Exploring Ways To Make Peace Within
Ourselves & the World

Women In Black Denver, Colorado

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Why Do I Write This Blog???

The easiest (and probably the most honest) answer to that question is: I don't know. It all started in the summer of 2005, when I went to Crawford, Texas ( a.k.a. the home of the prez's ranch, a.k.a. the home of Camp Casey) to support Cindy Sheehan. I wanted the world to know that, contrary to what one could read in the mainstream media, the peace movement was alive and well and large numbers of Americans did not support the war in Iraq. I wanted people to know that thousands of Americans were willing to travel to Texas and tolerate the heat, humidity, and bugs in order to support a grieving mother whose new purpose was to shine a light on the lies that led to the war and to bring home our troops so that no other mother would have to know the pain that she felt.

Over time, this blog has become more of an exploration of who I am, my spirituality, and how life works. I love life's complexities, exploring the shades of gray. I want to, as Rainier Maria Rilke said,

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

Maybe my blog is just one big question about what is needed in order for people to take the time to love and cherish each other and our earth. Maybe someday, I will "live along some distant day into the answer."

In the meantime, thank you for joining me on my journey. I welcome you to share yours with me


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trying to Simplify

I'm packing up my bags and will be living only at A Peace Carol. Unless I change my mind some day.

Be well.

Walk in Peace.

Labels: ,

posted by Carol at 2:56 PM 12 comments

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Same Story, Different President?

Once again, I can hardly stand to think about the actions of my country. It's beyond painful to know about the horrors that we are causing in Afghanistan (and Iraq - still).
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Life as 8-year-old Razia knew it ended one March morning when a shell her father says was fired by Western troops exploded into their house, enveloping her head and neck in a blazing chemical.

Now she spends her days in a U.S. hospital bed at the Bagram airbase, her small fingernails still covered with flaking red polish but her face an almost unrecognisable mess of burned tissue and half her scalp a bald scar.

"The kids called out to me that I was burning but the explosion was so strong that for a moment I was deaf and couldn't hear anything," her father, Aziz Rahman, told Reuters.

"And then my wife screamed 'the kids are burning' and she was also burning," he added, his face clouding over at the memory.

The flames that consumed his family were fed by a chemical called white phosphorous, which U.S. medical staff at Bagram said they found on Razia's face and neck.

It bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to and even penetrate flesh as it burns.

White phosphorus can be used legally in war to provide light, create smokescreens or burn buildings, so it is not banned under international treaties that forbid using chemicals as weapons.

And I wonder...

When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Labels: ,

posted by Carol at 10:27 AM 10 comments

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I Love This Man

Barney Frank speaking in rebuttal at Wednesday's Hate Crime debate. (He begins by addressing the 2007 arrests of the Philadelphia 11 which had been brought up by the Republicans.)

Thank you to Thomas for the transcript of Frank's speech.

I just tried to email Barney Frank in order to thank him, but he's only accepting emails from his constituents. Bummer.


posted by Carol at 9:11 PM 6 comments

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Part We Play in the "Drug Cartels"

Godwhacker posted a link to a John Stossel article titled, "Prohibition Spawns Drug Violence".

Americans also have a hefty demand for Mexican beer, but there are no "Mexican beer cartels." When Obama visits France, he doesn't consult with politicians about "wine violence." What's happening on the Mexican border is prohibition-caused violence.

Right on, John!

posted by Carol at 9:41 AM 4 comments

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is Peace Becoming a Popular Concept?

I swear that I started wondering if I had awakened on the wrong planet this morning. As we stood today in our weekly vigil -with WINTER coats on AGAIN (oh, when will the cold weekends ever end?) - the atmosphere at our corner was like a party.

Never, in the 3 1/2 years that we have stood at this corner, have I heard so many horns honking in support of peace. People were SMILING. A lot! People were waving and peace signing and thumbs-upping. It was amazing and uplifting.

Did something happen to cause this? Something that I missed in the news?

When was the last time that you saw smiles on the faces of most of the people driving down the street?

It was beautiful.


posted by Carol at 5:21 PM 4 comments

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Would You Spend It?

End the War. Build the Peace.

President Obama has just asked Congress to approve $79.2 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This request will push the cost of supplemental funding for the wars to almost $1 trillion since their beginning.

This request for U.S. spending in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan has a 20:1 ratio of military to nonmilitary expenditures. $75.5 billion would go to support military operations, while only 3.7 billion would go to nonmilitary assistance.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. spends twenty times more on military operations than on development. The U.S. military currently spends $35 billion a year in the country, nearly $100 million a day: yet USAID spending for 2008 was only $1.6 billion, some $4.4 million a day. A RAND Corporation report says that there is only a 7 % chance of military success in Afghanistan.

Military solutions aren't working. Instead we should be funding refugee assistance, Iraqi-and Afghan-led development, and diplomacy.

Ask Congress to fund peaceful alternatives - not war.

USAID Country Profile: Afghanistan: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADN479.pdf
Caught in the Conflict, A briefing paper by eleven NGOs operating in Afghanistan, April 2009: http://www.afghanconflictmonitor.org/Afghanistan_CaughtInTheConflict.pdf
RAND Corporation report: How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering Al Qaeda. RAND, 2008: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html
Supplemental Funding Breakdown: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/budget_amendments/supplemental_04_09_09.pdf

American Friends Service Committee www.afsc.org

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posted by Carol at 10:50 AM 9 comments

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"The U.S. must learn to live in a world with hostile powers and learn to get along."

That is one message that I heard from Michael Schwartz, author of War Without End, when he participated in the discussion on Lessons From Iraq and the War on Terror this past Thursday at the University of Colorado, Denver campus.

(Wasn't that a lesson that we were supposed to get, on the individual level, in Elementary School? At what point do we drop the lessons and pick up the bombs?)

Schwartz also brought up the point that I have heard several times before:

A Rand Institute study on terrorist groups concluded that there has not been one case of terrorist groups being defeated by war.

Still, the U.S. uses terrorism as an excuse to do whatever is necessary in order to secure our interests.

I wanted to write about the thoughtful discussion that was held on the University of Colorado at Denver campus this past Thursday, but I've found that I can't. I took pages and pages of notes. I also took mental notes of my impressions and feelings about what was said and how it was said. A few years ago, I would have written an article from my notes, but something is blocking me right now and I'm going to listen to it.

The people from the University of Colorado at Denver who created this event were kind, wonderful people and it was a great experience to work with them. They brought speakers, students, and the community together for a much-needed discussion regarding the U.S policy in Iraq and the world.

I enjoyed hearing from each of the speakers, and I learned a lot from both Mr. Schwartz and from the Director of Homeland Security. I could see how, if I were in the shoes of Mr. Recca, Director of the Center of Homeland Security in Colorado Springs, I would see the world the same way that he does.

It was all good. I wish that you could have been there.

Part of the cost of the oil we use.

Is this the only way and if so, is it worth it?

Labels: ,

posted by Carol at 3:47 PM 7 comments

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What I Learned at Eyes Wide Open

People just want to be heard.

It was about 20 degrees out when we set up the Eyes Wide Open exhibit at the Auraria Campus which serves three schools: Metropolitan State College of Denver, the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Community College of Denver. It never got really warm all day and I am still frozen to the bone.

One of the first visitors that I interacted with at the exhibit was angry. I never figured out what he was angry about, but he was a veteran and he needed to tell his story. I get that. So I listened. And I learned some things. Connecting with that man made all of the lugging of boots and shoes worth it.

But there was more.

We have a sign about the veteran suicides and we place a pair of boots that have been painted white in front of it. These boots represent all veterans who have committed suicide while in the service or afterward. We will never know the number of people this one pair of boots represents. One young man was very, very touched that we remembered those who don't count in the casualty statistics. His friend, an Iraq war vet, killed himself a month ago. His brother, another vet of this insane war, has lost his home and his marriage because of his violence toward his wife.

War is an atrocity that reverberates through families and communities, and the damage will last for generations. How can we do this to ourselves?

I saw another man bent down for a long time in front of a pair of boots . I knew that he must have known the soldier represented by those boots. I heard his sniffles. He tenderly lined up one boot with the other. When he finally left the boots, I asked him if he knew people who had been killed in Iraq. That's when the stories came. The young soldier who was represented by those boots had died only a short time after turning 18. The two were good friends. The man I spoke with was traveling behind the vehicle carrying his friend as it exploded, killing all inside.

There is a tradition in the Army that I still don't understand completely, but soldiers, after a certain amount of combat duty, may be awarded spurs. It is a high honor. At another point, they may be awarded a Stetson hat. These honors come from the tradition of the Calvary. The man that I was just writing about, whose 18-year-old friend died two vehicles ahead of him, had earned two pairs of spurs and a Stetson. While we all shivered among the boots and shoes, he had his girlfriend bring a pair of his gold spurs and he placed them on the boots of his departed friend. It was stunning.

4,257 U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqis.

Isn't it interesting how sadness is so much more bearable when there are more shoulders to help carry the burden?

I hope to have photos from today soon.
I found some information on spurs and Stetsons here.

Labels: ,

posted by Carol at 3:39 PM 7 comments

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thanks for stopping by! You can also visit me at my other place, A Peace Carol.

posted by Carol at 12:51 PM 0 comments

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