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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

Archive for the Christian Peacemaker Teams (cpt.org) Category

Interview on KPFK Pacifica Radio

March 17th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 2 Comments »

On Monday, March 17, Emmy-Award winner Lila Garrett aired her interview with me on her popular radio show, “Connect the Dots,” on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK about US military activities in the Philippines and Guam.

Click here to hear the 20-minute interview, which aired in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. I am the second guest, minutes 28 through 45. Lila named me her Grassroots Hero of the Week, but that honor really belongs to the women and men who are fighting every day to regain their families and countries. I was honored to meet them.

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Good Morning, America

February 26th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 6 Comments »

“Yes, I sued the president today,” said lawyer Harry Roque. Having sued my own president, I was quite impressed. “But we’ve impeached her before,” he added dismissively.
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pict0077_16.JPGOur delegation is here at a propitious time: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, or GMA, as she’s referred to by the acronym-dropping Filipinos, is in trouble. Her administration got caught in a scandal while courting the Chinese government. Thousands of people marched in the streets earlier this month protesting graft and corruption, and several demonstrations were held today during the national holiday celebrating the end of the Marcos regime. (more…)

Butterflying

February 25th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 3 Comments »

“She wanted to fly so high, she could see all the people on earth,” Dina Valencia says of her daughter. Six-year-old Crizel died eight years ago today from leukemia likely caused by the toxic wastes the US left behind when it formally closed Clark Air Base.
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Crizel leaves behind a portfolio of vibrant drawings of psychedelic butterflies, floating hearts, lush flowers and dancing vegetables. Her mother thumbs through a scrapbook of Crizel’s artwork, proudly showing off her daughter’s colorful spirit.
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She also leaves behind a year of painful memories for one frantic mother and a legacy of media interviews as the face of the impact of American military presence in the Philippines. (more…)

“No Money, No Honey”

February 16th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

I spent this Valentine’s evening exploring Fields Avenue, the seedy, glittery red light district outside the now closed Clark Air Force Base. Paunchy white men wearing Hawaiian shirts pulled as tightly over their tummies as the spandex skirts that cling to the upper thighs of their young Filipina escorts strut the rutted streets.

The scene is so ubiquitous, I have to get a photo. One man, white pony-tail trailing down his black t-shirt that reads No Money, No Honey, refuses my request and invites me instead to join his date at the Atlantis, where he’ll take my photo. I politely decline.
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But Galvin from Australia, positions himself under an overhead light for me, joking, “Oh, National Geographic!” as he poses with his date, Rose. “I have a daughter named Kelly,” he enthuses, putting his arm proprietarily around my waist after I introduce myself. She must be so proud of you at this moment, I think, inching away from him and turning my attention to the beaming young woman holding her wrapped Valentine’s roses like Miss Universe.

Hustling starts early on Fields Avenue. A girl not more than six or seven pursues me for half a block to buy her roses. “They will still be the same color tomorrow,” she says seductively, grazing my elbow. How does a girl so little know how to be so suggestive? (more…)

Brother Arrested to Silence Sister’s Activism

February 13th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 5 Comments »

She starts dispassionately, telling her story that she has retold time and time again: “There were four men who entered my house by jumping over the fence. I looked through the window and saw a man wearing a white T-shirt and brown shorts. He held up a gun and told me to open the door. They entered the house, all four of them, looking for Lenie.”
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Lenie is Lolita Robiños’ daughter, her “activist” daughter.

She didn’t know these men, “but if I ever saw them again, I’d know them.” (more…)

“I Don’t Have Anything Left to be Afraid Of”

February 11th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 5 Comments »

“My father was taken in broad daylight!” says Lorena Santos, who was 24 at the time. “He was abducted in northern Mindanao. It was 10:00 in the morning, while he was walking across the street.” That was February 19, 2007, a year ago next week.

Leo Velasco was 53.pict0271_4.JPG

“A van stopped abruptly in front of him and men threw him into the van. At first, it was two men, but he struggled, and so more men came,” Santos, whose friends call Aya, reports. “These accounts came from witnesses: a security guard at a building and a cigarette vendor from whom my father had just bought cigarettes. Immediately, the car sped away.”

“That was the last time anyone saw him,” she says softly. Steely. She’s told this story before. (more…)

The Hidden Cost of Cruising

February 8th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 4 Comments »

My second day in Manila, I tour squalid sections of a flimsy warren that could be called “rooms” only by the very generous.pict0185_9.JPG Ducking in from the sidewalk, into a gloomy passageway barely big enough for my medium five-foot-six frame, I stumble over a broken board bridging a stream of wash water flowing from a young girl’s public shower into the street.

The girl grins, startled, unaware of how to act in front of a stranger, in spite of the fact that a group of mah-jong playing neighbors sit within sight of her soapy, T-shirt-clad body. pict0136_6.JPGPrivacy is so non-existent, she allows me to take her photo, and laughs when I show her her image in the digital camera.

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Cruising for Freedom

February 8th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“When you buy mangoes on the street, you have to be careful,” warns Nilo, a 47-year-old Filipino, “because you only see the pretty mangoes on the top, not the rotten ones on the bottom.”pict0093_7.JPG

Nilo is a seafarer, one of the 25 percent of the world’s seafarers who come from the Philippines and work for months at a stretch on cruise ships, tankers, cargo ships. For a year, he was one of those faceless seamen who keep Americans gorging at the endless buffets on cruises.pict0096_7.JPG

After his year-long contract with Holland America ended in Miami, he took his $7,000 of annual earnings and finishing bonus and “jumped ship,” entering America illegally.

“When I saw the first ‘Miami Vice,’ (more…)

Through the Porthole

February 8th, 2008 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“We’re not criminals, we’re seaman!” Alex Quinzo pounds his chest defiantly. When his tanker recently docked in Miami, he wasn’t allowed ashore, as seamen routinely are. Quinzo committed the crime of being from the Philippines, one of the countries on the U.S. Homeland Security’s terrorist list.

“For three days, I couldn’t go to shore because I had no U.S. visa. I could only look through the porthole.” We are standing in his hot boarding house in downtown Manila. Up to 20 seamen between jobs share a room overflowing with bunk beds, paying 2,400 pesos ($60)/month for a room with air conditioning, or 1,400 pesos ($35)/month without. pict0128_6.JPG

Every day, they go down to Luneta Park, where up to 2,000 seafarers vie for jobs in a permanent sidewalk employment market. Two hundred get hired. Seventy-nine agent-employers set up shop in rows of white-tented booths. Young men in crisp white polo shirts mill through the crowd displaying plastic covered xeroxes of job descriptions and salaries.

“They’re floating sweatshops,” says pastor Reynoldo Lopez, of the many cruise ships that hire the unseen workers who make cruises possible – and profitable.

A quarter of the world’s seafarers come from the Philippines; but, they may be allowed to see the U.S. only through a porthole.

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Off the Wall: Graffiti on the Israeli Wall

March 26th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

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$$USA$$

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“This dumb wall is SCREAMING.”

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“Make Love, Not Walls.” (more…)

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