The Glory and Duty of Beating Swords to Plowshares

Inscribed on a wall across from the United Nations in New York City are ancient words of incalculable yearning: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation,nor will they train for war anymore.” – Isaiah 2:4 I’ve stood with activists in front … Continue reading “The Glory and Duty of Beating Swords to Plowshares”

Vigil for Peace in Yemen, a New Norm

For the past three years, several dozen New Yorkers have gathered each Saturday at Union Square, at 11:00 a.m. to vigil for peace in Yemen. Now, however, due to the coronavirus, the vigil for peace is radically altered. Last week, in recognition of the city’s coming shelter in place program, participants were asked to hold … Continue reading “Vigil for Peace in Yemen, a New Norm”

Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message

U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the US"maximum pressure" policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Iran’s Foreign Minister Jawad … Continue reading “Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message”

Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib, and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq

Sunday morning, President Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi and three of his children. President Trump said Al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS, was fleeing U.S. military forces, in a tunnel, and then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest he wore. In 2004, Al-Baghdadi had been captured by US forces and, for … Continue reading “Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib, and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq”

The Plowshares 7 Found Guilty: Nuclear Weapons Are the Real Crime

On October 24, following a three-day trial in Brunswick, GA, seven Catholic Workers who acted to disarm a nuclear submarine base were convicted on three felony counts and one misdemeanor. The defendants face 20 years in prison, yet they emerged from their trial seeming quite ready for next steps in their ongoing witness. Steve Kelly, … Continue reading “The Plowshares 7 Found Guilty: Nuclear Weapons Are the Real Crime”

Death, Bloodshed, and Misery in Yemen

Writing about his visit to the world’s largest weapons bazaar, held in London in October, journalist Arron Merat describes reading the slogan emblazoned above Raytheon’s stall: "Strike With Creativity." Raytheon manufactures Paveway laser-guided bombs – produced in factories in the United States and the United Kingdom – fragments of which have been found in the … Continue reading “Death, Bloodshed, and Misery in Yemen”

The Wounds of War in Afghanistan

Its economy gutted by war, Afghanistan’s largest cash crop remains opium. Yet farmers there do grow other crops for export. Villagers in the Wazir Tangi area of Nangarhar province, for example, cultivate pine nuts. As a precaution, this year at harvest time, village elders notified the governor of the province that they would be bringing … Continue reading “The Wounds of War in Afghanistan”

The Ongoing Dread in Gaza: So Many Names, So Many Lives

"I felt shaky and uneasy all day, preparing for this talk" – Jehad Abusalim, a Palestinian from the territory of Gaza Jehad Abusalim, a Palestinian now living in the United States, grew up in Gaza. In Chicago last week, addressing activists committed to breaking the siege of Gaza, he held up a stack of 31 … Continue reading “The Ongoing Dread in Gaza: So Many Names, So Many Lives”

An Honorable Course in Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue

Last week, Elham Pourtaher, an Iranian graduate student at the State University of New York in Albany, wrote about how US policies cause suffering and trauma far beyond US borders. Her diabetic father, for example, is in danger of losing access to medicines because sanctions against Iranian banks make it nearly impossible to pay for … Continue reading “An Honorable Course in Iran: End Sanctions, Resume Dialogue”

‘Every War Is a War Against Children’

At 9:30 in the morning of March 26, the entrance to a rural hospital in northwest Yemen, supported by Save the Children, was teeming as patients waited to be seen and employees arrived at work. Suddenly, missiles from an airstrike hit the hospital, killing seven people, four of them children. Jason Lee of Save the … Continue reading “‘Every War Is a War Against Children’”