Koozma J. Tarasoff882 Walkley Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 6R5 Canada
Phone/fax: (613) 737-5778
November 29, 2006The Editor, Friends Journal
1216 Arch Street, 2A
Philadelphia PA 19107-2835
What a delight to read the December issue of your Journal. It is chuck-full of relevant issues on life: conscientious objectors, the Spirit Within, nonviolence, and love.
As a second generation member of the Russian Doukhobors who came to Canada in 1899, I have had the opportunity of studying the movement for over 50 years and have maintained contact with the Historic Peace Groups. It was through the late David C. Elkinton (great grandson of Joseph S. Elkinton who met the first ship of Doukhobors in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1899) of Philadelphia that I have had a long association with the Society of Friends.
In the 1980s I attended one of the Philadelphia Yearly Meetings of The Religious Society of Friends, participated in a session on East-West bridge-building during the Cold War, and have published articles by David Elkinton and Stephen G. Cary, Chairman (retired) of the American Friends Service Committee in Philadephia.
Earlier still, Edith Reeves Solenberger regularly reviewed books of interest to Doukhobors and Quakers in The Inquirer which I edited and published in the mid-1950s as the first publication of Doukhobor youth in the English language. It was also during this time that I met Bayard Rustin at the Friends House in London, England where we shared a room together while attending the War Resisters’ International Conference in Roehampton, June 15-19, 1957.
Last October, 2006, I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba where I participated in a weekend historic conference on ‘War and the Conscientious Objector’ with perspectives from Mennonites, Friends, Doukhobors, and others. My paper on COs is posted on my website www.spirit-wrestlers.com along with other materials including reviews of all the 50 issues of The Inquirer, a feature on Our Way Home Reunion of US War Resisters who came to Canada during the Vietnam War held in Canada in July, a paper "Toward a Culture of Peace" by Murray Thomson of the Ottawa Monthly Meeting, a tribute to Quaker scholar Peter Brock, and a paper by Mairead Maguire on Nonviolence in Ireland.
Throughout the past century and more, these and other personal Quaker-Doukhobor connections have increased my understanding of our beliefs and traditions and have encouraged me to continue working toward peace at home and abroad.
Koozma J. Tarasoff