Monday, January 30, 2012

Vigils and Conversations for Diplomacy with Iran


Candlelight Peace Vigil for Diplomacy with Iran Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 6:00pm| American Friends (use as an idea to initiate your own local action) for details GO here

You may also want to visit the inspiring/informative American/Iranian Friendship Committee here and here

Be sure to see the post just below this on and at

* Photo above is from the American Iranian Friendship Committee website

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IRAN: Time to Learn about and Cherish a Rich Culture & Land - A Beautiful People

For more than one thousand years, the Silk Road was the vital trade link between medieval Europe and the exotic lands that stretched across the vast expanses of Asia.

The inner life of the people who lived along the Silk Road is carried on in the music, poetry, and visual arts that express the most profound experiences of the soul.

From Istanbul, a choir of Dervishes sings Persian poetry in its traditional form, as performed at the court of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century.

A Sufi call to prayer is performed on the ney, a reed flute whose tone is the symbol of the ecstatic, in an order of Dervishes founded in the 13th century by the poet and mystic Jallaludin Rumi. A Sufi melody is performed on the ney in the mode of nostalgia, bringing the past and present together in a timeless rhythm. A flute solo from Samarqand improvises on a Sufi theme, evoking the mystical feeling of this ancient land.

The DVD includes a 20-page booklet with detailed music and photo identification. "Judith Frey's DVD on the Silk Road brings to life a marvelous artistic combination of visual representations of architectural treasures with rare and wondrous musical selections from a private collection." Dr. Brenda Romero, Chair of Musicology, University of Colorado-Boulder "The DVD is a stunning journey through music, art, and poetry from Istanbul to Samarqand."
Wes Blomster, music critic, The Boulder Daily Camera
Find this review here

(While unavailable at Amazon - surely there are some available other ways. Do let readers of this blog know if you find copies of this interesting DVD and/or other such ways to learn and celebrate Iranian culture, nature, history and land with a comment below.)

More Gems at these sites:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Friends Committee on National Legislation (USA) on Iran

Diplomacy—Not War—With Iran!

Now that the House has passed an indiscriminate and anti-diplomacy sanctions bill, FCNL will be stepping up its lobbying focus on the Senate, where additional Iran sanctions legislation is expected to move early in 2012.

Join the effort by using FCNL's "Diplomacy—Not War—With Iran!" postcards in your lobby visits, or sending them to FCNL, so that we can hand deliver your postcards to your Senator's office. Order free postcards for your meeting or group, or print your own.

See a very short post on FCNL and The Friends (Quakers) at oneheartforpeace.

For ways you may want to be involved GO to .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When Space is Free (Paraphrase of an Hafiz poem)

For a while
The sandpiper in flight might say,

"Look dear, I am home--
Space is no longer being rationed."

For a while you might feel
I am complete,

When the touch from another upon certain
Of your fields

Has the power to dissolve all that
Is known.

Wholeness, I think,
Draws its life somewhere where the breathing

Somewhere where the mind cradles light,
Where the only senses that remain

Blush and stumble
If they try to speak with our language so new
It is still trying to

Still shaping
Its first intelligible sound,
Still sculpting its first true image of


I used the sandpiper rather than the eagle in this paraphrase by Daniel Landinsky because of overuse of the "eagle" in general and to avoid a symbol too often representing the USA in an "over-taking" way. I am familiar with sandpipers from many a reflective visit of various shores and love how I feel in their presence -- thus the connection is so natural in this case.

Find the above sandpiper and a description of this delightful bird which is resonant with my own experience in this site -- here -- where you will also find the following quote "Sometimes as I walk along a beach and watch the skittering sandpipers chasing the waves, I think about just how far each individual bird has traveled to reach the spot that it and I share the same sand. I suppose that is a bit too metaphysical for some birders but it was, for example, essentially the premise of Last of the Curlews, the personalized and fictional story of the last Eskimo Curlew on earth (Bodsworth 1954)." This implied analogy strikes me as similar to what Hafiz had in mind for part of the poem.

I also changed the Hafiz/Daniel Ladinsky translated phrase "not rationed" in title "When Space is Not Rationed" to "free" as this feels like a metaphor more in keeping with the poem's overall intention - given the way our nations' skies are used militarily these days. Yet I kept Ladinsky's use of rationed within the poem.

A final note: I love the way the poem takes external metaphors such as a bird in flight; sky space; implied outer touch; sculpting; fields; and language and then draws readers into the internal spaces of mind; sensation; and imagining.

Metaphor is nearly everything to Hafiz as his devotees know well. Without making application inside ourselves and among ourselves -- as well between ourselves and the Divine -- we will miss the sweeping beauty, joy and transformative wisdom offered so lovingly by this poet of poets.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Palestine-Israel: 20 Basic Historical Facts

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

While I'm trying hard to make most my posts shorter, I want to leave this intact as is with references I haven't been able to find for awhile for the record. I heard Dr. Qumsiyeh speak in North Carolina a few years ago. He is one tireless, knowledgeable man. As a Christian, he's rare in that he has remained a resident among Palestinians in his homeland (to my knowledge) -- while most Christians continue to move permanently aboad -- leaving few to continue to speak for justice and peace among their sisters and brothers (of a variety of faith persuasions) in the homeland.


FROM: Mazin Qumsiyeh Human Rights Newsletter Saturday, January 14, 2012 3:12

20 Points that are made in Dr. Qumsiyeh’s speech (Palestine-Israel in brief)

1- Palestine is the Western part of the Fertile Crescent: an area that
includes Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. In this Fertile
Crescent the first human agriculture developed. Here the first
domestication of animals (e.g. goats, donkeys, camels) and plants (e.g.
wheat, barley, chickpeas, lentils, olives) happened.

2- This is also where civilization began including development of the first
alphabet (by Phoenician Canaanites) and the first laws. It was where we
first developed sciences like astronomy, engineering, and mathematics.

3- The original inhabitants of the Western part of the Fertile Crescent were
called Canaanites and the original language was called Aramaic which Jesus
spoke (he was born in the country called then Palestine and thus he was

4- The old Aramaic language gave rise to derived languages including Syriac,
Arabic, and Hebrew and this language group is called Semitic languages.

5- Arabic alphabet evolved in Southern Canaan (today’s Jordan and Palestine)
while the Latin alphabet evolved in Northern Canaan (Phoenicia, present day
Lebanon and Syria). The Alphabet used in Europe today came from our part of
the world.

6- The people of Southern Canaan including Palestine endured (so) many invasions
of armies ... nearly 15 times that local people were ruled by kings or
emperors (Persian, Roman, Umayyad, Abbasid, Israelite etc).

7- Local religious ideas evolved over the ages from Canaanitic Pagan ideas
to monotheistic ideas to Christianity (first century), Rabbinical Judaism
(3rd century), Islam (7th Century).,

8- Palestine was always (a) multi-cultural, multi-religious society despite
attempts to homogenize it in certain periods (e.g. the Crusaders killed and
exiled Jews, Muslims, and Christians of other sects).

9- Jews of today, like Christians and Muslims of today, come from various
ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They are thus genetically (biologically)

10- Before the wave of European Jewish immigration, Palestinians were of
various religions: about 85% Muslim, 10% Christian, 5% Jewish and others.
For hundreds of years Palestinians of various religions lived in relative

11- Zionism is a political idea that spread among a minority of European
Jews who adapted to the European notions of ethnocentric nationalism and
thus claim Jews of today should gather in Palestine and create a Jewish
state because of discrimination in Europe. Socialist Jews and other Jews
believed in fighting for equal rights. Zionists thought that anti-Jewish
feelings in Europe serve(d) their interests and thus even collaborated with
racists. There was a transfer agreement between the third Reich and the
Zionist movement. Zionists also lobbied Western governments not to take in
European Jewish refugees so that they all go to Palestine.

12- Zionism started in the mid 19th century with formation of the “Jewish
Colonization Association” and became an international movement in 1897 at
the first World Zionist Congress. To achieve its goals, its leaders
advocated transferring the native non-Jewish Palestinians.

13- The United States and other Western countries under influence of a
Zionist lobby pushed for the creation of a “Jewish state” of Israel in
Palestine despite the wishes of the native people.

14- Between 1947-1949, 530 Palestinian villages and towns were completely
destroyed and their people made refugees. This process of forcing
Palestinians out of their land continued in other forms since the founding
of Israel in May 1948. Today 70% of the 11 million Palestinians in the
world are refugees or displaced people.

15- Current day Israel has a set of discriminatory laws that fit the
descriptions given in the International Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Every month, the Israeli Knesset takes
on more such racist laws.

16- In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank (including the old city of
Jerusalem) and Gaza strip. Together these two areas are 22% of historic
Palestine. Israel began immediately to build Jewish colonial settlements in
these Palestinian lands. Contrary to International law, there are now over
200 settlements on our lands housing over half a million Jewish colonial

17- Israel has built walls around the remaining Palestinian enclaves
(ghettos, people warehouses, cantons, reservations) and isolated them from
each other and from the rest of Palestine. These walls separate
Palestinians from their lands, from other Palestinians, from schools, from
hospitals etc. As an example, the Bethlehem district houses 180,000
natives, some 50,000 of us living there are refugees from 1948 period. All
of us are restricted now to develop and live on only 13% of the original
Bethlehem district size. 87% of the district is now under control of
Israeli settlements, military bases, closed military zones etc. The
Bethlehem people are isolated behind a wall and even Jerusalem (6 km away)
is off-limits to us.

18- Colonialism involves violence. Over 80 massacres were committed against
native Palestinians. Over 60,000 Palestinian civilians were killed by
Israeli forces and settlers. This is ten times more than the number of
Israeli civilians (most colonial settlers) killed by Palestinians.
Palestinians resisted colonialism over the past 130 years mostly by using
non-violent popular resistance something not widely discussed in the Western
countries because of attempts to vilify the victims.

19- Palestinians and other Arab countries in conflict with Zionism have been
“unreasonably reasonable” as one diplomat described it. We accept all
elements of International law` and all UN (United Nations) resolutions on
the issue. Israel by contrast, violated over 60 UN Security Council
resolutions and over 200 UN General Assembly Resolutions. Without the USA
using its veto power to shield Israel from International law at the UN SC,
the number would have been doubled.

20- We Palestinians demand and are struggling for our right to return and to
self-determination. We call for a democratic pluralistic state for people
of all religions in our historic homeland of Palestine. We call for
equality and justice. People in Europe and around the world can support us
by using education, by coming to visit us, and by Boycotts, Divestments, and
Sanctions (BDS). This is a collective human struggle similar to what
happened in challenging apartheid in South Africa.

There are many books and references available to document each point
20 punti toccati dal Dr. Qumsiyeh nel suo discorso

Find the above list also here:

I, the blogger at nomorecrusades, am adding these other Sites/Publications without links so that they will be easier to cut/paste for some readers.

More startling facts and figures here as well:

MLK: Dreams and Possibilities

Middle East Peace Quilt**

(quotes below are from a sermon given Sunday am 15 January 2012)

"Martin Luther King saved my life"

"A life of fear is no life at all."

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right...for justice..."

"Without a vision there's no future...only repitition of the past."

"We can evolve only if we know what we're evolving to..."

"It takes no effort to despair."

MLK...had a great imagination.

These are just some of the challenging quotes Mills offered (which included Goethe, Kant, and an expert on Aphasia (used as a metaphor for that which drastically limits imagination).

I highly recommend the link below to this sermon/reflection as one of the most powerful and uplifting on Martin Luther King (or anyone else) ever spoken in my home town. Not only does this personal talk include Martin Luther King's vision for a world minus racism, hate and hopelessness - other poignant quotes from other visionaries are offered as well.

Each of the points made by Mills can be so easily applied TODAY to our nation and world and related to racism of ALL kinds whether to a person's skin, citizenship, religion, nation of origin, gender, struggle, age and so much more. (For example, Mills brings up-to-date a text King used to condemn the careless bombing in Vietnam -- by simply adding the name of our various current wars).

After a needed yet sobering couple of weeks many of us spent exposing our nation's treatment of people detained in Guantanamo -- this visionary speech offers possibilities of change and the needed energy to carry out a better future.

Ernie Mills heard a famous MLK speech in 1973 -- five years after it was first delivered...

To hear how MLK's speech "I Have a Dream" helped transform the life of one young American -- formerly a self-admitted racist -- GO here

Ernie is a longtime friend of mine and as I told him - he's spent years doing the homework which led to this superlative talk.

The opposite of a doomsday talk, at the end Ernie said with conviction, "The possibilities" for change "are infinite."

Civil Rights Memorial Museum Montgomery, Alabama

**quilt above chosen because it's a serene symbol for finding peace among groups of all kinds. I found the photo here

Let us bend our work toward peace...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week of Human Rights Reminders


This week is full of current events on items related to this painting around the world -- including the USA at the White House where a Day of Action against Guantanamo has been called for 11 January.

How reassuring to see peacemakers from a number of perspectives remind their followers and viewers of their sites of such similar concerns.

NOTE that 12 of JANUARY was the day genocide was outlawed world-wide (1951) - a day to mourn ALL victims of genocide.

*The Witness (painting shown above)
The doves, without eyes, beaks, or legs, are caged within barbed wire. How can peace move forward in such circumstances? Tamam Al-Akhal is the artist.

10 Years Too Many: National Day of Action Against Guantanamo:

(This notice is from Amnesty I - USA -- I got the phone call this morning from the leaders and want to be sure to get this out. I'm with several groups at once at heart and in spirit.)

Join us in Washington, DC on January 11, 2012 to close Guantanamo! To mark the 10th anniversary of unlawful counter-terrorism detentions* at Guantanamo and to call for an end to indefinite detention and unfair trials, we will be creating a human chain between the White House and the Capitol. We need 2,700 people – the number of detainees still unlawfully held by the US government at Guantanamo and Bagram. Meet us January 11, 2012 at Lafayette Square (across from the White House) at Noon. Sign up below to pledge to join us!


Here's a basic schedule for ALL groups involved in this action:

After meet-ups with various groups --
1PM: Public Witness and Human Chain connection the White House to the Capital.

3PM: Interfaith Service and Reception, sponsored by NRCAT, at the New York Ave Presbyterian Church. Here's more info and a place to lay your cot --

GO here

IF YOU QUESTION the reasons for such a Day of Action, you may want to read the post just below this one on oneheartforpeace (for Sunday, January 8th) or CLICK here.

Besides unlawful detentions, be aware of the despair-induced suicides, illnesses untreated, force-feedings, deaths listed as unknown causes. Some of these deaths under US detention have been considered "extra-judicial executions". Deaths and extreme physical and mental injury due to rights abuses can't be ruled out at Guantanamo and the same goes for US prisons or US "oversight" at various cells hidden and open world-wide.

HOWEVER, this Amnesty Action is one of many others by dozens of national and international human rights groups along with well-known speakers, and writers. What a positive unified action this is for peace, justice and the rights by which we as Americans once were said to have lived. Actions such as this one will help to restore us to the sanity of a true humanity.

Thanx for tuning in.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

An Open Letter to Rev. Billy Graham

I just found this letter I'd written in 2003 -- sent to The Cove -- where your large home center is. This was also sent your Evangelistic Association center in Minnesota. I also sent this by FAX and email to four of your large radio stations with all my contact info clear to each of these above locations. I never received a reply.

Since you are still with us in this world, Rev. Graham, why not respond even now?

March 18, 2003

Dear Rev. Graham,

In March, 1979, during an interview with Sojourners Magazine called 'A Change of Heart', you confessed that you had not thought through certain implications of Christ's lordship regarding how we, as a nation, might or might not fuel or fan a nuclear war. You said "I believe that the Christian especially has a responsibility to work for peace in our world."

