Posted in African American, Peace & Justice, youth

In Search of Peace

Peace is a very elusive concept.  As a young girl growing up in California life was relatively peaceful but of course I was a child, and this was from a child’s perspective. We did not worry about having to duck and dodge bullets trying to get to school. We went to school, did our school work, had an hour recess in which we played kickball, dodgeball and indulged in many other fun physical activities.  We socialized and then returned to the classroom for the afternoon session.  When school was dismissed, we went home, did our chores and homework.  We ate dinner and got ready for the next school day. On weekends we went to church, participated in programs and shows. We learned about God.  In the summer we played outside for long hours enjoying ourselves immensely.

The most shattering experience of my peaceful idyllic childhood was the murder of Emmet Till.  I remember I was still in elementary school.  The school was mixed racially, and on that day, I was filled with such anger I wanted to lash out at my white classmates.  My emotions were a jumble.  We became aware of racism as we grew older, but it was not as overt as it was for children growing up in other parts of the country, the deep south especially.  Racism in the Bay Area of California was subtle.

My first brush with underlying racism was when I was in junior high.  The grades were 7th, 8th, and 9th, with 9th grade being the beginning of our high school academic record, even though the 9th grade was housed at the junior high level.  When I was registering for my 9th grade classes towards the end of 8th grade, I told my counselor I wanted to sign up for college academic courses. Well the counselor then took it upon himself to let me know I did not have the ability to take academic courses, but I certainly could take the business courses offered such as typing.  I was astounded but kept silent because I knew I had a very fiery advocate in the person of my mother. My mother went in the next day and quickly straightened that prejudice counselor out and I was enrolled in the college prep courses.

I often think of my best friend at that time whose father was a widower.  She had five siblings and her dad worked two jobs.  She wanted to be a doctor.  Her dad could not come to school and she ended up in a string of business courses. When she graduated from high school, she got a job as a bank teller. Her childhood dream had been shattered by one bigoted act of callousness. Langston Hughes in his poem Harlem asks the question:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Or does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

Like a sugary sweet?

Or maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

 

Or does it explode?

 

Our peaceful childhood had come to an end.  Unfulfilled dreams and goals started festering in souls in search of peace, equality, and justice. Growing up in the 60’s was an exhilarating time in the United States. My friends and I wanted to make a difference whether it was demonstrating in sympathy pickets called for by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. against Woolworth’s stores or singing about the unfairness of the House of Un-American Activities committee persecuting liberals and radicals accusing them of communist involvement.

This committee was formed in 1938 as a committee in Congress…a House committee. It became a permanent committee from 1945-1975. Their purpose was to investigate subversive activities on the part of private citizens. This was also the era of the Cold War (1945-1991), the name given to the tense relationship between the United States and its allies in the west and the USSR and the communist world including China. It was a war of words involving the race to Space and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Anti-Communist hysteria…the red scare… was on the rise in this country. The first wave of HUAC hearings went after the movie industry. Many talented people ended up blacklisted including Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes. Jackie Robinson was called to testify about so-called communist subversion in the NAACP.

The House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1960 came to San Francisco City Hall to have hearings that involved journalists, college professors, and 110 public school teachers that had been subpoenaed the previous year.  Their names had been leaked which created an uproar. The protestors were ready and prepared to peacefully picket. These demonstrators had gathered to protest assault on free speech and personal beliefs and were greeted with fire hoses, the police copying what had recently happened in Alabama during a protest for civil rights. The brother of a friend of ours had attended this demonstration and taught us the song the protestors were singing:

Billy Boy

Did they wash you down the stairs Billy Boy, Billy Boy?

Did they wash you down the stairs charming Billy?

