By Jerry Alatalo
“I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
– CHIEF JOSEPH
he gripping, searing and profoundly moving personal testimony of Stacy Bannerman during the recent People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War points out in a most powerful manner why war must become banished from this Earth forever. Perhaps people around the world can make ending war their collective, focused, top 2017 New Year’s resolution.
Ms. Bannerman is the author of “Homefront 911”. She was one of many men and women who testified during The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War.
(Thank you to TheRealNews at YouTube)
Words written by Ken Carey in his 1991 book “The Third Millennium” offer more texture and depth to the idea of making the banishment of war humanity’s #1 resolution moving into 2017. The following excerpt comes from Chapter 8 – “This Season’s Children” – in that extraordinary spiritual writing.
Clothed in words, what the grandparents, the ancestors say – it would be something like this. Do what we have always dreamed of doing but did not quite achieve. You do not know young ones what we had to work against, and how much easier we have made it for you. We feel as though we have almost done it; go one step beyond. Do what we have almost done – create a world where our descendants will not have to struggle and fight as we have struggled, as we have fought. A cooperative world, a peace filled world, created first in your hearts and homes. In our time this was our challenge; in your time it is yours. You see how well we met this task, this challenge.
We have done better than some, perhaps, and not as well as others. But it is no matter now. You are this season’s people. We speak to you children of the 21st century. Do not throw away your caution; do not open yourselves to those who would exploit you or deprive you of your rights, but please live with less fear than we did. The rights you enjoy today are here to stay. Armed struggle is not essential to the procurement of your daily bread; this much we have given you. There are still those who would take advantage of you, but they are fewer and less powerful than they were in our time.
The communication tools you have today make it far more difficult for those who would abuse power. Perhaps the most important lesson our lives have taught us is this: you are always better off communicating with friends, with enemies, it makes no difference. Be open, honest… state your views as clearly as possible. Do not be afraid of giving away secrets. It is best to have no secrets; they are the source of much mistrust. Share with others who you are, your goals, your ambitions. We have found that on those occasions when we have communicated with our adversaries miracles have occurred across national borders, across racial lines, across economic and social barriers.
Breakthroughs of understanding have occurred. We came to respect those with whom we spoke, and they came to respect us. These are the friendships that have served us well in our lives. Agreement is less important than respect, for with respect agreement may one day occur but without it agreement is impossible. Honesty and openness will earn you respect. The times we fought when we did not need to fight we lost both the fight and potential friends. Count everyone a potential friend, then do what you can to make that friendship real.
Communication is a power much greater than confrontation – do not lose sight of that.
We have seen, as all the elders of our race have seen, that there is no scarcity of resources. The only scarcities have been of love and of imagination. As long as the sun shines and rivers flow, as long as the winds blow and ocean waves lap on these shores, there is no shortage of energy nor is there any thing over which to fight. Unless perhaps your basic needs are denied by another’s greed, then we would say yes defend your rights, but speak first. First use all your wit and ingenuity to avoid the conflict. Then if you must, defend what you must, but know you may well lose as much as you will gain. Use force only in defense and only as a last resort. There is no cause but defense that justifies violence.
No nation whose people are motivated for any reason other than defense can win a war in the present climate of the world. Perhaps this was not always true, but the wise ones among us have noticed this, and whatever its cause it is reality for the times in which you live. Can you understand? This is the real news. Consider what it means. No nation desires to lose a war, and if only a defensive war can be won we will not launch a war. Can nations battle in mutual defense?
If your youth pumps passion through your blood and you desire an arena in which to test your spirit fire turn to the athletic field, to the Olympic Games, to amateur and professional sports, to baseball, basketball, football, soccer, rugby, curling, skiing, sailing, bicycling, dancing, cross-country racing… The options before you are endless.
Choose the field that best suits your nature; compete to your heart’s content. Enjoy the pursuit of excellence, compete in marketplaces and music halls, in fields and amphitheaters, but if you seek to enjoy your lives do not compete on the battlefield. Leave behind the old world’s greatest bane. Do not kill, do not destroy, do not main, murder and ruin. In the end you but do these things to yourselves – there are no others.
Let your competition be light-hearted and friendly. Celebrate the diversity of excellence. We have lived that you might know a brighter world. Do not throw away the promise we have given you; if you turn to violence in any of its forms you betray those of us who have gone before you and those of us who follow.
There are no winners in violent confrontation – only losers and more losers. Do not let the pursuit of excellence in your chosen field blind you to the excellence of another. See the same spirit in them pursuing the same excellence to which you aspire. Appreciate them in the same way you appreciate the skilled opponent who helps you hone and develop your skills. Appreciate them as you would a partner, a coach, a trainer who helps you transcend what you thought were your limitations.
These attitudes, simple though they are, lie at the heart of the world we want you to know.