November 16, 2014
If I told you I have a plan that would bring world peace in 100 years, a plan so clear and credible that you were convinced it would work if enough people would follow it, would you be willing to do your part even if it meant changing jobs, life styles or communities?
A friend of mine from Santa Barbara, who died recently, was working on such a plan. I asked his widow if she would share his work with me, but she said “Sorry, I can find nothing.” Dead end. But the idea is fascinating to me for several reasons:
1. Putting a target date of 100 years on it gives it a sense of being achievable as well as a sense of hope. Even if it’s not in our lifetime, our grandchildren would enjoy it. World peace is not even spoken about these days, much less on the agenda of any political party. It’s time to break the silence. Except for the Quakers, the term is almost obsolete. Our culture has adopted military might as the primary way of solving conflicts. Arbitration is rarely successful.
November 9, 2014
EVE: I’d like to share with you the circumstances under which I first became involved with peace and justice issues. I’m not sure that Orlando Tizon knows I hold him responsible for this, but it was he that started it all when, in 2005, he invited me to TASSC’s (Torture Abolition Survivor Support Coaltion) annual vigil in Lafayette Park. I knew Guantanamo existed, and that the US engaged in enhanced interrogation of the prisoners, but since I didn’t know much about TASSC, I decided to see what it was all about. When I arrived on a Friday night, I saw a large cage in which a chained and hooded man or woman (I couldn’t tell which), wearing an orange jump suit, was kneeling on the ground. Outside, a group of demonstrators were handing out leaflets to the crowd. Orlando told me that the cage was a replica of the cage used in Guantanamo to hold prisoners who were also chained and hooded most of the time. He explained that throughout the weekend, volunteers were being asked to stay inside the cage for two hours and then asked if I would like to volunteer “Sure, why not,” I replied.
I asked him if any of the volunteers had been themselves torture victims. “No,” he replied. “Nor do they ever risk arrest.” If I had known then, what I know now about what torture does to the human psyche, I never would’ve asked such a question.
After being hooded, chained and immersed in silence for two hours, I was released from the cage. It was dark outside, and for several seconds, I was completely disoriented. What moved me the most about the experience was that when I was released, one of the torture survivors thanked me for volunteering. When the vigil ended on Sunday, a group of demonstrators crossed the street to the White House to present their demands to the President to close down the School of Americas which until recently, trained foreign military in the use of torture, and to close down Guantanamo and other secret prisons that use torture. The demonstrators were subsequently arrested. I was among them.
We are a nation ruled by law, so you might wonder why I think I have the right to defy the law but the bomb-thrower should be prosecuted for her actions. Why can’t she use the same argument as I to justify what she does? Cannot she also say she is carrying out her beliefs and that that take precedence over the law of the land? I’ll answer this with a true story. Every Monday, a group of protestors stand inside the “free speech zone” at the Pentagon, an area where we can protest without risking arrest. We hold signs and banners that clearly say why we are there. Often, there are more police than protestors, but the same stream of workers see our signs on the way to work. Last Easter, a group of protestors kneeled down in front of the entrance, outside the permitted zone. A cross was placed in front of us, and Art Laffin from the Catholic Worker lay face down on the ground, clearly demonstrating our unspoken prayer, “Jesus, have mercy upon us for continuing to crucify you by our war making.” Others were standing in the “free speech” zone holding signs and a large banner. The police surrounded the kneeling group, but when they didn’t do anything, I asked one of them, “Aren’t you going to arrest us? "Oh no,” he replied, “We trust you…we know who you are.”
The Apostle Paul said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels,and have not love, I’m like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…If I hand over my body so that I can boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” The police know who we are, and that we act out of Love, a gift that is more powerful than any weapon that the US can devise. So be it.
MARK (Mark Goldstone is a "Movement lawyer" who has been defending Eve Tetaz in her non-violent civil disobedience. Eve invited him to teach, thinking he would talk about civil disobedience."
Thank you for inviting me and welcoming me and my family and friends to your beloved community. Thank you to Patty and Marja who were a great support team for Eve for her September trial in Syracuse NY, for opposing drones.
I want to tell a few Eve Tetaz stories. She called me this past Thursday and asked me about this presentation Sunday. We were on phone about five minutes. We discussed times. We discussed location. We discussed themes. We discussed parking. At end of it, as the call was winding down, Eve said, “Oh, by the way; I got arrested today.” "You did?" I responded.