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Category Archives: Peace and War

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Thich Nhat Hanh says, “I am convinced that there is no way to peace; peace is the way.

In the current conflict in Gaza, my heart is deeply moved by the massacre of so many children, the destruction of hospitals, schools, a UN refuge.

For centuries, many have tried to use bombs, killing, fear and destruction in the name of peace, in the name of preserving security, religious rights, in the name of God.

How can we continue to murder to end murder, destroy to end destruction, bomb to stop bombing?

I try to practice to bring peace to the world first by bringing it to this heart that is tempted to judge, to blame, to cry out to stop the violence.

Instead I will breathe, relax, gather friends to do walking meditation before we join the march to the White House on Saturday, August 2.

Join us at Farragut North at noon if you also need to cultivate peace in your heart, peace in every step, peace in the world.

 

 

 

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Read the news every day.   Know the suffering of the earth and its people, the aching of mountain tops and children weary for peace.  Feel the hunger in the depths of your belly, Joann, and never become satiated or lulled into forgetfulness.  Do not run from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Nigeria.  Stay in touch with both the worst fears and devastation the human race commits and the slightest rays of hope and courage.

Great art keeps me awake and hungry.  The startling, fresh movements of the Trey McIntyre Project force me to look at death, at the energy of life coming and going.  The passage I just read in Transatlantic by Colum McCann stirs hope in my heart that peace can come anywhere if we hunger for it enough:

p. 150  “The true verdict, he says, will belong to history. The ordinary people own it now.  We could not have found peace (in Northern Ireland) unless the desire for it was already here.  Nothing could have been achieved unless it was, first, wanted.  The collaboration was across the board.  No, it doesn’t take courage to shoot a policeman in the back of the head.  What takes courage is to compete in the arena of democracy.  But let’s not pretend it’s finished.  Yet let’s not pretend that it has only just begun either.  It was not an expectation, no, it was a conviction. Generations of mothers will understand this.  I do not find it sentimental at all, no never, not that.  Cynicism is easy.  An optimist is a braver cynic.”

How can we ever achieve peace if we do not experience it in our own bodies, minds and hearts?  If we have never suffered, never known despair or total powerlessness, how can we recognize transformation?  We need the taste of both death and life, bites of peace, freedom and sanity to hunger for more relief from war, slavery and insanity.

Tell me how you keep your hunger for peace alive?

Demo in DC/Photo by Messay.com

The pictures and stories about the protests in Egypt stir my revolutionary soul. I have gone through so many experiences in my own life that have drawn me to non-violent protest against war, injustice and oppression that my spirit resonates with the people in Tahrir Square. After having experienced violence and seen violence used to counter violence, I am again a firm believer in non-violence as a powerful force against oppression. Gandhi says, “I have found that life persists in the midst of destruction and, therefore, there must be a higher law than that of destruction. Only under that law would a well-ordered society be intelligible and life worth living. And if that is the law of life, we have to work it out in daily life. Wherever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”

There were scenarios in the Washington Post Sunday describing various ways the uprising there could go – like Tiananmen, Poland’s“Solidarity,” Indonesia or Iran’s Islamic Republic. Or something different, something particularly suited to the conditions and history of Egypt. This is the moment of opportunity, opening, change, when many options are possible. I felt that same possibility during the intense month after 9/11. A peaceful, non-violent solution was possible then. It was an option. But Bush and our vengeful government chose instead to perpetrate an un-winable war against a country ravaged by war, oppression and destruction for many years. Less than two years later, the US attacked Iraq.

I’ve worn my peace sign on my coat since the first bomb in March, 2003, hoping for an end to the wars that have cost so many lives. It may be a small act of one small person, but I am part of a growing and powerful non-violent movement. War doesn’t work. Oppression doesn’t work. Eventually people will resist both. People want peace, enough security and safety in which to feed, clothe and house themselves and their families, freedom to vote, to celebrate life, practice their faith, work and create. All people need peace. If we want peace in our world, we must build peace in our country. If we want peace in our country, we must build peace in our communities. If we want peace in our communities, then we must build peace in our homes. If we want peace in our homes, we must build peace in our own hearts, minds and bodies. (my version of a Confucian saying).

How do you feel about the uprising of the Egyptian people? About how you are making peace today?


Joe O’Rourke – High School Photo at his Memorial 9/08

Editing the chapters of my book on the DC-9 trial brings alive the words and feelings of people like Joe O’Rourke, the only one of the Nine who has passed away. What a brilliant and powerful speaker! Here is a sample from my summary of the trial transcript:

Joe O’Rourke was allowed to present the lengthiest statement the defense had been able to give at this point in the trial. Joe said that our only defense (against the five federal felony charges of burglary and malicious destruction of property) is “our lives.” He maintained that while we didn’t have the consent of Dow to enter their offices, “ we did have the consent of the poor people around the world; the 50% of the world’s population now dying of malnutrition, the mothers, the babies that die every day in the US. We feel we did have their consent to stop the Dow Chemical Company’s relationship with the United States.” (Transcript p. 582).

Joe argued that we were not committing a crime but stopping “a criminal activity by a massive institution that is crushing, not just lives in Vietnam, not just in Guatemala, but our own lives, because most of us are still powerless to change Dow, to stop Dow from making a bomb, an incendiary which is against international law; whether, indeed, the history of Dow Chemical Company isn’t precisely the thing that should be on trial here today…isn’t Dow the criminal? Isn’t their relationship with the government a criminal act? Aren’t their foreign investments sapping land resources, money, labor from countries all over the world? Isn’t that a criminal act?

…Isn’t it Dow that really should be on trial before you today? Isn’t it because of their managing, manipulating, killing, in your name as well as mine, we have alleged to have tried to stop them and you must judge whether that was just, or not.” (Transcript, p. 583)

The six of us were leaning forward, sending Joe our energy and support as all the Jesuit training in logic and public speaking poured into this powerful delivery. He continued to argue that some property, such as slave ships “that brought some of your ancestors to the US, the gas ovens of Nazi Germany,” and Dow’s napalm have no right to exist. If Dow is the burglar, the thief that steals from the poor around the world, then Dow is the one with the malice, manipulating our lives, turning our economy and society into an ‘economy of death,’ a ‘society of death.’ (p. 584). “What we did was really an act for life, an act of hope that you can trust us, trust our truth.” ( p. 585).

Do you have friends you would like to bring alive in your writing? Are the political causes of the sixties meaningful to you today?

Today I had all morning and all afternoon to work on my book, focusing on Day Two and Day Three of our DC-9 trial. I’m bushed. It was a grueling experience in 1970 and practically wore me out again in the re-writing of it. Judge Pratt had taken a page from the lessons of the Conspiracy Eight trial in Chicago – shut them up, gag them if they try to interrupt with questions. Never let them cross-examine witnesses, even if they fire their lawyers.

I have been fighting a cold too for the last several days. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to use the hours available to me, a clear, phone-interruption free day! What a gift!

I also feel gratitude for the opportunity we had in 1970 to confront the court system, to speak out against war, injustice and corporate murder of innocent people. I can feel the feelings I felt then, over 40 years ago. I suppose that is why I keep writing, to bring alive the scenes, the defiance we exhibited, the fire in our hearts to struggle together for justice and peace.

Now I can rest, rest my cold, rest the work energy, rest the feelings and trust the great spirits of today’s young people to carry on the fight for justice, peace and real rest for all people.

Viva Tunisia!

Merijin Hoek

“It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. Stop settling for what’s good enough and start creating art that matters. Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential…you have brilliance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must. I’m hoping you’ll stand up and choose to make a difference.” (Linchpin, Seth Godin).

