G is for Genocide; R is for Remembrance.

Exterior of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Holocaust is the iconic narrative of man’s inhumanity to man, of unspeakable cruelty to men, women, and children, of horrors multiplied infinitely by the systematic, scientific nature of that state-sponsored genocide.

But we do need to speak of it. This year commemorative events for Holocaust Remembrance Day (“Yom Hashoah”)  are being held on Sunday April 27 and Monday April 28, but genocide, wherever it occurs, and whomever its victims, needs to be confronted daily—as does the hatred, the racism, the othering that can spiral out of control.

A visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is an opportunity for a deeply-moving, challenging, energizing experience any day of the year.

The importance of the museum lies not just in its powerful exhibits, its artifacts, films, and photos, but in the dedication of the museum to educating people around the world concerning genocides—not just the best known Holocaust but also genocides in Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Burma, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan and South Sudan, and Syria. Other valuable contributions to the confronting of genocide are its online encyclopedia and its outreach programs—for example, to Rwanda.

If you get to Washington DC, you should visit the museum; also check out Holocaust museums in other cities around the world.

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

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What is a patriot?

Pikes Peak from the Garden of the Gods. Photo by Mark Gallagher, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

(Pikes Peak in Colorado was the inspiration for the song America the Beautiful.)

According to the Miriam Webster online dictionary, a patriot is a person who loves and strongly supports or fights for his or her country. That means I’m a patriot.

I love my country, particularly its courageous survivors:

*the rolling hills and mountains not yet sheared off by mining companies, still there to be climbed with joy,

*the gracious ancient forests not yet cut down for logging or building, still there yielding shade and replenishing our air,

*the enticing hills and valleys, not yet torn apart through fracking, still home to countless flora and fauna to elate our eyes and ears,

*the lakes and rivers not yet polluted by ruthless despoilers, still gifting us with the foundation of life.

I strongly support my country, particularly

*our basic Constitutional structure, with its balance of powers, and basic rights and assurances–which include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion but not a right to carry automatic weapons and multiple rounds of ammunition into schools and other public places,

*today’s Constitution, which, unlike its earliest version, recognizes that people of color and women are people too, but says nothing, I would argue, about corporations being people with human rights,

*the millions of my compatriots who speak out against the destruction of our environment and the corruption of our Constitution by a tiny power elite that can elect and buy many (but not all) politicians.

I fight for my country. I do that by

*speaking out against the warmongers, war profiteers, and destroyers of social justice

*contributing to many of the groups that fight to rescue what is left of our natural environment

*writing this blog.

Please join me in this form of patriotism.

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis visiting rehab hospital
Photograph produced by Agência Brasil and published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License

I am not a Catholic in the Holy Roman Church sense, and indeed have long had a distrust of organized religion because of its historic role in perpetration of and tolerance for violence—the infamous bloody Crusades not being the only such example in the annals of the Catholic Church.

HOWEVER,

I have been wanting for some time to write a post on the remarkable new leader of the Catholic Church—Pope Francis I. As another Easter approaches—a holiday celebrated by millions around the world, Catholic and otherwise—I find myself longing to hear that people are really listening to his messages of peace and social justice.

Here are just a few excerpts from his recent APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION, “to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world”

*Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality….

*Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.

These messages are catholic in the sense of “universal’ and “wide-ranging” and what a miracle it would be if they could spark a renewed commitment to the sense of brotherhood, and sisterhood that are essential to peace and social justice.

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

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Another Way to Struggle against Militarism: War Tax Resistance

By guest author Erica Weiland

[note from KMM: One of the objectives of the Engaging Peace blog is to encourage activism in support of peace and in opposition to war. We strive to educate our readers about different approaches to activism. Today we offer a timely perspective from Erica Weiland, a guest author representing the National War Tax Coordinating Committee.]

taxprotesters

Photo by Ed Hedemann, provided by the author.

Year after year, the US government spends money disproportionately for war. Different organizations calculate military expenditure differently, but whether the figure is 27%, 40%, 45%, or 57%, a large chunk of your income tax dollars supports payments for current and past wars and treatment for veterans.

If you’ve ever marched in the street, written letters to Congress, organized civil disobedience actions, prayed for peace, donated to an anti-war organization, or complained about this country’s spending, you know something about putting your time, effort, and money into a movement struggling against war. Another tactic some Americans (and people elsewhere) have adopted is to withdraw their financial support from the government that perpetrates wars.

Methods of war tax resistance can be legal or illegal, on a wide spectrum of risk, with a variety of potential consequences.

Resisters can, for example:

*legally refuse to pay taxes by lowering their taxable income,

*commit an act of civil disobedience by refusing to pay some or all of the taxes owed to the IRS,

*refuse to pay the federal excise tax on local telephone service, which is historically a war tax.

People all over the United States, earning different incomes and in different family and life situations, practice war tax resistance.

Their motivations vary. Some resist

*for reasons of conscience,

*in hopes of growing a movement of war tax resisters to reduce or stop war spending,

*to create a legal precedent for “peace taxes” that can’t be spent for war.

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee is the only national organization devoted to supporting and informing current and potential war tax resisters, helping people get all the information they need to make decisions about resisting war taxes. If you are tired of supporting the war machine with your tax dollars, check them out.

Erica Weiland is the social media consultant for the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

 

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