If we want Policy instead of Speeches
Vers La Verité Speech in Paris
President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize was not the only news yesterday. And in my opinion, it’s not even the biggest news. It’s not even the saddest news. But it does provide us with some critical information as we move forward. The three-part question for us, tonight however, is “What are we moving forward TO; is that the place we want to go; and if not, what do we do about it?
In other words, “What is our vision for the future and how do we define success?”
I have been and am still in deep pain over the institutional homicide of my aunt and in my grief, I’ve considered giving up.
But then, I wiped the tears from my eyes long enough to remember communities of people that I’ve been blessed enough to get to know, from Toronto, Canada to Cape Town, South Africa; from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Valdosta, Georgia, there are people struggling through their own pain, their own deep personal disappointments to reach a better place—not just for themselves, but for the global community of man. And I know deep in my own heart, as broken as it is, that I cannot give up. My brain tells me that the struggle for truth, justice, peace, and dignity is too important to lose because of heartbreak.
The one thing that probably best defines everyone in this room are our search for and activities on behalf of principles that are bigger than ourselves. We want our governments to tell us the truth; we want them to deliver justice; we want our global community to live in peace; and we want respect for the dignity of all humankind.
So if these are the ingredients of our vision, what tools do we need to produce the desired result?
Well, first of all, the desired result has to have definition.
I mentioned in one of my messages to a dear friend in response to the Nobel award to President Barack Obama that we needed to keep our eyes on the prize and then I erased it because I don’t think we’ve sufficiently defined what the prize is.
So there must be a small, cohesive, international group of rock-solid people feverishly working to redefine for all who want to be active, and a part of our vision, just what the prize is. And this “prize,” our vision, must be repeated and explained often so people can differentiate our vision, from their reality.
Here is where language becomes important. If we want policy instead of speeches, then this must be repeated early and often because what I’m alarmed by is that in the absence of us providing real definition, and there are reasons for that, people are beginning to think that a speech IS policy.
But, as I said earlier, there was a lot of news yesterday. Some of it even more important than the Nobel Peace Prize Award, but the award certainly overshadowed all other stories.
And I’m always searching for context. Because, as the U.S. military puts it, “perception management” is important. And we must understand the context of what happens and when it happens, in order to understand why.
I always say that we must see the invisible, hear the unspoken, and read the unwritten. That’s what some of the organizers of Vers La Verité were professionally trained to do, before they became whistleblowers, and now our leaders.
Now, what were some of those other interesting news items?
Well, at a Native American Lodge located next to Senator John McCain’s ranch, two people died and several others were hospitalized following a hazardous materials situation at the Sweat Lodge, which is like a spiritual retreat led by Native Americans. I’ve even been invited to participate in one upon my return to the U.S.
Now, I find this interesting and a story that should be followed up on and I will be doing that because I want to make sure there’s no bigger story hidden in an important cultural ritual of the Native Americans who are victims of a genocide in North America that continues to this day.
On the day that the Nobel Prize was announced, we also learned that the U.S. bunker buster bomb will be ready in a few more months.
This is the bomb that holds over 5,000 pounds of explosives and is designed to penetrate hardened facilities, including those underground. Some brilliant people in the U.S. even want to put nuclear tips on bunker buster bombs. However, in announcing the near deployment of the project that pays McDonnell Douglas to adapt the B-2 bomber so it can deliver the Boeing-made bomb to its intended target, the Pentagon press secretary said, “The reality is that the world we live in is one in which there are people who seek to build weapons of mass destruction and they seek to do so in a clandestine fashion.” The article noted that the Obama Administration had not ruled out military action against Iran.
Another story noted that hours after winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama met with his military advisors about troop levels in Afghanistan. The troop increase requested by the U.S. Commander ranged, it is reported, from 10,000 to 60,000—although the top number isn’t listed in that news report. One has to go to another news item to see the true top number. At any rate, it seems that the choices confronting U.S. and European leaders is whether to increase the current 68,000 U.S. boots on the ground in Afghanistan or to merely increase the number of drone attacks. Decreasing death and destruction and bringing our young men and women home is not on the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s agenda for discussion.
The last article of note is about a restaurant in west Georgia that is using the “N-word” on its marquee to describe President Obama. It reminds me of the Atlanta area restaurant that put on its marquee that I was Buckwheat with Boobs. Now, those of you who are from the U.S. will know what that means and the depth of insult that was intended. The article notes that I’ve made this restaurant’s marquee, too. Both restaurant owners claim to not be racists and to be protected by free speech.
My point in including this particular news item is that we still have so far to go just in terms of our human relations. It is imperative that we do what we can to spread our message and our vision and reach those who can be reached.
Which brings me to who can be reached.
Those with enough discernment to know that what is being pronounced from on high is not their reality. And rather than accept or discount the contradictions, we want them to join us and struggle for a better reality for everybody.
I am saddened beyond belief that on the day of the Peace Prize award, a struggling democracy in Honduras was besieged with U.S. supplied weapons and U.S.-trained paramilitaries and snipers in support of coup leaders over the democratically-elected people’s leaders. In fact, the latest dispatch from Honduras is that many of the snipers and paramilitaries—now descending on Honduras from all over Latin America—were trained in my home state of Georgia.
More and more people are experiencing cognitive dissonance and rightly so. Our leaders and respected organizations are lying to us! One friend and former Congressional Staffer of mine puts it this way: we need a democratic military instead of a militarized democracy.
The United States, with the help of its European and Asian allies maintains over 700 bases around the world. The number is increasing under President Obama.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that we must combat racism, poverty, and militarism. Our movement cannot struggle against militarism and fail to address racism. We must be comprehensive and to racism, militarism, and poverty, we must now add gaining control of a media that will allow us to communicate to a broader community and not just within our small spheres, and regaining control of education so that people are not so dumbed down that they actually believe that war is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance is strength, and lies are truth.
And if we are right, then others will join us. They will share with us their dreams and their passions and we will help to empower them.
Global resistance combined with local action, organization, vision, commitment, and resources will allow us to have significant victories in the future.
Vers La Verité understands that the foundation of all of this action, attainment of the prize, can only happen with truth as our foundation.
It’s already a brave new world, let’s get busy and make it ours!!!