Sunday, June 7, 2009

Father's Day for Peace

For too long we men have used violence and war to settle our scores, leading to more violence and war.  We look away while bombs dropped in our names kill the children of fellow fathers and mothers in far away places, increasing the odds that our own children will one day be the victim of revenge attacks.

Imagine just for a moment how you would feel and what you would do if your own children were the “collateral damage.”  After all, the mothers and fathers of the world love our children and grieve their deaths in equal proportion.  We may shield our eyes, but if you listen you can hear the anguished cries.

In the wake of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe called on the women of the world to unite against war, saying in her 1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation: “We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

But the men didn’t listen. Instead, our gender has led the charge in a parade of brutal wars, killing millions upon millions of beloved sons and daughters in every corner of the planet. Just last month, 65 children were killed in one strike in Afghanistan by U.S. bombs, according to a report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Children in Pakistan live in constant fear of being the next victim of an unmanned U.S. drone.

Enough. It’s time to put an end to war for the sake of our children, for the sake of all children.  The Mothers of the world have been ready to move beyond war as a means of resolving conflict for a long time.  It’s time for Fathers to hear the call and to do our part.

The term warrior has two definitions. The first is "a person engaged or experienced in warfare." The second is "a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage..”

It’s time for Fathers to stand up with courage and vigor to the war-makers and demand that no more children are bombed in our name in Afghanistan or anyplace else.  Let us vow to do unto the children of other fathers and mothers as we would have done unto ours. Let’s drop books and bread instead of bombs, and use the money saved to restore the planet that is the common inheritance of our children while we’re at it.

Jimi Hendrix once said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the people shall know peace.”  We have that power, Dads, in the love we collectively feel for our children.  Let’s make Father’s Day a day to begin realizing the full power of that love. Our children are counting on us.  

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