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    Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

    Eleven years ago, fear ruled the day in our country, and its echoes were felt around the world.

    Those echoes - manifest as war, violence, discrimination, hatred - continue to this day.

    And because the vividness of my memory of that day doesn't seem to fade with time, I carry a dream for my children: that one day they and their children will know only peace in this world.

    It may be a dream in the present, but it can become a reality in the future.

    It is with this reality in mind that I teach my children the value of peace, love, acceptance, tolerance, empathy.

    So that it is normal for them. So they know nothing else. And so that they will teach their children.

    War doesn't have to be the way of the world.

    What we believe… becomes what is and what will be.


    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war

    I dreamed I saw a mighty room

    And the room was filled with men

    And the paper they were signing said

    They'd never fight again

    And when the paper was all signed

    And a million copies made

    They all joined hands and bowed their heads

    And grateful prayers were prayed

    And the people in the streets below

    Were dancing 'round and 'round

    And guns and swords and uniforms

    Were scattered on the ground

    Last night I had the strangest dream

    I'd ever dreamed before

    I dreamed the world had all agreed

    To put an end to war.

    {Words & Music by Ed McCurdy as performed by John Denver, 41 years ago, at a peace march in Washington DC}

    EDITED TO ADD: As I was just finishing up writing this post, my daughter came over to my shoulder. She asked what I was writing about, and we talked a bit about the events of 9-11. I let her know that they might talk about what happened at school, and she nodded - yes, they already had. At that point, I turned on the song above... and to my surprise, she started singing along. "You know this song already," I asked? "Yes," she said, "We learned it at school". My dream of peace for my children, it seems, isn't my dream alone. I ask you all to BELIEVE that we can change our course in this world, one song at a time, one child at a time, one action, one word. We CAN have peace.

    Is it Enough?

    I just watched a doomsday scenario documentary with Adam called Collapse. It compared our current society, and the path we’re on, with other mega cultures that had collapsed in our not-too-distant world history - like the Mayans & the Romans. The documentary touched on nearly every problem the world has currently; from our energy crisis to our financial collapse to our widespread overuse of chemical pesticides & fertilizers and genetically modified seeds to our global water shortage to our involvement in war and escalating violence to our general discounting and disregarding of global warming. The film certainly didn’t paint a pretty picture (nor was it particularly riveting, but, this isn’t a movie review, so I’ll leave it at un-pretty picture). The film left me uneasy, worried, and yet... just a little smug. After all, we recycle our bottles and junk mail. We eat organic foods. We teach our kids to care for the animals and plants of the earth. We practice peaceful parenting. We’re doing okay, I thought. Sure, living a bit further inland and away from the big city centers might be safer. Living on our own land, with a self-sustaining farm could be prudent (not to mention lovely). Driving an electric car, that we could plug into our off-the-grid house, powered by our own solar panels – it’s a nice dream.

    (photo source: icicp.org)

    Feeling slightly less anxious, I trundled up to bed, nose in my iPhone, only to discover that there was major rioting on the streets of London. LONDON for goodness’ sake. Not Baghdad or Mogadishu. London. In Jolly old England. The fact that Morrissey’s old refrain, “Panic on the streets of London. I wonder to myself: Could ever life ever be sane again?” was playing out in real life - just across the ocean - was maybe more unsettling even than the documentary I’d just watched predicting the nearly inevitable collapse of the entire world within the near future. If London was out of control, what was next? Are we headed for collapse, like our distant ancestors? I didn’t sleep soundly last night.


    (photo source: thetelegraph.co.uk)


    This morning, while driving to work (in my gas-powered minivan), I listened to NPR report on the stock market’s continued decline, further UK rioting, and their unfortunately-not-awkward segue increasing problem of flash mob violence in Philadelphia – just a few short miles from my home. I spent the day on my computer, undoubtedly powered, at least in part, by non-renewable resources, and I wondered to myself: is recycling our plastic bottles really enough? Is teaching my children to love the earth, and strive for peace enough? I can’t close my eyes enough to block out everything – not when London is burning in my Tweetstream.


    What can we do? What do you do?

    Striving for Peace Amidst the Celebration of War

    I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?" 

    ~Eve Merriam


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I slept uneasily the night I learned Bin Laden was killed.


    The next morning, on the way to work, and throughout the day, NPR was in “breaking news” mode: all the regular programming had been usurped by this news of Osama’s death. I heard our President’s statement. I heard of Americans cheering and honking horns, saw photographs of celebrations in the streets. Juxtaposed with images of the towers falling and the sounds of people screaming, crying, and dying.

    Throughout the day on Twitter and news sites I read words of congratulations, celebration, even joy. I listened to President Obama use words and phrases to describe the mission like, “justice has been done” and “satisfaction” and “true to our values” and “achievement” and “greatness of our country”.


    Those very positive words and sentiments and images – from our President, my fellow Americans and fellow humans, from people I follow on Twitter and Facebook – used in the depiction of a hunt and kill operation of one man we believe was in charge of a terrible terrorist act which directly caused the death of thousands of people on September 11th 2001, leading to more thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last nearly ten years, and a generally heightened sense of fear and hatred and unease worldwide of people “different than us” and of Americans in general by the rest of the world – such  overt congratulations and joviality in a discussion of war, death, tragedy… while I can understand a sense of relief and maybe even hope, that Bin Laden’s death might somehow signal an end to an era; perhaps usher in a new era of peace… all the celebrations and congratulations seemed the very antithesis of what I was feeling. So, I tweeted:



    Here was our media presenting our nation as cheering death; yet death and war and killing continues. The ending of life of one tyrant doesn’t signal the end of terrorism. What kind of message are we sending the world when others see photographs of celebrations on what is essentially the grave site of thousands of people of all races, religions, nationalities? We laud the death of Bin Laden as “justice”, but does it really justify dancing in the streets? Do the parents and spouses and children of those lost on 9-11 and in the wars since feel justice has been done? Their loved ones are still not with them. I fear these images the media is broadcasting serves only to add fuel to an already viciously burning fire of hate and anger in our world.


    It all makes me feel so very uneasy.


    Over the last few days I’ve been repeatedly transported back to the day that the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Our world has changed so dramatically in the last ten years. Every year as 9-11 approaches, I think about how to discuss it with our children. I can’t help but wonder how an innocent child would process these recent images of partying on the site of the worst terrorist attack on the US in celebration of the death of the apparent mastermind of said attack. It boggles my mind how to explain the dichotomy of feelings between craving peace and understanding for all people, of experiencing relief or hope that the death of Bin Laden might signal some sort of end to war and terrorism expressed in celebration, and of the dark realization that there still is so much anger, hatred, fear, and violence alive in our world. I can’t hardly explain it myself.


    I realize I can't choose or change the way others react to situations. But I can and will choose for myself to practice and strive for peace in my home and in my everyday life; and hope that my children will learn peace is a way of life, and a goal worth reaching for. I will choose to carry the light and energy of hope with me, so that my children will take it with them through their lives, touching others with the light of peace.  Because I believe it is only from a place of peace and understanding and empathy that the world will heal.


    I came across this eloquently written and touching blog post; a mother's reaction to Bin Laden's death & the subsequent celebration: Why I'm Not Celebrating Osama bin Laden's Death by Josette at Haushki.com and wanted to share it with you, as it moved me.

    Posted: May 06 2011, 00:05 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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