Peace on Earth

Jeff Alworth

We picked up a set of Christmas cards this year from MOMA that had a pop-up flurry of doves.  We're spotty about sending out cards, but these captured our imagination--they're the coolest.  Doves have a specifically Judeo-Christian provenance, but the symbol has exceeded its source in scope.  Add to that the message, "Peace on Earth," and it becomes a pretty universal card.  Since sending those cards out, though, I've been ruminating on the message and how it's simultaneously so benign and seemingly so unattainable.

Peace isn't easy.  Given our bloody record over the past three or four millennia, one might say it's impossible.  Strangely, the idea is universal.  I don't know of a culture where wishing someone peace wouldn't be regarded at the very least as courteous (here's a list of languages that contain the word).  Talk is cheap, though.  If we really wanted peace on earth, what would it take?

In the Latin, pax is related to pacisci, "to agree," which is related to "pact."  We tend to think of peace as the end rather than the means, but the Latin points us to a verb, not a noun.  Indeed, the foundation of the state of peace must be the act of agreement.  The agreement is the predicate for peace--without active engagement, the end is not possible.

Peace has been built on agreements between groups as close as the US and Britain, or as antagonistic as the US and Soviet Union.  Of course, other agreements that start with peace end bloodily.  History suggests that treaties aren't enough--there has to be something more compelling than self-interest to sustain the peace.  Agreement is necessary but not sufficient.

There's a Sanskrit word that points to another element.  The word for peace generally cited is shanti, "tranquil," but I prefer a related word, shama, which has the sense of "settling" or "calming."  Again, we're back to a verb.  In this context, the calming precedes the peace--it is a prerequisite, sort of like taking a deep breath during anger.  In Indian philosophy, agitation is the source of confusion.  The clarity required for peace can't come from this space--it must come from a calmer, more expansive, more generous place.

How do civilizations achieve abiding peace?  We're not in the habit of trying.  We have war colleges that teach the strategies and tactics of force, but we have no peace colleges.  We haven't spent the time thinking of how to achieve mental states of clarity and openness.  We haven't built the connections between civilizations devoted to building agreement.  We don't know if it's possible because we've never tried.

Peace on earth?  We have much work to do.  May days like today be seeds for that work.  Happy holidays, you all--

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    Yes, Peace. There continues to be a big, significant issue relating to “peace” before us, the governing Democrats of Oregon. It calls for action here in Oregon. The issue is historic. Future historians will write about what we do or do not do. The issue is the rise of China, and to a lesser extent the emergence of other powers, in a global system that is more interconnected than ever, and how Oregon, and the US as a whole, responds to that rise.

    Over this century, China may rise in economic and military power to become the globe’s dominant superpower. Nothing, of course, is certain and predictable. But China’s rise is probable. The issue is how does Oregon, and the US as a whole, respond? How do we keep the peace as one superpower rises to replace another, as the US did to the British?

    U. of California Economics Professor Brad DeLong put it this way:

    “Think of it this way: Consider a world that contains one country that is a true superpower. It is preeminent--economically, technologically, politically, culturally, and militarily. But it lies at the east edge of a vast ocean. And across the ocean is another country--a country with more resources in the long-run, a country that looks likely to in the end supplant the current superpower. What should the superpower's long-run national security strategy be?

    “I think the answer is clear: if possible, the current superpower should embrace its possible successor. It should bind it as closely as possible with ties of blood, commerce, and culture--so that should the emerging superpower come to its full strength, it will to as great an extent possible share the world view of and regard itself as part of the same civilization as its predecessor: Romans to their Greeks.

    “In 1877, the rising superpower to the west across the ocean was the United States. The preeminent superpower was Britain. Today the preeminent superpower is the United States. The rising superpower to the west across the ocean from the world's industrial and military leader is China.”

    Embracing China may seem like a step too far now. But we should prepare our next generations to engage China in ways we are not now prepared to do. We can and should do much to help and prepare them. We should expand dramatically Mandarin and study abroad programs in China. The 2007 Democratic legislature failed to fund a small effort to promote and develop more Mandarin in the K-12 educational system. Future historians, I’m sure, will note that failure. There will be bills before the Democratic 2009 Oregon legislature to expand foreign language programs generally and Mandarin programs specifically. There will also be a bill to create a High School Study Abroad Scholarship Program to increase the number of Oregon public high school students studying abroad.

    I hope those future historians will not again note that the governing Democrats of Oregon failed to give its next generations the skills need to maintain peace during the 21st century. Taking the long view of hsitory, these obscure bills could be the most important bills of the 2009 session.

    There is some Republican support, the effort could be bipartisan, but we Democrats need to put it on the legislative agenda. As Rep. Dennis Richardson and I wrote to the 2006 Oregon Business Plan Steering Committee (see here for full proposal):

    “We as Oregonians can step forward, act boldly and with vision. Our children and their children will live in a very different world. We need to help them create their future. There are many contemporary crises (the Middle East, North Korea, terrorists, pandemics) but the central strategic and security issue of the 21st century will be the emergence of China as a world power and how the United States and China relate to each other. If these two great powers can get along, many other problems are solvable. If not, nuclear war and societal chaos are not impossible. If we fail to act as boldly as we can--breaking a few educational, geo-political and funding mindsets—-future generations will stand in wonder at our failure. History sets hard standards and will not be kind to us or to our children if we fail. We in Oregon have an historic opportunity to act on the stage of world history. Few get such an opportunity. With vision, resolution and cooperation, let us seize this opportunity and meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.” Peace to you all!

  • rw (unverified)
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    Look carefully at the history of Oregon business and its friendliness to China decades back. I was horrified and pissed off when Clinton abominated Most Favored Nation trading status by claiming that it never was linked to address of human rights abuses. During this same time, people of my acquaintance were siting their clothing factories in China and shrugged eloquently at the consideration of human rights issues in China. They tried to shell-game the conversation by talking about the degradation, loss of common knowledge bases and education left still in the wake of the Mao debacles.

    They elevated their "kind" work in China's ruralities by pointing out that they were teaching the local women how to bake bread (never mind they might have to do this as a result of FrankenWheat being exported and the fact that perhaps the use of this wheat would differ in some basic way from the use of wheat heretofore in useage?) adn also how to use makeup. This was a business man and his ex beauty queen wife. They were subcontractors for Levi Strauss in the manufacture of shoes, belts, other fashion products.

    Oregon has been in commerce with China for a long time, and, frankly has been shrugging at the considerations that could have been part of the mix earlier. They opted for selfish opportunism rationalized.

    Now we don't have the luxury of holding China to anything anymore. That was squandered on a national level.

    What comes next? History should not be kind to us already, my friend.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    You might find the research into the Caral site in Peru to be interesting. The data would seem to indicate that civilization was built on trade and that warfare only came later.

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    I was looking on their big list of "peace" in different languages

    They left out "roj" Every Klingon knows that roj means peace.

  • billy (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth: Peace isn't easy. Given our bloody record over the past three or four millennia, one might say it's impossible. . . . How do civilizations achieve abiding peace? We're not in the habit of trying. . . . we have no peace colleges. We haven't spent the time thinking of how to achieve mental states of clarity and openness. JK: A good first step would be to stop trying to impose ones will on one’s neighbors (or telling others how to live):

    Hitler vs. Europe Stalin vs. his people Mao vs. his people Talaban vs. USA Today’s Republicans vs. non-religious Democrats vs. non socialists.

    Just live and let live. Try it some time. Quit trying to tell others how to live. Even if it is to save the human race (eugenics - Hitler); save the workers (Stalin); obey GOD (modern Republicans); save the earth (AL Gore Democrats). (There is always a “nobel” reason to tell others how to live. That is how these slime balls suck in the gullible to their programs.)

    Try it - it probably works better than B.S like “mental states of clarity and openness.”

    Thanks JK

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    One very old idea to instantly foster global peace, would be to recycle the idea of champion combat to settle national disputes. We could maybe get the UN involved in prohibiting weapons and have the heads of state go at it mano a mano under the auspices of the UFC.

    All sorts of possibilities arise from this idea:

    If Keith Olbermann wants to put Hilary Clinton in a room with someone where "only one of them comes out", let him volunteer to be that "someone". I would pay good money to see the girl emerge with a bloody bit of pinstripe between her teeth.......

    or the obvious......George and Dick could have been stripped to their chickenhawk embossed speedos and thown in a ring with Saddam and Uday.....and so on.

    Matt Lindland might be available for coaching tips.....

  • rw (unverified)
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    JK person, are you serious?

    Democrats are Socialists? Have you happened to be watching what Dems do when they get into office? Not a socialist revolution, that is sure! In fact, sometimes only the rhetoric is discernably different from the other guys.

    Dems = socialists? Har har har har har...

  • hmm (unverified)
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    This is unrelated but has anyone else noticed that PolitickerOR is just posting everything on Blue Oregon and pretty much nothing else? Does anyone else think this is weird?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Peace on earth and good will to all!

    How about if we tried a little good will on these blogs! In the immortal wisdom of Rodney King, can't we all just get along? Good will is the precursor to peace. Here we have a blog entry about peace on earth, and does it have to descend into demonizing other people and name-calling? In the also immortal words of Walter Kelly's Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

  • rw (unverified)
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    I LOVE Pogo!

    When I was a little girl I'd read Pogo till I fell asleep when I visited my dad's.

    Good for you. You just delivered me a massive flashback replete with images of W.C. Fields, Pogo, Bud Man and solitary filbert-busting in my dad's bachelor pad backyard.

    Happy New Year Coming!

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    Alworth... A thought about how we can achieve peace:

    When Bill Clinton was running for president (and many times while we was president), he noted that in the history of the world, no two democracies have ever gone to war with each other. It seems that there's something about living in a democracy that makes negotiation and compromise part of the toolkit for political leaders, which extends itself to international affairs.

    So, if we want peace, we should encourage democracy.

    Now, the whole "democracy building" business has gotten a bad rap under Dubya, but I still think it should be the fundamental principle underpinning our foreign policy. We should seek to empower the people of the world to peacefully and democratically govern themselves - and shake off the yoke of despotic rule.

    Not only is that good for those people, but it's good for the rest of us too. Peace on Earth.

    (Of course, it's the "how" that's so difficult and controversial.)

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    The democratic governments/war arguement sort of ignores that the Nazi state was a direct consequence of a democratic government, it was elected in free and open elections.

    There are so many drivers for conflict that simple solutions manage to miss a bunch of them. If it were anything like simple we'd already have it. The imposition of a solution by force is quicker and and more simple than the politics of sorting it out. The USSR/USA pax was imposed by the consequences of nuclear war, the default solution. We've had 60 years of not shooting each other and yet we are where we stand today. Still not shooting each other, but scarcely in a state of agreement and using proxies to poke and jab.

    The bloody minded Roman culture is an odd place to go to for a verb involving peace. The ordinary mind set of ordinary Romans would lead to criminal charges today. If we are to have some chance of peace it would seem that fundamental governmental structures would have to change, we enforce the law. While you can paint petty pictures of it, we govern our own citizens with threat of or institution of force - scarcely a backdrop for Pax.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Peace above all is for those who support the status quo, but if you're in that category you're in a small minority. For most of the people of the Earth, peace should follow JUSTICE.

  • selma (unverified)
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    thnks

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Chuck makes an interesting point about the irony of the etymology, especially since it was commonly used as "pax romani", which was the result of global military domination.

    After reading Kari's post about peace and democracy, I was going to say what Harry did, a la Jimmy Carter, "If you want peace, work for justice". Perhaps Kari answered his own question about the means and combined you have "if you want peace work for justice through democracy". By Jove, I think we've invented the wheel!

