30 November 2008

Mumbai Attacks: 26 - 29 Nov. 2008


Mumbai attacks: a timeline.

On 26 November gunmen began a series of co-ordinated and multiple attacks that lasted for three days. They targeted two luxury hotels and other landmarks in the city of Mumbai . All the major attacks began at 21:20 local time.

9:28am: Indian commandos have killed two militants in the Trident-Oberoi hotel and regained control of the premises after a long siege, the chief of the elite National Security Guards tells reporters.

"The Oberoi Hotel and Trident are now under our control," JK Dutt said. "Oberoi, Trident have been evacuated, we have killed two terrorists."

10:00am: Here is a round-up of the Guardian's extensive coverage.

Our main story describes the assault on the militants in their last holdouts.

This is a video of the commando attack on the Jewish centre.

This piece provides a detailed account of how the attacks developed in the course of the night.

Suketu Mehta, in a comment piece, says the militants attacked his city because of its wealth.

10:11am: The Associated Press reports heavy gunfire and explosions breaking out at the besieged Jewish center in Mumbai.

10:16am: In an ominous development, the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, has accused Pakistan of allowing the use of its sea routes for launching terror strikes against India.

"This is for the first time Pakistan has allowed use of sea routes to further terrorism against India," Modi said at the Oberoi-Trident hote, the Times of India reports.

10:25am: The Times of India has a strong editorial, headlined It's War. The paper concludes: "To tackle terror in India it is urgently necessary to stabilise Pakistan and Bangladesh. And, India should seek international help now to upgrade its own security apparatus, but also to stabilise the entire region stretching from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. There is no time to waste."

The militants certainly picked their time well if they intended to cause maximum mischief as the Pakistani government under Asif Ali Zadari is seeking to improve relations with India. The attack will have done nothing for attempts by India and Pakistan to find an entente cordiale. The Indian government will come under immense pressure from public opinion to lash out at someone. But surely it must try to avoid the mistakes of the Bush administration after 9/11, when it squandered massive sympathy around the world through its rash venture in Iraq.

10:36am:
The foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, is the latest top Indian official to blame Pakistan.

"According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible," the minister said. He said proof of that involvement "cannot be disclosed at this time," the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

10:38am: The Indian state home minister says one of the arrested militants is a Pakistani national, Reuters reports.

10:41am: Dawn provides a Pakistani perspective on the events in Mumbai. It is worth quoting at length.


It is ironical that the attacks came in the wake of the two-day talks between the home secretaries of Pakistan and India in Islamabad earlier in the week where cooperation in fighting terrorism came under discussion. Détente between the two neighbours does have the potential to curb the menace because militancy does not recognise borders and it is only logical to challenge it through a joint endeavour.

At another level, the latest serial blasts in the Indian financial capital also represent an immediate test for the resolve of the two sides not to indulge in a blame game every time something goes wrong on either side. It helps no one except the terrorists and it is time everyone realised this simple fact of life. Unfortunately, the burden of a hostile past often seems too big for the protagonists to shed in a hurry.

10:51am: Keith Bradsher, a New York Times correspondent, is sending updates from his BlackBerry as he watches the commando operation at the Nariman House, home to the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch Jewish group,

10:55am: In a piece in the Guardian Paul Lewis remarks that in many cases Twitter updated developments faster than many TV networks or newspaper websites. He also points out, however, that the site also contained misleading threads, some of it purporting to be from intelligence sources and much of it unsourced.

11:01am: Pakistan is to send its intelligence chief to India to help in the Mumbai investigation, Reuters snaps.

11:03am:
Israel's Ambassador to India tells Times Now television that he believed six or more Israeli nationals were still being held hostage by gunmen at the Jewish centre.

"We are estimating, and it's pretty much an educated guess, somewhere around six, maybe a little bit more, but I don't have complete information on that," Mark Sofer said.

11:11am: An Economist editorial warns of a danger not just facing India but the world as a whole, at a time when al-Qaida has been on the back foot.


Killing fellow Muslims has been the group's biggest mistake. But countries where Muslims are in a minority may offer terrorists a better target. Many Muslims in such places feel marginalised, pushed to the fringes of society. Attacks there can provoke a backlash, feeding a sense of Muslim beleaguerment for al-Qaeda to exploit. This tactic has already worked in places such as Britain. If it succeeds in India, which has the biggest Muslim minority in the world, the implications for the global struggle against terrorism could be catastrophic.

11:24am: Salil Tripathi, who was born in Mumbai and now works as a journalist in London, praises the resilience of the city's residents but says the state has failed its people. He urges Indians to hold their government to account.


They must register their voice, they must protest, through the power the Indian constitution gives them, and elect a government that delivers, and not one that gets in through default, due to overall apathy. India has a phrase - chalta hai - this will go on. That must not do. Bombay's citizens cannot, and should not, go about being vigilantes. But they can be vigilant about their rights, through their right to vote.

If Bombay maintains its stride, if it continues to exude its characteristic warmth, it is in spite of those who rule it, and not because of them. The spirit of Bombay is a cliché - I have used it in the past, but I mean it as a compliment - and its citizens have earned it, and deserve to wear that medal. The shame is its politicians'.

11:36am: The Associated Press has more on Pakistan agreeing to help India with intelligence.

AP says the office of the Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, agreed to send the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency to India based on a request from his Indian counterpart. But a government statement said the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, told Gilani during a phone call that preliminary reports about the attack "point towards Karachi".

11:44am: The latest news from the scene is that the siege at the Oberoi hotel is over but that explosions and gunfire have continued intermittently at the Taj Mahal hotel. The siege at the Jewish centre continues. The death toll has gone up to 143.

11:50am: The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, says the UK authorities had "no knowledge" of any British links with the massacre. Her comments follow reports that British nationals may have been among the assailants.

A German MEP caught up in the attacks said she had heard that British nationals were among the terrorists involved in the killings, in what would be an intriguing twist to the story.

Erika Mann, a member of European parliament who was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel, is quoted by the Press Association.

"The attacks appear to have a European dimension. We have heard from journalists and other people we were with that English citizens took part in the attacks and were killed in the hotel. This information is not confirmed, however. We were told that they came in by boat."

The Guardian covers the British angle in this story by Angela Balakrishnan.

12:01pm: Randeep Ramesh in a Guardian audio reveals how the militants went around cutting the throats of those who had survived after being shot.

12:07pm: A top Indian official says eight foreigners were killed in the Mumbai attacks, the Associated Press reports.

12:10pm: There have been many stories about the heroic efforts of the staff at the two hotels to protect guests. This story describes how a member of staff shielded a family from gunfire.

12:16pm: The Evening Standard carries a story about the presence of British nationals among the attackers. It reports that two British-born Pakistanis were captured along with eight others.


Security sources have told the Standard that the attack is believed to be al Qaeda-linked and it is known that dozens of British-born Pakistanis have travelled to Pakistan in recent years to train in its camps. One source said recently: "The camps are full and many of the people inside are Brits."

12:23pm: The BBC's Ben Brown reporting live from the Taj Mahal hotel says there is a lot still going on as Indian forces move through the huge hotel, with loud explosions going off inside. "The situation is not yet resolved," he says.

12:26pm: Andrew Bettina, a British businessman staying at the Taj Mahal hotel, provides a vivid account of the tension and panic among guests as they realise that the hotel is under attack.

12:35pm: A commando tells the Times of India that the gunmen showed no remorse and shot at anyone that moved. The commando said he saw 15 bodies in one room.

12:46pm: The Guardian has an interactive map showing how the events unfolded.

12:49pm: Indian forces have blown a hole in a wall at the Jewish centre. The massive explosion has shattered windows in neighbouring buildings.

1:05pm: Open Democracy republishes an article by Ajai Sahni written in July when militants set off bombs in Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat. The issues he raised then are even more pertinent now and echo points raised by Salil Tripathi.

The principal questions remains largely unasked: what has been done to diminish the likelihood of terrorist attacks, and beyond that how are any improvements in this direction being measured? Amid all the discussions about "red alerts" and "coordination committees" this critical variable never comes up for discussion - because the embarrassing (indeed humiliating) answer would be that nothing whatsoever has been done, so that there is nothing to measure.

1:09pm: Police say the siege at the Jewish centre is over, both Reuters and AP report.

1:27pm: Sky News is reporting that a large explosion has been heard at the Taj Mahal hotel.

(David Batty taking over from Mark Tran.)

1:30pm: Police say the operation at the Jewish centre is not yet over but is in its final stages. The head of India's national security guards says two hostages appear to have been killed in the siege.

J.K. Dutt also told Indian television that his commandos had killed two militants at the centre. "We have neutralised two terrorists," he said. "Along with that we have also found two bodies. Those bodies appear to be of hostages."

1:44pm: Seven members of India's national security guard have been killed in the anti-terrorist operations in Mumbia, according to the Press Trust of India.

2:00pm: An Israeli diplomat in Mumbai tells Reuters that five hostages were killed in the Jewish centre siege.

2:17pm: The bombings in Mumbai have once more focused attention on the issue of terrorism. In this respect, Gilles Keppel, a French terrorism expert, tells Foreign Policy magazine that he thinks al-Qaida is indeed fighting a losing battle. He is discussing the tape recently released by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second in command.


The tape is extremely important, because [al Qaida believed] that 9/11 would be a means to mobilize the Muslim masses against the West and to topple the [Middle Eastern] regimes. But they were totally unable to do it. I've monitored Zawahiri's statements between the fifth and the seventh anniversary of 9/11 to try to decipher his whole system of thought, to understand how it works. The more [strident] Zawahiri's discourse was, the less it was in tune with reality.

Within the ranks of radical Islamism, Zawahiri has been very, very violently criticized. There is a widespread feeling now that al Qaida's strategy has failed, because [critics] say Zawahiri has spilled Muslim blood. The Jews and Christians he may have killed were OK—halal—but the Muslim blood was not halal.

Mark Tran again. Thanks David.

2:37pm: Issam Ahmed on the Guardian's Comment is Free agues that India should not be so quick to point the finger at Pakistan.

If India truly wishes to pull the rug from beneath their (the terrorists) feet, it should start by addressing the growing economic disparities between the country's Hindu and Muslim population as outlined by the Sachar Commission (pdf).

2:53pm: The geopolitical website, Stratfor, says discussions are already taking place among senior Congress party officials in Delhi to amass troops along the border in Kashmir, a situation reminiscent of the Indian response to the 2001 parliamentary bombings that led to a near-nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan.

3:05pm: The Guardian has a picture gallery with striking photos of the Mumbai attacks.

3:26pm: This article in the Hindu highlights the dilemmas for the hotel business after the latest attacks.

The hotel was viewed as a symbol of western power and thus been the prime focus of terrorists... In the hospitality industry, a guest is treated like god, seldom subjected to frisking or scanning of luggage. This leaves hotels open to attacks like the ones in Mumbai, say experts.

Other hotels that have come under attack in recent years are the Serena hotel in Kabul, the Marriott in Islamabad and the Grand Hyatt in Amman, Jordan.

3:32pm: More shots fired at the Taj Mahal hotel, where six terrorists are believed to be holed up.

3:45pm: Jane Perlez in the New York Times writes that the Mumbai attacks will make it much harder for the Obama administration to pursue a policy of reconciliation between India and Pakistan.
Attacks as devastating as those that unfolded in Mumbai - whether ultimately traced to homegrown Indian militants or to others from abroad, or a combination - seem likely to sour relations, fuel distrust and hamper, at least for now, America's ambitions for reconciliation in the region.

4:23pm: NDTV is asking readers and viewers to send in their suggestions on how to best fight terrorism.

4:30pm: Paul Cornish at the Chatham House thinktank warns us against jumping to conclusions about the militants and their agenda - if they had one. In a piece entitled "Is this the age of celebrity terrorism", he writes:

Perhaps we have come to the point where casually self-radicalised, sociopathic individuals can form a loose organisation, acquire sufficient weapons and equipment for a few thousand dollars, make a basic plan of action and indulge in a violent expression of their generalised disaffection and anomie. These individuals indulge in terrorism simply because they can, while their audience concocts a rationale on their behalf.

4:45pm: The Chabad-Lubavitch group in New York have confirmed that a rabbi and his wife were among the dead hostages in the Jewish centre. Yesterday the centre's cook managed to flee the building with the couple's two-year-old child.


LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


29 November 2008

Jdimytai Damour We Will Slow Down

Jdimytai Damour We Will Slow Down

Three New York headlines the day after Black Friday, "Hell-Mart,"and "Frenzy" and "Death by Shopping." The temp worker Jdimytai Damour's face is smiling in a little oval frame in the corner. Then in the articles there are quotes from scholars and experts who make what has happened something we can understand, normal, not to be avoided.

We promise you Jdimytai that the professors of Consumerism won't normalize the terror of your last moments. This is the frenzied blur of greed that we all carry inside and wonder about. It's the Consumerism tumor-rumor - in us but incubating at an unforeseen rate. And things happen that make us money, that we buy, that we helplessly watch rise from our buying - like the Iraqi War, like the warming ocean. We Consumed it, we know we did. The purchases are so greased now, the plastic slides so easily - how do we pull out of the blur?

I read that there was a Magnavox flat-screen DVD player on sale at the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, Long Island yesterday, available on Black Friday only, for $147. That is the deal that waits behind Jdimytai Damour. There he stands at the electronic doors, looking out at us. We stand in the darkness, pushing out with our elbows, spying the shiny packages up the aisles.

We are a distorted America standing in the pre-dawn darkness. We have turned our Pursuit of Happiness into this desperate feeling. Jdimytai watches us. We push on the glass.
Jdimytai Damour we will slow down! We will stop shopping!


Treehugger's Take
New York Times Article


LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, for heaven's sake: stop SHOPPING!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

28 November 2008

buy NOTHING day: Saturday, 29 November.


BUY NOTHING DAY.
by: Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11.20.07


With all the hype about Thanksgiving, one can lose track of Buy Nothing Day, Friday in the States and Saturday in the rest of the world. "Timed to coincide with one of the busiest shopping days on the US retail calendar, as well as the unofficial start of the international holiday-shopping season, Buy Nothing Day has taken many shapes, from relaxed family outings, to free, non-commercial street parties, to politically charged public protests. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending."

