!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, November 17, 2015

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Rolla Peace News

November 17, 2015


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          Of Hospitals and Sports Arenas



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2015, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the 50s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


Since Thursday is Thanksgiving holiday next week, we will hold our noon vigil at the Post Office on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The following week be return to vigil on Thursday Dec. 3.


In a word: FEAR. The primary object of a terrorist attack is to incite fear and horror in the target populace. Terrorists know that when people are afraid, they do not act rationally, and their reactions are likely to do more harm to themselves than the terrorists could otherwise inflict. When we react with rage and fear, we are being manipulated by those who have done what we are reacting to. This very astute essay by Bret Weinstein shows exactly how much the 9/11 attack and our overreaction to it has cost us, not only in dollars, but in loss of civil liberties, dead and disabled American soldiers, paranoia, and loss of respect from the rest of the world — not to mention what it has cost the Iraqis and Afghans, the Syrians and Libyans, just to cite a few.

We attacked Afghanistan out of a desire to punish, to get revenge. Americans favored invading Iraq for the same reason (though that wasn't the real reason). Christians, read your bibles: “...avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21, KJV). And thoughtful non-Christians will realize that vengeance only feels good for a little while; then it goes away, leaving a cold emptiness in its place. If after 9/11, we had stopped to reflect, to try to understand why this had happened to us, we might have realized that what our leaders were proposing to do in return would only guarantee more of the same: more hate, more fear, more dead human beings.

It looks as though we haven't learned that lesson yet. Apparently a Syrian passport was found in the vicinity of one of the Paris attacks. France immediately began heavy bombing of the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa, guaranteeing more misery and death for the ordinary citizens there, who had no part in the attacks. And here at home, 27 states have announced that they will oppose or not allow entrance of Syrian refugees. I'm happy to say that so far, Missouri is not one of them, but our governor may yet hop on that bandwagon. For those who like dark humor, enjoy this (fake) biblical quote by Glenn Greenwald: “When thou seest a refugee in misery & need, slam thy door in their face in irrational fear & contempt.”

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)


Last Friday, Paris witnessed coordinated attacks on a rock concert, a sports arena and several bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Well over 100 people died. Many more were injured.

In Iraq and Syria this would hardly cause a stir — just an everyday occurrence. But this is Paris — the belly of the beast. Europeans and North Americans have claimed a “God-given” right to spread terror everywhere in the world: the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South and Central America; but even the thought, much less the actuality, of Middle Easterners spreading terror in Europe must be met, in the words of French President François Hollande, by waging “pitiless war.” So, what else is new? Haven't Europeans been waging pitiless war against the rest of humanity for centuries? (with some short respites to fight wars against each other for the privilege of waging pitiless war against everyone else)

Last month the Pentagon bombed a hospital in Afghanistan, massacring 30. Doctors and patients, including children, died horrible deaths. Patients died on the operating table or burned to death in their beds. Were it not for the fact that this hospital belonged to the Nobel-prize-winning Western relief organization, Doctors Without Borders, this would hardly have caused a stir. Even so, it did not receive near the attention lavished on a rock concert and a football [soccer in the United States] match in Paris.

According to the Geneva conventions, hospitals are protected spaces. Attacking a hospital is a WAR CRIME — PERIOD. I'm not an expert on international law; but I could not find any mention of concert halls, bars and sports arenas as protected spaces. So, however one might feel about the carnage in Paris, unlike the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, it does not rise to the level of a war crime. While some of those who died last Friday in Paris may have been innocent civilians, others may have been soldiers, arms traders, weapons researchers or manufacturers, surveillance professionals, bankers, politicians, stockholders in oil companies, etc. Strangely, I haven't heard of anyone in Paris being referred to as “collateral damage” like we label so many in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

My greatest fear about the Paris attacks is that they will be used as an excuse to crack down on the Real Enemy, non-violent protesters who will come to Paris en masse later this month to demand that world leaders at the COP21 climate talks take real action to protect the Earth from further climate degradation, and maybe, horror of all horrors, end the wars which are the primary drivers of climate change.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com