'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

30 January 2011

Give Peace A Chance

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” Mahatma Gandhi
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?” Mahatma Gandhi
“The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service” Albert Einstein
Take off your clothes for a peaceful world. (nowhere to hide a knife, a gun or a bomb)
"If we do not end war - war will end us.  Everybody says that, millions of people believe it, and nobody does anything." H.G. Wells
Join the Army, see the world, meet interesting people - and kill them. Pacifist Badge, 1978

Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism 
Isn't it the most
All we are saying is give peace a chance 
All we are saying is give peace a chance 

Ev'rybody's talking about 
Ministers, Sinisters, Banisters and canisters,
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Pop eyes,
And bye bye, bye byes. 
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, Mastication, Flagelolation, Regulations.
Integrations, Meditations, United Nations, Congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Oh Let's stick to it
Ev'rybody's talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary, Tommy smothers, Bob Dylan, 
Tommy Cooper, Derek Tayor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,
Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
Imagine Peace Tower Lit for John Lennon's Birthday which is also Sean Lennon's  Birthday and for other anniversaries.
Love and Peace
"Sweet and fitting it is."
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind; 
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

"To die for one's country."
Wilfred Owen
Dulce et Decorum est was written by the great anti war soldier and poet Wilfred Owen in 1917. It is known for its horrific imagery and condemnation of war. Owen was killed a week before the end of the WWI, and this was published posthumously in 1920. The title and the Latin exhortation at the end are from the phrase "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" written by the Roman poet Horace in (Ode III.2.13): Ironically theses words were used initially in support of going to battle.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidove tergo.
"How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country:
Death pursues the man who flees,
spares not the hamstrings or cowardly backs
Of battle-shy youths."
The Divine Marlene at age 71 with a stunning performance of a heartfelt Pete Seeger Anti-War song.

We do not need to gloat over pictures of the horrors of war. We are all too familiar with such images.
The great images are of those who stood up to guns with flowers.
In the late 60's and early 70's I marched in every anti Vietnam-war moratorium here in Brisbane. There were also local civil liberty issues, apartheid in South Africa and the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. My mother always gave me bail money just in case, but never did I get arrested unlike several friends. One short Russian friend made the full photo front page being held up by the throat by a special branch police officer. Not a single demonstration in which I was involved saw any violence on behalf of the students and other demonstrators, but unhappily the same can not be said of the police. A neighbour who worked at Police headquarters told of the excitement of the young police officers who cheered when they had a chance to go out and beat up students, just like your average young thug. I also recall driving around the hills of Brisbane shifting some of the more well known activists from house to house to avoid the arrest warrants that had been taken out against them. There was late night pamphlet printing, police raids, unnecessary vehicle mechanical checks by plain clothes detectives and harassment of grandmothers of the student leaders. Being throown over the roof of parked cars by Special Branch police after a sit in in the city and the sound of clapping echoing off the buildings as we marched, danced and sang 'Power To The People'. It was a busy period.
I had been conscripted on my 18th birthday, but as I was a university student I managed to have it deferred for several years and I also failed the occasional medical. It was not until the election of the great Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his cancelling of the Draft on the day of his swearing in, that I finally avoided having to participate in a war I did not believe in. In fact I do not believe in war at all. I will not kill, nor do I believe in the state killing anyone under any circumstances. I do mean ANYONE at all and under ANY circumstances at all. One either believes in life or one doesn't.
A couple of demos in the 60's - 70,s I was in above and then in 2003 I was once again back on the streets with 50,000 other close friends marching against the Bush/Blair/Howard invasion of Iraq. It did nothing for my arthritis so I crawled in pain on all fours for 8 days after that.
No matter what happens one should always have faith that one day we will overcome the urge to hate, to be violent and to kill. In the words of perhaps the greatest anthem of all - We Shall Overcome

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