Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Shoulda said I’m a Lesbian instead of a Jew! Grrrrr

My third day of school, and most likely my last day!

Today, Isai wants to give me yet another gift. Geez.

I want to give some gifts. I have brought organic seeds to class and some posters from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development – the one that led up to the Kyoto agreement – you know, the agreement to protect the earth that the u.s. wouldn’t sign forever.

I am at Isai’s secondary school class by 7:45am, in time for the english lesson. School begins at 7am and is out at 1pm. I pronounce the words in english for the students and then I help them write a letter in english, if they ask for my help. Several students do.

Before I get a chance to offer seeds and posters to the youth, Isai tells me he has another gift for me. I beg him not to keep giving me things.

Yesterday he gave me the lottery game I have been playing - in Spanish - with the students about places to visit in Mexico.  And he gave me a map of the counties of Sinaloa.

He tells me he knows people have heard Sinaloa is a violent place but he assures me, it is not. It is a beautiful, tranquil place.

I want to ask him about the soldiers – marines – camped out on the dirt road where the houses and restaurants end and the river flows – but he is trying to hand me a bible. Oh gawd, a fuckin’ bible.

It gets worse. I try to refuse – first I try too many gifts, I can’t accept another one until he allows me to give, and then I try no, christo is not my god – and he, like any good evangelical christian, insists.

He says it is god’s book and I should take it – look, it is even in english for me! I say no, it is not my god. He wants to know who, who, who could possibly be my god. I say goddesses, womyn are my god, because I know the word mujeres and he can’t seem to wrap his mind around diosas.

He asks, smilingly knowingly, if I am afraid to take the book. Maybe he does read fear in my face. If this was a musical I’m writing, I would break into Holly Near’s song right about now “I ain’t afraid of your bible, I’m afraid of what you’ll do in the name of your god”.

I tell him I have already read the bible – many times. It get’s worse.

I have told him – and I tell him again – I am a Jew, not a Christian, thinking he would back off. I ask him if he knows who Jews are.

He acts astonished when I say no, no christo for me. He asks me if I believe in science or god. I ask does he not think it is possible to believe in both?

All this in english and Spanish – verbal and written. And while the kids are milling about waiting to go to the head of the river and look for sea lions.

He drills me about death and my soul and aren’t I worried where I will go when I die. I should be worried about going somewhere when I die when I’m not sure where I’m going when I’m alive?

I tell him I choose to live the very best life I can, not because I am afraid of what will happen when I die, but because of THIS life and who I want to be NOW.

I see ridges of foam forming along the sides of his tongue as he struggles to enunciate clearly - in english:
personal relationship

The fire shoots from my eyes as I scribble as fast as I can in english and Spanish, leaving indentations on the page that I attempt to transfer to his ears, let alone his heart.

He flaunts his personal relationship with god over and over at this point. I want to ask about the pope, the priest and all that but by now I’m worried he is a fundamentalist and not just a fuckin catholic.

He tells me the world is going to be destroyed. I say yeah, the world will be destroyed by a few greedy men unless the people stand up and stop the destruction.

That’s when he tells me people are bad and god will punish the people.  Wow, I’m so glad we didn’t have this conversation at my truck the first day we met and one of the kids asked me how I would describe my appearance. I should have said right then and there “I appear to be just what I am: a fuckin heathen and proud.”

Instead I said a bad kick-ass womon. He should have been forewarned.

I’m sure he would think I’m one of those “bad people” if he allowed himself to see me. I tell him I do not believe people are not bad but some people choose to do bad things.

Geez for someone who speaks such little english and someone else who speaks such little Spanish, how the hell did we get into this conversation?

Just goes to show what the goddesses provide.

He shoves the book at me again. I ask him if he’s read the Quran or the Torah or the Buddhist scriptures. He looks through me. I tell him I have. (at least bits and pieces)

I pick up the bible – no smoke rises, I regret to say – and hold it in his red face: THIS is the religion of the conquistadors, I say, those who reigned death, torture, destruction, great suffering over the people of this land.

This is the CONQUERORS religion that not only enabled them to kill but allowed them to justify that killing in the name of that god. I write furiously to make sure he gets it – or translates it later, maybe in church Sunday!

I ask him about his people’s religion BEFORE the Spanish came. Maybe he sees himself as a Spaniard, a conquistador progeny. His eyes glisten over.

He tells me god created all and god will destroy all. What the hell is it with these people and their craving for destruction? Then, as I frown, he tells me god is love, beautiful – he searches for and lists all the loving, kind words he can think of in english.

I tell him so there, if god is love, he will not destroy his creation, if indeed this is his creation. Isai wants to know how I know this.

