Thursday, January 31, 2013

Initiative to Aid Andrea Johnson with Melissa Lussier

On Friday, December 28, an apartment complex in Minneapolis completely burned to the ground. The Star Tribune reported the story -> here.

Melissa Lussier, singer, songwriter and artist of Buffalo, NY alerted me to her initiative in regards to helping Andrea Johnson, one of the residents of the complex who lost everything.

Melissa is sending a care package to Andrea. Melissa states: "Andrea has been given many essential items such as furniture and kitchen supplies, but my idea is to send her a care basket with all those personal touches that make a house a home. I was thinking paintings, jewelry, soaps and bubble bath and other items that pamper, and if they're hand-made, all the better!" 

The Facebook Fundraiser Page is --> here

Please contact Melissa if you are able to donate any item to the package she wishes to send to Andrea and also, for more information at her --> Facebook Profile.

© Photos Star Tribune 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Join the Global Vigil for Peace for Pakistan and India

This event, initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. 

Aman ki Asha means  "Hope for Peace" 

Below are my photos from Buffalo, NY 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Don't Compare Obama with MLK

First published: 

Some people will be tempted to compare Martin Luther King, Jr. with President Obama.


Obama is no Martin Luther King, Jr. 

He is a politician, a liberal with moderate leanings. Like all politicians, he operates within a world of limited possibilities. His mission is to make the USA a better place, while serving the interest of the rich and powerful.

Martin Luther King, Jr., on the flip side, was a radical democrat. 

He gave his life trying to build a better world, a “good society” anchored by racial equity, participatory democracy and social, environmental and economic justice. 

King was concerned about group advancement—not just individual achievement. 

As a politician, Obama’s rise to the top of his profession, and becoming president of the United States, is a wonderful story of individual achievement. It is a story that also reflects the growing liberalization of the United States. 

But individual success stories do not CHANGE the realities of Black Americans. 

King understood this. So, he was never got sidetracked by one’s individual accomplishments. He was happy for them. But his big interest was the radical transformation of American society, so that all USA residents, especially blacks and Latinos, could live a good life. 

King did not stop there. His dream was not just an American dream. His dream was a worldwide dream. MLK said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

Most importantly, He understood that the “freedom fight” was a fight for the “larger freedom.” 

By “larger freedom,” I mean the battle for real heath care, good, affordable housing, great schools and neighborhoods, no prison pipelines, and places where everybody can realize their full human potential and can optimize their life outcomes.

And not just here, but everywhere, regardless of the political system under which they live. A world where societies are judge by “how well the children are doing,” and not by “how open are the economic markets.”

King knew that the “smaller freedoms” — the right to vote, eat at any lunch counter, say what you want, and live anywhere– was just “one, small step” toward the “larger freedom.”

This is NOT Obama’s dream. I’m sorry, but it is true. 

Obama is not a freedom fighter. He is a politician, who runs the country in the interest of the elites, while trying to do some good on the side and on the sly.

I’m just saying, celebrate Obama for who he is and don’t try to make him something else.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Kenmore East High School Students Honor Courage of Malala Yousufzai


Western New York

Some Kenmore East High School students completed a portrait of a 14-year-old Pakistan teen seriously wounded by the Taliban for standing up for freedom.

Malala Yousufzai was shot on her school bus this past fall. The Taliban targeted her for being outspoken for rights to educate girls.  WBFO's Eileen Buckley talked to Kenmore East students about their project inspired by Malala's commitment as a freedom fighter.

It's mid-morning inside Kenmore East High School in Tonawanda where students chatted freely as they changed classes.  But on a second floor hallway wall of the school there is a reminder, or perhaps a symbol, of their freedom as American teens.

"I can't believe that she actually had the courage to do that.  And I would really hope that I could, maybe one day, have the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in in such a way," said Theodora Laucau, a freshman art student.  She was one of the 75 students who helped paint the portrait.

Laucau said it was the art teacher, Matthew SaGurney, who encouraged the students to select an inspirational person to portray.

We had to chose someone who was really influential, and Mr. SaGurney introduced this girl -- Malala --  who is someone definitely someone who has made a huge impact on the world this year.  And we all agreed that she was someone who was really making a difference and we thought she should be recognized," said Laucau.

"It was  a really powerful project," said art teacher  Matthew SaGurney.

Each school year he encourages his students to select a power person to create a 9-foot by 9-foot painted portrait. Last year they selected Martin Luther King, Jr.   

"It gives us an opportunity to teach kids about people standing up for what they believe in, and truthfully, we were struggling to find one for this year, and then it was an obvious choice once we thought of her the same age as students and her being in a situation completely different from their own," said SaGurney.

"Well she is our age and it is just unbelievable that she stood up for people our age, but it is in a different country," said Emma Knab, freshman art student.  Knab painted one of the sections closes to Malala's face.

This project has turned into a powerful teaching tool.

"We take for granted the things that we get here, but she didn't get things over there.  We are so protected over here -- like our schools and everything.  I feel very grateful," said Knab.

WBFO News asked Knab what she learned from the art project.

"I learned to not take for granted what I have now.  Like there are people all around the world that have what I don't have," said Knab.

Another freshman art student -- who wanted to be identified only as Noah - painted a few of the squares of the portrait.

"I thought it was really brave of her to go out and just fight for the cause and talk about everything she had to do.  I mean she definitely paid the price for it, but she's still fighting for it," noted Noah.    

Malala has undergone extensive recovery since the October shooting by the Taliban.  She was recently released from a hospital in England, but will return, at some point, for more surgery.

For the Kenmore East art students -- the portrait has sparked conversation at school about this young woman's courageous journey.

"A lot of kids liked the painting.  A lot of kids thought it was very cool  that we did all of this and painted the quotes," said Noah.

"People don't know about other places.  A lot of people here just think about their life.  They don't think about the people over in every country that struggle everyday like she did," said Knab.

 "I really think that kids don't know. They don't know what's going on they just kind of live in this bubble of our culture, and they really don't get to see how other things are and by doing this, we are kind of like popping the bubble and bringing awareness of what's actually going on in the world," said Laucau.

"It's nice to know you can make a difference," said SaGurney.

SaGurney is very proud of his students.

"My kids, this year, are incredibly compassionate, and they are all years, but for some reason, this group has really driven the project.  They are really great kids. I feel privileged," said SaGurney.

Students plan to send the images of the portrait with individual letters and create a YouTube video to Malala to extend their well-wishes and relate how they were affected by her this young Pakistani's woman's powerful story.

"She took a way bigger path then I think anyone here could have.  She's got way more guts then a lot of people," said Noah.

story/photos/audio © Eileen Buckley 2013 

Friday, January 11, 2013

LIVE With Guantanamo Bay : 11 Years Later

First published on CNN 

"On January 11, 2002, the first of nearly 800 prisoners was sent to the US military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Images of these men shackled, wearing orange boiler suits, goggled and masked shocked the world. Eleven years on, 166 prisoners remain in captivity - all without due process. Join us remembering their stories and continuing the quest for justice against the worlds most notorious prison system."  

On January 10, 2013, Cage Prisoners interviewed six former Guantanamo detainees: Bisher Al-Rawi, Shafiq Rasul, Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, Tarek Dergoul, and Omar Deghayes.

Guantanamo Bay [GTMO, Gitmo] detention camp is an interrogation prison set up by the US at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. In 2002, the Bush Administration detained people that the US government determined were connected to allies of Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are three camps: Delta, Iguana, and X-Ray [now closed.]

- Bush Administration decided that the first 20 abducted men were not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.

-2008, 3 children aged 3 to 5 were returned to Afghanistan.

- 2009, President Obama signed an order to halt the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and to close Gitmo in one year.

- 2010, Col. Wilkerson, former aide to Colin Powell, stated in an affidavit that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, knew most of the men first sent to GTMO were innocent, yet left there for political reasons.

- 2011, Obama signs the Defense Authorization Bill putting restrictions on prisoner transfers, ceasing the closing of GTMO.

- 2012, 167 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

- Since 2002, 8 men died in the camp and 600 have been released.

- There have been 6 suicides and since 2002, 41 suicide attempts.

- It is now 2013.