Thursday, September 29, 2005
Goin' to the Desert
Things do not change. We change. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Sunday, September 25, 2005
We Say "No" to War
Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Americans rallied and marched all over the world, giving voice to their disgust with this war that is taking too many lives and creating less of the "safety" that we are being sold. In Denver, at least 1000 people came together at the capitol. In this photo, the people with their backs to the camera are just a few of the veterans who gathered up front - veterans against this war. The crowd gave them a standing ovation and chanted "Thank you, thank you". That did not make the news. If I were a reporter, I would report on the goose bumps that I felt when the veterans stood and were acknowledged with respect and appreciation. I would report on the community of love and acceptance that was created by our drum circle before the rally - where everyone that wanted to be was included, no matter whether they were red, white, black, gay, hetero, pierced, or in Gucci's. I would ask the question that David Rovics asked - who would Jesus bomb? And I would repeat the words of Morgan Carroll (the only Colorado legislator that accepted the invitation to show up) when she said that the casualties of this war and this administration - loss of not only our sons and daughters, but also our rights, democratic principles, and integrity - are not acceptable.
It should be news that 1000 people (hundreds of thousands in D.C.) are willing to give up their Saturday to speak to justice when they could be doing more important and interesting stuff like shopping or barbecuing. Guarantee ya that from November 25th to the end of the year, there is air space to be had if you follow the other sheep to the malls.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
A Beautiful Camp Casey Video
The one titled "Camp Casey" is beautiful.
Monday, September 19, 2005
Here in Denver, we will rally at the Capitol steps at 12:30 p.m. If you are a drummer, bring your drum and join our pre-rally drumming circle at 11:00 at the Capitol steps - or anytime you can make it before the rally.
Songs of Crawford
Eric Folkerth was at Camp Casey. He wrote a song when he discovered that a man had mowed down the crosses that had been placed along the road in honor of the fallen soldiers. You can listen or download it for free at the website below. Go to the bottom of the page and click on:
"Prairie Chapel Road"
Or you can click on the "comments" at the bottom of my entry from Sept 16th titled
A Mother's Response to the Destruction of the Memorial where Eric gives links to his song (Thanks Eric!).
This past weekend, I went to a David Roth concert. He played a song about Cindy Sheehan. You will find it on the bottom of the first page of his site and it is titled:
"Ranch of All Compassion"
David Rovics is going to perform at the 9/24 rally in Denver (coinciding with the BIG rally in D.C. with Cindy Sheehan). Here is his
"Song for Cindy Sheehan"
And one more...
Here is Les Visible playing
"God Bless You Cindy Sheehan"
I am sure that there are many more songs that I haven't found yet. Remember how the music of the 60's was a voice of the people? Okay, I admit it. I'm old enough to remember.
Power to the People!
Friday, September 16, 2005
Breaking News on Stolen Crawford Memorial Items!
"Hadi from the Crawford Peace House called Dede to let her know that the Sheriff found the items stolen from the memorial. They have all been returned to the Peace House.
We don't know any more than that."
A Mother's Response to the Destruction of the Memorial
From the Camp Casey Alumni group:
This morning I read a report from the Lone Star Iconoclast about the remaining memorial to our beloved fallen heroes, our sons and our daughters, was stolen. You can read more about it here: http://22.214.171.124/News/2005/37-38/37news10.htm
While, at first, I was brokenhearted and stunned as I read this news, I have to admit that I no longer am. These kinds of acts of hatred have become commonplace, and not only at Camp Casey. Just last week another memorial to our heroes was destroyed in Toledo, Ohio. These are only desperate acts to undermine the movement to end the war and the effort to bring our soldiers home and to honor them.
There is a very simple message that I don't thing these criminals will ever understand, and that is this: We support our troops wholeheartedly. We love them. We believe the best way to support our troops is to BRING THEM HOME NOW! We will not and have not spit upon even one of them, we have not judged them for fighting in what we believe to be an illegal and immoral war.
