Mideast peace–there is nothing people around South Bend can do–or is there?

To our good friends–

Spoke with one of the organizers of the peace demonstration yesterday. He too is speaking in generalities, and in terms of the history of oppression by the Israelis/Zionists, but he seems to think there might be some value in conversation. He will call me in a few days after he rounds up some people.

There is a long memory among these people; they harbor the grudges of centuries. He said the Muslims and Jews and Christians lived together in peace in the middle east. So perhaps there is a hope even they can feel.

In any case, it seems to me that we need to get people talking about the hear and now and about the possible futures, rather than the past. How can we live together? What are the options? All together; strong separation and borders; permeable edges—these things come to mind. There will probably be others: people are creative, yes?

So it occurs to me that we need to talk about what is going on now, and more importantly, what would be a vision of the future we could agree upon? How specific can we get, how novel and more possible can we get?

Then the question is, what effect can we have from this remove? For one thing, we can bring a longer wider view to it. For another, the answer to these things comes first on little cat feet: an idea whose time is now. That can come from anywhere and be transmitted in an instant. If it catches the spirit of the people, it can be done from here.

The more people we bring into the mix, the better the chances that we come up with something fresh, not heard before, simply because we bring in people who have not been heard before.

Yes, there is a history. There is a memory. But those things are past. There are different people in the mix today. There is more violence, yet that breeds peace. People see the horrors of it, and want it to stop. So we can make good come of it, we can work from these desires, these needs of the people. They are, after all, people. Not machines. Not things. Not other than the rest of us. The more different they seem the more like us they are. Is this true? Can we devise a way to disprove it for all time and all situations? Can we devise a way to prove it for this time?

The fact that we have not had peace in the (recent) past does not prove it is impossible today. It comes from a state of mind. If our state of mind is it is impossible, then we give up without trying.

The reason we have war is that it is harder to make peace than war. War is the easy way out.

Sure, there are criminals scattered evenly throughout the world’s populations. They need to be reined in. We had a few dozen “terrorists” commit the 9-11 attacks, so we all have to stand in long lines before the metal detectors, we have to endure random searches. It is over-reaction. So is saying all ____ are killers and bombers. It is truer that 99% of all _____ want peace and to get along if not work beside people they now consider “enemies.” Or rather their “leaders” consider enemies. The “leaders” are perhaps more to blame than the ones they vilify. Vivify not vilify.

Mere wishful thinking about peace shalom salaam will not get us anywhere. Mainly because this fullness has no meat on the bones—has not even bones. We need to get specific, concrete. We need to develop action steps and put our feet into motion. And our hands and backs and especially our hearts and minds.

It is work. But it is also worthwhile.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on August 3rd, 2006 | No Comments »

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