Category Archives: Guest Contributors

Different Walks

Rachelle header2

Different Walks

By Rachelle Mawle

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of public discourse, lately. So much of the conflict seems to center on long-held beliefs. And many of those who most adamantly cling to extreme views on politics, religion, and the social safety net, don’t seem to have experienced much beyond childhood parameters.

I know there are exceptions to the rule. Many young people emerge from their childhood bubbles with curiosity, bursting into the world with an open mind and a desire to learn about other faiths and cultures. But, more and more, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. So, I’m going to speak in generalities here, because right now it’s the other young people I’m most curious about.

Why is it that a child raised in one religion, the faith of their family, clings most tightly not to the sacred texts, but to the belief that their viewpoint is the only right one? And reinforce that belief by assuring themselves that everyone else is wrong or naive? Why is it that a person who (by sheer luck) is born into wealth and privilege can look at those in need of financial assistance and automatically assume that human being is a waste of money? Is it simply a lack of life experience and education, or a merciless cocktail of nature and nurture?

A concerning skin growth recently sent me trekking into Atlanta to visit a dermatologist. Doctor visits are always stressful, but adding the possibility of skin cancer had made me a nervous wreck. I was grateful that my fiancé and son could go with me. The doctor recognized that I was worried about the biopsy. She was kind and reassuring, talking about where she was raised, sharing that she had attended Stanford Medical School.

“How do you like Georgia?” she asked.

“It’s a definite adjustment,” I answered. I told her about my futile attempts to get my son into a decent school, and how I’d never had to worry about my son’s education in Fort Collins.

“I attended some wonderful private schools, growing up,” she said. “There are some good ones nearby.”

I smiled politely. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the income for private schools. It’s looking like we might just have to home school.”

I was baffled by her response.

“What a wonderful opportunity!” she said. “It’s so beneficial to be home schooled! And how lucky your child is to be taught by his parents! Really, more people should do that, I often wonder if I had been home schooled how much more I would have learned.”

Right. Let them eat cake. Oh, how lucky, I thought, that so many children don’t have access to quality education. For parents who aren’t wealthy (like this doctor), there are only two options. Enroll your child in a crappy school, or home school them. Heaven forbid both parents have to work to make a living, or perhaps don’t have the mental or emotional resources to educate their children on their own.

I just smiled again, and said “You’re right, my boy’s lucky.”

The doctor was raised with privilege. She seemed to be a caring person, but really had no idea how people below her demographic lived or what issues they had to face.

I have to wonder if even a Stanford Medical degree is not as beneficial as walking a mile in another physician’s stilettos – or in my case (on this particular day), Target flip-flops.

If an infant was born and grew up inside a box, they would emerge believing the world was a cube. Empathy and compassion develop from a personal effort to continue growth and education beyond what our parents or schools taught us. The reality is we never graduate from the need to continue learning. And we have much to learn from each other, from our different walks.

No one, no matter race, education, or finances, is superior to another.

We are all human beings.

***

Rachelle and Cory 2Rachelle Mawle is a writer, blogger, homeschool teacher, and devoted mother to a ten year old boy and two fur babies who test her on a daily basis. She recently moved to Atlanta, GA, from Fort Collins, CO, to be with her fiancé, and is still in the process of adjusting…maybe forever. Check out her blog at www.anotherdailydisaster.com.

 

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Using Fiction to Make a Difference, By C. Hope Clark

885531_1397643157198017_8152972408955752389_o

Using Fiction to Make a Difference

By C. Hope Clark

 hope 2014-06-13 16.56.56 (2)Writing for peace . . . writing for any cause . . . usually comes in the form of nonfiction. The narrative essay, the journalism piece, the academic study. These days we’re bombarded with so many headlines, causes, and pressure to take a stand, that the noise is deafening.

Pundits shout. Protesters yell. Few can hold a calm, civil conversation and discuss the issues in a normal tone of voice. There are many people in the world who want to hear the discussion, or better understand the need for peace and understanding, but they’re so weary of the cacophony that they close their ears, and therefore, their minds.

When I was a child, I was taught that to teach your religion you have to live it by example, not shout it, and not force it upon others. In other words, people are more prone to want to learn about your religion when they see it in practice, and witness how remarkable a life it can mold. Writers seek to show don’t tell in their stories. In life, to tell someone how great that religion is doesn’t work nearly as well as showing. And of course shouting about it works least of all.

The same goes for peace. Whether talking immigration, guns, war, or political asylum, we cannot demand change. It’s counterintuitive. So how do we set the example for these sorts of issues and reach more people in a more convincing manner?

Fiction.

Storytelling has existed since the invention of language. Before man could write, he was passing down stories from generation to generation by talking around the campfire. Surely some were embellished, much like the game of whispering in someone’s ear, then they whisper the same story in someone else’s ear, then so on around the circle . . . only for the end result to be altered. However, the point of the story usually remained intact. The embellishment usually was made to create a more memorable point.

Poetry has long been a courier of communication, putting difficult topics into lyrical prose. To make it more palatable? Maybe. To dramatize a subject? Also, maybe. But if it opens up someone’s ears so that they listen to the message, then poetry is powerful.

The same goes for fiction.

Jean Kwok was a child when her family immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn. Her multi-award-winning novels center around families uprooted and acclimating in new countries. Girl in Translation is her most popular and powerful, painting a story very similar to her own life.

The novels Border Child and The Iguana Tree were written by Michele Stone, a noted South Carolina author, with an emphasis on Mexican border crossings. She personalized the plight of Mexican immigrants through the effects on the children. Touching and poignant, the books have been recommended as reading in some school districts.

Before You Know Kindness, by Chris Bohjalian, depicts the issue of gun control in fiction, when a man’s young daughter accidentally shoots him, shattering the family dynamic.

Noted suspense/thriller author Heather Graham danced with human trafficking in A Dangerous Game, from her New York Confidential series.

Author Angie Thomas published The Hate U Give, about a cop killing an unarmed teenager, and how the community ripped itself apart taking different stances on the why and how it all went down. Who was right? Who knows the real answer, and what really is real?

Fiction allows the reader to be impartial, absorb the story, and envision how critical topics like these seriously impact people without the spin of television news, when doors are shut and nobody’s watching. Enabling the reader to view things three-dimensionally, witnessing how issues affect individuals rather than politics and journalism. And this type of storytelling, like with our ancestors long before us, sticks in the mind.

Want to write about issues? Before you consider a journalism feature, editorial, or an edgy blog post, step back. What if you told the world a story instead? A fiction story with all the realism of life. Capture people’s minds and hearts by depicting painful need through a tale.

Then once you have their attention, and you’re all talking nicely about the book, you can morph into the real facts . . . and possibly made headway toward real change.

 

Hope Newberry Sin FINAL COVER (2)BIO: Mystery author C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers.  She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they spin mysteries just for fun.

Many thanks to C. Hope Clark for sharing her insights with us. To learn more about her mystery series, visit her at www.chopeclark.com, and follow her wonderful blog tour! Check out the trailer here: The C. Hope Clark blog tour trailer

Writing for Peace

Writing for Peace News

Young Writers contest

The Young Writers contest results have been delayed until Tuesday, May 8th. Check our blog for results next week. Apologies for the wait!

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Poetry by Phil Johnson, Guest Contributor

Vietnam_War_Memorial_at_night

Vietnam War Memorial at night, Public Domain

A BRISK WALK

A brisk walk
Takes me to a wall
My hand searches the names
For a ribbon of my sanity
The cold marble
Folds into itself with sorrow
The wall aches of innocence
It is the texture of God
Evening shadows pool
Black blood at my feet
These are the victims of deceit

A sense
Not so much of guilt
As unworthiness
Ripples down my spine
What is the purpose here
Absolution, humility
For I have tasted war
Only through the tormented words
Of countless poets

And I wonder
How many more poems
Will be ripped
From the brutal guts and horror
Of the depravity of war

COLD MOMENTS

There are times
Cold moments
In the heat of the day
When I can see
Through the myth
Deep into the naked eyes
Of war

Is it memory
Steeped in violence
Stilled by death
That carries me
On the cold wings
Of a wicked wind
Or is it in the hands
Of a callous god
That delivers me
To the wretched trench

What difference
If I am English
Or German, or French
All occupy
By unholy chance
The fetid trench
And wait
In the moldy mist
With empty eyes
The cruel call
To advance
Another chance
To die

THE INNOCENCE OF HIS YOUTHFUL DEATH

While everyone accepted the innocence
Of his youthful death
No one understood the instant death
Of my innocence
And, no one was aware
Of his winter’s moving in and about
The crevices and shadows
Within the shiplap walls
Of the decrepit barn
Perhaps he spent those winter evenings
Wondering why
I was milking cows
And why
He was dead

Phil JohnsonAbout Guest Contributor Phil Johnson
Say “Phil” in Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington and everyone knows who you mean. Port Townsend raised, soldier, peace activist, Berkeley grad, fisher, builder, businessperson, patron of the arts, cultural and environmental preservationist, county commissioner, husband and father, Phil Johnson epitomizes “citizenship.”

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

Breaking! Donation Match Offer!

An anonymous donor has generously offered to match all donations up to $2500 during the month of December. This, coupled with our holiday Fundraising Special (below), means your contribution will go further and supplement more libraries than ever before!

5 books 2

Holiday Fundraising Special!
During the month of December, we will donate a complete five-volume set of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to the public school library of your choice for every tax-deductible donation of $75 or more!

Our administration is board operated, and all members, board and advisers, work on a volunteer basis. 100% of contributions go to support our mission. Writing for Peace is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID Number, 45-2968027.

Ours is a simple mission with profound affect on the lives of our young writers:

Through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace seeks to cultivate the empathy that allows minds to open to new cultural views, to value the differences as well as the hopes and dreams that unite all of humanity, to develop a spirit of leadership and peaceful activism.

Donate now to take advantage of our special library offer and see your contribution doubled!

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Considering Tears, By Yahya Ghobadi

Writing for Peace welcomes Guest Writer Yahya Ghobadi, director of the animated film, Tears.

The Tears, by Yahya Ghobadi 2

 Considering Tears

By Yahya Ghobadi

 

Tears is a reflection on the crisis of war which continues in Syria, Iraq, and other countries. “Dove Tear” soars above the rooftops, witnessing the annihilation caused by mankind’s power and actions. Only hearts of noble extraction are capable of feeling the full impact of war’s devastation.

This nine minute movie includes a collection of World War I footage showing the use of chemical weapons and their affects on humans, the ongoing environmental damage from those weapons, and the reality that there are still countries using these weapons of mass destruction today. Parents will risk their lives to protect their children, but they are helpless against weapons of mass destruction such as the chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds.

Rather than focus on any specific country, the story is told predominantly from a child’s perspective. It is the girl’s birthday and her family is celebrating. She loves the stuffed bear her parents have given her, and is completely unaware of the war that is taking place. The young girl leaves her parents, excited to show her friends the doll, but meets terrible tragedy. Too many children lose their parents in war tragedies like this. Children drown in their dreams and lose everything to pure cruelty; air strikes kill innocent families – just for power.

There are a few movies that had a profound affect on me as a young man – movies that I will never forget. One of those was Schindler’s List; it inspired me to make movies about Human Rights and Justice. It was difficult working on my own, and it took a long time to finish Tears with no financial support, but it was a film I was passionate about, and I’m proud of what I have achieved. The majority of what I’ve depicted in the film is real, but there is truth in the surreal, as well. I’m grateful for the recognition Tears has received, including winner of the best animation reward from the STEPS International Rights Film Festival jury in 2013.

In the storyline, the whole city is targeted, and bombs are dropped on civilians. The little girl miraculously survives to witness her city, home, and family destroyed. Days pass, and white doves fly into the sky, symbolizing the spirits of those innocent people who lost their lives. Eventually, the little girl finds her grandmother alive, though mournful and traumatized, because I agonize over these questions: Who will look after these children who are orphaned by war? And will they ever recover from the mental and emotional trauma?

In the end, the word “Justice” is what spiritual people are looking for and understand well. My film exposes the repeated unjust history of innocent people losing their lives for others’ greed, and I, as a Kurdish director from Iran, have created this film to show the people of the world these inequities.

I wish for peace and justice in the world.

About Yahya Ghobani, Guest Writer

Yahya GhobadiYahya Ghobani lives in Kermanshah, a city in West Iran. He began learning animation on his own through free study and experimentation when he worked at a local television, and collaborated on several animated children’s serials. He created the award winning short film, Tears, without any financial backing. His interest in further developing this art form led him to enroll in the university where he now studies in the field of film and imaging.

Watch the film (and other important links):

View the trailer for Tears here and watch the film here in its entirety (Use password 25252525YG.) Follow Yahya Ghobadi on Facebook here. View Yahya Ghobani’s International awards here. View a short video about the making of The Tears here.

 

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

Recommended Reading From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserMedical Students To Hold Nationwide ‘Die-In’: #BlackLivesMatter

Writing for Peace Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers was one of the demonstrators arrested in this case. Stay abreast of Climate Change, Net Neutrality, and human rights activism, and learn where you can make a difference.

DoveTales Call for Submissions

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is accepting submissions for our 2015 “Nature” edition. Read our guidelines and submit here.

DoveTales Now Available In PDF Format

Writing for Peace supporters can now enjoy our beautiful journals in PDF format. Our 2013 “Occupy” and 2014 “Contrast” editions are now available for just $4.99.

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013“Occupied” 2013

Book Description: A full color journal, featuring poetry, essays, and fiction from established and emerging writers, as well as art and photography. Writers and artists explored the many definitions of the “Occupied” theme in brilliant and unexpected ways.

Contributors include: Andrea W. Doray, Kim Goldberg, Veronica Golos, Nancy Aidé González, Sam Hamill, Denny Hoffman, Michael Lee Johnson, Adam Jones, Ron Koppelberger, Paula Dawn Lietz, Paul Lindholt, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Ellen Meeropol, Mark A. Murphy, Tricia Orr, Kenneth Pobo, Manual A. López, Linda Quennec, Nausheen Rajan, Shirani Rajapakse, April Salzano, Nizar Sartawi, Laura Solomon,John Stocks, Julie Stuckey, Samantha Peters Terrell, Richard Vargas

Plus 2012 Young Writers Fiction Contest Winners: Shadia Farah, 1st Place; Caroline Nawrocki, 2nd Place; Tait Rutherford, 3rd Place

2014 DoveTales, "Contrast" Edition“Contrast” 2014

DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, 2014 “Contrast” edition features poetry, essays, and short stories from our 2013 Young Contest Winners, as well as established and emerging writers, and strikingly beautiful black and white photography from our Artist-in-Residence, Paula Dawn Lietz.

Contributors: Jordi Alonso, Cassandra Arnold, Maggie Bàra, Henry Braun, Lorraine Caputo, William Cass, Lorraine Currelley, Colin Dodds, John Garmon, Diane Giardi, Mark Goad, Veronica Golos, Sam Hamill, Dawnell Harrison, D. Iasevoli, Ed.D, Allan M. Jalon, Shelley Kahn, Richard Krawiec, Paula Dawn Lietz, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Veronica Marshall, Sandra McGarry, Iwona Partyka, Sy Roth, Andrew Sacks, Carol Smallwood, Julia Stein, Samantha Peters Terrell, Bänoo Zan

Plus 2013 Young Writers Contest Winners:

Fiction: Jordan Dalton, 1st; Nneoma Ike-Njoku, 2nd; Kasturi Pananjady, 3rd

Nonfiction: Paean Yeo, 1st; Janani Venkatesh, 2nd;  Vienna Schmitter-Schrier, 3rd

Poetry: Jessica Metzger, 1st; Peter LaBerge, 2nd; Janani Venkatesh, 3rd

 

Enter Our 2015 Young Writers Contest 

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers ContestHelp spread the word! Go to www.writingforpeace.org to meet our previous winners and learn about our prestigious panel of judges: Antonya Nelson, fiction; Stephen Kuusisto, poetry; and Steve Almond, nonfiction. Read the full guidelines here.

 

Support Writing for Peace

Our administration is board operated and volunteer based, so your contributions go directly towards publishing, maintaining our website, shipping DoveTales journals and participation certificates to our contributors and young writers in 24 countries, and providing modest prizes to our contest winners. We hope you will join the generous contributors who make Writing for Peace possible. Writing for Peace is  a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Make your tax-deductible donation today.

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

VENDOR, By Maxfield Harding

New York City

VENDOR

(an excerpt)

CASUALTY: Crazy and Homeless in New York City – A Memoir

By Maxfield Harding

 

I laughed at my cleverness at escaping life. It was a cold late afternoon in early December on my corner at Fifty-Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. I stood behind my small vendor’s cart of dried fruits and shelled nuts. I had been standing at the cart since nine o’clock that morning. Blanched cashew nuts had been the hot item with the few people that came up to my cart that day.

I could look up through the tall windows in the fortress of a building to my left to see well-dressed men seated in large cushioned chairs, smoking their cigars and reading their newspapers and talking about their business deals, I imagined. I laughed loudly and pulled my black knit cap over my eyes, effectively shutting out the world around me and completely convinced now that no one could any longer see me either. I stood there smiling in what I hoped was oblivion. I was very tired.

Soon it was six o’clock in the evening. The rush hour had passed. Office workers had become pedestrians and then commuters and the street had emptied quickly. I began pushing my cart of dried fruits and nuts toward the west of midtown. A half hour later I was almost at the cart owner’s garage in a section of the city called Hell’s Kitchen. I had found three twenty dollar bills in the street about a hundred yards from the garage gate and was so elated I became slightly giddy. I hadn’t made much money that day.

I pushed my cart up the ramp and into the holding area where my fellow vendors and I waited to get the tubs of fruit and nuts weighed, and to work out our day’s pay. It was somehow always lower than what we hoped for.

I took out the three twenties and began to slowly shred them and toss the bits to the floor. A young woman near me screamed and told me to stop but I didn’t. The rest of the vendors scrambled to pick up the pieces while I laughed.

The young woman came up to me, her nose almost touching mine and said, “You need to talk to someone, buddy. You’re in a bad way.” I laughed, knowing she was totally wrong.

“You’re the weird one,” the owner said to me in the sing-song way he and his fellow countrymen from India had. “I’m glad that wasn’t my money you destroyed.” He was seated at a desk with a scale on an elevated platform off to the side of the room. “You won’t last long here,” he said.

I laughed again and walked into the back of the garage to use the bathroom. I sat and put my face into the palms of my hands in defeat and waited as long as I possibly could to just before the urge to scream became too much. I walked out of the bathroom and the garage was empty of people save the owner at his desk on the platform. I stood before him. I said nothing. I could not think of the words to speak.

“What are you doing here, Max? Everyone’s already gone for the night,” the owner said to me.

I didn’t respond.

“Go have some dinner, Max. Unless you are filled up already from eating your own profits.”

Again I did not respond. The owner got off his platform and stood in front of me and looked directly into my eyes. “Okay,” he said. “Just this one time.” He walked out the door leaving the lights on and lowered the heavy steel gates that protected his investment and, for this night, me.

It was cold that night, but thank God for us street vendors there was no snow on the ground. There was little heat in the owner’s garage either. I huddled under his desk near the faulty steam radiator and tried as best I could to sleep. I laughed at myself in disbelief and wonderment: in my mind I was losing the sense of feeling “cool” selling dried fruits and roasted nuts on the moneyed streets of New York City. I had chosen this path rather than having what was then called a “straight job,” climbing the corporate ladder, making a lot of money. But I also knew that night that I could have used a few more ten dollar bills in my pocket and wondered why I had shredded those twenties a few hours ago.

Downward mobility had become my attitude of nobility which I had adopted since I graduated from Brown University fifteen years before. Certainly scrambling for a few dollars a day was supposed to be more entertaining and honest to me than sitting behind a desk, or so I had thought. I had made my choice and it seemed there was no turning back now. I was out of the economic mainstream and out of a place to live and sleep and had not much money with which to eat.

Maxfield Harding, Guest WriterAbout Maxfield Harding, Writing for Peace Guest Writer, and Author of “From CASUALTY: Crazy and Homeless in New York City – A Memoir”

Max Harding arrived at Brown University as an “A” student. His descent began then in rebelliousness and a journey he hoped would bring him a life as an author. Inexplicably, he eventually found himself homeless and mentally ill on the streets of New York City at the age of thirty-five.

Maxfield Harding, Author of From CASUALTY: Crazy and Homeless in New York City – A MemoirMax was unable to fathom what was happening to his brain and the images and sounds of the world all about him. He roamed the city in full psychosis from small homeless shelters and down-and-out residential hotels to the large Camp La Guardia for homeless men north of the city. He was soon removed from that facility and sent back to New York to be put in handcuffs and eventually consigned to Bellevue Mental Hospital, more of a threat to himself than anyone else. He had given up all hope of dealing with the voices and strange powers that brought him to fully expect his execution at the hands of the doctors and nurses at Bellevue.

Casualty, by Maxfield Harding, on Amazon.comFrom the hospital bed from which he awoke the first morning at Bellevue he was eventually able to rise up with psychiatric medication and therapy and the great and generous help of his social worker. He gained entrance into a psychiatric apartment program and then onto work again in mainstream American society. Many of the programs and aid which Max received are no longer available today or are in very short supply. Close to half of the adult victims of over six hundred thousand homeless in America today are mentally ill and have outrageously become our most disposable citizens. Most disturbing are the returning military veterans with more psychic than physical wounds languishing in agony within this substratum of American society. The terrible actions of a few rare mentally afflicted individuals gunning down dozens of innocent people, many of them children, call out for greater and better treatment of the mentally ill in our society.

After thirty-five years of productive work, Max now lives in subsidized housing in Bronx, New York.

Max’s story comes to us through Writing for Peace Adviser, Lorraine Currelley. Lorraine shared this account of their meeting:

Maxfield Harding Group Circle SPARC“I was a 2014 S.P.A.R.C. Seniors Partnering with the Arts Citywide recipient. It was a citywide competition and my proposal for a program won. I taught poetry and creative writing.

“Max joined my workshop and attended twice weekly. Max was an experienced writer, but I don’t believe he was ever published. His short stories and the work he produced in workshop was phenomenal.

Maxfield Harding SPARC 2 I encouraged each student to publish. As an end of workshop project we published a book, On The Write Path. Max informed me he was writing a book and it was near completion. The book CASUALTY and the rest is history. It’s available as an ebook and within a week or two will be available in hard copy.”

You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com here.

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

Check Out the Latest Recommended Reading From Writing for Peace Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserWorld VS Bank: Take Action To Break Wall Street Exploitation Of Global Community

Stay abreast of Climate Change and human rights activism, and learn where you can make a difference.

DoveTales Call for Submissions

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is now accepting submissions for our 2015 “Nature” edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts. Read our guidelines and submit here.

Enter Our 2015 Young Writers Contest 

2013 Writing for Peace Young Writers ContestCheck out our 2015 Young Writers Contest! Writing for Peace has received entries from young writers with a passion for peace from 24 countries. Go to www.writingforpeace.org to meet our previous winners and learn about our wonderful panel of judges: Antonya Nelson, fiction; Stephen Kuusisto, poetry; and Steve Almond, nonfiction. Read the full guidelines here.

Support Writing for Peace; Purchase Our Latest Edition Of DoveTales

2014 DoveTales, "Contrast" EditionThe 2014 DoveTales, “Contrast” Edition is now available for purchase. The issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso, Cassandra Arnold, Maggie Bàra, Henry Braun, Lorraine Caputo, William Cass, Lorraine Currelley, Colin Dodds, John Garmon, Diane Giardi, Mark Goad, Veronica Golos, Sam Hamill, Dawnell Harrison, D. Iasevoli, Ed.D, Allan M. Jalon, Shelley Kahn, Richard Krawiec, Paula Dawn Lietz, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Veronica Marshall, Sandra McGarry, Iwona Partyka, Sy Roth, Andrew Sacks, Carol Smallwood, Julia Stein, Samantha Peters Terrell, Bänoo Zan

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

EVERYDAY PEACE, by Samantha Terrell

Vincent Van GoghEVERYDAY PEACE

by Samantha Terrell

I’m an everyday kind of person.

The youngest of four kids, I grew up in an old farmhouse smack-dab in the middle of a Kansas wheat field where there was dust, and sweat, and homemade bread, and prayer…mostly led by my dad, a progressive Presbyterian minister.

When I was a teenager we moved to the Missouri Ozarks which was a culture shock for a Kansas girl, though I would adjust. I spent my college years all over the (United States) map, both literally and figuratively, as I struggled to find my way—switching majors and schools, dropping out altogether, and working here and there, before ultimately earning my Bachelor’s degree and meeting my husband.

In all things though, I kept striving for the out-stretched hand of a faith to give me peace in my decision-making; it’s a faith that has guided me as an adult, through career changes, marriage, parenting, and many other everyday kinds of things, and it provides a peace that I don’t dare take for granted.

So, these days when my sons occasionally grumble about their “first-world” problems, my husband and I make a point to explain the privileges we have as Americans living in the 21st century. While to some it may seem harsh to push these “grown up” issues on kids, I want them to grow up knowing that as they complain in-between bites of breakfast cereal about going back to school, many children in the world are enduring the hardships of poverty, starvation, and war.

