Below is the final text of the speech I ended up giving at City Hall
this afternoon, drawing from some of the pieces many of you have
already read. Here is a link to the outcome:
"Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution — authored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose father is Persian — supporting the people in Iran who are fighting for their democratic rights and calling on the government create "an accountable election process." In a rare show of unity, the entire 11-member body co-sponsored the measure (which even included a swipe at domestic leaders, with one portion
(this was written on Sunay 6-21 but not posted to this blog until later)
CONGRESS TO VOTE ON AMENDMENT TO FORCE THE SOA/ WHINSEC TO RELEASE THE NAMES OF GRADUATES AND INSTRUCTORS
To send an email and fax to your Representative, visit
Start calling Congress NOW!
SOA Watch has received confirmation that Congress will vote on an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would require that the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC to release the names, ranks, country of origin, courses and dates attended of students and instructors at the institute.
The amendment will be offered by Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA), Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA) and we expect the vote to happen on Wednesday, June 24.
When I visited Iran in December 2008, I was welcomed by a one-of-a-kind hospitality and warmness ”” no axis of evil, no hatred against Western countries. The Iranian people approached me with an open attitude, being very interested in what I thought of Iran. They urged me to share my positive impressions of Iran with other people, in order to change the somewhat negative impression that many people had of Iran.
The people of Iran sing from their rooftops at night.
During the day, I have heard, they march millions in silence, the tapping of footsteps passing by. They smile despite the murder of their brothers and sisters who walked alongside them yesterday. They smile because now they walk together; now they walk empowered; now they walk with hope in their hearts.
I have been caught in the cyber-webs for days now, like my uncle Willie Brown with his metal detector in a junkyard, I go searching for anything that can tell me anything about anything that is happening in Iran today... and there is so much to sift through. I look for the faces of my cousins, my aunts, my uncles in the crowds. With fear in my heart I search every page for anything that can get me closer.
The International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) has just published its quarterly "IFOR in Action" newsletter, which is once again chock-full of interesting content. The quarterly newsletter is published in PDF format for easy downloading from the internet. The Summer 2009 issue is particularly focused on peace and nonviolence work being done in Asia, and includes articles addressing work in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Israel/Palestine.
FOR members are invited to contribute to "IFOR in Action," and the next issue will focus on peace and environmental work happening in Africa. Deadline for submissions is July 10.
During the past few days, the world has witnessed massive demonstrations by Iranians in response to the June 12 national election in Iran. Hundreds of thousands of people have poured into the streets of Tehran and other major cities to express their feelings about the election results.
While, for the most part, these demonstrations have been peaceful, there are reports of shootings and beatings that have resulted in dozens of injuries and deaths. According to official reports, at least 10 people are dead and more than 100 have been injured.
In Pakistan’s Swabi district, a bumpy road leads to Shah Mansoor, a small village surrounded by farmland. Just outside the village, uniform size tents are set up in hundreds of rows. The sun bores down on the Shah Mansoor camp which has become a temporary home to thousands of displaced Pakistanis from the Swat area. In the stifling heat, the camp’s residents sit idly, day after day, uncertain about their future. They spoke with heated certainty, though, about their grievances.
It's a special opportunity to meet two different anti-war world travelers on the same day, and I had such an opportunity at the Nyack headquarters of the Fellowship of Reconciliation last week when I was introduced to a young U.S. Army veteran who left Iraq as a conscientious objector as well as a British peace activist who has entered military bases on Ploughshares-like actions. They had come from — and were heading in — different directions, but we found a lot of common cause during our brief time together.
The news this week that the U.S. Senate hearing on the nomination of New York Appellate Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will begin one month from now, on July 13th, provides an opportunity for reflection and organizing. Judge Sotomayor gives a strong positive first impression as a candidate and potential member of the U.S. Supreme Court, and her nomination also demonstrates this Administration’s capacity to garner interest and support.