Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Anti-War and other sugar plums dancing in my head

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anti-War and other sugar plums dancing in my head

There have been several post-election interviews with Bill Ayers, former Weather Underground member, and all of them have repeatedly evidenced the nuanced intellect and integrity of a man who refuses to espouse idealogy over the facts as he sees them, versus the hysterical rhetoric of a neo-con movement gone bankrupt and a media that doesn't know how to discern and dismiss topics that don't warrant their time. That said, it's been interesting to hear the anti-war themes from the 60s being repeated today, but in a different atmosphere and a different time. Winter Soldier is being relived as former Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers come home from their tours and speak of the unspeakable. Anti-war sentiments given new life by the devastating injuries that young men and women come home with--injuries they never would have survived 40 years ago from another unwanted war.

As our President-elect warns of renewed efforts in the field of battle along the Afghan-Pakistan border, I am already weary. There are no winners in battle. There is only the prudent policy decided after the fact--after thousands are dead, after hundreds are raped, after so many tortured, after homes are lost and communities destroyed--to end what should have never begun.

The 6th Sikh Guru, Hargobind, was the first guru to take up arms and become a great soldier. And as I look at my long history of passivism as a guiding philosophy (my own personal temperament not included--ha!) over the particular faith I've adopted, I wonder: Yes, there are things worth dying for; but are there things worth killing for? There's the rub--as another writer once said.

One assumes that most of the time, dying versus killing are moot points on the battlefield, indistinguishable from one another.

But there is one front that we can always succeed in: uplifting women, educating children, and helping the leaders in any given community come to serve themselves. Three Cups of Tea by Mortensen and Relin has shown me that it's possible. Yogi Bhajan's longstanding policy that if we elevated women, we could change the world also points the way.

Until then, we wrestle with our conscience and we try to fit our policy onto forms that don't work--post nationalist policy on ancient tribal fodder. It's never worked--and it won't now. We can only stand down from our lofty rhetoric and ask the simple question: What would be best for everyone? And begin to make that happen.


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