A Note from AYWW Executive Director

By Joe White

Let’s Make All Wars Only Memories.

Greetings AYWW supporters at this time of Memorial Day remembrances. Your continued support in contributing to and spreading AYWW is to make all wars only the stuff of memories. Our U.S. Memorial Day is our nation’s time to remember all of the fallen women and men in our armed services. This national holiday grew out of Decoration Day, which commemorated the approximately 600,000 plus fatalities from our Civil War. In less than 100 years of our nation’s birth we were lethally entangled in our most costly of wars. Today, over 100 years since our Civil War, the United States remains a nation of dynamic political divisions but not on the brink of civil war. For the past century and a half we have learned the horrible lessons of war and have turned successfully to other means of domestic political conflict resolution. At AYWW we ask, “Isn’t it time, after at least 8,000 years, for humanity to globally turn from the waste in lives and capital that war always delivers?” If nations and continents can learn to turn from war, why not our planet? Together we can make war a memory.

A few weeks ago, members of AYWW visited the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. During the Holocaust portion of our tour, stunned silence inevitably over took our group at the sights and stories of ordinary people systematically carrying out an industrial genocide on other populations of ordinary people. The calm, extensive engineering designs to create efficient crematoria in which the excessive heat could be diverted to create more efficient conditions for the effective use of the gases in the “showers” was mind numbing. In such dark, horrific historical moments when so many ordinary people proved capable of such hard, breathtaking, cruelty against the defenseless and innocent does it not seem that we, ordinary people, should find it much more appealing and inviting to take this powerful capacity we possess for following a variety of divisive, demonizing, hateful ideologies and instead turn this capacity to an ideology of respect and productivity in which we enable each other? This is not a plea to eliminate criminal behavior but simply to avoid collective, intentional acts of war. War can stop. Let’s try for the year 2020.

Finally, extending back beyond our Civil War to 1824 with its premiere in the month of May comes Ludwig Von Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with its Ode to Joy. On June 4, 7:00 p.m., at the Marjorie Luke Theater (721 East Cota St., Santa Barbara) A Year Without War will premiere Kerry Candaele’s film, Following the Ninth.  Following the Ninth captures the profound global impact, both politically and socially, that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has had at this time in our history. From Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile to the Tianamen Square Democracy uprising in China to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ninth Symphony has brought people together in their common struggle for dignity while raising spirits with a sense of hope. From Europe through Africa to Asia and the Americas, the Ninth Symphony is continuously performed celebrating our common humanity and joyous existence. (Tickets $10.00 on-line atwww.followingtheninth.com, at the theater on night of show or call 805-965-0581 #2476)

Thank you for all of your support. Let us know your concerns, suggestions, contributions atcontent@ayww.org and let’s watch this summer for a jump in 2020 A Year Without War’s presence in our world.