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Hump Day Hmm 11-7-07: Blog Blast for Peace

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This is my BLOG BLAST for PEACE!

I think that most of us---the little people, the ones who actually do not sit on high or watch the world from a privileged perch, the ones who pay the very real price---want peace. I'll even venture further out on the limb and say we don't like war.

"War is a necessary evil," they say.

The phrase "necessary evil" triggers my red alert "brain spring into action" response.

"Necessary evil" is an oxymoron, an inconsistency, a piece of irrational illogic, and that always gets me thinking.

How can there be any evil that is necessary?

Rape, pillage, plunder, destruction, killing...this is necessary?

We've trapped ourselves in a vicious circle.

"It's the only way," they tell us. And my red alert springs my brain into action, again.

I am a person who sees many possibilities for solutions, rarely just one. Even when I exhaust the first batch of options, I usually find another batch to exhaust. It is this ability, think, that helps me not only to survive, but to continue to thrive in the life I lead. I am clearly descended from the people who survived to reproduce because of this ability to see many ways out, many ways to survive, and the ability to quickly think of solutions and implement them.

I am no better than you; I am the same as you. We are all descended from the people who could do this.

That's why, when my fellow descendants say there is only one thing to do---fight a war---I am suspicious.

Even revered generals prefer not to fight wars.

Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit. Soldiers usually win battles and generals get the credit for them. You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war. If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.

o Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

So the only choice is to break peace and fight a war? I believe this would surprise Switzerland greatly. It surprises me, no, it stuns me.

But as Slouching Mom says, the sensitive among us are frequently stunned.

I think what people really mean is, "I am such a zealot to my cause that I wish to destroy everything in my path that opposes me. There is something I want or need and death and destruction seems the fastest, straightest point from A to B."

At least some people who generate war are somewhere near honest with this.

We wore out the "war to end all wars" idea over sixty years ago.

We're on our fourth war since then. I don't think anyone believes that war brings peace. I think we all understand that war begets war. I think we all understand that all war does is quash for just long enough for the winner to achieve some objective. In the end though, the hatred of the quashed will marshal into a force, and once again, everyone faces war.

As Napoleon said, "Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit."

We think of spirit as a good word. "He's got such spirit!" is a high compliment.

But spirit can be bad, too, if it is a spirit of hatred.

Force does not create anything. Metal melts in the force of heat from a fire, it changes, bends, is reshaped, but retains, in the end, its essential qualities. It remains metal.

The average joe---the little people, the ones who actually do not sit on high or watch the world from a privileged perch, the ones who pay the very real price---probably knows this.

I contemplate my brother, the youngest one who is only 21 and is at university still, in a military training program. I remember when he was born. It was just before I left for university. He liked to gum my father's frozen beer mugs when teething. Like Persistence, he enjoyed pulling tape thread from tapes. I think his first word was car. When he was three, we were living in Atlanta and I was working in my first professional job. I used to take him out and about with me and everyone remarked on how much my "son" resembled me. We'd both laugh. He liked going out and about with me because my car had a hatchback and he could sit in his car seat in the back and stare at the clouds. I think he was seeing how many resembled cars. Even at three he could identify more cars than I could. His best friend was an adorable little girl from Japan. He began speaking Japanese. In elementary school, I was the person he called sobbing because he was prostrate with grief and fury at learning that his parents had "lied" to him about Santa. Later, I had to enforce the "no TV rule" when he was grounded from it for acting "too much like a Toon." I tutored him when he had trouble with writing projects. I watched him through high school, his first girlfriend, his first betrayal, his first breakup. I felt pride when he got his Eagle Scout, and I eagerly read all of the recommendations---including some from prominent politicians---he received for college applications. I grieved for him when he got wait-listed at his first choice university: air force academy. I celebrated when he found a good fit at another school, and succeeded there. I've seen him grow from a baby to boy to young man.

I want to see him graduate, get a job, meet a partner, and grow up. Peacefully.

Other options? In a burst of hypocrisy, no, there are no other options.

