Museums Art on Slavery | Transformation Mask | Ahasteen Comics 2018 | All White All Male History and more

 

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EXCERPT:

Removing a person’s name was a means of erasing their identity and imposing a “social death” that transformed enslaved persons into property rather than living individuals. Both historians and museum professionals have begun to realize the need for revising the way we frame and label the past, and to support this movement within museums.

…White people in every part of early America directly or indirectly benefitted from the “peculiar institution” of slavery. It created wealth for white families and oppressed the African-Americans forced to perform labor in service to them. This labor allowed wealthy men and women the luxury of free time and money to get their portraits painted at a hefty price by a well-known artist. As Athens notes, museums have the power to engage with an underscore this part of American history: “I think museums can play a part in social justice movements through honest, clear-eyed reassessments of the stories they tell, what those stories privilege, and what they obscure.” Restoring people of color to American museums isn’t just about editing collections or artwork on display, it must also address the labels we have attached to them for hundreds of years.

READ: Can Art Museums Help Illuminate Early American Connections To Slavery?

What took so long??? Massachusetts museums, thank you!

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“Transformation Mask” does not simulate a specific Indigenous ceremony, but its digital transformation of the gallery is meant to emulate the experience of dancing and wearing a transformation mask. “The mask is about bridging, and my intent really was to bring the non-Indigenous viewer into that cultural world,” Hunt told Hyperallergic.  “When you go look at our masks you are generally going to a gallery or museum, and in that context the masks are not masks but rather sculptures, not something you can wear or interact with.”

The Audain Museum calls “Transformation Mask” a “hybrid between the physicality of a transformation mask and the ephemeral experience of being part of the transformation.” But the installation, and transformation masks in general, might better be understood as an interface. “They are an interface with the unseen, whether it be the spirit world or the internet,” Hunt said. Through his creation, the viewer briefly inhabits another experience, another world and culture.

READ: An Indigenous Artist’s Futuristic Vision of Traditional Transformation Masks

 

BRILLIANT Navajo Times editorial cartoonist Jack Ahasteen’s latest comic.  Source: Ahasteen Comics 2018 – Navajo Times

Yet, the recent all white male history conference held at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University seems to suggest a return to history’s dark age as a gentlemen’s protection society. Happily, the strong and growing presence of and disciplinary focus on women in history as well as the sharp criticism and condemnation (and rightly so) of the exclusive conference make clear that a return to great white men history and historians is a fantasy. Even so, the holding of this conference and others of its kind reflect the ongoing challenges women historians and women history face. The CCWH strongly condemns the choice of holding an all-white, all-male conference at Stanford University, and expresses concern regarding its implications for the historical profession and for its treatment of women in history.

READ: On Stanford’s All White Male History Conference – AAIHS  Why am I not surprised by this??? (shaking my head)

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Thanks to Pete for this shock:  Report on United States human rights abuses in 2017

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Ruth Hopkins: “Native Tribes Could Lose Federal Recognition of Tribal Sovereignty Under Trump”

From Teen Vogue, here.

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When the news about the protest at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline burst into the spotlight in 2016, Tristan Ahtone welcomed the chance for greater coverage of Native American issues.

GOOD READ: Nieman Fellow battles media stereotypes of Native Americans – Harvard Gazette

 

By LT (your intrepid reporter)

Hello Everyone! I think we will have spring here in western Massachusetts eventually. Not soon but someday.  The MA state government is now addressing our urgent need to address climate change. Good thinking! Last month, a Massachusetts judge found 13 activists who were arrested for sitting in holes dug for a pipeline to block construction “not responsible by reason of necessity” because the action was taken to avoid serious climate damage. See the “Valve Turners” video here.  (States step up better than the feds.)

I saved up some good reads that I hope you enjoy.

As much as I want to believe we are making progress on rewriting history with a more balanced view on the invasion and conquest of North American, I am reminded (by the story above) that the history industry is still a white male occupation, mostly. If you really think about this, this is really human rights abuse with creating a one-sided less-dreadful history for schoolkids. Museums in Massachusetts and other cities are finally waking up.

We have a long way to go but a new journey has begun.

Good news:  My brilliant colleague Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) has joined the Indian Country Today newspaper as editor and they are up and running and publishing again! Thanks to the National Congress of American Indians who bought the national Native newspaper from the Oneidas in New York. Here’s a great OP-ED by Associate Editor Vincent Schilling (Mohawk) on rewriting history.

I contributed an OP-ED to Indian Country Today on the Baby Veronica case a few years ago. Mainstream media wasn’t interested in publishing me or my views, despite the fact I’d studied adoption history, the Indian Adoption Projects (and this case) and published relevant anthologies (more than one!).

Expect great things from Mark and Vince on their new publication! Go take a read!

Thanks to everyone for reading this long post! XOX

 

 

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The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families | #WeCanSolveThis

Happy Holidays 2017!

By Lara Trace Hentz

I want to share an Op-ED (opinion editorial) I wrote WAY back in 2001. Yup, that sure was a long time ago.  I was an editor of a tribal newspaper in Connecticut…But the amazing thing is:  THIS is still relevant.

Maybe more so in 2017… take a read…

Rebuilding our families

In October (2001), Dr. Mary Pipher, a noted psychologist and nationally renowned author, spoke to a large audience at the Garde Arts Center in New London about the importance of rebuilding our families. Her presentation was timely, considering the events of 9-11 and its effects on citizens of this country.

Pipher related that Americans are the hardest working people in the world and consequently, some 45 million adults are on some kind of drug for nerves. America’s stressed-out adult population is adversely affecting our families. Less than one third of families have regular meals together. Parents are overwhelmed. Children develop behavior problems. We are not happy people.

“We must be the change we wish to see in this world,” Pipher said. “We must talk about values and teach our children to value the right things.”

According to this expert, we are missing social skills. We interrupt, act rude and use inappropriate behavior. Television teaches us to buy things. There are some 3,000 ads a day, which is having a cumulative effect on all of us. How many computers and televisions do we need? Do houses really need to be castle-size? We are isolated in big houses. We are becoming dissatisfied and narcissistic, self-obsessed.

In this ever-evolving world, technology is determining how we interact in society. And the way it’s going now, we’re not getting emotionally stronger but more isolated, dejected.

However, Pipher offered some solid solutions to our general unhappiness. Reacquaint your children to large family celebrations. Children need their relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Little ones learn to negotiate and navigate best with family members around the house regularly.

