Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stories from the Other Side: "Hometown Baghdad"

When I attended the 2007 Student Peace Alliance Conference as a senior in high school, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the creators of the "Hometown Baghdad" webisodes, which document the lives of three young Iraqis during the ongoing "war on terrorism." Watching the lives of these young people unfold, listening to their stories, seeing their own tears and the tears of their families is at once eye-opening and heartbreaking. America has lost a few thousand of its soldiers, but the war is on the Iraqis' doorstep and they have lost close to a hundred thousand civilians.

Watch a few or all of the webisodes, if you wish, and please leave your thoughts in the comments.

NOTE: The three young men of "Hometown Baghdad" need your help. If you can afford to give them your aid, financial or otherwise, please do. It's a good cause and will be very much appreciated.

Something to think about...

"The Miniature Earth"

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Links for Peace: Part I

Decided to throw together this list of links related to peace and other humanitarian efforts. I strongly encourage all of you to check them out and to volunteer, if there's an opportunity and you're interested. Enjoy!

Free Rice
For every multiple choice vocabulary question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Hunger Program. Dust off those dictionaries, and get to feedin' all those hungry people out there!

Peace Corps
Self-explanatory, for the most part. Send in an application, and if you're accepted into the Corps, you'll be sent to a developing country, after a bit of training, to help its citizens "work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation." Happy volunteering!

Nonviolent Peaceforce
"Nonviolent Peaceforce is an unarmed, professional civilian peacekeeping force that is invited to work in conflict zones worldwide." Volunteer, or help out with donations. Have fun!

The Peace Alliance
The organization heading the campaign for the establishment of a U. S. Department of Peace. Help with grassroots campaigning, lobbying, fundraising, and donations. Attend the annual conference if you can. Scholarships are available, and we'd love to see you there. Sign up at to make friends with fellow activists and to participate in discussion of the campaign and peace activism in general. Help make this a reality!

Student Peace Alliance
The youth campaign for the establishment of a U. S. Department of Peace. You can be a middle school, high school, or college student of any age, and join your local Student Peace Alliance (SPA) chapter. If you don't have one, make your own! (You can do that here: Help with grassroots campaigning, lobbying, fundraising, and donations. Get creative and organize a Peace Walk on your school's running track, or a SPA Spa Day - with facials, massages, the whole nine yards. The possibilities are endless!

International Day of Peace
Do something special on September 21st of this year and, ideally, every year. Speak peace, do peace, be peace!

Vision of Humanity
"Vision of Humanity groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. It brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century." Plenty of food for thought here!

United States Institute of Peace
"The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) provides the analysis, training and tools that help to prevent, manage and end violent international conflicts, promote stability and professionalize the field of peacebuilding." The Institute offers grants and fellowships, as well as a couple of free online courses on Conflict Analysis and Interfaith Conflict Resolution. Go forth, and educate yourselves!

I'll be updating this list with a Part II as soon as I find a good number of more related sites. Until then, keep your eyes peeled while you're on the web, and leave a comment if you happen to stumble across something. I'll look into it, and it just might end up in my next "Links for Peace" blog.

Take care, everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why is there peace?

Studies show that we, as a race, have become less violent over the centuries. Citizens of developed countries tend to hold a belief to the contrary due to increased media coverage and exposure of violence. Needless to say, we're doing something right, but what is it? Cultural or emotional evolution? Increased life span, leading to an increased value of life? Leave your theories and thoughts in the comments.

Link to the article:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Introductions - The Namesake of "Peace is Dynamism"

Hello, all. For those of you who do not know, my name is Megan Jetton. I'm just a simple certified massage therapist (CMT) residing in Central Virginia, and I also happen to be passionately devoted to the cause of peace and am an active member of the Student Peace Alliance, the youth campaign for the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace. You can learn more about the campaign here and here. Just thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself and to allow you to introduce yourselves as well. Feel free to include any and all reasons why you are interested in and/or supportive of the cause of peace.

Now, to explain the blog's name, "Peace is Dynamism..." The idea for the blog name came from a quote by Oscar Romero: "Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty." Now, why did I choose the particular quote of "Peace is dynamism?" Well, dynamism is defined as continuous change, activity, or progress, and, generally speaking, this is exactly what peace is. In order to maintain a good and lasting peace in any society, changes must always be made, activities must always be taking place, and progress must always be achieved. So, there you have it, the namesake of this blog and the battle cry of those who wish to one day know a world of peace, rather than a world of war.

New Zealand and Scandinavian Countries Named Most Peaceful of 2009

Vision of Humanity has ranked New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Austria as the top five most peaceful countries of 2009 in the Global Peace Index. According to an article on, New Zealand was awarded top place because of its low violence rate, decreased military spending, low homicide rate, and high level of respect for human rights. As for the Scandinavian nations, I have read multiple articles that claim Jante Law is largely, or, at least, partially, repsonsible for their success as peaceful nations. For those who are unaware of the nature and meaning of Jante Law, it is best summed up in the following ten rules:

1) Don't think that you are special.
2) Don't think that you are of the same standing as us.
3) Don't think that you are smarter than us.
4) Don't fancy yourself as being better than us.
5) Don't think that you know more than us.
6) Don't think that you are more important than us.
7) Don't think that you are good at anything.
8) Don't laugh at us.
9) Don't think that anyone of us cares about you.
10) Don't think that you can teach us anything.

So, what do you think? What can we learn from New Zealand? Is Jante Law a good foundation for the establishment of peace in a community or nation? Please comment with your thoughts.