Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chicago - Dec 10 Human Rights Day Protest

On International Human Rights Day
Protest Human Rights Violations by U.S. Government!


Date/Time: Saturday, December 10 1:00 p.m.
Location: Federal Plaza (Dearborn & Adams) Chicago, with procession to Occupy Chicago, State Street shopping district, and Obama 2012 HQ
On Facebook: Please "join" on the FB event page ... and invite LOTS of friends!!

Saturday, December 10th, is International Human Rights Day. Chicago World Can't Wait will lead a group of individuals and organizations in dramatizing U.S. human rights violations and publicizing the upcoming worldwide protests of the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay Detention center on January 11th, 2012 (*See key links below).


Planned activities:

  • meet at Federal Plaza at 1PM in orange jumpsuits and black hoods

  • procession to LaSalle and Jackson for rally with Occupy Chicago about the Declaration of Human Rights and the sharp contrast with U.S. human rights violations

  • procession on multiple paths, converging on State St. shopping district (State & Washington) (leafletting along the way)

  • procession to Obama 2012 Headquarters (Michigan & Randolph) for "Nobel Revocation Ceremony"

The culmination of the action will take place at Obama 2012 Headquarters, where the "King of Norway" will revoke the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded exactly two years previously (December 10, 2009) to Barack Obama, on account of his violations of human rights and crimes against peace, including:

  • failure to close Guantanamo
  • expansion of indefinite detention at Bagram and other detention centers throughout Afghanistan

  • assassinations, including assassinations of U.S. citizens, among other violations of due process

  • widening of the the war of terror into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia

  • arrogation of war power to himself in the NATO attack on Libya

  • threats of war against Iran

Please join Chicago World Can't Wait and others in this very important demonstration of opposition to war crimes by the U.S. government as the U.S. continues to wage illegitimate wars and widen the so-called "war on terror" (war OF terror!).

Please "join" on the FB event page ... and invite LOTS of friends!!

Contact: Jill McLaughlin jilreb [at] yahoo.com


AND ... Sunday, December 11th, screening of "The Response" in Logan Square

Everyone is welcome to attend the free screening the next day at St. Luke's Logan Square of the award-winning film about Guantanamo, "The Response." Sunday, December 11th, noon, 2649 N. Francisco, Chicago.


*More information on January 11th, 2012 worldwide protests of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center anniversary:


Related posts

NOW THEREFORE, by the power vested in me, and on account of the actions on the part of the recipient today described, as well as others, I hereby declare the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award to Barack H. Obama officially revoked.

(See Obama Nobel Peace Prize - REVOKED! )












Chicago was the site of major protests against U.S. detention practices in Guantanamo, as well as in Bagram, other prisons throughout Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world, on and around January 11, 2012. We called for an end to indefinite detention, unfair trials, and torture.

(See Chicago Protests Guantanamo Detention







The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo holds weekly vigils at Dearborn and Jackson in Chicago every Friday at 4:30 p.m. to support the Guantanamo Hunger Strikers and to demand that Guantanamo be shut down.

(Learn more about weekly vigils by the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy the NDAA! Oppose Indefinite Detention!


NDAA = Guantanamo for EVERYONE!
World Can't Wait


Occupy Chicago has come out with a strong resolution against measures for indefinite detention in the pending National Defense Authorization Act:

Occupy Chicago opposes the language featured in the National Defense Authorization Act, which if passed would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military without charge or trail anywhere in the world. This expands and codifies tactics from the War on Terror of illegal detentions condemned by international law and our own constitution. We urge senators Durbin and Kirk to oppose this type of legislation in any form. (See original post at occupychi.org)


OCCUPY CHICAGO


Occupy Wall Street also opposes this pending legislation.

This is also under discussion at Occupy Oakland, Occupy LA, and Occupy Seattle.

Occupy's in every city should resist this legislation, and antiwar people in every city should work with them to help spread that resistance and make it effective!

And EVERYONE should become part of the national mobilization in the days ahead to end indefinite detention and violations of human rights at US detention centers in Guantanamo, Bagram, the rest of Afghanistan, and throughout the world!


Related posts

Barack Obama - the president we thought was going to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and restore the rule of law - has instituted a new regime. It's called "the three ANYs".

(See Obama's Three "ANYs" )










Attorney General Eric Holder stepped down last week. Mainstream media commentaries on his legacy are all over the map.  Perhaps it would be fruitful for one or more law school to avail itself of this stock-taking moment. What happened? Why?


