rn:Where are we going? & war nixed in 32 of 35 countries


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,

Off the list, I have corresponded with one subscriber, who took issue with
me over this excerpt:

> We must not join in the war fervor. We'll never triumph over evil by heaping
> even more evil on the world. Our task is to find ways to globalize the
> things we hold most dear, things like democracy, the pursuit of health and
> happiness, love.

He feels that we can never have peace without reducing our consumption (by
at least 50% for starters); we are part of the 20% of the population who
consume 80% of the world's resources.

In his reply to my reply, he argues that
"The physical world is totally indifferent to love. However, the basis for
human existence is the physical world. That is why so much of my post dealt
with materialism and consumption as related to justice. 

I am afraid that our physical circumstances are now a greater factor in our
destiny than our human circumstances!"

Essentially, I agree that reducing our consumption is essential. I see it as
part of a bigger effort and I'd like to TRY to reply in a way that will be
truthful to the life path I am on and that will be helpful for others.

Let's see. I think it was not long after my daughter was born, in 1989, that
I came to the conclusion that, logically, there was no reason for hope for
the earth and humanity. We were (are?) doomed to destroy the earth and our
own species because of overconsumption, overpopulation and war. And yet, I
had always worked for peace, knowing that I would continue this work, even
if it were somehow possible to know that we were destined to blow up the
earth... and I sensed that choice, to continue to hope, to have enough
humility to know that what my brain tells me about our chances may not be
the whole truth, was vital.

I saw that at the root of our problems was our economic system and went
looking for answers. Found this marvellous book by Herman Daly & John Cobb,
Jr. (which I decided to read despite initial misgivings because Daly was a
WORLD BANK ECONOMIST, oh horrors!): _For the Common Good: Redirecting the
Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future_.
Interesting: Daly was an economist (and emmininently able to critique the
system) and John Cobb, Jr. was a theologian. They both saw a need to go
beyond the limits of human logic.

Then personal upheaval had one upside, that of allowing me to see, for
myself, that the world is "stranger" than it first appears, that "miracles"
can indeed happen. That, and having read books which validate that
conclusion, have led me to the point where I consciously talk about
"globalizing love" for instance. 

Besides the book mentioned above, here is a short list of books that have
been important to me on this journey. 

_Conscience and Courage_ by Eva Fogalman (sp?) & _The Hiding Place_ by
Corrie ten Boom; accounts of amazing stories of people who helped rescue
Jews from the Nazis. 

_The Book of Strange_ by Sylia Fraser (and other books by her. Sylvia was
severely abused as a child and her path of dealing with that abuse gave her
powerful insights. Then, using her brilliance and research skills, she
combined her personal insights with other accounts in this book.)

_A Language Older Than Words_ by Derrick Jensen, also a survivor of terrible
abuse, Jensen cares passionately about the natural world. He was "rescued"
as a child by that world, saw love manifest through it. 

_Many Lives, Many Masters_ by psychiatrist Brian Weiss, about reincarnation.
While using past life therapy has been a wonderful tool for Weiss, I am sure
it has its limitations. However, the insights Weiss has gained through his
work validate mine: that we are "here" to learn and to love.

_Allow the Water_ by Leonard Desroches,  407 Bleeker St., Toronto, ON M4X
1W2 phone: (416) 975-4897 fax: (416) 515-1515. This book is about "anger,
fear, power, work, sexuality, community - and the spirituality and practice
of nonviolence". I see it as a beautiful guidebook for the how and why of
trying to make love real, which is really what I think nonviolence is all about.

all the best, Jan
From: "Carolyn Ballard" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: SojoMail 10.25.01 - What else can we do?
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 13:33:59 -0700

Interesting Gallup poll results, excellent piece from John Le Carre included
(at end). [Comment from jan at end too.]
----- Original Message -----
From: <•••@••.•••>
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 8:56 AM
Subject: SojoMail 10.25.01 - What else can we do?
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> ++++++++++++++++++++ 25-October-2001
> B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Gallup Poll: World opts for criminal justice
> over war
> An international Gallup poll shows:
> *A majority of citizens in 32 out of 35 countries
> favored a criminal justice response, rather than
> military action response, to the Sept. 11 attacks.
> (Citizens of the U.S., Israel, and India were the
> exception).
> *Majorities ranging from 67%-88% in NATO/Western
> countries and 83%-94% in Latin America favor a
> non-military approach.
> *Of the European countries, France had the highest
> support for the military option with 30%. Britain
> had 18% support, and Greece 8%.
> *All of the European countries were well above 60% in
> support of extradition of Osama bin Laden to stand
> trial.
> *When asked whether their country should join with
> other NATO states to assist the U.S. in military
> strikes against the terrorists, European opinion varied
> widely - for example, only 29% in Greece agree, while
> 84% in France do so.
> To see more complete Gallup Poll International results, go to:
> http://www.gallup-international.com/terrorismpoll_figures.htm
> What else can we do? Plenty...
> by David Batstone
> "What else can we do? We can't just sit by idly
> and let these terrorists run over our country."
> The above statement captures the prevailing public
> response to the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan.

<snip>> My San Francisco daily published an article today
> titled "Jihad recruiters find willing volunteers
> in Indonesia." Over the last 10 days, according to
> the news report, nearly 800 volunteers have signed up
> to join units of the Mujahideen, or "holy warriors,"
> in Afghanistan. "Engaging in a holy war is an
> obligation of Islam," said one 23-year-old recruit.
> The rising tide of Islamic solidarity and anti-
> Americanism is not limited to Indonesia, unfortunately.
 The wisest course of action would have been - and it's
> not too late to change directions - to pursue before
> the International Criminal Court a declaration of
> Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda members, and related
> terrorists as global fugitives from justice. <snip> As
> it stands now, we are engaging in a system of vigilante
> justice, which is exactly what bin Laden expected us
> to do. We are playing into his hands.
> Of course there's a major hurdle here: The United States
> is the only democratic government that has refused to sign
> the charter creating the International Criminal Court
> because of our reservations over "sovereignty" and
> "jurisdiction." We ourselves want to be above the law.
 Does building public consensus and legal recourse
> obviate the use of force? I think not. I find
> justifiable cause for police actions to apprehend
> and, if necessary, take the lives of those who
> would seriously threaten the lives of other human beings.
<snip>> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> We have already lost
> by John le Carré
> "The Bombing Begins!" screams today's headline of the
> normally restrained Guardian. "Battle Joined," echoes the
> equally cautious International Herald Tribune, quoting
> George W. Bush. But with whom is it joined? And how
> will it end? How about with Osama bin Laden in chains,
> looking more serene and Christ-like than ever, arranged
> before a tribune of his vanquishers with Johnny Cochran
> to defend him? The fees won't be a problem, that's for
> sure.
> Or how about with Osama bin Laden blown to smithereens by
> one of those clever bombs we keep reading about that kill
> terrorists in caves but don't break the crockery? Or is
> there a solution I haven't thought of that will prevent us
> from turning our archenemy into an arch martyr in the eyes
> of those for whom he is already semi-divine?
> Yet we must punish him. We must bring him to justice. Like
> any sane person, I see no other way. Send in the food and
> medicines, provide the aid, sweep up the starving refugees,
> maimed orphans, and body parts - sorry, "collateral damage" -
> but Osama bin Laden and his awful men, we have no choice,
> must be hunted down.
> Unfortunately, what America longs for at this moment, even
> above retribution, is more friends and fewer enemies. And
> what America is storing up for herself, and so are we Brits,
> is yet more enemies. Because after all the bribes, threats,
> and promises that have patched together this rickety
> coalition, we cannot prevent another suicide bomber being
> born each time a misdirected missile wipes out an innocent
> village, and nobody can tell us how to dodge this devil's
> cycle of despair, hatred, and - yet again - revenge....
> By the accepted rules of terrorist engagement, of course,
> the war is long lost. By us. What victory can we possibly
> achieve that matches the defeats we have already suffered,
> let alone the defeats that lie ahead? "Terror is theatre," a
> soft-spoken Palestinian firebrand told me in Beirut in 1982.
> He was talking about the murder of Israeli athletes at
> the Munich Olympics 10 years before, but he might as well
> have been talking about the Twin Towers and the Pentagon...
> Ten years ago, I was making an idealistic bore of myself
> by telling anyone who would listen that with the Cold War
> behind us, we were missing a never-to-be repeated chance to
> transform the global community.
> Where was the Marshall Plan? I pleaded. Why weren't young
> men and women from the U.S. Peace Corps, Britain's Voluntary
> Service Overseas, and their continental European equivalents
> pouring into the former Soviet Union by the thousands?
> Where was the world-class statesman and the man of the
> hour, with the voice and vision to define for us the real,
> if unglamorous, enemies of humankind: poverty, famine,
> slavery, tyranny, drugs, bush-fire wars, racial and
> religious intolerance, greed?...
> It's not a new world order, not yet, and this is not
> God's war. It's a horrible, necessary, humiliating police
> action to redress the failure of our intelligence services
> and our blind political stupidity in arming and exploiting
> fanatics to fight the Soviet invader, then abandoning them to
> a devastated, leaderless country. As a result, it's our
> miserable duty to seek out and punish a bunch of modern
> medieval religious zealots who will gain mythic stature
> from the very death we propose to dish out to them.
> And when it's over, it won't be over. The shadowy bin
> Laden armies, in the emotional aftermath of his destruction,
> will gather numbers rather than wither away. So will the
> hinterland of silent sympathizers who provide them with
> logistical support.
> Cautiously, between the lines, we are being invited to
> believe that the conscience of the West has been
> reawakened to the dilemma of the poor and homeless of
> the Earth. And possibly out of fear, necessity, and
> rhetoric a new sort of political morality has, indeed,
> been born. But when the shooting dies and a seeming peace
> is achieved, will the United States and its allies stay at
> their posts or, as happened at the end of the Cold War,
> hang up their boots and go home to their own backyards?
> Even if those backyards will never again be the safe
> havens they once were.
> *Excerpted from John le Carré's column in The Globe
> and Mail (Toronto, Canada) on October 13, 2001. le Carré
> is the author of 18 novels, among them "The Spy Who Came
> in From the Cold" and "The Russia House." He previously
> served as a member of the British Foreign Service.
comment from Jan: My big problem with this commentary is that it assumes
these attacks against Afghanistan are aimed at preventing terrorism. From
what I have read so far, it seems the main aim is to get a new "fix" on our
addiction to oil. Other objectives are to stymie dissent; that means
terrorism from "the other side" (eg. O. bin Laden) and anti-globalization
I would agree that "we have already lost"; merely by goning to war we lost.
By not using the end of the Cold War to work seriously towards justice and
peace. but we are still alive and so we still have work to do. And we cannot
know from here, whether our efforts will be "in vain" or not.
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