Comments from John and Joyce Petro regarding “Little Town of Bethlehem” film showing

(The following are comments by John and Joyce Petro regarding the showing of “Little Town of Bethlehem” film.
Please note that if you missed the film, you may contact KNOW to borrow the DVD for showing.)
January 26, 2011
Last evening’s meeting at Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church, sponsored by Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents for War (KNOW) and the Kalamazoo Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice, was a complete success, even though we certainly wish that more folks had come to see the film. As we see it, the voices for justice through a non-violent witness must be ever present in our community and throughout the world. Thank you for showing the film, “Little Town of Bethlehem,” and for KNOW’s ongoing witness to all of us, emphasizing that there is a non-violent path to follow in these difficult times with so many conflicts that inflict so much needless suffering in the world.
The film was clearly complementary to everything that we experienced when we visited the Middle East in May 2009. We did not experience first hand on that trip any of the violence depicted in the film, but we did see the evidence of earlier such violence and heard many stories from those who had suffered through it.
The Middle East conflict is highly polarizing in America and throughout the world. Yet, we believe that the majority of people here in America, in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world, want to find a peaceful and just resolution to this conflict . Unfortunately, the voices of the extremists on both sides of the issue dominate the news media and the political agendas of world leaders. For this very reason, our various faith communities must continue to work with each other and with all of the voices for a just peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
There is hope in what President Obama said in the State of the Union report last night, but it is clear that many of his personal goals have been compromised somewhat in response to the demands of extremists as well as by the political-economic interests of our military-industrial complex. We agree with the President that we cannot let rogue powers, like al-Queda, control the destiny of the world. However, we would hope that some type of an olive branch could be extended to even rogue powers in the hope that common ground might be found to build a better future for all.
We must now work together to support the Peace Service at Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church, 4 p.m, Sunday, 20 March. The keynote speaker, Mark Braverman, will bring a powerful message that should be heard by everyone in the Kalamazoo community who is hoping that a just peace in the Middle East may be achieved within the foreseeable future.
Again, many thanks for KNOW’s non-violent witness for peace in our community.
Peace and Justice to all,
John and Joyce Petro