This weeks Royal (Comic) Book of the Week for Monday September 5, 2011 is Walking With Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong by Peace is the Way. This comic book does not exist yet. The plan is for a “feature documentary film and 3D animated comic book about normal people who became Nonviolent Super Heroes.” Peace is the Way is currently raising funds for this project through IndieGoGo.
Peace Is The Way – A Century Of Nonviolent Action film series chronicles the interconnected stories of normal people, who became nonviolent beacons of light. These visionary, yet unsung Heroes used creativity, compassion, humour and nonviolent action as their “weapons”, helping to build global movements toward peace and reconciliation.
Our first film in the Peace is the Way series, “Walking with Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong,” will reveal our superheroes’ interconnected and personal stories, taking you on a journey from their first meeting in war-torn Vietnam to the “Arab Spring” and Tahir Square, Eqypt, where Alfred’s ideas within the Martin Luther King comic book in 1956 have now been used again in 2011, inspiring others in their contemporary quest for social change through nonviolent action.
Alfred Hassler is described as
a lifelong activist, leader of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and innovator within the peace movement, was arrested as a conscientious objector during WWII and continued on to become one of the most outspoken voices against the Vietnam War. Influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh and Vietnamese Buddhist thought, Alfred Hassler co-founded the Dai Dong project, linking war, environmental problems and poverty, in 1970. His work has inspired generations of powerful peacemakers and intellectuals such as Erich Fromm, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chan Khong, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Joan Baez.
In 1956, Alfred Hassler had the idea to create a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott Story. Martin Luther King, Jr., who consulted directly with Alfred on the comic book project wrote, “Again, I would like to say what a fine piece of work this is. You have done a marvelous job of grasping the underlying truth and philosophy of the movement. I am sure that this comic book will be welcomed by the American public. Please feel free to call on me at any time”. The comic book was a huge success although it was dangerous to own one in southern USA states. 240,000 original copies were printed although only 20 originals still exist today, with one being in the Smithsonian Museum.
Thich Nhat Hanh is described as
a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher and writer, who valiantly opposed his own government during the Vietnam War – a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Beneath Thich Nhat Hanh’s serene demeanor lies a courageous warrior. Martin Luther King Jr. called him “an apostle of peace and nonviolence. It’s also what led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Oprah Winfrey has said that “Beneath Thich Nhat Hanh’s serene demeanor lies a courageous warrior.”
Sister Chan Khong is described as
(her name means True Emptiness – a celebration of interconnectedness, of interbeing) is well known for protesting repression and violence, often at the risk of her own life. At the age of 21, she joined Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in founding School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS), which organized medical, educational and agricultural facilities and rebuilt war-torn villages in Vietnam that had been destroyed by the fighting. At one time the SYSS had over 10,000 young peace workers volunteering. She currently lives in Plum Village, France.
Thich Nhat Hanh & Sister Chan Khong have endorsed this project by writing that:
Alfred Hassler was one of our dearest friends, supporters and brothers and that is one of the many reasons why we call him by his true name “Thich Alfred Hassler”.
Alfred stood by us during some of the most difficult times of our lives, during the war in Vietnam. He was a deep listener who “always stuck to the spirit of non-duality and reconciliation.” We were with Alfred during his last day in the hospital.
When we arrived Alfred was asleep, he was dying of cancer and was heavily sedated. We sang to him, massaged his feet and spoke to him recalling many of our adventures together when suddenly Alfred opened his eyes for a brief moment and said “Wonderful, Wonderful,” then fell back to sleep.
Collectively, the film team “sangha” comprising of Gregory, Stuart, Katharina, Jennifer, Erich, Uli, Amelie and Anna have worked for a number of years to bring this story to the world and it would be “wonderful, wonderful,” for those of you who know us to support their IndieGOGO fundraising campaign to produce and finish the film which we would like to premiere during Plum Village’s 30th Anniversary in June or July of 2012.”
Our brother Alfred was one of the most important peacemakers in the last century and his story, which is interconnected with ours, should be told and is truly worthy of your support.
- Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/8/11 (peacecouple.com)
- Royal Book of the Day: Monday 8/22/2011 (peacecouple.com)
- Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/1/11 (peacecouple.com)