"I'd rather teach peace."

Coleman McCarthy is truly one of my heroes. A former Washington Post columnist and founder of the Center for Teaching Peace, he's made it his life's mission to see that conflict resolution gets equal time as the study of war in America's classrooms. Excerpts from an interview in Hope magazine:
You can send a group of pacifists to a scene of conflict, and a certain number are killed or wounded. What's society's judgment? "The damned idiots!" Send in an army loaded with weapons and a certain number are killed or wounded. What's the judgment? "That's war, no problem." The double standard persists.

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...U.S foreign policy is based on the "izes": theorize, demonize, victimize, and rationalize. Bush theorized about Iraq's threat, he demonized Saddam Hussein, he victimized Iraqis at the other end of the bombing runs, and then rationalized it as the way to peace.

Two types of violence exist: hot and cold. Hot is felt, visceral, visual, obscenely cruel, immediate, and well-reported by the media: the World Trade Center, the Columbine High School massacre, the sniper attacks in Washington. Cold violence is unfelt, distant, out of sight, and generally ignored by the media: the 40,000 people who die of hunger-related or preventable diseases every day. Executions on death row. The 12 million animals killed every day for food. But how can we be selective about violence? The victims are dead either way. Yet selectivity prevails. On September 11, September 12, September 13 -- and all days since, 40,000 people died of hunger and preventable diseases. Why so little attention to that violence?

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George W. Bush is not the problem. Nor is the high-spending Congress that oils the war machine. I'm the problem. I need to figure out how to be a better husband, a better father, a better writer, a better teacher. And all of us need to figure out what our commitments are, and do more to fulfill them. On one of his good days, Gandhi had it right: "If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed--but hate these things in yourself, not in another." Tolstoy--with whom Gandhi exchanged many letters--had the same thought: "Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing themselves."

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