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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Out To See Within : 2013

First published:

The News Tribe
Harlem World NYC 
News Trust Baltimore
Help Others.Org

There are simple ways to bring positive into our world, a world strife with negativity. Such things do not cost you money and barely any time. You can accomplish any of these actions face to face, using technology, in your community and most importantly, with your family, your children and yourself.  


"A sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
 together with a desire to alleviate it."

Every human being experiences distress.  Some in extreme states, others, a lesser extent. Distress can range from a change in daily routine to an immense, irreplaceable loss. Regardless of the state of distress, every human being is created with the tools to alleviate distress. When helping another individual, one's own stress diminishes. Joy is produced from choosing to give. When we choose to give, we practice compassion.


"Recognition of the existence or truth of something. An expression of appreciation. A thing done or given in gratitude." 

When asked for help, if able to contribute, then do so.  Help can range from listening intently to another then acknowledging that you are there and you understand.  If you are unable to help according to what is asked of you, explain why. Offer alternatives that suit the situation. No one enjoys being ignored. 

A simple response indicates to another that you care.
  • Thank you 
  • Please
  • Be well
  • Take care
  • I understand
  • I am here
  • You are not alone 


"Something done or performed. An act that one consciously wills. Habitual or usual acts. Energetic activity."  

If you are able to take action, then do so. Think of every single person that took time to listen, respond, do a kind deed for you, send you a card, made a phone call or simply said, "Thanks."  Ask yourself:  Do you take some sort of positive action daily? If not, why?


"The state or quality of being kind. A kind act and behavior. A friendly feeling, liking."  

When did we, the human race, start vehemently attacking and hating one another for being human? Sure, history teaches us that dissent among humans has always occurred, yet today, I view a complete lack of morals, ethics and manners. How do we stop this cycle of negativity? Actions of every single individual is the responsibility and choice of that individual. Placing blame on anyone but yourself for your own actions is simply a form of denial. Think of how you are able to be kind. Right now, to you reading, I thank you for doing so. That is a form of kindness. It took 3 seconds to type that. I mean it too.


"A union or fellowship arising from common interests or responsibilities. A community of feelings and purpose."  

Why is it that we, people, show solidarity only during holidays and tragedy? Why don't we come together as people more often to support one another in the face of adversity? One need not fully agree with one's choice of politics, faith, or lifestyle. Solidarity is taking responsibility for your fellow human being, as well as yourself,  in a quest to better a situation. Every single one of us has seen the face of darkness. Every single one of us has seen the face of light. How nice it is to have at least one hand reach out in support.

As we leave 2012 behind, along with a dramatic decrease of people in all societies caring for the well being of another, attempt looking outward in order to see within. All of us together, regardless of what our governments are doing, regardless of what our faith demands or does not demand, regardless of the way you were brought up, instructed to think or not think, regardless of any external factors that have molded you, this adult reading this right now; practice compassion : the sympathetic consciousness of others' distress with a desire to alleviate it.

We are not perfect. We are not supposed to be. Why then are we trying to be? 



* * * 

Definitions cited:  Merriam-Webster and 
All photos are linked to original source. 

For Anonymous

Written by Nilanjana Roy 

That girl, the one without the name. The one just like us. The one whose battered body stood for all the anonymous women in this country whose rapes and deaths are a footnote in the left-hand column of the newspaper.

Sometimes, when we talk about the history of women in India, we speak in shorthand. The Mathura rape case. The Vishaka guidelines. The Bhanwari Devi case, the Suryanelli affair, the Soni Sori allegations, the business at Kunan Pushpora. Each of these, the names of women and places, mapping a geography of pain; unspeakable damage inflicted on women’s bodies, on the map of India, where you can, if you want, create a constantly updating map of violence against women.

For some, amnesia becomes a way of self-defence: there is only so much darkness you can swallow. They turn away from all the places that have become shorthand for violence beyond measure, preferring not to know about Kashmir or the outrages in Chattisgarh, choosing to forget the Bombay New Year assault, trying not to remember the deaths of a Pallavi Purkayastha, a Thangjam Manorama, Surekha and Priyanka Bhotmange, the mass rapes that marked the riots in Gujarat. 

Even for those who stay in touch, it isn’t possible for your empathy to keep abreast with the scale of male violence against women in India: who can follow all of the one-paragraph, three-line cases? The three-year-old raped before she can speak, the teenager assaulted by an uncle, the 65-year-old raped as closure to a property dispute, the slum householder raped and violently assaulted on her way to the bathroom. After a while, even memory hardens.

And then you reach a tipping point, and there’s that girl. For some reason, and I don’t really know why, she got through to us. Our words shrivelled in the face of what she’d been subjected to by the six men travelling on that bus, who spent an hour torturing and raping her, savagely beating up her male friend. Horrific, brutal, savage—these tired words point to a loss of language, and none of them express how deeply we identified with her.

She had not asked to become a symbol or a martyr, or a cause; she had intended to lead a normal life, practicing medicine, watching movies, going out with friends. She had not asked to be brave, to be the girl who was so courageous, the woman whose injuries symbolised the violence so many women across the country know so intimately. She had asked for one thing, after she was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital: “I want to live,” she had said to her mother.

We may have not noticed the reports that came in from Calcutta in February, of a woman abandoned on Howrah Bridge, so badly injured after a rape that involved, once again, the use of iron rods, that the police thought she had been run over by a car. 

We may have skimmed the story of the  16-year-old Dalit girl in Dabra, assaulted for three hours by eight men, who spoke up after her father committed suicide from the shame he had been made to feel by the village. Or some may have done something concrete about these things, changed laws, worked on gender violence, keeping their feelings out of it, trying to be objective. But there is always one that gets through the armour that we build around ourselves. 

In 1972, the first year in which the NCRB recorded rape cases, there were 2,487 rapes reported across India. One of them involved a teenager called Mathura, raped by policemen; we remember her, we remember the history and the laws she changed. (She would be 56 now.)

Some cases stop being cases. Sometimes, an atrocity bites so deep that we have no armour against it, and that was what happened with the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, the one who left a cinema hall and boarded the wrong bus, whose intestines were so badly damaged that the injuries listed on the FIR report made hardened doctors, and then the capital city, cry for her pain.

She died early this morning, in a Singapore hospital where she and her family had been dispatched by the government for what the papers called political, not compassionate, reasons.

The grief hit harder than I’d expected. And I had two thoughts, as across Delhi, I heard some of the finest and toughest men I know break down in their grief, as some of the calmest and strongest women I know called and SMSed to say that she—one of us, this girl who had once had a future and a life of her own to lead—was gone, that it was over.

The first was: enough. Let there be an end to this epidemic of violence, this culture where if we can’t kill off our girls before they are born, we ensure that they live these lives of constant fear. Like many women in India, I rely on a layer of privilege, a network of friends, paranoid security measures and a huge dose of amnesia just to get around the city, just to travel in this country. So many more women have neither the privilege, nor the luxury of amnesia, and this week, perhaps we all stood up to say, “Enough”, no matter how incoherently or angrily we said it.

The second was even simpler. I did not know the name of the girl in the bus, through these last few days. She had a name of her own–it was not Amanat, Damini or Nirbhaya, names the media gratuitously gave her, as though after the rape, she had been issued a new identity. I don’t need to know her name now, especially if her family doesn’t want to share their lives and their grief with us. I think of all the other anonymous women whose stories don’t make it to the front pages, when I think of this woman; I think of the courage that is forced on them, the way their lives are warped in a different direction from the one they had meant to take. 

Don’t tell me her name; I don’t need to know it, to cry for her.

 * * * 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An artist, holistic care and New York

I am asking you to help me give back.

Amy Zukoff is a licensed medical massage therapist [as well as Thai Massage] who came back to Buffalo, after living in Europe for several years, to practice and give back to the city. She bought a home in Elmwood Village and it doubles as an art studio. The atmosphere is simply out of this world. Every time I visit there, I am taking pictures of her artwork.

Amy is by far, one of the biggest supporters I have come across in a long time who truly cares about health while keeping finances and small business in the city, as well as art. She may have chosen to stay in another city or nation, yet she came back to Buffalo.

Amy designed the studio herself. I adore it here. Below is her contact info.

Connection Studio:

Amy helped me immensely [and continues to] after a debilitating car accident in May 2012 where I were horribly rear ended. It was devastating. Another car was stuck beneath my SUV. I am most grateful to her.

Get a hold of Amy as a client, to cover her as media and to connect on Facebook and Twitter to simply say hello. You will be seeing a lot of press soon, as well as a new website.

Stay Healthy.



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rustling the Leaves: Talking Leaves [Poetry]

Randy Rumley, [Raiders of Niagara] along with Talking Leaves independent bookstore since 1971, in conjunction with Just Buffalo Literary Center presented "Rustling the Leaves" with Ken Feltges, Susan Marie and Mark Fulk.

Below is live audio of poetry readings, an excellent article by Max Crillen and a photo stream.

"Rustling the Leaves"

1) Mark Fulk
  click here or direct download right click here

2) Sue Marie
click here or direct download right click here

3) Ken Feltges
  click here or direct download right click here

* * *

* * *

Thank you, as always, for supporting the arts. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

US Presidential Elections 2012: To Vote or Not To Vote?

 First Published:

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci

We have heard the speeches, read the articles and sat by the television as numerous candidates, including the current President, promised the American people, as well as the world, better days ahead.

This is nothing new.

In America, a Presidential election is held every four years. Why are the 2012 elections any different than the rest?

There are diverse opinions of why “this” candidate is better, or "that" viewpoint is not suitable, however, I ask you, dear reader:

  • Do you know anything about who you are voting for?
  • Are you aware of what they stand for, not just one issue but all issues?
  • Do you research the history of each candidate enough to know that your solitary vote is responsible for alleviating or causing continued economic downfall and suffering?


Are you even going to vote? 


"Vote for Them" written and performed by International Slam Poet, Carlos Andrés Gómez @CarlosAGLive. Produced by Semicolon Productions @SemiColonProd


Here’s the deal:


Willard “Mitt” Romney: Republican Party

Promises, if elected: [See Mother Jones for Full Length Fund Raiser Video]

1. To form a committee to overturn Roe v. Wade, a groundbreaking decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 that ruled unconstitutional a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother.

This promise by Romney means taking away rights [based on the 9th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution], eradicating law in place, giving women no choice over their own bodies, thus regressing the rights of American society back to and before 1972.

“I’d like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people, and the people themselves, have the ability to put in place pro-life legislation.” – Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential Debate, New Hampshire

2. To fix the federal deficit, as well as a solution to health care, dismantle Obamacare [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010] then to increase the age of future Social Security benefits past the age of 65. Romney also supports a state to state mandated health care system that forces people to buy insurance. Mitt also wants to give seniors a “voucher” for Medicare.

This means that once one [under the age of 55 and not currently retired] has worked their entire lives and paid taxes into Medicare [and other benefits] they must keep working until they fall down dead, are ill, or until a set age is decided upon.

“There’s no change for anyone who is retired or nearing retirement. It’s only dealing with people in their 30s, 20s, 40s, and early 50s. That’s the group we’re dealing with and saying what’s the best deal for them? It strikes me the best deal for them is to either buy current Medicare or to have a private plan.” – Romney on Meet the Press

3. To hike military spending in the name of National Security [a mechanism designed to protect the nation and its interests from an internal or foreign political, military and/or economic threat.] This is a 4% increase of the country’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product] that also includes a government mandated increase in active duty military work force by ten thousand.

Mitt Romney, former adviser to President George W. Bush, pro Afghanistan, openly advocates to keep Guantanamo open, pro Iraq, favors increased military spending, funding and occupation, pro death penalty, pro life, anti-LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] rights; this surely is a man who speaks of separation of church and state, rational good will, peace and equality for all American citizens, as well as citizens of the world.

You decide.

Barack Obama: Democratic Party 

Promises, if elected:

1. To reform the tax code so that it’s simple, to have the wealthiest households pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 [the rate Bill Clinton utilized when President] the same rate that created almost 23 million new jobs.

2. No new tax breaks for the wealthy.

3. That middle class families never give up their deductions for owning a home or raising children to pay for a millionaire’s tax cut.

4. To refuse to ask students to pay more for college, to never kick children out of Head Start programs.

5. To never eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled. To never turn Medicare into a voucher. That no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. That retirement is with care and dignity that has been earned. To reform and strengthen Medicare by reducing the cost of health care, by not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. To keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not turn it over to Wall Street.

“America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now . . . Only you have the power to move us forward.’ – Barack Obama, 2012 Democratic National Convention Acceptance Speech

The first U.S. President to openly advocate same sex marriage and civil unions, pro choice, pro LGBT rights, a civil rights lawyer, and helped regenerate the UAW [United Auto Workers.] With the help of VP, Joe Biden, ended Iraq [with a promise to end Afghanistan.] Obama has yet to speak directly about Guantanamo, however, in the very least, we know what we are in for. We survived the last 4 years, the next must be about changing America, in that, bettering this world in the process.

You decide.

Jill Stein: Green Party

 Promises, if elected:

1. The “New Green Deal” to address global warming and financial crisis where renewable energy jobs would be created by employing “every American willing and able to work.” This deal is to be funded by a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget, returning all US troops home, as well as ending presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The secondary financial support for this deal is to eliminate “waste” in the health care system. This is supposed to create 25 million new jobs.

2. To legalize the use of marijuana for adults, regulating then taxing marijuana, then lifting restrictions on hemp products. Stein attended HempFest 2012, a pro hemp, pro marijuana rally.

Jill stated: “Poor people are being thrown into prison for the recreational use of a substance that is not dangerous, and that is a crime.”

3. To create sustainable building materials through recycled energy. To increase bike and pedestrian traffic and implement regional food systems based on organic agriculture.

At age 62, Ms. Stein, a physician on leave from her practice, was quoted by the NY Times, stating: “I’m now practicing political medicine because politics is the mother of all illnesses.”

During the Green Party Campaign launch October 2011, she stated at a press conference: “We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face.”

In August 2012, Stein and her running mate, anti-poverty protester, Honkala, were arrested during a sit in at a bank protesting house foreclosures. Google TV later attempted to block Stein’s campaign messages from airing in September 2012 because the ads included obscenity and foul language, yet eventually ran them because they complied with FCC [Federal Communications Commission] regulations.

Lastly, Stein stated in Grist Magazine: “If you put us [Americans] all together, we have the potential for a Tahrir Square type event, and [to] turn the White House into a Green House in November.”

You decide.

If you do not know about the candidates or you do not plan to vote, PLEASE take the time to research. 

Simple formats to find out what candidate resonates with you can be found on 2012 Presidential Candidates.Org and the websites.

It is what it is, and if you do not have a viable, rational solution for the betterment of America; then it is up to you to make an informed decision based upon the choices before you.

You must decide.

“I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution – take a bow for the new revolution – smile and grin at the change all around me – pick up my guitar and play – just like yesterday – and I’ll get on my knees and pray . . . we don’t get fooled again.” – The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again” [1971]