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 the editor's desk
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness," Keats called it. Emily Dickinson wrote, "These are the days when birds come back." Robert Frost saw "ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, / cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall." October in New England is incomparable. The Canadians wisely celebrate their Thanksgiving this month. In Massachusetts we also give ourselves a holiday. Some call it Columbus Day; but others who know better say "500 years is enough."
Of course the poets know better, too. Emily sensed the "altered air," the "fraud that cannot cheat the bee." For Robert Frost, perched on his ladder in his orchard, autumn and apple-picking serve as a metaphor for death.
We've seen a lot of death lately. People and animals and land laid waste by hurricane; terrifying scenes of earthquake destruction in Turkey and Greece and Taiwan. We see waste and terror also along the political fault lines of this planet. We offer you some random glimpses in this October Peacework-random in the sense that another set of articles about another set of countries and problems could as easily fill this issue.
It's one thing to dismiss folks who fret about what Y2K will do to their ATM machines or their fridge; but there are real and unanswered questions about what it may do to nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, dependent on aging computer systems.
Don't live-and don't bury your dead-on top of mineral resources. There are corporations that want to dig those resources out, and there are government officials who stand ready to help move you off your land. The Dineh people in Arizona have learned this to their sorrow.
People on the Korean Peninsula and in Washington are still playing out a cold war that should have been over years ago, and the tremors disturb a whole region.
In Seattle next month powerful ministers, meeting to discuss globalization and world trade, are ready to give away the store.
And just months after Bill Clinton declared that NATO bombing of Yugoslavia would ensure that no nation could ever again commit atrocities against its own people or indeed any people, Indonesia is doing precisely that.
What's encouraging, and what we have devoted a good deal of space to, are the lists of "Action Alerts" and "What You Can Do." It takes a long time to read our email these days, because a lot of people are working and planning and talking to each other. We've listed many addresses. Check out a few. There's an overwhelming amount of information out there, but each of us can pick and choose-one issue, one action-and make a start.
And what do the poets have to do with all this?-Keats and Dickinson and Frost, the many others you can add who have tackled autumn, and Denise Levertov with her eight sparse lines, on page 17, and the young poet, on page 3, with astonishing changes on the old hymn tune-well they tell the truth. That's what poets do. And that's what the rest of us should try to do, too.
Cover image: Masonite-cut by Peter Schumann/Bread & Puppet Theatre. For more information on Bread & Puppet theatre, museum, and publications, write B&P, RD 2, Box 153, Glover, VT 05839.
This image is also used in the War Resisters League 2000 Peace Calendar, edited by Scott Bates, with artwork by Peter Schumann and the Bread & Puppet Theatre. This calendar is beautiful, offering a collection of poetry by 20th-century writers who warn of the need to end war and suffering, and create a new world of environmental justice and human rights in the new millennium. Poems by Wendell Berry, James Broughton, Dennis Brutus, Lucille Clifton, Ruby Dee, Rita Dove, William Everson, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Holman, Philip Larkin, Denise Levertov, Joyce Carol Oates, Grace Paley, Kenneth Patchen, Marge Piercy, Adrienne Rich, Muriel Rukeyser. 128 pp., spiral bound desk calendar, with peace & justice directory; $12/ea. or 4 for $44, from: WRL, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012.
The poem on page 17 of this issue, "Threnody" by Denise Levertov, also appears in the WRL 2000 Peace Calendar.