Category Archives: Human rights

Walking To Denmark



The Danish decision to strip arriving refugees of all valuables except wedding rings in order to help finance their presence in Denmark is cruel and grotesque. What exactly do they plan to do with grandma’s coin silver spoons and aunt Laila’s antique watch? Melt them down? Hold yard sales?

The situation in Denmark and elsewhere is indeed a crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people WALKING across continents in 2016 is a crisis. The arrival of hundreds a week from North Africa to Italy is a crisis. The hellish encampment at Calais is a crisis.

Germany made a decent attempt to think ahead, but they had no E.U. support or any other comprehensive help in attempting to plan and work things through. Why are no regional responses being developed? Temporary housing, food, medical care, social services. Instead, there is a rise of the finger-pointing, alarmist right. I’m not naïve, there are no simple fixes, but it is possible to avoid devolving into chaos.

All those big-wigs who just finished meeting in Davos could gather the financing, expertise, logistical problem-solving in a month-long emergency meeting and develop workable plans. Hell, Silicon Valley could do it. Horrible that the humane and political motivation is just not there.   Denmark-and-refugees-2015

War PR 2014


My point in posting this viral photo is that this is what propaganda looks like. This simply promotes hatred and demonization. Further, the fact that something so crude, and certainly not what it is purported to be, could be accepted and believed is a measure of … what exactly? Still sorting that out.

And there are also these IDF graphic design posters — in English. 

Certainly mosques, homes, and schools have been used for destructive purposes. These posters instruct angry, frightened people to see every Palestinian home, mosque, and ambulance as a deadly trap. But the ambulances, for instance, in use now are filled with injured and dying. Yes, there is a risk of sabotage, but the message of the poster is that all ambulances are fair game.

Can reasonable people assume Palestinian doctors, nurses, EMTs, etc. are fanatical enough to show up in ambulances and at hospitals prepared to both work to save lives, and having signed on as willing to be blown up for the cause? They risk their lives, but not in collusion with, or as shields for, guerrilla fighters.







By Howard Zinn, Memorial Day, 1976

Published on June 2, 1976 in the Boston Globe (from the Zinn Reader)
Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?
by Howard Zinn
ZINNMemorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments. 

In 1974, I was invited by Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe, who had been bold enough in 1971 to print part of the top secret Pentagon Papers on the history of the Vietnam War, to write a bi-weekly column for the op-ed page of the newspaper. I did that for about a year and a half. The column below appeared June 2, 1976, in connection with that year’s Memorial Day. After it appeared, my column was canceled.

* * * * *

Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.

It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause.

It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.

There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?

No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.

“The shell had his number on it. The blood ran into the ground…Where his chest ought to have been they pinned the Congressional Medal, the DSC, the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, The Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania. All the Washingtonians brought flowers .. Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies.”

Those are the concluding lines of John Dos Passos angry novel 1919. Let us honor him on Memorial Day.

And also Thoreau, who went to jail to protest the Mexican War.

And Mark Twain, who denounced our war against the Filipinos at the turn of the century.

And I.F. Stone, who virtually alone among newspaper editors exposed the fraud and brutality of the Korean War.

Let us honor Martin Luther King, who refused the enticements of the White House, and the cautions of associates, and thundered against the war in Vietnam.

Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.

On Memorial Day we should take note that, in the name of “defense,” our taxes have been used to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on a helicopter assault ship called “the biggest floating lemon,” which was accepted by the Navy although it had over 2,000 major defects at the time of its trial cruise.

Meanwhile, there is such a shortage of housing that millions live in dilapidated sections of our cities and millions more are forced to pay high rents or high interest rates on their mortgages. There’s 90 billion for the B1 bomber, but people don’t have money to pay hospital bills.

We must be practical, say those whose practicality has consisted of a war every generation. We mustn’t deplete our defenses. Say those who have depleted our youth, stolen our resources. In the end, it is living people, not corpses, creative energy, not destructive rage, which are our only real defense, not just against other governments trying to kill us, but against our own, also trying to kill us.

Let us not set out, this Memorial Day, on the same old drunken ride to death.


Interesting How A Righteous Cause Encourages Wonderful Creativity