Time Out - 1. Let's Get Back To Our Purpose

Dear PeaceBuilders,

You haven't heard from me for many days (other than passing along an article
or two).  Partly it's because I've been working nose-to-grindstone with my
busy work period which lasts from April to June 30 and I work around the
clock (I am a self employed Chartered Accountant).  But that's only part of
the story.

The rest of the story is that I've been disturbed by many of the statements
people have been sending in to the list, and the relatively large number of
unsubscribers (mostly Rotarians).  There seems to be a surge of war
hysteria.  I didn't know how to respond to this, so I just let it all pass
by while I worked on other things and thought about the dynamics on our
list.  I have given some thought and wish to address the issues as I
perceive them in a series of shorter messages, rather than one very long
message that no one will read.

Another list that I subscribe to has had similar issues, and I found an
interesting comment from that list's moderator which I submit for your
consideration:
'What disturbs me about the statements people have been sending in, in
support of the bombing, is that many of the people would normally be against
violence, and against warfare as a way to solve problems.  But with bombs
actually falling, and the propaganda machine in high gear, it seems
nearly everyone falls prey to war hysteria.

This is disturbing because it implies is that peace activism is largely a
waste of time.  Regardless of how much "peace consciousness" might be
developed in the population, it all goes down the drain the minute the hawks
decide it's time for another war.  With the ability by all sides to
manipulate and stage events, and to flood the airwaves with partial truths
(or even lies), the overwhelming bulk of public opinion, including both
liberal and conservatives, seems always to  swing to support for whatever
war has been concocted.  If war isn't opposed at the time it's happening, it
matters little what sentiments might be espressed by people between wars. '

I think we need to take some time out and think about peace on our own list
server, and get our act together, before we try to change the world.  As of
this morning, we have 35 Subscribers to Peacebuilders list.  We have had at
least 6 members unsubscribe in the past two weeks, most of them Rotarians
(prior to that we had been slowly growing).  I think I understand why -
people who are participating in the list are not considering the audience,
goals and objectives of our list and respecting other Members' time and
interests.  So, we have to re-focus ourselves before we scare away others.
Let us first revisit our purposes.

PeaceBuilders On The Internet Mission:
"The mission of PeaceBuilders On The Internet is to apply modern information
technology to promote communications and build on one of Rotary's primary
missions 'to advance the search for peace in the world' with Rotarians and
others around the world."

PeaceBuilders Mailing List Purpose:
This mailing list is for Rotarians and Non-Rotarians alike, to facilitate
computer communications around the world.  The purpose of this listserv is
to greatly enhance fellowship by sharing Rotary related and other peace
information around the world.

Our goals and objectives on the list are as follows:
    1.. Provide an international communications medium to support Rotary's
community and world peace goals, and to participate in fellowship and
sharing of ideas.
    2.. Provide a platform for peace information dissemination through
posting of newsletters, bulletins, and publications, etc.
    3.. Share fund raising ideas and successful peace building projects that
might be useful to other Rotarians.
    4.. Share information on membership drives, and successful methods of
attracting quality members.
    5.. Develop friendships and increase fellowship through communications
around the world thereby enhancing International Peace and understanding of
different peoples and cultures.
    6.. To promote UNESCO's Culture of Peace Program. (recently added as an
objective)

The above goals have been taken from our Welcome message.  I think it is
fair and reasonable to ask Members to evaluate their submissions against
these guidelines, and if your message does not contribute to these goals
please do not send it to the list.  Also, please ensure if you are
forwarding messages from other sources that they fit this test.

Please note that the original intention was the creation of a list to
promote communication among Rotarians who wished to be more active in
building peace in our communities and world.  A type of Rotary Peace
Fellowship (ironic that Rotary with a major peace theme does not have one).
I believed at the time that it would be a good thing to allow interested
others (non-Rotarians) join in if they wished, for a cross-pollination of
ideas.

However, Yes - a lot of peace activists are intense and even appearing
strange to our more conservative Rotary belief systems.  The dilemma is:
should Peacebuilders try to work with that environment, which is a real
reflection of the issues in the real world, or should Peacebuilders be
repatriated to Rotarians only, before they are all scared away?

I will follow up on this important question in a later message.  Comments
welcome.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Stewart, List Moderator
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada
http://www.peace.ca

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