Recording your attempts at "Being Peace"
I, too, have something to say about football. But I'm not writing as a fan; I'm writing as a player. No, I don't play for the Fighting Irish, at least not the varsity team. I'm talking about interhall women's flag football. It's a little personal (and a little long), but I don't mind.Anyway, our first game was today, and I was really excited. I played for my hall last year as wide receiver, and this year I would be playing quarterback, the position I had been pining for. I thought since I was the most senior of our quarterbacks (had played last year and wasn't a freshman) and since we didn't differ that much in terms of talent, I would be starting.But our last practice on Friday dashed almost any hopes of that. Our coaches were late, so we ran over some plays while we were waiting and I offered up my spot to the freshman QB so she could get in some practice. When the head coach got there, he arbitrarily decided to make that offensive team the "A squad" and the other team the "B squad", but it was pretty obvious that what he meant was "first string" and "second string". Already, I was a little annoyed because I knew that I was no worse, if not better, than the other QB and she was just made first string. But I thought it wouldn't matter that much because I'd get to play anyway.Well, I did play today, just not much. I went in for the last offensive play of the game and did practically nothing. Our team lost, and I was in for about 30 seconds. I know that we're supposed to be team players, and I understand that, but at the same time, it's hard to feel like a part of the team when you don't play. And it's difficult not to get frustrated when you're sitting on the sidelines watching your team lose and wishing you could be given a chance to turn the tides.Maybe I did throw things out of proportion a little, but this isn't just football to me. When I play football, I carry baggage onto the field with me, and there's more riding on me playing than just the game. Let's just say flag football and I have a history, and playing today was a matter of pride and self-respect, a way of making up for past regrets. But I was never given that chance because the coaches just completely forgot about everyone but the first string. They promised they would switch up the QB all the time, but they never did, and they apologized after the game, but by then, it was too late. Our team had lost, and I had just wasted a good 2 hours of my day.(At least that's how I felt at the time.)After the game, I was angry and tense. I vented a little bit to my friends, but then I realized that they didn't deserve that. I was experiencing an inner conflict of sorts, and in an effort to bring peace to myself and others, I decided to leave them out of it. I could have let out my frustration on them or have been rude and curt all afternoon, but I decided to do something nonviolent instead, something constructive.Immediately after the game, I went to the gym and I worked out. I let out all that tension I had been harboring in a nonviolent, constructive way, and I felt so much better when I was done. I realized that although my feelings were valid, I had blown the situation out of proportion, and so just by getting a little exercise and listening to some soothing music, I was able to calm myself down and put things back into perspective.And then I realized something. What if so much of the violence in the world is due to the fact that people lack either the ability or the resources to relieve themselves of tension in nonviolent ways? Some people (such as the poor) can't just go to the gym or listen to music or take a nap in a safe, comfortable environment whenever they want. And other people (like most of us) just never seem to have a moment to themselves. We are constantly harrassed by our busy schedules and other people. We never have a moment alone to unwind. And this is especially evident in American society where time is money and a moment idle is a dollar lost. If people lack a place or a hobby to help them relieve tension, that tension may just build and build until it erupts in an act of violence. If people don't have a "place of peace", how can they find peace?
24…Yes, TWENTY-FOUR! No, not the popular Fox TV series, but the number of times I witnessed violence in exactly one hour of prime time TV watching between 8 and 9 PM. Although I admit to channel surfing in order to avoid the absurd number of local advertisements, I could not help but be shocked at the number of tick marks recorded on my paper at 9:01. Not only did I see actual combat footage on news networks, but I also witnessed commercials depicting a hostile alien invasion, a show on ultimate fighting, a thirty-second spot for a charity paintball tournament and even a movie on gangs. Twenty-four times in an hour is just a scary number to contemplate. I wonder how many acts of violence I would have seen had I done my “experiment” as few as ten years ago. I have a suspicion that it would have been a lot less. Extrapolating this theory, how many times will my children witness violence in an hour in front of the tube twenty years from now? That’s really a very scary thought. Just why is it that we feel the need to have some much blood, gore, and pain on television? Certainly part of the reason is because violence is “sexy” and is thus profitable for the networks. Is there, however, more to it than that? Could part of it be that our culture is so desensitized to violence that it now takes more and more per hour to keep our attention? I’m not really quite sure of the reason, but I am sure that what I did next was the smartest thing I did all night; I shut the TV off.
strange enough, but while i was considering what to write in my peace blog for this week only one thing came to mind. my women’s interhall flag football and my game today. in a way my story is very similar to ghandi’s with a little added twist. i am a very competitive person. it is something that i have always known about myself, and it is something that i am not always proud of. i did start in our game and i played the whole thing until the last series where they decided to replace me with another girl who barely got to play. we were winning by 14 so i knew that i shouldn’t take offense to this switch. but on the other hand i just really wanted to finish what i had started. i sulked on the sideline until i realized that this was not helping the team. i had to put my personal dismay behind me in order to cheer on the team and help coach my replacement as she adjusted to the position. this is the first part of my blog.the second issue i encountered on the field today was an issue with sportsmanship. one of our coaches wanted us to be intimidating and never pick up others’ flags or apologize. now this just did not seem to be necessary to me. i pride myself on being a good sport in that sense, but i knew that my coach would not be happy if we did not obey. i chose to discretely disobey nonetheless because i believe it to be plain rude to not convenience the other team. i thought about this class when he was telling the team what to do, or not to do, since i think it goes back to building a peaceful environment. In the end, I think that I am going to struggle this year with flag football. In one way, I am going to have to learn how to be on the sidelines and allow someone else to get some playing time. In addittion, I am going to have to show this coach that there is nothing unintimidating in being polite or a good sport.
I hate to break the football trend. But I think I’m going to write a little on a big issue that recently arose in my life. I recently found out that the political party I was rooting for in my country won the election! When I was home for a large part of the summer, there had been a huge uprising because the political party which had been in power for over eighteen years were being challenged. You see, The party (named PNP-Peoples National Party) had been ruling the island and over the past eighteen years, had long past its supposed governing term and many of us were starting to believe that it was trying to turn into a dictatorship. Over the PNPs term, the country has become ridiculously dangerous, poor, and much less educated. But as things go on a small island, all they would have to do when it came to election time is fix a few roads, give away some money and cause a little uprising on voting day so people wouldn’t bother go out and vote. When I was home I wouldn’t even wear the colors of my party because it was such a frenzy not many people wanted to take the dangerous risk of showing which party they belonged to.Anyways, finally the majority of the people have become aware because of the desperate situation the country is in; I recently heard that my party, the opposing party had won the election! I am not saying that the new party, the JLP (Jamaica Labor Party) is going to be a huge difference but the change was a positive one.I was very happy when I found out that the JLP had scraped by and taken the election. That is until I got a call from one of my close friends from back home that had an uncle on the loosing party. Well, she laid it on me, on how all of the people who voted for the JLP were stupid and didn’t know what was best for the country. I got very angry because she was being so selfish; she was only upset that her uncle’s party lost. And clearly a change was needed to be made. The rest of the day I was so upset that she had been so harsh with me. In the middle of the day I decided to take a walk around the lakes, I took a few deep breaths and decided that I should be happy and celebrate the change that may occur at home, even if it is small. Rather than feed into her anger and miss the bigger picture.I had a few people over that afternoon and we enjoyed a really nice evening, by not feeding into her anger I was able to take that small change of history that my country fought for and celebrate it.
I’m not writing about violent conflict, but conflict personal/emotional conflict between two people. Last year, my roommate and I started having issues with the girl next door. I don’t want to go into details because it is a pretty long story; but one day we were friends and the next day we were not. Sometimes I think caddy girl behavior can be worse than physically hurting someone. I am by no means saying that everything was her fault, because we both had an equal share in the problem. But after the second semester, my roommate and I stopped talking to her all together. This year she happened to move in directly across the hall from us; I really don’t know how that happened. But we still continued to act like the other did not exist. However our relationship changed over the weekend. On Saturday night, she was put in the hospital due to a horrible infection and severe dehydration. Since we didn’t talk, I didn’t hear about her hospitalization until Sunday morning. As I was walking downstairs, I heard my rector talking with my RA about how this girl was in the hospital and how someone needed to go check on her. My RA said that she would head over to the hospital to see how she was doing. I immediately saw my opportunity to make amends and bring peace to our relationship. I caught a ride with my RA up to the hospital. I brought her a card and told her how sorry I was that we let so much tension come between us. She was really happy that I came and she apologized too. She returned from the hospital last night, and she is gradually starting to feel better. Although I don’t expect us to become the best of friends again, at least there will be some sort of peaceful understanding between us and I won’t have to feel tension the minute I walk out into the hallway.
Hahaha . . . Ooopsies, I think my copy-paste skills went awry, and I ended up pasting my reading memo instead of my blog!! Here's my real blog entry . . . sorry for the confusion!!I’m involved in a lot of clubs on campus. Last year, I was elected the treasurer of the Forum on Biomedical Ethics, a position I took very seriously, because I had been so active in the club freshman year. This leadership position, however, has led to a number of instances of self-control over the course of the past month, the latest of which gave me an opportunity to practice my new more peaceful outlook on life. In total, there are four board members; two co-presidents, one treasurer, and an R.A. who was forbidden from having a formal position by SAO (apparently one cannot be a club officer and an R.A. at the same time), and as such, rarely ever shows up to any of our meetings. Since there are so few board members, we’ve had to divvy up all the work that needs to get done, assigning responsibilities to each officer above and beyond those traditionally associated with each of our positions – for example, I was put in charge of maintaining our club webpage. One of our goals this year (or, at least, a goal we had all decided on at our last board meeting) is to update our website on a regular basis. Shockingly enough, I was actually looking forward to learning how to use different programs to redesign our webpage (something I’ve always wanted to learn how to do), and the free reign over our webpage made me feel important, that I would be put in charge of establishing the initial impression our club made on curious, malleable, young Notre Dame (and otherwise) minds.I will also preface my story by stating that I’m a big fan of Student Organizers. That being said, I have a list of things to do everyday, and let’s just say my lists tend to get pretty darn long by the end of the week. Last week, I decided to schedule in some time to call OIT to learn how to design a webpage, and work out the business of whether or not the club already had an established web space, or if the club would have to pay a third party company to make one for us. After half an hour on the phone with OIT, they told me that although we did have a web space, I needed the password in order to access it, and that I’d have to call SAO to get said password. I called SAO, talked to several different people, and another half an hour later, one of the people in the SAO office told me I’d have to go down to LaFortune and pick up the password in person. After a total of an hour and a half, I had password in hand, and I was heading to one of the computer clusters to begin my exciting new web adventure.This morning, however, I checked my e-mail before I went to my first class of the day, and much to my surprise found a nasty e-mail from one of the club presidents telling me that she had an important message that needed to be sent out to the entire club, and that she had tried to use our old password and couldn’t log onto the system, ended up calling SAO and was informed that I had come into the office last week and requested a password change. She informed me that in the future I should tell the other officers if I plan on changing the password, in not so many words. Oh, self-control. My initial response was to write back an angry e-mail (as angry as I can muster; although I’m not very good at being aggressive, my reply was still fairly assertive, even in comparison to my usual standards.) I had spent a good 3 hours Friday night trying to decipher HTML codes, and a nasty e-mail, in addition to several equally nasty voicemails, was my thanks. I had also blown off going out with my friends Friday night to go see The Plain White T’s (on my list of Top 20 favorite mainstream bands), because I had put off so much work due to my envelopment in web design. I read through my masterpiece, but a little part of me felt guilty for writing such a, well, pointed reply. I meditated for a bit on whether this was actually the most constructive response to our miscommunication, and, after a lot more meditation, decided to call her later after my classes for the day were over and straighten out the matter face to face. Taking that time to cool off gave me a chance to examine why the e-mail made me so angry in the first place. I know it particularly bothers me, or anyone for that matter, when they feel underappreciated and/or patronized. My peace studies “Lesson for the Week” was recognizing the importance of acknowledging those feelings, and learning to take the time to take those negative feelings and channel them towards creating a more positive mode of communication.
All last week I had been intending to spend a day abstaining from violent media for my peace blog. Though I probably shouldn’t admit this, I didn’t succeed until this weekend because I knew that it would be difficult for me. I don’t mean to say that I usually engage in a lot of violent media, (I hardly ever watch television or listen to violent music while working) but I do usually listen to a mix of rap, hip hop, rock and pop music while I run. When I started out for my run on Saturday morning, I knew I wasn’t going to abstain from violent media that day, but I was thinking about the activity as I ran. I decided to actually listen to the words of the music I always have on while I was working out. When I read that sentence, it sounds a little silly to me, but when I thought about it, I actually realized that I didn’t really listen to half of the words of my music while running. When I listened to the words of the music, what I realized was that I didn’t know how to define violence. I knew that “Bring em out/ It’s hard to yell with the barrel in ya mouth,” was violent media, but was a song which said, “I can’t f***ing stand it when you’re around?” What does violence actually consist of? The first song clearly threatens physical violence with a weapon to another person. The second song, however, does not threaten any immediate physical violence; rather, it uses inflammatory language clearly aimed at getting a rise out another person. Is this intention to fight enough to categorize the song as violent? Then I listened to another song, “I got gangstas in the crowd, bad bitches at my show.” On the surface, there is clearly no explicit violence. What about the use of the phrase “bad bitches,” however? Is this a form of violence and degradation of women? Terms such as “Bitch” and “Ho” were common in the rap songs that weren’t otherwise “violent,” but I decided to group them in the violent media category as well. Even the bad pop songs I listened to from grade school were violent in their own ways. One said, “We was on the run / Daddy got a gun / Stop it, / Playin' with V eronica, she got me now. / But her father got a biscut and it might go pow.” At the end of about a half hour, I realized that I had only really listened to two songs I wouldn’t include in the violent media category. When I ran on Sunday, I picked an artist that I was fairly certain abstained from violence in his songs. The music wasn’t quite as energizing as rap music, but it also wasn’t as violent. I tried to listen to the words of these songs as well, just to be sure, but time and time again caught myself zoning out and failing to actually listen to the words being pumped into my head. This failure to recognize the violent media to which I am exposed was probably one of the biggest things I learned about from this activity. When I thought about it, I realized that violent media is being pumped into my head—by me—for at least a half hour a day. I hadn’t even realized it. I wonder where else in my life there is violence I never noticed. I also am left with the question, “What is violence?” I didn’t realize before taking on this activity how hard it would be just to decide which media was actually included. I now recognize that I have to be more conscious of violence in my day to day life.
One of my friends from last semester in London and I have not been talking since about two weeks before we left London and came home for the summer. We were in an altercation at that time, and I really did not appreciate the rude and insulting comments he had made to me. Of course, there are always two sides to the story, so I will not take away blame from myself for getting into the situation. I do not necessarily understand why a friend would say such degrading comments to me, someone I have known a long time.Certainly there is a lesson to be learned here: that even friends will hurt you and sometimes say the worst things, since they know you the best. But it is important not to react because of your emotions. Instead, it would be constructive to go talk it out with someone else.This past weekend, I decided to take some unilateral-action to settle our differences. I called him and left a message to apologize for my role in the conflict. He did not respond, but it certainly feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel that I did the right thing from my end in trying to solve the conflict. I know we will not be very good friends ever again, but we certainly should be able to co-exist when the time comes. There should not be that tension when we see each other. Whether I take more action or not is yet to come, as I have not yet decided what to do. But I do know one thing, it did feel good to get that burden off of my back by taking some action aimed at peace. I hope he will reciprocate in time.
I am utterly at peace when I listen to music. I have always known that music is life for me. Be it Grateful Dead, My Morning Jacket, Sigur Ros, or the Toots and the Maytals – I revolve day and night according to apropos lyrics and melodies. This weekend I completed my life and went to Austin City Limits Music Fest with my boyfriend. I know this is going to bore a lot of you because nobody knows most of these bands, but I saw Bob Dylan, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Ben Kweller, Bloc Party, Devotchka, Damien Rice, STS9, Midlake, The Arcade Fire, Regina Spektor, The Cold War Kids, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Stephen Marley, and the Indigo Girls in 48 hours. I go to concerts all the time because they are my favorite passion, but this weekend I truly realized that live music is my absolute favorite thing in life. I’m pretty lucky to have realized this at age 19, and now that I’ve seen the Stones, Slightly Stoopid, and Dylan, I’ve only got about 3 more bands left to see before I can achieve sublimity. While at ACL this weekend, or at any other concert, I noticed that the crowds are always full of the most loving and peaceful population. Well, maybe because we were all peace pipe smoking hippies for a weekend, but the music resonated something inside all of us. Every concert we all felt the same sort of beautiful trance. We all got over the fact that it was 101 degrees outside in the hot Texas sun, in the name of great music. If someone were a true fan of the artist, the crowd would allow that person to weave through the cluster of people to get front row --No woman no cry! I just thought I’d share my love for music via this peace blog. It’s what I did to make the world a better place this weekend. Peace, love, and good music.
Mortal Kombat. No explanation is necessary; the name itself just reeks of violence. Over the weekend, I was trying to think about what I could do for my peace blog, and then I saw two of my good friends, Matt and Sarah, playing ther daily (or weekly?) round of Mortal Kombat, and that gave me an idea. Rather than going around trying to see what violent media was around me, I thought that instead, I would watch them playing, and see the effects that this game had on them. I have never really seen the appeal of violent video games myself, but I was curious to first of all, see what was so appealing about this game, and second of all, if my friends acted differently than normal after playing. After watching them play this game for probably about 20 minutes, I came to some startling conclusions. During the game, my two friends, both of which I would consider to be non-violent and very nice people, showed me a different side of them. While playing, the usually calm Sarah became combative, giving Matt a punch (not a hard one) when she lost and getting more angry and intense than over real matters. Similarly, Matt had such a look of "evil" determination on his face that I was almost scared to look at him while playing. Also, as I was watching the game, I saw many gruesome things that the characters can do to one another to win the round. These things included, but were not limited to, pulling out someone's heart, throwing someone on a conveyor belt to get crushed by a giant wheel and hurling someone off of a building. As I was watching all of this, I noticed a disturbing side effect; although watching the gory details was disturbing, watching the actual fighting made me feel all rallied up, as if I could go participate in a karate match of some sort. This really bothered me because I have always hated violent games such as this one and I felt like I was succumbing to its "power". However, after thinking about everything that had happened during that game, I realized that it was only a temporary thing. Yes, I might have gotten all ralled up in the moment, but a little while later, I was over it. Similarly, although Matt and Sarah's countenance changed throughout the game, soon after the game was over, they were back to their normal selves. I don't think the game had any long term affects on them. After all, they were only fighting with cartoon like people; in a real case scenario, I think that many people's reactions to this violence would change. However, even after all of this, I still do not believe that violent video games are a good idea for anybody. Even if they don't cause any direct harm, they definetly do not cause any good either. And, I did my little study with two mature nineteen year olds. These type of things could have a completely different effect on 7 year old boys. This is why I feel that no good comes from these types of games. I know that violence sells, but if they have to sell it, I think that they should at least leave some of the goriness out. As for me, I know that if I ever see kids playing Mortal Kombat, I will encourage them to stop; I feel that's the least I can do to increase the peace.
My dorm has been trying to get more service oriented and has decided to make a push for more involvement in dorm service activities. One of these activities is Bowling Friday afternoons with adults from the Logan Center. The Logan Center helps adults who are mentally challenge to live in the community. So I decided to go because in the very least I would be able to bowl for free. So I went and I ended up bowling with two women who appeared to Down-syndrome. Neither of them were very good bowlers, like some of the other bowlers in the next lane. And a lot of the time they just ended up throwing gutter balls. And they got frustrated every time they did in fact throw one. But every time that they did well they would smile and happily back to their seat to await their next turn. I am not that good of a bowler either, and threw many gutter balls also. And every time I threw one, I could see that they were frustrated with me. However when I did well and got a spare, they would clap for me as if they gotten one themselves. Also when I was walking by another lane, a man started to talk to me as if I was a good friend of his. He gave me a hug and excitedly pointed out to me two of his roommates that were also bowling. I saw him later doing this to another student too. He treated everyone with the same enthusiasm and kindness as he would a friend. And the thing is when I first started talking to him, I was very taken aback by his random excitement. And as I look back now, I realize that it is very sad that I would be. There is no reason why I shouldn't treat everyone with as I treat a friend. And I am also very sad that we do live in a culture that this is pretty much frowned upon. These people have not lost their innocence, and the world does frown upon those who don't "mature". But when I look at this maturity, I think that how better the world would be if we never lost our innocence. I know this peace blog is cliche', but I don't think that it makes my realization any less true.
So apparently I am really bad at actually posting my peace blog activities. On Friday of last week I decided to flip through the channels before class and change the channel when it was violent. I happened to only change the channel two times when I actually ended up on Playhouse Disney. Now that is a great show as far as peace is concerned. I was completely drawn in and could not help thinking to myself what a spectacular job those Imaginears (that is what they are referred to in Disney lingo) did. Every show that came on was not only demonstrative of peaceful actions, but it showed how to handle conflict, think outside the box and use creativity. On top of that it was so well thought out that almost every 5 minutes Mickey or Donald (I was watching Mickey’s Clubhouse) was telling the audience to stand up and jump with them, tiptoe or “swim” with them. It was amazing how the show even touched upon the growing obesity problem in children. I was so impressed that I watched each show until it was time to get to class. I guess all in all it was good to see that even with so much violence in the world there is still a yearning for peace. To see that being shared with the children of today made me hopeful that it will continue and people will continue to positively impact the next generation.
Adhering to the blog trend, I wanted to comment on the violence that is almost instilled within varsity (and even interhall) sports on the ND campus, with a concentration on football and similar high-contact sports: Weight lifting in the Gug is not the best experience; the untarnished weight plates and shiny metal crossbars only astonish one so far. While athletes are advised to stay focused and concentrate on their workout, it is often difficult not to avert one's eyes towards the football players squatting on the platforms across the room. Sure, their presence is intimidating, not to mention their [seemingly] superhuman strength, but it is the way in which they train that is most astonishing. The weight trainers are nothing but intensely serious about athletic strength workouts, and it is their job to push varsity athletes to their highest strength potential. While this attitude is an integral part of weight lifting in the Gug, watching many of the high-impact, contact-intensive sports train (football, or even lacrosse) is a bit unnerving. Observing the physical, often violent, contact that the coaches and weight trainers have with some of these athletes is a bit perturbing, to say the least. If a defensive lineman struggles while squatting three times his body weight, a swift blow on the back with a coach's relentless forearm is not unheard of. If a safety grapples with his maximum weight on incline bench, the weight trainer does not hesitate to threaten and scream at him three inches away from his face. Instances like these are not uncommon in the least. This harsh reality makes me wonder how contact sports players that use violence, both verbal and physical, as juice or motivation during training KEEP from becoming more aggressive, violent, angry competitors. Their methods of preparation feed the fire for overly-aggressive conduct. I feel as though the ways in which training is carried our for these sports only instigate unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary aggression. While I am a major fan of football, and all sports in general, I am an even greater "healthy competition" enthusiast. I guess what I observe in the weightroom clashes with my expectations regarding the purpose of sports. I appreciate the value of motivation--it can make a world of a difference--but can't help but wonder whether a line can be drawn between appropriate and over-the-top methods. Can these tactics be reconciled by the constant strive to be 'the best' competitor? How do we know when we 'push it' too far?
so i just played two hours of Halo instead of doing homework, writing a paper or doing other things productive like sleeping. So I thought I would turn this into my peace blog. So my roommates play halo quite often and i always witness them cursing at the screen and yelling "DIE [enter name of player here]! You **explicit**!" so tonight i tried to reflect on my own reaction to it. And i didnt get necessarily angry when i was playing though i did yell "DIE [enter name here]!" quite often without the explicit. and i got frustrated when they didnt listen to me and die, but rather ended up killing me. But overall i really enjoyed it, and it didnt really bring out the worst in me. I never wanted to break the TV or anything thats for sure. And other than the guilty feeling of playing halo for 2 hours (which i am justifying right now by this blog) i liked it and have not inkling to go and punch the guy down the hall or do any other violent thing.
So me and around 10 other guys rolled up to Ann Arbor this past weekend for the game. I have a friend who goes to Michigan who has a house and we all stayed there. In general, we had a great weekend(minus the game obviously) and were actually treated pretty well by the Michigan fans. There were exceptions, however. And the funny thing is both exceptions came from the same guy. I think Joe was his name and the most distinct thing I remember about is that he had an earing in each ear. Well Joe, who was one of the guys living in the house we were staying in, rolled in on Friday night drunk out of his mind. Well so were a lot of people. No big deal. But then Joe and my friend Bob start getting a little angry with each other and it looks like it might get physical. So I go up to them and tell them we're all friends let's just cool it. Joe looks at me and says no one was talking to you and blows me off. I told him I didn't like that. So then he's getting in my face. Cooler heads prevail and we shake hands. Later in the night my friend Dino comes yelling at me that some guy wants to fight me. Sure enough, I come into the house to see Joe being restrained by his friends as he tries to get to me. All I could say was: Is this guy serious?? They held him back and he left.The next night Joe's back. He comes up to me and apologizes explaining he was just really drunk and doesn't even remember any of it. I told him it was fine. And it really was. It was no big deal. But later on Joe is up to his old tricks. I hear this huge commotion in the kitchen and rush in there. I discover two of my guys pushing and shoving with Joe and one of his guys. Me and some other guys rush in to break them up. One of our guys settles down pretty quickly. But the other one won't let it go. The term that comes to mind when I think of it is berserker rage. He was going nuts, muttering stuff like nobody talks like that about my friends. Felt like it took us 20 minutes to finally settle him down. He eventually realizes whats up and finds Joe to shake hands and end this stuff. But Joe is having none of it. He refuses to shake his hand and tells him to get out. A 20 minute standoff ensues. And the longer it goes, the more Michigan guys show up. So I'm thinking to myself, if something happens we're going to have a huge brawl on our hands. And I really didn't want a fight to happen. But in the end, if a huge fight had started, there's just no way I wouldn't have joined in. I just couldn't have stood by and watched while my guys took on the Michigan guys. I guess that might be a bad thing, but I'm just being honest here.I'm very glad cooler heads prevailed on the night. The violent nature of these guys was alarming, however. Especially on the side of Joe, considering he started stuff both nights we were there. Coincidence? I think not. But some of our guys were ready to roll too, so I'm not trying to say the Michigan guys were the only ones at fault. No fights. Good weekend(once again, except for the game).
One of my best friends is in ROTC. I don’t remember what we were talking about at the time, but recently, he said “the nice thing about this school being about 98% Republican is that people support the military”. I was tempted to say, “Really? You appreciate that no one makes you even consider the morality of what you’re doing?” but I stayed quiet, since I didn’t want to offend him. Thinking about it later, I found myself curious about his perspective. He had told me last year that people make assumptions about his political/ideological beliefs because he’s in ROTC, and that the assumptions are generally wrong, but we hadn’t talked about it since then. I decided to attempt to engage him in a conversation about war and violence. It took almost a week after deciding this to find an opportunity for the conversation, because really, when’s a good time to bring up a topic like that? (Answer: after playing a ton of Guitar Hero. I don’t think he saw a serious conversation coming, but it worked out.) Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to get him to open up (and admit things we probably wouldn’t around most ROTC kids). He talked about how it’s important to him that he’s doing ROTC, rather than joining the military out of high school like some of his classmates, because of the emphasis on leadership. When we talked about the possibility of killing people, he became quiet and avoided the topic. I didn’t press it. He told me that he believes the role of the military is going to change soon- less war/occupation, more humanitarian missions. I learned that he didn’t support the Iraq war. And he said something that surprised me, something I’ll never forget- “I’m actually a pacifist”. I’m so glad I decided to talk to him about this. I learned a lot, especially about my friend. I learned a lot, especially about my friend. When No End in Sight (http://performingarts.nd.edu/index.php?page=detail&event=664) plays here, I’m going to ask if he wants to go with me.
I have a sister who is two years younger than me. Much to my dismay, my parents have always forced us to share a room. My sister and I have never gotten along so well and sharing a room with her has always made the conflict worse. Our fights usually consist or small things like borrowing clothes, but they always turn into full out fights. This past weekend, I went home to visit. Before I went, I decided that I was not going to fight with my sister or get angry with her over small things like I normally do. I arrived home on Friday evening and greeted my family. Almost instantly, my sister did something to irritate me and I began to feel my blood boil. I calmed myself down and managed not to show my irritation. Throughout the rest of the night, she continued doing things that would normally irritate me. I did not allow myself to get angry with her and the night turned out fine. On Saturday, I hung out with my sister for the majority of the day. We talked about all of the things that have been going on in our lives and we really got to know each other better. After talking, I felt sad that I wasted so much time fighting with my sister when I should have been using that time to get to know her better as a person. The rest of the weekend, we had a really good time together. We hung out more in those two days than I can remember us having hanging out in years. I was so surprised that controlling my anger for one day allowed me to have a better relationship with my sister. It's easy to understand why my parents always forced us to share a room. It's sad that it took me so long to truly be able to appreciate my amazing little sister. She may irritate me the majority of the time but I really do love her and care about her. I'm glad that we were able to put aside our differences this weekend and I hope that from now on, we can do the same thing when we see each other.
Today, like many people, I wore black in protest of the treatment of the Jena 6. I am sure everyone is familiar with the judicial injustice against the black teenagers in Louisiana, so I won’t go into the details of the conflict. In my mind, the Jena 6 conflict has been very well publicized and covered extensively through various news sources. I suppose that is why I was so shocked today at the response I received for my black clothing. A few people asked me why so many people were wearing black today. Many more said they were told to wear black in protest of the Jena 6 today, but did not know what the Jena 6 was or did not understand the situation enough to have an opinion. Since I was trying to promote peace through this small gesture, I sat down with every one of these people and explained to the best of my knowledge the Jena 6 conflict. I got into so many good discussions on the conflict. Some seemed indifferent. Others didn’t seem that surprised at all about the injustice, but supported the protest. And some people wondered how there could still be such outright racism in our judicial system. I was, however, proud of the ND community for their involvement. About half of the students in my classes today were wearing black. Some may have just seen a sign, read the mass e-mail, or just picked up the black t-shirt today. Still, it was nice to know that here in South Bend, as well as in towns across the nation, people chose to wear black as a sign that this blatant disregard for equal treatment and outright racist action will not be overlooked or tolerated. I hope that the court in Jena, LA decides the right thing. The boys should be punished for beating up someone else, but not for attempted murder. And any student, white or black, should be accountable for hate crimes or assault. Everyone should be accountable for their actions, and the judicial system should try everyone fairly and hold them to the same standards.
I have been inspired by the recent post on football and our past discussion of it in class. We talk about how competition can sometimes contribute to violence by becoming a source of conflict. I was curious as to whether the winners or the losers become more hostile as a result of the competition. Do the winners increase their hostility in order to maintain dominance or is it more prevalent that the losers become more hostile to assert there presence and establish superiority? I thought about this in the context of Notre Dame football since everyone has been making such a big deal about the losses and I thought that I would see how these losses may contribute to a decrease in the peace on campus. I hoped, by engaging in discussions that start off with the team's shortcomings and then referring to some other great stuff Notre Dame is doing (like the forum or the declaration Fr. Malloy just signed to support no-sweatshop goods)- By mentioning the games first- I thought I could use the negative almost like a highlighter to enhance the goodness of the good. Anyways, long story short- I feel like the "losers" ( at least in this case) do not become more hostile-rather, they actually appreciate playing up other aspects of themselves that demonstrates their non-loserness. I hope this was amusing- it makes sense to me but just barely. I really feel like I promoted peace by providing piece of mind ( haha) and allowing people to put their possible outrage from the football losses into perspective. GO IRISH!!!
Before the football game on Saturday, I was able do something exciting. Nope, it wasn't tailgating, but recycling! I never used to be especially environmentalist; I mean, I have always liked to recycle, but that was pretty much it. However, in the past year, my sister has become a big environmentalist, and this has helped me become more environmentally aware. I feel like there are so many little things that we can each do to decrease our energy usage and waste, and this could have a huge impact on the future. Anyways, I was really excited to hear that ND was having a pilot recycling program this weekend. For years, they have wanted to try to get people to recycle on gamedays. With all of the tailgates and concession stands, there is so much trash all over the place, and much of this stuff could be recycled. Well, this year they were finally able to get their first project started. Since it was a first-time thing, I think they wanted to do it in a smaller area, so they set up in the library lot. After that, it was relatively easy; all we had to do was briefly tell people what we were doing, ask them if they would like to help out, give them a blue recycling bag, and then, depending on whether or not they had already done it, pick up their bags to put them in the recycling truck. Before I came to the site on Saturday, I have to admit, I was a little nervous, and slightly skeptical of how the project would work out. I mean, I really wanted it to work out, but I wasn't sure if it actually would seeing as how many people are in a different kind of "mindset" on gamedays and might not really be too concerned on recycling certain materials. However, when I got to the site and started helping out, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that not only were people agreeing to help; they were enthusiastic about it! I saw blue recycling bags at every tailgate, hanging off cars, tied to poles, etc. So many people told us what a great idea they thought it was, and how they were glad that we were doing it. Some people asked for more recycling bags to put more stuff in. Some even tried to feed us at their tailgates! They made the project fun and even more worthwhile. Anyways, the whole experience gave me hope that this kind of project will be successful in the future. After doing the recycling program in the library lot, I am hoping that soon, we will be able to expand it to the bigger lot. Maybe, someday, we won't even have to hand out the bags, people will just brring them with them. It's a pretty easy thing to do, we just have to show people that a little extra effort can really go a long way. However, for the present moment, I think i will just be content that progress is being made and that after all, it is pretty easy being green at nd.
(This is IRISH AD)I know that the purpose of this peace blog is to talk about an activity that we participated in that in a sense promoted this idea of peace in our every day lives. But, I have something a little different I want to post. Last year I was having major problems with a guy I had met during a summer program (lets say his name was Bob, I don’t want to post his real name) we had both participated. During first semester last year Bob and I seemed to be pretty good friends, but then the problems began. For the sake of this peace blog, lets just say that the problems where on a deeply personal level between me, Bob and my boyfriend. These problems all three of us where having where the kind that deeply affected the friendship between Bob and I. Yet I was determined to try and fix the problem the best I can for the sake of the friendship and the peace between all three of us, for our daily schedules put all three of us pretty much in daily contact. Yet, try as I might, we couldn’t resolve our differences, it seems that Bob and my boyfriend where not as inclined to compromise as I was. Yet, I kept trying to find a happy ground. As it resulted, there was none. Things got ugly between Bob and my boyfriend, nasty verbal confrontations ensured and the friendship between Bob and I was over. The ND campus might seem big, with it boasting some 8 or 9 thousand undergrad students, yet it is still small enough to run into people you know all the time. Coming back this semester, I ran into Bob a few times, and I was unsure of how to “treat” him if you will. I was still deeply hurt by what had happened between all three of us, and I knew my boyfriend despised Bob, and that Bob had really behaved very poorly towards us. Yet, Bob seemed to be going on as if everything was perfect, as if we never had the problems of last year. This is where I am confused on how to react, I don’t want to be totally rude to Bob and in a sense make him feel the way he made me feel and ignore him. Yet, he did do some pretty hurtful things, and has yet to ask for forgiveness from me and my boyfriend for what he did. I suppose this is where a devotion to keeping “peace” in my mind gets blurred. I suppose you can say that I did forgive him, but the pain is still very alive and it will take some time to move past that, but until then, I suppose I will need to figure out my reaction on my own, but I just wanted you all to perhaps just think on how you act in similar situations and if your reaction is in line with a “peaceful” reaction of a “violent” one.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to partake in a peace protest march of sorts on Notre Dame's campus. At the beginning of the year, three of my friends were involved in what was seemingly gang violence in South Bend. Two of them were shot outside of a club waiting for a ride to come pick them up. They had done nothing wrong, nor anything to antagonize the shooters, but were innocent victims.Thankfully, they both were eventually alright, though one nearly lost his life. It was a terrible thing to hear about this accident and to see my friend in such bad condition in the hospital. It becomes a very sobering reality when a violent and life-threatening situation like that hits so close to home.Of course, many stories surfaced as to what happened, though the university sought to keep it hushed. Infuriatingly, The Observer went so far as to say that my friends had antagonized the shooters in the bar, though in actuality they had never even seen the shooters, let alone talk to them.The problem rests with the fact that the university wants to keep this incident hushed, and seems to be doing nothing to protect their off-campus students. They have been very accomodating for my friends at school, but there is certainly a much larger issue here. The university almost does not want to recognize the students off-campus, whose safety still should be of utmost importance. Enter the opportunity to protest and make the university more aware of the sometimes dangerous off-campus environments. The point was to get the university to work with South Bend police to help sure up student security, instead of mainly looking to get students in trouble. It felt really good and right to protest on behalf of my friends and fellow classmates. I hope the university will take more action and measures to recognize and protect off-campus students.
I took a look at some of the major online newspapers around the country to see what headlines were making the opening page and how they related to violence or peace. In effort to relate to last week’s readings, I wanted to see if the number of violent stories far outweighed peaceful stories. (In my reviews, “V” stands for a violent theme and “P” stands for a peaceful theme.) Washington Post: The biggest article is about the recent Redskins/Giants game. (V) “How Nuclear Warheads Made Unplanned Flight” is also a front-page headline. The other four articles do not have violent themes. I would also like to note that in you go to “Politics” then “in-depth” they give you a bunch of stories and pictures from different crises around the world, which is pretty cool. Some are exposing conflict, but other are special reports on unrelated topics. >>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2006/05/08/LI2006050801047.htmlNew York Times:First headline is “Protests Grow in Myanmar against Junta.” (P) This article is about Buddhist Monks rallying for the release of pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. No other headlines relate to violence, shockingly.Chicago Tribune:Again, football made the biggest story. (V) Other stories listed include “Jena 6” (P), “Kane County deaths called domestic case” (V), “Death of man found on condo roof called accidental” (V), “Flight ends in fatal stabbing” (V).Los Angeles Times:Main headline is “Pakistan backs of Al Qaeda pursuit” It is also worth noting that the very large and only add on the page, is about saving energy, a way to promote positive peace.This was a good activity for me because I learned more about what’s going on in the world, but it also made me realize that some people are doing a much better job projecting peace (or at least not projecting violence) than others. I was really to see that no headlines in the New York Times had to do with violence. Was this intentional or happenstance? Furthermore, their main article had to do with peace! This is almost unthinkable for any media outlet. And really exciting...
