Stuff to Think About
20 September 2001


Katherine Phelps

Returning violence for violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I've received a few messages about justice, protecting our children, and stopping evil, concerning a few messages I have sent out about compassion in the face of these overwhelming incidents.

I, myself, am not thrilled with what I call "cotton candy newagers/liberals/etc." These are people who support sweetness and light, but with no substance. They do not understand situations to make informed and effective choices. I do not mind a certain sort of sweetness and light, but it needs fibre and nutrition like a good healthy apple.

Some of you feel that the most realistic thing to do is make war with Afghanistan. I have several answers to this. First, you might wish to read these articles:

An Afghan-American Speaks
Not-Terrorism, or "Hug an Arab"

I remember as a child seeing images of the Vietnam war, people killing people, people dying in gruesome ways, and promising that I would never intentionally kill another person. I had an uncle that went to Korea during that war, who came back and said there had been enough killing. He became a pacifist.

A part of my background is Chickasaw Native American. When the European settlers came to the Americas, they came wanting free land in order to build a prosperous life for themselves and their families. Somehow it was decided that Native Americans were not real people and the land was not theirs. So, the settlers began taking that land. Some tribes sought to deal with this matter by talking with people, even going to the US government for help. They believed that peace would create an answer. Some tribes dealt with this matter by going to war with the settlers. In the end both methods were largely fruitless and whole peoples were wiped out. The Europeans could not be negotiated with.

We are now faced with an adversary who may not be placatable. We can answer their violence with violence, and in that way share their rage and hatred. Or we can answer their hatred with compassion and peace. We may not win a peaceful confrontation in this generation. It may seem foolish, but how we choose to face these things says much about us, what we stand for, and sets an example.

I will not kill for justice, but I am willing to die for peace.

Thank you to all of you who trusted me enough to speak honestly. It is only in voicing our questions and concerns that an answer can be made. I do not know if my answer will be sufficient for you, that is your choice. I do hope it has given you something to think about.