Thursday, October 29, 2015

Support Rabbis for Human Rights

Support the wonderful work of Rabbis for Human Rights. Here's a little of the human rights work and social improvement for all people that RHR does:

"The planting of approximately 3,000 olive trees every year in areas in danger of takeover, or where [Israeli] settlers have previously cut, uprooted or burned trees.

"Coordination with approximately 50 Palestinian villages in the West Bank during the annual olive harvest has ensured over the last ten years the rights of thousands of farmers to plant, harvest and prune their olive trees in areas at-risk for settler orchestrated attacks."

"Our public housing advocacy program in Beit Shean was voted one of the two outstanding projects of the year (out of 130 competing projects) by the Jezreel Valley College in 2012.

RHR members stand with and help Palestinian olive farmers:

"On Friday October 23 2015, Rabbi Ascherman was attacked
by [a Jewish] extremist armed
with a knife
near the outposts of the Itamar settlement
[an illegal Israeli settlement in the center of Palestine]."

"Palestinians and RHR staff then spotted Israelis stealing from the very same olive grove
and they informed the security forces.
The DCO (Army liason unit that coordinates
the harvest) soon arrived and took ID information
from the thieves."

"In a nearby wadi, other Israelis set Palestinian olive trees on fire."

"Because the security forces didn’t answer, Rabbi Arik Ascherman
went up to try to film the fire and the perpetrators."

"While focused on the Israelis still far away, he failed to notice an additional masked Israeli who surprised him from the side.
He began throwing rocks at Rabbi Ascherman, and threatened him with a knife."

"Rabbi Ascherman tried to back away, while facing his attacker and trying to protect a journalist who had come up with him."

"However, the attacker was kicking him and swinging the knife at Rabbi Ascherman as he was backing down the steep hill."

"Rabbi Ascherman lost his balance. Realizing that the attacker could at that point easily crush his skull with a rock or stab
him, Rabbi Ascherman decided that he had no choice
but to grab the leg of his attacker."

"At that point, the attacker positioned himself on Rabbi Ascherman’s back, and could have easily stabbed him. He chose not to do so, and instead ran away.
Rabbi Ascherman said that he and a number of activists who had come remained on the hill so that the Israelis would also stay, and the security forces would have a chance to apprehend them."

"However, the security forces didn’t arrive until after a army jeep arrived below, causing the Israelis to run away."

To read more about Rabbis for Human Rights, please url on over to RHR's website:

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Abortion and Immigration: A Different Quakerly Take

First, look at and reflect on two situations (If you already know a lot about the controversies and dislike poems, skip half way down to the Take):

El Paso

The chubby woman in a blue Pontiac
Jerked up alongside our country's curb
Where members of a silent vigil stepped
Placarding decision avenue.

One protestor crossed our line,
To ask her what she needed.
Bordering near to hysterical, she yelled,
"You're wrong!" her face taut and
Yanked back from the cleft.

With drowning eyes, she shouted,
"I wish I'd never been born."
So much for 'boarders'
And backwards wet with rivers.

Then she jammed her shift into gear
And sped away, not even glancing
At the clambered wall or
At her remaining child
Ensconced next to her,
Missing her seatbelt.

-First pub. in Unlikely Stories


A poem created from New York's news, from the persona of a girl, lost but then...

The Daughter's Return

Behind the Purple People Eater
Down on the Lower East Side
From the Garden, I smoked
And tried to calm myself.

Turning and turning and turning...

A high school female so mature
For my age, I had used a false I.D.
And entered the rock club
With several gal friends.

Turning and turning and turning...

I looked at chipped nail polish
on my thumb and flicked ashes
Down to the icy pavement,
Disappearing into

Turning and turning and turning...

The grimy snow shoved
Against the brick building by some
Janitor. Ice glistened from a blue
Light above the club's alley door.

Turning and turning and turning...

I clenched up--another painful after
Contraction, and hugged my loose skirt,
Aching and still disoriented
From earlier when I had washed

Turning and turning and turning...

Off the blood in the small porcelain
Sink in the empty lady's room,
After disposing of my underwear
And my wet jacket, I had sat on

Turning and turning and turning...

Leaning against the beige stall
Shoving and shoving.
But now I flicked the butt
In the snow and pushed past

Turning and turning and turning...

