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INTERFAITH COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE CALL TO A CONFERENCE

“Afghanistan: Obama’s Iraq?”

Sunday, May 3rd – 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM

University of Southern California Mark Taper Hall of Humanities –

3501 Trousdale Parkway

Keynote Speakers: Sonali Kolhatkar & Tom Hayden

Suggested Donation $25 – ($10 Low Income)

INFORMATION: icujp@pacbell.nethttp://www.icujp.org – Phone: 213 626 2265

Sponsored by ICUJP-Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace USC Center for Religious Life American Friends Service Committee Please contact icujp@pacbell.net for information about co-sponsorship, endorsement, tabling, and special needs

. As US bombs rained down on Afghanistan in October 2001, interfaith voices called for “justice, not vengeance” and insisted that ‘religious communities must stop blessing war and violence’. Now, with additional US troops on their way to that war-ravaged country, it’s again time to speak out and to act. As we continue to insist on the complete withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq, we must do the same with respect to Afghanistan. We must urgently take action while preparing to carry out a long-term struggle to dismantle the war system. Let us begin to create a culture of peace, based on social and economic justice, that will bring our world at last into one Beloved Community. This important conference will feature keynote speaker Sonali Kolhatkar of KPFK and the Afghan Women’s Mission. It will address multiple dimensions of the expanding war in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, including: How and why the US became involved in Afghanistan: Geopolitics and energy US military and economic policy in Afghanistan: diplomacy as an alternative to war Afghani women in struggle: cultural contexts and fundamental human rights Religion: A force for peace and healing, or oppression and destruction? War and the economic crisis: Impacts from Kabul to LA Joining hearts and hands: How we in LA can help Afghani people Strategies for organizing to stop the US war/occupation of Afghanistan We invite members of faith communities, students, peace activists, veterans and military personnel, and others to join us for a program of speakers, films, workshops, and action plans.

INFORMATION: icujp@pacbell.net * http://www.icujp.org Phone 213 626 2265 * PO Box 483 * Pasadena CA 91102-0483

Escalating the occupation of Afghanistan “will bleed us of the resources needed for economic recovery, further destabilize Pakistan, open a rift with our European allies and negate our improved image in the Muslim world prompted by our withdrawal from Iraq. Escalation will not increase US security or secure a better future for the Afghan people – indeed, more troops will certainly mean more dead civilians….Up to this point, the Afghan war belonged to George W. Bush, but Obama’s escalation threatens to make it his own. There’s still time to change direction. President Obama, don’t make this your war!” –Katrina Vanden Heuvel, “Obama’s War?” The Nation, March 9, 2009

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Sonali Kolhatkar serves on the Advisory Board of Cafe Intifada
Published on Monday, April 6, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

Article printed from http://www.CommonDreams.org

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Sonali Kolhatkar serves on the Advisory Board of Cafe Intifada.

The Orange County Peace Coalition Presents
"What You Need to Know About Afghanistan"
A Talk by KPFK' Sonali Kolhatkar
www.uprisingradio.org <http://www.uprisingradio.org/> 

Saturday, March 28th - 10:00 AM to Noon
St. Joseph Center - Library Conference Room
480 S. Batavia St., Orange 92868

Sonali Kolhatkar is co-director of the Afghan Women's Mission, a U.S.-based
nonprofit that funds health, educational and training projects for Afghan
women. She is also the host and producer of "Uprising", a daily morning
radio program for KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. Her program provides the
public with in-depth reports and updates on issues in the Middle East.

Ms. Kolhatkar is a leading authority on current Afghan issues and has
recently coauthored a book on the subject which provides much insight about
the many misconceptions about the war in Afghanistan. Her discussion will
touch on security and the oppression of women in Afghanistan.

Coffee and other refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to:  <mailto:info%40ocpeace.org> info@ocpeace.org or leave a
message at (714) 637-8313

The views expressed at this speaking engagement are not necessarily those of
the  Orange County Peace Coalition or of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.

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By Sam Bahour
February 7, 2009

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today he may well have attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony wearing a black-and-white checkered kaffiyeh and holding a sign saying, “Mr. President, stop the Gaza nightmare. No more false hopes and delayed dreams. End the Occupation NOW!” Civil rights leaders spent precious political capital to speak out against America’s wrongdoings across the world, most notably the war in Vietnam. President Obama should spend domestic political capital to denounce Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Nothing would boost desperately needed international capital more. 

Rev. King would have recognized that without unfettered US arms, funds and political cover, Israel would never have been able to inflict the level of brutality it ‘proudly’ inflicted on Gaza. Nor would it have been able to keep Palestinians in bondage so long. 

King would have pointed to where the solution to this conflict lies: the United States of America. If President Obama is to be an historic leader, and not just the first African American elected to the presidency, he must not tolerate Israel’s continued slaps in the face, from restricting President Carter’s movements in the Mideast, to using US funds to build illegal Jewish-only settlements, to launching a one-sided “war” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. He will instead deal with the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

The Palestinian people have been on the receiving end of the US-armed-and-financed Israeli military machine for over 60 years. This latest chapter of Israeli-sponsored state terrorism has claimed over 1,300 Gazan lives, mostly civilians, in just three short weeks. A similar Israeli attack on America would have caused over 260,000 deaths: 92 times the loss of life witnessed from the 9/11 tragedy. 

Israel owes its existence to the United States. America’s vote was the key to establishing the self-proclaimed Jewish State. However, Israel’s existence is also threatened by the United States. Since President Truman, every US administration has indulged Israel while it has dug itself into deeper and deeper trouble. From expansionist adventures in Egypt-Syria-Palestine, to Jewish-only settlements, to caging Palestinians in their own cities and villages, America has paid the bill. To be sure, Palestinians also paid. But the ultimate cost will be borne by Israel. Its endless aggression (enabled by US warplanes, war technology, Apache helicopters, munitions, and so on) not only angers the world, but causes resistance to escalate. 

More dangerous than weaponry has been America’s role in demobilizing international organizations created to rein-in countries like Israel when they act like rogue nations. The two most blatant examples are the Bush administration’s green-lighting of Israel’s military misadventure in Lebanon 2006 and its recent crimes against humanity in Gaza by delaying UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate ceasefires. 

To stop further bloodshed, including inevitable revenge attacks against Israelis, President Obama must act immediately to create momentum for lasting peace. 

First, he must stop the needless killing. It’s not enough to stop Palestinians from arming themselves. An arms embargo must be placed on Israel, too. No more weapons of any kind should be sent to it. Israel has shown time and again that increasing its military might just escalates the conflict, leading to a regional arms race. The Arms Export Control Act gives the President of the United States the authority to control the export of defense articles and defense services. He should use that authority. And, in due time, he should dismantle Israel’s nuclear capacity, too. 

Second, President Obama must force Israel to end–totally–its 41-year military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank (including East Jerusalem). It took Israel six days to occupy those areas. It would take less than six months to end the occupation, moving settlers violating international law back to Israel, were the will there. Then and only then can the world expect Palestinians to approach negotiations and reach final status agreements. To expect them to negotiate while Israel’s boot of occupation is on their neck (especially after the recent slaughter in Gaza), is a pipe dream. 

To bring into reality the dream Martin Luther King envisioned and to avoid the nightmare of a Mideast in flames (which will not spare America), President Obama must focus on leadership. There is no time for posturing or second-term politicking. It’s time for him to make a historical correction that will make the world and America safe for years to come. He can begin by visiting Gaza and the West Bank for the same reason Martin Luther King, Jr. gave from his jail cell: “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” 

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American businessman from Youngstown, Ohio who lives in the occupied West Bank and is co-editor of “Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians.” He may be reached at sbahour@palnet.com. 


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Hey So Cal Poets,

Here’s the schedule of featured poets for Saturday Afternoon Poetry during September, October, November, and December in the backroom of the Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd.

September 27th – Emerging Urban Poets (Lynn Allgood, Michelle Angelini, CaLokie, Don Kingfisher Campbell, Barbara Cogswell, Pauli Dutton, Richard Dutton, Helen Graziano, Eleanor Higgins, Lindy Hill, Patrick Jeffries, Mina Kirby, Deborah P Kolodji, Toby McManmon, James Pinkerton, and Mary Torregrossa)

Don Kingfisher Campbell and the Emerging Urban Poets are also going on tour with their new anthology and CD! Watch for them at these venues:
Sunday, October 19th, 1:30pm at the Pasadena Senior Center
Sunday, October 27th, 2pm at the Avenue 50 Studio for LaPalabra in Highland Park
Tuesday, November 4th, 7:30pm at the Union Artists Gallery in Ventura
Tuesday, November 11th, 9pm at the Cobalt in Canoga Park
Sunday, November 16th, 2:30pm for Our Poetic Souls in San Dimas
October 4th – Mark States & Patrick Thomas Jeffries
October 11th – Nancy Shiffrin
October 18th – Unoccupied (Xochitl Julisa Bermejo, Just Kibbe, Jane Moore, and Chris Wesley)
October 25th – Judy Kronenfeld
November 1st – Helene Cardona & John Fitzgerald
November 8th – 1pm departure for FIELD TRIP to ENCINO-TARZANA PUBLIC LIBRARY
November 15th – Ruth Nolan & Phantom Seed poets
November 22nd – Jeffry Jensen & Cati Porter
November 29th – Awards Ceremony for First Annual Pure Poetry Chapbook Contest winner. Free to enter. Please send 10 poems of no more than 40 lines each (including stanza breaks) in the body of an email message by November 15th to: kingfisher1031@charter.net . Winner will receive 20 copies of their chapbook.

