Archive | May 2011

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

 

By Hwaa Irfan

It is time to get real in the developed world that has been arguing for so long against a perception of ‘child labour’ as ‘slave labour’. Yes, sometimes it is a case of having, and sometimes it is a case of exploitation with laziness on the part of the parents. This is something that happens all over the world, outside of the system, but there is a crucial aspect to what it means to being a youth, when the hormonal developmental stages still exist as they did hundreds and thousands of years ago, when manhood was not about age and qualifications, when manhood was a rite of passage that proved the ability to take on responsibility for one’s self and for others.

The tricky thing about being an adolescent in today’s world, is when adults decide that a youth should go to school, then straight into to higher education, the product of which is prolonged by finding suitable learning experience in a working environment which takes a few years before one is designated responsible enough to get married – yes – the problem with this is the length of an education process that does not prepare them for the world of work at a time when their cognitive and social developmental needs are operating at sometimes a conflicting speed, with the social development being the more urgent of the two processed. No wonder the youth get depressed, even more so in a world that has proven itself invalid at a time when they need to find their way in the world.

It takes a strong conviction to not fall into a trap that contributed not to a lot of great, and happy people whose minds were subject to being cloned by the artificial knowledge of schooling. It , was so for Nick Cammarata who though attended school, never paid attention to it, and instead did much of his learning from books on whatever he found interesting.

The mind of a youth that thinks along lines that can only be expressed through the love of computers, found he had a talent for coding, in fact, so gifted in that arena is Cammarata that he was able to enter a computer science program at Carnegie Mellon University without ‘the grades.’

Now at the age of 18, Cammerata will not feel obliged himself to be stuck behind a desk in a place of ‘higher learning’ at a time when the U.S. education system is faltering badly. Along with 3 other winners, Cammerata has won a scholarship to not go to school/college/university.

The gift of such a kind of scholarship comes from a tech tycoon, Peter Thiel (co-founder of Paypal)  in the form of U.S.$100,000 for a period of two years to chase their entrepreneurial dreams.

“It seems like the perfect point in our lives to pursue this kind of project,” Cammarata told Associated Press.

And so it is!

The “20 Under 20” Fellowship helps to save young healthy minds from being put to sleep in the factory schooling system these young minds get to breathe, to benefit from their own needy development in the real world, facing real challenges, and hopefully with the kind of insight and developments that can give more than it gets!

Sources:

“Tech Moghul Pays Bright Minds Not to Go to College.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110529/ap_on_bi_ge/us_anti_college_scholarship%3B_ylt%3DAkSpOLDBCX5rKCM8ykB92_Cs0NUE%3B_ylu%3DX3oDMTFpcHVnMnM1BHBvcwMzNgRzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDdGVjaG1vZ3VscGF5

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Youth Inventor Wins Environmental Award

The Missing Link in the Education of Our Boys

Why Boys are Becoming Girls, and Men are…

The Violence of Schooling

Attention Deficit or Information Overload in Our Children?

Egypt’s Creative Talent: Vanishing with Education!?

Climbing the Mountain

Learning vs. the Artificial World of the Internet

The Death of U.S. Education as We Know It?

Homeschooling as the Last Option

How Not to Master a Skill

Mindfulness and Adolescence

The Lesson that Cannot Be Taught

The Echo of Life

Children Need the Outdoors Like Earth Needs Rain!

Lost to the Sea of Life

The 12-yr-old Who Rocked the Earth Summit

The Student Who Sparked the Lotus Revolution

Statement from the Youth of the Lotus Revolution

A Generation of Neos

Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Between Power to Choose or the Choice of Power?

Between Power to Choose or the Choice of Power?

By Hwaa Irfan

Nature is God’s intelligence made manifest in our physical world, and as humans, we are a part of that which He created, the physical and non-physical world, and therefore a part of nature. In Islam, we are taught that the Creator, Supreme Intelligence – God gave humans the gift of choice. That choice is denied nature, every part of which serves as reminder from our Creator, for us humans who as we can see have a pretty difficult time of choosing what is best for us.

However, in reality, we do not choose at all… others choose for us!

Only those who have been raised to express their thoughts, their opinions, and their needs; and are listened to really have a choice – they have been given the space for their true nature to develop without exploitation, or manipulation.  Yet, that choice does not come to us as we please when if we are naive to the inner knowledge that a natural framework exists in which to operate; otherwise its like walking into a megastore, with no particular goal in mind, to end up leaving with a headache or a suppressed feeling. That headache and/or suppressed feeling is the intangible result of being bombarded with too many choices, too much stimuli the result of which cancels each other out.

If we are submissive to our ego that is hungry to fit into what is intrinsically not good for us, what happens is we do a trade off. We trade off our souls, our purpose and our innate gifts. We polarize the negative within, and negativity in any shape or form thrives in numbers not strength. In doing so, we have given up finding out our true place in the world, and more importantly within in our own hearts. We allow ourselves to believe we have done the right thing, after all who wants to be alone, but one ends up being alone in the midst of a hundred friends who are incapable of being there for us in our hour of need. Because we lack the courage, we remove from our life experience the possibility of an energizing relationship with those who are on the same wavelength. That lack of courage descends into a need to control. That person is not pretty enough, young enough, does not think the same way, like the same thing, behave in the same way etc, etc, etc… doth on the wings of control is born fear of the unfamiliar, the perfect world according to Jim. We project our world outwardly, giving full voice to the ego, and in the process silencing who and what we really are. We have traded off choice for power, and that power means everything has to be my way or no way, and so we hold on tight to the small worlds we have created round ourselves and fall to pieces as it deconstructs as it must. We push away anything or anyone who reminds us of the parts of ourselves we have silenced, and we punish them in subtle and not so subtle ways. This is because of what we have sacrificed of essential being, makes us inflexible and therefore critical of ourselves and thus others.

It All Begins…!?

It might happen unconsciously, or before we are old enough to know we have a right, but today’s society is built on the lack of choice under the illusion that we have a real choice.

  • We learn very early on to censor, as we have been censored
  • We learn to hold back a part of our essence, because it was rejected very early on in our lives by a significant other who directly/indirectly rejected it
  • We withdraw a part of our essential selves, from emotional shock, exploitation, manipulation, in fact all forms of abuse.

The end result is our hearts become closed out of a fear of pain/hurt, proving that we are indeed born weak.

As we fail to nurture and exercise our souls, our hearts become weak. The result manifests in many ways in that we become isolated, defensive, obstinate, insecure, lethargic, and inactive. Or we avoid deeper levels of relationships, and thus are unable to commit. Or we seek to show that we can do it, and tread on a few people in the process physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. If we grow up in this way, live this way we end up parenting in this repeating what becomes a vicious circle that shapes the society in which we live in.

Ironically, out of a study more concerned with marketing than man’s well-being carried out by the London Buisness School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, they found that people will trade one source of control for another. They also found that it is the powerless who thirst for choice, but those who have a lot of choice do not strive as much for power.

Admittedly the power the researchers speak of is in the limited everyday world of employment, and the marketplace. It does not speak of personal power, the power of loving one’s self enough to express one’s self in the world. Therapist and author, Lynn V. Andrews shares the experience of one her clients.

“She was an A student, a fine musician, and an Olympic swimmer, though not a medalist. Because of her uniqueness, she was beautiful, bright, and smart, but Janice had always felt separate and different in her life. She was an only child, raised by intelligent and intellectual parents who, because of their scientific background and positions in the world, were not social. Janice, on the other hand, had a wonderful quality of being able to move out into society with such a sparkle and sense of humour that people were at once attracted to her. But then, because of her strength and the mirror of perfection that she provided for people, they were often frightened by her and moved away from her.

But Janice, because she was part of this society and feeling very lonely, began to try to become a beta wolf instead of an alpha wolf. She tried to just become a member of the pack, because she didn’t know how to accept and love herself as a leader. Janice needed a teacher, someone who had been down these roads before her, to show her the way. In her early years, there was no one to play this role.

In trying to become a beta wolf when she was really a leader, an alpha, Janice became very ill. She developed Epstein-Barr, so she could not function optimally, which was, of course, what she was asking for. Because of the dis-ease in her spirit, she created a disease in the immune system of her body. Then she got carpel tunnel syndrome in her hands. The way I look at the situation, she simply could not handle what was happening to her. She could not handle her own power. Then, because of her discontent and her attempts to become somebody that she was not, even though she was praised for the things she was doing, she did not ever own any of it. She felt that if people really knew who she was, they would no longer love her, which had been her experience.

Here was a woman of power not taking her power – an alpha wolf trying to be a follower. This did not work for her; it does not work for anyone. Janice lacked self-love, so she could not truly live in her power; she could not express herself in the world as she truly was. So how did this beautiful woman heal this self defeating dynamic so she could live a harmonious, balanced life and still be loved?

Janice learned to expand her heart; she learnt to simply love being – not doing, not making a mark, but simply just allowing the beingness of her own spirit and soul. Through movement in dance, deep contemplation in order to heal her wounds, and getting to know her spirit through painting, she stopped sabotaging herself. Then, as Janice expanded her won heart toward a new sense of being, she began slowly to rejuvenate the feeling of loving herself as she was and as she is. Then, suddenly, it seemed to her that being the alpha wolf, being a leader, was simply her rightful state of being. He false nature, which had been quite aggressive in the past, began to settle down. She realized she had become quite aggressive because she  couldn’t get anyone to listen. The more she argued and tried to tell people what to do, the more they misunderstood her.

Janice began to sit in the centre of her truth more, and more every day, through meditation, through doing private ceremonies with nature-sitting with a tree, for instance, her back to the tree, sensing the sap moving through the tree and acknowledging the tree for its magnificent existence as a perfected being on this earth. She realized that a tree can only be a tree, and a tree is that treeness with exceptional beauty and strength. As Janice meditated with the tree, simply sitting in silence, honoring its presence, she began to realize the choices that we human beings have…. We can act like a donkey or an alpha wolf…

“Janice truly began to celebrate her newfound sense of harmony, and self-love…. She became more careful about the way she approached people with her strength and her power. She became more understanding of other people’s faults and lack of courage. She had come down a trail, at first not recognizing herself, disowning huge pieces of herself, and then bringing the fragments back into the newly puzzle of her personal being, which gave her a fresh sense of stability and harmony….”

We become submissive to a ‘way of doing things’ that actually exploits completely believing that is the only way/it represents freedom. A clear example of this is the electoral system, when, if one votes at all, one voted for what there is. One convinces one’s self that one made the right ‘choice’ without having any real knowledge of the candidate, and their ability to represent you. But how can they represent you when one has given up the ‘choice’ to know how one truly wants to live, to be, to strive for/not strive – when one strives for something without knowledge of one’s self! Yet one ends up voting for someone who has no allegiance to anything but power by force/inducement! And even if one does vote for a candidate that stands for what one believes in, will that candidate be able to achieve anything if the system is not representative and supportive of the same goals – like building a house on sand!

Every cloud has a silver lining, and the silver lining of the current global economic crisis, a crisis that demonstrates an inability to sustain itself at all levels is that we are now being given the ‘choice’ – the choice to fight/defend what we have built our lives on, and remain miserable about it, or the right to make a real ‘choice’. To reinvent is easy, but to create what has been missing from our lives, the essence of who we are, to give voice to our souls which we have silenced is the real ‘choice’ from which life has many blessings, and a much more enjoyable journey.

Are you being who you are, or are you trying to be somebody who you are not?

Source:

Andrews. L.V. Love and Power: Awakening to Mastery Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin Group.

Inesi, E. et al. Power and Choice: Their Dynamic Interplay in Quenching the Thirst for Personal Control. Psychological Science, 2011

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Self-Love is a Journey

Avoiding the Silence

Mindfulness and Adolescence

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What Frequency Am I Traveling on Right Now?

Self-Awareness: Between Me, Myself and Others

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The Marketing of Madness

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The Truth Behind These Phony Wars

The Truth Behind These Phony Wars

From Alexandra

It’s Memorial Day.

–        4,454 US troops have been killed since the beginning of the Second Gulf War.

–        1,582 US troops have been killed in Afghanistan, in the longest war in US history.

–        Two million innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed since 2003.

–         90% of US war deaths are of innocent civilians, 30% of whom are children.

These wars are against the interests of US Citizens, not to mention those of the millions of foreign casualties, their families, communities and nations.

These conflicts benefit a handful of depraved corporate entities.

These illegal wars, which have financially and morally bankrupted America must cease, immediately.

 

About Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

Born in 1971 in New York to a Jewish-American mother and Muslim Iraqi father, Dr. Wasfi spent part of her early childhood living in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. She returned to the US at age 5, earned her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College in 1993 and her medical degree from University of Pennsylvania in 1997.

Wasfi visited family in Iraq in 2004 and 2006 and based upon her assessment of Iraqi civilian life, became an advocate for “immediate, unconditional withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

====

Casualties in Iraq – The Human Cost of Occupation

Edited by Margaret Griffis – antiwar.com

American Deaths Since war began (3/19/03): Total: 4,454 In Combat: 3,511

Since “Mission Accomplished” (5/1/03): Total: 4,313 In Combat: 3,403

Since Handover (6/29/04): Total: 3,595 In Combat: 2,878

Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): Total: 226 In Combat: 107

Since Operation New Dawn: Total: 36 In Combat: 17

American Wounded

Official: 33,041

Estimated: Over 100,000

Latest Fatality May 22, 2011

Last updated 05/24/11 1:30 am EDT

Other Deaths

Other Coalition Troops – Iraq Total: 318

US Military Deaths – Afghanistan Total: 1,582

Other Military Deaths – Afghanistan Total: 887

Contractor Employee Deaths – Iraq Total: 1,487

Journalists – Iraq Total: 348

Academics Killed – Iraq

Total: 448

Sources: DoD, MNF and iCasualties.org

U.S. lacks a mechanism to accurately track troops wounded in Iraq. There are an average of 18 suicides committed by US war veterans, every day.

American Count

Dates and sources of Americans killed in Iraq since 5/1/03 are documented in this file. Admittedly the file is incomplete, for the Department of Defense does not maintain old records. All data was compiled from http://www.defenselink.mil. If something is amiss in the data collection, please contact Margaret Griffis.

Iraqi Civilian Count

We maintain a daily count based on news reports. It is not intended to be complete. There is no agency that keeps track of accurate numbers of Iraqis killed. JustForeignPolicy maintains a running estimate based on the Lancet study with the rate of increase derived from the Iraq Body Count.

Comparing Civilian Casualty Studies

Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy explains the similarities between the Lancet and the the Orb estimates. Numbers from the Iraq Body Count site and the study published in the Lancet are compared at OpenDemocracy.net. The BBC published an article, which includes a response from IBC, that criticizes the large Lancet figures. Middle East expert Juan Cole also gives his opinion on the Lancet study here.

Sources:

US Military Deaths by Month from Icasualties.org

Faces of the Fallen

Department of Defense

Central Command

JustForeignPolicy

Icasualties.org Count

BBC Figures

Juan Cole Journalist Deaths in Iraq

Cost of War

Also see The Missing Wounded.

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While U.S. Falls Apart 5.8mn Israelis Get $100bn

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On the 8th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq

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God Father of RAP is Dead!

God Father of RAP is Dead!

 

By Hwaa Irfan

 

To all haters of RAP, I sympathize, as it has become a derogatory semblance of what it once used to be, and that was an inner expression of the ills in society, the tensions, and concerns. Dying aged 62 only, Gil-Scott Heron was an advocate of that expression in the form of Jazz-oetry. Why the poetry in Rhythm and Poetry, and Jazz-oetry? Because it is a tradition of the ancestors of the Africans in the Diaspora, a tradition that speaks to community, of community, and with community…

Gil Scott-Heron died at a hospital in New York Friday 27 May 2011 apparently falling ill following his return from Europe to the U.S. and passed away after he was admitted to the hospital.

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He grew up in Lincoln, Tennessee and later the Chelsea neighbourhood of the Bronx. His creative gift was inspired by his mother, Bobbie Scott-Heron who was part of the New York Oratorical Society.

Gil stood tall as a tower of musical integrity in the 70’s with a Masters in creative writing from John Hopkins University, as a poet, a writer, a lyricist, a composer, a poet and a modern day griot. He emerged in the 1970s making tangible the experience of persecution of African-American people after the death of Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X with the FBI taking vengeance through all possible means. Gil stood tall like the weed that would not be cut down with albums like What’s Going On and There’s A Riot Goin’ On, and tracks like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ – an oft-repeated phrase which arose from him.  After signing with Arista record label, he produced 12 albums, took a 12-year break and released ‘Spirits’ in 1993 with TVT Records. The first track “Message to the Messenger,” was a warning to modern day rappers to take responsibility for their art and their community.

Gil helped shaped the future for the new wave of black music, and has been influential with artistes like rappers Eminem. His last album ‘I Am New Here’ was released last year, in 2010, maybe Gil new something everybody else didn’t know! At least, maybe now is the time that the full meaning of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised has come to pass!

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The Redemption Songs of Muslim Youth

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The Guarani: Reclaiming One’s Conditions of Life

The Guarani: Reclaiming One’s Conditions of Life

 

By Hwaa Irfan

For some of us, a growing underlying dissatisfaction might manifest, but depending on our level of receptivity to our true selves, if we are blessed, we will recognize that there is something entirely uncomfortable about the way in which we live. If we are blessed further, we will seek out a better way through our actions. For people like the Guarani, despite being dispossessed, they have always held a strong relationship with their traditional way of life. We might never have heard of the Guarani, but some of us would have known of the gruesome film ‘The Mission’, or the health drink Yerba Mate, it is these people particularly the Guarani of Brazil, that is addressed here. The reason being, after being uprooted and left to wander the highway, a community of Guarani have finally reclaimed their conditions for life.

The Guarani marched back to their ancestral land late May 2011, an act that was carried out in state of utter desperation. The Guarani community of Laranjeira Nanderu like many before them had their land stolen from them in the 1960s by cattle ranchers. They reclaimed their land in 2008, and were evicted the following year and to prevent them from ever returning, their land was attacked and burnt down.

“When Brazil was discovered we were a great nation. Today we inhabit the margins of this country with no way to live. Even our survival is in danger as we are being murdered on this land. – Guarani Indian leader Marcal de Souza in 1980, three years before his own murder, addressing the Pope’s visit to Brazil.”

To justify the treatment of Guarani, such adjectives as ‘warriors’ are added to downgrade them in comparison to the ‘peaceful’ indigenous peoples of the U.S., yet whether ‘warriors’ or ‘peacemaker’ both were horrifically treated and relegated to plots of sometimes barren land (reservations) to die on.

Like the gypsies of England, furnished with no alternative the Guarani ended up surviving under tarpaulin sheets, without any amenities whatsoever: clean water, food, medicine or home. Exposed to the unnatural environment they suffered from intense heats, and heavy floods, with the backdrop of heavy trucks thundering past them 24/7.

The state of Mato Grosso Do Sul is in west Brazil where a Guarani Indian reservation exists. Believed to have the highest suicide rate in the world, 160 Guaranis have died between 1990 – 1999, which is a suicide rate 16 times that of the U.S. and 26 times that of Brazil as a whole. Suicide would seem an appropriate cover for a people who would rather die, than live as they do. When Julian Rubenstein explored the problem he came across evidence that states “murder” not suicide. Police photographer Waldemar “Russo” Gonzalez from the nearest city of Dourados, claims to have taken the photos of every suicide within 8 years, and stated unequivocally to Julian Rubenstein, that 90% of the suicides were murders. Yet, the Catholic mission that runs the reservation denies this and put it down to drugs, alcohol etc., activities which are a form of death.

From Colonialism – Neocolonialism

A populous nation, which originated from the tropical forests of Uruguay and the Brazlian plateau, the Guarani-Kaiowa met the Portuguese explorer Pedro Cabral has now been reduced along with their ancestral land to an indigenous Brazilian population of 30,000. The Guarani-Kaiowa once lived by hunting, fishing, and the practice of shifting agriculture, in villages of 4 – 8 communal dwellings each with 100 communal members. 1500 was to mark a very different life from the one they have always known along with their name which we know as Guarani.

The missionaries of the Vatican under the Doctrine of Discovery, the Jesuit priests allowed the Spanish conquistadors to colonize and enslave the Guaranis, giving them ‘protection’ or the opportunity to save the peoples of the earth for God’s mission on earth according to the Vatican. From that time on, the ancestral land of the Guaranis was up for dispute, initially because for the Spaniards, Guarani land would avail an access route to Paraguay and Europe, and superior battle ground against the Portuguese. For the Portuguese, the ancestral land of the Guaranis allowed for expansion into the interior, and perceived mineral wealth, such as the reported wealth of Eldorado.

The Guaranis were forcibly catechized by the Jesuits into settlements, also known as “reductions” or “missions,” with the aim of subjugating them to the regime through a process of Christianization, which in turn would provide a willing labour force for the encomenderos of Assunción. However, some Jesuit Fathers were against the enslavement model. In the 17th century, 520,000 thousands slaves were used to provide labour on sugar plantations, of which 170,000 were Indian, and 350,000 were imported Africans. In the 18th century  the number of slaves used were closer to 1,300,000 with 320,000 of those indigenous Indians. Provincial history records 200,000 – 1 million Guaranis were enslaved by the “encomenderos”, and 60,000 by the Jesuits.

When the ‘sovereignty’ of the Vatican was seriously challenged and the Jesuit priests were expelled in the 17th century, the ‘reduced’ Indians were left without a protector and thus began to mobilize. The signing of the Treaty of Madrid (1750), saw further balkanization of ancestral land forming the borders between Brazil and Paraguay in1752.

