HALEY MORROW and TOM H. HASTINGS – The peace movement in the US lobbies for a cessation of military aid, including to the current Sudanese combatants. Lethal aid, paid for by our taxes, is sold or given away, the profits go to military corporations, and the regular tax-paying citizens pay to be part of the bloody business overseas. To the extent we can stop this flow of deadly force, we can help empower nonviolent people power and increase the chances for peace and democracy.
STEVEN YOUNGBLOOD – A friend and colleague recently wrote me and asked if I, an advocate for peace, was discouraged by the avalanche of violence that seems to be engulfing mankind. Itâ€™s certainly easy to get discouraged, or even to abandon the notion that peace is possible, given the new status quo in Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, Ferguson, Missouri, Mexico, Syria, Gaza, Somalia and so on. Against this backdrop, the annual commemoration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 seemed futileâ€”like holding a storm awareness seminar in the middle of a category five hurricane. Yes, the big picture seems awful. But itâ€™s not the only picture. Thatâ€™s why I choose to look instead at a number of other pictures that show peace breaking out all around the globe.
LAURA FINLEY – The root problem underlying the Sandy Hook mass shooting tragedy is that the U.S. is a violent, militaristic culture that, in virtually every institution, demonstrates violence as a means of solving problems.
SATO MATSUI and PAMMIE SHAPIRO – Recently, the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) released the annual 2012 Global Peace Index (GPI), and also the inaugural report on the Positive Peace Index (PPI), which aims to incite optimism in the analysis of global peace measurements.
BILL RHATICAN – Just over two weeks ago the town of Houla was the scene of a horrible massacre claiming more than 100 innocent lives, many of them women and children. The violence is yet another tragic event in an increasingly violent conflict driven by the Assad government, its supporters and a wide array of opposition groups.
SETH BORENSTEIN – It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it’s really on the run. Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings. Wars drag on in Iraq and Afghanistan. In peaceful Norway, a man massacred 69 youths in July. In Mexico, headless bodies turn up, victims of drug cartels. This month eight people died in a shooting in a California hair salon. Yet, historically, we’ve never had it this peaceful.
JESSE STRAUSS – On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tottenham police station, peacefully calling for “justice” for Mark Duggan, a man killed by officers three days prior. Police stood in formation, separating the community members from the station they were guarding, until a 16-year-old woman reportedly approached an officer to find out what was going on. According to a witness account, some officers pushed the young woman and drew their batons. “And that’s when the people started to retaliate. Now I think in all circumstances, having seen that, most people retaliate,” said the witness.
WINSLOW MYERS – Muhammar Khaddafyâ€™s brutal reaction to the aspirations of his own people is becoming a textbook case in the futility of opposing the citizens from whose consent a leaderâ€™s political authority derives, however illegitimately. Instead, his stubborn egotism has led to absurd violence, even civil war. At moments like this, the world trembles with indignation and apprehensive hope.
ALEX DOHERTY – [It gives me especial pleasure to present this article to PeaceWorker readers because I recall hearing Mark Rudd speak at a rally on the U of California campus in 1968, just after the occupation he refers to below. I thought his rhetoric was wrong-headed at the time and am delighted that he â€“ who later became one of U.S. movementâ€™s most ardent supporters of violence â€“ has now come to appreciate the importance of nonviolence. â€“ Editor]
[From 1965 to 1968, Mark Rudd was a student activist and organizer in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter at Columbia University. He was one of the leaders of the Spring 1968 occupation of five buildings and the subsequent strike against the universityâ€™s complicity with the Vietnam war. After being kicked out of Columbia, he became a full-time organizer for SDS, where he helped found the militant Weatherman faction. Mark was elected National Secretary of SDS in June, 1969, then helped found the â€œrevolutionaryâ€ Weather Underground, which had as its goal â€œthe violent overthrow of the government of the U.S. in solidarity with the struggles of the people of the world.â€ Wanted on federal charges of bombing and conspiracy, Mark was a fugitive from 1970 to 1977. He spoke to NLPâ€™s Alex Doherty on the dangers of self-indulgent activism and his thoughts on current anti-war organizing in the United States.]
DORIS MORRIS – I needed a way to express my feelings about the recent shooting involving our representative, Gabrielle Giffords, so began writing this reflection a few days ago. I am open to comments.
TOM H. HASTINGS — Here comes the 4th of July and we are barely done with Memorial Day. The flags of nationalistic patriotic fervor sprout and resprout across the land, in the parks, on the lawns, on billboards, on the Internet, and generally everywhere. Military jets will fly in formation, anthems will fill the air, and military uniforms will be ubiquitous. Little children are getting used to this, and they never see the adults they trust question this, so they come to trust the guns, the songs about bombs, the valorization of violence, and the equation of killing with freedom.