Ishmael – An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

In 1989 Ted Turner created a fellowship to be awarded to a work of fiction offering positive solutions to global problems. The winner, chosen from 2500 entries worldwide, was a work of startling clarity and depth: Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael, a Socratic journey that explores the most challenging problem humankind has ever faced: How to save the world from ourselves.

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Martin Luther King Day

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Not only is it a good day to remember the man, his mission and his achievements, it’s a good day to observe and remember what happened to those influential activists who work for peace and equality, Gandhi, King, Kennedy, Lennon , to name the more famous. It’s also a good time to remember those who have supported and helped the peace killers.

In April, 1968, at the age of 39, Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The commonly held view of the assassination is that it was (another one) committed by a ‘lone gunman’. James Earl Ray, an escaped prisoner from the Missouri State Penitentiary was arrested at Heathrow Airport in Britain, extradited to the US and tried for the murder of Dr King. He pleaded guilty, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

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Martin Luther King, Jr on the balcony where he was assassinated (AP File)

What many people don’t know is that in 1998 there was a trial, King v. Jowers and Other Unnamed Coconspirators.

Loyd Jowers was the owner of the bar outside of which the assassin fired the fatal bullet. Racked with guilt, Jowers made a late life confession of his involvement in the MLK assassination. After hearing 70 witnesses testify over the course of one month, the 12-member jury took only one hour of deliberation to find the Memphis police and elements of the US government, among others, guilty of conspiracy in King’s assassination. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) results of the trial are available here. The case overview states “in King v. Jowers, a recent civil suit in a Tennessee state court, a jury returned a verdict finding that Jowers and unnamed others, including unspecified government agencies, participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.”

Here’s a list of just some of the overwhelming evidence of government complicity introduced in this trial and validated in the jury’s guilty verdict:

  • Usual special body guards provided by the Memphis police were advised they “weren’t needed” on the day of the assassination.
  • Regular and constant police protection was removed from Dr. King an hour before the assassination.
  • Dr. King’s room was changed from a secure 1st-floor room to an exposed balcony room.
  • US 111th Military Intelligence Group were at Dr. King’s location during the assassination.
  • The 20th Special Forces Group had an eight-man sniper team at the assassination location on that day.
  • Memphis police ordered the bushes multiple witnesses reported as the source of shooting cut down shortly after the assassination.
  • Along with sanitizing a crime scene, police abandoned the standard investigative procedure of interviewing witnesses who lived by the scene of the shooting.
  • The rifle James Earl Ray delivered was not matched to the bullet that killed Dr. King, and was not sighted to accurately shoot.

“We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” — Coretta Scott King, King Family Press Conference

The reason many don’t know of the trial and the information that was revealed in it is because it was completely censored by the media. US corporate media did not cover the trial or interview the King family, and textbooks omit this information.

“Apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect, scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on. After critical testimony was given in the trial’s second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, “Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson’s trial was the trial of the century. Clinton’s trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who’s here?” – Journalist and author James Douglass ( http://ctka.net/pr500-king.html )

The King family believes the government’s motivation to assassinate Dr King was to prevent his imminent effort to camp in and occupy Washington, D.C. until the Vietnam War was ended and the war’s resources were redirected to end poverty and invest in US infrastructure.

Barry Zweiker summarizes the case in this six-minute video.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-government-guilty-of-martin-luther-kings-murder-the-corporate-media-covers-it-up/5376631




Monument to a King

Remembering MLK’s Legacy, and Resisting Today’s Wars

by William Loren Katz

This weekend [Aug, 2011] it has taken a hurricane to postpone the dedication of the long-awaited monument to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington — the first time a man who is not a president, not a white man, and not a war leader has been so honored on the Mall. Major corporations contributed to this monument, so the question is how will Dr. King be presented to the American public and remembered by children. One clear viewpoint was offered this January 13th when the Pentagon commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an address by Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel.

In the final year of his life, King became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Johnson frankly told a packed auditorium of Defense Department officials. However, Johnson hastily added, today’s wars are not out of line with the iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner’s teachings. “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.” Really?

Dr. King’s first anti-war speech, “Declaration of Independence from the War In Vietnam” delivered on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York City, is not only eloquent and passionate but also carefully reasoned and as uncomplicated in its message as its title. Dr. King knew his call for U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam would bring challenges to his leadership and moral purpose from his enemies, many of his friends in the civil rights movement, and lead to increased FBI harassment. He was denounced by the New York Times, the Washington Post as well as his usual foes. He had dared to speak at a moment when U.S. officials from the president down warned that communism’s triumph in Vietnam would lead to victories across Asia and beyond, and had made Americans as fearful of communism as they are of today’s terrorists.

But King was resolute. “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” King said. He minced few words, referring to “my own government” as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Has much changed today when the U.S. boasts the largest military budget in history, one larger than all other countries around combined? The United States still has bases on every continent, and its armed forces fight in and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for longer than it fought in World War II. Weekly we hear the government contemplates air strikes against Iran’s nuclear building sites, or even an invasion.

Dr. King called for withdrawal from Vietnam. Had he lived, would he not have also called for a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? Would he have failed to see parallels that are as obvious as they are frightening?

Early in his address, Dr. King pointed out that “our leaders refused to tell us the truth” about our war in Vietnam. Can we ever forget that the U.S. attack on Iraq was initiated to destroy weapons of mass destruction that never existed, and retaliate against a Saddam Hussein and Iraq that had no part in the 9/11 attacks on the United States? In the name of Iraqi freedom our leaders ordered the torture of prisoners, and promoted democracy by supporting corrupt leaders who lack popular support. The people of Vietnam, King said, “must see Americans as strange liberators.” In Afghanistan today those who suffer from drone attacks directed from afar, and from other deadly searches for terrorists, do not see us as liberators. They see a distant power occupying and oppressing innocent civilians, and see the United States as doomed to fail as earlier foreign invaders.

“The madness of Vietnam,” Dr. King said in 1967, will “totally” poison “America’s soul.” He told how U.S. involvement in Vietnam “eviscerated” its war on poverty begun by President Lyndon Johnson, and instead had its “funds and energies” and “men and skills” drawn into a war “like some demonic, destructive suction tube.” What happens to “America’s soul” as the U.S. budget spins out of control, joblessness and hopelessness reaches proportions known only during the Great Depression?

Dr. King emphasized how the Vietnam War was “devastating the hopes of the poor at home” and “sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight in extraordinarily high proportion relative to the rest of the population.” In 2011 a volunteer army draws even more heavily on the poor, those without jobs, men and women losing hope of finding meaningful work. Dr. King said then “I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.” Would the man who organized a Poor People’s Crusade before his assassination be silent now?

Toward to the end of his address at the Riverside Church, Dr. King said: “Somehow this madness must cease. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam and the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam…. The great initiative in the war is ours. The initiative to stop must be ours.”

Was not Martin Luther King, Jr. reaching beyond Vietnam when he warned of “approaching spiritual death” and called for “a significant and profound change in American life and policy” and insisted that “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values”? Was he only speaking of Vietnam when he said, “War is not the answer?”

We the people have to make sure it is not the Pentagon version but the real legacy of Dr. King is acknowledged and celebrated. We owe that to future generations.

William Loren Katz, author of forty books on American history, is currently a visiting scholar at New York University, his university affiliation since 1973. His website is williamlkatz.com. Dr. King’s entire Riverside Church speech can be read or heard at: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence2.htm.




‘He’s the Universal Soldier, and he really is to blame…’

One for Remembrance Day…

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=to5d4p4aYiQ&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=to5d4p4aYiQ&amp;feature</a>


How thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women are waging peace

The thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women who marched in Jerusalem and Jericho this month are not only demanding peace from their societies, they are reaching through stereotypes and artificial boundaries to find true partners.

By Riman Barakat

 

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Thousands of women from ‘Women Wage Peace’ march on the Israeli Prime Minister’s Residence Jerusalem, October 19, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Less than a year ago a group of Palestinian and Israeli women spent a weekend in Tantur, situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, brainstorming what we could possibly do to break the cycle of violence and political stagnation. Everyone had their own personal reason for being there, whether it was the Israeli mothers who had to send their children to war or the Palestinian women who were exhausted by the daily incursions of the Israeli army, checkpoints, and the inability to live freely and imagine a hopeful future for their children. Personally, I felt torn apart having seen Jerusalem split into a hundred pieces, a place that should be the inspiration for coexistence instead oozing with the blood of Palestinians and Israelis on a near daily basis.

Over the last 11 years I have done my best to be involved in any possible initiative that attempts to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace. Why is Women Wage Peace different? My belief has always been that if any group professes that they will bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace, they must have to want it so much so that they are willing to wed themselves to the cause. These women are of that character; they are unstoppable and determined but most of all, they believe they can create their own future. In order to create a different reality, we believe that we have to be that reality.

“We need to think outside of our surroundings,” Lily kept saying, and together we visualized the March of Hope, a march of togetherness — a cry to the whole world, coming from a mother’s womb, to stop the violence. We resolved not to stop, even in the midst of most terrible acts of violence. We met and shouted out, “ Enough! Enough!” in Arabic, Hebrew and English. We resolved to propose a shared language of hope, of humanity, of an unshakable commitment to peace, and we rejected the language of separation.

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The author, Riman Barakat, addressing the Women Wage Peace rally at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, October 17, 2016. (Gili Getz)

When I stood in front more than 500 women at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam earlier this month, I was not yet sure everyone truly understood or believed what was about to happen two days later — a joint march of thousands of Palestinian and Jewish women. As I called on the mostly Jewish group of women gathered there that day to come join hands with the Palestinian women, I felt the crowd cheering, moved by the thought of Palestinian partnership. Two days later, as the march commenced, a seemingly endless stream of Palestinian women descended from bus after bus, from Nablus, Hebron, East Jerusalem, Jericho, Jenin, Bethlehem. And mind you, they were there to really participate, and participate the did, singing out the words of peace.

We need to allow ourselves to bring down the barriers within and without, to dare to look each other in the eye and see the humanity. A long time has passed with us here and them there. The first step is to breach that psychological barrier and allow ourselves to be welcomed by those we call the “other.” I can’t recall the last time so many Israelis and Palestinians met and walked together. I believe I was much younger then, during the Oslo Accords. Yet after more than 20 years of separation, thousands of women are once again uniting for a common cause. It is a historic moment, and even those who try to ignore it will find it harder and harder to do so as it continues to grow.

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Thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women from ‘Women Wage Peace’ march near the West Bank city of Jericho, October 19, 2016. (Flash90)

When my dear friend Huda Abuarqoub from Hebron stood on the podium at the end of the march outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, declaring loudly, bravely and clearly, “Enough with the myth, I promise you, you have a partner,” it almost felt like a dream, like we were on a different planet. I watched the shock and elation of my Israeli friends. It was as if Huda herself was from another planet. But she was real, here, in the flesh, loud and clear. And everyone saw the magic that morning, only it wasn’t magic. There is a partner and the partner is real. It’s time to stop constantly demanding proof.

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowye, who came from Liberia to join us in our march, invited the audience to take part in what she called “the open mind challenge,” picking up on what I said earlier in my speech about seeing the humanity of the other. She told us a story from her childhood about an old woman who lived on top of a hill in the forest, whom everyone thought was a witch who ate little children. Leymah’s grandmother insisted on taking the children to visit her. What was the point? The moral of Leymah’s story is that we need to cross those borders within ourselves, to deconstruct the stereotypes we’ve built about each other — an accumulation of many “thin walls,” as she called them. All it takes is one simple act of courage to traverse a border or boundary of fear, to challenge ourselves, and dare to truly meet the other.

What we witnessed on October 19 was an unsurprising surprise, that yes, those on the other side are human beings, full of love, who also want life and peace. Yet there we were, all of us aghast, my Israeli friends and I, as we listened to Huda stating nothing but the obvious. The myth of the evil witch on the top of the hill was shattered right then and there, and the partner for peace was among us, present in every shape and form.

 

Riman Barakat is a Palestinian peace activist, the CEO and founder of Experience Palestine for International Missions and Delegations, and a board member of ALLMEP ( The Alliance for Middle East Peace). Previously she was co-director of IPCRI (Israel Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives) as well as he Palestinian executive director for Breaking the Impasse.