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Re: [learningfromeachother] Re: [holistichelping] My Feedback on Funding/Peacemakers and Commanders/our mutual work

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  • Pamela McLean
    Thanks Benoit. I also want to join in the other discussion, about finances. I cannot give the time now to explain all the reasons behind my thinking. - but I
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 3, 2008
      Thanks Benoit.

      I also want to join in the other discussion, about finances. I cannot give the time now to explain all the reasons behind my thinking. - but I must write something on thus.

      The PoP is a great initiative. One of its very strong points is that the money that is given goes to Africa with no-one (except Western Union etc) taking anything out for administration. We want to keep it that  way.

      This means that people who do the admin have to do it as volunteers. Either they must volunteer in their spare time (while also doing their "day job") or they must have some kind of independent means. Personally I do not want to see Andrius spending a lot of time on a "day job" that takes his time and energy away from Mincius Sodas and its initiatives - including the Pyramid of Peace. I want Monciu Sodas directed properly. I think it makes great sense for him to be sponsored so that he can afford to give his time freely without having to do some other "day job"to pay his way.

      If I had $5,000 dollars a month to invest in a better future I would happily use it to sponsor Andrius so he could work full time on Minciu Sodas without having to wonder about meeting his daily needs. If I wanted my company name linked to building a positive future I would love to see it advertised as a sponsor af Minciu Sodas. Unfortunately I do not have money like that (I imagine my situation is similar to Andrius' in some ways - for years my "day job" has been squeezed by the demands of what I see as my "real work" - for which I get no pay). 

      It seems almost an insult to offer very little - but I want to demonstrate that I believe we should help Andrius to find a sponsor. What I offer is not much by UK standards - just £30 a month (enough for a meal at a restaurant I think) - but I know it would make a difference to me if I kept it in my pocket and so I hope it will make a difference to Andrius if I put it in his pocket instead.  I am doing this to show that I completely support Andrius in his quest to find a sponsor, and until he does reach his $5,000 a month, for as long as I am able, I will give him £30 a month. Does anyome know if you can set up standing orders by pay-pal?

      I encourage us all to help Andrius find sponsorship.


      On 03/02/2008, Benoit Couture <benoitctr@...> wrote:

      Thanks Pam,
      For giving me an opportunity to state that I am in complete agreement with your letter and with the way in which you whole heartedly support Andrius.  I want to specify this so as to be clear that the caution I raised along with Janet and Franz, is an issue that we are all faced with personally and communally, and not for Andrius alone. 
      As long as The Commandment in Chief is safely secured to lead the Commander in Chief, all will go on to be well and growing. 
      By pointing to all the work and inspiration in Andrius' past and current service, your letter is writen in such a way as to produce just the king of secured safety that helps us all to reach the consensus of mutual support and will move us on stronger and more focused than ever!
      Looking forward to share in&n bsp;the better present for all,

      Pamela McLean <pam54321@...> wrote:
      Dear Andrius

      This leader /commander discussion reminds me of a chat you and I had recently about Minciu Sodas. It makes me wonder if the words mean different things to different people.

      We were discussing Mincius Sodas - The Orchard of Thoughts Laboratory.  I said that to me it was like a University. I forget our exact words - but it was soon clear that we had very different ideas and experience behind certain words. To you "university" meant formal teaching - to me it meant discovering and exploring  ideas. You pointed out that Minciu Sodas was called a "laboratory". To me that suggested a very formal,  sterile environment - it was not organic enough for Minciu Sodas.  To you however  "a laboratory"was a creative experimental place.

      So - at the Orchard of Thoughts - our wonderful e-home - we were both adding a label that expressed the exploration and development of ideas. The label 'Lab" emphasised that meaning to you - but alienated me - the label "university" emphasised that meaning to me - but alienated you.  It seems that we have a similar problem with words like "leader" and "commander".

      To me you are our leader - in a very special way. (In fact I don't know why you want a title other than "leader" - (unless it is that Hitler rather spoiled that title.)  My first impression is that I am in agreement with you regarding all that you write about your role as our leader. I think it is a unique and beautiful form of leadership. You give us vision, you give us space to develop, you give us opportunity, you define strategy, you see the detail, you see the big picture, you are clear in what you are doing, you share your thinking with us, you are a risk taker, you make yourself vulnerable by your openness, you explain your decisions and priorities, you do not exclude anyone who wishes to work along with you and is willing to do things according to the cultural norms that you have established.