You also said, "I would have to admit that the older I get the more aware I am of the kind of world my generation has helped shape, and the more concerned I am about doing what I can to give the next generation at least some hope for peace."

You continued: "I have gone back to the Bible to restudy what it says about the responsibilities we have as peacemakers. I have seen that we must seek the good of the whole human race, not just the good of any one nation.

'There have been times in the past when I have, I suppose, confused the kingdom of God with the American way of life...the kingdom of God is not the same as America and our nation is subject to the judgement of God just as much as any other nation.

'I have become concerned to build bridges of understanding among nations and want to do whatever I can to help...We cannot afford to neglect our duties as global citizens...the world is a very small place, and what one nation does affects all others."

In that same issue, you were congratulated for your "courageous confession" by Dick Barnet, author of the book "Global Reach", who said, "If we do not have the clarity of moral vision to see that (other) people cannot ever deserve one hundred Auschwitzes whatever their leaders do, then our faith rests not on the reverence of God and his world but on power fantasies and fears...

'The biblical injunction to love one another does not rest on the idea that people are lovable... is difficult -- people are hard enough to love one by one and harder still to love by the millions. Yet the injunction is inescapable because creation cannot be sustained without it.

'The choice is between love and hate, and hate is death. Hate demands an enemy. The identity hardly matters. Enemies change, but the spirit of enmity and fear remains.

'The big lie behind all murder from random street killings, to the efficient ovens of Auschwitz, to the even more efficient hydrogen bomb, is that the victims deserve to die."

NOW, Rev. Graham, is the "hour of decision." Perhaps it is YOUR hour of decision. What are YOU going to do to influence our president whom you have mentored? What will YOU do to encourage him to have a CHANGE of HEART and become one of the heroes of the world instead of one of the most dangerous men who has ever lived?

Or will there be any more history for our children to live?

Please Act Now!

Most Sincerely,

Connie Nash

Although the above letter was written March 18, 2003, and received NO response that I have ever seen, I am praying that Rev. Graham will read this letter even now and respond to the world at large --thereby perhaps lightening his conscience and legacy a little.

Likewise, perhaps many Christians and Americans today will see that it is OUR Hour of Decision -- ministers and leaders of all kinds. What will OUR decisions be? What sort of legacy will WE leave our children during 2012?

Call Me by My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh

The following poem embodies the essence of what this poetic spiritual guide calls "interbeing," the innerconnectedness of all things. From: Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

Here is the introduction:
In Plum Village, where I live in France, we receive many letters from the refugee camps in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, hundreds each week. It is very painful to read them, but we have to do it, we have to be in contact. We try our best to help, but the suffering is enormous, and sometimes we are discouraged. It is said that half the boat people die in the ocean. Only half arrive at the shores in Southeast Asia, and even then they may not be safe.

There are many young girls, boat people, who are raped by sea pirates. Even though the United Nations and many countries try to help the government of Thailand prevent that kind of piracy, sea pirates continue to inflict much suffering on the refugees. One day we received a letter telling us about a young girl on a small boat who was raped by a Thai pirate. She was only twelve, and she jumped into the ocean and drowned herself.

When you first learn of something like that, you get angry at the pirate. You naturally take the side of the girl. As you look more deeply you will see it differently. If you take the side of the little girl, then it is easy. You only have to take a gun and shoot the pirate. But we cannot do that. In my meditation I saw that if I had been born in the village of the pirate and raised in the same conditions as he was, there is a great likelihood that I would become a pirate. I saw that many babies are born along the Gulf of Siam, hundreds every day, and if we educators, social workers, politicians, and others do not do something about the situation, in twenty-five years a number of them will become sea pirates. That is certain. If you or I were born today in those fishing villages, we may become sea pirates in twenty-five years. If you take a gun and shoot the pirate, all of us are to some extent responsible for this state of affairs.

After a long meditation, I wrote this poem. In it, there are three people: the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me. Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other? The tide of the poem is "Please Call Me by My True Names," because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, "Yes."

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh