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Thursday, June 30, 2011

LIES, SPIES AND SABOTAGE

When one is in the middle of a revolution or a world class event---I mean right in the middle, near the tear gas and the TV cameras, the World still seems like the World---only faster, louder, stronger, hungrier, uglier and, of course, sadder. I am in that imploding/exploding world of revolution. Signs of all kinds are visible and audible everywhere. Everything happens in the instantaneous now. Seconds pass. One breathes or doesn't breathe. One retreats to the edges of the action---or one moves to the center, or to the far (progressively farther) progressive left. One goes to where the good people are. The people whose lives are deeply effected by the greed of the few. Really. How is it that we (the righteous people on the left) have allowed--continue to allow--the people on the right to steal from us. Ah, Revolution!! Someone goes to jail for a simple, but absolutely necessary crime of stealing bread while another steals a brother's life, a sister's opportunity, a grandparent's pride, a father's livelihood, a mother's courage...No, they mustn't steal our courage. We must not let them take our cake!


Organize. That's what they (who are not our friends, our supports) do. Slowly, greedily with malice aforethought they convince the masses that everything is theirs: every country, every army, every bank, every school...They have taken our schools and now we are turning out drones. They have coveted our ingenuity and now that ingenuity is disappearing in the fear-mongering climate that "they" created. Will we awaken? Is there a way to stand and face and overthrow those who would oppress us?
There must be. And that is what we seek.  We seek to see through and to expose the lies...to bring the dark liars into the light...to disempower those who would sabotage the efforts of the righteous!
I am in Athens, dreaming of Gaza...I want to pray---not to a god nor to THE GOD whom so many worship (although for the life of me I cannot understand how they know these unknowable things). Still, I want to hope or wish or dream or yes, even pray, that the people of the world will awaken and will begin--very surely---to expose the lies, the spies...to uncover the sabotage that threatens to blow us away. May it lose its power as it is exposed to the clear light of a new day! Then perhaps we will re-invent the world we all thought we had...a world without end, without end, without end....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FIRE! In The Whole...World!!

I thought I'd be in Gaza by now...Or, if not in Gaza, in an Israeli prison. I thought our ship The Audacity of Hope would have sailed days ago...But no, the passengers and press and crew of our US Boat to Gaza are still in Athens...attending press conferences, demonstrations, meetings and workshops while we untangle the contrived complaints about the seaworthiness of our little ship and while we continue to work to expose the bully tactics and chicanery perpetrated on this Freedom Flotilla by the Israeli government. How many times do we have to stand up and tell the world that the Israeli blockade of Gaza waters is illegal. Illegal! How many times do we have to repeat that our US to Gaza group is composed of peaceful, human rights-seeking individuals (NOT Terrorists) from New England to Hawaii. What will it take to convince the so-called "Powers That Be" that our peaceful and just mission is to sail to Gaza, to deliver letters of solidarity to the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children who have been imprisoned (IMPRISONED ILLEGALLY) in that small strip of land for too long? How long will it take to expose the bullying and criminal behavior of the Israeli government?! And how long will it take for honorable people everywhere to acknowledge the reprehensible complicity of our government in the continuation of this terrible siege on the people of Gaza! I see such corruption in the actions and non-actions of our State Department. How dare they threaten us--U.S. Citizens--- for wanting to sail our American flagged, peaceful little ship to Gaza---through INTERNATIONAL waters---not through Israeli waters!!
Here in Athens, boats in the Flotilla are being sabotaged...misinformation is being spread through Israeli and US channels. And...
At home, in Santa Fe, while fires of freedom are ignited in Santagma Square and while the people of Greece begin a general strike...my New Mexico neighborhood is burning. All I can say right now, as my time in this Internet cafe expires, is WAKE UP Everyone! Wake up! This is your world that is being destroyed by the Greed of the few!! I want to post this---even though it's incomplete---in case I never get back here...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DICKENS KNEW: thoughts from an Athens diary...

Dickens knew--way back when--that these were and are the best and worst of times. Same situations. Different Revolutions! There must be revolutions--to restore balance, to redefine the important concepts of human cultural existence. How do they occur? Where do they begin? Somewhere near the start of a Revolution, there must be awareness; a growing-into-consciousness awareness by the people...by some of the masses but also by some of those who stand a bit apart and take note and bring a bit of focus to the fore---with compassion and passion---with vision and intent. It is always seemingly impossible in the beginning. The odds are such that no small efforts, no nascent ideas, no movements can be seen--nor seen to have impact. Things change slowly until they change quickly. The complexity of an action, an inevitable action--anticipated and unexpected--spilling over the vessel of tolerance, indifference, ignorance, helplessness, poverty of experience--spills over and begins (always beginning) to flood the collective consciousness and unconsciousness...
Movements mature---gain momentum--like now, like in this 2011 world in which I begin to notice (really notice) what had existed beyond my seemingly safe personal world of exploration---insideoutside---one becoming the other. I become the other: The disenfranchised. The dejected. The one who yearns. "The wretched refuse"...
How slowly, yet how instantaneously, I walk and stumble and fall into expanded meaning; expanded opportunity---opportunity to participate in a revolution of spirit, of consciousness. And this will not be televised. Not this; not this awareness, not this metamorphosis, not this cell-by-cell transformation from the old "there" to the ever-changing NOW to the new "there"! The manifestival is manifestable! Slowly, slowly--as all instants go---not with a bang, but also not (we pray, we wonder, we hope, we fear) with a whimper.
I find myself in a circle of wondrous people, wondering, "What is my role, my purpose?"
What was it that "Bible Ruth" said? "Whither thou goest, I will go...Thy people will be my people." My people. These are some of my people: Ray and Medea and Hagit and Ann and Ken and Lisa and Richard and Kathy...and, now, to find my place among these new people of my people: to follow; to learn to lead; to leave the empty fullness of my past and to embrace the full emptiness of the void---not in the sense of endings nor of death---but in the arms of a revolution of spirit...
Help me, oh spirit, oh future truth, to be a good "drop" in the overflowing vessel of a revolution (a revelation) of good.
Do. Do not. Do not go. Do not go gently...

Friday, June 17, 2011

IN THE BEGINNING WAS...THE OPPORTUNITY






There it was...early one January morning...in my e-mail in box: an invitation to apply to be a Passenger on the US Boat to Gaza---part of an International Peace Flotilla with the ambitious mission to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza and to focus the attention of the world on the plight of the people in that beleaguered part of the Middle East.






I filled out the five page application, listing my qualifications, references, considerations, reasons, viewpoints… In February, two organizers interviewed me by telephone. Then they contacted and questioned my personal references. In March I received the welcome news that I had been selected to be a Passenger on The Audacity of Hope. I was thrilled. I continue to be thrilled. It is an honor to have the opportunity to sail for Peace and Justice with other non-violent Peace advocates who decry the politics and persecution that has created an ongoing and untenable situation for the people in that embattled part of our world.





Some history: In 2009, I went to Gaza as part of a Delegation led by Code Pink and hosted by UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency). We went to celebrate International Women's Day with the women of Gaza. This was right after Operation Cast Lead---the over-the-top retaliatory bombing raids by the Israeli Military that destroyed much of the infrastructure of Gaza. It also damaged schools, homes and farmland. It killed more than a thousand people---including hundreds of children. Because Israel controlled all the borders (with some cooperation from Egypt)--including the sea lanes, there was nowhere for people to run; nowhere to hide. This small strip of land is widely known as "the largest open air prison in the world." Very few people in Gaza are free to leave that small strip of land--to seek medical help, to visit family, to pursue education...This collective punishment of the people by the people of Israel must be an illegal act. It is one of many illegal acts being committed by Israel against a whole group of (mainly---okay, I said Mainly!) innocent men, women and children. Children!





During my time in Gaza, I made bread (and friends) with many women and girls in Rafah City. I sang and laughed with scores of children in the ruined town of Jabaliya. Our group met with many representatives of NGO’s. And we saw, first hand, the unacceptable conditions under which families were living. We cried with Mothers, listened to students, grew angry and concerned on hearing about the constant shortage of food and re-building materials and medicines. It is not right for this tragic situation to continue. It is not right that all supplies coming in to Gaza must be monitored by the Israelis---who severely and arbitrarily limit needed or desired foodstuffs from entering the isolated Strip. No pasta one week. No chocolate the next…Never enough medicine. Never.





Having witnessed the unhealthy conditions under which family after family was living (subsisting) and having seen the eager, hopeful faces of the children, I wept. And I said---and I say, “This is not right…Something must be done…Someone must do something…”




I am someone who is moved to do something. NOW! I have the opportunity and I am ready to stand up and to say aloud, to my countrymen and countrywomen and to my government, “This is not right. This must end."



Surely there is a better way to move towards resolving the conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship to so many, for so long. Not just Palestinians. Israelis too. The whole beautiful region yearns for freedom from fear. We all long for Peace. For Safety. For Clean Food and Water. For Access to Education. And...for the right to worship and celebrate in one's chosen way.


This must come to pass.



Why is Peace so elusive, I wonder? Everyone claims to want to live in Peace. Yet, look at our troubled, suffering world! Surely we do not believe that human nature abhors a peaceful , cooperative community. Where is the Peace we long to have? Is it in the pockets of a few people who want to turn our world into some sort of Plutocracy? From time to time, I recall a jingle I learned in grammar school: “The World would stop if it were run by those who say it can’t be done.” I think about that all the time…Something must be done! Some of us have begun to put ourselves into action---against injustice.




So, now I am packed and ready to fly to Greece (on Monday June 20th) to join a remarkable cross-section of American citizens who will board The Audacity of Hope and sail, with an International Flotilla, on a mission of Peace and Justice. I am putting my body, my eyes and my abiding vision for Peace at the epicenter of the conflict--which has festered far too long. Perhaps my na├»vete and “cockeyed optimism” along with the insistent (but always non-violent) voices on board our boat might (just might) move the dialogue a step closer to resolution, reconciliation, celebration. It is clear to me that the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict of bullying and retaliating; of anger, hatred and retribution cannot continue unabated. It has brought debilitating fear and tragedy to virtually all who live in the region. I have the audacity to hope that our voices can be heard and that our true and honorable intentions can be felt, understood…and then perhaps a new and better dialogue can begin.


I know, I know; many have tried and many have failed. Still…



This Mother and Grandmother…dreams of Peace and understanding, of forgiveness and justice.



I repeat a Goethe couplet to myself almost daily. I have done so for years: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” And so, I go…boldly, proudly, without hesitation to join the other Passengers, the Crew, the Media and Support Staff as we take on this historic initiative…as we walk our talk and as we sail our tale!



May I take your prayers and good thoughts with me?