Monday, May 28, 2007


Standing in the doorway...

As the sunrise greets the morning

Searching for our future

We can't find our way back home...


lyrics from "Haunted"
The Moody Blues

Sunday, May 27, 2007



Video Description

I wrote this while in a state of sleep deprivation in Beirut, Lebanon,
in early September, 2005, and I recorded it at the studios of Amwaj Radio
91.5 in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine.
-David Rovics

Everybody knew that it could happen
The likelihood was clear
The future was now it's here
They had to fix the levees
Because otherwise they'd break
On one side was the city
Above it was the lake
It was in the daily papers
In bold letters was the writ
What would happen
When the Big One hit
But every year they cut the funding
Just a little more
So they could give it to the Army
To fight their oil war

In National Geographic
And the Times-Picayune
They forecast the apocalypse
Said it was coming soon
Preparations must be made, they said
Now is the time
It was years ago they shouted
Inaction was a crime
They said the dikes must be improved
And the wetlands must be saved
But Washington decided
Instead they should be paved
Because malls were more important
Than peoples' lives
So put some gold dust in your eyes
And hope no storm arrives

New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans

Years and years of warning
No evacuation plan
It was just if the waters rose
Just get out if you can
There were no buses
No one chartered any trains
There was no plan to rescue
All of those who would remain
All the people with no money
All the people with no wheels
All of those who didn't hotwire
One that they could steal
Thousands and thousands of people
Abandoned by the state
Abandoned by their country
Just left to meet their fate

New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans

And the people died
And then they died some more
They drowned inside their attics
An army of the poor
An army of the destitute
Who couldn't get away
And the world will remember
These sad and awful days
When people shouted from their houses
Dying on their roofs
When people came to find them
They were turned back by the troops
They died there with no water
They died there in the heat
They were shot down by the soldiers
For trying to find some food to eat

New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans

And now the city is in ruins
A massive toxic sea
Scattered through the nation
Half a million refugees
Here we are
In the richest country on the earth
Where the color of your skin
Determines what your life is worth
Where oil is the king
Where global warming is ignored
Where the very end of life
Is the place we're heading toward
Where it's more than just a metaphor
The flooding of the dike
And if we don't stop this madness
The whole planet will be like

New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans

A note from David Rovics:

You will find the song at the top of the "MP3 MUSIC" section of
along with everything else I've recorded since 1998. As with all of my music, lyrics, etc., feel free to use it for any purpose and spread the word about the song if you're so inclined!

Friday, May 25, 2007


Would it be okay with you for your family, your children, your parents,
your friends, to live in this neighborhood?

In the midst of poverty and blight, signs of compassion exists...

This house is to the left, next door to the above collapsed building. Their are people - meaningful - real - important in the fact that they are our brothers and sisters living here - and in so many other places in this country, on this planet - living, existing in this level of poverty.

When... How... did this become okay with us?

In Peace.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I watched a teenage boy in a school yard beat his head upon a brick wall yesterday. I couldn't get to him - there was an iron fence and security guards - and before I was able to pull over and get out of the car, he stopped.

I watched a man sitting at a bus stop with empty beer cans around him, shouting out angrily, expelling his pains and his demons into the air around him and yet, still a prisoner.

I made eye contact with a homeless woman on the streets, and for an instant her guard was let down and our hearts met and we knew each other, and then in the next instant, she was gone.

I see the poor and homeless daily around me suffering, doing their best to survive in horrid conditions and my heart weeps with grief as I can't reach them...

Since being in New Orleans I have been a witness to the suffering of so many broken human beings. Even the strongest amongst them are being tested and pushed to limits that are unendurable, terrifying, and immensely stressful at best.

Sadly for many of them, there are no social workers, no psychologist to help heal the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, no spiritual healers, no lovers of mankind, filling their streets, which for all intents and purposes, look like living graveyards.

Their suffering is not hidden, it is not unknown - for it is in plain sight for all who have the eyes to see - to see. Those who can help, are stretched to their limits, giving as much as they can, when they can.

What keeps the people of the heart - the Black Americans who live in the 9th Ward, Algiers, Mid-City, 7th Ward, Eastern New Orleans, and other parts of the city where there is incredible blight and poverty - in their hearts - I believe, is their dignity, strength, and willingness to trust, even when they have been repeatedly betrayed and cheated. This Black American community of the American South, whom my soul has come to 'know' as the people of the heart, have known horrors we cannot even begin to imagine. They are a people who must continue to deal with overt and covert racism everyday. They are a people who are being denied the help they need by corruption and misuse of funds.

The people of the heart, yes, these are the people that make New Orleans - uniquely New Orleans. They show up - in the moment - through gestures of respect and kindness - through saying hello to the stranger and waving from their porches and stoops as your drive through their neighborhoods...

The people of the heart - they have so much to give to us as a nation. If only we could see them.

In Peace.

Monday, May 21, 2007


It was a difficult moral and ethical decision for me to take this picture of my suffering brother. In the end, it was the powerful intuition and messages from my heart - my soul - which led me to turn my car around and do what I was being guided to do. Take this picture of my brothers suffering.

You see, I felt as if, and I was, invading his privacy. If you have noticed, except for in billboards, the pictures I share with you do not have people in them. Partly this is because there is a haunting emptiness in the abandoned houses and deserted streets that seems to be a part of what I am documenting. Partly, because the suffering of those I meet is so intense, that my heart strives to do whatever I can to help them maintain their dignity - and somehow for me, showing pictures of people suffering, seems (I don't know, I don't have the words - it is a feeling within me) that says, and I know this is a 'judgement' type of word - but it feels somehow "wrong". And so far in my work on this blog, it has not been necessary.

When I saw my brother sleeping Sunday morning,with the blanket over his head, I knew that I could share his suffering and help him to maintain his anonymity and dignity.

His suffering is like the suffering of millions of our brothers and sisters on this planet. Look at his feet, they are wrapped in linen, our brother has no shoes. Then there is the beer can beside him, his 'escape' from his reality - perhaps it has played some role in his 'reality'. Then there is his blanket - the only protection he has from our eyes, the sun, from the cars speeding by him, - from the inhumanity of our indifference to his poverty and suffering.

Prayers for the suffering...


How difficult it has been for my heart, as circumstances have created an inability to write for a week at least...

Writing on this blog helps me to process and share with you, dear readers, the suffering I encounter. I feel as if a circle of love is created - beginning with my meeting those souls that seem to call out to me, even though my mind isn't even aware of why I might be in a certain situation; then with my finding out about the suffering the individual is encountering. The next step in this process organically evolves, at times it may involve my asking for guidance, most times there is no need, for guidance is given to my heart almost immediately and it is only for my mind to interpret what is being asked for and how I am to serve in the situation - or in some cases not to serve. If "doing" is called for, I might be spending days running people to social services, helping them to get their medications and get to their doctors appointments. I can be found filling up the station wagon with belongings for those who need to move or bringing someone who is homeless a packet of tobacco. More often than not lately, I can be found writing e-mails, making phone calls, listening and helping to process, or even meeting wonderful people like Sarah and Stu, who are with Plenty International, who are helping some of the elderly I meet with funds and volunteers to help them rebuild.

The last part of the circle - the part that links the beginning with the end, is the writing of this blog and the sharing "with" you, dear readers, what is happening here.

For me, when I write and you read, I believe a connection occurs between all of us. This connection might be a heart connection, a consciousness connection or for some, a prayer or meditative oriented connection.

It is this connection, which can, "in time", if we choose - bring about the cessation of the separation between each other, at whatever level we are able to participate. Most of all, I believe it can bring about the "new history whose pages are beginning to be written".

In Peace.

On Suffering and Compassion:

"The experience of woundedness has been a part of the history of souls on earth. The experience of wholeness is the 'new' history, whose pages are beginning to be written

Julie Redstone

Tuesday, May 15, 2007





Throw away your gun

Throw away your knife

Let us all unite

Everyone is living in fear

it's a Ballistic Affair...

(Ballistic Affair - Leroy Smart)


כִּי-יָדַע שְׁמִי.
14 'Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.

טו יִקְרָאֵנִי, וְאֶעֱנֵהוּ--עִמּוֹ-אָנֹכִי בְצָרָה; אֲחַלְּצֵהוּ, וַאֲכַבְּדֵהוּ.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honour.

Psalm 91

Thursday, May 10, 2007


"...Until the philosophy which holds one race superior

and another inferior

is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned:

That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation;

That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance
than the color of his eyes;

That until the basic human
rights are equally guaranteed

to all without regard to race;

That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship

and the rule of international morality

will remain a fleeting illusion

to be pursued but never attained;

Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest;

have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;

Until all Africans (and Amercian Blacks) stand
and speak as free beings,

equal in the eyes of all men,

as they are in the eyes of Heaven we know that we shall win,

as we are confident in the victory of good over evil."
– Haile Selassie I

In his speech to the U.N., Selassie reminded his listeners that these are only words
their value depends wholly on our will to observe and honour them
and give them content and meaning.

To see all of the magnificent folkart found on Claiborne St. in New Orleans: