“Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace”
1. At the beginning of this New Year, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious, civic and community leaders. I wish peace to every man, woman and child, and I pray that the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity. Especially in situations of conflict, let us respect this, our “deepest dignity”, and make active nonviolence our way of life.
This is the fiftieth Message for the World Day of Peace. In the first, Blessed Pope Paul VI addressed all peoples, not simply Catholics, with utter clarity. “Peace is the only true direction of human progress – and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order”. He warned of “the danger of believing that international controversies cannot be resolved by the ways of reason, that is, by negotiations founded on law, justice, and equity, but only by means of deterrent and murderous forces.” Instead, citing the encyclical Pacem in Terris of his predecessor Saint John XXIII, he extolled “the sense and love of peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love”. In the intervening fifty years, these words have lost none of their significance or urgency.
On this occasion, I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values. May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life. When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking. In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.
We have recently returned from a two week citizen’s diplomacy peace delegation to six cities in Russia under the auspices of the Center for Citizen Initiatives.
Our trip included visits with journalists, political leaders, teachers and students, doctors and medical clinics, veterans of past wars, representatives of small businesses and nongovernmental organizations, youth camps, and home visits.
Since David’s earlier visits to Russia over the past fifty-five years, much has changed. He was struck by how much new building and construction has taken place, and the “westernization” of clothing, styles, advertising, automobiles and traffic, as well as global corporations and private companies and stores.
Some of our reflections include:
1. Danger of US and NATO military exercises on Russian border, like a game of nuclear chicken. This could very easily escalate into nuclear war. We must wake up the American people about the danger and encourage our government to move away from this dangerous posturing.
2. We need to put ourselves in the Russians’ shoes. What if Russia had military troops, tanks and bomber planes and missiles on the US border in Canada and Mexico. Wouldn’t we feel threatened?
3. Russian people don’t want war and want to live in peace. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in World War II because they were not prepared militarily. They will not let that happen again. If attacked, they will fight for their Motherland. Most families lost family members in WWII, so war is very immediate and personal. In the siege of Leningrad between two and three million people perished.
4. US and NATO must take the initiative and show a commitment to living in peace with the Russians and treat them with respect.
5. The Russian people are a very friendly, open, generous and beautiful people. They are not a threat They are proud to be Russians, and want to be seen as an important part of a multi-polar world.
6. Most people that we met were very supportive of Putin. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, they experienced the shock therapy of the neo-liberal model of privatizing everything. In the 1990’s there was tremendous poverty and suffering of the large majority of the people while the oligarchs stole the previously state-owned resources from the country. Putin has given leadership to pull the country together and help improve the lives and well-being of the people. He is standing up to the bullies – the US and NATO – demanding respect from the rest of the world , and not allowing Russia to be pushed around and intimidated by the US.
7. Many Russians we talked with believe that the US is looking for enemies and creating wars in order to get more billions for the war profiteers.
8. The US must stop playing world policeman. It gets us in too much trouble and is not working. We need to give up our Pax Americana policies, acting like we are the most important country, the superpower which can tell the rest of the world how they can live and act.
9. My good Russian friend Voldya says “Don’t believe the propaganda of the political leaders and the corporate media.” The vilifying of Russia and Putin is what makes war possible. If we no longer see the Russians as people and human beings just like us, but make them the enemy, we can then support going to war with them.
10. The US and the European Union should stop the economic sanctions against Russia. They are hurting the Russian people and are counter-productive.
11. The people of Crimea, who are 70-80% Russian in nationality and language, voted in a referendum to become part of Russia as they had been for most of the past two hundred years. One Ukrainian nationality man living in Crimea, who opposed the referendum to join Russia, felt that at least 70% of the people in Crimea voted to join Russia. The people of Kosovo voted to secede from Serbia and the West supported them. The majority of people in Great Britain voted to leave the European Union; Scotland may vote to leave Great Britain. People of every region or country have the right to determine their own future without interference of the rest of the world.
12. The US needs to stop meddling in other nation’s affairs and supporting the overthrow of their governments (regime change) – like Ukraine, Iraq, Libya and Syria. We are creating ever more enemies around the world, and getting ourselves involved in more and more wars. This is not creating security for Americans or anyone else.
13. We need to work for the common security of all peoples, not just one nation at the expense of other nations. National security does not work any more and current US policies cannot even create security in America.
