Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Responsibility

It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the poet to stand on street corners
giving out poems and beautifully written leaflets
also leaflets you can hardly bear to look at
because of the screaming rhetoric
It is the responsibility of the poet to be lazy
to hang out and prophesy
It is the responsibility of the poet not to pay war taxes
It is the responsibility of the poet to go in and out of ivory
towers and two-room apartments on Avenue C
and buckwheat fields and army camps
It is the responsibility of the male poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the female poet to be a woman
It is the poet's responsibility to speak truth to power as the
Quakers say
It is the poet's responsibility to learn the truth from the
powerless
It is the responsibility of the poet to say many times: there is no
freedom without justice and this means economic
justice and love justice
It is the responsibility of the poet to sing this in all the original
and traditional tunes of singing and telling poems
It is the responsibility of the poet to listen to gossip and pass it
on in the way storytellers decant the story of life
There is no freedom without fear and bravery there is no
freedom unless
earth and air and water continue and children
also continue
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman to keep an eye on
this world and cry out like Cassandra, but be
listened to this time.

by Grace Paley

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


2016 has had me thinking a lot about Grace Paley. She is probably the most famous writer to be significant in the history of American political activism and the most famous activist to also be significant in the American literary world. She was a master of the short story form—she never published a novel—and wrote with a tough but compassionate eye about women, society and family life. She also protested against nuclear proliferation, against the Vietnam War, and was involved in the civil and women’s rights movements, and once famously described herself as a “somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist.” Did I mention that she was funny?
There’s been a lot of back and forth about the place of artists and artmaking in the Trump era, but Paley reminds me that a political life and an artistic life and a family life can all be the same thing. Yesterday, December 11, would have been the 94th birthday of the acclaimed short story writer, poet, and activist, so to honor her life and to inspire activism (which I expect will be much needed in the coming year and beyond) in all you writers, I present here a few of her words on social activism, writing, and life.
From an interview in The Paris Review, 1992:
How did you find time to write while raising children, being involved in political activity, teaching?
I wrote at different paces. I wrote my first stories when I was sick and had a few weeks at home. I made a start in a big chunk of time, about three weeks. And after that I just kept going. Sometimes one or the other part of my life would pull me away from writing—the children of course and then the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Having grown up the way I did, it just seemed natural to become involved. That was what the whole country was about. I was often busy with that from morning until night. I couldn’t stand that we were in this war, and I just wrote less. Actually, that isn’t quite true. I wrote leaflets, political reports, articles. And poems. As a matter of fact, my reports following my journey through North Vietnam in 1969 were mostly poems.
A lot of other writers were involved too. There were lots of readings. On the East Coast, Denise Levertov and Mitch Goodman had a lot to do with those events. Angry Arts Week—organized by Artists Against the War—and the Greenwich Village Peace Center are good examples of that energy. Poets rode around the city reading from trucks. Almost any concert that week would begin with a dedication to the war’s end. One particular event—“Vietnamese Life”—focused on ordinary Vietnamese life and culture. No egotism allowed, no, Oh how bad I feel about all of this . . . I remember Hortense Calisher reading Vietnamese stories and Susan Sontag reading Lao Tse. Irene Fornes presented a Vietnamese wedding. Wally Zuckerman, who used to build harpsichords, created the wind instruments used in the windy forest of Indochina.
How important do you think it is for the writer to rise up at moments like that?
It’s interesting for the writer. It’s normal. Of course, it’s hard if you’re in the middle of a book. It’s a question only Americans ask. Is it good? It certainly isn’t antithetical to a passionate interior life—all that noise coming in. You have to make music of it somehow.
Do you think political statements belong in literature? Would you write a novel that was a political tract?
One man’s political tract is another person’s presidential statement—in Czechoslovakia, for example. The word tract is such a bad word by itself obviously one would have to say, No, nobody should write a tract, nobody should do that. But I think that a love of language, truthfulness, and a sense of form is justification enough. Anyway characters in fiction can say anything they want. They’re often quite willful, you know.
From an interview with Poets & Writers, 2006:
Do you think it’s important for writers to be socially active?
Writers? I advocate plumbers should also do something, everybody should do something. When the Iraq War started, Sam Hamill from Copper Canyon Press got all these poets together. Before anybody said a word, he had ten thousand poets writing letters to the White House saying, “Don’t go into Iraq, don’t go in.” The writers were on top of it. I have no complaint about the writers. During the Vietnam War we had something called Angry Arts, which Bob and several other artists organized. For a whole week all the artists performing in concerts at Town Hall and Lincoln Center stopped and got up and turned their backs. Everybody was quiet for several minutes to make the statement we are against this war. Artists were making murals all over the city, and the poets were in trucks driving around reading poems. The artists were present. But everybody should be involved, not just the artists. Carpenters, teachers, everybody.
From an interview with Elizabeth Wachtel, 1988:
Are you conscious of apportioning your time towards writing or political action or happiness?
No, I’m just pulled one way or another: writing, politics, house and family. That’s all right. It’s an idea of life. If you can take it, and you don’t feel guilty. Feeling guilty is what’s wrong. I tend to be pulled without an excess of guilt—just enough so I know something is happening to me. I’m a writer but I’m also a person in the world. I don’t feel a terrible obligation to write a lot of books. When I write, I write very seriously and I mean business. I write as well and as truthfully as I possibly can and I write about the things that have created a good deal of pressure in my head.
And now I will leave you with this poem, one of Paley’s most famous.

Responsibility
It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the poet to stand on street corners
giving out poems and beautifully written leaflets
also leaflets you can hardly bear to look at
because of the screaming rhetoric
It is the responsibility of the poet to be lazy
to hang out and prophesy
It is the responsibility of the poet not to pay war taxes
It is the responsibility of the poet to go in and out of ivory
towers and two-room apartments on Avenue C
and buckwheat fields and army camps
It is the responsibility of the male poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the female poet to be a woman
It is the poet’s responsibility to speak truth to power as the
Quakers say
It is the poet’s responsibility to learn the truth from the
powerless
It is the responsibility of the poet to say many times: there is no
freedom without justice and this means economic
justice and love justice
It is the responsibility of the poet to sing this in all the original
and traditional tunes of singing and telling poems
It is the responsibility of the poet to listen to gossip and pass it
on in the way storytellers decant the story of life
There is no freedom without fear and bravery there is no
freedom unless
earth and air and water continue and children
also continue
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman to keep an eye on


this world and cry out like Cassandra, but be
listened to this time.

Emily Temple
Emily Temple is an associate editor at LitHub.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

This from Nora Paley: 
Today is my mother's birthday although she thought it was the 10th for most of her life. In this photo -a march against the Iraq War -she was feeling very weak and very determined though never stopped thinking about the lives of the grandchildren and the beauty of the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2016





















By Kashmir Hill

There is a charismatic man running for president with the slogan, “Help us make America great again.” He calls his enemies rapists and destroyers of the country. His opponent calls him a demagogue, a rabble-rouser, and a hypocrite. His supporters have been known to form mobs, get violent and burn people to death. He condemns the violence but “does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear.”
Meet Texas Senator Andrew Steele Jarret, the fictional presidential candidate in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, published in 1998.
Yes, two decades before Trump swept the Republican primaries, black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler wrote about a terrifying politician, “a big, handsome, black-haired man with deep, clear blue eyes that seduce people and hold them.” (So her crystal ball wasn’t entirely accurate; he didn’t have Trump’s red-orange hair.)
The Parable series
The Parable series
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a media inquiry about the origin of the “Make America Great Again” slogan, but Trump has insisted before that he made it up, getting mad when other Republican presidential candidates started using the same phrase last year.
“The line of ‘Make America great again,’ the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago,” Trump said in 2015, as quoted by The Hill.
Butler’s book is set in 2032, in an America where resources have become incredibly scarce and the government has all but collapsed with law enforcement looking out only for itself. People live either in walled-in towns, constantly fighting off attacks from drug addicts, religious fanatics and the poor, or live in fear on the open road, trying to make their way to a safer place: Canada or a company town, where they’ll live in safety but as a de facto slave to a corporation. It’s a dystopian primitive future, and the book’s protagonist fears that Andrew Steele Jarret’s election will make it worse.
There are certainly other differences between Jarret and Trump. Jarret’s beef is with Canada instead of Mexico. Instead of business acumen as his main credential, religion is Jarret’s stump. He’s the head of a group called Christian America, which is intolerant of any other religious views, and whose supporters burn “witches”—meaning Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists—at the stake.
It may seem uncanny that Butler predicted the slogan nearly 20 years before Trump literally trademarked it. But that’s because Trump’s slogan isn’t an original one. As Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone last year, saying Trump “must never have heard of Google,” President Ronald Reagan “made ‘Make America Great Again’ a backbone of his campaign.”
Reagan used the phrase before Trump
Reagan used the phrase before Trump
Butler was likely aiming her criticisms at Reagan, whose presidency had recently ended, when she started her Parable series in the early 90s. Unfortunately, I can’t chat with Butler about this because the gifted writer died in 2006.
Instead, we can turn to Butler’s writing to see why she hated the slogan, as it was used then. I suspect she might feel the same way about how Trump is now using it:
Jarret insists on being a throwback to some earlier, “simpler” time. Now does not suit him. Religious tolerance does not suit him. The current state of the country does not suit him. He wants to take us all back to some magical time when everyone believed in the same God, worshipped him in the same way, and understood that their safety in the universe depended on the same religious rituals and stomping anyone who was different. There was never such a time in this country.
In the book, despite being down in the polls, Jarret is elected and his supporters feel empowered to declare martial law, enslaving people who are not Christian Americans. Jarret starts an ill-fated war with Canada, and is not ultimately re-elected.
“The book illustrates what happens when people are emboldened by a demagogue,” said Shawn Taylor, a Butler scholar. She portrayed a “charismatic figurehead who ignites something in people. Trump activated something in people, too. They get permission to act on their worst impulses.”
“The already weakened country all but collapsed,” writes Butler of her future world. Instead of making America great again, Jarret was “bad for business, bad for the U.S. Constitution, and bad for a large percentage of the population.”

for an interview with Octavia Butler, go to http://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/11/science_fiction_writer_octavia_butler_on
By Kashmir Hill

There is a charismatic man running for president with the slogan, “Help us make America great again.” He calls his enemies rapists and destroyers of the country. His opponent calls him a demagogue, a rabble-rouser, and a hypocrite. His supporters have been known to form mobs, get violent and burn people to death. He condemns the violence but “does so in such mild language that his people are free to hear what they want to hear.”
Meet Texas Senator Andrew Steele Jarret, the fictional presidential candidate in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, published in 1998.
Yes, two decades before Trump swept the Republican primaries, black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler wrote about a terrifying politician, “a big, handsome, black-haired man with deep, clear blue eyes that seduce people and hold them.” (So her crystal ball wasn’t entirely accurate; he didn’t have Trump’s red-orange hair.)
The Parable series
The Parable series
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a media inquiry about the origin of the “Make America Great Again” slogan, but Trump has insisted before that he made it up, getting mad when other Republican presidential candidates started using the same phrase last year.
“The line of ‘Make America great again,’ the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago,” Trump said in 2015, as quoted by The Hill.
Butler’s book is set in 2032, in an America where resources have become incredibly scarce and the government has all but collapsed with law enforcement looking out only for itself. People live either in walled-in towns, constantly fighting off attacks from drug addicts, religious fanatics and the poor, or live in fear on the open road, trying to make their way to a safer place: Canada or a company town, where they’ll live in safety but as a de facto slave to a corporation. It’s a dystopian primitive future, and the book’s protagonist fears that Andrew Steele Jarret’s election will make it worse.
There are certainly other differences between Jarret and Trump. Jarret’s beef is with Canada instead of Mexico. Instead of business acumen as his main credential, religion is Jarret’s stump. He’s the head of a group called Christian America, which is intolerant of any other religious views, and whose supporters burn “witches”—meaning Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists—at the stake.
It may seem uncanny that Butler predicted the slogan nearly 20 years before Trump literally trademarked it. But that’s because Trump’s slogan isn’t an original one. As Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone last year, saying Trump “must never have heard of Google,” President Ronald Reagan “made ‘Make America Great Again’ a backbone of his campaign.”
Reagan used the phrase before Trump
Reagan used the phrase before Trump
Butler was likely aiming her criticisms at Reagan, whose presidency had recently ended, when she started her Parable series in the early 90s. Unfortunately, I can’t chat with Butler about this because the gifted writer died in 2006.
Instead, we can turn to Butler’s writing to see why she hated the slogan, as it was used then. I suspect she might feel the same way about how Trump is now using it:
Jarret insists on being a throwback to some earlier, “simpler” time. Now does not suit him. Religious tolerance does not suit him. The current state of the country does not suit him. He wants to take us all back to some magical time when everyone believed in the same God, worshipped him in the same way, and understood that their safety in the universe depended on the same religious rituals and stomping anyone who was different. There was never such a time in this country.
In the book, despite being down in the polls, Jarret is elected and his supporters feel empowered to declare martial law, enslaving people who are not Christian Americans. Jarret starts an ill-fated war with Canada, and is not ultimately re-elected.
“The book illustrates what happens when people are emboldened by a demagogue,” said Shawn Taylor, a Butler scholar. She portrayed a “charismatic figurehead who ignites something in people. Trump activated something in people, too. They get permission to act on their worst impulses.”
“The already weakened country all but collapsed,” writes Butler of her future world. Instead of making America great again, Jarret was “bad for business, bad for the U.S. Constitution, and bad for a large percentage of the population.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

For Peace in Palestine/Israel


200 women including Liberia’s Peace Laureate demand peace agreement on Israel’s Lebanese border / Cholo Brooks, GNN Liberia, 19/10/16

At the culmination of the two-week, cross-country march, Israeli and Palestinian women vow to continue their struggle until an agreement is reached.
Eetta Prince-Gibson Oct 20, 2016 3:56 PM
Women participating in the March of Hope dance at Qasr al-Yahud, October 19, 2016.Abbas Momani, AFP
Thousands finish women's peace march with plea for action at Netanyahu's door
From a celebration at the Dead Sea, to a march through the streets of Jerusalem, to a demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s residence, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women Wednesday marked the conclusion of the March of Hope.
The march was organized and sponsored by Women Wage Peace, a non-partisan women’s group founded in 2014 in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, which, according to its flyers, calls for an agreement that will be respectful, non-violent and accepted by both sides. “We will not stop until a political agreement, which will bring us, our children and grandchildren a safe future, is reached,” says their website. Organizers say the group is funded mainly by small donations from Israel and abroad, as well as by the Women Donors Network in the United States.
The cross-country March of Hope began on October 5, when some 2,500 women walked the first 5-kilometer segment from Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanese border to Achziv Beach, north of Nahariya. Every day since then, women have participated in 5 to 10 kilometer walks in different locales throughout the country, including one group that walked and biked in segments from Eilat to the area abutting the Gaza Strip.
Wednesday's events began at Qasr al-Yahud, the site where Jesus is believed to have been baptized by John the Baptist. Some 2,500 Jewish and Arab Israeli women arrived on buses from all over the country, from as far away as the Sea of Galilee and the Negev and Arava deserts. They were joined by more than 1,000 Palestinian women from the West Bank.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ann Wright tells about The Women’s Boat to Gaza



Five hours after our Women's Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna-Oliva, was stopped in international waters by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on its 1,000 mile journey from Messina, Italy, the coast of Gaza came into view. The Gaza shoreline was starkly visible...for its darkness. The contrast of the bright lights of the Israeli coast from the border city of Ashkelon north to Tel Aviv where the brilliant lights continued out of sight up the Mediterranean coast to the area south of Ashkelon -- the coast of Gaza -- shrouded in darkness. The electricity shortages caused by the Israeli control of much of the electrical network of Gaza condemns the Palestinians in Gaza to a life of minimal electricity for refrigeration, pumping of water from roof tanks to kitchens and bathroom and for study -- and it condemns the people of Gaza to a night...every night...to darkness. 

In the bright lights of Israel live 8 million Israeli citizens. In the Israeli controlled darkness in the small 25-mile long, 5-mile wide Gaza Strip live 1.9 million Palestinians. The internationally isolated enclave called Gaza has almost one quarter of the population of Israel yet is kept in virtually perpetual darkness by the policies of the State of Israel that limits the amount of electricity, water, food, construction and medical supplies that come into Gaza. Israel attempts to keep the Palestinians in yet another type of darkness by imprisoning them in Gaza, severely limiting their ability to travel for education, medical reasons, family visits and for the pure joy of visiting other peoples and lands.

The Women's Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna Oliva, set sail from Barcelona, Spain on September 15 to bring international attention to this Israeli imposed darkness. We sailed with thirteen women on our initial voyage, a three-day trip to Ajaccio, Corscia, France. Our captain was Captain Madeline Habib from Australia who has decades of captaining and sailing experience recently as the Captain of the Dignity, a Doctors Without Borders ship that rescues migrants from North Africa, and our crewmembers were Emma Ringqvist from Sweden and Synne Sofia Reksten from Norway. 
The international participants selected to be on this part of the journey were Rosana Pastor Munoz, Member of Parliament and actor from Spain; Malin Bjork, member of the European Parliament from Sweden; Paulina de los Reyes, a Swedish professor originally from Chile; Jaldia Abubakra, Palestinian from Gaza now a Spanish citizen and political activist; Dr. Fauziah Hasan, medical doctor from Malaysia; Yehudit Ilany, political consultant and journalist from Israel; Lucia Munoz, Spanish journalist with Telesur; Kit Kittredge, US human rights and Gaza activist. Wendy Goldsmith, Canadian social-worker human rights campaigner and Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat were designated by the Women's Boat to Gaza organizers as co-leaders of the boat.

Other participants who had flown to Barcelona but were unable to sail due to the breakdown of the second boat, Amal-Hope, were Zohar Chamberlain Regev (a German and Israeli citizen resident in Spain), Ellen Huttu Hansson from Sweden, boat co-leaders from the international Freedom Coalition, internationally recognized non-violence trainer Lisa Fithian from the US, Norsham Binti Abubakr medical administrator from Malaysia, Palestinian activist Gail Miller from the US and crew members Laura Pastor Solera from Spain, Marilyn Porter from Canada and Josefin Westman from Sweden. Ivory Hackett-Evans, a boat captain from the UK flew to Barcelona and then to Messina from work with migrants in Greece to help find another boat in Sicily to replace the Amal-Hope.

A new group of women joined us in Ajaccio, Corsica, France for the 3.5 day trip to Messina, Sicily, Italy. Besides our crew Captain Madeleine Habib from Australia, crewmembers Emma Ringqvist from Sweden and Synne Sofia Reksten from Norway, the participants were boat co-leaders Wendy Goldsmith from Canada and Ann Wright from the US, medical doctor Dr. Fauziah Hasan from Malaysia, Latifa Habbechi, member of Parliament from Tunisia; Khadija Benguenna, Al Jazeera journalist and broadcaster from Algeria; Heyet El-Yamani, Al Jazeera Mubasher On-Line journalist from Egypt; Yehudit Ilany, political consultant and journalist from Israel; Lisa Gay Hamilton, TV actor and activist from the United States; Norsham Binti Abubakr medical administrator from Malaysia; and Kit Kittredge, US human rights and Gaza activist. 
A third group of women sailed for nine days and 1,000 miles from Messina, Sicily to 34.2 miles from Gaza before Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stopped us in international waters, 14.2 miles outside the illegal 20-mile Israeli imposed "Security Zone" that limits access to Palestine's only port located at Gaza City.
The eight women participants were Nobel Peace Laureate from Northern Ireland Mairead Maguire; Algerian Parliamentarian Samira Douaifia; New Zealand Parliamentarian Marama Davidson; Swedish First Substitute Member of the Swedish Parliament Jeanette Escanilla Diaz (originally from Chile); South African Olympic athlete and university student rights activist Leigh Ann Naidoo; Spanish professional photographer Sandra Barrialoro; Malaysian medical doctor Fauziah Hasan; Al Jazeera journalists British Mena Harballou and Russian Hoda Rakhme; and Ann Wright, a retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat and boat team leader from the international Freedom Flotilla coalition. Our three crew that sailed us the entire 1,715 mile voyage from Barcelona to 34 miles from Gaza were Captain Madeleine Habib from Australia, crewmembers Swedish Emma Ringqvist and Norwegian Synne Sofia Reksten.

