Saturday, February 25, 2012

Desmond Tutu "The God of Surprises" On Being & more

Program continues Sunday for this interview via radio. Archives also available for listening online and podcast or Click here Looks like some of this coverage is from earlier show in 2010 and some of this looks new.

Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus and Nobel laureate, spends intimate time and joyous conversation with Krista Tippett and the radio/podcast audiences.

Desmond Tutu says here that despite all the evil and suffering in the world, human beings are "remarkable things" who are "made for goodness." On Being with Krista Tippett explores how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he's helped shaped.

Blogger's note: Just this AM Saturday, 25 February 2012 I was re-reading Bishop Tutu's remarks in the classic book on forgiveness (stories and dialogues) "The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness" help demonstrate his eloquence, compassion for fellow writers' various perspectives and his deep indomitable heart. Here are some excerpts from that brief page and a half by the Bishop:

"There is another side (to the cruelty)--the story of the victims, the survivors who werre made to suffer so grievously, yet despite this are ready to forgive. This magnanimity, this nobility of spirit, is quite breathtakingly unbelievable. I have often felt I should say, 'Let us take off our shoes," because at this moment we were standing on holy ground."


"It is clear that if we look only to retributive justice, then we could just as well close up shop. Forgiveness is not some nebulous thing...Without forgiveness, there is no future."

Addition: An international tour on behalf of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui began last week in South Africa. So I can't pass up a posting about a leader like Bishop Desmond Tutu without a short note by another woman known for her forgiving spirit. Despite the most heinous of mistreatment over the course of many years (including the kidnapping of her three children with the youngest still missing) -- Aafia has demonstrated breathtaking kindness toward her accusers. This grace was visible in court and has been clear to her family all along.

Then, even when sentenced to 86 years behind bars, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui forgave Judge Berman and urged that her supporters do no violence in her name.

Find one related item here

This spirit of forgiveness by one of the most tortured among us is seldom addressed in the news reports on her case.

Yet, despite unimaginable agony in the hands of her captors, Aafia has urged with firm courtesy: “You can’t build a case on hate. You should build it on facts.”--Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (Trial Testimony, January 28, 2010) which you can find along with -- such as USA v. Aafia Siddiqui Trial Part 2 here

Also find facts on this case at International Justice Network by going to or here and see Aafia Siddiqui The Trial and Just the Facts

Just before the recent tour by Dr. Fowzia, Aafia's sister, a recent appeal urging Aafia to get a new trial or be freed took place in the same vicinity as the earlier trial. Find one report here and a one quick summary by Stephen Lendman (who's been writing on the case for some time) here

May each reader with an inclination toward prayer join as one so that "The God of Surprises" will work toward Aafia's liberation. May many other people around the globe be willing to disseminate helpful information about this case. May the Almighty also work in the hearts of those who hold Dr. Aafia in "chains" to release her soon that she may reunite with her children.

May Aafia be able to then heal and further her studies and papers on how children learn. Ironically, she showed in her advanced studies how children learn by imitation.

So in reference to Dr. Aafia, what have our children worldwide learned in this and similar cases? What will they learn in the future about human rights abuses around the world?

Are we holding our authorities accountable for what they are teaching by example -- especially to children? Would any of us want US treatment of Aafia learned by imitation and demonstrated on our own children or selves?

What kind of injustice has been taught in the false labeling of Aafia by so many media sources who copied one another's false information? Yet, there have not yet been any charges TO DATE that would convict her as a terrorist. What is implied simply in the use of the title -- "USA v. Aafia Siddiqui" ?

Remember Aafia is a tiny woman.

(find a recent item on Dr. Fowzia's events in South Africa near top of both and

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, in Soweto, on an international tour

Plea to aid sister jailed in US for 86 years
February 24 2012 at 11:40am
By Yusuf Omar


Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, in Soweto, is on an international tour to raise awareness about her sister, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who has already served 3 251 days in a US prison. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

We meet at the Dlamini mosque in Soweto, an unlikely first stop for neurologist Dr Fowzia Siddiqui’s international tour to raise awareness about the plight of her US-imprisoned sister, Aafia Siddiqui.

Today marks 3 251 days since Aafia, an American-educated Pakistani woman, was incarcerated for assault with intent to murder her US interrogators while she was being detained in Afghanistan.

She is serving an 86-year sentence in solitary confinement in the US, and is believed to have cancer.

Fowzia’s left arm is in a cast, broken last week in Pakistan when she says the vehicle she was travelling in was attacked by policemen with batons. She was on her way to a march at the US embassy with tens of thousands of people.

She notices a bundle of Wikipedia printouts with her sister’s name on them in my hand. “If you are going to believe that stuff, then the interview is cancelled,” she said, stern-faced.

Nine years in the media spotlight has made her sceptical of the pens and flashing lights. “But if you want the truth, listen to me,” she said.

Aafia is commonly cited as a neuro-scientist, but her sister said she had a doctorate in education. “She didn’t even major in biology or physics. They just want to make her look scary and push this terrorist idea.”

Supporters of the campaign believe she is a 9/11 pawn, framed on terrorism charges and innocent on all accounts. Others call her a dangerous al-Qaeda member.

For the first five years of her sister being in prison, Fowzia said she wrote letters to her every day. “The US Embassy would have a closetful by now.”

Fowzia said she and her family had received death threats, but she was tired of being unheard.

“If she was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman, the world would be standing… How can she be imprisoned for 86 years? She didn’t kill anyone.”

The Siddiqui family have one more appeal left against the sentence. “We will use it when we think the time is right, when enough support has emerged and when we can clarify all the misconceptions.”

Fowzia, who said she would continue the fight to free her sister for the rest of her life, will take the campaign to the UK next. - The Star


To learn more plz go to and to International Justice Network (where Tina Foster has been working hard behind the scenes to find out whatever happened to Aafia's missing baby along with other issues.) See "Just the Facts" at both websites and you will also find plenty if you search for oneheartforpeace and nomorecrusades with Aafia Siddiqui in the search topic.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Acts of Love

Excerpt from the article below: Love is not selflessness. It is the giving of one’s best self, giving one’s highest self unto the world. It is finding true selfhood. Selflessness is martyrdom, dying for a cause. Selfhood is living for a cause. It is choosing to create good in the world. To love another as one loves oneself is to love the universal self that unites us all..

Posted on Feb 19, 2012

By Chris Hedges

Love, the deepest human commitment, the force that defies empirical examination and yet is the defining and most glorious element in human life, the love between two people, between children and parents, between friends, between partners, reminds us of why we have been created for our brief sojourns on the planet.

Those who cannot love—and I have seen these deformed human beings in the wars and conflicts I covered—are spiritually and emotionally dead. They affirm themselves through destruction, first of others and then, finally, of themselves. Those incapable of love never live.

“Hell,” Dostoevsky wrote, “is the inability to love."

And yet, so much is written and said about love that at once diminishes its grandeur and trivializes its meaning. Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, cautioned all of us about preaching on love, reminding us that any examination of love had to include, as Erich Fromm pointed out in “Selfishness and Self-Love,” the unmasking of pseudo-love. READ the rest here

Image above is a fractal found as SSCG.jpg

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alicia Partnoy on Love

“A Homespun Love”by Alicia Partnoy

Because this humble and homespun love— just as you see it, simple, unadorned —is what keeps our feet on the ground, is what engenders the fruit of our nonconformity, and throws us a lifeboard amidst the shipwreck.

Every so often our love blazes like thousands of stars,
gets dressed up to go out and uncorksbottles of effervescence,
cases of laughter.
You see, every so often, when the moment is right,
our love recalls that it is, like we are, a survivor.

Find more on Alicia the poet in Quilted Conspiracy here and a keynote address here. Find the poet in Wikipedia here and find rose photo above here

Saturday, February 18, 2012

On Commerce, false gods and the soul -- Poetry from Meister Eckhart

Middle Ages

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky for "Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

An Insidious Idol (and a few more Eckhart lines)

COMMERCE is supported by keeping the individual at odds
with himself and others, by making us want more than we need, and
offering credit to buy what refined senses do not want.

The masses become shackled; I see how their eyes weep
and are desperate--of course they feel desperate--for something,
for some remedy
that a poor soul then feels needs
to be bought.

I find nothing more offensive than a god who could condemn human instincts in us
that time in all its wonder have made perfect.

I find nothing more destructive to the well-being of life
than to support a god that makes you feel unworthy and in debt to it.

I imagine erecting churches to such a strange god will assure
endless wars that commerce loves.

A god that could frighten is not a god but an insidious idol
and weapon in the hands of the insane.

A god who talks (continually) of sin is worshipped
by the infirm;

I was once spiritually ill--we ALL pass through that--
Then one day the intelligence in my soul
cured me...

How long will grown men and women in this world
keep drawing in their coloring books
an image of God that makes them sad?

It is a lie--any talk of God that does not comfort you...

It is your destiny to see as God sees,
to know as God knows,
to feel as God feels.

How is this possible? How?
Because divine love cannot defy its very self.

Divine love will be eternally true to its own being,
and its being is giving all it can,
at the perfect moment.

...the greatest GIFT
God can give is His own experience.

Every object, every creature, every man, woman and child
has a soul--

and it is the destiny of all --
as one humanity --
to see as God sees, to know as God knows,
to feel as God feels,
to be (in quality and substance)
as God Is.


"Only those who have dared to let go can dare to re-enter."

"God rests in Himself..and all things (finally) find their rest in Him."

The last are also quotes from Meister Eckhart - one whom the clerics were going to put to death right before he died apparently because they feared his teachings. For more on his thoughts concerning God's Oneness and the indivisibility of God - especially for philosophers and theologians - GO here

photo by: Katherine McKittrick of the Brevard College stream where I have gone many times for reflection and prayer. Found on MyBC Home - Brevard College official website.

Meeting Joseph in the Quran for the First Time (reposting)

(Hello, I'm reposting this one from August 2009 on this site -- because I just now received a notice February 2012 that Fatima's response was pending my approval. So sorry, Fatima -- yet I'm glad to see it now since the reminder is good for me today.)

I wrote this as a class assignment, Connie L Nash

Joseph was a man singled out for this amazing purpose: to help his nation's people as well as helping family who had misused him -- and while so doing being a forerunner of others specially so marked. Constantly he was forgiving and turning evil into good. Yet Joseph -- good man 'though he was -- knew he needed supernatural help with some situations like we all do -- to ward off misconduct. Striking that to Joseph - doing right was so precious that he risked jail rather than to act wrongly. The way Joseph begged so urgently, fervently for God's help at some points strikes a strong reminiscent chord.

Revenge was not for Joseph -- even when it was common -- he found other ways. He navigated among peoples with other beliefs apparently at ease with himself, his own role and with great dignity. He worked to help society (the poor as well as the well established) with most basic physical as well as moral needs without becoming part of any war machinery. He neither took on values contradictory to his own convictions nor did he force his on others. He found his own way to accomplish the Divine will.

While Joseph became highly esteemed, he did not reduce his calling by arrogance. Even his imprisonment he turned into blessings. Joseph brings to mind the role of those who "stand in the gap" -- who become a bridge between the rich and poor, the oppressed and the rulers who may have ignored or oppressed them.

His role was one of peace.

I noticed something in this the story of 'Joseph' which reminds me of a frequent theme in my discussions and readings: the value of dignity in all. Nor did Joseph reduce this dignity -- even to his conniving brothers by offering "cheap grace". Yet for their own sake and for perhaps the sake of his own respect, Joseph made sure some lessons were well-learned. Kind acts for Joseph needed discretion, knowledge and craftily-wise intuition - important qualities to include along with compassion. Those given to natural and frequent acts of charity can sometimes be used or misled and thus lose dignity and then so do those who misuse the giving person.

There is a universal and timeless pattern here between the Divine and the seer, mystic, prophet or savior of the people: "Your Lord is choosing you and teaching you how to interpret events, and completing His favor towards you..." Just consider that it is the One - Love in complete Essence -- the only Pure, Merciful, All-Knowing One wants us to learn to discern -- to interpret events in our own time and often provides the means.

THERE IS A CONTINUITY HERE IN JOSEPH - a continuity from generation to generation -- between historical eras even - which so often we forget. After editing this -- I read Khurram Ali Shafique Sahib's offering on Joseph in Republic of Rumi and especially noted this that "every single item is a metaphor that may never run out of applications in the lives of individuals, nations and humanity."

So much of life seems to be an emergency today as then. The fast pace in Chapter 12 of the Quran also gives this sense. Yet by contrast, how helpful to see this universal wisdom from the mouth of Joseph's father earlier in story "Patience is beautiful!" And then in the narrative that -- with Joseph -- Love "was Dominant in his affair, even though not realize it." Love was there all along.

See also scholarly references at the Republic of Rumi blogsite on Joseph here and on the Surah Yusuf at Iqbal Studies here


Original source of photo at top of page - by Urang Awak - an Indonesian here

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Celebration of Renewed Love in the Midst of Struggle

Allam Ka’by

The writer of this story, a 20-year-old artist, blogger, writer.

Here is her latest posting for Electronic Intifada:

On Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and struggle
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 17:00

An Interview with the former prisoner Allam Ka’by

By Shahd Abusalama

On Ferbruary 14, I went to a wedding, a wedding that I waited for fervently since I met its groom in October 2011. Oh October, how many nice memories you brought me and how many amazing people you introduced to me. Allam Ka’by, the groom, was one of them and has become a close friend. Feeling blessed to meet this person, I want to briefly express my thankfulness for the day that resulted in us meeting. October 18, the day of the first stage of the prisoner swap deal, was a remarkable memory in Palestinian history. It marked victory. This day is printed in my mind like no other day. How could I forget the day that brought freedom to 447 Palestinians, of which Allam was one?

In the 20 years I’ve lived in Gaza, I never witnessed a day as happy as this. Festivals were held in every corner. It felt like not only people were celebrating. The sky, the trees, the buildings, everything was celebrating freedom. It was a day of unity, a day of compassion. Happiness was shared all around Gaza. Even those families who weren’t lucky enough to see their relatives in prison that day were so happy and excited to meet the released prisoners to hear news of their relatives. They joined the celebration with a high spirit and greater hope that soon freedom would also be coming to their loved ones, who are still locked behind the Israeli bars. “My son wasn’t released, but at least this swap deal brought me news about him from his fellows that calmed the fire burning inside me during all nine years I haven’t been allowed to visit him,” said Om Ibrahim Baroud, a mother of a prisoner who’s serving his 26th year in jail.

My first meeting with Allam Ka’by

Allam Ka’by spent aound 15 years in total in Israeli jails, but sadly, the day of his freedom was celebrated away from his family. He is originally from Balata Camp in Nablus, but Israel forced him to separate from where he was raised up, where his family lives and his new wife, Manar, used to live. He didn’t have his own family to receive him but we, residents of Gaza, welcomed him to the bosom of our homes with so much love and admiration that he considers himself as living at home. Since he was set free, the Hamas government has taken care of Allam and his comrades who were deported to Gaza, and they have granted them with good accommodations.

Allam first lived in a hotel overlooking the beautiful beach of Gaza, where we first met. In fact, it was the second, but I like to consider it as the first as the real first time didn’t give any of us a good impression about the other.

By the end of a festival held for the released prisoners, my friend, an American activist living in Gaza, asked me to help him with the translation of an interview he had organized with one of them, who was actually Allam. He was in a hurry and Joe wasn’t fully prepared to start the interview as quickly as Allam wished. I kept asking Allam if he could please wait for five minutes. But five minutes in reality took maybe 15 minutes that Allam could no longer wait and he left us disappointed. It was almost a fight that turned out to be a sweet memory to laugh at when Allam and I remember it. So the second meeting, which was a coincidence, fixed the wrong impression caused by lack of preparation. It was our first meeting because it was when I first had the honor to get to know him closely.

He recognized me as he met me and then gently started apologizing for the clash we had when we met first. I remember very well how we peacefully sat in the hotel’s lobby and I felt magic about him that made me feel as if I knew him for ages. He had the art of attracting people’s ears to listen to him without any boredom. I lost the track of time while hearing his heroic and inspiring stories from his experience of imprisonment.

Allam’s experience as a child detainee and then as an administrative one

Allam started with cherishing his childhood memories in every corner of Balata Camp, which were shorter than any child around the world should enjoy. Israel deprived him from fully living it innocently. At the age of 15, the first intifada, called the intifada of stones, his childhood’s innocence was brutally killed. The Israeli occupation arrested him for being a stone thrower. His stone that could cause armed Israeli soldiers no harm resulted in him being jailed for almost five years. They ignored that his detention was a crime against him and is a scandalous crime Israel still commits against hundreds of Palestinian children, violating international law.

However, Allam looks back at his childhood positively, giving the gratitude for the educated, courageous and dignified man he is now, “they don’t know that they actually created a man of me so early by detaining me at such a young age.” His dark cell witnessed the torment and the humiliation he endured, but it also witnessed his unbreakable strength as he challenged the Israeli jailers’ inhumanity and brutality. He summed up his early struggle as a teenage in a sentence: “my early imprisonment taught me how I should let myself live in a prison but never let the prison live inside me.”

When he was 15, he wasn’t really aware of the situation and he used to question a lot about the occupation and all the crimes endured by Palestinians. Inside prison, everything became clear to him and he realized the significance and the meaning of resistance. He realized how his sacrifice of his years of prime was even worthless in relative to his precious land and his dear people. After his illegal and inhumane detention, he was set free at the age of 20 with a great passion toward his homeland and his people.

