Beyond Main Street

For the last 7 years, I have been giving historical walking tours of my home village--Woodstock, Vermont. I try with each walk to turn this seemingly tidy and wholly unmysterious place upside down and inside out, to create perceptual surprises. That is what I would wish for this blogwalk to do as well. Thanks for joining me.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Discernment and Delight

When I read Bush's Fort Bragg speech yesterday, I wanted to count the number of times that he used the word "terror," or "terrorist," but was too lazy to do so. My thanks to Pascal Riché, a journalist for the French newspaper Liberation, who has kindly posted on his blog a synopsis of the speech, with an itemization of Bush's subliminal vocabulary of fear. Here it is, in the order in which the words appeared in Bush's speech:

“Global war on terror, September the 11th, 2001, terrorists, terrorists, totalitarian ideology , freedom, tyranny, oppression, terror, kill, terrorists, September the 11th, freedom, enemy , war, terrorists, kill, murderous ideology , terrorism, terrorists, free nation, war on terror, freedom, violence and instability, dangerous, violence, bloodshed, violence, sacrifice , war on terror, violence, killers, freedom, criminal elements, hateful ideology, freedom, liberty, democracy, terrorists, war on terror, terrorists, Osama Bin Laden, murder and destruction, enemy, terrorists, car bombs, enemy, terrorists, suicide bomber, enemy, terrorists, violence, terrorists, terrorists, terrorists , freedom, enemies, September the 11th, Bin Laden, enemy, free, tyranny, terrorists, anti-terrorist, free, al Qaeda, free nation, terrorists, terrorists, enemy security terrorists, anti-terrorist terrorists, terror, enemy, tyranny , enemies, freedom, freedom, ideologies of murder, atrocity, September the 11th 2001, car bombers and assassins, freedom, freedom, flying the flag, freedom, freedom, September the 11th 2001, enemies.

The antidote to the sort of false terror engendered by the neocons, it seems to me, is twofold: discernment, and delight. Tim Traver, the missing band member from our State House session (he's the handsome one at the base of the rock), supplied the first antidote this morning as we rode home from a gig at the AMC's Highland Center up in Crawford Notch. The whole band supplies me with perennial and nonstop delight, and on this 50th birthday of Tim's wife Delia, I delight in showing off Delia's photo of us up in Crawford Notch. Thanks fellas.

Da Boyz

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Echoes of Nuremberg

Last night, I rode my bike around the village looking for someone with a television, so that I could watch Bush's speech from Fort Bragg. I ended up playing with my friend Susannah, and didn't get a chance to read the speech until this morning. The White House web site accompanied the text with photographs that were eerily reminiscent of ones I had seen before:

Albert Speer surely would have recognized the dramatic effect of this shot:

After all, Nuremberg could have been nicknamed Hitler's "Fort Brag," since it was the site each September for the Party Day rallies that showed a German State in obedient lockstep with its leader and his twisted ideology. Bush's Speer, Karl Rove, set a perfect backdrop for Bush's latest round of mendacious sloganeering.

Though the sycophantic American media may now dare to disbelieve Bush's propaganda (today's New York Times says that "we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks"), its blindspots continue to glare as brightly as the Speer's Nuremberg klieg lights. What has the New York Times or the Washington Post had to say about the World Tribunal on Iraq, which ended the day before Bush's latest rally?

The Jury of Conscience at the World Tribunal on Iraq, less than 24 hours before President Bush delivered another round of lies at Fort Bragg, made the following recommendations:

1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq;
2. That coalition governments make war reparations and pay compensation to Iraq for the humanitarian, economic, ecological, and cultural devastation they have caused by their illegal invasion and occupation;
3. That all laws, contracts, treaties, and institutions established under occupation which the Iraqi people deem inimical to their interests, should be considered null and void;
4. That the Guantanamo Bay prison and all other offshore US military prisons be closed immediately; that the names of the prisoners be disclosed, that they receive POW status, and receive due process;
5. That there be an exhaustive investigation of those responsible for crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity in Iraq, beginning with George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and other government officials from the coalition of the willing;
6. That we initiate a process of accountability to hold those morally and personally responsible for their participation in this illegal war, such as journalists who deliberately lied, corporate media outlets that promoted racial, ethnic and religious hatred, and CEOs of multinational corporations that profited from this war;
7. That people throughout the world launch actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle, CACI Inc., Titan Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have sued Iraq and received “reparation awards”: Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest.
8. That soldiers exercise conscience and refuse to enlist and participate in an illegal war. Also that countries provide conscientious objectors political asylum.
9. That the international campaign for dismantling all US military bases abroad be reinforced.
10. That people around the world resist and reject any effort by any of their governments to provide material, logistical, or moral support to the occupation of Iraq.

Defendants at Nuremberg

The members of the Jury of Conscience, convened from ten different countries, issued these recommendations in hopes that they would "lay the groundwork required for a world where the international institutions will be shaped and reshaped by the will of people and not fear and self-interest, where journalists and intellectuals will not remain mute, where the will of the people of the world will be central, and human security will prevail over state security and corporate profits."

The Jury of Conscience needs our voices to echo loudly its outrage and its courageous call for justice. Six years passed between Hitler's invasion of Poland and the 1945 war crimes trial at Nuremberg; I take heart that the world has only taken two and a half years to indict the criminals who perpetrated this war.