Christmas Cheer Vs Bar Humbug OR Hope Vs Reality
It’s been a while I know… and consequently there are a few things to say…
But first things first, in this post you will hear about why I have been incognito and why the community site is up the poo creek with no paddle :(
You will see the first story from our aid correspondent who is spending her Christmas helping the innocent victims of the coup ravaged Honduras in the Central Americas. Rosie is roving and writing for you, so give her the encouragement and support she deserves as we hear of her travels and experiences.
At the bottom of the blog, you can find some links to actions you may like to take regarding the Wikileaks buzz that’s going on, stand up for the rights of journalistic freedom to confirm that our conspiracy theories aren’t crazy ass stories…
And then after that, you can find our facebook link… which is where the action is at for now…
OUR WORLD IS NOT WHAT IS ONCE WAS…
And neither is our Art Action Union community site. Unfortunately the Web environment is not what it was when this idea was launched 2 and a half years ago, and I am up against increasingly time consuming and money sucking issues with it.
The first issue happened in the middle of the year when the NING.com community sites wanted to start to charge for their site use, fine for them, but not for me… so I went roving for a new home and found the alternative to be gr.oups.
BIG CROSS for them now, as they (without so much as the courtesy of the NING people) forced us all onto a paid plan or LOSE everything!!! I needed to make a fast decision because they only gave me seven days, so I bit the bullet and bought a subscription for a year. Mainly because I didn’t want the site to just disappear without a trace and lose all the community members, their art and their thoughts to corporate take over.
However, this is a wholly unsatisfactory solution as we no longer have our own branding and all the flexibility is now gone. Not only, but I can’t afford to pay any fees unless we all start buying Art Action Union Merch … ?
Anyway, the heavy hearted mind is now saying that we need to evolve. Of course the community site is still there until the subscription runs out however I will no longer be maintaining it as I once did. I am building my own site bigger, but as I am teaching myself development as I go it is a slow progress thing.
Having said this the Art Action Union does not disappear, there is still the .org site which will grow as I get better and we have got a REALLY strong following on Facebook and Redbubble. By ditching the community site, I hope to move on to a new phase of promo that will be less centralised and more about getting to people as opposed to bringing in the people.
All YOU gotta do, is keep sharing your art and ideas – and don’t lose this collective from your consciousness. I sorta think it will live forever in some form or other.
And – I can’t stop when there are so so so many great people out there supporting our intellectual coup.
You all just gotta stay merry, and safe for XMAS ok???
ROSIE’S CHRISTMAS IN HONDURAS – PT ONE
Rosie Wong is a passionate young woman. She has travelled heaps and been involved in all sorts of things – she is a thinker with a big heart. She approached the Art Action Union to tell me that she was going to do some work in the coup torn country of Honduras (see here) and wanted to tell as many people as possible of her front line experiences.
This is what she’s done before:
“I just got involved with Friends of the Earth Sydney a few months before I became involved with Honduras. I still am part of Friends of the Earth Sydney. When I returned from Honduras I worked for one year advocating on housing affordability for Western Sydney and Fairfield. Before that, I have done much more volunteer work than activism, working with asylum seekers in Sydney on job search, teaching English using popular education methods in El Salvador, observing 2 central American elections, amongst other things.”
… amongst other things!?!?!
Before Rosie left Australia I interviewed her:
1. How did you first come into contact with the Honduras situation? What prompted you to become active for the people in Honduras?
I’ve travelled to Central America frequently, mostly to two neighbours of Honduras – Guatemala and El Salvador. I spent some of this time reading history, especially of Guatemala. I read about the 1954 US directed coup which ended a decade of popular government which dared to challenge the United Fruit Company rein over the country and implemented social reforms, including towards modest but urgently needed land reform where the state paid the fruit company the land value it declared for tax purposes, for the land it wasn’t using, to redistribute to landless farmers. The coup began decades of the Guatemalan army’s attack against its own marginalised peoples and guerilla armies, killing 200,000 civilians. So many stories, all incredibly painful, so I always wondered what the world was doing when this was happening. Coups were common in these times, but not in the last 2 decades.. so when I heard a coup happened in Honduras and I read about how 19 year old Isis Obed was shot in a massive demonstration welcoming the president Zelaya’s first attempt to return, and I was unemployed, that’s how I got involved.
2. What do you hope to be doing when you are visiting Honduras?
Being present itself is something, slightly increasing the international presence, around places of action of the non-violent resistance. I will try to write some articles, obtain some interviews with different groups and organisations of the resistance to learn more of their struggle and get these out there through alternative medias. If there are especially Australian travellers who belong to groups and organisations, who are passing by and would like to talk with similar groups and organisations I’d like to try and arrange something for them and help interpret if needed especially if they are committed to reporting back, or writing some articles.
3. Do you work with an aid organisation? What are they doing to achieve political change and awareness of human rights abuses?
Not exactly.. so, I received emails from http://www.rightsaction.org which works in awareness raising about communities in Central America, especially those resisting mining companies. And when the coup happened, Rights Action initially sent daily updates on the coup in Honduras, and one of the email had a contact down the bottom saying to email Andres Conteris if you wanted to be an international observer. He’s from Democracy Now (awesome alternative media) but while I worked with him and some Hondurans it wasn’t for Democracy Now. I was there September 2009, and our team actually worked to promote a worldwide fast for Honduras. So through this particular action we were promoting we were raising awareness. This time around, at this point I am independent, but I am definitely open to collaborating with local and international organisations on the ground. In Sydney I am part of a small group of committed activists Australians for Democratic Honduras.
4. What is the most inspiring action that you have seen or heard about?
Something I’ve read about: a LGBTi and anticoup activist was under persecution, another friend of his, who I had the honour of talking with for 20 minutes last year, was killed in December. So one day, he was home, and his friend and neighbour calls him and said, don’t come out, there’s a van out here (with polarised windows, no numberplates, obviously death squad) just arrived and is parked outside your home. Stay inside. He was like how can I stay inside? They will come in and harm my family. But his friend made him stay inside, and organised all the neighbours to come out on the streets with children and all and began to play soccer on the streets. With so many people – witnesses, the van couldn’t do anything, it left.
I’ve seen so many brave women (men too, and children, but many memories of women being really brave) confront the police and soldiers.
The resistance using only volunteer efforts collected over 1.3 million declarations saying they want a constituent assembly (to reform the constitution, using participative democracy not representative democracy) in a country with less than 4 million registered voters globally.
5. Are you scared of visiting an unstable community where activists are in real danger?
uummm. I’m no braver than the next person. Local activists have the highest level of risk, and I’ve seen how brave they are, from day 1. Internationals have less risk, but are not invincible. I didn’t feel invincible, or brave. Compare what low risk things I have done and what locals at high risk have done, you can’t. Everyone has one life only (as far as I know) and each life is equally and highly valuable not in monetary terms. My fear comes out in other ways I guess. Constant helicopters, prolonged curfews, stress of knowing tremendous things are happening, these make my tummy a bit upset, and I see the difference when I’m removed from the situation, but I can come and go….
6. What skills do you have that you want to use for this campaign?
writing, spanish (always improving), some knowledge about environmental side of things like with globally damaging policies and practices like REDD, mining, hydroelectric dams, palm oil, etc and their impact on food security, water, environment and Indigenous and community rights. Always somuch more to learn. I’m not especially skilled.
7. Why should each person who reads about the war in Honduras talk about it?
It’s not technically a war, because wars involve the use of arms on both sides. In this case, to date, the resistance side use only words, speech, demonstration, sometimes stones, while the other side is killing this side, more than 80 resistance members have been murdered since January alone.
Why should everyone who read about this talk about it..because it helps get the word out. The mass media is silent, it wants people to think everything is fine in Honduras, there are reasons why it wants that. Most people don’t know what is happening, that a coup happened, that there are killings every week, that the coup took place so companies including multinationals can do whatever they want and get away with it, plunder the natural resources and workers’ labour in Honduras. The more people know, the more pressure there can be to put an end to it. People in resistance are extremely active in Honduras in the masses, but unless people globally know about it and demand an end to the persecution too, in this world where we are all interconnected, resistance in Honduras is not enough, there must be global solidarity.
I can’t tell you how this makes me feel reading all of this … here I sit, typing and skyping and thinking – I help – I hope we can all join voices and educate with Rosie’s teachings now – for this is happening in so many places but to know it, to really hear it makes it a reality we really need to act on in all the ways available to us… if you have an internet connection, I dare you to share this story with AT LEAST one person… social networks ARE GO!!!
That’s Rosie on the Left …
I got an email from Rosie today … she has just arrived in Honduras and is heading off soon to observe, this is what she says:
“am off to a small trip tomorrow to see the farmers situation their area is militarised and earlier this month security guards killed 5 farmers and farmers continue actions to recover their land including by blocking highways which the regime has said they are not going to allow…i’d love to share something on thiis after the 2 days trip,
It should serve us all well to reflect now on what we have and what others don’t have… and that’s where my Bar Humbug comes in. As someone who feels consumerism is to our ultimate demise, we may find it hard to keep our festive spirits buoyant these days. So, good luck to you all – and I collectively hope that we collectively hope to spread hope, but more importantly RESOLUTION…
Have a Great Christmas and New Year folks!
I’ll be back at some stage yo!
WIKILEAKS MASS MIRRORS PROJECT
Art Action Union Links List!
artactionunion.org (undergoing maintenance)