Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Shower of Flowers"

From time to time, I would remember "Shower of Flowers" or "Flower Storm" a remarkable film I saw in Iran in 1972. This animated film was made by Ali Akbar Sadeghi.
"This animated film, based on Persian miniatures, tells of the inhabitants of two towns in the Middle Ages who live in peace and harmony until their kings start to fight over a bird they both have shot down while hunting. War breaks out, but children, during the night, substitute flowers for the cannon bails. The next day, there is-not a battle-but a flower storm."
I'd love to see it one more time!
Watch The Rook by him, Ali Akbar Sadeghi the great artist from Iran.

The Marches Turn Green

A Poem by Majid aficy.

In memory of Neda and her friends (1)
Like the sprouts of wheat
Which must grow green,
The marchers turn green. (2)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Do Not Forget Honduras!

While the world is busy with the news about Iran and the death of Michael Jackson, a military Coup happens in Honduras!!!
Isn't history repeating itself?

Iran and....

Read Iranian Elections: The "Stolen Elections" Hoax By James Petras and Iran and Leftist confusion. by Reese Erlich


The rest is silence!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Poem by Sholeh Wolpe

I Am Neda

Leave the Basiji bullet in my heart,
fall to prayer in my blood,
and hush, father
--I am not dead.

More light than mass,
I flood through you,
breathe with your eyes,
stand in your shoes, on the rooftops,
in the streets, march with you
in the cities and villages of our country
shouting through you, with you.
I am Neda—thunder on your tongue.

An Open Letter to the world

For thirty years the Islamic Republic of Iran has created a theatre of horror, violence and fear, by forcing its citizens to obey its restrictive rules. Those who disobeyed the rules were severely penalized, jailed or executed.
Battles for freedom have been fought over the entire course of Iranian history, from the 1906 Constitutional Revolution to the 1953 American coup, to the 1979 Revolution that overthrew the Shah, to the 1999 student movement, to today’s uprising over the fraudulent election.
The political events in Iran are unfolding according to a text written and acted daily by a broad spectrum of people, whose audience is the whole world.
We playwrights, actors and filmmakers support those who lose their lives for freedom and human rights in Iran, standing in solidarity with them and condemning the violent action of the government.

Why Not Us?

Arab Activists Watch Iran And Wonder: "Why Not Us"?

Today I received this letter from an American artist Joel Simpson in solidarity with Iranian people:

"The mass protests and their brutal suppression following an election which the whole world recognizes as stolen have unmasked the "Islamic Republic" as the brutal dictatorship it has always been, hiding behind the a veil of piety. The sympathetic protests in nearby Arab countries are very telling, since many of those protesters acknowledge that such opposition could not occur in their countries. Iran has demonstrated at least the pretense of a more open and democratic society. It has a strong middle class, possessed of wealth and education. The blatant stealing of the presidential election and then the brutal suppression of protests have revealed that real power is held by the Revolutionary Guards, and they will do anything to keep it. They are unconcerned with either the popular will or the future of their country—which is typical of military dictators, from Myanmar to North Korea—and only concerned with maintaining their power. Their actions will certainly set off a new wave of emigration among Iran's best and brightest, increasing demoralization at home, and isolation abroad. The question is whether power will be wrested from them before they manage to destroy the fabric of Iran's civil society, which at present, and despite heavy-handed fundamentalist rule for the past 30 years, is one of the most robust in the Muslim world."

Prague in solidarity with Iranins

Thank you people of Prague, Czech Republic for your solidarity with Iranians.

World unites for freedom in Iran

The world is united for freedom in Iran.
"People unite in 30 cities worldwide to support the people of Iran as they fight for freedom, as they protest oppression, terror, and the brutal atrocities of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
As I watch the brutality of this regime, I'm screaming, roaring, howling, wailing in my room letting my patient plants know what's going on in the streets of Tehran...telling them to support these brave, heroic and enchanting souls who have lost their lives, got wounded and live in horror for freedom.
I know my plants have a "universal voice". I know my plants can connect with all the plants in the world. My plants have a certain way to carry my LOVE to them...

I can not hold my tears. The only thing that can calm me right now is to read Slavoj Zizek's article again and again and again: "The future is uncertain – in all probability, those in power will contain the popular explosion, and the cat will not fall into the precipice, but regain ground. However, it will no longer be the same regime, but just one corrupted authoritarian rule among others. Whatever the outcome, it is vitally important to keep in mind that we are witnessing a great emancipatory event which doesn’t fit the frame of the struggle between pro-Western liberals and anti-Western fundamentalists. If our cynical pragmatism will make us lose the capacity to recognize this emancipatory dimension, then we in the West are effectively entering a post-democratic era, getting ready for our own Ahmadinejads. Italians already know his name: Berlusconi. Others are waiting in line."

