Make-A-Crane

The Americans

An excerpt (the last stanza) from a poem by Robert Hayden:

confess i am curiously drawn     unmentionable     to
the americans     doubt i could exist among them for 
long however     psychic demands far too severe 
much violence     much that repels     i am attracted 
none the less     their variousness their ingenuity 
their elan vital     and that some thing     essence 
quiddity     i cannot penetrate or name
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Fifteen Years of Darkness

This poem is by Liu XiaoBo, translated by Jeffrey Yang. Here are the first two stanzas:

15 years ago
a massacre took place at daybreak
I died then was reborn

15 years have passed
daybreak bayonets dyed red
is still a blade fixed in the eyes

My life has been the poem I would have writ

This lovely poem is by Henry David Thoreau:

My life has been the poem I would have writ

But I could not both live and utter it.

War Letters

An interesting project from PBS.

Eyes and Names

Make eye contact with people, often.

Remember people’s names.

Ask lots of questions.

Share yourself.

Listen.

These are basic but sometimes forgettable motions of daily life. They are good. Do them more.

Deceptive Peace

Maybe a zoo, like a prison, creates an atmosphere of deceptive peace — there is much screaming involved, but in a language we do not understand or do not bother to listen for.

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Pise Con Cuidado

Literally translated thanks to Google, this means “Step with care.” The sign is on the bus I ride on each day, and there is no English version. It reminds me of the beautiful religion, Jainism. Followers of Jainism (ideally) tred with care, mindful of the creatures on the ground who might be hurt. I try to in daily life as well. Construed more broadly, “Pise con cuidado” could be applied to any kind of interaction and approach to life. Be mindful of those around, be kind.

Global Peace Index

Here is the 2012 Global Peace Index.

Give A Gift Every Day For 1 Month

Cami Walker launched 29gifts.org on Day 29 of a month of giving. She documented her giving in the bestseller 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. Here is the website description:

29 Gifts is a global giving movement with more than 16,300 members in 43 countries. Our collective mission at 29 Gifts is to revive the giving spirit in the world. We change our lives—and change the world—one gift at a time. Learn how our 29-Day Giving Challenge works and sign up now.

YOUR GIFTS DO GOOD. A portion of 29 Gifts Boutique profits are donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 29 Gifts Founder and Author, Cami Walker, and two million others worldwide live with MS. Create a world free of MS by shopping in the 29 Gifts Boutique.

All You Need Is Love

Peace Within and With Others

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” –Peace Pilgram Quotes

Here are more quotes on peace from the website I found this one on.

Women for Women International

“I believe the way to stop violence against women is to speak out and refuse to be silent.”

“Women are the glue of families and societies; when women thrive, countries thrive.”

–Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi woman who founded Women for Women International at age 23, in 1993

There is lots more from the website!: Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We’re changing the world one woman at a time.

First Opera on the War in Iraq

It is named Fallujah. See here for movie clips.

“Welcome to the world’s nicest prison”

See the full CNN article for details and definitely watch the movie clip! This is a wonderful approach to rehabilitation.

“Who would you rather have as your neighbor? Someone who’s set free after years behind bars–or a prisoner who for such a long time has had the chance to be part of a community?”

“This is what we call ‘human ecology’…It has to do with human relationships and the awareness that you’re part of a greater whole.”

–Arne Kvernik Nilsen, governor of Bastoy prison

An Optimist’s Guide to Life

“Happiness is like a spark…Fate Lights it, but it’s your decision whether it will burn out or ignite.” –Anthony Devergillo, who began a blog, “An Optimist’s Guide to Life.” Anthony has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which makes him constantly smile.

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

On their website:

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of nonviolence– the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart.

NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.

The NVC community is active in over 65 countries around the globe. Find out more about how NVC is changing the world and how you can get involved.

Creativity Awakens

“People living in disenfranchised and traumatized communities often became totally silenced and invisible to the world.”

“Awakening creativity in people in general, especially in traumatized situations, empowers and heals. It gives them space to express themselves and share their grief, despair and dreams for the future.”

“Art is a powerful took in building community and social change. Artists can be at the center of that change.”