While the Zaytouna-Olivia sailed to Sicily, our international coalition attempted to find a second boat to continue the mission to Gaza. Despite great efforts, ultimately a second boat could not be fully crewed due to the delayed timeline and many women who traveled from around the world to Messina were unable to go on the final voyage to Gaza. 
Those participants whose hearts and thoughts for the women of Gaza were carried on the Zaytouna-Oliva but whose physical bodies remained in Messina were Cigdem Topcuoglu, a professional athlete and trainer from Turkey who sailed in 2010 on the Mavi Marmara where her husband was killed; Naomi Wallace, playwright of Palestinian issues and author from the US; Gerd von der Lippe, athlete and professor from Norway; Eva Manly, retired documentary maker and human rights activist from Canada; Efrat Lachter, TV journalist from Israel; Orly Noy, online journalist from Israel; Jaldia Abubakra, Palestinian from Gaza now a Spanish citizen and political activist; boat co-leaders from the international Freedom Coalition Zohar Chamberlain Regev, a German and Israeli citizen resident in Spain, Ellen Huttu Hansson from Sweden, Wendy Goldsmith from Canada; and crew members Sofia Kanavle from the US, Maite Mompo from Spain and Siri Nylen from Sweden.

Many members of the Women's Boat to Gaza steering committee and national and organization campaign organizers traveled to Barcelona, Ajaccio and/or Messina to help with media, ground preparations, logistics and delegate support. They include Wendy Goldsmith, Ehab Lotayeh, David Heap and Stephanie Kelly of the Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign; Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Laura Aura, Pablo Miranzo, Maria del Rio Domenech, Sela Gonza'lez Ataide, Adriana Catala'n, and many others from the Rumbo a Gaza campaign in the Spanish state; Zaher Darwish, Lucia Intruglio, Carmelo Chite, Palmira Mancuso and many others from Freedom Flotilla Italia; Zaher Birawi, Chenaf Bouzid and Vyara Gylsen of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza; Ann Wright, Gail Miller and Kit Kittredge of the US Boat to Gaza campaign; Shabnam Mayet of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance in South Africa; Ellen Huttu Hansson and Kerstin Thomberg from Ship to Gaza Sweden; Torstein Dahle and Jan-Petter Hammervold of Ship to Gaza Norway. Many other local volunteers in each port opened their homes and their hearts to our travellers, participants and support crew. 
Supporters of Palestinian human rights who came to Barcelona, Ajaccio and/or Messina or at sea off Crete to help where needed included large delegations of supporters and students from Malaysia studying in Europe who were organized by MyCare Malaysia, Diane Wilson, Keith Meyer, Barbara Briggs-Letson and Greta Berlin from the United States, Vaia Aresenopoulos and others from Ship to Gaza Greece, Claude Leostic of the French Platform of NGOs for Palestine, along with Vincent Gaggini, Isabelle Gaggini and many others from Corsica-Palestina, and Christiane Hessel from France.

Many others who worked on the logistics, media or delegate committees stayed in their home countries to continue their important work from there, including Susan Kerin of the US on delegates and media committees and Irene Macinnes from Canada on the delegates committee, James Godfrey (England) on the media committee, Zeenat Adam and Zakkiya Akhals (South Africa) along with Staffan Grane'r and Mikael Lofgren (Sweden, media), Joel Opperdoes and ...sa Svensson (Sweden, logistics), Michele Borgia (Italy, media), Jase Tanner and Nino Pagliccia (Canada, media). The United European Left/Nordic Green Left parliamentary group in Strasbourg and the European Coordinating Committee for Palestine in Brussels were also there when we needed them, for political and institutional support. 
At each of our stops, local organizers arranged for public events for the participants. In Barcelona, organizers had three afternoons of public events at the Barcelona harbor with the Mayor of Barcelona speaking at the farewell ceremony for the boats. In Ajaccio a local band entertained the public.   FOR THE REST OF THE STORY GO TO: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Women-s-Boat-to-Gaza-Parti-by-Ann-Wright-Israeli-palestinian_Women-Boat-To-Gaza_Women-Cross-Dmz-161009-869.html

