the DAY whole world watched 9/11
October Edition 2011
honduras with troubling report
DALLAS PEACE CENTER WHO ARE WE?
1night 1,000strong 1
NEW WAY FORWARD: AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN
Celebrate Dallas Peace Center's 30th Anniversary as an interfaith, inclusive, progressive, peace and justice organization that has provided uncompromising work for peace through justice in North Texas and around the world. Your financial support is essential! Your outreach to others is vital! To share in the growth and effectiveness of the Dallas Peace Center, make your monthly sustaining pledge of $30 to ensure another 30 years of peace and justice work. Become a sustaining member
Dallas Peace Center • 5910 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas, TX 75235-6806 • (214) 823-7793 email@example.com
The Mission of the Dallas Peace Center is to promote a just and peaceful world through constructive action in education, dialogue, reconciliation and advocacy. What is the Dallas Peace Center? • The Dallas Peace Center is an interfaith, inclusive and progressive, peace and justice organization. Supporting a strong peace witness, the Center challenges both religious and secular communities to act courageously for peace and justice in the world, following nonviolent principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day among others. • The Center provides information and educational opportunities by publishing the periodical Dallas Peace Times, by maintaining an active internet website and email alerts, by teaching courses and holding workshops on a variety of topics, and providing educational and inspirational lectures and films for the public. • the Center networks and partners with more than 75 groups in the North Texas area, coordinating a community calendar of events, sharing internet information and action alerts on crucial issues and activities. • The Dallas Peace Center is a volunteer-driven organization, providing support, assistance, and instruction for individuals and groups whose passion directs them toward activism in areas of peace & justice.
Vision Summary: The Dallas Peace Center envisions: A non-violent world that works for all with justice and respect for the Earth, self and others; a world where our children and future generations can expect to live in a just and peaceful society based on connectedness and compassion. Throughout its 30-year history, the Dallas Peace Center has kept a finger on the pulse of activists’ concerns, and has stood ready to lead or assist in research, education, dialogue and action for peace and justice. The Dallas Peace Center was founded in 1981 by Peace Mennonite Church as an avenue for their religious community to act prophetically for peace and justice in the world. It soon became an ecumenical community that welcomed secular activists. As a volunteer driven organization, the direction of DPC’s efforts depends on the interests and energy of its constituents. At present, some of DPC’s active teams and committees include the Middle East Peace Committee, Death Penalty Abolition, Compassionate Care, Cuba Friendship, Committee for a Nuclear Free World, and Peace and Justice in Latin America.
Value Statement: Dallas Peace Center believes in the power of peace and justice to create a sustainable world. Seeking the transformation of society, we embrace the following values: • Nonviolent Action – which compels us to construct systemic change in conflict by winning over the hearts and minds • Constructive Conflict - a process which provides an opportunity to attend to varied viewpoints, and serves as a mode of truth-finding and communitybuilding • Collaborative Strategies - the desire to join with other organization with similar goals and objectives to build mutual support; generate ideas and alternatives; take collective action and expand resources • Inter-connectedness - the discovery of the many reciprocal connections we have that move us towards a sustainable and just human presence • Compassion and Forgiveness - in words and actions through having awareness of suffering and the desire to relieve it If you have the passion and energy to make a difference for justice and peace in the world, the Dallas Peace Center can assist you.
1.2012 human rights major smu 2.1night 1,000strong recap 3. dallas human rights team returns from honduras with troubling report 4. join the celebration
50th year anniversary amnesty international 5. new way forward: afghanistan & pakistan, matthew
hoh 6. middle east peace committee will miss our jewish brother
roger kallenberg 7. 10 years ago us made tragedy worst as the whole world watched 9/11 EDITOR IN CHIEF Adrian Sierra SENIOR WRITER Trish Major DPC PHOTOGRAPHER WALID AJAJ DALLAS PEACE CENTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KELLI OBAZEE PRESIDENT RYAN KOCH VICE PRESIDENT/TREASURER John Fullinwider Diane Baker Mavis belisle ian hunter sara mokuria aftab siddiqui rev. l. charles stovall
One Makes A Difference DPC Peace Education Program
The DPC's One Makes a Difference curriculum provides: a strong intellectual and ethical foundation that encourages academic excellence, enhance self-esteem, increase community understanding, civic engagement and inspires future global leaders. The curriculum is inspired by the simple and profound belief that ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE. The goal of the program is to encourage participants to piece together their personal stories and histories in a way that clarifies their understanding of interconnectedness and peace. When young people have the opportunity to share their knowledge in a group, they can teach each other a lot. Each person in the group is a teacher, learner, and listener creating new knowledge and relationships of trust. The twenty 3-hour sessions included in the One Makes A Difference program incorporate heart/mind coherence, self-awareness, conflict resolution, non-violent communication and civic engagement. Join us as we launch a program that empowers our youth to charter their destiny for success. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-823-7793Â
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
SMU human rights major is first in the South and 5th in the U.S.
Most have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of others through human rights activism or nonprofit work, or have become socially and globally responsible leaders in their chosen careers. The new major is the result of Dallas philanthropist Lauren Embrey’s travel with Halperin’s study group to Polish Holocaust sites in December 2005. Lauren Embrey, then enrolled in SMU’s Master of Liberal Arts program, returned from the trip determined to share her life-changing experience. In the six years since the trip, sisters Lauren and Gayle Embrey and the Embrey Family Foundation have committed substantial financial support for the Embrey Human Rights Program, which began in 2006, and the minor, which followed in 2007.
September 15, 2011 DALLAS (SMU) — SMU is the first university in the South, and only the fifth in the country, to offer an academic major in human rights. Approved Sept. 9 by SMU’s Board of Trustees, the Bachelor of Arts in human rights degree comes five years after creation of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU. The undergraduate degree program officially begins in spring 2012 but most SMU students will be allowed to apply past or current courses toward the degree, says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. The human rights major will offer two interdisciplinary tracks: one on gender and human rights, the other on public policy and human rights. “I have always believed that if you appealed to the better nature in people, and then offered them opportunities to put their passion into practice, that this degree would be a natural,” Halperin says. “It is beyond my comprehension that programs like this do not exist throughout this country, but at least it now exists here.” The only other U.S. universities to offer human rights majors are Bard College and Columbia University/Barnard College in New York, the University of Dayton in Ohio and Trinity College in Connecticut. Since the Embrey Human Rights Program’s inception, 80 students have graduated with human rights minors.
The Human Rights major will provide an interdisciplinary education in domestic and global human rights and related issues. It will prepare students not only to enter the world of human rights activism and nonprofit work, but it will give them a worldwide perspective which will enhance their preparations for graduate programs and professional schools in such fields as the arts, education, engineering, law, medicine, politics and theology. Most importantly, it will give them an academic foundation for being more competent and responsible citizens of the world.
“The human rights major at SMU creates the ability to educate and broaden awareness, to challenge prevailing world views and to promote a rights-based society that minimizes injustice,” Lauren Embrey says. “We are also proud that the program can be seen as a model for other human rights education programs, and that it offers varied programming open to the community beyond SMU.” The Embrey Foundation’s vision “will allow the major to be a signature program for SMU and for Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences,” says Dean William Tsutsui. “It not only will prepare students to understand human rights issues around the world, but also will equip them with the skills necessary to make a real difference and effect meaningful change,” he says. “The graduates of this important and timely new major will be the leaders of the next generation of global human rights advocates.” So far 200 students have either formally declared the minor or are taking courses toward declaring the minor in the fastest growing program at SMU. Halperin, the nationally known human rights activist and former two-time chair of Amnesty International, joined SMU in 1985 and started teaching human rights through the history department in 1990. He says many students already have expressed interest in pursuing the new major, which will consist of 30 hours of traditional coursework, a minor in a related field and 12 hours of a foreign language. Every student majoring in human rights will be required to participate in service learning and take SMU’s spring civil rights pilgrimage across the Deep South. In addition, travel opportunities will exist within the U.S. to study issues related to immigration, indigenous peoples and the death penalty. The program’s global travel experiences also will continue. For 2012-2013, learning trips will be offered to Poland, Rwanda/Uganda, Ukraine/Croatia and Brazil.
