Category: atheism


On March 20, 2003, I participated in a peaceful protest against the war. I was arrested, incarcerated, handcuffed, booked, fingerprinted, had mug shots taken, put on trial, convicted and sentenced. My conviction is currently under Appeal in the Vermont State Supreme Court. Courtroom procedure allows the condemned the Right of Allocution. This was the first time that I was allowed to speak freely and openly to the court. Below are my words, as I spoke them, to Judge David Suntag, in Vermont District Court, in Bennington, Vt., on October 7, 2004.

Your Honor, I would like to express my gratitude to you, the Prosecutor Mr. McManus, the members of the Bennington Police Department, to my family, especially Christine, to all those who support me, and especially to Mr. Saltonstall.

It is my profound respect for the Rule of Law that brought me to the 4 corners on March 20, 2003. At the precise moment of my arrest, the federal government of the United States was bombing civilians. The bombing of civilians is a violation of international law, a violation of U.S. treaties, a crime against humanity, and a war crime. Now that same government is sitting in judgment of many who have protested the war. Last week, in a court in Philadelphia, Lillian Willoughby, an 89-year-old deaf woman, in a wheelchair, was sentenced to prison. She had participated in a peaceful protest. Also in Philadelphia, Andrea Ferich, a 22 year old, was sentenced and she has just spent a week in solitary confinement. She also had participated in a peaceful protest. I have just been told that Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, was arrested in a peaceful protest on Saturday, in Washington. All over this country, hundreds of those who have peacefully protested the war, are now condemned by the government. The way that this country is headed, eventually, all people of peace will be behind bars. I am in solidarity with them and all others who have resisted the government in the past, or will do so in the future.

Your Honor, it is with deep respect that I voice some concerns. How can it be that a nation, that is itself in violation of the law, can then hope to impose the rule of law on its citizens? I believe that either the rule of law applies to everyone, or else it applies to no one. Even a nation as powerful as the United States, can not have it both ways. The fact that the government of the U.S. is in violation of the law, is a fact that has been documented by many around the world. William Blum, one of the world’s leading historians, and also former member of the U.S. State Dept., has authored several books on the topic…even naming one of his books about US foreign policy, Rogue State.

I have here a copy of the Indictment of 19 charges against members of the government as compiled by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. [I held the documents up for all to see.] Also, here is a statement from a group of U.S. law professors. The statement is entitled “U.S. Lawyers Warn Bush on War Crimes.” Also, here is a report from an international human rights organization that is accredited by the United Nations. This report documents extensive U.S. war crimes in Iraq. This is just a small sample of information that is easily available. Can all of these experts be wrong? Also, I have here an Associated Press report that was released shortly before my arrest, stating that the U.S. was threatening to use nuclear weapons. That, too, is a war crime.

Your Honor, I believe that our government will not regain its legal and moral authority until it gives up its life of International Crime, and in the words of William Blum, is no longer a rogue state. It is important to say here, that the war in Iraq is not the first violation of human rights and International Law by the U.S. The abuse of people, people just like you and me, started back in 1492 and has been a consistent pattern ever since. Talk to some Native Americans, especially now that Columbus Day is upon us. Talk to our black brothers and sisters. Talk to the people of Diego Garcia or Panama or Hiroshima or Cuba….the list is endless.

As individual citizens, we all have rights and responsibilities. I believe that it is the responsibility of all citizens to resist any government, anywhere, anytime, when that government is slaughtering civilians. I, and many other protesters that I know, would gladly spend the rest of our lives in prison, if only the U.S. would stop bombing civilians.

I have always been opposed to any form of violence. Seeing the photographs of the bombed Iraqi children has changed my life and strengthened my commitment to working for justice for those children. I do not understand how anyone can stand by silently, while knowing that civilians are being bombed. If what I, and the many thousands of others who protested the war, did, was wrong…what then would be the right thing to do? If you saw a child being beaten up and murdered on Main Street by a gang of thugs, should you write a letter to the editor or call your congressman or write a book on how adults should interact with children? Of course not. When children are being killed, immediate, direct, and powerful intervention is called for. What the other protesters and I did should be criticized in only one area. We all did too little. To all of the people of Iraq, I would like to say, “I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future.”

I pray for the day when factory workers join with farmers, and police officers join with poets, and judges join with veterans in protesting the illegal acts of our government. Now is a time in history when silence is the greatest of all crimes.

What happens to me here today is not important. Since the day of my arrest, more than 13,000 Iraqi civilians, many of them children, have been killed. That IS important.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She can be reached at dissent@sover.net.

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I was in Chittagong this past week, went to attend a Gaye Holud (adorning with turmeric) ceremony of my catholic Christian friend- Petros Mendes. It has been quite a while that I had been out of the city. This event came at a great time as I badly needed time out from the mundane events of my extraordinarily stressful life.

           My stress is not with infinite workloads but with people! I sometimes feel that people I love or who I’m close to have this uncanny knack of making my life miserable. While I was in Chitts, Petros’ brother Stan was telling me not to cut my nails at night or throw away my fallen hair, just anywhere. I was puzzled by an educated man telling me this. I’ve heard such tales before from uneducated Maids at our house since I was a child. I could surely not expect Stan, of all people to be parting with Superstitious advice. I enquired for his reasoning of his tale. To my dismay he told me that most Chittagonians believe in Black Magic and that it was a way of life for them. As a matter of fact, Black Magic seems to be used frequently among the ignorant people of Bangladesh, mostly in the rural areas. Ppl use this to get back at their enemies, to cause harm to the one they envy, to enslave ppl, or to marry the man/woman that one desires, a form of enslavement.

        Black Magic is forbidden in Islam, which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. If anyone practices the art of Magic, which is always Black, one will become an unbeliever-Kufr. He/she will incur the curse of Allah.

 They followed what the evil ones gave out (falsely) against the power of Solomon; the blasphemers were not Solomon but the evil ones teaching men magic and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Harut and Marut.  But neither of these taught anyone (such things) without saying: “We are only for trial, so do not blaspheme.” They learned from them the means to sow discord between man and wife. But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah’s permission.  And they learned what harmed them not what profited them.  And they knew that the buyers of (magic) would have no share in the happiness of the Hereafter.  And vile was the price for which they did sell their souls if they but knew!

                 If they had kept their faith and guarded themselves from evil far better had been the reward from their Lord if they but knew!” (Verses 102 & 103-Surah Baqarah; Al Qur’an) Continue reading

Examples are shown to me… and examples are many…sometimes i’m made to be an example of what one should not be… talk is cheap.. actions are what really counts in life..one such example was a visitor we had.. in a house he resided here, an abode of a fellow brother of ours. the place is more like a guest house…no a.. a lair!… with a rooftopp for smoking pot and gazing at the stars, engaging in idle talk and a place to waste time & get wasted..and peeping at the neighbours that just moved in was a usual past time.

I’ll call him ‘the token white guy’. He came among us at an integral time in the history of filthy political upheaval, weddings & the chills of the minute south-asian winter season..with unbelief & criticism in his mind…always looking for a jolly good story to tell from all the travels that he has made..his cultural origins & percpective a far cry from what we, the so-called third worlders know as life to be.. he brought along with him the concept of secular thought & governance, which i vehemently oppose! i might add..he was a white man & we third worlders love to lick white ass!.. but he got very little of his hindside licked on the fourth trip that he made to Sultry Dhaka!

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