Passionate for Peace

| Profiles

By Jason Rawn

Aanya Adler Friess has been resisting war taxes since the 1960s. At age 86, she no longer attends meetings on a regular basis, though she lives below the taxable income level. She discusses war tax resistance with activists from the organizations that make up Albuquerque’s Peace and Justice Organizations Linking Arms (PAJOLA), of which she is a founding member. She “stood with Occupy for a while” and works on water issues in arid, militarized (Kirkland Air Force Base, in particular) New Mexico.

“It’s wicked what we’re doing,” she says.

In the 1970s, Aanya’s WTR work included offering canned goods as payment of her “tax obligation.”

“The IRS people were amused, not hostile,” she recalls. She and her friend and fellow activist Dorie Bunting left the cans with the IRS, though they were not accepted as payment.

After devoting decades of her life to dance, including performing on Broadway and earning a Master of Arts in Theater and Dance History from the University of New Mexico, Aanya now has time and energy to focus on poetry, another of her lifelong passions. She’s active in a writer’s group, working toward their fifth collaborative chapbook.

The poem is excerpted from her collection Praises, Protests & Songs, published by Watermelon Mountain Press in celebration of her 80th birthday.


People carry their hurts their passions so crudely (precious cargo?) afraid to drop them afraid they’d be trampled or overlooked if they don’t defend their turf.

Even the Master of the Tao defends his turf his opinions his certitude while urging us to merge into the great ocean of being.

It’s a turbulent ocean. Explosive force powers this universe. Seeing the great clouds of gas the blazing stars How can we long for peace? How can we not?

Jason Rawn just finished a 3-year term on NWTRCC’s Administrative Committee. He met Aanya while traveling in the Southwest after NWTRCC’s Colorado Springs meeting last November. He earned an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University and is currently working toward bridging permaculture and WTR.

Click here for a great 2004 article about Aanya and other Albuquerque war tax resisters.