Monday, June 29, 2009

Persepolis 2.0

If you've seen Persepolis, it's impossible not to recall its scenes, watching events in Iran these days. Now there's this (the illustrations are all from the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, edited by two Iranians living in Shanghai):

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Madadian and Bon Jovi Standing By Iran

"We are one," is their message. And may I boldly add my hope that this same message also reaches the people of Gaza and the OPT, the people of Iraq, of Burma, Tibet, and Darfur? And out and out, to all people, everywhere, who suffer, work and hope for justice and peace.

This link leads you to a free download.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Remember the Displaced on International Refugee Day

(Photo by Ahktar Soomro of Reuters)
Nearly 45 million people across the globe have been displaced from their homes, but, unless they have crossed a border and left their countries, they are not considered refugees, and thus are not entitled to international protection. Their governments, which may or may not be hostile to those displaced, are responsible for protecting and assisting IDPs. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres notes: "it's a very difficult situation in some countries where the government has a very harsh attitude in relation to any attempt ... to deliver protection and assistance to these people." In Sri Lanka, for example, there is growing concern that government camps for IDPs are fast becoming "internment facilities."
A recent survey indicates that there are about 13.6 million refugees in the world--twice that number and more are internally displaced. The same survey finds that Gaza is one of the worst places in the world to be a refugee; Palestinians also comprise the "largest national group that has been displaced for the longest period of time." I hope you've been following Laila El-Haddad's fantastic blog: see her recent photo essay of Palestinian refugees here.

Take AlertNet's Refugee Week Quiz to test your knowledge of refugee issues world-wide. But before you do, go to Gorilla's Guides to learn how to download an album created by 3 Iraqi musicians (and refugees). The proceeds benefit programs serving other refugees in Iraq. You can listen to your new music (as I am, while typing this) and re-experience the interconnectedness of our world.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Can, You Can; Why Yes, We All Can

Originally uploaded by Tengrain

The folks at Les Enragés have come up with the great idea of countering the right-wing July 4th Weak-as-a-Tea-Bag demonstrations with a Million Can March, the cans being food cans, donated to your local food bank. Donations to food banks nation-wide are down this year, and demand is way up. Please click on the link for a list of ideas of what to donate and ways of encouraging others to do likewise. I'm in. Will you join too? (Special thanks to Tengrain for the can badge.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Memoriam

And so it goes. Someone goes to work or off to the market, maybe remembers to hug a loved one on the way out the door, maybe shares a laugh or mutters a little apology. Maybe a scent lingers in the air, or a list or a jacket is left behind. And then, before you know it, they're gone. The bomb goes off and the children are gone. The killer walks into the museum and the son you bore or the brother you looked up to Just. Isn't. There.

How odd it is, whenever we lose people we love; that awful process of discovering their absence by repeatedly imagining we've found them, just whisking around the corner, or passing in that battered old car they were so proud of. How odd those first few days, when it seems as though, if we try hard enough, we can make time stop; and then, reverse. If we just strain hard enough, we can alter the curve and turn of the world and make everything whole again. If we could just....

Tonight, the family and friends of Stephen Tyrone Johns mourn. And so do families and friends of the men and women and children of the town of Bathaa. And so do others of us in this little village called Earth. The world is too small a place to admit hatred; life is too precious, too fleeting to allow the upper hand to those who wish to divide us by sowing confusion, anger and hatred. They can cause pain; they will not win.