Friday, December 24, 2010

Caroling for CRP

Our thanks Mori Samel-Garloff and Joanne Novikas for organizing four days of “political caroling” in Ashland, OR, in support of CRP.  All donations collected will go to support our programs. I had the pleasure of caroling with Mori and Joanne on Sunday, Dec 19th.  At our last stop the child in the photo took off her winter coat to show off her shiny red dress while she danced to our songs.

And thanks to Kate Gould, who wrote the following article and photos which she posted on Rogue Valley Indy Media .  and agreed to share here.  Bravo for braving winter’s wrath, undaunted and upbeat.

“On Friday December 17th, my sister Beth Gould and I joined the organizers of the effort, Mori Samel-Garloff and Joanne Navickas, in a fun-filled evening belting out the most vibrant and witty peace carols I ever could have imagined. It was only after a Bloomsbury employee came out and asked where the songs came from that I learned that many are Sami-Garloff/Navickas originals! Mori and Joanne told me that every year they write new songs. The results are astoundingly creative calls for an end to war and sizing down the bloated U.S. military budget. Other songs call for the protection of veterans, homeless, children, and other vulnerable populations inside of our country and for victims of war and suffering in foreign lands.

“The streets were fairly empty that night as the wind howled and rain poured, but those who did pass by on the way in or out of Bloomsbury Books or restaurants on the plaza were overwhelmingly supportive and several contributed to the coffee can collection for the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), a local non-profit serving Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan. One fan joined us and taught us a new Christmas carol. Others made their appreciation known by gleeful grins, spontaneous bursts of applause, joyous cheers, and the classic "thumbs up" signal of approval.

“It was a memorable evening for all involved and kudos should be given to the organizers for bringing vitality and community connection not only to the streets of Ashland but also to the streets of Amman where so many Iraqi refugees are working to rebuild lives torn apart by the U.S.-invasion and occupation of their country.

“Mori told me that it's become quite a holiday tradition over the last four years. When I asked Mori what motivated her to organize the caroling, she said "it it is important to not to take a single thing for granted and to continue working in action towards a better world." She told me that it feels great to be able to send some support back to The Collateral Repair Project (CRP). 

“The Collateral Repair Project (CRP) is a southern Oregon-based, grassroots movement created to address the catastrophic displacement of 5 million Iraqis since the U.S.-invasion of 2003. Since precious few Iraqis are allowed to enter the formal sector workforce in Jordan, CRP's micro-projects provide desperately needed income generating and educational opportunities. CRP also facilitates the cumbersome bureaucratic process for Iraqi refugees to access vital assistance from the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and other NGOs. CRP runs a Family Resource and Community Center and many other projects which you can get a sampling at their blog: or website:

Here is a small taste of these witty, creative lyrics:

Ode to Bernie (Sung to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas)
~Mori Samel-Garloff
"Dreams that Congress were all a bit like Bernie,
Senator of Vermont,
Bravely telling it like it is, the country in war business
Among shrinking working class, and wealthy want!..."

Ditty on War Toy Alternatives (To the Tune of "Jingle Bells")
~Author unknown
Little kids will learn by what their parents do,
So when you buy their toys, it's really up to you,
If you buy them guns, you teach them how to kill,
But violence is not a game and we have had our fill...

You can buy them books, and dolls and cars that run
There's lots of things that you can get, but they don't need a gun
You can give them hugs, and teach them how to play
So they'll grow up all safe and sound and not get blown away!