Rosh Hashana 2011 – a little grumpy, but I’m trying my best.

Tonight is Erev Rosh Hashana – the eve of the Jewish New Year. In the Jewish calendar, days begin and end at sunset, so once the sun has set over the Greater Chicagoland Area, I will be off the grid for three solid days*: Tonight, tomorrow, Friday (the holiday is actually two days long for almost everyone but some in the Reform movement), and Saturday-until-after-sunset, because that’ll be Shabbat. Try not to let the world blow up without me, ‘kay?

Truth be told, I’m not feeling very holiday-ish today. I’ve bought a ton of special food, we have plans for services and time with friends, and it’s hard for me not to love anything that results in me getting to spend concentrated time with my family — but.

But, for me, being Jewish is hopelessly entangled with being Israeli, a thing which I very loudly announced I was tired of being the other day. I have always found the American Jewish community’s attachment to the modern State of Israel as an article of religious faith to be problematic — surely when in prayer, our thoughts are to be on our relationship to the Divine, and not the latest policies of a political construct? Surely we can be good Jews, and yet oppose some of those policies, no matter our familial relationship to the people making them? — but in light of my utter exhaustion with being Israeli this year, I feel even more knee-jerk misanthropic about the notion of spending time with my own people (the people to whom, let’s not forget, I happily joined myself of my own accord. I was at Sinai! Etc, etc, and so on. Oh, bother).

So, you know, writing about the holiday hasn’t exactly felt like a thing I wanted to do. And yet here we are! And here’s the thing that I’ve been thinking about lately, re: Rosh Hashana:

We are taught that Rosh Hashana is not, as I just called it, “the Jewish New Year.” Aside from anything else, it falls on the first day of the seventh month of our calendar, meaning that calling it the Jewish New Year is a little bit like planning your New Year’s Eve bash for the Fourth of July.

The words “Rosh Hashana” do translate to “head of the year” — it’s just not our “head,” our beginning, that we’re celebrating. We’re taught that Rosh Hashana marks the very, very beginning — the world’s creation. The Holy One Blessed Be He completed His work on this day, we believe, which is why we also call the holiday Yom Harat Olam, the day of the world’s birth. Rather than drawing inward on this holiday, in a very real way, we’re meant to look out — to celebrate all of creation, and annually reconsider the role we play on the world stage.

And here’s what recently struck me: Isn’t fall kind of an odd time to celebrate the birth of the world?

This honestly never crossed my mind before. Jewish holidays are very tightly bound to the turn of the seasons, in part because we were once an agricultural society, and in part because we’re taught that our holidays sanctify the cosmic year. You really can’t celebrate Passover in the summer, for instance. It’s in the spring because it’s meant to be in the spring — the holiday depends on the calendar, but the calendar also depends on the holiday. Given that our calendar is, in fact, lunar, the ancients had to go to real trouble to tinker with it to make sure the holidays stay on course; a solar aspect was folded into things, and every third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth and nineteenth year, we have a second month of Adar to even things up. That’s a lot of trouble to go to in order to keep the holidays in their seasons — so why are we celebrating the world’s birth in the very season in which the world begins its annual slumber?

I’m guessing the more Orthodox among us would say “because we did the math and that’s when it happened,” but I’m not the kind of Jew for whom that’s a very useful answer.

I don’t know, of course, but I wonder if this doesn’t tell us something about becoming, and being. I wonder if, at the very moment that we are becoming, we might not need to withdraw into the earth, cover ourselves with mulch, and gestate. We like to believe (I like to believe) that the desire to change or become is all we need in order to effect change — from the social protests in Israel, to the revolutions in the Arab World, to the individual upheavals of the heart — but that really and truly isn’t how humans work. We trundle along, bump into the need to change, think about that for awhile, decide to change, struggle with that for awhile, achieve some newness, readjust for awhile. Like that. We cannot just burst into being — we have to lay low and allow the change to seep into blood and bones that are still enough, quiet enough, to really take it in.

So Happy New Year, world! As we all struggle forward, as we are born anew, may be also lay still and quiet enough to allow ourselves to grow straight and true, and bring a much, much better year to a very weary world. May your year be sweet, and may your blessings be as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate, amen, amen.

*******

*In terms of this blog, that means that comments may get stuck in moderation for awhile. I generally ask my Shabbos goy (aka: the husband, a raging atheist) to fish these out now and then, because one doesn’t want to be rude, especially not for three solid days, but yeah…. If you get stuck, don’t despair! It’ll show up eventually!

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Troy Davis – funeral expenses.

The folks who were most closely involved with advocating for Troy Davis are now raising money so that his family can give him the funeral they feel he deserves. I still find it almost unfathomable that the State of Georgia actually killed him. It just seems almost literally unimaginable to me. But of course his family will now face the reality and nature of his death every day from here and unto eternity. If you would like to contribute to Mr. Davis’s funeral, please write to my friend Jen Marlowe at donkeysaddle@gmail.com, tell her who sent you, and she’ll set you up.

If you’d like to take action to continue the fight against the death penalty in Mr. Davis’s name but don’t know where to start, you can click here for my thoughts and ideas, and here for those of Peter Rothberg, Associate Publisher of The Nation. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The only way for Troy Davis to continue his struggle for justice is for us to carry his spirit in our hands. It’s on us now. We are Troy Davis.

No really. I kind of hate George Lucas.

Pretty much the only person who doesn't need to be ashamed of what went on in the prequels.

Please note important comics-based update, below!

So after all these years, and all those movies, and all that hype and excitement and fanguish (why yes, I did just coin that term), and prompted by the already-infamous-yet-still-brand-new Darth Vader “Noooooo!”, plus the recent viewing of Episodes IV-VI with my family — I have finally figured out why I really kind of hate George Lucas.

So yes. Here we go, another nerdy blogger is going to write about hating George Lucas on the intertrons. Quelle surprise! But a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.

I remember going to see Star Wars (back when there was just the one) with my mom. I remember leaving the theater and walking to the car and being enthralled. I’m not sure how many times I saw the first one as I waited for Empire Strikes Back, but it was probably a lot, given that when Empire came out, I cut school in order to go downtown for the opening (back in the olden days, openings were matinees) — and subsequently spent the summer watching it over and over. The arguments among my friends regarding Luke’s parentage were long, loud, and filled with genuine emotion, and one night, we all went to the early show, didn’t leave, and watched it again. I think I saw it eleven times before school started that fall. I have no recollection of the first time I saw Return of the Jedi, likely because the wheels were already coming off — stuff went on and on, or appeared, kind of out of nowhere (that chase scene on Endor, for instance, can now be seen in its true light, as a brutal precursor to the seemingly eternal pod race in Phantom Menace),  and like all my budding quasi-socialist friends (we were 18), I suspected the Ewoks reflected less about a galaxy far, far away, and more about Lucas’s increased understanding about merchandising. And yet: It was Star Wars. And it was still pretty damn good.

Fast-forward to 1999. I’ve just moved back to America after 14 years away, and George Lucas has finally made the first prequel — the movies that my friends and I used to talk about in tones reserved in other circles for prophecy and magic — and: BOOM.

Oh my God. Oh my God! I had to see it twice to make sure it was that awful, and oh my God. There is so much to be said (and has been said) about just what a terrible turn Lucas took with Phantom Menace (and I have already mentioned the endlessly endless pod race of endlessness), but I will say only this: Midichlorians? Are you fucking kidding me with this?! Either the force is “an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together,” or it’s something in communication with microscopic beings within our blood for which we are (and I quote) “symbionts.” Take your pick.

I so hated Phantom Menace that I never intended to see the other two prequels, but life and the advent of a child warranted otherwise. At some point I caught the boy up on the first three films with great joy, and ground my teeth through the prequels (only the last of which had any redeeming qualities, if you ask me. And Ewan McGregor deserves a trophy for being the only actor among a large group of excellent actors to actually do any good with his terrible role) and I seethed. Like any good old-school Star Wars fan, I have been seething for 12 long years, and every time he tinkers and changes and adds and subtracts and releases some new damn version, my fanguish grows and I hate George Lucas a little bit more.

BUT I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHY.

Broken down into parts, the first three movies are not particularly great, certainly not by today’s standards. In light of my immersion in the cinematic world of Lord of the Rings, I find myself particularly bothered by the way that whole cultures pop up, unremarked, and then disappear, again unremarked, as so much set dressing. You never get anything on anybody who isn’t front and center to the story, and even then, you don’t get much. And then there’s (some of…) the acting. And, of course: Bechdel Test. Of course.

And yet! The sum is clearly so much greater than all of those parts, all of those flaws, even all of the moments of greatness — when seen in its entirety, all together, it told a story of such sweep and such emotion that it fell straight into people’s hearts and hasn’t let go since.

But Lucas didn’t make that story — he recognized it.

The stories are out there. If an artist is lucky, he or she gets to be the one to tell a particular story, and if the audience is lucky, he or she is skilled and respectful, and the story is served. That’s what happened in the first three (well… two and a half) movies.

But ever since, Lucas has been pissing on his own work, and jerking canon around because he felt like it, and disrespecting his audience — and disrespecting the story.

And that, my friends, is my bottom line. It was a long walk to get here, but at least I’ll be brief: I’m a writer. Stories really, really matter to me. Words matter to me. Truth-that-cannot-be-weighed-and-measured matters to me. And it matters that we try really, really hard to respect all of that. The stories, the words, the truths do not belong to us. If we’re lucky, we get to recognize them.

And stupid George Lucas was lucky! And then he messed it all up.

The end.

Though of course, as we discussed the other day, there’s always the possibility that this is what really happened:


We live in hope
.

*****

Oops, more credit where it’s due! Go read this by Lev, over at Library Grape — he definitely jogged my mind on all of this, particularly with regard to the differences between Lucas’s re-fashioning of his films, and the recent-ish remastering of the original Star Trek series.

UPDATE: Well, I never! On the very day that I decide to add to the endless stream of internet anti-Lucas sentiment, the extremely cool Shortpacked does the same! Click here to see one more reason (I really couldn’t go into all the reasons on my own) that the prequels suuuuuuuuuuucked. And then, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably geeky enough to want to click here to see the his fantabulous reaction to the recent abysmal DC Comics Starfire reboot.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

I am so sick of being Israeli.

I watched the Netanyahu and Abbas speeches unfold at the UN this past Friday through the veil of Twitter. Unable to bring myself to watch them directly — My eyes! My eyes! — I let people like me report to me in 140 character bursts what exactly was going on. One woman was tweeting quotes, others were reacting, several pointed out particularly egregious lies in Netanyahu’s speech, and I scrambled for documents to prove the depth of the lying. At one point I tweeted the following:

See? See?! Where is Joe Wilson when I need him? Bibi, you lie! RT @OriNir_APN Bibi quoting a false USA Today story. Shameful. #Israel

This morning, I read a piece by Israeli national treasure Akiva Eldar in HaAretz, Israel’s paper of record, entitled “Netanyahu’s speech of lies.” I read it, I tweeted it, I tweeted quotes from it, I tweeted a few of my immediate reactions to it, and then I tweeted this:

I AM SO SICK OF BEING ISRAELI.

and just like anywhere else on the internet, ALL CAPS means I WAS YELLING. And I was yelling because it is the damn truth.

Well!

Upon tweeting said shouty tweet, there ensued an hour of furious Twitter flurry, with more than 30 people re-tweeting it, and a bunch asking me why I felt what I felt, and me responding, and people asking what Bibi’s lies were, and me responding, and people telling me how happy they were to finally find “a good Israeli,” and me responding (“I’m not the only good Israeli…!”), and my list of followers grew and grew, on and on, until I finally broke down and said

In for a penny, in for a pound: Dear all who like me now b/c I’m sick of being Israeli – I’m still a Zionist: http://bit.ly/eKO7CN#Israel

followed by

Because “If I support Palestinian nationalism, I cannot in good conscience tell my own people to drop theirs.” http://bit.ly/eKO7CN#Israel

and then

Sigh.

and suddenly the flurry stopped.

Of course I have no way of knowing that the flurry stopped because I’d outed myself as (gasp!) a Zionist, but it kind of felt that way. But it really doesn’t matter because the bottom line remains: I am sicksicksick of being Israeli.

I am sick of watching my home lurch from bad to worse — from the unavoidable xenophobia of any hounded and nationalistic people, to creeping-vine-xenophobia, the kind that the holds the whole house up at a certain point, having all but replaced whatever was once between the bricks. Israel had one good, shining year when it seemed it might be stepping forward rather than back, but 1993 came and went and here we are, worse off than we were before the Oslo Accords, because the Palestinian economy is more thoroughly wrecked, the Palestinian people more thoroughly occupied, Palestinian land more thoroughly gobbled up, and thousands of people (the vast majority of them Palestinian) more thoroughly dead. And to those who would say “Is America really any different?” (as some Twitter friends essentially have) I would say: Yes. In America, we go from bad to better — slowly, painfully, splutteringly, we move forward. Israel? Not so much. Have you seen the recent spate of anti-democratic laws passed in The Middle East’s Only Democracy ™? Or read up on why all those protesters were out on the streets for all those weeks? Not to mention the continual erosion, by design, of any and all hope for a genuine, mutally acceptable peace with the Palestinians? Bad to worse, bad to worser, bad to worsest (until the next worsest comes along).

And I am sick of the lies, and lies, and lies, and then more lies, and more to the point, the fact that I continually find myself living in what feels like an alternate reality because my Israeli government goes on and on telling whopper after whopper and my American government just lets it go. Watches as the lies slip and slide past, without so much as a “hey, are you sure? Maybe we should check the documents!” And I sit here with my masters degree and my books and my ability to think in a fashion that does not resemble a drunken bastard and time after time, find myself insisting that, no, really! You can’t make reality up! (Think of it this way: It’s like the climate change debate, on every front, every day, all day long. Forever).

I am sick and tired — exhausted, drained, and demoralized — by the endless, daily effort involved in just thinking about all this, and you know what? If I weren’t Israeli? I wouldn’t have to.

I don’t know if the plan has been to drive Israelis like me away (though driving Israelis like me away is certainly considered a bonus in some quarters), but damn. I am sick to tears of having to have anything to do with the sociopathy and psychopathy that characterize official Israel.

And I am sick to tears of being sick of it.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

The internets & their bounties – I Really Kind of Hate George Lucas edition.

The internet, man – what doesn’t it have? I know a lot of bloggers do a regular round-up of cool links, but I never have before. History – IT IS BEING MADE.

  1. The back of the husband’s head at the Liam Finn show. Ok, it’s kind of really a brief video of the crowd singing Happy Birthday while Liam does a shot and then launches into a wickedly shredded version of the Beatles’ “Birthday” — but still!! That’s the husband’s head in the immediate foreground!! And a very brief vision of the top right of the back of my head!! We were that close!! h/t Liam Finn (!!) and Lincoln Hall (the fantabulous venue. Who knew the acoustics and sound systems could be good at those places?)
  2. “Eventually, this process will allow you to record and reconstruct your own dreams on a computer screen.” Read that sentence again, slowly, and then click through to read the rest and watch the this-goes-to-a-eleven-gobsmacking video. As the writer says “Indeed, it’s mindblowing. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified.” h/t Skepchick
  3. “Mordor doesn’t look that bad now, does it?” Apparently Frodo/Elijah Wood has beef with Merry/Dominic Monaghan…? Click here to see the mighty Elijah! Click here to see Dominic’s worthy reply! (Honestly the thing that concerns me most is the apparent possibility that Elijah Wood might be a smoker). h/t BuzzFeed
  4. Human skin strengthened with spider silk can stop a bullet. You heard me — and there’s video in which you can see it happen. h/t I can’t remember what series of clicks got me here.
  5. Skeletal whole-hand bracelet. Again, with the hearing (though there’s no video this time. How can you make a video of a bracelet? Seriously people, sometimes you worry me). h/t Boing Boing
  6. Well. This explains everything.

h/t my Balloon Juice buddy Lev, at Library Grape

Writing/not writing about the Palestinian statehood bid + Good stuff: Liam Finn! Squee!

I had intended to write today about the speeches made this afternoon at the UN by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas — the whole Palestinian statehood bid thing — and I just can’t. After a quarter of a century of living, studying, reporting, researching, and writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, my demoralization has reached a low that I never dreamed possible. I cannot do it.

I will say only this: The Palestinian statehood bid is an entirely legal, nonviolent attempt at a work-around to Israeli and American intransigence. Had we negotiated in good faith at any point since the 1993 Oslo Accords, or taken seriously the not-one-but-two Arab League offers for a comprehensive peace (2002 and 2007), or, I don’t know, treated the signed-and-sealed commitments of the 2003 Road Map to Peace as something more than a scrap of toilet paper — the US and Israel would not today find themselves faced with the Palestinian’s entirely legal, nonviolent attempt at a work-around.

Indeed, had my two countries responded to the threats of the work-around — discussed all over the globe for at least six months — with a serious offer for a renewed, genuine negotiation process (that is: not something that entails Israel saying “Come, talk! We just can’t be bothered to stop stealing your land in the meantime!”), we wouldn’t be dealing with the statehood bid. Abbas has said over and over that he would rather negotiate (“Our first, second and third choice is to return to negotiations”). But we didn’t. So: The entirely legal, nonviolent work-around to our intransigence.

Will it work? No. Because of our intransigence. And how will it all end? I don’t know, but some version of: Badly.

I do understand that there are a LOT of problems on the Palestinian side, not least their divided government, but you’d be surprised how much Israel and the US share the blame even for the Palestinians’ messes. That divided government, for instance: The US and Israel refused to deal with the democratically elected Hamas-led government in 2006, and encouraged the Abbas-led Fatah party to try to seize control violently, going so far as to provide weapons. Civil war ensued, Hamas beat the crap out of Fatah, and voila! Two dueling Palestines. How’s that working for everybody?

So, having already written far more than I had any stomach to write, I’m going to execute a 180, and pivot to a much, much more pleasant fact: The husband and I are going to see New Zealand singer-songwriter-one-man-band Liam Finn (son of Crowded House’s Neil Finn) in concert tonight…! OMG, you have no idea how head-bendingly talented he is! But if you watch the two clips below, you might get some wee idea. The first is a song that feels like a balm to me in times of loss, the other, an indication of just how head-bending the talent really is.

Enjoy!

*

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Random acts of kindness and senseless beauty thread.

I’ll be putting up a regular post later today, but it’s been a rough week and I’ve been thinking that I’m likely not the only one who would really like to ease my mind with happy things, good things, things that don’t make me question my faith in the better angels of humanity’s nature.

But given the nature of the week — the very personal, individualized cruelty that we all witnessed, on top of the larger political and/or global miseries — the internet tradition of kittehs and funneh doesn’t sit right. Further to my comment that I’m proud to share a country with the hundreds of thousands of Americans who acted to try to save Troy Davis’s life, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we are all served by each other — all the moments when a person could choose to walk away, but instead offers a hand.

In Troy Davis’s case, that offering became a roar, and it had blood in it. But most days, it’s the person who takes your cart back to the grocery store, or who finds you when you left your wallet at the ticket window. Maybe it’s the person who smiled when you didn’t have a smile in you. These moments matter. They are, to my mind, tiny pieces of God on earth, the little ways in which we heal the world and each other every single day.

So I decided to start a thread where we can all tell stories of random acts of kindness — small or large, today-fresh or decades old. A moment or series of moments that we needed in our lives and for which we remain grateful.

I confess, this is an experiment. I have no idea if this thread will echo with my own story (I’ll leave the first comment), or if others will join in their multitudes. I occasionally have open threads that go past 100 comments (but that’s pretty much because I open a thread when Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn’t), while some posts don’t gather so much as a single word of response. Most hover in the 3-15 comment range, and that would be lovely. Three to fifteen stories of kindness? That would make my day, and probably someone else’s. I hope you’ll chime in.

BUT FIRST: In a case of the blogosphere continuing to treat me kindly, I was syndicated on BlogHer the other day! What this means, dear reader, is that I have now made bank as a blogger. For the first time. Ever. Not big bank, to be sure, but bank, baby! So that’s a very nice thing, and I ask you to please click through and show BlogHer some love because honest to God — being paid to do what I know how to do? Makes me happy.

Dear readers veteran and new.

For a variety of reasons, the readership of this blog has jumped exponentially in recent weeks, with yesterday seeing a literal 20 fold increase. Some have come from The Hairpin, some from The Atlantic, some from Skepchick, some from BlogHer, some via Twitter, and some from other corners and other relationships, not least the Facebook walls of friends and loved ones.

I want to welcome you all, but confess that as I write this morning, I do so through a haze. My eyes and head ache from tears shed, my throat is tightening as I type, and my fingers feel suddenly, inexplicably, heavy. I spent all of last night glued to Democracy Now’s live stream from the vigil outside the death row prison in Jackson, Georgia, toggling between it and Twitter, and at some points, doing both on my husband’s laptop while also watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. A very large piece of me simply could not believe that Troy Davis would be killed in spite of the enormous doubts about his conviction, and even now, having been immersed in it for hours last night, I feel a bit as if I must have dreamed it. How can such a thing be real?

I have never in my life been so involved in the life and death of a person I didn’t know, and for me, that involvement only goes back about four weeks. I have certainly never spent much time thinking about the death penalty before, other than being notionally opposed, signing occasional petitions, and being a Democrat in large part for reasons that also led me to oppose to the death penalty. I never so much as considered writing about state executions before my first post about Mr. Davis, on August 29th.

I wake up this morning to a different world — a world in which Troy Davis is dead, and I have seen up close both the horror of state intransigence in the face of human blood and bone, and the awesome power of hundreds of thousands of people coming together in support of a man they had never met.

Typically, I write about a wide range of things. This has included Winnie the Pooh, and signs that you might be middle-aged, and loud music, and women’s rights, and Islam (particularly in America), and a lot of Israel/Palestine. Sometimes I’m pretty funny, though I’m probably more often earnest. I write about stuff that is tiny, and stuff that is huge, and I try to find the human moment in the spine of all of it.

I can only imagine that I will get back to that kind of range in the coming days and weeks — that I will no longer be posting daily, and sometimes several times a day, about a man scheduled to die. But today I’m not ready.

I will spend today sorting out what my relationship needs to be with the anti-death penalty movement. I’m very clear on the fact that no one person can be equally active on all the issues to which they feel an attachment, and I have spent the better part of 25 years advocating for peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. There are only so many hours in the day, and I have children to read to and a husband to laugh with, not to mention the other joys and drudgeries of a blessed life.

But I cannot simply walk away from last night. Mr. Davis’s final statement to supporters, the day before his execution, read:

The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.

The only way his spirit can move forward now is if we carry it for him. We are now Troy Davis.

To those who may be feeling lost and horrified, ashamed and grief-stricken, I want to say that I share all of those emotions. I am deeply, deeply ashamed of the country — my country – that allowed this travesty of justice to go forward. I am horrified at the vision of an innocent man strapped to a gurney and injected with poison, grief-stricken over the loss, and at a loss as to what to do with all the emotions.

But I am also proud — so, so proud — of all of the Americans who came together to fight for the life of this complete stranger. Most of us don’t know each other, most of us wouldn’t recognize each other on the street. And yet we reached out and sent letters and signed petitions and asked friends and family to do the same and we held hands across miles and wires and jointly created something new, something in which I know Mr. Davis himself had faith. This, too, is American: Not shrugging our shoulders, not giving in, not allowing injustice to go unremarked, but moving out and moving forward on the basis of the Idea and the ideals on which this country was founded. I am grateful to our international brothers and sisters (of whom there are many), but I am proud to share a country with those Americans who fought until the very last minute last night.

If you want to take that energy and that love and start to move forward in Mr. Davis’s name, here’s something you can do right now: Educate yourself about the death penalty and seek ways that you can become active in your area. That’s what I’m going to do. You can start by going to Amnesty International, or Campaign to End the Death Penalty (about which I know very little, having focused on Amnesty), or the ACLU, or the Southern Center for Human Rights (the organization behind the astonishing sign-on letter of former corrections officials calling for clemency for Troy Davis), or the NAACP, or Democracy Now.

If you have some money to spare, please make a donation to any of those organizations, all of which are fighting so hard on what is clearly a rocky battlefield. I gave some money to Amnesty this week, and yesterday threw some more to Democracy Now, out of sheer admiration for the astonishing job they did in producing a two-hour live event that became a six-hour-long broadcast — reporter Amy Goodman is my new hero, and I really don’t have words to describe my regard for the remarkable work she and her whole crew did last night (and please note that Democracy Now also takes donations of equipment).

Finally: It was my birthday yesterday. I will now forever share that day with Troy Davis. It’s my hope that I will find a way to honor the coincidence, and use my remaining years to aid in achieving Mr. Davis’s goal of ending the death penalty forever.

Live feed from Troy Davis vigil outside death row prison in Jackson, Georgia.

The Supreme Court granted Troy Davis a “temporary delay,” which is a thing that could theoretically last minutes or hours up to seven days — it’s not a stay of execution, it’s buying some time to make a decision. I’m watching a live feed from the vigil outside the death row prison, broadcast by Democracy Now. To watch the feed, click here.

Mostly I’m on Twitter: @emilylhauser Even if you’re not “on Twitter,” you can look at my feed or the feeds of other people tweeting under the hashtag #TroyDavis

Troy Davis’s statement to supporters.

Posted on Amnesty International’s Facebook page yesterday:

The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.

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