By Marc Eliot Stein, World BEYOND War, October 27, 2023
Poet, teacher, mother, grandmother and pacifist Judih Weinstein Haggai, a friend of mine for over 20 years, has been missing with her husband Gad since the attack on her kibbutz near Gaza on October 7, 2023. I recently wrote about how Judih helped me to expand my own awareness of the terrible Israel/Palestine conflict many years ago, inspiring and leading me towards the work I do today as technology director of World BEYOND War and host of our organization’s monthly podcast in which we interview peace activists all over the world.
We’ve devoted this month’s podcast to Judih as we join concerned people all over the world in a vigil for the safe return of hostages and the safety and freedom of human beings everywhere in the lands variously known as Israel, Palestine, Gaza, the Holy Lands, the Levant, the Middle East, al-Sharq al-Awsat. As antiwar activists, we don’t really care what you call these lands. We just want people to stop being forced by their corrupt governments to fear, attack and murder each other’s families there.
I’ve invited a special guest for this podcast interview: my friend Anemone Achtnich, a poet, editor, gardener and flight attendant from the Black Forest region in Germany who I originally met in the same online global poetry community where I met Judih, and who has stayed closely in touch with Judih over the years.
This podcast episode is a letter of hope for salvation from terrible circumstances that Amenone and I both dream may reach Judih someday. We don’t know if she and Gad are still alive or not, but we are grateful for more news coverage of these hostages, and deeply hopeful that the broken governments that allow this disastrous war to continue will be compelled to ceasefire, negotiation, compromise and hostage exchange. If Israel invades Gaza with military forces instead of engaging Palestine and Gaza with diplomatic communication, we fear this will be a death sentence for the hostages.
Thanks to Anemone Achtnich for this intense conversation, in which we also talk about inner peace, online communities, William James’s concept of the “moral equivalent of war”, generational trauma and the Holocaust. For this episode’s musical excerpts, we chose two songs or bands that we know Judih cherishes, and we hope someday Judih will hear these songs again: “All My Love” by Led Zeppelin and “Diamonds and Rust” by Joan Baez.
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