Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PeaceJam post-mortem

In her account of the Gathering of the Nobelians at DU this past weekend, Post columnist Cindy Rodriguez sounds remarkably like high school PeaceJammer Rose Green:
I walked out of Magness Arena on Saturday afternoon with these phrases ringing in my ear [she has only one ear]:

"Don't abdicate authority. Seize your power."

"The government works for you. Make them do the right thing."

"What are you doing to bring about change?"

Those words, spoken by Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams, left me wondering: Am I doing enough?
As it turns out, Rodriguez is, but you're not. In fact, you suck at peace. Helpfully, Cindy offers some suggestions to increase your pacificatory powers:
There are endless ways people can help bring about peace: starting a book club that focuses on works of peacemakers, mentoring disadvantaged youth, raising money to build schools in developing countries, joining an environmental justice organization. And if you don't have time but have money, donate some to an organization like PeaceJam.
Then she tells us what kind of people pacifists really are:

For those who define pacifists as left-leaning college students and aging hippies who are not patriotic because they protest war, shake that thought out of your head. You've been manipulated by those who profit from war to associate pacifism with "fringe elements." In reality, pacifists are typically ordinary people who believe in the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. . . . .

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.? I have heard of these people! Please tell me more about peace!

Peace is about justice triumphing over injustice. Creating peace requires more than simply acknowledging that it is morally wrong to allow a person to suffer from hunger, disease or political persecution. It is about taking steps to end that suffering.

It's about parity and nurturing our old, mentoring our young, aiding our least fortunate and reaching out to those marginalized by society . . . .
You've told me enough about peace! Aside from starting a book club, what can I do to encourage peace?
[M]ake noise [I can do that!--ed.]. Educate people around you about the consequences of war. The U.S. has spent $300 billion so far on Operation Iraqi Freedom. With Iraqi Shiite police decapitating Sunnis, and Sunnis retaliating with suicide bombs, you have to wonder: Where is this freedom 3 1/2 years after the invasion?

Flawless logic. And as usual it's the moral duty of people like Cindy to pound the truth into us. As (high-school senior) Rose Green said, "for those of us who do know [how war-like war is], it is our reponsibility to continue the education until every last person cannot sleep at night until they do something."

Oh, boy.

The News' Jim Sheeler actually got to hang with a couple of laureates. His account, while slightly less moist than Rodriguez's, is equally worshipful:

The two old men sat across the table, grumbling about their health, teasing each other, and discussing the inevitable hurdles of trying to save the world.

"How are you? Are you well?" asked the 74-year-old.

"Not really sure," said the 71-year-old.

"I was worried about you. I heard you had a lung problem."

"I had a cough. Quite serious. Now better," said the 71-year-old, his face framed by thick glasses, his balding gray head closely shorn. "And you?" . . . .

The pair say they are not any different from any other two old men sitting at any coffee shop anywhere. One of them calls himself "an ordinary man," the other, "a simple monk." . . .

Can you guess who the two old men are? Yes! It's Tutu and the Dalai Lama, and they're fightin' crime and lovin' the ladies! (Premieres Wednesday, September 20 on NBC!)

Sheeler's piece is fairly long, so you don't have to read the whole thing if you don't want to. PBUM (Peace be upon me).

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