Almost drowned out by the pounding of war drums is the rare voice for peace and sanity, like that of Israeli graphic artist Rony Edry, who designed a poster with the message, “Iranians. We will never bomb your country. We love you,” a moment that brought back memories of similar gestures to Winslow Myers.
By Winslow Myers
The fond foolishness, or was it?, of the Israeli graphic designer’s recent YouTube video declaring his love for the Iranian people and his pledge not to bomb Iran brought back the almost forgotten Christmas moment in the trenches of World War I, when soldiers on both the French and German sides put down their weapons and sang “Silent Night” together.
Peace threatened to break out all up and down the lines until those pitiless realists on both sides, the generals, forced their minions to restart the interminable slaughter.
The Israeli’s video also brought back the memory of a powerful event thousands of us attended in 1984. To celebrate the achievements of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, my organization, Beyond War, had set up a live televised satellite “spacebridge” between Moscow and San Francisco.
Large audiences in both places listened to the pleas of the two leaders of the IPPNW, Leonid Brezhnev’s personal physician Evgeny Chazov, and the distinguished Boston cardiologist Bernard Lown, for reconciliation between the Soviet and American nations. Chazov played a recording of a healthily pulsating heart to underscore the reality that human hearts beat identically everywhere. The Moscow Boy’s Choir and the San Francisco Boy’s Choir sang, together.
But the most extraordinary moment was unscripted. It came at the very end of the ceremony when the production credits were already rolling on giant screens in the two venues. Tentatively at first, people in the audience in Moscow began waving to people in the audience in San Francisco. Soon all of us at both ends of the “spacebridge” were standing and enthusiastically waving to each other.
Many on both sides began to weep at that moment, as if an emotional dam had burst. Was this merely a kind of delusion, a facile collectivist sentimentality? Not in the context of the 1980s, when, 20 years after the near-apocalypse of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the placement of short-range nuclear missiles in Europe and the U.S.S.R. had shortened to a few minutes the reaction-time military decision makers were permitted before they had to make a decision to retaliate.
Looking back from this new century, it seems a kind of miracle that we made it through 50 years of cold war without annihilation.
The understanding that thousands of peace activists, diplomats and leaders of non-aligned nations had worked to seed into the global culture, that we will survive together or die together on this planet, had borne fruit in a moment of human contact that leapfrogged over the pessimistic realism of the foreign policy establishment.
One of these pessimists wrote a scathing analysis of the spacebridge in the Wall Street Journal, asserting that Beyond War had been duped by the Soviet government in a propaganda coup. But it was only a few years later that the optimistic realism of the spacebridge prevailed, the first nuclear disarmament treaty was signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987, and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
International relations today continue to run along a narrow track of competitive gloom: the “realistic” assumption, since it cannot be known for certain, of the adversary’s malign motivation.
A prominent University of Chicago intellectual, Professor John Mearsheimer, a believer in “offensive realism,” warns us that just as the U.S. enjoys hegemonic control of the Western Hemisphere, the Chinese surely wish to achieve a similar hegemony in their sphere, and will need to be checked by U.S. power.
Leaving aside our questionable right to limit in another hemisphere the degree of domination we reserve for our own, what the distinguished professor’s probing analysis leaves out makes his “realism” offensive in the other sense.
If the great powers continue to compete on the worst-case analysis of the unknowability of each other’s intentions, they will have completely ignored the largest, and perfectly knowable, threats to their mutual security: the possibility of sudden catastrophe by a nuclear war that no nation can possibly win, or gradual catastrophe by environmental degradation.
Neither of these challenges require more submarines and aircraft carriers checking power with power, but rather a spirit of cooperation based in common survival goals, the very spirit we saw when Soviets and Americans spontaneously waved to each other and wiped out the distance between them, the same spirit demonstrated by a lone Israeli citizen, now joined apparently by thousands of others, shouting “enough!” to the folly of mutual nuclear paranoia between Iran and Israel.
Winslow Myers, the author of Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide, serves on the Board of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org), a non-profit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model and promote the means for humanity to live without war.
There seems to have always been someone or some country or some cult such as the KKK that wants to annihilate Israel & the Jewish people. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmedinajad is no friend or fan of the Jewish people & neither are Hamas or Hezbollah who Mahmoud Ahmedinajad finances.
We live in a crazy “FUCKED UP” world with crazy dictators, crazy leaders of government that cause a lot of ugliness & a lot of hate in the world..There’s a lot more hate & ugliness in the world than there is love & kindness.
Unconditional love is the ability to send love in response to hate, in response to anger, in response to fear, but how many human beings can live that way? Sure this fellow Ronnie from Israel has good intentions by extending the love to all Iranians with the hope that all Iranians will reciprocate..I’m sure some of them will but I highly doubt that Mahmoud Ahmedinajad will & neither will Hamas or Hezbollah…
It’s been said that hatred is a lower & slower form of energy if you measured it compared to love which is a higher & faster form of energy. A good metaphor for this would be the following.> Take a room filled with darkness, it is a lower & slower form of energy if you measure it compared to a room filled with light. Therefore a dark room equals hatred. A lit room equals love. If you open the lights in a dark room the darkness, (hatred) disappears.
I often feel the same way the character “John Coffey” portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan in the green mile where he said the following> ” I’m tired, boss. Mostly I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?” > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScHhuIY4Pwo
ABOUT > President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad
Suppression Continues in Iran
President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad
Position: President of the Islamic Republic
Favorite expression or quotation by President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad >
â€œNowâ€¦ dirt or dust creeping from the corners may do something. But you must know that the pure river that is the Iranian nation will not allow them to put themselves on display.â€
My two cents…
you’re one neo nazi sicko. Let’s see how long you’d last in one of your beloved arab medieval states.
you’re just a neo nazi S.O.B. period. Go to hell
naivete on steroids. Check out the unbridled antisemitic media cartoons in the arab press. You are a total ignoramus.
Come on JTL (aka; ‘flat5’), you’re losing your hasbarat touch – – – you forgot to call somebody an anti-Semite or a terrorist or a self-hating Jew! “Ignoramus” is SO general… you can do better than that, can’t you?? Bear down and come up with some really crazy stuff for us next time, OK? We KNOW you can do it, you’ve more than proved that in the past. Maybe reduce your meds to help you get in that out-there mood…
If nations would make some effort to understand each other and avoid deliberate lies and depiction of “enemies”, much could be achieved. All those Cold War years when the USA pretended there was a “missile gap” NOT in their favour, and that the Worldwide Communist Conspiracy was trying to take over the world (eg dominoes falling, or the theat of the good example of Cuba and other Latin American countries trying leftist governments) show no desire for compromise. The USA has no reason to demonise Iran, or Palestinians,or Russia, or China, just because they do not slavishly follow the US example. The treatment of Muslims as Jihadists or terrorists resemble the anticommunist hysteria of the past.
It’s great to hear of 1984’s ‘spacebridge’…
Sorry, please read “live” for “leave” in the last line.
I wish these peace activists every success. In my 85 years I have been privileged to have many dear Jewish friends; and we were happy to call each other “brother”. They even included a retired rabbi. Left alone, all people will leave in peace and harmony.