Rare Flower – Life, Love and Peace Poems
By Ada Aharoni
Reviewed by Pejman Masrouri
Ada Aharoni’s book of poetry, “Rare Flower – Life, Love and Peace Poems,” [Dignity Press, USA], is mainly a call to action against the absurdity of war, as well as the empowerment of women for peace through literature and “diplomatic poetry”. These overall themes are expressed in different ways—from appeals to conscious human beings from around the world, to world leaders, and to thinkers, journalists, writers and poets, imparting them with hopeful inspiration.
In the poem “I Am Not in Your War Anymore”, there is a brilliant juxtaposition of nature’s beautiful fall foliage illustrating the horrors of war:
First, flowing flamboyant crimson blood
On throbbing temples and curly hair,
Russet bronze fiery metal cartridges
Stuffing the crevices of young hearts,
While golden laser Napalm dragon tongues
Gluttonously lick the sizzling eyes and lips
Of our children,
Under giant mushrooms
Freshened by mustard and acid rain.
The ominous imagery however, ends on a hopeful note that we might eventually look back on this time of the cruelty of war, after we will find the:
Historical garbage pit
Where we can dump
Our fearful legacy
And our grandchildren will ask their fathers,
What were tanks for, Pa? And with eyes
Full of wonder, they will read the story of the
Glorious imprisonment of the Nuclear Giant
In his hellish dump imprisoned for ever,
And they will cry:
Well done Pa, well done Ma!
Aharoni often aims her call to action to those that can actually do something, including world leaders and others who may be guilty of fanning the flames of war. In the aptly named poem, “Mr. Prime Minister, When Will the Nightmare End?” which is part of her moving Lebanon poems, during the Lebanon War, she makes an impassioned plea on behalf of citizens and soldiers who feel powerless to make an impact. The following lines are written and told from the perspective of an Israeli soldier who is in the midst of the horrors of the Lebanon War.
What absolute misery –
I want to go home!
Instead of a home’s warmth,
Anguished cold in my frozen bones
While watching the dreadful shock of a man
Who has just discovered his dead wife’s body
Under his wrecked home.
We came back from the nightmare
With horror in our hearts
And imploring in our eyes –
Mr. Prime Minister, we were born
For creation, for joy and life –
Not for destruction!
Please, Mr. Prime Minister,
End this nightmare that really kills –
And not only in our nightmares.
Likewise, in “Myopic Scientist,” an appeal is made to science and scientists, to focus on peace instead of weaponry so that the whole of humankind does not fall into the:
Of a nuclear winter
From which there is no return.
One of the most moving messages can be found in “Peace is a Woman and a Mother,” in which the poet explores the extended metaphor of women as bringers of peace. It begins with a sad listing of the children lost to war in all corners of the globe:
“I asked her why
She was so sad?
She told me her baby
Was killed in Auschwitz,
Her daughter in Hiroshima
And her sons in Vietnam, India, Pakistan,
Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon
Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya.
All the rest of her children, she said,
Are on the nuclear blacklist of the dead,
All the rest, unless –
The whole world understands
That Peace is a woman.
However, the poem ends with a positive view, that “Peace is indeed a pregnant woman / Peace is a mother,” which implies an expectant and optimistic future.
Ada Aharoni has provided a moving volume of inspiration and hope to a world in sore need of it. From her birth in Cairo, through the perils of the forced “Second Exodus” of the Jews from Egypt, to a new life in Israel, she has experienced first-hand the turbulence and five disastrous wars in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis. A true global citizen, she is the founder and president of IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, and as a prolific poet and writer, who has published 31 books to date. Her works are a testament to what one person can achieve in the battle for peace and a better and safer world.
IFLAC ANTHOLOGY ON ANTI-TERROR AND PEACE 2016
A RAINBOW OF WORDS AND WORLDS
By Anna Banasiak
The new book “Anti-terror and peace: IFLAC anthology” edited by Prof.Ada Aharoni and Dr. Vijay Kumar, is a unique sign of our times which has a power to transform our inhuman postmodern reality into a society of dialogue and fundamental values of truth, beauty and goodness.
The authors, from 23 countries created a culture of peace and revolutionary forgiveness. The authenticity and timeless meaning of the works presented in the anthology have a powerful esthetic and anthropological impact.
The value of the authors’ words is transcendent having a power to change the world of chaos and hate into a kingdom of love.
The new IFLAC Anthology 2016 gives the world a message of hope, turning the poetic dream about peace into visible reality.
Poet Shin Shalom KING OF PEACE and his Republic of Dream
By Anna Banasiak
Shin Shalom (Shalom Joseph Shapira), grandson of Chaim Meir Jehiel Shapira, Hassidic Rabbi of Drohobycz, is considered to be one of the greatest Israeli poets of the twentieth century. Chaim Nachman Bialik and Nelly Sachs called Shin Shalom “king of peace” and “pioneer of cross-culture dialogue”. Literary historians of Hebrew literature regard him as the main exponent of modernism. The descendant of the Drohobyczian dynasty came to be known as the master of paradox in the spirit of ancient prophets of Israel. The poetic work of Shin Shalom reveals tension between human existence and historicity. Poems “Hidden Light”, “Small Window” and “Pure Beauty” are the masterpieces of symbolism and Hasidic spirituality.
Shin Shalom’s grandfather, even in time of period of persecutions toward Jews, was a true lover of Jerusalem, charismatic city of justice. Chaim Schapira was awarded the title Admor, generally reserved for the heads of Hasidic communities. The Drohobyczian Rabbi believed that Jerusalem Temple would become a place of dialogue and prayer for different cultures. Shapira was the advocate of unity over religious divisions. The Admor awaited reconciliation between Jews and Catholics in the Holy Land.
Shin Shalom was born in 1904 in Parczew, near Lublin, city of tzaddikis. He received traditional Hasidic and secular education. In Vienna, where his family moved in the wake of World War I, he started to write poetry, at first in German, and then in Hebrew. In 1922 he immigrated to Palestine. In 1926 he joined members of his family to found Kfar Hasidim. From 1930 to 1931 he studied philosophy at the University in Erlangen. This Hebrew poet taught literature in Jerusalem, Hadera and Rosh Pina. In 1990 Shalom was given honorary citizenship of Haifa.
Shin Shalom received several international literary awards and presided over the Hebrew Writers Association. Ada Aharoni, Israeli poet and translator of Shin Shalom from Hebrew into English is the initiator of the International Shin Shalom Poetry Competition which attracts poets and philosophers from all over the world. In 1992 Professor Aharoni, candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, organized XIII World Congress of Poets in Haifa dedicated to the memory of Shin Shalom. After the Congress Nathan Aluf expressed his gratitude toward the Drohobyczian demiurge who was the architect of bridges between cultures.
In his Hebrew poetry Shin Shalom, comes back to Drohobycz, the Promised Land and the city of his grandfathers. For this peace visionary, Drohobycz is the center of the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe and the harp of David with recording arias of divided nations. Shin Shalom’s poetry is full of apocalyptic prophecy and visions of Messiah who will expand covenant and bring the Kingdom of Love and Peace.
Islamic State: Differing Viewpoints
By Pejman Masrouri
When walking around my college campus, I encounter people who hold all manner of ideas and beliefs about the world. While many people have very interesting viewpoints which make for great conversation and debate, others hold such radical notions that I often find myself surprised that such viewpoints exist. These views may include ideas of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and all manner of conspiracy theories which range from the moon landings being faked, to the government orchestrating the attacks on September 11th. I am not talking about hearing this on the internet or the radio, but from active students at American universities. One more recent fringe viewpoint that especially baffles me that I have increasingly heard is the apologetic outlook towards the murderous death cult known as the Islamic State.
Apologists have proposed numerous excuses and justifications for the existence and actions of the Islamic State, a rather futile gesture as they have a long way to go to convince the people of the world of the “benefits” of the Islamic State. Maybe they should start in the Islamic world which seems quite opposed to having their nations conquered by these jihadist madmen. The apologists try to paint the Islamic State in a positive way through various lenses such as viewing it as anti-imperialist and a trans-national movement. I have even heard arguments which compared the Islamic State to the European Union, another trans-national organization, however given the extreme xenophobia which IS shows towards all places that are not Sunni Islamic, I highly doubt their commitment to such cosmopolitan ideas. To compare IS to the EU, either stems from complete ignorance of IS or the EU, or even both. In the EU, the member states voluntarily entered and can voluntarily leave. Member states are very much independent and autonomous, and most importantly, the EU respects international law and respects human rights, something IS breaks by the minute. Living under the Islamic State is anything but voluntary, as they spread their domain by conquering the local populace, where they generally enjoy minimal popularity at best. The greatest reason why they lack popularity and loyalty from the local communities in Iraq and Syria aside from their medieval brutality, is the fact that they themselves are tailored to a specific identity group of Sunni Arabs. This makes them very undesirable not only to other religions but also to Shia Muslims, which constitute the majority in Iraq, as well as to the non-Arab ethnic groups, notably including among the large population of Kurds, who have mounted firm resistance to IS in both Iraq and Syria. The vast majority of the Islamic world itself has denounced the Islamic State and many have actively contributed to the fight against it.
Yet many seem convinced of a future for the Islamic state, of a reachable victory within range. The longevity of the Islamic State is in question as it sits in a rather precarious position in unstable Iraq and war-torn Syria, having had large swathes of its territory lost, and continued resistance from local factions. Not to mention the combined effort of the international community to destroy them. Furthermore, I am skeptical at best of their ability to rule over the actual population of their territory as an effective government. With all of these undermining factors involved, a glorious future of victory for the Islamic State is dubious at best, and I doubt this “Islamic EU” will be able stay alive, let alone spread to the other Islamic countries in the world as it is written as their highly ambitious goal. Often time this grand idea of destroying national borders earns praise especially when put in the context of a post-colonial Middle East whereas the borders and divisions between the nations originate from the colonial powers carving up the Middle East into various protectorates, most evident in the Sykes-Picot agreement of WWI. Many have come to view these divisions as a means to counter Arab nationalism, and pan-Islamism, and all attempts to reconcile these changes by unifying the nations has failed. This has led some to portray the Islamic State as being the latest iteration in the continuation of this postcolonial struggle to destroy the artificial barriers between the Islamic countries.
I question the ethics of anyone who sympathizes with the Islamic State, regardless of these empty justifications to excuse the endless bloodshed and cruelty brought about by the Islamic State both within Iraq and Syria as well as across the world as whole, who have suffered numerous acts of terror which can be traced back to these butchers. We pride our western societies for their open-mindedness, but we must not let such liberal policies of tolerance keep us from speaking out against those that support hatred and terror.
My IFLAC Experience
By Pejman Masrouri
My time here in Haifa has flown by but I feel emboldened by the experience and the atmosphere I have been working in. The time I have spent in the company of professor Ada Aharoni with the IFLAC organization has especially been rewarding. As an individual student who is early in his academic work I previously felt quite powerless to affect change in the world but I now know that, as professor Aharoni states, we can have an impact “with all the power of our pens, our computers, our smartphones and our creative works.”
As a Baha’i I share IFLAC’s vision of peace in the world and being physically in the city of Haifa, the center of the Baha’i faith, has put me at the heart of this vision. In my free time I have made it a point to visit the Baha’i Gardens as much as possible and talk to the volunteers and pilgrims present. This has added to my experience and my resolve to be a peace-maker in my future career. The idea that people from all over the globe arrive in Haifa with the same belief in their hearts—that we are all citizens of one earth, “flowers of one garden,”—is very inspiring.
My love of history has also been reinforced with the information I have gained from Dr. Aharoni’s treatises on the Second Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. This chapter in history has been gravely understudied, even by most Israelis, despite the fact that more than half the Jewish population in Israel can trace their family heritage back to the Second Exodus. It furthermore was a huge event in Middle Eastern history and I feel that it carries an important message and the prospect of future reconciliation, that Arab and Jew were quite capable of living in peace and that it can happen again. It has been a true pleasure to assist IFLAC in promoting our mutual goal of peace, and especially working with professor Aharoni, who has become something of a mentor for me in these past several weeks. I have assisted her in writing numerous pieces, including several reviews of many peace books as well as writing articles which promote the culture of peace. I have furthermore assisted professor Aharoni with her responsibilities as the president of IFLAC in further promoting peace in our world.
Working alongside professor Aharoni has taught me much and has been of great benefit in honing my own academic skills. Besides the professional side of my internship, I greatly enjoyed the personal company of professor Aharoni. Together she and I had a great many conversations on a variety of topics, mostly pertaining to history, current events, and culture. I especially enjoyed our discussions about Iran, where much of my family still lives. I was greatly impressed by her vast knowledge of the history and culture of Iran, as well as hearing her own stories and experiences living in Iran in the 1970’s. Very few people I come across in my travels understand many of the complexities of Iranian culture, let alone had directly experienced living in the nation prior to Islamic Revolution of 1979, and I must admit I am quite jealous of her in that regard, as I have always dreamed of living in the Iran prior to the revolution instead of the unfortunate one our world is stuck with now. Overall my experience interning with IFLAC has been a tremendous moment in my life as it was another opportunity for me to spread the vision of a world at peace which I share with my IFLAC comrades across the world, and believe that our work is the first step to accomplishing this dream.
Ada Aharoni is the founding president of IFLAC – the International Forum for the Literature and Culture of peace.
More information about Ada – here
Happy birthday dear Ada!
May every glowing candle on your birthday cake turn into a wish that will come true. Wishing you a great birthday!
IFLAC ANTI-WAR AND PEACE ANTHOLOGY IN SPANISH
Prof Ada Aharoni IFLAC Founder and World President
It is with great pleasure that I welcome the IFLAC Anti-War and Peace Anthology 2016,
Edited by the “Knight of Peace “IFLAC Peace Ambassador in Colombia”, Joseph Berolo. This Anthology is for all the Spanish and Portuguese speaking citizens of the world, including Latin America, Spain, Portugal, etc.
Since its creation in 1999, “IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace,” has issued more than 4000 IFLAC PEACE Digests on the Internet, it has organized many projects and International Congresses for Peace, and it has published several Anthologies and books for the promotion of local and world Peace. Despite all our intensive peace work and that of all our IFLAC Branches in the world, including the active branch in Latin America, founded, and developed by Director Maria Cristina Azcona, with the help of Susana Roberts and Prof. Ernesto Kahan, what we unfortunately see in the first sixteen years of the twenty first century, is not a more peaceful and safer world, but a cancerous spread of a brand of fanatical lethal terrorism and war that endangers our world and our freedom.
We at Iflac, have therefore decided to dedicate our 2016 IFLAC Anthology this time, not only to Peace, but mostly to ANTI – WAR and ANTI – TERROR, to counteract and help efface this new cancer obnoxiously spreading all over our world – with the bombardment of our powerful words, articles, stories, poems, Haiku, and paintings – aimed at their heart.
Where does this fatal violence and terrorism spring from? Mystical and fanatical religiously -oriented organizations are the most dangerous of all. They typically attempt to inflict as many human casualties and deaths as possible. They cowardly attack buses full of innocent children and women, attacks in restaurants and theatres like the “Bataclan” in Paris, and in the underground in Belgium, massacring, beheading, raping and wounding thousands of innocent people all over our sad blue planet. How did we let this happen? Why is this happening?
This is mainly happening because of the mystical and apocalyptic frame of reference those horrendous and Fanatical Terrorist Organizations use. The loss of life is irrelevant to them. When struggling against a fanatical ideology that is based on words, only words can overcome it.
And all this is happening in the twenty- first century which we hoped would be more enlightened, wiser and safer! How come the cultural and humane world is silent? Where are the intellectuals, journalists and NGO’s – the Non-Government Organizations that should bomb war mongers and terrorism with their words and their pens and throw them out of our lives and of our planet forever? Bombing them with planes from the skies is not enough; we have to go to the source of their sinning souls and bomb them, condemn them and shame them, with all the power of our pens, our computers, our smartphones and our creative works, and our Anthologies like this one!
Backlash and reprisals does not concern these fanatical groups and organizations, as it is often one of their main goals to provoke overreaction by their enemies, to widen the spreading of FEAR, all over the world and in all sections of the population.
It seems they have indeed succeeded so far to inflict their weapon of “Fear,” on several sections of our global society, even on Non-Governmental Peace Organizations, Peace Journals, media, writers and poets, that are strangely silent and do not have the courage to attack those dreadful violent groups and organizations that steal our freedom and endanger our lives.
In our unique and innovative IFLAC ANTI-WAR AND PEACE ANTHOLOGY IN SPANISH, and in the English original version, it is obvious that the brave contributors: thinkers, writers and poets that have answered our Call for submissions, Do Not Fear. They have enthusiastically responded to our Anti – War and Terrorism appeal for materials, and they open-heartedly offer us their rich multicultural experiences, their tears and especially their hopes. They have courageously taken up their pens to share their authentic moving poems and stories, and to cry out against the spreading of violence. We have the right to defend ourselves they claim, in poignant articles, poems, stories, haiku and drawings, with the deep belief that the “Pen Is Mightier than the Sword.
In this Anthology in Spanish, Iflac calls on ALL the War Mongers and all the Terrorist Organizations in the world, to throw away their hatred, their ruthless violence and their murderous weapons, and seek the road of peaceful citizens and creative well-being. One of the notorious terrorist organizations in Colombia has done exactly that, and it has now promised to become a peaceful and respected political party. We also call on all the conscientious thinkers, writers, poets, artists, musicians and NGO’s, in our global planet to courageously take up their pens and their artistic instruments, and join our IFLAC symphony of Peace and Hope, and our gigantic efforts to eliminate war, violence and terrorism from our planet, with our creative minds and energies and with our firm belief that it is indeed possible.
We agree with Motti Gerner, the Founder and Director of the IFLAC RADIO on the Internet, who assures us in his article: “Technology and Terror”, that the new revolution of modern technology will overpower Terror: “In the form of multi-channel television, satellite TV broadcasts, the advent of the Internet, smartphones and social networking. Each of these is a huge revolution with a great social potential….”
With our powerful words and creations in this beautiful Anthology in Spanish and Portuguese, using the new potential sources of communication, we shall indeed win and we will soon enjoy a free world entirely freed from the plagues of War, Terror and violence.
I warmly thank all our contributors who have generously sent their precious, authentic writings in Spanish and Portuguese, to this crucial and unique FLAC Anti- War and Peace Anthology. I greatly thank Editor Joseph Berolo, who has so efficiently helped to spread the word about our first historic IFLAC Anthology in Spanish and Portuguese. I also greatly thank Maria Cristina Azcona, Founder and Director of IFLAC LATIN AMERICA, who worked endlessly with superb dedication and the zeal of a true Dove of Peace, to create an effective and powerful IFLAC Latin America branch, together with Vice Director Susana Roberts, and IFLAC World Vice Director, Prof. Ernesto Kahan. Below are some of the major events, those three wonderful leaders of Peace, have organized and accomplished throughout the years:
Professor Enesto Kahan, Maria Azcona, Director of Iflac Latin America (holding the IFLAC Logo), and Susana Roberts, Vice Director Iflac Argentina and Latin America.
I would like to conclude this wonderful achievements for the spreading of the IFLAC Culture of Peace all over Latin America, by Maria Azcona’s active team, for twelve years, with the extraordinary achievement by Susana Roberts:
The bestowing of the title of PEACE EMBASSY on IFLAC – EMBAJADA OF PEACE by UNESCO and the Senate of Argentina! WELL DONE SUSANA, WE ARE ALL PROUD OF YOU, AS WELL AS OF MARIA AZCONA AND PROF. ERNESTO KAHAN, our brave IFLAC leaders in Latin America. The impressive IFLAC AWARD:
Every best wish for the IFLAC ANTI –WAR ANTHOLOGY in Spanish and Portuguese, may it spread its wings of Peace all over the Spanish and Portuguese speaking people in the world, and help usher a better and safer world beyond war, terror and violence, a world in our own times in which our children will be proud to joyfully live and flourish as seeds of peace.
Professor Ada Aharoni
Iflac Founding President
Chief Editor of the IFLAC Anthology