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 . . .

Kid from Kenya a lesson in risk

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, September 19, 2004 by Susan Ives The night Nick left Kenya, he shot a couple rolls of film. My brothers and sister, he says. The charcoal brazier next to the chair his brother Jacob sleeps on. That's Nick, a skinny...

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....

Islamic fundamentalism not the cause of suicide bombings

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 19, 2005 by Susan Ives It was just a paragraph in U.S. News and World Report a few weeks ago. "The White House's new counterterrorism strategy, now being revamped at the National Security Council, will focus...

More is at stake than the filibuster

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 29, 2005 by Susan Ives I've enjoyed talking about the filibuster controversy, if for no other reason that the word itself is quite the silliest sounding I have ever heard. Filibuster, from the Dutch vrijbuiter,...

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....

Activist slows down, but not much

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, February 7, 2004 by Susan Ives It started in the late 1950s, when New York was thinking about routing buses through Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Grace Paley should have been basking in the glowing...

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...

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...

Fighting peacefully in a war-torn land

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, August 29, 2004 by Susan Ives JERUSALEM — The dateline may say Jerusalem, but already I've been to Abu Dis, Jericho, Ramallah, Qaquilya, Tulkarem and Jayyous. Today I am in Tel Aviv. I'm traveling this week with...

‘I was hungry and you arrested me’

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, February 13, 2005 by Susan Ives "I was hungry and you handcuffed me. I was thirsty and you fined me $500. I was a stranger and you threw me in jail." City Councilwoman Patti Radle paraphrased Jesus last weekend in...

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...

Proposed ban on gay foster parents bad idea

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News May 8, 2005 by Susan Ives On mothers day we honor mothers. All mothers. Soccer moms who haul their kids to a string activities every afternoon in SUVs and barely-making-it moms who carve out an hour once a week to...

March is March Month

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, March 13, 2005 by Susan Ives The calendar for March sounds like a comedy routine. The International Women's Day march was on March 5. We will march on March 19th to mark the start of the war in Iraq. The Cesar...

More is at stake than the filibuster

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 29, 2005 by Susan Ives I've enjoyed talking about the filibuster controversy, if for no other reason that the word itself is quite the silliest sounding I have ever heard. Filibuster, from the Dutch vrijbuiter,...

Globalization creating a hard reality for American graduates

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 30, 2004 by Susan Ives I asked Jaime, a young man who works at my corner copy shop, how school was going. He will graduate from UTSA next May (knock wood) with a degree in biology. "Have you heard that tuition...

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...

Cure for bankruptcy injures the ailing

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-news, April 17, 2005 by Susan Ives My husband and I are unlikely to declare bankruptcy. We own our home, free and clear. Our 10-year-old cars are still running fine, thank you very much. The credit cards are used...

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...

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...

Witnessing return of soldiers a nation’s duty

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 2, 2004 by Susan Ives There is no privacy in a combat zone. You eat together, sleep together, shower together. You wear your rank on your collar and your unit on your sleeve. You are never alone, even in death....

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...

Proposed ban on gay foster parents bad idea

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 8, 2005 by Susan Ives On mothers day we honor mothers. All mothers. Soccer moms who haul their kids to a string activities every afternoon in SUVs and barely-making-it moms who carve out an hour once a week to...

Remember yesterday’s nuclear fallout when making policy today

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, August 1, 2004 by Susan Ives This is what happens when you drop a 1-megaton nuclear bomb. Everyone within about six square miles of the blast will be vaporized — turned to dust — by the gamma rays coming from the...

Our people in the cross hairs of hate

Originally published in the Sn Antonio Express-News, April 17, 2004 by Susan Ives A man claiming to be a journalist called Sarwat Husain, she told me, and tried to give her a hard time about the string of recent arsons that targeted Muslim-run convenience stores. "I...

We care about freedom, but not the lives in Iraq?

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News February 20, 2005 by Susan Ives There were hiking boots next to tennis shoes, fuzzy bedroom slippers alongside down-at-the-heel oxfords and at least one pair of those hideous dyed-to-match silk pumps that...

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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