Friday, May 09, 2008

Pacifism Is No Place For Sissies

The title is a paraphrase of a famous quote from Bette Davis, remarking on old age, but it could equally apply to serious pacifists who require strength and determination in the face of overwhelming odds in this war-infested world.

The peace vigil in front of the Golden Gate Avenue Federal Building continues every Thursday from noon to 1 PM, as it has since the United States started bombing the hell out of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.

The wonderful writer James Wolcott, at his blog hosted by "Vanity Fair," has an interesting essay on the way pacifists are derided by so-called liberal writers called "Throw Momma from the Peace Train" which you can get to by clicking here.

In the essay, he also writes about the catcalls being thrown the way of local writer Nicholson Baker, who has just written a book called "Human Smoke" about how World War Two was not The Good War, using quotations and primary source material from the time to make his point. Wolcott writes:
"The impressions left by those mosaic panels are that the pacifist effort was a) quixotic (the wheels of war were inexorably in motion), and b) noble, because pacifist groups were the ones working the hardest on behalf of refugees, indeed were often the only ones trying to get rescue aid to the desperately needy, as this graf represents:

The American Friends Service Committee announced that it was going to attempt to carrying on feeding people in Europe regardless of whether the British enforced their blockade or not. "At the moment, American Quaker workers in unoccupied France are feeding more than 30,000 children daily," Clarence Pickett said. "Orphaned and abandoned children, many of whom are in concentration camps, are wholly cared for by the committee's representatives." It was December 11, 1940. "We can't build a workable peace on the dead bones of mothers and babies," Pickett said."

1 comment:

sfwillie said...

"Flashing for the warrior whose strength is not to fight...

I gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing."