Stop Sending Weapons to Syria

Alexander KotsFILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, soldiers from the Syrian army carry a rocket to fire at Islamic State group positions in the province of Raqqa, Syria. A two-pronged advance to capture key urban strongholds of the Islamic State, and the extremist group's self-styled capital of Raqqa has underlined a convergence of strategy between Washington and Moscow to defeat the extremist group, with Syria's Kurds emerging as the common denominator. (Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda via AP, File)

 (Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda via AP, File)

At a presentation given by the Northampton Committee to Stop Wars, I asked two Syrian speakers whether Syrians predominantly support President Assad or the rebels. They both said that the country is extremely divided and that their support goes back and forth depending on who most recently killed a family member. One said that he knew only two people left in Syria, his parents, and the rest were scattered all over the world. What started as Arab Spring protests against the suffocating Assad presidency morphed into this endless war with about 400,000 dead and millions fleeing for their lives. What’s got to stop, they said, is the endless flow of arms into the area fueling the horror, destruction, deaths, and refugee crisis. They didn’t see much hope of this because too many countries are profiting from these wars. They felt it would be good for Russia to broker peace between Assad supporters and rebels and for the U.S. to stop its allies — Saudi Arabia, Israel, Europe, and Turkey — from sending arms there. The peace has to be something all sides can live with and that would bring Syrians home. People won’t go home to the same repression, and if they’re afraid of imprisonment. And they won’t go home to constant “rebel” bombardment. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) have sponsored the “Stop Arming Terrorist Act” (H.B. 608 and S.B. 532) and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-California) “Prohibit the Expansion of Combat Troops into Syria Act,” (H.B. 1473). Please contact your senators and congressfolks to support this legislation. And for god’s sake, divest from the military industrial complex.

— Charlotte Burns,



Massachusetts Can Do Better for the Environment

Graphic by Jennifer Levesque

The Valley Advocate has called upon Gov. Baker’s administration to improve its environmental record. (Chris Goudreau, April 21, 2017 “Between the Lines: Baker Gets a ‘C’ in Environmental Protection.”) Supporting a state carbon fee and dividend would further the commitment of Gov. Baker’s administration “to the commonwealth being a leader in combating climate change” and could improve his grade in the eyes of some environmental groups and media.

The Massachusetts Legislature is considering creating a carbon fee. Harvard University recently completed a study regarding its possible health benefits. The results demonstrate that a carbon fee would save hundreds of lives, avoid dozens of hospitalizations, and lead to billions of dollars worth of health benefits within approximately 20 years.

That’s just from a carbon fee in Massachusetts. Can you imagine the benefits if other states or the federal government passed similar measures?

The carbon fee and dividend approach is gaining bipartisan support at all levels of government. The Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) promotes similar legislation in states across the country as well as at the federal level. CCL’s May 3 weekly briefing cited a Carbon Tax Center report as identifying Massachusetts as one of eight states in which the possibility of making the law a reality is “promising.”

In his April 25th article, the Valley Advocate’s Goudreau reported that eight towns and one city in Western Massachusetts recently voted or will soon vote on resolutions endorsing state carbon emission fees (“Eight Towns Considering Company Carbon Fees”).

Let’s get this done, one way or the other, and improve the health and lives of people living in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Contact your state representatives and senators, contact Gov. Baker, and contact your federal representatives, Congressmen Richard Neal and James McGovern of the First and Second Districts of Massachusetts. Ask them to support a carbon fee and dividend approach to improving our environmental record.

— Mary Jane Eustace,



Correction: The Third Eye Roaming column “Goat Yoga in Easthampton,” May 4-10, 2017, credited the wrong author. The article was written by Caitlin Ashworth.