World out of whack needs a whack, or acts of healing

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 31, 2001

Two columns ago, I asked you what you would like included in a whack pack for a world out of whack. Your responses have been truly amazing.

This arrived from long-time coffee companion Angus McNee:

'Tis true that the world is out of whack. And for all the love and sympathy that the world may need now, it also deserves whack.

Whack, in my opinion, is discipline. Yes, if it means with a big stick, then so be it. In some ways we've gone away from whack. Whack on the diaper. Whack on the back of a child's legs. Whack with a cane for disobedience or insubordination. Whack with a strap at school. Whack with the fullest force of the law.

So what is the price for a lack of whack? Well, it's usually pretty big. We now see whack from the USA for an act of aggression – cluster bombs and all kinds of nasties that man can devise to whack his human kind. That's big whack!

The lack of whack in any part of our society will usually result in problems, as whack defines the parameters of just how far we can push the boundaries, whether in the home, at school, in the workplace, or in society at large.

Whack is the ultimate decider of respect, and without respect we are a whackless society.

Yes, the price of a lack of whack is enormous. But have faith. The whack we sorely lack is slowly returning. Sometimes all it needs is an incident like Sept. 11 to create a correction in the world's alignment – to give it back the whack it lacks.

—Angus McNee, Ghost Lake Village

Include a candle in the whack pack, says Dr. David Swann, Medical Officer of Health, Headwaters Health Authority, and spokesperson for the Canadian Network to End Sanctions on Iraq (CANESI):

An old saying goes, "You can curse the dark or light a candle."

What would a "candle" look like in these times?

For thousands of years, we have talked about the call to love but have lived out of fear, controlled by the worst possibilities rather than the best that is in each of us.

The radical challenge of recent events is to infinite love, not "infinite justice," as Mr. Bush has described it. The US has led an ongoing war against the people of Iraq since the Gulf War of 1990, a pattern of reaction being echoed in Afghanistan.

Clearly, global peace is too important to leave to politicians, military experts and their media servants. Apparently, there are people willing to lose their lives in a "just war." Are there some who are willing to lose their lives for a just peace?

"Though you have faith in all its fullness [and military might] to move mountains, if you have not love, you are nothing" (1 Corinthians 13, my addition).

Let us humbly call on all people of conscience to take the only risk really worth taking: Let us heal the earth one person at a time, each of us beginning with ourselves and those we have hurt or wronged.

Let us be as courageous for peace as we have been for military and economic domination.

Let us make a time for quiet connection with the Source of all light, and commit to one radical act of love each day, at home, in our workplaces, our politics, and in our international relations.

If we don't light a candle, who will?

—David Swann MD, Calgary

Vern and Eileen Myers, of Stony Plain, agree with David, adding: "Each of us in our own way should include a whole whack of prayers."

Finally, I received a most gracious note from esteemed Canadian journalist Gordon Legge. He tells me he's considering writing a series of biographies of people the world deserves to know more about. "I'm already building my file on you and your whack pack," he says.

Thanks, Gordon, but the real stories reside in the people with whom I sip coffee week by week, including you.

© 2001 Warren Harbeck

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