Thursday, March 26, 2009

Robert Koehler on the 2009 Department of Peace National Conference

The following excerpt is from Robert Koehler's latest on The Huffington Post - "Gold For Humanity":

"When exactly did it happen -- that "blinding flash of the obvious"?

It may have been during lunch -- outside, in a park in the nation's capital on a beautiful, cherry-blossom afternoon -- as public health theorist Ari Cowan held forth about working with maximum security prisoners in Washington state. Having described a program that treats "violent" as a temporary condition, like "has a headache," Cowan said he tells these guys, as they start to grasp the idea that they aren't scumbags and monsters, "You're the ones who will save humanity."

There were more than 400 people at the biennial Peace Alliance conference -- from 40 states, 10 countries -- to celebrate a piece of legislation: H.R. 808, a bill Dennis Kucinich originally introduced in 2001, and then in every session of Congress thereafter, to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace. But this is a movement that transcends politics and, in a sense, language itself, in that the words we use to describe "peace" embody the defeat and hopelessness of the past and thus evoke instant cynicism and dismissal.

So bear with me, please, as I try to work around such limitations. We may not know it, imprisoned as we are within our words, our politics and our media, but we already live in a world that is permeated with peace. It's not a static state:
It is growing -- sometimes in the darkest corners of human despair. And that's the message the conference unleashed, over and over again."

Check out the remainder of this post at


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