International Day of Peace — Sunday, Sept. 20

by Frank Panzarella, board member, WRNSC

The West River neighborhood has been home to the United Nations dedicated peace garden for many years. The community has taken to heart its role and every year has sponsored an International Day of Peace Festival.

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 will see the 10th anniversary celebration and it will be a great day. All New Haven peace groups are urged to participate with tables or just come by and help make the day a success for all of New Haven. Contact Frank Panzarella for more information and to set up a table at (203) 562-2798 or by emailing frankpanzarella@hotmail.com.

A full day of activities will start at noon and run until 5 p.m. with music by Boogie Chillun, I.N.I.T.Y., free food, meditation, health screenings, activities for young people and much more.

The Nation Drill & Drum team will perform as well as Kode Red, poet Baub Bidon and singer Samantha Boisvert and statements will be read by clergy and community leaders.

The day is sponsored by the West River Neighborhood Services Corporation with help from Yale New Haven Health, Yale University, Continuum of Care and others.

In case of rain, the event will be held Sept. 27.

Jewish Voice for Peace hosts filmmaker Dr. Alice Rothchild

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) recently hosted a visit by filmmaker Dr. Alice Rothchild with screenings of her film Voices Across the Divide. The film explores the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba, featuring interviews with three generations of North American Palestinians whose families were forced into refugee status during the war of 1948-49.

In a retrospective on her visit, Rothchild states “I discussed the complexities of the Zionist movement, the fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together pretty well until Zionists arrived, that the goal was clearly to create a Jewish-only state and that required getting rid of indigenous Arabs.[…] I urged people to understand that Netanyahu is not an aberration, that if you found a state based on Jewish privilege and dominance and you support militant settlers and the profound racism that has been present since the birth of the Zionist movement, then you get the government we have now. This is clearly highly problematic for liberal American Jews and we need to face these contradictions.”
Questioned by an audience member at the Whitney Center about her recent visit to Gaza, Rothchild spoke of the devastating effects of the collective punishment of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). She referenced on her blog a meeting with Dr. Mona el-Farra of Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). Rothchild quotes Dr. el-Farra:

“400,000 children are traumatized after the attack due to eyewitness experiences according to the UN and UNICEF. I see that those kids, age five to 16, who are suffering this trauma, were eyewitnesses of the attack, are the future youth, those kids will be the future negotiators. When Israel hits Gaza, it hits the psychological well-being of those kids.”

See her blog at alicerothchild.com/blog-2015 for a remarkable daily recounting of her March journey.
That is the present reality in Gaza. For a conversation about growing up and attending school in the West Bank, come June 17 at 6:30 p.m. to the Spring Glen Congregational Church, 1825 Whitney Ave., Hamden, to hear Shurouq Isam Alatrash and Heba Elias Bannoura, 2015 Nursing and Mid-wifery graduates respectively from Bethlehem University. For more details, see http://www.jvpnh.org/event/discussion-palestinian-nursing-and-midwifery-students.

You can reach JVP New Haven on the web: www.jvpnh.org, by email:  newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org, or facebook: jvpnewhaven, or twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

Court Sessions Continue Against the ‘Westport 2’

Stanley Heller, Exec. Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

On May 12 two young men went into a Westport, CT, synagogue to read a three-paragraph statement opposing the meeting there to raise funds for the “Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.” They were stopped before they could get into the meeting room and someone FALSELY claimed the two were armed. Many police cars came to the synagogue. Police brandished automatic weapons. Schools in the area were sent into lockdown. The two men, Dan Fischer and Gregory Williams, were arrested on a charge that if punished to the maximum could get them one year in prison.

In court on May 22 in Stamford Dan Fischer applied for “Accelerated Rehabilitation.” Gregory Williams opted for a jury trial. The next court session is July 21.

The two had attempted to enter the talk and to read testimony by Nabilah Abu Halima, a Palestinian woman whose son was killed in Gaza during 2009’s Operation Cast Lead and who had to flee her home with the rest of her family during 2014’s Gaza Massacre.

Fischer and Williams were particularly concerned that the event, a women’s luncheon sponsored by Friends of the IDF, claimed that the occupying army is “a world leader in integrating women in the armed forces.” The activists intended their demonstration to call attention to the experiences of women living under the apartheid regime in Palestine.

