Is there a world beyond war?

by Nan Levinson, TomDispatch

I like to sing and what I like best is to do so at the top of my lungs when I’m all alone. Last summer, taking a walk through the corn fields in New York’s Hudson River Valley with no one around but the barn swallows, I found myself belting out a medley of tunes about peace from my long-ago, summer-camp years. That was the late 1950s, when the miseries of World War II were still relatively fresh, the U.N. looked like a promising development, and folk music was just oh-so-cool.

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At my well-meaning, often self-righteous, always melodious camp, 110 children used to warble with such sweet promise:

“My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine
but other lands have sunlight too and clover
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine”

It seemed such a sensible, grown-up way to think — like, duh! we can all have the good stuff. That was before I got older and came to realize that grown-ups don’t necessarily think sensibly. So many years later, as I finished the last chorus, I wondered: Who talks, let alone sings, that way about peace anymore? I mean, without irony and with genuine hope?

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