Archive for the ‘Nonviolence’ Category

Ship of  heroes, the peaceful kind, the kind that endeavor to saves lives, to restore quality of life, freedom of life, the rights of individuals regardless of nation, creed, color, or class, those kinds of heroes; upon this ship are many of the faces of the peace movement, people who bravely opposed the Bush administration’s machinations of war and torture and who continue to oppose the machinations of the Obama administration yet who take their efforts to sea to attempt to bring life saving materials to the open air prison of Gaza.



Also watch how Audacity of Hope activist passenger, Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who gave Bush Sr. his daily CIA briefings, was beaten and brutalized by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s security forces when he peacefully stood and turned his back on the podium in silent protest of war during one of her talks. He was wearing a Veteran’s for Peace T-shirt.

Remember the problem of T-shirts during the Bush administration? Remember? What has changed when this can happen as Clinton coldly and coolly continues a talk about abuse of peaceful protesters in other countries!

Watch on Democracy Now:

Watch on Alex Jones:


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Father John Dear, a prominent peacemaker who has been arrested 75 times in the name of peace and has written numerous books on the nonviolence of Jesus, calls on peacemakers of all religions, and certainly to Christians, who’ve by and large forgotten the core teachings of the nonviolent Master, to turn away from violence and bloodthirst, as a solution, and to instead answer the call of peace in the only way that this call can be answered, through peaceful means:

“Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Jesus told his disciples the night before he was assassinated. Violence in response to violence only leads to further violence, he taught. Retaliatory violence will not break the downward spiral of violence. It will only fan the flames of hatred and war. Active nonviolence breaks the cycle of violence. Nonviolently resist those who do evil; don’t become like them. Create justice for everyone and you will reap a great harvest of peace.

I think Jesus’ teachings on the futility of retaliatory violence and the possibilities of active nonviolence have long ago been proven true. Our wars, our weapons, our state terrorism have not brought peace. The U.S. assassination of bin Laden, like the death of Saddam Hussein, will not end terrorism or bring peace. It will only inspire further violence, and bring new terrorist attacks against us.

Bombing and killing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan only fuels the spiral of violence and inspires a new generation to retaliate against us. Jesus was right. Stop killing people, treat people nonviolently, and you will have a better chance of being treated nonviolently too.

But who follows these teachings anymore? Very few. We have twisted Christianity so that God will bless our wars. If Osama bin Laden did not represent true Islam and the All-Merciful One, neither do George W. Bush or Barack Obama represent true Christianity and the nonviolent Jesus.

In fact, Al Qaeda and the Pentagon are two sides of the same coin. In the end, both spend their resources trying to kill, and end up killing innocent civilians. If Osama bin Laden was guilty of killing innocent civilians, so are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton guilty of killing innocent civilians. But the truth is that the U.S. military has killed many more people — millions more — than Al Qaeda. Both need to be stopped and dismantled.

Read All of Father John’s article:


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“Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam”

Father John Dear on “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”



King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ still challenges us

by John Dear SJ on Jan. 11, 2011
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friendPDF versionPDF versionEvery year for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, I reread his writings to glean insight, courage and strength for the year ahead.

This past week, while visiting Nags Head, North Carolina, I’ve been studying his famous 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” It was written after his Good Friday arrest for marching to break unjust segregation laws without a permit.

One of the great documents in our history, this letter was composed in his darkest hour, just as the nonviolent movement for civil rights was on the verge of total collapse. And yet, the letter is filled with faith, hope, and love — enough to enlighten us in our own dark times.

While in his bleak jail cell, King came across an open letter written to him that January by eight white church leaders in Birmingham, criticizing his work for racial justice as “unwise and untimely.” He spent that week crafting a lengthy response on newspaper scraps, even toilet paper.

King’s eloquent cry for justice was reasonable, passionate and unparalleled. A careful reading shows concern for at least three themes: nonviolence, civil disobedience, and the church.

Nonviolent Gadflies

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. King writes. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

That’s why he’s in Birmingham, he explains. The white church leaders call him an outside agitator; he wonders why they have done so little to relieve the suffering in their midst.

They charge him with creating tension, albeit for justice and equality; that’s the duty of every Christian, he responds.

Nonviolent direct action seeks to create a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…The creation of tension [is] a part of the work of the nonviolent resister.I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. The purpose of the direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.We have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily…[But] we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

King used creative nonviolence to lance the boil of racism, segregation and injustice. His public project was messy, but it began the healing process. He knew the infection of violence ran deep among us, and the work of healing would continue for generations.

“We… need … nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men and women to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brother/sisterhood,” he writes.

Nonviolent gadflies. That’s us. Like King, we too are “nonviolent gadflies” who create tension to help force new understanding, disarmament, justice and peace. As “nonviolent gadflies,” we agitate for the abolition of war, poverty, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction. And through our creative nonviolence, lance the boil of violence for the sake of societal healing.

Breaking Unjust Laws

Next, King tries to explain the methodology of civil disobedience. Some people must challenge unjust laws to push for positive social change, he writes.

As King outlines the theory, he teaches that civil disobedience has a noble place throughout history and the biblical tradition.

There are two types of laws: just and unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’ A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and changes the personality.One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.[We have seen this] in the refusal of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks, before submitting to unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced such civil disobedience.

“We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal,’” King reminds us. “It was ‘illegal’ to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”

King does not want us to sit by while injustice and war run rampant. Take nonviolent action, even to the point of breaking unjust laws, he commends, in order to safeguard justice and peace — as Jesus and the early church did.

We have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men and women willing to be co-workers with God.Without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy, and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brother/sisterhood.

All of us are called to be “co-workers with God” for justice and peace, King insists. Some may even have to engage in civil disobedience. Work “tirelessly” and “persistently,” he urges. This is what the times require.

Disappointment with the church

Exhortations on nonviolence and civil disobedience might be expected from King. But the remainder of the letter takes on a surprising topic: King’s deep disappointment with the church. Such talk is rare.

We know little of the disappointment of St. Francis, Franz Jagerstatter, Dorothy Day or Oscar Romero — though they must have been profoundly hurt by the church leaders of their day. We can barely imagine Jesus’ anguished disappointment with the religious leaders of his day.

Like us, King had hoped that church leaders would lead the struggle for racial equality, justice and peace. He presumed that anyone who claimed to follow the nonviolent Jesus would seek the fullness of God’s reign, promote its consistent ethic of nonviolence, and advocate for the disenfranchized.

Alas, King learned the hard the way, as we are learning, that church leaders rarely join — much less lead — the struggle. Too often they stand in the way.

I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions, [but] I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be some of our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of their stained-glass windows… So here we are moving toward the exit of the twentieth century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a taillight behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading people to higher levels of justice.I have wept over the laxity of the church. But my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love…Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ, but oh! how we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being nonconformists.The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch-supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are. But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.

An irrelevant social club. Today millions dismiss our church leaders as far worse. Outright disgust is commonplace. Yet despite his disappointment, King remains in the struggle precisely as a church person.

But in a rare moment of candor, he speaks of turning within to find strength.

“Maybe I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ecclesia and the hope of the world,” King concludes. “I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decision hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future.”

No despair about the future. King has hope — hope in nonviolence, hope in the civilly disobedient, hope even in the church as the community of followers of the nonviolent Jesus.

It’s that hope which makes him an exemplary “nonviolent gadfly,” an authentic church leader, a bright headlight leading us home through the darkness.

An Extremist for Love

“You’re just an extremist,” the eight white churchmen write.

At first, King was hurt by this dismissal. But on reflection, he decides it’s a compliment. In times of violence, injustice and war, what else is there to do, he asks, but be an extremist for love, an extremist for peace, an extremist for nonviolence?

“Was not Jesus an extremist in love — ‘love your enemies, bless them that curse you…’? Was not Amos an extremist for justice — ‘Let justice roll down like waters…’? Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ? …The question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice, or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?

We need more extremists for love, peace and nonviolence, King concludes.

Be nonviolent gadflies who work for disarmament, justice and peace, he advises. Don’t let your disappointment with the church paralyze you. Set your sights high, take new risks for love and truth, and be the church you wish others would be.

King’s great letter continues to instruct today. It challenges us to break free of complicity, despair and disappointment; to use nonviolence creatively for justice and peace; and to follow Jesus as an extremist for love, peace and nonviolence.

As we begin a new year with violence everywhere, from Tucson to Kabul, I hope and pray we heed King’s word and example.

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Award winning journalist and activist Allan Nairn’s review of geopolitics in 2010:

“You can’t say that your waging a war on terror if your commiting terror.”
Allan Nairn


Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, “What about President Obama?”

Allan Nairn “Well, as we said in the discussion last year at this time, he’s kept the machine set on kill, he’s continued backing for the dozens of  repressive regimes, he’s upped the killings in Pakistan and Afghanistan, when you compare the democrats and  the republicans on core issues of preventing preventable death, shifting funds to stop hunger, of killing of civilians, there’s no difference, but we have some democratic rights in this country and people have to organize to stop that, you know on the basic issues there’s not that much difference between the choice that an American has and the choice that a person in repressive Burma has or repressive China has or repressive Indonesia has, in none of those countries, including the U.S. can you choose to alter the basic policies; if you vote for a democrat, if you vote for a republican you get the same thing on state murder, on preventable death but we, here, have the right to rebel [nonviolently], we have to use it.”

RT’s   Anastasia Churkina ” You’re among American citizens who say the U.S. needs a revolution of change, what do you imply when you say that?

Allan Nairn, “We need to, in the words of the American founding father’s, alter or abolish the current system because it is not enforcing the murder laws and it’s allowing about a billion people worldwide to starve and they could be fed, they could be fed for the price of Washington’s bailout of Citibank, for example, it could happen through massive street protests, it could even conceivably happen electorally, if through media channels enough Americans were able to get the facts about what the U.S. and other powers have been doing.”


Democracy Now Video:


RT Video:


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“War can never stop terrorism because war is terrorism…war, and this is what has gotten me in a lot of trouble, war is not the will of God…war is the definition of the demonic, it’s anti-human, anti-community, anti-creation, anti-democracy, anti-Christ, anti-life, anti-God!”
Father John Dear
You Tube: Father Dear Part 3/9: Minute 6:33

There’s a small group of Catholic priests who practice, today, in America, Gandhian nonviolence, but more than that, they practice Christian nonviolence; they are, in the Catholic tradition, imitating Christ. Father John Dear is one of these priests, he has served time, years, in prison and been arrested 75 times; he is a follower of Christ, a practitioner of nonviolence, he is a Christian peacemaker.

As we celebrate Christmas, as Christians around the world celebrate the holy birth, little do so many realize that what they are actually celebrating is the birth of the Incarnation of Nonviolence; Jesus Christ.

Perhaps, in honor of His birth, we can today recommit ourselves to the causes of peace and justice, and begin by researching the lives of those heroic persons who’ve practiced Christian nonviolence so fluently, Dorothy Day, the Berrigan brothers, Mother Teresa, Bishop Oscar Romero, Father John Dear, and others; perhaps one of the greatest Mysteries of Catholicism is the Mystery of Nonviolence which is practiced by these loyal and devoted religious, who claim they are merely practicing the simple teachings of Jesus Christ.

Have a peace-filled Christmas,


9/9 is not posted on You Tube

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A few weeks ago I went on a long walk with a friend at the Desert Botanical Gardens here in Phoenix, Arizona. This brief journey culminated into this website which I believe represents a greater journey, one which I hope to share with others who have also struggled to find real solutions amidst what can at times appear to be bewildering world conditions.

As we walked and talked we spoke of world conditions and events. Overhead we observed the solar radiation management spraying which has been taking place for years right above us all and yet has remained classified and largely unchallenged and even unnoticed by a psychologically compliant public.

We discussed issues such as those created by the massive geoengineering of seeds and Monsanto’s aggressive and destructive tactics.

We discussed mountaintop removal mining and the movement of civil disobedience which has risen among the Appalachian peoples (which incidentally has become so effective that since our talk the EPA has finally determined that mountaintop removal mining does indeed destroy water shed and that no new contracts will permit mining companies to blow up a mountain and fill the valleys below with the debris). Why it took the EPA so many years to figure that one out, I can’t say, but I suspect that the arrests of numerous citizens practicing nonviolent civil action had something to do with their awakening.

We spoke of Gandhi and King and the underlying and transcendent spiritual principles of their movements, and the efficacy of such methods in birthing genuine and lasting change for the better.

We spoke of thought as energy, as a wavelength or as various wavelengths, and we discussed the words of a swami from the east who often spoke of thought as a wavelength. In this vein of discussion we began to explore the role of an individual’s thought and awareness in finding solutions to many of the world’s challenges, in other words can we as individuals effect a change by way of thought?

I believe that thought and action are required for as the saying goes, “Faith without works is dead.” What I can’t determine is what actions another individual should take. For one person activism is required, for another deep prayer is an action, a service. 

Gandhi said that no lasting change could come about without prayer yet he also said, “God has no religion.” I believe this is true and that this is why the Gandhian and Kingian movements were successful, because they began in religion yet ultimately transcended religion.

At any rate we had been discussing these concepts when we came upon an area in the gardens dedicated to hummingbirds and we were looking at an artist’s rendition of a hummingbird dipping it’s beak deep into a blossom yet clearly the beak could not reach the base of the flower. My friend told me a story about the hummingbirds around her home, she said she had observed that they had begun to pierce a tiny hole at the base of the flowers and that while this did not harm the blossoms it served two purposes for the hummingbird, one he could drink fully from the base of the flower and two the little hole seemed to serve as a marker for other hummingbirds to see that this flower had been expended of its nectar.

As we pondered with fascination over this amazing collective breakthrough which the hummingbirds around her home had displayed we began to wonder if other hummingbirds might pick up on this new development and at that moment we both looked at each other and exclaimed with delight, “Like the hundredth monkey!”

In view of the direction our discussion had taken the hummingbirds became a metaphor for me and I ultimately decided to honor the experience by naming this website after it.

I believe that together we can journey to new places where solutions thrive, where we are unafraid of facing the truth about conditions in our world yet also where we are committed to tuning into the wavelengths wherein solutions are born. I look forward to traveling with you on this journey as we tune into the wavelengths of solutions for the planet and for humanity.

Pamela Senzee, Phoenix, AZ

“Nobody living can ever stop me as I go walking my freedom highway, nobody living can make me turn back, this land was made for you and me.”   Woody Guthrie

The power of a simple song! Enjoy Pete Seeger and friends on his 90th last year at Madison Square Garden!

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