Episode 7: Tensions In and About Kashmir


Serena Blaiz interviews Nyla Ali Khan about Kashmir’s ongoing troubles. Excerpts from Nicole Sandler’s interview with Medea Benjamin about her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US – Saudi Connection


Links coming soon!

Partial Transcript:

Welcome to the Peace Buzz for August 26, 2016. This is your host, Serena Blaiz, coming to you from Oklahoma City, where our sponsoring organization, the Center for Conscience in Action is located. For many, this may sound like a remote outpost in the peace community, but in fact we have a lot of activity and resources here to draw from, and one of those is Nyla Ali Khan, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Khan comes from Kashmir, which is a region under the control of India, which has a very interesting recent history, and currently a good bit of turmoil, that needs to better understood and addressed by the rest of the world. Having Professor Khan nearby gives us an opportunity to try to remedy that, and we spoke with her at length back in April. Sadly, things have not improved for Kashmir, and today we check in again with Nyla to see what is happening, and what we might be able to do to help the pro-democracy movement there find peaceful solutions to decades of mistrust and resentment.

You’re listening to Peace Buzz. We’re speaking to Nyla Ali Khan about unrest in Kashmir and surrounding areas, where people are releasing years of pent up frustration about lack of democratic government and accountability. The region, controlled primarily by India, is being impacted negatively by the political situation in India itself, and at this point in the interview, I asked about how the regional Amnesty International network was dealing with things. It was a timely question, because just a day or two before, ultra right protests in Banglore, or Bengaluru, India had forced the local Amnesty to close for the safety of its staff. The protests were directly related to the relationship between India and Kashmir. We paused to look up breaking news on the incident and Nyla read from a news report, while providing some context about the various players.

Since our interview, Amnesty’s main office in London released a statement, which included this:

No staff of Amnesty International India were involved in the alleged ‘anti-national’ sloganeering at an event on human rights violations in Kashmir. We are an independent human rights organization that campaigns all over the world for states to comply with international human rights law and, accordingly, do not take a side on questions such as self-determination in a given context. But if others were involved in the alleged sloganeering, their human right to do so must be protected, as is made clear in India’s own constitution.

We hope other American progressive news organizations will take up this important developing story.

Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink, is one of the best known peace activists in the US – to the peace community as well as C-Span viewers. Peace Buzz shared some of her research on Saudi Arabia earlier this year just prior to a national conference on the Saudi Arabia and US relationship that was organized by Code Pink and other concerned groups. Now Medea has a book out on that same subject, entitled Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. On August 19th, she was interviewed on the Nicole Sandler Show as she toured Florida promoting the book. Nicole was kind enough to permit us to excerpt part of that interview here on Peace Buzz. You can find their entire wide-ranging conversation on NicoleSandler.com or on Nicole’s Youtube channel.

That’s it for this episode of Peace Buzz. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed it, please share via social media or email. If you would like to comment about the show, listen to past episodes, or suggest future topics, please visit peacebuzz.org.

Thanks to Nyla Ali Khan for giving so generously of her time and insights. Find her books and other writings listed at nylaalikhan.org. She also is frequently published on Counterpunch.com. Thanks also to Nicole Sandler for the clips from her show, which can be found on Nicolesandler.com. Finally, thanks to Susan McCann for her hospitality.

Peace Buzz is a production of Upwave Media, which is a project of the Center for Conscience in Action. Learn more at centerforconscience.org.

Episode 6: Voices Against the Death Penalty

2016 starvin' for justice

Highlights from the 2016 23rd Annual Starvin’ for Justice Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty, which was organized by the Abolition Action Committee. Recorded by Abraham Bonowitz.

From recordings on June 29 and 30. Speakers used on this episode (full speakers list below):

  • Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan
  • SueZann Bosler
  • Abraham Bonowitz
  • Robert Dunham

A cappella rendition of Ella’s Song: “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until it Comes”

Song “Iron Lady” by Phil Ochs.

Recordings by Abe Bonowitz used with permission. Photo provided.

Press release from organizers reprinted below.

Full Speakers List with links to and/organizations or bios

June 29

  • SueZann Bosler – Murder Victim Family Member, Journey of Hope …From Violence to Healing, Inc.
  • Dani Clark – member of the Community of Sant’Egidio and is frequently published in the National Catholic Reporter and America Magazine. She will speak about her research on the case Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu, which has significant legal implications for the ineffectiveness of counsel issue in Texas.
  • James Connell – Defense Attorney in the Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions for Ammar al Baluchi
  • Jenn Meeropol – Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and Granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in 1953.
  • Michael Stone – Executive Director, Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
  • Jack Sullivan, Jr – Executive Director of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
  • Death row family members, to be announced.

June 30

July 1

  • Shujah Graham – California Death Row Survivor, Witness to Innocence
  • Ron Hampton – Retired Executive Director of the National Black Police Association
  • Linwood Jackson – President, Delaware State Conference NAACP
  • Bill Pelke – Fast & Vigil co-Founder, Murder Victim Family Member, Journey of Hope …From Violence to Healing, Inc.
  • Delia Perez-Meyer – Sister of a Texas death row prisoner

July 2

40 Years after SCOTUS Upholds Death Penalty: Anti-Death Penalty Activists to Fast and Vigil for Four Days Outside of U.S. Supreme Court to Mark Historic Court Rulings as Death Penalty Use Declines


WHEN: June 29 and June 30 from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm
July 1 and 2 – around the clock, 24-hour presence (ending at midnight on July 2)

Evening teach-ins with noted speakers each day from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (SEE BELOW)

*** A public rally will be held Saturday, July 2 at 12:00 pm ***

WHAT: A four day liquid-only fast and vigil to mark the anniversaries of the historic 1972 Furman and 1976 Gregg Supreme Court decisions on the death penalty.

WHO: Exonerated death row prisoners, murder victim family members, 100+ anti-death penalty activists from as many as 20 states and several countries, and leaders of state and national anti-death penalty organizations.

WHERE: On the sidewalk in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC

The Annual “Starvin’ for Justice” Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty protest is a four day liquid-only fast and vigil to mark the anniversaries of the historical 1972 Furman and 1976 Gregg Supreme Court decisions around the death penalty. Participants in the annual event include exonerated death row prisoners, murder victim family members, death row family members, and various leaders in the national movement to abolish the death penalty.

This year, June 29, 2016 marks the 44th anniversary of the Furman v. Georgia decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty laws in the United States, finding capital punishment to be applied in an arbitrary and capricious manner. July 2nd marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Gregg decision, which upheld new state death penalty laws and allowing the resumption of executions. A special rally and media availability will be held at noon on July 2nd to mark these, and other court rulings, as part of the Annual Fast & Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty at the U.S. This is the 23rd consecutive year that the Abolitionist Action Committee will hold its annual Fast and Vigil between the dates of these two landmark decisions. Activists, many of whom are fasting the entire four days, are traveling to Washington D.C. from across the United States and beyond.

We can arrange interviews with activists from your specific state or region. Contact abe@abolition.org with your request.

Highlights of this highly visual and interactive annual event include live music and evening teach-ins by death row exonerees, murder victim family members, death row family members, and noted activists, clergy and scholars. Please see details at http://www.abolition.org/fastandvigil/schedule.html

RAIN ALERT: In the event of rain or significant threat thereof, evening events requiring amplification will take part inside the United Methodist Church Building, immediately adjacent (across Maryland Ave. on 1st St.)

The Abolitionist Action Committee is an ad-hoc group of individuals committed to highly visible and effective public education for alternatives to the death penalty through nonviolent direct action.

Information online at www.abolition.org

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