Saturday, September 30, 2006
Only Loving the "Lovable"?
After getting home, I found out that on Wednesday, a man took six girls hostage in a high school in Bailey, a small mountain town outside of Denver, killing one of the girls and himself before it was over. Looking through the Denver Post website today, I found a photo of a sign created by the Platte Canyon Chamber of Commerce. The sign says "God Bless Emily Keyes".
I feel sad for Emily's family. I can't imagine the grief that they are experiencing right now. We don't think that sending our kids to school can result in terror and murder. It tears my gut up to think of having my daughter taken in such a way - in any way. Yes, may God Bless Emily Keyes, and her family, and the community, and our world.
What troubles me, though, is the same thing that troubled me when the murders at Columbine happened. It's one of the things that bothers me about the war in Iraq.
After the Columbine shootings, 15 crosses were set up - one for every "victim" and one for each of the "perpetrators". After a short time, the two crosses that stood for the "murderers" were removed. The shooters were demonized and anger flew. I understand the anger. I don't understand why the shooters didn't deserve as much compassion as the people who died along with them. Why does someone whose life was haunted deserve less from us than someone who lived a happy life? Don't the haunted need even more love and compassion?
So, I say may God bless you, Duane Morrison, Dylan Klebold, and Eric Harris. From what I have read, you lived with a lot of pain and anger. May you now be free from such suffering.
Sandstone arms open to greet
us as we find our way
Hot desert sun
Red earth baking
Familiarity is here, yes
the feel, boulders as big as houses,
But you are not the desert
who last held me
Tears and rains have washed you
creating lines and creases where
there were none
the last time I caressed your skin
Uncompromising currents of life
must have roared one night
in what I imagine to be
a catharsis of rage,
play and orgasm
turning old walked roads and
enveloping laps of sand
into a newly ordered chaos
and leaving grandmother's roots unearthed
You are changed and I am reminded
that you were not really
what I saw the first time
and you are not
what I see now
Neither am I
changing moments in the storm
Sunday, September 24, 2006
What It Will Take To End War
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I usually fast for 36 hours on the day that the number of fatalities from this atrocious war tips over another 100 mark, but my fast will wait a couple of days and will take place while I am in the desert.
I won't be writing for the next week, because we will be soaking up the desert's energy for awhile.
France Looks Into bin Laden Death Report
Friday, September 22, 2006
True Definition of Bravery
~ Kevin Costner on the death of Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter)
(thanks to Michael)
Thursday, September 21, 2006
From Someone Who Actually Dialogued With Ahmadinejad
By David Culp, FCNL's Quaker Nuclear Disarmament Program
"We believe the production or use of nuclear weapons is immoral."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Hours after he spoke to the United Nations, the Iranian president made this clear, unequivocal statement to a group of us during a private meeting in New York. The Mennonite Central Committee organized an extraordinary, private session for about 50 people to dialogue with President Ahmadinejad about the escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran.
I left the hour-long meeting convinced, as did many, if not all, of my colleagues, that the Iranian leader is a deeply religious person who approaches the issue of nuclear weapons from a moral perspective. The Iranian leader expressed great interest in establishing a dialogue with the religious community in the United States, and he explained that he views Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three co-equal religions.
Of course, I suspect that all of the people in this meeting had many areas where we probably disagree with the policies of the Iranian government. For instance, FCNL is concerned about political prisoners in Iran, religious tolerance, and Iran's position on Israel. We also were aware that the Iranian president met with us as part of his effort to defuse the looming crisis between the Iranian government and the international community over Iran's nuclear energy program.
But I've been a lobbyist working for the abolition of nuclear weapons for more than a decade, and I've talked about these issues with a lot of people. Ahmadinejad impressed me as someone who had thought about these issues a lot. He's a former engineer, who is thinking through the arguments from a number of different perspectives.
For instance, although he starts any discussion by saying that nuclear weapons are immoral, Ahmadinejad also reminded us that the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, which didn't prevent their government from collapsing. He added that, during Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s, Iraq's alliance with a country with nuclear weapons (presumably he was referring to the United States) didn't have any impact on the war. He convinced me that Iran is not interested in developing nuclear weapons.
Iran is interested in developing nuclear energy. As a former engineer, he believes that nuclear fuel is the cleanest fuel there is and he explained that this energy source is critical for the future development of his country. And Ahmadinejad bristles at suggestions that the United States or anyone else would try to dictate how his country pursued its energy needs.
But how do we get beyond the current impasse, we asked him? Ahmadinejad suggested that the UN's Committee on Disarmament, based in Geneva, might be one forum where these discussions should take place. He then offered a proposal: Iran will open all of its nuclear facilities to inspections, if the United States will also open its facilities to inspections. Neither Iran nor the U.S. have implemented the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that includes additional inspections, although we at FCNL believe both countries should do so. He added that the United States should refrain from building so-called second or third generation nuclear weapons.
Now, I'm not endorsing Iran's proposals or even arguing this is the only path to peace. And, in our meeting in New York on Wednesday, the Iranian president made other comments that I found deeply troubling. In particular, I was struck by his comments about the Holocaust. He did not deny the Holocaust, but he still conveyed a view that the matter is debatable. In these comments he sounded a lot like politicians in the U.S. Congress who deny that global warming is a fact, even though there is a significant body of evidence that cannot be denied.
But when he spoke about issues that I cover, the nuclear weapons issues, what struck me is that the Iranian president was offering a reasonable basis for real negotiations. Since Ahmadinejad took office, Iran has been backing away from permitting full inspections of its nuclear program. But I think this is a bargaining stance to start negotiations. Iran wants to have full rights for civilian nuclear energy, including nuclear enrichment. Iranian leaders also want some kind of assurance that the United States will not bomb their country.
The day I left Washington to go to New York for this meeting, I attended a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The contrast was striking. Nicholas Burns, the number three official at the State Department, spent most of that hearing lobbing what I can only describe as rhetorical hand grenades at Iran. In his first State of the Union address, President Bush described Iran as part of the "axis of evil." That's still the approach of some in the U.S. government.
But what is even more striking is the pride U.S. officials take in insisting they will not even talk to Iran. Nicholas Burns, in his testimony this week to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made a point of saying he has never met with an Iranian government official. Now here is a man who has been part of the U.S. foreign service for decades, and he made a point of pride that he had never met with any Iranian official. If the U.S. continues to insist that no dialogue is possible with Iran, then war is the likely alternative.
War is not the answer.
The flavors are different in downtown - much more foot traffic and more variety of people and vehicles (99% of the vehicles in Denver are not SUV's, like they are in the burbs).
Today, I noticed a big difference in the responses of the drivers compared to pre-war vigiling there. During the build-up to the war, we experienced a lot of support and a good chunk of opposition. People now are much more subdued, and we received less attention. Kinda like the burbs. Here I thought it was something about the people out here, but it appears to me that many people have given up and gone back to the issues that are in their faces, since the occupation of Iraq doesn't affect them directly, and they don't want to be constantly reminded of it.
Tonight, I am tired, and wishing that I could be one of those people who just watched television, had fun, and didn't know or care about what our country is doing.
But I can't do that.
The Threat is From Those Who Accept Climate Change
...So we all deceive ourselves and deceive each other about the change that needs to take place. The middle classes think they have gone green because they buy organic cotton pyjamas and handmade soaps with bits of leaf in them - though they still heat their conservatories and retain their holiday homes in Croatia.
But my favorite quote from his article is "Do you really want to stop climate chaos, or do you just want to feel better about yourself?"
I think that is an awesome question, not just for people who want to stop "climate chaos", but for anyone doing anything to try to help our planet and its inhabitants. How much of what we do is related to our egos, to feeling better about ourselves so that we can continue doing what is ultimately destructive behavior?
A lot of harm can be done with the wrong intention.
Learn about false environmental claims made by corporations here.
Read about George Monbiot's fascinating life here.
International Day of Peace
For today, here's Yusaf Islam (Cat Stevens) singing a more recent version of Peace Train (thanks to Judy):
We Gotta Stop This Guy
From their site:
Father Luis Barrios, a respected Episcopal priest, a tenured professor, columnist in El Diario, and long-time activist for social justice, was arrested yesterday in front of the United Nations. He was held all night, and charged with 2nd degree assault, because a police officer says Father Barrios touched him. Footage of Father Barrios being pushed to the ground by police was run all last evening. Father Barrios today says "we did the right thing" in protesting, and to everyone: "The World Can't Wait!" These outrageous charges must be dropped. We'll tell you soon how you can be involved.
Geoff Mallard, a disabled Iraq war vet, was charged with resisting arrest went he fell down trying to board the police wagon.
These outrageous charges must be dropped. We'll tell you soon how you can be involved.
For now, we urge people to continue to call in to demand the charges be dropped against the two protesters.
