Highway to heaven


By Marivel Guzman

Somewhere in Kashmir, paradise on earth
(Photo credit Kaiser Ahmed)

A letter to India in regards to the closure of the 300km-long Baramulla-Jammu national highway that connects the disputed Kashmir region to the outside world

To be honest #India, I wholeheartedly believe, that it is safest for your troops not to move at all in J&K’s territory.

Your 750,000 troops will be better off serving Hindus in India proper territory. Don’t you think?

What is this insane fixation of yours [India] on trying to administrate a territory with people that do not accept your arrangements?

You guys have a different language, different religion, and different traditions, really nothing in common.

How much money every one of those 750,000 soldiers patroling unhappy people makes? You know well, Indian ITs make more money in the developed nations. Shouldn’t you be investing in your youth’s education rather than putting them in harm ways?

How much money do you invest in this one-sided affair? Billions I imagine. You could invest in housing and health for your people. I’m sure those soldiers will be happier constructing their own [Indian soldiers]houses than pelting boys in Kashmir

I’m sure, you are not doing it just for ego, right? I mean, is this like a cricket game against Pakistan you trying to win? Or, are you really interested and the wellbeing of the Kashmiri people?

Perhaps water is your interest in J&K? If that the case, wouldn’t be safer and cheaper to negotiate some type of economic arrangements with J&K?

Whichever is your interest in Kashmir, for sure is not in the best interest of the Kashmiri people.

Categories: Kashmir, Kashmir, Ocuppied Land

Kashmir blocks of society


By Marivel Guzman

I shall put this article side by side with the comments published in Facebook’s profiles from both scholars Dr. Shah Faesal and Dr. Mehboob Makhdoomi

For now I’m reading the two sides of their stories-I will add their views at the end of this piece.

Faesal, who according to the J&K government website of current employees, as August 07, 2018, Faesal is pursuing a Mid-career on Master Programme in Public Administration, at the Edward S. Mason Harvard University, also, the an employee with the title of Senior time scale 15600 39100 Plus a GP of 6600. And Makhdoomi lives outside the crude reality of Kashmir.

Both scholars with political tendencies—Even if they part from their scholar research for “truth.” Politics like the devil are in the details.

As I was giving the last edits to this essay, I received a clip from Greater Kashmir newspaper, that Faesal is leaving the government to pursue politics. I mention this fact because Faesal stressed out in a facebook comment that he wasn’t a man of the “system.”

The laughable fact is that he posted in his Twitter that the reason to resign is the “unabated killing of Kashmiris.”

Anyway, I digressed from my paper to comment on Faesal’s retirement to join the pro-India National ConferenceParty, said GK.

After reading Makhdoomi’s comments, I have to agree with every one of his statements. He is one hundred percent right on Faesal. Faesal is an opportunist working his way up into the system and he is appealing to the people’s simpathy to climb up.

I want to think than me being a total stranger of the Kashmir struggle, an outsider per say, well other than learn it from conversations with Kashmiri, blogs, alternative media and Indian official channels. I believe I can analyze a move like a spectator of a chess game that is sure, he knows better the next move because he doesn’t hold the stress of the game.

A little background of my interest for justice. Back on 2003, I attended Richie Corrie’s parents lecture and a plight for help to continue their daughter journey to liberate Palestine. Since then I became an active member of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. My activism came with attachments. I couldn’t activate only for Palestine as I learn of Kashmir struggles.

Obviously “Indian Administrated Kashmir” got my attention and I in 2010 funded the page “Palestine and Kashmir Occupation needs to End.”

I have tried my best to stay informed and tell others about Kashmir.

During the years I have covered Kashmir I categorized the players-Blocks of the Kashmiri population—in compartments of relation with the land and the struggle:

Social-economic convenience block, where all workers of the Indian occupied Kashmir government infrastructure fit. Majority of them live for the most part with a decent salary and are more or less comfortable with the situation. Internet or electricity cuts often seen by them as something out of control, but part of the Indian apparatus administration.

