Wednesday, December 14, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 8:09 pm
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 00:49:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sneering at Redemption: Why Arnold Killed Tookie
Sneering at Redemption: Why Arnold Killed Tookie
By Dave Zirin
In the end, we can only assume the decision wasn't so
"agonizing" after all. Last night Stan Tookie Williams
was legally lynched by the state of California, at the
behest of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who denied
Williams' appeal for clemency. The Governor deemed that
a man who had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
five times and brokered gang truces from Newark to
South Central was not worthy to walk and breathe among
us. Stan's case for clemency was so compelling it was
articulated by people from Desmond Tutu to Snoop Dogg,
and yet, watching Schwarzenegger in action has been to
observe the nexus of cold-hearted political calculation
Williams' Attorney John Harris challenged the governor
to meet with Tookie, saying to the San Francisco
Chronicle, "It's impossible to me to believe that if
you had met Stanley Williams and spent time with him,
that you would not believe in his personal
redemption." But that would require a courage the
Governor has never demonstrated. Unlike the movie tough
guy always ready to look his victims in the eye -- a
quip at the ready -- before shooting, stabbing, or
beheading them, Arnold made his decision at safe
remove, hanging out this weekend at his son's soccer
game, his face a waxy mask of carefree detachment,
while Tookie's supporters organized, marched, chanted
and prayed themselves hoarse.
When it finally came time for Arnold to announce his
personal judgment that Stan Williams should die,
tragedy became farce. The Governor's office released an
ugly scandalous diatribe that qualifies as nothing less
As he - or his script doctor - wrote, "The dedication
of Williams' book Life in Prison casts significant
doubt on his personal redemption. This book was
published in 1998 several years after Williams'
redemptive experience. Specifically the book is
dedicated to Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X,
Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Ramona Africa,
John Africa, Leonard Peltier, George Jackson, Mumia Abu
Jamal, and the countless other men, women, and youths,
who have to endure the hellish oppression of living
behind bars. The mix of individuals on this list is
curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been
convicted of committing heinous murders including the
killing of law enforcement. But the inclusion of George
Jackson on this list defies reason and is a significant
indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he
still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate
means to address societal problems."
For Tookie, all of these folks, from Mandela, to
Malcolm, to Assata, are one and the same: people of
color who strove for liberation in the darkest of
circumstances. For Schwarzenegger, the whole lot is the
same as well: people who are his political enemies
because they refused to be broken. Notice the singling
out of George Jackson, author of Soledad Brother, a
book for which there is no evidence Schwarzenegger has
so much as skimmed. Jackson was someone who despite
being framed for his political activism never stopped
organizing. That is the person Schwarzenegger wants to
kill by executing Tookie.
Later, Arnold passes judgment on Williams' very
redemption, writing, "Is Williams' redemption complete
and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? . . .
Without an apology and atonement for these senseless
and brutal killings there can be no redemption." In
other words, because Williams has consistently defended
his own innocence, he should die. But as Tookie once
said, "Many people expect me to apologize for crimes I
didn't commit--just to save my life. Of course I want
to live, but not by having to lie."
While not surprising Arnold did not have the courage to
face Tookie and spew this nonsense to his face, it
certainly would have been incredible theatre. In fact,
it would have been something of a reunion. In the late
1970s, Arnold and Tookie, about fifty life times ago,
admired each other's biceps on Muscle Beach in Venice,
California. "Your arms are like thighs!" Arnold
grinned. Amazing the difference thirty years makes. In
that time, Arnold rode his muscles and Teutonic good
looks from Hollywood stardom to the Governor's mansion.
Yes, he had a spotty past including many allegations of
sexual assault and drug abuse. But he passed that off
as youthful indiscretion, claimed that he had changed,
and a pliant media were happy to believe that Arnold
was worthy of forgiveness and redemption.
Tookie, like Arnold, also fashioned an unlikely
political career. But his began not with Hollywood
riches but as the target of the tough-on-crime laws of
the Clinton-Bush years which saw the nation's prison
population balloon from more than one to two million.
He was convicted of murder in a manner that would make
Strom Thurmond proud, called a "Bengal tiger" by a
prosecutor who engineered an all-white jury to make
sure the "Crip founder" found San Quentin. While
Arnold cozied up to the Bush and Kennedy clans, Tookie
read dictionaries in solitary, wrote letters to gang
kids in LA, and became that most dangerous of political
beings: a Black leader in racist America.
In one of his final interviews he said, "So, as long as
I have breath, I will continue to do what I can to
proliferate a positive message throughout this country
and abroad to youths everywhere, of all colors or
gender and geographical area, and I will continue to do
what I can to help. I want to be a part of the, you
know, the solution."
Now another tragedy, along with the murders of Albert
Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, and Yu-Chin
Yang Lin, has taken place because Stan Tookie has been
put to death. But the tragedy is not theirs to bear
Tonight children are being born to mothers without
health insurance, in neighborhoods politicians don"t
enter without SWAT teams, news cameras, and latex
gloves. The political class has already branded these
kids as human waste. But many of them could have found
another path, because Stanley Tookie Williams would
have been there to intervene in their lives and show
Now it's up to those of us who stood with Tookie to
keep on pushing. This is Schwarzenegger's "mission
accomplished" moment for his right wing, pro-death
base. But his "mission" will fail. He is part of a
21st century set of rulers who have repeatedly shown,
whether in Baghdad or New Orleans, that they are unfit
to rule. Their brutality will be met with resistance in
the tradition of Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm
X, Leonard Peltier, George Jackson... and Stanley
[Dave Zirin is the author of "'What's My Name Fool?':
Sports and Resistance in the United States" (Haymarket
Books). He is a regular writer for the Nation and a
columnist for Slam Magazine. You can reach him by
emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and you can get his
column every week by sending a blank email to
posted by @netwurker at 8:06 pm
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 00:34:13 +0100 (CET)
Doctors say it is a miracle.
Naqsha Bibi, 40, was recovered alive from the debris of a collapsed house in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 10 December.
The unexpected rescue came more than two months after the 8 October earthquake destroyed large parts of Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and northern areas in Pakistan.
Naqsha Bibi, now under hospital treatment, is suffering from muscle stiffness and is so weak that she can barely talk.
She weighs under 35kg - about half the weight of an average woman her size.
But since being brought to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, she has been put on a liquid diet and is showing signs of recovery.
Doctors say that on Tuesday morning she gave them a smile.
"We were not even looking for her," says Faiz Din, her cousin who found her.
Faiz Din, Naqsha's cousin, accidentally found her in the debris
Naqsha Bibi and her family are residents of the Kamsar refugee camp some six kilometres from Muzaffarabad.
The camp was set up in 1990 for people from Indian-controlled Kashmir trapped on this side when borders were closed amid rising tensions between Pakistan and India.
Her family included a brother and their father - their mother had died before they entered Pakistan-administered territory.
Faiz Din says both her father's legs were broken in the earthquake and he was flown to Islamabad aboard a rescue helicopter within a week after the quake.
Her brother went with their father as an attendant.
"At that time, we thought Naqsha had either fallen down the hill or gone to live in some relief camp in the city," says Faiz Din.
Part of the hill that houses the Kamsar camp had collapsed into the river below.
Anyone who was not found immediately was thought to have fallen with the crumbling hillside and died.
"Frankly, we were all so busy taking care of our own families that no one was thinking of the house next door," Faiz Din says.
It seems that Naqsha was trapped in her kitchen when her small house collapsed around her.
Naqsha is on a liquid diet but too weak to talk
The space where she was found was not even big enough for her to stretch her arms or legs.
Over the 63 days that she spent in this grave of sorts - her muscles frozen in a crouching position.
Even on the hospital bed now, she maintains her embryonic position and doctors say she will need extensive physiotherapy to return to her normal self again.
What remains a mystery - at least till Naqsha Bibi is able to tell her story - is how she managed to survive for so long.
Faiz Din says there were some traces of food, most of it rotting, in the kitchen when he found her.
The air in the tiny space was fresh, which implies that some airway must have remained open through the debris.
And there was a trickle of water on one side of the kitchen, probably from one of several tiny streams that dot the Kamsar area.
"We started clearing the debris of her house on 10 December, mainly to pull the iron sheets off the collapsed roof to build ourselves a shelter," says Faiz Din.
"But as we cleared one side of the house, some of the debris fell away exposing the cavity where she was holed up."
Naqsha's nightmare, however, was not immediately over.
Naqsha's collapsed house where she was stuck in the kitchen
"We first thought she was dead but she opened her eyes as we were pulling her out," says Faiz.
Naqsha was unable to respond to repeated offerings of food and water.
Apparently, her condition convinced her rescuers that she was on the verge of death.
That was why Faiz Din didn't take her to a doctor immediately despite being so close to Muzaffarabad.
"We thought she was going to die any moment," he says.
"So we just put her inside a tent and let her be."
Two days later when a team of German doctors visited the Kamsar camp, they were told about Naqsha Bibi.
They contacted the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) who sent Dr Hafeezur Rehman to bring Naqsha to Muzaffarabad.
At Muzaffarabad's PIMA medical camp, Naqsha was examined by a Danish doctor of Pakistani origin, Mariam Bashir.
"She seemed to be physically stable but in shock," Dr Bashir told the BBC.
Part of Kamsar camp had collapsed into the river below
The first challenge for the doctors was to feed her.
Starting intravenously, they moved within hours to a liquid diet and were greatly encouraged by her body's response to nutrition.
On 13 December, a psychiatrist spent three hours with her checking her responses and said she was able to understand most of his requests.
But she was still unable to carry out even simple tasks such as sticking out her tongue or speaking.
PIMA now plans to bring in a physiotherapist to help revive her limbs which are still stiff.
Most of the doctors are now convinced that given the right treatment Naqsha may be able to lead a normal life once again.
Dr Abdul Hamid was one of the doctors treating Naqsha.
When asked how someone could possibly survive for such a long time, he said, "medical science may struggle to accept it but there are miracles in this world, you know."
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
posted by @netwurker at 6:37 am
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 18:42:18 -0500
From: Ricardo Dominguez
hopefully this letter would have been just to say hi to you and send best
wishes, unfortunately there are as well other reasons i am writing this for:
in a luggage check at the denver international airport, the tsa/ immigration
found both a 'tijuana calling' brochure and a copy of the game that anne-marie
and me produced for inSite. they searched the insite website and all of its
links and loaded the game and made me play it for them, they found that the
game as most of the projectsnwere posing a threat to the us national security
and that they were'antiamerican', in speaking about illegal crossings and
trafffic, in their own words. one officer even told me to watch out who we were
working for. i explained that the game as well as the other pieces of art had
been commissioned by an art institution whose objective is to gain deeper cross
understanding about life in the mex- us border, for both the peoples of mexico
and the us, they said they didn't believed it and discredited the festival,
evidently ignoring what art is. when i told them that the organisation was run
by us citizens, they replied that not all us citizens are prone to like the
government and its policies and that actually a lot of them were working
the incident costed me a deportation, a night in a detention center, 5 years of
denied entry to the us (where my wife lives and works) and interestingly a talk
to an FBI agent, part of which i have written down:
after identifying himself as an fbi agent, an asian man (no accent) in a semi
expensive suit with two mont blanc pens sticking out of his shirt asked me
q-do you know what a terrorist is?
q-did you made a game about a secret tunnel in the mexico- us border?
q-do you know of any terrorist activities in the border?
q-do you know how transborder tunnels work?, have you been at one?, or how else
did you conceived that game?
a-from divulgative information found on newspapers, the game is a piece
q-are you sure you dont know of any tunnels? how come they appear at you game?
do your game portrays any specifical location of a tunnel?
a-i am sure i have never been in such tunnels, the location was chosen by
q-art is for sharing significant things with other people, why do you put the
border and the people of the us at large in risk?
a-i am not putting anyone in risk, again, the information the game is based on
comes from public sources
q-did anne-marie schleiner worked with you in the game?
q-can you write both, yourself and anne-marie's addresses in mexico city/
boulder with phone numbers?
a-yes (i do write the information)
q-have you been contacted by any terrorists that want to use your game for
q-are you sure about this? no suspicious mail been received lately?
q-if you are contacted by anyone trying to use your game as a terrorist weapon,
lets say 'ahmed ahmud',or some mohammed or something like that, will you
contact the mexico city office of the fbi?
a-yes, you can give me your card and i will contact you
fbi- that won't be necessary, just call the local branch since i am a denver-
Can you help us with any kind of legal advice, being it civil rights and/or
immigration, facing the problem that this episode has aroused.
thanks, all the best
luis hernandez galvan
Anne-Marie Schleiner & Luis Hernandez (This is the artist that has been
This is the Brochure that was found:
posted by @netwurker at 6:36 am
Activism comes in waves. There are those wild moments when you think you can somehow win. San Cristobal 1994. Paris 1995. Seattle 1999. Porto Alegre 2001. Buenos Aires 2001-2002. Venezuela for the past 7 years. Bolivia next December 18 (think of them and hope for the better).
In those moments the movement is everything. Don't worry that the others have a hard time understanding. Because so many people get it right. And more are streaming in. The main thing is to keep the momentum, feed the energy. All you can do is try to be the wave you're riding. Until it crashes on the shore.
Then what? Fall back, take a reality check, put away the gas masks and start creating culture.
Resistance is cultural. It's about ideas, it's about feelings. Texts and objects and gestures are a way to keep them alive, suspended animation, secret free. Nothing can be presupposed: it has to be anonymous, impersonal, available. What happens when the other looks you in the eye? Resistance takes place in that space between two gazes.
Our societies are pathological. Thanaturgic. Death-dealing. It's not easy to survive amid organized blindness. Consensual cynicism. Orchestrated degradation. Resistance is counted in time spans. How long you hold out is the measure. But also the quality - the usefulness - of what you emit. Who could have predicted what Peter Lamborn Wilson's crazy rants would inspire?
The last wave needed technology. Computers. A way to communicate, to welcome all those people streaming into the circles. Digital activism. Interactive arts. No copyright. Then the wave crashed onto the shore. And the people holding onto their computers found themselves with less communication, less interaction, more career.
So what? Is it really any different? Let your resistance flow through the keyboard. Create culture, create tools, create latency. It's measured in time spans. It has to be impersonal, freely available. It only works when it's useful. Those who want to watch, watch; those want to listen, listen. Meanwhile, go to secret meetings. Change countries, keep a line into wilder places. Produce culture, create latency, pay attention to process, keep the free spaces free. The next wave is gathering. Que ondas? Life comes in oscillations. Culture holds the rising curve.