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July 23, 2011

Give Peace A Chance

I am a word nerd, but I'm a word nerd with a purpose. Learning a foreign language really only matters for one reason...

...to communicate with those of other cultures.

There are lots of reasons to communicate with people of different cultures than your own; you might like to travel, you might need to do business with those of different background or you might have family across language lines. Or a hundred other valid reasons.

How about peace?

You might not think an ESL blog is a good place to consider world peace, but I can't think of a better one.

Here's what I mean; do you think anyone would find it acceptable to kill, maim and threaten our friends and destroy their homes and livelihoods?

War and mass destruction only makes sense (if even then) if we are killing and destroying strangers - and we must be convinced that, not only are they strangers, but they are evil and somehow deserving of their destruction.

If we realize that each so-called enemy has beliefs and values - and families. Soldiers do their best to dehumanize those they kill or pursue - but ultimately it cannot be done. No matter what we are told, any enemy is someone's brother, son, father, sister, daughter, mother, neighbor or friend.

No matter what we call them, or how much we are urged to hate them, they love their country, their home or their God as much as we might.

Governments have their own purposes for urging us to hate and kill those different from ourselves, but if we communicate, learn from and understand how people around the world think about and make sense of life's big questions, we might not find them so evil or scary as we first thought.

One of my favorite peace related resources is Peace Talks Radio - http://www.peacetalksonline.org/. If you go to their website, you can listen to peace related interviews and stories from around the world.

Rick Steves, the well-known travel writer, has a book I highly recommend - Travel as a Political Act - http://www.ricksteves.com/politicalact/.

His point is that we can all learn from real people - not talking head "experts" on TV or radio what is actually going on in any given country.

Take a look here for some of Rick's observations after visiting Iran not long ago - http://www.ricksteves.com/iran/. It just might blow away some of your dusty assumptions.

I love the internet, you never know what little piece of information, story or insight you might stumble into. I incorporate my little discoveries in my classes all the time.

Let us know what links or other resources you find useful or encouraging. We are all learning and making new connections all the time. And sharing makes our journey much richer.

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and unlikely and ridiculous situations.

Posted by mmorf at July 23, 2011 11:10 PM


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