Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 11: Getting Started a little late! (Ending Wars)


Gandhi said...

Written: Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reflecting back on my “peace deeds” this semester, I realized how truly grateful I am to have had to write these peace blogs every week because they forced me to be a promoter of peace in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have been. They forced me to face my fears and be the peacemaker. They forced me to take that leap of faith in reconciling strained friendships. They forced me to offer the olive branch when I would have simply ignored the issue completely. They forced me to go out of my way to help total strangers. They forced me to recognize the tension I create in my own life through my impatience and short fuse. They forced me to empathize, to see the lack of peace in others’ lives and attempt to restore it. It’s not that I necessarily wouldn’t have done these things if it hadn’t been for the grade, but doing them from this mindset made me realize how easy it is to create a little peace if we only dare to try. We can be so lazy sometimes, so self-centered, so pessimistic and cynical, but in reality, it only takes a word of thanks, a gesture of love, a moment of our time, to sow a little peace in the world. If everyone did their part, imagine how much peace we could reap.

And even though this is my last peace blog, I wanted to add that my relationship with my estranged friend “David” is still on the rocks, but little by little, I’m working toward a reconciliation. I saw him again tonight at Asian Allure. He was a performer. I was surprised to see him there, and as I was waiting after the show to see my friends who had participated in it, I saw him near the stage. I almost didn’t say hi. I almost left without a word, too scared to say anything, even though we had both recognized each other’s presence. But I realized that after all I’ve done to try to mend the friendship, ignoring him now would only be a step backward. It would destroy everything my efforts had helped build. I refused to let it be that way, and at the time I made this decision, I wasn’t even thinking about this blog. After all, this is my last one and it’s supposed to be a reflection. But the blogs themselves have encouraged me to continue my steps toward peace. So as I was leaving, I turned to him, congratulated him on his performance, made small talk, and wished him luck for tomorrow. We both smiled at each other, and I left. It wasn’t much, but it really did take a lot. It’s amazing how petty our fears can seem, but I faced one tonight. And each time I do, it becomes that much easier to do it again. That’s what peacemaking is like; it’s hard to remove yourself from our culture of violence and aggression, but once you do, once you make that first step in the direction of peace, each successive step becomes that much easier.

Adrienne said...

I recently went to a lecture about moral perspectives in the course of war, where we discussed just war theory and conscientious objection. Although I don’t agree with all wars, I do think that war is necessary in some cases. However, I would hate to fight in a war that I don’t believe in. I am not a pacifist or someone who strongly disagrees with war, so I wouldn’t be able to claim conscientious objection. But I believe that there should be some intermediary here. The U.S. should have selective conscientious objection, because as a Catholic I can’t fight in unjust wars. But if there was a just cause, I would be happy to fight for my country.

So with this mindset, I emailed my Senator (Bill Nelson) about the issue. I urged him to push for the issue of selective conscientious objection and explained my justification for it. I don’t know if he’ll even read the email, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

Pelican Bay said...

My friend of mine has been encouraging girls to come visit her old highschool and mentor young girls . At first I thought the program wasn't for me seeing as it takes place from 3-6pm on Friday afternoons! But one of my friends returned from the program saying alot of the issues on hand had to deal with sexual and physical violence among the highschool community and I realized the revelance of my participation.
The real challenge I have been facing is knowing when to be a leader and when to be a follower in the program. On my first day I was extremely frustrated with the program. Although a safe environment for the girls, I felt that the program was lacking in so many levels. I ended up feeling strong resentment for the program leaders and questioning way the program wasn't as engaging for all the girls.
I decided to calm down and take a step back and carefully analyze the situation. I was a newcomer to this program and I could not fix everything. I had to talk to myself and say, is program is poorly funded and supported and refusing my help just because it wasn't picture perfect would just be adding to the conflict.
I took a deep breath and helped where I could. Instead of focusing on my negative attitude, I concentrated on being a postive influence, even if it was miniscule. The grassroots approach, although not my favorite route, is a great lesson in the humility of building peace.

