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April 30, 2006

i did it

nothing like more debt, but there are some invitations and opportunities that are not to be passed by, such as presenting for the Association of Cultural Studies in Istanbul and a potential side trip to Iran.

Added on 3 May 2006: Check out the story Anuj found in The New Yorker.

Posted by Steph at 1:23 PM | Comments (1)

progress for progressives!

On Apr 29, 2006, at 11:56 PM, Chris Boulton wrote:

AMHERST, MA, April 29 - In a stunning turn of events, Brett Ingram cast the deciding vote in the GSS elections yesterday. Mr. Ingram's ballot, marked with his signature uppercase 'X,' pushed the GEO-endorsed slate of candidates over the top of a hotly contested election. Turn-out was high. But in spite of 600 voters (up 250 from the previous year) coming to the polls, in the end, it all came down to Brett. Elections observer George Liu was there. Marveling at Mr. Ingram's insouciance in the face of such a historic moment, Liu concluded "Never before have I witnessed such exquisite suffering on behalf of suffrage. But one thing is certain: that old curmudgeon carried the day with his vigorous exercise of the franchise." One minor annoyance for Brett; one giant leap for the Graduate Student Senate.

Oh alright. Then there's the official announcement (much less entertaining, but what can one do in the face of bureaucracy?):

On Apr 30, 2006, at 12:24 AM, Liu, Zixu wrote:

As your representative in the graduate student senate, I want to inform you of the results of the elections of GSS officers for thenext academic year.

After two and half hours of counting on Friday after the closing of ballot table, the GEO endorsed stale (Jeff-labor studies, Flavia-anthropology, Hasan-economics, and Sai-African American studies) won the election with a margin of 100 or more votes in every one of the four contested position. Also, the intense campaign on both sides brought 604 (including four provisional votes) graduate students to the balloting table, which set a record in GSS history.

I also want to thank all those who went down to campus center and cast your precious votes. Please keep the spirit of participation, which will be more than necessary for the newly elected leadership to fulfill their campaign promises.

That being said, enjoy the gorgeous day and have a very nice weekend.


Congrats to all the candidates!

Posted by Steph at 12:37 AM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2006

"when the going gets tough

read second paragraph email conversation with non-god dated Apr. 29 2006."

you have to trust that no matter what happens you will get through it, that it's just what's meant to be - not because it's fate but because that's the way it is/was. so you invent your story about it in a way that cultivates the kind of human be-ing to which you aspire. it ain't easy and it ain't fun when things don't go as we desire but, somehowsomeway, if you can hold fast to any kind of belief that sustains you then you can get through.

Posted by Steph at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

dissing diversity

Of course, immigrants seeking to become US citizens should learn the national anthem in English but why does this preclude an interpretation? All kinds of folks LOVE American Sign Language interpretations of the national anthem, does the Deaf community's desire to embrace patriotic sentiments in their own language minimize their integrity?

The assertion from the right that concepts of national identity and multiculturalism are somehow naturally in conflict is a lie. These notions are being used in political debates for the agenda of maintaining economic power.

Posted by Steph at 10:13 AM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2006

why we need to work in teams

because working alone leads to bad decisions. :-( Al Franken was terrific and I really wanted to be interpreting. But I'm not an exhibitionist. Truly. It is not fun or fulfilling to interpret for an audience of non-deaf people. The feedback, the interaction that makes it communication doesn't happen. People like it, yes, but they don't understand it!

It didn't help that I was scheduled to work solo for 90 minutes. It's a long time, longer than I usually do since that good ol' repetitive motion injury, but I considered that the energy of the event would keep me going. However, not without an audience!

As it was, I stressed out the producer quite a bit worrying about the lighting situation. We got me placed decently, and without too much stress, but when I asked if the house lights were going to be dimmed and he said yes I knew we had a serious problem. It wasn't going to work for me to be in the dark. (Remember the advice from your ITP to always travel with a portable spotlight?)

Poor guy. He hadn't had time to think about lighting the interpreters in advance (a far too common experience) and 15 minutes before a live show it wasn't exactly where he wanted to direct his energies. I was firm, though, and he pulled in another guy to discuss the issue. It was another couple of minutes before I (again) said it only mattered if the house lights were going to be dimmed. Not! So that problem was resolved.

