Article 25

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Risking All for Peace: Creativity in the Service of Non-Violence

In Uncategorized on 07/21/2011 at 9:17 pm

Creativity in the service of non-violence

By Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Kathy Kelly, an internationally known peace activist, drew concentric circles on the chalkboard.

The outermost circle represented U.S. citizens thoroughly antagonistic toward aims and strategies of the peace movement. In the next circle were people apathetic about wars the United States is waging. In the next circle were citizens whose opinions could be swayed, followed by a circle representing the organizers willing to engage in setting up education and outreach actions. The innermost and smallest circle represented those who risk imprisonment for non-violent direct actions or risk their lives by traveling as peacemakers into war zones.

Kelly suggested that the circle most important to expand is that of the organizers, those who maintain databases, write press releases, arrange speaking events, organize phone banks and accomplish all the tasks necessary to broaden outreach and education.

“How do we make this part of the circle grow?” she asked.

Kelly suggested that many people possess excellent organizing skills but are consumed with arranging sports and entertainment events for their children, e.g. soccer games.

“Can we appeal to the parents’ natural empathy for children and encourage stronger involvement with peace and environmental activism that will build a better future for their children?” she asked.

Peacemakers from all over the United States gathered last year during the July 4 weekend in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the 30th anniversary of Plowshares, The Nuclear Resister and Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. Kelly suggested engaging people in the anti-nuclear and anti-war movement by seeking common ground.

‘Where you stand’

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee’s peacemaking journey began many years ago. She was persuaded, she said, by Daniel Berrigan, renowned poet, American peace activist and Roman Catholic priest, who said, “We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course continues, because the waging of war by its nature, is total – but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the mere desire for peace.”

In 1988 Kelly was sentenced to a year in prison for planting corn on nuclear-missile silo sites. She served nine months in a maximum-security prison in Lexington, Ky. In spring 2004 she served three months at Pekin Federal Prison for crossing the line as part of an ongoing effort by School of the Americas Watch to close the combat training school at Fort Benning, Ga. Read the rest of this entry »