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Can you fix this? It’s a broken heart.
It was fine, but it just fell apart.
It was mine, but now I give it to you,
Cause you can fix it, you know what to do.

imagesc

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

Caroline-Sparks-killed by brother

We stood outside in the summer rain,
Different people with a common pain.
A simple box in that hard red clay,
Where we left him to always remain.

sandyhookchildren

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

ten afghan-children-killed april 2013

The child who played with the moon and stars,
Waves a snatch of hay in a common barn,
In the lonely house of Adam’s fall
Lies a child, it’s just a child that’s all, crying

benjamin wheeler

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

Francine Wheeler and Peter Yarrow on Music’s Power in Social Movements

May 2, 2013

Francine Wheeler, whose youngest son was killed in the December 14th attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, joins folk singer Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame to discuss the power of music to create change, and their mission to protect children and adults from gun violence in communities across America. We also see excerpts from a February 2013 concert of harmony, resilience and solidarity that Yarrow helped conceive, during which Yarrow and Wheeler sang. The concert will soon be broadcast on many public television stations.

“An act of positive movement forward is singing together. This is not a benign thing,” Yarrow tells Bill. “Woody Guthrie had his guitar and said, ‘this machine kills fascists’…This is so powerful a tool that when you galvanize people’s hearts together, and they create that movement by singing together, you’re not saying, ‘Oh, look how prettily I can sing.’”

Wheeler says they’re focusing on core values that most people have in common, not issues that drive them apart. “There are a lot of responsible gun owners out there, some of whom are NRA members. And they want safety for their children and for their grandchildren,” she tells Bill. ” So, what we’re talking about is, hey, why don’t we find a way to not debate and fight about what you believe guns are and what I believe guns are. Let’s come together and figure out a way to make them safer.”

Producer: Gina Kim. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Associate Producer: Lena Shemel.
Photographer: Dale Robbins.

The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”

In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”….

In his novel 1984, Orwell wrote about the conditioned reflex of “stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought . . . and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.”

The doublethink — continually reinforced by mass media — remains within an irony-free zone that would amount to mere self-satire if not so damaging to intellectual and moral coherence.

Every news report about the people killed and injured at the finish line in Boston, every account of the horrific loss of limbs, makes me think of a little girl named Guljumma. She was seven years old when I met her at an Afghan refugee camp one day in the summer of 2009.

At the time, I  wrote: “Guljumma talked about what happened one morning last year when she was sleeping at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. At about 5 a.m., bombs exploded. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm.”

In the refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where several hundred families were living in squalid conditions, the U.S. government was providing no help. The last time Guljumma and her father had meaningful contact with the U.S. government was when it bombed them.

War thrives on abstractions, but Guljumma was no abstraction. She was no more or less of an abstraction than the children whose lives have been forever wrecked by the bombing at the Boston finish line.

But the same U.S. news media that are conveying the preciousness of children so terribly harmed in Boston are scarcely interested in children like Guljumma.

norman solomonI thought of her again when seeing news reports and a chilling  photo (see above) on April 7, soon after 11 children in eastern Afghanistan were even more unlucky than she was. Those children died from a U.S./NATO air strike. For mainline American journalists, it wasn’t much of a story; for American officials, it was no big deal.

“Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip,” Orwell observed, “but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.”

Norman Solomon

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory