Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

6. Blogroll-call

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A note about the new links I’ve just added to the blog ….

But first, a reminder about the book itself: Our Way to Fight will be released in January by Pluto Press (international edition) and Between the Lines (Canadian edition); and in May by Chicago Review Press/Lawrence Hill Books (US edition).  I’ll keep you posted.

How the book connects to the links on the blog:

Our Way to Fight emerges from a journey/search, to see what grounds for a just peace I could find in the tormented land that many call holy.  In a world of spin where ‘peace’ can mean anything, including war, it’s essential to specify: a just peace.  Peace without justice is hollow, a sham, the deathly stillness of tyranny triumphant.  By contrast, a just peace is alive, clamourous, and vibrant with possibilities.  Of course in a world of spin, ‘justice’ can also mean anything, including its opposite.  Our Way to Fight explores what a truly just peace might look like in Israel-Palestine, and how people imagine building it. 

The book offers no solutions, only stories of extra/ordinary people fighting for peace, justice and human rights on whichever side of the wall they happen to have landed by accidents of birth.

For the book’s title I thank Mustafa Steti, a young Palestinian who makes and teaches film at the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin refugee camp.  At one point in our conversation he said, “This is my way to fight.”  Like other people featured in the book, Mustafa is a peace activist.  Like them he is also, in his own way, a freedom fighter.  Because none of the people in the book fights alone, but works with one vibrant organization or another, ‘my way to fight’ became ‘our way to fight.’

So, my modest blogroll connects to a sampling of varied, creative and courageous initiatives in the fight for a just peace.  It highlights organizations featured in the book (I’ll add more of these later), plus two other links (so far):  one is to Mondoweiss, an eloquent, challenging blog from Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz; the other to the website of a brilliant French photographer, Nicolas Weinberg, whose work graces the cover of Our Way to Fight, as well as a gallery page on the book’s website.

Speaking of extra/ordinary people, my introduction to the book says this:

An Israeli friend urged me not to make heroes of the people in this book.  I don’t.  These are just people, as vulnerable and flawed as the rest of us.  It is context that renders them heroic.  For a variety of reasons, which the book explores, they wanted to see more, to know more.  They insist on seeing beyond the wall.  Despite the overwhelming persuasive and punitive power of the tyrant, still they refuse his terms: to not know, to not care, to regard The Other as enemy, to accept that there is no alternative, to settle into the easy refuge of cynicism.

At the darkest times in human history, it is people like these who stand – at risk to themselves – against the crimes of tyrants.  And if ever a just peace is to grow in Israel-Palestine, it is people like these who will have planted and nurtured the seeds.  The heavier the weight of facts on the ground, the more urgent it is that their stories be heard.

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

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