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Mar 18
2010

Kathy Kelly

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , war , speaker , Santa Rosa , protest , policy , peace , news , international , government , events , economy , Congress , activism

Bruce Robinson

 

With the US deeply engaged in two active wars in the Middle East, it’s past time for peace activists to revive their opposition, says Visiting Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly.

There are lessons to be learned from the war in Iraq, agrees Peace activist Kathy Kelly, a coordinator for  Voices for Creative Nonviolence, but the purported success of so-called “Surge” is not one of them.

War begets secrecy at the highest levels of government, which  distances national leaders from the citizenry, Kelly cautions.  She’d like to hear the Obama administration clearly and publicly spell out the reasons for our military presence in Afghanistan, but suspects the real rationales are too murky and complex to  meet any tests for transparency.

Kathy Kelly will report on her recent visit to Afghanistan in Santa Rosa tomorrow evening at 7 pm at Christ Church United Methodist, 1717 Yulupa Avenue. Her presentation, co-sponsored by the peace and Justice Center, Sonoma County, is titled, "The Cost and Sorrows of War:  Pakistan, Gaza,Iraq, Afghanistan."  Information: (707) 575-8902.

 

 

Mar 17
2010

"Eclipse of the Sunnis"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , war , religion , poverty , politics , news , media , land rights , journalism , international , immigration , homeless , families , employment , author

Bruce Robinson

One little-reported consequence of the war in Iraq has been the displacement of an estimated 2 million former citizens who have fled to neighboring nations or even further. Their story is the subject of Eclipse of the Sunnis,  a new book by NPR Mideast correspondent Deborah Amos.

Amos began covering the Middle East for NPR more than 20 years ago, and renewed her interest in the region following the 9/11 attacks. Even though she sees the Iraqi Sunnis as complicit in their own downfall, as instigators of the sectarian insurgency, she also believes their situation as an enormous population of displaced professional and middle class families is an important story, one she felt could best be told by presenting the human faces of some of those involved.

The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims may appear to be the result of religious differences between two factions within Islam, but Deborah Amos cautions that this interpretation is a simplistic misreading of the complex geopolitics of the Middle East.

It’s a convenient shorthand to speak of the displaced Iraqis as “refugees,” but that, too, is an over implication, in Amos’s view. Because these are mostly middle class households, they are able to monitor events and their situation in ways that are completely unknown to most poverty-stricken refugees. But their circumstances leave them vulnerable to an eroding standard of living that may take generations to recover.

Amos writes about the significance of the Iraqi general election here.

Mar 05
2010

Rally for Education

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , unions , students , speaker , Sonoma County , protest , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , government , finances , events , education , California , budget , activism

Bruce Robinson

March Fourth was billed in advance as “A Day for Action” in support of education funding in California, and Sonoma County rose to the occasion, especially on the campus of Sonoma State University.

SSU Academic Senate chair Susan Moulton (speaking at the rally at left)  noted that many factions of the campus community, who often are at odds with each other on numerous issues, find common cause in the need for support for education.

Not everyone at the rally was a teacher, student or university worker. Wilma Rawls, a nearby Rohnert Park resident, came to collect signatures for a state ballot measure intended to ease California’s budget process.

 

Students for Quality Education, the recently formed activitst group that led the protest demonstration in Salazar Hall, has drawn up a list of ten demands for change, including the renaming of the office of Customer Services.

You can read the full list here.

Feb 18
2010

FBI Raid at SSU

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , Sonoma County , news , law enforcement , justice , finances , education , budget

Bruce Robinson

County and federal investigators raided administrative and financial offices at Sonoma State Thursday morning, as part of a long-running investigation into allegations of fiscal mismanagement of a large grants administration program on campus.

It has been almost three years since the fiscal problems surfaced at the California Institute for Human Services, and Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalaqua (right) says it will now take many more months to sift through the materials that were collected during this raid.

 

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