14. Back in 1991 US Secretary of State Baker committed to Gorbachev that NATO would not move one foot eastward towards Russia’s borders in return for the Soviet Union allowing the reunification of Germany. The US and NATO have not kept that agreement and are now have battalions of military troops, tanks, military planes and missiles on Russia’s borders. Ukraine and Georgia may also join NATO, which gets Russia ever more worried about western intentions. When the Warsaw pact was disbanded, the NATO pact should have been disbanded as well.
15. The American people must organize to stop the US and NATO operations on Russia’s borders and stop meddling in Ukraine and Georgia. The future of these countries should be decided by the people of these countries, not by the US. We must resolve our conflicts by negotiations and peaceful means. The future of billions of people on our beloved planet depends on what we do. Thank you for thinking, speaking out and acting to stop this madness. And please share these reflections widely.
David Hartsough is the author of WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, Director of Peaceworkers, and is a co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce and World Beyond War. David and Jan were part of a twenty person team of citizen diplomats who visited Russia for two weeks in June of 2016. See www.ccisf.org for reports from the delegation. Contact us if you would like to do an interview.
Thirty-one thousand troops from the US and NATO countries are engaged in military maneuvers on the Russian border in Poland – together with tanks, military planes and missiles. The US has just activated an anti-ballistic missile site in Romania which the Russians see as part of an American first strike policy. Now the US can fire missiles with nuclear weapons at Russia, and then the anti-ballistic missiles could shoot down Russian missiles shot toward the west in response, the assumption being only the Russians would suffer from nuclear war.
issue of the Catholic Agitator Vol. 45/No. 1
As the title suggests, David Hartsough has been a lifelong peace activist, not just on the East Coast, but all over the world—and what an adventure it has been! His iron-strong commitment to nonviolence has taken him from Castro’s Cuba to the Oval Office in the Kennedy White House. He attended many of Dr. King’s sermons at Howard University, and was at the lunch counter sit-ins in the South. He bore nonviolent witness to erecting the Berlin Wall, held an anti-nuclear demonstration in Red Square—and was threatened with 20 years in a Russian prison …
SEPT 27: PASADENA, CA Sunday 10am Orange Grove Friends Meetinghouse, 520 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA
SEPT 27: RIVERSIDE, CA Sunday 7pm Universalist Unitarian Church 3657 Lemon St., Riverside, CA
SEPT 28: SAN DIEGO Monday, 7pm Peace Resource Center, 3850 Westgate Pl (promoted by San Diego Peace Resource Center, Friends Meetings and Veterans for Peace)
OCT 4: BERKELEY, Sunday, 11:30am, St. Johns Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave, Berkeley, CA
OCT 18: SALT LAKE CITY, Utah Sunday, 11:30am Salt Lake City Friends Meetinghouse, 171 E 4800 S, Murray, UT 84107-
OCT 20: ITHACA, NY, 7pm Ithaca Friends Meeting, 120 3rd St, Ithaca, NY
OCT 21: ALBANY, NY, 6pm, Social Justice Center,
David Hartsough, author of WAGING PEACE: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, PM press 2014. Available through Peaceworkers for $20 at 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world:
Indeed it’s the only think that ever has.” Margaret Mead
This autobiographical record begins with David’s Ohio roots. His mother was a first-grade teacher and an activist, his father was a Congergational minister. At age seven, young Hartsough faced down a group of town bullies who had bloodied him. Later, he sought out—and became friends with—their jefe.
From there the story moves quickly to Pennsylvania, where the teenage David organizes his first peace protest (at a Nike missile site); then to Virginia, where the angered patron of a segregated lunch counter David and others were attempting to integrate threatens his life; and then on to the White House, Berlin, Red Square, and even the Holy Land, all places where he demonstrates nonviolently for reconciliation. The book concludes half a century later, with his arrest outside a U.S. drone base.
By Curt Torrell, Quaker House, Fayetteville, North Carolina — December 2014 – www.quakerhouse.org
Despite the fact that our nation is war weary after thirteen years of post-9/11 wars, we are embroiled in yet another war, this time on the so-called Islamic State (IS). And despite the fact that our bombs produced neither peace nor stability in Iraq and Afghanistan, but rather unleashed a firestorm of tribal and sectarian violence and a flood of arms circulating in that region, we are being led into doing it all over again.
Our homeland was not pillaged or bombed, nor did we lose hundreds of thousands of our citizens to the ensuing violence, hunger, and lack of water and healthcare that inevitably follows warfare. Large segments of our population were not forced into refugee camps. Even so, Americans are beginning to understand that thirteen years of war have cost us dearly. But those most addicted to war, and those who profit from it, refuse to recognize the effects of their addiction upon others.
In 2012 I was arrested with David and Jan Hartsough, Shirley Osgood and Janie Kesselman at a demonstration at Beale Air Force Base, near my home in Northern California. We were the first of many to be arrested at anti-drone protests at Beale, home of the Global Hawk, a surveillance drone that helps identify targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones.
Our arrests resulted in a trial that generated significant publicity. Our case and others like it at bases around the country got people discussing and questioning the morality of killing people by remote control.
Throughout the trial, David urged our lawyers to focus on the Nuremburg Principles and International Law, even though the judge refused to consider these factors as a defense. We were found “guilty” of trespassing onto base property.
Before being sentenced we each gave a statement to the court. David’s complete sentencing statement is an addendum to Waging Peace..
There were giants on the earth in those days . . . (Genesis 6:4)
The fear that we citizens of the United States have been seduced into since 9/11 spreads across our benighted nation like a fog, inhibiting all policy alternatives not based in blind vengefulness. Special are those who have the spiritual clear-sightedness and persistence to make people-oriented global connections that pierce the fog of fear with the light of visionary possibility.
One such giant is David Hartsough, whose vivid, even hair-raising, memoir of a lifetime of peace activism, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, has just been published by PM press. It ought to be required reading for every U.S. citizen befogged by the crude polarization between Islamic extremism and the equally violent, ineffective, but seemingly endless Western military reaction it has elicited.
It hardly seems possible that Hartsough has been able to crowd into one lifetime all his deeds of creative nonviolence. He was there with Martin Luther King in the late fifties in the South. He was there when a train loaded with bullets and bombs on their way to arm right-wing death squads in Central America severed the leg of his friend Brian Willson in California. His initiatives of support for nonviolent resistance movements span both decades and continents, from efforts to get medical supplies to the North Vietnamese, to reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians, to support for Russian dissidents as the Soviet Union was breaking up, to the resistance to Marcos in the Philippines, and on and on. Hartsough’s book thus becomes a remarkably comprehensive alternative history to set against “the official story” of America’s—and many other nations’—often brutal and misguided reliance upon military intervention.
Book Review by Ken Butigan — November 12, 2014
Years ago, my friend Anne Symens-Bucher would regularly punctuate our organizing meetings with a wistful cry, “I just want to live an ordinary life!” Anne ate, drank and slept activism over the decade she headed up the Nevada Desert Experience, a long-term campaign to end nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site. After a grueling conference call, a mountainous fundraising mailing, or days spent at the edge of the sprawling test site in 100-degree weather, she and I would take a deep breath and wonder aloud how we could live the ordinary, nonviolent life without running ourselves into the ground.
What we didn’t mean was: “How do we hold on to our radical ideals but also retreat into a middle-class cocoon?” No, it was something like: “How can we stay the course but not give up doing all the ordinary things that everyone else usually does in this one-and-only life?” Somewhere in this question was the desire to not let who we are — in our plain old, down-to-earth ordinariness — get swallowed up by the blurring glare of the 24/7 activist fast lane.
These ruminations came back to me as I plunged into the pages of David Hartsough’s new memoir, “Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.” David has been a friend for 30 years, and over that time I’ve rarely seen him pass up a chance to jump into the latest fray with both feet — something he’d been doing long before we met, as his book attests. For nearly six decades he’s been organizing for nonviolent change — with virtually every campaign, eventually getting tangled up with one risky nonviolent action after another. Therefore one might be tempted to surmise that David is yet another frantic activist on the perennial edge of burnout. Just reading his book, with its relentless kaleidoscope of civil resistance on many continents, can be dizzying — what must it have been like to live it? If anyone would qualify for not living the ordinary life, it would seem to be David Hartsough.
Annual Peace Lecture/Waging Peace Book talk
given by David Hartsough in Salem, OR, on Oct 15, 2014.
September 7, 2014 ( from Street Spirit)
During a long lifetime spent working for peace and social justice, David Hartsough has shown an uncanny instinct for being in the right place at the right time. One can almost trace the modern history of nonviolent movements in America by following the trail of his acts of resistance over the past 60 years.
His life has been an unbroken series of sit-ins for civil rights, seagoing blockades of munitions ships sailing for Vietnam, land blockades of trains carrying bombs to El Salvador, arrests at the Diablo nuclear reactor and the Livermore nuclear weapons lab, Occupy movement marches, and international acts of peacemaking in Russia, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Iran and Palestine.
It all began at the very dawn of the Freedom Movement when the teenaged Hartsough met Martin Luther King and Ralph David Abernathy at a church in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 as the ministers were organizing the bus boycott at the birth of the civil rights struggle. Read more…
Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist
Authors: David Hartsough with Joyce Hollyday • Foreword by John Dear • Introduction by George Lakey • Afterword by Ken Butigan
Publisher: PM Press — ISBN: 978-1-62963-034-2
Paperback — $20.00
Signed copies available now from Peaceworkers (postage included)
for a sliding-scale price of $20 to $25.
Peaceworkers, 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Free Chapters in PDF format:
David Hartsough knows how to get in the way! He has used his body to block Navy ships headed for Vietnam and trains loaded with munitions on their way to El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has crossed borders to meet “the enemy” in East Berlin, Castro’s Cuba, and present-day Iran. He has marched with mothers confronting a violent regime in Guatemala and stood with refugees threatened by death squads in the Philippines.
Waging Peace is a testament to the difference one person can make. Hartsough’s stories inspire, educate, and encourage readers to find ways to work for a more just and peaceful world. Inspired by the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Hartsough has spent his life experimenting with the power of active nonviolence. It is the story of one man’s effort to live as though we were all brothers and sisters.
Thought you might be interested in my recent radio interview on KPFK about my trip to Vietnam, the World Beyond War movement and my book, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.
A U D I O P L A Y E R
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“Don’t you touch me!” declared Mi Ryang.
South Korean police were clamping down on a villager who was resisting the construction of a Korean/U.S. naval base at her village. Mi Ryang managed to turn the police away by taking off her blouse and, clad in her bra, walking toward them with her clear warning. Hands off! Mi Ryang is fondly referred to as “Gangjeong’s daughter” by villagers who highly regard her as the feisty descendant of legendary women sea divers. Her mother and grandmother were Haenyo divers who supported their families every day by diving for shellfish.
Since 2007, every day without fail, Mi Ryang has stood up to militarists destroying her land.
Mi Ryang, in white cap on the right, challenging a construction truck driver at the naval base gate
I have recently returned from three weeks in Korea and Vietnam, countries which have in the past and are still suffering from the ravages of war.
Korea – North and South are caught in the tragic cold war mentality with a divided country imposed on them by the United States (and not opposed by the Soviet Union) back in 1945 and solidified in 1948. Ten million families were separated by the division of North and South. People in South Korea cannot phone, write or visit relatives or friends in North Korea and vice versa. One Catholic Priest from South Korea I met spent three and a half years in prison in South Korea for visiting North Korea on a peace mission. The border between North and South Korea is a battle zone where hot war could break out at any moment. The US and South Korean military regularly do full scale live fire war games invoking up to 300,000 troops simulating both defensive and offensive war including armed war planes right up to the border of North Korea. North Korea regularly makes threats of war as well. The Soviet Union is no more and it is time for the United States to ask forgiveness of the people of South and North Korea for imposing this state of war on the two countries, sign a peace agreement with North Korea to officially end the Korean war,recognize the government of North Korea and agree to negotiate all differences at the conference table, not on the battlefield.
Talk by Randy Kehler at the Nipponzan Myohoji Peace Pagoda, 27th Anniversary Celebration, Leverett, Massachusetts, September 29, 2012 (PDF version)
Greetings, friends. It’s wonderful, as always, to be here with all of you, and an honor to have been invited to share some thoughts with you.
The title of my talk (“Personal Reflections on the State of the World”) was meant to be general enough to give me plenty of leeway to talk about almost anything, because, frankly, when I was asked what the title would be, I hadn’t yet had much time to think about what I wanted to say. At this point, having given it more thought, I think I would at least amend the title by adding this subtitle: “Randy’s Ongoing Meditation on Fear.” I think you’ll see what I mean.
But let me start with the state of the world and a brief recap of what appear to me to be 5 of the most serious, most threatening, most daunting crises we face – crises that many of us here have devoted significant portions of our lives attempting to address – and few, if any, with more faithfulness, perseverance, and equanimity than the monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji.
First, the crisis of nuclear power.
This is from The Economist, of March 10, 2012 (one year after Fukushima): “The triple meltdown at Fukushima was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The damage extends far beyond a lost power station, a stricken operator (the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO), and an intense debate about the future of the nation’s nuclear power plants. It goes beyond the trillions of yen that will be needed for a decade-long effort to decommission the reactors and remove their wrecked cores, if indeed that proves possible, and the even greater sums that may be required for decontamination (which one [Tokyo University expert] thinks could cost as much as 50 trillion yen, or $623 billion). It reaches into the lives of the displaced, and of those further afield who know they have been exposed to the fallout from the disaster….For parallels that do justice to the disaster, the Japanese find themselves reaching back to the second world war, otherwise seldom discussed….And, of course, to Hiroshima.”
There are roughly [400-?] operating operating nuclear power plants in the world today. 104 of them are in the U.S., most of them old and approaching, or already having exceeded, their 40-year design life. Many of them, including the Vermont Yankee nuke, on the Conn. River 20 miles north of here and the Pilgrim nuke in Plymouth, 40 miles south of Boston, have been given permission by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate for an additional 20 years, and at 120% of the power output they were designed to produce. 23 of the U.S. reactors, including both Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim, are of almost the identical make and flawed design (courtesy of General Electric) as the nukes still melting down in Fukushima.
By Nicholas Sismil, Peaceworkers Intern – PeaceWorkersUS.org
Palestine, West Bank
In recent news, Palestinian actions in the West Bank have moved more towards
constructive programme in the last month or two. Palestinians and international activists
have built a total of three protest villages thus far. Two have been destroyed but the
recent village is still standing.
The first camp was constructed on Friday, January 11th. By noon, the Palestinians
announced to the world that the village of Bab-al Shams (Gateway to the Sun) had been
established. A day later, there were approximately 250 residents, a village council, a
health clinic, a media center, a communal kitchen, and the beginnings of a library. The
majority of the residents were students, activists, and popular committee leaders.
However, residents of various locations in Palestine and even those from 1948 were
living there as well.
Click here to read the entire report in pdf format. which will take you to:
On Monday President Obama nominated his counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Though some civil liberties groups and other critics have raised questions about Brennan’s involvement in the CIA’s practice of torture during the Bush administration, relatively less has been said about his primarily responsibility during President Obama’s first term: accelerating and institutionalizing the U.S. drones program and its “disposition matrix” — as the government’s sanitizing parlance puts it — which has included setting weekly drone kill lists.
Click here to read more.
A U D I O P L A Y E R
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David Hartsough has been a peace activist since the 1950s, a conscientious objector, a civil disobedient, arrested over 100 times. In 2002 he cofounded the Nonviolent Peace Force ( nonviolentpeaceforce.org ). Hartsough is the executive director of Peace Workers ( peaceworkersus.org ). He discusses the current status of war and peace in our culture.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
By International Solidarity Activists
Gaza- Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at unarmed farmers and international solidarity activists working in Khuza’a, a small village outside of Khan Younis located near the Israeli border. At 10:30 AM, the farmers arrived and began to plough approximately 100 meters from the separation fence while internationals lined up in between the border and the farmers. They were quickly met by an Israeli military jeep and transport vehicle. An Israeli soldier issued a warning in Arabic to leave the area and then fired two rounds into the air. The farmers and internationals remained calm and continued their work and the Israeli soldiers left the area.
Israeli soldier aiming
At around 11 AM, approximately 20 Palestinians and farmers gathered around 300 meters back from the fence. Two military jeeps returned to the area. One soldier exited his vehicle and fired four shots in the direction of the farmers and activists. The fourth shot crossed the line of the activists and landed in the field being ploughed. Again, the Palestinians and internationals were not deterred. The Israeli jeeps left and the farmers finished working on this section of land and moved on to an adjacent plot. Read more
Dalu home in Gaza obliterated
On November 18, 2012, the Dalu family, huddled at home, waited for the war that surrounded them to end. Like everyone else in Gaza, they had nowhere to run. At 2:30PM, without warning, an Israeli missile flattened the entire building, killing all ten occupants and two from the building adjacent. Not only was the building destroyed, but the bomb carved out a deep crater where the home had been. It took four days of searching through the rubble for rescuers to find the bodies of the ten family members and two neighbors.
Palestinian citizens are all theoretically eligible for a Palestinian passport. However, Israel determines whether the applicant will receive the passport. Because of this, thousands of civilians have been denied the right to exit the prison most of them were born into and will likely die in, the prison of Gaza. The Dalu family did not have the option to flee to Israel or Egypt for safety as the borders were only open intermittently during this most recent conflict, and passage was restricted to medical emergencies and humanitarian supplies.
from the Positive Peace Warrior Network (PPWN) web site , November 2012
David Hartsough is a lifelong nonviolent activist, having participated in the lunch-counter sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, and is STILL a committed activist, participating in demonstrations and risking arrest in the name of peace and justice. He has also been a major supporter of our work at PPWN. PPWN honors all of our elders, but gives special appreciation to elders like David, who not only celebrates the work he did decades ago, but is still engaged in the struggle today. We have much to learn from the commitment of people like him.
On October 30th of this year, David was arrested again (he has over 125 arrests on his rap sheet!), this time protesting the use of Drones by the US Military at Beale Air Force Base. He is now facing federal charges. Continue reading
Mirrored from www.mettacenter.org — July, 2012
I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.
We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since – to take one milestone – television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.
If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that – guess what – exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. The imagery can be in anymedium, nor does it matter whether on the surface of our minds we think what we’re seeing is real or made up. This is a natural, scientific law. Exactly who will crack next and in what setting is nearly impossible to predict, and in any case it’s ridiculous to try to run around stopping the resulting violence from being acted out after the mental damage has been done. The only sane approach is not to do it in the first place.
As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman pointed out in his book, Let’s Stop Killing Our Kids, the video games that the Army uses to prepare ordinary men and women for combat, in other words to wipe out the normal empathy and inhibitions against hurting others that we’ve built up over millennia – a process known as civilization – are the very same games our young people buy across the counter throughout the country.
Of course, there are other factors. At some point we will have to talk about readily available weapons; at some point we’ll have to realize that a nation that engages in heartless drone warfare, torture, and extrajudicial killings cannot expect to live in peace. But until we liberate our minds from the endless pounding of violent imagery I fear we won’t be able to think clearly about those factors (or for that matter anything else).
With rare exceptions, film and video game producers will not stop turning out these dehumanizing products as long as there is profit to be made from them – and not enough sophistication about culture or the human mind to warn us about their dangers. But there is a way, one that has worked well on the small scales on which it has so far been tried: don’t watch them. Captain Boycott had the right approach.
Right now police have been posted at theaters where this same movie is being shown – still. But ask yourself, what are they protecting? Is it perhaps the belief that violence is just entertaining? People, tell me when you’ve had enough.
If you are moved by this article, please pass it along. If you are a member of the press and would like to interview the Metta Center for our perspective on this tragedy, you can contact us at 707.774.6299 or by email: email@example.com.
December 15, 2011, 9:41 am — Mirrored from wagingnonviolence.org
“Building a Rainbow” is the title of an old poster I picked up somewhere along the way. The rainbow’s swath of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet layers is dazzling—and only half finished. In the picture, this symbol of peace is not an idealistic dream but something real. It is under construction, with a troupe of cranes carefully maneuvering sections into place, countless trucks and overworked paint wagons, scaffolding everywhere, and a flotilla of helicopters lumbering across the sky, each with its own precarious splotch of color dangling below.
We live in a violent world. But we also live in a world where a growing number of people everywhere are determined to confound the assumption that there is nothing we can do about this. They gamble that violence need not have the final word. They wager that there are options. They assert that we needn’t be victims of a cycle of violent history; rather, we can dare to be active subjects of a more nonviolent history that engages and transforms the violence around us. For them, violent history isn’t a given, it is made. So, too, is a nonviolent one.
By Tom Atlee — November 24, 2011
Something remarkable has been going on out there – especially at UC Davis. I have a hard time figuring out how to articulate it. I haven’t yet seen anyone talk about quite what I’m seeing, so I’ll give it a try.
Here’s what it looks like to me: Nonviolent activism is evolving rapidly right before our eyes. The level of spot-on – and often spontaneous – nonviolent creativity that’s showing up exceeds what I’ve seen before, to an extent that I wonder if a fundamentally new and more powerful form of nonviolent action is emerging.
by Nathan Schneider | November 13, 2011, 4:19 pm
I’ve noted before that Occupy Wall Street has had trouble coming to consensus on a statement of nonviolence (as opposed to, say, the October 2011 movement in DC, which publicized one at the outset). This was an issue both in the planning process and in the early days of the occupation. In my essay on the notion of “diversity of tactics” for Occupy Wall Street, I wrote:
Since the early stages of the movement, it is true, those taking part have been in a deadlock on the question of making a commitment to nonviolence. At a planning meeting in Tompkins Square Park prior to September 17, I recall one young man in dark sunglasses saying, knowingly, “There is a danger of fetishizing nonviolence to the point that it becomes a dogma.” In response, a woman added a “point of information,” despite being in contradiction to what Gandhi or King might say: “Nonviolence just means not initiating violence.” The question of nonviolence was ultimately tabled that night and thereafter. “This discussion is a complete waste of time,” someone concluded.
by David Hartsough — November 7, 2011
The Occupation in Freedom Plaza in Washington DC (two blocks from the White House) and the occupations around the country and the world give me more hope than anything which I have experienced since the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960’s.
Hundreds of thousands or millions of people from all walks of life and all ages, races and religious backgrounds– and especially young people- are waking up and saying with their bodies “We aren’t going to take it any more. We will not put up with a society where the government does not represent the people, but too often represents the corporations and the wealthy. We will not put up with a government which gives unlimited hundreds of billions of dollars to fight foreign wars, create more nuclear weapons and build military bases around the world while making drastic cuts across the board to programs for education and health and welfare of the American people.
by Paul K. Chappell
October 31, 2011
Mirrored from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
I graduated from West Point in 2002, served in the army for seven years, and was deployed to Baghdad in 2006. I left active duty in 2009 as a captain, and I am currently serving as the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, where I work to empower people with the skills and ideals that allow us to effectively wage peace.
If we compare how much the average twenty-two-year-old army officer knows about waging war and how much the average twenty-two-year-old activist knows about waging peace, there is a big difference. Although I admire their deep commitment to waging peace, many activists have not had enough training in the nonviolent methods that lead to positive change. Many activists have not thoroughly studied the brilliant techniques of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and other peace warriors.
The OccupyWallStreet movement continues to spread with more than 1,500 sites. More and more people are speaking up for a society that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent.
Here are 10 recommendations from the YES! Magazine staff for ways to build the power and momentum of this movement. Only two of them involve sleeping outside:
By Starhawk OCT 20, 2011
“We are the 99 percent!” The chant thunders through the streets, from Wall Street in New York City, where the Occupy movement began, to K Street in Washington, where high-paid lobbyists influence government, to streets in cities and small towns all across the nation. In hundreds of Occupations, ordinary people have been moved to fill parks and streets and squares with signs, tents, impromptu soup kitchens, intense conversations and lengthy meetings.
What’s going on? Pundits splutter about the movement’s lack of ‘demands’ and coherent messaging, but sound bites and 10-point programs arise from central committees and top-down hierarchies. The Occupy movement demonstrates a very different model of organizing: emergent, decentralized, without a command and control structure.
WHAT IF activists around the world who want to be more effective could turn to a database of actual campaigns, to get ideas for creative nonviolent strategies and tactics?
WHAT IF scholars and writers who are researching alternatives to violence could turn to a global database with hundreds of cases where people used nonviolent action to struggle for human rights, eco-justice, democracy?
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, it is well to remember that the road we took over the past decade was not inevitable.
I recall an email that John Paul Lederach circulated just days after the Twin Towers fell. Based on his decades of the study and practice of international conflict transformation, Lederach (currently a professor of international peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame who also teachers at Eastern Mennonite University) counseled us not to seek accountability through war but by thinking and acting differently than expected.
Rather than being victims of history, David Hartsough believes we should make it – he's raising a ‘peace force’ to do just that
By Kate Rope — Bangkok Post — 2002
George W. Bush is dividing the world and waging war. Osama Bin Laden is skillfully eluding capture and giving hope to the thousands he has trained to kill. Betwixt the two, hot spots in Israel and the occupied territories are descending into ever more gruesome violence, other countries are being forced to choose which side of the “war” they support, and nobody is talking about peace.
Except, perhaps, David Hartsough, who is quietly building an army in the midst of the fury. A veteran of the civil rights struggle in the US and a peace activist who's been on the front lines of some of the most destructive clashes of the last half century, Hartsough is travelling the globe to rally a force that will march into the danger zones of the world armed with only a commitment to peace. Born from the work left unfinished by Mahatma Gandhi some 70 years ago, it's a hard-sell in times like these, but Hartsough is an experienced and persuasive salesman.
Posted on Feb 28, 2011 — By Chris Hedges
I have watched mothers and fathers keening in grief over the frail corpses of their children in hospitals in Gaza and rural villages in El Salvador, Bosnia and Kosovo. The faces of these dead children, their bodies ripped apart by iron fragments or bullets tumbling end over end through their small, delicate frames, appear to me almost daily like faint and sadly familiar ghosts. The frailty and innocence of my own children make these images difficult to bear.
A child a day dies in war-related violence in Afghanistan. Children die in roadside explosions. They die in airstrikes. They die after militants lure them to carry suicide bombs, usually without their knowledge. They die in firefights. They are executed by the Taliban after being accused, sometimes correctly, of spying for the Afghan National Army. They are tiny pawns in a futile and endless war. They are robbed of their childhood. They live in fear and surrounded by the terror of indiscriminate violence. The United Nations, whose most recent report on children in Afghanistan covered a two-year period from Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 30, 2010, estimates that in the first half of last year at least 176 children were killed and 389 more wounded. But the real number is probably much, much higher. There are big parts of the country where research can no longer be carried out. Full Article
Another step toward mainstreaming nonviolence
by Ken Butigan | February 12, 2011, 11:47 am
The movement that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year autocratic rule not only has created a spectacular breakthrough for Egyptian democracy, it has bequeathed a priceless gift to the rest of us in every part of the planet.
For eighteen days the Egyptian people carried out an unarmed revolution with determination, creativity, and a daring willingness to risk. They marched, they improvised, they prayed, they connected with one another. Most of all, they stayed put—and invited the nation to join them.
Faced with a corrupt and dictatorial police state, such a movement might have been tempted to wage armed struggle. Instead, they reached for, experimented with, and remained largely steadfast about another way: nonviolent people power.
Come celebrate the Power of Nonviolence!
January 8, 2011
A special tribute to David Hartsough and Peaceworkers
Honorary Co-chairs: Medea Benjamin and Martin Sheen*
Where: First Universalist Unitarian Church
Starr King and Martin Luther King Rooms
1187 Franklin Street at Geary
San Francisco, CA 94109
- Includes dinner buffet. Event proceeds will support the future publication of David's life stories – 50 years of promoting nonviolence.
- Sponsored by the Hartsough Duncan Founders Circle.
- All contributions are tax deductible.
*We are delighted to have Martin Sheen join Medea Benjamin as honorary co-chair. Though Martin is currently out of the country, and cannot guarantee his presence, he'll certainly be with us in spirt.
By David Hartsough — in Iran — November 10, 2010
Another FOR Civilian Diplomacy Delegation left the United States for Iran, on November 5th. Today, Monday, November 8th, the delegation of 11 U.S. peacemakers visited the Peace Museum of Tehran. The following reflection from John Schuchardt shares highlights of their experience at the museum.
When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine. The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.
However, during a month-long stay in Palestine and Israel recently, I found something else. I found something very positive and hopeful and perhaps the key to a peaceful resolution of this tragic conflict — and a possible path toward a peaceful future for both peoples.
by David Hartsough
On the first anniversary of the War on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, close to fourteen hundred people from more than 40 countries came to Cairo, Egypt planning to go to Gaza and help end the Siege, a total blockade which began in 2007 and continues today. Unfortunately, under extreme pressure from Israel and perhaps the United States, the Egyptian government did not allow most of us to enter Gaza. However about ninety from the GAZA FREEDOM MARCH did get into Gaza from Dec. 30, 2009-Jan 2, 2010. I was privileged to be part of that group.
By Sherri Maurin (for Jan, Louie, David and myself) — 1/1/2010
It is New Year's Day evening. The moon is really full over Tahrir Square in front of The Mogamma; it is beginning to feel like the Gaza Freedom Marchers' place. We have done nonviolence training there, kicked off the march from points along it's perimeter and across from it, celebrated New Year's Eve and welcomed in a year of greater promise, and closed this phase of the journey together there.
At the closing circle I treasured seeing the chief of police who has followed us throughout the week with hundreds of his young conscripts (who I now affectionately call our "boys in black") enter our large circle, ostensibly to do crowed control; he ended up accepting a proffered cookie, leaving with a smile on his face……Small steps in the path toward world peace and understanding, based on sharing our humanity.
End Israeli Apartheid
The Cairo Declaration of January 1, 2010
We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South African delegation, state:
In view of:
- Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza;
- the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements;
- the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will tighten even further the siege of Gaza;
- the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006;
- the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza one year ago;
- the continuing discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians within Israel;
- and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees;
- all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the Zionist ideology which underpins Israel;
- in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and allowed it to behave with impunity;
- and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)
by John Dear, SJ — 3/17/09 (reprinted with permission)
A delegation of 20 American peacemakers planned to visit the much maligned nation of Iran in late February. Only six received visas. Among these were David Hartsough and Franciscan Fr. Louie Vitale. They returned brimming with fondness, hope and heartening stories.
David, the delegation leader, is a long time Quaker peacemaker who worked with the American Friends Service Committee for 18 years and co-founded Nonviolent Peace Force, an international project that places trained nonviolence workers in conflict situations. He currently directs Peaceworkers, an organization that supports nonviolent movements around the world.