, , , , , , , , , ,

By Rady Ananda

Review of Courage Grows Strong at the Wound
By Robert C. Koehler
Xenos Press, 2010, 234 pp.

One of the joys of activism is finding like minds. While most of us meet only virtually, I was fortunate to meet Bob Koehler at the 2005 Gathering to Save Our Democracy conference in Nashville, Tennessee. He spoke – actually read – one of his essays, and touched my heart. He made me feel good about re-emerging as an activist, after a 20-year hiatus. He made me feel proud, and part of a national community striving for clean elections.

Though not a single essay in his book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, mentions elections – it was surely a fight we all lost with the widespread deployment of computerized voting systems that can be hacked without detection – the same global community spirit emerges throughout his essays.

Bob has a knack for capturing the zeitgeist in his writings. We’re honored to have him as a member of COTO Report. He’s nearly the only voice in alternative media who writes not just from his brain, nor from anger. The depth of his talent finds voice by speaking from the heart; and for that, he reaches the heart. He reminds us of our humanity and the reason we all work so hard for peace, for justice, for protection of the planet.

Strong at the Wound takes us on his emotional process through grief, after losing his wife, revealing life for a single dad in Chicago raising a teenage girl. It is through this adversity that each of us grows stronger, more determined. Koehler weaves this process within the broader frame of humanity’s “Journey of Death,”– from war, exploitation, threat of nuclear annihilation, and more.

As part of the global community, he explores the impact of 9/11, education, forgiveness, and, throughout, peace, ending with his attendance at Winter Soldier.

Rather than dispute the official story surrounding 9/11, Koehler addresses the human element – the US response emotionally and militarily. Many of us rage against these resource wars, along with a myriad of other social justice issues, often finding ourselves in despair. Because he stays centered in his humanity, he retains hope and speaks more poignantly on our behalf. Koehler’s gentle voice reaches a far wider audience than many of us could hope for. And his message, consistently, is peace.

This is an ally for all those working to make the world a better place, and the book serves as a faithful companion reminding us of the transformative power of love.