Monday, October 10, 2005

"Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Mike and I are doing the same items from Democracy Now! and one of the items was important enough to include even though we both heard about it today (on Democracy Now!) for the first time.

Thousands Take Part in Silent Peace March in LA (Democracy Now!)
In Los Angeles, thousands gathered on Saturday for a silent peace march led by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King Jr. Among those in attendance was Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq last year.

At LA Indymedia, there are a number of strong articles on this (thanks to C.I. for passing them onto me) and I'd especially recommend Open Mind's "Peace Walk with Thich Nhat Hanh - Part 1." In addition, C.I. recommended KPFA Evening News's Sunday broadcast. KPFA is a Pacifica station (I believe it's the original Pacifica station which should make the oldest public radio station in the United States) out of Berkeley, California.

Open Mind notes: "Buddhist monks and nuns, progressive left and religious peace organizations and other seekers after knowledge met yesterday in MacArthur Park for a meditation with Buddhist master Thich Naht Hanh that was intended to creat a peaceful state that will eventually translate into an end to war."

There are photos provided and it really was a sizeable turnout judging from the photos. My favorite photo is probably "Crowd Funnels Into Peace Walk" which is taken from behind the participants and it's such a huge mass with an open space in front of them which, my interpretation, represents the open space peace could bring. All the people present are channeling, or funneling, to a better place. That's what the photo represented to me.

And right now I'm listening to KPFA's archived broadcast. The silent march is at 13:21 and it was organized by Hanh who:

"brought together at least 3,000 people to oppose the war in Iraq. Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan was among those who attended the event at MacArthur Park Hanh a 79 year old Vietnemese Zen master was an early opponent of the Vietnam war in the 1960s and was forced into exile in France where he lived in a monastery. He returned to his native Vietnam for the first time last April. Hanh said he organized the two hour peace walk as a gift to the people of Los Angeles."

So that's a bit more background on it. I really didn't do any research. I had intended to and I called C.I. to get some resources but the news broadcast was something C.I. already knew of and while we were on the phone, C.I. went to L.A. Indymedia and saw that they had coverage of the peace march. So thank you, always, to C.I.

Environmentalists Criticize Selection of IAEA For Nobel Prize (Democracy Now!)
A number of environmental groups and activists are criticizing the Nobel Peace Prize committee for awarding this year's Prize to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its chief Mohammed ElBaradei. The French group, Sortir du Nucleaire (Get Out of Nuclear) criticized the IAEA for "promoting" civilian nuclear plants. British commentator George Monbiot said the prize to the IAEA and its boss was a "reward for failure in an age of rampant proliferation." Greenpeace also criticized the selection.

On the above item, I feel like we're being sold nuclear power, as though there's this heavy push to make it palatable. I see that in the New York Times. I know Felicity Barringer had her say but I read the article and I clipped the article. Her say didn't cut it with me. There was nothing preventing her from presenting an alternative view. She made a choice not to. As a result, she was criticized by C.I.

When C.I. says "I could be wrong" it's not just empty words. The attitude at The Common Ills, on C.I.'s part, is "I've had my say and if the person I'm critiquing disagrees, they can have their say." I don't have a problem with that.

My problem was that she wanted to have her say, Barringer, after the article was no longer available and she presented her carefully selected excerpt that was not reflective of the article. Which is why I provided it to Gina and Krista to run in their round-robin.

But there seems to be a push for nuclear energy coming from a number of sources.

Now, something Mike and I both agreed needing noting was something we saw C.I. had noted at The Common Ills. Amy Goodman's grandmother passed away last week. At The Third Estate Sunday Review there was talk of should we do something or not? C.I.'s feeling was yes and I hope this isn't breaking any confidentiality but I believe C.I.'s noted a funeral before. At that funeral, and I'm being vague because I believe it's gone up at The Common Ills but I'm not sure, a huge number of people showed up to pay their respects but this did not include two supposed "good friends" of C.I.'s.

If they'd kept their mouths shut, no one would have known. C.I. wasn't able to speak to everyone present at the funeral or, later, at the house. There were too many people there. Add in that in grief situations a person often just goes through the motions (and C.I. was too busy making sure that the food was being brought out regularly and other smaller details which is something many people do to get through those situations).

So C.I. had no idea that two "good friends" who think nothing of calling C.I. at all hours didn't even show until the next day when one of the "friends" calls first thing the next day needing a favor while mentioning in passing that she didn't show for the funeral.

She told C.I. she knew it was going to be "painful" so she didn't want to add to C.I.'s worries.
I've know C.I. for years (since high school) and I've never seen C.I. so mad. C.I. had loaned this woman money over the years, loaned her family money over the years (including the woman's mother who never made any attempt to pay it back or even acknowledge it after she received it). When the "friend" had a car emergency (everything with that woman is an emergency), C.I. gave her money to buy a new car. This happened six months prior to the funeral and she still hadn't made any effort to repay it.

So C.I. was enraged that this "friend" didn't have the decency to show. Rebecca and I had flown in and were staying with C.I. so we heard about this during the hours we were helping address thank you cards to everyone who sent floral arrangements. We divided them up and there was someone else helping but I've honestly forgotten whom. But there were four of us and it probably took a full eight hours. Because we started early and planned to run them to the post office and grab lunch but the post office was now closed and we were talking dinner. During this Rebecca's grabbing the envelopes and going through them when she points out that not only did the "friend" not show, she didn't send a floral arrangement.

There were people who said awkward things and that will happen in situations like those. It's understandable. That didn't hurt C.I. What hurt C.I. was "friends" who didn't even acknowledge the death. It's better to fumble then to say nothing.

We were discussing this for several hours Saturday and finally had an idea for it when C.I. started getting calls from friends at CNN and had to break away to do the entry Saturday night.
After that, the ball got dropped because we were off on something else and hoping to pick it up later but then there were problems with posts going up and it became a nightmare.

I don't think anyone even remembered the planned feature. I didn't until I heard Democracy Now! today. I went to The Common Ills and C.I. had noted it already (at the request of Jordan, Ruth and Marcia but I bet it would have been noted even if no one had requested). So Mike and I were talking about that on the phone and we're both noting it here.

Amy Goodman provides a great deal to countless people. Her grandmother sounds like someone who was full of life and a pleasure to know.

"Sonia Bock 1897-2005: Amy Goodman Remembers Her Grandmother, a Woman of Three Centuries" (Democracy Now!)
Amy Goodman's grandmother, Sonia Bock, died October 5, 2005 at the age of 108. She was born in 1897, in Ruvno, Poland. She lived through the pogroms of Tsarist Russia, the Bolshevik revolution and the Holocaust.
Amy Goodman: I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who wrote in last week to express sympathy on the loss of my grandmother. Sonia Bock died October 5, 2005 at the age of 108. Yes, she was indomitable: a woman of three centuries.
She was born in 1897, in Ruvno, Poland. She lived through Tsarist Russia, the Bolshevik revolution, the Holocaust. Though many in her family did not. Two of her brothers and their whole families perished. I remember my mother telling me the wail. The wail that went up in the bungalow colony that my grandparents my mom and her sister went to every summer. The wail when my grandmother got the news that her family had been killed. She came to America by boat in 1929. In 1930, she gave birth to my mother in Harlem with my grandfather, an orthodox rabbi.
In her fifties she contracted cerebral meningitis and was sent to a sanatorium in the Catskills. Not expected to live, she cut everyone's hair and was out in two years. She was an unusual mix of old fashioned in her views of women. "You must always be independent," she would say. "When your husband comes home meet him with a hug and supper, then give him the newspaper to read, but you should have already read it. Then discuss it with him. Communication is everything." She was the eternal student. She spoke four languages: Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, English and was always taking conversation classes in French. At about 4 foot 10 inches tall, she was a pint size fireball. A life force. My heart. I'd like to share a poem that I also read when my father died. I don't know who wrote it:
Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush, of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft star that shines at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.

Now for the peace quote and I think it embodies Amy Goodman's spirit and says a lot about her family.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Elie Weisel