think peace

“Town Boys” in Tamale

Posted in Contributers by Leza Raley-Labrador on July 9, 2009

IMG_1006I have just discovered that there is a system between the “Town Boys” in Tamale. As soon as a curious gringo shows up and openly invites conversation with any passer byer, all the Town Boys start communicating by cell phone to relay details about the new prospect in town…so hopefully one will be lucky enough to capture their heart, either in pity or in love.

The Town Boys are innocent in their mission to seek the attention of a pretty lady or friendly chap, hoping they will be the one to take them away from this place they have been born into, the place they fantasize of leaving with each monotonous day that passes. There is a great delusion about what lies outside the boundaries of these loyal communities that thrive on tradition, perseverance and kindness.

Every time I return I see these young boys, usually between ages 12 and 18, they seem more and more desperate, spending the little money they can steal or take from mothers who work relentlessly to feed many hungry mouths, on “cool-guy” sunglasses, cell phones with the “hip-shit” ring tones, and washed out blue jeans. (more…)


Living Life In Love And Honesty Is The Key To Peace In This World.

Posted in Contributers by Leza Raley-Labrador on July 5, 2009

misssabado logo

n1034513291_30026988_6922With someone like me who was raised with little means and resources, but an abundance of life and love, all I know is that.

It has been in my most recent years, however, that I have rediscovered the true meaning of life, love, and peace. I traveled all over the world in search of something. I had no idea what I was looking for, but in my plight I saw the most breath-taking sights, smelled morning glory, tasted rainbow, touched souls, and heard the most incredible song. It was within these moments that I realized pure bliss existed. I felt completely whole, infinitely loved, accepted, and at peace with myself.

My current project revolves around this basic concept. I started my website, with the idea to spread love, peace, and unity through connection with oneself first.

In this case, I focus on music. Music was my first true love, and to me, music embodies all these healing factors. I cannot even count the times when human words or interaction were unable to register in my head, but the sound of a melody or a deep connection with a special song was able to touch my heart no matter where I was in the world or how I was feeling. One love, one language. That’s what music is to me.laughter (more…)

A Journalist Beaten — One Year Later By Mohammed Omer

Posted in Contributers, News/Information by Leza Raley-Labrador on June 27, 2009

June 26, 2008 is a day I will never forget. For the events of that day irrevocably changed my life. That day I was detained, interrogated, strip searched, and tortured while attempting to return home from a European speaking tour, which culminated in independent American journalist Dahr Jamil and I sharing the Martha Gellhorn Journalism Prize in London — an award given to journalists who expose propaganda which often masks egregious human rights abuses.

I want to address the denials from Israel and the inaccurate reporting by a few journalists in addition to requesting state of Israel to acknowledge what it did to me, prosecute the members of the Shin Bet responsible for it and put in place procedures that protect other journalists from such treatment.

Since 2003, I’ve been the voice to the voiceless in the besieged Gaza Strip for a number of publications and news programs ranging from The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs to the BBC and, Morgenbladet in Norway as well as Democracy Now! These stories exposed a carefully-crafted fiction continuing control and exploitation of five-million people. Their impact, coupled with the reporting of others served to change public opinion in the United States and Europe concerning the dynamics of Israel and its occupation of Palestine .

After receiving the Martha Gellhorn prize I returned home through the Allenby Bridge Crossing in the Occupied West Bank between Jordan and Israel. It was here I was detained, interrogated, and tortured for several hours by Shin Bet and border officers. When it appeared I may be close to death an ambulance was called to transport me to a hospital. From that day my life has been a year of continued medical treatments, pain — and a search for justice.

Lisa Dvir from the Israeli Airport Authority (IAA), the agency responsible for controlling Israel’s borders in an June 29th article by Mel Frykberg for the Inter Press Service stated, “the IAA was neither aware of Omer’s journalist credentials nor of his coordination.” (more…)

Alita Watson and her mission to help aid African children, part 2

Posted in Contributers by Leza Raley-Labrador on June 23, 2009

We have driven almost four hours west of the capital city of Kampala, with a sweet and jolly fellow named Ben who is gracious enough to turn the ac on, and off, and on again as we pass through rain storms and sweltering sun. The countryside is stunning, with rolling hills of tea plantations and lush green acres where the farmers reside and grow plantains and sugarcane.

In a small town called Jinja we stop to meet a woman we have heard about who is teaching young women the art of paper beading, a unique and beautiful craft using only recycled paper. As we roam through the huts where these women sit together to string necklaces and bracelets, we notice an abnormal amount of twins and triplets that seem to move hand in hand everywhere they go.

A set of twins, no more than a year old, sit together on a stoop feeding each other wearing nothing but matching undies. Kim captures a photo of the chubby duo from behind and it is such a great shot that she quietly steps closer and continues snapping unsuspected. As the villagers watch her they become confused and almost distraught that she isn’t shooting the twins from the front. “You can’t see their faces, come this way, what are you doing!?” Not wanting to offend anyone by having more interest in their adorable little bottoms rather than their faces, she moved on; it is one of the best images she has captured yet. (more…)

Alita Watson and her mission to help aid African children, part 1

Posted in Contributers by Leza Raley-Labrador on June 22, 2009

Addis Ababa was like any other loud dirty city, and we weren’t there long enough to experience the magic of the land and people that I had heard so much about, due to the self-riotousness of a Minnesota-born plastic surgeon who had the nerve to ask us to pay him for the surgeries our organization provides free of charge, to the shunned and isolated children of this country that are living with cleft.

This brief meeting catapulted us out of Addis Ababa, and before he could retract his absurd behavior we were in Entebbe Uganda. Now we were in Africa! The Africa that I have come to know and love since I first came to this continent almost three years ago.

The customs officer, who stamped our chicken-scratched immigration cards, insisted that four days simply wasn’t enough to visit his beautiful country, and gave us a three-month extension. “WELCOME to Uganda!” He beamed. My heart immediately filled with an indescribable exhilaration that would pulse through me with each bright smile of the strangers I passed. (more…)