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Seattle summer trainee deadline extended

The deadline for the WWFOR PAT (peace activist trainee) program has been extended to May 25th. We had some major problems with e-mail from May 10-14 so decided to extend the deadline. The program is for high school students finishing their sophomore or junior year. It runs from July 7 through July 30. For more info: www.wwfor.org.

“D” is for Drones — Damned Devices of Destruction

This is a nod to the Christian Science Monitor. As a subscriber for nearly 35 years, following my service as a conscientious objector in Lebanon where John Cooley was reporting from at the time, I’ve watched it go through many changes. The latest is to “a weekly of global news and ideas.” This week’s issue, the fourth or fifth in its new format, opened a window into the evil of warfare that took my breathe away, though it told me little I didn’t already know. It was the trick of the good correspondent, in this case Dan Murphy, to find just the right quotes to give the story its “lifeline.”

The story was titled “Drones as weapons of war” (volume 101/ Issue 90, p. 12).

Drones’ great advantage is that they keep pilots and soldiers out of harm’s way. They are also much cheaper to fly than conventional planes.

More about conscientious objectors

Following up on yesterday's post about conscientious objectors, and given the fact that today's International C.O. Day, here's are three more items related to the topic. First, one of the most inspiring ongoing efforts to resist war and occupation is the Israeli feminist group New Profile. Three weeks ago, numerous homes of New Profile members were raided by Israeli police, and several members were detained for interrogation, as detailed by this press release.

Letters from prison: supporting conscientious objectors

When I checked my Facebook account early this morning, I was startled to see that my first two messages were from people currently being held in prison. (Or, more precisely, they were from people writing on their behalf.) Since both persons are being incarcerated for acts of conscience, and since tomorrow is International Conscientious Objectors Day, I want to lift up their witness.

One of the posts was about the lead story in today's news: yesterday's incarceration of Aung San Suu Kyi by the Burmese military government. I find the headline at the top of today's online global edition of The New York Times (and International Herald Tribune) somewhat comedic. It says:

FOR summer internships in Seattle area

The Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation (WWFOR) is still recruiting applications for the 2009 summer PAT (Peace Activist Trainee) program. The deadline for applications is this Friday, May 15, 2009.

If you know anyone who is currently in their sophomore or junior year in high school who might want to be empowered to make change in their community, please encourage them to apply! The four-week program emphasizes building organizing skills, as well as meeting activists and organizing working on a variety of peace & social justice issues.

There is more information, including flyers and application, on the WWFOR web site. The deadline for applications is May 15, 2009.

Ellen Finkelstein: 206-789-5565 (WWFOR office)

Two actions to take today, May 12th

Please join the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the following two actions today. First, in follow-up to yesterday's wonderful news about the Iranian court system's release of journalist Roxana Saberi, today is the global day of action for Doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei, pioneers of harm reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Iran. The brothers, both medical doctors based in the United States but working around the world, have been detained for almost a year and sentenced to prison in Tehran. The Iranian government says they used trips to AIDS conferences worldwide to foment a velvet revolution.

Engaging the Other: The Dalai Lama and the power of dialogue

A belief in the power of dialogue must be at the center of our understanding of social change. As Hildegard Goss-Mayr said, "Interaction with the Other is .... not a menace but an enrichment. When we reach this state, we will be able to recognize the revelation of Hod in the other and to accept the gift of their truth."

Last week, this was in evidence in an unusual setting — a meeting betwee the Dalai Lama and a group of Chinese leaders in New York City. As this article by my friend Matt Weiner of the Interfaith Center of New York reports, while many Chinese have resisted efforts by Tibetans for self-determination, some now are open to hearing out the spiritual leader — or at least to engaging in conversation about their differences.

Ethan Vesely-Flad's picture

Engaging the Other: The Dalai Lama and the power of dialogue

A belief in the power of dialogue must be at the center of our understanding of social change. As Hildegard Goss-Mayr said, "Interaction with the Other is .... not a menace but an enrichment. When we reach this state, we will be able to recognize the revelation of Hod in the other and to accept the gift of their truth."

Join our mothers in ending gun violence

Two days ago, a 21-year-old student at my alma mater, Wesleyan University, was murdered by a man with a handgun. Johanna Justin-Jinich, a young woman with a beautiful future, was cut down as she entered the prime of her life by someone who had far-too-easy access to a killing tool and ammunition. She was killed in the Red and Black Café, a local gathering place that is run by a friend and classmate of mine.

Every day, families lose their loved ones due to preventable murders such as this.