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First Tentative Outline for Future Conversations

Ghandi gentle way quillFirst Tentative Outline for Future Conversations

By Lennart Lundh

I’ve been a pacifist for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t in keeping with family tradition. Growing up, there were heated arguments at the dinner table. There were threats and physical violence. For a while, I was outcast and homeless. I thought war was, at best, stupid. My father, who built weapons prototypes as part of his daily job, regretted not being able to serve in World War II and Korea. It wasn’t until I came back from Vietnam and talked about what I’d seen, and until I stood against the Navy and refused to return to Vietnam, that an uneasy truce was established.

Dad thought war was necessary because it was the solution to otherwise insoluble problems, while I was focused on war as eternally causing problems. We were both wrong. The Forever War in Afghanistan changed his perspective. The end of “my” war in Southeast Asia changed mine. For both of us, nothing was globally changed by war or its temporary absence.

Don’t get me wrong. My father will cheer the soldiers as they march to another war if he’s convinced there’s a cause worth killing for. I still want to see Chamberlain’s hope to avert war in our time be more than a foolish dream or a bargain with the Devil. Whichever side of the argument we stand on, the progression is what’s confused and stymied us. Whether we fight a war or refuse to take part in one, we can’t achieve some magic Peace on Earth that will automatically be followed by eternal Goodwill towards Men. Quite the opposite. We need to take care of each other first. We must learn to be kind without thinking about it. Only through a culture of Goodwill can we have Peace, or at least a chance of it.

I’m not talking about mastering personal or universal perfection before we can get there. That’s where I think the Christian New Testament goes astray, with its poorly hidden undercurrent of, “Be perfect, or abandon hope.” Even worse, it’s where Thoreau’s one-person social experiment at Walden Pond missed the mark, saying of his neighbor, “I’m perfect. You’re not.” Rather, I’d prefer to be Gandhi-an in approach and attitude: I’m flawed. We’re flawed. But I’m working on it, and a majority of us working together at it the best we can in each moment make it do-able.

Finally (for the moment), is that very human matter of patience. To drag Jim Morrison into this, we want the world, and we want it now. If we can’t have it now, we’ll throw up our arms in frustration and go do something else. On this, too, I recommend Gandhi’s view, as well as Merton’s: It’s anything but easy. It probably won’t happen today, and tomorrow is iffy. I’m seventy this year, so, for me, it might not happen at all. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying my best, contributing to the collective effort and future. It means remembering King, keeping his mountain in sight, and having the faith that we can help others reach the summit.

My current, mutable two cents’ worth. What say ye?

Lennart LundhLennart Lundh is a great-grandfather and writer. He served in Vietnam in support of Marine Corps operations in 1968 and 1969, and was discharged as a conscientious objector in 1970.

 

Copyright © 2019 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.”

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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.

The Peace Correspondent, Vol.1, No. 3

Student Edition, Part One

We’re excited to announce the third edition of our Peace Correspondent, a solution-based periodical published by Writing for Peace. This is the first installment of the anticipated two part student edition. We have made it available on the site here. For those who prefer the traditional 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 be shared through our Facebook page.

In this edition, look forward to:

Another Look at Homelessness: Overlooked in Fort Collins—Testimony from the Street

by Megan Braa

Another look at Indigenous Movements: The Water Protectors—Where are they now?

by Cullen Lobe

Spotlight on Agriculture: The American Way

by Gwen Hummel

Spotlight on Northern Colorado: Watering Down the War

by Julia Rentsch

Human right or mortal sin: an in-depth look at the assisted suicide controversy

by Emily Mashak

Conversations on immigration: Empathy on the Southern Border

by Erin Phil

A word about coming Peace Correspondent news journals

by Editor-in-Chief Elissa Tivona

The second part of our student edition will be announced on our blog and will include a special editorial by Writing for Peace Adviser Djelloul Marbrook.  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, our Associate Editor Melody Rautenstraus, and all our talented student Peace Journalists!

 

Copyright © 2017 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.

 

 

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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.

