Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog posts are about a variety of peace, conflict and conflict resolution issues. Topics other than specific Department of Peace and Peace Alliance legislation do not necessarily reflect the views of but rather those of the individual author.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Blame Me....

by Karen Murphy (October 14, 2011)
I've seen this photo posted in several places on Facebook.  The photo's sentiment seems to imply that the Occupy Wall Street movement is about making other people responsible for our choices.  This is not the case.  I don't know who the author is – I wish I did because I'd love to have a conversation.  In lieu of that, I offer an alternate point of view of what's happening at Liberty Square in New York City and around the world.

A woman chooses to marry a man, who it turns out likes to beat the crap out of her.  She ends up destitute and living in a tax-payer funded shelter. “Sorry, don't blame me for your choices.”  A young man chooses to enlist, puts on a military uniform, serves overseas and comes home wounded and with severe life-altering PTSD.  He cannot work and attempts to live on VA benefits which aren't enough to cover his rent and medications. “Sorry son, don't blame me for your choices.”  A migrant worker who is undocumented chooses a job where he works 18 hours a day and because he's undocumented, his employer doesn't have to pay a living wage.  His children are literally starving.  “Hey, thanks for the lettuce.  Don't blame me for your choices.”  A single mother living in rural Alabama chooses to take a job at WalMart, making $8 an hour, with no health insurance because this is the only job available and she needs to have some income.  She feeds her child using food stamps and doesn't earn enough to be able to move to a place with more opportunity.  “Don't blame me for your choices.”

I have now spent a five-hour evening and an entire day at OWS.  I have participated in the evening General Assembly and in several working groups.  I have co-facilitated workshops in nonviolent communication.  I hung out with park “residents.”  I didn't hear a single person blame another person for their circumstances or their choice to be at Zucotti Park.  What I did hear loud and clear was an acknowledgment that we live interdependently and that policies which place fiscal value above human value have created vast inequities that make equal OPPORTUNITY for a reasonable life nearly impossible in this country today. 

If I choose to sleep safely at night because American soldiers are defending my right to life; if I choose to buy goods and products from stores where often the workers themselves cannot afford to shop; if I choose to eat “farm fresh” vegetables in the summer, then I cannot abdicate responsibility for the plight of the people.  This is not about blaming people or telling those who are suffering to buck up and take responsibility.  It's about creating systems that are more just and appropriately compensate workers in all industries for their contributions to American life.


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Victory for Dialogue and Nonviolence

by Carol Hillson

Today an eviction from Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was averted. Some media accounts framed it as a victory for OWS and a loss for Mayor Bloomberg. But if you watch the video of the announcement (and know anything about those actually in the working group downtown) you understand that what actually happened was a victory for effective dialogue and nonviolence. The protestors heard and responded to the concerns about keeping the park clean and spent the night cleaning up to the best of their ability. And the Mayor and the owners of the park took seriously the calls to allow the protestors to stay on the basis of their right to protest peacefully. ( and Credo each sent petitions with over 450,000 signatures in total, gathered in just a matter of hours, to the Mayor and the Park Owners). In addition there were numerous phone calls to 311 and 13 New York City council members stepped up to defend the rights of the protestors to peaceably assemble. This is what effective dialogue looks like. As I understand it, the conversation is ongoing. Lets hope (and offer our support to this end) that all parties will continue to work through issues as they arise so that everyone's rights and needs can be met or at best held with great care.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Be The Change - update on recent campaigns

If you're like me, every now and again (or every day) something will come along in your inbox and you think - "I cannot sign one more F%$#@ petition! It can't possibly make a real difference." Remember THAT THOUGHT IS A LIE.

By all means, pace yourself with your advocacy - but never believe your actions aren't making a difference because THEY ARE!

For quite a number of months we have been following several issues around the world, and in particular in Libya. There has been positive developments on nearly all fronts and many ordinary people like you and me were a part of helping to make it happen. For all who signed the petitions, rooted for justice or beared witness by following the stories - you helped make a difference. Change may not happen overnight - but it happens when we take a stand, however large or small.

Below is a list of some of the recent successes:
  • Eman el Obaidi was granted asylum in the US thanks to her own strength and all who fought for her safety and justice (though we have yet to find confirmed reports that she has arrived in the US)1,2
  • The Libyan TNC (Transitional National Council) was recognized by the US as the legitimate government of Libya and will now be able to access the money that belongs to Libya3
  • A court in Cairo has ordered NileSat to stop broadcasting Libya State TV, which is the propaganda machine of Gaddafi4
  • The PM of Japan called for the closing of the Nuclear Power Plants near Tokyo (the company yet to comply...)5
It's important to take a moment and recognize that emails, phone calls, tweets and facebook posts, showing up to a rally, lobbying your law makers, donating $5 here or $200 there, or $10 a month somewhere else - DOES make a difference. With technology, it is even easier than ever to go on about your daily life - and still make a difference in your world.

Be The Change You Wish To See in The World!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Protect Eman al-Obaidi from Gaddafi

by Carol Hillson
Eman al-Obaidi burst into the Rixo hotel in Tripoli on March 28. The hotel was home to the foreign journalists who are guests of Gaddafi. She shouts her harrowing tale of gang rape and torture at the hands of his regime before she is jumped, hooded and dragged away by security staff.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »
Journalists beaten in the scuffle had cameras smashed, and some were escorted to the border and are no longer welcome. Within hours, Facebook pages, online petitions and twitter streams are circulating the Internet at a feverish pitch. A global effort to free her, was started within hours people around the world. The Gaddafi campaign began a smear campaign the next day on Libya State TV. They lied and claim she was released. No on in her family has seen or heard from her.
They believe she is still being detained and don't expect to ever see her alive. We remain afraid for her safety and continue to demand her immediate release. Please sign the petition urging human rights groups, the UN and Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights, the Turkish Consulate and other to press the Gadaffi regime to free her.

Revolution University

Great article how nonviolent principles travel from country to country toppling tryants and dictators.

Why Gaddafi TV Should be Stopped

article by Carol Hillson on

Supporting Libya & Nonviolent Principles

by Carol Hillson
It is open to a war resister to judge between the combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. By so judging he is more likely to bring peace between the two than by remaining a mere spectator.
– Gandhi

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Perscription for Peace - from Tom Hasting's blog

Read Tom Hasting's Blog

Six very possible, very difficult and very long-term things before the war system has us for breakfast:

So, we ask, how do we transform believing impossible things to achieving impossible things? Try this six-point program and get back to me in 20 years:

  1. Establish peace, nonviolence, and conflict resolution education in all schools from K-graduate school.
  2. Fund ever-increasing numbers of training programs for citizens who wish to be part of a multinational nonviolent de-escalation force that operates in conflict zones.Shift funding from military intelligence to civil society conflict intelligence and turn that knowledge into ongoing Societal Conflict Early Warning Reports.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I remember Mo

I met Mohammed Nabbous online probably on Feb 21 or 22. I think he had Al Ahurra up and running for one or two days. I remember thinking - Live TV from Free Libya?? Can it really be?? Why isn’t CNN linking to this?? Is it possible they don’t know?? How could I have found it when CNN hadn’t?? AMAZING! I watched with total awe and fascination. I was so hungry for real news – news from the source, not filtered through people outside Libya. This was really quite unbelievable.