E'tokmit e'k, rangimarie, hedd, pace, tutquin, shanti, vrede, paquilisli, MNP, Onai rahu, amani, kev sib haum xeeb, salam, shaantiM, hedd, gutpela taim, lalyi, pesca, damai, raha, fred, eirni, pax, mir, peace, heiwa, amn, nabad, rauha,paz, frid, paco, shAnti, paqe, danh tu, ittimokla, rahu, paix, beke, shalom, mnonestotse, kapayapaan

 

We offer healing prayers to all nations upon our beloved earth.
War Resisters International Newsletter Updates
Discriminatory Legislation Indiana SB 590
Climate Action to Stop Global Warming
Earth Talk - Cleaning Priducts and Your Health and Reeds Crowding Out Habitats in Fresh Water
Ecological Economics Conference

Definition of Peace from Webster

Main Entry: 1peace
Pronunciation: 'pEs
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English pees, from Old French pais, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree -- more at PACT
Date: 12th century
1 : a state of tranquillity or quiet: as a : freedom from civil disturbance b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom <a breach of the peace>
2 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3 : harmony in personal relations
4 a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
5 -- used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
- at peace : in a state of concord or tranquillity

Green Dove Note:
Dear Readers,

Thank you for coming here. If you wish to see resources updated, please send the information for our consideration.

Where ever you are and what ever you are doing, may you hold peace in your mind and heart.

We had what I was thinking drought conditions and yesterday, rain came! The difference that even a little moisture makes to the plants! The earth here is abundant and our Farmers Market is a bustling place. The community orchard is developing and has many helpful hands. Ecovillages are sprouting up in a few places around town and more people are intentionally coming together with others to establish households.

So far donations have not come rolling in so that we can move forward with the chap book contest with prizes to youth and young adults writing about peace, community building and sustainability. When time allows work continues on the chapbook of poems by a Wabash Valley inmate. I hope to have that project completed before the years end.

On another note, In an effort to clear out my studio, I will be exhibiting art for sale at studio prices in Bloomington, Indiana! Beginning August 1, 2011 I will be exhibiting "Paintings" in Max's Place 108 West 6th Street, and will include at least one Peace Pie in the mix. January 2012 through February 2012 prints of my ink drawings will be on display in Lennies Restaurant and Brewhouse at 1795 East 10th Street. Also in February, from February 1st through the 28th I will exhibit "Recent Paintings" in the Bloomington, IN City Hall (Showers Building).

The sale of my art will help me meet my day to day expenses and give me time to keep this resource going.

Each act and thought we make toward peace contributes to the peace, health and well being of us all.

I am grateful.

***************

Local Food News and Note

Thank you so much for support our planet!

Sincerely,
Local Food Bloomington, Indiana Holistic Health Network and Green Dove Network

Thank You!

Green Dove

Hoosier Raging Grannies reherse or meet the 2nd Mondays monthly, 5:00 pm at Rachael's Cafe on 3rd Street, Bloomington, IN. Women singing for peace and justice. Available for events. Contact Cynthia Roberts at cynrober(at)indiana.edu for more information


Quilters Comfort
Teas and Other Products locally blended in Bloomington, IN

We have our tea caps on and have come up with a few tea a blends that are expressions of Bloomington. What to name the new blends? Thanks for your suggestions! We will be releasing new teas this autumn, and one is called Green Dove and 5% of profits will go toward supporting Green Dove!

LOCAL FOOD BLOOMINGTON SAYS: Check out the Bloomington Farmers Market, Saturdays in the Showers Building Parking lot!

Bloomington, IN -- The City of Bloomington Sanitation Department has announced a new partnership with Vintage Tech Recyclers. This partnership will allow the City to host its first Electronics Recycling program.

The City invites residents of Bloomington and surrounding communities to dispose of unwanted electronics for recycling on Sat., August 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please bring your items to the Sanitation Garage, located at 3406 South Walnut St., just north of the City of Bloomington Animal Shelter.

"We are very excited to be teaming up with Vintage Tech in an attempt to provide the community with the much-needed service of responsible electronics recycling," said Shelby Walker, the City's Sanitation Director. "Vintage Tech has partnered with several manufacturers to offset our cost for the event. We're hoping this year is a success as well as a stepping stone for future recycling events."

The following items will be accepted: computers, laptops, monitors, LCDs, cell phones, printers, scanners, modems, cables, televisions, VCR's, DVD players, camcorders, cameras, gaming systems, telephones, pagers, answering machines, typewriters, calculators, fax machines, copiers and postage meters.

For more information, please contact the Sanitation Department at 349-3443 or read more online at www.bloomington.in.gov/sanitation.

July 20, 2011

For more information, contact:
Shelby Walker, Director, Sanitation, City of Bloomington, 349-3443
Jared Schlemmer, Communications Director, City of Bloomington, 349-3406, schlemmj@bloomington.in.gov

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Green Dove News Assistant Editors
Contact greendove@gmail.com for info.

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are...Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid. - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, November 8, 1954
Check out the Just Peace Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Bloomington to get involved! Other resources on Green Dove's Calendar Page.
 
Words inscribed on our Statue of Liberty proclaim what we say makes this a special nation:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
NEA Funding Measure Facing U.S. House Floor Vote
Posted on: Jul 22, 2011

As early as next Monday, the full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on FY 2012 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee took the first step in the budget process and passed the Interior Appropriations bill, which proposes to fund the NEA at $135 million for FY 2012. If enacted, this $20 million cut would be the deepest to the NEA in 16 years.

Now, this legislation heads to the next step in the funding process, the House floor, where it could face amendments to increase the cut even deeper or eliminate the NEA altogether.

A similar scenario happened in debates earlier this year over FY 2011 funding, and an amendment to cut the NEA by an additional $20 million succeeded by a slim margin of 8 votes.

Help us reverse this gap by sending a message to your representative today.

Get involved in your community. Contact your legislative representative. Help them continue this important work.

1000 Vermont Avenue NW
6th Floor
Washington DC . 20005
T 202.371.2830
F 202.371.0424
One East 53rd Street . 2nd Floor
New York NY . 10022
T 212.223.2787
F 212.980.4857 info@artsusa.org
www.AmericansForTheArts.org
www.ArtsActionFund.org

Thoughts, Quotes & Contemplations
on Peacemaking

Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. (RUMI)

"All healing begins in this moment. All transformation occurs within this step. Be present, be mindful, be filled with love."If we want to be compassionate we must be conscious of the words we use. We must both speak and listen from the heart.-- Marshall B. Rosenberg

"It's surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you're not comfortable within yourself, you can't be comfortable with others."-- Sydney J. Harris

I firmly believe the world will sort itself out in the end. Believe it with me. At least none of us will be around to be proven wrong. -Stuart Wilde
"The Secrets of Life" Support what you believe in, your life depends on it!I wish I could make a happier world-harmonious, friendly and peaceful.His Holiness the Dali Lama - from the book "Tying Rocks to Clouds"

"We collect things and memories and store them lovingly in the recesses of our souls...only to be brought out into the sunlight by telling about them over and over again." Particia Polacco

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? " Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.....
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in every one.....
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "

Marianne Williamson - 'A Return To Love' 1992

"Another world is possible. Where the choice is between war or peace, between memory or oblivion, between hope or despair, between the grey on one side and the whole rainbow on the other side. One world where many worlds can exist. It is possible for a "YES!" an incomplete unfinished
"YES!" to be born out of a "NO!". A "YES!" that gives humanity hope back, so that we day by day can
rebuild the complex bridge that connects thinking and feeling" ....
Marcos, from the mountains in Southeast Mexico, 1999

"You can look at war as a massing of arms and matérial and troops, but you can also see it as something else--as a delicate web of interwoven choices made by human beings, made out of a certain consciousness. The decision to order an attack, the choice to obey or disobey an order, to fire or not to fire a weapon. Armies and, indeed, any culture that supports them must convince the people that all the decisions are made already, and they have no choice. But that is never true."

The Fifth Sacred Thing" by Starhawk

 
"There's peace in working a garden"

Market Image from Bloominton, IN

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS!

May we never hunger. ¡Que nunca tengamos hambre!" "May we never thirst! ¡Que nunca tengamos sed!" - Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing

'Please Tell America (to) Study War No More'

World Peace is Marching On

(Tune) BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

My ears can hear it coming-
It's the rising cry forpeace.
It isgrowing,swelling,spreading.
Letthetalkof warfarecease.
In the placeof hateand violence
Letthe way of love increase.
Thetruth is marching on.
Glory,glory,hallelujah!(3times)
Word peace is marching on.
We have tried the way of violence-
Let us try the way of love.
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
Tamethe hawk and send the [...]

You may view the latest post at
http://grannies.homeofficesite.com/2010/ 09/28/please-tell-america-to-study-war-no-more/

 

Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington 
- for more info contact info@bloomingtonarts.org

With our PEACEFUL AND SACRED HEARTS FULLY OPENED Standing Shoulder to Shoulder in the LIGHT of love radiating from each of our hearts each of us visualizing the vibrations of Peace, Love, Harmony, Unity and a recovery of the shifting of our Earth Mother."

Please send out into the Dynamic Universal energy of which we are all a part a request to that loving thing you believe in for assistance and quick stabilization of energy connected to the devastating 8.8 earthquake that has occurred in Japan and the resulting tsunamis. If you will, Please invite in the light and healing energies of connecting all positive things you hold dear.

May our loving thoughts and prayers reach out and assist in some way those in need of these prayers and the blessings of comfort they may release for all people affected, and that there is a quick global outpouring of all needed supplies and resources for the ensuing massive rescue and relief effort.

Thank you, I am grateful for each thought and action shared into the healing of this and other earth movements at this time. May we be supportive of one another in thought and action.


Thank you and Gassho,

Please keep sending your prayers, and if you could, an aid through these links;
http://www.redcross.org/

CLIMATE ACTION TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING


Ten Strikes Against Nuclear Power
Here at Green America, we're working hard to heal the climate by transitioning our electricity mix away from its heavy emphasis on coal-fired power. But all of that work will be wasted if we transition from coal into an equally dangerous source - nuclear power, which is why we've put together this list of reasons why nuclear power is not a climate solution.
Solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hybrid and electric cars, and aggressive energy efficiency are climate solutions that are safer, cheaper, faster, more secure, and less wasteful than nuclear power. Our country needs a massive influx of investment in these solutions if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
Thankfully, no new nuclear plants have been built in the US for over 30 years. That means that a whole new generation of concerned citizens grew up without knowing the facts about nuclear power - or remembering the terrible disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. So it is time to remind everyone that nuclear is not the answer. Please help us get the word out.
Currently we draw electric power from about 400 nuclear plants worldwide. Nuclear proponents say we would have to scale up to around 17,000 nuclear plants to offset enough fossil fuels to begin making a dent in climate change. This isn't possible - neither are 2,500 or 3,000 more nuclear plants that many people frightened about climate change suggest. Here's why:
________________________________________

1. Nuclear waste -- The waste from nuclear power plants will be toxic for humans for more than 100,000 years. It's untenable now to secure and store all of the waste from the plants that exist. To scale up to 2,500 or 3,000, let alone 17,000 plants is unthinkable.
Nuclear proponents hope that the next generation of nuclear plants will generate much less waste, but this technology is not yet fully developed or proven. Even if new technology eventually can successful reduce the waste involved, the waste that remains will still be toxic for 100,000 years. There will be less per plant, perhaps, but likely more overall, should nuclear power scale up to 2,500, 3,000 or 17,000 plants. No community should have to accept nuclear waste site, or even accept the risks of nuclear waste being transported through on route to its final destination. The waste problem alone should take nuclear power off the table.
The proposed solution a national nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain is overbudget and won't provide a safe solution either. The people of Nevada don't want that nuclear waste facility there. Also, we would need to transfer the waste to this facility from plants around the country and drive it there - which puts communities across the country at risk.

2. Nuclear proliferation - In discussing the nuclear proliferation issue, Al Gore said, "During my 8 years in the White House, every nuclear weapons proliferation issue we dealt with was connected to a nuclear reactor program." Iran and North Korea are reminding us of this every day. We can't develop a domestic nuclear energy program without confronting proliferation in other countries.
Here too, nuclear power proponents hope that the reduction of nuclear waste will reduce the risk of proliferation from any given plant, but again, the technology is not there yet. If we want to be serious about stopping proliferation in the rest of the world, we need to get serious here at home, and not push the next generation of nuclear proliferation forward as an answer to climate change. There is simply no way to guarantee that nuclear materials will not fall into the wrong hands

3. National Security - Nuclear reactors represent a clear national security risk, and an attractive target for terrorists. In researching the security around nuclear power plants, Robert Kennedy, Jr. found that there are at least eight relatively easy ways to cause a major meltdown at a nuclear power plant.
What's more, Kennedy has sailed boats right into the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River outside of New York City not just once but twice, to point out the lack of security around nuclear plants. The unfortunate fact is that our nuclear power plants remain unsecured, without adequate evacuation plans in the case of an emergency. Remember the government response to Hurricane Katrina, and cross that with a Chernobyl-style disaster to begin to imagine what a terrorist attack at a nuclear power plant might be like.

4. Accidents - Forget terrorism for a moment, and remember that mere accidents - human error or natural disasters - can wreak just as much havoc at a nuclear power plant site. The Chernobyl disaster forced the evacuation and resettlement of nearly 400,000 people, with thousands poisoned by radiation.
Here in the US, the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 triggered a clean-up effort that ultimately lasted for nearly 15 years, and topped more than one billion dollars in cost. The cost of cleaning up after one of these disasters is simply too great, in both dollars and human cost - and if we were to scale up to 17,000 plants, is it reasonable to imagine that not one of them would ever have a single meltdown? Many nuclear plants are located close to major population centers. For example, there's a plant just up the Hudson from New York City. If there was an accident, evacuation would be impossible.