The squat cook in the tiny kitchenette
And through the girls' door again,
Leaned into the mirror on the wall
And applied heavy shadow

Turning and turning and turning...

Around my wandering eyes,
Straightened my skimpy skirt,
Stared in the mirror for more
Moments, then undid another

Turning and turning and turning...

Button on my navy blue blouse.
I sprayed a dash of Estee Lauder
On my sweated body and shoved
Through the door but thought of--

Turning and turning and turning...

Baby of mine, now hidden,
Stashed in the Giants' jacket
Shoved far down in back
In the trash dumpster.

Turning and turning and turning...

I blinked, clinched my fingers,
But licked my lips and then sauntered
Back into the darkened club
Where gyrating flesh

Turning and turning and turning...

Channeled the crashing drums,
And I scanned the sensed mesh
Of moving flashed skin
Prodding for a night man.

Turning and turning and turning...

That's when I slumped down
Collapsing to the floor
Only to wake later
Turning in...
The Hospice of the Virgin.

-First pub. in Word Riot

Usually, when people discuss or debate the topics of anti-abortion versus pro-abortion and anti-immigration versus pro-immigration, the huge emphasis is on religion, politics, science and economics and the opposition. Which is okay; actually not because it becomes so ideological.

Those long complex contrary explanations and debates are understandable. But given how much insufferable heat and harm they cause, and how little light gets shown (now and in the past), it seems unlikely they have really helped women, infants, poor Americans and immigrants.

Consider a different perspective, A DIFFERENT TAKE:

How about all of us humans look at abortion and anti-immigration from the standpoint of Friendly ethical truths--generosity, empathy, compassion, and non-violence?

Would this not be a discussion changer?

No longer would these two scalding potatoes be divisive, all about “OUR” rights (mothers who want to abort and Americans who want to keep immigrants out) versus the needs of others (unwanted fetuses and illegal immigrants).

Nor would scientific facts or economic factors or theological claims have much of a show.

Let’s skip the much debated argument about whether a human at conception has a “soul.”

Let’s also skip the economic/political belief whether or not an invisible border between countries is real. Often, of course, nationalists make it visible with a high wall or security fence. Check out the U.S. El Paso border with Cuidad Juarez, Mexico or Israel's with Palestine.

How would a generous person, a compassionate person, a non-violent person deal with the unwanted fetus and the suffering mom, the unwanted illegal alien and the suffering out-of-work American who worries others (from elsewhere) will take away his job?

And don’t speak of murdering pre-born infants. Many of the aborted are barely out of the cell stage. According to Planned Parenthood, "64.5 percent take place within the first eight weeks" of pregnancy.

10 weeks

On the other hand, pregnancies aren’t “unwanted tissue” like some pro-abortionists claim. Brain waves start in about the 6th week. By 7 weeks, it will be able to open and close its fist and already can grasp an object! Sucking the thumb has been documented at about 7 weeks, too. She/he will soon be squinting, frowning, and grimacing with his/her face.

Again, think about my central point:

How about we look at abortion by a pregnant woman from the perspective of generosity, empathy, compassion, and non-violence?

How about we stop using pregnancy as a political football and return the controversial topic to the doctor and the pregnant woman?

How about we look at immigration from the standpoint of generosity, empathy, compassion, non-violence?

Would this be a discussion changer?

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting Conched: Friendly Dining

We recently returned from our vacation along the Florida coast, from Jacksonville to Pensacola. We traveled there to discover lighthouses and historical sites


One of the best parts was very delicious, scrumptious food.
Yes, I know those two words mean about the same, but the connotative “feel” of delicious versus scrumptious is so different. Besides, those amazing meals deserve a bit of hyperbole.
(Also wouldn’t you rather hear a few detailed descriptions of fine cuisine
rather than a long-winded account of my various discussions with park
rangers over historical events in the 1800’s?)

So--for all of you Quakers headed down South for the winter—all you aging snow birds, aching your way into the land of orange sunshine;-) Or maybe you’re young and have been supremely blessed (except during hurricanes) to live as a flatlander down on that psalmed, palmed peninsula. :-)

Here’s a Friendly Dining Guide:

Number #1, numero uno in Cuban, a real kicker of an Oscar award for fine dining goes to—
The Conch House! in Saint Augustine, Florida.

While she had amazing
Cancun Chicken,

I started with--
Seafood Chowder–

fried potatoes,
shrimp, crab in a mouthwatering
chowder with a strong ‘wake-up’
your mouth black pepper sauce;
The Conch House’s own special

Forget about New England
Clam Chowder (as great as
that is). I swear this is
the best I’ve dug a spoon
into in my life.

Then, since we were down South,
I ordered Shrimp & Grits.

While not equal to the chowder, this was yummy, with lots of shrimp, another amazing sauce, and a huge serving which lasted me two meals. Very economical!

Note that I already had gobbled up the Conch Chowder even before we could get a picture.

Also, note the Saint Augustine lighthouse in the background of our Conch Chickee hut on stilts. (The Chickee hut refers to a type of small house construction on stilts by the Florida Seminole Indians in the 1800's when they were attacked and hid out in the Florida Everglades. See below.)

And the Conch House's ambiance, great service, and setting near the marina in elevated individual huts made this the sort of place I would like to eat at weekly (only there’s a slight problem of travel;-)

But how does dining out fit with Quaker Testimonies such as Simplicity?

When we can dine out as cheaply (sometimes more cheaply) than eating at home, and we have the pleasant opportunity of interacting with waiters and supporting their hard work with generous tips, plus letting the cooks know how much we loved their cooking, etc., I think dining out--in moderation--fits well with simplicity.

Simplicity isn't meant to be a hair-shirt (try eating that;-) an ascetic practice emphasizing denial, as if there is something wrong with the enjoyment of taste. On the contrary, the testimony's central point is to live joyfully and equally with other humans in all that we do. To NOT focus on personal accumulation, the misuse of natural resources, or the unfair and unjust treatment of others, especially in service careers such as cooks, food workers, farmers, and so forth.

Be sure to check out Friend and culinary editor Shaun Chavis' article, "Applying Quaker Thought to Food" on the web at

And the "mini book review: in defense of food" by Quaker Cherice Bock

From the website:
“The Conch House Marina Resort is owned and operated by the Ponce Family. With a history as rich and intriguing as the Oldest City itself, the Ponces have lived here over 400 years making the family a landmark in the St. Augustine area. Jimmy Sr. and Jackie Ponce first opened the resort, back in 1946 as a 4-unit motel…The lounge, fashioned after the Capo Bath House was built 300 feet out over the water with fine crafted woods and nautical antiques.

The Conch House quickly became a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike serving a multitude of tropical drinks…in 1980 they opened a small restaurant specializing in fresh steamed seafood. So, once again the brothers were designing and building. The restaurant roof was built from palm fronds and cypress logs by Seminole Indians from the Everglades.”

In the deLightful Cuisine;-)

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Corny Quaker Humor: Part #4

"Are you a member of that new high-falutin religion?"


You know, Hyphen-ate, the newest religion?"

"What in heaven's name is a Hyphenate?"

"You know, I keep hearing about them. They all emphasize hyphens like no get out. You know ---Buddhist-Friends, Jewish-Friends, Episcopal-Friends, Mormon-Friends, JW-Friends, Wall-Street-Friends...

So I just wondered."

"Oh, yeah; just remember a little dash never hurt anybody."


Two Quaker honeymooners on Tybee Island stood watching two terns pacing the beach.

The young woman asked, “Why are there two birds on the beach?”

Her finance said, “Because one good turn deserves another.”


Heard about the Friends meeting which had plenty of committees but no members or attenders?


Your Friendly Nebraska Cornhusker:
Glancing out the window at their ripening fields, May whispered, “Look at those vibrant rows of corn you’re growing. You’re an amazing farmer, George!”

“Ah shucks, thanks honey. You’re rather foxy, too.”

“And, do you know what else?”

He turned toward her, “I’m all ears.”

“George,” she whispered in her husky voice.

And he planted a kiss on Maize’ luscious lips.


As for meticulous honesty:
A Friend was taking a daily stroll along a Pennsylvania fence row with his best friend when he saw a large cow with an unusually vivid brown hide. “Look at the brown Moo’er, such rich texture!”

The less artistic Friend said, “I don’t know if we can call it a brown cow; I’ve not seen its other side.”


“So you see, darlins’,” the Quaker grandfather said to his grandchildren ensconced next to him on their porch swing, “my great-grandfather was a Quaker ship captain. He even once encountered a pirate ship west of Hispaniola in the Caribbean.”

“What happened?!” asked the oldest as he squirmed closer on the swing next to his sleeping little brother.

“Let me tell you that tale or the one about the whale…But first do you know how to tell a genuine pirate from a fake?


The real pirate had real gold, but the fake pirate…pyrite, only had fool's gold.”


“Heard about the pirate who liked pumpkin pie?”

“Nope, but how does the pie rate?”


"Why do Quakers spend so much time with cereals?"

"I didn't know they watched TV."


“Did you know that the Friend John Woolman was not only a vibrant abolitionist, but that he earned his living as a tailor?”

“You usually give me too many such yarns. But seams to me, I do recall that historical tact.”

“And you could say, he spoke so much against slavery that he was stitching together
words in voice patterns,
needled points jabbing his listeners.”

“Sew right! He really was concerned with every peace of fabric.”

“Just a darning minute! You’re getting corny, too. Better quilt while you’re ahead.”


“A young adult Friend over at Foothill Yearly Meeting went to see his podiatrist to get his feet heeled. That was his sole concern,” said the Virginian waiting for his herb tea.

The older Quaker next to him asked, “Are you toe-tally sure? Seems like he was faithfully at worship every First day since he was a kid—I’ve known him that long--always wearing those blue Keds."

A waitress brought the first Friend his tea and the man sipped his hot brew. “No, but that young Friend had been standing a lot, working too much at the Fallen Arches, yah know. Quite a feet actually, besides attending Florida State. Do you know he had a chance to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?”

“You’re flat wrong,” responded the middle-aged talker. “It was because of going to that new-'fungled' gym. Those workouts gave him athlete’s foot.”

“Well, I think you are being rather callus about the whole blistered thing! Would you want to foot the bill?”

“Oh, walk the talk or forget about it."


The young person in First Day class asked his Quaker teacher, “Why didn’t early Quakers
listen to music and play instruments?”

The teacher thought for a a moment, then said, “Because they were against “saks and violins” which usually go with music.”

"Why don't Quakers allow shakers into their houses?"

"You're confused about religious history. Shakers were different."

"Weren't they both against assault and pepper-spray?"


A marriage license is just a learning permit.

If that is so what is parking?

Oh, that's neck-and-neck, not the fast lane.


Seven days without compassion makes one weak.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Awake to Seek


Up and suit yourself,

Into the floundering pattern-mudded

Consciousness of this our finite skin---

Into a being 'berthed' bemused, beseemed morning

So like the proverbial hog, the typical sow of the round ring

Who as life's suitors are led about by their snouted 'knows;'

Beshrewed, besotted, bemired so we instinctively grunt,

Following our sensual, careening awareness

Or our dutiful grindstoned routine,

We press our life's suit 'til evening

Or wallow down

To our suited


by Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in Moria Poetry


in the time of Darkness

to commune with the Ultimately Real
in the midst of our utter loss
in the darkened night of alone
to contemplate despite a soon demise,
to live in the Infinite's silence
deafens our wayward heart and leaves
our confused mind bereft;
the Divine answers no pleas
our anguished request left--


to hope against midnight's despair
to trust in all that is blessedly Fair,
so Beautiful, Right, Good and Just
despite our world history of horror
for naught, and absurd;
we seek
a slight glimmer
of the billion-lighted
meaning shimmering briefly
in our finite reason and creative awareness,
before the cosmos spun into place,
eternally ever always


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

God: A Guide for the Perplexed by Keith Ward

Here's an intriguing interview with Keith Ward by Dale Tuggy about existence and philosophy, God and humans.

Dr. Ward is one of the most dynamic, lucid thinkers of this generation. He was,
before retirement, a professor at the University of Oxford, a fellow of the British
Academy, a philosopher, theologian,
and church leader.

Tuggy, a professor of philosophy at the State University
of New York, asks Keith Ward a number of controversial and deep questions.
There is no chatter or filler like in some podcasts.

Dr. Ward's book, God: A Guide for the Perplexed, is controversial, amazing, so deep, open in attitude, sprinkled with dry humor (a necessity when dealing with philosophy, religion, and politics), and a volume to read and re-read.

I disagree with some of Ward's views and am my self no longer of the Christian religion, but this interview is worth a listen:

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Zephaniah Kingsley Jr.--Former Quaker, Slave Trader, and Emanicpator

The Review of Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and the Atlantic World: Slave Trader, Plantation Owner, Emancipator
by Daniel L. Schafer
University Press of Florida,2013

Though the scholarly volume is fact-detailed heavy and therefore on the dry side in writing, it is one amazing historical study!

Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. greatly changed my view of the nature of slavery and slave ownership in the South. Also, it shows the dark side of the Society of Friends.

The book explains how incredibly diverse and contradictory the institution of slavery was. For Kingsley, unlike the Southern fire-eaters and other racists in the South and the North, wasn’t really racist in the usual sense, but acted more like his British forebears in that he emphasized class hierarchy.

Aerial view of Kingsley Plantation and Fort George Island.

According to Zephaniah Kingsley, slavery wasn’t about race but about commerce. Slavery was more like indentured servanthood.

It appears that despite his long engagement in the slave trade, Kingsley always held open the opportunity for his slaves to earn their freedom by saving and then buying themselves from him at half their net worth. Plus, he used a task system of work, so that his slaves had daily time when they finished a specific task to work on their own crops and earn money.

Furthermore, Kingsley was appalled by the racist rules and policies of the United States after it confiscated Florida from the Spanish after Americans invaded Northeast Florida in the infamous "Patriot War" beginning in 1810.

Originally, the American invaders had come south from Georgia to kidnap humans and take them back to Georgia to sell. But in the process they also caused all manner of havoc including burning plantations, killing, etc. Then they tried to lead a revolt against the Spanish Government. It took many years for Northeast Florida to recover.

As an American literature/history teacher for many years, I have read many volumes on and about slavery. In fact, I have an in depth background in the historical subject, know how complex and contradictory the institution was in relationship to various societies.

Yet Schafer's book surprised me in that it gives still another, different angle to the whole subject. In Zephaniah Kingsley we have a man of Thomas Jefferson's generation--the generation which took a dim view of the institution itself but however felt slavery was needed for the success of plantations. It would be many years before, gradually, Americans would dispense with the peculiar institution's benefits.

But Kingsley, despite his more humane form of slavery never condemned slavery itself, and was a slave owner all of his life until his death in 1843. On the other hand, Kingsley intermarried with African women, appeared to be proud of his life-long African common wife, Anna, and his bi-racial offspring.

He always publicly acknowledged Anna and their sons and daughters, freed them publicly, and provided for their future, willing them most of his estate.

It was an irony of history that Kingsley's youngest sister, a devout Christian, who after Kingsley death tried to break his will and confiscate all of the money from black Anna and the biracial children!

In contrast, during Kingsley's life, he encouraged the ecoomic advancement of his slaves and helped many of them, (before they earned their freedom), became highly skilled artisans and managers of plantations including his own.

Furthermore, in the 1830's Kingsley became very upset and worried when the U.S. Southern States passed racist legislation against intermarriage, etc. At that time, Kingsley bought a plantation in Haiti to provide a safe haven for Anna and their children, and other freed slaves. Haiti was the only place in the Western hemisphere where slavery was against the law.

Amazingly, Kingsley also worked with Northern abolitionists to provide Haiti as a destination for former slaves. The man was a complex mix of contradictions, but those contradictions were all about economic security for himself and his family. It appears he was seldom ideological, and almost always goal driven. What ever worked.

Below is the only known picture of a grandchild (the young woman in the red cape) of Zephaniah and Anna Kingsley. No portraits of the couple or their children exist. Probably, the portraits were destroyed in the wars and forced movements of the family.

Maria Perez Kingsley, great-granddaughter of Zephaniah and Anna Kingsley

Kingsley in his openness toward Africans and methods of gradual freeing of slaves is in stark contrast to the racist hypocrisy of Thomas Jefferson who while condemning slavery in the Declaration of Independence and in other writings, hid his own sexual relations with one of his slaves and never admitted fathering slave children.

Also, Jefferson not only profited from slave labor on his plantations and from the institution all of his life, he never officially freed almost any of his slaves, not even at his death. Most historians think Jefferson did free several biracial children fathered by him when they grew up.

Very differently, Zephaniah Kingsley began freeing some of his slaves as early as 1811. However, this good actions is contrasted by his active life as a slave trader and the fact, he still owned slaves at his death.

Despite his having grown up Quaker, a religion which began to oppose slavery by 1688, Kingsley became an active slave trader during the late 1780's shortly after all Quaker meetings totally banned slavery!

Even though the Society of Friends was originally founded on equality in about 1650, tragically, by 1681 to 1705, 70% of Quakers owned slaves! How that came about would make a powerful historical study.

A few Quakers began to speak out against slavery beginning in 1688. The Quaker business man, John Woolman, in the 1700's spent his entire life, even to the detriment of his clothing business opposing slavery among Friends. Finally, by 1756 only 10% of Quakers owned slaves.
Fischer, David Hackett Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America Oxford University Press (1989) p601

Quakers officially banned slavery in 1776. After that date no one could be a member of the Society of Friends and still own slaves. Yet it appears that, sometimes, Kingsley did attend Quaker worship meeting because he mentioned that he considered worship meeting as a good time to work on his business accounts in his mind!

As usual, even now, human leaders display so many moral contradictions and fall far short of what they ought to achieve and ought to do and ought to be.

As mentioned earlier, Kingsley looked on slavery as a economic necessity as did Anna, his African common wife, who herself became a slave owner. In this she and he carried on the practices of East Africa, where her people, the Wolof enslaved, were enslaved, and where they sold other Africans to European ships and to Arab slave traders.

For to Kingsley's slavery wasn’t a permanent social condition related to color like for most people of the United States, nor was it like the British who wouldn’t let the lower classes move up the economic/social scale.

This doesn't excuse him from the abhorrent practice, especially his engaging in the Middle Passage for many years, but it does show a very different outlook toward the institution.

Finally, Kingsley so opposed the racist views, laws, and behavior of the South in the 1830’s that he moved his family and children to Haiti to protect them from racism, intolerance, and re-enslavement.

Some good amidst the bad.

A good man, Kingsley wasn’t.

How can anyone be good and enslave humans from half way round the world on slave ships?

But he demonstrated a different attitude and different, less severe form of slavery.

Evidently his Quaker parents’ ethics had influenced him, or despite his obsession with obtaining wealth as a form of temporary security in this life, he still had a side of him that was somewhat sensitive and concerned with fairness.

It’s all so complicated.

What a book!
Evaluation: A

A book well worth reading not only for history, but to understand why ethics are so difficult for brilliant humans. Nothing is ever easy, certainly not seeking ethical truth.

If in doubt, just look at the ethical horror and political mess, that leaders of the U.S. Government, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, the Gulf States, Iran, etc. have gotten the human race into in the last 30 years.

Trillions of dollars wasted on slaughtering, destroying, political and religious maneuvering>

Zephaniah's immoral life, yet sometimes contradictory good sense, may help us see where we still make wrong choices about the Good, the True, and the Just.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, October 16, 2015

Raise Your Voice for Those Who Have No Voice

Raise your voice for those denied millions of humans around our unfair sphere whose brave innocent voices have been silenced by intolerance, threat, punishment, torture, imprisonment, execution...

Why? Because they have stood up for human rights, justice, compassion, and ethical truth.

Here is one case among millions. Do what you can for this imprisoned human being of conscience whose voice has been silenced.

Amnesty International's News Post:

Saudi Arabia: Release Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid (UA 102/14)


"Saudi Arabian human rights activist Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid, a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), has been sentenced to nine years in prison followed by a nine-year travel ban. He is a prisoner of conscience.

Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:
Calling on the authorities to release Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid immediately and unconditionally as he is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
Urging them to ensure that Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid’s sentence is quashed and his conviction overturned;
Urging them to ensure that he is provided with regular access to his family and any medical treatment he may require.

Support human rights with a donation to Amnesty today.
Sign Up
Get updates on Amnesty's work to protect human rights worldwide.

Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid, 53, founding member of the independent human rights organization ACPRA, and its first
president, was sentenced on 13 October to nine years in prison followed by a nine-year travel ban, and a fine of 50,000
Saudi Arabian riyals (about US$13,300) by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). He was convicted of offences including
incitement against public order and spreading chaos by taking part in drafting and publishing a statement that called for
demonstrations, disrespecting the judicial authorities and participating in setting up an unlicensed organization
(understood to be ACPRA).

Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid had been arrested on 17 April 2014 when he followed instructions he received by telephone to
go to the Criminal Investigation Department in Buraydah in the central province of al-Qassim. He went there, together with
his son, after the Asr prayer (afternoon prayer) and was immediately arrested. Days earlier, he and other activists had
signed a statement calling for the Minister of Interior to be put on trial “for his policy in suppressing public freedoms”. His
trial before the SCC started in early July 2014.

He was detained incommunicado at first, and was only allowed family visits after he went on a hunger strike in protest at
being unfairly detained. He has only been provided with intermittent treatment for his diabetes, for which he requires a
daily medical treatment. He is now detained in al-Qassim prison in Buraydah.

ACPRA was founded in 2009. Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid is the ninth of its founding members to be sent to prison since

Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:
 Calling on the authorities to release Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid immediately and unconditionally as he is a prisoner of
conscience detained solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
 Urging them to ensure that Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid’s sentence is quashed and his conviction overturned;
 Urging them to ensure that he is provided with regular access to his family and any medical treatment he may require.

King and Prime Minister
His Majesty Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior)
+966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
Twitter: @KingSalman
Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Interior
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin
Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Minister of Interior
Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box 2933,
Airport Road, Riyadh 11134 Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
President, Human Rights Commission
Bandar Mohammed Abdullah al-Aiban
Human Rights Commission
PO Box 58889, Riyadh 11515
King Fahd Road
Building No. 3, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 11 418 5101

Also send copies to:
Ambassador Adel A. Al-Jubeir, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20037"


Then join Blog Action Day.

Read about what other activists are doing around the world to move this sphere farther from fear and destruction and intolerance and closer to all that is good, true, and beautiful.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Be a Peacemaker Today. Reach Out to Syrians.

Please write President Obama and your senators to prioritize a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. Also, request the defunding of all Islamic rebels. Millions of dollars have gone to them which has only increased the bloodshed, killed civilians, and furthered the cause of Islamic jihad.

Then go to World Vision, or some other aid agency, and donate funds to help lessen the tragic circumstances of millions of Syrians. 11 million Syrians have been displaced! Millions are living in other countries as unwanted refugees.

If you have more time, please stop by Amnesty International's website and write a letter or email for prisoners of conscience.

Join us in this peace movement today.

In the Light,


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Drinking Cup of History

Lidded mugs have spared our rich carpet
And kept lush heat in from harsh worldly winter,
Unless left overly long, like church tradition;

So ancient the quaffed cup of alleged meaning

Then the reeking stew of liquid
Fermented unleashes a pandoric
Malodor from her fuming stein

So reeking the decaying cup of alleged meaning

For thirty years of warred chaos
In the lostness of the 17th century
Where a third of Germany death-rots

So cruel, the lying lipped rims of alleged meaning

Still the mugs of spiritual history—those
Faces of the Cross, the Tree, and the Way--
Move us to drink from that oldest of Grails,

So bountiful the precious true vessel of real loving

Rather than from this modern beaker
Of negation, this shot-glass of hemlock
Where meaningless secular fate is drunk,

So shallow the present subjective tumbler without meaning

And self-will froths forth wafted up
From our instinctive goblet of choice,
Millions turned blood-dried like dead wine;

So empty the ever filled shot-glass of me and mine

Lost drunks/drinks the ‘night’s’ quest except to reduce
All to a brain-celled data cup or chip;
Don’t swig, don’t guzzle this modern
‘Ail’ from your plastic Laughlin tumbler

So shattered, blasted the bottle-wasted lack of meaning

But imbibe the true wined spirits of living;
Drink from that invisible grail of the Divine,
Drink of essential water turned to festive wine,
Water-brimming chalice so joyously overflowing.

So everlastingly full the living mug of true meaning.

by Daniel Wilcox

First published in different form in
Wild Violet Literary Magazine