Metta’s Opinion

The Man From the North: Story 11

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.

The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.


Blowing Up The Armory

We have been losing ground. Corporate politics has invaded many sectors of our lives. In times of tactical retreat (in preparation for later advances), the military uses a tactic called blowing up the armory to describe a situation in which they will destroy any unsecured weapons and munitions to prevent their opponents from capturing them and using the arsenal against the retreating forces.

Those of us engaged in nonviolent struggle may look around at the innocuous weapons of our pamphlets and banners and dismiss this tactic as not applicable. This, however, is a mistake. The armories of nonviolent struggle are the social institutions that maintain the status quo of civil society. A treasure trove of resources is stored within these facilities: law, education, communication, transportation, wealth, authority, governmental processes, business, commerce, transaction, regulation, media, entertainment, and much more.

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The Man From the North: Story 10

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.

The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.


Three R’s They Don’t Teach In School

Resistance, rabble-rousing, rebellion: a maturing empire such as ours has no room for these. Unquestioning obedience is required. Every standardized test, multiple choice question, regimented schedule, gold star, or failing grade trains us to obey authority. The curriculum that is laid out in yearly tests leaves no time for free thought, only a frantic rush to memorize and regurgitate the correct answer.

It is boot camp for our brains.

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Ode to Thich Nhat Hanh, Inspired by Earth Day

Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, compassion, and the insight of interbeing in our daily lives and promote peace education, mindful mediation, and reconciliation within families, communities, ethnic and religious groups, nations and the world. We are committed not to kill and not to let others kill. We will not support any act of killing in the world, in our thinking or in our way of life. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life, prevent war and build peace.

~ Twelfth mindfulness training of the Order of Interbeing, Plum Village tradition of Zenmaster Thich Nhat Hanh

 

leaf

 

I was first introduced to the teachings of Zenmaster Thich Nhat Hanh as an undergraduate student in the late 90s, at McGill University’s School of Environment.

I had started taking a yoga class and fell in love with the practice. An anxiety-ridden college student with pretty low self-esteem, yoga was helping me to discover within myself a sense of inner peace that I had never known. In telling my cousin about this passion for yoga and my new discovery, he said, “There’s a book you have to read…” and wow, was he ever right! (more…)

My Week at Metta Center for Nonviolence

Text by Annika Roes; Photo: Annika in down dog and Fancy the dog

Annika RoesOn my first evening at Metta Center, I was asked about my journey to Petaluma, CA. My initial answer was limited, but after spending a week at Metta Center—reading, listening, meditation, reflecting, and engaging in various conversations with the people who are a part of Metta Center—I think I can give a better answer now.

I reflect on a couple of influential life experiences: the fairy tales about the vegetarian wolf and stories of my pacifist father that my mother used to tell me, and my service as a peace volunteer in France. But it was education about nonviolence and satyagraha that eventually brought me to Petaluma. (more…)

Bringing Nonviolence to NCUR

Photos: Professor Boaz and me; me presenting at the conference

I have been learning under Metta Center board member Professor Cynthia Boaz since December 2014, working on research about the implications of media frames on nonviolent struggle—specifically the ongoing nonviolent struggles against occupation in Palestine.

This past week, I presented my findings to faculty and students from all over the country in Spokane, WA, at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR 2015). I was the only student from Sonoma State University—and the only presenter discussing civil resistance.

IMG_9035Our research analyzed media frames, specifically the use of metaphor, in reports of the Palestinian nonviolent struggle (2003–2010), and compared the results  to metaphors used in reporting during the Green Revolution in Iran (2009).

The effect of media frames on nonviolent struggle is important to analyze because of the possible implications framing has on how casual media consumers understand nonviolent struggle and how events are contextualized within the larger conflict.

At the most basic level, mainstream media set the news agenda simply by what they choose to report; the choice of media frames used shapes readers’ opinions about what is reported. In the case of Palestine, nonviolent struggle is almost always left out of the frame altogether and when it is reported, it is without context and described with metaphors that reinforce existing misconceptions about Palestinians. (more…)

Let the Pain Not Spread: Ira Batra Garde

We received an email last week from Ira Batra Garde, who wrote:

I have attached a poem I wrote yesterday. It is my response to the airline tragedy, and to all the rudeness we see expressed by strangers toward strangers, on the streets of San Francisco these days. I hope it can help us all heal a bit from the open wounds we must all encounter, day after day, in these tragedies and expressed anger everywhere. Writing it helped me to transform the tragedy (and tragedies) a bit for myself.

I am a physician and a psychiatrist. I was born in India, and immigrated to the United States when I was eight. I am currently writing a novel which seeks to explore the possibility of spiritual and psychological healing which can be transformative, breaking the cycle of violence and wrongdoing which can otherwise travel across generations and through cultures.
The airline tragedy she refers to is last month’s Germanwings crash. We, too, believe in the power of healing stories. We’re happy to share Ira’s poem, and we can’t think of a more fitting time to do so—it is National Poetry Month in the United States.

Let the Pain Not Spread

Let the pain not spread
Build a porous wall around it
Lest it seep into the soil
Harvest it
Plant flowers in it
Lest it rise in a tightened fist, gritty scowl, hardened stare
Or fall,

                                driving a buoyant angel

from the sky

The Man From the North: Story 9

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.

The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.


The Open Hand

At the dawn of life, two molecules floated in a single-celled organism soup. Trillions of microscopic creatures poised on the brink of revolution. The web of molecular composition tensed, ready for the spark that would ignite massive change. Two fated molecules went about their lives, unaware of the evolutionary cataclysm waiting for their connection.

You are those molecules in our time.

An epoch of history hangs on the possibility that you will lift your eyes across a crowded street and lock eyes with a total stranger: be kind, be connected, be unafraid. Rapid-fire possibilities flip through your mind: friend, lover, mentor, ally, enemy, employer, partner, collaborator, who knows?  The thunder of connection beats in your chest. You smile . . .

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The Man From the North: Story 8

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.

The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.


Baking the Bread of Revolution

There is a formula for revolution. The corporate-political elite are following it to perfection: steal the money, corrupt the power, imprison the people, starve the children, poison the water, pillage the resources, enslave the workers, eviscerate justice, stalk the citizens, stifle dissent, and inject terror in the bloodstream of society.

Massive unrest and movements for social change are natural reaction to such conditions. With these ingredients, we’re cooked. Either we’ll revolt like cattle lunging to escape the slaughterhouse, or we will wage struggle for revolution in a process as natural as the alchemy of bread baking. It is unbelievable that the powerful don’t understand: if they mix the living yeast of humans into the flour of our earthly existence, apply pressure and heat . . . poof! We will rise toward life, nourishment, and sustenance of our communities.

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