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Letters

 
From Pax Bob 
 
 
You know the glorious military that we practically worship these days? Well, the Pentagon reported 26,000 cases of sexual assault happened in our glorious military in 2011—service members assaulting service members. The technical term for this horrific phenomenon is Military Sexual Trauma, a phrase created by the elite Joint Euphemism Command at the Pentagon. The vast majority of the victims, of course, were women, though plenty of men were assaulted, too. This, of course, is a nasty side effect of teaching large numbers of people to overcome their normal human aversion to wholesale slaughter, in order to “serve” the nation. Once you dull their consciences to the point where they will take a human life on command, it follows inevitably that a certain number of our trained killers won’t scruple at rape, even when it involves members of their own unit.
 
That 26,000 number does not adequately reflect the true reality, because many victims simply don’t bother to report sexual abuse. They believe that their commanders—who are too often either the actual abusers, friends of the abusers, or simply enablers of the abusers—will cover up. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is sponsoring a bill to address that issue, by taking the prosecution of sexual abuse out of the hands of commanders and assigning it to professional prosecutors who don’t have a built-in conflict of interest. The old boys club that still runs the United States Senate is not exactly lining up meekly behind her proposal. Even some of her Democratic colleagues have gone AWOL on her. But I think it has real merit, and I hope you’ll think so, too. If you agree, please follow this link and pass on the word, as a possible vote approaches:
 

Once again, it seems that the powers that be in Nassau County are balancing the budget on the backs of our youth ["Closed down," News, July 16]. County Executive Edward Mangano's budget targets the social agencies that provide training, rehabilitation and education to the most vulnerable members of our community. They have too little as it is. These programs should be enhanced and multiplied, not gutted and devastated.

Joseph A. Volker, Point Lookout

Editor's note: The writer is the director of the Nassau Affirmative Action Project, a nonprofit organization opposed to systemic racism.

 

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Dear all, In case you missed it, here is a letter printed in Newsday written by Pax Christi member, Eleanor Krebs.
 
 
Newsday  3/29/2011
Mourn the lives and money lost in Iraq.
 
As we enter the ninth year of our war with Iraq, it is a time of mourning for all Americans. First, let us mourn the 4,439 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and the thousands more wounded, the suicides and the traumatized.
Next, let us mourn the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and the tens of thousands wounded and the homes and hospitals , factories, roads and bridges destroyed in Iraq. All this in a war based on a threat that did not exist.
Finally let us mourn our waste of dollars for this war. Let us reflect on how else we could have used this money; for our young people who graduate from college and cannot find a job that use their education. For middle-aged people who find themselves ut of work after many years of faithful employment. For Children whose class size is increased. For children with both paresnts working but inadequate child care. For working families without enough to eat after they have paid the rent.
Lastly, let us weep for our country, whose roads and railways and bridges  and water systems are falling apart. 
 
                                                                                                                                                               Eleanor Krebs
 
                                                                                                                                                                    Farmingdale

Dear friends, Since many of us didn't get Newsday today, here's Nancy's letter
 
The political climate of hate may or may not have something to do with the shootings in Tucson.  We can't know that for sure. But this we know: The bullets did kill, did cause damage, did cause our country to recoil in horror.
 
This too we should know: The political climate of hate can kill the rational discussion of important issues. It can unfairly damage careers in public service. It can cause good, talented well-motivated people to recoil in horror from the thought of entering into that political climate of hate.  And our nation is the worse off for it.
 
Nancy Dwyer
115 Gordon Road
Valley Stream, NY 11581    516-561-2247
 
 

From: Arnold Streisfeld [mailto:arnoldjfm@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2010 9:43 PM
Subject: Luna Kaufman/Christian Friends of Yad Vashem Event a TREMENDOUS success!!!!

 

Dear Leaders, Brothers and Sisters:

     Praise God in all His glory, that He brought upon us the blessing of this most wonderful presentation this past Wednesday by Luna Kaufman, Holocaust survivor and Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, Director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem).