There was a memorial to my son, Sgt. Jeremy Smith, at Camp Casey. I had left a picture from his funeral and flowers. Cindy left Casey's boots. Most, if not all, of the members of Gold Star Families for Peace had the names of their loved ones on crosses at Camp Casey. We all had an emotional stake in that sacred ground where our movement finally gained attention (thank you, Cindy) and the energy needed to end this war.
I think what the thieves should know now is this: Your acts have only fueled our fire and the fire of thousands of other people who have an emotional investment in Camp Casey. We will only fight harder now to bring about an end to this war. Your unspeakable acts of hatred and disrespect toward our fallen heroes are despicable.
"You can mow down the crosses, but you can't mow down our hope because the truth will always greet the light of day And we know what the cost is in this darkness where we grope but we know that peace will be the better way on Prairie Chapel Road....."
(from Prairie Chapel Road by Eric Folkerth)
We will continue on our path undaunted, the fire in us rekindled by your senseless act of hatred.
Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, U. S. Army Reserves
Nov. 1981 - Feb. 2004
You Can't Steal the Camp Casey Movement
You Can't Steal the Camp Casey Movement
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 16 September 2005
There was a song written about Camp Casey by a minister from Dallas, called "Prairie Chapel Road." Eric Folkerth was his name, and one of his verses goes like this: "You can mow down the crosses but you can't mow down our hope because the truth will always see the light of the day."
Larry Northern thought he would kill Camp Casey's spirit when he mowed down the crosses with his pickup truck. Well, he was mistaken. The Spirit of Camp Casey was too strong, and the movement that was launched there cannot be stolen by another inconciderate individual who stole the memorial that remained there until yesterday.
The person who stole the memorial took the crosses with the names of soldiers who died in Iraq, Casey Sheehan's boots, photos of fallen soldiers, and the first tents set up at Camp Casey. All that physically remains on that plot of earth is the frame of the canopy that covered the tents and some of the crosses.
What also remains there is the spirit of the movement launched by Cindy Sheehan and thousands of people who joined her on that land in Crawford during the month of August. That spirit has already spread around the world and cannot be crushed by a thief or a vandal.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be converging in Washington DC on September 24th. They will be bringing the spirit of Camp Casey with them.
Cindy will be there; former Diplomat Ann Wright, who spent the whole month at Camp Casey, will be there; Jeff Key, a marine who walked across the road and invited the counter-protesters to join Camp Casey in a candlelight vigil, will be there; Beatrice Saldovar, who regularly brought everyone to tears talking about her nephew who will never meet the baby his grieving wife is carrying, will be there; dozens of Iraq War Vets who inspired everyone at Camp Casey while sharing their experiences will be there; hundreds of family members of soldiers who died in Iraq, are there now or will be deployed to Iraq, who shared their pain at Camp Casey, will be there; thousands of people who took time out of their life to take a stand with Cindy in the sweltering heat of Crawford, Texas, will be in Washington.
The Spirit that is in their hearts that they are spreading around the world can't be loaded into the back of that pickup truck. Please don't even think of wearing those boots - Casey's boots are way too big for someone like you.
Scott Galindez is the Managing Editor of truthout.org
Camp Casey Memorial Stolen
By Deborah Mathews
Lone Star Iconoclast
Thursday 15 September 2005
Crawford - The Camp Casey Memorial on Prairie Chapel Road was removed by thieves earlier today. Not a single item is left at the memorial site.
Crew members working for McLennan County said they witnessed items being removed by an unidentified individual and contacted their office to inform commissioners.
Upon arrival at Camp Casey, honor guard members who had been at the Crawford Peace House immediately called McLennan County Sheriff's Deputy R. Polansky to report the theft.
Among the items stolen were numerous crosses, Casey Sheehan's boots, tents, and other items.
