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Recorded quickly with the musicians in a room without separation, the instruments sometimes bleed over the tracks, which adds to the live feel. The band did not use headphones themselves whilst in the studio, but it is recommended to don a pair of good ones to appreciate Peepers to the fullest. Peepers is released on The Leaf Label. Also available on vinyl. Release date: March 1. Brooklyn indie pop duo Savoir Faire hit the road in March.
Thru twitter. Laura Siersema Greenfield, MA needed some time to discover that she could write songs. After being a nurse she enrolled at the Berklee College of Music All, picking up here piano lessons and focusing on songwriting. She worked on her voice in the process, going for the classical approach with clear vowels and consonants. Her latest labum Talon of the Blackwater may sound bit new age, but successfully sidesteps the vagueness associated with that genre - she keeps grounded in music and her stories open up a bit more after each time you have heard them.
The fretless bass of Michael Farquharson is like a tug boat steering the rest of the musical crew safely through the rapids and cascades. Stand out track is the album's closer Along the Fenway , which is just Laura on vocals and piano, Eugen Friesen cello and Alastair Moock additional vocals.
The three of them embark on a journey that grows into epic 13 minute plus song that gets under you skin. Talon of the Blackwater is a self-released album. Buy it from CD Baby. Louis, MO. With Aaron Lee Tasjan on guitar and Jesse on violin. And yes, he will be playing Dead Kennedys stuff. Noise rock from Brussels.
Belgian band Thot are into heavy sounds, a rock assault that is augmented by visuals at their live concerts. Their new EP Fig. The original is in-your-face mayhem, while the remix kicks off with an oriental theme that shows up again for the backing vocals.
A noticeable French accent softens the blow, but both tracks will appeal to the alt. The Fig. The London pop band offer the title track as a free download. Their next single - an official release of radio fave Woah Billy! A full UK and European tour will be announced shortly. Colin Brunton thelastpogo. Few indie rock bands have the longevity of Bettie Serveert , founded in The Dutch trio return to their roots with Pharmacy of Love.
With Joppe Molenaar of the Dutch band Voicst on drums, they tackle the songs with renewed vigour. The edge is back, an element that had gone missing on their latest stutio album Attagirl and the acoustic Bare Stripped Naked live album. With guitar player Peter Visser dominating the mix and singer Carol van Dyk sounding confident Pharmacy of Love is as close to "rawk" as they are able to get.
Bring on the next set. Lef field singer-songwriter Johnny Dowd has an European tour coming up in May. He plays with Dutch avant-trashers Stuurbaard Bakkebaard during a couple of shows in The Netherlands. Multi-instrumentalist David Tenczar from Austin, TX, was born in the wrong era, and maybe even the wrong country.
Taking his inspiration from British and American Sixties pop bands, he builds his song around the vocals. His band The Greatcoats is a basically a one-man affair, with a bunch of friends helping out on drums, keyboards, trumpet, mellotron and piano.
It's all be done before, but that's not a problem if it sounds good. The Greatcoats is a self-released album. Buy it from the band's website. Release date: March 9th. You play guitar and you are graphics wizard? Neo-surf rockers Oh!
They have a four track demo that sounds almost finished, although they could bring the trumpet and saxophone bit more to the front. MP3: Oh! Gunquit - Cindy's Got a Tiger. Dallas singer Felili operates in the left-field of female vocalists.
Her debut album The Moon is a crossroads of indie musings and soul, with a tendency to bury the songs in superfluous sound effects No Way To Know , but the adventurous rhythms come to the rescue most of the time. The Moon is a self-released album.
It will be a long night for Chris Chew and Cody Dickinson who are in both bands,. Next stop: South America, before wrapping things up with a lengthy UK tour. His latest album Hooverdam is available as a free download. HCTF review of Hooverdam. Un-amped horns and percussion jam fills in the lull till PA is turned back on.
Doug Fieger , lead singer of The Knack , succumbed to lung cancer. He died at his home in Woodland Hills, California, on February Video: The Knack - My Sharona. The show was performed in London in and Ferrara in They offer Crystals as a free taste of what's inside. Keyboard Magazine has an exclusive preview of Page McConnell discussing, among aother things, the "polyphonic portamento on his vintage Yamaha CS analog synth".
Thru week4paug. About the possibility of releasing a new album: What's next for you? When I'm finished with this series of concerts in July I'll go back into the studio and finish these songs. What did you do when you moved to Chicago? It was like 1, records. Hand-picked, really clean. Did that pain you? Not at all. I gave some stuff to my younger brother. Now, when it comes to record dealing, with something like eBay so firmly in place with its proxy bidding system, how do you get accurate prices for records?