 

Conscientious Objector’s View From The Ground In Israel, by Natan Blanc

A Conscientious Objector’s View From The Ground In Israel

by Natan Blanc

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserWhen I started writing this post, the Israeli government and the “Hamas” organization were on the verge of agreeing on a cease-fire, and ending the current cycle of violence. By now, the cease fire talks are ancient history. Hamas has rejected the cease-fire, and continued shooting missiles towards Israel,  Israel has retaliated, and we have very little hope for some peace and quiet in the near future.

This cycle of violence has been going on since I was a kid. Luckily for me, I live in the northern part of Israel, far away from the Gaza missiles. But ever since I was a kid, I keep hearing about Hamas’s attacks, Israel’s counter attacks, Hamas’s counter-counter attacks etc. I think I have heard more pompous prime-ministerial speeches about “stamping out the terror” in Gaza then I have heard speeches about the Israeli economy.

The most amazing thing about the endless war in Gaza is that almost nobody, on either side, seems to have any actual goals to achieve through it, except making the other side stop. A few people on the Israeli side talk about conquering Gaza, and a few people on the Palestinian side talk about conquering Israel, but nobody really takes them seriously.

The other amazing thing about this fight is that there is actually nothing to fight about. Unlike other conflicts that Israel has in other places (e.g. the west bank, the Syrian front), this specific conflict doesn’t include any territorial dispute, or any complicated issues. The hypothetical peace treaty in this issue could be written on a napkin. It will contain two sentences- “Israel agrees not to attack in Gaza, and remove the blockade on it. Hamas agrees not to engage in terror attacks towards the citizens of Israel.

Why, then, if everyone is so interested in peace and quiet, and if it is so easy to achieve, does this war continue? The answer to this question is complicated, but it comes down to two issues:

  1. The power of inertia- once the boulder of violence has started rolling, even after nothing is pushing it forward anymore, it will continue rolling, taking innocent lives with it. It will not stop until it has ruined enough lives, enough homes, enough families.
  2. The power of the extreme- the most frustrating thing about this conflict is to see how a handful of extremists can drag millions of people into a never-ending cycle of war, death and violence. One terrorist who fires a missile during a cease-fire, one Israeli soldier who beats up a Palestinian kid, a few 9-year old racists who write “death to the Arabs” on Facebook. These extremists can light a fire that is extremely hard to extinguish, despite the fact that 99% of the citizens on both sides oppose them.

So despite the stupidity and absurdity of this war, the continuation of this cycle, and the next war in a year or two, seems inevitable. If we don’t want to lose hope, we must try and remind ourselves all the time that this stupidity can’t last forever. That eventually, sooner or later, this conflict will end.

About Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young Adviser

Natan Blanc was born in Jerusalem, and moved to Haifa (a major city in Israel) when he was a kid. Haifa is a “mixed” city, with both Arabs and Jews, so he learned about co-existence and peace between people of different religions at an early age. During his teenage years, Natan took part in quite a few different peace activities and organizations. He was also part of a social-democrat youth movement called “hamahanot haolim.”

When Natan was 19, he was drafted (like any Israeli after high-school) to join the IDF (the Israeli army) as a combat soldier. He refused, saying he wouldn’t be part of such an army. Natan told the IDF representatives that serving in this army was against his conscience, because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNatan was jailed repeatedly for his refusal. In total, he was sentenced 10 times, to a total of 178 days in jail. “Eventually,” said Natan, “the army tired of me.” He began an alternative civil service the September after his incarceration.

Natan’s struggle was first of all a struggle for the freedom of conscience, but it was also a struggle for peace between the Jews and the Arabs in Israel. “I hope that my actions, then and in the future, might help end this conflict that has been going on for more than 70 years.”

Natan currently serves in the MDA (the national rescue organization) as a medic (E.M.T.I) in an ambulance. He is also  involved in assisting and guiding potential conscientious military service objectors, as well as the forming and running of “Shelanoo” – a non-profit cooperative for socio-economical change.

To learn more about the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and what you can do, see Natan’s recommendations here.

