Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Morning at Horseferry Court

Horseferry Court

I went Thursday to a court near Waterloo to support Chris Cole who is the Director of "Fellowship of Reconciliation" here in the U.K.

Christian peace activist, Chris Cole, 46, was arrested this morning (Monday 7 September) and charged with £2,000 of criminal damage following a protest at ... (the) arms fair.

Cole sprayed the words ‘Build Peace not War Machines’ on the conference centre doorsand ‘arms trade = death’ on the steps. He poured red paint as symbolic blood and wrote ‘stop this bloody business’.

“Especially in a time of war, we are called to resist the great lie that our security and well being lies in bigger and better weaponry. The truth is that only justice and love will in the end; bring real peace and real human security to our nation and the world as a whole.” (from ICN 7/9/09)

It is somewhat ironic that I went as I do not agree with breaking the law to make the point, a very real point of protesting an arms fair. In the 60's when the Berrigan brothers protested the Vietnam War, that kind of protest seemed to grab peoples' attention and help focus attention on important issues of the war. To me, these days, no one who can make a real difference politically pays any attention. So it seems that the 'converted are just talking to each other.'

I wonder if more good would not be done if people protested completely non-violently. My hope then is that others might actually reflect on the issues involved rather than on the sensational aspects.

The Magistrate seemed determine to make quick work of things. He would not allow Chris extra time to call a witness from the Arms Fair. Trial date set quickly. He also seemed truculent about gathering evidence for Chris to examine.

After the hearing Chris invited me to join him and Pat Gaffney, Coordinator for Pax Christi U.K. to join them for tea. Both Chris and Pat were most gracious and inquired into my stay. I felt a tad uncomfortable as I wanted the conversation to go back to him and his experience, not on me.
We agreed to meet for lunch when I'm back (hopefully in February) to discuss protests and my questions. Both he and Pat were incredibly gracious. Clearly they are knoweldgeable, commtitted and hard working - now if politicians would just have tea with folks like these, it might make a difference.

Peace, Phil

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.