     I think it fair to say that this moving event was nothing short of awe-inspiring!  In my opinion, much was revealed to us about the heritiage, heart and minds of our Jewish brethren.  Further, how could we not be inspired by Luna Kaufman, a person who took the experience of all the horrors that she and millions of others herded into concentration camps suffered and synthesized it all with a message of love, resolution and healing?   She touches the entire world with her book, "Luna's Life", and tirelessly works in strengthening Christian-Jewish relations and, in fact, all relations among the human race by example, not just words.

     Please I remind and urge you again to purchase a copy of her book "Luna's Life" ; probably one of the greatest exercises in her conciliatory attitude that can be demonstrated in writing.  ALL proceeds go to the Sister Rose Thering Endowment, established in the same vein; to educate and conciliate between Christians and Jews.  It can be ordered online at www.ComteQpublishing.com or by telephone at (609)487-9000.  I also still have a number of order forms for doing this that I can mail to you, upon request to use to mail in an order or to FAX it in!

     Also, a heartfelt thank you and salute to our new colleague, Dr. Susanna Kokkonen.  I think it incumbent to suggest that we all think about becoming supporting members of "Yad Vashem", to underscore our commitment to contributing to and working on this earth towards standing up for the Jewish people worldwide.  You can either make a donation to Dr. Kokkonen's organization, "Christian Friends of Yad Vashem" at  http://www.icej.org/articles/yad_vashem_christian_desk (see the "donation page" link at the bottom of the home page) or directly to Yad Vashem itself at https://secure.yadvashem.org/donation/

     We look forward to continuing our work with Dr. Kokkonen and Luna Kaufman and are pleased to make them our "partners" in the work we do!  God bless you all abundantly.


Arnold R. Streisfeld, Esq.
Leader, Jewish Friendship Ministry
an Outreach of TIMES SQUARE CHURCH
New York, New York

Thnks for all the work you do on your web site.Apparently you must spend a great deal of time updating it and putting in all the great links to other resources.I really need to check it out more often than I do!  A great informational tool for local and national and international issues!Dennis *******************************************************************************

Fr. Louie's letters from prison

Dear Pax Christi friend,  
In case you do not receive the Long Island Catholic, we thought you would like to read Sister Mary Beth's letter which was published this week. It is the only "letter to the editor" in this edition  which is quite unusual and signifies its importance and relevance.  
Long Island Catholic  April 21 , 2010
Letters to the Editor
 Nuclear Disarmament
    Pax Christi Long Island, ever faithful to its mandate from Bishop Murphy to be protagonists for peace, is collaborating with peace groups in Nassau and Suffolk to insure that Long Island is well represented at the "Disarmament Now" march to begin at Times Square at 2 PM Sunday, May 2. Together with us locals, people traveling across the country , and several thousand from around the globe will call attention to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to take place at the United Nations during May.
    The conference represents a historic opportunity for nations to move closer to abolishing these terrible weapons. Though the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed by 189 countries and ratified by the US in 1972, the pledge of nuclear states to negotiate the complete elimination of their arsenals has not been fulfilled.  The march is an effort to insure that our leaders pay attention to the people's deep desire for an end to nuclear weapons. In addition, hundreds of signatures have been gathered on the petition to President Obama which urges him to announce, "....your initiation of good faith multi-lateral negotiations on an international agreement to abolish nuclear weapons within our lifetimes."
    Throughout the months of planning, it has been a joyful experience to collaborate with persons from other faith traditions and non-believers who long for the "thoroughgoing and complete" process which Pope John envisioned. His beautiful words in Pacem in Terris, were written in 1963, but they have lost none of their urgency. They challenge us as Catholics to go beyond the recent news about disarmament, such as the renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, ( START) and the attention to securing dangerous nuclear materials. Though these efforts are positive, they do not meet the criteria that Pope John set forth.  More than 20 years after the Cold War, nine countries still possess nuclear weapons , and the US itself has 2,700 active nuclear weapons deployed around the globe. No wonder the message  continues with the pleas of Pope Benedict XVI on World Peace Day, January 1, 2010:
" I firmly believe that, during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to be held this May in New York, concrete decisions will be made towards progressive disarmament, with a view of freeing our planet from
nuclear arms.
    Pax Christi invites the people of the Rockville Centre Diocese to come together Sunday, May 2 in Manhattan - 42nd Street and Times Square at 2 PM for the rally and march to abolish nuclear weapons. Jump on the LIRR - first car of the train that gets into Penn nearest to noon. - and meet fellow Long Islanders . And don't forget to visit the Pax Christi tent at the end of the march. (Dag Hammarskjold Plazaw 46th and 1st ) . For more information, go to
Sister Mary Beth Moore,
Wantagh 
(Sister of Charity Mary Beth Moore is former coordinator of Pax Christi Long Island)
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Contact us with your thoughts of peace.

fr.jpg
Fr. Anton Ploem, Kinshasha, Republic Congo

On this page we feature  the words of encouragement from our friends working for peace & justice here on Long Island & from around the world

Dear friends,

i'm sending you a message that i suspect you'd be interested in AND that the organization(s) you work/volunteer(ed) for may want to sign on to...

the organization where i used to work on the border (annunciation house) is issuing this urgent call for protection for the people of juarez, mexico, who are being denied u.s. protection as they flee the incredible violence in their city.  (this call eerily echoes the call of central americans during the 1980s sanctuary movement, who were frequently deported by the u.s. gov't, only to be raped, tortured, and killed upon arrival.)

please consider signing on to the petition -ASAP!- and please forward ruben's email to anyone else you think may be interested.

thanks and peace,
rachel


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ruben Garcia <rubengarcia@annunciationhouse.org>
Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM
Subject: "Petition for Protection" Call for Signatories & Endorsements
To: "Garcia, Ruben" <rubengarcia@annunciationhouse.org>


Dear Human Rights Advocates,
During the past several years, we have witnessed an unprecedented crisis of violence in Mexico and especially in the border city of Juarez. Tens of thousands have been killed or wounded and reports of kidnappings, extortion, carjacks are staggering. The crisis has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes, many making the decision to relocate in other parts of Mexico in an attempt to find safety. But countless others have fled their country entirely and sought refuge in the United States.
A significant number of Mexican nationals directly affected by the violence and who have crossed into the United States have petitioned for political asylum in the US. The response to these petitions has been an almost wholesale denial of asylum applications. What Mexicans fleeing the violence in Mexico are discovering is that there is no legal support or relief available to them. In addition, they are discovering that there is no political will to find ways of applying existing law and regulations to afford some measure of protection to individuals affected by the violence.
The wholesale denial of asylum to Mexicans fleeing the violence and the almost total absence of the use of alternative measures to afford some basic level of protection to individuals and families victimized by the violence has led to the preparation of a Petition for Protection demanding that the Obama Administration and DHS respond and act.
The Petition for Protection is attached.

Signatories and endorsements are now being sought and you and the organization you represent are being asked to sign-on.
The Petition for Protection will be released at a news conference that will be held on:
NEWS CONFERENCE
DATE:SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2010
TIME: 2:30 PM
LOCATION: CASA VIDES
ADDRESS: 325 LEON STREET, EL PASO, TEXAS
Organizations are asked to participate in the News Conference and send a Representative.
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY
Ruben L Garcia 

--
Ruben L Garcia
Director
Annunciation House Inc.
Tel: (915)533-4675
Fax: (915)351-1343




 


---Ed Ciaccio's letter in Newsday. Hooray!!
http://www.newsday.com/opinion/letters/letters-lipa-health-care-iraq-war-and-more-1.1820887

This letter appeared in Sunday's Newsday, March 21, 2010

Billions for Iraq war could be better spent

Friday marked the seventh year of U.S. occupation of Iraq. In addition to the human costs of more than 4,300 U.S. troops, 300 other coalition troops, and 1 million Iraqis killed in this war and occupation, there are financial costs that are nearly as intolerable and outrageous:
Since 2003, according to the National Priorities Project, taxpayers in Nassau County have paid $7.8 billion, taxpayers in Queens have paid $7.7 billion and taxpayers in Suffolk County have paid $7.5 billion for this illegal, unnecessary war that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney lied us into, and which President Barack Obama is continuing by planning to station 50,000 U.S. troops there after the supposed 2011 withdrawal of most U.S. forces.
How much health care, infrastructure repair, needed housing, tax relief, and how many jobs could have been provided on Long Island by this total of $23 billion wasted on the Iraq war and occupation?
Ed Ciaccio
Douglaston
Bravo, Ed!
Andrea S. Libresco, Ed.D.
Graduate Director of Elementary Education
Department of Curriculum and Teaching
128 Hagedorn Hall
119 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463-6543
Andrea.S.Libresco@hofstra.edu
Margaret Melkonian
Co-Director
LI Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives
38 Old Country Road
Garden City, NY 11530
516-741-4360
Celebrating 25 Years of Peacemaking on Long Island, 1985-2010

 

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Dear Pax Christi friend,
As you know, two  major letters  have  recently been sent  to our religious leaders :
the first, from the Interfaith Alliance  asks them, as religious leaders,  to sign a petition  to the President and Congress to end  the war in Afghanistan .
the second, from the World Peace March  asks the religious leaders  to publicize the NPT ( Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) petition in their place of worship .
Pax Christi has been  an active partner in these important endeavors and we hope  you can follow up by bringing the petitions ( see attachments) to the rectory .  A personal visit can bring excellent results. For example, the  Kellys spoke with the pastor of St. Rose of Lima and as a result they will be collecting signatures on the NPT petition after all the Masses on March 7! Actually, they could use some help. If you can, please email agnesckelly@aol.com   
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."  So please venture out, if you can.
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NUCLEAR PETITION

End Afghan War Now!



--- On Tue, 2/2/10, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch <info@soaw.org> wrote:

From: Fr. Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch <info@soaw.org>
Subject: March 19-26, Romero Legacy Delegation to El Salvador
To: marabard@yahoo.com
Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 3:09 PM

Dear Maria,

March 24, 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Monseñor Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, on the orders of a graduate of the School of the Americas.

The life and words of Monseñor Romero have been among the greatest inspirations of my life. His commitment to the poor and his ability to speak truth to power helped me commit my own life to peace. That decision has not always been easy, nor has the path always been clear. But, time and again I find myself returning to the words and inspiration of Monseñor Romero to give me strength on this sacred journey of peacemaking.

It is with great joy that I will be traveling to El Salvador to participate in the commemorative activities of this 30th anniversary of "San Romero de las Americas."

I would like to invite you to consider joining me in El Salvador, as part of the SOA Watch Romero Legacy Delegation, from March 19-26, 2010 (to download the delegation information flyer, click here). Together, we will walk in the footsteps of many of the martyrs of this tiny and prophetic land, and reflect on how many lives have influenced us, and continue to call us in new directions.

We will also visit Salvadoran communities and learn how lives continue to be lost in the struggle for justice, such as the case of the recent assassinations of anti-mining activists.

Together with Lisa Sullivan, Coordinator of SOA Watch Partnership Latin America, we will meet with government leaders of El Salvador to ask that they consider joining other countries in withdrawing their troops from the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC).

This is a special benefit delegation. All proceeds will go to facilitating the participation of our Latin American partners at the "South-North Encuentro", scheduled to take place in Venezuela this June. This special SOA Watch gathering will bring together peace activists from South, Central and North America to work together to close the School of the Americas and open new doors of just relationships.

In order to facilitate quality sharing, this delegation will be limited to a small size. If you are interested, I invite you to fill out an application, and return it by February 15 to Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org. Click here to download the application form. Lisa is also available to answer any questions you may have about the delegation.

Thank you for all that you do to work for a world of peace and justice.

In Solidarity,


Father Roy Bourgeois
SOA Watch
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SafeTALK: Suicide Alertness for Everyone
“In September of this year I attended a Suicide Prevention workshop run by Dr. Max Banilivy of Pedersen-Krag. Though I have been a pastor for over thirty years and worked with people around issues of attempted suicide and the loss of family members to suicide, this workshop taught me to develop antennae for those contemplating suicide. When someone shares a deep personal discouragement with us, you and I become frontline helpers. Though the situation is obviously awkward, Suicide Prevention encourages us to engage a person in sensitive conversation and direct them to seek help. Through this workshop, I became a better informed and more skillful listener.”
Rev. Jimmy Hulsey, First Presbyterian Church, Smithtown
SafeTALK: Suicide Alertness for Everyone
Tuesday January 19, 2010
9:30 – 12:30 
First Presbyterian Church, 175 East Main Street, Smithtown, led by Dr. Max. Banilivy, Ph.D., Director of Family Wellness Center, Administrator, Pederson-Krag Center
SafeTALK is a training course that prepares anyone to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. Most people with thoughts of suicide invite help to stay safe. Alert helpers know how to use these opportunities to support that desire for safety. As a safeTALK- trained suicide alert helper, you will be better able to:
 Move beyond common tendencies to miss, dismiss or avoid suicide;
 Identify people who have thoughts of suicide
 Apply the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe)
Fee, $10 Prior Registration is required; this workshop has a minimum of 15 registrants
To Register
Call 631-821-2255
or e-mail info@prcli.org

Kimwenza, 8th December 2009.    

Dear Friends,       

 These days with Christmas and New Year approaching you may wonder where on earth your friend missionary is faring. Yes, I am back to my old Congo again! A full year I stayed in Belgium for the convalescence of my left knee. I had been planning also not to return to the Congo but then I would be screwed down in a Jesuit residence without any priestly work. In Flanders the Jesuits have no direction any more of colleges (there were 7) or parishes. Most of the Jesuits are seniors as my self. There are even two houses for special care of them. The last years the Flemish Province (I had belonged to) had just one candidate every year. They enter the novitiate in England where Ireland, England, Holland and Flanders send their ‘boys’, most of them older then 25. As you can see, the encyclical “Spe salvi” about Hope was very much to the point!                                                                    

Whatever, the Congolese Provincial who saw me in Belgium wanted me back and gave me the choice of six possible places somewhere in this country. Finally it was Kimwenza (where our Fathers started in 1893) where I had been before from 1985 to 1996. I am quite happy to be here again, this time as the assistant priest and the parish and community (6 of us) accountant. Maybe I will be able to go out to the bush occasionally. There I will meet many of the Christians I cared for quite a few years ago.          In the meantime Kimwenza has been changing a lot. As it is only 20 km from the heart of Kinshasa,   becoming a mega town of 6 to 7 million, all sorts of people settled down in our place. The local language Kikongo is shifting to Lingala, the more popular language of the capital and the whole of the Congo, where there are about 250 languages. (though 4 main languages) Another difference is also the problems of ownership. Twenty years ago one could not acquire a property because the land belonged to the ancestors. This has changed very much, which is disastrous for the originally local people who are rather poor.                                                                                                                                               

There is nearly no industry, even not much in Kinshasa. Mining of gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt, coltan , tin etc. is of course mainly  in the East of the Congo (1500- 2000 km from where we live). This “geological scandal”, as it was called, is also the cause of a lot of trouble and strife among the different tribes and international companies. There was a billion contract, in fact a sort of a barter of raw material with structural works and buildings as roads, rail, school, hospitals etc. two years ago between China and the Congo. America and Europe are jealous; the Congolese are afraid of their own local trade and negligence of their social laws. They are informed by earlier experience in Cameroon and Zambia.                                                                                                                                            Though there were lawful democratic elections two years ago, It is disheartening  to  see  how the country is regressing in many ways e.g. average  life expectation is down to 45 years, primary education is only accessible to 50% ( It was 80% in 1960, the highest in Africa !) Teachers earn only about 50 dollars a month. The rest is to be paid by the parents or Family. I have a dream!  I am looking for an opportunity to create a possibility for some older children who missed school  putting  them together into some class with a special teacher who teaches them “the 3 R s:” Read, wRite, Reckon”,  a goal of the Millennium Goals ( 2015)                                                                                               

  Dear Friends, this rusty scribbling  is meant to keep contact with you and to tell you that I am still thinking  of you in America. Therefore I also wish you a Merry Christmas and  a Happy  New Year.                                                                                                                                                                        

 God bless, Father Anthony  Ploem  s.j.                                                                                                                         

 c.o. Procure des Missions  s.j.     Avenue de la Reine  141         1030 Brussel            Belgium.          

ploemtony@yahoo.fr  ( if it works !)


 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS