Monday, May 30, 2005

Fern.. Posted by Hello

Kia Ora..

Kia Ora and Hello..

..To you faithful/bored blogger checkers. It was another busy week, hence the inactive blog.

Happy Birthday Rowan (and Rederick and Selkie) (Tuesday 31st) how does it feel to turn the big 04? We miss you buddy!

"Suspect of Sedition" has been updated with some pictures of Anna and Dave's trip, now that they are back in the maritimes. "Stacy" has a blog now as well under the "comrades" section.

Emily's parents are back from their trip, we were happy to hear some of the details and that it all went well. We have seen that you have tried to contact us on skype, we have just been particularly busy lately.

My classes have been going well. I taught a very good class on cannabis, for my health education class. I taught a few classes on police and the legal system for year (grade) 9 social studies. I just finished up the unit on Nazi Germany with the year (grade) 10 social studies class. We learned all about neo-nazis and anti-fascist groups like anarchists and listened to some punk music by "Oi Polloi" and "Propagandi", as well as "Chumbawama". We also looked at some overheads of local neo-nazi groups posted online at

I will be starting units on Human Rights for both social studies classes. We will be looking at the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty International, the "Oka Crisis", the Australian Aboriginal situation, Sweatshops and Guantanamo Bay.

It is certainly well into the rainy season. I will post a link to Auckland weather (under the "Auckland Clock") so folks who are interested/bored can check out how wet we are.

Emily was invited to attend a conference on activist organizing in Wellington and if everything falls into place she and Eabha will be flying for free to the conference and will stay with friends while they are there. I facilitated a workshop on facilitation on Saturday for the local "Radical Youth" organization.

Eabha is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. She is doing a lot more signs, and using them a lot more often. She has been very intrigued with the new kitten and has pointed out that it has "TOES".

Hope you all have a good couple of days, I'll try to get some pictures of the crazy weather we have been getting lately.

P.S The pictures of Eabha with chocolate on her face sort of look like she ate a lot. In actuality, what you see on her face is pretty much all she got.

May The Force Be With You

John D, Emily, Eabha and Happy Birthday Rowan!!

The Aloe plant has begun to bloom in the backyard... Posted by Hello

Vacume.. Posted by Hello

Taking a minute to relax.. Posted by Hello

Into the rainy season.. Posted by Hello

Emily in Myer's Park.. Posted by Hello

Auckland Sky Tower.. Posted by Hello

Suspicious Grin.. Posted by Hello

Big smile.. Posted by Hello

What do you say Eabha? Posted by Hello

yay for chocolate.. Posted by Hello

And yay for chocolate mess.. Posted by Hello

See You Later.. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Hello Class..

Sorry it has taken so long since the last post but we have been unbelievable busy. We have all contracted and recovered from a nasty set of colds. Emily had not been so sick in several years.

I introduced the movie "The Fourth World War" at the New Zealand Human Rights Festival. I co-facilitated a lively and constructive discussion afterwards. I almost burst out laughing on stage when I was introduced as a "world renowned human rights advocate". Human Rights Advocate, I like to think of myself as; World renowned was too much though. People really liked the movie and discussion, and I would recommend ordering it, and watching it, to anyone. I'll put what I said at the beginning of the film at the end of the post, just to get you interested in the movie.

The placement has kept me very, very busy. I have been facilitating a unit on Nazi Germany for a year (grade) 10 Social Studies class. We had a class on methods of social control (propaganda, coercion and censorship). We talked about newspapers and election campaigns as propaganda, highschools as coercive institutions, and a school webfilter that blocks an anarchist website We learned about how a highschool group "Youth Action" has taken the webfilter software company and the ministry of education to the Human Rights commission over the censorship. We found out this morning, that their campaign has been successful and anarchist websites can now be viewed using the school terminals. In our class on the Police State, we looked at how the WTO demonstrations in Seattle were handled by police.

In my year nine Social Studies class, I am facilitating part of a unit on the Legal System. For our unit on police, we will be learning about knowing our rights.

For my year 11 Health Education class, in our unit on how society effects sexuality, we will be looking at gender norms and what we can do to erase them.

I am getting great feedback from my associate teachers, and look forward to my observations by professors next week.

Emily has begun to work on one of the new canvases she got for Mother's Day, it looks really good so far and I'm excited to see the end result. We keep forgetting to take a picture of Ruth's tattoo, after Emily finished it off with a second session. It looked perfect, nothing else to add. It was an exact and permanent replica of the original, on Ruth's back.

Eabha can say a lot of words now, and she uses them with tactical precision. Eabha is also putting words together like: "what's this?" and "1,2,3". Eabha knows a lot more signs, about 10 signs in total; she understands them and uses them when she needs to. She climbed her first staircase three days ago, and now is an expert. Eabha has also taken to putting hats on; not just the time we took these photos, but on several occasions with many different hats.

Our flatmates (that's upsidedown for "roommates") have (temporarily?) adopted a kitten they found in the wheel-well of a car parked in front of our house. The children next door had been told (and told us) that the kitten was a ghost, which gives you the idea of what the chances are for a stay cat in Auckland. It is about 6 weeks old +/- and is all black with blacker stripes (Morgan's Dream Kat). We'll keep you posted on that situation as it develops.

I had better go but enjoy the links and the pics and keep the mail coming..

John D

Here's that speech:

Fourth World War

The Fourth World War is an excellent addition to the Human Rights Film festival. The Fourth World War depicts the social justice struggles in Chiapas Mexico, in Quebec City-Canada, in Argentina, in South Africa, in Palestine, in Genoa-Italy, and beyond. This deliciously seditious movie, has articulated the interconnectedness of oppressions; and the struggles against them.

Truly, there is a global movement afoot.

Globalization is the phenomenon whereby our world becomes effectively smaller through technology. The poetic cinematography of “Fourth World War” narrates the Anti-Capitalist Globalization Movement as a reaction to the detrimental effects of an economy that exploits human and non-human resources.

While we in the First World have the privilege of asking for moderate concessions and reforms, those in the Third World are forced to say: “Ya Basta”, “Enough”.

The Anti-Capitalist Globalization Movement is motivated by the knowledge, that another world is possible. Where an economy of competition and predation, is replaced with a social contract, based on co-operation and mutual aid; where centralized state control is transferred back, to local communities.

I was asked to introduce the “Fourth World War” because I have some personal connections to this video.

More importantly however, I am connected to more than one of the struggles depicted in this film. I feel connected to Palestine, where two very close friends have been, and are returning to do freelance photography and reporting, and operate a website I feel connected to Chiapas Mexico, where a friend founded an organization called Students Taking Action in Chiapas. The Zapatistas live there, who had to take up arms against the Mexican state in 1994 because of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). I feel connected to the demonstrations in Quebec City against the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas); a hemispheric extension of NAFTA and the struggles against it. I organized for 8 months for this demonstration and was part of the group that brought the fence down, and more importantly; was part of the group that brought forth a message, that we would confront their neo-liberal agenda with our “Carnival against Capitalism”. (Look for the bagpiper; he was in my affinity group)

My real connection to this movie however, is the genuine feeling of solidarity I feel towards all those who struggle for social justice. We, as citizens of the First World have a tremendous amount of privilege. Che Guevara once said “I envy you Westerners most of all, for you are fighting in the belly of the beast”. This means more than just recycling; more than just dropping a ballot in a box once every three years; more than just taking to the streets. What I mean is eating, speaking and acting, to win free and equal communities for all of us.

We are all in this together, so remember: El Pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido. The people, united, will never be defeated!

Enjoy the movie; I’ll see you in the streets!

Mamma's favorite picture.. Posted by Hello

Eabha tackles her first staircase.. Posted by Hello

and up.. Posted by Hello

and up.. Posted by Hello

and up.. Posted by Hello

Approaching the first landing, Eabha prepares to leave her Shirpa.. Posted by Hello

Rounding the corner.. Posted by Hello

Sneaky one-eye.. Posted by Hello

Mamma's right behind, better keep going.. Posted by Hello

Eabha reaches the summit of Mt. Stairwell.. Posted by Hello

No need to stop, when you're at the top.. Posted by Hello

They introduced me as an "internationally renouned human rights advocate"...I should get them to write my resume.. Posted by Hello