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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two days to Asti

Well-wishers on the road to Asti

The nice lady on the left gave me a tupperware of fruit 

More well-wishers

And more...

My camp between Torino and Asti

A street in Asti

Waiting for my host to finish work

Many hours later. That's my host, Marco, giving the peace sign.

Marco and his girlfriend, Cristina, with a friend, Leonardo

The balcony of Marco's apartment. It's no longer the TAV that people are protesting in these parts.

Torino III

My final host in Torino, Laura, who is an independent copy editor.  She is also a poet and writer herself.  In addition,  she does a little photography, yoga, and kickboxing. And though she is a businesswoman now, at 24 she was a squatter in London.

Laura going to work.

Once again, the all pervasive sight from Chiomonte to Torino of a NO TAV protester.

Goodbye to Torino as I cross the Po River.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Help... Again!

Dear friends,
Once again I am appealing for help.
In mid-April, the last time I asked for help, I received 350 euros in contributions to continue walking for peace. Later, in June, another 200 euros were donated to me through personal contacts. I'd like to thank all of you again for helping out, and for believing in this walk for peace.
Right now I have about 70 euros.
My budget has increased since April, to about 150 euros per month. I attribute this increase from 120 euros per month to the higher cost of living in France and Italy than was the case in Spain and Morocco. I believe I can bring my budget down again once I am in Slovenia.
I am often accomodated by hosts, some of them spontaneous invitations, but most of them through Couchsurfing; their generosity has helped me to keep costs low. However, I am often on my own, sleeping in a tent by the side of the road, and needing to buy food, so I need some money to continue.
I have recently used contributions for:
Phone cards to use with public phones
Two USB's to store photographs on
An adapter to recharge my camera
Thrift store clothing
Mailing my maps and journals to my daughter (to reduce weight)
and Paint, to repaint my sign in Italian

In exchange for these contributions, (or even without them, insofar a I am able) I am walking for peace.
I have walked about 3300 kilometers since November, 2011.
While I don't seek out the press, I do carry a big sign on my back that says, 'Camminare per la pace, Portogallo-Egitto'. ('Walking for peace, Portugal-Egypt'). Because of this sign, many people stop along the road to ask me about the walk, and recently I was interviewed for a local newspaper because of it. In Morocco, the people were intensely curious about the walk, and most were enthusiastic about it, but the sign was considered a bit of a threat to the state; I was escorted out of the country, politely, but under no uncertain terms. I consider this a great success!
This sign enables me to speak about peace every step of the way to the Middle East, and every step of the way I am working for peace.
Aside from this continuous walking for peace, I am also walking to two destinations to carry a message for peace. First, I hope to deliver two petitions in Palestine; one is to Israeli settlers to stop expansion of settlements, and to recognize the Palestinians as a people; the other is to Hamas, to resist with non-violent resistance, and to recognize the state of Israel. Some people have asked, 'Who am I to dictate peace to Israelis and Palestinians?' What 'qualifies' me, or anyone, is simply the understanding that there will never be real peace as long as oppression and violence are the means to addressing grievances. If I were a Palestinian whose home was bulldozed to make room for a new settlement, my anger might turn to violence. And if I were an Israeli who lost a loved one through a violent act of Hamas, my anger might turn to further violence and oppression of the Paletinians. It will be a great act of courage for Israelis to recognize the rights of the Palestinians, as their oppressive policies are based on fear. It will also be a geat act of courage for Hamas, and Palestinians, to resist this oppression with non-violent action, and to recognize that Israel is here to stay.
Love overcomes fear, and it takes courage to love even one's enemies.
My final destination, after Israel and Palestine, is Egypt. I am walking to Cairo in support of an organization called Masterpeace that encourages individual peace initiatives. While many NGO's ask for volunteers in peacemaking who will be managed by peace 'experts', Masterpeace believes that anyone who is sincere about making the world a better place to live can be a peacebuilder. I agree with this idea; we are ALL qualified to make peace. Masterpeace is organizing a peace concert in Cairo to be held in 2014. They can be found at Masterpeace.org.
Finally, as a citizen of the Western World, you probably make annual contributions to your respective militaries, whether you want to or not. Your military, if it wants peace at all, wants it at the end of a gun. Peace by conquest, or the threat of violence is not peace. Real peace can only come about through a recognition of the humanity in the other; in our likeness to one another. I am therefore asking you to help me and others in our work for peace, which is work better Guided than that of those who rely on lethal force to 'make peace'.

If you believe this walk for peace can change things for the better, even if only in a very small way, and if you believe in individual initiative in peacemaking; and of course, if you have something to spare in these difficult times, I would be very grateful for your help.
If you'd like to be a part of this walk by contributing with  a donation, you can reach me by e-mail at:  la_peripherie@yahoo.com
Type in 'Donation' as the subject, and I'll let you know how to get the money to me, if I still need money at that point.
Thank you, and Peace!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Torino II

The street market in Balon, in Torino

Instead of a metro, Torino has its trams

Piazza San Carlo

I met with Couchsurfer Ali Alipoor for a slice of pizza. Ali is from Iran. The question he hates the most is, 'So where are you from?'. Before that question, he says, he fits right in with any group. Afterwards, people don't know what to make of him. I can assure you, Ali is a happy, friendly guy, as is evident in the photo.

Piazza Castello

Torino is a city marked by geometric regularity, even banality. However, its lack of tourists compared to other Italian cities, and its friendly people make Torino a nice place to visit.

Nuns, a common sight in Torino.

My second host in Torino, Roberta, who not only provided exemplary hospitality, but did the tremendous favor of translating the petitions into Italian.

Into Torino

Leaving the Alps behind

Once again, agriculture

A small memorial commemorating the deaths of 6 of Rivoli's citizens after Allied bombing


Torino, home of the 'Shroud of Turin' and Juventus. Also the occasional gargoyle.

At the home of Gianni, my host, during a pizza party. That's Gianni in the white shirt.

Gianni's guitar teacher, Antonella, plays for us.

While Gianni writes a comment for peace, one of his flatmates, Veronica, dictates.

Gianni and his flatmates, Veronica and Francesca

Gianni tooke me to a bar run by Ivo Ghignoli, who is a militant activist and leader against the TAV, the proposed high speed railroad that is to run from Torino to Lyon. Ivo has been tear gassed and beaten with a baton by police during non-violent  demonstrations against the TAV. Nevetheless, he continues to be a solid advocate for non-violent resistance.

To read  an account of Ivo's  experience in demonstrating against the TAV, see:  pressenza.com/npermalink/law-enforcement

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Down into the Susa Valley

I left the encampment of protesters against TAV early in the morning, and I was in Chiomonte before 6am

The first  of many  'No  TAV'  flags I would see that day, as I walked, alone again,  down from the Alps and into the Susa Valley.

Once again, new vistas


After painting over the French version, which I used in Morocco and in France, I was ready for Italy

Just beyond Susa, this fellow asked what my walk was all about. He said he had some connection with the local newspaper. By the time I arrived in Avigliani at day's end, I'd been interviewed twice at the side of the road. I made page 7 of the Avigliani newspaper, 'Lunanuova.' I'm famous!

Bussoleno, which seemed to me a bit like a  miniature Girona.

The Via Francigena, horizontal now

The friendly fruit vendors who gave me more fruit than I could carry when I was interviewed  near their fruit stand

After a 40k day, I arrived in Avigliana. My host, Luisa, who is a doctor for 'Doctors Without Borders', with her father and brother.