Monday, March 26, 2007

World of Warcraft and the 583rd Medical Logistics Company

This story begins with a big salute to a special gamer – one who is in the 583rd Medical Logistics Company currently deployed in Afghanistan.. But that is just where the story starts. Marshall Mcluhan, the popular author, spoke about there being a global village. When he wrote about a global village (although he did not coin the phrase) in 1962, the internet didn’t even exist. Today it is hard to imagine a world without it. While the internet has yet to reach the self awareness of Skynet from the Terminator movies, the recent launch by Britain of the Skynet 5 satellite made more than one person stop and think, I am sure. It is this global village that enables us to play massively multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft (WoW) in the first place. WoW is a virtual universe that truly embodies the concept of a global village.

There are many small communities within WoW- static groups (groups of five people or so who regularly play together), guilds, and even servers. The latest issue of MMO Magazine has an article about a WoW guild that started all the way back in Ultima Online. That is not the first time I have heard of guilds that branch across MMO games.

Where but in virtual worlds like WoW could people who live all over the world meet together, play together, and still be home for their next meal? Every Wednesday morning a group in one of the guilds I belong to plays together and it consists mostly of Australians and Americans. Games like WoW have allowed me to meet, and get to know people I never would have met otherwise - people like the gamer who we shall call “Aerrar” (for that is the name this player goes by). Last night I received a whisper or tell from Aerrar. Now this in itself is nothing new for me. I have played Everquest, Ultima Online, Eve Online, World of Warcraft and now Vanguard. The last four games I played since I have been a nun. Most people who meet me on line are surprise to find out I am a nun. That is not news to people who have read my articles before. For me getting “Sister can I talk to you” whispers is part of the reason I am online. I am usually the resident nun and I make no effort to hide it. Wow and games like it have allowed me to meet a lot of people in various situations; women who are in abusive marriages and have had to flee for their lives, Women who are in custody battles for their children, and people like Aerrar.

This soldier is surely being watched over by God, or whatever name you care to attach to a divine entity. Recently as we were both playing WoW, Aerrar told me about being in an Artillary unit in Iraq and having survived a blast from a hand grenade from 3 feet away. In a rather sheepish whisper, I was asked to pray for both Aerrar and the 583rd Medical Logistics company, now stationed in Afghanistan of which Aerrar is a part. Without the virtual community, the global village, that is created by games like World of Warcraft, I never would have found out about the miracle that saved this soldier’s life. We had a nice conversation and joked for awhile about one of my favorite lines from the Robin Williams movie “Good Morning Vietnam”. It is the scene where he pretends to be called for a song dedication from someone in an artillery unit, and when asked what song to play the “artilleryman” says “ANYTHING JUST PLAY IT LOUD.” I found out from Aerrar that line is very true.

What amazed me, as we talked, was how things had changed in the military. When I was in the military back in the 80’s (the 1980’s not the 1880’s - I am not that old) there were no computers in our unit and certainly no internet. Now I find out about military units were soldiers are able to play World of Warcraft overseas, and Aerrar is not the first soldier I have found out about that way either.

So thanks to the global village of MMO’s like World of Warcraft I found out about a special gamer and soldier who was protected by a miracle. This article is dedicated to the soldiers of the 583rd Medical Logistics Company in Afghanistan…

Keep your head down out there – see you on line.

Sister Julie

© 2007 Juliemarie WhiteFeather

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Do a half a day or do life

There are days, like yesterday that should make me grateful – well at least according to the Dahli Lama. The idea being that those who give us reason to practice our faith and our patience, actually allow that faith to grow. But there isn’t a halo above my head quite yet and I have had more than my share of people who “help my faith grow” In Buddhism we call that “polishing one’s Buddha Nature.” There are those who would say “forget the past...”