Political aspiration persons, those who take a political post with hopes to climb the ladder of power. They see the freedom fighters as a nuisance to their political career and will do anything to win the favor from India and at the same time keep happy and at bay the Kashmiris.

They stay away from speeches that denounce the Cordon and Search Operations (CASO,) that usually end up killing resistance fighters and civilians, also they are mute of disappeared persons. They live in a small world, almost forming a block with J&K government w m orkers. In other words these two blocks are the cushion that sustain Indian occupationfrom crumbling.

Political career persons, usually Pundits, Sikhs and Muslim Kashmiri persons who managed to position on posts of power and pretend India will stay forever as it is. Same as the political aspiration block, they see the struggle as a nuisance to their political post, but they enjoy more freedom both of speech and movement.

Survival modus operandi group, all those people who care less for their neighbors but only care to bring food to the table.

Intellectuals, all people who make a living out of the conflict, being lecturing around the world, writing books and/or giving interviews to TV stations, magazines and newspapers.

Scholars and university students, the real thinkers of Kashmir. They are full of ideas on how to liberate Kashmir. They are the energized block of the population. Fresh minds who want the best for the land and the people.

They are continuously studying the solutions and seek freedom from foreign powers but they entertain the cons and contras of compromise.

All parties Hurriyat Conference. They seem as good people with different solutions for the same problem. They are persecuted by the system but they want the goodwill of the people.
Except that they are not clear if they want self-determination or everlasting Pakistani protection

Even though they have observer status at The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, it seems that Kashmiris don’t enjoy any protection from the 157 members states.

The only worthy thing they have “achieved” for Kashmir is the official publication the Office Of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report on June 2018.

The resistance fighters, the real heroes who can not see oppression, occupation, and repression as something irremediably, they seek the solution now, yesterday was late for self-determination.

They can not compromise on the land. They see the martyrs as a sacrifice to the land, usually Muslims who see in martyrdom exchange for paradise.

And finally the common Kashmiri farmer and their family, and the common worker, both blocks of the population seek nothing but their land as an inherited right. They cheer for the martyrs, freedom fighters escapades, but also they cheer for the leaders that promise “things.” In their naiveness, they believe the political figures that give great speeches are true leaders.

What I see from far away is that the Kashmir Valley is subject to religion extortion from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and a cruel military occupation from India. Both nuclear powers are playing a chess game in Kashmir and they are sacrificing all the pieces.

  • The Valley is drenched with blood, the mothers are mourning their martyrs while politics plays high in round tables with endless discussions going no where.

Until all the Valley is one block standing strong with one voice for self-determination, there will be millions of voices compartmentalized in blocks. All speaking different languages, different strategies, different goals and off course many “agendas.”

That is the scenario I see from my vantage point.

And the band played on–Book Review


And the Band Played on

By Randy Shilts (1987)

Book Review

By Marivel Guzman

 

And the Band Played On, cover book by Randy Shilts

The beginning of the AIDS epidemics creates a blurred line in the history of the United States, nobody, that could have done something to stop the spread of the epidemic did anything of substance, except for their relatively small almost intrusive hand in the political game of the times.

Scientists and the first victims of AIDS will be exonerated by history. The gay community was scared, uninformed and was caught out of the guard, and the scientific community was left to their fortunes to try to stop the disease from disseminating.

I was in nursing school back in 1977 all the way to 1981. In those years the word AIDS did not exist in the pathology book we have to memorize to pass the class. Cancer in those days, it was a new disease being researched, but already making inroads in the life of Mexican women in hospital wards of Mexico.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the name given to the disease, a shorter and less scary name for a Syndrome that will definitely kill anybody with the virus, which by 1980 was killing ‘gays people’ without having been properly known.

The scientific community of the US and France were in a battle for recognition, both nations top scientific did not really know what they were confronted with.

Shilts 657 pages The Band Played On book indeed did a good job into chronologically recording the juiciest aspects of the gay community with their “bathhouses” and their organizations.

Randy Shilts makes 273 references to Bathhouses all throughout the book and The “Blood-industry,” is repeated only 41 times, blood transfusion(s) is brought out only 67 times, but none of those mentions makes the blood industry to come clean for partaking in the spread of the HIV.

Presently a person with AIDS’s life expectancy is about 78, with medical treatment.

Coincidentally I did my one-year clinical practice in Mocorito, Sinaloa, Mex., which it was known as the town of the gays.

I was the head nurse of the rural hospital in Mocorito Health Center, I do not remember to see troves of gays with Kaposi sarcoma, actually, I do not have any recollection to see cancer cases at all. I do remember, we were running a program to eradicate Tuberculosis and Hepatitis, and for a town with so many gay people, it is strange not having a memory of AIDS cases.

In June 1981, the CDC published a report of five gay men from Los Angeles, Ca., who contracted a life-threatening disease, PCP pneumonia, which was never seen on people with an intact immune system. Also, in July of the same year, published the cases of a rare type of skin cancer that kills young gay people with AIDS, Kaposi’s sarcoma.

I appreciate the dignified pity Shilts dedicated to the gay community victims of AIDS, but I reproach the way he brushes off the blood industry for the spreading of AIDS. Stanford University, the biggest supplier of blood is the main responsible for the spread of the AIDS virus. The scientific community of United States has its big share of guilt, as well of Congress and the federal government.

By the way, Shilts makes so many references of the “bathhouses” all throughout the book, makes me believe he blames the bathhouses for the spreading of the disease.  Shilts makes 201 references to Bathhouses and 72 references to “bathhouse.” This insistence on focusing so many chapters to the gay community as the culprits of the sin of AIDS is unfair.

AIDS being a new disease taking everyone by surprise should have put the media in a state of alert, but also, they fail to give the AIDS epidemic the attention it required.

The earliest press releases by the CDC confirmed that they were already taking measure to tackle the disease, but Reagan did not have any hurry in “tarnishing” his image with the epidemic. Shilts does not make a great effort to call onto the Reagan administration, or Congress into doing more allocating bigger budget for the investigation and treatment of the disease that it was costing so many lives.

I have to give him credit for taking such paramount job into writing the story of so many known guys affected by the disease in its earliest stages. He does fail to do more investigative reporting in other cities, he concentrated his stories in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and by lack of imagination, he did not wonder in other towns and cities hospitals.

As an RN nurse and with knowledge of infectious diseases, I know that a disease such as AIDS, it wouldn’t have city lines.

Coincidentally as I write this review, I found a recent article in the New York Times, a self-conscience judgment.

“The New York Times had a spotty record of covering the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s — and gay culture in general. Times staffers reflect on the paper’s past, and what we can learn from it today.” The New York Times, April 28, 2018.

Shilts makes few allusions to the press of the time, their passivity to cover more aggressively the first instances of the epidemic. That could have been a game changer. If the news were doing their job, perhaps, the Reagan Administration could have done more, perhaps Congress could have made the blood industry to stop cold from distributing “one more once of blood.”

“If AIDS is indeed sexually transmitted, why have there been so few cases?” If scientists were doing the math, they should have known that gays right groups were correct to ask this question. Shilts isn’t preoccupied with investigating the stats of gays affected with the immune syndrome.

I’m very critical of this book narrative, which focuses, it is more emphasizing that gays are the vehicle of the agent of AIDS, rather than shifting the blame to the blood transfusions.

By mid-1982, Dr. Edgar Engleman, Stanford’s immunologist for the blood bank, had already figured out, that the disease could be spread in blood transfusions as well, “By early 1983, three AIDS cases were lying in Stanford University Hospital wards; for all three, their only “risk behavior” was having a blood transfusion in San Francisco,” Shilts said.

This statement was a good “scientific clue,” that blood transfusion should have been halt until further investigation on the cause of the virus was found. Why keep pounding on the idea that AIDS is spread through “Bathhouses.”?

I can understand that Shitls being gay wanted to highlight the life of the gay community in those bathhouses, perhaps, Shilts, the intent was to normalize the idea that gays are human beings like every other individual in American society. At one point on the narration, Shilts relates the funeral of a gay victim of AIDS, where the mother of disease asked the lover out of the service. I only can try to analyze Shilts’s intentions by making gays’ sufferings to resonate with American society.

If Shilts meant to write the tragedy of the gay community from LA, Miami, and NY, he nailed the story, but to have written this 657-page book as a chronological recorder of the evolution of the disease in American gay’s communities, it just does not add up. By the time he wrote “And the Band Played on,” there was plenty of scientific evidence that AIDS was not an only gay disease.

Yes, I agree that he incorporated the political climate of those years and it played perfectly well with his stories of gays sentenced to death. Another scoring point for Shilts is his liberal and literal use of the “word anal.” He feels that is entitled to say what he enjoys as a gay man without having to explain further. Kudos to him on this.

Shilts missed the opportunity to expose the government coverup—an epidemic spreading like wildfire, and the federal government isn’t declaring an emergency, it isn’t allocating millions of dollars for research.  As a journalist and a gay person, Shilts missed the focal point of the spreading of AIDS.

Multi-Center AIDS Cohort Studies by 1982, had already guarantee grant money for research, no mention of that in Shilts’s book.

According to Shilts, The Department of Public Health still had not produced one piece of informational literature on AIDS, he said. But, public records show that the CDC has already published a press release advising the scientific community of the epidemic.

The CDC is the main actor in Shilts’s book, he mentioned the CDS 564 times all through the book, for a 567 pages book, the mentions are a little bit exaggerated. In all credit to the CDS, by June 1981, it has already published a press release, and by May of the same year the MMRW (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC have already confirmed 5 cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) among previously healthy young men in Los Angeles (1). All of the men were described as “homosexuals”; two had died. Local clinicians and the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer stationed at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, prepared the report and submitted it for MMWR publication in early May 1981.

As an RN, I find the book to lack the scientific sources, to be considered a “breakthrough” literature on AIDS.

If you want to learn about the beginning of AIDS, Inventing the AIDS Virus by Peter H. Duesberg, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and a pioneer in retrovirus research. His book it is a great read with peer journal references to his studies and an outstanding credible researcher, which articles have appeared in several scientific journals.

Shilts’s The Band Played On, it is a good book, which brings the human side of gays and as a gay journalist, he dared to expose the hypocrisy in politics and the little care they have for the wellbeing of Americans.

AIDS took the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. In the beginning, the “Blood Industry,” which is a multi-billion dollar business refused to throw away their existing batches of blood in their banks.

Even if it was not thoroughly investigated, thousands of patients got infected through blood transfusions.

The blood industry is as guilty as the US government from the AIDS epidemic.

“And the Band Played on” by Randy Shilts (1987) explores thoroughly the beginning of AIDS in the US.

 

 

 

Categories: News

UNRWA free of United States interference


By Marivel Guzman

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Last week the White House stopped its funding to UNRWA, the agencyiin charge of supporting and protecting Palestinians refugees.

At this point is expected that it will continue its mission through personal donations. According to uts official page, UNRWA also receives funding from the European Union and partner organizations.

Skipping the middle man! This could be the best opportunity to sideline the US government, which have been the main obstacle for peace in Palestine—The US Congress also is to blame having funded the Israeli’s military with billions of dollars. This funding have emboldened Israel.

At this moment the future of UNRWA US is unsure. I share their page, but I’m skeptical if the funds can be delivered directly to the occupied territories without official channels. Also taking in consideration that Israel receives the money before is handled to the Palestinian Authority.