Jean Grey said...

This Friday afternoon more than two dozen Notre Dame students and staff stood in the chilling air to let their opinions be heard. Flocking to campus every football weekend hundreds of visitors drove through the university’s wide gates passing by the group standing on the corner. Holding signs that said “Iraq War, Wrong Way- Keep ‘em safe, bring ‘em home.” As the first of Notre Dame’s war protest student are finally beginning to show an opinion. While standing on the corner the most common response was honking, be it in anger or agreement the sound of horns split through the slowly fading light. In contrast, a few people seemed vehemently opposed to our street side protest. Instead of sticking to the horn most of these objectors kindly took the time to unroll their window and issue a multitude of derogatory gestures. Yet regardless of one’s opinion on the war, it is important to note that the students are finally showing an opinion. Be it pro-war, anti-war, pro-peace, or showing compassion for the servicemen, this is the first student-initiated demonstration regarding the war. Finally students have voiced an opinion on something that is outside our quietly protected bubble.

Hannah Wenger said...

Analisa and I decided to see what was up with the anti-war protest being held yesterday in front of the main gate (on ND Avenue). I was surprised by how nervous I was about going to it. I told my sister about my plans to attend, and she said that she hoped no one would egg me. And oddly enough, I was kind of worried about it.

Analisa and I walked out the main gate with two of our friends and, as we approached the 30 or so protesters, our friends voiced their discomfort with the idea of getting any closer to the group, not wanting to suggest their support of or participation in the protest. Interestingly enough, Analisa and I did not want to be branded as participants either; we decided that we were merely "observers," nothing more, nothing less. I, for one, was feeling guilty for even attending the protest as an "observer," considering the look on my roommate's face when I told her where I was going. Her boyfriend is in the Army reserves and could potentially be deployed at any moment. I reiterated that I was not making any particular statement about the war by attending the protest, that I was merely curious. And I was curious. Do I support the war? I don't think I do. But I do support the troops overseas. I am not against them, but I just do not want to see them dying for no reason or for really messed up reasons. I do not want my roommate's boyfriend to be deployed to Iraq.

Analisa and I spent about five or ten minutes at the hour-long protest. Again, there was probably 30 people there (mostly students, some adults), holding posters along the street. Some cars beeped their horns, but the protests was pretty quiet. Analisa and I then walked back to our dorms, discussing whether or not we thought the protest really furthered peace. In my opinion, it did not necessarily do anything to resolve the conflict. How is holding signs in the front of Notre Dame's campus going to encourage resolution? In a sense, it may even demoralize our troops overseas by suggesting that their nation's citizens do not support them. I'm not sure what to think of the protest. It was an interesting experience through which I was able to evaluate the application of peace to an ND-organized event. Will it make a difference? Maybe it will.

Just as an aside, I have a poster that the protesters made. I will bring it to class on Tuesday, and you all can see what you think.

Lolli said...

For the peace blog this week, I tried not to engage in any violent media for not just one day, but for the entire week. I have been waiting to do this specific peace blog challenge until I had a week that was not extremely busy. If I was not really swamped with schoolwork and other activities, I thought it would be more of a challenge because I would actually have time to watch some television and look at other types of media. I started this idea one week ago on Sunday and I have ended my challenge today. I was able to successfully refrain from engaging in any violent media until Thursday night when I watched a documentary about the civil war in El Salvador for my group presentation for our peace studies class! My group and I were going to meet on Friday to discuss the movie, and it was very violent because it showed devastating scenes from the civil war in the country that lasted from 1980 until 1992.

With the exception of watching this documentary, I was able to stay away from violent media for a week. When I first thought about this peace blog idea, I really did not think that it would be that difficult to accomplish, but the media has such a profound role in our society and the world today, that it is actually a very challenging task. Freshman year, I took a class about children and socialization, and we focused primarily on how the media affects children. The statistics about how many violent images children see per week on an average basis was absolutely astonishing. From violent television shows to video games to movies, the numbers were extremely high. I think for children more than for adults, trying to refrain from engaging in violent media is more important because they are at a critical age of development.

I feel the media deeply affects our world today and has a profound impact upon our culture and our perceptions about many different things. If violence is constantly shown in the media, I think peace as a concept and peace building as a process are once again undermined. If the media promoted peace as much as they show violence, I truly believe that perceptions about peace would be profoundly different. Everyone should try not to engage in violent media for a day to understand how often we are exposed to violent images and ideas on a daily basis.

Mike Jones said...

For this peace blog, I will update on my previous blog and also recount a story that happened a few months ago in reference to an old friend.

First off, when I proposed that I will hug at least one person a day, I actually followed through with it. There were a couple of days when I hadn't hugged anyone, and as it was nearing my time to go to bed, I would either hug my next door neighbor (who is an ROTC senior, whom I had to explain my reasons for hugging before actually doing so), or like one time, I went up to the study lounge at like 2 in the morning and hugged a guy I know from around the dorm who was studying for a finance exam. Awkward, yes, but deep down, I KNOW I made him feel better for at least a second before he asked, "what the hell are you doing?!" Then I told him about my peace blog proposition, and he just shrugged. I happened to be more willing to hug people on Friday and Saturday nights (for some odd reason... hmmm, wonder why?), and probably compiled more hugs than any other days of the week.

Enough of my hug stories, here goes a fairly decent one that dates back about 5 or 6 months, around the end of last semester: Anyways, I had/have a good friend (who I'll call John) who I've known since we were kids from back home. I also had a girlfriend (who I'll call Anne), who I had been with for a few years. Long story short, Anne cheats on me while I was away, not with John (that I know of), so we broke up (this happened almost 2 years ago).

Almost a year later (so 1 year ago), I receive a message, from my ex-- no less, saying that John had been talking to Anne about me and saying I was never up to her level (I guess at this point, John was trying to get with Anne, so his attempt to raise his own image was at the cost of lowering mine, his own friend's). I was actually quite proud of Anne, as I wouldn't expect her stand up for me after breaking up, but she did. Because of that, Anne and I patched things up and ended as friends, though I haven't really spoken to her since.

As far as John is concerned, I attempted to confront him face-to-face about it, but he simply refused to even meet with me any of the times I have returned home (even though I had never told him about what I had heard he had said about me). After that, I was set to discontinue any contact with John from now on. However, I was speaking to a mutual friend of ours (call her Marie) about 6 months ago, and she told me that John was having troubles at home. Marie told me John was having a hard time talking to anyone or admiting his problem, so she wanted me to talk to him.

I did my best by swallowing my pride and reach out to him, so I gave him a call, but he didn't answer. I left him a message and just said I wanted to just chat, and to "holla back at his boy," but I have never received a response.

Over Thanksgiving, I plan to call John again to see how he is doing. Although I'm not sure if I can help him (or even if he will answer), I at least want to open up relations with an old friend, and let him know that I'll be there for him, depite the fact we may have had a recent falling out.

This time around, I want to express the fact that I'm willing to forgive, and if that's the case, hopefully it will make our friendship stronger.

GoIrish said...

Last week was international education week. As part of the awareness portion of the week 10,000 villages had a table set up in O’Shag Monday through Thursday and in Mendoza on Friday. I volunteered to help sell things at these tables on Monday and Wednesday. 10,000 Villages is an organization that sells fair trade crafts made by artisans in over 30 countries. Before working at the table I was afraid that not many people would be interested in supporting this cause (because many of the goods are not things that you would normally find for sale in the US).
I was pleasantly surprised how busy the table was while I was working there. Almost everyone that walked by stopped and took a look at the crafts and many asked how long we were going to be there. Everyone also seemed very interested in the mission of 10,000 Villages. While I was working I got to meet some of the women that work in the storefront in Mishawaka. They showed me some pictures from their travels to Uganda when they were able to meet with the artisans and learn the traditional basket weaving technique. It was so cool that these women who were born and raised in the South Bend area had the opportunity to go do something like that. The level of connectedness that they feel to all of the artisans really struck me.

island gurl said...

