Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seasons || Carried By Our Dreams

Turtle Heart
Pantelleria Island
The Mediterranean Sea

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice Twenty Thirteen: Winter

©2013 Turtle Heart. Eagle of Pantelleria flying
over the house 2 days ago...1 of 10 Eagles
living now on the island...

audio (ceremonial song at the solstice, 6:11 PM CET


an old indian
watches the sun set at the edge of the sea
as the bright moon carries up the new season
an open gate between
the light and the shadow of time
crying out, there is a song
he found carried on the wind
holding a simple feather
his dream turns to gold
as the world fills up with silence
twenty thirteen

my old friend and I…


the rain and the moon
the sea and the mountain
the dream and the shadow
of one season after another
we have found in just a moment
a song coming up from our spirits
our eye on what is in front of us
as winter rises
as the sun sets
my heart turns in a circle like this
and far away I feel you near
far away, right next to me
the dream we share 

Solstice Of Winter Twenty Thirteen

Turtle Heart
Pantelleria Island Italy

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Leaders of 90 countries say farewell to nelson Mandela, A Tribal Chief

Nelson Mandela was the gandson, the son of an African Tribal Chief.

At his imprisonment he wore tribal colors and a ceremonial dressing.

Wile he was impecably dressed in fine suits, some of us remember that it was a Tribal Elder who passed away, who was heard by and impacted the known world.

It was Tribal Drumming and Tribal Singing that sent him home. It was in Tribal Languages that he was parised before the assembled world community.

The roots, imprint, and moral code of nelson Mandela came from his association with his Tribal Culture, Prayres, Songs, ceremonies and Drums.

Almost no one will pay attention to this fact.

Let it be known for the record that it was noted here.

Nagamowin Gashk'ewizi || Turtle Heart
Ahnishinabek Carrier of the Four Directions Unity Bundle

A Sweat Lodge and Dreaming Together Ceremony in Italy

©2013 Turtle Heart. Drawing made by participants after
sleeping, the next morning.

On November 16 and 17 of this year, I joined with eight other people to make another in a continuing series of ceremonies I am making here in Italy and also around in the World.

This is approaching the tenth year I have been making ceremonies at this location in Parabiago, Italy. I have been working these years with one family, Carlo Raimondi and his wife Dott. Paola Panzeri (and their four children). Together we have become a family.

At one time we were doing this 2 to 4 times each year. Now my health prevents me from doing this work so often, much to my disappointment. It is always a great experience to be together with students of the mystery life. Instead of talking about politics or movies or sports, we get together for about 30 hours and talk about the mysteries of our souls, how to find healing, how to live a strong life and walk in Beauty. It is a very empowering way to spend time together.

Italians are great masters of social occasions. Everyone here is friendly. There is a long historic tradition of meeting together, eating together. We have there a big table where we can not only talk comfortably, we can also share great meals where everyone works together to enjoy the food, the companionship and the great work. My friends this time were very interested in knowing why and how the American Indians have used these kinds of ceremonies to advance their lives on this earth.

©2013. Making Tobacco Ties
I am trying to make a more focused and complete effort at creating a public record of these ceremonies. I think it is an important contribution to the search for knowledge to share these events. Also, as I become older and my health limits what I can do out in the world, I want o leave behind a record of what I was doing, how I did it, and why I did it.

Many American Indians are reluctant to share such records. There is concern that misguided people will abuse the information. To my mind, there is always a danger that any information can be misunderstood, or taken out of false context by critics, or simply get lost in translation. However, the effort to make a good record on the ceremonies and spiritual practices of American Indians is, to my mind, very important work. There is so much bad information out in the world about who the American Indians are and what their knowledge systems are like. It is very discouraging. It is partly because of the prevalence of so much bad information that many American Indians are against public records of ceremony. Having said that, I am comfortable with this record of my work and hope that students of the mystery life, students of history and culture, will find some value in this record.

©2013. "The Focused Point" A meditation tool used
for the ceremony in Parabiago

Opening Remarks:

We had several ceremonies around the little Morning Tobacco Fire. We kept this little sacred fire burning from the time the first person arrived until the last person left the grounds. This sacred fire is the root or foundation upon which all the rest of the ceremony is built. It will be the subject of a future discussion and public record. After these openeing meditations with sacred fire, I talked with everyone about the sweat lodge we would be sharing later in the evening.

The Sweat Lodge Ceremony

The Sweat Lodge, an ancient, intense and highly effective ceremony that uses the four elements and group energy to purify, reboot and empower human beings.

Offered with respect and appreciation.
Animal Supervisor

Turtle Heart
Ojibway Wabeeno

Pantelleria Italy

Friday, December 06, 2013

From The Heart : Nelson Mandela

A word from the heart.
I am an American Indian. A Democrat.
I was a soldier in Vietnam.
My father was an Ojibway American Indian.
My mother from Wales. I am a child of
Mixed racial marriage. Every day in America
I paid for their love.
I had to suffer the judgement of American Indians
For my white blood
I had to suffer the judgement of my American
For my “Indian” blood.
As a child I was broken and beaten and cursed
By both sides
At home nowhere
I could pass for “white” and sometimes I did.
But my bones and my breath and my heart
Has always been with the Old Indians.
I aways wondered what could I do
All by myself
To change things, or just to survive
And have a normal life somewhere.
Mandela has shown all of us how to
Change the world
By standing in your skin
Standing in the truth
And never giving up
Even when he was alone for decades
On a dirt floor
One visitor each year
For 30 minutes
He showed all of us the absolute power
Of forgiveness
Absolute forgiveness
Of everyone
For everything
And smile in your heart and soul when you do it
He showed the whole earth Something
About Freedom
About Change
About Peace
About Dignity
About the Power of The One
One Vote
One Life
One Heart
One Sacred Silence
In the heart of madness and rage and hatred
And racist
Politics….Apartness they called it
And today I felt that life
His life
My life
Our life
And I wept for what he did
I wept for what I never did
Not knowing how or where
And I found my heart
Watching South African People
Dancing to the drums
Of South Africa
Dancing to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela
Dancing to Remember
Where we have all been
And how far we have to go
He showed us how to never stop
Yes. Cry Freedom.
Yes. Cry for what you never did
Even when you could
And you did not
Yes Cry for what is lost
Yes Cry for what has been gained
And believe
Believe we can finish the long journey
Believe we can understand
Believe we can overcome
Believe in yourself
Believe in me
Believe in the future
And believe in our children
And remember
Right now
What time and lies and politics
And spin and special interests
And selfishness have stolen from us all
And measure all our failures against the loss
Of one man,

Nelson Mandela

Friday, October 25, 2013

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash || Murdered by the American Indian Movement

For most politically aware American Indians, the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash by the leadership of the so-called American Indian Movement (AIM), and participated in by convicted murderer Leonard Peltier, is a well known, open wound.

The continuously clueless and lazy MSM occasionally runs stories about the AIM people. They never get it right. They never look beneath the surface. They never ask questions. Thereby the average reader never finds out any useful or accurate information about American Indians. We are the forgotten minority, three million of us. It seems like a large number but it is not. It is such a small percentage of the American population that we are nearly, in practical terms, invisible.

All these years later I am still hoping for arrests in her murder. Today I discovered photographs of her two daughters visiting her grave. These photos make me weep. Ana Mae was a sterling American Indian woman. Her murder illustrates with crystal clarity the contempt and rage cowards like Russell Means, Dennis Banks, the Robideaux brothers, the Bellecourt brothers, Leonard Peltier and all the other so-called men of the AIM leadership display towards American Indian women.

The daughters of Ana Mae speak out every day across facebook, across blogs and press releases about the cowards and liars who claim to be leaders in the AIM and other American Indian political movements. They are really courageous. With every line they post you can feel the loss they feel of loosing their amazing and beautiful mother. They are determined to never go silent, determined to ask questions every day, determined to call out the fools who operate the money machine and spin culture of the coward Leonard Peltier. These Sacred Daughters are the real warriors. But the MSM never talks to them. They like to talk to a flatulent Dennis Banks who has done nothing for anybody but continues to be a celebrated “leader” by the MSM.

It is rather sad that those few times when the media decide to tell their readers and viewers about American Indians it is more often than not about these scam artists from the ancient history of AIM. I have spent years and years of my time visiting American Indians all over the USA. I frequently meet American Indians who have no idea who Russell Means, Dennis Banks or Leonard Peltier is. But they all know and feel Ana Mae Aquash.

I invite readers to use their favorite search engine and search her name. See what you can find out. You will find a lot of links. Very few of them will be from MSM sources. Do your own investigation. Find out what happened and what people are saying about it.

For me, today, finding these photographs, I went into a very emotional space. A space where I remembered…..everything. A space where time has frozen and never moved forward. A space where questions are still waiting to be answered, a space where cowards are yet waiting to be held accountable.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Culture of Shoot To Kill || Death Of A Mother in DC

So many talking heads, from US Senators, to educated journalists, to paid “experts”, praised the “very well trained” police who could not figure out how to stop a speeding car…so they shot her to death. Where is the “very well trained” there?

You ever notice when we see video of these increasingly violent incidents how utterly obese most of these “very well trained” police are? What is up with that? Anyone with a gun and working eyes can shoot you to death. No training involved. After seeing many police officers shoot dozens of bullets and hit only innocent, we can also ask questions about their aim as well.

I am really not satisfied or prepared to compliment the police for shooting this woman to death. Maybe I am the only one. I keep watching technology advances, participated in and witnessed really impressive advanced training about what to do and how to act in a crises. I have witnessed educated and armed people discussing the importance and trainable ability to shoot to stop, without shooting to kill. Cops on the street are trained to eat doughnuts and shoot to kill and write parking tickets. I see no evidence it goes much further than that.

I worked with the police many years ago, as a director of an emergency medical response team near Augusta, Georgia. I worked with special investigators, highway patrol and local small town police. I liked some of them very much. Many of them were clearly incompetent and many of them were really rather stupid. I sat in the peripheral of their culture and was rarely impressed with either their intelligence or their training. Many of them did disastrous things that injured people severely when they came upon auto accidents and domestic violence situations. I forced the local police to force their indifferent cops to sit through a long lecture on what not to do when you find an injured person. I saw people die because the police present were in fact to stupid to be where they were. In my own experience I have rarely met a “well trained” cop. Ever. I have met some older ones who had real world experience that made them, sometimes, more effective. But I saw experienced cops do really stupid things. Every day.

Making lunch today I found myself imagining how I would feel if Wayne LaPierre, the blood-drenched voice of outrage for the gun manufacturers’ political arm, the NRA. I surprised myself. I thought it would be better that he was not shot to death but, for example, had both his knees taken out. So he could not stand up anymore and bob his hitler hair-do up and down in outrage after every senseless act of violence. I was wondering what he would think about gun violence if that happened to him. There is such an emotional charge to this whole question of gun violence, both from random shooters and about the trigger happy cops, it is no easy to keep the otherwise rational mind from having crazy thoughts. So that was my crazy thought for the moment. LaPierre is such a piece of trash in my view, a really contemptible person. He seems the perfect target for an irrational violent thought.

Perhaps my point is that it is getting harder to stay calm. Harder to listen with patience to the lies, posturing and hypocrisy of people like NYC Commissioner of Police Kelly, or the NRA, or any given republican on any given day.

Any American Indian who is a carrier and protector of sacred ceremony, of the Sacred Pipe, is a religious officer with an agenda of peace. Peace now. A cop who spontaneously shoots to kill anyone is not a peace officer. He is an animal, filled with fear and whose education and training are instantly lost. A keeper of Sacred Pipes who imagines a crippled gun monger is a religious man who is in danger of loosing his patience, of forgetting under stress his own obligation to peace. So… I try to purge and examine my condition by writing about it. By discussing the next absence of a gesture of humanity by our new world order protectors. I hope my reasoning ability and my act of writing will redirect me towards compassion, towards patience. Towards a renewed optimism about our political and police leadership. It works sometimes. These days it seems to just be a mounting bucket list of American failure.

What I find particularly frustrating is that there is so little thoughtful analysis or even awareness of how frequently supposedly “well trained” police shoot someone to death when there was usually a more intelligent alternative. You just never hear that discussion. This last week, the only place we heard this question was from the family of Miriam Carey. I recall an old lady, barely able to move, protesting her eviction from her home who was shot to death, 17 bullets, by NY City police. A black man shot 47 times for reaching for his wallet. An college football player shot 12 times, shot to death, while looking for help after an auto accident. Questionable shootings is a list with thousands of names on it. Questions asked about questionable shooting by the police? Nothing.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Italian Justice, A Failure of Democracy || Amanda Knox

The Imbecile of Perugia and his "technical expert"

If you think things are looking grim in the United States, you could be living in Italy where so many things are cast in gog and arrogant posturing. To the slow, lingering death throes of disgraced and convicted felon Silvio Berlusconi, to the collapse of a working government, austerity and now, as well, a loose canon; a disgraced prosecutor, who worships the limelight, is starting another tragic court trial. By crafting intentional lies, twisting meaningless moments into sinister behavior and playing on the paranoia of the population, an Italian prosecutor is using everything except the truth this week.

It is nearly unbelievable that Amanda Knox is being “re-tried” in the murder of Meredith Kercher. Double Jeopardy means nothing in the Italian constitution. The courts seem free to make it up as they go along. In a country where vast volumes of over-whelming factual evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Silvio Berlusconi is a criminal, a bag man of the Mafia, a serial abuser, liar, thief and incompetent administrator, in multiple courts, yet serves not one day of punishment or consequences…that same court can again force a trial based upon forced confessions under torture, fabricated evidence, hopelessly compromised crime scene and incompetence at a criminal level by the police and administrations of justice in Perugia are once again bringing their lies, incompetence and deeply paranoid personalities to bear against an innocent person.

Yes, almost unbelievable. How can anyone, any person of informed jurisprudence have any faith at all in the evidence, investigation or integrity of the Perugia police and court system? Yet they are able to proceed. Because Italy is like that.

Italy is not like the USA. Over here in Italy the police can walk into your private home or business and search from floor to ceiling for anything at all. If they want to, that is the only pre-requisite. When you are arrested there is no protection against self-incrimination, no one will help you find an attorney, they do not even have to let you make a telephone call. They start with the idea that you are guilty. While the Italian courts do not serve up sentences as severe as those in American courts, the system itself is arbitrary, corrupt and filled to over flowing with incompetent police, investigators, prosecutors and judges. Of tragic proportions. In general if you get arrested (even if you are not convicted) you are guilty forever. If you are ever arrested for anything, the police have even more freedom to search your home or business, detain you without cause and invade your privacy and human rights that would cause an American’s head to explode.

I am sometimes nervous about living here for these reasons. What happened to Amanda Knox, and is still happening to her, could happen to any foreign born person in Italy..if not for phony murder charges, for any possible violation, even some you may never have heard of in your country. 

 I offer this example: Some years ago I was boarding a flight from Trapani in Sicily to come home to Pantelleria. I noticed from my peripheral vision a big Italian guy in plain clothes just eyeballing me fiercely for what seemed like a long time. At one point I turned to catch his eye but he turned away. His body language was tense. When I arrived at Pantelleria I was met by eight Carabinieri, eight, as I came through the baggage claim. They were very polite. One man wanted to see my passport, so I gave it to him. He opened a mobile phone and talked to someone for about 15 minutes, reading each page of the passport. The others watched me closely but otherwise let me just stand there. One of them spoke a little English and said he remembered coming to our house for diner some time back. The guy on the mobile closed his phone and they went away. Not a word of explanation.

The police and court systems of Italy frequently seem like an element of fascism that did not get re-worked in the shift to Democracy in this country after World War Two.

Now, for the third time, the Italian judicial system is convinced without any sustainable evidence of any kind that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are once again under the influence of this horrendous system. The case is being driven by a contemptible, ambitious and ethically challenged prosecutor who is under investigation for ethics violations right now. Giuliano Mignini is the discredited, deeply flawed prosecutor pushing this absurdity onto the world stage. He has no idea how to admit he made a mistake, and he never will. It is apparently impossible to remove him from office. The case this imbecile has made against Amanda and her friend is nonsense, it defies reason, it is moronic…and yet he is all in with it.

There are two Italy’s, at least. A county filled with tolerant, loving and peaceful people. A people who love freedom. This is contrasted by a super-wealthy government class that is filled with Mafia pimps, corrupt and self-absorbed people, and whole departments dominated by stupid and incompetent officials. The dark side of Italy is very dark, and it is not underground, but rather at the very core of the Italian government and Police. It is made up of posturing fools who never have to back down, who never have to admit they are wrong.

Hopefully the American State Department will step up and protect US Citizen Amanda Knox from any possible violation of her rights as a United States citizen. From Berlusconi, to the racists taunts against the first black Italian minister, to the failure of its government o do anything useful, to the continuing torture and unjust persecution of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Italy must hold itself ashamed before the world community.

The links listed below can help interested readers stay current with the situation now under way in Perugia; this includes venues for support:

Read this amazing book:
Waiting To Be Heard, by Amanda Knox
ISBN-10: 0062217208
Amazon Link….
It is a heavy read, not easy. But it is more important than ever for interested persons to understand her side of the story. The reader will also understand clearly how the Italian prosecution lied, manipulated, planted false inferences and did everything they could to keep public sympathy away from Ms Knox rayher than ever admit they were wrong, it is really that tragically simple. The arrogance and pride of an overstuffed, incompetent imbecile prosecutor.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Equinox Twenty Thirteen

©2013 Silvia Santi: Dream with a Raven

September 22 Equinox Twenty Thirteen:
Opening the Human Heart.

Four times each year the mother earth opens her heart into deep gateways called the solstice and equinox.

Modern people have forgotten how hard humanity worked for thousands of generations to know when these moments would arrive. Humanity no longer remembers why our ancient ancestors did that.

The old American Indians would call the equinox and solstice “Gateways”. Capital “G”. A way of passage. Going from one place to another place. Modern people do not do that either. They stay where they are. Maybe that is OK. After so many centuries, humanity in its modern form has stayed where it was, where it was.

Inside the house of the paymaster, a solstice or equinox is just another day to do business.

To the old Indians, a Gateway has eight sides. All sacred ideas are eight-sided. A human being trying to understand this is called “an eight-sided person”, or, a person who has an “eight-sided character”. Only people who are know to have an eight-sided character are permitted or endowed with the rights to hold sacred ceremony and carry sacred objects.

The human heart has four gateways, called chambers. Four Gateways, Four Chambers. Modern people don’t think there is a connection. Probably it is something they never think about.

When I think about the sacred of the old Indians, the first idea is always about the human heart. How do we open it? How do we protect it? How do we heal it? How do we empower it? How do we learn how to use it and believe in it? These are the questions that come up inside the old sacred ceremonies of equinox and solstice. These are ancient questions. Honest questions.

A good gateway has a “key”. The old Indians tell us the key to the Gateway is in fact the human heart. The eight-sided key to the human heart might look like this:

Effort (Doing Something)

These sacred forces have been at the root of every hero, every saint, every savior, every great leader, every act of courage….and absent in evil people, corrupted in damaged societies. Their presence ensures prosperity and joy…their absence leads to desperation, death, oppression and failure. Sickness and evil. Cowardice.

The human heart can be opened and made truly great by applying these eight sacred properties. Many ancient ceremonies of ancient people were designed to invoke, refine and develop these qualities. They are the root, the foundation, and the fruit of all ancient tribal ritual.

Today, these Gateway Ceremonies of the American Indian are often called “correction ceremonies”. They are an opportunity to evaluate, assimilate, adjust, polish and deepen. These qualities were present in the original instructions that came with and was brought forward by the religions of humanity. All of them.

Today the religions of humanity, like modern people, no longer remember these things. The churches of the world have become multi-national corporations. Corporations are not people, my friends. They are instruments of the paymaster. They are temples to the parking meter. They have only one side. Flat. This is why they no longer work very well. This is why they have become a refuge for pedophiles, favors, contracts and something called political influence.

The sacred Gateways of equinox and solstice are mighty doors, and they are locked, unbreakable. They can only be opened with the key, the eight-sided key. That is the only way you can open them and pass through. Everyone is given this key when their bodies arrive on the earth from the wombs of their mothers. If you look carefully in the mirror you will see that this is the truth. It is right there.

No one can pass through for you. A priest cannot do it for you, or a president or a godfather. We pass through one by one. By our own efforts. There are no lines to wait in, no fees to pay, no permits are required. You are there, or you are not there. There are no apps for that. There are no discounts. It requires no technology, not even an education.

You do not have to travel to the gateway. You are already there.

6 billion human beings live all alone
inside a world with no prince
drifting in a sacred mother ship with no captain
dreamless throughout the night
our churches filled with rage and indifference
our governments stuffing the cash in their pockets
while children without food or hope
cry themselves to sleep
where our elders stand with their hands in their empty pockets
inside a dirty sky, filled with smoke and oil
standing at the shores of the great sea
stinking and burning from the black money
of the paymaster
as birds fall from the sky
and dead sea animals float to the shore
twenty thirteen
another gateway in the mystery life of time
the sacred doors broken
closed and deserted
the silence screams
the hard works pays nothing
and the food we eat is trucked in
from big steel buildings
the seeds owned by lawyers and empty men
dressed in gold and resting on silver
no one looks back to remember who we were or where we were going
the sun never sets and the moon never rises
the shadows grow longer, and longer still
and no one wants to look in there
so the shadows grow and grow

i was there looking into the darkness
I was there remembering where I was going
I remembered where I had been
my heart was holding a song, so i sang it
my dreams were carrying me, like a great wind
my hands were open and the earth was holding me
and in the darkness I wept
i have come so far
but nothing has changed
and it is easier and safer to stand still
and not risk moving forward
in case the police decide to shoot me dead

yes my friend
when I look in the eight directions
with my eyes open
my heart beating
my feet on the earth
I pretend to believe we are all good people
we are all doing what we need to do
we have peace in our heart
we are not against the others who are not like us
we hold our families close
yet my eyes cannot close
I cannot stop seeing the shadows growing
I cannot hear 
the prayers of god

Equinox Mudjeekwas
9:44 pm CET, Pantelleria Island

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nine Eleven || An American Indian At Ground Zero

Ground Zero NYC 11 December 2001 ©2013 Turtle Heart

I was having my first cup of coffee that morning. As was my habit I turned on the cable news channel to see what had happened in the world during the night. I was in New Mexico, the little historic village of Taos. I was not dressed. I had my old Indian blanket wrapped around me in my old chair, sipping the coffee in the early morning chill of the high mountains. I was generally paying attention, also checking my email and doing those little things a modern person does in the morning…when the breaking news appeared.

At first I thought I had the wrong channel. What my tricked out brain saw was a tiny airplane fling towards the world trade center. It looked tiny to me, like a little old bi-plane. My first impression was that it was a promo for something. But then it changed. The picture and my mind came into focus. It was real. I sat stunned and watched the scene unfold live over national television, like so many others. I watched people jumping from the high building. Smoke rising, talking heads unclear about what was happening. Boom. The second jet slammed into the other tower and it was clear something beyond imagination was unfolding.

My friend Kristin came into the room about this time and we watched the towers burn and smoke. We used to live in Manhattan about 15 blocks up Broadway from the towers. She took one look at the burning towers and said emphatically, “they are coming down”. A few minutes later they did.

It was one of those moments one never forgets. At the time, living in Taos New Mexico I had many friends at the Taos Pueblo American Indian community. Every year at this time in the pueblo there is a week long ceremony and feast. People come from all over the world to watch and share in this event. The highlight is a pole climbing, a very old and sacred ceremony, where a person must climb a very tall, fat pole planted in the ground. At the top there is always a magical bundle of precious things, this varies from year to year. It is a ceremony conducted by all 22 of the Tewa-Tiwa American Indian tribes.

On September the twelve, as thousands of people watched, the events of the day before on everyone’s mind, the ceremonial climber reached the top of the great pole in the earth and drew forth an enormous American flag and waved it dramatically and beautifully into the wind. It was an amazing moment and everyone cheered…not a few of them wept openly.

The Taos pueblo is treated very poorly by the United States government, both at the state and federal levels. No one at the pueblo ever has much good to say about the United States…you have no idea how badly they are treated even to this day. Yet, through all the terrible history, even the American Indians of that little, poor and oppressed village felt a great loss and a great love for the country that is after all the home we American Indians share, for better or worse, with all Americans. When I remember that day on nine eleven, I always remember that ceremony the next day.

On December the 11th I traveled with the Sacred Pipe Bundle to New York city, with a single companion, who donated the travel costs. I made my way through roadblocks and police checkpoints. At each stop I told them that I was an American Indian who has come to make a ceremony at Ground Zero on behalf of my tribal elders. At every checkpoint I was passed through quickly.

When I arrived at the so-called “viewing platform” where so-called VIPs walked onto a small platform to view the caranage below…there was a circle of security people. I addressed the uniformed NYPD officer present and told her my story. She was a little sour, but she called over a uniformed US Army Colonel and I told him my story. He asked me what I needed and said go ahead. I went out onto the platform and opened my bag. I changed right there into my ceremonial clothing, putting them on over my steet clothes. I opened the little bundle holding Sacred Pipe and stood at the edge of the platform making a silent prayer. Workmen down below stopped what they were doing and looked up the whole time.

I sat down there, it was a small space, about ten feet square. I took out an old Peyote rattle and started a song, calling out the healing powers of the Mother Earth and calling out the names of those tribal elders. I opened my eyes after some minutes of singing and looked around…around me in a circle where all the uniformed and plain clothes police and security people. They had their eyes closed and their hands crossed at their waists. It was really a very moving moment.

I stood up and took the one photo, having my companion hold up the Old Man In Charge Of Dreams ceremonial mask.

I then went to ring my “tinksa” bells from Tibet. They are very old and have been personally blessed by Dalai Lama of Tibet. They normally ring for some minutes, very clear and dramtic. On this occasion they just thumped. They did not ring at all. It was very strange, and the only time in my life that happened.

I removed the ceremony clothing and silently went back to the public area, and back to the airport, going home on the next flight.

Turtle Heart
Keeper of the Four Directions Unity Bundle
Ojibwe Artist

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Cooperation, Personal Accountability, and Dreaming Together

Dream Image by Dreaming Ceremony

The history of Christianity, of Judaism, of Islam, of Buddhism, and all the world’s principle religions are well documented in thousands of books. Almost nothing is published about the origins, evolution and structure of American Indian religious and spiritual practices.

American Indians used collective cooperation, an expectation of persons being personally accountable, and dreams to build their complex and beautiful, rich religious life.

This is quite unique among the cultures of the world (though consistent with all indigenous populations around the world).

Part of the problem is tribal diversity. The Lakota are as different from the Hopi as the French are different from the Swedish. Differences in culture, in food, in social habits, different in religious expression.

However, just as we can find common elements of humanity among all the cultures of the world (family loyalty, work habits, vacation behavior, etc), the careful student can find shared elements among all the world’s tribal cultures. One of these is the “clan system”, another is attitudes about “dreaming”.

Clan System
Every member, historically, of every tribal culture around the world was organized and lived within a clan system. It is very difficult for modern people, even trained specialists, to understand what the clan system is, what it means, and how to understand it. One of the first great casualties of the influx and imposition of modern cultures was the denigration, weakening, and in many cases, destruction of the clan system.

Historically, one might say traditionally, each person is born or birthed into the clan of their mother (in most tribes). The actual number of clans in tribes is variable, from a few, like seven, all the way up to forty or more.

Most clans are of the animals, but some include plants and even so-called mythical creatures. Animal clans are the most common. The most common are bear, turtle, eagle, fish, salmon, goose, weasel, otter, badger, and so forth. The most ancient of the surviving clans appears to be the fish clan. This clan is concentrated in the pueblo tribes of the American southwest but can be found in other large tribes around the world. Other clans types might include teh Arrow Clan, Big Earring Clan, Ear Clan, Butterfly Clan, Fire Clan, Water Clan and so on. Each addressing a different element of the environment, wildlife and plant life and so on.

Clan membership determines who does what ceremonies, group leadership, liaison responsibilities with other tribes, who attends to what duties and responsibilities and many other subtle and detailed features of both daily and religious life. Fo example, in the Ojibway culture it was the responsibility of the River Otter Clan, sometimes mistakenly called the Weasel Clan, to make all important ceremonial objects (and no one else). Clan members also had ceremonies, objects, clothing and ritual movements unique to their clans and very different from other clans, usually marriage to members of the same clan were prohibited. Another feature is that each clan contains a piece of the tribes total ceremonial knowledge, no one clan being responsible for all spiritual and ceremonial events.

This is a cooperative (not competitive) element of absolute beauty and power. The clans each taking parts of the ceremonial life creates a rich and complex tapestry of spiritual practices that easily, without central leadership, advances the spiritual life of the tribe through the four seasons. In this, as well, great balance was achieved as one clan would manage water issues, another the hunting, yet another the training of children, another deals with the plants, and so forth. Clans are specialists. Unique specialists. It was a way of addressing the entire circle of creation.

The absolute failure of modern research to understand the structure and value of the clan system is an intellectual disgrace. Its importance and significance has been and remains routinely ignored, almost invisible, while it remains, at the same time, the essential element with tribal ceremonial structure.

Dreaming (Together)

The dreaming was of great value, interest and focus in all ancient tribal cultures. This was another element in tribal culture that was devastated by contact from modern society.

Rock art around the world (petroglyphs) are tools used by tribal spiritual leaders to record group dreaming. No one knows this fact, and for decades science scratches its collective dense heads trying to figure out what petroglyphs are all about. You read it here first.

Tribal cultures dreamed together. For thousands of generations human beings slept together in big stacks and piles. This collective act of sleeping together is likely the process that evolved dreaming itself. Tribal cultures took dreaming very seriously. Dreams were used to understand migration routes, hunting locations, names and the structure of ancient ceremonies, among other things. This process has been absolutely devastated by the emptiness of modern life. Modern people stopped their ancient practices of self-empowerment and traded them for the intellectual slavery of organized religions and governmental control…and that was it, a great gift that sustained humanity for thousands of generations was lost.

Ancient tribal cultures gathered all over the world to create dreaming together ceremonies that lasted for weeks. Now not one tribe does this. It is gone. Here and there are a few tribes with some pieces and parts of their ancient dream knowledge still at work…but no one is paying attention.

I have spent many years working to recreate and share the ceremonial structure that originally enabled dreaming together. I put groups of people in a big stack together and make twenty four hours of old ceremonies in an effort to stimulate the medula obligata, the part of the brain connected to this ancient resource. It has been long and lonely work, but has yielded some interesting results. It has also revealed how absolutely disconnected modern people are to the power of their own dreams. What modern psychology and behavior science has to say about “the meaning of dreams” is nonsense, a waste of time. Most people dream at such a weak level that their dreams are essentially meaningless. Dreaming has become like muscles that are never used, so they are weak and do not work very well at all. The ceremonies have taught me that, in fact, dreaming can be educated, evolved and made more useful to daily life, to deeper meaning by “exercises” designed to directly achieve this result.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Martin Luther King || Tears of Time

©2013 Turtle Heart

I was a teenager when Dr. King was murdered. I wept. I cried like a baby. I was a young man in Columbus Ohio. At the time, my mother, a dedicated Southern Baptist, carried me to White Hall Baptist Church every Sunday. That Sunday I stayed up almost all night preparing a speech that the pastor allowed me to give that Sunday. And I did that. My first public speech was a memorial to Martin Luther King to a southern Baptist church filled with white people. It was almost certainly a turning point in my life.

Today, some 50 years later, here we are again. It is not a day of celebration, though it is, it is yet another pivotal moment where the old white men who dominate the GOP politics of 35 US states and who stand in unprecedented obstruction and clueless impotence in the US Government have doubled down on their contempt and fear of people of color.

This morning I watched a 1966 rebroadcast of Dr. King speaking on Meet the Press. In my mind I made the contrast between that Meet the Press and the laughingly inept Meet the Press that is appearing today. The contrast between that moment and this, seen in that show, is astonishing. In 1966 that show was interested in the truth, in the movements of freedom. Today, hosted by a clown whose name is not worth spelling out, it is a propaganda machine spinning the opposition to our first African American United States President

Obama is not a Martin Luther King. He is almost certainly a good and intelligent and honest human being, but he is not a Martin Luther King. King was fearless. He spoke truth to power relentlessly and eloquently. Obama is polite, cautious and reserved. As Doctor King moved through his life, he did not blink, and he never took a backwards step. He was not timid. He was a real leader. King inspired me to make the choice to stand with my American Indian ancestors. My mother was a fair-skinned, slightly red-haired Celtic woman; my father a dark-skinned Ojibwe American Indian hiding out and pretending to be a “white man”. During those times I began to understand that I needed to make a choice about where I wanted to stand. As an adult man I chose to stand with the American Indians. Martin Luther King inspired me to have the courage to do that.

Obama has American Indian ancestors. In 2007 he was even adopted by the great Crow Nation and given the name “Black Eagle”. In American Indian cultures, adoption of a “relative” is a profoundly sacred ceremony, a part of, and contained with the roots of our ancient sacred religious and ceremonial practices, centuries old. So many American Indians were optimistic that at last someone at the Federal level might embrace the many devastating and terrible problems that face American Indians all over this country.

It never happened. It is not going to happen. Everything from education to health care to outright persecution and violence against American Indians is getting worse. The same is true for civil rights for African Americans and Latino Americans, all that progress brought forward on the might shoulders and illuminated soul of Martin Luther King is being diluted, diverted, re-defined and actually turned around, even by the once noble Supreme Court.

The new inspiration is seen in the likes of one time Senator Ted Cruz, who, like Obama is also a one term US Senator, is going to try and be the next US President to jump out from the shadows of inexperience and ego to further lead us towards the New Mediocrity.

I recently heard the flatulent Ted Cruz compared in intellect to the late and truly great conservative William F. Buckley. I commented at the time that comparing Cruz to Buckley as like comparing a deep and ancient river to a puddle of baby pee on the sidewalk.

I voted for Obama in both his elections. If we had voted in John McCain the world would be at war…McCain is clearly the most dangerous and imbalanced candidate to seek the Office in generations. So I voted for Obama when I really wanted to be voting for Hillary Clinton. Then there was the Empty Suit, ugly bag of mostly water with the name of Romney. So it was off to vote for Obama a second time. I am a registered democrat, but I have voted for Republicans from time to time. I voted for Nixon, from the jungle of Vietnam. I did that because he was the one US President who actually did things real and powerful and beautiful for American Indians, he alone among all the others…though these facts are not well known and in spite of all of his other problems and failings. He cracked open the door to China, a mixed but important blessing.

So what has happened to the Great Dream of Martin Luther King? Where has it gone? Obama is an intelligent and principled President…but intelligence is not Leadership- The Republicans have, seemingly, all the real political power, but Power is not Leadership. And look around the eight directions of our world…it is the same bleak picture. Lots of Intelligent People, lots of Powerful People…but not much leadership.

I find I am still waiting for Hilary Clinton.

And today when I looked at Martin Luther King, I wept again.

Monday, August 05, 2013

American Wars, American Gold

Over the summer I read a collection of books, that I put together myself, which encompassed American military history from the Revolution (Bunker Hill) to Afghanistan. At the end of this posting I will list those books.

I have also watched a series of films, from Gettysburg (the despicable defense of slavery) to the Battle Of Haditha (a despicable act of mass murder by American soldiers).

For weeks I have posted nothing. It is difficult to understand what to say about the present direction and comportment of the United States military. My conviction about the available evidence indicates a level of incompetence in leadership and policy that is very troubling and incredibly dangerous. I look at the portfolio of words that populate my mind and more and more am just speechless, unable to express coherently the meaning and the implications of so much failure in leadership, and so much morally and ethically corrupt behavior by America’s young soldiers in general….and in particular the insanely lawless behavior of privately contracted armed killer.

I was a soldier in Vietnam. I love soldiers. I do not want to disparage any soldier. Yet clear evidence exists in multiple media forms of mindless murder of children, women, families. Without a moment’s accountability. The national news media is itself a corporate interest so it never tells us “the other side” of any of these stories, ever. Fearless and perceptive journalists at the edges of the mainstream are our only hopeful sources of honest information on this subject. This is why the reading of courageous, recently published books and intelligently produced films on the subjects of our Middle East adventures.

The government and its corporate partners have organized to effectively make it as close to impossible as it has ever been to find out what is going on. The recent verdicts in the Bradley Manning trial are a clear signal that it will get even harder as the government is criminalizing information release more and more.

Since the first Bush gained national office, there has been a secret alliance between neoconservatives and Christian fundamentalism unprecedented in US history. Former government operatives and highly placed officials have retired to enrich themselves beyond a normal person’s wildest dreams. Kissinger, in particular, but nearly all the high level people around both democrats and republicans are cashing in at unbelievable and totally invisible levels of corruption.

These radical Christian fundamentalists at high levels of power and wealth believe they are the chosen ones. They do not believe in the separation of the so-called church (their church) from government. They have doubled down in secret deals to make themselves richer and richer. By any means necessary.  We have seen recently how once placed in Washington culture, its members never leave. After “serving” they become entrenched in the many schemes to cash in, manipulate behind the scenes and in a multitude of ways enrich themselves and their families. 

This terrible story is balanced out by generations of abysmal leadership in the military and in the government, and in corporations.

The Generals
The present crop of General Officers in the United States military are pampered, cultist, shallow thinkers that are to a man, inept. For all the fame and notoriety of several of them, they have displayed an astonishing lack of both comprehension and leadership. Every choice made by the generals in Iraq and Afghanistan has backfired, failed or been impotent. Generals have never been more isolated from, and in a different culture from the soldiers who look to them for planning and sound decisions. The evidence for this is a matter of public record…a record that is crystal clear in its grim conclusions but kept on the back pages of every press organization in the USA. Invisible.

The Corporations
The redemption, protection and saving grace of our system of government is accountability. Because government officials and military commanders are part of the government, they can be held accountable by a wide variety of checks and balances.

Thanks to possible war criminals like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a long list of other government operatives, many, many activities, including armed force, have been privatized to corporations. These corporate entities work in secret, with zero accountability and often no oversight. In the Middle East wars privately paid corporate “soldiers” kill, kidnap, assault and destroy with no oversight or authority to contain them from military commanders, from anyone.

Think about that.

Thousands of private warriors, paid huge salaries, operating with impunity and outside of the lawful military chain of command, immune form both local and US prosecution.

The roster of ex congressional, senatorial, military and policy experts cashing in on the privatization of America’s occupations is mind-numbing. The MSM tells us not one word of these stories. The information is there but scattered around. Only in recent years have some great writers organized and brought forward the details of the corporate take over of American foreign policy implementation and enforcement.

 Government: Active and Retired

Since 9-11, the amount of money rolling around, up for grabs, in the many new security related fields is an unbelievable seduction. Washington is crowded out with present and former officials and their staffs riding an unprecedented gravy train….in the billions upon billions of dollars.

The modern age has produced so much money inside the governments of western cultures, it is impossible to resist. Lobbyists, contractors, agents, advisors, consultants and your basic opportunists are in their Golden Age of contracts, sub contracts and fee collection.

Do any of these people have the time or the motivation to think about the US Constitution, about the poor, about civil rights or immigrants?  Follow this selfish, self-worshipping greed to its political roots and you have the present day GOP conservative movement and its leadership…along with their partners in the Christian right.

So, well beyond the nearly speechless condition this collective portfolio of the death of human dignity from corporate quantum trajectories, fueled by religious extremists on all sides, it feels ever more strange for the act of blogging about it and wonder who among us is really paying attention….and how inevitable it all seems at this point.

I was a little starved for reading. I purchased an iPad some months ago. It was a real quantum leap forward for reading. I live in Italy and finding books in English, where I live is not even possible. Reading books on the laptop or desktop I don’t like it. But the iPad works just fine. Finding books is easy. So Below is the list of books I read rather all related to the question of America descending down a dark path, one I find troubling, extremely troubling.

Partial List of the Summer Reading and Viewing:

Battle of Haditha. Film. 2007. 
Marines murder an entire community of inncent people in revenge and outrage over an IED killing several marines. The Marines are shown making cold blooded murder and manipulated by a cold-blooded, poiece of shit so-called Muslim religious leader who set up the community to be murdered to stir up anti-American activity. I do not support the troops any longer. They do not even support themselves. How many have made suicide? Thousands. The US military has lost its honor in these wars.

An intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge, by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat. James behaves as if he's indifferent to death. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James' true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.

ISBN: 089141911X | ISBN-13: 9780891419112
March 23, 2003: U.S. Marines from the Task Force Tarawa are caught up in one of the most unexpected battles of the Iraq War. What started off as a routine maneuver to secure two key bridges in the town of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq degenerated into a nightmarish twenty-four-hour urban clash in which eighteen young Marines lost their lives and more than thirty-five others were wounded. It was the single heaviest loss suffered by the U.S. military during the initial combat phase of the war.

On that fateful day, Marines came across the burned-out remains of a U.S. Army convoy that had been ambushed by Saddam Hussein’s forces outside Nasiriyah. In an attempt to rescue the missing soldiers and seize the bridges before the Iraqis could destroy them, the Marines decided to advance their attack on the city by twenty-four hours. What happened next is a gripping and gruesome tale of military blunders, tragedy, and heroism.

ISBN: 0307744787    ISBN-13: 9780307744784 
From the #1 bestselling author of Fiasco and The Gamble, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to Iraq.

History has been kind to the American generals of World War II—Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley—and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. In The Generals, Thomas E. Ricks sets out to explain why that is. In part it is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

ISBN: 0307460991    ISBN-13: 9780307460998 
Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring Reagan's radical presidency, the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the scope of American military power to overpower our political discourse.

An examination of the Battle of Gettysberg on both the personal and strategic level.
The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863. Prequel to the 1993 classic "Gettysburg".
As the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII, Gen. Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.
In 1937, Japan occupied Nanjing, the Chinese capital. There was a battle and subsequent atrocities against the inhabitants, especially those who took refuge in the International Security Zone.
ISBN: 156858394X    ISBN-13: 9781568583945 
Meet Blackwater USA, the private army that the US government has quietly hired to operate in international war zones and on American soil. Its contacts run from military and intelligence agencies to the upper echelons of the White House; it has a military base, a fleet of aircraft and 20,000 troops, but since September 2007 the firm has been hit by a series of scandals that, far from damaging the company, have led to an unprecedented period of expansion.This revised and updated edition includes Scahill's continued investigative work into one of the outrages of our time: the privatisation of war.

ISBN: 0553381482    ISBN-13: 9780553381481 
“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’ s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.

In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, James D. Hornfischer paints an unprecedented portrait of the Battle of Samar, a naval engagement unlike any other in U.S. history—and captures with unforgettable intensity the men, the strategies, and the sacrifices that turned certain defeat into a legendary victory.

ISBN: 1451617526    ISBN-13: 9781451617528 
AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians--many of them young women from small towns across the South--were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war--when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed. 

Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it--women who are now in their eighties and nineties-- The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country's history.

ISBN: 0670025445    ISBN-13: 9780670025442 
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents  have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.  In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.

As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

ISBN: 0802714714    ISBN-13: 9780802714718 
When Nuremberg was scouted in 1945 as a possible site for the Nazi war crime trials, an American damage survey of Germany described it as being "among the dead cities" of that country, for it was 90% destroyed, its population decimated, its facilities lost. As a place to put Nazis on trial, it symbolized the devastation Nazism brought upon Germany, while providing evidence of the destruction the Allies wrought on the country in the course of the war.

In Among the Dead Cities, the acclaimed philosopher A. C. Grayling asks the provocative question, how would the Allies have fared if judged by the standards of the Nuremberg Trials? Arguing persuasively that the victor nations have never had to consider the morality of their policies during World War II, he offers a powerful, moral re-examination of the Allied bombing campaigns against civilians in Germany and Japan, in the light of principles enshrined in the post-war conventions on human rights and the laws of war. 

Intended to weaken those countries' ability and will to make war, the bombings nonetheless destroyed centuries of culture and killed some 800,000 non-combatants, injuring and traumatizing hundreds of thousands more in Hamburg, Dresden, and scores of other German cities, in Tokyo, and finally in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "Was this bombing offensive justified by the necessities of war," Grayling writes, "or was it a crime against humanity? These questions mark one of the great remaining controversies of the Second World War." Their resolution is especially relevant in this time of terrorist threat, as governments debate how far to go in the name of security.

Grayling begins by narrating the Royal Air Force's and U. S. Army Air Force's dramatic and dangerous missions over Germany and Japan between 1942 and 1945. Through the eyes of survivors, he describes the terrifying experience on the ground as bombs created inferno and devastation among often-unprepared men, women, and children. He examines the mindset and thought-process of those who planned the campaigns in the heat and pressure of war, and faced with a ruthless enemy. Grayling chronicles the voices that, though in the minority, loudly opposed attacks on civilians, exploring in detail whether the bombings ever achieved their goal of denting the will to wage war. Based on the facts and evidence, he makes a meticulous case for, and one against, civilian bombing, and only then offers his own judgment. Acknowledging that they in no way equated to the death and destruction for which Nazi and Japanese aggression was responsible, he nonetheless concludes that the bombing campaigns were morally indefensible, and more, that accepting responsibility, even six decades later, is both a historical necessity and a moral imperative.

Rarely is the victor's history re-examined, and A. C. Grayling does so with deep respect and with a sense of urgency "to get a proper understanding for how peoples and states can and should behave in times of conflict." Addressing one of today's key moral issues, Among the Dead Cities is both a dramatic retelling of the World War II saga, and vitally important reading for our time.

ISBN: 0307342026    ISBN-13: 9780307342027 
George Weller was a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who covered World War II across Europe, Africa, and Asia. At the war’s end in September 1945, under General MacArthur’s media blackout, correspondents were forbidden to enter both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But instead of obediently staying with the press corps in northern Japan, Weller broke away. The intrepid newspaperman reached Nagasaki just weeks after the atomic bomb hit the city. Boldly presenting himself as a U.S. colonel to the Japanese military, Weller set out to explore the devastation.

As Nagasaki’s first outside observer, long before any American medical aid arrived, Weller witnessed the bomb’s effects and wrote “the anatomy of radiated man.” He interviewed doctors trying to cure those dying mysteriously from “Disease X.” He typed far into every night, sending his forbidden dispatches back to MacArthur’s censors, assuming their importance would make them unstoppable. He was wrong: the U.S. government censored every word, and the dispatches vanished from history.

Weller also became the first to enter the nearby Allied POW camps. From hundreds of prisoners he gathered accounts of watching the atomic explosions bring an end to years of torture and merciless labor in Japanese mines. Their dramatic testimonies sum up one of the least-known chapters of the war—but those stories, too, were silenced.

It is a powerful experience, more than 60 years later, to walk with Weller through the smoldering ruins of Nagasaki, or hear the sagas of prisoners who have just learned that their torment is over, and watch one of the era’s most battle-experienced reporters trying to accurately and unsentimentally convey to the American people scenes unlike anything he—or anyone else—knew. 

Weller died in 2002, believing it all lost forever. Months later, his son found a fragile copy in a crate of moldy papers. This historic body of work has never been published.

Along with reports from the brutal POW camps, a stirring saga of the worst of the Japanese “hellships” which carried U.S. prisoners into murder and even cannibalism, and a trove of Weller’s unseen photos, First into Nagasaki provides a moving, unparalleled look at the bomb that killed more than 70,000 people and ended WWII. Amid current disputes over the controlled embedding of journalists in war zones and a government’s right to keep secrets, it reminds us how such courageous rogue reporting is still essential to learning the truth.

ISBN: 1402210876    ISBN-13: 9781402210877 
"In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I've rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith." - Gail Sheehy

The decisions that change your life are often the most impulsive ones.

Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong. 

What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparalleled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love. 

Thank you George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

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