Eclectic Grounds

conflicts and conversation

Posts Tagged ‘peace

The tale of the Peace-Bringer

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For the most peaceful season of the year, a beautiful Iroquois folktale…

Before the Peace-Bringer came, the Iroquois were afierce and violent people, constantly at war with neighboring tribes. Their braves were raised to be warriors; their tribes were organized for waging war; their culture was shaped by the mythology and values of the raid, the ambush, the valiant act, the violent victory.

Then came the Peace-Bringer. He walked through the village to the house of the greatest and bloodiest hero, the Man-Who-Eats-People, and he climbed to the top and looked down through the smoke hole.

The Man-Who-Eats-People was preparing a ritual feast from the cut-up body of one of his victims; he would absorb the victim’s power by eating him. A large pot sat on the fire, and the face of the Peace-Bringer, looking in at the smoke hole, was perfectly reflected on the oil on the surface.

The Man-Who-Eats-People froze as he saw the reflection, astonished by the nobility he saw in it.

“That is my face,” he said to himself, “and it is not the face of a man who kills others and eats their flesh to steal their power. That is the face of one who draws people together, the face ofone who makes peace, not war.

He seized the pot and emptied it outside. “Never again shall I take a life or seek to take another’s spirit and strength,”he told all those who came running.

Then the Peace-Bringer came forward to meet him, and the man said, “Here is the face of peace. I have seen it in my own face. I see it in another’s.”

And the two became as one. The Man-Who-Eats-People became Hiawatha the hero, the healer, the maker of peace.

Merry Christmas & happy holidays!


“Talking to Hamas”: Israel’s paradoxical stance

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From Gideon Levy, columnist for Haaretz:

Why is it permissible to talk to Hamas about the fate of one captive soldier and another several hundred prisoners, but forbidden to talk to them about the fate of two nations? Never has Israeli logic been so distorted. Now, when our hearts look forward to the deal’s implementation, when every human heart should look forward to Gilad Shalit’s release – and yes, to the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of them political prisoners for all intents and purposes, not just “terrorists with blood on their hands” – now is the time to finally rid ourselves of some of the foolish prohibitions we have imposed on ourselves and the entire international community. […]

Yes, we are conducting what we are denying to ourselves: negotiations with Hamas – and the sky hasn’t fallen. Whether direct or indirect, there are talks; whether or not we recognize Hamas, there are negotiations. For us, as usual, the method that should come first waits for last. Only after we try all the rest – killing and destruction, war and starvation – do we turn to the direct route: negotiations. […]

A free Gaza undergoing rehabilitation will be much less explosive. A Hamas busy rebuilding will behave differently, especially if it is also offered a political horizon. It will have much more to lose, something that is hard to say about Gaza today. So after we finish crossing our fingers for Shalit’s release, we have to open the same hand and reach out to Hamas in peace.

Written by henrik

November 27, 2009 at 2:57 pm