There must be a better way

Last night a man in Buffalo New York was brutalized by the police. He’s a man with a long history of peacemaking and peaceful protest. He was standing on a sidewalk attempting to peacefully engage police officers when one of them brutally shoved him causing him to lose his balance and fall. As he fell the older gentleman hit his head on the sidewalk and newsreel footage of the incident showed blood running out of his right ear as he lay on the ground. The video was captured by WBFO in Buffalo and in the audio you can hear someone asking for an ambulance for the victim. There is a terse reply that there is an EMT present presumably with the police.

Last week George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police. Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13 in Louisville, another brutal killing that didn’t have to be. She would have been twenty-seven today. All of these are hateful crimes. The officers in Minneapolis have been arrested and charged, two officers in Buffalo have been suspended. No one has been charged in Breonna’s death. The list of killings by law enforcement in the United States is staggering. The first reaction in all of these incidents is retribution and while that might bring temporary relief to the grieving it is not the solution. We can’t break the cycle of violence with more violence. “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” according to Gandhi.

What are the real solutions to all this violence? How can we turn the corner on racism and fear of the other? We need a conversion experience en masse.

Send Thy Peace

Sufi Prayer by Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Send Thy peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may radiate peace. Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may think, act, and speak harmoniously. Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts. Send Thy peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy thy bliss. Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all in the thought of thy grace and mercy. Send Thy peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a divine vision, and in Thy light all darkness may vanish. Send Thy peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we Thy children on earth may all unite in one family. Amen.”

Thirty-one US Navy Seals were killed yesterday in Afghanistan. We too have killed many Afghans. My prayer is not for a winner or loser but for peace itself. Send thy peace, O Lord!

Peace prize

Congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This puts him in heady company and I hope that he can live up to the billing. More important than Barack Obama is the fact that Americans went to the polls last November and elected a leader who has put our country back on the track of international diplomacy and away from international lawlessness. We have gone from pariah to promise in just shy of nine months. President Obama gets a prestigious award, which he was quick to say he was unworthy of. Worthy people always say things like that, that’s what makes them worthy. I congratulate the President, but also I congratulate the American people who put a man in office that once again makes most of us proud to be Americans.

I feel sorry for some of his opposition which include virulent members of the right wing of American politics, the Taliban and leaders of Hamas who fail to see anything positive. One of our greatest presidents and a man also hailing from the State of Illinois, once said, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all the people, all the time.”

Some of my friends have suggested that the Nobel Prize Committee did this as way to shape America’s policy. That might be. Rewarding good behavior with compliments is an accepted practice in the world. Shunning bad behavior is also an acceptable practice. I hope the President lives up to the award and ends both the Iraq and Afghan wars, rids the world of nuclear weapons and also bring healing to the strident racism that affects our own country. The United States of America is a multi-cultural, pluralistic society and we need to foster that at every opportunity. May peace and good fortune continue to bless our leader. Shalom, Peace, Pace, Pax, Amani, Paix, Salaam, Shanti, Mire, Heddwich and on and on.


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. — St. Francis of Assisi