Just Peace

A documentary to end War

I’m going to take this blog in a slightly different direction today, and talk a bit about the filmmaking process.  In particular I’m going to talk about my philosophy on interviews, and how difficult my philosophy is for cameramen.  It will also make apparent how fortunate I am to have such a talented cinematographer as Zack Ecuyer working with me.  Our interviews last week with Glen Stassen were wonderful and beautiful productions, made successful by following rules of good communication, and by having Zack there able to handle the challenges of filming honest communication.

When I was in the early stages of my career, I had the good fortune to work with some great directors and cameramen.  We shot a lot of interviews, and I always felt something was lacking.  I came to realize that our focus on our craft of filmmaking was interfering with the art of communication.

Subjects of interviews were told: “Keep your head turned in this direction for lighting.” “Don’t rock in your chair.” “Tilt your head down so your glasses won’t reflect the lights.” “Keep your hands away from your face,” etc., etc.  It was amazing they spoke at all.

I was so lucky to have a mentor, Enid Vien, who was a master of communication and developed it into a science.  In weeks of study with her, I understood that communication is perhaps the most important function a spiritual being participates in, and it deserves to have great importance placed on doing it correctly.

A successful communication occurs when one being’s thoughts and feelings are transmitted and duplicated by another.  That is the communicator’s intention: That the listener has a duplicate experience of the one being communicated.  The communicator knows when it’s not happening, and will either begin to communicate with force, or withdraw and internalize.  Under these criteria, very little true communication takes place in today’s world.  I have to be different.  I have to communicate.

A good interviewer must have the intention to receive and duplicate the communication, acknowledging to the communicator that he has duplicated it.  You have to have interest, even passion, about the topic of the interview.  You don’t interrupt.  You maintain eye contact.  If the interviewee struggles for words, you don’t finish his sentence.  You send a gentle intention through your eyes and body language that says, “I can wait for you to find the perfect word.”  You cue with your body language what you would like the subject to do with his.

The greatest sin is to cause the interviewee to introvert.  You want his communication flowing outward, not inward.  Giving directions on how to sit, where to look, moving around less, etc., all put the speaker’s attention on himself rather that his communication.  The flow reduces to a trickle; and as easily as you can introvert someone, it’s virtually impossible to re-extrovert someone.

This minimizing of direction gives the speaker more space and more freedom – and makes things very difficult for a cameraman.  Especially with my preference for close-ups.  The video clip in the link below will demonstrate what I mean.

When the interview is simply imparting information, I generally like a bust shot of the subject.  I want to get a feel for his body language, the methods he uses for communicating.  But when things get personal or passionate, I want a tight close-up.  I want to see the moisture in their eyes, the upturn of a brow, the twitch of a lip that shows suppressed emotion.  I want the viewer to completely duplicate their experience, just as I did during the interview.

I now have to get into a bit of camera lingo, which I hope most will understand.  I shoot with the minimum lighting needed to get a good exposure, because that is easier on the subject.  In the clip below, we’re shooting ISO 320 with a 135mm prime lens at f/2.  Our depth-of-field is virtually non-existent.  That means that there is less than 2 inches in space where the camera will be in focus.  And the lens is so tight that there is only three inches of air on each side of Glen’s head.

In this Clip, Glen is telling the story of the downfall of Communist East Germany, of which he played a large part.  Glen’s natural communication style is to move with the story; the energy of the tale engages his body.  I don’t want to lose that.

Zack does an incredible job of following Glen through his story – reframing and focusing simultaneously.  (And for any of you film buffs, there was no focus puller.  Just Zack. This is HARD.) The movement of the camera and the focal shifts give incredible energy to the tale – something we would have lost if I had focused Glen’s attention on lighting, framing, etc. – the typical craft.  It’s a dynamic clip because of good communicators in both chairs, and a talented eye on the camera.

I’ve told Zack in the past: If they fall out of the chair, I’ll make sure they’re OK. Your job is to refocus, reframe and keep shooting.  I can count on him to do just that.

The clip:

September 17, 2013
by justpeace

Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka – Part 4

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll post some excerpts that give insights into his thoughts and experiences as he began his mission of Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka.  Here, Chip writes about his attempt to travel North to get to the church he was there to visit.

Traveling North

We couldn’t leave Batticaloa for Vavuniya until 8:00 a.m. when the army opened the road.  We reached Vavuniya at 1:00 p.m. where we presented our pass to the military authorities.  They searched the van and our luggage to be sure we weren’t carrying any of the items the government has restricted from the Northern Province.  The search was not careful enough to find the video camera and battery packs I had in one of my bags.  We were then escorted to the armies final check point just north of town.  Side by side with the Sri Lankan army at the most northern check point were armed members of the anti-Tiger Tamil group, PLOT.  These groups have attached themselves to the army.

We got to the check point about 3:30 in the afternoon and they had already closed the road with two heavy railroad rails.  The soldiers were willing to let us cross into the North but they weren’t going to help us move the rails.  We waited until a bus load of people arrived who then helped us move the rails and get our vehicle through.  There is about a mile and a half of no man’s land between the army and the Tiger’s check point. Most people have to travel this no man’s land on foot, carrying their luggage.  The AK-47 toting cadre that manned the LTTE check point looked to be in their midteens.  We registered and proceeded north.

Bicycles passed our van as we crept between the potholes in first gear.  Much of the road between Vavuniya and Kilinochchi shows a decade of neglect.  We also saw the result of years of hard fighting.  In 1988 Mankulam had been an active market town, but it also had a large military base.  In 1991 a suicide bomber, called a Black Tiger, had driven a truck filled with explosives up to the main gate of the base and set the bomb off.  The LTTE captured the base.  The crater left by the truck bomb was left unfilled in the middle of the road as a kind of memorial to the driver.  Every building in the center of Mankulam was a bombed out shell.  Nothing had been rebuilt because of the government’s restrictions on building materials.  There had been no electricity in the Northern Province for the last three years.  Only a few of the bombed out building held meager shops selling goods at twice what they cost in Vavuniya.

We arrived in Kilinochchi after dark.  Our intention was to cross the lagoon to Jaffna, but we discovered that the boats weren’t going to be running that night.  Kilinochchi was filled with people; it being the staging area for goods and people who wanted to cross the lagoon that separated the Jaffna Peninsula from the rest of Sri Lanka.  The causeway that connected the two had been closed at Elephant Pass where the Tigers surrounded one of the few remaining government military bases in the North.  A ferry crossing had been at Pooneryn, but there was a military base there as well, closing that route to Jaffna, so the Tigers opened a boat service for the civilians. The Government declared the lagoon closed, trying to isolate the Tiger stronghold on the peninsula.  Navy gunboats attacked these civilian boats when they could get through their Tiger guards.  When this happened the boat service would close down for a time or perhaps move to a new beach.

Generators provided electricity for a few stores around the square in Kilinochchi.  There was an ice cream shop, where for a very inflated price you could get a small bowl of what passed for ice cream.  One of the buildings had a pair of loud speakers from which it continually played patriotic Tiger songs.  This was the administrative office for the LTTE, where a line of people were asking about the time the boats might run again.  The town was filled with people, many having no place to stay while they waited to cross.  We stayed the night at a boys home run by the Jaffna Diocese.  That was the first night we heard shelling.

-Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn

September 13, 2013
by justpeace

Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka – Part 3

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll post some excerpts that give insights into his thoughts and experiences as he began his mission of Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka.  Here, Chip talks about his arrival in the Sri Lankan capital of Columbo.


Arrival in Sri Lanka

I arrived in Columbo on May 5, four days after the assassination of the country’s president, Ranasinghe Premadasa.  This came just a week after the assassination of the president’s political rival, Lalith Athulathmudali.  Government spokesman credited the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with both of these killings.

It was the day before the funeral.  The country was put under an evening curfew and there was a heavy military presence in the streets of Columbo.  Many Tamils left Columbo for the week between Premadasa’s assassination and funeral fearing there would be riots similar to those in 1983.  However, no incidents of violence were reported around the funeral, which fueled the speculation that the riots had been politically orchestrated in 1983.  It was also evident that there were many Sinhalese that didn’t grieve Premadasa’s death.

Bishop Ambalavarnar and Dr. Jebanesan had both intended to meet me in Columbo, but with the death of President Premadasa they had had to return to Jaffna.  They were concerned that travel to and from the Northern Province might be restricted.  Last minute preparations needed to be made for Dr. Jebanesan’s installation as the new bishop of the Jaffna Diocese, which would take place May 30 in Madras, India.  I talked to them both by phone while they were in Vavuniya.  They asked if I would try to get to Jaffna.  I said I would try.