      To me the power of your leader-ship style is the way that you inspire and invite and suggest. Then you leave the individual to and make the final decisions - about involvement or not, about risk-taking or not, about sacrifices or not, about time given or not.  But you do not command us to do it - you offer us the choice. You never command.

      I love your leadership, which I see as loving, courageous, intelligent, creative and empowering - but I hate the word commander. To me the word commander has connotations of military command and treating people as cannon-fodder, like in Europe in the trenches in the first world war. It has connotations of military command and dictatorship like Idi Amin. It is things I recoil from. It is things that are nothing like your style of leadership. To me using the word commander is destructive to the very idea of the Pyramid of Peace.

      To my the PoP is a truly democratic movement (according to my understanding of the concept). It is democratic in the ways that it values individuals, responds to their opinions, and works at the grass roots. In PoP  the cream rises to the top. Leadership is offered - our leaders have authority because people want to respond to the leadership they offer. Authority is is not imposed on others through force or paid for through bribery in PoP.

      PoP is working for peace in a continent where politics is all too often connected with military coups and dictatorships. I feel that we do not want to use any words that fit into that model. In my opinion - people in leadership roles in PoP should have titles that emphasis a new and alternative approach. Maybe we need a new word - one we haven't made up yet - maybe there is a good word in Kiswahili or Lithuanian - but if we have to have an existing English word for now I would much prefer something like Strategist in Chief rather than Commander.


      On 02/02/2008, Janet Feldman <kaippg@...> wrote:
      PS...which I put as an ante-script here :)):  Andrius has responded to a shorter but similar message at Global Villages, and thanks for that! I hope we can talk M or T, and share-learn-dream together!
      Dear All,
      This note is about several things, but it started out as a congratulatory letter to Ron as a "peacemaker", so I will say that first. I am so glad that you are here with us! Ron has shared a number of remarkable stories with us during the period I have known him, after being introduced by Dennis in 2005. The title "Peacemaker" is wonderful and very appropriate.
      We are all peacemakers, and that creates a level playing field which unites us. The "commander" language has strong military connotation to me as well.  We need to "encourage", "promote", "support", even "exhort" one another at times. But commanding someone to me is not necessarily the language of love, at least not as I know and cherish it as an individual and as a woman.
      Of course, decisions also need to be made quickly, so some flexibility in a structure built more on consensus or a larger decision-making role for a wider number sometimes needs to operate in tandem with a smaller group who can move quickly to "take charge" when things need to be immediately.
      The pyramid of peace is a delightful wordplay, and--in terms of acrobatics--it serves a purpose. But in my view that symbol should not be taken in a literal way to denote our working structure.
      I do not think it will serve our mutual endeavors--let alone our "independent thinking" and development--to work within a structure which is "corporate", the military being one such, where there is a "commander-in-chief" at the apex, and everyone else in positions within a hierarchy.
      The decision-making process is different in top-down organizations than it is in organizations where there is more of a egalitarian structure.  The army, and corporations, are top-down structures, except in rare cases where corporation owners decide they do not want to replicate the status quo.
      This is why I think we need to be careful, and to scrutinize the approach we are taking to corporations. For example, in the cas e of Microsoft, because some of our members feel so strongly about "open source"--and see Microsoft as working in ways antithetical to that concept--I think we should discuss whether we want to approach them for a grant. 
      We may decide in the end that our peace work is of paramount consideration (and that "any port in a storm" will do). But we also may decide that we will forego Microsoft in favor of other donors who do not raise such concerns among members.
      I also think that--despite the fact that it does take a good deal of money to live in a developed country--it would be more fitting and also more attractive to potential donors, if $5000 is given to our extensive network in Kenya and/or Africa (and perhaps elsewhere in the world) per month, with $1000 going to MS. < /DIV>
      Very few donors will contribute a large sum for administration, esp to an organization located in the developed world. It's possible there are opportunities in the EU in this regard, but I'm pretty sure most donors would prefer to see their funding go to the grassroots in developing countries.
      And this is the fair thing to do as well, in my view, because it is on the ground that such a huge number of activities will be taking place. It is better for money to go directly to where it is needed, and for those receiving it at the grassroots to decide what to do with it, albeit with some input as they desire or need from the rest of us.
      Therefore, these issues do need to be discussed at some poi nt, in my view as soon as the immediate crisis has passed.
      "Peace" in the true sense of the word can in the overall scheme of things be better kept by peacemakers. Commanders win wars, but they generally never win the peace, because you cannot command someone to stop hating or fearing, you cannot command someone to love their neighbor as themselves. That must come from within, and be modelled by those who are peacemakers.
      I can think of one exception:  Dwight Eisenhower, an American WW2 general, who became a president...and then coined the famous warning about the encroachment in American life of the " miltary-industrial complex", as he called it.
      I am becoming rather conc erned to bring more of my own network of contacts into such a scenario and structure. I
      do not expect to "command" anyone. I do expect to work with my friends, colleagues, and loved ones--including those I have myself brought into this work at Minciu Sodas, such as Rachel, Dennis, Collins, Ron, Tom, Ronald--in a structure and process where there is mutual decision-making and working together in as much of an egalitarian way as possible, again with the understanding that immediate needs do require immediate attention and decision-making.
      Even there, I believe we can work to develop something which includes more of us in a structure of "support", not "commands".  Being a CEO means being a "chief"; a chief does not have to be a "commander" to be effective, and to guide or lead the work which is being done.  A president in a democratic socie ty is voted in by a majority, a large number of citizens, before that title is conferred.
      Andrius, as founder/director of Minciu Sodas, we all--if we want to be part of this amazing POP project, and MS-related work and activities in general--need to give you respect and support, let alone some "deference" with regard to your leadership role within your own organization. I would ask for that in the orgs I have founded and which I direct.
      As a founder/director, too, I do understand where you are coming from in some regards, esp in terms of legal and financial commitments. But there are many decisions and activities which include partners, friends, and colleagues who are or should be working together in an egalitarian way.
      &nbs p;
      In my own work, I have built something--through commitment-time-energy-caring--which has attracted many friends and colleagues (ActALIVE and KAIPPG International). We have together built something which has helped others too, sometimes in crucial or important ways. The current POP endeavor has in itself benefitted.
      While I would not expect to be a "co-commander" in return for what I am bringing here--in part because I have concerns about that way of framing things anyway, and in part because you are the director of Minciu Sodas--I do hope that myself and all others who have contributed to our collective work will have a voice in our group endeavors, one which is accorded respect and consideration. 
      Strategizing an d decision-making are linked with this; our collective future, if we are to have one, is also linked to what kind of  "space" and role there is for each of us. I am your equal; I am not a sub-commander in anyone's army, certainly not unless I assent to be for certain purposes.
      This involves consultation and an "act" on my part, as well as on yours, to which we both agree. You may have received this from a few Kenyans, but--realistically--how could they say "no" in this situation, or even "hold on a minute, let's talk about this."?  You have at Global Villages (in response to Franz) likened your role to that of a president:  a president in a democratic society is voted into office by a large number of people.
      Perhaps you do not see those of us outside of Kenya--except yours elf as Commander-in-Chief--in this command structure. We who are not there are still very much involved, and my heart, mind, and spirit are there, because I have so many friends, colleagues, and loved ones there. From my point of view, we are all in this together, and it is therefore important that the collective--the larger whole--does have a voice in how this mutual endeavor is structured, framed, labelled, and operated.
      I will leave this here for now and hope to talk with you in the next few days, Andrius. It would be good if we could confer Monday or Tuesday:  Monday at 11 am my time would be fine; Tuesday at 10am would be good. Both days, anytime after 4pm my time.
      I hope everyone understands that the spirit of this letter is not meant to be "critical" in a putdow n way. It is meant to be constructive:  just as Kenya will need to recontruct--including a wholesale rethinking of approaches, patterns, and structures, if true peace is to be established--so we may need to conceive of our endeavors and our relationships in a new way, one which will speak to the future with new dreams and possibilities, let alone new realities.
      This is part of my own investigatory question and focus, and where I have arrived after many years in social-change organizations, in my work in Africa, and in holistic helping and development.  Thank you so much for encouraging myself and others to share our views-growth-personal development-visions, Andrius and everyone. I look forward to many more years (let alone lifetimes and incarnations :)) of learning, working, dreaming, and "being" together.
      Thanks much and blessings and love to all, Janet

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