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Meeting notes 11/17/2001
We met at Associated Ministries and Ken facilitated the meeting, Jude took notes - thank you both. The next meeting will be at the Associated Ministries, Saturday November 24th, 10 am until noon - 1224 S. "I" street, Janie will facilitate; please come.
VIGIL CHANGE, returning to daytime - WEDNESDAYS 12:30 to 1:30 in front of the Federal Building - please come!
Our Website: The address is <www.tacomapjh.org/> or <tacomapjh.org> 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!
December 25th Jude will be leaving for two months, so if you are willing to be the note-taker for meetings during that time, please let someone know - many thanks.
On the 3rd Thursday of each month there are "Dances of Universal Peace" held at the First Congregational Church in Tacoma. Call them for times.
The group then had a check-in, a summary of which follows these notes on the business part of the meeting.
Sallie gave a report on the progress of the upcoming event. She is in contact with the speaker, and expecting to finalize arrangements this week. She is asking about the content of his talk, financial arrangements, and possibility of a radio interview, etc.
Date: December 15th, possibly at 1:30 or 2:00 (we have to be out by 4:00)
There was some discussion and summary of why we are inviting Admiral Carroll: we see this event not as a presentation of anti-war sentiment, but as a presentation that may appeal to the more middle-of-the road, given the character of this community. Hi bio is available on www.cdi.org (click on "About CDI"). He is aware of the kind of group that we are. The program committee will be working on the presentation, but the original idea was to bring the community to a wider discussion and establish a dialogue with him. We also hope this will be the first of several speaker-events that we would bring to Tacoma over time, which will present various perspectives.
A big thank you to Karen Konrad, who made a draft flyer for this event so we'd have something to start with. The draft stimulated lots of discussion about logos and photo use and symbolism and so forth, and we decided that this particular flyer needs to be relatively plain, with perhaps a photo of the Admiral, but no logos or symbolic art, as we don't really have time to have the extensive discussion that we would need to arrive at consensus for that. Perhaps in the future we can develop a logo for the group. Marion Hogan volunteered to convene a promotion and publicity committee made up of herself, Carrie, Jean, Karen, and others (if you want to help, please contact Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marion at email@example.com). Sallie will be liaison from the Program committee to the Publicity committee.
There was discussion of budget needs, with a guess of $1500 - 2000 for both the Admiral's expenses, the rental of the hall, and the cost of postage/publicity. Some group members have already made donations and contacted probable donors. We also have $100 from our early meeting when we passed the hat. It was decided to ask everyone on our Tacomapjh mailist for donations, with any extra funds to be used for the film presentation in January.
DONATIONS: We can use your help with donations for the expenses of the event. If you can help, or know of someone who can, please contact Sallie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Film Committee report from Janie: As decided last week, FGC purchased the video "Long Night's Journey into Day" and it will be shown at the Historical Museum on January 20th, the day before MLK Day, perhaps at 2pm. The city may help with the publicity, due to MLK Day. There will be a special rental rate for non-profits. It is hoped that this showing will encourage other showings, and there will be tables for flyers and do on. It is hoped that we will have a flyer by December 15th, so that it can be distributed at the "Seeking Alternatives to War" event.
There was a discussion of the Vigil, and it was determined that the vigil will remain on Wednesdays, but move back to 12:30 to 1:30. It was suggested that a copy of the OPED piece that Marisela and Janie wrote for the paper should be distributed as a flyer.
Check-in: [These are abbreviated and summarized of group members' comments about their week, with a hope of conveying at least the spirit of what each person said. Each paragraph represents a new person.]
Feeling happy with the sun; this morning I have been working with a group campaigning for a living wage ordinance for Tacoma, just found out that 70 communities in the U.S. have such an ordinance. At the meeting I was comforted by connecting with an old friend from my home community who has always been in the Catholic Worker non-violence movement, and she said she is also struggling with the whole question of non-violence in these times. The Associated Ministries staff meeting here yesterday was good.
I'm feeling great today because that A.M. staff meeting and my responsibility to facilitate it is over! Most mornings I greet the day first thing, no matter what the weather. My yard as I view of Vashon Island and the water. This morning I felt moved to invite my guides, and first some crows flew by chasing something. Then a huge eagle soared by, and I thought "what a gift!" Then a second flew by and joined it, and they circled together. I felt blessed and grateful and reminded that there is so much beauty in the world that needs to be saved.
I had a good week. Yesterday I spent some hours listening to public radio, and heard some good programs, including an interview with an Afghani woman who wrote the book entitled Boiled Chicken and Social Animals. She spoke of the difference in the lives of Western women and Afghani women, and that Afghani women need to the right to make their own choices. The interview was good, and I think I'll get the book.
I am new to the group and relatively new to Tacoma, and am really happy we are doing this. I'm a pacifist because of the people who suffer because of war, an advocate of not creating that havoc in places where people do not choose it. My father was in the military and then worked selling arms to Saudi Arabia. I've been thinking of him a lot lately, and I think of all of our relatives who choose war.. Last Thursday I went to "Dances of Universal Peace" at the First Congregational Church. There were about 18 people there. The event involves dancing and singing in the name of God. They are mostly in Aramaic, there are lots of chants from Islam, some Buddhist, and we also sang the Ave Maria. It was lots of fun.
I had an interesting week, as we had the visit of Joyce Horman, the wife of Charles Horman who was killed in Chile in the Pinochet coup d'etat. The movie "Missing" as about her husband, and it was good to revisit that movie with my students and to speak of that time in history. I am also thinking right now of the 22 people from Tacoma who are in Georgia protesting the School of the Americas, and are ready to cross the line and do civil disobedience, including Reverend Bix; we can hold them all in our hearts. I've been re-reading the material about the U.S. involvement in Chile and the current attempts to sue Kissinger now that the documents are available that prove U.S. involvement. Reading that material, I reflect on the issue of who controls information. Also thinking about the letter we all signed at the first vigil and presented to Representative Dicks, and how he never responded to it or acknowledged it. He has a history of involvement with the protest of the School of Americas, having first voted against closing it, and the later was convinced to vote for the closing. The school sill exists but has changed its name. They have taken the material on torture off the curriculum, but the school still exists. I've also been listening this week to the news of the Taliban withdrawal with contradictory feelings about it because, while I am against many of their policies, it is also true that they kept Afghanistan out of civil war for 50 or 6 years. Now that they are withdrawing, the news says there are massacres and beatings and so on. So I don't know what to think...[More on this topic below]
I've had some similar feelings. The situation changes almost hourly. It's difficult feeling bad that the Taliban is losing, and yet there are people in Afghanistan singing again (I have such a love of music), and they are able to shave their beards. And then there are those pictures of the Taliban soldiers being murdered by the Northern Alliance. We are hearing of horrific murders. And at the Vigil people are saying things like "the war is over now, so what are you protesting?" And there is the thought that the U.S. is tying to get a U.N. peacekeeping force to go in so that the U.S. can leave. I have all these contradictory feelings as well. However, upon rational reflection, I know I don't support the Taliban. And I am hoping some good might come somehow to help the people of Afghanistan. Maybe some of the land mines could be removed...
I echo all of what has been said. And I am glad the Taliban is falling because, like many of us, I have been the recipient once a week for ages of that petition to help the Afghani women whose skins never saw daylight, with the windows of houses even painted. So it's been a happy week seeing the news of women with their faces uncovered and people singing. I admit I am not politically savvy enough to know what comes next, and I have so much on my plate right now, I have no time to read. Confusion is the key word right now for me.
On the news this week I saw that in a city that the Taliban has withdrawn from, merchants are decorating their windows. And I saw they were putting up revealing posters of Indian actresses, and I felt a bit devastated, thinking "Is there no middle ground? Are women either shrouded and enslaved or looked at as sexual objects?" I felt really hopeless. And then I remembered the teachings that this world will never even approach perfection, and that even though a situation appears impossible, we still need to do our work and following our hearts truth even in the face of contradiction and paradox.
I'm glad people are talking about contradictory feelings. It is hard not to think in a dichotomous way. It's hard not to feel trapped in contradiction. I have hated the Taliban for years, so I am happy to see them leave. But it's difficult to know that Bush and the U.S. are taking credit for it, and it is seen as a part of a great juggernaut of U.S. power. This sort of attitude in the world makes it then easier for things like what happened with Pinochet in Chile to happen again. It makes it easier to disappear people, which is already happening. And lately I have been discouraged by my students. I teach courses in diversity, but have many fundamentalist students who are not open, are homophobic, and have a far-right American identity, with the feeling that if you are not succeeding in this world, then that it is somehow your problem.
So, I realize it's important to just "show up." It's hard to know how to wrap our minds around all of this. It's hard to know who the good guys are. It's such a fragmented situation. Does being against war mean support of the Taliban? We need a new analysis. Right now there is just one world ideology, and that's the United States - except for Islamic fundamentalism, and I can't align with that. We need a new political analysis.
I have been mostly concerned with the violation of civil rights in the U.S. Right after 9/11 I was speaking to a woman from the WWII generation who said "we'll just have to round them all up. Not take away their property, but round them all up until we can sort out who is a terrorist and who is not." And I told her that it has been acknowledged that what we did in WWII was wrong, and that it would be very wrong to do that...and so on. The violations of civil rights that are happening and potentially happening have upset me more than anything. Also my mother has Alzheimer's and I've been caring for her, so it has not been a good week. After this meeting I am going to do some gardening, because the sun is out and the good wet earth will feel good.
This has been a difficult week for me, as I've been preparing my parents for a move to Tacoma, and they are in very poor health. I saw the interview with the humanitarian workers who said they were glad they weren't beaten, like the Afghani women who were beaten in jails and beaten by their husbands when they were at home. So I am glad the Taliban are losing power. I also want to say that this check-in is very valuable because it is our deep time together, and so if it takes more time than we've planned, that's okay. (Murmur of agreement in group.)
I wasn't able to go to the vigil this week because I needed to handle the flooding in the basement. Next week I will be going on vacation, and so will be at the airport and flying for the first time this fall. People have been asking me if I am frightened, I don't feel that way now, but I'm curious about how it will be in a plane full of strangers. I have mixed feelings about what is happening in Afghanistan. And then I come back to here, and the undercurrent of cultural violence in this country, the attitude 'just bomb them off the face of the map', and the attitude of good versus evil and us versus them, always wanting to point our fingers elsewhere, when actually we need to hold up the mirror. And I am doing research on WTF and world trade, and looking at how an attack on the World Trade Center became and attack on America.
I want to mention that any sympathy I may have had for the Taliban was not an affinity for their policies, but rather that I don't like bombing and violent measures against any government.
This has been an important discussion for me because now I understand my own mixed feelings about the Taliban's withdrawal. It's not because I like the Taliban government, but because what has happened strengthens the sense of the U.S. as right and righteous, and so on.
I feel all of our check-ins are ideas in progress and we have to cut each other and ourselves some slack. My mother used to say, if you have a half-baked idea, you can then put it in the oven and it will become a fully baked idea.
"We shall live in peace one day!"
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Last updated: 11/20/2001 11:56 AM