MPT Mourns the Loss of Bernard “Mike” Doyle, PeacemakerJune 30, 2010
Mike Doyle was not your usual peace activist. A bastion of strength all of his life, his development as a peacemaker was most certainly an evolutionary process.
Before discovering Michigan Peace Team, Mike had dedicated many years of service as a Colonel in the army (more than 25 years), and when he first heard of the work of MPT, he thought we were not only delusional in thinking we could make a difference, but also reckless and irresponsible for getting in the way of the ‘trained peace enforcers’ he considered the armed forces to be.
But something about what we were doing – despite his strong initial reservations – struck a chord in him. Mike was somehow compelled to learn more about this work: “third-party nonviolent intervention.” He spent countless hours in discussion (and often debate) with MPT co-founder Peter Dougherty…and more hours still at the MPT offices. He watched from the sidelines to see what we were doing, and how we did it. Gradually, Mike came to not only understand our work and our vision, but to embrace it….first volunteering to help with odd jobs, then participating in nonviolent skills training workshops, and ultimately engaging in innumerable domestic (in-country) peace teams as a full-fledged peace team member. Eventually Mike became one of MPT’s nonviolence trainers and a convincing advocate for the strength, effectiveness and integrity of the nonviolent social change movement.
Nearly every Friday, Mike (often accompanied by his beloved dog Monk) would take part in the weekly peace vigils at the state capital. His gregarious nature welcomed new participants into the fold, and his years of experience facilitated his speaking authoritatively on both the ineffectual devastation of war, and the promising potency of strategic nonviolence.
Mike had become an integral part of Michigan Peace Team. He never lost his respect and admiration for those who serve this county in the armed forces…but he had chosen to put down the traditional weapons of war, and instead armed himself with an open heart, a listening ear, and a willingness to risk personal safety to ensure the ability of others to work out their differences nonviolently. He was a warrior who had learned to fight with love, kindness, understanding and patience. A man whose life became the testament for hammering swords into plowshares. We will miss him terribly, and yet proudly carry out the legacy he left us.