Then, he spent two years free on his occupied land before he served more than a year of administrative detention in 1997 with no charge or trial, but under secret evidence that can’t be shared by the detainee or his lawyer, to learn more about the cruelty of the Israeli heartless jailers. Upon his release, he joined the PFLP party as a means of resistance.

Allam met the love of his life amidst struggle

A child is looking at what Allam wrote with his blood “Stick to the path of resistance”

With no previous intention, he fell in love for the first time with a beautiful girl from his camp named Manar, and unintentionally made another person involved in his rugged life of struggle. Because the most precious things we own, even our souls, are valueless in comparison to our freedom and dignity, in Palestine, the sacrifice has ended up meaningless and tasteless. All our lives represent a medley of sacrifices that started to feel like a routine we are bound to live with.

The second intifada started, the intifada of Al-Aqsa. Allam got engaged to the love of his life but that didn’t make his life any easier. Between his love for Manar and his love for the land, he became torn. But he couldn’t stand idly by.

In 2003, Allam and his childhood friend Ameer Thoqan were trapped in a building in one of Nablus streets by intensive forces of Israeli armed soldiers. They were attacked and in the same time a call for them to succumb and hand over their weapons was spread all around the city through loudspeakers. They chose confrontion and death with dignity rather than surrender, making one of the most heroic and epic battles in the history of struggle in occupied Nablus. Their confrontation lasted for nine hours, proclaiming that “surrender isn’t one of morals, but the sacrifice of souls for the sake of dignity and freedom is.”

Their limited repertory ran out and they got badly injured but never raised the white banner. Before the IOF raided the building, Allam wrote on the wall with his blood “stick to the path of resistance!”

I can’t express how emotional he made me feel after hearing this story right from his mouth. I was looking at him with all admiration feeling thankful for that God was merciful enough to make him survive even though that wasn’t his plan. I felt so grateful that I could see him in a good health and what was more, “FREE”. I knew he would become someone close to me, someone to trust. I wasn’t wrong.

“And what happened with your fiancée?” I interrupted trying to add a cheerful topic. “Who would have ever believed that I’d be free after being sentenced to nine life sentences?” He said while laughing sarcastically with glittering eyes and continued, “after I got arrested, I never thought of a possibility that I’d ever be free. Thinking that holding one captive is better than two, I decided to set her free. I divorced her.”

Allam and Manar have reunited in Valentine’s Day

Then my face turned sad. I expected that Manar gave up and married another but I was surprised that he was still smiling with hope. “She refused to marry any other person and convicted herself to be either with me, or single forever. We have discussed our reunion since my release!”

Since his release, they have fought the barriers that Israel built in their way to meet at one point. They won over it. She arrived from Balata Camp to Gaza last Saturday and made the Valentine’s Day be the day that witnesses their deep and passionate love that no occupation nor apartheid could kill. Absence diminishes small loves but increases great ones. In their case, over ten years of absence has made their love greater. I can’t tell you how beautiful they were in the wedding, like two love birds. I could tell from their eyes that they were like living a dream. They didn’t pay attention to the crowd of people who came from every part of the Gaza strip to witness their successful love story that has overcome all obstacles. Be happy Allam and Manar forever and bring revolutionary children just like you and keep teaching the world about Palestine, the land of love and struggle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Good News! AI Helps Halt Forced Eviction in Nigeria

Since I once lived in Nigeria, I'm especially glad to hear this great report. Good work AI and community activists on the ground!

How Amnesty International’s intervention helped halt a forced eviction – for now…

Amnesty's Makmid Kamara received a distress call from activists in Port Harcourt @Amnesty International

The illegal demolition of the Railway Compound community in Port Harcourt, Nigeria was set to go ahead but then an urgent action and a rapid response appeal brought a temporary reprieve. Makmid Kamara reports.

At 6:45am there was a thump on the door. Time to leave the house.

We had an appointment with railway community at 7:00am, – hopefully before the destruction began.
When my colleague and I arrived at the community we saw some people were already packing their belongings, grabbing their things before their homes were demolished.

There was a general air of uncertainty. Will the bulldozers and the security forces come? Will this protest make any difference? Will the involvement of Amnesty International and its partners prevent the government from going ahead with its plan?

Originally, my trip to Port Harcourt was to coordinate a Valentine’s Day action as part of our ongoing campaign for housing rights in Port Harcourt.

This objective changed a few days before I left London. We received a distress call from one of our community activists who told us the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, had given residents of the railway community seven days to leave.

Knowing the governor’s history on housing rights and especially after 13 houses and two churches had already been demolished with seven days notice in the same community we had to respond.

We issued an urgent action calling on Amnesty International activists across the world to write to the governor, send Tweets to the governor’s Twitter account and post messages on his Facebook wall.

Within hours there were messages from activists from all over the world in languages ranging from English to Spanish and from Portuguese to French.

The message was the same though: Governor Amaechi, STOP the forced eviction of the railway community.

On Monday morning in Port Harcourt, a ‘town crier’ was busy calling people to gather in front of the demolished buildings in the community. After about an hour, the singing and dancing began. Men, women and school children all joined in and sang choruses holding placards and Amnesty International posters.

In the end we were able to claim a small victory. The bulldozers did not come and the houses remained standing just as we’d found them in the morning.

We left for a meeting with the Commissioner of Urban Development to learn more. The demolitions would be temporarily halted. The government pledged to follow due process and engage with the residents.

Loud applause greeted news of the outcome of our meeting and we assured the community of Amnesty International’s continued support for their struggle.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daily Water: from a series on Prayer

Do no harm

Whenever we go to "this" well
we find water --
and afterwards --
turning to our daily crises
and all the needful places
that there beset us -- we will find --
the living waves which help us face the reflections deep inside.

We might wonder why -- after having taken such a living drink --
We might ask: 'Why? How? From whence does such an echoing answer come?'

We might not know...

We may only find the springs spilling or rolling into the little moments?

Water so Vast...

Resounding implications? Not quite...
Conclusive peace?

Rather, just the right amount for "that requirement" alone...

For "that" cry.
For "this" bell.
For wandering over "those" paths --

Guidance for the "perfect" gift,
The next "right" move,
The "exact" word,
For "whatsoever is required" for "the" task --
For whatever is still left here inside in "this" current...

Living Water to carry from inside-out,
with the "wisdom of love"
for parched lips,

Like a gentle balm for the loved-starved face and hands,
A quieting for the aching soul and eyes

Deep Waters bringing forth the "sudden call".

Listen, to hear your "true name" -- to "know" the "true time" --


Follow the Call --

Follow the Sound

Follow the Living Water...


By Connie L. Nash

( The first from a set of poems on prayer is especially dedicated to those with loved ones in prison. )

Photo found here Bethlehem from south. Palestinian woman at a well, drawing water. Bethlehem, Palestine; 1938

Why we must learn to live in new ways...

All the Fruit
by Friedrich Holderlin

All the fruit is ripe, plunged in fire, cooked,

And they have passed their test on earth, and one law is this:

That everything curls inward...

Prophetic, dreaming on

The hills of heaven. And many things

Have to stay on the shoulders like a load

of failure. However the roads

Are bad. For the chained elements,

Like horses, are going off to the side,

And the old

Laws of the earth. And a longing

For disintegration constantly comes. Many things however

Have to stay on the shoulders. Steadiness is essential.

Forwards, however, or backwards we will

Not look. Let us learn to live swaying

As in a rocking boat on the sea.
(English version by Robert Bly)


Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine mountains,
and the maker of canyons and pine mountains!
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges jewels.
And the music from the strings that no one touches, and the
source of all water.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.–Kabir

There is a stillness
On the tops of the hills.
In the tree tops
You feel
Hardly a breath of air.
The small birds fall silent in the trees.
Simply wait: soon
You too will be silent.–Goethe

I live my life in growing orbits,
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I will never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years.
And I still don’t know if I am a falcon,
Or a storm, or a great song.–Rainer Maria Rilke

Painting above found here

MEMORANDUM for release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Photo of Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui amid the candles is from another peace event held for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the people of Japan. In their vigils, demonstrations and marches, The Aafia Movement and the group Pasban -- maintain principles of peace, goodwill and concern for the plight of Dr. Aafia as well as many others. See link to earlier candlelight vigil and more on this troubling case at the end of post ***

The following was originally intended to go first to the US Consulate General in Karachi, Pakistan. To read more of the recent background please see notes after the speech.

From/by Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui

MEMORANDUM for release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and other Persons
10 February 2012

Karachi Pakistan

Today we are gathered here to draw your attention to some grave in justice.

We are not here to create a disturbance or take the law into our hands, we are not against the people of the United States nor do we intend to denounce them.

We are not here to play a circular blame game.

We want to state our words directly without the duplicity of diplomatic language.

We are not sophisticated in the media savvy spinning of words and statements that seek to separate rather than unify people. So, please take my words for what they are intended. They may be blunt but are intended to seek positive engagement.

We are a peace loving people and care for our safety and the safety and prosperity of our children just as preciously as Americans do for their own. We feel that the average American is as much a victim of illegitimate and divisive policies in their own country as we are in ours.

We, like the United States, are struggling to be a true democracy and a key principle is to have the right to protest and express our concerns. We are here to exercise that right and demand that you address our grievances. We want to let you know that all over the world there are people who condemn injustice because injustice is injustice regardless of the power and wealth of the perpetrators. Injustice does not have a race, religion or nationality. Injustice leads to insecurity resulting in corruption, anger and revolt. It occurs when those in power lose their moral compass and take their nations from a path of progress to one of tyranny and decay.

We were a courageous and proud nation and seek to regain that dignity once again. The days when foreign powers simply purchased our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and even babies are over. We cannot allow this to occur in silence any more.

Today we stand united in demanding that the thousands of men and women and children who were sold into secret captivity be returned, their loss compensated and perpetrators identified and held to account.

One case has come to symbolize all that has gone wrong during the War of Terror and the greater "Clash of Civilizations" that some seek to force upon unwitting populations. It is the case of my sister Aafia Siddiqui. She is not hard to find. The new line of Gulags runs straight to Carswell prison in Texas.

How she was put there is a shame on all the great principles spouted in the name of democracy and human rights. It was a great, open and visible act of injustice.

Lies, injustice, in the name of justice! That is becoming a familiar pattern.

To the people of America who genuinely see themselves as the World's last knights in shining armor, please take note that hiding shameful acts like the way Aafia was renditioned, tortured and crucified and then trying to cover it up with a show trial and burying the problem away for 86 years is not a very practical option. It may succeed for a while, but not forever. There is too much evidence before the public no matter how much officials try to "seal" it or create a fog of confusion. Even a one-sided, appeal will not ultimately hide the facts.

Times are changing. Your secrets will not remain hidden behind prison walls. In an age of information, everybody eventually learns everything and in Aafia's case, unlike a certain rifle in Afghanistan, all the atrocities done to her have the fingerprints of your agencies and their Pakistani collaborators.

Yet, as I said, we are not a vindictive people. Despite all you hear about us, we are taught to forgive and we have demonstrated this in actions. We forgave your gravest mistakes even as your revenge for 3000 lives has not been satisfied with even the lives of several hundred times that number. Our nation sacrificed more soldiers for your war than all your allies combined yet we are vilified instead of appreciated. Our soldiers on your front lines are massacred by your missiles and not even a hint of sorrow.

When your mercenary Raymond Davis killed our innocent citizens, you used our Islamic law, which you hate, to enable him to elude justice. When it suits, you let spies go free, let murderers walk away with slaps on the wrist and declare terrorists at will and cleans their records just as swiftly. When your soldiers rape and kill innocent civilians, they are simply demoted in rank because of the "fog of war".

Yet, when a Pakistani woman is accused of trying to hurt your soldiers in that same fog of war, she is sentenced to 86 years when no one except her was hurt! This is your measure of justice and arrogance. And yet, she forgave you.

This spirit of peace lives within us and we hope you will take the time to seek it out. That is the path to make both our nations safer and peaceful. Hate will not make either of us more prosperous.

It is now time for you to reciprocate and return Aafia and the thousands of others who have been secretly disappeared. It is time for you to act like a power and demonstrate compassion and acknowledge errors. It will make you the nation you desire to be.

I cannot stand before you like Moses before Pharoah and toss a stick on the ground and have it turn into a snake, nor can I nor do I wish to call upon plagues from Heaven, but together with my nation I can stand here and demand that you let our people go.

May God guide us all towards a path of peace, security and prosperity and give compassion in all our hearts for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.


The above speech was written by and for personal delivery by Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui to the US Consulate in Karachi as part of a peaceful march. This mission was curtailed without warning.

Although the march was led by commissioned police, supported by Pasban (a respected legal peace and rights group) and remained nonviolent, the marchers were halted by an unknown unit in police uniforms coming at them from an unexpected direction.

Tear gas was dispersed at least into the air, police batons were easily visible and apparently used to threaten the marchers at random. The claim by authorities was that these methods were only used in an attempt to stop the crowd from going further. However: reports, videos and photos just now coming out erratically show extreme, unwarranted actions and methods.

Dr. Fowzia and fellow marchers were suddenly arrested, detained and roughly handled. Her injuries included wounds to her face. Her son was also detained and singled out for threats directed to his family.

The president of the support group, Pasban, sustained broken bones to his arms. The attack resulted in many other injuries to marchers of all ages -- men and women both.

For more information about these events and this most troubling case, please go to the following:

The International Justice Network here

The Official Site of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's Family here

An Independent Reporter here

See earlier posting on this site *** photo above is highlighted here

Timeless Analysis on the case here

Archives which date quite early here

Various postings with major purpose to help "save a bridge" here

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Those who became complete

I once interviewed a Quaker who wrote about prayer and spiritual disciplines. When I asked him "Isn't it a bit dangerous to dive into the deep spirituality you recommend?" -- he said "The greater danger is to jump in where it's too shallow."

Trying to finish a little poem on patience and looking a number of places for some breakthroughs,I simply gave up for awhile. Then this poem showed up at the top of my Inbox and felt like just the right poem for tonight.

Those who became complete
by Yunus Emre

Those who became complete
didn’t live this life in hypocrisy,
didn’t learn the meaning of things
by reading commentaries.

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.

They might have come to Worship
but they stopped at rituals.
They never knew or entered the Inside.

Those who think the Four Books
were meant to be talked about,
who have only read explanations
and never entered meaning,
(haven't begun.*)

Yunus means “true friend”
for one whose journey has begun.
Until we transform our Names,
we haven’t found the Way.

— from The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre,
Translated by Kabir Helminski / Translated by Refik Algan

*(I replaced an outdated phrase)

Find more here

photo above credit here

Something you can do for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

There is something you can do: send her a postcard. (Slip it or a card in an envelope if outside the USA.) It doesn't have to be fancy. Aafia is partial to nature scenes. You can't talk about her case, but there isn't that much room on a postcard (or in a card), so any message would have to be short. All you really need to write is:

Dear Aafia,
We believe you. We are praying for you and your children and your mother.

I understand that a post card does not need a return address.

Aafia's address is:
Aafia Siddiqui
P.O. BOX 27137

To contact Aafia from outside the United States:
Aafia Siddiqui
P.O. BOX 27137

There are a few ongoing updates at the top of No More Crusades...and links to other pertinent sites..


Quotes on patience attributed to Rumi

No mirror ever became iron again,
No bread ever became wheat,
No ripened grape ever became sour fruit.

Mature yourself and be secure from a change for the worse.

Become the light.
For only from the heart can you touch the sky.

PATIENCE is the key to joy.

The painting above is from a childrens art project called "Painting with Patience found here

Sunflowers: the Poem


No pitying/“Ah” for this one
—Alan Shapiro

No, nor a fierce hurrah
for what it does without choice,
for following the light
for the same reason the light follows it.

Just a thing rough to the touch, a face
like a thousand ticks turning their backs,
suckling at something you can’t see,
and a body like a tag off the earth

so that my child hands couldn’t tear it out
from the overgrown lot next door.
My palms raw with the shock
of quills and spines. Its hold like spite, and ugly

except when seen from a distance—
a whole field of them by the highway,
an 80-mile-per-hour view
like a camera’s flash.
All of them like halos
without saints to weigh them down.
Source: Poetry (February 2012).


UPDATED: No Human Rights -- No Peace (Sites to Visit)

UPDATES added on 16 February 2012

See EI (Electronic Intifada) which is following the case of hunger-striker Khader GO here

Also see for ONGOING items of international concern or GOhere
Just a few days ago he placed an update on the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui


Before I take a short leave from my small contributions on current international peace/rights discussions -- in order to invest more time in writing, here's a post with suggestions for sites/issues I find worth watching:

I go often to David Swanson's site War is a Crime here since there you'll find items right up to date from a solid nonviolent position and often before you'll see these anywhere else. (The same is often true of World Can't Wait)

As mentioned on other blogs, the work of Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) can't be beat by any other consistent Lobby effort in DC and with Congress over time. Watch here for superb models, letters, updates written after the necessary homework well-done and with courtesy. For a recent blog GO here

Up-to-the-moment where Human Rights crosses the current of today's news, CLICK here for a recent article. Friends on various sides of the isle tell me that Bitter Lemons Round-Table and other contributions from all sides as well as that of the site Electronic Intifada (EI) are more balanced than many. I just keep going back to the real peacemakers whoever they are and find them often among Rabbis for Human Rights, The Parents Circle and among the Palestinians and Israelis who have thrown in their lives for the sake of peace minus violence. These are some of the bravest visionaries and activists who've ever lived on our planet.

UPDATES February 9, 2012 (leaving these ready to cut & paste):

Finally a strong challenge by dem senate of Obama on killing american terror suspects (but we need much more of a challeng which includes ALL assassinations and drone killings of non-americans as well.)

Documentation of severe ICE abuse here

Very helpful update on Gitmo lawyers with Andy Worthington (With Video) GO here

I plan to add more sites when I get time. Also, scroll through this blog as well as these two blogs I try to keep going: No More Crusades and The Journey of Hope blogsites.

Plz be sure to add your own responses and suggestions in the COMMENTS section...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Glenn Greenwald: Iran: Facts vs Fiction

The Growing Iranian Military Behemoth?

By Glenn Greenwald

February 04, 2012 "Salon" -- - The tranquility of my Saturday morning was disrupted — and that’s putting it mildly — when I read on Glenn Reynolds’ popular right-wing “Instapundit” blog that we can learn important “Lessons About Iran From Hitler.” To know that we have yet another New Hitler in our midst is alarming indeed. Reynolds’ link takes one to an even more jarring warning about the Persian menace, by David Goldman, that extensively compares the fallen Nazi leader to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and argues that because both figures are maniacal monsters presiding over a dying nation, only a full-scale military attack can stop them. ”However much it costs in Iranian blood and well-being, it’s still worth it,” Goldman casually decrees.

Sociopathic calls for aggressive attacks on other nations and cheap invocations of Hitler are not worth commenting on: neocons churn those out reflexively. But what is worth noting is the event Goldman is flagging as proof of Iran’s aggressive intentions: “Iran is planning to double its defense budget even though its currency is collapsing,” he warns. A doubling of its defense budget! Who among us can remain calm in the face of such naked militarism?

That Ahmadinejad claims that Iran will increase its military budget for next year by 127% was widely reported this week. For a variety of reasons relating to Iran’s economic difficulties, that plan is quite infeasible — typical Ahmadinejad blustering — but let’s assume for the moment that it will actually happen. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Military Expenditure Database, Iran’s total annual military spending is $7 billion; an increase of 127% would take it to $15.8 billion — also known as: less than 2% of total U.S. military spending (which was $698 billion for fiscal year 2010). According to Defense News, Iran’s official military budget for 2011 is actually $12 billion; an increase of 127% would bring it to $27.2 billion, also known as: less than 4% of U.S. military spending. Taking the largest number possible for Iranian military spending (the one provided by Defense News)...

These kinds of scary claims about Iran’s military might have been issuing for years. Back in 2006, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, announced that Iran has the most powerful military in the Middle East, even though Israel has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons, as many as 200, while Saudi Arabia annually spends almost $60 billion on its military (more than 5 times Iran’s current spending) or “10% of GDP on defence, more than double the proportion spent by America.” Both of those Iranian rivals (Israel and Saudi Arabia), and many others in that region, are recipients of vast amounts of sophisticated military weaponry from the U.S. Here is a list of 11 extremely sophisticated weapons that the U.S. — and it alone in the world — possesses. And then there’s the fact that the U.S. basically has Iran completely encircled, as demonstrated (by this graph reposed from Juan Cole’s blog) showing U.S. military bases near Iran

As Cole put it: “Each star is a US base. But just to be clear, Iran is the one that is threatening us.” Indeed: imagine if the blue in that map were the U.S. (rather than Iran), and the large red areas were Mexico and Canada (rather than Iran’s neighbors), and the stars represented Iranian military bases. Then further imagine that Iranian political leaders and media figures routinely told their population that it was the U.S. that was an aggressive, threatening power that had to be stopped: the mocking condemnations of that level of propaganda would be endless. Yet American political officials and commentators feel free to insist, with a straight face, that Iran is an aggressor nation posing a serious threat to the U.S.: such a serious threat, in fact, that war may be necessary to stop it. And there is, tragically, little doubt that if there is an attack on Iran by Israel — with direct U.S. involvement or, more likely, U.S. support and approval — there will be little opposition in either American political party, and even less challenge to the ludicrous claims about the Grave Iranian Threat that will be invoked to justify it.

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.More Glenn Greenwald

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Say no to War Today NATIONAL DAY of ACTION

How does: Making War Make Peace? Make sense? This is one of my signs today along with: WANTED: DIPLOMACY with Iran.

You may want to find a place to vigil/protest US war-drumming (esp toward Iran today) - Go to or CLICK here scroll down for the link to MANY locations around the nation and the world.

FIND out More here and at Center for Creative NonViolence website:

Say no to an Attack on Iran Today! ---FEB 4 MASS ACTIONS
Demanding:NO War! NO Sanctions! NO Intervention! NO Assassinations against IRAN

The following are from The Center for Creative NonViolence email just out today:

Chicago Says No War on Iran: National Day of Action
Feb 4 2012 - 12:00pm

Feb 4 2012 - 2:00pm Rally at Federal Plaza Federal Plaza50 W Adams Chicago, IL 60604

US and World Wide(Alphabetical order by State in US, then other dates and countries listed)

1. Huntsville, AL 10am, Whitesburg and Airport, 5001 Whitesburg Drive
2. Phoenix, AZ, 2pm at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 200 W Washington.
3. Tucson, AZ 6pm at Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22 St.
4. Los Angeles, CA 2 pm at Westwood Fed Building, next to UCLA campus.
5. Los Angeles, CA Noon at Wilshire & Western Metro Stop.
6. Palm Springs, CA 101 S. Palm Canyon Drive
7. San Francisco, CA, Noon at Powell & Market, BART Plaza
8. Sacramento, CA Noon, Demonstration at 16th & J Streets
9. Truckee, CA Noon, at Donner Pass Rd/ Highway 89.
10. Colorado Springs, CO, Acacia Park 115 E. Platte Ave
11. New Haven, CT 11:00am at New Haven Green, 141 Church St
12. Tampa, FL, Noon March on McDill Air Force Base-CentComm, Rally at Gandy Bivd. & Dale Mabry Highway
13. Atlanta, GA 4:30 - 5:30pm at CNN Center, Marietta & Centennial Olympic Park.
14. Honolulu, HI 7pm in Heart of Waikiki, Kalakaua Ave & Seaside Ave
15. Des Moines, IA 6pm at Nollen Plaza, Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St
16. Chicago, IL Noon at Federal Plaza
17. Champaign-Urbana, IL 2pm at Neil and Main St.
18. Highland, IN Highway of the Flags Veterans Memorial SE corner Indianapolis Blvd & Ridge Rd
19. Wichita, KS Wichita Public Library, Main and William
20. Boston, MA 1pm at Tremont & Park St, March to Israeli consulate & Copley Square
21. Detroit MI 2pm at Grand Circus Park – Woodward Ave at Adams.
22. Kalamazoo, MI 4pm, March from Urban Blend Coffeehouse, 14 N Burdick St.
23. Kochville MI 12 noon at Bay Rd & Tittabawassee Rd.
24. Grand Rapids, MN 12 noon, Peace vigil at Pokegama Avenue Bridge

Friday, February 3, 2012

One Way to Recognize a True Leader

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice.

William Shakespeare

This piece is from The Merchant of Venice, first performed in 1596 and published in 1600, when Portia speaks to Shylock in Act IV, Scene I.

How a Poet and Nature can Change a Mood by Robert Frost:

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Crows can remind us of ourselves.

I meant to add this little vignette as well the first time here and here

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Little Debate on Why our US policies on Iran MUST change : VIDEO

Here's an interesting COMMENT posted at Common Dreams February 2, 2012 : "I notice that the propaganda is hard at work here. Mr. Nasr refers to an acceleration of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Speaks of 'getting beyond the mushroom cloud.'

He and everybody else ignores the fact that the NIE of several nations, and the UN, have found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program. When that came out while we were being Bushwhacked, Israel immediately said we had to nuke them before they made a bomb. (The prediction at the time was that if Iran did begin a nuclear weapons program, it would take some ten years to produce a bomb.) The only reason the UN made a sort of washy comment last year that could be interpreted as Iran possibly having a weapons program is that we now have an American running the Agency, and most likely furthering the Obamanation's policies.

As to the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, let's look at the facts. Israel has two to four hundred nuclear armed ICBMS. The US has over three thousand.

Picture Iran after ten years of sacrifice and effort producing a bomb, even two or three. They are going to fire a nuclear weapon at either of these crazies, knowing that they are just looking for an opportunity to turn their country into slag?

My main fear is that there will be a black op pointing to Iran and We the Sheeple will go along with it just like we did on 9/11. That missing cruise missile has had me uneasy for several years.

CLICK for video here of Jonathan Tepperman interviewing former Obama advisor and Iran expert Vali Nasr who explains how a White House push for escalating sanctions, and against negotiations, makes war, intended or not, more likely.

Whether the Commenter or the former Obama advisor is more correct, the thing we can all do is find our best and most creative ways to say NO to war and YES to Diplomacy. Find a place to gather and hold such signs on February 4 (SATURDAY) or go to and organize one on line. Be sure to make some attractive clear signs and flyers ASAP.
This boat at sunrise (internet cache) may be a beautiful reminder on a pamphlet cover that although there are seas between us, we still long for a world at peace and for such a lovely moment as this.

Will Common Sense Prevail in U.S.-Iran Relations?

By USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming”

While some might apply Yeats’ lines to U.S. politics generally, they apply in particular to the case of the United States and Iran.

Two notable exceptions are L. Bruce Laingen and John Limbert; the former who was chief of mission, and the latter who was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Both were detained in Iran for 14 months. After criticizing the bellicose statements regarding Iran made by the current Republican aspirants to the presidency (with the notable exception of Ron Paul), they recently concluded in the Christian Science Monitor:

“Despite setbacks, the US should not give up on the effort to end over three decades of futility with Iran. Otherwise Americans risk stumbling into another armed conflict with unpredictable and disastrous consequences. Americans should keep their heads on their shoulders and apply the classic tools of statecraft: patience, firmness, persistence, open-mindedness, and a readiness to listen.

”Above all Americans must keep their poise, and ignore the droners – even the loudest ones – who would stampede their country into yet another Middle East fiasco.”

As the Senate Banking Committee prepares to mark up another “comprehensive” Iran sanctions bill – in response to the House bills (HR 1905; HR 2105) passed last year, and as Iran hawks in the Senate propose a resolution barring “containment” as a policy option regarding Iran (George Kennan, RIP), it would be useful for our elected officials to re-think the premise for sanctions as a legitimate tool of statecraft.

From the statements of all supporters, the premise for sanctions – unilateral, extraterritorial, multilateral – appears to be that economic hardship, brought to bear generally upon target populations or applied specifically to particular “bad actors,” will suffice to change the strategic behavior of a sovereign government.

But the fact is there is no warrant in recorded history for that assumption.

So why the enduring appeal of economic sanctions?

For some, an alternative to war. For others, a box to be checked on the way to war. For many, a rhetorically popular stand with key constituents.

What gets lost in the fog of politically-driven policy (as opposed to the fog of actual war) is the demonstrable fact that sanctions make “patience, firmness, persistence, open-mindedness, and a readiness to listen” the most difficult thing not impossible. Put another way, the opportunities for frank negotiation among sovereign states are inversely proportional to the escalation of sanctions placed on the targeted state.

In a weird variation of the law of unintended consequences, that may explain Section 601 (c) of the Iran Threat Reduction Act (HR 1905):

(c) RESTRICTION ON CONTACT. — No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that — (1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. (d) WAIVER. —The President may waive the requirements of subsection (c) if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees 15 days prior to the exercise of waiver authority that failure to exercise such waiver authority would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.

The thing speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes. One can hope that if not wisdom then common sense will prevail and that the Senate will be mindful of Mr. Laingen’s and Mr. Limbert’s informed admonitions – not to mention George Kennan’s.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Finding our Departed Ones in Presence

"...Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence..."

From: To Bless The Space Between Us
(entitled Benedictus in Europe, Ireland & the UK)

On The Death Of The Beloved
— John O’Donohue

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:

To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.