OUR GOOD VISITORS FROM AFAR: STEPHEN ZUNES, PEACE SCHOLAR/ACTIVIST AND OTHER FRIENDLY FOLKS. TWO POSTS. HUNTER GRAY [3/8/03]
Idaho visitor: Stephen Zunes, peace
scholar/activist, at our Outback Outpost
Note by Hunterbear: 2/23/03
Although our offspring [and their offspring] and other relatives of ours
certainly do, visitors from afar don't usually make it to our 'way up
Eastern Idaho bastion -- or even to the Gem State itself. This is mysterious
turf indeed. We see lots of local people -- and many from the general
region. But East Coast and West Coast -- and in-between? Not too often.
Joan [Trumpauer] Mulholland from Northern Virginia [with me and Anne Moody,
a Jackson Woolworth sit-in -- and her son, Loki, who lives down the road in
Utah] -- old and good friends -- have been here a couple of times. Willa
Cofield, veteran colleague from the North Carolina Black-Belt struggles,
made it this way awhile back -- as did Joseph "Buddy" Tieger, a CORE ally
from the Southern Wars and now at the Bay Area. Nat and Helen Gross of
western Washington -- he a sociologist and retired USMC colonel who was my
best man when Eldri and I tied it together at Superior, Wisconsin almost 42
years ago -- and Helen, a well known psychologist -- have camped here. Mike
O'Brien, a Catholic activist and writer on Movement topics -- an old
friend -- flew in from the DC setting bringing greetings from then
Congresswoman Eva Clayton of North Carolina. Lisa Carney, former UND
student, Teamster steward, and CCDS contact for North Dakota, spent an
interesting week here -- making it 'way up into the high country with us.
And there've been others -- old friends and new -- including various Native
and non-Native film and media people.
Stephen Zunes showed up here a couple of days ago. And we were very glad
indeed to see him. After all, it had been about 40 years or so.
Stephen Zunes, of course, is a well known peace scholar and activist and
I've been empathetically interested in his thinking and activities. Last
November, I posted my recollections of Stephen -- very positive ones -- back
when he was a five year old at Tougaloo College, near Jackson, Mississippi.
Eldri and I had entered the Deep South that ominous Summer of '61 -- to stay
in Dixie for six Movement years. Initially I taught at Tougaloo, and,
during our first year there -- 1961-62 -- John Zunes, Stephen's father, was
there for that year, teaching physics. Eldri and I became good friends of
John and Helen Zunes -- and I saw Stephen, a good listener and sharp talker,
as an up-and-coming kindred [non-conformist] spirit. I was also impressed
with his lying down and blocking campus traffic and, as I noted in my post,
I was quite glad that every driver stopped that pleasant Tougaloo afternoon
under the oaks and the hanging moss. The Zunes family left after that year
for Chapel Hill -- and we saw them at various points from time to time for
That November post of mine traveled around a good bit and got to Stephen.
He was pleased -- delighted, in fact. And so, when he learned he was coming
to Idaho State as a participant in the annual Frank Church Symposium [major
policy issues], he made arrangements pronto to join us -- and at length --
and that's just what he and I and Eldri did.
And the cats and our Shelty.
So we spent a very long and pleasant late afternoon and far-into-the-evening
dealing, via sensible optimism and some admittedly wistful thinking, about
the sanguinary and tangled state of the world and the nation -- juxtaposed
with talk about another strange time and place: both very good and
incredibly hideous in the land of magnolias and blood and tyranny and
courage. It occurred to us both that we had never visited with each
other -- then or now -- in really Free America. He's traveled a lot and has
But Mississippi -- and Dixie -- do give us hope.
And nothing tired about Stephen Zunes -- never was, never will be. He's got
life and verve -- and, as I say, sensible optimism.
Stephen gave us a copy of his just out book, Tinderbox: U.S. Foreign Policy
and the Roots of Terrorism [Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003] --
looks really great -- and we gave him some interesting things for himself
and his parents. We'll be in regular contact from this point on.
He teaches at University of San Francisco. a Jesuit school.
And, of course, Ignatius of Loyola is my Special Saint. Now come to think
of it, that tough Patron of the Warriors may just have been the guy who
really got Stephen and us together after forty years.
In Solidarity --
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
Stephen Zunes and his fine book, Tinderbox
Note by Hunterbear: 3/5/03
There was an extremely long post on ASDnet early this morning of
Stephen Zunes material -- by Michael Pugliese It apparently was
supposed to have some special relevance for me -- though precisely
what remains a mystery. Anyway, this was my response and I pass
it along to our DSA-related lists:
The long posted piece on Stephen Zunes -- even the
paragraph -- is quite interesting. At least from the standpoint of our
family, it contains nothing especially new since we have followed Stephen's
positions with much interest and essentially consistent empathy for quite
some time. This was certainly underscored during our long and pleasant
visit -- and detailed conversation -- a few days ago right here at our Idaho
My own book, Jackson Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and
Schism, is out of print at this point [usually available on ABE] and will be
reprinted before too long. However, I do have a number of copies here --
Stephen had hoped we had some left -- and was very pleased to give him one
for himself and his own family as well as one for his parents. And we were
certainly most pleased to receive from him a copy of his just-out Tinderbox:
U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism [Monroe, Maine: Common
Courage Press, 2003.] It's a splendid piece of work and I strongly recommend
My youngest, Josie, used it very effectively in an Idaho State University
student debate yesterday. In fact, she took it along with her -- and it
drew strong and positive interest from all students involved.
The presumption that one must continually -- almost ritualistically --
loudly and shrilly attack totalitarianisms in order to "prove" his/her "bona
fides" as a democratic radical is not only ridiculous but arrogantly
presumptuous and divisive. [On this list, there are those whose screams of
"Stalinism" strike me as Pavlovian.] None of this precludes sensible,
thoughtful criticism of any organization or position or state.
For my part, I do happen to oppose any military action by anyone-- aside
from that most obviously and physically required by direct self-defense.
From that perspective, I've consistently opposed all US military actions
since the early '50s.
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]