I planned to travel with Robin Gibson through areas most effected by the recent fighting between the Tigers and the Sri Lankan Army.  As I waited for Robin to arrive in the country, I met with representatives of human rights organizations to become more familiar with the changing political landscape after Premadasa’s assassination.  I met with members of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India to discuss the partnership with the In-Ky Conference.  I also had an opportunity to meet with Ben Bovinck, a long time worker in the Sri Lankan National Christian Council.  Ben advised me to attempt to reach the Northern Province, saying that it is very difficult to interpret the situation without talking to people in Jaffna.

Tuesday, May 11.  Robin Gibson, Tyrol Ferdinands, director of the Sri Lanka NCC’s Office for Justice and Peace, and I  left Columbo and drove east spending that first night in Kandy.  We spent the next two and a half days in the Eastern Province.  A good deal of the fighting had gone on in this area during the previous three years.  The Eastern Province is a arid contrast to the western coastal region and the central mountains.  It has been populated by alternating Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese villages,  Now military outposts separate these villages.  Traveling through the East was excruciatingly slow and difficult due to the numerous check points.  Every few miles vehicles were stopped, the people told to get out and walk through the check point.  They then waited while their vehicle were searched.

- Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn

September 12, 2013
by justpeace

Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka – Part 2

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll post some excerpts that give insights into his thoughts and experiences as he began his mission of Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka.  Here Chip offers some background into the situation he faced.

The Country and the Conflict

Sri Lanka is a tear shaped island separated from the southeast tip of India by about twenty miles of the Gulf of Marmar.  It has a population of about 17.5 million, 74% of whom are Sinhalese (primarily Buddhist) and speak Sinhalese.  seventeen per cent are Tamil (primarily Hindu) and speak Tamil, while 7% are Tamil speaking Muslim.  Only about 5% of both Tamil and Sinhalese are Christians.  English is widely spoken as a second language and the literacy rate is around 90%.

Until shortly after World War II the island was a part of the British Empire.  Political and ethnic conflict has been almost a constant part of Sri Lanka life since independence in 1948.  The parliamentary government hasn’t been able to guarantee fundamental minority human rights.  Sinhalese political parties have often stirred up ethnic bigotries and religious chauvinism to gain political advantage.  The Sri Lankan Government has a history of meeting even peaceful demonstrations of political dissension with the most brutal police measures.  In the early 1980′s young militant Tamils formed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Fanatically devoted to their cause and their leader, Vilupillai Prabhakaran, their trademark is a cyanide capsule worn around their necks.  Tamil Tigers vow they will commit suicide before they will allow themselves to be taken prisoner, and hundreds have.   By the mid-1980′s they had fought the Sri Lankan Army to a stand still, controlling most of the Northern Province.

The Tamils complain that the Sinhalese majority uses its parliamentary advantage to keep Tamils second class citizens.  The most contentious issues are the use of Sinhalese as the official national language, lower university entry test scores for Sinhalese students, and systematic Sinhalese colonization of traditional Tamil territories by the government.  But in the twelve years this war has raged, there has grown up a culture of the gun.  This is the most tenacious obstacle to peace.  In the first part of this decade, the International Red Cross (IRC) estimated that there were 1,500,000 people displaced by this war.

The war has destroyed the economies of the Northern and Eastern Provinces where most of the fighting has gone on.  In the early 1980′s Sri Lanka had an army of 16,000 and a defense budget of $30,000,000 (2.5% of government spending).  By 1991 it had an army of 70,000 and a defense budget of $308 million (12% of spending).  The Sri Lankan government has imposed an economic blockade on the Northern Province since renewal of hostilities in 1990.  There were 43 items banned in the North in 1993.  The list included items such as:  batteries, surgical instruments, medicine and bandages, modern electrical equipment, gasoline and diesel fuel, road maps, shoes, printing equipment, printing paper, school books,  candles, cement, spare parts for motor vehicles and tires, aluminum, soap, umbrellas and matches.  Industry and commerce in the North have ground to a halt. The few motor vehicles that are still operating in the Northern Province run on a mixture of kerosene and vegetable oil, the only fuel available and that at greatly inflated prices.

Tamils had received support from India in the early 1980′s; but in 1987 Rajiv Gandhi offered India’s help in mediating a peace between the Sri Lankan Government and a range of Tamil insurgence groups.  He sent the 70,000 Indian Peace Keeping Force to the Tamil areas to insure a cease-fire.  India also presented the warring parties with a peace accord.  Whereas the government and the other Tamil militant groups signed it, the Tigers never did, though at first they agreed to abide by it.

As this was going on in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the Sri Lankan Government was free to move against the JVP.  The Janntha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) were maoist Sinhalese militants that had grown increasingly violent.  The internal security forces went after the militants with a terrible, often indiscriminate violence, that many felt reached beyond the threat of the JVP into the ranks of legitimate political opposition.

In the fall of 1987 a series of provocations led to the Indian Peace Keeping Force going on a full scale military offensive against the Tigers in the Northern Province.  Before it was over the Indian Army had lost over 1000 troops and any good will it might have had with Sri Lankan Tamils.  A frustrated India withdrew its “Peace Keeping Force” in 1990.

The LTTE entered into negotiations with President Premadasa’s government in April of 1989; but broke them off in June of 1990, renewing hostilities.  After the war with the Indian Peace Keeping Force any support the Tigers got from India comes clandestinely from antigovernment sources.

Political assassination is an oft used weapon in the Tigers arsenal.  Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a LTTE suicide bomber, while he was campaigning in 1991.  Sri Lanka’s President Premadasa was killed in a similar manner on May 1, 1993.  There is a long list of other political notables whose murders are credited to the Tigers.

Over and over again, it is the civilians that suffer in this protracted conflicted.  The LTTE forced all the Moslems to leave Jaffna in 1991, saying it was for their own safety.  Both the government and the Tigers have used ethnic cleansing, intentionally targeting civilians, even wiping out whole villages.  Other times the civilian population just couldn’t get out of the way in time.  The government has often shelled and bombed concentrations of civilians.  The Tigers, on the other hand,  have placed their instillations close to hospitals, churches or markets.   The International Red Cross estimates that 90% of the casualties in this brutal war are unarmed civilians.  Amnesty International reports that thousands of civilians have been killed in Tamil areas.   Summary executions by death squads have been used by both sides against suspected enemies.

President Premadasa called together a Parliamentary Select Committee to find a political solution to the conflict.  It was made up of all the major parties in the parliament, including Tamil parties.  Critics of the Parliamentary Select Committee say it is no more than window dressing for the sake of the international donor community.  Until just recently, the Tigers have always said that they would settle for nothing less than Tamil Eelam, a Tamil homeland consisting of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  The LTTE readily admit that they are not a political party but an independence movement.  They have no political equivalent to, say the Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.

- Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn

September 9, 2013
by justpeace

Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka – part 1

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll post some excerpts that give insights into his thoughts and experiences as he began his mission of Just Peacemaking in Sri Lanka.

It was 4:00 a.m. Jaffna time, and I was awake; still not adjusted to the time difference.  It was my son’s eleventh birthday, and I wasn’t going to make it home.  I lay there wondering what I was doing so far from my family and my congregations in Southern Indiana.  The night I had crossed the lagoon, which separated the Jaffna Peninsula from the rest of Sri Lanka, government forces had attacked the flotilla of unarmed boats killing three people.  Most of the boats turned back, mine had been cut off and had had to go forward.  But the boats hadn’t run since, and I didn’t know when I was going to be able to get home.

The reason I was there was as much for myself, my family and my congregations in Lamar; as for friends in the Jaffna Diocese.  The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the sacrificial love of God, demonstrated most profoundly in Jesus’ death on the cross.  Jesus tells his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34-35.  Jesus himself commands us to take up the cross of sacrificial love.  It is not only the sign by which we will be known, but the force with which we will change the world into God’s coming realm.

The Gospel is as believable as its preachers are credible.  The United Church of Christ has said in pronouncements and resolutions that justice and peace are at the heart of God’s desire for his people.  Our words have been eloquent and prophetic.  But we have often struggled to turn the words into actions.

The Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ had joined into ecclesiastical partnership with the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India.  We had also declared ourselves a Just Peace Conference.  In order for our partnership in ministry with the people of Sri Lanka to have credibility, we had to stand with them in this dangerous hour.

- Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn

September 7, 2013
by justpeace

Theories of War and Conflict – Part 2 Criticisms of Just War Theory

Just Peacemaking is a new philosophical paradigm, and as with anything new, the greatest understanding comes from comparison to what is currently known and accepted.  We need to spend a bit of time examining current philosophies of dealing with war – in particular those of Just War, Pacifism, and Crusade.

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll be excerpting parts of his thesis as we look at the past theories of war in comparison to the new paradigm of Just Peace.

Criticisms of Just War Theory

The pacifist might criticize the just war theorist for compromising Jesus’ call to love your enemies, and the crusader might say it was unnecessary and dangerous to wage limited war against evil.  My criticism of just war theory is its naivete; if not of human nature than of war.  The proponent of just war believes that you can’t depend on your enemy being peacefully or positively transformed by a turned cheek.  They see the tenacity and pervasiveness of sin in their enemy, but think it can be controlled in themselves.

I had a personal revelation when I was in high school.  It was the late ’60′s and the United States was embroiled in the Viet Nam War.  Both of my folks had served in World War II and the stories they told about it became the foundation of my world view.  The stories were told as lessons about the nature of evil.  Evil had become flesh and blood in Adolph Hitler.  Nazism was the new Satanism.  Evil was real and terrifying; and I learned the innocent couldn’t always be saved from suffering.  But the forces of good rallied, and after a terrible struggle they vanquished evil.  This had become a part of my theological make up.  Though Nazis were flesh and blood, they weren’t human.  We were human, and we didn’t gas women, children and old people.  I thought we, Americans, were exempt from evil, as though it had been bred out of us, or we had been immunized against it.  We always fought on the side of truth and justice and God.  As I grew, I was taught evil had been reincarnated in communism.

In 1968, I was 15 and flipping through a Life Magazine which I opened to a large section of pictures from Viet Nam.  It was the article on the My Lai Massacre.  There were pictures of women and children and old people, clustered and crumpled in death.  And they had been killed by American soldiers.  I remember feeling physically ill.  I began to realize if an eighteen year old off the streets of Youngstown or the beaches of San Diego or a farm in Iowa; could, in Viet Nam, shoot a nursing baby with a M-16 then there was a Nazi in all of us.  God and good can’t be denied forever.  In the end they win out over the allies of evil.  But I can never take for granted that I’ll be on the side of God.

The just war theorist works to restrain war using reason, logic and analysis to measure out the force needed to overcome some violent injustice.  But the force they’re talking about is violent as well; and violence doesn’t lend itself to reason, logic or analysis.  It does not lend itself to restraint.  War is as chaotic an enterprise as human beings engage in and the regional ethnic conflicts that have reached flash point since the end of the cold war are more chaotic than most; involving irregular militias, and ethnic cleansing, and whole sale killing of noncombatants.  This is the way the war has been waged in Sri Lanka for more than twelve years.  There is a logic of the gun that germinates in the seed bed of violence and quickly chokes out other logics.

The most difficult part of my work in Sri Lanka is understanding what it is like for those people who have been fighting this war for more then a decade.  They don’t think the way I do.  They don’t value the things I do.  They aren’t convinced by the arguments that would convince me.  It’s hard to find anyone who is able to imagine life beyond the conflict.  Many believe they are going to die.   I have often heard fighters say that they didn’t think they can win the war on the battlefield; but they can not imagine an alternative to the fighting.

The key to just war theory is restraint, but restraint seems to be one of the first casualties of violent conflict.  There had been a bombing in Sri Lanka’s capital, Columbo, several civilians were killed; and I asked a representative of the Tigers why the LTTE engaged in terrorist activities.  He said, “We didn’t have the luxury of fighting a conventional war.  We don’t have supersonic bombers to send over Columbo, like the government does to Jaffna.”

September 5, 2013
by justpeace
1 Comment

Just Peacemaking is a new philosophical paradigm, and as with anything new, the greatest understanding comes from comparison to what is currently known and accepted.  We need to spend a bit of time examining current philosophies of dealing with war – in particular those of Just War, Pacifism, and Crusade.

The following post is from a thesis, “Search For a New Model,” written by Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn in the late 1990′s.  Over the next few days, we’ll be excerpting parts of his thesis as we look at the past theories of war in comparison to the new paradigm of Just Peace.

The theory of Just War

Christian just war theory is built on three convictions.  The first is that God is the author, creator and parent of all humanity.   Second, conflict between people and communities is inevitable.  It is the way sin, either individual or corporate, often manifests itself.  The third conviction is there are times when our respect for all God’s children will demand that we protect victims of unjust attacks.

