Blog

Talking Back to white “Burma Experts” by Chu May Paing and Than Toe Aung

In December 2018, Than Toe Aung attended a talk hosted by Parami Institute (now Parami University), self-proclaimed as “Myanmar’s first private, not-for-profit liberal arts and sciences university” in Yangon. The talk featured the well-known journalist Bertil Lintner covering Burma since the era of the former military regime (1962-2010). In the talk, Lintner discussed what “national unity” looks like in Burma, particularly touching on the topic of federalism in Burma as well as issues relating to ethnic minorities and the Rohingya. During the Q&A session following the talk, one Burmese lady raised a question. Introducing herself as recently educated in the…

NAPM Yuva Samvad: Young People’s Political Persecution and Resistance |  NAPM युवा संवाद: युवाओं का राजनीतिक उत्पीड़न और प्रतिरोध

NAPM Yuva Samvad: Young People’s Political Persecution and Resistance | NAPM युवा संवाद: युवाओं का राजनीतिक उत्पीड़न और प्रतिरोध

This article is a summary of the National Alliance of People’s Movements‘ month-long campaign on ‘Young People’s Political Persecution and Resistance’ that took place in July 2021. This summary was originally published on NAPM Yuva Samvad: Towards Deepening Dialogues, Diversity and Democratic Values. In solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy with pain and pride   31st July, 2021: Brought together by comrades who are part of, or in solidarity with, various socio-political people’s movements, Yuva Samvad is a focused online platform where Yuva Saathis from diverse social locations, working on the ground, can share their…

Sci-Fi as Accessible Movement Building: A Review of Larissa Lai’s “The Tiger Flu,” By Chloe Dunston

The Tiger Flu is set in the year 2145, which author Larissa Lai depicts as a “time after oil” divided by factions, gender, disease, and technology. After years of greedy leadership, environmental degradation, and the exhaustion of fossil fuels, Saltwater City and its outskirts stand alone in what was formerly Vancouver, Canada. Impoverished citizens known as Salties squat in abandoned and crumbling infrastructure, attempting to grow food in jars or survive on stolen canned goods. A satellite, Chang, has replaced the sun and is getting alarmingly close. People plug informational scales into their scalps for memory, communication, and to listen…

Black Men’s Stories, By Peter London Global Dance Company with commentary from Terrence Pride

Upon the backs of our ancestors we journey forward, as the light and fire they held for us expands into a greater present and still greater future.  We must not let them down! Remember the tremendous brutality of mind, body, and spirit, they endured, that which still continues. Honor and cherish them, hold them close in your heart, daily prayer, and in all that you do. Stand strong and determined in the ship they built for us with their broken bones, torn flesh, muzzled voices, endless tears and their faith in the spirit of the Divine One, so that we…

My Palestinian Poem that “The New Yorker” Wouldn’t Publish, By Fady Joudah

This piece was originally published in the LA Review of Books on June 7, 2021. RemoveYou who remove me from my houseare blind to your pastwhich never leaves you,yet you’re no moleto smell and sense what’s being doneto me now by you.Now, dilatory, attritional so that the pastis climate change and not a massacre,so that the present never ends.But I’m closer to you than you are to yourselfand this, my enemy friend,is the definition of distance.Oh don’t be indignant,watch the video, I’ll send you the linkin which you cleanse me item after limbthrown into the street to march wheremy catastrophe…

The Black Radical Tradition Can Help Us Imagine a More Just World, by Brian Lozenski

Thanks to Truthout and author Brian Lozenski for granting us the permission to reprint this article on AGITATE Now!. You can access the original article here, published originally on June 23, 2020. Just as quickly as protests mounted in cities and towns across the country after George Floyd joined the ever-growing list of Black people murdered by police, public health officials began to warn of upcoming spikes in COVID-19 cases due to the lack of social distancing. It is not as though the mostly masked protesters are ignorant of the health risks of participating in mass gatherings, it is just that some…

