The Common Good

How to topple Saddam Hussein

Sojomail - September 4, 2002


                       S O J O M A I L

          Promoting values at the crossroads where
          spirituality, politics, and culture meet

               Brought to you by the publishers
                    of Sojourners magazine

+++++++++++++++++++++ 04-September-2002 +++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++ How to topple Saddam Hussein +++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *William Shakespeare

 P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
     *How to topple Saddam Hussein...nonviolently

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Filling empty tanks

 B i z   E t h i x
     *Is greed ever good?

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Men listen in from Mars?

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *Platform in place for a nonviolent intifada?

 R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
     *UK's chief rabbi warns of Israel's 'tragic path'

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Death threats against the Christian Peacemaker Team in Colombia

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Arab Americans in wartime on PBS
     *Down Under: Bad movie hurts Jedi

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers debate good humor and pink Cadillacs

 W e b s c e n e
     *A deep well for peace activists
     *Global volunteer opportunities
     *Rock, paper...mouse?
SEND A FREE GIFT TO A FRIEND - deliver a generous message
to your family and friends to sign up to receive SojoMail:

Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.... And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

- William Shakespeare


P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
How to topple Saddam Hussein...nonviolently

by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall

Saddam Hussein has brutalized and repressed the Iraqi people for more than 20 years and more recently has sought to acquire weapons of mass destruction that would never be useful to him inside Iraq. So President Bush is right to call him an international threat. Given these realities, anyone who opposes U.S. military action to dethrone him has a responsibility to suggest how he might otherwise be ushered out the backdoor of Baghdad. Fortunately there is an answer: civilian-based, nonviolent resistance by the Iraqi people, developed and applied in accordance with a strategy to undermine Saddam's basis of power.

Unfortunately, when this suggestion is made publicly, hard-nosed policymakers and most commentators dismiss the idea out of hand, saying that nonviolence won't work against a tyrant as pathological as Saddam. That is because they don't know how to distinguish between what has popularly been regarded as "nonviolence" and the strategic nonviolent action that has hammered authoritarian regimes to the point of defenestrating dictators and liberating people from many forms of subjugation.

The reality is that history-making nonviolent resistance is not usually undertaken as an act of moral display; it does not typically begin by putting flowers in gun barrels and it does not end when protesters disperse to go home. It involves the use of a panoply of forceful sanctions - strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, disrupting the functions of government, even nonviolent sabotage - in accordance with a strategy for undermining an oppressor's pillars of support. It is not about making a point, it's about taking power.

To read the entire feature as it appears in the Sept.-Oct. edition of Sojourners magazine, go to:


                   Get your own copy.

Have you read Sojourners (the paper version) lately? You ought
to check it out for yourself. Produced by the fine folks who
bring you SojoMail each week.


S o u l   W o r k s
Filling empty tanks

Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

- Saint Augustine


B i z   E t h i x
Is greed ever good?

by Michael James

David Batstone, author of the forthcoming "Saving the Corporate Soul - and (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own," believes that large public companies may, in effect, breed greed into the executives they hire: "They're brought in and they know from day one that their job rides on their ability to raise that stock price."

Even in boom times, open advocates for "greed" are rare, ethicists say. After all, it is one of the traditional seven deadly sins. To read on, go to:


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Men listen in from Mars?

A husband looking through the paper came upon a study that said women use more words than men.

Excited to prove to his wife his long-held contention that women in general and his wife in particular talked too much, he showed her the study results, which stated "Men use about 15,000 words per day, but women use 30,000."

His wife thought awhile, then finally she said to her husband, "It's because we have to repeat everything we say."

The husband said, "What?"


B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
Platform in place for a nonviolent intifada?

Search for Common Ground (SFCG), the world's largest conflict prevention and resolution NGO, released last week a survey conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland to determine the attitudes of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis on the potential for nonviolent methods in the Palestinian intifada.

*80% of Palestinians would support a large-scale non- violent protest movement and 56% would participate in its activities.

*62% of Palestinians think that a new approach is needed in the intifada.

*If a Palestinian were killed in the course of committing nonviolent resistance, a near unanimous 88% would regard that person as a martyr - in most cases, no less than a suicide bomber.

*78% of Israeli Jews believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to seek a Palestinian state, provided that they use nonviolent means.

*56% of Israeli Jews also feel this way about the Palestinians' right to oppose the expansion of the settlements.

To read the full report, go to:

******************* ADVERTISEMENT **********************
Sept. 11, 2002: Time has passed, wounds have healed,
but scars remain. Where do we go from here?

Sojourners announces "A World at Odds: Conscience In
A Time Of Terror," a new study guide that offers a
moral response to terrorism and helps us see light
in the darkness. Free of charge and available for
online distribution, "A World at Odds" outlines
Sojourners' alternative perspective on Iraq,
fundamentalism, globalization, and the Middle East.
This special online guide includes stimulating
questions for study groups as well as worship
materials to observe the anniversary of Sept. 11.

Sojourners invites you to experience this free
resource at!


R e l i g i o n   &   S o c i e t y
UK Rabbi warns of Israel's 'tragic path'

Britain's chief rabbi has taken the unprecedented step of warning that Israel's stance towards Palestinians is incompatible with Judaism. Read more at:



The second gathering of WORD AND WORLD: A PEOPLE'S SCHOOL
will be held in Tucson, AZ, Nov. 9-16, 2002. The main
theme of this school is social justice movements throughout
the Southwest from the time of the Spanish Conquest to the
present, as well as the spiritual significance of the Sonora
Desert. WORD AND WORLD is a popular institute designed to
address the need for theological pedagogy "between the
Seminary, the Sanctuary, and the Street."

Contact: Deborah Lee; tel: 520-670-9048;



B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
Death threats against the Christian Peacemaker Team in Colombia

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has recently learned that members of an illegal right-wing organization, commonly known as "the paramilitary," may have a plan to kill a member of the Christian Peacemaker team in Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

Through a reliable source, CPT members learned late last week that the paramilitary group has been unhappy with public statements that CPT has made concerning the actions of the paramilitary in this area and is considering killing a CPT volunteer in response. CPT has denounced violence and human rights abuses committed by all armed actors operating in this area (including the paramilitaries, the guerrillas and the Colombian armed forces.)

To find out how to take action, go to:


C u l t u r e   W a t c h
Arab Americans in wartime on PBS

"Caught in the Crossfire: Arab Americans in Wartime" will be telecast on PBS nationally between September 4-8.

This documentary focuses on ELCA pastor Khader El-Yateem and his ministry at Salem Arabic Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York. Read more at:


Bad movie hurts Jedi Down Under

The latest Stars Wars installment dealt a considerable blow to the once-popular Jedi religion, which has quasi-official status in Australia and New Zealand. Go to:,1284,54851,00.html/wn_ascii

******************* ADVERTISEMENT ***************************

                *BUY SOJOBLEND COFFEE*

All of our coffee is "fair trade," which guarantees
coffee farmers a set price at least four times
higher than the industry average. All of our
SojoBlend coffee is shade-grown and organic as well.
Call it the "triple seal" of java justice. And just
to show that justice doesn't have bad taste, the
coffee is just as good or better than you can get
at a premium coffee house.

Consider making your coffee drinking an act
of justice. You can order individual bags - $9.95
a pound - or become a "Constant Cup" member and
we'll deliver to you a fresh pound every month.
Order now at:

B o o m e r a n g

Sean Gladding writes from Houston, Texas, by way of Norwich, England:

As much as I say a hearty "Amen" to Jim Wallis' thoughts ["Dancing with the Archbishop," SojoMail 08-28-02] on a possible war with Iraq, I would offer a word of caution as to his comments that no one in Britain supports a U.S.- led pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Every day the newspapers are in fact divided on the issue, along the traditional left/right lines. "The Times," The Telegraph" and "The Sun" are all in favour of attacking Iraq.

"The Guardian's" latest poll indicates that only 52% of Labour voters oppose such action. I'm sure if Jim was hanging out with the Greenbelt crowd he didn't hear a dissenting voice (!), but the mood of the nation as a whole may be a little different. Having said that, I fall firmly into the dissenting category. And as a Brit living in the U.S., I wish I had been at Greenbelt to dance with the archbishop.


Rev. Shawn Ankenmann writes from Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada:

Jim Wallis hits the nail on the head. Nations like Canada and Britain must not follow blindly the American lead and head merrily off to war. We need reminders from people like Jim and the Sojo community that our voices must be heard, that we must speak out against what is a morally indefensible war.

I would remind Jim that not only is the motherland of the Commonwealth one of the most important voices, but the biggest trading partner the U.S. has historically had must be an important voice of common sense and moderation. We Canadians need to remind ourselves and one another that we have a duty to speak out not only against the U.S. plans, but against our own government's inaction.

I look forward to my SojoMail every week for inspiration and uplifting thoughts!


Pastor Georg Meyer writes from Bonaero Park, South Africa:

I was wondering about the absence of President Bush at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Maybe it confirms the theory of many people active in the field of environmental and social justice, that the Rio + 10 summit has been hijacked by corporate business. World leaders have abdicated the space to big business, which is trying to greenwash its tarnished images and pretending to care for our planet and its people. Nothing is further from the truth. If you are interested in some independent (i.e. non-governmental) views on the summit, take a look at:


Suzanne Belongia writes from Winona, Minnesota:

I have a great sense of humor, truly I do. I enjoy irony and sarcasm as much as the next person. But last week's SojoMail entry referencing is beyond the pale. It is not "irreverent humor," as you claim. It's just plain offensive. Poke fun at foibles, fine. Inviting your subscribers to a site that engages in low-ball attacks of this type, however, is far beneath you. Of what possible use is portraying the Catholic Church as "invented by Satan," or "leading its members to Hell"?

I am not naive; I realize that the Catholic Church is far from perfect. But I've come to expect better from Sojourners. I'm wondering what the response would be if you'd chosen a site that portrayed the Jewish faith in this way - charges of anti-Semitism, I'd guess, and justifiably so. Many times we social justice advocates can fall into the trap of taking ourselves too seriously, so humor is a needed antidote. But there's enough division in the world without this kind of nonsense. Please clean up your act.


James Talley writes from Salina, Kansas:

Re: Eileen Noyes-Verchereau's outrage over jokes involving the mentally ill [Boomerang 08-28-02]: Stigmas are real. So, too, is the pain of living with mental illness. My firsthand experience with mental illness has taught me that one of the most powerful tools for maintaining a grip on reality is to laugh in the face of suffering whenever you can. Translation: I'm nuts, and I thought it was a hoot.


Brian Vosburg writes from Detroit, Michigan:

In last week's Boomerang, you published a letter from Andrea Calisher of Ithaca, New York. This letter seemed innocent at first, but then developed into an all-out advertisement for Mary Kay cosmetics. I cannot believe SojoMail would be so easily duped into publishing this unabashed sales pitch. I expect you to publish real responses to real issues in your newsletter, not someone looking to sell enough makeup to get a pink Cadillac.


Donald Saunders writes from Boone, North Carolina:

Here's a Web site with a speech as relevant today as it was in 1966 when Sen. William Fulbright gave it. Substitute Iraq for Vietnam and see how uncannily it reflects Bush's apparently intended policy. Will we never learn from history?


Jeff Weed writes from Denton, Texas:

Your "Quote of the Week" on August 28, 2002, may be attributed to comedian Steven Wright, who made the statement using his trademark monotone delivery. Audio of it can be found on his 1985 album, "I Have a Pony."


Ken Thurow writes from Logan, Utah:

Cheers for marketing Sojoblend coffee. Fair Trade is an important economic and justice factor, and Organic and Shade Grown speak of quality and care of the earth.


Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views. The views expressed are not necessarily those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:



W e b s c e n e
This week's best of the Web

*A deep well for peace activists

Here you will find the peace and justice support network of the Mennonite Church USA. The site offers great resources on Iraq especially...also Peace Church information, articles, links, etc. Go to:


*Global volunteer opportunities gives access to thousands of volunteer opportunities, from helping farmers in New Hampshire to mentoring young offenders in London to enriching youth in Nigeria. An in-depth "Kids and Teens" section not only matches young people to projects, but gives inspirational links to youth-founded organizations. Paid internships also listed. Go to:


*Rock, paper...mouse?

Roshambo Rampage puts the ancient game into the silicon age. Two people with email addresses can duel. A nonviolent resolution to conflict. Go to:


  To make a secure donation to support our work,
  go to


Get the online version of SojoMail with clickable contents:

Printer-friendly version:

..................... E D I T O R I A L .....................

  David Batstone                               T 415.422.6660
  Executive Editor                         

  Molly Marsh                                  T 202.328.8842
  Assistant Editor                            
  Ryan Beiler                                  T 202.328.8842
  Web Editor                                 

................... A D V E R T I S I N G ...................
  Larry Bellinger                              T 202.328.8842
  Advertising Manager                     

..................... T E C H N I C A L .....................

  Bob Sabath                                   T 202.328.8842
  Chief Technologist                         


  Sojourners                                   T 202.328.8842
  2401 15th Street NW                          F 202.328.8757
  Washington, DC 20009          

  To make a secure donation to support our work,
  go to

  For more information, e-mail us:

.................. L E G A L   N O T I C E S ................

  Copyright (c) 2002 Sojourners. All Rights Reserved.

  SojoMail material may be freely distributed, as long as it
  bears the following attribution:

  Source: Sojourners 2002 (c)

..................... A R C H I V E S .......................

              For a history of SojoMail, visit

................. S U B S C R I P T I O N S .................

     SojoMail is published weekly. Subscriptions are free.

                     SUBSCRIBE online at:
               or by e-mail:

                    UNSUBSCRIBE online at:
              or by e-mail:


           ---- SOJOMAIL IS A SPAM-FREE ZONE ----
  (Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your address.)