Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Benazir Bhutto's Thoughts on Peace

  • To make peace, one must be an uncompromising leader. To make peace, one must also embody compromise.
    Throughout the ages, leadership and courage have often been synonymous. Ultimately, leadership requires action: daring to take steps that are necessary but unpopular, challenging the status quo in order to reach a brighter future.
    And to push for peace is ultimately personal sacrifice, for leadership is not easy. It is born of a passion, and it is a commitment. Leadership is a commitment to an idea, to a dream, and to a vision of what can be. And my dream is for my land and my people to cease fighting and allow our children to reach their full potential regardless of sex, status, or belief.
  • Leadership is to do what is right by educating and inspiring an electorate, empathizing with the moods, needs, wants, and aspirations of humanity.
    Making peace is about bringing the teeming conflicts of society to a minimal point of consensus. It is about painting a new vision on the canvas of a nation's political history. Ultimately, leadership is about the strength of one's convictions, the ability to endure the punches, and the energy to promote an idea.
    And I have found that those who do achieve peace never acquiesce to obstacles, especially those constructed of bigotry, intolerance, and inflexible tradition.
    • "Reflections on Working Towards Peace" in Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images (2000) edited by Michael Collopy

"You see, they think they're saving you, and you think you're saving them. That's where the trouble starts. Someone says, 'I saved you, now here's what I want.' And its the same with big countries and little ones, religious leaders and their followers, even husbands and wives. When things really work, though, it's because people realize that this is a lie, that, really, we all save one another. It's the way of the world. Things work out for the best when everyone makes it, together, when we manage to save each other. (from The Way of the World)"
Benazir Bhutto

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Song of the Rain Crow: Epitaph...

Song of the Rain Crow: Epitaph...: Here lies Creativity Stillborn After a long, hard struggle Buried beside Old Dreams By the hand of Responsibility Aided by Selfishness And... We can learn a lot about living in harmony by being in tune with nature.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sunday Evening Peace Service

For those of you living along the south central Oregon Coast there will be a peace service on Sunday, August 28th at 6:30 pm in the Bromley Room of the Siuslaw Public Library. The library is at the corner of 9th and Maple Streets in Florence. There will be music, meditation, a brief message, light refreshments and fellowship. Contact coastalnewthought@yahoo.com for more information.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let Us Know Peace

Native American Prayer for Peace

Let Us Know Peace
Let us know peace.
For as long as the moon shall rise,
For as long as the rivers shall flow,
For as long as the sun will shine,
For as long as the grass shall grow,
Let us know peace.
O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you, to your messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth who provides for your children. Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, and to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let us learn to share all the good things that you provide for us on this Earth.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Act of Peace

I was watching a very inspirational story on the news this week about the coming together of the community of Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make sure their schools opened this fall. The way these rural communities have shown what can be done when neighbors help neighbors instead of expecting help to come from the federal government has made me so proud of the region where I was born and spent my formative years. There was, however, one part of the story that I wish had gotten a little bigger coverage from the press. I don't recall seeing much positive coverage of anything coming from Middle Eastern part of the globe - especially in regard to the Muslim faith. I think this particular positive random act of kindness from the United Arab Emirates toward the people of Alabama deserved more than three seconds of news coverage. If I would have blinked I would have missed it. All the students at Tuscaloosa High School got brand new lap top computers. These computers were donated by the United Arab Emirates. I say thank you to these Muslim nations for your kindness and thoughtful gifts to the students of America.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dances for Universal Peace

If you live near the wonderful Oregon Coast, there is an opportunity to participate in circle dances to promote universal peace. These dances teach participants to focus on eliciting qualities of compassion, understanding and acceptance of self as the primary basis of starting the ripple of universal peace from within all of us. The dances will be taught at the South Beach Community Center, 3024 Ferry Slip Road in South Beach, Oregon (near Newport). The date is September 9, 2011 from 7-9 p.m. There is a $5 donation at the door. For more information contact Naomi Josiah at 541-961-2441 or naomi@newportnet.com. Can't be there? Check to see if there's something like this near you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Freedom Song

I had the opportunity to watch a movie called "Freedom Song" recently. It wasn't a movie blockbuster hyped by Hollywoood, but it was one of the most powerful movies I have seen in a long time. It was a movie full of violence - a true story, but the heroes of the story were young men and women who put themselves "in harm's way" without AK-47's (don't know for sure if that's the name of that weapon), bazookas, suicide bombs or even handguns or knives. In fact, their leaders told them specifically to drop their weapons before entering the fray and even resist hitting back if hit. They were instructed take the blows if they fell. Those still standing were to cover ones taking blows instead of trying to strike at the perpetrators. Courage came not from alcohol, pot or drugs but from musice -music whose lyrics reminded them what they were "fighting" for-freedom.

I had chills being taken back to that time when I was a young girl - just "coming of age" and living in a southern state and watching these ugly scenes unfold on my black and white television set. I remember cheering loudly for these "mobs" being arrested for disturbing the peace as they modeled the power of non-violence. The setting of this movie was not South Africa, Germany during the Holocaust or even Afghanistan. It was Mississippi in the early days of the burgeoning civil rights movement. How were these young people disturbing the peace? They were trying to go to the library, eat a hamburger at a local hamburger place, things most teenagers in America take for granted. They even had the audacity to try and help their parents register to vote.

There was one scene in the movie that caused me to reflect about war as a way of promoting human rights. A long line of students forms as they march from their all black school toward city hall to demand school improvements. Just before they appraoch the front steps leading into the building protected by sheriffs and men with guns and dogs, they pass an alabaster stature of a Confederate soldier. In 1865 those young people's ancestors were "freed" from slavery after a brutal Civil War that annihilated Dixie and bankrupted the United States Federal Government (Union). More Americans died in the Civil War than all other wars this country has fought combined (including World War II). What was the result of that war that "freed" the slaves and the greedy reconstruction period of hatred resulting from waving the "bloody flag of victory?" - One hundred more years of slavery until the chains of bondage were broken by leaders having the courage and faith in humankind to demand their rights as fellow human beings protected by the same government that was founded under the principle that "all men (people) are created equal with the hope that the nation would live up to the expectations of the Founding Fathers who wrote those words.

Because of this non-violent movement the chains of slavery and the Jim Crow system of laws in the south were finally severed without the tragedy of another brutal "civil war" in this country. Those who lost their lives in this war were the very ones who started it. They died not because they carried guns; they died because they believed in the power of non-violence as the best way to find a permanent solution to injustice. I am grateful to those who gave their lives in this cause. So, I express my gratitude to the following: Some are named, some names I can't remember and I'm sure there are others, but these are my heroes from the war I remember best in my lifetime with the highest cause (human rights and dignity) obtained in a way that allowed me to continue to live in a country where the human right to live peacefully is honored and respected.

Thank you
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Medger Evers
Emmet Till
Three Civil Rights Workers (two white) whose names I can't remember
Two little girls who died in a Birmingham church and any others you may recall who are not mentioned here.

Ghandi - Be the Change

Th<iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4d_WEqwPfko" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>     This was too good not to post here. Hope it resonates with you. The music is great!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hindsight 20/20?

     Today, I'm reflecting on the situation in Washington, D.C. over the past few months and it makes me wonder. Am I a hopeless romantic or Pollyana? Can peace exist if I don't get my way? Can I put aside my opinions formulated over the years about what I believe is the "right" course of action and be open minded enough to look at other options that might turn out better than mine?
      "Hindsight is 20/20." We've heard that phrase over and over again when trying not to judge actions leaders have made in the past without the help of seeing into the future. Since hindsight is 20/20, maybe we should start not judging the people who did what they did because they were "wrong," or defending the programs they put into place that turned out to be flawed instead of looking at the flaws and trying to correct them. Isn't this the best way to move forward? With this in mind, when I find myself in conflict and stuck in judgment and one up-man-ship, I challenge myself to look at what is good about the different idea that could help me move forward if I will open my mind to that idea. If this resonates with you, challenge yourself to do the same.