Memory Histories: I Am Not Your Data, By Anjali Arondekar

Memory Histories: I Am Not Your Data, By Anjali Arondekar

I am not your data, nor am I your vote bank,I am not your project, or any exotic museum object,I am not the soul waiting to be harvested,Nor am I the lab where your theories are tested,I am not your cannon fodder, or the invisible worker,or your entertainment at India habitat center,I am not your field, your crowd, your history,your help, your guilt, medallions of your victory,So I draw my own picture, and invent my own grammar,I make my own tools to fight my own battle,For me, my people, my world, and my Adivasi self!- Abhay Xaxa1 So writes Abhay…

Shav-vahini Ganga | Ganga, the Carrier of Corpses | શબવાહિની ગંગા | शव-वाहिनी गंगा- by Parul Khakhar

India is going through a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this second wave was long predicted by medical and scientific experts, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Prime Minister Modi boasted of how India had conquered the virus. The stories from the first wave—of thousands of migrant wage workers who had to flee India’s megacities when the BJP announced a nation-wide lockdown with only four hours of notice, of thousands among them who lost their lives walking hundreds of kilometers back to their villages in the scorching heat, of hundreds of followers of a Muslim sect…

Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine

The Editorial Collective of AGITATE! Unsettling Knowledges, the Imagining Transnational Solidarities Research Circle (ITSRC), and the faculty in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and condemn the Israeli state’s brutal settler colonial violence and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. As members of a land grab university that resides on the unceded land Mni Sota Makoce of the Dakota people, many of us live in the U.S. and are painfully aware of our complicity with the settler colonial violence against Indigenous people and the continuing dispossession…

Announcing AGITATE! Vol. 3 “Stories, Bodies, Movements” coming May 2021: Selections from Dreams as R-evolution by Coral Bijoux

Announcing AGITATE! Vol. 3 “Stories, Bodies, Movements” coming May 2021: Selections from Dreams as R-evolution by Coral Bijoux

When you want to enslave a people,You steal the ability to dream.And when you want to enslave a people,You destroy the ability to dream.And still, when you want slaves,The master has to remember his place.And the slave, hers.And the slave, his.And when you want to enslave a people,You introduce a fear that is embedded in our darkest hours. – Coral Bijoux, Dreams as R-evolution Artbook In just a few weeks, AGITATE! will launch its third volume, Stories, Bodies, Movements, which explores storytelling as a praxis for justice. Collectively, the fifteen pieces that comprise this volume refuse any eagerness to predict…

Deadly Iran Sanctions: Lessons Learned from Iraq and Palestine, By No Sanctions on Iran Coalition

On March 16, AGITATE! co-sponsored a webinar by No Sanctions on Iran Coalitions to discuss the deadly effects of sanctions and embargoes on Iraqi, Iranian, and Palestinian peoples. This conversation, featuring Jadaliyya co-editor Noura Erakat, Zainab Saleh, Negar Mortazavi, and Assal Rad, provides a means by which to better contextualize current geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East and the broader world while revealing the necessity for regional and transnational solidarity for the betterment of all peoples being oppressed by such economic forces. This event is co-sponsored by: ITSRC, AGITATE!, MADRE, Jadaliyya, MERIP, Femena, Code Pink,AROC, NIAC, George Mason University’s MEIS Program and GGJA. Click here to learn about the No Sanctions on Iran Coalition and about the…

Sawt al-Bahrain: A Window onto the Gulf’s Social and Political History, By Wafa Alsayed

Sawt al-Bahrain: A Window onto the Gulf’s Social and Political History, By Wafa Alsayed

In 1950, a group of Bahraini intellectuals began publishing the magazine Sawt al-Bahrain (‘Voice of Bahrain’). It aimed to promote a modernist, Arab, Islamic and anti-colonial agenda and create a space for the exchange of ideas amongst the nascent intelligentsia. Sawt al-Bahrain was only published for four years, but its impact on Bahrain’s intellectual movement and its connection to the Arab region was critical. It was the first periodical independently run by the intelligentsia, highlighting the 1950s as the decade in which this class emerged as an influential social category. Sawt al-Bahrain offered the intelligentsia a platform to engage with the Arab world, reaching a larger…

Caatinga, Hierarchies, and Pandemics, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos

Video Commentary from Carmela Zigoni: Quilombolas in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic Throughout the pandemic, quilombolas have been fighting against invisibility and for specific public policies that respect their culture and the vulnerability of their communities. However, they have been systematically victimized by institutional racism. The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 179 quilombolas in Brazil, and infected more than 5,000. This data comes exclusively from the National Coordination of Black Rural Quilombola Communities (Conaq), which has recorded cases and deaths, as national health agencies do not have ethnic-racial markers that would make it possible to identify this population. The year…

#NoSanctionsonIran: Digital Activism and Iran Solidarity Politics, By Niki Akhavan and Sima Shakhsari

Take Action! Join the Global Day of Action on March 21, 2021 beginning 12pm CST. Join the Global Day of Action by sharing #NoSanctionsOnIran on your social media. Join the Deadly Iran Sanctions: Lessons Learned from Iraq and Palestine Webinar on March 16th, 3 PM EST. This interview originally appeared on Jadaliyya. Jadaliyya: Sanctions have been in place against Iran for decades, ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Can you tell us about how and why you decided to launch this campaign now just as President Biden has taken office?  Sima: The sanctions are not new, and neither is our fight…

How to Name and Claim Your Theoretical Approach, by Nadine Naber

This essay was originally posted on Nadine Naber’s blog, Liberate Your Research. Since I launched Liberate Your Research, one thing is now more clear to me than ever before. Radical scholars, especially interdisciplinary activist scholars, face disproportionate levels of overwhelm and anxiety in academia. Lacking go-to theories, or theoretical blueprints, contributes to these challenges.  Compounding matters, fields like Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, and/or Gender Studies often lack training in how to claim and name your theoretical approach and interventions. The struggle to name and claim our ideas can lead to confusion over where our interventions begin or end. Even worse, we…

Life After an Earthquake is the Labor of Reconstruction, By Emina Bužinkić

Life After an Earthquake is the Labor of Reconstruction, By Emina Bužinkić

According to the Volcano Discovery network, over the last 30 days, Croatia was shaken by at least 500 earthquakes, leaving at least seven people dead, dozens were injured, and thousands had to leave their homes. The strongest one — measuring at a 6.4 magnitude — struck the area around Petrinja, central Croatia, on December 29. It was the strongest earthquake in the region in the last 140 years, and was felt all over the Balkans, Slovenia, Italy and parts of Austria.  In the Petrinja area, according to the initial estimates, over 15,000 houses have been severely damaged, while over 3,000 were completely destroyed. …

Call‌ ‌to‌ ‌Action:‌ ‌No‌ ‌Sanctions‌ ‌on‌ ‌Iran‌ ‌Video‌ ‌Campaign, by the No Sanctions on Iran Project‌

We are a group of feminist Iranian-American scholars, students, activists, and artists who are concerned about the deadly effects of the U.S. sanctions on the Iranian people.  The brunt of economic sanctions are borne by ordinary Iranians. For over a decade, lack of access to medicine and the environmental effects of the sanctions have debilitated the Iranian people and have subjected them to death. This has never been more evident than now, with the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign coinciding with the deadly corona pandemic and making for devastating consequences. Sanctions against Iran have long been justified as a means…

Singhu: The Unwritten, by Simona Sawhney

Singhu: The Unwritten, by Simona Sawhney

This piece was originally published on Dalit Camera: Through Un-Touchable Eyes— a platform for narratives, public meetings, songs, talks, discussion on dalits. The response of the mainstream media to the protesting farmers at Singhu and Tikri, like that of the government, oscillates between pity and indignation. On the one hand, there are voices of concern—a concern aimed mostly at the elderly and at times, strikingly, at women. Go home, they are told, please go home and take care of yourselves. Meaning, of course, that you are not able bodied enough to assume the burdens of citizenship–to be full citizens, in…