This morning on my way to school i began thinking back to the events of last week. I began to think of a situation that arose at the last swimmeet, the team was swimming pitt, and I was near the cool down pool when my attention turned to an exceptionally exciting race that was taking place. It was the 200 and two girls had pulled ahead on the last leg of the race, one from ND and the other from pitt. We all started screaming when our ND teammate just outtouched Pitt.
Then our happyness was cut by the shouting of parents, apparently someone from one of the schools made a smart comment about the others team (i am not sure which schools parents started it) and a yelling match broke out. This is rare in collage, in highschool parents have more of an influence so you tend to see heated parents more often, in collage this was the first time i had seen this.
I glance back to the athletes and saw them shake hands. I thought to myself how sportsmanship is such an important part of being an athlete. While we are racing we are (kinda) at war, but as soon as the race ends, it is so important to be respectful and peaceful.
I think that this is very important to athletics, showing sportsmanship is a peaceful way of being a well-rounded good athlete.

Island gurl

sailor said...

Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible for people to get any dumber, and then once again, someone proves me wrong. Last week was a whirlwind between class and exams and I couldn’t wait to blow off some steam over the weekend. My friends have a house that is perfectly set up for a decent sized party and on Friday they had about 30 people over. All was going well and everyone was having a good time until a group of 5-10 random sophomore guys showed up. They conveniently let themselves into the house through the unlocked back door and began helping themselves to whatever they could find in the fridge and behind the bar. Not wanting to be the first to say anything, everyone just assumed they were someone’s friends that forgot to fill us in on their guests. Nevertheless, all was well until about 1 AM when one of the party-crashers decided to start smashing bottles all over the newly-installed back deck – apparently they didn’t think anyone would mind. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with this garbage after my hellish week so I calmly asked them to clean up the glass and to then leave. This seemed like the logical thing for them to do as by now everyone who belonged at the house now realized that these kids had no reason for being there. Anyway, all was proceeding well with the glass cleanup until one of their number decided that he no longer wanted to help and instead had some inexplicable desire to throw a bottle at the home’s owners. Needless to say, a fight ensued, and for what seems like the thousandth time in the history of college, the two most belligerent guys at the party decide to duke it out. Not wanting the night to end in handcuffs for anyone, we took our friend inside, locked the doors and subsequently went to sleep, hoping to clean up the glass the next morning. Unfortunately for us, not only was there glass on the porch, but it was joined by garbage, urine and vomit – obviously a message of displeasure from our underage “guests”. In the end, however, I am thankful that this was all that took place as the situation could have quickly spiraled out of control. I think from now on we will be a lot more careful about who gets let into the house.

Wowee Zowee said...

One “Peace Blog”-esque activity I partook in was the Diveristy Education program here on campus. I went to contemporary topics classes for two periods two discuss diversity issues here on campus such as racism, sexism, and classism. The idea of the program is just to get kids thinking about these issues and trying to start a dialogue of some sort.
I came into the program as somebody who benefits very much from the system I live in. I’m a white male. I am interested in the topic because I don’t think it is just for my gender and skin color to give me automatic advantages in American society.
I was blown away by the way most students I talked to viewed the topic of diversity. Rather than seeing the system as inherently unjust and approaching the situation curious about change, however difficult instigating change may be, most students I talked to either denied the existence of any sort of white privilege in our society or acknowledged its existence but concluded that it wasn’t a bad thing and it was simply “the way it is.” In short, I saw that difficulties of integrating different cultures or backgrounds or races or genders is not just because of the inherent difficulties of correcting a biased system. The issue is that not everyone is trying to correct it. Some people see the system and see that it works for them and go on with their daily life. Discouraging experience.