While everyone else is chasing the sales on Black Friday, You could relax and, well, buy nothing. As Kalle says on the Buy Nothing site:

"Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great‚ but they are band–aid solutions if we don’t address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day."

Others worry about the message. My first reaction was "nice idea, if you don't work in a shop." We have noted earlier that we like promoting eco-retailers and designers who need customers, not boycotts. Two years ago we discussed it here and repeat a few ideas:

Warren: 'Buy Nothing Day' is about rampant consumption of over packaged, blister wrapped rubbish. We should not be one dimensional about this.

Which is better for the planet?
A. for one day nobody buys anything (next day they hop in the car and head off to the mall as normal) or
B. Everybody buys a bicycle on that day.

Lloyd: we expand the message: Buy Nothing Day(ngerous to the planet)

- buy local- buy something from a thift store - unwrapped, pre-loved
- buy a subscription to CSA organic produce box
- buy membership to a car share network
- buy local
- buy organic, recycled, non toxic, reused, durable, functional
- buy carbon credits for the family's travel for the past or upcoming year
- buy solar panels
- buy a composting toilet

Erin: Black Friday is also an important day for our eco-gift maker friends. The holidays is the time when they get to show their stuff and make the money they need to get through another year of competing in this crazy Walmarket. We have put a lot of energy into the gift guide and so have the awesome vendors who sent us stuff to help promote eco-friendly holidays to the press. I think they deserve our support this time of year, with gift guides and other promotion that we can offer.Buy Nothing Day


Thirsty for more? Check out these related articles:





LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

25 November 2008

A letter to President - elect Obama

From: David Plouffe, BarackObama.com [mailto:info@barackobama.com]

Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 2:10 PM
To: ME & MILLIONS MORE
Subject: Major announcement from Barack

Dear **********

Today and yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama announced key members of an economic team tasked with creating jobs, stabilizing the economy, and getting our country back on track.

Barack is bringing together some of the best minds in the country to make swift progress on the economic challenges we face.

Timothy F. Geithner, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will serve as Secretary of the Treasury. Lawrence H. Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, will serve as Director of the National Economic Council.

Christina D. Romer will serve as Director of the Council of Economic Advisers, Melody C. Barnes will serve as Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and Heather A. Higginbottom will serve as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Peter Orszag, currently Director of the Congressional Budget Office, will serve as Office of Management and Budget Director, and Rob Nabors will serve as Deputy Director.

Watch the video of Barack's announcement yesterday and learn more about the economic team.

Barack's economic team has already begun work on a recovery plan, and he'll provide progress updates in the coming weeks. He'll also provide their initial recommendations to the incoming Congress.

You'll be instrumental in generating support to pass legislation that puts America on the road to recovery.

While we can't underestimate the challenge we face, we also can't underestimate the opportunity we have to bring the change our country needs.

Thanks,
David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Followed by... a link to DONATE!


MY REPLY:

Dear President-elect Obama:

Congratulations on winning the election and dually on running the best ad campaign of 2008! I'm certain, of course, that your campaign having raised the most unprecedented amount of greenbacks in the history of politics had zero to do with the matter. However, I have one question for you: Where's any of that progressive
CHANGE you promised? I've been looking everywhere for it and am completely exhausted! In spite of my blood, sweat and tears search, that kooky CHANGE has managed to remain cleverly elusive!

In the meantime – and with the greatest respect – are you completely kidding? Bringing together some of the "best minds in the country"? Says who? I don't recall reading you'd spoken with Noam Chomsky or Gore Vidal! No, these "geniuses" are some of the very same people who got America into the current fiscal crises in the first place. Just how are We to reasonably expect the same people who screwed things up so badly – unduly hailed as "geniuses" by the Washington PR machine – to "fix" things? You didn't even bother to change the cast of starring characters! This most certainly is NOT progress, instead, business as usual. "They say you're arrogant, but do you really think We're all that stupid? I'm feeling a little insulted.

What happened to those tax hikes for the wealthy? Oh wait, you had a
CHANGE of heart – aww, how sweet for the most wealthy 3%! Now, those who need more money like I need a hole in my head will continue to have their breaks until Bush's cuts end in 2011. Certainly, nobody can accuse you of giving lame gifts! What a spectacular early Christmas present! Congrats. Now, the most wealth have two-plus more years to figure out how to beat the coming new system. And, regarding that jobs-creation on which you've rightfully seemed to be designating your focus? Truthfully, it's fairly unrealistic considering 100,000 people a month would have to be getting positions - right out of the starting gate - for your numbers to add up. I could be wrong, but there seems to be some fuzzy math involved here.

You and your cabinet are working closely with the Federal Reserve. Okay. Why??? The Fed is a private corporation, NOT a governmental agency! In addition, it's personally responsible for reducing our country to a system of credit and has devalued our currency to the point of fiat-hood. Tell you what, if you GET RID of the FED, the government can again start printing REAL currency - ourselves. You know, a start would be by introducing legislature to reverse the Federal Reserve Act championed by Woodrow Wilson (who was later openly remorseful for having single-handedly helped to ruin the country)? By doing so, the government will FINALLY cut out the middle-man, the People will no longer be forced to pay Federal Income Tax (the interest the Fed charges our government for the privilege to print OUR money) & We'll even be able to create some much needed revenue in the process. Until this occurs, NOTHING can, or will
CHANGE.

I voted for you because of naively believing you actually meant what you said. These nominations tell a different story – the real story. Same old, same old.
CHANGING our structure back to a Bottom-up society from its current Top-down model is real CHANGE. Making 75% of tax dollars collected for education actually GO to education - rather than to the inefficient and bloated government bureaucracy - would be CHANGE in which I can believe. Nominating Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul to your cabinet would signify an intent for a regime CHANGE. Now that could be your holiday gift to the REST of Us! Oh the goose-bumps just thinking about it!

Lest any of the aforementioned occur, well, then real HOPE would arise, spread like wildfire and America would finally be back on the road to some REAL PROGRESSIVE
CHANGE. In the meantime, everything begins and ends with getting rid of the Fed. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote in a letter to Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury in 1802,

"If the American People ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the People of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."


Oh wait. We're THERE! Seems dear Thomas. Jefferson was right after all. Where's this learned and wise leadership so needed RIGHT NOW?

Still awaiting REAL CHANGE,
ME



LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

11 Thanksgiving Myths.

myth research: Judy Dow (Abenaki) & Beverly Slapin
photographs: A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2008.

Myth #1: “The First Thanksgiving” occurred in 1621.

Fact: No one knows when the “first” Thanksgiving occurred. People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. Indigenous nations all over the world have celebrations of the harvest that come from very old traditions; for Native peoples, thanksgiving comes not once a year, but every day, for all the gifts of life. To refer to the harvest feast of 1621 as “The First Thanksgiving” disappears Indian peoples in the eyes of non-Native children.

Myth #2: The people who came across the ocean on the Mayflower were called Pilgrims.

Fact: The Plimoth settlers did not refer to themselves as “Pilgrims.” Pilgrims are people who travel for religious reasons, such as Muslims who make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Most of those who arrived here from England were religious dissidents who had broken away from the Church of England. They called themselves “Saints”; others called them “Separatists.” Some of the settlers were “Puritans,” dissidents but not separatists who wanted to “purify” the Church. It wasn’t until around the time of the American Revolution that the name “Pilgrims” came to be associated with the Plimoth settlers, and the “Pilgrims” became the symbol of American morality and Christian faith, fortitude, and family. (1)

Myth #3: The colonists came seeking freedom of religion in a new land.

Fact: The colonists were not just innocent refugees from religious persecution. By 1620, hundreds of Native people had already been to England and back, most as captives; so the Plymouth colonists knew full well that the land they were settling on was inhabited. Nevertheless, their belief system taught them that any land that was “unimproved” was “wild” and theirs for the taking; that the people who lived there were roving heathens with no right to the land. Both the Separatists and Puritans were rigid fundamentalists who came here fully intending to take the land away from its Native inhabitants and establish a new nation, their “Holy Kingdom.” The Plymouth colonists were never concerned with “freedom of religion” for anyone but themselves. (2)

Myth #4: When the “Pilgrims” landed, they first stepped foot on “Plymouth Rock.”

Fact: When the colonists landed, they sought out a sandy inlet in which to beach the little shallop that carried them from the Mayflower to the mainland. This shallop would have been smashed to smithereens had they docked at a rock, especially a Rock. Although the Plymouth settlers built their homes just up the hill from the Rock, William Bradford in Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, does not even mention the Rock; writing only that they “unshipped our shallop and drew her on land.” (3) The actual “rock” is a slab of Dedham granodiorite placed there by a receding glacier some 20,000 years ago. It was first referred to in a town surveying record in 1715, almost 100 years after the landing. Since then, the Rock has been moved, cracked in two, pasted together, carved up, chipped apart by tourists, cracked again, and now rests as a memorial to something that never happened. (4)

It’s quite possible that the myth about the “Pilgrims” landing on a “Rock” originated as a reference to the New Testament of the Christian bible, in which Jesus says to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The appeal to these scriptures gives credence to the sanctity of colonization and the divine destiny of the dominant culture. Although the colonists were not dominant then, they behaved as though they were.

Below: Annawon Weeden: Mashpee Wampanoag, with ancestry from the Narragansett, Pequot & other eastern woodland nations. FMI: www.myspace.com/annawon

Myth #5: The Pilgrims found corn.

Fact: Just a few days after landing, a party of about 16 settlers led by Captain Myles Standish followed a Nauset trail and came upon an iron kettle and a cache of Indian corn buried in the sand. They made off with the corn and returned a few days later with reinforcements. This larger group “found” a larger store of corn, about ten bushels, and took it. They also “found” several graves, and, according to Mourt’s Relation, “brought sundry of the prettiest things away” from a child’s grave and then covered up the corpse. They also “found” two Indian dwellings and “some of the best things we took away with us.” (5) There is no record that restitution was ever made for the stolen corn, and the Wampanoag did not soon forget the colonists’ ransacking of Indian graves. (6)

Myth #6: Samoset appeared out of nowhere, and along with Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive and joined them at “The First Thanksgiving.”

Fact: Samoset, an eastern Abenaki chief, was the first to contact the Plymouth colonists. He was investigating the settlement to gather information and report to Massasoit, the head sachem in the Wampanoag territory. In his hand, Samoset carried two arrows: one blunt and one pointed. The question to the settlers was: are you friend or foe? Samoset brought Tisquantum (Squanto), one of the few survivors of the original Wampanoag village of Pawtuxet, to meet the English and keep an eye on them. Tisquantum had been taken captive by English captains several years earlier, and both he and Samoset spoke English. Tisquantum agreed to live among the colonists and serve as a translator. Massasoit also sent Hobbamock and his family to live near the colony to keep an eye on the settlement and also to watch Tisquantum, whom Massasoit did not trust. The Wampanoag oral tradition says that Massasoit ordered Tisquantum killed after he tried to stir up the English against the Wampanoag. Massasoit himself lost face after his years of dealing with the English only led to warfare and land grabs. Tisquantum is viewed by Wampanoag people as a traitor, for his scheming against other Native people for his own gain. Massasoit is viewed as a wise and generous leader whose affection for the English may have led him to be too tolerant of their ways. (7)

Myth #7: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate the First Thanksgiving

Fact: According to oral accounts from the Wampanoag people, when the Native people nearby first heard the gunshots of the hunting colonists, they thought that the colonists were preparing for war and that Massasoit needed to be informed. When Massasoit showed up with 90 men and no women or children, it can be assumed that he was being cautious. When he saw there was a party going on, his men then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. (8)

In addition, both the Wampanoag and the English settlers were long familiar with harvest celebrations. Long before the Europeans set foot on these shores, Native peoples gave thanks every day for all the gifts of life, and held thanksgiving celebrations and giveaways at certain times of the year. The Europeans also had days of thanksgiving, marked by religious services. So the coming together of two peoples to share food and company was not entirely a foreign thing for either. But the visit that by all accounts lasted three days was most likely one of a series of political meetings to discuss and secure a military alliance. Neither side totally trusted the other: The Europeans considered the Wampanoag soulless heathens and instruments of the devil, and the Wampanoag had seen the Europeans steal their seed corn and rob their graves. In any event, neither the Wampanoag nor the Europeans referred to this feast/meeting as “Thanksgiving.” (9)

Myth #8: The Pilgrims provided the food for their Indian friends.

Fact:
It is known that when Massasoit showed up with 90 men and saw there was a party going on, they then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. Though the details of this event have become clouded in secular mythology, judging by the inability of the settlers to provide for themselves at this time and Edward Winslow’s letter of 1622 (10), it is most likely that Massasoit and his people provided most of the food for this “historic” meal. (11)

Myth #9: The Pilgrims and Indians feasted on turkey, potatoes, berries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and popcorn.

Fact:
Both written and oral evidence show that what was actually consumed at the harvest festival in 1621 included venison (since Massasoit and his people brought five deer), wild fowl, and quite possibly nasaump—dried corn pounded and boiled into a thick porridge, and pompion—cooked, mashed pumpkin. Among the other food that would have been available, fresh fruits such as plums, grapes, berries and melons would have been out of season. It would have been too cold to dig for clams or fish for eels or small fish. There were no boats to fish for lobsters in rough water that was about 60 fathoms deep. There was not enough of the barley crop to make a batch of beer, nor was there a wheat crop. Potatoes and sweet potatoes didn’t get from the south up to New England until the 18th century, nor did sweet corn. Cranberries would have been too tart to eat without sugar to sweeten them, and that’s probably why they wouldn’t have had pumpkin pie, either. Since the corn of the time could not be successfully popped, there was no popcorn. (12
)

Myth #10: The Pilgrims and Indians became great friends.

Fact:
A mere generation later, the balance of power had shifted so enormously and the theft of land by the European settlers had become so egregious that the Wampanoag were forced into battle. In 1637, English soldiers massacred some 700 Pequot men, women and children at Mystic Fort, burning many of them alive in their homes and shooting those who fled. The colony of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a day of thanksgiving commemorating the massacre. By 1675, there were some 50,000 colonists in the place they had named “New England.” That year, Metacom, a son of Massasoit, one of the first whose generosity had saved the lives of the starving settlers, led a rebellion against them. By the end of the conflict known as “King Philip’s War,” most of the Indian peoples of the Northeast region had been either completely wiped out, sold into slavery, or had fled for safety into Canada. Shortly after Metacom’s death, Plymouth Colony declared a day of thanksgiving for the English victory over the Indians. (13)

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.

Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.

In case you weren't aware, November is Native American Indian month in the United States. According to the Library of Congress, National American Indian Heritage Month was designated to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the Peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.

“National American Indian Heritage Month” had its origins in 1986 when Congress passed Pub. L. 99-471 (PDF, 93 KB) which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week.” As directed by Congress, President Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5577 in November 1986 proclaiming the first American Indian Week. Both law and proclamation recognized the American Indians as the first inhabitants of the lands that now constitute the United States as well as making mention of their contributions to American society:

    Many of the foods we eat and the medicines and remedies we use were introduced by Indians and more than one highway follows an Indian trail. Indians make contributions in every area of endeavor and American life, and our literature and all our arts draw upon Indian themes and wisdom. Countless American Indians have served in our Armed Forces and have fought valiantly for our country.

In 1987 Congress passed Pub. L. 100-171 which again called upon the President to designate the week of November 22-28, 1987 as “American Indian Week” while in 1988 Congress passed Pub. L. 100-450 which designated the week of September 23-30, 1988 as “National American Indian Heritage Week.” According to Pub. L. 100-450 this change from November to September was made because “the last week of September begins the harvest season in the United States.” Then in 1989 Congress passed Pub. L. 101-188 which asked the President to proclaim the week of December 3-9, 1989 as “National American Indian Heritage Week.”

As requested by Congress, Presidents Reagan and George Bush issued annual proclamations in 1987, 1988, and 1989 for “National American Indian Week,” honoring the achievements of the American Indians.

In 1990 Congress passed Pub. L. 101-343 (PDF, 211 KB) which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the month of November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month. Congress chose the month of the November to recognize the American Indians as this month concluded the traditional harvest season and was generally a time of thanksgiving and celebration for the American Indians. President George W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6230 which paid tribute to the rich history and culture of the American Indian tribes. In 1991 Congress passed Pub. L. 102-123 which authorized and requested the President proclaim the months of November 1991 and 1992 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Congress passed Pub. L. 103-462 authorized the President to proclaim November 1993 and 1994 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”

Since 1995 Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush have issued annual proclamations which designate November as National American Indian Heritage Month. In 1998 President Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 7144 celebrating the enormous contributions by American Indians to the life of the United States in the past and in the present. In 2007 President Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 8196. These proclamations celebrate the contributions of the American Indians and urge the peoples of the United States to learn more about the American Indian cultures.

A message from John E. Echohawk, Executive Director of Native American Rights Fund (NARF):

In case you weren't aware, November is Native American Indian month in the United States.
In the 2008 presidential proclamation designating this year’s National American Indian Heritage Month, the President of the United States wrote, “I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities. Whether your “appropriate programs and activities” are school programs, special events, letters to the editor, blogging, or personal ambassadorship for Native American culture, there’s still time to get involved! Visit the Native Americans Rights Fund's (NARF) Native American Month Campaign page for suggestions of how to make this month meaningful in your community: MODERN DAY WARRIOR Wherever the rights, culture, or environment of Native Americans are threatened and NARF is there to stand up for what’s right to make governments at all levels respect the agreements made with native peoples.


ANYONE INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT THANKSGIVING from A First PEOPLE'S PERSPECTIVE please check out Tiokasin Ghosthorse's Thanksgiving Day special:

First Voices Indigenous Radio on WBAI NY / Radio Pacifica (Thursdays, 10 AM to 11 AM) / Host: Tiokasin Ghosthorse Website / Email: Tiokasin@gmail.com (This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view) / Voicemail: (212) 209-2979 First Voices broadcasts are available on CD. Contact using email / phone above.

Program description:

First Voices Indigenous Radio brings to the airwaves the experiences, perspectives and struggles of Indigenous people who have been almost totally excluded from both mainstream and progressive, alternative media. Our purpose is to help ensure the continuance and survival of Indigenous cultures and Nations by letting the People tell their own story, in their own words, and often in their own languages and ways of speaking. And with as little outside interference and interruption as possible.

As we open up the airwaves week after week to the voices seldom heard in the last 511 years, it is our hope that the newcomers to this Land - that is, every immigrant group - will begin to question their assumptions about Indigenous people here. We hope they become educated and informed, get activated, break down their romanticization, break free of their stereotypes, and begin to form real relationships with Indigenous communities based, finally, on respect and real understanding.

This one hour is devoted to bringing the voices of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (i.e., North America) and connecting their struggles with those of other Indigenous Peoples around the world. And while never forgetting that standing upon Mother Earth is a great responsibility.

We ask our guests with great respect to do the honor of coming on the program to offer their knowledge, wisdom, and experience, a knowledge that has been handed down over hundreds of thousands of years. It is a responsibility we take very seriously, and we know it is with great urgency that we ask these voices to be shared in this time of changes. We hope we offer our listeners a perspective they have been missing for far too long. The voice America has tried to silence, the voices of Indigenous Peoples.

Tiokasin knows that First Voices Indigenous Radio belongs to all the Native Peoples here in Turtle Island (renamed North America by the occupiers). The responsibilities that can be taught by listening to the real land owners(so to speak) and understanding the knowledge, the wisdom, the struggles, and the unheard voices.

It is said that if the lies continue about Native peoples it will create an illusion that all Americans will dearly pay for in the future...and the future is now. What kind of world are Americans creating with their privilege of denying Native people's voice and the reality of truth that Natives experience daily.

Tiokasin's global perspective reality is the experience of living with and understanding these two worlds - Indigenous and non-Indigenous. The teachings of the Lakota are profound and relevant in the universe today! Lakota knowledge empowers through inclusion, by teaching responsibility of choices. This contributes to an emerging world, affecting the environmental/Mother Earth issues we as human beings ponder when it comes to what it means to be civilized.

Host / producer profile: Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Tiokasin Ghosthorseis host and producer of First Voices Indigenous Radio. He spoke, as a teenager, at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He participated in several occupations including Wounded Knee, SD in 1973, Lyle Point, WA, Western Shoshone, NV, and Big Mountain, AZ, and has been actively educating people who live on Turtle Island (N. America) and overseas since that time. Tiokasin is also a survivor of the "Reign of Terror" from 1972-1976 on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to "kill the Indian and save the man".


LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Barack Obama Change More of the Same: Tim Geithner: END THE FED




LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


20 November 2008

Senate Passes Expansion of Federal Joblessness Benefits.

Photo: "Baby REBEL, "Bailout is BABBLE!"", N.Y., N.Y.: A. Golden, eyewash design - c. 2006.

Friends, it's official! The Senate just passed the expansion of federal jobless benefits, and there's every indication the President will sign it into law right away (see press release below).

Thanks to
NELP and members of the Unemployed Worker's organization who put tremendous time and energy into this effort. Hundreds contributed their stories (and souls) to testify in Congress, appear before major events in D.C., and talk to reporters for all the major papers, to help ensure that Our elected officials do the right thing.

Our voices have been heard in Congress, with large numbers of calls and emails to those responsible for making the right call. These are incredibly tough times, but our actions led directly to the passage of this important extension and it goes a long way to help more than two million families get back on their feet, with a little more hope and determination to get by. For that, NELP thanks you!

Best wishes to you all,
Chris, Maurice, Judy, Andy, Debbie & Rick


NELP Applauds Today's Senate Action Providing Necessary Relief to Two Million Jobless Workers & the Struggling Economy


Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation expanding jobless benefits for over two million workers who were scheduled to run out of their limited 13 weeks of federal assistance. The Senate adopted a measure passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives before the Congressional recess.

Christine Owens, the Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project said, "Today's significant action by Congress sends a message loud and clear to all the nation's families, not just those who now find themselves unemployed, that help is on the way." Ms. Owens continued, "We applaud Congress for taking this action, and we hope it's the first step of many necessary reforms that reflects the serious needs of everyday families and those communities hardest hit by the recession to help bring about an economic recovery. The President should sign the legislation right away to make sure the benefits are available without delay to all workers in need and the struggling economy."

According to state by state estimates prepared by NELP, today's action helps more than 1.16 million workers who have already run out of their limited 13 weeks of extended benefit or who were scheduled to do so before the end of the year during the holiday season. By March 2009, when the program expires, 2.11 million workers would have been left jobless without any additional federal assistance if Congress had not acted to expand the program of federal jobless benefits.

The measure passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 6867), includes the following key provisions:

1. 20 Weeks for All States: Increases the basic 13 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), which was enacted in June, by 7 more weeks (to 20 weeks) for workers in all states.

2. 33 Weeks for High Unemployment States: Increases the basic 13 weeks of EUC by 20 weeks (to 33 weeks total) in states with unemployment rates over 6 percent (averaged over the latest three months). Nineteen states, plus the District of Columbia, now qualify for these extra weeks of EUC (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee). More states will qualify for extra weeks of EUC when their rates of unemployment exceed the required 6-percent threshold (the new state unemployment numbers are released on Friday, November 21).

3. Extra Benefits Not Paid Retroactively: Workers who ran out of their EUC benefits in October and November will qualify for the additional weeks of EUC going forward provided they are still unemployed and looking for work. They do not qualify for additional weeks of EUC retroactively, that is, for the period between when the new law was enacted and their benefits previously expired.

4. EUC Deadline Still March 2009: The EUC will be available to workers who exhaust their state benefits before the end of March 2009. However, anyone who qualified before the deadline will continue to receive their full weeks of EUC benefits under the new program (with all benefits ending in August). Thus, Congress and the President will have to take up another extension of benefits early in 2009 before the program expires.



LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.