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On Woody Guthrie’s Centennial, Celebrating the Life, Politics & Music of the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”

This Democracy Now show is a fascinating must for anyone interested in US history and this whole section of American society which made me like that country so much when I lived there; click on image.

Trailer “5 Broken Cameras”


Memorial Day Special: U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit


Nato summit leaders ‘were busy posing for photo ops’ as war veterans staged protest. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Democracy Now! returns to Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s six-decade history, where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers’ voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. “I’m here to return my Global War on Terror Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan,” said Jason Hurd, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. “I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe.” Scott Kimball, an Iraq war veteran, adds: “For all the servicemembers and veterans who are against these wars, you are not alone!” Click here to see the other parts of the 2012 Memorial Day Special: 2, 3, 4, 5. [includes rush transcript]

Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Full PBS Documentary)


The Syrian Revolution – Rana Kabbani at Cafe Diplo (March 2012)

Second part

Third part

With ‘last ink,’ Gunter Grass breaks silence on Israeli nuclear program threatening world peace

by on April 5, 2012 104

Gunter Grass Gunter Grass, by Marcus Brandt in the Guardian

The Gunter Grass poem was published in Germany. Our translation is by Norbert Jost. It is already stirring big controversy. Guardian headline: “Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass uses poem to say a nuclear-armed Israel is a threat to world peace.” Tom Segev says Grass is “pathetic” and is guilty about his Nazi past.

Why am i silent, conceal already too long a time, What is apparent and has been simulated in exercises, at the end of which we the survivors may at best be footnotes. It is the alleged entitlement for a first strike, which could extinguish the Iranian people, – subjugated by a big mouth and directed to organized jubilations- because one assumes the making of a nuclear bomb. Alas, why do i restrain myself to name the name of the other country, where since years – although kept secret – a growing nuclear potential (is) available, albeit beyond control, because inaccessible for any examination? The general silence of this fact, which my silence has subordinated itself to, i feel to be a burdensome lie and as coercion, which promises punishment, soon as it is not complied with; the verdict “antisemitism” is ready at hand. However, now, that my country, which is confronted with its very own crimes which are unique without comparison, again and again and made to answer for, is about to deliver, routinely and businesslike, even though with a nimble tongue declared as reparation, is to supply Israel another submarine, the speciality of which is to deliver all-destructive warheads to where the existence of a single nuclear bomb is unproven, only “proven” by the strength of fear, I say, what must be said. But why did i remain silent so far? Because I was of the opinion, that where i am from, which is stained with a never removable stain, forbids me, to dare confronting Israel, the country I am attached to and want to remain so, with this fact as an outright spoken truth. Why do I speak now only, aged and with the last ink: The nuclear power Israel endangers the world’s peace, ever so delicate anyhow ? Because it must be said, what already tomorrow could be too late; also because we – as Germans burdened enough – could become suppliers of a crime, which can be foreseen, and why our complicity could not be made undone by any of the usual evasions. And admitted: i do not remain silent anymore, because i am weary of the hypocrisy of the West; moreover, it is hoped, may many free themselves of the bondage of silence, demand from the originators of the discernible danger the renunciation of all violence and simultaneously insist, that an unhindered and permanent control of Israeli nuclear potential and of Iranian nuclear facilities through an international entity will be permitted by the governments of both countries. Only this way, everybody, Israelis and Palestinians, even more, all human beings, who live as enemies next to each other in this region, occupied by madness, can be helped – ultimately us, too.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

In Memory of A Hero (a repost)

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Ghiath Matar, the 26 years old activist was murdered after three days of torture at the hands of Assad’s goons. Orders for such inhumane murderous treatments could only come from the highest levels

Yesterday, and as the Secretary General of the Arab League was meeting with Syria’s chief tormentor, regime thugs visited the Matar family in Damascus Suburb with the body of their twenty six (26) year old son Ghiath. Along with the body, it was reported; the thugs handed the family their son’s larynx telling them, amidst their cries to make shawarma out of it.

I am a grown man, and I don’t believe that men should not cry, for I do cry, sometimes even in sad or romantic movie. But since yesterday, my tears are bitter. And as I write these words, heavy rain falls where I live, and while I wonder if nature is crying for the brave youths of Syria, my tears race with the drops of rain and Ghiath’s beautiful smile seemingly wanting to re-assure me, I hear a voice I never heard before … “common old man, don’t  cry….. I am but one of thousands and you will be free”.

Ghiath was a leader in the Syrian youth peaceful movement. He was among those who demonstrated unparalleled creativity in non-violent resistance as he and his friends tried to greet those charged with suppressing them with flowers and bottles of water in the heat of Syrian summer. He was waiting for his first daughter when the hyenas kidnapped him after luring him with a trap turning his generosity and chivalry against him as he answered an apparent SOS call from a friend.  Within three days of his arrest, this strong young man was dead because of torture inflicted by the Assad mafia hyenas.

Have words been invented to describe the level of atrocious hate this regime has for its own people? Is their mutilation of the young bodies a manifestation of the rot that eats them? Is it fear that moves them? Is hatred? is it revenge?  Or is it simply a death wish in need of an answer?

Some may want to believe that martyrs will be happy in heaven, I think more of the living, the mother awaiting her son, the young wife longing for the strong arms of her handsome husband, the daughter who they want to have grow knowing the name and face for the man responsible for her not enjoying the cuddling of her father, his guiding words, and not holding his finger with her entire hand as she walks next to him in the market place. Curse the murderers, curse them for eternity.

I leave you with what is being passed as to Ghiath’s last will and testament to his friends, while I was translating his words, my warm tears of cold rage raced along with my heart, my arms became week and my fingers felt inept to write appropriate words. I am now dreaming that my words would turn into winds that blows the face of Syria and that cleans, once and for all, the rubbish called the Assad regime, and all those whose moral compass is pointing into a direction of inhumanity, savagery, and hate.

Translation of Ghiath Matar’s Last Will

Praise Be to Allah, prayers, and peace to our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions

My free and young brothers of the revolution, you who have shared with me the path to freedom during days that were the most beautiful days of my life

If words of my martyrdom pain you, be comforted in the knowledge that I have now simultaneously attained both happiness and freedom. I wish if I can come back to life so that I can once more carry the banner of justice, dignity, and freedom and to be martyred once again…. Don’t think they have finished me off with the bullet they fired.

By God, I have triumphed and I have aided my cause every moment I came out to the streets to say no to injustice and tyranny, Yes to freedom, justice and dignity

And my will to you to remain true to the principle we went out for, and to work toward achieving all the slogans we raised until they become a living reality, to persevere in your courage no matter how they tried to  get you of to throw your ranks into disarray, don’t allow them to change you, don’t cheapen my blood, and the blood of the martyrs who gave their souls for a free Syria, don’t sell our sacrifices for any price. Don’t dialog with your executioners but wrest your rights from them with your determination to achieve victory.

I have seen freedom right at the gates, I’ve seen it very close to me and to you

Every time we went out, when our chants shook the earth, and instill terror in the hearts of cowards, I sow freedom approaching and victory being achieved … From my world, I now see it approaching nearer to you. Do persevere for victory is but one extra hour of perseverance.

Do not despair even if the whole world fought you and denied you.  Do not stop even if the repelled you and erected barriers and obstacles in your ranks, do not you turn back or they will get you, destroy you, and with you destroy the dream. Do not surrender for by that you sell our precious blood, and all of the efforts we made for a free dignified homeland.

Remember me when the shouts tower, when the women ululate at the wedding ceremony of martyrdom, and whenever a demand of ours is achieved along the way to freedom. Remember me when you celebrate the fall of the regime and the liberation of our homeland from the abusers. Remember me every time you plant a Jasmine sapling in Syrian soil, every time you lay a brick in a building, and when you see the future in the eyes of children, and remember that I gave my soul and my blood for that moment.

May God countenance you and bless you with steadfastness, victory will be ours at your hands, O heroes

Syrian Citizen Ghiath Matar

From France, interview with a dissident Syrian historian

I came across this interesting interview in Le Figaro, in which Michel Kilo, a dissident historian, says that it is up to civil society (and implicitly, not foreigners) to oust Assad.

via Le Figaro
The article is in French but here is my translation in case you don’t read French well:LE FIGARO: The Syrian opposition seems divided. How to fix it?
MICHEL KILO: There is the popular movement, which is close to the intellectuals, and the opposition by organized parties, such as the National Syrian Council on foreign shores or the National Committee of Coordination (CNC) within. But these organizations are always late arrivals on the scene of popular movements, historically speaking.
What do you think about the announcement that a military Council has been created, directed by the deserter general Moustapha al-Cheihk?
With several thousand soldiers, who do not comprise an army, he wants to attack an army of 400,000 troops! It will throw the country into endless chaos. It’s insanity. Protect the civilians, of course. But one cannot create the illusion of a war against the regime. And then we do not want, after victory, to be once again ruled by military men. The military must obey politicians.
So what is the solution?
One cannot rest content saying that we want to knock down the regime. We must explain how. At the beginning, we the intellectuals, we proposed national dialogue.
The dialogue with who?
With everyone, even the regime. The goal was to win for our cause new sectors of the population. Certainly, the regime would have refused to budge. But that was exactly the goal: show to those undecided that there was a political situation which the regime itself was refusing. At that moment, amassing on the streets was legitimate.
Are we now at an impasse?
Yes. The regime cannot force the protesters to clear out from the streets, and the latter cannot bring down the government. The recent talks show that Bachar el-Assad is desperate. Everything he promises is just a “war against terrorism” with which he thinks he can gain the support of the West, or at least scare the West. But it’s a phony concept. In Homs, the heart of the rebellion, there is no Islamist on the committee directing the revolution. Now, I think el-Assad wants to regionalize the conflict: referring to Iran, Hezbollah, the Iraqis, and threaten the Gulf states with a long war.
What do you propose?
The revolutionaries are in the process of organizing better the populist forces, and of convincing those who are still neutral to join their movement. They push now for the formation of base committees all around the country. These are the ones that shall form the future government of Syria, with the CNS or the parties of the interior. In Europe, in the Eastern countries, the intellectuals, the civil society, were the ones who overthrew dictatorships. We fought for 50 years against the regime. Most people of the CNS live abroad, and have for a long time. They are almost strangers to the people at home.
Can the Syrian people hold out for much longer?
Until the end of history. I posed such a question to some people in Deraa. They answered: ‘We do not have the courage to stop.’ If they stop, the repression will be comparable to that which was waged on Hamas in 1982, when there were 46,000 dead.
Is the exile of Bachar el-Assad inevitable?
It is necessary to find a solution.
You are going to return to Syria. Isn’t that dangerous?
In Syria, people are dying each day for freedom. It is shameful to be afraid.

THE SYSTEM full length trailer


from :

I don’t know any of the participants in this trailer – they all seem to me pretty ordinary people. Yet, it is clear that each of them posses more wisdom than our entire political system.

I guess that the meaning of it is simple. The revolution is here.

“War is when the government tells you who the bad guy is. Revolution is when you decide that for yourself.”

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