"The U.S. Air Force has dropped 700 bombs on the people of Afghanistan in September alone. They have dropped more 2,000 bombs on the country since July. The Pentagon has also carried out a record 21,000 unmanned drone sorties in Pakistan and Afghanistan so far in 2010." from a letter by Brian Becker, ANSWER, 10/15/10Today CODEPINK Maine has organized a mini-retreat, a convergence event for women to get together on an island in Maine to grieve, to report out, and to share our commitment to work for peace and justice.
We'll be hearing from Mariam Raqib about her excellent tree reforestation project in Afghanistan, Samsortya. She'll also be sharing the grave concerns of her family and the villagers who care for the trees, about what lies ahead for Afghanistan.
Ridgely Fuller and Carolyn Coe will bring us news from Gaza, the western end of the war torn Middle East region being plundered by bullies. Gaza is commonly referred to as the largest open air prison in the world, where the collective punishment of 1.5 million people continues, funded by both Israeli and U.S. taxpayers. Activists in our region are fundraising for clean water for kindergartens there, mental health services for Gazans, and relief efforts like U.S. Boat to Gaza. The Israeli "Defense" Force continues to stop humanitarian workers in international waters and confiscate their supplies: medicine, building materials, toys and the like. Reports are they will use dogs on the next boat that tries to get through the blockade.
In such troubled times it helps to listen hard for the voices of sanity. When indigenous people got together in Cochabamba, Bolivia to discuss the distress of our Mother Earth, laboring to bring forth life as death rains down from the skies, they produced a statement. Six months ago delegates to the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth and signed a People's Agreement that begins like this: "Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger." It goes on to list some of the issues, and has a statement of rights for the life producing system that is our planetary home:
- The right to live and to exist;
- The right to be respected;
- The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
- The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
- The right to water as the source of life;
- The right to clean air;
- The right to comprehensive health;
- The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
- The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
- The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.
Today we women in Maine are exercising our right to gather for support and renewal. We are now the grandmothers of our troubled world. We come together in the kind of circle that indigenous people have always held when faced with crisis. We will hold Mother Earth and her children in our hearts.