Making Peace

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“True peace,” the founder of Panasonic wrote in one of his books, “is not a state of non-war. Peace is a state in which people understand each other, help each other, and share wisdom and power with each other;” (Konosuke Matsushita: “Thoughts On Man”, 1981).

Peace. What a concept! So much needed, sought after, longed for, but so little evidence of nations being interested in pursuing it. What we have instead is a state of almost constant war. A number of years ago I heard Miami business man Carlos Marín say that “we get what we focus on.” If we want peace, we have to focus on it. We can’t look to our political leaders to focus on it, because they won’t. There is power and influence in aggression and war, and tons of money to be made from it. When it comes to peace, we seem to lack the images and the imagination for what it is and what it means and what is important about it. In looking for images, I could find thousands of photos of war, and no photos of peace. The photo I chose was one I took of a dance troupe marching down a street in downtown Sapporo during the annual dance festival. This is a peaceful event, but it is not the only kind. We need more images of peace.

What, then can we do? As comedian Milton Berle said many years ago, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

In a recent article in “The Palestine Chronicle”, Patrick Kennelly, the Director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, wrote from Kabul Afghanistan the Border Free Center, “a community center in which young people explore their role in improving society” in this violence-ridden nation. “These young adults are engaging in demonstration projects to show how different ethnic groups can work and live together. They are creating alternative economies that do not rely on violence in order to provide livelihoods for all Afghans, especially vulnerable widows and children. They are educating street children and developing plans to decrease weapons in the country. They are working to preserve the environment and to create model organic farms to show how to heal the land. Their work is demonstrating the unspeakable in Afghanistan — that when people engage in the work of peace, real progress can be achieved” (Patrick Kennelly: “The Unspeakable in Afghanistan,” “The Palestine Chronicle,” 18 December, 2014).

That’s the way we begin building peace. More in my next post.

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at www.geogepolleyauthor.com.
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30 Responses to Making Peace

  1. Jerry grant says:

    George….there will never be peace on this earth ,until the extremist Muslim forces are shut down ..in the EU…Africa and especially in the 22 Arab states Iran and turkey….a nd of course in Palestine and gaza….how this can be done is the impossible task that will bend even the most brilliant mans brain…I can’t see using war..mainly because the west and Israel doesn’t have the stomach…for the mass killings it would entail..nor capitulation …that would be the end of civilization…so do we just struggle along?…..hopefully some moderate Muslim leaders may come along?…..any ideas?

    • shatara46 says:

      I have one idea, Jerry, and that would be stop focusing on the Muslim terrorist false flag operation. Read a little history and you’ll discover to your horror that modern day Muslim terrorists are a pretty small pebble in the world of terrorism, so small in fact, they don’t even make a plop in the pond. Christianity makes a tidal wave and in the 20th Century, the greatest terrorist world-wide has been America. A regular tsunami of manufactured conditions to bloody violence. Consider this one fact alone: a “nation” with 4% of the population of the planet maintains 50% of total global military spending. Is anyone out there so naïve to still believe that’s to maintain global peace or to protect continental USA?

  2. Jerry grant says:

    Shatara46…..now you are putting your head in the sand of political correctness ….that’s all history…nazi Germany with the western nations helping them murdered 6 million souls…and turned to fight them when they had no choice…that’s true terrorism….but face facts Islamic terror is the game right now….that American force is to protect and hopefully protect from the tyranny and barbarism of the Islamists…that is mankind s cycle of finding wars to fight…

    • gwpj says:

      I’m not sure yo got Shatara46’s point Gerry, which was, to reiterate, draw attention to the role the US has had in creating and sustaining a climate for pent-up resentment and anger that we’re seeing today. Every act of war we engage in, including drone killings, adds more to the climate of hate and resentment that creates these violent people who want to “get back at” us, at “Satan incarnate.” When you read the history, the reasons lay all over the landscape, including the creation of Israel and its deplorable treatment of the indigenous population of Palestine. Most Muslims are peaceable people; a few are not and they are the violent ones. An interesting note in this context is the rebuke Gaza’s Hamas leaders made to the recent killings in Paris. If we want peace we have to be peaceable, but we aren’t, one reason being, I believe, that we would have to “give up” too much, to learn to share with rather than to advise and pay off like we do. Happens all the time to Japan, which I’ve experienced myself these past 7 years.

      • shatara46 says:

        Thanks for clarifying, George. I also meant to add that in order to understand how terrorism works, one should follow the arms trade. See
        http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/big-six-arms-exporters-2012-06-11 If the date is correct, a bit dated but I doubt there’s much change in these statistics.
        Quote from that article: “The United States is by far the world’s largest arms trader, accounting for around 30 per cent of conventional arms transfers in terms of value. Its position on the ATT is therefore key.” (ATT: arms transfer treaty)

      • shatara46 says:

        quote: “Happens all the time to Japan, which I’ve experienced myself these past 7 years.” Could you elaborate on what this means, perhaps even write an article on it, or let us know if you already have something posted on this subject? Thanks.

  3. gwpj says:

    Given the US arms trade, there seems a slim-to-no chance at all for a movement towards peace and peaceful methods of resolving conflicts. What we have is what Eisenhower’s warned us about the military-industrial complex with its close ties to the US military establishment. Peace is too much of a threat to their bottom line to tolerate. Re what I’ve experienced the past 7 years living in Japan is a very clear picture of the way US political and military forces deal with Japan. Japan is expected to support what the US wants. The message is very clear, “We are staying in Okinawa!” being one of the messages; “You will join the Trans Pacific Partnership” being another. A third example is one i experienced during a speech to a Sapporo audience by a representative of the US Embassy in Tokyo. As I sat there listening, he reminded everyone of the losses the US had suffered in the Pacific War, making the very clear point that we should remember this. No mention whatsoever of the US being aware of 2 1/2 to 3 million deaths suffered by the Japanese. I doubt if there was a smiling face in that room, including mine. I thought it an insufferable insult, not only to his Japanese hearers, but to me. If this occurs again when I am present, I will speak up and speak to his appalling failure to mention it, giving the clear idea that US losses were the only ones worth mentioning. I could guess that most of the Japanese members of the audience lost someone in the war, many in the carpet bombings in the final weeks. Not to mention it is an appalling example of US hubris, the kind that creates many enemies.

  4. Jerry grant says:

    Guys….you overwhelm me with the truth…of course you are right about the military industrial political complex…our state department is both blind and dumb ..also add deaf..also our hubris knows no bounds…HOWEVER…Japan Germany had to be stopped..they were pounded into submission …but they sure are doing well now…America could have made slave states out of them ..Russia I am sure would been for it..also china…but no we helped them to their feet…Islamic terrorism is not our fault..we helped the afghans against Russia..the Bosnian Muslims against Christian Serbia …do you think we deserved 9/11?…or Saudi Arabians Wahhabi teaching is our fault..Iraq was a terrible mistake…but was fighting iraqs takeover of Kuwait wrong?….one thing is for sure…Islamic terrorism is one serious enemy of civilizations and must be dealt with….one more point George…sorry….the Jews are the indigenous people of Israel Judea and Summaria ..much as the American Indians are here in the US…only in this case they took it back

    • gwpj says:

      How are the Jews the indigenous people of Israel Judea and Samaria Jerry? I hope you aren’t referring to the idea that “God” “gave” it to them 4,000 years or so ago.

    • gwpj says:

      An addendum to my previous reply: “they took it back” — does this include attacking the Palestinians (Arabs) and running over 700,000 of them out, killing around 10,000 others, and treating the remainder like the USA has always treated its Indians? Just asking.

  5. Jerry grant says:

    Ok…fair comment…begs for corrections…first ..let me add the Islamic terror directed at Aussies in Bali ..hundreds burned alive….the forever Islamic fights in the Philippines ..the millions starved murdered raped amputations in Darfur by Arab gangs from Sudan…then the horrors in Africa..and many many tears ago the million and half Armenian Christians by the Muslim Turks…none of this America’s fault…now as for Israel….Jews had a full civilization and control over this land…the Romans named it Palestine years later after their conquest..this is proven history …Muslims and Arabs did not come into history century’s later..as far as the treatment of the over million Arabs citizens of Israel…they have more freedoms access to health services and education,then in any of the 22aran states in the world…the other Arabs have been at war with the Jews since the 1920s…considering the terror put open Israel…the Arabs are lucky they are not fighting any other country in the world…Israel treats them extremely well ,considering….as for the 700000 displaced and the 10000 dead….it was war….plenty of jews died….and don’t forget the80.000 Jews kicked out of Arab countries with nothing..after living there before Islam was thought of….the Israeli and even the Judea and Summaria Arabs are living quite a bit better then the American Indians….yes the West Bank residents live behind security fences and walls ..and have uncomfortable lines ..all necessary to keep suicide bombers out…as over 2000 Israelis were killed during the past intifadas obviously there is blame enough to go around for the last 100 years…it really is too bad that the uber.liberal elitist morally corrupt have turned to blaming Israel for all the ills of the world..looking for Israel to act as no other country in the world would while under constant attack

    • gwpj says:

      Well Gerry, I disagree with nearly everything you say in the above reply. Efraim Karsh, in his book “Palestine Betrayed” supports you completely; sad to say, his book is not supported by historical record. As for Palestinians being treated “fairly” by Israel that, too, is not supported by history. Did Palestinians attack Irgun and other groups attacking them? Of course, just as I would have done, and would do, if someone was attacking my home and my wife. What about the land confiscations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem? Are these “legal”? Not as far as I’ve been able to determine. I think you and I had best settle on this primary fact: We do not agree, so we need to agree to disagree. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.

      • shatara46 says:

        I have to agree with you, George. The only thing that will make Jerry happy is for the “Armies of the Lord” to enter into a global crusade to annihilate Islam, killing every Muslim man, woman and child, but especially the females as they will just breed and make more little terrorists. And not one stone upon stone must remain of a single mosque! Onward, Christian Soldiers! Your long awaited day of the Lord’s vengeance on his enemies is at hand! Bring forth the “Final Solution to the Islamic Question.” Then and only then can the planet enter into it’s peaceful Golden Age under the aegis of a gentle, kind, benevolent shepherding by a Christ-centered US Military. What about the other religions, you ask? Why, they’re next, of course, unless they unconditionally submit and convert. They can then live to be our hewers of wood and drawers of water, providing we believe them. If we don’t, our holy motto shall be, as always, “Kill them all, God will know those who are His!”

  6. Jerry grant says:

    Sorry…corrections…those million and half Armenians were killed by Muslim turks,only because they were Christian …it was 800.000 Jews kicked out of Arab countries some living there before the advent of Islam ..not80.000..

  7. Jerry grant says:

    Shatara (46…not really…killing 1.6 billion Muslims is not what I want…as I am sure you are being cute….how about we kill the 2to 5 per cent…who want to kill us…yes you too….even that many can’t be killed….so lets not do anything..let them have their way…destroy the 6 million Jews in Israel…take over Europe in 50 years…and over time take over the rest of the world outside north and South America…new Zealand and Australia..Japan and china…then an nuclear war…and the destruction of the world…or at least the return to the 7th century…now you and George will be happy…

  8. shatara46 says:

    Ah, Jerry… I think it’s only too true that those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Of course I was using hyperbole in my reply. Sometimes that helps to make things clearer. Life has taught me this: if there is sediment in a glass of water, and I want clear water to drink, I can find another source, I can strain the water (if I have the means) or I can let the sediment settle by having a bit of patience and leaving the glass untouched for a bit. I suggested annihilating Muslims which you can see is ridiculous. (Can’t strain all the sediment out of the glass). You suggest stirring the water a little bit. (Killing 2 to 5% of Muslims, hoping that this will ensure we get all the terrorists). A little thinking should demonstrate that won’t work. These 2% to 5% have connections – families, friends, tribes, groups, outside their immediate “terrorist” cells. More importantly there’s also those waiting for your meddling to gain political pre-eminence. Eliminating the “cells” now pushes the problem outside and a whole new level of “sedimentation” takes place in our glass of water. You haven’t made the water clearer, you’ve guaranteed that it will be murkier than it was before you began your stirring. You’ve just shaken the glass. These “connections” will now have to seek vengeance on “you” for killing their jihadists, and making them martyrs to the cause. You’ve fuelled and spread the cause. If you decide to “kill” a grass fire, you have to make sure you get all of it, including any smoldering soil. If you’re not sure you can accomplish that then it’s better to let it burn itself out… and it always does. Every conqueror throughout history has come to an end, and that end was not because of superior opposition, it was because the conquering movement ran out of energy or was absorbed by those it was conquering.

    I have a much larger world-view than you express here. Back to my glass of water analogy above, I said, “find another source.” I have already found that source. It’s not in this reality, Jerry. I am ready to leave here (this planet) if I’m not wanted by whatever system happens to claim rulership. I could try being a Muslim if that particular political system got power over me, but I’m quite sure that wouldn’t work too well, so I’d be another decapitate! That has a nice ring to it: I’m a decapitate. Sounds like a promotion in rank, just above archbishop. His Grace, the Decapitate of…

    Seriously Jerry, what you propose is technically insane – definition of insanity being to do the same thing over and over while expecting to reap different results. In my opinion, there’s no need to get all twisted up in fear over a Muslim global takeover – I doubt they’re part of the Illuminati’s concept of an ideal global form of government: there’s way worse in store for this world than Islam. Radical (terrorist type) Islam is being allowed to raise its fist and shed some blood for the greater purpose of an on-going destabilization of nations. That was why the banks (the largest legalized organized crime syndicate) funded the Communist revolution, then Hitler, and why they funded the greatest terrorist group of them all, the USA and its military-industrial behemoth, throughout it’s short history.

    You’ve fallen for the old tried and true method of divide and conquer. Islam is not the conqueror, it’s one of the unwitting arms of the New World Order, but not the only one. North Korea is another. The USA is another, as is Russia, and as one or the other fails, falls or is crushed, others will surface as long as they are needed by the NWO. The people who take sides in current political upheavals (and Islam is political, not religious – their pretend religion being another false flag) are tilting at windmills. They’re displaying abysmal historical ignorance and an incredible amount of naivety. The real enemy isn’t Islam, it’s man-made famine and disease exacerbated by overpopulation. Already you have approx. 40,000 daily innocent victims of the NWO: people dying of preventable causes which murder on a terrible scale. Where are the tears for those? Where’s the anger? 40,000 killed each and every day: how do the jihadists compare? Your fear of Islam is part of a carefully orchestrated global false flag operation. Know it thus: if it’s promoted through emotion, it’s propaganda. The question rather is, who stands to benefit in the end?

  9. shatara46 says:

    …wish they had an “edit comment” feature here. word missing in this sentence: people dying of preventable causes which *equates* murder on a terrible scale.

    • gwpj says:

      All of your answer to Gerry is so very well said that I won’t add a thing other to say “Thank you” for adding so well to this conversation.

  10. Jerry grant says:

    Dear lady….mankind has been at war with nature and each other from the dawn of time…long before there was a military industrial power base in most nations…man was killing maiming raping and pillaging..all modern development has done is to enable to kill and enslave in greater numbers…evil people have always been with us…but now is now..Islam is a political force backed by a religion..it has never been at peace with anyone ever…look how they treat women,animals,homosexuals..thieves…victims of rape..how in good conscience can good folks as George and yourself not see this?….I grant that not all evil is with the Islamic terrorists…but certainly looking at what’s happening in Africa,Syria,Iraq,Yemen…and Saudi Arabia..where they behead and cut off limbs as a matter of course..it’s really bad…as far as I am concerned my tribe ,the Jews who have fought for their very exsistance tagainst the whole world for the lsst 3000 years….outnumbered and outgunned….now have their backs to the wall…we will have to fight the fight with everything we have..certainly outnumbered but not outgunned this time…..it’s really to bad that otherwise fair minded folks such as George and yourself are at our throats having bought into the Jew haters canard….that truly breaks my heart

    • gwpj says:

      We “have bought into the Jew haters canard”? “Jew haters”; you have no idea what a disgusting term “Jew haters” is to me. It is used to silence all criticism of Israel and Jewish people, as if Jewish people and Israel are an elevated group of people that are above criticism, a way of not addressing issues that I have raised. I don’t hate people, Jerry, but I do detest behavior, and your attempt to smear either one of us this way is beyond reprehensible. It is bankrupt. And this discussion, so far as I am concerned, is finished.

    • shatara46 says:

      I was troubled wondering if a reply could be made. Can I understand your sorrow and anger? I think I can. You are neither the only, the first, nor the last, to be in such a position or place. I know something of it, hence why I entered into a personal quest to get beyond the past and to face the future — without FEAR. I’m done with fear, it is the absolute worst of demons to have riding on one’s back and it claims its right to stay there day and night, forever, unless it is disavowed. That disavowal demands detachment — from everything and everyone. It is the loneliest of paths, and the ultimate path to freedom of mind. What does one do with this painfully bought freedom? One learns to serve others and allow whatever that gives back, to feed the self. It’s an old but reliable concept which broaches no pretense or hypocrisy. All or nothing. I might dare write that I feel your pain above, but only because I am no one so I have an infinity of choices constantly moving my life where it is, hopefully, needed; where it does good. I no longer have family, friends in the common sense of the word, nor a people, nor a religion, nor any belief system. I am nothing in earth terms, therefore I am everything, or I should say, I am whatever anyone has need of. This is no boast, it’s where I have pushed myself to. So you see, I have no enemies of people, though I do of systems – they are all hate-filled and hateful. When people learn to have compassion for one-another, as individuals, not as machines (programming) which always carries ulterior motives, then, if not too late, perhaps your world may save itself. This I have seen in visions of earth’s future: horror followed by greater horror, for hundreds of coming years, and then an awakening, slow, hesitant, yet irreversible. A thousand years pass, and man lives again. But this distant awakening is completely dependent upon man learning and practicing compassion for all of life. No more enemies. You see, the only way to gain peace is not by seeking it, it’s by renouncing enmity. It’s not a feel good thing, it’s a simple necessity, and the most difficult task any living intelligent, sentient, self-aware being can set before herself or himself. Something to think about, perhaps, and maybe you won’t feel so abandoned now.

  11. Jerry grant says:

    George….I only pointed out that you have bought into the worlds Jew haters canard…not yourself being a Jew hater…lets look into a mirror ..with all the horrific deaths and crimes against humanity purpatrated in the 22arab nations and ,across eruope and Africa as we speak…your blog has no words of for..nothing to say…blank..but for Israel..constant critizisim including blood libel…Israel the only Jewish nation in the world ..as tiny as can be…now why is that?…if it walks like a duck quake like a duck it is a duck..pure and simple

    • gwpj says:

      Gerry, what do you say about the horrific deaths and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people from before 1948 when Irgun and the other Jewish terrorist groups attacked Palestinian villages and, when the villagers fought back, massacred them? Why Has Israel forbidden Palestinians from talking about and commemorating The Nakba (The Catastrophe), when so many Palestinians fled their land for refugee camps in neighboring countries? Why does Israel continue to allow settlements to be built in Occupied Territories (West Bank and East Jerusalem primarily) when they are illegal by International Law, law that Israel thumbs its nose at, proceeding speedily with more and more settlements; settlements that separate farmers and villagers from their fields? Why do you say nothing about the ancient olive groves bulldozed, the people, some of them elderly, who return home to find their things stacked in the street, and a Jewish family living in what has belonged to the Palestinian family for generations? Why do you talk about Arab nations and the atrocities they commit, but say nothing about these things? Why is it that Gaza’s residents have been kept under siege for over 10 years, forced to live under conditions that fit a description of the world’s largest outdoor prison? And when Gazans sicken of their mistreatment and have the courage to fight back, Israel pounds them with everything they have in their arsenal (except for nuclear bombs, which would also fall out over Israel itself) for Gaza having the GALL to fight back. We did the same thing to Indians in the old days, Gerry, when they fought back: We killed them all when we could and accused them of attacking us. One of my ancestors was quoted as saying that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” a common expression for way too many years. “How’s them apples?” as the expression goes. It doesn’t go well with me at all, Gerry, as it insults four young people who mean the world to me.

      So . . . have I no feelings for Jews? I do. They have been my brothers and sisters from the beginning, just like all people are. I’ve studied their history, eaten their food, sat with them, shared their humor and their sadness, supported them when they have stood for justice and peace, and will continue doing so. What I will NOT support, however, is a blind support of a nation (including my own) that continues to oppress another people. That, Gerry, is where I stop, take note, and call it out. Do I ignore what other nations do that are reprehensible? I do not. However, here, we are not talking about them (except for the U.S., which is as morally at fault regarding the Palestinian people as Israel is), I am talking about Israel. And I will continue to do so until the issue is resolved justly, with the Palestinian people able to live on their own lands, within their own country which may mean that Israel may become a nation of both peoples should both decide on that.

      Do I expect you to accept what I say? I do not. You are welcome to the world in which you choose to live. I will live in the one of my choice, and that is one in which, at some point in the future, all people recognize their brotherhood with each other. A fool’s hope? If it is, I have some very good company in Gandhi, Mandela, Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

      Good day to you, Gerry.

  12. Jerry grant says:

    George….again where to start debunking all this garbage your throwing out…first this piece of face book rubbish ..the jews in eruope had close marriages..first cousins was not unusual…so over the years this line breeding,can produce genius and also hunchbacks and fools..thist idiot rabbi is one of those fools..to listen to him would be like believing a ranter in a insane asylum …back to our discussion….for sake of the argument lets say you are right on the Israel/Palestinian situation…the damage done to the Palestinians isn’t even a foot when compared to the 1000 ft mountain of damage wrought open the world done by the 22arab states iran ,trkey and islamic terrorism..to their own people and the world..your looking at over at least a million dead millions dislocated…living in misery..christians and other minoritys executed out of hand young girls sold into slavery….beheadings..amputations..horrific treatment of women and girls..to say nothing of the lack of human rights to homosexuals dissidents and minority’s…now as when you and your ilk ignore or excuse all this human tragedy ..and only focus of Israel …this is anti semitisim…to deny it ,and talk about your Jewish friends is a joke….

  13. Jerry grant says:

    George…Gandhi ..Mandela and tutu…we’re as blind as you are …rev king however was a firm supporter Israel until the day he died….you can add henry ford and Thomas Edison Martin Luther and hitler along with Sweden Ireland France and the rest of the E.U…to your company….we stand virtually alone,and have done so for the last 3000 years…..we survived many powerfull enemy’s and our own fools like Rosen and his ilk ….we will survive …..

    • gwpj says:

      I have only this to say to you Gerry, and they are from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.” It applies to everyone. End of discussion.

  14. Jerry grant says:

    We agree at last….now see if you can convince the Islamic killers …

    • gwpj says:

      It’s “we” Jerry, not just me. Both of us are in this together, like it or not. “May you become as the waves of one sea, stars of the same heaven, fruits adorning the same tree, roses of one garden in order that through you the oneness of humanity may establish its temple in the world of mankind, for you are the ones who are called to uplift the cause of unity among the nations of the earth. (Abdu’l-Baha). Martin Luther King, Jr., said the same thing many times. Take good care of yourself Gerry.

  15. Jerry grant says:

    Or in your world they don’t exist ….?

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