AN AFGHAN WOMAN SPEAKS OUT

“Good people cannot be silent”

Synne Hall Arnøy

Malalai Joya was ousted from the Afghan parliament because she dared to raise her voice. Now she asks you to raise yours.  (You can do that on this blog – leave your comment on the Afghan situation below.)

“I often say that silence of good people is worse than actions of bad people,” Joya said in her address at USF November 9, 2009. The Afghan woman combines giant courage with calm compassion to easily fill the hearts of the audience. “As justice loving, democratic persons we must all contribute to stop the war that the Afghan people have been suffering from for too long,” she boldly declared. “We must stop the criminals by speaking the truth.”

The truth Joya referred to is simple: freedom cannot be won through occupation. Peace and democracy cannot be won through war. “Some people ask me about good war versus bad war. My answer to them is: there is no good war. War is war,” Joya stated. “Afghanistan does not need liberators from foreign countries,” she continued, “we need the U.S. and NATO troops to leave so that we can be our own liberators.” Joya is quick to meet the argument she is faced with most often: if the troops are pulled out they will leave civilians as victims in an upcoming civil war. “Let me make one thing very clear,” she said resolutely: “There was already a civil war in Afghanistan when the occupation began. The mice in the war have become wolfs with American support. If they do not stop arming them now they will become dinosaurs.”

Governmental Corruption

In 2005, Joya became the youngest elected member of the Afghan National Parliament.  Only two years later she was suspended for giving a speech where she denounced the presence of criminal warlords and drug lords within the government. “I spoke up against the criminals in power,” she explained, “and you will not get away with that easily.”

Joya argued that the warlords in the government are mental photocopies of the Taliban. “There are killers and rapists in our government supported by the U.S. and NATO. They have high posts and create laws so that they can enjoy impunity,” Joya said, adding that “this is possible because the criminals join hands. Taliban and the warlords negotiate. What they say to foreign policy makers is a strategic play to keep power. And the Afghan reporters who dare to tell the true story are killed.”

For bravely raising her voice in truth, Malalai Joya is the winner of numerous human rights rewards. She is currently traveling the U.S., Australia, and Canada to promote her recently published memoir, A Woman Among Warlords – The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. “I was convinced to write this book by my supporters. I am not writing it to draw focus towards myself, but to draw attention to the Afghan history and the suffering of the Afghan people,” Joya explained.

A History of War

Joya’s 30-year-old life does in itself portray the recent Afghan history: a history of war. The Soviet Union occupation began three days after she was born and there has been continuous war in Afghanistan since. “The warlords have changed names with every new injustice and occupation, but that is the only thing that changes,” she explained.

After surviving more than five assassination attempts, Joya is now followed by bodyguards and seldom sleeps in the same bed two consecutive nights. She does not represent or even mention any supporting organizations because this would put them in danger. Joya describes herself as a social activist for human and women’s rights, however aimed at political change. “Of course what I do is political,” she said. “Everything is. When my Afghan sisters tell me that they are not into politics I tell them that they deceive themselves with those words. Our generation has to do politics. But not the dirty kind of politics disguised in the name of democracy.”

Joya does not hesitate to mention the names of people in the parliament who she believes to violate justice. “You can count the democratic people in the parliament on one hand,” she said, “and the few who are there do not dare to speak. When I was in parliament, they would ask me if I could say this and say that because they were afraid to say it themselves. I am thankful for their support but I need their voices. The Afghan people need their voices,” she continued. “However, more people speak up now. Please support them every chance you get.”

Joya is well aware of the dangerous position she is in. “I know of a child who in school mentioned a woman who was kicked out of the parliament for speaking up against the warlords. When the teacher asked her, ‘Do you mean Malalai Joya?’ the child responded, ‘Shhh, don’t mention her name.’ Her father had told her to keep my name in her heart but that it was dangerous to say it out loud.”

Obama’s War

Joya does not blame the war on the average American citizen. “I am honored to have broad support from Americans. When I say the U.S. I am speaking about the U.S. Government,” she emphasized, adding that “everyone here can relate to our warlords because you had President Bush.”

