Saturday, September 20, 2003 Meeting Notes
Present: Susan, Kent, Mark, Rob, Sheila, Kyle, Sylvia.
1. Visit from Ken Little. Ken Little made a brief appearance to announce (a) he hopes that PPJH will undertake to provide some peacekeeping services at the Nov. 16 School of the Americas event in Lincoln Park (see http://www.tacomanov16.org); and (b) speaker opportunities exist thanks to two upcoming visits: (i) a trade union activist from Columbia will be visiting the area on Oct. 23-26 and is interested in speaking to groups about Coca-Cola and School of the Americas issues; and (ii) an indigenous farm worker from Mexico will be visiting the area Oct. 30-31 and is interested in speaking about NAFTA and FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) issues. Contact Ken Little at 253-531-5658 or 253-576-8950.
2. Report on Victoria Buch's talk at UPS on Sept. 16. Mark reported on a talk given Tuesday evening in Collins Library by Israeli human rights activist Victoria Buch, a professor of chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She painted a dark picture of prospects for peace in the Middle East, characterizing current circumstances as marked by a failure of leadership on both sides. Current leadership on both sides is either malevolent or mediocre and incompetent, in her view. Activists are a tiny minority, and most people in Israel refuse to look at what is happening; they support government policies and Prof. Buch does not see any prospect of changing them. What can be done, then? What can be done is to look at what is happening. She is an active member of "left" (which means "anti-occupation" in the Israeli context, she said) groups that try to do something -- tell soldiers to let someone go, allow a sick child through, or try to interfere in house demolitions, which she documented with photographs and personal accounts. She expressed the view that the U.S. Congress was the major impediment to constructive American engagement on the issue and urged listeners to actively support ending the U.S.'s $9 billion worth of annual support for the occupation. PPJHers Sallie, Linda, and Mark had dinner with her and others before the talk.
3. Wheels of Justice. Mark reported that PLU's Peace Studies Working Group (together with the Student Activist Coalition) has agreed to co-sponsor the visit to PLU's campus of the Wheels of Justice tour (a nonviolent educational national tour of activists traveling in a brightly painted school bus, organized by Voices in the Wilderness, the Middle East Children's Alliance, and the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and affiliates of the International Solidarity Movement, on Monday, Oct. 13. The tour will also be in the area on Sunday, Oct. 12. Contact has been made with tour organizers and biographies of some of the activists on the tour have been received. Details to follow.
4. Earth Charter Summit. Saturday, Oct. 11 all day at the First United Methodist Church (423 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma). Only three weeks away! Sheila reported on progress toward releasing a tentative schedule of the summit. Contact has been made with Jan Roberts, the originator of the Earth Charter Summits, which are taking place around the world on Oct. 11 -- Tacoma's will be one of at least 28 summits. Lunches are being planned for 125 participants, with contingency plans in case more (or less) attend.
4. Earth Charter discussion. Principle 5: "Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life." Discussion focused on the concepts of "ecological systems" and the "restoration" of them. Kent provided local examples arising from community development.
1. Rob announced that on Sept. 27 there would be a fundraiser at Stadium HS to support the Stadium HS band's planned 12-day trip to Italy. Donations from $10 and up will be gladly accepted.
2. Glen Gersmehl of Lutheran Peace Fellowship in Seattle will speak to the Community Hillside Church (behind Borders) tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 21, at 1:00 p.m., on Walter Wink and nonviolence.
3. Prof. Paul Menzel (Pacific Lutheran University, Dept. of Philosophy and former provost) will speak on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m., at the Tacoma Housing Authority Family Investment Center, 1724 E. 44th St., Tacoma, on "Responsible, Restorative Justice, and Punishment and Retribution." Call 253-535-7218 for more information.
4. The well-known peace activist Walter Wink will speak on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University next month. On Monday, Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m., he will give a lecture entitled "God as Human" in PLU's University Center. On Wednesday, Oct. 29, 4:00 p.m., he will give a lecture entitled "The Myth of Redemptive Violence." Both events are sponsored by PLU's Wang Center for International Programs. Contact 253-535-7577 for more information.
The meeting ended at 12:05 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Mark J.