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Thoughts on Life, Science, Writing and the Universe at Large
Monday, April 28, 2003
Well, we are well into spring, there are daffodils blooming outside, and the occupation of Iraq has begun. It is hard to reconcile those two things, sometimes. Here I am in the middle of the New Empire, looking about me aghast at all the lies and deceit that fill the air, the lack of public discourse, the indifference of most people to their government's open and blatant corruption... And there, outside and removed from it all, is spring. How can I enjoy it, how can I enjoy anything knowing that a new era of global insecurity has been ushered in? That there is chaos and uncertainty in Iraq, that al-Qaeda is recouping in Afghanistan, that India and Pakistan are on the verge of nuclear annihilation, that no country can withstand the might of the Big Bully....
But to deny spring, to reject the warm air and the luminous beauty of flowers, to turn away from the wild rabbit in the back yard --- is to be less than human, in the way that Bush and his cohorts are. After all it is human to love flowers, to care for the Earth, to care for people, to shed tears for strangers in far lands. So although at first I waver between joy and mourning, hope and despair, eventually I let myself succumb to spring. And I let myself weep for humanity.
But what most of us are asking these days is this: where is the hope? There are days when I do not know where to look for the answer. And there are days that answers seem to suggest themselves. The fact that I have so many American friends who see through the lies, who are disgusted by the hijacking of their democracy, whose curiosity about other people and places leads them to make friends across boundaries of nation, ethnicity and religion --- the very fact that there are such people is surely a cause for celebration. They took part in huge peace marches all over this country. They risked ridicule and bodily harm by holding vigils in cities and small towns. Despite the take-over of the media by corporations, they preserved their independence, their freedom of thought, their very American idealism. And despite the shouts of victory by the right-wingers, these folks are still quietly going about their work, talking to people, getting news from independent media, visualizing and working for a very different America.
So there is hope. And there is hope in history, in knowing that social movements can bring about positive change, in knowing that the world survived even such monsters as Hitler. And there is hope in hope, which is, after all, the very first step toward resistance.
To Aasha. To Ummeed. To Spring.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2003
A Real Support the Troops Resolution
This is from a very interesting site: Cities for Peace
consisting of cities in the US that have signed an anti-war resolution. There are several in MA but Framingham is not among them. The site has other useful links, advice on how to get your city to sign a resolutions, high-school anti-war action pointers, and an article from a progressive think tank about the real reasons for this war, and its consequences.
Genuine Support Our Troops Resolution
Whereas, We support our men and women in the armed forces 100 percent. We salute them for their sacrifice on behalf of our nation. We thank them for their willingness to risk their lives; and
Whereas, Even as we praise our servicemen and women, we regret that the President of the United States has ordered them to start a preemptive war fought without international support; and
Whereas, We believe a preemptive, unilateral war is unworthy of the honor and tradition of the U.S. military. Our armed forces should not be invading and occupying other countries; and
Whereas, The House Budget Committee voted to cut the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget by $15 billion over the next 10 years; and
Whereas, The House Budget Committee voted to cut the Impact Aid program that supports the education of soldiers' children by $204 million; and
Whereas, The Bush Administration ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to limit veterans' access to healthcare and benefits by ordering VA to stop publicizing the availability of benefits; and
Whereas, In the last Gulf War, veterans were exposed to the fall out from destroyed chemical weapons, ammunition depots, oil fires, depleted uranium and experimental drugs resulting in the disabling of more than 163,000 veterans, and;
Whereas, Despite the requirements of the 1997 Force Health Protection law (Public Law 105-85), the Department of Defense is repeating the mistakes from the 1991 by failing to identify who went to war, their exposures, and their health consequences; and,
Whereas, An offensive war and budget cuts demonstrate that Congress and the President have thus far failed to provide support for veterans and families of active duty troops and reservists.
Be it Therefore Resolved that the U.S. Congress calls for the immediate return of U.S. troops to the U.S.;
And Be it Further Resolved, We call for an increase in government spending for veterans and higher pay and benefits for service members and their families;
And Be it Further Resolved, That we urge our government to adopt a foreign policy that achieves victory through diplomacy and engagement with the United Nations and democracies rather than resorting to war as the first option to resolve disputes. Avoiding and ending unnecessary combat in Iraq is the best way to support our troops and ensure their safe and speedy return home.
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