Coodis said...

So here is another update on my peaceful acts:

Act 1: A couple of weeks ago I was walking back to my dorm from class and it was slightly drizzling and cold. I noticed that a blind girl from my dorm was having trouble getting to our dorm because of all of the construction. I have helped this girl before because she lives down the hall from me but she does not know who I am. I hate to say it, but there have been times I have seen her having trouble but I never have the guts to say anything or help because I am too embarrassed for some reason (yeah doesn't make sense to me either). Well this time I remembered my peace blog activity thing and I decided to step up and do the right thing. I asked her if she was on her way to the dorm and if she would like me to walk with her. Let me tell you, it was the best feeling ever as I could tell she was so relieved. It made me feel really good inside because I know that I it would have been so easy for me to just keep walking and I know she appreciated it a lot. Since then every time I have seen her I have said hi and I think she remembers me now. It was a small act that any normal good human being should do and I am making an extra effort to become that good human being.

Act 2: The week after that was very rough for me. I have been interviewing with many many companies and been missing school in the process. I figured the cost/benefit ratio of the whole experience was worth it. You know with x many interviews I should have y many offers. Well 7 final round interviews later and I had been turned down by all 4 that had contacted me. It started with the job I really wanted and then just kept getting worse. I received one of the phone calls directly before going to another class of mine and I was on the verge of tears because it was company #3 and all I could think about was that I wasted an entire semester. All of my grades are bad and I won't even have a job after I graduate! (I know a bit melodramatic) Well while sitting in class trying not to bawl I decided to take measures into my own hands and make a list of positive thoughts. This is how it went:
1. Things will work out.
2. There are more opportunities out there.
3. There are better jobs and locations.
4. You are a good person; you will do good things.
5. Focus on what is really important.
6. It is just a job.
7. You will find a something or something will find you.
8. You are loved, just remember that.
9. You have other options.
10. You can look other places.
11. Do not settle. You do not need to settle.
12. You only need ONE.

I know it sounds lame but I felt SO much better after 'collecting my inner peace' as I like to call it. Well directly after class I got rejection #4 and I pulled out my little paper. Was completely devastated still, but I felt just a little better as I started reading the list. By the end of the list I am always calmed down and feeling much better. Since then I have gotten one offer though, so that is exciting!

Well have a happy Thanksgiving everyone! Peace out.

Jean Grey said...

This Friday afternoon more than two dozen Notre Dame students and staff stood in the chilling air to let their opinions be heard. Flocking to campus every football weekend hundreds of visitors drove through the university’s wide gates passing by the group standing on the corner. Holding signs that said “Iraq War, Wrong Way- Keep ‘em safe, bring ‘em home.” As the first of Notre Dame’s war protest student are finally beginning to show an opinion. While standing on the corner the most common response was honking, be it in anger or agreement the sound of horns split through the slowly fading light. In contrast, a few people seemed vehemently opposed to our street side protest. Instead of sticking to the horn most of these objectors kindly took the time to unroll their window and issue a multitude of derogatory gestures. Yet regardless of one’s opinion on the war, it is important to note that the students are finally showing an opinion. Be it pro-war, anti-war, pro-peace, or showing compassion for the servicemen, this is the first student-initiated demonstration regarding the war. Finally students have voiced an opinion on something that is outside our quietly protected bubble.

Jade said...

Guilty- Yes I am guilty- the end of the year is approaching and I have a total of two peace blogs (ahhh! I think- may be only one?). So at the beginning of the year when Professor Myers said we didn't actually have to do one a week as long as there were ten in at the end. Lying to myself I said I would do it once a week but the procrastinator in me screamed- "It isn't technically due"- Who was I kidding since I barely get my memos in on time? Anyways, in an attempt to get on board I'm in recap mode because I really do participate in peace acts regularly- I just don't blog 'em like I should. I have to admit that I have missed the blogging bus- I am not familiar with what is suppose to happen but I'll give it a go.
Peace Poetry
Walking down the corridor in O'Shag can be pretty overwhelming- they could probably make a class out of just taking note of all the events going on at ND- I happen to catch one about the coffeehouse-ish thing Lectio was doing that was focused on Peace (or responses to war actually but it had a peace aim). I sat there listening to some war ballads played/sung by a Vietnam veteran and a Notre Dame prof. and listening to some poetry. LISTENING- that was my peace action- so maybe I am just lazy but just listening, I have found, is one of the most powerful acts one can engage themselves in. The distinction is often made between listening and hearing- this is especially important in peace process. No- I didn't walk out of there super peaceful but rather I felt a little war going on inside (cheesy yes but true) guilt, fear, ignorance, anger - all those things that function in war- but they can also function in peace. I was guilty of the anger that allows for the ignorance rooted in fear- my little inside war- but peace was the purpose- motivation- turning a negative to a positive- walking out of there humming "one, two three , what are we fightin' for, don't ask me I don't give a damn..." but realizing that I do give a damn- this was my invitation to change, to mobilize reactions to war for peace action- My classmates often express feeling overwhelmed, almost powerless when it comes to working for peace when there is so much war-so much non-peace, I'm not immune but I think this and other experiences empower me- peace is powerful that it can use all of those things that war feeds on and produces to further its cause - war could never use love or understanding or solidarity without diminishing its cause. Lesson in listening=mobilize the negative energy for positive efforts. I left the reading almost annoyed- deifinitely frustrated but by no means discouraged- peace is my cause-I can address this little war working for it.

Jade said...

How can the personal pursuit of peace be public without making people feel uncomfortable? I have no clue - so WARNING...this may be uncomfortable.
Personal Peace
In the beginning of the year we read "Being Peace" by Thich Nhat Han ( I think?) The reading talked about how peace has to be more than something we do- we have to be peace. This being peace idea is more challenging than actually just doing peace. For this entry, I thought I would address my attempt to be peace ( I am participating in a more personal peace but I think it is blogworthy). My grandfather died on Wednesday- I feel weird as I type it because it just sounds weird and maybe I shouldn't blog it, maybe publicizing it is offensive to all those who deal with death silently- well, forgive me this time cuz I have never really had to deal with death. Death is my personal peace stuggle- it has a dual function in my peace pursuit: unnatural death convinces me to work harder for peace but the reality of our natural death makes me reconsider my efforts. This may sound unreasonable and thinking about it now I realize that it is unreasonable but that doesn't allow me to just forget it. So my peace act for this week has been trying to "be" peace confronted with this reality. We are more than the breaths we take- life can be peace but there is peace in death as well- REST IN PEACE- I never really thought about it before. Maybe peace in death came first and now the living are working to realize it in life (half way through this I realize it may not make sense but going back is not an option- I hope it proves blogworthy) What if the peace we strive for- "being peace" is found in death- when we can finally rest in peace and our attempts to get it in life is only meant as a mechanism to doing peace. Bringing in my personal faith perspective-created to "be" peace, the Fall left us "restless" and ultimately incapable of being peace,throughout our life we strive for that which we lost, in dying we regain the promised peace we longed for since birth. Thinking about it though- that would mean that death is the answer to the peace struggle - ok that's wrong wait-ok so: all of our efforts to "be peace" in our life can be enhanced by our realization that fear of death is unfounded since death can be peace- it makes since to me this way- violence, war, hate are all results of our fear of death, our attempts at self-preservation- we can "be" peace, love, nonviolent when we lose that fear (and for me, replace it with faith). I have to stop-I hope this makes sense some way or another.