(See Detention USA: EVERYBODY is Starting to Ask Questions! )
 

The story of the past decade-plus has been the story of the assertion by some that the conception of law that our society has is not sufficient.  Simply put, there are those who say that there is a third, "in-between" category of behavior -- and legal status -- that is not civilian (subject to criminal law) and not military (subject to military law and the laws of war). And since there are no rules about how to deal with that third category . . . .

(See Using the Good, Old Criminal Justice System: Worth a Try?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WWJD? Occupy!

My friend had given me the floor and it was my chance to explain (within a reasonable amount of time) what I think is the essential meaning of the life of Christ, and the force underlying Christianity. As usual, what I always think of as something that is very clear in my mind got very muddy when I tried to share it with someone else.

On this particular day, I was hung up on the question, "So tell me again how Christ dying adds up to redemption for everyone else??"

A couple of days later, I picked up a copy of a recent book by Paul Johnson - an author I love on account of his wonderful explanations of the way the world changed in the years 1815 to 1830 in "The Birth of the Modern". The new book is "Jesus: A Biography from a Believer". I saw it and thought, "Johnson's pretty good; let's see what light he can shed on this topic . . . .




With my recent discussions in mind, I decided to dip right into the chapter near the end, "Jesus's Trial and Crucifixion." As usual, Johnson took facts that we all know -- or think we know -- and put a rather fine point on them. In describing how Jesus was viewed by the authorities like the high priest Caiaphas in Jerusalem, Johnson writes:

A Jewish popular preacher whom he [Caiaphas] did not control was a threat to his authority, and if his teaching turned out to be revolutionary, there could be a tumult, for which he would be blamed. As Jesus's fame spread, and the number of people he could attract increased, so the threat appeared to grow. News that he had persuaded more than five thousand people to ascend a mountain and hear him preach there, and then by a "miracle" fed them heartily with fishes and loaves, filled the ruling priests with terror. What if he did this in a city? Could he not then take it over by force? What if he did it in Jerusalem itself? Then he could occupy it, proclaim himself another King David, and become priest-king. The Romans would then pull out, except from the Antonia fortress, return with reinforcements from Syria in massive strength, take the city, massacre all its Jewish inhabitants, including and especially the priests, and raze it to the ground. (Jesus: A Biography from a Believer, p. 180-1)

This passage helped me get a concrete fix on what Jesus found himself in the middle of. The last thing this fellow who was saying "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and render unto God what is God's" wanted was to have a power confrontation with worldly authority -- he was seeking a much more global conversation. And yet he had to admit to himself that he was sure starting to look like a threat to temporal power.

And so he found himself praying in the garden: "Can't I just walk away from this? Save this confrontation for another day? Why not just slip out of Jerusalem? Do I really have to step up to the plate?"

With hindsight it is so easy to propose that coming into Jerusalem was somehow qualitatively different -- a "different" type of activity, something that Jesus could have re-defined for himself as off limits, "too political." But are those lines really so easy to draw, especially in the moment? Are those lines really real at all?

What I have come to understand is that the answer -- "Yes, you really have to step up to the plate!" -- was part and parcel of the larger meaning of Christ's life: "Yes, you really are part of this human mix and it always comes with death at the end and along the way you are just going to be crossing the line every day and never really knowing whether this is the day when 'you've gone too far' ...."

So I understand how Christ ended up on the cross: not by crossing the line one time too many, but by the fundamental decision to say "yes" to living and crossing the line every day.

Johnson describes Jesus as having a "unique combination of authority and gentleness." This simple description helped me envision a person who was crossing the line -- threatening the status quo -- with every move he made. Not taking the place by storm; just riding in on a donkey, in communion with the ordinary people and their palm "banners."

Faced with chorus of voices saying, "Isn't it time for you to tone it down? Can't you be more reasonable? What is it you want, anyway?" Jesus kept right on doing what he was doing. And that was a sign to us about how to live our lives, a reminder that our lives are not "lived" as a single block whose perfection can be sought in the impossible hope of not dying, but rather in the crossing of those lines moment by moment by moment . . . .

Does that reminder constitute "redemption"? It does for me

What would Jesus do? Occupy . . . !


cf. also Alan Minsky, Would Jesus Occupy?


Related posts

Think back on everything that has happened in the last year. Is it time for things to quiet down? To have a "nice" spring? To sit back and be entertained by the usual presidential campaign circus?

(See Occupy Palm Sunday in 2016)




I've been thinking about the Occupy movement and what it has to do with Christian witness. The conclusion I've come to is: a lot! In fact, I think it's central to our understanding of what Christ's life and death meant.

