One is Mideast: Just Peace, a group focused on educating themselves and the community about whats going on over there.
If you only watch TV for the news, youre clueless, said Marian Kromkowski, a Suttons Bay attorney and one of the founders of the group. They dont ever get to the root causes or offer a political or economic explanation as to whats happening. The press in this country, from my point of view, primarily gives the U.S. governments point of view, which, in many respects, goes hand in hand with the Israeli point of view.
Although the group has only been in existence a few months, theyve already brought two human rights activists to Traverse City to speak about the lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Hanan Elmasu, a founding board member of the Ramallah-based human rights group Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, and Ted Lewis of the human rights group Global Exchange.
The group also has other ideas: a letters to the editor campaign, a film program, and
possibly a boycott of Israeli products.
Kromkowski said their feeling is that in order to have peace in the Middle East, it has to be a peace with justice. By our definition, that means a number of things, she said. It needs to include a viable Palestinian state where status is not determined by religion, it requires an end to
the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and it needs an evaluation and dismantling of the settlements currently in the occupied territory... one of the core ingredients is a recognition that all people in the region need to be treated with dignity and not be judged solely on their religion.
Kromkowski is also part of Women in Black, a group focused on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that walks every Friday in downtown Traverse City.
I think for most of us, its a time to get in touch with the vast amount of pain and
suffering that occurs in the world and to reflect on that silently, she said. Through our walking and our silence, we try to come to terms with that and hopefully discover how we can bring about world peace in a way that can diminish the cry for help and pain and suffering throughout so many countries in the world.
Mideast: Just Peace will be showing the documentary Palestine: Story of a Land on Friday, May 10. For location and time, as well as more information about the group, visit their web site, www.nrec.org/justpeace.
ATTACK ON 4th AMENDMENT
Has Michigan taken the first step toward becoming a police state? Thats the conclusion of an article in the Oakland Press which is circulating worldwide in the wake of a decision by the state Legislature.
The state Legislature has given police power to search your home without telling you why, states the April 24 article entitled Living in a police state by John Wisely and Stephen W. Huber in the Pontiac-based paper.
Two new laws, which took effect Monday as part of anti-terror efforts, also shield from public scrutiny the reasons for police searches.
The new laws were rubberstamped with little discussion by the House and Senate. The laws make search warrants and supporting documents such as affidavits non-public records.
As a result, search warrants are now automatically closed for public review by the press and public. If your home is searched by the police, you may be unable to learn the reasons for the search.
Critics say the new laws tear Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure to shreds.
“I think this is absolutely unconstitutional,“ said Dawn Phillips, a First Amendment lawyer with the Michigan Press Association (Quoted in the Oakland Press.). “We objected to it at the time. This thing passed like greased lightning.“
PROTECTING THE LAKES
Lieutenant Governor Dick Posthumus has called for a Marshall Plan to protect the Great Lakes. The gubernatorial candidate says his plan would address fecal contamination from overflowing sewage plants, leaking septic systems and septic wastes, exotic species, mercury pollution, and strengthen regional laws to prevent diversions of fresh water to thirsty parts of the nation and world. The full story from the Great Lakes Bulletin News Service is available from http://mlui.org/newsservice/articles/guyposthum.html