Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chödrön is the Royal Book of the Week. For Duke Augustus, this book is a necessity to anyone trying to lead a more nonviolent life. It is the perfect follow-up to the Monday 7/25/11 Royal Book of the Week Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s book explores our emotional reactions to other people’s behavior, and tries to give us back control of interactions with other people by separating the emotions we are feeling from what our response to the person is in order to resolve conflict instead of increasing it. Chödrön’s book takes us inside those emotions second-by-second so that our thought and action can be separated from our emotions rather than controlled by them. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/8/11
Einstein: The Life of a Genius by Walter Isaacson is the Royal Book of the Week. Duke Augustus just finished this book. The book is included among the Royal Books of the Week for the discussions in it of Einstein’s pacifist, socialist and internationalist politics. Up until World War II, he was a ardent pacifist. Einstein even called for 2% of all draftees to resist the draft to bring down the military culture. He believed strongly in a society where every citizen had a guarantee that her basic needs were met, but did not believe in a dictatorship of the proletariat to achieve it. With the unleashing of atomic energy, Einstein continually called for strong supranational organization that would prevent wars and the use of nuclear weapons. He and Bertrand Russell even co-authored a statement calling for such a supranational protection.
Einstein was above all a champion of individual freedom. He opposed totalitarian regimes on the right and the left. After the founding of the state of Israel he became a public supporter, but he also spoke out for the rights of the Palestinians. Einstein was a supporter of Civil Rights. He supported the Scottsboro Boys, and called opposed the death penalty for the Rosenbergs. He was an early critic of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and called for intellectuals to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Committee based on their First Amendment rights.
When the author Isaacson steps onto the stage to give his own opinions, they are often those of the corporate media where he was a leader. Isaacson tries to paint Einstein’s politics as too radical, and his warnings as unnecessarily dire. Isaacson insists that American government is self-correcting. Isaacson does not take into account that such self-corrections have taken place only because of those like Einstein who were willing to risk everything to protect the country he loved. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/1/11
Here at Amnesty, our staffers have put together a list of books on our summer reading list for human rights. We invite you to read with us as we look to books, non-fiction and fiction alike, on issues in today’s world. Here are our top 10 summer must-reads!
1.) Anil’s Ghost by: Michael Ondaatje
Summary: With his first novel since the internationally acclaimed The English Patient, Booker Prize—winning author Michael Ondaatje gives us a work displaying all the richness of imagery and language and the piercing emotional truth that we have come to know as the hallmarks of his writing. Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to her homeland as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island. What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past–a story propelled by a riveting mystery. Unfolding against the deeply evocative background of Sri Lanka’s landscape and ancient civilization, Anil’s Ghost is a literary spellbinder–Michael Ondaatje’s most powerful novel yet.*
The rest of the AI post can be read at Top 10 Summer Book List for Human Rights Advocates | Human Rights Now – Amnesty International USA Blog.
Girl in the War by Josh Ritter is the Royal Song of the Day. The US media daily fails to report that the US is in five wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya) spanning the Middle East and northern Africa. For instance, the cost of this war is trashing the US economy, yet in all the discussion of the potential default on US debt that is not mentioned.
The Duchess & I first became fans of Ritter’s 2003 break-out album Hello Starling. The title of the album came from the breakout single, Snow is Gone. The song Kathleen also garnered radio play.
It’s seems that Ritter has now become a crossover artist. His first novel Bright’s Passage has been getting excellent reviews. Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky said it is
An adventure story with the penetrating emotional colors of a fable; a myth-like survival quest with the convincing texture of a movie; a good read that stays in the memory.
- Royal Song of the Day: Sunday 7/24/2011 (peacecouple.com)
- Royal Song of the Day: Wed 7/20/2011 (peacecouple.com)
- Royal Song of the Day: Thursday 7/21/11 (peacecouple.com)
- Song of the Day: Friday 7/22/11 (peacecouple.com)
- Royal Song of the Day: Tuesday, 7/19/2011 (peacecouple.com)
- Mon. 7/11/2011: Royal Song of the Day (peacecouple.com)
Book of the Week: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Duchess Susanna and I have worked hard to improve our communication skills. All of us are taught in school how to speak a language, but not how to communicate. Our society often teaches that communication is not as important as power. We are taught that the most important thing is make sure you are not the loser. Nonviolent communication (NVC) provides tools to seek a win-win situation.
The ability to communicate better is important in relationships, whether they be personal or political. Too often we waste a great deal of time talking around what we need because we can’t figure out how to get to what what both really need. Even worse, we are most frustrated when we know we are reacting negatively to someone else’s emotional outburst, even though the voice in the back of our head wants to head us in a positive direction. Too many times we find that both parties walk away unhappy, and neither feel they have communicated what they want to say. Nonviolent communication teaches skills to help us work together to get what everyone needs..
I want to share my view of some of the skills I have gained from NVC training. First is active listening. That means stepping back from our emotional entanglement, and even our own need to feel we are solving someone else’s problem. Active listening means we are trying hard to understand what the other person is saying. We have to dig down to get at their concerns, without judgment. This allows us to understanding what their emotional state is, and what caused it. This often requires repeating back what they said in our own language to check with them if we are understanding correctly. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 7/25/11
we make a dying at work so we can live it up on the weekend
Duke Augustus writes: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez sparked the modern simplicity movement. It remains one of the pre-eminent sources for how to create financial freedom by separating your needs from your wants. This is not a get rich quick scheme. It is the progeny of Thoreau’s On Walden Pond. The Harvard-educated Thoreau freed himself from the business world by by taking the extraordinary measure of changing his life from pencil manufacturer to squatter. Dominguez and Robin suggest a less drastic change by helping you re-direct your prosperity from consumer driven wants to enough wealth to stop working.
The publisher describes the book as: Continue reading Book of the Week: Your Money or Your Life
Well…Here is a list of entertainment for regular royals, and people who are bought into corporate culture: professional sports; Polo; royal watching; high fashion; expensive concert tickets of corporate entertainers; shopping for the mirage of freedom (aka the instructions of certain politicians after 9-11).
Now…Here is a list of entertainment options for people seeking peace and justice: local sports (or, even better yet, non competitive games); family watching; sustainable fashion; local music; making your own music; and shopping in a spirit of fair trade and sustainability.
Though, if you must do some “royal watching”, please watch The Duke and Duchess of Peace. Continue reading What do peaceful people do for fun? (Intro to Royal Song of The Day at Peace Couple)