Friday, March 25, 2011

Appeal from Gaza: Open Rafah Border Now!

Joe Catron's's account on ground in Gaza: 

Signs of an end to Egypt's ongoing complicity in the siege of Gaza:

**Egyptian Foreign Minister sends Israel strongly message

 Press TV

**Egypt's MB urges army to end Gaza siege

**Egypt tells Gaza that lifting the siege is a priority 


Tonight, fourteen Egyptians, along with one American, have camped out on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Border Crossing, awaiting Egyptian approval to enter Gaza with ten tons of cement for humanitarian reconstruction projects:  Press TV HERE and HERE   

This group includes several of my friends, including those who organized the delegation that brought me here:  Tahrir for Gaza 

Please take a moment to contact the Egyptian Mission to the United Nations at 212-503-0300, asking that they allow the Egyptian delegation to pass through Rafah and open their border with Gaza for both travel and trade by Palestinians, their own citizens, and the rest of the world. 

Feel free to quote Dr. Nabil El Arabi, Egypt's own Foreign Minister: "The Egyptian government's priority is the issue of the Israeli siege on Gaza. We are acting to open the border at Rafah and facilitate an easing of life for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." And if you get a recording, please leave a message.

- Joe Catron 2011 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April Is National Poetry Month: Center For Inquiry Apr. 6

Center For Inquiry

National Poetry Month is a month-long, celebration of poetry to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range. Since 1999, National Poetry Month has been celebrated internationally but in different months. In America and Canada, it is celebrated every April.  

The purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and to give fresh recognition to national, regional and international poetry movements.

On Wednesday, April 6 in Amherst New York, at the Center for Inquiry/Just Buffalo Literary Cafe, in honor of National Poetry Month there will be an open reading with MORE than 10 available slots. This venue is hosted by Perry Nicholas. The evening begins at 7:30pm. This evening will be different and exciting. A One and One Open Reading. Read one of your favorite works then read one of your own. This honors those before us, as well as ourselves as poets and writers. 

The Center for Inquiry is located at 1310 Sweet Home Road in Amherst. It is free and open to the public, a favorable venue with fresh faces and new ideas.

Perry states, "The idea of connection here is meant to be interpreted very loosely. The intent is not that the poems have to be strictly related, but simply that you share a poet you enjoy reading and a poem of your own. Ultimately, who can say how your creative process works?"

Join us to celebrate the written and spoken word.

Venue Information
Center for Inquiry
1310 Sweet Home Road
Phone: 716.636.4869

Monday, March 21, 2011

Free Henry!: On To Boston, Help Send Them To The UK

Free Henry! Productions, LLC

On Thursday March 11, 2011, Free Henry! performed a live concert in front of their most loyal fans as well as top music industry professional judges at Niagara Falls, NY's Hard Rock Cafe to compete in this years Battle of the Bands.  

Their first round performance won them a chance to move on to compete in the final live battle against 2 other bands from the WNY area; all seeking a chance to represent the Greater Buffalo Niagara region and ultimately win a performance at the 2011 Hard Rock Calling festival in London's Hyde Park.

On March 11th, the judges votes were tallied, and the announcement came that Free Henry! would represent Niagara Falls, NY in this years contest and also perform live at the famous Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, MA.

The concert date will be announced within the next few months.  The band's video will be sent to the Hard Rock Cafe International corporate offices for final judging by a distinguished panel of judges.  

There are a total of 19 bands internationally that have made it to this point and on April 12, 2011 the Hard Rock Cafe will announce the top 10 list at Hard Rock Battle of the Bands.  All voting will take place online.  The top four bands with the most Internet votes will win a trip to perform alongside with international superstars Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart and Bon Jovi.

Last year's Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls winners, More Than Me, went on to win the national contest and opened for Sir Paul McCartney. The café is looking for a repeat in 2011.

Free Henry! has also been producing and recording their next studio album.  “We're definitely in a real groove and this upcoming record is undoubtedly a confident, deliberate plunge into something entirely special and sonically rejuvenating", said lead singer Bob Buckley.  

The album is being recorded at the acclaimed GCR Audio owned by Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls.  "The depth of what we've achieved through the expertise of the engineering staff at GCR is something to be sanctified by any band looking to take their step onto the national stage and that is truly our passion", said Buckley of Free Henry!

