Wednesday, October 29, 2008

American Stories, American Solutions


Barack Obama is a great storyteller. That is why people connect with him so deeply. He's an artist. A writer. A man of wisdom.

And that voice.

He's heard from the American people and he our story in his own voice. Round, mellifluous, warm.

He's not a radical. He's a typical American with conservative values. And a great voice.

The biggest success of it all was that this documentary short subject portrayed Barack Obama and his family as the typical American family even as he strives to become president.

The Ford worker reading to his daughter shortly after Michelle told us Barack has read the entire Harry Potter series to Malia was striking. That's only one of many examples, but it was the most powerful.

We live in a patriarchy, after all. And he just told the country that our fathers must do much, much better.

The president, even if a woman, is ultimately the patriarch in chief.

I think he made his case. He showed, as always, that he has the talent and ability and the spirit to inspire a nation.

Now go vote for President Obama.


Anonymous said...

Hi Craighickman...Graf_Sampras again...:-).

as the hope , hopefully, rises , with what could be an impending presidency by Barack Obama....

this article about suffering of entire peoples is one reason I have long ago hoped Obama, somehow, will win...and MAYBE someone of his stature will begin to truly pay attention to things in this world...

which , after reading the article, i think we could well remember something an unknown american poet said, which i'll paste after the article below:

i hope u don't mind.

Published on Thursday, October 30, 2008 by The Independent/UK
How We Fuel Africa's Bloodiest War
What is rarely mentioned is the great global heist of Congo's resources

by Johann Hari

The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again -- and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness". It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.

Every day I think about the people I met in the war zones of eastern Congo when I reported from there. The wards were filled with women who had been gang-raped by the militias and shot in the vagina. The battalions of child soldiers -- drugged, dazed 13-year-olds who had been made to kill members of their own families so they couldn't try to escape and go home. But oddly, as I watch the war starting again on CNN, I find myself thinking about a woman I met who had, by Congolese standards, not suffered in extremis.

I was driving back to Goma from a diamond mine one day when my car got a puncture. As I waited for it to be fixed, I stood by the roadside and watched the great trails of women who stagger along every road in eastern Congo, carrying all their belongings on their backs in mighty crippling heaps. I stopped a 27-year-old woman called Marie-Jean Bisimwa, who had four little children toddling along beside her. She told me she was lucky. Yes, her village had been burned out. Yes, she had lost her husband somewhere in the chaos. Yes, her sister had been raped and gone insane. But she and her kids were alive.

I gave her a lift, and it was only after a few hours of chat along on cratered roads that I noticed there was something strange about Marie-Jean's children. They were slumped forward, their gazes fixed in front of them. They didn't look around, or speak, or smile. "I haven't ever been able to feed them," she said. "Because of the war."

Their brains hadn't developed; they never would now. "Will they get better?" she asked. I left her in a village on the outskirts of Goma, and her kids stumbled after her, expressionless.

There are two stories about how this war began -- the official story, and the true story. The official story is that after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu mass murderers fled across the border into Congo. The Rwandan government chased after them. But it's a lie. How do we know? The Rwandan government didn't go to where the Hutu genocidaires were, at least not at first. They went to where Congo's natural resources were -- and began to pillage them. They even told their troops to work with any Hutus they came across. Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more. Everybody wanted a slice -- so six other countries invaded.

These resources were not being stolen to for use in Africa. They were seized so they could be sold on to us. The more we bought, the more the invaders stole -- and slaughtered. The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo. The UN named the international corporations it believed were involved: Anglo-America, Standard Chartered Bank, De Beers and more than 100 others. (They all deny the charges.) But instead of stopping these corporations, our governments demanded that the UN stop criticising them.

There were times when the fighting flagged. In 2003, a peace deal was finally brokered by the UN and the international armies withdrew. Many continued to work via proxy militias -- but the carnage waned somewhat. Until now. As with the first war, there is a cover-story, and the truth. A Congolese militia leader called Laurent Nkunda -- backed by Rwanda -- claims he needs to protect the local Tutsi population from the same Hutu genocidaires who have been hiding out in the jungles of eastern Congo since 1994. That's why he is seizing Congolese military bases and is poised to march on Goma.

It is a lie. François Grignon, Africa Director of the International Crisis Group, tells me the truth: "Nkunda is being funded by Rwandan businessmen so they can retain control of the mines in North Kivu. This is the absolute core of the conflict. What we are seeing now is beneficiaries of the illegal war economy fighting to maintain their right to exploit."

At the moment, Rwandan business interests make a fortune from the mines they illegally seized during the war. The global coltan price has collapsed, so now they focus hungrily on cassiterite, which is used to make tin cans and other consumer disposables. As the war began to wane, they faced losing their control to the elected Congolese government -- so they have given it another bloody kick-start.

Yet the debate about Congo in the West -- when it exists at all -- focuses on our inability to provide a decent bandage, without mentioning that we are causing the wound. It's true the 17,000 UN forces in the country are abysmally failing to protect the civilian population, and urgently need to be super-charged. But it is even more important to stop fuelling the war in the first place by buying blood-soaked natural resources. Nkunda only has enough guns and grenades to take on the Congolese army and the UN because we buy his loot. We need to prosecute the corporations buying them for abetting crimes against humanity, and introduce a global coltan-tax to pay for a substantial peacekeeping force. To get there, we need to build an international system that values the lives of black people more than it values profit.

Somewhere out there -- lost in the great global heist of Congo's resources -- are Marie-Jean and her children, limping along the road once more, carrying everything they own on their backs. They will probably never use a coltan-filled mobile phone, a cassiterite-smelted can of beans, or a gold necklace -- but they may yet die for one.

To save the lives of the victims of Congo's sexual violence, you can donate money here

To read more of Johann's reporting on Congo, click here


unknown american poet:

"we carefully nurture an attitude of detached indifference to the suffering of others...even if we are the cause of it"..


Anonymous said...

ARticle posted by Graf_sampras..


Dreams and Votes

Wednesday 05 November 2008

by: John Cory, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

A mourning dove with white, brown and black markings rests for a moment on a strand of barbed wire. (Photographer unknown.)

"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." - Arundhati Roy

I wrote my first piece for Truthout eight years ago. It was the end of the 2000 election. George Bush had been crowned the victor by a 5 to 4 Supreme vote. I had never heard of Marc Ash and Scott Galindez, nor they me. I have no idea what their readership was in those days; I only knew that I had discovered voices in the dark that gave me solace and hope. And before long, I found Hoffmania, Buzzflash, Bartcop, the great and wise Digby, Eschaton and Dailykos, and many others. I was no longer alone.

Whether I was in Saudi Arabia, the border of Iraq and Kuwait or the great Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, there was always a link to voices of compassion and reason, of democratic patriotism and change. Voices of that wonderful dream called America. That quiet breathing of hope.

From those dark times to the light and possibility that is today, we have held true to one another, to the dream of inspiration over fear, to the greatness of the American heart over the misguided might of American Empire, to the fight for the future versus the struggle to hold tightly to the past. "We, the People" have illuminated the darkness with much more than "a thousand points of light," with our electronic pamphleteers and motivated emails, and revealed the erroneous and divisive tactics of red versus blue America. "We, the People" have kept the flame of American passion and democracy alive.

This vast web of blogs and Internet "series of tubes" has connected us, has built a community wherein we share the facts and the truth, one with another. No longer isolated but a part of something greater. Hope has become a keyboard shortcut. Truth waits at the end of the "Send" button. Dreams and inspiration become viral. How wonderful is that? How great is it that we belong to such a community? How magical is it that we hold democracy in the palm devices of our hands? That the virtual and "real" America is our homepage?

And here we are - on the verge of history. Together. And how did we get here? In the words of Studs Terkel: "... once you become active in something, something happens to you. You get excited and suddenly you realize you count." And that is what Obama represents to me. It is not a vote for Democrat or Republican, but a vote for America. It is not about voting for one man or the other, but about voting for ourselves. That we count - and rightfully deserve to be counted. It is not that we stand with Obama, but that he stands with us. It is not that Obama can make history, but rather that "We the people" can change history.

This is what I see in my vote for Barack Obama. The face of America. A mirror of all of us. And like our own mirror, the image is not perfection but rather the blemished garden of possibility. Hope. Dreams. Compassion. A longing for the best that is within each of us even on our worst days. Obama's face is my face and your face. Black, white and brown, it is that mystical rainbow called America.

This is truly a day of votes and dreams.


John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.