Chapter 2 of The Rationality of War

Here is a very mind spinning analysis of the “Rationality of War” by William Spaniel. I hope you will benefit a lot and become thrilled with the way Spaniel tries to approach this concept of ‘the rationality of war’. À bientôt! Merid

William Spaniel

The Rationality of War is now out! (Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.) You can download chapter two of the book as a free PDF by clicking here. This chapter explains the fundamental puzzle of war: if fighting is costly, why can’t two states agree to a peaceful settlement? With that puzzle in mind, the rest of the book shows why states sometimes end up in war.

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American Soldier’s AMAZING Response To Anti-Muslim Comments: “We Live In America”

Here is another ‘Wow’ video clip that will amaze you. Once in a while we all find ourselves in a situation where we need to make choices and decisions that put us in a very tricky state of mind and ethical dilemmas. Put yourself in the shoes of all the people in the story and reflect sincerely how you would react to the situation. Enjoy
Merid Desta

“What Would You Do?” by ABC is a hidden camera series where people are put into ethical dilemmas, given the choice between passively accepting injustice and standing up for what they believe is right.

This soldier didn’t hesitate to speak up when a young man started harassing a Muslim cashier, refusing to be served by him because “he’s a Muslim.”

The uniformed man defended freedom of religion for all, stating, “We live in America, he can have whatever religion he wants.”

“That’s the reason I wear the uniform — so anyone can live free in this country.”
When the producer arrived on the scene to explain that the heckler and the cashier were both actors, the soldier downplayed his “heroic” response by saying, “If you’re an American, you’re an American. Period.”


Can I reconcile with the man who killed my son: Robi Damelin at TEDx-TelAvivWomen

Listen to one of my Peace heroes “Robi”. She is inspirational and one of a kind. She is applying one of the most difficult concepts in practice which is easy say than done. How would you feel reconciling to someone who has hurt you the deepest way possible? … who has taken the dearest person away from you … forever?
Merid Desta

Published on 29 Dec 2013
Robi, an Israeli mother, ponders the possibility of meeting her son David’s killer, and can’t help wonder how honest she is with herself in her quest for reconciliation. Can a person who stole the life of a women’s child ever truly be forgiven? Is the dialogue between perpetrators and victims the key to ending the bloody never ending Israeli/Palestinian conflict? And can a glimmer of hope come from a place of unbearable pain? Recognizing the humanity in the other must be a recipe for ending the cycle of violence.

Robi was born in South Africa and immigrated to Israel in 1967. Her son was killed by a Palestinian sniper. The first thing she said to the officers who came to give her the dreaded news of her son’s death was “you may not kill anybody in the name of my child”.

After the loss of her son, Robi joined the Parents Circle — families forum an organization made up of more than 600 Palestinian and Israeli families who have each lost an immediate family member to the conflict. She is the spokesperson for the organization and is in charge of International Relations.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Ken Sande to Leave Peacemaker Ministries

Check this out!

Redeeming Church Conflicts

Just in case you haven’t already heard the news … Ken Sande is stepping down from his leadership position at Peacemaker Ministries. You can read his personal letter here to learn more about the decision.

Of course the entire Peacemaker family will miss having him in the office (he will still remain a close ministry supporter and friend). But we are all cheering him on as he is so excited to develop his new paradigm (“relational wisdom”). I remember the first time he showed me its graphic on his iPhone when we were seated across the aisle from one another on a late flight home to Billings earlier this spring. His enthusiasm was infectious and I’m eager to read his new materials.

Please do pray for the board and executive staff of Peacemaker Ministries as they seek a new CEO. This is an important and strategic time in the history…

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Creating Fabulous Schools: Faculty Collaboration is Key

Hi there,

I am cross-posting a fabulous article on “Creating Fabulous Schools: Faculty Collaboration is Key” which was a while ago but still fresh and relevant. J Daniel Hollinger is a very high professional educationalist and consultant. He is the PRESIDENT AND PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT of HOLLINGER INTERNATIONAL, Chevy Chase. Without further ado, enjoy his wonderful article.

Merid Desta
Creating Fabulous Schools: Faculty Collaboration is Key
April 25, 2012 by  Leave a Comment

Faculty Collaboration

Faculty Collaboration and Student Learning

One of the most important factors in school improvement and creating fabulous schools is the quality of collaboration among teachers. Certainly, there are other important factors, but faculty collaboration is an absolutely necessary condition. It is possible, with high quality teaching, to have a good school. It is not possible to have an outstanding school without excellent teamwork among teachers.


Faculty collaboration is what makes the sum of the parts greater than the whole. It’s what creates the conditions for students to excel intellectually, academically, socially and emotionally. And that’s the primary business of the schoolhouse. Schools in which students are not achieving their highest and greatest potential are not fabulous. They may be good or even great, but great is not good enough when it comes to schools and the education of our children. The ultimate goal of school improvement is to create outstanding schools for all students.

Most schools kill collaboration before it even has a chance to germinate. That’s hardly the fault of the teachers. It’s a problem with the very structure of the school. One can’t expect teachers to work together as a team when schools’ organizational systems proclaim loudly and clearly that collaboration is dead upon arrival. Little or no time to meet together, the absence of effective school leadership that supports teamwork, and a lack of cross-curricular planning are a few of the telltale signs that collaboration among teachers is not valued.

First and foremost, the school leader must clearly articulate the case for working together as a team. Given how deeply collaboration is buried by the structure of schools, they must make a compelling case for collaboration. They need to be truly committed to collaboration at every level in the school. To rise above the noise, they must be visionary and zealous in creating a collaborative environment. That’s not an easy task and many school leaders will benefit from leadership coaching to accomplish the goal of creating schools in which collaboration among faculty and staff members is as much a part of the fabric of the school as students and teachers themselves.

A collaborative faculty sits together and plans the curriculum. English teachers teach content and skills that are connected to content and skills being taught in social studies, art, science and so on. Units of inquiry centered on main ideas guide the organization of the curriculum across the disciplines.

Suppose, for example, that students in the sixth grade are studying peace and conflict. In social studies, students may be studying about notable peacemakers and the origins of war while the science teacher engages students in exploring scientific discoveries that were the source of major conflicts between religion and science. The English teacher has selected a text focused on themes of war and peace, and students are discussing the characters and plots, and writing essays on peace and conflict. Add physical education, art and drama to the mix and students are buzzing with the excitement of learning that actually makes sense to them.

Filed Under: Consulting ServicesSchool ImprovementSchool LeadershipTeam Building

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Aaron Huey: America’s native prisoners of war

By Merid Desta

This is a very inspirational and emotional presentation of Aaron on what has been done to the Aboriginals a few centuries ago. Please take time to watch this excellent video presentation. I am sure it will move you as it has done so to me. I just wonder how ignorant we are on such issues.

A New Zealander, Joe Greig, after watching this video said: “I have a cloud of guilt over me as I know what the English have done to the Maori peoples of New Zealand is Identical to what the European has done to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.Some sick actions of the past are repeated daily to all indigenous peoples everywhere,the Dismissive behaviour of ALL of us is the biggest fault we have that lets these things happen. Tibet ,New Zealand,Australia,Canada,Brazil US, the list goes on ,all these indigenous races are as good as extinct.We all are responsible ,in our daily life we can make a change.Listen to people don’t be dismissive any more.”

Another person from Native Media said: “Healing this issue is part of healing humanity. It’s going to happen because more & more people are looking at the deeper issues of our small world and feeling something new and powerful inside their hearts that hasn’t been a part of our society in a very long time. Great talk!”

A lady, Andrea, whom I thought was not comfortable with talk but who may not be totally against the claims Aaron makes said: “I agree that what we did to native americans is horrific. For many years I did not celebrate Thanksgiving, because to me, that was the beginning of this horrible behavior. This talk however, is not helpful. The facts cited can apply to any poor, undeserved US population. He offers no solutions, no approaches. And his presentation is pretty off putting, the pictures not suited to his points….too bad. This is a serious issue in our country. I hope that there are better spokespeople to help with this.”

Even though many have replied to her suggestion, I will just mention just one that is not necessarily a reply to Andrea. Wm. Lamont Worden said: “Very moving presentation. Please check out the August 2012 National Geographic magazine article entitled “In the Shadow of Wounded Knee” written by Alexander Fuller, with photography by Aaron Huey. Since reading that article, I have never been able to see images of Mount Rushmore without feeling a sense of shame for the treatment the Oglala Lakota have received from the US federal government. It reminded me of the incredibly offensive statue/monument that the central government of the Republic of China erected to honor themselves on land across the street from the sacred Potala Palace in Llasa, Tibet, the traditional home of Dalai Lamas for centuries. And to those critical of Aaron’s presentation, I would entreat you to “Don’t shoot the messenger.” If he is not “the guy to deliver” this message, who is? He presented a very powerful case of past repeated injustices along with a couple of very direct solutions: HONOR THE TREATIES & RETURN THE BLACK HILLS.

I will conclude now by mentioning a couple of two long comments given by a couple of native people. The second one,especially, is very interesting.

Luis Tijerina said: “This video is from 2010 and knowing the reservation as I do not much has changed since. Knowing this fact I submit the following: Aaron Huey, I would like to thank you for having the guts to make such a presentation. This immediately puts you on the other side of the fence. You may be a Wasitchu, or as you say “The one who takes the best meat” but now with a public display of disdain for the treatment of the Lakota you are one and the same as them. I have heard yet another definition for the word which is less flattering. It means the fat eaters or maggots. I have been part of the Lakota Heritage, Culture and Spirituality for the last fifteen years as a Sundancer and for the last seven years as a Sundance sub-chief on the Rose Bud Reservation in St. Francis, South Dakota.Although what Aaron is describing here is shamefully 100% the truth there is a side of the story that he doesn’t tell. Maybe because he wasn’t shown the richness and wealth that these people possess. Their wealth and riches are not of this world. Maybe he wasn’t taken into their confidence to receive the secrets of their heritage and culture. Their wealth and riches are not monetary they are of spirit and of spiritual things.Their Regalia is in their eyes as priceless as all the gold in Fort Knox. There is not enough money in the United States Treasury to buy a single Eagle feather that would be given to a warrior upon making his first pilgrimage on his Hanbleceya or Vision Quest. How can one put a price on the Healing that is received while in the Inipi or Sweat Lodge? Not enough money to pay for the Eagle bone whistle given to the first time Sundancer as he prepares for the Sun to rise to begin the dance for the day.Maybe Aaron was not taken to the Sundance grounds to witness the healing ceremony that is performed on the elderly man who walks into the dance circle hunched over in pain only held up by his walking cane only to walk away under his own power healed of all pain. (cont’d)

