To judge by the mainstream US media, Americans are enthusiastically behind the war in Afghanistan, smitten with their smart-bombs and yearning to see as many of the "enemy" as possible smoked out or bombed into oblivion. The sheer lack of stories exploring constructive solutions or positive, peaceful alternatives -- or even dissenting views of the war -- makes for bleak reading indeed.
I was mulling this sad situation when the latest issue of the American magazine Yes! arrived in my post box -- and I can't recommend it highly enough. As I dug into the current issue -- entitled "Can Love Save the World?" -- I was floored not only by its superb editorial quality, but by its breadth of ideas and its fresh approach to one of the toughest challenges of our time.
The latest issue (Winter 2001/2002) makes it clear that there really is a radically different -- and thoroughly tough-minded -- way to respond to violence. A beautiful piece by Jamahl Rahman describes his struggle as a Muslim to understand September 11 and to reclaim the peaceful message of the Quran. Author Wendell Berry offers a moving essay on the flawed logic of using war to achieve peace. And Walter Wink says love can save the world -- but only the tough-minded, highly disciplined sort that Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. espoused. On the cover is Alan Pogue's stunning photograph of Iraqi artist Neam Ahmad holding one of her creations, a ceramic dove of peace, which she gave to Alan after the photo was taken.
What's especially encouraging is that my friend Fran Korten, who heads the organization that publishes Yes!, tells me they've gotten a fantastic response to this issue. From all over America, requests for multiple copies have come in from people planning to use the magazine in discussions about their country's response to terrorism. They've gotten so many requests, they've gone back to their printer to do a second run.
Yes! is published by the Positive Futures Network, which supports people's active engagement in creating a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. Fran's husband David, author of "When Corporations Rule the World," chairs the board of Yes! His insightful discussions of alternatives to corporate rule appear regularly in the magazine. David also wrote a chapter in my new book about corporate crime, "Take It Personally."
Yes! is not about what's wrong with the world -- Lord knows we have plenty of media willing to cover that -- but what's right, and what's possible. The message of Yes! is emphatically the opposite of Margaret Thatcher's famous dictum, "There is no alternative." Yes! is the best antidote to cynicism I know.