“To Hammer The Alarm” by Lauren DiGioia Dedicated to Bradley Manning



Video streaming by Ustream

What would you do, with horrors that you knew?
With the innocent that haunt memory?
Would you be willfully blind, bite the tongue and your own hands bind?
Would you choose to be just as cruel?
I have fought, endured, suffered and survived
I am one human, not the only denied my granted unwavering rights
I come before you, Sir, to receive the offer, and the sheath you will have me cast
“I am to blame! I am ashamed! It’s all from a troubled past…”

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged on genocide
I stole it to hammer the alarm

Please don’t hate me for the words on my lips
I held firm stood tall but the knife it is ready and waiting for my back
I love my country, all its people, who knew no better under a steeple
Worshiping the god of security
I hope you all read in between the lines, of what will be seen as apologies I
Know for all we’re fighting for
So take me now like encrypted code, find the answer in your soul
Take a look around for me
In this time war is still a racket, still a crime sewn on a jacket
I love you please don’t let it end this way

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged on genocide
I stole it to hammer the alarm

I learned the hard way how your fear, is crafted, molded, engineered
And I may take that lesson to the grave
I’m sorry I must lie to you, after all some have tried to do
To clear my name and spread a scarier truth
They hand the knife to me now, the truth before me, held down
I raise the blade… has god forgave me for giving in
To those who wish to cage me?
I’ll keep it’s body and what the truth gave me
Revelations start to bleed
The truth in here shall be my pillow, shall be my blanket, a graceful willow
To shade the light shining constantly
It will be my love, my company, as all else is stripped away from me
I’m sorry with you I can no longer be…

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged through genocide
I only stole it to hammer the alarm
To hammer the alarm.

“Where Heroes Can’t Play”



Video streaming by Ustream

Hit the button on your alarm, it’s 6 a.m.
Elsewhere there’s a button releasing a drone bound for Yemen
Put on your suit and tie, fibers from China
Kiss your little ones goodbye, there’s nothing finer
But they are the same age as the little ones who die for our excess
For our progress…

Walk in your polished heels passing that bare-footed beggar, day after day
To jump on the wheel, churn out over 8 hours just for a little more pay
For a little more pay, a little more pay, more pay more pay more pay

And so we row so we row this boat on over the edge
Take an oath an oath an oath to protect the pockets of invisible men
And we grow we grow we grow ever bigger, all consuming
If we don’t know what we don’t know we’ll just keep carrying on
Unassuming

This is how a soul cries out after awakening, the spell’s breaking
No need for fear or doubt when the signs are all around, deafening sound
I do not dream at night anymore, I don’t know why
My mind is a flood, an unstoppable tide, with the weight of it all

And still we row we row we row this boat on over the edge
Take an oath an oath an oath without questioning what you pledge
And we grow we grow we grow ever sicker, all polluting
If we don’t know what we don’t know we’ll keep sailing out to the end
We’re reaching…oh!

If we don’t know any better…

Oh so we’re given away our rights like a sweepstakes prize
Voting the next idol with false hope in our eyes
They’re spying and lying, deciding our fate
While we fight amongst ourselves with misguided hate 2x

Oh I’m turning on the lights, let the truth have its day
In the sun where no heroes of mine can play
The system’s a scam, we’ve all had a hand in churning and burning
For the next in command I say no!
I say no!

Put down the oar if you can’t take anymore
I say put down the oar if you can’t take anymore

But you’ll hit that button on your alarm it’s 6 a.m.
Elsewhere there’s a button releasing a drone bound for Yemen
Gone is the hour to deny we’re collapsing
If we let the truth die what are we left grasping?

Embracing Madness In Egypt: Catharsis Through Chaos

rami khouri

(photo via theworld.org)

The universe has a curious way of aligning levels of circling circumstance to produce perfect coincidence in the course of its unconcerned forward march.  At 4:59 p.m. on July 3rd, 2013, I pondered the perfect clicking of any number of existential gears that had brought me to be sitting in Beirut at a lecture on the Arab Spring at the exact same point in time that General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s 48 hour ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood was set to expire in Cairo, Egypt. As we sat in a small lecture hall and waited for Rami Khouri to start his discourse, we knew that millions of Egyptians stood in Tahrir Square, hurtling towards the brink of some type of drastically new dawn for their country. Khouri writes for the Daily Star and Agence Global, and is the director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at American University of Beirut. He is an excellent speaker, and provided us with a strong and relatively unbiased historical context for the events we were witnessing in real time, but could contain neither his excitement at the success of popular will in bringing about dynamic change nor his disgust at Mohamed Morsi’s performance as Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

As Khouri most eloquently put it, “The Brotherhood stands on claims of a legitimate electoral process even while it seeks to rob that democracy of its legitimacy . . . the system was polarized and paralyzed at the same time.” He called Tahrir Square “the symbolic heart of populist legitimacy,” and noted that on the 1 year anniversary of Egypt’s first election, the largest (documented) organized political movement in the history of the world took to the streets to reject what it viewed as failed leadership. Egypt is in the spotlight, but there have been similar protests and rebellions of varying scope in Morocco, Tunis, Syria, Lybia, Yemen, and Kuwait. Khouri sees all of these populaces consistently demanding three things, albeit at different levels of intensity: constitutional reform, guaranteed rights for citizens, and social justice. What Khouri appeared to be driving at when he spoke about Egypt was that people throughout the region are beginning to take what leaders refuse to give to them; As Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood tried to restrict civil liberties and restructure the government to give themselves more power, the people wrested their country from his grasp, took the streets back with the strength of their own legs and the stamp of their own footprints, and shouted down what they viewed as broken promises and empty rhetoric.

It is important to remember, however, that the Egyptian people did not rid themselves of Morsi unaided. Whether people choose to call what transpired in Egypt a coup, a revolution, a popular recall, or any other name they can find, it was the Egyptian military that deposed of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and it is the military that continues to detain Morsi and shape the parameters of the interim government. In the two weeks since the will of the people prevailed, Egypt has been struggling to tread in the waters of uncertainty. The military has killed peaceful protesters, and there have been violent clashes between the factionalized population, with passions running high on both sides and people more than ready to die defending their beliefs. The relationship between government and governed changes slowly and painfully, and it is very evident to the people of the Middle East both that progress comes with a price and that most political coalitions are uneasy power arrangements. Blood is thicker than water, and also seems to run more freely at times. Khouri attributes this partly to the scope of the change people are fighting for; “The Arab Spring is dealing with religion, women, civil rights, all of these things at once. It’s almost mad, but it’s a madness we embrace.”

tahrir square

(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

A key takeaway  from events in Egypt seem to be that while the population of Egypt and of the Middle East in general is overwhelming religious, people want to see their secular governments adhering to religious values rather than being run by religious figures. Another is that this situation, like most in the region, is not nearly as crystal cut as media likes to make it. Real life gets messy, and Egypt is more a tangled web of forces colliding sideways than a political battleground divided cleanly into diehard jihadists versus young people clamoring for some western-type democracy. There is the Tammarod (“rebellion”) movement comprised of a huge coalition of religious, business, and civil rights interests, there is the Muslim Brotherhood, there is the Salafist Al-Nour party, there is the Egyptian military, there are holdovers from the Mubarak regime, and there is everybody in between. In the coming days, it will be interesting to see whether or not Khouri’s optimism and belief in the people of Egypt are borne out in a step forward for civil rights and political inclusion, or are squashed by sectarian conflict and authoritarian attempts to maintain stability. History is being made, examples are being set, and political drama in Egypt is playing out on a world stage. Most of all, however, human beings are being human, and demanding that the powers-that-be recognize their universal humanity. We would do well to recognize the populist roar in Egypt that refuses to be silenced, and encourage ourselves and others to let the growl in our guts grow into a voice that speaks with conviction.

One love,

Zane

The Day After: With Battle Lines Drawn, Where is #Justice4Trayvon ?

“Until we have the proper dialogue with the people who can change these laws on our behalf, we will have more of the same.”
-Walter L. Smith II, activist & father of two

Interview With Smith Family


Video streaming by Ustream

After an 18-hour deliberation the verdict was delivered, swiftly and simply. George Zimmerman, acquitted of all charges, was free to go. With his bond released and gun returned, the Zimmerman family quickly exited the courtroom to go back to their lives, with a 350,000 dollar fundraising profit to boot. For George, though, that life will never be the same. Wherever he goes, whatever he decides to do, he is forever branded for that day, the day last February he chose to take the “law” and a young life into his own hands, despite orders to stand back by actual law enforcement. Perhaps he will now understand the uneasiness the black community has felt for generations.

The verdict has left the nation polarized, revealing once again the historically sharp split between the accepted version of justice through the court system and the justice communities affected by profiling and oppression rarely receive. Despite being thirteen years into the 21st century, our nation continues to be in denial. Many do not want to acknowledge the dangerous message this verdict sends; the profiling, stalking and incarcerating of black youth is justified, and all a wrongly assuming offender has to do to go free is claim self-defense.

Taking To The Streets of Tampa


Video streaming by Ustream

The mainstream media did a good job of avoiding this dialogue throughout the trial. They also did a good job at first not mentioning the enraged reaction of thousands countrywide to the verdict. Demonstrations and riots erupted within hours and carried over to today. From Oakland to New York, people of all ages and colors took to the streets to express their grief and anger. Cop cars burned and glass shattered. Once again, something about this particular case hit a nerve. For many however, this verdict comes as no surprise, for we have adopted a system designed to work for some and to fail most.

“No one should live at the expense of someone else.”
-organizer with Int’l Democratic Uhuru Movement-www.ipdum.org

The fact that there are hundreds of cases like Trayvon’s every year is devastating, and the stats are hard to face. According to the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, every 28 hours another person of color is murdered by police or by vigilantes seeking the same authority. The reality is that this is not as much about race relations, but about class. In order for this system to sustain itself, it must be upheld at the expense of an oppressed class. We live in a time where, although most of America is experiencing the side affects of this oppressive system, certain classes feel it much worse, and most of the communities it impacts live on or below the poverty line.

Walter L. Smith ll Speaking About His Children


Video streaming by Ustream

For the youth in these underprivileged neighborhoods, the odds are not in their favor. They, along with the majority of today’s youth, are bombarded daily with negatively influential imagery, toxic messages in social media and pop music and the distracting, glorifying nature of reality TV and tabloid print. Most are uninterested in the lazy, lackluster mainstream news coverage of issues relevant to them. (that is, when they bother to address them at all) Most of them are experiencing the pinch of the system’s slow economic collapse under a heap of debt. Dozens of schools are being selectively shut down or fazed out across the country. Many distrust the political system even if they all can’t readily explain why. The exploited classes, however, have the additional burden of inheriting their painful history in a country founded on genocide and forged through slavery. They know to be poor, to appear less educated or to wear certain clothing is to be profiled. Is it any wonder so much of our youth is lost, fearful or angry? What hope is there for youth born at the bottom of this systematic design?

Interview With Life Malcolm


Video streaming by Ustream

So I asked the question today; where do we go from here? With class war staring us in the face, is it justified for us to lash out? Is it justified to take to the streets and give in to the urge to see it burn? If justice isn’t served in our eyes by the courts, how to we ensure these deaths do not continue in our name? Today we spoke with Florida locals who offered a more positive future, urging for dedication from all classes to initiate that honest dialogue, to truthfully educate our youth to these realities and to not be afraid to simply tell it like it is. Justice for Trayvon , to me, means justice for his peers, for the generations that will take our place someday. The violence will not end when we finally convince our oppressors of the truth, but when we raise this impressionable generation simply knowing it as so.

Uhuru!

In Solidarity Forever,

Lauren

Special thanks to The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the Smith Family and to Life Malcolm for sharing their passion with us.

Life Malcolm ” I’ve done the math, balance the equation”


Video streaming by Ustream

Life Malcolm Speaks Out


Video streaming by Ustream

Interview With Ashley


Video streaming by Ustream

Speak Out


Video streaming by Ustream

End Racial Oppression

20130715-032820.jpg

Hundreds out in Tampa

20130715-032933.jpg

Stand Your Ground

20130715-033040.jpg

We Will Not Be Silenced

20130715-033115.jpg

No Justice No peace

20130715-033150.jpg

#Justice4Trayvon

20130715-033224.jpg

We Can’t Watch Our Children Die

20130715-033300.jpg

Whose Child Is Next

20130715-033335.jpg

Restore The 4th Protest -Chicago

Restore The Fourth

20130705-224303.jpg

Foreign Man Cries Over Loss Of Freedom In US


Video streaming by Ustream

Big Brother Is Watching You

20130705-224357.jpg

15yr. Old Boy Speaks Against NSA


Video streaming by Ustream

Demand Transparency

20130705-224541.jpg

Father Speaks Out For 15yr. Old Son


Video streaming by Ustream

Yes We Scan

20130705-224638.jpg

“Scanning” The Crowd


Video streaming by Ustream

The NSA has TMI

20130705-224757.jpg

Marching And Chanting


Video streaming by Ustream

Not Today NSA

20130705-224835.jpg

Lauren Of Radikal Media Speaks Out


Video streaming by Ustream

Eye Spy

20130705-224945.jpg

“SF Pride” -2013

Thousands March For Bradley Manning

Video streaming by Ustream

20130630-204926.jpg

Pride In Our Whistle Blower
via @CarrieM213

20130630-205134.jpg

Free Bradley Manning

They Say Court Marshal We Say Grand Marshal Chanting

Video streaming by Ustream

20130630-204544.jpg

Pride Board Sides With Manning Jailers

20130630-204842.jpg

Anonymous Pride

Marching In The Streets

Video streaming by Ustream

20130630-205212.jpg

Free Truth

20130630-205244.jpg

Marriage Equality Corvette

Code Pink Interview

Video streaming by Ustream

20130630-204746.jpg

Bradley Manning Trolley

20130630-205311.jpg

Pride Balloons

Bradley Manning Supporter Interview

Video streaming by Ustream

20130630-205014.jpg

Pride Float

20130630-205037.jpg

Anti-Google Bus

20130630-205105.jpg

Anti-Google Bus 2