1.29.2011

Who inspires you?





I'm a PACS major. (Peace and Conflict Studies)
Basically I learn a lot about conflicts around the world and how to integrate peace. They are known as the "hippie" classes in university but I have found them so thought-provoking and really testing my knowledge on what I believe in about peace.

Take my history of peace movements class for example. This past Thursday the class had to write three discussion questions beforehand on the readings and when class started we got into groups of 4-5 to talk about and debate. I thought this would be a wonderful class to skip, because lets face it, who goes to discussions classes, but an hour later I learnt so much and couldn't stop thinking about that class for the rest of the day. Here's why.

Conscientious Objectors.
I've always been one to stand up for what I believe in. Most of my hero's are people who stood up, even when people didn't want them too or think they could. MLK, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi just to name a few. But have you ever considered a CO as a hero before? Someone who stood up for what they believed in, even when no one approved of them. Isn't that what inspiring people end up doing? It puzzles me because I have never really researched them until class. CO wanted peace and in doing that they didn't agree with war. Can you blame them? But in World War Two, things def. changed. Because the world was fighting fascism, it made killing people ok and made CO the worst people in the world. If you were a CO in Canada, you could fight your case but you would more likely end up in jail and shipped off because people hated you to much. In the USA, it was a lot worse. If you refused to wear military clothes in the prison, you didn't have clothes. They starved them, beat them and treated them terribly. They were no longer humans because they believed in peace. Many CO died in the prison cells and the guards would clothe them with  military clothing (mocking their beliefs) and ship them home to their families. What a horrifying experience.

I don't completely know how I feel about war. I have my opinions but I know without a doubt that these CO's were so brave for standing up for something they truly believed in, something some of them had to die for- even though they weren't on an actual battlefield.  They inspire me this afternoon to continue to fight for and what I believe in and they also make me realize I know nothing about these peace movements but I'm excited to learn more.

So I'm thrilled I'm taking my "hippie" classes because I learn how debate, discuss and talk about people who really made a difference; even if people didn't notice at the time.

mads.

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