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TEN ACTIONS TO PROMOTE PEACE IN 2009
Copied and edited from a blog by “czelizer” on Peace and Collaborative Development Network
Hi Everyone. I hope that 2009 will be a wonderful, successful and happy year for each of you and more peaceful for the world. I wanted to put together a list of 10 possible recommendations to help make the world more peaceful and encourage others to contribute their own lists.
1) Examine how to create more peace in your personal life - If we do not have some degree of peace in our own internal lives, there is the question of how effective we can be in helping to build peace in our organizations, communities, societies and the world. There is no recipe for building peace, but there are many options that people have explored such as mediation, yoga, exercise, writing, reflecting, building community, and more.
2) Share your experiences and frustrations around conflict - This site is intended as an open resource where people can share both their success stories of helping to address conflicts around the world, and also ask questions/inquiry about ways to improve practice. If you have a particular success story, please share it with others. If you have questions/challenges that you would like input on please feel free to post it on this site and of course on other social networking sites)
3) Support Organizations working to effect change in the world - There are thousands of dynamic organizations around the world working to address conflict, build community, foster economic development and more. There are many ways you can support organizations such as contributing financially, volunteering, and more. I do not want to endorse specific organizations, but some resources that can be helpful in identifying opportunities include the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Interaction, GuideStar, and the Peacebuilding Institute among others.
4) Advocate for Preventing and Ending Conflicts - One of the challenges in conflict prevention is that often policymakers, NGO professionals, academics and others may have information about the potentially negative direction of conflicts. However, translating this information to effective policy changes often requires extensive advocacy campaigns by individuals, NGOs, religious groups and the larger civil society. Advocacy can mean anything from writing a legislature, talking with policymakers, taking direct action and more. For some useful examples of Advocacy Approaches see the International Crisis Group, Women Thrive Worldwide and the Genocide Intervention Network.
5) Mainstream a Conflict Sensitive Approach into your organization/company - Many organizations and companies around the world are beginning to look at how they can integrate a conflict sensitive approach (see the work of International Alert) throughout their external and internal operations. This means examining how an organization's internal hiring, procurement and other policies, as well as the external interactions and services can help to potentially reduce conflicts.
6) Get Additional Training - There are many different paths to pursuing a career in international conflict and related fields. If you feel like you might benefit from additional training there are many academic options, professional training programs, summer institutes and more that can help provide additional training and skills.
7) Join an Existing Network - There are many academic and professional networking organizations that exist around the world that focus on conflict related issues. In the United States, the Association for Conflict Resolution is a network of practitioners, the Alliance for Peacebuilding is a network of organizations, the Peace and Justice Studies Association is a network of academics and activists, the International Conflict Management Association has an annual conference.
The Peacebuilding Institute and its affiliates worldwide provide a wide variety of programs in peacebuilding and nonviolence.
8) Engage in Productive Dialogue with Others - One of the keys of addressing conflicts is building understanding and connections between people with diverse perspectives. There are many organizations working on facilitating and engaging communities in dialogue, conversation and discussion. Find an organization in your community, or start your own process. Some great resources in this area include the Public Conversations Project , the Kettering Foundation, and the World Cafe. Opportunities for participation in study and action groups on Gandhian nonviolence are provided by the Peacebuilding Institute.
9) Foster Sustainable Economic Development - One of the key ingredients in building peace in post-conflict societies is to help create sustainable economic opportunities for communities. This can be done through a variety of means, international development, social entrepreneurship, socially responsible investing, lobbying for changes to foreign assistance programs, and more.
10) Please feel free to add your own suggestions and lists for a more peaceful 2009.
Being a peacebuilder is simple, but not easy. Following are our additional suggestions on how to be a peacebuilder:
1. Adopt a peaceful lifestyle. This usually means prioritizing the activities in which you are currently engaged and choosing to continue only those you value most highly. Avoid activities that add unnecessary stress to your life.
2. Make room in your daily schedule for quiet time. This could be as simple as listening to beautiful music, taking a slow walk, or the practice of some kind of meditation.
3. Participate in some kind of peace work, usually sponsored by a peace organization, thus multiplying your effectiveness.
4. Support the peace organization of your choosing with your presence, your prayers, and your finances.
a balance between the contemplative practice and active
involvement. Each is important. Neither should be
EXPLORING NONVIOLENT LIVING
October 25th, we held an introductory meeting for the Engage! a program exploring nonviolent living Engage! is a 12 session small group program in the practice of Gandhian nonviolence. More than non-violent action and more than philosophical speculation, the program seeks to give an understanding of and practice in a lifestyle in which nonviolence is at its very core, pervading all our ways of thinking, communicating, and responding. At a time when violence is a pervasive and corroding influence in our society, this way of countering it could hardly be more important.
Nonviolence, in the Gandhian sense, is a creative power for justice and the well-being of all, a power that uses neither violence nor passivity. It is the aim of this program to provide the grounding and the skills for putting nonviolent power into practice.
PIET (Peacebuilding Institute of East Tennessee) is providing resources for implementing the program in 3 ways:
1. We can provide both a facilitator and resources (including workbooks) for $50 per person for the entire program or $5.00 per person per session.
2. We can train a facilitator from your faith community, who will then conduct the training for your group. Total cost for facilitator training, $50.00 with your community then providing such resources as the program requires, including workbooks, and other materials, some of which you may already have readily at hand.
3. We can provide the workbooks only, with your community taking total responsibility, using someone from your community who is already experienced in facilitation. The cost for the workbooks is $25 each, including shipping).
Each group sets its own schedule, though we recommend that the 12 sessions be completed within a three to six month period. It is an intensive program and requires a significant commitment from each participant.
For more information, or to peruse the workbook which contains virtually all of the printed resources, please contact Jim Foster, Knoxville & Maryville, email@example.com, or Victoria Medaglia, Oak Ridge, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mary Hilchey, Loudon and Tellico Village, email@example.com,
INTRODUCING PEACEBUILDING INSTITUTE
The following peace organizations have affiliated recently with the ICS sponsored Peacebuilding Institute. We work with affiliates to promote their programs internationally and to collaborate wherever possible to bring about more just and nonviolent societies. For additional information about the following, go to www.peacebuildinginstitute.org and click on the “peacebuilding affiliates” tab.
Burundian Vision -- This training centre for development of the excombatant was created by John Bosco Ngendakurio in Bujumbura town in 2005 in Republic of Burundi. The organization is engaged in backing and development of the excombatant (particularly child soldiers), looking for the peace, fighting for the human rights, and promoting associated groups by the creation of the excombatant’s business. Subsequently, Burundian Vision and CEDAC (Centre for Management and Development of Ex-Combatants) joined to form one NGO. Our vision is to build a proper, peaceful country by contributing to the amelioration of the ex-combatant’s future, particularly that of the child soldiers now wondering in the streets and the population in general. It became a Peacebuilding Institute affiliate in August, 2008.
Centre for Human Development and Social
Peacebuilding Institute of East Tennessee -- PIET was the first affiliate chapter of the Peacebuilding Institute, established in 2000. It is serving as a base model, as we help facilitate other affiliate chapters around the globe.
Vietnam Institute for Non-Violence -- We expose the multi-dimensionality and depth of the concept of non-violence, forgiveness, reconciliation in various components for conflict-handling. We provide participants an opportunity for reflection on how the concepts might apply to their own lives and relationships, for interrelationships with one another, or any group conflict situations that you as participants have identified. Our courses involve lectures, discussions, group works, student representations and writing assignments. We invite all Vietnamese, indigenous and overseas, and all friends all over the world to join us to bring the perspective of nonviolence worldwide.
Voices in the Treetops, Inc. (based in Atlanta, Georgia, with international outreach) -- Through the performing arts, Voices in the Treetops strives to develop integrity of character and foster positive, productive self-discipline. We concentrate on arts programs for children, teens, and adults which promote social and environmental responsibility, wellness, entrepreneurial skills development, social justice, and cultural preservation. We teach principles of non-violent communication, using the power of music, song, and story circles to facilitate constructive dialogue and collaboration between community service agencies, artists, individual community advocates, health professionals and educators.
As the 111th Congress was being sworn in on Tuesday, a seemingly endless line of figures dressed all in black with stark white masks slowly marched single file around Capitol Hill. Each wore a placard bearing the name of someone who had died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, their age, and the date of their death. This March of the Dead video was intended to remind yet another Congress that we elected it to end aggressive wars, and to announce that the peace movement will be a presence on Capitol Hill until the wars are ended.
About an hour after the march ended, a group of the dead in masks and black clothes gathered in the indoor atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. A few of us began reading aloud lists of those who have died in the wars, including U.S. soldiers. Five floors up, on the east side of the atrium, three large banners were dropped reading “Afghanistan” and “Iraq” and “Palestine.” Then on the west side an enormous banner unfurled reading “The Audacity of War Crimes.” That banner was quickly taken down by police. As we continued reading the names, another huge banner appeared on the south side of the atrium reading “We Will Not Be Silent.”
(I can’t help noting in passing that Tuesday’s activities and the “we will not be silent” shirts seen at peace rallies in recent years were both designed by Laurie Arbeiter, and as we were engaged in Tuesday’s actions we learned that our friend Raed Jarrar had been awarded $240,000 for having been thrown off an airplane for wearing one of the shirts with the message in Arabic.)
A half dozen of us continued reading the names of the dead aloud with a dozen figures in masks around us, and dozens of onlookers and members of the media around them. (The corporate media was very well represented at this event, so if it does not appear on your television you can blame a producer’s editorial decision.) While we read the names, some of those who had skillfully unfurled and tied the banners were escorted out of the building by the Capitol Police — and thanked by spontaneous applause. Eventually, the police gave our group three warnings, encircled us, and began handcuffing us as we continued to read the names of the dead. While they were warning us, the police ordered us to “cease our criminal activity.” We were, of course, protesting the criminal activity of aggressive war, but what — I wondered — was OUR crime?
In the end we were charged with something called “unlawful assembly.” Assemble is, of course, a word that appears in our Constitution’s first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
One doesn’t hear a lot about unlawful religion, unlawful speech, unlawful press, or unlawful petitioning. Such things could be construed as existing, of course, but seem marginal; the crimes involved are based in other offenses, not in the act of worshiping or speaking itself. Why is freedom of assembly different? Presumably because our right is only to “peaceably” assemble, not to assemble violently. And, in fact, “unlawful assembly” is deemed a type of “disturbance of the peace.” But can the peace be disturbed even though we behave peaceably, without violence? That’s not at all clear.
We were not loud enough on Tuesday to disturb any senators in their offices. We were less noisy, I’m sure, than typical groups of tourists. Is it possible that assemblies are deemed unlawful because of their political content, even though that would itself be blatantly illegal? Several sources I’ve checked define unlawful assembly as assembling with the intent to commit a crime. Thus assembling is termed a rout, and actually initiating the crime is termed a riot. Standing and reading a list of names aloud is not, at least, the typical definition of a riot. And we were not charged with any other crime apart from “unlawful assembly.”
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines unlawful assembly as the “gathering of persons for the purpose of committing either a crime involving force or a noncriminal act in a manner likely to terrify the public.” How much force should we suppose that Eve Tetaz, a 77-year-old woman reading a list of dead names, was planning to employ? Observers of our action looked solemn or amused, but in no cases that I saw terrified.
a href=”http://www.laprogressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/david_swanson.gif”>That doesn’t mean that I don’t think any crime was committed on Tuesday. The fourth amendment to our Constitution reads “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Nonetheless, the Capitol Police knew in advance of our action in the Hart Building what we had planned, and they could only have known it by violating our rights.
When you go to jail, the police take all of your possessions and catalogue them. Laurie had a copy of the U.S. Constitution in her pocket. The police recorded it as “1 address book.”
THE SPARROW SINGS
This past year has one of deep sadness over the U.S. continued invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite pleas from the majority of Iraqis and Afghanis to leave their countries alone; the U.S. remains with its guns, tanks, bombs, and war planes and ships. Historically, the U.S. invades a country, makes the country's new government favorable to U.S. interests, constructs its military bases in the country and continues to have a military presence there indefinitely to make sure U.S. economic interests are secure. This, of course, is the U.S. plan also for Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. has now begun building its embassy in Iraq costing $700 million.
Recently, we have learned on N.P.R. (12/18/08) that, aside from killing over a million Iraqis and Afghanis, destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and creating more and more orphans, widows and disabled people, the U.S. military and K.B.R. (one of the numerous companies contracted out by the U.S) are responsible for tens of thousands of poor South Asians who came to Iraq since the invasion in hopes of making money to send home to support their families. They were recruited by K.B.R. who told them that they would make lots of money working on projects in Iraq. These people borrowed money or sold their family jewelry to come to Iraq to be employed, but when they got there they were told that there is no work and ended up living in hovels with little to eat. To make matters worse, their passports and visas were confiscated. They fear returning home since they now have no money to repay their loans. Some 1,000 South Asians have been held in a warehouse in Iraq for several months by K.B.R. subcontractor Najlaa Catering Services, a company based in Kuwait. These are the most vulnerable people in the world, and they are being exploited. What makes matters worse is the fact that the U.S. does this in the name of Christ and the approval of many of the Christian clergy. Is this the Peace Christ wished for all people? --Don Timmerman
"War is the ultimate form of terrorism." --Howard Zinn
"The teaching of the Gospel on violence is so patently opposed to terrorism that it can be maintained otherwise only on the hypothesis that we know nothing about Jesus." --John L. McKenzie
"Is there at present a just terrorism moral theory in Catholicism, as well as in most forms of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and atheism? Are terrorists in the service of the ruling elites--the economic, political, ecclesiastical and media aristocracy--any more or less terrorists than terrorists in the service of the enslaved, powerless and oppressed? Which form of terrorist is most Christian? The freedom fighter? The one bringing democracy to the world? Some religion to the world? The one that has God on his or her side? The terrorist fighting terrorism? Do not all major religions, including post-Constantine Christianity, try to glorify their own home team's terrorists?….The most heinous evil is choosing silence in the face of human beings knowingly terrorizing other human beings."--Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
"I say without any pride that I did my job as a soldier. I commanded an infantry squad in combat and we never failed to accomplish our mission. But those who called me a coward, without knowing it, are also right. I was a coward not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty, a moral duty that called me to take a principled action. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier." --Camilo Mejia, a conscientious objector
"In times of war, you often hear leaders--Christians, Jewish, and Muslim-- saying, 'God is on our side.' But that isn't true. God is on the side of refugees, widows and orphans."--Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin in Three Cups of Tea.
U.S. military operations, including the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations, have cost $904 billion since 2001, almost 50% of what the Vietnam war cost us. They could top $1.7 billion by 2018 if borrowing were assumed to cover 10% of underlying military operations.--Reuters, 12/16/08 www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/12/16-0
The real cost of the Wall Street bailout is $3.4 trillion. Annual interest of the bailout at 5% is $170 billion.--Mother Jones, Jan/Feb. 2008. If the poor demanded a bailout, they would be further blamed for the demise of the U.S. economy.
A U.S. military project supposedly designed to support U.S. troops, was used instead to channel millions of dollars to personal friends and allies of its chief. The "America Supports You," program costing at least $9.2 million was inappropriately transferred by the project's managers --Truthout, 12/13/08 www.truthout.org/121308C?print
As part of the S&L bailout, the U.S. government was forced to buy at least 43,640 properties. Some 47% of Americans say they live "paycheck to paycheck," and 27% of those making over $100,000 a year say the same thing.
In June of last year, a Chinese investor paid $2,110,000 to have lunch with Warren Buffett
Last year Sudan received 548,000 tons of international food aid. At the same time, Sudan produces and exports to other countries an estimated 534,000 tons of food.
Worldwide, there is a 1 in 6 chance that a person lacks adequate drinking water due to socioeconomic conditions. It is estimated that over half of the water drawn from U.S. sources each year is used to cool power plants.
The average value of defense contracts that each Pentagon auditor was responsible for vetting in 2007 is $2,030,000,000.
On 9/15/08 Sears began selling an "All American Army" clothing line, with royalties paid to the U.S. military.
