Thomas P. Healy
Frustrated by media coverage of George W. Bush's forced march to war and angered by staged events like the infamous toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad, Kevin Howley wasn't content to simply watch and seethe. "I was looking for something to do," the Bloomington resident said in a recent phone interview. "Some sort of intervention into the misinformation campaign that the Bush administration was leading."
Armed with a Ph.D. in telecommunications from IU and access to the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media at DePauw University, where he serves as an assistant professor of communication arts and sciences, Howley produced "Victory at Sea? Culture Jamming Dubya, "a documentary film that deconstructs Bush's infamous May 1, 2003,"Top Gun" photo op aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where he announced "an end to major combat operations" in Iraq.
Since 1945, global peace activists have sponsored events during the first week of August to commemorate victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year's remembrance will be especially poignant, as the spread of nuclear technology and weaponry continues unabated.
The Bush administration is lobbying Congress to fund the next generation of nuclear weapons. And international concern grows daily regarding possible health effects of widespread use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If you're interested in organic gardening, want to cultivate your green thumb and then share the experience with others, consider going to the Grow Organic Educator Series (GOES).
The GOES program is a homegrown project of Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, the Center for Sustainable Living (CSL) and Bloomington Parks and Recreation. Classes begin Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Those of us in the peace movement know what it's like to have our patriotism called into question. Accused of moral and personal failings for anything less than full support for war, we are marginalized and criticized for our opinions and actions.
But it's hard to question the credibility of peacemakers who have served in the armed forces. After all, they know better than any political theorist or armchair patriot the true costs of war. Vietnam War veterans like Fredy Champagne take advantage of their experience. "We exploit our credibility because we're war vets and we've seen American imperialism with our own eyes, so we can stand up to the lies and bullshit of the military/industrial complex," he says.
Media activist, documentary film producer and educator George Stoney, 88, has spent his working life promoting the development of an engaged citizenry by using the power of community access media.
Speaking by phone from his office at New York University, Stoney asks after Bloomington's community access station. "I'm looking at a key to the city that the mayor of Bloomington gave to me 20 years ago," he said. "She was there to introduce me at a luncheon and she told me, 'I wouldn't be here except for you.'"
Most Westerners encounter the Islamic world through representations and characterizations by mainstream media. To Iranian native Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "experts" outside the Islamic tradition who perpetrate a skewed image of his religious tradition and its diverse followers dominate discussion of Islam in the United States.
"There are a large number of people who are called experts on the Islamic world but who really are not experts, and often times they express views which are ideologically oriented," Nasr says. "They do not have anything to do with the truth on the ground. "
Protesters from around the state rallied June 5 on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to express dismay with the Bush administration's foreign policy and call for "Regime Change at Home."
Making my way to the rally, I was cornered by a fellow who insisted on expressing his ambivalence about the war in Iraq. "Honestly, I can't say how I feel about it," he said. "I'm from a military family," he said by way of explanation, "and we know the value of service."
This Memorial Day weekend, as the nation commemorates the ultimate sacrifice our country's armed forces have made in the service of liberty, speakers at the 5th National Grassroots Organizing Conference on Iraq claim the Bush administration sacrifices coalition troops through exposure to depleted uranium (DU).
"There's more than enough evidence from the Pentagon's own studies to ban DU," said Charles Sheehan-Miles, executive director of the Nuclear Power Research Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, founded by activist Dr. Helen Caldicott. "But the Pentagon loves this weapon."
Many Americans are exposed to pesticides at levels "well above officially permitted thresholds established by government health and environmental agencies," according to "Chemical Trespass," a study released May 11 by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). And they carry that burden without opportunity for consent.
Analyzing data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its January 2003 "Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals," PANNA found that the "body burden" — the pesticides humans carry — is most pronounced in children, Mexican-Americans and adult women, including those of child-bearing age who unwittingly and unwillingly pass on a toxic legacy to their offspring in the womb.
Bloomington will host the 5th Annual National Grassroots Organizing Conference on Iraq on Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31, in Ballantine Hall at Indiana University. This year's theme is "From Humanitarian Disaster to Quagmire: The Failure of the 'War on Terror.'" Speakers will include Bert Sacks, whose humanitarian efforts in Iraq have put him at odds with the U.S. government.
Sacks, a retired software engineer in Seattle, read a New York Times story in March 1991 that quoted a United Nations report on the situation in Iraq. "It used the phrase, 'Iraq's been bombed to near-apocalyptic state,'" Sacks said in a recent conversation. The last paragraph says, "There will be famine and epidemic in Iraq unless massive life-supporting aid is given. Time is short."