An invitation from Daniel Buttry
Are you a peacemaker? Anyone can be! This month, we are featuring heroic peacemakers from Europe. Already in May, we’ve introduced three Holocaust-era peacemakers: André Trocmé, the courageous French pastor who inspired his village to hide Jewish refugees (with news about a related movie); Albanian Muslims who also were heroes in protecting Jewish neighbors; Christian mystic and activist Simone Weil; and the famous righteous activist Irena Sendler. We also shared the stories of Thomas Clarkson, an early anti-slavery activist in the UK; Moses Mendelssohn, an 18th-century advocate of religious freedom; Moses Montefiore, who campaigned against religious persecution; interfaith scholar Hans Kung; Czech writer and peace activist Vaclav Havel. (You can find our earlier month-long series on Asia and Latin America, described below.) To enjoy the new stories this week—click on any of their images, above. Contact us anytime at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com
What’s your favorite movie? We encourage our reades to watch great films that raise thought-provoking issues and ultimately inspire all of us to become better peacemakers. For our special Latin American theme, faith-and-film critic Edward McNulty recommends the Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro classic, The Mission.
What can you do?
- Read these stories. You can help to help heal our world by reading and sharing these inspiring stories. Click on any of the three photos above to start reading the latest stories.
- Share these stories. Tell people about the simple URL that will bring them to this website: www.InterfaithPeacemakers.com
- Contact us with your ideas for future profiles.
- Buy the books.
Black History Month
We publish stories celebrating Black History Month including: Septima Clark, Leymah Gbowee, Wilson Thiongo Gathangu, Lance Muteyo, Anthony Fabrice Kettemallet, Boaz Keibarak, the interfaith friends Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa and James Movel Wuye, Wangari Muta Maathai, Ephraim Isaac, Hizkias Assefa, Diane Nash, Ella Baker, James Lawson, Bernard Lafayette, John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Lucius Walker, Desmond Tutu, King Negus of Abyssinia, Stephen Biko and Daniel Hunter.
Looking around the world
In our effort to encourage peacemaking worldwide, we are intentionally grouping some of our stories around the continents.
- LOOKING TO ASIA—We published inspiring stories from India about Rabindranath Tagore and Abdul Ghaffar Khan; from Nagaland (spread across areas of India and Burma) Wati Aier; from Burma about Aung San Suu Kyi; from Cambodia Maha Ghosananda; from Thailand Sulak Sivaraksa and also Ouyporn Khuankaew; from Indonesia Th. Sumartana and also H.A. Mukti Ali; from Japan Masahisa Goi; and from Pakistan Malala Yousafzai. We’ve included the Dalai Lama, as well.
- LOOKING TO LATIN AMERICA—We have profiled Oscar Romero, Rutilio Grande, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Mayerly Sanchez, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Paulo Freire, Gustavo Gutierrez, Baruch Tenembaum, Dom Hélder Câmara, Gustavo Parajón, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bolivian Women Hunger Strikers, Comadres (Committee of the Mothers), Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and Victor Jara.
Martyrs for peace
THE TERM “MARTYR” often sparks anxiety in this era of terrorist attacks around the world. But, in the long and courageous tradition of peacemaking, many men and women have risked everything—even death—to pursue peace. We are making a point of highlighting some of these noble stories. Of course, two of the most famous martyrs for peace are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also his mentors Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. Lesser known are Tom Fox, Imam Moussa al-Sadr and Christian de Cherge.
A ‘Natural’ Community
IN 2015, Interfaith Peacemakers will occasionally publish profiles of men and women who use the natural world around us to build healthy communities that celebrate diversity. We started with three widely acknowledged heroes in the field: Richard St. Barbe Baker, known in Africa as “The Man of the Trees,” philosopher and ecological bridge builder Holmes Rolston III, and a leading expert on faith and animals Dr. Laura Hobgood-Oster. In addition, ReadTheSpirit magazine opened 2015 with a profile of scientist and animal activist Marc Bekoff, then Bekoff also contributed a column with his thoughts about Pope Francis‘s comments on animals. Do you know an environmentalist who could also be described as an Interfaith Peacemaker? Email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com
World War I Centennial
2014-2018: Pope Francis I reminded the world that we need to look back to this terrible conflict, which began 100 years ago in the summer of 1914. Throughout these centennial years, we will continue to publish inspiring true stories reflecting on that war, including: “World War I in Song: Eric Bogle’s ‘Green Fields of France’,” also “Eric Bogle’s ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’,” and this profile of the great Danish composer Carl Nielsen. You’ll also want to learn about Pope Francis I’s recent warning about the lessons of WWI; Edith Cavell, a courageous nurse who was executed during the war; the sculptor Ernst Barlach who conveyed the horrors of war; Evelyn Underhill, the famous mystic and scholar who became a devout pacifist because of World War I; poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, one of whom did not survive the war; a fascinating look at “underground” art created in the trenches by men serving in that dangerous world; and Jeannette Rankin, the only member of Congress to vote against both World Wars.
HAVE YOU GOT A WWI STORY TO RECOMMEND? Contact us anytime at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com
World Music Festival
Through much of the summer of 2014, we celebrated musical peacemakers—and we included entertaining and inspiring video clips along with our columns! We profiled Carrie Newcomer, Pete Seeger, Sting, Joan Baez, Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Matisyahu, Musicians without Borders, Mahalia Jackson, The Freedom Singers, Mana, Mannex Motsi, Chilli Most, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Playing for Change, The Singing Revolution, Pablo Casals, Tommy Sands, Arnold Ap, Victor Jara, Vedran Smajlovic, Yo Yo Ma, Bono, Leonard Cohen and Leonard Bernstein—plus music videos!
A child shall lead them …
There is no age limit in peacemaking! We’re on the lookout for inspiring stories involving children and the peacemaking process. The whole world is abuzz about the life and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malaya Yousafzai. And, if you find her story inspiring, you also should know about Mayerly Sanchez. We even devoted one week to the contribution of children’s books: Little Golden Books, Patrick Gilmore and John Muir.
Prophets and Visionaries
Who is your visionary? We began this inspiring \series of profiles and columns with a chapter from my book on “Prophets and Visionaries.” The profiles in this series have included: the late Sandra Kay Gordon, Desmond Tutu, Simone Weil, Simeon Booker, Bruce Feiler, Michael Morton, Martin Buber, Michelle Alexander, Stephen Biko, Julia Ward Howe, Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Adel Imam & Omar Sharif, Father Bob Braconnier, Evelyn Underhill, Jim Wallis, Jeannette Rankin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joanna Macy, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nehemiah Rosell, Dalai Lama, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Henrietta Szold, Stephen Samuel Wise, Haym Salomon, H.A. Mukti Ali—and the late Glen Stassen. We reported on the inspiring story of Berlin’s House of One. We also published three columns from Maine by contributing writer Duncan Newcomer: American prophet Phineas Quimby; then Welcome to Belfast, Maine (where Quimby lived); and Those Eyes! (about Quimby’s remarkable appeal).
Russia and Eastern Europe
As the world is trying to respond to Russia’s takeover of a major portion of Ukraine, Interfaith Peacemakers creator Daniel Buttry wrote a personal note of encouragement to Ukrainian peace activists, since he has worked with many of them. Then, we turned a spotlight on Russian peacemakers with a profile of Russian peace activist Yuri Shevchuk. We shared a new documentary film on how men and women in the Republic of Georgia are working to overcome conflict between various religious groups. And we published a profile of Georgian peace activist Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze, recently honored by the U.S. State Department for her work in peaceful reconciliation. We also profiled three peacemakers who played major roles in finally throwing off Soviet power: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Vaclav Havel, and Lech Walesa.
Interfaith Peacemakers Month
For 31 days in January 2014, a new story was added to this webpage—and we have kept those stories online for you to share with others. January 1 was Angelina Grimke; 2 was Leymah Gbowee; 3 was Vedran Smajlovic; 4 was Jonathan Sacks; 5 was Etty Hillesum; 6 was Joseph Brodsky; 7 was St. Hugh of Lincoln; 8 was Victor Frankl; 9 was Maha Ghosananda; 10 was Kabir; 11 was Imam Abdullah Antepi; 12 was Vern Barnet; 13 was Howard Thurman; 14 was Lady Deborah Moody; 15 was Cyrus the Great; 16 was John Leland; 17 was Gandhi; 18 was Daniel Barenboim; 19 was Rabindranath Tagore; 20 was Martin Luther King Jr.; 21 was Aung San Suu Kyi; 22 was Abraham Joshua Heschel; 23 was Nelson Mandela; 24 was Stephen Biko; 25 was Carl Upchurch; 26 was Rusudan Gotsiridze; 27 was Mother Maria Skobstova; 28 was Grigol Paradze; 29 was Pete Seeger; 30 was Imam Moussa al-Sadr—and 31 was Masahisa Goi.