Faces of a Just Cause

Faces of a Just Cause

There are many reasons to serve the cause of Peace. Take your pick. Do you watch the news and see the never-ending wars? Are you moved by the faces of those suffering from hunger and malnutrition? Or maybe you see your own children and grandchildren and want the world to be a better place for them.

I have my reason for serving Peace, and I’ve already discussed my primary motive in a previous essay, but I must confess that I’ve never been more driven by another cause. I need nothing more to motivate me, and yet the world offers up a bounty of reasons to stand.

When is the violence to much violence? Have we become desensitized by what we see on film and television? The suffering we see on the evening news is visceral. The images of innocence lost are the epitome of reality television. So why do we marginalize the suffering of other people by changing the channel when we see their pain reported on the news?

I suppose we may feel a sense of helplessness, or even a disconnect because it’s easy to press a button on the remote and change the channel. Still others (and I hope they’re in the minority) simply don’t care. It would be different if the pain and suffering were at our feet. Then there would be no escaping it. God forbid it happen to our friends or even our family.

I think it’s a mistake to change the channel without acknowledging the suffering of others; even if they are half a world away. I’m tired of the images of children dying in the streets of Syria, or in the villages of The Sudan. These are the faces of a just cause. If I can do something, anything, to bring about change, then I will try to do so. I simply cannot remain quiet.

If you have had enough of the senseless violence and suffering, I ask you to get involved in any way possible to serve the cause of Peace. We can make a difference.

Jack Bass—Founder of The Peace Initiative

John Bass
PO Box 14 MCN 2C6
Concord, NH. 03302


The Forgotten Country

The Forgotten Country
The Sudan as long been a region of Africa torn by conflict and civil war. A study of history reveals that the names and faces may change, but the heart of the matter remains the same. Hate, greed and sectarianism stains the ground red with the blood of the innocents.

The past two decades brought the plight of the Sudanese people onto the world stage. The government forces from the North mercilessly bombarded the civilian population and rebel forces in the South. The army invaded the villages in the South the North where they were forced to study the Koran, and in many cases were pressed into military service. The women were raped, mutilated or killed.
The world watched in horror as these events unfolded. The armies of the Islamic North Sudan were committing genocide against the civilian populations of the Christian and Animist populations of the South Sudan. Many people fled to refugee camps in the Darfur region of West Sudan, only to come under attack once again.

Once the death toll and suffering had become unfathomable, and the world had seen enough, there was enough pressure placed upon Khartoum to agree to a cease fire, and finally to a peace treaty. This culminated in the creation of a new nation—South Sudan—the world’s newest country. Which would soon become the forgotten country.

The world was so happy with the victory they now saw as their own. The truth is, the victory belonged to the people of the South Sudan who had suffered at the hands of the North.

But not long after all the foreign dignitaries and all the reporters and all the cameras had left…the bullets and the bombs began to fly again. But the world has forgotten about South Sudan.

Why is this happening? South Sudan is sitting on top of oil fields and the greedy government in the North is willing to do anything to get it. So they continue to drop bombs, and rape the women, and kill, and mutilate, and destroy…
The world must stand up to this evil again, and this time we must not walk away. Bring the guilty to justice for their war crimes.

Jack Bass—Founder of The Peace Initiative

John Bass
PO Box 14 MCN 2C6
Concord, NH. 03302

This Prisoner Serves Peace

When I Look in the Mirror, What do I See?

When I look in the Mirror, What Do I See?

by Pornchai

When I look in the mirror, I see an honest, respectful, helpful and caring person. I am happy with the person I am becoming. If you were to ask this question six or seven years ago, you would get a very different answer. I used to be a very angry young man, and I took out my anger on everyone around me.

I got into fights, took things from people for no other reason than I wanted them, and picked on people because I knew they were weaker than me. I pretty much did whatever I wanted to, and did not care for anyone or anything beyond myself. I was just angry at the world, angry and hostile, and it was all I ever felt.

When I look in the mirror, today, I see the truth. I see someone whose anger masked his wounds. Anger was like a deep well that I could retreat to and in which I could protect myself from ever being hurt or abandoned by others. I wasn’t aware of all that when I was angry, but today I know that my anger was a result of my hurt. When I began to address one, the other resolved itself.

Today in the mirror, I see a man who has come far from that hurt and wounded kid. I am a better friend to others, and I have friends who truly value me and I would not trade their friendship for anything.  I have learned to risk letting someone in, and I learned the power of trust and loyalty and fidelity. They have the power to transform a person. They transformed me.

In addition to being a better friend, I have become a better person because I see my true self mirrored in the positive regard of my friends for me and mine for them. When I look in the mirror today, I see a man who has learned that the bad things he has done, and could do, have a profound effect on the people around me. It was only when I began to see my world and myself through the eyes of others that change in my core took place. And it was only in learning to trust that I could put my hurt child aside and become a man.

This growth is not only my own doing. I have had a lot of help along the way. I have taken many self-help classes and programs to learn to be a better person. I became aware of the person I was slowly becoming in prison, and discovered that I did not want to be that person. I do not want to be a product of this environment, and I am grateful to people who showed me a better way.

One of them introduced me to Viktor Frankl and his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. I learned from him that I have the freedom to choose the person I am going to be in any set of circumstances, and I choose this person I am becoming now. I want to make something of my life. I want to contribute something to the world and not just take from it. I want to be a productive member of society, and I want the people I love and care for to be proud of what I have become in the end.
Most of all, I want to be able to look at myself in that mirror and feel that the people in my life are better for having me there, and are not just people I take from. I
have learned that I am a person of deep feelings, and I have come to trust others despite having my trust broken in the past and those feelings hurt. In prison, hope and trust are just about everything. Everything!


Pornchai Moontri’s Outstanding Wood Working

These images of Pornchai’s work were submitted to me by his friend.

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A short note about Pornchai Moontri from Sophie:

Pornchai’s story Super Max was first published on Voices August 9, 2011, it has since been picked up by the site Solitary Watch.   If you are as compelled by this amazing writer/artist as Voices has been, I recommend you read Pornchai’s Story.  The piece was originally published in December 2007 The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and all rights belong to them. –Sophie