This issue is divided equally between sad and happy items. We are saddened by having to say goodbye to three great men who contributed to peace: Norman Alcock, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Anatol Rapoport. However, we rejoice that they lived long, fulfilled lives.
Also on the somber side are three articles about conflict.Erin Simpson analyzes the concept of "failed states," and suggests a more constructive interpretation of their problems. Metta Spencer interviews a former war correspondent, Chris Hedges, about the psychology of fighting wars. And Judy Deutsch explores the "culture of death" documented in a recent film about the Israeli fixation on suicide motifs.
On the brighter side, we have a piece about ancient Minoa, where there were fun and games, love and art, sports and gender equality -- and where warfare was apparently unknown. We also have Robert Massoud's gentle story about the importance of olive trees in Palestine, and means by which we can buy their oil and help the Palestinians. And Andres Kahar introduces us to the funny TV political pundit Stephen Colbert.
Finally, we have two pieces that suggest promising approaches to building peace: one by Joan Montgomerie about Conscience Canada and its quest for legislation allowing Canadians to refuse to pay taxes for war. The other is René Wadlow's story about the increasingly powerful campaign to ban cluster bombs. And then there's Ken Simons's report on the unsettled future of Iraqi oil. You can decide for yourself whether to consider this news upbeat or downbeat. (We're not sure.)
And gosh, we have lots of hot book reviews this time.