Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TAJ MAHAL & DENGUE FEVER IN AGRA

October 13

I am in Agra now and yesterday Rao took me to see the Taj Mahal. It was just a short motorized rickshaw ride from our hotel and was quite crowded as there is a tourist festival going on at this time.

To say that the place is impressive is an understatement. Completed around 1653, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to build and was created by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love.. The Taj Mahal is an architectural wonder but the small detailed work on the inside really got my attention. I found the colorful tiny bits of stones, like tourquoise, onyx, amazonite, and cornelian that are embedded in the white marble to create images of flowers, to be beautiful and really fascinated me to imagine the work involved.

Last night we had a late dinner meeting with eight members of Indian Doctors for Peace & Development. This group is connected internationally to IPPNW and is regarded as one of the more active peace organizations inside of India. In this very informal setting I was able to review virtually the entire space warfare issue and they had many questions about India's role and what they could do to help. I asked them to consider making financial support for Rao's national student organizing effort a priority, telling them that on his meager railroad worker pension he was doing most of this travel and educational work using his own resources. They appeared to agree that this was something they could easily help with.

I was particularly impressed with the leader of the group. At the end of the evening he made a strong statement about the efforts now underway by American corporations to buy out Indian drug and agricultural companies. All those present agreed that the growing corporate domination of their government was a frightening prospect for their future. One doctor, who owns a local private hospital, told us that dengue fever and malaria were now an epidemic in Agra and that the federal government was doing little to help deal with this situation. The worsening divide between rich and poor inside India is further evidence that corporate greed was having a major negative impact on their ability to support human development.

The obvious implications of India's participation in the U.S. Star Wars program are more suffering for people already living in grinding poverty. These doctors understand that and I believe we have made some friends here. On the drive back to our hotel after the dinner one of the doctors told me that I was a clearly "a human being" and not what he considered to be a typical American. I appreciated that complement very much.

At 5:00 pm today we board the train to head north for Jammu in Kashmir. There is much unrest there now as the long unresolved Pakistan-India territorial conflict still rages. Rao says Kashmir is the most beautiful place in the world. I am ready to see it.

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