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The Fierce Urgency of Now


What is the true cost of inequality? Of drawing no line in the bloody sand? Wide-scale human rights violations, religious and ethnic cleansing.

Conflict kills millions of people. Forced relocation’s cause many more to flee. A crisis that needs more than crocodile tears. Coercion is not a profit opportunity. The world has never been richer but that money has benefited only a precious few. That puts hope out of reach for besieged families. Who’s really dangerous? Indigenous people? Or a government with its reckless disregard for our lives?! Using weaponized misinformation, terror is the key to their survival. Able to influence and control anything, daily dysfunction boggles the mind. Lawless traffic. Cars speeding down sidewalks swerving around push carts. Judges, police, soldiers and diplomats openly compete for power while guns erupt on city streets. Dictators turn their rule into hereditary monarchies. Everybody’s doing it so why not pitch yourself as the leader of a new generation?! Predictably, generals will rise up in revolt. The regime will order the army to quell the unrest. Then the generals face some decisions: the army has crushed riots and mutiny but the military holds the heavy weapons. Obedience to any civilian is still a matter of choice. Will the generals answer their leader’s call? On the frontlines of wildfire, treason will shape their own transition.But that time is still evolving. Media access is heavily restricted by the Burmese government, a Democracy thinly supported by the military since 2012. Human Rights Watch released satellite images showing Rohingya houses in five villages had been burned down by the Myanmar military in Rakhine State. Considered an information black hole, evidence of extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, arson and infanticides have been dismissed as “exaggerations” by the ministry. Stuck in a warring no man’s land, prisoners of conscience receive no humanitarian aid. Streaming into Bangladesh through mud and monsoons, thousands of stateless shadows refute revisionist history. Activists take back the truth.

Artraker San Zaw Htway, a former political prisoner/artist made collages from garbage and plastic bags. Dying of advanced liver cancer at 44 brought on by dire prison conditions and poor healthcare after his release,
he continued to teach his techniques to orphans and children living with HIV. The most vibrant lives are not often the most visible. When he was sentenced to 36 years in prison in 1999, he was only a college freshman majoring in history. During 13 years in solitary confinement with even reading and writing prohibited, Htway found a way to send an important message: You can lock up our bodies, but not our emotions and our creativity. What’s going on here? An emotional look at historic events and cultures, which may not have been ready for the challenges of democracy.
So many contradictions hang out in the open. Witness violence and turmoil
amidst the complexities of betrayal. Families, tribes, ancestry break apart to find truth. Objectors are at risk when they resist. Every action has impact. Rewrite the rules of power. Diversity and inclusion our commitment. Give voice to people all over the world–stranded refugees, children old before their time. Every one of these victims suffered unimaginable pain. Find genocide’s black box. Replay the final moments of every victim.

Siem Reap, Cambodia 2018 – The Killing Fields

Two million victims were tortured in a middle school turned slaughterhouse. Some threw themselves out of third floor windows
to avoid a worse fate. Trucked to the Killing Fields in Siem Reap, Cambodia to be shot in pits. Some were still alive when buried. Watch your step.
Slivers of bone merge with shards of sunlight as you are walk across sacred ground. It’s your move. Take the leap. Drop your hate-filled agenda. You have to be crazy/brave, a deepwater soul, to find shelter in your imagination, connecting to the universe with hope. Now you can hear the sun–its vibes are surprisingly soothing. Night is day. Day is night. Share your story of power and resilience. All oppression is connected. Help us write the ending to malice and coercion. Hate has no home.

August 10, 2018 – Janice S. Urbsaitis –

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