I stood in the front, guarding a few seats in the packed auditorium, peering anxiously to the back for a familiar face or someone who looked like they were looking.... Al came out and gave some directions, I kept surveying the crowd. After he departed, I took a brisk walk to locate anyone drifting...no one. The show began, I kept looking, scanning the faces, watching people enter, look around, talk with someone, sit down. At the first break, another walk....no one. Bummer! :-(

At the second break, someone came up and asked if the seats were empty. I said they were being held for Deaf folk but it didn't seem anyone had come. He said I could interpret for everyone else. I lamented that I really wanted to be interpreting; that it would be so much fun! But, it feels creepy to do it when there's no deaf audience. I don't know how to explain it, fully. There's the exhibitionist element. I know people watch but I tune them out. That's the only way (for me) to do the job. Eye contact with people who understand the language is what makes it language. Otherwise, it's something else. Not necessarily something less, but definitely not the professional purpose for which I've been trained and hired. Does anyone ever ask a spoken language interpreter to "just go ahead and interpret" so folks can listen to the sounds?

Anyway. All of this is to frame how hard my heart fell into my stomach when the producer came up to me after the third break and said he'd cancelled the other interpreter (scheduled to arrive for the last half of the show) and that, oh, btw, there was a deaf person here but they left when there was no interpreter.

I had thought, at one point, about signing a few minutes worth of the beginning talk and inserting my own question into the interpretation: are there any deaf people here? is there anyone who needs the interpretation? But, I had been there the entire time...from before the opening of the doors through everyone coming in, sitting down. I'd asked the ushers and producer whether any of the reserved tickets had been distributed, no one knew about the tickets, but they knew I was there! I thought I'd covered all the bases. :-( It didn't seem necessary to put myself on display....then stop, and have to deal with people's stuff about that.

Yeah, that's what I've continued to think about: why didn't the deaf person identify themself? Why didn't they come to the front, look for the interpreter in the usual/standard place? Maybe they wanted to be anonymous? But I needed to know who they were, where they were, to do a good job. :-( And I have been criticized in the past for interpreting a few minutes and stopping. The question of re-injury is always on my mind, so doing the labor for no practical purpose has become even less palatable than it ever was. I love the language, the feel of it, the way it works in my body, but not for just for my sake - I'm not a poet, I'm not even a particularly good storyteller. I'm an interpreter of others' words, and part of what inspires the interpretation are the watchers whose access to the story is the language they see. Without the feedback...ugh. I mean, it can be done. If I had known there was a deaf person in the audience I would have somehow managed to maintain the focus. But not knowing, in fact, being certain there wasn't - that strain is too much.

Anyway. If there had a been a team we could have been each other's audience (at the very least). We also would have supported each other in signing those first few minutes and then stopping if there was no response. If two of us decide, that always seems to quell complaints from voyeuristic "hearies" (non-deaf) who just want to oogle. As it was (and usually is), the general audience doesn't know that the negotiated agreement was not to interpret if there was no need.

Bottom line? I feel terrible. :-( It would have been a great thing on many levels for the interpretation to have been done. Beyond access for the individual, there would have been evidence in the larger community of Deaf political awareness and interest. Should I have interpreted anyway? I don't think so; I hold firm on that. The appearance of access and inclusion is not the same as actual presence. But I have been puzzling the right of a deaf person to remain anonymous if they choose. I think that should be ok, but some kind of communication mechanism ought to be in place to let the interpreters know...it really does matter if we have a real audience or not. Doesn't it?

Posted by Steph at 9:38 PM | Comments (2)

April 27, 2006

Air America

I probably won't get to meet him, but I'm sure I will enjoy interpreting Al Franken in Brattleboro today. Gotta love this job!

I also like interpreting public events, because I think the rules for talking about them are somewhat different than the intensive confidentiality that is absolutely vital for most other work. I would still regard any private/professional conversations as confidential (among stagehands, say, or members of the audience with staff or performers or other members of the audience, etc.), but those things that occur on stage, in public, and for the public open up a space for some commentary.

ps: the cows are on the march!

Posted by Steph at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

"declared elected"

Copied from the April 26, 2006 6:31:55 PM EDT email newsletter of the Graduate Employee Organization (emphasis added).

2. GEO Election Results:
Following the elections on April 18th and 19th, the following candidates were declared elected:
President - Srinivas Lankala (Communication)
Vice-President - Jeremy Wolf (Political Science)
Secretary-Treasurer - Mandy Cheung (School of Education)
Members of the Steering Committee - Jason Rodriguez (Sociology) and Anna Curtis (Sociology)

The new officers will be inaugurated at the last membership meeting of this semester on May 10th at 6 pm.

Posted by Steph at 9:24 AM | Comments (0)

Fame: Take More!

Communication in Crisis conference organizers might be frantically trying to recoup the semester (could be a projection on my part) but the event is still on the radar.

Posted by Steph at 9:18 AM | Comments (0)

rubbing shoulders

A long time ago (!), Donal got me into the Department of Communication here at UMass.

Posted by Steph at 9:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2006

"we were right to come"

and the rest of you are LOSERS! Who says the Black Eyed Peas are better than bowling? The Blog Victim won three of four games, but if I won the last game by 64 pins....setting a new personal best (!) of 158...who's the better bowler? BV approached his personal best. Alas. He fell short by one. 1. That's o-n-e pin. Even then, his margin of victory was only 71 pins. Oh. So much for Blog Gossip. :-/

After he won that game, he speculated about his character, pondering (out loud!) whether he was the kind of person to celebrate a victory by continuing to crush his opponents or . . . (he left the rest unsaid. Hmmmm.) Let me just note the margin of loss progressed from six pins, to eleven ("I just have to knock 'em out, at least a spare") to the aforementioned seventy-one. And this, after saying "the house of the straight-shooters" held no enmity, blaming all of that on those who aspire to spin. Having been so soundly pulverized in the third game, you must imagine that I was pleased by the spread after my turkey (another first!) in the last game when the score showed me with 122 (7th frame) and BV with 37 (5th, b'cuz he had a strike in the 6th and hadn't yet bowled his 7th). NO DOUBT that was the largest spread of the match and yes, thank you, I'll just take my bows. :-0

Posted by Steph at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2006

Get Ready...

Hope May 1 is a big day.

Posted by Steph at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2006

covenant with black america

TIME carried a review of this bestseller, which has apparently built it's success on word-of-mouth from the African-American pulpit. As Pyro was saying the other day, bemoaning the effectiveness of the political Right where are the institutional equivalents of the Christian church for the left?

Posted by Steph at 6:28 AM | Comments (0)

"Needs Improvement" (me and that phd)

Who's studying? I mean, come on. Only one incomplete to go and some paperwork to file: mere commitment to a date.

I listened to these on tape driving back and forth to Manchester. the crazed by Ha Jin was odd and I finished it long enough ago that the brilliant thoughts I had about it's possible metaphoricity between a literature professor gone (seemingly) mad and the student protests at Tiananmen Square which result in a graduate student's descent (?) to militancy are no longer accessible to me in any kind of detail. What struck me as odd, I think, was the amount of detail provided by the graduate student, Jian, as he tries to fill in the gaps of his professor's hallucinatoric ravings. The narrator's tone struck me discordantly as well, almost comforting? Whether or not it was deliberate, the calm and somewhat puzzled auditory expression complemented the bizarre unfolding of events.

Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, was chilling in a different way. If every moment of our lives could somehow be framed in the life and death terms imposed by extreme sports, would society be substantially different? I respect the raw and scathing honesty with which Krakauer lays bare his unwitting complicity in an effort to come to terms with an unfolding of events that smacks of fate.

Posted by Steph at 5:58 AM | Comments (0)

weirdness: bone rings

This is too creepy for me to imagine, but I guess if you want some kind of ultimate symbolism you can grow a wedding band from an extract of your jaw.

Posted by Steph at 5:53 AM | Comments (0)


The NY Times reports on public radio and the web.

One of my students recently asked where we can get news with context. NPR is a good beginning: Tell Them Public Matters.

Posted by Steph at 5:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2006


A blog: Blackfive which includes a link to Sgt. Hook's after-action-review of the first MilBlog Conference.

A broadcast: Unitarian Universalist sermon on Evolution: The Issue Behind The Issue, which Steve Edington claims (quite contemporarily) is the importance of story.

A film: Thank You for Smoking, which presents argument as the essence of story.

All that's left is to make sense of "the story," the telling of the story, and the story behind the story.

Posted by Steph at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2006

more braggin' :-)

The Junior Writing class wiki is turning into something hot. :-)

"Writing, like fornication, should use proper technique, should serve a functional purpose," explains Craig.

Speaking of technique, some of us have been experimenting with poetic license.

We've a month left to really whip it into shape, but there are some compelling things posted, including two critiques of the recent Tent State University.

Posted by Steph at 4:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2006

braggin' rights

I haven't bragged on my students for awhile now, but it isn't because I haven't been proud.

In the UNH-Manchester intro course on Mass Media we had a grand round of Jeopardy to finish off a sophisticated (technologically and intellectually) presentation on The Torino Olympics. This following two other impressive performances by a team comparing Mary Tyler Moore with Desperate Housewives in Female Image: Past and Present and another team investigating copycat violence, Monkey See, Monkey Do?

We had an awesome paper (which I hope to be able to post, ahem!) and discussion regarding the movie, Crash: does it anaesthetize white/caucasian viewers? Even if not, does it still generate more narcotizing dysfunction than movement toward social justice?

Another terrific discussion was inspired by the team that presented a media analysis of three different tv stations' coverage of Jill Carroll's release. (I'm hoping this info is going to be transferred into the class wiki for all to be able to revisit...hint hint!)

Kirk, our resident alternative (?) news guru, responded to a question about where folks can get news that provides more than "just the facts" by softly chanting, "BBC, BBC." :-) (Which I listened to on the drive home, and want to buy this recently released "sounds of rarest wildlife" CD.) Kirk's official turn is coming up in a couple of weeks.

There were many moments of levity tonight, including the slip in the Jill Carroll presentation about "How To Get a Hostage Killed". Of course, I heard the slip as eerily reminiscent of a veiled threat on my own life...

Posted by Steph at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)


"a heart-shaped leaf" - this must be the image of the 19 folks who converged on the bowling lanes tonight in honor of Luscious' 72nd birthday and JC's successful dissertation defense. Or, perhaps it was merely a reference to the (gendered) fashion observation that "all the women are wearing green, almost," "except," adds a graffiti-ghost, "those who are wearing red. and blue. if not yellow."

Bowling was merely filler for the real show tonight. CAKE! There was a profusion of cards and well-wishing, such that a portrait of (the back of) JC's head) as he sets off on his new life wound up in Luscious b'day card, and a birthday memory for Luscious wound up in the blog notes. The negotiations for a trade-off to mask the first error resulted in an "economic metaphor showing the capitalist ideology of the contemporary global village": "What are you gonna do in return?"

Competition spun down the lanes and among onlookers. Strikes by the following were witnessed: Siri, JC, Greg, Rajiv, Linus, Darpan, Zeynep, and Alenka. LB too but barely - according to the "if its not blogged; it didn't happen" rule, a group cheer indicating a possible strike doesn't verify the strike; however an actual eyewitness strike did (eventually) occur. Four doubles were thrown tonight, by Luscious (as usual), Cata (in the 10th frame!), dadofzeynep (officially, Nejat), and yours truly. :-) Zeynep, having waited 15 years to beat her dad at bowling, soundly pounded him 132 to 100 in the second game. No one set any records tonight, although I came close, falling short by four measly pins. I had a 93 in the fifth frame bowling right-handed; compare that with the 95 total I had in the game I bowled as a lefty. (Then it started to go downhill. Not as severely as Linus though, who cooked our breakfast in the first game and fizzled like a fire in the rain during the second.)

Meanwhile, JC continued the streak of his good day, pummelling his opponents by 30 pins. Alenka, Maja, and Jake all tied at 106, doing some threesome kind of thing? Then there was a flask going 'round one of the other lanes, and a backpack sounding suspiciously full of empty bottles....a rowdy encounter between Anuj and Rajiv which paled in comparison to the lunge and knock-down between Lava and Linus later. What was up with the testosterone tonight?

Don's creativity of JC (a bald head morphing into a bandanna-covered hairy head) inspired additional artwork, including this pregnant duck. ("Duckness" is obvious; you might have to stretch to glean the pregnant part.) It's unclear if this sketch is an actual portrait or an amalgam of the clutch of us nondescript types. Did I mention Darpan got confused about the sport of the evening? It may all have been some kind of discharge for the real, poignant details of JC's defense, in which some of the beneficiaries of his community work on fair housing expressed their gratitude for his work above and beyond the call of academic scholarship.

Kinda gives ya a nice warm, heart-shaped leafy-feeling, doesn't it?

Posted by Steph at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)


This Escher, drawing hands, is too cool for school.

So is the info on the ogee and ogive, with accompanying picture of the Church of The Holy Cross at Caston in Norfolk (scroll down a bit).

I was actually hunting for a short SF story by Norbert Weiner but can't locate it. He is famous for inventing the term cybernetics, which besides its technical and industrial uses has also been applied in systems theory and group dynamics.

Posted by Steph at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006


Once upon a time there were bowlers.

Actually, bowling has persisted and I've even been there; just behind the times with the blogreports. And this after folks started inquiring and/or commenting about these posts in particular! (I guess I'm still not very audience-friendly.) :-/

Why what? Why bowl, when the most one can say about an evening's effort is, "that was an odd ball"?

Two weeks ago (!), Luscious bowled with a calf injury. No, not a baby cow, he twisted something in his lower leg playing basketball. His injury did not lead to the worst bowling of the evening, however. That honor fell to Dan, who was bolluxed, boogered, and otherwise convinced he should have stayed home to watch DVDs. "It is nice," he conceded, "to see Luscious suck." As it turned out, "only Steph" had a decent night, although Lava pulled off a right- and left-handed combo score of 161. (He does pay me to write nice things about him.)

Maja was prepping for her defense the next day (which she passed with roaring colors), Mafu and Angie dropped by for a quick hello, and the Hungarian (as he was introduced!?!) on the team rolled a couple of muffie games. There is one enigmatic scribble I can no longer decode:

What is my "x"?

I await the answer with suspence.

Posted by Steph at 8:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006


VPP and I had a lengthy discussion about the rash of vicious and hateful posters to the blog of the white man, Kevin Ray Underwood, who brutally murdered and violated a ten year old girl last week in Oklahoma (reported by CNN).

It led us into a conversation of the concept of valence, which is an element in group relations theory.

What launched us was the apparent data from the guy's blog that he was surrounded in his life by the kind of people now posting vitriolic comments to his blog. Perhaps, he acted on a surplus of the hatred around him that somehow built up in him beyond the point of his ability to suppress?

Posted by Steph at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2006


I have a hang over. It's the fault of those dang Nepalese! I didn't have that much wine; I think it was the apple tobacco. Or perhaps it was the time warp to 2063 B.S.? (No, that's not what you think, it's Bikram Sambat.) (Which may or may not be the same as the Vikram calendar, which describes the four eras of Hindi temporality.)

Supposedly the flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah is a traditional fixture among folks gathering just to chat. I smoked more than the last time (and I'm not a smoker). The truth is, I'm no longer in my twenties, or even early thirties! Can't party so hearty anymore. sigh I had to leave before the promised 4 am meatballs and music.

I reacquainted myself with now Dr. Alenka, Jake, and a few other occasional bowlers as well as folks I tend to see only at these soirees. I had a great conversation with Suvas (whose field of study so shocked me I've completely blanked it from memory) and Dinesh (who mostly eavesdropped) about limits to consciousness. We reflected on the universal (!) human fact that we are all raised in environments with norms for talking and conceptualizing the world that become a kind of mental boundary. And then, somehow, some people choose to leave that environment (most stay) and encounter new ways of talking and conceptualizing the world. And then various accommodations occur along a continuum of refusal/denial of difference (a kind of entrenchment, eh?), resistance to changing one's cognitive boundaries, to versions of acceptance and change up to and (for some) including conversion.

There's a challenge for those of us who "leave" in dealing with those who "stay", because we have to figure out how to interact with them on the basis of the boundaries they've got without pity or judgment. It reminds me of the conversation I had earlier in the day with one of the Tent State organizers. We briefly touched on the question of "too much" vs "not enough" structure. I'm hoping to explore the question somewhat (during TSU) from the angle of group relations theory.

I digress. :-)

Only Luscious had a clue regarding the originary event for the Nepali calendar. There are no references to a virgin bleeding to death in any of the sites I searched. (I think he made it up.) And there's our other recently anointed Dr. who had strange visions at a pollen tube dissertation defense. And a couple of (strange) Russians attending from Mars.

I did not neglect a poll regarding affairs of state in Nepal. The King as a symbolic figurehead was supported by two of the three victims of my un-party-like curiosity. His present actions are deplored by all. An interview by Amy Goodman yesterday emphasized the necessity of recognizing the country's Maoists. I was assured that Nepal's Maoists are "very different" from Chairman Mao's Maoists.

All intellectualizing aside, I'm most grateful to Afry for his suggestion of miso soup as a medical treatment.

Posted by Steph at 1:58 PM | Comments (2)

April 12, 2006

busted :-(

One of my students caught me out yesterday. He'd just announced he would miss class on Thursday because it was Passover, and I'd hesitated. I could fudge, and say I hesitated moreso because of the two additional students who immediately chimed in that they would also miss class, sensing a run on an easy excused absence. (Indeed, another student then announced, "If they're not coming, I'm not either!")

I caught and corrected myself, but there it was, the truth of a stereotype hanging out there for all to see. This young man, to all visible clues an African-American, is also Jewish. Duh! It's not like I don't know the fact that the largest percentage of the world's Jewish population is of a skin tone other than pale pinkish-white! Yet my personal demographic exposure, combined with common US mass media representations, set me up for a textbook case of momentary essentialization.

How embarrassing. This NPR broadcast on Blacks, the Jewish Faith and Hanukkah addresses the "misperception that black people are not Jewish."

Posted by Steph at 11:34 PM | Comments (3)

April 9, 2006

Media Giraffe Project

I'm thinking I won't be in town for this conference


hosted by the Media Giraffe Project, but the wiki looks like it might develop into a useful resource.

Posted by Steph at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2006

A History of Violence

My peers are more critical than me. I thought it was pretty good, but they lamented it's predictability and (hello?) the amount of violence.

I was intrigued by the relationship between a man who has reinvented himself and a woman who has to reconcile her attraction to this man with a past she abhors.

Otherwise, it was predictable. There were also several loose ends not pursued and/or left untied. "Half-assed," was the assessment of the clerk at Captain Video. Then they (my friends?!!) tried to blame me :-0 only because Munich was out, there would have been too much thinking involved with Good Night, And Good Luck, and Jarhead didn't grab their interest. Maybe they regret passing up the opportunity to watch Jesus Christ Superstar?

Posted by Steph at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

April 6, 2006

random moments

There was the colleague I saw this morning who didn't moderate the emphasis: "You look like you could use a cup of coffee."

The professor who took pains to express in several different ways what I "need to understand."

The lecture that included details about the despicable events at Duke over the weekend.

The cartoon drawn for me by a student mocking my emphasis on parsimony in writing. I forgot to write down the sentence reconstructed to correct a dangling modifier. :-( It referred to "festering trolls in the basement" and was a genuine collaborative effort, with the adjective, subject, and location (I think) all supplied by different individuals. More of this!

The idea for a SNL skit on a PR firm specializing in dissertation titles for graduate students.

Finally, there were blini. (Delicious!)

Posted by Steph at 9:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2006

Mark Crispin Miller on The Daily Show

Hilarious! Thanks Viveca, for sending the link.

Looks like C-SPAN2 will air his keynote address at UMass' Communication in Crisis conference this Sunday at 1 pm EST on the program Book TV, and again at 11 pm EST.

Posted by Steph at 7:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 4, 2006


Last week at bowling I set my personal best: 153, setting up a tie with Zeynep.

However, I couldn't bask in the glory too long because of this


and then its revision . . .

I'm not sure of which to be most afraid?


Posted by Steph at 4:52 PM | Comments (0)

Jean Dominique

This story was shared by Matthew to the social justice listserv. The line that jumped out at me reads:

"After all, aren’t we holding, for many years now, conventions of corruption, violence and impunity in a society which has made forgetting the best tool to survive?"

AHP News, April 2 - English Translation (Unofficial)

How important is Jean Dominique?
by Michèle Montas and Jan Dominique

Six years ago, on April 3, 2000, journalist Jean
Léopold Dominique
was killed yards away from his
station, Radio Haïti.

It has been six years and still justice has not been
served for this free speech activist. As of today, his
murderers, as well as those who murdered Jean Claude
Louissaint and Maxime Seide two years later to shut
down the movement for justice, are still walking the
streets freely.

With the oh-so troubling voice of Radio Haiti no
longer around, the April 3 murder cases have not moved
for three years in a conspiracy of silence and

The trial, taken over by four different judges, lasted
2 years and 10 months. It was agitated and bloody.
Suspects died in prison under strange circumstances.
Witnesses were killed. A judge went into exhile after
receiving threats. Almost every State institution
tried to stop the investigation: arrest warrants
ignored by the police, Senate opposition to waving off
a Senator’s parliamentarian immunity, police officers
publicly threatening a judge, the Head of State
temporary refusing (in 2002) to renew the mandate of
the judge leading the case.

After a not so subtle intervention by the Minister of
Justice of the time, the investigation theoretically
reached its conclusion on March 21, 2003, a month
after Radio Haïti was forced to shut down following an
assassination attempt, a murder and numerous threats
to its journalists. Even though the trial, from May
2000 to January 2002, had heard tens of witnesses and
had handed about 20 charges, Judge Bernard St Vil
convicted six individuals for the death of the
journalist. No sponsor was named.

On April 3, 2003, the family of the journalist made
appeal on the investigation’s conclusions. On August
4, 2003, Port-au-Prince’s Court of Appeal asked for a
new trial and freed three of the six convicted
individuals. The other three appealed to the Supreme
Court of Appeal, thus suspending the entire case.
Meanwhile, those three individuals, Jeudy Jean Daniel,
Dimsey Milien and Markenton Philippe, broke prison.

On March 14, 2004, the police followed two of Judge
St-Vil’s orders and arrested a former assistant to the
mayor of Port-au-Prince, Harold Sévère, charged on
January 28, 2003, and Roustide Pétion, alias mDouze,
for their alleged implication in the April 3 murders.

On June 29, 2004, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected
the « Appeal of sirs Dymsley Millien named Tilou, Jean
Daniel Jeudi named Guimy and Markington Phillipe
against the order of the Court of Appeal of
Port-au-Prince ».

Thus, the Supreme Court of Appeal confirms the Court
of Appeal’s verdict that a new judge should be named
to find the sponsors of the crime. On April 3, 2005,
five years exactly after the April 3 murders, the case
is handed to a new judge. To this day, a year later,
the case is still on hold according to the RNDDH which
has followed the case closely for the past six years:
« The case of Jean Léopold Dominique and Jean Claude
Louissaint has been handed to Judge Jean Pérez Paul,
President of the Association Nationale des Magistrats
Haïtiens (National Association of Haitian Judges)

This judge, well known for his December 30, 2005 order
in favour of alleged kidnappers, decided to hand back
the case to deanship, protesting that the Ministry has
not given him sufficient means to do his work. But the
judge did not resign; he is still working on other
cases. Since when does a judge choose his own cases ?
And no one says a word. » the RNDDH said.

Six years after the April 3 murders, how important is
Jean Dominique?

Anaesthetized by the victims in succession, in a
strong climate of impunity and with so much crime it’s
almost common, some might ask why we keep fighting for
this case, it’s because it is the most well-known one
of our recent history, and it should not be left
forgotten because some people are trying to put us to
sleep by repeating over and over again that ‘an
investigation is under way’. Shouldn’t it be time for
reconciliation and economic partnership? Who cares
about justice? After all, aren’t we holding, for many
years now, conventions of corruption, violence and
impunity in a society which has made forgetting the
best tool to survive?

Despite recurring political turbulence related to
corruption, after Duvalier, after the coup or after
Aristide, the nation never seems to ask people to pay
their dues. Kidnappers are freed almost as soon as
they are arrested. The same stands for assassins.
While a case like Raboteau, which had the strongest
evidence ever put together in our judiciary system, is
stopped for procedural defect, and no one from our
so-called civil society complains, you can count on
one hand the number of legal penalties that are not
cancelled by the eternal justice of the winners.

This impunity is everywhere in our daily lives, from
defamation in our media to the filth thrown in the
streets. A friend was telling me about a car driver
who was asking a merchant to move her stand which was
right in the middle of the Rue du Centre and the
answer he gets is « pouki m'ta fè sa, pa gen leta ».
Everybody can break the law without the fear of being
punished, whether it is minor infractions or murders.
Impunity is leading us into this daily anarchy, and
still we keep our eyes shut, accomplices or guilty.

How important is Jean Dominique? Once we have chosen
impunity for the murders of the four Jean, Jean Marie
Vincent, Jean Pierre Louis, Jean Lamy and Jean
Dominique, shouldn’t we have expected the murder of
Brignol Lindor, or the sponsored murder of deputy Marc
André Dirogène or the torture inflicted on our poet
and journalist Jacques Roche? How can we be surprised
by this dangerous spiral of aggression which has made
so many of us feel sorrow and pain? By seeing justice
as troubling, aren’t we all guilty of murder and
corruption? Aren’t we all accomplices by staying
shamefully silent?

How important is Jean Dominique? Some will say that
demanding justice for Jean Dominique or others today
is not politically correct, as it may disturb this
fragile and artificial stability that some try to call

Why insist on ">justice today for Jean Dominique?

The answer lies in all those who are abused daily by
little gang leaders, who are excluded, marginalized
and denied of justice, those who massively voted on
February 7 for the end of insecurity, knowing very
well that this monster feeds off of impunity and
injustice, those who have fought for 30 years against
a corrupt State, to put an end to the destructive
games of power and money, and to change their lives.
Those who do not have the courage, or the lucidity to
understand that impunity can no longer be the result
of power, money, judiciary or political games, of
"kache fey kouvri sa", they will be the next victims,
just like the State of law and the democracy we are
trying to build

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Steph at 9:13 AM | Comments (0)

43 things...

So I joined up and get 'reminders' at various intervals regarding things I want to do. Today's reminder is "play more" - and I do do this a fair amount, but of course there are always spontaneous moments when it can be squeezed into the middle of other things. :-) I took a moment a look at one of the other 72 people who have also said they want to play more. mittenimraum's list includes two items which more than 3000 people want to do:

see the northern lights
kiss in the rain

Yea, sounds good to me! :-)

Posted by Steph at 8:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2006

Chris Hedges

Not a pacifist, Hedges has spent 20 years as a war correspondent in theatres (not his term) in Central America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He warns of the dangers of falling for the myths of glorification and neglecting the hard truth that everyone touched by violence suffers after effects. One of the most disturbing elements of his speech today at Holyoke Community College was his reminder that huge portions of the public were complicit with the Bush Administration's headlong rush. He told of being booed and nearly physically shoved off the stage at a college commencement speech in May of 2003.

I've looked at his book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, on a few different occasions. After hearing him speak I am convinced this is a necessary read.

On a personal note, as I'm wont to do, I was struck by the distinction Hedges drew between friendship and being comrades. This is quoted from prep materials provided in advance for the interpreters:

"Friends, as J. Glenn Gray points out in his book, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, are predetermined. Friendship takes pace between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. Many of us will admit that we never really had a friend, and even the most fortunate of us have very few. But comradeship, that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime, is within our reach. We can all have comrades."

Posted by Steph at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 2, 2006

Belarus indymedia

News from Belarus, where (as Mark Miller ironically pointed out) democracy is actually being fought for: Belarusian Mass Media Online. Includes a link to Belarus indymedia but the English version doesn't seem to be operational today.

Posted by Steph at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)

immigration "reform" protests

Posted on Sun, Apr. 02, 2006 by the Miami Herald
Thousands across U.S. march over immigration
Continuing protests and marches across the nation are injecting the debate over immigration with passion and perspective.
Associated Press

The immigration debate continued to roll across the country Saturday. Residents in cities from Miami to New York to Contra Mesa, Calif., added their voices to the thousands who have spoken out against congressional attempts to reform immigration laws.

None of the protests drew crowds like the 500,000 people who marched in Los Angeles last weekend, but the sentiment was just as resolute.

The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved a measure that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. without the proper immigration paperwork. The Senate is now debating a measure that takes the opposite approach -- giving the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a chance at citizenship.

In New York, supporters of immigration rights formed a line stretching more than a mile long Saturday as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, waving flags from more than a dozen countries.

Heralded by a cacophony of trumpets, whistles and drums, the crowd of mostly Latin Americans gathered in downtown Brooklyn.

The marchers mustered in a neighborhood settled by the Dutch, crossed a bridge designed by a German, and finished in a square at the edge of Chinatown in an area that once held the Irish slums depicted in the 2002 film Gangs of New York.

On the way, they passed the Statue of Liberty, hot dog carts run by Middle Easterners, taxis driven by Russians and police officers speaking Chinese.

More than 10,000 people flooded Foley Square, turning it into a sea of colorful banners and echoing noise. The crowd came dressed in the colors of Mexico, Uruguay and Ecuador, but just as many draped themselves in red, white and blue.

''If you hurt immigrants you are hurting America,'' read a sign held by one marcher. ''We are your economy,'' said another.

Another marcher, a woman from Mexico who spoke no English, carried a sign reading, ``I cleaned up ground zero.''

''Si se puede!'' the crowd chanted, in Spanish. ``Yes, we can.''

''We came to say that we're here,'' said George Criollo, who arrived in New York a decade ago from Cuenca, Ecuador. ``We have to speak, legal or illegal. We have to speak about this issue.''

In Costa Mesa, Calif., about 500 people protested the crackdown on illegal immigrants.

''Aiding my kids should not be a crime,'' said Dagoberto Zavala, 52, who immigrated from El Salvador to the Santa Ana area, and said he brought his two children into the United States illegally. ``Congress needs to know the laws we have don't work.''

In Three Points, Ariz., members of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, who are concerned about the continued flow of illegal immigrants across the border from Mexico, gathered Saturday with lawn chairs, binoculars and cell phones for a new monthlong campaign aimed at raising public awareness of the issue.

A year after their first watch-and-report operation along the border in southeastern Arizona, Minuteman volunteers embarked on a much larger effort in the busy migrant-smuggling corridor.

''I'm concerned about what's not being done by the government -- hasn't been done, apparently,'' said J. Glenn Sorensen, a retired school administrator now living in Flagstaff.

Sorensen, who was not involved with the Minutemen last year, said he thinks the organization has accomplished part of its intended purpose already, ``to draw national attention to an insecure border. I don't think anybody wants to close the border -- I certainly don't. Basically, I think they need to be secure.''

At a rally kicking off the effort at a remote southern Arizona ranch Saturday afternoon, politicians and activists opposing illegal immigration gave fiery speeches calling for more border control. At least 200 mostly older men and women heard speakers praise their efforts and call the Minutemen heroes.

Don Goldwater, a Republican candidate for Arizona governor and a nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, said he had a message for President Bush. ''Build us that wall now,'' he said, referring to a portion of the House measure that would add 700 miles of fences along the border.

He promised that if elected, he would put illegal immigrants in a tent city on the border and use their labor to build the wall.

Posted by Steph at 9:42 PM | Comments (0)