I would consider it not only the ultimate “parenting fail,” but also a “humanity fail,” if I didn’t attempt to instill in my own children the sense of peace that comes from an appreciation of (what we consider) everyday things. It is in this vein that I write.

TAKEN FOR GRANTED

tonight my sons
eat pizza that I pulled
from my electric-oven
with a hot blast in my face
transporting me to our own youth
when oven-heat from
a floor-vented furnace sent
our pink nightgowns billowing up
in clouds of warmth,
as we giggled, and sighed with relief
at the comfort of that heat
in our very own home
which mother-nature has now
simultaneously stolen from each of you,
in your respective struggles,
as I worry over you from a distance
with overdue gratitude for
a family home,
a source of heat, and the
laughter of sisterhood

 

Samantha Terrell, Writing for Peace ContributorAbout Samantha Terrell

Samantha Terrell is a published poet, who has been writing for nearly two decades. Her chapbook ‘Honesty,’ is published six times annually. Her work has been featured in DoveTales, by Writing for Peace; LaBloga Floricanto; and other formats. Samantha resides in Missouri with her husband and two boys.

Samantha’s new book “Vespers,” features her original poetry and offers the reader a weekly prayer journal to assist in finding peace of the ‘everyday’ variety. For more information, or to place an order, go to: poetrybysamantha.weebly.com. A portion of all profits will be donated to charity.

 

 

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

 

Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers Recommends:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserPopular Resistance Newsletter: We Believe That We Will Win

Stay abreast of Climate Change and human rights activism, and learn where we can make a difference.

DoveTales Call for Submissions

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is now accepting submissions for our 2015 “Nature” edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts. Read our guidelines and submit here.

Young Writers Contest Now Open!

2015 Young Writers Contest Judges

Check out our 2015 Young Writers Cntest! To date, Writing for Peace has received entries from young writers with a passion for peace from 24 countries. Go to www.writingforpeace.org to meet our previous winners and learn about our wonderful panel of judges: Antonya Nelson, fiction; Stephen Kuusisto, poetry; and Steve Almond, nonfiction. Read the full guidelines here.

Support Writing for Peace By Purchasing Our Latest Edition Of DoveTale

2014 DoveTales, "Contrast" Edition

The 2014 DoveTales, “Contrast” Edition is now available for purchase. The issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso, Cassandra Arnold, Maggie Bàra, Henry Braun, Lorraine Caputo, William Cass, Lorraine Currelley, Colin Dodds, John Garmon, Diane Giardi, Mark Goad, Veronica Golos, Sam Hamill, Dawnell Harrison, D. Iasevoli, Ed.D, Allan M. Jalon, Shelley Kahn, Richard Krawiec, Paula Dawn Lietz, Cory Lockhart, Shannon K. Lockhart, Veronica Marshall, Sandra McGarry, Iwona Partyka, Sy Roth, Andrew Sacks, Carol Smallwood, Julia Stein, Samantha Peters Terrell, Bänoo Zan

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

manifesto, by radhiyah ayobami

Writing for Peace Welcomes Guest Writer, Radhiyah Ayobami

 

manifesto

Radhiyah Yemayatoday i heard a story that made me very happy. in fact, it actually made me feel joy. it was a story about a close sista-friend of mine. i have known her for about ten years. we met when our children went to the same cultural school (our friendship has outlived the school as well.)  i was in my early 20’s- she was about 30. i was transitioning into the cultural world, growing locs, and exploring different traditions. she had already been married to a community leader, and she eased me into her circle and her way of life. she introduced me to roots reggae dances and was the first person i met who blessed herb before smoking it. she took me to african spiritual events and explained the protocol; how to cleanse before entering, when to stand and when to kneel, how to give an offering and receive a blessing. wherever we went, folks cracked into wide smiles as soon as she was on the scene, she was forever being waved at across a crowded room, greeting other smiling people, and being enveloped by hugs.
 

as the years progressed, we went through the same initiations, starved through the same fasts and partied at the same events in long skirts and headwraps on a wednesday night and were late getting our kids to school in the morning. we piled our children and some other folks children in a half-working car and drove to all-night drum circles where they fell asleep under trees as we meditated by the fire, we survived on the same small handful of greens in a foreign country when it had rained too much and everybody was hungry, and when the sun came out we all washed up outside in broad daylight, everything jiggling, breasts that had nursed babies, waistbeads, and our locs heavy with water from the sea.
 

and then came the curves of life. we went to city offices and through housing systems, patching together the help we needed to move forward. we created resumes and got jobs that paid on the books and took out taxes. we transitioned out of our small communities and found that wearing extra long skirts and yards of cloth around our shoulders was sometimes not practical when working with small children or in various other settings. she was first to cut her locs and put on pants, and one day she came walking around the corner on fulton street with no headwrap, no multi-colored skirt swishing her ankles and no scent of sacred oil, and i walked right by her. she had a short afro, creased pants, and a folder full of resumes, and something about the outfit reminded me of the colorful birds i saw languishing in cages at the zoo. months later, when my son and i lived in a building that awakened us with five am fire alarms, she wrote me a letter that helped me transition out of that place and into an apartment where my porch was the entire roof and i could sit and watch the sky.

 

and then we went into the next decade of our lives, and i listened to her laugh become a little less loud as she watched friends and family marry and waltz across the dance floor in each other’s arms as she raised her children and drove to the occasional roots dance on her own. we began to talk about the beliefs and traditions that kept us bound to the idea of being honorable women. elders told us that we shouldn’t be out past nine o’clock. imams said we should be in by maghrib. at the drumming ceremonies, we couldn’t uncover our hair (even though it was hot by the fire, and the breeze through our locs would have been the greatest blessing.) in almost every tradition, we were lectured against smoking herb, and told to have husbands instead of lovers, so we wouldn’t damage our spirits. so me and my sista-friend began to have conversations. we began to wonder, under the skirts and scarves and rules and admonishments, where we could find the seed of joy. our communities and traditions had sustained and nurtured us, but now we were in a new cycle of life, and it was time for change. we talked and argued with each other, we fasted and went to steam baths and spiritual events and prayed and sat with our own thoughts. and then, we moved.
 

she broke the no lovers rule first, and invited me over for  tea so we could talk about it, and it was a conversation that lasted all night. it was winter when she broke that rule, and it was summer when i broke it, and i ended up writing a lot of poems. and we discovered some things. we discovered that another human being, particularly a partner, fixing a meal that you like or washing your hair or giving you advice on a complicated problem late at night even though they were tired or rubbing your foot deep enough to ease out the soreness of the day was just as holy as a drum ceremony or lighting an incense stick or the pouring of water- and maybe, even more holy than that. we discovered that the best rules to follow were the ones that brought our spirits balance and joy.
 

