Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report 17 (Oct 2020)
NONVIOLENCE, 26 Oct 2020
Dear fellow signatories of the Nonviolence Charter
How are you all? And welcome to our most recent signatories and organizations!
This is the latest six-monthly report on progress in relation to ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ – with the Spanish translation, kindly done by Antonio Gutiérrez Rodero in Venezuela, here: ‘Estatuto De Los Pueblos Para Crear Un Mundo No Violento’ – together with a sample of news about Charter signatories and organizations.
Since the last report in April, we acceded to requests to revise the Charter by adding to it the new item 29 (in relation to the deployment of 5G electromagnetic radiation technology) which some signatories believed to be important. So, the revised (and updated) Charter is now posted at the links above with the Spanish translation again kindly done by Antonio Gutiérrez Rodero.
Hopefully, you will find nothing objectionable about the update but please advise us if you do.
At the time of today’s report, we have signatories in 105 countries. We also have 118 organizations/networks from 39 countries. If you wish, you can see the list of organizational endorsements on the Charter website.
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.
Happily, our collective effort to resist violence and build a worldwide consensus against its use in all contexts continues to make progress.
Our last (very brief) report on 6 April 2020 was kindly published by Antonio C.S. Rosa in the TRANSCEND Media Service Weekly Digest: ‘Nonviolence Charter: Progress Report 16 (April 2020)’. Many thanks Antonio!
The latest progress report article, showcasing the efforts of several Charter signatories, was recently distributed to many progressive news editors: it has been published by a number of outlets, thanks to very supportive editors. Again, special thanks to Charter signatory Antonio C.S. Rosa at ‘TRANSCEND’ where you can read the article: ‘Working to End Human Violence in the Time of Covid-19’.
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.
And our usual invitation and reminder: You are most welcome to send us a report on your activities for inclusion in the next report. We would love to hear from you!
Anyway, here is another (inadequate) sample of reports of the activities of individuals and organizations who are your fellow Charter signatories but sadly prefaced by news of the passing of two giants of the US peace movement: Sr. Ardeth Platte, O.P. on 30 September 2020 and Kevin Zeese on 6 September 2020.
Sr. Ardeth was a nun of the Dominican order who was active in anti-war and anti-nuclear resistance for decades and spent years in prison for her involvement in Plowshares actions and other nonviolent resistance. According to her great friend and fellow nonviolent activist, Sr. Carol Gilbert O.P., in a letter she wrote to women in prison with whom they had both been incarcerated, Sr. Ardeth, aged 84, ‘died peacefully in her sleep’ at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C. Among Sr. Ardeth’s many claims to fame, which include her committed nonviolent resistance to war and nuclear weapons, as well as her articulate advocacy of these and other causes, perhaps her most famous line was simply ‘I refuse to have an enemy. I simply won’t.’ To find out a little about her remarkable life and struggle for a better world, you can watch a video titled ‘Conviction’ and read a number of tributes to Sr. Ardeth compiled in ‘The Nuclear Resister’ under the title ‘Ardeth Platte, Dominican nun dedicated to no-nukes cause, dies at 84’.
Kevin was a lawyer by training but a nonviolent activist committed to peace and justice, in all of their dimensions, by vocation. Known for his many roles in the wider social change movement, ranging from writer to organizer to co-director of ‘Popular Resistance’ with his partner Dr Margaret Flowers, his activism spanned more than 40 years. Kevin passed away on 6 September 2020 at the age of 65. You can read evocative tributes to Kevin’s life and commitment, and watch the online tribute as well, in the following articles, the latter two written by Margaret. See ‘US Activist and Friend to Venezuela Kevin Zeese Passes Away’, ‘Kevin Zeese: His Last Words For The Movement And Carrying On’ and ‘Rest in power, Kevin Zeese’. You can also see Kevin’s bio and his portrait painted by Robert Shetterly on Robert’s website ‘Americans Who Tell the Truth’.
Sami Awad is founder and director of the The Holy Land Trust in Palestine, committed to fostering peace, justice and understanding in the Holy Land. But rather than read about their wonderful work here, we encourage you to watch the incredibly evocative and compassionate four-minute video featuring Sami, accessible from their website. Superb Sami!
Tess Burrows in the UK continues her life as, in our words, the world’s greatest activist-adventurer. Describing herself more modestly as an ‘adventurer, peace activist, author, speaker, healer, mother and grandmother’, Tess has spent years collecting peace, climate and other messages/pledges and then speaking them out from far high places – already from the North and South Poles, Himalayas, Andes, Pacific and Africa – to help achieve peace and harmony in our world. If you would like to be part of the next Peace Climb with Tess, you can do so by adding your own message/pledge to her latest initiative: New World Messages/Pledges.
Tess’ new book, Don’t Blame The Yeti is a work of fiction based on her Peace Journey walking across the Himalayas, up through north-west Nepal, into Tibet and around the legendary Mount Kailas, while undertaking prostrations. ‘Join 12 yr old Torma who makes an impulsive promise to take on a quest to find the heart of a country and a lost penguin. Along the way it also becomes a vital secret mission to protect the planet from Shady Forces.’ The book is suitable not only for youngsters but also as light reading for adults. Just how many prostrations was that Tess?
In yet another evocative reflection – this time on the crucial importance of indigenous peoples and cultures to the stewardship of Earth – Bob Koehler shares a fundamental truth: While ‘the indigenous people of Planet Earth… are still enduring the forces of colonial genocide… The world’s eco-salvation requires that we learn from indigenous cultures, not blot them out.’ For his insightful and compassionate commentary on this disturbingly ongoing problem, see ‘We’re So Certain of Our Colonialist Selves That We’re Destroying Our Own Planet’.
Daniel Dalai at Earthgardens in Guatemala reports that the Eco teams are very popular now, owing partially to the lack of school activity for kids, who miss social interacting. ‘We are cleaning rivers, planting trees and, lately, providing pictures for the Guatemala tourist board to promote this land with an “eternal SPRING” climate.’ Daniel attached several photos but you can see plenty of photos of the girls in these Eco teams at Earthgardens, including the ‘nature princesses’, on their colourful website.
Dr. David Halpin, an 81-years-old retired doctor and trauma surgeon in the UK, who has spent much time in Gaza working to surgically restore many Palestinians injured by Israeli weapons, has been outspoken in his denunciation of the official response to Covid-19 in which ‘Expert doctors and scientists who have sought to inform and plead for logical and scientific management have been ruthlessly censored by governments. Literally hundreds of “videos” on Youtube etc have been “taken down” within hours. This confirms that the C19 “management plan” is a lie, and disastrous for humans worldwide.’ You can read just one of his many articles on the subject in ‘Masking the Covid 19 virus in this “pandemic” i.e. epidemic’ in which he explains why ‘There is no logic, nor reason based in medical science, for the wearing of paper or cloth masks in the context of the epidemic of this virus – Covid_19 (C19).’ But you can read many more articles critiquing the official response to Covid-19 on his website.
Anita McKone in Australia recently wrote an article reflecting on her own experience with the medical establishment and why it lacks credibility in relation to Covid-19. You can read her article ‘Questioning Covid-19: Why I Will Never Trust the Medical Establishment about Respiratory Disease. My Case History’ and check out her Songs of Nonviolence on her website.
Anwar Khan in Bangladesh has been working with private business houses in Dhaka for almost 45 years. However, during his spare time, he writes articles published in English-language newspapers (both at home and abroad) covering subjects including politics, political and human-centred individuals, against wars and violence, and on current and international affairs. During the last 6 years, he has written over 2,000 published articles. ‘From my boyhood, I have always been non-communal and shall be so unto my death. In other words, I am a humanist person.’
Professor René Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens headquartered in France, continues to cast light in places usually outside the glare of attention while offering creative ways of tackling conflict, such as this article on the recent eruption of military violence in Nagorno-Karabakh. See ‘Nagorno-Karabakh: Are Con-federal Structures Possible?’ Separately from this, René offers a thoughtful discussion of the shared understanding between Leo Tolstoy and Mohandas Gandhi – see ‘Tolstoy and Gandhi: light as darkness approached’ – as well as a brief description of four ongoing nonviolent struggles taking place in very different political-cultural settings: Hong Kong, Thailand, Belarus, and Libya. See ‘Strategic Nonviolent Struggle Spreads’.
In his usual clinically precise but evocative style, Canadian Yves Engler brilliantly exposed the staggering difficulties faced by Haiti in its ‘endless’ struggle to liberate itself from imperial violence and exploitation in its myriad forms. Weep for Haiti and join the effort to genuinely free this country. See ‘Commemorating US occupation of Haiti’. You can access Yves’ books and read many other fine articles on his website as well.
Ms. Askiah Adam is Executive Director of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), based in Malaysia, and reports recent JUST activities as follows:
‘JUST closed 2019 with a conference on the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 shot down over a war zone in Ukraine under questionable circumstances. Experts on the matter from Canada, the Netherlands and Russia sat over many hours with details that have given rise to doubt the official narrative emanating from The Netherlands. In light of the scheduled trial of named suspects from Russia and Ukraine the August 2019 conference was important as a voice seeking justice in an international controversy directly involving Malaysia; it was our airline but we were conveniently sidelined. However, indications were clear that our effort was not well received by important parties. Attempts were made to collapse the effort by persuading parties with direct interests in the tragedy to refuse participation at the very last minute. Today, October 2020, the trial is still ongoing in The Netherlands.
‘To bring focus to the weaponising of news JUST helped co-launch a book on the “Myth of ‘Free Media’ and Fake News in the Post-Truth Era” by Sri Lankan academic-activist Dr Kalinga Seneviratne in December 2019.
‘2020 opened for us with a big bang as we launched our Annual Lecture series, a signature event intended to make a lasting impression on the public within Malaysia and the world. Our inaugural Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Ilan Pappe of the University of Exeter in Britain. Entitled “Palestine is Still the Issue” the lecture sought to keep alive truths at a time when history was being re-written and cultural norms reinterpreted. Anti-Semitism, for example, is being equated with criticism of Israeli crimes against humanity and war crimes. By so accepting, these crimes are then perpetrated on the Palestinian victims with impunity when, in effect, these crimes seek to legitimise Zionism and its push for the neoliberal New World Order (NWO), an effort to open the way for a global predatory capitalism, a “socialist” transfer of the public treasury to the capitalists, as is so blatantly happening in the US.