Rick Halperin “Almost every one of our trips is designed for people to interact with survivors of human rights violations so that they can see the human effect of what it is they are working for and toward,” Halperin says. “It’s not about theory, or names on a piece of paper or statistics. It’s about human beings.” SMU junior Michael Dearman of Houston has been involved with the Embrey Human Rights Program from his earliest days on campus. “It’s one of the major reasons I came to SMU,” says the philosophy major. “I've had a huge interest in social justice for a long time thanks to mentors I had in high school and because of my faith. The discovery of a human rights program at SMU was really the instant I realized that I could make a career of human rights and gain valuable training for such a career,” he says. “What the major should show to students, and really everyone, is that SMU is taking human rights seriously.” Dearman is working toward a doctorate and a teaching career, melding the fields of philosophy and human rights. “This major is testament to our students, faculty and staff being committed to the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person,” Halperin says. ###
A special thanks to Dr. Halperin for supporting the 1 Night 1,000 Strong event (September 17).
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
New undergraduate degree program officially begins in spring 2012
(1 NIGHT 1,000 STRONG) - UNITES VOICES FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHERN AFRICA As a result of the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Northern Africa humanitarianactivist partnered up with various local organizations to create a monumental event that brought individuals, and groups from all over North Texas together under one solitary cause “Freedom, Justice, & Peace.” On Saturday, September 17, north Texans who identify and sympathize with those struggling in the regions gathered on the Grassy Knoll in downtown Dallas for "1 Night, 1,000 Strong," a showing of solidarity among all people striving for a just and humane future. The rally brought people together to lift a unified voice for humanitarian government, and recognized the sacrifices of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Afghanistan. Some of the issues covered included: Humanitarian assistance in Somalia due to the drought and famine; battles against brutal and corrupt government leaders in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq; the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Israeli occupation and encroachment of Palestine;
and continued violence and unrest in Libya and Sudan. The "1 Night, 1000 Strong" Rally included chanting and speakers with a message intended to galvanize all people of conscience to work together for freedom. The event was sponsored by the Dallas Peace Center and Coalition for Free Syria, and co-sponsored by CodePink and Pakistan American Council of DFW.
Some featured speakers include: Adrian Sierra - Organizer Kelli Obazee - Executive Director DPC Dr. Salem Akkad - Syria Yousef Hamad - Palestine (Organizer) Edith Rosales - Mexico Raja Muzaffar - Kashmir Aftab Siddiqui - Pakistan Rania Kisar - "Bridging the Gap Campaign"
BRIDGING THE GAP CAMPAIGN The Dallas Peace Center is pleased to announce the first of its kind Bridging the Gap campaign connecting with the world through letters of encouragement, compassion and solidarity. From Dallas, Texas, we will begin with reaching out to the innocent civilians in Syria who are losing their loved ones on daily basis and tell them that we encourage their peaceful quests for freedom and are waiting for them to join our justice, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Your words of empowerment will speak volumes to them and your voices will reach beyond the horizons. Take part of this historical opportunity and speak from your heart to their hearts. What do you say to a completely helpless father who was not able to protect his child from death? What do you say to a grieving mother who identified the body of her tortured son? What do you say to an orphan child who lost his father or mother? What do you say to the Syrian people who are losing their lives every day simply because they ask for freedom? Can you imagine what they must be going through? What words do you think they need to hear? What messages do you think will encourage them to persevere? For more informa+on please email (Syria@dallaspeacecenter.org)
Invisible Children struggles against LRA in Uganda, DRC by Trish Major Among those who attended the final film of the September Films for Peace & Justice series were (left to right) Angwech Collines of Invisible Children, Marilyn Clark, John Fullinwider, Rania Kisar, Adrian Sierra and Betty Jane Ferguson. In the film, Children and War, children who live in war zones are interviewed about their situations, feelings toward those attacking them, and their hopes for peace. After the film Collines, a native of Uganda, told about her life as a child hiding from the rebel forces of the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony. Every evening, children whose homes were in the countryside would walk, sometimes for hours, until they got to the protection of nearby cities, for fear that they would be abducted and forced to serve in the LRA as a child soldier. Collines was never abducted, but her cousin was. Collines said the cousin escaped and came back home, but was traumatized after having to take part in killings. Her condition was so bad that at one point she killed her sister and threatened to kill her mother. The cousin is in rehabilitation now. Now, the LRA has moved into the Democratic Republic of Congo where the bush is so dense there Children at War movie discussion aren’t even roads there. When the LRA massacres a village, there is no way to warn the next village that they are coming, so Invisible Children is building radio towers in the villages so they can communicate with each other. Invisible Children is also putting up bright signs on trees letting child soldiers know how to escape and assuring them that their families and communities will take them back. For more information on Invisible Children, go to www.invisiblechildren.com.
Peace Corps, 50 years old, still changing lives by Trish Major The Peace Corps celebrates 50 years of waging peace this year, and the North Texas Peace Corps Association joined in the party. On September 10, former volunteers, new volunteers just getting ready to go overseas, and visitors curious about the experience gathered for an evening of dinner and dancing. Among the veterans were Shirley and Uris Roberson who have six Peace Corps volunteers in their family: Shirley’s older sister and brother were the first brother-sister Peace Corps volunteers. They went to Ethiopia in 1962. Another sister went to Malawai, and Shirley and Uris’s son served in Ukraine and Kenya. Shirley and Uris served in Tanzania in 1966, and their first child was born there. Both went over as agriculture teachers but, Shirley said, they ended up teaching English, math and domestic sciences also. The Robersons said that the Tanzanians welcomed them warmly, and they saw the benefit of their work every day. “They were enthusiastic about learning and very intelligent,” said Uris. “I think we were appreciated more than the missionaries there because we were living among them.”
her husband. Chris acknowledges that her transition is much more stressful than his was: “I knew that I as coming back,” Chris said. “But for her, she took a big leap of faith to leave her profession and learn a new language.” Today, the Peace Corps is in 76 countries and is made up of 6,700 volunteers from college age to 81 years old, said recruiter Linda Tucker. Over the years, the program has been modified to work more efficiently for the volunteers and host countries. Some changes are that volunteers are trained incountry now, the Peace Corps is not taking families, and volunteers may not pick the country they go to – “It’s all about your skill set, not your agenda,” said Tucker. The biggest need right now is for English teachers in Eastern Europe and HIV health workers in Africa. Competition for volunteer positions is tough. The Peace Corps generally has about 15,000 applicants for 4,000 positions. If you are interested in being one of them, go to www.peacecorps.gov. or call 800-424-8580.
The Robersons went on their mission as a couple, but Chris Sadac went single and came back with a wife. In 2001, Sadac went to Georgia, the former Soviet state that gained independence in 1991. There he taught English and economic development. He met his bride-tobe, Eka, at a wedding there. Eka, who is a gynecologist, dropped her practice and learned a new language in order to come to the U.S. with
Chris and Eka Sadac
Shirley and Uris Roberson
Dallas Resident Serves on International Human Rights Observer Team in Honduras Returns with Troubling Report by Ernest McMillan Tegucigalpa , Honduras- Local resident Ernest McMillan was one of nine U.S human rights observers returning to the United States this week after an intensive twelve-day investigation of the country’s worsening human rights crisis. Team members had been closely following events in Honduras since the June 28, 2009 coup d’Etat that ousted democratically elected President Mel Zelaya at gunpoint. “In the last two years since the coup, despite the supposed election of current President Pepe Lobo, there has been as many as
200 political assassinations of members and leaders of the growing popular resistance front known as the FNRP- Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular. “I felt compelled to go; to gain an awareness of the lives experienced by ordinary Hondurans who are struggling for justice, and dignity. Powerful forces oppose them with intense and seemingly relentless cruelties while they simply want to live and to provide for their children.” says McMillan. Several human rights organizations that are part of the U.S Honduras Solidarity Network assembled this emergency observation team to travel directly to
the Aguan basin of Honduras where recent killings of campesino leaders and police/military raids of campesino communities have left dozens dead and hundreds as internal refugees. "While we were in the Aguan Region, there were two police/military raids on the same community (Los RigoresSeptember 16, 19) in which 22 people were temporarily detained, tortured and threatened with death. A 16 yr old was drenched in gasoline by the police and threatened with being burned. All the detainees were released with no charges filed." reports Vicki Cervantes of Chicago ’s human rights group La Voz de los de Abajo.
The US State Department recently lobbied for the re-entry of Honduras into the Organization of American States as part of an agreement facilitated by Colombia President Santos and Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in May of this year known as the Cartagena Accord. The US State Department was quick to recognize the 2009 election of Pepe Lobo while most nations in South America and Europe still do not recognize the current government of Honduras because of the political climate during the 2009 elections and the continued concerns about human rights violations in Honduras . "I am particularly concerned that the US government is perpetuating gross human rights abuses by providing military funds and training to the Honduras security forces. An example of this is the $40 million recently given by the State Department. “responds Dale Sorensen of the California based human rights group Task Force on the Americas . In May of this year 87 US congress members signed a scathing letter addressed to US Secretary Hillary Clinton regarding the continued human rights violations in Honduras asking the state department and US Embassy in Honduras to speak out against violence targeted towards human rights defenders and journalists. “When we
asked the new US Ambassador Lisa Kubiske if the embassy had complied with any of the asks of congress, she replied the letter pre-dates her and ‘there is a time to speak out and a time not to’.” quotes Brian Stefan Szittai of the Cleveland based organization Inter- Preliminary recommendations from the September Observer Team’s Religious Task Force on Central findings are 1. International Human America . Rights Organizations increase their attention on Honduras as the electoral process is pursued by the FARP and the land struggle continues in the Aguan Basin of Honduras. 2. That US congress and State Department take concrete and public action to condemn human right violations in Honduras and withhold military/ police aid from Honduras while Honduran military and police agents continue to be complicit in forced disappearances, illegal raids, illegal detentions and human rights violations across the country. The Observer Team’s preliminary findings show that the Honduras government is not completing its part of the Cartagena Accord, which includes: 1. Free return of all exiles to Honduras with out fear of prosecution. Four are already exiled again and one is under house arrest. 2. Investigations and prosecutions for political assassinations. There continues to be a 90% impunity rate and increase in
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
politically motivated killings. 3. The allowance for the registration of the FNRP has a political force including the creation of a new political party. In the weeks leading up to the ratification of the FNRP’s new party, the FARP, there were 3 political assassinations of leaders of the FNPR leaving an unsafe environment for the political process to freely move forward. 4. Beginning the process for a new constituent assembly to re-write the constitution. This process has not been able to proceed and many claim was the trigger for the military coup that took place June 28, 2009. “It is clear the current Honduran government has not complied to the Cartagena Accord nor made a concerted effort to complete its commitment. Even more concerning is that there are reports of threats recently made by Honduran police against international human rights groups working in the Aguan Valley.” reports observer team organizer Tanya Cole of the human rights organization Witness for Peace Southwest.
The Dallas Peace Center Celebrating 30 Years of Peacemaking in North Texas and Beyond presents the
25th Annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner honoring
2011 Peacemaker of the Year Rais Bhuiyan for his extraordinary commitment to breaking the cycle of hate and violence ! through the power of forgiveness. He is the founder of World Without Hate, an organization committed to teaching people how to heal their own anger and respond nonviolently in times of crisis. www.worldwithouthate.org
Roger Kallenberg for his lifelong devotion to the peace and justice community of Dallas, in ! particular his passion for the Palestinian community, a nuclear free world, and an economy freed from the industrial military complex.
2011 Peacemaking Organization of the Year
2011 Media Peacemaker of the Year
South Dallas Cultural Center
for their work in empowering and inspiring ! the African American community to cultivate a more diverse and vibrant world through the arts.
for her continued discipline to be an objective reporter ! that is willing to take risks and cover stories of grassroots activism which typically go unnoticed.
Thursday, December 1, 2011 Reception â€“ 5:30 p.m.
Dinner â€“ 7:00 p.m.
Doubletree Hotel 4099 Valley View Lane, Dallas, TX 75244
For Tickets www.DallasPeaceCenter.org 214-823-7793
th 25 Annual Peacemaker Awards Dinner Tickets Very Important Peacemaker (VIP) Table
Reserved seating for 10, recognition in program and on the Peace Center’s website, and special goody bags for you and your guests as a thank you for your support
Reserved seating for 10, recognition in program and on the Peace Center’s website Reserved seating for 5, recognition in program Reserved seating for 2, recognition in program
(Individual tickets will be available after November 2 for $75.00 (seating will be on space-available basis)
Reserve your seats online at www.DallasPeaceCenter.org or by calling 214-823-7793.
Program Advertisements Place a black and white ad or announcement in the dinner program which will be perused by some 400 dinner guests. Following are the ad rates: 1/8 page ad (2.16” W X 1.75” H) $ 50 1/4 page ad (4.5” W X 1.75” H) $100 1/2 page ad (4.5” W X 3.75” H) $200 Full page ad (4.5” W X 7.75” H) $350 Email your camera-ready ad in a „g or pdf form to email@example.com
Vendor Tables The Dallas Peace Center offers nonprofit organizations and fair trade vendors the opportunity to distribute literature and sell items at the 2011 Peacemaker Awards Dinner. Eight-foot tables will be set up in the reception area on the night of the dinner. Tables will rent for $25, plus an item to be included in the DPC Silent Auction that is valued at $25 or more. If an additional table is desired then it would be an additional $25 and an additional item. Interested parties should contact the Dallas Peace Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-823-7793 on or before November 28.
The mission of the Liberty Defense Team is to mobilize & engage a “diverse” community advocating for immigrant’s rights and for a promptly, fair & just immigration reform through advocacy, education, grassroots mobilization and non-partisan civic engagement.
The Liberty Defense Team meets every 3rd Wednesday of every month. Next meeting is scheduled for October 19, 2011 Dallas Peace Center 5910 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas, TX 75235-6806 7:00 - 8:00 PM www.dallaspeacecenter.org
Amnesty International looks ahead on 50th Anniversary rights than in the South,” and that sentiment was echoed by AIUSA Executive Director Larry Cox, who said that whenever things get rough and he feels discouraged, he thinks it’s time to go back to Dallas to get inspired.
Larry Cox & Everette Thompson by Trish Major Amnesty International was born 50 years ago, after British lawyer
Peter Benenson learned of the imprisonment of two Portuguese students whose crime was to raise a toast to freedom. He wrote an article for The Observer newspaper, “The Forgotten Prisoners,” which was reprinted around the world. At its birth, and throughout its successful life, the spotlight of Amnesty International has always been on the prisoners, not the organization. Accordingly, the birthday celebration at SMU on September 15 did not spend a lot of time with self-congratulations on past successes, but looked forward to the challenges of tomorrow. Everette Thompson, Field Organizer for the AIUSA Southern Regional Office, expressed himself best with a song: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest. / We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” Thompson declared, “There is no better place to fight for human
Cox said Amnesty International chose to mark its 50th anniversary by celebrating the idea that people can make a difference, and sure enough, Dr. Rick Halperin, Director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU, said the reason he has been an active member of AI since college is two simple words: It works. Cox said that he was going to Georgia the next day to stop the state sponsored killing of Troy Davis, who could very well be innocent. (Seven of nine “witnesses” had recanted their stories.) Cox said that he was shocked when cheers broke out at the Republican debate because Rick Perry has presided over 234 killings in his tenure as Texas governor. “I know that the cheering was not representative of the country in which we live,” he said, “and it’s not representative of Texas.” Cox said that even though he will not be around to celebrate Amnesty International’s next 50 years, he has predictions of what our children’s children will be celebrating on that day: “We will celebrate the day the death penalty was wiped out all over the world. We will celebrate the day Syria rose up and became free. We will celebrate the fact the women no longer have to be afraid to walk out on the street – they will have justice and therefore security.” But
Cox added a caveat: This will only happen if people do something. “No one can do everything,” he said, “but everyone can do something, and everyone can do more than they are doing now.”
Smith Melton acknowledges 'inner warrior' at Peacemakers Luncheon by Trish Major A capacity crowd assembled on September 21 at the Tower Club in Dallas to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace and hear Peace X Peace founder Patricia Smith Melton. In Patricia Smith Melton her speech, Melton urged the audience to get in touch with their “inner warriors” in order to know their value, define their goals and work for peace. She said, “Our home base is in trouble, and it is not because women have been running the place,” but men and women are to blame for women not claiming powerful positions. She said, “More important than how you go through life is how life goes through you.” After the program, Melton signed copies of her groundbreaking book, Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women.
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
Forgiveness, fellowship needed to end 9/11 cycle of violence by Trish Major According to a panel of religious and peace activists that came together on September 9, in the ten years since the 9/11 tragedy, Americans in general have become more aware of how diverse the world is -- and more afraid of it. The program, “Ending the Cycle of Violence,” was presented by the SMU Embrey Human Rights Program and the Dallas Peace Center, featured eight panelists, and was moderated by Dianne Solis, senior writer at the Dallas Morning News. Solis’s first question, “Has America healed in the ten years since 9/11?” received a resounding answer of “yes and no.” Rev. Bill McElvaney, a long time Dallas peace activist, pastor, Perkins School of Theology professor and St. Paul School of Theology president, said that since 9/11 we have a different idea of who the “other” is, and “we have a choice to be welcoming and hospitable or we can be xenophobic.” McElvaney admitted that before 9/11 he only knew two Muslims personally, and today interfaith services and friendships with people of different religions is commonplace, however he also continues to see “so much meanness.” Alia Salem, a founding member of both the DFW Chapter of the Islamic Speakers Bureau and the Fort Worth chapter of the Daughters of Abraham interfaith group, said that, on a day-today basis, America has not healed. She pointed out that those who would come to an event like this one are not typical of all Americans, and there are still a lot of people out there who don’t like Muslims. She said that immediately following the tragedy, she was met with care and compassion by her neighbors, but as anti-Islamic sentiment grows and negative messages spread, these same people are coming out against building new mosques. Salem said that she has found that the percentage of people who don’t like Muslims is directly proportional to the percentage of people who don’t know Muslims.
Panelists talked about the emotions of anger and fear that are so prominent today. Acharya Shree Yogeesh, a Hindu spiritual enlightened master, said that anger is like a poison, and we need to dissolve anger rather than simply control it. “You cannot finish anger with anger,” he said. “We need compassion, forgiveness and love to dissolve it.” Mavis Belisle, a social justice, anti-war and anti-nuclear activist for four decades, said that the violence we are seeing is rooted in fear, and our institutions don’t teach us how to deal with our fear. Br. ChiSing, and interfaith retreat facilitator who learned meditation and was ordained into the “Order of Interbeing” by Thich Nhat Hanh, said that Buddhists believe that all human beings are mentally ill; but most of us are at a level of mental illness that is still socially acceptable. “A more enlightened approach is to see violent people as those who need help and care,” he said. ChiSing said our mental illness causes us to believe that we are separate from each other, but that way of thinking is self-defeating. He illustrated his point by saying that it is like taking a hammer in your right hand and hitting the thumb on your left hand, then in retribution taking the hammer in your left hand and hitting the thumb on your right hand. When asked by an audience member what the panel thought was a good response to hate speech, SMU Chaplain Stephen Rankin quoted Alan M. Dershowitz, saying, “The best answer to bad speech is good speech.” Belisle brought up the notion that some forms of hate speech should not be tolerated. When she spent a week at the Anne Frank Center in Amsterdam she found that they believe, based on their experience with the Nazis, that there should be limits to free speech: You may not say that one person in less human than another. What can we do in practice to help America heal? Panelists’ answers indicated that we must all start with
ourselves. Salem said that we must all make efforts to meet people who are different from ourselves. ChiSing said we should teach our children to meditate in school. He said that as we meditate on love for ourselves, then for those who are easy to love, and finally for those who are more and more difficult to love, it becomes easier to forgive. We need to plant the seeds of forgiveness for the next generation.
BDS DEMONSTRATION - DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH We are here tonight in support of the upcoming U.N. vote to recognize Palestine as an independent member state in the United Nations. For too long Palestinian lands have been stolen. For too long Palestinian hearts have been broken. Hopes and dreams crushed and lives lost. For too many years have there been children killed and blood spilled Promises broken and lies spoken by the U.S. and by Israel. It's time for freedom in Palestine. It's time for justice in Palestine. It's time for peace in Palestine. But peace cannot come As long as the heavy thumb of U.S.-Israeli military might Crushes the dream of a life lived with dignity and promise. Peace cannot come as long as oppression crushes hope. And oppression will not lift until justice is realized in this once wholly Palestinian land. With justice comes peace. With justice comes security. With justice comes a world free from strife. For there can be no common kinship between peoples without the bonds of mutual respect and freedom. Freedom for Palestine! -Cheryl Ananda
Humanitarian activist gathered in downtown Fort Worth on September 10, 2011 to show their support for U.N. Palestinian statehood recognition.
Dallas Peace Center Middle East Peace Committee Supports Â Full Membership in the United Nations for Palestine The Dallas Peace Center Middle East Peace Committee supports the full membership of Palestine in the United Nations. Full membership would not end the Israeli occupation or suddenly create a Palestinian state, but it will be a first step to enhancing the Palestinians' ability to seek freedom and justice.
Washington has repeatedly said that, if necessary, it would cast a veto. The U.S. has threatened that it will withdraw aid to Palestine if the Palestinians do not cancel their bid. The U.S. is also bullying other members of the Security Council to vote against the bid so that the U.S. would not have to use its veto power.
We deplore the bullying tactics that the United States is using to defeat the Palestinian bid for full membership. Likewise we lament the United States' continued support of Israel's brutal treatment of the Palestinian people, and its disregard for international laws agreed upon at the Geneva Conventions.