I want the same for my girls. My girls, who are largely unaware of war, a luxury many other children do not have. This tweaks my sense of injustice and unfairness, and so when it came up, I was honest to Patience. I told her yes, there is a war, and it is mean fighting where sometimes people die. Yes, children too. Yes, mommies and daddies are fighting. It is because we want to defend and protect our country and its people, which is honorable. Yes, so-and-so's daddy is at the war. Yes, that is where Baby so-and-such's daddy went. It is far away, not where we live. No, not even on our continent. Yes, there are children where the war is. Yes, I agree, they must be very, very frightened. Me too, baby, me too, I am also glad for us it is not here and sad for them.

Yes, we will pack shoeboxes for them, for the mommies, the daddies and the children.

I watched the war diaries on Discovery. I watched grown men get wet-eyed as they handed out their own supplies to children so much like their own back home. I got wet-eyed looking at boys so young they should have still been in high school or learning embarrassing lessons at college beer parties, I thought, not the University of Hard-Knocks, at war.

Yes, I am sure we'd prefer peace.

How do we achieve peace?

Here are some words from great people, to ponder towards that end (and peace is an end, versus war, which is only a means):

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.

o Hafsat Abiola

* * * * * * * * * *

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace.

o Kofi Annan

* * * * * * * * * *

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

o Black Elk (1863-1950)

* * * * * * * * * *

Peace, to have meaning for many who have only known suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health and education, as well as freedom and human dignity.

o Ralph Johnson Bunche (1904-1971)

* * * * * * * * * *

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.

o The XIVth Dalai Lama

* * * * * * * * * *

If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

o Moshe Dayan (1915-1981)

* * * * * * * * * *

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.

o Albert Einstein (1979-1955)

* * * * * * * * * *

There was never a good war or a bad peace.

o Ben Franklin (1706-1790)

* * * * * * * * * *

It is possible to live in peace.

o Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

* * * * * * * * * *

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.

o Andre Gide (1869-1951)

* * * * * * * * * *

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.

o William Gladstone (1809-1898)

* * * * * * * * * *

But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.

o John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

* * * * * * * * * *

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

o Malcolm X (1925-1965)

* * * * * * * * * *

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but on the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war. Somehow, we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race, which no one can win, to a positive contest to harness humanity's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a peace race. If we have a will - and determination - to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment.

o Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

How different each of these people were and are. But how similar their message.

There is hope for peace.

And who else has a message about peace? Read on!

Lawyer Mama wrote Next of Kin

Within the Woods wrote Peace, Love, and English Composition

Thailand Gal wrote If not now, when?

To participate in the Hump Day Hmm, write a post, link to me here, then email your link to me at j pippert at g mail dot com. I'll add in the links over the course of the day as they come in, as usual. I will also send all of the links to Mimi for the blog blast.

ADD YOURSELF and YOUR POST in! Just use the EASY Mr. Linky form below. Type in your blog name and add your URL link and submit. ALL DONE!

Here are ALL of the Blog Blast for Peace participants:

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thailandchani said…
Very good, as always. :) In order to get beyond the concept of war, we have to get beyond the idea that we are separate. We also have to get beyond the entire concept of patriotism and superiority. "My country is better than your country", "My country is morally superior to yours", "My daddy can beat up your daddy." It's a stupidity whose time has come and long gone.

If you used the concept of "just war", WWII might have some merit although I question even that, given the historical inaccuracies in that reporting as well.

But wars for imperialism and protecting business interests is never just.

Just my two baht.
ACey said…
a lovely, well considered post. PEACE.
Julie, you never cease to amaze me with your thoroughness in your posts. How much time does it take you to research your posts? I do not mean to take the focus off this very, very worthwhile topic, but just to say thank you for always giving us such food for thought.

These quotes are shockingly similar in their message. Why can't those in power see this before a war is started?

Can I ask you something else - what do you think about the idea that there would be more peace if more women were in positions of power?

Or is it the position that corrupts?

exskindiver said…
my favorite:

Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
-Dalai Lama

Peace to You, Julie.
Well written.
Thanks for another positive message. I have always loved the Ben Franklin quote you posted:
"There was never a good war or a bad peace."
S said…
Oh, Julie. This made me teary:

I told her yes, there is a war, and it is mean fighting where sometimes people die. Yes, children too. Yes, mommies and daddies are fighting. It is because we want to defend and protect our country and its people, which is honorable. Yes, so-and-so's daddy is at the war. Yes, that is where Baby so-and-such's daddy went. It is far away, not where we live. No, not even on our continent. Yes, there are children where the war is. Yes, I agree, they must be very, very frightened. Me too, baby, me too, I am also glad for us it is not here and sad for them.

Sigh. Beautiful. Heartbreaking.
Julie Pippert said…
SM, it broke my heart too, having to explain it to my daughter. She was deeply worried, and I thought, how fortunate we are I can provide the reassurances that allow her to feel relief and safe and go back to happy play. And my heart broke twice more thinking about the two groups of other people who can't do this.


Jeff, I like that one too, and the Gide and the Dalai, and oh shoot, all of them LOL.


Exskindiver, thank you! That is the bottom line, isn't it?


Family Adventure, you know, you are the second questioner about that. Maybe I need to post it, LOL. I will admit I got up at about 6:15, wrote this post and it's posted at, umm, probably an hour later? Oh, dude, half an hour later. So umm hmm that's how long. I can't quantify how long my brain works on it. I think *all the time.* Deeply. I tire myself out LOL. And I pull ideas together. So when I sit down to write, it's all typing, mainly. Half an hour of typing and probably days of thinking, checking on things, and pulling ideas together.

But in truth, as much as I do in my head, it's a weird process of sitting down to type because these words and ideas just flow. I think...I'm just a conduit.

Sometimes what ends up coming out is a surprise to me.

Like this post about peace. This post that came out was not the original plan.

Now...the women question. Dude, that is HUGE.

No, I do not think a woman or man will make a difference because both in power seem to feel compelled to uphold this model of In Charge and Not Afraid to be Ruthless. That's supposed to be strong. And leaders must be strong.

I don't care what gender...the person who is Not Afraid to be Compassionate...that's the REALLY STRONG person and that's who can be assured of my support.

I had a local candidate like that here. I was 110% behind him. He lost.

Candidates aren't the only ones who married to the idea that Ruthless = Strong and Necessary.


Acey, thank you!


Chani, an on point and well-considered comment that hits home, as always. ITA.
Travis Cody said…
Wow. Great ideas in this post.

Peace to you and yours on this wonderful Peace Globe Day and always.
Lawyer Mama said…
It looks like our minds headed in similar directions with this post, only yours is much more thorough!

I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to explain war to my kids. I don't even understand it.
Emily said…

Wow. So much to consider! I love the quotes-all of them. :)
I love your description of your brother. How sweet your admiration of him and the recalling of your experiences with him through his life.

And your sweet Patience. I remember Christmas 2001, my eldest daughter (4 at the time) asked me to write down her letter to Santa. At the very end, she dictated:

P.S. Please take something very nice to the children in Afghanistan. They might not have chimneys or even houses, but they are nice children and should have toys. Thank you.

I wept as I wrote it down for her.
Perhaps the 4 year olds should be our international peace ambassadors to the world.
Christine said…
julie--you are simply the best.

the best.
Wonderfully written...thank you for sharing your thoughts today

Searching For A Peaceful World on

flutter said…
well done, Julie
Anonymous said…
You have much you learn from the lessons these great people have to teach.
Girlplustwo said…
i was going to say that we are all one and therefore should not be fighting but Chani said it first (and better)
Angela said…
Hi Julie, thanks for all you thoughts on peace.

I have a few technical questions that you seem to have mastered. How did you get the master list for the Blogblast for Peace? Every time I try to create a Mr. Linky for the Blogblast meme, it starts with an empty list. And also how do you add friends in NaBloPoMo? I can see the pages of my friends but can't for the life of me figure out how to add them. I'm not usually so internet challenged!
Mimi Lenox said…
Julie - This is such an outstanding post. The conversation with your child broke my heart. I think the comment above is right....maybe the children should lead and direct our nation. They seem to "get it."

Thank you for participating and especially for writing this lengthy, passionate, and honest account of what war means. It was personal and poignant.

Peace to you and yours.
Annelisa said…
Amazing post, Julia!

Peace to you and yours!

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