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What can we do?
an article by Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Lately I have been receiving letters practically daily from folks who are depressed, frustrated, and disillusioned by the frightening direction of our government's policies. "What can I do?" they ask me. "I feel so helpless."

In light of the widespread oppression, manipulation, intimidation that surrounds us today, we most certainly need to say something. We need, in fact, to talk to everyone who we meet, actually engage on a human level with those who we encounter as we make it through our day.

A good example is Dianne, one of the wonderful people who regularly attends my healing circles. She not only prays for the homeless men and women who live on her block, she calls them each by name. I am so impressed and inspired by her personal outreach to these "untouchables." Everybody is, after all, somebody.

I have an outgoing message on my answering machine that doesn't even say, "Hello." It just starts right in with, "You know there really is still a chance for peace and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. So let's make peace -- in our homes, in our own hearts, in our relationships, in our communities, in all of our dealings and in the world. Peace be with us all."

A few weeks ago, I came home to a message from the plumber who was making an appointment to fix my sink. After listening to my taped pep talk, he answered in his gravely Brooklyn brogue, "Yeah, what is this war all about, anyway? Why are we fighting those people? They never hurt us." This, from someone I would have assumed to be a proponent of the war.

The electrician, another guy who really shocked me, loves the message and calls in daily just to hear it! Once I was here when he called and when I picked up, he complained. "Let me call back again," he implored. "I want to hear the message. It makes me feel good." The reason, he explained, is that it is not political. It is personal. And it touches his heart.


Question(s) related to this article:

Online Discussion: European Advocacy, JOIN the discussion on a Culture of Peace and Youth democracy in Europe!

Promoting a culture of peace on a daily basis, Can conscious decisions to do this really make a difference?

* * * * *


What comes to your mind when thinking of a Culture of Peace?

Do you have a good, positive example of how people in your country are making progress towards a Culture of Peace?

What would you like to tell EU politicians about this?

JOIN the international discussion on a Culture of Peace and Youth democracy in Europe!

The United Network of Young Peacebuilders has set up a weekly online discussion on topics related to a Culture of Peace in Europe and democratic participation of youth in Europe.

Every Wednesday a new discussion topic is posted. Youth (anybody under 30) from all over Europe can share their opinions on a Culture of Peace, answer our questions and come up with inspiring ideas. We welcome you to contribute and learn from the different opinions and examples of daily life that we will share at the forum.

By the end of four weeks, we hope to draw a clear conclusion about the role of youth in a Culture of Peace. The outcomes of this discussion will be presented by a UNOY Peacebuilders Youth Advocacy Team to the Members of Parliament of the European Union.

So, would you like to share your opinion?
Would you want to have influence on EU politics?

Itís really easy to join!

1. Visit the UNOY Peacebuilders website at
2. Go to ĎForumí and register as a member.
3. . ...more.

This report was posted on May 19, 2004.