, and the oft-voiced
concerns of civil libertarians about the people being held in detention
without due process or access to attorneys or family.

With his number two man - a master at manipulating the media - he began
a campaign to convince the people of the nation that a small, limited
war was necessary. Another nation was harboring many of the suspicious
Middle Eastern people, and even though its connection with the terrorist
who had set afire the nation's most important building was tenuous at
best, it held resources their nation badly needed if they were to have
room to live and maintain their prosperity. He called a press conference
and publicly delivered an ultimatum to the leader of the other nation,
provoking an international uproar. He claimed the right to strike
preemptively in self-defense, and nations across Europe - at first -
denounced him for it, pointing out that it was a doctrine only claimed
in the past by nations seeking worldwide empire, like Caesar's Rome or
Alexander's Greece.

It took a few months, and intense international debate and lobbying with
European nations, but, after he personally met with the leader of the
United Kingdom, finally a deal was struck. After the military action
began, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain told the nervous British
people that giving in to this leader's new first-strike doctrine would
bring "peace for our time." Thus Hitler annexed Austria in a lightning
move, riding a wave of popular support as leaders so often do in times
of war. The Austrian government was unseated and replaced by a new
leadership friendly to Germany, and German corporations began to take
over Austrian resources.

In a speech responding to critics of the invasion, Hitler said, "Certain
foreign newspapers have said that we fell on Austria with brutal
methods. I can only say; even in death they cannot stop lying. I have in
the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but
when I crossed the former frontier [into Austria] there met me such a
stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come,
but as liberators."

To deal with those who dissented from his policies, at the advice of his
politically savvy advisors, he and his handmaidens in the press began a
campaign to equate him and his policies with patriotism and the nation
itself. National unity was essential, they said, to ensure that the
terrorists or their sponsors didn't think they'd succeeded in splitting
the nation or weakening its will. In times of war, they said, there
could be only "one people, one nation, and one commander-in-chief" ("Ein
Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer"), and so his advocates in the media began a
nationwide campaign charging that critics of his policies were attacking
the nation itself. Those questioning him were labeled "anti-German" or
"not good Germans," and it was suggested they were aiding the enemies of
the state by failing in the patriotic necessity of supporting the
nation's valiant men in uniform. It was one of his most effective ways
to stifle dissent and pit wage-earning people (from whom most of the
army came) against the "intellectuals and liberals" who were critical of
his policies.

Nonetheless, once the "small war" annexation of Austria was successfully
and quickly completed, and peace returned, voices of opposition were
again raised in the Homeland. The almost-daily release of news bulletins
about the dangers of terrorist communist cells wasn't enough to rouse
the populace and totally suppress dissent. A full-out war was necessary
to divert public attention from the growing rumbles within the country
about disappearing dissidents; violence against liberals, Jews, and
union leaders; and the epidemic of crony capitalism that was producing
empires of wealth in the corporate sector but threatening the middle
class's way of life.

A year later, to the week, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia; the nation was
now fully at war, and all internal dissent was suppressed in the name of
national security. It was the end of Germany's first experiment with
democracy.

As we conclude this review of history, there are a few milestones worth
remembering.

February 27, 2003, was the 70th anniversary of Dutch terrorist Marinus
van der Lubbe's successful firebombing of the German Parliament
(Reichstag) building, the terrorist act that catapulted Hitler to
legitimacy and reshaped the German constitution. By the time of his
successful and brief action to seize Austria, in which almost no German
blood was shed, Hitler was the most beloved and popular leader in the
history of his nation. Hailed around the world, he was later Time
magazine's "Man Of The Year."

Most Americans remember his office for the security of the homeland,
known as the Reichssicherheitshauptamt and its SchutzStaffel, simply by
its most famous agency's initials: the SS.

We also remember that the Germans developed a new form of highly violent
warfare they named "lightning war" or blitzkrieg, which, while
generating devastating civilian losses, also produced a highly desirable
"shock and awe" among the nation's leadership according to the authors
of the 1996 book "Shock And Awe" published by the National Defense
University Press.

Reflecting on that time, The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton
Mifflin Company, 1983) left us this definition of the form of government
the German democracy had become through Hitler's close alliance with the
largest German corporations and his policy of using war as a tool to
keep power: "fas-cism (fbsh'iz'em) n. A system of government that
exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the
merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent
nationalism."

Today, as we face financial and political crises, it's useful to
remember that the ravages of the Great Depression hit Germany and the
United States alike. Through the 1930s, however, Hitler and Roosevelt
chose very different courses to bring their nations back to power and
prosperity.

Germany's response was to use government to empower corporations and
reward the society's richest individuals, privatize much of the commons,
stifle dissent, strip people of constitutional rights, and create an
illusion of prosperity through continual and ever-expanding war. America
passed minimum wage laws to raise the middle class, enforced anti-trust
laws to diminish the power of corporations, increased taxes on
corporations and the wealthiest individuals, created Social Security,
and became the employer of last resort through programs to build
national infrastructure, promote the arts, and replant forests.

To the extent that our Constitution is still intact, the choice is again
ours.

Thom Hartmann lived and worked in Germany during the 1980s, and is the
author of over a dozen books, including "Unequal Protection" and "The
Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight." This article is copyright by Thom
Hartmann, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog,
or web media so long as this credit is attached.

22nd March 2003

11:34pm: the end of my little rope
so all of my friends got out of jail. good good. i would write more but i'm too tired.
i'm really exhausted today, and am in this horrible state of depression. i think it's a combination of everything. i haven't felt like this in years, though, it's almost comforting in a strange way, like visiting the playground of your elementary school.
i definitely don't want to stay here, though.

can't get through it
can't get under it
can't get around it


shock and awe has started.
george bush ad his administration is pissing me off.
and that's about how articulate as i can be this evening.
good night.

21st March 2003

12:35pm: peace
things are getting pretty intense around here. yesterday we had a march to the capitol to join up with the 24 hour vigil that was already there. the police were a bit rough at first, one of them nudged my friend david with his motorcycle and another one ran over a girl's foot. after that, though, we marched unharmed, though the police and the far right-wing group young americans for freedom got us all on tape.
my roommate was followed home by an undercover cop. he managed to lose him, but upon arrival at home, i found out that it was almost 100% positive that our phone line is tapped.
the police have been all over our house the past two days. while we were all watching the news last night, my roommate sprang out of his seat because he saw a car drive up and sit outside our window. he grabbed his video camera and ran outside. the car hit it in reverse, peeled backwards, and took off. my roommate ran after him, and got some good video of the undercover cop.

the other co-op down the street has been under surveillance as well.

today we planned on setting up a barricade downtown and taking over the streets for a few days. when we arrived downtown at 7:30 in the morning there were cops everywhere--i counted at least six cars with a quick scan of the area. they had their riot helmets on and barricades, as well as a tow truck. we don't know how are exact plans had leaked, but they obviously had.

only about 50 people showed up or so, so we were all trying to figure out what to do. i was getting nervous because i was obviously one of the people in communication with everyone and kind of getting people ready, and the cops were eyeballing me. not cool. but i definitely wasn't in as much danger as some people. my friends were driving the trucks that were bringing down the barricade, and the cops were there to pull them over. we were also worried because the driver of the car that was going to start the blockade would not be able to blend in with the crowd and get away, so she obviously would have been arrested.

we recouped and decided to just drive the car up, and my friend was going to chain herself inside to the steering wheel, and everyone else was going to lock down around it.

it was tense when the car first drove up and we took to the street. but everyone got in position pretty fast. it was so amazing and inspiring to see everyone so dedicated. i was in charge of my friend's key to the lock, so i stayed on the sidewalk and kept a REAL close eye on her, leading chants and getting people riled up. a cop got up in my face, but nothing happened. he threatened to arrest me, so i looked him in the eye for a very long moment, looking for his human spirit. i think i caught a glimpse, but he hardened up pretty quick. i got back on the sidewalk, though, because i didn't want to leave my girl high and dry if the police got violent with her.

everyone was on video tape. they were taping up in our faces, from the roofs, and from their cars. there was a government agent there as well.

a total of twelve people got arrested, about 8 of them being people pretty close to me. it was really inspiring watching them be so brave, and i had tears in my eyes, i was so proud of them. they're all okay and all in the cells together. i spent the next part of the day taking and making phone calls.

they are all so amazing, they were sending out so many love vibes while i was on the phone with them. their bail is set at $500 a piece (so over $5000 total to get them out), but no one will leave unless everyone leaves.

now i'm at work and i can't believe that all this stuff actually happened.
as bush and his war intensify, so will our resistance. this is only the beginning, we grow stronger with each action.
peace and love to you all.
stop the war.

20th March 2003

12:58am: today i am deeply ashamed of my country.
i have this intense sadness in my chest, a fear for the world and a deep seeded anger towards those who choose to see human life as just another part at play in their political games.
how can i sleep soundly in my bed tonight when the sun is rising over baghdad and there is a womyn much like myself who is facing death at any moment?
america the free
the greatest democracy in the world
whose dictator is deaf to the voices of millions all over the world
yes, today is a dark day in human history
may God have mercy on us all

18th March 2003

1:36pm: birthday weekend, woo!
here it is, the birthday weekend recap.
friday night, party at raft hill. no one was showing up at first, and i was getting quite worried, but by midnight, it was BUMPIN. it was great. i got incredibly drunk, thanks to the smirnoff ice dropped off in my kitchen by my friend mike. got to dance with all my beautiful friends. we also performed our drag number for everyone, and got cheers. i almost fell down on my kick turn cross, though, i was a bit too tipsy to play jimmy ruffin that evening i suppose.
one glitch in the evening, this asshole guy decided it would be cool to stick his tongue down my throat and take a picture. and when i yelled at him he told me that i obviously wnated it, and i wouldn't be dating a girl if i ever experienced him--a "real" man he tells me. right.
fucker.
eighmie kicked his ass out for me, what a babe.
i want to take a minute to let everyone know that my girl katie drove 12 hours to see me on my birthday, and we had a WONDERFUL time together. she is such a babe. (see girl, i told you).
saturday we walked around in the beautiful sixty degree sunshine, quite lovely. then to the 505 for the evening. had a good time, but got way too sloshed. shaun's triple vodka pucker shot was what put me over th edge.
bower house gave me my birthday present. they all pitched in money and gave me $157 towards my south africe trip!! it was so amazing, it made me cry. i love my bowertistas so much, they are the best family a girl could have.
another interesting occurence, when we all got home, i walk into the kitchen to find shaun kissing mel--the womyn that i'm in a relationship with. that was fucking cool. nope. it caused quite a bit of controversy in the house, that reached its climax on sunday night after shaun found out that me ane mel were dating. he felt so bad that he got REALLY trashed and through all this shit around his room. we talked, and everything was cool (i though), but he ended up scaring my roommates pretty bad. but all is good now, amends have been made.
so yeah, saturday was cool and then sunday i got to make my amends with katie, and we went out for a drink later, it was good.
being 21 is fun. i think this is the first birthday where i actually feel older, ha. oh, i guess i did at 18 too.
so then yesterday. we were all pretty depressed because of the war that is looming within the next 48 hours that will change to geopolitical climate of the world ina major way and we have no idea what that means. we spent the evening getting drunk off wine (thank you, nathan, the shiraz was superb) and figuring out anti-war action plans.
intense intense intense.
shit, 1:40, have to get ready for class. no time to check for spelling errors, my bad.

*peace* and love to you all. here's to keeping hope (and ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the middle east) alive.
rachel p
Current Mood: rushed
1:28pm: wow
this is an amazing speech given by my friend paul. it's kind of long (for a live journal post, anyways), but i think that all of you will really like it. definitely worth your time.
*peace*
rachel p




This is Paul. This is the text of the speech I gave at the Listening
Ear benefit show on Sunday night. Hope you enjoy it.

Hello everyone. My name is Paul @#*& and I’m actually a member of both
%$@# and #*@&^. What I’m going to say to you
tonight draws a lot on this. While I realize that not everyone in either
group would agree, I feel strongly that my work with both #@%$^
and &#^@*() is part of a much larger project, one that will transform
society on all levels, from the way individuals speak to each other, to
making sure everyone has food, water, and shelter, to eradicating all
forms of oppression, and moving from a representative democracy to a
direct democracy in which all people have control over the decisions that
effect their lives.
The anti-war movement is an important part of the struggle to transform
society. The prospect of a U.S. invasion of Iraq makes me feel scared,
enraged, and deeply sad. At times I feel overwhelmed, helpless and
powerless. The existence of such a massive anti-war movement that
includes so many different groups and perspectives makes me feel inspired
and hopeful, and at times, sad that such a movement is needed. At the
same time, I think there is an important question that is not being asked
often enough, "What is the root cause of war?" This question is vital
because we need to understand what causes war in order to stop it.
The most common answer to this question is oil. Oil is certainly one of
the causes for this war, but I want to examine other causes, because,
while oil helps to explain this war, it doesn’t explain all wars, and I
for one want an end to not only the war against Iraq but all war.
Oil does point to the connection between war and capitalism. I think
that in order to understand war and how to stop it we are going to have
to make many more connections between things that are not typically seen
as connected. An example of this is the connection that I made earlier,
between *(#&$^ and #*&)(#*. At first glance, the two groups seem
very different. The #*$*@& is an apolitical organization, founded
in 1969 that holds strong values of empathy and non-judgement. #*$&@&^
is a political activist group that formed shortly after September
11th that draws connections between war, capitalism, and all types of
oppression and that advocates radical disobedience and direct actions
such as occupying the street during marches and glueing anti-war signs
and banners to the Armory. So, why would I think that my work with these
two very different groups is part of the same project?
There is one thing that the two groups have in common; both make
decisions by consensus. Consensus is a form of direct democracy that is
used by many movements that seek a radical transformation in society. To
answer why I see my work with these two groups as part of one project, I
would like to conduct a thought experiment. You can close your eyes if
you’d like. Imagine what would happen if our entire society used the Ear
model of communication. Imagine people being completely honest about how
they feel, and even more radical, imagine people listening to each other
with empathy and non-judgement. Social transformation would be
inevitable. Imagine all the victims of rape and domestic violence
telling their stories, and, perhaps more importantly, imagine people
actually listening. Imagine privileged people listening to the sorrow,
rage, and hope of the people their privilege hurts.
I think that radical social transformation will require more than such
honesty, that it will also require direct actions on a massive scale. In
my opinion, both radical honesty and direct actions have vital roles to
play in radical social transformation. Keeping this in mind, I want to
look at the psychological dimension of the question, "What is the root
cause of war?"
Before psychology can be used as a radical tool, the problems of
mainstream psychology must be examined. Mainstream psychology serves the
interests of the powerful and privileged and seeks to maintain the status
quo. One of the main ways it does this is by locating what is wrong
within individuals rather than seeing what is wrong with the large
society. "You’re depressed," many psychologists will tell you, "because
you have a chemical imbalance." Not because you have a meaningless job,
or because you were taught to hate yourself for being a woman or a
non-white or a queer person, or because you live in a society where money
is more important than human lives. There are some concepts and theories
from psychology that can be appropriated for radical use. Mainstream
psychology does acknowledge that problems are broader than individual
people when it talks about dysfunctional families. I want to extend this
concept and say that we live in a dysfunctional society.
The evidence that our society is dysfunctional all around us.
One-fourth to one-third of women experience sexual assault. Millions of
Americans are on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. We are
poisoning ourselves with cancer-causing chemicals. Children starve and
homeless people freeze on the street while in a suburb near where I grew
up there’s a bakery for dogs. Children younger and younger are turning
guns on each other.
The prevailing view is that these are all separate and unrelated
problems, but the more I see, the more I get in touch with my true
feelings and instincts, the more certain I am that such an attitude is
denial. There is something terribly wrong. The symptoms are all around
us. The problems are interconnected in complex ways. One common thread
is dehumanization. Dehumanization is an aspect of all the different
forms of oppression, of war, and even of capitalism. For a long time, I
didn’t really understand the true meaning of the familiar feminist claim
that women are objectified in our culture. It literally means that women
are seen and treated as objects and not as people. This is something
that also happens in war. People in enemy countries are no longer seen
as people; civilian casualties become "collateral damage." Capitalism is
the ultimate dehumanizer because it deprives not only the oppressed of
humanity, but everyone. People become "human capital" or "human
resources" and any value assigned to human life is sacrificed to the
Almighty Dollar and the Sacred Bottom Line.
This is only one of the common threads that exist between oppression,
war, and capitalism. I want to make clear that I am not saying that all
forms of oppression are identical, because they’re not. But I do think
that the presence of dehumanization as a component of the oppressive
mindset, the warmonger mindset, and the capitalist mindset points to a
connection between all three. Because of this, we need to struggle
against all of these problems at once. The connections between them are
more than just psychological. War, capitalism, and oppression are also
connected, to provide another example, by money. Women and people of
color make up a large majority of the world’s poor, and war means lots of
money for defense and oil companies. I have focused on the psychological
because I am interested in it and also because I think it is vital to
understand how the current system works on people’s thoughts and feelings
in order to struggle against the current system and to create a new one.
In light of the interconnectedness of war, capitalism, and all forms of
oppression, the U.S. bombs dropped on foreign countries are only part of
the problem, only the most visible symptom. Our society is perpetually
at war. Wars are being waged here, at home, right now. There is a war
being waged against women and children, a war against queer people, a war
against the poor, a war against people of color, a war against the
so-called mentally ill, even a war against the earth itself. We will not
be able to end the wars on foreign soil until we end these wars at home.
All these wars, foreign and domestic, near and far, are connected. So,
let’s stop the war on Iraq, let’s stop the war in Columbia, let’s stop
the war against the earth, the war against people of color, the war
against the poor, the war against queer people, the war against women.
This will require, as I mentioned earlier, a complete transformation of
society. In other words, we need a social revolution. We need to do
something that has never been done before. Such a massive project will
require many people, with many different backgrounds, skills, and
perspectives. We need places like #$#*(&& where people can
feel safe, where people can learn to treat each other as human beings
rather than objects and we also need groups like #$@&*$#(* where the
connections between war, capitalism, and oppression can be made explicit
and where we can plan and learn to directly challenge the people who want
to keep society the way it is because they’re deluded into thinking that
it benefits them.
Ultimately, I think we need to not only work with different groups
focused on different tasks, but learn from each other, learn how to do
tasks that you are unfamiliar with . The struggle, in order to be
successful, must be both inner and outer. This is my challenge to all of
us here tonight, including myself: to move outside of your comfort zone,
to fight for liberation within yourself, by struggling to break through
denial and feel your true feelings, to examine your own prejudices and
privileges, and at the same time to fight for liberation in the outer
world, to write anti-war graffiti anytime you use a public restroom, to
think about taking part in direct actions or civil disobedience that are
riskier than anything you’ve done before. If we choose, we have the
power to transform society. Thank you.

17th March 2003

12:19pm: This Present Moment
Living in Baghdad on the Eve of War
by Ramzi Kysia

"The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door
to all moments." - Thich Nhat Hanh

I am in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team, and we will stay here throughout
any war. We will share the risks of the millions who live here, and do our
best to be a voice for them to the world. Our risks are uncertain.
Thousands here will surely die. But most Iraqis will survive, and so too, I
hope, will I.

A banner the government put up a few blocks from where we stay reads
simply, "Baghdad: Where the World Comes for Peace."

It's meant as propaganda, I'm sure, flattering Saddam Hussein. But without
knowing it, it states a simple truth: that the world must be present for
peace. We must be present in Baghdad as in America - in Kashmir or
Chechnya, the Great Lakes, Palestine and Colombia - where there is war, and
rumors of war, we must be present to build peace.

We are present.

My country may arrest me as a traitor, or kill me during saturation
bombing, or shoot me during an invasion. The Iraqis may arrest me as a spy,
or cause or use my death for propaganda. Civil unrest and mob violence may
claim me. I may be maimed. I may be killed.

I am nervous. I am scared. I am hopeful. I am joyous, and I joyously
delight in the wonder that is my life.

I love being alive. I love the splendor of our world, the beauty of our
bodies, and the miracle of our minds. I bless the world for making me, and
I bless the world for taking me. I feed myself on the fellowship we
inspirit, in standing one with another in this, this present moment, each
moment unfolding to its own best time.

Different things move different members of our team, but all of us are here
out of deep concern for the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Iraq.
20 years of almost constant war, and 12 years of brutal sanctions, have
killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq.

We are here, today, because most of the world refused to be present, then.
What more right do I as an American have to leave then all the people I've
come to love in Iraq? An accident of birth that gives me a free pass
throughout the world?

All of us are here out of a deep commitment to nonviolence. Peace is not an
abstract value that we should just quietly express a hope for. It takes
work. It takes courage. It takes joy.

Peace takes risks.

War is catastrophe. It is terrorism on a truly, massive scale. It is the
physical, political and spiritual devastation of entire peoples. War is the
imposition of such massive, deadly violence so as to force the political
solutions of one nation upon another. War is the antithesis of democracy
and freedom. War is the most bloody, undemocratic, and violently repressive
of all human institutions.

War is catastrophe. Why choose catastrophe?

Even the threat of war is devastating. On March 11th, when we visited a
maternity hospital run by the Dominican sisters here in Baghdad, we found
that eight, new mothers that day had demanded to have their babies by
Caesarean section - they didn't want to give birth during the war. Six
others spontaneously aborted the same day. Is this spirit of liberation?

Don't ask me where I find the courage to be present in Iraq on the eve of
war. 5 million people call Baghdad home. 24 million human beings live in
Iraq. Instead, ask the politicians - on every side - where they find the
nerve to put so many human beings at such terrible risk.

We're here for these people, as we're here for the American people. The
violence George Bush starts in Iraq will not stop in Iraq. The senseless
brutality of this war signals future crimes of still greater inhumanity. If
we risk nothing to prevent this, it will happen. If we would have peace, we
must work as hard, and risk as much, as the warmakers do for destruction.

Pacifism isn't passive. It's a radical challenge to all aspects of worldly
power. Nonviolence can prevent catastrophe. Nonviolence multiplies
opportunities a thousand-fold, until seemingly insignificant events
converge to tumble the tyranny of fears that violence plants within our
hearts. Where violence denies freedom, destroys community, restricts
choices - we must be present: cultivating our love, our active love, for
our entire family of humanity.

We are daily visiting with families here in Iraq. We are daily visiting
hospitals here in Iraq, and doing arts and crafts with the children. We are
visiting elementary schools, and high schools. We are fostering community.
We are furthering connections. We are creating space for peace.

We are not "human shields." We are not here simply in opposition to war. We
are a dynamic, living presence - our own, small affirmation of the joy of
being alive. Slowly stumbling, joyous and triumphant, full of all the
doubts and failings all people hold in common - our presence here is a
thundering, gentle call, to Americans as to Iraqis, of the affirmation of
life.

We must not concede war to the killers. War is not liberation. It is not
peace. War is devastation and death.

Thuraya, a brilliant, young girl whom I've come to love, recently wrote in
her diary:

"We don't know what is going to happen. We might die, and maybe we are
living our last days in life. I hope that everyone who reads my diary
remember me and know that there was an Iraqi girl who had many dreams in
her life..."

Dream with us of a world where we do not let violence rule our lives. Work
with us for a world where violence does not rule our lives. Peace is not an
abstract concept. We are a concrete, tangible reality. We the peoples of
our common world, through the relationships we build with each other, and
the risks we take for one another - we are peace.

Our team here doesn't know what is going to happen any more than does
Thuraya. We too may die. But in her name, in this moment, at the
intersection of all our lives, we send you this simple message: We are
peace, and we are present.
-----
Ramzi Kysia is a Arab American peace activist and writer. He is currently
in Iraq with the Voices in the Wilderness' (www.vitw.org) Iraq Peace Team
(www.iraqpeaceteam.org), a project to keep international peaceworkers to
Iraq prior to, during, and after any future U.S. attack, in order to be a
voice for the Iraqi people. The Iraq Peace Team can be reached through
info@vitw.org

14th March 2003

12:07pm: i'd like to sit here and watch your hair grow for a whlie
don't want to do my research paper, doop de doo . . .
birthday party tonight. no pants. should be a good time. wish my brother was coming. hope i get along with my sister, she was being kind of a bitch on the phone. nathan's not too happy with her right now, either.

so i might be taking a semester off next year, depending on my loans for the summer. it could be a very good thing, it sounds very appealing actually. it would be lovely to have some time to dedicate to the things i really care about. i'm always complaining how school gets in the way. i think that if i get the shc job, then i will definitely take the time off. one more semester in east lansing is not going to kill me, i suppose. we'll see . . .

things are going pretty good with mel. dating my roommate is definitely a new experience. there a few things lacking, but some of that is probably the result of me not being so communicative as to what i want. i plan on fixing that this weekend. drunken talks aren't always the best way to accomplish things, but they get things accomplished nonetheless. tonight nathan strawberrious and meg will be here :) how exciting. jessie and shaun too. i don't have tv, i hope that's not going to be a problem for them.

dude, i'm going to be 21 tomorrow. that rules.
Current Mood: excited

13th March 2003

11:04am: WAKE AMERICA FROM ITS BLOODLESS TRANCE
>By  Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's, president of TrueMajority.org
>AlterNet
>March 9, 2003
>
>http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15340
>
>America has two options to disarm and contain Iraq. One option - war -
>involves killing people. The other option - more and tougher inspections -
>does not.
>
>Americans, who overwhelmingly oppose the Iraq war if high numbers of
>casualties result, haven't heard enough about the deaths that are sure to
>be
>caused by the war option. That's why I created a television advertisement,
>featuring hip-hop artist Russell Simmons, that includes video footage of
>actual war - of wounded civilians and of American soldiers dragging the
>bodies of their comrades out of harm's way.
>
>I think most of you would want to see my advertisement and decide for
>yourself whether you agree with an aging ice cream guy or think I am crazy,
>misinformed, stoned, stupid, or much worse.
>
>Unfortunately, most of you will never see my anti-war commercial. Why?
>Because the major network news outlets refused to accept it, claiming that
>the imagery was too graphic. Trouble is, the imagery in my ad was far less
>graphic than what you see on prime time entertainment shows, like "ER" or
>even on mayhem-crazed local TV news shows.
>
>So what's the real reason that the TV networks rejected my ad?
>
>Ironically, linking death to war seems to be taboo at a time when the
>connection should be on the top of our minds. Few in the major media are
>talking about casualties in the Iraq war, and it seems our nation does not
>want to confront the reality that the war will result in casualties,
>anywhere from a few thousand dead and wounded (itself a horrific number) to
>tens of thousands, according to international experts. Let's be clear -
>that's thousands of dead or wounded people, at a minimum.
>
>Not surprisingly, the Bush Administration is doing little or nothing to
>break us out of our bloodless trance about the war. It has not released
>official information about expected causalities, although surely this
>information has been developed by the White House. Congress isn't demanding
>this information.
>
>In the real world, outside of Washington DC, citizens seem to be expecting
>war without death, partly because the topic isn't on TV and partly because
>recent wars have been presented to us as death-free - which they were not,
>of course.
>
>Thousands of innocent Iraqis died in the last war - not to mention hundreds
>of thousands of Iraqi children who died in the war's aftermath due to its
>impact on water, electricity, medical care, and more.
>
>Even wars like the one in Afghanistan, which had fewer civilian deaths,
>cause soldiers to die. And soldiers, it needs to be said, are people too,
>often innocently caught in political turmoil outside their control, whose
>lives have value. Their deaths leave families and friends grieving forever.
>
>So, it's an inexcusable omission for the Bush Administration to sell the
>Iraq war to us and the international community without acknowledging its
>human toll, not only on our soldiers but on the Iraqis.
>
>It's really an outrageous situation, which we have come to accept as normal
>fare in the war business. But it actually represents deceptive spin at its
>ugliest. Talking about war without addressing casualties is like discussing
>the benefits of nuclear power and ignoring nuclear waste. The two go
>hand-in-hand.
>
>To break through the denial, my ad depicted dead and wounded people, both
>soldiers and civilians. And that's precisely why the networks should air
>it.
>More debate about the war's potential casualties would help our nation make
>an informed decision about Iraq.
>
>But network TV executives don't think you should see our commercial.
>
>We hope they will reconsider their decision. Until they do, you can see our
>ad at Win Without War:
>
>http://www.konscious.com/transfer/winwithoutwar
>
>And, even if you don't want to see our anti-war commercial, ask the
>President and your representatives in Congress to spell out all the
>potential consequences of the Iraq war -- before America invades.
>
>
>Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's, is president of TrueMajority.org
>,
>which enables citizens to fax their members of Congress about critical
>issues like the Iraq war. His views do not reflect those of Ben and Jerry's
>Homemade, Inc.
9:16am: oh hell yes
yesterday was great. impromptu protest at the shell station. check out the picture of my courageous friend eighmee. what a babe she is

