Over the New Year holiday, writers have published lists of highlights -- in genres such as politics, movies, music, etc. -- from the past year and the last decade.
Here is my list of just some of the many positive movements and trends toward peacebuilding over the last ten years -- examples of bold, creative, nonviolent People Power standing up to political, military and corporate power.
1) the worldwide antiwar demonstrations in February 2003, the largest coordinated protests in human history, in opposition to the Bush Administration's planned invasion of Iraq
2) the "Saffron Revolution" in Burma in 2007 -- Buddhist monks and students leading the movement against the tyrranical military junta in Myanmar
3) the ongoing Truth and Reconciliation process in Rwanda, maintaining stability and preventing a resurgence of retaliatory killing after the genocide of 1994
4) the Iranian people's democratization campaign of last year, which continues in spite of the government crackdown against it
5) the largely nonviolent, grassroots resistance against the illegal coup this past summer and fall in Honduras -- despite serious poverty among the Honduran population, the lukewarm response of the US government and outright support of illegitimate coup "Golpistas" by some US Congresspersons
6) growth of resistance to the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan among US military veterans, active duty personnel and military family members. Iraq Veterans Against the War was formed in 2004, Military Families Speak Out began in 2002 and Veterans for Peace will mark its 25th anniversary in 2010. These organizations have grown significantly since their beginnings and have organized numerous events around the country and abroad. Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX in 2005 drew widespread support. IVAW's Winter Soldier hearings in 2008 have brought to light military realities in Iraq and Afghanistan that have been under-reported in the mainstream press. Veterans have organized Winter Soldier panels in a number of other cities since the initial hearings, including two in Austin last Spring. The GI coffee house in Killeen, Under The Hood, opened last year.
7) a resurgence of activism among young adults on issues of war and peace, the environment, education and immigrant rights, AND a resurgence of activism among us middle-aged women -- who defy ageism with our energy and life experience!
8) exponential growth of the alternative press and social networking. More news is more available to more people. Regular folks like me have been able to publish our writing online and organize quickly through the internet. The traditional media has incorporated more interactivity into their sites. Kudos to the AAS for their early embrace of this trend -- such as hosting reader blogs.
9) a resurgence of interest in creative arts and crafts -- making things ourselves or buying from local artists and craftspersons
10) growth in all things green -- green building, urban farming, native planting, bicycling, alternative energy production. Every step toward sustainability lessens the underlying motivation for war.
Clearly, our world faces dire threats -- most of them man-made. But, I find much inspiration for reversing destructive cycles through courageous, innovative ways such as these that so many people are working to preserve, understand and revere all life.