and after awhile, my sista-friend stayed in pants. she never went back into daily headwraps and long skirts- although she would wear them occasionally for events or if she felt like it. i stayed in long skirts and wraps because my womanself loved them, but sometimes wore jeans if i wanted to, and we never gave up dancing or late nights or wine or bud. we still prayed and chanted and burned and poured sacred water- but we carried no flags but our own.
 

and then today she called me, ashamed, because she was out on a date with a man that made her heart glow, and they had a little taste of wine and a little smoke, and they went to a roots party, and she ran into folks she knew, and there she was in a short skirt and a wild afro, kinda high, kinda drunk, with a strange and non-cultural man, and all the women were in there with headwraps up to the ceiling and skirts down to the floor. well, i fell out. i laughed and laughed. because at the age and stage that we’re in now, does it really matter? we are far enough into this journey that we know most things are between us and the creator. when i was living in the five am fire alarm place, i was plagued with headaches so bad that i walked around with tylenol tucked into every pocket, every bag, and even under my headwrap for emergencies. and her letter helped me get into a house where the birds would come sing at the windows in the mornings when the sky was still pink, and i didn’t have a bottle of tylenol in that whole house. and some of those women in those skirts would never do that for anyone else- some of them were devils. i know, because i wear long skirts and i’m a devil when i wanna be too.
 

and i wish my sista- friend a hundred dances in a hundred short skirts, if that’s what feeds her soul. and for the rest of us, i wish us permission to be unbound to whatever it is that binds us. sometimes i look at my life- i’m in an expensive grad school but got no money. i’m an older black woman in an mfa program, which is generally made up of students who are young, male and white. i’m fat but i do african dance and yoga and i love it, even when i’m the biggest person in the class, which is often. i moved across the country with a teenager, which everyone says is the worst time to move a child, and now he’s closer to the honor roll than he’s ever been. i’ve made a lot of mistakes, but my son and i have also had some great adventures. life has been our guide, our teacher and our protector. and as shaky as my progress is, i’m continuing on my journey to be fully unbound, fully engaged in the process of life instead of watching it drift by, and fully committed to living with joy.

 

i  give myself permission to:
 

honor my inner guidance

create my own family makeup

not explain or apologize for my choices

not explain, excuse or defend my size, culture or style of dress

treat my body kindly no matter what it looks like

tell my truth even when it’s uncomfortable

tell the stories of my ancestors

pursue all my passions

ask for and accept compensation for my talents

not be afraid or ashamed of mistakes

choose teachers by spirit and not external affiliations

walk away when i need to

humble myself only to the elements; water, sun, trees, land & sky

(& of course the creator)

 

and so it is!

 

radhiyah ayobami: brooklyn born by way of the south, telling stories of black womanhood, motherhood & folks in invisible spaces, believes word has the power to shift consciousness, writes & workshops with pregnant teens, inmates & elders, africana studies graduate of brooklyn college & mfa prose student at mills college in oakland, california, where she is working on a collection of nonfiction essays & the trees give her poems.

 

Writing for Peace News

  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition Released

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace Our Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winners, and the following contributors:

Jordi Alonso
Cassandra Arnold
Maggie Bàra
Henry Braun
Lorraine Caputo
William Cass
Lorraine Currelley
Colin Dodds
John Garmon
Diane Giardi
Mark Goad
Veronica Golos
Sam Hamill
Dawnell Harrison
D. Iasevoli, Ed.D
Allan M. Jalon
Shelley Kahn
Richard Krawiec
Paula Dawn Lietz
Cory Lockhart
Shannon K. Lockhart
Veronica Marshall
Sandra McGarry
Iwona Partyka
Sy Roth
Andrew Sacks
Carol Smallwood
Julia Stein
Samantha Peters Terrell
Bänoo Zan

  • 2015 Young Writers Contest

Our exciting 2015 Young Writers Contest Judges Panel will be announced on September 1st, along with our Contest Guidelines!

  • Facebook

Our Facebook page is your go-to source for inspiration about writing, peace, and the intersection of the two. Your likes and shares increase our reach and help spread the word, so come by for a visit, share your ideas and questions. We’d love to hear your thoughts about writing and the many ways you are making a difference!

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Militarism and Violence are So Yesterday, by Flowers & Zeese

By Writing for Peace Adviser Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Last week, in our article titled “Armed Drones Becoming the Norm? At the Crossroads of Robotic Warfare,” we wrote about concerns that robotic warfare combined with the global “war on terror” was making violence the quick and easy way to respond to conflicts. We wondered whether the bloody 20th (and beginning of the 21st) century could be put behind us and if the time had come to move to an era of peaceful solutions.

Many factors make this an opportune time to move toward greater use of nonviolent practices. The most obvious, of course, is that the United States and the planet can no longer support American Empire and its endless wars. We cannot continue to spend more than $1 trillion each year on the military and national security state while the basic needs of our population are not being met and our domestic infrastructure is crumbling. The empire economy quite literally is killing us.

And our bloated military is not just killing us and others around the world, mostly innocent civilians, but it is killing the Earth, too. This report published by Project Censored calls the US Department of Defense the worst polluter on the planet. It states: “This impact includes uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil.” And that does not include the private military contractors and weapons industries.

The era of American Empire is coming to an end. The signs are everywhere. Latin-American countries are no longer tolerating bullying tactics by the United States. Obama failed in his attempt to attack Syria. The world leaders at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in October did not seem to mourn President Obama’s absence at all. In fact, the failing Trans-Pacific Partnership shows that the United States is no longer in the driver’s seat of the Pacific economy. And even former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski is lamenting “that American domination [is] no longer possible because of an accelerating social change. … ”

Brzezinski is concerned that growing access to information and popular uprisings are making it more difficult for the global financial elite to control the masses. All around the world, people are standing up to oppressive governments and destructive practices, and they are increasingly doing so with nonviolent tools. The newest data show that nonviolent tactics are not only more popular, but they are also more effective than violent ones and nonviolent struggle is more likely to result in lasting democratic structures.

In the book Crises of the Republic, Hannah Arendt wrote, “The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression … but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.” That is changing. People around the world are putting nonviolent practices to use to create democratic societies and are employing peaceful methods of conflict resolution. It is imperative that we reject imperialism and militarism and make peace a reality.

Creating a Culture of Nonviolence        

We live in a time of transition that some call the Great Turning. Joanna Macy calls it the “essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.” The reality is that our resources are declining and we can no longer operate within a system that demands constant growth and sacrifices people and the planet for profit as capitalism does.

The Great Turning is a period of maturation of our species. Biologist Elisabet Sahtouris writes in Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution that evolution is not linear but is a cycle “of unity to individuation, through which arises conflict, negotiations happen, cooperation is arrived at; and we go to unity again at the next higher level.” If cooperation is not achieved, the species simply goes extinct.

She compares this process to the stages of human development. Essentially, humans are in the adolescent phase. Our task at this stage is cooperation, or as David Korten writes, to go from “violent domination” to “peaceful partnership.” To accomplish this, we will have to shift from a militaristic society to a culture of nonviolence. This will have to be done with intention.

If we look around us, it is easy to recognize the ways that militarism is ingrained in our culture. It is prominent in the games that our children play, especially video games, in television and movies and in the clothes they wear. Children as young as 12 years can attend residential programs that simulate basic military training. Members of the military are treated as heroes everywhere we go. At the airport, they are invited to board the plane first and walk across the red carpet as the “premier” members do. At sporting and cultural events, they are given special recognition.

To counter this deep indoctrination, we will have to be more honest about the role of the military. General Smedley D. Butler, one of the most decorated generals of all time, called war a racket. He said. “I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major-general. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

We will need to develop new cultural entities, practices and institutions that teach and promote peace and nonviolent practices. We will need to recognize people who contribute to building a more just society as the ones we want to emulate. In addition to the usual people that we think of such as teachers and nurses, we will need to include those who feed the hungry in areas where it has been declared illegal, who stand in solidarity with homeowners who are facing eviction and who lock themselves to heavy machinery to prevent mountaintop removal for coal, pipelines for tar sands and hydrofracking for methane gas.

Recently, we spoke to three people who are actively engaged in building the culture of nonviolence: author-activist-actor Rivera Sun and Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. Sun uses fictional characters to teach the principles of nonviolent resistance. In her newest book, called The Dandelion Insurrection, she uses “fiction to project ahead just around the corner of today” and tell the story of “the transformation we are going through.” The Metta Center provides tools, books and educational events to teach nonviolence.

All three incorporate stories into their work. Storytelling is an integral part of transformative organizing. We all see the world through the lens of the stories we tell ourselves. Stories are so important to us that when people are presented with facts that conflict with their story of the world, they are more likely to reject the facts and insist more strongly that their story is the truth. Our decisions are largely made at the emotional level, and so stories that reach our emotions can begin to shape our worldview in a new way.

Sun studies strategic nonviolence and nonviolent struggles. She incorporates important concepts and themes into her stories. She breaks the concepts down in a way that is easy to understand and remember. For instance, in The Dandelion Insurrection, the phrase “Be kind, be connected, be unafraid” is repeated throughout the story. To hear our interview with Rivera Sun, click here.

The Metta Center provides a movement tool called the Roadmap Compass. It serves the goals of providing a strategy in a way that is also easy to comprehend and shows how the different components of the movement are connected. The top one of the six sections of the Roadmap is “New Story Creation.” Nagler says that if we “formulate the story in a way that is non-threatening” and we each start telling the story in a similar way, then we will reach a tipping point. The Roadmap Compass is an interactive tool that facilitates communication between people who are working on specific areas such as food security, renewable energy or nonviolent conflict resolution.

Practicing Nonviolence

As we learn the principles of nonviolence, we can start putting them into action in our daily lives. Van Hook reminds us that it is as easy as slowing down enough to make some connection to the people we encounter such as when we go to a store. She adds that we can employ nonviolent tactics when a conflict arises. The first step is to recognize the humanity of the other person by making eye contact.

Van Hook coordinates the Shanti Sena Network of peace teams based primarily in the United States and Canada. Specifically, the peace teams are composed of people who work in communities to use “nonviolent ways of resolving conflicts without the potentially violent intervention from ‘law enforcement’ or the military.” In the words of Gandhi, this is a form of constructive program – building alternative systems to replace the old systems that no longer serve us.

To get involved, people can begin by signing the Peace Draft. To start, the only requirement is a commitment to deepen one’s study of nonviolence. Van Hook describes the beauty of the Peace Team is that there is something for everyone to do no matter their circumstances. If a person cannot participate actively in conflict resolution, they can serve other functions such as providing education or support.

Conflict resolution is a growing field. Schools as early as the elementary level are starting to incorporate conflict resolution into their curriculum. And international peace teams are being used in areas of violence and armed conflict. One group that does this is Nonviolent Peaceforce. Its teams are invited by communities to provide assistance in resolving conflicts and protection.

Conflict is complex. A violent approach to conflict resolution only has one tool – domination through force. The nonviolent approach has multiple tools. And instead of being imposed from above, the tools are chosen by the community that is affected. The Peaceforce does not take sides in a conflict. A large part of the Peaceforce’s work is listening to communities to understand the particular complexities of their situation and then applying common-sense approaches. Van Hook writes in more detail about the Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan.

Currently a US-based peace team from Veterans for Peace is in Palestine, where it is building relationships with the Palestinians, who are trying to protect their land from the encroaching Israeli settlements. On its second day, it accompanied local villagers into an Israeli settlement and started playing soccer. When the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) arrived, the athletes invited the young soldiers to join them in the game. The Veterans for Peace spoke to the IDF about their experiences of being in the military and realizing that the wars they were fighting and the orders they were following were wrong. They hoped to develop connections with the IDF and to facilitate awareness of their shared humanity.

Violence is a Sign of Weakness

In her 1969 essay “Reflections on Violence,” Hannah Arendt wrote that “Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent.” She explains that power is derived from the support and consent of the people. When those who are in power are compelled to resort to violence, it is a sign that their power is disappearing. She adds, “Power springs up whenever people get together and act in concert, but it derives its legitimacy from the initial getting together. … ”

One aspect of the Great Turning is moving from a hierarchical/patriarchal society in which people see themselves as separate from each other to a society that is non-hierarchical in which people feel connected to each other. Violence was acceptable in the old worldview because it was felt to be necessary and effective. That is no longer the case. Not only is violence destructive, but when we harm others, we cause harm to ourselves.

At the heart of the practice of nonviolence is the recognition that we are all connected and that we are stronger when we work together and through consensus. Van Hook and Nagler emphasize that being connected does not mean that we are the same. At the surface level, people are different, and that diversity is appreciated. But inside, we are related to each other.

Nagler tells the story of a gay pride parade in Michigan in which a member of a local neo-Nazi group started harassing people at the event. Somebody broke a bottle over his head and peace team members quickly moved in to protect him and bring him safely to an ambulance for care. The man’s partner was so touched by their actions that she said something along the lines of, “I used to hate you people, but now I believe that the same blood runs through all of us.”

It’s time to stop glorifying war and violence and replace them with greater knowledge and practice of nonviolent techniques. It is possible to do. The “Cross-Legged Strike” is one example that occurred in 2006 in a very violent area of Colombia, the city of Pereira. Men in the city joined violent gangs because they believed that it made them more sexually appealing. In response, their female partners decided to teach them otherwise by creating a popular campaign to withhold sex because they preferred to have their partners alive for themselves and their children. The campaign included a popular rap song calling for the men to give up their weapons.

We must similarly act to build a popular cultural campaign against violence. As American Empire declines, we must show the world that we are ready to join the global society as a partner rather than a bully. Our aggression is a sign of weakness and will no longer be effective against the rising tide of nonviolent resistance. Let’s begin in our communities to make to peace a reality.

To hear Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers’ interview “Building a Culture of Nonviolent Resistance for Democracy” with Rivera Sun, author of the newly released book The Dandelion Insurrection, and Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, click here.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and on Economic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the PopularResistance.org. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication. Reprinted with permission by Dr. Margaret Flowers.

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserDr. Margaret Flowers

Dr. Margaret Flowers is a Maryland pediatrician who left practice to advocate full-time for single-payer health insurance. Despite broad citizen support, Dr. Flowers was stunned by the institutional opposition to the single-payer solution during the national health reform process. In response, she organized protests and was arrested three times for peaceful acts of civil disobedience. Now she is determined to not only change our national healthcare system, but to build an independent, nonviolent broad-based social, economic and environmental justice movement to transform this country. Says Dr. Flowers, “One of the greatest drivers of poor health is wealth inequality.” Learn more about Dr. Margaret Flowers here.

Writing for Peace News

 DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales Call for Submissions

Writing for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. Deadline for submissions is November 30th. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

2014 Young Writers Contest

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Submission guidelines here.

DoveTales For Your Kindle

Manuel A. López, DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013 ContributorOur beautiful DoveTales journal is now available for your Kindle through Amazon.com. In addition to all three stories from our first Young Writers Contest winners and the work of prominent advisers and outstanding contributors printed in our first hard copy edition, you’ll also find a new poem, “Occupied Series” by Manuel A. López. Purchase your EBook here.

Support Writing for Peace

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013Support Writing for Peace by purchasing a hard copy of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to gift to your local high school or junior high. Let us know you are gifting your copy, and we’ll include extra bookmarks (beautifully designed by artist-in-residence, PdLietz). Purchase our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.
Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

The Children’s War, by Shaindel Beers

ChildrensWar (2)The Children’s War: Poems on Children’s Artwork of War

by Shaindel Beers

From an eight year old Darfurian girl’s drawing

The tank, bigger than the hut, fires
and all of the colors explode from the hut.
Why is this man green?
Because he is from the tank.
Why is this woman red?
Because she was shot in the face.
And why aren’t you colored in?
Because it is like I wasn’t even there.

~

After a thirteen year old Darfurian boy’s drawing

Women flee from their houses as smoke rises
like terrible angels and men in green herd them
like cattle. What are the men doing to the women?
Forcing them to be wives. Their houses are gone.
Yes, when you are thirteen,
to be a wife is having a house, a man.
But he is right; the women with the soldiers
are warm and brown; their hair flies around them
as they run. The women who will not be wives
are outlines, uncolored, upside down
in the foreground.

~

After a photo of a Chechen girl on a train

I am four, almost five, and I am beautiful.
I have my red hat, my red coat; I ride
on my mother’s lap. People smile at me.
I make them happy. When my mother looks
at them, they look away. My mother has
brown eyes. I have blue. I have only seen
my father in pictures. We have to practice
my mother says. Where are we going?
To visit Grandma in the country.
What will you do there?
Help Grandma gather eggs and be brave
even if the hens peck me.
Ride Doishka, the pony. I look out the window
at the wildflowers speeding by.
And you mustn’t cry says mother if we get there
and there is no Grandma, no pony.

~

About Shaindel Beers, Writing for Peace Guest Contributor

Shaindel Beers, Guest ContributorShaindel Beers’ poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in Eastern Oregon’s high desert and serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary. A Brief History of Time, her first full-length poetry collection, was released by Salt Publishing in 2009. Her second collection, The Children’s War and Other Poems, was released in February of 2013.

Author photo by Catching Violet Photography.

ChildrensWar (2)About the book:  In the first half of The Children’s War, Shaindel Beers looks at artwork done by and about child survivors of war, embodying the voices of the children, their families, and the humanitarian aid workers sent to help them. From there, the book opens out into an exploration of the war at home and the war within ourselves, exploring violence in mythology, domestic violence, and the wars that occur, sometimes, within our own bodies. These poems act as a survival guide, showing that hope exists even in the darkest of places and that perhaps poetry is the key to our healing.

Purchase a signed copy through http://shaindelbeers.com or “regular” copies through Amazon, BN.com, etc.

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

Congratulations To Our New Young Advisers

Writing for Peace is pleased to introduce two remarkable young peace activists, the founding members of our new panel of Young Advisers. Both have shown an extraordinary commitment to peace. Check their pages and watch our blog for their inspirational posts.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNatan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Natan held fast to his convictions, despite being jailed ten times.

Lyla June Johnston, Writing for Peace Young AdviserLyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity.

Writing for Peace is accepting nominations of young activists, writers, and artists, for our new panel of Young Advisers. Please send nominations by email, along with the reasons for your nomination and contact information to editor@writingforpeace.org, subject heading: Young Adviser Nominations.

2014 Young Writers Contest

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Submission guidelines here.

 DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales Call for Submissions

Writing for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

Support Writing for Peace

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013Help us reach out to schools and young writers by purchasing a copy of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to gift to your local high school or junior high. Let us know you are gifting your copy, and we’ll include extra bookmarks (beautifully designed by artist-in-residence, PdLietz). Purchase our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here. And watch our blog for announcements about the soon-to-be-released E-book!

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.