Curtain Raiser

Miseries as Vast as the Sky, Colltalers

‘The Summer of Rage’ got its official kickoff over the weekend when thousands took the streets of 400 American cities for the right to legal abortion. In Ukraine, Russia may suffer its biggest diplomatic defeat yet if Finland and Sweden join NATO. And the Athens Declaration demands peace right now.
The murder of Al Jazeera Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces has gone much beyond the grim stats on reporters being targeted. After Canada, the U.S. now confronts its despicable past of subjugation and violence against Native Americans via schools of ‘reeducation.’
Let’s start in Buffalo, NY, where an 18-years-old allegedly white supremacist shot and killed 10 people and injured three in a “racially motivated” attack, according to the police. He’d published a 180-page manifesto highly influenced by Fox News conspiracy lies such as a supposed “great replacement” and had already threatened his school. Once again, signs of mental illness and racial hatred were unaddressed with dire consequences.
As it turns out, the Center for Diseases Control and Preventions had just published a study on the rates of gun-related homicides in the U.S. which have soared 35% from 2019 to 2020, peak years for the Covid pandemic. Some are bracing for summer, traditionally the most violent season of the year. People buy guns for protection but research has shown that simply having one at home increases three times the risk of homicide and five, of suicide.
In France, just as summer gets going, 15 ‘administrative départements’ have had to restrict water use while farmers warn the drought will impact crop yields. “Lack of rain is directly caused by climate change,” said hydrologist Emma Haziza. The same heatwave that afflicted Spain and Portugal in the past weeks is causing concerns among scientists because of how early it has started, how long it is lasting, and how widespread it is geographically.
In Brussels, the European Union plans a ‘phased embargo’ of Russian oil imports even though Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia won’t have to until 2024. The E.U., pressured by Ukraine for support for its NATO admission, has struggled to line up the nations of the bloc with its war strategy.
In Iceland, Russian dissident group Pussy Riot frontwoman Maria Alyokhina has arrived following a peripatetic escape. In 2012, she and her ski-masked bandmates went viral scream-singing “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, drive Putin away!” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
In Nevada, volunteers removed 25.000 pounds of litter from Lake Tahoe in a partial cleanup of the 1.600-foot-deep body of water, the largest in North America after the Great Lakes, Plastic bottles, cordless phones, Nikon cameras, entire lampposts, and at least one “No Littering” sign were rescued from the once clear blue now ever cloudier water. It may have other secrets to reveal the word, including that set of keys you’ve lost in the 1990s.
Gas and oil companies made nearly $100 billion in profits in the first quarter, and most wonder how are we supposed to save the planet when the firms wrecking it are so obscenely rich. Shell, Chevron, Exxon, and others have made in a quarter what wealthy nations have promised to give yearly to poor nations but failed to deliver. The Biden administration’s $55 billion a year bill to fight climate was outvoted by Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin.
Hundreds of thousands took streets and cities of America Saturday to protest against efforts by the Supreme Court and the minority far-right to deny women their reproductive rights. After a leak revealed that the highest court plans to ban abortions, a wave of angry activism erupted from coast to coast, supported by the majority of Americans. “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” said Rachel Carmona, director of the Women’s March.
When Finland officializes its request for entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, possibly to be followed by Sweden, two things are sure to happen regardless of their order: Europe will return to its state of permanent strife that it’s previously held for centuries, and Putin will have officially lost this war. Peace will be all but unattainable with a stronger NATO, and that’s the very reason invoked by Russia to justify its invasion of Ukraine.
“We demand an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian forces, and a comprehensive Peace Treaty guaranteed by the European Union, the U.S., and Russia in the context of the United Nations.” The Athens Declaration, signed on by a group of progressive leaders, was issued Friday to offer an alternate view of the future, one not dominated by the threat of permanent war, political tensions among superpowers, and a nuclear hecatomb.
No one will say that the killing of well-known Palestinian journalist Akleh by a still anonymous Israeli soldier has crossed a line. Israel has done that ages ago and the world didn’t even take notice. It’s acted since as a brutal occupying force with impunity and without condemnation from the U.S., its main supporter. But it may have reached a moral point of no return with this crime. The attack of mourners at the funeral only added outrage to injury.
It’s unlike that any charge or change will follow the official inquiry into the murder, though. The world’s obliviousness and war provide enough cover to hide the actions of a government that’s proved once and again that it does not consider Palestinians capable of controlling their own land and destiny.
Interior Secretary and Laguna Pueblo member Dab Haaland has introduced a report on the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves in 400 boarding schools for forced ‘reeducation’ of Indigenous children. It follows the Canadian government’s measures to identify and acknowledge those children.
The discovery of the graves has triggered a welcome if unpleasant conversation about the ruthless way America and Canada have treated its natives. “The family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as four years old are heartbreaking,” Haaland said. The 106-page report calls for an investigation of boarding schools’ lasting impact on Indigenous Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
For a week starting tomorrow, ‘Amnesia Atómica,’ a public event in New York’s Times Square, will call attention to the threat of nuclear annihilation, highlighted lately by the conflict in nuclear plants-ridden Ukraine and Russia. Pedro Reyes’ inflatable sculpture ‘Zero Nukes’ will mark the spot that’ll feature the work of activists, artists, scientists, and organizations involved in non-proliferation and disarmament, two terms risking irrelevance today.
“I resolved to seek out the root of evil, to do something to change the destiny of mothers whose miseries were as vast as the sky.” That’s how birth control (a term she created) activist Margaret Sanger wrote in her 1938 autobiography about becoming an advocate for women’s reproductive rights.
“Women’s consciousness of their reproductive rights was born within the organized movement for women’s political equality,” wrote scholar Angela Davis. “In this sense, the slogan ‘voluntary motherhood’ contained a new and genuinely progressive view of womanhood.” Birth control – individual choice, safe contraceptive methods, as well as abortions when needed – is “a fundamental prerequisite for the emancipation of women.” Keep it legal. WC


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