5. Cancer -- There are growing concerns that living near nuclear plants increases the risk for childhood leukemia and other forms of cancer - even when a plant has an accident-free track record. One Texas study found increased cancer rates in north central Texas since the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant was established in 1990, and a recent German study found childhood leukemia clusters near several nuclear power sites in Europe.
According to Dr. Helen Caldicott, a nuclear energy expert, nuclear power plants produce numerous dangerous, carcinogenic elements. Among them are: iodine 131, which bio-concentrates in leafy vegetables and milk and can induce thyroid cancer; strontium 90, which bio-concentrates in milk and bone, and can induce breast cancer, bone cancer, and leukemia; cesium 137, which bio-concentrates in meat, and can induce a malignant muscle cancer called a sarcoma; and plutonium 239. Plutonium 239 is so dangerous that one-millionth of a gram is carcinogenic, and can cause liver cancer, bone cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, and birth defects. Because safe and healthy power sources like solar and wind exist now, we don't have to rely on risky nuclear power.

6. Not enough sites - Scaling up to 17,000 - or 2,500 or 3,000 -- nuclear plants isn't possible simply due to the limitation of feasible sites. Nuclear plants need to be located near a source of water for cooling, and there aren't enough locations in the world that are safe from droughts, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other potential disasters that could trigger a nuclear accident. Over 24 nuclear plants are at risk of needing to be shut down this year because of the drought in the Southeast. No water, no nuclear power.
There are many communities around the country that simply won't allow a new nuclear plant to be built - further limiting potential sites. And there are whole areas of the world that are unsafe because of political instability and the high risk of proliferation. In short, geography, local politics, political instability and climate change itself, there are not enough sites for a scaled up nuclear power strategy.
Remember that climate change is causing stronger storms and coastal flooding, which in turn reduces the number of feasible sites for nuclear power plants. Furthermore, due to all of the other strikes against nuclear power, many communities will actively fight against nuclear plants coming into their town. How could we get enough communities on board to accept the grave risks of nuclear power, if we need to build 17, let alone, 17,000 new plants?

7. Not enough uranium - Even if we could find enough feasible sites for a new generation of nuclear plants, we're running out of the uranium necessary to power them. Scientists in both the US and UK have shown that if the current level of nuclear power were expanded to provide all the world's electricity, our uranium would be depleted in less than ten years.
As uranium supplies dwindle, nuclear plants will actually begin to use up more energy to mine and mill the uranium than can be recovered through the nuclear reactor process. What's more, dwindling supplies will trigger the use of ever lower grades of uranium, which produce ever more climate-change-producing emissions - resulting in a climate-change catch 22.

8. Costs - Some types of energy production, such as solar power, experience decreasing costs to scale. Like computers and cell phones, when you make more solar panels, costs come down. Nuclear power, however, will experience increasing costs to scale. Due to dwindling sites and uranium resources, each successive new nuclear power plant will only see its costs rise, with taxpayers and consumers ultimately paying the price.
What's worse, nuclear power is centralized power. A nuclear power plant brings few jobs to its local economy. In contrast, accelerating solar and energy efficiency solutions creates jobs good-paying, green collar, jobs in every community.
Around the world, nuclear plants are seeing major cost overruns. For example, a new generation nuclear plant in Finland is already experiencing numerous problems and cost overruns of 25 percent of its $4 billion budget. The US government's current energy policy providing more than $11 billion in subsidies to the nuclear energy could be much better spent providing safe and clean energy that would give a boost to local communities, like solar and wind power do. Subsidizing costly nuclear power plants directs that money to large, centralized facilities, built by a few large companies that will take the profits out of the communities they build in.

9. Private sector unwilling to finance - Due to all of the above, the private sector has largely chosen to take a pass on the financial risks of nuclear power, which is what led the industry to seek taxpayer loan guarantees from Congress in the first place.
As the Nuclear Energy Institute recently reported in a brief to the US Department of Energy, "100 percent loan coverage [by taxpayers] is essential … because the capital markets are unwilling, now and for the foreseeable future, to provide the financing necessary" for new nuclear power plants. Wall Street refuses to invest in nuclear power because the plants are assumed to have a 50 percent default rate. The only way that Wall Street will put their money behind these plants is if American taxpayers underwrite the risks. If the private sector has deemed nuclear power too risky, it makes no sense to force taxpayers to bear the burden.
And finally, even if all of the above strikes against nuclear power didn't exist, nuclear power still can't be a climate solution because there is …

10. No time - Even if nuclear waste, proliferation, national security, accidents, cancer and other dangers of uranium mining and transport, lack of sites, increasing costs, and a private sector unwilling to insure and finance the projects weren't enough to put an end to the debate of nuclear power as a solution for climate change, the final nail in nuclear's coffin is time. We have the next ten years to mount a global effort against climate change. It simply isn't possible to build 17,000 - or 2,500 or 17 for that matter - in ten years.
With so many strikes against nuclear power, it should be off the table as a climate solution, and we need to turn our energies toward the technologies and strategies that can truly make a difference: solar power, wind power, and energy conservation.
- from Green America - --http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/climate/dirtyenergy/nuclear.cfm

 

You are the one you have been waiting for. Alice Walker

2011 PASTORS FOR PEACE CUBA FRIENDSHIPMENT CARAVAN

20TH YEAR--PASTORS FOR PEACE CUBA CARAVAN
22ND CUBA CARAVAN

TEXAS-MEXICO BORDER CROSSING THIS DAY

WEDNESDAY JULY 20, 2011

CUBA CARAVAN INFORMATION WEBSITES:

www.pastorsforpeace.org

www.ifconews.org/CubaCaravan


Our best wishes and thoughts and blessings for the cuba caravan/caravanistas--
for a safe and successful caravan

PEACE

PEACE FOR ALL
NEW TERRAIN I-69

We need your voice to help keep I-69 out of Bloomington and Our Rural Communities.

Tell our MPO: Please Take I-69 out of the TIP!

* I-69 will degrade our quality of life, with increased traffic, air and noise pollution.
* I 69 will threaten our fragile karst topography, forests, farmland and water resources.
* I-69 is depressing land and home values in Monroe and Greene Counties.
* We need more public transit, more travel options, and fewer carbon emissions, not I-69.

New Terrain I-69 is SIMPLY WRONG FOR INDIANA!

Thank you again for your steadfast support.

<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>

Thomas & Sandra Tokarski
CARR
PO Box 54
Stanford, IN 47463
carr@bluemarble.net
812-825-9555
800-515-6936

COAL IS NOT GREEN! - MOUNTAIN TOP REMOVAL IS NOT GREEN, DESTROYING THE EARTH, OUR HOME IS NOT GREEN AND ONCE WE HAVE USED IT UP WE CAN NOT GET IT BACK.
 
Killing The Things We Love
By John F. Schumaker
http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/762/1/

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The Coward with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.

A century on from Oscar Wilde’s immortal poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, death comes gift-wrapped and perfumed, in beguiling guilt-free varieties, delivered with a toothy smile and prophecy of material salvation. Betrayal
gets absolved as the consumer age supplants conscience with craving, and duty with self-devotion. Even with our beloved Earth and the future of
humankind balanced on a knife’s edge, our killing feels strangely like a
bargain.

