Friday, October 21, 2016

Ann Wright Speaking Tour In Maine Begins Oct. 29 "Never Silent Until Our Sisters Are Free"

Palestinian boys prepare to welcome Women’s Boat to Gaza
which was intercepted by the Israeli naval blockade on Oct. 5, 2016.
International human rights activist Ann Wright begins a speaking tour of Maine next week to share news from her recent travels supporting struggles for justice around the globe. She was aboard the Women's Boat to Gaza which was boarded by Israel's military in international waters earlier this month.

Ann was illegally detained along with numerous women from parliaments and human rights organizations around the globe, including Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire. On October 6 Ann was released from an Israeli jail.

It was her fourth attempt to challenge the blockade of Gaza. She has been to Gaza six times participating in the 2009 Gaza Freedom March and the 2010, 2011 and 2015 Gaza Freedom Flotillas. She was aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters when Israel’s military boarded it and killed ten passengers in 2010.

After being deported from Israel on October 6, she joined water protectors at Standing Rock to oppose the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
Photo by Ann Wright of Groovy Yurts at Standing Rock yesterday
Because she cares about life on this planet, including access to potable water and respect for indigenous land rights.

Ann is an articulate and passionate spokesperson and an ally to people struggling for peace and justice around the planet. She is doing the kind of diplomatic work that the U.S. State Department often neglects as it promotes corporate interests like fracking around the world.

Ann will share her perspectives on women in international struggles for peace and justice Saturday, October 29 at the Curtis Public Library in Brunswick at noon and at the Belfast Free Public Library at 4pm, and Sunday, October 30 at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor at 3pm and the Blue Hill Library at 6:30pm. She also plans to meet with the staff of Sen. Angus King while she is in Maine.

Ann, a member of Veterans for Peace, reports regularly in Common Dreams, Consortium News and Op-ed News on her participation in local struggles against militarism and for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

In “A firsthand account of Women’s Boat to Gaza” published October 10 she wrote,
“The internationally isolated enclave called Gaza has almost one quarter of the population of Israel yet is kept in virtually perpetual darkness by the policies of the State of Israel, which also limits the amount of water, food, construction and medical supplies...”

A retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former US diplomat, Ann resigned from the State Department in 2003 in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Last year she was on Jeju Island, South Korea with a delegation from Veterans for Peace supporting villagers protecting their soft coral reef from military base construction.
As a professional with extensive experience in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Uzbekistan and a dedicated peacemaker, Ann has a unique perspective on resolving conflicts before they become wars. You won't want to miss her talks.
For more information on Ann's speaking tour contact Ridgely Fuller (508) 333-6230

Monday, October 17, 2016

Vigil At Poland Springs Today With Stop The War$ On Mother Earth Peace Walkers

The 5th Maine Peace Walk arrived in my area in the late afternoon yesterday. It was great for members of my old peace and justice community around Waterville to come together and enjoy the privilege of feeding the walkers and hearing their stories. 

We are older, tireder and grayer these days but our group was enlivened by the presence of 10 year old boy who is on his 5th walk (!), my 20 month-old granddaughter, and a 22 year old musician walking for the first time. Given that the oldest walker is nearly 80, it was a lovely range of humanity that sat down together to be nourished.

Chanting and drumming led by monks of the Nipponzan Myohoji order signaled the walkers' arrival in a quiet residential neighborhood amid the blaze of color that is October in Maine.

The stops planned to connect with the theme "Stop the war$ on Mother Earth" have been rich with connections between corporate profiteering and disrespect for life.

The walk began on Indian Island in the Penobscot Nation in solidarity with the Justice for the River campaign, recognizing the wisdom of Maine's original people advocating for the Penobscot River which has been severely polluted by industrial use. 

Walkers then stood in solidarity outside the Cianbro Corporation in a vigil organized by grandmothers opposed to the East-West Corridor. Cianbro stands to make a lot of money if this private highway and fossil fuel pipeline project ever succeed in slashing through some of Maine's most pristine forests and waterways. 

Just prior to Waterville the walk reached Unity where Maine's environmental school Unity College is found, spending the night on the grounds of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Maine has a long tradition of growing local food communities who recognize that life depends on defending the soil, water and seeds from corporate control.

Today the walkers make their way to vigil outside Poland Spring, the site of international water thief Nestle's faux-Maine brand bottled water plant. 

Nestle pumps out aquifers around the planet and sells the water back to people in little plastic bottles. Even though Maine has been in an historic drought all summer, the pumping goes on. An executive of the company has commented on record that he does not consider access to water a human right. Penobscots and peace walkers disagree with the absurd notion that profits have a higher value than human life.

U.S. militarization has enshrined the notion that profits trump human life, and the walk will end at the southern border of Maine outside the Kittery naval shipyard. Here obscene profits are made building weapons of mass destruction. Walkers will call on the Maine community to recognize that basing our livelihood on "defense" contracts is a dead end street. Advocating for the conversion of our industrial capacity to build for sustainable energy solutions, walkers will uphold a vision of Mother Earth as sacred, her health fundamental to the survival of human life.

If you want to join the walk, details may be found here on the website of Maine Veterans for Peace.