Yes, they washed me down the stairs

And they rearranged my hair

With a club in the City Hall Rotunda

 

We were young high schoolers in search of a just and a nonviolent world. Civil rights demonstrations were occurring around the United States. Violence and bloodshed were a tragic part of this movement just as it had been in the past to Blacks, Native Americans and other minority groups. Non-violence was an integral part of the Civil rights Movement. Participants, especially in the deep south were trained on how to protect themselves if they were attacked. There was a pledge card to sign often referred to as the Dr. King’s Ten Commandments. Number 2 read “Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation-not victory” and Number 8 read “Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.” Dr. King was influenced by Ghandi because of the great victory in India using non-violence. Ghandi  was influenced by the teachings of Jesus as found in the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

 

This was the 1960’s and as the Civil Rights Movement was making strides in changing minds, attitudes, and hearts while simultaneously being enmeshed in both triumph and tragedy Vietnam was looming on the horizon igniting the indignation of the people, both those that opposed the war and those that supported it. This was the age of the draft that when all males hit the age of 18, they had to register with the Selective Service System. My brother was drafted as were other close friends. Small demonstrations against the war began as soldiers were being deployed to Vietnam. As more and more American soldiers lost their lives the voices of those in opposition to the war became stronger and stronger.

Much of the music that played over the airways reflected the times both in rhythm and blues and folk music.  Nina Simone singing “Young Gifted and Black” and James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud”. The words to Pete Seeger’s popular folk song “Where have all the Flowers Gone” written in 1955 inspired the demonstrators against the war to greater heights of concern and activism. Here is one of the verses:

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?

Gone to graveyards everyone
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

 

Protestors burnt draft cards, conscientious objectors fled to Canada, Heavy weight champion Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the Army in 1967 because his local draft board rejected his application to be classified as a conscientious objector. He was arrested and stripped of his title. Also, in 1967 Dr. King publicly denounced the war speaking out against United States policy in Vietnam. The war raged on as did anti-war demonstrations. Paris peace talks began in 1968 and eventually a cease fire was also signed in Paris in 1973. The last military units left Vietnam this same year. Fifty-eight thousand American troops lost their lives in this war along with over several million North and South Vietnamese soldiers including civilians, men, women, and children. Thank God my brother and other friends came home alive but severely traumatized, a condition that years later would be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Since the World Trade Center tragedy, the United States has been involved in war, the war on terrorism…Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria to name a few of the countries in which we have troops. We are also in a war of words with North Korea. In addition to wars outside the country the United States once again is embroiled in battling internal injustices. Racism and xenophobia are at an all-time high recalling the pre-civil rights movement era in which hatred for the most part was directed against blacks. But now narrow-minded, warped rhetoric along with violence is being spewed out not only against blacks, but Muslims, immigrants, and Jews as well.

We are living in the time of “dreams deferred’. For African Americans Michele Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow is now the new reality. Over 2,000,000 people are incarcerated in the United States. The war on drugs has contributed significantly to mass incarceration.  One out of three black males and one out of six Hispanic males will go to jail. The school to prison pipeline another phenomenon has destroyed lives. Young black people with no hope, no dreams filled with generational anger are literally “exploding” throughout their communities.

Dreams of young immigrants brought to this country as children, the” Dreamers”, now live in fear of being deported. Immigrant children are being forcibly separated from their parents after crossing the border. A proposed wall to be built that will keep our southern neighbors out, stopping them from seeking political asylum because they are trying to escape horrific conditions in their own countries, is an issue of great controversy. Limitation on immigration from Muslim nations has been enacted.

The music plays on…picketing, marching, singing, demonstrations demanding justice for just causes. United empathetic people riding the waves of despotism and cruelty denounce current inhumane practices in this country harmonizing Woody Guthrie’s song:

 

This Land is Your Land

[Chorus]
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

[Verse 6]
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me

Will there ever be peace, that elusive concept, in our nation, or in the world?  As Bob Dylan’s famous folk song, composed back in the sixties, so aptly states “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind…the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

© 2019, Tamam Tracy Moncur (Mercer Street Blues)



Tamam tells us “I enjoy writing. I write for the sheer pleasure of writing. Writing helps me organize my world and express what matters to me at any given moment in time. I’ve been a Civil Rights activist, taught elementary school for twenty-five years, worked with my husband, Grachan Moncur III arranging musical compositions and performing. In 2008 I self-published a book entitled Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a project that was very close to my heart. I am now a retired teacher, a community activist, and a seasoned senior who still loves to write.”

 

Posted in Beguine Again, General Interest, Peace & Justice, The BeZine

MAY 2016, Vol.2/Issue 8; Books That Changed Our Lives

May 15, 2016

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

Books are a primary way we get to travel, meet new people, and learn about the world and the human condition outside the narrow confines of our personal concerns, our families and communities. They are indeed magic: they inform, heal, spur us to action, offer new perspectives, new ways of being in the world and – perhaps most important – they open us to the joys and suffering of others.

In this month’s lead feature, Algerian poet, writer, university student and frequent contributor to The BeZine, Imen Benyoub, tells how three important books that focus on war and genocide teach us about “courage, tolerance, love and sacrifice” and bear witness to “how generous and resilient a human spirit can be, even in the darkest times.”

Imen’s feature is suggestive of The BeZine‘s raison d’etre: to come together from different parts of the world, different cultures, races and creeds, to show our soft underbelly, our most human side in the interest of peace. We are here to quietly be ourselves, to share and in so doing to recognize one another as sister and brother, not “other.” If one of us bleeds, we all bleed. Let us not be silent in the face of daily brutalities. Pens, not swords, open minds and hearts and heal our world. This month – as always – our writers represent a diversity of nations, religions (or lack of), ethnicities and cultures. While this is an English language publication, not all of our writers have English as a first language.

Lilianna Negoi and Contributing Editor, Priscilla Galasso, get us started at the beginning, our early childhood reading. Lana Phillips tells the touching story of comfort in reading Red Shoes for Nancy about a girl older than she who was also living with disability. Corina Ravenscraft tells us how two books made a substantive difference in her life and way of being in the world. Michael Watson says in his essay:

Being an avid reader, I have developed a suspicion that, like the Great Weathers, almost any book can change one’s life for good or ill, and that timing has a lot to do with the outcome.

James R. Cowles’ essay, Escaping Into Reality, offers a lot to think about (as his essays always do) and Mendes Biondo (new to our pages) tells us of personal growth and changes in perspective fostered by an encounter with The Cannon of 20th Century Greek poet, Costantino Cavafy.

We move on to poetry by several of our core team members: John Anstie’s profound Looking South (looking back) with Frodo Baggins; Joe Hesch’s well-crafted and honest poems Schwund und Reue (Loss and Regret) and Confessions of Light-reading Poet; Naomi Baltuck combines a poem by Alice Lowe with her signature photo-storytelling; Charlie Martin loves too many books; Liliana Negoi writes movingly and vividly of reading.

We have several newcomers to our pages this month. We are delighted to introduce poets Joshua Medsker, whose poem is included with the themed pieces and, under the More Light section, Miki Byrne, Sakshi Chanana and Maggie Mackay. Please be sure to welcome them with “likes” and comments. Read their bios HERE.

Also under More Light are Naomi Baltuck’s always engaging photo-stories. We close with a charming art piece from Marlyn Exconde and her children.

Enjoy! … and be the peace …

Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

LEAD FEATURE

Three books. Three cities: Sarajevo, Warsaw, and Lod … stories about music, war, friendship and survival…, Imen Benyoub

THEME FEATURES

Essays and Photo Stories

The First Book That Shaped Me, Lilianna Negoi
Books That Change Lives, Priscilla Galasso
Red Shoes for Nancy, Lana Phillips
Books That Changed My Life, Corina Ravenscraft
Books and Great Weather, Michael Watson
Escaping Into Reality, James R. Cowles
May there be many a summer morning …, Mendes Biondo

Poems

Looking South with Frodo Baggins, John Anstie (essay & poem)
A Merry Literary Christmas, Naomi Baltuck and Alice Lowe
Schwund und Reue, Joseph Hesch
Confessions of a Light-reading Poet, Joseph Hesch
too many loves, Charles W. Martin
The Poetic Books, Joshua Medsker
Night Light, Liliana Negoi

MORE LIGHT

Poetry

Tying Coats on Elephants, Miki Byrne
Drugs on the Street, Miki Byrne
Blood and Money, Miki Byrne
Transience, Sakshi Chanana
Silver and Gold, Maggie Mackay
Anosmia, Maggie Mackay

