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Shemah Online

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VETERANS FOR PEACE
Veterans Working Together for Peace & Justice Through Non-violence. Wage Peace!

I am a woman.  I am an American.  I am a Veteran.  I am a Patriot.

JUST SAY NO!

I am a woman.  I do not support an American attack on Iraq. I am an American. I do not support American aggression.  I am a Veteran.  I do not support the slaughter of millions of innocents in Baghdad to bring down Saddam Hussein... who, by the way, is likely not going to be one of those who die.  I am a Patriot. I do not support this personal vendetta of George Bush against Saddam Hussein, nor the use of American troops and American lives to deepen the pockets of a few greedy individuals and the corporations who back them.

NOT IN OUR NAME

I love my country.  I am proud to be an American.  I would like to remain proud!

Here for your contemplation are two old  prayers regarding peace and war.  The first poem is from the 60's in protest of the war in Vietnam, and no less appropriate today.  The other is written by Mark Twain.  In the center is the Pledge of Resistance, from Not In Our Name
 Prayer for Peace The Pledge of Resistance the War Prayer
Gentle Jesus, bless each bomb 
We drop today in Vietnam, 
And keep our helicopters safe 
From natives they fly low to strafe.

 Lord of Life, increase our skill 
To build up added Overkill, 
And let no pacifist decry 
The strontium-90 in our sky.

 Heavenly Father, we entreat 
Let no one sell the Cubans wheat,
And grant us power to chastise 
All insubordinate allies. 

Holy Spirit, give us grace 
To win the guided missile race, 
And help our scientists amass 
Vast arsenals of germs and gas.

From further dwindling, Lord, preserve 
Our ever-shrinking gold reserve,
And we beseech Thee,  come what may, 
Let overseas investments pay. 

The world's most upright Christian land, 
We ask these blessings at Thy hand
-- Be Thine the glory, Lord on high,
When women weep and children die. 

Amen. 

Ian Boyden & Ralph Dale, 1967

We believe that as people living in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices done by our government, in our names

Not in our name will you wage endless war there can be no more deaths no more transfusions of blood for oil

Not in our name will you invade countries bomb civilians, kill more children letting history take its course over the graves of the nameless 

Not in our name will you erode the very freedoms you have claimed to fight for 

Not by our hands will we supply weapons and funding for the annihilation of families on foreign soil

Not by our mouths will we let fear silence us 

Not by our hearts will we allow whole peoples or countries to be deemed evil

Not by our will and Not in our name

We pledge resistance

We pledge alliance with those who have come under attack for voicing opposition to the war or for their religion or ethnicity

We pledge to make common cause with the people of the world to bring about justice, freedom and peace

Another world is possible and we pledge to make it real.

 
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle-be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. 

Amen.

Mark Twain

 

Each one of us has something to offer to the peace process.  Even if it's as little as a letter to a senator, or to a newspaper.  Stand up and be counted.

Here are some efforts to be heard.  I've started a live journal to jot down thoughts as they come to me, at
LiveJournal.com

Letter to U.N. Security Council members:

Dear ..., 

I am an American who has been watching our presidentís drive to war with horror. It seems that all the protests of the American people that we do not support this impending attack on Iraq are falling on deaf ears. War seems imminent and inevitable with Mr. Bush at the helm. Thus, I am turning to the United Nations in hopes that members there, more committed to peace than the current U.S. administration, will hear our plea, indeed the pleas of those all across the world. 

I donít want this war. I donít feel it is justified. I am no supporter of Saddam Hussein, and I was fully supportive of the Gulf War in 1991 and the efforts of the United Nations and all countries to bring about the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait. That was 13 years ago, however, and these are not the same circumstances, and at this point, George Bush isnít looking any better than Saddam Hussein did back then. 

Whether or not Iraq has, or is trying to make, weapons of mass destruction, is a cause of grave concern. It is not at this point a cause for war. If America declares war on Iraq, it will be a clear act of aggression. 

I speak for many people... my mother and stepfather, my 16 year old daughter, and many friends and acquaintances across the country. We love our country. We are proud of what our country stands for. We do not believe Mr. Bush is upholding those principles on which our country was founded... the principles embodied in our Statue of Liberty. If Mr. Bush commits America to this hostile action, if we go into war against Iraq only on the basis of what is being told to us now, we will be abandoning those lofty principles of freedom, and justice, and bravery that we hold so dear. Instead of being the defender of freedom, America will have become the oppressor, imposing our will on the world by force. 

If anyone can do anything to stop this inexorable forward momentum to war, it is the United Nations Security Council. As a council member, I beseech you to do what you can to end this madness.

Sincerely, Shemah

To Be Silenced, Or Not to Be That is the Question By Debi Smith

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

-Justice William O. Douglas

Last week, both vice presidential nominee John Edwards and President George W. Bush visited Southern Oregon. Considering the area is relatively rural, sparsely populated, and Oregon is a state that usually gets little attention in a presidential election, it was an unprecedented and rather exciting occasion. I decided to try and get tickets to both events for my kids and myself.

Getting tickets from the Jackson County Democratic Party Headquarters for the Edwards event was pleasant and easy. They didn't ask me to declare a party, didn't ask who I was voting for, didn't ask me to provide personal information or a DNA sample.

Not so at the Jackson County GOP headquarters. First they wanted to know my name, address, phone number, email, and my driver's license number. "Do they really have the time, funds, and need to run all this data through some security check? What are they afraid of?" I asked myself. But hey, if it'll get me some tickets, I'll grudgingly fill out the application.

It didn't get me the tickets. "Are you a Bush supporter?" I was asked. I explained that I was a registered Independent and not necessarily a Bush supporter. "Are you going to vote for Bush?" I was asked. "No," I honestly, and out of curiosity to see what would happen, replied. I was summarily told that if I wasn't planning on voting for Bush, I wasn't welcome. "John" came over to make sure I got the message. I told him I'd taken my kids to similar events (we saw Clinton and Gore in 1996) and didn't he think it was good to get my kids involved in the democratic process early? To take them to events such as these and let them make up their own minds? I guess not. He just kept repeating, in a rather intimidating way, that if I wasn't a supporter, I wasn't welcome. (Funny how he wasn't worried about how this sort of attitude might affect the future of the Republican Party. Hmm.)

I initially found the whole thing absurdly funny even though I was shaking (intimidation will do that to you) as I walked out of GOP headquarters. As the day wore on and the more I reflected on the starkly different experiences I'd had at both headquarters, the more frustrated and indignant I became. What is happening in this country that my children and I are kept out of a rally for the man who is currently our president? I had no intention whatsoever of causing any disturbances or protesting the event in any way. We're a homeschooling family that uses a variety of life experiences and opportunities as our classroom. This was simply just another unique event for my children and I to attend and learn from.

Incidentally, I observed nary a protest during the entire Edwards rally the following day, despite the fact there had been no effort to keep anyone out based on their viewpoints or political affiliations. Why couldn't the Bush Campaign and the GOP behave in the same congenial and democratic fashion I wondered, and again asked myself, "What are they afraid of?" I even tried to come up with a new acronym for the GOP. Grand Old Paranoia came to mind.

Feeling more and more outraged by the sanitation of the Bush event, I decided to attend the unWelcome Bush rally to be held in Jacksonville. Jacksonville is a tiny little dot on the map (pop. 2245). It's a well-preserved gold mining town that now houses museums, tiny boutiques, eateries, and small inns. Bush would be spending the night here following his presumptuous and premature "Victory Rally" being held a few miles away in Central Point. A politically active friend of mine had organized the peaceful demonstration and had spoken several times with local authorities, informing them of the event, and asking all the pertinent questions. She was told that as long as people remained on the sidewalks, there should be no problem and that they were there to protect the president as well as our right to peaceably assemble.

Our group started out small, 70 or so people carrying signs, water bottles, video cameras, and children. As the evening wore on more people began gathering-Bush supporters, and protesters alike. There were several blockades, manned by security, at different intersections to the west of where we were. People, to my knowledge, were respecting the requests not to move beyond the blockades as well as continuing to respect the request to keep to the sidewalks. When a helicopter started making low passes overhead, a portion of the motorcycle motorcade came by, and a throng of riot cops made their appearance guarding the west end of the block, we assumed the President was on his way. Everything continued to remain fairly calm, even with the mixture of chanting from both sides.

Suddenly, an officer within the line of riot cops ordered the crowd to move back two blocks to 5th Street. They allowed about four seconds for this to sink in and then started pushing us back by moving forward in a line. The sidewalks could not contain the sudden movement of people, and subsequently the streets became crowded and chaotic. If their desire for us to move had been communicated earlier, or if that portion of the street had been blocked off to begin with, people probably would have, in general, respected it, even though we were in our legal right to be in the vicinity. But instead, the authorities in charge chose to create confusion and conflict instead of wisely diffusing it ahead of time. And the result was an unnecessary melee sudden gunfire; people running, falling, being shot with pepper bullets; children upset by the gunfire, and coughing from the pepper; women who were carrying their children being grabbed and pushed violently; people daring to ask questions being forcibly pushed and intimidated. It must be reiterated, this event was organized to be peaceful, non-violent, and family friendly. And, even though there was a mixed demographic on the street, the event remained non-violent and relatively peaceful...except for the actions of a few of the less than restrained riot cops. Riot cops, who were, we have to remind ourselves, taking orders from a higher command.

I fully expected to see the presence of the secret service, the snipers, and a multitude of officers at this event. What I didn't expect to see was a completely unnecessary use of extreme force in a situation that clearly didn't warrant it. If there was, and to my knowledge there wasn't, anyone doing something illegal or outside their constitutional rights, then why couldn't a couple of these well-trained officers peacefully remove the offenders? I was at the front of the crowd when the mayhem broke out and I saw nothing that would warrant shooting pepper bullets, especially into a crowd so full of young children.

After returning home from this disturbing event, I turned on the news. The only thing that aired on my local NBC affiliate regarding the event was an interview with a Bush supporter in the darkened street. I did learn later that a couple other outlets offered a slightly more balanced, though still sanitized, viewpoint. Several independent video clips documenting the overuse of force have also been sent to various media outlets over the past few days, and to my knowledge, none have been aired. More sanitation. Could this be happening all over the country? How many valid stories are going unreported by the major media? Or are so sanitized as to be a faint glimmer of the actual truth?

Who runs this sanitation department?

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

-Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the U.S.

After about 10 minutes of Internet research, I observed a picture beginning to develop. And, my friends, the picture isn't pretty. Yes, the silencing is happening all across America. At Presidential visits, during peace rallies, non-violent demonstrations, in high schools where kids draw anti-war pictures in art class, in small towns where people put dissenting comics on their car. All these events have resulted in visits, interrogation, and intimidation by the Secret Service. When you begin to notice the larger pattern of thought control, intimidation, and downright attack upon the very bedrock of our nation's guiding principles by the people who are sworn to uphold it, a sick feeling begins building in your gut.

In answer to my question, 'who runs this sanitation department?' Dave Lindorff, investigative reporter, journalist, and columnist succinctly explains, "White House advance teams and the Secret Service have routinely instructed local police at cities where the president or vice president plan to visit to remove demonstrators-particularly those carrying signs which might mar the TV imagery of a triumphant presidential motorcade or rally-and pen them in, often in fenced-in enclosures, well away from the event and the media. The result is news coverage that has seemed to suggest a universally adored administration."

The AFL-CIO, commenting on the well documented suppression of free speech and intimidation witnessed during the FTAA Ministerial in Miami last November said, "Some are calling the repression witnessed...the 'Miami model.' The Miami model calls for authorities to foment irrational fears about peaceful political protest in order to legitimize suppression of our rights. This climate of panic enables top police officials to harass and intimidate protestors and sympathetic members of the public.... These tactics are designed to discourage ordinary Americans from exercising their Constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly. People in America should not have to fear violent attacks funded by their own tax dollars when they participate in peaceful and permitted demonstrations. These tactics are part of a larger strategy of the Bush Administration to chill political dissent and stifle civil liberties here in America."

At the very Bush rally I was refused entrance to, three teachers (who were craftier than I when trying to obtain tickets) were kicked out for the crime of wearing t-shirts that said, "Protect our civil liberties." Reportedly, a rally volunteer said the shirts were "obscene." These three women were even threatened with arrest if they did not leave the event.

How have we come to such a point where advocating for protection of our civil liberties is obscene?? Of course, that's a silly question come post 9/11, right? Obviously, 9/11 (which was the all too convenient"catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor" that the neo-cons had been frothing at the mouth for since writing their thesis Rebuilding America's Defenses Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century in 2000) meant that in order for ordinary American citizens to experience security we'd have to give up many of our freedoms. Duh. Fall in line sheeple. Don't ask questions. Don't be unpatriotic. Don't dissent. For heaven's sake, go shopping. Go to Disney World. But whatever you do, don't think... your security's at stake.

