W. Hunter Roberts
Transformative Arts



Thoughts on War-nograpy
April 8, 2003

I’ve been amazingly silent these last days. What is there to say? Television is saying it all. We are eyewitnesses to war. We are in the army, behind the lines, invading Saddam’s palaces, blowing up tanks. I want to see a reporter embedded in an Iraqi home, not just in the 22nd Battalion, but oh well. We ‘re getting to see stuff exploding (wow, cool), people waving to greet the “liberators,” and occasionally a little, what do they call it, oh yeah, collateral damage. That’s the official term for “accidental’ civilian death. They call it that when they’ve killed or maimed someone they didn’t “mean” to kill or maim, but hey, that happens in war, right?

We encouraged people to get in touch with their personal responses to world events°™and hopefully, to take empowered action. We did workshops, and talked and wrote about the new politics, the Third Way, paradigm shift, a better game than war. We were afraid of dying in a nuclear war, and simultaneously enraptured by the possibilities of creating a world beyond war.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, we drifted in different directions. Now Barbara paints more, while the other Barbara meditates more. Benina works to free Tibet, and Fran works with environmental in the Eastern regions of the former Soviet Union. Claire runs a non-violence community service project in East Oakland. I went to seminary, got married and divorced, and am working to bring a new future mythos into the world through the entertainment industry, while maintaining a private counseling practice. Oh yeah, and I write.

So when Benina put out a call to the old gang, calling it a meeting of the Human Security Council, I responded immediately. Would we come her house on Sat. night to share what were thinking and doing as our nation steered its determined course toward genocidal madness? Of course.

Here's some of what we said, and the questions we raised, as we sat in her well appointed living room with photos of Tibet, overlooking the Berkeley hills, feeling privileged and concerned.

I've been through the Civil Rights movent, the anti-Vietnam movement, the anti-nuclear movement. I've always felt like we can do something, but this time I'm depressed. I've never felt so powerless.

What really is the reason our government is doing this? It makes no sense.

°It°'s not really about oil.

°They float a different explanation every day.
°This plan has been in the works for ten years, engineered by Rumsfeld and Perls. Now they've got the perfect opportunity to do it. It's all about controlling the geo-politics of the Middle East.

Bob Woodward said that in the first meeting after Sept. 11th, Rumsfeld said "Let's bomb Iraq"

The NY Times cited a plan to divert water from the Tigris/ Euphrates toward Israel, which is running out of water. Remember the Atlantic Monthly article about ten years ago about the coming water wars? This is the first one!

°It's about protecting Israel. There are a lot of people who think that Israel won't be safe as long as Iraq is there. You should read the Israeli websites!

With the Patriot Act II, any one of us could be called a traitor, and deprived of our civil rights. We need to set up Human Security Councils all over the county, so that we know and can help if activists are picked off.

We're creating workshops on protecting our civil liberties.

I just became a grandmother. I keep thinking of Iraqi babies. I wrote this poem that m reading in Washington next week.

Maybe I°'m in massive denial, but I'm excited. I°'ve never seen such mobilization in my whole political career. Look at the marches all over the world. And the Virtual March on Washington was a whole new level of public involvement and empowerment.

Yeah, and did you hear that Turkey refused today? (cheers from the room)

I think the tide has turned, and there's not going to be a war.

I want to know how they manage to sound like they're the moral ones°™the ones who think it's fine to preemptively murder thousands of innocent people.° How do we claim the moral high ground? Surely we have it.
How do we fight them with respect, without getting into the same moral self-righteousness that we reject in them? How do we be both humble and strong?

And so it went, around the circle, with this group of long time thinkers and activists called by Claire, °social evolutionists. I was proud to be among them, these people who have been struggling with the important world events for as much as half a century. Has it been worth it? Has all our work done any good, we ask, as we look on with dismay at the Battle of the Fundamentalists, ours and theirs?

Yes, I say, it has done a lot, some of which we can see, and some of which we'll never know. Some of our group said we don't do it for the results; we do it for ourselves. Although I understand and respect that spiritual perspective, I don't share it. For myself, I'd be lying on a beach in Greece, playing with the goats, and maybe raising a feral daughter. But here I am, slugging it out with the powers that be, in the last of the Age of Empires. Why? And how? Because I believe that we are a very young species, set to either take ourselves extinct or nearly so, or to evolve to a level of consciousness never before seen on this planet except in little isolated pockets. One of our group said twenty years ago, the first time I heard her speak, that we don't need to go into a cave to attain enlightenment anymore. We have the Bomb as the great teacher, the great leveler. We are all in this together. More and more of us realize this every day, with every event that we witness in our increasingly global world. The worldwide marches are further evidence of this.

I do not mean to sound like a new age Pollyanna or a crusty revolutionary, uncaring about the real suffering that will accompany these events. It is ugly. I do not want this war. If it happens, I will weep and rend my clothes as in days of old, for the innocent lives sacrificed once again in the name of empire and self-righteousness, just as they were in the same part of the world thousands of years ago, when Sargon built the first empire of Akkad. But, more human beings become conscious every day, as the folly, contradictions, and greed become more obvious through the unfolding events. And consciousness is what its about, what WE are about, as human beings.

We are evolving to a point, sometime soon, if we keep on working in the face of world events, where we will make choices that make sense for the evolution and well-being of ALL life, not just me or my family or my class or nation, but really everyone. It will take leaders and populace, most of all, who are conscious, who can think beyond narrow self interest, and who can see beyond their own immediate knee-jerk survival reactions, to seeing themselves as part of something larger, to generate this kind of a world. It will take the will and commitment of a critical mass of people like you and me.

So whether or not our actions succeed in diverting Bush et al from their agenda, we are doing our work. And it is working. People are waking up. More and more people want peace. And, as Dwight Eisenhower predicted, eventually the governments of the world are just going to have to get out of the way and let them have it.

© 2005 W. Hunter Roberts. All Rights Reserved.