Wednesday, November 29, 2006

MISTAKES ARE BEING MADE - We Are All the Keepers of Justice...

I apologize that the posts, We Are All the Keepers of Justice... are presented in reverse order. I had trouble with the character limit at first, then for some reason more and more characters were being accepted.

What's up with that?

Hey, I have a blog over at tvguide.com which talks a lot about the new hit TV show, Brothers and Sisters. It is called ilovemylife's blog and can usually be found by typing "Brothers and Sisters" in the window at the top of the page. I'm usually on the first page under the category Bloggers.

I also do reviews on this show at www.tv.com as ilovemylife. I would sincerely appreciate your going over to take a look and consider voting "agree" with my review, if you actually can agree.

I also blog along with the other viewers over at abc.go.com. Once at the website, go to the Brothers and Sisters show's link. It gets really hot over there sometimes. Especially following the episode Misakes Were Made, Part 2.

This show was nominated for People's Choice Award for best new show. Please, go vote for it daily. To vote go to: http://www.pcavote.com/vote/vote.jsp?group=tv.

The show is "Affairs of State" episode on Dec 3, Sunday night and on Dec 10, it is the episode, "Light the Lights".


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Post 7

Then we had our questions addressed. I’ve put some of the thoughts in my own words as I channelled some of the expressions shared today basically because I’m not a good secretary.

Some bullets that came up in the answers to our questions:
Ø We must be “louder”
Ø The Rest of the World must be pressured to get on board
Ø Colonialism is a foil used by President Omar al-Beshir
Ø President al-Beshir’s claim that the West’s (basically the U.S.) civilians and activists are distorting grossly what is happening
Ø The Arab League, Egypt and China need to be players on a side that so far they have shown no character to stand on
Ø The lack of leadership, the lack of a champion for the human values that are conveniently neglected or dissed
Ø There is the need to Transcend Politics and Do What is Right
Ø We have a moral obligation
Ø We must show clarity and purpose
Ø Even “murky leadership” could be strong enough
Ø We must demand the end of genocide
Ø Russia selling arms to Sudan
Ø USA has no stomach with Iraq in our heads, hearts

When asked why “Never Again” isn’t being adhered to with all of the grass roots efforts:
Ø “ Why can anyone stand around and watch people being raped or taken as sex objects, burned alive, have body parts hacked off, have entire villages scorched to the ground, girls as young as four years old being raped…?” David Rubenstein answered with this question. Adding that people think it is “far away” (and my words: doesn’t relate to them).
Ø We have failed the African Union, who has stood for what is right

My thinking:
The thing is Osama bin Laden has issued the curse of genocide on us, the United States of America. Do we think he doesn’t act on his words?

Maybe, this brings it back, relatively, to my favorite TV show, Brothers and Sisters. I am pleased with and grateful to - the show’s creator and all who had the courage to address the 9/11 issue and the war and well, our lives…….

It’s just our lives. I think we are here to do gracious and noble things. Surely we can find in our spirit - no matter whether we are religion-neutral, agnostic or a member of organized religion – to at least consider the sad state of our humanity accepting genocide as okay in any form or location or what skin tone.

Please, …consider going about doing something this week and next week and the next…… to use your voice for people who are virtually voiceless in a land we consider “far away” only because we think Africans are different from us. I have, at times, felt closer to people who are geographically, physically far away and even dead – than those who walk through my life up close.

My Soapbox:

Silence doesn't stop genocide. Never has. Never will. Be Bold. Be Loud. Be persistent. Don't take "No" for an answer. Genocide is NOT OKAY.

Or is it?

A year ago on November 22, (2005), I spent 6 hours at the Dachau Extermination Camp in Dachau, Germany. It was the last day of a 22 day trip – all of which was light-hearted until this day. Other days were spent in Villach, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Austria; Venice, San Gimignano, Siena, Italy; and Munich and Dachau, Germany. The intense experience stayed with me while up in the air, flying all the way back to Providence’s Green Airport and for the weeks to follow. To walk through the stone arch where the victims were expected to and did go, then, walk in the sacred buildings, rooms, the oven room, and the sacred grounds where four churches or church memorials are stealing away the space once used to create hell on earth……was all so indescribably sobering and humbling. I walked this ground alone. On a cold, gray sky day in November, stepping over furrowed and compacted snow. But I had shoes and warm clothes to call my own. And I knew I could leave. Alive. This place was “far away” from my home too. Just like Africa. Dachau was the very first concentration camp opened by Adolf Hitler within two months of his reign of power. It was opened on Wednesday, March 22, 1933. Adolf Hitler was given power with the blessings of the people and the Lutheran Church. It was a time of lamentations in the aftermath of World War I - no jobs, the masses going hungry. That is what I read about for two hours in the first small space that I entered. What was the environment for this kind of thing to be done by humans to humans? The Dachau Camp was a training center for the SS concentration camp guards, then they were sent to other camps. I photographed a large campaign poster for Hitler while in this first room, the words on the poster: “Our Last Hope”. Not only did Jewish people go to Dachau, but ministers, priests, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, the mentally challenged, communists and anyone who spoke out against the government’s actions. We have a moral obligation in this country to speak out against our government’s actions if we believe in our hearts that something is wrong. That is who we should be and what we should have the courage to live out. I believe - it’s an unspoken creed of decency.

My port of entry and departure of this trip (inspired by free points to fly somewhere, anywhere) was Munich, the birthplace of the Nazi party where Hitler honed his craft of speaking to the masses.

When I arrived the morning of November 2, traveling by train and looking out the window while going from the airport to downtown Munich, something struck me with awe in a way. I saw fields, flat land, country fields with rows of crops cut away, bounded by fences, clusters of trees that had not been cut down to make way for farming, farm houses, barns, cattle. It looked JUST LIKE HOME IN NORTHERN INDIANA. The trees were even maples and others that I recognized, the same kind I grew up knowing the common names of in the woods where two of my three childhood houses were situated. It felt like home. The names painted on the barns were the same names painted on barns in Indiana and the same familiar last names of classmates’ that I went to Indiana public schools with. And yet there I was only a short distance from the Dachau Extermination Camp, where evil could be smelled for miles around from 1933 until 1945. The years when my parents were kids. Sitting alone, type in “Dachau Concentration Camp” in the google window of your computer and merely have the haunting feelings these people realized every minute of the day and night. Try http://www.ushmm.org/, http://photo.net/bp/dachau.

These things we do to one another…Whether it is genocide, or complicity for genocide’s madness to be allowed to carry on. Whether it be something small, like saying words in a calloused or intentionally mean-spirited way to another humankind’s brother or sister - this thing we could change if we only had the will. What is this thing in us, that is so dark that we will do anything not to confront it and hide from it? Life can be grand. I love my life, I truly do. But life can go seriously wrong, too. I know that too. I’ve had my share of that. Just working at being thoughtful, here. Something that a busy, hurried life allows us to evade.

We each have a voice, we each have a presence - let us not be silent. This is a pivotal time in our personal lives, in our representational government's "life" to stand and say who we are, not what we have been, because our United States history's policy on genocide is dismal and excruciatingly painful. It is the season we claim “Peace on Earth”.

Let us stand together and let's not be moved from the right things to do regarding our being human. We have been called to be human in the most basic way on this subject. Where there is a will - there is always a way. And where there is no will - there is never a way. This is not so much a religious principle, as it is simply a virtue of character, that is embraced in various religions around the world. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers.

I am one person, but I am on a mission. You are one person, who I am sure has a heart and a soul that wants the same as the Darfuri and Chadian people want – a safe environment for their families to live out their days here as mortal beings.

When the Nazis arrested the Communists,I said nothing;
after all, I was not a Communist.
When they locked up the Social Democrats,I said nothing;
after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
When they arrested the trade unionists,I said nothing;
after all, I was not a trade unionist.
When they arrested the Jews,I said nothing;
after all, I was not a Jew.
When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest.

……………………………………………………translated by Bob Berkovitz

Thank you for your heart, your soul.

Thank you.

Officially, off my Soap Box.

((((((((((((((( Larry's last name is Rossin. He is a career diplomat and is currently working with the Save Darfur Coalition. Previously, he was the Chief UN diplomat to Haiti. )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Post 6

The next person to share on the conference call, I jotted down words like “Senior International Coordinator, Assistant Secretary General, Led Peacekeeping talks regarding Haiti, worked with the diplomatic core and with the peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo”. A man on the conference call that I only know as Larry, (sorry, they talked fast), who obviously is extremely well-versed in this subject said it is vital that “we the people” do keep up the sustained effort to pressure our elected politicians to make this a priority. Not what it has proven to be – a talking point after the two national rallies we have had. (That last sentence is mine, not his.) He said we get an A for effort, but the only thing that counts is the grade we get for achievement.

They met in Gambia with 40 African countries’ NGOs (non-profit organizations) who have high government access and with proximity to afford a difference although they are poor and weakened by that fact.

Germany, France, Italy and Spain lag behind the attention given to this right to live in which Britain, Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands get a better report card. The African Union (the only troops on the ground in this region who are, in name, on the other side of genocide have continuously asked NATO to help out and support its operation in Darfur. The middle eastern countries were said to be a “challenge because of our credibility weakness” in this area of the world. And that we have an “image problem” to overcome in order to have any “credibility and have legitimate” persuasive abilities to ask them to support stopping this genocide’s progress. The U.N. 1706 initiative for Darfuri’s protection doesn’t require Sudan’s President Omar al-Beshir’s invitation to act on behalf of human and moral principle.

The talk of a hybrid force continues, one which would marry the African Union forces with United Nations forces, officers, equipment and funding. And most important a mandate beyond standing on the ground with paper and pencil recording the victims stories, which has been and is the African Union’s mandate all along. Andrew S. Natsios, the U.S. Special Darfur Envoy, spoke of the possible deal made with al-Beshir, but this afternoon al-Beshir made it clear he would have nothing to do with such a deal.

Financial divestment was raised by Mia Farrow. And echoed by Larry (the man I have no last name for). The China/Sudan partnership is a real obstacle and only emboldens al-Beshir’s resolve and stance. China like the rest of the world, makes decision based on “green stuff”. And Sudan’s oil is a hot commodity. Mia raised the point that Sudan trades on our U.S. stock exchange, making us funders of the genocide. “It’s not business as usual” - I believe it was Mia who said this. The international community’s flexing of power via financial freedoms and divestment makes sense.
Borrowing from an article, “Divest from Sudan to Help Darfur” ,by Daniel Millenson , “If big institutional investors, like state and local pension funds and university endowments, join in a divestment campaign that targets the honey-pot companies that sustain the regime, they may be able to produce results for Darfur where mere indignation has so far failed.”

The weekend of December 8, 9 and 10 has been designated as “Darfur Weekend of Prayer and Action”. You can go to www.savedarfur.org/faith to see what to do to participate and make your voice be useful. In Washington, D.C. there are activities that are planned to take place at the Sudanese Embassy. December 10 is designated as the 2nd Global Day for Darfur.

Continued on next post


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have A Voice

Post 5

Save Darfur includes 176 organizations, including the most recent to join the coalition, Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org.

There are 700,000, including myself, who are administrators of Save Darfur’s “Communities United” with www.savedarfur.org.

www.STANDNOW.org is the high school and college equivalent of savedarfur.org. I don’t have the numbers on their participants. But the number is HUGE and vital. In many ways they outdo those of my generation and younger. You know, the established adults, who no longer can claim youthful zeal by virtue of age.

The report on the conference call of the recent visit to Eastern Chad according to Mia Farrow:
They visited a couple of refuge camps and a “hospital”. Three countries have now been included in the terror of genocide: Sudan where Darfur is, Chad (the eastern part that borders Sudan) and the Central African Republic. 90,000 Chadians are internally displaced along with the Darfuris who came to Chad to get away from the trauma and hell over in Sudan. In the week of November 5th, 60 villages were burned by the Janjaweed in Chad. I can’t spell the places that she named in the hurried pace that the call necessarily had to take, but here are some of the visuals that she saw: “3 men with their eyes gouged out”, a woman that she talked to who while running with her small child tied to her back was shot in the back and the child therefore was murdered. She learned of a one story where a woman was thrown into a burning hut……children were burned alive….children had not eaten anything for 9 days. Shelter if any was a scraggly tree. More than food, they need safety, one mother told Mia.

“It is clear that U.N. Peacekeepers with a robust force, well-funded, well-equipped and with an effective mandate is way over due.” As Miss Farrow said, Sudan’s President Omar al-Beshir rejects having the U.N. forces come into his sovereign country, but Chad does not.

Continued on next post


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Post 4

On a personal note - when I was in Washington D.C. April 28 - May 2, 2006, for the Save Darfur Rally (the one that Elie Wiesel spoke at, but all you really heard about was when George Clooney signed on), I volunteered in the Save Darfur office on the Friday prior to the Sunday Rally which was to take place on the National Mall, just across the street from the United States National Holocaust Memorial Museum. When I arrived, three other common every day citizens were sitting at a table counting messages for President Bush. There was a Million-Voice Post Card Campaign to Save Darfur going on at that time, started by Gloria White-Hammond from Boston. I sat down and started to help count thousands of post cards. We had to read each one, sorting out any vulgar sentiments, etc. I came across one from Connecticut. It was from Mia Farrow. I mentioned it to the others at the table. And one got up immediately and quickly removed the post card from hands and went off with it somewhere unknown. Apparently to show it to someone who thought it was important, I guessed. Then the gracious and beautiful Gloria White-Hammond walked in and was excited to see the involvement of we the “little” people (my words, not hers). Then the BBC came in and interviewed her with us sitting there in the background. I was impressed. After I was fortunate enough to talk with the BBC camera woman. Then in came David Rubenstein who wanted, after he thanked us, to share what happened when he had spoken to President Bush that same day. As a volunteer and just a citizen-turned activist for this cause, I was…well…I was…my head was spinning. Even more emotional was my volunteer job for the Rally on Sunday. Standing on the sidewalk between the nearest metro stop and the National Mall in front of the Capital building, it was one spiritual moment after another, with the waves of people taking over the sidewalk, many wearing their Darfur T-shirts identifying their group and their sentiments on this issue. I got hugs, thank yous, and requests to have my picture taken with people who had come from far away to gather for making a statement with their presence, with their voices. I was moved. I started singing “We Shall Overcome” to the embarrassment of volunteer worker that I was paired with.

Continued on next post


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Post 3

It was an hour conference call, with each of the three giving their points, then we could ask questions. I listened, wrote 15 pages of notes and recorded the call. You see, I give presentations in my small state of Rhode Island to try to motivate citizens of our democracy to be activists on this “human-right-to-live-out-your-natural-life” …… and not be mutilated, slaughtered, burned alive, raped as a tool of terrorism/genocide/war/inhumanity. I write letters-to-editors and get them published, lobby my senators, representatives and call the President frequently, as well as have screenings for the film “Darfur Diaries – Message from Home” presented by three very young directors/producers who went there in 2004. They decided to find a way to go there because they knew no other way to get the word out, since our mass media has, for the most part, ignored a story that should be on our front page, not on essentially no page of most of our nation’s papers and TV news reports. “Thanks, Ann Curry,” …for recently going there and reporting. Thanks to Oprah…who has produced and aired some great footage from there. And the once, “Nightline” with Ted Koppel…who shone a light on this story. Thanks to the New York Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/nicholasdkristof/index.html

However, having worked hard here in Rhode Island on trying to raise awareness, I have met apathy face to face - way more times, on this issue, than I imagined possible. And mostly in places of faith and worship, where faith with works presented me with an oxymoron.

We need to call and write the President ( 202-456-1111, email: president@whitehouse.gov ), call, email, write, lobby our senators and representatives, write letters to the editor of our local papers, have events to raise awareness, such as vigils, display “Call to Conscience” banners, display “Not On Our Watch – Save Darfur” yard signs, join a local Darfur activist group, be an advocate for common decency toward the human beings that breathe the air that circulates around this planet. And it is important to heighten these activities now that the year’s end is coming as the African Union is scheduled to pull out after its extended deadline comes. These were the points stated on the conference call today.

Continued on nest post


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Part 2
Read Pulitzer Prize winning author, Samantha Power’s “A Problem from Hell” – America and the Age of Genocide. I love America. After all, where else on earth would I have gotten to be a part of a conference call this afternoon at 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. (DST) with Mia Farrow? But I’ll be honest, that I have a love-hate relationship with this country. Just the one fact alone that we as a nation have never acknowledged our genocide on the Native Americans of this great land makes me cower. We can be great. “We” just need to act like we own this government – We, the People. But that takes being well-informed, better than our newspapers and TV news select for us to know. The internet is fantastic. Check out http://www.sudan.net/
and link to the “Latest News”. It takes involvement in the world with moral convictions to be humanized It’s not oil, or trumped up “justifications”, not power or money that makes us human and humane.

Okay it's a stretch to connect this post into my “love affair” with Brothers and Sisters, but it’s another one of those “I’m finally at an age, that I walk boldly, dare to step out into the world without a limb to hang onto, and see if my wings are working". In other words, for you to see this as connected to the fictional world of the Walker clan or not, isn’t necessary for me – I’m going to throw it out there in the great unknown’s ears.

I’m talking about the other side of my being giddy with excitement for my favorite TV show, Brothers and Sisters, the side of being an activist to stop and prevent genocide. Here’s the “thing” and why I am inspired to write: Today…I participated in a national conference call with David Rubenstein (The Main Man at Save Darfur), Mia Farrow (activist, mother and actress) and Larry (didn’t catch his last name, but he was working at the U.N., but presently working with Savedarfur.org). They just came back from eastern Chad, which borders Sudan, and just across the border from the region of Darfur. The place of genocide for 3 years, 10 months, and counting. The place that has been Hell on Earth because we, as a planet of human beings, don’t have the POLITICAL WIIL to make STOPPING this HUGE SIN and CRIME OF ALL CRIMES - a PRIORITY. The MOST IMPORTANT WEAPON of the genocidaires is OUR COLLECTIVE SILENCE. Good People Choosing to Do Nothing.

continued on the next post


We Are All Keepers of Justice...We All Have a Voice

Post 1
NOTE:These posts will appear in order, but in reverse order as presented.

Mistakes Are Being Made

NOTE: This post is primarily inspired by a conference call in the afternoon of November 28, 2006 with David Rubenstein, Mia Farrow and Larry _____(?).

When genocides are in progress - our personal, daily lives may just be too overwhelming for us to figure out if it is something to care enough about to speak, breathe its story, act, learn about……To give it time out of our busy lives may be asking too much(?)

“Small” people do genocide.

“Small” governments and busy, good people allow genocide.

Bold people
people who summon their courage of valued convictions say


We are all the keepers of justice. Justice doesn’t survive without human action.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
……………………………………….Margaret Mead

Our policy on genocide has been to subsidize genocide with the Political Will of Delays and Deception.

Continued on next post


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ilovemylife Googling ilovemylife taught me there are other ilovemylifes out there

I googled - ilovemylife - a name that I originally chose on tvguide.com as well as at abc.go.com. I still use the name at those two sites.. My blog at tvguide.com is about the TV show Brothers and Sisters.

The other ilovemylifes out in blog-land are apparently loving their lives in a "little" different way than I am.

I love the show Brothers and Sisters and take the view with my contributions as someone who is grateful for the intelligent humor, likeable and flawed characters and what I believe is good writing and excellent acting. The best acting on the show I feel is by Matthew Rhys, who plays Kevin Walker.

There has been hot (crossfire hot) blogging going on - on the writers blog of Brothers and Sisters at abc.go.com, which is called Bloggers and Sisters. The most recent anger and complaining has been over the episode aired November 19, Mistakes Were Made, Part 2.

If you haven't checked out the show, my opinion is "try it, you might like it".


To be more creative,

I am waiting for…



R e a s s u r a n c e

The coffee to be ready

The stakes to be lower

M o r e t i m e

An obvious scapegoat

The two-minute warning

T o m o r r ow

Jacks or better

The stakes to be higher

A clearly written set of instructions


This meeting to be over

You to go first

David B Campbell (Adapted)



Whatever you can do

or dream
you can

Boldness has genius,

power and magic in it.


Sandra Hammel, ilovemylife, Goethe, Dream, Just Do It, Power, Bold, Begin It, Magic, Be

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