Voice of the Day

July 25, 2008

“We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet.”

– Hermann Hesse


July 25, 2008

The Swallow

July 25, 2008

La Standard Oil Company

July 18, 2008

La Standard Oil Company

Cuando el barreno se abrió paso
hacia las simas pedregales
y hundió su intestino implacable
en las haciendas subterráneas,
y los años muertos, los ojos
de las edades, las raíces
de las plantas encarceladas
y los sistemas escamosos
se hicieron estratas del agua,
subió por los tubos el fuego
convertido en líquido frío,
en la aduana de las alturas
a la salida de su mundo
de profundidad tenebrosa,
encontró un pálido ingeniero
y un título de propietario.

Aunque se enreden los caminos
del petróleo, aunque las napas
cambien su sitio silencioso
y muevan su soberanía
entre los vientres de la tierra,
cuando sacude el surtidor
su ramaje de parafina,
antes llegó la Standard Oil
con sus letrados y sus botas,
con sus cheques y sus fusiles,
con sus gobiernos y sus presos.

Sus obesos emperadores
viven en New York, son suaves
y sonrientes asesinos,
que compran seda, nylon, puros,
tiranuelos y dictadores.

Compran países, pueblos, mares,
policías, diputaciones,
lejanas comarcas en donde
los pobres guardan su maíz
como los avaros el oro:
la Standard Oil los despierta,
los uniforma, les designa
cuál es el hermano enemigo,
y el paraguayo hace su guerra
y el boliviano se deshace
con su ametralladora en la selva.

Un presidente asesinado
por una gota de petróleo,
una hipoteca de millones
de hectáreas, un fusilamiento
rápido en una mañana
mortal de luz, petrificada,
un nuevo campo de presos
subversivos, en Patagonia,
una traición, un tiroteo
bajo la luna petrolada,
un cambio sutil de ministros
en la capital, un rumor
como una marea de aceite,
y luego el zarpazo, y verás
cómo brillan, sobre las nubes,
sobre los mares, en tu casa,
las letras de la Standard Oil
iluminando sus dominios.

– Pablo Neruda

Music Video of the Week

July 18, 2008

Max Roach & Abbey Lincoln – We Insist! – Freedom Now Suite

Voice of the Day

July 18, 2008

“We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want.

We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people.

I am also here today as a representative of the millions of people across the globe, the anti-apartheid movement, the governments and organizations that joined with us, not to fight against South Africa as a country or any of its peoples, but to oppose an inhuman system and sue for a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.

These countless human beings, both inside and outside our country, had the nobility of spirit to stand in the path of tyranny and injustice, without seeking selfish gain. They recognized that an injury to one is an injury to all and therefore acted together in defense of justice and a common human decency.

Because of their courage and persistence for many years, we can, today, even set the dates when all humanity will join together to celebrate one of the outstanding human victories of our century.

When that moment comes, we shall, together, rejoice in a common victory over racism, apartheid and white minority rule.”

– Nelson Mandela

Happy Birthday Mandela!

July 18, 2008

One of the great freedom fighters and figures in the history of humankind turns 90 years old today and is still with us.

It’s Democratical!

July 18, 2008

American inequality highlighted by 30-year gap in life expectancy

July 17, 2008


American inequality highlighted by 30-year gap in life expectancy
By Leonard Doyle in Washington

The United States of America is becoming less united by the day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England.

Huge disparities have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US, according to a report published yesterday.

The American Human Development Index has applied to the US an aid agency approach to measuring well-being – more familiar to observers of the Third World – with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world’s prisoners.

Despite an almost cult-like devotion to the belief that unfettered free enterprise is the best way to lift Americans out of poverty, the report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen inequalities.

“The report shows that although America is one of the richest nations in the world, it is woefully behind when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life,” the authors said.

Some of its more shocking findings reveal that, in parts of Texas, the percentage of adults who pass through high school has not improved since the 1970s.

Asian-American males have the best quality of life and black Americans the lowest, with a staggering 50-year life expectancy gap between the two groups.

Despite the fact that the US spends roughly $5.2bn (£2.6bn) every day on health care, more per capita than any other nation in the world, Americans live shorter lives than citizens of every western European and Nordic country, bar Denmark..

Using official government statistics, the study points out that because American schools are funded primarily from local property taxes, rich districts get the best state education. The US has no federally mandated sick pay, paternity leave or annual paid vacation.

“Some Americans are living anywhere from 30 to 50 years behind others when it comes to issues we all care about: health, education and standard of living,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps co-author of the report.

Although the US is one of the most powerful and rich nations in the world, the study concludes it is “woefully behind when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life”.

According to a United Nations human development report, the US is in 12th place in a league table of wealthy developed nations.

Islamophobia alive and well in the US

July 15, 2008

This footage was filmed by ABC News as part of an undercover investigation on discrimination against Muslims in the US.

ABC hired two actors to play the store clerk and the Muslim woman. The clerk refuses to serve the woman and humiliates her with an assortment of racist comments.

The reaction from other customers who witnessed the incident is varied but the worst are there for everyone to see as are the many others who simply stood around in silence.

Truly vile and shameful and a reminder of the hate and racism that Muslims face everyday in the US.