(See Occupy Palm Sunday! )





Like a full-service prophet, Ron often has to be his own interpreter and explain to people what the expression "fly in the ointment" means! However, when he shows them his sign, with the big gross fly on it, they intuitively understand the role of social critic in making people uncomfortable and pointing up the need for change. And they understand that the role is not
always welcomed.

(See Flies in the Ointment and Plumb Lines for Israel)










In gratitude to John Kass, and in keeping with what I perceive to be our shared desire to place our faith "in the world" and share the good news (while at the same time not turning people off with too much Jesus talk) -- in short, keeping my tough guy cred intact -- I herewith share some scenes from my Holy Week 2014.

(See Holy Week 2014 in Chicago - Making a Spectacle of Ourselves )


Friday, November 25, 2011

#AfghanistanTuesday - Top Tweets - Nov 22

As in other weeks,we had a very busy day on #AfghanistanTuesday! Although it was Thanksgiving week, with all the distractions of the holidays upon us, we still had a lot of participation!

(And we got a start on a new weekly activity, taking place every Wednesday: tweeting about the upcoming Guantanamo mobilization in January!)

These are some of the #AfghanistanTuesday tweets from Tuesday, November 22, 2011, that were most highly retweeted:


End U.S. Wars!
From @ShaggyBull : #AfghanistanTuesday Here's to 10 years in an unconquered land. American lives wasted on toothless, warmongers folly. When will we learn?

From @katpen6 : Reverse the Tide. Say NO to Global Warfare/US out of #Afghanistan now! #AfghanistanTuesday http://t.co/xF5MEksn

From @JanetRWeil : On this #AfghanistanTuesday let's remember US govt propaganda against #Iran: http://j.mp/uRRpnH As if we didn't have enough to worry abt!

From @LibertyWebA : haven't enough died from all sides? #AfghanistanTuesday

Bread and Circus
From @ChristinaDLC : Beyonce's pregnancy gets more coverage than the progress of the overseas troops. Problem. #AfghanistanTuesday

From @MidwestAntiwar : "Black Friday" ? We're not in charge of our own days in America. EVERY day is a #WAR day! Today is just another #WarDay: #AfghanistanTuesday

From @MidwestAntiwar : Who among us will have courage on Thurs to say "I am #UNthankful that US continues killing innocents in #Afghanistan"? #AfghanistanTuesday

#freeBradley
From @jilreb : @midwestantiwar Don't Let U. S. Convict Manning 4 Allegedly Exposing U. S. Crimes. On 12/16 Pretrial Demand He B Freed #afghanistantuesday

Veterans
From @JanetRWeil : #AfghanistanTuesday @MFSpeakOut How Can We Prevent Military Suicides http://t.co/I3Z3C4HO

Prosecute War Crimes
From @futureup2us :
BushBlair guilty of Iraq war crimes http://bit.ly/tTAvq1 Not like at #GitmoFail. When does trial 4 Afghanistan start? #AfghanistanTuesday

PLUS . . . Check out the master list of #AfghanistanTuesday blog posts!

#PeaceDecember

We've been having a lot of success with #AfghanistanTuesday -- a weekly conversation on Twitter about getting the U.S. military out of Afghanistan.

Now Wednesdays are devoted to raising awareness of U.S. detention practices in Guantanamo, Bagram, and other places, and publicizing the national mobilization to protest the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center on January 11, 2012: see #closeGITMO.


There is rapidly growing concern about U.S. saber-rattling about Iran, and so Fridays have now been devoted to figuring out how to head off the rush into another U.S. war: #NoIranWar.


December is a time when we talk a lot about "Peace on Earth." Let's do a little less shopping and little more tweeting. And organizing. And protesting!

#PeaceDecember


Related posts

There is a need for a much broader effort to tackle the issue of Palestine, particularly among faith communities (congregations). Why not start in December, when all eyes turn toward Bethlehem?

(See Faith Communities Need to Get Active Working for Justice in Palestine)



The United States may set the standard for human desire -- for the mindless pursuit of the bright and shiny object -- but, heaven knows, China is not to be outdone.

(See China and USA - Like a Moth to the Flame)




Can we imagine a world in which December ISN'T the eve of yet another anniversary of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay?  What will it take to bring justice to the people who have been held there without charge for the past decade+ ?

