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Tuesday Watercooler


Tonight the Firedoglake Watercooler is in solidarity with Texans For Gaza, who held a 5,000 person rally and march in Austin, Texas last Saturday. In one of several powerful speeches from the event, Rania Masri asks “Mr. Obama, What Is Barbaric?”

It seems President Obama and his administration consider the abduction of an invading soldier from an occupying army to be ‘barbaric’ but the massacre of more than 1600 Palestinians in their neighborhoods, in their homes, in their schools, in their hospitals, in their playgrounds, on their beaches is not barbaric.

We need to tell Mr. Obama what barbaric is.

Barbaric is the Israeli killing of more than 70 families in Gaza. More than 70 Palestinian families have been lost. Barbaric is that 300,000 children in Gaza have lost either their home or a loved one. Barbaric is that hospitals are targeted. Six out of nine hospitals in Gaza are closed and Israel is threatening to attack the rest. Barbaric is that entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, labeled what one journalist called ‘apocalyptic.’ Barbaric is that we have 500,000 missiles dropped on an area smaller than 260 km2 (100 square miles).

The full text is available online.


And the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, an Alaskan indigenous community, decided to invest some of its surplus funds in creating a video game — the first major video game made by native Alaskans and based on their culture. From Kotaku:

[Never Alone, t]he upcoming video game will also hold their culture, artwork and folktales in a vessel designed to carry a sense of the Inuit spirit far away from their southcentral Alaskan homeland. But, yes, the game’s origins initially came from a more pragmatic concern. ‘We wanted to find a way to chart our own destiny financially,’ tribal council CEO Gloria O’Neill told me recently. O’Neill, who came to New York City recently with E-Line Media development partner Alan Gershenfeld to show Never Alone to press, explained that the Cook Inlet community remains reliant on government funding to help maintain services.

So, why a video game? ‘I just had a sense that we as a people have so much to offer the world,’ O’Neill told me. ‘We want to take back our culture out of the museum. I wanted to make an investment where we could share who we are with the world, we could have a part in creating it and it wasn’t somebody creating it for us.’ Gershenfeld said Artists, tribal elders and storytellers from southcentral Alaska are lending their talents to the game.

The game’s main character is a young Iñupiaq girl named Nuna who’s trying to rescue her homeland from an endless blizzard. She meets a mystical arctic fox that help her and their bond isn’t just cute. It also reflects the importance of interdependency, one of the core Alaskan Native values that O’Neill says the community wants to transmit through Never Alone. ‘We have stories that have kept us alive [as a community] for 10,000 years,’ O’Neill said. One such story casts the Northern Lights as the glowing spirits of children who died in the cold. In the folktale, those lost spirits want to snatch up the heads of still-living kids and use them to play with, like soccer balls.

Thanks to Twistedcat for the tip.

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Photo by Kit O’Connell and released under a Creative Commons license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and