Friday, 29 January 2010
"We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."
"Any humane and reasonable person must conclude that if the ends, however desirable, are uncertain and the means are horrible and certain, these means must not be employed."
"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
"Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."
"Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. "
"The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson - that everything we do matters - is the meaning of the people's struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back."
~ Howard Zinn, 1922 - 2010
Link to Howard Zinn retrospective on 1/28/10 All Things Considered - National Public Radio
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Below find an initial tribute to Howard on the Democracy Now! website. Their program on Thursday will be devoted to a retrospective of his contributions.
Some readers here might have seen Zinn's incredibly powerful "The People Speak" documentary which premiered on the History Channel last month! (December)
As Bill Moyers said: "Howard Zinn has long been known as the historian of the American everyman and woman. His groundbreaking work, THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, turned history on its head — concentrating on the power of the people to effect change, not just the deeds of great men and those in political power."
Zinn's contributions to people in the United States and around the globe were and are massive - he will be very deeply missed by a multitude. His emphases on honesty, justice, education and "the power of people to effect change" are exactly what was needed as we struggle to initiate the many reforms and changes that some of us deem to be essential.
He deployed his energies so well - to the very end.
One can find plenty of additional links below to help round out the picture of his legacy.
Grace and Peace,
# # #
What follows is the initial tribute at Democracy Now!
Howard Zinn, one of the country’s most celebrated historians, died of a heart attack Wednesday in Santa Monica, California. He was 87.
His classic work, A People’s History of the United States, changed the way we look at history in America. First published a quarter of a century ago, the book has sold over a million copies and continues to sell more copies each successive year.
After serving as a shipyard worker and then an Air Force bombardier in World War II, Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He went to college under the GI Bill, received his PhD from Columbia. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past half-century. He taught at Spelman College, the historically black college for women in Atlanta, was fired for insubordination for standing up for the women. He is now Professor Emeritus at Boston University and was recently honored by Spelman.
Zinn has received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award, and the Lannan Literary Award. He is the author of many books, including the People’s History Series; a seven-volume series on the Radical ’60s; several collections of essays on art, war, politics and history; and the plays Emma and Marx in Soho.
In December, The People Speak a documentary based on the live performances of A People’s History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States premiered on the History Channel.
(A collection of his appearances on Democracy Now! is then listed.)
# # #
For more on Howard Zinn and to see powerful small segments from "The People Speak," see the Dec. 11 interview with Zinn on the Bill Moyers Journal here. For additional resources and a biography see this link.
The following brief transcribed excerpts from the programs mentioned above will give you a feel for the power of Zinn's humanity, scholarship, and film:
[BILL MOYERS: There's a long tradition in America of people power, and no one has done more to document it than the historian, Howard Zinn. Listen to this paragraph from his most famous book. Quote: "If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come, if history were any guide, from the top. It would come through citizen's movements, educating, organizing, agitating, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed."
This son of a working class family got a job in the Brooklyn shipyards and then flew as a bombardier during World War II. He went to NYU on the G.I. Bill, taught history at Spellman College in Atlanta, where he was first active in the Civil Rights movement, and then became a professor of political science at Boston University.
There, he and his students sought a more down-to-earth way of looking at American history. And when no book could provide it, Zinn decided to write one. Since his publication in 1980, "A People's History of the United States" has sold more than two million copies.
This Sunday night, the History Channel will premiere a 90-minute special, "The People Speak" based on Howard Zinn's book. It was produced by Zinn along with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore and Anthony Arnove.]
# # #
Howard Zinn has long been known as the historian of the American everyman and woman. His groundbreaking work, THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, turned history on its head — concentrating on the power of the people to effect change, not just the deeds of great men and those in political power.
Now, selections from his collection of voices from the American past are being performed by actors, poets and writers in a new documentary directed by Matt Damon which is airing on The History Channel. Find out more about some of those voices below, and delve further into American history through the JOURNAL's coverage of American history on-air and online.
* "Ain't I a Woman?" Sojourner Truth (1851)
* The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman. "A Narrative of Real Life"(1860)
* Mark Twain, "Comments on the Moro Massacre" (1906)
* Industrial Workers of the World, "Why the IWW is not Patriotic to the United States" (1918)
* Langston Hughes, "Ballad of Roosevelt" (1934)
* Dalton Trumbo, "Johnny Got His Gun" (1939)
* Daniel Ellsberg; "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers" (2003) ]
# # #
More interesting and informative links:
Howard Zinn: Obama "Is Going to Need Demonstrations and Protest and Letters and Petitions" to Do the Right Things - Liliana Segura - AlterNet 3/12/09
Changing Obama's Mindset - Howard Zinn - The Progressive 5/09
Archive of Recent Articles by Howard Zinn - AlterNet
"Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire" (Narrated by Viggo Mortensen; from "A People's History of American Empire" by Howard Zinn) - Henry Holt Video (8:35 min) 3/28/08
Rest in peace, Howard Zinn.
Monday, 25 January 2010
This cartoon got published in some newspapers around Latin America nine days after the Haiti earthquake struck that country on the 12th of January, 2010
"It must be so they won't go out of character."
(The cartoonist, Alfredo Martirena Hernández, was born in 1965 in Santa Clara, Cuba, and it was first published by Rebelión on 21 January 2010.)
Cuba? "We sent doctors, not soldiers!" - Fidel Castro (24 January, 2010)
It's important to realize that a bit of what Castro spoke about twelve days into the quake response in Haiti actually contains some kernel of truth and sheds a bit of light on what most Americans are either ignorant of or refuse to acknowledge. Now readers here don't have to take my word on it; you can also feel quite free to ignore whatever Castro says anytime you wish!
However, as I explained to another friend, Barry (who was questioning my sincerity as a conversation partner because I cited, above, the quote/article authored by Fidel Castro without comment) it is quite another thing though to ignore the assessments of well-known journalists like the following - who, by the way, are not Castro sympathizers - but who experienced and reported some of the same things FIRSTHAND, and which I took the time to read or listen to:
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of an very important and informative article by the prominent editorial page cartoonist and journalist Ted Rall, putting the situation in Haiti into historical context. (
It's quite difficult for thoughtful readers to ignore what the prominent Jamaican journalist, John Maxwell, wrote, as well.
And here's a fairly comprehensive historical perspective about American control of Haiti, written by Michel Chossudovsky.
Earthquakes alone do not create disasters of the scale now experienced in Haiti. The wealthy nations have for too long exploited Haiti, denying it the right to develop in a secure, sovereign, sustainable way. The global outpouring of support for Haitians must be matched by long-term, unrestricted grants of aid, and immediate forgiveness of all that country’s debt. Given their role in Haiti’s plight, the United States, France and other industrialized nations should be the ones seeking forgiveness."
Any further comments? (Feel free to post them below.)
Friday, 22 January 2010
If you don't think cell phones and wireless communications towers aren't hazardous to human health then you haven't watched this presentation!!
Witnesses before a Senate Committee testified about research into cell phone use and its potential impact on human health, as well as the potential side effects such as brain and salivary gland tumors.
In 2008, cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors. Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, who testified in September 2009 at the U.S. Senate Hearing, is the principle investigator of the study that made this finding.
The report states that your risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by:
34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years.
58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime.
49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime.
The video above, produced by Electromagnetichealth.org and filmed at Columbia University Law School at a presentation on Wireless Hazards, was posted during the first week of January 2010. It explains how wireless radiation creates cognitive problems, damages DNA, diminishes fertility, causes disorientation and navigation difficulties for birds, bees and other wildlife, and may contribute to Bee Colony Collapse, which, if not reversed, will jeopardize the future of life on earth.
Presenters include Camilla Rees, founder of ElectromagneticHealth.org; Martin Blank PhD, Associate Professor at Columbia University Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics; and Whitney North Seymour, Jr. Esq., Attorney at Law and Co-Founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Good questions from the audience are addressed by this panel during the last 15 minutes.
I'm very concerned about the billions of people around the globe being - or about to be - affected. How about you? Can you guess why nothing much has been done in America yet? Think about how strong the wireless communications lobby is....
So, get educated, and pass this information along. Think about what you are doing to YOURSELF! (There are hands-free devices out there that can help.)
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Remember the official court verdict? The assassination of Martin Luther King was a conspiracy, not a lone gunman! So why wasn't anything done?
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Volunteer opportunities in Haiti continue to be limited to people with specific skills. If you have the expertise needed, you can register your skills and experience for a possible volunteer opportunity at the Center for International Disaster Information's registration page.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Friday, 8 January 2010
And check out the video message I made for my daughter here in this new "disguise" - after I found out about a month ago that she's expecting and that I'll become a true biological granddad for the first time, probably somewhere around the end of July. (She just recently gave me permission to "go public" with this!)