The main thing, with any collectible, is condition. You have the money you can make from selling this simple document, to the additional money you can make by duplicating the document, legally with the artist or whatever. Like a record shop, it should be about the customer. Are there people that see something wrong with what you do? You get into ethics with some people.
What I tend to do, is simply ask the person what they want for it. Yes, it was mass-manufactured, but a person paid to do that. An individual paid for that, it came back to them, and they did what they wanted with it. The 45 is so voluminous, how many there are from every single city. They made it! They spent time! A 45 I s a three-minute blast of whatever. The time representation of this shit. A lot will be destroyed. Is that good or bad thing that these records have found their way into collections?
CDs will become collectible; they already have. Think about how many bullshit local CD-Rs come out with handmade covers. You can duplicate all parts of it. How long do you think before vinyl becomes undesirable? It lasts forever. The printed word is pretty much the only thing that lasts as long. How do you describe yourself when people ask what you do? I tell them I write, because I do. If you get me talking about record details, like we are, this renaissance or supply and demand, or the ethics of the whole thing.
How did you get involved with writing? Wax Poetics contacted me. They contacted me and they wanted me to be their fact-checker for all this stuff. Take the whole collecting aspect out of it and deal with the materials at hand. The sound of it, what the hell is going on. Do you see yourself making new connections for years to come?
New blood is great. What made you want to re-issue things? Put these two parties in contact. How do you get involved with the actual artists? See what the story about it is, see if you can find more copies. When it comes to your trade, what do you see happening to it in the future? There will be a renaissance of CD collecting.
This oftentimes found him defending the violence at Black Flag's shows and in punk in general as well as stating his outspoken beliefs on society and government control of mainstream media. He soon joined the band, which until that time had never had a permanent bass player, and the quartet changed its name to Black Flag shortly thereafter. Black Flag became the forerunners of what many consider the second wave of punk in Los Angeles, if the first included bands such as the X, Germs, the Screamers, the Weirdos, and the Zeros.
Making an environment for creative expression and giving people a vehicle to put their stuff into the world is so satisfying. I truly believe [it] makes them create something they might not have otherwise. I always wanted to play with our reed player, so after jamming with our drummer I called Lynn and he came aboard. Is it hard being in a band with your spouse and child? Do band issues carry over into your personal life or vice versa?
The joys and trials of the band carry over into everything and we share that with our children, too. The band and the label were our social and work world. Are your children aware of your musical past? Part of what we are trying to do with our band is cut through age and generation barriers. All music is the product of the particular stew of influences and tastes of its maker. What has fatherhood taught you? Being a father has helped me cut through the generational mistrust that our society promotes.
The kids have really radicalized me. I was flabbergasted! They only have six hours after school till they have to go to bed. God forbid they have a music lesson or just want to play. Did that have anything to do with the overtly political messages of your record? There is much more desperation and poverty in this country than is widely acknowledged.
Good people join the military because they see it as a viable economic option, but they pay for it with their health and their lives. Those in power are getting richer and their money is covered in blood. That damages soldiers, their families and by extension American society. And how about Iraqi society? Your liner notes also say punk is dead. Lora wrote that part. What have the crowd reactions been?
Are they expecting a Black Flag clone? The crowds have been great. That said, I think we get the respect of any hardcore fan. Lora steps to that. What was your role in the band? I tried to fill in holes, especially after Keith left. I made a real effort by being interesting on stage. I booked the tours.
I bought a van so we could tour. I made sure we played with interesting bands. I dealt with the club owners. I made sure we got paid. I promoted aggressively. I covered LA with flyers. I made sure our records were stocked in stores and that we got paid when they sold.
I did anything that needed doing. I read you were the one responsible for setting up all those tours for SST bands. Where did you get the inspiration to do that and how did you do it when DIY touring was non-existent? I knew it was possible to make it, just living in your car with the bare minimum. At the time did any of you suspect the group would have such a lasting impact? We were making music that was different from what preceded us and from what was contemporary.
What are your thoughts on each singer and their role? Every singer brought his own particular greatness. Keith [Morris] had an extreme intensity and emotion in his singing. His emotional range was unrivaled. He could switch on a dime from heavy to funny. He was more fun-loving than Keith and not as heavy.
He was very soulful and rhythmic and a great improviser. He just shred his vocal cords, which limited him musically and caused him a lot of pain. Henry [Rollins] was the heaviest Black Flag singer. He was, and is, a focused, diligent and energetic man.
During your stint, when was the band most potent? Explain how you left Black Flag. This question is a doozy. Some have claimed there were musical problems but it was really an issue of power and control. It still makes me angry if I think about it.
When did you begin at SST and when did you leave? I did some of everything there was to do. I sold my share of the partnership in and stayed on as an employee until Was it difficult working there after leaving Black Flag? There was a lot of negativity surrounding my leaving Black Flag. I was still pretty shell shocked when I think back on it. During my days there was a lot to be proud of. Saccharine Trust was and still is a great band. The death of D Boon was so tragic. We could really use a good D Boon protest song nowadays.
COM Jakprints Inc. CA WWW. INK www» stri kea riywtte re. Play our songs and never grow up! I don't believe it's a In toss here. Walk past school, we meet up at the de ueeti a wage to eat tonight. Well ewer bruises, my brother works the hardest. Tb begin to shout and fight. Some a dark horse dies you can learn withoil system. Go ahead, because even a d. The tales, articles, interviews, and analysis that lay beyond are dense with information and laden with the weight of the times, yet they also hunt for solutions to survival and deliverance into a better time.
An interview by Daniel Sinker. The trip opened his eyes to the way the US is waging war today. How did you go from selling merch for Avail on tour to sneaking into black sites in Afghanistan? Ten to 12 years ago, I was writing for punk magazines and roadieing for bands. I was enjoying it, but gradually I started writing for bigger publications.
As far as how we ended up in Afghanistan, Trevor Paglen my co-writer was really interested in the planes that were being used by the government for extraordinary rendition of terror suspects. One of the things I have learned to do over the years of being an investigative reporter is how to pull together corporate records and find the paper trails that are out there for businesses. It was basic corporate muckraking: who owns the company, where do they operate out of, who are their board members, how long have they been in business.
And that started us looking at CIA front companies the CIA was using to grab terrorism suspects and ferry them around the world to secret prisons. What are the logistics of getting there and getting around? We realized that we wanted to go there and be on the ground and chase whatever leads we could find.
We knew there were facilities in places like Morrocco, Romania, and Poland—or at least there had been—but the place where there was the most information about was Afghanistan, We ended up staying at a hotel that caters to foreigners. Basically, the people who stay there are private military contractors— some of them probably mercanaries—and foreign journalists.
He had tons of contacts already. So we could pick his brain and he was really helpful in providing sources for us. What were your impressions of the country? What were your impressions of the country now? You occasionally hear about a bomb blast over there, or fighting with the Taliban. The infrastructure has crumbled and not a hell of a lot of it has been rebuilt.
There are people living in shipping containers and squatting next to the bricks that used to be their houses. There is no economy there. People are scavenging to survive. So did the people you interacted with just feel abandoned? You definitely got the sense when we talked with the Mullah, that he was relishing the moment.
And now things are turning back in our favor and people are frustrated with the Americans. What do you think your research says about the way America is fighting wars now? There is definitely a dark symmetry to how all this happened. To me then the real question is: How does this stop? So how, in your mind, do we retreat from this precipice?
What makes it end? I think the key thing is that every day of our lives we need to [wake up and realize that our country is a distinctly different coun-J try than it was five years ago ; that we are doing these absolutely atro- cious things to people; that we are acting like the worst dictators and the worst despots that we grew up taught to revile.
Five years ago the US could credibly talk about stamping out torture and the abuse of human rights in other countries and now, the place that we need to look to address that is here. I think one thing we need to do is realize that it behooves us to pay a little more attention to the Europeans and make it in an issue here. There is precedence of that. Subjected to torture and held indefinitely, these hidden jails represent the dark side of the global war on terror. A s our Ariana Airlines jetliner descended into Kabul International Airport, we were struck by the fact that Kabul looks more like a vast and unconstrained settlement than a major city.
No skyscrapers line the sky, no glass buildings shimmer with the glint of the sun. Smog and dust fill the valley. Simple adobe dwellings clutch their mountainside foundations. Inside, the terminal was dirty and dark—half the lights were broken or flickering—and large chunks of the metal ceiling drooped precariously.
Most of the signage was hand-written and the lone luggage carousel was only semifunctional. The airport, we would soon find out, was emblematic of the entire city: Five years after US soldiers arrived, Kabul was still wrecked, still a combat zone. Throughout the city, electric power was intermittent. Every traffic light in this metropolis of three to four million was busted.
Huge numbers of people were still dwelling in the rubble, squatting in bomb-collapsed buildings or camping beside the ruins of their obliterated homes. The Washington Post had disclosed the code name of the facility in March of During the time the facility had been closed, the Post reported, prisoners had been moved inside Ba- gram airbase and, eventually, to another location. When we procured a second satellite photo, one taken in early , it was immediately clear that the site the Post had disclosed was indeed in heavy use: The early photo showed only one building.
The second building had been added after the American invasion. Detainee accounts had all noted that the prison was only a ten-minute drive from an airport. Because no journalist had ever visited the site, we wanted to see the facility up close.
The mirrored walls of the lounge were still pockmarked with bullet holes some six months after the firefight. As we slipped out of town, the already rutted road worsened, the dust thickened, and the air grew hotter and drier. There are two major roads that connect Bagram and Kabul, and this road is, by far, the less traveled. We quickly found ourselves in a desolate valley, home only to a few scrap-metal yards. Plumes of black smoke rose from all around us—the product of brick-baking furnaces.
We knew from reports that some parts of the facility were used to train Afghan counterterrorist forces, with other parts of the campus used as a CIA substation. We were thus not surprised to find a large hand-painted sign at a checkpoint that labeled the facility, in English, as an Afghan military facility. As we approached the facility, we looked beyond the wall and past the guard towers and saw the dilapidated ex-brick factory.
It matched the satellite photos. Nekzad stressed that she was just going on whispers and speculation about the place. Sometimes these jails are underground. In Baghlan province the local warlord has a jail made of shipping containers. Two weeks ago a man was killed in the jail.
The governor of a province in the south has a jail in the basement of his house. Maybe the Americans think there are no rules here, no constitution. Nobody knows what happens there. As we walked past the stench of an open-air trash dump, we decided to check the place for ourselves and headed up the street. Our translator asked him what he was doing.
We told him we wanted to speak to the boss and the Afghan guy turned around and looked at the next line of security, a pair of Nepalese Gurkhas sitting in a plywood guard shack overlooking the blast wall. Wearing Oakley shades and pointing American-made M-l6 assault rifles at us, one of the Gurkhas spoke into a radio. Soon a pair of guys who looked like Americans they were white guys in T-shirts and tan fatigue pants emerged from the complex.
They were armed with pistols. Another character swaggered out to talk to us, a tall, heavily muscled black man cradling an assault rifle. Bidar has debriefed scores of ex-prisoners captured by the US. Through our translator, we arranged an interview with Bidar. Our translator was a little nervous about heading to Gar- dez, a dirt-road city of some three hundred thousand southeast of Kabul. In , Medecins Sans Frontieres, the French medical aid group, pulled out of Afghanistan after five of its personnel were slain for no discernable reason in the northwest region of Badghis.
In preparation for the trip, our translator laid down a rule: Everyone would wear traditional Afghan garb in an attempt to blend in more with the locals. And he would check in regularly with friends at the UN about the security situation on the roads.
The drive to Gardez took us through a vast moonscape of sand and rock punctuated by the occasional mud-brick village. The road, freshly built by a Turkish company, was a smooth, fast blacktop with no speed limit and little signage. Bidar, a Soviet-educated political scientist, is a small man with a bald head, prominent, arched eyebrows, and a salt-and- pepper beard. Finally, we decided to do interviews with detainees released from jails.
They told us how they were tortured. He was grabbed by US soldiers on a winter afternoon in late The soldiers blindfolded and hooded Noor before driving him to a nearby base. They stripped him naked and took photos from all sides.
Then they forced me to sit in a position that was impossible. It was the beginning of winter. The room was very cold and there were holes in the roof. The snow was falling on me. I had only one thin blanket. I was under the snow for days. Eventually, they put a hood back on and took him to Bagram military base via chopper. Since the CIA moved its prisoners out of Bagram and into the Salt Pit in , the US military has used the base as a key jail for suspected insurgents. Then they started to beat us with punches and kicks.
When he was pulled out of this room, the soldiers made him run to an interrogation chamber while hooded, chained, and cuffed. The abuses went on and on and on for about five months, until, with little explanation, Noor was set free by the US and walked out of the prison. Gannat Gul, a year-old veterinarian, had a similar story. But unlike Allah Noor, Gul had eventually been permitted to talk to his fellow inmates at Bagram, and he learned that he was part of an international cast.
The more people we interviewed in Afghanistan, the more obvious it became: Questions specifically about CIA black sites made little sense—they were hopelessly naive, attempting to make distinctions where none seemed in order. The whole country was, in many ways, a giant black site. A space where anything could happen. And somehow, in turn, imagination became reality. The act of seeing a space where anything could happen helped create a space where anything would happen.
Afghanistan became a space in the image of the improvised and irregular CIA and Special Forces units. Where violence is like the architecture: ad hoc, informal. Afghanistan, given these American perceptions, was almost destined to end up playing host to a Dark Prison, to become a place where people like Khaled El-Masri, Binyan Mohammed, and countless others could simply vanish off the face of the earth. The bombing and ruin were once again plain to see.
But there was something else. It was, in fact, one of the four planes that had landed at Desert Rock Airstrip more than three years before. Then it had disappeared. Published by Melville House. Available wherever books are sold. Israel's Soldiers of Conscience. Any kind of participation in the peace movement takes chutzpah in Israel. The women returned later that day to complete the vigil. So the act of using peace to protest violence can be a difficult task.
Often, the worst consequence is the feeling of being an exception—someone who veers from the path an Israeli is expected to follow. But during the first Lebanon war in , refusers began to build a powerful, cohesive movement. Groups like Yesh Gvul formed. More and more soldiers started to see the actions of the military as brutality and aggression, not self-defense.
Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength. Measures like these were not purely symbolic, according to Adam Keller, a refuser who was jailed for three months in after grafittiing military tanks with messages of peace. This dip makes the revival of the conscientious objector movement during the past few months all the more significant, Keller said. It is far from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked.
Leibowitz says that despite—or because of—the fact that most Israeli conscripts are Jewish, religious affiliation can still be a key part of the refuser movement in Israel. Today, it is probably the [most] anti-Jewish state on Earth. She won her case. In time, New Profile members hope, Israeli citizens will realize that they need not raise their children to be soldiers. In fact, a group of five refusers was just here in September, working in AFSC offices and speaking in cities throughout the country.
In fact, the most effective way to influence policymakers may be just a few feet away, at your computer. It would be an example to the world. What kind of promise is that? The dream of Israel as a land of peace may have been naive. We begin to hear shots far away. Laura Pearson scales its heights. T he West Bank Barrier—winding obtrusively through Palestinian cities, towns, and villages, cutting through hundreds of dunams four of which are equivalent to an acre of arid countryside, and dividing farmland once fertile with olive, almond, and citrus trees—is a huge eyesore.
In most places, it appears as a menacing network of coiled barbed wire, trenches, electrified fencing, military patrol roads, sand to track footprints , watchtowers and surveillance cameras—all of which span 55 to IOO yards wide.
In constructing this eye- sore-of-a-structure, Israel demonstrates its refusal to see the other side of the conflict. Indeed, the visually obstructive barrier that, along its route, separates students from schools, neighbors from neighbors, and workers from workplaces, also obstructs any hopeful visions for the two sides to peacefully negotiate an agreement.
But this argument has rapidly lost ground. Careful scrutiny is always in order. Despite the Israel Supreme Court ruling that some of the barrier must be rerouted, the project is only growing in its destructive impact. It goes without saying that for Palestinians living in the West Bank, the continued construction of the barrier has felt anything but quick or painless.
Cutting Lives in Half Human Rights Watch, via fact-finding missions and extensive on-the-ground research, has maintained a close eye on the impact of the barrier. What is the generally accepted term among international humanitarian workers?
Would you consider that one of the more pressing issues? Their lives are cut in half. Some Palestinian communities have mobilized against the Wall. What has been the general response from Palestinians? A number of Palestinian villages have been involved in litigation challenging the route of the Wall in their particular area. On the ground, the Israeli Supreme Court has said they will consider challenging the Wall. But those are few cases and far between.
Most of the Wall is built already. But it is over 50 percent completed. The Israel Supreme Court ruled to do some rerouting, but was that a significant amount? No, that was not a significant amount. It does deviate far into the West Bank territory, and the basis for the judicial decision in asking the route to be changed was not that it veered into the West Bank territory; it was that it had an undue impact on the population.
And they refused to address the fact that it was in Occupied Territory, because the Court refuses to acknowledge the illegality of settlements. If it had to do with security, the Wall would be on the Green Line. These permits, valid for up to a year, allow access through only one barrier gate and for only specific hours.
The IDF has thrown sound bombs, sprayed tear gas, and fired rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators, even beating individuals sitting in front of the Wall with batons. However, they cannot do it alone. In respect for international law and protection of human rights, the US—in particular—can no longer continue, to time and again, ally itself uncritically with Israel.
