Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 2014: Tens Of Thousands Of Nonviolent Israelis And Palestinians March For Peace

 Much has been written about rockets being fired at Israel by Hamas and bombs being dropped on Gaza by the Israeli government, the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and the pain it causes.

Did you know that this month, August 2014, there were at least two rallies for peace that drew 10,000 people in Israel? There are so many people on all sides who realize the use of violence and destruction will never bring a solution, it will never bring peace.
 First, as reported by Faiz Abu-Rmeleh at, approx. 10,000 people marched in the northern Israel Arab town of Tamra in on Saturday, August 2nd. Palestinians took to the streets in a peaceful protest in solidarity with the innocents being oppressed in Gaza. Children symbolically carried dolls wrapped in cloth with with red stains and photos of the victims of the recent violence.

Then, on August 15th, over ten thousand Israeli Anti-War activists peacefully descended into Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to demand that the government stop the violence being perpetrated on the people of Gaza stop immediately.

The Tikkun Daily reports:

Tonight’s rally, sponsored by a number of left-wing groups in Israel, including the political party Meretz, overwhelmed those extremists who showed up with the volume of participants.

Organizers of tonight’s protest had the following message for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who many protesters addressed with chants of “Bibi, go home”:
“The next round of fighting can be prevented. No to the way of wars – we must have a political solution. After an agonizing month of war and death, in the face of mounting waves of incitement and hatred, which increasingly tear up the Israeli society, we stand up to demonstrate for peace and for democracy.”
Israel and Hamas in Gaza are currently in the midst of a five-day ceasefire as officials from both sides try to hammer out a long-term truce, which will likely only be secured with an end of the blockade in Gaza. It’s precisely this point which famed Israeli novelist David Grossman addressed, telling the crowd, “We won’t be able to breathe deeply in Israel as long as people in Gaza feel choked.”

Photo: Reuters

 Deep gratitude for all of the Nonviolent Revolutionaries on both sides of this conflict for seeing beyond the anger and embracing the human in each other.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pussy Riot Punks Putin

Three members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for performing a song protesting President Vladamir Putin at the Christ The Savior Cathedral on February 21st.  Cited for 'hooliganism', Friday's verdict has drawn criticism of Putin's heavy handed tactics continually stifling dissent in Russia.

Photograph: Mudrats Alexandra
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to rally (Chicago, New York, SF ) in Free Pussy Riot protests, calling for the charges to be dropped.  Celebrities have also voiced made their opinions known, Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, wore a Pussy Riot T-Shirt at a show in Moscow to show support. Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys showed up to DJ a benefit and other rock stars Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Sting, and Paul McCartney have spoken out in support of Pussy Riot, free speech, and the importance of dissent.

(Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)
(Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)
On Saturday, benevolent Orthodox cleric, Tikhon Shevkunov, who is widely believed to be President Vladimir Putin’s spiritual counselor, said on state television that his church forgave the singers after their “punk prayer”. Archpriest Maxim Kozlov agreed, but also said, "“We are simply praying and hoping that these young women and all these people shouting in front of the court building, committing sacrilegious acts not only in Russia but in other countries, realize that their acts are awful,” he said. “And despite this the church is asking for mercy within the limits of law.”

In a further development, former world chess champion and Russian opposition leader, Garry Kasparov, tells Eli Lake how he was beaten and arrested at the sentencing of Pussy Riot. Kasparov faces the threat of jail himself over the incident.

 Punk Prayer - Pussy Riot  (lyrics)

However you feel about what Pussy Riot did or where they did it, these ladies deserve some props for expressing their point of view in a courageous and evocative way in a place where it's not that safe to do so. They may have to do some time, but they do so having accomplished their mission... speaking truth to power with the voice of the oppressed, pushing the limits of freedom of speech in places it needs to be pushed, and showing the world with their words and Putin's actions just what a punk he is.

Mother Jones Magazine has been keeping the story updated here is also keeping close tabs.

Free Pussy Riot Now facebook page

What Pussy Riot Teaches Us

Pussy Riot Lyrics

Nonviolent Revolutionaries Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jackie Robinson Changed More Than Just A Game

Today is Jackie Robinson Day!

Nonviolent Revolutionary Jackie Robinson stepped onto the Ebbets Field baseball diamond for the first time on April 15, 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, desegregating the 'national pastime' and forever changing the landscape of the game of baseball and American culture as a whole.

So began the Hall Of Fame career of a legend whose exceptional skill set on the field were matched with equally exceptional courage and dignity in the face of brutal racial intolerance and ignorance directed at him... not just from the stands or the opposing dugout, but even within his own clubhouse.

In late August 1945, Brooklyn Dodgers club president and general manager, Nonviolent Revolutionary Branch Rickey, had a long conversation with Jackie wanting to know if he would be able to take the racial abuse he was sure to be subjected to without fighting back. "Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?" Jackie asked. Rickey replied that he was looking for someone "with guts enough not to fight back." Jackie agreed and Rickey signed him to a contract for $600 a month.

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human
being." -Jackie Robinson

Jackie was constantly subjected to abuse throughout his career, but he did find allies amongst his peers, namely Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese coming to Robinson's defense with the famous line, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." In 1948, Reese put his arm around Robinson in response to fans who shouted racial slurs at Robinson before a game in Cincinnati. The moment is immortalized with a statue by sculptor William Behrends, which stands today at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn.

Robinson played for the Dodgers for 10 years and was the also the first African-American elected to the MLB Hall Of Fame in 1962. He exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons and helped the Dodgers to a World Series victory in 1955. The clip below of Jackie stealing home is the most well known of the Series:

Highlights of Jackie to Woodrow Buddy Johnson & Count Basie's 1949 song
"Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?":

“There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.” -Jackie Robinson

After his baseball career ended Robinson continued to work as a
civil rights activist working tirelessly for equality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that Jackie was "a legend and a symbol in his own time", and that he "challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration." (Dr. King was still a college student when Jackie took the field on April 15, 1947).

The clip below is of Jackie speaking at a civil rights rally in Birmingham, Alabama:

On the 50th anniversary of Jackie's debut for the Dodgers the league took the unprecedented step of retiring his number 42 throughout all of baseball helping cement his legacy as the pioneer who helped pave the way the game (and world) is today. In honor of his achievements his number is displayed in every Major League Baseball Stadium. That year also many players began the tradition of wearing number 42 on April 15th to honor Jackie.

10 years later MLB celebrated the inaugural Jackie Robinson Day, celebrated every year on April 15 at ballparks around the country.

Current players share their views on wearing number 42:

What Jackie Robinson Means to America 65 Years Later

Jackie Robinson Wikipedia Page

Jackie's Hall Of Fame Induction Speech

Other quotes attributed to Jackie:

“Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just
watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.”

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

“I guess you'd call me an independent, since I've never identified myself with one party or another in politics. I always decide my vote by taking as careful a look as I can at the actual candidates and issues themselves, no matter what the party label.”

“The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.”

“I don't think that I or any other Negro, as an American citizen, should have to ask for anything that is rightfully his. We are demanding that we just be given the things that are rightfully ours and that we're not looking for anything else.”

“Civil rights is not by any means the only issue that concerns me--nor, I think any other Negro. As Americans, we have as much at stake in this country as anyone else. But since effective
participation in a democracy is based upon enjoyment of basic freedoms that everyone else takes for granted, we need make no apologies for being especially interested in catching up on civil rights.”

“I won't 'have it made' until the most underprivileged Negro in Mississippi can live in equal dignity with anyone else in America.”

“It is up to us in the north to provide aid and support to those who are actually bearing the brunt
of the fight for equality down south. America has its iron curtain too.”

“Negroes aren't seeking anything which is not good for the nation as well as ourselves. In order
for America to be 100 per cent strong--economically, defensively, and morally--we cannot afford
the waste of having second-and-third class citizens.”

“Negroes aren't seeking anything which is not good for the nation as well as ourselves. In order
for America to be 100 per cent strong--economically, defensively, and morally--we cannot afford
the waste of having second-and-third class citizens.”

Career Numbers:

Batting average- .311

Hits- 1,518

Home runs- 137

Runs batted in- 734

Stolen bases- 137 *including 19 steals of home

6 time All Star ('49-'54)

1947 Rookie Of The Year

1949 MVP