Pipher says the antidote to despair is being helpful. Take an interest in other people’s children. Parent other people’s children, not just your own. Teach children to find pleasure in being helpful. Spend time outdoors. Connect children to useful work. Redefine the meaning of wealth. Teach children to be responsible.

Pipher believes in teaching family history. Tell stories about the ancestors and where they came from. Have a family ritual every night that might include reading poetry, family memories or stories of hope and heroic behavior. If adults behave well in difficult times, children will, too.

Make good conscious choices in two areas: protect from what is harmful and connect to what is beautiful.

We also need to protect our children from the media, from too much television, too much news and even adult conversation. Their developing minds cannot rationalize or discern between daddy’s or mommy’s upcoming business trip and the plane crash on television. Protect the children from violence on television. Teach your children by your own behavior; stress calmness and safety.

Pipher said create quiet time, family time.  These tools will rebuild our family in times like these.

Happy holidays everyone.  [Trace A. DeMeyer,  Editor of the Pequot Times (2001)]

TOP PHOTO: Mary Pipher, and her website: HERE

Left, book cover:   The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families
In The Shelter of Each Other, Mary Pipher does for the American family what she did for adolescent girls and their parents in her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia: she opens our eyes wide to the desperate realities we are facing and shows us a way out. Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life. Wise, compassionate, and impassioned, The Shelter of Each Other challenges each of us to face the truth about ourselves and to find the courage to protect, nurture, and revivify the families we cherish.

BONUS:  Louise Erdrich’s Storytelling Addiction

https://www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/wnyc/#file=/audio/json/819201/&share=1

The writer Louise Erdrich’s storytelling addiction “really began when my other addictions failed,” she tells David Remnick. Since the early nineteen-eighties, her work has primarily chronicled Native American life, and, in that regard, Erdrich’s latest book is no different: “Future Home of the Living God” follows the lives of a group of Ojibwe Indians living in rural Minnesota. But, where her previous novels have remained largely grounded in realism, this book is a work of speculative fiction, with a touch of science fiction. It imagines a kind of reverse-evolution slowly taking hold of the globe, and bringing with it a political catastrophe of dystopian dimensions. Erdrich says that she was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and by P. D. James’s “Children of Men”—works that put literature in the service of imagining the worst.

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WATCH Indigenous Protectors 

One of the most effective ways to save forests is by empowering the people who have been protecting them for generations. We have to support the land rights of indigenous peoples. #WeCanSolveThis

Eliminating the Human | The amazing Laura Grace Weldon

A View from David Byrne

I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has had an unspoken overarching agenda—it has been about facilitating the need for LESS human interaction. It’s not a bug—it’s a feature. We might think Amazon was about selling us books we couldn’t find locally—and it was and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human interaction. I see a pattern emerging in the innovative technology that has gotten the most attention, gets the bucks and often, no surprise, ends up getting developed and implemented. What much of this technology seems to have in common is that it removes the need to deal with humans directly. The tech doesn’t claim or acknowledge this as its primary goal, but it seems to often be the consequence. I’m sort of thinking maybe it is the primary goal. There are so many ways imagination can be manifested in the technical sphere. Many are wonderful and seem like social goods, but allow me a little conspiracy mongering here—an awful lot of them have the consequence of lessening human interaction.

I suspect that we almost don’t notice this pattern because it’s hard to imagine what an alternative focus of tech development might be. Most of the news we get barraged with is about algorithms, AI, robots and self driving cars, all of which fit this pattern, though there are indeed many technological innovations underway that have nothing to do with eliminating human interaction from our lives. CRISPR-cas9 in genetics, new films that can efficiently and cheaply cool houses and quantum computing to name a few, but what we read about most and what touches us daily is the trajectory towards less human involvement.

Note: I don’t consider chat rooms and product reviews as “human interaction”; they’re mediated and filtered by a screen.

We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.

the downside of technology

Social networks are also a source of unhappiness. A study earlier this year by two social scientists, Holly Shakya at UC San Diego and Nicholas ­Christakis at Yale, showed that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel about their lives.  While these technologies claim to connect us, then, the surely unintended effect is that they also drive us apart and make us sad and envious.

David Byrne is a musician and artist who lives in New York City. His most recent book is called How Music Works. A version of this piece originally appeared on his website, davidbyrne.com.

A MUST READ: Eliminating the Human – MIT Technology Review

***From L/T…

I do not spend hours on Twitter or Facebook like I used to.  Teaching about social media and blogging, I’m not doing that anymore.  In my own research/work at the moment… I can tell you that some of the greatest minds in the world are sharing generously with us… on blogs… on twitter… and on other social media.  Like David Byrne (read his thoughts above)… Just like so many of you amaze me each week on your blogs.

My online friend, the author LAURA GRACE WELDON has some of the MOST amazing Tweets!  Last week I tried to pick a few you might like 🙂  (One of the nice things about Twitter is you can go back and read all the tweets – and even go back months!)  Please follow her if you are on Twitter.

This is her:   Writer, editor, farm wench, wonder junkie, awkward empath, aspiring hermit.

 Laura has built a treasure on her website and in her poetry and in her books.  (top photo)  Please do this for you and go visit her website this winter.  She’s been such a gift to me.

There were so many great tweets, it was hard to pick!   See you all next week.

The BeZINE: Poverty Hunger and Working-Class Slave Labor

THE BeZINE for November is published – In the four-year history of “The BeZine,” this is the most significant edition. All of our concerns – peace, environmental sustainability, human rights, freedom of expression – depend on a more equal distribution of wealth, on making sure no one goes hungry and on breaking-down barriers to employment, healthcare, education and racial and gender equity. –
LINK – https://wp.me/p1gLT0-6×3

I would ask contributors to please post the link to the entire edition of the Zine as well as to your own work. This Zine is about more than literarture and art. It’s about a social justice mission. …

Thanks to John Anstie, Corina Ravenscraft, Phillip T. Stephens, Trace Lara Hentz, Sue Dreamwalker, Joe Hesch, Renee Espriu, Evelyn Augusto, bogpan, Paul Brookes, Rob Cullen, R.S. Chappell, Denise Fletcher, Mark Heathcote, Irene Immanuel, Charlie Martin, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Michele Riedele and Michael Odiah for stunning work. Well done. Thanks also for constant support from team members not featured in this issue: Terri Stewart, Michael Dickel, Lana Phillips, Ruth Jewell, Liliana Negoi, Michael Watson Lcmhc, Chrysty Darby Hendrick, Naomi Baltuck, James R. Cowles and Priscilla Galasso.

Again, here’s the link to this issue: HERE

 

It is a true honor to be included in this online magazine. LT

Some book reviews! here is what i’m reading

Poetry and Book Reviews BY LT

I have a few book reviews to share.  Check with your local bookseller and library for these titles:

AshiAkira’s HAIKU POEMS

Wise words are snapshots. In three-sentence-structures with five-seven-five syllables, in snippets of one man’s movement across the cosmos, Japanese elder AshiAkira shares 496 of these precious moments in his new collection HAIKU POEMS [ISBN: 978-1-4834-6846-4].

As Ashi explains in his introduction, “By catching a glimpse of nature’s work, only a momentary spark, and jotting it down in words as a reflection of our mind, we may get closer to knowing it.”

Out of thousands he’s done, his first collection of haiku-style was randomly chosen by the 79-year-old poet, and each is as joyful as it is sacred. (He’s working on a new book now and  it should be out soon.)

34

Wherever you are,

You are watching this same moon

Together with me.

65

Hear sparrows chirping.

I can tell what’s going on.

They can’t keep secrets.

85

Weather forecasters—

Basically honest people,

So I forgive you.

128

Clouds flowing away

Bring my words with you to her.

Stars twinkle like her eyes.

221

A crow on a branch

Watches other birds away

Like a lonely king.

283

Humming of mother

Long ago, but it still sounds

In my gray-haired head.

333

Dragonflies move fast.

They hover from time to time.

They see the world well.

377

Evening subway train,

Many people busy texting.

A child smiled at me.

414

The middle of August,

Anniversary of war’s end.

Hunger remembered.

466

Crows on a tree branch

In black robes like Buddhist monks

In meditation.

He writes:
Since the haiku poems must be squeezed into such a small number of syllables, we need a special poetic license to write them: the license to kill, to kill the grammar. And, for now:

Whatever language

Say it in five-seven-five rhythm

My heart will follow

My friend AshiAkira’s new book is a beauty, a ravishing art, pleasing and easy on the eyes, and lovely to the heart.  

Visit Ashi and his writing at his blog: https://ashiakira.wordpress.com/

*** THE MISSING GIRL

Some writers make it seem easy to craft a story.  Author Jacqueline Doyle is so friggin’ good she’s literally scared the crap outta me. Well, her eight stories did.  I read the book in one sitting, and writing this good, it should be known about and shared. But not everyone wants to see inside the mind of a predator, or their prey. Or a serial killer. Or a victim. Eight chapters – that is it.  Each story is unique, powerful, not technically graphic (blood and gore) but terrifying, and it is about horror -and the horrible.

The Missing Girl was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2017, and has already won the Black River Chapbook Competition.

One reviewer wrote: “In these dark and edgy stories, Doyle has made a dispassionate study of the degradation of girls and the twisted hearts of those who hunt them… Prepare to be very disturbed.”

This book is not for everyone. But those with the stomach for it, you won’t ever forget these stories.

FMI: Black Lawrence Press

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I’m now reading Adam Rutherford’s new work! (top photo)

REVIEW: … Rutherford is the author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes.  (excerpt) …Nor is Rutherford happy with some of those who seek to commercialise modern genomics, and in particular derides ancestry companies that have claimed their DNA tests reveal the identity of Jack the Ripper; that Prince William harbours Indian blood; and that it is possible to trace living descendants of the Queen of Sheba. This is “PR dressed up as research”, we are told. For Rutherford, modern genetics has far less to say about us as individuals than we have been led to believe. On the other hand, he is confident it sheds a great deal of light on us as a species. Demonstrating these divergent concepts is not easy.  Happily, Rutherford is up to the task. He has produced a polished, thoroughly entertaining history of Homo sapiens and its DNA in a manner that displays popular science writing at its best.

What really caught my attention is the DNA bullshit ads luring in people …This DNA marketing is used like ammunition and The Holy Grail. And to my horror, we know they are storing our DNA results but are they using them in some way nefarious? DNA is our signature and belongs to humanity. It is not something a company should own. L/T

(click to read)  A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas 

[A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived is published by W&N (£20). Click here to buy it for £16] I bought my copy on Amazon.com

I will be getting this:

Dead White Men is not only a searing indictment of colonialism but also a painful reminder of the violence that underpins the logic of exploration. Each poem strikes at the heart of the issue: there are often unarticulated, unacknowledged Indigenous presences here that have been flattened over by the lies and mirages of empty landscapes. Dead White Men is a stinging and difficult journey, and one that continues to remind us that stolen land has always been the most pressing concern for Indigenous peoples and settlers. This is an absolutely essential book.’
– Jordan Abel, author of Injun

full review: Dead White Men.  Shane Rhodes.  Coach House Books.  Toronto, Ontario.  2017.

***Just in case:

(click) How to find an academic research paper 

Looking for research on a particular topic? We walk you through the steps we use here at Journalist’s Resource.

*** The power of a name!

Trace. As a noun, a way or path. A course of action. Footprint or track. Vestige of a former presence. An impression. Minute amount. As a verb, to make one’s way. To pace or step. To travel through. To discern. To mark or draw. To follow tracks or footprints. To follow, pursue. –  Lauret Savoy Thoughts

In order to remember, one must also forget. Otherwise each of us would drown in a sea of every detail of every experience of every day of our lives. To make sense of things, to function—to gain retrospect—we must forget, and instead sort what remains in memory. To remember—re-member—is to piece together constituent parts toward some whole. Re-membering is selecting, arranging, interpreting. “The memory is a living thing,” noted Eudora Welty, “it too is in transit.”

*** Alaska U.S. Senators Say No to Trump to Rename Denali:  Trump seemingly bent on reversing everything his predecessor did while in office thought he would throw in the reverting back to Mt. McKinley

Source:  November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month – Native News Online

 

Lynching in American Art | Indigenous knowledge in the classroom | Symbols of Conquest | Reflections of Monday Night Football and Las Vegas

The Legacy of Lynching is a collaboration between the museum and the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, presenting racial histories we’ve long been asleep to.

“Our silence is creating a burden,” said civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson at the launch of The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America at the Brooklyn Museum. “We’ve got to do something to get closer to freedom, and that means talking about some things we haven’t talked about.” The exhibit, which runs through October 8, is a collaboration between the museum and Stevenson’s nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), and it reckons with racial histories we’ve long been asleep to.

