Thursday, October 14, 2010

Senior Editor of The Nation, Richard Kim, on Anti-LGBT Activities in the U.S.

this somewhat rare solo photograph of Richard Kim was found here

I hate it when Queer/LGBTI rights issues are referred to as only "Gay rights issues". It's not only sexist, but in many cases it's invisibilising of everyone else who marches behind or holds up that colorful banner. I'll add that to the list of things that needs to change. Another problem: the G moving back in front of the L in many Queer spaces, in oh so many ways. With my complaining out of the way, I found Richard Kim's comments on the Tyler Clementi suicide particularly challenging--in a useful way--about the two students who broadcast his private moments with another man, precipitating his death and whether or not they were behaving in a homophobic manner intentionally. Regardless, the effect was surely anti-queer, that's for sure. But he does raise a good point about not lumping together all the perpetrators of what is, intentionally or not, anti-queer violence.

All that follows is from Democracy Now. Please click on the title to link back.

While Celebrating Halt to "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," Gay Rights Movement Confronts Teen Suicides, Homophobic Electioneering and Violent Attacks

The Nation's Richard Kim joins us to discuss some of the major issues facing the gay rights movement in America today, including Tuesday's decision by a federal judge to end the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy; the surge in gay teenagers committing suicide; the homophobic remarks of politicians ahead of the midterm elections; and the recent brutal beatings and torture of three New York men because of their sexual orientation. [includes rush transcript]

