our developing world Reality Tour 2018

Please come with us to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world: Lake Atitlan. June 28-July 5 $971 per person Air not included
Download odw 2018 tour flyer(pdf)

Leader Jiawen Wang authors: How Teacher Turnover and Shortages Undermine Teacher-Student Relationships

View the artical


View the artical

Reality Tour to Lake Atitlan, Guateamala 2017 March

PPT download

Teacher Appreciation Week is
Coming Up May 8 - 12
And California Day of The Teacher is Wednesday, May 10!

Restorative Discipline in schools that works

download pdf

[Bay Area Cispes] Bob Gliner El Salvador documentary Communities as Classrooms airs in San Francisco Bay Area

Communities as Classrooms, a new documentary from Bob Gliner about educational change in El Salvador airs this Sunday night, Feb. 26, at 8 PM throughout the San Francisco Bay Area on PBS station KCSM (Comcast 17 or 717 in HD). The film follows Bob as he introduces an educational experiment in participatory democracy at four schools in El Salvador that can serve as a model here in the US - where viewers see students become actively engaged in solving problems in their own communities, not as an extra-curricular activity, but as part of learning math, language, writing and other basic educational skills - skills they see as necessary to solving the issues their communities face.

For more information on the film: http://docmakeronline.com/communities_as_classrooms.html

WILPF exhibit at the California History Center at De Anza College

campusmap92116.pdf   press release_wilpf.pdf   WILPF flyer for 013017 exhibit.pdf

Obama Goes Rogue, by Emer Martin

I dreamt that Obama went rogue
In the last days
As the monsters are lining up
To devour and dismantle
And shut us all up
And make us scramble
And struggle even more
For the little we have now.....continue reading

Lots of News + How to Win $500!

Are Clean Groundwater Aquifers Important to You?

Tri-Valley CAREs Communities Against a Radioactive Environment: 2016 Youth Video Contest - Now Taking Submissions!   source 1( website )   source 2(pdf)

Resources on Current Tensions in Palestine/Israel
Stay Informed about Latest Developments and Analyses(pdf file)

IFPB is following the outbreak of current tension in Palestine/Israel closely. Recent events have caused us pain, sadness, and frustration. Our hearts go out to all the victims and our solidarity to those who are struggling for justice. We remain steadfast in our belief that peace will come through justice, and offer the following online resources to help you learn more and stay engaged.


“War," said former U.S. Marine Gen. Smedley Butler, ”is a racket . . . possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious." ~ see more

Long read from"Christine Letts, FCNL

How Black Reporters Report On Black Death

Joelito´s Big Decision /La gran decisión de Joelito

Elementary grades/ Spanish/English/Social Studies : A beautiful, timely social justice themed book for all the children you know

Joelito´s Big Decision /La gran decisión de Joelito
Price: $10.00. Hard Ball Press, independent booksellers, and Amazon.com. Ages 6-12+

New Report: How Did California Schools Engage Students?

As LCFF implementation began, it was clear that the missing link in ensuring the Local Control Funding Formula would be successful was students. The stakeholders most impacted by the education system were absent from the converstaions on what it would take to improve student outcomes, and ensure their own success. Read the full report to learn about:

  • The youth-led victory to Keep Students at the Heart of LCFF
  • Challenges and Best Practices in year One of Student Engagement
  • Action Guide to Improve Student Engagement in LCFF
  • Research on How Student Voice Improves Education
  • Case Study on Oakland Unified´s LCAP Student Engagement Model
  • Promising Models of Student Voice from Around the State

Download the Full Report

Aquaponic Farm-A project of CCAF in Cambodia

Start-up funds for aquaponic system to produce fish/vegetables. Profits to fund pre-school program.

Cambodia Children's Advocacy Foundation (CCAF)

Cambodia Children's Advocacy Foundation is a non profit that we've been involved with since its founding by Hing Channarith (Rith) CEO & Co-Founder. We first met Rith at the Rehab Center in Phnom Penh where they wrer doing excellent work with land mine and polio survivors.

We've had the privilege of taking our Reality Tours to several of CCAF's projects in the rural provinces and seen first hand how the people work together to decide what their major priority is and make that happen with the help of CCAF: pre-schools, community gardens, etc.

We have offered to be their fiscal sponsor for grants and fundraising so that donations can be tax dedcutible. Bettering the lives of the poorest of the poor certainly fit's our goals to build a better world for all. You can give to them through Indiegogo. .

We have sent several people to RIth who were traveling alone and they have been quite pleased and impressed with the work they are doing. You can contact Rith directly if you will be traveling or want to be notified of updates to the website.


Cambodian Children's Advocacy Foundation (CCAF)
Office: # 225, Street 2001, Sangkat Kakab, Khan Posenchey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
P.O Box 850, Postal Code 12000
Office phone/fax: (++855) 23 890 186
Cell phone: (++855) 16 811 720
E-mail: rith@ccaf-khmer.org
Web site: http://www.ccaf-khmer.org
For your donation, please click on the link below, thank you.

Subject: Vote for Judge Diane RItchie

We´ve known Diane Ritchie since she was VIc´s high school student. He took her to an ACLU meeting which peeked her interest in law.

As an attorney, she represented

  • employees who were discriminated against, wrongfully terminated, or who were not paid their overtime.
  • multimillion dollar class actions for fast food workers who were not paid overtime. ( workers also won) a recent similar case elsewhere
  • students harassed for sexual orientation. The Ninth District Court of Appeals made new law when it held administrators could be liable for not protecting students from harassment.The school district agreed to change its policies and practice, and require sexual harassment training for staff, teachers, administrators, and students.
  • non English speaking hotel maids being trafficked, paid little or nothing, told not to tell anyone where they lived (in several apartments on mattresses spread on the floor of every room) fined for so many infractions that they sometimes &8220;owed” the owner of the agency. He threatened them and took sexual advantage of them.. Hotels paid an agency less than they would have had to pay the maids at minimum wage. Under California law both the agency and the hotels were joint employers. At her urging The United States Department of Labor shut down the owner´s operation nationwide and obtained payment for maids nationwide.
  • Day Laborers, Bus Boys, Certified Nursing Assistants in nursing homes and other low wage workers to force their employers to pay them under the law.

She's running for re-election and we need her because she's tough on crime, treats people equally and fairly, and helps people resolve their cases. AND as a Judge she's brought more restorative justice to the county through diversion for prostitutes, doing the research and organizing meetings with community groups, judges and the DA to adopt counseling and job training to allow prostitutes to get off the streets and stop recycling in and out of jail thus saving tax payers' money.

AS A JUDGE (Only about 1/3 of the judges are women.)

In handling Misdemeanors, she worked with the attorneys to get the result they wanted without violating the law, giving severe enough sentences to create a real change in the behavior of defendants.

In handling Civil Trials, she helped parties settle over 30% the cases before her. This gives the parties a resolution that exactly fits their case. It also allows a trial that would take two or three weeks to be resolved in a day or less, allowing her to handle more trials and saves taxpayers' money.

She's had more than five years of experience, presiding over literally thousands of cases. She's never been overturned by an Appellate Court, never had an ethical complaint.

http://votedianeritchie.com/dev/index.html   http://www.isupportjudgeritchie.com/index.html

Video: Update on Burma 2013

On youtube http://youtu.be/yh26MPyUqUk

Video link: corporate personhood

source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-gPVWBd3vA&sns=em

Starvation or Survival

Returning several years later we find students remember us because of the reality of the simulation!

In the works: Fall 2012

Barby and Vic Ulmer, long time members of WILPF and Co-founders of our developing world will repeat a road tour that was so successful in September and October 2011. This time starting in Vancouver BC on September 3 we´ll be traveling south. We welcome your invitations!

Fall 2012 Speaking Tour

Our Burma Reality Tour in January 2012 was so exciting we're offering anothe Dec 28 2012.

Our Cuba tour last in 2011 was our 6th one. May 2013 will be our seventh.

Rethinking our foreign policy goals and more positive ways to achieve them is part of our Latin American policy program.

We do public meetings, churches, community groups, homes, classes in high schools or colleges.

We welcome home stays and donations.

We´d be grateful if you could pass this on to people in Northern California, Oregon, Washington.


In anticipation of your reply.

Barby and Vic Ulmer
Email: odw@magiclink.net
13004 Paseo Presada
Saratoga, CA (map)

What´s new in Guatemala

A photo essay documenting the June 30th, 2012 observance of Guatemalan Armed Forces Day, where thousands of people marched in San Juan Sacatepéquez from their rural communities to the central square in rejection to the newly assigned military brigade placed to protect the interests of a cement quarry owned by the powerful Novella family.

Click here to view and read the photo essay

Burma/Urgent Action

While the international community, according to Aung San Suu Kyi, has expressed reckless optimism, the situation has not gotten any better outside big cities like Rangoon and Naypyitaw. As you are reading this, Burma´s military is violating the basic human rights of ethnic people, particularly the Kachin. Burma��s regime still refuses to admit there are hundreds of political prisoners behind bars. With the lifting of the US investment ban, interest in development has spiked. More and more farmers are in danger of being forced off their land to make way for foreign investment or subjected to forced labor, crop burnings, and extortion. Some farmers have been arrested for refusing to leave their land. We must send a strong signal that real reform respects rights for all, not profits for the few. The import ban in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act is the last piece of leverage the U.S. has to push Burma´s military and government towards real reform.

Please call Senator Boxer at 202-224-3553 and leave a message asking her to cosponsor the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (S.J.RES. 43) before they expire this summer.


Senator Boxer has been a cosponsor in previous years and Senator Feinstein is already a cosponsor of this bill. The staffer you talk to may not know that, so it is important to tell them. Ask Senator Boxer to continue her support for Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma by again cosponsoring the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (S.J.RES. 43). This is a broadly bi-partisan supported resolution including Sen Mc Cain!

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act denies hundreds of millions of American dollars from getting into the hands of the Burmese junta and its cronies. Now more than ever, Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement need our help to sustain strong U.S. pressure on the regime.

Help Make a Difference

odw Reality Tours have changed people´s lives, especially young people. Some stayed on to volunteer with projects we´ve visited or returned to do so, some changed their majors, some joined the Peace Corps. They have been transformed by the broadened perspectives they have gained.

This is why we´re raised money for scholarships for three university students, a freshman, a sophomore and a junior for our Burma trip January 2012. These particular three have great potential for making a difference in this world. THey were very moved by the people and the change they were working to create.

NOW we want to raise scholarships for at least two low income students to go on our next three Reality Tours: December 28.2012 to Burma, May 2013 to Cuba and July 2013 to South Africa/Botswana.

We desperately need young leaders who have knowledge, experience and compassion for the rest of our world!

PLEASE help them gain this through you tax-deductible donation!

Thank you so much for helping to make a difference!

Vic and Barby Ulmer/Co-Directors
13004 Paseo Presada, Saratoga CA 95070

Tax ID 77-00-11953

The Zinn Education Project

The Zinn Education Project introduces students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. Free teaching activities.

Reflections From After the Coup: A Letter From Honduras

Click for details: Source 1 (SOA Watch)       Source 2 (http://hondurashumanrights.wordpress.com)

A great read: Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

A marvelous sharing by a children´s book author about her wanderings around the world connecting with people to experience their culture, daily life, cooking, celebrating: the humanity we all share in common.


Radio Victoria Needs Your Help! Urgent! From Salvador

20 Mayo 2011

Hello Friends,

I just want you all to know that the situation in our community station Radio Victoria continues with problems, pressure, tension and a lot of worry.

During the last 3 days Radio Victoria workers have received another death threat on a cell phone, different forms of intimidation like luxury 4 wheel drive cars repeatedly driving around communities and asking where certain radio workers live, harassment of family members, people visiting homes of radio workers and asking for unknown people, unfounded comments like gossip, unusual noises at night outside workers´ homes and strange tattooed youth wandering around close to workers´ houses.

All of this has our spirits plummeting and many Radio team members suffering from a delicate state of mind.

We are taking steps to insure the security of our Radio workers and of our building which as always implies many things: resources, transporting people, cell phone cards, changes in our infrastructure among others.

We feel we can no long have confidence in, or count on, authorities here and that we must take steps ourselves.

We are trying to get Marixela and her 3 year old daughter out of the country to Ecuador where Elvis, father and husband, is on an internship. Marixela and her daughter have directly received death threats and are under an intense emotional stress.

At the same time we want to guarantee the safety of all Radio members and of our building.

cristina starr

>>Click here for more details

Subject: The power & meaning of words

source: http://www.youtube.com

Meet the Students of World Savvy http://worldsavvy.org

PlaneTree Health Library http://www.planetreesanjose.org
PlaneTree is a comprehensive consumer health and medical library, free and open to the public.

Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants: The No BS Info on Japan´s Disastrous Nuclear Operators
by: Greg Palast, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Click here for details.

Latin America: National Front for Popular Resistance in Honduras holds delegate assembly
By Heather Cottin
Click here for details.

New and Upcoming with our developing world!

Opportuntites to give Gifts of Giving $25 for one certificate, $45 for 2:

Help rural Cambodian families with the pre-schools and organic gardens they´ve built together. Funding is needed for the teachers for at least 150 children. In a society that´s lost the grandparent generation this is vital. And pre-school is a major step on the road to education lleading to a better life.

Support Alternatives to Violence (AVP) in South Africa and Botswana. We've seen this program ransform lives and neighborhoods. AVP works in schools, neighborhoods and prisonsturning people around by using their own experiences in anger management and alternative ways of responding.


View and buy odw handcrafts and hear the stories:

  • Los Gatos Methodist Alternative Giving Fair Sunday Dec 5 10-1 pm High School Circle
  • Palo Alto Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair Sunday Dec 12 11-2:30 First Presbyterian Church 1120 Cowper Palo Alto
  • Cuba Organic Garden Reality Tour April 21-30, 2011 Sign up now. Limit 12 flexible people.

13004 Paseo Presada
Saratoga, Ca 95070-4125
(408) 379-4431
Email: odw@magiclink.net
Click for map

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Subject: Honduras Accompaniment Delegation - September

Dear Friends,

We are writing to you as people who have participated in or have expressed interest in a Quixote Center Accompaniment Delegation. As many of you know, the accompaniment work with Honduras and other Latin America programs currently housed at the Quixote Center will be transferring to our new home at the Nicaragua–US Friendship Office founded by Rita Clark D´Ecscoto. We will be communicating more broadly about this change in the days ahead.

For now, there is much to do and our friends in Honduras need our help. The International Committee of the Resistance Front has asked if we can organize a delegation for September 12th-19th. Our Honduran partners feel that they would like additional international presence due to the activities planned around the national consultation process regarding a Constituent Assembly, leading up to and following Independence Day (September 15th).

The U.S. is working hard to demonstrate that the Lobo ‘government’ has taken significant steps to improve the human rights situation in order to push for reinstatement to the OAS. It is important for us to hear from the human rights community and the Honduran people about the mounting abuses in order to respond effectively.

We have agreed to organize a delegation for September as we make our new home at the Nicaragua–US Friendship Office. We are writing to ask if you or anyone you know would be interested in participating. Please share this email with anyone you know who might be interested in joining us and have them contact us.

We have exciting news to share with you as well! We are very fortunate to have Caitlin Hancey based in Honduras as part of our permanent accompaniment effort. Caitlin has worked with the Coordination for International Accompaniment in Guatemala (CAIG–ACOGUATE), providing international accompaniment there. She helped lead our June 2010 delegation to Honduras and saw the need for permanent accompaniment. Given the crisis and pressing needs, Caitlin has decided to bring her experience and skill to Honduras.

We also have a new home to house delegations. It has a gorgeous view, is centrally located, is safe and will help to support many other needs and efforts. The September delegates will be the first to stay in the new house. We are hoping they can bring sheets, towels and dishes to leave behind and help to equip the house for many, many more to come.

Please help us to spread the word about the September Delegation. We don´t have the lead time we normally would – so we are counting on you to help us get the word out. We will follow up with anyone who wants more information.

Thanks to you all for standing with the people of Honduras, and with us.

All the best,

Jenny and Caitlin
Honduras Accompaniment Project

Contact Jenny Atlee jennya@quqixote.org


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Judging the law

Albie Sachs dedicates his book, The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law:
“The lovely little boy that Vanessa and I brought into the world two years ago has to our delight just used the word ‘why?’ If one day he wants to know why we name him Oliver, why his Daddy has one arm, and why his Daddy is called a Judge, he can find the answers in this book.”.

A wonderful mind stretcher that takes you into the author´s mind and heart in his process of reaching his decisions on major constitutional court cases with universal themes. 2 copies left, $30 each. Click here to see the details.

An article about Albie Sachs that was published in the California Bar Journal. By Howard B. Miller, President, State Bar of California. Click here to see the details.

family of Albie
Family of Justice Albie Sachs

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Cambodian Children´s Advocacy Foundation (CCAF)

Cambodia´s future and economic growth depend on the survival and development of its children.
Sowing Good Seeds for the Future!

Video clip of a CCAF Pre-school in rural Cambodia

CHA ( Cambodia Handcraft Association) CCAF in You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HQXsLwJ-b0

A video clip of a CCAF Pre-school in rural Cambodia we visited and have given some material aid. Connie Hunter is carrying flip flops for them in 2010 February.

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Subject: UK Stars Campaign for Financial Transactions Tax to Save Public Services, Help World's Poor. http://robinhoodtax.org/. Click here for details.

Subject: El Salvador and Ecology: Mining the Resistance by Gabriel Zucker Click here to for details.

Subject: OUTRAGE: Court says corporations are people: Join the move to amend! Click here for details.

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Gifts of Giving:

Kagisano Women´s Shelter Project

A Botswana Quaker Project. The only Women´s Shelter in the country. The Kagisano Society Women´s Shelter Project changes the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence in Botswana. Click for details.

Reashoma Drop in Centre Project

Reashoma Drop in Centre, founded September 2006 when the community found much child vulnerability due to AIDS. Click for details.

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Latin America: Our Back Yard

by Barby Ulmer / our developing world(odw)´s voices

Unfortunately our elected leaders, and many appointed ones think of Latin America as our backyard and consequently feel our policy can be to keep those countries functioning as we want:

  • Putting Drug Enforcement Agents in on our terms. In Bolivia they didn´t find four cocaine manufacturing plants which the Bolivian government found this year, yet we cancelled the trade advantage that they had saying they weren´t doing enough to combat drug trafficking. Perhaps it was really because US funding was keeping dissident wealthy in Santa Cruz province? Even more interesting because the cocaine plants were found in the rural areas of Santa Cruz.
  • And if we really are so concerned about drug running why are we funding the brutal government of Columbia? The military base in Ecuador, shutting down in November, will be moved there. WIth so many trade union activists among others being killed in Columbia how can there be a viable free trade agreement?
  • Having intervened in the El Salvadoran election for many years, pressure from solidarity folks this year finally got a statement from our State Department the day before the election saying we would work with whomever was elected. It relieved the fear that Salvadorans had that the US would prohibit remittances from Salvadoran family members. Our Ambassador made that threat in 2004.
  • Having engineered the coup in Haiti and funded the one in Venezuela ( see Eva Golinger´s The Chavez Code, we met her with with our odw realty tour group). Might we also be supporters of the Honduran coup? Certainly we´re related to the new “President” and the leaders of the coup for they´re all graduates of the School of the Americas (now called Whinsec). Why doesn´t Hillary Clinton call call it a coup? Perhaps because then the law would require the US to end funding their military. If we really want Zelaya back in office as the rightfully elected President, why don´t we let him land at the US base not far from the capitol? Write mazorcademaiz@gmail.com for direct updates and photos from two Central American friends eyewitnessing in Honduras.

Is it any wonder that Latin America is distancing itself from the US?

Click here to connect on-line to Spring 2009 Vol. 14 No.3

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Latin America: Watching TV in Honduras

From Hondurs to friends

It´s frightening to watch national news broadcasts on TV and read the newspapers! The national media is in complete control of the Coup “government”, and ALL THE CONTENT IS PURE PROPAGANDA. It´s like watching actors play their parts based on payments or threats (or both), who knows. The journalists who are trying to get information out are being detained and/or threatened (see media release below).

Many times a day, all the transmissions on TV and radio are interrupted (including cable) for cadenas nacionales, where the Coup “government” has national figures (from the Police, Churches, Defense Ministry, Micheletti, etc) express their backing of the de facto government.

They also use these cadenas to communicate subtle threats to Mel supporters and to the functionaries of his deposed government, many of whom are being prosecuted for a dubious array of corruption charges.

The journalist we met at the march yesterday, who appears in mimundo.org´s photo-essay with his shirt drenched in blood, had his TV and radio programming cut the day of the Coup, so he decided to drive around the city of Guaimaca, reporting the news through a loudspeaker. He was arrested in Guaimaca that same day . He claims he was rescued by a crowd of people from the hands of the police.

You can see the photo-essay with his picture at http://www.mimundo-jamesrodriguez.blogspot.com/

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For release 05/28/09, printed by odw with permission

The other parts of war: PEACE RISING

By Robert C. Koehler

Tribune Media Services

In sacred remembrance of all those we have killed, and are continuing to kill…

The flag waves, the heart stirs, the music rends the air. Memorial Day 2009. I stood at a bubbling fountain in downtown Chicago and listened to speakers from Vietnam Veterans Against the War — speakers with hard-earned and grown-up attitudes about war — apologize for the wars still going on today and plead for awareness that they must stop, that we must learn how little they solve and how long they linger, and that only in committing ourselves to the end of all wars can we honor the dead. Then, toward the end of the small, solemn gathering, the passing of Zak Wachtendonk was mourned.

“Zak´s name will never be on the memorial, but he died in Vietnam just as surely as my nephew did,” said Barry Romo, who earlier had talked about the death of his relative.

Romo´s comment opens up the select world of this day´s honorees in a way that has left me disturbed in wave after wave of overwhelming remorse.

Zak, who died in March, a month after his 30th birthday, was the son of a Vietnam vet who had been exposed to Agent Orange; he was born with chromosomal damage and severe birth defects that made living an extraordinary struggle and, indeed, he was not even supposed to see his first birthday. Loving parents gave him a life; he was able to thrive emotionally even though he struggled physically. He was a wonderful young man and his passing tore a hole in people´s lives. It also signaled how long modern wars are capable of lasting.

Consider Agent Orange, a defoliant containing dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. Better yet, consider the planners and bureaucrats who dumped more than 19 million gallons of this substance and other herbicides, some with even higher doses of dioxin, on the jungles of South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971. Killing millions of trees and poisoning the earth — the rice paddies — to gain a military edge on “the enemy” is the strategy of psychopaths, or so it seems in retrospect, but we have yet to have the public accounting, the truth commission, that lays the matter bare and allows our moral progress to resume.

Instead we had another war, after the fact, waged for decades against the vets who fought in Vietnam, denying them, for as long as possible, any claim against the government for their shattered health. The strategists had nothing to prove to anybody when they decided to wage chemical warfare, but the victims of that war — or a small slice of those victims, the Americans, who had some legal leverage — were required to satisfy exacting standards of evidence to demonstrate the link between the poison they ingested and their vast array of symptoms, which included, for some, birth defects in their children, before any government aid was forthcoming.

With this in mind, consider the vast forgotten victims of Agent Orange: the Vietnamese themselves. Then multiply the suffering of Zak Wachtendonk and his family by at least 3 million. That´s the number of Vietnamese suffering ill effects from their exposure to the defoliant (out of 4.8 million who were exposed), according to a lawsuit on behalf of the victims filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2007.

Consider also the scorched earth, the poisoned flora and fauna of Vietnam. According to the International Peoples´ Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange, which met in Paris May 15-16, some denuded areas of the country may take 200 years to regenerate; some may never come back. Never. My God, what kind of war requires the death of a country?

The illnesses the spraying of dioxin has visited directly on the Vietnamese include cancer, skin disorders, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, nervous disorders and reproductive defects, according to the Tribunal. Indirectly, on their children, dioxin has brought severe physical deformities, mental disabilities and shortened life spans.

This, and nothing less, is war, and any remembrance of it that fails to acknowledge the vastness of the sacrifice it exacts, on the willing and on the innocent alike, is a sham. The word the Tribunal used to describe the failed and wretched — the criminal — U.S. strategy in Vietnam is chillingly modern: ecocide.

And because the nation´s post-Vietnam accounting was stillborn — the war´s opponents were blamed for our “defeat” and our bellicosity turned inward — the conscience of the security establishment remained untouched. The next wars of choice and aggression it succeeded in fomenting, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq again (as well as the “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo), perpetrated cancer, birth defects and ecocide with even more impunity, through the use of depleted uranium munitions and other criminally lethal substances.

The number of victims has multiplied, while peace remains only a scattered longing. But as we mourned together on Memorial Day 2009, I felt it rise as a global force, born on the tide of awareness.

(Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column atkoehlercw@gmail.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.)
© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Latin America: Video: Historic power shift in El Salvador

Source: http://therealnews.com

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Your opportunity to help develop caring knowledgeable leaders for the future.

our developing world(odw) offers you the opportunity to help! Click here for details(pdf file).

Thank you for joining in this opportunity to help develop caring knowledgeable leaders for the future.

100% of donations to odw/YW are passed on to Yachay Wasi and are taxdeductible. Tax ID # 77-0022953

Click here for Yachay Wasi thank you certificate(pdf file).

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The other parts of war: Grassroots America, A Non Profit Newsletter

Memorial Day 2008

Letters from a Desperate Veteran part 1: A memorial service yet to be held

I received two phone calls today. The calls had very similar messages in wording, yet totally different meanings to me. The first was from a fellow veteran and activist, asking that I "try to have a peaceful Memorial Day". The second was from my brother, wishing me "a happy Memorial Day". If you´ve read my poem "Survivor's Guilt" you already know that I find nothing "happy" about Memorial Day. I type this letter in the hope that I may find some kind of peace today.

Memorial: something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc. as a monument or a holiday.

It´s becoming all too apparent to me that every year, on this day, overtake everything. Once again, I find my mind flooding with memories and my finger itching to pull the trigger and splatter those memories across the ceiling. It would seem logical to assume that if memories are merely electronic imprints made on grey matter in my skull that 12 gauge triple aut buckshot is the best way to remove memories. Maybe that´s just jarhead logic. Before that day comes I want to share some memories with whomever wishes to read about them.

Most of all, I remember the pain. The pain of back-to-back deployments; The pain of false pride; The pain of a military family's last dinner together before the Marine heads to the armory to check out his rifle and wait for a white bus; The pain of “let´s drink until we forget what happened”.

The pain of packing up a fellow Marine´s combat gear and personal belongings to send back to the states because he didn´t have any legs, arms, chest or back to carry it back with him. It´s a double edged sword, but lucky for him, he didn´t have a head to carry back any memories with either. Even more pain when I couldn't stick a letter in with his stuff to tell his parents that their son had died for a good cause.

I remember the Marines. Not a single one of them needed a campaign medal or a combat action ribbon to wear on their uniform to prove that they had seen what they had seen and endured what they had endured. Most of them wore it on their faces. All wore it on their hearts. When looking back I remember everyone understanding everyone else's pain, because everyone felt it to the same degree, just at different times. We held eachother up and helped eachother through, and I´ll always have that memory.

I remember July 15, 2005 with Camp Pendleton in my rear-view, and I was scared. Iwas scared because I had always thought that when I left, I´d be leaving my memories behind, but they were in the backseat when I left, following me everywhere, no matter how far I run. I guess the memory of a young Iraqi girl losing her face and arm because of American ordnance is a memory with some strong legs on it. I don't even run from them anymore, I´ll just end up dying tired.

I remember dying. I see it happen over and over again in my head. It's happened so many times, I can´t stop thinking about it. Like when I killed a man for the first time, and the second time and the 50th time. Like when I didn´t have the balls to speak how I truly felt and declare " I refuse to take part in this depraved lunacy". I´ve died so many times, I´ve forgotten how to live.

So, today is a day for memories, specifically the memory of all those who have made a sacrifice for this country. Today I will honor and remember my morality and my dignity, along with all the heroes who have fallen. May they rest in peace.

I wish for all my brothers and sisters who have ever worn the uniform, that they may find peace this Memorial Day, and that everyone keeps their memories close to their heart.

God bless,


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Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave

By Alice Walker
From TheRoot.com | http://www.theroot.com/id/45469

March 27, 2008

I HAVE COME home from a long stay in Mexico to find — because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination – a new country existing alongside the old. On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future. It is a space with which I am familiar.

When I was born in 1944 my parents lived on a middle Georgia plantation that was owned by a white distant relative, Miss May Montgomery. (During my childhood it was necessary to address all white girls as "Miss" when they reached the age of twelve.) She would never admit to this relationship, of course, except to mock it. Told by my parents that several of their children would not eat chicken skin she responded that of course they would not. No Montgomerys would... (See the full article at http://www.theroot.com/id/45469)

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The other parts of war: Learning from the People Brings a New Perspective

Wars hopefully end. Military and the private armies come home. But historically, rebuilding the devastation and helping with the medical needs are rarely part of the reality with the exception of the Marshall Plan.

our developing world(odw) EcoReality Tours sometimes visit the countries the US has invaded or held proxy wars in: Central America, Southeast Asia. When we first went to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam we expected to experience at least some anti-American feelings. We didn´t! Not at all. Part of it probably was because we were there to see what the people were doing to make life better for their communities that we had come to learn from them. And very possibly the very strong Buddhist influence played a role. Focus on today and move forward!

We learn new things every time. And now we find we can even play a unique role. We’ve brought local people together who hadn't met before and they were able to learn from each other and collaborate. As we tell our tour participants what it was like three and six and nine years ago we´ve given our hosts a perspective they were too close to to see.

We hope to take a small group back to Cambodia and Laos with an option for 5 extra days in Vietnam as an add-on cost and days. We urge everyone to use at least one checked bag for donations to organizations. This time we’re looking for pre-school kindergarteners used flip flops for children in Kampot province who are working with CCAF(Cambodian Children’s Advocacy Foundation), and grade school and middle school used washed tied together tennis shoes that will be used as soles for prostheses for landmine and polio survivors at the Rehab Center. If you're involved with a pre-school could you ask parents to donate outgrown flip-flops? And if you’re involved with an elementary or middle school we’d love to do a little lesson for classes to encourage them to organize a tennis shoe collection drive.

We always return energized and full of hope that we get from the people we meet. You will, too. Join us. Call us or check our website. 408-379-4431 google our developing world(odw). We come up on top as Non profit.

Click here for Landmines Lesson

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Programs our developing world(odw) is offering:

  • Ecuador: Struggles and Hope
    The ongoing saga of the suit against TEXACO/CHEVRON oil pollution
    Update on the election
  • Learning from South Africa
  • The Water Story from Stockton to Vietnam to Nicaragua
  • Privatization: Nicaragua Electricity as a Model
  • International Debt: Who Owes Whom?
  • Poverty Reduction: Dream or Possibility?

All Things Are Connected: International Debt, Environmental Degredation, Poverty Increase, Unemployment, Education, AIDS.

CONSUMERISM: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally.
We can do it with or without snipets from videos from our library and display boards that can be borrowed. Handouts have stories, websites and action.
Down the Street and Around the World, A Starter Kit for Global Awareness.
Lessons with handouts, briefings and activities on globalization andits effect on Education, Environment, Health, Human Rights, Labor, Migration, Security, Trade. Two intensive weeks for the entire series or it can be woven throughout the course or used selectively.

From Cuba we´ve brought some paper beads and a carved wooden humming bird, handmade paper and a lesson plan of questions and answers about a ecologically planned community in a Biosphere. Also some material in Spanish about solar energy plus other things.

From Guatemala: a handwoven diaper and huipil (hand woven blouse) from Guatemala, PLUS all the other beautiful weavings and corn husk dolls, etc...

We audio-taped a variety of people speaking about the work that they or their groups do in trying to build a sustainable life. Voices from Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Other examples from our lending library are handcrafts that are great teaching tools. A few beautiful Southeast Asian hand weavings, baskets and hand made paper diaries and albums, Vietnamese small zylophones and much much more.

Several new videos with guides:

  • Rosa Parks´ Story
  • Faces of Globalization

And more!

  • Audio cassettes and CDs by National Radio Project's Making Contact program. In depth half hour shows on one topic in three stand alone ten minute segments make them ideal for classroom use. Check www.radioproject.org for catalog.
  • A lesson on Landmines has been field tested and well-received in two middle schools, a fourth grade where kids are making a difference now by collecting tennis shoes for the VVAF sponsored rehab center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The staff, many wearing prostheses or using wheel chairs or walkers, will use the shoes for those wearing braces and prostheses. The lesson plan can take an hour or less. It uses visuals from the rehab center, videos and simulations and is also appropriate for high school.
  • our developing world(odw) is giving interactive cross-cultural presentations on Learning from South Africa, the Spirit of Ubuntu.
  • Check this link for more information about Latin America http://www.threeamericas.org.
  • Books for teachers, adult educators, community organizers and anyone who hopes to teach, and learn.
    • The Line Between Us By Bill Bigelow
      The Line Between Us explores the history of U.S-Mexican relations and the roots of Mexican immigration, all in the context of the global economy. And it shows how teachers can help students understand the immigrant experience and the drama of border life.
    • Rethinking Globalization Edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson
      This comprehensive 402-page book from Rethinking Schools helps teachers raise critical issues with students in grades 4 - 12 about the increasing globalization of the world's economies and infrastructures, and the many different impacts this trend has on our planet and those who live here.

We’re looking for pre-school and kindergarteners used flip-flops washed and tied together for children in Kampot province who are involved with CCAF(Cambodian Children’s Advocacy Foundation), and grade school and middle school used, washed, tied together tennis shoes that will be used as soles for prostheses for landmine and polio survivors at the Rehab Center. If you’re involved with a pre-school could you ask parents to donate outgrown flip-flops? And if you're involved with an elementary or middle school we'd love to do a little lesson for classes to encourage them to organize a tennis shoe collection drive. Check it out on our lessons web page.