Yes, our security is at stake. We are in the midst of a massive takeover (some would say corporate) of this country. But the real enemy isn't some nefarious terrorist out there. It isn't in those shipping containers Kerry mentions. It isn't in Iraq. It isn't in your neighborhood mosque or at the peace rally down the street or in the underbelly of the next plane you ride. You know why Bush lost interest in Bin Laden? It's because he knows who the real enemy is, and where he resides. And no, let's not blame this all on Bush.

Aside from believing the enemy within is much larger than George W. Bush, I also believe a big chunk of the blame belongs on the media's doorstep. In a few short years, media ownership has been consolidated into fewer and fewer (for profit) hands. According to the website Corporations.org "In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S." And in 2004? "Only 5 huge corporations - Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) - now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth."

These mega-conglomerates are in the business of selling you something. And the closer you look, the fishier it smells. But don't take my word for it. You owe it to yourself, and your country, to more deeply investigate the wily purveyors of our nation's "news." One current and particularly egregious example of media totalitarian boot stomping is Sinclair Broadcasting. The same Sinclair Broadcast Group that in April forbade its ABC affiliates from showing Ted Koppel's 40-minute tribute to fallen troops in Iraq, because the programming appeared to be "motivated by political agenda", has the audacity to order, yes order, their stations to preempt regular programming, days before the election, to air a film that attacks Senator Kerry's activism following the Vietnam War.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country's largest owner of TV stations, has also, among other things required journalists to read pro-Bush statements (verbal loyalty oaths), refused to air ads criticizing Bush and/or featuring video clips of the President making false claims, and have aired "news stories" written and paid for by the government. And this isn't being "motivated by a political agenda"??

Freedom Chips Anyone?

At first glance this may seem completely off the subject, but what about the fact that the state of Virginia is contemplating inserting RFID chips in all state issued drivers licenses? As per Kent Willis, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia

"Almost everyone carries a driver's license, and RFID chips allow people to be tracked. This proposal would allow anyone to set up an RFID reader to capture the identities and personal information of every person who comes within range. FBI agents, for example, could sweep up the identities of everyone at a political meeting, protest march, gun show, or Islamic prayer service."

This morning, I mentioned this RFID program to my son, asking him how he'd feel if he lived in a country that monitored your every move via a chip that was implanted in your driver's license, internal passport, or even worse, your body (technology that was just recently approved by the FDA, by the way). He nonchalantly replied that he wouldn't necessarily like it but that it wouldn't be any big deal. I talked to him about civil liberties, about privacy issues, about the freedoms this country fought long, hard, and bloody battles to obtain. Unfortunately, I wasn't very convincing. But fortunately, he doesn't get all his schooling from me. He's also enrolled in several classes outside the home and this afternoon I walked in to find him doing some homework for one of them...reading excerpts from George Orwell's 1984.

I know people are probably tired of all the Orwellian analogy. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. And we're headed for a terrible sinking if we "stay the course." I sat down to look through the excerpts my son had been reading, remembering back to when I'd read the book as a teen. Included in the reading homework was the preface Walter Cronkite wrote in 1984 for that year's edition of Orwell's novel. It reads, in part

...If not prophecy, what was 1984? It was, as many have noticed, a warning a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in dimensions that would have stunned the imaginations of earlier ages.

...That warning vibrates powerfully when we allow ourselves to sit still and think carefully about orbiting satellites that can read the license plates in a parking lot and computers that can tap into thousands of telephone calls and telex transmissions at once and other computers that can do our banking and purchasing, can watch the house and tell a monitoring station what television program we are watching and how many people there are in the room...And we hear echoes of that warning chord in the constant demand for greater security and comfort, for less risk in our societies. We recognize, however dimly, that greater efficiency, ease, and security may come at a substantial price in freedom, that law and order can be a doublethink version of oppression, that individual liberties surrendered for whatever good reason are freedom lost.

...It has been said that 1984 fails as a prophecy because it succeeded as a warning - Orwell's terrible vision has been averted. Well, that kind of self-congratulation is, to say the least, premature. 1984 may not arrive on time, but there's always 1985.

Or 2004.

Yes, I blame this neo-oppression on the Bush cabal, I blame the media, but I also blame myself, and everyone else like myself, who just hasn't had the time, or taken the time rather, to pay sufficient attention. To question. To reason. We were born into very fortunate circumstances-our country having fought long and hard for the opportunity to be self-determining, democratic, and free. Yet we have mostly squandered that gift by our inattention and often slobbering focus on all things material. It's we the people who've handed over our power to the media, to corporations, to the government. We're the ones who left the store, leaving the door wide open and the keys in the till. A few months ago I ran across a rather chilling and haunting quote

What no one seemed to notice...was the ever widening gap...between the government and the people....And it became always wider....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway...and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated...by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.... Each act... is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.... But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays.... Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that was required of most of us that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood....You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

-An excerpt from Milton Mayer's "They Thought They Were Free, The Germans 1938-45" (1955, University of Chicago Press).

Hopefully history has taught us what we must now do before it's too late. Before we are compromised beyond repair. First, we must take responsibility for becoming better informed, and we must do so by seeking out a wide variety of information. Secondly, we're approaching what's probably the most important election in our nation's history. The powers that be have tried, successfully it seems, to drive a wedge through the middle of this country's heart. Not since the civil war or the civil rights movement have we been so vehemently divided. Does the term "Divide and Conquer" ring a bell? Now is not the time to allow ourselves to be silenced or divided. We must speak out. We must listen to each other. Up to and following this election, we must continue to build bridges through the use of informed dialogue and compassionate listening. It can, does, and will make a difference. We must not be silent. For as Thomas Jefferson said, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

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Debi Smith - meal making, laundry washing, toilet swishing, bill paying, teen transporting, hug giving, information gathering concerned American - writes from Ashland, Oregon, where she shares a home with her husband, two children, a cat, and a dog. She can be reached at debi@mind.net.

 

 

 

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In 1555, Nostradamus had this to say about our Illustrious Leader:

"Come the Millennium, month 12,
In the home of greatest power,
The village idiot will come forth
To be acclaimed the leader."

HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

This page is my cyberparlor!  I have so many webpages things can get a little confusing, but I have this as my opening page, my parlor if you will, rather than my "At Home" page because here I have information about things that I feel strongly and passionately about, issues that make me sad, make me angry, make me happy... issues that I care about deeply.... and I hope that these would be things that you, too, would care about!  At the bottom of this and every page on this site, is an INDEX to all of my webpages.  

Also, please visit my site At Home with Shemah & Christina to get to know (lots more about) me personally....in fact, probably more than you wanted to know... in fact, probably more than you would have thought to ask... in fact, probably more than you knew there *was* to ask! ...in fact, probably more than you wanted to know! ...in fact -- well, you'll just have to come see for yourself, won't you? :)

Please!  Follow some of the various links to my other pages.... there is so much more to my website than just this one page!  At the bottom of every page on my site is a full Index of all my pages :)

Now, for my best news!  My first book, TRUCK STOP, has been published!  It was first released as an eBook but is now in print as well!  

Here's a description:

Teri is on the run, on a bus ride to nowhere, when an unscheduled stop on the wind-blown pains of Wyoming leaves her at M&J's Truck Stop... and in the arms of Mike, the young trucker who appoints himself her protector, who understands her as no one else could. But will her new life and here new-found love be enough her life takes an unexpected turn? And can even Mike keep her safe from the past that threatens to reclaim her?

You can get TRUCK STOP from amazon.com, or if you'd like an autographed copy at Authors Den, as those come directly from me and I can personally autograph it for you :)  You can read more about Truck Stop and my other novels in progress at AllieMcCormack.com

 

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According to the BILL OF RIGHTS of the United States of America, Article the Third (Amendment I): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."   We, as U.S. citizens, are guaranteed freedom of religion.  an-neveragain.gif (54252 bytes)ANY religion.... not just Christian.  That means it ALSO includes the right to be Jewish.  Or to be Muslim.  And not just restricted to religions believing in/worshiping the one supreme, monotheistic, (male) god of Judeo-Christian-Islam belief.  Not restricted to one god at all, or even from believing in in a goddess!  Or many gods, and many goddesses.  Now, maybe that's not what our founding fathers meant.  Probably not, in fact <grin>.  Be that as it may, freedom of religion means just that... freedom of religion... and that is MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT -- my CONSTITUTIONAL right --- and the right of ANY CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY to worship and believe as their heart and mind dictate.  

I fully support people of ALL religions. 

A Religion of Peace and Tolerance

Islam is a wonderful religion with a message of peace and tolerance.  I have lived in the Middle East (Cairo as an exchange student and Riyadh working in a hospital), and I can honestly say that nowhere have I met a more peaceful, friendly hospitable peoples than the Muslims.  Really.  Like all the world, I was horrified at the terrorist acts of Sep. 11.  I was, I am sorry to say, equally horrified at the outpouring of hatred and violence upon the blameless Muslims here in this "tolerant" country of ours.  

These terrorists called themselves Muslims.  Their acts, however, no more reflect upon Islam than those of Timothy McVeigh, or Son of Sam, or Jim Jones, did upon Christianity.  These weren't Muslim acts that they carried out, these were *terrorist* acts.  The two are NOT synonymous!  I'd like to invite you to read the remarks of Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a renowned Muslim scholar, regarding the view of Islam re terrorism.  Click here to go to that speech.  Amongst other things, he points out a verse from the Qur'an which reads:  

"Who so ever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind,"  (Al-Ma'dah 5:32).

I do urge you, if you want to know what Islam says in regards to anything... ask a Muslim!  Look up your local mosque and call the Imam and ask.  There are many non-Muslims out there with an "agenda", who present Islam in the way they wish it presented.  Do you want to know what Islam is REALLY about... or do you want to know only what someone else *wants* you to know about it?  Think about that.  There are 1.5 billion Muslims in this world; over 8 million in this country alone.  With only a very few (well-publicized) exceptions, these voices rose as one in outcry AGAINST the terrorist actions of Sep. 11th.  Even the long-time enemy of America, Muammar Qaddhafi, spoke out against this horrific attack.   Don't drown out those millions upon millions of Muslim voices, to listen to a few who try to tell you differently.  

I've put up some basic information on Islam here:  Introduction to Islam

Why, you ask, do I care?  True, I am neither Muslim nor Arab.  I ask you to consider these words:

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
    
~ Rev. Martin J. Niemoller, 1945

There you have your answer.  I believe in speaking up.  I believe if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.  I believe that if you see something wrong and keep silent, that you are as guilty then as those persons doing wrong.  I just don't believe in turning my back on injustice, in any form.

There's also this, I don't know where it's from:
"It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"

 

On to other things.  I'd like to share with you some thoughts, and information and links on some issues close to me. I believe that all of us on this Earth, the flora and fauna, everything that we do, collectively and individually, are all linked together. When a species becomes endangered, we become endangered ourselves. And when a species disappears, I believe that a little of each of us disappears as well. Some of the most magnificent animals to roam this earth are currently at risk. I believe it is our responsibility to take care, to nurture and maintain these animals from extinction... because, in the end, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE should they die off entirely!

         

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Please visit North American Wolf Association to find out more about these splendid, very misunderstood brothers of ours on this earth.  Check out some more great links about wolves at the bottom of this page.


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Visit Buffalo Field Operation (formerly Buffalo Nation) and find out about the slaughter of these magnificent, very endangered animals as they migrate out of Yellowstone Park in search of winter forage.... find out what is being done to try to stop this, learn the facts about the brucellosis myth -- and it *IS* a myth! -- and what YOU can do to help!  Christina and I have spent some weekends read about Our Experiences with Buffalo Nation in West Yellowstone.  In fact, you'd better!  Because I just spent HOURS writing it all up, and going through my pictures and scanning them in, just so YOU could enjoy my first-hand account!  *smile*

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We now return you to our regular programming... er... web site:

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One day long ago I bought a plaque for my grandmother that had one of her favorite sayings on it, and I wanted to share it with you:

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And of thy slender store two loaves
Alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.


--Rubiyyat of Omar Khayyam

I never knew who wrote this, and it's been on my page for two years now, with
5724 visitors, until finally... Finally!  There was someone who knew
where this came from!  Carolyn Whitehorn, a very talented... and educated!....
sculptor from Northern California!  Carolyn, my thanks!

 

This letter arrived in my Email one day a couple of years ago.  The author is unknown to me.  I cried when I read it, and I sat and cried as I typed it in here.   I still cry when I read it.  How can this fail to touch the heart of anyone?


DEATH OF AN INNOCENT

I went to a party, Mom, I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.

I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.

I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
the other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
the other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.

I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'd get here soon..
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die.

Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying and all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom, put "Daddy's Girl" on my grave
Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom. I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you, you were alway
s there.
I have one last question, Mom, before I say good bye.
I didn't drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?



This is all I have for you for now... tune in now and then for additions and changes :)  I'd love to hear from you, so
Email me at the link at the bottom of this page with any comments or suggestions, or even just to say Hi! Just for fun, here's a pic of me and my cub.. don't forget to drop by At Home with Shemah & Christina for more pics and links and other fun stuff! :)



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