Welcome to theconversation.org
FROM THE ARCHIVES
It was odd for me to be up so early on 9/11, but I couldn’t sleep and when I turned on the TV the second plane was just hitting the second tower. I said to the wind, “The world will never be the same.” And I went into high gear.
“TheConversation.org had its start when 9/11 dictated that we were in a new world. At this threshold moment for humanity, when we must choose wisely to avoid what could be our annihilation, this site is dedicated to tracking the emerging intelligence that we need for our very survival, and to conversation in which that intelligence can be forged. Let those who see beyond the idea of force imposing world order, to where we look to heal the causes of despair, meet here.”
This ran from 9/11/01 to mid-December, 2002. It was early internet, but it was a gem – highly interactive with different tracks and serious conversation among activists in a real community. Not like anything online now. I am a little bit knocked out by it. If anyone follows links here, you’ll find yourself in another world. Try it; you’ll like it! It sounds like it could be today. What we were alarmed about then is still what we’re alarmed about, where we need a higher order of thinking. But the quality of people trying to get us out of the pot we’re in before it boils is heartening. Like Barbara Kingsolver says below, “When I get to feel I am an army of one standing out on the plain waving my ridiculous little flag of hope, I call up a friend or two.” There are a lot of friends here.
Last week, I posted a compilation of one-liners drawn from this material. This week it’s quotes I excerpted from the 5-Star Pieces the one-liners came from. Here are some samples, with links at the end to more.
I've already been called every name in the Rush Limbaugh handbook: traitor, sinner, naive, liberal, peacenik, whiner. I'm told I am dangerous because I might get in the way of this holy project we've undertaken to keep dropping heavy objects from the sky until we've wiped out every last person who could potentially hate us...When I get to feeling I am an army of one standing out on the plain waving my ridiculous little flag of hope, I call up a friend or two. We remind ourselves in plain English that the last time we got to elect somebody, the majority of us, by a straight popular-vote count, did not ask for the guy who is currently telling us we will win this war and not be "misunderestimated."...
It is not naive to propose alternatives to war. We could be the kindest nation on Earth, inside and out...It will only end when we have the guts to say it really doesn't matter who started it, and begin to try and understand, then alter the forces that generate hatred.
No Glory in Unjust War on the Weak
The time of allowing a single child to be born into poverty is over. And denying that there are stages of maturity of mind is over. And the time of gambling with sustaining our environment is over. And the time of giving priority to the polarization caused by majoritarian democracy is over. And the time of allowing the sovereignty of nation states to stand in the way of these things is over...if we have our priorities in order.
We are moving into this stage of maturity of mind as a species. I refer to this as the evolution into the Relationship Age...Only unity around this pattern of thought will ultimately end war and terrorism such that survival is assured.
Welcome to the Relationship Age
SOME OF THE MALES OF OUR SPECIES HAVE FINALLY GONE TOTALLY NUTS!..."Insight" into why one group of men is madder or more justified in exerting force than another group of men IS NO HELP AT ALL!...The total contents of even our best male politico-military minds seem to amount to no more than "power and glory and territory"...Maybe we should make it a duty for women past childbearing years to serve as military commanders, CEOs and politicos. Just for five or ten years. Try closing your eyes and imagining the world with eighty-five per cent women heads of state and corporate presidents – different, huh?
E. van Loon
More Shock and Horror
If we rely solely on our military strength in retaliating, far from ending the war "in a place and time of our choosing," we will bring about counter retaliation at some time. This has been the most massive guerrilla attack ever staged, but it will pale into insignificance with future nuclear or biological attacks unless our leaders act with understanding and wisdom as well as determination.
“We are focusing on retribution and not understanding, and that worries me. If we focus on where hatred comes from and how to make it go away, we wouldn't be talking about retribution only. I hope this will end in the fact that the wonderful sense of togetherness America has shown will include other countries in the world. The best outcome is not only global policing but also global responsibility. Unless we find this type of balance, we are going to always have people who want to destroy us.”
...the war against terrorism can only be truly won when we also declare war on the roots which cause such acts of barbarity: poverty, illiteracy, injustice, and disease. Terrorism does not arise in a vacuum but has it roots in historical, political, social and economic dysfunctions so deep, so cruel, so systemic that they create and sustain discontent until it spills over into a desperation that sees no recourse other than wanton destruction against those perceived as responsible for the plight of the terrorists. Unless there is an equally dedicated attack on the causes of terrorism, there will never be victory in the war against terrorism.
State of the World Forum
For more than a week everyone has been saying that our world changed on September 11. In fact, it was on September 20 that the world changed, the day that George W. Bush spoke to the nation and announced the American jihad...It is justice by the sword. It ends in victory not peace, and Bush has made it clear that the sword will be unsheathed for a long time to come...
We stand at a juncture in history, a moment in which our course can be changed. We need political leaders who can see what a disaster past policies have been. We need people with vision, who can imagine what a just world would look like. As Democrats and Republicans in Congress all showered with praise Bush's call for an unlimited war with unending enemies, never before has it been so clear that the existing political leadership of this country is bankrupt.
Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen
America's Unlimited War
In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in helping it on its way...
The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world gone horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US - invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists whom the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms. And this is far from being a comprehensive list.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
Everything we love is fragile and vulnerable: this river, this fish, this rock. We are doomed. They know how to fight. All I know how to do is love this world...If you choose love, then you must act today to tell every person in a position of power that you will not allow our government to inflict more suffering in your name...Go out, right now, and plant yourself in the middle of that which you love most – the thing within you that is most alive. Now listen carefully, because as that love cracks your heart open, it will tell you exactly what this broken world needs from you. This is your holy work, and it cannot wait.
Love and Fear
Extracts from the world press
Five Star Pieces
Best of the best writing after 9/11
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