A drawing

by Kaveh Ahangar Adel
In Memoriam of our beloved brave lost sisters and brothers whose hearts were pierced and brutalized by the evil dictators. May these innocent souls in Baharestan,in Azadi, in Enghelab, in vanak..... and every corner of the beloved land of Iran never be forgotten....
I call my insignificant contribution: PERSEVERE IRAN, "NATARS", DON'T BE AFRAID!
Feel free to share it with anyone who wants to spread this to everyone so the voices of those who have been persecuted, brutalized, massacred, murdered for exercising their right to speak freely be heard and their names and faces be remembered.

Listen also to Joan Baez song "We Shall Overcome" (with some lyrics in Farsi) for the Iranian people.
Thank you Kaveh Ahangar Adel.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Symbols are not enough to win this battle

Robert Fisk on Iran.
"It is indeed an 'intifada' that has broken out in Iran, however hopeless its aims." Read more...

Slavoj Zizek: "We are witnessing a great emancipatory event... If our cynical pragmatism will make us lose the capacity to recognize this emancipatory dimension, then we in the West are effectively entering a post-democratic era, getting ready for our own Ahmadinejads." Read more...

Latest Videos

Watch the latest videos from Iran in Citizentube.
Scream of Silence in Vancouver

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

....tomorrow I may get killed!

I have found this letter somewhere, in one of my labyrinthine net search...I do not know where! I do not know how I came to that page! What page? I can't remember! I do not know who wrote it! I was overwhelmed with news. I could only copy and paste it. No name, no picture...but...provocative words!

"Tomorrow is a great day, tomorrow I may get killed!

Friday 19 June 2009

I will take part in the rally tomorrow. Maybe they will turn tomorrow's rally to violence. Maybe I'm one of those who are meant to get killed tomorrow. Now I'm listening to all of those beautiful songs I've heard in my life once again. I'm even going to play some ridiculous music and dance. I always wanted to pluck my eyebrows as thin as possible. Yes, tomorrow I'll even drop by at a beauty salon before going to the streets. There are some fantastic scenes in the movie "Hamoun", I've got to watch them once again as well. I should check out my library, some poems of "Forough" and "Shamlou" are worth being read once again. I should also scroll through my family album. My friends, I must call them and say farewell. All my property is two libraries, and I've told my family, to whom those books should be given. I've only got two credits left before I get my degree but, who gives a damn about a degree now! My thoughts are in a real mess. I've written these scattered sentences for the next generation, so they may know that we were not passionate and captivated. For them to know we did whatever we could, to improve their lives. So they know that even if our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongol invasions, they didn't bow down to the tyranny.

This letter is dedicated to the children of tomorrow."

A letter from Nawal El Saadawi

From Nawal El Saadawi to Iranian men and women demonstrating in the the streets of Tehran( 21 June 2009 )
"This is a revolution of the Iranian people against
internal and external dictatorships and exploitation ,
against local and global powers , political , economic and
religious powers . Iranian men and women , young and old, are fighting against oppression , inequality,
injustices and domination . This is the voice of
Iranian people . It is heard clearly all over the
world . No power can stop them before they achieve
their goals , No power can erase their blood ."
Nawal El Saadawi

"We won't let history repeat itself."

Staphen Kinzer's article on Iran published in Guardian.
"By reviving memories of an ousted leader, Iran's protesters are signaling they want to win reform without US intervention."

".....Anyone doubting the wisdom of those words should pay attention to the sprouting of Mossadeq pictures during protests in Iran. They mean: "Americans, your interventions have brought us tyranny and death. Stay home, keep your hands off and leave our country to us for a change."

Songs for Neda (You Will Not Defeat The People)

Johnny Maudlin and Brandokelly
Johnny sings:
You will not defeat the people
With the bullets from your guns

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Interview

Read or listen to an interview with the journalist and filmmaker Kouross Esmaeli in Democracy Now
KOUROSS ESMAELI:...."The Iranians know Senator John McCain as the man who sang “Bomb, bomb Iran” during the elections of last year. The man holds no credibility as far as supporting Iranians or seeming like he’s got the best interests of the Iranians at heart."
".....and it’s amazing that the President of the United States is taking such a sensible stand. And that—everyone I’ve talked to in Iran has said the same thing, that we do not need any symbol of Western, especially American, interference in Iran’s internal politics."

For Freedom!

Caspian Makan, Neda Agha Soltani's fiancé speaks about the circumstances of Neda's death in an interview (BBC News in Persian).

New Solidarity

Kaveh Ehsani, associate Professor at Depaul University and Ahmad Sadri, Professor of Sociolgy at Lake Forest College, speak about the situation of Iran on WBEZ Worldview Chicago Public Radio. Listen to the entire interview.

"They're standing for the rule of law. They're establishing a new solidarity."

Listen also to Pepe Escobar's analysis of Iranian movement in The Real News.

The Gandhian Moment

The Gandhian moment

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vultures are hovering over the land!

