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Critical Media
Literacy in ... War

October - December 2003.
Eliot Spitzer - N.Y. attorney general ferrets out funds' abuses
Marla Ruzicka - 26-year-old doing 'the right humanitarian thing'
Pulitzer Prize-winner Louise Gluck named poet laureate
Eclectic, loving tribute to the Rev. Bill O'Donnell
Center for Third World Organizing
MoveOn receives $5 million matching gift from George Soros
Gloria Flora - Ex-forester fighting to save a wilderness
France attacks anti-Semitism - Tougher policing, prosecution OKd
Jackie Speier -- moving on, moving up
Alex McElree - Vietnam veteran, Crusader against homelessness
Kevin Danaher - Part activist and part businessman
Robert Fisk - A reporter who thinks objective journalism is a synonym for government mouthpiece
Mother Teresa: One step closer to Saint Teresa
Lateefah Simon - Genius grant for hero of troubled girls
Shirin Ebadi - First Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize
Ed Gray - Sportswriter comes out against homophobia
Sarah Chayes - American, former war correspondent now construction foreman in Afghanistan

July - September 2003.
Isabel Allende's peace prizes
Don't spy on us - www.dontspyon.us
Walter Mosley - On Writing and History
Erik Berg - Last flight to Cancun - Saving the world, village by village
Mindy Kleinberg, Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza and Lori Van Auken
    Four New Jersey 9/11 widows demanding answers to questions about
    what our government knew before and after the terrorist attacks
George Soros
    ~ Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation
    ~ America Coming Together - fighting the extremist Bush agenda
Photographer focuses on Bay Area Muslims after 9/11
After 13 years, it's 'beautiful' to be free again - Exonerated inmate
Bayview block in bloom - Two neighbors create public garden
Botswana gets first female chief
Sixth Street Agenda hands out fruit, soup and dignity
Rick Karp - Protecting mom-and-pop shops more important than his store
MCC's shower project gives needy clean start
Mime Troupe - Left laughing - Political theater
The court has spoken -- Corporations not human
A big-hearted wish ... Franklin Ridge as open space forever
They want a single trail from Oregon to Baja - access for all
Logistics expert to aid Iraq - S.F. institute can help humanitarian groups
Reclaiming Democracy in America - Democracy Caravan

April - June 2003.
Learning the proper use of power we wield as tourists
Widow lobbies against Indonesian army
The Tamale Lady -- underground hero in S.F.
Tracking down a brother's killer
Hunters Point island of safety separates 2 gang turfs - A patch of peace
S.F. project teaches men how to be better dads - Saved by fatherhood
Arms around the world - Indian guru wants to hug every person on planet
Starting small - Grameen Bank gives seed money to help eradicate poverty
A key influence - Piano teacher has inspired generations
Oral Lee Brown's 1st-graders reach for finish line
One woman's solution for the homeless
Ross plastic surgeon heads to Iraq to help the healing
S.F. lawyer creates global bill of rights -Asks U.N. panel for court to enforce it
Goldman Prize honors environmental crusaders
Benetech sets out to help human rights organizations save lives
Molly Ivins - One woman's voice stands out among the men of power
Marine obeys his conscience - Reservist didn't ship out with his unit to Iraq

January - March 2003.
Kucinich - Presidential candidate urges U.S. to step back from war
The legacy of Cesar Chavez
Three British soldiers sent home after protesting at civilian deaths
War protesters put jobs on hold - Conscience leaves no choice
Counterterror Team's Turnover Continues - Natl Sec Council Official
Giving Peace a Chance - Local Rep. Barbara Lee on her national following
Peace Correspondent - Amy Goodman
Mary A. Wright's Letter of Resignation
John Brown, second U.S. diplomat to resign in protest over Iraq
John Brown's Letter of Resignation
Dennis Kucinich for President
Pacific Exchange's ex-chief to protest
John Brady Kiesling - U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation
Peace protester's long walk to Washington
A veteran's appeal
80-somethings protest war on Iraq
Out of Madness, a Matriarchy
Baring Witness
Not All White House Reporters Are Pushovers
Women's Enews Announces 21 Leaders - 2003










Arms around the world

Mata Amritanandamayi
Mata Amritanandamayi, 49, adds an embrace at a San Ramon ashram to the estimated 21 million hugs she has given. Chronicle photo by Michael Maloney

Visiting Indian guru wants to hug every person on the planet

Erin Hallissy, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Hillary Clinton may be attracting long lines back East for her book signings, but another woman -- a guru from India who is on a mission to hug everyone in the world -- drew a crowd of her own Tuesday to the East Bay.

Mata Amritanandamayi, known to her followers as Amma, the hugging saint, sat in a Castro Valley prayer hall for hours on a throne decorated with silk flowers, accepting flowers and fruit and drawings before giving everyone -- from babes in arms to elderly supplicants -- a hug.

And not just a little "thanks for coming, nice to see you" kind of hug. Sometimes she drew several people at a time to her bosom, rubbing their shoulders and arms while smiling beatifically. At other times, she embraced just one person for long moments, soothing each as they cried or laughing along with those overcome by giggles of joy.

As they stood, the followers beamed or wiped tears from their eyes or walked away speechlessly, awed by the woman in the white sari who claims to have hugged 21 million people since she was a young girl in southern India.

The Castro Valley Mata Amritananda Center, which is something of a mecca for Amma devotees, is the second stop on her 10-city U.S. tour that began earlier this month in Seattle and will include stops this summer in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

Amma, who turns 50 in September, will be in Castro Valley for 12 days and is expected to give about 1,200 hugs each day, said spokesman Rob Sidon of San Francisco.

Candice Munger, 22, of Colorado Springs, was first hugged by Amma in 1996 and has since lost count of the number of embraces. But that didn't dim her enthusiasm as she eagerly waited for another chance to come face to face with Amma on Tuesday.

"It's the experience of being held when you're sad or being enthused when you're excited," she said after being embraced. "She's somebody who can see right through you. It's almost that she knows me more than I know me."

Munger, who will be married in July in a ceremony presided over by Amma, took her wedding sari for the woman to bless on Tuesday. She and others said they love Amma like a mother.

Amma, who conducted media interviews while keeping up her hugging, sees herself that way as well. Asked what she gets out of hugging thousands of people a day, day after day, she smiled as she replied in her native dialect.

"It's like asking a mother 'What do you get from hugging your baby?' " Amma said through her interpreter, Swami Amritswarup.

"Sometimes she'll receive 35,000 people a day," Amritswarup added. Amma turned and spoke to him, and he quickly translated "she will do it faster" when that many show up.

To keep the crowds moving, people are handed stickers and wait patiently, first sitting and then kneeling in lines on the floors. Before hugging Amma, they must wipe their faces with tissues.

Volunteers at the center said people have come not just from throughout the United States but also from other countries to bask in Amma's presence.

Among the foreign travelers were Stephen Fairclough and his wife Diana, who left their home in Victoria, B.C., to see Amma first in Seattle and then in Castro Valley. They first met her in 1997 on a trip to India.

"She's one of the more sparkling ones," said Fairclough, who's been meditating since the early 1970s and who has met a variety of gurus over the decades. "She's just the embodiment of love. It just pours out of her. She's really mother; she's the epitome of every mother."

Shakir Akbar, 25, of Flagstaff, Ariz., had never met Amma before he went to Castro Valley on Tuesday at the urging of a friend. After his hug, he seemed overwhelmed.

"It was wonderful. Very nice, refreshing," he said. "You have to experience it for yourself. Words kind of belittle the experience."

One of the best parts, he said, was watching the other followers receive their embraces. Hundreds of people sat or stood for hours watching Amma before they wandered over to a gift shop to buy photos of her, along with the kind of beaded jewelry she wore, Indian saris and other clothes and souvenirs.

Along with the hugs, Amma answers questions, Sidon said, ranging from why people's cows aren't giving enough milk to scientists asking about work they're doing or "a priest wondering if he should remain a priest."

"She'll sometimes whisper something, or it could be as general as 'darling daughter, darling daughter,' " Sidon said.

Sidon said that Amma has a hand in many charities, and that she is not espousing any particular religious beliefs but instead "firmly believes that all the religions are great and they all lead to the same path."

Followers say different people see her in different ways.

"You can take her as a sweet woman from India who gives you hugs up to the divine mother incarnate," said Stella Petrakis, 55, of San Francisco.












A key influence

Piano teacher has inspired generations of music lovers

Jennie Lois Windle

Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, May 23, 2003

A stroke in 2000 weakened her right side, so she uses a songbook of piano pieces for just the left hand. Macular degeneration and cataract surgery diminished her eyesight, so she uses a contraption that magnifies one measure of music at a time. She can't hear as well as she used to, so enjoying her own music isn't easy.

Still, Jennie Lois Windle sits at the bench of one of two K. Kawai grand pianos that fill her living room high atop the hills of Berkeley almost every day to play for a while. The songs might not trip off her fingers like they used to, but the reverberations of the 88-year-old's lifetime of music will likely echo throughout the Bay Area for generations to come.

In her 57 years teaching piano, she has instructed 445 students, some of whom have become heavy-hitters in the Bay Area music scene, holding positions at the Stern Grove Music Festival and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Others have become piano teachers themselves.

continued... San Francisco Chronicle












Oral Lee Brown's 1st-graders reach
for finish line

Oral Lee Brown

Kelly St. John
Monday, May 12, 2003

LaTosha Hunter beamed as she walked across the stage in her black cap and gown and collected her diploma. Then she retreated from the searing Mississippi heat to a shady spot, where she embraced Oral Lee Brown, the Oakland real estate agent whose remarkable promise 16 years ago got her there.

In 1987, Brown told Hunter and two dozen other first-graders at Brookfield Elementary School that she would put them through college if they graduated from high school. Four years ago, most of them did, with 19 enrolling in college.

continued... San Francisco Chronicle












Marine obeys his conscience

Reservist didn't ship out with his unit to Iraq

Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

A 20-year-old Marine reservist showed up at the gates of his San Jose base Tuesday -- conscientious objector papers in hand -- ready for punishment for not joining his unit's deployment to Iraq.

Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk said he had had a lapse in judgment when he signed up as a 19-year-old, swayed by his recruiter's pitch of new skills, camaraderie and a naive belief that it would be "like the Boy Scouts."

At the San Jose base, Marine Capt. Patrick O'Rourke said Funk must report for duty at 7:30 each morning while his application is reviewed.

"The Marine Corps understands there are service members opposed to the war, " O'Rourke said. "He'll be treated fairly."

Funk is one of several service members in today's volunteer military who are seeking conscientious objector status.

The recruits say their idealistic expectations of military service -- travel, tuition and adventure -- jarred against the harsh realities of killing another human and ran afoul of deeply held religious, ethical or moral views.

"They don't really advertise that they kill people," Funk said. "I didn't really realize the full implications of what I was doing and what it really meant to be in the service as a reservist."

In San Diego, Marine Staff Sgt. Nick McLaren said the new recruits are clearly told about combat and involuntary recall to active duty in the case of a national emergency. Recruits also must declare whether they have conscientious objector reservations stemming from firm or fixed beliefs.

Funk said his moral quandary had begun at boot camp, where he was trained to shout "kill, kill" as he slashed with his weapon. He said he felt like a "hypocrite." He shared his qualms with military chaplains.

When his unit was deployed Feb. 9 for active duty, Funk failed to show up. He has prepared a statement on his pacifist beliefs and will be interviewed by a military chaplain, psychiatrist and investigative officer before his fate is clear.

"There are so many evil things about war," said Funk, who is originally from Seattle. "There is no way to justify war because you're paying with human lives."

His mother, Gloria Pacis, 49, said she prayed daily for her son. "I'm proud of the fact that he owned up to his reservations and was not a hypocrite," she said.

The military acknowledges that recruits may change their views during training and allows service members an exit if they prove a religious, ethical or moral objection to war. Conscientious objector applications can take up to one year for review. The outcomes range from a noncombat job, still in the military service, in the United States to, in the worst case, a court martial and possible prison terms.

Funk's attorney, Stephen Collier -- a member of the National Lawyer's Guild Military Law Task Force in San Francisco -- said he would seek a general discharge for his client.

Anti-war groups report that their hot lines have been flooded by calls from service members. The "GI Rights Hotline" that counsels service members logged about 3,500 calls in January and 3,100 in February -- double the monthly average in 2002.

Teresa Panepinto of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors in Oakland, which runs the hot line, says in today's mostly volunteer military there is "economic conscription" as young people join the forces for job skills or tuition -- not to fight wars.

"The ads for the military are sold as a scholarship tool. There is no footage of combat," she said. "It is a real bait-and-switch that is costing young people their lives."

Critics of conscientious objectors, however, say it is disingenuous to volunteer during peace time and then seek an escape hatch when war breaks out.

Jason Crawford, 23, who founded the Internet site Patriots for the Defense of America, said: "I think it is a grave dishonor to back out when your country needs you. There aren't any proper objections to this war. It is a just war."

Funk is being helped in his bid for a discharge by 1991 Gulf War conscientious objectors: Army reservist Aimee Allison, 33, of Oakland who ultimately took her fight with the military to federal court and was given a discharge, and Marine Corps reservist Erik Larsen, 35, of Milpitas who spent five months in the brig and was granted a dishonorable discharge after his case was handled by Amnesty International.

"There is nothing un-American or unpatriotic about saying killing is wrong, and I won't kill," Allison said.

According to the Center on Conscience and War in Washington, D.C., there had been an estimated 3,500 conscientious objectors in World War I; 37,000 in World War II; 4,300 in the Korean War; more than 200,000 during the Vietnam War; and 111 during the 1991 Gulf War.

George Houser, 86, who once lived in Berkeley and now lives near New York City, said he and seven others had spent a year in federal prison in Danbury, Conn., for defying conscription. "For me, that year in prison was an important slice of my life," he said. "It led to other things, one step at a time."

Chronicle staff writer Maria Alicia Gaura contributed to this report. / E-mail Pamela J. Podger at ppodger@sfchronicle.com.

San Francisco Chronicle












The legacy of Cesar Chavez

LeRoy Chatfield
Monday, March 31, 2003

From 1962 to 1993, Cesar Chavez dedicated himself to organizing a farmworkers' movement in California. How will history remember him?

Some may be content to define him simply as an historic labor leader and founding president of the United Farm Workers union. But his vision for the movement encompassed far more than organizing a union. And his elevation to the status of a revered icon has less to do with his union activities than with the personal sacrifices, commitment to nonviolence and deep religious conviction that marked his life of service to impoverished farmworkers.

April 23 marks the 10th anniversary of Chavez's death. Forty years after he began organizing California farmworkers, what is his legacy? Why does state government celebrate a holiday today in his honor? Why are there now parks, streets and schools throughout California and the Southwest named after Cesar E. Chavez?

Chavez was an indigenous, self-educated Latino leader, born in Arizona and raised in California. He was a farmworker, a veteran, a community activist, an organizer and the founder of the farmworkers' movement. At great personal sacrifice -- including the sacrifices made by his wife and eight children -- he accomplished what no one had done before. In the face of undying opposition from agribusiness, the state's largest industry, he built a farmworkers' union.

Following in the tradition of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., he built this union through the use of militant nonviolence.

The most compelling aspect of Chavez's life was his decision to live in voluntary poverty. When I first met him in 1963, he did not have a telephone, a dress suit, a TV or a washing machine. He rented a two-bedroom house in Delano, much too small for a family of 10, and drove an old Volvo. (After the Volvo expired during the first few months of the grape strike, Chavez never again owned an automobile.)

His commitment to live in voluntary poverty for the sake of helping farmworkers inspired -- and challenged -- others to join him. They viewed Chavez as authentic and altruistic, not a self-appointed leader out to get rich at the expense of others. Because of his own example, Chavez was able to demand that all those who worked for him would be paid subsistence wages. Because of Chavez's personal example, no one would ever enrich him or herself at the expense of the farmworkers' movement.

For more than a decade, Chavez's movement provided the grist for churches and synagogues to discuss the application of the principles of social justice when weighed against the call of the farmworkers' union for an international consumer boycott of California grapes. It is worth remembering that most of the growers also attended church or synagogue and were generous in their support.

Mainline churches played a significant role in the development of Chavez's National Farm Workers Association long before the grape strike in 1965. Once the picket lines were formed in Delano, they carried Chavez's message to urban congregations throughout the country.

But Chavez, in turn, helped make the teachings of the church and synagogue relevant to their religious members, who tipped the scales in favor of the cause of the nation's most impoverished workers. Whether canonized or not, Chavez has been enrolled as a modern-day saint and prophet.

Chavez has also been held up as a symbol marking a new era in the history of California and the Southwest: the beginning of the Latino century. This year, according to state records, more than half of all children born in California will be Latino, while the majority of California students now attending urban elementary schools are Latino. This ethnic sea change is reflected in Chavez's life work.

Chavez always sought to avoid being referred to as a "labor leader." He had created the NFWA not as a labor union but as a self-help membership association for farmworkers. Nevertheless, he became the nation's most respected and revered labor leader of the past half-century. His humble lifestyle, his stubborn independence and his vision of a union's role in the lives of its members made Chavez as much a scourge to those labor leaders who operated in the rarefied atmosphere of state and national capitols as a pillar of inspiration for those union leaders searching for relevance, renewal and reform.

What is Chavez's legacy for the rest of us? He taught us how to organize, how to make something powerful out of nothing more than conviction and perseverance. Results guaranteed, but only if we are willing to make the personal sacrifices and the life commitment required to motivate and inspire others to join with us to overcome all obstacles, for as long as it takes.

Chavez has now been buried 10 years. He waits to be resurrected by yet another indigenous leader who will rise up, in the spirit of Gandhi and King --and Chavez -- to free people from injustice and oppression. Chavez's life advanced the cause of human rights. That is legacy enough.

LeRoy Chatfield worked with Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers' movement from 1963 to 1973.

San Francisco Chronicle












War protesters put jobs on hold

Some say conscience leaves no choice

Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Kevin Barner and Kathe Burick
Kevin Barner, considering joining the military, and Kathe Burick speak during a march.

San Francisco -- With each new dawn in the war on Iraq, another day's pay is lost for Berkeley piano teacher Rich Hubbard.

It's not that he's away at war -- he's protesting it almost daily on the streets of San Francisco.

"I've turned down opportunities to make money tuning pianos because this is a more valuable investment of my time," said Hubbard, 41, who sat in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco on Monday waiting for protesters to arrive from downtown. "If I don't get involved in this, then the blood is on my hands."

Hubbard is one of hundreds of protesters who have interrupted their lives nearly every day since the war began Wednesday night to carry signs and shout for peace.

Those with such flexible time are usually students, homemakers or, like Hubbard, self-employed. Some have arranged their lives to be free to protest or lobby for issues they care about. Others protest despite having employees or colleagues who count on them to be somewhere else.

David Otten is one of those. He was easy to spot Monday sitting among the protesters blocking the Turk Street entrance to the Federal Building. Most of them wore faded jeans and sweat-shop-free jackets from Thailand. Otten wore a suit and tie.

"This is my new full-time job," said Otten, 32, CEO of Telectroscan Inc., a medical imaging research firm in Berkeley. "It's not helping the company, I'll admit."

It was about 10 a.m, and Otten was due at a board meeting at 2. Just then, police announced over the bullhorn they would arrest anyone who didn't immediately leave the vicinity. Otten stayed.

He slipped a departing reporter his cell phone number just as police closed in.

"I'm scared," Otten admitted over the phone.

Was he having second thoughts?

"Not at this point," he said. "Complacency is dangerous."

As the officers slipped plastic handcuffs around the protesters' wrists, it was time for Otten to put down the phone. "I may have to miss that board meeting," he said.

Jon Cody, a 25-year-old car salesman who has been protesting daily since last week, found his own way to reconcile social values with his day job: He quit.

"I just don't feel that I could work for the industry in good conscience until they make cars that can run on something else," Cody said as he protested outside the Transamerica Pyramid.

Sherry Larsen-Beville, 60, didn't have to quit her job as head ticket- seller at the Oakland Coliseum to rally against the war. She and her husband, Frank Beville, 66, decided when they married 28 years ago that she would take part-time work so the family could devote time to peace and justice.

It wasn't easy because the couple raised nine children, and Beville held one job as an electrician and another as chaplain at the Oakland County Jail.

Though he is now retired and the kids are grown up, it still isn't easy. Neuropathy and a hip injury make walking painful for Beville. But he and Larsen-Beville were on the streets Monday, wearing black in recognition of the funereal theme adopted by some protesters.

"It gets down to whether we believe the rhetoric of the Bush administration,

and I have to say no," Beville said. "Besides, a pre-emptive strike is just not the American way."

Kevin Barner, 21, was standing among the peace activists on Turk Street because he had nothing better to do. Though opposed to the war, he happened to mention his plans to join the military.

"Oh, please don't do that!" cried Kathe Burick, a 53-year-old San Francisco City College dance teacher.

Barner, who dropped out of school in 10th grade, said, "But if I don't do something, I'll be out on the street."

Burick said, "I'd rather see you on the street than in the grave." She suggested he return to school.

"I want to go back to school," he said.

"I'll take you right now," Burick said, promising to show him the financial aid office. They left to find a Muni station.

Chronicle staff writers Joe Garofoli and Kathleen Sullivan contributed to this report. E-mail Nanette Asimov at nasimov@sfchronicle.com.

San Francisco Chronicle












Giving Peace a Chance

Barbara Lee on her national following

Sam Whitting
Sunday, March 23, 2003

It isn't as lonely as it used to be way out there on the far left.

A year and a half after casting the lone vote opposing President Bush's global campaign against terrorism, Congresswoman Barbara Lee has become the name attached to the anti-war movement.

When Lee came to the stage at last month's peace rally in San Francisco, she heard the chant "Barbara Lee for president." She has heard it before, and seen it on signs, from Oregon to Massachusetts.

U.S. Senator Barbara Lee

That's a long ways from Mills College, where she graduated 30 years ago. Now a fourth-term Democrat representing Oakland and Berkeley, Lee, 55, gets all the inspiration she needs walking into her district office in the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland.

Q: On the Barbara Lee for president movement.

It's a humbling moment when you hear that. I recognize I have represented this area for five years in Congress, and I was in the state Senate and Assembly since 1990. But when you hear the shouts "Barbara Lee for president," you have to say, "Where's that coming from?" It's not coming from me. It's not coming from my staff. That's for sure.

Q: On the "I told you so' temptation.

On Sept. 14, 2001, right after the horrific attack, when I voted no, I knew then that it was wrong for us to give the administration a blank check. That was giving the president too much power to use force without coming back to Congress at all. I believe, and the Constitution requires, that the Congress declare war, that we engage in debate with regard to war and peace. So I would cast the same vote today. No second thoughts.

Q: On no longer being the one lonely anti-war vote.

I offered the Lee Amendment as an alternate with regard to disarmament and finding diplomatic solutions to our problems with inspections. We received 72 votes [Oct. 10, 2002]. When you look at the last vote on the use of force, we had 133 no votes on that resolution.

Q: On North Korean missiles pointed at the Bay Area.

During the debate on Iraq, some members of the Progressive Caucus really made the case for the missile scenario in North Korea and said, "That's where we need to begin talking about containment." I don't think the general public knew, because it's been "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq" from the administration.

Q: On the solution.

We need to re-engage. During the Clinton administration, there was engagement going on. For the first 18 or 19 months of the Bush administration, there was no engagement at all. Next what do we hear? The president goes to Congress and cites the "Axis of Evil." We must re-engage with North Korea, and we must do that immediately. It's a very dangerous situation - certainly more dangerous than Iraq.

Q: On the peace movement.

This doctrine of pre-emption and first strike - Iraq is first on their list,

and this is a policy that this administration is dead-set on implementing. We see Iraq now, Iran, North Korea. Who knows what country is next? I just hope it doesn't take hold, and that's why I'm so happy and delighted to see the peace marches throughout the world.

Q: On naked spellouts.

I've seen the pictures. People are finding creative ways to protest. These women chose to express their views in this way. That's a manifestation of their determination to make their statement. .

Q: On becoming an activist at an early age.

I was born on July 16, 1946, in El Paso, Texas. When my mother went to have me, they wouldn't admit her to the hospital because she was black, and she almost died. I heard my mother tell me this and I was really upset. They left her to die on a gurney.

Q: On growing up a civil rights activist.

I was raised in Texas and the schools were segregated. I wasn't allowed to go to public school. I went to Catholic school. They were the only ones that would let black folks in. I can remember my dad in his uniform - he was an officer in the military - and we'd go to restaurants and they'd say, "I'm sorry we can't serve," and they used the N word. So I was always fighting for what was right.

Q: On an Army brat becoming a peace activist.

My father is a retired lieutenant colonel. When I cast the one vote against the war, he said, "That was the right vote." He was in the Korean War and he's very clear on issues of war and peace. My mother too. They're my source of strength.

Q: On mentors.

Ron Dellums is a phone call away. We work on issues together. He's probably made more of an impact on me than anybody, in terms of policy. He worked very hard to get this federal building here, and every time I walk in, I think of Ron.

San Francisco Chronicle

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Mary A. Wright's resignation letter

The following is a copy of Mary (Ann) Wright’s letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wright was most recently the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She helped open the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2002.

U.S. Embassy
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
March 19, 2003

Secretary of State Colin Powell
US Department of State
Washington, DC 20521

Dear Secretary Powell:

When I last saw you in Kabul in January, 2002 you arrived to officially open the US Embassy that I had helped reestablish in December, 2001 as the first political officer. At that time I could not have imagined that I would be writing a year later to resign from the Foreign Service because of US policies. All my adult life I have been in service to the United States. I have been a diplomat for fifteen years and the Deputy Chief of Mission in our Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan (briefly) and Mongolia. I have also had assignments in Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada and Nicaragua. I received the State Department’s Award for Heroism as Charge d’Affaires during the evacuation of Sierra Leone in 1997. I was 26 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and participated in civil reconstruction projects after military operations in Grenada, Panama and Somalia. I attained the rank of Colonel during my military service.

This is the only time in my many years serving America that I have felt I cannot represent the policies of an Administration of the United States. I disagree with the Administration’s policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea and curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. itself. I believe the Administration’s policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place. I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.

I hope you will bear with my explanation of why I must resign. After thirty years of service to my country, my decision to resign is a huge step and I want to be clear in my reasons why I must do so.

I disagree with the Administration’s policies on Iraq

I wrote this letter five weeks ago and held it hoping that the Administration would not go to war against Iraq at this time without United Nations Security Council agreement. I strongly believe that going to war now will make the world more dangerous, not safer.

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a despicable dictator and has done incredible damage to the Iraqi people and others of the region. I totally support the international community’s demand that Saddam’s regime destroy weapons of mass destruction.

However, I believe we should not use US military force without UNSC agreement to ensure compliance. In our press for military action now, we have created deep chasms in the international community and in important international organizations. Our policies have alienated many of our allies and created ill will in much of the world.

Countries of the world supported America’s action in Afghanistan as a response to the September 11 Al Qaida attacks on America. Since then, America has lost the incredible sympathy of most of the world because of our policy toward Iraq. Much of the world considers our statements about Iraq as arrogant, untruthful and masking a hidden agenda. Leaders of moderate Moslem/Arab countries warn us about predicable outrage and anger of the youth of their countries if America enters an Arab country with the purpose of attacking Moslems/Arabs, not defending them. Attacking the Saddam regime in Iraq now is very different than expelling the same regime from Kuwait, as we did ten years ago.

I strongly believe the probable response of many Arabs of the region and Moslems of the world if the US enters Iraq without UNSC agreement will result in actions extraordinarily dangerous to America and Americans. Military action now without UNSC agreement is much more dangerous for America and the world than allowing the UN weapons inspections to proceed and subsequently taking UNSC authorized action if warranted.

I firmly believe the probability of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction is low, as he knows that using those weapons will trigger an immediate, strong and justified international response. There will be no question of action against Saddam in that case. I strongly disagree with the use of a “preemptive attack” against Iraq and believe that this preemptive attack policy will be used against us and provide justification for individuals and groups to “preemptively attack” America and American citizens.

The international military build-up is providing pressure on the regime that is resulting in a slow, but steady disclosure of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). We should give the weapons inspectors time to do their job. We should not give extremist Moslems/ Arabs a further cause to hate America, or give moderate Moslems a reason to join the extremists. Additionally, we must reevaluate keeping our military forces in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia. Their presence on the Islamic “holy soil” of Saudi Arabia will be an anti-American rally cry for Moslems as long as the US military remains and a strong reason, in their opinion, for actions against the US government and American citizens.

Although I strongly believe the time in not yet right for military action in Iraq, as a soldier who has been in several military operations, I hope General Franks, US and coalition forces can accomplish the missions they will be ordered do without loss of civilian or military life and without destruction of the Iraqi peoples’ homes and livelihood.

I strongly urge the Department of State to attempt again to stop the policy that is leading us to military action in Iraq without UNSC agreement. Timing is everything and this is not yet the time for military action.

I disagree with the Administration’s lack of effort in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Likewise, I cannot support the lack of effort by the Administration to use its influence to resurrect the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. As Palestinian suicide bombers kill Israelis and Israeli military operations kill Palestinians and destroy Palestinian towns and cities, the Administration has done little to end the violence. We must exert our considerable financial influence on the Israelis to stop destroying cities and on the Palestinians to curb its youth suicide bombers. I hope the Administration’s long-needed “Roadmap for Peace” will have the human resources and political capital needed to finally make some progress toward peace.

I disagree with the Administration’s lack of policy on North Korea

Additionally, I cannot support the Administration’s position on North Korea. With weapons, bombs and missiles, the risks that North Korea poses are too great to ignore. I strongly believe the Administration’s lack of substantive discussion, dialogue and engagement over the last two years has jeopardized security on the peninsula and the region. The situation with North Korea is dangerous for us to continue to neglect.

I disagree with the Administration’s policies on Unnecessary Curtailment of Rights in America

Further, I cannot support the Administration’s unnecessary curtailment of civil rights following September 11. The investigation of those suspected of ties with terrorist organizations is critical but the legal system of America for 200 years has been based on standards that provide protections for persons during the investigation period. Solitary confinement without access to legal counsel cuts the heart out of the legal foundation on which our country stands. Additionally, I believe the Administration’s secrecy in the judicial process has created an atmosphere of fear to speak out against the gutting of the protections on which America was built and the protections we encourage other countries to provide to their citizens.


I have served my country for almost thirty years in the some of the most isolated and dangerous parts of the world. I want to continue to serve America. However, I do not believe in the policies of this Administration and cannot defend or implement them. It is with heavy heart that I must end my service to America and therefore resign due to the Administration’s policies.

Mr. Secretary, to end on a personal note, under your leadership, we have made great progress in improving the organization and administration of the Foreign Service and the Department of State. I want to thank you for your extraordinary efforts to that end. I hate to leave the Foreign Service, and I wish you and our colleagues well.

Very Respectfully,

Mary A. Wright, FO-01

Deputy Chief of Mission
US Embassy
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


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Following is the text of career diplomat John Brown’s letter by which he resigned from the Foreign Service.

Dear Friends and Colleagues: FYI. John

To: Secretary of State Colin Powell

March 10, 2003

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling in submitting my resignation from the Foreign Service (effective immediately) because I cannot in good conscience support President Bush’s war plans against Iraq.

The president has failed:

To explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this time;

To lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties;

To specify the economic costs of the war for ordinary Americans;

To clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror;

To take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.

Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president’s disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.

I joined the Foreign Service because I love our country. Respectfully, Mr. Secretary, I am now bringing this calling to a close, with a heavy heart but for the same reason that I embraced it.


John H. Brown
Foreign Service Officer


cc: Family, friends and colleagues; the media

American Diplomacy

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Peace Correspondent

'Democracy Now!' Host Amy Goodman Is Making Her Voice Heard on Iraq

by Michael Powell
March 10, 2003

NEW YORK -- And now for the news:

"President Bush last night claimed a war in Iraq would set the stage for peace in the Middle East, but he did not set any deadline or detail any specific steps." . . .

"The Financial Times describes the Bush administration's financial analysis as 'a piece of fiction.' " . . .

"In Australia, 43 legal experts warn that an attack on Iraq is a violation of international law." . . .

"And the United States asks aid groups in Baghdad for civilian satellite coordinates in Iraq" -- pregnant pause here -- "Is it to bomb them or save them?"

"This is 'Democracy Now!' " says the anchor. "The war and peace report." Cue the lilting Bob Marley reggae guitar licks.

This is not the news as Brit Hume construes it or Dan Rather intones it. In a "Showdown: Iraq," Blix-is-nixed, pack-my-trench-coat-honey testosterone media age, Amy Goodman and her radio show, "Democracy Now!," beam in as if from some alternative left galaxy.

Broadcasting on the Pacifica Radio network from a book-strewn loft in an old firehouse a half-dozen blocks from Ground Zero, Goodman is a daily polestar for those who crave the antiwar perspective that mainstream networks and newspapers often consign to the margins.

"War coverage should be more than a parade of retired generals and retired government flacks posing as reporters," Goodman says after the show. "Why not invite on some voices that are not Pentagon-approved?"

Her 9 a.m. magazine show mixes investigative scoops (a recent report detailed how the Bush administration quashed an FBI investigation into Saudi Arabian funding of terrorist organizations), reports from foreign correspondents, and very few generals. She and her co-host, New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez, speak, unabashedly, to those who oppose a war with Iraq, a roomier club than one might imagine from watching cable television news channels.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll found that six in 10 Americans harbor doubts about using force in Iraq, while 40 percent are opposed to any invasion.

The audience for "Democracy Now!" is small but growing, and the show is influential among antiwar activists. More than 120 stations carry it, including WPFW-FM (89.3) in Washington and some public radio affiliates. And in the last two years, it's begun broadcasting on Web TV (via www.democracynow.org) and public access television channels around the world .

And starting today the formerly 60-minute show expands by an hour to accommodate more reporting on the war.

Its politics can veer toward communion for the progressive choir. But in this age of corporate media conglomeration, when National Public Radio sounds as safe as a glass of warm milk, "Democracy Now!" retains a jagged and intriguing edge.

Goodman is the show's center, a slight 45-year-old in a pullover vest, jeans and sneakers. Her unruly brown hair is streaked with gray. She can break out a playful smile, and punctuate an interview by opening a hatch in her office floor and sliding down a fire pole to the floor below.

More often, though, her intensity burns through.

In two decades of reporting for Pacifica, she's been beaten bloody by Indonesian soldiers as she charted East Timor's battle for independence. And she's wandered the deltas of southern Nigeria charting the environmental and human rights degradations of the Nigerian army and Chevron Oil Corp.

For such work, she's received some of mainstream journalism's highest honors: The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the George Polk Award and the Overseas Press Club Award (an honor she declined at the podium on awards night -- more on that later).

But the awards seem beside the point. Her Edward R. Murrow comes always with a twist of Emma Goldman.

Goodman leans forward in her chair, trying to explain what's so very clear to her. "I feel this is a very urgent time, for this nation and the world," she says. "The clock is ticking towards war. We can't do enough, we absolutely can't."

She begins broadcasting at 7 a.m. every morning, and works until near midnight, talking to sources, reading documents and talking up funders. (Although the show raises $2.5 million annually for the Pacifica network, it, more than any other program, runs on a shoestring budget: $800,000.) Each Friday, she heads to the airport, hopping planes to such places as Seattle and Albuquerque, Boston and Cleveland and Ithaca, N.Y., to talk about the coming war with Iraq.

Her eye sockets look a bit hollowed out. It's hard to leave phone messages for her because her voice mail keeps filling up.

"She doesn't say 'no' very well," says Michael Ratner, a friend and an attorney with and president of with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Sleep? Her friend, Elizabeth Benjamin, head of the Legal Aid Society's Health Law Unit, chuckles.

"I wish she got more of it. Amy has so much passion to right the wrongs of the world."

The Amy & Bill Show

Three years ago, President Clinton placed an Election Day call to "Democracy Now!" For Clinton it was supposed to be two minutes of get-out-the-vote happy talk with a progressive radio show and then: Gotta go.

Except Goodman began by asking: "You are calling radio stations telling people to vote. What do you say to people who feel the two parties are bought by corporations and that at this point their vote doesn't make a difference?"

"There is not a shred of evidence to support that," Clinton rejoined.

And they were off and running, Amy and Bill, debating American politics, the health effects of sanctions against Iraq, and whether Clinton would pardon native American activist Leonard Peltier. Why, she asked, did he fly back to Arkansas in 1992 during the presidential campaign to execute a mentally impaired man?

Goodman is the reporter who sinks her teeth in and never lets go, and he was the president who never gives up hope of winning you over. "You have asked questions in a hostile, combative and even disrespectful tone," he scolded Goodman at one point.

Then he kept on talking.

In this insider media age when oh-so-serious reporters measure status by access to the powerful, Goodman is the journalist as uninvited guest. You might think of the impolite question; she asks it. She torments Democrats no less than Republicans.

When former senator Bob Kerrey called a news conference to defend himself against charges he committed a war crime while a soldier in Vietnam, Goodman asked if perhaps a war crimes tribunal should be set up to examine the guilt of the war's architects, such as Henry Kissinger.

Kerrey's halting demurral made a few television broadcasts. But Goodman's question displeased some establishment media worthies. That Sunday, NPR reporter Mara Liason went on "Fox Special Report With Brit Hume" and complained that Goodman was not really a journalist and that no one would have asked such a question in Washington.

Last year Goodman sneaked into the World Economic Forum, a hermetically sealed gathering of the powerful (and a few well-behaved journalist guests) in Manhattan. She found Nicholas Platt, a former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and asked him if American support of Indonesia was worth it, given that its military killed tens of thousands in East Timor.

Platt squinted at her and inquired (on the air): "What ax are you grinding right here?"

"I survived a massacre in East Timor," Goodman responded.

Growing Up Amy

Goodman grew up a movement child, the daughter of radical parents in Bayshore, N.Y., across from Fire Island. Her father, a physician, was featured in a poster for nuclear disarmament, the image of a mushroom cloud in his stethoscope. (Going further back, she is descended from prominent Hasidic rabbis, although she counts herself a secular Jew.)

After graduating from Harvard in 1984, Goodman came to New York City. She fiddled with the radio dial and found WBAI, the New York affiliate of the cacophonously left-wing Pacifica, a network founded in the 1940s by pacifist Lew Hill. She heard vegans and pagans, performance artists and beatniks, jazz musicians and black nationalists.

"It was New York, in all of its beauty and all of its ugliness," she recalls. "And it wasn't trying to sell a thing. I was riveted."

She took a video documentary class, began volunteering at the station and a few years later became the station's news director. She's never left.

In 1991, she traveled to East Timor with journalist Allan Nairn. They fell in step one day with a Timorese memorial procession. As the procession passed a row of Indonesian troops, the soldiers brought rifles to shoulders and began firing, killing 250 men, women and children. Nairn and Goodman huddled on the ground as the soldiers began beating them with rifle butts.

"Allan put his body over mine," she recalls. "I thought we would die."

Photos show them afterward, bruised and bleeding from head to foot. The Indonesians expelled them. But Goodman and Nairn made a documentary that drew attention to this distant island, and not incidentally explored the American complicity in backing the Indonesian occupation.

As she accepted a prize for that work, Goodman was asked to explain her approach. She replied: "Go where the silence is and say something."

She has lived that advice, traveling to Yugoslavia, Haiti, Cuba, Israel's occupied territories and Mexico, often recording reports in the face of danger. In 1996, she started "Democracy Now!" as a daily newsmagazine.

The shows are of varying quality. The politics can sometimes seem predictable and the overseas telephone lines can sound as if sanded with gravel. And sometimes the guests are a bit . . . dated.

So on a recent day Ramsey Clark, the 75-year-old former U.S. attorney general and patron saint of very lost causes (former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and the North Korean government, to name two) wandered in to talk up his campaign to impeach Bush (www.VoteToImpeach.org).

But on its best days, Goodman's show has the quality of a good reporter peering under unexpected rocks.

Goodman talks with a reporter for the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel about his investigation into complicity of American and European companies in selling biological and chemical weapons supplies to the Iraqis in the 1980s. Another recent guest details an investigative report in British papers that found the United States was tapping the phones and reading the e-mails of United Nations Security Council members during the debate over Iraq.

Last Thursday she interviewed two veteran war correspondents, Chris Hedges of the New York Times and Robert Fisk of the Independent in London, about the Pentagon's censorship of reporters.

"The press in the first Gulf War was completely managed," said Hedges, who covered that event. "The coverage was absolutely shameful."

Fisk and Hedges often worked outside the Pentagon-approved press pools in that first war and suffered arrests and beatings for their trouble -- from allied troops. "I was arrested by the Marines after I was betrayed by a CBS reporter who said I was not in the pool."

None of these stories and views have gotten much air time on the commercial or publicly funded airwaves.

"There's such an hunger out there for an alternative," Goodman says. "It's almost explosive."

Radio Amy

Two hundred thousand people jam the frigid streets of New York City in early February, protesting the planned war on Iraq. Vast puppet heads bob in the air, along with placards reading: "Somewhere in Texas, a village has lost its idiot." And throughout the crowd, demonstrators tune radios to WBAI and Amy Goodman -- who is broadcasting live from the march.

Later, you find Goodman, sitting outside in a director's chair on First Avenue, a pathetic foot-heater kicking out little in the way of warmth. A techie fixes a webcast video camera on her. It's another of those alt-media celebrity moments: the anchor without leg warmers or makeup, but with politics and passion.

Actors Danny Glover and Susan Sarandon, and entertainer Harry Belafonte and Archbishop Desmond Tutu stop by to chat. The broadcasts of their interviews draw cheers far up the parade route.

The cold this day is wind-driven and cuts to the bone. And yet Goodman sounds invigorated. Her life and passions are one -- she works the vast majority of her waking hours. She is single and has no children.

Even her friends aren't always sure what drives her, not exactly.

"A lot of us have parents who were political, but we're not willing to accept a life that has very little room for pure enjoyment," says Ratner, the Center for Constitutional Rights president. "Amy will come to our annual baseball game up in the country each summer, but a couple of hours later, she's gone.

"I would love for her to reserve some part of her life for herself."

Ask Goodman about this and she shrugs. She talks of drawing inspiration from a century-old grandmother who, when sick, organized her sanitorium. But quickly she turns the conversation to the war for oil and empire in Iraq.

She's not so much disapproving as disinterested in the career arcs of her generational peers.

Two years ago, a new board took over Pacifica and was accused of trying to pasteurize the network's political edge. Goodman walked away and broadcast on the Web for eight months. (That board has since been overthrown and she has returned.) Four years ago, she was invited to the Overseas Press Club's awards dinner, where her Nigeria documentary would be honored. She could not afford the $125 ticket, so she and a colleague sat on chairs in the back. Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke was the club's keynote speaker that night, but the club's board, including its chairman, Tom Brokaw, set the ground rules: Holbrooke would not appear if he had to answer questions.

Then Holbrooke gave a speech and noted that American bombers had just hit a Serbian television station. Goodman took the podium and declined her award.

"He'd just told a roomful of journalists that we've bombed a television station and yet no one said a word," Goodman recalls. "I said: 'Thank you, Mr. Brokaw, but no thank you.' "

Goodman manages to recount this without sounding terribly self-righteous. She respects a number of mainstream reporters -- or, in her lexicon, corporate media -- and she likes nothing better than when they pick up her stories, with or without credit.

The interview at an end, she slides down the fire pole, and you swallow hard and follow her. She walks you to the door. Upstairs, her braided and spike-haired producers prepare for the next day's broadcast, downloading, cutting, fiddling with soundboards like so many caffeinated maestros.

It's dark. She's eager to get back upstairs and rejoin them.

"There are so many deeply patriotic voices out there raising questions about this war, and they aren't being heard." She says goodbye, and reminds you: "Steal our stories -- please."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Common Dreams






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Dennis Kucinich for President

Dennis Kucinich
U.S Congressman

Dear Friend,

In response to tens of thousands of emails and countless phone calls, letters and personal appeals, I am moving forward to take the first step towards a candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

In the past year I have had the opportunity to meet with many of you in dozens of cities across our nation. The heart of America is yearning for dramatic, transformational change which can reconnect us with the vision of our nation's Founders, to be the light of the world.

In the next few months I will be returning to visit the neighborhoods of America. If the response continues to be strong, if the financial support is there, the encouragement and the participation continues, I will schedule a formal announcement of candidacy sometime in June.

I need to hear from you! I hope you enjoy our new website and I welcome your suggestions. And most of all, I need your help.

Best wishes,

The Spirit of Freedom

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Anti-war forces get new recruit

Pacific Exchange's ex-chief to protest

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2003

If the United States attacks Iraq, a former president of the Pacific Exchange plans to participate in nonviolent demonstrations aimed at shutting down San Francisco's Financial District, including his former employer.

Warren Langley of San Francisco, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was president of the exchange from 1996 to 1999, will work with Direct Action to Stop the War, the activists organizing civil disobedience on the first business day after a U.S. attack.

"I felt I needed to do something more than marching in a demonstration, more than talking to my friends about it, more than sending e-mail letters to (Sens. Barbara) Boxer, (Dianne) Feinstein and (Rep. Nancy) Pelosi," Langley said Monday. "I feel that this is an important enough issue to take a risk."

The 60-year-old Russian Hill resident expects to be involved in nonviolent protests in front of the exchange.

A spokesman for the Pacific Exchange declined to comment Monday on Langley's involvement. Langley will formally announce his participation at an 11 a.m. news conference today in San Francisco. Now an independent consultant, Langley resigned from the exchange during management changes there.

A 1965 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Langley raised money to help fund an acclaimed 1998 documentary on Vietnam War prisoners of war, "Tom Hanks Presents: Return with Honor." Several of his academy classmates were POWs.

Now, he wants to speak out against the war.

Anti-war activists have been planning to blockade the Transamerica Pyramid, the Pacific Exchange and other "war-making" corporate and federal headquarters in San Francisco on the first business day after a U.S. attack.

Since last October, dozens of small affinity groups, clusters of five to 25 like-minded individuals, have been planning sit-ins, intersection blockades and theatrical productions around more than two dozen locations, most in the Financial District.

The activists' goal, as stated on their Web site and flyers: "If the government and corporations won't stop the war, we'll shut down the war makers! "

The retired lieutenant colonel participated in his first anti-war march Jan.

18 in San Francisco -- on his 60th birthday.

"I looked around me, and I was seeing that a lot of people marching next to me could be living down the street from me," said Langley. "People had come to (San Francisco) on BART, or over from Marin. Ordinary people.

"I felt after going to the second (Feb. 16) march that I definitely had to do something more."

That's when a former colleague sent Langley a copy of a Chronicle article about the anti-war plans.

Langley e-mailed Direct Action to Stop the War. Organizer Patrick Reinsborough said he was "a little surprised to receive it, but it was a very sincere e-mail" and quickly called Langley.

Over the next week, Langley met and spoke over the telephone with several protest organizers. He said he wanted to be sure that he felt comfortable enough with their shared goal of stopping the war and the methods they planned.

"I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the way I do, but haven't wanted to come forward because they're afraid of being identified with a fringe group," Langley said. "I don't believe in all the things that all the (anti-war) groups stand for, but we all do share one thing in common: I do believe that this war is wrong."

San Francisco Chronicle

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U.S. Diplomat's Letter of Resignation

February 27, 2003

The following is the text of John Brady Kiesling's letter of resignation
to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Kiesling is a career diplomat
who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.

It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to do to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has “oderint dum metuant” really become our motto?

I urge you to listen to America’s friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America’s ability to defend its interests.

I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.

New York Times

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Peace protester's long walk to Washington

Berkeley woman now part of White House vigil

Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, February 9, 2003

Washington -- In most towns, it might be hard to find a grandmother who walks across the United States for peace, but not among Berkeley's great diversity of anti- war activists.

Julia Wildwood

At the city's high-tech end of the spectrum are the founders of the well- known Moveon.org, an Internet organization that can mobilize tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars almost overnight.

And then there's the no-tech but equally committed Julia Wildwood, a 56- year-old grandmother who left town in September -- on foot. By herself.

Now she stands 2,500 miles away in the chilly winter air with the Women's Peace Vigil in front of the White House.

"I walked across the country," Wildwood said matter-of-factly when approached by a reporter last Sunday morning.

Does she do this sort of thing often?

No, she said, but she had participated in the anti-cruise missile Women's Peace Camp in Puget Sound 20 years ago and was seeking a way to commemorate that event with a new protest against possible war in Iraq.

The Sacramento-born Wildwood stopped her work as a private chef and baker, strapped on a 27-pound backpack, taped small peace symbols on her bed roll and began her pilgrimage right after the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade on Sept. 29.

"I wanted to talk with people who weren't in the peace movement," she said. "This seems like a really important time now to do something since (President) Bush seems to be determined to go ahead no matter what the world thinks."

At Reedley College not far from Fresno, Wildwood strolled into the office of the dean of instruction to ask whether any classes might be interested in hearing her talk. She spoke to sociology and minority affairs classes.

"All along the way, everyone I talked to -- no matter what their religion or beliefs, Republicans and Vietnam combat vets -- they've all been against the war," she said.

There was a hailstorm near Flagstaff, Ariz., and she got sick outside of Houston, but the trip as a whole was surprisingly free of hardships. She slept outdoors in a one-person tent, also in motels, homes and a Buddhist temple. "Everyone was very helpful," Wildwood said.

She didn't do it all on foot, explaining, "I walked more than I rode, but I also accepted rides." In Louisiana, for example, a sheriff's deputy offered to drive her across a no-pedestrian bridge into Mississippi.

She took the southern route through Arizona to Tallahassee, Fla., then headed north to Atlanta, where she caught a bus for the big anti-war demonstration Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C.

She now sleeps at a Lutheran church, where she volunteers at its homeless women's shelter, and plans to stay with the Women's Peace Vigil until it ends on March 8, International Women's Day.

As she stood with two other women in front of Bush's heavily guarded home, she looked tanned and healthy. A loose braid of her still mostly brown hair hung to one side of her head, and she wore the same hiking-shoe sneakers that she began with.

"I think it was good for my health," she said with a grin. "I lost about 40 to 50 pounds since I left. It's another way for post-menopausal women to lose weight besides hormone therapy and going to the gym."

San Francisco Chronicle

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A veteran's appeal

Email received by, and forward by, MoveOn, 2/8/03

Dear MoveOn member,

Twelve years ago, in February of 1991, I crossed the border between
Saudi Arabia and Iraq with the 24th Infantry Division. Back then I
was a 20-year-old Abrams tank crewman, and I fought in several battles
in southern Iraq. I can say from personal experience, the media got it
wrong. The first Gulf War wasn't clean, it wasn't pretty, and it wasn't
precise. In the chaos and destruction of battle, anything can happen.
We killed a lot of people.

Like many of the men and women I served with, I do not believe that
President Bush or Secretary of State Powell, in his presentation at the
United Nations on Wednesday, has made the case that Iraq poses an
imminent threat to the United States. Without proving imminent threat,
the administration has failed outright to justify its rush to war. Many
senior military leaders, including Generals Norman Schwarzkopf,
Anthony Zinni and Wesley Clark, have all questioned the wisdom of
another war with Iraq.

Thousands of veterans of all U.S. wars have stepped forward, marched
in demonstrations and raised their voices to say that the nation they
defended should not be attacking other nations. There is no sense of
just cause in the U.S. armed forces today. Most recently we veterans
have been joined in our message by families with loved ones in the

Tens of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of
Iraqis could die in a long, drawn-out war in Iraq.

We need your help to spread our message that veterans oppose this war.
We can win without war.

How can you help? Join Veterans for Common Sense. Whether you are
a veteran, or you have a family member in the military, or you simply
support our message, you can join us in calling for a common sense
approach to Iraq. We need your support.

To find out more, please visit:


Already we have reached across the country through successful press
conferences, innumerable appearances on television and radio programs,
and op-eds, letters to the editor and interviews published in local,
regional and national newspapers. Already we have visited innumerable
congressional offices, winning impressive support across the political

Add your voice to the growing chorus of voices speaking common sense
against the rush to war.

For more information, and to find out the latest news about a possible
war in Iraq, visit our web site:


Together we can win without war,

Charles Sheehan-Miles
Veterans for Common Sense












80-somethings protest war on Iraq

What the elders know

Joan Ryan
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

I PASSED the "Bingo Tonite 7:15" placard in the lobby and walked to the dining room, where workers at the Redwoods Retirement Center in Mill Valley were clearing away dishes from breakfast.

"Ruth! Ruth!" a food-service worker called to a woman heading out behind an aluminum walker. "Your pills, sweetie, your pills!"

I poured a cup of decaf and waited for the retirement center's rabble- rousers to join me and explain themselves. The group had created a spectacle at the corner of Camino Alto and Miller Avenue last Friday afternoon, landing themselves on the front page of the local newspaper. They had held signs that read "Seniors for Peace!" and "No Attack on Iraq!" Those with walkers and canes hung the signs around their necks with string. They waved and shouted at passing cars.

I wanted to know why nearly 100 elderly residents in thick-soled shoes and kerchiefs, some riding in wheelchairs pushed by their nurses, took to the sidewalk to protest a war that is not likely to alter their lives in any way. This war belongs to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"We're old enough to know war is not the solution," said Nora Boskoff, who is 84.

Boskoff had settled around the table back in the dining room with Phyllis Hamilton, Eleanor Kennedy, June Berry, Betty Warren and Leonard Prosser, all in their mid- to late 80s. They had been the instigators, the ones who, between hospital stays, shared newspaper clippings about Bush's latest saber rattling. Last week, in a first-floor room ordinarily used for opera- appreciation or meditation classes, a decision had been made:

Who was better qualified to protest war than they were? They had lived through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.

Prosser fought in North Africa and Italy with the British army, watching soldiers die next to him and killing young German boys with bullets from his own rifle. The women had worked in the war effort during World War II and marched against Vietnam.

"Our generation discovered long ago that if you make a lot of noise and are persistent," said Kennedy, a longtime civil rights activist, "you can make the all-powerful people listen. We know because we've done it."

Hamilton nodded. "And at our age, we've lost any fear of public criticism. We believe what we believe and we're going to speak out."

Indeed, a few motorists flipped them the finger, but most honked and waved, they said. Encouraged, they have decided to stage a demonstration every Friday afternoon between 4 and 5 at the same corner, weather and health permitting. In fact, they said, a meeting was about to begin for what is now known at the Redwoods as the Peace Activists Group. On the agenda was a suggestion to provide hot chocolate, coffee and tea at future demonstrations.

"To me," Boskoff said before heading off, "patriotism means reminding yourself that the reason you were born is to make this a better world."

That continues until your last breath, she said. The responsibility of fighting for what is right and moral doesn't end at a certain age and fall to the next generation. It is always your turn.

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Out of Madness, a Matriarchy

They survived machetes and mass rapes. Now, Rwanda's women -- nearly two-thirds of the population -- are learning how to lead their country out of the darkness.

By Kimberlee Acquaro & Peter Landesman
January/February 2003 Issue

On April 7, 1994, when the genocide was in its second day, Joseline Mujawamariya, then 17, huddled with her twin sister and younger brother in the tall grass on the outskirts of her village, Butamwe, in central Rwanda. They hid for three days as Hutu men and boys they had grown up with, armed with machetes, began a rampage of butchery and rape, burning homes and hunting down their Tutsi friends and neighbors. Then the Hutus set fire to the fields.

Joseline Mujawamariya and her three children

Joseline waited until nightfall, and as black smoke blotted the last light from the sky, she and the children fled. They joined a group of refugees that moved under the cover of night, living for more than two months on food scavenged from corpse-littered gardens and rainwater collected in cupped hands. Worse than the starvation and fatigue was the terror, Joseline says. "The Hutus would stop you to look at your fingers, your nose and ears to see if you were Tutsi." In late June, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front, invading from neighboring Uganda and Burundi, began to sweep through the country, driving out the Hutus. Ragged groups of refugees began to trek home, Joseline among them. When Joseline reached Butamwe, she found a ghost town. "There was no one left," she says.

One morning last fall, Joseline stood on a hilltop overlooking Butamwe, her five-month-old son tied to her back. Before her stretched an undulating sea of banana groves and valleys creeping with hanging lakes of mist. Columns of smoke from cooking fires and controlled burns seemed to dangle groundward from the sky. A hundred Tutsi survivors were building a road over the mountainside to the capital, Kigali. Machetes arched through the high grass. Women with infants sleeping on their backs chopped through the rocky ground with hoes.

Joseline was their leader. Now 25 and a mother of three, with only a primary school education, she was elected in 1999 as the area's head of development, after twice campaigning for other positions. "I didn't know what I was supposed to do when I was first elected," she said. "I thought I was supposed to buy a cow for the village." What she now does is supervise the reconstruction of Butamwe's shattered infrastructure, as well as its health services and systems of justice, education, culture, and economy. She is rebuilding her neighbors' lives while struggling to rebuild her own. From the hill, Joseline pointed to the ruins of a mud structure crumbling in an overgrown field. "That was my home," she said quietly, "where my parents and my brothers and sisters were all killed."

The 1994 genocide, one of the worst mass slaughters in recorded history, was triggered by the assassination of Rwanda's Hutu president, after a lengthy civil war between the Hutu-led government and the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front. It was a deliberate effort to eliminate the country's Tutsi "problem"; books about Hitler and the Holocaust, and lists of potential victims, were later discovered in the offices of top government officials. In all, at least 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.

But it isn't just numbers that set the genocide apart from other horrors of the late 20th century. The ferocity and concentration of the killing were unprecedented, as was its intimate methodology. The murderers were neighbors, relatives, teachers, doctors, even nuns and priests, and they killed not with machine guns or gas chambers, but with machetes, clubs, knives, and their bare hands. So many men were killed that Rwanda was left overwhelmingly female and became a nation of traumatized widows, orphans, and mothers of murdered children. Even today, the population remains 60 percent female.

The complete version of Out of Madness, A Matriarchy can be read
in the January/February, 2003 issue of Mother Jones magazine.

Peter Landesman is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. His reporting appears regularly in the New York Times Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly. Kimberlee Acquaro will present her photographs from Rwanda at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., later this year. Acquaro was awarded a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism for her work on Rwanda's women. Landesman joined Acquaro in Rwanda to work on this story, and they married in September.

Mother Jones

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Not All White House Reporters Are Pushovers

Norman Solomon
Thursday, January 9, 2003

At 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., reporters usually shuffle along to a snoozy beat. But anyone who denigrates the mainstream media in general, or the White House press corps in particular, should acknowledge that exceptional journalists do strive to ask deeper questions while most colleagues go through the motions.

The latest in a long line of presidential spinners, Ari Fleischer, began a news conference on Jan. 6 with a nice greeting: "Good afternoon and happy New Year to everybody." But his bonhomie didn't last more than a minute.

"At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the president deplored the taking of innocent lives," Helen Thomas began. "Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world?"

It was a simple question -- and, unfortunately, an extraordinary one. Few journalists at the White House move beyond the subtle but powerful ties that bind reporters and top officials in Washington. Routinely, shared assumptions are the unspoken name of the game.

In this case, Thomas wasn't playing -- and Fleischer's new year wasn't exactly off to a great start. His tongue moved, but he declined to answer the question. Instead, he parried: "I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds."

Of course that attack was reprehensible. But Thomas had asked whether President Bush deplored the taking of "all innocent lives in the world." And Fleischer didn't want to go there.

But Helen Thomas, an 82-year-old journalist who has been covering the White House for several decades, was not to be deterred by the flack's sleight-of-tongue maneuver. "My follow-up is," she persisted, "why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?"

On a dime, Fleischer spun paternal and nationalistic. "Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends --"

What Fleischer had just called "the question" was actually his question. He had no use for hers.

Thomas responded: "They're not attacking you. Have they [the Iraqis] laid the glove on you or on the United States ... in 11 years?"

Fleischer laced his retort with sarcasm. "I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then."

"Is this revenge," Thomas replied, "11 years of revenge?"

The man in charge of White House spin revved up the RPMs. "Helen, I think you know very well that the president's position is that he wants to avert war ... "

But the journalist refused to jettison her original, still-unanswered question. She asked: "Would the president attack innocent Iraqi lives?"

"The president wants to make certain that he can defend our country ... "

Thomas would not back off. She demanded to know whether Bush thinks the Iraqi people "are a threat to us."

At that point, Fleischer went off message with a weird statement. "The Iraqi people are represented by their government," said the man speaking for the president of the United States. A journalist's persistence had led him to put foot in polished mouth.

Some people like to play "Hail to the Chief." I would prefer to say "Hail to the dean of the Washington press corps -- Helen Thomas." She knows that asking truly tough questions involves a lot more than echoing partisan ping-pong.

After 57 years as a reporter for United Press International, she quit UPI in 2000 when it was bought by News World Communications, a firm affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's right-wing Unification Church. (Among its holdings is The Washington Times.) Since then, Thomas has been writing an incisive syndicated column for Hearst Newspapers.

In a speech at MIT a couple of months ago, Helen Thomas told the audience: "I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter." Media professionals are frequently unwilling to say in public what they know in private. When a mainstream journalist breaks out of self-censorship, the public benefits.

Day in and day out, Helen Thomas is conspicuous for her fortitude at White House press conferences. And let's also give credit to an intrepid newcomer at such press follies. The other day, Russell Mokhiber of the Corporate Crime Reporter was asking a simple question that went unanswered: "Ari, other than Elliott Abrams, how many convicted criminals are on the White House staff?"

You can find transcripts of Mokhiber's many exchanges with Fleischer posted at www.commondreams.org -- under the heading "Ari and I" -- examples of unflinching questions and slimy evasions at the White House.

Thank you, Helen Thomas. Thank you, Russell Mokhiber. It sure is refreshing to see journalists doing their jobs instead of going along to get along.

Norman Solomon is co-author of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You" (Context Books), to be published in late January.












Women's Enews Announces 21 Leaders - 2003

By Jordan Lite, WEnews Staff

Women's Enews announces its 21 Leaders for the 21st Century--2003,
an awe-inspiring, reader-nominated list, with ages between 13 and 83;
each making news, often at great personal risk, by confronting issues
of particular concern to women.

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Women's Enews announced today
its 21 Leaders for the 21st Century--2003, an awe-inspiring, reader-nominated group of newsmakers demonstrating extraordinary commitment to creating change on behalf of all women.

"And we are filled with excitement, for what could be more cheerful, charge
our engines more, than reminding ourselves and all our readers the wonderful
dedication and accomplishments of our contemporaries?" said Rita Henley
Jensen, Women's Enews editor in chief.

Readers Submitted 300 Nominees

Women's Enews advisory board made the final selection from a list of 300
nominees submitted by readers. Each leader makes news by confronting, often at great personal risk, issues of particular concern to women. Women's Enews will honor each of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century at its annual celebratory dinner, to be held in New York on May 20th. The event will be chaired by noted broadcast journalist Mary Alice Williams.

"The quality of the nominations and the detailed biographies we received were
thrilling," said Henley Jensen. "The responses were far beyond what we had
hoped, full of exciting, newsworthy leaders making fantastic contributions to
the well-being of women. I read each submission and was profoundly touched
by the sincerity of the nominators and the idealism and leadership of the

The 21 Leaders, with ages that range from 13 to 83, were selected after the
Women's Enews board members and staff pored over the nominees' biographies for hours, researching, asking questions, seeking balance and diversity in every measurable way.

"In the end, we are delighted with our choices, but still regret that we have
but 21 leaders to honor," Henley Jensen added.

Over the next three days, Women's Enews will publish biographies of the
21 leaders--2003, but for now, we will tell you just a bit more about them:

Ernesta Ballard, founder, Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization
for Women; founder and first chair of Women's Way, a fund-raising
organization supporting women's organizations in the Philadelphia region. Now 83, she remains active in the leadership of Women's Way.

Martha Burk, chair, National Council of Women's Organizations. Burk has made headlines most recently for her outspoken campaign to persuade the Augusta National Golf Club to admit women as members.

Susan Burton, founder, A New Way of Life foundation, which assists newly
released inmates back into civilian life and helps them find job-training and
other social services.

Luisa Cabal, human rights attorney, Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. Cabal represented a Mexican teen who was denied an abortion after becoming pregnant by her rapist.

Esther Chavez Cano, founder, Casa Amiga, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The
organization offers medical, legal and psychological aid to victims of domestic
violence and sexual assault in a city rocked by the murders and disappearances of at least 280 women and girls over the last 10 years.

Eileen Fisher, designer. Her goal is not only to design a popular clothing line,
but also to create a business environment in which her employees find joy and
satisfaction in their work. The advertisements for Eileen Fisher clothing is
remarkable for the images of women featured, not stick-thin models, but her
employees. The company also runs socially responsible programs for women
in the United States and abroad.

Swanee Hunt, former U.S. ambassador to Austria. She returned from Europe determined to change how wars are fought and peace realized. She created Women Waging Peace and is director, Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Rana Husseini, reporter with the Jordan Times. Husseini was assigned the
crime beat at the newspaper and began to expose the legal system's tolerance
for the murders of girls and young women by their family members. In addition, Women's Enews will award Rana Husseini the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism. She continues to report the story of honor killings of Jordanian women despite accusations that she is tarnishing the nation's image and responding to Western influences.

Kenya Jordana James, at age 13, is editorial director and founder of
Blackgirl Magazine, a bimonthly publication that promotes healthy images to
black teens while covering lifestyle and entertainment news.

Jill June, president, Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. In 2002 despite the threat of being jailed, June refused to turn over the results of hundreds of
pregnancy tests to a district attorney investigating the death of a newborn.

Ann Kaplan, managing director at Goldman Sachs. Kaplan heads a group
dedicated to increasing the firm's involvement with women clients worldwide
and has leveraged her influence on behalf of women throughout the elite
financial world. She also helped Smith College launch a women's financial
education program with $2.5 million in seed money.

Her Highness Sheika Sabika Al-Khalifa, of Bahrain. Sabika led the call
to vote in the country's 2002 election, its first democratic election in 25 years.
She is also leading a campaign in Bahrain to advance women's rights by
changing "the image of Bahraini women."

Jill Miller, executive director of Women Work! The National Network For
Women's Employment. Miller manages the more than 1,000 programs that
serve at least 400,000 women annually in the areas of employment, training
and education. She also chaired a United Nations expert panel on vocational
training and lifelong learning of women.

Asseta Nagbila, coordinator of the Hunger Project's literacy classes, health
and nutrition programs and training courses for women in her village in
Burkina Faso. In a nation where women are not entitled to own land, the
unusual project focuses on women gaining the rewards for what has been unpaid labor.

Judy Norsigian, executive director of the Boston Women's Health Book
Collective, which published the first edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" in
1970. As a perhaps the most reliable source on women's health, Norsigian has continued to provide thousands of women each year the information they need to remain well or cope with illness.

Milbry Polk, activist and co-author of "Women of Discovery: A Celebration of Intrepid Women Who Explored the World," a chronicle of the stories of 84 of history's greatest women explorers whose achievements might otherwise be
lost. She writes that "the story of women explorers is as old as time, as old
as myth, and as real as memory." Milbry is also working to ensure that
discoveries of women explorers and scientists are included in public school
history curricula.

Kavita Ramdas, president and chief executive officer, Global Fund for Women, a grantmaking foundation supporting women's human rights organizations around the world. Born and raised in India and educated in the United States, Ramdas has spent her professional life working on issues of poverty, economic development and population. She has brought her international knowledge and understandings to bear as the fund attempts to assist women's economic independence, increase girls' access to education and stop violence against women.

Amy Richards, co-author of "MANIFESTA: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future." Through her ability to strongly articulate the experiences and views of a new generation of feminism--Third Wave feminism--she kindled its growth and broadened its appeal. She is also a co-founder of the Third Wave
Foundation, which strives to combat inequities and build lasting financial
support for social activism around the country by empowering young women.

Elaine Roulet, creator, the Children's Center program at Bedford Hills
Correctional Facility in New York. The center and other programs founded
by this member of a Roman Catholic religious order provide mothers in prison
opportunities to be with their children, including living with their newborns
for up to one year and a seasonal day camp.

Elizabeth Sackler, philanthropist. In 2002, Sackler created a permanent home for Judy Chicago's groundbreaking piece "The Dinner Party" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and funded a permanent new wing of the museum dedicated to art that impacts or addresses women. She also sponsored a major exhibition of Chicago's other works at Washington, D.C.'s National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Henna White, Jewish community liaison for a Brooklyn, N.Y. district attorney where she reaches out to battered women in the close-knit Hassidic enclaves. White also co-founded Mothers to Mothers, which promoted dialogue and understanding between Jewish and African American women in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn following the 1991 riots there.

The leaders all have made a significant impact on the lives of women and girls
by alleviating a problem; striving for change; using the law to pursue peace and justice; influencing the unaware; or showing others their human potential and possibility for change. We are pleased to honor them as our 21Leaders for the 21st Century.

Jordan Lite is assistant managing editor of Women's Enews.

Women's Enews






Baring Witness

With its gorgeous photography of bare-bodied women spelling out peace slogans,
Baring Witness has brilliantly called media attention
to the movement to stop the war against Iraq

Women's bodies spell out Peace on Drake's Beach,  Marin County, CA

On a Marin hillside

and reached into popular media...

Farley's Whoa, cowboy!
Farley comic strip


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