SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Jul 28

Open Letter to President Obama

By Jose Angel N., El Beisman | Op-Ed

Dear President Obama,

I know you will probably never read this letter. But, as a good Mexican, I’ve been taught to expect disappointment in advance, so there is no harm in trying. 

My name is José Ángel N., and I am an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. I have lived in Chicago most of my life, and the night you were elected U.S. President I watched with my face pressed against a chain-link fence as you delivered an impassioned speech at Grant Park.

After a decade of grassroots advocacy, my personal belief is that the greatest obstacle to positive change in the world isn’t corporations, the government, or the 1%, but lack of movement solidarity.

And no, I’m not pretending to be some modern day Moses bringing the divine truths down from the mountain. I’m just someone who has participated in the entire spectrum of the environmental movement — from mainstream to “radical,” on both coasts — who has witnessed a lot of unnecessary failures over the years, in large part because people can’t figure out how to work together.

Two days after the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to investigate violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of Israel's "Operation Protective Edge," people lined Main Street in Carbondale, Ill., to show solidarity with Gaza and condemn the Israeli assault.

When the Human Rights Council convened an emergency meeting on July 23 and adopted the resolution for an inquiry into potential human rights law violations, the United States was the only nation to cast a negative vote against it. 

Jul 28

Demand An End to Executions and Secrecy

By Alessandra Soler, ACLU of Arizona | Press Release

Yesterday it took the state of Arizona nearly two hours to execute Joseph Wood with an experimental lethal injection from an unknown source. According to his attorneys, Mr. Wood was “gasping and snorting for more than an hour.”

Jul 28

Have You Ever Been Hungry?

By Jen Chapin, Food Tank News | Op-Ed
He was intense, surly, a bit unwashed. My interactions with him earlier in the evening had not been overly friendly, but now the show was over and he was looking at me intently - “Can I talk to you?” It was more a command than a request.
I was beyond tired, having driven from Baltimore after our gig there through the wee hours of the morning here to Syracuse, slept for a few hours in our hotel, done two morning radio shows, and dealt with a challenging soundcheck and concert partly overseen by this ragged young man, who was assisting an equally brusque sound technician who may or may not have been his dad. But of course I agreed, and after a bit more packing up of instruments and equipment, we met on the chilly sidewalk outside of the theater as my bandmates waited in the van.

The state of Arizona today took one hour and 57 minutes to kill a prisoner in a botched execution, which was carried out using the same combination of drugs as those used in the botched execution of an Ohio prisoner earlier this year.

Joseph Wood, 55, was eventually pronounced dead at 3.49pm local time after he had been seen 'gasping and snorting' over an hour into his execution, according to an emergency stay filed mid-execution by his lawyers as they saw what was happening.

Humanity is at a crossroads, faced with dual threats. One is the growing climate crisis and the other is the ever-present, albeit submerged threat of nuclear annihilation that has been part of daily reality since 1945. Each threatens all life on Planet Earth.

From melting ice, rising and acidifying oceans, permafrost thawing, increasingly severe weather (floods, heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires), signs of anthropocentric climate change are unmistakable and will cause dire problems of famine and dislocation in coming years.

Jul 26

Goons Guns and Georgia

By Jim and Jean Anton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

July 1, 2014. I planned an early morning hike in the woods with the grandkids. That same morning, I read about Georgia's Guns-Everywhere law that allows anyone in Georgia to carry a gun into a church, bar, school, or library, but not into the Statehouse where the politicians who wrote the legislation do their "work."

I wondered why Guns Everywhere didn't include the Georgia Statehouse since the legislation (parading as the Safe Carry Protections Act) was enacted allegedly to increase safety.

Jul 26

A Tale of Strategic Talbanization

By Zulfiqar Shah, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The recent military campaign "Zarb-e-Azb" by Pakistan Army in Afghanistan bordering tribal areas against Taliban, Al-Qaida and their Pakistani, Central Asian and Arab fugitive recruits continues to occupy news and analysis. Like previous ones, this recent military campaign was of no significant result, thus compelling the United States to drone strategically important "Punjabi Talban Headquarters" on July 19. Due to the changing complexion of religiosity and terrorism in Pakistan, a review of the military move is needed in the perspective of Talibanization in Southern Pakistan.

There are some commonalities in the recent and the previous military campaigns launched in the Pashtun tribal areas. The campaign, like previous ones, has been selective, in which certain terrorists were targeted, meanwhile the rest were given space to flee into adjacent tribal, semi-tribal and provincial areas of Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, Sindh and Balochistan provinces. A larger part of the terrorists were Punjabi Taliban, hence was deliberately excluded from the campaign through political tactics of negotiations. The campaign also caused a massive human displacement and, like in the past, it was used as a safe passage for establishment's 'blue eyed boys'.

The Win Without War coalition released the following statement by Advocacy Director, Stephen Miles, in response to House passage of H. Con. Res. 105. Introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), H. Con. Res. 105 is a strong, clear statement of congressional opposition to US military intervention in Iraq.

"Today the House of Representatives made clear that they stand with the American public, who do not want to go back to war in Iraq. By passing H. Con. Res 105 overwhelmingly, the House also sent a strong message to President Obama that there is no authorization for any escalation of US military involvement in Iraq."