–Lily Yeh, who began Barefoot Artists, a non-profit that works with the poor communities to creates social change

Goodshop.com

Goodshop.com transforms the most socially passive capitalist whether s/he wants it or not, turning shopping into social engagement:

1. Choose a cause.

2. Search, shop or dine.

3. We donate for every search or purchase.

Happiness and Life

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” –John Lennon

Dancing Unites!

Different countries, colors, scenery, people…

Loving, Living, Letting Go

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” — Buddha

Our Prisons Reveal Our Values (and lack of)

We are social beings. Solitary confinement takes a part of our being. Here is an article on a hearing that took place Tuesday on solitary confinement.

Anthony Graves: In response to people who claim it has no psychological effects, “I say, ‘Go live there for 30 days, and then tell me that.’…Solitary confinement makes our criminal justice criminal…It dehumanizes us all.”

DonorsChoose.org

Just like Kickstarter, this is “an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need.” Great idea!

Here is some background from the website:

“DonorsChoose.org grew out of a Bronx high school where teachers experienced first-hand the scarcity of learning materials in our public schools.

Charles Best, then a social studies teacher, sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations. He created DonorsChoose.org in 2000 so that individuals could connect directly with classrooms in need.

Our mission: DonorsChoose.org engages the public in public schools by giving people a simple, accountable and personal way to address educational inequity.

Our vision: We envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education.”

Coca Cola Captures Happy Moments

Life is more than theft and violence! Ads have an opportunity to be enjoyable experiences!

Peace-Building Institute

The application deadline for university students to attend a 2-week Peace-Building Institute has been extended to June 30, 2012. The downside is that the program fee is $1,200 and does not include travel to Rwanda, immunizations, insurance, passport/visa fees, and personal expenses.

Never Again Rwanda is a human rights, peace-building organization that was founded in 2002 and is registered as a Rwandan non-governmental organization. The founding members recognized that the minds of young people were used to destroy Rwanda leading up to and during the 1994 Tutsi genocide. Even as a post-genocide society, they observed that divisions continued to exist between young Rwandans. Guided by a vision of a nation where young people are agents of positive change and work together towards sustainable peace and development, the founding members established Never Again Rwanda (NAR) to empower youth with opportunities to become active citizens.

“An online word-sculpture protesting the prison-industrial complex”

This is a wonderful idea:

“I Am Writing A Letter Each Day to My Brother Who Is In Prison For 4-15 Years” 

Here are posts.

Beautiful World

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Irenic: Word of the Day

irenic \eye-REN-ik; -REE-nik\, adjective:

Tending to promote peace; conciliatory.

With an irenic spirit they join the debate, at times ugly and vicious, about the historicity of the Bible (by which they mean the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament). — Phyllis Trible, “God’s Ghostwriters”, New York Times, February 4, 2001

Taylor was always irenic by temperament and desire, and his sensitivity to others enabled him to bring together and work with people of very diverse views. — “The Right Rev John Taylor”, Times (London), February 1, 2001

Irenic comes from Greek eirenikos, from eirene, “peace.”

Phatic: Word of the Day (May 19, 2012)

phatic \FAT-ik\, adjective:

Denoting speech used to create an atmosphere of goodwill.

We conduct phatic discourse indispensable to maintaining a constant connection among speakers; but phatic speech is indispensable precisely because it keeps the possibility of communication in working order, for the purpose of other and more substantial communications.
— Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyperreality

They’re just filling the air with noise. This is what’s called phatic speech. “How are you?” they might ask.
— Adriana Lopez, Fifteen Candles

Coined by the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, phatic was first used in 1923. It probably comes from the Greek word phatos meaning “spoken.”

Meia’s sentence: Negotiations for peace necessitate phatic discourse, though sincerity ultimately maintains the dialogue.

Solitude

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life.  Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. – Khaled Hosseini,  Amir in The Kite Runner

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. – George MacDonald

These quotes are thanks to Steve McCurry’s beautiful collection of images and quotes on solitude and silence.

Give Peace A Chance

Geography

For those of us who’ve neglected our geography lessons and/or live in an egocentric society that emphasizes our own little part of the world, here is a useful site for life.

Antiwar Photographer

“I used to call myself a war photographer…Now I consider myself an antiwar photographer.” -James Nachtwey

Nachtwey has covered conflict in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, South Africa, the West Bank and Gaza, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

The Dictator

Put away political correctness and thoroughly enjoy The Dictator. It sheds some surprising light on America, too.

Genocide

Do other animals besides humans commit genocide? Engage in war?

The Peace Book

This was a great Kickstarter idea.

WWOOF

Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms…living, learning, sharing organic lifestyles

WWOOF is a world wide network of organisations. We link volunteers with organic farmers, and help people share more sustainable ways of living.

WWOOF is an exchange – In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.

WWOOF organisations link people who want to volunteer on organic farms or smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.

 

The Environment and the Law

“An Inconvenient Lawsuit: Teenagers Take Global Warming to the Courts”

An inspired strategy, hopefully one that won’t backfire and trivialize the issue…? Here is a nice tidbit nestled at the bottom:

“It may seem ironic that the hyper-focused Loorz is one of the more than five million youth diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In this case, however, Loorz contends that it’s the grownups who are suffering from disabling distraction. He argues that US politicians are so preoccupied by the lingering economic crisis and this year’s presidential campaign that they’re ignoring an environmental threat that could ultimately bring about devastating consequences.”

“Beauty”

This was in the category “beauty” on best of youtube and aptly!

“Tunnel of Love”

There are lots of great photography blogs. Here is a beautiful picture taken in Ukraine called “Tunnel of Love.” Here are flower pictures. Such beauty about this world! (What if the world were covered in flowers? We’d sneeze a lot.) Steve McCurry. Canadian Hiking Photography.

Roots and Shoots

Jane Goodall talked about an organization she founded, Roots and Shoots, in her TED Talks presentation.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading

Everyone needs to know about TED Talks. Great idea in itself. Here is one by Michael Pritchard on his water-cleaning filter. Here is one from the wonderful Jane Goodall, “legendary chimpanzee researcher.”

My take: we are all connected.

“Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry”

Love these investigative multiple-page articles.

“A poem is a sword.” -Saheera Sharif

“Making love to an old man is like

Making love to a limp cornstalk blackened by fungus.”

-Gulmakai, 22, an Afghan woman whose father made her marry an old man at 15

Kickstarter

Entrepreneurship at its grassroots best.

Ecotopia

Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach. Definitely going to read this.

Photojournalism

Photo Essays from Mother Jones. Here is the environment page. And politics pageCharles Taylor. For those who don’t know what Mother Jones is, prepare yourselves:

“Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting. We currently have two main “platforms”: an award-winning bimonthly national magazine (circulation 240,000), and a website featuring new, original reporting 24-7. (In the past we’ve had a radio show and TV specials; theme parks are in the conceptual stage.) Why should you read or support us? Because “smart, fearless journalism” keeps people informed—”informed” being pretty much indispensable to a democracy that actually works. Because we’ve been ahead of the curve time and again. Because this is journalism not funded by or beholden to corporations. Because we bust bullshit and get results. Because we’re expanding our investigative coverage while the rest of the media are contracting. Because you can count on us to take no prisoners, cleave to no dogma, and tell it like it is. Plus we’re pretty damn fun.”

Obama: “Warrior In Chief”

This portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is disheartening.

On Air

Today I saw my first published poem in VISIONS, at their release party! Here it is:

On Air

What if the world was a feather and we were lost on a piece of dirt?

Infinite landscape of bushes and rough-leaved trees.

What if my breasts could kiss the clouds?

Wet air clinging to warmth.

What if my tongue were to lick the dusty sweet surface of the moon?

Stars setting fire to my skin as the Milky Way wrapped me up with black softness.

What if a melody of light filled me with deep strokes of night sky?

Dimension becomes a synonym for displacement.

What if gravity melded me heavy to the raindrops so I became the sum of my falling?

A weighted speck of dust, lying on the landscape stretched out.

“Urban Nirvana”

I love all these articles that keep popping up about chickens! Here is one published today. Here is one  that mentions the joy, fun, and wonder of chickens. Another old one. Some advice on raising chickens in one very practical article. One on raising chickens in tough times. These are some photos of chickens I’ve taken in the past:

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Go Smell the Flowers

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” -Iris Murdoch