Friday, August 08, 2008

Russia Invades Georgia, Claims Self Defense of Its Citizens in Georgia

Stop the fighting!!!!!!!!! Russia is using overpowering force to stop what it (Russia) sees as an incursion into their traditional territory in Ossetia and other Russian influenced and Russian populated areas in Georgia. Both sides are on a collision course that can only in the long run hurt Georgians the most as Georgia is a small nation with great pride but is no military match for what is basically an invasion of the smaller country. It reminds of when the tanks moved into Poland. Thousands will die and are are dying. This is an awful situation. Europe and the U.S. and other country who trade with these countries must intercede to stop the killing. My sense is that many Gerogians are angry at their own leaders for aggravating the situation that led to the invasion. Is this about oil pipelines running through the region?


A column of Russian armored vehicles and trucks near the town of Dzhava in South Ossetia on Sunday. (Musa Sadulayev/The Associated Press (Herald Examiner 8/9/08)

CNN News Earlier Friday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said in a televised statement that Russian aircraft bombed several Georgian villages and other civilian facilities. (CNN 8/8/08)

He added that there were injuries and damage to buildings. "A full-scale aggression has been launched against Georgia," he said.

A Georgian official reported that seven people were hurt in the attack, the Associated Press said.

Saakashvili urged Russia to immediately stop bombing Georgian territory. "Georgia will not yield its territory or renounce its freedom," he said.

Georgian Forces Attack South Ossetia
By VOA News
08 August 2008

Russian NTV channel television grab shows Georgian troops ride in tanks during conflict with separatist South Ossetian troops at an unnamed location, 08 Aug 2008 Georgian military forces have fought their way into the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Friday he had ordered an all-out offensive to regain control of the breakaway area.

From Times Online
August 8, 2008
Georgia 'downs two Russian warplanes' as countries move to brink of war

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

OLOC Gathering 2008: It was a Blast: 260 attended the banquet: 200 the whole Gathering

I am back from the OLD LESBIAN ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE GATHERING OF 2008. WHAT A BLAST IT WAS!!! Of course, I am biased as I helped to make it happen though I am not a steering committee member. My partner Mina is. All the input so far has been positive except for some minor glitches with room reservations and food for the vegetarians in our midst was not the greatest but surprisingly the Vegans were happy with what they got. We got a lot of positive feedback about the keynoters and the workshops and the fishbowls, although I heard some constructive feedback about plenaries and how the plenary panelist need to pose questions in the future for the small group discussion which I thought was a great idea.

The LA Women's Community Chorus was marvelous. This was a 30th reunion time for them. They sang as well as I remember them singing which was always very much appreciated as they do true feminist music renditions we rarely hear anymore and the performances were marvelouos including the solo parts and the piano playing. Alix Dobkin was true to form, fantastic, when she performed too. The keynoters were all brilliant. I heard really positive feedback on Jackie Goldberg's speech which surprised me as she was so right and so very to the left and got right to the point about where the problems stem from concerning health issues and economic struggles with capitalism and a neglectful system that pits one minority against another. Ivy Bottini, LGBT activist from LA, although not featured who did a panel on housing alternative (GLEH-Traingle Square Housing in LA) was a stitch at the talent show. Suzanne Bellamy's (from Sydney Australia) presentation, a satire titled Lost Culture and Women's Liberation which takes place from the view of a fictional archeologist looking back 500 years is really very funny and so insightful. Loved it. Gaye Adegbalola gave us a woman's perspective on the "Blues" some of us probably don't know much about. Gaye was marvelous and has a great personality. She also is a great motivator. Jewelle Gomez, the author, has a great mind and I could see the cogs moving along and into the OLOC philosophy as she spoke. She was right on. I also loved Terry Baum (SF) who presented a one woman excerpt from her show about the OLd Lesbian whose lover was in a coma. She did a quite brilliant performance. I was blown away when she suggested doing a similar kind of piece ( I am assuming) about a piece of my history and my lover's history when we were part of an early group of just "coming out" Lesbians at the Gay Women's Service Center in the early 70's in Los Angeles. I hope this can happen but we will see.

The highlight of the experience part was just being with all the Lesbians who came and interacting with individual women as we came together informally and in discussion groups. The bus tour to West Hollywood and Hollywood was a treat. I had never seen the Ed Gould Social and Educational Center which is part of the LA Lesbian and Gay Center of LA. It is a beautiful facility with two theaters, an art exhibition center, and recreational services. Ivy gave us a great tour of the facility she helped to found, Triangle Square which provides housing for low income elder LGBT people. That was also a highlight of the experience of visiting LGBT places in the already named areas. I love the atmosphere at the Hacienda, the fact that you can be outdoors under beautiful naturelike surroundings. The staff was helpful too and I loved the bilingual nature of the place and all the tourists from other countries who find their way to the Hacienda. Of course, some of the staff were a bit inexperienced and that caused an occasional problem or two.

The fact there are still sections in the hotel for smokers was something we didn't know in advance. I think this is terrible but my understanding is that the hotel needs the diverse group of tourists from other countries and so many of them smoke that the Hotel is not ready to ban smoking altogether in the outdoor areas and in rooms set aside for smoking. I thought this was outlawed but I guess not. Of course, there were a few OLD Lesbians still smoking so they took it all for granted. I know the Environmentally savvy must have hated all that. Fortunately, I only noticed 2 people who smoked only outdoors and not in any inside areas that we frequented. As an organization we cannot ban smoking in a public place.

All in all it was a great experience. The next major steps will be important. What actions will we take and decisions about where OLOC will be in terms of focus in the next few years should prove interesting. It is in OLOC's hands. Internal change is good but now there is so much energy we may need to move outward and that kind of change is always very hard. What coalitions will we join? How will that change us?

As I get good pics processed I will post a few of them here. As more thoughts come together I will also add to this post. If you have any pics from the Gathering and are willing to let me post them I would love that. Send them to I was too busy to take pics and the few I have are of the tour. Let me know what I left out. Send your comments.