One Love

    I just recently did another project in regards to a note I recently read my man, Ryan. If you are interested in reading it. Here it is in full. "I just read an article this morning in the St. Pete Times about how popular the Kieffia or Hattah is, and where you can buy them, but unfortunately it is was only put into the pop culture context of nationalist movements and not the larger Arab/Muslim context. A seemingly content in our society.
    Anyways, the Israeli/Gaza (Palestinian) situation has had me reflecting a lot on my on life and my own ignorance since it started in late December, as I'm sure many of us here on this book of faces. Since I myself have only started waking up within the past couple years to these Truths in our world, I have had to look to history to fully understand not only why this is happening, but more so, how to solve this conflict.

    Many guru's and politicians alike speak the same empty words of cease-fire, peace, putting an end to the violence, blah blah blah. And for some reason, we accept the Nation-State and the leaders at their word and say, well we can't do anything, and we go about our day, filling out stomachs and driving our cars, supporting the industries, CEO's and governments that are perpetuating these wars, while the number of innocent deaths increase every day.

    Let me start out by saying that I am just a student of International Relations and am not an expert by any means, but I feel compelled to write about it. That being said, in my perspective both parties, Israel and the Palestinians, are justified in their actions. Security is a Right for all and also is also the foundation for understanding why people and Nation-States act in certain ways. The security to go shopping for food, clothes, to be with family, to work and discover happiness, whatever it may be is a must for social cohesion. To each their own, but when security entails taking away the freedoms of others or ones self, Benjamin Franklin says it best, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Security is the foundation for the motivation of many. But when security means killing innocent children, of which both Hamas and Israel are guilty of, the means of achieving Security should be re-examined and questioned until a resolution is agreed upon. As Ghandi once said, "Violence breeds violence...Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action...They say the means are after all just means. I would say means are after all everything. As the means, so the end....If we take care of the means we are bound of reach the end sooner or later." The ends do not justify the means, but rather the ends reflect the means. What are the ends we are trying to achieve? We knew this almost 100 years ago that the Machiavellian philosophy doesn't work.

    Needless to say, the main point I want to draw is the cause of this War and the contradiction of the country that I love dearly and am deeply blessed to live in. Recently, Will Smith was in the movie I am Legend, where a virus breaks out in NYC that initially was suppose to cure cancer but ends up causing a major crisis that seems impossible to solve. My friends, this is an allegory for our beloved country. We believe that we can cure cancer with our symptom specific medical practices. For example, the U.S./CIA support for Saddam Hussein as a cure for the cancer that became Iran in the 80s, or Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahadeen as a cure to the cancer of the Soviets during the Cold War. We think we can cure what ills us but symptom specific means. We take the organism out of the environment and social context, pump it full of some chemical (aka money) and then end up either killing people in the society through a coup (look up Economic Hitman) or the individual after the cure has turned on 'us', ultimately becoming 'cancerous' itself. Saddam Hussein was cured through surgical means and the evasive Bin Laden virus has yet to be cured and seems to be spreading across the global as 'Terrorist' attacks have increased since 9/11. This is one of the great contradictions of U.S. foreign policy since WWII. Security driven by illusion that violence and exploitation will bring peace, but only ends up only breeding more violence and more exploitation.

    The Israel Palestinian conflict is no different. The government that I have come to know and love, has yet again contradicted itself by initially supported Hamas, which is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement) in the late 1980's, and was a perceived cure to the 'evil' group known as the PLO. Steven Zunes, a professor of Politcis and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at USF California, wrote an article recently stating,"Israel initially encouraged the rise of the Palestinian Islamist movement as a counter to the Palestine Liberation Organization, the secular coalition composed of Fatah and various leftist and other nationalist movements. Beginning in the early 1980s, with generous funding from the U.S.-backed family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the antecedents of Hamas began to emerge through the establishment of schools, health care clinics, social service organizations and other entities that stressed an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, which up to that point had not been very common among the Palestinian population. The hope was that if people spent more time praying in mosques, they would be less prone to enlist in left-wing nationalist movements challenging the Israeli occupation." After the Oslo Agreements, Hamas grew in popularity as it showed to cater to the needs of Palestinians better than the PLO. And after Yassir Arafat proved to be corrupt and inept and an Israeli attack in 2002, peace became a distant dream for the two parties. The U.S. and its supports (Saudi Arabia, Canada) then, since 2004, stopped supporting Hamas and the Palestinian movement, taking with it all Western Aid (Canada and so on) that was supporting social services. With this withdraw of support, Hezbollah and mainly Iran, filled the gaps where the U.S. and counterparts left financial holes. But the contradiction exists not only in the desire for peace and democracy via support of violence, but also in the fact that U.S foreign aid to Israel since its inception till 1997 totals more than Aid sent to all of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined (pop. 486 million). U.S. aid to Israel (pop. 4.8 million) from 1949 to 1997 totaled over $134 billion. Because the U.S. has been unconditionally backing Israel, both economically and militarily either directly through the sale of weapons or indirectly through other American friendly Arab nations since its inception in 1948, it has truly stifled peace and created enormous confusion in both the Arab/Muslim world and within the western nations, as to what side the good guy's are on. If Israel has a common interest in Democracy and Freedom, and if the U.S. and its counter parts have any respect for Democracy and Freedom, then we must recognize the extreme contradiction and ignorance that lies in the U.S. support for having our cake and eating it too.

    Many have blamed each party for the cause of this conflict dating back thousands of years. Who shot first? What if we definitively knew who shot first? Would we then blame God for shooting his only son? Or Abraham for killing Isaac (though he didn't)? Or Arjuna for fighting against his brethren on the sacred field of Dharma? This argument only perpetuates anger and resentment towards each other. We must transcend this limited violence perpetuating argument, take a breath and look at the larger picture... our Duty here on earth. We are interconnected and there is no denying it. We are interdependent on nature and the bounties it brings, from air to water and therefore we are also interdependent on each other. We are social beings with that there are certain emotional needs that must be met... the desires for Love, community, and Security entails that we are social beings. Not just social within our own group, which is important, but also, what Martin Luther King called Agape (and Jesus before him) but a love of the masses and more so, a "Respect" towards the 'stranger.' This is the kind of Security that breeds peace, where we respect each other, even though we do not know each other. It entails a faith that everyone is trying to figure out the good life and an inner-balance between the heart and mind that allows one to see the world as it is. For when we have the kind of Respect, like the Motown singer Aretha Franklin sang of, towards the Earth and each other we begin to see the world, not as we do or do not want to, but we begin to see it as it really is. This Respect and inner balance allows us to dialog and potentially understand our perceived enemies. This Respect allows Aid to be received by those that are in need. This Respect for the others recognizes the desire for Security in the 'stranger.'

    Now here in the U.S. our desire for Security has caused a unbalance respect and therefore an unbalanced Security which breeds insecurity. As Andrew Bacevich tells us in his book The Limits of Power, the U.S. consumes now 1 out of every 4 barrels of oil. Where does this oil come from? Most of our oil comes from Canada and South America, but quiet a bit comes from Middle Eastern countries (
    This oil is then used by American consumers via automobiles and cooling/heating of homes. But the majority of this oil is used in used our industrial model of mono-culture farming. As Michael Pollan exposes in an interview with PBSs' Bill Moyers, the combination of pesticides & hormones (petro chemicals), fertilizers, supply chains (shipping via trucks and planes), the heating and cooling of the products, the cooking of our foods and the enormous demand from our Fast Food chains, have created a giant industrial complex that demands an enormous amount of the same products (meat, tomatoes, potatoes, hamburger buns bread etc) at cheap price and influences a good chunk of Washington, from the FDA to the Executive Branch. And just to note, most of our grains and corn go to feed cattle and chickens, not people.
    Our diets are only one cause of a complex system of cause and effect. Our desire for Food Security say, in terms of cheap and consistent food (the walmart-taco bell lifestlye), has caused a huge addiction to cheap oil. Along with our desire to drive far distances from the 'dirty' 'poor' urban inner cities that are being left behind or to drive fast because we don't want to be alone too long in the car (why does everyone hate being in traffic?). This addiction ultimately has created U.S. foreign policy that contradicts it self but claiming Freedom and peace, but supports brutal regimes like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    I digress... In order to solve this conflict we must first cure the contradictions within our own lives, look at the causes and then take the power back into our own hands and away from the agro-business, and military industrial complex. It will take a lot of political action and dialog on the part of our policy makers, but the responsibility also lies in our hands. We must use peaceful resistance in every way. Vigils and gathering show visible support, but there are also those indirect channels of support for Middle Eastern oil perpetuating occupations via the fast foods industry and excessive driving, our ignorance of voting for politicians that support Israel and AIPAC and then use our tax dollars to fund Israeli Military and build the walls between Israel and the Palestinians. We need to boycott Israeli products (, listen to independent media sources (88.5FM,, etc). Also, we need to continue organizing and speaking publicly about issues where ever possible. Write to our local politicians ( In a article I just read that, "According to a December 31 Rasmussen poll (so far the only measure of US opinion on the Gaza assault), while Americans remained overwhelmingly supportive of Israel, they were split almost evenly on the question of whether Israel should attack Gaza -- 44% in favor of the assault and 41% against it."
    The movement is gaining steam. And we need to spread the Truth.

    And in solidarity with peace, fasting can help us all over come self-centeredness, our own short sightedness and ultimately can bring us closer to understanding the suffering of those in the Middle East.

    I hope this breeds understanding and right action.

    If you have criticisms of this, please leave a note. I would appreciate anything, preferably criticism that is constructive, but I can take honesty.

    Thank you reading and I apologize if I didn't elaborate everywhere. I need to do homework now. "

    The piece I did was entitled One Love. I was so inspired that I felt that it needed to be in more positive direction. There are a lot of people talking, but who is actually doing anything. The only real change occurs when we the people make a stand. The revolution will not be televised.

    As If We Existed

    I finally had the opportunity to finish another project. Read The Excerpt in detail to find out the inspiration behind it. I am a graphic artist. I have a style unlike any other. I don't do anything unless I am motivated. I know a lot of artists and I know a lot of designers. I consider myself to be more of an artist than a designer. Web design is fantastic and I enjoy it, but it doesn't move me. My art is my passion. I love it and I would never compromise my art for integrity.

    Aristic Intentions

    It's been quite a while since I have wrote anything. I have been incredibly busy. I have been focusing on my art and have also been networking while working on my portfolio. I will have new projects up soon. It's about quality vs. quantity. I don't do anything unless I have the inspiration. "The hard part for us avant-garde post-modern artists is deciding whether or not to embrace commercialism. Do we allow our work to be hyped and exploited by a market that's simply hungry for the next new thing? Do we participate in a system that turns high art into low art so it's better suited for mass consumption? Of course, when an artist goes commercial, he makes a mockery of his status as an outsider and free thinker. He buys into the crass and shallow values art should transcend. He trades the integrity of his art for riches and fame. Oh, what the heck. I'll do it." - Calvin & Hobbes