Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The spirit of the local people we have met so far is best exemplified by a woman I met on the streets of Ha Noi. She was selling tee shirts with beautifully woven flowers and other decorations. (Woven may not be the correct word, needle point?) I expressed disinterest, not in the market, and kept walking. A little later, she asked again if I would buy one, or a cap. I kept on. Again, she approached me and asked what I was looking for. "A copying business." She pointed further down the way. Several blocks later I had not found it. She offered to show me the way. "Okay." When we arrived where she thought the business was located, she found upon inquiry that it had relocated. After we sat on a step to a storefront, she used my map to point out the way. Then, we began talking. She knew English and started a conversation about how years are calculated locally. Nine months in the womb is the first year, followed by the next nine months, the second year, etc. In contrast, conventional annual calculations begin with birth. Turns out she is has two daughters and is the same age as my daughter. At some point, she returned to requesting that I purchase something and we looked over her beautiful tee shirts. She said that she knew I will buy one because of the way I greeted her at the first encounter. She was right. I bought one which caught my eye for my daughter. After showing on my map where the copy business was, she offered to show me. I said that I could find it. However, she stayed with me and we found the establishment and I had my copies. We talked enroute. I asked what her husband does for work. "He is a farmer." I said, "That's wonderful!" She looked at me like I was crazy. I said he grows food and we need food to eat. She replied that it is very hard work and does not pay enough to take care of the family. "That's not right.'' This woman, named Ba, rides her bicycle 16 miles into Ha Noi everyday to sell beautiful tee shirts, hand decorated, to make ends meet. She had not had a sale in four days before she met me and knew I would buy one. She parted with a request to make other purchases from her.
Our articulate interpreter described the farmer women who are everywhere in Ha Noi, carrying food and things to sell with a pole having baskets suspended at each end. They all travel from rural villages into Ha Noi to sell. What strikes me is the warmth and dignity of these women. Ba is a talented and self-determined woman who could do well in middle class America. I hope she continues to do well in Vietnam.
Friday, December 26, 2008
We have just completed our first three days in Ha Noi, Vietnam. Commemorating the near 40 years since the DC Nine action challenging the United States government and the Dow Chemical Company, Catherine Sagan and I are undertaking visiting the victims of Agent Orange and concerned persons for the next 16 days from Ha Noi, Hue, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and nearby villages. We want to lend support to the efforts toward reconciliation and healing needed since the war with Vietnam ended in 1975.
Catherine and I began by visiting VAVA (Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange) on Wednesday afternoon. We met with three leading members led by Dr. Nguyen Trong Nhan. It was a rreunion for me sisnce I had met Nguyen at Portland State University in 2005 when he was touring the United States about Agent Orange. This reception committee share basic information about VAVA's efforts to educate the public, to move the US government to address the need for redress to victims, families, and the environment. A lawsuit has been proceeding through the U.S. Courts to little avail to date, next stop the United States Supreme Court. Readers can begin educating themselves by going to www.vava.org.vn.
Putting the human face on the issue, we visited The Friendship Village yesterday. Here we met the persons running this place of peace and reconciliation, along with students who are victims, ages two to twenty. These children were not alive when Agent Orange was sprayed over the jungles of South Vietnam, but suffer the effects anyway because their parents unintentionally pass them on or because the water and soils speread the deadly dioxan. Not only do these children suffer from Agent Orange, but they are like orphans at the Village. The staff and volunteers cannot fully replace the nurturing care and love of parents and sibblings. We enjoyed visiting them, but felt that there was not much you can do to help during a short visit. Smiles and hugs. This was a gratifying way to spend Christmas day, a day to remember the immigrant child Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.
Today we met Thao Griffiths, who works with a peace organization to assist with the effects of unexploded ordinance from the war. Each year thousands of rural people die from tripping the firing mechanisms on personnel bombs dropped during the War. With each of these visits, we not only listen to their stories and work, but also share the work we are part of making peace. Needless to say, each of these organizations is doing wonderful work, but do not have the necessary resources to address the full problem. The United States government needs to step to the plate along with the corporations which profited from War.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The PLU psychology class
A small student group in a warm evening classroom
The American Gandhi invited by a middle age student
Activist, alive with inquiry.
Questioned and explored, Gandhi laid out his wares
Penetrating the human, the evolving human
From the primitive
To the scientific primitive of this day
Live truth, the truth in you.
Discover by experimentation
Let integrity develop by self-realization
And, Jesus brought the authentic—by acceptance—
Into the Ordinary.
With Jesus acceptance entered the world.
Find your truth and live it.
But, acceptance is social. Our identity is social.
We find ourselves among others.
The human way. “I am” in the midst of you.
Tabitha—a student presenting her inquiries
Late in the class.
My family members see things differently.
Searching questions, emerging analysis, how handle this?
Reaching out, trying to grab hold…what’s the answer,
Find your truth. Do you want it?
To be integral, human, authentic.
Struggle for acceptance.
Jesse Jackson in the Obama election crowd of millions.
Jesse Jackson, Martin’s lieutenant of many
Civil rights battles, of latter efforts “to be” …….
president. To find acceptance in
Jesse, one in the crowd, not on the stage,
Jesse with tears running down his cheeks.
A black had found acceptance—elected in
America. Among other blacks with tears
Among all seeking acceptance.
