September 19, 2009

A Peace Activist Thinks About G-20

A Peace Activist Thinks About G-20
With members of the Life After Shopping choir before an action at the 5th Avenue Deisel

The nation-states act like adolescents. Every diplomatic vowel that comes from an open mouth has the shout of peace in it, but the leaders can’t hear it. Are the ministers jealous of peace? Are they angry that it sustains us every day, more than any weapon or corporation? They act like its something from a history lesson they were supposed to remember. Meanwhile, there it is again, surprise, at breakfast. And there is peace again, in a cop’s mustache, of all places. Will peace be in those circles of black glass – those lenses? Media people surround the national leaders. No, the newspapers have become almost wholly marketing reports, including the arts and religious pages. The writers will discuss the G-20 meetings as consumers of war. Only the obituary page is not some form of consumerism, and it carries in its descriptions of bravery and tenacity and invention the peace that would free everyone in all twenty nations.

Obama should announce with some urgency that pockets of old growth forests have been discovered in unlikely places in the northeastern United States. Oak trees 250 years old, standing there the whole time, emerging in the back-lots and ravines. They have been there so long that they carry hundreds of other lives, animals and insects and vines - like giant bouquets of eco-systems up in the sky. There is so much death and life in these old oaks, they hold their teeming cities of peace up in the air for centuries and then suddenly we notice them and we stop. What happens then? Our major institutions won’t tell us. Our leaders don’t hear the lips that speak through every vowel and leaf, that explain how we can live. Our leaders might fixate on health care or climate change for years and years, but they will kill us all.

A human being is like a nation. Our heart is beating with peace while our arms try to control everything before our eyes that cannot be fully explained - like those oaks, as well as the vowel sounds in breathing and diplomacy. Our arms get in the way. And we all know this, about our arms, every single one of us knows this. All the enemies who hate each other in Pittsburgh are armed to the teeth. Then they suddenly join forces for three days and become the mortal enemy of all life. The President’s press secretary will claim that the arms are under control, but he will deny that peace is inside each of us and is in fact helping him speak. Somebody should tell him that we can hear peace shouting through the loops in his vowels. I myself would like to tell the press briefing that thousands of oaks have come forward and have offered to carry us up into their lofty cities. Furthermore, I would go on -- the great lives in the obituaries are also very helpful, because all great lives have a paragraph right in the middle there, from when they fell in love, and if you listen very closely you can hear the word peace rise out of the paper.