‘Unfortunately, before the tempo could be maintained, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and like the rest of the world a lockdown was initiated on 18 March 2020 in Malaysia. The office was closed for some two months and only online activities were kept going. JUST’s bi-weekly Commentary of articles relevant to our work went out without fail to JUST members and supporters. Another online activity kept going was the issuing of Media Statements of reported events that are seen as important to our struggle. During that time most reports dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic. At the moment JUST is compiling all these statements into an e-book scheduled to be completed by mid-November 2020.
‘As has become a new normal, seminars are now webinars. Our President, Dr Chandra Muzaffar has been invited to participate in several. The pandemic has pushed for an enhanced JUST online presence, which should give us greater reach, globally. And, since the imperial power is in chaos, it is an opportune moment for all anti-imperialist struggles. Towards this end JUST has put in place a better online platform via Zoom for discussions and interviews as part of our content production efforts.’
And a brief postscript to Askiah’s informative report: the JUST president, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, has recently written an insightful update on Malaysia: ‘Malaysia: A Clear Direction for the Present’.
In seeking more effective ways to tackle world problems, including those that have arisen from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which established the nation-state system, Professor George Kent has long reflected on the potential of local communities. In a recent email, George noted that ‘I think about what the world might be like if we were to view small local communities as the fundamental units of governance. My reason is that in small communities it is more likely that people would really care about one another’s well-being. If there were many diverse communities and easy migration, people who didn’t bloom where they were planted could migrate to more pleasing settings. There would be a challenge to figure out how to manage inter-community (not international) relations. So, in that setting what would we propose as standard common elements for the charters of these somewhat sovereign communities? Their charters would have some common elements, and also some unique elements based on their own views of things. If I was still teaching political science classes I would have a months-long class devoted to the design of that model charter. The class would begin with study of the Treaty of Westphalia…’ But you can read more about George’s thinking in his article, which references previous work as well, from 2019: ‘Can Flourishing Communities Fix the World?’
Kelvin Davies is the inspiration and driving force behind the Rainforest4Foundation: Wildlife, Climate, People, Planet, having been committed to saving the world’s rainforests for 30 years. An ongoing initiative is the effort to save the Daintree Lowland Rainforest in north-eastern Australia which is under almost endless threat of development including calls for a gas-fired power station to supply reticulated electricity, a bridge across the majestic Daintree River and widening and straightening the Cape Tribulation Road. Given that the Daintree Lowland Rainforest is ‘the oldest rainforest on the planet, with an unbroken evolutionary history going back over 120 million years to the first flowering plants’, the Rainforest4Foundation simply suggests ‘Let’s not change that now.’ The good news is that a significant milestone in the long struggle to save the Daintree is now within reach as the Rainforest4Foundation has the opportunity to begin closing and revegetating some of the roads. If you like, you can help ‘Save the Daintree’.
Valentin Rozman in Slovenia has been reflecting, personally and deeply, about the implications of the ongoing ‘pandemic’ and what it means for himself and us all: ‘In current times of the coronavirus feardemic, I am observing how confusion about what is actually going on is increasing. There are pressures to wear a mask and some are predicting forced vaccination, transition to use of only digital currencies, and implementation of a totalitarian state where everyone will constantly be tracked and monitored, like in China. And some fear that the 5G technology will be used to significantly depopulate the human race. These certainly are dangers that make living not very pleasant and many are becoming more and more depressed. Also, I am wondering what to do since the world is changing drastically and I have to make decisions about what to do in order to face all the challenges.’ For the full article, see ‘Day 201: Lack of motivation to live my life fully’.
In response to the last report, Bob Cable and Lorraine Grzyb sent this short uplifting video ‘The Dodo’ to gently remind us all that the world can be a truly magical place.
Dr. John Scales Avery in Denmark continues to use his pen to reflect decades of research and consideration devoted to understanding the human condition and crafting a way for humans to work their way out of the mess in which humanity finds itself. For example, you can read a thoughtful reflection on ‘Human Nature as A Central Theme of Philosophy’, which is the introduction to his book (that can be downloaded) Human Nature. For another thoughtful consideration of an issue that still gets less attention than it needs, try his article ‘The Ecological Impact of Militarism’. You can read a little about John and access all of his books (including the book version of ‘The Ecological Impact of Militarism’) here: ‘John Scales Avery books’. In appreciation of your lifetime of effort, John.
Jennifer Wood is an architect and writer who developed near fatal toxic shock from the antibiotic Ciprofloxin and over-exposure to 2G wireless radiation when cell tower services were switched from analog to digital technology in 1996-1997. At this time, cell phone sales skyrocketed globally as did radiation and many public health problems according to epidemiologists. Although Jennifer had never used cell phones, she had spent long hours on a computer (surrounded by unnoticed cell towers) writing for the film director, Oliver Stone who had taken an interest in her novel. She has nearly died at a weight of 77 pounds from microwave radiation poisoning three times since that time. Each torturous period has coincided with exposure to upgrades in wireless technologies. During her third bout with death in 2010-2011, she moved to a radio quiet zone near a radio astronomy observatory that bans cell phone towers. Here Jennifer built by hand, without help, a tiny non-electric cabin without running water in the woods where she lived alone, with minimal suffering, for four years, gaining weight and becoming semi-functional.
Since 2011, she has been reviewing thousands of science studies on the health effects of human-generated electromagnetic radiation (EMR) while doing advocacy work. Prior to her illness, Jennifer lived and worked as an architect in Nepal for many years in the 1980s where she married and had two children. Her condition has forced her to live far away from most of her family much of the time since 1996. You can watch Jennifer in this film ‘Wi-Fi Refugees: Nowhere to run: Electrosensitive people try to escape wireless technology’, read about her struggle and see a photo of her cabin in ‘Search for a Golden Cage’, read about a success in having Wifi technology banned in schools in Israel in ‘Israel Wi-Fi Breakthroughs: TV Documentary, School Ban’ and watch videos of a protest rally she co-organized at the US Supreme Court: ‘The Public Has a Right To Know About the Health Risks of 5G Wireless, Cell Phones and the Internet of Things (IoT)’.
Boris Olmos Revilla reports from Bolivia that he has been considering writing an analysis of the possibility that the presence of Covid-19 in our lives is an opportunity, but the question is whether it will generate violence or be used to transform the situation into a nonviolent reality. The question ‘took root in my thoughts’ because at this stage of the pandemic Bolivia – a country without development and with marked situations of political violence – is experiencing what is more likely to descend into violence rather than be an opportunity for transformation. Still, ‘taking advantage of the free time I had in my life of confinement, I programmed an online course in paxeology and conflictology (nonviolence), specifically based on the Transcend Training and Training Manual for trainers, the one that was written by Dr. Galtung for the UN.’ We look forward to seeing the final product Boris.
Dr Maung Zarni of Burma/Myanmar perseveres in his relentless efforts to draw attention to the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar as they continue to suffer the genocidal assault of the Tatmadaw, the Burmese military, with the active complicity of Aung San Suu Kyi, the support of prominent Buddhist monks and the silent complicity of the local Catholic clergy, among others. You can see a record of some of Zarni’s recent efforts at conferences and in the media on this issue on his website. A notable development was the landmark judgment at the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 23 January 2020 which ordered Myanmar to take all necessary measures to protect Rohingya Muslims from genocide. You can read an interview of Zarni explaining the significance of the judgment and the road ahead in ‘World court ruling brings hope to persecuted Rohingya’.
Mrs Valerie Wood-Gaiger MBE in the UK is founder of the international network ‘Learn with Grandma’.
‘I started promoting “Intergenerational Learning & Active Ageing” in 2014 never expecting it to become an International network. I can no longer share every post to every group! From Australia to Canada; Ukraine to South Africa!! The main aim is to share ideas of how to use the internet as a bridge to reunite the generations and help break down the digital age gap by sharing skills, love & knowledge across the generations & of course I share posts against violence of all sorts.’
Ella Polyakova and her colleagues at the Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint-Petersburg in Russia continue their fine work to defend the rights of servicemen and conscripts by making sure that individuals are equipped with knowledge of their rights, the law and all relevant circumstances to be able to take responsibility for defending themselves from abuse. ‘We clearly understood what a soldier in the Russian army was – a mere cog in the state machine, yet with an assault rifle. We felt how important hope, self-confidence and trust were for every person. At the beginning of our journey, we saw that people around us, as a rule, did not even know what it meant to feel free. It was obvious for us that the path towards freedom and the attainment of dignity was going through enlightenment. Therefore, our organization’s mission is to enlighten people around us. Social work is all about showing, explaining, proving things to people, it is about convincing them.’
Gifty Ayim-Korankye continues to report news of Ghana and Africa on her news site ‘GhanaWeb Online’ while showcasing the achievements of African women on her site ‘Daughters of Africa’. If you do nothing else, check out the poetry and photos on ‘Daughters of Africa’.
Robert Burrowes has taken a particular interest in critiquing the deeper strands of what is taking place under cover of Covid-19. He has written ten articles on the subject, with his most recent being this one: ‘Beware the Transhumanists: How “Being Human” is being Re-engineered by the Elite’s Covid-19 Coup’.
But Robert is also keen to promote a better understanding of the fact that our unintentionally dysfunctional parenting model is ultimately responsible for the violence in our world and the need to address this if we are to genuinely eliminate human violence in all of its contexts. See ‘My Promise to Children’ and ‘Putting Feelings First’.
Given the imminent threat of human extinction, Robert also encourages people to consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ and to develop sophisticated nonviolent strategies to deal with peace, environment and social justice issues more effectively – see Nonviolent Campaign Strategy – or so that they can be more strategic in their liberation struggle. See Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.
Using the occasion of the 151st anniversary of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s birth, Dr Ram Puniyani in India, analyzing a strain in Indian politics that is reflected elsewhere, writes thoughtfully to discuss ‘Gandhi-Godse: Contrasting Concepts of Nationalism’.
Dr Marthie Momberg in South Africa persists in her solidarity efforts with the people of Palestine. In her recently penned article ‘Christianity in Crisis: South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and #Palestine_Cry4Hope’ Marthie outlines the latest initiative to ‘ask Christians for decisive action to work for the freedom and human rights of Palestinians’ including by endorsing the ‘Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action’.
Lori Lightning reports a number of difficulties – emotional, physical, practical… – for those around her as they cope with the ongoing impacts of the lockdowns and related measures, ostensibly to deal with Covid-19. Lori has some thoughts, derived from her experience developing ‘Bear Bones Parenting’, for parents trying to cope.
‘Stay Safe? In the face of madness and a war on sense making, the greatest challenge these days is to Stay Sane. Most are stretched to near snapping in the tasks of maintaining a healthy household, keeping business afloat, and inspiring peace among friends and family. However the most challenging and rewarding time has been spent in conversations with my kids.
‘My teenage son shared how scary the truth is about what is happening re covid, and that his generation is very unsettled and grieving the loss of dreams. He doesn’t know if he will have kids, grand kids, or if a healthy life is still possible. I’m glad he could talk, though I was challenged not to call out the lies within his mass media influenced story line. Regardless of what “facts” are believed, showing up with presence and kindness allowed for these feelings, and dissolved the fight, both inside and out. Stay connected in these stormy times, don’t let the efforts to divide win by fighting what our kids, or anyone is declaring as their truth.
‘Parents, I know you are stretched. Let go of needing to be right or fixing and fighting, this only poisons our holy home. Notice how you feel in your body when you are judging. I invite you to take a few minutes each day to remember the eternal you by tuning in. Breath. Place your forehead against a tree. Lay on the earth. Remember a place that brings you joy. However overwhelmed or busy you feel, put your phone down, take 5 and choose to show up, for when kids (and adults) feel heard they will find their own answers! Our ability to speak from a place of innerstanding will disarm the greatest of fears and create a space of love and possibility for a beautiful future.’
Ina Curic in Romania continues her work to create beautiful illustrated children’s books that focus on empowering children with the learning to live healthily and meaningfully, and to deal effectively with conflict in their lives. You can read more about Ina and access her superb books, including Queen Rain, King Wind: The Practice of Heart Gardening, Anagrania’s Challenge: Turning Conflict into Opportunity and Heart Bridge: The Ho’oponopono Magic, at Imagine Creatively.
Charles Johnson works with Nonviolent Peaceforce in the USA to practice and promote Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP), an effective grassroots alternative to armed protection. ‘As residents of Earth’s most armed nation ponder defunding police and Pentagon, Nonviolent Peaceforce offers a specific model for doing so. This model is based on 20 years of field work in multiple nations, and information sharing between some 40 UCP providers worldwide. In 2020, Nonviolent Peaceforce-Chicago has been active in forming a “Chicago Peace Team” to provide physical protection in Chicago before, during, and after the U.S. presidential election. Members of NP-Chicago have trained in skills like Unarmed Civilian Protection, Bystander Intervention with Lethal Weapons Present, Bystander Intervention in Cases Involving Mental Illness, and Poll Monitoring. We see our work only growing, as more communities divest from the production, sale, and use of weapons in favor of people and planet.’
Eddy Kalisa Nyarwaya Jr. is Executive Secretary of the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peace Building in Rwanda and also President of the Alternatives to Violence Program. For the past 18 years, he has been active in the fields of ‘peace, reconciliation, nonviolence, healing of societies, building harmonious communities’ in many countries including Burundi, Chad, eastern Congo, Darfur (western Sudan), Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and northern Uganda. In deep appreciation of your phenomenal efforts Eddy.
Professor Piero P. Giorgi is a neuroscientist who has ‘introduced scientific concepts and different research methods into peace studies, a discipline usually operating within humanities and social sciences. With other colleagues at the University of Queensland, Piero introduced in 1991 the first program in Australia for a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, which is still offered…. Piero retired in 2005 to promote peace studies in Italy’. You can access Piero’s fine work through his website.
Vijay Mehta, Chair of Uniting for Peace in the UK, reports ongoing activities with a major highlight being a 2019 conference at the UK Parliament on ‘UN, Great Powers and World Peace’ which featured distinguished speakers Fabian Hamilton MP, film maker Ken Loach and Lord Desai. There were events in Scotland on Peace Centres and Religious Freedom. Vijay also spoke at Rotary International’s ‘Peace Starts with You’ conference in Ontario, California – which attracted over 1000 people from 50 countries – on the subject ‘Replacing Global Culture of War by a Culture of Peace’.
You can read/download Uniting for Peace newsletters with the September 2020 issue including major features on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations by Federico Mayor Zaragoza (former Director General of UNESCO), ‘Peace Priorities After the Coronavirus Pandemic’ by UfP Vice-President Frank Jackson, ‘Peace Activism in the Time of Coronavirus’ by UfP Chair Vijay Mehta; a review of a major new book on Hiroshima by UfP Vice-President Rev. Brian Cooper, as well as other articles.
Laura Robertson is a secondary school humanities teacher ‘with a passion for history and geography. Based in Melbourne, I have been a student and an activist of non-violence for over 13 years. Growing up with regular exposure to the Australian wilderness, I have always held the natural environment close to my heart. In 2006 I read Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers” and was quickly awakened to the urgent need to act on the greatest threat ever to face the planet. During my undergraduate degree at La Trobe University, I was privileged enough to study and learn under the guidance of Professor Tom Weber, regarded as the leading expert on Gandhi in the western world. In 2010, I deepened my investigation and interest into non-violent direct action (NVDA), completing my honours thesis on the effectiveness of NVDA techniques and tactics used in the campaign to stop the Gunns pulp mill from being built in Tasmania. Under the supervision of Tom Weber, I was inspired by leading modern day NVDA academics such as Gene Sharp and Brian Martin.
‘Although I finished my thesis almost 10 years ago, I have maintained my belief and practise of NVDA principles to this day. I continue to dedicate each and every day to standing up for a better planet and educating young people about the role they can play in the struggle for a better planet. I truly believe that following a life of non-violence is the only sustainable way forward and I will never give up on my dedication to the movement.’
Lily Thapa, inspirational founder of Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group in Nepal has a simple motto – ‘No Discrimination on the basis of marital status’ – but an expansive vision: ‘Empowered single women living dignified lives with sustainable livelihood, social acceptance, recognized nationally and globally.’
In their latest report, Lily’s coworker Dikshya Singh Rathour offered the following words:
‘WHR based in Nepal with its liaison office in USA is a national NGO specializing in advocacy and empowerment of single women groups in Nepal and South Asia region. WHR has a nation-wide network of single women groups (with a membership base of over 100,000) and is supporting conflict-affected women with access to justice in post-conflict Nepal.
‘Immediately after the pandemic was declared, WHR and its networks conducted awareness raising campaigns with different groups of vulnerable women and key stakeholders on the effects of COVID-19. WHR also provided its Chhahari (shelter homes) to the Nepal Government to support the space for quarantine and isolation in 10 districts with a total of 365 full functional beds. WHR began its advocacy and humanitarian support to the most vulnerable women of the society by mobilizing its staffs both at central/provincial level, networks, cluster groups and diverted their attention to reach out to the maximum number of vulnerable minority groups. In the midst of all this, WHR-Chhahari started running “Food Bank” with an aim of “No one should go hungry” advancing Nepal’s commitments to Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development with its core principle of leaving no one behind. WHR served one-time meals to 30,000 families equivalent to Rs. 55 per plate excluding the value of human resource contribution.
‘Reminding us about the philanthropic nature of Nepalese cultural practices, we received support from various organisations, the local community, volunteers and individuals in terms of cash, kinds, physical support and encouragement.
‘WHR also operationalized its first ever female-led and managed quarantine/holding center for returnee women [representing a diversity of women of various ages including some pregnant and some mothers of a newborn with others elderly] in close collaboration with the Government of Nepal. Likewise, WHR was successful in advocating against the Government’s discriminatory act of cutting social security allowance of single women and blue card holders (people with partial disability) from the Social Security Act during the lockdown period.
‘WHR also conducted a community kitchen and served meals to 500 individuals who are daily wage workers, pregnant women, senior citizens, lactating mothers, people with serious illness, domestic workers, slum dwellers, families below the poverty line and people from marginalized communities in three different locations of Nepal.
‘WHR distributed baby food items to 50 lactating mothers with infants. It supported relief materials like adolescent kit, dignity kit, shawls, blankets, to flood and landslide survivors of Myagdi, Nepal. WHR with the support of the Womankind Resilience Fund supported house rent, relief materials, cash for work activities to the destitute women belonging to underprivileged groups.’
If you would like to watch a video of the remarkable work of Lily and her organization in the recent context, you can do so here: ‘WHR Food Bank Documentary 2020’ (in Nepali with English subtitles).
David Polden continues to publish his invaluable ‘Non-Violent Resistance Newsletter’ reporting a selection of nonviolent initiatives in the UK, Paletine and Europe. His most recent issue included an interesting reflection by David comparing events that took place in relation to the actions of CND and its split-off group the Committee of 100 (C100), led by Bertrand Russell, in 1960 with Extinction Rebellion (XR) and its split-off group Beyond Politics (BP) today. When asked to report a little of his own activist experience during the earlier time, he offered this report:
‘Actually I had three arrests in 1961: in spring at a sit-down in Whitehall, when there were well over 800 arrests, and [a second time] during a blockade of the pier supplying the fleet with personnel and supplies at Holy Loch in Scotland where the “USS Polari” had been based that year; there were nearly 400 arrests [on that occasion]. During the December demonstrations there was a plan to “fill the jails” by people refusing to give their names and addresses when arrested, so they couldn’t be released. I did this and spent about 2 weeks in a very cold Brixton prison before giving my name and address. It was a hopeless idea really – there were perhaps 40 of us who did so in Brixton jail and I imagine some others in other jails, but the prison system was well able to cope with such numbers and the idea was not tried again.’
Ah well, we are still learning and, sometimes, still learning for the 100th time hey David? If you would like to receive this valuable Newsletter, you can do so by contacting David at <email@example.com> and he will add you to his email list.
On 6 August 2020, the 75th anniversary of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire called for ‘The abolition of genocidal nuclear weapons, war and nuclear scientists to refuse to make genocidal weapons which threaten humanity with extinction’. You can read the appeal on the Peace People website.
Emanuel Pastreich, president of The Asia Institute writes insightfully and passionately about the contradictions between those who write or protest against the damage inflicted by burning fossil fuels while failing to change their own behaviours that actually use fossil fuels. To address the problem he suggests the establishment of local Fossil Fuel Free (FFF) Communities. The best route, he concludes, ‘is to combine the two strategies: to make personal choices into community choices and to make that community into an economic unit which will serve as the building block for an alternative economy from the ground up.’ For the thoughtful detail, see ‘Establishing Fossil-fuel Free (FFF) Communities’.
Dr Leo Semashko in Russia and colleagues from around the world at the Global Harmony Association continue their efforts to make the world a peaceful, secure and harmonious place. Their latest initiative is the ‘Anti-Nuclear Manifesto for Global Security/Peace XXI’ which you can download. The proposal is a joint venture with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and is aimed at ‘the UN General Assembly to create a Global Security/Peace (GSP) system, which excludes any possibility of nuclear weapons in the New Era.’
Since the 1970s, John Seed has devoted his life to saving the world’s rainforests. Founder and Director of the Rainforest Information Centre (RIC) in Australia, one of his latest projects is to save the tropical Andes of Ecuador, which is ‘at the top of the world list of biodiversity hotspots in terms of vertebrate species, endemic vertebrates, and endemic plants’. As the next step in this process, the legal case to save the Los Cedros Biological Reserve began its case hearing for the Rights of Nature at the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court on 19 October 2020. If you would like to read more about this initiative and support the campaign, you can do so from here: Los Cedros Reserve.
Our friends Hakim (Dr Teck Young Wee) and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, based in Kabul, continue their challenging work to build a peaceful future in Afghanistan and the world with a global network of fellow peace travelers. In their latest blog post, you can read thoughts from people in many countries on ‘Love in Time of Covid-19’. In addition, their Relational Learning Project to facilitate learning ‘from friends across the world’ is quite inspirational.
And, once again, if you would like to read a terrific book by Mark Isaacs about The Kabul Peace House: How a Group of Young Afghans are Daring to Dream in a Land of War, which is (highly favourably) reviewed in ‘The Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan: Is Community Engagement the Key?’ you will be well rewarded with an inspiring story by a remarkable group of young people and their mentor.
Ela Gandhi is the granddaughter of Mohandas K. Gandhi but also a great leader herself. Ela was under house arrest for a decade while resisting apartheid in South Africa, worked on the transitional task force with Nelson Mandela following the liberation of South Africa from apartheid, and she served for a decade in the South African parliament. Long committed to resisting injustice, she is also committed to doing it through nonviolence. Like others, she is horrified by the atrocities of war and is concerned about the plight of the poor and the deprived of our world. ‘In my own life, I have found that peace does not only mean protesting and resisting injustice, but also living our everyday lives doing big and small things to bring greater harmony to the world. Helping sick and injured children, protecting the voiceless animals, preserving the plants and trees that are being eliminated by development, and contributing in little ways to save the world by conserving, reusing, recycling, and reducing both what we need and what we discard, in the hope that the already distended Mother Earth will absorb it. We need to appreciate the richness of our diverse heritage and begin to see the value of global citizenship, so that peace and social and political justice may prevail in the world…. We all have power and when we get together, we have more power.’
Kathie Malley-Morrison is professor of psychology in the Human Development Program Faculty at Boston University. Kathie’s general interest is ‘in cross-cultural and international perspectives on violence. I have done extensive research on violence and abuse in families and other intimate relationships. My current research projects focus on the views of ordinary people around the world on the potential right of governments to conduct acts of aggression (e.g. invasion, torture) and the rights of individuals to live in a world of peace and protest against war.’ You can access Kathie’s CV from the Boston University website and keep track of her non-academic pursuits, including political cartoons, at Engaging Peace.
Canadian Mike Shymkowich Kennedy, at 91 one of our most senior signatories, has ‘been “working” for a change that is much needed before we are in that world of Orwell’s 1984. It is the culmination of my journey’s purpose (at 91) to launch “Reluctant Prophet” in an effort to understand the real evil (psychopaths) in our midst. Both my Ph.D. dissertation and my Master’s degree are the cornerstone of my new website which are rather dark subjects to say the least but I do offer first steps in creating a just society that works for all in chapters 6 and 7 of the “Soul Contracts of the Michael’s Three”.’ Onya Mike! Really appreciate you tackling such a vital subject.
Anahata Giri continues a variety of activities as part of her One Heart Project: ‘I provide Deep Listening sessions where I hold space with embodied presence, mostly silence and some mirroring, to help the client deepen into their truth and inquiry. The sessions evoke a stream of consciousness, intuitive narrative or flow, that is fluid and meandering, often surprising and inherently symbolic, meaningful, creative and insightful. It is deeply affirming of the individual’s capacity to access their own deep wisdom and truth. (I aim to run group Deep Listening Circles when Melbourne is out of the pandemic restrictions).
‘The Poem for You Project has deep listening as its primary process, then I write and share a poem that affirms the client’s experience drawing on her and my imagery and symbols. I have worked with one client around their experience of childhood sexual abuse and PTSD and reclaiming creativity. She found the poem “meaningful and very healing”.
‘I am running the Inside Out Immersion online course for 23 yoga teachers, exploring ways they can boldly teach from their deepest passions and unique gifts, to inspire students to live from their deepest passions and unique gifts. The world needs this level of boldness and empowerment.
‘At the centre of my work is an approach based on: listening, genuine human connection, a growing together philosophy, empowerment, nonviolence and compassion.’ You can read more about Anahata’s efforts at One Heart Yoga.
Professor Marc Pilisuk has had a lifetime preoccupation: ‘the role of ordinary people facing an unjust, often uncaring, global technological society.’ Professor Emeritus at Saybrook University, Marc has long worked to expose the truths hidden within and by violence. You can see more about the book here: The Hidden Structure of Violence. In a recent article Marc points at the way in which war is sometimes precipitated to distract populations from other issues, including incompetence. See ‘War and sanctions: Trump’s escape route for Covid-19 failures’. In sincere appreciation of a lifetime of effort Marc.
Jill Gough of CND Cymru has recently advised that she has been forced ‘to “retire” after 30 years, due to ill health. I’m awaiting an operation now but the COVID 19 situation has postponed everything.’ Despite having ‘retired’, Jill is still doing the CND Cymru Facebook page ‘and of course campaigning for peace, social justice and human and environmental rights (where possible). If the work was always important, it can’t suddenly stop can it?’
Well, Jill, as you also note ‘the struggle continues!’ but, on behalf of your fellow signatories, we wish you a quick and full recovery and look forward to your report in six months time!
In the meantime, Brian Jones, the CND Cymru Vice Chair, reports that other duties previously undertaken by Jill, such as the editing of their magazine Heddwch, are now being performed by other members noting that ‘everything else is managed by our committee, sometimes very successfully, sometimes less so!’ (Sounds like most committees to us Brian.)
Nevertheless, ‘CND Cymru continues to work for peace, justice and nonviolence to the best of our abilities.’ CND Cymru’s campaigning for the last couple of years has been dominated by four issues:
- Lobbying in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (including a very successful event at the Senedd: the Welsh parliament) which we’re eagerly looking forward to entering into force;
- Campaigning against new nuclear power stations – whether ‘full size’ or Small Modular Reactors – being built in Wales;
- Campaigning against an underground nuclear waste dump being located in Wales (where two government public consultation events were cancelled because too many people registered to attend!); and
- Campaigning against the dumping of sediment containing radioactive particles being dumped off Cardiff Bay (as part of the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, England).
Of course, Brian notes, we have also been involved in other activities (such as opposing an extension to RAF Valley and trying to stop weapon sales to Saudi Arabia), including supporting the climate crisis protests.
‘Thanks for including us in the Nonviolence Charter report – an outbreak of nonviolence is needed now more than ever, it seems!’
A pleasure to include our friends from Cymru (Wales). You can read more, and download copies of Heddwch, from their website: CND Cymru.
After serving in the US military in Vietnam from 1966-1970, S. Brian Willson has spent his life since that time raising awareness and taking nonviolent action to expose and counter the US empire. His website contains ‘essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality.’ You can see Brian’s website here: S. Brian Willson.
Dr Marty Branagan, who is Convenor of Peace Studies at the University of New England in Australia, reports as follows (but doesn’t mention what he does in his spare time!):
Apart from having a number of PhD students successfully completing their degrees in Peace Studies, Marty co-organised the UNE Peace Studies conference, presented at the International Association for Society and Natural Resources conference and the Eurasian National University conference on the subject ’75 Years after WWII: Shared lessons and memories for humanity’, celebrated the introduction of Australian Research Codes for Peace Studies for which he had lobbied, and discussed his nonviolent action novel Locked On! on radio stations 4ZZZ and RTRFM.
Marty also co-edited the book Rethinking Wilderness and the Wild: Conflict, Conservation and Co-existence. In addition, he wrote or co-authored several chapters for the book. Separately from this, he published ‘Tintin: From Violent, Communist-Hating Conservative to Radical Peacenik’ in the International Journal of Comic Art with a sequel forthcoming; has two chapters in press, participated in the Panorama Art Project and made submissions to the Federal Inquiry into the Australian War Memorial Museum Development Project, the Independent Planning Commission’s review of the Narrabri gas project, and Armidale Regional Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement. You can also access his earlier book Global Warming, Militarism and Nonviolence: The Art of Active Resistance.
Given the recent circumstances, activist journalist Abby Martin has spent less time being filmed interviewing prominent progressive thinkers and more time producing podcasts which, of course, you can access from Media Roots. You can access earlier videos at ‘The Empire Files’, and watch Abby’s debut feature film ‘Gaza Fights for Freedom’, which she wrote, directed and narrated by collaborating with a team of journalists in Gaza to present a stunning cinematic portrayal of the heroic resistance by Palestinians to Israeli occupation. For something a little less heavy, try Abby’s art!
Peter Phillips is a professor of political sociology at Sonoma State University and author of the book Giants: The Global Power Elite. Asked to highlight the importance of the book, given its focus on something critical to us all but not widely appreciated, Peter wrote the following:
‘Concentrated global capital is the binding institutional alignment that brings the 1% transnational capitalists into a centralized global imperialism protected by the US/NATO military empire. This concentration of wealth leads to a crisis of humanity, whereby poverty, war, starvation, mass alienation, media propaganda, and environmental devastation have reached levels that threaten humanity’s future. Roughly 80% of the world’s population lives on less than ten dollars a day and half live on less than three dollars a day.
‘Organizing resistance and non-violently challenging the global power elite should be foremost on the agendas of democracy movements everywhere. Addressing top-down economic controls, monopolistic power, and the specifics of the global power elites’ activities will require challenging mobilizations and social movements worldwide. “The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World” is a solid step towards that goal. We must stand on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and non-violently challenge global imperialism and its fascist governments, media propaganda, and empire armies.’
Cheryl Anne in the US reports that ‘2020 provided ample opportunities to practice nonviolent forms of civil disobedience in hopes of setting a good example of patriotic duty. Alas, people are too frightened to disobey for fear so great it has ensorcelled their minds and will to such extent they will not even research or read or listen, and I find myself protesting the ruling insanity alone in whatever ways I can find.
‘I gave my property to my upper middle class career-oriented sister who will not consider the implications of evil being at the helm of our world, and goes along to get along. I refused to renew my driver’s license, car registration, and insurance; I refuse to wear a mask, and I wrote a message on my bumper, “No mask no test no vaccine, no datamining, no gmo humans; we’ve been sold out: do research”. I have not voted since the 90s because voting for the lesser evil = evil nonetheless. There is no option to vote for “none”: if no one voted, they would have to provide all new candidates.
‘Until and unless humans act together despite fear, our species is finished with our generation. New generations (if this one does not destroy life on Earth by finally shorting it out electrically or corrupting dna coding so living things forget what they are) will be assimilated into the Borg/machine hive mind. I am grateful I did not breed and am deeply angered on the children’s behalf: 2021 = last chance for humanity to save itself; the vaccine finishes our species.’
Activist scholar Professor Noam Chomsky, born in 1928 and old enough to vividly remember the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, recently warned that ‘The world is facing the most dangerous moment in human history’.
And in an interview on the world’s most recent military conflict in Nagorno Karabakh (which Armenians call ‘Artsakh’), Noam brings his usual penetrating insight to bear on a region that has escaped the attention of most people. See ‘Noam Chomsky Discusses Azeri Aggression on Artsakh’.
Ron Fisher, a retired Captain of the U.S. Navy, is Executive Director of ‘People Now’. Based on the premise that ‘Implementing the UN SDGs and Green New Deal will help resolve the coronavirus crisis and all the other crises we face – wars, nuclear weapons, sanctions, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, inadequate healthcare, inequalities, poor governance, global warming, Oligarch controlling the world, etc.’ – and, given Ron’s interest in strategic planning, the website outlines a strategy to have these SDGs implemented.
Gary Steven Corseri is the grandson of Ukrainian-Jewish and Sicilian-Catholic immigrants to the USA. ‘He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Japan, and in US prisons and public schools. He has worked as a grape-picker in Australia, a gas-station attendant, and an editor.’ Gary’s latest endeavours have been encapsulated in the following words:
‘As I wander down the “long and winding road” of my later middle-years (let’s be optimistic!), I wonder how it happened that so many of my familial Earth-beings have given up on deep and critical thinking… taking refuge, instead, in a carnival House of Mirrors, i.e. in a world of memes and tropes. I know we’re flooded with “information” (radios, phones and televisions were bad enuf [sic! sick!], but the Internet and “smart phones” have made us all like cartoonish daffy ducks. Here’s my somewhat ironic/humorous and hopeful cri de Coeur against the roaring avalanches: “Lemmings”.
‘In this Pandemic Age, many find good reasons to “rage against the dying of the light,” as sagacious Dylan Thomas had it. We seek peace and understanding – refuge – in a world that is constantly in flux. We cling to melting ice floes of memories – some as old as childhood, and some as recent as this morning; we demand our rights, and wax our ears against the cries of others: different from us, but on the same journey, riding the parlous waves. Here’s a poem addressing “aging”: an issue to which all may relate: “‘Older!’… ‘Not: Old!'”.
‘Last, and certainly not least: I spend a fair bit of precious time reconsidering, re-thinking, re-writing, revising, re-vivifying! And why not? Sage critic and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge called poetry “the reconcilement of opposites”. And Keats called it “a fine excess”. How to reconcile the opposing forces, opposing realities of this vagrant life? Vagrant – because we know, with certainty, not whither nor how, nor why… But, we propose, we suggest. And in our propositions, we make excuses and suppositions. We polish the rough edges until, hopefully, they shine with fineness. I often think that I was a fetus, swimming in my mother’s womb, when I felt my small world shudder. It was a day in August, 1945, and I wondered in my congealing brain: what kind of world am I about to enter? I trace the genesis of this poem to that wondering: “Hiroshima Spring”.’
Kristin Christman continues to write her incisive critiques of US foreign policy by analyzing it within a paradigm that she developed over many years to better understand the elements that drive war. Kristin’s ‘Paradigm for Peace’ therefore explains how to ‘cooperatively and impartially examine Aggressive and Defensive Roots of Violence on all sides of conflict’. It is only when we understand these, she explains, that it is possible to meaningfully work to secure peace.
While Kristin has completed some of her major work on this subject, she continues to refine later elements of it. In the meantime, the book Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War has been published (edited by Charter signatory Steve Breyman and two co-editors) which includes chapters by seventeen peace activists, including ‘Paradigm for Peace’ by Kristin.
In addition, one of Kristin’s most recent commentaries was about the double standards upheld by US foreign policy towards Iran. See ‘Iran And The US Holy Code Book Of Double Standard Morality’ and, if you do nothing else, check out the map at the beginning of the article!
Separately from this, in relation to Covid-19, Kristin has ‘been alarmed by the startling lack of freedoms and unilateral seizure of power by political executives mandating the lockdowns, the lack of cooperative dialogue on the topic, the lack of logic in the reaction, the groupthink and herd mentality in obediently observing the lockdowns and reciting the illogic, the absence of any significant resistance or demand to create a more intelligent reaction to protect the vulnerable without sacrificing everyone else, the callous refusal to care for those severely harmed by the lockdowns, and the hypocrisy of suddenly caring about lives, while the loss of human and non-human life through war, suicide, disease, and extinction has never caused any alarm bells to ring amongst the hypocritical political leadership.’
In partial response, Kristin has also written articles critiquing the lockdowns in reaction to Covid-19. See ‘Covid-19 Quarantine: Oppression Is Bad for Your Health’ and ‘Cuomo has the wrong priorities’.
Leonard Eiger and many other friends such as Cheryl Eiger, Mary Gleysteen, Mack Johnson and Elizabeth Murray, at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in the US, are dedicated to the study and practice of nonviolence, and the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Their particular focus is the Trident nuclear weapons system that was the basis for Ground Zero’s creation. Ground Zero Center is located adjacent to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which is the West Coast base for US OHIO Class ‘Trident’ ballistic missile submarines, and the largest deployed concentration of nuclear weapons in the United States.
This past summer, Ground Zero focused on bringing the message directly to the public in the form of public service announcements (PSAs) about nuclear weapons.
Ground Zero members worked with a local advertising agency for billboard installations around the city of Seattle. Beginning on 13 July, and for over a month, four billboards displayed the following paid PSA: ‘Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor… Base with largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S., Remembering the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Accept Responsibility!’
Included in the PSA was a map showing the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, homeport for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear-powered submarines, and a U.S. Navy photo of the Trident submarine, ‘USS Nebraska’, taken on 2 June 2017 near Seattle’s Elliott Bay. ‘The intention of the PSA was to remind people of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as to inform citizens in the Puget Sound region of our relationship to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor with the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.’
The statement, ‘Accept Responsibility’, was a plea for citizens of Puget Sound to accept their role and responsibility – as taxpayers, as members of a democratic society, and as neighbors to the Trident nuclear submarine base in Hood Canal – to work to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. On 2 and 10 August, Ground Zero ran a full-page PSA in the Kitsap Sun, the newspaper serving the area incorporating Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, speaking to military personnel at the Bangor Trident base. The PSA was an appeal to Navy personnel to resist orders to launch nuclear weapons. The appeal with supporting signatures is at GZ’s website. The Appeal to Navy Personnel specifically requests that members of the armed forces – ‘Resist illegal orders; Refuse to kill innocent civilians; Refuse the order to use nuclear weapons.’ Read more about the appeal and PSA at ‘Ground Zero Appeals to Navy Personnel in Newspaper PSA’.
Ground Zero also paid for full-page PSAs in the ‘Kitsap Sun’ for the 75th remembrance of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August. The ads regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, state (in part): ‘Our proximity to the largest number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons puts us near a dangerous local and international threat. When citizens become aware of their role in the prospect of nuclear war, or the risk of a nuclear accident, the issue is no longer an abstraction. Our proximity to Bangor demands a deeper response. Remembering the atomic bomb victims of Nagasaki [and Hiroshima] is essential to preventing the use of nuclear weapons from happening again.’ You can read the Hiroshima remembrance PSA at ‘Remembering the Atomic Bomb Victims of Hiroshima, Japan’ and the Nagasaki remembrance PSA at ‘Remembering the Atomic Bomb Victims of Nagasaki, Japan’.
On 10 August approximately 25 people participated in a silent vigil and nonviolent direct action, coordinated by Ground Zero, at the Main Gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. Three people held a banner – ‘Renounce Militarism Defund the Pentagon’ – from the overpass facing incoming traffic. After Peacekeepers entered the road to safely stop traffic, six people entered the roadway holding banners declaring, ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki Never Again’, ‘No More Genocide in My Name’. Another held a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign. Traffic was stopped for 5-10 minutes while resisters blocked the roadway. All who participated in the nonviolent direct action by blocking the roadway were escorted off by WSP. No citations were issued. The following statement was collectively written by those who risked arrest in the nonviolent direct action:
‘On the 75th anniversary of the genocidal devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in a time of universal upheaval brought on by racial injustice, climate crisis, and global pandemic, we view the nuclear weapons housed at Naval Base Kitsap as the ultimate existential danger of our time. Nuclear weapons are the knee on the neck of all people of the globe, choking the life out of our planet. Any order to launch nuclear weapons would be illegal under International law. We appeal to military personnel to stand down and to refuse all such orders. We appeal to all of our fellow citizens to demand abolition of all nuclear weapons and to re-direct the colossal expenditure of resources to meet human needs.’
Ground Zero also coordinated weekly bannering on an overcrossing in Seattle over busy Interstate 5, continuing to remind people that we must ‘Ban Nuclear Weapons’.
Construction of the Pacific Northwest Peace Pagoda is in progress at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. Buddhist monks Rev. Senji Kanaeda and Rev. Gilberto Perez are leading in the construction of the peace pagoda. Both monks live at the Nipponzan Myohoji Bainbridge Island Temple, located west of Seattle across Puget Sound. The peace pagoda is being built with labor and funds from supporters of the Nipponzan Myohoji Order. Ground Zero is working to ensure that Nipponzan Myohoji Order members will forever have access to the property, and that the property will always be open to the public. The Pacific Northwest Peace Pagoda will be the first Nipponzan Myohoji peace pagoda on the U.S. West Coast, and likely the first to be built on land owned by a peace community other than the Nipponzan Myohoji Order. You can read more on The Peace Pagoda at Ground Zero.
Moving forward, Ground Zero members are working to stay centered on the study and practice of active nonviolence, and in solidarity and cooperation with those in the nuclear abolition movement, as well as other movements, at a time when it is needed more than ever. Learn more at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.
Anna Lubelska is leading the team setting up a Peace Museum and Education Centre in London. ‘It will be called “The Peace Building” because it will be a building as well as being about peace building. Our vision is of a wonderful Peace Building, attractive and accessible and a Beacon of Hope for all. I’m passionate about teaching people about how to build peace and prevent violence because violence affects us all. My personal experience is that close members of my family were murdered in World War II and that’s had a massive impact on my life. I grew up with no grandparents or aunts or uncles and with parents who were profoundly damaged by their experiences of loss, deportation and war. That’s what fuels my commitment to peace. A few years ago I started the Peaceful Schools Movement – based on the concept of peace on four levels. I brought together many people and organisations teaching peace in UK schools. I organized 5 national conferences over the last ten years working in partnership with others. We have an Award scheme and our “How to Be A Peaceful School” book.
‘Recently, I was totally inspired when I visited the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and thought we should have something like that in London. I found out that there are Peace Museums all over the world – the Peace Palace in The Hague, in Kyoto Japan and even a small one in Bradford, in the north of England. It was clear to me that we really must have one in London! I’ve put together a winning team of trustees, patrons, ambassadors and advisors who are peace leaders, researchers, teachers, authors, peace experts. We are optimistic about the future and the success of our project. Our aim is to get people to put their attention, efforts and resources into building a culture of peace, for a world at peace.
‘So what will be in the Peace Building? We will have permanent and temporary exhibitions, a conference and concert hall, workshop rooms, a library, café and shop of course and a peace garden and memorials for the victims of violence. We will tell the stories of peace heroes and heroines like people who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And we will showcase the work of courageous and determined people working for peace and reconciliation in hot spots all around the world. There will be talks, concerts, art, and performances. We will have special events to mark the UN International Day of Peace every 21 September. Most importantly we will have a fantastic schools programme – we will teach young people the skills of dialogue, cooperation and conflict resolution. We will equip young people to create a safer and better world.
‘So where have we got to with this project? We’ve been busy laying the groundwork. We have registered as a charity, we won a competition for pro bono help with branding, I personally commissioned Architects to produce an initial development brief and also a Business Consultant to put together a 5 year Strategic Plan. We’ve been consulting widely with other museums including the IWM and the Museum for London and we are now members of the Association for Independent Museums. We will be inviting everyone to contribute to the funding we need to build The Peace Building that will attract, educate and inspire generations and generations to come. It will be a place where we can build a global culture of peace together. This will be our legacy.’
Jade Beaty moved from Montana to Loveland, Colorado in April and, despite a significant unresolved problem with her current accommodation, she is developing intentional community arranged around trauma resolution. This property will have a Wailing Wall for loss and grief work, and offer equine assisted healing. For more information, check out the website of Horse Wisdom Ranch. ‘My vision is that all the peace promoters gather in one voice and open all human hearts. I know, it’s big: but that’s just me…’ Onya Jade! No real point believing we can think small and get out of this mess though hey?
Professor Richard Jackson, Director of The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand reports as follows: ‘The Centre has experienced its fair share of challenges in 2020, similar to universities all over the world. The closure of New Zealand’s borders in March prevented a number of overseas students from arriving to start their studies, and a period of lockdown saw the Centre move its coursework teaching online. Many of the activities planned for the year had to be cancelled or postponed. Nevertheless, the Centre has continued with its work of teaching students in the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies, recruiting and supervising doctoral students and continuing an array of peace-related research.
‘It has also continued with its search for an indigenous scholar to join the centre staff, as part of its efforts to honour the Treaty of Waitangi and promote biculturalism. To offset the loss of international students and enable students from less privileged circumstances to study for a masters degree, the Centre will be offering the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies by distance in 2021. Among a few notable highlights to come out of 2020, one of our staff members, Dr Mariska Kappmeier, recently won a grant to study the role of intergroup trust in the relationship between citizens and the police in Aotearoa.’
The book arising from an earlier conference at the Centre has now been published and is available from the publisher. See Revolutionary Nonviolence: Concepts, Cases and Controversies. As one reviewer noted: ‘In this era of “endless” violence and interrelated political marginalization, economic inequality, social dislocation and ecological (including climate) breakdown, this book explains why revolutionary nonviolence is the most fruitful path for generating the grassroots, community-led structural change needed to transcend this complex and multi-faceted crisis. An insightful and compelling read.’
And for those who want a lighter introduction to the politics of terrorism, Richard’s novel is a genuinely eye-opening read: Confessions of a Terrorist.
Jim Prues offers some deeply considered responses to the multifaceted nature of our predicament in World 5.0. In addition, his book World 5.0 – We Move From Here: Healing Ourselves, Our Earth and Our Lives Together will be published in November 2020.
‘World 5.0 provides, quite simply, the truth to who and where we are – self-conscious, biological entites with Awareness at our core. Just like everything. The time is always Now. Our answer is always Love’.
Philip Farruggio, ‘son and grandson of New York longshoremen’, continues to expose what lies beneath the surface of electoral politics in the USA via his regular column and his radio show ‘It’s the Empire, Stupid’ where you can access his entertaining articles and podcasts.
The latest newsletter from our friends at the Centre for Global Nonkilling – founded by our departed friend Professor Glenn D. Paige and dedicated ‘To promote change toward the measurable goal of a killing-free world’ – advises that on the occasion of World Peace Day on 21 September, the Jagran School of Public Policy & International Affairs, JLU Bhopalin India, announced the inauguration of the country’s first dedicated Centre for Nonkilling and Peace, a new center for excellence in research and teaching that aims to focus on the prevention and elimination of killing as a path to peace.
On the CGNK website, you can sign the ‘Affirmation of the Global Nonkilling Spirit’ to commit to working for a killing-free world, check out the various specialist nonkilling research committees and also access publications co-edited by the tireless CGNK Director Dr. Joám Evans Pim: ‘Nonkilling Education’, ‘Nonkilling Spiritual Traditions’ and ‘Nonkilling Balkans’.
Bevan Ramsden, a member of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network‘s coordinating committee, wrote a thought-provoking article in response to a recent bill to appear before the Australian parliament: ‘A Bill to enable use of foreign troops or foreign police in Australian “emergencies”‘. Noting a number of obvious concerns, and clearly aware of the ongoing restrictions on human rights and freedoms that have been and are being implemented around the world during 2020, Bevan observes that ‘Our political representatives in Federal Parliament should be urged to halt this legislation until it is closely examined by civil rights and constitutional law experts to ensure our civil and democratic rights are not under threat or our sovereignty compromised by this legislation.’
Liz McAlister and Martha Hennessy are two of seven Catholic nuclear disarmament activists known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. The plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, USA on 4 April 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares’. Apart from impeding the ever-heightening threat of nuclear armageddon as the world’s international legal infrastructure against nuclear war rapidly unravels, they also hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence and maintenance.
The nonviolent activists were subsequently ‘found guilty of trespass, conspiracy and destruction of federal property’ in October 2019. After spending time in prison, on 8 June 2020 Liz – the widow of Phil Berrigan – was sentenced to ‘time served, three years supervised release and for a portion of the restitution for the seven of just over $30,000’. Martha – a granddaugher of Dorothy Day – is due to be sentenced in November. You can read a detailed account of their action, an inspiring biography of each activist and follow the court outcome for Martha and the others at the website above. You can also see an evocative interview of Martha at ‘Martha Hennessy Interview’.
You might also be inspired by the ‘Presentencing declaration of Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., Kings Bay Plowshares nuclear disarmament action’.
Lawyer Bill Quigley has been busy doing everything from acting as Liz McAlister’s attorney in the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to speaking at the Kateri Tekakwitha Interfaith Peace Conference with his speech later published as ‘No Justice, No Peace’ in the book Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War.
In Bill’s words, ‘”No justice, no peace” is not just a chant for protests. Fighting for justice and peace are inseparable…. I am a lawyer who works with people and organizations struggling for peace and struggling for justice. These nonviolent fights have taken me to death row, to prisons in Port au Prince, to public housing developments, to Baghdad, to homeless shelters, to Gaza, and to protests and courtrooms across the country. I have represented hundreds of people who have voluntarily gone to jail for reasons of conscience. I have also represented thousands of people who have been in jail and want to be treated with dignity and respect. To me, this is all peace work. And to me, this is all justice work.’
In Australia, John McKenna is an empowerment advocate, passionate about supporting people to speak up about their lived experience. He is currently working for Drummond Street Services, which is committed to utilising a public health framework to provide family support services designed to meet the needs of all individuals, families and communities, with a focus on marginalised communities, including those who experience violence. His role is as a Lived Experience Worker within a team of practitioners, supporting people who are adversely impacted, as identified by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
John is also the producer and host of the ‘So…’ podcast, which actively explores stories around empowerment in the face of adversity, including discussions about suicide prevention and women’s safety. You can read and watch more of John’s work on his website: John McKenna.
Bruce Gagnon, Dave Webb and other members of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space continue their efforts to prevent the militarization of Space. This is an increasing challenge with the advent of the US Space Force (as the latest branch of the US military) and rapidly increasing corporate interest in exploiting space for profit. You can read more at the website above and watch Bruce’s interviews on his television program ‘This Issue’.
One of the network’s members, Will Griffin – an Afghan & Iraq wars veteran and GN board member – recently produced a compelling video titled ‘Jeju: Island of Resistance’. Jeju Island is located off the southernmost end of South Korea. The video focuses on the continuing struggle by the islanders (fisherfolk and farmers for hundreds of years) against the militarization of the island, through construction of a naval base and second airport, and its use to project US imperialism.
