Down by the Riverside

I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield,
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield,
Down by the riverside
Study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more

I’m gonna walk with that Prince of Peace,
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
I’m gonna walk with that Prince of Peace,
Down by the riverside
Study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more

I’m gonna lay down that atom bomb
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
I’m gonna lay down that atom bomb,
Down by the riverside
Study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
I ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more
Ain’t gonna study war no more

An extraordinary video on Syria

A young girl’s life gets turned upside-down in this tragic second a day video. Could this ever happen in the UK? This is what war does to children. Find out more at http://bit.ly/3yearson

A Radical Expriment in Empathy

A wonderful Ted Talk by Sam Richards at TEDxPSU about empathy.

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”

–J Robert Oppenheimer, Father of the Atomic Bomb

The quote is from Vishnu (Supreme God) in the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita, which I should write about sometime…

 

Forgotten Malalas: Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi

File:Abeer Qassim Hamsa.jpgAbeer Qassim Hamza at age 7

Abeer was a fourteen year old girl from the village of Mahmoudiyah, southeast of Baghdad. Her family, and father especially, wanted her to get an education: but security concerns prevented her. When she did leave the house, she wore a black covering from head to toe. She spent most of her time doing chores and attending to the garden in the yard. There’s only three pictures of her I can find on the internet: one at age 2, one  at age 7, and one on her passport. At fourteen, she was raped, then killed. Her family, forced to hear in the next room, was shot dead after. To finish it off, the savages burned her house down.

I asked a friend to fill in the lines on what he thought about the first paragraph. He decided she was killed by Iraqis, probably because she wanted an education. She may have also dishonored the extended family, or left the house not wearing what she was made to wear. It’s a fair guess, considering Iraq hasn’t been doing well since the House of Wisdom. “Not this time”, I told him. Abeer Hamza was raped, shot, killed, and burned by a US soldier. Four other US soldiers were responsible for shooting, killing, and burning some of her family- including a 6 year old brother. The murders and the rape were premeditated, coordinated, and the result of failed attempts by the US government to give a damn about her soldiers.

The United States didn’t take this lightly, and the five soldiers have since been dishonorably discharged and each one is in prison – for at least 80 years, and parole only for a few of them. The attention, though, was all about the soldiers. See the Huffington Post: they only have one article that is even remotely about Abeer herself. The other several articles are about the savages: this time, Americans.

Her father, like Malala’s, like Nabila’s, was passionate for education and bettering her daughter’s life. Some soldiers used to flirt with Abeer, and she worried with her father that she may be attacked someday. Her father would insist, though, that “the Americans would not do such a thing.” After all, she was just a small child. He wanted to give her an education, as her male siblings were getting, but he was afraid, although he didn’t let her daughter know. At the checkpoints the girl had to pass through daily to get to town, she would have to get clearance from US soldiers. “Abeer told her mother again and again in her last days that the soldiers had made advances towards her,” a neighbor reported. Her mother was just as scared as the rest of the family: “Fakhriyah feared that the Americans might come for her daughter at night, at their home.”

She had two other siblings that weren’t harmed since they were at school at the time. But her parents, her, and a six year old brother were brutally murdered. We should learn a less from Abeer, of the spirit and the vigor she had while she lived. We should remember her father, who wanted her child to get an education, but couldn’t have it because of the risks. We should also think about the US soldiers who lived in constant psychological terror, from wars and actions unimaginable among those who live in safety, prompting them to heinous ways.

Lastly, we should realize why no one knows her. Compared to Malala, bless her heart, Abeer was attacked by US soldiers, who aren’t the ‘real’ enemies. Although she grew up in a rural Muslim area, although she was female, although her parents wanted her to get an education, although she was brutally killed by savages, she received little attention at all. Her only fault “was that she was a helpless little girl ,who was constantly stalked before her brutal rape and murder.”

SEE MORE OF THE FORGOTTEN MALALAS: NABILA REHAMN.