It’s striking to find no explicit photographs — no horror images, for instance, of police handcuffs on lynching victims’ wrists — at The Legacy of Lynching, a choice the curators made to approach the topic respectfully, according to the Brooklyn Museum website. It’s a haunting absence, one that resists the spectacle that has historically conferred lynching with such power. Yet The Legacy of Lynching comes at a time when subtlety barely perks the ears of those who most need to hear and understand. Today, resurgent white nationalists are rehearsing their own unsubtle symbols, from the casually placed noose to the tightly clutched torch. One wonders whether we need stronger historical images as a counterpoint.

“They took off the white robe and put on the black robe,” says Hinton. With EJI’s legal assistance, he was exonerated after 30 years in prison.

The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America continues at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) through October 8. 

SOURCE

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“What have we failed to know and at what cost?” An education professor draws upon Indigenous literature to support a personal journey into classroom decolonization. (Top Photo)

READ: How I am learning to include Indigenous knowledge in the classroom

 

 

 

 

Last night on Monday Night Football, one team came out of the tunnel with a racist mascot on their jerseys and helmets, and the other team’s fans were mimicking throwing tomahawks and singing some sort of pathetic war whoop. Both of the teams’ owners seemed fine with it. No one in the broadcast booth said anything. There were no tweets from President Trump about it. And all of the sponsors and advertisers like GMC, Geico, several beer companies and many other mainstream corporations (both foreign and domestic) gladly hawked their wares throughout the entire event.

This all happened less than 24 hours after a white guy shot his fully automatic weapon into a crowd of people, killing at least 59 people and injuring 527 in a horribly evil and incredibly tragic event in Las Vegas. But throughout the day most news organizations referred to this shooting as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of America.

Apparently, the media forgot about the massacre at Wounded Knee, which left 350 dead, or the massacre at Sand Creek which killed nearly 200 men, women, and children from the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes. Or perhaps they only meant massacres for which the U.S. Congress DIDN’T award Congressional Medals of Honor.

GOOD READ: Reflections of Monday Night Football and Las Vegas – Native News Online

Gun violence kills about 90 people every day in the United States, a toll measured in wasted and ruined lives and with an annual economic price tag exceeding $200 billion. For many years, scholars have explored the possible ties between mental illness and violence. They have found that most people with a serious mental illness are not violent, that mental illness is not a strong risk factor for homicide. READ MORE

Tom Petty wished he hadn’t used Confederate flag on 1985 tour (click)Late rock icon Tom Petty once admitted he wished he hadn’t featured a Confederate flag at past concerts — 30 years after he prominently displayed the controversial Southern symbol throughout his 1985 tour.

The Gainesville, Fla., native — who died Monday at 66, a day after going into cardiac arrest — told Rolling Stone in 2015 that he regretted using the flag during shows on his “Southern Accents” tour, contending he was “ignorant” about its true meaning.

Some look at the flag, which was flown by the South during the Civil War, as a symbol of racism.

“The Confederate flag was the wallpaper of the South when I was a kid growing up in Gainesville, Florida. I always knew it had to do with the Civil War, but the South had adopted it as its logo,” he told the music outlet shortly after South Carolina officials opted to remove the flag from their statehouse.

Tom Petty’s death draws attention to dangers of cardiac arrest

So much news, so much tragedy, so much history… Be well my friends. Hug your children.  Rest in Peace Harry and Tom. Lara/Trace

The Great Awakening of 2018: Change will come when people wake up to this reality

Guest Post By  J. Glenn Evans

 

Author’s Note: this was not written for sound-biters, but for critical thinkers and activists not afraid to get off their rumps and do things. Some parts might seem repetitious but this is intentional to drive home important points that should be remembered. Many of the stated positions are to be taken as objectives that we must accomplish. Let’s quit being sheep and start acting like wolves for justice.

In earlier times the 1% conned us into believing that kings and their nobles had a divine right to rule, and they came to own most of the good land while the rest of us were their serfs. Finally, when some people woke up and chopped off a few heads, the so-called elites would re-emerge with the divine right of the free market and capitalism disguised as democracy. Now we are right back there again with 1% owning the hog share, while the rest of us scramble to feed our families and pay their exorbitant rents and interest rates.

We now have global warming and an exploding human population that is crowding out many other forms of life. We have a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We have super snooping into our personal lives with the excuse they are fighting terrorism, something they created messing around and exploiting the rest of the world. We have no more time to philosophize about our problems.  We must act now; thus the short deadline of 2018 for the great awakening of the peoples of the world.

The great awakening of 2018 will come because many peoples of the world have come to realize the terrible perils we face. We are at this juncture because of the inaction of our governments to correct the abuses that have brought us to this point. Being lapdogs of the wealthy, they dare not disturb profits. With civilization we have given up a portion of our authority to governments in order to maintain peace, order and a workable society. Because of a powerful few our governments have failed to deliver this service. Each person is born with a sovereign soul and life is sacred.  Each of us regardless of how poor we are, we have as much right to be here on earth as anybody else and have a right to sustenance of basic necessities. We will no longer tolerate a few rich grabbers who have more than their share of the earth’s resources. Their greed for more power and wealth has been destroying the earth and its ability to provide for us.

The elites consider property sacred, yet treat it as a commodity. The right to shelter has been lost in the market as part of that commodity.

We the peoples of the world demand a revised UN charter with the power to control rogue nations that torture and abuse human rights. They must hold accountable those individuals responsible for these abuses. Torture, abuse of human rights, war-making against our fellow human beings and the creation of killing machines are hereby outlawed. Disputes must be settled by the UN and world courts.

The hungry look on and are not fed. That is the nature of this capitalistic world in which we live. Competition in sports is fine and healthy exercise, but it does not work so well in the everyday business of providing people’s basic needs. People fall out of work and have little or no way to take care of their family because all of the resources are privately owned by someone else. We are born with the right to life and that means the right to sustenance of food, shelter, medical care, and education. If we are able to work and apply our talents to serve the needs of our family and other members of the community and private industry fails to provide employment, work should be provided by society to serve the needs of the community.

When a small number of people own 50% of the resources and leave others wanting, it is time we take corrective action.

In nature resources are for the taking by those who need them and nature in the past has always been generous before the greedy started grabbing more than they needed for their own sustenance. This great inequality brought by modern civilization is not only immoral but is criminal. Think back to Charles Dickens’ times and recognize that such despair is not far away.  Again, resources of this world are for all life, and not reserved for a few rich grabbers.  Why should certain individuals have enough for a thousand lifetimes and a thousand families go hungry and unsheltered?  Such disparity is unjust and enrages one’s senses at this injustice.  It is time for an equalization tax to break up these huge estates at change of generations.  Anything in excess of $10 million in value left to one individual should be taxed at 95%.  If they don’t want to pay this higher rate they can spread their legacy around and pay the normal rate of taxes for the lower level. Since they have made homes a commodity to speculate on, we need to provide more public housing.

The yield from estate taxes can be used for the common good to create shelters and means of sustenance for those in need and to repair the damages that the age of greed has created.  As a part of this new world, the rising human population must be brought under control and reduced to a level that mother Earth can sustain. Birth control can be facilitated by tax incentives and free access to contraceptives. Otherwise birth control becomes a matter of legal control in which no person can exceed more than one birth per two people during their lifetime.  This method may require two or three generations to reach a sustainable level. Birthrights cannot be sold or traded. Women’s reproductive rights shall be protected. Once a sustainable level has been reached two children or more per couple of people may be permitted. If population growth again exceeds sustainable levels, limitations must be reinstalled. It shall be the responsibility of community or governments to set aside sufficient resources for the aged and incapacitated, thus no longer requiring children to take care of the aged.

There should be no unemployment when there are so many unfilled needs.  We have enough work to keep everyone employed to earn their keep. In between job assignments, workers can be pensioned until employment found or established. During this period they can do voluntary work or assignments as needed by the community. When private industry fails, the community should take on this responsibility. Resources are there in the community to take care of the helpless, the disabled and the old. We humans are all family.  No one should go hungry or unsheltered.  It is not a matter of lack of resources, it is a matter of what we spend them on. Too much money is wasted on useless non-productive war and self-aggrandizement of the few.

RESOURCES OF THE WORLD

We the people recognize that resources of the world are here for all life and not reserved for a few rich grabbers. It does not make sense for a few people to control and claim ownership of resources for a thousand lifetimes and thousands of people are in need of food and shelter, let alone healthcare and education.  This leaves the peoples of the world with two choices.  One such choice, as done during the French revolution: chopping off of exploiters heads and their assets confiscated for the common good. Unfortunately, with no change in the system other rulers rise and with their new power replace the lost heads.  After a short time we are right back where we started.  Obviously that choice is not a good idea.  A far more sensible way to bring change to the system is to allow people to control their destiny under a constitution that protects the rights of individuals and minorities regardless of creed or gender.  We must amend the current gross inequities that have developed in the world.  A strong united people’s movement through a People’s Congress will put pressure on the present governments to build alternative sources of self-sufficiency to serve people’s needs. We will break the financial and monopolistic corporate control that have brought about these gross inequities.  Any violence will most likely come from the 1% seeking to keep their power. With their power and wealth they will try to use our own people against us. Without us the 1% have no real power.  We are the ultimate power. Change will come, when people wake up to this reality.

Power never gives up power without a fight. We the people must take our sovereign power back that has been usurped from us.  The only way we can do this is unite. By uniting we can bring change with justice for all without violence on our part. Those in power will probably attempt violence against people.  Nevertheless we will overcome them if we unite.  No government, not even a dictatorship, can survive if the people refuse to cooperate with them.  They will try to divide and make us work against each other as they have always controlled the masses in the past.  This time we will be smart enough to not let that happen.

A CHANCE TO PROSPER

Until the people regain control of their governments there will be no economic, social or political justice.  Our purpose shall be to unite People’s Congresses for each nation and each nation sends delegates to an International People’s Congress.  By organizing we shall have power to create truly democratic and just governments that provide for the general well-being of all people regardless of race, culture or creed.  We will eliminate this gross inequality that unregulated capitalism has brought to the world.  The time for change is now if we are to save our world.

We encourage personal initiative.  We want to see that all people who apply themselves have an opportunity for a good education and a chance to prosper.  Opportunities shall be developed for people to use their energy and talent to serve the needs of people and receive fair compensation for their efforts.  If powerful corporate interests stand in the way they shall be taken into public ownership.  Businesses are established to serve people; not people to serve business.

Generational change seems to be the best time to make adjustments.  As mentioned previously, resources of this earth are here for all life.  As a first step it is suggested that on any legacy that exceeds $10 million that is left to one individual, the excess should be taxed at 95%.  If this does not correct the problem the limit will be reduced to $5 million dollars.  To circumvent this, wealth can no longer be squirreled away in private corporations and foundations that exceed these personal limits.  Why should rich people’s children have such a great advantage of accumulated wealth over all our other kids?  All people are a resource for good when provided with opportunities.  Some of the greatest advances have come from the offspring of poor folks when allowed to apply their talent and energy.  Their great advances have benefited all and future generations.  Monopolistic corporations create gatekeepers and sycophants that freeze out independent talent. If we continue on the present trend with no change in the system, great wealth shall face greater risk of loss than their power and money.  Look at history.

SOVEREIGNTY OF NATION-STATES

Absolute Sovereignty has become outdated. Nation-States have become little more than warring bands creating havoc in the world to satisfy the greed of a few exploiting the many.  It is time we modernize our political systems.  With modern communication and globalization we have become one world.  That is not saying we all have to be alike. Cultural differences make us human.  We will no longer tolerate Nation-States who abuse human rights such as torture, incarceration without a fair trial and war-making.  A true and powerful United Nations must be set up that will provide true justice for all nations of the world. It must no longer be controlled by the victors of World War II, but must become a world democracy of people. It is either this, with a modernized UN with power and authority to hold accountable rogue officials of Nation-States who are responsible for these crimes, or we the peoples of the world must take control. These crimes of torture, abuse of human rights and war-making  will no longer be tolerated, regardless of how powerful the nation they represent. National armies except for National Guard units for internal emergencies shall be abolished and resources used for constructive purposes. The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights shall be paramount. Otherwise, we the people will organize our own united peoples of the world to assure justice among all people and nations. Capitalism and Nation-States face up. We the peoples of the world will no longer tolerate your crimes.

States do not give life, therefore, they may no longer take life. The death penalty shall be abolished worldwide. Incarceration for individuals who are truly a threat to society is permissible. Other incarcerations are for training and rehabilitation, not chambers of torture and abuse. Incarcerations are a state function accountable to elected officials.  Prisons controlled by private enterprise, making money on people’s misery will no longer be tolerated. Those individuals responsible for committing abuses of human rights and war-making  shall be held personably accountable by the UN or a new International People’s Congress, who shall have the constitutional power to arrest them and remove them from power.