The 26-day vigil of Cindy Sheehan outside the Bush ranch ended with a cross-country tour to spread the anti-war message. Camp Casey became a semi-permanent memorial, to remain until the Veterans For Peace organization could establish a solemn removal ceremony.
Items that remained at the Camp Casey Memorial following Sheehan's departure were the three original tents under a pavilion, crosses of the war dead, signs, and personal items of the individuals involved. Members of the guard filed a report with the McLennan County Sheriff Office.
The three honor guard volunteers diligently listed, item by item, the belongings that were stolen from the site. Tents, pillows, signs, books, a box of literature, sleeping bags, an air mattress, flowers, plants, tarps, memorial crosses - even Casey Sheehan's boots that stood in front of the small wooden cross bearing his name. Virtually every item that was at Camp Casey is gone.
Veterans For Peace member and honor guard volunteer Paul R. McDaniel said, "My role here was as caretaker. Now it's gone."
Honor guard volunteer Linda Foley cried as she said, "Casey's boots are gone! His boots are gone. You tell me that we're not being respectful. Those crosses are probably in a trash can somewhere right now! His boots are gone. What kind of people would do that."
Honor guard member Sarah Oliver said, "His boots were one of the last things that Cindy had of Casey. I can't believe that anyone would take something like that."
McLennan County Commissioners road workers were in the area to post the "No Parking" signs that had been approved by the Commissioners' Court. Those signs were on a 26-mile stretch of several roads. According to a representative of the County Commissioners' office, the act of removing items from the ditch had nothing to do with the Commissioners and that this was done by a "private individual."
Organizers of Camp Casey Memorial had been in contact with neighbors of the site and had informed them that the memorial was temporary and would be removed when a removal ceremony could be organized.
McDaniels said, "We have tried to be as accommodating, peaceful, and graceful as we can. We wanted them to be aware of what was going on. We also took very good care of the area with the mowing and cleaning. We wanted to erect a permanent site at the Peace House, as soon as its garden was worked on. We were going to call it the Casey Sheehan Memorial Garden."
Following the tedious report given to the officer, honor guard members began to disassemble the poles of the pavilions tent that stood over the tent of Cindy Sheehan-the single item left at the site. One could walk through the area where the tents and crosses stood and see nothing. There was no evidence that Camp Casey had even existed.
Loading the tent poles in the back of a pickup, the three guardsmen said that they would return to the Crawford Peace House, finish a few chores there, and pack up to go home. "Someone will be there part-time to take care of the information flow," said McDaniels.
Veterans For Peace members will continue their support of Cindy Sheehan and her efforts against the war in Iraq. There are actions planned on Sept. 24, the day that Sheehan will arrive in Washington for a protest there. Other demonstrations are planned by the group in Waco.
The three members of the Camp Casey Honor Guard stood in a circle at the site of Casey Sheehan's cross, held hands, and wept as McDaniels offered a prayer of peace, got into their vehicles, and left Camp Casey.
A Mother's Plea
This article from the October, 2005 issue speaks to my heart (I feel that it speaks for my heart also):
A mother’s plea
This article appeared in Ode issue: 27
Losing her daughter to a suicide bomber makes Nurit Peled-Elhanan fierce about finding peace
I would like to dedicate this piece to a thirteen-year-old Palestinian girl, Iman El-Hamas, who, on October 4, 2004, joined my own thirteen-year--old girl in the underground kingdom of dead children, which is growing and growing and growing under our feet as I speak. I would like to tell her not to worry: "You will be well received there, Iman, and no one will hurt you just because you wandered off on your way to school or because you wore a scarf on your head. Rest in peace, little girl; everyone is equally worthy in your new world."
Thank you for inviting me to share with you the struggle for peace in my country. I say "my" country, but I don’t even know if this term is correct anymore. What is mine in this country depends very much on what I identify with, and today it is very hard to identify with anything in a place that has let Death have dominion over it.
And Death has created a new identity for me and has given me a new voice, a new voice that is as ancient as the world itself, the voice of our Biblical mother Rachel, weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are not. This new identity and voice transcend nationalities, religions, and even time; the identity overshadows all other identities and the voice deafens all the other voices I have been given by life.
My little girl was killed just because she was born an Israeli, by a young man who felt hopeless to the point of murder and suicide just because he was born a Palestinian. A reporter asked me how I can accept condolences from the other side. I said to her very spontaneously that I do not accept condolences from the other side, and that when the mayor of Jerusalem came to offer his condolences, I went to my room because I didn’t want to speak to him or shake his hand. But for me, the other side is not the Palestinians. For me the whole population of this area, and of the world, has always been divided into two distinct groups: peace lovers and war lovers.
Today, on the face of the earth, there rules the kingdom of evil, where for the last thirty-seven years, people who call themselves leaders have earned, through democratic means, the right to kill and destroy and be as vile and corrupt as they please, to have young boys become expert killers, whether in the name of "God," the "good of the nation," or "honor" and "courage." But these evil people have created yet another kingdom, a glorious kingdom that flourishes and grows larger and larger every day, a kingdom that lives and breathes under our feet, beneath the earth we walk on. That is where my little daughter dwells, side by side with Palestinian children, and where I dwell side by side with Palestinian parents who, for the most part, have never held a gun and have never obeyed orders to kill anyone. There she lies, alongside her murderer, whose blood is mingled with hers on Jerusalem’s stones, which have long grown indifferent to blood.
There they both lie, victims of deceit. He, because his act of murder and suicide did not change anything, did not end Israel’s cruel occupation, did not bring him to heaven, while the people who promised him his act would be meaningful carry on as if he had never existed. She, because she believed her life was safe, that her parents and her country were protecting her from evil, and that no harm could come to little girls who are good and gentle and go through the streets of their own cities to a dance class.
And they were both deceived because the world goes on living as if their blood had never been shed. Both are victims of so-called leaders who keep on playing their murderous games, using our children as their puppets and our grief as fuel to continue with their vindictive campaigns. Children are abstract entities for them, and grief is a political tool. They know that all they have to do to draw more young, enthusiastic little soldiers into their units is to find a God to ordain this killing. And each finds him in his Bible, in his mythologies. In the name of the Jewish God and the Muslim God, they commit their crimes, while in Ireland they kill each other for different versions of their Christian God. And now the enlightened leaders of the West kill in the name of the God of freedom and democracy. But, in fact, all of these warmongers recruit man-made gods to their sides—the God of racism and the God of greed and megalomania.
This is not new in the history of man. People have always used God as an excuse for their crimes. Our children, from a very tender age, learn about Joshua, the glorified leader who murdered the whole population of Jericho in the name of God. Then they learn about the prophet Eliyahu, who killed the 450 priests of the Baal because they practiced a different religion, and then they learn about Elisha, who brought death, with the help of God, upon 42 children who mocked him by calling him bald. Not to mention the adored King David and his terrible deeds.
In a culture that allows killing as a means of solving social and religious problems, and in which people see themselves as the descendants of biblical heroes, these stories overshadow the story about the God who said, "Lay not thy hand upon the child." But children can also learn about the God who said, "I will have mercy upon them who have not obtained mercy, and I will say to them who were not my people, 'Thou art my people.'" I believe very strongly that only by educating our children that killing, starving, or humiliating the innocent are unforgivable crimes can we save them from joining the evil forces-the evil forces of Israel and of the Palestinians.
Israel, through long and cruel occupation, is making it very easy for young Palestinians to turn to the path of terrorism. But terrorism dominates both forces. An organized army that terrorizes a whole population is even more criminal than any guerrilla group. An "enlightened" first-world government that ordains the killing of the innocent is just as evil as any Third World guerrilla leader who is hardly known and never seen. For me, Saddam Hussein, Ariel Sharon, and George Bush, father and son, are the same, for all have inflicted pain and death upon innocent populations. If we don’t tell our children that these people are unscrupulous murderers, we shall never have leaders who rule out killing as a solution to social and political problems.
Today, when there is no meaningful opposition in Israel, the political distinctions between "left" and "right" don’t matter, for everyone consents to the atrocities. That’s why I believe that world condemnation of those deeds and their doers is critically important. It’s time to make it clear that the death of one child, any child, be it Serbian, Albanian, Iraqi, or Jewish, is the death of the whole world, its past and its future.
This is the cry that has never, never been heard by politicians and generals, especially not in Jerusalem, which everybody thinks is made of gold but which is really made of stones and iron and lead. It is time for this cry to be heard above all others, for after the violence this is the only voice that really understands the meaning of the end of all things, including war. This is the voice that understands what’s well known in the underground kingdom of our murdered children, namely, that all blood is equal, and that it takes so little to kill a child and so much to keep her alive. It understands that ending a war means supporting negotiations that are true dialogues, conversations in which both sides come to terms, not bring each other to their knees. Ending a war means that I don’t care what flag is put on which mountain, that I don’t care who looks where when they pray, that nothing is more important than securing a little girl’s way to her dance class.
I call on all parents who have not yet lost their children and all who are about to: if we don’t stand up to the politicians by teaching our children not to follow their murderous ways, if we don’t listen to the voice of peace coming from underneath, very soon there will be nothing left to say, nothing left to write or read or listen to except the perpetual cry of mourning and the muted voices of dead children.
Therefore I have come here to ask you: please help us save the children that are left to us. Help us make the world stop for a moment to look at the small body of Iman, pierced by twenty bullets, and at the twenty-first hole at her smooth temple and ask with us, Why does that streak of blood rip the petal of her cheek?
Nurit Peled-Elhanan is an Israeli peace activist and a professor of language and education at Hebrew University. Her only daughter, Smadar Elhanan, was thirteen years old when she was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem in 1997. Peled-Elhanan received the 2001 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Human Rights.
This text is a combination of two speeches she delivered, one at the Israel-Palestine Day of Engagement at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London in July 2002, the other at the European Social Forum Convention in London in October 2004.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The silence, interrupted only by the breeze whispering in my ear. Calling my name.
I am. In the desert, I am only I am.
The drama of the earth's inhabitants plays on, but I am not engaged.
I sit with the trees who have watched the changing of the seasons, endured the biting snows and unforgiving suns, and kept a silent equanimity.
I am one with them.
In the desert I have no walls to protect me, no electricity to keep me comfortable, and no television to tell me the weather forecast or who is running loose that I must fear.
There is no fear when the round, living form of the earth holds me close
And I hear its heartbeat.
Some might say that I must stay here and work for peace. In the desert, I KNOW peace. What more is there?
For info on the vision quest that I (and Michael) will be undertaking, see:
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Michael Moore & Hurricane Relief
gives info on Camp Casey III. People from Camp Casey I & II in Crawford, including Veterans for Peace, have been down helping people in areas decimated by Hurricane Katrina since long before the government got there.
Tight Constraints on Pentagon's Freedom Walk
Event Remembering 9/11, Troops to Be Kept 'Sterile,' Limited to Preregistered
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 9, 2005; A01
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.
The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.
The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.
The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll." Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.
Barber said that organizers would rather not have such stringent measures on their event but that police had requested them.
Pettiford said officers would patrol to keep interlopers out because the Pentagon restricted the event in its permit application. "That is what their permit called for, so we have those fences to keep the public out."
Once the National Park Service approves the permit, it is normal for police to do what they can to adhere to the organizers' requests. "It's a permitted event. That means [organizers] are allowed to say who is in and who's out," said Sgt. Scott Fear, a Park Police spokesman. He declined to say how many officers were in the Park Police, which had a Washington detail of about 400 two years ago.
What's unusual for an event on the Mall is the combination of fences, required preregistration and the threat of arrest.
Park Police officials said security and safety were concerns, especially because Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld will participate in some of the day's events. They said they have approved a permit for a small group of protesters that plans to stand along Independence Avenue.
Barber at first said this week that event organizers would rather not be so strict but that they were complying with police orders. But yesterday she said Park Police offered two options: Screen participants at the Mall, as police did for the Fourth of July fireworks and concert, where bags would be searched and restricted items such as alcohol, weapons, animals or glass bottles would be seized; or screen them at the Pentagon and, by restricting access throughout the march, "make sure the same people who were screened at the Pentagon are the same people going to the concert," she said.
Barber added: "We didn't want a bottleneck at the concert. We didn't want people to miss the concert while waiting to be screened. So we decided to do the screening at the Pentagon. That means the entire route has to be kept closed."
Some military supporters have welcomed the event as a way to counter the antiwar movement and back the troops abroad. Antiwar groups say they are convinced that the event was orchestrated to boost the war effort and link the war to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- and to undercut an antiwar protest planned for Sept. 24.
One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.
The Washington Post and other corporate entities initially signed on as co-sponsors. But critics from within the newspaper and from the antiwar movement said partnering with the Pentagon raised questions about objectivity, and three weeks ago The Post pulled its co-sponsorship.
Other media co-sponsors -- WTOP radio, WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8 -- support the effort with advertising.
Opponents of the Freedom Walk took issue with the way the Pentagon is staging the event. When the walk first was publicized, participants were required to submit their names, ages, e-mail addresses and home addresses. After some groups accused the Pentagon of using the registration as a recruiting tool for the military, the requirements were changed.
Barber said the government now asks for a full name, age group, T-shirt size and e-mail address (each registered walker will get a T-shirt). Walkers have until 4:30 p.m. today to register, which must be done online ( http://www.asyfreedomwalk.com/ ).
Officials at the Pentagon, where 184 people died in the attack, decided to open the attack site and memorial chapel to the public tomorrow for the first time.
Visitors will be welcome from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and can see the stone that marks the crash site of American Airlines Flight 77 and the memorial chapel built there.
There is no need to register to visit the memorial chapel tomorrow.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Cleaning My House - Hurricane Katrina
Clean my home.
To go through it,
Clean Their Homes.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Standing in the Sun
Last week, I engaged with an angry woman. I didn't say anything angry or mean, but I wish that I wouldn't have engaged at all. I wish that I would've taken the opportunity to open my heart and listen to her. Funny, I just send love to the people who drive by and yell mean things, but when this woman walked up and confronted us angrily, I tried to reason with her. Goes against everything that I am TRYING to learn from Nonviolent Communication.
I was just watching a video from Camp Casey - made the last weekend of August. In it I heard a great line that peace activists should remember: The best way to counter their style is with a smile.
I send my open heart, my smiles and my prayers to that woman I met on the street last weekend. May I stop the war here.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do
The Need for Compassion
September 2, 2005
Photos of: (top) Louisiana man grieving after devastating floods in New Orleans; (above) Iraqis grieving after 1000 were killed in a stampede
The face of grief is universal.
May we all grow in compassion.
(I didn't document photo sources. My apologies. I will give credit if that info is supplied)
Thursday, September 01, 2005
New Orleans & Iraq
It is hard to see human suffering. The suffering that women, children and other innocent people in Iraq are experiencing is caused by (hu) man's actions. Many people in Louisiana are suffering from some of the same troubles as those in Iraq - no electricity, no good drinking water, crime and violence, and loss of home and family. The devastation in the southern U.S. is caused by nature (perhaps aided by negligence). But it appears that our war is biting us in a new way. Did our lack of attention and funding play a part in the breaking up of the levees? What about the lack of quick aid to the area?
My heart grieves for the pain of this world. May the truth be told, may those responsible for the oppression of others be held accountable, may we be the change that this world needs.
For the times, they are a-changin'