Poets Against War-Fall Newsletter 2006

In this issue:

Howard Zinn: Rise Like Lions: Writers and Resistance
Sam Hamill: Director's Report

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Director's Report by Sam Hamill

There Is No Natural Religion
William Blake

The Argument. Man has no notion of moral fitness but from Education. Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense.

I. Man cannot naturally Perceive but through his natural or bodily organs.
II. Man by his reasoning power can only compare & judge of what he has already perceiv'd.
III. From a perception of only 3 senses or 3 elements none could deduce a fourth or fifth.
IV. None could have other than natural or organic thoughts if he had none but organic perceptions.
V. Man's desires are limited by his perceptions, none can desire what he has not perceiv'd.
VI. The desires & perceptions of man, untaught by any thing but organs of sense, must be limited to objects of sense.
Conclusion. If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character the Philosophic or Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things, & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again.
Or, one is tempted to say, things would “stay the course.”

Seeing pictures of pre-pubescent Israeli girls writing messages on American-made bombs http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/18/image_of_the_day_chi.html to be delivered via American-made aircraft by the Israeli military to murder Lebanese children is an utter outrage.

When did targeting civilian populations and bombing them stop being a war crime? Why must this outrage continue, decade after decade? No one is innocent. Silence is complicity.

The President of the United States—who believes he should have the right to maintain secret prisons and torture prisoners and who defines an unprovoked attack on another country as a defensive measure—refused to demand a cease-fire. He is an accomplice in the murder of innocent children. And since we all finance this bloodshed, we too are accomplices. And now we shall finance the rebuilding, in part, of Lebanon . This is utterly insane.

We read about Palestinian adolescents attending a summer camp that will prepare them to become suicide bombers or military warriors. We read of holy wars between Sunni and Shia Muslims, between Muslim and Jew, between Christian and Muslim… and remember that when the Christian Crusaders moved through Beirut a thousand years ago, they slaughtered every man, woman and child. A thousand years of holy slaughter…

Beirut has risen from its ashes time after time, and it will rise again.

We must declare our outrage in strong clear language and action. We must do everything in our power to change our government and to demand that the warmongering governments and organizations around the world be drowned in our cries. Fearmongering and warmongering and bullying never produce peace. Fear invites anger and tyranny; courage invites nonviolent diverse democracy.

“Terrorism” is a tactic, not a political or social organization. Most victims of terrorism are civilian, from NYC to Spain , Baghdad , Gaza and Beirut ; the largest number of casualties in the War on Iraq are civilian.

Is the government of these United States truly impotent when it comes to tracking down Osama Bin Laden and those who attacked us? If so, every nasty little Bin Laden Wannabe feels fully empowered. And the slaughter of innocents continues. A rain of bombs is a reign of terror, no matter what side one is on.

It can be stopped. But it can be stopped only by finding those few clear precious words of agreement by which each side may be encouraged to flower.


Howard Zinn's article (currently on the web page), “Rise Like Lions,” is a moving call to action, one we would do well to heed. In this political season, we must dream large and stand united in our conviction that wars can be concluded and that our country can begin to serve a higher moral, humanitarian role in the world.


It has been a very long time since we last asked for contributions. But now it is time to raise some funds to help extend our reach to other like-minded organizations and to help us be a presence in the current political atmosphere. No one at Poets Against War is salaried. But there are limits to what we can do with a handful of overworked volunteers and no real funds. In this political season, we need to have some operating expenses and it would be good to have a small advertising budget.

But most of all, we need you to give time and effort and a few dollars to right-minded political activities. Bush and his spineless, poisonous jellyfish congress have declared an eternal war that includes a war on our Constitution.

Doren Robbins has created a limited edition mixed-media collage with an anti-war poem to benefit Poets Against War. His poetry has been praised by Adrienne Rich, Gerald Stern, Philip Levine, and many others. He asks a minimum $50 donation to Poets Against War. The poster can be viewed at:


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