INTERNATIONAL REGULATION

International commerce and banking must come under worldwide control and be regulated by the UN. Henceforth UN representatives shall be elected by the peoples of their respective nations and be subject to recall by those who elected them. They must no longer be appointed by government officials, too often shielded from public wishes. Nation-States shall be free to regulate business and commerce within their own borders. Companies and corporations dealing in international trade with more than 10% of their gross income must come under the regulation of the family of nations, UN or its replacement for that international trade. This international body shall have the power to protect earth rights, the world commons, the air and the waters of the oceans.

With weapons of mass destruction the world has become far too dangerous to allow nation states to make war and pollute with nuclear waste. Nation-States must settle their differences by an international world court under the control of the UN or its replacement. Peoples of the world will no longer tolerate a few people leading them into total destruction. If powerful Nation-States persist in trying to rule the world by military might or financial control their leaders by law become international outlaws. Such Nation-States must change or be broken up into smaller states. National borders will be determined by people living within those borders. Without the threat of war, smaller Nation-States, under protection of the UN or its replacement, can function and rule themselves locally, but be monitored to prevent abuse of human rights.

 We, the peoples of the world, must accept responsibility for war refugees and victims of global warming, because we are all humans. They are our responsibility because we the people have tolerated the abuses of the few who have plundered the world and made war on our fellow citizens for selfish interests to feed their greed. These exploiters are criminals and in the future shall be treated as such. Change is coming because the Great Awakening of 2018 is of all the peoples of the world.

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

We the people will form an International People’s Congress. Its purpose initially shall not be to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations except when certain crimes are committed. If those responsible are not held accountable by established government agencies of sovereign nations or the UN, the International People’s Congress will take steps to assure that the guilty are brought to justice and removed from power. It shall establish a judiciary with courts and staff and the authority to issue indictments and bring to trial individuals or officials of governments who abuse human rights or make war. The International People’s Congress shall accept the UN declaration of human rights as part of its constitution. Torture in any form of our fellow human beings and state murder shall be outlawed. Any nation for whatever reason, that deems itself unjustly treated, shall have the right to appeal to the UN to settle disputes. The taking of human life in execution or mutilation of body parts are hereby outlawed and those perpetuating such crimes shall be held accountable. If individuals are a danger to society they may be incarcerated under humane conditions after an open fair trial.

The People’s Congress shall have a Special Forces unit free to roam anyplace in the world to perform inspector general’s functions. They may take action as ordered by the tribunal court to bring offenders to justice with no statute of limitations.

 Initially the International People’s Congress must depend on voluntary support of the peoples of the world. Anyone representing any government who attempts to thwart the sovereignty of the people to organize and develop the People’s Congress by labeling them a terrorist or by any other means shall be held accountable. It is our constitutional right to rule ourselves. There will be no exceptions made for wealth or position in any country regardless of how powerful that country may be. Crimes against the earth shall be covered. The People’s Congresses are established as guardians of human rights and justice when established governments fail in their duties of this sacred trust. No person and no members of any government or corporate entity shall be exempt from their jurisdiction for torture and abuse of human rights.

With global warming, created by our own excessive consumerism, we have a responsibility for the victims who have lost their homes and way of life due to this problem. We are also responsible for immigrants displaced by wars because we have tolerated war-making by our governments and supported them by serving in their armies. We shall no longer serve in predatory armies that kill others. Henceforth, we shall consider ourselves a family of humans regardless of race, religion or gender. We must start looking after each other. Our governments have mainly been taken over by the power-hungry 1% who don’t give a damn about ordinary people.

SECTION I—PURPOSE OF THE PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

This is an actual quote from our Declaration of Independence, “WE hold these truths to be self-evident, That all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness–That to secure these Rights, Governments are Instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

We certainly have no desire to destroy our present government, but to correct its abuses, amend its ways to better serve the best interests all of our citizens and make it a better world citizen. The purpose of the People’s Congress shall not be to replace the established government but to monitor their actions and keep its members informed and create pressure on members of the established government to properly perform their duties for the best interests of the people.  If they do not perform for the people, we may rally support for independents and alternate parties who will. In some situations we will support our own candidates. No party bosses, but the will of the people rule. The main element of our constitution shall be the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

It is generally understood that the present governments of most countries of the world have been usurped by major corporations, banking, other financial interests, and so-called elite groups of rulers who no longer look after the best interests of the ordinary people of their countries. Their laws and the enforcement of their laws abuse and leave our citizens with few resources to provide for their basic needs.  With the laws and enforcement power of the governments under their control, and the 1% owning most of the resources, they exploit the citizens of most countries of the world. They have been doing so throughout most of history. But this will cease, when people wake up.

SECTION II—STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE’S CONGRESSES

(1)—The smallest unit shall be a sub council of the various districts of a city. This can be neighbors or a group of friends who send delegates to the next highest council.

 (2)—The next unit shall be the various districts of the city represented by at least one delegate from each of the registered sub councils.

(3)—The next unit shall be the city represented by one or two delegates from the various districts of the city.

(4)—The next unit shall be the county represented by one or two delegates from each city within the county.

(5)—The next unit shall be the state represented by one or two delegates from each county within the state.

(6)— The next unit shall be the nation represented by one or two delegates from each state.

(7)—The next unit shall be the International People’s Congress represented by one or two delegates from each Nation-State.

Our delegates will have an important responsibility to keep the members of their respective councils fully informed of actions taken and pass on information that comes down from higher councils. Delegates can be recalled and replaced anytime by members of the council that elected them. No more gerrymandering, we shall use established units of government as breakdown of councils.

SECTION III—MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING

We must recognize that voting is a right not a privilege. All races and genders shall have equal rights. All actions shall be democratic. Minimal age of voting members shall be 18 years, but citizens of lesser age are encouraged to have a voice and present their ideas. We shall operate under the will of the majority but always paying respect and attention to the ideas and thoughts of the minority. Voting is a right, not a privilege. Such a right carries with it the responsibility of citizenship. That means we have the obligation to make ourselves aware of civic matters and to vote. If you are of legal age you have the right to vote in or out of jail regardless of what the present laws say. Laws that are made affect us all, therefore it is our right to have a say in the making of such laws through our vote for representatives. Why should we owe allegiance to a government that denies us the right to vote? One day those who deny this right to vote shall be held accountable.

 

SECTION IV—ELECTED OFFICERS OF EACH COUNCIL UNIT SHALL BE

Chairperson

Vice chairperson

Secretary

Treasurer

Delegate or delegates to next highest council

 

SECTION V—MEMBERSHIP FEES

Since there are always costs and this is a citizen’s congress and we do not have taxing authority, minimum membership fees are suggested at $1.00 per month and donations are accepted from members willing and able to contribute more, but no member shall be denied the right to vote for lack of funds.  It shall be the policy of each council to pass one-half of their revenues on to the next highest council.

 

SECTION VI–CONSTITUTION

A committee to reformulate a constitution shall be set up to incorporate the above ideas, The UN’s Declaration of Human Rights shall be basic. Let us bear in mind the example of the briefness of the Ten Commandments when making laws. A constitution should provide a working procedure, protect the minority and less powerful members from an unjust majority.  We shall follow the Constitution and make decisions on the basis of current problems and no longer be enslaved by decisions of previous generations through lawyer and judicial precedent.

SECTION VII—THE DEADLIEST DISEASE

Humanity is plagued by the deadliest disease that may well bring it to total destruction and possibly take a great deal of the other living creatures with it. Ordinarily, with a diseased part that can cause death the inflicted part is cut away and destroyed. With this disease this is not possible. Unfortunately, this malady is not even legally recognized as a deadly disease. Those so afflicted are often looked up to and even honored because of the positions they have achieved in life, often by unfair tactics. Many people would like to attain their stature.

It is urgent that society defend itself from this deadly disease before it is too late. If it cannot be brought under control then it must be quarantined before the rest of the world is impregnated and much of life as we know it is destroyed. If sick members can be cured and reprogrammed perhaps they can return to society. This deadly disease must be recognized for the damage it is causing and immediately brought under control. The common name for this disease is Greed. Some of the fatal damage Greed has caused is polluting our air, our water including the oceans, destroying our fertile soil, bringing on global warming as well as turning our people into corporate serfs. Therefore, since it is not possible to prune this disease or destroy the carrier, we must remove those afflicted from power.

SECTION VIII–DUTIES OF CITIZENSHIP

The great dream of justice and freedom for all is fading for all the world’s people. We the people have allowed this to happen. We continue to vote for the same old party hacks who have become toadies to big money. Once representatives get into office they love that position and power with its opportunities to receive the grace of the wealthy. They totally forget the purpose for which they were elected: to serve the best interests of the people and to assure that true peace and justice are administered. They become more interested in staying on the right side of big money. Their main motivation becomes reelection in order to further their careers and keep that power. Instead of passing laws that correct problems to serve their constituents, they serve the demands of big money.

With the Great Awakening of 2018 these self-seekers will be out. Peoples of the world, the 99%, have said, “No more. We want democracy and we demand it right now. We recognize our sovereign rights to rule ourselves.”

Experience has proven that running a country from the top down, the people get shafted. Everyone of legal age has the right and duty of a citizen to vote. No one has the right to say you cannot vote if you are of legal age. Voting is not a privilege of the few but the right and duty of all citizens since laws that are passed affect us all. We don’t need professional politicians who think they own elected offices. While in elected positions it is our duty to do what is best for the common good and show respect for the rest of the world. We are all citizens of the world as well as citizens of our own respective countries. We will cooperate and support the UN in its duties to assure peace and justice for all countries and their citizens.

IN CONCLUSION

The self-seeking people who run our country today are an insult to those true patriots who fought the Revolution and the founding fathers who developed a constitution creating a republic that set out to create peace and justice for all and made true history in a world of monarchs.

No more will we the people tolerate the evil spirit that has gained control of America. The greed of the few to be all powerful and control the world has made America the new monster. Instead of using our power to assure peace and justice for all peoples of the world, we have constantly engaged in wars of conquest, even killed leaders of other countries when we feel they are a threat to our interests to control resources and markets of other countries.

Conflicts in the future must be settled by courts of law with no more wars permitted. Resources are too limited to permit such waste. Leaders who perpetuate war and commit war crimes shall be held accountable. You cannot prosecute a whole country for the crimes of a few, but you can hold leaders and executives of companies that commit crimes accountable. That includes those who build and supply killing machines.

We must not hate the 1%. They are fellow human beings just like us. But for the grace of God we might be just like them. They are afflicted by greed for the power and wealth over others. They see life on earth in a different way. They are ruled by the theory of compete and beat rather than cooperate and share. They are not hopeless. Some of them do change and bring about good works that help others. Let us help them to grow wiser and assist us to bring change to build a better world and repair the damage that greed has caused.

For a peaceable world each of our nations should strive to be self-sufficient in the basic needs of their citizens. They should trade only excess production not needed for their own citizens. If every country were self-sufficient in their basic needs they would not need to concern themselves with trade balances. We must change the world to help all people to prosper and take care of their own citizens and eliminate all wars. Debt is another form of slavery. We must work to eliminate it between nations as well as among people. Elimination of wars and self-sufficiency of individual nations will bring this success. We must quit honoring the predators and war-makers who are criminals. Let’s pay our respect to the peacemakers and those who serve humanity with their talents and creative ability. Let each of us start acting like sovereign souls, join up with our fellow citizens of the world, organize in Peoples Congresses and create the necessary changes that will help our world to survive. Talk to people, your friends and neighbors, discuss, circulate this document. Organize sub councils in your city district and send a delegate to the next highest council. That’s a start so let’s get organized NOW.

Copyleft 2016 J. Glenn Evans

(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)

J. Glenn Evans

Founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge, Wayfarers with a fourth novel, The Last Lumber Baron and a poetry book, The Feast—Reflections on War as works in process.  Evans is a former stockbroker-investment banker.  Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma.  Lived in Seattle 54 years and since December of 2014 has resided in Olympia, Washington.  Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, The Story of a Cowboy Angel with Mark Miller and co-starring Slim Pickens.  Evans, an award-wining poet and in addition to poetry books and novels, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  Has been published in many literary journals.  Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

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Impossible to laugh

Hey, Look, the Abyss!

Years ago, in Germany, my wife and I waited
For a train to visit Dachau. So morbid, so strange
To be a tourist of genocide, especially as descendants
Of the Native American genocide. So morbid,

So strange to take a fucking train to Dachau, as if
It were part of the show. And, damn, how I laughed
And laughed when the train, due to arrive at 11:25 a.m.,
Arrived at exactly 11:25 a.m. “In Germany,” I said

To my wife, “the trains should never arrive on time.”
I have previously written a poem about being a tourist
Of genocide—about visiting Dachau—but I wonder
How the experience has changed. I imagine the tourists

Now take solemn selfies in Dachau. Though a few idiots
Must take smiling snapshots, too, as in, “Look at me!
I think genocide is an amusement park!” Hell, maybe
Genocide, dripping with objectification and commerce, is

An amusement park. And now I have to again laugh
At the oxymoronic concept of “German amusement.”
Talk about a tough crowd. I spent a week in Munich
And Berlin failing to make Germans laugh. I know

There are funny people in Germany but I never met
Any of them. In a theatre with 300 Germans, I joked
About my fear of prompt trains to Dachau and nobody
Laughed, though one man stood and said, “Geronimo

And his Apache people were put on terrible trains
In Arizona and many died on the long journey
To Florida.” And I said, “Yes, but it’s the United States,
So I know those genocide trains were running late.”

Nobody laughed! And, okay, maybe the joke isn’t funny.
Maybe it’s too morbid and strange. Maybe Germany takes
Genocide, and the fear of genocide happening again,
So seriously that it is impossible to laugh. Okay, okay,

I understand that, but didn’t the Germans genocide
The funniest people on the planet? And now, maybe,
Some of you are thinking, “Sherman, you are trading
In racial stereotypes. Not all Jewish people are funny.”

And to that, I say, “Milton Fucking Berle.” I say, “Joan
Fucking Rivers.” I say, “I think it might be permissible
To accuse Jewish people of inventing funny.” And now
I remember Billy Crystal emceeing a fundraiser

For the Museum of Tolerance, and advising the crowd
To “never ask a Jew to be part of a pyramid scheme.”
We all laughed. Billy Crystal laughed at his own joke.
“Sorry,” he said. “That was new. I mean, the pyramids

Are old. But the joke is new.” Funny, funny. I know
There are scientific reasons why humans laugh in the face
Of tragedy. But science isn’t funny! Funny isn’t reasonable!
Funny takes a shit on your welcome mat! So now I think

Of the German comedian, Jan Bohmermann, who mocked
The President of Turkey
on German television with a funny poem
About “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds, and slapping
Christians.” First of all, you’re thinking, “German comedian?

Really?” Secondly, you’re thinking, “Funny poem?
Really?” And, really, I cannot tell you if Bohmermann
Or his poem is funny. But I can tell you that he is now
Being prosecuted in Germany for mocking “a representative

Of a foreign state.” The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel,
Had to give permission for Bohmermann to be prosecuted,
In a German fucking court, for mocking the President
Of Turkey, who was deeply offended by the funny poem.

Can you imagine Obama giving permission for me
To be prosecuted inside the United States for mocking
Angela Merkel and the President of Turkey
Inside this poem? Well, I can imagine Cruz or Trump

Prosecuting me for mocking Cruz or Trump
But I am talking about Germany and Turkey.
I am talking about Angela Merkel,
Who is kissing the ass of the Turkish President

So he might close his borders and stem the flow
Of Syrian refugees into the European Union.
What the fuck can I say about any of this horrific shit?
I’m powerless, as are all of you. But it does remind me

Of my time in Germany, as I kept thinking, “Germany
Is so paranoid about the Holocaust because they know,
Consciously and/or subconsciously, that they would do it
Again. And again. And again. And again. Depending

On the random spin of world events. Depending
On expediency.” And now, here, I must point out
That genocide is always happening somewhere
In this amusement park called Earth. I think

Of Primo Levi. I think of Geronimo. I think
Of Syrians, Tutsi, Bosnians, Croatians, Maori—
Of the indigenous people from everywhere.
Too many victims to fully name and count.

So many, so many. I think of the Armenians
Genocided by the Turks. I think of how Turkey
Officially denies that they genocided Armenians.
Hell, you can be imprisoned in Turkey

For believing that Turkey genocided Armenians,
For stating that belief out loud.
And now I recall my evening
with a white American liberal woman—

The dinner with me was a fundraiser prize
For a local Gay Film Festival. That liberal American
Brought three friends to the dinner. And I also
Brought a friend as potential armor

Against strangers. But it was a lovely evening,
With great food and great company and great politics.
We talked about the continual oppression
Of gay people. And the white liberal woman, a straight ally

Like me, lamented the genocidal history
Of the United States. And I said, “Well, the USA denies
It genocided us Native Americans. In the same way
Turkey denies it genocided the Armenians.”

And the white liberal American woman, suddenly
Enraged, cursed at me for vilifying Turkish people
And canonizing Armenians. She screamed
About the beauty and grace of Turkish people

And Turkish culture. And I said, “I have no doubts
About the beauty and grace of Turkish people.
I’m absolutely positive that Turkish people are
Beautiful and graceful. But I’m also absolutely positive

That, throughout human history, all manner
Of beautiful and graceful people have actively
Or passively participated in the genocide
Of other beautiful and graceful people.”

Of course, that dinner ended soon after
Our argument. But I remained disturbed
For weeks. I couldn’t understand why
A liberal American would defend Turkey

And its human rights history. And then I learned
That white American woman had married
And divorced a Turkish man. It was a good
Divorce. She and her ex-husband happily

Co-parented their half-Turkish children.
And then I understood. She defended Turkey
Because of love. And isn’t that how it goes?
We think genocide happens because of hate.

And I suppose that’s how genocide begins.
But genocide persists because of love.
Because genocidal people are so convinced
Of their own beauty and grace.

Because genocidal people are so tender
To one another that they couldn’t possibly
Be wrong about their cruelty to others.
Because genocidal people have mothers

And fathers who love them. Because
Genocidal people look in the mirror
And see their ordinary faces. Because
The ordinary don’t commit genocide.

Because it’s only the epic monsters
Who commit genocide. But that’s not true.
Who are the monsters? Well, shit, it’s me
And you. And you. And you. And you. And you.

Sacrifice Everything: Storyteller

To be a Storyteller, then, is to assume that awesome burden of remembrance for a people, and to perform this paramount role with laughter and tears, joys and sadness, melancholy and passion, as the occasion demands. The Storyteller never wholly belongs to himself or herself. The Storyteller is the one who sacrifices everything in the tellings and retellings belonging to the tribe… (Williams, 1995, page XI) Racial Battle Fatigue in Higher Education, Indigenous Peoples in Racial Battle-lands.)

We Are All Visitors

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