Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report #8 (April 2016)

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 18 Apr 2016

Robert J. Burrowes, Ph.D., Anita McKone and Anahata Giri – TRANSCEND Media Service

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 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 14 October 2015 –which Antonio C. S. Rosa kindly published in the TRANSCEND Media Service Weekly Digest

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/10/nonviolence-charter-progress-report-7-october-2015/

–we have gained our first signatories in another four countries – Argentina, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan and West Papua – a total of 93 countries now. We also have 104 organisations from 33 countries, the latest of which is the Associação Internacional de Poetas based in Brazil. 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 ‘Ending Human Violence is a Task for Each of Us’ was recently distributed to many progressive news websites and mainstream newspapers: it was published by a number of progressive outlets in fourteen countries, thanks to very supportive editors–several of whom are Charter signatories: special thanks to

Antonio C. S. Rosa

https://www.transcend.org/tms/

David Swanson

http://warisacrime.org/

Gifty Ayim-Korankye

http://ghanawebonline.com

Korsi Senyo

http://awakeafrica.com/~

Dr Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

http://popularresistance.org/

and Pía Figueroa

http://www.pressenza.com/

If you like, you can read the article here:

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/04/ending-human-violence-is-a-task-for-each-of-us/

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 flametree@riseup.net 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 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 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 ‘Ending Human Violence is a Task for Each of Us’ cited above, here is another (inadequate) sample of reports of the activities of ‘ordinary’ people and organisations who are your fellow Charter signatories.

Sadly, Charter signatory and a wonderful human being, Professor Dietrich Fischer, passed away on 18 October 2015. You can read a brief account of Dieter’s tremendous talent and compassion, as well as his work for peace and justice, in ‘Obituary – Dietrich Fischer 1941-2015’:

http://blog.transnational.org/2015/10/obituary-dietrich-fischer-1941-2015/

Delasnieve Daspet in Brazil is a lawyer, poet and long-time activist working for peace, humanitarian causes, a culture of peace, solidarity, the environment, human rights, and for minorities. Delasnieve is also the founder and a key figure at the Associação Internacional de Poetas (International Association of Poets). We don’t know what she does in her spare time!

Some of our recent signatories are definitely among our more senior nonviolent activists: Sr Elizabeth Salmon, M.M. is an 85yo nun in the USA, Jack Gilroy is an 80 year old US Army and Navy veteran who has recently spent three months in prison for a nonviolent action protesting against US drone strikes, and Sr Megan Rice is an 85yo US nun who recently spent two years in prison for her nonviolent action (splattering blood and painting the words ‘Woe to an Empire of Blood’ on the wall) at a nuclear plant in Tennessee that holds enough highly enriched uranium to make thousands of nuclear warheads. We deeply appreciate your inspiring and courageous nonviolent leadership Sr Elizabeth, Jack and Sr Megan.

If you would like to read Jack’s sober and informative account of ‘Why we are walking across Upstate NY to protest drones’ and why Jack spent those three months in jail for an earlier nonviolent action against drone killings, you can do so here:

http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/10/why_we_are_walking_across_upstate_ny_to_protest_drones_your_letters.html

We acknowledge your honesty and courage Jack!

Leon Simweragi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues his utterly inspirational work which includes empowerment projects for women and rehabilitation of child soldiers. He is a remarkable individual and you can read something of his efforts and, if you like, send a gift to support his organisation the Association de Jeunes Visionnaires pour le Développement du Congo (AJVDC) via their new website:

http://www.ajvdc.org/

A recent highlight of Australian Jason MacLeod’s ongoing superlative efforts (since 1991) on behalf of West Papua was the publication of his book ‘Merdeka and the Morning Star: civil resistance in West Papua’

http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/book.aspx/1374/Merdeka%20and%20the%20Morning%20Star-%20Civil%20Resistance%20

in which carefully describes the evolution of the West Papuan resistance to three successive occupying countries (is that a world record?) over more than a century. Jason’s book was launched in Brisbane, Australia by leaders of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua Octovianus Mote and Benny Wenda. Jason continues to work with nonviolent activists in West Papua to develop a more comprehensive nonviolent strategy to liberate West Papua. An evocative excerpt from Jason’s book ‘West Papuans Testify’ was widely published and can be read here:

http://westpapuamedia.info/2016/01/19/west-papuans-testify-excerpt-from-merdeka-and-the-morning-star-civil-resistance-in-west-papua/

And a review of Jason’s book can be read here:

http://westpapuamedia.info/2016/01/19/the-struggle-for-merdeka-in-west-papua/

Tara Tulku Drimed Drolkhar Rinpoche at Buddha Dharma – OBF International in Slovenia has recently advised of their Global Consciousness Project, part of an international effort that had thousands of people meditating in many countries around the world. You can read about it here:

https://buddhadharmaobfinternational.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/%E0%BD%A8-%E0%B9%91%DB%A9%DB%9E%DB%A9%E0%B9%91-bright-blessings-of-light%E2%99%AB-global-consciousness-project/

John Avery in Denmark has thoughtfully had the links to all of his exceptional work put on one website:

http://www.countercurrents.org/avery130316.htm

Given the range and depth of John’s thinking, there is much to ponder from even the most cursory perusal of his work.

Russian Dr Leo Semashko

http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=286

has just been elected Honorary President and lifelong Board member of the Global Harmony Association which boasts a worldwide network. Succeeding him as President is Professor Subhash Chandra

http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=583

of India. Under Leo’s editorship and with active support from other GHA members – including some who are also Nonviolence Charter signatories such as Subhash, Prof Ayo Ayoola-Amale in Ghana, Prof Bishnu Pathak in Nepal, Delasnieve Daspet in Brazil, Ime Bisassoni in Argentina, Kae Morii in Japan and Zaure Khizatolla in Kazakhstan – the long-awaited book ‘Global Peace Science’ has recently been completed. The book, co-authored by Leo and 173 others, is being published in two languages – Russian and English – and is being published in India, Russia and the United States. It is available here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/dr-leo-semashko-and-173-co-authors/global-peace-science-updated/paperback/product-22605037.html

You can read about the very active Global Harmony Association here:

http://www.peacefromharmony.org/

For an explanation of why the Burmese election last November could be of no consequence, you can read Dr Maung Zarni’s prescient thoughts in ‘The stubborn regime’:

http://himalmag.com/burma-elections-not-historical/

Zarni’s website, which includes all of his wide-ranging articles such as those on the ‘slow burning genocide’ of the Rohingya, is here:

http://www.maungzarni.net/

On a lighter and happier note, on 18 October last year, Zarni was presented with the Cultivation of Harmony Award on behalf of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, USA by long-time Northern Ireland peace activist and fellow Charter signatory Mairead Maguire. You can see more about this on his website as well. Congratulations Zarni!

If you haven’t checked out the excellent ‘Ghana web Online’ with news about Ghana and Africa from an African perspective and edited by Gifty Ayim-Korankye, you can do so here:

http://ghanawebonline.com/

A great nonviolent action, highlighting the need to build solidarity between activists and workers on three interrelated issues – anti-militarism, climate sustainability and local sustainable employment – was conducted by activists associated with the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space at the Bath Iron Works in Maine, USA last November. The nonviolent action took place to protest the US Navy’s launch of another Aegis destroyer, which is designed to fire offensive first-strike attack cruise missiles while the anti-satellite interceptor missiles on-board have been developed to serve as the ‘shield’ after the Pentagon’s first-strike attack is launched against Russia or China. You can see photos of their action and read Bruce Gagnon’s thoughtful account here: ‘Shipyard Protest – Unity of Message’

http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/shipyard-protest-unity-of-message.html

If you would like to join Sami Awad and friends at the Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem for their Palestine Summer Encounter 2016 so that you can experience the culture of the Holy Land as the average tourist never does, while hearing, meeting, exploring, learning and understanding peacemaking with the local communities, you are welcome to fill out the application form here:

http://www.holylandtrust.org/2016-registration.html?utm_source=PSE+marketing+March+2016&utm_campaign=PSE2016march&utm_medium=email

Paul Buchheit is finalising his forthcoming book ‘Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income’ which will be published by Routledge in 2016. We asked Paul about the book: ‘It tells past, present, and personal stories of neglected Americans, especially low-income minorities, women, children, young adults, and the elderly. It presents evidence for our extreme state of inequality, and it offers a solution through the annual payment of a national dividend for every American.’ Given Paul’s insightful critiques of US society, which are regularly published in prominent progressive news websites, this book will be a gem. Here is one of Paul’s recent articles to give you some idea of what he writes: ‘Tax Time: How Corporations Are Cheating Schoolchildren’

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/04/04/tax-time-how-corporations-are-cheating-schoolchildren

If you haven’t read ‘Confessions of a terrorist sympathiser’ penned by terrorism expert Professor Richard Jackson in New Zealand, then I have little doubt you will find it an extraordinarily evocative read. His confession is on his website:

https://richardjacksonterrorismblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/confessions-of-a-terrorist-sympathiser/

Kathy Kelly and Buddy Bell have just written a thoughtful article titled ‘Once More, Civilians Bear the Brunt of this War’ which includes a collection of quotes from attacked medical professionals in war zones. Sobering reading. You can read it on the Voices for Creative Nonviolence website:

http://vcnv.org/2016/03/25/once-more-civilians-bear-the-brunt-of-this-war/

Professor Chandra Muzaffar and colleagues 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. You will get some idea of this from the JUST website:

http://www.just-international.org/

Our good friends at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in the USA, including Tom Shea and Leonard Eiger, continue their untiring efforts to end the nuclear arms race. This and other news of their ongoing nonviolent 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/

Rivera Sun, who never fails to be creative in her advocacy and application of nonviolence, recently suggested that we ‘Celebrate Boycotts on St. Patrick’s Day’

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/17/celebrate-boycotts-on-st-patricks-day/

And for her brief exposition of why Gandhi’s use of salt was so effective, her article ‘Gandhi’s Salt: How a Fistful of Mud and Seawater Shook the British Empire’

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/06/gandhis-salt-how-a-fistful-of-mud-and-seawater-shook-the-british-empire/

is well worth reading. Good on you for presenting nonviolent history and theory in a way that makes it interesting to modern readers Rivera. We really appreciate it!

Based in Mozambique, Marianne Perez de Fransius continues to teach us how to present peace as sexy, possible, profitable and fun! You can see how to do this here:

http://www.peaceissexy.net/

Professor Emeritus Marc Pilisuk recently wrote a beautifully understated and very thoughtful article on ‘Engaging the ISIS Threat’.

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/02/engaging-the-isis-threat/

It is well worth reading.

Robert Dubois has been a progressive activist/social democrat ‘for longer than I can remember’. He served nearly three terms as an elected Town Councillor in Franklin, Massachusetts, USA and as Chairman of Trustees for a Unitarian Church in the town. He is a retired Physics teacher, having taught at both high school and the University of Houston. He is also a retired Research Chemist for Dow Chemical. He and his wife Susan, who is a Printmaker and an Art Psychotherapist, have just moved from Houston to Albuquerque.

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire continues her lifelong effort to end violence and war with her latest news release urging the UK to End Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the Saudis to End Their Bombing Campaign in Yemen. See

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/03/urging-uk-to-end-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-and-saudis-to-end-their-bombing-campaign-in-yemen/

Rajesh Makwana at Share the World’s Resources based in the UK has responded, with his usual insight and compassion, to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe in his article ‘The global refugee crisis: humanity’s last call for a culture of sharing and cooperation’.

http://www.sharing.org/information-centre/articles/global-refugee-crisis-humanitys-last-call-culture-sharing-and

Korsi Senyo is co-founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for Peace Building

http://afcopb.org/

and has over six years experience working directly at local and international levels focusing on peace-building, youth development, education, web development, social media, marketing, microfinance and in other fields. He is the Founder and CEO of Senyo Global Group – ‘a company that is into business media, ICT, real estate and agriculture’. Korsi is also chief editor for the news website ‘Awake Africa’

http://awakeafrica.com/

(an online pan-African magazine) and

http://ghadverts.com

(an online business magazine), which includes advertisements for ‘Ghana’s premium Alternative Dispute Resolutions company’! In February 2014, he was invited by H.E. Dennis Sasso Nduaso, the President of the Republic of Congo to join five Head of States, Noble Peace Prize winners, Defense Ministers, Senior Government Officials and other world leaders to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Signing of Brazzaville Peace Accord. At this world peace gathering, Korsi Senyo joined in discussions in shaping world peace and development. He is currently the West Africa CC Liaison Officer for United Religions Initiative – a US base interfaith and peace-building organization. He is also now serving as a Mentor on the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme/Youth African Leaders Initiative. ‘He is married and blessed with two boys.’

There is a great chapter (titled ‘Violence and Terrorism’) in Palestinian Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh’s 2004 book ‘Sharing The Land of Canaan’. You can check it out here:

http://qumsiyeh.org/chapter8/

We asked Dr Katharina Bitzker in Germany, who is doing research into love and peace: ‘What has been the most challenging aspect so far of researching the link between love and peace?’ This is Katharina’s answer: ‘I think there are challenging aspects on many different levels, so just a few… First off, peace and conflict studies is so crisis-oriented that many peacebuilders have a difficult time acknowledging the importance of love in most people’s lives because it feels like they are not dealing with ‘serious’ or ‘heavy’ issues. So bridging this disconnect between how important love is for most people in their daily lives and how little airplay it gets in peace academic circles (but I am also changing that…one conference at a time :-)) is a challenging aspect that comes up again and again. Another challenge for the interviews – how do we talk about something that makes many people speechless – in the best sense of the word?…:-). Here we really traverse territory where many people shy away because it feels either too cheesy or the words somehow never mirror the full depth of the experience. And a challenge that has actually proven to be a blessing in disguise: especially the interviewees who were sceptical initially about the topic and felt they had nothing to contribute (go figure… how can a human being say s/he has “nothing to say about love and peace”…?! – but I’ve heard this sentence a few times now) really opened up during the interviews and the whole conversation became a great exploration together, on what it means to love and how that experience is connected to peace. Does that make any sense to you? :-)’ Great to see you pushing boundaries Katharina!

Despite his already lengthy career as a superbly successful journalist, Jonathan Power shows no sign of stopping! One of his longer recent articles asked penetrating questions about the Pope. See ‘When the Pope Turned His Back’:

http://wpj.dukejournals.org/content/33/1/96.full

René Wadlow, president of the Association of World Citizens

http://www.worldcitizensunited.org/

based in France, offers a thoughtful way forward on one of the world’s longer standing but lesser known complex conflicts in this article published recently: ‘A Federal Syria: Kurdish Initiatives’

http://www.pressenza.com/2016/03/federal-syria-kurdish-initiatives/

Burt Berlowe, who maintains the Compassionate Rebel website –

http://compassionaterebel.com/

– is also heavily involved in a forthcoming book titled ‘Turning Points: Finding My Passion’, ed. by Laurence Peters. Here is a brief description of a wonderfully inspiring book: ‘”Turning Points: Finding My Passion” represents a group portrait of a generation touched by the turbulent winds of a mid-century world which tossed so many received values aside. As the ’60s slips from view, becoming either the subject of the nostalgia industry or sensation-laden documentaries, these writers tell the stories of ordinary people faced with the new and radical choices opened by an America going through a series of multiple crises. It was Dylan who warned “Look out kid, they keep it all hid” and so they did. As the stable and conformist ’50s gave way to the turbulent ’60s, we all entered a world in which for both genders there were no safe and easy choices. A new set of values stirred by the passions created in the anti-war, civil rights, and women’s movement forced us to make new choices that were simply anathema to our parent’s generation: dropping out of society, moving abroad, protesting an immoral war or racism, living off the land. These were no longer extreme reactions taken by people at the margins of the society but mainstream choices. The pain and idealism of the times are recorded in this volume in just about equal measure as an element that is too often missing in memoir writing: What happened next? What did these writers then do with the new insights and wisdom gained by passing through the crucible of the ’60s? How did those critical experiences then shape them in later years? To what extent did it enrich the careers and the work our writers returned to after the war ended and the major civil rights’ battles were won largely as a result of the activism of millions of young people? What kinds of choices did our writers then make for themselves? To read this volume is to gain a sense of a generation that is now eager to make sure that the choices they made and the values they forged help create a more sustainable and peaceful planet than the one they inherited.’

Sister Elaine Kelley and colleagues at Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), which is a ‘Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolence and education’, continue their tireless efforts in solidarity with our Palestinian friends. You can check out their great leadership team and wonderful work here:

http://www.fosna.org/

Joy First is a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance in the US.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Campaign-for-Nonviolent-Resistance-NCNR/184398124955311?sk=info&tab=page_info

If you would like to read Joy’s powerful account of her recent trial for walking onto the Air National Guard Base at Volk Field in Wisconsin, you can do so in this article: ‘Joy First, Grandmother Activist, Found Guilty of Trespassing in Juneau County, WI’.

http://warisacrime.org/content/joy-first-grandmother-activist-found-guilty-trespassing-juneau-county-wi

Brilliant Joy! You might not get justice in a court but we live by a higher law hey?

Scholar and playwright Timothy Braatz somehow continues to combine two very demanding careers! The Boundary County Task Force on Human Rights formed in 1986 in response to a white supremacist movement in north Idaho (USA). Recently, when Islamophobia reared its ugly head in the region and across the country, the task force knew what to do: Offer a better message. They confronted the county commissioners for passing a gratuitous resolution condemning Muslim immigrants. On January 9, they held a public rally in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, with speakers urging tolerance rather than fear and bigotry. Two local residents, choir director Vicki Blake Thompson and playwright Timothy Braatz, organized a theatrical experience with dramatic and comical scenes reviewing the region’s history of racism, interspersed with songs celebrating peaceful coexistence. Forty choir members and actors performed two sold-out and emotional shows at the Pearl Theater in Bonners Ferry, on March 4 and 6. Audience members said ‘Thank you for doing this for us’ and ‘This is just what the community needed.’ Thompson and Braatz are currently rehearsing a new show, one that examines the mysteries of the cosmos and emphasizes the shared humanity of all earthlings. It will play in Bonners Ferry and across the border in Creston, British Columbia (Canada), in mid-May.

As part of his ongoing and indefatigable efforts, John Dear has initiated ‘Building New “Nonviolent Cities”‘ which you can read about here:

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/03/building-new-nonviolent-cities/

Great stuff John!

Since the devastating earthquakes in Nepal last year, we have still not been able to contact five Charter signatories in that country. However, for a wonderful tribute to the remarkable and dedicated life of Professor Bishnu Pathak, you will enjoy the article ‘Bishnu Pathak’s Nine Freedoms Doctrine to Truth, Justice and Dignity’.

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/01/bishnu-pathaks-nine-freedoms-doctrine-to-truth-justice-and-dignity/

You are truly an inspiration Bishnu!

For yet another penetrating critique of modern society by Professor Noam Chomsky, you will enjoy this interview ‘Indicting the System with Noam Chomsky’ published on his personal website:

https://chomsky.info/04012016/

In appreciation of your lifetime of truth telling Noam!

Vijay Mehta and friends at Uniting for Peace in the UK have just launched a visionary initiative called ‘Europe for Peace: Count Me In’:

http://www.europeforpeace.org.uk/

Intended to highlight how the European Union has played a much greater role in forging a peaceful Western Europe than is widely understood, their ‘niche’ campaign promotes a wider appreciation of how the EU has created mechanisms that prevent conflicts before they begin, highlights the dangers to peace and stability that a disintegrating EU would present, identifies that many/all of the problems in the EU are down to its neoliberal ‘austerity’ agenda, its alignment with NATO, and its democratic deficit. The campaign is thus critical of these areas, stressing an urgent need for reform, while understanding that this cannot be done without a seat at the table. They also argue that urgent EU issues like migration, the refugee crisis and increasing terrorism on European soil can only be tackled by mutual cooperation and shared responsibility. In addition, there is a very thoughtful lecture, delivered by Vijay on 5 March at the Uniting for Peace Spring Conference, which was titled ‘Middle East Conflict: Impact on Europe and Prospects for Peace’. A summary, with a link to the full lecture, can be read here:

http://www.europeforpeace.org.uk/middle-east-conflict-impact-europe-prospects-peace/

The Afghan Peace Volunteers organise a monthly ‘Global Day of Listening’ (that is, ‘ACTIVE listening to people around the globe conversing about each other’s paths of action toward a peaceful world’) from 4-7pm Kabul time on the 21st of each month. If you would like to listen to previous days of listening or be part of this ongoing conversation at any time, you can connect via this website:  http://globaldaysoflistening.org/pages/livestream

To request a time to talk yourself, simply email the APV mentor Hakim (Dr Teck Young Wee) and his young friends at “Global Days of Listening” <GlobalDaysOfListening@yahoo.com> The APVs are very committed! They want our help to ‘build a critical mass of nonviolent relationships for a green and equal world without war.’

Dr Klaus Schlichtmann of Nihon University in Japan gave an insightful lecture titled ‘1950 – How the Opportunity for Transititioning to UN Collective Security Was Missed’ to the Security and Disarmament Commission at the International Peace Research Association conference held in 2014. You can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zG-sn31bUY

Kristin Christman is author of ‘The Taxonomy of Peace: A Comprehensive Classification of the Roots and Escalators of Violence and 650 Solutions for Peace’

https://sites.google.com/site/paradigmforpeace

More recently, her newspaper article explains why ‘Compassion, humanity better resolve conflicts: Constructive intelligence a smarter choice to finding peace in the world’

http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Compassion-humanity-better-resolve-conflicts-6661907.php

Gouthama Siddarthan is a noted columnist, short-story writer, essayist and a micro-political critic in Tamil Nadu, India. For a wonderful example of his evocative storytelling, spend a few minutes reading ‘Dear Makhmalbaf! There Is Iranian Cinema Even In India’:

http://www.countercurrents.org/siddarthan030614.htm

Pat Elder of our friends at the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy in the USA –

http://www.studentprivacy.org/

– which campaigns tirelessly to defend student privacy from military and corporate intrusion, recently wrote a great article which showcases the importance of this issue. You can read the article here: ‘Military Exploits School Testing Opt Out Campaign’

http://warisacrime.org/content/military-exploits-school-testing-opt-out-campaign

Our friends at the Center for Global Nonkilling

http://www.nonkilling.org/

continue their fine work with the recent publication of their latest book ‘Nonkilling Balkans’, which includes an interdisciplinary collection of eleven essays that were presented at the First Nonkilling Balkans Forum, held in Sarajevo in August 2014. Inspirational founder Professor Glenn D. Paige stepped down as Chair of the Governing Council on 1 January 2016. He continues to serve as an ‘ordinary member’, however. ‘Ordinary’ Glenn?

Dr Gary Kohls continues to write carefully researched articles on a number of subjects. In January, his article ’14 Lies That Our Psychiatry Professors in Medical School Taught Us’ was published. You can read it here:

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/01/duty-to-warn-14-lies-that-our-psychiatry-professors-in-medical-school-taught-us/

Phillip Farruggio soberingly explores why militarism has penetrated US culture so deeply in his article ‘Militant MadAmerika’

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/op-ed-commentary/

Dr Tess Ramiro in the Philippines continues to guide the organization Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan – Center for Active Non-Violence and has offered a report of their tireless efforts on many fronts.

‘Internally as an organization, we continue to struggle raising funds for our projects as our support from our main sponsor ended December 2015.

‘Last February 1-7, we in AKKAPKA-CANV, FORPhils., Inc., along with our partners called Uniharmony Partners Manila, finished celebrating the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) as called for by the UN under the General Assembly Resolution No. 10.  This year was the 4th year that we have been celebrating the said event every first week of February.

‘The week-long activities included a Breakfast meeting of Diplomats with the Cardinal (Archbishop of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, DD). The said breakfast was hosted by the Cardinal. This was followed by a media forum on inter-faith harmony in the context of what is happening in the world — terrorism in the name of religion. This activity was organized and coordinated by us in conjunction with the Tapatan sa Aristocrat (a regular Monday Forum hosted by a Media Practitioner from Areopagus, Inc.).

‘Other activities such as a Round-table Discussion on Climate Change and COP21 was organized and sponsored by the Latter-Day Saints; a symposium on Women organized by a women’s group called Teodora; appreciation of interfaith food and cooking such as halal, kosher and vegan undertaken by our Muslim women friends; a poster-making contest sponsored by the Buddhists nuns and laypeople; a youth camp hosted by the Focolare Movement; a gathering for group meditation; a night of songs and dances or a festival of languages by the youth representatives from 15 countries organized by the Pacific Dialogue Foundation, and last but not the least, the peace, harmony and unity aspirations of children expressed in song and dance, hosted by children. The latter became our closing activity for the week.

‘Other than the above, I as a person and leader of our organization, have been made a member of the National Convenors’ Group of the “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” (Thou Shalt Not Steal) Movement since September last year. So I have also been active in the anti-corruption campaign of the said movement.

‘Since we are already in the election campaign period (yes, we are going to elect our new Pres, Vice-Pres., 12 senators, Representatives of Congress, Governors, vice-governors, Provincial and City Councilors, Mayors, vice-mayors and Municipal Councilors all the way down to the barangay or village officials and members) one can just imagine the big threat of vote-buying, cheating, pay-offs which usually mar our elections. We hope and pray through continued voters’ education and electoral awareness campaigns, poll-watching preparedness and training for the use of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for automated elections, we as citizens of this country, will get to have an-honest-to-goodness clean, peaceful, orderly and credible elections.’

Good on you Tess and we share your hope and prayer on the last point.

The second edition of David Swanson’s ‘War Is A Lie’ has just been published (on 5 April). You can check it out here:

http://davidswanson.org/warisalie

There is a valuable interview of David about the book conducted by fellow Charter signatory Cindy Sheehan here:

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/stipulated-war-is-lie-soapbox-podcast.html

Since the age of 19, when Dr Kulandhaisamy Susaikannu was a student of chemical engineering, he has been actively involved in the Gandhian movement in India. Now 63, his primary involvement is through conducting 2-3 day workshops for teachers on the theme ‘Peace Education Based on Gandhian Values’ in India, Nepal and other places. He has written a book ‘Gandhian Values for Peace’ with 50 lesson modules which is prescribed for the Value Education class in schools. His latest venture was to Ahmedabad where he spent 15 days conducting workshops in three Teacher Training Colleges including Gandhiji’s Gujarat Vidyapeeth!

Gar Smith from Environmentalists Against War in the USA recently wrote an insightful critique exposing the role of the Pentagon in the accelerating climate catastrophe. His very thoughtful article ‘Global Warming’s Unacknowledged Threat—The Pentagon’

http://warisacrime.org/content/global-warmings-unacknowledged-threat%E2%80%94-pentagon

pointed out that ‘The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn’t include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%).’

We encouraged Richard Sroczynski to tell us something about himself and were delighted to read the following (which brilliantly illustrated how remarkable people invariably consider themselves ‘ordinary’):

‘I am easily tempted, and honored to be asked to share.

‘I don’t think there is much of interest after reading about those mentioned in your report.

‘I am a recently unremarkable retired middle class family man whose greatest joys these days comes from seeing my grandsons blossom and having more time to pursue my most heartfelt interests.

‘I have a passion for justice, a personal motto of “make a difference and create possibilities”, and a commitment to building thriving families and community.

‘I recently retired from a career in providing social and health services to indigent, marginalized and underserved communities, most recently working with urban homeless persons.

‘My activism began in my youth finding myself unable to tolerate seeing anyone else being put down and led to a life of peace, justice, nonviolence and anti-war work.

‘Along the way I’ve met countless good and caring people willing to put themselves out for the common good, and firmly believe that if we all could unite our efforts we could turn the world around.

‘I have been privileged to have been able to serve with several UN NGO committees on Social Development and Poverty Eradication, and would love to do anything I could to support The Elders in their work.

‘Currently my primary organizing and activities are focused on working with Witness Against Torture to end and redress the indefinite detention of Guantanamo, eradicating torture and unjust imprisonment, immigration reform, disaster recovery work, and visiting persons in detention.

‘Oh, and I enjoy playing the accordion and rousing sing alongs.

‘How’s that?

‘Not sure if that was what you were thinking but I think it pretty well represents ME.

‘Regards; Richard’

And Richard thought there wasn’t ‘much of interest’ in his efforts!

Lastly, 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

Anita’s ‘The Flame Tree Song’ can be heard here:

https://anitamckone.wordpress.com/songs-of-nonviolence/the-flame-tree-song/

Her other ‘Songs of Nonviolence’ are on her website too.

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

P.S. This Charter progress report is being emailed, in a sequence of emails, to all signatories of the Nonviolence Charter for whom we have a current email address.

Anita McKone, Anahata Giri and Robert J. Burrowes

Australia

Email: flametree@riseup.net

Websites:

http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com  (Nonviolence Charter)

http://tinyurl.com/flametree (Flame Tree Project)

http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence (‘Why Violence?’)

http://anitamckone.wordpress.com  (Anita: Songs of Nonviolence)

http://oneheartyoga.com.au/  (Anahata)

http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com  (Robert)

https://globalnonviolencenetwork.wordpress.com/ (Global Nonviolence Network)

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 18 Apr 2016.

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 #8 (April 2016), is included. Thank you.

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