I am sitting home on new year's day morning, thrilled to hear the hopeful, brave voices on the live feed of an international conference call for peace, a call originating in Kabul. My scheduled time to call in is about 3 hours away; I will be listening and sharing the chance to hear real news from the participants on the call all day long. To the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers THANK YOU! for organizing a chance to reach across our militarized national borders to make common cause with our fellow human beings. Kathy Kelly first brought the conference call to my attention and I've tried to share it and the accompanying Afghanistan -- People's December Review (which is very well annotated and fact-filled) far and wide.
Listening is helping me figure out what I will say on the call. Based on the questions of the young people listening, they will want to know who I am, and what I do. Can I sing a song? What do I know about what is going on in Afghanistan? Is there peace education going on in U.S. schools? What is my new year resolution for peace?
At yesterday's Gaza solidarity rally in Portland, several of us spoke of the conference call and how to participate. Directions about how to join the call are here. It goes on until 7:00pm EST in the U.S.
At yesterday's rally about a dozen of us stood at the intersection near Post Office Park in Maine's largest city. It was great to see how passersby were grateful for the message, mostly. Mark noted that the ratio of positives to negatives seemed to be roughly parallel to what we experience in conservative central Maine each Sunday when we are on the bridge for an hour with peace and antiwar messages. A husband and wife team who work very hard on Palestine solidarity and education were handing out leaflets. There were large posters from U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and my friend Jacqui was wearing a large photo of Rachel Corrie. Her signs explained that Corrie was killed by IDF bulldozer while trying to defend a Palestinian home from destruction.
One white SUV drove by with a young woman screaming: "Palestinians are terrorists! You are supporting terrorists!" She sounded very angry. I don't feel very angry in the face of such ignorance. If a person only listened to mainstream media "news" and only saw Hollywood movies about the Middle East, that state of ignorance would be the result.
I do feel compassion for such ignorance. Because I have always been interested in history, I know that
sticking your head in the imperial sands will not protect you. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
A wonderful Narragansett tribal historian put it this way in the film American Language: An Indian Story:
"The truth is the truth is the truth. And it's out there just waiting to be discovered."