Project Peace Newsletter – May 2015

Download our May Newsletter at this link:

 May 2015 Newsletter

Peace Club visits mayor

Here is one of several stories featured in this month’s issue:

The Tiffin Middle School Peace Club met with Mayor Aaron Montz and after sharing what they’ve been doing in TMS, they explored with the mayor what they might do to also urge greater peaceful relationships right here in Tiffin. The mayor urged the students to march in the parades, to make their dreams and hopes present in signs, in messaging through the media, demonstrations, etc. What good ques-tions and comments the students expressed through this meeting. How proud both Mrs. Lofquist and I were of the students. May their efforts grow and flourish in school, neighborhoods and town.
Bravo for these bright, creative, peace-loving children.

Read more at this link:  May 2015 Newsletter

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Mother Earth is Weeping for her Children: The US Military Must Stop Environmental Ecocide

earth dayMother Earth is Weeping for her Children: The US Military Must Stop Environmental Ecocide

Joy First        April 27, 2015

As I traveled to DC to risk arrest in an action organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) I was feeling both nervous, but also knowing this is what I needed to be doing.  This would be my first arrest since I was arrested at the CIA in June 2013, and served a one-year probation sentence after an October 2013 trial.  Taking almost two years off from risking arrest helped me to really examine what I was doing and why, and I was committed to continuing to live a life in resistance to the crimes of our government.

I have been a part of NCNR for 12 years – since the run-up to the war in Iraq in 2003.  As the number of people involved in the anti-war movement declines, I know that we must keep up the resistance.  Though we don’t have big numbers now, it is more important than ever that we speak the truth about what is happening in the wars in Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, in the drone warfare program, and in looking at ways in which the climate crisis is exacerbated by the military.

There are so many ways in which the military is destroying our planet through the use of fossil fuels, nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, spraying poisonous chemicals on fields in the “War on Drugs” in South America, and through the several hundred military bases around the world.  Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War is still affecting the environment.  According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”

“Selling Peace”

April 22 Midweek News
Greetings!,
Welcome to our Unity of Columbus Newsletter.
“Selling Peace”
Over the past 100 years, our nation has been in six major wars: WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and Iraq
None of these wars were popular with Congress at the time.  There was not an overwhelming majority of citizens in favor of them either.
However, by the time we entered each war, there was a groundswell of support.  Patriotism became the cultural devotion of the people.
What changed?
Leading up to the Iraq War, Americans were feeling fear and hurt from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Yet, somewhere between 40 and 50% of us did not want to go to war.  There were different reasons but the result was the same – they did not want war.
If you watched the news media of the time, virtually all the stories were about the justification for war.  The only voices being heard in the media were those advocating war.
That is what is called “selling the war.”
It happened in all six wars.  The main stream media became the mouthpiece for our elected leaders to sell the war.
Selling war is easy.  You identify an enemy, create a moral high ground (we are good, they are evil), establish the danger, feed the fear and enroll people to follow the call for God and country.
In the time leading up to our six wars, there was very little media attention to the side for peace (virtually none for the Iraq War).  The 50% for the war received all the attention, the 50% against almost none.  The result was that by the time the war started, it had an approval rating of about 75%.  That is how you sell war.
But what about the voices who were opposed to war; what about the voices for peace?  How do you sell peace?
Nonviolence is always the more difficult path but the only path that leads to lasting peace. In Unity we know that what we give our attention to, grows.  If we focus on war, we create war.  If we focus on peace, we create peace.
In a nation so deeply grounded in religious beliefs, it seems improbable that war is easier to sell than peace.  The problem is that our religious leaders have changed their loyalties from God to country.  Instead of uniting with followers of Jesus worldwide, they unite with politicians in our country.  They place patriotism over religion or rather, patriotism becomes a foundational piece of their religion.
What can Unity do?   We can continue our path of spiritual education.  We can remind our Christian brothers and sisters what Jesus taught, “Love your enemies.”  If we are to sell peace, we must start by changing the first step in selling war.  Instead of identifying enemies, we are called to love them.
Join us any Sunday as we practice following the nonviolent, loving way of Jesus even in church!
 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying,
“If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
Luke 19: 41, 42
Rev Ted

Paul Chappell Comes back to Tiffin for Nonviolence Worshop

On November 7,8, 2015 Paul Chappell, author, educator across the United States,  West Point graduate and Iraq veteran will present a nonviolence workshop last two days at St. Francis Spirituality Center, Tiffin, OH.  This will be his second visit to Tiffin.

Paul will not only teach the principles and skills of nonviolence but will stir our imaginations and will hope to empower each of us to take the next step in helping turn our culture around into a more nonviolent culture.

Be sure to mark your calendars now and know that more information will be coming.  For immediate info call sr. Paulette Schroeder 419.447.0435 ext. 136

A Christian Peacemaker Team member speaks from Hebron

Knight Errant 127

To: alwynknight@btinternet.com
Show this message…
alwynknight@aol.com
From:  Alwyn Knight (alwynknight@aol.com)
Sent: Sat 4/11/15 1:10 AM
To: alwynknight@btinternet.com
Knight Errant 127

Saturday 11th April 2015

'Good fences make good neighbours'.

Do they really?

Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall certainly didn't think so. The poem describes the annual inspection of the wall which divides his property from his neighbour's. They walk the wall together, each on their own side, mending as they go. The neighbour insists that it is all in the interest of good neighbourliness. The poet isn't so sure. He asks, 'Why do they make good neighbours?' and adds, 'Isn't it where there are cows?  But there are no cows here'.

There are no cows here, either, but we are not short of a fence or two. They come in all shapes and sizes - from concrete slabs, stacks of concrete-filled oil drums, razor wire and wire fences. None are  very beautiful; all are reminders that this is a deeply divided city. And they come and go. One low concrete barrier, near the Mosque, and at one of the few places where Palestinians and Israeli settlers 'share' the same stretch of road - and which was clearly intended to separate the two communities - was first of all extended, and then, practically overnight, was removed completely. And as far as I know, the world has not come to an end as a result.

But waste not, want not. The concrete sections have been recycled and placed alongside the so-called Worshippers' Way (sometimes called Prayer Road) along which Israeli settlers from the nearby Kiryat Arba settlement make their way to synagogue on shabbat. But they have grown, and the 82 cm (precisely!) high concrete barrier is now surmounted with panels of steel mesh fencing. The idea is that Israelis use the metaled road, while Palestinians use a narrow, rock and rubbish-strewn, 'path' behind the fence. I have used the 'path' several times this week, not out of choice, but because one of our tasks is to escort five young Palestinians - they are about five years old - from their homes to their kindergarten just a few hundred yards away. They - and we - are not allowed to use the proper road. Our place is behind the fence, picking our way through the debris, slipping and sliding on the loose surface.

But the Israeli Defense Force has not reckoned with five-year old Palestinians. Led by the two girls they have twice this week made up their own minds which side of the fence they will take - and it wasn't the one they were supposed to take. There may be a day of reckoning, but the sight of children running free, smiling with delight, lifted the heart for a few minutes.

It's not too much to ask, is it? - that small children shouldn't be subjected to what can only be called a form of apartheid, and be taught to 'know their place'.

Yesterday we stood for three-quarters of an hour at a checkpoint on the route many men and some women use on their way to the mosque for Friday prayers. While we watched 61 men - all young - were detained while their IDs were checked by the so-called Border Police against a central computer. Each check took ten minutes or so - sometimes it takes much longer - but these were young men on their way to worship. So much for the right to freedom of worship, enshrined in international humanitarian law. Another wall - of resentment - erected.

A last word from Robert Frost:

	Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
	What I was walling in or walling out,
	And to whom I was like to cause offense...

Indeed.

In peace,

Alwyn

Add your name to encourage nuclear disarmament

 

Add your name to petition “Catholic morality and nuclear abolition”

In December, during the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, the Holy See contributed a ground-breaking paper entitled Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition, which presents a compelling argument to move beyond limits set by political realism: “Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession, thereby clearing the road to nuclear abolition.”

2015 presents an important opportunity to advance the nuclear disarmament agenda. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons in war – in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Also in 2015, from April 27-May 22, the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held in New York to assess whether treaty obligations are being met. There is significant movement toward launching negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

With this in mind, the Washington Working Group of Pax Christi International invites you to sign a petition entitled Catholic morality and nuclear abolition.

The statement will be delivered to Catholics in Congress and the administration with a copy of the Holy See’s Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition. It also will be made public in advance of the NPT Review Session in April-May.

Deadline to sign is Saturday, April 18. Use this link to sign.

Please share with your friends and community members!

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Letter written to Secretary Carter by members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

February 25, 2015

Ashton Carter
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Pentagon, 1400 Defense
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Secretary Carter:

We are writing as representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We are a group of citizens dedicated to working for an end to the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the illegal bombing, since July of 2008, of Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen. It is our opinion that the use of drones is a violation of international law.

The use of drones causes incredible human suffering, growing distrust of the United States around the world, and is diverting our resources which could be better used to ease human suffering. We follow the principles of Gandhi, King, Day and others, working nonviolently for a peaceful world.

As people of conscience, we are very concerned about the devastation that the U.S. military is causing to the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.” The article states “. . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.” Visit http://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon.

The amount of oil used by your military machine is beyond belief, and each military vehicle also releases pollutants through the exhaust. Tanks, trucks, Humvees and other vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Other fuel guzzlers are submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Each military flight, whether involved in the transport of soldiers or in a combat mission, contributes more carbon into the atmosphere.

The U.S. military’s environmental record is dismal. Any war can bring about ecocide in the area of fighting. One example was the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The New York Times reported in September 2014 that the Obama administration plans to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades to upgrade the nuclear weapons arsenal. Wasting such an enormous amount of tax dollars on such weapons makes no sense. And the environmental damage caused by the nuclear weapons industrial complex is incalculable.

After fifty years, Vietnam is still dealing with the impact caused by the use of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange. To this day Agent Orange is causing devastating effects on the innocent people of Vietnam, as well as US veterans who were exposed to it during the Vietnam War.  See http://www.nbcnews.com/id/37263424/ns/health-health_care/t/agent-oranges-catastrophic-legacy-still-lingers/.

For many years, in our “War on Drugs,” the US government has attempted to combat the illegal drug trade in Colombia by spraying coca fields with dangerous chemicals such as glyphosate, marketed in the US by Monsanto as RoundUp.  Contrary to official government statements claiming this chemical is safe, studies have shown that glyphosate is destroying the health, water, livestock, and farmland of the people of Colombia with devastating consequences. Go to http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=669http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/31/colombias-agent-orange/ and http://www.commondreams.org/views/2008/03/07/plan-colombia-mixing-monsantos-roundup-bushs-sulfur.

More recently, Mother Earth is suffering because the Pentagon continues to use depleted uranium ammunition. It seems the Pentagon first used DU weaponry during Persian Gulf War 1 and in other wars, including during the aerial attack of Libya.

Because the United States has hundreds of military bases here and abroad, the Pentagon is exacerbating a growing environmental crisis on a global scale. For example, the construction of a US Naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea threatens the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. According to an article in The Nation “On the island of Jeju, the consequences of the Pacific Pivot are cataclysmic. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, adjacent to the proposed military port, would be traversed by aircraft carriers and contaminated by other military ships. Base activity would wipe out one of the most spectacular remaining soft-coral forests in the world. It would kill Korea’s last pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and contaminate some of the purest, most abundant spring water on the planet. It would also destroy the habitats of thousands of species of plants and animals—many of which, such as the narrow-mouthed frog and the red-footed crab, are gravely endangered already. Indigenous, sustainable livelihoods—including oyster diving and local farming methods that have thrived for thousands of years—would cease to exist, and many fear that traditional village life would be sacrificed to bars, restaurants and brothels for military personnel.” http://www.thenation.com/article/171767/front-lines-new-pacific-war

Though these examples provide sufficient evidence to show the ways in which the Department of War is destroying the planet, we have grave concerns about the U.S. military for other reasons as well.  The recent revelations of rampant U.S. torture leaves a terrible stain on the U.S. fabric.  Continuing the Pentagon’s policy of unlimited warfare is also detrimental to the USA’s world-wide image. A recent leaked CIA report confirmed that killer drone strikes have only been successful in creating more terrorists.

We would like to meet with you or your representative to discuss the Pentagon’s role in the destruction of the environment.  We will urge you, as first measures, to bring all troops home from these awful wars and occupations, to end all drone warfare, and to close down the nuclear weapons complex. At this meeting, we would appreciate if you could provide a detailed breakdown of the military’s greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide.

As citizen activists and members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, we adhere to the Nuremberg protocols. These principles, established during the trials of Nazi war criminals, call on people of conscience to challenge their government when it is engaged in criminal activity. As part of our Nuremberg responsibility, we are reminding you that you swore to uphold the Constitution. In a dialogue, we will present data to demonstrate how the Pentagon abuses the Constitution and the ecosystem.

Please get back to us, so that a meeting can be scheduled as soon as possible. The current situation is urgent. Cities and states are starving, while tax dollars are wasted on wars and occupations. Innocents are dying because of U.S. military policies. And the environmental damage caused by the Pentagon must be halted.

Most observers have noticed that weather patterns are severely changing. In turn the weather has greatly affected the farmers of the world, resulting in food shortages in many countries. Droughts are occurring in Australia, Brazil and California.  The Northeast is victimized by major storms as we write.  So let us meet and discuss how we can work together in order to save Mother Earth.

We look forward to your response to our request for a meeting, as we believe citizen activists have the right and obligation to be involved in matters of such great importance. Your response will be shared with others concerned with the issues raised above. Thank you for considering our request.

In peace,

Max Obuszewski

Malachy Kilbride

Joy First

Members of National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance