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February 19, 2007

PEACEs

Peace Sign in Minneapolis Window - January 2007You may have to look a little carefully to see it (note photo), but there it is, on the picture window of a modest home in northeast Minneapolis MN: a Peace Symbol, silently witnessing to its neighborhood and all passersby.

Linda, who works at a neighborhood coffee house I frequent with a couple of friends every other Tuesday, told us about the symbol and its history in early January. It is her home, and her personal witness to Peace. It has attracted both kinds of attention: people who affirm its presence...and at least one unknown soul who felt it his (or her) duty to 'egg' it in the middle of winter (you can see the evidence just above and to the right of the peace symbol).

It is our tendency, perhaps our wish, to see dramatic breatkthroughs: an instant end to War; a rapid turning of our leadership from War-worshipping policies to sanity.

Peace Bumper DecalIt would be nice, of course, to see instant turnarounds, but the dramatic work is really one 'peace' at a time, like the symbol in the window; like the bumper sticker '24PEACE' I saw on a vehicle at Lake Tahoe last October; like the giant PEACE sign outside the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis; the metallic PEACE symbol on the trunk of the car in front of me recently; like, like, like.... Every one of us must bear witness if we are to have any chance of turning the destructive Titanic of War and its related war economy away from the Iceberg which is ever more obviously signalling our collective death.

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March 13, 2007

Spring: A New Beginning

Dick Bernard
March 11, 2007

Not to be missed:
Sunday March 18 1 pm Uptown Minneapolis (Hennepin and Lagoon): Anti-War Protest
Monday March 19 7 pm St. Joan of Arc 4537 3rd Ave S Minneapols: Paul Loeb speaking on "How to Stay Inspired for the Long Haul".

The two above events are, in my view, perfect "twins" for a new beginning, a new spring. It would be nice if neither were necessary; it is a reality that both are necessary. One continues a sad witness to the disaster that discerning people knew would be result of the Iraq War, and the Terrorism it spawned, not diminished; the other is an opportunity to recharge the batteries, as Paul Loeb's book titles suggest: "The Impossible Will Take a Little While", and "Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time".

Being Witness is not an easy task, but it is essential. A friend spotted this 1968 quote of Hubert Humphrey recently, and it says it all about those of us who quietly labor for peace and justice in this world of ours: "What you do, what each of us does, has an effect on the country, the state, the nation, and the world." This quote mirrors the comments of Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at at the Town Hall Forum on Darfur March 11. Walz noted the need for the public to "keep the pressure on"; Ellison, said "Politicians see the light when they feel the heat". Klobuchar recited the timeless truth recited in every speech given by Lutheran minister and German dissident Martin Niemoeller after his release from long imprisonment in Germany after the Nazis were defeated in WWII. "When they came for the Socialists, I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist...Then...Then...Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me." (As I recall, Niemoeller was early viewed as a troublemaker by the Reich; he was too prominent a cleric to be killed; and too outspoken to be 'loose on the streets', so by the end of the 1930s he was imprisoned and thus, they felt, rendered harmless.)

Being Witness is not an easy task, but it is essential.

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