(See Chicago Protests Guantanamo Detention)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chicago: All Signs Point to Revolution

I really, really, really don't understand why the mayors of U.S. cities and the federal government are so hell-bent on preventing the assembly of Occupy groups. What are they afraid of? Do they think that the prospect of sitting in a tent in a park in Chicago (or New York or Oakland or ... ) all winter will be so attractive that people will abandon their homes and families and society as we know it will fall apart? Is it really possible that they can't tolerate the idea of people spending time together and talking about how to bring about a better future?

I can't help thinking that a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't be giving too much thought to the Occupy movement are now attracted to it principally because of the way the government is trying to repress it. "An encampment is so intolerable ...? Hmmm ... maybe I need to give this another look ...!"




And so, because they couldn't tolerate an encampment, they are getting something much bigger ....

The picture above is of a sign that I made for the Occupy Chicago visit to the office of the Chicago mayor to deliver petitions demanding assembly rights. A lot of people commented on it, and the media even ran some clips of it on TV. Thinking about the idea embodied in the sign, and making and showing the sign itself, has helped me get a better understanding of a basic idea of society and politics: one thing leads to another ... things happen for a reason ... expect consequences ....

Where did this sign come from? It wouldn't have happened without the friend who said to me, "It's good to go demonstrate, but it would be even better to have a sign." And from another friend who said, "That thing about 'don't like encampment?' - that's got a beat - put that on a sign!" And even the friend who, years ago, said, "Your artwork doesn't have to be perfect -- people like seeing another person's hand in a sign!"

But most of all, it came from the mayors who got on the phone together and coordinated raids against Occupy groups in New York, Oakland, and other cities. It came from the police in Davis who pepper-sprayed protesters. It came from the Chicago mayor who is spending millions to assemble NATO war-makers and G8 plutocrats in OUR city but thinks he can prevent US from assembling and formulating our own future!

That's right: Most of all, it came from YOU, Mayor Emanuel. It came from you ....


Check out more Scarry signs!


Related posts

Faced with chorus of voices saying, "Isn't it time for you to tone it down? Can't you be more reasonable? What is it you want, anyway?" Jesus kept right on doing what he was doing. And that was a sign to us about how to live our lives . . . .

(See WWJD? Occupy! )







Sometimes solidarity means taking to the streets where you are.  (And sometimes doing so reminds you to stick up for your own rights, as well.)

(See Can Chicago Walk Like an Egyptian?)










It seems like an appropriate time to remember the protests against NATO in Chicago in the spring of 2012. (What do YOU remember about the NATO protests?)

(See Flashback: Protesting NATO in Chicago - May, 2012 )

Monday, November 21, 2011

Seven Little Words in Kuwait

[This turned out to be one of my favorite blog posts of 2011. Check out my other 2011 favorite "Scarry Thoughts" blog posts here!]

I've been working with the film about Guantanamo, "The Response," for over two years now.

By now I know the dialog by heart; sometimes I recite it as if I wrote it myself. And it has always seemed to me as if everyone else should be thinking about that dialog, too.

But I never thought I'd see the day that the dialog from "The Response" was being adopted by activists in countries as far away as Kuwait to challenge U.S. detention practices.


The message above came in the context of a public information campaign in Kuwait to push for the liberation of two Kuwaitis who are still held in Guantanamo: Fahiz Al-Kandari and Fawzi Al-Odah. It recites the central challenge of "The Response": "the response matters; our response defines us."

(See additional coverage at Arab Times Online.)


We are all learning in real time about how politics is conducted in the Mideast. In recent months, the words "Tahrir Square" have fundamentally changed our understanding of politics everywhere. (See: "the Occupy movement.")

And now add one more concept to the list: diwan. "Diwan" and "diwaniya" are the places that people in Kuwait gather to discuss and debate current affairs. (What they do after they meet in the diwan/diwaniya depends on circumstances .... )

Diwan + film + Twitter = ?

It's a new world.


Related posts


The defense team for the Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al Kandari was in Kuwait this week, publicizing the case and encouraging people there to demand that the United States government release the two Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo.

(See People in Kuwait Raising Their Voices Against Guantanamo )







I believe Easter is God's gift to humanity of victory over death, hopelessness and frailty, and I believe that God is alive and in our midst. The witness of the Guantanamo lawyers has confirmed me in those beliefs.

(See Easter Victory: The Guantanamo Lawyers )







My most prominent memory of my first viewing of the Guantanamo film, The Response, is of one of the stars of the film -- Kate Mulgrew of Star Trek fame -- participating in a panel after the screening. I was blown away when she said, "I did this because our civil liberties in our country have been gravely damaged and we all need to contribute to repairing them."

(See Understanding What Guantanamo Means

Sunday, November 20, 2011

People in Kuwait Raising Their Voices Against Guantanamo

The defense team for the Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al Kandari was in Kuwait this week, publicizing the case and encouraging people there to demand that the United States government release the two Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo.

As part of the information campaign, "The Response" was broadcast twice on the Kuwait network Al Rai, and Al Rai followed up with a 90-minute interview segment including attorneys and members of the team that made "The Response."


The next day -- just hours ago -- a crowd estimated at between 1,000 and 1,500 gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City. They called on Barack Obama to keep his promise to close Guantanamo, and demanded that the U.S. government to free Fayiz al Kandari and the other Kuwaiti detainee.

Below are additional images from that protest.












Related posts

I never thought I'd see the day that the dialog from "The Response" was being adopted by activists in countries as far away as Kuwait to challenge U.S. detention practices.

(See Seven Little Words in Kuwait )





I believe Easter is God's gift to humanity of victory over death, hopelessness and frailty, and I believe that God is alive and in our midst. The witness of the Guantanamo lawyers has confirmed me in those beliefs.

(See Easter Victory: The Guantanamo Lawyers )







My most prominent memory of my first viewing of the Guantanamo film, The Response, is of one of the stars of the film -- Kate Mulgrew of Star Trek fame -- participating in a panel after the screening. I was blown away when she said, "I did this because our civil liberties in our country have been gravely damaged and we all need to contribute to repairing them."

(See Understanding What Guantanamo Means

Friday, November 18, 2011

#gitmoFAIL!

January 11, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility ("Gitmo").

People from across the country will converge on Washington, D.C., to protest U.S. detention policies and its abandonment of due process. Actions will take place locally in Chicago and many, many other cities.

Between now and then, we'll be getting the message out:


#gitmoFAIL! #humanrights #justice ((#Guantanamo 1.11.12 ))
from@MidwestAntiwar


Because Gitmo represents all the ways the U.S. government commits human rights violations and commits war crimes with impunity.


#gitmoFAIL! #islamophobia ((#guantanamo 1.11.12 ))
from @TheResponseFilm


Because Gitmo stands for the cynical exploitation of islamophobia to pit us against each other.


#gitmoFAIL! #jan11 #2711 is the # of people still detained
without charge or fair trial at #bagram and #guantanamo

from @worldcantwait


Because Gitmo symbolizes all the failures of the current administration.

Because ....

#gitmoFAIL!

Join us!


Related posts


 Diverse artists and media kept the question of Guantanamo alive during 2010. Here's my list of "Arts and Media 2010 Responses to #Guantanamo" favorites -- tweeted during December, 2010.

(See Arts and Media 2010 Responses to #Guantanamo )







There is an eerie similarity between events in the book Paul Revere's Ride and events in our world today. I'm thinking particularly of how a network of mass resistance springs into action.

(See New World Counterinsurgency: Deja Vu All Over Again)













Read about the #AfghanistanTuesday campaign - in which people made time every week to remember what's happening in Afghanistan and push for change.

(See Making an Impact on #AfghanistanTuesday)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can the People Stop the Wars?

Today is a National Day of Action.

By coincidence, there was a nationally-coordinated effort to shut down the Occupy movement in the past few days.

Today, massive protests are expected in cities across the country.


Antiwar Protest


What does all this mean for people who have been earnestly trying to end U.S. wars in Afghanistan and other places?

When we raise our voices again next Tuesday on #AfghanistanTuesday, what will be different?

Are we getting any closer? Are we learning anything?

How do we get results? Can we stop settling for anything less than an end to all this war-making?


Related posts


Read about the #AfghanistanTuesday campaign - in which people made time every week to remember what's happening in Afghanistan and push for change.

(See Making an Impact on #AfghanistanTuesday)









I've realized that when we ask ourselves, "What is it that we hope people will do?" we must include an element of recursivity: One of the things we want people to do is to involve more people in doing it. In a way, that element of recursivity -- dare I say "evangelism"? -- defines what it means for people to really become part of a movement.

(See Invite More People into Activism! (Pass It Along!) )












One place I've focused my activism is my church community. Last fall, at the time of the Afghanistan invasion anniversary, I posed the question, "Where is the Church?" In the weeks and months that followed, I realized that I, myself, had to be part of the solution of giving direction to the Church.

(See Obama? NO! Activism? YES! )