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.
Since Albert's release on his birthday, February 19th, a few short months ago, he’s been really busy… After nearly a month of visiting with family and friends in New Orleans sharing more birthday cake than he’s been able to consume in over forty years, Albert has been catching up with his dreams. This trio of video-interviews with Albert recorded recently, during a visit to Sacramento, will give you a glimpse of just how well Albert is doing.
When I was in third grade, I remember my teacher telling us she was a Republican because her son was in the military and Republicans cared about soldiers. When I got home, I asked my mother what we were, to which she responded, "We're Democrats, because Democrats represent issues that are important to you and me." I grew up believing in progressive politics. I wanted to learn how to play saxophone because Bill Clinton and Lisa Simpson did. Other times I would stay up late watching "Politically Incorrect."
When published in April 2015, War Against All Puerto Ricans ignited debate throughout the US and Puerto Rico. I was called a "liar" by several history professors … yet the book became a #1 Amazon Bestseller for 13 months, and the top-selling book in Puerto Rico. It even outsold Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Why was this book so successful? A factual narrative with over 700 footnotes, the book is a history of US-Puerto Rico relations. But it also reads like a police blotter.
Bear Butte is one of these ancient holy places. My people, the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation), call it Paha Sapa. Bear Butte is crucial to our traditional way of life. It is where the Lakota received star knowledge and divine instruction. Our greatest leaders, like Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) and TaSunka Witko (Crazy Horse) prayed there. Even today, I know many Lakota who go there for Hanbleceya, to cry for a vision. Westerners call it Vision Quest. This ceremony takes place on the side of the mountain, over the course of four days and nights. Individuals remain in quiet solitude to fast, pray and commune with Tunkasila and the spirits while supporters keep the fire below.
Through no fault of their own, the Puerto Rican people have suffered through decades of heartache, disappointment and having the wool pulled over their eyes. Some may believe exploitation is too strong a term to describe what has happened, but what else can you call it when millions of honest, hard-working American citizens are relegated to a permanent second-class status, suspended somewhere in the netherworld between statehood and independence?
In the historic port city of Yalta, located on the Crimean Peninsula, we visited the site where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, in February of 1945, concluded negotiations ending World War II. These leaders and their top advisors were also present at the creation of the United Nations and other instruments of international negotiation and non-military cooperation. Tragically, the creation of the "Cold War" was underway soon after. Reviving tensions between the United States and Russia make it seem as though the Cold War might not have ended.
We woke up last Sunday morning to news ofthe senseless slaughter of 49 innocents at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Because many of the victims were gay, it appeared that this had been a hate crime. It wasn't long before the killer was identified as Omar Mateen, the US-born son of an Afghan immigrant to the United States. Law enforcement officials cautioned against any rush to judgment insisting that they were still investigating "troubling aspects" of the crime. Nevertheless, as soon as politicians, pundits and the mainstream media heard the news ofthe faith ofthe perpetrator, they were off to the races.
Entire communities in the West Bank either have no access to water or have had their water supply reduced almost by half. Israel has been "waging a water war" against Palestinians, according to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah. The irony is that the water provided by Mekorot is actually Palestinian water, usurped from West Bank aquifers. While Israelis, including illegal West Bank settlements, use the vast majority of it, Palestinians are sold their own water back at high prices.
New details about the brutal murder of Victor Jara in the days following the September 11, 1973, military coup in Chile are finally emerging in a court of law. Pedro Barrientos Nuñez, a former army lieutenant under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, stands accused of torturing and killings the legendary communist folk singer at Estadio Chile on September 16, 1973. The civil trial began on June 13 and is taking place in Orlando, Florida, not Santiago, Chile. But the proceedings mark an important first step in bringing the Chilean army official to account for Jara's murder.
Michael T. Klare is a well-known academic and professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College. He is the author of Resource Wars and Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency, along with numerous other books and articles. Klare is also a contributor to The Nation and Current History and serves on the board of the Arms Control Association. He is based in Amherst, Massachusetts.