Vigils at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab

Chelsea and Marcus Page-Collonge protest at the gates of the Livermore nuclear weapons lab.

Chelsea and Marcus Collogne-Page protest at the gates of the Livermore nuclear weapons lab.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is the main location of nuclear weapons research and development in California, 88% of its budget is for weapons activities. The next monthly vigil conducted by Catholic Worker Farmers at the Livermore nuclear weapons lab will be on Friday May 3rd from 7:00 to 8:00 am. Chelsea and Marcus Page-Collonge discuss why they organize the vigils.

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A Note to My Son

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I never said thank you for that time you put your hand on my back and told me it was OK to leave. I’d left you sobbing on your bed. You were in fifth grade then. Arms lean muscles reaching to cover bone. Lanky in form, but small in frame and wailing when I said that I was leaving your dad. Even though I was raising you, I had no legal or biological claim to you. Leaving your dad was leaving you.

I came back a few days later to take care of you. Your moon face beaming at me. And we pretended like nothing had changed, your hand warm in mine as we walked home from school. Your shoelaces dragged, untied through the gutter as we crossed the street. Without being asked, you did your homework. If you were good enough, sweet enough maybe I would stay.

When your dad and I finally split up for good, you were 16 and no longer good or sweet. Your voice dropped and hung flat. “I don’t give a shit,” you said. “It doesn’t matter to me.” The gaping holes in your teeth replaced by braces. The round of your eyes bloodshot red and lidded with weed.

Now, you are gone from me. On the day you collected the posters from your wall, you couldn’t stop shaking your foot. Even your voice trembled. I could not see the scabs under your shirt, but I knew they were there, trying to stake a claim to the pain you tried to cut away. I recycled the empty bottles of tequila in your room. Most of the calls have stopped—the substance abuse program, your CPS worker, the counselor from the county shelter.

You call me when you need something. A place to stay. A tent. Money. And I can only sometimes bring myself to pick up the phone when you call. My stomach tightens and heat rushes to my cheeks. Joy, longing, and anger collide. I tell myself that I don’t hunger for you. I pick up the phone. We, for a moment, pretend not to be strangers. Mother and son. And that still exists even if not bound by blood or law. On your 18th birthday, you called me back to ask me to sign over your college account to you. “You’re not in college,” I said.

I want to be angry because it gives me something to feel that takes the pain away. But I remember how we were.

When you were in fifth grade, you put your hand on the square of my back, so you could feel my heart beat right into it. You knew that I came back for you. To take care of you. Because you asked me to. The plan was that I would leave before your dad came home. But he left work early.

I made for the door. He grabbed my elbow. The desperate hard grab, skating toward an edge. Thick pads of fingers, pulling me toward him. There would be no bruises from the force. “Don’t leave,” he said. My eyes filled with tears. My hair streaked in my face. And the animalistic fear came. Your dad was close to the edge. Hands on my shoulders. Voice out of control. I told him to get his hands off of me. His grip tightened. Every part of me wanted to leave, to break free. But there was you.

“Stop, dad,” you said. And you put your small thin frame between us. Your father stepped back, released me. That is when you put your hand on my back. I was sitting on the stairs. “It’s OK. You can go. Go.”

You gave me permission. Before I walked out that door, I held you. All 46-pounds of you, balled up as if you could become a fetus that would fit inside of me and go back into my womb and be born again as my child.

The Mamilogues is a forum about the journey of being a mom, because mothering is raw and gritty.

Bapsi Sidhwa on Partition

April 6 in Berkeley

April 6 in Berkeley

Bapsi Sidhwa, an award winning, Pakistani author of five novels, including Cracking India and the Crow Eaters, discusses the partition of India and her work for justice. She was one of the first authors to take on the horror of the 1947 partitioning of India, the largest land migration in human history. About 10 million people were forced to migrate. An estimated 1 million people died from the rioting and fighting. Through her work as a writer, Bapsi Sidhwa strives to bring women’s issues of the Indian subcontinent into public discussion. She will speaking in Berkeley on April 6 at the 1947 partition archive’s Art for Partition event. This interview aired on APEX Express.

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More on the 1947 Partition Archive

Disappeared in Kashmir

Mughal Mass spent 22 years searching for her son, Nazir Ahmed. In 2009, she passed away, her son was never found.

Mughal Mass spent 22 years searching for her son, Nazir Ahmed. In 2009, she passed away, her son was never found.

Former BBC journalist, Ather Zia, discusses her research on the disappeared in Kashmir. From 1989 to 2011 there have been 8,000 disappearances and 70,000 deaths of Kashmiris resulting from the Indian occupation. Ather Zia is also the editor of Kashmir Lit. This segment of Kashmir Speaks aired on KPFA’s La Onda Bajita. Music is by MC Kash.

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Poetry and Resistance at the AWP

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Sri Lankan poet, Pireeni Sundaralingam, discusses why she organized a panel on international poetry and resistance at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference and book fair in Boston. The AWP is the largest national writing conference with over 11,000 participants. Pireeni Sundaralingam is the editor of “Indivisible: an anthology of contemporary South Asian American Poetry.” This interview first aired on KPFA’s APEX Express.

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Alleged Perpetrators–Unsolved Crimes of Kashmir

In December 2012, a new report was released in Kashmir, investigating the evidence of unsolved human rights crimes. Based on the evidence, the report identifies and names the alleged perpetrators of the crimes, including 235 army personnel.The report was released by the International Peoples Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir. Kartik Murukutla a lawyer and former UN worker discusses the report.

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Idle No More

Jimmy Montgrand, commissioner for the world Indigenous coalition and spiritual guides of Central America and the Dene Nation of Northern Canada, discusses the movement against Canadian Bill C-45. The bill threatens to damage treaty rights, indigenous communities across Canada, and the earth herself. There have been widespread protests under the banner of “Idle no More,” including spiritual fasts in response.

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Kashmir Protests on Human Rights Day

On Kashmir Speaks Huma Dar discusses the December 10 strikes and protest that took place in Kashmir to mark International Human Rights Day. In addition, Huma Dar discusses the media black out on the report Alleged Perpetrators that compiles evidence and names alleged perpetrators of human rights crimes in Kashmir. Also, Huma Dar reads some poetry written by Agha Shahid Ali. Huma Dar is a lecturer in the Asian American & Asian Diasporas Studies Program of Ethnic Studies Dept. at UC Berkeley. Music by MC Kash and Mohammed Muneem. This segment first aired on La Onda Bajita, KPFA.

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Social Media Censored in Kashmir

On Kashmir Speaks on KPFA Mohammed Junaid, a Kashmiri anthropologist, discusses how the Indian authorities suppress social media in Kashmir. Mohammed Junaid goes on to discuss the impact of social media on the nonviolent independence movement in Kashmir. Then Naima Shalhoub, Oakland based singer and song writer, performs her song dedicated to the people of Kashmir. Naima Shalhoub discusses her inspiration for the song. Then a song by MC Kash.

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Corvus Magazine

issue 5

Issue Five features cover art by Olivia Boa, and great new writing from Tara Dorabji, Lauren Perez, Jackson Burgess, Margaret Mary Riley, Jonathan Bond, Katherine Garrigan, Mark Goad, Johanna Miklós, Gillian Walters, Vanessa Vitiello, and Valerie Z Lewis.

Read issue 5, including Reformed Mama Players by Tara Dorabji

I see you. It takes one to know one. Reformed Mama players, we are a small tribe. They say, Once a player, always a player. But we know better. You and me. We don’t have time for the drama. No energy to waste. Even so, sometimes the heat of the moment might tempt you, and you’ll be reaching to try on those old player shoes. But you know being a player has nothing to do with what you wear. It’s who you are.

So here they are—the top five ways to make sure not to get any play. I mean it none. Not the, I thought I didn’t want it, but then. Or the, we just started as friends. Or even the, I know I’ll never see him again. At the end of the day, even if you thought you wanted it, you know it’s not what you need. Not getting play is a battle we win every day.

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Corvus issue 5