We are astonished that the U.S., which claims to value justice, self-determination and democracy, would blatantly set aside those ideals when a poor and beleaguered nation attempts to gain its freedom through peaceful and accepted means.
Full recognition at the UN requires the approval of the Security Council, then approval of the General Assembly.
The U.S. is a beacon of hope for many people around the world. Behavior like this tarnishes our image and contributes to the decline of our reputation. September 22, 2011
Dinner Series speaker Matthew Hoh proposes a new way forward in Afghanistan, Pakistan By Linda Magid Matthew Hoh, who in 2009 famously quit his State Department post in Afghanistan to protest U.S. strategy there, spoke on August 11th as part of the Dallas Peace Center’s dinner lecture series, and he didn’t mince words about how he thinks the war in Afghanistan is going. "Afghanistan is a disaster.” Hoh is a former Marine Corps captain who served six years in Iraq and worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, he is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the Director of the Afghanistan Study Group. “I agree with
(U.S.) objectives. The problem is our policy will not achieve those objectives,” Hoh said. To an audience of about 50 people, Hoh shared the “cold, hard facts” about Afghanistan and proved in simple terms that the Middle Eastern nation continues to be a graveyard of empires. U.S. objectives for the Afghanistan War are twofold: 1. Defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates; and 2. Stabilize Pakistan and safeguard its nuclear weapons. At this point, U.S. strategies do not lead to either of these objectives. The most obvious problem is that Al Qaeda isn’t in
Afghanistan. According to Hoh, “On June 21st, Obama Counterterrorism Coordinator John Brennan said that we haven’t seen a threat from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in seven or eight years. “Al Qaeda is a network of individuals and small cells that is loosely connected around the world by an ideology that basically floats across the Internet as an ideological cloud.” Hoh pointed out that members of Al Qaeda, unlike other organizations, have only one common demographic: they are Muslim. Other than that, their country of origin, skin color, financial background, mental state, and marriage status are all different.
Hoh defined the Karzai administration in damning terms: “It’s not a system. It’s a government that has a shell of democracy or a veneer of democracy over it and the skeleton is individual power brokers that are connected through a corrupt patronage network.” Elected officials (perhaps the term should be put in quotation marks given the corrupt nature of both recent elections) are “drug lords, warlords, child rapists and war criminals.” “What connects these 2,000-4,000 people is that they are Muslims and that they adhere to some idea that they want to be part of this epic sweep in history.” Hoh reminded attendees that there are around 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Given that Afghans are nearly 100% Muslim, night raids performed by Special Operations forces make sense in the abstract: surprise citizens in their homes with force to either find possible insurgents or scare people out of joining insurgents. In reality, this strategy is pushing Afghans to the Taliban and the insurgency, which are growing rapidly. (The two groups overlap but are not the same.) According to Hoh, the insurgency replaces those they have lost with neighbors and family members who witness the raids. “They feel violated and scared,” making them easier to recruit.
Evidence for a growing insurgency is clear. Its financial logistics and operational chains are fully intact. Rather than being limited to the south and east of the country, they can now be found in the north and west. Coalition forces find up to 53 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) a day. “And those are only the ones we find,” Hoh added. Right now, the war this year is shaping up to be as violent as it was last year, which was the deadliest for Americans so far. Currently, the war has a ratio of 10 soldiers wounded to 1 killed, a statistic that masks the high level of violence. That statistic does not reflect veteran suicides (Hoh believes it should). Additionally, Insurgents have an effective assassination campaign that hits government officials
Because the government is not a true system supported by a strong network throughout the country, when an official is assassinated any semblance of government in that area collapses. It is a very effective way to decrease Karzai’s power and increase insurgent recruits. Another blow to our success in Afghanistan is the lack of progress made on the country’s infrastructure regardless of the amount of money spent so far. Out of $90 billion pledged, coalition forces have spent $50-60 billion.
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whenever they want, exposing weakness in the Afghan government.
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“We have not built a system, but we’ve just built, again, shells of development. It is not sustainable, not helping the common person.” Hoh explained that the money is just a conduit to corruption, a conduit to feed the patronage network, and it only fuels resentment for the United States. He further points out that 90% of the Afghanistan economy is from foreign assistance, and only the drug trade prospers: it is the only industry that has any trade value, has a labor force, and can get credit for business growth (in this case for seeds and fertilizer). The country has not improved its roads, cold storage or electrical system. The White House public relations message is that real progress has been made because urban Afghans have on average two cell phones. Hoh questioned whether that is truly a sign of us winning the war. “What (do cellphones) actually mean in terms of development and real sustainability, real betterment in the quality of life for all Afghans, not for a select few in some of the urban areas?” The breakdown in our strategy for defeating Al Qaeda seems obvious, but what about securing Pakistan? The drone campaign in Pakistan has tripled under the Obama administration, killing 700 militants. Sounds promising. Yet, according to Hoh, only 2% of those killed were high value targets, and
only 2 of them were on the FBI’s watch list. At the same time, drones have killed 500 Pakistani civilians. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that number at a minimum of 385 civilians killed, with 44% of those being children. During the Bush administration, 1 in 3 civilians killed was a child. The Obama Administration claims, “there hasn’t been a single collateral [civilian] death” since August 2010. With Pakistan as a Taliban sanctuary, the U.S. cannot make real progress in securing the country without putting U.S. troops and escalating the war. “I don’t think we will see that,” Hoh predicted. If the U.S. and its allies cannot meet the primary objectives of the war with the current strategy, then what strategy might? Hoh does not advocate complete withdrawal. “If Afghanistan is a house of cards, the U.S. is not just the most important card. We are the table the house stands on.” Instead of withdrawal, Hoh says mediation is the key. “The Obama administration and the military leaders understand that this is not a military war but a political war.” Senior members in the Obama administration see that a change is needed, like pushing for a political settlement with the insurgents and expanding Afghan government inclusiveness, but those changes have yet to be made.
A second step is to begin contact with insurgents and find out what their grievances are, similar to the strategy the U.S. military used in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Hoh explained that the insurgents are not monolithic. “The insurgency is in many cases fueled by legitimate grievances that can go back 30 years or just 2 weeks.” Like the Iraqi insurgents, the insurgency in Afghanistan is not about international terror but about resentment, disenfranchisement and marginalization from the political process. Our largest hurdle to enacting a political policy is our overall U.S. foreign policy, which is based on intervention and containment, both remnants of the Cold War. For example, the U.S. military has bases all over the Middle East to counter terrorist groups, yet terrorist groups are individuals and small cells, not entire nations. For regular citizens who want to push for a new
strategy, Hoh advised to keep up public pressure through calling into radio shows, writing letters to newspapers and our elected officials, and donating money to organizations trying to end the war (see list of organizations below). Most importantly, said Hoh, is to convert people to “our side.” Without this kind of activism, Hoh painted a scary picture: “The Hawks in D.C. will say in three or four years that we’ve tried every thing with Iran, the only thing left is military strike.” When asked how to counter the popular meme that to question U.S. policy in the war equals not supporting the troops, Hoh’s answer was clear: “That’s our responsibility. “I speak with my counterparts in Europe and my friends speak with counterparts in Asia, and they are looking at this country like we are complete fools. We spend $1 trillion a year in security, the same troops keep serving in our wars…Yet every year our education drops and our health care drops (on the international stage) and our infrastructure gets worse… We have 800 bases around the world and yet we don’t have jobs for those vets when they come back home…It’s not sustainable for our kids and our grandkids.” Hoh challenged, “A person who is saying ‘if you don’t support the policy you don’t support the troops’ never served in the military.”
