Day 82 Memorial Day

Today is Monday. Today is Memorial Day, a US holiday that most will celebrate with a day off, barbecues, or the last day of a week’s vacation before traveling home. Still some especially the older generation will go by graves to pay respects.
It is a day when many Americans will fly their flags and other red, white and blue decorations.

Memorial Day History from VA.GOV
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

My grandfather had served in WW2 and Korea. My father was in the Navy as was one of my brothers. Another brother served in the Marines and I am an Army veteran.
In Paul’s family, his father was in the Navy and served in Korea, and two of his brothers served in the Air Force. Paul served in the Army and Air Force and our son served in the Air National Guard. While all of us received various medals for service, Matt was given the Chief’s Award for Excellence which is awarded to only one airman in a Flight.

None of us has ever had to serve in combat and I am grateful for that. I know too many people whose sons have seen combat repeatedly and I suspect you have, too. They are very damaged people physically, mentally, and emotionally.

On this day, I am mindful of all people who have died in wars.  We are mindful of soldiers, and civilians; men, women and children who did not escape the falling bombs, gunfire, crumbling infrastructure.

The DeHarts are Pacifists.

I want peace.  I want peace for the children who go to bed at night not hearing a barking dog or crickets, but explosions and screams, wondering if it will be the last night they know.  I want peace from warmongers and war profiteers, from arms dealers and imperialism.  I want peace.

I want to remember that there is nothing good about war…nothing.

I truly wish you peace on this Memorial Day.

 

Day 81 Losses and gains

Today is Sunday.  Today I was reminded of old friendships that abruptly ended because of a choice to seek asylum for the persecution and torture of my son.  Some have disappeared from my life with not even a goodbye, while others keep me at a distance maybe secretly hoping I do not disturb their safe little world.

Today, I was reminded that fear, suspicion, disbelief can be powerful stumbling blocks to relationships.  Today, I was again attacked by a selfish and waspish relative who makes me struggle to be a kind and loving person.  This relative has a way of manipulating me into blaming myself for all that appears wrong.

Today, I am reminded that there are people I have met during this nightmare who love and encourage me.  I am also reminded that old acquaintances have become supportive friends.

Today, I will let the losses be losses and welcome the gains.  Today, I will encourage my son to do the same; to look forward to knowing those people who will help him through his struggle and be a friend to those who need gains in their lives, too.

Today, I hope I am a gain, a positive gain, to those who know me.  Peace..:)

Day 80 full of thanks

Today is Saturday. Today I am still thinking about yesterday’s post and in so doing, I feel the need to thank those who without their tireless support, the incarcerated and the persecuted would not have a voice. They would not feel the love and concern that many people share for those who risked so much to stand up, to protest, to expose corruption.

Today, I want to thank Truthdig for the amazing articles its journalists write to keep the rest of us informed and inspired.  If you did not get a chance to listen to Chris Hedges’ speech regarding Rosa Luxemburg, do yourself a great favor.

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_speaks_on_rosa_luxemburgs_legacy_video_20160528

Today, I want to thank all of the imprisoned people who get my cards.  You are so gracious and kind and even if you don’t like my art or words, you never say so..:)  I pray for each and everyone of you that you will stay strong, be at peace, and that one day you will be vindicated for the wrongs perpetrated against you.

Special thoughts and prayers for Jay Chase who has been abused by guards and his nose broken.

Day 79 persistence to the truth in the face of extreme risk

Today is Friday. Today, I copied part 3 and 4 of Adrian Humphreys epic 5 part series on Matt to send to my son. He has never gotten a chance to read the entire piece in one sitting.
As I was reading through the story, I was struck on how long this battle has been going on and how my son has never wavered from speaking the truth of what he knows and what has happened.

Today, I saw that the Courage Foundation has taken on Chelsea Manning. I salute all of those associated with Courage for supporting those like Chelsea who had the courage to tell truth; to shine a light in darkness at a very very costly price.

Today, I thought about many people through history who have risked their reputations, their possessions, their freedom and their very lives to stand up and against those who are morally and ethically corrupt and those who perpetrate great evil upon others.

Today, I want to recognize some of the people who have made an impact on on me and how I look at the world:

William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833)

Mr.Wilberforce was a English member of parliament and social reformer who was very influential in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British empire.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945)

He was involved in the resistance in WW2 against Hitler and the Nazis. Herr Bonhoeffer stood against the churches which had allied themselves with the government under extreme nationalism. He was hung April just before the regime collapsed.

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

President Mandela was an activist and a revolutionary against apartheid. He served 27 years in prison. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014)
He was a social activist. Seeger supported civil and labor rights, racial equality, international understanding, and anti-militarism He believed music and songs were instruments to help change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)

MLK was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and opposed war. He believed in non violent civil disobedience and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through non violence. He was murdered.

Frank Serpico (1936-

Frank blew the whistle on brutality and corruption within the NYPD.  He was the first officer to testify against another officer before the Knapp Commission.  He was shot during a drug raid and survived, but no other officers came to his aid.

Thomas Drake (1957-

Mr. Drake is a former senior executive of the NSA, a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran,  He is a whistleblower regarding the Trailblazer Project.  He has received the Ridenhour Prize for Truthtelling.  He still speaks out today against mass surveillance.

John Kiriakou (1964-

A CIA analyst, Mr. Kiriakou blew the whistle on the CIA’s horrible  use of waterboarding as a use of torture.  He spent 30 months in prison under the Obama administration.

Julian Assange (1971-

Mr. Assange is an  computer programmer from Australia.  He is a publisher, journalist and the editor in chief of WikiLeaks.  He has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for 5 years now as a result of seeking asylum for bogus charges in Sweden.  His fear is that of being extradited to the US.  He is being persecuted for exposing corruption and lies that governments work to hide.

Chelsea Manning (1987-

She is a soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act  after disclosing to WikiLeaks a trove of  classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents.  The “Collateral Murder” video she released showed the murder of Reuters journalists and civilians by US military personnel. Chelsea was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison.

And I would like to recognize a few people  others who inspire me to live courageously:

Stanley Cohen (1953-

An attorney, an activist, a writer and my friend.  Stanley has represented hackers, occupiers, anti-war protesters, clerics, the homeless and he is a ardent believer in human rights.  He spent 18 months in prison (drummed up tax charges).

Jesselyn Radack (1970-

A whistleblower exposing ethical violations against the FBI.  She is an amazing lawyer who sticks her neck out for whistleblowers, hactivists and journalists.

My friend, Ray, who I will keep his identity unknown, is an activist, a lover of humanity.  He risks his own life and health to aid journalists, activists, and whistleblowers.  He works tirelessly with his influence and resources to secure freedom for , bring world attention to, and supports those he feels impassioned to help.

Matthew DeHart (1984-

Anonymous hactivist, pacifist, and defender of the weak, Matthew came across information that implicated the three letter agencies in criminal activity and coverup.  He was tortured, smeared with CP allegations, forced into a plea and sentenced to 90 months in prison for which he has served a majority of the time in pretrial detention.

There is a persistence with integrity.  There is a commitment to the truth.  There is sacrifice for the welfare of others.  There is a rare kind of courage that stands alone from the millions of foot soldiers.  And when some of us see this courage and hear the truth, we are moved, we are awakened from the fog of  propaganda, ignorance, fear, and apathy, and thus, we are moved to live courageously.

Day 78 power in gratitude

Today is Thursday.  Today I listened to Matt vent a bit about all of the things left undone that may not have won him any points in his case (we’re talking about a vindictive gov’t here), but so much was left off the record.

Today, I encouraged him not to waste energy on what had already been done or not done; but to be grateful.  A wise lady in New York said to me that sometimes things we consider bad might be blessings in disguise that opens doors for the amazing.

Today, Matt received a Larry Niven book and some jokes from a supporter in the UK.  That’s something to be thankful for.  He didn’t lose his tooth, but had a compassionate dentist who performed a root canal to save a much wanted molar..:) Deep gratitude.

Today, he was able to call and hear Paul’s and my voice on the other end of the line.  And, today, I received some well wishes and thank you’s from a few sweet souls who got  letters from Matt which I passed on to him.

Thankfulness has a way of putting a perspective on things.  Even in the least desirable situations, one can always find others who have it so much worse.  One only has to scroll through the Twitter feed and read the news.

There is a power in gratitude.  It helps one to focus, to avoid the dark twisted path of bitterness and to strengthen one’s resolve to forge ahead with the hope that one day truth will triumph.

Today, I am grateful for a garden full of deep green leafy kale and I ate some for lunch.

What are you grateful for?  Tag you’re it!

 

Day 77 Root Canal

Today is Wednesday.  Today I heard from Matt and he was excited and grateful to tell me about his tooth. He had suffered with agonizing pain off and on for over a year due to a lost filling and most recently discovered, a crack.

Normally, one gets a tooth or teeth pulled in prison and that is pretty much standard practice.  That is what Matt was facing for his dental visit today.  The doctor told him it would have to be pulled.

Matt spoke up and said, “But I don’t want my tooth pulled.”

So, the doctor responded, “You want to save your tooth?”

Once he heard Matt’s answer, the doctor made everyone else leave the room and he proceeded to do a root canal on Matt’s tooth.  An hour later, Matt was given penicillin and ibuprofen for the pain.  The doctor told him he would come back in a week to check on him.

I mean seriously, who gets excited about a root canal?  It was important to my son to get care for his tooth and keep it.  He was afforded that option.

It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not; but, my son does and so do his parents.  You might ask why did God let this happen to Matt and I honestly can’t answer you.  What I do know is that in all the injustice and with all the people in his case that have screwed him over, God has kept him encouraged and safe.  He has brought Matt some of the most amazing supporters in the world and he has made friends wherever he goes.  He could have easily gone to another dungeon like Bowling Green, but he is in a facility where a person’s humanity is still acknowledged.

He has his own office for teaching ESL and his boss thinks he’s a sharp guy.  She told him today to take the rest of the day off and take it easy after his root canal.

So, cheesecake or a root canal?  I guess it depends on where you are at.  🙂

Day 76 Laughter

Today is Tuesday.  Today I am so thankful to be able to laugh, so thankful for friends who have a great sense of humour.

I have to say that back in 2010 when our home was raided by one of our delightful three letter agencies, I believed in my heart that I would never laugh again; at least not the kind of laugh that makes one wet one’s pants.

One of Matt’s supporters got a letter from him today and shared with me that it just made her laugh.  She said she loved his sense of humour.  I have to admit he is quite funny even when the situation is not.

Okay, he drew a Fawkes mask on his knitting bag.  Yes, he has taken up knitting which I find hilarious.  He told me he was going to sign up for as many classes as he could just to pass the time.  Anyway, he got a warning and had to sit on a bench by himself for drawing what the prison considers “subversive.”

I wonder if any of these people think for themselves or do they let the DOJ tell them what and how to think?.  What a sad bunch of characters.

It did make me smile though. …:)

 

 

 

Day 75 threads of evil

Today is Monday.  Today I continued my reading of a novel by Ruta Sepetys, between shades of gray.  Ruta is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee.  This resonates for me because my grandparents emmigrated from Lithuania and settled in Boston.

Ruta’s novel gives a voice to the thousands of people murdered under Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror.  In the story, a woman who has a mental breakdown because she lost her baby, is murdered by the NKVD, shot in the head like a dog.

Over the past year, a series of controversial police killings of unarmed victims — including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Eric Garner on Staten Island — has raised questions over what it takes for officers to face criminal ­charges. Often, the public is divided over whether the police went too far. Only in rare cases­ do prosecutors and grand juries decide that the killing cannot be justified.

Such cases include a Michigan state trooper who shot and killed an unarmed homeless man in Detroit as he was shuffling toward him, the man’s pants down past his knees. The incident was captured on video, and the officer, who said he thought the man had a gun, was charged with second-degree murder. A jury accepted the officer’s account and found him not guilty. He remains on the job.” The Washington Post

I  compared this novel to Eric Metaxas’ great work, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  This is another great book discussing how  “Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent, and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a pastor and author.”

One particular candidate calls Mexican people criminals, rapists, drug dealers and need to be walled out.  But, where will he put the current Mexican people in this country?  He advocates violence and offers to pay the legal fees of those committing acts of violence.  He asks his followers to promise they will vote for him no matter what.  They raise their hands in an eerie and chilling salute.

History always repeats itself if you let it………….

Day 74 Great Wealth

Today is Sunday.  Today I took a long walk around my neighborhood to get a bit of sunshine after several days of continual rain.  Mind you, I like the rain; but I like it interspersed with several days of sunshine.  🙂

I was thinking how wealthy I am.  Really, Leann?  Oh, not in a way that a politician or a Wall Street banker looks at wealth; the kind of wealth I’m talking about is in relationships.

Most people probably know by now that Paul and I lost pretty much everything when it comes to material goods and money.  We lost our house, our small retirement funds and I even had to sell the little bit of jewelry I owned. I would say our net worth as a family wouldn’t make it on any list.

Matt has said to me a number of times, “Mom, in all this terrible injustice, just look at all the cool people we have had the privilege to meet.”

No truer words can be said.  When I think about people who encourage us from all over the world, I feel like I have been given something very precious.  It humbles me and makes me swell up with deep gratitude.

To those who have become dear dear friends, you are priceless.  I would give up a hundred retirement accounts, houses, jewelry to be called your friend.

If in this world you have even one true friend who will stand with you and love you in all circumstances when many people are self serving and have no integrity, then you have great wealth.

In this ongoing battle against injustice and evil, thank you to all those who remain steadfast and loyal.  I love you all and it is an honour to be in your circle.

Peace, solidarity, and so much love….Leann

 

 

 

Day 73 Visitation

Today is Saturday.  Today, I had the privilege of seeing my son, Matt, and hugging him (more than once).

Today, Paul and I started at 8:00 am trying to get through security prior to seeing Matt.  After filling out forms and making sure ID’s, ones and fives adding up to less than $20 and our car key was placed in a plastic bag, we were directed to walk through the metal detector.

As usual, I did not pass.  I always set off metal detectors.  Maybe it’s my magnetic personality.  The two guards looked at me and asked me to remove my glasses.  Nope, didn’t work.  Now they asked me to remove the metal buttons on the pockets of my jeans.  You mean I had to rip my buttons off?

“If you don’t get rid of the metal, you can’t go through,” one guard informed me.

Okay.  I have to admit I was getting upset thinking I would not be able to see my son.  I stood out in the parking lot and had a bit of a 2 year old style tantrum.

Paul, who is infinitely more calm about these things, suggested I change my jeans and anything else that might have metal.  So, I pulled my other pants out of the laundry which in no way matched what I was wearing and yes, I ditched the bra.

So, bra-less and wearing pants that should have gone into the wash, I tossed my glasses in a plastic container as well as my shoes and I strode through that damn detector daring it to make one little beep.  I am the kid’s mother and no way was one stinking metal detector and two guards going to keep me from seeing my kid.

As, you guessed, I made it through no beeps.  Even the guards breathed a sigh of relief.  Do you think they could tell by the look in my eyes that things would not go well for anyone if I did not get to go through?

Matt looks great!  He has a tan.  He is dressed in Khakis and as Adrian Humphrey’s once commented on Matt’s smile as being large and goofy…there it was lighting up his whole face.

Six hours.  We got to spend six hours and some folks there suggested we get games because one runs out of things to say after an hour.  But, as you might imagine, the DeHarts did not run out of things to say.  It is the only time we can talk without being monitored.  Trust me, we had much to say.

Thank you to all of those who wanted to send wishes and hugs; they were delivered..:)