Forgotten Malalas: Nabila Rehman

drone family testify

Nabila testifying at the US Congress with a picture she drew

Nabila Rehman  is from Waziristan, a war torn region of Pakistan that has been controlled by the Taliban off and on for over a decade. She is nine years old and her father is a school teacher. She was almost killed by a rocket, not too long ago.They didn’t kill her or her father, but her grandmother was killed. She was killed indiscriminately, in front of Nabila’s eyes. Her grandmother had nothing to do with anything, she was a simple tribal Pakistani women. Perhaps that was her crime.

You probably have the image that Nabila was attacked by the Taliban for fighting for education. You probably have the image that her crime was being female.

It’s a legitimate judgement. But in this case, it’s just not true. The rocket that almost killed her was a drone. Her crime was not being female, it was being Pakistani. Her grandmother died indiscriminately as “collateral damage”, except that her death had no significance for the bomber.

She came from tribal rural Pakistan all the way to the United States to testify against drone attacks. She came with her 12 years old brother and her father, the schoolteacher. Her father came “to educate Americans” about their situation, about their plight. But there weren’t very many people to educate.

Her story is much like Malala Yousafzai: both are young girls who had aspirations in education in tribal Pakistan and both were almost killed. But there’s a catch. One was attacked by the Taliban and the other by the Untied States. Malala Yousefazi got near to a Nobel Peace Prize, Nabila Rehman is backing home living in constant danger.

“While Malala was feted by Western media figures, politicians and civic leaders for her heroism, Nabila has become simply another one of the millions of nameless, faceless people who have had their lives destroyed over the past decade of American wars. — Murtaza Hussain in an op-ed for Aljazeera

Nabila’s tragic story of what happened to her by violence from western powers is almost entirely forgotten. The Guardian explains the tragedy well. But few people have heard it. Only five of the 430 American lawmakers that could’ve attended attended. Barrack Obama was busy meeting with the CEO of a weapons manufacturing company. Perhaps he was too afraid of the question: “Please tell me, Mr President, why a US drone assassinated my mother?”

 

SEE NABILA REHMAN’S FATHER’S ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

SEE WHY MALALA YOUSEFAZI DID NOT WIN THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

“War is the por…

“War is the pornography of violence.” — Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is an anti-war journalist and Christian theologian.

“For the first …

“For the first time in the history of the human species, we have clearly developed the capacity to destroy ourselves. ” — Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is a world renowned linguist, philosopher, and political intellectual.

From his article in The Huffington Post.

Nuclear Bomb set off in North Carolina…

File:Goldsboro Mk 39 Bomb 1-close-up.jpeg

Almost.

“Only one low-voltage switch prevented a cataclysm,” states The Guardian. Apaprently, a nuclear armed plane was flying over North Carolina in 1961 when it started breaking up in midair and deployed two hydrogen bombs. Because of failed security measures, one of them almost detonated. The bomb was 250 times more destructive then the ones the United States dropped on Japan, and had a 100% kill zone of 17 miles. Who knows what it was for the endless miles after that. The town it would’ve hit, Goldsboro, now has 35,000 people in it with a 5 mile radius.

How close was the cataclysm? According to Lieutenant Jack ReVelle, the bomb squad commander that picked up the debris from the undetonated bomb 50 years ago, “it was damn close!” He was sworn to secrecy, but 50 years later he revealed what he knew. Thank God.

The United States alone has the capacity to blow the world up somewhere between 5 and 50 times over. And it’s a Nobel Peace Prize Winner that  that has the power. The irony! Unfortunately, he won’t tell us exactly how many times he can blow the world over, but I guess that’s the whole point, right?

The question of nuclear missiles is a complicated one, with many more sides and facets than war vs. peace. There are some who will argue that nukes make the world more peaceful, believe it or not. But let’s forget about that for a second. The United States got “damn close!” to killing thousands of its own people. They have the capacity to blow the world up many, many, times over. So do many other countries. Maybe nuclear missiles aren’t so bad. But maybe setting one off because of weather disturbances is bad. Maybe destroying the world more than once is a bit of reach. Perhaps we aught to consider.

Unfortunately, people don’t. Read the comments to the link in the picture.