Tag Archives: peace

Nashville Peace Festival

Cindy Sheehan being interviewed by Channel 17

Cindy Sheehan being interviewed by Channel 17

Emily & I enjoyed a beautiful day Sunday in Nashville’s Centennial Park for the Peace Festival. The event was sponsored by Nashville’s Peace & Justice Center, CodePink and others. Ran into some friends and met some new ones. Check out more photos on my Facebook page!

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cool website

check this out…http://www.worldchanging.org It’s a website with ideas and solutions instead of complaints and bitching. I could spend a long time at this one reading about new innovative things, ideas, ways to make this world a better place. I heard about it listening to TED Talks which is also very very cool. Actually, my ipod is full of TED Talks lectures and I am so glad I found that too. Hope you check them out and enjoy too!
Peace & Love,
Val

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Playing for Change:Song Around the World “One Love”

A friend of mine, sent me a link to this today and I loved it! One more example of the power of music (and the arts) to bring about change in the world. It’s also a great Bob Marley song they are performing. Enjoy!

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Singing for Freedom

I have LOVED this group for many years: Sweet Honey in the Rock
I saw them in Nashville 9 or 10 years ago and I saw them on stage at Michigan 20 or 25 years ago. I heard today that Michelle Obama hosted an event at the White House to celebrate Black History month and guess who the invited musicians/singers were?!!?!
That’s right….how sweet it is!!!
From the night stage at michfest to the White House…
These women rock!

http://www.sweethoney.com/home.php

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 5:30 pm
Remarks by the First Lady at Sweet Honey in the Rock event

For Immediate Release February 18, 2009

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT
SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK EVENT
East Room
4:20 P.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA: Well, hello. Welcome to the White House. How are you guys doing?

AUDIENCE: Fine.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s good. It’s good to see you all. I’ve heard you all have been just quiet as mice. Have you been behaving in here? Is it exciting?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Come on, it’s exciting. Isn’t this a beautiful house?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, we are so, so very proud and happy to have you here.

First, I want to thank the Admiral for sharing his story with us. I hope you all were listening, because this is a very wise man who is a very amazing professional in his own right, and he has made our transition to this place just fun and welcoming. He is our friend. So let’s give another round of applause. (Applause.)

I wanted you to hear from the Admiral because he plays a very important role in making the White House a wonderful place for the President and his family, and that goes for any President who comes through these doors. What the Admiral does for us he would do for any family who lived here. And he makes this a very special place for people to visit, not just here in this country but from around the world.

Like Barack and I, the Admiral didn’t rise to his position because of wealth or because he had a lot of material resources. See, we were all very much kids like you guys. We just figured out that one day that our fate was in our own hands. We made decisions to listen to our parents and to our teachers, and to work very, very hard for everything in life. And then we worked even harder any time anybody doubted us.

Each and every day the Admiral and his staff, who run this beautiful house, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. It’s amazing to watch them. They do their jobs with pride and grace. And that’s one thing I hope that you all pick up, is the level of pride and grace that you put into anything you do. They work very hard to make the White House a warm family home and a great presidential residence commanding pride and respect throughout this country and around the world.

As President and First Lady, Barack and I are just the caretakers of this house. We’re just borrowing it for a little bit. But while we live here, we’re your neighbors, okay? And we want you to feel welcome here at the White House, which really is, as the Admiral said, it’s the people’s house that belongs to all of us. So just remember that, okay?

And as the people’s house, we believe the White House should be a place for learning and for sharing new and different ideas, sharing new forms of art and culture, and history and different perspectives. We want you to visit and we want you to take advantage of these opportunities and maybe see something for yourselves that maybe you never thought you could do or be.

So I’m happy to welcome you here for our little Black History Month celebration. I’m glad you guys are here.

So many milestones in black history have touched this very house. Just to name a few, did you know that African American slaves helped to build this house?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: You knew that? Did you know that right upstairs in a bedroom called the Lincoln Bedroom, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that marked an important step forward in ending slavery? Did you know that happened right here?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: You knew that? Well, did you know that in 1878, Rutherford B. Hayes was President at the time, and Marie Seilka became the first soprano, the first African American artist, to perform right here in the White House? That was in 1878. Did you know that? Because I didn’t know that.

AUDIENCE: No.

MRS. OBAMA: And in the 1960s, did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders met here with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to debate and discuss the end of segregation? Did you know that?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Pretty cool, huh?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Yes. Well, you’re yawning. Wake up! (Laughter.) I’m just kidding. (Laughter.)

And of course, who lives here now? President Obama. And he’s making history every single day. Why? Why?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: He is the first African American President of the United States.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s correct. (Laughter.) Would you like to stand? (Laughter.) You want to say that one more time?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The first African American President of the United States of America.

MRS. OBAMA: Very good. (Applause.) So you guys know your history. That’s a good thing. That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs.

But I encourage you not only to focus on the famous names that you read in the history books or that you see on TV, but I want you to also think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world, the folks in your own lives — parents, grandparents, yes, teachers — all those folks who play important roles in black history and American history every single day.

You’re living right among them — people like Admiral Rochon, who has his grandchildren here today. Where are Alex and Olivia? Where are you, guys? Where are they? Hello, welcome. It’s good to see you all. That’s the Admiral’s grandchildren. Let’s give them a welcome. (Applause.)

All of these folks who are in your world right now are writing a chapter in history of their own. But the truth is, is that the next chapter in history will be written by all of you. Did you realize that? The next chapter in history is written by you.

So you have to ask yourselves, what will you do in life to help someone else in need? You have to ask yourselves, what are you going to do to make your own community stronger? What are you going to do to make sure that this nation is even greater? And what are you doing right now in school and in your neighborhoods to prepare yourselves to assume a level of responsibility and to be good citizens? Those are the questions that you can ask yourselves right now, even at your age.

And think about, as the Admiral says, getting up every single day and working hard, as hard as you can; putting your best foot forward all the time, not just when somebody is looking, but every single moment; and supporting your family, the folks in your own households; making your beds, putting the dishes up, cleaning your rooms. That’s part of the preparation. How do you help your neighbor? And how are you going to build a better life and a future for yourselves?

That’s not just a story that Barack Obama is writing, or Admiral Rochon is writing. Those are the stories that we’re all writing together. And you’re an important part of that.

So we are so excited about the future that you are going to take hold of in just a few years. So I welcome you again to the White House, and I hope you enjoy what is going to be a phenomenal performance. We’ve got some special guests with us today who are also national treasurers, a group — one of my favorite groups in the whole wide world, Sweet Honey In The Rock. Doesn’t that name sound good?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

MRS. OBAMA: Well, their voices sound even better. This group was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Sweet Honey In The Rock has continued the African American tradition of using music and song to advance freedom and social justice. So will you guys now help me welcome them? (Applause.) Give a big round of applause to Sweet Honey In The Rock. (Applause.)

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Ancient Artifacts also destroyed in War

Something I don’t hear talked about much about Iraq has to do with antiquities lost. Maybe to some it’s because it doesn’t seem appropriate to worry about stuff when so many innocent lives have been lost. I think too it’s because most Americans don’t have a clue what has been destroyed.

pyramid

Close your eyes for a minute and pretend in your mind that the Iraq war wasn’t in Iraq. Pretend for just a minute that instead the exact same thing had happened in Egypt. Then imagine all the loss of lives both innocent civilians, local fighters and American soldiers. Then imagine how you would feel if I told you that in addition to the human toll, the sphinx and the 3 pyramids at Giza were all gone. Not only that but sitting where one of the pyramids once stood for all those thousands of years was now a burger king. The burger joint put there so our soldiers have a little comfort from home.

I just finished reading Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson, the third book in a trilogy focusing on the American empire. Empire is not something that I thought we were about here in the good ole USA but these days apparently that is what our fearless leaders are striving for. Johnson goes in depth into the rise and eventual fall of the Roman Empire and the similarities are obvious. Can you say Military Industrial Complex? For early warnings about how this could prove to be our downfall see President Eisenhower’s final farewell speech.
I think he knew a little about the subject being a four star general and all.

Getting back to the loss of the artifacts let me just say that they go back a very very long time. Biblical references to Iraq called it something else…Mesopotamia. Another empire named it Iraq…The British Empire. That Empire didn’t fair to well either as I recall. What we now know as Iraq is where written language may have been first recorded. A million books, clay tablets and scrolls are now gone. Thank George Bush. Rumsfeld didn’t provide for any protection of the museums during the invasion and they were all looted or reduced to rubble or both. When asked about it he said something like “stuff happens…it’s war.” Maybe when this nightmare is all over Bush could donate a few copies of My Pet Goat to Iraq to put on the empty shelves of their new library. (In this infamous video the secret service whispered to Bush about the planes hitting the World Trade Center while he sits there for 7 minutes reading my pet goat to this class)

I know it’s just stuff but when stuff like that manages to survive thousands and thousands of years and then it’s the age that I’m living in that finally destroys it that makes me very sad. For historians, archeologists and scholars I’m sure it makes them very very sad. For the people in Iraq I think they are going to be very very pissed off someday when they get on with living after losing their countrymen, women and children and figure out the extent of what else has been destroyed. The only reason they haven’t yet is they’re still too busy just trying to survive.

The repercussions from this war are yet unseen but one thing not being discussed is returning any found artifacts to the people of Iraq. Several thousand items from the museums we didn’t protect during the invasion have all ready started to turned up in countries around the world including the U.S. I hope the next president takes this issue under consideration and helps return these items as they are found back to the Iraqi people where they belong. National treasure as well as natural resources belong to the people where they are from. One of the reasons countries protect their boundaries is to protect these treasures and resources from plunder. If and when we put any thought into helping put their country back together again I hope some effort is put into stopping illegal trade in these ancient artifacts and in returning them to the place where they belong…in Iraq.

When the ancient Buddha statues where destroyed by the Taliban a few years ago the world was outraged. Read Chalmers Johnson’s book Nemesis and you will be too. One more thing your not hearing about in the U.S. media.

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Tomorrow can’t come soon enough

Waiting for the Bush regime to go is like watching paint dry. I worry with so much attention focused on the election happenings we will be distracted enough that Bush and/or Cheney can pull off some more crap that the next president will be saddled with the undoing. Iran? Permanent bases in Iraq? Right wing appointments? More economic disaster strategies and shocks?

We must hold them accountable but it may be after they leave office. Meanwhile we must also remember to keep our eyes and ears on them throughout this next year. There is still much damage they can do and they still hold the power to do it. As the mainstream media saturates the airwaves in the coming months with nonstop “horse race” coverage (instead of real discussion of the candidates issues and plans) don’t forget to look to other news sources for what else is happening in the world. There are many many great blogs out there. Go check them out. Do a search for “blogs & progressive” for a starting place if you don’t know where to begin.

An informed public will ensure we are doing all we can to protect this democracy. Voting is great but it’s not enough. If we come out in huge numbers in the fall the election can’t be stolen. From the numbers I’m seeing in the primaries democrats are voting in huge numbers over republicans. I MEAN HUGE! Aint it great? -Peace and Love, Val

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Protest against Guantanamo Bay Prison

Eighty Arrested at Protests Calling for Closure of Gitmo
The Associated Press

In orange jumpsuits to simulate detainees they were arrested inside and outside of the supreme court. here’s a link to their story. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011108R.shtml

Officials briefly closed the court building during the protest. It reopened around 2 p.m. EST.

The original story was in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-US-Guantanamo-Protest.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Protests were also held some other world capitals.

In Manila, Philippines, about 30 activists picketed the U.S. Embassy to demand the camp’s closure. ”We are appealing to President Bush and the U.S. government to close Guantanamo Bay now,” said Aurora Parong, director of Amnesty International in the Philippines.

Small demonstrations by Amnesty supporters, also in orange jumpsuits, were held in Rome; Prague, Czech Republic; Brussels, Belgium; and Budapest, Hungary.

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