Photo Stories

A Peace of My Mind, Naomi Baltuck
The Mistery of Life, Naomi Baltick
Lullaby of Life, Naomi Baltick

Art

Magic Is Your Name, Marlyn Exconde and Children

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Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

Posted in Peace & Justice, The B Zine

Prayer as Action for Peace

Editorial note: The next issue of The BeZine will publish on Sunday, March 15.  Meanwhile, this hugely popular intro and collection of prayers was originally posted by Terri Stewart for Saturday, September 7, 2013, in response to a call for worldwide prayer and fasting to focus on peace in Syria. With all that is going on in the Middle East and given the Ukraine crises, the many conflicts in Africa and the deaths and dislocations resulting from drug wars in Central and South America, this seems a good time to post it again in the spirit of peace, love and community …  Jamie Dedes

I have seen many things happening–prayer vigils, personal meditation practices, marches, and communications with elected officials. We decided to offer a Labyrinth Walk for Peace at Bothell UMC in Bothell, WA in the morning. I gathered inter-faith prayers, we walked, prayed, and focused on bringing peace to the world. What follows is prayers and photos from that journey that became deeply personal for each attendant. There was a certain transition that occurred for me as I took in my surroundings and noticed Farmer Brown’s Garden. I began to see, literally, a connection between peacefulness and being fed. You will see.

Entering Sacred Space

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Sufi Prayer for Peace

Send Thy peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may radiate peace.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may think, act,
and speak harmoniously.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may be contented
and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy thy bliss.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may endure all,
tolerate all in the thought of thy grace and mercy.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a
divine vision, and in Thy light all darkness may vanish.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother,
that we Thy children on earth may all unite in one family.
– Sufi Prayer

The Journey Begins

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An Islamic Prayer for Peace

In the Name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful: Praise be to the Lord of the Universe
who has created us and made us into tribes and nations that we may know each other,
not that we may despise each other.

If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust in God,
for the Lord is one that hears and knows all things.
And the servants of God Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility,
and when we address them, we say, “Peace.”
– U.N. Day of Prayer for World Peace 2

Walking Together in Ubuntu

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A Hindu Prayer for Peace

Supreme Lord, let there be peace in the sky and in the atmosphere.
Let there be peace in the plant world and in the forests.
Let the cosmic powers be peaceful.
Let the Brahman, the true essence and source of life, be peaceful.
Let there be undiluted and fulfilling peace everywhere.
– The Atharva Veda

All Are Invited to Be Fed

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Cheyenne Prayer for Peace

Let us know peace.
For as long as the moon shall rise,
For as long as the rivers shall flow,
For as long as the sun shall shine,
For as long as the grass shall grow,
Let us know peace.
– Cheyenne Prayer

Feeding the World in Spirit and Deed
Farmer Brown’s Garden at Bothell UMC

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A Jewish Prayer for Peace

Grant us peace. Your most precious gift,
O Eternal Source of Peace, and give us the will to proclaim its message to all the peoples of the earth.
Bless our country, that it may always be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate among the nations.
May contentment reign within its borders, health and happiness within its homes.
Strengthen the bonds of friendship among the inhabitants of all lands.
And may the love of Your name hallow every home and every heart.
Blessed is the Eternal God, the source of Peace.
– From The Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book, by the Central Conferences of American Rabbis

Growing Spiritually and Growing Food

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Buddhist Prayer for Loving Kindness

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to
the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.
– Metta Prayer

Loving Kindness through Loving Care

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A Christian Prayer for Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies; do good to those who hate you;
bless those who curse you; pray for those who abuse you.
To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also;
and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
– U.N. Day of Prayer for World Peace 2

Becoming the Light Unto the World

prayers-for-peace-10

A Non Traditional Prayer for World Peace

Spirit of Life and Love, be present with all who are suffering terribly from violence.
Lift up the hearts of those who fear. And inspire courage among the peacemakers.
Be present with political leaders, ensuring a retreat from violence
and a procession towards the peace table.
Guide the hands of all those who are caring for the injured, the hungry and the grieving.
And, open our own hearts to compassion.
Remind us of our complicity and responsibility.
And lead us towards generous engagement—always towards a vision of peace.
–Adapted from the Unitarian Universalist Tradition

Shalom and Amen,

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is our much treasured administrative lead for Bequine Again and The Bardo Group. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com

Posted in Bardo News, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Peace & Justice, Poets/Writers

BARDO NEWS: “Beguine Again” + “The Bardo Group” merging; Poetry Kudos; 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change event; the People’s Climate March gone global …

800px-rafael_-_el_parnaso_estancia_del_sello_roma_1511-1STATUS ON MERGING  Beguine Again and our collective, The Bardo Group, continue with sharing of ideas and some modifications to site links already in progress. At this point the intention is to continue with daily posts. The official transition date is October 1st. On Saturday, October 4, Terri Stewart will post a more complete status report. Jamie Dedes will remain as a part of the core team and as poetry liaison.

We move forward with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change. However, we have streamlined the plan given the weight of work that is now upon us. We won’t be able to publish a book this year – a dream for next year maybe – but we’ll still have daily post/s and in the spirit of the occasion, we invite readers to link in their own relevent work to the posts via Mister Linky or in the comments sections starting September 27 and through October 3 inclusive. Shortly after the event close, we’ll collect links into a Page like the one we did for Poets Against War, 2013 Collection HERE.

The Bardo Group chosen area of concern for this year’s event is Peace and Justice.

The founders of 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change are enthusiastically rolling forward. Founders Michael Rothenberg, poet and editor of Big Bridge Press and zine,  and Terri Carrion, poet, writer and associate editor and visual designer of Big Bridge Press and zine, have pages set up for all participating organizations. THE BARDO GROUP event page is HEREWe take this opportunity to thank Michael and Terri for their vision and their work.

Michael and Terri have written: 

“The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It will be empowering.”  MORE

KUDOS

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PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH (HERE) The largest global demonstration for climate action in history is scheduled for September 21. In solidarity, Beguine Again will post spiritual practice relevant to the issues.

(c) 2014 Jamie Dedes
(c) 2014 Jamie Dedes

 

More than 100 organizations are taking part in an online recruitment drive to sign people up for the demonstration. In the first hours of the push, thousands of new sign-ups have already begun to flow in.

The People’s Climate March is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The march takes place just two days before world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. Marchers are demanding leaders go beyond rhetoric and commit to bold action at the summit.

More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the People’s Climate March, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of buddhist monks.

In total, the groups represent roughly 100 million people worldwide.

The scale of organizing for the march now rivals that of a major electoral campaign, with thousands of volunteers, daily phone-banks and canvasses in NYC, and a major online operation to turn out marchers. Updates from the field include:

Trains and hundreds of buses will be bringing people from across the country for the march. Including a dedicated train from San Francisco to New York, a dedicated train from D.C. to New York, and buses from multiple points outside of New York.

More than 45 labor unions have signed onto the march, pledging to turn out members in New York City and from surrounding areas.

Connecticut alone has over 40 different groups confirmed to attend.

Renowned artist Shepard Fairey, whose Obama Hope poster has become world famous, has donated a poster design for the march.

At a warehouse in Brooklyn, artists are creating giant sculptures, floats, and banners for the march.

The global campaigning group Avaaz has secured 10% of the subway ads in NYC for the month before the march. The ads were chosen after a poster design contest that netted over 400 entries worldwide. Groups are planning a major student recruitment push for college campuses as classes resume in September.

In New Delhi, thousands will take over the streets on September 20 to demand a renewable energy revolution.

In Australia, organizers are expecting hundreds of individual events to take place across the country, including a major march in Melbourne.

In London environment organisations and faith groups are combining forces to create a historic march through the city to the steps of Parliament.

In Berlin three parallel marches will combine forces in a colourful festival.

Events are already being planned in Ghana, Kenya, DRC, Nigeria, and Guinea, along with a major march in Johannesburg.

In Paris, local groups will create the “Paris Marche pour le Climat,” with parades, marches, and bicycle rides planned across the bridges of the Seinne.

Reports are also coming in of large mobilizations planned in: Kathmandu, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Dublin, Manila, Seoul, Mumbai and Istanbul.

Organizers are confident that the sheer scale and diversity of the People’s Climate March events, from the headline demonstration in New York City to the simultaneous events worldwide, will show politicians that there is a massive, energized movement demanding immediate action to address the climate crisis.

In New York City, the message will be difficult to ignore: marchers have come to an agreement with the NYPD for the march to flow directly through the middle of Manhattan. The march will begin at Columbus Circle at 11:30am on Sunday, proceed over on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square.

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The march and the Climate Summit in New York mark the beginning of a busy 18 months of crucial international negotiations. Climate negotiators will head to Lima, Peru, in December 2014 to make progress towards a global climate deal. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will meet back in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the global post-2015 development agenda. Three months later, the world will gather in Paris to try and sign a new international climate treaty.

BLOGGERS AND WEBSITE OWNERS don’t forget that September 10 is Internet Slowdown. This is all about NetNutrality. Our site host, WordPress, is participating.

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

The Bardo Group

Posted in Photography/Photographer, Video

Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer

In this video, photographer and Moving Walls exhibition co-curator Susan Meiselas, an American documentary photographer, discusses documentary photography’s potential to connect and move audiences by “expanding the circle of knowledge” about human rights and social justice issues.

The video also features a variety of work by photographers supported by the Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Project. The project funds photographers who go beyond documentation, using images to foster civic engagement, organizing, advocacy, outreach, public awareness education, and media attention.

Opening photograph: © Eric Gottesman

Words and video courtesy of Open Society

Posted in Culture/History, General Interest, Guest Writer, Imen Benyoub, Music, Peace & Justice

Music, Language of the Soul

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“Music is…a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”
Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Sarajevo under siege…a city in ruins that wakes up on the sound of shelling and bombing and sleeps on that of mourners. This beautiful city, so rich in history, architecture and art suffered the horrors of a four years siege considered the longest in modern history, and became Europe’s capital of hell since the war broke in 1992, to coincide with another atrocious civil war that broke in my own country and lasted almost ten years, what we Algerians know as “the dark decade”.

At 4 pm on May 27, people were queuing in front of a bakery in Sarajevo for bread; a mortar shell dropped in the middle and killed 22 people instantly. A man witnessed the massacre and was so appalled by the sight of blood and torn bodies so he decided to do something.

This man was Vedran Smailović, a widely recognized and talented cellist who went everyday for 22 days to the bombed site the exact time of the massacre and played cello, in honour of those who died in front of him and all of the victims, all those hiding from snipers’ bullets, the refugees, the hungry, the wounded, the destroyed homes and for his smouldering, exhausted city that struggled to survive.

This man sent a prayer of peace through his music, that the city of his heart might witness a brighter future, and he became the symbol of peace all over Bosnia, playing in graveyards and bombed sites, despite the shelling and fired bullets, Smailović was engulfed by light, the light of hope he was spreading all over the battered city. No crowd applauding to his performance, just Angels protecting him.

It’s been years since the dreadful siege and the civil war in my country ended, but did Sarajevo recover from its dark past? Did my people ever forget? the victims, the mass graves, and the fear they lived in all those years…

We are never entirely healed of our memory.

Al Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus Syria, another Sarajevo, another siege, people dying from a severe lack of food, water and medical supplies, massive destruction of homes and buildings, for weeks the Government forces besieged the camp and starved its people on purpose, the majority of them Palestinians who were exiled from their country in 1948, they found themselves caught against their will in a merciless war that made Damascus, a beautiful and rich city…Middle East’s capital of hell.

History repeats itself, it always strikes me how it does, and not always in the gentlest way, I believed it with all my being when I saw young men with a battered piano in the middle of rubble playing music and singing for peace and freedom, I said: if Vedran Smailović could see those proud and defiant guys whose souls are connected to his, one of them a pianist who started playing since he was six, he used to repair musical instruments with his father and studied music in the university of Homs*, the others, just ordinary people praying for the end of the war, and dreaming of a safe united country again in their own way.

They sang: “Oh displaced people, return; the journey has gone for too long. Yarmouk we are a part of you and that will never change.”

Smailović would have loved what those Palestinians did, because he, of all people will understand the meaning of creating beauty amid destruction, and defying death with the language of the soul…Music

(I would secretly thank that man who set up his piano in front of armed police, a day after protesters in Kiev brought down the statue of Lenin, and played Chopin…he inspired me to write this post)

*Homs: a Syrian city

Editorial note:  A partial translation of the song and apologies for any inaccuracy.
“from among the ruins and under the ashes, the [Palestinian] phoenix sings for life and will rise again for the cause of freedom …”

– Imen Benyoub

© 2014, essay, Imen Benyoub, All rights reserved; photo credit ~ Rashid Essa (Almadon News), youth in Al Yarmouk Refugee Camp, ” © electronic cities” under CC A-SA, no modification to photograph is allowed

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pictureIMEN BENYOUB ~ is a multilingual, multi-talented writer, poet, and artist living in Guelma, Algeria. She is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and to On the Plum Tree and Plum Tree Books Facebook page.

Posted in Christianity, Essay, Jamie Dedes, Peace & Justice

THE TIPPING POINT: Good will from and toward women and men everywhere!

Nativité_de_CostaThis is simultaneously blogged on Rev. Terri Stewart’s blog and my own personal blog.

Today begins the first day of our Terri Stewart’s Advent event. There are many bloggers participating in this event. Each day of the Christian celebration of Advent will be sponsored by a different blogger who will post appropriately on his or her site. Their posts will also go up on Terri’s site and the kick-off is on Into the Bardo today.

If you follow Into the Bardo  regularly, you know that we share work here that is not necessarily religious but is reflective of diverse cultures and spiritual paths and representative of universal human values, however differently they might be expressed. This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples.

We acknowledge that there are enormous theological differences and historical resentments that carve wedges among and within the traditions, but we believe that ultimately self-preservation, common sense, and human solidarity will empower connections and collaboration and overcome division and disorder. We work for the tipping point when compromise – an admittedly imperfect peace – will overcome war and respect for life will topple resentment. That may not happen in our time, but it has to start somewhere and sometime and this is our modest contribution toward an end for which diverse people the world over are working.

For those who are not Christian, Advent is the period of time leading up to the Nativity of Christ (Christmas). It is celebrated somewhat differently by different Christian sects and by Roman and Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox churches. I think the details of the celebrations are less important than the scriptural quote for the day …

James 4:1-3
1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

Indeed, where do the conflicts and disputes originate: in the cravings that make us restless within ourselves, in coveting things or situations we don’t have (and may not really need), and in not using right means for just ends? These are appropriate considerations as we approach the annual celebration of the “Prince of Peace,” a celebration which is in the end a call for compassion and understanding.

May our compassion have legs.

PEACE ON EARTH
The tipping point:
GOOD WILL FROM AND TOWARD WOMEN
AND MEN EVERYWHERE!

… and Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah to those who are celebrating  …

Follow the entire Advent season
with Terri Stewart HERE.

… If you are so inclined, we would be grateful to have this post reblogged. Thank you! …

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ Pramzan via Wikipedia under CC A-SA 3.0 Unported 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, 1.0 Generic license

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ Poetry remains a gift in disability and medical retirement. It’s a compact thing that I can still manage. I am the founder and host of Into the Bardo, a spirited international collaborative of word-play, music, art and photography where our core team members function independently and yet with a remarkable synergy. They do everything. They are the stars. I have simply created a space in which to share.

For the past five years I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day, the journey in poem, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight (hence the url). Poetry is my spiritual practice.

Posted in Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry, Poets Against War Week, Victoria C Slotto

POETS AGAINST WAR, #1: The Irony of War by Victoria C. Slotto

smiley

Smile, Jesus Loves You

He wore no smile. Square jaw, set firm,
taut muscles. Skin like latte, stubble-covered,
(more like fuzz.)
Skin too soft for who he was,
who he pretended to be.
Salvadoran sun backlit the scene
set on the borders of insanity.

elsalvador

Not a game he played that day,
a game his peers in other lands
and other times still play.
This was a game of war.

He stared at us, each one, with eyes
too full of sadness for an almost-child.
Compared our passport photos with reality.

And there, upon the submachine gun’s butt—
a smiley face, a message, too.

I wonder–can he smile today,
and can he still believe?

Earthquake--El Salvador1986
Earthquake–El Salvador
1986

At the height of the civil war in El Salvador, the country suffered a massive earthquake that resulted in much loss of life and many injuries. I spent close to a month there, helping to nurse the wounded not requiring hospitalization. We flew into Guatemala and drove to San Salvador, the capital. On the way, we had to pass through numerous military checkpoints. At one of these stops I observed a young soldier. I’d guess he wasn’t much older than 15 or 16, perhaps younger. There on the butt of his huge machine gun was a smiley face sticker with the words in English that I’ve chosen for the title of this poem.

When will we ever learn?

– Victoria C. Slotto

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

jr-cover-2VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~  is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012is Victoria’s first novel.  A second novel is in process.  Jacaranda Rain — Collected poems, 2012 is available on Amazon, as is the hot-off-the-press nonfiction, Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s poetry collection and non-fiction book are free to Amazon Prime Members.  Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Posted in Charles W Martin, Peace & Justice, Poems/Poetry

a question of validity…

a question of validity

oh your arguments
well prepared – true premises
but your conclusions

your fine conclusions
placed you well above the law
like those you oppose

– Charles W. Martin

© 2013, poem, illustrations and book cover art, Charles W.  Martin, All rights reserved

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678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.phpCHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics.  Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography).  Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles  and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period.

Posted in General Interest, Jamie Dedes, Teachers

MADEMOISELLE, Teaches Lessons in Courage and Compassion

ANDREE GEULEN-HERSCOVICI (b. 1921), Belgian 

Saved 300 Jewish children during the Holocaust

LESSONS IN COURAGE AND COMPASSION

by

Jamie Dedes

With love for her students who would surely face death at the hands of the Nazis,  Andree Geulen (then a twenty-year-old teacher) hung the Star of David on her Cross of Jesus and one-by-one walked three-hundred children out of the Holocaust and into life. They called her Mademoiselle. Her story is a lesson in courage and compassion.

There are unsung heroes in this story too. They are the men and women who subsequently took these children in at risk to themselves. They raised and presented the children as their own. They taught them to put on the face of Christianity for safety sake while secretly teaching them to honor their own Judaism.

Laurel D. sent me this video with a song that was written to honor Andree Geulen-Herscovici. The complete story is embedded in the video. The song was written to honor Mrs. Geulene-Herscovici’s 90th birthday, as you will note in the video.

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Andree Geulen-Herscovici, May 1998, at the reunion of children who had been saved during the war at Chateau Jamoigne, Belgium: Her comment HERE. (Must read.)

Belgian woman who saved 300 children in the Holocaust gets honorary Israeli citizenship HERE.

© 2012, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Video uploaded to YouTube by  

Photo credit ~ Andree Geulen, Maison des Justes Histoire

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures

In Pakistan the theme for International Women’s Day is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”  In solidarity (I just picked a country at random), I am reblogging this poem, which I wrote last year.” I hope the day will come when all people  – regardless of country or gender – are able to express themselves creatively in whatever way and whatever field resonates for them.

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I know that I haven’t powers enough to divide myself into one who earns and one who creates. Tillie Ollsen (1912-2007), American writer and feminist

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I READ A POEM
by
Jamie Dedes

I read a poem today and decided

I must deed it to some lost, lonely

fatherless child to embrace her

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along her stone path, invoke sanity

I want to tell her: don’t sell your

dreams for cash or buy the social OS*

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Instead, let the poem play you like a

musician her viola, rewriting lonely

into sapphire solitude, silken sanctity

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Let it wash you like the spray of whales

Let it drench your body in the music

of your soul, singing pure prana into

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the marrow and margins of your life

Let the poet-shaman name your muse

and find you posing poetry as art and

·

discover the amethyst bliss of words

woven from strands of your own DNA.

Yes. I read a poem today and decided

I must deed it to a lost fatherless child

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© poem, 2011, 2012, Jamie Dedes All rights reserved

* OS – Operating System

Photo credit – Jaime Junior, Public Domain Photographs.net

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Women’s Day Live 2012

Video uploaded to YouTube by .