April 5, 2009

The second teach-in sponsored by the IU student activist group Indiana Students Against War (ISAW) focused on the global “War on Terror” and attracted about 40 people to the four-hour event on April 2.

ISAW member and teach-in moderator Sandrine Catris said in her opening remarks that the purpose of the teach-in was twofold: to recruit more activists and to critique the War on Terror.

“ISAW believes that if people honestly and openly discuss what is happening that they will become activists,” she said.

March 22, 2009

March 19 marked the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It has been six long years of war, sectarian violence, terrorist attacks and military occupation for the people of Iraq, following more than 12 years of debilitating economic sanctions and U.S. bombing raids.

Over the past six years, more than 5 million Iraqis have fled or been forced from their homes and livelihoods because of war, violent sectarianism and military occupation. Over 1 million Iraqis have died since March 2003. Hundreds of thousands are now in need of medical attention and humanitarian aid.

March 8, 2009

On March 20, a few days after the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, 55 intrepid Bloomingtonians will board a bus bound for Washington, D.C, for a peace march on the Pentagon. Thirteen hundred organizations and individuals have endorsed the march, the first national one against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since President Barack Obama was elected.

The demonstration's rallying cries are, “From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime” and “We Need Jobs and Education, Not Wars and Occupation.” The demonstrators will urge an end to the war threats and economic sanctions against Iran and will protest the illegal U.S. program of detention and torture.

"It's important to let the new administration and Congress know that the public is still very much aware of and opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Mike Ferner, president of Veterans for Peace, said in an e-mail. “We do not like what we're hearing about slowly pulling out of Iraq while leaving 50,000 troops there permanently, and we don't believe that Afghanistan is somehow the 'right' war that we should be waging seriously.”

January 25, 2009

About 75 people attended the Indiana Students Against War's (ISAW) first of several planned teach-ins on the IU campus. This four-hour event on Jan. 22 at the Indiana Memorial Union focused on the violence happening in the Occupied Territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

“The purpose of our gathering is twofold,” moderator Sandrine Emmanuel Catris said when opening the event. “First, we realize that the mainstream U.S. media and politicians have been mis-educating and misleading the U.S. public about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The hope was that the teach-in would help everyone better understand that the situation in the Middle-East has nothing to do with a war between Judaism, Islam or Christianity for that matter, but that it has everything to do with colonialism and imperialism, she said.

“Our second goal is to recruit more activists,” Catris continued. “ISAW believes that positive social changes can only happen through activism and the building of a grass-root movement devoted to social justice.”

November 16, 2008

It's Obama instead of Ol' Bomber. What a relief!

At last, after all these dark and terrible years, we might have a man in the White House who doesn't stoke our fears and look about for enemies to taunt.

The one advantage of that endless election campaign was that it gave us time to see that Obama is obviously sane. How refreshing!

He doesn't immediately brand as an "enemy" any country that disagrees with us. Everything isn't U.S. versus T.H.E.M. He doesn't feed the national paranoia that those Bush Crazies whipped up out of 9/11. He doesn't wave weapons and middle fingers when he's speaking of foreign policy.

As someone wisely noted: when things get hot, you want a cool leader. Obama is warmhearted but coolheaded. That's what we desperately need. If you don't believe that's what we need, look at the last seven years:

August 10, 2008

Petitions to government are older than democracy itself. The 13th-century British Magna Carta declared: "If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us -- or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice -- to declare it and claim immediate redress."

Redress. The righting of a wrong, the tortuous equalization of one man's transgression against another. Furthered by the 17th century British Bill of Rights, which steadfastly declared: "That is the right of subjects to petition the King, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal."

Petition. The sending up of a complaint, from a locality, a municipality, a community, to a government more catholic than that, in an effort to obtain relief.

April 20, 2008

Dear Sen. McCain:

I duly admire your courage. I like a couple of your ideas. But we need moral judgment in the White House, so I'm going to lecture you now on right and wrong. I can do that, because I'm even older than you, and I've never killed civilians. Listen, please:

Bombing, invading and occupying the countries of people who have never attacked us is not right, it's wrong. It is a crime. Crime does not pay. Once you do it, you are morally unable to prevail; you deserve to lose. Even if you can somehow convince yourself that you're getting away with it, it's still a crime. Even if you think you can make someone else's botched crime more efficient by taking control, it's still a crime, and it would be wrong for you to perpetuate it.

The only right thing to do about a crime, if you're in a position to do anything about it, is to put a stop to it and see that the culprits are brought to justice.

Let me say it again, because you seem to be a slow learner: crime is wrong, and whether you do it adeptly or poorly, it won't pay, because it's still a crime.

April 6, 2008

Former Pentagon and State Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg knows a lot about the lies politicians from both major parties use to generate support for unpopular and costly wars.

He also knows something about warrantless wiretapping, having been a victim of the Nixon administration's efforts to intimidate and silence the outspoken critic of Vietnam War.

Though it felt awkward asking him for permission to tape our recent phone conversation, he readily agreed. Since the host of his upcoming will be ACLU-Indiana, we began our conversation with that topic.

TPH: The theme of the ACLU-Indiana banquet that you will address is: "Restore American Democracy: A Call for Change." What kind of changes will you be calling for?

February 3, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - Indian spiritual leader and humanitarian Her Holiness Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi visited Indianapolis from Jan. 17-21 and made several public appearances, culminating with a presentation on Jan. 21 at a commemoration of the birth of Martin Luther King.

This writer attended two of these events, hearing her speak Jan. 18 at a program of mediation at Indianapolis's Unity Church and again on Jan. 20, when she spoke before the congregation at the service of the Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

At both events, she was introduced by Ebeneezer's pastor, Rev. Tom Brown, an African American versed in both Eastern and Western religious traditions, who linked both these traditions of spirituality together as complements.

December 5, 2007

Howard Zinn, eminent peacemonger and sage, can really set you to thinking.

He wrote to me last week that he'd given a Veterans Day speech in Worcester, Mass., telling the audience what Veterans Day should be: a day we pledge "No more veterans!"

Wow! Is that a loaded idea!

Stop making veterans. Pledge to stop making wars for so long that peace outlives even the oldest veterans. Think of it.

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