It doesn’t seem fair to take a closer look at the newest addition to the “older bloggers” list before the earlier entries, but Thomas posted a note here a couple of days ago and I got lost reading of his adventures as a peace activist at And the Various Journeys Continue.
At an age – 61 in his case – when many people are looking for a quieter life, Thomas, a Vietnam veteran, signed on with the Non-Violent Peace Force whose mission is:
“To facilitate the creation of a trained, international civilian nonviolent peaceforce. The Peaceforce will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution.”
These days, however, Sri Lanka is a politically complicated and dangerous place where a brutal civil war has been raging for 20 years. Thomas writes more about his activities with his international group of colleagues in the Peaceforce than local politics, though he doesn’t dismiss the painful realities of life there and when he does address those issues, it is with great thoughtfulness.
Thomas is a poet. He’s been writing poetry, it seems, all his life and he includes older poems (there is a stunning piece written on a particularly bad day in Vietnam in 1968) with current, new work. And sometimes his poetry is written in prose, as in his reminiscence of a return trip to Vietnam in 2002, including a visit to the My Lai memorial which is every bit as poetic as any writing arranged in stanza and rhyme.
A peace activist since his return from military service in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago, Thomas holds strong beliefs about mankind’s inability to control our warring instincts and perhaps that is what fuels the growing collection of photos on his blog documenting the beauty of Sri Lanka which frequently accompany his lovely riffs on personal tranquility.