If we believe the Wall is wrong, we must work to change it. Joel Schalit looks at how the Israeli political landscape has changed since. Demobilized reservists were protesting being sent to battle without proper equipment, training or operational plans. Thousands of civilians made homeless by Hezbollah rocket fire were demanding government assistance. What made this situation unlike any other is that Israeli society has undergone the most profound of paroxysms these past 12 months, and things could have indeed worked out differently.
Turning Sour The first signs of trouble began to emerge during the negotiations to form a government with Kadima, now under the leadership of former interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. At the time, many political analysts argued that his acceptance of the position was a sign that the new Labor party would not have the kind of policy sway it had hoped to exercise in the new government. As someone without a military background, so the more pessimistic assessments prophesized, this appointment was intended to prevent Labor from realizing its social goals.
The Real Losers Unfortunately, it was not just Israel that lost the war. Novelist Grossman, best known in America for his seminal writings on the immorality of the Occupation, was the first of these figures to reverse his position in the final days of the war, but not before his year old son was tragically killed by a Hezbollah missile. It was just past dark, people were still in the street. Rachel Corrie, a skinny, creative, free spirit entered my life right after the twin towers came down on September II.
We were both living in Olympia, Wash. We created a contingent made up of grey-haired grannies, a peace-scout troop of hippie kids, our hesitant friends, and at the last minute, a few drunks from the local bar. The 30 of us made peace dove costumes from worn-out hotel sheets and danced down the street in an annual community parade. Rachel, armed with a new understanding of the situation in Israel and Palestine from her college studies, took off for the region to volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement ISM.
In various villages the locals have called for support, for eyes and the protection that comes free with our western skin. Noam Chomsky pointed out in a recent interview on Democracy Now! This came to be through a Jewish nationalist movement called Zionism which, in the early 2 , 0 th century, had gained momentum due to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the growing persecution of Jews all over the world.
Countries like our own were not accepting Jews as they fled Germany. Ships were even sent back at the border. Britain was in control of the Palestinian territories at the time and facilitated the creation of the state of Israel. The majority of Palestinian people do not even live in the occupied Palestinian territories; many still live in refugee camps on the borders of the surrounding Arab countries.
Today, many are still being forced off more and more of their land. Injanuary , Rachel Corrie came to the Middle East. Rafah is in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip, a tiny 25 by 7 mile strip of land with 1. Rafah was under intense siege by the Israeli military at this time, similar to what we have seen the last few months, in fact, consistently for the past 5 years. Rachel wrote home often: I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see.
It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if mary of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons.
This area is made up of UN built refugee camp concrete homes crammed together into very tight blocks, often with more than IO people sharing two rooms. The constant attacks on all elements of life in Rafah have resulted in the collective punishment of the entire community. On March 16, while attempting to defend the Nasrallah family home from being demolished, a US-made Caterpillar bulldozer of the Israeli Military ran her over, and then backed over her again.
She died almost immediately; I found out on National Public Radio. She was The US has refused to complete a formal investigation into her death. Israel has been the largest receiver of US foreign aid for decades. What I saw did not in any way resemble what the media says about the region—a perpetual cycle of violence from a IOOO-year-old religious conflict where Israel is defending itself against hate filled Arabs.
The reality I discovered more seemed more like a modern day version of the ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans that occurred last century here in the states. When you walk down the street in Israel it feels like you could easily be in the States, cross an arbitrary line in the sand, marked by large concrete walls and military checkpoints, and you find yourself in the occupied territories where poverty prevails.
The contrasts are tremendous. The difference between what I would witness living in occupied Palestine and how the events were portrayed in the media displayed an elaborate system of misinformation. There are militant factions of religious extremists within Arab society who shoot homemade rockets into Israel and vow to use violence to wipe out Israel. From my balcony in Rafah I would often see armed men driving through the streets representing a specific faction within Palestinian society.
Violent extremist elements can be found throughout almost all societies. In the United States we have religious right-wing anti-abortion groups who have murdered doctors or the Minute Men who shoot Mexicans attempting to cross our border. In Israel the religious extremist groups take the form of Settlers who, against international law, choose to live inside the occupied Palestinian territories.
This would be similar to moving Americans into Iraq and setting up gated communities. A close friend and pharmacist in Gaza has not been paid in six months because of these sanctions. I spoke to many Hamas supporters who expressed that they were voting for change, that the Fatah leadership focused on negotiations and Israel refused to talk.
Instead the occupation has taken a stronger and more violent hold on their communities. I also heard hopes that a lot of the government money that had ended up in the pockets of corrupt Fatah leaders would return to the communities. This most recent escalation was portrayed by the media as beginning with the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of Gilat Shalit, while they were on duty. The borders are closed most of the times which means we are not allowed in or out of our countiy, it has been closed completely for more than a month.
And there is economic hardship, with high unemployment that reaches to JO percent. Most people live under poverty levels in crowded towns, villages, and refugee camps where the housing conditions are very limited and lack basic infrastructure. I witnessed the construction of the massive wall that is currently being built to completely enclose the West Bank and even to divide it internally into three sections.
The majority of Palestinians want the same thing the average Israeli, the average American wants: a home, an education, an ability to provide for their children. But for the average Palestinian family these things are at perpetual risk of being taken away. They may benefit the weapons industry and certain strategic resource goals but they are making no one safer.
As far away as the Middle East may seem, it is the United States who has the power to change this situation. A few days later, Noam Chomsky told listeners of Democracy Now! But we are able to communicate and the look of apprecia- tion in her eyes makes it clear that her strugg ;le to pick these olives and to stay on her land is the same struggle as ours in the States for an end to US military domination. The International Solidarity Movement renews its call for international civil society to act when the governments of the world will not and join the Palestinian nonviolent resistance!
Even though the media never covers the village-wide marches, the strength of Palestinians choosing to remain on their land against all odds, and the weekly actions against the Wall, nonviolent resistance is alive and well in the occupied territories. I said before they will not succeed and I am saying it again and again. It is impossible to control an entire nation using collective punishment and continuous occupation.
And there are so many opportunities to support them in their struggle. This has to stop. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for rry coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. The morning after I saw the missile fall, when I was sitting at breakfast with the family whose home Rachel died defending, I asked if they had heard the Fl6s and seen the attack.
Whether I chose to come to Rafah or not, simply by being an American citizen I am impacting this family. Twelve Palestinians have been killed participating in these demonstrations. Caught on the outskirts of the Iraq war, Popelka wrote e-mails home to his family and friends that captured the fear, absurdity, and banality Of life in the barracks. Excerpted from his book Somewhere in the Middle. After his enlistment, general malaise, friends lost, and an incident involving a lack of birthday cake motivated Wayne to seek work overseas.
The following, reprinted from his first book Somewhere in the Middle q , Sybaritic Press , documents his conquests, exploits, and overall melancholy at existing in or around the US military. Wayne now distributes his time equally between comic books, history, music, languages, grad school, bad first dates, and Texas Hold'em.
The other night I was sitting outside, eavesdropping on some soldiers talking. They were giving things to the children while they waited then suddenly the children started to run away. He said it was the saddest thing he had seen over there. I thought about how difficult dealing with that would be on a daily basis. After work I came home and witnessed two soldiers loudly bragging over who had killed or witnessed a killing of a camel in the most creative way. I think the winner was the one who said he and another guy had fired a TOW Missile at one.
I went to bed disappointed. I noticed something about us the other day: we never discuss current events. They never come up, and if they do, the subject is squashed and the guy who brought it up is shunned a bit. No opinions are ever mentioned. People discuss our living situation with great fervor. People who are in no way familiar with each other will chat for 20 minutes about the woes of the living situation.
People are organizing around shared ideals. We all sort of awkwardly looked at each other like we had just passed gas in public and were trying to play it off. We all followed. Luckily the old Marine took that burden upon himself.
We sat there a few minutes just staring and nothing happened. No sirens, no security team—nothing. We all kind of stumbled back inside. With a glazed-over look in his eyes, he told me that he had been through two wars and when it was his time to go there was nothing he could do about it. After I talked to Mike I returned to my workout.
I rarely feel that relaxed. I felt a kind of peacefulness. After the explosion, everywhere you looked in the gym, there was someone smiling back at you. All of a sudden, we all had something in common. The little bit of notice I had this time was welcome, as I had time to shower that night before someone important noticed the leak.
It also gave me time to adjust to the idea of the comparatively long walk to the showers the next day. At the end of this walk I was greeted by a sign on the refuge shower that read that the water was off in there as well and that I should take my business to building So there I was walking along the road, cars and trucks cruising by, in my Superman boxers. Apparently this was the main entrance, whereas the showers were off of the side entrance.
My Superman Underoos and I made our way through all the people playing spades and dominoes, and finally hit the showers. Just looking at him, I knew something was wrong. Sure enough he had a bad case of something. He looked real weak, so I asked if he needed anything. He was hungry and asked if I could bring him some saltless crackers from the chow hall. I went, ate my fill, and then set about gathering things for Jon. No saltless crackers, so I improvised with saltines and white bread.
I got the container and left, fed Jon, and went on my way. So I get his stuff and am assigned a driver: someone authorized to drive off-base after curfew. After all the build up, I thought the ride was going to be really exciting. I got to the hospital and saw Jon, and he looked fairly good to me. According to his doctor, Jon has The Grud. The Crud is some unknown disease that Americans catch over here. It is a lot like the flu except that it last for two weeks.
I found out then that another guy from my company was there with it too and that there had been several cases of it in the past month. I had heard people joke about The Crud when I got here, but I never really took any of the joking seriously. The Grud is real. I dread getting The Crud, as one of my worst fears is getting sick and being by myself my other biggest fear is of sharks. July 3 Sadly, Jon was sent home. I saw him an hour before his flight and, like a couple of men, we did the awkward hug and off he went.
The result of the vehicle incident is that everyone has until the ninth to pretty much get rid of their vehicles. George is a really nice guy. I figure I spend about four solid hours per day thinking about coming home. I think many of these guys I work with see this as an alternative to divorce. All of these things are very important. I did my best to work around what could easily have been categorized as a crime scene and got out as quickly as possible.
It was on my way out that the unthinkable happened: I had stepped into a puddle of piss. I probably do this all the time, but this time I was wearing sandals and it was a deep puddle. I instantly went into shock and stopped mid-stride—in the puddle of piss.
Silently, I went over the events in my head and lamented on whom it might belong to. At the time, that was my biggest concern. Not that I had breached the yellow puddle, but who it belonged to. That seemed to make it that much more disgusting to me. I pressed on, but I carried the image of that yellow puddle with me the rest of the day.
July 14 It rained the other day. It only lasted about five minutes, but it was still nice to see. It was a light rain with drops so large that they each seemed like a whole puddle coming down. It was comforting to chat with someone who knew exactly what the tornado sirens back home sounded like.
He said they scared his wife to death and I told him my mother was the same way. We both went about our business. My friend Ida was passing through on her way to Baghdad, so we were hanging out at the Top Off. And then —thump thump.
Everything stopped for about three or four seconds. In my memory of it, even the music stopped for a second. Finally someone had the courage to ask out loud what every- body had just heard. Mortars sound something like the launch you hear at a fireworks display. It kept thumping. It thumped maybe 30 times in IO minutes. I could write all night about feeling calm when things get tense. Which I guess is a sort of strange way to be, but it feels good, so oh well.
And so it was that five hours after the incalculably cruel attacks on the morning of September Ilth, , Donald Rumsfeld was dictating his strategy to his aides as his Pentagon burned. Eventually notes from that meeting surfaced: Best to go in fast Judge whether good enough to hit SH Saddam Hussein at same time.
Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not. Five years later, Iraq is in ruins. Iraq, to Rumsfeld and many others, was Saddam Hussein. The Saudi royal family turned him down, and in the spring of Osama left the county; he settled in Sudan, where he set up a new base of operations for Al Qaeda. In a way, I am following the pattern of emotions that I experienced that day.
I was in Chicago that day working at a research library and far from the tragedy. I felt disbelief first. Then horror. Then a profound sadness for the victims and their loved ones. And like Rumsfeld, I was thinking of Iraq. We see our hurt and anger reflected among eveybody we meet.
We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news about this disaster. But we read enough of the news to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands, dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.
It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son's death. Not in our son's name. Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world.
But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times. In expressing these desires, we heard from others who saw us as kindred spirits. Each had suffered a similar loss—from the terrorism of war and atomic weapons, to the terrorism of state-sponsored violence. Hearing from them, we learned that we were not alone.
We also learned that the deaths of our family members, although unique in circumstance, were far from unique in human history. The means were different, but the results were. We came to see our losses as happening in a bigger context, one that cut across national boundaries and the confines of time.
We see that the path we have taken has created a world that is less safe, less humane, and less likely to survive. Where we saw children in mortal danger from unexploded cluster bombs in Afghanistan, we now see children in mortal danger from cluster bombs in Lebanon. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. In the days immediately following September 11, , the world came together with a sense of mutual humanity and mutual purpose. Fivejears later, we are in a death spiral of increasing violence, increasing terrorism, and increasing civilian casualties. Fivejears later, Iran is in the crosshairs of Americas next war. In the days immediately following September 11th, the United States could have asked the world to do arjthingfor us.
The U. On the fifth anniversaj ofSeptember 11, , we believe it is time for America to end the cycle of violence. It is time for the United States to become a positive force in world affairs.
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