But as anyone who has every seen Star Trek V: The Final Frontier knows, sometimes pain can have a reason. In the movie Spock’s Brother offers to take away Jim Kirk's pain (and by that he means emotional pain). Jim Kirk, in the person of William Shatner, has a very direct reply:

“Damn it, Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain. It’s part of who I am.” – William Shatner as Jim Kirk in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Being born a hermaphrodite, as I was, it is sometimes like having lived two lives in one lifetime. The transition between the two were some of the toughest times and were also the cause such conversations as the one below, which took place in a crowded office mind you, in front of other people:

Co-worker: “So. Can you have an orgasm?”
Me (without missing a beat): “Why are you offering?”

Mind you this was long before I had even thought of becoming a nun – or rather long before God ever put the desire there. But there are times like these that, all together, try one’s soul. People sometimes go through their lives offending anyone they choose, whether it is with a snide comment, a dirty look, or outright filth. Many do so without any thought of reprisals. But then we hear about someone in the paper who just snapped. For example, a few months ago in the City of Chicago, someone walked into an office building near where I work – walked into the office of a patent attorney and shot him dead. That is when we hear the persons family, friends and neighbors say “But he was such a quiet man” as they scratch their heads in befuddlement.

For years an article hung on the bulletin board above my desk. It was given to me by a former co-worker. The article was by a psychiatrist and it was entitled “I saved your life and you never even knew it.” It was all about all of the people who had come in to his office and told him how they had intended bodily harm to a co-worker or supervisor.

I can think back on the people I have worked with over the years who were certain that everything they did was of earthshaking importance. It had to be done, and it had to be done NOW. The end result? One died of stomach cancer before he had a chance to retire. Another died six months after he retired. One died of a heart attack on the job. Yet another got sick at work and asked to go home. That night she was dead. I remember listening to a co-worker on an elevator (and yes this woman was a heavy smoker) “huffing and puffing like a grampus” to use a line from the play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.” The next day she too was dead.

So before you get stressed out. When you think that whatever is stressing you is of earth shaking importance. Do what I do. Stop. Take some time out. Remember.

It is better to take a half a day than do life.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Karma is Karma

Warning: Today is not going to be an uplifting entry. It is just “one of those days” as they say, whoever the infamous “they” are. That being said, and without further adieu, I give you today’s column for those few people who read the convent’s column. I daresay that there are a lot more people who read the actual articles I write for the podcast where I am a staff writer, but one never knows…

Today started out in the usual way with the exception that the 5:00 am “doglarm” did not go off. The reason for that is, mother superior’s dog, who always asks me to walk him at 5:00 am, rather than his owner, was that he was shut in with his owner for the night. Sister Frances went the “second mile” as the good book says, helping me get ready and out the door. She dropped me off at the “tunnel of death” (what I call the subway where we life – that being the same subway that has caught fire twice while I was in it, once while I was riding in it, been stuck on the tracks more times than I can count and now runs so slow, I could probably jog to work and beat it there).

Once I was done praying (for riding the subway always seems to merit much prayer) I fired up the IPOD and Stevie Wonder. Stevie’s songs always put me in a wonderful mood (pun intended) and by the time I got to work I was in a great mood – but it all went down hill from there.

It is hard to keep a good mood when you work somewhere where some of your co-workers wont’ ride an elevator with you, and others look at you as if you are Satan incarnate and somehow have no right to co-exist on the same planet with them. Sad to say they have been forced to put up with my “Company” in the same company for more than 20 years now.

Twenty LONG years….

Being the resident nun isn’t what has caused all the hate (just some of it), being the resident “ex-hermaphrodite” is the main cause, but you can never tell exactly what makes people get their HATE ON. There is an old expression that says, “It is hard to remember that your original intent was to drain the swamp when you are up to your ass in alligators.” One might easily change that to say “up to your ass in hate.”

But it is not always directed at me, even if, as a project manager, I am often the displaced target of the hate…

…like the woman who called my office to tell me that her neighbors are “Russian spies” and that the satellite dish (that was actually for television) on the roof was a telephone to “Mother Russia.” In the end I was forced to refer her to the FBI because my office doesn’t handle matters of espionage.

…like the woman who called my office to tell me that she wanted the owner of her property to build a fence between her apartment complex and the adjoining field so the geese couldn’t get into the complex (hello? Geese having WINGS and can FLY)

…like the woman who called my office to tell me that her ex-husband had her walls “bugged” (no I she didn’t mean the eight legged variety – she meant the electronic kind).

…like the woman who called me to tell me that her neighbors always leave their front door open and wanted me to force them to close their front door.

But the opportunities for avenues to vent one’s hate are many and varied in today’s world. We live in an age of instant media and virtual worlds. The internet and electronic media have created a global village, as Marshal Mcluhan called it. But the advent of MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online games) that create virtual world have created opportunities to hate other people that are in other cities, states and even countries. We live in a world where you have the opportunity to ruin someone’s day you may have never met and will never meet face to face.

We even, God help us all, live in a world with “push button warfare.” A button is pushed, a missile is launched, and entire cities disappear. But “twas not always so.”

693 years go, in 1314, Robert the Bruce, first High King of Scotland, won the Battle of Bannockburn, taking up the uprising begun by William Wallace (about whom the movie Braveheart was made) and ultimately Scotlands freedom – for awhile. Back then there was no push button warfare. The hatred that caused one man to take the life of another was face to face – they watched the life flow out of the eyes of the person they had just killed.

And so mankind invents new an interesting ways in which to heap hatred upon their fellow man.

But here is the ultimate lesson…

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, there is an expression that says “Karma is Karma” in other words, what goes around comes around. That hatred you heap on other people, in whatever measure you give them, will be given right back to you in the long run.

Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But EVENTUALLY it will all come around. And when it does? WHEN IT DOES IT IS GOING TO BE A DOOZY. A real “hate bomb”.

There is a reason that God taught us all to love those who hate us, as hard as it is to do. And believe me, I still have a hard time loving someone who hates me so much they won’t even ride and elevator with me, or hurls filthy epithets at me all because of how I was born.

Why not hate them back?

Well if nothing else, for our own self preservation (see above statement about hate bombs).

In the mean time I am seriously considering donating my brain to science, but I don’t think I will wait to die first.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The right place at the right time...

Sometimes I am asked the question “what does it takes to be a nun?” I was asked that question again last night. There are a lot of answers to that particular question. My “off the cuff” answer is “first you have to be a woman, then be in a convent, then be in a religion.” Sometimes the answer has been “get to the point where you not only want to give your life to God, but you need to give it to God, if nothing else, just to straighten the whole thing out and make it worth living.”

But today the answer is “Being in the right place at the right time.”

And example of that is that there is a traffic assistant (sort of a civilian equivalent of a traffic cop that directs traffic). She just stopped me in the street one day and started talking to me as if we were old friends. The thing is, I didn’t remember introducing myself to her that day, but she certainly was friendly and…well being a nun is also about listening. Every now and then I stopped and we “chatted” for a bit.

Today I was on my way to lunch and saw her. I waved hello (I couldn’t hear her as my I had my headphones on listening to music). She said something and looked a bit crestfallen as they say. I spoke to her and she said, “My mom died yesterday.” Well she needed someone to talk to there and then, and God just had me come along there and then. She told me how she had seen her father’s spirit leave his body when he died. She also told me of how she was asleep and something told her to get up despite the fact that she didn’t want to; that was when she saw the spirit of her mother. She talked to the hospital and they told her they were just going to call her and tell her that her mother had died. Certainly I understood how she felt, for though I lost my own earthly mother long ago, it still feels like yesterday.

So, sometimes being a nun is just about being in the right place at the right time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A shock to the system

Hello again readers. A quick pause from the business world, and the life of a staff writer for some personal shocking news…

A quick show of hands. How many of you know who Frank Fools Crow is? Well, I will just bet that not a lot of hands went up. But here is a brief synopsis.

(source: The New York Times)

Frank Fools Crow, a Sioux Tribal Leader
Associated press, November 29, 1989

Frank Fools Crow, a Sioux Indian spiritual leader who helped to negotiate the end of a 68-day insurrection at Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973, died Monday at the home of his grandchildren. Mr. Fools Crow, whose exact age was not known, was believed to be 99 years old.

He was born near the Wounded Knee Indian Reservation, quitting school in the third grade to work to help his family. As he grew to manhood, he said, he traveled throughout the nation with the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West show.