(cont’d)Aaron mentions that there are millions of dollars sent abroad to aid other countries yet no one bothers to send aid to these poor underprivileged people. I would ask Aaron to stop looking at these people who call him Brother and Uncle through the eyes of a Wasitchu and begin looking at them with the eyes of a Lakota. Yes, many of the Lakota people don’t have a television to sit and watch the shows that flow across the networks like water over rocks in a stream. Yes, many don’t have the luxury of having a Mercedes, Lincoln or even have the simple necessity of a running Rez truck to get to town in but they do have the luxury of witnessing the healing of a loved one on Healing Day at the Sundance.
I have been on both sides of the poverty line in my lifetime and know what it feels like to wonder what my children are going to be eating for dinner. Then I have been so far away from poverty with an abundance of food and drink that there was enough left over for several days of left over meals. I have owned the worst of vehicles that hardly ran from day-to-day and have owned the priciest vehicles. What I have learned from these things is that the luxury items don’t make a difference. A refined automobile such as a Mercedes will get you from point A to point B just as well as the old and dilapidated Rez truck would. Necessity is the key. What I need is totally different than what I want. Such is with the Lakota’s needs.
Many times we say that we are on Indian time and many people laugh because they don’t understand the concept that linear time isn’t the same as Indian time which is circular time. Many have said what goes around comes around. I believe that the Indian is where this saying comes. The energy that is put out by one person becomes energy put into motion that will eventually gain in momentum and return to the one that put it into motion in the first place. That is the nature of the Karmic energies in this world (contd).

(concl)When the people come to Sundance Ceremony as supporters they bring an abundance of food, clothes, money and other resources to the reservation. Much of what is brought stays on the Rez and supports the people for a short time after the Sundance is done and the supporters have left to go to their homes and their lives of worldly riches. There is an exchange of goods and resources for the knowledge, wisdom and healing shared by the Lakota’s.
I have been a part of the dance members that participated in the Ghost Dance and have been transformed from a physical being into the spiritual dancer that possesses the physical body dancing for hours and being merely winded by the experience. The Ghost Dance defines the spiritual energy for the Sundance the next day after the Healing day. Nothing in my secular life has ever meant more to me than the experience of dancing in a spiritual form. For these experiences I would give up all of my life’s savings knowing that all I have experienced is a gift from Tunkasila, Wakan Tanka the Great Mystery.
The Lakota have learned to live within their means economically and are not opposed to accepting help from outside sources their relative from afar. We on the other hand are the lucky ones to receive the wisdom and knowledge they have to offer. They are the richest people on the face of the earth and no matter what they lack in worldly goods they make up for in Spiritual wealth.
Pilamaye yelo, E etchetu welo. Thank you, This I know.

To the above long comment, Kimberley Stern said: ” Luis thank you for your lovely testament to our culture. I am of Cherokee (my mother’s grandfather’s mother) and Seneca (my father’s grandmother) and other mixed European blood. My skin is white, my heart is tied to my indigenous blood. Spent most of my life as an outsider trying to fit into white culture, but it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Always wondered what was wrong with me… in my mid-late 30s, I began to learn about my ancestry and discovered my native and Celtic history. Learning about their cultures, history, attempts of genocide from the white settlers here, the English in Ireland, I recognized my soul. I found the home where my heart can sing. I am deeply disturbed by what is currently happening with the sale of the land at Wounded Knee. I recognize the brutality of the American Military complex and the destruction it has heaped on many nations, here and abroad. I pray our Maka is not sacrificed for their greed, and that all living beings will one day rise up in the light of our true nature, as sons and daughters of Tunkasila, Wakan Tanka and Unci Maka! Blessings be to you and all our relations. Wado (thank you).

I have a minor question mark on part of her arguments, but still worth reading her very interesting perspective.

Aaron Huey’s effort to photograph poverty in America led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the struggle of the native Lakota people — appalling, and largely ignored — compelled him to refocus. Five years of work later, his haunting photos intertwine with a shocking history lesson in this bold, courageous talk. (Filmed at TEDxDU.)

Photographer, adventurer and storyteller Aaron Huey captures all of his subjects — from war victims to rock climbers to Sufi dervishes — with elegance and fearless sensitivity. Full bio »


Hidden America: Children of the Plains

Inspirational video by abc about Robert, the warrior kid.


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