Beauty Will Save The World

Anniversaries allow for a period of reflection upon the past and contemplation about the future. As we approach the year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, there has been much discussion of the war and the lack of an end in sight. It was a few days before Russia invaded Ukraine that they pulled out of the MINSK II accord that held the greatest prospect for a path towards peace between the two countries.  While there have been numerous articles, webinars and debates on the war between Ukraine and Russia there has been little public opposition to the war in the streets. 

While borders may give an impression of collective agreements, conflicts illuminate the deep fissures that exist when arbitrary lines in the sand are drawn and nationalists tensions are manipulated.  While one could easily spend their days reading the most recent headlines and following stings of articles on the internet to have a better grasp of what is occurring and the histories that have led us here, there often seems to be a sense of disconnect or what some have identified as psychic numbing.

Weeds grow through cracksPhoto

Photo by Ed Hedemann, 2017.

For the past year there has been a dark cloud of potential nuclear war hanging over the conflict.  Now with Russia suspending the New START Treaty and threatening the possibility of resuming nuclear testing. While both the US and Russia have been withdrawing from nuclear arms control agreements, in January 2021 the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force making nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

In The Madness of Nuclear Warfare is Alive and Well in America, the author quotes Dorothy Day “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” as a testimony of the power that we have as citizens that led Dorothy and many others to war tax refusal and other tactics that promote life and strive for peace and justice. 

large gathering of people not clearly visible wih many signs ; one in lower portion of picture with sign reading War on Iraq could kill this many

London 2/15/03 photo by Paul Mattsson

Recently there were remembrances of the largest global anti-war day of protest to prevent the escalation of war in Iraq 20 years ago. It seems essential to take pause and mourn what was lost in not pursuing that path towards peace including 1.5 million lives lost and $21 trillion of taxpayer dollars stolen in the war on Terror according to CODEPINK and you can also read a blog post by Sam about the Iraq War Tribunal. It also seems vital to celebrate the communities that were created in coming together to dream another world into being and to broadcast those seeds throughout the lands. 

Dorothy Day also wrote about the need to take a break from the daily news and suggested immersing oneself in the arts. It seemed particularly important to see the issues of our day in a wider context and the universal themes of the human experience. She was particularly fond of Russian authors on war and peace. Any suggestions of favorites would be welcomed.  Poetry seems to be a great way to chase the headlines away.


From The Dragon Who Never Sleeps  By Robert Aitken


When nations take their revenge

I vow with all beings 

to suggest that revenge springs from anguish-

perhaps we created the pain.


Then the army holds a parade

I vow with all beings 

to sing pacifist songs with the children 

of Minsk, Tel Aviv, and Fort Bragg.


When federal taxes are due

I vow with all beings 

to refuse any role in the killing 

of Sesshu, Dostoevsky and Bach. 

Post by Chrissy Kirchhoefer

2 thoughts on “Beauty Will Save The World”

  1. Ruth says:

    Wow, that’s a great poem. Good find Chrissy!

  2. Chrissy Kirchhoefer says:

    Agreed. I continue to be amazed by the numerous expressions against war throughtout time; grateful for the visionaries utilizing various mediums to share messages of peace.

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