There are two sets of criteria by which they judge a situation.  The first set is to judge whether going to war is justifiable.  The second set of criteria is used to judge whether the means of war are justifiable.


Just Criteria for Entering Into War

The number of criteria vary depending on the author.  Joseph Allen lists seven standards to deduce whether war is justifiable.

1.  Justifiable cause:  A justifiable cause might include such things as to protect people from an unjust attack,  to restore rights that have been unjustly taken away,  to defend or restore a just political order.

2.  Legitimate authority:  The prerogative to make the decision to go to war needs to lie within the hands of an authority that honestly represents the just interests of the people.

3.  Last resort:  All peaceful alternatives should be exhausted before people resort to war.

4.  Declaration of war aims:  The authority with the power to go to war explains and justifies its war aims.  This states clearly to its advisory the reasons for the impending conflict.  It also allows the citizens of the country an opportunity to deliberate the justness of the action.  Some just war proponents claim a declaration of war before hostilities begin can give an opponent an unfair advantage, taking away the element of surprise.

5.  Proportionality:  One should not resort to war if the evil created by armed conflict would be greater than the evil that would exist if there was no war.  The war should have the possibility of making the situation better.

6.  Reasonable chance at success:  War should only be considered if their is a reasonable chance at success.  This doesn’t mean just vanquishing ones enemies, it means achieving the war’s just objectives.

7.  Right intention:  The motivations of those entering into armed conflict need to be as just as the cause they fight for.  The intention of the just warrior ought to always be a more just peace.

Just Criteria in Conducting War

Using just war logic, the conduct of war should be shaped and limited by Christian love.  Discrimination and proportionality are the two criteria used to measure the just conduct of war.

1.  Discrimination:  Just war theory calls for a process of discrimination of what is a legitimate target of war.  Legitimate targets are military personnel or political leaders in the chain of command that have a active or cooperating role in the hostilities.  The criteria forbids direct and intentional attack on noncombatants.  These are civilians but also can include military personnel that do not pose a direct or potential threat, such as medical personnel.

The just war theorist recognizes that war is not an exact art and there are times when noncombatants become unintentional targets of a military action.  Joseph Allen places some responsibility on the noncombatant to keep themselves out of harms way.  Efforts should be made to avoid the intentional destruction of civilian targets.  Allen contends that the fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki violated the principal of discrimination by intentionally choosing targets that would inevitably involve high proportion of civilian casualties.  It is not enough that noncombatants are not directly attacked.  The principle is violated if an attack on a military target leads to a disproportionately high number of noncombatant casualties.  On the other hand, he claimed the United States was not in violation of the just war principle when civilians were killed during the bombing of a military communication bunker during the Persian Gulf War if they were unaware it was also used as a civilian air raid shelter.

2.  Proportionality:  This is the just war principle of matching the amount of force to a justifiable objective.  As a strategic principle it is a matter of economy; you use enough force to accomplish the task.  But to meet the just war criteria of proportionality you do not use any more force than is needed.  Though just war theory recognizes killing enemy military as a legitimate war objective, the criteria of proportionality states that no more should be killed than absolutely necessary.

Christian just war thinking acknowledges the complexities of international conflict, and provides a philosophical model for measuring the cost of entering into and engaging in war.  It calls a wide range of community voices into the the discernment  processes, and gives them established, if not universally accepted, criteria to use in their judgments.  Just war theory recognizes that the mere absence of violence is not all that God wants for us.  Injustice is as much a state of human sin and brokeness as war is.  Oppression is just another form of violence.

- Rev. Paul “Chip” Jahn


September 4, 2013
by justpeace

The Beginning of the End of War

Too big of a goal?  Oversell?  Should I tone it down?

I don’t think so.

This film can handle it.

Once Just Peacemaking becomes a part of society’s consciousness, just as the philosophies of Just War and Pacifism have, it will become the philosophy of choice.

So, how will this film convince politicians to turn their backs on lobbyists and special interest groups that profit from war and conflict?

This film won’t do that.  We will.

When you find a philosophical paradigm so elegant you can come at it from multiple directions, it’s an easy sell to thinking folks.  Just Peacemaking is logically consistent from the viewpoints of  ethical philosophies ranging from survivalism to Christianity.  We first have to get the word out.  The gravity of the philosophy itself will attract support from groups secular and religious,  economic and environmental,  political and personal.  Eventually, those who feed on war will starve.

Let’s get this film made.