Peace Scientists work for peace

Mother's Day

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Mother's Day brings a whole new set of emotions every year, because mothering is a fluid task, mothers being swept along in rivers of politics, judicial actions, emotions. This year for me is very different from last year, when my firstborn swept in from Thailand with a cake saying "I love you Mom". I was not as pleased as I should be, because I am Mum, Mother or Dr Dodgson. How silly of me to be annoyed that after more than 30 years, my son does not call me Mum.

I know of some mothers who would do anything to be called the wrong name by their sons. The mothers whose sons were shot into the hereafter by police guns in these United States and in Indonesia. All kinds of busy words are used to explain why they were shot, but only one word makes any sense to this mother: they were not white, they were dark-skinned, considered Black, and so the world stands back and gives beautiful explanations of why the police officers, and the Indonesian president, has no guilt. Murder not because of guilt, but because of race. 

Last year I was shouting loudly to anyone who would listen: free the Korlewalas, Liberians caught up in the zeal of Philadelphia police officers to arrest anyone for the crime of stealing from an old lady. And free the Congolese 20, Congolese caught up in a massive bribery scam in South Africa.

In September, a Philadelphia judge did the right thing and dismissed all charges against the Korlewalas, who were arrested because a Philadelphia cop thought all Africans look and are the same click here. And in February, a South African judge did the right thing and dismissed all charges against the Congolese 20, 2 years after they had all been imprisoned in Pretoria Central Prison in a scam invented by Afrikaaners click here.

Others were shouting loudly to commute the death sentences of 2 brown-skinned Australian men in Indonesia. These men had been condemned to death in 2006, and because of the loud shouting, their lives were not taken until the president decided to shove Australia's nose in poo by shooting them through the hearts after chaining them to crosses on Apr 29, 2015. These 2 men were in jail, in a jail designed for one third of the inmates it contains, in a violent, horrible jail, for 10 years. One became an ordained minister and married a Javanese princess in the days before the president murdered him, the other became an internationally recognized artist click here.

Their lives were brutally, cruelly, senselessly ended by court rulings and lack of presidential clemency, but they lasted longer than expected, and they finally had 9 years to get ready for their last moments, which came as they sang "Bless you Lord, oh my soul" click here. The 6 others shot to death in Indonesia in January, and the 7 others in April, did not wait so long. Most were Black, several Nigerian, one was a young female Vietnamese journalist. They were all beautiful. Brave. And should not have been murdered.

The deaths of Pastor Andrew Chan and painter Myuran Sukumaran were hard for me, because I truly believed that reason would prevail and they would be pardoned. Pastor Chan was not found with drugs on him as he got ready to fly back to Australia. Other white Australians found with drugs were not given the death penalty. The accusations and convictions are full of holes, so when I hear their supporters saying they did something terribly wrong, I am asking why they said these things. When I was a student in Australia, I heard many stories of law students, medical students, graduate students, undergraduates, funding their lifestyles by traveling to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and bringing back cocaine. I only ever heard of one woman who was caught, and not much happened to her.

Thirty four years ago, in spring 1981, my son Angus made me a mother. Less than a month before artist Myuran Sukumaran became his parents' firstborn. My son spent the last 10 years training and working as a medical writer, and living in Asia, but in Thailand. My son Miles was born 20 months later, builds robots and spends his free time inventing machines that fly and zoom and light up, and was recently witness to riots and protests of police violence in the poor neighborhood where he lives in Baltimore. My son Allister works in child care and spends his free time riding his bicycle long distances and playing Magic and preaching green, vegan lifestyle. My daughter Patience is a college student studying biology and her main interest is knitting and anime. They all flew away, and rarely contact me, but I take comfort in knowing that they are alive and leading purpose-filled lives, and have a greater probability of being shot by a thief than by police, because they are not Black. I want that to be true of all mothers' children. Whoever is shooting our children, stop it.

At our Quaker meeting this week, we are hosting an Amnesty International event in which a movie will be shown and discussed click here. The movie describes the wonderfully successful community in Ohio known as the Black Wall Street, which was burned down in an unstopped riot in 1921. The undercurrent in America in 1921, as well as in 2015, 150 years after emancipation, is that Black wealth, Black lives, Black artists do not have the right to exist. Even as Black politicians are elected and lead all over the United States of America. This inability to love cuts through the heart of America, and has turned off our economic growth, our ability to feed and educate our own.

On this Mother's Day I ask anyone reading this to reach out to mothers who have lost their sons and daughters, and say kind words.