Mayor Bloomberg: PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX (212) 788-2460
Police Commissioner: Raymond W. Kelly; NYPD
Meanwhile, last week, W said " he could not send thousands of troops into Pakistan to search for bin Laden without an invitation from the government. 'Pakistan's a sovereign nation,' Bush said (Carol here, wondering... were Afghanistan and Iraq soveriegn nations when we attacked them?).
Yesterday, he said "he would order military action inside Pakistan if intelligence indicated that Osama bin Laden or other top terror leaders were hiding there. 'Absolutely,' Bush said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer."
This man scares me.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
What the Hell???
It tears me apart to see beautiful little creatures being harmed in this way. They are too young to know that they are being brainwashed. They are not yet able to make these choices. We need to be teaching our youth how to love, get along with others, and most of all, think for themselves.
I was in a cult when I was in my late teens/early 20's. It took years to heal from it. I feel like throwing up right now.
As Nathan at Michael's work said about the above video:
I think someone tried this once in Germany a few decades ago . . . Yeah I'm pretty sure I've seen film about young, blonde boys and girls worshiping some guy - going through some type of righteous indignation training of some sort . . . . I don't remember how it ended though . . .
How 'Bout We Do Lunch?
The Arizona Republic says it succinctly: Bush, who speaks at 8:30 a.m., says he will use his talk to warn Iran that it must obey a Security Council resolution calling on it to suspend its nuclear-fuel program. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tonight will say its nuclear program is peaceful. Bush says he has no intention of meeting with Ahmadinejad.
Talk about some amazing communication skills! Talk about triangulation! Talk about not even trying to see the human being in the man you disagree with! Talk about a role model for all American kids to emulate!
Kids, don't do this at home! It is hazardous to your safety.
When I observe the president of my country refusing to have dialogue in person with someone whom he considers a threat to my country, I feel disheartened and scared - more scared than I do of the possible threat of said nuclear program - because I need to know that the pres of my country is doing whatever he can for my safety and the safety of the rest of the world, and that he is doing it through working with those he disagrees with, not through force.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Taking in the Beauty
Sunday, September 17, 2006
From The Mouths of Those Who Live It
From the Denver Post:
Visions of peace
War on terror blind to its causes, Nobelists caution
By Jennifer Brown and Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writers
The largest gathering of Nobel peace laureates ever on U.S. soil took a sharp political turn Saturday when several prize winners denounced U.S. foreign policy and President Bush while urging U.S. and Israeli leaders to open lines of communication with terrorist groups.
"You are some of the most incredibly generous people," Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa told an audience of 7,000 at the University of Denver's Magness Arena. "Your philanthropy is fantastic. How about exporting your generosity instead of your bombs?"
The man who helped abolish apartheid in his native country echoed advice offered earlier in the evening by fellow laureate Betty Williams, who sought to end the violence in Northern Ireland: "Take your country back!"
As part of this weekend's PeaceJam youth conference, the Nobel winners unveiled a United Nations-style "global call" to fight what they identified as the core evils of the world - poverty, racism, a lack of clean water, the degradation of the environment and the obsession with nuclear weapons.
The failure to address those evils, they said, are the root causes of suicide bombers and hijackers of airplanes.
Many of the laureates criticized the American government for spending so much on "instruments of destruction" instead of building schools or feeding the poor in other countries - ignoring more serious threats to humanity as it focuses on the war against terrorism.
Along with their public appearances, the laureates are spending the weekend inspiring 2,300 teenagers from 31 countries to create 1 billion acts of peace in the next 10 years. PeaceJam, an Arvada-based organization, runs education programs designed to teach young people conflict resolution in their own communities.
Williams, the Northern Ireland peace activist, paused during her talk to single out a PeaceJam participant sitting near the arena's rafters: a Peruvian girl working to eradicate hunger at an orphanage.
"A child of 11 has more intelligence than the president of the United States," she said, drawing cheers.
Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian judge who was the first Muslim to win the Nobel Peace Prize, said she was "very sorry about the sad events of Sept. 11" but wished that the United States had built a school in Afghanistan for each victim instead of going to war.
Ebadi also took issue with the idea that the world is in the midst of a clash of civilizations based on religion. She said political disputes are to blame, "the result of the wrong policies of politicians."
"Fundamentalism does not only belong to Islam, it exists in all religions," she said through an Farsi interpreter. "When someone claims that he has a mission from God to bring war to Iraq and kill the people of Iraq, this is a kind of terrorism and a kind of fundamentalism."
The sole American among the group, Jody Williams, recognized for her work to ban and clear land mines, said in an interview that Americans were told it was treasonous to ask "why" after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The U.S. government has created a "no-win situation" in Iraq, Williams said. If troops withdraw, terrorists can claim victory, yet continued occupation is pointless, she said.
"They're both bad, but withdrawing the troops is probably the better of two horrible options," Williams said. "We never should have been there in the first place."
The last Nobel laureate to arrive in Denver, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, said at a news conference Saturday that it was time for U.S. and Israeli officials to open up a dialogue with terrorism groups.
"I regret that there is not the courage or the political will to sit down and negotiate," said Arias, who won the prize for promoting peace in Latin America.
Arias criticized the U.S. and Israeli governments for saying security precludes peace when it is "just the opposite." Their logic gives power to fanatics such as suicide bombers, he said.
"The United States has declared war on terrorism ... but that is not the only threat," he said. "We are not dealing with the basic threats of humanity."
In a discussion taped for the BBC, the Dalai Lama said the United States and Israel "should not rule out" talks with Hamas and al-Qaeda and said that, in a condolence letter to President Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, he had expressed his hope that the United States would not respond with violence. He stopped short of criticizing the president, whom he called a close friend, about the war in Iraq.
"That's his business," the Dalai Lama said with a smile, drawing laughs.
The Dalai Lama offered a one-hour, 26-minute pep talk to the attendees earlier in the day, covering questions about world peace, suicide, religion and the power of smiling.
The spiritual and political leader of Tibet said prayer was important and noted that all religious traditions teach the value of "love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self- respect." He added that prayer alone is not enough to make the world a better place.
"So, listen, listen, this is good," he said. "I usually believe our action - with clear vision - is more important than prayer."
Staff writer Mark Couch contributed to this report.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
The Important Things
Someone Needed Them More Than Me!
Wishin' I Was Young, But Glad I'm Not
Today's episode of As the Women in Black Stand begins with two women, holding the honkin' big banner alone - not a feat for the weak-hearted. Winds are pummeling, sheets of rain slash slices in the air while the two women hold on to their banner with all of their might.
It was a pretty nice day, actually. A few sprinkles, sun and clouds dancing around. We started as two, but multiplied until we became SIX. The fun part was when two young men asked if they could stand with us until their bus came. They had shaved heads with a little tuft of black hair sprouting out on top (sorry, I'm so out of it, I don't know if there is a name to this style.) and piercings here and there. An excellent compliment to the wrinkles and gray hairs that had previously dominated the Women in Black landscape (yes, I'm speaking for myself). One young young man just stood with us, and one held one of our signs that says "Standing in Silence for Peace". He just stood right out in the middle of the sidewalk and faced the traffic.
Funny, we got a lot of supportive response while those guys were standing with us. I want to hire them.
Maybe it is the ALIVE energy of youth that those motorists responded to.
I just went through my entire blog and found all of the references to my Women in Black experiences. I had so much fun visiting my writings of the past 13+ months, that I decided if I die tomorrow, I will have lived a very interesting and enriching life, and a part of me will be majorly bummed that it can't continue, but another part will go in wonder at what the next chapter will bring.
If you haven't read them before, here are eight of my on-the-scene reports from the corner of West Colfax and the Denver Retail Entrance in Lakewood, Colorado, written over the last year:
Friday, September 15, 2006
An Incredible Lightness
Major tired tonight.
I did most of the 2+ days of the NonViolent Communication workshop with a killer headache. Couldn't sleep last night because of it. Funny thing... when we did an exercise where we were to practice empathic listening, and I got to express my fear, confusion, and sadness about my friend with pancreatic cancer, somehow my headache decreased to such a degree that I could start to remember what *good* feels like again.
Marshall Rosenberg is a master. He is not just teaching theory. NVC is in his cells... and he's funny, too!
I hope to be sharing some of what I (re)-learned over the next few days. I am certain that if we don't acquire new ways to communicate, and if we don't start teaching our children different skills than the ones that we have been using (you know, the ones that haven't worked to create peace yet), we will continue to experience violence in our world.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Off to First Grade
Some examples (ah, I am making myself so vulnerable here): I never used to know what I needed or wanted from someone. If I could grasp a tiny glimpse of what it was that I might be needing, it was too painful to ask for it. I was not deserving. And, if I had to ask you for it.... well, if I had to ask, then I didn't want it anyway, because you should've known that I needed this and done it without me having to ask. I also didn't know how to express my anger, so I held it in until it eventually came out all messy.
I didn't know that we could talk and figure out a way where WE COULD ALL GET OUR NEEDS MET! I didn't know how good it feels when we all get our needs met. I thought that I had to get mine met at your expense - or not get mine so that you would get what you needed at my expense.
I have not been a person with very good skills in the world, and I am now vulnerably admitting that and it feels..... really good. Maybe I'm growing up a little? Oh, finally! How ever long it takes....
I thought that NVC was just a formula for speaking in a clearer way. I didn't know that it would change the way that I see the world and myself. So many times, it seems that growing and changing can be kind of hard and painful. Like going to therapy and wailing, while processing our painful pasts (I'm not knocking the value that can sometimes come of that). This NVC journey, so far, has been relatively painless and the rewards come quickly. I don't have to be perfect at it to still feel good about the effect.
Tonight I begin the NVC workshop. I am excited, because I think that I will learn a lot. And I also am feeling a little anxious, like the first day of school, because I don't know anyone else who will be there and I don't think that I know what to expect there (even though I've done this before, and I do have a really good idea of what to expect - and I'm pretty sure that it's perfectly safe there).
Yippppeeee! An adventure!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Whew! Thanks to W, We're All Safer
Declaration of Peace Events
Other events can be found at Declaration of Peace Events.com
Monday, September 11, 2006
by ani difranco
to listen, go to http://www.righteousbabe.com
us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky
and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
so here's a toast to all the folks who live in palestine
here's a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore
here's a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman's voice
here's a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner's guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream
cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
it don't take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he'd deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever
and we hold these truths to be self evident:
#1 george w. bush is not president
#2 america is not a true democracy
#3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i've got no room for a lie so verbose
i'm looking out over my whole human family
and i'm raising my glass in a toast
here's to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face
give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it's time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else's desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall
and while we're at it
remember the first time around?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn't even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?
can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!
it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody's face
and scoping that scene
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn't have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole's passion play
so now it's your job
and it's my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn't die in vain
hear the train?
Sunday, September 10, 2006
oh, I can think of so many anwers to this question...
Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
(You can also see an enlarged version by clicking on the photo.)
Photo by Hawkline Photography
(Do you remember Five Man Electrical Band?)
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Got the link to Says-It.com Ticket Generator from The Second Side blog.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Muted Skies and Hearts
What happened to the blue skies
that made me smile for no reason
except the gladness of being alive?
Colorado crispness floated in the air
and I thought that it always would,
but now a haze like I've never seen
weighs heavy and blocks my view of
heaven and the grandeur of tall peaks.
My children don't know
what the milky way or
skies the color of their eyes
even look like
so they don't
but I do
Photo by you-know-who (Hawkline photography) who I apologize to for interpreting his photos in ways that surprise even me.
Some Things I'm Up To
Near the end of the month, Michael, the Buddha dog, and I will go camping in the desert at the location where our vision quests take place. This time will be for relaxation and only a one-day solo.
In the meantime, below are some of the events that I am working on and participating in.
Standing as a Witness To End Violence
Our local Women in Black vigil is changing the vigil day/time back to Saturdays beginning this coming Saturday. We'll be standing from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at our usual spot - in front of the Colorado Mills on West Colfax in Lakewood. If you live in the area - or if sometime you happen to pass through - you are always welcome to join us. To see what we look like, click here.
Four well-known and respected panelists will speak on immigration facts, legislation, and human rights issues at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community on Monday, September 18th at 7:00 p.m. Spirit of Christ is located at 7400 West 80th Avenue, Arvada.
Panelists include Polly Baca, Executive Director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency and previous member of the Colorado State Legislature; Lisa Duran, Executive Director of Rights for All People; Adrian Miller, General Council and Director of Outreach for the Bell Policy Center; and Father Prudencio Rodriguez, a Vincention Priest who has worked with Spanish-speaking communities and offers workshops on the Hispanic culture. There will be a time for questions and answers.
American Friends Service Committee's Eyes Wide Open Exhibit
From October 9th through the 11th, AFSC in Denver will host the Eyes Wide Open Exhibit, which demonstrates the human cost of the Iraq War. It "features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict, and a multimedia display exploring the history, cost and consequences of the war." I hope to be a part of the team working on this event. Some people think that displaying a pair of boots for each soldier killed, along with shoes representing killed Iraqis is a political action. I think that it is reality.
Martin Luther King Event
The Arvada Peace & Justice's second annual MLK event will take place on Martin Luther King Day, January 15th, 2007. We have begun our work to plan this yet-to-be-named event. We predict that it will be even better than last year's awesome celebration. Last year, the dream of the event unfolded over time into something bigger and better than any of us would've imagined. This year, we are creating a vision, with the input of people of color, so that we can bring awareness of the changes, and lack thereof, that have taken place since MLK did his great work.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
A few years ago, I went to an Aids, Medicine and Miracles weekend. One of the workshop facilitators was a laugh therapist. She said that you don't laugh because you're happy, you are happy because you laugh. I haven't put much thought into figuring out whether or not I think that is true. But I do know that laughing is medicine, and I would like to use that medicine more often.
This laugh therapist had a BIG laugh that anyone could hear long before they ever set eyes on her. I could be walking down the hall, and hear rolling, contagious laughter emanating from this woman, then suddenly find myself laughing for no reason.
Of all the workshops that I participated in that weekend, the laughter workshop was the most memorable.
Too bad I forget to practice it. It could come in handy right about now.
Even though I didn't find something laugh worthy, here is something VERY BIG SMILE worthy.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?
Wondering What It's All About
This is big. We can bring the troops home, but what do we do with this kind of mentality?
I was listening to a show on NPR as I drove a couple of days ago. A man was being interviewed and apparently, he had just signed up for the military. He didn't know what he would be doing in the military, but he wanted to serve in order to get money for his education. I wondered what our country would be like if there was no educational incentive from serving in the military, but instead, tuition assistance would be available for people who served the world by adding to the quality of life.
I have been on call 24/7 for my friend who recently had surgery for her pancreatic cancer. This is a hard journey to be on. And I am getting a lot of growth through it. Another friend is in town, and I took 24 hours off from my little helper position so that we could go camping. Oh my God, the mountains were so beautiful and healing! The aspens are just starting to turn yellow. One of my favorite visuals is the sight of yellow aspen leaves floating on a pond. For 24 hours, I let go of needing to be anything and just let the mountains fill me.
We are not endless streams of giving, working, and striving. I want balance in the world, so I must remember to be balanced.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Here is a great, new site: http://www.liberatethis.com/about.html
Dahlia lives in Denver, and has family in Iraq, which she visited earlier this year. She gives talks that you will never forget. You can check out her speaking gigs on her site. I bet she might come speak at your event.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Dan in Lebanon
Dan is a person who answers his calling. I know that he will make a difference in many people's lives.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Who Owns My Arugula?
I remember my grandmother saving the seeds out of her tomatoes every year so that she could plant the next year's tomato plants. There is a natural order and a freedom to this practice.
Now, thanks to our government and Monsanto (don't even get me going on what I think about Monsanto!), farmers all across the globe will potentially be held hostage by corporations that provide their seeds.
With the genetically altered Terminator seeds, people will not be able to plant the seeds saved from one year to the next. If the farmer or gardener has no money, they'll have no seeds.
According to Wikipedia, Monsanto has pledged not to commercialize the technology, but I have trust issues here - and cross-pollination can and does occur even miles away from the original plant. See Monsanto vs Schmeiser
From the Center for Research on Globalization:
"For almost a quarter century, since 1983, the US Government has quietly been working to perfect a genetically engineered technique whereby farmers would be forced to turn to their seed supplier each harvest to get new seeds.
Terminator is the answer to the agribusiness dream of controlling world food production. No longer would they need to hire expensive detectives to spy on whether farmers were re-using Monsanto or other GMO patented seed. Terminator corn or soybeans or cotton seeds could be genetically modified to 'commit suicide' after one harvest season. That would automatically prevent farmers from saving and re-using the seed for the next harvest. The technology would be a means of enforcing Monsanto or other GMO patent rights, and forcing payment of farmer use fees not only in developing economies, where patent rights were, understandably, little respected, but also in industrial OECD countries.
With Terminator patent rights, once a country such as Argentina or Brazil or Iraq or the USA or Canada opened its doors to the spread of GMO patented seeds among its farmers, their food security would be potentially hostage to a private multinational company, a company which, for whatever reasons, especially given its intimate ties to the US Government, might decide to use 'food as a weapon' to compel a US-friendly policy from that country or group of countries."
There are those who think that we will start to create peace when we get the war in Iraq stopped. I would be sooo happy if our country got out of Iraq. But I think that we really need to be paying attention to the things that are going on under the surface with regards to food, oil, and water issues. I feel a chess match in the air as countries are lining up their pieces in order to have an advantage. In the future, he who has the resources wins.