GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit
. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
, singer, musician, songwriter, political activist for more than 7 decades died, age 94. As a song writer, he is best known
as the author or co-author of Where Have All the Flowers Gone
?, If I Had a Hammer
, and Turn, Turn, Turn! [more inside]
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize
, with the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying, "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons." [more inside]
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat
, an essay by Chris Hedges
of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
Iran has a new president
, Hasan Rouhani
, does that mean there might be hope for a thawing in diplomatic relations?
In his inaugral speech Roughani urges an end to sanctions
and promises a new era
. While the White House response seems cautiously optimisitic
US Senators have been pressing for tougher sanctions
Her encampment is 'an old patio umbrella draped in a white plastic sheet secured with binder clips. It is flanked by two large boards with messages in capital letters: BAN ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS OR HAVE A NICE DOOMSDAY and LIVE BY THE BOMB, DIE BY THE BOMB. This rudimentary shelter has been positioned outside the White House for more than three decades. It is a monument itself now, widely considered the longest-running act of political protest in the United States, and this woman, Concepcion Picciotto — Connie, as she’s known to many — is its longest-running caretaker.' [more inside]
The UK Peace Index [PDF]
, a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace
(IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime
, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
Let's Show Them: We're NOT Going To War.
"WHY THE CONVOCATION? This is one of the most effective means for Wisconsin students to serve notice, along with 1,000,000 other students, that WE'RE NOT GOING TO WAR -- ever again!" A protest handbill from the University of Wisconsin, announcing a campus-wide peace demonstration, on April 11, 1940. From the UW Library's compendium of resources on protests and social action
at UW-Madison from 1910 through the end of the 20th century.
Coyote Man, Mr. President & the Gunfighters.
A prose poem, written by Gary Snyder, that should be required reading for whoever is in the White House on January 20.
Arno Michaels used to be the worst kind of asshole.
Now he's working to help others not be that kind of asshole. [more inside]
The Atlantic is in the middle of a four-part special report
on the Israel / Palestinian peace process, called "Is Peace Possible?
" which features multimedia presentations on and analyses of what they believe are the four core issues of the conflict: Borders
, Refugees, and Jerusalem. (The latter two will be released on Monday, November 7 and 14th, respectively)
The report was put together in collaboration with the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace
. [more inside]
Rafael Aguilar always wanted to make a difference, and for more than two years the he has done just that in eastern Europe. On Monday, the 25-year-old returned to Bregovo, Bulgaria, where he has been teaching English to students in grades 1 through 12, to extend his stay for a third - and final - year as a Peace Corps volunteer. He plans to continue working toward improving his students’ understanding of the English language. Aguilar’s return to the village of 1,500 residents that he has called home since 2009 comes weeks after he made a star appearance on X Factor Bulgaria singing in Bulgarian. [more inside]
"If we, as a global audience, focus solely on violence and militarism, we reinforce the notion that they are the most effective form of action. On the other hand, if we pay more attention to nonviolent or unarmed efforts, we strengthen the legitimacy and influence of those choosing to use these means.
" [more inside]
Remove the scourge of conflict
- "Taming mass violence is the theme of the World Bank's latest World Development Report
, which focuses on 'conflict, security and development' [pdf
] ... Mass violence destroys all hopes of progress. We should make a huge effort to eliminate this scourge.
It seems feasible. It is desirable. So try."
Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Can Metal, specifically Iron Maiden, cross cultural boundaries and help build world peace
? So asks Mark LeVine in AlJazeera. When some of the biggest names in Metal during the 80s performed at the Moscow Peace Festival
in 1989 lots of critics gave a shrug. Iron Maiden, which has a following the world over, could be part of an unsung musical movement that is providing home for a community that crosses national and cultural lines.
Deacon Dodge has a couple of posts (here
) about religion, freedom and democracy amid the turmoil of Egypt. [more inside]
This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II
. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted. [more inside]
An internationally recognized Kanien'kehaka (Mohwak) intellectual and political advisor, Taiaiake Alfred is well known for his incisive critiques and groundbreaking work in the fields of Indigenous governance and political philosophy.
In the past, Taiaiake has served as an advisor on land and governance and cultural restoration issues for many indigenous governments and organizations, and he has authored several important books including Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom and Peace, Power, Righteousness. Currently, Taiaiake serves as a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria.
Recorded March 23, 2009 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance; a broad, deep, and beautiful discussion of pathways toward the future for indigenous people, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom” [more inside]
For the first time since the U.S.
dropped an atomic bomb
[NSFW photos?] on Hiroshima
65 years ago, the U.S. ambassador
will attend commemoration ceremonies at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial
. But is this an apology
? Some say
it better not be
. The U.S. says - it isn't
Postcards From Hell
— For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace
, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index
(the 2010 version is out), using a battery of indicators to determine how stable—or unstable—a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You'll only know a failed state when you see it. [more inside]
Church, state, basketball and Mennonites.
For the first time in 116 years, Goshen College
, a small Mennonite school in Indiana, will play an instrumental version of the Star-Spangled Banner before college sporting events. As a college in a "peace church
" tradition, this decision has not come without controversy
. [more inside]
, the world's oldest man, has died
aged 113. [more inside]
Parts 1, 2, 3 of a 1959 interview
and peace campaigner Bertrand Russell
online include Anti-suffragist Anxieties
, Why I am not a Christian
, the Russell-Einstein Manifesto
against nuclear weapons and the book The Conquest of Happiness
. Russell is also known for his pithy quotes
, his teapot
and was the subject of poem Mr Apollinax
by T.S. Eliot.
Wafa Younis is an Arab Israeli musician who organised a youth orchestra in the Jenin refugee camp. She recently
brought her orchestra to play for Holocaust survivors at an Israeli old age home. The performance was strongly criticised
by Palestinians as a hostile political act. Now the orchestra has been disbanded
, its performance space sealed
, and Ms Younis has been expelled from
the West Bank. [more inside]
Peace and War in the 20th Century
is an ambitious, in progress, massive assemblage of posters, photographs, propaganda, ephemera, letters, diaries, paintings, sketches, stories, letters, music and related items, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The collection is international in scope. Some of the nodes lack content, and the navigation is a little confusing, so the jump I list some of my favourite case studies from their site. [more inside]
and another 120 languages
. The official song of the Christmas truce
. [more inside]
"Can Facebook defeat terrorism?"
wonders Matt Armstrong
. A conference
of both web and social entrepreneurs, policy wonks, and activists will convene to create a how-to guide for changing the world through social networking tools. Jared "Children of Jihad
" Cohen was a driving force behind the initiative. We've seen social networking impact an election
, while others are already trying to change the world with it
. This conference, while exciting and important, raises a few questions. Just look at the list who's convening it: "Facebook, Google, YouTube, MTV, Howcast, Columbia Law School and the U.S. Department of State Convene the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit." [more inside]
President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
A former Finnish President, an UN envoy, a social democrat, a school teacher and founder of Crisis Management Initiative
has negotiated for peace in many troubled areas for three decades. Last fall
and last summer
CMI (without Ahtisaari's presence) called former Northern Ireland and South African militants to use their experience for finding Iraqi factions a way out of bloodshed. A plan for
. Negotiations ending 30-year conflict in Aceh, Indonesia
. Negotiating Namibia independence
Got conflict? Mr. Ahtisaari is your man.
Here's an article and slideshow to help escape the worries of the world.
A great article and slideshow about the Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu (Southeastern India). (NYTimes)
I Met the Walrus
In 1969, 14-year-old Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. This is the whimsically animated film that Jerry has produced about the interview.
Pax Corleone Americana?
"Can any of the candidates vying to become the next president of the United States match Michael’s cool, dispassionate courage in the face of epochal change? Will they avoid living in the comforting embrace of the past, from which both Tom and Sonny ultimately could not escape? Or will they emulate Michael’s flexibility—to preserve America’s position in a dangerous world?" The Godfather