UNRWA is a non-profit, that functions as a direct dependent of the UN, which was funded in the same year the agency was funded–In 1949 UNRWA was created with the sole purpose to assist and protect Palestinians dispossessed of their lands, homes and livehood after the partition.

At this point we don’t know what is going to happen to UNRWA. It is true several countries and private organizations also help in its funding, but we need to hear more information from the WH regarding its standing regarding UNRWA—Will the WH allow UNRWA to function without government interference?

“WE PROVIDE ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION FOR
SOME 5 MILLION PALESTINER EFUGEES,” UNRWA official page

UNRWA Facebook page

 

SacState Run Fun for Palestine


by Marivel Guzman

RunningForFreedom

Marivel Guzman, at California State University, Sacramento, The Well Fun Run race. I’m running for my team “Running for Freedom,” on April 19, 2018, Sacramento, Calif. (Photo/Cintia Lopez)

Hello family, friends, and brothers and sisters in humanity. This is one of the essays for my Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration class. RPTA 100 is an upper division class I took to complement the 120 units requirements to graduate. To pass the class, we have to create two major discovery events of leisure and recreation, that serve us in all aspects of our psychological and physiological needs.

By the time, I enrolled for the race, I have done my two main discovery events, but I could do it for some extra credit (5 points), not bad if you consider that 5 points could be the difference between getting a BA or not.

Everybody that is close to me knows, that I started my journalism career, as a way to serve the Palestinian cause.

“I’m studying journalism to be a better peace activist, to be a better writer for the cause of justice,”Akashma

I know my shortcoming with the English language. English is not my native language. I have struggled for years to master the art of writing a good essay, or even a good article without having to resorts to a grammar edition software, which is probably used by every English book writer, and every accomplished journalist.

This small essay is a simple example of how everything I do in my assignments as a student at Sac State is turned into an activist piece for Palestine.

In the past, I tried to merge my identity as a peace activist and my journalistic career, but it did not come too well. In college, my writings were not published and here at the university, my audacity got me in problems with the then editor in chief of the Hornet, Sacramento State’s student newspaper.

According to my adviser, the and EIC  of the Hornet, me, as a student journalist I cannot write for my the newspaper on issues of Palestine, the newspaper alleges Bias, and conflict of interest because I’m peace activist. I alleged that I’m peace activist, and because of it, I know about the issues played on in society, but also, I argued that me, I’m a professional journalist, who will cover events and report on the merits of the event, really in all conscience, I cannot lose my identity as a human being. I must continue what I feel is right. Is being biased for truth and justice is a conflict of interest, then so be it.

I have found other ways to serve my biased cause of justice: Here is one simple example, not for a journalist class but, this essay gets to be published in the wires.

Race results 

Without further due; The Essay 5k Fun Run Running for Palestine 5K Fun Run

Short video of the last few seconds of the race

 

 

 

Congress mass hysteria: Facebook marketplace is not fair game


By Marivel Guzman

Ben Shapiro is a bright mind. I don’t agree with him 51 percent of the time but on this charade of congressanal hearing, I agree; Completely!

In the video I shared bellow, Shapiro is shredding to pieces the “mass charade” of Mark Zuckerberg “testifying in Congress.”

In my opinion, the Mark Zuckerberg Congressional hearing was a circus for mass entertainment. Somehow, Congress is directing the attention away from the orders of President Donald Trump to invade a foreign state bypassing with this UN Security Council. This is another whole issue that I will discuss in another post. I’m

I totally agree that Facebook has the responsibility to protect its user’s data–Not to sell it, not to lend it as the case with Cambridge Analytics, specially because, Cambridge Analytics is a foreign institution. “It is a British political consulting firm,  a corto its own website. Whose parent company SLC Group,” A private British behavioral research and strategic communication company.

What is interesting, if you follow down the rabbit’s hole, you find out that SLC group joins the US State Department.

