The rain is coming on and off, soaking the garden and filling our rainwater barrels to the brim. The zinnias are quietly opening and the potato plants are dying down, their tubers almost ready for harvest. The sunflowers look a little lost, their heliotropic action confused by the overcast grey sky – some are facing east, while others look south in search of the sun. And I’m sitting warm and cuddled inside, contemplating starting a new painting or at least baking a batch of cookies in the quiet of the day.
Here are some good links I’ve collected over the past months, for others who may be cocooning inside while the rain falls outdoors:
http://www.democracynow.org/ – A lot of news about war and peace that you might not get to see on mainstream television or in the local paper. Today the headlines cover violence in Iraq while the US occupation continues, a proposed pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico which would cross the Ogallala Aquifer and the Yellowstone River, worker’s strikes, radioactive fallout found in children who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and racist disparity in the funding received by white and black scientists.
http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/mumiaabu-jamal – The political writing and commentary of Mumia Abu Jamal, an acclaimed journalist on death row for the murder of a police officer in 1982, whose trial was so racist and in violation of human rights that Amnesty International prepared a report on his case in the year 2000. Jamal continues to write from prison in an effort to raise awareness about social injustice, the prison system in the United States, and the importance of honest journalism in an age when voices are muffled by political interests. Jamal has been on death row since five months after I was born.
http://deathpenaltyusa.blogspot.com/ – In a related note, a blog on abolishing the death penalty. Though its content has not been updated since April of this year, it provides some good background on the injustice of the death penalty in the United States and the efforts led by organizers to abolish it.
http://www.mvfhr.blogspot.com/ – An amazing and moving blog featuring the voices of murder victim families who oppose the death penalty, countering the sentiment of vengeance that often follows on the heels of violent and sensationalized murder cases. From the blog:
While I can’t speak for any other murder victim family members, I can say that the death penalty does not meet any of my needs, but actually takes resources away from being able to meet my needs. I feel threatened knowing that my brother’s killer and thousands of other killers walk the streets. I feel safe when killers are behind bars. Death row inmates are already behind bars – and would remain there if they were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole instead.
I say all of this with the utmost compassion for the family members whose loved ones were the victims of the 714 killers on death row. I know the horror of losing a family member to senseless, cruel and inhumane violence. The effect of my brother’s murder in my life has been as significant, as meaningful, and as painful, as anything that has or will ever happen to me. From the center of my soul, I am deeply sorry for their loss.
These families have waited years, and in some cases decades, for an execution. They lived through traumatizing trials and endless appeals, being promised that an execution will bring closure. Yet most families will never see their loved one’s killer executed. In reality, a death sentence is equivalent to life without parole with a much higher price tag since most death row inmates die of natural causes. By replacing the death penalty with life without parole, those families will no longer be subjected to years of appeals and we would put an end to the empty promise of an execution that will never come.
No one homicide victim is worth more than another when it comes to justice, but our death penalty system makes it seem so.
-Judy Kerr, originally from a piece in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Kerr points out the massive amount of money poured into the death penalty infrastructure, and how this money could be used better to provide counseling and help for victims’ families, or even for helping solve murder cases which remain unsolved at a rate of 46% in California. And I believe that the death penalty holds false promise for closure – people cannot heal properly by heaping violence on top of violence.
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/index.php – The Death Penalty Information Center, providing online news and resources on the subject.
http://www.ienearth.org/ – The Indigenous Environmental Network. “A network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions.”
Related articles linking environmentalism and Native values with the vegan diet: