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Meeting notes 11/3/2001

We met at Associated Ministries and Chris facilitated the meeting, Jude took notes. Thank you both. The next meeting will be at the Associated Ministries, Saturday November 10, 10 am until noon (1224 S. "I" street) PLEASE COME!

Announcements: VIGIL - Starting this Wednesday November 7, the vigil will move to 4:30 to 6:00 pm and will be a candlelight vigil (bring a candle in a glass). Same place, bring a friend! If you can only come for part of the time, that's fine.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7th , 7:30pm at UWT, BHS 106 (upstairs from the bookstore) Hans von Sponeck, former UN Secretary General, will speak on the UN and US sanctions against Iraq and the devastating effect that embargo is having on the Iraqi people.

Holly Near's upcoming appearance dates in Seattle are posted on the Website

Website: The address is or The notes for all of our meetings are posted on the website, and there are many articles and links, with new ones posted often. Take a look!

The meeting opened with a check-in, and we passed the hat for the heating bill ($1 donation) The following paragraphs summarize what people shared about their recent week:

  • I was upset with something that happened at school last week, people were watching an animated bombing of Iraq. I was horrified that the video existed and that my colleagues were laughing, but I was most upset that I didn't say anything. Then in the paper I saw that the suspension bridge was closed, and I thought "it's okay for us to bomb them but not for them to hurt us?" It's very different for me to live in a community that is pro-war, I have never been in a military atmosphere before, and so I appreciate this group and being able to come here and share this.
  • Part of what brought me to this group is the connection with friends of like mind, and now I am wanting to learn to articulate these issues with our war/hawk friends in a way that doesn't turn them off. I came today with a deeper sense of vulnerability because I live in Gig Harbor. Since the warning about the bridges came out yesterday, this morning I was aware when I was taking a shower that I might not be home this evening, and so I reflecting that the WTC people didn't when they were taking a shower that morning they that they might not be coming home that night. Then I crossed the bridge and saw the highway patrol vans, and I saw a couple of moving vans being searched by the highway patrol, and I knew they were protecting us and said my thanks, but I also got a sense of what it must be like to live in a police state.
  • It's been an exhausting week; I went to Wednesday's vigil was happy to participate once again.
  • I've been sad about the week's events, and about hearing about the 'threats' all week. I even had a moment of insanity thinking "just get it over with!". Then I heard about surviving members of a family in Afghanistan with most family members killed, and I thought "How would I feel if that happened to me?" I don't know how I would react if that had happened to me and to my family.
  • I work at the FDA in Seattle, and since the Headquarters offices tested positive for anthrax, there's lots of stress at work these days and many emails about how to handle various things. We don't pick up our mail at the district center anymore, and there is a much higher state of tension. I'm not afraid, but a lot of people are, and it's not really appropriate tell them not to be scared. Today I also want to check with the group to see if we really want to have the larger community event. I'm worried that I have encouraged it, and then others just went along.
  • I've been caring for my husband, so have been to only one meeting, and I have a transitory feeling of guilt when I read the emails, because there are vigils and I can't be there, and so on. I woke up today in a real depression, bummed by the media and how they've seized on these events. I really resent it. I brought some Working Assets brochures to share.
  • I am a retired physician, and hear from others about their anxiety; there is the difficulty of feeling very much alone. I was in World War II, and it is very much against my nature not to support my country, yet I am faced with this dichotomy between being patriotic and truthful. I do not like bombing these very poor and mainly good people. One is put in a position of being opposed to one's own community. How can this be changed? Perhaps if there was a pause in the conflict, say for the Ramadan holiday? And then if that pause was achieved, perhaps it could be extended. It seems that instead of bombing, we could help these people, help them clean up the munitions left from the Soviets, and give them food, medical care, and so we would make friends instead of enemies. We could take the roles of helpers instead of bombers. The precipitating cause of all this horror is the dreadful time the Arabs and Palestinians have had with the Israelis. They have been in camps since 1949! How can they compete with the organized and developed Israelis? If there is some way that we can make a difference in this situation..
  • I've been feeling constantly assaulted by feeling alienated from whatever context I happen to be in..
  • My sister, who lives in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest, is frightened, and wonders what being "on alert" means, that she shouldn't let strangers come to the door? The media hype is creating fear and panic, and it's not necessary.
  • It's wonderful to meet someone who actually works for the FDA and to know there's somebody with some integrity working there. That makes my day! Two articles by ethicists were given to me this week (I'll get them posted on the website), and I'm happy to see that there are voices out there that are saying things we can agree with. I was also with a group of friends, two of whom are usually much more conservative, and yet those two were saying the same things that we are, and that was heartening.
  • I want to let this group know that Bishop Cochran died last week (quietly, in his sleep). He attended this group a few weeks ago. I have also been worried about some personal health issues, and then when I remember the world's mess, it feels trite to go there. I've probably been down because my body has been down, but on the other hand, it may be crazy not to feel down in these times. A very nice man comes to repair our heating vents, and last week he was very excited about the war being a good thing. I tried to talk about the history of the area and of Iraq and so on, and he agreed with the points I was making, but then was once again happy and excited about the war. And I wonder how one goes from "yeah, yeah, you're probably right" to "hurray for the bombing." What is that about?
  • I've had a good week, because I can get happily lost for a long time in technical problems, and the week was full of them. I remembered about visiting a cousin in 1993 who took us on a tour of the National Archives. When I told her of the activities of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, she asked "How will you know you've won?" And that question comes up for me with respect to this war in Afghanistan. With the situation that's been created, how will we know when we've won?
  • I've had so many things on my mind, and I've recently received the message that I need to act with courage. I appreciated hearing others in this group tell about speaking to others with courage. How can we get to the people we speak with? How do people become activists? We all have good hearts. Other people have good hearts. How can we help people look at things a little differently, and not need the security of feeling that everything our government is doing is good. I am moved by the Bill Moyers article, where he says we are losing our democracy and the monied interests are grabbing power.
  • There's been so much in my mind I feel manic. I woke up happy to come here today. My patients have been canceling appointments because the bridge may be bombed. It's lonely old ladies are most afraid, and have been asking for tranquilizers. I tell them to keep their perspective and not listen to the media. And I have been reading about the present Bush administration wanting to keep certain papers secret relating to connecting the previous Bush administration with the Reagan years. I've been reading articles in TNT and Psychology Today, and Mother Jones and Worldwatch. I've been hearing about "Media PR for the War." I am German, born in Germany, and studied aggression after WWII and how the Nazis made the Germans want to hate other people and nations, how it appeared in the media, and in cartoons, and I see it lately here. It was the power of the media at that time that contributed to helping the get the German people to hate others. Also, I am experienced with speaking with the other side on these issues, as my husband voted for Reagan and the first President Bush, but he hasn't voted that way lately. So it takes about 20 years to change someone's mind. He is a good-hearted man, a white knight type of person, and he has his war room and I have my peace room, and it takes 20 years
  • I've been sick all month, but it's been a great week, my 10th Wedding Anniversary. I have mixed feelings because I am Cuban and have lived here for 9 years and in Cuba for 34 years. In those years we were always afraid of attack from the USA and from Cuban Americans supported by the CIA. And in those years there were things that happened like the sugar cane crops hurt by biological warfare supported by the USA. The people in the U.S. are frightened of things that have been frightening the rest of the world for many years (with support of the U.S.). And yet there are so many things that I appreciate about this country, not the least of which is the freedom of being able to sit here and discuss thee kinds of things. How can something positive come from this fear? If people could reflect that this fear they are feeling now is how others in the world feel, and if we stopped causing fear in the world, others would not want to make us live in fear. We are just feeling a little of what others have been feeling. Because it is the time of The Day of the Dead celebrations, in my classes I had my students speak of the dead in Afghanistan, as well as those of 9/11 and the dead everywhere. Students were shocked to listen to me speak of the dead in Afghanistan, the starving children, because they haven't heard about that. I reflect that Patriotism is so connected with Machism and so connected with Dictatorship, and I feel we are moving toward something bad.

Chris mentioned that some of the themes that came up seemed to be: influence of media, alienation, teachable moments, and how to maintain momentum.

The vigil met this past week, and some committees also met.

Agenda for today: discussion of large community meeting and committee reports

The discussion of the large meeting involved the following: Carl summarized what has happened so far. The group made a decision to have a large community meeting focused on alternatives to war, and several people where going to see about availability of speakers. Progress on the availability of speakers was reported. Among the possibilities are Media Benjamin and Retired Admiral Eugene Carroll (founded the Center for Defense Information, critical of US nuclear policy and other things. Their stance is that this tragedy doesn't call for a military response; these are criminals and so it calls for a police action. They've been on Jim Lehrer, and their message is very reasonable and clear, and an Admiral would be a draw in this part of the state.)

Various possible local speakers were mentioned, including Eli Berniker of PLU, a Professor of Business who is reported to be excellent.

Carl expressed concern that Tacoma PJH may not be entirely behind organizing this large event, and that he would not be able to play the role of coordinator of the entire event. After a discussion, it was agreed that this group wants to do it, and the following organizing committees were formed for this event: Program Committee (Janie, Allie, Marisela with the help of Ardine), Logistics Committee (Carl and Pam, with Ken helping with location logistics at the Unitarian Church and Eve willing to be church liaison), Publicity and Outreach/Mailings Committee (Marie, Alta and Chris will handle mailings, Carrie, Jean and Audrey will handle Publicity Strategy, and Associated Ministries will offer mailing resources and Foundation for Global Community will give postage money).

In addition, several people will look into the possibility of forming coalitions, as with the YWCA or with UWT. A few people offered to 'pass the hat' for donations to support the event, and it was agreed that that should wait until we know who is speaking and how much money will be needed.

There was some discussion about whether the event would have one speaker or a panel, and it was agreed that it will depend on the availability of a 'big name.' The program committee will address this.

The time frame will be a window between November 27th and December 14thh, and will depend on availability of speaker(s).

It was agreed that the program committee will try to have the speaker decision by next week's meeting. Carl will facilitate next Saturday's meeting, and after the check-in, the next hour of the meeting will be devoted to committee meetings, and then the committees will report back to the whole group.

If you would like to read more about the committees, check the notes from the previous two meetings.

FILM COMMITTEE REPORT: Janie told us that the committee feels the film "Long Night's Journey into Day" could be shown on the Martin Luther King Day weekend, and Foundation for Global Community will buy it in VHS format for $69. Discussion and suggestions about venue and equipment. The film is about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and won a Sundance award. It presents a very good model of alternatives to violence. The webpage is very informative: There may be the possibility of joint publicity with other groups in nearby communities who are planning to show this film on the same weekend.

The vigil time change was discussed, and 4:30 to 6:00 pm was decided. "Honor our dead with works of peace" was one popular sign suggestion.

The meeting closed with hands held and a moment of silence.


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