Iona Conner reports the ongoing activities of the Grassroots Coalition that she facilitates which now has country and state representatives who share a monthly video conference to exchange news and make decisions.
Iona notes that ‘We are starting an exciting and vigorous outreach campaign with Country Representatives. Jussa Kudherezera in Zimbabwe was the first to think of this idea. He wrote: “I would be very happy to represent my country and contribute fully to this enchanting idea and being a country representative I grow our networks, share Grassroots Coalition works. Also find other like-minded organization to share their news with us for publications. Let’s hit the ground running; together we can do it.” Using the ‘Groundswell News Journal’ that she compiles, Iona will devote one page of the journal to news briefs from each country (or state) with a rep.
‘The dream is that we will gather and unite more grassroots activists on specific campaigns (such as saving forests) and thereby increase our chance of playing a significant role in healing Earth.’
Iona reports representatives in 6 countries and 3 states: Jussa Kudherezera of the Manica Youth Assembly in Zimbabwe, Bigboy Musemwa of Repair Earth Projects in Zimbabwe, Ngo Banfogha of Hope for a Better Future in Cameroon, John Machiaria of the Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme (SCOPE) in Kenya, Prince Kitumaini Kamundala of Action for Environment Care and Business and Ecosystem Management in the DR Congo, Idris Bilyaminu Ndasadu’Lau of ALMAJIRI Project, Rescue a Girl, and Youth Awareness and Peace Development in Nigeria, Bob Maahe of Uganda Youth Skills Training Organization, Jeannette Bartelt of Green Earth Goods in Maryland (USA), Doug Davis of Adirondack Council in New York (USA), and Dylan Weiss, an activist and author in Pennsylvania (USA).
‘The beauty of this outreach is that we can build a larger and stronger grassroots network to save and protect the environment and all life.’ You can visit the site of the ‘Groundswell News Journal’ and download past copies.
The motto of the Grassroots Coalition: ‘Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!’ and their slogan: ‘The Way Forward: Cycle Back to Basics’.
Reflecting on a way forward out of this violent world, Grigori Rho Gharveyn (the grigs) penned the following words to share:
how will peace emerge?
peace is not a goal, peace is a process.
peace is not a set-and-forget mentality, peace is a constant state of effort and reward.
all peace begins in your heart.
before peace can be reflected in the world around you, peace must already exist within you.
peace begins within you by a devotion to your own well-being and the well-being of your support networks.
today, peace has become more important than ever before because most people’s support networks are extended around the globe into nearly every industry and resource imaginable.
our support networks often depend upon frail, aging, vulnerable infrastructures that are so complexly interrelated with one another that any small change can have a large impact on the health and welfare of many people all over the world, regardless of religion, occupation, nationality, or ideology.
peace begins with unconditional self-love.
when you hold anger and hatred against yourself in your heart then anger and hatred are also projected and held against other people; you then attack what you least like about yourself by attacking those same traits which you see projected in other people. what you are attacking is rarely understood by the other person, they take this as a personal attack; this then becomes a conflict between personalities rather than a conflict with one’s own faults.
this is why you must practice unconditional love in your heart to nurture peace; all anger and hatred begins with fear, self-hatred, and anger within one’s self.
the more you practice loving yourself unconditionally the easier it becomes to love all other people unconditionally.
the more you practice loving all other people unconditionally the easier it gets to love yourself unconditionally.
this is not a vicious cycle, it is a loving cycle.
when you practice unconditional love consciously and conscientiously
you occupy your mind with a foundation for peace that leaves less room
for conflict, violence, or war.
Another signatory deeply concerned about the more obscure layers of what is taking place under cover of Covid-19 is Nick Rogers in the USA: ‘As difficult as it is to come to terms with, we find ourselves in the middle of a worldwide false flag psychological operation soon to enter the “live exercise” second phase. The main function of “Operation COVID-19”, I believe, is to provide cover for the release of the 5G 60GHz weapon capable of killing billions of people through oxygen deprivation which will be subsequently blamed on the “second wave of corona virus” (note that “5G beta test cities” such as Wuhan, Milan, and New York City became ground zero for the worst “COVID-19 outbreaks”). While we continue to face the threat of nuclear “war” and a collapsing ecosystem (the latter thanks to the 20+ years of UN-IPCC-NATO-NASA-NOAA-USAF-USN-CIA-run jet aircraft aerosol spraying operations), I firmly believe that 5G – which encompasses the directed energy weapons used to start the unprecedented fires in California, Oregon, Australia, Greece, Portugal, and elsewhere – is the most imminent threat to all life on earth; the power structure’s kill method of choice.
‘While I am not a “Bible aficionado” or “traditionally religious”, I do believe that many metaphorical truths have been purposefully placed into the “Good Book” as a warning (or some may say as part of the “Devil’s Deal” in that he — along with his demonic/Archontic minions in banking, politics, and the “healthcare” industry — must reveal their method (albeit covertly), and that they must receive active or passive acquiescence from the population in order to carry out his inverted deeds (“National Security”, anyone?). The clearest and most ominous Biblical metaphor, to me, is the “Mark of the Beast”. He/She who receives it (translation: implanted digital identity) is allowed to work, travel, buy and sell. He/She who does not will be shut out entirely. The soul of he/she who receives it will belong to Lucifer (translation: directly connected to AI). The soul of he/she who does not will be free to return to the source of everlasting love and life from which all of us came. To me, the parallels from this portion of the Bible to the current impending DNA-altering “vaccine” are chilling to say the least.
‘So, what can we do? Well, I think the time to awaken the willfully sleeping masses has passed. That is not to say that speaking the truth is useless. To the contrary, I simply mean that those of us who are awake – and I believe there to be far more than enough of us – must spend our time wisely through active (peaceful) resistance to this genocidal tyranny, grounded and strong in truth, love, and righteousness. The time to love “others” unconditionally is now. We have been convinced, since birth, through power-structure mind control and fear, that limitation will forever shackle humanity. This is, to me, the greatest lie we have been fed. We have to somehow, as fellow inhabitants of this glorious planet, reach the point where we know in our hearts that a collective awakening is possible and, knowing this, face the oncoming storm with love-based courage. As one of my favorite activists, Max Igan, says, “Face infinity without flinching.” It may be as “simple” as saying “no”. Peace and love to all who read this.’ Nick Rogers.
Starting in February 2020, Joana Aboagyewaa of the Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation in Ghana reports making valuable contributions to schools in the eastern region through their work as poets and educators under the Foundation’s ‘SUN Project’. This educational project was undertaken in Abirem, Achiase, St Roses Senior High (Akwatia) and Akim Swedru Secondary Schools where teachers taught poetry and art, ‘that is deeply human to secondary school students’, for positive change. ‘In April, The Splendors Performance Team held their National Poetry Month activities to celebrate the importance of poets and poetry in our society and culture.’ Splendors’ ‘Poetry Exchange Day’, with poems wrapped as gifts and mailed to classmates and friends, was held in basic schools in the Greater Accra Region. In addition, Splendors’ ‘Poets in Schools’ project ‘was a huge success because we enrolled a high number of poets in secondary schools, through the poetry awareness campaign, to encourage students to write and read.’ The Covid-19 pandemic ‘has necessitated our coming up with the Splendors of Dawn online “Poets Read out” series. Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation, Ghana believes that we can change the world and contribute our quota for its development through poetry.’
George Paxton at The Gandhi Foundation based in Scotland, reports that ‘Life in the UK has been severely disrupted by the pandemic since mid-March due to Government lock-downs. We all had to adjust to a different lifestyle including more communication by computer – zoom, which I had never heard of before – and mobile phone, which I had never possessed. Gandhi Foundation events had to be cancelled but the quarterly newsletter, The Gandhi Way, came out as usual.
‘At the end of July we did manage to hold our Annual Lecture by zoom, which was well attended. The topic was Employee Ownership given by Graeme Nuttall, a lawyer who is very actively involved in encouraging the growth of employee ownership in business. The Gandhi Foundation wholeheartedly supports this movement which is a modern version of Gandhi’s Trusteeship idea.’
It is interesting to note that the latest issue of The Gandhi Way (#145), which reproduces the lecture just mentioned, briefly relates Gandhi’s very practical responses – for example, organizing a team to nurse terminally ill Indian mine workers in a vacant property they had commandeered – to an outbreak of ‘pneumonic plague’ in South Africa.
The indefatigable Steve Varatharajan, the Vice President but, more importantly, for many years the heart and driving force behind the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), headquartered in Malaysia, has recently announced that, at year’s end, he will ‘be stepping down from all my positions in IAEWP as I am having [serious health] problems… [related to] the aggressive 5G telecommunications network building.’ For those who don’t know Steve, it is unlikely that many people have served any global network with the talent, commitment and productivity that Steve has demonstrated within the IAEWP.
Steve has also recently announced the appointment of Dr. Alfredo Sfeir Younis – the Chilean economist, spiritual leader and healer who had a 29-year career at the World Bank including as its first environmental economist – as Executive Vice President of the IAEWP. In that capacity, Alfredo has already proposed a visionary program to advance IAEWP aims. Separately from this, Dr. Priyaranjan Trivedi, the IAEWP Senior Vice President for Continental Asia and IAEWP Director General of Education, advises that their continental association has just launched a free online buffet of 31 courses. For details, see ‘Online Peace Education, Reconstruction, Accord, Non-Violence and Disarmament Initiative’. These courses are available online for India and the rest of the world.
Gregory Garbulinski reports having recently sent out over 750 ‘Choose KINDNESS’ signs as one of his ongoing distributions devoted to encouraging people to consider each other and the Earth. These distributions always include a message such as this one:
Warmth of HEART
Comedy, Music, Song, Poetry
Triumph of Spirit over Trial
kind touches of Life and our Universal Smile
from “here on, right on, here after”
by the moment Accomplishments
of Anyone who tries, Good People of Earth
in an Alliance of LOVE
OFFERING DIRECT CHALLENGE TO
the ‘AXIS OF LIES’
You can read more about Greg on his websites:
Gunther Ostermann in Canada rather graphically and poignantly highlighted much of what is wrong with our world in this letter published in the ‘Kelowna Daily Courier’ on 17 September 2020:
‘To the Editor.
‘Thank you, Carol Millar, for your caring letter from Sep. 12 in the “Daily Courier”, Kelowna, about the uncertain future for over 100 seniors that are living in a mobile home park. The article was titled “Park-like setting under threat from developers,” with a picture of the well-tended beautiful home park.
‘Two days earlier, on Sep. 10, there was a picture in the Courier, where a North American Development Company Executive took a picture of mayor Colin Basran, with outstretched arms on top of a 36 story
monstrosity, oops, high-rise. Basran’s gesture was like, see what I and council approved, having the largest concrete jungle between Vancouver and Calgary! And now, an out-of-town construction company bought the mobile home park for wealth creation/money making.
‘There is much talk about the crisis in mental health, where the dead from drug-overdoses is 4 times higher than Covid 19. And now, our soul-destroying predatory system is adding another 100 seniors to the list, whose stress level must be going through the roof. We need to seriously question, when intelligent teenagers end their lives with a message “life having no meaning and purpose.”
‘Imagine, what a killer whale orca mom would tell us, if she could, who displayed a compassion that put us humans to shame, as she grieved for 17 days over her dead baby. I’m humbled, when I think about what inferior physical creatures we humans are, compared to all other animals: who have, in addition to their superior 5 senses, ultrasound, heat-seeking, magnetic star and sun navigation abilities, and who knows what other senses? The only thing we have ahead of other animals, is a slightly bigger brain and speech, which sadly, is primarily used for money making, at our peril.
‘Some thoughts, from my 84 journeys around the sun, can be found by typing [into a search engine]: Utopia or Oblivion,Ostermann,Dandelion. I would welcome a debate, to discuss these and other issues, in an open forum, where there is no hiding behind name, fame, fortune or position.
‘Sincerely; Gunther Ostermann <firstname.lastname@example.org> ‘
In appreciation Gunther.
In recognition of decades of nonviolent antinuclear activism and education, it is a pleasure to report that Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, editors of The Nuclear Resister were recently awarded the ‘Nuclear Free Future Award’ by The Nuclear Free Future Foundation, based in Germany. Shared with a select few other outstanding people, the annual Awards are presented to honor the largely unsung heroes of the worldwide anti-nuclear movement for the work they do to end both the military and civilian use of nuclear energy. An international jury of activists and scientists selects the winners in the categories of Resistance, Education and Solution each of which includes a prize of $5,000. Jack and Felice received the award for their ‘decades-long work supporting anti-nuclear resisters in prison and keeping their messages alive on the outside.’
‘Beginning in 1980 under the mantel of their newsletter and organization, The Nuclear Resister, the couple have provided comprehensive reporting on thousands of arrests of anti-nuclear activists, publicizing and supporting those subsequently jailed for their actions. In 1990, they expanded their work to include reporting on anti-war resisters, with the same emphasis on prisoner support. Over the past 40 years, the Nuclear Resister has chronicled more than 100,000 anti-nuclear and anti-war arrests around the world, while encouraging support for more than 1,000 jailed activists.’
In accepting the Award, Felice noted that ‘The words of resisters and accounts of their actions do a great deal in encouraging others to strengthen their own commitment. We remember with gratitude all of the people who have received the Nuclear Free Future Award in past years and are honored to join the list of recipients.’
We are delighted for you Felice and Jack: richly deserved!
Artist and author Rosie Jackson in Germany advises her excitement to announce the publication of the second volume (of four) of ‘The Complete Seraphin Messages’ as part of the process of publishing all 425 Seraphin Messages to date, ‘which have been given to me telepathically over the last 10 years…. For anyone who wants to know what is going on in our world, and who wants to contribute to positive change, the angel Seraphin provides the answers.’ See ‘The Complete Seraphin Messages, Volume I: Ten years of telepathic communication with an angel’ and ‘The Complete Seraphin Messages, Volume 2: Ten years of telepathic communication with an angel’. Here are two examples of the messages:
‘Will you help to rebuild the new earth? Only if you are capable of recognising and ferreting out the roots of destruction will you be able to reconstruct. We are not into temporary cosmetic repairs. We are into building eternal paradise. Instead of your humdrum existence, you will experience the DEPTHS OF DESPAIR and the HEIGHTS OF JOY’. Seraphin
‘Do you really want Change? And do you want real change? Are you genuinely happy with EVERYTHING you see around you? Are you at ease to fully dedicate yourself to a worthy occupation which brings 100% satisfaction, which fills you with absolute joy when you open your eyes every morning, which exhilarates you and all those you encounter, and which benefits all equally? Or are you content to lead monotonous, meaningless lives of useless and unappreciated drudgery? Seraphin is an angel who tells us that we have endless potential.’
Notes Rosie: ‘Imagine talking to a person of great wisdom who always listens, always offers impeccable advice, always exercises compassion and always explains everything with ultimate patience. Seraphin takes us by the hand and shows us the way back to our own inner truth, thus furthering our soul growth.’
Graham Peebles in the UK writes regularly and, perhaps most notably, on the Horn of Africa. In this recent thoughtful commentary on Ethiopia, for example, he offers an unvarnished view of the challenges faced by that country: ‘The Volatile Path to Democracy in Ethiopia’.
Kathy Kelly continues to present evocative accounts of her experience and research in the most war-ravaged countries on Earth. In another (recent) article on Yemen, Kathy again highlights the plight of children ‘who bear no responsibility for governance or warfare [but] endure the punishment’, with thousands dying of starvation every month in what UNICEF described as a ‘living hell for children’. See ‘Yemen: A Torrent of Suffering in a Time of Siege’. In another article, she recounts the experience of Fahd, who was one of the victims of a missile strike on his remote community in Yemen where the bombs that keep weapons manufacturers like Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon profitable during the ongoing economic shutdown are often exploded. See ‘Reversal’. Each bomb costs a lot of money and a lot of lives, depending on how you wish to measure its value.
Paul Buchheit continues to write searing critiques of the enormous harm done as a result of the vast disparities in wealth in the United States while offering practical suggestions on how this could be meaningfully addressed. For just two recent articles, see ‘How Big Corporations are Draining the Life out of a Sick America’ and ‘How Hypocrites in High Places Have Contributed to the Riots in the Streets’.
Professor Bishnu Pathak in Nepal continues his substantial research output on a variety of subjects, most notably in the past month on subjects related to the fundamental question of whether international law can be used as an instrument to achieve peace. For insightful commentary on two issues in this field, see ‘Can Former Child Soldiers File a Complaint at the International Court against Nepal’s Maoist Leaders?’ and ‘Nuremberg Tribunal: A Precedent for Victor’s Justice’.
Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as ‘holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care’. Since retiring, however, Gary continues to pen articles on a wide variety of subjects including critiques of official responses to the supposed Covid-19 ‘pandemic’ and the hazards of vaccinations. See, for example, ‘Refuting the Official Narrative: An Essential Reading List of Banned Resources to Better Understand the COVID-19 “Pandemic”‘.
But other recent research by Gary has drawn attention to a wider range of issues as illustrated by these articles: ‘Atomic Bombings at 75: Hiroshima and the Backlash Against Historical Truth’, ‘A Photo Gallery of Doomed Children Who Suffered Because of America’s Profitable Wars’ and ‘Demystifying Conspiracy Theories, Internet Trolls Disinformation Agents, and the CIA’.
In an attempt to throw light on a subject poorly understood and almost invariably cast very negatively by mainstream commentators, Alice Slater and David Swanson bring considerable insight to their interview on the subject ‘Obstacles to Nuclear Abolition: Telling the Truth About the Relationship between the US and Russia: A Conversation With Alice Slater and David Swanson’. It is well worth watching.
Pakistani-Canadian scholar Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja wrote a thoughtful article outlining the failure of the UN system to even remotely achieve the purposes for which it was supposedly intended. See ‘Strange Celebrations of the UN 75th Anniversary: Leaders Hated and Feared Make False Claims of Global Peace, Security and Justice’.
In support of his son Mohammad Momin Khawaja, a computer science graduate and IT entrepreneur, who has been unjustly imprisoned since 2004 on terrorism charges (and facing a sentence of life and 24 years), Mahboob has created a website to raise awareness of Momin’s struggle for justice and freedom, and organized a petition, which you are invited to consider signing too. If you would like to read Momin’s own account of his ordeal, you can do so in his article ‘Canada’s War on Terrorism and Momin Khawaja’s Fight for Freedom’.
Prominent environmental journalist Robert Hunziker recently wrote a sobering article highlighting key elements of the recent Living Planet Report 2020, written by the World Wildlife Foundation in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. With its ‘eye-popping description of the forces of humanity versus life in nature’, Robert noted ‘the report should really be entitled the “Dying Planet Report 2020” because that’s what’s happening in the real world. Not much remains alive.’ For some of the detail of this disastrous state of affairs, read ‘The Dying Planet Report 2020’. For another of Robert’s reports on planetary ill-health, see ‘Boundless Dying Trees’.
But if you want to be truly horrified, you should read Robert’s article ’10C Above Baseline’ to get a clearer sense of where Earth’s climate is headed with extinction for humans at 4C above baseline.
Jonathan Power in Sweden continues his 40-plus years career as an international foreign affairs journalist and author endlessly scouring the world for the stories that need attention they might not otherwise get. One of his recent articles drew a curtain over the life of ‘one of the cruellest men ever to have lived’. See ‘A leader of “The Killing Fields” dies’.
But for access to all of Jonathan’s research, writing and films, check out his website. Moreover, don’t forget that on Christmas Eve, Jonathan hosts his famous party offering coffee and home-made mince pies made personally that morning using an 800 year-old recipe. So you would be wise to angle for an invitation to what has become one of the most sought-after social engagements on the European calendar! After all, it is not everyone who will be able to eat 800-year old mince pies this Christmas is it?
Val Metin in New Zealand has a medical horror story to tell which led to some deeper learning. Some key elements of the story are mentioned here but there are links to a fuller version at the end.
‘Why inner peace must come first for the manifestation of peace into this world.
‘I had a very severe accident in 2006. I had insurance coverage from a Crown NZ Govt insurer (ACC) the corporation which is an investment fund that has an undisclosed practice of “knocking claimants off their books” in any inhuman, violent and cruel way possible. Instead of what is normal: medical treatments, three months immobilization, daily inpatient specialist care, treatments and then spinal injury unit etc I was kidnapped by the NZ govt two weeks after the accident (clinically unstable with multiple complex life threatening injuries including a severe traumatic brain injury) taken from hospital and locked up in a facility for “active rehab”.
‘I was disoriented, unable to think or consciously remember. