Sunday, July 15, 2018

The arc of the moral universe

GUEST: Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability, professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, and author of several books including "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment," talks about his trip to the U.S. and how the illegal occupation will end.

Mazin gave me this interview before he did a book signing in Saugerties, NY. It is not the first time that Mazin has been a guest on Activist Radio. A friend of Joel Kovel, Mazin has visited the Hudson Valley before.

I don't always know how to interview Palestinians. There is my guilt for being a citizen of the country most responsible for the suffering of his people. And the news is always bad, Palestinians being beaten, shot or imprisoned. It is never my family in the crosshairs of some sniper's rifle. It is never my house that is being destroyed.

My questions always seem to focus on Palestinian suffering. In fact, my interviews are designed to do just that. It is only when millions of Americans have learned to acknowledge and reject the apartheid state of Israel that it will change. We are the supplier of bullets, the protector at the UN, and the funder of its state racism.

Mazin talks freely about the injustices inflicted on his people. He is sorrowful, and yet looks at the longer picture. Unless Israel commits the genocide of five million people, the Palestinians are there to stay. Like many indigenous peoples, they are masters of resistance, even in the face of overwhelming military superiority. One day, two peoples will inhabit the Holy Land, and as God's children they will be loved and cherished equally.

Like Martin Luther King, Mazin believes in the arc of the moral universe.

Monday, July 9, 2018

When the people lose faith in democracy

Guest: Steve Greenfield, long time activist, member of the New Paltz Fire Department, and Green Party Congressional Candidate for the NY-19th District, talks about running an intellectually honest campaign, one without any corporate funding.

Hudson Valley Green Party

Steve Greenfield For Congress NY-19

In the era of Trump, we need to be reminded of just how dysfunctional the two party system is.

Suddenly Donald appeared as president, a repulsive con man in place of the admirable statesmen who went before him. Or so the liberal media would have it.

It is a tidy analysis; all that is needed to right the ship of state is to vote for Democrats. Easy enough, but like most simple answers to complex questions, it is dead wrong.

We have had two bright, educated and throughly corrupt Democratic presidents who made a lot of rosy promises to America's workers, but delivered all the goods to the corporations. Clinton and Obama were true neoliberals, deregulating whole industries while privatizing any services the government could possibly give to the poor and middle class. Wages stagnated for 30 years while the wealthy became so filthy rich that they were able to buy both Congress and the White House.

Trump is the culmination of neoliberal policies, the election of a demagogue when enough people get enraged at a corrupted political system. We see this happening in the rest of the world: in Italy, Austria, Poland, and in the province of Ontario. And the right wing extremists are knocking on the door in many other developed countries, peddling a brand of racism, nationalism, militarism and right wing ideology.

So does unfettered capitalism bring about such anger that people eventually lose faith in democracy and turn towards a Trump? And how easy is it to turn back once the fascists are in control? These are questions that neither party wants Americans to think about.

What was being done in their name

Guest: Andrew Courtney, a New York based artist, teacher and activist who specializes in social justice event photography, and whose works have been exhibited in international, national and local gallery venues, talks about his most recent photography in Palestine.Sumoud - Steadfast Palestine

Andrew's stories are as engaging as his pictures. Here is Palestine off the beaten track. The occupation and the oppression lurk just below the surface, to remind the viewer that the people and culture they are viewing are destined to be destroyed by a US backed colonialism.

There is beauty and heartbreak, the real story that is always left out of our Zionist dominated media and political process. Most Americans would not put up with the slow genocide of the Palestinian People if they knew what was being done in their name.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Celebrate killing at the track

Guest: Patrick Batuello, animal rights activist and Director of Horse Racing Wrongs (horseracingwrongs.com), talks about his organization's work in education and grassroots advocacy to stop the cruelty and unnecessary deaths of animals used in professional racing.


Eli did this interview on his iPhone at the track. It has great background sounds with crowds cheering and cars going by. I think we will do more of these on site interviews in the field.

Patrick is a dedicated worker for animal rights. He sees a wrong and works tirelessly to bring people's attention to it. The fact that so many horses die from these races takes a little of the glamor out of what is really a cruel spectacle: doped up animals running for their lives.

All of us have an inherent empathy for defenseless animals. We have to be trained to put these feelings aside when we exploit animals for a living. It is a little like basic training in the military, where you are trained to "kill" your fellow human being. In bayonet training we had to run down a short track and thrust our blade into a lifelike dummy, all the while yelling "kill, kill, kill." We learn to celebrate killing at the track too. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Our own role in the resistance

Guest: Yonatan Shapira, former Israeli air force pilot, co-founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Combatants for Peace, BDS activist, and sailor on the Jewish Boat to Gaza when it was attacked for breaking the siege of Gaza, talks about his career as a singer and how his songs express the hope for a free Palestine.

Yonatan Shapira is hero of human rights, a man of integrity who changed his mind once he faced the irrefutable facts about Israel's long term occupation of Palestine. How he changed his mind is his story, going from a pilot in the Israeli Defense Force, to an outspoken critic of Israeli apartheid.

He makes the journey with humility and not without pain. If Israel ever recovers its place in the human race, it will come as a result of following a person like Yonatan.

One of his stories involves a German commander during World War II who wrote of his ethical misgivings while fighting for the Third Reich. To Yonatan, what one man writes in his diary does not absolve him from blame. And the day of reckoning comes, of course, when Yonatan sees himself in the very same position. Doubts are not enough; one must actively oppose genocide and ethnic cleansing. He is as unsparing of himself as he is of anyone else.

Yonatan's songs in Hebrew are the emotional culmination of his very personal stories. His deep and compelling voice brings the listener closer to a self realization about activism and courage. Singing along in Hebrew takes us to a new understanding of our own role in the resistance.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Gentle warriors

Guest Section: We pay tribute to Jay Wenk, World War II veteran, author, and Palestinian human rights activist. We will hear a recoded excerpt from Jay's memorable book: "Study War No More: A Jewish Kid from Brooklyn Fights the Nazis," followed by another veteran, this time from Israel. Yonatan Shapira will sing about the Palestinians returning to their homeland. 

Previous interview with Jay Wenk on Free Speech
Study War No More (Paperback)
Jay Wenk, liberal activist and Woodstock councilman, dies at 91
Donate to the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla — U.S. Campaign
Songs by Yonatan Shapira

We talked a little about Jay Wenk after we played a recording of him reading from his book. The section of the book we decided reflected the gentle man he was. Even after years of fighting the Nazis in World War II, he was able to express tenderness for a captured German soldier, who was bringing letters back to men's families. Maybe that was the link to former Israeli pilot, Yonatan Shapira. Both were fighters who eventually turned their backs against war and mindless brutality.

Were all soldiers like that, we wouldn't be fighting these endless wars for profit and global hegemony. That is why listening to them is so important.

Yonatan will be our guest next week, talking about and then singing one of his antiwar songs.

Nice to be back!

Fred

Resuming in June

Playing catch-up. I have been gone for about three weeks, so this blog has suffered a bit. Eli and Raphaelle have kept up the program and you can hear the following dates by clicking on them.

Suffice to say that my cohosts did a great job, with interesting guests and lots of provocative discussion. We will resume our normal schedule in June.

Thanks,

Fred

May 31

Guest: Nicolas J.S. Davies, author of "Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq," and the Consortium News series on the death toll in U.S.'s post-9/11 wars, talks about the empire's next military targets.

How Many Has the U.S. Killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan
How Many Has the U.S. Killed in Iraq
America's Coup Machine: Destroying Democracy Since 1953
The Illusion of War Without Casualties

SONG: Keegan McInroe ... Beautiful Dream

May 24

Guest: Richard Barlow, an American intelligence analyst and former CIA expert on Pakistan's nuclear program, talks about blowing the whistle on George H. Bush's efforts to mislead Congress.
The CIA agent who exposed US complicity in helping Pakistan On The Nuclear Edge - The New Yorker
Political Intelligence – Mother Jones

May 17

Guest: Mike Meese, Coordinator for the Buffalo Field Campaign, talks about the current circumstances of buffalo in Montana and the efforts to protect the last wild bison in Yellowstone Park.
Buffalo Field Campaign
Protecting the Buffalo Herd - Native Sun News Today
Mike Meese on The Buffalo Kill - Radio Curious

May 10

Guest: Thomas Drake, former senior executive at the NSA, where he blew the whistle on massive multibillion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, as well as on widespread violations of citizen rights through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11, talks about defending the Constitution, the Obama legacy, and the new world of Trump.
PBS Frontline
End Espionage Act Prosecutions of Whistleblowers
From Pentagon to Paradise - 40+ Years of Whistleblowing
Donate to Whistleblowers Public Education Campaign