Peaceful Alternatives to Air Strikes

“We don’t like to learn things in this country, we just like to make the same mistakes, over and over and over again” Kevin Wordelman said.

We know, at the Kalamazoo Peace Center and among the progressive movement in Kalamazoo and this country, there are alternatives to war. We can learn from our mistakes of the past and invest our resources into waging peace.

Below is a statement condemning the proposed violence, and suggesting some alternatives, written by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

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We are horrified by the unfolding events in Iraq and Syria: beheadings of non-combatants – including American journalists – mass executions, and the rape and enslavement of women. These actions deserve a strong response from the international community. However, we are deeply concerned about the prospect of another protracted war.

It would be naïve to think that the overwhelming power of the U.S. military will lead to a solution. On the contrary, American firepower will only serve to broaden and deepen the war. Airstrikes and military intervention will surely further inflame and energize the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and sharpen their anti-American focus. The possibility for political solutions will shrink as war expands and the hope of building a sustainable peace becomes more remote. Meanwhile the United States will become more embroiled in a war with costly sacrifices in blood and treasure.

Instead, what is needed are strong international efforts engaging the United Nations and international and regional partners focusing on unified economic and diplomatic strategies that include working to cut off funding and weapons flow to ISIS; addressing root causes of unrest in society in order to stem popular support of ISIS; increasing humanitarian assistance; and working within the region to establish political solutions.

In addition, any response must take women’s needs into account. It is also crucial for the international community to recognize the role that women in the region have played in combating extremism, and to ensure that women are a part of any processes to bring peace to the region.

First Meeting Fall 2014

oin us for out first meeting this evening at 6:30 pm 2101 Wilbur Ave. We will share on how our summers were, give report backs, establish when our meeting time will be and brainstorm for the coming semester. For folks who can’t make it to the meeting this evening, feel free to join us tomorrow at noon.

The Collective w/ Boots Riley Spring 2014J

Good White Person

Originally posted on harshbrowns:

Yes, ol’ fashioned racism can and does get to me. Those racial slurs as I ride my bicycle, being the only one followed by the security guard, or the never-really-random airport search, but most days, if I had to choose my direct racist experience, I’d rather any of the above over encounters with a Good White Person.

If you’re a POC, you probably know at least one of these Good White People! If you’re white and reading my blog, maybe you are one; a well intentioned whitey. You’re ‘on my side’, right? You figured out racism is ‘bad’ so now you’ve joined the fight against racism! Maybe you work in a social enterprise, for a charity, with refugees, or Indigenous people, or in the multi-cultural arts. You’re proud of yourself for your many years of human rights work. You’ve claimed your anti-racist identity, you have friends and maybe even lovers…

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Vigil to End Bloodshed In Gaza

Thursday, July 24, 2014    time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

let gaza live

Kalamazoo Federal Building, corner Michigan and Park downtown Kalamazoo

The violence against civilians in Gaza has reached truly horrific proportions.  Please join us again this Thursday.  Thursday is a a national day of action on Gaza.  Make your own signs or we will have some available.
Also, please consider emailing or calling Representative Upton, Senators Stabenow and Levin, and President Obama and urge a cut off of military aid to Israel.  Please consider writing a letter to the editor expressing your own viewpoint on the issue.

Below is a letter to the editor sent to the Kalamazoo Gazette from KNOW:

As we watch the mounting casualty figures stemming from the bloodshed in Gaza, we realize each life is precious and represents another loved one taken away.  We must take action.

The attacks on Gaza by Israel’s armed forces, by one of the most advanced military machines in the world, is causing indiscriminate slaughter.  The population of Gaza has no army, no navy, no air force, no missile defense systems, or air raid shelters.  We condemn the rockets fired at Israel by Hamas.  However, compare these to 1,000 pound fragmentation bombs dropped in large numbers on crowded Palestinian neighborhoods, missiles falling on hospitals, children killed while playing soccer by shells from ships off the shore of Gaza, neighborhoods blasted with tanks and artillery, and with more than 425 reported dead as of this writing.  The UN estimated that 80% of the people killed in Gaza have been civilians, including many children.

We call for an immediate ceasefire and arms embargo on all sides.  At the same time we realize that true peace will mean a long-term agreement, which will provide justice for the Palestinian people, an end to the blockade and siege of Gaza, an end to the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, freedom of movement and guaranteed security for all in the region.

In the U.S., those who want peace must work for imposition of an arms embargo on Israel; this is especially important for Americans because weapons systems and attack aircraft provided by the U.S. are being used to carry out the assault.  We call upon President Obama, Representative Upton, and Senators Stabenow and Levin to work to immediately cutoff of the $3.1 billion in overt military aid that the U.S. gives to Israel each year, and ask all constituents to contact them to urge them to do the same.

Daniel Smith, Communications Chairperson
Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW)  www.kzoo4peace.org

Drone Resister Sentenced to One Year in Prison Base’s Order of Protection Begs Judgement

MaryAnne-630x270On July 10, grandmother of three, Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for being found guilty of violating an order of protection. A packed courtroom of over 100 supporters was stunned as she was led away, and vowed to continue the resistance.

These orders of protection, typically used in domestic violence situations or to protect a victim or witness to a crime, have been issued to people participating in nonviolent resistance actions at Hancock Air Base since late 2012. The base, near Syracuse NY, pilots unmanned Reaper drones over Afghanistan, and trains drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians. The orders had been issued to “protect” Colonel Earl Evans, Hancock’s mission support commander, who wanted to keep protesters “out of his driveway.”

Mary Anne began her sentencing statement with, “Your honor, a series of judicial perversions brings me here before you tonight.” She concluded that the “final perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?”

The orders of protection are being challenged on many legal grounds.

Mary Anne had been issued a temporary order in 2012. The next year, she photographed a nonviolent witness at the base, not participating herself because she did not want to violate the order. The irony is that those who actually participated in the action were acquitted, while Mary Anne was charged with violating the order.

Even though the pre-sentencing report recommended no jail time, Judge Gideon sentenced Mary Anne to the maximum of a year in prison. As he imposed his sentence, the judge referred to his previous Hancock decision. He had stated then and insinuated now, “This has got to stop.”

In addition, Mary Anne was fined $1000 plus a $205 court surcharge and a $50 fee to have her DNA collected.

Her verdict is being appealed.

For information on how to support Mary Anne, contact Ellen Grady at demottgrady6@gmail.com.

Free Marius Jacob Mason

peacecenter:

Solidarity with Marius Jacob Mason! How courages and brave it is to stay true to oneself in the horrible confines of the state’s cage.

Originally posted on Free Marius Mason:

mariusWe would like to let everyone know that Marius Jacob Mason will no longer be using the name Marie, and will be using male pronouns. We hope that you will all join us in supporting Marius through this transition, which will no doubt be extra challenging within the prison system. Until his name is legally changed, any mail sent to Marius in prison will still need to be addressed to ‘Marie Mason’ on the envelope. This goes for donations also. Please write to Marius at this time! Receiving supportive and friendly mail makes a world of difference. Below is a statement read out by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, one of Marius’ legal representatives, at a solidarity event organized by New York City ABC recently.

“My name is Moira Meltzer-Cohen. I’m an attorney working with a person of immense courage and integrity, someone who struggles for liberation and self-determination on behalf of other people…

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