May Peace Begin with Me
When my husband said we were going to watch Fahrenheit 9/11 my mind, seeking entertainment, thought he was referring to the 1966 François Truffaut feature Fahrenheit 451. When I saw that we were watching Michael Moore’s documentary, I didn’t want to watch it because we had seen it in the theater and I knew it was depressing. The movie opens with the sad fact that witness after witness explained that the Florida election results were stolen from black voters, not one senator stood up to contest the results. All that was needed was one senator to have prevented the cascade of deaths and economic waste that began with Bush’s inauguration in 2001.
Also we’ve been watching Oliver Stone’s, “The Untold History of the United States.” This documentary reminds us that this country’s history is marked by one war after another. Founded by war, the American Revolution, then the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Mexican American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraqi Wars, and now Afghanistan. Ironically this country, which began through a revolution, in addition to all of the above wars, as Stone’s documentary points out, has made a consistent business of interfering with other country’s revolutions for freedom from despots.
Once again, the cries for another “pre-emptive” strike on a sovereign nation is rising up against Iran. We were tricked once with Iraq, are we going to allow ourselves to be “fooled” again? Are mothers going to be tricked into sending their sons to a foreign war to “protect freedom,” only to end with the sons questioning what they are doing and the mothers crying in grief? As W. E. B. DuBois wrote almost 100 years ago, “. . .until you and the Mothers speak, the men of the world bend stupid and crazed beneath the burden of hate and death.”
This burden is called karma. As long as the USA continues its violent course, it will reap the results of its karma in senseless mass murders of innocents. So, today, I intend to intensify my efforts to create peace in the world. As a Buddhist, I know that effort begins with me practicing peace in my daily life with the people I encounter. It means watching my anger and impatience, practicing kind and compassionate speech even when feeling vexed,wronged, or tired. Because I know that it is all of our little angers that ripple out in space to create a national hate and anger that leads to war.
If peace is your mandate, I invite you to join the efforts of groups like PeaceAction, Arms Control Association, and others. Anyone can be an internet activist by signing every petition to end the war in Afghanistan now, to end nuclear proliferation, to approve international arms treaties, and to refrain from attacking Iran or any country that has not attacked this country.
May this year lead more of us to make the intention to create peace within ourselves in order to create peace in our world.