Archive | July 14, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Martin!

Justice for Trayvon Martin!


In response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, the ANSWER Coalition immediately took to the streets around the country. In San Francisco, we picketed at 24th and Mission St. before marching to 16th and Mission St., up to Valencia St. and back to 24th and Mission. The march grew and grew, with eventually over 450 people taking the entire street from sidewalk to sidewalk, as the community came out of their homes and stores to stand for justice for Trayvon Martin.

On Saturday, July 13, George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in a second-degree murder trial. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a young Black man, in cold blood on the streets of Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. After killing Martin, Zimmerman roamed free for 44 days before the angry response of millions of people forced the state to take action.

The sequestered jury of six women, all white except for one, came back with a not guilty verdict after only two days of deliberations. The verdict is a travesty, a continuation of the complicity of the racist, so-called criminal justice system that refused to treat the murder as a crime and has now left a vigilante free to roam the streets. The system of racist brutality carried out against poor people and people of color in communities from Florida to New York to California to Texas and elsewhere is on the offensive.

The acquittal of George Zimmerman means there will be more George Zimmermans. They have encouraged the growth of racist vigilante attacks on Black people. This is a pattern of racist violence that  allows the cops to get away with murders like those of Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford and Manuel Diaz and countless others.

Related Topics:

Behind the Killing of Manuel Diaz

Living in a Policed State…

Many Forms Of Fasting*

Live from the Bradley Manning’s Trial

Live from the Bradley Manning’s Trial

From Alexandra

Alexa O’Brien is a crowd-funded independent journalist who has taken it upon herself to be the unofficial court stenographer of the Bradley Manning trial. Her website has become a valuable resource for those seeking to know more about the proceedings of this trial.

Although the Fort Meade hearings are open to the public, there are no public records of the proceedings and no electronic recordings are allowed.

There were very few journalists present when I attended a preliminary hearing last October, where Bradley Manning was present but did not speak. I saw Alexa there, intensely scribbling the minutiae of the trial’s proceedings.

In this ReasonTV interview, she notes the several unprecedented facts about this trial and the video features the leaked audio of Manning’s opening statement, in which he describes the leak of the footage taken from the Blackhawk helicopter, of the gunners gleefully killing innocent civilians, including a baby. Manning says that he was encouraged to see that the public’s troubled response matched and at times, exceeded his own.
The government is pressing forward with their case for a conviction of Manning, with a sentence of Life plus 149 years. O’Brien discusses speculation that NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden’s decision to seek asylum came largely from observing the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, who was confined for 1,001 days prior to any trial -and from the court’s ruling that Manning’s Right to a Speedy Trial was not violated – and how only one week of Manning’s very strange treatment at Quantico was deemed “unlawful”, giving him 112 days’ credit on his life sentence +, 149 years, which the government seeks in his case.

O’Brien states that all of this is consistent with the Obama Administration’s “Inquisition against Whistleblowers.”

Related Topics:

A Man of Courage

Wikileaks ‘Blower Being Tortured

Snowden: Sacrificing his Life for Our Freedom*

The Heart*

The Heart

By M. Fethullah Gulen

It is only selfishness that breeds poverty of the heart, the mind, the soul and the physicalThe heart is humanity’s most essential feature and its greatest treasure. It is the expression of our spiritual existence, the source of our feelings and beliefs, and the pathway to our soul’s ultimate depths. Those who walk on the path of the heart will not experience any darkness, and those who soar on the wings of their hearts will surmount any obstacle. Human virtues are cultivated on the hillsides of the heart; faith, love, and spiritual pleasures are the fruits of its garden.
If your heart is like a desert, your thoughts and feelings will inevitably wither and fade. In our history, human reason enjoyed its golden age when it submitted to the rule of the heart. Under the heart’s guardianship, reason left behind countless immortal works. In those times, matter was melted and re-forged in the furnace of our spiritual essence. Then our experience became a fairground of the hereafter, this world intermingled with the next, and the treasures of the transcendent realms were on offer here. It is according to the measures of the other world that the objects of this one become priceless. In those times, the sugar was separated from the cane, the bud was pregnant with a flower, and the soil was imbued with the lights of the other world. Things of this world found fulfillment and were perfected. The tulips and lilies of the earth began to dance in the presence of the heart, and the charms of the next world were felt in every corner.
But we gave our minds to idle gossip and our reason gave way to deceit. And as the tongue of conscience and the melodies of the heart fell silent, the earth became like a graveyard, and our homes like coffins. Life became a drudgery, and our spirits were stifled by the smog of our misplaced longing. In such malaise, carnal feelings and corporeal thoughts ambush our souls like bandits. They present us with various poisons, and we become a deluded crowd: a mob that cannot hear the voice of conscience and is closed to reason, that contemplates and understands nothing.
Jihad an nafs (struggle of the heart)Today, we yearn for the stories of the heart, for in them we feel the reviving breaths of Jesus. Since the beginning of the world, the people of the heart have always been the fortunate ones, traveling in the realms beyond the heavens with wings like angels. These heroes transcend the limits of the bodies to hold the reins of both worlds. While others beg from door to door, they live among the blessings of Paradise with contentment. The dust and the grime of this world do not blacken their horizon, nor does the colorful attraction of the hereafter distract them from their purpose. In every deed, they enjoy the friendship of God; thus their devotion is the most profitable trade.  In this way, they faithfully realize their heart’s purpose in a way that befits humanity. These fortunate ones sing of their love in the eternal melodies, raising their voices to the furthest galaxies.
The heart is the intersection of God’s grace with humanity’s essence. Therefore, with the seal of the Sovereign on it, the heart unifies the spiritual and material worlds. Our inner and outer beauties are in fact different dimensions of the life of our heart, and the radiance of our appearance is intimately tied to our inner life. When a word is spoken from the heart, the mind is ignited and our consciousness glows like the corona of the sun. At this moment, when the spirit turns its face to the secret voice of the heart, our feelings begin to resonate as if they had been plucked by a mysterious plectrum, and our conscience begins to whirl like a dervish in joy and respect. We feel the fire of love on all sides, and tears of joy quench the suffering of our longing.
When we lose our self and our will in ecstasy, we may temporarily lose our balance, but the heart always remains humble in the presence of God. When we travel in the realm of the heart, we are neither perplexed nor inhibited. If the hero of the heart halts with fright or struggles in his way with difficulty, love succors him like Khidr, holding the reins of his horse and carrying him swiftly over the pits of hesitation.

Occupy Your Heart by Ian MacKenzieOur senses, inner and outer, are soldiers at the heart’s command; they are moths fluttering around its brilliant light. The heart speaks with the highest authority, and all our senses submit to its rule. Like the pole star, it orbits only itself, chanting the name of God, while all other senses turn around it, prostrate.
All of us are guests in the house of the heart. Let us sacrifice our hearts to the One whose sovereignty is felt in this house. We are determined to offer our souls to the Sovereign, and we await His judgment. Since the day He breathed life into our hearts, our longing for reunion has bound us to Him, and we have diligently tended to our love as to a great weaving. Our soul trembles with excitement when we feel the nearness of the Friend, but we wait patiently for Him to open the door, with our heads bowed in respect.
As we walk on this way, singing the ballads of longing and love, the heart is our gracious guide. Until our last breath, we promise to follow this blessed guide.


Related Topics:

The Heart is Green!

The Intelligent Heart

Sowing Seeds of Health, Hope and Humanity*

Sowing Seeds of Health, Hope and Humanity*

By: Linda Sechrest

An interview with Vandana Shiva a scientist, philosopher, environmental activist, author, and the founder of Navdanya, a seed freedom movement in India to promote native seeds.