The descendents of the Gurani remained deep in the forest until the 19th century as increasing incursions into their land was being made. However, southern Mato Grosso do Sul escaped intense colonization until the 20th century providing a refuge for the Guarani until colonialism took on a more economic form we know today through neocolonialism. Exploitative commercial practices began with Yerba Mate tea, the health drink that was to become popular amongst Westerners, which swelled the profit margins of many companies. These companies leased much of the land for production with powers to ‘protect’ that production during the 1920s and ‘30s. Guarani ancestral land was to become increasingly expropriated, and the Guarani were contained via the Indian Protection Service by creating reservations.

With ancestral lands razed to the ground for timber, since 1922, a people have been forced to walk the streets in tatters, making their presence known on someone’s lawn/porch by clapping their hands, out of a desperate need for food if they cannot get underpaid slave work on a plantation, or in a factory.

Meanwhile, for those who have not escaped life on the reservation life is a nightmare.

 “My house has been invaded by five hitmen of Ramao Machado at about 12 noon just because I went to watch the new FUNAI delegate’s inauguration. The five men got to my house without saying anything. One of them was already holding his gun in his hand, pulling me ahead without any explanation. They just told me that I should go with them to the captain Ramao Machado’s house. I didn’t owe them or anybody else anything, and being afraid of what they could do with me I didn’t want to die that way. I managed to escape and I had to spend the night in the forest without eating dinner and without shelter while Ramao Machado sends his hitmen to hunt Indians as if they were criminals and the real criminals against Indians are still free today.
Ramao Machado was not chosen by the Indian people. He’s been put in power by FUNAI. During the 13 years he has been captain, the Guarani and Caiowa Indians have suffered himiliation, disrespect, health problems and death as a result of the violence. Ramao Machado has never defended the Indians. He does not even speak any Indian language. This is my testimony.” Teodoro de Souza – 1985.

FUNAI is the federal Indian protection agency, and the Guarani have no love of Ramao Machado who forces their women to work in the fields with little on. Five Guarani chiefs had raised enough awareness to enforce the two captains of the reservation (there are 22 reservations), one being Machado, to expel all white farmers, and remove the role of captain in 1997. However, two days before the resolution was to take effect, Machado’s counter attack was to round up a number of unknown people to vote, and declare him the newly elected leader.

To the evangelical mission that runs the schools and hospitals inside the reservation, Machado can do no wrong.

“He’s been a wonderful leader,” says Benjamin Benedito Bernardes, the head of the Evangelical mission. “The people are much better off. Many of the Guarani just don’t like to work, frankly, but Ramao has shut down the bars and helped to put the emphasis back on the church and the family.”

In other words, Manchado, a reduced Indian, but not a Guarani is helping to maintain the Doctrine of Discovery. With 19 Christian sects competing over the ‘clientelle’ the Guaranis see the churches as invaders. When Rubenstein interviewed the Guarani’s spiritual leader, the paje, referring to the church he said

“They disturbed things in Indians heads.”

When Rubenstein asked for clarification, the paje said:

 “I am afraid to say.”

When Rubenstein asked: Is suicide a part of their religion?

The paje replied: “No, it is a recent thing,”

When Rubenstein asked if he thinks the presence of the other religions has led to suicides, everyone standing around answers “Yes.”

Yet, despite this, one can find the Guarani paje, spiritual leader praying everyday:

“We pray for peace. We pray even for your country because we know a world war could start at any time and god could kill everybody. We are all the same.”

The Guarani Way of Life

“The Guarani live in extended family groups and each has its own land called tekohá which refers to the whole space occupied by natural resources: land, rivers, forests and gardens which are integral to sustaining their way of life.” Rosalino Ortiz Ñandeva told Survival International

‘Land is sacred for us Kaiowá. Land is the essence of Kaiowá life for us. Land is the structure of life for us Guarani.”

They call God/Allah by the name of Ñande Ru, and their language, Avañe’e, is one of a group of languages known as Tupi-Guarani as the Guarani-Kaiowa (Kaiowa meaning people of the forest) are indigenous to not only Brazil, but Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Their language is onomatopoeic, replicating the sounds on the forest. Their language is an unwritten language, a language where words are precious, have life force, and are therefore powerful.

An aspect of Guarani spirituality has found itself to the West through New Agers seeking a spiritual high. It is one that quite a few have benefited financially from. Not be confused with Mozarts’ Amadeus, Ama Deus is a shamanic vibrational/energy based healing system that has been used for thousands of years by the Guarani, though the more one hears of it, the less one will know its origin.

From a people who have always lives close to nature, in fact see themselves as a part the cycle of the Laws of Nature, Ama Deus is a way of life for the Guarani. They understand its source is from God/universal single power. ‘God is love’ is a throw away phrase that we will hear now and again, but for the Guarani the word ‘love’ and the word ‘God’ are interchangeable, and that love is the means by which healing takes place, hence the name given to by non-Guarani,  Ama Deus, which is Latin for  “I live God.” However, very few of the practitioners in the West have learnt this healing system through the Guarani. In a world where the ‘word’ is used to persuade, and manipulate, for the Guarani and many indigenous peoples, the ‘word’ is used to create.

Ñẽ’ẽ ” both for “word” and for “soul”

A word given to a noun expresses the soul of that given, a child’s name is not just a name. A lie or a false promise is incomprehensible to the Guarani, just as in Islam it is better to speak the truth or say nothing. In the Biblical account of creation, In the beginning was the word and the word was God, yet it is people who say they are of this doctrine who brought in existence the Doctrine of Discovery, a Doctrine that is still in practice today, a doctrine that has furnished greed, exploitation, enslavement, the massacre of millions, and millions of lives. The Brazilian Guarani Shaman and Lecturer, Kaka Werá Jecupê wrote:

“(…) In the meantime, the space between idea and attitude have generated human misery. The Word runs through human government without spirit, without fufillment of what is said. Since word and spirit are worlds apart. The voice comes out dead. Nonetheless under heavy makeup in order to give an impression of life. The word signs peace treaties while the hand waives to war. Religion is deaf, because the spirit is dead”

In the Guarani system of healing love has to be felt, not just said. It connects with the ability to sing, and give song to the true creative life force of love. Like the Taino of the Caribbean, the hummingbird is a sacred bird of song to the Guarani that arises out of the Creative Mist, in the Sacred Iguassu Falls.

Now the Guarani have a battle to keep what is theirs, and to reclaim the rest, for without this, the land will be lost in the march to that dictated by the current economic system, a state of being barren.

Related Topics:

The Doctrine of Discovery

The Yanomami and the Yew Tree That Fights Cancer

Brazil Signing Away Our Amazonian Legacy

The Banquet of the Spirits Come to an End

Quinoa: The Health Fad that is Starving the Cultivators

The Right to Life and Mother Earth

The People Who Should Not Exist

The Earth Keepers

What Did You Plant Today?

Repression of Mexican-Americans Intensifies

Repression of Mexican-Americans Intensifies

From IAC

On May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM, the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI raided the home of Carlos Montes, a long time Chicano (Mexican-American) activist and active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The SWAT Team smashed the front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years.

Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning. His first court appearance is set for June 16, 2011. There will be many solidarity actions on that day.

This attack on Carlos Montes is part of the campaign of FBI harassment taking place against the 23 peace and justice activists which has until now been centred in the Midwest. Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the subpoena left in the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee last September 24 [2010]. When Carlos Montes was placed in the LA County Sheriff’s car, an FBI agent approached and asked him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Carlos Montes has done nothing wrong. This is an attack on him and an attack on the Chicano movement for equality. Carlos has been an involved and a committed leader in the immigrant rights, anti-war, solidarity and quality education movements his whole adult life.

We demand all charges be dropped against Carlos Montes. We call for the immediate return of all his property.

Please SIGN the online petition at iacenter.org/stopfbi

Related Topics:

The Hypocrisy of Anti-Immigration in Arizona

Partial Victory of Over Arizona Immigration Law

Arizona: AZ SB1070 Is Not a Law

Condemnation of FBI Raids on Homes of Peace Activists

The American Iron Curtain

Bullying a Legacy from Our Leaders?

Mumia Must Not Die!

Attempted Assassination of Gabrielle Giffords

U.S. Attorney Escalates Attacks Palestinian Human Rights Activists

Joint Interfaith Response to King Hearings

Silencing American Trade Unions

Open Letter to Barack Obama

One Up for Mankind: Gaza-Rafah Border to Open Permanently

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One Up for Mankind: Gaza-Rafah Border to Open Permanently

By Hwaa Irfan

In the week following the 63rd commemoration of the ‘Great Catastrophe’ – El Nakba where all borders with Egypt, Syria, and Jordan met with protests by citizens of those countries as well as within Palestine itself, the governing Egyptian Armed Forces has decided to permanently open the Gaza-Rafah border. This will help to end the longest siege – four years – of a people. The border will be open from 8.00am – 9.00pm except for Fridays, and public holidays.

Because Gazans democratically voted for Hamas, the people have been punished by Israel and its allies by having all borders including coastal borders closed since 2007. This has led to serious problems with medicinal, educational, and much needed building and food supplies. Most humanitarian supplies have been returned or left to rot at the border with Israel handling most of the cargo.

A direct result of the Egyptian youth January 25th Revolution, the reason for the decision is to assist national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, a division much exacerbated intentionally by Israel’s main backers the U.S. The supporting mechanism is a reinstitution of the rules that were in effect before the siege began, however that involved European observers, and Israel monitoring people and cargo to which a contingency plan could do with some serious considerations.

Sources:

Youssef, M. “Egypt to Open Rafah Crossing Permanently.” http://headlines.verizon.com/headlines/portals/headlines.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=headlines_portal_page__article&_article=3467535

Related Topics:

The Crime That Everybody Knows About

Food Revolution: Taking Control of One’s Food Supply

Food Revolution: Taking Control of One’s Food Supply

By Hwaa Irfan

A revolution can take many forms, but it is only a revolution when it succeeds in uprooting a fraudulent, and oppressive system. We have been witnessing by care of the media, protests mushrooming around the world, the most important of all being the Tunisian and Egyptian youths demanding dignity and respect. Unfortunately labelled the “Arab Spring” it has inspired others around the world, but still many are fully aware to the extent the roots of an avaricious global system that has taken control of our lives. One of the mechanisms claimed by agro-pharmaceutical corporations, bankers, and investors through the stock market is the food supply causing the astronomical rise in food prices, which keep on rising, and is nurturing a global hunger crisis. Afterall, it was former U.S. president who said:

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

Unaware of all the forces at play that has led to her situation, Somalian, 30-year old Husna Mohammed who once ran an extensive farm in Somalia has found herself and her 8 children in the biggest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab Refugee Camp in North Eastern Province, Kenya along with 332,023 refugees. Instead of allowing herself to feel completely helpless and at the mercy of fortnightly rations of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and corn-soya, as an expectant mother, she has taken the health and nutrition of her children into her own hands. Outside of the tent that Husna and her children live in, Husna has grown a vegetable garden. Her garden consists of beans, potatoes, pumpkins, greens and maize. Her children are kept busy, by helping to water the garden whenever they can get water from the long queues at the watering hole. Husna is doing so well, she is even able to help supplement the diet of other members of the refugee camp.

In the West

Husna might not know it, but she is better off than thousands of people who live on estates in the West, in boxes atop of boxes of homes free of green space that they can use to supplement their diet. They are faced with soaring food prices, and increasing unemployment. Yet, a non-visible revolution has been going on whereby individuals in countries like the U.S. and the U.K., have been taking control of their food supply by growing their own.

On the island of Maine, U.S. in March 2011, a unanimous vote took place in support of the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance. The town of Sedgwick took the vote to protect small-scale farming by exempting direct farm sales from state and federal licensing and inspection.  The aim is to encourage first time farmers and home produce. Bob St. Peter explained in the press release:

“My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.”

“It’s tough making a go of it in rural America,”

“Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn’t need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to our neighbours. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the name of food safety, yet it’s the industrial food that is causing food borne illness, not us.”

“And every food dollar that leaves our community is one more dollar we don’t have to pay for our rural schools or to provide decent care for our elders,”

“We need the money more than corporate agribusiness,” furnished St. Peter who is also on the board of Washington D.C. based National Family Farm Coalition.

The preamble to the Ordinance reads:

We the People of the Town of County, Maine have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions. We recognize that family farms, sustainable agricultural practices, and food processing by individuals, families and non-corporate entities offers stability to our rural way of life by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community. As such, our right to a local food system requires us to assert our inherent right to self-government. We recognize the authority to protect that right as belonging to the Town of (name of town) .

“We have faith in our citizens’ ability to educate themselves and make informed decisions. We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice. We support food that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, nourishes individuals and the community, and sustains producers, processors and the environment. We are therefore duty bound under the Constitution of the State of Maine to protect and promote unimpeded access to local foods.”

Be the change you want to be said Mohatma Gandhi!

 

Source:

Miller, N. “A Declaration of Local Food Independence.”

Wanger, J. “Struggle to Feed Eight Children in a Refugee Camp.” http://www.nation.co.ke/News/regional/Struggle+to+feed+eight+children+in+a+refugee+camp+/-/1070/1142204/-/vykoujz/-/

Copy of Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance of 2011

 

Related Links:

A Victory for Farmers, Consumers and Environment

A Food Revolution!

U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe over Monsanto GM Crops

Monsanto: Controlling Our Food Supply