They planned two wars before entering the lands
To them, it's tantalizing seeing the dead bodies
Lying on the streets of the third land

Vultures are always waiting for the right moments!

Stay alive Neda, stay alive!

"Neda Agha Soltan"
Her music professor whom she was demonstrating with screamed "Stay alive, Stay alive!"
Neda was in Kargar/Amirabad street where she was shot by Basijis. People changed the name of the street to "Neda".

By Kaveh Ahangar Adel
He wrote: " I was so moved and disturbed by today's video of a young woman losing her life..... her last gaze will be etched in my mind forever. I had to do something. If they cut one of these brave souls down millions more will sprout!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

United we Stand, divided we fall!

United we stand, divided we fall!
Photo is posted in Shahram Marashi's Page in facebook.

Please let the world know!

People changed the name of the street "Kargar/Amirabad" (where she was shot) to "Neda" her name.

By Kaveh Ahangar Adel
He wrote: " I was so moved and disturbed by today's video of a young woman losing her life..... her last gaze will be etched in my mind forever. I had to do something. If they cut one of these brave souls down millions more will sprout!"

I got this note below from Facebook, posted by "H.R". The video is so graphic. I'll post it soon!

"Basij shots to death a young woman in Tehran's Saturday June 20th protests

At 19:05 June 20th
Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st.

A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.
The protesters were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gas used among them, towards Salehi St.
The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.
Please let the world know."

Friday, June 19, 2009

The emergence of a new language of revolt...

First listen to this song in support of the courageous protesters. Poem by Rumi! Then watch this video.

"We have all been silenced, forced into exile, and by virtue of the absence of freedom of expression in the Islamic Republic never had a chance openly, politely, and respectfully disagree with this violent or gentle over-juridicalization of our political culture." Read more...From Diary of a Defiance: Iran un-Interrupted by Hamid Dabashi

"A key and critical question at this point is the emergence of a new language of revolt that will correspond to the realities of this movement and not reduced to cliché-ridden, tired, and old assumptions. Any act of theorization of this movement, what exactly is it, and to what extend it will go, must be exceedingly cautious, gradual, and in correspondence with the manner in which it is unfolded." Read more by Hamid Dabashi

Latest Pictures! "We do not let history repeats"

"We do not let history repeats". Iranian people say it silently as rising up Dr Mossadegh's picture, the democratically elected prime minister in 1951.
As they are in the streets, screaming for freedom, they're also alarmed about another intervention in the country. Watch three parts video of 1953 coup in Iran.
Part one.
Part two.
Part three.
See the latest pictures of Iranian uprising.
Few hours ago, at night they all screamed for freedom from windows and rooftops, chanting Allaho Akbar, the key words of revolt used in 1978 & 1979.
What will happen tomorrow? What's waiting for this tremendous dynamic force for change?

My soul is with you... I'm all with you...my fellow young, old, courageous and hopeful Iranians!

All revolutions devour their children! Remember September 8 1978 !

Picture of Black Friday, September 8, 1978, Jaleh Square, Tehran

Iranian movement has started! There is no way to stop it. It is inevitable! This is the way human history functions!
Thirty years ago, we were in the streets of Iran screaming for freedom. September 8, 1978 (17 Shahrivar)was the crucial starting point of our revolution. The situation is more complex today.

Watch this video! It will just revive the memory of our past!
We were active in revolution. Many were executed. Less than half of us are probably still alive today. All revolutions devour their children but the Iranian revolution.....Read this article.

Supreme Leader

Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader sternly warned of a crackdown if protesters continue days of massive street rallies, escalating the government's showdown with demonstrators demanding a new presidential election.

An Email from Tehran

I received this report by email today.

"This report is from Guardian today!

The man who leaked the real election results from the Interior Ministry - the ones showing Ahmadinejad coming third - was killed in a suspicious car accident, according to unconfirmed reports, writes Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Tehran.

Mohammad Asgari, who was responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran's interior ministry, was killed yesterday in Tehran.

Asgari had reportedly leaked results that showed the elections were rigged by government use of new software to alter the votes from the provinces.

Asgari was said to have leaked information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19 million votes, and should therefore be president.

We will try to get more details later."


Iraninian Reform Declaration

Iranian Reform Declaration.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Limits of Power

Today Andrew Bacevich talks about his latest book, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism. Bacevich argues that America is facing triple crisis: an economy in disarray that can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; a government transformed by an imperial presidency into a democracy in name only; and an engagement in endless wars that has severely undermined the body politic. Listen to his interview in Chicago Public Radio, World News
Read his interview in Bill Moyers Journal.

No, This is Not a color Revelution!

No, this will never become like Georgia's Rose Revolution nor Ukrain's Orange Revolution!
No Mr. McCain! you can not interfere with Iranian movement!
Iranian people know what they want!

I am neither a Moslem nor a Hindu
I am not Christian, Zoroastrian, nor Jew

I am neither of the West nor the East
Not of the ocean, nor an earthly beast

My place is the no-place
My image is without face

Unity is what I sing, unity is what I speak
Unity is what I know, unity is what I seek

(Excerpts of a longer poem by Rumi)
Picture by James Wray

Monday, June 15, 2009


In 1979 he was my brother, today he is my son!

In 1979 I was among them, today I only watch them from faraway!

Today I'm thinking about Prometheus while a great eagle hovers over my head!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chess Games!

Only few play the games
Some watch the movements
Some dance for the winners
Some clamor for the defeaters
Some scream for actuality, for factuality, for truth
And some, tired of all the games
remain silent
and hopeless!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Protests in the Street of Tehran

Students are protesting in the streets of Tehran, in Mashhad, in Ahvaz...Some call June 12 Election a coup d'état! Many call it a fraud! It resembles 1953...It revives the memory of 1979!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What will happen tomorrow in Tehran?

It's a quiet Thursday in Tehran. Campaigning and electioneering is forbidden on election eve, and the crowds are gone, but the tension is palpable. Read More
Foreign policy is front and center in the Iranian electoral debate.How will Iran's vote affect world's politic?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Loss of Innocence

By Nicole Adam

My breath hung in the air long after I let it escape my body. My brother’s small six week old body laid against my toddler frame. He began to cry.
“Shh Jase mama will be here soon. You can’t get us kicked out of here we need the shelter.”
I began to sing my ABC’s I heard someone I held my baby brother as I strained my ears hoping it was Mama. Mama promised she would pick us up here. Mama promised. But Mama didn’t always keep her promises. The wood in front of me creaks. I hold my breath for eternity as I wait for my fear to evolve in front of my eyes.
“What are you doing in here?” A voice plagues with worry asked. “It is 22 degrees out, you must be very cold.”
“My mama izzz cominn, she said she’ll be right bac.”
“Do you have a home?” She asked very calmly
“nnnnooooo.” I forced as my lips trembled in the cold.
“Why aren’t you guys in a shelter?” She asked again
“The guy didn’t like us there.”
“Please would you come inside. Would you like to eat? Is that a baby in your arms?” She cried
“Yess.” I stuttered worried about my brother.
“Please come inside, Let’s get the both of you warm and fed.”
I pulled up my body with all of my might. I had been sitting in that spot for several hours since my mama said she was gonna go get us some food. A nice lady gave her 50.00 to get us food. Except I knew when she was gone this long she never came back with food and was always mean when she got back. I would have to make sure Jason would be extra quiet or she would try to hit him again.
“Would you like some spaghetti, honey?” The voice interrupted my thoughts.
“mmhmm psghetti please!”
“Now why don’t you sit down honey? Can I hold the baby? Is he your little brother or your little sister?”
“Itz a boy he’s my brudda.” I said holding him tightly I knew never to let Jase go, not after mama’s friend almost hurt him.”
“Honey, I promise to take good care of him. I just want to change his diaper and put him in some nice warm clothes. I have a little boy as well and they might like to see each other. What do you think.”
I looked at the lil baby he sure was cute. He had pink cheeks. Pink happy cheeks. I looked at Jase his cheeks were red, the deep red your cheeks turn when you’ve been outside to long because mama forgot about us again.
“Oh, wow, what a beautiful boy! Sit here, and eat. I will go change him and be back in a jiffy.” The kind lady walked out of the room with Jase.
I sat alone at the table for a while looking at the walls around me and the bright colored fork in front of me. I always eat with white forks. The forks that you get at the shelter. Mama says cause they don’t trust us with real forks cause we’d steal em. A tall man asked if I wanted milk. But I think the milk he gave me was bad. It wasn’t white it was a cool brown color. I was so thirsty I didn’t care though. I thought I should keep some aside if it was good to slip in Jase’s bottle. I lifted the glass to my cup. The smell was sweet and intoxicating. The liquid flew to my lips it was sweet so sweet I gulped and gulped until I had to scream for air. I had to stop or there would be none left for Jase.
“He’s barely six weeks old Peter! Look, you can see where his umbilical cord stump fell off. He looks starved. I can see all of his ribs. She looks like she hasn’t ate a good meal her whole life. She looks terrified out of her body.” I heard the kind lady say hushed they probably thought I wasn’t listening but I’ve learned to listen to these conversations I’ve learned to pay more attention to the hushed conversations than the loud ones.
“Kathryn, we need to call the police. This is sick, look at this poor kid. When do you think his diaper has his diaper been changed last? You can’t tell the difference between the rash all over his but from the windburn on his cheeks. They need to be put in the system. You and I both know this.” The kind man said but with a harsh tone to his voice.
“You and I both know not all families are as kind as us. These children need to be nurtured the poor girl looks like damaged goods. We need to do something WE need to help them.”
“Kathryn, these are not lost dogs. There are laws. We could lose our license. We will call the police and then put a request to see if we could be their foster parents. But don’t get your hopes up. You and I both know our word and wishes have little baring.”
“FINE! You call them.”
The kind lady entered the room and I quickly put food in my mouth to not get scolded for not eating my food or worse having it taken away from me.
“Honey, slow down! Is your milk okay?”
“No I was saving some for Jase.”
“Jase? Oh your brother, Honey, he can’t drink that he has to have special baby food. Is that What you have been feeding him?”
“I give him half of my drinks cause Mama says he can’t chew?”
“Where is this MAMA of yours?” She demanded something I said bothered her. Please I prayed don’t kick us out before we ate.
“She left to go get us food earlier.”
“Was it dark? Or was the sun up when she left.”
“Tha sun” I said as I stuffed more food in my mouth. Hoping to get as much as possible in. Before I knew it she had a bottle filled and was feeding Jase he looked so happy and was drinking really fast.
“Wow! Hunny you were hungry.”
A bell interrupted my thoughts as the kind man opened the door. In walked two police officers.
“NOOOO leave me alone I didn’t do anything I swear Please Please don’t come here.” I started screaming and crying I ran to go get Jase but the man stopped me please let us go I promise Jus don’t make me leave jase. I stuttured.
“Honey, these men are here to help you.”
“Nu uh mama says those men will take me and Jase away and I will never see him again and bad things will happen to me again.”
“Ariana, your mama was lying. I promise nothing will happen to you.” The kind lady said and walked me over to her couch. It was so soft to the touch. I heard the gentleman and the police officers mumble about us but I couldn’t hear. I looked at the baby in his pen and thought how that should be Jase warm and not hungry. Clean and not wearing the same diaper for several days.
“We’ll do what we can. But, right now we need to get them to the station. Social services will have to step in.”
“Ariana, we are going to take you on a ride with us. We’re gonna get you somewhere warm to sleep tonight. Is that ok with you?” The police officer with a funny nose asked me. He seemed nice but I knew not to trust them. They always seem nice at first.
“Onlee if Jase comez wit me.”
“Of course.”
I slid off the couch with a lot of effort. It took every part of me to move my body closer and closer to the door. I wanted to run and put Jase in the pen with the other baby and pretend we lived there. I wanted to eat psghetti every day of my life. I also wanted to drink that milk that different kind of milk that was sweet and yummy.
I walked behind the officers. I felt the kind lady and man walking behind me. She was whispering words I couldn’t here. I looked out the door and saw a woman crouching under the front porch.
“MAMA you’re here. Sir she’s my mama she’ll take us home.”
“We’ll see about that honey.” The funny nose one said as he quickly turned to my Mama
“Ma’am, I’m officer Jones. Please get out from under the porch!” the other officer said.
Mama stumbled out from under the porch. She walked like she always did when she yelled at us. Or when she brought those strange men home. I knew she was gonna yell at me. I had to make sure she wouldn’t hit jase. I needed to save Jase. The officer with the big nose scared me.
“Ma’am are these your children?” He sounded like he was trying to hide his anger. It’s the same way Grandma would talk to Mama whenever we came over. I never knew if they were mad at me so I tried to keep on my best behavior. I would have to be nice around the men in the dark suits just in case. Mama’s voice tore me from my thoughts.
“you stupid girl i told you to stay away from da popo you stupid stupid girl you gonna get yourself hurt again they gonna take jase away and put you in a home again a home with men who will hurt you you stupid girl good i’m done with you i never wanted you i never wanna see you again you stupid girl.” Mama shook as she yelled, I thought if I ran to her she would fall over. Her cheeks were red but her eyes looked as if she didn’t see us.
“Mama! Please don’t leave us mama please don’t let them take us” I screamed I felt like I did when Mama would sit on my chest to make me stop crying. I couldn’t breath I just tried to scream as much as I could but she ran before I knew it I couldn’t see her anymore. Tears streamed down my face she was gone. I knew she didn’t get us food she was gone.
The officer ran to catch her but came back by himself. My mama was gone…again.
The kind lady ran to me and held me.
“I promise you honey. Nothing will ever happen to you honey. I promise! You are not going any where bad.” She whispered in my ear. But, I knew better this wasn’t the first time the men in the dark outfits took me away.
“Ma’am we need to go.” The other officer said.
“I know. I will follow.”
“Kathryn! We said we’d wait!” The man was mad, he looked at me like I did something wrong. I knew I would never come back here now.
“Sometimes god doesn’t want you to wait! These kids need us!” The kind lady shouted back at him. She wants us, but she won’t go against the man’s wishes. Mama never went against a man’s words no matter what they asked.
I felt like my head was going to explode. Mama left me the nice man was mad at me. The kind lady wanted to keep me. But I knew I wouldn’t get anything I wanted. I never did. I just stared at the man with the funny nose hoping he would give me some kind of answer.
“Ariana, you need to get in the car.” That was my answer, I dragged my feet to the door and climbed in the door waiting for it to close. Waiting for my chance of safety to end. The funny nosed cop put me in my seat and placed a big belt across my chest and lap I jumped every time he came near. His breath smelt different than mommas does it smelt gross and stale. He sat in his seat and I looked next to me and saw jase he wasn’t buckled up he was in some kind of seat that wrapped him like a hug. I heard the ground before us as we left the warm house the nice house the house I knew I could be safe in. Behind us followed a blue car. We drove around the block I thought I saw mama walk into a store with neon lights and people standing outside in but I really don’t know. As we drove I cried. I cried because I knew we were going to a place with lots of kids and little food. I knew I would get hit if I wet my bed. I knew that men would be there who only wanted to hurt me and Jase. I cried because I could not do anything. Mama would have protected me but she didn’t get food tonight. If she got food she would never have ran away.
The car came to a slow stop as we pulled into a garage. I stepped out of the car and walked where the officer told me to go. We passed women dressed up like mama did sometimes with bright lipstick and pretty skirts. Momma use to look so pretty when she was dressed like that but when she came home she usually couldn’t walk in her high shoes and was very mad talking about how she needed to shower cause the people she was with was dirty.
The officers put us in a room where another lady was waiting for us.
“Hello, My name is Wendy. What is your name?”
“Ariana and dis my brudda Jason we call him Jase though.”
“Would you like some milk Ariana.”
“YES.” I screamed hoping it would be that sweet milk.
“Here, hunny” she held a cup of white milk.
I knew it I knew I wasn’t safe here.
“I’ll be right back okay Araiana”
She walked out of the room and the door slammed shut. It scared me but not as much as the future scared me. I didn’t know where I was going. I sat there and hugged my brother because I knew this would be the last time I would see him and I cried. I sat there for a long time. I thought about mama. I thought about the scary place we were gonna go. I hoped no one would hurt jase the way they hurt me. I sang all the songs I knew to Jase.
“A B C G E D N, Now I know my AB…”
The door swung open and the woman entered. She walked to her chair and sat down. She looked at me like she was sad. Her eyes reminded me of the kind lady’s eyes. She made a noise like mama made before she would yell at us. But this lady’s noise was different more like she was sad.
“mmmm yezz” I knew it. They are gonna take Jase now. I bit my lip hard don’t cry. I can’t cry.
“Would you like to stay the night at the nice people? The people you were with earlier this morning?”
“YEZ please.” I screamed almost falling off the chair. “An Jase too righ? Jase iz gona be warm too righ?”
“It won’t be permanent until we get some paperwork done. It may never be permanent. You need to know that but a couple of nights I can defiantly do.” She got up and gathered her things. She looked at me with a look I haven’t seen before, only on the kind lady, she looked like she was sad. I don’t know what I did but she was sad. She exhaled again it reminded me of mama a little. She walked to the door. I ran past her with the door hitting me in the arm I ran into the arms of the kind lady and cried.
“Please pease take us I promise I’ll be good. Please don’t let them hurt me again.”
“Honey. My God! I promise I will do everything in my power to get you to stay with us. I will make sure no one hurts you again. You’re too beautiful. You and jase are too beautiful.” She whispered as tears ran down her cheeks.
I nestled my head against her chest. I felt safe. Mama couldn’t hurt me here. Those men wouldn’t come in my room here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Your greatest asset is your creativity!

Jungle Vision by Ken Meyer Jr

Each year when I teach Creative Writing Courses at the School of New Learning at DePaul University, I discover unique writers who have never written stories before or taken writing seriously.
With extreme honesty, integrity and excellent portrayal of truth, they show us who we are as human being, as they write naturally with enormous enthusiasm and sensitivity.
After reading their stories, I’m stunned for days!

Here you'll read stories by Shameka Chambers and Nicole Adam


By Sahmeka Chambers

Born to an alcoholic daddy and prostitute mama, I learned early on to depend on myself. Disappointment was a regular occurrence in our household, and my daddy even had a saying, “Girl, if you don’t expect shit, you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get shit.” After about the age of 6, I didn’t expect anything for holidays or birthdays, and he was right; I wasn’t disappointed.

Daddy was a jack of all trades and a master of none. He and Mama had a very strained relationship in that he was unemployed and hated her line of business. They argued constantly and although Mama loved him deeply, Daddy resented her zest for life. Daddy was very content with his drinking and lifestyle and thought Mama was foolish for wanting more. Daddy was pleased with liquor and had no desire to please anyone else.

Mama, on the other hand, was constantly trying to please both daddy and I. She turned tricks to make sure we had what we need to survive. Granted, we didn’t have a lot, but she made the best of what we had. Mama was an only child like me and used to say, “I have been caged all my life in these projects, but one day, me and you will be free.”

Our neighborhood was considered impoverished, but since I had yet to travel beyond the walls of the ghetto, I didn’t know what I was missing. Accustomed to life in the projects, the concrete walls of the buildings, linoleum clad floors, and poorly insulated windows were all that I knew. This was home and its familiarity outweighed the stench of urine in the walk ways, the roaches that possessed each residence, and even the occasional mouse that ate whatever leftovers were dropped.

At 14 years old, I felt as if everything I knew was being taken from me. “Baby, we’re moving. My section 8 voucher finally came through and its time for you to see something other than these damn projects,” mama said. “What?” I asked. “What do you mean we’re moving? I don’t know anyone outside of these projects.” Ignoring me, my mama said, “You should start packing your room. We’re moving on the first.” Falling face forward on my mattress, I cried. I cried until the midnight fight began right on schedule.

“So you think you’re living high on the horse now, huh?” yelled my daddy. “You expect me to just up and move because you’re tired of the projects? Well let me let you in on something; you ain’t nothing but a whore and you won’t be accepted anywhere but these damn projects. You can go if you want to, but don’t expect me to go, and don’t expect to leave your child here. Never knew if she was mine no damn way...”

“Thomas, don’t you run out on me! Thomas!” Mama yelled. After hearing the door slam, I crept out of my room to find mama sitting on the floor with her head in her hands. She shook with each sob she let out. “Mama, are you ok?” I asked, only for my words to fall on dead ears. Unable to do anything else, I sat next to her and allowed her to sob in peace. I joined her eventually; our tears united giving us the strength to move on.

I expected daddy to come back after the liquor wore off, but to my surprise, he didn’t. I overheard mama on the phone with Ms. Jackie from down the street a couple days later, and found out that he was staying with his brother until we left. After cussing and crying through that conversation, mama never mentioned him again. Neither did I because it wasn’t like I missed him. Hell, he said it best, “Never knew if she was mine no damn way,” with that, I’d like to believe I’m not.

Moving day came and mama’s friends all came to help us load the U-Haul. We got our minimal belongings loaded in less than 2 hours so mama asked me if I wanted to go outside and say goodbye to any of my friends. Shaking my head I replied, “Nope. Don’t want to even remember anyone that daddy knows.” Grabbing my hand, me and mama walked to the U-Haul and hopped in. Life was beginning anew and I was finally ready.

Nodding off, I napped as mama drove the U-Haul. When I awoke we were approaching a very nice town home in a cul-de-sac. The grass was green, the trees were tall and healthy, and the birds’ happily chirped while perched on tree branches. There were no liquor bottles randomly placed near the curbs and no gym shoes thrown over the utility wires. Picture book perfect, I didn’t know what to think. Startled, I sat up and asked, “Mama, are we lost?” She smiled broadly and said, “No baby, this is your new home.” My stomach began to feel like butterflies were fluttering as warmth moved from the soles of my feet up to my head. It began as a chuckle, then a giggle, and finally a full blown laugh! I was excited for the first time in my life, and so was mama. She joined me in laughter just as I had joined her in tears so many times before.

Moving in didn’t take long, for we didn’t have many belongings. Once settled in, I went outside to survey the area. I was greeted by several girls around my age. Apprehensive, I didn’t say much to them at first. I was taught at an early age to trust no one but yourself, and limit that ever so often. There was however, one girl that I found interesting. She didn’t approach me, and was lying on her blanket under a tree. She had several books surrounding her, and was intently reading. Seeing me look towards the mystery girl, one of the girls said, “You don’t want to talk to her. She is a section 8 resident and both her mother and father are on welfare.” Looking down at my worn clothes, I looked the girl squarely in the eye before walking down the street to greet the mystery girl. I knew that one day the truth about me would come out so I may as well make friends in my likeness now.

“Hi, I’m Kay,” I said to the girl. Slowly turning over to face, me she replied, “Hi. My name is Shawna. So, you must have been rejected by the middle class crew?”

“Actually,” I said, “I rejected them because we have nothing in common. So, what’s your story? Where are you from...” This began a fast friendship. Shawna and I hung out everyday and when we weren’t together, we were on the phone. The summer was great! We explored the neighborhood and met plenty of boys. With our street savvy and ghetto lingo, the middle class boys were infatuated with us and we knew it. By mid-summer, the middle class crew was trying to hang with us but we weren’t having it. We were a force to be reckoned with and dared anyone to try.

At around the end of July, Shawna and I saw him. Johnny was about 5’11, 175 pounds, with a caramel complexion, wavy black hair, and flour white teeth housed behind supple bow shaped lips. He had a walk that boasted self confidence and a presence that demanded attention. Taken aback, Shawna and I watched him with the girls. Anything he asked of them, the middle class crew would give. They lived for the opportunity to please Johnny. He was the proverbial GOD in our neighborhood.

“Do you see how they flock to him,” I said making a face as if something smelled foul. “Ain’t nothing new about that,” said Shawna, “They act like he can walk on water.” Laughing hysterically, Shawna and I vowed then and there never to be as stupid as those girls. Seconds later, all eyes were focused on us due to our laughing. “What’s up?” Johnny said has he approached Shawna and me. “Nothing, what’s up with you?” I said, appearing to be completely unfazed. He stared intently into my eyes, searching for an ounce of admiration. When he found none, he turned and walked away. Shawna and I laughed loudly once again. We had denied him what he thought was his birth right; the ability to have any woman he wanted.

Used to the “Johns” my mother brought home, I blocked out any noises that randomly occurred during the night. This night was different. Lying in my bed, I heard, “Little boy, I don’t want your money. Go on away from here and get you a little girlfriend,” mama said. Tuning in, I waited for a response. Low and behold, it was Johnny’s voice that I heard next. “Come on, I need some. I won’t tell anyone...” he pleaded. The back and forth pleading and denying continued relentlessly, stopping abruptly. Then the headboard began to hit the wall.

From that point forward, Johnny wore a smirk when he saw me and Shawna. Shawna would just smile at him and continue to converse with me. I, on the other hand, began to hate Johnny. He knew that I was aware of his sexual encounter with my mother and would say things to ensure I knew. “You can call me daddy,” or “Don’t you look pretty, stepdaughter,” were a few of the things he would say when he would see me alone. He made me feel like we had a dirty little secret.

After several encounters with Johnny, I began feeling a fire build in my stomach. A smoldering hotness that threatened to erupt in a barrage of words that would tarnish his image. The problem was that verbally assaulting him would tarnish not only his image, but my image and my mother’s image as well. So I allowed the resentment to build quietly against both Johnny and my mother. I pretended that Johnny did not exist, and distanced myself from my mother as well.

The rest of the summer passed without incident and school began in September. Shawna and I were excited to begin. We wore our brand new outfits and were happy to have some of the same classes. School days were uneventful up until the second week. It was Tuesday during 7th period. “Kay Johnson, please report to the principal’s office,” blared over the loud speaker. Looking at my teacher, I grabbed my belongings and walked to the office. When I arrived, I was asked to take a seat. “Kay, there is a serious matter I need to discuss with you. It appears as if John Jacobson has made allegations of your mother sexually abusing him. He has tested positive for HIV and has spoken to me about filing charges against your mother. Do you know of anything pertaining to the relationship between John and your mother?” asked the principal.

Flashing back to that night over the summer, I began to cry. Never answering the question, I grabbed my belongings and ran out of the office bumping into Shawna as she came out of the vice principal’s office. Reaching out to hug her, she deflected my hug. She looked me right in the eye and said, “Your mom just killed me.” Stunned, I stood with my mouth gaping until she was no longer in sight. Now, I understood her secret smiles to Johnny.

As my heart began to palpitate, all I could think about was getting home. I dropped my backpack and I ran. I ran beyond the breathlessness, until I reached my doorstep. Huffing and crying, I fumbled to get the key in the lock. “Mama!” I yelled as I entered the house. “Mama, where are you?” Running upstairs I hesitated when I got to her door.
Knocking lightly, I flung the door ajar when I didn’t get an answer. Seeing my mother’s lifeless body spread across her bed next to an empty pill bottle should have saddened me.
Seeing Johnny sitting on the bed with his head down should have infuriated me. Instead,
sighing loudly, I turned, closing the door behind me. She was finally free.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Readings in New York City

Each spring in New York City, Left Forum gathers intellectuals, activists and artists from around the world to address the burning issues of our times. The theme for 2009 was Turning Points.
This year Joel Simpson, critic, photographer and curator arranged a program Women’s Voice from Iran where Christiane Bird, author of Neither East Nor West, and I had readings. I read My play "My Name is Inanna".
Joel and I also had a reading of "Seven Jewish Children" by caryl churchill , the prominent English Playwright.

Obama's Speech in Cairo

Will it work? Can the stored memories of painful decades be rebooted? More...
Is it a new beginning?
How did people react from Gaza to Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Che Faro Sanza Euridice?

What will I do without Euridice?

It began with Orpheus, the musician who played lyre!
Listen to Shirley Verrett's enchanting voice as Orfeo.
(Shirley Verrett was born into an African-American family in New Orleans, Louisiana.)
Orpheus, enchanted all who heard his songs, he himself was enchanted by the love of the nymph Euridice.
Euridice is bitten by a serpent. The poison of the sting kills her and she immediately dies.
Orpheus in search of her beloved, travels to underworld. He is allowed to bring back his wife from Hades as long as he does not look upon her face until they are back on earth. Urged by Euridice, he turns around and looks at her and she...more
(translation from Italian)
What will I do without Euridice?
Where will I go without my beloved?
Euridice, oh God, answer me!
Yet I still belong to you faithfully.

Dear Shirley Verrett,
Today I found you after 14 years! Your magic voice has inspired me to write several short stories. Thank you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Power of Imagination!

Watch Lakme!...Enjoy the power of art, the power of opera imaginaire!
LAKME composed by Léo DELIBES