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FOR Blogs

Pete Seeger sings for Iraq!

Happy birthday, Pete Seeger! Yesterday was the legendary songwriter's 90th birthday, and a massive concert attended by 15,000 admirers was held in his honor this weekend in NYC to raise needed funds for the Hudson River Clearwater that Pete helped found almost 40 years ago. I grew up alongside the Hudson, regularly attending strawberry, pumpkin, and shad festivals hosted by the Clearwater, with free music provided by Seeger, other members of The Weavers, and plenty of other folk and bluegrass artists. One of my earliest childhood memories is of splitting a peanut butter & jelly sandwich with Pete Seeger, since my parents had told me he liked PB&J just as much as I did!

Sri Lanka crisis needs peaceful resolution

The situation this month in Sri Lanka has deteriorated rapidly to the extent that tens of thousands of civilians are at constant risk of injury or death. With the Sri Lankan government pushing hard to eliminate the Tamil Tiger rebel force, with which it has been at war for decades, innocent civilians are increasingly caught in the middle of the conflict. The International Fellowship of Reconciliation has released news to member groups around the world of a "fast unto death" that 20 women in the TamilNadu community launched last week.

The women have called on the Sri Lankan government as well as Ms. Sonia Gandhi, president of India's governing Congress Party, to take quick and measurable steps to end the war in Sri Lanka. Visit IFOR's web site to learn more about this effort.

39th anniversary of Earth Day

In Celebration of the 39th Anniversary of Earth Day join us at FOR as we commit to being more mindful of others and the environment. Feel free to add your own!

"10 Personal Greening Steps to Celebrate Earth Day"

The Four Directions: Dancing Dolls in the Sun

Red DancersWe started our march with a bit of sage, drums and a blessing to the four directions. There were 60 of us gathered on the sidewalks of San Francisco standing in the midst of the city bustle while Luis, a local Colombian, gave instructions to turn and face in each of the four directions.

FOR staff on internet radio re: Colombia

This coming Sunday and Monday, the annual Colombia Days of Prayer & Action will be held across North America. FOR is one of a dozen national organizations cosponsoring this year's events.

As momentum builds toward this important international solidarity effort, drawing both faith and secular U.S. communities into deeper relationship with our sisters and brothers in Colombia, staff members of FOR's Latin America program are being interviewed on the challenges facing Colombia by numerous media sources.

Earlier today, FOR Colombia campaign organizer Liza Smith was interviewed on KAOS radio (Portland OR) by Kim Dobbs. We are hopeful that an MP3 audio file of the interview will be posted in the next couple days on the station's website — if and when it is, you'll be able to access it here.

Breaking borders, breaking structures, breaking guns—through nonviolence, love, and the imagination

By Kristen Kuriga

L09 Youth Delegation Broken Gun ast night I dreamt I was in Colombia. I was walking down the street at night alone and the lighting was dim. A man with a machine gun came out from behind a building and forced me to the ground. He put his gun up to my head and I could hear him slowly pulling the trigger back. My heart was pounding as I lay with my face on the cold concrete. Am I going to die? Everything was in slow motion. As I heard the bullet coming out of the gun I grabbed the end with my hand and bent it. I stood up, took the gun from the man, and broke it with my hands. I threw the gun on the ground and walked down the dark street alone.

Tax resistance ideas & actions; plus Louie Vitale on Democracy Now!

Tax Day is this Wednesday, April 15th. For the past two years, my partner & I engaged in war tax resistance, withholding 51% (in 2007) and 54% (in 2008) of our federal taxes, in protest of the many ways that U.S. foreign policy was killing innocent civilians and militarizing the world. While we still have many reasons for concern about our nation’s addiction to militarism — the continuing occupation of Iraq and the massive increase in U.S. troops to and bombings in Afghanistan (& Pakistan) — for several reasons we’ve decided to not engage in tax resistance this year. Still, I will be on the steps of the Rockland County courthouse this Wednesday at noon, with fellow members of the Rockland Coalition for Peace & Justice, protesting the billions of dollars used for war that should be used for ending poverty and addressing social injustice instead.

Intense — full of life — big

by Kristen Kuriga

When friends have asked me about my time in Colombia, my initial response is intense — full of life — big. In the span of ten days I witnessed and experienced the context of the conflict in Colombia, its effect on youth, and the creative ways that ACOOC and the Red Juvenil have developed an alternative path for youth built on the principles of nonviolence, conscientious objection, and art. And I met people who inspired me and filled me with a sense of possibility and resilience. In the midst of armed conflict and daily violence, poverty, and the repression of dissident voices, the youth that I encountered emanated love, life, joy, and celebration. What was at the core of this? I saw community, self-created family, vision, play, and most of all creativity!

National radio tomorrow: FOR leader George Houser & FOR staff Ruby Sinreich

Free Speech Radio News is a nationally-syndicated progressive political radio program that appears on more than 60 FM radio stations nationwide, including the Pacifica network (such WBAI in New York City and KPFA in Berkeley, CA). On tomorrow’s program (Thursday, April 9), the voices of both FOR Communications Co-Director Ruby Sinreich and long-time FOR leader George Houser will appear during a feature segment about the Journey of Reconciliation (JOR).

The feature was developed recently by FSRN’s North Carolina-based reporter/producer Lynda-Marie Taurasi, who attended the JOR commemoration that was held five weeks ago in Chapel Hill, NC, at the end of February. George Houser traveled from New York to participate in this commemoration, and Ruby Sinreich played a key role in helping the local activist community organize the program and affiliated events that week.

Colombia Peace News: March 2009

Help FOR support peace efforts in Colombia and demilitarize U.S. policy.