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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.

New Carrots and Sticks

“Eid Shoma Mubarak,” said President Obama in his Norooz (Iranian New Year) message to Iranian-Americans, Iranians in Iran, and, for the first time since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, to the Iranian government.

Obama’s approach to the Iranian nation — both its government and people — was one of the most clear and positive steps an American president has taken toward a direct dialogue in the past 30 years. In response, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and President Ahmadinejad both made it clear that Iran is ready for direct talks. They each said that Iran is ready to have a direct dialogue with the United States, but “under mutual respect.” Further, they added, “America must change its policy in taking action, not just by using words.”

Pete Seeger sings for Iraq!

Happy birthday, Pete Seeger! Yesterday was the legendary songwriter's 90th birthday, and a massive concert attended by 15,000 admirers was held in his honor this weekend in NYC to raise needed funds for the Hudson River Clearwater that Pete helped found almost 40 years ago. I grew up alongside the Hudson, regularly attending strawberry, pumpkin, and shad festivals hosted by the Clearwater, with free music provided by Seeger, other members of The Weavers, and plenty of other folk and bluegrass artists. One of my earliest childhood memories is of splitting a peanut butter & jelly sandwich with Pete Seeger, since my parents had told me he liked PB&J just as much as I did!

Sri Lanka crisis needs peaceful resolution

The situation this month in Sri Lanka has deteriorated rapidly to the extent that tens of thousands of civilians are at constant risk of injury or death. With the Sri Lankan government pushing hard to eliminate the Tamil Tiger rebel force, with which it has been at war for decades, innocent civilians are increasingly caught in the middle of the conflict. The International Fellowship of Reconciliation has released news to member groups around the world of a "fast unto death" that 20 women in the TamilNadu community launched last week.

The women have called on the Sri Lankan government as well as Ms. Sonia Gandhi, president of India's governing Congress Party, to take quick and measurable steps to end the war in Sri Lanka. Visit IFOR's web site to learn more about this effort.

39th anniversary of Earth Day

In Celebration of the 39th Anniversary of Earth Day join us at FOR as we commit to being more mindful of others and the environment. Feel free to add your own!

"10 Personal Greening Steps to Celebrate Earth Day"