Celebrate the Centenary of the Christmas Peace Truce: Take your friends and family to see Joyeux Noël at Cinema 21

jn3This month Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 teams up with Cinema 21 in Northwest Portland to celebrate the centenary of the World War I “Christmas Truce” with three screenings of the acclaimed 2005 French film Joyeux Noël, a dramatization of the December 1914 event depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers. On Christmas Eve of that first year of World War I soldiers came out of the muddy trenches on both sides of the Western front and declared a temporary ceasefire in order to be able to celebrate the holiday and bury their war dead without getting shot at. They ended up singing Christmas carols for and with each other and exchanging gifts across enemy lines and there were even reports of friendly soccer kick-abouts. Although the truce was a brief period during the horrific, bloody “war to end all war,” it is a testament to the human desire for peace and a demonstration of the possibility for soldiers to lay down their weapons, recognize common humanity in “the other” and say “no” to war.

Click here to go to the Facebook event page and share with your friends!

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Phase 3 of Peace Memorial Park Restoration Completed

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Nov 8,2014 Planting Event.  Kudos to all who participated in Sat, Nov 8th planting at the Peace Memorial Park. Everyone pitched in and helped make this day a big success. Enjoying a beautiful sunshiny morning of gardening, were Barry, Tedine, Malcolm, Harvey, Marion, Will and Karen from VFP-Chapter 72. Community supporters and volunteers included: Joanne(VFP member) and her son, Chris Luchini (they have been to all our planting events) and Juanes Collazo from Portland State University. We had all 40 plants in the ground by 11:00 and spent the next couple of hours weeding, leaf-blowing and mulching with the leaves that Barry removed from the grassy areas. Malcolm, being on light duty due to recent surgery, was our photographer and worked at the tabling station doing community outreach. Our work was finished by 1 pm, leaving our team of volunteers time to enjoy the rest of a beautiful afternoon      2014-11-09 13.51.53 (462x640)

2014-11-09 13.48.36 (595x640)We were fueled with coffee donated by Peet’s as well as Voodoo Donuts. Both establishments were so generous that we had leftovers. These items were donated to SHARE Shelter for the homeless in time for Sunday’s breakfast.

In addition to our work at the Peace Memorial Park, Union Pacific will begin to clear out blackberry bushes and other brush that has become over-grown and unsightly. They will begin their work on Monday, Nov 10th and expect to have the job completed in 3 days.  When this is completed, there will once more be an overlook of the Willamette and downtown Portland, that can be viewed from the Peace Memorial Park.

Update: Union Pacific began work as planned on Monday, 11/10 and expects to complete work by Thursday.

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Nov. 8th is Fall Planting Day at Peace Park

fall planting graphicJoin Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 for a FALL PLANTING PARTY on Saturday, November 8th – 9 am to 3 pm — at the PEACE MEMORIAL PARK (at the intersection of NE Oregon Street and NE Lloyd Boulevard; just west of Convention Center).

This will be our third planting as we work to restore the park and make the peace sign more visible. Our goal is to get 50 plants in the ground, and we need your help!

PLEASE BRING: gloves, trowels, shovels, rakes if you have them. Refreshments and some tools provided. Heavy rain cancels; light—we can do it!! [Check this website for updates re weather.]

GETTING TO THE PARK: The park is located at the east end of the Steel Bridge, just west of the Convention Center, at the intersection of NE Oregon Street and NE Lloyd Boulevard. It is easily accessible by foot or bike from the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. MAX Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green lines stop at the Rose Quarter, about a block away. MORE INFO: 206-484-3385.

About the Park

The Peace Memorial Park was established in 2006. It is maintained by VFP Chapter 72 members and volunteers. In Spring of 2013, Landscape Design students from Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus submitted designs for a revitalized park. The chosen design features drought-resistant, primarily native, low-maintenance plants that look good year-round. Seventy-five feet in diameter, this is one of the largest peace symbols on the planet. We invite you to be part of this project!

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Armistice Day 2014: Ring out war, ring in peace

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, please join us in Portland’s Pioneer Square (701 SW 6th) at 10:30 a.m., and bring a bell if you have one. At 11 o’clock we will circle around and ring bells together — 11 chimes — to celebrate the end of one of the bloodiest wars in history, and to call for cessation of today’s hostilities and for the end of all war.

Event sponsors:
Veterans For Peace Chapter 72
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Portland Branch
Code Pink Portland
Living Earth
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Recruiter Watch
St. Luke Lutheran Peace & Justice Group

More commonly known as Veterans Day in the United States and as Remembrance Day in Great Britain, many in the world peace movement prefer to remember November 11 as Armistice Day, a day that was to commemorate the end of war.

The day marks the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day and on the eleventh month,” in 1918. The WWI Christmas Truce, which centenary VFP plans to celebrate come December, happened in the first year of the war.

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Nicaragua Today

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Lifelong nonviolence practitioner tells his stories

David Hartsough book coverDavid Hartsough, co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, talks about his inspiring memoir, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Nonviolent Activist (Oakland: PM Press, 2014).

Saturday, Oct. 18 • 7pm
Multnomah Friends Meeting
Sunday, Oct. 19 • 7pm
First Unitarian Church of Portland

Since meeting Martin Luther King in 1956 and working with the Civil Rights Movement in the south, Hartsough has over and over again found his way to exciting nonviolent direct actions all over the world. He has used his body to block Navy ships headed for Vietnam and trains loaded with munitions on their way to El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has crossed borders to meet “the enemy” in East Berlin, Castro’s Cuba, and present-day Iran. He has marched with mothers confronting a violent regime in Guatemala and stood with refugees threatened by death squads in the Philippines. Hartsough was a founder of Nuremberg Actions at Concord, California, and witnessed the events in which S. Brian Willson was run over by a US Navy munitions train during a publicized demonstration in 1987.

During the 1990s, Hartsough trained civilians in Kosovo how to use nonviolence to defend themselves in their struggle for justice. Inspired by those experiences, he began seeking partners to expand the defensive use of nonviolence more widely. By 2002, he had partnered with fellow nonviolent activist Mel Duncan to found the Nonviolent Peaceforce with the support of nonviolent leaders from 49 countries. The group’s first project began the next year in Sri Lanka.

Hartsough’s story demonstrates the power and effectiveness of organized nonviolent action. He shows how nonviolent struggle is being waged all over the world by ordinary people committed to ending the spiral of violence and war.

Hartsough’s book will be available for sale and signing at both book talks.

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THE GHOSTS OF TONKIN Comes to Portland

Ghosts of Tonkin very small imageSeptember 27 at 7:30pm
Lincoln Hall at Portland State University
Tickets: $20 available at the door, online, or by calling 503-725-3307

August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Bellingham TheatreWorks is touring a 60-minute theatre piece called The Ghosts of Tonkin, a drama about Wayne Morse and the origins of the Vietnam War. The play premiers in Bellingham and then tours to Portland and Eugene.

This award-winning play dramatizes the behind-the-scenes story of how seemingly well-intentioned public officials brought about one of the most devastating chapters in the history of the United States: The Vietnam War. The Vietnam War devastated two countries, toppled the President of the United States, and killed two million people. And one man tried to stop it before it began, Oregon’s Senator Wayne Morse.

In 1964, Oregon’s Senator Wayne Morse was an outspoken critic of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that authorized military intervention in Vietnam. Senator Morse was one of only two congressmen to vote against the resolution.

The Ghosts of Tonkin is based on telephone conversations, senate transcripts, recently declassified NSA documents, and other sources. In addition to Wayne Morse, characters include LBJ, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, William Fulbright, as well as several fictitious characters.

In August, 1964, our smoldering involvement in Vietnam was ignited into all out war when the North Vietnamese attacked a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. But it was later revealed that the alleged attack, in fact, never happened. When the Iraq War began, people drew an analogy between the genesis of that war, and the beginnings of the Vietnam War. This made playwright Steve Lyons curious to learn more about the origins of the Vietnam War. That curiosity led to Wayne Morse and to this script.

Every performance is followed by a post-play discussion. In Portland, the post-play discussion panel includes playwright Steve Lyons as well as Joe Smith, a former member of Morse’s staff. The panel also features Vietnam vet David Leverenz, who served on the destroyer Turner Joy. KBOO radio host Jo Ann Hardesty moderates the discussion.

More information at www.BellinghamTheatreWorks.org

The Ghosts of Tonkin is presented in association with the Wayne Morse Center of the University of Oregon.


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Nicaragua Today

Yellow school bus travels to July 19th celebration

Hop on the bus!

Join us for a very special event
September 7, 2014 – 3:00 PM

214 NE Thompson, Portland, Oregon

Click here to download flyer pdf.
Click here for fb event page.

How has Nicaragua managed to avoid the violent crime and grinding poverty that are driving the mass immigration of unaccompanied minors from neighboring Central American nations such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to the U.S. border?

VFP72 members S. Brian Willson, Mike Hastie and Becky Luening traveled to Nicaragua (July 13-22) to help celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the 1979 victory of the revolution. They learned about some of the progress made by the Sandinista Government since reclaiming power in 2007 (after being voted out in 1990) as well as ongoing challenges the country faces. The three will share highlights of their trip along with a few photos and videos captured by Mike Hastie, followed by Q&A. Refreshments provided. Please join us!

SUGGESTED DONATION: Asking for $5 to $20 sliding scale to benefit VFP, but no will be turned away. Cosponsored by Occupy Portland Elder Caucus.

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Veterans Oppose Drums of War

News Conference/Action: Friday, June 27, 2014

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.

Time: 11 AM to 12 NOON
Place: Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, SW 3rd Avenue between Madison and Jefferson, Portland, Oregon

Veterans and their allies will hold a picket line and news conference opposing the renewed US military intervention in Iraq this Friday, June 27 from 11 am to Noon at Portland’s Federal Building at SW 3rd and Madison. Organized by Veterans for Peace Chapter 72, the speakers will include veterans of various wars making connections among the current US policies at home and abroad, past and present.

“We have bombed Iraq into a failed State and it is no surprise it is disintegrating before our War Foreign Policy Eyes,” said Daniel Shea, a US Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. Veterans For Peace has a membership that spans the combat years of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and many interventions in between, so they know the monstrous face of war and the ugly truth, all wars were unnecessary.

Shea added: “Wars are the designs of empires and tyrants coveting land, minerals and power. The Empire sometimes wars to divide one people against the other least they unite and rebel against their masters and if they do rebel they must be severely punished. Iraq had been forced to surrender under the iron heel and to accept the cruel hands of a false Democracy but now has dared to rebel against our puppet Nouri al-Maliki. There is only one solution and it is an Iraqi solution: the U.S. must get out and stay out.”

The message for Friday’s action is clear: No More War! No More Dead & Wounded! Stop Wasting Lives for Lies and Care for the Veterans here and now!

The action is organized by VFP Chapter 72 with support from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against War, Military Families Speak Out, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and American Friends Service Committee. All are part of a community that supports peace and demand political not military solutions to resolving disputes and belligerent conflicts.

More info: Daniel Shea djshea@hotmail.com 503-750-7649

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Hats off to Ben Griffin and Veterans For Peace UK!

UK_picVery exciting to see this news story published May 31, 2014 on Mail Online, about the efforts of the Veterans For Peace UK chapter, under leadership of Ben Griffin: Soldiers secretly join pacifist group that forbids bearing arms in remarkable breach of military law

According to the article, VFP UK has 120 members. Speaking about the group’s “illegal” members (those still on active duty), Griffin is quoted in the article:

“These men have taken the brave step of joining us because they have come to the conclusion that war is not the answer to our problems.

“Given the issue with Queen’s Regulations and membership of political organizations we were not actively seeking to recruit serving troops. But we were not going to turn them away and will not do so in future.”

The group is refusing to disclose the names of those members.


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