When I joined a group of Duluth-area peace activists led by Brooks Anderson in the early 1980s, we all talked hopefully about making contact with a group of like-minded folks in a Russian city. The idea was not to act as substitutes for the State Department or Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Instead, our goal was more modest (and realistic): to provide an alternative means of communication between the people of the USA and USSR, countries that threatened each other with enormous stashes of weapons that put the very survival of the planet in jeopardy.
“America knows war. They are war masters. They know better than me. They know how to fund a war. They are great teachers.” This is from Mohamed Qanyare, a Somali warlord who once was “Washington’s man in Mogadishu.” Qanyare is featured in “Dirty Wars,” an award-winning documentary about America’s covert wars in the Mideast. The film is based on the book of the same name by Jeremy Scahill.
In his book “On Aggression,” Austrian biologist and Nobel laureate Konrad Lorenz regrets that humans do not have a “carnivorous mentality.” He argues that true carnivores or omnivores (including ravens, wolves and lions), which could kill or severely injure fellow members of the same species with a single bite, have highly developed inhibitions that prevent wholesale slaughter of their own kind. His theory is that no such selection pressure arose in the evolution of humans “to breed inhibitory mechanisms preventing the killing of (members of the species) until ...
President Barack Obama’s announcement last month on normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba was a long-overdue step in the right direction. In general, opening lines of communication is a good thing. Obama took initiative as chief executive of the United States. At the same time, I hasten to point out that, like all American presidents dating back to Eisenhower, Obama is honorary chairman of Sister Cities International. Sister Cities International grew out of a White House conference on citizen diplomacy called by President Dwight D.
Religion has been getting some bad press these days. Violence continues to be done to Christian groups throughout the world — in the name of religion. What’s more, tensions among certain Christian groups themselves have turned ugly in recent decades. Muslims and Hindus resort to violence against each other from time to time.
Our local veterans’ organization — Veterans for Peace, Chapter 80 — has been denied access to participate in Duluth’s Spirit Valley Memorial Day parade this year. We took part in previous parades and believe we presented our message respectfully and that it was well-received. The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor and remember people who lost their lives in service to the country. Count us among those who believe in honoring the fallen. Many people have worked to expand and protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country.