Beautiful, beautiful women: Yusor Abu-Salha and her teacher

A picture of the slain Yusor Abu-Salha with her former teacher.
Yusor Abu-Salha (right) with her  teacher in the StoryCorps Booth. Yusor was shot to death in February 2015 in a hate crime in Durham, North Carolina / Photo Credit: StoryCorps


Yes, I remember it,
the day I’ll die, I broadcast the crimson,
so long ago of that sky, its spread air,
its rushing dyes, and a piece of earth
bleeding, apart from the shore, as we went.
On the day I’ll die, past the guards, and he,
keeper of the world’s last saffron, rowed me
on an island the size of a grave. On
two yards he rowed me into the sunset,
past all pain. On everyone’s lips was news
of my death but only that beloved couplet,
broken, on his:

“If there is a paradise on earth
It is this, it is this, it is this.”





Refusing to serve in the IDF

This musician has been in prison seven times

for refusing to serve in the IDF



Israeli musician Omar Saad has been in prison seven times. He is eighteen years old.

As a Druze, Saad is required to serve in Israel’s army the IDF – unlike other Israeli Arabs.

But the viola player, who is currently touring Britain with his three siblings as the Galilee Quartet, told i100 he considers himself Palestinian which is why he did not want to serve. “I have friends in the West Bank and Gaza. I play music there, I have musical family there.” He went on: “I don’t want to be part of the army of institute that takes part in occupation, or human rights abuses.”

While some Israelis dodge conscription in Israel by feigning physical or mental illness, Saad said he never wanted to lie.

“Why should I pretend that I’m crazy just to have a normal life? I’m completely normal. I have dreams, I have music, but I don’t want to be in an army that occupies my own people”, he said.

” The night I turned 18 years old, the army called and they told me my conscription date would be 4 December 2013. I told them I would be there to declare that I would refuse to go. So on 4 December 2013 I presented myself and declared my refusal and then they put me in prison. I’ve been in prison seven times, everytime for 20 days except the last time I got 40 days.

When I graduated I saw my friends in college. I saw myself in prison.”

After that 40 days in which he developed severe liver problems Saad’s time in prison is over. But that’s not the end of his story.


Saad’s cause was taken up by several campaigners including Amnesty International while he was incarcerated. He is now on a seven-date tour of the UK with the Galiee quartet. His two brothers Mostafa and Ghandi play violin while his sister Tibah plays cello.

All three are younger than him and he says they will make their own decisions about whether to serve in the army when they turn 18. For now, Saad is focusing on music after a traumatic year.

“I can’t image myself without music”, he said. “When I hear music I hear and feel something special. People are different but I think there’s music in all human beings. When we hear music we simply connect to each other. For me, I think that music is the most powerful way to deliver the most strong and even human message to a bigger audience. To all the world.”



 Jacob George’s Sorrowful

Ride Till the End

by Abby Zimet, staff writer, Common Dreams
 Oh so heartbreaking to hear of the suicide – or as some call it, the death from moral injuries–  of Jacob George, 32-year-old Arkansas farmer, musician, activist and veteran of three tours of Afghanistan who came home shattered by post-traumatic horror that he insisted was not a disorder, but a natural human response to the inhumanity of war. George fought hard to heal his pain and grief: Riding his bike 8,000 miles over 3 years to sing his songs and tell his stories, testifying wherever he could about the hard truths he’d come to, seeking some semblance of peace with brothers and sisters who shared his sense of betrayal by his country, returning to Afghanistan to work with young Afghan anti-war activists, and on what he sometimes called his best day, throwing his medals back to the generals who sent him to the wars that broke him. It’s only right, note many of the sorrowful remembrances of him, that we honor him by fighting as hard in his name. Rest in peace.

Throwing back his medals at the NATO  Summit


One time I approached the mountains to wash off in a snowy spring. 

It reminded me of Arkansas, mountains without the green. 

I know you speak from ignorance. Your words you can’t understand. 

The beauty of life is everywhere in Afghanistan.


“I Know You Don’t Mean It” | Jacob George



Come you masters of war –
You that build the big guns,
You that build the death planes,
You that build all the bombs.
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.



You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy

But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.



Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness?
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.



And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.






I don’t want to pray for Palestine. I don’t want to send good energy to Palestine. I don’t want to meditate thoughts of peace for Palestine. I don’t want to send charity to Palestine.

I want to fight for Palestine.

Just as International Brigades of workers converged on Spain from all over the world to try to defeat fascism prior to World War Two, I want to fight NOW, before it is too late. It may already be too late.


“We could have stopped the bastards. We could have stopped them”

Member, Abraham Lincoln Brigade (U.S.A.)






Tiny Haitian child, dancing / Photo info unknown.



Free Palestine


NOTE: The use of excerpts from Masters of War by Bob Dylan is intentional.


Free the Animals

“Be careful where you step”: for a Palestinian child

I lived as best I could, and then I died.

Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

M.Burch, “Epitaph for a Palestinian Child”


They opened the door with a ram.
They took us from the house
and fired shots at my family.

They killed my mother and four sisters,

my father and my brother’s son .
Then all my brothers were found and shot.

I stood still. I could not move.
My whole family was dead.

They lay there under rubble for sixteen days

Who will teach me now?

Where can I go?


Author’s name withheld, age 13

From Child Poets of Gaza, M. Burch, Editor,


“The most important message you get from your superiors in the Israeli military is that every Palestinian needs to feel Israel is at the back of their neck. So, quickly, you adapt to the environment; you don’t see the Palestinian in front of you as human. They are reduced to being an object.”

Yehuda Shaul


Before Palestine became a Muslim region in the year 636, numerous peoples competed for  control of its strategic location, including Nazerine Christians and Caananites.  Between around 1382 and  1615, Palestine was universally revered by Arab and Muslim scholars and other writers of the time as the “blessed land of the prophets and Islam’s revered leaders”.  Pilgrims flocked to Palestine from throughout the Arab world in a kind of renaissance, as ancient Muslim sanctuaries were rediscovered.  In 1496, Mujir al-Din al-‘Ulaymi wrote his history of Palestine known as The Glorious History of Jerusalem and Hebron.


The Mamluk Sultanate was indirectly created in Egypt as a result of the Seventh Crusade. The Mongol Empire reached Palestine for the first time in 1260, beginning with the Mongol raids into Palestine under Nestorian Christian general Kitbuqa and reaching an apex at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut. In 1486, hostilities broke out between the Mamluks and the Ottoman Turks in a battle for control over western Asia and the Ottomans captured Palestine in 1516


“The way we passed those night patrols was to bang on random houses, no reason and we’d go in, wake everyone up, men in one room, women in another, mess everything up, onto the next house.  One night we wanted to watch a soccer match so we went looking for a house that had a satellite dish. We found one, went in and locked the family in the basement while we watched the match. Why wouldn’t we? That’s what we do in the occupied territories.”

Yehuda Shaul


La Madre de los  Árboles

De Alice Walker 

 Si yo fuera

la madre del Viento

soplaría todo el miedo

lejos de ti.

The Mother of Trees
©2014 by Alice Walker 

If I could be

the mother of Wind

I would blow all fear

away from you.

 If I could be

the mother of Water

I would wash out the path

that frightens you.

 If I were the mother

of Trees

I would plant

my tallest children

around your feet
that you might

climb beyond all danger.


But alas,

I am only

a mother of humans

whose magic powers

have  vanished

since we allow

our littlest ones

to face injustice

& the unholiest

of terrors


Translated by Cuban poet Mañuel Verdecia

Alice Walker’s note about this poem:

For weeks I did nothing but think about this child and all the Palestinian children taken from their schools and  homes, their beds, often in the middle of the night



Rank: First Sergeant.
Hebron, 2012
New York Times, March 23, 20007
His name was Daoud. We stopped our vehicle, ran out, he was in total shock. We took him to Gross Post, to the Jewish side, and he began to cry, scream, he was just streaming sweat and tears. We had nothing to do with him, suddenly you end up with a crying kid. A second ago he was throwing roof tiles at the army post, and you’re dying to beat him to a pulp, and you’re alerted out there in that heat. You want to kill him but he’s crying. We didn’t know what to do, so we put him under watch. Once someone who was with him went wild, did something to him and left.

