Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ending Violence: Ways we can ALL make a difference now!

A Way to Stop the Violence
An OpEd by David Swanson on how we can end the scourge of violence. Please read, share, and ask newspapers to publish:
An action you can take in 20 seconds to push for serious gun control in the United States:
A great way to give your friends and loved ones great things to talk with you about:
Choose any book below and have i t signed by the author to you or to a person you plan to give it to.  It will be signed and mailed to you right away.
When you donate $20 or more at using credit card or paypal, or by check to the address below, just indicate which book you'd like, where to send it, and how to inscribe it.  For $40 pick two books.  For $50 pick three.  For $60 pick four! For $70 pick five!! For $100 pick ten!!
Send questions to

Tube World (2012) -- the brand new children's book made even more timely by Hurricane Sandy.  It's received an enthusiastic initial response.
The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012) -- the most comprehensive collection available explaining what the military industrial complex is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course.
When the World Outlawed War (2011) -- named by Ralph Nader as one of the six books everyone should read.  A key book to understanding the tradition of Armistice Day, which is fast approaching.
War Is A Lie (2010) -- widely praised best-selling classic. "There are three insightful books I've read that explain how and why no good can come of the current U.S. reliance on military force and war in seeking its desired 'Pax Americana': War Is A Racket by General Smedley Butler; War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chr is Hedges, and War Is A Lie by David Swanson." — Coleen Rowley, former FBI special agent, whistleblower, and Time magazine person of the year.
Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (2009) -- "There have now been many books written which chronicle the imperial, lawless presidency of the Bush era, but Swanson’s superb new book -- Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union -- is one of the very few to examine how we can recover from it and reverse its pernicious trends." --Glenn Greenwald
You'll save us all time and trees if you use a credit card or paypal, but you can also send a check to
David Swanson
707 Gillespie Ave
Charlottesville VA 22902 
Also go to the following sites to find out more ways:
and be sure to read & add to the comments

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning a nonviolent lifestyle in Kabul by John Dear (Christian Peacemaker)

Older Kabul man smelling a flower

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has nominated John Dear for the Nobel Peace Prize.

 |  t
...the following diary notes are being sent from Kabul, Afghanistan, where we have limited electrical power and internet connection.  I offer them to share my heartbreaking, extraordinary experience so far in war-torn Afghanistan.

Dec. 3: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The flight from Atlanta to Dubai lasted almost 14 hours, and I'm exhausted but excited to be going to Kabul to meet the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a diverse community of students ages 15 to 27 who practice peace and nonviolence. I made it through customs without any trouble, collected my luggage, changed some money and caught a taxicab across Dubai to the other terminal, where I now have an eight-hour wait for my 4:20 a.m. flight to Kabul. In the distance, I see the famous skyscrapers of this wealthy city, a kind of Mid-East Las Vegas and oil center. But my thoughts are set on impoverished, war-torn Afghanistan and the hope of its peacemaking youth who invited me to visit them.
Dec. 4: Kabul
We set off in the dark over the resorts and the sea toward the unknown. I was wide awake and excited, even though I hardly slept for two days. At 6 a.m., orange light appeared along the horizon. Then all of a sudden, a giant ball of bright orange light popped up, shedding light below over hundreds of miles of majestic mountains.
Sunrise over Afghanistan! The enormous mountains went on forever, and we flew for almost an hour before the small valley of Kabul appeared below. So my first impression of Afghanistan was staggering, majestic beauty, the likes of which I've never seen. Five hundred miles of the Alps. Snow-covered mountains as far as the eye can see.
I immediately thought of Jesus' commandment, "Love your enemies," which has been so much on my mind and heart these last few months as I've prepared for this trip. There, he connects love for enemies with the sunrise: "Love your enemies, then you will be sons and daughters of your heavenly God who makes the sun rise on the good and the bad." What a consolation!
I thought, too, of Gandhi's declaration: "A nonviolent person sees the whole world as a family, and so he fears no one and no one fears him." I want to embody that Gandhian spirit of nonviolence on this trip, to see everyone I meet as my very sister and brother.
I would like to look at Kabul and the Afghan people through the eyes of the God of peace, the eyes of the nonviolent Jesus, with the vision of love. As the plane approached, I felt only love for these suffering people, who are loved unconditionally, infinitely, nonviolently by the God of peace. What a waste that we live in fear and hatred of one another, that we allow terror, war, drones, greed and poverty to continue, that we don't end this global violence, turn from centuries of war, institutionalize justice, equality and nonviolent conflict resolution, and live together in peace.
Lonely Planet ranks Afghanistan 173 out of 178 nations in terms of wealth, marking it one of the poorest nations on earth. It is also considered the most corrupt nation on earth and has the second-highest infant mortality rate. A recent U.N. report states that chronic malnourishment in Afghanistan is now on par with the worst places in Africa. There are about 31 million people in Afghanistan, and 68 percent of them are under 25.
Five million people live in Kabul. From the air, it looks like a city of low brown buildings surrounded by brown walls and brown roads with no trees and no water. But as the plane approached the runway, the towering mountains around us disappeared, and we entered a heavy yellow/brown layer of pollution. Kabul, one of the poorest places on the planet, is also one of the most polluted. One can barely breathe here, another legacy of war.
I made it through customs again, caught a bus out of the airport, and was met by the smiling faces of the young Peace Volunteers and, of course, Hakim, the charismatic 43-year-old medical doctor who is the friend and mentor of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and one of the world's great peacemakers.
We piled into a cab and took off across the city. What a hair-raising experience! Thousands of cars speeding at 65 mph. No lights, no stop signs, and no rules. Everyone yelling and speeding and cutting in front of one another. And children walking right through it all!
Sure enough, someone cut in front of our cab. Our driver exploded in rage and took off after him through the sea of speeding cars. Suddenly, I was in "The Bourne Supremacy." They sped next to each other, yelled and grimaced-- and then, as if on cue, they both turned their cars right into one another and -- crash! We smashed into the other car. The left side-view mirror was torn off, and the whole left side of the cab was damaged. But we were hit harder, so the taxi lurched forward and hit a bike, throwing the biker off into the air, and then ran over the bike. We stopped, everyone yelled at each other, the biker got up, shook off the dust, picked up his flattened bike, then everyone took off again into the sea of angry traffic.
It was then, as everyone caught their breath and recovered from the shock, that Hakim turned to me and said with a smile, "Welcome to Afghanistan!"

Read rest of Part I at the original site:

Why I am Going to Afghanistan

Other items on & or by John Dear:

From Afghanistan people: We do not want war 

Dear on Drones

Pax Christi

John Dear's New Book: "Lazarus, Come Forth!" John Dear's ground-breaking new book, "Lazarus Come Forth!," explores the story of the raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, and suggests that Lazarus represents "humanity" stuck in the culture of death, and that Jesus represents "the God of life" calling humanity out of the tombs, out of the culture of violence and war, into "the new life of resurrection peace." This book invites us to carry on Jesus' liberating work by obeying his commandments--to take away the stone that keeps us trapped in our violent culture of war, to call each other out of the tombs, to unbind one another and to set each other free to live in peace and nonviolence. 

John Dear S.J. is a Jesuit Priest, Peace Activist, Organizer, Lecturer, Retreat leader, and author/editor of 28 books on peace and nonviolence, including Living Peace, published by Doubleday. 

Wounded Afghan Children

The two photos above can be found:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reflections on Empires, War and History...

For photo credit see below *

I'm reading (and listening on tape to) a book called "Birds Without Wings" by Louis De Bernieres.

The following is quite an engaging (and an historical, philisophical) interview with the author.

Surprisingly, I like the interviewer's comments as well as those by De Bernieres.  Here's an excerpt:

“ wrote about empires, war and history...

Where does it all begin? History has no beginnings, for everything that happens becomes the cause or pretext for what occurs afterwards and this chain of cause and pretext stretches back to the Paleolithic age.

When the first Cain of one tribe murdered the first Abel of another.

All war is fratricide, and therefore there is an infinite chain of blame that winds its circuitous route back and forth across the path and under the feet of every people and every nation, so that a people who are the victim of one time become the victimizers a generation later, and newly liberated nations resort immediately to the means of their former oppressors.

The triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism, and religious absolutism effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race, and shamelessly and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done by another.” And these themes are constantly reiterated in the book, nobody is innocent, no one is pure, or totally good.You get these great big ideas which sound terribly noble and even patriotic but which actually produce a fantastic amount of evil. That’s what I hated. I hate it when people do evil things in the name of big ideas.

LdB: And nobody is really bad either.

Find the full interview  GO here:

Below find other references for the sake of reflection on these warring/crusader themes.  You will find other such items on this blogsite.

(I am sharing some items of which I need more study & of which I have no opinion at this time -- so my disqualify that I fully support these items yet record them for this blog's attempt to help create a little more mindfulness around the wars still going on which appear to be disguised attempts at fanning crusader sort of flames.)

The Crusade Mentality:

Historiography of the Crusades (leaving these easier (I hope) to send on:

The Taking of Jerusalem:


What are the true facts about Saladin after his victory?
* Although what we see today in Palestine/Israel is not exactly a crusade of the same sort as those in history, there is still here some remarkable food for thought which relates to earlier times.

* Find the photo I posted above here: -- along with the interesting new research mentioned in this article.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Francis A. Boyle on Palestine and International Law...

Palestine at the UN/ A Legal Intifadah/ Francis Boyle

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law,
Francis A. Boyle said today: "This can be the start of a 'Legal Intifadah' by Palestine against Israel:

1. "Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;

2. "Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;

3. "Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;

4. "Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];

5. "Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;

6. "Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths."
For Table of Contents and moreinformation on this title:
ISBN: 0932863-93-0 / 978-0-932863-93-5
$14.95 / 123 pp. / 2011

For Table of Contents and more information on this title:

For the past three decades, Francis A. Boyle has
provided the leadership of the Palestinian people with advice, counsel, and representation at all stages of the Middle East Peace Process.

View other Clarity Press titles on the Middle East



FRANCIS A. BOYLE is a leading American expert in international law. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court. He served as legal adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993.

In 2007, he delivered the Bertrand Russell Peace Lectures. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence,Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Destroying World Order, Biowarfare and Terrorism, Tackling America's Toughest Problems, and The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka.

He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.