A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Friday, May 25, 2012

Girona, to Banyoles, to the Village of Llado

A street in Banyoles, where I stayed the night after leaving Girona

Banyoles' beautiful lake was the site of some of the '92 Barcelona Olympic Games  water competition

Xavi, one of my hosts in Banyoles, invited me to talk about the  walk to the Middle East at one of his English classes

Xavi and Merce, my generous hosts in Banyoles. We had a few good laughs together.


A street in the village of Llado

My host in Llado, Isaac, on the right, who is a salesman, philosopher, political theorist, historian, sociologist, and many other things, including a kind person. On the left, flatmate Oscar, who is a carpenter and musician, and also a hospitable chap. And in the back, Sharon, fellow 'couchsurfer' from LA, who is a student in Lyon, and another friend.

Friday, May 18, 2012

On to Girona

This village may have a few 'independentistas' in it

Upon entering the outskirts of Girona, these two Punjabi lads,  Love and Harman,  cheerfully showed me the way  to where I needed to go
The Ter River and Girona

A flower festival was happening in Girona while I was there

My first host, Gloria, and her dog, Rica. Gloria teaches free dance and corporal expression at the  Universitat de Girona

On the anniversary of Spain's Occupy movement, a small group occupies one of Girona's  squares

My second hosts in Girona, Àurea and Quim, both English teachers. As always, my hosts  in Girona provided me with a warm and welcoming place I could temporarily call home.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Masterpeace: Start Your Own Peace Initiative

Before I began walking, I thought I should connect myself with other peacemakers. I was personally walking to get closer to God, for inner peace, but as loving one's neighbor is a part of getting closer to God, then I had to walk with and for others, even if only 'virtually' so.
The small Quaker meeting I am affiliated with was giving me spiritual support, but I was hoping to link up with an organization that I could draw on and support in a more concrete way. I looked into several peacemaking NGO's, but they generally have no room for individual peace initiatives.
Wijnand Boon had helped to inspire my own walk, and when I met him he explained the principles of an organization called Masterpeace. Masterpeace was just what I was looking for, it seemed, as it encourages just such individual peace initiatives as Wijnand's, and mine.
When I went to the Masterpeace website I was a bit dismayed by the emphasis on creative talent to contribute to its peacebuilding mission--  I can't sing or dance, or even make this blog function without a struggle. I was happy, nevertheless, that Wijnand had pointed me to Masterpeace Journey, which encourages peace pilgrimages to Cairo for the Masterpeace concert in 2014.
As I am not bad at plodding along, I decided that I too would walk, not only to Israel, but on to Cairo for Masterpeace. Though I can't sing or dance, I can still encourage other individuals to create their own peace initiatives through Masterpeace.
So if you would like to use your creative energy to build peace in the world, Masterpeace may be the organization to help you on your way.

Masterpeace's Mission and Goals, according to their website:

As peace-building is a verb, we want to mobilize millions of people everywhere around the world to work for the sake of peace in the broadest sense, including (social) sustainability, the reduction of (armed) conflicts (on both individual and global levels) and international collaboration.

We are dedicated to put:
MUSIC above FIGHTING, DIALOGUE above JUDGMENT , BREAD above BOMBS and CREATION above DESTRUCTION. People can do it. That's MasterPeace.

By exchanging ideas and creativity, individuals and world leaders we can work together and deliver on four important goals:

1. Creating a world with LESS (armed) conflicts;

2. NO nuclear arms;
3. MORE international co-operation and unity so opportunities are shared equally (Millennium Development Goals);
4. MORE positive attention and support for peace projects. 

For more information, go to:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

La Primavera, Professoras, Independentistas i Anarquistas

Springtime in Catalunya

My host in Granollers, Orland
 Spain has a long history of anarchist sentiment; its agricultural workers were right at home with anarchy's ideas of mutual aid and small scale collectivism. And among the people of Iberia, the Catalans in particular have had a long association with anarchy. Add to that Catalunya's long history of activism for independence, and you have a bit of a dilemma-- an anarquista can't really be an independentista, or vice versa, as independence implies national government-- yet many Catalans describe themselves as being both.
One of those who cannot integrate anarchism with national independence  is Orland, who was my host in Granollers. Orland is a Medieval historian with an acute intellect who, while identifying himself with Catalunya, sees anarchism as a means to abolishing the state, any state, including a would-be Catalunya. Despite his intellect, and his reading  of authors like Kropotkin, Orland is no idealogue-- he practices what he preaches; mutual aid and sharing all things in common. My time as his guest proved that.
 Oriol, however, one of my co-hosts near Sant Celoni,  is fine with being an anarchist who at the same time wants to see an independent Catalunya. A weekend taxi driver in Barcelona, and vegetable gardener and homemaker the rest of the week, Oriol is a hands-in-the-dirt, collective mutual aid, anarchist practitioner.
While familiar with anarchist ideology, Oriol prefers the vegetable garden to a book by Kropotkin.
His flatmates, Laia and Neus, are both teachers. Their flat is a bit of an experiment in anarchic collectivism, and the experiment seems to going well. There are no roles or duties assigned in their home; everyone simply fills in wherever needed.

Neus, who invited me to Santa Maria de Palautordera, teaches troubled kids from broken homes. Anyone who has ever been through the challenge of teaching even the most well adjusted kids can imagine the challenge Neus faces daily. But Neus, who has a love for all her students even if not particularly liking a few of them,  enjoys her work despite the frustrations and difficulties.

Where I come from, the very idea of anarchism conjures up images of bomb-throwing seekers of mayhem and chaos. The reality is that anarchism is about orderly, self-governing mutual aid based on love of one's neighbor. Anarchists believe that people are inherently good, and don't need to be ruled over. While there have been misguided anarchists who have sought their ends through violence (as has been the case with nearly every ideology, including Western style democracy), the anarchists I have met have been peaceful, and they have been extraordinarily kind and generous hosts to this peace pilgrimage.

Santa Maria de Palautordera, with Montseny in the background

Oriol, in front of a collective vegetable garden

My host in Santa Maria, Neus

Laia, Oriol, and Neus

My camp between Sant Celoni and Santa Coloma. I saw a wild boar here.

Catalan farmers with Catalan flags

I was intensely curious to know what the book was that this shepherd was reading, but  thought I'd already disturbed enough of his privacy with the photo.

The town square in Santa Coloma de Farners
 After a night camping near the road, I came to Santa Coloma de Farners where I met my host Soraya, and her friend Roger. Both independentistas, Soraya and Roger continued the Catalan hospitality I have grown accustomed to. Soraya is a public gardener in Girona, and Roger works at a library and teaches indoor football to kids. As with my previous two hosts, I was given my leave of the house when they were absent, and treated to good food and company when they were present.
Roger with Soraya, who was my host in Santa Coloma

Roger signs a petition while Soraya waits for the pen