Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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When I was much younger, I used to enjoy listening to Peter, Paul and Mary. One of their most popular songs was "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" It was a song about war, destruction, and death.
I was a student at Brandeis University, near Boston, in 1959 - 63, and Mary's sister was a student at our school. So, she was able to book PPM frequently. I saw and heard them sing numerous times.
Their song is actually an anti-war song of frustration. "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn."
And now it is sixty years later, and there is horrific war raging in Ukraine. Many people have been killed, and there is a massive destruction of buildings and resources. Over three million refugees have left, seeking some safety in Poland and elsewhere.
It seems that we have always had some deadly conflict somewhere over the last sixty years. Governments declare war. Dictators declare war.
There is a fear of scarcity, of not having enough, of people who are different. There is entitlement -- "this is rightfully mine." It can be called the Promised Land, or Manifest Destiny. But whatever it is called, is about destruction and resources and people. In Ireland, one million people starved to death due to the British Empire.
Empires have always taken over less powerful places and converted them into their ways and beliefs. People have been displaced, uprooted, and had everything of theirs destroyed. Families are torn apart by wars. Suffering is everywhere. Death is all around.
It is Lent now, and Easter is coming. Good Friday is the time of Crucifixion -- killing. Passover is coming commemorating the Jews being freed from slavery. The Jews were persecuted for centuries. The Resurrection reminds us that there is life after death, and new beginnings. We want to believe there is life after death.
In America, Native Americans, Blacks and many immigrant groups have been subjected to violence, slavery, segregation, racial profiling and death. America was founded by a revolution that conquered Native American land and resources. Native Americans were murdered, and some were put on reservations to live. It was their land and resources that were taken over.
The flowers are always plucked, and the people at the bottom who are just going about their business of living their daily lives are decimated.
What can we do about this continuous suffering?
Change consciousness from Empire Consciousness to Oneness Consciousness. We must generate feelings of compassion, connection, and love for the world to be saved from annihilation. We need to believe there is enough for everyone if we share the abundance of resources.
When will Emperors and Empires ever learn to change their consciousness? When will we study war no more. Chants of the 1960's continue to ask for and beg for peace.