Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Ferguson: this is what losing democracy looks like

(orig. posted in Tikkun online) by: Michael N. Nagler on August 21st, 2014 Some time back in the early fifties the U.S. Navy conducted an “exercise” to test bacterial warfare…in San Francisco!  They sprayed bacterial agents into the fog over the Bay to “see what would happen.”  Sure enough, some people got sick, and one elderly gentleman died. … read more

Israel and Palestine Can Never Be Secure Until Both Are Secure

Published on Truthout on August 4, 2014. Palestinian children try to pull a praying carpet out from the rubble of the Imam Shafi’i Mosque in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times) In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, the short story by Ursula Le Guin about an imaginary… read more

Tragedy and Humanity in Hebron

A little over a week ago I stood in the South Hebron Hills not far from the spot where, we now know, three Israeli teens had been put to death, assumedly by operatives of the Palestinian organization Hamas (though that is far from proven at this time). I was visiting a prominent nonviolent Palestinian activist… read more

Imagining the Unimaginable

Last week the quiet town of Waseca, MN narrowly avoided becoming “one more in a long list of school shootings” (I will come back to this language of the CNN report).  A boy, 17 years old, had plotted to kill his family and bomb the town’s junior and senior high school, to “kill as many students… read more

My Homage to Martin Luther King Jr.

My Homage to MLK by Michael N. Nagler I never knew Martin Luther King, Jr., but I grew up politically in his America. My personal awakening to nonviolence came one day in Greenwich Village when I happened to listen in to a radio broadcast covering a Civil Rights rally going on somewhere down south.  A… read more

Trayvon Martin: The Neglected Story that Implicates Us All

After World War II, US Navy personnel carried out an experiment in germ warfare. They spent several days spraying lethal bacteria into the fog around San Francisco Bay. The “experiment” killed at least one person, whose grandchildren sued the government years later when the facts became public under the Freedom of Information Act. Norman Cousins… read more

Who was Badshah Khan?

  Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan came to be known, over his objections, as the “Frontier Gandhi.” (Wikimedia) If you watched Malala Yousafzai’s much discussed and inspiring speech to the United Nations last week, you may have heard this courageous teenager — who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education — refer to Badshah Khan as a… read more

Unity in Diversity

  Unity in diversity (the term seems to have been coined by the philosopher Hegel) is a central aspect of the nonviolent worldview.  In nature, unity in diversity is an essential organizing principle of Life.  At first appearance, of course, it is a bit paradoxical: on the one hand the mystics of all ages, along… read more

Could the Sea Be Conscious?

The deeper science peers into the universe, whether it be the remotest reaches of space or the sea’s depths the more we must marvel at the intricate, subtle, and marvelous texture of reality.  This study confirms for us once again that cooperation has been and remains a far more potent factor in life and evolution… read more

Women and Combat

by Michael Nagler, originally posted on Feb. 4, in Tikkun Daily. Alongside horrifying pictures from the New York Times showing very young boys being trained to fire assault rifles (“Selling a New Generation on Guns”) comes the news, welcome in some quarters, that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered the military to admit women to full combat… read more