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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  December 28, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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.. on her memoir about the cofounder of the women's peace
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movement in liberia. her organization is credited with helping end the second liberian civil war in 2003 and removing charles taylor from tower to the power. ms. gbowee spoke at an event hosted by the los angeles public library last october to and she was awarded the nobel peace prize. >> i want to encourage all of you to buy this book. i'm -- she's not paying me to say that to you, but it really is quite an extraordinary journey. it is a memoir of liberia's descent into madness and your journey in it, through it and out of its. but for right now, let us journey together across the continent of north america, across the atlantic to the continent of africa and in particular to liberia. america in liberia have a particular relationship or particular history to get there. would you just speak to that
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briefly? >> thank you all for coming. i call her my therapist because this book was a therapy. liberia is that country that [inaudible] in 1822, and everything is like america. so you have a flood like the u.s. flag with one star, our constitution modeled like the u.s. constitution. we have three branches of government, like here. we call the house, parliamentarians, the the capitol. we do, like i said, have the
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supreme court with the chief justice just like here. everything. some of the streets are named after famous people here and famous cities. we have virginia and maryland and different places named after president james monroe. so we do have a rich history. and what liberian woman put it in a very live context. liberia, america's stepchild. yes. >> i'm always interested when there is the kind of strife that has been so long lasting liberia of the conditions that made that possible. would you speak to that, please? >> when they came to light. , the people like any other place when you have indigenous
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people where it is ironical that i am speaking about it here in california with the own history with the welcoming to give them their land, made them comfortable, and something that is typical of people, they don't know how to show gratitude. what has been to them on the plantation is against the indigenous people when they got a very powerful schools, we have everything that people have so far, 100 plus years indigenous people were thus leaves of the quote on quote since of the free speech. if i give a quick example. if you had a lastname like my last name and the same color white be and aspiring to go to
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the university, some of the free sleeve descent who didn't have children would tell you take my last name because that last name of yours is not a representation of people who should come to the university. sophos or the technical schools for children of indigenous people because they were preparing them for the life of service to children of the free slaves. >> throughout the book, your wonderful, wonderful book, you spoke time and again about year. and i want to read a very short one line sentence that is just so wonderful, and by quote when you move so quickly from innocence to a world of fear, pain and loss, it is as if the flesh of your heart and mind
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gets cut away piece by piece like slices taken off a ham. finally there is nothing left but bones. i would like to speak to that throughout the lens about this issue of fear through the lens of a woman and a mother in liberia. >> i will speak through that of eight lens as a child because i was a child when the war started, a 17-year-old teenager who had been protected by her community and her family. and you wake up one morning and it is all gone and you are free. the absence of your parents, your siblings, many come in and tell stories of order to become
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poorer. the fear is never ending. and i think that peace starts to go away. and then as it progresses, you pray that this madness would end. i will go to bed tomorrow and it will be okay and you wake up the next morning worse than the day before. a piece has been taken off. when you look at yourself from 17 like myself, i miss 31. beyond the fear of the war did you have the issue of violence and the things that you see so it's one thing after another, but that fear is something that pushes you backed to the cutback in to a space that is difficult to describe. so it takes hope. it takes courage, it takes a lot away from you day-by-day.
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most of the time people will read tehran people. that's what they want. gradually they are starting you of your strength, stripping you of your will power, of everything that would ever bring you to the place that you are able to fight back. is because a mother there were times when your children were hungry, they were exhausted. it's unimaginable with that must have been like for you. >> sometimes it's difficult to really put it into context. but to start by having children the fear has gone away. the fear of what would happen to be was gradually going away. it was the fear for their own lives and the lives of the children how to survive in the midst of all of these. and then you get to a place where you realize i don't have the power to protect these children because it is not in my power and then you go numb did
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you just sit there and you can't function and you can't do anything. but in my case i feel it is a difficult to even pray. >> that we have charles taylor who comes on the scene of milk 1989 and he has his own private army and one of the most egregious things that he does in my estimation is he does have boys ages nine to 15 who are given guns, they are talked about alcohol and drugs and commit a horrific atrocities. how, because a way they were a victim how have you had to work with yourself to find peace and forgiveness and reconciliation
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with these kids who have perpetrated such horrific crimes against women and children in particular. speed you would never really want to think about it. when they start thinking about reconciliation and peace and how to make life better for one another i you remember when i started working with the core of young boys in 1998. i would stand there even with insults on the. and say no wonder you have one leg. in my mind it is an anchor for me that i was at a place where it's like a porcupine and tested. it is better to swallow and greasy to chew away. i needed to go to school. this was the job for me.
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the was the requirement for me to go back to school. so it was bitter to swallow but was the greasy party could not chew away. so i would stay with them and listen to them. but you know, god has his way. as i engaged with these children , blease term the two men and you could readily get to see who these people are. children. they are still trapped even the 15, 20, 25. they are still trapped in that moment when they were first given that first drug or first dhaka. so you see the beast who still love their mother. you see children who even at the place de do not have children you see children in them. so when you get to know them, when i get to know them and get
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to see beyond all the macho things i feel sorry for them. because i'm looking at my kid brother. i'm looking at my nephew. i'm looking at my own children and the like looking at myself if seeing the art at the same place that i am. i am trapped as a 70-year-old even at 26 and they are trapped at ten, 12 come million-year-old boies, even at 18. you can't help but to want to reach out to them. you can't help because it tears down the wall of anger. today people in liberia cannot understand why i would start my car because i don't see killers,
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i see children that were exploited and abused. i see myself out of my own state after dramatization. >> you about that time i recall you started working as a volunteer for an organization trauma and heeling the reconciliation program. the cycle of fear to call in something if you what i would love for you to read from your own book, but you must give it back to me. [laughter] life and has already been signed by the way. this opening if you would. when you are depressed you get beside yourself and take the action that makes you feel better. you have yourself for that for
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cable makes you yourself, too. it makes you sad. this at this week's umar helpless it fills you with more self-paced. or to get the reconciliation program broke the circle for me something that actually helped people the more i did the more i could do. the more i wanted to do, the more that i thought needed to be done. >> and this was your introduction to being the peace builder. >> this was my introduction -- yes. >> and it was about this time and that you and the woman who was then your mentor would become a beloved friend you
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didn't teach women but he sought to transform them a hand in this there are wonderful exercises one of my crounse, one of life forms and shedding weight. he would be up much of the light hearing of the women's stories is there one story in particular that you recall that he would be willing to share with us there are many stories that made an impression on me but i'm one person who would have always thought that our traditional practices, female genital mutilation was not as bad as the word made out to be until we went to sierra leone and formed this circle. i knew this woman who had worked
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with me for many years, yet she is the pillar of strength for the community. and when we did this circle she decided to tell her story. and the story went back to herself as a seven-year-old girl being taken into the traditional society. as she tells the story about the day she was about to get mutilated but what i remember about that story was that it took her -- she started within 15 minutes she got to the place of the mutilation and that it to occur almost ten hours to progress from that place to the next part of the story. because it tells that they tied me and then she goes hmm and she
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would scream and ear piercing scream. when she sat she dug her feet and tunnels and the earth until she cut her feet, but she didn't know she was doing all of those things. people fall asleep. people woke up. people fell back asleep, and she struggled to struggled, a and by morning in the circling ziara lenone we had one person started she was the second. in the circle of 20 people she was the only story we heard the entire night. afterwards she fell asleep and it was like all day. she has now started her own organization in that community fighting off the harmful
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traditional practices to order issues related to human rights. but still today every time i see her, i still remember that you're piercing scream and her digging her toenails in the earth and fighting back the crime and the pain. she was in her 30s, but it was the pain, the weight from 30-years-old that she had been carrying all of her life. >> i have to tell you that story takes my breath away. thank you for telling us that. the second question i have to of this manual is used now currently under its places of the world >> people use it in different places and ways we don't know
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anything about i still make reference to it and i use a fly was their last week. like you said, it's very powerful tool when you get to do it and there is no category of women that you should use those crimes or tones. one of the other parts of the latter sometimes we try to tilt it is reaffirming yourself, being a woman, and yet we do different things like the catwalk. i remember working with all of these women who had experienced the war and asking them to stand up and describe themselves it was amazing. last year we did it with female ministers of liberia and asked them to stand up and just reaffirm that.
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i've never felt so good with taking the time to compliment myself. it is not about what spectrum of society you find yourself from the grassroots at a level looking for money that never starts to look at you and say very local. or one of the things i do to myself all the time is one side dress a little bit egotistic but i still do it is standing in front of the mirror and say "you look good." [laughter] [applause] so we try to teach our women to appreciate themselves.
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we brought 51 and together and asked them to write down their dreams, with the always dream about as a woman when it comes to duty and some of the women, one muslim will lead in the room said she had always wanted to wear a blue dress, a red hat, a red parachutes and make up. some of the women from the highly traditional backgrounds say they always wanted to wear a pair of jeans. some say they always wanted to go to a nightclub. so by the time we finished the session i was on the phone to every liberian woman i knew. do you have a red hat? [laughter] do you have a pair of jeans? do you have this, do you have that? by the next day we had a room
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full. those women got dressed and the first part of the dream was to take him to a nightclub. we walked in the nightclub and 50 women got a party going on. and we just came to have a good time. then the next day we did our fashion show and tell this muslim woman died of jericho. that was the photograph she carried a purse of coming down the stairs and a blue dress, red hat and nicely made up. she said before i got married i was called edith and then she got the muslim name. she said this photograph is truly edith. so these are some of the things. these women as simple as this may sound leave that space and they are never the same again when they go back into their
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communities. >> it's interesting than you would talk about of dream. those of us who are in ordained ministry talk about a call or calling to ministry by god or jesus our however we want to define that coming in you got a call in the crazy dream. would you talk about that? >> well, it was this might i lived by myself, and i would sleep on the cold floor. in the winter this is something you pick up because you are afraid to sleep on the street. so i lie there and i always hear this voice in my dream and i never see the face seeing get up, gather the women together to pray for peace. i would be cut shivering because the window is open and light rain was falling on me. i would go to work the next
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morning and say i had this dream. they say we should gather the women to pay for peace. but you know, the women talk about because my life and a relationship it can't believe you're talking about. so you need to identify those women who are living right. and then he said the dream their is the dream carrier. we prayed and that was the beginning of something called the christian peace initiative and then leader of the muslim women were inspired to start their group so that was the beginning of the entire protest that later started in 2003. >> that's right. and now i know the war is about 13 years in the making. and people were going in droves
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to be in the refugee camps and the refugee camps where hundreds, thousands of people. a lot of disease, a lot of malaria, people not being adequately. but yet you have said that it was seeing them and hearing of their experience in the refugee camps that you were baptized into the women's movement because they give you hope, they have lost so much. >> you go into a community where one of the women that i met from sierra leone who was a refugee at the time was breast-feeding her baby when they got to the checkpoint and the soldiers cut off that breast. they all had different forms of physical disability. but movies women were still
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saying we are the hope for our communities. we will go back and teach these children peace. and yes i am carrying my anger from years ago and making more mistakes even as i was angry and they ask the have you been raped, have you been abused? you know, why are you angry? and i asked myself that same question. why am i angry? i am being a hypocrite. going back to those within the would say to me we are the hope of our community. that was a moment of baptism for me. but sometimes you need water and sometimes you need fire to really open your eyes and i would rather do so from the words of those women. >> the was the beginning of the women's peace initiative. speed the was the beginning of my awareness. you know, they are right.
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we are the answer. the women's peace initiative started inviting us to ghana taking the concept, bringing it back and starting something. but the christian women were born before of the women's initiative. so when we came back from ghana with that idea we were already using the platform. so today from 2002 until today, every tuesday at 12:00 noon you find a christian woman in her room and they call the to the upper room from 2002 until today, 12:00 noon every tuesday. even if it is one person someone is they're paying for that piece of liberia and declared fast now. and the peace network is back praying for peace now as we
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speak. >> it was at this juncture that your work started becoming a strategic. >> more strategic, yes. >> what i felt so compelling is that as women and muslim christians are coming together you look to the book of esther and say something about that if you will. >> when we decided to protest, liberia like any other place even here had been divided on social lines status, ideological, everything. and you could not mobilize a group of people to work for peace because everyone in one community was a hero to his people. so it was difficult to get anyone so when we brought these women together the fact the
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first thing we had to do was move beyond religion, ethnicity, ideological or political ideologies and bring us to a place where it was about womanhood. who cries the most when a baby dies? who does this the most? who does that the most? who are the ones being raped? then they understood that part and then before we could even move into the you need the separate groups identities as christian women and the thing we were getting was women have developed in these things so we have to take the christian women back to the bible, si tester. these were revolutionary works that is the women did.
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they got out there and put their faces in the politics of the time. we went back into the koran of the life of the prophet mohammed. she had a voice. she was not silent. she was not docile. everyone is saying the muslim women are supposed to be and then there was the research i felt on the islamist perspective of nonviolence and the christian perspective of no violence that i exploited. [laughter] [applause] >> but it was that kind of thing that we used. so by the time when we decided to do this it had called on and then the women sat close and look at me on a normal day this is the way that we address.
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we continue to dress like this no one would take us seriously. nicely dressed and everything so we have to go back. we all recognize we have a role to play the violence of the communities are facing. the work for peace, the hertog was to cover the hair, no shoes, no jewelry, no makeup and god has a sense of humor and that time we discuss how did our time of prayer i had one of the funkiest bearcats. [laughter] in all of liberia. and i had to cover my hair. now i have to redo my hair. [laughter] that is how the christian women approach to and the muslim women just bought into. >> so there you are in your strategy is to gather at the
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fish market because that is where -- >> the went to work every day people went to work every day. you were out there know imagine illyrian song it doesn't cost -- it gets hotter and humid in the white t-shirt auction you're out there for today's? >> two years. >> but finally he agreed -- >> we were there for six weeks and then he agreed to go to meet. >> but somewhere in there there is a decision about no sex.
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we have to talk about that. >> i wish they were here. the muslim women because sometimes we say i am really a muslim because we have a devious mind. [laughter] she was the one coming to us to say you know what we've started this thing and these men of ours have opinions in the newspaper so how do you suppose we do that she said a sixth straight. what's denied and this tax. in the other area we failed miserably. [laughter] we were not strategic so we went with a sixth strike and they would come in and we had a fight and i had to give an.
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in that area of the women called her husband's into the church and so we are of a point where we need to see god for peace we are fasting and we are praying in you know the whole thing is denying yourself pleasure we have come to you to tell you that as we journey, take this journey it means no sex they agreed. so for months, nothing. and fasting along with them when we ended the protest after two years in the community in central liberia we saw the men walk down with flowers these are
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men they are courting and they come to appreciate their wives publicly and one of them leans over and says about the sex. because today we in the coming today we have sex. but there were no strategic. the sixth strike was to cut the media, to the attention of the minn and people were talking about the sex strike and the sec's strict. >> the amazing thing that you didn't know. somewhere in there it is decided to have a position statement a ticket to parliament and finally agreed to meet with you and
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there is this extraordinary scene of hundreds of women with the europe of the stage and they are praying for you to be steadfast in intention it also not to interrupt this process and with a steady hand and a steady voice you present this position paper to president taylor, and its after that that he agrees to go into peace talks ghana you continue that strategy at peace talks where the war lords of the president of the countries of africa of course you kept getting of the women in ytd were very strategic about that. the peace talks it's like they
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were having a good time. they were at club med. >> no, i don't think so. not when you have come from some of them but they all continued to jockey for power. you then took the women in to haul and create that seem for us. it's just extraordinary. >> we went with seven with bna and we talked an ally and for three months the talks were going nowhere. the violence has increased. i have lost face and the power of nonviolence. i was constantly crying. this morning i go to the offices of the west africa network for
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peacebuilding and by watching the video and they give a news flash of this missile and that landed in the these two little boys were brushing their teeth. all that was left of those boys were there slippers. they were crushed to read a human girl had just given birth and came outside to hang the baby's clothes. she was crushed. so on the video and this woman is holding a one day old child and said what do we do? and by sitting watching this video and lee r. azar will link up. from 17-years-old and deliveries came back into the tears are running down. i go into the room and the heavy white t-shirt. i put it on a to go to the peace talk and say do we have money? she said yes. then she says what is it?
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i will tell you later. i went to that and i say you have a story today. and they said what is it? we get word that the warlords and the media are going and to the clock. so why separate myself from the group and rightly hostage letter and the women had a right to, the people were going into their rooms and say sit down and look and don't have any clue of what they were doing. they were just taking instruction. and then attack on the door of the peace hall and the nigerian general terms and then i said i want to see you. he said meek? i said yes, i gave him the letter and the ticket to the media so he read it and the only
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thing he said of the overhead was my god, the general has seized the piece of. [applause] but as we seized the call the police come and say you are obstructing justice. >> and you went off. >> totally. >> totally. my life flashed past before me. my socialization flashed back before the. the name of this work protected you define being accused of obstructing justice and when trying to do is deliver justice to my people. i felt like there is no hope. just imagine myself in handcuffs
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what the humiliation rate, death, destruction, and you see an awful 14 years so i just said you know what, i will make it easier for him i will strip naked. in the country what with stripping naked have done? i was protesting the pain of every woman when you are being raped your clothes are torn off of you. when you are protesting in pain you are giving away the last shred of your integrity and that is what i was doing in protest. take it to take my integrity, take what is left of womanhood. for every liberian woman, a ticket. if this would bring peace, take it.
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to profit coverage hi everyone. wollman has short pants under because of the war so we are so traumatized to of the skirt, the rapid and this man ran a and set it back on and don't do this. but on my left was my mentor has already started stripping also and they are saying don't do this. but she carried the man who came to arrest and the rest of the african culture they run so someone says we are running for our bodies but they run away. >> that begin to turn it around? speed it turned it around a hundred%. it turned it and held for us because at that time when they
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negotiated with us to leave the had power. so the message became more vicious and a bold. we were referring to the mess killers. whereas in the past we were saying give us peace and. in the than the -- mobile or insults were thrown at us. in three weeks that this agreement was signed -- peace agreement was signed. [applause] speed a transitional government was put in place. you have said and i agree with you that ultimately got this
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wins out over evil but there is a price to pay and i would like for you in the book to read the price before was paid. seabeck it doesn't just go away. in the moments we are coming to look around we have to confront the benefit of what would happen to hundred 50,000 people were dead one and the three were displaced and three injured 50,000 internally displaced persons and the rest anywhere they could find shelter 1 million people mostly women and children were of malnutrition and a collar because of contamination of the world.
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more than 70% of the physical infrastructure our roads, hospitals and schools have been destroyed. the damage was almost unimaginable. a whole generation of young man have no way via who they were without a government in their hands. generations of women had been raped, see their daughters and mothers raped and their children killed and be killed. neighbors had turned against neighbors, young people have lost hope and old people, everything the it painstakingly year and. we were traumatized. we have survived the war. but now we have to remember how to live. peace isn't a low bid it is a long process. >> it is through what you did you are largely responsible for the elections of the first woman president of nigeria you were
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going back into your country and a few days she is up for election again it what you think her chances are. >> i think she's going to have a win. [applause] seabeck we are going to turn over for questions but i do want to ask you one more question if i may you have done so much and you have sacrificed greatly and efp ray price would you be willing to speak to that for a moment? >> i really don't think. just today i was having a conversation with a friend and i said on july watched pre-the devil back to hell i felt like
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we have done anything significant in my mind until today it was a survival tactic fighting for the future of our children and i would have been content if we didn't get all the big screen. i feel like you said earlier line called to do what i do. i don't have any sense of by doing great work. every time i go to a space and do something i believe that space thinking it's really too good. and i really began in pact? it only the young people like indy 500 to the tebeau that he sometimes did i saw a documentary that was done in ugonda and one of them said the first time i looked at that
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little girl i said if she can't do it i too can't do it. and i said watch. so i am at a place now where all want is the opportunity to do my work to what i know to do best, encourage people to maximize the potential, and the sacrifices i don't think i've made the sacrifice, i think i have just lived in the pain that i've gone through i see it as the only way that that was my empowerment to do what i do know. i don't think of myself in the one great. so when i go to places i try to ask people to kind lee just say i am the mother of six because that is the only thing that
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gives me so much pleasure in that line in the peace and women's rights activist. sodium content. i am so content with where i find myself. i am content with the work i do. if i don't become the sixth trade general of the u.n. or the president of liberia or any other fan and i just content working in my community into being who god has called me to be. i will not -- i don't be grudge him for any of the trials i have gone through in life. i don't see in each of the achievements that i've gotten has a right. i see it as a favor.
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[applause] the beautiful conversation. before we open up [inaudible] do we need to move? >> i think that you are fine. >> all right. [inaudible]
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♪ we went back to the bible we were not allowed to do any of those things. we wore the white to say that we were people of peace.
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>> we are going to find a strategic point. this is how we decided to sit at the fish market everyday. thousands of women went. it was the first time in our history in liberia where muslim women and christian women were coming together if we had a big banner that said women of
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liberia want peace now. he said those who think that they can cover off in the streets to embarrass themselves, waiting for you. nobody, nobody will ayaan verisign administration -- will embarrass my administration. >> we were not afraid. my mother was like they will beat people, they will kill you. and we said well if i should come and just remember me that i was fighting for peace. ♪
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[inaudible] you look at the front line discussion and this is what the newspapers report, the fighting tactics through the politics, the borders, the weapons, the armies, all of these things. that is the minn's story. the back-line discussion of the story is how you actually exist and live and continue living in the war. that is a woman's story and that has never been told. civilians are not, quote, collateral damage as we once called them but really very much of the center of the war zone.
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>> they are the ones who feel the hundred and watch their children done it. the women are the ones the are raped and after a conflict when the end of the war is being negotiated they are never considered. i think it is we passed time that we redefine what we mean by war because there are no front lines in the war in today's world. the fact is that in today's war the primary victims are women and children.
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>> [inaudible] thank you so much for everything always thinking you when i pray. thinking about literacy, i work for literacy in those communities. when you were getting women together the work traumatized because what was going on, the danger. do you do in the reading and if you did, what did you read? thank you. >> when we started the work i think that we would say women have different skills and i was the only one who had a tiny
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niche of skills around peacebuilding and i had read ghandi and i was mesmerized by the power of nonviolence. for a long time i felt like that was the most powerful way of life. there was nothing more powerful than these things that i read. but also when we talk about issues of nonviolence we asked women to give us store reset acts of nonviolence and their communities and there were different stories that came up that really spoke to what we felt we were doing. so we didn't do a lot of theoretical things. it wasn't until after we did this work when i went to my graduate studies that read we were doing a phone call and then we did that come about
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[laughter] that was strategic. is the detective or a strategy? all of those used in the actual peacebuilding. yes. just read a little bit of king in ghandi. >> thank you so much. i was struck while you were talking about your sense of community and how you could see what was happening in your communities. in our country we are ed war all the time in all other places. so right now in libya there is a siege that's been going on for weeks. people only know about it, they don't have to cover the don't have water, they are getting bombed every day we don't internalize that because this is not part of our community or in iraq border afghanistan. so i guess i am wondering how
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does one create a larger world community where we care? and weekend wear white and object to the war and we care about other people in other parts of the world. >> you know, have come to a very cynical place when it comes to us versus them, the world, your world, my world, in your question is a good question. but your question can be answered in two ways. if i said in your community you see the war, open your eyes. in this community you will see the war also. it's here. it's happening. i see it. and by the connections between
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your world and my world, a lawyer across the out and see the connection of our world is our ability to move beyond. i want to help it start with i want to help here. ..
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i'll give myself the year and i would have created a community. [applause] [applause] i went to emu, and i'm not kidding you, when you learned to exist in a community you cannot exist without a community. my sister died in june of two dozen six. i came back to school in the u.s. in august of 2006. she died when i was driving her to a hospital, and i drove around with her body in the car for three hours and could not cry. i was looking for a place to
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pose the body. i came back to school and determined that i would not lead an isolated life. the first thing i did was to identify every african commander was not a single liberian among those africans. the next thing i did to those africans were always hungry. my apartment always had food. a community had started. the next in the african-american men said coming the arabs can. before you knew it i was being called big mama or mother of peace. i used the resources that i saw in america to create myself with community. today i can proudly say if i landed in afghanistan i will go straight to the swedish embassy
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because the political analysts there is a young man who would give me a place to sleep. if i went to yemen and would get to the u.s. embassy because one of their strategies there is a man called old. he would give me a place to sleep. my world has shrunk. when they had the bombing in begun the turn the work, the first thing a on the internet. you okay? have a year football lover. i have an african-american young man who works in d.c. had his first child. this is your first grandchild. to create a community is not difficult. i went to a talk the other day. and all they said to me, how do you to use the those girls
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passing up and down in everett as you sit on your porch? yes, i see them. those girls are going up and down because they're looking for you to recognize them. just try it. call one and say i want you to be my friend. she will go and come. and give you the space of three months. her mother will never hear, you will hear. so to come back to your question that start from here and let's connector world. how come we do that? how can you use your platform of activism here to influence the need for resources in libya? there is so much to do your. there is so much to do here. there is so much to do here.
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[applause] [applause] >> a friend of mine gave me. he gave it to emmy's is he going to love this so honored to be in your presence. very honored to be in your presence. i am a community activist. i live in the war zone. south central. i am a promoter of peace. i have been part of the world peace organization. i am very honored to be in your presence. what i would like, i'd like to invite you to come to our community for your. [laughter] and i really want to focus. my mother raised me and the sister had consciousness when i was very young. the training manual, how can i get ahold of that.
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you know, help, you know, the women to, you know, be -- help us. help us. >> i will give you my card and see if we can't -- if we have been in no copy copy of copy the consent see it. >> inky. very nice to hear you speak. kenwood to read your book. it seems like you're really tap on something there were tapped into something. do you think that worldwide fsx drive took place that maybe this could really improve the entire world? worldwide, if a change of
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mindset to place it would change the entire world. my sister leaving the york. every time i come we find time to hang out. the advertising, you watch. and they're is a young man sitting in his underwear. the watches on his time. which part of his body is going to read this watch. a down vest and a connection. unless they're is new way of wearing watches in the u.s. that know about. but the objectification of gen boys and girls as sex objects is
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destroying the next generation of leaders. when young men see young women they don't see brains and a more they see from here to year. and him women believe that. i don't need brains as long as i have from here to year. it is a sad state. i have a young white base commander had a conversation. a friend of mine over the weekend about it. on college campuses now in the u.s. kids are just working out. nothing. i keep asking my good friend why . they dislike each other and say, let's go ahead up?
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and sex cat because that is the feeling that comes. and people are now more happy. there's no more face bloodstock and progress to the next level. it's from year to year. and until we can change that we're in trouble. this is a global disease. this is a global disease. who are the and people that were wooing back our lives the countries and the work? in no, i was talking at the university of california santa barbara yesterday. we talked about the same issue. and the one question that comes to my mind every time i think about the whole issue of peace and security for women and the global media and how sex is taken over, it comes from
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research done by elliot johnson. they did a research project. they say, the impact of war, conflict on women's lives is a reflection of the interaction during peacetime. if our young people are hooking up and picking up and picking up, imagine four took place in this country what would be this to stick on rape? we will be the statistics of abuse. the other question is, if we continue to objectify and women as sex objects and encourage our young men so that young women are the prey and the young man of the predators' offer sex, how do we talk about participation
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in politics? the way the world is functioning now it's on one side of the brain. all the men in power. that is one side of the brain. the women, virtually not in the political face, so that other side of the brain is not functioning. that is where we have a sex world. you wonder why the economy is this way, it's because it is watching on one side of the brain. so we think we have a problem now and we don't correct that july it's all part of the discussion a round piece. it's all part of the discussion around security. it's all part of the discussion around a quality. and if we don't start addressing it, thank god this is los angeles, california, the place where dreams are made. how do we change that image of a
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12 year old girls wanting to wear it on? it is not this next strike, it is the strike on the sex industry. [applause] [applause] >> i got the side that we need to set and our time together tonight. i wanted thank the los angeles public library for this extraordinary evening. thank you to all of you who have come tonight. i encourage you to be together in communities after the formal presentation of this and to you. thank you so much. >> thank you for having me.
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[applause] [applause] >> more book tv in a moment. next lewis sorley is a talk on general westmoreland and his talk. american radical. >> democratic senator, to term, retiring, he is not running for reelection. >> there is much more that needs to be done to keep america strong. while i rose the opportunity to undertake the work that lies ahead, i also feel it is time for me to step away from elective office, spend more time with my family, and look for new ways to serve our state and nation. >> after 25 years, first as governor and senator from nebraska, democrat ben nelson announced his retirement tuesday , the night senator not run for reelection next year. watch his appearances dating back to 1991 archived and searchable on line at the video
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library. >> next military historian lewis sorley on the career of natural william westmoreland who led american forces in the vietnam war from 1964 to 68. the book is "westmoreland: the general who lost vietnam." lewis sorley spoke at the national archives last summer. this is about 50 minutes. [applause] [applause] >> there are many people here who have encouraged and supported me over long years of research and writing. i would like to acknowledge one in particular, a former colonel who has come from houston to be with us today. we have been friends since 1961 when as captains we were classmates at a former school at fort knox. yes, bravely and honorably during the long years in the
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vietnam war, including an assignment that has -- after the war he and his family came to america where thanks to incur the hard work and find family values they have prospered. also written steel and blood, an excellent book about armor in the vietnam war. leeson is abundant, -- ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> as you know, we are going to talk about the life and career of general westmoreland. when you at the outset, this is not a happy story. it is, i think, an important, even essential one. my contention is that less and until we understand westmoreland we will never fully understand what happened to us in vietnam or why.
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his involvement in the vietnam war was the defining aspect of his life. he himself perceived that. he was driven for the rest of his days to characterize, explain, rationalize, and defend the rule. his memoirs reflect the fixation of a long career pulling 36 years as an officer and a string of postings to increasingly important assignments over the four years that he commanded american forces in vietnam in the aftermath constituting at virtually the entirety of the counts. all the rest. understanding westmoreland is not easy. he turns out to be a surprisingly complex man. fueled by ambition, driving himself relentlessly, of the oppressive military means,
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energetic and effective as a promotion and skillful and cultivating and 20 sponsors from his earliest days of service to lead his contemporaries, was admired, and advanced by his seniors and progress rapidly upward. but you who serve with them would claim they really do this distance and difficult man. general walter carmen who was the chief of staff for westmoreland for over year recalled that although they worked very close to the other he and westmoreland never had a personal relationship, never even, he said, normal conversation as colleagues ordinarily would. you could not get to have. westmoreland had an extraordinary capacity for polarizing the views of those
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who encountered him. few of whom remained in different. his executive officer when westmoreland was army chief of staff described him as the most gracious and gentlemanly person with him my ever served and an executive officer, westmoreland had in vietnam regarded him as the only man he ever met him the term great could be applied. there were others, many others who held a darker view. among the most prominent was general harold k. johnson, a man of surpassing decency and good will. i don't happen to be a fan of general westmoreland, said johnson. i don't think i ever was, and i certainly did not become one as a result of the vietnam war or later during his tenure as chief of staff of the army. a general officer of another service to serve closely with
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westmoreland in vietnam described him as awed by his own magnificence. westmoreland was born and raised in some rural south carolina near spartanburg where his father was manager of a textile mill. an eagle scout at age 15, president of his high-school class, first captain at west point, of westmoreland was encouraged from his earliest days to think of himself as especially gifted and specially privileged. his father wrote to him at west point during his three-year saying, you do not know how happy and proud it makes this to know that you're making good, even this small boys in the negro's are interested and proud later in that same. he wrote to him again and said when you need anything write me
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and i will send it to you. there is nothing too good for you. and a subsequent letter, still touring his year as a cadet at west point, went even further. the people here, said his father , white and black, think you are about the biggest man in the country. roosevelt has no right at all compared to you. they really believe you will be president of the u.s. someday and talk this among themselves. after of entered world war ii as commander of an artillery battalion in the ninth infantry division taking his unit into combat in north africa. there they performed with distinction, earning a presidential unit citation. subsequently in sicily westmoreland served temporarily under then predator general maxwell taylor, then division artillery commander of the a's
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second airborne division, an association that would become extremely important to westmoreland drive to rest of his career. after sicily for the rest of world war ii westmoreland was a staff officer. when the fighting was over he was given command of an infantry regiment for six months in the army of occupation. then back in the united states of westmoreland was able to get an assignment at the 802nd airborne division where after attending jump school he had a year in command of the 504 parachute infantry regiment and then three years as division chief of staff. then late in the korean war westmoreland took command of the 187th airborne regimental combat team, a unit that constituted the theater reserve and consequently was stationed in japan and periodically a ploy to korea. westmoreland demanded the up to
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15 months. nine months of which were spent in japan to wear after he had been promoted to brigadier he was able to live with his wife and their young first child. six months of the 15 spending korea. during one such carian time when they were not in combat westmoreland, desirous of qualifying for the master parachutist has made 13 jobs in one day. after the war and some scheming on the part of westmoreland the koreans awarded the 187 their presidential unit citation. new brigadier a capitol experienced his first pentagon duty with an assignment in personnel. i have not serve their before. and i did not want to serve their van. but soon maxwell taylor became army chief of staff and rescued westmoreland from the personnel
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making him his secretary of the general staff. two years later having in the meantime been promoted to to star rank westmoreland was rewarded with command of the hundred first airborne division. things moved quickly after that. two years as a division commander will qualify a three-year assignment as superintendent of the estate's military academy at west point and then promotion to the tennant general and six months in command of the 18th airborne corps. after c-span was sent to vietnam in january 1964. deputy did general paul hartman sue was in command of u.s. forces. june of 1964 westmoreland replaced him as commander of u.s. military command in vietnam
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, the start of a four year stint in that post. beginning in the spring of 1965, the estates began deploying ground forces to vietnam. under westmoreland and had decided to conduct a war of attrition. these forces, one large unit, search and destroy reparations primarily in the deep jungle. fixated on his budget and operations which were referred to by many as the war of the big battalions, the westmoreland largely ignored other key responsibilities, most importantly the upgrading of south vietnam military forces in dealing with classification. his way of war did nothing to affect the situation in south vietnam. continued using coercion in
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terror to dominate the world to several populous. meanwhile, westmoreland deprived the south vietnamese of modern weaponry to the weaponry giving the u.s. issue of the m-16 rifle and other advanced military where with all. equipped with a cast of world war ii vintage u.s. equipment while being outgunned by the communist who were provided the great ak-47 assault rifle. communist china. it is very important to know that it was left of westmoreland to devise his own approach to combat the war. the conventional view of the war, even now, is that it was micromanaged from washington. there are many stories of how lyndon johnson's white house, the famous tuesday luncheons and
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so on, he and other top, mostly civilian, officials would even selected and approved individual bombing targets in north vietnam and things like that. those decisions had to do with actions taken outside south vietnam. within south vietnam to the u.s. commander had a very wide latitude in deciding how to fight the war. this was true for westmoreland, and equally true for his eventual successor. this was not, this led to was not a good thing. there were many witnesses in the strategy, which in numerous into related ways played into the hands of the enemy. for one chasing around the countryside was the town. general philip davidson, a bit westmoreland chief intelligence officer said that the interest of westmoreland was laid in a big year and war, pacification.
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this search and destroy operations favored by westmoreland accomplished little in providing a secure environment which pacification required. the measure of merit in the war of attrition was body count. westmoreland underestimated the enemy staying power, calculating that if he could inflict enough casualties and the communists they would lose heart and cease their aggression against south vietnam. instead the enemy proved willing to absorb enormous losses and still keep fighting, thus the progress that the westmoreland claims in racking up huge body counts did nothing to win the war. the enemy simply kept sending more and more replacements to make up his losses. westmoreland was on a treadmill.
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westmoreland also overestimated the american people's patience and tolerance of friendly losses . a visit to south vietnam, senator hollings from the home state of westmoreland of south carolina, was told by westmoreland, we are killing these people, the enemy, and the ratio of ten to one. the american people don't care about the ten, they care about the one. westmoreland did not get it. his response to any problem was to request more troops. the result was a buildup of the u.s. contingent of ground forces that eventually reached well over half million men. when the troupe requests kept coming with no evident progress in the wedding of the war washington's patience finally ran out. in the spring of 1967 westmoreland asked for 200,000 more troops but got only a
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fraction of that amount. at the time he stated publicly fifth that he was delighted with the outcome, but in his memoirs he cited instead that he had been extremely disappointed. later still on the witness stand in a libel trial suit he brought against cbs television he changed his stance again and said he had not been extremely disappointed. in response to his own book, forcing westmoreland to recant. and then in the wake of the enemies 1968 tet offensive westmoreland passed for another 206,000 troops, a request he then spent years denying he ever made. he got token forces and was in on his way home.
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it was clear he thought he did take the war over from the south vietnamese, bring it to a successful conclusion, and then hand the country back to them and go home and lori. he could not. the ambassador saw that this was the case, concluding that when the united states first of all, the political and psychological edge of the war was not understood. and, he said, because we did not understand it, the military to we could get in and do the job and get out much more quickly than proved to be the case at the debt is one reason we were slow in turning the vietnamese we did not begin to train the vietnamese with the objective of their taking over until general abrams get there. this disparity in resources persisted throughout his tenure
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in vietnam. it was noted on 29th debt during 1968, only weeks before the departure of westmoreland after his four years in command. the enemy is the military quit his troops with increasingly sophisticated weapons. they are in general better equipped than the forces, a fact which has an adverse bearing on morale. westmoreland had been there in command of u.s. forces for nearly four years. then later in maintain everything. another ambassador of the time, no, i think, weary of his sponsors of was even more blunt.
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none so abrams kim on the scene did this had to change. 1967 was a fateful time and the westmoreland did not service. everyone agrees with 1968, fearful your. sixty-seven was equally so. during that year he made three trips to the united states where in public appearances he gave of very optimistic assessment of how the war was going, and this became part of what was going to come to be called the jobs in the best russian progress. very, very encouraged said westmoreland and a press conference upon arriving in the u.s. never been more interest during my entire four years and company the national press club we have reached a point where the and begin to come into view. and he added that enemies of
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bankruptcy. he spoke to a joint session of congress run during another optimistic report and was so taken with the experience, the most memorable moment in his military career and his finest hour which gave him the greatest personal satisfaction. i must say to my find it both ironic and sad that a famous general finds a political event the most satisfying of his military career. 1967 was a time of vigorous debate about the emmy's quarter a battle which means his strength and organization. westmoreland denied senior civilian officials accurate data by imposing a ceiling on the number of enemy forces his intelligence officers could report or agreed to and but personally removing from the order of battle entire
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categories that have long been included, thus falsely portraying progress in reducing in any strength. by may of 1967 president johnson was referring to the war as a bloody impasse. military historian russell widely commented succinctly on lbj, no capable war president would have allowed an officer of such limited capacities as general william c. capital to head military assistance command in vietnam for so long. meanwhile westmoreland challenged by newsmen on his optimistic announcements resorted to his familiar reliance on body count. we are leading in a great deal more than he is leading us, said westmoreland. westmoreland sought to portray the year 1967 as a triumphant one, during which he was winning the war.
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to 1967 was characterized by accelerating efforts and growing success in all phases of endeavors. that was not how he and his performance was seen by others. to robbers bomber was serving as deputy commanding general of the u.s. army command in vietnam. general palmer told him he really had basic disagreements on how it was organized and how we were doing it. later ballmer elaborated on those views in an interview with journalist mark perry. it was just a mess. we were losing. trying to put it together, and it just wasn't working. there was not anything that was working. in late summer of 1967 ambassador ellsworth bunker submitted this assessment, we still have a long way to go to
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much of the country is still in d.c. hands and the enemy can still sell our bases and commits acts of terrorism in this tourist areas. units still mount large-scale attacks appeared most of the populace has still not actively committed itself to the government, and an infrastructure still exists throughout the country. that was what westmoreland had to show for three years in command of u.s. forces. by the end of 1967 we were remembered, gramm cents was descending on the white house. finally even general william, architect of the search and destroy concept and opposed to the war admitted that it was a losing concept of operations. we ended up, he said, after it was all over with no operational plan that had the slightest chance of ending the war favorably. in the face of this united upper
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to opposition westmoreland maintained then and later that the north vietnamese, the enemy, in mid 1967, were in a position of weakness. this is the saddest result of all, many years of research on these matters. many instances where westmoreland had been willing to shade or misremember or deny the record when his perceived interests was a risk. one episode involving his lack of confidence in the marine leaders as both illustrative and revealing, surely before assessments began in january january 1968 westmorland decided to send his deputy to the ichor region to establish and run a technical headquarters that he designated.
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from there general abrams was to control the operations of all u.s. forces in the area, including those with the marine corps and, of course, the army. his chief intelligence officer philip davidson had returned to visit to keeshond, a remote post garrisoned by the marines. and they briefed westmoreland on the situation. the description of the unprotected installations and a general lack of preparation to withstand heavy concentrations of artillery and mortar fire agitated general westmoreland. finally he turned his deputy and said something to the effect that he had lost confidence in marine general cushman's ability to handle the increasingly threatening situation. his response was to set up forward and said abrams up to take command. raid reaction was predictable. one division commander called this the most unpardonable thing
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that saigon did and said marines it with shock and astonishment. westmoreland singh held a press conference in which he denied that any loss of confidence in leaders had been his reason for placing the new headquarters over them. he also table the marine general cushman's saying that there had been extensive background in saigon with the various news bureau chiefs to point out that establishment carried no stigma whatsoever with respect to the marines that it was merely a normal military practice and that it was only temporary. unfortunately only the temporary was true. the other in miles or falls as evidence not only by general davidson's eyewitness account, but also by plenty and -- westmoreland said it contemporaneously.
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the military professionalism of the marines falls far short of the standards that should be demanded by our armed forces. in jeep -- indeed, brave and proud that the stand is, at and lack of spencer persistent drought the ranks requires impertinent the national interest. there was more. i would be less than frank if i did not say that i feel somewhat insecure with the situation in view of my knowledge of their shortcomings. without question, many lives would be saved if their tactical professionalism or enhanced. after the war when the marines or writing the history of the conflict since the 1968 volume for,. he marked it up so extensively and took issue with so many of the judgments rendered that he
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was invited to discuss the whole matter in person. he accepted, and in session with the number of marine corps historians again insisted with regard to the establishment of back toward the particular action had not a damn thing to do with my confidence. not a damn thing. this was not only false, but giving the existing paper trail reckless in the extreme. westmoreland racked up a lengthy record of false misleading and inaccurate statements or omissions ranging from then on the order of battle to troop requests from the situation in viet nam to closure case on base and from battles to prediction of an early end of the war to light at the end of the tunnel. some of these models to five matters for petty and others of crucial importance, but they were alike in one respect. when westmoreland saw his personal interest a stake he did
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not hesitate to conceal or abandon the truth. when at the end of january 1968 an enemy tet offensive began westmoreland long term was nearing an end. newsweek magazine described a devastating measured of how far he had fallen. in november, they said, when he was conjuring up the light at the end of the tunnel he was affectionately called westie. but by last week he was general westmoreland in most official and unofficial briefings. the tet resurgence of enemy forces led many to conclude that in his optimistic forecast of the previous year westmoreland had other not known what he was talking about or have not leveled with the american people. it is hard to know which is the more devastating criticism. what was clear, with his
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unavailing approach to conduct of the war, westmoreland had squandered four years of support for the war by much of the american people that congress and even the media. for the next four years westmoreland served as army chief of staff. struggling with many problems, some the ongoing war in vietnam and others more societal. these included in discipline, widespread drug abuse, racial disarmament, budgetary shortfalls, and the necessity to prepare for the end of the draft and impending transition to an all volunteer force. faced with these multiple crises westmoreland decided to focus its attention elsewhere. i spoke in every state in the union, he later recalled. i considered myself a military spokesman of the army then that
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i should be exposed to the american public input for the army's point of view. i felt that an understanding of the military was the primary mission that fell on my shoulders while i was chief of staff. he added, had too much to occupy me to get into the details of such matters as army reorganization. i, frankly, in evaluating the priorities of my time give rather high priority to going around the country and giving them the facts of life with respect to the military. during his four years as chief of staff westmoreland currently gained no more understanding of the more than he had had when he was in vietnam. the cia chief in saigon when westmoreland made the 1972 visit there. they both attended a small function at ambassador bonkers residents where i was astonished by his apparent lack of
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understanding of what was going on in the war, even then. in later years for westmoreland huge himself as very much but upon. my years have been fraught with challenges, frustrations, and sadness he said to an audience. nobody has taken more guff that i have, and i'm not apologizing for a damn thing. nothing, and i welcome being the point man. that outlook, no second-guessing of himself, and no regrets persisted through the end of his life. as army chief of staff and beyond westmoreland made strenuous efforts to shape this historical record in ways favorable to his version of reality. this included writing his memoirs when there were published kevin buckley, formerly the newsweek. chief in saigon reviewed the book commenting that from the beginning westmoreland probably
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expected to write a memoir of victory similar to general eisenhower's crusading your. the she has not deterred him from doing this. so fitting is american commander , i underwent many frustrations, endured much interference, live with palace irritations, swallowed many disappointments, a more considerable criticism. reviewing the same book, the memoirs of a well-known military commentator concluded that was one remains the symbol of the country's most mournful misadventures abroad ever. major episodes, but extremely traumatic marking their retirement years. first was a dramatic the unsuccessful campaign for governor in his native state of
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south carolina. then there was a failed rival of the cbs television network for a documentary charging westmoreland with manipulation of any strength when he commanded u.s. forces in vietnam in each of these cases westmoreland ignored the advice of highly qualified men who had his best interest of heart and he counseled against the forces of action. he came in second in the republican primary to a state senator who then went on to be elected south carolina's first republican governor since reconstruction. he found it very hard to shake hands of people. describing them as the only candidate with a proven leader and administrative ability to carry south carolina to greatness.
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he ran a poorly managed campaign and was late getting started, never got out a coherent message, and wound up deeply in debt. afterward westmoreland called it is most humiliating experience. then in 1982 cbs television aired documentary charging westmoreland with having manipulated reports of enemy strength during the vietnam war. westmoreland have willingly participated in making the program being interviewed on camera and asking to be paid for doing so. the resulting broadcast was not favorable to him with numerous former intelligence officers describing how enemies strength data had been manipulated and house of westmoreland himself had whole categories of any forces be taken out of the force of battle, the artificially driving down the total of in the forces, so as to claim progress in his war of attrition.
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in due course against the advice of high-powered attorneys who cautioned against it westmoreland brought a libel suit against cbs $6,120,000,000 in damages. subsequent to the broadcast it came out that its producer had committed numerous violations of cbs guidelines. the basic findings, however, were seen as valid. in the course of a lengthy trial westmoreland was recommended by an attorney here ever before tried a case in court, and things did not go well. still, the case dragged on for some 18 weeks of testimony. then just days before the case was to go on to the jury that petro withdrew his suit. in exchange he received a statement from cbs which claims exonerate him and no money. an effort to defame, dishonor,
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and destroy me and those under my command had been exposed and defeated. i therefore withdrew from the battlefield all flags flying. editorial opinion was not so favorable. the new york times stated the prevailing reaction. it concluded that general westmoreland still in imminent danger of a jury confirming the essential truth. as on the original program he could not get past the testimony of high-ranking former subordinates who confirmed his having colored some intelligence information. said one of the jurors to the press on the way out, the evidence in favor of cbs was overwhelming. westmoreland life since vietnam has been miserable, said a former aide. westmoreland himself seems to the attribute much to that
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outcome. the vietnam war is my number one priority, he told an interviewer some years after his retirement. i tried to spread myself and visit all sections of the country, but then in an assertion completely undermining the meaning and purpose of all those years of incessant and frantic activity, westmoreland told the college audience that in the scope of history vietnam is not point to be a big deal. it will flow to the top as a major endeavor. westmoreland ultimate failure, it seems to me, would have earned him more compassion had he not personally been so fundamentally to blame for the endless self-promotion that elevated him to positions and responsibilities beyond his capacity. it is the aggressive guy who gets his share plus the principle applies to most.
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and that is the way he operated. in later years westmoreland widely regarded as a general who had lost his war also lost his only run for political office, lost his libel suit, and losses reputation. it was a sad ending for a man who for most of his life and career had led a charmed existence. general westmoreland live the long time, inflicted by alzheimer's disease for at least his last decade to my he died in july of 2005 and was buried at west point in a great he has selected while he was superintendent there. as the final irony given the strong and vocal opposition to the admission of women to west point, the cadet honor guard for the burial ceremony was commanded an very ably by a female cadet officer.
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thank you very much. i'll be glad to entertain questions. [applause] [applause] from anybody want to start? >> yes, sir. >> yes, ma'am. please. >> you have given as a very colorful, interesting, psychological analysis of general westmoreland, but my question has to do with a sociological organizational one. >> yes. >> i did not hear about the role of the commander in chief or his supervisors in the military. aren't there some responsibility there? has that changed? i mean, could you compare that with where we are in 2011?
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>> that is a very good first question, and that thank you for it. time magazine sent me some interrogatories which i responded to have posted on their website. they ask me if i thought the subtitle was fair. i said it was eminently fair and explained why. i covered much of that year. prior reason being the latitude that general westmoreland had to decide how to fight the war and his relentless pursuit of and available approach to the conflict. but the next question was if you think this up tunnel is fair who are the other co-conspirators? that was a good question, and is pretty much what you're asking. so i began by saying, there are a lot of candid it's for the top tier of fellow miscreants. and i describe three. lyndon johnson, president and commander in chief, robert mcnamara, the secretary of defense, and general wheeler who
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was for a long time, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. so i tried to explain why general westmoreland was allowed to be commander in vietnam for so long when so many people saw that he was not achieving the success that he was clement. and have quoted in the number of them here. bruce palmer, a four-star general who was his last command the best point. abrams came in and his deputy. fred wayne to was that three-star commander and later also became the chief of staff. davidson, and many, many others who saw that this was not working. and so you had to say, well, why was he allowed to continue? and it is hard to age plane that. it should not happen that way, but a partial explanation at least has to reside in an examination of the people above him who had the authority to replace him or to direct him to conduct his operations in a
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different manner. so you start with lyndon johnson in my estimation no knowledge of military affairs in general. and in many ways rather obtuse as well. secretary of defense robert mcnamara. no real relation of military affairs. and then begin to general wheeler. in my estimation he is a major part of the problem who essentially established, very low command experience in non-combat. he seems to endorse the idea of westmoreland that firepower and is a way to conduct this war. so he was no help. i speculate -- local mod go farther than that. i have heard that these three main people in the chain of command to have the authority if they had chosen to use it to replace westmoreland board directed to do something different than what he was doing lacked the knowledge and even the confidence to do that.
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but there were others who were working hard to try to achieve the objective that i believe should have been sought. and one of the most important and referred to is general harold k. johnson baby during the same for years that at google commanded johnson was the army chief of staff, and early on he conducted the study. it is known as the per one study which stands for classification and long-term development of vietnam. and the study said flat out what general westmoreland is doing is not working and cannot work. the reason is conveyed is ignoring the situation in the villages were the enemies covert infrastructure was dominating the populace. and so here is the real way to fight. this is exactly what general abrams did when he took command
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in the spring of 1968. he implemented the study. and that said, instead of a war of attrition this has to be a war of population security. instead of sturt -- search and destroy we will conduct clear and all operations. dole was provided by much updated territorial forces of the south vietnamese, given the m-16 rifle first priority. and the measure of merit now is not a body count the population security. very important and significant to my belief, that by autumn of 1966 at the latest the two senior officers in charge of the forces that were fighting the ground war, harold k. johnson chief of staff of the army and wallace green of the marine corps agreed that the approach of westmoreland was wrong and not a viable alternative.
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general johnston tried hard to get this approach some interest and support in the joint chiefs of staff. he did not make much progress there. that to not go anywhere. the study, he rejected it out of hand. probably not too surprising. an officer of that day later a very well-known and successful writer said he was the staff officer assigned to write the response of westmoreland. he said, we all, meaning the young staff officers talked of this was great, but we were not allowed to say that. we had to say, there are some good ideas here for study, and we are already doing this for many of these things and so on. that did not go anywhere until, as i said, the commander came. that is why, i said, in the course of my remarks, that the
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reason general westmoreland is the general who was the vietnam war is that he basically squandered four years of support for our war in vietnam, and even though in the latter time after he was succeeded things went much, much better near the end the congress and probably the people ran out of patience and support for the war. even when we were just giving the money they were motivated to pull the plug. ..
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in a way similar to what the general westmoreland did and when we changed commanders general david petraeus came and i think it exhibited a more abrams like understanding of the nature of the war and how we should be conducted. many of you know that when he came back into the period between his service in iraq and in afghanistan general petraeus was in fort leavenworth and tasked with writing a new counter insurgency manual would be issued by both the army and marine corps it is a well done document and if you read it you will be amazed at the parallel i think between the prescriptions there and what general abrams did when he later took command. that is a rather long answer but
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you ask a fundamental question and i thank you for that. >> i don't know enough about that. i can't do that. thank you. other questions? yes, please. >> would you comment on what happened after he appeared on the cover of time as the man of the year because i was out in vietnam in 67 and there was a lot of talk going around about west berlin from and for president, and it was coming out and i don't know if that is in your book or not but it seems to be in retrospect that may have added a great deal to his ego. >> that's a good question and there's a little input on this. the question has to do with of course the "time" magazine cover on the first issue of money to 66 general westmoreland was on
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the cover not in a photograph put in a bus that had been sculpted of him for that purpose and for the latest 65 man of the year that is when they are beginning to build up the forces in vietnam and he is talking even then optimistically about the outcome. there are two or earlier biographies of general westmorland. the first one is called the inevitable general written by a journalist whose name is pat ferguson very good guy and i talked to him at length this book was published to 1968 it is written in 1967 will long before the end of his career even before the end of his service in vietnam since you have to ask yourself how was this book written at this time. there's a kernel who is known to
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some people in this audience very close to general auslin especially in the chief of staff period and unlike many of those who worked as aides to westmoreland he stayed in touch with him for the rest of his life. paul miles said he always thought mobus orland ha appeared and aspirations and that he was never able to shake the view that this was to be a campaign biography. others have said that although there was the uproar in the summer of '67 that might have called for westmorland to be assigned at that time. lyndon johnson may have perceived that westmoreland have political aspirations and it was very convenient for him to leave him 12,000 miles away in under his command instead of bringing it back where he could join the political who postings. general bruce palmer said a very straightforward to me in an interview when he came back from vietnam he had the presidential aspirations he talked to me
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about it and i tried to save this wasn't a popular war. as it turned out, he did try as i describe to become governor of south carolina. he was a very inept campaigner and even worse probably and in that manager of his campaign. there were some people in the republican party who thought he might be a viable candidate that they could use to impose lyndon johnson i guess in the 68 elections but nothing came of that. westmorland always denied that he had in the presidential aspirations, but i have a lot of confidence in boris polymer, so i believe he did with the situation never allow anything to come of it. thanks for that. anybody else? >> right here. >> yes, please. >> recently i read the new book dereliction of duty, know you knew him well and even have him
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stay at your house while he was writing the book, and in that book he really liaison president johnson and secretary mcnamara, and he also said in my question he also kept saying, or every time he saw the joint chiefs who he largely ignored but every time he saw him he said that. now was that with us marlins's emphasis on body count what did that have to do with leading to that? is there a cause of it or something else? >> that is the very same question and i will start by saying i have enormous subornation he's a brilliant officer a brilliant scholar and that is a wonderfully funny book and i'm glad to see when i go into bookstores although it's been out for many years you
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still see it on the shelves so it has a long life. we've talked about the kind of things you just asked about many times. basically his book and thank you mauney account begins, and in particular we discuss his take on general johnson, who live referred to several times. i wrote a biography of johnson called honorable warrior and i concluded that he was one of the finest officers we ever had and one of the most honest. so some of the criticisms that he makes of him in his book i think our colored by the fact that he covered the leader period when he makes his appearance and so on might have influenced how age or evaluated him. but let's talk about lyndon johnson. i think -- i didn't have time to cover this in the remarks, but i think you could also say besides the other in the course of his
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conduct general westmoreland was guilty of macrodisobedience and the reason i say that is in the early 1966 february of that year there was a major conference in honolulu. one way of conducting the war was to have conferences periodically, various locations and then the president would come sometimes and lyndon johnson came to the conference in february, 1966 and westmorland came from vietnam and so did the two senior vietnamese. president too and the vice president as the fenimore. in the the plate of this conference was to boost american support for pacification, which you have already heard me say westmorland ignored in his intelligence he said pacification board and so on, and so it's not just lyndon johnson focusing on callamore
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although lots of times when he said that, but now he's saying we've got to get behind the pacification effort if we are ever going to get out of here. i am putting words in his mouth but that is the implication of what he said. so, we go back to vietnam with those instructions, and william westmoreland says retrospectively i was getting pressure after pressure after pressure to pay more attention to pacification and i wasn't going to do that at the expense of leasing of the war against the enemy's main forces. i don't know how you view that, but that seems like at best insubordination of a higher degree, and at worst disobedience orders to his commander-in-chief. so, you asked for evidence of that or we look for evidence of
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that. one of the details that impressed me greatly and i devoted an entire chapter to this is what westmoreland did or did not do with respect to warming the south vietnamese as well as the enemy was armed, and i looked at the m-16 rifle house an example of that and the fact is he never did anything for them it wasn't until abrams came on the scene as the deputy in may of 1967 that the vietnamese began to get any help at all. so, i think lyndon johnson was persuaded and i don't know what by sources that pacification was imported after abrams took command we had this magnificent team. ambassador ellsworth bunker and abrams in charge of the military and william colby in charge of support for pacification and they agreed it had to be one war combat operations but much changed from the big squeeze and
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pacification and upgrading south vietnam's armed forces and only that way they said could we succeed. -- before. could i ask one more. >> we have time for one more or no? short question. in the book besides johnson, mcnamara and wheeler that you talk to says bad things were says max tayler who is the ambassador at that time over westmoreland also was party to confusing things. let me put it that way. common? >> there are a lot of things i think could be said about general tayler that maybe don't quite match with the reputation i believe he still enjoy is pretty widely. i've already indicated more than once that he was probably west berlin's list important patron and thanks to him westmorland reached a high levels he did including his assignment.
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but i think that maxwell taylor and westmorland if they didn't have a falling out of the certainly had a diverging viewpoint. it seems to be a document double that when the first ground forces can assure the marine elements in march of a 1965 tayler as ambassador had no advance notice that they were coming and wes marland new that and didn't tell him and the white house knew that and didn't tell him and the pentagon knew him and didn't tell them so he was pretty marginalized by that point. that is a detailed analysis and evaluation of shettle tayler's project for another day, but he was sand as well as setting. ladies and gentlemen, think you very much for coming and for the great questions. [applause]
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>> mixed author and professor
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will kaufman talks about woody guthrie's political activism during the great depression, world war ii and the civil rights era. his book is woody guthrie american radical. this event was hosted by barnes and noble booksellers in new york city. >> good evening, everyone. think you for joining us tonight to light is a very special event for us. our guest will only be talking about his new book, woody guthrie american radical, he will be getting in audiovisual presentation showing you images that illustrate the life and times of his subject and also performing some of the songs in the cannon. most of us know of woody guthrie's americas unofficial anthem this land is your land. but few may know the roots of his activism in the death of his commitment to social justice. our guest's book takes a fresh look at the laconic guthrie and the context in which he
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struggled both personally and on the wide political stage. tonight's author is a professor of american literature and culture of the university of central lancashire in england. he is the author of the previously published book american culture in the 1970's. and he is, as you will soon find out from also a professional folk singers and musicians. it is my pleasure to introduce to you the author of woody guthrie american radical, will kaufman. [applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ is a muddy hard road that my poor haitians have poured ♪ my feet have traveled a hot and dusty road ♪ ♪ out here dust bowl and west words and we wrote and desserts are hot in your ♪
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♪ i've worked in the orchards ♪ i slept on the ground in the light of your moon ♪ ♪ we come with the dustin to go with the wind. california, arizona, worked all of your crops ♪ ♪ up to oregon to gather ♪ dig the beach from your ground into place on your table but white sparkling wine ♪ ♪ green pastures of plenty from dry desert ground ♪ ♪ from the grand coule dam where
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the waters rundown ♪ ♪ every state in the union as migrants have been ♪ ♪ and we work in this fight and we will fight until we win ♪ ♪ it's always week resembled, that river in by ♪ ♪ all along your green valley i will work until i die ♪ ♪ and this land i will defend with my life if it b. ♪ ♪ because my pastures of plenty must always be free ♪ [applause] thank you. thank you. welcome woody guthrie american
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radical was born appropriately on bastille day, july 14th, 1912 in a place called okay in the oklahoma. and it was one of the square dancing, yelling, preaching, walking, talking, laughing, crying, shooting, bleeding, gambling, fist fighting come and gone north club and razor carrying of our branching farm towns. because it blossomed into one of our first oil boom towns. they discovered oil in okemah around 1920 when woody was about 8-years-old, said he saw the population quintupled overnight from like 2,000 to 10,000. one day it was a sleepy southern hamlet and as he said the next day he woke up and everybody was there and it was filled with these roughneck oil boomers ortiz terse who were making their fortunes hand over fist every day until 1928 when the
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oil ran out and okemah went from boom to bust. so hundreds of these were deutsch just turn out to roam the countryside destitute and in that respect, okemah and her children became a microcosm of the fees of many more towns and communities across the southern plains the following year when the depression kicked in. in 1929 after a series of some pretty incredible family tragedies, the burning down of their family home, the burning to death of his sister in another house fire, the near fatal burning of his father and a third house fire and the incarceration and slow death of his mother in the oklahoma state mental asylum. she wasn't crazy she had the undiagnosed and misunderstood huntington's disease. after all of those tragedies he went to join his recuperating father and another boom to bust oil town on the texas panhandle. dropped out of high school after
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two years and became a painter, married, had his first two children and they all waited through the years that carried the black lizard's of dust across the great plains. this was the war not topsoil of over 100,000 square miles of ravaged farmland. in november, 1933 the dust. the midwest and came back the following year burying the entire midwest again and then as far east as albany and buffalo new york. as the dust continued to blow for the rest of the decade the sky but term black and red with tongs of dust and animals and people choke to death, toddlers wander out and suffocate. and the single worst day that any of the dust bowl could remember was april 14th, 1945 palm sunday. they call it black sunday. that is when the wind of more than 80 an hour ripped the topsoil and the clafin as far
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away as nebraska, it dumped on the already dying town of tampa texas and woody recalled when the dust cloud hit it looked like an ocean was chomping down on a snail and the red sea was closing in on the children, he said, and baptists and religious fundamentalists believed this was literally the end of the world. this was god's judgment been visited upon the wicked people and as he recalled, we thought we were done for. thousands of last packed up and went out. in that year he wrote the first of many songs about the death of his community and hundreds of others like it across the southern plains. ♪ ♪ i've sung this song and i will sing it again about the place i lived on the west texas in the city of tampa here's what all of
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the people there say. they say so long it's been good to know you. ♪ so long, it's been good to know you ♪ ♪ so long it's been good to know you ♪ ♪ this dusty old a dust storm is getting my home ♪ ♪ and i've got to be drifting along ♪ ♪ that dust storm it hits and it hits like thunder. it's busted us under and over ♪ ♪ blocked all traffic and what dhaka passan ♪ run single so long been good to know you ♪ ♪ so long, been good to know you ♪ so long been good to know you ♪ this dusty old dust storm is getting my home and i've got to be driftin along ♪
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♪ sweethearts sat in the darkened sparked ♪ ♪ they hugged and kissed in the dusty old dark ♪ ♪ the site and cried, they hugged and kissed ♪ ♪ but instead of marriage, they were talking like this ♪ ♪ will, so long honey ♪ been good to know you ♪ so long been good to know you ♪ so long, been good to know you ♪ this dusty old a dust storm is getting my home ♪ ♪ and i've got to be drifting along ♪ ♪ now the telephone rang and it jumped off the wall ♪ ♪ that was the preacher making his call ♪ ♪ and he said kind friend, this may be in the ♪ ♪ you've got your last chance of salvation from san ♪ ♪ the churches were jammed, churches were packed ♪ ♪ that a dusty old dust storm blowed so blacks ♪ ♪ the preacher could not read a word of his text of he folded
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his specs and to the collection ♪ singing so long it's been good to know you speedballs so long it's been good to know you ♪ ♪ so long, been good to know you ♪ this dusty old a dust storm is getting my home ♪ ♪ and i've got to be driftin along ♪ ♪ now that was the dusty as the dust storm that averted a blow ♪ ♪ most everybody they took to the road ♪ ♪ the lead down the highway fast as could go ♪ ♪ and they all sang these words as they blew ♪ ♪ so long it's been good to know you ♪ ♪ so long it's been good to know if you ♪ ♪ so long been good to know you ♪ this dusty old dust storm is getting my home ♪ ♪ and i've got to be drifting along ♪ ♪
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[applause] thank you. well, woody left his wife and children neither for the first or the last time and he hit the road early in the summer of 1937 about 24-years-old and somewhere out the lure on those highways leading westward among the vigilantes and the wagons piled high with furniture there was another oklahoma native the call her six cunningham. years later she would sing in the radical folk group with a bunch of other people called the almanac singers and the like would be another countless children of the dust bowl she would become radically politicized by her migratory experience. as she recalled, along with other hundreds of thousands of
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dirt farmers, we fought to survive. we battled crop failures, hundred, illness without doctors, hailstorms, livestock, fire. now, we could have endured all of those normal disasters. but there was no way in god's build to escapes the shark's teeth of the bankers and that's what happened. woody remembered the further west you what, the browner, the hotter, still and emptier the country gets. i met the hard rock miners and whole swarms of hitchhikers and migratory workers with their little piles of belongings in the shade of the big board's across the hard crust rapidly desert. kids chasing around the blistering sun, leedy is cooking scrappy meals and discovering the plates clean with sand.
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young folks copying with cords, cotton dresses. they gather around us and they sang too but sometimes they just stand real quiet and listen and i knew they were thinking about. well, by 1936 the year of roosevelt's first re-election seemed the midwestern american family farmhouse had pretty much blown away with the topsoil. that's the way that joe klein describes in a bibliography. as he says the human convulsion of the proportions was in progress. the whole countryside seemed to grown as the farms and steve and the hallways filled. on the country music stations jimmie rodgers was up their singing that the california waters taste just like sherry wine and woody and half a million migrants from the dust bowl region called their way westward towards those legendary vineyards and orchards.
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what they were doing what they were chasing the dream. something that woody later on called the stinking best thing i've ever run on two and this was the promises of on scrupulously were contractors out in california who were aware of the dust bowl crisis and decided to exploit it by looking the dust bowl region like this promising work for every idle and hundreds of thousands of hands needed the picked up peaches and grapes and selected for cuts and prunes. they didn't need hundreds of thousands. they needed a couple hundred hands in particular period of times and you can work out the implications for wages if you can engineer a crisis where you have a couple thousand hams chasing jobs. what they would do, these labor contractors what betaken the address and you may have to give this person five or $10 just to get the address knowing whether the job was there or not. so woody was incensed by this
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and then following promises like this in the dream of writing a the california border, the migrants were stopped cold. los angeles police department panicked as they set up these highly illegal and unconstitutional roadblocks on the major points of entry to the state of california and they called it the blockade and they got the thinks of the "los angeles times" and william randolph hearst and the changes of commerce and the huge antimigrant block. now, before this trip to the states, and it never been to california. but can i share a secret with you? i had seen it on a map and i am pretty sure that los angeles is about as far west as you can get. what was the l.a.p.d. doing sitting up in the legal roadblock hundreds of miles to the east stopping other americans from coming into the state of california as the wood for a foreign country and where does the jurisdiction in the? longline lit? i don't get it.
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anyway, it was unconstitutional. they didn't care about it. what they were doing is stopping and turning back anybody who looked unemployable. that's the word they used. now how could you prove that you were not in unemployable? you would reach into your pocket is a pullout $50 if you could show $50 of the old to the border guard you might make it into the golden state of california where you would be sure to get a less than warm welcome anyway. so, woody took a look at the situation and he said kind of a musical postcard to the folks back home pulling up stakes coming back to california maybe they'd better think again. ♪ now lots of folks back east say they are leaving home most every day they're beating that old dusty way to the california wine.
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across the desert sand as they were getting out of that old dunstable they think they are coming to the sugar bowl chairs with they will find. the point of entry say your number 14,000 for today. and if you ain't got the do re mi then you better go back to beautiful texas. oklahoma, texas, georgia, tennessee. california is the garden of eden ♪ a. i still live in or to see ♪ ♪ but believe and are not coming you will find it so hot ♪ ♪ if you ain't got the do re mi ♪ now, you want to buy a home or farm ♪ ♪ ogle that can't deal nobody
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harm ♪ ♪ or take your vacation by the mountains or the sec told don't solve your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are ♪ ♪ better take this little tip from the ♪ ♪ because i looked through the want ads everyday ♪ ♪ and the headlines on the people's always say ♪ ♪ if you ain't got that do re mi ♪ if you ain't got that old do re mi ♪ ♪ will then you better go back to beautiful texas ♪ ♪ oklahoma, kansas, georgia, tennessee ♪ ♪ california is a garden of eden ♪ a paradise to live in or to seize the ♪ ♪ but believe it or not, you won't find it so hot ♪ ♪ if you ain't got that old do re mi ♪ [applause]
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woody made it into the state of california and was there that he encountered the first time the word ♪ okie this was used to describe the migrants from the southern plains other in fact they were from oklahoma or not. i mean, those who were in the know might discriminate between okie of texas and things like that. but basically the formula would like this. if you're poor, white, homeless, unemployed and in california at that time you were a okie, no matter where you came from. and finally enough of your poor, black, homeless, unemployed come in california at time and from oklahoma you were not a okie. they were particularly white underclass and as i said they were the target of a really hysterical highly orchestrated
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campaign of state why the xeonophobia. so it's an atmosphere if you went to a movie theater in bakersfield or somewhere in the san waukee moly you might be met with a sign outside that says negros and okie upstairs. at least one is on record as having posted a sign saying no negros, dogs or okie served. so it is in that atmosphere that he began circulating around the migrant camps around me 1838, and this is where he began to run for the old radicals who had a sense of the bigger picture as they saw it and again, as joe klein describes it in the biography, as these old radicals around the campfire they would mutter have quickly about the capitalists, the rich bastards and then they would reach into their pocket and pulled out a battered old red card that proved they had been members of the wildest most violent julius and completely disorganized game
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ever to strike fear into the hearts of the american deutsch fauzi. industrial workers of the world. iww. i don't know why he uses the past tense. that's my membership card. try hard since it a lot of people think that they were wiped out in their great scare of 1919, hour 1920. we just went underground to wait for the invention of the internet. you can pay by direct debit. anyway, the old affected okie with their humor and their cynicism, with their enervate in particular the songs they sang out of their psalm book to fan the flames of discontent in the fall of the songs in that book the ones he would have loved the most probably worth 26 parody's prices lee fathi written by joe hill swedish born immigrant to the united states who became a martyr to the cause of american labor with his execution on a very dubious murder charge in
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the state of utah in 1915, students of american history, legal history would be aware of the string telegram that he sent to his colleagues the night before his execution. he said don't waste time morning back for me. organize. i think fewer people would be aware that he also said this in the same. he said if you do me a favor when this is all fer could you promised and you will get my body across the state line because i don't want to be caught dead in utah. well, the year before his death, joe wrote that a pamphlet, no matter how good is never read more than once. but a song is learned by heart and is repeated over and over so that is the sort of first lesson he told woody guthrie from beyond the grave as it were and the second is this. he said take a few cold, and since fact, put it into a song in the interest of the new coach of humor to take the dryness of of them and i think a lot of people would think of joe hill's
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we working in the sweet by and by as a case in point. joe hill took it and turned it into what did become the anthem to american labor in the first half of the 20th century the preacher and the sleeve. there are people who think that is the reason that he was really executed for writing that song and the preacher and the sleeve i will give you a little bit of a hand to meet its important. ♪ long haired creatures come out every night. they try to tell you what's wrong and right. but when asked how about something to eat ♪ ♪ they will tell you in the voice is so sweet ♪ ♪ you will eat by and by ♪ in that glorious land up in the sky ♪ ♪ working and living on hay
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♪ you'll get policy in the sky when you die. a very influential solomon american labor history. [applause] and on woody guthrie. well, he got himself a job posting and singing on a progressive radio station in los angeles so that date is wrong it couldn't have been earlier than 1937 but does that said he also began to circulate air around the migrant camps and some of these were the cosmetic show places set up by the government, the security administration and these were great places to be. they were democratically run close self-governing, will provide it for, they were clean and sanitary read the only problem was it wasn't nearly enough of them to cope with the magnitude of the dust bowl crisis in california's of the majority of the camps that he would have visited were just basically slums. they called them hooverville anywhere across the country they were hooverville named after the
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president on whose watch the depression was ushered in. and these are places where you may be headed families of say eight or ten getting by on $3 a week between them picking cotton in the san waukee mali. back east president roosevelt actually declared if i went to work in a factory the first thing i would do would join the union. which sounded pretty good coming from the oval office i don't think any president had gone so far to enforce the rights of labor to organize. but even with that kind of backing the the reality for the radical migrants attempting to organize on the california fields that were crushed time and time again because the fruit crop growers heated unions of correction the heated unions formed by working people. they were really happy to form their own unions. what is the chamber of commerce but the union with as the manufacturers association the union? they have their own union they called themselves the associated
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farmers whose declared aim was to stand out old american activity among farm labor because if you're a worker forming a union you're own american. here are three of the associated farmers and kernan county california engaged in the american activity of their choice which was book burning, the burning of the copy of john steinbeck paulson as it is published in 1939. so you see they don't come out so good in that book. so this kind of extreme to call without. and when they were not book burning they were hiring local nunes and giving them baseball bats and sawed-off shotguns, billy clubs may be little badge to make them feel sort of authentic, sending them out to scatter picket lines to bust up unions, meetings, to burn down a burnout in tire migrant camps and of course to assassinate union organizers and this is the grateful thinks of the l.a.p.d.
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and the "los angeles times" and this migrant block since he took a look at that situation in wrote about it drawing partly on the grapes of wrath. how many of you have seen the film? so then you remember preacher casey, the preacher who becomes a union organizer and is subsequently and consequential the murdered by the vigilantes' in the associated farmers. ♪ ♪
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♪ have you seen that vigilante man ♪ have you seen as a vigilante man ♪ ♪ i've been hearing his name all over the land ♪ ♪ lonely nights down in the engine helm ♪ ♪ sleeping just as still as a mouse ♪ ♪ lanham comes along and cheeses as out in the rains keep of ♪ ♪ was that the vigilante man ♪ malae traveled around from town to town ♪ ♪ traveling around from town to
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town ♪ ♪ they heard us around like a wild herd of cattle ♪ ♪ was that the vigilante man ♪ you know preacher kec was just a working man ♪ ♪ he said unite all you working men ♪ ♪ killed him in the river some strange man ♪ ♪ was that a vigilante man ♪ tell me why does the vigilante nan ♪ ♪ why does the vigilante man
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♪ carry a sawed-off shotguns in his hand ♪ ♪ what he should his brother and sister down ♪ ♪ have you seen that vigilante man ♪ ♪ have you seen that vigilante man ♪ ♪ have you seen the vigilante man ♪ ♪ i've been hearing his name all over the land ♪ [applause] there's something interesting happening about now. he's beginning to listen to the radio really critically. all the migrants are gathered around the radio in the campaign he is listening along with them and for instance he's hearing the great big hit of the era and
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his hero's the carter family taking the old baptist hymn this world is not my home which you may know to give you a sense of its sentiment. ♪ this world is not my home. i'm just passing through. my trenches and my hopes are all beyond the bloom. many christian children have trouble on before i've got no home in this world anymore ♪ ♪ now woody loved american church music but he hated the sentiments of songs like that and i am pretty sure for instance he would have had a little angel of joe hill jumping up onto his shoulder and say woody in a situation like this here is what i would do with that song if i were you.
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♪ something like this ♪ ♪ alladi a degano home ♪ i'm just traveling around ♪ and just a wandering worker ♪ i'm going from town to town ♪ the police make it harder ♪ wherever i may go ♪ a bye eight got no home in this world anymore ♪ ♪ things like that it has the market joe hill oliver it i think. now during the depression woody begins to get particularly angry at the song's coming out of the popular music industry the great american song book which is pretty top-heavy with puzzles like both back to those days on the sunny side of the street. i love this for a country pact coast to coast to share an old town and the worst criticism that woody would give a fellow songwriter later on is it sounds too -- didn't like the popular music industry. i think he overstates the case in his contempt for the part of
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the music industry because you look at the song and there are some good songs coming out of the depression that do engage with the reali of the economic realities for instance. ♪ once i built a railroad ♪ i made a race against time ♪ once i built a railroad now it's done ♪ ♪ brother can you spare a dime great song. i love that song. there are few songs that managed to capture the helplessness and the despair of the depression-era. but my point is that hopelessness and despair is the last thing that he is out to crawl because he is getting angry at this plant. what he wants to crawl is a matter that would lead to an organized rebellion, reorganization of the social and the economic system. at this point he is dedicated to nothing less savanna the overthrow of american
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capitalism. so this is the time when in contradiction to its approach like brother can you spare a dime written by someone who became a friend of his and isasi plater on the great radical songwriter lyricist, and in contrast to that approach woody is beginning to get interested in the old oh-la-la balad that his mother used to sing to him when he was growing up in oklahoma. the border about what in britain would take a highwaymen and turn him into a sort of crusader for economic and social justice. this is about the time that he is shot into his notebook i love a good man outside of the law as much as i a bad man inside of the law and he starts writing his own out of ballots. for instance he chooses a as a subject and probably the most famous outlaw somebody who probably didn't deserve the honor conferred upon him this is a local local, petty thief bank robber sort of general
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all-around scumbag named charles arthur floyd. there is no evidence in the historical record that he had any kind of a social conscience whatsoever. it doesn't matter. he could become somebody for whom digging for a bond would be an act of self the trail but more importantly he takes on the responsibilities of capitalism of ignoring it is pretty boy floyd who ignores someone will drop you with a fountain pen. he begins writing about the british highwaymen who takes all the money and distributes it and spreads it out equally just like the bible and profits suggest. and i think of all of his talk about what's the one that shows which we he's giving is in doubt about written about somebody who is just plain old working man and perhaps the world's first socialist. as he puts it into the mouth of one of his characters in the autobiographical novel bound for glory he's got them sitting around a campfire and one guy
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says to everybody else i will tell you one thing. if jesus christ were sitting right here right now she would say the very same thing. he would tell you we've all just got to work together, build things together, clean out gold fell off together to fix old films together and zero of the things together jesus don't care if you call it socialism or communism are just mean to you. i think it's significant that his bout of jesus christ makes this connection with the holy outlaw even stronger because he bases the today of the format correction he rips off 100% looks to be a girl but the format from the old american of all barrett to the cabal that jesse james. ♪
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jesus christ was a man who traveled through the land ♪ ♪ he was a hard-working man and brave ♪ ♪ he said unto the rich good with the poor ♪ ♪ so they laid jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ jesus was a man in the carpenter by hand ♪ ♪ with followers true and brave ♪ but that dirty little coward they called judas ♪ ♪ healy did jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ he went up to the preacher and he went up to the share of ♪ ♪ and he told them all the same ♪ he told them that the poor would one day when the war that's why they lead jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ the people of the land took
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jesus by the land and followed him far and wide ♪ ♪ he said i come not to bring peace, no i come spring a source ♪ so they killed jesus christ. jesus was a man and a carpenter by hand ♪ ♪ whose followers true and brave. but that dirty little cowbird they called judas ♪ ♪ well she lead jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ the people hold their breath when they learned about his death ♪ ♪ and everybody wondered why ♪ it was the landlord and the lawyers and the soldiers that he hundred ♪ ♪ that nailed jesus christ in the sky ♪ ♪ this song was written in new york city ♪ ♪ of richmond, preacher and sleeve ♪
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♪ and jesus preached today like he preached in gallegly ♪ ♪ they would lay jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ jesus was a man in the carpenter by hand ♪ ♪ his followers true and brave ♪ but that dirty little power they called judas iscariot ♪ ♪ he played christ in his grave ♪ is the patience of the workers fades away ♪ ♪ it will be better for you rich if you had never been poor ♪ ♪ because you've played jesus christ in his grave ♪ ♪ jesus was a man and a
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carpenter by hand ♪ ♪ fall was true in the brave ♪ but that dirty little cow word that they called a judas iscariot ♪ ♪ he laid jesus christ ♪ lead jesus christ ♪ lead jesus christ in his grave [applause] >> that song was written in 1940 and was the end of an era because the previous year president roosevelt announced that the great social experiment of the new deal was being officially wound up and the government resources were being redirected to concentrate on increasingly shall we say global issues. and so it is the bitter cold new year's of 1940 woody guthrie has decided to make new york city his home and he's hitchhiking
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north and east out of texas. and it seems that on every car radio on every road house jukebox he hears what appears to him to be the latest self righteous complacent patriotic offering 3940. case smith singing god bless america. now, there are two ways of reading that song. you could read it as the fearful hope of a russian jewish immigrant to the united states whose watching nervously the rise of fascism in europe and praying that will not hit here. that's one way of reading it. it is and how he saw it. he saw it as another unbelievable assertions from the industry that there could possibly be in other flea solution to the earthly problems. he hated this song so much that he sat down and wrote an angry
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song in response to it and it became his most popular. nearly 30 years later after woody finally died from the huntington's disease that he inherited from his mother and which had progressively silenced him for what the 1950's and the release 60s his son did call the irony of that particular songs history he said i remember him coming home from a hospital and take me out to the back yard just him and me and him teaching me the last three versus two this land is your land because he thinks if i don't learn them and no one will remember them. he can barely strummed a guitar at this point and his friends think that he is drunk or crazy and they stick him in the room in a mental hospital. then when he can't write or talk or do anything at all anymore he hits it big. all of a sudden everyone is singing his songs. kids are singing this land is your land in school and kids are talking about making it the national anthem.
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bald dillinger of all those others are copying him and he can't even react to it. the disease doesn't affect his mind. he's sitting in a mental institution and he knows what's going on but he can't tell anyone how he feels or what he thinks. this land is your land began life with the title god bless america. if you see the manuscript you see god bless america and it contains a couple of killer anticapitalistic versus that i don't remember sitting in school. do you? a lot of americans never even heard him until january of 2009 when pete seeger and bruce springsteen sings them in the steps of the lincoln memorial at barack obama's inaugural concert and the next day newspapers across the country are saying we that's he wrote it? yeah that's the way he wrote it. so i will hit you the version that pretty well charts the progression of the song from the pingree and bitter satire that it was to the unofficial national anthem that it
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eventually became it i will think you for coming out and listening tonight. ♪ ♪ i walked that highway into salt of the the endless sky. i saw below me the golden valley ♪ singing god bless america for me ♪ ♪ i roamed and i rambled ♪ to


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