December 6th – Maureen Alsop & Jon Epstein
December 13th – Publication party for San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly #40, Fall 2008 Issue. Please send up to three poems of any length in the body of an email message by November 29th to:

kingfisher1031@charter.net
December 20th – Holiday Poetry Slam. $5 donation per poet to participate. Winner-takes-all! Non-participants judge.
December 28th – Publication Party for the 2009 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Calendar. Please send up to three poems of no more than 30 lines each (including stanza breaks) in the body of an email message by December 13th to:
kingfisher1031@charter.net

We meet EVERY SATURDAY for three gas-saving events (except on FIELD TRIP days):

1:30 to 2:30pm – Emerging Urban Poets writing workshop
2:45 to 3:45pm – Pure Poetry critique workshop
4:00 to 5:00pm – Saturday Afternoon Poetry (featured poet(s) + open reading)

Attend any one, two, or three as you wish. It’s always FREE!

To reach the Saturday Poetry website click on:
http://community.livejournal.com/saturday_poetry/

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Palestinians Calculating Next Move:

Coexistence with Occupation Not an Option

By Sam Bahour

Palestinians have been historically outmaneuvered, politically neutralized, and made totally dependent on international handouts. Or have they?  A newly released Palestinian strategy document which outlines strategic political options gives witness to a renewed breath of fresh air in the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom and independence.

After 60 years of dispossession and 40 years of a brutal Israeli military occupation, many of the world’s power brokers are convinced that the Palestinians are successfully being forced into submission and acceptance of the colossal injustices that have been carried out against them.

Leading the choir is the U.S. and its Israeli ally, along with several undemocratic Arab regimes.

On the political front, they continue to take great pride in a never-ending “peace process” that has created a peace industry in Palestine, all underwritten by taxpayers from around the world. This peace process has no intention of realizing peace with justice, but rather looks to fragment Palestinians’ national aspirations into bite-sized pieces with state-like trappings — the antithesis of a state with real sovereignty, let alone self-determination.

On the security front, they claim that the Palestinian Authority (referring to the unelected government of Salaam Fayyad in Ramallah) is excelling by installing a heavy-handed security regime, frighteningly reminiscent of the undemocratic, police-state Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and the entire batch of oil-rich Gulf states, which the U.S. has propped up for decades. Driven by US General Keith Dayton and sanctioned by the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership, this security-heavy thrust of activity appears to many observers to be nothing more than another outsourcing option for an Israeli version of its own “security” needs. 

On the economic front, they point to grand plans to establish a handful of industrial mega-zones, the majority being located on the unilaterally-defined (illegal) Israeli border between the West Bank and Israel.  These industrial zones are meant to absorb the over 150,000 Palestinian laborers that Israel has prohibited from working in Israel. Moreover, as I was recently told by an Israeli promoting these industrial zones, for every job created in such a zone, three will be created for Palestinians outside the industrial zones — thus, in essence, creating an entire artificial economy built around Palestinian and foreign-owned, but Israeli-controlled economic bubbles.

The 1.5 million Palestinians trapped by Israel in the world’s largest open air prison, Gaza, are not even a part of the discussion.

 In short, the approach of the international community is one of creating a dynamic whereby Palestinians co-exist, not with their Israeli neighbors, but rather with the system of Israeli military occupation, or put simply, sugar coating the status quo which benefits Israel.

What the international community fails to mention is that the dynamic on the ground is explosive. The Israeli military occupation is alive and well and causing structural, possibly irrevocable damage to Palestinian lands and persons. The Jewish-only Israeli settlement enterprise is off the leash and building more and more illegal settlements as if there were no tomorrow, not to mention the increasing tides of settler violence which remains unpunished.  All this settlement activity is happening with full approval of the Israeli government and in full view of the international community. The failing (or failed) health care and education systems in Palestine are producing a generation of Palestinians with much less to lose and little hope for the future.

Those who have dealt the Palestinians out of the equation for the future of Palestine need to take a closer look at history and at the struggle of this great people. Palestinians recognize better than most the dangers that are posed by the current powder keg of internal disunity and foreign intervention into their livelihoods. Palestinians know better than anyone else that the current state of affairs generates tremendous fear as their struggle for freedom and independence is set back by decades. Yet, at defining times in their history Palestinians have always reclaimed the initiative and carried on, like any oppressed and struggling people are wont to do.

Over the past several months, I participated together with a group of 45 Palestinians from all walks of life — men and women, on the political right and left, secular and religious, politicians, academics, civil society and business actors, from occupied Palestine, inside Israel, and in the Diaspora. We were a group that is a microcosm that reflects the dynamics of the Palestinian society. We could not all meet in one room anywhere in the world because the reality (of travel restrictions) that Israel has created does not permit it, nevertheless we continue to plan and to act. Our mission is to open a discussion on where we go from here: What are the Palestinians’ strategic options to end the Israeli occupation, if any?

After several workshops in Palestine and abroad and a continuous online debate we have produced the first iteration of “Regaining The Initiative: Palestinian Strategic Options To End Israeli Occupation.” The document is posted at www.palestinestrategygroup.ps and reflects an alternative to an official but impotent Palestinian discourse that will very shortly, in the judgment of most Palestinians, run head-on into a brick (cement) wall.

Palestinian society is a dynamic, thinking society which has been so battered and demeaned by Israel and its supporters that many folk, including many Palestinians themselves, will be surprised that the Palestinians have any options whatsoever. One thing is for sure: No matter how long the illegal Israeli occupation continues, do not expect the Palestinians to wake up one morning and accept that they are somehow less human than any other free person in this world.

The Palestinian people have given everyone – including their own traditional leadership – plenty of time to end this humiliating and brutal occupation. When all else fails, Palestinians will reclaim the initiative, and will continue to do so over and over, until this occupation is consigned to the trash bin of history, along with all the war criminals who allowed it to persist for so many years.

Sam Bahour lives in occupied Palestine and is co-editor of “Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians.” He may be reached at sbahour@palnet.com

 

September 3, 2008

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This message comes from Cafe Intifada Advisory Board Member, Don Campbell

Hey So Cal Poets,

Here’s the schedule of featured poets for Saturday Afternoon Poetry during August, September, October, November, and December in the backroom of the Santa Catalina Branch of the Pasadena Public Library on 999 E. Washington Blvd.

 

September 6th – Andrea Carter Brown

September 13th – Publication party for San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly #39, Summer 2008 Issue

September 20th – Beth Cheng

September 27th – Emerging Urban Poets (Lynn Allgood, Michelle Angelini, CaLokie, Don Kingfisher Campbell, Barbara Cogswell, Pauli Dutton, Richard Dutton, Eleanor Higgins, Lindy Hill, Patrick Jeffries, Deborah P Kolodji, Toby McManmon, James Pinkerton, and Mary Torregrossa please send three poems for the EUP anthology in the body of an email message by September 13th to: kingfisher1031@charter.net ).  Barry Schwam will also be professionally recording our performances to create an EUP CD!

 

October 4th – Mark States

October 11th – Nancy Shiffrin

October 18th – Unoccupied (Xochitl Julisa Bermejo, Just Kibbe, Jane Moore, and Chris Wesley)

October 25th – Judy Kronenfeld 

 

November 1st – Helene Cardona & John Fitzgerald

November 8th – 1pm departure for FIELD TRIP to ENCINO-TARZANA PUBLIC LIBRARY

November 15th – Ruth Nolan & Phantom Seed poets

November 22nd – Jeffry Jensen & Cati Porter

November 29th – Awards Ceremony for First Annual Pure Poetry Chapbook Contest winner.  Free to enter.  Please send 10 poems of no more than 40 lines each (including stanza breaks) in the body of an email message by November 15th to: kingfisher1031@charter.net . Winner will receive 20 copies of their chapbook.

 

December 6th – Maureen Alsop & Jon Epstein

December 13th – Publication party for San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly #40, Fall 2008 Issue. Please send up to three poems of any length in the body of an email message by November 29th to: kingfisher1031@charter.net

December 20th – Holiday Poetry Slam.  $5 donation per poet to participate.  Winner-takes-all!  Non-participants judge.

December 28th – Publication Party for the 2009 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Calendar.  Please send up to three poems of no more than 30 lines each (including stanza breaks) in the body of an email message by December 13th to: kingfisher1031@charter.net

 

We meet EVERY SATURDAY for three gas-saving events (except on FIELD TRIP days):

 

1:30 to 2:30pm – Emerging Urban Poets writing workshop

2:45 to 3:45pm – Pure Poetry critique workshop

4:00 to 5:00pm – Saturday Afternoon Poetry (featured poet(s) + open reading)

 

Attend any one, two, or three as you wish. It’s always FREE!

 

To reach the Saturday Poetry website click on:

http://community.livejournal.com/saturday_poetry/

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