Why am I, Joann Malone, ex-nun, ex high school teacher, so obsessed with this marketing/business guy Seth Godin? Blame Patrick, my husband, who is very serious about not only creating his music on a daily basis but also sharing it with the world. He’s a philosopher. He’s very into Seth, reads his blog everyday. Today’s blog is on Self-Delusion and Self-Loathing. Seth is a philosopher, too, in addition to being a world class businessman, writer, speaker and successful author.

The more I read of Linchpin, the more I realize that his message is very similar to the one I preached as a rebel, hippie nun in the sixties. I felt the same need to wake people up to the mess our government and social institutions were creating for human beings. Seth says that the system we grew up with is a mess. Back in 1968-69, I was saying similar things on college campuses and at draft card burning rallies – “Stop! Listen to what our government is saying and doing! Listen to the messages of our schools – conform, be afraid, fear people from other countries, fear Communism, fear anyone who thinks for themselves, kill them. Is that really the way you want to live? In fear? In mistrust of others? Believing whatever teachers, priests or military recruiters tell you? No! Think for yourself. Stand up! Resist! Stop the war.”

If you don’t do it, who will? If we don’t question our system’s spending, policies and actions, who will? If we don’t look at our own lives, decide what is really important to us and DO IT, who will? There are some things that only YOU can do, aren’t there? Love your child unconditionally. Breathe the air coming into your nostrils at this moment. Live your life. Be right where you are right now, as fully as possible. This doesn’t mean that we are disconnected from others, totally unique. Yet only I can live MY LIFE. I can’t wait for someone to tell me how to do it. That I still believe, although I pray every day for guidance from a Higher Power and check my brilliant ideas with friends and family who know and love me. But I never want to lose that fire in the belly I had as a rebel nun, urging young people to do what only they can do, live life fully NOW!

Do you feel alive right now? Doing what you are doing? Being the person you are being? Is it true that only YOU can do it?

The sight of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiling in the center does give us hope. Although I had studied the conflicts in the Middle East for many years, it was not until I visited Palestine and Israel in 1991 that I felt in my body and spirit the spiritual power of Jerusalem. Within feet of each other are ancient centers of three great religions and the remnants of unbelievable suffering that has affected millions of people around the world.

Each day in whatever ways we possibly can, may we learn to smile and touch the hand and heart of those we have considered enemies. If the long and bitter struggles between Palestinians and Israelis can result in peace in our lifetime, we can surely make peace within our own families, neighborhoods and communities. Who knows how far the ripples extend from one act of humility and peacemaking?

Do you believe peace is possible? Here? Now?

This quote by Jeannette Rankin has attracted more people to my blog than any other, it seems. I “re-post” this Sept 1 posting today in honor of the real people still dying every day in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world where our government kills in our name.

Today the US government is declaring the END of the WAR in IRAQ. Does war ever have such a neat and defined ending? Eight mIllion of us around the world marched in protest in March, 2003 when the US bombing of Iraq began. I will never forget the 2600 students of Montgomery Blair HS who walked out into freezing rain in protest over the bombing and this insane and unjustifiable war. We knew that such a war would destroy decades of peacemaking efforts and that its effects would last for generations. Well over a million Iraqis killed, thousands of American troops killed and wounded. Infrastructure, education, government and health care systems destroyed, in addition to the art and culture of one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. And for what purpose? How can this war be “ended,” let alone “won.”

Jeannette Rankin, the only woman elected to serve in the US Congress during both World War I and II and to vote against both said, “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.More quotations: War quotes

I do rejoice that many of our soldiers will be returned alive, that the Iraqi people may gain a small measure of independence. I still believe that peace is possible and that we must do everything in our power each day to make peace, to listen, to understand more deeply the conflicts that exist in our world. But “winning” cannot be equated with mass destruction.

”The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.
by George Orwell
Polemic, May 1946, “Second Thoughts on James Burnham”

Photo at a protest against the Iraq War in 2006 by Danny Hammontree

What are your thoughts on war and peace today?