Bird Droppings August 8, 2010
Trying to find peace
Earlier today I was sitting in my reading area and the concept of a just war popped up and how we will be fighting the “Just War” for ever. That concerns me as a father and as a human being. I was looking at how we were building permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Huge facilities and the largest embassy we have anywhere in the world. These are long term operations that bother me with the political rhetoric of we will be leaving Iraq. How are we leaving any time soon when we are building long term fortresses? Still timetables and troops seemingly are leaving although the numbers go up in Afghanistan.
“If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.” Alex Noble
We all need to start with seeking peace within ourselves first before we can seek peace on any other level. I called a former swimmer from my swim team from nearly eight years ago it always amazes me when catching up. One of her friends is in the reserves and I got talking about several kids just graduating who were going into the military.
“There never was a good war or a bad peace” Benjamin Franklin
Watching the news I find it harder and harder as I grow older to except war in any fashion. I was once asked to be a sponsor of a politics club I first declined and finally after another teacher said he would if I would, we were both at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Each session was one of bashing the other views, after four meetings I was weary of ignorance and the bliss of ignorance and stopped going stepping down so to say. As the school year wound down and one of the main instigators was near graduation I told him all your bravado 35 years ago would have you in a war in a few weeks. Today we have a volunteer army and many young men and women are applying for war. An ad last night as we watched TV focused on young black men and promises of college and training and work by joining the Army. How appropriate and interesting as we are discussing racism politically on a daily basis.
“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of Faith, Strength, Energy, Will, Sympathy, Justice, Imagination, and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.” “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” “They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war — as though the absence of war was the same as peace.” Dorothy Thompson
I always find my researching interesting as a quote will catch my eye and soon I begin tracking down the author and seeing why this person wrote what they did. Dorothy Thompson was a writer and reporter in the 1920’s-40; she was adamantly against the rise of Nazism and was expelled from Germany in 1938. One of her last major pieces was after WWII was over she wrote about the disaster of peace. It was about how the end of the war was handled. I find it funny how a woman in that time who was so vocal got lost in the shuffle. However most will recall her Nobel Prize winning author second husband Sinclair Lewis.
“In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.” Croesus
A few words from the Greek king 2500 years ago, still profound and still hard to bear. Watching daily new broadcasts of suicide bombers it is difficult being a father or a mother. Many years ago a folk singer and staunch peace advocate Pete Seeger put music to an Old Testament bible verse.
“For everything there is a season, And a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate, A time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
During the Vietnam War a rock group, The Byrd’s made this song a hit entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn”. I sit here writing with quiet music playing. Much earlier an owl called out as I went out this morning just before sunrise. There is much to do in this place and time and we seem to forget that as we scurry about. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.