The next day, a group held a Tashlich ritual, traditional for Jews during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
This service had spiritual and political significance as it was held in the Palazzo, a casino owned by Sheldon Adelson. The liturgy was created by members of Jewish Voice for Peace and included asking for repentance for the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories and for the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Israel as second class citizens.
The ritual involves casting coins or small stones or bread crumbs in a moving body of water. The Palazzo has a waterfall, so it seemed just too perfect!
Here are photos taken by Jim Haber of the NDE during the conference.
On May 4, 2011, CNN World News asked whether killing Osama bin Laden was legal under international law. Other news commentaries have questioned whether it would have been both possible and advantageous to bring Osama bin Laden to trial rather than kill him.
World attention has been focused, however briefly, on questions of legality regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. But with the increasing use of Predator drones to kill suspected “high-value targets” in Pakistan and Afghanistan, extrajudicial killings by U.S. military forces have become the new norm.
Just three days after Osama bin Laden was killed, an attack employing remote-control aerial drones killed 15 people in Pakistan and wounded four. CNN reports that its Islamabad bureau has counted four drone strikes over the last month and a half since the March 17 drone attack that killed 44 people in Pakistan’s tribal region. This most recent suspected strike was the 21st this year. There were 111 strikes in 2010. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that 957 innocent civilians were killed in 2010.
I’m reminded of an encounter I had in May 2010, when a journalist and a social worker from North Waziristan met with a small Voices for Creative Nonviolence delegation in Pakistan and described, in gory and graphic detail, the scenes of drone attacks that they had personally witnessed: the carbonized bodies, burned so fully they could be identified by legs and hands alone; the bystanders sent flying like dolls through the air to break, with shattered bones and sometimes-fatal brain injuries, upon walls and stone.
“Do Americans know about the drones?” the journalist asked me. I said I thought that awareness was growing on university campuses and among peace groups. “This isn’t what I’m asking,” he politely insisted. “What I want to know is if average Americans know that their country is attacking Pakistan with drones that carry bombs. Do they know this?”
“Truthfully,” I said, “I don’t think so.” “Where is your democracy?” he asked me. “Where is your democracy?”
On March 19th, in Kabul, Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers will hold a candlelight commemoration, remembering the children recently killed in Afghanistan. Following this ceremony they will plant saplings as a symbol of their dedication to a nonviolent future. Their compassion extends beyond Afghanistan to young people in other lands, some of whom they will connect with through a “Global Day of Listening,” a 24-hour Skype communication which they’ll host on the first day of spring, Afghanistan’s “Nau Roz” (New Year’s Day) holiday. Colorado College students, on their spring break, plan to participate.
A group of 28 peace activists from the US and Australia, including Waging Nonviolence contributors Simon Moyle, Jim Haber and Jake Olzen, has just arrived in Afghanistan. They immediately connected with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, a truly inspirational group of young people who I had the good fortune of getting to know during my trip there in December. As Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-coordinator Kathy Kelly explains in an article that was widely published today:
Last evening, they showed us photos of an unusual walk they’d held in the streets of downtown Kabul that morning. Dressed in white, with the young women wearing sky blue veils and the young men in the same color neck scarves, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers carried sky blue and white banners proclaiming that Peace is a Pre-Requisite for Progress. They are seeking an end to wars in their country. “Why did you choose sky blue?” I asked. “Because it shows that there is just one sky over all of us,” Chahara replied. Although they came from different ethnicities and various provinces, they walked shoulder to shoulder, 40 of them, on a bright, warm day.
The delegation’s itinerary over the next few days is jam-packed. Kelly writes that:
On March 19th, in Kabul, Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers will hold a candlelight commemoration, remembering the children recently killed in Afghanistan. Following this ceremony they will plant saplings as a symbol of their dedication to a nonviolent future. Their compassion extends beyond Afghanistan to young people in other lands, some of whom they will connect with through a “Global Day of Listening,” a 24 hour Skype communication which they’ll host on the first day of spring [March 20], Afghanistan’s “Nau Roz” (New Year’s Day) holiday… (see: www.livewithoutwars.org and www.ourjourneytosmile.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange participation for yourself and/or your community.
Hopefully over the next few days we will be running the dispatches from our contributors on the ground, so check back for updates on the work of these courageous activists.
“There is No Appeal from Drone Strikes. Our Grief is Still Not a Cry for War”
14 People were arrested in April 2009 for crossing onto Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas for attempting to stop or at least dialog with commanders of the Predator and Reaper remotely piloted “drones” that are either protecting US forces or are inciting outrage and endless war because they are killing civilians and being used questionably against people in violation of international and US law, depending on your perspective.
The DA (or someone) reversed themselves and belatedly decided to prosecute the activists, some of whom have served in the military or have seen first-hand the destruction in Pakistan and Afghanistan caused by drone and other US air strikes.
Tuesday, Sept. 14
Trial of Creech 14 defendants: Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave., Las Vegas, 5th Floor (Regional Court, Department 5): 7:30 am rally in at Lewis and 3rd St.; 8:30 am trial scheduled to begin.
It is unclear how long the trial will last: the morning, all day, more than a day?
In today’s Democracy Now! Kathy Kelly speaks about the Creech Airforce Base in Nevada, and the trial of the “Creech 14” which will start tomorrow. On the photo: a screen shot of the internet-cast. Link to the internet-cast.
Also a guest is Feryal Ali Gauhar, a Pakistani actress, filmer, author, who speaks about the connection between the US military base in Pakistan and the Creech AFB. See also this weblink with photos of the drone base in Pakistan, which is being denied by the Pakistan government.
This secret base was not used to help with the recent and ongoing floods in Pakistan.