The primal human desire.
Tears of acceptance.
Tabitha’s query, Tabitha’s searching struggle
The struggle of all.
Gandhi—my only purpose is to attain God.
Only done by service.
The American Gandhi’s service—the truth of
Acceptance. Stand strong in yourself.
By Bernie Meyer
On December 22 I am scheduled to fly to Vietnam, if the weather allows. We are having a snow fall with cold snap. The occasion is the commemoration of the 40Th anniversary of the DC Nine action in March 1969. We decided to have a reunion next May. Most of us have not seen one another since the sentencing on May 5Th, 1970, the day after the Kent State University killing of four students and wounding of 12 by the National Guard. Catherine Sagan, one of the nine will meet me in Seoul Korea airport, from which we will fly to Ha Noi for a 16 day tour.
The DC Nine entered the Dow Chemical Company's lobbying office in Washington DC to protest Dow's production of napalm and Agent Orange used in the Vietnam war to defoliate the jungle. Nine of us entered the office on a Saturday, hung photos of napalmed children, splattered blood, broke office equipment, and threw files out the window. Then, we waited for the police to come as the media covered the story. My role was to lead the media to the site. (This is more fully described in my book, THE AMERICAN GANDHI, My Seeking Truth With Humanity at the Crossroads.) Catherine and I went to prison for this action.
Agent Orange has not stopped maiming and killing. 3,000,000 Vietnam citizens suffer the effects because the dioxin remains in the soil and the water. American Veterans also suffer along with many of their family members. For the next two plus weeks I will journal the experiences of this trip on this blog.
We will begin in Ha Noi at The Friendship Village, later proceed to the Central Highlands and Hue, and end up in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly, Saigon). The Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) is facilitating the visits with treatment sites and their work to redress the wrongs. Peace Tours will facilitate our itinerary.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Peacemaking takes on a decidedly cultural flavor in India, especially at religiously sponsored events. I just returned from the 7Th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action in Jaipur, India. The primary sponsor is ANUBHIA, a Jain initiated organization for the betterment of the world. (I attended the 6Th ICPNA last December.) It is very clear that this is a religious event with the ritualistic presence of His Holiness Acharya Mahapragya and his retinue. Then, you find that the former President of India, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, has coauthored a book with His Holiness. The book, The Family and The Nation, gives a succinct overview of cultural and societal history to lead to a vision for a peaceful and just society. Religion is fundamental to the contents, but with a much different rationale than you would find in the United States where separation of church and state has prevailed, at least until recently.
To understand this, a person would need to spend some time learning about Hindu religion with its acceptance of diversity, even within the Hindu faith. No centralized body is charged with overseeing orthodoxy and dogma. The ancient culture sets the tone. the individual expresses belief within the culture.
As a result, when you look beyond the white clothing of the monks and ignore the blue masks preventing harm to microbes, you find a rationale and scientific presentation for peace and nonviolence. Ahimsa, nonviolence, is the central tenet of Jain religion. (Jain religion is not Hinduism, but comes from the same roots and communicates the same acceptance.) The 7Th ICPNA took another step toward overcoming violence and finding peace in our troubled world.
I was invited to this Conference as The American Gandhi. I attended the five days of sessions and activities as TAG. In addition, I was invited to address two other gatherings at the same location, including The Conference on Nonviolent Economics. I do not know how much my words communicated, but my physical presence, as Gandhi, did communicate. As someone said, you are the best known person in Jaipur. This was due to photos in the daily papers. I feel that that is well and good, but my message is of crucial import and my main purpose for attending. Gandhi is symbolic only. (My message is recorded in my website.)
Related to my message is the November 7-9 gathering of the World Economic Forum in Dubai. The attendees were aghast at the state of the world. A "reboot" is needed. It is worth checking.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The particles in the air, particles of CO2,
Gases of many kinds, the stuff of climate heating
Silent and invisible to the human ear and eye
Agent Orange—visible by colors merges
With the soil and dust—lethal
Not perceived And, water.
Silent and invisible to the human ear and eye
Nuclear radiation—of many elements and intensity levels—
Low to high—invisible to eye and ear
As cause visible, and harsh in effect
In the air and in the water, on the beach sands
Silent and invisible to the human ear and eye
Depleted uranium— U 238,
Depleted of U 234, or U 235, for other uses.
U 238 just as lethal when ingested in aerosol form.
Used by the megatons in recent wars,
Tested regularly in the environments near home,
Silent and invisible to human ear and eye
Gamma radiation, alpha radiation, beta radiation—
Lethal to humans, lethal to life
Silent and invisible to the human ear and eye
63 years of uranium extracting from the earth,
testing, using, and wasting
Millions of years enduring
Beyond human life experiences on earth,
Shortening life experiences
Ending life experiences on the visible and audible Mother Earth
Ingested and DNA incorporated
The silent and invisible
Monday, September 29, 2008
Another journey is now completed. My sense of "our reality" grows deeper. I traveled by train from Seattle, Washington to Cleveland, Ohio with my daughter, Amanda, and her 19 month old son, River. For the most part the ride was beautiful across the mountains and plains states. Our little family grew together and enjoyed the world family on the train and in the Chicago station.
We had a family reunion at Geneva on the Lake, catching up with everyone and experiencing the storms and the calm sunsets over the lake. My 92 year old mother was also able to visit with us for a day. Our four generations are blessed.
