9.28.2005

Hotel Rwanda - Eleven Year Anniversary

I finally saw the "feel-good movie" of the year, Hotel Rwanda. Since a former professor of mine has been telling me for months to see it. It was completely moving, as I expected, and of course I shed many tears. It is amazing how weeping becomes an art form for me, every time I read or hear something sad, I learn how to cry all over again when I promised - perhaps the day before - that I will be "strong." Yeah, right.

My husband is out right now at Fountain Street Church (for those of you who have not heard of this, it is a free-thinking "church" that is basically aligned with the U.U. religion). He is hearing the awesome Robert Kennedy, Jr. speak about our environment. I once saw him on the terrifying show Hannity and Colmes (yeah, why do I torment myself and watch FOX news??) saying that he had enough mercury poisoning in his body that if he was a pregnant woman, his child would be born with birth defects.

Jeff went with his aunt, and I stayed home with the kids. I felt that I could at least afford him this evening since he is the stay-at-home dad. Being stuck in this house for nine hours a day would drive me batty, so I had no problem with him going. I was talking about Hotel Rwanda with his aunt before they went, and it got us talking about the Sudan tragedies. BUST magazine reported that many women and girls (as young as three years old) are being victims of war-related rape. Even those who are "representing" the U.N. have participated. Nice, huh?

I asked Jeff's aunt why she thought we don't even hear about these things in our "liberal" media. She put it perfectly: "I have two words for you, Kelli, and that is oil and black."

What she is saying, essentially, is that because we have nothing to gain from intervening, and because - as BUST ironically put it - "it's just Africa," why would we get involved? Same thing as Rwanda. Same as how the journalist-character played by the awesome Joaquin Phoenix said in the movie, "The world will say, 'that's terrible,' but then go on to eat their dinners."

If we, as Americans, have nothing to gain, then we will continue to feast while others starve and get murdered.

Many people - who are pro-war - say something interesting to me when I ask them how they feel about the Weapons of Mass Destruction lies, about how they feel of the war now. Of how they feel that Bin Laden was not the one we caught, but instead, how we went after Hussein. And they tell me that, oh well, it's good because Hussein needed to get caught anyway. He was an awful dictator.

If this is the case - which I am not debating now - then why do we not go after the "awful" dictators (or rebel groups) in South/Central America? Or Africa? Why is it that they get away with genocide, or that we even have stooped so low as to fund their atrocities? It boils down to what my husband's aunt said - once again, what is our vested interest? If we do not have one, then we shrug our shoulders and continue to feast.

We have an interest in the Middle East - that is something that every American knows. We also have an interest in South/Central America, because many of our business interests lie within this region. Yet, their "awful" dictators are allowed their freedom to commit crimes (even with American money) because they appease the American business interest. Hussein - while indeed an asshole - did not. So we go in and attack his country and take over under the banner of "freedom."

This is what upsets me greatly when I see a movie like Hotel Rwanda. I see the other side: the side of people who look to our generally wealthy country and "democratic" government for help, yet we historically turn the other cheek. African-American activist and expatriate, Randall Robinson, wrote in his book Defending the Spirit - after encountering a racist who called him "boy," when he is a Harvard Lawyer who has dined with Presidents - that "the 'boy' to whom the [white] semiliterate corn farmer is referring is I. And I have traveled a long way to nowhere."

That last line is how I sum up America: we have traveled a long way to nowhere. While women are being raped along with their three-year old daughters in Sudan, conservative fundamentalists are trying to change our constitution, and are putting the Gay/Lesbian community into a state of second-class citizenship. While many people are still being captured into slavery or being subjected to sweatshop conditions while American corporations make billions in profit, a Kansas Attorney General is more concerned with obtaining the medical records of women who had abortions. Like it is any of his f*cking business.

So where are we now? Over a hundred years from when slavery was abolished, over forty years from when segregation was removed, over twenty years from when abortion clinics were bombed, over ten years from when NAFTA was put into place, we are still in a state of ruin.

Some people send me their e:mails of a crying eagle, and I laugh, because they think he is crying for a different reason than myself. They think of the tragedy of 9/11 and our fallen soldiers- and while yet it is still a tragedy, especially for a veteran like myself - I think of the lack of dignity we encompass because of our inability to truly, and equally, promote the ideals of democracy. Our inability to not only try to help our own poor, or by failing to give EVERYONE no matter his or her sexual orientation a taste of our how our government should work.

And this, to me, is why our Mother - and her symbol, that eagle - should cry.

9.26.2005

RFK, Jr., at Fountain Street Church

"We are living in a science-fiction nightmare where children are gasping for breath on bad-air days because somebody gave money to a politician. And my children and the kids of millions of other Americans can no longer go fishing and eat their catch because somebody gave money to a politician." Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

RFK, Jr. will be speaking this wednesday at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tickets are $10. My husband is most likely going and will tell me about it. When he does, I'll post on here as well.

you don't say...

Why, this sounds like the Iraq war all over again! Nothing like making millions of dollars off of other people's tragedies. Ahhhh, the sweet sounds of capitalism gone wrong:

"The first detailed tally of commitments from federal agencies since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast four weeks ago shows more than 15 contracts exceed $100 million, including five of $500 million or more. Most were for clearing trees, homes and cars strewn across the region; purchasing mobile homes; or providing trucks, ships, buses and planes.

Already, the Times said, questions have been raised about the political connections of two contractors -- the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton that have been represented by lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's ex-campaign manager and former head of FEMA.

"When you do something like this, you do increase the vulnerability for fraud, plain waste, abuse and mismanagement," the Times quoted Richard Skinner, inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, as saying. "We are very apprehensive about what we are seeing."

Bills have come in for deals that apparently were clinched with a handshake, with no documentation to back them up, said Skinner, who declined to provide details."

Taken from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050926/us_nm/katrina_bids_dc

9.21.2005

Sharon Olds declines White House invite...

Taken from http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051010/olds

For reasons spelled out below, the poet Sharon Olds has declined to attend the National Book Festival in Washington, which, coincidentally or not, takes place September 24, the day of an antiwar mobilization in the capital. Olds, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award and professor of creative writing at New York University, was invited along with a number of other writers by First Lady Laura Bush to read from their works. Three years ago artist Jules Feiffer declined to attend the festival's White House breakfast as a protest against the Iraq War ("Mr. Feiffer Regrets," November 11, 2002). We suggest that invitees to this year's event consider following their example.   --The Editors

Excerpt from Olds' letter to the First Lady:

"I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war. But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration."

Please visit the site to read the rest of her letter.

9.20.2005

very tired tonight

Hello everyone. I am extremely tired tonight. We went up north this weekend to visit family. My oldest is getting ready to go to bed, he is addicted right now to Finding Nemo. So he's watching it right now. My youngest is asleep, as he is the one who adheres to a strict schedule.

It has been a sad year, you know. So many sad things that have happened. We can think about this already because there are only three months left in 2005. Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Creeley, Joe Ranft, Hurricane Katrina, the punk boy who lived a block away and was found hanging in his bathroom by a former college classmate.

The whole neighborhood has been quiet. Perhaps it is just that summer is ending. Perhaps it is because we do not know what to say to each other anymore. Each of us passes one another - a small wave happens, a few words may come out of our mouths. Dried leaves fall to the ground. We can not do anything else.

The country is falling apart and I am not buying the crying eagle shit.

Next weekend I am getting drunk on cheap wine as I read words to a foreign crowd. A crowd of people who I do not know. They perhaps will listen, perhaps they will not. They may walk out of the room and go to find some benign painting hanging on the wall whose words may not be so strong and sharp. It is Destination 1111 weekend, and I am reading poetry with others who are disillusioned with what is supposed to be home. Others will read the writings of Thompson and Creeley and weep new tears, know that they were right and we - yes those of us who are still amongst the living - have always been wrong.

9.12.2005

hello all.

Well, I'll avoid politics tonight. I am just burned out on the state of our union. Luckily, I will be able to possibly help the situation in New Orleans, in some indirect way, through my new job. Since I will be approving and processing claims, maybe I'll be able to help someone with the ability to rebuild their lost home. I am stuck up in Michigan, married with two children living on a humble wage, with no room in my hot apartment to house a victim. All of the things I wish I could do that I just can't do. It's times like these where I wish I was rich so I could help out. But my heart is rich with the compassion for those who are without home, without family. I can at least give them that, or a small donation of blood and money.

I read that several babies were born during this catastrophe, as the women were leaving the city. It is weird how God - or whoever holds the strings - allows so much death to juxtapose with so much new life. This is a poem in itself.

All friends who come by, I know you have the heart and humanity to feel for these folks. I hope together that we can make small differences as our lives continue in moments of peace.

Because these people do not know peace.

9.09.2005

scary white girls

I was catching up on some reading while donating blood the other day, and FINALLY got through the last two issues of BUST I received in the mail. They are so awesome.

Anyway, there was a short article on these girls who are a part of the overdone, heard-it-all-before, it-aint-working group of White Supremists. I then did a search on them in google and found through a few links that they all came and attacked a blogger on here who pointed out the BUST article in a post, and these white supremists who "support" this band had the small balls to say some disgusting things to the pregnant, and hilarious, comedianne blogger. I was pretty disgusted by the time I read through their comments to her post.

Ok, so here is what kills me about this group called Prussian Blue - specifically their supporters. I will be big enough to say that ANY group of people should be proud of who they are, no matter their skin color. Even white people should investigate and explore their cultural/ethnic heritage. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to realize that a person of French heritage will differ than a person of Norwegian heritage (like myself). Even as a pro-civil rights activist, I will openly admit that I - as a white person - have a family tree that can be traced back to the FIRST families of America. Yes, back to the colonies. My G-G-G-G-G-Great grandfather served in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War. I am proud of this.

But I am also willing to admit that white people are the cause of much undue stress to many other "races." (As a side note: there is no such thing as separate "races." It is a myth that was generated back in the 1700's in order to put people of different colors into a hierarchy. This has been scientifically proven).

I looked at the Prussian Blue blog and yes, they are pretty girls. But why the tan? If you're so damn proud to be white, then stay out of the sun and stop trying to be darker than God made you. It is obvious through this perpetual need for white women (and men) to want to be "brown" that yes indeed brown and black is truly beautiful. There are not many men out there who like women with flat asses. Why are so many white women getting lip implants? Explain this all to me.

So even white supremists like to lay out in the sun???? That's not a part of their "cultural" heritage. Used to be that white women were valued for being white because it showed they were not working women who labored under the sun.

Funny how times have changed. You can take what you like out of the ever-changing times, but then bash what you don't want to accept? Not fair ladies. (p.s. You can't also claim the ever awesome Green Day as a favorite band in your interviews because Green Day are definitely pro-diversity. They are going against the system of conservativism that lacks human dignity - hmmm, like you folks!).

What these folks don't get is that white people have dangled the cherry over other people for centuries, and now all of the sudden when the tables are turned, they can't handle it. The cherry is now being shared. They can't handle that Halle Berry is one of the most beautiful women and has become the face of America. Or Selma Hayek. They can't handle it if a person of color gets a few points on their college application because WHITE people have been the only people privileged to get an education for hundreds of years. Which means that white people have had PLENTY of opportunities to score points on college applications for their skin color.

So what if our "democratic" government wants to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity, especially because it hasn't been provided to everyone who should have been given such in the short history of our country.

So it's cool with me that people want to be proud of their germanic roots - ok, great. But not at the expense of other people's liberties and peace of mind. So get over it, Mr. and Mrs. Vanguard. Your blue eyes aren't so pretty anymore.

9.04.2005

kelli, the prophet

Ok, so I may be expanding on the truth a little when I call myself a prophet, but in a sense, I was when it comes to the hurricane Katrina devastation. Here's how:

1. I pointed out to my husband that EVERY single picture I had seen thus far of the victims were African-American folks. I told him that I believe this is why there was a lack of immediate attention from our federal government. Had it been some nice white community in Massachussetts, things would have been handled differently. Then about two days later, I read in a paper that some people were accusing Bush and his cronies of subtle racism due to his almost complacent way of addressing such a tragedy. See, I'm not the only one who sees him for who he is.

2. Additionally, two days ago I told my husband that I wouldn't put it past the right-wing Christian fundamentalists (i.e., Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc.) of stating that New Orleans deserved it because - as we all luciously know - it is a hot spot for hedonism, right up there with Las Vegas (just a little bit more folky with its history of voodoo and witchcraft). Anyway, we just read today that good ol' Pat Robertson - yes, the same one who ordered an assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (very Christ-like of him, I might add) - said the folks of New Orleans had it coming. So let's all watch the television for when Mr. Robertson will have to make a public, national apology for his verbal atrocity considering there are many, many people (including babies and children) dying of heat exhaustion and living amongst feces. Good one, Pat. Just as good as when you and Falwell blamed 9/11 on "liberals, gays, feminists, etc., etc., etc." and you had to apologize for THAT one.

Compassionate Conservative? Those two words can not breathe side by side.

p.s. Despite how much this Administration and Pat Robertson has criticized Chavez, ironically, Venezuela has offered assistance in several ways for Katrina's victims.

Suck on that, Patrick.

shoes for food?

I heard through the grapevine that Condie Rice was caught purchasing a pair of shoes for seven thousand dollars the other day.

I don't want to believe it. Maybe seven hundred. Maybe I would, too, if I had her money and the shoes were that good. Seven hundred.

But seven thousand dollars?

The story was passed down to me that she was being harassed by two women who gave her hell for buying shoes for that much, when there are thousands upon thousands of people homeless and hungry in New Orleans. Supposedly she had security called, and the two women were escorted out.

I want to believe she didn't do this. I want to believe she is smarter than this. Even though I DESPISE the man she works for, I want to believe there is more there in her heart, somewhere, a small flame waiting to bring her back.

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps there is no single person in this administration who gives a damn about the people of this country. It seems they are more concerned about getting rid of the estate tax and funding a fallicy of a war instead of helping the salt of our earth.

Someone, anyone, please give me - and the victims of this tragedy - a new hope.