Knitting For Peace

 Fact One: My camera cord has disappeared.

 Fact Two: I have a brand-new finished object to show you, but without the camera cord, all pictures are trapped inside the magic box. (If you really want some eye candy right now, check out Jen’s yarn porn, it is really good.)

 Fact Three: I’ve been reading some fascinating books that I want to talk about, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading anyway until the little bugger turns up!

 Let’s put it this way, my family is a book family. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have shelves stuffed with books. A hard day of yard sales almost always resulted in another box. A good percent of our books are library discards; our local library/s hold biannual sales to raise money.

 Courtesy of the latest raid, I’ve been reading Blossoms On The Olive Tree: Israeli And Palestinian Women Working For Peace.

 It’s difficult to describe a book that feels like a great big box, stuffed full with tidbits of this and tiny treasures but I’ll try. The author talked to many women on both sides, all working to try to bring peace between two peoples caught in politics and war. Some were Holocaust survivors that fled to Israel. Others were hardcore politicians, working to bring a female voice to a typically male political scene—and on that score, dear readers, I fear that we fare little better!—but all of them are working towards the same thing: peace. Peace for their nations, peace for their families, for themselves.

 I read stories about soldiers destroying belongings and homes—not for gain, but just because they could. One particularly gripping story told about a family in Bethlehem that had been commandeered by Israeli soldiers that broke down the back door and stayed there–for 21 days. (Apparently their house offered an excellent view from its roof during the stand-off in which a Palestinian gunman hid himself in the Church of the Nativity.)  2 family members died when they stormed their house, randomly firing guns through the door. The bodies weren’t picked up for two days; no one would come. The soldiers stole what they wanted, destroyed what they didn’t and finally left…

 Just before I picked this book up, I’d also been reading Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time.  As you can imagine, my adolescent heart is aflame with peace-making desire…and virtually helpless to do much about it. One fact in Knitting For Peace that caught my attention was that the Afghans for Afghans (I believe) recommended the color green, because it is a color beloved to Islam. This tiny humane detail has somehow stuck itself into my brain, niggling at me, as if it is somehow important.

 So, yes, there are many charity knitting organizations. I’m organizing a knit-a-long for premature and needy babies in a Ravelry group and I’ll also be handling the other knit-a-longs that the group does, at least the next few, anyway. The next time, we will be knitting for rape survivors—shawls or blankets, something to show caring and respect.

 But somehow, I feel restless, unsettled. I know there are people knitting helmet liners for soldiers. Socks for soldiers. Knitting For Peace shares amazing stories about many great organizations that knit for civilians as well. It’s not that I have not read these stories before, known about these organizations before, but I am seriously doubting whether I am doing all that I can…or that there aren’t quiet stretches of people, unreached, that still need help.

 Naturally, I’m speaking from a privileged point of view. I don’t want to poke myself, to prod myself, to recognize that I am, in many ways, speaking down from my own self-created pedestal. I don’t want to be insufferable, somehow looking down like the great Western white saviour, reaching out my sainted hand to the great unwashed of the world that need my help. I have no illusions that my picture of need or conflict is faint and cloudy compared to what it is to live, day to day, in a life that is a war-zone, or simply a struggle to survive.

 All that I can do is realize that I need to help…and that there is probably somewhere or something that I can. Please, if you have a charity or project that is especially close to your heart, share with me in the comments. Anything about your charity work or others would be appreciated. I’m asking, hoping for answers, because last time I asked for a response, about random acts of kindness, the response was touching and amazing. If you haven’t read everyone’s stories, please go here and read them, just scroll down to the comments—they’re beautiful, sometimes funny.)

 Again, if you have a charity close to you, or a story that you want to share, please, tell me about it. I have two hands that want to work.

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July 28, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized.

6 Comments

  1. jinniver replied:

    Thanks for the plug, but the credit goes to you for your great instructions and my mother-in-law for my beautiful garden!

    I think it’s evident that the actions of any one person is not going to bring out world peace or end world hunger. However, that should never dissuade anyone from doing what they can and encouraging others to do the same. After all, if enough people do so, it will have an impact.

    My local knitting guild does charity projects–right now we’re working on fundraising for breast cancer charities; we’re looking at doing some of the helmet liners or other military-related projects next. Personally, my charity knitting goes to NICUs. I’ve already told the long story on my blog, but the short story is that during the 12 days that my oldest child spent in the NICU after his birth, I saw a lot of infants–preemies and otherwise–that need all the help they can get in getting the right start. My son’s life was saved by the doctors and nurses in that NICU, and so I knit projects for the other children in the same situation.

  2. linda (aka tribal) replied:

    I love the idea of knitting for charity but I keep it pretty local. I feel we need to take care of our own first. So, I am knitting for Crafty Angels (located in Chicago, but take knitted items from afar) and for Helping Hearts for Cheyenne River Reservation.
    Crafty Angels distributes items to the elderly, to recent immigrants and to one foster type of home, where the kids are ready to be on their own for the first time. they ask for red scarves for these kids so that they feel somebody somewhere cared enough about them to knit them something.
    Helping Hearts is asking for mittens, gloves and hand warmers in all sizes, hopefully by October because the reservation is in South Dakota where winter sets in early. The great thing is neither require wool only items, although I knit a combination of things in wool and in other fibers.
    You can find the Helping Hearts on ravelry. Crafty Angels, I found through Lion Brand Yarns website (which has a ton of other charities.)

  3. Dava replied:

    Once again you amaze me with your maturity and insight.

    I don’t have any charity projects to recommend or join right now (my schoolwork is much too crazy for me to attempt to help out on anything else at the moment), but I love the idea for a KAL for rape survivors. The idea of something comforting to wrap around a person is just what knitting is all about. When the time comes, I hope I’m able to join in.

    Keep fighting the good fight. You give me hope for the future.

  4. Aunt Kathy replied:

    I have been making squares for a charity called Close Knit Hugs for several years now. And just recently I joined a group that is putting together a breast cancer awareness dishcloth calendar to be sold for 2009. I designed a cloth for the calendar as my donation.

    I am always looking for great charities to give to.

  5. Knittah replied:

    I have a chronic illness, but in addition to treating people like me, my doctor has built a successful HIV/AIDS clinic in Gaborone, Botswana. The medical care provided by the residents who rotate through has lifted the quality of all medical care in the area. Doctors, residents and pharm companies have donated time and money to build this extraordinary practice.

    During one of my visits, I asked my doctor if they work with a lot of children. He said there is an orphanage where 85% of the children are AIDS orphans, but only 15% of them are actually infected. There have been great advances in treating pregnant women to prevent transmission of HIV to infants. Almost every child has lost a parent, grandparent and/or other loved one to the disease.

    I asked my doctor if the children needed anything. Here is the result:

    http://travellingswatch.blogspot.com/2008/06/tower-of-love.html

    My knitting group and friends from Ravelry and beyond made 84 different items, included 26 blankets, for my doctor to take to Botswana. I have been so touched and amazed by the generosity of strangers who responded to my request “knit something for Botswana?”

  6. Kathy replied:

    Your blog is the one I look forward to reading the most. My recent knitting is prayer shawls and caps for the NICU where my grandson spent 2 months. He is 3 month old now and gaining weight very well. I would like to join your Ravelry knit a-long group. Could you direct me there? Thank you for your help and the great blog.

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