Earlier this year I posted about a controversy at Friends Central School in Philadelphia, where a Palestinian Quaker, Sa’ed Atshan, was invited to visit and speak, then abruptly disinvited & the two teachers who invited him, Ariel Eure and Layla Helwa, were suspended.
The news site philly.com reported on May 10 that the two teachers have now been terminated effective June 30. Along with that decision came an invitation from the school to Sa’ed Atshan to speak at Friends Central sometime in the future, on “his personal experiences and path to peace education.”
The report added that
[The suspended teachers] were offered severance pay of $5,500, but that is contingent on their dropping a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit, said Mark Schwartz, their lawyer.
“This is a ridiculous offer,” he said. “I’d be surprised if they took it. Unlike the school, these two have some principles.”
School representatives on Tuesday declined to give a reason for the terminations.
No, really: Just today I found an unimpeachable source, shown below. I saw the outline of the plan sitting there, exposed & unguarded — and, once an investigative reporter, always an investigative reporter — scooped it up.
On October 1, 2007, several news shows in eastern North Carolina ran a story about a remarkable ceremony that was held in Fayetteville. It was a memorial for an army wife from Fort Bragg who was murdered by her husband.
The case itself was old news – 33 years old, from 1974. But only in 2007 was a marker to be placed on the victim’s grave, by her daughter.
The victim was Beryl Mitchell, killed by her Army Green Beret husband on December 1, 1974: stabbed, strangled, and dumped nude in a wooded area of Ft. Bragg. Mitchell was buried in the cemetery across from Fayetteville’s VA hospital, but without a marker. Her husband was convicted of murder and spent several years in an Army prison. Continue reading A Marker for her Mother: A Survivor’s Journey→
First: Some years back, a peace-minded friend of ours wanted to bring some Truth In Recruiting materials to the main public high school in her western North Carolina County — where military recruiters had free run of the place. Local officials fought her every inch of the way. So she finally turned to the ACLU.
The NC ACLU staff lawyer then was a very smart, genial, friendly, but “git ‘er done” pro, and after genially threatening a court fight, she negotiated a deal which got our friend and Sgt. Abe into the school there.
Let’s Salute the Flag & Stand for the Anthem — Oh, Wait!
This flag was flying over the Manzanar relocation camp in the high desert of California in 1942. Manzanar, as well as nine other camps were packed with more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, who were taken from their homes shortly after the U.S. entered World War Two against Japan & Germany. Most lost everything they had owned.
Manzanar is now a National Historic Park. And it’s one that Quakers have a lot invested in, though not many of us know that.
Dog Days Profile: Jim Corbett, Sanctuary Prophet of Post-Desert Quakerism
Friend Jim Corbett, of Pima Meeting in Tucson, died on his Arizona ranch August 2, 2001 after a short illness. He was 67.
With his passing a quiet Quaker giant departed.
I for one am grateful to have lived in the same two centuries as he. For those who become familiar with the important strands of Quaker thought and action of our time, I believe Jim’s life and work will loom even larger with time.
Not that we’ll see a lot of monuments to him; he deserves them, but that wasn’t his way, and Quakers aren’t much for it.
Have you been obsessing about the election? Well, you can stop. I’ll tell you right now who’s going to win:
The war machine is going to win, whoever occupies the White House and the Pentagon.
And that’s why, among other things, we still need Quaker House in Fayetteville NC. And Quaker House is looking for a new Director (or Co-Directors).
It’s also why, if you’re serious about peace witness, you should think about applying for the job, or finding a better candidate to go for it.
I say the war machine will win the election. That’s not a guess, because it wins every time. We know this from just the “money metric.”
As Obama said himself, back in 2012: “Over the next 10 years, the growth in the defense budget will slow, but the fact of the matter is this: It will still grow, because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership. In fact, the defense budget will still be larger than it was toward the end of the Bush administration.”
(Emphasis added. Wonks can quibble about the “growth . . . will slow” part; peaceniks & libertarians can doubt the “global responsibilities” talk; but about the “fact of the matter” increase, there’s no real doubt.)
Here’s reporter Fred Kaplan’s quibble: “Comparing the eight years of George W. Bush’s base budgets and the eight years of Obama’s . . . Obama’s exceed Bush’s by a sum total of $816.7 billion.”
That’s almost a trillion dollarupward quibble; lots more is coming, too.
And that’s only war spending.
As for war-making,there’s plenty of that going on as well, mostly in secret, and the American public seems to like it that way. But the major candidates are all promising us more of that, and one of them will be elected.
Militarism remains as American as apple pie; even more so. Fort Bragg in North Carolina is one of the biggest military bases; and Quaker House is the only active, long-term peace project by a major base.
As a result, the current Quaker House Co-Directors, Steve & Lynn Newsom, have been plenty busy too. And they’ll be retiring in late 2017. So it’s time to find their successors.
I say Quaker House offers the best, most real job in Quakerdom, and I stand by that: the testimony is real, and applied in real time, with real people. The work calls for a wide range of skills; you can stretch and will be stretched; the stakes are high. The connections to Quakers are genuine too. If you think you’ve got religion, you’ll be putting it to use. There’s nothing else in Quakerdom like it.
And Quaker House is not a fly-by-night, Society of Trends activist fad. The next Director will get to oversee –and celebrate– its 50th anniversary.
And did I mention that the pay is good too? (Though, to be plain, the Director has to make sure the budget gets raised , to maintain that generous paycheck. Which in my book is another way of keeping it real.) Plus free rent and utilities in a darn nice house (all tax-free “income”), in what’s long been a safe neighborhood; and health insurance.
But it’s not a job for the faint of heart, the dilettante, or the unimaginative.
Below is the official flyer from the Search Committee below. Look it over. If it’s not for you, please pass it on.But if the Peace Testimony means anything to you, then you know this job needs to be filled right.
You can help. If it doesn’t work for you, perhaps you know a promising candidate. Let us know! The official opening day for sending letters & resumes is almost here.
Opportunity: Director of Quaker House
Quaker House, a landmark Friends peace witness, is seeking a Director to continue an active program promoting peace and non-violence. It is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Ft. Bragg, a major US military base.
Duties include: develop new programs to meet changing conditions; collaborate with Quakers, other churches and peace groups, extensive visitation among Friends and others; conduct fundraising, including fund appeals, soliciting and managing contributions from individuals or groups; supervise GI Rights Hotline counselors, Domestic Violence in the Military Counseling Program and administrative staff; counsel military personnel on conscience and discharge issues; write newsletters and respond to media inquiries; update the website, computer systems, databases, and QH archives; oversee building upkeep and maintenance.
Remuneration: beginning at $38,000, based on experience; plus health and dental benefits; free housing and utilities in renovated home located in Fayetteville’s historic district.
Qualifications: We seek a Director who is closely aligned with and familiar with the Society of Friends and the Quaker peace testimony; who understands the significance of upholding this light in a U. S. military setting. The position requires proven leadership, strong writing, fundraising, and management skills.
Candidates must have the stamina to live for an extended period of time in a military community. Familiarity with concepts in military counseling and recruitment is desirable. The candidate will preferably be available to attend some Quaker conferences during the summer of 2017 and begin full time in September of 2017.
Submit letters of inquiry in confidence to: Quaker House Search, 223 Hillside Ave, Fayetteville, NC, 28301, or by email to the Clerk of the Search Committee:
More information about Quaker House: www.quakerhouse.org
In the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary, there’s an episode which is called “Things Fall Apart,” appears to center on an incident of violence during the January, 1968 Tet Offensive that produced one of the most unforgettable images of the war. This image still produces intense reactions. Indeed, this photo was back on the front pages after that Ken Burns episode.
And I have something to say about that.
Not commentary, exactly, or film criticism. More of a footnote. A real-life footnote. It’s not in Burns’s documentary, and I’ve changed a name or two. But what follows is as true as when I lived it. I’ve called it “The Secret Life of Pizza,”and the connection to Vietnam will be clear enough in short order.