At the current pace, New Orleans is expected to be rebuilt by 2028. --Harper's Index, Nov. 2008
Last year in the U.S. 334 people were killed with tasers. Tasers are supposed to be non-lethal. Amnesty International found that 90% of those who died after being struck with a taser were unarmed and did not appear to present a serious threat. Tasers were used on schoolchildren, pregnant women and even an elderly person with dementia. --Amnesty International
Richard Falk, a U.N. investigator of human rights in Palestinian territories, was expelled from the area by Israel after he compared Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi atrocities and has called for more serious examination of the conspiracy theories surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks. He also described Israel's embargo on Gaza as a crime against humanity. --Common Dreams, 12/16/08 http://www.commondreams.org/print/35502
Israel has released about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in the past 19 months in an effort to strengthen the Western-backed administration of Mr. Abbas. At least 9,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails.--New York Times, 12/16/08
On Human Rights Day, Dec. 10th, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill to abolish the death penalty. The Assembly then passed it, and Gov. Jon Corzine then signed the bill. New Jersey is the first state in over 40 years to abolish the death penalty.
On Nov. 15, 2007 the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly voted to endorse a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions worldwide. Ninety-nine countries voted in favor, with 52 voting against (including the U.S.), and 33 abstaining. --Amnesty International
Every 3.6 seconds, someone dies from hunger-related diseases, despite Article 25, Sec. 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."
"If Barack Obama does indeed support the bloodshed inflicted upon innocent Palestinians by the Israeli military and an increase of troops in Afghanistan, there should be no celebrating during the Inauguration Day 2009, only mass protest of a Middle East foreign policy that must change in order to begin a legitimate peace process in the region. Violence or an eye for an eye never brings peace and security."
of the Milwaukee 14, who burned draft cards in an effort to
stop the Vietnam war, was Jim Harney. He passed over on Dec.
26, the feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian
martyr. We thank him for his witness to truth and
justice. Jim Harney, presente!
The U.S. is still the largest supplier of weapons in the world with $23 billion in receipts in 2007 and $32 billion in 2008. U.S. arms and military training played a role in 20 of the world's 27 major wars in 2007. Israel and Pakistan receive the most resulting in so many civilian deaths. --Common Dreams, 12/12/08 www.commondreams.org/print/35364
NOTES FROM TAMARACK COTTAGE: The New Year has begun. It was bitterly cold last night. Two feet of snow cover the ground. While in a store today I spotted some house plants on sale. I purchased two. When I was at the check out counter the clerk said she was surprised at how many people are buying plants today during this bitterly cold weather. I smiled to myself as I carried my two plants to the car. I was not surprised that people are buying plants. They are a sign of hope for people facing months of frigid, snowy weather. When we arrived home a not from our friend, Fr. Jerry Zawada, was in the mail box. He wrote of the prayers and vigils being held in Tuczon AZ for the victims of the Gaza invasion. The prayers and vigils too are a sign of hope in the midst of an armed invasion. On this cold day Don stood on a street corner carrying two signs. One stated "Stop Funding the Wars in the Middle East." The other stated "Loving your Enemy is not killing him/her." Carrying these signs at this time of violence around the world also represents a sign of hope. This hope is what I wish for all people this year. Hope through green plants, prayers, vigils and carrying signs for a gentle peaceful world.
WORLD CITIZENSHIP CREED
As a citizen of the world...
I BELIEVE in the dignity of all humanity, that each person is a being of supreme worth.
I BELIEVE in the wholeness of the human race, undivided by economic, cultural, racial, sexual or national differences.
I BELIEVE in the stewardship of life and resources to the end that all may mutually benefit from the earth's bounty and that no person may have to go without food or shelter.
I BELIEVE in the primacy of human relationships as a person committed and responsible to other persons, regardless of their economic status, race, creed or nationality.
I BELIEVE in the global community, interdependent and mutually responsible for our physical and social environments.
I BELIEVE that we are One World and affirm that I am a citizen of this world. My allegiance to it and its people, my brothers and sisters, is primary over all other political entities.
I AM, therefore, committed to the promotion and care of the whole of humanity without partiality or prejudice and with such resources as I have at my command, both within and without.
I HEREWITH AFFIRM that I wish, as much as I possibly can, to base my actions on my beliefs and thus contribute to a world where justice and compassion rule and where greed and hatred are diminished.
ICS Peace Notes is issued monthly by Institutes for Christian Spirituality 204 Busbee Road, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920. Submissions for future issues may be emailed to the editor, Victoria Medaglia, firstname.lastname@example.org .
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