Thursday, May 24, 2007

Who is the Real Deal?

A friend asked me who's my favorite candidate for president.
I'm leaning towards Edwards. He's the straightest and clearest (apart from Kucinich)
Iraq, his presentation of his universal health plan is by far the best I've heard, and he's
deadly serious about ending poverty.
A friend of mine who was at the
California Democratic Convention last month said Edwards got more ovations than the other
candidates combined.
Of course, Obama is the one in my heart.

My research shows that heis an
awesome politician with a spine of steel, the most gifted leader to come along

in a generation. Unlike the other candidates, what Obama inspires in millions of people is LOVE.
He knows his life is in constant peril (he's already receiving Secret Service protection). I'm deathly
afraid that he's going to go the way of John and Bobby, of
Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X,
Martin Luther King. His life is in mortal danger because he is the REAL THING.

-Clive Leeman

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Student Affairs Professional Recognized for Community Service and Activism

Elahe Amani Honored With Inaugural Award

You have seen many post under then name Elaheh. Well, Elaheh Amani is a great family friendand an extraordinary woman. She has been a human rights activist for many years . Her great work through various charitable organizations has helped the lives of many . Berkeley Forum congratulates Elaheh on her most recent achievement!

Elahe Amani has served the needs of students since 1999 — first in student financial services and now as director of technology services in student affairs at Cal State Fullerton. The Iranian-born Amani also has been involved in activities that enhance students’ educational experience, ranging from lecturers on gender and culture, leadership and multiculturalism to getting funding for a financial literacy program on campus. In the community, she has been an organizer of statewide conferences, served as chair of the Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East, and is a member of the board for the Women’s Intercultural Network. She has served on the community advisory board for the Natural History Museum of LosAngeles, a board member and representative on the California Women Agenda and a research chair for the California State Economic Network. She has made numerous presentations, and last year, gave commentary and context during a screening of the film “Kandahar” — about an Afghan-born Canadian journalist’s efforts to return to her homeland to reach her sister. Most recently she took part in the 51st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

For all the things that she has done, Elahe Amani was recognized May 9 by the Women’s Studies Department at Cal State Long Beach, where she once worked as an accounting tech, financial aid disbursement supervisor and as a lecturer. Elahe was one of the inaugural recipients of the Lillian Robles Award for her efforts in community service and feminist activism. Robles was a Juane-o elder and Cal State Long Beach faculty member who battled to protect 11 acres of university land from development in the 1990s. At one point she camped out on the site for several days, said Elahe, who had known Robles when Elahe worked at Long Beach. “She was someone who stood up for issues that were important to her,” said Elahe, adding that Robles had been a foster mother for several hundred children and had been honored as Los Angeles County Mother of the Year. “She was really the soul of a caring woman. “I am so honored to be named to receive an award named after her,” Elahe added. “I am totally humbled and surprised by this recognition.”

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reclaiming Mother’s Day

Today, May 13, 2007, America will observe “Mother’s Day” with a $16-billion commercial blitz of cards, flowers and restaurant meals. .While many people value and celebrate the contributions of mothers to their family not too many people know that " Mother's day actually began as a women's peace proclamation which has clearly being expressed in the Julia Ward Howe's 1870 English Language Poem.

Today, a group of mothers led by prominent and well known war opponent Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, reclaiming “ Mother’s Day” as a day to protest war and started a 24 hours vigil outside the white house to protest the war in Iraq.

She said in a press conference " I don't want any more mums to grieve for a child lost in this unjust, unnecessary war in Iraq,"

So, as America celebrates Mother’s Day, let us remember that prior to 1914 when the first mother’s day was enacted, Mother’s day was a day in which women would rise up for peace in the world. Let us remember that motherhood is not only a biological fact, it is the quality of nurturing. Many women who never experience being a mother, mother the world by nurturing and healing the communities, locally and globally. They all believe that another world is possible. A world with peace, equality and respect to human rights. .

Mother's Day Proclamation

Arise then ... women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy,
and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead,
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace.

-Elaheh Amani

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic",proposed an annual Mother's Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howewrote: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage... Our sonsshall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach themof charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs".

-Clive Leeman

Thursday, May 03, 2007

President Bush in Military Garb Contravened A Constitutional Safeguard

Now that we have passed the fourth anniversary of President Bush's 
"Mission Accomplished" speech and been painfully entertained once again by
the sight of him strutting around the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln in a flight
suit (codpiece intact) with a flight helmet under his arm, isn't it time for
us to wonder why a sitting president, who is constitutionally always a civilian
commander in chief, was wearing military gear that day.
No U.S President, with one exception as far as I can tell, has ever worn
a military uniform while president. George Washington's donning
his old uniform and leading the army into western Pennsylvania against
the Whiskey rebels of 1794, is the only known instance, I believe, of a
sitting presidentacting officially while in unifom.
On that Mayday four years ago, George Bush revealed a disdain for the constitutional
desgnation of commander in chief as a civilian and always a civilian.
Perhaps he was also  compensating for his shabby record with the Texas Air National Guard
by swooping on to the flight deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln
in a fighter jet and then parading around before the whole world as some
kind of fighter pilot hero.
What a pathetic spectacle.

-Professor Clive Leeman

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Legacy of Vietnam

April 30, 1975 – the fall of Saigon. The day that Vietnam fell to communism. On this morning, the streets of Saigon stood deathly still, subdued by a sense of impending doom. From the north, the Viet Cong were coming; their military tanks could be heard in the near distance.

Some of the men, like my grandfather, burned their uniforms and fled for their lives. Others such as my father, too young to fight, stood and wept bitterly for the freedom that was now lost. The Americans had left long ago. Nothing could save them from the vengeance of their worst enemies, their own countrymen.

In the days that followed, a new era of totalitarian rule was unleashed upon the Vietnamese people. The world could only watch and cringe as the newly reinstated Socialist government began its systematic persecution of opposition political leaders and their followers. Thousands of innocents were tortured and executed in “work” camps, mere euphemisms for concentration death camps. In this society, where any deviation from the party line had punishing consequences, few dared to protest.

For many Vietnamese, living the nightmare of socialism and poverty, enough was enough. It’s commonly said that in a system where people have no political voice, they vote instead with their feet. Two million desperate Vietnamese fled to the high seas; only an estimated half of these refugees, among them my parents, were lucky enough to find haven in sympathetic neighboring and Western nations.

As we flashforward to the present, little has changed. In 2007 Vietnam was ranked as one of the worst violators of human rights in the world by Freedom House. No freedom of religion, no freedom of political expression, and no freedom of the press. All thanks to a regime that efficiently imprisons and silences a population of 85 million.

That is the deep heartbreak of the Vietnamese people, as thirty-two years later, we look upon this date today and mourn for a nation that is still not free.
This inevitably leads me to ask – what is the legacy of this day and the suffering of the Vietnamese people? As our nation questions whether Iraq has become this generation’s Vietnam, the disheartening tragedy that befell the Vietnamese after U.S. withdrawal should be a compelling lesson for us in Iraq.

Under the Paris Accords of 1973, the U.S. government had promised it would continue to provide financial support to the South Vietnamese even after withdrawing American troops from the country. In 1975, President Gerald Ford asked Congress to approve legislation granting financial assistance for the South. But Congress denied Ford’s request, and effectively cut off the final remaining lifeline for the Vietnamese dream of freedom, leaving the population at the mercy of the Viet Cong.

In March of this year, President Bush called upon Congress to renew legislative funding for our troops in their efforts to keep Iraq secure for democracy. In response, Congress has demanded a clause mandating the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, perhaps as early as the end of this year. Already it appears that many in the House and the Senate are ready to turn their backs on Iraq as well.

I have this last piece to say. Our country simply can not betray the Iraqi people as it did in Vietnam. Our troops must stay to keep the peace until it is certain that the peace is lasting. That much we owe to the Iraqi people.

The obligations we assume in securing stability and democracy abroad are ones that we must keep and ultimately fulfill. And if we truly do not want another Vietnam to unfold in Iraq, then that is a promise that we cannot afford to break. Our nation must stay the course in Iraq.

History’s shown us what unfolded in Vietnam after we departed. Let us not repeat that same mistake.

-Jessica Vu
UC Berkeley

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