I’m writing this blog on Thursday, December 10th 2015. It’s Peace As A Human Right Day. It took two peace gatherings in Cuba this November to remind me that without justice there is no peace. There are presently fifteen countries lobbing bombs and shooting missiles into Syria. Are we on the brink of WWIII or has it already started? Are we so “terrorized” that we can’t see the forest for the trees? Please join the conversation. We need everyone.


The Museum of the Revolution in Havana was one of our first stops (11/18/2015) before the Peace Conferences would dominate our stay in Cuba. I was impressed with the resistance of the Cuban People to many regimes from 1925 up to the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. The March of the Mothers in the 1930s was one example. Many family members had disappeared during the Machado regime (1925-1933). Machado was a young general during the Spanish American War (1898). He became very wealthy. Uncovered during the 1930s was systematic torture of community/labor/socialist/communist leaders, with dead bodies thrown to the sharks. It continued into the 1950s.

The Cubans venerate the leaders of their revolution as we do George Washington & others. That is understandable. I thought more emphasis on the almost 35 years of resistance leading up to the armed struggle and socialist revolution would help put events in a healthy perspective. Come to think of it, we need more backstory to properly understand our own revolutionary period from 1750s through the 1790s. I hope Hurry Down Gunntown on CT history is helping a bit in this regard. https://www.createspace.com/5385780

It was the Platt Amendment of 1903 that gave the U.S. Navy a base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, via a lease. Cubans see the base as an insult to their independence, an expression of the U.S. imperial project, and a torture center. The present Cuban government has never cashed the yearly checks for the lease.

The first meeting(s) in Guantanamo, Cuba were reports from World Peace Council (WPC) representatives. The Canadian delegate pointed out that Islamophobia is closely related to racism. It causes mistrust and suspicion. Returning to the USA and hearing Donald Trump spew out backward policies brought this to life quickly. It was like a new Cold War. The damage of the first Cold War has never been fully presented and that hurts in this new situation.

The continual airing of individual, violent acts on major media outlets have “terrorized” people, especially in the USA. Combined with the government continually using “bad” guy scenarios e.g. Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Gaddafi (Libya), and Assad now in Syria, it has demobilized and confused peace forces. Never ending invasions and warfare has to be stopped. The danger of two nuclear powers e.g. USA and Russia, colliding is real. The shooting down of the Russian plane on the Turkey/Syrian border highlights this danger.

The WPC Palestinian delegate pointed out that there were 8 million Palestinians living outside Palestine. He lives in Panama. Five hundred thirty one Palestinian towns have been destroyed. Understanding the Mid-East requires this constant reminder. It helped put the present migrations into perspective. Solutions have to include the two-state, Israel/Palestine creation and diplomatic, peaceful approaches to Syria, Afghanistan. Declaring nuclear free zones everywhere can help get a handle to many of these issues.

I was invited by the U.S. Peace Council and presented a paper at the Foreign Military Bases Conference (11/23-25/2015), also in Guantanamo, on the connections between climate change and threats to peace. I emphasized understanding that the hatred of the U.S. Military/NATO and explaining it to our people, especially in the USA, was our special responsibility. I used the following quote from Najla Said. She was in Lebanon when it was bombed by Israel in 2006.


You can spend your life being a humanist, a pacifist, a thoughtful person who does not even think about hating, or does not even know what it is to hate – that is to say, you can really and truly be a human being who is tolerant and open-minded and humane, judging people by how they behave toward you, and treating them the way you wish to be treated, but when you are being attacked, when bombs are falling around you, planes are hovering over your head, when your life is in danger and you are scared, it is easy to look up to the sky and feel abject, boiling hatred for the people doing this to you, and you curse them out.


The civilian casualties with these and similar bombings now are in the 90% range <http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/90-deaths-war-civilians.html>. Clearly stopping the military/bombing/missile/drone “solution” is imperative. It doesn’t work and is just creating more hatred. IT MUST END.

The connection between climate change, civil strife, and war are easily shown concerning Syria. The weakening of moisture-laden winds from the Mediterranean, and more evaporation due to elevated temperatures, were beyond natural climate variability. It was anthropogenic climate change that caused the extreme drought in Syria from 2006 to 2009. The resulting civil war, which is now an international conflict, has led to at least 200,000 deaths. The United Nations estimates that half the country’s 22 million people have been impacted with six million internally displaced.

I am old enough to remember the riveting speech by Martin Luther King, April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, when he connected ending the U.S. War in Vietnam and moving civil rights forward at home. American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr: A Time to Break …

Weapons tried and tested in the Middle East are now making their way back to our communities, particularly impacting communities of color. As the celebration of MLK Day approaches (Monday, January 18th), we need to help our people make the connections between climate change, our communities, and war.