Malala Yousafzai

English: Nobel Peace Prize 2009, Barack Obama

English: Nobel Peace Prize 2009, Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban, met with President Obama and told him that the use of US drones in Pakistan is fueling terrorism. I agree. Good for you Malala. You may not have won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, but you are doing much good for the cause of peace.

Irony

1933 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Norman Angel...

1933 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Norman Angell on exhibit to the public at the Imperial War Museum, London, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can’t you see
The irony?
Three men of peace:
Opposed the Iraq war
Nobel Peace Prize winner-Obama
Three Purple Hearts in Vietnam-Kerry
Secretary of Defense-Hagel
Now support war in Syria.
Best defense is
A good offense.
Syria is not a game.
Lives are at stake.
Cheney‘s 1% doctrine,
Bad then, worse now,
No longer applicable.
We cannot decide Syria’s fate.
France tried and failed.
Only Syrians can rule Syria.

Hull-House

The University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Add...

The University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams Hull-House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams. Jane Addams founded Hull-House in 1892 as a settlement house to help the poor on Chicago’s near west-side between the Chicago river and the stockyards in an area populated by mostly poor, recent immigrants. A settlement house was an effort by private charity to provide services to the poor that were not furnished by government. Community organizers like Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama are a more recent development, not associated with settlement house-like buildings, although with similar goals.

“One of the first lessons we learned at Hull-House was that private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city’s disinherited.”

“Perhaps even in those first days we made a beginning toward that object which was afterward stated in our charter: ‘To provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises, and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.'”

Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On a personal note, I commuted daily to work near the Stockyards from my home in Elmhurst via the Eisenhower and Dan Ryan Expressways. Hull-House at 800 South Halstead Street is a short distance from the interchange where those two expressways join. If I had known how close I was, I would have stopped and visited the Hull-House Museum on the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

 

Race relations

Cover of "No Future Without Forgiveness"

Cover of No Future Without Forgiveness

No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Mpilo Tutu. He won the Nobel peace prize in 1984 and later chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa that helped ensure a peaceful death for apartheid and the birth of a democratic South Africa. If forgiving can work in as unlikely a place as South Africa, he contends that it can work anywhere. He suggests that it might be used in the US to improve race relations , and I think that we should try it.

His words, “It may be, for instance, that race relations in the United States will not improve significantly until Native Americans and African Americans get the opportunity to tell their stories and reveal the pain that sits in the pit of their stomachs as a baneful legacy of dispossession and slavery. We saw in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission how the act of telling one’s story has a cathartic, healing effect.”

He may be right. I remember clearly the impact the mini-series Roots had on black and white America.

P. S. If you read this important book, you will be reminded about how tyranny is maintained by means of torture. It also happens to a lesser extent in the US. Please see this article on truthout.org.

Regime change

English: President Eisenhower and Mohammad Rez...

Image via Wikipedia

In August of 1953, President Eisenhower‘s CIA assisted the British in the overthrow of Iran‘s democratically elected and very popular leader, Mohammed Mosaddegh , at the instigation of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company whose interests in Iran had been nationalized in 1951. The Iranians are a very proud people and they have not forgiven the US or Britain for restoring the repressive and unpopular Shah to power. The Shah was overthrown and forced into exile in January, 1979, by Ayatollah Khomeini and he installed the government of Iran which continues in power until today.

Some Neocons in Washington and elsewhere are presently advocating regime change in Iran. We are still living with the results of the 1953 regime change. Shirin Ebadi in her book Iran Awakening pleads with the West to let Iran work out its own problems and destiny. She was a judge in Teheran until the 1979 revolution forced her to retire. She won a Nobel peace prize in 2003. A citizen of Iran should know more about that country’s problems than someone living in the US who does not speak their language or share their 2500 year history and culture.

Please see Strait of Hormuz | Strait of Hormuz part 2 | If John McCain had won