>Get your free trial issue today! In this issue of Sojourners: 1. George W. Bush's dangerous theology 2. The legacy of Mexican mural painting 3. Is it possible to create multiracial churches? 4. An interview with Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop 5. Pacifica radio's alternative voice And much more! If you don't subscribe to Sojourners magazine, you're missing out on award-winning features, commentary, poetry, humor, devotionals, and much more! >>Get your free trial issue today! WEB SCENE ^top *A magazine by (and for) socially conscious youth Wire Tap provides a new generation of writers, artists, and activists a space to network, organize, and mobilize. Go to: http://www.wiretapmag.org/ *A Palestinian platform for dialogue The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, is a non-governmental, non-partisan, Jerusalem-based institution dedicated to fostering democracy and good governance within the Palestinian society. Go to: http://www.miftah.org *Flash mobs What do you call 300 New Yorkers with synchronized watches eating bananas in a department store? It's no joke! Flash mobs are groups of people who communicate via email and Web logs, meet in public en masse, perform harmless acts, then vanish. So what's the flash mob mentality? Enthusiasts say the events are acts of "nonviolent surrealism." For more on flash mobbing, link to: TheWordSpy - http://www.wordspy.com/words/flashmob.asp FlashMob.com - http://flashmob.com GIVE TO SOJOURNERS Donate now to support our work. SOJOMAIL STAFF David Batstone Executive Editor Molly Marsh Assistant Editor Ryan Beiler Web Editor Tucker Ball Marketing Director Lester Wall Advertising Director Bob Sabath Chief Technologist CONTACT US SojournersT 202.328.8842 2401 15th Street NWF 202.328.8757 Washington, DC 20009 http://www.sojo.net For more information, e-mail us:info@sojo.net Copyright (c) 2003 Sojourners. All Rights Reserved. SojoMail material may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Sojourners 2003 (c) http://www.sojo.net ARCHIVES Browse | Search SOJOMAIL IS A SPAM-FREE ZONE Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your address. Read our privacy policy. SUBSCRIBE If this SojoMail was forwarded to you, click here for your free subscription. "/>
The Common Good

D.C. Violence Hits Close to Home

Sojomail - September 4, 2003

www.sojo.net09.04.2003
Quote of the Week The politics of fear
Field Report: Washington, D.C. Violence hits close to home
Soul Works Sufi wisdom
By the Numbers Money doesn't bring happiness to teens
Religion and Society Global head trip: Indian hair finds parts in West
Funny Business The color of happiness
Boomerang Letters of response from around the globe
Web Scene A magazine by (and for) socially conscious youth | A Palestinian platform for dialogue | Flash mobs

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK ^top

"We should not try to convince people that things are getting better. Rather, we should convince people that ours is the age of terrorism."

- Former Reagan official Kenneth Adelman, who is close to several Bush officials, in The Washington Post, August 22, 2003.

FIELD REPORT: WASHINGTON, D.C. ^top
Violence hits close to home
by Aaron McCarroll Gallegos

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Donis Arias, who was killed at 14th Street and Columbia Road NW, on Saturday, July 26, was one of the first to die in the latest outburst of violence, which has shaken the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C.

Back in 1995-1998, I spent a lot of evenings with Donis in the library of Sojourners magazine on 15th Street NW, along with community activist Luis Cardona and other youth from the violence-prevention group Barrios Unidos, which then had a D.C. chapter. Donis sometimes got mad and frustrated, but most of all, he was a sensitive young man who tried hard to make a good contribution to the group. But like many young people, Donis didn't find a lot of opportunities in inner-city Washington and had trouble with the temptations of the street.

At one point, we faced a crisis after Donis' little brother was beaten by a local crew with baseball bats. Donis and the young men in the group knew who had done it and were strategizing a violent revenge. Luis Cardona gathered them together at Sojourners and pleaded with them not to continue the cycle of violence. It was a hard meeting. Several of the young people had arrived with weapons - knives, clubs, and even a rumored gun. It took a long time before they were persuaded to "quash" their retaliation.

I was extremely proud of them for making this difficult decision. We had been walking alongside these young men and women for several years, working to provide them with realistic alternatives to violence. In their first major test, they made a very noble choice at great cost to themselves. That night, after we smudged ourselves with sage and said a prayer to end the meeting, I opened my eyes and noticed that Donis wasn't in the room. I found him outside sitting on a staircase with his face in his hands, sobbing uncontrollably. He suddenly seemed so young and vulnerable. I tried to console him, telling him that he could be proud for having made the right decision, but he just buried his face deeper and his large body heaved even more. I think it truly hurt Donis to see his brother's purple, swollen face and not do anything about it. But, at least for that night, Donis and his friends accepted their pain and peace prevailed.

Now, five years later, Donis has been shot and killed while riding a bike in the same neighborhood. The police suspect his killing was gang-related, but it's hard to say for sure what led to such a tragedy. Perhaps Donis had returned to la vida loca, or perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only thing certain is that growing up in D.C. Donis Arias was surrounded by violent structures all of his life and finally became a victim to them. Now, once again, Donis' friends are being asked to absorb the pain and let the cycle of violence end with them. Within weeks of Donis' death, three other young Latinos have been killed around Columbia Heights and several others wounded, including a 5-year-old girl. I can only pray that his friends can refuse the desire to retaliate.

At a vigil at the site where Donis was killed, Luis Cardona told the young people gathered that the recent victims in Columbia Heights wanted the violence to stop. "You have the responsibility of honoring that," he told them, according to the The Washington Post. It doesn't seem fair that Donis' friends are being asked again to bear so great a burden. Hopefully, when young people like these grasp for peace, adults from the community will be there - walking alongside them. This kind of burden none of us should have to carry alone.

*Aaron McCarroll Gallegos helped found D.C. Barrios Unidos and is a contributing writer to Sojourners magazine. He now lives in Toronto. This piece was first published in The Washington Post, August 24, 2003:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34458-2003Aug22.html


Position Announcement: Executive Director

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is seeking a new executive director to expand its role to unite and empower the faith communities and speak for the vulnerable throughout Virginia. The ED works with VICPP's volunteer board of directors, members, and staff in four major areas: advocacy, education, membership, and finance/administration.

Application consideration begins September 10. Send resume to VICPP/Search, PO Box 12516, Richmond, VA 23241-0516 or search@vicpp.org. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.vicpp.org.


SOUL WORKS ^top
Sufi wisdom

When the heart grieves over what it has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has found.

- Sufi epigram

BY THE NUMBERS ^top
Money doesn't bring happiness to teens

More than half (52%) of teens are at risk for substance abuse if they have any one of three risk factors: stress, frequent boredom, or too much spending money.

Of kids with weekly spending money of $15:

13% have tried cigarettes
26% have tried alcohol
9% have tried marijuana

Of kids with weekly spending money of $50+:

34% have tried cigarettes
61% have tried alcohol
33% have tried marijuana

Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University


From Globalization to Global Community: Making Peace and Doing Justice in a Smaller World

November 6-9, 2003
Wilkes-Barre, PA
First United Methodist Church

Jim Lawson - Grassroots organizer and advocate
Tony Campolo - Prophetic preacher and teacher
Njoki Njoroge Njehu - Director, "50 Years is Enough"
Mark Lewis Taylor - Professor, Princeton Seminary
Ada Maria Asasi-Diaz - Professor, Drew University
Jim Winkler - United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

Learn more at http://cswt.ppjr.org/events/gather03.htm
or call The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society: 202-488-5642


RELIGION AND SOCIETY ^top
Global head trip: Indian hair finds parts in West

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For two months, Pushpa's husband was ill with a high fever. When he finally recovered, she traveled 10 hours by bus to a temple in southern India to thank Lord Vishnu in the best way she knew how: by shaving her head.

Pushpa...had her 32-inch locks cut off by the temple barber, a gesture intended to thank the deity for good fortune. The hair itself headed in a more secular direction: to an auction where hair brokers bid for it. Some strands bought at auction are made into hair extensions, which are sold to Western women for as much as $3,000 for a full head of hair.

The temple at Tirupati, one of India's busiest, is doing a brisk business selling hair. Many of the temple's 20 million visitors each year shave their heads in gratitude for some blessing in their life. Last year the temple says it took in $5.6 million through hair auctions - twice as much as the year before. But few of the benefits of the global market trickle down to the women who provide the raw material.

- The Wall Street Journal
August 20, 2003

FUNNY BUSINESS ^top
The color of happiness

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?" "Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life." The child thought about this for a moment, then said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"


Spirit of FireSpirit of Fire: Faith, Art, and Action
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BOOMERANG ^top
Letters of response from around the globe

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Simon Albury writes from Australia:

I'm writing in response to last week's SojoMail article, "Say goodbye to the U.N.?" I cannot help but agree entirely with what David Batstone had to say. George W. Bush has, in effect, caused the power of the United Nations (note the word United) to be as effective as beating an object with a wet newspaper. It appears to be one rule for America, and another for the rest of the world. I can only see this "side-stepping" of the U.N., and the rights it stands for, as a counterproductive, unjust, and underhanded act that will only serve the purposes of George W. Bush and "his" America.

------------

SojoMail reader Joe Bradford writes:

Excellent article by David Batstone about the U.N. Irony is, though, where was the first place Bush and Powell ran to when it became obvious we couldn't "go it alone" in places such as Iraq? The U.N. - and if I were on the U.N. I'd be inclined to tell Bush to "take a long walk on a short pier!"

------------

Grant Wakefield writes from the United Kingdom:

I read with interest, though some alarm, David Batstone's article on the United Nations. Neo-cons have long desired the destruction of the UN. The primary reason the organisation has not been able to enforce international law very effectively is the power of veto in the Security Council. By a very wide margin indeed it is the U.S. who has cast its veto most often. Its record is extraordinary in the General Assembly as well, voting against calls to ban attacks on nuclear power stations, voting against the rights of nations to chose their own political and economic systems, voting against calls to democratise the world information system. The list goes on and on. And of course the U.S. press, under corporate and ideological control, fails to report this. Thus the illusion of the U.N. as an "irrelevant talking shop" is sustained. The way this accusation is framed is very simple: the U.N. is irrelevant if it doesn't go along with U.S. policy. It is "credible" only when it provides a political cover for U.S. policy.

Meanwhile, despite gross underfunding, and the fact that the U.S. actually uses its huge indebtedness to the U.N. as a means of leverage, the U.N. has single-handedly saved millions of people from famine and starvation, and provided legitimising peace-keeping forces to prevent slaughters in countries worldwide. The U.S. withholds its dues to the U.N. so frequently that I believe it was in 1999 that CNN head Ted Turner actually paid the U.S. dues himself. (Somewhere in the region of $1 billion if I recall.)

The statistics reflect the success of a major propaganda campaign to discredit the organisation, which, while it hasn't been perfect, has immensely benefited the world. To improve it is simple: abolish the power of veto in the Security Council, return power to the General Assembly, and bar any country for failing to pay its share.

-------------

Lorna Simpson writes from Corvallis, Oregon:

Ronald Knepper wrote last week in disagreement with Jim Wallis' article on "Dangerous Religion." His solution proposes an either/or scenario in dealing with the terrorists: "Either we have to eliminate terrorists from the face of this planet, or they will eliminate us. Which do you prefer?"

He sees situations in only black and white - exactly the same as President Bush does. Bush's views and actions have taken us further and further down a wrong path, one which I feel does not reflect a Christian response. In a world filled with billions of humans, all loved by God, there are surely more than two alternatives for trying to solve such a complex problem. What in the world would Jesus do in this situation? (A question that surely the conservatives ask.) How many countries did Jesus invade? How many terrorists, civilians, children, and elderly did he kill?

----------------

Natasha Carrillo writes from Granada, Spain:

Regarding the letter by Ronald Knepper, I would have thought I was reading a commentary from a Palestinian living in Gaza or an Iraqi in present-day, chaotic Baghdad.... Ask yourself, why would anyone hate the USA, and what it represents, so much? The worst terrorist car bomb attack to take place in the Middle East (Beirut, 1985 - 80 dead civilians) was actually drawn up by the CIA. I know it's hard to believe, but the USA was the only country, together with Israel, to oppose the 1987 U.N. General Assembly Resolution to condemn international terrorism. Ronald, there are many ways in which one can see the world and interpret the oh-so-lightly-used term "terrorist." I condemn 9/11 as much as I will condemn the death of Palestinians by Ariel Sharon and the death of Israeli civilians by Palestinian groups. Don't let the Bush administration, or any administration for that matter, fool you into believing that any war is as simple as "playing cowboys and Indians."

------------

Bryan Allen writes from Yunnan, China:

Ronald W. Knepper writes, "Either we have to eliminate terrorists from the face of this planet, or they will eliminate us. Which would you prefer?" This may be the way the world looks at the situation, but it is not a biblical perspective. Jesus allowed himself to be eliminated, and in so doing, triumphed over the enemy. As Jim Wallis wrote in his article, "God has not given the responsibility for overcoming evil to a nation-state"; it is God's own prerogative. The Jesus way is clear: "Bless those who persecute you." This is not to say that we look the other way when terrorists commit evil acts. Our response should not sink to their level. I fear that many so-called Christians base their ethics on pragmatism and not the Bible. They trust in their guns and not their God.

-----------

Rik Wenger writes from Belvidere, Illinois:

Just a quick thank you from a non-Christian. I was brought up in a strict Lutheran home and vowed to never attend church again once I left home and I never did. However, I consider myself a believer. I deeply respect those who believe in the simple concept "what would Jesus do?" Keep up the good work. You have given me faith again in the goodness of Christians. I am ashamed of myself for previous condemnations of "Christians," but when George W. Bush uses faith as an excuse to kill and harm the poor, I cringe again that he says he is a Christian. I will pray for God to guide me in seeing the truth and not judge all Christians on some people's outspoken false religion.

--------------------------

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:

boomerang@sojo.net


Sojourners magazineGet your free copy of the September-October issue with a risk-free trial subscription to Sojourners! If the magazine isn't for you, simply write cancel on the invoice and the issue is yours to keep.
>>Get your free trial issue today!

In this issue of Sojourners:
1. George W. Bush's dangerous theology
2. The legacy of Mexican mural painting
3. Is it possible to create multiracial churches?
4. An interview with Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
5. Pacifica radio's alternative voice
And much more!

If you don't subscribe to Sojourners magazine, you're missing out on award-winning features, commentary, poetry, humor, devotionals, and much more!
>>Get your free trial issue today!


WEB SCENE ^top
*A magazine by (and for) socially conscious youth

Wire Tap provides a new generation of writers, artists, and activists a space to network, organize, and mobilize. Go to:

http://www.wiretapmag.org/


*A Palestinian platform for dialogue

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, is a non-governmental, non-partisan, Jerusalem-based institution dedicated to fostering democracy and good governance within the Palestinian society. Go to:

http://www.miftah.org


*Flash mobs

What do you call 300 New Yorkers with synchronized watches eating bananas in a department store? It's no joke! Flash mobs are groups of people who communicate via email and Web logs, meet in public en masse, perform harmless acts, then vanish. So what's the flash mob mentality? Enthusiasts say the events are acts of "nonviolent surrealism." For more on flash mobbing, link to:

TheWordSpy - http://www.wordspy.com/words/flashmob.asp
FlashMob.com - http://flashmob.com



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SojournersT 202.328.8842
2401 15th Street NWF 202.328.8757
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