JUAN GONZALEZ: A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the United States military to immediately stop enforcing the seventeen-year-old "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California issued an injunction one month after she ruled that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is unconstitutional. Tuesday’s ruling bans enforcement of the law and orders the military to immediately suspend any investigations or discharge proceedings.
The decision is likely to be appealed by the Department of Justice, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the injunction is under review and reiterated that President Obama will, quote, "continue to work as hard as he can to change the law that he believes is fundamentally unfair."
AMY GOODMAN: Many gay rights groups have welcomed the ruling, but the decision comes at a grim time for gay rights advocates. Ten men have been arraigned, two of them just last night, on hate crimes charges here in New York after they allegedly brutally beat and tortured three men because of their sexual orientation.
September and October have also witnessed a rash of suicides by gay teenagers across the country. In the past five weeks, at least seven gay and lesbian teenagers have committed suicide, in many cases following incidents of bullying or public humiliation by classmates.
For more on all of these stories, we’re joined here in New York by Richard Kim, senior editor at The Nation magazine. His latest blog post is called "Against 'Bullying' or On Loving Queer Kids."
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Richard.
RICHARD KIM: Thank you, Amy. Thank you, Juan.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let us begin with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Explain the significance of yesterday’s ruling.
RICHARD KIM: So, you know, the Log Cabin Republicans were the people who brought forward this case, and they’re actually urging people in the military to not come out yet, because there might be an appeal. But what you saw here is really the party of no; the Republican Party is really the party of homophobia. When Obama came to office, he campaigned, in part, on getting rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He put in place a review in the military, legislation in the last defense appropriations bill that would have gotten rid of it. Senator John McCain filibustered it. And not one—not one—Republican member of the Senate moved over to the Democratic side to break the filibuster.
So, what you’re seeing here is really the courts being the avenue of last recourse. And the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, wanting to do this legislatively, they were stopped by the filibuster. And the courts consistently, whether it’s on issues of marriage or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or employment, have been really the avenue of last recourse, because there’s been no legislative progress on this.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But now the administration is in the difficult position now of having to decide whether to appeal a ruling that it—in essence, a law that it has said it opposes.
RICHARD KIM: Right, and that’s the same situation that it faces in the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama has said that he doesn’t agree with that legislation. That’s being challenged by the state of Massachusetts and a bunch of gay rights groups. So, you know, it’s in this position where, is it going to defend these just on federal prerogative? Is it just going to assert, you know, it’s the federal government, it has the right to determine law? Or is it going to do what is right?
And this is really important, moving into the next Congress, because any chance we had of reversing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or DOMA legislatively is going to go from, you know, small to zero. And so, the courts really are the only avenue here. And the Justice Department, the Obama administration can take a different position and say, "We are not going to appeal these decisions. We agree with them." They’ve already said they agree with them. And they should do the right thing at this moment and really, you know, let justice take its course.
AMY GOODMAN: As of yesterday, does this mean that no one can be kicked out of the military?
RICHARD KIM: At the moment, there’s an injunction, and no one can be kicked out of the military. There will be an appeal of that injunction, and it’s unclear what happens with that process.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to this horrific torture session that happened over the weekend, this terrible attack on three young men. Can you describe what happened in the Bronx?
RICHARD KIM: So, there were two seventeen-year-olds and one thirty-year-old, and they, in varying times, were picked up by this gang of youths, tortured and sodomized, forced to drink, really brutalized over the course of many, many hours.
AMY GOODMAN: And forced to torture each other.
RICHARD KIM: Forced to torture each other, burn each other with cigarettes. Really, really horrific crime. The police made a first set of arrests over the weekend. And that was when Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor, chose to make his remarks basically saying that gay and lesbians are inferior people. So—
AMY GOODMAN: Wait, actually, let’s go right to his remarks.
RICHARD KIM: Yes, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t going to do this quite yet, but the Republican gubernatorial candidate here in New York told a group of Hasidic Jewish leaders on Sunday that children should not be "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.
CARL PALADINO: I didn’t march in a gay parade this year—the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did. And that’s not the example that we should be showing our children, and certainly not in our schools. And don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie. My approach is live and let live. I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn’t.
JUAN GONZALEZ: That was Carl Paladino speaking to a group of Hasidic leaders on—over the weekend. This is him on Monday appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America defending his comments.
CARL PALADINO: I’m not a homophobic. I have no reservations whatsoever about gays. The only—except for marriage. And Andrew Cuomo said he took his children to a gay pride parade. I was at one in Toronto. One time we stumbled on it, my wife and I. It wasn’t pretty. It was a bunch of very extreme-type people in bikini-type outfits grinding at each other and doing these gyrations. And I certainly wouldn’t let my young children see that.
AMY GOODMAN: This is very interesting, the Buffalo billionaire businessman attacking gay men and lesbians, because, Juan, in your newspaper, the New York Daily News, the piece reads, "Carl Paladino says kids shouldn’t be 'brainwashed' into thinking it’s okay to be gay or be taken to a 'disgusting' gay pride parade.
"But he had no problem when his son, William, ran Cobalt, a nightclub once dubbed Buffalo’s 'gay club of the moment.'
"And he had no problem cashing [in] the rent checks from Cobalt and another gay club called Buddies II, both of which were located for years in buildings [that] he owned."
Richard Kim?
RICHARD KIM: So, you know, this just reveals the utter hypocrisy of Carl Paladino. Gays are really OK when they’re contributing to his coffers and making a lot of money for him. When it’s time to court the Hasidic vote, he panders to really the worst kind of homophobia. The comments he made don’t necessarily have a policy implication, but it’s much broader than that: it engages in the systematic dehumanization of gay and lesbian people. And that’s absolutely related to the attacks that happened in the Bronx and to the incidents of anti-gay bullying that we’re seeing across the country. You know, I think he’s really revealed himself, in addition to the racist emails he sent, as quite a crude, hateful politician.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, in addition, he also blasted his Democratic rival, Andrew Cuomo, for taking his daughters to a gay pride parade, saying, "Would you take your children to a gay pride parade?"
RICHARD KIM: You know, there are tons of children at the gay pride parade in New York. You see politicians marching in it all the time. And, you know, Carl Paladino has apologized, in part, for his remarks, and I would hope he comes to the next year’s gay pride parade, in whatever capacity, hopefully as a private citizen, and, you know, sees what it’s really about.
AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead, Juan.
JUAN GONZALEZ: You’ve written in The Nation about—we talked about this rash of teen suicides as a result of bullying by classmates, and you’ve talked in a Nation piece about your own experiences in terms of bullying and how—the impact on gay teenagers across the country of this epidemic, really, that rarely gets much attention.
RICHARD KIM: Right. So, we now—latest numbers say that as many as thirteen gay and lesbian or trans teens have killed themselves since September. And the scary part is, this may not even be an uptick. This may actually be the norm, and we just don’t have very good tracking on this. You know, that includes Aiyisha Hassan, a lesbian who killed herself, a Howard student; Zach Harrington, who was just nineteen, who killed himself after he attended a town hall meeting in Norman, Oklahoma, where people were debating whether there should be a gay and lesbian history month, and people used the word "perversion," "sick," "deranged" at that meeting, and he took his life shortly thereafter. So, what you are really seeing here is the human consequences of politics and ideology that dehumanizes gays and lesbians.
And, you know, you could also draw a really straight line from all this stuff to the Bush administration’s abstinence-only education policy, which puts into schools curriculum that either doesn’t mention the fact that gay and lesbians exist at all or, when it does, compares it, homosexuality, to bestiality or incest. This is millions and millions of dollars over the last nine, ten years going into this kind of curriculum. So this is what people are actually taught in schools. Is it really any surprise then that there should be a rash of bullying and suicides as a result of this?
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what happened in Rutgers, also right nearby in New Jersey.
RICHARD KIM: So, there was a student there, Tyler Clementi. He was just eighteen, a violinist. It was the beginning of his freshman year. He had had a sexual encounter with a man, which was broadcast by his roommate, without his knowledge, obviously, online. And then a few days later—
AMY GOODMAN: And just to explain, he had asked his roommate if he could have the room alone until midnight or something.
RICHARD KIM: Right, right. And the roommate had put out a tweet saying, "It’s happening again," and went to a neighbor’s room, Molly Wei, and the two of them together broadcast it online.
AMY GOODMAN: They had turned on the webcam in the room—
AMY GOODMAN:—unbeknownst to Tyler.
RICHARD KIM: Exactly, exactly. And this was not the first time they had done this, in fact. This was the second time they had broadcast it. So, Tyler, then, a few days later, jumped off the George Washington Bridge. And, you know, it’s a horrific, horrific, awful tragedy.
What I find somewhat disturbing as a result of this is that the attention has been so much on the punishment of the two Rutgers students, who undoubtedly contributed to an awful act, are immature, prurient, and deserve some punishment for invasion of privacy, at the least. I’m not so clear that they did this just out of anti-gay bias, and I don’t want to also lump them into the teens that attacked the people in the Bronx. I think we’re looking at very different crimes, and we’re looking at very different places where we can make interventions.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But the general problem, obviously, is still that America has not come to grips, whether it’s among teens or adults like Carl Paladino, with its deep, deep-seated anti-gay bias that continues to affect so much of the public discourse on this issue.
RICHARD KIM: Yeah, you know, you’re seeing people come out a lot earlier. This is very new, in the last five or six years. And you’re seeing them come out not when they move to New York or San Francisco, but in Oklahoma, in Michigan, in the Bronx. And, you know, it’s challenging America, I think, to really look at teenagers differently, to look at sexuality differently, to look at gay and lesbian identity differently. It’s difficult for parents and teachers to do this. We need to have a real national conversation about that and then to put into place education policies that are about comprehensive sex education.
AMY GOODMAN: You, at the same time, have this controversy with the South Carolina Senator DeMint, who reiterated a statement he made back in 2004, so this is not reviving a controversy by someone who wants to take him on in his senatorial race, but it’s saying that gay men and lesbians, saying that single women, should not be teaching in schools.
AMY GOODMAN: And he brought it up and said he agrees with what he said then.
RICHARD KIM: Right. And, you know, DeMint is not the only one. You have Marco Rubio in Florida, who supports a ban on gay adoptions.
AMY GOODMAN: Who’s ahead in the Florida race.
RICHARD KIM: Who is comfortably ahead now. Charlie Crist used to support that ban, and then he sort of tacked to the center. You have Sharron Angle, who also supports a ban on gay adoptions. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, who’s running for Senate, supports a ban on gay adoption. So, you really have a policy in place across the Republican Party, but especially in the Tea Party, that says, "We don’t want gays and lesbians raising children. We don’t want gays and lesbians teaching children." And the real message here is actually not so much at gay and lesbian adults, but it’s at gay and lesbian kids who might find comfort and nurturing from these adults. And the message is: please don’t exist. That is the message that these people are sending.
AMY GOODMAN: You know, I was watching, after the attack, after Tyler committed suicide, Rutgers had a speak-out, where all the administration was there, and one young person after another described what it meant to be gay on campus or to grow up and be harassed. What should schools do? I mean, the numbers for young gay men and lesbians growing up is staggering, how many say that they were harassed, and gay men and lesbians who are grown up.
RICHARD KIM: Well, I first want to say it can’t just be schools. It has to be parents—a lot of this starts at home—parents of gay and lesbian children, but also parents of children who aren’t gay and lesbian and who engage in the bullying. What schools can do, there’s two sort of tracks. One is to put in place—and some states, like Massachusetts, have done this—anti-bullying laws, which require teachers to report incidents of bullying, to have trainings about that. I think that’s fine. But before that even, we need comprehensive sex education in this country that teaches children that gay and lesbian and transgender people exist, that they’re part of the spectrum of human sexuality. And we are so far, Amy and Juan, from approaching that, in part because of the years we spent going backwards on sex education rather than forward.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Richard Kim, we want to thank you very much for being with us. Richard Kim is senior editor at The Nation magazine.

Ofelia Rivas, Tribal Elder in the second largest Reservation in the U.S., Speaks Out Against Human Rights Abuses

All that follows is from *here*. You can also click on the title to link back.

Tribal elder talks about human rights violations

Tribal elder talks about human rights violations
Zhao Lim/The Badger Herald
Tribal leader Ofelia Rivas tells an audience of UW students about human rights atrocities on her reservation, asking them to speak up for fellow humans.
By McKenzie Badger
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:15 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, October 13, 2010 2:09:12 a.m.

A human rights activist detailed atrocities occurring right here in the United States to a University of Wisconsin audience Tuesday, from trucks running over teenagers to the exhumation of bodies.

Ofelia Rivas is the Tribal Elder in the second largest reservation in the United States. About 20,000 citizens reside on the reservation she represents in the U.S. and 6,000 in Mexico, as their reservation crosses the border.

Prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, increased numbers of border patrol officers did not impact the people of the reservation, Rivas said.

However, after the events of Sept. 11, problems on the reservation became more prevalent and increased in intensity.

The reservation’s three exits are now manned by border patrol, and people must declare their citizenship to leave the reservation.

“Our reservation has basically become a militarized camp,” Rivas said.

According to Rivas, the indigenous people are abused and killed, while the perpetrators go unpunished.

Rivas gave the example of an 18-year-old man who was run over by border patrol trucks while walking from one village to another.

“He was flattened out like a cardboard box,” Rivas said. “His mother wasn’t allowed to identify him.”

U.S. authorities said the man had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol and stumbled into the road, according to Rivas. However, villagers said they saw the man before the accident and he appeared to be walking fine.

Villagers believe the trucks responsible for the man’s death were used for illegal drug trafficking and said they saw drugs being loaded into the vehicles, Rivas said.

This story was one among many Rivas told, and she added the impact of border patrol officers stretches even further into the lives of the people.