We stayed with old friends from the Thomas Merton Community of the 1960's. Though the near West Side of Cleveland has become gentrafided over the years, my bonds with the friends has only grown stronger. We still share concerns for our society and the world which is more precarious than the conflicted days of the 60's. We have grown in spirit and in deed. Now, yoga, community gardens, and peace demonstrations have transformed the expressions of forty years ago.
I worked hard on this trip. With the help of peacemaker friends, I offered twenty Gandhi appearances. Three colleges, two high schools, and an interfaith peace gathering were the venues. Also, I offered two book signing events. Finally, we traveled to Dayton to the Peace Museum where we participated in the International Day of Peace on September 21st. We were hosted by Chris Dull who made the original request for my Gandhi portrayals. What a heartfelt time!
The twenty day experience in Ohio was overshadowed for me by the consciousness of global threats: finance and climate change. Hurricane Ike reached up to Ohio from Haiti, Cuba, Texas. Forty four or the 48 counties in Ohio had electrical breakdowns from wind storms. Caravans of electrical repair trucks crossed Ohio to the south from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Storm was deadly and costly.
The financial crisis caused by the failure of several institutions and by the governments inability to handle the crisis (suddenly the private markets were screaming to the government to bail them out) occured during my last week in Ohio. As of this writing, we are still watching the harried efforts of Congress and the "Presidency" to come up with a plan. No doubt that whatever the plan is human services and US infrastructure will suffer for years. My reading on this trip was Richard Heinberg's PEAK EVERYTHING, WAKING UP in the CENTURY OF DECLINES. It was most instructive that in the midst of the financial crisis, I happened to read the chapter noting the collapse of the US economy. Even the Wall Street types are claiming that there is no clear way to handle this, could be much worse than the depression's collapse.
My Gandhi presentations at least mentioned the usual three: climate change, the effects of peak oil, and nuclear weapons/war making. I think people are traumatized, ignorant, and empty handed. Some have their eyes open. Our hope.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The Round Table Conference was held at the World Peace Centre in Pune India on August 1St and 2Nd. The theme was "Role of Science and Spirituality in Promoting a Culture of Peace in the World." This subject is right up my ally! Followers of this blog would recognize my comments because I have been saying that unless we humans begin acknowledging the ultimate Truth of the universe, nature, and humanity and live by the laws of nature, we do not have much future on this earth. As an invitee to this Conference, I had the opportunity to elaborate on this theme and to apply it to global climate change, fossil fuels and natural resources, and to war, in particular to nuclear weapons.
Attendance was from around the world. I had opportunity to rub elbows with people from New Zealand, Belgium, the Philippines, Africa, other Americans, and, of course, Indians. Since I spent eight days at the Centre, we were able to exchange experiences and insights informally. These were very rich. Two contacts expressed interest in inviting my Gandhi presence to participate in their service projects for the poor villages and communities. I am edified by the work my new friends are doing for humanity and look forward to working with them.
Dr. Karad, who founded and leads the World Peace Centre, hosted this Conference and related activities with his usual vigor and energy. (I had participated in the January 2008 Congress for Youth and a Culture of Peace.) We had the opportunity to attend local Hindu Peace religious services and to visit Gurukul, a unique higher education campus incorporating the principles of science and spirituality. From India's millennia of history, culture, religion, a deep expression of human meaning and direction arises. Gurukul expresses this through modern lenses.
I do not know how well my message was heard, certainly it was heard and expressed by others. I made a resolution challenging the scientists to apply their skills to resolving the three major issues I identified. The resolution was cited in concluding remarks. The Conference will be reporting out to leaders, philosophers, scientists around the world. I continue to belief that we need a grassroots "uprising" to spur official world leaders to act with urgency and immediacy.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Another issue at which I testified to the Port of Olympia Commissioners meeting is the construction of the Children's Hands On Museum over a toxic chemical site which the Port sold to the City. "Oh, the Department of Energy will clean it up or cap it." Easier said than done. There is leaching into Puget Sound which was originally filled in to create the site. There is also deterioration of the cap which takes place in time. How much risk can we put the children to? The public knows little about toxic chemicals and how they are communicated to the people and living creatures through the environment. The toxic effects are multiple: cancers, birth defects, many illnesses.
These are just two of the issues I have addressed.
My time is also going into the final stage for printing my book: THE AMERICAN GANDHI, My Seeking Truth With Humanity at the Crossroads. The book should be out around the end of July, early August.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The followint is a BOOK REVIEW which I wrote for the Spring issue of Fellowship Magazine.
Gandhi, A Political and Spiritual Life
I.B. Tauris, 2006
By Bernie Meyer
For the authentic Gandhi, Gandhi, A Political and Spiritual Life is an important book. Kathryn Tedrick has delved into the religious and cultural sources, which motivated his creative life and his quest not only for himself, but for all humanity. Tedrick has wrestled with the core of Gandhi’s thought to uncover the forces that moved his spiritual life with its political activism.
She announces in the Preface that “the secular saint is not the Gandhi we will write about here.” His words and deeds are but an indication of his life-long yearning for moksha, pure unity with God. She makes the essential point that Gandhi saw himself as the “chosen vessel of God.” She states:
“The principal article of this belief system (Gandhi’s) has to be stated as clearly as possible at the onset. It was that he, Gandhi, was the pre-ordained and potentially divine world saviour whose coming was logically implicit in the ‘ancient’ and especially ‘Eastern’, religious writings to which so many of his English acquaintances had turned in their search for a new revelation of god’s purpose in the world.” xii
Other biographers present sources and influences which moved Gandhi, but do not dwell on the way Gandhi internalized, organized, and utilized them.
Tidrick emphasizes his consciousness. The first two chapters present her research into the influences upon him which began during his education in England when he was acquainting himself with English culture for his goal of reforming India to be like the English. The Vegetarian Society, the Theosophist Society, Esoteric Christianity and other “cutting edge” thinkers formed the framework and content of Gandhi’s thinking. In South Africa he added insights from Tolstoy, Ruskin, and Thoreau. These were influenced by Eastern thought, most notably the Gita and the Sermon on the Mount. Gandhi created his self-image in South Africa and translated them into a life of action to bring about the Kingdom of God.
Gandhi pursued “purification.” Inspired by his bible, the Gita, he sought detachment from the results, no desire, to become as dust so that god’s will would be accomplished. To these passive objectives he added the active way of Christian charity expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. Suffering became the primary means for purification. Suffering became the tool for political and social transformation. He gained insight and confidence in his political ability to influence the life of Indians and the policies and actions of his opponents. India brought struggles.
He called off the Satyagraha campaign for Independence in 1922, “walked alone” after the failure of the Round Table Conference in 1931, desperately searched for candidates who were capable of the “nonviolence of the strong” after his imprisonment during World War II. There are other Himalayan mistakes. He often took the burden upon himself because he was not pure enough for god’s purpose. Or, India was not ready for “swaraj.” Tidrick describes the lulls in his political activity with the Indian National Congress as “waiting games.”
Tidrick does not dwell on his “constructive program.” She uncovers areas, which other authors are beginning to enter, the human side of the “mahatma.” Gandhi regarded sex and eating for pleasure as “lust.” He possessed views considered as weird or bizarre, and experimented with sex which tore at his followers. Tidrick goes into detail showing how Gandhi coped with his views and activity, expending considerable space in describing “brahmacharya” (celibacy.) Gandhi had a series of relationships with women over the years. He was challenged and sometimes modified his ways, but usually clung to his truth. Tidrick does not hide her own repulsion at some of his ways.
For Tidrick Gandhi’s greatest moment was his ending the Hindu-Muslim killing in Calcutta in 1947. Truly, this was a tremendous feat. Bihar was also bloody. Gandhi negotiated an agreement to stop the killing there while ending the killing in Calcutta. His “fast to death” was his ultimate means. And, it worked not only in Calcutta but in Delhi. Tidrick does well to show the roles Gandhi’s numerous fasts played.
Gandhi considered his life an “open book.” By this he meant his “life”, not his words and writings. (xiv)
Peace makers would do well to study Gandhi’s psychological and cultural creation. His experiments led him to become what he became. His religious approach may not appeal to some. His discipline, courage, total view of human living, and ahimsa translate into a creative “culture of peace,” challenging us.
(I did not include my observation that Tidrick was repulsed by Gandhi's classic Hind Swaraj written in 1909. Gandhi held firmly to HS throughout his life. I think she did not pick up the underlying context and meaning of this "little simple book" (Gandhi) as Anthony Parel so well explicates.)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
By Bernie Meyer
May 13, 2008
Gandhi discovered many insights by his experiments with truth. Some of them, perhaps most, even all, apply indefinitely. After all, he claimed that he had nothing new; his learning was as “old as the hills.” Gandhi sought the true nature of reality. The truth founded on “what is” was his goal. Gandhi believed that it was his duty to be not only responsive to that reality but to live by that reality.
Now, 2008, I hold up a warning from Gandhi, which applies immediately. Gandhi did not see the application of the warning as I see it. Gandhi noted the principle and the reality which underlies the application. If Gandhi had been aware of the facts, he would note the application with warning as he did with the atom bomb. In fact, in his critique of technology and civilization I think he had an instinctive sense of the application which I am holding up as Gandhi’s insight and warning.
I am searching for people who want to face reality. I want people who are open to truth and who will not be turned back by it. I want people who will overcome their narrow self interests and vision. Somehow, we must unite and apply the insight and warning.
Gandhi’s insight warning: “Mankind is notoriously too dense to read the signs that God sends from time to time. We require drums to be beaters into our ears, before we should wake from our trance and hear the warning and see that to lose oneself in all is the only way to find oneself.”
The warning God sends today is the very health of planet earth. The health has disappeared. Our Mother is very ill. The illness is caused by human deeds. The earth as viable for human life (and most living creatures, our fellow species) is threatened. Very little time is left for reversing course. If course is reversed, millennia will be required to heal Mother Earth.
Three general conditions cause the illness: global climate change, weapons of mass destruction, and industrial society.
The earth has already surpassed the critical point for global climate change: 350 PPMs, 350 particles per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The earth now experiences 385 PPMs. We, humans, must take immediate steps to reverse this ascent to mass extermination. From another angle, the earth’s temperature has risen by one degree centigrade which translates into 10 degrees at the poles. Forecasts are for two to five degrees during the 21st century if the trend is not reversed.
