The common sense of a socialist trucker in Boston

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“Defend Moslems. Stop Trump.”

He’s not shouting or holding up placards. Just sitting atop a green box by the Park Street Station at Boston Common, hands clasped around knees drawn up to his body. Wearing a bicycle helmet, purple rimmed reflector sunglasses, black t-shirt and shorts, sneakers.

“Stop racism,” he says to no one in particular.

I turn back to talk to him, and later notice the posters on the wall a few feet away from where he’s sitting. Fight for Socialism. Rent Control. Fight Fascism. Continue reading

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Howard Zinn: from Pakistan with love and respect

The Zinn magic. Photo: Beena Sarwar

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of a cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness”

– Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn’s death on Jan 27 came as a shock to his friends and admirers around the world. The iconic historian, activist, and academic (Professor Emeritus, Boston University) was 87, frail, but in reasonable health. He had a heart attack while swimming, an activity he loved. As Arundhati Roy put it when she called his old friend David Barsamian of Alternative Radio: “Howard lived a glorious life and accomplished so much and to die swimming — what a way to go”.

Howard Zinn, Cambridge, Oct 2006 (photo: BJ Bullert)

David writes that Howard had rented a place with a swimming pool near the ocean for three weeks and “was thrilled to be escaping the dreaded Boston winter.”

A fluent Urdu/Hindi speaker, David sent this note to friends: “A light has gone out. There are new lights to be lit,” adding the following verse from Iqbal’s poetry:

Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain
abhi ishq ke imtehan aur bhi
(Beyond these stars there are other galaxies
The real test of love is yet to come)

Continue reading

We Don’t Feel Like Celebrating with Israel This Year

Naomi KleinWe Don’t Feel Like Celebrating with Israel This Year
Article by Naomi Klein – September 8th, 2009

Last para of Klein’s article:
….This is the context in which a small group of us drafted The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration Under Occupation, which has been signed by the likes of Danny Glover and Ken Loach (we will be unveiling hundreds of new names on the first day of TIFF). Contrary to the many misrepresentations, the letter is not calling for a boycott of the festival. It is a simple message of solidarity that says: We don’t feel like partying with Israel this year. It is also a small way of saying to Mona Al Shawa and millions of other Palestinians living under occupation and siege that we have not forgotten them, and we are still outraged.

It’s not too late to add your name
http://torontodeclaration.blogspot.com/

Adding Your Name
To add your name to this letter, please send your name, occupation and country to tiff.letter@gmail.com
We will accept signatures until September 14, 2009

For further reading on this issue:

Letter by Canadian filmmaker John Greyson on withdrawing his film from the Toronto International Film Festival in protest against City to City: http://tiny.cc/tiff_open_letter
(not sure I agree with his decision to withdraw his film, but it reminds me of the Modi award going to Gujarat – ‘business as usual’ -beena)

Response by TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey to Greyson’s withdrawal and this petition:
http://www.tiff.net/livefromthefestival/openlettercitytocity

Report in Israeli daily Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1110750.htmlspages/1110750.html

Report in Guardian newspaper, UK:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/sep/01/israel-palestine-boycott-film

Statement by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1085etemplate.php?id=1085

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