Page 3                                             Fall 1988

Reflections on Peace

Juggling for Peace in Nicaragua these last three years has provided me with experiences beyond my wildest fantasies. As a juggler in a country like Nicaragua, one finds oneself in a very privileged situation. I've been able to go places and to meet people that most visitors rarely see. I've met everyone from wounded orphans to well-armed contras, and found they all love to laugh and open up their lives to the clown or juggler who brings them fun and joy amidst the traumas of war.


I doubt somehow that I will ever receive a higher compliment than the appreciation shown to us last year when the head of a village defense militia told us that during our show he and his comrades had finally been able to forget the war for a few minutes. It was the village where Benjamin Linder had lived. How inspired and humbled I now feel to have seen the work that Ben, our brother juggler for peace, had accomplished. It wasn't a world juggling record that brought Ben international honors and respect, but his commitment to the process for peace and progress for the Nicaraguan people.


While performing before a president, especially a warmonger like Reagan, is not one of my ambitions, because of Ben I unexpectedly found myself this year a few feet from President Daniel Ortega. I blew bubbles at him as he smiled up at my stilt walking clown face. We were in a children's park which he was dedicating to Ben's memory.


Perhaps my biggest lesson juggling in war-torn Central America has been understanding that peace is something we take for granted because it is ours without any struggle. In Nicaragua and many other countries the right to live in peace is something that has to be won and defend­ed, sometimes by force.


In the USA, many people know of Benjamin Linder, but most are not aware of the many thousands of Nicaraguans who have been killed in the US-backed contra war. Personally I feel this is wrong, unjust and immoral. I am glad that as a Juggler for Peace I am able to find out more about the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world, and am able to use my skills as a juggler to bring about some positive changes.


While in Nicaragua this year, Jugglers for Peace received an invitation from the director of the Cuban circus to perform for a month at an international circus festival in Havana next August. After that, we plan to return to Nicaragua in September for three weeks of shows and visiting with our juggling friends there. We also have plans to hold the first International Jugglers for Peace Festival in Cuba in April 1990. This will be an opportunity for jugglers from the US, Europe and Soviet bloc countries to get together in the pursuit of mutual understanding and respect.


I believe there is a powerful political consciousness among jugglers. By working together on projects such as these we can play a constructive role in creating a world of Benjamin Linders, not Ronald Reagans; a world of peace and not of war. Anyone interested in Jugglers for Peace projects should contact us: Pahoa, HI.

Graham Ellis - Pahoa, Hawaii

Combat Rule Suggestions

As a combat juggling devotee and concerned juggler, I feel bound to propose the following rules for combat at future conventions:

Players must have eye protection; head protection; be older than 16; have padded clubs; sign a waiver; and use only three clubs (no missle attacks).


The IJA should also certify a referee to monitor the game and prevent flagrant pounding and unsportsmanlike conduct.


At previous conventions I have seen or heard of attempts to create teams and tournaments or create new games like capture the flag. Most of these have failed. Combat jugglers seem to prefer the wild simplicity and raw thrills of combat, pure and simple. Therefore, I have tried to keep these rules from infringing on the simple fun of combat.

Ben Waggoner - Lafayette, Louisiana

<--- Previous Page

Return to Main Index

Next Page --->