Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 3, 2009 - Downtown Los Angeles

This event was very intense. Speakers included:

  • Rossana Cambron, a member of the San Gabriel Chapter of Military Families Speak Out, whose son is an active US service member completing a tour in Iraq

  • Cole Miller is the Founding Director of No More Victims and co-creator and producer of an award-winning co-environmentally focused radio series, Isla Earth. He travels frequently to the Middle East, and manages the day-to-day operations of NMV

  • Suhaila Nasir, co-founder of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund who lived through al Nakba, the partition of Palestine, the 1948 Palestine War and the beginning of the Palestinian refugee problem

  • Patty Domay, a local citizen activist who works to oppose military recruiters in her neighborhood

  • MC: Eisha Mason, Host of KPFK's Morning Review, Assoc. Regional Director, AFSC-Pacific SW Region

  • POETRY: Vivien Sansour, a native of Palestine, poems will include: "Live From Gaza" and "A letter from an Israeli soldier to his mother."

Patty Domay spoke first about her conficts with military recruiters in the barrio in which she lives. These guys, she says, prey on the young, vulnerable, and idealistic youth already struggling for an identity in a culture that denigrates them. Patty is mother and friend to all the young people - and their families - in her neighborhood and fights for their lives as if they were her own children.

Rossana Cambron brought a reality to the event that shook many of us to the core: her beloved son was, that very day, deploying back to Iraq! This is his second tour of duty. His mother was eloquent in describing her anguish.

Suhaila Nasir, a Palestinian American, shared the history of her own mother who, in her search for a home after she was displaced from Beir Zeit, held 5 different passports in various stages of her life. I was elated to find that Sunhila is related to Violet, whose story is shared in my book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror, I visited Violet and her husband's home in Beirut and she shared the story of her displacement from Beir Zeit.

Vivien Sansour, also Palestinian American, shared her poetry. I"m not going to describe it here other than to say this poetry is a "must hear." I'll share it on Raising Sand Radio next week so be sure to listen in.

Cole Miller talked about the genesis of No More Victims, a project that brings seriously wounded Iraqi children to the US for reconstructive surgery.

Meanwhile, see pix at the blog photo gallery.

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