Thursday, January 7, 2010

Musings: Peace is Possible

The moon was halved, but still bright enough to light the road, when Koko and I went walking this morning. A satellite zipped past Mars, which was bold red in the west and accompanied by numerous stars in a sky that started out clear, but within 20 minutes was swept with clouds.

An hour later, back on the road, but in a car this time, I saw the sun rise, also halved, and its golden light caused the still waters of the Wailua River to gleam and the summit of Waialeale to appear as if it had been iced with a thick layer of lavender frosting.

Just as I appreciate the beauty of the dawn, I appreciate the thoughtful comments and links provided by readers. Two were left on Tuesday’s post that are worth further exploration by readers because they speak truth about America's activities overseas.

One offered a quote from a compelling New York Times Magazine piece by Michael Ignatieff that spoke to how "America's entire war on terror is an exercise in imperialism."

The other referenced an interview with journalist and activist Allan Nairn on yesterday’s broadcast of Democracy Now! I missed that program, so I checked it out and found that Nairn offered a perspective that would benefit more Americans to consider:

Let’s say al-Qaeda occupied New York. They set up checkpoints on Seventh Avenue. And if a car tried to run the checkpoints, they’d machine-gun the car, as the US does in Iraq. Or they ran drones over Washington, DC, and they were taking out US officials in their backyards as they did barbecues in suburban Virginia or as they were going for coffee in Dupont Circle. How would Americans react to that? In fact, how would Americans react if some young American went out and killed some of those al-Qaeda occupiers? The question answers itself.

The point is that the violence coming out of the Middle East is being fed by the violence that we’re committing and abetting in the Middle East. As Nairn notes, after recounting our attacks on wedding parties and the Pentagon’s characterization of civilian casualties as “bugsplat”:

I mean, when you do things like this, when you make humans into bugsplat, you invite response. So, stop the killing, and you get a benefit. You’ll probably make yourself safer, as well.

There is an antidote to this “I hurt you, so you hurt me, so I hurt you, and you hurt me” approach that fuels the world's war machine. It’s called teaching empathy and peacemaking skills. And I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a woman who has taken up that initiative here on Kauai, with good results.

I hope you'll take a moment to check out her story here. I found it a good reminder that one person can make a difference, and we humans can learn new ways to live.

It’s imperative that we do. As Nairn observed:

You know, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan … horrible regimes. Today, they’re peaceful and productive. They were crushed by violence. That’s how they transformed their societies. I hope we don’t have to be crushed in that way. We can transform ourselves, but people have to stand up and do it. Surround Congress. Occupy the military bases. The US can become peaceful also, but only if we decide to do so. And we do have that choice. We have freedoms here.

10 comments:

Hermina said...

Aloha Joan. Just got through with a new posting on my blog and was pleasantly surprised to find your musings dovetailing with mine today. A friend turned me on to a book called "I Want To Punch Your Face". I haven't watched it yet but there is a video on Hawaii and U.S. Imperialism featuring the characters from the book, Pinky & Bunny. Happy New Year. Mina

Anonymous said...

It was clear during the days of the Bush administration that restrictions on civil liberties motivated by the conflict with Al Qaeda would be maintained during any subsequent administration, whether Democratic or Republican, as long as the terrorist threat remained. The persistence of policies across ideologically divided administrations is good evidence that those policies are now mainstream rather than partisan and ideological. Of course, many people will continue to disagree with them, just as many people continue to object to a standing army and a central bank; but these people are now officially on the fringes. There will also continue to be arguments about interrogation practices and the like, but a wide range of Bush administration policies—indefinite detention without charges, trials by military commission, the use of military force against suspected terrorists in foreign countries, secrecy privileges that undermine litigation against government officials responsible for terrorism policies, profiling on the basis of nationality, and much else—are now politically entrenched.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, Mina, and Happy New Year, to you, too! What a thoughtful blog posting you have today. I look forward to more, especially as the Legislative session heats up.

Folks, you can check out Mina's new blog at: http://repmorita.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

"Of course, many people will continue to disagree with them, just as many people continue to object to a standing army and a central bank; but these people are now officially on the fringes."

Yeah, all you loonies who believe in the Constitution better sedate yourselves (but only with prescribed pharmaceuticals unless you're a card carrying hippie).

Anonymous said...

Surround Congress. Occupy the military bases.

And wise up! Stop looking for and putting your hope in some "leader". Despite profiling, techno-surveillance, and all their gee-gaw shock and awe doo-dads, its full spectrum chaos as they cannot predict behavior on the individual level. Don't go along with the program and resist at every opportunity. Sabotage, evade and escape. Monkey wrench, reality hack, and lastly vote for people not based upon their chances of winning, but how closely their actions meet with your approval.

Anonymous said...

"Folks, you can check out Mina's new blog at: http://repmorita.wordpress.com/"

-- rofl

words of american "imperialism"...then a citation to a country that dissolved its military b/ it could b/ of its relationship with (protection by) the US, the same "imperialist" US that proceeded to fund ($$) groups like CINDE (www.cinde.org) and a host of other efforts (schools, local NGOs, farm co-ops) over decades

were we imperialist then? or only when we asked for a bit of help / permission RE aiding contras on costa rica's northern border? any credit for the 1 company, an american one, that has basically single handedly secured costa rica's economic future? prob not...not here anyways


"You know, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan … horrible regimes. Today, they’re peaceful and productive. They were crushed by violence. That’s how they transformed their societies. I hope we don’t have to be crushed in that way. "

-- eh, not quite the way it went down

"They were crushed by violence. That’s how they transformed their societies."

-- building western style institutional democracies with all the trappings might have had a thing or two to do with those 2 case study successes as well (not to mention an already existing culture of achievement and hard work)

india...did it incur this "violence crush" prerequisite? nope. costa rica? nope. chile? nope

a weak effort, that one, in trying to lump the US in w/ the axis powers


"Don't go along with the program and resist at every opportunity. Sabotage, evade and escape. Monkey wrench, reality hack, and lastly vote for people not based upon their chances of winning, but how closely their actions meet with your approval."

-- so, you live in a tent-like structure out in the bushes near the beach, yes? i heard about you folks...heard you make a mess out there...litter alot, etc. heard it pisses of the hawaiians. heard this today from a hawaiian guy. says hes always having to clean up after such squatter folks. pls stop squatting, and polluting, and hallucinating. ty :)


dwps

Anonymous said...

hallucinating? Read the first paragraph, then the second and tell me how the writer drew those conclusions without being delusional!

"Don't go along with the program and resist at every opportunity. Sabotage, evade and escape. Monkey wrench, reality hack, and lastly vote for people not based upon their chances of winning, but how closely their actions meet with your approval."

-- so, you live in a tent-like structure out in the bushes near the beach, yes? i heard about you folks...heard you make a mess out there...litter alot, etc. heard it pisses of the hawaiians. heard this today from a hawaiian guy. says hes always having to clean up after such squatter folks. pls stop squatting, and polluting, and hallucinating. ty :)

Anonymous said...

sYes, it's obvious dwps is delusional. He regularly argues America isn't imperialistic.

Anonymous said...

dear January 10, 2010 8:35 AM

hi, dipshit. pls see below

"[Imperialist] US sending rescue teams to Haiti after big quake"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_haiti_earthquake



dwps

Anonymous said...

Hi dweeb, see below

"And it was during that first coup against [Haiti] President Aristide from 1991 to 1994. It turned out the CIA [from Imperialist America] was involved in that coup."

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/14/us_policy_in_haiti_over_decades