Thursday, January 24, 2008

Madeleine "It's Worth It" Albright to Speak at Central Library

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who for eight years worked to maintain the genocidal sanctions that (by UN estimate) killed half a million Iraqi children, will be speaking Tuesday, 29 January, at the central library at 1901 Vine Street.

While she was only one of many who shared responsibility for this inhuman imperial policy, she had the misfortune of being challenged on it by a mainstream journalist who thought outside the mainstream box for a change. In an interview Lesley Stahl cited the UN figure and asked Albright if all this death of innocents, willfully inflicted for political purposes (the precise definition of terrorism by the way) was "worth it." Albright answered, "Yes, I think it's worth it."

I have to work that day, but I hope others will come out to hold her to account for this, and help expose the bipartisan nature of this country's inhuman imperial policies.

Eric Hamell

Protest Degrading Treatment of Goth Couple

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=509713&in_page_id=1770

Given that she describes herself as a human pet – and is happy to walk around on a lead – Tasha Maltby is used to odd looks and even odder remarks.

But nothing had prepared her for the reaction of the bus driver who allegedly told the self-styled Goth and her boyfriend: "We don't let freaks and dogs like you on."

Miss Maltby and her fiance Dani Graves were so angered they have complained to the bus company of being "victimised". "It is definitely discrimination, almost like a hate crime," 19-year-old Miss Maltby said yesterday.

The music technology student had this defence of her lifestyle. "I am a pet, I generally act animal like and I lead a really easy life," she said. "I don't cook or clean and I don't go anywhere without Dani. It might seem strange but it makes us both happy. It's my culture and my choice. It isn't hurting anyone."

The bus driver, however, has obviously not been listening. He has repeatedly refused to allow Mr Graves, 25, and his "pet" on to his bus in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Last month, with Miss Maltby on a leash as usual, the couple tried to board a bus at the bus station. The driver, who was off duty, was standing near the door. Mr Graves alleged: "He shoved me off the bus. He called us freaks and he called Tasha a dog.

"He said, 'We don't let freaks and dogs like you on'.

"He basically grabbed my T-shirt and slammed me backwards.

"I got a bit angry and called him a fascist pig."

In a separate incident, police were called when the driver, who has not been named, refused to allow other passengers on board after the couple ignored his orders and sat down.

The couple, who live on benefits in a council house and plan to start a family, have been friends for years. They started going out together in July and became engaged in November.

Paul Adcock, of bus company Arriva Yorkshire, said: "We take any allegations of discrimination seriously.

"Mr Graves has already contacted us directly and as soon as our investigation has concluded we will inform him of the outcome."

In response to this outrage, I just wrote the bus company via their webform and urged them to take the strongest possible disciplinary measures against the bus driver concerned. (I'll follow up with a postal letter.) I encourage everyone reading this to do likewise.

Arriva Yorkshire's postal address is:

Arriva Customer Services
FREEPOST NEA 4591
Wakefield
WF1 4BR
(If writing from outside the UK, don't forget to apply international postage.)

Eric Hamell

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Protest Israeli Siege of Gaza

I'll be sure to bring my camcorder to this event so I can send some footage to my friend Emad who lives there.


Saturday, January 26th - Join in the International
Solidarity Protests of the Israeli Siege of Gaza.

In Philadelphia: Gather at 12 noon across from the
Liberty Bell at 5th & Market Sts. for a march to the
Israeli Consulate at 15th & Locust.

Protests around the world on Saturday will stand in
solidarity with Israeli peace groups in coordination with
the Palestinian International Campaign to End Siege on
Gaza are organizing a protest/relief convoy to challenge
the blockade.

Sponsored by: Philadelphia al Nakba Committee, Bubbes and
Zaydes for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, SUSTAIN,
Philadelphia International Action Center and Students for
Justice in Palestine


The siege being imposed on Palestinians is making life a
living hell in Gaza. The World Food Program has said that
food imports only cover 41 per cent of demand.
Palestinians are suffering from hunger and malnutrition,
and those seriously ill are being prevented from accessing
essential medical treatment outside Gaza by Israel sealing
the borders. Israel is cutting fuel and electricity
supplies, and 210,000 people are able to access drinking
water for only 1-2 hours a day.

Over 40 Gazans have died as a direct result of being
denied medical treatment by the Israeli authorities.
Twenty per cent of essential drugs and 31 per cent of
essential medical supplies are no longer available inside
Gaza .

The Israeli, EU, US and British governments are
systematically attempting to overturn the results of the
last Palestinian parliamentary elections, declared free
and fair by the international community. This siege is
punishing Palestinians for simply exercising their right
to choose their own representatives.

The Israeli government policy of collective punishment is
morally unjustifiable and a clear violation of
international law.

But an even greater assault is on the horizon, with senior
Israeli figures making clear that if their policy of
imposing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza does not
succeed in ensuring that Palestinians submit to the will
of the state of Israel , they are preparing for massive
military action inside Gaza .

Israeli peace groups in coordination with the Palestinian
International Campaign to End Siege on Gaza are organizing
a protest/relief convoy on JANUARY 26, 2008. Activists
from both sides of the Gaza border will attempt to
transfer desperately needed food and medical supplies.
They are calling for solidarity protests around the world
to demand the convoy be allowed to pass, and the siege be
ended immediately.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Meeting Set for Psychology and Social Change Study Group

I've recently set the date, time, and place for a study group I'm organizing on psychology and social change. We'll start with a discussion of Robert Cialdini's book Influence and how the principles discussed therein can be used by progressive activists. Our first meeting will be Sunday, 27 January, 6pm at the Barnes&Noble Cafe on the second floor of 1805 Walnut Street.

I've also set up a Yahoo! group for online discussion related to the group, especially for those who may be interested in the topic but can't make RW meetings, called PsychSocChange.

Eric Hamell