At some point when I was with him I tried to calm him down because he was tied, blindfolded, and crying, tears and sweat streaming out all over. I began to shake him, then the deputy company commander tried. He grabbed him and began to shake him: “Shut up, shut up, enough, cut it out!” Then we took him to the police station at Givat Ha’avot and he continued to cry because the policemen didn’t take him in for interrogation. He was so annoying, this was insane. In all that mess, while he was crawling on the floor, the communications man took out his Motorola, his two-way radio and boom! – banged him on the head. Not meaning to be cruel, just hearing that unbearable crying for over two hours.

This happened at the police station?



OTTOMAN  TURKS (Muslims). Palestine, like the rest of the MidEast, was part of the hugh     Ialamic Ottoman Empire for 400  years  before being occupied and    divided up like a pack of cards.

OTTOMAN TURKS:  Palestine, like the rest of the MidEast, was part of the huge, Islamic, Ottoman Empire for 400 years before being occupied and divided up like a pack of cards by Western forces after World War One.

Palestine’s 230 year “Golden Age” ended in 1615, when the imperial forces of the Ottoman Empire arrived to deliver an invitation the region could not afford to refuse. In fact, though, the Turks were expected and fairly well-known by most of the  peoples they conquered.

The Ottoman Empire had by 1615 been the world’s leading Islamic state for at least two centuries. This was true in not only geopolitical, but in cultural and ideological terms as well.  While the Turks  certainly made sure they were in charge, the ideological and cultural values they shared with, in this case, the Palestinians, were genuine and meaningful. The Turks were famous for their religious tolerance, protecting Christian and Jewish minorities from harassment by fellow Muslims at the point of a sword. In fact, throughout much of their empire, the  Ottomans achieved a level of tolerance remarkable enough to may well have been singular.  Non-Muslims were also empowered to enforce their own  religious-based laws through such institutionally regulated systems as they saw fit. Turks didn’t objectify, denigrate and disrupt Palestinian culture – more than anything, they shared it.

The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire led to the rise in the “Middle East” of Western powers, such as Britain and France after World War I. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The partitioning brought the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey.

The League of Nations granted France mandates over Syria and Lebanon and granted the United Kingdom mandates over Mesopotamia (later Iraq,) and Palestine, (later divided into Palestine and Transjordan). The Ottoman Empire’s possessions on the Arabian Peninsula became the Kingdom of Hejaz and the Sultanate of Nejd (today Saudi Arabia), the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.

Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish national movement and became more widespread in the post-Ottoman states after World War II.


Casi no existen las palabras cuando la Guerra es contra los niños e.

There are almost no words when the war is against children.

Alice Walker


 Future – it’s a big word for me and I had a lot of dreams…two years ago I decided to be a journalist because I like to write and take photos and things like that – but I forgot that I live in Gaza and those things are impossible for us.
I can’t travel at any time or write anything here. No one writes anything except about war and enemies (Israel) so my dream started to vanish.
Now I don’t know what I want to be and have no dream.

Boy, age 12. Name withheld, Child Poets of Gaza, Ibid.


I just want to ask the people who are living outside of Gaza…

Imagine your life with no electricity or basic things? Destroyed home, a lot of children who don’t have parents, the sounds just like the roll of thunder…BOOM…all the time. Imagine your children tell you through their eyes and cries, “We are afraid, we can’t take it anymore and we can’t even sleep!”

Imagine yourself with no one beside you, to take care of you or even to look after you…and the people around you are strangers…How long could you stand it?

If the world stood with us we will not stand it any longer or anymore. But unfortunately there is no ”doings” just other people who are trying to help us by saying words, not more. They don’t do for us any good things.

We are now better than before, at least we can go to school everyday instead of seeing others dying.

I hope Gaza will change and be as the other countries…we just have to pray all the time!

We just want PEACE.


Girl, age 14, name withheld, The Child Poets of Gaza, Ibid.


All text is excerpts, except Alice Walker poem. Historical references from Wikipedia. Photos from Google Images.

American aristocrats abroad


Christopher Robin went down with Alice

D o n a l d   T r u m p ~~ C h i e f   o f   P r o t o c a l

U n i t e d   S t a t e s  o f  A m e r i c a

A L E C    T.  Party,  Emergency Management  President


                                                                                                        H.R.M ~.~ Queen Elizabeth

Your Royal Majesty,

I write to ask your assistance with a number of our wealthiest elite who are so taken with our decision to establish a formal American aristocracy that they have become  quite indiscrete. More frankly,  their exuberance re. the monarchy is eclipsed only by their complete ignorance of it. Thus, we need to get them out of the country  before anyone starts to compare all those tweets.

We hate to impose, but London is the only place we could persuade them to go for two months. You  see, we told them that no new aristocrat worth his salt would even consider going anywhere else for his training. And no, Your Majesty, I have no idea of what that might be. I imagine one could make it up as one went along.  I’d suggest sending them out for things like “The Ingredients of Hadrian’s Last Lunch” – with any luck, they are sure to get lost for the day.

Oh, an email from the CIA just popped up telling your government to name its price. We’ll pay you anything to take our new royals off our hands, as unrest throughout the lower classes is the last thing we dare risk right now.  We can’t have our trillionaires setting off a revolt before we  deport our poor whites and Latinos to Ukraine,  Romania,  Crimea, and the Czech Republic, and imprison all our Blacks.  After we settle our Aisans on Techno Reservations scattered throughout the Great Plains, we shall deport every undocumented alien to Somalia. Maybe they’ll find work as pirates.

Of course, we’ll keep as many educated,  skilled trade, and service whites as we need to run our affairs, but they won’t be doing too much thinking, not with the those microchips planted in their brains. And to reasure you further – we  keep a firm grip on our southern hemisphere, and can establish a military junta anywhere below our southern border within 48 hours.



Do you think we could send our fellows along next month?  Please don’t bother with arranging hotel accomodations, as they insist that  convention dictates American royals stay at the royal residences. Is there room for them throughout your  palaces and country estates?

One more logistical matter – I’m afraid they’ll be insufferable without a private butler each, and have refused to bring their own staff. ( Unfortunately, Mrs. Romney  opined that non-English butlers are petit-bougoius and neuveu riche just moments before her new French tutor recalled his urgent appointment in the East River)

The Koch brothers strongly suggest that you  put up bunk beds for the butlers.

Interim President ALEC T. Parte joins me in expressing our deepest appreciation for your hospitality during this delicate transition. Air Force Two will arrive at the arranged time tonight to transport your Crown Jewels and England’s other moveable assets to an underground location, where you may rest assured they will be safe from grimy working class masses.

                                                                                                                       Toxic spill


In less  than a month, you’ll be able to spread out once again : Ireland’s population will be relocated to the Free State of Parnell in northwestern Siberia by October 3.  We will start a civil war before sealing off the valley exits.

Thank-you for your assistance in emptying Canada for us. Maybe the French-speakers will finally quit complaining, now that they have their own Candide’s  Homeland in rural South Africa, and the rest will do nicely to populate Australia’s remote interior.

Within 18 months, all of Africa’s political, economic, and social issues will be resolved: in a good old American prison. A  24/7 construction schedule, a labor force conscripting every Indian tribe on the continent and 6,000 square miles to build on, will settle the question of the African ” place” once and for all. A third of the continent will be set aside for big game hunting, and the warm coastal regions will become spacious resorts. The remainder of Africa will be designated a World Natural Resource Pantry, supplying its numerous automated processing centers with everything that can be squeezed from the continent.



Fortunately, the Mideast’s existing infrastructure is more than sufficient to produce the oil needs of such a drastically reduced global population. The region will most likely have to be cleansed, as resistence is far too entrenched to justfy the resources to restrain it. Future regional cleansings will be presented to you by your own intelligence agencies.

Let us hope that our plans proceed with mutual efficiency and discretion. God is on our side.

Finally, we shall be honored by your presence at our first annual Celebration of Everything Us, to be held in a year at the vast Rainforest Resort, in present day Guatemala,

Your Honored  Servant  (heh heh)

High Duke Donald Trump

Order of the Royal Girdle of Western Civilization

Association of American Aristocrats

P.S.  When you have a moment, would you be good enough to have Scotland Yard look around the office for Obama’s birth certificate again? Prince McCain thinks the CIA might have mistakenly left our copy on a desk in the Russian Affairs Division during the Olympics. We’d like to change the place of birth to Syria and make him illegitimate.

Also, would you autograph my family crest?  It’s not quite ready, as I’m still deciding between a unicorn and Trump Towers.