    Maybe if you wanted to take the twist, instead of "peace on earth" to "peace with the earth", you could use Pacific, as in our ocean, as the root. The English were more romantic and with Pacific basically called it the Still or Peaceful Ocean, where the Dutch mapmakers just called it (and do) Grote Oceaan or Big Ocean (the phrase "Dutch poetry" still brings a smile to my face). Our peace with the earth should be as the Pacific, a constant ballast.

    At the heart of progressive thinking is the idea that you are trying to create a better life for all, hence justice, and awareness through democracy. It's the opposite of what happened after civilization when power became concentrated at the top and people showed their loyalty through diminished individualism. Progressivism moves the other direction, towards the less powerful, as an act of will, not of necessity. It makes sense that if we enfranchise as sacred that with no voice at all, the environment, you cannot help but be on the way toward peace for mankind as well. Perhaps we can learn from stone age societies, where human conflict is seen within the greater framework of environmental harmony. I as still struck by a quote I read on here, which turned out to be valid, that a New Guinea head hunter was asked if they still took heads, and he replied, "no, and the jungle has suffered much". It seems that in modern New Guinea they make exceptionally good loan officers (nothing to do with head hunting).

    Bottom line, I think the way you think about that determines party affiliation. At the end of the day (that's cricket so I can say it, nyaah), I think a conservative is someone that believes that human nature is evil and society purifies it, and a liberal is someone that believes that human nature is good and society corrupts it. A liberal progressive is always working towards a less corrupting society that allows more of what is good about human nature to express itself.

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    Speaking of Pogo:

    Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo! Nora's freezin' on the trolley, Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

    Don't we know archaic barrel, Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou? Trolley Molly don't love Harold, Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

    Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Polly wolly cracker n' too-da-loo! Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!

    Donkey Bonny brays a carol, Antelope Cantaloup, 'lope with you! Chollie's collie barks at Barrow, Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

    <hr/>

    Jeff, if I remember correctly the Rev'd. Sun Myung Moon founded a World Peace University before he went to jail.

    And there certainly are Peace Studies departments and programs under various names. The Peace Studies Association annual conference was at PSU this past October. Tom Hastings coordinated it (he's also involved with Veterans for Peace). The University of Portland's program sometime in the last decade went from Peace Studies to Peace & Justice, & now includes social justice issues within the U.S. as well as international peace. (The quote attributed to Jimmy Carter has variants preceding it from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope John XXIII, at least).

    Still, you are right that much more could be done in that direction.

    <hr/>

    In addition to what Chuck Butcher points out about Nazi Germany, the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm in World War I certainly had an elected parliament with considerable powers. And I guess I'd say that U.S.-inspired and directed overthrow of the democratic governments of Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s violates the spirit if not the technical letter definition of "war" in Clinton's claim.

    Democratic government is no guarantee against great powers committing aggression & breaking the peace for imperial or hegemonic aims, as the U.S., the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Belgium and other European powers have repeatedly demonstrated since the 19th century.

  • Peace (unverified)
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    We want just a world peace.

    "Peace in country peace in world" M.Kemal ATATÜRK adtech ile reklam 2.0 dönemi başlıyor ve Trkycmhrytllbtpydrklcktr r10.net seo yarışması

  • Dizi ilzeyelim mi (unverified)
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    Yea, Its true peace in my country,peace in world :) dizi izle

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    M.Kemal ATATÜRK

    Why didn't someone freeze him, so we could clone him?

  • rw (unverified)
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    Wow. Chris. The cockles of my eight year old girl heart just wiggled. Pogo is just the best. Bunches of memories there. Swinging on the inside fronds of a towering weeping willow of magnificent girth. Orange juice served in a seahorse juice cup, proffered by a large, square, calloused working man's hand. Sitting at dad's knee watching football and writing badly-lettered letters to relations I would never meet back in Chadron, Nebraska. And falling asleep in a pile of dad's Pogo books and Pogo toys.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Pogo Fan Club: http://www.pogo-fan-club.org/

    And look here! For Boston Charlie!!!

    http://www.pogo-fan-club.org/images/Boston_Charlie.pdf

  • rw (unverified)
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    Uh, Christopher - problems. Provenance is usually your strength, hermaneutically sealed adn all.... however, from the official Kelly Estate-bonifide Fan Club site comes this rendition and background on Boston Charlie:

    Over the years, six complete first verses to “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” appeared,along with some “unofficial” and incomplete lines. Songs of the Pogo did not print any of the alternate versions of the first stanza, which are listed below.

    Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash., and Kalamazoo! Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley, Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo! Don’t we know archaic barrel, Lullaby, Lilla boy, Louisville Lou. Trolley Molley don’t love Harold, Boola boola, Pensacoola, hullabaloo!

    Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Polly wolly cracker ‘n too-da-loo! Donkey Bonny brays a carol, Antelope, cantaloup, ‘lope with you! Hunky Dory’s pop is lolly, Gaggin’ on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!

    Chollie’s collie barks at Barrow, Harum scarum five-alarum, bung-a-loo! Duck us all in bowls of barley, Hinky dinky dink an’ polly voo. Chilly filly’s name is Chollie, Chollie’s filly’s jolly, chilly view halloo! (or: Chollie’s filly’s jolly, and so’s old Lou!)

    Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Double, bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof! Tizzy seas on melon collie, Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof goof!

    Tickle salty boss anchovie, Wash a wash a wall Anna Kangaroo. Ducky allus bows to Polly, Prolly Wally would but har’ly do!

    I am now so very confused...

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    hermaneutically sealed and all.

    That's one I'm going to have to use on purpose some time!

  • danodelion (unverified)
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    As long as there is profit potential for munitions, the rich will get richer, i.e., they will find a way to wage war and preclude peace. Take away the profit-margin from war-profiteering and make the commerce of world community more profitable. Easier said than done.

  • danodelion (unverified)
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    The splinter groups out there inviting peace need more support from all of us, more bodies for peaceful assembly. Also, more war-opposition and peace-growing ideas communication to government.

    [washcopeace] Washington Co Peace Vigil- Week 177

    If you would like to be added to our list, please reply to [email protected]

    4217 U.S. Lives Lost In Iraq

    We again had 5 vigil-antes on a cold, snowy Christmas eve. Hopefully you have all stayed safe and warm...and had a nice holiday. As we embark on a New Year, let's look forward with hope and perhaps you'll resolve to join us again soon.

    Wishing all of you a very happy New Year!!

    Wednesdays, 6:30-7:30pm S.W. Hall and 5th Street (Across from the Beaverton Library)

    http://change.gov/

    http://www.meetup.com/GayatriTemple-Beaverton-OR/

  • marv (unverified)
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    Peace? Not when killing is so profitable. Case in point is the current genocide being carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. Now, everyone holding their breath for Barrack Obama to do one thing different than GW Bush please do so while listening to or watching todays Democracy Now.

  • rw (unverified)
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    ZarEEthustrEE:

    Very nice of you not to criticize my mangled- up spelling. I know damned good and all quite well those got flimmered up but badly... after a week plus working long days at the home office workstation, I was walking like the coat hanger woman, and barely able to stay seated by the time I made that post. My keyboard was no longer my buddy, and I could not care enough about typing hygiene to backspace and cleanify.

    Oyyyyyyyy.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    OK, so now Jim Kaarlock is posting as "billy". Last week it was "fred". Either way, what we get from him is dogmatic libertarian ideology and history lessons that fit on postage stamps--sort of like what he submitted for the voters' pamphlet in support of his recent Libertarian Party candidacy for the state legislature. Here's a suggestion for Kaarlock: consider the possibility that there's such a thing as the commonwealth, or the common good, or however one might phrase the concept, instead of the dogmatic libertarian dream (nightmare to me) in which all human relations are nothing other than exchanges in an Econ 101 marketplace, which is--when one cuts through all the libertarian rhetoric--what you actually espouse when you write about "live and let live." As for me, I'll gladly take Alworth's "mental states of clarity and openness". FYI, Kaarlock, he's writing about the meditative experience, but be my guest and cynically dismiss this.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    marv: Thanks for your post, but my experience is that DP leadership, including the mainstays on BO, are not interested in Democracy Now or ever. DN to them is "far left", meaning far to the left of their comfortable bourgeois perches.

    Then again, some might decide to get off their asses and into the street tomorrow at 4:30 at SW 3rd & Madison to demand a just and legitimate Middle East policy. Prove me wrong about you.

  • marv (unverified)
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    What is happening to the people in the Gaza is a war crime. The leadership of the Democratic Party supports war crimes and will do nothing to prosecute Cheney. Marching in the street proves nothing.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Democracy Now is a great program. It's a mainstay of my morning commute. Nobody responded even once to my repeated efforts to communicate around Man in the Middle, but there's a bang up coverage on the architect of Rove's Man in the Middle... a guy who has, most likely, been killed to keep him quiet now that there are careful, slow little inquiries afoot. You can ONLY get the in-depth on Democracy Now.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Remember, it's all march to Harry's Drummer once you hit that street. Be very careful and do it just so. Remember the Winter Soldiers and MIcheal Mead vet events? THe ballistic shrilling and nastiness that did not take into account that these are vets speaking out AGAINST the war and seeking to heal themselves thru speaking, and heal us by speaking of what we must know? Amazing shallowness. Self-referential to the core.

    Yes... our same Harry. All the rage.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Rebecca: This is the last time that I will respond to you. Your linking me with something that happened at a Winter Soldiers event is beyond the pale. I did not attend the event in question, but I honor the vets who spoke the truth there.

    I don't know what your problem is, but it isn't me.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    marv: I am not an organizer of the event scheduled for tomorrow, but I don't anticipate that it will be a "march". Rather, it will be a demonstration of solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinian people, and, I hope, a demand for justice. Phyllis Bennis says this:

    So What do We Do?

    The immediate answer is everything: write letters to Congressmembers and the State Department, demonstrate at the White House and the Israeli Embassy, write letters to the editor and op-eds for every news outlet we can find, call radio talk shows, protest the U.S. representatives at the UN and their protection of Israeli crimes. We need to engage with the Obama transition process and plan now for how we will keep the pressure on to really change U.S. policy in the Middle East. We should all join the global movement of outrage and solidarity with Gaza. There are a host of on-line petitions already -- we should sign them all. The U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation is compiling action calls on our website -- www.endtheoccupation.org. We have to do all of that.

    But then. We can't stop with emergency mobilizations. We still have to build our movement for BDS -- boycott, divestment and sanctions, to build a global campaign of non-violent economic pressure to force Israel to comply with international law. We have to challenge U.S. military aid that scaffolds Israel's military aggression, and U.S. political and diplomatic support that prevents the UN and the international community from holding Israel accountable for its violations. We have to do serious education and advocacy work, learning from other movements that have come before about being brave enough to call something what it is: Israeli policies are apartheid policies, and must be challenged on that basis.

    We have a lot of work to do.

  • rw (unverified)
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    You were not at the event. Simply you and your angry ilk ranting at the mention of events and activities for vets at the time. It was really a sad spectacle. Instead of attending to the announcment by myself and I think Chris Lowe of some good events of dialog and listening that can heal the ones who hate war, used to believe in war, are hurt by war etc...

    Naturally neither you nor Bodden nor the rest you circle with here would be caught dead at those events. But there was lotsa noise up here.

    Now we have a really complicated situation in Gaza and what we get is donut holes from you.

  • rw (unverified)
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    And yes, Harry: my problem is you. And those angry, angry little people like you. Predictably unpleasant to all but the few who speak the same lexicon, hold the same angle of view; predictably pugilistic and rigid. I rarely hear you able to talk more than one side of a point, unable to circle round and find yourself resonating in empathy to other sides after you've tasted of that which you say to yourself "Is Mine" (yours, I mean, Harry).

    I used to wait to hear more than pumpkin-bashing from you. Obviously bright. But not nice at all. And always right, aren't you? Always so right.

    Your staunch rigidity is all about Beliefs. And as we know from other extremists (not Radicals, Harry, for even Radicals occassionally stop and listen with humanity) named and demonized here frequently, you do not add love to the mix, you do not add friendship or respect. You distort, you deride, you demean. It would be so nice to hear kind words and even conversational tones from you instead of the din of constant anger.

    You make my gut clench the same as the Vlaams Belangers do. Luckily, your humorless presence is not the only tenor here. And as you see, occassionally I am guilty of going on an intense tear in reaction to your ugliness.

    Thermodynamics again.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Kershner sez: "Peace above all is for those who support the status quo."

    Right. Mahatma Gandhi would be the obvious example of peaceniks supporting the status quo. Thanks for the insight, Kershner.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    RW--yep, Kershner is one angry man. I'm reminded of a time about 20 years ago when I was a faculty member at a state university and attended a meeting of the board of regents regarding divesting from South African investments. Some students from a campus activist group read a statement referring to the regents as "scumbags". I knew some of these students through my involvement with an anti-intervention group on the campus, and a few days after the meeting, I happened to be chatting with these folks and suggested that calling the regents "scumbags" was not advancing their cause. Their response was to attack me with righteous indignation and rage about how "people were dying in South Africa", so how did I dare to criticize them for their behavior? I can easily envisage Kershner doing exactly the same thing, excusing his bad behavior by pointing out that someone, somewhere was suffering.

  • rw (unverified)
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    ... yes, thanks. I've seen such during work in HIV/AIDS in the hinterlands wehre you had to work the institutions open with patience, regard, steely focus, and kindness. And my mortification is that I lose compose and resonate at that valence of value, return same for same, initiate too.

    It's terrible. It is blind, pointless and blind, and my guts do not feel ANY difference between he and the terrifying people I've described in some of my posts. I do not believe Harry would resort to violence as I KNOW those others do and have done, would do... but I know that he would saturate, does saturate my spirit with vile, putrid angry-ness when he decks people up here. He reminds me of a bull raging across a field, fully canalized in the thrust of his own hormones, nature, irreality. There is no reaching nor touching him, so fully within his Beast.

    Surely there is within that Nature some magnificent powerful ability to protect and bulwark. But it is all tuned up a different way. And morons such as I periodically lose discipline and entertain ourselves with bear baiting and equivalent unpleasantness.

    After which, a shower is called for. Right about now, I kid you not.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I can easily envisage Kershner doing exactly the same thing, excusing his bad behavior by pointing out that someone, somewhere was suffering.

    Do you scream when you're being tortured? A lot of people are just too sensitive for this world, yet try to stay engaged. Some people can't handle seeing a lost pet posting as they walk down the street; physically feels like a punch in the stomach. Some people shoot unarmed Iraqis and laugh. It's a pretty wide range. I know a guy that can only watch boring cricket matches. He excuses himself, often, during the close contests. They make him physically ill. I've gotten into it with a stranger and not been able to eat for days.

    I thank Harry for engaging in what might be a very painful process. If it is, the odd wail shouldn't be an issue. Isn't it nice that some people can't get on with bidness when they are aware of suffering? I said some people!

  • dld (unverified)
    (Show?)

    rw, that has to be a record. 11 posts without anything on "peace". Would it have been to difficult to move the songs to the topic with made up xmas carols?

    Kari, maybe adding a "shoutbox" type chat widget to the sidebar would reduce crosstalk. Seems a lot of small quick post are virtual chat. Nice attempt to get this back on target; too bad it was ignored.

    The word derivation stuff at the beginning was interesting. Too bad is was cut short. One or two, I thought, were brilliant.

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