To all Grandparents for Peace members and friends:
Want War Waste
What do those three words mean to you? How do you relate them to each other?
They came to my mind on Saturday, April 22nd, when I reflected on some very interesting booths I had seen at the Earth Day event in St. Augustine.
As to be expected, there were several booths with information on social issues: the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the ill -- all disturbing examples of want, of need, of suffering. Each booth had personnel and literature describing the social agency’s program and accomplishments.
There was a dramatic anti-war presentation on stage, beginning with a tribute to Stetson Kennedy, acclaimed author and peace activist. This was followed by an award of $500 to a graduating senior of St. Augustine High School, Leda Balch. She was the winner of an Essay Contest sponsored by three local anti-war groups, People for Peace & Justice, Grandparents for Peace and Veterans for Peace. The suggested theme for the 500 word essay was taken from a song by the popular musician and anti-war activist, Michael Franti:
“We can bomb the world into pieces,
We can’t bomb it into peace.”
And the third dreadful word, waste. There were half a dozen booths and tables showing not just the negative but the potential for avoiding waste with energy saving, water saving, and other home appliances within our grasp. We do not need costly high tech installations. Simply turning off unnecessary lights saves electricity. Turning off unnecessary running faucets saves water. Recycling and reusing prevents waste. It behooves each one of us to stop and think and make a list of what we can do. And lastly, we should write our elected officials and ask them to sponsor legislation to provide incentives via tax reductions and subsidies for new construction and for upgrading existing homes, schools, and public buildings. These suggestions, and many others, will provide employment, boost the economy, and reduce waste, assuring a cleaner and better world for generations to come.
The photograph of the May 2008 calendar , distributed by Syracuse Cultural Workers, is a poster of a farmer with the wording “Los Campesinos del Mundo Aplastaran La Globalizacion:” Kyang Hae Lee was one of 120 Korean famers who protested in 2003 at a World Trade Organization meeting in Mexico. He climbed to the top of a barricade and stabbed himself in the heart in profound testament to the crushing burden so-called “free trade” policies placed on the world’s small farmers. In India, Korea, China, Mexico and elsewhere they face ruin as domestic markets are forced open to imports of cheap (read subsidized) staples like cotton, rice, soybeans and corn from the European Union and the U SA. He said: “My warning goes out to all citizens that human beings are in an endangered situation…that uncontrollable multinational corporations and a small number of big World Trade Organization members are leading an undesirable globalization that is inhumane, environmentally degrading, farmer-killing and undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately.” Does this sound familiar ?
Thursday, May lst, according to the Peace Calendar distributed by the Syracuse Cultural Workers, is not only International Workers Day, but also May Day ,and ushers in Asian/American Awareness month, as well as Beltane (a Festival of Fertility, Wiccan and Pagan.)
In May,1830 Mary Harris (Mother Jones) was born. She was an anti-war activist, agitator, and inspirational union organizer.
In l958, President Eisenhower declared May lst Law Day in a pathetic attempt to subvert a radical labor holiday.
May 10th is World Fair Trade Day. Free trade is FAIR only to multinationals. We can’t stop corporate globalization, but we can reduce it by looking for the label and buying FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED products which combine a fair price with rigid environmental standards for farming families, thus raising the standard of living for millions of people around the world.
In 1932 on May 25th, thousands of World War 1 veterans marched in Washington, DC, demanding promised war benefits.
This year, Monday, May 26th, is Memorial Day. And in St. Augustine, PPJ (People for Peace and Justice), Grandparents for Peace, and Veterans for Peace, will celebrate with a silent vigil across the street from the Record. We will have a flag-draped coffin and our white wall with the names of the Floridians who have died in this infamous war in Iraq. Time to be announced. Please join us for this special vigil, and for our rallies on the first Friday May 2nd, and the third Saturday, May 17th, at our usual site in the Plaza della Costituzione .
“Those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that when refusing immoral and illegal orders, they will be supported by the people, not with mere words, but by action.”
Lt. Ehren Watada, U.S.Army, Iraq War Resister
Peace to All.
Puzzle Peace by: Leda Balch
Let me start out by thanking my preceding generation. Thanks for the puzzle you will be leaving my generation to put back together.
It is too bad that we don’t know what it should look like. There is no picture on the front of the box to guide us. There is no memory of how it used to look before you decided to break the picture up and start the puzzle over again. This is because we have never seen the puzzle all together. Maybe because the “adults” that run this world never knew how to keep it together. And a few years down the road we will be inheriting this unsolvable puzzle. Or so it seems to be unsolvable considering no one has been able to find a solution to it yet.
But I am here to change all of that. My generation is constantly growing more aware of the changes that need to be made in today’s world. Awareness leads to proactivity. Proacvitity leads to change. And the motto, be the change you wish to see in the world, is becoming ever more prevalent.
The pieces of this global puzzle seem to have been misplaced underneath the sofa cushions of life. And when we should be looking for those lost puzzle pieces, we are out there starting a new puzzle. This is not right.
What are you trying to teach the young people of the world? I thought that setting a good example for the youngsters was most important. After all we will be in your shoes one day, and then what? How many new unfinished puzzles will there be for us to complete? Or will we be too preoccupied with starting our own puzzles?
You are teaching us that if something is lost it cannot be found. You are teaching us that if something is too hard, simply give up and try something else. What kind of solution is that? No solution, I’d say.
You can do, and surely are doing what you want. You can try to bomb the world to peace, but you will only created more pieces for us to pick up. You can scatter those pieces of the puzzle across the globe. You can hide those unfinished puzzles under all of your supposedly charitable organizations. But we, the determined youth of this day and age, will find those pieces. We will find all of those unfinished puzzles and put them together again. And when we put them back together the finished picture will show a healthy state of being worldwide.
So I say, children of the world UNITE! Turn over those sofa cushions! Sweep under those bookshelves! Move furniture around! Because if nothing gets turned over and swept up and moved around, nothing will ever be found.
I know it looks bleak. I know that it seems like trying to put together a one-thousand piece puzzle of a blue sky, but do not despair. We will find the pieces. We will find peace.