American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
From our Readers
Selections from a few of the letters our readers have sent to their local papers, to their legislators, and to us:
Tim Bruening, Abolition 2000
On November 26, President Bush widened his definition of terrorism to include the development of weapons of mass destruction that will "terrorize nations." For over 56 years, it's been America's policy to threaten to use nuclear weapons (and they have not been ruled out in the current Afghanistan crisis), and the US still has thousands of nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert. By Bush's definition, this makes us, along with Russia, China, Britain, and France, a terrorist nation! Please contact President Bush to urge him to end the nuclear terror.
This country is founded on a government of laws and not of men. And just as no person is above the law, neither should any person be the law. Thus the suggestion of military tribunals looks like a very dangerous proposal that anyone wanting to protect freedom should oppose.
Donald & Marion Lathrop, Canaan, NYWe have been privileged to travel to Babi Yar in Kiev where the Nazis murdered thousands, to Auschwitz, to the unforgettable Mamayev Hill monument in Volgograd, and many times to the peace parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All these sites, and many more, have one thing in common: they seek to exhibit the horror of war in the hope that war may finally be put aside by the human species.
The memorial at Pearl Harbor, on the other hand, gave us the message that America must never again be caught off guard and have such a horrific disaster occur again. On September 11, we were, and it did.
We hope that the ruins of the Trade Center will be made into a memorial that exhibits the spirit of those we've seen so many other places in the world, where the message is that humanity has had more than enough slaughter and indiscriminate violence. We Americans must decide that we too have had enough war, and work toward peace before it is too late.
Tony Mullaney, Harrington, ME
The pieces in the November Peacework suggest to this reader the need to introduce within the movement an electoral component to serve as an organizing element. Third world movements have had to learn their "realidad" before effective organizing could occur. Electoral politics is a critical piece of our "reality."
Arthur Gladstone, Somerville, MA
This is not a call for "appeasement." Love calls neither for appeasement nor for revenge but for understanding and reconciliation. Seeing everyone as either enemy or ally greatly oversimplifies a very complex situation and cripples our ability to think clearly and wisely.
It seems to be very hard for us to love, even to love one another, let alone love our enemies. I believe this is because our way of life is based much more on fear than on love. Love cannot be forced, of course. We cannot make ourselves love our enemies just because we think we should. But we can at least try to understand them, which we've hardly begun to do.
Skip Schiel, Cambridge, MA
I suggest you ask a legislator or responsible official to consider the following: Advocate reassessment of all US policy and practice. Put in place bona fide mechanisms for analysis and change. One example is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. This is an act of purification, reflecting on our actions and their effects on others to more wisely and humanely ahead. Then, constructive change, thereby reducing the threat of terrorism.
Molly Lynn Watt, Antrim, NH
We have become a country in touch--with each other, with
feelings, with mourning a tragedy, with reassessing what really
matters in life. We abhor the tragedy, but we are choosing our
response by gathering back the desecrated scraps of love, tolerance,
and courage and piecing them together into a comforter of stories.
We are carrying on. That's a brave thing to do.