Susan Ives, Writer

Susan’s Express-News Columns

From 2003-2005 I wrote a weekly op-ed column for the San Antonio Express-News. Although the specific events that sparked most of my passion and ire are long past, I’m amazed at how often the same old topics crop up again and again.

peaceCENTERbooks has collected my columns in a book, “Squint.” From the introduction: “Those with blurry vision, those of us who squint and peer, who don’t always see clearly and know it, who doubt the evidence of our lying eyes: we too have a role. We are skeptics, the name taken by the disciples of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho from the word skeptesthai, meaning to reflect, to look, to view. Not to see clearly, but to keep looking: keep looking even when we think we have found the answer, keep looking even when we think we have seen the truth, keep looking because the one thing we know with absolute certainty is that our sight is imperfect and there is always more to be seen.

Read a few columns . . .

Scholar bridges Islam and West

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 28, 2004 by Susan Ives In his 1973 book "The Best and the Brightest," David Halberstam described how firing most of the State Department's Far East experts during McCarthy-era witch hunts left a gap in...

Celebrating ‘We the People’

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 27, 2004 by Susan Ives PHILADELPHIA — The first time my car ever went through a security search on American soil was in a parking garage in Philadelphia. A polite young man in a blue blazer stopped our car....

Helping Liberia is a righteous mission for Americans

Originally July 19, 2003 by Susan Ives It's the rainy season in West Africa and the half million Liberians who fled their homes to escape the crossfire of the 14-year-long civil war are living in roofless shacks with muddy floors. "Imagine living in a pig pen," said...

MLK marchers in step with peacemakers

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, January 16, 2005 by Susan Ives I usually begin my workshops in peace and justice history by dealing everyone a card from a deck we call "the great peace march." Everyone lines up in chronological order. If you have...

Humbly Remember Hungry Among Us

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 22, 2003 by Susan Ives In New England they place five kernels of dried corn atop a crisp scarlet maple leaf by every heaping thanksgiving plate. This reminds those partaking of the feast of the hunger...

Reunion and candidacies, a posteriori

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 13, 2004 by Susan Ives MADISON, N.J. — The long banner stretched across the Erie-Lackawanna railroad tracks crossing Route 124 said, "Welcome Drew University Alumni/Alumnae." "What's this alumni/alumnae...

Installing public toilets downtown the humane way for city to go

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, April 10, 2005 by Susan Ives For the past few weeks I've been talking about nothing but toilets. All toilet, all the time. In February, the City Council passed an ordinance that made public urination and defecation...

Kristallnacht a reminder of the horrors we, sadly, do forget

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 7, 2004 by Susan Ives By 1938 the Nazis had been in power for five years and were steadily working on their vile vision of a Germany that was Judenfrei, free of Jews. On Oct. 28, 1938, the Gestapo rounded...

No embryo left behind

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 5, 2005 by SUsan Ives On Tuesday, President Bush threatened to veto a House Bill which would overturn his 2001 policy that allows federal funding for research only on the 78 embryonic stem cell lines that...

In the name of Ashcroft’s drug war, states’ rights take a hit

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, December 5, 2004 by Susan Ives On Monday the Supreme Court heard arguments about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The arguments, oddly enough, aren't about whether smoking pot is a legitimate and...

Reclaiming America over a cup of joe

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, October 31, 2004 by Susan Ives At the Wednesday evening drink-latte-and-fight-about-politics club, one of the regulars announced he had decided to vote for President Bush. We all laughed. You'd have to know this...

On this day of forgiveness, an example to follow

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, March 27, 2005 by Susan Ives I've always thought that Easter morning must have been a mixed blessing for Jesus' 11 remaining disciples. They spent all day Saturday weeping and grieving and were at it again the next...

Formula for success at the ballots: voters who want to vote

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News May 11 2003 by Susan Ives This is a math moment. When I was in college we were taught "the calculus of voting." Professors recognize that the reason people major in political science is to avoid calculus — if we...

Today, be an extremist for all types of love

I imagine St. Valentine and Martin Luther King Jr. hanging out in heaven, leaning against the pearly gates, trading war stories — no, make that peace stories. The two martyrs had much in common. Like being thrown in prison for civil disobedience. King’s use of...

Ustinov’s humor lives on in S.A. story

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, April 3, 2004 by Susan Ives The most popular film that I show in the peaceCENTER's Alamo workshop is "Viva Max!" I run a five-minute clip, the bit where Gen. Maximilian Rodrigues de Santos, determined to recapture...

Military recruiters go back to school

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, August 14, 2005 by Susan Ives I don't have children, but I go all mushy when it comes to the first day of school ritual. Kids with their new clothes, new shoes (a bit big in the toe -- they're growing), new...

Caring for poor is itself a blessing

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, December 26, 2004 by Susan Ives On my first Boxing Day, I plunked myself down in front of the telly, turned to my English hosts and announced, "Golly, in America most people watch football the day after Christmas....

Burbank students learning more than the three R’s

Published in the Express-News, Express-News June 28 2003 by Susan Ives The first project of the fledgling Amnesty International chapter at Burbank High School was a letter writing party. To His Excellency, Mr. Thabo Mabeki: I am concerned about the spiraling human...

Shine law’s light on shadowy contractors

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 9, 2004 by Susan Ives When I was a lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division, I was the adjutant general-forward. In layman's terms, that's the personnel officer who wallows in the mud with the snakes and...

Flag etiquette creates a flap

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 12, 2005 by Susan Ives While boning up on flag etiquette for the Peace Center's annual flag washing ceremony, I had a startling insight: every day millions of people deface the U.S flag. You've probably done...

Tossing Pebbles in the Jesus Pot

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 14, 2004 by Susan Ives My favorite election story doesn't involve paper trails, lines in Ohio or even the inequities of the Electoral College. It's an African tale, told by Barbara Kinsolver in her 1998...

Wars change, but spending doesn’t

This was originally published in the San Antonio Express- news, August 23, 2003 by Susan Ives A friend forwarded an e-mail from a guy named Dave. Dave had been a marine: I could tell by the semper fi he typed at the end of his message. Dave wrote, "Friday, August 15,...

The airwaves belong to the people

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, October 10, 2004 by Susan Ives Repeat after me: The airwaves belong to the people. Say it again: The airwaves belong to the people. Hold that thought. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 62 television stations...

Voters deserve right to dissent

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, August 22, 2004 by Susan Ives I'm not a very good member of the Democratic Party. I wouldn't be a good Republican either or a good Green or a good anything that has the word "party" tacked on after it. Well, maybe...

The art of debate

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, October 3, 2004 by Susan Ives A room full of 15-year-olds were meeting the coach for the first time. "What is debate?" he asked. With his buzz cut and bulldog stance he looked like he was preparing us for the...

peaceCENTERbooks

In 2007, An Helmke and I founded peaceCENTERbooks, a community publishing initiative. We publish selected books that we fervently hope will celebrate peace, teach peace and assist those who are working for peace and justice in our city and other communities across the planet. And , of course, my name appears on a few of the covers.

Books about the Death Penalty
These three books are compilations of classic texts.

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