MICHAEL HERMAN
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WagingPeace

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This page is for notes on what we can create now, post 9/11, mid-war, and fully engaged little individual actors. the next two pieces are especially good, i think... --MH


The poem below, written in response to 9/11, articulates our collective challenge. As yet, our human family has not succeeded in consistently waging peace—UNTIL NOW! Will you help?

WAGE PEACE

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,

Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists

and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion

and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen

and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music,

Learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

Imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Celebrate today.

--by Judyth Hill, a stand-up poet and teacher of poetry, living in amazing beauty, where the Rockies meet the Plains, in Northern New Mexico. Her six published books of poetry include Presence of Angels, Men Need Space, and her collection of poems of her land, Black Hollyhock, First Light, from La Alameda Press.


From: Anne Stadler, Seattle - 3-23-03

Subject: A Call for Waging Peace

Recently, American newspaper Letters and Commentaries have been full of yearning for peace: peace in Iraq for the safe return of our soldiers; peace as a context for the behavior of conflicting groups who are speaking out; peace-- so we can use American power for ends which reflect the “best” America can bring to the world.

We know how to wage war. How do we wage peace? No civilization yet has been able to sustain peace. That is the challenge of our time. Wherever you look, events are calling us to this historic challenge.

There is experience from which we can draw insight: the evolution of Europe since World War II is a story of the expansion of multilateral security and collaboration. Inside democratic countries, there are systems of democratic participation for bringing diverse needs into alignment and relationship; systems of law which protect the individual and manage the power of the state for the good of the whole. The evolutionary liberation experience of South Africa, the democratic experience of wildly diverse India contain lessons.

What do we need to know? Economists Dietrich Fisher and Jurgen Brauer have proposed a Research Agenda for Peace Economics. They identify questions such as these: Are there feasible international security arrangements? How can markets resolve conflicts? How can economic incentives become an effective method to deter aggression? International law experts have their research agendas and proposals for the evolution of international law. Some of their questions include: How do we police effectively? In the face of national resistance, how does the international community act against wrong-doers? What is the range of non-violent initiatives and measures? What conditions optimize the effectiveness of non-violent coercive measures?

There is no dearth of opportunity! Will and focused attention is all we lack. As one of our successful Northwest entrepreneurs says “ Let’s Do It!”

Starting right now, today—we can each ask “what is my part in waging peace?” And take the first step.

Yesterday I put my Wage Peace yard sign up, and distributed them to my neighbors and friends. Today I am writing and sending this letter.

Peace! Anne


Lynne Twist’s Summary of Dr. Muller’s Speech in San Francisco on 2/5/03

Dr. Robert Muller, former assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, now Chancellor emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica was one of the people who witnessed the founding of the U.N. and has worked in support of or inside the U.N. ever since. Recently he was in San Francisco to be honored for his service to the world through the U.N. and through his writings and teachings for peace. At age eighty, Dr. Muller surprised, even stunned, many in the audience that day with his most positive assessment of where the world stands now regarding war and peace.

I was there at the gathering and I myself was stunned by his remarks. What he said turned my head around and offered me a new way to see what is going on in the world. My synopsis of his remarks is below:

"I'm so honored to be here," he said. "I'm so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I'm so moved by what's going on in our world today."

(: I was shocked. I thought -- Where has he been? What has he been reading? Has he seen the newspapers? Is he senile? Has he lost it? What is he talking about?)

Dr. Muller proceeded to say, "Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war".

The whole world is in now having this critical and historic dialogue--listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking-"Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack? Is there not enough evidence to warrant an attack? What will be the consequences? The costs? What will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?"

All of this, he noted, is taking place in the context of the United Nations Security Council, the body that was established in 1949 for exactly this purpose. He pointed out that it has taken us more than fifty years to realize that function, the real function of the U.N. And at this moment in history-- the United Nations is at the center of the stage. It is the place where these conversations are happening, and it has become in these last months and weeks, the most powerful governing body on earth, the most powerful container for the world's effort to wage peace rather than war. Dr. Muller was almost in tears in recognition of the fulfillment of this dream.

"We are not at war," he kept saying. We, the world community, are WAGING peace. It is difficult, hard work. It is constant and we must not let up. It is working and it is an historic milestone of immense proportions. It has never happened before-never in human history-and it is happening now-every day every hour-waging peace through a global conversation. He pointed out that the conversation questioning the validity of going to war has gone on for hours, days, weeks, months and now more than a year, and it may go on and on. "We're in peacetime," he kept saying. "Yes, troops are being moved. Yes, warheads are being lined up. Yes, the aggressor is angry and upset and spending a billion dollars a day preparing to attack. But not one shot has been fired. Not one life has been lost. There is no war. It's all a conversation."

It is tense, it is tough, it is challenging, AND we are in the most significant and potent global conversation and public dialogue in the history of the world. This has not happened before on this scale ever before-not before WWI or WWII, not before Vietnam or Korea, this is new and it is a stunning new era of Global listening, speaking, and responsibility.

In the process, he pointed out, new alliances are being formed. Russia and China on the same side of an issue is an unprecedented outcome. France and Germany working together to wake up the world to a new way of seeing the situation. The largest peace demonstrations in the history of the world are taking place--and we are not at war! Most peace demonstrations in recent history took place when a war was already waging, sometimes for years, as in the case of Vietnam.

"So this," he said, "is a miracle. This is what "waging peace " looks like."

No matter what happens, history will record that this is a new era, and that the 21st century has been initiated with the world in a global dialogue looking deeply, profoundly and responsibly as a global community at the legitimacy of the actions of a nation that is desperate to go to war.

Through these global peace-waging efforts, the leaders of that nation are being engaged in further dialogue, forcing them to rethink, and allowing all nations to participate in the serious and horrific decision to go to war or not.

Dr. Muller also made reference to a recent New York Times article that pointed out that up until now there has been just one superpower-the United States, and that that has created a kind of blindness in the vision of the U.S. But now, Dr. Muller asserts, there are two superpowers: the United States and the merging, surging voice of the people of the world.

All around the world, people are waging peace. To Robert Muller, one of the great advocates of the United Nations, it is nothing short of a miracle and it is working.

Lynne Twist - San Francisco, CA


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Last edited March 23, 2003 11:44 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
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© 1998-2017 Michael Herman and www.michaelherman.com, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael