'Warmest peacebuilding greetings...'

There are some people who touch our lives more intimately than others, people about whom we can say it was an honor to have worked with. Steve Orel was one of those people, and in death, as in life, he posed unique challenges to many of us. When word came that Steve had finally lost his battle with colong cancer, we had to say something and do something.

It turned out Steve had made both those jobs a little easier thanks to his life and work. He had said much, so hopefully printing some of it here helps. And his work continues, so we can continue to do it with him, even as he is no longer here to add his strength and humor.

We can eulogize and say that their spirit will live on, always, in our hearts and in the continuation of their work. But when the crushing word comes that one of the truly wonderful people with whom we’ve worked dies, all of those phrases lose spirit, like old tires deflated and not ever getting enough air again. Some people cannot be replaced. They can only be honored in the work we carry on.

For reasons that others here will share, the first thought that came to my mind when word of the death, from colon cancer, of Steve Orel was the phrase “Warmest peacebuilding greetings...”

As Steve’s many readers know, that phrase ended his e-mail posts. The tag line was as dinstinctive as his opening phrase, the clearing of the throat AHEM. Steve’s reports from the WOO were a part of all of our lives, and they cannot be replaced, any more than Steve can.

The problem we faced here at Substance when we heard of Steve’s untimely and unfair death in July was what we could possible say in Steve’s honor and memory — let alone do. The “do” was the easier part, actually.

We continue to do this work of resistance because no matter how long the road or how steep the climb, it’s justice we’re about, things so deep in our souls we sometimes need to remind ourselves of all the “Whys” we leave out daily.

The “say” proves easier once we step back from our grief.

From the first “Ahem” that began his posts to us to his “Warmest Peacebuilding Greetings” the words Steve shared with us about the work of his students and the WOO do this job very well. In future issues of Substance, I assume we will be hearing the words of more of you about Steve’s work. 


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

3 + 5 =