Reconsidering Drones:

14 May 2011 Last updated at 01:13 ET

Pakistan condemns Bin Laden raid and US drone attacks

Pakistan’s parliament has called for a review of the country’s relationship with the US over the American commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

They unanimously passed a resolution urging a ban on Nato transit convoys unless the US ends drone attacks.

Okay? Surgical and all that: Obama doing the Bush a solid;

But: Shooting him in the head?  Dumping him in the sea?

And now what?

Okay…we will soon find out how much good this has done any of us ~

Egyptian Heart

Who knows how it will turn out; the French Revolution seemed great at first too; but right now, what’s happening in Egypt is Amazing, Exhilarating, and Inspiring.

A few cool links:

from the BBC – short clip of Egyptians on a bridge, en masse, just withstanding water hoses, and kneeling to pray;

Read this from Nicholas Kristof, presently in Cairo, flew right there, as I would have –

and of course, Aljazeera

May we all take Heart!

Pakistan Starving


In a short time,

many people will die,

will just die,

of exposure, and

of hunger.

Entire families, entire villages,

will lie down on the barren soil

and depart from this life.


just months after wings of

families and their homes were

washed away…

Meanwhile, I sit here, worrying about getting a job,

which I am worried about,

but still living in such comfort that I can barely realize

how worried I should be,

how concerned, made active…

I have my laptop, plugged in,

playing some music from India, my lamp is on,

my little candle is burning away…

I’m in my single bed, tucked in under my warm

soft blankets, surrounded by

more books than some towns have had,

with more snacks stashed away than

whole families/villages/camps have eaten today,

pouring myself some tea…

And what can I do for Pakistan?  Report on it?  Go there?

They need clothes…if only I could send all my clothes –

though it’d be sad to see all those

Pakistanis wearing western garb

from now on

because of this…

And meanwhile,

what is the taliban doing?

What are the bad guys doing?

Planning to bomb some more Sufi shrines?

That’ll really help.

Taking some more jet liner trips

around the world?

Eating on gold plated dishes?

Redistribution of wealth:

How can one person have

mansions when

so many die of hunger?

Well, I know how, but…

Where’s the heart?

Can you imagine, sitting there

in the hot, quiet sun,

hungry, weak, afraid –

in despair.


What do you do when you know

there is no food,

no food anywhere –

no stores,

no houses,

no tents,

no food:

You stare out across a horizon that

stretches out into time, and you know

your candle is burning out,

that horizon being all that is left between you

and your end;


as if time is creeping you up to that wall,


you are there,

and your crying is


you are done.


how people can call on god…?

but who else are you gonna call on?


everyone knows that

soon, those people will be


they will stop troubling


By Christmas.

By New Year’s.

Soon their stories will be gone,

even to each other,

and we can go on in peace.

We need to change our priorities.

Or be heartless.

We gave ourselves over

to the idol of money.

We’ve coined our own hearts.

But, we are made of flesh

and blood,

of stomachs,

of nerves,

of limbs, and eyes,

and nipples, and of

our minds.

We think thoughts,

and we have feelings.

Everyone has feelings.

Whether they want to or not.

I suppose it can be easier

not to have feelings.

Whose voice can trouble you then?

Howard Zinn

Last week at Evergreen State College, at the exact time he was scheduled to speak, we held a Celebration of Life Memorial for Howard Zinn.

It was a small ritual.


We listened to him; we listened to each other read from him, and reminisce about small moments with him; and we watched a video of him giving a short lecture given in these last months before his death.

I spoke briefly of the time I saw him, when he was in his 70s at New York Public Library, and how it struck me that for a man who wrote such essentially confrontational books, he was so gentle and humble.  I then read excerpts from Artists in Times of War, including his statement that it is the job of artists to say what no one else will say.

I made the program, the flyer, and I supplied the candle – a white one in a glass jar, which I bought at the only thing close to a bodega that we have in this town.  A people’s candle.  I thought Howard would like it.

I rubbed the outside of it clean, thinking of him, this tribute to him, the light he brought, and gave to all of us.

Afterwards, I spent time with a friend of mine from France.  He soared through a brilliant, animated one could say People’s History of Europe, from the 1870s to about 1919, with a bit of the 1990s thrown in.  Most of those were bloody decades, full of wars. He focused on movements of people trying to live more freely, the interests surrounding them, the powers against them, and the ways these movements were put down.

For years I’ve had some knowledge of doings in Europe in World War II.  More recently I got interested in some World War I writings, and I began to see how World War II was sitting there, just waiting to happen, becoming inevitable because of behaviors and choices being enacted by all parties involved during and after World War I.

Everything my French friend told me made it clear how what happened before led right up to World War I.

And this is why History is so important to know, to look at, to bring into our conversation: We must see these patterns, see that what we are doing now will lead to our misery, or to our health.

Take, for instance, the recent financial meltdown: This is nothing new for industrial capitalism; and the 1930s was not the only other, and certainly not the first time.  It should not have come as such a shock, and in some ways we could say it should not have happened at all.

Howard Zinn’s work has contributed to a different way of teaching history, and expecting history to be taught, by historians, teachers, students, and artists as well.  It is history as affects us all, not just the so-called big players strutting across a stage.  It is history of people’s experiences at the hands of the so-called big players, and history of people’s movements, people’s desires for fair and free societies.  It is the common ground of these, our stories that might one day help us to remember the fire the last time, to choose another path, and not get burned again.

Howard Zinn’s work has already become part of our changing vision, and will reverberate onward, from us and our children. Work well done.

“Don’t look for a moment of total trumph. See
it as an ongoing struggle, with victories and
defeats, but in the long run the consciousness of
people growing. So you need patience, persistence,
and need to understand that even when you don’t
“win,” there is fun and fulfillment
in the fact that you have been involved,
with other good people,
in something worthwhile.”
~ Howard Zinn