What we need to do as music lovers and musicians is connect to Free Henry! at their website, join their mailing list there, follow them on Twitter and Facebook and on April 12, vote as much as we can online to send our local musicians, four hard working guys that deserve every break they get, to the UK.  This is their chance to bring their music:  outstanding, healing, rock, blues and soul, global.  They need us to help them get there. 

For more information, contact Derek Presti below and link to the guys online. Their music, as well as each of them, are truly a gift to Buffalo, WNY, Niagara Falls and soon, to the world.  

Listen to a Live Interview with music from 2009 with Susan Marie.  

Contact Derek below to interview them again, they have come a long way since.  

Derek Presti - FHB Management

Friday, March 18, 2011

Amina Masood Janjua: Arrest/Threat/Request Support: Mar.20


Amina Masood Janjua Requests Your Help

What is the answer to grief and suffering? Who is responsible for blatant violations of Human Rights? 

Move a joint petition in the Supreme Court against Rehman Malik with Amina Masood Janjua, Chairperson Defense of Human Rights Pakistan, in regards to the illegal arrest of Families of Missing Persons.  Please give your confirmation so that Amina Masood Janjua can announce it in a press conference on Sunday 20th March.  Please join her there in support.

On March 16, 2011, The Islamabad police arrested Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua, her two children, 44 women/men, and 13 children on the anniversary of restoration of Judiciary.  Janjua has requested a joint petition in the Supreme Court against Rehman Malik, responsible for Islamabad Police and safety and security of citizens. 

According to Mrs. Janjua, Rehman is responsible for the emotional pain and psychological damage of aggrieved families of Missing Persons.  Janjua states, "The arrest was illegal, framing baseless charges against us. Instead of releasing our missing loved ones, they are releasing the real terrorists and killers like Raymond Davis."

The Incident

Defense of Human Rights Pakistan showed solidarity with the supreme judiciary on the anniversary of Restoration. The families of missing persons civil society, political parties and students started the Rally at 1600 hrs at D chowk Blue area Islamabad.  People were chanting slogans for the release of missing persons and showing solidarity with the supreme judiciary. The idea was to hand over a Memorandum to Chief Justice and present flowers to him on the anniversary of the restoration of judiciary. 

The Memorandum:  
"We want to tell our honorable Judges, please continue to serve the cause of Justice and Rule of Law in the interest of the Nation.  We are with you through thick and thin, the entire Nation stands behind you to accept fearless decisions you are making.  We want to convey to our Honorable Judiciary, that each citizen is honorable and deserves immediate justice and rule of law.  People of Pakistan, Lawyers, Civil Society, students and aggrieved families have suffered and laid down sacrifices for the sake of free and fair independent Judiciary.  Now on the day of Restoration of Judiciary, it is their turn to get their most basic rights.  Justice!"

The Procession:

The procession covered 1 km. from “D” chowk  Jinnah avenue to Judges Colony in Islamabad.  When the rally reached the
turning of Judicial Enclave, police did not allow the party ahead to cross over the barrier of Balochistan House.  Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua, with mutual consensus of all present, started a peaceful sit-in.  Families and supporters were peacefully participating, demanding the release of their loved ones. Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua were addressing the rally, "We are peacefully struggling for 6 years demanding the release of our loved ones, yet government is not cooperating with us.  The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is our last hope and today we are here to show solidarity with our Chief Justice." 

A meeting with the Chief Justice to hand over the memorandum were denied by The Islamabad Administration, as well any official of the Federal Government (MNA or Minister.)

The duty SHO of Police and officers of civil administration put extreme pressure on Mrs. Janjua to call off the sit-in, yet all families were determined to continue their peaceful dhurna [method of obtaining justice by sitting] till demands were met. Families had traveled from far areas hoping to meet the Judge. After midnight, when the children had fallen asleep, police began brutal violence, shouting at the families, breaking the sit-in forcefully and carrying all in attendance to prison vans.

13 children less than ten years of age, were shocked, terrified, and wailing.  Families were forcefully pushed into the prison vans, all bouquets of flowers brought were scattered at the spot.


