Cuba’s response to flu

Sorry I don’t have much time to write. The Cubans are doing a public health campaign. They have signs up all over our dorms with info about the swine flu situation and the basic “wash your hands and don’t cough on people” suggestions. I would imagine that they are doing the same in all major institutions here. Also, anyone who comes to the ER with flu or cold symptoms has to pass through a special evaluation to see if they could possibly have the swine flu.

Cori Marshall
Via e-mail
Cori Marshall is a student at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba.

Fly ash

I write to you from the Tennessee Valley to submit lyrics to a song I recently wrote about the ecological disaster in Roane County.

Your weekly newspaper is a welcome sight in our mailbox located in Knoxville, Tenn. My partner and I are both Appalachians of 10 or 12 generations from East Tennessee and Southeastern Kentucky.

We appreciate all you do to make this a better world. Thank you.

Fly Ash

Fly ash, coal ash,

Roane County’s ready cash

Fly ash, coal ash,

Make ‘at man his ‘lectric power.

Fly ash, coal trash

Ever’ day and ever’ hour.

Fly ash, coal ash,

Floodin’ out the crack

Settlin’ pond’s weak walls gave way,

Now there’s no goin’ back.

Fly ash, coal ash

Spilled into the valley

Takin’ all that’s in its path.

We’ve yet to know the tally.

Fly ash, coal ash

Count the many costs

Houses gone, the water’s spoiled.

We see all we have lost.

Fly ash, coal ash,

This story I do tell.

Your old gray sludge and awful muck

Is poisonin’ the well.

Fly ash, coal ash

Spillin’ over all.

A stranglehold by TVA

Our back’s against the wall.

Fly ash, coal ash,

This dust is chokin’ me.

A big slipknot around my throat

Tied by the GOP.

Fly ash, coal ash

This gray death coats our lives.

We’ll keep a-tellin’ our stories

‘Til stopped by guns and knives.

Fly ash, coal ash

Roane County’s ready cash

Fly ash, coal ash

Make ‘at man his ‘lectric power.

Fly ash, coal trash

Ever’ day and kilowatt hour

(© Beth Maples-Bays 2009)

Beth Maples-Bays
Knoxville TN

Investigate human rights abuses in Gaza

Remember how the bailout money was used to pay for executive high bonuses and private jets? That was bad, but here’s something worse: Our tax dollars have been used to finance the death of civilians and destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and mosques in Gaza.

Our government has pledged to account for every dollar of the bailout money, and yet regarding military aid to Israel, they prefer to turn the other way. That’s immoral and illegal.

This devastation of Gaza will not make Israelis any safer; only a fair, negotiated solution will. I have e-mailed my congressperson, seeking answers and demanding accountability.

Will you join me? Please ask Congress to investigate how our own tax dollars were used to fund the attacks on Gaza. Go to withstringsattached.org, a project of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Gary De Santis
Via e-mail

May Day Stories

On May Day here it was a beautiful day for a march. It started at the Southgate Shopping Center with young people dancing to a techno-band, mariachi music, migrant songs and some guest speakers. The march was orderly and peaceful for the entire 3-mile route to downtown Armory Park. Upon arriving at Armory Park, we were met by a small anti-immigrant group who shouted through a bullhorn for us “Mexicans” to go back “home.” The marchers returned a shout of “Si se puede” and eventually drowned out the bullhorn. The event at the park returned to being festive with food and music. All in all, the march was a success.

Alexander Monarrez-Maldonado
Tucson AZ
Alexander Monarrez-Maldonado is producer and host of cable station Access Tucson’s “The Latino Doctrine.”

One hundred and twenty-two years ago in the city of Milwaukee, 1,500 workers marched toward the Bay View Rolling Steel Mills shouting, “No cut in pay, the eight-hour day.” Gov. Jeremiah Rusk had called out the militia to meet them. On that May 1, the Bay View strike turned to bloodshed.

On May 3, 2009, a demonstration of 200 Milwaukeeans paid tribute to the heroism of the seven Rolling Mill workers slain in their struggle to win the eight-hour day.

Every year the Wisconsin Labor History Society, in conjunction with the AFL-CIO, commemorates the fight for the eight-hour day by the Rolling Steel workers in the city of Milwaukee.

This year, for the first time, all the featured speakers were women. The Wisconsin director of 9 to 5, Amy Stear, gave a stirring speech on the struggle of the women’s movement in backing up the industrial workers. She said, “There was tremendous solidarity by women with their husbands and male friends who hit the bricks day in and day out. The women carried placards which stated, ‘Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours For What You Will.”

Former Socialist Mayor Frank Zeidler, who recently passed away, never missed attending the eight-hour commemoration. This time, the commemoration featured his daughter, Jeanne, who said the workers who struggled for an eight-hour day also fought for socialism. She said, “My dad was not a person who wore a socialist hat, but he took the leadership in pointing out that socialism meant education for the working people, swimming pools and natatoriums for those who had little or no income, and government on behalf of the people.”

Christine Sinicki, member of the state Legislature, spoke of the need for representatives in government to stand up for legislation which benefits workers and not big business. The gathering ended with the singing of “Solidarity Forever.”

John Gilman
Milwaukee WI
John Gilman is a decorated WWII veteran and longtime activist for peace, justice and Cuba solidarity.

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