Humans are beginning the creation of the next generation of weapons of mass destruction with nuclear weapons in the lead due to the United States “superpower syndrome.” The US nuclear posture is based upon “full spectrum dominance” with nuclear weapons as the ultimate spectrum threat. The space around Mother Earth is being utilized for surveillance, communications, and targeting for war anywhere on earth. Preparations for war through research and experimentation, war itself through use of these weapons, and the consequences of war through toxic effects, are what is causing the illness of Mother Earth. Nuclear power is a twin to these causes and effects.
Industrial society began the ascent to global climate change and to nuclear weapons and modern war. Industrial society is fueled by liquid fuels, oil and natural gas. Humanity has developed the fossil fuel energy to the full extend of capability. Reversing course will require massive energies from consciousness, intelligence, physical labor yet unheard from, “a management problem humans have not experienced.”
These three categories of Mother Earth’s illness dominate. All other injustices damaging peaceful living can be traced to these physical roots. The human mind and will determined these causes, continues to follow the courses of actions chosen, and can decide to reverse them. But, the action must be now and must be total for all humans. As the West has led the way, the West has first responsibility to lead the way out.
This is Gandhi’s insight and warning applied. Human density is being penetrated by God’s drums. As Gandhi began his experiments with truth with a few, I am joining those who are making the same path.
For me, this is the choice noted by Martin Luther King Jr., “between chaos and community.” For me, this is the way of Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the light.” Simply, we are humans living on Mother Earth, our destiny and our gift.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I advocated that an opening analysis of the global situation be presented at the Spring Assembly so that workshop deliberations would be able to reflect their concerns in this context. This includes the reality that the earth is in rapid climate change. I take the cue from experts who say we cannot continue "business as usual." This includes the apparently "out of control" food crisis due to the increase costs. 100 million people have been recently brought to starvation risk, and more added daily. Food riots in over a dozen countires. This includes peak oil realities, actions the US is taking which contribute to the food crisis, and social/political crisis. This includes the US military budget of over one trillion for 2008 (when you add in all the hidden costs in the budget) supporting the "full spectrum" military options including nuclear weapons, and more. And, there is a growing sense that the US will attack Iran between May and August.
A year ago I began this blog with a walk from Faslane Scotland to London. The message was the same. I am only updating it. I could not not take this stand last Saturday. In fact, I have been evolving my analysis and message for the last several years and acting upon it. I will not stop the death and destruction. Nor will FOR. I could not stay alive by ignoring these realities and doing what I can, which is still not all that I can, puny as the efforts are.
The reason I share this is to keep walking the talk, to encourage you to join in your own way.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
President Bush fled to Offutt on 9/11. Offutt has been transformed since then, a secret needing revelation.
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org) put on a conference: "Stratcom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth." It was hosted by Nebraskans for Peace (www.nebraskansforpeace.org.) I strongly urge you to go to these websites to acquire basic information and resources about this concentration of military power and intelligence.
We began the Conference with a vigil at the gates of Offutt Air Force Base in blustery wind and rain. People from around the world were present, including leaders I met while walking from Faslane to London last summer and while attending conferences in India last January. In that bitting Midwest cold we joined arms to take note of the horrors for death concentrated there and to commit to resisting them. That evening a moving presentation by Native Americans simply asked for what it takes to "live." The Conference then proceeded to present in detail the many components present at Stratcom. All the intelligence operations, the worldwide networks of military bases, the air, sea, land, and space weaponry, and so-called Missile Defense commands were laid out in graphic presentations. In US policy terms this is the command post for "full spectrum dominance." From what is considered conventional to nuclear weapons the US is establishing an intentional system to be able to attack any threat to "US Security" on earth within an hour's notice.
Perhaps, the most cynical and depressing situation I observed was the workshop about plans for the moon and planets. A physicist said that her acquaintances in science for space had given up on the viability of planet earth. They are laying plans to establish a base on mars with further conquests expected. And, these are bright people? Who will pay? US taxpayers from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, social programs.
My first mail upon returning home included an appeal to defend Social Security and Medicare from George Bush's proposed 2009 Budget. $556 billion cut in Medicare over the next 16 years. $150 billion in insurance industry profits over the next ten years. Privatizing Social Security with $30 billion in fiscal 2009. This could be a "healthy" beginning to pay for weaponry and space colony development!
The backdrop of this conference for me is the soaring food prices, energy costs, and global climate change effects already happening. These could be ameliorated by a "crash program" to save planet earth along with the poor people and the species being vanished.
A proximate addenda, a young man I met and roomed with from St. Louis handed out an appeal for people of renown to move to Estafan Iran until the danger of US attack on Iran has passed! St. Louis Boeing has developed a 30,000 pound Massive Ordinance Penatrator for Iran. B-2 Stealth Bombers at Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri have been prepared by widening bomb bays to deliver them to Estafan, home of Iran's largest nuclear reactor. (www.ironpeaceshield.org)
I felt I was in a fantasy land at this conference as I watched the videos and photos of cyber space. Yet, the 2003 war on Iraq was directed here in Midwest USA. This is real, delusional as it is.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Called by the heart to find a way
Find a way, find a way, a way, a way
The violent human way must go away
We are wasting away the life sources
Wasting away, away, away
Life sources, sources for living,
The species are going, going away
200 a day, 200 a day, a day, a day,
200 a day, species going away.
The human species will fade away, fade away
Killing the species which feed the human,
Killing the species which feed the human.
Killing the species for living.
New visioning to save the day, save the day
We need new visioning to save the day.
Village celebration, every day, every day
Village celebration to save the day
Working, walking, talking, taking, taking time
Time spent in the village to save the day
Natural food, back working food, hand to mouth food
To save the day.
New visioning, new living, new ways
To save the day.
By Bernie Meyer
March 31, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
But, WE CAN TURN THIS AROUND, KNOW HOW AND RESOURCES ARE STILL THERE. WHAT WE NEED IS THE WILL.
My reminders about our precarious position:
- Jonathan Schell's THE SEVENTH DECADE, The New Shape of Nuclear Danger, 2007.
- Lester Brown's Plan B 3, 2007.
- And many others.
While the gifted minds of nuclear scientists and administrators are being wasted on suicidal means for "security", the urgency to apply all knowledge and skill to the transition is being ignored by them.
Lester Brown continually sends out the message: The Arctic ice is melting at astounding rates, the Himalayan glaciers are quickly receding, the aquifers are depleting. Result will be inadequate food for the billions of people. This reality is intensified by the policy decision to use corn crops for ethanol in the United States. Food prices are and will soar as food is used for fuel, thus making food subservient to $100.00/barrel plus oil. And, the United States taxpayer is subsidizing ethanol!
BROWN: NO TIME FOR BUSINESS AS USUAL. We have until 2020 to reduce the CO2 by 80%, not 2050 as politicians and their prompters stipulate.
These statements are simply the headlines of the issues. A quick review of the sources will uncover the analysis of the daunting facts.
I feel that my actions by the walk and so many other efforts are feeble. Who is paying attention? Who is doing anything? I know a few are, especially those waving the flag of warning. Not enough.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I knew Dr. R.B. Chavan from my last trip to India. Now retired from his university position instructing in Khadi, he works for Jamnalal Bajaj Central Research Institute, (MGIRI), Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Ministry of Micro And Medium Enterprises (Gov. of India.) I took a day to be with him to visit his workplace. Here I had a personal tour led by Dr. Chavan and the Director, Keshav Kamble, to see each step in the production of Khadi, including the experimenting in colors and fabric methods. The production methods are then made available to the villages for villagers to produce and sell for their own sustenance. Individual vendors are common in India providing a rich variety of services and products. This research center also develops herb products, medicines, and pottery for villagers use. The pottery was beautiful. I came home with the possibility of initiating a similar development and training center here in the United States. Anyone interested in spearheading such an endeavor? Training is available in Wardha.
The Congress itself was organized by parties in France and from the Institute. The event was truly international with representatives from every continent except Australia. I shared a room with a young man from Cameron, an Austrian, and a Frenchman. Our conversations were rich because we could share stories and customs from each country. Claude, the Cameron member, wants to bring nonviolence to his homeland. He has had training in dispute resolution and is passionate in his concern about the violence there. He has asked me and others for support, especially money. I gave him a large picture of Martin Luther King Jr. standing with arms folded in a room with a photo of Gandhi on the wall. This moved him. (I received the picture among several other significant items from Dr. Savita Singh, Director of Gandhi Samriti, Darshan Samiti, the site of Gandhi's assassination in New Delhi.)
I will cover the next phase of the Congress visit, the Congress itself, at the next post.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
During the trip I attended four conferences and made one meditation retreat, plus visiting several locations of interest and portraying Gandhi in the conferences and/or locations. No wonder I am slow to recover from return jet lag! An earlier blog describes something of the 6th International Confernece on Peace and Nonviolent Action. Now, I am communicating with organizers from ANUVBHA to share insights about follow through. The second conference was the 2008 Gandhi Congress in Wardha on January 25th to 31st. I received the addresses of the 125 attendees from all the continents except Australia today. This was a very rich experience due to local resources and the Congress itself. More later.
The Third event was the World 2008 Youth Peace Congress in Pune where I brought The American Gandhi presence to address the assembly. A previous blog presents my written address. I stand by its contents. The urgent message is a huge frustration for me because people nod "yes", but nothing seems to happen. This Congress was most unusual for me because of its well healed religious content and setting. More later.
Finally, I attended the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace Convention in Nagpur. Here, I was down home with the academic activists. Well researched papers and presentations about nuclear issues and about peace issues, especially the Middle East, were presented. Here, the setting was very grassroots. More later.
I needed to buy another suitcase to bring home all the books, literature, and gifts for portraying. I will never be able to read everything. Most are good additions to the library for reference.
Perhaps most important are the new contacts and relationships in peace making. I am very edified by so many people who are committed to justice and peace, to Gandhi nonviolence, to truth. I think they are having the effect upon me, raising to the next level. I am not sure what form that will take, but it may be some kind of organizing presence in India.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Jan. 31, 2008
By Bernie Meyer
The American Gandhi
Look at who you are; youth of the world. 500 and more of you have come to Gandhi peace congress for thought and action for peace. Peoples of the world live together. Be aware of who you are.
How many of you want to be Satygrahis? How many want to cling to the truth? How many want to stand for truth? How many want to live with non-violence-love-Ahimsa? How many of you are already to be warriors for truth? Gandhi said “in non-violence courage is in dying, not in killing”
Today, the world faces unthinkable problems; global climate change, water and energy exhaustion, nuclear war, terrorism. These are call to mobilize, a call to join together to face the storm of 21st Century. Mobilize for the life on earth, Mobilize for the life on earth. Survival itself. How many here want to be Satyagrahis?
I speak to you as the American Gandhi. In 2005 I came and was invited to India to bring the message of the historic Gandhi, the father of India. Gandhi’s way is Satyagraha, Ahimsa, Tapasya, non-violent way to live truth for all people. Gandhi’s way made India independent from the United Kingdom. In 2005 they called me the “American Gandhi” Now in 2008 I bring Gandhi’s vision and message to climate change, water and fuel loss, nuclear weapons and terrorism. This is the world of your generation, this world of my generation.
We have a choice. First choice, live business as usual approach, seek career in business. Second choice, live and face problems to change the world. Crisis problems. There is no time to spare. We must change climate change, we must not exhaust resources, and we must end war with weapons of mass destruction. The earth is giving us warning. The scientists are given us warning.
When Gandhi was 23, your age, he faced the choice. When he was thrown off the train in Pietremuritzburg in South Africa for not sitting in the third class train cabin, he sat outside on rail road platform in cold mountain town, freezing all night. He thought “How could a human being treat another in this way?” “What should I do? Return to India or fight for the rights of Indians in South Africa” When he met Indians they said “Gandhi, put up with this treatment. We do. We make money in this way” Gandhi made a choice. Gandhi decided to stay in South Africa to fight for the rights of Indians. Look where it led him. He went in 1893 to South Africa dressed as an English lawyer with the frock coat, creased black pants, shining black shoes. He wanted Indians to be like English in 1893. He found the non-violent way of war on September 11, 1906, Satyagraha, Ahimsa, Tapasya. He left South Africa in traditional Indian clothing in 1915. Gandhi found his Indian voice in South Africa. At age 54 in 1923 he put on the Dhoti and Shawl, dress of the masses of India. In this way he led all Indians to independence. He is the Father of India. He showed the entire world the way of non-violence. Gandhi said on the day of his assassination “Non-violence is stronger than any weapon. If humanity does not end the atom bomb I do not think the human species can last.” Gandhi also said “Non-violence is the first article of my creed, the last article of my faith.”
Now in 2008 all youth have a choice. And all people have a choice. Change the way humans live, stop climate change, stop wasting air, water resources, stop killing, end war. Or risk being thrown off the earth like Gandhi was thrown off the train. If we risk being thrown off the earth, it will be too late to make the choice.
The United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change is warning us that life on earth is at risk. We must make haste. Lester Brown from Earth Policy Institute has written the book, Plan B 3.(http://www/.earthpolicy.org.). We can change the situation if we act now with urgency. Here is what Luster Brown says, See Website!
You, do not accept my word, seek your own truth. Many experts say the same thing as Brown says “Search the truth thyself.” Budha “Make your own choice”.
I made my choice, as the American Gandhi on September 10, 2006, 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s 1906 non-violent equivalent of war. I led a Salt Walk in Olympia Washington “ We must be the salt of the earth, salt of the air, salt of the water,” We must save earth for life.
In the summer 2007 I walked as the American Gandhi over 700 miles from Glasgow Scotland to London England, May 29 – August 6, 2007. My message is; change from nuclear weapons to saving the earth. With others your ages I was arrested in Scotland at Faslane Trident submarine base where nuclear weapons are. Also we were arrested in England at Aldermaston Atomic Weapon’s Establishment. I have been arrested many times since 1969 to end war and killing.
I ask you again, how many of you want to be Satyagrahis? In Gandhi’s words I want you “To become the change you want to see.” Gandhi also said “The earth has enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.” Now we may not have enough for everyone’s need.
Think about these realities. Gandhi Youth Conference 2008 will give you understanding and other information.
Suggestion, take 6 months off from business as usual. Experiment for 6 months and do three things,
1. Discipline yourself in non-violence- train your minds to control your passions and bodies. Perceive truth. Learn Ahimsa discipline for Tapasya. Prepare to be Satyagrahis with Swaraj. Non-violence of the strong. Only those who have the non-violence of the strong will survive in situations of chaos and violence.
2. Study Brown’s Plan B 3 and other analysis at this conference. Make your own plans and your own analysis. End climate change, save earth resources and end war.
3. Act-mobilize youth of India and youth of other nations.
In three months; tell nations of the world to stop business as usual and begin urgent action. Tell nations of world you are committed to save the earth.
In six months, if the nations do not listen, begin Satyagraha campaign – non-cooperation with business as usual, non-cooperation with business as usual, non-cooperation with business as usual This simple three point plan is urgent. No time to waste. If the youth and adults of the world agree, they will join you. Reach out to them, mobilize them. I will be with you.
If humanity lives like ‘Business as usual”, nature will end business as usual.
Why should youth lead?
1. Your world- your future
2. You have energy and vigor – fresh and young.
3. Adults are numb - stiff with fear. Stiff with self interest in business as usual. Stuck.
4. Like 1930 Salt March, English laughed – what can Gandhi do with Salt? But 10’s of thousands made salt and were arrested, some gave their lives and died.
Now we will see what youth can do.
You have choice:- business as usual or face problems – save life on earth.
I leave you with the question.
How many want to live the way of Satyagrahi?
Friday, January 18, 2008
Also, while at this Center, I have the opportunity to prepare a keynote address to be given on the 30th at the Gandhi2008 Youth Congress in Pune. I have been shaken back to my primary mission of the last few years by the press release from Earth Policy Institute, Mobilizing To Save the Earth and Plan B 3. This will be the core subject of the keynote. This invitation is a result of my American Gandhi work here in India and relationships with a few Indians over the last years. I implore you to check out the Plan B 3. And, please act upon it.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
From the 7th through the 9th I gave six Gandhi presentations in Chandigarh, plus media interviews. Chandigarh is a planned city north of New Delhi, wide streets and roundabouts like England. Yuvsatta, an NGO youth program with 200 youth groups in northern India and Pakistan. The presentations were in two pubic schools, one most outstanding, in Panjab Unversity, in a Women's University, and concluded in the slums at a women's literacy graduation. These were all moving and celebratory events. The mayor attended the first presentation.
From Chandigarh I took a bus for five hours to Dehredun where Navdana Center is located on the outskirts. Here Vandana Shiva and her associates are pioneering a significant effort to show the way of sustainable agriculture. Based on organic principles, they experiment with composting and growing a wide variety of vegetables. Also, to counteract the monoculture of agribusiness a seed bank maintains diversity. To overcome the top down approach to corporate ag, a democratic agriculture is encouraged and lived in many villages. Education and community action is counteracting the GE (Genetic Engineering) of Monsanto and other corporations. Women's role is given priority. I toured the farm with a group from the states organized by Global Exchange and led by Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Gandhi. This was the last day of their tour.
I have just given you a peak at these two events. Now, I am back in Delhi doing a variety of contacts and activities before going to Wardha on the 24th. The last two weeks of this trip will have several significant events to share. (This is the third time I have tried to enter this journal entry in two days. Electricity failure did the first two in.)
Today, January 14th, is my mom's 92nd birthday. Congrats to a most loving woman.
I spent three days and four nights in Chandigarh, a 50's planned city with wide boulevards and roundabouts. Here, I presented the American Gandhi to six youth audiences amidst much media coverage. The diversity of groups included an outstanding middle/high school assembly attended by the Mayor and other dignitaries, another middle school youth group, two University classes, a Women's College, and a women's litteracy valedictorian graduation. Like in 2005 I was treated "as Gandhi", even as I spoke as The American Gandhi. Over 2000 attended, a truly memorable experience. The message encouraged serious commitment to nonviolence amidst all the changes humanity is undergoing.
From Chandigarh I took a bus to Dedredun to see Vandana Shiva's agriculture center, a 45 acre experimental farm emphasizing organic farming, seed saving, GMO (genetic made organics) resistance, local farming democracy, and women's uplift. I toured the farm with a Global Exchange tour led by Arun Gandhi on its last day. I recommend the visit and volunteering there to anyone able.
The bus ride was an exciting five hour adventure: a two way highway through villages with road construction interrupting at times. Modern tractors pulling carts, horse or ox drawn carts, often loaded with sugar cane (which our bus driver once pulled a few from), walkers, bicycles, motocycles, busses, trucks of all conceivable descriptions, cows, dogs, and pigs made up the users. Yes, we are all one!
The farm once was used for fossil fuel fertilizers and herbicides, giving little support to natural growth or birds. Now, it is a living organism with many birds.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I have been thinking about consciousness continuously while reading Thomas Merton's essays of late, since he mentions various forms of consciousness and their implications. Well, Anuvrat emphasizes a consciousness based upon ancient wisdom and modern human science. The result is a way of being conscious that is self directed and self controlled. The way is religious but nondenominational. I would describe it as spiritual discipline, which avoids all the baggage of religious terminology. It is simple and practical, once you understand its basic insights. This method has been essentially what I have been working on for several years. A website you can go to for some information is www.terapanthinfo.com.
I think that this way of living, as it is more extensively developed, offers a more mature approach to human living.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I cannot do justice to the last two weeks at the International Peace Confernce in a short blog. Most basic is the observation that the Children's Peace Palace has the ingrediants of a culture of peace as I see it. Raising children with love and understanding from the womb, not beating correct behaviour into them. This together with teaching a nonviolent way of thinking with emotional discipline in the broad context of human environment and activity combines for well rounded individuals. The Jain way is based on ahimsa, nonviolence. This culture is community and family in its best sense.
The Conference was in Rajasmand, a rural community with predominately Jain population and culture. All the signage and most of the language was Hindi. This is a good example of a culture and a nonviolent way of life. (However, I do not have a good analysis of the wider systemic context to show how the culture supports or resists the systemic violence of industrial society. Some, if not many of the participants, have some consciousness of systemic violence and global issues.) I have enjoyed myself and have been strongly affirmed as The American Gandhi. I would love to share more of this rich two weeks.
Computer access has been limited. Even this Internet Cafe computer leave much to be desired. But, what a difference from writing letters! Now, I must go to plan more of my itinerary with Babuv Lal who just retired from the Foundation. I have received invitations from people in villages near Benares and in Bengladesh. If I can figure a way, I will go in mid January.