Are We Worthy?


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network,   Oct. 29

I was glad to see that someone liked the white poppies idea (described in
the RN posting of Oct. 11, "Sharing What We Learn").

Robert Stewart sends us the message below with more ideas on how to "share
what we learn".

From: "Robert Stewart" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Sharing what we learn
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 1998 23:43:45 -0600

Jan Slakov writes:
>"The idea is to go beyond the typical glory to nation- and macho-hood
>celebration that is so typical of Remembrance Day to a deeper questioning
of >what war really means and how we can help bring an end to the killing."

One thing that came to my mind was tying in the message from the movie
'Saving Private Ryan' to Remembrance Day.  The Stephen Hunter, Washington
Post Staff Writer, review of the movie concludes: "And to us, their
inheritors, it says: Hey, look what your daddies did, what they went
through, what they survived or didn't survive – and be proud. And it also
asks us the hardest of all questions: Are we worthy of them?"

Instead of people just remembering (i.e. for those few that really even do
that), why not use the movie media hype and suggest that everyone ask if
they are worthy of the sacrifices of the millions of brutal casualties of
war that have gone before us, to save us?  Did we earn their sacrifice?
Maybe like Private Ryan, as a society, we are a qualified success, but
society and each one of us can still do a lot better.   I think Spielberg
did a wonderful job - unfortunately, it may be too subtle and will be lost
on the millions of movie goers (although I think we will hear about it again
at Academy Awards time).  But, is there not a lot of good publicity value
for the peace movement hear?
Bob Stewart

I "hear" you, Bob! (Couldn't let that chance to play with words go:-)
Haven't yet seen the movie myself (not that easy living out here in rural
Nova Scotia with no TV) but I bet your idea will get the creative juices
going for lots of us.

I've been spreading the press release on white poppies (included in the Oct.
11 RN message) around a fair bit. One of my brothers found the idea of
financial warfare a bit hard to swallow. I share some of that discussion
with you because I think my brother is representative of many people. One
problem with e-mail is that we can easily end up conversing mainly with
other people who agree with us and lose touch with other opinions that are
very present out there. (I think this must be why "God gave us" relatives -
so we will be connected not only to kindred spirits, but to "kin" who think
quite differently from us!

all the best, Jan
Jan writing to her brother:

You are the first Slakov to reply to my message on white poppies. Anyhow,
I'm glad to have this chance. Not so much that I like to argue, but your
view is, I am sure, one shared by many people, and it is so easy for us to
just talk among ourselves and forget that other views exist.

a couple comments I would make:

(my brother quoting the press release)>

>>Eric Fawcett, Founding President of Science for Peace, adds, "Financial
>>warfare, the deliberate undermining of regional economies,  kills people
>>and cripples even more lives than the hot wars that inevitably follow."
>>The concept of 'financial warfare' refers to the grinding poverty in which
>>up to half the human race lives in poor countries that are loaded with
>>huge debts that can never be paid; and now with free market economies
>>being forced on Asian countries, the former Soviet Union and East Europe,
>>we see major nations like Russia and Indonesia falling into the same
>>morass.  Johan Galtung, the world-famous peace researcher, calls this
>>"structural violence", which destroys even more human lives than the
>>violence of weapons.

My brother's comments:
>This part suggests to me that there is a concious conspiracy (by developed
>nations?) to undermine regional economies.  I just don't buy it.  Also, who
>is forcing free-market economies on these nations?  Is this a conspiracy,
>too?  The idea that a free market economy is inherently unworkable is silly.
>may not be the best way, in fact I'm sure it isn't, but human nature
>automatically goes for a largely free-market economy.  Principles from other
>more socially concious economies can be combined with free market ideas to
>good benefit (as Canada does), but I think it's ridiculous and dangerous to
>try to elliminate free-market forces in humans.

Jan's comments:

Indeed, Eric Fawcett would say and so would I that there is a sort of
"conspiracy" afoot. It is not the "developed nations" who are behind this
destruction of regional economies, but an extremely wealthy elite. They
actually meet (and try to do so quite secretively) in groups such as the
Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral commission, etc.

They have control of most of the media so they have made it seem that
so-called "free markets" are truly "free" and that capitalism goes with
democracy. Mainly through things I am reading over e-mail, I am becoming
more and more convinced that these ideas, which I too have ascribed to, are
wrong. Not only wrong, but that they are being sold to people consciously to
enable the concentration of wealth and power into the hands of this elite.


I guess, while you are convinced that the idea of some kind of "conspiracy"
is far-fetched, we are convinced that without some kind of organized effort
to promote the kind of wasteful use of the earth's resources that is
happening now, including the deliberate destabilization of many regions,
things could not possibly be as bad as they are. 

For me, I think being involved with Amnesty International was a real eye
opener. I would write letters on behalf of these prisoners of conscience in
various dictatorships around the world. Then I would read about how the US
was supporting many of these same horrendous governments. Then one has to
wonder why.


 I feel that Iraq has become like a huge concentration camp, thanks to
sanctions which prevent adequate food, medicine and other necessities from
reaching the people. (5000 children are dying there now each month. Before
the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq had a rather good health care system. Not now.) Not
only will my donation go to send medical supplies to Iraq (in violation of
the sanctions) it will help to draw attention to the fact that sending these
supplies is actually illegal. That sending medical supplies to Iraq is
illegal is criminal, if you asked me. As one activist has said, we would be
horrified if our govt. decided to cut off water and food and medicine to a
family because the parents were not behaving properly. But this is what we
are, in effect, doing.

And the criminality of what we are doing is not widely known. Most people,
for instance, don't know that the US govt. hired a PR firm which then
produced a lie (the story of the Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of
incubators in Kuwait) for the TV news. Finding out about that was a turning
point for me. I know the US govt. lied to us to sell the Iraq war to us.
This tells me that these people are only PRETENDING to be bombing Iraq to
protect us from a dangerous dictator (who they armed in the first place!!!)
How can I not believe that there is a concerted effort afoot to get us to
believe lies? (in other words, a conspiracy)

Well, enough for now. If I ever do succeed in convincing you of what I am
convinced of, that there is deliberate manipulation of world events to
promote economic growth and militarism (both things we know we must get away
from) I'll have to study how I did it carefully and sell the recipe to others!

I'll try to get a white poppy to you soon!

Love and best wishes, Jan
Note: Despite our disagreement above, my brother feels ok about wearing a
white poppy :-)