“Our troops will do anything we ask of them,” he continued. “They are never going to question it. It’s our responsibility to make sure we are only sending them to fight and die when it is absolutely necessary…It’s the right thing to do.” At the closing of the event, Kelli Obazee, Executive Director of the Dallas Peace Center, revealed that two of her young adult children served multiple terms in Afghanistan and Iraq, and both of them suffer from extreme post traumatic stress disorder. “This fight for me is one of a personal matter,” Obazee shared. Considering the tremendous impact this war has on our troops and our country, it should be a personal matter for us all. LINKS: Organizations working to end the War in Afghanistan:
• • • •
Peace Action Council for a Livable World Win Without War
The following groups are very good for lobbying and taking care of veterans:
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Wounded Warrior Project
This organization fights war contractors’ lobbying efforts to keep defense spending high:
________ Linda Magid is a freelance writer living in Allen, TX. She volunteers with the Texas Democratic Party as a Senate District Executive Committee representative. She can be reached at email@example.com. This article was first published in the Democratic Blog http://collindemsnews.blogspot.com/.
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The first step in changing from military-driven policy to a political policy is to admit that the U.S. is involved in a civil war and that the war is multi-sided and multi-layered. Due to our participation, we have chosen a few sides against other ones. By moving to a mediation role, the U.S. would have to abandon its partnership with the Karzai government and not take any sides.
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Remembering Two Peacemakers at Two Ends of the Earth By Ken Butigan Wangari Maathai, who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for creating the Green Belt Movement in Africa, died of cancer in Nairobi, Kenya.
He also shared how isolating it often was to work for peace in staunchly conservative Texas—a theme that would recur throughout the evening as people seemed to make a mental comparison with Chicago, where I was coming from—but that he and his colleagues ultimately had not been deterred. I let Roger and others know that I had always been impressed with the work of the center, beginning back in the Central America peace movement days in the late Eighties when I had been national coordinator of the Pledge of Resistance in Washington, DC. The Dallas Peace Center had played an important role in that initiative for peace.
Roger Kallenberg, a career high school teacher and integral part of the Dallas Peace Center, died of bone marrow disease in Dallas, Texas. Wangari Maathai
Maathei was justly famous as a nonviolent champion for environmental justice who articulated, as UN General-Secretary Ban-Ki Moon put it, “the links between human rights, poverty, environmental protection and security.” She challenged deeply entrenched interests, empowered women as agents of change, inspired the global environmental movement, and organized the planting of 40 million trees across Africa. Tree planting was not an innocuous hobby – it was dramatic direct action that required creativity, relentless persistence, and determined fearlessness. In turn, it led to other kinds of reforestation: civic and environmental education, capacity building and income generation, and programs nurturing food security, human rights, and self-determination. Roger, as far as I know, did not receive international honors for his work, but he was also a relentless advocate for justice—for Palestine, for communities of color, for the LGBT community, for all those who are systematically thrust to the margins—and for a shift from a war economy to a peace economy that works for all of us. I only spent a few hours with Roger, but I was struck by his passion for change conveyed not with angry denunciation or hand-wringing hopelessness but with a genial, even-keeled and generous manner. He had picked me up at the airport—I was in town to give a talk at a Dallas Peace Center this past June—and we talked about his work focused on economic conversion.
After the speaking event—held in a wonderful restaurant that had been filled to capacity—Roger offered to give me a quick tour of Dallas when he learned that I had never been there before. It was de rigueur to drive past the grassy knoll and Texas Book Depository Building, which we did several times, making the fourblock loop in the gloomy half-light of a mundane, empty street shot through with the still fresh streaks of a timeless historical warp. Roger Kallenberg After the third round, Roger broke free and got us headed away from downtown. We ended up driving out to the old Cotton Bowl, which for years hosted the annual big-time New Years bowl game, until the event was moved to Cowboy Stadium in nearby Arlington. He wanted to show me the art deco façade and artwork that still graces the stadium and nearby buildings. On the way, he shared a thumbnail sketch of two waves of Jewish immigration to Texas, one of which his family had ridden all the way to Dallas. The Cotton Bowl security questioned us a bit but Roger was allowed to drive on to the grounds. In the summer darkness the stadium was monumental and looming, the art deco ornaments stately and surreal. Mostly I was touched by the dense silence of these buildings huddling together in the night air, a stark counterpoint to the express purpose of a site designed for noise, crowds, and choreographed combat.
The next morning, Roger gave me a lift to the airport. He avoided the highway and, as we sailed past Southern Methodist University, he spoke of his years as a high school teacher. I was moved by his stories about smoking out the hidden capacity of his students. His job was to nurture it, helping them believe that they had this lurking power and that they would be better people leading more meaningful and effective lives if they took a chance on all that dormant talent. This possibility lies in every high school student, but it is there for all of us, everywhere. Wangari saw this in her own students—her first day job was as a professor—but also throughout Africa and the world. And Roger saw it in a Dallas peace economy, a US peace economy, a world peace economy—and a planet retooled to live up to its potential. Thank you, Wangari Maathai and Roger Kallenberg.
The Middle East Peace Committee will miss our Jewish Brother Roger Kallenberg. Roger passed away after a brief illness last week. Physically he will not be present in our meetings but his spirit will always be there with us. He was a gentle, wise, and passionate advocate for peace and justice in the world. He did get flak from his own community on his support of Palestinian rights and justice in Middle East. He was always there in our meetings, in our actions be it a rally, die-in, demonstration, informational forum. Roger was always full of ideas and ready for action. He will be sorely missed by the Peace Community. He is one of those persons who can look back at life and be satisfied that he made a difference; that he made this world a better place. Rest easy our friend; we will continue your work.
In loving memory of Roger Kallenberg
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DIRECTOR’S CUT The Dallas Peace is celebra.ng 30 years of promo.ng peace through Kelli Obazee jus.ce. Our work is fueled by the many ac.vists that bring their dedica.on, passion and vision for a world where human rights and civil liber.es are guaranteed to all without regard to age, race, religion or sexual preference. Many organiza.ons provide charitable giEs while others believe in praying or medita.ng for peace. The Dallas Peace Center honors and encourages a wide variety of methods toward crea.ng a culture of peace. However, at the core of the Dallas Peace Center’s work, we believe that there is a greater opportunity for sustainable peace when people live under fair and just policies that honor us all with dignity and equity. The focus of our work at the DPC is making systemic change through non-‐violent ac.on. While policies may change from .me to .me, the real victory is won as we beLer understand and have compassion for the plights of others. We achieve this through research, educa.on, dialogue and reconcilia.on. The strength of our work is well grounded within the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area where our work began in 1981, founded by the Peace Mennonite Church. Over the years, the DPC has built and con.nues to build strong coali.ons with like minded secular and faith-‐based
organiza.ons. We are honored to have strong organiza.onal allies on a state, na.onal and interna.onal level for building progressive movements toward peace. The beneﬁt of collabora.ng with peace ac.vists from all over the world is tremendous. We are empowered by sharing each other’s strategies and successes, organizing joint ac.ons, and inspiring each other to keep on keeping on, that the goal is aLainable and s.ll yet ahead. Currently the Dallas Peace Center supports the following programs and advocacy teams: Middle East Peace CommiLee -‐ The mission
of the Middle East Peace Committee is to create the conditions where peace and justice can flourish throughout the entire Middle East through reconciling dialogue, education and action. Liberty Defense Team – The mission is to mobilize and engage a diverse community advoca.ng for immigrant rights and for prompt, fair and just immigra.on reform through advocacy, educa.on, grass roots mobiliza.on and non-‐ par.san civic engagement. One Makes a Diﬀerence/ Peace Educa.on -‐ The mission of
the One Makes a Diﬀerence curriculum is to provide a strong intellectual and ethical founda.on that encourages academic excellence, enhances self-‐ esteem, increases community understanding and non-‐par.san civic engagement, and inspires future global leaders. Nuclear Free World -‐ The mission of the Nuclear Free World CommiLee is to educate and advocate for a nuclear free world in our life.me and change the culture that supports and sustains nuclear technologies. On the horizon, we are collabora.ng with organiza.ons to embark on a Human Rights at Home Campaign, and Bridging the Gap Campaign, sending messages of encouragement from U.S. residents to those suﬀering in war torn countries. Crea.ng a culture of peace relies on our ability, as one human race, to build compassionate and equitable rela.onships on all levels. This is the work of the Dallas Peace Center.
International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State met with the Dallas Peace Center and other Peace House Dallas organizations. A group of 14 foreign grassroots activist from East Asia and the Pacific
principles of Nonviolent Communication, also known as Compassionate Communication or NVC.
by J. Kendel Johnson Hope for Peace and Justice sponsored a series of three evening workshops on “The Essence of Inclusive Leadership” at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas September 12-14. The workshops drew North Texans from diverse cultures, generations and backgrounds seeking to play a role in building welcoming and inclusive communities at work and home, as well as in spiritual communities and families, and Hope for Peace and Justice Programming Director Mary Jo Kaska says the three evenings were part of fulfilling its mission to provide peace practitioner training to members of the Cathedral of Hope and the greater Dallas-Fort Worth community. Raj Gill, a Certified Trainer with the International Center for Nonviolent Communication, led the workshops with the engaging style she employs with prisoners in her work with the Freedom Project of Canada near her home in British Columbia, and provided participants an opportunity to learn and practice inclusive personal and social leadership skills for connecting with differences, communicating with compassion, and responding effectively to incidents of discrimination and power inequity, using Marshall Rosenberg’s
While Gill offered the training free of charge, she also encouraged financial donations to the U.S. edition of The Freedom Project, which strengthens community through supporting the transformation of prisoners into peacemakers using the training model of Compassionate Communication in Washington State Prisons. Her training also sparked enthusiasm among participating Cathedral of Hope members for establishing a Compassionate Communication practice group in their spiritual community. Gill counts Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as precious role models and brings over 30 years of experience in teaching, training and facilitation to her practice. “I’m a strong believer in the power of compassion and human connection for resolving conflicts and creating universal success,” she said from her home in British Columbia recently. “That’s why I’m dedicated to facilitating and mentoring inclusive leadership development within our own daily lives, as well as our projects, programs, courses, groups, and events in every setting imaginable.” Participants in the “Essence of Inclusive Leadership” workshops were provided opportunities to test their present skills and learn in a friendly, supportive setting how to transform any leadership challenge into an inclusive success. The workshops also supported the personal work of evolving beyond cultural and social “default settings” that exclude to the adoption of practical and satisfying inclusive strategies for any environment, using “power-with” leadership.
Rosenberg notes in his book, “Nonviolent Communication, A Language of Life,” that a clear understanding of Compassionate Communication provides relief to many groups that experience oppression and discrimination and want to increase their power to effect change. They may feel uneasy at first when they hear the terms "nonviolent" or "compassionate" because they have often been urged to stifle their anger, calm down, and accept the status quo. Gill demonstrated that, rather than viewing anger as an undesirable quality needing to be purged, ignored, squashed or swallowed, the principles of Compassionate Communication empower practitioners to learn and develop a practice of expressing the core of their anger fully and wholeheartedly in ways that support social change more effectively. CNVC Transitional Lead Trainer John Kinyon will bring further Compassionate Communication training to North Texas with a 2-day workshop on “Putting Conflict To Work For Your Organization” at The Wesley Foundation at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth October 22-23. For registration and more information, visit www.FWCompassion.org and www.NVCMediation.com. Local facilitators Owen Kinser and J Kendel Johnson will also present a one-day introduction to Compassionate Communication, sponsored by the North Texas Association of Unitarian Universalist Societies, at Pathways UU Church in Southlake on October 8. Registration and information also available at www.FWCompassion.org. More information about the Freedom Project is available at www.FreedomProject.org.
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Canadian Prison Worker Raj Gill Inspired Activists September 12-14 at Interfaith Peace Chapel
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by Trish Major Once the United States folds up its flags and puts away its fireworks, maybe it will be able to learn the lessons of September 11, but most of those lessons will only come when we adopt some humility. If we have learned anything, it has been because of drastic mistakes that were made before and after the tragedy, and that continue today. A panel of four academicians, assembled on September 11 at SMU, cut through the patriotic clutter and got to the meat of just how the world has changed in the last ten years. The event, “While the Whole World Watched,” was sponsored by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and the Dallas Peace Center. It was moderated by Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center.
10 years ago U.S. made tragedy worse as the whole world watched
After 10 years of war, there were misgivings throughout the panel about whether the U.S. should have embarked on any sort of military operation when responding to terrorism. SMU Political Science Prof. Matthew Wilson said that after the great effort of putting together “just war theory,” the challenge of 9-11 was seeing if that theory could be applied when nations are attacked by individuals.
Academicians panel assembled at SMU on 9/11 anniversary.
Some criteria for “just war theory” – e.g., proportionality, probability of success and distinction between combatants and non-combatants – get hazy when you aren’t dealing with the policies of a state. SMU Political Science Prof. Seyom Brown said that conducting a “war” on terror was misguided. “Counterterrorism is countercriminal,” he said. The more productive approach would
have been to beef up special operations and international policing efforts to bring criminals to trial, rather than vilify whole countries and link the campaign to regime change. To be sure, police actions have prevented more known terrorist activity than have military exploits, according to UTD Public Policy Professor Lloyd Jeff Dumas.
In the last ten years, we have learned that terrorists must have a base of support among the public, said Dumas. To build this base they need a rallying cry so that the people involved believe that, by engaging in terror, they will be avenging a wrong. Those who are not personally oppressed can feel a part of the group that is. For example, the men who attacked the World Trade Centers experienced no personal hardships, but were working on behalf of their brothers in the Middle East. Economic and political development is key to countering terrorism, said Dumas. It is more difficult for demagogues and extremists to manipulate people who feel in control of their lives. Expanded civil liberties bring full participation in affairs that affect peoples’ lives. This gives people self-respect and the feeling that they are respected by others. Trade and investment relationships can enhance the spread of democratic ideas through media, and U.S. support of homegrown movements such
as Arab Spring confirms each person’s value.
surveillance and warrantless arrests, said Brown.
The 9-11 attacks surprised many Americans because they thought the U.S. was universally loved as a giver of aid, not realizing that this condescending attitude was mirrored by government policies that were arrogant and self-serving. Brown said that by embracing the neoconservative movement to install market democracies everywhere, regardless of culture or economy, the U.S. agreed to get in bed with tyrants and cement the hatred of their oppressed citizenry. “We have to watch, in furthering economic development, that we do not fall victim of the fallacy of omniscience and omnipotence,” he said.
Wilson noted that these activities, along with dramatic expansion of presidential powers, are things that people may put up with temporarily during a time of war – but we will never “win” a war on terror. There is no end in sight. How long will we put up with them?