Aimed squarely at the things we love, today’s big guns pound away from
under the camouflage of normality. Greed, arrogance, discontent, false
needs, compulsive desire -- hardly a fair fight. Bloated egos, inflated
expectations, and grandiose entitlement deal a mortal kiss. Anything still
breathing can be clubbed with shallowness, willful ignorance, moral
cowardice, and a near-zero attention span.

In Escape from Evil, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker describes
consumer culture as a second-rate religion that has programed a society of ‘cheerful robots’ to martyr all to “a grotesque spectacle of unrestrained
material production, perhaps the greatest and most pervasive evil to have
emerged in all of history.”

With business-as-usual in the face of multiple global emergencies --
climate change, global warming, habitat destruction, extinction of
species, loss of biodiversity, pollution, deforestation, land degradation,
ocean depletion -- it is hard to miss the evil, or at least the madness.
Spreading poverty, growing inequality, the commercialization of children,
collapsing mental health, the ‘death of mind,’ the obesity epidemic, and
so on -- with a culture like that, who needs enemies?

If consumer culture were a separate individual and assessed
psychiatrically, its diagnosis would be criminal psychosis of the most
fiendish variety. Oblivious to overarching realities, and a sickle to
everything in its path, this headbanging reaper would be shackled,
castrated, and incarcerated deep underground. But since its lunacy is
agreed-upon, we lap it up.

Like psychopathic dung beetles, we let future generations pay as we roll
up the latest cultural excretions, coming away with everything except the
love that faded as life became a romance with the appetites. In a system
that hawks selfishness, vanity, and exhibitionism, mercenaries easily
excite with a fake orgasm of trappings and tantalizations that would
otherwise be laughed off as whorish scamming. Once sold on ourselves, we can be wooed by the most impoverished of ambitions, from ‘having it all,’and ‘living the dream,’ right on down to ‘making it to the top.’

Conformity usually reassures, even when a culture is morbidly sick. What
makes our rampage so titillating is that it is bound up with cultural
heroism. Excess, over-indulgence, over-consumption, dandyism, stylish
indifference -- all part of the act, all trumpets of conquest. Each drop
of blood dissolves shamelessly into our shared warps about prosperity,
success, and ‘being somebody.’

Positivity peddlers are working overtime, but the big picture is sobering.
Consumerism and predatory capitalism are not viable long-term organizing principles for a society. Our myths about progress, superfluous wealth,
limitless expansion, and endless resources are formulas for global ruin.
Hyper-competitive individualism is a lonely straightjacket that fuels
frustration, alienation, and rage. Freedom has cheapened into a demeaning free-for-all in a prison of petty wants. As a springboard to happiness, emotional health, and social well-being, ‘the good life’ is an exhausting
flop.

While cultural norms are by definition ‘normal,’ they are by no means
always sane and healthy. The term ‘cultural insanity’ refers to normative
templates that have become so counter-productive and self-defeating, or so misaligned to our basic human needs, that they stand to undo society or its life supports. In fact, normality can be the deadliest of foes.

All human cultures milk illusion for purposes of control and motivation,
but never before has a society indebted itself so heavily to unreality. As
our unreality bubble ruptures, we find ourselves in an endgame with
all-or-none stakes that can only be won by way of a radical and upsetting
utopian transformation. Many utopian blueprints have been floated over the ages but, for the first time, Utopia is a matter of life or death. Getting
it half right or even mostly right is not enough. Idealism and reality
have converged. Utopia is becoming serious business.

The Buddha called for a spiritually advanced society that imbued depth of character and full aliveness by way of selflessness, harmony with nature,
liberation from worldly desire, and contemplation about truth and reality.
Renaissance utopian Sir Thomas More preached for a morality-centered
society with no money, no private property, a six-hour working day, and no need for lawyers. Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis recounted a cultural
Eden that endowed all members with ‘generosity and enlightenment, dignity
and splendor, and piety and public spirit.’

For cultural psychologist Erich Fromm, the only defense against our
all-consuming social insanity was ‘a radical change of the human heart.’
In his 1955 book The Sane Society, he detailed a utopian model called
Humanistic Communitarian Socialism to be overseen by a ‘supreme cultural council’ comprising lofty hearts and minds like Albert Schweitzer and Albert Einstein. Nowadays such a council might seat luminaries such as Satish Kumar of Schumacher College, Helena Norberg-Hodge of the
International Society for Ecology and Culture, and Jan Lundberg of Culture Change.

As the last great public figure to brave a utopian vision, Einstein felt
that our best chance of surviving our socio-technical system, which he
equated to ‘an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal,’ was an
entirely new global order that united all nations under a single
ministerial authority representing the ‘common moral community of
humankind,’ as he termed it in his 1946 essay “Towards a World
Government.”

But already by the middle of the 20th century, we had largely given up on
utopias beyond that which could be consumed or ogled. Easier to swallow were anti-utopian scenarios such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as they mirrored our heartlesscompliance in the face of indomitable manipulation. More recently, we recognize in films like The Matrix and The Truman Show our phantasmagoric world of factory-farmed experience that keeps us blankly nippled to fantasy, and numbed to life beyond our brainwashing.

Traditional hopes must be surrendered if consumer culture is not to
fulfill its destiny as history’s greatest evil. Democracy, now a corporate
puppet show starring politicians as grandiloquent eunuchs and us as fools,
no longer allows for true leadership. Technology, compromised as it is by
the profit motive and soaring demand for distraction and techno-trance, is
as much an axe as an answer. God, increasingly hell-bent on wanting us to be rich, is resisting the green makeover that some prayed could spare
Creation. Mere ‘education’ about impending doom barely dents our cultural programming.

The highest act of love in a criminally insane society is disobedience.
Normality can no longer be trusted. Unconditional obedience is an
unaffordable luxury. To be "well-adjusted" is to be part of the problem.

But conscientious disobedience requires a fully developed conscience,
something rare in a culture pushing narcissism and moral stupor. Because
of its unethical design, consumer culture also factors in a predictable
amount of disobedience. Its only real vulnerabilities are the same weapons of mass persuasion conjured by our pinstriped soldiers of fortune.

In his 1928 book Propaganda, Edward Bernays writes “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the
masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government whichis the true ruling power of our country.”

Despite its ominous title, there is nothing inherently sinister about
propaganda. Intensive use of it was made in the lead-up to the American
Revolution, and some of its leading patriots are still ranked among
history’s most praiseworthy propagandists.

Economics, once the boring background affair it should be, is now the
cornerstone for cultural consciousness. Thus we play along as commercial tacticians execute a propaganda regime so potent that children are ‘branded’ by the age of four and adults fall victim to ‘consumption disorders,’ youth fixations, and over-entertainment syndromes. So why are we not deploying similar strategies to rally a revolution that could reverse our death march?

Technically, it is possible. For the same price as the insanity-saving
‘credit crunch’ bailout, we could be well on our way to a society of
minimalists, naturalists, humanitarians, and debt-dodging vegetarians.
Compassion and childlessness could be chic, and conservationists sexy.
Throw in half a year’s military budget and peace could be hip, education
could enlighten, and eloquent simplicity could be all the rage. Fashion,
fame, and flag-waving could be absurd. The ‘beautiful people’ could be
beautiful people. As in Zuni culture, winning could be for losers only.

Culture and mind are infinitely flexible. There is nothing that we cannot
be or believe. We are as perfectible as we are corruptible. The problem is that consumer culture is inextricably wedded to the insanity bedeviling
the world. With an infrastructure of division, deceit, and disregard, it
would hemorrhage from all spheres if saddled with scruples and principles. Real solutions are unthinkable for elected ‘leaders.’ The license to usepropaganda on a mass scale stays in the hands of those with the least
conscience. Enlightened and ethical propagandists get fingered as
conspirators or budding tyrants or, if necessary, applauded into
submission.
_ _

To read the last few paragraphs of this essay, go to
http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/762/1/

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Making The Fifth Sacred Thing Movie -

- A Magical Experiment - Starhawk
reprinted from Reality Sandwich

"Consciousness is the most stubborn stuff in the universe, and the most fluid," says Lily, a character in my futuristic novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing. "It can be rigid as concrete, and it can change in an instant. A song can change it, or a story, or a fragrance wafting by on the wind."

In these times of chaos and opportunity, a great shift in consciousness is what we need. That's the premise of Evolver and Reality Sandwich, and why so many people are looking to help midwife a transition to a more interconnected, loving and compassionate way of being.

Climate change, environmental destruction, social unrest and inequality all clamor for massive change: in our economy, our technology, our politics, our systems for producing what we need, growing our food, educating our young, caring for our sick and elderly -- just a few things! And the good news is that we actually have the know-how and the resources to make those changes, if we so choose. The obstacles are in us: our values, our choices, our ways of perceiving. Unless we change the consciousness that maintains this mess, how can we get out of it?

Stories shape our perceptions of the world. They frame reality for us, telling us what is possible and showing us how a hera/o might act. Shit happens -- but the stories we tell ourselves determine what pieces of it we deal with and how. Facts exist, but stories give them meaning and value.

The Fifth Sacred Thing, published in 1993, is a story that has already influenced hundreds of thousand of people. But my determination to make it into a movie that can reach far more people comes from my belief that what Lily says is true. A story can shift consciousness. A story can become a magical working, a spell.

Magic -- defined by occultist Dion Fortune as "the art of changing consciousness at will," is a discipline I've been studying for more than four decades, since I stumbled into a network of Witches, Goddess worshippers and out-there Pagans back in the exuberant, experimental days of the ‘60s. Magic could be termed ancient psychology, primeval mind-training. And here's what I know:

To work magic, you need vision.

A vision tells us what we want. A powerful vision stretches our imagination to encompass what could be. Vision combats those dreary voices in our heads constantly whining, "There is no alternative." "This is how it is, and how it always was, and how it has to be." Vision says, "Here's something wild and crazy and beautiful and life-affirming that could be, and why not?"

From vision, we wrest an intention -- "Yeah! Here's the piece of it I'm going to make come true." And into that intention, embodied in sensory images of things we can touch and taste that carry an emotional charge, we pour energy. We focus our will. Bingo! We've got change. Granted, it isn't always exactly the change we had in mind, given the interplay of multiple forces in the universe and the general perversity of things. But at least it's usually movement in the right direction.

As a society, we're suffering from a vision deficit as far as the future goes. There are a handful of novels like mine, Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia, Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, Chris Carlson's After the Deluge, Pat Murphy's The City, Not Long After, Ursula LeGuin's Always Coming Home. But I can't think of a single feature film that shows a positive vision of a future here on earth. How can we create a viable future if we can't even imagine it?

So making this movie, for our team, is more than just a creative project. It's a mission. We want to bring the story and the vision to the screen in a way that will make people laugh, cry, sit on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next, and come away hopeful and inspired to dream up their own visions, to take charge of the future they want to create.

Then we want to provide the information, the links and connections they'll need to go home and make some piece of it real.

And we want to do this all in a way that embodies the values we espouse. To that end, we've employed some of the principles of permaculture, a system of ecological design that creates systems to meet our human needs while regenerating the world around us. Permaculture infuses the vision of the city in The Fifth Sacred Thing -- from gardens in the streets to rain catchment on the roofs. But permaculture isn't only about food and energy systems. Its principles also can apply to social organization and business.

If permaculture has one overriding principle, it's that abundance springs from relationships. We're not designing a bunch of separate elements of a system so much as designing the connections between them.

Setting out to make the movie, we began by looking at our resources and constraints. By 'we' I mean our core team of myself, Philip Wood, aka Mouse, the producer who founded Yerba Buena films, and Paradox Pollack, an old friend who has been doing choreography and motion direction on major feature films in Hollywood. The biggest constraint -- we had a laughable amount of money. Perhaps never in the history of movie-making have three people with so little money and such funny names set out to make a movie together. To get it made will require no little magic of our own.

We are, however, tremendously rich in relationships. To begin with, hundreds of thousands of people have read the book, and a good percentage of them don't just like it, they love it. Okay, some people probably hate it and there are a few people out there who don't like me too much (the Pope, my aunt-by-marriage in Bethesda) but they are outweighed by dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people who look upon the project with favor. Mouse and Paradox between them seem to know every cool, edgy artist, filmmaker and musician on the West Coast. I work with permaculture groups, earth-based spirituality circles, and activists world-wide. In the Bay Area, I have long-standing relationships with organizations that serve the inner city, with community gardens and teachers, organizers and artists.

Which is all very well, but getting together the immense amounts of money a feature film requires would mean dealing with those whose interests were more in raw profits than in social benefits. Plus, that much contact with Hollywood might taint us like the bite of the raving, gnawing zombies Paradox choreographed in I Am Legend. How could we immunize ourselves, and gain some clout in that cut-throat world? Better, how could we attract people from that world who share our values and hold similar goals?

The key, we know, is our own magic: our clarity of vision and intention. We wrote up a Green Plan, to show how setting a new bar for environmental accountability and social justice could benefit the project in those tangible ways investors understand -- saving money, gaining us PR value and generating positive buzz from the beginning. In magic, like attracts like. If our values and our ways of working are in alignment, we'll attract people who share our vision.

One of the principles of permaculture could be stated simply as "Prepare the ground," or "Feed what you want to grow." Create the conditions that are going to further the behaviors and results you want. Instead of dousing pests with chemicals, organic gardeners feed the soil and plant flowers to attract beneficial bugs that will keep the others in check. By starting the project with a clear intention, we would prepare the ground for the project to grow with social and environmental accountability.

Another principle is that of 'edge': the edge where two systems meet is often more dynamic and diverse than either. Where the ocean meets the shore, the waves create a wide spectrum of niches for an incredibly diverse collection of life forms. And around the edges of Hollywood, where creativity and the profit motive sometimes meet gracefully and sometimes collide, are people who are looking to make magic, to use the power of the media to shift consciousness in important ways.

And one more permaculture principle: "Stacking functions." Every element in a system serves more than one function. Plant your thorny roses on the fence to deter intruders, plant a variety that provides hips as well as flowers and is close enough to the rose's original form so that it can feed pollinators. For us, the movie serves many functions -- entertaining, inspiring, educating, generating resources including money, but beyond all that, we see it as a platform to actually make the vision real. Once people see that inspiring future, they'll be able to go to the website and find the tools and resources they need to start building pieces of it. That's already happening in our website forum. When we create sets, instead of destroying them at the end of shooting we'll design them to remain and become permanent infrastructure for the community -- gardens, greenhouses, sculptures, and murals. We're starting to work on alternate reality games to link to our site that will encourage people to begin creating pieces of the vision and connecting with others around it. We're telling people, "Don't wait for the movie to come out -- start creating the future now!"

Armed with our knowledge of magic and permaculture, we gulped, took a deep breath, and set up a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign. It has two purposes: first, to raise the funding we need to move to the next phase, and second, because we know we're going to have to go persuade investors and actors and a top director that this is a project they just have to be part of. Besides a powerful story, a kick-ass screenplay (if I say so myself!) a forward-looking Green plan and a solid business plan, we knew that a very strong argument would be showing the support that is already in place for the movie. Of course, we could just say, "All my friends say it's a wonderful idea," but we thought it would be more persuasive to have actual figures, like fans of our Facebook page, visitors to our website, and above all, people who have already plunked down their own hard-earned cash.

For me, getting on camera and asking people to give us money was a terrifying prospect. I much prefer being behind the computer or the lens of the camera.

Terrifying also because our private dream became a public commitment. Suddenly we were answerable to hundreds, potentially thousands of people that would be expecting us to do it and be disappointed if we failed. And so many elements of it are still beyond our control! I hate to disappoint people. Even if we make the movie greener than green and create jobs for inner city kids and plant gardens that will remain as community gardens and build sets that will stay as infrastructure, even if I do my absolute best to safeguard the themes and the vision and still make the drama work, what if people don't like it? Oh please, Goddess, can't I just go stand in front of a tank somewhere?

Over the last year, I've been relearning to ice skate, something I did as a kid but haven't done for decades. There's a terrible moment when you have to let go of the rail, and trust yourself to the ice and your own sense of balance. You can fall, and fall hard-but with luck you can also glide.

"Where there's fear, there's power," Witches say. Embracing the fear, taking the risk of failure, generates energy and power to infuse the vision. Clutch the rail, play safe, and it will never happen.

"One act of courage can change the world," Maya, the storyteller, says at the Twentieth Anniversary of the Uprising. With that as our tag line, how could we not take risks?

And what we've discovered is that people are hungry to be involved in this project. So many people long to be part of something that has meaning, something that can potentially help set us on a better road. A movie is a collaborative project, and this one is big enough to have room for many people to own the vision and make it their own. I feel so touched and thrilled ever time I hear someone say, "Yes -- I want to be a part of this!" And we do hear it, over and over, from artists, musicians, sculptors, permaculture designers, actors, filmmakers-so many talented, gifted people want to be part of our team.

All my life I've gotten in trouble for inviting people to things I shouldn't have invited them to, making events public that other people wanted private, crossing boundaries, letting strangers stay in the guest room. Now, I can indulge myself by inviting everyone in the whole wide world to be part of something, no barriers! Wow!
And so we're inviting you, too, to jump aboard. Come "Like" us on Facebook, check out our website, and help us with our rather audacious attempt to make Kickstarter history -- not so much by the dollar amount we raise, but by the number of backers we can acquire. Kick in as little as a dollar, and you'll help give us an even more compelling argument we can take to investors and actors and the top director we hope to attract. Help us make the magic-and you'll help make the vision real.

Website:
http://fifthsacredthing.com
Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fifthsacredthing/the-fifth-sacred-thing

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/TheFifthSacredThingFilm

Facebook for the book:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fifth-Sacred-Thing/109374575747760?ref=ts&sk=info

Starhawk's Website:

http://www.starhawk.org/

Fifth Sacred Thing Book:

http://www.starhawk.org/writings/fifth-sacred-thing.html

Starhawk's blog:

http://starhawksblog.org/

Ecological economics: The union of economics and ecology, with the economy conceived as a subsystem of the earth ecosystem that is sustained by a metabolic
flow or “throughput” from and back to the larger system.
(Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications).
Steady-state economy is the core facet of ecological economics.

Steady-state economy:The economy viewed as a subsystem in dynamic equilibrium with the parent ecosystem/biosphere that sustains it. Quantitative
growth is replaced with qualitative development or improvement as the
basic goal. (Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications).


EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I've been hearing more and more references to the need to clean up our agricultural practices for reasons pertaining to health, food quality, even global warming. What are the major environmental issues today associated with agriculture? -- Tony Grayson, Newark, NJ

What amazes many environmental advocates to this day is how the widespread adoption of synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers for use in agriculture was dubbed the "Green Revolution," when in fact this post-World War II paradigm shift in the way we produce food has wreaked untold havoc on the environment, food quality and human health.

Agricultural output has certainly increased as a result of these changes, but with the vast majority of the world's farms now relying on petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals to grow crops and petroleum-derived fuels to drive the engines of production-modern agriculture has become overwhelmingly toxic to the atmosphere and is hastening global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that agricultural land use contributes 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; here in the U.S. almost 20 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions come from agricultural sources.

Intensive use of chemicals isn't good for our nutrition intake, either. Overworked, depleted agricultural soils generate fruits and vegetables with fewer nutrients and minerals than those produced by farmers decades ago. And much of the food we eat is laced with chemicals that end up in our bloodstreams.

Beyond its effect on the food we put in our bodies, modern agriculture generates large amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and other fertilizers running off into our streams, rivers and oceans, compromising not only the quality of our drinking water and the health of riparian ecosystems, but also causing those huge oxygen-depleted ocean dead zones we hear about in coastal areas such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet another issue with modern farming is the amount of animal waste generated and concentrated in small areas, which creates unsanitary and potentially dangerous conditions for the animals and humans alike. And the widespread use of antibiotics on farm animals to keep disease in check results in the development of stronger strains of bacteria that resist the antibiotics used by humans to ward off infection and sickness.

Also, many worry about the potential impacts of the widespread use of genetic engineering, whereby genes in plants, animals and microorganisms are manipulated to select for specific traits. These genetically modified organisms, reports Greenpeace, "can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms," thus contaminating the natural environment in unforeseeable and uncontrollable ways.

The good news is that rapidly increasing consumer demand for healthier food is forcing agribusiness to see the wisdom of moving away from business-as-usual. Organic farming, which eschews chemical fertilizers and pesticides in favor of more natural choices, holds considerable promise for greening up our agricultural systems. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic cropland acreage averaged 15 percent increases between 2002 and 2008, although certified organic cropland and pasture accounted for only about 0.6 percent of U.S. total farmland in 2008. So we still have along way to go.

CONTACTS: IPCC, www.ipcc.ch; USDA, www.ers.usda.gov/Data/Organic.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

 
 
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As Monsanto prepares to unleash its latest Genetically-Modified (GM) corn supercrop, the International Journal of Biological Sciences has revealed the true cost of these crops.

The study focused on three GM corn crops -- Mon 863, Mon 801 and NK 603 -- and found that they caused statistically significant rates of kidney and liver malfunction, as well as some heart, adrenal, spleen and blood damage in rats. These crops have been approved for consumption in the U.S. and many countries in Europe without proper research into their affect on human health.

GM technology inserts non-food genes into the DNA of food, sometimes making the crop more resilient to herbicides and other times causing them to produce toxic proteins that act as pesticides themselves. This process changes the structure of the food drasticcally and presents humans with substances that have never been a part of the human or animal diet.

Several countries in Europe, such as Germany and France, have already banned GM crops, including Mon 801. But the U.S. FDA has done us a potentially dangerous disservice by simply taking Monsanto's word that these genetically modified crops are safe and not doing any testing! This 90-day study was just the beginning, and these GM crops must be studied further instead of being immediately available for human consumption.

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Quilters Comfort

CO UPDATE
No 64 / March-April 2011
The monthly email newsletter of War Resisters' International's The Right to Refuse to Kill programme
Editorial
Dear readers of CO-Update.
Apologies for the delay of this issue of CO-Update. It was planned for early April, but then Egyptian conscientious objector and blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad got arrested, and so I decided to travel to Cairo to try to put more pressure on the Egyptian authorities, and to meet with his friends, supporters, and family (see main story).
War Resisters' International is launching a campaign "Freedom for Maikel Nabil Sanad", and calls on the Egyptian authorities to not confirm the sentence, and to immediately release Maikel.
The case of Maikel Nabil Sanad shows the importance of networks such as War Resisters' International. WRI was one of the first organisations to react to his arrest, within hours of being informed, and it was not only quick to issue an alert, but also quick to send an observer. Although this did not prevent the sentence, it helped to trigger a wave of public support.
To continue to do this work War Resisters' International depends on your donations. We therefore kindly ask you to donate to WRI online at wri-irg.org/en/donate-en.htm.
Andreas Speck
War starts here!
WRI/ofog Seminar and WRI Council meeting in Luleå, Sweden
This year's WRI Council meeting will take place from 19-21 July 2011 in Luleå, in the very north of Sweden. The Council meeting itself is part of a seminar and action camp under the title "War Starts Here", organised by WRI's new Swedish affiliate ofog. The camp and seminar will begin on 22 July, and last until 29 July.
The seminar will include discussions and workshops on five broader themes:
" War starts here - let's stop it from here (military basis and infrastructure)
" Right to land and indigenous people/resistance
" The military-industrial chain
" War against women and feminist antimilitarism
" Artic and the war on natural resources
After the seminar, there will be an opportunity to participate in nonviolent action training, and then in a range of actions against NEAT, the North European Aerospace Testrange.
NEAT is Europe's largest overland test range and consists of an area 360 by 100 km of restricted air space and 1,650 sq km of restricted land area (expandable to 3,000sq km). It is a cooperation of the Swedish organisations FMV (the Swedish Defence Material Administration) and SSC (the Swedish Space Corporation). NEAT is used as a training area for bomb dropping, for testing drones and AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile), which could be carried by drones, and for other weapon testing and war exercises (see also the article in The Broken Rifle No 86, September 2010).
More information on the camp is available at http://warstartshere.com/en
For information on the WRI Council, please contact the WRI office at info@wri-irg.org.
CO-Update
Monthly email newsletter of WRI's Right to Refuse to Kill Programme
War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, Britain; tel +44-20-7278 4040; fax +44-20-7278 0444; email co-update-editor@wri-irg.org
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Donate to WRI!
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.Egypt:Pacifist blogger and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad sentenced to three years in prison
An Egyptian military court sentenced pacifist blogger and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad on 10 April to three years' imprisonment on charges of "insulting the military". Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested at his home by military police on 28 March 2011, The military court ordered his detention for 15 days, pending the investigation. The trial itself opened on 31 March 2011, but was consequently adjourned several times, until the sentencing on 10 April.
The trial itself - as a civilian, Maikel Nabil Sanad was tried in a military court - was accompanied by a range of irregularities. His friends and supporters were usually not allowed to attend the trial, and often even his family was not able to attend. To do so, the military used a simple trick: the guards at the entrance to the military complex which houses the military court did not have Maikel Nabil Sanad's trial on the list of trials of the day, so nobody who wanted to attend the trial was able to enter. On the day of sentencing - 10 April - the military court used a trick to make sure Maikel Nabil Sanad was on his own when he was finally sentenced. His family and lawyers were told that the sentencing would be postponed to 12 April, so they left. But then the court proceeded to sentence him to three years in prison, and Maikel Nabil Sanad was then taken to Toura prison in Cairo.
Supreme Council of Armed Forces member Mamdouh Shahin commented on the sentencing of Maikel Nabil Sanad in an interview given on Monday to the Egyptian satellite channel ONTV. He said that although freedom of speech should be guaranteed the current laws criminalise words or actions directed at the army's safety. He added that Nabil has the right to appeal the military court's decision.
War Resisters' International sent an observer to the trial, who also was not allowed to attend any of the hearings.
Maikel Nabil Sanad is a political activist and blogger, and in April 2009 he founded the "No to Compulsory Military Service Movement". As a pacifist, he declared his conscientious objection, and demanded to be exempted from military service. He was arrested on 12 November 2010, also by military police, but released two days later, and finally exempted from military service on medical grounds.
Maikel Nabil Sanad participated actively in the Egyptian revolution, and especially highlighted the fact that Egypt has effectively been ruled by the military for six decades. He was arrested on 4 February by military police and tortured, but released 27 hours later.
The trial and sentencing comes at a time of growing criticism of the role of the military during the revolution and the transition - exactly the issue Maikel Nabil Sanad wrote about in his blog post from March 2011, which got him arrested. The case is a test of the seriousness of the interim military rulers of Egypt to respect their own interim constitution, which was recently approved in a referendum and came into force at about the same time Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested. This interim constitution supposedly guarantees freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. However - it seems this does not include the freedom to criticise the present (and effectively past) rulers - the military.

According to an article in the Washington Post from 2 April 2011, at least 5,000 people have been tried in military courts since 28 January 2011. And Human Rights Watch report that since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed power on 11 February, the military has arrested at least 200 protesters and tried scores of them before military courts. Over 150 protesters arrested on 9 March after the military forcibly cleared Tahrir Square of protesters were sentenced to prison terms by military tribunals in Cairo's high-security Tora prison and are still being held. According to Human Rights Watch, on 22 March, Gen. Etman sent a letter to editors of Egyptian newspapers telling them "not to publish any articles/news/press releases/complaints/advertising/pictures concerning the armed forces or the leadership of the armed forces, except after consulting the Morale Affairs directorate and the Military Intelligence since these are the competent parties to examine such issues to protect the safety of the nation." Human Rights Watch has seen a photocopy of this letter and confirmed its authenticity.
On 9 April, after the largest demonstration in Tahrir Square since Mubarak's resignation, the military attacked the remaining demonstrators in the night, with at least two people shot dead and dozens injured. Increasing numbers of protestors demand the resignation of the chair of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mubarak's Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman, and a civilian interim government to oversee the transition.
Sources: War Resisters' International: EGYPT: Egyptian pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad arrested for insulting the military, 30 March 2011; Bikya Masr: Egypt blogger given 3 years for criticizing military, 12 April 2011; Ahram Online: Egypt Military: Maikel Nabil has the right to appeal and Mubarak's house arrest does not include a ban on calling or mailing, 12 April 2011; Al-Masry Al-Youm: Military official: Blogger has right to appeal prison sentence, 12 April 2011; Human Rights Watch: Egypt: Blogger's 3-Year Sentence a Blow to Free Speech, 11 April 2011; Washington Post: Egypt's military keeping repressive practices in place, 2 April 2011; New York Times: 2 Protesters Killed in Egypt's Tahrir Square, 9 April 2011
Paraguay: one step closer to implementation of conscientious objection legislation
On 29 March 2011, Paraguay passed a decree to form a National Council on Conscientious Objection to Military Service. According to the law on conscientious objection passed last year (see CO-Update No 57, July 2010), this Council is responsible for the recognition of applications for conscientious objection. According to the decree, the Council is made up of the following: the human rights ombudsman as chair, the president of the human rights committee of the Senate, the president of the human rights committee of the chamber of deputies, a representative of the Ministry of Defence and a representative of the conscientious objectors.

On 4 February 2011, the Paraguayan daily "Ultima Hora" reported that many Paraguayan youth did not know how to apply for conscientious objection after the introduction of the new law last year. According to the human rights ombudsman, the ombudsman would issue temporary recognitions until the National Council on Conscientious Objection would be functional.
According to War Resisters' International and many Paraguayan organisations, while in international comparison the Paraguayan law on conscientious objection might not be the worst example, in the Paraguayan context it signifies a serious worsening of the situation. For the first time, conscientious objectors are subjected to a substitute service, and to an application process, while since 1994 and until recently a simple conscientious objection declaration was sufficient to be exempted from military service. In this sense, the new law on conscientious objection is a huge step backwards.
Sources: Decreto No 6363, 29 March 2011, Ultima Hora: Villalba da una solucion parche a los objetores, 4 February 2011; War Resisters' International: Paraguay: Law on conscientious objection as backlash, CO-Update No 57, July 2010
Syria shortens military service
In a move seen as an attempt to address widespread discontent in the country, Syrian president Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 35 for 2011 on 19 March 2011 lessening mandatory army conscription from 21 months to 18 months. The decress will come into force on 1 June 2011. In 2005, military service had been shortened to two years.
The long conscription period has generated discontent, especially among the youth who resent state tactics to bring them into service, such as random ID checking, and the withholding of food aid from families whose members escaped conscription.
Sources: The Independent: Syria mourners call for revolt after deaths, 19 March 2011; DP-News: Legislative Decree reducing mandatory Syrian Military Service, 20 March 2011; ArabicNews, Military services in Syria reduced to two years, 7 January 2005
US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd denied political asylum in Germany
The German Federal Bureau of Migration and Refugees denied the asylum application of US AWOL soldier Andre Shepherd, Connection e.V. reported. In its negative decision, the Federal Bureau writes, "But whether the helicopters he maintained and their crews actually participated in specific illegal actions (contrary to international law) has neither been stated sufficiently, nor can it be determined specifically otherwise. According to the applicant's statements, he himself was also not able, during his first Iraq deployment, to find out details on the missions of the helicopters serviced by him or his unit. Accordingly, the applicant's deliberations on the potential participation of 'his' helicopters in possible illegal acts and war crimes constitute at most conjectures or a hypothetical possibility."

Peace and refugee-aid organisations in Germany that support André Shepherd denounced the decision of the Federal Bureau, and announced that they would continue to support him in his suit. "This shows that the German authorities are seeking to avoid any conflict with the USA, at the expense of those who put their bodies on the line to oppose the war in Iraq, which even the Federal government at the time considered to be in violation of international law," said Rudi Friedrich of the support network for conscientious objectors, Connection e.V., today. Attorney-at-law Reinhard Marx stated: "With this rejection and its interpretation of the EU Qualification Directive, which is contrary to European law, the Federal Bureau is attempting to destroy the protection for deserters and conscientious objectors envisaged by the Directive. The background for this is obviously the intention of the German government to give priority to German legal principles over European law."
André Shepherd himself showed himself to be disappointed, but also willing to keep up the struggle. "I hoped that the Federal Bureau of Migration itself would accept my application for political asylum. I am still not willing to participate in a crime against humanity, and consider it my right to do so without threat of prosecution. The U.S. military gave me no choice but to go AWOL and seek protection here in Germany."
Andre Shepherd will lodge an appeal against the decision of the Federal Bureau, denying him asylum in Germany.
Sources: New York Times: American Soldier Is Denied Asylum in Germany, 5 April 2011; Connection e.V.: U.S. AWOL soldier Shepherd appeals against the rejection of his application for political asylum, 7 April 2011


For information on Recent CO-alerts
In the previous month(s), the WRI office issued the following co-alerts:
(a full archive of co-alerts is available at wri-irg.org/news/alerts

 
 
 
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SUPPORT WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN INDIANA!

In support of women's reproductive health and well being, please consider steadfastly opposing the variety of bills such as HB 1205 and 1210 which would deny Planned Parenthood of Indiana vital funding to provide comprehensive reproductive health care for low income women. I would also like you to consider standing for a womans right to dignity and privacy by opposing SB 328 which would impose humiliating conditions on a woman seeking abortion. I do not think that women make these decisions lightly.

To support women contact your House and State Representatives and let them know that you stand in support of women and the services provided through Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

For most people the State Representative is Matt Pierce and the Senator is Vi Simpson.

You can reach the House of Representatives and Senate using the information below.

House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 4604-2786; (317)232-9600 or(800) 382-9842 and the

Indiana State Senate, 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2785; (317)232-9400, (800)382-9467

Say NO to more prisons for Indiana.

Say YES to work release.

Governor Daniels wants to build a 512 bed prison contracted without competitive bidding to GEO Group, a Florida-based company that already operates a 2,500 bed prison at New Castle. Under the terms of the arrangement GEO would finance construction and the State would have a 10 year commitment to fill the prison at a cost of $37 / day claiming to save the state $5 per inmate per day if Indiana constructed and managed the facility. However, these savings are misleading and Indiana taxpayers should also consider ways to spend the money that return more to the taxpayer. The money the Governor wants to spend on an unneeded prison could fund work release and evidence-based programs that reduce crime and cut criminal justice costs.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE AND "Say NO to more prisons for Indiana. Say YES to work release"

  

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