Aung San Suu Kyi, a democratically elected leader in Burma, placed under arrest by the controlling military regime, famously wrote,
“It is not power that corrupts, but fear -- fear of losing power and fear of the scourge of those who wield it."
The fear she speaks of corrupts those in power who fear that the truth about their actions and motivations would arouse popular disapproval and opposition. It also silences those who dare not challenge the powerful for fear of reprisal.
Each of us must choose which truths to utter or champion and then bear the cost of the opinions of our family, friends, colleagues, the public and the powerful. The truth is not always evident; sometimes it requires quite a bit of effort and research to discern the reality behind the public myths, the corporate spin and assurances. Sometimes people don’t feel that they can handle disturbing information that might upset their perception of themselves or the world that they have adapted to. No one is capable of handling all the information, all the issues.
Twelve years ago Michael Franti pulled together a “911 Power to the Peaceful Festival” to draw attention to the plight of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The festival evolved over the years into a huge event drawing tens of thousands of people. In 2001 it was called “911 Power to the Peaceful” and drew one of the first 9/11 truth rallies and marches to it, which began in the Panhandle. Since then, I have worked on organizing or supporting an annual 9/11 Truth Rally and March to the Power to the Peaceful Festival where we have tabled, had a booth, and passed out flyers and information to a receptive, peace- loving crowd.
This year, when I learned that the annual Power to the Peaceful Festival was cancelled, I was greatly disappointed. A decade has nearly passed since 9/11, and the foundations of the 9/11 wars and the growing police state still depend on an increasingly discredited lie, the official story. As it continues to unravel, there are still desperate efforts being put forward by the media to control the spin and discredit the truth movement. I thought that it would be a great idea to hold a “Power to the Truthful Festival,” but I have no experience or connections or the capacity to organize such an event, especially on short notice. The biggest event I ever organized was the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9/11 in 2004 at the Herbst Theatre, with the help of 75 volunteers and the support of numerous organizations, including most critically Veterans for Peace Chapter 69-- an organizing effort that took seven months of my life. Our local group, the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance, has, however, generally organized an annual 9/11 truth film festival, with the generous support of Allen Michaan who graciously gives us the Grand Lake Theater on a Thursday near the anniversary to show films and host speakers.
On July 7th, on my weekly radio show, I interviewed Graeme MacQueen, a member of the steering committee that is organizing the Toronto Hearings at Ryerson University in Canada to examine the events of September 11, 2001. I was very moved by what he had to say and by his dedication to peace work; he retired early to do peace work, and his major focus has been on 9/11. (See his compelling message to the peace movement)
Since that interview, I have tried my best to pull together “9/11 Reclaiming the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future,” our annual 9/11 truth film festival with live streaming of the Toronto Hearings as well as of a three-day event in Seattle, Washington, being organized by the founder of Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Erik Lawyer. We thought of including live streaming from the major events happening in New York City, but those events do not coincide with our events on September 8th and the 11th. There is also an effort to get people to convoy to New York City for the tenth anniversary, and plans to march from DC to New York City beginning on August 28th. The New York events are planned to take place on the 10th, and street actions will be on the 11th, so unless the situation changes, live streaming from New York won’t be possible.
My situation, however, seems to change on a daily basis as volunteers, speakers, films, my family, friends, books, obstacles, and opportunities magically appear and disappear over time. In some ways I feel like the “mother of the truth movement,” since I was the one who in January of 2002 organized the first rally and march to demand an investigation of 9/11. The Deception Dollars we began publishing in 2002 helped keep the first 9/11 truth websites alive and helped to fund one of the first 9/11 truth documentaries. At some point the movement became bigger than those who nurtured it, and the moms were accused of tyranny and sidelined while other entities and websites commanded center stage.
My relationship with the group that I founded has in some ways mirrored my relationship with my three sons, the youngest of them just left home tomorrow last week to begin college in Colorado. I pay the taxes, bake the cookies, facilitate communications, and support and love my children ¬ as well as members of the local group who have become my friends over the years. 9/11 truth is no longer my main passion or focus, but one of many issues that I am deeply concerned about and work on. I haven’t devoted all of my time and energy to reading every bit of literature,
watching every film, and listening to every interview on the topic. However, there are others within the local group and the truth movement who are more focused, who have been writing books and making films, and whose work deserves a wider audience--such as Richard Gage, AIA, founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, whose group is completing a new documentary entitled “9/11 Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out.”
Since 9/11 Truth is no longer my main focus, I must admit that while I have my suspicions and doubts about the official narrative and who was actually involved, there is much that I still don’t know and that requires further investigation. When 9/11 happened, I had two kids in elementary school and one in middle school; I have always had to balance my activism with being a mom. I do not have lots of money or investigative powers. I have had to rely on my common sense and my ability to read, view, and communicate with others. Because I stuck out my neck in the early days, a lot of information has come my way, but it has been more than a single human being, raising kids, could process. Much of the information including articles, books, DVDs, CD roms, links to videos, flooding my In box and mailbox, haven’t had anything to do with 9/11, but has been about other issues, some related and some not.
“9/11 Reclaiming the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future” will combine new films and older works, new voices--such as Professor Anthony J. Hall (author of Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization and Capitalism) and familiar voices--such as Paul Rea (author of Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9/11). Our intention is to present the most solid information and evidence that the truth movement has discovered over the years within a larger context—by showing the evolution of propaganda, psychological warfare, false flag operations, corporate globalization, and empire. Over the years we have learned that the psychological resistance to issues that demand people to ask themselves “Who am I?” is enormous. People’s sense of identity in a culture that is obsessed with money, power and image is threatened when the country’s image and the major institutions governing society are seriously questioned. Many people within the truth movement have gone through a major transformation or transition at some point in their lifetime, such as Erik Lawyer, the founder of Firefighters for 9/11 Truth. Erik has eloquently described his own resistance to looking at the evidence for controlled demolition after which he went through a period of anger and self-destructiveness. He is currently, however, organizing in Seattle One the Event- Shifting from Fear to Love, which he hopes will help people choose “love over fear, kindness over anger, and responsibility rather than blame.” I appreciate what he is trying to achieve through this event, and we will stream part of it during our film festival. We have also included several of my friends and authors as speakers, including Joanna Macy (World As Lover, World As Self - Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal), Anodea Judith Ph.D. (Waking the Global Heart: Humanity's Rite of Passage From the Love of Power to the Power of Love) and Kevin Danaher ( href="http://www.paradigmpublishers.com/books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=292442">Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots). These inspirational speakers can help us through the challenging transitions that all of us need to face individually and collectively as we confront our own shadows and the shadow side of the reigning institutions and figure out how best to survive and grow a future that will be healing for the planet and all of humankind.
I would love to find 75 volunteers who share my passion to shatter the lies, speak and seek the truth about all the issues which deeply affect our lives. Satyagraha was born on September 11, 1906, when Gandhi and three thousand people gathered in a theater in South Africa to organize against racist laws, fusing political action, with spiritual resolve. Gandhi, himself was inspired by Thoreau and Tolstoy and first called his movement, “civil disobedience,” then “passive resistance.” He held a contest to find better words to describe it. “Satya” means “truth” and “agraha” means “pursuit of” together they mean “pursuit of truth.” Gandhi, himself believed that “Life itself is a pursuit of truth.” Martin Luther King, Jr. called it “Love in action.”
This year, we will gather for our annual 9/11 Truth rally and march on the morning of September 11th at the Gandhi Statue next to the Ferry Building in San Francisco; we will parade up Market Street to the Civic Center, the traditional route of the major anti-war marches. My hope is that we will help spark a global satyagraha to challenge the concentration of military, media, corporate power that have terrorized, blinded and confused people and perpetuated inequities, injustice, endless war, enriching the few at great cost to the vast majority of people and planet. I do not expect large numbers of people to join us in San Francisco for the march. However, it is clear that the hunger for truth, peace, justice, health, life, love, meaning, purpose is universal and will continue to blossom in countless forms in this dance between repression and resistance, empire and community, servitude and freedom.
style="border:none; width:450px; height:80px">