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  • 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” Edition On Track for Release

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace McNaughton & Gunn has completed the printing and we’ve received notice that the books have shipped. Contributors will be notified directly by email regarding their personal copies. Contributor pages will appear on the site later today. Official release date is July 30th, one week from today!

  • Website Changes

You may have noticed the blog posts scrolling in the right sidebar. We’ve updated the blog titles to include the author’s name so you can easily find posts from all our amazing advisers and guest writers.  This is the first of many exciting changes that will make Writing for Peace content more accessible. Watch for our 2014 DoveTales “Contrast” pages and a new header reflecting the beautiful black and white photography by our Artist-in-Residence, Paula Dawn Lietz.

  • Facebook

Our Facebook page has taken on a new life! You’ll find inspiration there, about the craft of writing, peace, and the intersection of the two. Check it out, like and share. Help spread the word about Writing for Peace!

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

My Mother’s Funeral, A Review by Robert Kostuck

Adriana Paramo, Writing for Peace AdviserMY MOTHER’S FUNERAL

by Adriana Páramo

CavanKerry Press, 2013, 258 pp., $21.00, ISBN 1-933880-39-2

A Review, by Robert Kostuck

In My Mother’s Funeral, Adriana Páramo slips between her mother Carmen’s life before children, her own childhood memories, and the present—wake, funeral, cremation. Woven into these personal experiences is an omnipresent Columbia: the open spaces of Mariquita, the squalid poverty of Medellín and Bogotá, rival drug gangs, politics, Catholicism, the Communist Party revisited.

Objectivity is difficult to achieve in a book-length essay; Ms. Páramo, however, succeeds admirably—she gently and firmly pieces together the tapestry of the mother and daughter relationship; readers will find common themes presented in even-handed and sometimes startling prose. Her writing is educational without being didactic; emotional without being sentimental.

Politics in Colombia were harsh in the 1950s. Her rarely-seen father, ‘Mr. B’, a cachiporro (liberal), seduces the innocent Carmen, and after the wedding rushes her away from her home—a few hours ahead of the godos (conservatives). First night together is spent in a whorehouse; for the remainder of the marriage Mr. B comes and goes as he pleases, impregnating Carmen and then vanishing for months or years at a time. At one point her sister Dalila acquires a partially-decomposed adult male human skeleton—courtesy of a ‘snatcher’, recommended by the nuns—and together sister and mother boil and clean the bones. Assembled, Dalila receives her coveted A+ in anatomy and the unnamed skeleton literally hangs around the house, a possible replacement for the missing Mr. B.

The baby of the family, Adriana curls up with her mother in the kitchen or in bed, listening to the stories of the world filtered through a tabletop radio: sports, agony aunties, soap operas, tangos, boleros; Carmen singing along with the radio, Adriana, watching her mother “morph into a woman”.

“Tal vez mañana puedas comprender / Que siempre fui sincera / Tal vez por alguien llegues a saber / Que todavia te quiero. Maybe later you might understand / That I was always sincere / Perhaps someone will help you see / That I still love you.”

Childhood for Adriana, is a combination of head-long curiosity and goofy naiveté. Carmen, and to a lesser extent, her sisters, guide and guard the young Adriana. Memory is selective; what Adriana shows us is how this mother shapes her daughters: strict, efficient, economical—she maintains a poor but tidy home and life for her children. Lessons by word or example are rarely repeated; they become the very fibers of her daughter’s body and personality. Toward the end of the memoir, Adriana writes,

“Our financial situation started to improve when we moved to Medellín, and Dalila, Amanda, and Ligia got secretarial jobs that required them to wear nylons, high heels, and modest suits. Eventually they began going back to school at night, but they never stopped working, never stopped rescuing Mom and their two younger sisters from the constant panic of uncertainty. I owe everything I am to the women in my family—to my sisters and Mom. Nobody else.”

