(Howard Zinn, noted historian and writer of A People’s History of the United States, was a military veteran who became a leading anti-war activist against the US wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He died January 27, 2010, at the age of 87. He wrote about Memorial Day in the following essay).
Howard Zinn was arrested in the late 60s at a protest of the Vietnam War
by Howard Zinn
Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.
In 1974, I was invited by Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe, who had been bold enough in 1971 to print part of the top secret Pentagon Papers on the history of the Vietnam War, to write a bi-weekly column for the op-ed page of the newspaper. I did that for about a year and a half. The column below appeared June 2, 1976, in connection with that year’s Memorial Day. After it appeared, my column was canceled.
[Howard's words still ring true some 35 years later. How long before we learn and act? -- Ed.]
Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.
It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause. It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.
There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?
No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again. Continue reading
I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.
But I’m even more outraged that once again, Israel’s actions have been aided and abetted by a U.S. political class that has become corrupted beyond belief due to its reliance on Zionist finance and penetration by Zionist zealots for whom no U.S. weapons system is too much for the Israeli war machine, and the silence of the world’s onlookers whose hearts have grown cold with indifference.
I recently visited the offices of IHH, the Turkish humanitarian organization that sponsored one of the Freedom Flotilla boats, and that was targeted by the Israelis for its murderous rampage. Reports are still coming in as to the full extent of the senseless Israeli violence. Of course, I expect Israel’s apologists in the press and in the United States government to shift into high gear to support Israel’s lying machine. Take note of their names. The 12,000 internet squatters/written word grenade throwers, hired by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to defend Israel and attack peace activists online, are already busy spreading their orchestrated disinformation in cyberspace. Be very careful what you read and believe from special interest press and the internet. You could be reading one of Israel’s hired hacks. As a news diversion from what Israel has just done, I suspect that we can also expect to see a lot of historical footage of war’s atrocities on television: today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day long ago set aside to remember the sacrifices of U.S. war dead. Continue reading
A stormy rally is being held at the moment at the Israeli Consulate in Ankara where Turkish people gathered to protest against Israel’s attack on ships carrying aid to Gaza, local media reported.
The six-ship convoy carrying aid for Palestinians and led by a Turkish vessel with at least 500 people on board set sail for Gaza from international waters off Cyprus on Sunday in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade of the territory. The flotilla was expected to arrive near Gaza at about 9 am Monday, according to officials.
Israeli forces on Monday attacked the ships, killing up to 16 and wounding more than 60 others. It is reported that IDF’s forces are waiting for arrival of the captured foreign ships at Ashdod port.
SEE the initial on-board report of the attack by al Jazeera HERE: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/05/31/aftermath-israels-attack-gaza-flotilla
READ down for the initial Telegraph (UK) report from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7789117/At-least-16-dead-as-Israeli-troops-storm-Gaza-aid-flotilla.html
Activists aboard an aid convoy bound for Gaza, May 30, 2010
Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as as 16 of those on board.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
Published: 7:21AM BST 31 May 2010
Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.
A spokesman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told that ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at “unarmed civilians”. But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.
“How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?” Ms Berlin said. “Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?
“We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us.” Continue reading
(In view of the train accident that took the lives of more than a hundred passengers and left many more injured who had been travelling by Gnaneswari Express, the railways have been contemplating postponing train services along that route at night and re-scheduling its timings accordingly. In response, the CPI(Maoist) has issued a statement on 29 May 2010 that came out in a Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika published from Kolkata. It was published on 30 May 30, 2010 under the caption ‘The Maoists ask the railways to ply trains without fear.’-ed)
Second Statement from CPI(Maoist) on the Train Accident
“We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it.”
CPI (Maoist) tells the Indian rail authorities to ply their trains
Let the railway authorities ply their trains on schedule. There is nothing to fear. On Saturday, on behalf of the State Committee of the CPI (Maoist), Aakash issued this statement to the press. “We were not involved in the sabotage in the railway line. Still we are being falsely implicated in it. There is no need to stop railway service on the plea of Maoist sabotage. Let the rail authorities ply their trains. Nothing (no harm) will be done from our side”.
The Maoists stated: We gave a call for organizing a ‘Black Period’ from 23 May to 2 June; it was not directed against the railways. Besides price rise and operation by the security forces, it was also directed against the central government policy of selling out shares of public sector undertakings, taking US assistance for the defence sector and the creation of special economic zones. Our aim was to make propaganda and create awareness on these issues among the people. Wearing black badges, organizing processions comprise part of our programme, but there was nothing against the railways. The Maoists claimed: “Whenever there is any programme against the railways or a call for stopping railway services, there is a formal notification much before that date”. Continue reading