This weekend, my roommate and I had five friends staying at our house. It was so much fun, but needless to say, I was very tired by this afternoon. I decided to do yoga in order to relax. My roommate just bought a yoga DVD, so I decided to try it out. I have taken both Pilates and yoga classes in the past, and I truly believe they can relieve stress and promote inner peace. In this week’s reading, Nigel Young expresses the need for a global peace movement. He emphasizes that a single peace movement does not exist, but instead there are a variety of peace traditions (Barash 229). Yoga is similar in this sense because there are many different branches and forms of yoga that exist. However, they were all founded upon similar spiritual practices and traditions. While past and current peace movements may be in response to different events, they have similar methods and goals. Yoga itself combines breathing techniques, meditation, and different positions in order to promote relaxation and health. Similarly, peace movements have a variety of components.I have always struggled with multi-tasking, and yoga has taught me that I can do more than one thing at once if I relax and concentrate. Young writes about peace movements, “But its failure has been the central one of failing to achieve a visionary synthesis, a new model and strategy that is appropriate to a changing global society” (Barash 237). I truly believe we have the potential to institute a worldwide peace movement, but we must be willing to put in the time and effort and have a clear vision to synthesize all of the various factors. Learning to combine these forces into an effective peace movement could really change our world and promote nonviolent peace tactics.
When I was reading the paper this morning, the situation in Myanmar reminded me of issues we have been talking about in class. When we have all these discussion about nonviolence, sometimes I question if any of the techniques would work in today’s world. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. lived in very different time periods, and sometimes I wonder if nonviolence could really make a difference today. But the situation in Myanmar proves that nonviolent actions can make a difference. Myanmar is a closed country under strict military rule. The government has been harshly criticized for its human and political rights violations; the military just seems ruthless. However, the large segment of Buddhist monks in the country have launched an enormous protest against the government. I read that somewhere around 10,000 monks have taken to the streets in a nonviolent attempt to evoke change. Although the government hasn’t conceded to anything yet, these demonstrations have received international attention. A photograph of the demonstrators appeared on the front page of the New York Times. So, this situation has proved to me that nonviolent actions in today’s world can have drastic impacts and I’m sure that the protest in Myanmar will eventually lead to change, even if that change has to come from outside forces.
In an effort to broaden my horizons, especially in the field of peace studies, I applied for a Fall Break seminar entitled 'Youth, Violence, and Culture'. I was excited to hear within a few hours that I had been accepted to the program. I am very excited for the seminar, in that it explores topics such as human trafficking and slavery, children's rights, violence within young populations (specifically in Indianapolis), and other such aspects. The decision to partake in this opportunity was made almost on a whim; I figured that the seminar would be integral to using first-hand knowledge and experience and applying it to my life and my goals.In the same spirit, I made the commitment to volunteer at St. Adalbert's school in South Bend on Friday mornings for the ECDC Take Ten Program. I transferred out of Intro to Peace Studies (section 1) and into the second section (Prof. Myers' class). The initial drive to participate in the Take Ten program was that it would have given me credit in Prof. Philpott's class--instead of a paper, we could volunteer for the semester and write a reflection on our experience. Upon transferring, there was no such credit that I would receive in my newly acquired class (which isn't a complaint, Professor, I promise). Nevertheless, I decided to take my Friday morning starting at 9 and commit it to the program. I guess this is just my attempt to bring peace to the greater community of South Bend, outside of the ND campus. I am sure the kids will have an even greater impact on me than I will on them and this is precisely why I am confident in my decision to participate. So, I will be directing my efforts towards the combat of youth violence, and the endorsement of a healthy response to conflict through nonviolent actions. Hopefully my experience during the fall break seminar and Friday volunteering will tie together nicely. I am excited to see how this will expand my views and hopefully my actions combatting violence and promoting peace within the society of youth.
Last weekend I flew home for my sisters wedding. Of my six siblings, Magdalena is the oldest and consequently her marriage was not only the first, but also the most mysterious. When she announced her engagement last Christmastime, there was no way I could have anticipated the anxiety, excitement, planning, and chaos that surrounded this memorable day. It seemed that as the wedding approached the chaos became more pronounced and planning less so. Generally, my oldest sister is the most organized of all my siblings. She had her various degrees, a regular job, and now an exceptional man. There are very few times in my memory where Magdalena has broken down completely--one of those occurred ten minutes before her wedding began.Our extended family is large. Very large. So large, in fact, that I have 28 first cousins on my father’s side alone. While waiting in the back of the church before the wedding, our family filed in all laughing, giddy, and overcurious in a way only relatives can be. Seeing the many well wishers begin to swarm toward her, Magdalena began to panic. At this moment she could not handle the ginning, the kisses, the pressing questions, and overbearing presence of so many people. Thinking of a way to try and calm her down, I gathered the bridesmaids and pushed Magdalena into a cool, quiet, darkened room near the entrance. We gave her a glass of water and stood guard outside turning away each curious guest. This proved to be a more difficult task than anticipated, as many of my aunties had to be physically turned away and carried by the groomsmen to their seats! After about 5 minutes of constant vigilance and protection we returned to find Magdalena cool, calm, collected, and smiling once again. Kissing us all once, she walked confidently out and began her life as Mrs. John Donahue.The oddest part of this experience is that it forced me to think about the circumstances where violence or physical restraint may be the only way to prevent further conflict. Just as my family was determined to force their way through the bridesmaid blockade casting aside rational behavior, so too are people determined to achieve personal gain regardless of the effect it has on others around them. If indeed we cannot respect the space of a nervous bride-how are we too respect the dominion of a particular culture or nation?
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