I tell him because I too am a creator, a creator of life. I gave birth to a child and I know true, godly love does not kill, hurt, or destroy. Only men think that love is violent. Love is not violent.

He tells me people have to be punished. We have already had this conversation yesterday about disciplining the students when he brought out a large ruler that he said he uses to keep the kids in line – making them bend their forearm and whacking them on their bone just below the elbow. He said teachers can’t discipline in the u.s.

I said we must teach our children, ESPECIALLY our boy children, to use their words – and it must start with us. There are many ways to discipline without resorting to physical violence.

Isai tells me we will continue this conversation tomorrow. And god will destroy the earth. I tell him if god is so powerful, why would he need to destroy his creation in order to punish some of the people? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I have taken the bible, because I want this struggle to be about beliefs not books, and he appears to be close to having a heart attack on the spot if I don’t take it. I’m thinking of all the things I might be able to use this fat book for: sitting on muddy soil, stuffing into a windy corner, sopping up veggie oil.

At least I’ve saved some other poor soul from having this book foisted onto them.

NO DRONES Protest at Beale AFB

CodePINKers protest drones at Beale AFB this week. One soldier writes the following paragraph protesting our presence there:

I just wanted to know why you were protesting. There is nothing on this base that kills anyone. The RQ-4 Drones do not carry weapons, they are strictly reconnaissance, along with the U-2. As a matter of fact, the RQ-4 from Beale found the pilot that crashed in Alaska. I live on base, so what you guys were doing, was practically outside my house. It's not what I want to see when I leave base, and I won't change my views about my career. Yes, we fight for your ability to protest, don't abuse it by attacking us. I just wanted to let you know that I believe it was rude. I'm not standing out in your lawn saying support death. I don't believe that we should use death as power, but we use it to protect us. All you did was make a fool of yourselves. I'm asking, please, use your heads and don't attack us for "drones that kill" when we don't have them here. That is all.

This is my response:

Dear Eric:

We so appreciate you taking the time to write.

I would like to answer your question and to respond to your comments, even though I was not physically at this protest.

Why you were protesting?: We were protesting because 1) we are anti-war activists and we are working to END WAR NOW! And 2) drones are one of the most abhorrent weapons of war and we are committed to ending the use of drones as weapons of war.

You say the RQ-4 does not carry weapons, which we are well aware, therefore we should not be at Beale protesting. First of all, many many pieces uphold war. All the pieces together make war doable. And this drone is one of those pieces, as are you and I.

In addition, “reconnaissance” includes the spying on people, and incredibly 'sophisticated' “target surveillance”. Without “reconnaissance” and “surveillance” other drones that do carry weapons would not have as great an ability to hunt down and kill people.

We understand protesters are not what you want to see when you leave the base. Imagine how people who are living in countries occupied by u.s. troops feel seeing u.s soldiers outside their door – or banging down their door – every day. 

So if you help get our soldiers to leave other peoples' countries, we will certainly stop protesting at your front door.

And please, Eric, do not kid yourself or make yourself feel better about participating in our war machine by somehow convincing yourself that anything you are doing is fighting for our ability to protest. 

There is no way imaginable that you can begin to explain how killing non-white women, children, and men in tiny countries that have even tinier military power and occupying their countries contributes anything to our ability to protest.

The people who have fought for our ability to protest have been CIVILIANS right here on this land: Sojourner Truth, Dolores Huerta, Mother Jones, Martin Luther King, for example. 

The military fights for the rights of our corporations to exploit, conquer, abuse any resource that any other nation, weaker than ours, has and we want. History shows that very, very, very clearly – as history shows the many brave u.s. civilians who stood up and fought for our rights here at home.

And if you did think you were fighting for our right to protest, are you saying that right is limited to protesting everyone but the military? Come on Eric, then you really don’t think you’re fighting for our right to protest but our right to be on the same page as you are.

If polite means not holding the military accountable for the abuse of drones as horrific killing machines, then please let us be counted as VERY VERY VERY VERY RUDE!

You say you don’t think we should use death as power. The military believes power is death, killing, destruction, domination, might, rape, torture, terror, war. 

We believe power is holding all life sacred, eliminating violence, truly caring for people.

How is killing so many innocent and very poor people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan “protecting” us? Protecting us from what? 

No country’s military has ever attacked us. We are the only country who has sent our military around the world attacking over 28 brown, black, red and yellow nations and peoples since the end of WWII – oh, yes, one sort of white nation, but Muslim, Bosnia.

Again, what the military is protecting – and always has been used to protect – is the power of u.s. corporations to go and do whatever they want to and in other nations. 

We ask you to use your heart and your head and join us on the front lines of ENDING WAR NOW!

Until the next NO DRONES protest, Xan