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Category Archives: Revolution

The Sixties
Civil Rights to the Black Panthers
Anti-Vietnam War Actions
Revolutions around the world

International Women’s Day 3-8-13

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Tiny spits of snow
Trying to assert winter drama
Tickling, floating, dancing in
Dawn’s lightening clouds.

You tricksters have so few days to play

‘til Spring daffodils triumph.
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Photo at White House by Messay

Away on retreat on a different Gulf, I missed some of the news of revolution spreading throughout the Persian Gulf and northern Africa. My heart hurts for the people of Libya suffering such vicious violence against them by Qaddafi. He is saying “People who don’t love me don’t deserve to live” and “I rule over you or I will kill you,” promising to make his country a “living hell.” Yet the people rise up, protest, brave the mercenaries firing on unarmed civilians with automatic weapons. Most of the violence in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Libya seems to be coming from the people in power who are desperate to cling to their power and wealth. The level of courageous non-violent protest on the part of the people in areas of the world that have experienced little democracy is truly amazing. The uprisings in the Middle East seem to also be encouraging our own teachers, state workers and union members whose rights are threatened in the U.S. These protests are very encouraging to those of us who dedicated our lives to ending war, poverty and racism in the sixties and seventies.

Non-violent protest takes tremendous courage, resilience, perseverance, hope and love. Satyagraha, Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent action, is far more powerful than any violent regime. He said that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness more manly than punishment. Non-violence is not meant for saints but for common people. It is the conquest of physical might by spiritual strength. I pray that the people of Libya will be able to withstand the violence being carried out upon them by a desperate dictator. One our country has supported for the sake of its oil.

How encouraging, heart nourishing and inspiring are the people who are standing up for their rights, for a life of greater freedom. If they use the right means, the ends will take care of themselves, Gandhi says.

This is true for each one of us in this day. Is there violence or desperation in our hearts? Fear that we might lose what we have or not get something we want? Are we willing to harm someone who is expressing their needs to us or someone who no longer loves us as we wish? Perhaps we need to look first in our hearts for dictators to overthrow. Are our hearts are full of joy, peace and freedom? Are we ready to practice non-violence in speech and action today?

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?

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?

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?


August 20, 2010

Today I completed the third draft of my book The Power of Love! Hooray!

As I was compiling a bibliography, I breathed yet another prayer of gratitude to all the teachers and writers who have influenced me for so many years – Theilard de Chardin, Franz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Thich Nhat Hanh. Two leaders of the Sisters of Loretto whom I dearly loved are on the list – Sister Luke Tobin (Hope is an Open Door) and Sister Helen Saunders (More than a Renewal )- which contains an entire chapter about my participation in the anti-war action that is the subject of my book. I still have the copies of several “handbooks” I dragged all over the country hitch-hiking from trials to demonstrations to speaking engagements: Seymour Hersh’s Chemical and Biological Warfare, Domhoff’s Who Rules America , The Rich and Super-Rich by Ferdinand Lundberg and Baran and Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital.

Not to mention the minimum of three novels I need every week to keep me going.

Isn’t it the least I can do– to contribute one book in gratitude for all I’ve been given to read?

I am amazed that just beginning this blog with the intention of sharing my writing/publishing process with the world has already had great results.

One of them happened on June 8 when I was interviewed on film about the story at the heart of my book – the DC-9 anti-war action I did as a young nun.   The film – Hit and Stay – focuses on the Catonsville Nine and other “Catholic Left” actions against draft boards and corporations like Dow Chemical that profited from the Vietnam War.  So far, the interviews with men far outweighed those with women.  Hopefully, as I plan to share in my book, The Power of Love: How a Nun became a Revolutionary, my voice will help to balance the film.

There are several other events that have come as a result of letting a few friends know that I am now ready to not only write my story but also share it with the world.   More later.

What is your experience with putting out an intention to the universe and seeing what comes back to you?????