July 2009

War, what is it good for? Profit and Power

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."-Albert Einstein

It is the worst disease to afflict human beings, violence is. There is nothing more obscene than an act of violence, and nothing more cowardly than a government that sends it's young men and women to fight their dirty wars. So long as people continue to be complacent and accepting of the propaganda machine that is our government, our brothers and sisters will continue to die, needlessly by the thousands. We are quite unevolved despite our computers and air conditioners.

 

War Victims are Mostly Innocent Civilians

If there is one statistic to remember today, it’s this: 90% of the people dying in wars today are civilians.

Whether you’re a peace promoter or war supporter, don’t you think that this single, startling fact should make people think twice before declaring war in the name of anything? Is oil, money, property, food, anything worth spilling the blood of so many women and children in any country?

It’s so easy to ignore this fact when it’s not taking place on our own home soil, but just to put it in perspective, imagine that instead of Afghanistan or Iraq, there was a war being fought here in America—and that for every 10 soldiers dying, another 90 women and children die.

Stop the Expansion of the Death Penalty

Many of us celebrated the passing of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act on Friday, a piece of legislation that will allow prosecution of bias-motivated criminals by the Department of Justice. Crimes against people’s gender, disability, and sexual orientation are all included in this definition, expanding upon the current definition of hate crimes, which includes race, religion, color and national origin.

This Act will also allow local authorities to use expanded resources to prevent the crimes in the first place, and federal government to prosecute such crimes in areas where authorities cannot—or will not—prosecute the crimes themselves.

But some of us felt that the other shoe had yet to drop. Indeed, yesterday the Senate gave into our fears by passing an amendment to the Act that allows the death penalty to be used in some cases during the enforcement of the Act.

30 Things You Can Do to Create a More Peaceful World

Volunteer at a homeless shelter, nursing center, or food kitchen or hospital.

Share your voice and sing a beautiful song.

Offer comfort to a friend in need.

Write anonymous notes to people, thanking them or telling them how wonderful they are—a colleague, a waitress, a friend.

Accept everyone you meet for who they are—no matter what color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion.

Adopt a child, or become a foster parent.

Listen to your language for an entire day; think about what you would change, if anything, in how you speak and how you address people.

Treat everyone the way you wish to be treated.

Expand the music in your home to include world tunes and rhythms from different cultures.

Volunteer for a suicide, rape crisis, or abuse hotline.

Teaching Peace: It’s Easier Than You Might Think

With so much world violence happening at every moment, and kids being exposed to bullying (both on and offline these days) at such early ages, it’s more important than ever to start teaching nonviolence and the importance of peace at an early age.

“Peace?” you might think, “Isn’t that a bit of a large concept for my toddler?” Not really. Consider all of the times you tell little Carson to not hit or to play nice, or remind young Sasha to share her toys or even to use her “inside voice.” Even preschool teachers who have “Keep your arms, feet and other objects to yourself” or some variation of that rule enforced in their classroom are teaching peace.

Whether you’re a babysitter, teacher aid, parent, or you simply have little ones in your life as neighbors or relatives, you can foster peace, too.

Twitter Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Move over, Al Gore.

Say all you want about the daily distraction, frivolity and possible world domination of Twitter, people, but the truth is that without it, we wouldn’t have had any news of the violent civil conflict within Iran. And according to former U.S. deputy national security advisor Mark Pfeifle, the social networking site should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for allowing this to happen.

Pfeifle says that he knows when he first said this on national television, people laughed—which, he concedes, is understandable. However, he insists we take a deeper look at Twitter. “It has empowered people to attempt to resolve a domestic showdown with international implications—and has enabled the world to stand with them. It laid the foundation to pressure the world to denounce oppression in Iran.”