Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Peace Correspondent, Vol.1, No. 2

The Peace Correspondent, Vol.1, No. 2

Identity and Extremism

We’re excited to announce the second edition of The Peace Correspondent, a solution-based periodical published three times per year by Writing for Peace. The theme of this edition is “Identity and Extremism.” In order to maintain our periodical format, it will arrive via email as a pdf attachment. You are welcome to forward the pdf  to interested friends and family. The periodical will also go up on the website here and be shared through our Facebook page.

Our next edition of the Peace Correspondent will come out on June 31st, 2017 with the theme “Climate Justice”. If you are interested in joining our Peace Journalists and writing for The Peace Correspondent, check out our guidelines here.

Congratulations to Editor-in-Chief Elissa Tivonna, Associate Editors Andrea W. Doray and Melody Rautenstraus, and our team of brilliant Peace Journalists!

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Famine, by Djelloul Marbrook

 riding-thermals

Famine

I’ve kicked my ass all over the world
for sipping poisons like an oenologist,
but it’s not without its rewards:
the cracks in buildings speak
and I’m the plenipotentiary
of a foreign power whose name I forget.
I enjoy name recognition
among the ghosts of certain places
because they recognize a fellow taster,
one who let the invaders settle in
before levying a dhimmi tax on them.
This is my Islam, that I died
so often standing up, stepping out
to get a breath of air and going in
for all that crap about genetics;
my Islam is noticing what’s going on,
burning the authorized version in oil drums
under bridges, growing abutments
to support my Queensboros
over rivers of shifting wrecks
& vortices of forgiveness not so much
as a famine of the eye.

djelloul-marbrook leaningDjelloul Marbrook is the author of five published poetry books: Far from Algiers (2008, Kent State University Press, winner of the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry), Brushstrokes and Glances (2010, Deerbrook Editions), Brash Ice (2014, Leaky Boot Press, UK) , Shadow of the Heron (2016, Coda Crab Books), and Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds (2017, Leaky Boot). Forthcoming in 2017 from Leaky Boot are four more: Nothing True Has a Name, Even Now the Embers, Other Risks Include, and Air Tea with Dolores. His fiction includes Saraceno (Bliss Plot, 2012), Mean Bastards Making Nice (2014, Leaky Boot), and two books of short fiction forthcoming in 2017 from Leaky Boot: A Warding Circle: New York Stories and Making Room: Baltimore Stories. He won the 2008 Literal Latté fiction prize for “Artists Hill,” an excerpt from Crowds of One, Book 2 in the Light Piercing Water trilogy, forthcoming in 2018 from Leaky Boot. A U.S. Navy veteran and retired newspaper editor, he lives in the mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn and maintains a lively presence on Twitter and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djelloul.marbrook.5

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

2017 Young Writers Contest

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest

Our March 1st deadline is quickly approaching! Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. Spread the word!

Check Out The Latest From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserNewsletter: Being Prepared To Turn Crisis To Our Advantage

“What lessons should the protest movement of today take from the 9/11 experience and similar events that have occurred, e.g. the 1933 burning down of Reichstag under Hitler, which turned him into a dictator even though his party did not have a majority in the legislature?”

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Birds Still Build Nests, by Mary Carroll-Hackett

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Birds Still Build Nests

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

even when bombs are falling, even when the dams are failing, even when the hate is ravenous and roaring, even when the hills are on fire. Birds still build nests, making homes for their babies, weaving string and straw and song and wire into being, as if the world is not careening toward ending, as if they’ve forgotten how dark, how dark, it always is. But then, maybe we’re the ones who have forgotten, who have made myths of our own pain, who have convinced ourselves of power against the torrential rain, all wishful shields and shrouds sewn of things that don’t last, can’t last. The birds, skittering between forever and yesterday, say: Nothing lasts. Build it anyway.

 

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace Adviser2Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of The Real Politics of LipstickAnimal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and A Little Blood, A Little Rain. Her newest collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, will be out from Kelsey Books in September 2017. Learn more about Writing for Peace Adviser Mary Carroll-Hackett and her work here.

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

2017 Young Writers Contest

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest

Our March 1st deadline is quickly approaching! Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. Spread the word!

Support Writing for Peace

You can help make the Writing for Peace Mission a reality by supporting our youth outreach, international journal, and peace journalism in the following ways:

  • Help spread the word about Writing for Peace. One way to do that is to frequent our Facebook page, share and like our posts.
  • Purchase copies of DoveTales for yourself, friends, and loved ones.
  • Add Writing for Peace to the list of organizations you support in your annual giving. Writing for Peace is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID Number, 45-2968027. We welcome and appreciate your donations!  Thank you for your ongoing support!

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Dylann Roof, “A Fractured Soul,” by Edward Currelley

In memory of Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54) – Bible study member and manager for the Charleston County Public Library system; sister of Malcolm Graham. Susie Jackson (87) – a Bible study and church choir member. Ethel Lee Lance (70) – the church's sexton. Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49) – a pastor who was also employed as a school administrator and admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University. Clementa C. Pinckney (41) – the church's pastor and a South Carolina state senator. Tywanza Sanders (26) – a Bible study member; grandnephew of Susie Jackson. Daniel Simmons (74) – a pastor who also served at Greater Zion AME Church in Awendaw. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45) – a pastor; also a speech therapist and track coach at Goose Creek High School. Myra Thompson (59) – a Bible study teacher. In memory of Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson.

The Case of Dylann Roof, “A Fractured Soul”

By Edward D. Currelley

Dylann Roof is an all-American boy. A home grown terrorist, Roof reflects an America this nation does not want you to know—the same nation that has now elected a president who promoted disrespect for women, hatred innuendo, division, and bigotry. Dylann Roof is the native son, a monster.

Unrepentant, Roof represented himself to prevent a court-appointed attorney from misleading the court about his mental capacity. Under oath he claimed to be sane, fully aware of his actions and their consequences.

Now Roof has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Presently, he is in the process of filing for a motion granting ninety days to prepare for an appeal which, by law, he is entitled to. If anyone does, Roof deserves to die for his heinous crimes. There, I said it!

Let us digress. On June 17th, 2015,  Dylann Roof, aged twenty-two, was welcomed into a prayer meeting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. While standing in a circle with these unsuspecting souls, grasping each others’ hands with heads bowed in prayer, Dylann Roof pulled a semi-automatic weapon from concealment and shot thirteen people. Four of the victims were critically wounded, and nine died. One of the injured called the police from a hiding place under a table, and Roof was arrested a short time later without incident.

The next morning, my gut hurting and unable to stop the tears, I turned to social media and found the Internet teaming with declarations of hate, revenge, and cries for help. Exactly, I imagined, the reaction Roof and the white supremacists most wanted—to inflict fear, hatred, and emotional devastation.

So, despite my own anger and distress, I wrote an open letter to America—a letter about sympathy, about compassion for the victims and their families, and also about forgiveness. I wrote about the factions in our society that would raise a young man in hatred, warp his young mind, and set him free to prey on the unsuspecting. The reactions ranged from anger to praise, but a version of this post was later published in the 2016 DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, “Family & Cultural Identity.”  

The young Dylann Roof formulated his opinions regarding race relations without his family’s knowledge or approval. In his twisted mind he believed his killings would lead to a revolution or ignite a war between the races. Throughout the trial, he held fast to his convictions without remorse, despite the overwhelming sorrow expressed by his family for the pain and suffering he had caused. At the sentencing, he stated that he didn’t see the point of asking for leniency because he would do it again given the opportunity.

After just three hours of deliberation, the jury determined that Dylann Roof should be put to death. When I heard the news my first response was a resounding, YES!!! The punishment, I thought,  should be as harsh as the heinous crime. But then, as I relished that sense of justice upheld, the families of the murdered and critically injured began to come forward to plead for this young man’s life. Out of heart and through faith, they offered up forgiveness unmatched by anything I’ve seen of recent.

WE THE PEOPLE have a voice and will stand for only so much. This country incarcerates thousands of African American men and women each year for non-violent crimes. There are unwarranted police shootings and brutality of our young men and women, raising cries of Black Lives Matter. Now we’ve accepted a president with unprecedented ethical issues, a farce blatantly perpetrated on the American people that has resulted in increased hate crimes. With all they have suffered, personally and as African Americans citizens of this nation, how is it possible that these champions of faith hold on to such love of humanity? I have no answer.

I’m not vindictive. I don’t desire revenge. But I am tired of watching a tattered nation getting worse every day.  Still, for all my pain and discouragement, these people of faith have restored my hope for our nation.

There is absolutely no chance of Dylann Roof ever walking the streets again. Dylann Roof’s future lay within his heart and mind. He will never be a danger to anyone, except (perhaps) himself.  Some would ask, why waste tax-payer dollars on his incarceration. Roof may have hate in his heart, but he wasn’t born that way; it’s a learned concept.The incarcerated have time for soul-searching, and sometimes that reflection results in reformed thought, maybe even a better human being. Stranger things have happened. The most evil of hearts has found faith, remorse, and forgiveness within penitentiary walls.

If the people directly affected, the families and congregation, can forgive Dylann Roof, then who are we to deny their wishes beyond prison? With death we gain nothing, least of all satisfaction. With life there is a chance of reform.  The families and congregation of Emanuel AME Church have preached with the will of a higher power. My personal opinion doesn’t matter, but I believe this is one of those cases where an eye for an eye will only leave a nation blind.

Maybe, Dylann Roof will save himself.

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Edward CurrelleyEdward D. Currelley is an author and artist. He was awarded honorable status by Writer’s Digest for Stage Playwriting in 2008. His children’s book, I’m not lost, I’m with you and young adult novel, That Krasbaum Kid will be published this year. His poems and short stories can be found in numerous anthologies and periodicals, such as Eber & Wein’s Across the Way-Mountain, The Mom Egg Review, Writing for Peace’s 2016 Dove Tales, Sling Magazine, Metaphor Magazine and Split This Rock. He is the president of Pen To Mind Books & Child Development Concepts, Inc. and resides in New York City. (edwardcurrelley.wix.com/the-poet)

Small Writing for Peace logoA Message from Writing for Peace

We, at Writing for Peace, are horrified and deeply saddened by the tragic and inhumane terrorist attack at a Quebec City mosque. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by this act of hate and incomprehensible violence.

Writing for Peace Adviser Azfar Rizvi and The Institute of Canadian Archives has put together a list of ways to offer help to the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec during this difficult time of healing. They suggest donating by check or direct deposit according to the instructions provided on the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec’s (CCIQ) website:

1. Make a cheque out to “Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec” and send it to:

Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec
2877 chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, Quebec G1V 1W3

2. To donate by direct deposit:

Banking institution: Caisse Populaire Desjardins
Agency: Laval University, Quebec
Account number: 0815 20439 041290 8
Beneficiary: Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec
Address: 2877 chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, Québec, G1V 1W3

As incidents of hate crimes continue to rise in this political climate, we will strive to counter that hate with acts of empathy, compassion and love. We will write for peace, march for peace, and reach out across divides (real and imagined) for peace. As many of us recently chanted in streets all over the world, we believe in building bridges, not walls.

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Introducing Our New President, Andrea W. Doray

Carmel Mawle is the founder of Writing for Peace and serves as President of the Board of Directors.

Carmel Mawle, Founder

By Carmel Mawle, Founder and Past President

One afternoon, in April of 2012, a group of writers gathered around a table in front of a Denver coffee shop. Herb gardens bloomed and spilled from pots as we brainstormed with a vibrant coffee-infused energy. We were all members of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, all of us deeply moved and inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests that had survived it’s first brutal winter. As sunlight filtered through new leaves, we imagined a future for Writing for Peace, a simple idea that had begun the autumn before with a young writers contest that sought to develop empathy. On this magical afternoon, our annual journal and it’s title,  DoveTales, was first conceived along with a million other brilliant ideas. Andrea W. Doray was at the table that afternoon and, as we reminisced the other day, she said she could have leapt over the table in her enthusiasm to be a part of Writing for Peace.

We’re now putting together our fifth DoveTales, and how far we’ve come in these short five years! Andrea W. Doray, an award-winning journalist and poet, has been an integral part of  Writing for Peace from the beginning. I am thrilled now to announce that she will be stepping in as President of the Board of Directors. In addition to her mighty pen, Andrea brings with her a wealth of experience in publishing, public relations, and marketing that promises to propel the organization forward during a time when empathy, compassion, and writing for peace is more important than ever. Watch for her inspiring monthly President’s Corner in our blog, the first of which appears below!

Congratulations, Andrea, and thank you for your commitment and service on behalf of a more peaceful world!

President’s Corner:

We Write … That’s Our Superpower

by Andrea W. Doray

 

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Andrea W. Doray, President

For my recent birthday, a friend who knows me well presented me with a coffee mug that says: “I write … what’s your superpower?” She knows I believe, as most of us do, that our words make a difference. And that is, after all, the reason I write.

Of course, as may also be true for you, I write because I have to, because it’s as essential to me as breathing. There’s nothing unique in this sentiment. All the writers I know feel this way to one degree or another. Just thinking on paper through the marvelous and mysterious world of words, through the various lexicons of language, satisfies something crucial in us.

I also write because I feel that I personally have to do something about the world and the way I view it. And when I despair – as I often do – about refugee camps and the ravages of war, about kidnappings, torture, and rape as a weapon of war, about the devastation that war inflicts and then leaves in its wake, I want to be of some use, to put my hands to work. I yearn to offer what little expertise I have as an aid worker to make things right.

In short, I want to be a superhero.

But I have wise friends who remind me that I already have a superpower. When I need to put these hands to work, I grab my pen. I think on paper. Like you, I provide information and education, I create awareness, I ask for action, and most of all I try to spark a measure of considered thought from decent people around the globe.

Through Writing for Peace, we model for young people the ways to make a difference with their words through cultural understanding and acceptance. We model for governments the ways a movement can start and evolve to bring about awareness of and support for issues. We model for the world the ways peaceful activism works to bring about change.

We are so powerful.

I look forward to our many initiatives, including our journal, DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, which has been lovingly nurtured and edited by our past president and founder Carmel Mawle for five issues. Have you see the Peace Correspondent, our just-launched news magazine, spearheaded by board member Elissa Tivona?

Writing for Peace Advisor Mary Carroll-Hackett led a stellar Youth Summit in 2016, which brought students from around the globe together for conversation and problem solving. Watch for news about the 2017 Youth Summit later this year.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve as president of Writing for Peace – an organization that, since its founding five years ago, has allowed me to pursue my passion, my desire, my absolute need to bring peace to the forefront of the world’s conversations.

If what we write prompts someone else to think about something differently, to support a position, to articulate their own thoughts, or to take peaceful action that advances worldwide – and local – understanding of human rights and social justice, we have made the difference we set out to make.

We write … that’s our superpower. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.