In 1973 members of the American Indian Movement seized the village of Wounded Knee, S.D., in an armed revolt to protest the Federal Government's policies on Indians. The seizure lasted 68 days, ending after an agreement was reached between Federal officials and a Sioux delegation of which Mr. Fools Crow was a prominent member. Thomas E. Mails,an artist and ethnologist, wrote his biography,"Fools Crow."

Mr. Fools Crow, a medicine man, had lived with grandchildren near Kyle after the death of his second wife, Kate, in October 1988. His first wife, Fannie Afraid, died in 1954.

Here is another one for you:

Frank Fools Crow, (died 1989) was a Lakota Sioux spiritual leader. He was the nephew of Black Elk. He was the subject of a biography written by James Welsh. In 1975 he was invited to offer a prayer before the United States Senate. In 1983, he presented the fifth and current Chief Illiniwek Indian regalia to the University of Illinois. (source:

Now what many of you do know, I am sure, is about sports teams and their penchant for degrading mascots - teams like “The Washington Redskins”. You may not know this particular mascot – Chief Illiniwek. Chief Illiniwek is the mascot, just retired, thankfully, after decades of pressure on the University of Illinois to do so. Every time I saw “Chief Illiniwek” appearing on the news, having appeared at some U of I sports event, it made me want to vomit on my shoes. Seeing a child prancing around as if he were break dancing on the streets of New York City in American Indian Spiritual clothing to cheer a football game, Something the University of Illinois used to insist was “honoring” American Indians, is nothing short of ludicrous. What it is, is an insult. Whether or not the feathers in the headdress are real is not the point. The regalia which each young man wore was reserved for great spiritual leaders, men of honor and valor. Not a child prancing at a football game.

Then this morning, in an associated press article, I found out that Frank Fools Crow presented the most recent “Chief Illiniwek” regalia to the University of Illinois.

First, I realize some may say that the reason may have been to get real eagle feathers, which are sacred, away from being degraded in such a matter. An article in the Chicago Tribune reports differently (below). The feathers in the regalia where real eagle feathers when they were sold by Frank Fools Crow:

"[Chief Anthony]Whirlwind Horse requested that rather than have an outfit made, we purchase one from Frank Fools Crow, who was destitute at the time and needed the money," Smith said [Gary Smith, director of the Marching Illini from 1976 to 1998]. Smith paid $3,500 for moccasins, a tunic, breastplate, leggings, peace pipe pouch and war bonnet with eagle feathers, according to a May 25, 1982, voucher and other documents.In fall 1982, local businessmen flew Fools Crow, Whirlwind Horse and a representative from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the U. of I. on their private plane. The regalia was presented during a halftime ceremony that included the smoking of a peace pipe, Smith said." - Chicago Tribune, "Illiniwek fight gets a twist" January 21, 2007

What is shocking is to think that someone like Frank Fools Crow would in any way support such a travesty as the mascot for U of I., let alone sell eagle feathers for such a use. I grew up admiring Frank Fools Crow for the great man he was. But it is like being African American, and growing up admiring Dr. Martin Luther King, only to find out that he made the sheets the KKK used for hoods -which is obviously ludicrous.

But, thankfully, the degrading habit that was Chief Illiniwek is soon to be no more.

Good Riddance to Chief Illiniwek

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In the news

First things first - for those of you who may be readers of this blog that serves as a "daily" update for our convent, a word of explanation. I am now a staff writer for a podcast on itunes. The site averages about 13,000 hits per month, and being a writer for a podcast that is on the front page of Itunes in its category has been keeping me someone busy. I will not, however, abandon this blog.


One of the things I do each morning, time and duties allowing, is go through the morning paper. The actual news section. For most people this may be a "so what" sort of thing. For me it is a big change of pace. The time was, when I first became a nun, that I didn't read anything that was a book about spirituality of some sort - that and the comics section of the newspaper. Then Mother Superior asked me to go back to writing a book I had worked on (which she is now reviewing to submit for publication).


Here are some interesting items "in the news" where our convent is located...

President Bush Those of you who have read this blog before have some inkling on me views of current presidential policies. The latest effort of our president to spread democracy is a "good will tour" of South America (instead of trying to spread it at the point of a gun like he usually does). One of the chief detractors of President Bush, in South America at least, is the President of Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez. When Bush was asked about what President Chavez, Bush, had this to say - "I bring good will of the United States to South and Central America. That's why I am here." In the mean time President Chavez was addressing a soccer stadium full of people in Buenos Aires, while Bush arrived in Monteverideo, Uruguay. President Chavez had this to say about President Bush:

"The U.S. president today is a true political cadaver, and now he does not even smell of sulfer any more," Chavez told a raucous stadium crowd, alluding to Bush's waning years in office. "What the little gentleman from the North now exudes is the smell of political death, and in a very short time, he will be converted into cosmic dust and disappear from the stage."
- Associated Press, May 10, 2007

Meanwhile, back in Washington D.C. The Associated press today reported in an article entitled "FBI broke laws" reported "The FBI's transgressions were spelled out in a damning 126-page audity by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine." My first reaction was, of course, "The FBI broke laws? Wow there is a news flash." Okay, time for the Native American side of Sister Julie WhiteFeather to come out. We are talking here, about the same FBI that kidnapped a Native American woman named Myrle Poor Bear and forced her to swear false testimony against Lenord Peltier to get him extradited from Canada. The FBI told her they would take her children away from her. More, they threatened her with death. Here is what Myrtle Poor Bear herself had to say:

"According to Poor Bear, what ultimately led her to capitulate was a grisly display engineered by FBI agents. She was shown autopsy pictures of Anna Mae Aquash. Aquash, an Indian activist, had been found on the reservation with a bullet fired into the back of her skull. Supposedly for identification purposes, Aquash's hands were sawed off and sent to FBI labs. These pictures were shown to Poor Bear as well.

'They showed me certain parts of her body that were decomposed. They said that's how I was going to end up if I didn't co-operate with them. They said they could kill me and get away with it. I was very scared. I got to a point where I believed they would do it.'" (source:

So the associated press article from Today's paper reported that Inspector General Glenn A. Fine "found that agents sometimes demanded personal data on people without offical authorization, and in other cases improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances. the audit also concluded that the FBI for three years underreported to Congress how often it used national security letters to ask businesses to turn over customer data. The letters are administrative subpoenas that do not require a judge's approval."

Closer to Home - The paper today also has a headline reading "will Chicago bet $500 million on Olympics?" Friends, Chicago, for those of you who may not know, is the hub of the same Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, unable to balance the budget recently proposed demanding public defenders work only four days a week where as of February 2007 there were 495 people in jail awaiting trial for more than 2 years and more than 100 of them waiting for more than 4 years. (source: Yet this is the same county where Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daily wants to guarantee the Olympic games against financial loss to the tune of $500 million dollars.

And on a historical note: It turns out that the idea for Daylight savings time came from none other than Benjamin Franklin himself. Apparently, he came up with the idea in 1784 but it wasn't until 1883 that the United States even had a standard time (boy wouldn't that have made getting to important meetings on time - "but general we were supposed to fight the British at noon, and the sun hasn't reached the church steeple in town yet). In 1918 daylight savings time was enacted, but repealed in 1919. Then, in 1974, Richard Nixon signed daylight savings time into law. Thank you Richard Nixon, at least there is one thing we can thank him for - I love daylight savings time.

God Bless You All
Sister Julie

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lies, Lies - all lies!

What would you say if someone came in to your neighborhood and kidnapped members of your family, members of your neighbor’s family, and in fact family members throughout the entire community? How would you feel if, after those family members were returned, instead of prosecuting the criminals who did this awful thing, the government took 50 years to do anything about it? How would you feel if all they did was pay you some money to compensate you and apologize?

How would you feel if all of a sudden, they changed their minds, and said it never happened?

In a move today that reminiscent of the first two of the famous monkeys “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” Japan’s Nationalist Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, did just that – “See no evil, hear no evil.” This is right up there with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describing the Nazi holocaust of European Jews as a "myth". Well gentlemen, and I use the term facetiously, you can tell me that there is no Santa Claus and I will believe you. But when you try to tell me millions of people didn’t die in the holocaust, and the thousands of women weren’t forced into slavery in world war 2, that is where I draw the line. All I can say at this point is that both Sinzo Abe and Mahmoud Ahmadineiad should pray – and pray hard – that there is no such thing as reincarnation, nor divine justice. Because gents, come the afterlife you have one big surprise in store. The full story follows:

The Seattle Times for Friday March 2, 2007 carried the full version of the story
The Associated Press

TOKYO — Japan's nationalist prime minister denied Thursday that the country's military forced women into sexual slavery during World War II, casting doubt on a past government apology and jeopardizing a fragile detente with his Asian neighbors. The comments by Shinzo Abe, a member of a group of legislators pushing to roll back a 1993 apology to the sex slaves, were his clearest statement as prime minister on military brothels known in Japan as "comfort stations."

Historians say 200,000 women — mostly from Korea and China — served in the Japanese military brothels throughout Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Many victims say they were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops.

But Abe, who since taking office in September has promoted patriotism in Japan's schools and a more assertive foreign policy, said there was no proof the women were forced into prostitution. "The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion," Abe said.

His remarks contradicted evidence in Japanese documents unearthed in 1992 that historians said showed military authorities had a direct role in working with contractors to forcibly procure women for the brothels.

The documents, which are backed up by accounts from soldiers and victims, said Japanese authorities set up the brothels in response to uncontrolled rape sprees by invading Japanese soldiers in East Asia.

In 1993, then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologized to the victims of sex slavery, though the statement did not meet demands by former "comfort women" that it be approved by parliament. Two years later, the government set up a compensation fund for victims, but it was based on private donations — not government money — and has been criticized as a way for the government to avoid owning up to the abuse.

The mandate for the fund is to expire March 31. Abe's comments were certain to rile South Korea and China, which accuse Tokyo of failing to fully atone for wartime atrocities. Abe's government has been recently working to repair relations with Seoul and Beijing.

The statement came just hours after South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun marked a national holiday honoring the anniversary of a 1919 uprising against Japanese colonial rule by urging Tokyo to come clean about its past. Roh also referred to hearings held by the U.S. House of Representatives last month on a resolution urging Japan to "apologize for and acknowledge" the imperial army's use of sex slaves during the war.

"The testimony reiterated a message that no matter how hard the Japanese try to cover the whole sky with their hand, there is no way that the international community would condone the atrocities committed during Japanese colonial rule," Roh said.

Dozens of people also rallied outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to mark the anniversary, lining up dogs' heads on the ground with pieces of paper in their mouths listing names of Koreans who allegedly collaborated with the Japanese during its 1910-45 colonial rule. Organizers said the animals were killed at a restaurant; dogs are regularly eaten in Korea. Roh's office said late Thursday it did not have a direct response to the Japanese leader's remarks. In Beijing, calls to the Chinese Foreign Ministry seeking comment on the remarks were not returned.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack would not comment on Abe's statement.
The sex-slave question has been a cause célèbre for nationalist politicians and scholars in Japan who claim the women were professional prostitutes and were not coerced into servitude by the military.

Before Abe spoke Thursday, a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party legislators discussed their plans to push for an official revision of Kono's 1993 apology. Nariaki Nakayama, chairman of the group of about 120 legislators, sought to play down the government's involvement in the brothels by saying it was similar to a school that hires a company to run its cafeteria.

"Some say it is useful to compare the brothels to college cafeterias run by private companies, who recruit their own staff, procure foodstuffs and set prices," he said.
"Where there's demand, businesses crop up ... but to say women were forced by the Japanese military into service is off the mark," he said. "This issue must be reconsidered, based on truth ... for the sake of Japanese honor."

Sex-slavery victims, however, say they still suffer wounds — physical and psychological — from the war. Lee Yong-soo, 78, a South Korean, said she was 14 when Japanese soldiers took her from her home in 1944 to work as a sex slave in Taiwan. "The Japanese government must not run from its responsibilities," said Lee, who has long campaigned for Japanese compensation. "I want them to apologize. To admit that they took me away, when I was a little girl, to be a sex slave. To admit that history

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Emmett Till you are not forgotten

The fact that there is anyone, or WAS EVER ANYONE who things it was alright to kill another human being in such a way for such a reason should NEVER be forgotten. I will let the article speak for itself, but the words of Emmett's murder should be heard first:

J.W. Milam, in his interview with William Bradford Huie for Look magazine says to Emmett Till before he shot him, "God damn you, I'm going to make an example of you—just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand."

Below: Emmett Till

Below: Carolyn Bryant Donham as a young woman and in 2004

By JACK ELLIOTT JR. and ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writers Tue Feb 27, 9:41 PM ET

JACKSON, Miss. – All but closing the books on a crime that helped give rise to the civil rights movement, a grand jury has refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was beaten and shot after whistling at a white woman in the Mississippi Delta.

The district attorney in rural Leflore County had sought a manslaughter charge against the white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, who was suspected of pointing out Till to her husband to punish the boy for what was a grave offense in the segregated South.

But the grand jury last Friday issued a "no bill," meaning it found insufficient evidence, according to documents made public Tuesday.

Federal authorities decided last year not to prosecute anyone, saying the statute of limitations for federal charges had run out. Mississippi authorities represented the last, best hope of bringing someone to justice. No one has ever been convicted in the slaying.

"You're looking at Mississippi. I guess it's about the same way it was 50 years ago," said a disappointed Simeon Wright, 64, a black man who heard his cousin whistle. "We had overwhelming evidence, and they came back with the same decision. Some of the people haven't changed from 50 years ago. Same attitude. The evidence speaks for itself."

He added: "I don't know how many years I have left on this Earth. We can leave this world and say, `Hey, we tried. We tried to get some justice in this, and we failed.'"
Till, a 14-year-old boy visiting from Chicago, was kidnapped from his uncle's home in the town of Money and killed after he wolf-whistled at Donham, a shopkeeper at the Bryant Grocery & Meat Market.

Three days later, his mutilated body was found in the muddy Tallahatchie River, weighted down with a cotton gin fan. His left eye was missing, and his right eye was dangling on his cheek. The body was identified only by a ring he was wearing.
His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who died in 2003, held an open-casket funeral in Chicago, and a photograph of Till's disfigured face in Jet Magazine had a powerful effect on public opinion, letting the world see what was happening in the South.
Roy Bryant, Donham's husband, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted of the crime by an all-white jury in 1955. The two men later confessed in an interview with Look magazine. Both are now dead.

The FBI reopened the case in 2004 but decided in 2006 not to press charges. The case was turned over to local prosecutors, with the FBI suggesting they take a closer look at Donham. Some witnesses said a woman's voice could be heard at the scene of the abduction.

David Beito, a history professor at the University of Alabama who has researched the case extensively, said Tuesday there is probably no one else left to arrest in the case. He said it is hard to underestimate the importance of the Till case, which took place the same year as the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott.
"It gave a jump-start to the civil rights movement," he said. "It did not create the civil rights movement, but it made it more into a mass movement. It really mobilized people."

Donham, who remarried, is now 73 and has declined interviews. A telephone number for her was disconnected Tuesday.

District Attorney Joyce Chiles, a black woman who grew up near where the killing took place, was in court Tuesday and not immediately available for comment.
Wright said: "J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant died with Emmett Till’s blood on their hands. And it looks like everyone else who was involved is going to do the same. They had a chance to come clean. They will die with Emmett Till’s blood on their hands."

Horace Harned, 86, a former Mississippi legislator and member of the Sovereignty Commission, a state agency that worked clandestinely to preserve segregation, said he was glad to see no charges filed. He said the suggestions that Donham had a role in the crime are "a bunch of foolishness."

"Of course, I don't believe in murder. That's the wrong thing. It always backfires on you. That shouldn't have happened," he said. But he added: "You can't correct all the ills of the past. If we did, the Southerners were treated much worse than anybody back in the Civil War."