Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just a song before he goes/Crowd not always in harmony with Crosby & Nash


With very good fortune, I was there at the concert Jim Fink praises.  Not only did we hear CSNY, but also Jesse Colin Young and Santana.  It was a musical experience to remember.

Kagiso, Max

Just a song before he goes

Business First - by Jim Fink

Date: Friday, April 29, 2011, 3:31pm EDT


Despite being born in Blackpool, England, Graham Nash did not get up early Friday morning to watch the royal wedding.

Rather, he was still up at 5 a.m. in his Cleveland hotel room working on a new song, "Almost Gone," which is a tribute to Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army private charged with leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks. Manning is being held in solitary confinement in a brig near Quantico.

"I suppose I could have," Nash said. "But, I was busy writing."

It is possible the song could be done by the time Nash and his longtime musical partner, David Crosby, hit the stage Saturday night at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls and make its way into their set list. Crosby and Nash are one month into a long tour that will not only cut across the U.S. but also take them into Europe later this year.

Right now, though, Nash is on a tour bus heading to Niagara Falls from Cleveland. "Almost Gone" is on his mind, not the royal newlyweds.

The song is a snapshot of the Crosby and Nash musical journey that began in the 1960s as members of the Byrds and Hollies respectively and then through their on-again/off-again Crosby Stills & Nash (sometimes Young) partnership. It is topical much like "Chicago" or "Almost Cut My Hair". It is poignant. It matters.

Nash said he and Crosby try and work new songs into their setlist, but at the same time, they do not ignore what fans really want to hear. That means a heavy dose of "Our House" and "Guinnevere."

"We want to do these things," Nash said. "You know your paying customers want to hear those songs, so why would you not play them?"

The tour has been drawing rave reviews, not only for the outstanding musicianship, but for Crosby and Nash pulling nuggets from their past out and playing them. Crosby tackles the oft-forgotten and overlooked "Cowboy Movie" from his first solo release, "If I Could Only Remember My Name."

Nash has dusted off "Used to be a King" from his "Songs for Beginners" album.

Nash has nothing but praise for Crosby and the touring band they put together that includes ace guitarist Dean Parks.

"This band is fearless," Nash said. "And, Crosby, he's one of the most unique musicians on the face of this planet."

Besides the tour, Nash has a full dance card.

Make that very full dance card.

In addition to writing new songs, Nash is working on three books of his photographs and nine different CD releases including the long awaited box set from CSNY's 1974 stadium tour, which included a memorable show at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.

Could there be another CSNY reunion in the works?

Not immediately, Nash said.

Stills and Young are focusing on their Buffalo Springfield reunion tour. Crosby and Nash have an equally full agenda.

"I'm busy right now," Nash said. "But, I just might catch one of their shows."

Tickets for Saturday's Crosby and Nash show at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel remain on sale.


Crowd not always in harmony with Crosby & Nash


Written by


Chris Varias

Enquirer contributor


6:43 PM, Apr. 27, 2011|


As he confessed to the audience at the Taft Theatre Tuesday night, David Crosby, a ‘60s rock star whose maximum-party

lifestyle was as noted as his music, has “only got about 18 brain cells still holding hands.”


You wonder if portions of Crosby’s audience have inflicted themselves with some synapse damage along the way as

well, because not everyone in the crowd was accepting Crosby and Graham Nash for what they are.


Crosby, together with occasional musical partners Stephen Stills, Nash, and, even less occasionally, Neil Young, were the

quintessential hippie band, which meant antiwar sentiment was a part of the deal.


After all, some might recall CSNY going Top Twenty in 1970 with “Ohio.”


When Tuesday’s show – a CN affair, as SY are not a part of this tour – became political, a measure of the crowd didn’t like it, making for some heated moments on stage and in the crowd. The tension produced an edge to the three-hour event

typically missing from an oldies show.


Following a 25-minute intermission, Nash came to the stage without Crosby and began talking about Bradley Manning, the

U.S. soldier arrested for his role in the WikiLeaks case. Nash made the point that Manning is being detained by the

government in an inhumane manner. The comments drew boos and applause from the crowd.


Nash proceeded to play a song he said that he completed the previous day with Crosby’s son James Raymond, who played

keyboards with the band Tuesday night, and that the Taft performance would be the debut of the song. He called it “Almost

Gone: The Ballad of Bradley Manning.” The last line of the song is, “Bradley Manning is a hero to me.” There were more cheers, more boos.


“I hope you were booing the (expletive) people that are keeping him in jail,” Nash snapped. A few seconds later, he was

more conciliatory: “I thank you all for listening,” he said.


Two songs later Crosby and Nash, each 69 years old, combined the musical and the political in a way that drowned out the booing, if there was any. The pair did an a cappella version of “What Are Their Names” that showcased wonderful harmony singing in stark fashion.


The singing was good all the way through both sets, 26 songs in all. The band was also very good. Joining Raymond was first-call session guitarist Dean Parks, who took some nice turns at pedal steel on tunes like “Teach Your Children” and “Wasted on the Way”; Jackson Browne bassist Kevin McCormick; and drummer Steve DiStanislao.


When the crowd wasn’t cheering or booing, it was yelling out requests.


“Play the catalog,” yelled someone, apparently wanting CSN(Y) hits, not newer Crosby and Nash songs. "We’re not the Eagles,” countered Crosby.


“Play ‘Almost Cut My Hair,” yelled another.


“Do you think we’re not gonna play that (expletive) song? Give me a break,” answered Crosby and Nash, speaking on top of each other.


As they said, they later played “Almost Cut My Hair.” They also played “Wooden Ships,” “Our House,” “Déjà Vu,” Marrakesh Express,” “Cowboy Movie,” “Just a Song Before I Go,” “Long Time Gone” and the pretty hot show-opening “Eight Miles High.”


Lots of hits, a few new ones, a few of a political nature – in other words, what anyone should have expected.


Copyright © 2011

Egypt intends to reopen Gaza crossing


Egypt intends to reopen Gaza crossing

By Michael Birnbaum, Friday, April 29, 8:34 PM

CAIRO — Egypt plans to reopen a border crossing with the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Friday, worrying Israel and bringing an end to a blockade of the territory that had been deeply unpopular inside Egypt.

“We have an intention to open it permanently for humanitarian reasons,” said Ambassador Menha Bakhoum, a ministry spokeswoman.

Access to Gaza from Egypt had been severely restricted at Israel’s request after the Islamic movement Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. Israel and the United States consider Hamas a terrorist organization, and Israel imposed a blockade on the territory because officials said they were concerned about weapons and explosives being transported across the border.

Bakhoum said that Egypt would spend the next week or two studying the issue but added that officials hoped to open it “as quickly as possible.” A cheering crowd of about 50 Egyptians waving Palestinian flags march­ed Friday night toward the Foreign Ministry building in Cairo.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had pursued close ties with Israel during his 30-year rule, a course that was deeply unpopular with many in Egypt. But since Mubarak stepped down in mid-February, Egypt has been pursuing a new foreign policy path, intent on regaining its role as a regional power broker.

Egypt has moved in recent days to bolster its relationship with Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned in Egypt during Mubarak’s reign. The change reflected popular sentiment and helped Egyptian diplomats broker a deal this week between Fatah and Hamas that will unify the two main factions in the Palestinian territories. Egyptian diplomats have also announced their intention to increase ties with Iran.

Israeli diplomats have said privately that they are worried about Egyptian policy changes, though they did not comment publicly on the announcement Friday.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement saying that “the U.S. supports efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Efforts should also ensure that the transfer of weapons or other materiel and financial support for terrorism is blocked.”

Western diplomats have expressed concern over the past few weeks about the security situation in the Sinai region of Egypt that borders the Gaza Strip, with one calling it the “Wild West on steroids.” An explosion at a natural gas pipeline there earlier this week led Egypt to cut gas transmission to Israel and Jordan.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Turkish Journalism Behind Bars

Turkish Journalism Behind Bars

by: Steven M. Ellis and Alison Bethel McKenzie, Project Syndicate

Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister of Turkey, at the World Economic Forum in 2007. (Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr)

Vienna - In a study released in early April, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovi?, reported that 57 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey, mostly on the basis of the country’s anti-terrorism laws. With 11 more Turkish journalists also facing charges, the total number could soon double the records of Iran and China, each of which reportedly held 34 journalists in prison in December 2010. Indeed, Mijatovi? estimated that another 700-1,000 proceedings against journalists remain ongoing.

Such a situation is intolerable anywhere, but particularly in a democracy that seeks European Union membership, and that recognizes freedom of expression as a fundamental right. Turkey’s behavior thus calls into question not only its desire but also its ability to commit to the values underlying the EU.

Journalists linked to Kurdish or Marxist organizations have regularly been targeted under Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws, and the OSCE study found that they have faced some of the harshest punishments. One Kurdish journalist was sentenced to 166 years in prison. Others currently face – wait for it – 3,000-year sentences if convicted.

The relative lack of scrutiny of Turkey’s treatment of journalists by many in the West has changed, however, owing to the recent waves of arrests in the so-called “Ergenekon” case. Numerous military officers and academics have been implicated in that case, which involves an alleged plot by secular ultra-nationalists to overthrow the Turkish government. The probe has now turned increasingly towards journalists.

One of those accused of participating in the plot is the daily newspaper Milliyet’s investigative reporter Nedim ?ener, whose work includes a book about links between security forces and the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The International Press Institute (IPI) named _ener a World Press Freedom Hero in 2010. Incarcerated following his arrest last month, he reportedly stands accused of belonging to an armed terrorist organization seeking to overthrow the government.

Another journalist under fire is Ahmet ?ik, who already faced prosecution for co-writing a book criticizing the government’s crackdown on the Ergenekon plot. ?ik was said to be working on a book about the alleged influence of an Islamic group within Turkey’s police force, which authorities last month ordered confiscated before it could be printed.

A common thread in all of the cases targeting journalists is that the alleged facts are shrouded in secrecy, and the authorities have declined to release any evidence of crimes or criminal organizations. Worse still, they have declined even to inform those brought before courts – sometimes in secret – or their attorneys of the charges they face.

Indeed, journalists caught in this Kafkaesque affair can expect to spend years behind bars before being allowed to respond to the accusations against them. A climate of fear escalates with each raid and arrest.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities affirm the country’s commitment to press freedom, even as they impugn the motives of those who exercise it. Given that so many journalists have been jailed, and that all of them have been critical of the government, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that journalists are being targeted because of their work.

Such concern has been voiced not only by press-freedom groups such as IPI, and journalists, like the Freedom for Journalists Platform (an umbrella group representing local and national media organizations in Turkey), but also by respected international institutions. The United StatesMission to the OSCE and the European Commission have joined Mijatovi? in calling on Turkey’s authorities to stop their intimidation of the media immediately, and to uphold basic OSCE media freedom commitments. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Turkey to guarantee freedom of opinion and expression.

Even Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gül, recently called for “prosecutors and courts to be more diligent in pursuing their responsibilities, and to act in a way that does not harm the honor and rights of the people.”

Turkey plays a pivotal, bridge-building role between East and West, and the country has been praised for demonstrating that democracy can coexist with Islam. But the arrests of so many journalists are eroding this image.

The right of journalists to cover sensitive topics, including national security, is fundamental. Those who do not engage in criminal activity should not face arrest, imprisonment, or any other form of harassment or intimidation for doing their job. Those accused of criminal activity must be given due process and a fair trial. Evidence must be provided, and the accused must be presented with the charges they face and the opportunity to defend themselves.

Far from being defamatory subversives, journalists who investigate and criticize their government’s actions demonstrate true patriotism, because no democracy can survive without the open and independent assessment of public policies that journalists provide. If Turkey, a major regional power with an ancient cultural heritage, truly wishes to be welcomed into Europe, to take its rightful place on the world stage, and, indeed, to remain a democracy, its leaders must not hold freedom of the press in contempt.

Copyright:Project Syndicate, 2011.