This is the heart of the memoir: what a daughter learns from her mother: how to be a girl, how to become a woman; and when that mother begins to fade from autumn into winter, how to become her mother. When Carmen, beset by Alzheimer’s, visits Adriana the wife and mother at her new home in Alaska, she relates a story about her pregnancy with Adriana so at odds with the life lessons she’d imparted over the years that her daughter feels an urge to “. . . jump into the lake and sink slowly into its frigid waters.” The fantastic and heartbreaking revelation adds another thin, sharp layer to this complex mother and daughter relationship.

Returning to Colombia in torn jeans and a gypsy blouse, Adriana arrives at the wake, faces somber and seemingly more mature sisters and a brother. Funerals are holidays for the dead, a time when far-flung family reunite and wonder aloud what went right and what went wrong. Her sisters and brother are emotional but methodical—Adriana feels like the only one with an incomparable loss—the woman who as a child promised her mother that she would always remain her little girl. A few days stretches into a painful eternity, and when the siblings return home to divide Carmen’s possessions, Adriana is nostalgic, then practical:

“I imagine landing in Miami, trying to make it through customs with a fern, a plastic chair, a flyswatter, a river stone, and a broom, and I have to laugh at my childishness. I discard my mental list. Instead I take a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandmother, (. . .) a photo of the six women—my four sisters, Mom, and me—that my brother took the day I left Colombia; the locket with a photo of my daughter that Mom wore around her neck like an amulet. I also seize the printout of Mom’s last EKG, taken two days ago.

“(. . .) I don’t know this yet but in six years I will look at this EKG and realize that the ink is fading away and with it the only existing traces of Mom’s heartbeat. I’ll have it tattooed around my left bicep, much to my family’s dismay, so that her heartbeat and mine will always be together.”

My Mother’s Funeral is the literal translation of that EKG tattoo, spanning decades, continents, and lives; a heartbeat that remains long after we scan the final page and move on into the days to come.

Robert Kostuck, Writing For Peace Guest WriterRobert Kostuck graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters in Education. His published work appears in the Kenyon Review, Concho River Review, Zone 3, Tiferet: Literature, Art, and the Creative Spirit, Silk Road, and others.

Writing for Peace News

Onward Into 2014!

Last year brought growth and many exciting firsts for Writing For Peace. Here’s a brief overview of 2013:

In 2013 our Advisers continued to demonstrate a commitment to peace and the power of writing through their work, their inspirational blog posts, brilliant ideas such as Mary Carroll-Hackett’s educational Facebook page for young writers, MCH-What’s Going On? and Pilar Rodriguez Aranda’s efforts to reach Spanish speaking young writers by translating our 2014 contest guidelines. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Sam Hamill‘s new and revised translated collection of Chinese poetry, Crossing the Yellow River is being published by Tiger’s Bark Press. His Selected Poems (not yet titled) will be published by Lost Horse Press in September 2014.
  • Lorraine Currelley was selected as an Artist-in-Residence for the 2014 Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) and as a new member of the Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Her Poets Network & Exchange will publish their first poetry anthology in 2014.
  • Veronica Golos is working on a new book, Root Work: The Lost Writings of John Brown and Mary Day Brown. “Of course John Brown was a great abolitionist and so was his wife, Mary and she also had 13 children. I have Ghost Code poems and Runaway poems also in the book. This is a way to make history live again, to get inside it so to speak.”
  • Richard Krawiec supports a community of writers and activists through education and his ever expanding Jacar Press.
  •  Maija Rhee Devine spoke with young people in South Korea and the United States about her award-winning books, The Voices of Heaven and Long Walks on Short Days, her experiences as a young girl during the Korean War, and her work with Korean Comfort Women.
  • Dr. Margaret Flowers continues her peace and healthcare activism. She currently serves as Secretary of Health on the Green Shadow Cabinet. Her recent article, Major Social Transformation Is a Lot Closer Than You May Realize — How Do We Finish the Job?, is also co-written with Kevin Zeese, and published on AlterNet.
  • Adriana Paramo‘s new memoir, My Mother’s Funeral, explores the volatile relationship with her mother, and their love that defies cultural forces, Bogotá street violence, and Medellin drug lords.

This is just a sampling of the wonderful work all our advisers do. Please watch our blog for their posts, follow their work, and support the poets and authors whose writings and activism encourage a more thoughtful and peaceful world.

In 2014, we look forward to hearing from Board Member Andrea W. Doray, who recently returned from Nepal, and to continued growth – including the occasional review on our blog! On this first day of the New Year, we welcome guest writer, Robert Kostuck, who reviews Adriana Paramo’s memoir, My Mother’s Funeral.

Happy New Year, Writers for Peace! And thank you for your ongoing support!

 

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.

 

Upon Cave Walls and Birch Bark, by Paula Dawn Lietz

In order to write for peace, we must first be able to recognize it. Look for peace in the nooks and crannies of your day – in a child’s innocent chatter, a stranger’s smile, the red leaves rustling beneath a maple. We’re celebrating the peace of an autumn day with Artist-in-Residence, Paula Dawn Lietz.

Upon Cave Walls and Birch Bark, Image and words by Pd Lietz

Upon Cave Walls and Birch Bark

sultry days of summer dim
cool her last tarnished hurrah
as daring strokes of autumn
begin to thread shades of splendour

a regal composition of colours
textures, and astounding knowledge
unequaled is this labor of darwinism
a sense of security, in autumns safe keeping
we trust as we travel through
the dark bite of winter

recognition of this survival mode
an honour many take for granted
endless pathways behind us
setting the pace for those yet birthed
we acclimatize to the environment
the adapting so remarkable its history
marked upon cave walls and birch bark

Poem and Photograph by Pd Lietz ©

About Pd Lietz, Artist-in-Residence

Pd Lietz, Writing for Peace Artist-in-ResidencePd Lietz is a widely published writer, photographer and artist who lives in rural Manitoba Canada. Ms. Lietz was awarded first prize in the United Kingdom Frost Photography International Competition 2011. Her writing, art, and photography have appeared in many publications, and she was responsible for the cover art of many of these. You can view works by Pd Lietz at http://www.pdlietzphotography.com/.

Learn more about Pd Lietz here.

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

DoveTales On Your Kindle!

Manuel A. López, DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013 Contributor

Manuel A. López

Our beautiful DoveTales journal is now available in Ebook format and available for purchase on 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. Our EBook includes “Occupied Series” by Manuel A. López. Purchase your EBook here.

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.

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. Deadline for submissions is November 30th. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Peace. Peace, Brother. Peace Be Unto You. by Phyllis Barber

Peace.  Peace, Brother.  Peace Be Unto You.

by Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, Writing for Peace AdviserThere’s been talk about peace from time immemorial, yet there are times in all centuries and definitely in today’s world when peace seems a foreign, alien concept. Try reading an account of turbulent history—beheadings, joustings, uprisings, duels, war upon war. Read the news of yet another murder or massacre in print or on-line. Watch television and stream the heat of another crime wave into the privacy of your living room. It seems as though mankind (and I choose that traditional noun with some thought) is wired to and fascinated with contention: borders, territory, possessions, rights, religious claims (when religions are supposed to mend humankind rather than tear it apart because one religion thinks differently than another about which god prevails).

Have you ever wondered why many people, even intelligent and religious ones who are supposed to have other solutions, think that the best way to solve a problem is to buy a gun or kill someone else who doesn’t agree with them or look like them or sing similar praises in similar language? It seems that, to many, there’s no solution without a Big Stick, without cannons, repeating rifles, or machine guns. These speak. Loudly. Assertively. Powerfully. Gentle, peaceful people don’t get the listening ear. Armies do. Armbands. Uniforms. Crisp pleats in one’s trousers. Is this penchant for war and supremacy part of our DNA, our skin and bones? Why is it such a prevalent solution? Is the world nothing more than a powder keg to be blown by the necessity of power over all and everything? Have we been hijacked by the fear that grabs us, shakes us by the lapels, and makes us want to act bigger than we really are? Use guns as an extension of our weakness? But those who think otherwise need to take their part—offer their opinions, their questions, and their propositions. Not sit idly by.

I admit that I don’t know answers—I only raise the questions that trouble me, but I’m thinking that the basic and most powerful peace is within one’s self, the place of stillness and calm where one is grateful for the good aspects of his or her life and free of demands on and expectations of self and others. This interior peace can be nurtured. When I’ve spent time on a high mountain trail and have felt the eternal peacefulness in those mountains that have endured so many harsh winters, been subjects to the refining bottom of massive glaciers, and have still provided home and protection to a myriad of animals, I’ve caught a glimpse of this inner peace that creates a desire for more. If people could sit or stand by the side of a still mountain lake and watch dragonflies dart forward, backward, and reverse course mid-air, maybe they could feel a new kind of stillness and harmony that doesn’t exist in most contemporary places. Maybe opposition and contention are part and parcel of the condition of being human, but when you’re in the mountains that have lasted for thousands of years while men and their wars come and go, you can feel a peace that calms and reassures. When you see that still lake slightly ruffled by a breeze and see a fish jump and leave a concentric ring that marks its hiding place, anxiety and fear leave your heart and mind. Your shoulders relax. You breathe deeply and have no desire to argue, to  protest your rights, to claim your sovereignty over anyone or anything. It is all so much larger than your small self—this abundance in the everlasting mountains. When you linger in stillness and a deer leaps gracefully through the nearby trees, you feel the embrace of something large and profoundly peaceful. And that helps you understand the true essence of this thing called peace. Maybe you can pick up a smooth pebble and carry it back home to remind yourself.

About Writing for Peace Adviser, Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber, Writing for Peace AdviserI joined Writing for Peace because I always believed that harmony between people is possible (maybe because I was the middle child who was always trying to balance the family dynamics). If only we can listen to what other people are saying and learn to receive them, rather than rebuffing them straightaway for some ridiculous reasons such as difference in education, economic level, religious affiliation, gender, color, shape of the face or the torso or feet, etc. I have found when I can open my awareness to another person and literally open up to who and what they are all about, a significant change happens between us—a connection at the level of spirit, that mysterious essence so much larger and wiser than we are.

~Phyllis Barber

Phyllis Barber  is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers. Learn more about Phyllis Barber and her work here.

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

Lorraine Currelley Joins Advisory Panel

Lorraine Currelley, Writing for Peace AdviserThe African proverb “I See You” and  the name Writing for Peace resonate with me. I’ve come to think of them as kindred spirits. Both embody the spirit of community and collaboration. An inter-generational worldwide community, working to create a world where peace is a reality. A community where each member sees each other through our connected humanity. In doing so, holding the key to connecting with all ecosystems.

Joining Writing for Peace is an opportunity to join with community to work for world  peace via writing. Our words are powerful tools. Tools having an extraordinary ability to act as a catalyst for positive change. A catalyst to promote understanding and connection between people. An opportunity to learn from each other and experience shared humanity. An opportunity to exercise our creative energies, talents and gifts; to unite our world community. Our words nurture, heal and empower. There are no inferiors nor superiors, we all bring something to the table equally important.

~Lorraine Currelley

Lorraine Currelley joins Writing for Peace as a poet, writer, educator, activist and Mental Health Counselor, as well as the founder of Poets Network & Exchange, a positive and supportive space for poets and writers of all levels, where she facilitates poetry and creative writing workshops and produces featured poetry readings, open mics and literary events. She holds a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate in Thanatalogy (grief and bereavement.) When she’s not writing poetry and short stories, she writes for scientific and literary publications on social, mental health, and grief and bereavement issues.

Lorraine Currelley is the former first and only president of  The Harlem Arts Fund, and the recipient of numerous community service awards for her work with the homeless and community efforts. She’s also the founder and editor of The Currelley Literary Journal, a blog where she writes articles, commentaries, reviews and interviews. LC Information and Resource Center, a resource and information blog which addresses domestic and sexual violence, providing information and links to resources nationwide. As a poet Lorraine Currelley is widely anthologized in literary publications. Learn more about Lorraine Currelley and her work here.