The Arrest

Elderly aggrieved mothers, children, and a 3 month old baby were driven to Women's Police Station Sitara market F-7/2 Islamabad, while elder men and young boys to the Secretariat Police station behind the Prime Ministers House.  All campaign materials, megaphone, banners, placards and floor mats were confiscated.  Derogatory remarks,  and insulting attitude from the police women followed to further hurt grief stricken families.

The small container room kept ten children and seven women for 14 illegal hours. There were chairs, yet nothing to sleep on but a dirty floor.  Wet and hungry babies/children constantly cried and adults complained of the injustices done to the innocent.

Mr. Jameel Abbasi and Ghazala Minallah, both senior members of civil society and activists of the lawyers movement arrived. They met with police officer in charge, SHO Naureen Fatima.

For hours, a debate was negotiated for release of the innocent.  Mrs Janjua, chairperson, activist and organizer for the Missing and Detained persons sit-in were left in illegal custody.

The event exemplified contrasts and double standards of law. This occurred the same day CIA operative, Raymond Davis were released. The Families for Missing Persons were arrested on grounds of asking for the release of their loved-ones. Both events occurred on the anniversary of the Restoration of pre- Nov 3, 2007 Supreme Judiciary.

Mrs Janjua, her 15 yr old daughter Aishah, son Muhammad and 44 members of Missing Person’s [13 children, youngest 3 months] were released on 17 March 2011.  They were taken to Secretariat Police station to sign a pre-written bail document stating:  We did not know that section 144 is implemented in Islamabad, therefore we gathered and requested immediate release of our loved-ones in a memorandum. We also observed dhurna in the Judges Enclave. Kindly excuse us regarding this and allow us to go home on bail." 

Each person were required to understand the warnings and sign pledges never to protest.

The charges against the families were:  Taking law into their own hands.

Amina Masoods Letter to Mr. Rheman Malik


Mr.Rehman Malik,
Minister of Interior of Pakistan.

Subject: Security for Amina Masood Janjua

Dear Sir,

ost respectfully I would like to bring into your kind notice details of threats I am receiving on my cell number.  A man called from _________ on 26 February threatening me saying “your death warrants have been issued and you will be killed.”  When I asked why and who are you, he said “because of your activities on net” and he said, "I am your well wisher, don’t ask my name." He also warned me not to go to Karachi.  Second time he called on 5 March, said "My name is Ali Mustufa, your funeral is ready, don’t dare to go to Karachi."  I have also informed IG.Islamabad about this threat, unfortunately nothing has been done.  

Kindly take immediate notice of this and appoint for me guards for personal security.

I will be obliged for your timely action.

Thanking you.

Your most sincere,

Mrs. Amina Masood Janjua
Chairperson, Defence of Human Rights

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Message from Craig and Cindy Corrie, March 16, 2011

On the 8th Anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s Stand in Gaza

A Message from Craig and Cindy Corrie, March 16, 2011

On Wednesday, March 16th, we mark the eighth anniversary of our daughter
Rachel’s stand in Rafah, Gaza, to protect the right of a Gazan family to be safe and secure in their home and the rights of all Palestinians to self-determination, freedom, equality, and security in the same measure as their Israeli neighbors.

Here in Olympia, Washington – our hometown and Rachel’s – our family, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, and our community will mark this anniversary with an event that emphasizes three components: community-building, education, and action. Strengthening community connections was important to Rachel when she lived and worked here in Olympia, but, also, beyond, as she embraced the world as her community.

As we pursue a more just global community, we must arm ourselves with solid information and knowledge. Rachel believed this profoundly and emphasized in her writing from Gaza the importance of seeking and communicating the facts and doing so without exaggeration. And it is not enough for us to think and talk. We must, also, act. Indeed, it is because of Rachel’s action on March 16, 2003, that we pause to mark this day.

As we consider where Rachel would want us to focus now, Gaza still remains high on the list. The UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
reports that the number of weekly civilian injuries in Gaza

was recently higher than it has been for any week since May 2010. The number includes injuries to five children. During the week of February 20-26, imports from Israel into Gaza were only 36 percent of the average amount that entered weekly before Israel imposed its blockade of Gaza in 2007.

Exports and movement of people in and out of the Strip remain severely restricted. Collective punishment of the 1.7 million residents of Gaza by the Israeli government and military continues. We must, therefore, continue to focus on improving their situation and ending the blockade and siege under which they have suffered for so many years.

Rachel would want us to remember the courageous activists whose lives were claimed this past year in nonviolent actions against Israeli policies and those who have found themselves in prison because of their nonviolent resistance. They are American, Palestinian, Turkish, Israeli, and from elsewhere. We had the privilege recently of meeting Ahmet Dogan, the father of Furkan Dogan, the 18-year-old American citizen executed by the Israeli military aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters. We spent an evening in Istanbul with the wives, children, and grandchildren of others struck down on the same ship. 

We have followed the stories of Jawaher Abu Rahma. fatally injured by teargas during protest in the
Palestinian village of Bil’in and of Ahmad Suliman Salem Deeb, the 19-year-old Gazan shot and killed as he participated in a demonstration against the no-go zone east of Gaza. We have read of the fishermen and farmers injured and killed while grazing their sheep and plying the waters just off the shore of Gaza. We have followed the Israeli court actions against our friends Abdullah Abu Rahma of Bil’in and Jonathan Pollack of Tel Aviv, imprisoned in Israel because of their leadership and nonviolent actions to resist Israeli confiscation of land and the continuing presence of the wall in West Bank villages.

With admiration, we have watched the courageous pursuit of freedom and democracy unfold and spread throughout the Middle East. We have celebrated the victories and mourned the losses. In keeping with our memory of Rachel, we are listening to the voices of young people as they struggle worldwide to assert their visions for a democratic, free, and peaceful future – in Gaza, the West Bank, in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, in Kabul, Cairo, and beyond. We call on U.S. officials to listen, too. We ask for them to be consistent and strong in their demands that foreign governments and militaries be accountable for their actions, that they respect the right of people to assemble and protest, and that they respond only nonviolently to such protests.

On March 10, 2010, our family’s civil
lawsuit against the State of Israel and its Ministry of Defense opened in Haifa District Court. In sessions spread over the course of the past year, we have heard from four of the internationals who stood with Rachel in Gaza in 2003 and, also, from state’s witnesses who include the bulldozer driver, commander, and the lead investigator in the military police inquiry into Rachel’s case. 

The testimony has often been disturbing. We have recently learned that the case will resume on April 3rd. Six state’s witnesses remain to testify, including commanders who were in charge on March 16, 2003. As our family continues our quest for truth and accountability for Rachel, we demand it for all the others, as well. We know that for there ever to be peace, there must be an airing and resolution of the grievances.

Some of you – in Madison, Wisconsin, Marin County, California, in Turkey, in the U.K. and elsewhere – have told us that you, too, plan commemorative events for
March 16th or during the upcoming weeks. Thank you for remembering Rachel with us. As you do, we hope you will, keep in mind the community-building, education, and action so important to her. 

We hope, too, that you will recall those others who have stood and been struck down, those imprisoned for their nonviolent action, and those who carry on the work – and that you will do what you can to support them all. With events this week and beyond that keep compassion, humility, and love at their core, together, we will honor Rachel’s commitment and spirit.

With appreciation always and in solidarity with all who pursue justice,

Cindy and Craig Corrie

Irish Ship to Gaza

To Gaza With Love

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living The Change: 22 Million Still Affected: Rebuild Schools

Dear Supporters,

6 months post floods, the 22 Million affected still await your help. As media, civil society and government shows a changed response to rehabilitate them -- We still vow to take our 'flood relief campaign' further. Having reached 60,000 families with 52 Million PKR worth of relief items in 39 deliveries since August 3rd 2010 -- WE STILL LOOK TOWARDS YOU TO HELP US REHABILITATE THEM!

And what better way than doing something that will effect coming generations than to rebuild schools? 2500 students will be educated yearly through this event.

If you don't care about floods that swept 1/3rd of Pakistan -- You can come to see the maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, if he's not good enough for you to help us change lives of a generation, come see QB [Qurat ul Ain Baloch] unleashing the magic of a mesmerizing voice.

Only limited passes available now. Get yours from Gloria Jeans F6 or Illusions F7. 

ON Facebook



Pakistan Youth Alliance

Event Managed by: Miradore Productions

For details:

Pakistan Youth Alliance

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Name is Rachel Corrie: Rachel Corrie Foundation

My Name is Rachel Corrie 
Directed by Lois Pearlman
Starring Mandy Cimino as Rachel

A benefit for the Rachel Corrie Foundation
14 Friends of Palestine and Keep Hope Alive 

Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner based this play on the writings of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza while trying to save a Palestinian home from demolition.

File:Rachel corrie.jpeg

With Middle Eastern music by HELM, and songs by Doug Adamz

Saturday April 16th 2011 at 3pm
First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo
72 Kensington Road, San Anselmo, CA 94960

Suggested donation: $15 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets 
or $15 - $20 sliding scale at the door  

Sponsored by Keep Hope Alive and 14 Friends of Palestine and endorsed by the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Nor Cal Friends of Sabeel, Free Gaza, Justice for Palestinians, U.S. Boat to Gaza - West Coast and If Americans Knew.  

Free Henry! wins Hard Rock Café Battle of the Bands

Free Henry!, Western New York band making their mark. Stay tuned with Free Henry! and myself.  So much more to come.


From WNY

Free Henry! wins Hard Rock Café Battle of the Bands

Free Henry!
 Fresh from taking Artpark's "Rock the Park" contest and a headlining slot at the venue this summer, Free Henry! was crowned winner of the Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls' Battle of the Bands on Thursday.

The band's video will be sent to the Hard Rock International corporate offices for final judging by a distinguished panel of judges. The top 10 bands from the participating North American cafes will be posted at on or around April 12 and the online voting portion will begin. The band with the most Internet votes will win a trip to Hard Rock Calling 2011 to perform along with international superstars Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart and Bon Jovi.

Last year's Hard Rock Niagara Falls winners, More Than Me, went on to win the national contest and opened for Sir Paul McCartney. The café is looking for a repeat in 2011.

From Buffalo Spree and Erin Habes

Spree Style with Erin Habes: Free Henry! gets style
© City Lights Photography

Free Henry!, a free-flowing rock n’ roll jam band, has recently burst onto the Buffalo scene. Their music has an eclectic mix of influences, from jazz and jam-heavy pop to rock. Each of the members—Bob Buckley, Alex Foote, Derek Presti, and Pat Mannella—are talented musicians, and their sound is powerful and full of life. Gigging regularly on the Buffalo circuit, the group is finalizing their much-anticipated second album, Ethereal Gust, which is due for release this fall.

Not too long ago I was asked to help define Free Henry!’s style identity as a band, giving them a fresh new look for their album cover. Considering their musical influences, I chose a look that captures their vibrant spirit, yet leaves room for each of the members to express their distinct personality.

I tapped Urban Treads, which has a nice balance of rock n’ roll meets trendy casual, carrying lines like Ben Sherman and French Connection. I also played around with some defining accessories to enhance their look, which included bold watches, striped scarves and fedora hats. To top it all off, I chose incredible eyewear from Visualeyes for lead singer Buckley. This pair of signature ic! berlin frames are a sure way to embrace your inner rock star.

The photo shoot took place on a cold winter night, but was warmed by friends who worked collaboratively to magnify Free Henry!’s style. The final outcome, you ask? An updated Free Henry! ready to take on the release of a great new album with a fresh sense of style.

Stylist- Erin Habes
Style Assistant- Jeff Todd
Photography- City Lights Photography

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shahen-Shah The Spirit of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

In support of NPR, our youth and music: 

A rare written interview gifted to me by Andy Carvin (now with NPR) with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, uncle of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, while Andy were in college. Please read below and connect to Andy online. 

Shahen-Shah-  The Spirit of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is performing to renovate schools damaged by flooding in Pakistan on March 22nd. The event is organized by Pakistan Youth Alliance (CEO, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi.

Please see that event here with Rahat:

If you can't attend, please donate. If you can't donate, please share that event. Donation/ticket info is on the above link, as well as easy online share options. But if you are in Pakistan, I am jealous! I would be running to this event. 

It is by far the most astounding music and for such a needed cause. Children are our future. But they need schools right now. 

Being in radio, journalism, music, it is my extreme pleasure to bring out Andy's interview with a most spiritual man no longer with us. Please check that out and go to the event to witness his son giving back to the children. 

Thank you Andy, Ali, Nusrat and Rahat:



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