She was hopeful when President Obama was elected but is not yet convinced by his actions. “I used to call this ‘criminal Bush’s war’, but I hate to say this: it is becoming Obama’s war. More civilians are killed in Afghanistan now. The money spent on this war is increasing. Obama is continuing Bush’s policy and he is supporting and arming the warlords. He must support justice-loving people. We have many of them. Instead he is making dirty people powerful,” Joya remarked.

Millions of U.S. aid dollars were recently spent on a ring road told to stimulate the economic situation of the provinces of Afghanistan. Joya is sceptical: “I think they build roads to make the occupation easier. How are my people supposed to trust that this is done for good while women and children are being bombed? There is a lot of so-called humanitarian work, like building schools with no protection. They are raping and killing my sisters and paying for my criminal leaders. If they leave us alone and in peace we will build our own roads.”

Joya expressed her condolences to the American mothers who have lost their sons and daughters in Afghanistan. She hopes some of the sorrow can be transferred into strength so that more people can raise their voices against “the U.S. Government’s wrong policy.”

“Civilians are killed every day. Do we hear any apologies from the White House?” Joya asked rhetorically. “I believe the people of my country are worth as much as the people of your country.”

Human Rights

Joya gives heartbreaking examples of the grave incidents of violence that take place every day in Afghanistan, especially crimes aimed at women. “We are discussing women’s rights but let’s focus on the basic: women in Afghanistan do not have human rights. They have their noses and ears cut off and are raped without the offender being persecuted,” she emotionally stated. “Killing a woman is as easy as killing a bird and all of this is happening in the name of democracy.”

The percentage of women in the Afghan parliament is relatively high: 68 out of the 249 seats. According to Joya, however, most of them are fundamentalists supporting the warlords. “Once a woman of the parliament threatened me with these words: ‘if you do not sit silent I will do you a kind of harm that no man would ever dare to.’”

Let Them Leave

Malalai Joya does not plan on taking residence outside of Afghanistan to provide her own safety. “Why should I leave my own country? Let them leave. Let them go away. There are women that set themselves on fire, committing suicide because of the constant violence towards them. I have to go back and ask them to live.”

When asked about her source of strength, Joya pointed to the support she experiences. “The support of my people, and your solidarity, gives me, gives us, hope. I am honored to be a voice of my people. There are many voices I cannot even compare myself with. The only difference is that they are not famous.”

Joining Hands

Joya is supported by several human rights’ organizations and is collecting evidence that can make it possible to “bring the criminals to court”. “But,” she added, “this is not enough. I need your voices. Please join hands and speak up for justice and democracy.” She encouraged the audience to “educate people” and to “send the policy makers the message that this is not okay.”

“Please write letters. Tell President Obama to stop arming the warlords.”

Despite great pain in her eyes, Joya’s heart is filled with hope. “The truth brings hope and cannot be hidden. More and more people are conscious about the truth and are willing to share it”, she said. “The warlords can cut the flowers down but they can never stop our voices.”

Author Synne Hall Arnøy is a freelance journalist and social activist for human rights. She is a graduate teacher of social science and languages and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Oslo University College. She has worked on numerous humanitarian projects worldwide and has earned high positions in different Norwegian NGO’s.

Links: http://www.malalaijoya.com/

http://www.win-cawa.org

Health Care Reform for Women NOW

We are at a critical juncture in Health Care Reform – the US Senate will soon debate their Bill (as yet with no number) and vote. It will go to a Conference Committee with the recently passed House of Representatives bill AND Stupak Amendment. Hopefully the final bill will be voted up or down by January 1, without the Amendment. See Ellen Shaffer’s update, stay tuned for more information and action recommendations AND post your comments to Ellen’s plea for us to ‘figure out what to do about this’. We cannot sit by like good little girls any longer!

Ellen Shaffer: I think that HR 3962 offers many important improvements over the status quo, in the areas of coverage, affordability and quality, despite significant limitations, I will document these shortly.

The Stupak amendment however is exactly the poison pill it is meant to be. It virtually rolls back women’s current legal right to choose abortion. It is an unacceptable political compromise. It cannot stand. Read it here:

It says that no funds “authorized or appropriated” by HR 3962 can be used to pay for abortion or to cover the costs of any health plan that covers abortion.

Authorization and appropriation are particular acts by Congress to direct public funds to various purposes. That could be what this language means. Which would be bad enough.

The bill also “authorizes” employers and individuals to contribute to health insurance. These are private funds. It could mean that no health insurance plan purchased under the auspices of the bill can be used to pay for abortion. None. It is possible that no health plan that covers abortion could be offered through programs created by this bill. This may be a debatable interpretation. If it is challenged, the Supreme Court will decide.

It adds that supplemental abortion plans cannot be purchased using affordability credits, which are public funds. This is an extra punch to be sure that just in case the Supreme Court balks at outlawing abortion outright for millions of women with employer-provided insurance, women earning up to 400% of the poverty level who take advantage of public subsidies won’t be able to use their insurance once they find out their birth control has failed.

Why are we facing this devil’s bargain at the 11th hour in this campaign? Where was the vigorous organizing and mobilization campaign to get the votes needed to pass this bill without dismantling women’s hard-fought rights? Was it news to anyone that the Catholic bishops oppose abortion, that they have access to an energized constituency, or that this constituency represents a minority of opinion even among Catholics?

This is not a re-election pitch or a solicitation for funds, which usually prompts messages like these from our leaders. It is also not a proposal for a particular action, People will need to figure out together what to do about this.

Planned Parenthood to their credit suggests writing to the President, calling this the outrage that it is and calling for actual leadership. Good start. – Ellen Shaffer

Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
http://www.centerforpolicyanalysis.org/ http://www.cpath.org

What are your responses, feelings, suggestions, frustrations – speak out here at COMMENTS.

JUST ADDED :  A Women’s Media Center Exclusive:

Taking the Fall for Health Care Reform?

By Peggy Simpson

The price for health care reform in the House is women’s right to choose—and, adding insult to injury, the deal was negotiated by the first woman to serve as House speaker.

November 9, 2009

Well, now it’s known: it was reproductive rights that were thrown under the train.

During last summer’s chaotic Town Hall meetings, feverish opponents to health care reform set off alarms by saying the proposals would force end-of-life decisions that would “throw grandma under the train.”

That was nonsense.    Read more …

WOMEN AT RISK

August 8, 2009

By BOB HERBERT

Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times

“I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne — yet 30 million women rejected me,” wrote George Sodini in a blog that he kept while preparing for this week’s shooting in a Pennsylvania gym in which he killed three women, wounded nine others and then killed himself.

We’ve seen this tragic ritual so often that it has the feel of a formula. A guy is filled with a seething rage toward women and has easy access to guns. The result: mass slaughter

Back in the fall of 2006, a fiend invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.

I wrote, at the time, that there would have been thunderous outrage if someone had separated potential victims by race or religion and then shot, say, only the blacks, or only the whites, or only the Jews. But if you shoot only the girls or only the women — not so much of an uproar.
According to police accounts, Sodini walked into a dance-aerobics class of about 30 women who were being led by a pregnant instructor. He turned out the lights and opened fire. The instructor was among the wounded.

We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.

We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.
The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multibillion-dollar industry — much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations.
One of the striking things about mass killings in the U.S. is how consistently we find that the killers were riddled with shame and sexual humiliation, which they inevitably blamed on women and girls. The answer to their feelings of inadequacy was to get their hands on a gun (or guns) and begin blowing people away.
What was unusual about Sodini was how explicit he was in his blog about his personal shame and his hatred of women. “Why do this?” he asked. “To young girls? Just read below.” In his gruesome, months long rant, he managed to say, among other things: “It seems many teenage girls have sex frequently. One 16 year old does it usually three times a day with her boyfriend. So, err, after a month of that, this little [expletive] has had more sex than ME in my LIFE, and I am 48. One more reason.”
I was reminded of the Virginia Tech gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people in a rampage at the university in 2007. While Cho shot males as well as females, he was reported to have previously stalked female classmates and to have leaned under tables to take inappropriate photos of women. A former roommate said Cho once claimed to have seen “promiscuity” when he looked into the eyes of a woman on campus.
Soon after the Virginia Tech slayings, I interviewed Dr. James Gilligan, who spent many years studying violence as a prison psychiatrist in Massachusetts and as a professor at Harvard and N.Y.U. “What I’ve concluded from decades of working with murderers and rapists and every kind of violent criminal,” he said, “is that an underlying factor that is virtually always present to one degree or another is a feeling that one has to prove one’s manhood, and that the way to do that, to gain the respect that has been lost, is to commit a violent act.”
Life in the United States is mind-bogglingly violent. But we should take particular notice of the staggering amounts of violence brought down on the nation’s women and girls each and every day for no other reason than who they are. They are attacked because they are female.
A girl or woman somewhere in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count.
There were so many sexual attacks against women in the armed forces that the Defense Department had to revise its entire approach to the problem.
We would become much more sane, much healthier, as a society if we could bring ourselves to acknowledge that misogyny is a serious and pervasive problem, and that the twisted way so many men feel about women, combined with the absurdly easy availability of guns, is a toxic mix of the most tragic proportions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/08/opinion/08herbert.html?_r=1

Iran Women on Front Line of Street Protests

The iconography dominating global television coverage of Iran’s biggest demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution is stunning: women are on the front line of the protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allegedly fraudulent re-election. It is no surprise. They feel most robbed by his “stolen” victory. “We feel cheated, frustrated and betrayed,” said an Iranian woman in a message circulated on Facebook. Iran’s energetic female activists are using the social networking site to mobilise opposition to Mr Ahmadinejad. Iranian women also have a dynamic presence on the country’s blogosphere – the biggest in the Middle East – which they are using to keep up popular momentum against the election outcome. Many Iranian women will suspect that a prime reason the election was “stolen” was to keep them in their place. To the regime, their demands for equal rights are inseparable from the opposition’s drive for greater democracy.

Continue on: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090617/FOREIGN/706179978


Barbara Boxer: Call Me Senator

UPDATE: John McCain poked fun at fellow senator Barbara Boxer on “Hannity” Thursday.

“Thank you for calling me ‘Senator’ and not ‘sir,” McCain said to the host, grinning.

* * * * *

Yesterday at an EPW hearing, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) asserted herself. A military officer testifying began to respond to one of her questions by calling her ma’am. But Boxer interrupted: “Do me a favor,” she said, “could you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?’ It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you.”

Fox News actually reported out this story by calling up an Army spokesman to ask if it was disrespectful for the officer to call Boxer ma’am. Their conclusion: no big deal! What do you think

Drought Adds to Hardships in California

Published: February 21, 2009

MENDOTA, Calif. — The country’s biggest agricultural engine, California’s sprawling Central Valley, is being battered by the recession like farmland most everywhere. But in an unlucky strike of nature, the downturn is being deepened by a severe drought that threatens to drive up joblessness, increase food prices and cripple farms and towns.

Across the valley, towns are already seeing some of the worst unemployment in the country, with rates three and four times the national average, as well as reported increases in all manner of social ills: drug use, excessive drinking and rises in hunger and domestic violence.

With fewer checks to cash, even check-cashing businesses have failed, as have thrift stores, ice cream parlors and hardware shops. The state has put the 2008 drought losses at more than $300 million, and economists predict that this year’s losses could swell past $2 billion, with as many as 80,000 jobs lost.

“People are saying, ‘Are you a third world country?’ ” said Robert Silva, the mayor of Mendota, which has a 35 percent unemployment rate, up from the more typical seasonal average of about 20 percent. “My community is dying on the vine.”

Even as rains have washed across some of the state this month, greening some arid rangeland, agriculture officials say the lack of rain and the prospect of minimal state and federal water supplies have already led many farmers to fallow fields and retreat into survival mode with low-maintenance and low-labor crops.

Last year, during the second year of the drought, more than 100,000 acres of the 4.7 million in the valley were left unplanted, and experts predict that number could soar to nearly 850,000 acres this year.

All of which could mean shorter supplies and higher prices in produce aisles — California is the nation’s biggest producer of tomatoes, almonds, avocados, grapes, artichokes, onions, lettuce, olives and dozens of other crops — and increased desperation for people like Agustin Martinez, a 20-year veteran of the fields who generally makes $8 an hour picking fruit and pruning.

“If I don’t have work, I don’t live,” said Mr. Martinez, a 39-year-old father of three who was waiting in a food line in Selma, southeast of Fresno. “And all the work is gone.”

In Mendota, the self-described cantaloupe center of the world, a walk through town reveals young men in cowboy hats loitering, awaiting the vans that take workers to the fields. None arrive.

The city’s main drag has a few quiet businesses — a boxing gym, a liquor store — and tellingly, two busy pool halls. The owner of one hall, Joseph R. Riofrio, said that his family had also long owned a grocery and check-cashing business in town, but that he had just converted to renting movies, figuring that people would rather stay at home in hard times.

“We’re not going to give up,” Mr. Riofrio said. “But people are doing bad.”

Just down the highway in Firebaugh, José A. Ramírez, the city manager, said a half-dozen businesses in its commercial core had closed, decimating the tax base and leaving him to “tell the Little League they’d have to paint their own lines” on the local diamond.

The situation is particularly acute in towns along the valley’s western side, where farmers learned on Friday that federal officials anticipate a “zero allocation” of water from the Central Valley Project, the huge New Deal system of canals and reservoirs that irrigates three million acres of farmland. If the estimate holds and springtime remains dry, it would be first time ever that farmers faced a season-long cutoff from federal waters.

“Farmers are very resilient, we make things happen, but we’ve never had a zero allocation,” said Stephen Patricio, president of Westside Produce, a melon handler and harvester. “And I might not be very good at math, but zero means zero.”

While California has suffered severe dry spells before, including a three-year stint ending in 1977 and a five-year drought in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the ill effects now are compounded by the recession and other factors.

Federal, state and local officials paint a grim picture of a system taxed as it has never been before by a growing population, environmental concerns and a labyrinth of water supply contracts and agreements, some dating to the early 20th century. In addition to the federal water supplies, farmers can irrigate with water provided by the state authorities, drawn from wells and bought or transferred from other farmers. Such water may not always be the best quality, said Mark Borba, a fourth-generation farmer in Huron, Calif.

“But it’s wet,” he said.

Protest Rocks Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post for Racist Cartoon

Posted by Liliana Segura, AlterNet at 10:43 AM on February 19, 2009.

notfunny

At noon today, at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, a rally was held in front of the offices of the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, to protest the racist editorial cartoon that ran in its pages on Wednesday. The cartoon depicted two police officers shooting an ape, with one remarking, ‘They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.’

The cartoon, which referred to a Connecticut police force’s killing of a chimpanzee that had attacked a woman earlier this week, has been denounced and debated for its blatantly racist and violent imagery. Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network organized the rally, which was attended by hundreds of activists, union members, reporters, and commuters who came during their lunch hour, many of them shouting ‘Shut Down the Post!’

Remarks by the First Lady and Mrs. Lilly Ledbetter at Reception After Bill Signing

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
___________________________________________________________________
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AND MRS. LILLY LEDBETTER AT RECEPTION AFTER BILL SIGNING
State Dining Room
1/29/09 11:00 A.M. EST
MRS. OBAMA:  So thank you for joining us today for this important event, and welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  As I told guests, feel free, walk around, touch some stuff.  (Laughter.)  Just don’t break anything.  (Laughter.)  It’s what I try to tell my kids.  (Laughter.)
I had the opportunity to meet Lilly during the campaign and to hear her story.  First of all, she is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.  Anyone who meets Lilly can’t help but be impressed by her commitment, her dedication, her focus.  She knew unfairness when she saw it, and was willing to do something about it because it was the right thing to do — plain and simple.
In traveling across the country over the past two years, Lilly’s story and the broader issue of equal pay was a concern voiced over and over and over again.  It was a top and critical priority for women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds — older women, younger women, women with disabilities, and their families.  This legislation is an important step forward, particularly at a time when so many families are facing economic insecurity and instability.  It’s also one cornerstone of a broader commitment to address the needs of working women who are looking to us to not only ensure that they’re treated fairly, but also to ensure that there are policies in place that help women and men balance their work and family obligations without putting their jobs or their economic stability at risk.
And it is my honor to introduce this extraordinary woman whose hard work has brought us here today for this very special occasion, and who has been an inspiration to women and men all across this country.  Ladies and gentlemen, Lilly Ledbetter.  (Applause.)


MRS. LEDBETTER:  Thank you.  And thank you, Mrs. Obama.
I fell in love with those people campaigning with them.  I have to tell you that.  And that’s not on my prepared speech — (laughter) — but I have to tell you I love she and the President.  And I just believe in them and their work so very much.
But thank you very much.  Words cannot begin to describe how honored and humbled I feel today.  When I filed my claim against Goodyear with the EEOC 10 years ago, never — never — did I imagine the path that it would lead me down.  I have spent the past two years since the Supreme Court’s decision in my case fighting for equal pay for this day.  But to watch you sign a bill that bears my name, the bill that will help women and others fight pay discrimination in the workplace, is truly overwhelming.
Goodyear will never have to pay me what it cheated me out of.  In fact, I will never see a cent from my case.  But with the passage and President’s signature today, I have an even richer reward.  (Applause.)  I know that my daughter and granddaughters, and your daughters and your granddaughters, will have a better deal.  That’s what makes this fight worth fighting.  That’s what made this fight one we had to win.  And now with this win we will make a big difference in the real world.
On behalf of all the women in this country who will once again be able to fight pay discrimination, thank you.  Thank you to all the senators and House members who fought for and supported this bill.  Thank you to the many organizations and broad coalition that worked tirelessly for its passage.  And thank you to the countless women around the country who rallied behind this legislation.  It would never have happened without you.
With this bill in place, we now can move forward to where we all hope to be — improving the law, not just restoring it.  President Obama, I want him to know that we’re very grateful for his support.  And you can count on my continued commitment to fighting to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act — (applause) — and to make sure that women have equal pay for equal work, because that’s what this country is all about.
And thank you very much.  (Applause.)
END               11:07 A.M. EST

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY AND ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING

By Diana Madoshi

Economic expansion of the kind that is needed at this time is crucially dependent on this administration making a full and firm commitment to closing the last remaining gaps that exist in true racial equality AS WELL AS gender parity. This is not to mention that we witnessed a vast and growing gap in incomes between the wealthiest Americans and the lower and middle classes. America has the an opportunity to do ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME, but the A.P and the White House have confirmed that provisions to expand access to affordable family planning will be stripped from the economic stimulus bill. To allow Republicans to single out and convince the President to remove this provision without a fight, will be a betrayal to millions of low-income women by our DEMOCRATIC PARTY, who adopted a platform promising these very actions. Ignoring the importance of affordable family planning to the future prosperity of our nation’s economy will only come at a great price at a later date Please consider taking action now by calling the White House and your state representatives and senators to voice your support for the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Please consider asking others to do the same. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111, and your state Representatives and Senators to speak out now!

A New Earth

From Redwood Mary,  Co-Chair CAWA Environment Task Force

Some thoughts:

” Your goal has to be to get the greenest solutions to the poorest people”.- Van Jones (The New Yorker interview with Elizabeth Kolbert 1-12-09)

“You must not deal only with the symptoms. You have to get to the root causes by promoting environmental rehabilitation and empowering people to do things for themselves. What is done for the people without involving them cannot be sustained.” Dr. Wangari Maathai- 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace

Awakening to a different level of awareness is the key to
A NEW EARTH

And lest we forget about the very life giving interconnected ecosystems that give us life.

We are all tired of the hierarchies, the snarkies, the hypocrites, the bigots, the shysters, the ghettos, the corporate loan sharks, the big man politics, the drug dealers and all the fighting for crumbs while the  wealth  gets concentrated in the hand of the few while the whole shebang is going down the tubes. Planet Earth is the Titanic – there are no life boats. It is time to stop re-arranging the deck chairs. It is not up to Obama — it is  up to us.

Here is a wonderful start: In order to create real deep change
look at our own insanity.
Eckhart Tolle presents in his book The New Earth one of the most honest explorations of the current state of humanity: He implores us to see and accept that this state, which is based on an erroneous identification with the egoic mind, is one of dangerous insanity.
Tolle tells us there is good news, however. There is an alternative to this potentially dire situation. Humanity now, perhaps more than in any previous time, has an opportunity to create a new, saner, more loving world. This will involve a radical inner leap from the current egoic consciousness to an entirely new one.

In illuminating the nature of this shift in consciousness, Tolle describes in detail how our current ego-based state of consciousness operates. Then gently, and in very practical terms, he leads us into this new consciousness. We will come to experience who we truly are-which is something infinitely greater than anything we currently think we are-and learn to live and breathe freely.

How I wish to sound smart and intellectual and maybe write a book or two? But what is the point? We all know it is  time to end the fighting, the classicism, the racisms, the sexisms, the homophobia, the nature phobia, the greed, the selfishness, nationalism,  and our addictions and etc.

It is time for humanity to wake up, grow up and share and  clean up its mess, take care of each other and take care of our brother sister species all over the planet.  No awards–no 15 seconds of fame… just do it just because.

It time to honor Brother Sun and Sister Moon and  the miracle of a blade of grass and the fish in the sea and you and me. It is time to put down the bombs and the guns and the addictions and stock market ticker tape and  build gardens together and repair the earth.

It is time to stop blowing up mountains or digging deep in the earth for bloody oil  or for gold or for diamonds and build decent thoughtful  AFFORDABLE eco-housing  and eco-villages and solar energy stations. It is time to give up the Jaguars  and SUV’s and private planes and $500 night hotels.  And don’t forget the Arts!  How about armies of musicians filling the world with Samba and smooth Jazz?

It is time to stop making a buck off the back of workers and mother earth. It is time to put the Earth First and no compromise!  It is time to stop, think and understand that we have the power to change ourselves first then the world, our cities our villages own neighborhoods will change. Will it be easy? heck no. How do we start? With our words, the stories we tell oursleves and each other. The roots of peace and  re-connecting with earth start with a shift in individual conciousness, a willingness to look deeply at our habits and privelege and then inspiring each other, forgiving each other, encouraging each other, praising each other to step outside of our own fear.

It is the “end time” for using our words to continue to create separation.  OUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL. We need to take responsibility to stop the words of hate,  to stop the language of self depreciation and abuse that we fling around and time to start to create healing and peace through our words and actions.  We are all wounded all over the planet. No one is untouched by war and crime and hate and poverty.

“Teach this triple truth to all” said Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C..: “A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity”. Jesus preached “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. Do also remember that Gaia, Mother Earth is a living planet and she rules—not us.

“Imagine” (Thank You John Lennon), that you are Mother Theresa, Ama, Desmond Tutu, Wangari Mathaai, Jesus and Buddha, and Joshsua Bell, Angelina Jolie, Princess Di,  Bill Gates, Martin Luther King Jr.…Work together , dance together, heal and STOP WAR…close prisons and turn them into healing centers and make all Universities FREE….Just Do it !

We don’t need slave labor, wage slaves, sex slaves and unsafe working conditions. We have cheap stuff all over the place and we are fouling our nest with all this stuff and for what?  Ipod’s, HDTV, Big Macs,  Big Gulps, Game Boys, CD, DVD’s, computers—all more stuff to  stuff ourselves with and make us better and smarter species?

So it is up to us– to decide what we will develop, sustain and encourage.