Durham “Peaceful Means” Film Series 2013

Feb 3: Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2009) shows what happened when Leymah Gbowee of Liberia told herself to “stop acting as a victim and get up and do something!” What she did resulted in a 50-year prison sentence for dictator Charles Taylor, peace for Liberia, and a Nobel Peace Prize for herself. Film named Best Film, 2009 Tri-Continental Film Festival.

Feb 17: The Good Soldier (2009) is an Emmy Award-winning film showing five generations of battle-tried (but unbroken) combat veterans who served the US as valiant patriots, and suffered a painful deliverance from innocence, as they come front and center and lay it in the line.

Mar 3: Run Granny! Run! (2007) At the age of 89, Doris (Granny D) Haddock laced up her sneakers and walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. At age 94, she was a candidate for the US Senate, hoping to restore a government of, by, and for the people. A film both “funny and perceptive….”

Mar 17: Bringing Pedro Home (2012) Only 8-years-old when brought to the US, Pedro (now married and with a son of his own) is arrested by US immigration authorities in Wake County and detained for 19 grueling months. This exceptional documentary tells one family’s story of courage and determina-tion to fight the injustice of current US immigration policies.

April 7: Bringing Down a Dictator (2002documents the defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, not by force of arms but by an ingenious nonviolent citizen strategy of honest elec-tions and massive civil disobedience. By using rock concerts and ridicule, the internet and e-mail, they accomplished what no army could do.

April 21: Sir! No Sir! (2005) The story of the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers against the Vietnam War has never before been told in film, and few today know of its history-changing events. This film changes all that as it brings to life the history of the GI movement and explores its profound impact on the war and the military.

May 5: The Take (2005) In Buenos Aires, 30 laid-off workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. What shines through is the workers’ simple demand for dignity and the injustice of dignity denied.

May 19: We Women Warriors (2012) follows three native women, caught in the crossfire of Colombia’s warfare, using nonviolent resistance to defend their peoples’ survival. This film bears witness to human rights catastrophes and inter-weaves personal stories about female empowerment, unshakable courage, and faith in the endurance of indigenous culture.



September 10, 2011: Report on 9/10/11 Durham Town Hall Meeting: Cost of War Resolution

UPDATE! Durham County has already had great success with its flagship Cost of War campaign in the City of Durham. Due to this Durham Town Hall Meeting, in the Fall of 2011:

  • The Durham City Council called upon the president and Congress “to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy and reduce the federal debt.”  (Read full resolution here.)
  • The Durham County Commissioners called “upon the United States Government and President Barack Obama to responsibly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our war dollars home”.  (Read full resolution here.)

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Do We Have Our Priorities Straight?

An Op-Ed by Betsy Crites, from The Durham News – August 31st 2011
What do Durham and Afghanistan have in common?

We are worlds apart, but we both have people who need jobs, health care, schools, transportation and sewers, and help for our homeless, elderly and hungry. Neither of us is getting our critical needs met in part because a war neither of us really wants is draining our economies, killing and injuring our young people, and depleting our spirits.

We don’t often make the connections with this far-off country, but we need to.

We’ve been told that deficits and debt are why we must endure major cuts in educational programs, health care, environmental protection and a wide array of services offered by non-profits. We are rarely told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to account for 23 percent of our deficits since 2003 (as reported in an article by N.C. Rep. Walter Jones in the Feb. 18 Washington Post).

A look at the numbers helps to understand how Durham and the countries where we’ve been at war are connected. In fiscal year 2011, the United States funneled $122 billion into the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan and $47.4 billion for military in Iraq. The combined $169.4 billion amounts to $3.2 billion a week.

Taxpayers in Durham are paying $106.8 million of that bill in 2011. With just a fraction of that money, we could easily cover the shortfalls in Durham’s education budget. Instead we will need to raise the sales tax just to keep schools afloat and begin funding a light rail system.

What else could Durham do with that $106.8 billion in war taxes? We could pay for:

  • 45,204 children receiving low-income health care for one year;
  • Or 1,977 elementary school teachers for one year;
  • Or 13,817 Head Start slots for children for one year;
  • Or 15,351 military veterans’ VA medical care for one year;
  • Or 2,111 police or sheriff’s patrol officers for one year;
  • Or 19,238 students receiving Pell Grants of $5,550.

With state and federal deficit hawks cutting everything from education programs to environmental protection, we have an obligation to ask: “Do we have our priorities straight?”

In case anyone thinks that Afghanistan is profiting from the huge influx of money and soldiers, consider these sad numbers: The per capita annual income is $330. The entire gross national product of Afghanistan is only $11.7 billion. (Recall the U.S. war there costs $122 billion.) It is a desperately poor country that needs schools, clinics, water systems, and health care. One out of eight Afghan mothers dies in childbirth. If they are ever going to rebuild, they need peace.

Neither Durham nor Afghanistan, Pakistan nor Iraq is getting what is needed to sustain a decent, secure life for their citizens, and they won’t until we make the connections and speak up about our priorities.

Durham citizens and community leaders are posing this question to our local elected officials. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Los Angeles City Council passed resolutions to end the wars and fund human needs, sending a clear message to federal officials. Durham can do the same.

We invited concerned citizens to join the discussion with our local elected officials on Sept. 10, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St., Durham. Members of the City Council, Board of County Commissioners, Board of Education, and members of the General Assembly from our area will be present. All are welcome.

Betsy Crites is the director of NC Peace Action in Durham; ww.ncpeaceaction.org

© Copyright 2011, The News & Observer Publishing Company

September 10, 2011: Updated Durham Town Hall Meeting

UPDATE! To read the full report and see what wonderful results we have had with the Durham Cost of War Campaign, please see the full report here and also get involved with the next phase of the campaign here.

Original Event Details:

As part of our “Bring the War Dollars Home: Fund our Communities,” show your support of this program by attending  Durham’s Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, September 10th from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the military budget has increased 67% but universities are forced to slash budgets and hike tuition, public servants are laid of, care for sick and elderly is reduced, and environmental protection is threatened.
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