” Robert Mercer-funded dedicated Cambridge Analytics foreign parent company signs a deal to do propaganda work for State’s Global Engagement Center” says Text fire, at medium.com

According to medium.com, SLC Group was recently awarded a defense contract with the US State’s Department. To my opinion the whole scandal was because US State Department was caught with its pants down due to the leak by Christopher Wylie, “A whistle blower who exposed Cambridge Analytica’s role in a data breach affecting 50 million Facebook users earlier this month, tweeted documents that suggested the firm’s parent company,” said The Washington Post and its Asia&Pacific section of March 28 article, “Whistleblower claims Cambridge Analytica’s partners in India worked on elections, raising privacy fears.”

In the following video Ben Shapiro calls out Congress on its childish questions to Zuckerberg.

On the other hand Facebook as a private business reserves the right to change the internal policies of its organization.

The users are given the tools to change the privacy settings, but nobody takes a day off to read Facebook privacy settings.

A mass hysteria will start when somebody does it and raise hell in his wall then everybody starts to share the “raise hell post,” then people goes to change the privacy settings.

Now, regarding Facebook’s practices of gatekeeper of news, that is a whole new issue. Congress should ask the proper questions.

Also, monitoring our political views and sharing that information to parties that will use them against us in a “psychological experiment,” to sway our opinions, it is atrocious right? But, isn’t that exactly what main Stream Media does? And our own government as well.

News networks chose and pick commentators that are sharp, well mannered, and well groom into the network’s agenda. The guests are as well leaned to that agenda and to ‘make the audience’ believe they are unbiased, they’ll invite somebody on the other side of the political spectrum, and either, the guests is caught up with questions he/she can not answer with a short response, or the guest will be aggressively re battled. If the guest is brave enough to make his voice heard, his/her microphone volume is decreased to the point where his voice is inaudible.

The same behavior is used by lobbyists, and politicians campaigns. They all use physiological behavioral strategies to impact the subconscious of the population.

Now, does Facebook has the right to do the same with their users?
The sponsors of Facebook do that job and because of those sponsors is that users have a free platform to share whatever they want to share.

The issue becomes skewed and spooky because Facebook is a global organization and serves a global market. Off course there always will be foreign interference and Adds will flow freely to target audiences. Where is the illegally on that?

If this is so offensive and damaging to our democracy then foreign agencies as AIPAC should be illegal to operate in US soil.

Is Facebook guilty of treason? Then, so is Congress, they take money from foreign entities such AIPAC, which clearly is a foreign agency working in behalf of Israel. It doesn’t matter that Israel is friend of US, still is a foreign state.

Or, Is Facebook guilty of violating its own privacy policies? Well, that crime won’t take anybody to jail but certainly can teach us that in a free marketplace everything is free game. Right?

After all we live in a Capitalist system where “supply and demand,” rules the game.

Categories: News

The Mist


The Mist

I feel myself as part of the air, the water, the mountain, the tree, the earth, the fire and the mist. The abstract sensation of not being in a solid state but ether—that is, a ‘something’ that exists everywhere like the Akash that surrounds us all in a phrase, “From above so is bellow”.

This is a reflection of my altered essence that feels like being everywhere; touched but touching, admired but admiring, but also a transparent and diluted substance molded by the strokes of pain that follows everything I touch, everything that I dream.

But, there is also a feeling of being part of the ‘nowhere’, where you don’t see me, but you feel me; like the air. You feel me through my emotions, passions and pains. Everything that transpire from my essence is me. It’s my soul ‘talking’.

But at the end, I’m the mist of the conquered ideals. I have to surrender to justice and equality, and as the mist, I’ll disappear with white and black tones of grainy rebellion. My soul is boiling with tremores of love for humanity, for earth, for truth, justice and peace.

I must dissipate!  ❤️

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By Marivel Guzman

March 12, 2018

Categories: News
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