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

From Laura Flanders:
Im so sorry to hear this news. Bea was a model of beautiful, vivacious, radical persistence. She was never bored and never lost for words and was one of the best community-builders I know. Huge love to her beloveds, Edith Isaac-roseCharles Kreloff & Elliot.
It's with great sadness to announce that Bea passed away yesterday. There was no one like her and she'll be missed greatly. 
Bea Kreloff (1925-2016) died August 17, 2016, at the age of 90. She was a painter, teacher, activist, radical lesbian feminist, and co-founder and Director Emeritus of Art Workshop International. Born in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to clothing designer William Magit and homemaker Celia Singer Magit, she showed an interest in art and political activism from an early age. She attended Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, then studied at and worked for The Brooklyn Museum Art School from 1950 to 1958 where she took classes with the painters Max Beckmann and Rubin Tam. In the 1960s she painted and taught privately, and from 1973 to 1985 was Art Department Chair at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Riverdale, N.Y. She taught painting workshops, seminars, and lectured on art at Cooper Union, Marymount Manhattan College, Women's Caucus for Art, The New School University and The College Art Association, among other institutions. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., as well as in a number of private collections. She was an avid feminist, actively involved with the anti-war movement, gay liberation, and women’s issues. Over the course of 35 years, she held painting and drawing classes at Art Workshop International, Assisi, Italy. She was an original tenant of Westbeth Artist Housing in Greenwich Village, where she resided with her partner Edith Isaac Rose, who survives her, as do her two sons, Elliot and Charles, and her granddaughter Samantha. Details of a memorial will be announced in the coming weeks.

Monday, July 18, 2016

We Are ALL Seneca Lake: Environmental Defenders Arrested






Watkins Glen, NY –  “We are ALL Seneca Lake” was the message delivered this morning by prominent environmental leaders Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, David Braun, Co-Founder of Americans Against Fracking, and Rachel Marco-Havens, Youth Engagement Director of Earth Guardians on the driveway of a gas compressor station.
The three joined 50 others at a civil disobedience action against gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns that highlighted our interconnectedness in the struggle for a fast and necessary transition to clean energy and the folly and destructiveness of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
Organized by the direct action group, We Are Seneca Lake, the protesters formed a human blockade on the driveway of the Stagecoach (formerly Crestwood) gas storage complex along Route 14 in the Town of Reading shortly before 7:00 a.m.
During the blockade, the protesters stopped all traffic entering and leaving the facility. Shortly before 8:00 a.m., they were arrested by Schuyler County sheriff’s deputies, charged with disorderly conduct, and transported to the sheriff’s department. Watkins Glen police and NYS troopers assisted in the arrest process.
In reference to Con Ed’s recent investment in Seneca Lake gas storage and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s extension of an almost-lapsed permit, protesters held banners that said, “We Will Not be Con-ed“ and “We Will Not be FERC’ed!”
In an address to fellow protesters, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Wes Gillingham, 56, of Ulster, said, “While we stand here in solidarity with the people of Seneca Lake, we are also standing up against the devastation in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and the bomb trains bringing that fracked oil to Albany. We are standing up against the oil and gas money that pollutes our politics. We are standing up against pipelines rubber-stamped by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”
Describing the Aliso Canyon gas storage leak near Porter Ranch, California, that prompted thousands of evacuations, Americans Against Fracking’s David Braun, 45, of Oakland, said, “I am risking arrest with you today because of disasters with gas storage that I have seen up close in my home state. Don’t let it happen here. Don’t turn wine country into fracked gas country. Don’t build Aliso Canyon in New York’s Napa Valley.”
Gas storage is the only industry with the power to take down the entire local economy in the case of an accident, Braun noted. “Winemakers don’t poison the air if they have a bad year. Local farmers won’t force thousands to be evacuated from their homes if their crops don’t produce properly. No other industry does this.”
Earth Guardian’s Rachel Marco-Havens, 46, of Woodstock, said, “We must move to renewable sources of energy now. This summer, as fossil fuel build-out escalates, we will continue to escalate our efforts—for the protection of our children and those to come.”
Salt cavern storage accounts for only seven percent of total underground storage of natural gas in the United States but, since 1972, is responsible for 100 percent of the catastrophic accidents that has resulted in loss of life.
Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was originally approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.
Crestwood also seeks to store two other products of fracking in Seneca Lake salt caverns—propane and butane (so-called Liquefied Petroleum Gases, LPG)—for which it is awaiting a decision by Governor Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Biochemist Martha Ferger, PhD, 92, of Dryden, said, “As a scientist, I know that there is no bigger threat to our planet than climate change. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Storing methane in the salt caverns here at Seneca Lake will make the problem of climate change worse, not better.”
The 53 protesters arrested at Seneca Lake today came from 18 New York State counties plus California and New Jersey.  Eight were from Schuyler County. They are:
Richard Battaglia, 54, Richford, Tioga County
Marie Ely Baumgardner, 69, Burdett, Schuyler County
Michael D. Black, 64, Dundee, Yates County
Thomas Blecher, 68, Ithaca, Tompkins County
David Braun, 45, Oakland, Alameda County, California
Desmond A. Brown Jr., 22, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Patricia Anne Campbell, 73, Sterling, Cayuga County
Lyndsay Clark, 55, Springwater, Livingston County
Fred Conner, 60, Dryden, Tompkins County
James Connor, 84, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County
Ann Cain Crusade, 60, Starkey, Yates County
Phil Davis, 64, Hector, Schuyler County
Daryl B. Denning, 66, Corning, Steuben County
Wendy J. Dwyer, 61, Canaan, Columbia County
Karen Edelstein, 55, Lansing, Tompkins County
Wesley Glenn Ernsberger, 68, Owego, Tioga County
Richard L. Evert, 69, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey
Elisa Evett, 71, Brooktondale, Tompkins County
Martha Ferger, 92, Dryden, Tompkins County
Paula Fitzsimmons, 58, Hector, Schuyler County
Kenneth Fogarty, 76, Guilford, Chenango County
Lyn Gerry, 60, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County
Wes Gillingham, 56, Livingston Manor, Sullivan County
Ryan Goetz, 22, Woodstock, Ulster County
Wayne I. Gottlieb, 58, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Deborah Guard, 65, Schenectady, Schenectady County
Evelyn Hamilton, 69, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey
Margaret Hammond, 62, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Ellen Z. Harrison, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Niall Hodges, 19, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Wendy Roe Hovey, 73, Horseheads, Chemung County
Catherine Johnson, 54, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Sharon Kahkonen, 67, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County
Bill Kitchen, 64, Johnstown, Fulton County
Kim Knight, 32, Covert, Seneca County
Yvonne LaMontagne, 66, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Nathan Lewis, 33, Hector, Schuyler County
Peter E. Looker, 65, Glenville, Schenectady County
Rachel Marco-Havens, 47, Woodstock, Ulster County
Sage Anthony Mannino, 24, Shokan, Ulster County
Sandra Marshall, 67, Newfield, Tompkins County
Rebecca J. Meier, 59, Canaan, Columbia County
Mariana D. Morse, 67, Brooktondale, Tompkins County
Edward Nizalowski, 68, Newark Valley, Tioga County
Mary Ott, 59, Trumansburg, Seneca County
Dianne Marie Roe, 73, Corning, Steuben County
Jane Pfeiffer Russell, 64, Pulteney, Steuben County
Coby Schultz, 56, Springwater, Livingston County
Elan Shapiro, 68, Ithaca, Tompkins County
John W. Suter, 71, Dryden, Tompkins County
Peter F. Tringali Jr., 64, Brewster, Putnam County
Jan Zeserson, 69, Ulysses, Tompkins County
Kenneth Zeserson, 68, Ulysses, Tompkins County