http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=16277

yes yes i am in good spirits this morning, though it is 9:16 in the morning and i have a long day of work ahead of me. why, you ask? because tomorrow is my birthday party and my lovelies are coming to stay with me! ow ow, it shall be a good time.
saturday we're going out to the lesbian bar. i think my sister;s going to freak. ha. sweet.

time is such a funny thing . . . .

9th March 2003

12:50am: "that's the way i groove
i've got more and more to do
i've got less and less to prove
it took me too long to realize that i
don't take good pictures
because i've got the kind of beauty that
moves
and i am trying to evolve . . . "

mm hmm, new ani is magnificent.
back from camping. it was a good time, though i've realized that i'm much more of a city girl than a camper, that's for sure. but i definitely possess a deep love and respect for nature; i would love to get to a point where i feel more comfortable there than around the artificial world of concrete and stop lights.

so interesting happenings in the last week or so. me and lindsay are no more anything; i am dating my housemate mel. that came out of nowhere, but i'm glad it came, she's lovely. checked my loans again for africa, and now they're at $6000. last time i checked they were $3000 and the time before that they were $5000. i don't get it. oh well, as long as it gets me there and back, i'm happy. i can't believe i'm leaving in less than two months. and the time will fly by, i'm sure of it.

next weekend is my birthday weekend :) i'm still trying to work out the details of the party, though, i haven't yet found a dj to spin for the evening. i'm so excited to see everyone that's coming, i'm sure it will be a wonderful time. saturday night we're going out to club 505, the lesbian bar downtown. my sister's probably not going to like that so much. oh well, my birthday, not hers.
i hope everyone is well, i'm going to get some much needed sleep.
love you,
rachel
Current Mood: happy

27th February 2003

4:40pm: heyyy
got my money for south africa today :)

26th February 2003

5:58pm: oh, how i love horoscopes
"The average Pisces catches 147 colds in a lifetime, endures a serious case of hurt feelings three times a month, and fantasizes about the end of the world once every 6.2 days. I predict, however, that you will experience none of the above during the coming weeks. That's because you're slipping into a grace period that may shock you with its ease, beauty, and abundance. It will be a time when your innocence regenerates and your wisdom freshens; a seed time when your determination to feel good will trump your habitual tendencies to expect the worst; a time of awakening when your perceptions will deepen and expand even as the world is created anew right in front of your eyes."

that is so happy :) i've already had an extremely good day. i got to hang out with marilyn frye today, and received guidance for my life, and also some advice on how to deal with my flying anxiety.
i'm leaving for georgia in 3 days. i will be SO GLAD TO GET OUT OF LANSING and michigan. it's going to be sixty degrees. mm hmm. lovely lovely

the sky is so pretty right now.
Current Mood: happy
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