Writing for Peace Young Writers' Contest2014 Young Writers Contest

The Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest is officially open! Deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Our 2013 contest reached students in 21 countries, we hope to double the number of entries in 2014. (Meet our 2013 winners here!) Help us spread the word to schools across the globe. Email editor@writingforpeace.org to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students. Check out our complete guidelines here.

DoveTales Call for Submissions

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting 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.

Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Mourning the Loss of Voices for Peace, by Andrea W. Doray

 Mourning the Loss of Voices for Peace

 Andrea Doray, Writing for Peace Board Memberby Andrea W. Doray

You may not know who Wislawa Szymborska was, but you might know who Carlos Fuentes was.

Szymborska and Fuentes are two of the most influential authors of our time, and each died recently. If you don’t know too much about them, that’s okay. I myself was only introduced to the work of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska (pronounced vees-WAH-vah shim-BOR-ska) during a 2010 poetry class at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. Since then, she has become my favorite poetic voice.

Szymborska, who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature, was a gentle and reclusive person who lived modestly in the old university city of Krakow, Poland. In interviews, she insisted her poetry was personal rather political; however I have found that her work brings the personal to the political, as well as the political to the personal. She died in Krakow in February at age 88.

Carlos Fuentes died earlier this year in Mexico City at age 83. He wrote his first novel at age 29 and published an essay in France on the day he died.

You may know Fuentes for his internationally acclaimed novel, The Death of Artemio Cruz, or for The Buried Mirror, which he also hosted as a five-part series on NPR. Fuentes lived in the United States from time to time and taught at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Brown universities…in flawless American English.

Fuentes was honored with the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s highest literary honor, as well as France’s highest civilian award given to a foreigner. For me, Fuentes belongs to a fabled tradition of literary author as social commentator.

My own writing…

This loss of these important literary voices leads me to think of the course of my own writing. I volunteer for Writing for Peace, dedicated to cultivating empathy and developing a foundation of compassion on which to build a more peaceful world.

And I have so much to say! Right now, I’m working on my second collection of poetry with themes of war and peace, injustice and compassion throughout.

This also leads to think of what you might have to say. I’ve talked about renowned authors here, but you don’t have to be famous to be heard speaking out for peace.

I hear you out there all the time, at city council or county commissioner or school board meetings. I see you packing boxes at the Food Bank. I see you holding signs and hear you knocking on doors for candidates whom you believe will speak with your voice.

I see you tweeting and posting and blogging. I see you standing up for what matters to you, and saying what you believe needs to be said.

What more could we have learned?

Still, I mourn losing voices like Szymborska’s and Fuentes’…voices from different languages, different worlds. What more could they have shared with us, taught us?

Szymborska created a poetic place for readers to go where we had not been able to go before. She takes on the tough subjects and makes them accessible to us.

Fuentes said just six years ago that he had many more books in him. As a testament to his convictions, his last post on Twitter (out of only 21), has been translated from Spanish to English as: “There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”

Excuse me now, would you?

I need to go write something.

 

Andrea W. Doray is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and humanist living in Arvada, CO. Learn more about Andrea here.

 

 

Get Involved:

Call for Submissions: The Writing for Peace Literary Journal, DoveTales is accepting poetry, fiction, essays, photography, and art. Find Submission guidelines here.

2013 Young Writers Contest: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction divisions, ages 13-19. Find guidelines here.

Volunteer as a Writing for Peace Mentor: Learn more and apply here.

 

Next time…

Alexandra Kinias, Writing for Peace Adviser

 

A Word from Alexandra Kinias

Don’t miss our next post, when we’ll hear from  Writing for Peace Adviser, Alexandra Kinias. Alexandra is a mechanical engineer, screenwriter, photographer, and novelist. Born and raised in Egypt, her blog Silenced Voices, Wasted lives is dedicated to women’s issues in general and women in the Middle East in particular. Her novel, “Black Tulips”, reveals the hardships that women are exposed to living in male dominant societies.

Read more about Alexandra here.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.