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SPRING, 2002: Volume 7, Issue 1

From the Editor by Val Liveoa

This issue has been an experiment for me in many ways. I thought that since this is our first issue written since Sept. 11, we would focus on Friends’ involvement in new local peace teams responding to the needs of Muslim neighbors and/or to the “War on Terrorism” that have dominated our national agenda for nearly six months. Here in San Antonio, loosely organized groups of people, some of them Quakers, have formed, to be present as local Muslims worshipped, to increase tri-faith dialogue and to protest the growing militarization of the US response to the attacks. I’ve been most active in weekly peace vigils. But I wouldn’t call these actions Peace Team work, because the people involved formed committees (to get a specific job done), not teams (which have a unique, ongoing identity). These actions have for the most part not continued to muster the response and interest that was shown in September and October. Friends elsewhere surely have organized more actively and (I hope) more effectively. If you know of ongoing peace team work being done in r response esponse to the events of Sept. 11 and the widening war, please let me know.

Meanwhile we have the description of The Peace Team in State College PA that came in just after we had sent the last issue of Peace Teams News to the printer in early September. It shows how a local group can make a difference in a situation of violence that has already gotten somewhat out of control, and where preparation and planning led to prevention of easily foreseeable violence. It may be hard to know exactly what violence was prevented, but it is clear that The Peace Team and the other groups which worked to de-escalate the situation at the Art Fest were successful.

In January, Friends Peace Teams’ Coordinating Committee met three members of the team working in the Burundi Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service (THARS), sponsored by FPT’s African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) and Burundi Yearly Meeting. Their witness was vibrant and inspiring, and I am glad that some F/friends were able to hear their presentations. FPT/AGLI has just agreed toontinue our support of THARS for two more years, and we are recruiting one or two international national members for the team. Please help announce the position, the Colombia Exploratory Team and Mid-East delegation as widely as possible, and post copies in newsletters and bulletin boards in your Friends Churches and Meetings. If you would like an electronic copy of the announcements to send by e-mail, please e-mail me at valliveoak@juno.com.

The Fall 2001 issue was the last one to be published by Susan Rose, an extraordinary volunteer, who did layout, coordinated printing and mailing of PTN and managed the database for many years. I am so grateful to her for her many efforts and wish her well in her future efforts. I apologize for any irregularities of layout that have been produced by my own efforts to learn Pagemaker. Rachel Harrison of Adelphi Meeting in Maryland has undertaken the print and mailing coordination and database maintenance on a contract basis. We are lucky to have her computer skills and energy.

These changes have brought new challenges for FPT and PTN. Among them is an increase in expense as we moved from being produced by a volunteer to contracting for some of the work. Our budget was formulated in October 2001 before we knew of the need to increase our fundraising to cover these costs (and like other non-profits, we discovered that the response to our appeal letter was not quite as much as we’d hoped.). So we continue to ask for your donations, and for your help in getting regular line-item donations for Friends Peace Teams in the annual budgets of your Monthly Meetings, Friends Churches and Yearly Meetings. I have begun a “Wish List” of in-kind donations also (see Wish List). Another way that you can help is to underwrite in whole or in part the cost of an issue of PTN. Since we are also changing printers, I am not sure exactly how much that would cost, but I believe it will be in excess of $1,000 per issue. (We expect to mail over 900 copies of this issue to individuals and groups around the world.)

In the midst of the widening wars, the escalating spiral of violence in Palestine/Israel and a multitude of large and small outbreaks of violence and injustice I would like to cite a hopeful sign that is of considerable importance to me. Sri Lanka seems to be on the verge of peace after a successful three-month cease-fire (and nearly 20 years of violence). This news is exciting in general and to me in specific since I was there when this round of warfare erupted. There are many people and places to “hold in the Light” and I hope we can remember Sri Lanka among them.

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