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Peace & Life Connections #47 - February 18, 2011

 Egyptians Show Once Again that People Power is an Effective Alternative to Violence
        Nonviolent revolution is no longer regarded as a naïve idea, as Egyptians and Tunisians just added themselves to the lengthening list of successes. It’s clearly more effective than revolutionary war for achieving the goal of ousting dictators. As for the sporadic acts of assassination and bombing in Egypt in past years, these were counter-productive, as the dictatorship used them as justification for its repression. War isn’t only wrong because it deliberately kills people, but also because it shares with all forms of violence the feature that it sabotages true efforts for justice.
        Political science professor Stephen Zunes is co-editor of our book, Consistently Opposing Killing. His web page links to his articles on nonviolent movements worldwide and we recommend it as a resource for those wanting greater understanding of current events.

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Rape Prevention
        CL member group Feminists for Life issued an excellent statement in response to the recent controversy about the “forcible rape” language of H.R. 3.
        All efforts to prevent rape are crucial by themselves, whether or not pregnancy and therefore a possible abortion occur. The most important point about the rape-and-incest exception is that the best way to prevent the post-rape abortion is to prevent the rape in the first place.
        When thinking of rape globally, we should note that war is one of the greatest causes of rape. Historically and in modern times it’s been thoroughly documented that large-scale instances of rape often accompany war. The same mentality that dehumanizes people for killing dehumanizes women for rape.
        Abortion also facilitates the problem. With organized sex trafficking and incest perpetration, abortion clinics often help cover up and therefore become accomplices to the crime. In a more subtle way, men who feel they’re entitled to sex from women without the woman having a say often regard abortion as part of that entitlement. Just the tip of the iceberg, rape is the most extreme form of this attitude of male domination in sexual relationships.   
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Letter to the Editor
Mary Rider        CL Treasurer Mary Rider sends in this letter that was published in her local Raleigh NC newspaper, The News and Observer, Friday, February 11. We remind people to send us their own letters to serve as examples and inspiration (
        It was interesting to see two stories, one below the other - "Teachable moment" and "D.C. march protests abortion" (Jan. 24). The former was a lovely story about the UNC basketball team hosting a Special Olympics training clinic. The latter was a story about the annual anti-abortion march.
        Five years ago I discovered a connection between these two topics. After my daughter, Mary Evelyn, was born with Down syndrome I learned that almost all babies with Down syndrome are aborted in the U.S. I was astonished at this discovery. While raising a child with Down syndrome presents some challenges, raising my typically developing children can be no piece of cake, either. Nonetheless, I wouldn't trade any of them. They are each a delight and a gift, all with their own unique talents, personalities and challenges.
        I am a practicing Catholic. However, my opposition to abortion, like my opposition to war and the death penalty, is informed by my Catholicism, not dictated by it.
        It is my hope that in reading these articles, other folks recognized the inherent worth present in all humanity. Perhaps we can translate that recognition into a commitment to value life at all stages, in all places, and work to put an end to threats to life like abortion, the death penalty and war.
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Quotation of the Week
Lanza del Vasto, 1975
        “Justified” violence is the worst. Unjustified violence bursts out of a bad character or bad feelings, but it doesn't go very far. But when people feel justified in the use of violence, it becomes systematic and leads to all the horrors of history.
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