Dumas concurred that the U.S. had gone about establishing economic and political systems all wrong. “We kill people instead of treating them with dignity,” he said. “We go in and say, ‘We know what you need,’ and they feel like charity. But if we ask what they need, we are treating them like partners.” As far as domestic matters, the ten years after 9-11 have shown that Americans are not used to being manipulated by fear – we were willing to relinquish civil liberties and turn against our neighbors too easily. Our preoccupation with avoiding another 9-11 has transformed our country into a virtual Big Brother state reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, with enhanced
Americans’ fear of the “other,” long dormant, has been revealed in a big way. SMU Ethics Professor Robin Lovin said, “Courage is a virtue that keeps fear in check – it does not eliminate it.” Fear of people of different ethnic backgrounds has spilled over into ethnic profiling, and the crusading rhetoric of small minds is easy to absorb when we aren’t sure of ourselves anyway. “It spares us the ambiguity,” he said. Wilson said that our leaders need to stay away from “all of nothing” answers, and Lovin agreed that in politics all solutions are temporary; they always have to be revisited. One thing can’t be revisited, though: a time before 9-11. Lovin said the American public is feeling something akin to PTSD: We can’t return to the old world, and we can’t tolerate the new world. The future of freedom, said Lovin, “depends on whether the public can tolerate a world where nothing is as black and white, or as red, white and blue, as we would like it to be.”
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When he spoke on what we have learned about terrorism, Dumas said that any violent campaign carried out against innocent victims can be labeled “terrorism” -it doesn’t exclude the activities of governments. Government terrorism is a violation of international law, even when the ideological objectives of the terror have the support of the general public.
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TAKE ACTION You changed the world. The more than one million petitions, letters and emails that you helped send on behalf of Troy Davis have put his case in the global spotlight. Together, our collective action spurred pleas for a stay from people like Pope Benedict XVI, President Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as demonstrations from Savannah to Atlanta to Dayton to Hong Kong. But perhaps most importantly, we broke through the silence about the horror the death penalty represents. Your work brought about conversations in millions of American households, helping to change hearts and minds about capital punishment. Now, we must achieve the mission Troy gave each of us. As Troy Davis -- a fellow NAACP activist -- said so many times, "This movement began before I was born ... it must continue and grow stronger ... until we abolish the death penalty once and for all." Please take a moment to sign the NAACP pledge to fight for the end of the death penalty in the United States.
September 21, 2011 was a searing moment for all of us. Every failsafe failed. Current Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm acknowledged that if it were up to him today, he would not try this as a death penalty case. Yet, when he could have acted to stop the execution, he refused to do so. The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, designed specifically to ensure that
executions never happen amidst so much doubt, allowed it to happen anyway. Justices on the Georgia State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court -- men and women who know that our justice system is degraded when we allow someone to be executed even when the former warden of the very prison the inmate is in says there is too much doubt to proceed -- cleared the way for the execution to be carried out anyway. These failures are the result of a system that gives the power of life and death, Godlike powers, to humans who are as prone to error and susceptible to bias as any of us. Human nature won't change, so the system must. This must never happen again. I promised Troy that no matter what happened we would keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished. That is the only way we can possibly guarantee our government will never make such a tragic and irrevocable mistake again. Until that day, we are all Troy Davis. And in the name of Troy Anthony Davis, we must all carry on the fight. In the past two years, the NAACP and our allies have abolished the death penalty in three states. When we succeed in abolishing it in ten more, we will be in a position to ask the Supreme Court to abolish it entirely. In the meantime, there are effective strategies we can use, in even the most conservative states, to diminish its use greatly.
In the months ahead, we will convene teach-ins around the country and implement an aggressive state-bystate agenda to end capital punishment for good. We will host a national summit in Georgia to launch this next wave of activism. But we cannot do any of this without your help. Please take the pledge today, and ask each of your friends to do the same. Help us all carry out Troy Davis' mission.
Your work has sparked a movement, Tunde. Let's keep it going until the job is done. Together, we can ensure that Troy's death was not in vain and this will never happen again. In solidarity. Ben Benjamin Todd Jealous President and CEO NAACP
Rasur Foundation International (RFI) just completed six dynamic days of immersion in peace. Since our focus is on teaching the BePeace practice, we began on Friday, Sept. 16th with an Implementation Course, where we assessed the mastery level of BePeace facilitators who are passionate about passing it on. Then these facilitators were contracted to offer a variety of options: BePeace Groups, Introductory Presentations, Workshops, BePeace Coaching and Foundation Courses. At this course, we were pleased to contract 15 new associates. On Sunday evening, we moved directly into the US BePeace Trainers Launch, which included 41 people from the US and 1 from Costa Rica. These participants were gathered to support the fulfilment of the RFI vision: To create a world where every person practices peace and passes this gift to the next generation. On Monday morning, we had the privilege of hearing from Vicki Johnston, director of the Robert Muller School, who spoke about her new book, Heart Wings. Carol Donovan, Excecutive Director of Peacemakers Inc., told about their support for the RFI “Sponsor a Teacher” program while Kelli Obazee, Executive Director of the Dallas Peace Center, shared her plans to incorporate BePeace into their programs. Laura Seipp from the North Texas Peace Learning Center, offered her expertise in bringing BePeace into the classroom and Erica Mahoney from UNT inspired us with her story of transformation at a BePeace Foundations Course.
Then, on September 21st, nineteen representatives of the BePeace and Nonviolent Communication community attended a luncheon celebration of the International Day of Peace, sponsored by Peacemakers Inc. We enjoyed manning our exhibit, meeting other peacemakers and hearing a lovely message from Patricia Smith Melton, founder of Peace x Peace. This gathering concluded six glorious days of deepening our peace practice while making new friends and deep connections. As a result of this immersion experience, we are moving ahead with greater clarity in how to achieve our dream. Rita Marie Johnson, the founder of RFI, started the BePeace program in Costa Rica in 2004 and has been teaching the BePeace Foundations Course in the US and other countries. Now our trainers are empowered to offer this course to schools, churches, businesses and other organizations across the country. This course is offered at the UN University for Peace for two graduate credits, has
been approved for college credit in the US and is a part of the National Peace Academy’s Certificate Program. The Rasur Foundation was named after the epic poem, Rasur or Week of Splendor, by Roberto Brenes Mesén, which has inspired all of our work. This prophetic poem tells the story of a master teacher, Rasur, who teaches the Costa Rican children how to be peacemakers. The children pass this knowledge on to their parents and soon their village is transformed into a culture of peace. It is our goal to replicate this story over and over again around the world. We will continue progressing toward this end by becoming “Rasurs” ourselves, capable of embodying peace as we teach peace. Our BePeace practice has given us that capacity; we know how to process issues by accessing our wisdom and our compassion in a way that moves us back to peace. With this clear “how to”, we are able to teach the children how to practice peace in a way that can be passed to the next generation. Our motto is: Before directing the lightning in the sky, we must first harness the storms in our own hearts. We invite you to join us in learning how to feel peace and speak peacefully so we can quiet those storms and create a world at peace. Please contact us at www.rasurinternational.org
DALLASPEACETIMES October 2011
by Rita Marie Johnson
At our donor dinner that evening, Rev. David Howard and J Johnson, a Nonviolent Communication trainer, provided music that fully opened our hearts. Barbara Jones, founder of Women and Children First, spoke about what our vision means to her. Rev. Albert Wingate, Executive Director of the Carson Foundation, which is sponsoring a BePeace School Pilot Project, motivated everyone by explaining why they have chosen to support BePeace in schools. The following day we ended our event with each person designing their one year plan for further “launching” their BePeace work in the world.