Alison Bethel McKenzie

Alison Bethel McKenzie is Director of the International Press Institute (IPI).

Steven M. Ellis

Steven M. Ellis is the Press Freedom Advisor with the International Pres Institute (IPI).

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Heroine Who Kept Jared Loughner from Reloading Confronts NRA Leaders

Heroine Who Kept Jared Loughner from Reloading Confronts NRA Leaders


By Cliff Schecter, AlterNet
Posted on April 29, 2011, Printed on April 30, 2011

This weekend is a special one in Pittsburgh. The NRA is there for their convention, with the leadership presumably coming up with new ways to say they support enforcing our gun laws while finding ways to undermine law enforcement so instead of just some blood they can perhaps have a whole artery on their hands.

Patricia Maisch, who is at the NRA convention this weekend to make her voice heard, after saving countless lives stopping Jared Loughner from reloading during the tragedy in the Tucson, puts it a bit more eloquently:

On that quiet January morning in Tucson, my life and the lives of so many other innocent people changed forever. Six innocent people lost their lives and 13 others were injured, including my Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords. Thanks to the courage of Bill Badger and Roger Salzberger, who tackled the shooter, I was able to grab his ammunition clip from him before he was able to reload and inflict even more destruction.

But Jared Loughner never should have been allowed to purchase a gun in the first place. And that\'s why I\'ve traveled to Pittsburgh this weekend -- to ask the NRA to talk with me and other victims of gun violence about how we can fix the background check system so that we can keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people like Mr. Loughner.


This weekend, an unprecedented coalition of more than a hundred victims and family members of victims of gun violence, many of whom are gun owners themselves, and I are very politely asking the NRA to talk. We\'ve mailed a letter, taken out a full-page ads in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Times Review and we are even commissioning a truck to drive the ad around the convention center.

We\'re asking NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to join us in seizing on this rare opportunity to make a change that 86 percent of all Americans and 81 percent of gun owners say needs to happen. Because the NRA supports background checks, and Mr. LaPierre has said he wants the checks to be more effective so they catch people who the law says can\'t have a gun, it stands to reason they should be willing to talk about how to make those checks comprehensive and unavoidable.

It would stand to reason he\'d support comprehensive background checks (like 69% of NRA members do), if he even resembled anything approaching an honest broker. But sadly, he is who he is, and honestly is not the best policy to him and his ilk. We\'re talking about someone who accused former President Bill Clinton of murder and egged on a cop-killer in this very city of Pittsburgh, by lying to him and telling him President Obama was coming to take his guns.

So, while not overly sanguine, I do hope Mrs. Maisch\'s message gets through to the media. For she is a hero, not just because of the amazing thing she did that terrible day in Tucson, but because of her willingness to step forward now, so that all Americans might be safer in a future not dominated by the arms dealer lobby over at NRA HQ.

Follow Cliff Schecter on Twitter: @cliffschecter

© 2011 All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Friday, April 29, 2011

Making the Case From a Different Place


Making the Case From a Different Place

by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: michael baird, BOSSoNe0013)


A trio of ongoing and savagely expensive wars. A catastrophically expensive health care "system." A national infrastructure collapsing into rack and ruin even as millions go without jobs. Hundreds of tornadoes tearing the country apart from Oklahoma to Birmingham to Richmond to Washington DC, yet another blow to an already fragile economy that seems to be heading inexorably toward a double-dip recession. A brazen, headlong conservative plunge towards the annihilation of the social contract. A game of political chicken over the debt ceiling that could blast the country apart.

And what are we talking about?

Birth certificates.

Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends.

If you've spent (read: wasted) any time over the last couple of days watching "mainstream" cable news channels, no doubt you found yourself drowning in yet another round of coverage of the "birther" issue, i.e., the accusation that Mr. Obama is not a citizen compelled the release of his Hawaii birth certificate, which kicked off yet another round of "It's a fake, he's not a citizen, WHAAARGARBLE!!!" nonsense from people who only get news coverage because newsroom editors love car accidents.

Oh, right, and royal weddings, too. Can't forget that. "Exxon profits jump 69%" got a line-item in the screen crawl at the bottom of CNN's broadcast on Thursday afternoon, right beneath the talking head who gushed about getting up early in the morning to watch the British festivities. One hopes the prince has his own birth certificate in order. Could be trouble if not.

Don't be fooled, however. Despite the vast hurricane of nonsense and distraction being blown over the American people by the "news" media, by the clowns they cover, and by the politicians who avoid substance the way cats avoid water, there have in fact been scores of people shouting from the rooftops about the problems we face, and about the solutions that are not only possible, but within our grasp if we choose to reach for them. Some of these voices are from the present, some are from the past, yet they all share the same ignominious fate of the perpetually ignored. The problems we face are known - they are, indeed, standing right in front of us, stomping on our feet, and screaming into our faces - but until now, the right combination of volume, influence, charisma and argument have not yet coalesced into the kind of message that will not only resonate, but will be unavoidable in its assertions.

Strange problems make for strange solutions. In a country where people of good conscience are ignored in favor of megalomaniacs like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, our society has been well-trained to sit up and pay rapt attention in matters regarding the military. We worship at the altar of the armed forces, and for two basic reasons: 1. Average people pay respect to those in the military because that service to our country is worthy of praise; and, 2. A few very influential people - in the defense industry, the oil industry, and the media - make vast fortunes off the defense budget and the wide coverage any military engagement is given. In order to keep the gravy train running, they have, over many decades, ensured that military matters are securely wrapped in a shroud of hallowed untouchability, and as a culture, we have mostly swallowed this whole.  We are well-trained in this regard, and that glue holds fast.

The Trumps and Palins of the world run their mouths into many proffered microphones and cameras, while those interested in the genuine betterment of the nation are dismissed and ignored. Thus it has been for some time now...but when the military speaks, all ears turn to listen.

So be it.

The following are portions of a paper published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (.pdf) that was written by two members of the armed services: Captain Wayne Porter of the US Navy, and Colonel Mark Mykleby of the US Marine Corps. What makes the document remarkable is the fact that both men are top-ranking members of Admiral Mike Mullen's team. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surely was aware of this paper before it was published, and allowed it to go to print, giving this document at least a seeming stamp of approval from the Pentagon.

Something else remarkable: two serving officers have proffered one of the more eloquent arguments in recent memory against the direction this country has been led for decades, and made an unassailable case for addressing the problems we face while providing readily available solutions to those problems. It is, in the main, a profoundly progressive piece of work.

We don't listen to progressive politicians, public figures or media personalities - past or present - even as the truth of their assertions and solutions burn brightly before us. Maybe what America needs is to hear it from a couple of guys like this. To wit:

In one sentence, the strategic narrative of the United States in the 21st century is that we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in a deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in defenseand more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement.


Among the trends that are already shaping a "new normal" in our strategic environment arethe decline of rural economies, joblessness, the dramatic increase in urbanization, an increasing demand for energy, migration of populations and shifting demographics, the rise of grey and black markets, the phenomenon of extremism and anti-modernism, the effects of global climate change, the spread of pandemics and lack of access to adequate health services, and an increasing dependency on cyber networks. At first glance, these trends are cause for concern. But for Americans with vision, guided by values, they represent opportunities to reestablish and leverage credible influence, converging interests, and interdependencies that can transform despair into hope. This focus on improving our strategic ecosystem, and favorably competing for our national interests, underscores the investment priorities cited earlier, and the imaginative application of diplomacy, development, and defense in our foreign policy.


In complex systems, adaptation and variation demonstrate that "binning" is not only difficult, it often leads to unintended consequences. For example, labeling, or binning, Islamist radicals as "terrorists," or worse, as "jihadis," has resulted in two very different, and unfortunate unintended misperceptions: that all Muslims are thought of as "terrorists;" and, that those who pervert Islam into a hateful, anti-modernist ideology to justify unspeakable acts of violence are truly motivated by a religious struggle (the definition of "jihad," and the obligation of all Muslims), rather than being seen as apostates waging war against society and innocents.This has resulted in the alienation of vast elements of the global Muslim community and has only frustrated efforts to accurately depict and marginalize extremism.


As Americans, our ability to remain relevant as a world leader, to evolve as a nation, depends as it always has on our determination to pursue our national interests within the constraints of our core values.We must embrace and respect diversity and encourage the exchange of ideas, welcoming as our own those who share our values and seek an opportunity to contribute to our nation. Innovation, imagination, and hard work must be applied through a national unity of effort that recognizes our place in the global system.We must accept that to be great requires competition and to remain great requires adaptability, that competition need not demand a single winner,and that through converging interests we should seek interdependencies that can help sustain our interests in the global strategic ecosystem. To achieve this we will need the tools of development, diplomacy and defense - employed with agility through an integrated whole of nation approach.This will require the prioritization of our investments in intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America's youth; investment in the nation's sustainable security - on our own soil and wherever Americans and their interests take them, including space and cyberspace; and investment in sustainable access to, cultivation and use of, the natural resources we need for our continued wellbeing, prosperity and economic growth in the world marketplace.


As Americans we needn't seek the world's friendship or to proselytize the virtues of our society.Neither do we seek to bully, intimidate, cajole, or persuade others to accept our unique values or to share our national objectives. Rather, we will let others draw their own conclusions based upon our actions.Our domestic and foreign policies will reflect unity of effort, coherency and constancy of purpose. We will pursue our national interests and allow others to pursue theirs, never betraying our values. We will seek converging interests and welcome interdependence. We will encourage fair competition and will not shy away from deterring bad behavior. We will accept our place in a complex and dynamic strategic ecosystem and use credible influence and strength to shape uncertainty into opportunities. We will be a pathway of promise and a beacon of hope, in an ever changing world.

(Emphasis added)

It is not a perfect document by any means, and many progressives may recoil at the deep vein of militarism woven throughout the work. Consider, however, the fact that here is a well-crafted argument for slashing military spending, resolving the health care crisis in a way that benefits people instead of profit, refining the way we educate our children so that educational funds are not an afterthought, fixing our crumbling national infrastructure, and turning away from the decades-old habit of approaching our national existence from a position of strife, distrust, conflict and war. Here, in short, is a blueprint for a progressive future that speaks to all the problems we face.

Consider this, also: you almost certainly have a friend, a spouse, a family member, or a neighbor who has been gulled into believing that anything liberal or progressive is by definition heretical to the idea that is America. They vote for the politicians who screw them and support a system that steals from them, but cannot be convinced to turn away from either.

Perhaps those people you know would find themselves receptive to a progressive argument made by a Marine officer and a Naval officer who both work in the Pentagon. We are, after all, a culture that attaches great significance to military service. Here are two service members speaking to the needs of the future while wearing the uniform. Here is a progressive perspective wrapped securely in the flag.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is a Truthout editor and columnist.  He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation," is now available from PoliPointPress.


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Baltimore Tikkun/Jewish Voice for Peace announcement/Young Mizrahi Israelis' open letter to Arab peers

On May 1st, at Suburban Club, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Baltimore Zionist District will hold its 2nd annual symposium Israel’s Future in a Changing Middle East

Stand With Us  at the corner of Park Heights Ave. between Slade Avenue & Old Court Road between 8:15 & 8:45 AM.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

For peace, justice & equality for Palestinians & Israelis

peace dove


peace dove

Please make sure all signs have a message of peace and nonviolence. 


Young Mizrahi Israelis' open letter to Arab peers


      "We wish to express our identification with and

      hopes for this stage of generational transition in

      the history of the Middle East and North Africa, and

      we hope that it will open the gates to freedom and

      justice and a fair distribution of the region's



+972 Magazine Blog


April 24, 2011


Translated from Hebrew;  English edited by Chana Morgenstern


In a letter titled "Ruh Jedida: A New Spirit for 2011,"

young Jewish descendants of the Arab and Islamic world

living in Israel write to their peers in the Middle East and

North Africa


We, as the descendents of the Jewish communities of the Arab

and Muslim world, the Middle East and the Maghreb, and as

the second and third generation of Mizrahi Jews in Israel,

are watching with great excitement and curiosity the major

role that the men and women of our generation are playing so

courageously in the demonstrations for freedom and change

across the Arab world. We identify with you and are

extremely hopeful for the future of the revolutions that

have already succeeded in Tunisia and Egypt. We are equally

pained and worried at the great loss of life in Libya,

Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and many other places in the region.


Our generation's protest against repression and oppressive

and abusive regimes, and its call for change, freedom, and

the establishment of democratic governments that foster

citizen participation in the political process, marks a

dramatic moment in the history of the Middle East and North

Africa, a region which has for generations been torn between

various forces, internal and external, and whose leaders

have often trampled the political, economic, and cultural

rights of its citizens.


We are Israelis, the children and grandchildren of Jews who

lived in the Middle East and North Africa for hundreds and

thousands of years. Our forefathers and mothers contributed

to the development of this region's culture, and were part

and parcel of it. Thus the culture of the Islamic world and

the multigenerational connection and identification with

this region is an inseparable part of our own identity.


We are a part of the religious, cultural, and linguistic

history of the Middle East and North Africa, although it

seems that we are the forgotten children of its history:

First in Israel, which imagines itself and its culture to be

somewhere between continental Europe and North America. Then

in the Arab world, which often accepts the dichotomy of Jews

and Arabs and the imagined view of all Jews as Europeans,

and has preferred to repress the history of the Arab-Jews as

a minor or even nonexistent chapter in its history; and

finally within the Mizrahi communities themselves, who in

the wake of Western colonialism, Jewish nationalism and Arab

nationalism, became ashamed of their past in the Arab world.


Consequently we often tried to blend into the mainstream of

society while erasing or minimizing our own past. The mutual

influences and relationships between Jewish and Arab

cultures were subjected to forceful attempts at erasure in

recent generations, but evidence of them can still be found

in many spheres of our lives, including music, prayer,

language, and literature.


We wish to express our identification with and hopes for

this stage of generational transition in the history of the

Middle East and North Africa, and we hope that it will open

the gates to freedom and justice and a fair distribution of

the region's resources.


We turn to you, our generational peers in the Arab and

Muslim world, striving for an honest dialog which will

include us in the history and culture of the region. We

looked enviously at the pictures from Tunisia and from Al-

Tahrir square, admiring your ability to bring forth and

organize a nonviolent civil resistance that has brought

hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets and the

squares, and finally forced your rulers to step down.


We, too, live in a regime that in reality-despite its

pretensions to being "enlightened" and "democratic"-does not

represent large sections of its actual population in the

Occupied Territories and inside of the Green Line border(s).

This regime tramples the economic and social rights of most

of its citizens, is in an ongoing process of minimizing

democratic liberties, and constructs racist barriers against

Arab-Jews, the Arab people, and Arabic culture. Unlike the

citizens of Tunisia and Egypt, we are still a long way from

the capacity to build the kind of solidarity between various

groups that we see in these countries, a solidarity movement

that would allow us to unite and march together-all who

reside here-into the public squares, to demand a civil

regime that is culturally, socially, and economically just

and inclusive.


We believe that, as Mizrahi Jews in Israel, our struggle for

economic, social, and cultural rights rests on the

understanding that political change cannot depend on the

Western powers who have exploited our region and its

residents for many generations. True change can only come

from an intra-regional and inter-religious dialog that is in

connection with the different struggles and movements

currently active in the Arab world. Specifically, we must be

in dialog and solidarity with struggles of the Palestinians

citizens of Israel who are fighting for equal political and

economic rights and for the termination of racist laws, and

the struggle of the Palestinian people living under Israeli

military occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza in their

demand to end the occupation and to gain Palestinian

national independence.


In our previous letter written following Obama's Cairo

speech in 2009, we called for the rise of the democratic

Middle Eastern identity and for our inclusion in such an

identity. We now express the hope that our generation -

throughout the Arab, Muslim, and Jewish world - will be a

generation of renewed bridges that will leap over the walls

and hostility created by previous generations and will renew

the deep human dialog without which we cannot understand

ourselves: between Jews, Sunnis, Shias, and Christians,

between Kurds, Berbers, Turks, and Persians, between

Mizrahis and Ashkenazis, and between Palestinians and

Israelis. We draw on our shared past in order to look

forward hopefully towards a shared future.


We have faith in intra-regional dialog-whose purpose is to

repair and rehabilitate what was destroyed in recent

generations-as a catalyst towards renewing the Andalusian

model of Muslim-Jewish-Christian partnership, God willing,

Insha'Allah, and as a pathway to a cultural and historical

golden era for our countries. This golden era cannot come to

pass without equal, democratic citizenship, equal

distribution of resources, opportunities, and education,

equality between women and men, and the acceptance of all

people regardless of faith, race, status, gender, sexual

orientation, or ethnic affiliation. All of these rights play

equal parts in constructing the new society to which we

aspire. We are committed to achieving these goals within a

process of dialog between all of the people of Middle East

and North Africa, as well as a dialog we will undertake with

different Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.


We, the undersigned:


Shva Salhoov (Libya), Naama Gershy (Serbia, Yemen), Yael

Ben-Yefet (Iraq, Aden), Leah Aini (Greece, Turkey), Yael

Berda (Tunisia), Aharon Shem-Tov (Iraq, Iranian Kurdistan),

Yosi Ohana (born in Morocco), Yali Hashash (Libya, Yemen),

Yonit Naaman (Yemen, Turkey), Orly Noy (born in Iran), Gadi

Alghazi (Yugoslavia, Egypt), Mati Shemoelof (Iran, Iraq,

Syria), Eliana Almog (Yemen, Germany), Yuval Evri ((Iraq),

Ophir Tubul (Morocco, Algeria), Moti Gigi (Morocco), Shlomit

Lir (Iran), Ezra Nawi (Iraq), Hedva Eyal (Iran), Eyal Ben-

Moshe (Yemen), Shlomit Binyamin (Cuba, Syria, Turkey), Yael

Israel (Turkey, Iran), Benny Nuriely (Tunisia), Ariel Galili

(Iran), Natalie Ohana Evry (Morocco, Britain), Itamar Toby

Taharlev (Morocco, Jerusalem, Egypt), Ofer Namimi (Iraq,

Morocco), Amir Banbaji (Syria), Naftali Shem-Tov (Iraq,

Iranian Kurdistan), Mois Benarroch (born in Morocco), Yosi

David (Tunisia Iran), Shalom Zarbib (Algeria), Yardena Hamo

(Iraqi Kurdistan), Aviv Deri (Morocco) Menny Aka (Iraq), Tom

Fogel (Yemen, Poland), Eran Efrati (Iraq), Dan Weksler

Daniel (Syria, Poland, Ukraine), Yael Gidnian (Iran),

Elyakim Nitzani (Lebanon, Iran, Italy), Shelly Horesh-Segel

(Morocco), Yoni Mizrahi (Kurdistan), Betty Benbenishti

(Turkey), Chen Misgav (Iraq, Poland), Moshe Balmas

(Morocco), Tom Cohen (Iraq, Poland, England), Ofir Itah

(Morocco), Shirley Karavani (Tunisia, Libya, Yemen), Lorena

Atrakzy (Argentina, Iraq), Asaf Abutbul (Poland, Russia,

Morocco), Avi Yehudai (Iran), Diana Ahdut (Iran, Jerusalem),

Maya Peretz (Nicaragua, Morocco), Yariv Moher (Morocco,

Germany), Tami Katzbian (Iran), Oshra Lerer (Iraq, Morocco),

Nitzan Manjam (Yemen, Germany, Finland), Rivka Gilad (Iran,

Iraq, India), Oshrat Rotem (Morocco), Naava Mashiah (Iraq),

Zamira Ron David (Iraq) Omer Avital (Morocco, Yemen), Vered

Madar (Yemen), Ziva Atar (Morocco), Yossi Alfi (born in

Iraq), Amira Hess (born in Iraq), Navit Barel (Libya), Almog

Behar (Iraq, Turkey, Germany)