Anti-Nuclear, Buy Open Borders, Historical Memoir, Inspiration, Memoir, Political Activist

Open Borders Book Launch

Thirty excited and curious people turned up last Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, 2018 at the University of Washington bookstore in the U District to hear Betsy Bell talk about her family’s experience during the final decade of the Cold War, 1980-1990 as written in her memoir, Open Borders: a personal story of love, loss and anti-war activism.

US Soldiers greet Russians soldiers as the allies declare victory of Germany in April 1945
If you missed this program, come to St. Mark’s Cathedral Shop, 12:15, Nov. 11th
Or
Homestreet Bank, SW Alaska branch in West Seattle, 6 – 7:30, Nov. 14th

Presentations and book signing.

 

Professor Eric Johnson began the program with a talk anchoring the historic context of Open Borders within the larger frame: the end of WWII to the arrival of the first nuclear submarine in Puget Sound.

Lack of trust and mutual understanding of how nations should be governed –communism or capitalism — divided the West from the Socialist Soviet Republics within months of the Allied forces defeat of the Axis powers.

Russia detonated an Atomic Bomb and the arms race was on. It was September, 1949.NATO on the west and the Warsaw Pact on the east. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile bases, US Naval fleets, Strategic Air Command and the building of the Berlin wall in 1961 divided the world.

 

Even those of us who lived through these frightening developments appreciated the historic overview. The younger people in the audience had only learned of these events in their high school world history classes.

Betsy took the mike to describe the response of Seattle citizens, friends and fellow parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, ordinary people who are the characters in her memoir. (May I speak of myself in the third person for the purposes of this post?)

The reader of Open Borders travels with the band of tourists who venture behind the Iron Curtain to greet hosts in Moscow and Seattle’s Sister City, Tashkent. Our trip in 1983 unleashed a plethora of friendship exchanges between the USSR and Seattle. Dr. Rosh Doan was on hand to speak of his family’s residential stay in Tashkent, Seattle’s Sister City in 1985 as part of the medical exchange.

It was a wonderful evening, rich with discussion about what can be done; indeed, what a new group of people must do now to reverse this new and more threatening Cold War. We must end nuclear weapons as a military option.

Do good work,

Betsy

Please share this post with your friends around the country. I hope to take this book on the road.

Anti-Nuclear, Historical Memoir, Memoir, Political Activist

Getting a book published

Book Launch Plans underway

 

Exciting news!  Open Borders will be available for purchase one month from today: Oct. 16th.

Hard to believe this long process of getting a book published is coming to a climax. Birthing Open Borders has been far more challenging than producing four daughters. The father of those daughters hasn’t been physically available to support the gestation of the story in which he is a central figure. He might have remembered a few aspects of the 1980s anti-war activities differently. But this is my story about him and me, our team efforts and our struggles. In the end, Don Bell dies and I am left with a huge question about many things. What of all we did together in our thirty five years was mine? Who was I in the process of building a legacy of political activism.
Getting the story line right depended on two things simultaneously: the world stage events that gave rise to Target Seattle and Citizen Diplomacy, and the personal events that shape-shifted our marriage from a traditional fifties relationship to a partnership of equals.
As I moved toward publication, I missed Don’s partnership. He was the one who picked up the phone and made the calls to people and to venues. He came up with program topics by working in committee. My second husband, Chuck Finney, also brainstormed ideas, reached out to people and supported me as I stepped out in leadership roles. Without these two men (Chuck died ten years ago), I found myself unsure, tentative, awkward (true confessions).
Who would host a book launch and signing party? Where would my friends come to hear me? What would I say about the book?
Epicenter Press in Kenmore is, of course, my team. Why I didn’t recognize that sooner, I can’t tell you. The publisher and staff met with me and went over the Author’s Flight Plan. I am now in full-on planning mode, making calls, lining up venues and asking possible reviewers for their pre-launch comments.
This process has given me one more opportunity to “with or without him, … stand strong.”
from the last line in my story.
Betsy

To order Open Borders, go to Amazon, Barnes and Nobel or Indiebound.org and ask for ISBN-10: 1941890210, Price: $16.95

 

Please share with others who are concerned about the nuclear threat we face today, which is far worse than we faced in 1980, the time period of the OpenBorders story.
Anti-Nuclear, Political Activist

Aging peace activists in Seattle

https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/peace-activists-are-aging-but-all-those-nuclear-weapons-right-over-there-are-just-as-threatening-as-ever/

I’m one of them, an aging peace activist. Wake up, everyone. We have a massive nuclear arsensal deployed at the Bangor nuclear submarine base just 20 miles from our Aquarium on the Seattle waterfront. Does anyone care? Ron Judd wrote a thorough and inspiring article about the threat and what is being done world wide to reduce that threat. These good news stories don’t make the main stream media.

Friendship, not fear is what we need. A New York City guy commented on Judd’s article in the PacificNW Magazine last Sunday . He said the Chinese and Japanese own half of Mahattan so there was little danger of them starting a nuclear war. They’d lose their assets.

Get our school children and our musicians, our cooks and our doctors, our educators and our athletes to travel beyond those borders. Let the North Koreans see we don’t have horns and sharp teeth. Friendship between so-called enemies will influence angry fist-waving leaders.

We did it once. We can do it again.

Thanks to Mike Siegel for his photos
Anti-Nuclear

Happy Birthday

TPNW celebrates one year!

This weekend marked an important day for the anti-war movement. One year ago, on July 7th, 2017 the UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Well over a hundred countries voted in favor of the Treaty; the countries abstaining all have nuclear weapons.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognize China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and United States as possessing nuclear weapons as well as the four (India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea) which have acquired such weapons without being party to the NPT. Most of these states did not even participate in the treaty negotiations.

Don’t let this refusal to consider the ban get you down. It feels as though we are in a worse state of emergency than at the time of the events in my book, Open Borders. In fact, the Doomsday clock has been moved closer to midnight. (It was set a 4 minutes to midnight in 1981 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and U.S. President Jimmy Carter pulled the U.S. from the Olympics in Moscow.)

The coalition of organizations world wide called ICAN are coming up with some pretty original ideas about how to capture the attention of the countries with a nuclear arsenal. More about that in the coming posts.

Today I want to celebrate the birthday of this audacious move involving the United Nations by telling you that Costa Rica just ratified the TPNW Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The total signator countries is 59; the total countries who have ratified the treaty is 11. Ratification means the democratically elected national assembly of Costa Rica voted to ratify.

I haven’t seen reference to this action on the internet but from what I know about Costa Rica’s gradual reduction of dependence on the US and the recent election of a progressive president, this ratification could be seen as a “nose-thumbing” gesture toward the US administration’s escalation of nuclear threats. Good for them.

 

Anti-Nuclear

Radio broadcast about Citizen Diplomacy

Take a listen to this MyNorthwest story from late fall last year. You get my voice as Felix Banel interviews me about Target Seattle and Citizen Diplomacy in the 80’s.

Here’s a picture of Don Bell, chair of Target Seattle: Preventing Nuclear War, in 1982-1984.

I’m getting involved with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, one of the sponsoring organizations that kicked off Target Seattle’s public education events in the 1980s helping our local citizens understand the dangers of nuclear war. As informed people, we have the power to take action. WPSR is re-kindling actions to prevent nuclear war today. Take a look and take action.

In faith for our future where all people respect all other people and work to insure peace,

Betsy Bell