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Alternatives Magazine For Cultural Creativity Issue 20 – Winter 2002

Alternatives Magazine For Cultural Creativity Issue 20 - Winter 2002

In This Issue . . . Life On A Limb: The Interview with Tre Arrow, by Miriam Green "The next morning, a logger with a chainsaw climbed toward me, cutting branches as he came. Finally we were just a few feet apart. He told me I was crazy, that he loved these forests, that if I believed in Jesus and God, I wouldn't be doing all this. At that point a man on the ground called up, instructing the logger twice to use his chainsaw to cut off the branch I was standing on. The logger in the tree looked at me and said he wouldn't deliberately kill someone like that. I noticed that no one said anything to the guy who gave the order."

The Challenge of Peace In Time of War, by Betsy Toll "Around me, friends question the validity of a philosophy of nonviolence in dealing with such madness. I point out that philosophy is not even the point. If we desire increased safety, and the rule of law and justice as opposed to terrorism to create a climate of international support and stability, then active commitment to non-violent strategies is the only obvious choice. Dropping bombs on a ravaged people who bear no responsibility for the Sept. 11 atrocities can only inflame seething resentment and legitimize retaliation. A pragmatic, strategic analysis leads directly to an energetic, just, non-violent response. This response would have moral clarity and garner international respect, support and inevitable success in reducing danger and moving us toward meaningful, sustainable peace.

Amid the rapidly rising tides of war, my increased immersion in the currents of peace has moved me to engage actively to expand this dialogue on the pragmatism of non-violence, and to support efforts for fundamental cultural change, even as I try to comprehend the horrific reality of geo-political warfare conducted both against me and in my name."

My Father's Clouds: Commercialism in a Can, by John Borowski "Coke and Pepsi are vying for the buying power of our children, and schools are their vehicles for profit. But they have to pay to play and they do so through these contracts. The prospect of money to schools seduces school boards and blinds adults to the realities of these Deals with the Devil, and such deals have become pervasive and ubiquitous. Sadly, my own school has a Pepsi contract."

Family Values . . . Focus on America's Failed War on Drugs: DARE to Tell Your Kids the Truth: Quandaries of a Thinking Parent, by "Mama" Sandee Burbank "While I felt we had found an excellent way to teach our youngsters about all drug use, it became increasingly hard to explain the law to them. I was seeing increasingly harsh efforts toward the prohibition of marijuana. The government had taken to spraying poison on marijuana crops. Marijuana, which I knew from personal experience was relatively mild when compared to alcohol, carried penalties for simple possession that were Draconian. I was astonished that the government would go so far to supposedly protect our citizens' health from marijuana use, yet use the taxes from the sale of other drugs with dangerous health effects (alcohol and tobacco) to provide basic services."

Meanwhile, ordinary people are likewise afraid to speak out publicly against the War on Drugs. Many parents, especially those who depend on jobs in "drug free" workplaces, live in fear of speaking the truth to their colleagues, let alone their children. Advertisements, paid for by US taxpayers, even encourage parents not to be "too honest" with their children about their own past drug use."

In Search of A Prime Directive, by Brian Bogart "Simply put, we need to evolve from a "One Nation Indivisible" mentality to a "One Planet Indivisible" mentality in a hurry. Nationalism led to so many twentieth-century tragedies; global pride must be this century's trend. We've recently proven we're all genetically the same. Wouldn't it be safer and more productive to celebrate the fact that we all come from the same family?"

The Best Security: Make Sure Your Neighbors Are Happy, by Avishai Pearlson "Jewish history, both recent and from thousands of years back, is always glorifying our resistance to being under occupation, fiercely fighting the evil oppressor. Have the roles switched? I have always been uncomfortable with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and feared an explosive uprising of the Palestinians. I see no other way but to take out the Jewish settlements and allow the Palestinians to have their independent State in the West Bank and Gaza. We have to give them something to work with and something to lose. Right now they have nothing to lose."

Physicians' Perspective: Tolerance with Wisdom, Not Anger with Revenge, by Rick Bayer, MD "We are all citizens of the United States, but equally, we are citizens of one planet with one ecosystem. These loyalties are conjoined. Therefore responsible patriots must insist upon US policies that respect human beings everywhere. We must demand justice through international diplomatic cooperation and law enforcement rather than indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians."

Dreams of Kindness, Love & Grace, by Carolyn Berry "Ivan struggled to translate his mother's letter. "She says that Serb soldiers kidnapped a young boy from our town. He was eight. They took him into the woods. Killed and gutted him. Filled his body with explosives. They left the corpse on a deserted street under a moonless sky. Next morning the townspeople joined with family to help recover the boy and prepare him for burial. As the body was tenderly lifted, 13 people died as a result of explosives cleverly planted in his belly. Woman, children, elderly É dead. Others injured." Ivan paused to wipe his eyes. "We will never be the same again in Yugoslavia.""

Which Way to Bloomingdale's, by Erico "It strikes me odd that no one else seems amused by this: We have finally all found out what it is to be an American. No, it's not industriousness, or puritanical cleanliness of thought and deed. Nor is it thrift or ingenuity. Not grit. Not neighborly love. Not recycling every scrap of metal for the war effort. Not saving water or planting every acre. Not the Golden Rule, and not brothers-in-arms camaraderie. Not helping the needy, nor bootstrapping ambition. Not even the "family values" of the right make the top of the list.

No? What then can we all do to help our country in its hour of need? What is the most patriotic truly American thing we can do as citizens of this great nation? Mayors, Governors, the President; our leaders have spoken: "Shop."

Dream Weaving: ReDreaming the Dream of Your Life, by David Lang "I looked carefully at the trail, planned where to place my feet and what my hands would grab for support. I then rushed up the last fifteen feet to the top. As I came up over the rise I was surprised to find that I had not quite reached the top. There was one more obstacle I had to climb. Straight ahead, planted boldly just below the mountain's top was a porcelain toilet."

Leaving Home: People of Peace Stand Together, by Ness Mountain "For those of us who want peace, it's easy to feel isolated. We speak to each other, but quietly. It's not completely safe to express dissenting opinions. We may feel alone with our thoughts and feelings, but stay strong, friends. We're not going away, and they can't keep us quiet. As this miserable war drags on, pacifism will surely become a mainstream position again. Let's make it happen soon. We need to be seen, and there is safety in numbers."

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