Dec 29, 2008

Murderous realities in the year 2008 ought not be wiped away/forgotten in 2009...playing PRETEND can be deadly!

There is so much to say/write about the years leading up to and through many things to remember after so many moments, hours and days filled with viewing eight+ years of the REALITY of the countless artocities that won´t go away and shouldn´t be many instigated battles, bloody battles, that resulted in thousands of unidentified human remains.

No murderous record of REALITY in 2008 ought be wiped away or rationalized away as we attempt to salute the beginning of a NEW HOPE for Peace, Tolerance, and Equality in 2009...all to be found via outreach, basic reasoning, common decency, justice, self-searching and PERSONAL and NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY and new MORAL LEADERSHIP in the New Year of 2009.

The barbaric treatment of gays, lesbians, their families/friends and others in Nigeria, backed by Peter Akinola of The Anglican Church of Nigeria, read it all, click here:

There are many fronts, many in Africa, where the acts of ignorant, greedy, arrogant and self-righteous religious leaders cause despair and death. Feardriven viciousness on the part of some clergy demolishes and/or violently harms, persecutes, dismembers, rapes, enslaves, jails and sometimes murders other human beings in the name of God...let´s not play pretend, let´s not look the otherway as tens of thousands are suffering from oppression/victimization and exploitation in Nigeria, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe and beyond. Many emotionally and spiritually twisted, hatefilled, hungry and feardriven, people are encouraged to destroy others and engage in massacres such as at Yelwa and Jos, Nigeria or ¨witchunts¨ in Uganda...unthinkable, in-the-name-of-religion perpetrated massacres and human violations that shatter decent human sensibilities, individual rights and quiet dignity in the name of a God who needs no defense...many criminals, political and religious, have not yet been forced to be held accountable for their illegal, often desperate, slandering, demeaning, egodriven, insane and degenerate acts of dangerous persecution of fellow citizens...deadly plots instigated, and often preached, against other members of the family of God...against our ¨neighbors¨ who ought be embraced and loved as COMMANDED by God and not condemned to ugly random deaths by religious extremists/thugs and/or shallow opportunists who preach hate, demoralize others and exclude/marginalize fellow Christians at Church.

Pray for Justice, Human Rights and Peace in Africa and beyond in 2009.

Pray for Religious and Cultural Sanity in 2009.

The ongoing war in Iraq continues to be a bloodbath of matters little what side one is on as the ugliness continues and the good ol U.S.A ain´t so ¨good¨ anymore because of the lies promoted by George Bush, the Commander in Chief of economic depression, worldwide destruction and needless death.

President Bush, with the assistance and judgment of those selected to be advisors and cabinet cronies, authored lies that caused International destruction..little of OUR National degradation can be directed against ANY U.S. regular citizen, politician or servicemen/women who mostly followed Bush and his failed ¨guidance¨ and orders...greedy, selfish and unwise criminals in business suits from Wall Street to Washington D.C harmed generations of honorable people everywhere. OUR World will not forget the arrogantly appointed not-so-know-it-all politicios/financial manipulators, or ought not forget, their deadly works, words, propaganda, money schemes joined/endorsed by manipulating deceitful headstrong old men at the Bush administration. All, together with Bush, are part of a unAmericanlike junta/fleeceria who engaged in a campaign to escalate the exploitation of humanity, both at home and abroad...these guilty people remain the unthinkable remnants of a failed U.S. leadership that almost destroyed the American economy, The American authentic spirit and The American standard of good-will towards ALL and OUR collective rigorous National honesty...tragic destructiveness that is almost too vast in accross-the-board immoral vileness and premeditated economic shabbiness for the survivors of Bush and his accomplices to absorb and deal with in 2009 and beyond.

Pray for the victimized, abused, exploited and persecuted in 2008.

Pray for President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden in 2009.

Pray for America to be restored to full fledged and bonafide integrity in 2009.

Lord, hear my prayer

Thanks to Ed Brayton
Thanks to Science
Thanks to Flickrphotosharing

Dec 26, 2008

On St. Stephen's Day, December 26, 1906 at Hull, Yorkshire, England...

Leonard Clark-Bell, December 26, 1906-November 23, 2002, was born.

Today is my Dads Birthday and he would be 102 years old today if he were still amongst us (and had not gone off to join my Mom, his beloved wife, his many friends, ALL of the siblings from his large England born family of ten brothers and sisters who departed ahead of him as he remained the eternal youngest in that crowd)...I´ve always liked this picture of Dad (although he was far more handsome and than this picture reveals), at Bimbos, in San Francisco, Summer 1961, as he celebrated his Wedding Anniversary with my Mom who was far more beautiful than the group picture reveals too, see for yourself:

My parents are seated with their best friends The Neslens of Santa Barbara (they were a wonderful looking pair too...let´s face it, the group photo wasn´t so hot).

The Neslens and my parents were close friends even before their marriages and they quite often celebrated that friendship and sometimes joined together for their Wedding Anniversary Parties too...I think this was the 30th Year Celebration and my folks had traveled to San Francisco from Los Angeles where we lived. Dad loved and knew San Francisco well as he had lived there as a youngman in his early 20´s...quite the dashing, and I understand not-so-saintly, young man about town.

Although not a Saint, or even named Stephen, Big ¨Lenny¨ was a very friendly and industrious sort of fellow with a good sense of humour and generosity of spirit/other and belief in the spiritual. He was also quite successful in his world of striving and ¨working hard¨ (his greatest compliment for another person was that they were a ¨hard worker¨) while seeking and achieving his version of the American Dream...Dad loved America and even though he revisted England several times in his middle-older years he wasn´t ¨into ¨ Royalty or the ¨way¨ of life backhome in Dad Loved America and ¨The American Way.¨

Thinking of my Dad, today on his birthday, St. Stephens Day 2008.

Born in England 1906, He Loved the American Way...that´s what it says on his gravestone.

Thank you Dad for being a positive and loving force in my life and by encouraging me to follow my dreams and my heart in all that I do...just like you.

May the Peace of the Lord always be with you and Mother too.


Dec 24, 2008

¨Twas the Night Before¨ CHRISTMAS GREETINGS from Central America!

Christmas Day 2008 is tomorrow. Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, is a very BIG night for most people in Latin America our house we will have guests for a early dinner and then off to the ¨Gallo¨ latenight Christmas Mass at a ancient Spanish Colonial Church.

Today I received a lovely ¨Annual Christmas Letter¨ (her first ¨annual¨ Christmas letter) from my beloved niece who lives at the San Francisco Bay Area in California. It was a very nifty and brief letter, loaded with gratitude, love, shared happiness, family news (she´s a gorgeous Grandma three times) so, I decided to write one to ALL of you too...I´m a Great Great Uncle, yikes!

The year 2008 has been loaded with beautiful experiences here at the ¨The Foot of the Volcano¨ and beyond...firstly the ¨Rainy Season¨ from last May through November was very intense and the crops and the resulting abundance of prime fruits, corn and vegetables has been we read about dangerous products being ¨recalled¨ abroad, we are especially glad to live so close to the source of good health inducing veggies and fruits. Every week Juan Carlos and I go to the big market in a nearby town and bargain, select and haul home bags full of prime produce to use in our cooking and often to share with others too.

We have been thankful this year to have the pleasure of getting to know NEW friends as well as continuing to enjoy the hospitality and goodwill of our ongoing loved ones and amigos/ you can see at the sidebar their was a huge Piñata Party held at our home on December 21st...a annual event that becomes more joyful every year.

Fortunately, we were assisted by many of our friends in making this childrens extravaganza a even more spectacular party better than ever before...

...everyone took home wrapped gifts at the end and there was a drawing for 24 Parakeets (Juan Carlos raises them) all in individual Christmas Decorated cages (with wreaths above their doors)...adorable gifting...chirp, chirp, chirp!

There is so much more to tell. There are so many things I would like share with all of you...all the small and large experiences of being a fortunate Americano living abroad (I was able to send my absentee ballot/vote for Obama that arrived by way of local Post Office...another miracle for Obama)...I have always felt ¨welcomed¨and ¨part of¨ the culture that surrounds and often embraces me with feelings of wellbeing. I invite you to come visit in 2009!

I wish you and yours GREAT HAPPINESS, Good Health and Peace of Mind at Christmastime 2008!

More will be revealed, and less concealed as LIFE continues to unfold around us...ALL of us...remember, as my friend Dorothy Johnson from Scotland says ¨It´s the way that we see things that makes the World ´be´ things.¨

May the wars end soon.

Lord, hear my prayer

Leonardo Ricardo

Dec 22, 2008

¨I have lost dozens of friends to suicide, alcoholism, and depression. I’ve lost friends to gay bashing, and to a disease that ran unchecked...

¨If you can’t stand with us, at least have the grace to stop giving us advice, advocating our silence, lecturing us about our behavior, or telling us who and what we are.¨ CK, AMEN!

It's not Obama I'm mad at; it's way too many of you

by Christie Keith

¨I have not been one of the “OMG Obama is betraying us” crowd. Once he was elected, I pretty much let it all go. Before the election and in the aftermath of the passage of Prop 8 I was over here 24/7, but it died down. I honestly didn’t even pay that much attention to his appointments and transition statements. I have a life, a family, dogs, my job, and my friends, all of which needed some attention.

But when I heard Warren had been invited to pray at Obama’s inauguration, I felt sick to my stomach. I cried. It wasn’t a judgment; it wasn’t an intellectual assessment; it wasn’t a political strategy. It was just genuine pain.

But it was nothing — NOTHING — compared to what I felt when I started reading diaries here on Daily Kos, full of smug, ignorant pontification on how we need to not be SO ANGRY or SO HURT, and lumping us in with the “What Obama is doing wrong” crowd, and ignoring that our response to the Warren invitation is a completely separate phenomenon.

Let me explain something very carefully, for those who don’t know: none of what’s going on in the fight for LGBT rights is part of a strategy, as should be apparent by our lack of a cohesive movement and any viable leaders. It’s a true grassroots uprising among people who got a taste of freedom and decided we wanted more. We were no longer willing to settle for a long, slow, state by state battle, for death by a thousand cuts, for an extended period of second class citizenship.

I’ve lived through a lot of watershed moments in this movement, including the assassination of Harvey Milk and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and the rise of ACT-UP. I know like I know my name that this is another one.

Whether it’s “strategic” or not, whether it’s what our “leaders” think we should do or not, it’s pretty clear that real actual LGBT people are done with the closet. We’re seeing things in a new way. We’re no longer willing to settle for simply not getting beaten to death, for being able to live in our constricted safe zones without fear of baseball bats to the head and getting fired.

It’s not okay anymore to have to decode when and where we can be out, who can and can’t be trusted to really know us. We’re done with glancing around the restaurant or the street before taking our partner’s hand if we’re not in a gay bar or walking down Castro St. Done with paying for living fearlessly with broken bones or even death.

But to people outside of this struggle, I think that sea-change is invisible. Many of you really have no idea what just happened or what it’s done to us, both good and bad. It’s outside your circle of perception. So I can understand that our anger must be kind of scary to some of you. It looks like it’s way out of proportion to what you think happened. And it’s not like us, really, even if our movement was born at a riot.

So in the interest of building bridges, which apparently many of you are really big on, I’ll share a secret: my anger is scaring me, too. I haven’t summoned it, cultivated it, or even welcomed it. It’s just there, like the bricks and bottles thrown at Stonewall. It’s really like that.

At first I thought the fact that many of you had no idea what’s going on for us was our fault. We must not have been telling you our stories. We must have been burying our fears, trying to look smart and strong and successful and PROUD. Like kids with an alcoholic parent, we denied anything was wrong with how we were being treated by our families, government, churches, and armed forces.

So we wrote diary after diary explaining what it’s really like to grow up queer in America — to often find no safe harbor even in our own families, who throw us out, or in our churches, which call us sinners, or in our schools, which fail to keep us safe or even alive, or in the army, which uses Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a license to rape female soldiers and cleanse the ranks.

We told you about how many of us are haunted by things that happened to us — like when I had my head smashed into a car windshield for being so utterly uppity as to use the ATM while lesbian — or to others — like Jennifer Gale, who last week died of the cold on the streets of Austin because the only shelter in town, run by the Salvation Army, wouldn’t let a transgendered woman stay under its roof.

We thought you knew, but in case you didn’t, we told you how our youth are being tortured, isolated, and abused in religious centers that claim to be able to change them into straight people — places people like Warren advocate and even run.
But I saw that to far too many of you, knowing our stories made no difference at all. There’s just something about the fight of LGBT people for our civil rights that makes a whole lot of you here feel uncomfortable.

You keep saying things like, “Just because someone is against gay marriage doesn’t mean they’re a homophobe or a bigot,” even though there are no non-bigoted, non-homophobic reasons to oppose marriage equality.

You say that equality for LGBT citizens is an “issue” that needs to take its place on the list of progressive causes, and not a fundamental civil right that is the very foundation and bedrock of our entire constitutional system: equality under the law.

You say we’re too angry and it’s not an effective strategy, completely missing that we’re not strategizing; we’re really this angry — even me, a 49 year old lesbian who lives in San Francisco and has a good job. I’m so furious I often can’t sleep, can’t eat, and sometimes I shake with rage.

You keep telling us we need to reach out and build bridges to the religious right. Do you really think there is any point at all in telling us we need to reach out to homophobes and bigots, to the people who run the churches that abuse our youth and shove us out the doors, that have brainwashed our parents into rejecting us, that tell us they “love” us while they knife us in the hearts with their laws?
Why don’t you tell them to reach out to us? We’re the ones who have been wronged and harmed, disenfranchised, electro-shocked, had our kids taken away in ugly custody battles, lost our homes when our partner died, been thrown out of the hospital rooms of our lovers, had wills overturned and benefits denied. We’re the ones who had our equality thrown up for a popular vote, and whose rights are denied us in the constitutions of 29 states. Telling us to reach out to them is like saying battered women need to reach out to their abusers, or children to the priest who molested them.

You lecture us not to hold this against Obama, but newsflash: at least for me, this has nothing to do with Obama. I knew he was regressive on my rights when I supported him; he always was, as was every viable presidential candidate. I also knew he had some weird idea that his religious beliefs were some valid explanation or even justification for his views on my civil rights. I’d like to see a Democrat get elected who can be for marriage equality and doesn’t have to be a devout Christian, but I live in the reality based community and none, absolutely none, of this was any kind of surprise to me. I’m not a sulking scorned supporter who thinks Obama owes me something, and my support for him has not changed.

No, the people I’m mad at are some of YOU. I’m angry at your ignorance of our lives, for your complete lack of understanding of what a claim for equality under the law is, for telling us to shut up or quiet down or stop being angry or stop making trouble for the progressive movement or stop drawing negative attention to our party or Obama.

You call yourself a progressive and swear you’re not a bigot? Well, if you’re not with us, completely in support of our full and unconditional equality with straight citizens including marriage equality, then you’re a progressive who’s also a bigot — even if your bigotry is a side-effect of your religion. And when bigots give advice to the people against whom they are bigoted, it is, at best, a form of concern-trolling. Your advice is not about us and our real best interests; it’s about you.
So stop. Just stop telling us not to be angry or hurt or so emotional. This happened to us. It damages us. It reminds us of our pain, which many of us put behind us at great personal cost. I have lost dozens of friends to suicide, alcoholism, and depression. I’ve lost friends to gay bashing, and to a disease that ran unchecked and ignored because it “only” killed fags. I live in San Francisco, and there are huge parts of this city I wouldn’t feel safe holding my girlfriend’s hand. Do you not understand what it’s like to live like that?

If you can’t stand with us, at least have the grace to stop giving us advice, advocating our silence, lecturing us about our behavior, or telling us who and what we are.

What we do as a movement now is in our hands, and those of our allies. If you’re not one of them, shut up and get out of the way.¨

Daily Kos, click here:

Thanks to Daily Kos
Thanks to Flickr Photosharing
Thanks to Christie Kieth

Dec 19, 2008

ATTN GAFCON: Akinola/Nigeria Orombi/Uganda, U.N. General Assembly AFFIRMS RIGHTS for ALL & condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion...

United Nations General Assembly Statement Affirms Rights for All!

66 States Condemn Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

(New York, December 18, 2008) – ¨In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly today supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.¨

Notorious fear/hate-mongering LGBT EXCLUDER and Anglican Bishop Greg Venables of Argentina VIOLATES "the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity" that ARGENTINA and The Southern Cone of South America promoted and SUPPORTED at The United Nations. Venables has few followers in Argentina and has taken to recruiting anti-LGBT Episcopalians and Anglicans in North America (which is forbidden legally by Canons of his Southern Cone Anglican Province).

¨The statement drew unprecedented support from five continents, including six African nations. ARGENTINA read the statement before the General Assembly. A cross-regional group of states coordinated the drafting of the statement, also including BRAZIL, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway.

The 66 countries reaffirmed "the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." They stated they are "deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity," and said that "violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Archbishop Pete Akinola and +Martyn Minns of The Anglican Church of NIGERIA whose House of Bishops support the arresting, punishing/jailing and persecuting of LGBT people, their friends/supporters, their families and their ¨Hooligan children¨ who assemble together in PUBLIC or wish to OPENLY worship at Church together with other Anglicans.

Bishop Akinola also refuses to answer questions in regard to his possible role in the instigating of the Massacre of Yelwa where 600+ Muslims were murdered...he only smiled when interviewed by journalist Griswold of The Atlantic Monthly.The Massacre of Yelwa, read it all, click here:

¨The statement condemned killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and "deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health." The participating countries urged all nations to "promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity," and to end all criminal penalties against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.¨

¨According to calculations by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association) and other organizations, more than six dozen countries still have laws against consensual sex between adults of the same sex. The majority of these laws were left behind by colonial rulers Alien Legacy Reports, click here:. The UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a core UN treaty, held in a historic 1994 decision that such laws are rights violations – and that human rights law forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity happen regularly around the world. For example:

¨I was outraged to learn this morning that two men were assaulted at Kossuth Place and Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn, and especially horrified to learn that anti-LGBT and anti-Latino slurs were used by one or more of the assailants - raising this event to the level of a hate crime.¨ Murder in Brooklyn New York, read it all, click here:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of The Episcopal Church, The United States, is in full support of The United Nations statement which condemned killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and "deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health." In addition, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori enthusiastically supports the WELCOMING and FULL INCLUSION of LGBT Christians at all levels of Episcopal Churchlife.

¨In the United States, Amnesty International has documented serious patterns of police abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including incidents amounting to torture and ill-treatment. The United States refused to sign the General Assembly statement.¨

Anglican Bishop Mouneer H. Anis, EGYPT, LGBT excluder and demonizer of Lesbian and Gay Christians/others and GAFCON Anglican Communion destructionist accomplice.

¨In Egypt, Human Rights Watch documented a massive crackdown on men suspected of homosexual conduct between 2001-2004, in which hundreds or thousands of men were arrested and tortured. EGYPT actively opposed the General Assembly statement.

Bishop Benjamin Nzimbi of KENYA is another GAFCON Anglican Communion destructionist. +Nzimbi supports the marginalizing of LGBT Christians/others and condemns and forbids Gay or Lesbian Christians to serve or OPENLY participate at all levels of Kenyan Churchlife.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has documented how, in many African countries, sodomy laws and prejudice deny rights protections to Africans engaged in same-sex practices amid the HIV/AIDS pandemic – and can actually criminalize outreach to affected groups.

The Murder of Makwam, read it all, click here:
The signatories overcame intense opposition from a group of governments that regularly try to block UN attention to violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Only 57 states signed an alternative text promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. While affirming the "principles of non-discrimination and equality," they claimed that universal human rights did not include "the attempt to focus on the rights of certain persons."

Pope Benedict approved of the ¨basic human rights for all¨ concept.

¨At first, the Holy See had voiced strong opposition to the General Assembly statement. Its opposition sparked severe criticism by human rights defenders worldwide. In a significant reversal, however, the Holy See indicated to the General Assembly today that it called for repeal of criminal penalties for homosexual conduct.

"The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination toward homosexual persons should be avoided and urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them.¨

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the General Assembly statement reaffirms the reach and breadth of UDHR principles. The statement is non-binding, but restates what UN human rights bodies have repeatedly said: that no one should face rights violations because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.¨

Desmond Tutu, The Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace and supporter of Human Rights protection/inclusiveness for LGBT Christians and ALL others.

Ms. Navanetham Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

¨Navanetham Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, strongly supported the statement. In a videotaped message, she cited South Africa's 1996 decision to protect sexual orientation in its Constitution. She pointed to the "task and challenge to move beyond a debate on whether all human beings have rights," to "secure the climate for implementation."

¨Since the Human Rights Committee's landmark decision in 1994, United Nations experts have repeatedly acted against abuses that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including killings, torture, rape, violence, disappearances, and discrimination in many areas of life. UN treaty bodies have called on states to end discrimination in law and policy.¨

The Bishop of Rochester, Church of England and leading GAFCON Anglican Communion destructionist, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, is against including LGBT Anglicans at all levels of Churchlife.

¨Other international bodies have also opposed violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including the Council of Europe and the European Union. In 2008, all 34 member countries of the Organization of American States unanimously approved a declaration affirming that human rights protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.¨

The Anglican Archbishop of UGANDA, Henri Orombi, has recently initiated a ¨witch-hunt¨ against LGBT people at ALL levels of Society in Uganda and needs to NOTE, and act, immediately on the principles of ¨non-discrimination and violation of fundamental freedoms¨ and STOP the instigating of HATE CRIMES against his fellow citizens. In addition, Orombi is attempting to poach on and/or steal Episcopal Church property in the United States of America by cultivating anti-lgbt Christians who would demonize and marginalize other Christians at various levels of Churchlife where they have been ¨called¨ to serve. Orombi believes that Homosexuality was imported to Uganda by foreigners.

¨Earlier in the day, the General Assembly also adopted a resolution condemning extrajudicial executions, which contained a reference opposing killings based on sexual orientation. UGANDA moved to delete that reference, but the General Assembly rejected this by 78-60.

The signatories to the General Assembly statement are:

Albania, Andorra, ARGENTINA, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, BOLIVIA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, BRAZIL, Bulgaria, CANADA, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, CHILE, COLOMBIA, Croatia, CUBA, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, ECUADOR, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, MEXICO, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, NICARAGUA, Norway, PARAGUAY, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, SPAIN, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, UNITED KINGDOM, URUGUAY, and VENEZUELA.¨

Human Rights Watch, read it all, click here:
For more information, please contact the following organizations issuing this statement:

Amnesty International (in New York, Kate Sheill: +44-79-0439-8439 )

ARC International (in Canada, Kim Vance: +1-902-488-6404 )

Center for Women's Global Leadership (in New York, Cynthia Rothschild: +1-917- 318-3593)

COC Netherlands (in New York: Björn van Roozendaal +31-62-255-8300

Global Rights (in Washington, DC, Stefano Fabeni: +1-202-741-5049 )

Human Rights Watch (in New York, Scott Long: +1-646-641-5655 )

ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Intersex Association (in New York, Renato Sabbadini: +39-335-60-67-158 )

Inter-LGBT France (in New York, Philippe Colomb: +33-68-985-3109 )

International Committee for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) (in New York, Louis-Georges Tin: +33-61-945-4552 )

IGLHRC (in New York, Hossein Alizadeh: +1-212-430-6016 )

Thanks to The United Nations Security Council and The General Assembly
Thanks to Human Rights Watch
Thanks to Navanetham Pillay
Thanks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Thanks to Pope Benedict
Thanks to Spatters (who brought this wonderful breakthrough to my attention quickly)
Thanks to Flickr Photosharing
Thanks to Episcopal Cafe/The Lead
Thanks to The Atlantic Monthly Magazine
Thanks to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

Dec 15, 2008

'Tis the Season of Posadas, Chicuyas, Misas de Gallo, Palo Voladares, Nacimientos y mas...

For nine days before Christmas, posada processions pass through the streets of Guatemala.

They beat drums and light fireworks... they carry statues of Mary and Joseph (and other Saints) to friends houses where they sing carols and ask for lodging for the Holy Family in the families Manger by singing traditional songs about the pilgrims

They sing, dance, and eat Tamales. On Christmas Eve, the Christ Child is added to the Manger and everyone involved in the posada in the last nine days is invited to this last night.

A Christmas tree is added due to the large German population in Guatemala and presents are left for the children by the Christ Child on Christmas morning.

There is a midnight mass on Christmas Eve and a full supper. The mass on Christmas Eve has been traditionally known as Misa de Gallo, the Mass of the Rooster, as the rooster is long known as one of the first witnesses of Jesus and the first to announce his birth.

A Child Chosen, read it all, click here:

¨Chicuyas is the name by which Guatemalans name the part of the pine tree, which I don’t its English name (can you help me with the English name for part of the pine tree...gracias, Pine Cone). The pine tree provides many elements of the Christmas decorations for Guatemalans, like the pine needle that is spread on the floor as carpet at fiestas and special events. The pine needles provide an important aroma to the Christmas season in Guatemala.¨

Antigua Daily Photo, view/read it all, click here:

The Rooster is the first known to greet the birth of Baby Jesus by crowing and is often represented not only with the Gallo Mass but elaborate Fireworks displays at midnight.

The Misa de Gallo actually is translated as the Mass of the Rooster. Guatemala has many fascinating Christmas traditions, and they all culminate in the Misa de Gallo.

Again and again in Guatemala during the Christmas season, they include statues in daily processions. Statues of very popular saints, Santa Maria, San Jose, San Miguel the Archangel and the Virgin of Guadalupe being favorites, are included in the processions, but the main emphasis is on God. After the procession, the statues are returned to church.

Another big part of the Guatemalan Christmas celebration is its emphasis on the Nativity or manger scene, known as Nacimientos. On Christmas Eve, baby Jesus is added to the manger display.

No lesson, no matter how brief, would be complete without understanding the history of the Guatemalan people. Modern-day Guatemalans are descendants of the Mayans. About 400 years ago the Mayans were converted to Christianity after they were conquered by the Spanish. Through the centuries, they’ve come to celebrate Christian holidays to a larger extent than other Christian nations. On St. Thomas Day, for example, which occurs on December 21, they celebrate Palo Voladare.

This is also called the flying pole dance and was actually a ritual that preceded their conversion to Christianity, but was adapted to St. Thomas Day. St. Thomas was one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles. Santo Tomás Church, Chichicastenango,
Quiché, is one of the sites for the pole dancing ritual on December 21, 2008.

As you can see, the Christmas season in Guatemala is filled with celebrations not only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but throughout the entire month of December.

Christmas lore in Guatemala, Central America, read it all, click here:

Thanks to Antigua (Guatemala) Daily Photo
Thanks to Christmas Lore in Guatemala
Thanks to A Child Is Chosen
Thanks to Flickr Photosharing
Thanks to Guatemalas Department of Tourism