Peace is more necessary

To my good friends–

The poems that follow stemmed from my conversations yesterday.

I spoke at noon time with a man who was a counter-protester to the peace pickets on Sunday. He was sure, “guaranteed” me, that hatred and war were preached every Friday from every mosque in the world. He was set on the idea that the people on the Muslim side of things wanted only war and killing of all the infidels.

In the evening I spoke with one of the peace people. He was a little more open, but thought there was little he could do as an individual. He said he had written and spoken to the Congressman and to the Senators and the President, but that anything that was questioning Israel or was not Republican was seen as a threat and as unpatriotic. He told me that the first man (whom I had not named, but he did) had accused an 11 year old girl of carrying a bomb!

I thought later that my approach could be improved. I asked to find out more about the situation, which of course is a broad question, but it also directs it to a cerebral place rather than the concrete. It might work better to ask specifics: How does this affect you? Why are you personally involved? What have you seen or heard or been involved in that led you to carry a sign? Personal, specific, microcosm. This is where peace comes from. Not from leaders talking concepts and ephemeral ideas. We need to get talking. We need to get heard.

So the poems are about the work that peace is. The second man said it was difficult to get people to listen. Getting our living comes from the sweat of our brow, and yet we do that every day. The poems are about each person needing to own peace. Both men talked as if they had no hope of having an effect upon the process.

The poems are about the personal nature of meeting life, the particulars in which we find macrocosm. The need is to hear the individual story, to find out what is real and on the ground, and in the feet and hands of real people. What is not being heard? What do you need to say?

It is frightening, death-meeting labor to go to war. It requires a vilifying of the “enemy.” It is even more frightening but life-meeting to go to peace. It requires that we allow the “other” to be like us, to give them the opportunity to change us, to take the chance of giving up our centuries-old grudges.

If it is true as some hold that war is at times necessary, it is also true that peace is more necessary.

Is war necessary? War is nation against nation. Nation, in the modern era, is mere fiction. People can and do become citizens of different nations, and the nations are even more fickle, naming this one an enemy this year and friend the next. War is a choice which we as people have most often abdicated to our “leaders.” As if they knew some larger truth. Fact is, they are out most often to obtain power or money or sex or something else. Peace is our job. Every day. As is every form of wholeness.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on August 2nd, 2006 | No Comments »

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