Rivas said now is the time for young people to take control of the situation, and she hopes to reach as many young people as possible.

“The media doesn’t cover issues like these, but this is what your government is doing,” Rivas said. “It is your generation who can put a stop to government actions like these.”

She said the indigenous people were constantly harassed and treated like criminals on their own land.

“They can hold you at gunpoint, enter your house at any time and be on top of your house with helicopters and spotlights,” she said.

The people are not allowed to freely practice their culture, and have witnessed the exhumation of their ancestor’s remains at the hands of border patrol officers, Rivas said.

In addition, the U.S. built a wall separating Mexico and the U.S. while also dividing the reservation, Rivas said.

“We did not have the right to cross our own land and go about our lives on a daily basis,” Rivas said. “We are not allowed to cross this fence, even to go to a friends house.”

In a broader sense of the situation, Karma Chavez, a Communications Arts professor specializing in immigration issues, said more than 3,000 people have died crossing the border — 253 remains were found last year alone.

“The policies that have been put in motion have created a funnel effect, pushing immigrants to cross the border through tough terrain,” Chavez said. “This terrain is in remote regions where it is easy to be killed.”

A White U.S. American Watches the Rescue Effort at the San Jose copper mine in Chile

Near Copiapo, now above ground, 32 Chilean men and one Bolivian man have reason to celebrate a job well done with their loved ones--namely, staying alive on very little food and liquid for a period of time in which most would perish. And not going insane. And not giving up hope that they would again see the light of day. There were many jobs to do: from organising the men trapped 2000 feet down inside the Earth's rocky layer, to portioning out food, to planning and completely the rescue mission. This was a collective effort and I believe the will of the Chilean people was a huge part of what made this effort successful. Including, of course, the wills and collaborative work of those 33 miners. I hope they remain well, or regain health. I know one of the older men is battling lung illness from being a miner since the age of fourteen.

It was kind of strange how Western reporters kept saying they are being brought back "to Earth" as if inside the Earth is somewhere else. It was also disturbing to realise I'd never in my life seen so many people from Chile on U.S. television, named. Indeed, South American non-Indigenous and Indigenous people are not usually on television at all in Chicago. It was striking to see a population of people who the U.S. media usually goes out of its way to ignore, carry a news story for so long. It made me think about how much closer we all might feel to one another if the Western media focused on stories that show the humanity of people it usually invisibilises or stereotypes, in part so that when the U.S. militarily invades these places, most U.S.ers will not feel like we know anything about the people there--including that they are people.

Throughout the Americas, South to North, there are many compelling and joyous news stories of people of color that warrant national and international Western attention. I look forward to the day when the stories of women are as compelling as the stories of men, where the women, too, end up alive. Because the news that sporadically makes its way up here is that Brown and Black women are found dead, all of them murdered by men. Names are often not given, and the lives of the women killed are not described as the men's lives below are described. This is the first time I've learned the details of the lives of anyone from South America. The U.S. media barely lets us know the names of countries and their presidents.

For now, I will keep joy in my heart, and on this blog, due to the successful rescue effort that all of Chile deserves to celebrate for a very long time.

What follows next is from *here* at CNN.

In order, the men pulled from the San Jose mine in Chile, with some anglicised details on each in the order that returned to ground level from the mine. (Esperanza is translated into English below as "hope".)

1. 12:11 a.m. - Florencio Avalos, 31, the second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first because he was in the best condition, and best able to deal with any difficulties that might arise.

2. 1:10 a.m. - Mario Sepulveda Espina, 40, captivated Chileans with his engaging personality in videos sent up from underground.

3. 2:08 a.m. - Juan Illanes, 52, is a married former soldier who urged his fellow miners to be disciplined and organized while trapped.

4. 3:09 a.m. - Carlos Mamani, 24, the lone Bolivian, started at the mine five days before the collapse. One of 11 children who emigrated because he could not find work, he has been promised a house and a job by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

5. 4:10 a.m. - Jimmy Sanchez, at 19, is the youngest miner and father of a months-old baby.

6. 5:34 a.m. - Osman Isidro Araya, 30, a father of three, had planned to quit the mine at the end of August because of the risk.

7. 6:21 a.m. - Jose Ojeda, 47, is a widower with no children who has diabetes. Two of his nephews were at the site to greet him.

8. 7:02 a.m. - Claudio Yanez, 34, is a drill operator who requested cigarettes be sent down while awaiting rescue and expressed disgust at the nicotine patches he received instead.

9. 7:59 a.m. - Mario Gomez, at 63, is the oldest of the miners. He also is the most experienced, having first entered a mine shaft to work at age 12.

10. 8:52 a.m. - Alex Vega, 31, who is married with two children, had been saving to buy a house and move out of his parents' home. His father helped in rescue efforts - using a false name because officials prohibited relatives from doing the dangerous work.

11. 9:31 a.m. - Jorge Galleguillos, 55, was injured in at least two earlier mining accidents. He has 13 brothers and requires medication for hypertension. Officials have promised to help his son, who is a university student.

12. 10:11 a.m. - Edison Pena, who is 34 and married, was reportedly among the most depressed of the trapped men and asked rescuers to send down a photo of the sun. He tried to run every day for exercise, and is a fan of Elvis Presley.

13. 10:54 a.m. - Carlos Barrios, 27, is the father of a 5-year-old boy. He is separated from his wife.

14. 11:30 a.m. - Victor Zamora, 34, was an auto mechanic and laborer who has worked at the mine for five years. He sent up poems to his wife, who is pregnant, and is the father of a 4-year-old boy. While underground, he complained of tooth pain.

15. 12:07 p.m. - Victor Segovia, 48, kept a diary of life below, asking those above to send down more pencils and paper. He has five children, is an electrician and plays guitar.

16. 12:49 p.m. - Daniel Herrera, 37, was a truck driver and taxi driver. Herrera is single; his mother and sister have been waiting for him at "Camp Hope," the relatives' encampment outside the mine.

17. 1:38 p.m. - Omar Reygadas, 56, helped organize life below ground and reportedly survived other collapses in the mine. A widower, he has six children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, including one born while he was trapped.

18. 2:49 p.m. - Esteban Rojas, 44, proposed a church wedding "once and for all" in a message to the woman he married in a civil ceremony 25 years ago. They have three children.

19. 3:27 p.m. - Pablo Rojas, 45, reportedly went to work at the mine six months ago to help pay university fees for his son, who is studying medicine. He is married.

20. 3:59 p.m. - Dario Segovia, 48, is a lifelong miner whose father first took him underground at age 8. Twice married, he had three children from each marriage. He had worked at the mine for three months, drilling holes for dynamite. He has 12 brothers and sisters.

21. 4:31 p.m. - Johnny Barrios Rojas, 50, worked for 25 years at the mine and served as the medic for the group because he'd had first aid training. Awaiting above are relationships that need healing as well: his wife and his lover met at Camp Hope.

22. 5:04 p.m. - Samuel Avalos, 43, is married with three children, had been working as a street vendor and got a job at the mine for more money.

23. 5:32 p.m. - Carlos Bugueno, 26, found himself trapped alongside a childhood friend, Pedro Cortez. A passionate soccer fan, he asked to have game broadcasts piped below. Relatives said the former security guard went to work at the mine to earn money for a car and house.

24. 5:59 p.m. - Jose Henriquez, 55, formed and led a prayer group while trapped and had friends send 33 small Bibles down the tiny supply hole. Chilean reports say that in January he helped save several miners who had passed out in the mine, apparently due to gas, and had to be rescued himself when he was overcome returning for another miner. Married with twin daughters, he has spent 33 years in the mines and survived a landslide on the surface in 1986.

25. 6:24 p.m. - Renan Avalos, 29, is the brother of the first man out. He had worked at the mine five months.

26. 6:51 p.m. - Claudio Acuna, 35, proposed to his girlfriend Fabiola Araya from below ground. He has two children.

27. 7:18 p.m. - Franklin Lobos, 53, a former professional soccer player, drove the bus that carried the miners to work. Lobos was a midfielder on the Chilean teams La Serena, Iquique and Cobresal, and was on the national team that qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He has two daughters.

28. 7:44 p.m. - Richard Villaroel, 23, is returning to his wife, who is in the late stages of pregnancy.

29. 8:13 p.m. - Juan Carlos Aguilar, 46, has worked as a miner since he was 19. He is married with two children.

30. 8:37 p.m. - Raul Bustos, 40, a hydraulic engineer, was caught up in both of Chile's two recent tragedies. The tsunami caused by February's earthquake destroyed the shipyard where he worked. So he journeyed north to work in the mine — two months before he was trapped there. He would travel back 20 hours by bus to visit his wife and two children.

31. 9:01 p.m. - Pedro Cortez, 25, an electrician, helped install the communications system used to talk back and forth with the surface. He lost a finger in an earlier mining accident. He and his wife are separated and have one daughter.

32. 9:28 p.m. - Ariel Ticona, 28, was still awaiting rescue when his wife gave birth to their second daughter. They named her "Hope." He worked with Cortez to install the underground communications system.

33. 9:55 p.m. - Luis Alberto Urzua, 54, shift foreman at the time of the collapse, is widely credited with helping the men survive by enforcing tight rations of their limited food, lights and other supplies. Speaking for the miners shortly after their discovery, he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera: "We hope that all of Chile shows its strength to help us get out of this hell."

Save Rapanui Benefit in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, 2010: Press Release. Details here.

image of Rapa Nui (white dot in the Pacific Ocean west of Santiago, Chile) is from here
Rapa Nui is known in English as "Easter Island" because a Dutch man arrived there on what was, in his strange culture and according to his peculiar religion, "Easter Sunday". It is a tourist site for many white Westerners who believe that Polynesian island nations, people, and cultural and spiritual belongings are perpetually up for visit, for photographing, or for purchase. It is one of thousands of islands invaded and exploited by European men, to the detriment of the people and land, and other life there.

Rapa Nui has a very complex cultural history that includes different accounts by people not from there. But it is known that a Christian missionary brought tuberculosis, killing many. It also appears that Peruvian slave raiders took many people from the island and also brought small pox to the island. Because of reported class systems and battling on the island among its first inhabitants--reported by the people of the cultures who would kill them, the Indigenous portion of the story of Rapa Nui, which continues to this day, would lead many racist whites I know to conclude something I've heard more times than I can count: "SEE, not all INDIGENOUS people were PEACEFUL." My response is almost always, "What does that have to do with anything? I said it is wrong for whites to invade places where people of color live, and genocide is wrong, including when whites commit it." There is a strange logic I find among white descendants of invaders, colonisers, and settlers, that because we are where we are, there must have been something good about the process that led us to being here. This takes some pretty twisted turns, including believing that whites saved Indigenous/Aboriginal people from themselves. As if European men should get some kind of award for viciously slaughtering, raping, infecting, and enslaving Indigenous people around the world. And there's the deforestation and other assaults against the land. As if  "That's how God wanted it." Such a callous and cruel theistic god has no business in this part of the universe, if that's the way "He" thinks "progress" happens. "Progress", after all, is just a glorified term for genocide and ecocide--and for maintaining and intensifying male supremacy.

It wasn't only European men who invaded Rapa Nui. But as European men have done the most damage to the most people, globally and continually, and because some European men--the non-Jewish ones--are in some ways "my people", this blog focuses on them.

Conditions all of which are currently generated by foreigners are producing, very intentionally not so very intentionally, the complete cultural and physical genocide of the people of Rapa Nui. Below is an effort organised to try and forestall or prevent this genocide. I hope you can find ways to be of assistance in the efforts led by Indigenous people to keep Western/white mono-culture from destroying every other culture.

All that follows is from the Whenua Fenua Enua Vanua blog. Please click on the title below the date to link back.


Save Rapanui Benefit Los Angeles

Contact: Lono Kollars, Kaleponi Advocates for Hawaiian Affairs
Phone: 951.534.3750
with Rapa Nui Film, Music, Art and Discussion to Support the Indigenous People in Crisis

When: Thursday, October 28, 2010, from 6:00PM - 11:00PM

Where: Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd, LA, CA 90027

VIP Reception and Seating: $50 (at 6:00pm)
General Admission: $25

Info: Santi Hitorangi, United Nations Representative for Rapa Nui and Longtale International will be co-hosting a screening and panel discussion of the documentary “BEING RAPANUI,” a Rapa Nui perspective, with an exhibition and silent auction of Rapa Nui Petroglyphs rubbings as well as other art donated by La Luz de Jesus Gallery to help support the struggle of the Rapanui indigenous people to keep their ancestral homelands on Easter Island.

The event is sponsored by: KAHA, (Kaleponi Advocates of Hawaiian Affairs), Imipono Projects, VC (Visual Communications), Longtale International and La Luz de Jesus Gallery

Traditional Pacific Island haka and entertainment, live musicc and DJ Ninja Simone (Soul Sessions).
Los Angeles, CA—

Rapa Nui, also known as Isla de Pascua, but better known as Easter Island, is part of the Polynesian Triangle that stretches from Hawaii to the North, Rapa Nui to the East and New Zealand to the South. Easter Island has long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. How and why did its inhabitants carve and transport the massive statues (Moai) which surround the island? What remains of this culture today, and what lessons can we learn from their legacy?
Rapa Nui is one of the most remote places on the planet. Their closest neighbor, Pitcairn Island with fewer than a hundred inhabitants, is about 1,300 miles to the West. Continental Chile is about 2,200 miles to the East. It is a U.N. World Heritage site, famous for its monolithic Moai, stone statues created and moved by the islanders’ ancestors.

Until 1888, Rapa Nui was unclaimed by any foreign country. The island lacked rivers and trees, and a safe anchorage. Chile annexed the island under the impression that it had agricultural potential and strategic possibilities as a naval station. Formal annexation brought little change to the island until 1896 when Chile placed the island under the jurisdiction of the Department of Valparaiso. The island was turned into a vast sheep ranch under the direction of a Valparaiso businessman, Enrique Merlet, who confiscated buildings and all animals left to the Rapanui by the missionaries who had fled the island in the wake of Dutrou-Bornier's reign of terror. Islanders were forced to build a stone wall around the village of Hangaroa and, except for work, permission was needed to leave the area even to fetch water from the crater. Those who revolted against these perverse rules were exiled to the continent, few returned.

As of August 4th, 2010, the people of Rapa Nui have non-violently re-occupied the lands that had been unlawfully taken by Chile from their grandparents. The Chilean government has responded by sending in armed forces. As the Rapa Nui people strive to reclaim their island and independence, the islanders may be on the brink of extermination at the hands of Chilean forces.

A peaceful resolution would be the hope for restoration to the world and a new beginning for Te Pito O Te Henua “the Navel of the World,” what the early settlers called Rapa Nui.

The Indian Law Resource Center in Washington D.C. has agreed to represent the Rapa Nui families and the Rapa Nui Parliament.

Although many people think the island is deserted and the Moai are a mystery, the Rapa Nui are very much alive and has been a civilization of master engineers, artists and survivalists for nearly 2000 years.

For more information about Rapa Nui, contact Susan Hitorangi: (845) 596 5403, or go to SaveRapa

The Barnsdall Gallery Theater is owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs