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Hope for returning veterans

Bill Scheurer, coordinator of the Peace Garden Project and a national council member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, had a great piece published this week on Truthout. His article, "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: Hope for Returning Veterans," profiled the growing number of cases of the "invisible wounds" of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The Sotomayor hearings

I was fascinated by many of the opening comments delivered today in the U.S. Senate hearings for the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. It seemed that one could quickly discern the tacts that many senators will take in their questioning and examination of the candidate for associate justice of the court — and indeed what their vote will ultimately be.

Jewish and other activists address Gaza blockade

Twelve days ago, Israeli authorities stopped a boat in the Mediterranean Sea carrying a group of international human rights activists who sought to deliver medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been suffering under an Israeli blockade for more than six months. The "Spirit of Humanity" ship included activists from eleven countries, including Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, cofounder of the Peace People movement based in Northern Ireland, and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was also a 2008 presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket.

Talking Points: What you should know about the Iranian protests and how you can help

Not too long ago I helped out on a film called Iran (is not the problem), which provides historical context on U.S. relations with Iran. I recently got back together with a few colleagues from the film and we put together a set of Talking Points on Iran. Take a look:

If you are interested in endorsing it, please sign the petition here:

TALKING POINTS (created 7/1/09):
What you should know about the Iranian protests and how you can help

Movement or Revolution? What we could be learning from developments in Iran

As of this weekend, it seems the protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran have died down a bit— for now. The opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who for the past week has essentially been under house arrest, has agreed to seek the government’s permission before holding any further demonstrations and is no longer able to use his official web site as its functionality has been compromised. While these developments may be disappointing to many, they should not be read as the failure of this mass movement or its end. Such impatient and rash determinations by some analysts in the U.S. and Europe reveal a lack of faith in the very systems and values they claim to support. Have we forgotten that the Civil Right movement in the United States took more than a decade before we even began to see real changes? — changes that are still in-progress today.

Military coup in Honduras: call the White House

A military coup took place in Honduras on Sunday, June 28, led by School of the Americas (SOA) graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.

A national vote had been scheduled to take place today in Honduras to consult the electorate on a proposal of holding a Constitutional Assembly in November. General Vasquez had refused to comply with this vote and was deposed by the president, only to later be reinstated by the Congress and Supreme Court.

Reflections on the Death of Michael Jackson, and the Worship of Celebrities

Like almost everyone, I was stunned to hear of the sudden death of Michael Jackson on Thursday, June June 25th. The community around Georgia Avenue in Washington, DC, was literally buzzing with the news when I arrived home from my office, with no fewer that three people stopping me on the street to share the news.

Somehow, the man-child who dominated the universe of popular music for nearly 40 years was someone who seemed to flirt with immortality. Michael Jackson, to hundreds of millions of people who celebrated him with a passion that bordered on worship, never grew old, and wasn't supposed to die. But now that are confronted with the reality that, at the age of 50, he is, indeed, dead.

As the Qur'an teaches us, from God Almighty we come, and to Him, we shall (all) surely return.

What Bayard Rustin means for American democracy

Gays Are the New Niggers: 40 years after the Stonewall riots, what Bayard Rustin means for American democracy

Nonviolence in Iran: An open letter from the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education

The Metta Center for Nonviolence Education, of which I am the founder, released the following statement today:

An Open Letter to Sisters and Brothers in Iran

Dear Friends,

We are a group of professors and students who work with nonviolent movements (see our site at and we would like to extend to you our solidarity and encouragement for your struggle. Based on our experience, we would share the following thoughts with you at this critical juncture:

Your cause is just. Despite the blackout, people all over the world are following your struggle and our hearts are with you. To have a just cause and courage are the two main requirements for a nonviolent movement, and you have both.

FOR joins 35 national organizations in letter to Iranian leaders on ending the violence

June 24, 2009

FOR press contact: Ethan Vesely-Flad, Communications Director, 510-701-5267 (c)

To the Iranian Leadership: End the Violence Immediately