Palestinian women and families suffer the brunt of the violence of the IDF’s periodic assaults on Gaza. The family of Nabilah Abu Halima, whose testimony Fischer and Williams were attempting to read at the talk, is just one example: “Our son Matar was 17 when he was killed in the 2009 war [Operation Cast Lead]. He was killed together with his cousin Muhammad, who was 12, while they were trying to escape the bombardments. Other members of the family who were with them were injured. One of them, Ghada Abu Halima, died of her wounds three months later….My son Matar was killed right before my eyes.” Ghada Abu Halima died from burns she suffered from a white phosphorus bomb.

A defense fund has been created to help pay for lawyers.  To see how to contribute and for latest developments see: www.TheStruggle.org.

West River Neighborhood 10th Annual International Day of Peace, Sept. 20

Frank Panzarella, WRNSC Board Member

The West River Neighborhood Services Corporation is making plans for our 10th Annual International Day of Peace celebration. As in past years, we invite area peace groups to set up information tables and displays. We hope that the various groups affiliated with PAR consider joining us that day. The entire event is free for the public — free music and entertainment, free food, giveaways, etc. Groups may distribute literature and have displays but the sale of goods is prohibited. This is a great networking opportunity with our community. Please share your work, dedication and aspirations with the neighborhood!

The International Day of Peace will be held Sunday, September 20, from 1-5 p.m. at the U.N. Peace Garden bounded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Legion Avenue and Ella Grasso Boulevard (Route 34 Connector). Please contact me if your group is interested in joining us. We supply a limited number of tables and chairs for free. Thank you. frankpanzarella@hotmail.com, (203) 562-2798.

Milada Marsalka’s Memoirs Now Available in New Haven

PAR Planning Committee

milada-marsalkaMilada Marsalka, founding member of PAR (1993), long-time president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, New Haven County Branch, and a fiery activist in countless struggles for peace, labor rights, equality and justice, had the foresight to write about her life. She died in 2000 at the age of 95, leaving a manuscript that could inform and inspire others.

Through the diligence of Milada’s nieces, Regina Stevenson and Catherine Nathan, Pursuing Peace: Memoirs of Milada Marsalka has been published.

Thanks to New Haven/León Sister City Project, a box of books was shipped to New Haven. You can purchase your copy of Pursuing Peace from PAR for $15. Please call Paula at (203) 562-2798 to arrange your pick-up. This book makes a great gift!

For a description of the book go to the publisher’s site: wordassociation.com/memoir%20book%20page/pursuingpeace.html.

Workers of the World Uniting for Respect, Dignity & Peace

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The People’s World in Connecticut is hosting its annual celebration of International Workers’ Day on Sunday, May 3 at 4:00 pm at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford.

A panel discussion, “Workers of the World Uniting for Respect, Dignity & Peace,” will highlight growing unity and resistance to global corporate attacks on the civil rights, human rights and lives of workers, youth and families. Alberto Bernardez (SEIU 32 BJ) will tell of attempts to destroy the teachers’ union in Honduras. Marie Lausch (UE) will speak on the peace campaign by the union federation Zenroren in Japan. John Harrity (IAM) will address the threat to jobs, environment and democracy posed by fast track for TPP. A representative of the “Fight for $15 and a union” will tell the demands of fast food and other low wage workers for living wages and a voice on the job. Juan and Becky Brito will perform Chilean songs.

A home made buffet and a raffle will round out the afternoon. Tickets are $5 or what you can afford. No one will be turned away. The event is a fund raiser toward the annual $10,000 People’s World Connecticut fund drive goal. Donations large and small will be welcomed and appreciated.

A carpool will leave from the New Haven Peoples Center at 2:30 pm. Call in advance to arrange for a space or to offer to drive. (203) 624-8664.

Institute Library Reading Series May 13

by Bennett Lovett-Graff, Publisher, New Haven Review

institute_library-new_haven-201312The Young Men’s Institute Library is proud to host the Listen Here Short Story reading series. Join us for a night of classic short stories selected by the staff of the New Haven Review and read by cast members of the New Haven Theater Company. Reading starts at 7:00 p.m., with a talk back at 8:00 p.m. that explores the background, meaning, and dramatic interpretation of that night’s stories. Also, freshly baked cookies–a different batch at each reading–and tea are available. $5 suggested admission, but no obligations! Next reading’s theme: “A Little Out of Place.”

Our stories: “Fat” by Raymond Carver; “Araby” by James Joyce; and “The Use of Force” by William Carlos Williams. Join us Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 7:00 p.m. at Young Men’s Institute Library, 847 Chapel St. (Please note that the Institute Library is one flight up and, most unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.) For more information, visit us at www.institutelibrary.org.

Milada Marsalka’s Memoirs Now Available in New Haven

PAR Planning Committee

pursuing-peaceMilada Marsalka, founding member of PAR (1993), long-time president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, New Haven County Branch, and a fiery activist in countless struggles for peace, labor rights, equality and justice, had the foresight to write about her life. She died in 2000 at the age of 95, leaving a manuscript that could inform and inspire others.

Through the diligence of Milada’s nieces, Regina Stevenson and Catherine Nathan, Pursuing Peace: Memoirs of Milada Marsalka has been published.

Thanks to New Haven/León Sister City Project, a box of books was shipped to New Haven. You can purchase your copy of Pursuing Peace from PAR for $15. Please call Paula at (203) 562-2798 to arrange your pick-up. This book makes a great gift!

For a description of the book go to the publisher’s site: wordassociation.com/memoir%20book%20page/ pursuingpeace.html.

Report on Jewish Voice for Peace National Meeting

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Several members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) New Haven chapter were among the 600 attendees at the bi-annual JVP national membership meeting in Baltimore, March 13-15. The weekend was filled with inspiring keynotes, fact-filled breakout sessions, hands-on workshops and planning exercises, and a somber and moving Jewish memorial service for those who lost their lives during the brutal assault on Gaza by the state of Israel this past summer.

A significant focus of the event was the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a non-violent call by over 150 organizations in Palestinian civil society for three actions by Israel: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The call is conditional on these, and includes an end to BDS once they are implemented. BDS is not punitive but simply a means to achieve Freedom, Equality, and Justice for Palestinians long denied these fundamental human rights.

While the Israeli election occurred 2 days after the end of the JVP meeting, the racist rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu, his promise to maintain the occupation indefinitely, and the endorsement of his values by the Israeli electorate only serve to raise the importance of using BDS as a tool to achieve human rights for Palestinians. Find out more about the BDS movement at http://www.bdsmovement.net.
Rabbi Brant Rosen of JVP spoke from the heart: “I’d like to suggest that a deeper understanding of this value [love of the Jewish people] should not stop at love just for fellow Jews. After all, while the word Yisrael does refer to the Jewish people, it also literally means ‘one who wrestles with God.’ Seen thus, we might interpret it as love for all who struggle, to love all who fight as we have for freedom and justice and tolerance in the world, to stand in solidarity with those who struggle against tyranny, and are beaten, imprisoned, tortured or killed for doing so…these are the members of our tribe, perhaps our most sacred tribe.”

Angela Davis concluded her stirring plenary by remarking “We are compelled to speak back with the voices of our humble solidarity, and one of the most important of these voices is Jewish Voice for Peace. Carry on!”

JVP New Haven contact info: web: www.jvpnh.org; email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org; facebook: jvpnewhaven; twitter:@jvpnewhaven.

An Invitation to Environmental Groups to Join in Peace and Planet Events

Kim Stoner, Board of Directors, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace would like environmental groups to join us in mobilizing a broad coalition in support of nuclear disarmament this April in New York City.

Specifically, we invite you to participate in the Peace and Planet International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World on April 24 and 25, and the rally and march on April 26. When representatives of the nations of the world gather at the United Nations for the 5-year Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we want to deliver the message to these representatives that the peoples of the world want good faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons, as required by the Treaty since it entered into force in 1970.

Despite the end of the Cold War and President Obama’s pledge in 2009 to seek a “nuclear-free world,” there are about 17,000 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide, including over 7,000 in the US and 8,000 in Russia. According to a recent federal report on modernization of the US nuclear arsenal, over $1 trillion will be spent to upgrade US nuclear weapons over the next 30 years.

Proliferation of nuclear weapons also increases the likelihood of their use in regional conflicts, such as between India and Pakistan. This would, of course, result in tremendous human mortality and suffering and regional environ-mental effects from the blasts, the pressure waves, direct radiation and radioactive fallout. In addition, even a relatively small regional nuclear war (using 50 weapons on each side) would have devastating global environmental effects by sending vast amounts of smoke and soot into the atmosphere resulting in a nuclear winter lasting for a decade or more.

The continuing threat of nuclear weapons has, for many of us, been present our entire lives. As a result, it requires a big psychological step for us to realize that the nuclear war culture, like the reliance on fossil fuels, is an aspect of our civilization that can and must change.

Please join us in organizing for the Peace and Planet events. For the specific demands of the organizers, please go to www.PeaceandPlanet.org.

Volvieron! They Returned!

by Augusta Girard, Promoting Enduring Peace

For decades the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)/Pastors for Peace has been working for an alternative people-to-people foreign policy. PEP has supported the work of IFCO for many years, having given their 1993 Gandhi Peace Award to Reverend Lucius Walker, Jr., founder of IFCO, and recently having had Gail Walker, Director of IFCO, in New Haven deliver a lecture on “Why the World Needs Cuba.” Embracing this long overdue victory we will continue our support and work to end the Cuban blockade once and for all.

From IFCO:

Today, we join the Cuban people in celebrating a successful step toward new diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba!

We applaud President Obama for acting on the desire of the vast majority of people in the US – and Cuba – who want normal relations between our two countries.

 

While this is a step toward what we’ve been working for, there’s still much to be worked out and analyzed. We know that the right-wing won’t go down without a fight. Our Work Continues!

 

Although we commend President Obama’s action in releasing the remaining members of the Cuban Five and taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba, we know that there will be ‘blowback’ from the right-wing who need Cuba as an enemy.

The National Network on Cuba, which PEP has been a member of for over 20 years, released a statement in part saying:

“The recent focus on Cuba including today’s release of the Five, the upcoming Summit of the Americas, exposure of USAID’s nefarious efforts to subvert Cuban society, and the Cuban medical missions fighting Ebola, present an opportunity for all of us committed to Cuban solidarity. We must now increase the demands that all aspects of the blockade be lifted, that Cuba be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and that the Cuban right to self-determination and sovereignty be respected.”

Please call the White House or email President Obama and say “Thank You.”

Email your senators and members of Congress! Let them know you support normalization of relations and a repeal of the Helms-Burton and Torricelli legislation against Cuba.

Why the World Needs Cuba

by Augusta Girard, Program Director, Promoting Enduring Peace

On Nov. 13, PEP had Gail Walker of IFCO/Pastors for Peace come to New Haven to talk about her organization, her thoughts on Cuban American relations and Cuba’s role in the world. With over 15 years of involvement with IFCO, she staffed more than 15 caravans of humanitarian aid to Cuba and Central America and worked extensively with marginalized communities including the Garifuna in Honduras and Nicaragua. With 40 people in attendance, Ms. Walker spoke for an hour.

gail-walkerThe following are excerpts from her speech: “Cuba continues to be an example on so many different levels. An example of environ-mental sustainability is that successful Cuban models in areas of food, housing and health are now widely replicated throughout Latin America. Cuba also leads the world in hurricane planning and as an island nation is acutely aware and already researching climate change vulnerability of coastal zones. It’s also created an alternative model of development that places ecology and humanity at its core. So it’s become a world leader in ecological, organic farming and urban agriculture.”

“In short it is clear that there are changing attitudes around Cuba, whether it be in the Cuban American community where there’s been pole after pole, which have been quite fascinating… amongst more politically conservative politicians and mainstream media… It’s just the fact that there are one after another that are kind of really speaking out about this 50 plus year old antiquated outdated – fill in the blank – policy I think is impressive and hopefully significant and will mean things will change.”

“It does seem that Cuba is certainly more visible today than it’s been in the longest time and my hope is that we – collectively we – IFCO, Pastors for Peace – we as a network of people that are interested in peace and changing attitudes whether it be here in Connecticut or across the country will be the voices that will continue to rise up and speak out against the blockade and work to see it lifted once and for all.”
For the entire speech go to PEPeace.org (Homepage slider).

Tomas Young – 11 Sept 1979 – 10 Sept 2014

by Augusta Girard, Program Director, Promoting Enduring Peace

In November 2013, Promoting Enduring Peace presented TV personality and producer director Phil Donahue for its first Mark Shafer lecture. Mr Donahue presented his award-winning documentary about Tomas Young, “Body of War.” Young was the voice for all the thousands of injured and dead soldiers.

Young joined the army when he was 22, two days after the 9/11 attacks. He had been in Iraq less than a week when he and fellow soldiers came under sniper fire. He was paralyzed from the chest down after being hit by a bullet in his spine.

tomas-young“Body of War” follows Young as a 25-year-old as he deals with his disability and finds his voice speaking out against the Iraq war and became an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, Truthdig published “The Last Letter” by Tomas Young directed towards George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

“I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans-my fellow veterans-whose future you stole…

“I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.”

Promoting Enduring Peace joins the world in mourning a young man who should not have lost his life fighting in a war that should never have been fought.

1 2 3 4