Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a
farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is
to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't
want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in
Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the
country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag
the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship,
or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice the
people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.
All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce
the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
It works the same in any country.
[the attribution says:]
"The quote (dated April 18, 1946) appears in the book Nuremberg Diary (Farrar, Straus & Co 1947), by Gustave Gilbert (an Allied appointed psychologist). Gilbert visited daily with Goering and his associates in their cells, afterwards making notes and ultimately writing the book
about these conversations.”
Some Varieties of Nonviolence:
Reframing the question
“Is war ever justified?”
“What ways can we find of dealing with our adversaries besides killing them?”
“How can we construct a world where violence is reduced to a minimum?”
Resisting the old lies:
“It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.”
“War is inevitable because some people just cannot get along.”
I would like to entertain a thought that I have while reading The Missing Peace. This book, like many other readings I have browsed, addressed the fact that history, Western History at least, is marked by a progression of wars. I found it interesting that this idea is completely supported by the webpage I viewed. The History Place at, http://www.historyplace.com/. Of the main exhibits on this front page, four out of the six were the names of wars fought by American troops. This trend is very obvious not only here but also in the way grade school history courses and history books are laid out. I do think there is a valid reason for why this is.
Each war functions as a sort of benchmark for our history books. This is addressed in the preface of The Missing Pease, and I would like to offer a thought as to why American History follows this sort of pattern. Because wars are fought over conflicts, war wither brings, or thwarts, change. These changes, either created or prevented, are usually of substantial importance to the people and orders of the time. This makes war a memorable event, and an event of historical value. Peace is often though of as the binary opposite of war, which I believe is a poor assumption. If this is the peace that is being sought, though, this makes and statement about the historical value of peace. War has to do with changes, fought for or against. Peace is generally the result of universal agreement and acceptance. Since little change is found in peace, at least not at nearly the same rate at which we find change during war, peace times become less important to having a basic overview of the history of cultures, especially in a society who’s history is recorded as events at places at certain times. I feel that this may be a major contributor to why, if it is not the reason why, our culture traces its history through the wars we have fought.
After reading the first chapter of The Missing Peace, I
learned a lot about Native American peace traditions. Each section brought
further awareness into the legacy of peace that existed while the Europeans
expanded throughout North America. These stories showed courageous, determined
people who stood by their beliefs no matter what. For example, the discussion
of the Cheyenne Indians impressed me. For example, one quote from the Peace
Chiefs read, “If you see your mother, wife, or children being molested or
harmed by anyone, you do not go and seek revenge. Take your pipe. Go, sit, and
smoke and do nothing, for you are now a Cheyenne chief.” (29) As a pacifist,
this quote made me consider what I would do given this kind of situation. I
oppose war and any kind of intentional violence; however I am not confident
enough to say that I could resist violence if something would happen to someone
close to me. Their commitment reminds me of the martyrs of the Anabaptist
tradit! ion that didn’t fight back when persecuted; rather stood strong in
their beliefs until their death.
Some of the facts written in this first chapter shocked me. First of all, the section that discussed the rapid death of the Native Americans due to diseases brought over by the Europeans was astounding! For example, “In Mexico, seventy-five percent of the population died of smallpox within a four-year period…” (16) These statistics helped make the Native American’s situation real to me. I had learned about the expansion and the wars that occurred between the Europeans and the Native Americans during this time, but I never really saw it from the Native American’s standpoint. History classes and text books were packed full of “the founding of our country” and “the victory over the Natives”. It was good for me to read more about this time of expansion from the other point of view. Another point made that stirred my emotions was, “Europeans in the seventeenth century thought the raging epidemics were the work of God…” (17) and then continued to explain several European’s ! views that God was merely punishing the Native Americans through disease. I had to stop and take a minute from my reading just to fathom this. It made me angry how self-absorbed the Europeans actually were.
Finally, I would like to mention a final thought about the last section of this chapter. The reconciliation during the Washita centennial remembrance of 1968 was a sign of hope for peacemakers. It was a sign that peace can be made, given the courage to stand up for it. But the book made an interesting, very honest statement, “If the Washita centennial remembrance of 1968 had resulted in bloodshed instead of reconciliation, it would have made national headlines… Among Whites it became a largely forgotten event… Among the Cheyenne, the event reestablished an ancient and authentic heritage of peace.” (33-34). It proved the point that most often the peace events are not recognized about the Native Americans and the violent events are highlighted. We need to begin to recognize the non-violent events that are just as or possibly more a part of our history and culture.
This book struck a cord with me immediately in the Preface. I’m not a pacifist and immediately I felt as if this book was going to be about pressuring the reader into that point of view. I think that I immediately put up a pretty strong wall, so I anticipate this book to be a real struggle for me to read.
I definitely agree with the book that all throughout childhood we are taught of the heroes of America’s history (and we look down upon other countries and faith-groups “brainwashing” propaganda). We are no different than anyone else. We want our children to grow up respecting and supporting the country of their ancestry, so what better way to do so than by highlighting the big boys who made it what it is today? Granted many of them were gun-toting or sword-sheathing individuals. They served their country well, and they’re legend shall live on. Yet there is much left out. Native Americans... I took all the history classes in school, and I don’t think that was ever told the number of native individuals that were on our continent before the white settlers. That number, 72 million (p 16), absolutely blew my mind! And the rate at which many of them died off due was just as alarming.
Something that definitely struck me was in the way that the Iroquois ran their “Condolence ceremonies” (p 20-21). They didn’t simply mourn the individual’s death as we tend to do at our personal ceremonies. Instead they take the opportunity to build up the community as a whole and to come together and remember what their heritage entailed. This totally struck a cord with me as we are looking upon the one year anniversary of the World Trade center attacks. We, as a country, mourned the lost individuals and in turn this unified the nation. Patriotism was in the minds of everyone. There was renewed hope for the future of the country as the basic principles of freedom and justice came into focus.
Time and again as the story reads on, it is evident that it takes both parties for peace to prevail. When whites encountered anyone else they knew only to take them out so they could have what they want. Many times they had no concern as to whether or not the Indians themselves didn’t want to fight, they took what they wanted. When Penn encountered the Delaware Valley Indians in a peaceable state, they continued their dealings in such a way to maintain it (p 25). This is very rarely seen even now. Most of the times individuals come in and take and do whatever they need to do to get things the way they want it, without thought of anyone else. Big businesses do this all the time. Enron, WorldCom, and Arthur Andersen are major examples today. This wasn’t exactly warfare and no one was massacred, but in the same sense they definitely screwed over the little guys.
One thing that I think is so crazy about human nature is that we do what we can to survive. We fight when necessary, we make peace at times, and we make a living any way we know how. The Indians definitely knew this well. They stood their ground many times (the Creeks) while others they did what they thought was wise and hit the road (the Cherokee people… bad job with that one Uncle Sam). And then there were others who aided the whites in their expeditions and journeys and maintained a mutual relationship of assistance. People are just as crazy now as they are then. After all that they as a people had been through, they found ways to survive even if it meant aiding the People who possible were their enemies. If not then, perhaps at one time, yes. This especially astounded me with the stories of the three peace chiefs and their resistance to fight the whites (p 30). Now that’s unbelievable. I really don’t know how I would be able to stand up and continue to watch my family and tribe members be cut down and slaughtered in such a way. How strong their bind to peace had to have been? I wonder if there is any concept like that, that I believe in that I would be able to stick by as strongly? I do know of one, but the idea of peace over violence is one that yet clouds my judgment on different levels… we shall see as time progresses I guess.
reading the beginning of The Missing Peace, I began to have thoughts and
feelings that I haven’t had before. I have always heard of Americans dying for
their country, but never Native Americans dying for their country. Who are the
real hero’s? The answer to this question might be changing. In the past the
generals were the hero’s, not the Peace Chiefs, but today the hero title has
been given to all of those who gave their lives trying to save others in the
attacks of a year ago. Their hero status will not be taken away by any of
those, if any, do kill Osama Bin Laden. I don’t know what the right response to
those attacks actually is, but a response that the government wouldn’t even
consider would be the way the Cheyenne Peace Chiefs would respond. If we could
just sit and smoke peace pipes, we wouldn’t be giving Osama another reason to
attack and lives could be saved. I believe the authors hit the nail on the head
when they said in the preface that violence in response to violence only leads
to more violence. Without the “Original Peacemakers” I believe that our country
would be even more violent than it already is.
The Cheyenne Peace Chiefs amaze me. I cannot believe how one could watch his family be ravaged and then just sit and smoke the peace pipe. It is even harder to imaging a Peace Chief of today sitting and smoking a peace pipe after he learned that his whole family had been aboard one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. I could only wish that there were Cheyenne Peace Chiefs in every country so that we could stop all of this killing.
http://www.goshen.edu/mcarchives/Stories/JuhnkeSchrag.html is a website about “The Original Peacemakers” also written in part by Juhnke. It is similar to the section in The Missing Peace about the Peace Chiefs.
Well to start off I would like to say that this is not my favorite reading
but it is kind of interesting. The preface and chapter one give good
points. We glorify war and killing. We even write our history based on
it. With this mind set how can we feel like we are contributing to society
without killing someone? In chapter one the Indians had the right idea but
we don’t hear about those people. On page thirty-three, when the Cheyenne
had been taken advantage of once again, they had all of the people there to
make war and recreate Custer’s violence in reality. To their credit there
leader broke the ice with an act of peace and not aggression. Like I said
this is not my favorite reading though, I think I am exactly what the book
is talking about. I like to read about war not peace, even though I know
that at the end of a war story there is no happy ending. People die in war
people live in peace. War may be fun to read about but if it’s not needed
to stop atrocities then it is just writing the history books with blood. I
agree with the book we need to change our thought presses, we need to see
that the way we learned history is doing humanity a great disservice. We
should glorify great times of peace. We should celebrate leaders who bring
peace. I am not saying we should then leave out war; we should just include
both on an equal platform. When we stop cliff noting history and give all
points of view we will be the most advanced society the world has ever
known. Up till now history is written by the conquerors. How great it
would be if we could also represent the other opinion. If we had time to
look at the other side and write about how they see life and war we wouldn’t
have to write about a war with them. People just don’t seem to stop and
think about what they are doing. The world leaders are like twelve year
olds on the play ground, except they don’t have to do the fighting and real
This part of the reading of the Missing Peace, like what the whole books seems it's going to be, does not take the side I view. It seems to me that this book thinks that peace is a great alternative to fighting to help our country, or at the time, the Native Americans live on. I believe that is not true and plan to argue that.
It was interesting in the preface when a professor asked his students about eight different people in history and almost all of them could only remember the generals of war. The book does have a good point that our histroy might be based upon war, but with out it would we have ever survived? How the book states that those who deciced to use peace instead of violence help thier culture survive might be true. The culture survived of books and a few tribes that are around today. But couldn't they have survived becuase of those who fought violently for that tribe? To give them enough time to pass down those memories of the tribe. The other thing is, the English fought for the terriotory and who ended up living on this ground, we did. What if those making peace whould have been fighting for there land. Would they have been around now, in more of abundance?
After writting this, I hope that you don't think that I'm an violent person or think that violence is the only way out. I just believe that sometimes war might be the only way out. As long as there is Jus ad Bellum. The English had one, to survive and have a place called home.
Here is my link, it talks about how the peaceful Wampanoag, helped the new settlers live. Really can't find to many article about the peaceful Natives, but you can sure fight some about those who fought for thier people: