“In modern society, despite sophisticated policing systems with advanced technology, acts of terrorism still take place. Although one side has many sophisticated techniques for keeping track of the other side, that other side is becoming more creative in carrying out their crimes. The only true guardian of peace lies within a sense of concern and responsibility for your own future and an altruistic concern for the well-being of others.”
From: “Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Inner Peace: The Essential Life and Teachings” p. 155.
We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil
When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze
When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse
When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets
Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. “
Listen to Maya Angelou reads this poem in front of the UN in 1994: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjEfq7wLm7M>
For an even better version of this poem that also encourages us to be for others a rainbow in a cloud, go to <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdJnNMydIk>
Maya Angelou was inspired to write this poem after seeing the photo of Earth taken by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990 – and reading Carl Sagan’s reflection on that view of our “pale blue dot.
In contemplating this view of Earth, Carl Sagan wrote:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
Copyright © 1994 by Carl Sagan
Aloha – in light and love, Renée
Banner photo – This image of Earth is one of 60 frames taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990 from a distance of more than 6 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane.
We were back at UHMC for the third time – for many of the same issues. Again, the spirit was mainly up-beat with the knowledge that there is much to be done – and we can unite – and we will not wait for others to speak and act for us.
Women and men, old and young gathered for a few hours of music, inspiring speakers, socializing, learning about new issues, and just generally being re-inspired to keep working for the values we support.
According to “The Maui News,” about 2,000 people participated in our Women’s March in Kahului. One participant expressed what many felt: “he came out to support women’s rights and to support the planet’s rights and to try to have solidarity with everyone who’s turning to the positive side instead of the negative side” (A 1).
One of our Maui event organizers, Robin Pilus, noted, “At the very beginning, we felt we could make a difference; it seemed like we could sprint, with all that energy. Now we realized it will be a long-distance run.” (A 3).
The guy with the bullhorn from last year was back. As we marched off campus, he screamed at us, “You are going to hell!!” One of his signs noted, “Feminism makes women hate men!” Most of us just ignored him since he showed no interest in actually talking with anyone. He might actually want to check his sources. 🙂 Science is good.
Many groups came: Moms Demand Action – for sane gun laws; http://www.KeepYour Power.org – because of carcinogen components involved, this group is against 5G cell antennas and “Smart Meters”; Pro-Choice – for a woman’s rights over her body; LGBT groups for human rights; immigrants – for just treatment; people concerned about the U.S. Navy plans to have training missions in our beautiful waters and near shores; environmental groups – for protection of our marine life and shores. . . .
Many people came to the march, and we know that many more were with us in spirit.
There is much for everyone to do. Let’s keep working. Blessings and hope to you wherever you are.
The U.S. Navy in its practice for war has a history in Maui County. Among other actions, Navy used our eighth largest Hawaiian island, Kaho’olawe, a place sacred to Hawaiians, for target practice. Starting in 1941. Kaho’olawe was transformed into a bombing range with ship-to-shore bombardment and later with American submarines testing torpedoes by firing them at shoreline cliffs. They even simulated the blast effects of nuclear weapons on shipboard weapon systems. Although Kaho’olawe is about six miles from Maui, our island windows shook at the bombing impacts. During the Navy testing and practice, a few of the torpedoes missed – and landed on Maui!
Despite decades of protest, the Navy continued the bombings until 1990! The results: a dead island where although over 9 million tons of debris and un-exploded ordinances have been removed, no one can live, no one can even visit without getting special permission because it is still too dangerous to be there. I can see Kaho’olawe from the deck of my house. The Navy spent millions to clean it up, but there are still un-exploded Navy bombs there; I’m not likely ever to go there.
The U.S. Navy has a new plan. According to the January 4, 2019 edition of “The Maui News,” the Navy says, “[T]here will be no live-fire or amphibious assault craft and aircraft landings as part of their proposed exercises around Maui County . . .The Navy is proposing nearshore water training in the county, which will include naval special operation personnel diving and swimming and launching and recovering small vehicles designed to operate underwater” (A 1).
Also, the Navy had said they would accept public comment until today (January 7) – but before the deadline, they announced they had decided to go ahead with their proposals!
What the Navy says in its plan to go ahead with training exercises is much more limited than what it puts forth as possibilities in the four huge volumes of its Hawaii-Southern California plan.
A Navy training area site on Maui looks close to the Kihei Canoe Club, Maui Canoe Club, the Pinks, the Kihei Youth Center, many homes, townhouses, vacation condos, and the longest uninterrupted white sand beach in our state. Also nearby are Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (the only U.S. sanctuary dedicated to the protection of humpback whales and their marine environment); the critically endangered hawksbill turtles nest along these beaches.
Images below are from the Navy’s proposal on display at our Kahului Public Library:
Report and images from <http://go.usa.gov/xUnDC>
Please join me and many others in Hawaii (and beyond); say NO to U.S. Navy practice for war — above, on, and below our beautiful ocean waters, off shore, near shore, and on land!
Instead, the U.S. Navy could practice peace. Because of the changing climate and the resulting weather related impacts, the Navy could be sending out forces for training and rescue and rebuilding. They could do more missions of real search and rescue: people need help in Indonesia, Saipan . . . California. Flint, Michigan could have all its corroded water pipes replaced. The infrastructure needs in the U.S. are endless. Our military personnel could be learning useful and welcomed skills.
If you live on Maui, have visited here, or want to come some day, let your voice be heard. If you care about humpback whales, Hawaiian monk seals, endangered marine life, coral, let your voice be heard. Our U.S. military could be instruments of peace.
If it is still January 7, 2019, where you are, please let the U.S. Navy know how you feel by sending an email to <NFPAC-RECEIVE@navy.mil>.
Then, any time, please email Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige at <https://governor.hawaii.gov/>. Whether you live here or not, he needs to know what you think.
We live in a very special place of Hawaiian aloha and beauty. We hope you find it that way when you come to visit.
In Peace & Aloha, Renée
What you must see about “survivors” of the A-bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. What you can do to promote peace and end war!
If you – and your elected officials – need another convincing reason to do everything possible to prevent another nuclear bombing, read Melinda Clarke’s book, Waymakers for Peace and if possible, go to her free talk on Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 1:30p.m. at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center campus in Kahului, Maui. Call 808 244-6862 to make reservations or for more information.
Now a resident of Maui, Melinda Clarke first went to Japan in 1964 and then returned for many years. She saw her mission was to record what most people – especially in the U.S. – don’t really want to know. In her book of interviews, Waymakers for Peace, and in her talks, Clarke gives a a clear understanding of the devastation and suffering caused by a nuclear weapon (much less powerful than the ones we have today). Clarke also suggests what citizens can do to promote peace and end war.
On August 11, 2018, The Maui News featured an article by Lee Imada about Melinda Clarke and her experiences and mission. Go to http://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2018/08/maui-woman-tells-stories-of-atomic-bombing-at-hiroshima/
Clarke’s website can be found at http://www.worldaloha.net.
Clips of the original photographs (very troubling) We must work to make sure this never happens again. “Lost Generation” can be viewed at .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUv-wBK00eM&app=desktop
Recently, we had a Servas visitor from Israel. Servas, established in 1948, is the oldest host and traveler organization in the world. Its mission is to foster peace, goodwill, and mutual respect among a world-wide network of travelers and hosts.
More than 15,000 Servas hosts in more than 100 countries open their homes to travelers – like you. For two nights/three days, you can share and experience the lives of Servas hosts. For Barry and me, our very best travel experiences have often involved being with Servas hosts. For more information, go to < https://usservas.org/> or for international travel < https://www.servas.org/>.
On Maui, Barry and I are Servas hosts and feel the world comes to us. Last week, our Servas guest was Sharon, a most interesting man and wonderful visitor. His visit enabled my friends and family to have direct interaction with an Israeli; he works in a bomb deactivation unit.
Sharon realizes that many U.S. citizens don’t know the whole story and so judge Israel harshly without knowing the complex situation.
He suggests my friends to see the following links:
- The first video is done by Danny Ayalon, Founder of the “Truth About Israel,” Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the United States:
“The Truth about Jerusalem” < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz9CTBOKK4g>
- The second is by David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, which was created in 2015 to combat the disturbing spread of anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses.
“Why Isn’t There a Palestinian State?” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76NytvQAIs0>
These videos are only about five minutes each. Please watch them.
The on-going Israeli and Palestinian situation is very difficult and multifaceted.
In December 2014 – January 2015, Barry and I spent five weeks in Israel, traveling all over including being on the 10-day Servas tour of the country, living a week at Kibbutz Lotan on the Jordanian border near Egypt, visiting our friends Ruthi & Danny, whom we met through teaching in China, spending Hanukah with Clair’s Israeli relatives (she was our son John’s girlfriend at the time), being there for Christmas, and for me (not Barry because he is Jewish), going into the Palestinian Authority area to see Bethlehem; this all gave me an understanding of Israel and the very complex situation there.
I hope you can travel to Israel. The Servas hosts there, including Sharon and his family and those Barry and I met in 2014 are wonderful – and the country interesting, diverse, and complex.
Go see for yourself. If you go as a Servas traveler (a few hosts are Palestinian), you will glean insights and have experiences not readily available to most visitors – and you’ll certainly have more knowledge than you can glean from the newspapers or T.V. And talk to people, like Sharon, who actually live there.
Sharon’s visit here to Maui allowed for discussion and mutual respect. One of my friends who considered herself pro-Palestinian concluded, “Sharon is a good man.”
May Israeli and Palestinians (and all of us) walk forward in the light.
Aloha, Shalom, & As-salaamu 3aleikum (peace be with you), Renée
Recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Contest recently celebrated its 19th year here on Maui – The awards ceremony, held on April 20, 2018 at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, presented the winners from approximately 500 Maui County student entries. I attended this Maui style celebration: proud parents and friends brought leis and balloons to recognize the students, who dressed in their best clothes and had the biggest smiles.
The non-violent approach to living in the world continues to be celebrated in one way through the words and insights of the students – in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here in Hawaii, Melinda Gohn has been the guiding light of the Peace Poem project.
Melinda has help from loyal volunteers.
More than 70 students, including four from Molokai, were recognized for their poems: thoughts and words of peace.
As part of the ceremony, Melinda had us close our eyes – and imagine the past.
Suddenly, we heard a voice resonate through the hall and opened our eyes to see the august Bryant Neal presenting Dr. Martin Luther King, J’s “I Have a Dream” speech! Fantastic!!
The Maui County grand prize for her award-winning poem “I Am Running” went to Olena Rondeau, a 4th grader at Roots School of Maui. She was present with a canvas painting donated by Maui artist Davo. Of the poem, Melinda Gohn said in The Maui News article about the event, “Rondeau’s poem uses immediacy with unusually perceptive images and metaphors to create an experiential poem uniquely reflecting Hawaii and the innocence of a planet at peace” ( May 6, 2018 p. B8).
I Am Running
I am running through a gardenia scented twilight
Beneath a raspberry, dark blue and purple sky I am running . . . .
Above me, a canopy of stars
Millions of tiny pinpoints of light
Shining in the night. . . .
Suddenly a meteor streaks across the sky
Red-yellow flames light up the night.
The falling star reminds me
that the world is full of magic”
by Olena Rondeau.
At the ceremony, Gwyn Gorg, President of the African Americans On Maui Association, congratulated Rondeau and all the contest winners and spoke of the importance of a peaceful Maui community.
Hawaii Governor Ige provided certificates for top winners, Mayor Alan Arakawa gave all winners a certificate, and the International Peace Poem Project gave a prize poster commemorating Dr King.
All the islands have such award ceremonies. The Molokai awards are set for May 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m at the Molokai Library; the Oahu awards are June 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.
Congratulations to all involved for recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world.
Aloha (in light & peace), Renée
War or Peace?
On Saturday, January 13, my husband Barry, our friend Gail from Washington State, and I lounged on our lanai on the warm Maui morning. We watched the birds congregate at our feeder: lots of little red beaked Java sparrows, vibrantly colored love birds, red-headed finches, and an occasional Hawaiian cardinal.
As we sipped our coffee, chatted, and laughed, a warning alert blared from my phone. Usually this means a flash flood warning from rain storms up country or a high-surf advisory. Not at all concerned, I strolled into the kitchen to pick up my phone:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Was this it?
In the three seconds that it took for me to run back outside to where Barry and Gail were chatting, the following thoughts (in abbreviated form) raced through my mind:
1) Where could we take shelter? We live in a house of single-wall construction, with lots of windows, set on posts and pilings attached to volcanic rock. We don’t even have basements in Hawaii let alone bomb shelters. For a short while during the 1960s when everyone in the U.S. was afraid the Russians would attack, my dad – as a part-time job – sold home bomb shelters that could be built in your backyard. But that was in the Midwest and a long time ago. (I don’t think Dad sold many, and we certainly couldn’t afford one). At school, we practiced crouching under our desks as a way to be protected from atomic bombs!! Ridiculous!
2) I’ve read Japanese author Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain, a dispassionate but memorable novel based on historical records of the devastation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and those who survived. I’ve been to Hiroshima and the Peace Museum there where photos show that people were vaporized by bombs much smaller than the ones available today.
The report from the first Western journalist to enter Hiroshima after the bombing notes –
On September 3, 1945, “Wilfred Graham Burchett entered Hiroshima alone, less than a month after the atomic bombing of the city. He was the first Western journalist — and almost certainly the first Westerner other than prisoners of war — to reach Hiroshima after the bomb and was the only person to get an uncensored story out of Japan. The story which he typed out on his battered Baby Hermes typewriter, sitting among the ruins, remains one of the most important Western eyewitness accounts, and the first attempt to come to terms with the full human and moral consequences of the United States’ initiation of nuclear war. It was published in the London Daily Express on September 5 and appears below . . .:
30th Day in Hiroshima: Those who escaped begin to die, victims of
THE ATOMIC PLAGUE
I write this as a Warning to the World
DOCTORS FALL AS THEY WORK
Poison gas fear: All wear masks
In Hiroshima, 30 days after the 1st atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly — people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.
Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.
In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show.
When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles and you can see hardly a building. It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.
I picked my way to a shack used as a temporary police headquarters in the middle of the vanished city. Looking south from there I could see about three miles of reddish rubble. That is all the atomic bomb left of dozens of blocks of city streets, of buildings, homes, factories and human beings.
STILL THEY FAIL
There is just nothing standing except about twenty factory chimneys — chimneys with no factories. A group of half a dozen gutted buildings. And then again, nothing.
The police chief of Hiroshima welcomed me eagerly as the first Allied correspondent to reach the city. With the local manager of Domei, the leading Japanese news agency, he drove me through, or perhaps I should say over, the city. And he took me to hospitals where the victims of the bomb are still being treated.
In these hospitals I found people who, when the bomb fell suffered absolutely no injuries, but now are dying from the uncanny after-effects. For no apparent reason their health began to fail. They lost appetite. Their hair fell out. Bluish spots appeared on their bodies. And then bleeding began from the ears, nose, and mouth. At first, the doctors told me, they thought these were the symptoms of general debility. They gave their patients Vitamin A injections. The results were horrible. The flesh started rotting away from the hole caused by the injection of the needle. And in every case the victim died. That is one of the after-effects of the first atomic bomb man ever dropped and I do not want to see any more examples of it. . . .
Go to the above link for the rest of the article.
In the Oct. 10, 2016, Popular Mechanics article, Jay Bennett writes:
Also, for those surviving the initial bombing, the radiation sickness caused agonizing deaths. (Also, the birth defects that follow the family of the survivors reach into subsequent generations).
3) I would not want to survive an atomic blast.
4) Even if I did somehow survive the blast, there would be huge problems in Hawaii. Although the Hawaiians were self-sustaining for thousands of years, now “modern” Hawaii imports 90-95% of its food and energy. We are one of the most food vulnerable places on Earth. If there were a catastrophe, we would soon be out of food and fuel. Puerto Rico is still not getting needed help from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017.
In a December 21, 2017 article for Esquire magazine,
Holms reports, It’s been “three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, unleashing the full force of a Category 4 storm on the American territory. The intensity of the 155 mile-per-hour winds and the ferocity of the rainfall led the island’s residents to believe they had encountered something not of this world. . .
The troubles were never going to recede with the storm. The recovery was always going to be long, hard, and frustrating. But reports on the ground in the ensuing weeks quickly made it clear that the federal government’s effort was unacceptably slow and perilously inept. One month after the storm, one million Puerto Ricans—American citizens—were without water. Three million were without power.”
Puerto Rico is much closer to the Mainland U.S. than we are; we aren’t likely to get much help from our current administration.
5) Where was President Trump – and what was he doing with his “bigger button”?
Such terrifying thoughts raced through my mind as I ran back outside to alert Barry and Gail.
Gail, being the smart Microsoft contractor that she is, immediately opened her computer and checked The New York Times. Lead stories included one on the U.S. economy and one on gay rights. There was nothing about missiles headed toward Hawaii. Barry, the always great researcher, ran to the kitchen and turned on the radio. There was nothing on any channel. There were no continuing disaster sirens.
We decided the alert had been a hoax or a hack.
Besides, we were with people we loved, watching birds, and drinking coffee. Our neighbor came up with his cup of coffee. Our other lovely neighbor was off paddling in the ocean. Our son and his little family were on the U.S. Mainland. If we were to go, it would be quick – and besides the crisis didn’t seem real.
Another alarm signal came 38 minutes later saying the first had been a mistake. Later we learned that our president had been playing golf in Florida, so he didn’t overreact to the “news.” The whole situation reminded us that we must check our sources, but it also reminded us that we haven’t really worried about nuclear threats since the early 60s.
At home on our lanai, our little gathering did have a heightened sense of appreciation for the beautiful day, our relationships, our lives, and we poured another round of coffee.
A few days later, the following letter (written by my friend Melinda whom I’ve known for about 20 years) was published in The Maui News:
Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable
As an interviewer and researcher who lived in Hiroshima for over 10 years, I learned that any survival is a fluke. The small bombs that were detonated in Japan vaporized people in an instant, leaving only their shadows. Skin melted off, neighborhoods disappeared, people who were in shelters were sucked out by an intense force and those who survived for a while died horrific deaths from radiation poisoning.
The warning signal is a cruel lie. Nuclear war is neither acceptable nor inevitable.
Did you know that in 1929 a law was passed making war illegal? It’s called the Kellogg Brian Pact. It was put forth by our secretary of state, Frank B. Kellogg, and his French counterpart, Aristide Briand.
Did you also know that Hawaii is the first state to recognize the KBP law thanks to Mayor Alan Arakawa’s signing a proclamation making Aug. 27 KBP day? And that Gov. David Ige recognized KBP in a Peace Day proclamation at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in September?
Instead of sirens we need to find a way to de-escalate the path toward nuclear war. Could it be through legal action such as fines for incitement since KBP outlaws war?
If the Koreas and USA can negotiate a cease-fire, surely we citizens of aloha can find a way to prepare for “No More War.”
Surely, we can all work for peace and toward peace.
Religious leaders of all faiths advise peace and love:
Prophet Muhammad, said : “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Sahih Muslim)
The wise words of Buddha from the Dhammapada further reminds us where we could be putting our thoughts – and actions:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its way with care and let it spring from
love, born out of concern for all beings.”
Gandhi said, “The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbor even though you distrust him. Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. . . .
And what did Jesus say? “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Let’s put our focus and energy on understanding and loving everyone. Our survival and that of the Earth depends on it.
Banner photo: Birds in the papaya tree off our lanai
In this year when so much seems out of control – earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods, a mass shooting by a lone gunman in the U.S., ethnic massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, refugees trapped on borders, two world leaders with nuclear arms goading each other, the world seems more dangerous and full of suffering than ever before. Is there any cause for hope?
A recent newspaper article, an article about a book, and a book provide encouraging answers.
First, a friend pointed me to “Drop Your Weapons: What happens when you outlaw war” by Louis Menard in the September 18, 2017 edition of The New Yorker, pages 61-66.
Menard’s piece gives an overview of a recent Simon & Schuster book – The Internationalists, in which Oona A Hathaway and Scott J. Shipiro, two Yale Law School professors, argue that the Kellogg-Briand Pact [the 1928 agreement that by 1934, sixty-three countries – virtually every established nation on earth at the time had signed] effectively ended the use of war as an instrument of national policy.
The book asks and answers,
“Did a largely forgotten peace pact transform the world we live in?
Please read this article, which is only five – very informative pages (and if possible, the book). Go to: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/what-happens-when-war-is-outlawed
The second piece I’ve seen recently that offers us hope for now is a book recommended by my friend Melinda who is very familiar with peace activities in the world. She lived in Japan for 18 years. While she was there, she interviewed “Hibakusha” (被爆者). In Japanese, it is the word for those surviving the radiation fallout of 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Last month, Melinda won the 2017 Kellogg-Briand a peace prize for her writing. She lent me When the World Outlawed War:
In this book, David Swanson tells the history of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the law that made war illegal – and offers us ideas what can be done to promote international peace.
Today few people know of the Kellogg-Briand Pact agreement, and the energies of some of our leaders seem to inflame the possibility of war.
“The Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928
The Kellogg-Briand Pact was an agreement to outlaw war signed on August 27, 1928. Sometimes called the Pact of Paris for the city in which it was signed, the pact was one of many international efforts to prevent another World War, but it had little effect in stopping the rising militarism of the 1930s or preventing World War II.
U.S. Peace Advocates
In the wake of World War I, U.S. officials and private citizens made significant efforts to guarantee that the nation would not be drawn into another war. Some focused on disarmament, such as the series of naval conferences that began in Washington in 1921, and some focused on cooperation with the League of Nations and the newly formed World Court. Others initiated a movement to try to outlaw war outright. Peace advocates Nicholas Murray Butler and James T. Shotwell were part of this movement. Both men were affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an organization dedicated to promoting internationalism that was established in 1910 by leading American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.
With the influence and assistance of Shotwell and Butler, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand proposed a peace pact as a bilateral agreement between the United States and France to outlaw war between them. Particularly hard hit by World War I, France faced continuing insecurity from its German neighbor and sought alliances to shore up its defenses. Briand published an open letter in April of 1927 containing the proposal. Though the suggestion had the enthusiastic support of some members of the American peace movement, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg were less eager than Briand to enter into a bilateral arrangement. They worried that the agreement against war could be interpreted as a bilateral alliance and require the United States to intervene if France was ever threatened. To avoid this, they suggested that the two nations take the lead in inviting all nations to join them in outlawing war.
The extension of the pact to include other nations was well-received internationally. After the severe losses of the First World War, the idea of declaring war to be illegal was immensely popular in international public opinion. Because the language of the pact established the important point that only wars of aggression – not military acts of self-defense – would be covered under the pact, many nations had no objections to signing it. If the pact served to limit conflicts, then everyone would benefit; if it did not, there were no legal consequences. In early 1928, negotiations over the agreement expanded to include all of the initial signatories. In the final version of the pact, they agreed upon two clauses: the first outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and the second called upon signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.
On August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the pact at Paris. Signatories included France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy and Japan. Later, . . . the pact was eventually signed by most of the established nations in the world. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement by a vote of 85–1, though it did so only after making reservations to note that U.S. participation did not limit its right to self-defense or require it to act against signatories breaking the agreement.”
Besides giving the history of the Pact, Swanson suggests, “We should learn to support multiple strategies (Outlawry, referendum power, disarmament, etc.) without framing each as the rival or enemy of the others. Here are some [aimed mainly at the U.S. but many could apply to other countries too]:
- Cut a half a trillion dollars out of the $1.2 trillion national security budget, putting half of it into tax cuts for non-billionaires, and half of it into useful spending on green energy, education, retraining for displaced military=industrial workers, etc.
- Bring the National Guard home and de-federalize it.
- Ban the redeployment of personnel currently suffering PTSD.
- Ban no-bid uncompeted military contracts.
- Restore constitutional war powers to the Congress.
- Create a requirement for a public referendum prior to launching any war.
- Close the foreign bases.
- Ban weapons from space.
- Ban extra-legal prisons.
- Ban kangaroo military courts outside our ordinary court system.
- Restore habeas corpus.
- Ban the use of mercenaries.
- Limit military spending to no more than twice that of the next highest spending nation on earth.
- Ban secret budgets, secret agencies, and secret operations.
- Ban the launching of drone strikes into foreign nations.
- Forbid the transfer of students’ information to military recruiters without their permission.
- Comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
- Reform or replace the United Nations.
- Join the International Criminal Court and make it independent of the United Nations.
We should stop appealing purely to people’s selfishness with arguments about financial costs or U.S. casualties and appeal also to their goodness and decency. . . .”(166-167).
“One of General Douglas MacArthur’s last speeches . . . is still worth reading:
‘The great question is: Can global war now be outlawed from the world? If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount. It would lift at one stroke the darkest shadow which has engulfed mankind from the beginning. It would not only remove fear and bring security — it would not only create new moral and spiritual values —
it would produce an economic wave of prosperity that would raise the world’s standard of living beyond anything ever dreamed of by man. The hundreds of billions of dollars now spent in mutual preparedness [for war] could conceivably abolish poverty from the face of the earth. It would accomplish even more than this; it would at one stroke reduce the international tensions that seem to be insurmountable now, to matters of more probable solution. . . . Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can be only a dream — that it is but the vague imagining of a visionary. But we must go on or we will go under.[My emphasis]. And the great criticism that can be made is that the world lacks a plan that will enable us to go on. We have suffered the blood and the sweat and the tears. Now we seek the way and the truth and the light. We are in a new era. The old methods and solutions for this vital problem no longer suffice. We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts . . . We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate this universal wish for peace — which is rapidly becoming a universal necessity — into actuality'” [My emphasis](168-169).
From When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson. www.barnesandnoble.com/p/when-the-world-outlawed-war-david-swanson/1106980382/2673297777290?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+greatbookprices_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP24104
The third piece I’ve seen recently is from the October 7, 2017 Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “Nobel Peace Prize: Anti-Nuclear advocates earn honor,” by Rick Gladstone.
“In a year when the threat of nuclear warfare seemed to draw closer, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to a advocacy group behind the first treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
The group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ican], a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the treaty, which was reached in July at the United Nations.
‘The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,’ the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement” (A3).
Despite all the news with cause for alarm, in some ways, some very important ways, the world is heading toward peace.
Let’s all be the change we hope to see: support peace and sustainability for all. In peace and light,
Ideas do matter – and, of course, our actions. Aloha, Renée
On T.V. news, we’ve been seeing marchers spouting hate in the U.S. It’s beyond shocking. But finding scapegoats is nothing new.
One of the world’s greatest writers, Leo Tolstoy, (1828-1910) known for his fiction, including War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, also wrote insightful and wise non-fiction.
An example of such wisdom are two of my favorite quotations from Tolstoy:
“The error at the root of all the political doctrines (the most Conservative, as well as the most advance) which has brought men [and women] to their present wretched condition, is always one and the same. It is that people considered, and still consider, it possible so to unite men [and women] by force that they should all unresistingly submit to one and the same scheme of life, and to the guidance for conduct flowing therefrom.
It is intelligible that men, yielding to passion, may by force oblige others who do not agree with them, to do what they wish. One can by force push a man out here and drag him in there, where he does not wish to go. (Both animals and men, under the influence of passion, always behave in this way.) And this is comprehensible. But what is not as all comprehensible, is the argument that violence can be a means of inducing people to behave as we want them to behave.
All violence consists in men [and women], by the threat of inflicting suffering or death coercing others to do what the coerced ones do not wish to do. And therefore the victims do what they dislike doing, only so long as they are weaker than their oppressors, and cannot avoid the evil which threatens them if they do not fulfill what is demanded of them. As soon as they become stronger, they naturally not only leave off doing what they did not wish to do, but, irritated by the struggle with their oppressors and by all they have suffered at their hands, they, after freeing themselves from their oppressors, in their turn force those they disagree with, to do what they (the stronger) consider good and necessary for themselves. So it seems clear that the struggle between oppressors and oppressed cannot possibly unite people, but on the contrary can only divide them the more the longer it lasts (16) . . .
The teaching of Christ in its true meaning consists in the acceptance of love as the supreme law of life, and therefore does not admit any exceptions.
Christianity (that is, the doctrine of the law of love) that permits occasional violence in obedience to other laws, is a contradiction in nature similar to cold fire or hot ice.
It seems evident that, if some men, for the sake of certain desirable results in the future, though they acknowledge the beneficence of love, may allow the necessity of tormenting or killing certain people, then, by just the same right, others, also acknowledging the beneficence of love, may allow the necessity (also for the sake of some future good) of tormenting and killing other people. So that it seems evident that the admission of any kind of exception to the command to fulfill the law of love, destroys the whole meaning, the whole significance, the whole beneficence of that law, which lies at the root of every religious teaching and of all moral teaching. This appears so evident that one is ashamed to argue it; but yet people of the Christian world, professed believers, as well as men calling themselves non-believers but yet acknowledging a moral law — regard the teaching of love, which rejects all violence (and especially the doctrine of not repaying evil by evil, which flows from that teaching) as something fantastical, impossible, and quite inapplicable to life.
It is understandable that those in power may say that without violence there can be no order or good life, meaning by the word “order’, a system under which the few can enjoy to excess the fruits of the labour of others, and meaning by the words ‘good life’, the non-interference with such a life. However unjust what they say may be, it is comprehensible that they should talk like that, for the abolition of violence would not only deprive them of the possibility of living as they do, but would expose the whole long-standing injustice and cruelty of their life.
But at any rate one would think the working people do not need the violence they (strange to say) so carefully inflict on themselves, and from which they suffer so much. For the violence the rulers do to the subjected is not the direct, personal violence of strong men to weak men, or of the many to the few: of, say, a hundred towards a score, etc. The violence of the rulers is upheld, as the violence of a minority towards the majority can only be upheld, by the fraud long ago devised by shrewd and cunning men, which causes people, for the sake of a small present and evident gain, to deprive themselves not only of the greatest advantages, but even to sacrifice their freedom and undergo most cruel sufferings (29-30) . . .
[N]ot only during the first three centuries of Christianity, during the time of persecution, but at first even after the triumph of Christianity over paganism, when Christianity was recognized as the dominant, State religion, the conviction still maintained itself among Christians that war is incompatible with Christianity. Ferrucius expressed this definitely and decidedly, and was executed for so doing: ‘Christians are not allowed to shed blood, even in a just war and at the command of Christian Emperors.’ In the fourth century Lucifer, Bishop of Caliris, preached that even the blessing most precious to a Christian — his faith — must be defended, ‘not by killing others, but by one’s own death’.
Thus it was during the four first centuries of Christianity. Under Constantine, however, the cross already appeared on the standards of the Roman legions. . . .
From that time, during nearly fifteen centuries, the simple, indubitable and evident truth, that the profession of Christianity is incompatible with readiness to commit every kind of violence and even to kill at the will of other people, was hidden from men to such a degree — and to such a degree was real Christian feeling weakened–that from generation to generation, men, nominally professing Christianity, lived and died sanctioning murder, participating in it, committing it, and profiting by it”(41-42). . . .
The State law, in its demand of military service: that is, of readiness to slay at the will of others, cannot but be contrary to all religious-moral law, which is always founded on love to one’s neighbour, like all religious teachings, not only Christian, but also Mohammedan, Buddhist, Brahminist, and Confucian (45-46). . . .
Fifteen years before his The Law of Violence and The Law of Love, Tolstoy wrote, “A terrible weight of evil is hanging over the people of the earth, and presses upon them. Those standing under this weight, and more and more crushed by it, seek ways to rid themselves of it.
“They know that with their united strength they could lift the weight and throw it off, but they cannot agree to undertake it all together, and each one stoops lower and lower, to let the weight rest on the shoulders of the others. So the weight presses down more and more, and would have long since crushed them, were it not for those who are guided in their actions not by considerations of the external results of their actions, but only by an inner accord between their conduct and the voice of conscience. Such men [and women] have existed and still exist — Christians– for, in place of an eternal aim (for the attainment of which the consent of everybody is required), to set oneself an inward purpose (to attain which no one’s consent is needed) is the essence of true Christianity. And therefore deliverance from the slavery in which people are living, impossible for ordinary people, has come, and is coming only through Christianity — only by exchanging the law of violence for the law of love. ”
To a Christian who has recognized the demands of the law of love, all the demands of the law of violence not only cease to be binding, but present themselves as human errors which must be exposed and abolished (50-52) . . .
. . . we cannot help knowing and seeing that the people of the Christian world can no longer seriously play at conquests, at meetings between monarchs, at diplomatic cunning, at Constitutions, with their House of Parliament and Dumas, at being Socialist-Revolutionaries, at democratic or anarchist parties and at Revolutions; and above all, cannot do all these things basing them on violence (60). . . .
Human life as a whole moves, and cannot help moving, toward the eternal ideal of perfection, only by each separate individual advancing towards his own personal and equally unlimited perfection.
What a dreadful, pernicious superstition is that under the influence of which men — neglecting the inward work upon themselves, which is the only thing really needed for their own and society’s welfare, and also the one thing in which man was full power — direct all their strength towards arranging the life of others, which is beyond their power, and, for the attainment of this impossible aim, employ violent means, certainly evil and injurious to themselves and to others, and more surely than anything else removing them both from their personal and from the general perfection!” (65).
It’s love that will make the changes. And it comes from within each of us.