Healthy Living, by Jordan Starck

HYPERTENSION Righteous rage delivered me to this world as I am, a Black man. My living, here, has always been illegal, and my fight preordained    for an always-later time    when I’ll whisk the blade    away from its hiding place on my wrist. Then, with just a quick, outward thrust and a slow, intimate twist,    a spoonful of justice shall finally permit the blood       to flow                        freely    with all the force of my beating heart. Already I can feel it,       pulsing in my wrist,       pulsing in my grip             on my dripping blade. PHANTOM LIMBS The good doctor brings me to consciousness…

#DalitLivesMatter Webinar, hosted by Hindus for Human Rights, India Civil Watch International, Dalit Solidarity Forum, and the Reclaiming India Collective

This webinar on #DalitLivesMatter was organized collectively by Hindus for Human Rights, India Civil Watch International, Dalit Solidarity Forum, and the Reclaiming India Collective on 4 October 2020. The webinar is a discussion between renowned Dalit rights activists Prof. Roja Singh and Martin Macwan, moderated by Prof. Balmurli Natrajan. Their discussion takes up many important questions including that of the precarity of Dalits under the current Hindutva regime in India and the possibilities for liberation. You can also watch the Facebook live recording of the webinar here About the contributors: Roja Singh teaches interdisciplinary studies including Anthropology, Sociology and Women…

Save Lives: Make COVID19 Vaccines Equally Available to Iranians

We, the undersigned human rights and humanitarian organizations, call on all stakeholders to ensure people in Iran have swift, unencumbered, and equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable Covid-19 vaccines. We particularly call on the government of the United States to provide assurances to financial institutions that they will not be subject to US sanctions for facilitating transfers of Iran’s foreign currency for the purpose of purchasing vaccines. We urge the Iranian government to use funds, distribute vaccines, and fight the pandemic in an equitable and transparent manner, in line with recognized due diligence standards.   Iran has seen some of…

ancestors, by Zoe Todd

I dreamt of my grandma the other night. We were in a cafeteria and she bought me pasta: meatballs, rigatoni, and cheese. She bought herself a similar dish. She insisted on paying for it: $8.00. I have been thinking about my relatives a lot lately, in the aftermath of recovering from COVID. They say the veil between worlds is thin during Samhain. And I think the same is true for illnesses. On so many nights through the long months of my illness I had trouble discerning between this world and other ones. Time, space, light were bending in ways that defied western…

Women of Color Should Be the Ones Remaking U.S. Foreign Policy, by Christine Ahn, Yifat Susskind, and Cindy Wiesner

Women of Color Should Be the Ones Remaking U.S. Foreign Policy, by Christine Ahn, Yifat Susskind, and Cindy Wiesner

In the 2020 presidential election, Black women, Indigenous women and people of color across the country delivered the votes to throw Donald Trump out of office. These voters want a new era in policy priorities, requiring radical change to the status quo—not just when it comes to U.S. domestic affairs but foreign policy as well. After decades of flawed and failed U.S. foreign policy, Joe Biden has the opportunity to chart a new direction, one that can advance the conversation of achieving basic human rights and a secure future for the nation and the world. The stakes have never been higher: Diplomatic relationships have been…

Some Thoughts on the U.S. Presidential Election, by Sima Shakhsari

As we anxiously wait for the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, many who are rightly worried about the ramifications of another four years under Trump’s presidency have hoped that Trump’s removal would restore the American democracy. This hope for restoration raises several concerns, that while not particular to this election, are important to consider. First, we may ask, what exactly “restoring” American democracy after Trump means. After all, despite the promise of freedom and salvation that sustains the American democracy (or rather its illusion), it is paradoxical to insist on restoring a system of governance that was built…

Art for Community, by Molly Costello

Art for Community, by Molly Costello

These pieces are being made available by artist Molly Costello to support the movement for abolition, to challenge the culture of white supremacy and to help imagine a world beyond capitalism. For all of you out there working to build our healed future, thank you for your commitment to this world. Molly is a queer illustrator, food grower, bee tender and a seeker of mysticism. Through their creative work they explore themes of interconnectedness, cosmology, and resilience, and are interested in cultivating a radical imagination for our emergent new world. As a white person, Molly is committed to the work…

Dalit Lives Matter! A Cry to Rage Against the Horrifying Violence of Saffron Terror in India, by India Civil Watch

In Hathras, cops barricade a raped woman’s home, hijack her corpse, set it afire on a murderous night,deaf to her mother’s howling pain. In a land whereDalits cannot rule, they cannot rage, or even mourn.This has happened before, this will happen again.. . . .Sanatana, the only law of the land that’s in force,Sanatana, where nothing, nothing ever will change.Always, always a victim-blaming slut-template,a rapist-shielding police-state, a caste-denying fourth estate.This has happened before, this will happen again. These haunting words from Meena Kandaswamy’s poem, Rape Nation, were penned in the aftermath of the brutal gang rape and murder of a…

Artwork, by Sunil Awachar

Artwork, by Sunil Awachar

Dr Sunil Abhiman Awachar is a poet, painter and Assistant Professor at the Department of Marathi, University of Mumbai, India. He is a full-time activist in the Dalit human rights movement. He has published four anthologies of poetry in Marathi, that include ‘Global vartamanachya kavita (2008)’ ‘Mi mahasattechya darashi katora gheun ubha rahanaar nahi,’ ‘Bravo! Fox minds of capitalist’ and ‘Poems of the occupied everything’. One of these anthologies was translated into English as ‘Our world is not for sale’. His poems, written in a unique blend of local Indian languages—Mahari, Gondi and Banjara, are political statements which demand social justice. He is also on…

(Too) Great Expectations? On Fieldwork, Guidelines, and Ethics in Human Geography, by Mark Anthony Arceño, Deondre Smiles, Emelie Bailey, Anurag Mazumdar, Thelma Vélez, J.P. Wilson, Kelly Yotebieng, and Kendra McSweeney.

ABSTRACT This blog post engages the American Association of Geographers’ (AAG) 2009 “Statement on Professional Ethics.” We argue that the Statement falls short in helping us (students) understand how we know if we are doing the “right” thing when conducting research in the field. Rather than suggest new verbiage for a revised code of ethics (which we had been told was  apparently ongoing within the AAG), we instead ask for a broader rethinking of the AAG’s role as an arbiter of ethical practice in the field, organizing its collective ethical stance and resources to support us as researchers undergoing graduate…

ACTION ALERT! International Community Condemns the Horrifying Violence against Dalit Women by Police-State in India, By India Civil Watch

By now, you may have heard about the most recent cases of horrifying rapes and murders of Dalit women and their terrorization and traumatization by the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. We are reaching out to individuals and organizations located outside India to sign a statement to express in the strongest possible collective voice our outrage at this horrific violence, to express our solidarity with all the families of survivors and victims of caste-based violence in India, and to join organizations, movements, and concerned citizens across India and the world to demand accountability and justice for…

Beautiful Damaged People, By Abhay Flavian Xaxa

Among the doom and gloom they smile, Mistaken for idiots by the mad rational world.  The Adivasis, beautifully damaged people! On the treasures of iron, gold and diamond they sit, Poor and powerless, holding the curse of nature. The curse of loving their land , water, forest, where they prefer to die as mad lover beautifully damaged people! With stars in their eyes, n moon in their minds, Thoughts flowing like an undammed river with hearts unadulterated with twisted philosophies, Religions, ideologies, lust and greed. Their vision misunderstood as juvenility, On the face of violence, loot and hopelessness they remain,…

Rest, by Amoke Kubat

These times; Coronavirus now called COVID-19. The whole world is on lockdown. People are fearful, confused, defiant and restless. Somebody must have cried out from the wilderness, “What next, God?” I asked myself privately, “Is this when Hell freezes over?” I am sleepless with such questions. I am concerned but not scared. Worldwide protests ignited (again) by the brutal, livestreamed and televised murder of another Black man, George Floyd. These times. I live in north Minneapolis. I watched people engage their rage to mobilize and take to the streets. I had seen this before, August 1965, during the Watts riots….

कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी… Which Methodology…, by विनायक लष्कर (Vinayak Lashkar)

कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी… -विनायक लष्कर कुठली मेथडॉलॉजी वापरून आमच्या जिवंतपणाचं तुम्ही संशोधन करताय गुर्जीतुमच्या मेलेल्या सिद्धांतांनीआमचं जिवंत असणं कधीच नाकारून टाकलंय…संख्या फेकण्यात तर तुम्ही सराईत तज्ञ आहात गुर्जीपण कोणत्या पद्धती वापरून तुम्ही करणार आहातआमच्या शोषलेल्या रक्ताचं गुणात्मक विश्लेषण…संशोधन पेपरांचे तर तुम्ही ढिगावर ढिग रचतच चाललाय गुर्जीपण आमच्या घामाची शाई तुम्हाला कधीच उमटवता येणार नाही कागदावर…राष्ट्रीय, आंतरराष्ट्रीय पातळीवर टाय कोट घालून तुम्ही पेपर प्रेझेंट कराल गुर्जीपण आमचं रिकामं प्वॉटतुम्ही कधीच भरू शकणार नाही…तुमच्या संदर्भ सुचीत नामांकित नावंतुम्ही शोधून शोधून टाकाल गुर्जीपण ही पृथ्वी समृद्ध करण्यासाठी आमच्या झिजलेल्या भाऊबंदांची नावं तुम्ही कधीच टाकू शकणार नाही…पण एक फुटनोट द्यायला मात्र तुम्ही कधीच ईसरू नका गुर्जीतुमच्या या सगळ्या सिद्धांत पद्धतीशास्त्रांनीआमची सामान्य जगण्याची गृहीतकं सिद्ध करण्याच्या नादातसमदी जिंदगीच ईस्कटून टाकली… Which…

‘We are part of the tapestry’: Black Iranians launch collective, by Behdad Mahichi (from Aljazeera)

‘We are part of the tapestry’: Black Iranians launch collective, by Behdad Mahichi (from Aljazeera)

She sits with an air of reflection, a tea in one hand, staring into the moon over the Gulf through the window. Next to her are two books, one titled Iranian. The second one is opened – and on a fresh page she has written down and underlined the word “Africa”. It is a scene from Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful), an animated short series. The woman depicted is Khyzran Khanum, a 22-year old who was kidnapped from Tanzania and sold as a slave in Iran in the mid-1800s. Despite being told to remain home, Khyzran hears from another enslaved…

Palestinian in Hiroshima, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

Palestinian in Hiroshima, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

I and Oliver Stone both spoke at Hiroshima on the anniversary of the first nuclear bombing in human history and we are slated to speak in two days at Nagasaki on the anniversary of the second nuclear attack. My speech is below in English (I will send the Japanese version later). These remain the most starkest of acts of state terror in Human history. I had seen images and video before that made me shudder but being in the City is different. At 8:15 AM on a sunny hot day we laid down next to the dome for three minutes with…

We Belong to the Land, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos

We Belong to the Land, by Antônio Bispo dos Santos

Translated by Carmela Zigoni1 I. When I provoke a debate about colonization, the quilombos2, their manners and their meanings, I do not want to position myself as a thinker. Instead, I am positioning myself as a translator. My elders formed me first through orality, but they put me in school to learn through written language so that I could translate the contracts3 we were forced to make. I went to the school of written language at the age of nine but since I started to speak, I have also been trained by ‘craft masters’ in our community activities. When I…

The Creative Process, by James Baldwin (1962)

From Creative America, Ridge Press, 1962. Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone. That all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality—a banality because it is very frequently stated, but very rarely, on the evidence, believed. Most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world. There are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be…

A Statement by Sociology Graduate Students at the University of Minnesota

On 4 June, 2020, our department chair informed graduate students that two of the officers charged in George Floyd’s murder “appear to have ties to our department, college, and university.” After expressing sadness and outrage, we were asked to “direct any media inquiries to CLA, UMN (College of Liberal Arts).” As graduate students in the department, we feel disbelief, anger, and disappointment at the handling and communication of this news and believe that it is our responsibility to address this conversation ourselves.  The murder of George Floyd has brought to light our department’s complicity in systemic racism and anti-Blackness. An…

Black Lives Matter and Savarna Supremacy, by Vishal Jamkar and Richa Nagar

Black Lives Matter and Savarna Supremacy, by Vishal Jamkar and Richa Nagar

On June 4th, the civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton Jr., powerfully eulogized George Floyd, the 46-year old unarmed Black man who was brutally murdered by four Minneapolis police officers when one of them kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds even as Floyd repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” Pointing out that Floyd’s story has been the story of Black folks in the United States for 401 years, Sharpton said, “What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country, in education, in health services, and in every area of American life. It’s time for us to…

A Frank Discussion with Iranian Americans about COVID19 and US Sanctions on Iran, by CODEPINK

It’s one thing to read news accounts about US sanctions and the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, but it’s another to hear first-hand accounts. The following is a frank discussion with six Iranian Americans about how the collapse of the Iranian economy and the healthcare crisis affect the lives of people back home. Now that this pandemic is wrecking economies throughout the entire world, it may be easier for people to understand what has been happening in Iran—and hopefully feel more empathy.  The discussion is based on an April 5 webinar hosted by CODEPINK. The voices are those of  Sussan…

Statement for a Feminist Foreign Policy to Confront the Coronavirus Pandemic

In February, three organizations — MADRE, Women Cross DMZ, and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance — convened a group of 23 women and gender nonconforming people from across the United States in order to engage in a cross-movement dialogue on our collective work against militarism and war in order to examine, challenge, and reimagine US foreign policy. While our convening occurred before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, this public health crisis has only amplified the need to redistribute resources, restructure society, and create long-term solutions that prioritize the true needs of all people. The following statement represents the beginning of a larger conversation to…

In Praise of Empathy, by Ruramisai Charumbira

If you had told me that it would take a novel pathogen, to work like a charm, drilling hard into our collective heart, making us shiver with fear and empathy, I would have called you names. If you had told me it would take a novel pathogen, to snap our eyelids wide open to how the third world was and is made; people living in distress for generations, I would have thought you delusional. I mean, if you had said it would take a novel pathogen, to slap us awake to the fading memory that we, as a species, are…

When humanity fails: A hopeful reminder, by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman

When did the breath of life start to kill? As Quechua people, we are taught about the power of one’s breath. The fresh Andean air that we take in is a gift that we have been given to live in this world. Each breath is a reminder that we are alive and most importantly, that with our aliveness comes a responsibility to do good with each thought and each physical movement fueled by this breath. Our breath is powerful because it holds the ability to offer thanks, express reverence and awe, to transfer strength and healing, and to carry the…

The Most Lethal Virus Is Not COVID-19, by Margo Okazawa-Rey

The escalating panic and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is palpable across the social spectrum. The Governor of California has ordered the entire to state to “shelter in place” for the foreseeable future, meaning we can leave home only for essential tasks. Yes, the virus is yet to be fully known and controlled; yes, the incidence of infection is increasing and cannot be predicted accurately; yes this virus causes death. And yes, we must keep washing our hands and taking other precautions and maintaining physical distance. We must also practice social solidarity. This means involving ourselves in mutual aid, supporting healthcare workers, and finding effective ways to support workers and families in precarious situations and small businesses at risk of not surviving. At the same time, must keep socializing virtually through dancing, music concerts, and other creative, inspiring, and healing, as well as fun, gatherings.

Violence Against Muslims and Peaceful Dissenters in Northeast Delhi: Urgent Call for Global Action to Support the Many Shaheen Baghs, by India Civil Watch

This is an urgent call for global action. For the last three days, large violent mobs of right-wing Hindu nationalists have unleashed a spate of violent attacks in Delhi which have led to at least twenty three deaths recorded so far and injured more than 100. Vehicles and commercial establishments owned by members of the Muslim community have been specifically targeted and burned or vandalized. Mobs have been threatening women and children with physical violence and rape, and Northeast Delhi is burning. In the meantime, the Delhi police has played a silent spectator, and other times has actively aided the…

యింకో ద్వేష భక్తి గీతం! Another Ode to Hate-riotism, original poem in Telugu by Afsar, translated into English by N. Venugopal

యింకో ద్వేష భక్తి గీతం!~అయినా ప్రేమిస్తూనే వుండమని కదా చెప్తావ్. గోడలన్నీ నెత్తుటి మరకలవుతాయ్, వీధుల్లో తల ఎత్తుకొని నడవలేను. పసిపిల్లాడి లాగు విప్పి మరీ సున్తీ పరీక్షలు చేస్తావ్. యిప్పటికీ నా పేరు కంటే నా చివరి పేరు మీదే నీ వూనిక. నేనెక్కడా లేను. నేనేమిటో యెవరికీ అక్కర్లేదు. శాసనాలు చేయక్కర్లేదు ఆదేశాలు కాగితాల మీదే వుండక్కర్లేదు నా నిలువెత్తు రూపమే నిషిద్ధ పత్రమైనప్పుడు- 2 వుపవాసాలు వుంటాను, వుపన్యాసాలు వింటాను. భయపడుతూ భయపడుతూ పిల్లల్ని కంటాను. చివరికి మంచి మాటే అయినా అది నీ చెవికి యెలా యెక్కుతుందో తెలీక ప్రతి మాటా బెరుకు బెరుకుగా అంటాను. అయినా, స్వేచ్చకేం తక్కువా అని పాటలు పాడమంటావ్. దేశాన్ని ప్రేమిస్తూనే వుండమని చూపుడు వేళ్ళు నా మీదికి రువ్వుతుంటావ్. కాళ్ళు తెగిపోయినా సరే, పరేడ్ లో ముందే వుండాలని నేనూ అనుకుంటాను. కాని, యీ సారి పరేడ్ లో…

Why the Chinese are Making a Catastrophic Mistake in Xinjiang, by Daanish Mustafa

Malice against children is emblematic of evil in the Abrahamic religious tradition. The Old Testament tells the story of how the Pharaoh ordered the murder of every male Hebrew child born in Egypt to protect himself against the Messiah—Moses (es)—that the shamans had foretold would destroy him. Ironically, he ended up raising Moses (es) in his own house, and was destroyed by him anyway. One can read the story literally or allegorically, but in either case the intent of the Egyptian empire was to destroy the Hebrew, either through a campaign of genocide or through acculturation. Pharaoh tried both—by attempting…

A Letter of Support from Gujarat to Kashmir

A group of 250 activists, academics, students, artists and concerned citizens of Gujarat have signed this letter to declare solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been silenced and held captive in their own land. They call for a complete lift on the media and communications blockade (including the restoration of internet services), the release of political prisoners detained without trial since August 5, the demilitarisation of Kashmir, and the initiation of a meaningful dialogue with the people of the region on their future. A Letter of Support, from Gujarat to Kashmir On August 5, the Indian…

A friend is passing on today…, by Janani Eswar

A friend is passing on today…, by Janani Eswar

The Gulmohar and I are losing a companion. May 5th, 2016 Until yesterday, if you looked outside where we work, you would find a beautiful mango tree on the plot next to us. In the respectful form of Tamil or Kannada, my mother tongue and the language that is spoken around me right now, pronouns and sentence conjugations are agender; like English’s plural pronoun. Perhaps this is why using they, them, theirs as pronouns to refer to my friend, this Mango tree, feels the most appropriate while communicating in English. Just taller than our two story building, they were reaching…