Tag Archives: war

Youtubesday: Camilo, Louis CK, and Dancing Honey Bees

Some how ended up with this sweet song in our itunes, the lyrics sounded good so I looked up more info, here’s a great music video of the song, Camilo, by State Radio, about Camilo Ernesto Mejía

A funny comedian, Louis CK, on Conan discussing modern conveniences

And if stand-up isn’t your thing, you’ll definitely enjoy this BEE-Boy Video, seriously, watch this now.

(the website is actually about the disappearing Honey bee population, it’s sponsored by an ice cream company, but it’s at least a worthy topic)

Book Review: Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn

https://tryingtofollow.com/wp-content/linkedimages/upload//images/14990000/14994502.JPGI just read through Terrorism and War by Howard Zinn, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to hear a brilliant mind on the current issues of war and terror. The whole book is just over one hundred pages and it’s in an interview format, as it basically is a compilation of a series of interviews Zinn gave around 2002, just after 9/11 and the Afghanistan war and just before the Iraq war. Zinn is a truly brilliant mind and I feel makes a decent case that war is simply not a useful tool anymore, period.

Some Quotes…

“I think there is a simple test of what concerns bin Laden, whether it is our democracy and internal freedom or whether it’s our foreign policy. And that simple test is: What side was Osama bin Laden on before 1990? That is, before the United States stationed troops in Saudi Arabia, made war against Iraq, and began its sanctions against Iraq. We were just as democratic and libertarian internally before 1990 as we are today. But Osama bin Laden was not offended by that. He was on our side — and we were on his side — in the fight to take control of the government in Afghanistan. The turning point for Osama bin Laden is very clear. It has nothing to do with democracy and liberty. It has to do with U.S. foreign policy. And that turning point came in 1990 and 1991.” p. 13

Speaking of alternatives to war…

The question always comes up about World War II: “What would you have done?” The answer is not an easy one, but it has to start off by saying, “I would not accept a solution that involves mass killing. I would try to find some other way.” The other way is not passivity; the other way is not acceptance; the other way is resistance without war. The other way is underground movements, strikes, general strikes, noncompliance. Even Hitler, in World War II, was at times successfully resisted in Denmark, in Norway, in Germany itself, by wives protesting the deportation of their Jewish husbands. Those methods of resistance don’t ensure a peaceful resolution, because the repressive forces are always strong. But they are means that are more proportional to the end, especially since they are means that are engaged in not by governments but by people, which is a very important consideration. With popular resistance, you have a greater assurance that your end will be attained than if governments are in charge. p. 23-24

On why he doesn’t call himself a pacifist…

I have never used the word “pacifist” to describe myself, because it suggests something absolute, and I am suspicious of absolutes. I want to leave openings for unpredictable possibilities. There might be situations (and even such strong pacifists as Gandhi and Martin Luther King believed this) when a small, focused act of violence against a monstrous, immediate evil would be justified. p. 25

A tidbit that was noted in the book:

According to an article in the Boston Review, “up to 35 million people-90 percent civilians-have been killed in 170 wars since the end of World War II. (Boston Review 24, no. 1, Gabriel Kolko, Century of War: Politics, Conflict, and Society Since 1914)

And I’ll finish with a final quote from the book, of Dwight Eisenhower, our 34th President:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The Failing Experiment: A brief thought on July 4th

About four years ago I was reading the paper in a small town in Minnesota. I read an article by Congressman Mark Kennedy entitled: “The Great Experiment” which discussed the sacrifices many soldiers had made to make this country what it is today. I felt the need to reply in this letter to the editor that you see below. I’ve left it unedited, but I’ll include further thoughts at the end. Surprisingly, the local paper published my letter the following week:

The Failing Experiment
I want to first of all thank Congressman Mark Kennedy for his article concerning this country’s “Independence Day.” There is certainly room for celebration and many of the historical facts he pointed out are worth noting and esteeming. Unfortunately I fear Congressman Kennedy missed out on the whole picture of the American Experiment and I feel the need to complete, or at least add to his summary.
It is true our Experiment has succeeded because of sacrifice, but whose sacrifice? Let us not forget the genocide of the Native Americans – from whom we took and still keep this land. They sacrificed many lives to our “Manifest Destiny.” Even today the effects of this sacrifice are felt and if you dare look, they are still seen. Our brothers and sisters of the human race live on small, infertile plots of land that we’ve forced them to, and the effects of injustice for hundreds of years can be seen clearly today. The Native Americans sacrificed.
Let us remember that the fourth of July is Independence for only part of the citizens of this country. It wasn’t until December 1865 that the denial of freedom (slavery) was abolished by law in this country. And we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that this is a reality today. It takes only a brief look at the statistics to see that even since the Civil Rights movement of the sixties, we are still discriminating against people because of their skin (look up red-lining, the education system, and the demographic layout of most cities). It was on the backs of our brothers and sisters of the human race from Africa that this country began to thrive. It was their sacrifice for which they currently still have never reaped full benefits.
They sacrificed as soldiers too, Africans, Mexicans, Japanese, Native Americans – only to return to a “free” nation where they were discriminated against and treated as less than human. Remember the sacrifice of the American citizens of Japanese decent forced into Internment camps in the Desert. Remember the replacement of slaves with sharecropping and cheap labor from Mexico which we discriminate against yet desperately “need” in order to keep our way of living “affordable” for us.
There are many more groups that have been sacrificed to this American Experiment, but only one more I will note in this summary. They are half the population and for years have fed, clothed, cleaned, and cared for generations of American men. Women, they celebrate their independence on August 26, 1920 when the law at least extended to them the vote. They, like these many other groups, are still fighting for the freedom we will celebrate July 4th.
Celebrate your freedom on Sunday, but open your eyes to reality. Freedom even in America is only for the privileged, unless we choose to make it for everybody. Freedom will never come at the barrel of a gun. It will take sacrifice, sacrifice from you and me, not our lives, but our love. Will you sacrifice with love for that freedom you so enjoy to be extended to all people?

There is probably much more to say on this Independence day about the current state of affairs in our country, but I’ll leave that mostly to your own reflection. Let me only remind you that we celebrate this day while Guantanamo remains operational, are nations attempt to spread “freedom” is showing tragic and horrific results, and racism, sexism and much discrimination still lies unaddressed in our society.

Celebrate the 4th, but please do so with these words in mind.

photo credit

Dorothy Day on War

War is deviltry. It calls for sacrifices indeed, but not at the altar of love. “Greater love hath no man than this.” A great blasphemy this, to use Christ’s words in connection with men going to war. They go because they are drafted, because they are afraid of what their neighbors will say, because the pay is good, because the benefits accruing afterward (the G.I. Bill of Rights) are great. And they are told by the press and the pulpit that they are going because they love their fellows, and they are filled with a warm glow of self-love. And then they are given their intensive training in how to escape death, how to kill. Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his brothers, and the Russians are our brothers, the Negro is our brother, the Japanese are our brothers, the Germans, the Mexicans, the Filipinos, the Jews, the Arabs.
. . .
So let’s not have any more talk about God and country. The battle is for this world, for the possessions of this world.

Dorothy Day, “Letter to the Editor,” Commonweal, May 21, 1948. [via]

Flashback: What Would You Do if?

It’s the age old question of pacifist, last January I gave my spin on it:

It’s the typical question that get’s asked of anyone who declares themselves a “pacifist.”

What would you do if someone was attacking your family (loved ones)?

It’s the magic card up someones sleeve to stump that said pacifist into agreeing that sometimes violence, and war, is okay and necessary. I’ll be honest this was a difficult question to handle when I first started thinking about pacifism. What made it difficult was the passage we talked about previously, “Love your enemies…” What suddenly happened was that now both the attacker and the victim are my loved ones. It’s like having to change the question to:

What would you do if your wife was attacking your father?
(or pick the two people closest to you)

Now I’m not so sure killing the attacker would be my pat answer. If I love that person I certainly wouldn’t want their death. I love the victim though as well and I don’t want them to die, so the situation is now far more complex then the original question presented.

For me, this question simply confirms to me that thinking as a pacifist, or rather, thinking about what to do with ‘killing’ not being one of the options.

So, What would you do if…

See the discussion that ensued here.

Flashback: Ask Mindy, Abercrombie, Enemies and Radiant

For this week’s Flashback I thought I’d compile small collection of posts from January of ’06 that created some interesting conversation. Here they are.

A short lived, but extremely popular podcasting series called Ask Mindy:

That’s right folks, after much begging, appealing and convincing, Mindy has reluctantly agreed to give us a few minutes of her time each week.

ASK MINDY will feature a three minute podcast with Mindy where she will answer a question presented by her husband Ariah, or maybe even emailed in by a listener. She’ll share her brilliance with the rest of the world in bit size chunks for all to enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for? Check it out today. My Odeo Podcast

Then I posted about yet another reason I don’t shop at the ever sexist and racist Abercrombie:

This quote from a recent interview of the CEO, Mike Jeffries, says pretty much everything:

Listen, do we go too far sometimes? Absolutely. But we push the envelope, and we try to be funny, and we try to stay authentic and relevant to our target customer. I really don’t care what anyone other than our target customer thinks.

This is his response to the many protest that Abercrombie has faced for it’s sexist and racist t-shirts.

We had an interesting discussion about Loving our Enemies:

It’s time to resurrect the “Thoughts on War” topic and address the passage that began my turn to pacifism.
I’d read it before, but not until the days after 9/11 did it hit me with such a radical challenge.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.*

I was so challenged, and so struggled with what those words meant in our world and for us. I ran into the dilemma that no matter how I looked at it I couldn’t come to a conclusion that killing my enemy could be loving.

And we touched on the Radiant Magazine Advertisement controversy, with some nice comments from Radiant’s editorial staff:

From what I can see they decided to remove the ad with “It’s Our Turn Now” across the top. I’d like to think it has something to do with the discussion that was started here regarding the sexist implications of that statement.

Flash Back: Do Not Resist… Further Discussion

A while back I entered into a great discussion on the topic of war and pacifism. It sort of fizzled out, but the dialog is still there to continue. I think Brain has since left the readership of this blog, but maybe a comment or two will stir him back. Below is a quote from the blog post I wrote, but please stop by the old one to read the further discussion on the topic of Do Not Resist…

38″You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. -Matthew 5:38-42

The idea of not resisting an evil person has got to be the most counter cultural concept I had heard in a long time. We’d certainly heard the “turn the other cheek” passage, but usually it’d been flaunted as a weak and cowardly thing to do to avoid further punishment. Growing up I can only think of one example of this being carried out in real life: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. I later learned about Gandhi, Mandela, and others, but initially I had heard of nothing but the occasional reference to the Civil Rights movement. It’s no wonder I and many others didn’t take this passage seriously at all.

Read further comments on the topic of Do Not Resist…

This is Really Our Country’s President?

I know this is an old video but I find it disturbing nonetheless.

Bush’s fear-mongering tactics are troublesome. It’s even more troublesome that he actually believes in what he’s doing, regardless of what countless polls and voices are telling him.

There is a lot to be said for this video: from the standing up interview full of intimidating fingerprinting to the avoiding of accusations of water boarding (torture). I just watched Road to Guantanamo the other night and seeing this sure lends evidence to how we got ourselves in this human rights violating state.

Any thoughts?