Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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09/13/2006: "Living in Harmony"

Rob, Pagan, and Aaron came over for dinner last night. Aaron came over right after a meeting with the “Juneau People for Peace and Justice” and wanted to talk about what we can do to help end the war in Iraq…or at least to get US troops home.

I realize I don’t get political here very often; I made a conscious decision to not go in that direction. When I’m working on a show (which is most of the time) I write almost exclusively about my artistic process and when I’m not (like now) I find myself writing about everything else…sometimes the dreaded “how I spent my day” because when I’m painting, that *is* how I spent my day, and when I’m not…is when everything else happens.

Gandhi said that "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony” and it really struck a chord with me. What I think and say are in harmony, but sometimes not what I *do*. One thing that we can all do (regardless of our own personal stance on the Iraq war) is to talk about it. There *is* a war going on, and Coalition and Iraqi soldiers and civilians are dying every day.

There was an Iraqi aid worker who visited our campus last week who said something to the effect of “we didn’t ask you to come into our country, and the fighting will never stop as long as you’re there”. And yes, the sectarian violence could and probably will get worse after we leave, but it’s their country they need to figure it out…which they’ve managed for thousands of years all on their own….I mean, we still need to pay them reparations to rebuild but let them take over…right now, ASAP.

Anyway, I know this is a very simplistic way of looking at the issue. I’ve read many books and articles on the topic, watched tons of news shows etc. but despite all the horrible things that could happen after a US withdrawal, I honestly believe that’s what we need to do.

Anyway, for me, this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a partisan issue…it’s a human issue. Something all of us, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike (not to be US-centric), are affected by. And for the record, I plan to do as much as possible to that end. If that means alienating a few readers here at home, well, I hope that’s not the case.

BTW, my little dinner party lasted until after 1:00am and I had a wonderful time despite the fact that my first attempt at home cooked lasagna was a big disappointment!

Replies: 8 Comments

on Wednesday, September 13th, berry bowman connell said

Good news/bad news

Yer traveling Iraqi was wrong. The fighting will not stop after we leave, though, in my book at least, we should leave now.

The bad news is there has always been a war going on somewhere, people always being mistreated, killed, tortured, pushed from their homes and so on and so on.
Since long before either of us were born...
since way before our government was in place...
before Christ,
Before Alexander,
before Moses.

Mankind has always been at war, trying to enslave or take land or just kill for sport.

Dang! That's depressing!
Is there "good news" or is this just another doomsayer?

How about this.
There are and always have been folks who try t'make things better fer others.
Whether by feeding, clopthing housing
or helping t'heal wounds...whether physical or mental....
folks who care about others.
And we have been around fer longer than you or I have been alive.
Long before our governments,
Before Christ,
before Alexander,
before Moses.

I figure you t'be one of the helpers of humanity.
One of those who try t'heal others.

Just what I think...

on Wednesday, September 13th, Elise said

Hi Berry, thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

And actually, she wasn't saying that the fighting would stop as soon as we leave, she was saying that it won't stop as long as we're there.

Your other comment reminded me of a conversation I had the other night with a history professor who teaches a class on the Holocaust.

He was talking about a scholar who said she is more interested in research of those who resist evil, than of those who go along with it. Why not find out what makes *those* people tick...? Because as you've stated, they've been around just as long.

on Wednesday, September 13th, elaine K bond said

You think well Berry Bowman Connel, Your words are just RIGHT! went on your blog and appreciate a lot your tribute to 9/11.
Gandhi bless you!
Hi Elise!
I believe that what America did in Irak was good (even if I'm french!)
It's a shame that my country refuse to follow coz in my opinion if all of the old europe had accepted to come, things would have been far better and probably finish by now, maybe without a single fight!
I do believe in America, even Edridge Cleaver choose to come back from his exile in Algeria and France, saying that America is The only free country in the world!
Gonna try the green card loterie next year...
See ya...lucky people!

on Wednesday, September 13th,">Rob Roys said

I thought the lasgne was just fine. I would place it #3 all time-after my dead mother and Pagan in that order...

on Wednesday, September 13th, Elise said

Hi Elaine!
Thanks for your comments, I love America as well...very very much so as a matter of fact and consider myself incredibly patriotic.

That doesn't mean that I always agree with the decisions or motivations of particular administrations but I believe on focusing on what can be done to improve the situation, starting with today as day one.

Does that make sense? Anyway, good luck with the green card lottery!

And Rob, I'm guessing that you're either being very sweet've only had lasanga 3 times?
Come on, which is it???

on Saturday, September 16th, Sam said

no offense elise, but I think leaving iraq now would be a huge mistake that would result in the deaths of far more civilians than if we stay until the country is better secured. That may take awhile but we need to hang in there or we will have even more blood on our hands.

on Wednesday, September 20th, Cody said

Hi, Elise. Sorry for responding so late. But I must ask, if we did leave, who would we pay reparations to? The Iraqi government? That's assuming it still exists after the last soldier departs Iraq.

As Sam has stated, the number of civilian casualties would increase substantially if we left. A full blown regional war would likely envelop the enitre region with the Iranian backed Shi'ite picthed against the Arab backed Sunnis. Just to make things more interesting, the Turks would probably invade the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq the and seize the oil fields.

All in all, it would get real nasty real quick if we left.

Depressing, isn't it?

Btw, do you happen to know the religion of this Iraqi aid worker?

on Wednesday, September 20th, Elise said

Hey Cody (and Sam) sorry I never responded to this one, it is tough, ugly and no matter what we do, a lot of people are going to continue to die.

I understand your points and agree that is probably what will happen, but right now the US occupation is creating a situation that is not making things better.

We are arming and training iraqi police who many believe are responsible for all of the recent Assasination Style Murders. We are giving strenth to the insurgency and weakening the legitimacy of the current iraqi government.

The way I see it, they didn't ask us to come and free them from Saddam and now they are, very vocally, asking us to leave.

I belive the results of our withdrawl will be horrific, but the longer we stay, the less stable the country seems to become.

No matter what course of action we take at this point, the results are going to be terrible.