Friday, June 15, 2007

Darfur Train: The Journey of Tim Nonn

Dear Darfur activists,

Most of you may know or heard about Rev. Tim Nonn who stands as a strong figure within the United Churc of Christ in advocating to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Few years ago, he co-founded and initiated Dear Sudan coalition in Northern California.He was the key organizer of the importnat International Tribunal for Sudan that put Al-Bashir regime on trial in NYC in last Nov. Rev. Tim Nonn started a new initiative to raise awarness about the Darfur case in the ICC .

"From June 8 to July 16, I will journey by train across the United States to raise awareness about the case on Darfur at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague . This is the first time in history that a sitting government ( Sudan ) will be tried for crimes against humanity. International support for justice in Sudan is growing rapidly, and this is a critical hour in our struggle to strengthen hope for justice. Please see the train itinerary below, and let me know if I will be passing through your city. Unquote Here is the Train Schedulle:

Oakland, CA June 8

Portland, OR June 9-10

Seattle, WA June 10-11

Minneapolis, MN June 13-14

Milwaukee, WI June 15-16

Chicago, IL June 16

Cleveland, OH

Pittsfield, MA (see photo above)

Boston, MA

Hartford, CT

Norwalk, CT

New York, NY

Philadelphia, PA

Washington, DC

Greensboro, NC

Atlanta, GA

New Orleans, LA

San Antonio, TX

Tucson , AZ

Los Angeles, CA

Oakland, CA"

I invite you to visit his blog/website and give him support in this noble mission...


marilyn said...

Dear Tim,

Please feel free to use this piece for anything-post anywhere.


Last week, every morning at sunrise on a 3000 foot high immense plateau surrounded by mountains, I practiced my Chinese standing meditations and tai chi or bagua, during which one or another early riser, nature lover, or up-all-night ecstatic dancer would copy me doing the tai chi form. One time, as a tuxedoed guy in a top hat and whitish makeup was copying, a group of bikers rode past shouting, "Get the tai chi mimes!"

The three of us -- my tai chi sister, Francesca, filmmaker from Berkeley, Jane, artist from Calgary, and I -- pitched two tents, one for living in, and one for painting on, in the blazing heat and relentless dust at the site of Burning Man. The theme was Green this year, and most of our departure time was spent procuring eco-paint for the refugee tent. We brought plenty of water, for painting and drinking, but little food or clothing. Just as well, because we were covered with sweat, paint, dust and sand, all day, everyday, and way too hot to eat.

Our mission was to figure out how to paint on tent canvas with the eco-paint, and to promote the "Painted Village" project, in which artists paint refugee tents to raise awareness of the genocide at Darfur. We connected with lots of supportive people out there who want to paint their own tents and did whatever they could to help us with ours.

Once we got our tent partially erected, we realized we wouldn't be able to even reach the roof to paint on it. A sculptor named Miles figured out how we could paint the roof without scaffolding or ladders by staking it to the ground without raising it up onto the tent posts. (Thanks so much Miles!)

The generosity, trust and tolerance was incredible amongst that volume and variety of people.
At the outset of what erupted into a three hour, white-out sandstorm, I was welcomed onto what I thought was an art-car to tour the outlying, distant sculptures. It turned out to be a strip club on wheels with writhing, thonged, pastied girls humping with clitoral focus on poles in the front, oblivious to the two elder females huddling from the storm in back. A river of sand encrusted men flowed alongside, appearing and disappearing in and out of the the tides of white sand, a testimonial to testosterone.

The day after the prolonged white-out, giant raindrops pelted the hard-packed dust. As a brief desert rainstorm commingled with rays of sun, colors began to emerge from the blazing, blue sky. At the apex of this collaboration, a huge, shimmering double rainbow spanned half the sky. In unison, forty-thousand lovers of life and art stood awestruck gazing at the divine, radiant arches. As the sun took over, the giant upside-down smile of every color faded into a single spectral pillar and then dropped out of sight entirely, as if swallowed by the distant, pale mountain it sank behind. This day's rain-cleansed clarity devolved into a cool, clear night. Black clouds passed over the 3/4 moon, which made them momentarily visible by their white laced edges.

The natural phenomenon of that environment humbled and inspired us humans to rise to its level of creative emissions.

Every sunset, as the night rolled up from behind the circle of mountains, the night-stalking merriment and mayhem of the of the plateau, and its outlying regions came to life. People of all shapes, sizes, ages and genders, biking or walking and wearing nothing at all or just duck tape pasties, fairy wings, and tutus, and clowns with wigs and big shoes, and cowboys-girls, fur-legged satyrs on stilts, and giant eared jack rabbits ... all mysteriously drawn to the raucous goings-on around the center of the playa, where the Burning Man held temporal court awaiting immolation.

Forty-thousand plus happy campers shared their creativity, passion, humor with personalized living spaces and all manner of installations, services and put-ons. Getting lost in the dark recesses of sprawling concentric encampments ("Barbie Death Camp" with hundreds of Barbies dismembered and disarrayed, and "Get Your Yeast Infection Here Camp" with a lovely yeast bacteria worm cartoon invitational sign) revealed a generation of gender-free players on the time/space continuum of the playa in various stages of undress for a night of reckless abandon.

"The Playa," a close to heaven, flat expanse of dusty nothingness with a backdrop of mountains and sky was a momentary museum for sculptures and installations, which were designed to read both far and near, and not only withstand, but make use of extreme light, heat and wind. Knowing that our window of opportunity for viewing these treasures would end soon motivated us all to frantically bike in droves to a series of visionary monuments, some interactive, some to be viewed from close up, some better from afar, and a very few blown over and half buried in the sand.

Sundown closed the outdoor museum and nighttime on the playa became a fresh life-form, a giant throbbing circular strip of nightlife -- florescent colored squiggles of light, on people and their conveyances, moving across the plateau and shimmering in the distance.

The burn was for me far from meaningful or even a high point. For a painter, it seemed like a great way to avoid taking down work from a show that doesn't sell -- just burn it! But it did give the event a certain climax, and a reason for it to end, this utopian mirage in the desert that might only last for some till all the ice melted or the drinks ran out, but as for me, I could've lived there forever in my never-ending quest for inspiration and enlightenment.

Next year, we envision an entire painted village of refugee tents on the playa -- an oasis of wisdom and refuge, with a wise elder tent, a real African drum circle and a tai chi/qigong meditation group at sunrise for those who enjoy sleeping at night and copping a drug-free high.

love to all -- MC

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