LS: You believe that we need a new paradigm for living on the Earth because the old one is not working. What does that new paradigm look like?

VS: The old paradigm is based on fragmented thought, mechanistic science and on a deepening division between humans on the basis of class—the 1 percent versus 99 percent of the Occupy movement—as well as on gender, race and greed as a virtue. The emerging paradigm, which many of us are now seeing, is based on interconnectedness and equality as diversity, rather than on uniformity, as well as sharing and caring as virtues.

LS: How does your education in quantum theory and the science of interconnection play into the new paradigm?

VS: I wrote my Ph.D. thesis on the Foundations of Quantum Theory, especially the aspect of non-locality or nonseparability, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of the universe.

Quantum theory—the science of interconnectedness, which is the nature of reality—teaches us nonseparability, which is built into the new science of quantum theory and the new biology. Separation between humans and nature was intrinsic to the old mechanistic assumptions developed during the 1600s and 1700s by French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes; English scientist, Francis Bacon; and English physicist, Sir Isaac Newton.

The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox, developed by Albert Einstein and his colleagues, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, has shown that when a quantum system is subdivided and the two subsystems are separated in space and time, their state is nonseparable. I agree with physicists such as Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli and David Bohm, who stressed the non-separable wholeness of the universe of physical phenomena.

LS: Which epic myths are you debunking about our industrialized food system?

VS: The first myth is that it is efficient. Using 10 units of energy to produce one unit of food as energy is not efficient.

The second myth is that it improves farmers’ livelihoods. In India, 270,000 farmers have been pushed to suicide, and the majority of family-owned farms in the U.S. have disappeared.

The third myth is that it produces more food. Our study and numerous studies conducted by the United Nations show that ecological farming produces more food.

Most industrial-farmed food now is dedicated to ethanol production for cars and to feeding animals in factory farms. It is not food for people. We have food deserts in cities and in the countryside.

food industryLS: What is the Declaration on Seed Freedom? Why is it important that people sign it?

VS: It is important for everyone to sign the Declaration on Seed Freedom because seed is the first link in the food chain. If we lose seed freedom, we lose food freedom. Seed freedom is threatened by genetically engineered seeds, which are contaminating our farms, thus closing the option for GMO-free food for all.

The seed freedom of farmers is threatened when, after contaminating our crops, corporations sue farmers for “stealing their property.” It is also threatened by the deliberate transformation of the seed from a renewable, self-generative resource to a non-renewable, patented commodity. The most extreme case of non-renewable seed is the “Terminator Technology”, developed with the aim to create sterile seed.

Thirty years ago, most North American and European seed companies were small, family-owned businesses that specialized in varieties adapted to regional climates, with resistance to local pests and diseases. Today, just 10 companies control 30 percent of the commercial seed market worldwide. Just five vegetable seed companies control 75 percent of the global vegetable seed market. Some of these companies, such as Monsanto, are imposing genetically engineered, patented seed on small farmers and are denying citizens’ labeling. In effect, they are robbing us of our most fundamental freedom, our food freedom.

LS: What is the Earth Democracy movement?

VS: I refer to the new paradigm as Earth Democracy, which recognizes that the Earth and all her beings, including humans, have rights and freedoms; that we are interconnected in a web of life, and are all members of an Earth Family. Earth Democracy enables us to make transitions to a living democracy, living economy and living cultures that celebrate life.

LS: How is what is happening in India important here in the U.S.?

VS: The U.S. and India have become deeply intertwined through dominant corporate globalization and Earth Democracy. Monsanto; Cargill, Incorporated; and Walmart are trying to take over India’s food and agriculture like they took over food and agriculture in the U.S. Our movements to resist corporate takeover of our seed, our food and our markets need to be connected.

LS: Can Navdanya, the seed freedom movement you founded in India, be repeated in other countries?

VS: At the Navdanya biodiversity and organic farm in Doon Valley, in Uttarakhand, North India [set at the foothills of the Himalayas], more than 630 varieties of plants are growing, butterflies are flourishing, and earthworms fertilize our soils. People from all over the world come here to learn and observe. For example, our A-Z course on organic farming attracted 55 people from 12 countries.

My colleagues in Italy have started Navdanya there. And the Seed Freedom movement spreading across the world shows that what is being done by Navdanya in India is relevant worldwide.

LS: How has your experience at Navdanya shown you that the future of cities, in any country, lies in gardens and organic connections to the countryside?

VS: As we evolved Navdanya on the basis of diversity and decentralization to offer an alternative to the monoculture and centralization, it became evident that cities can be sources of their own food through urban gardens, and can create their own foodshed by more intimate connections with the countryside. This improves the well-being of the country, those who farm in the country, and those who live in cities. It is a concrete step towards creating Earth Democracy.

LS: What has led you to the conclusion that living cities should be cultivated organically and that living food is the basis for living communities?

VS: Over the past three decades, beginning with my study on the Green Revolution, I realized that chemicals, monoculture and giant farms as the basis of food security constitute a lie that we have been sold.

During the past 25 years, my Navdanya experience has helped me to realize that good farming is like gardening. Biodiverse small farms produce more food and nutrition than large industrial farms. Navdanya’s concept of “Health per Acre” measures nutrition and quality of food instead of the “yield” of commodities.

Industrial food has created a killing culture, which is killing biodiversity, the soil, farmers and our health. Organic agriculture creates living food and living communities.

LS: How does ecological connectedness promote a sense of common humanity?

VS: Ecological interconnectedness is based on Earth citizenship. As citizens of the Earth, we breathe the same air, drink water in the same hydrological cycle, and eat food from a common food web. This makes us aware of our common humanity, and our common rights and responsibilities to the Earth and each other.

LS: Do you have any suggestions for how people in the U.S. can fight for food labeling of genetically engineered food?

VS: The California vote is only one step in labeling of GMOs. Other steps need to be based on creating local, organic, GMO-free food systems.

LS: You have fought Coca-Cola and other multinational giants over the privatization of water in your native India. Now you are doing battle with Monsanto over genetically modified seeds. What keeps you going?

VS: We have a beautiful text in India, the Bhagavad Gita, in which [Hindu deity/avatar] Krishna gives a simple lesson: Do not measure the fruit of your action; rather, measure your obligation of action. You have to find out what is the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose is not an issue. The obligation to do the right thing is the issue.

From childhood, I have been an ecologist and nature lover. My right thing and duty is to protect the diversity of species and their intrinsic value. Their integrity is vital, as are the rights of our farmers to have seed—the most fundamental source of livelihood in a poor country. Today, 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by small farmers such as those that we have in India. Our small farmers are 1.2 billion East Indians.

I believe that we have forgotten what smallness means when it is multiplied many times. We’ve also become accustomed to the dinosaur mentality. We only see the big and have forgotten that dinosaurs are extinct.


Related Topics:

Bolivia: Rights of Mother Earth Becomes Legal*

Feeding Us Pure Poison!

Indonesia: People’s Statement Against Land Grab and for Ecological Justice

Food Sovereignty in Africa: Reclaiming the Right

Ethiopia: Removing 70,000 People for Land Grab!

Egypt Joins the List of Countries That Reject GM Corn

The Art of Growing Food: Interview with an Organic Farmer

The Indigenous People of Norway: Enough is Enough!

Ecuador: How an Oil Giant Decimates a People

Bolivia: Life Exists Beyond the Washington Concensus

Are We in the Throes of an Evolutionary Process!

The Hopi Call for Water Rights

When Would You Eat Old Food!

Controling Haiti’s Gold

You are in the Throes of Being Denied the Right to Good Health!

Battle to Hide What Goes in Your Food Continues!

GM Crops Entrench U.S. Drought

40 Tons of GMO Crops Torched in the US!*