Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report #7 (October 2015)
Dear fellow signatories of the Nonviolence Charter,
How are you all? And welcome to our most recent signatories and organisations!
Here is the latest six-monthly report on progress in relation to ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ and a sample of news about, and reports of forthcoming events by, Charter signatories.
Building a worldwide consensus against the use of violence in all contexts is quite a challenge but we are making solid progress!
Since our last report on 19 April 2015, we have gained our first signatories in another seven countries – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benin, Nicaragua, Suriname, El Salvador, Gambia and Georgia – a total of 89 countries now. We also have 103 organisational endorsements in 32 countries, the latest of which is the Family Line Foundation in Liberia (see below). If you wish, you can see the list of organisational endorsements on the Charter website: http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com/organisations/
If you wish to see individual signatories, click on the ‘View signatures’ item in the sidebar. You can use the search facility if you want to look for a specific name.
The latest progress report article ‘Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream’ was recently distributed to many progressive news websites and mainstream newspapers: it was published by a number of progressive outlets in ten countries, thanks to supportive editors (several of whom are Charter signatories: special thanks to Antonio, David, Gifty and Pía). If you like, you can read the article here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/10/gandhi-jayanti-gandhis-dream/
If any of you would like a copy of the World Media List (which is primarily newspapers but no Murdoch outlets), then you are welcome to email Robert at <email@example.com> and he will send you a copy. An increasing number of Charter signatories are using some or all of the list and it is apparent that our articles are being published more or less widely. We are not naive about the corporate media but sending them regular doses of the truth cannot do them any harm! Besides, many progressive news website editors are very supportive.
If you feel inclined to do so, you are welcome to help raise awareness of the Nonviolence Charter using whatever means are easiest for you: email, articles, Facebook, Twitter …. Thanks to Anahata, the Nonviolence Charter is now on Facebook and it has links to some useful articles: https://www.facebook.com/thepeoplescharter
You may remember that in the last Charter progress report – which Antonio kindly published in the TRANSCEND Media Service Weekly Digest: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/04/nonviolence-charter-progress-report-6-apr-2015/ – we repeated our promise to report on those of you about whom we knew less by asking you to send us some information about yourself and the reminder that you don’t have to be world famous to be valued here. Well, the good news is that a number of people responded and, in addition, we did some more research ourselves. However, as we continue to find, extraordinary people seem to invariably consider themselves ‘ordinary’. So, irrespective of how you consider yourself, we would love to hear about you for the next report!
Apart from those signatories mentioned in the article ‘Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream’ cited above, here is another (inadequate) sample of reports of the activities of ‘ordinary’ people (and organisations) who are your fellow Charter signatories:
Richard Amoako Ansong is a public relations and communications professional in Ghana who has a strong commitment to ending a particularly ugly form of violence. If you like, you can read about his commitment in this article: ‘Groaning of a girl-child; Cut not my clitoris!’ http://www.cameroonweb.com/CameroonHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=319177 For more information about Richard, his website is here: https://aasirrichard.wordpress.com/
Mahad Wasuge is a researcher at the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS) in Mogadishu, Somalia. HIPS is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research and analysis institute which works to advance peace, the rule of law, and a culture of learning in Somalia.
Perhaps our greatest victory since the last report is the one in which Professor Bradley Olson was involved: finally convincing the membership of the American Psychological Association to desist from participating in the US torture program. You can read an account of the inspirational efforts of this small group in which Brad was involved, as well as see a photo of Brad, in this article: ‘How Six Rebel Psychologists Fought A Decade-Long War On Torture — And Won’ http://www.buzzfeed.com/peteraldhous/the-dissidents
Dr Hakim Young is mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Afghanistan. You can read something about their great work promoting a variety of nonviolent initiatives in Kabul here: http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/ One of their recent initiatives, which you are invited to join, is ‘The People’s Agreement to Abolish War’: http://enough.ourjourneytosmile.com/ You can see their one-minute video ‘#Enough! – why don’t we just get rid of war?’ here:
And you can read one story – Zarghuna’s story – about why she is an APV here: http://vcnv.org/enough
Leon Simweragi does phenomenal and inspirational work to provide opportunities for young people adversely impacted by the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This work includes efforts to rehabilitate former child soldiers. He is based in Goma, near the border with Uganda and Rwanda. He would love to receive some desperately needed resources to assist his efforts. If you are able to help fund his work or provide any of the other needed resources, he would love to hear from you. A link to his work is cited in the ‘Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream’ article, cited above, and his email address is “Leon Simweragi – AJVDC Congo vision” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Since the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April, we have not been able to contact five Charter signatories in that country. Fortunately, however, we have been able to reestablish contact with some of them. Among them, Professor Bishnu Pathak wrote the revealing ‘An Impact Assessment of a Great Earthquake in Nepal’ https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/05/an-impact-assessment-of-a-great-earthquake-in-nepal/ Since then, Bishnu, who among other positions is Executive President of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center in Nepal – http://www.pcsc.org.np/whoweare.php – has recently concluded his report ‘Enforced Disappearance Commission: Truth, Justice and Reparation for Dignity’. It has been published here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/08/enforced-disappearance-commission-truth-justice-and-reparation-for-dignity/
The Fundación Educativa Soleira, with Ancízar Cadavid Restrepo as its president, is a visionary initiative in Columbia. For example, one of its projects – The Observatory for Children, childhood and adolescence – was developed to encourage ‘horizontal space’ conversation, exchange, observation and research. Everything is geared to ‘the collective construction of knowledge and public policies in favor of good living and good living of children and adolescents’. You can check out their inspirational efforts on their website: http://www.soleira.edu.co/
Dr. A. K. Merchant is National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Baha’i Community of India and Chairman, The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Delhi. In his email advising that he had signed the Charter, he wrote the following words:
‘I support your initiative and have signed the Charter for these are values I espouse as a member of the Baha’i Faith. Baha’is, followers of Baha’u’llah, believe that world peace is inevitable. We have two choices either we can all cling to our old ways of thinking until the world reaches such a state that we are forced to make peace, or we can decide to come together now and bring peace through consultation. More than a century ago Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote to the kings and leaders of the world urging them to resolve the causes for wars and conflicts, promote justice and lay the foundations for enduring and permanent peace in the world. Alas, His plea to these rulers were rejected.
‘We live in a strangely disordered world, although people in every country cry out for peace, they have come to think that it is impossible to achieve because selfishness and aggression will always be part of human nature. We need to move on from this kind of thinking and realize that people can and do change. Therefore, the Charter that you have created and support you are obtaining from the diverse peoples on the planet is a worthy endeavour.’
And following the Pope’s encyclical ‘Laudato si’, Dr Merchant’s beautiful response was published in this article: ‘Indian Baha’i leader joins Pope Francis in defending the earth’s environment’ http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Indian-Baha’i-leader-joins-Pope-Francis-in-defending-the-earth%E2%80%99s-environment-34580.html The response was also published in Italian – http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/India,-leader-Baha%E2%80%99i:-Insieme-a-papa-Francesco,-difendiamo-l%E2%80%99ecologia-integrale-della-terra-34580.html – and Spanish: http://www.asianews.it/noticias-es/India:-L%C3%ADder-Baha’i:-Junto-con-el-Papa-Francisco,-defendamos-la-ecolog%C3%ADa-integral-de-la-tierra-34580.html
Sovannarun Tay is a Cambodian who graduated in sociology from the Royal University of Phnom Penh a year ago. At the moment he is busy writing a book on nonviolent action in Khmer, his native language, ‘because very very few people in my country know anything about nonviolent action’. Cambodia is an authoritarian country and the risk he takes in his personal effort is very high: a young man was recently imprisoned for a Facebook post calling for a color revolution: https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/student-jailed-over-facebook-post-on-color-revolution-92344/ Despite the risk, after completing his book Sovannarun hopes to teach Cambodians the strategy, principles and tactics of nonviolent action. He faces a dilemma, however: ‘if I dare to publish my work I will possibly be imprisoned or the book will be burned; and if I don’t, no one know about it and they will fail again and again. There were two time people in Cambodia protest election fraud and demand their leader to step from power; they always fail because they do not study nonviolent resistance…. I have a dream one day Cambodia can be democratic country’. Sovannarun’s blog is at http://khmernonviolentmovement.wordpress.com
Jason MacLeod has done extensive solidarity work for many years with West Papuans struggling to liberate themselves from Indonesian occupation. His superb historical summary of the West Papuan struggle for independence can be read in this book chapter ‘From the Mountains and Jungles to the Villages and Streets: Transitions from Violent to Nonviolent Resistance in West Papua’ http://www.academia.edu/8546479/From_the_Mountains_and_Jungles_to_the_Villages_and_Streets_Transitions_from_Violent_to_Nonviolent_Resistance_in_West_Papua Jason’s forthcoming book ‘Civil Resistance in West Papua’, which outlines his thinking about a grand strategy for the nonviolent liberation of West Papua, will be published by year’s end.
Leo Semashko, in Russia, and the international network of the Global Harmony Association which he facilitates, continue their ongoing efforts to create peace from harmony based on science. You can read about their ongoing efforts here: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/
Our first signatory in Liberia is Rev Alphonso Quamele, who is the senior pastor for Family Line Foundation Ministries International, based in Liberia, West Africa. He is the head of the organized churches under the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), Liberia and he also heads our first endorsing organisation in that country as well: the Family Line Foundation https://familylinefoundation.wordpress.com/ Rev Quamele would love to have contact with any Church interested in a relationship with his organisation. His email address is “Rev Alphonso Quamele” <email@example.com>
The Family Line Foundation is a church and operates as such. It ‘works with orphans, children of single and low income parents in Monrovia, Liberia. We provide educational support and after school meal so that children will be able to have the opportunity to learn…. Our primary focus is on providing healthy and supportive environment for children where they can learn to live in peace and harmony with one another. Since, we live in a post war country there is a need to build a new generation that will walk on the foot print of peace and love.’ The Foundation also ‘work(s) with widows, single mothers and children of single persons. The widows and single mothers program has to do with helping to provide means for these women to sustain themselves through vegetable gardening as a means of getting their livelihood.’
John McKenna does wonderful work in Australia with a particular focus on supporting people with disabilities to acccess the services they need. You can read a little about his long-term inspirational efforts in this regard on his website: http://www.johnmckenna.com.au
Our friends at Share the World’s Resources in the UK have done a superb job in critiquing the Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the UN. In their recently released report ‘Beyond the Sustainable Development Goals: uncovering the truth about global poverty and demanding the universal realisation of Article 25’ http://www.sharing.org/node/544 STWR argues that ‘The Sustainable Development Goals – despite their positive and progressive rhetoric – by no means constitute a transformative agenda for meeting the basic needs of all people within the means of our shared planet. This report argues that we may never see an end to poverty “in all its forms everywhere” unless ordinary people unite in their millions and demand the universal realisation of fundamental human rights through huge, continuous and worldwide demonstrations for economic justice…. Even a cursory analysis of the SDGs outcome document reveals that there are many reasons to question not only the goals themselves, but the entire sustainable development agenda and the political-economic context within which it will be implemented. Unfortunately, the program’s numerous shortcomings have been obfuscated by persuasive and misleading rhetoric coming from UN agencies, stakeholder governments, corporations and the many non-governmental organisations praising the success of the MDGs and heavily promoting the new “Global Goals” campaign. One of the aims of this report is therefore to bolster a counter-narrative to the mainstream view that the existing international development framework is capable of addressing the critical social and ecological crises facing humanity.’ Rajesh Makwana summarises the key issues in his fine article ‘#GlobalGoals? The truth about poverty and how to address it’ http://www.sharing.org/information-centre/articles/globalgoals-truth-about-poverty-and-how-address-it
Our good friends Professor Chandra Muzaffar, Fah Yen Yin, Nurul Haida Binti Dzulkifli and many others at the International Movement for a JUST World, based in Malaysia, continue their inspirational efforts which you can peruse on the JUST website: http://www.just-international.org/
Since the last report, the book ‘Peace Lessons’ by Professor Timothy Braatz, who thoughtfully applies key peace studies concepts to select historical events that are normally perceived as violent, has been published: http://www.amazon.com/Peace-Lessons-Timothy-Braatz/dp/0692303758/ref=sr_1_28?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429793285&sr=1-28&keywords=Peace+lessons If you like, you can read a review of the book here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/05/peace-lessons-how-to-reduce-violence/
Perhaps the most brilliantly conceived nonviolent action of which we have heard for some time, Rivera Sun and her sister Marada Cook are key figures behind Maine sail freight, an initiative they explained on a David Swanson ‘Talk Nation Radio’ interview here: http://davidswanson.org/node/4887 Rivera and Marada’s intelligent analysis of a series of interconnected local/national/global problems and the brilliantly conceptualised Maine sail freight initiative is articulately explained in this interview. ‘The Dandelion Insurrection’ – http://www.riverasun.com/ – is in safe hands with this pair!
Mike Ferner is running for Mayor of Toledo! If you want to know something about a genuinely progressive candidate for political office in the USA, you can listen to a recent interview of Mike by David Swanson here: ‘An Actually Great Candidate’ http://davidswanson.org/node/4926 Mike’s website is here: firstname.lastname@example.org President next Mike?
Rev Mxolisi Sonti is CEO of the Mawushe Vumani Consultancy (PTY) Ltd in South Africa. The company originated ‘out of the need to take part in the socio–economic upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa, as well as the rest of the African Continent. Mawushe Vumani Consultancy (MVC) believes in the restoration of pride, efficiency and dignity in knowing that people present their best in whatever they do…. This company is driven by necessity to render a wide variety of services with the sole objectives to promote quality skills and to preserve human dignity.’ You can read more about their work here: http://www.mvconsultancy.co.za/
Jill Gough and fellow nonviolent activists at CND Cymru continue their indefatigable and inspiring efforts for nuclear disarmament. You can read more on their website: http://www.cndcymru.org/
We have previously provided links to Paul Buchheit’s scholarly efforts but here is a link to a song for which he wrote the words and music: ‘Song of a Closet Republican’:
While Paul may be an excellent singer for all we know, in this video the song is sung by his daughter Marisa, who is unquestionably a great singer!
Martha Hennessy, granddaugher of Dorothy Day, was recently in Kabul with the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Kathy Kelly. Here is Martha’s account of some of the inspirational efforts she observed: ‘Weeding Roses in Kabul’ http://vcnv.org/weeding-roses-in-kabul
Marthie Momberg in South Africa wrote a wonderful account of her journey to live the courage of her convictions. You can read it here: ‘#Kairos30: Dare we remember?’ http://marthiemombergblog.com/2015/08/23/kairos30-dare-we-remember/
You can read the September 2015 newsletter of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, with articles by signatories such as Kathy Kelly, Buddy Bell and Joy First, here: http://vcnv.org/files/Publication1.pdf You can also check out past newsletters here: http://vcnv.org/voices-newsletters
Burt Berlowe is doing everything he can to facilitate the compassionate rebel revolution. He has written two books – one of which is ‘The Compassionate Rebel Revolution: Ordinary People Changing the World’ – describing the work of compassionate rebels, including some of your fellow Charter signatories. The other book, written with two co-authors including Rebecca Janke (see below), is titled ‘The Compassionate Rebel: Energized by Anger and Motivated by Love’. You can check out his work and obtain his books and the Compassionate Rebel music/poetry CD on his website: http://www.compassionaterebel.com Burt’s ultimate objective is to use storytelling as a way to transform our culture. ‘I believe that everyone has a compassionate rebel story waiting to be told. I want to help people find and share that story and turn it into action that will positively change our society now and for years to come.’
Professor Rebecca Janke is the key figure behind the Human Rights and Peace Store – http://www.humanrightsandpeacestore.org – and she is currently serving as an adjunct professor for the University of Wisconsin River Falls with the Montessori Training Program where she supervises teachers in the field as they work on their Master of Education Degree. She also does the Professional Development Day on Peace Education for teachers for the University and is co-author of ‘Peacemaker’s A,B,C’s for Young Children: Conflict Resolution Through the Use of Peace’ which is used in 13,000 locations worldwide. If you would like to add to the number of locations where this resource is used, you can obtain it via the website above. Or if you want to attend one of her workshops on how to combine your anger and compassion to bring out the best possible response to life, you can contact her here: “Rebecca Janke” <email@example.com>
Gifty Ayim-Korankye of Ghana edits a news website about Africa from an African perspective. You can check out the excellent ‘Ghana web Online’ here: http://ghanawebonline.com/
For a visionary child-centred initiative, based around girls, you will enjoy ‘Earthgardens’, under the guidance of Daniel Dalai, in Bolivia: http://riverprincess.tripod.com/
Our friends at the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance in the USA have been attempting to engage the Pentagon in dialogue about its environmental ecocide. You can read Joy First’s excellent account of their efforts and their nonviolent action at the Pentagon here: ‘Mother Earth is Weeping for her Children: The US Military Must Stop Environmental Ecocide’ http://warisacrime.org/content/mother-earth-weeping-her-children-us-military-must-stop-environmental-ecocide
And it seems that Ed Kinane is a slow learner! On 21 September he was arrested, for what he thinks is the sixth time, at the Hancock Air National Guard base outside Syracuse, New York. He was one of five nonviolent activists arrested for blocking the gate in a witness that included placing figures of drone victims in the main driveway into the base. You can read an account of the action here: http://www.knowdrones.com/2015/09/more-arrests-at-hancock.html?utm_source=Drone+Action&utm_campaign=93cc95b6bc-Drone+Action+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_beae583d40-93cc95b6bc-323605697 We look forward to your seventh arrest at Hancock Ed, assuming that US drone strikes don’t end abruptly.
René Wadlow continues his inspirational work to preserve the cultural heritage of humankind from destruction in war. You can read his latest article here: ‘Syria: ISIS Iconoclasts leave a bloody trail of destruction’ http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/12686 René is also president of the wonderful Association of World Citizens, based in France: http://www.worldcitizensunited.org/
Bruce Gagnon, among others, continues to support the people of Jeju Island in their struggle to prevent the construction of a huge World Heritage site-destroying US naval base in South Korea. See this article from his recent trip: ‘Navy Trying to Kill Gangjeong Village’ http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/navy-trying-to-kill-gangjeong-village.html
Have you heard of the Peace Superheroes? Marianne Perez de Fransius, founder of Peace is Sexy and based in Mozambique – http://www.peaceissexy.net/ – is part of an international team developing the Peace Superheroes. You can check them out here: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=38ba48e988d7f99959c263593&id=34e4832dda&e=9c9113612b If you want to help the Peace Superheroes team win at designing a fun and covertly educational conflict transformation digital game, you can contact Marianne at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In one of her recent articles Kristin Christman encourages us to ‘Put a little love in the next election’. You can read how here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/put-a-little-love-in-the-next-us-election/
Maria Santelli at the Centre on Conscience & War in the USA continues to have a significant impact. Her recent article ‘The US Military and the Myth that Humanity is Predisposed to Violence’ was widely published and is a gem: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/the-us-military-and-the-myth-that-humanity-is-predisposed-to-violence/ You can also listen to David Swanson’s recent interview of Maria on ‘Conscience and War’ here: http://davidswanson.org/node/4935
If you haven’t seen ‘Pressenza’, it’s well worth checking out. Pía Figueroa in Chile is a key figure at ‘Pressenza’ and one of the editors: it is an international news agency dedicated to news about peace and nonviolence with offices in 16 cities around the world. They issue a daily news service in English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German. The ‘Pressenza’ website: http://www.pressenza.com/
Our good friends at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, including Tom Shea and Leonard Eiger, continue their untiring efforts to end the nuclear arms race, which included their annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance and nonviolent action, which led to twelve arrests: http://www.gzcenter.org/2015/08/12/twelve-arrests-at-trident-nuclear-submarine-base-marking-the-70th-anniversary-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-atomic-bombings/ This and other news of their ongoing resistance to Trident and efforts towards a nuclear weapons free world can be read on their website which includes links to their highly informative newsletters: http://www.gzcenter.org/ The October 2015 newsletter, with inspiring accounts and photos, is here: http://www.gzcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-October.pdf
In addition to this, in April Leonard represented Ground Zero at the Peace and Planet Conference – http://www.peaceandplanet.org/ – in New York in preparation for this year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. He reports that it was a ‘wonderful coming together with so many other activists from so many different tracks’. In addition to co-facilitating a workshop, plenaries, a march to the UN and a nonviolent direct action at the US Mission to the UN, he spent one day with the entire Japanese delegation, which, for Leonard, was the high point of the week. ‘I met some of the delegates who I had hosted five years ago in Seattle.’ You can see more of Leonard’s work on his several websites: ‘NO To NEW TRIDENT’: http://www.notnt.org ‘Puget Sound Nuclear Free Zone’: http://www.psnukefree.org/ ‘Nuclear Abolitionist’: http://nuclearabolitionist.blogspot.com ‘Subversive Peacemaking’: http://subversivepeacemaking.blogspot.com and, for a laugh, ‘Loose Nukes’: http://theloosenukes.blogspot.com/
Dr Tess Ramiro continues her phenomenal work in the Philippines despite its many challenges. Recent weeks have been ‘a roller-coaster ride for us due to extreme changes in the weather – very hot and humid in the daytime and then heavy downpour and flash floods in the late afternoons and evenings. But thank God! we manage to still give orientation sessions on alternative and renewable sources of energy, particularly solar energy in partnership with returning overseas workers. Our efforts to twin up or partner with groups promoting the use of solar energy is in view of promoting peace, nonviolence and integrity of creation. Moreover, it is also our way of supporting the efforts of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who want to share their knowledge and skills learned abroad by advocating for the technologies they believe can be beneficial to their co-Filipinos and their homeland. We truly are not serious with the promotion of nonviolence if we continue to be violent to Mother Nature and her gifts to us. Indeed, the problem of climate change all over the world is Mother Nature’s stern warning to us to go back to the ways of peace, gentleness, humility, nonviolence – not only to our own selves, our fellow human beings, but also to our environment/Mother Nature.’
Professor Severyn Bruyn does research on social economy – ‘a field of study about how people produce, distribute, exchange, and use material resources to meet human needs, and in this process, generate a culture’ – and cultural studies. His fascinating website is here: https://www2.bc.edu/severyn-bruyn/
A number of Charter signatories – Joy First, Phil Runkel, Kathy Kelly, Malachy Kilbride and Max Obuszewski – were among a group of nonviolent activists recently arrested in a nonviolent action at the White House in the USA. Just prior to the Pope’s visit to the USA, they were asking the US President ‘to heed Pope Francis’s call for governments throughout the world to help end war, poverty, the climate crisis, and systemic violence’. You can read Max’s account of the action and see some photos here: http://vcnv.org/on-eve-of-popes-visit-citizen-activists-urge-obama-to-heed-pontiff
Phillip Farruggio – ‘son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen’ – shares his critique of US militarism in this recent commentary on the new film ‘Good Kill’ about US drone strikes: http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/good-kill/
Lindis Percy and her fellow nonviolent activists continue their Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases in the UK, despite a recent incident in which one of their members was injured and hospitalised. You can read about the incident and their work on CAAB’s website: http://www.caab.org.uk/
In response to the US ‘crisis … of police killing unarmed people, coupled with the crisis of a hyperarmed civil society engaging in approximately one mass shooting per day’, Tom Hastings recently wrote this thoughtful response: ‘Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence’ http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/07/unarmed-cops-and-a-can-do-culture-of-nonviolence/ Tom is also a key figure at the Oregon Peace Institute http://www.orpeace.us/ where you can access his many thoughtful writings on nonviolence, peace and conflict studies. He is also a founder of Whitefeather Peace Community and has practiced, studied, trained others in, and written books about nonviolent action campaigns – http://www.powells.com/s3?kw=&title=&author=Tom+H+Hastings&publisher=§ion=&class=0&binding=0&sort=by_relevance&location=all&received_date=0&perpage=25&isbn= – for almost 40 years. He ‘is an aspiring pacifist’! Sounds like you are doing alright to us Tom!
Peter Childs is a long-time nonviolent activist ‘involved with a variety of causes, all of which center around simply doing what is right, and defining that term in the broadest possible context’. He was deeply involved in Redwood Summer, the 1990 campaign to save the Californian Redwood forests. He was one of 400 arrested in one of the protests to save the Headwaters Forest (the largest remaining privately held old-growth redwood forest), and one of those at another Headwaters demonstration involving 1000 activists. He was also one of seven arrested who eventually went to trial: ‘I was quite happy to do so because I wanted to (and did) enter into the record a defense of “moral necessity”. For what it’s worth, of course; a matter of principle.’ Why did he do it? ‘It is my belief that something a great deal larger than almost any of us yet understand is taking place on this planet, having to do with our finally realizing the utter falsehood of our historically near-universal assumption that we could not possibly answer the Four Great Questions: What am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What’s going on? These questions have answers, of course; those answers are unspeakably wonderful, and they are accessible to us. But in order to understand these things we are going to have to get to the root of our problems and cease rummaging around amongst the leaves. There is a tap root; ignorance. Simple ignorance of what life really is; how we should be living and why. Understanding these things will require nothing less than genuine spiritual awakening which, fortunately, is beginning to occur as an evolutionary matter of course. BUT… normally we would look forward to (another) four and a half billion years in which to evolve on this planet (before the sun burns out) but we have messed things up so terribly that we may actually have less than a hundred years left. Which lends a certain urgency to the matter. Hence, my refusal to shut up.’
In this sobering and thoughtful article Kevin Zeese & Margaret Flowers bring home the unspeakable horror of ‘The “US Way of War” From Columbus to Kunduz’: http://www.countercurrents.org/zeese111015.htm
Our friends in Palestine have plenty to do, as you can imagine. For example, have you checked out the work of Sami Awad and his friends at the Holy Land Trust? http://www.holylandtrust.org/ And when Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh is not being arrested for his nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, he spends some of his time as Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History at Bethlehem University: http://www.palestinenature.org/
Gary G. Kohls MD writes on a number of issues. Here is one of his recent fine articles: ‘Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism’ https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/09/debunking-the-myth-of-american-exceptionalism/ He also continues his efforts to draw attention to some of the hidden drivers of violence in our society, such as the ‘immense amount of evidence that legally prescribed psychiatric drugs are major contributors to acts of violence’. His latest contribution on this issue is here: ‘The Making of a Sociopathic Killer: A List of Risk Factors for School Shooters’ https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/10/the-making-of-a-sociopathic-killer-a-list-of-risk-factors-for-school-shooters/
Vijay Mehta has advised that Uniting for Peace is organising a free public meeting at the House of Lords on Monday 9 November from 6:30pm to 9:00pm on the subject ‘Britain IN/OUT of the EU: What is Best for Peace?’ If you live near London (or even further away!) and wish to attend, you can check out the details here: http://mailtrack.me/tracking/raWzMz50paMkCGV1ZGt1AGN3AmZzMKWjqzA2pzSaqaR9ZGZkZQV4ZGV1Way2LKu2pG03AQZjAwt0ZwD2BN The speakers will include several eminent personalities including Vijay himself.
Pilar Mejia works with the US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children. It is ‘slow’ work, she reports. Pilar finds that violence against children is still not widely perceived to be an important issue, even among activists, which is an experience that we share.
Professor George Kent’s research centers on ‘finding remedies for social problems, especially finding ways to strengthen the weak in the face of the strong.’ He works on human rights, international relations, peace, development, and environmental issues, with a special focus on nutrition and children. You can check out his great work here http://email@example.com and here: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~kent/
Jonathan Power’s most recent commentary on international affairs discussed the possibility of ‘Regime change in Saudi Arabia?’. You can read it here: http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/forum/topics/saudi-arabia-regime-change?xg_source=activity#.Vh2Fh2s9vIU
Graham Peebles has put his articles online, documenting his fine work in many countries over a long period. You can check them out here: http://www.grahampeebles.org/ Thanks Graham!
The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space has just issued its latest newsletter with some great articles in it such as ‘Pacific Environment Under Military Siege’ and ‘Retired and Former U.S. Military Personnel Urge Drone Operators to Refuse to Fly Missions’. You can read it here: http://www.space4peace.org/newsletter/Space%20Alert%2032.pdf
If you haven’t checked out ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ in which you are welcome to participate in response to the accelerating environmental crises, you can do so here: http://tinyurl.com/flametree
Well, as indicated above, an inadequate summary but it gives you some idea of our shared efforts. We must have all of those perpetrators of violence surrounded by now!
Finally, if you or someone you know has the means and inclination to do so, any financial support for Anita and Robert to help us do this work will be much appreciated. You can see how here: http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com/financial-support/
In appreciation of all of your efforts (including all of those not mentioned above)…
And don’t forget to write to us with a report on what you do!
For a world without violence; Robert, Anita and Anahata
Anita McKone, Anahata Giri and Robert J. Burrowes
Websites: http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com (Charter)
http://tinyurl.com/flametree (Flame Tree Project)
http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence (‘Why Violence?’)
http://anitamckone.wordpress.com (Anita: Songs of Nonviolence)
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Oct 2015.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report #7 (October 2015), is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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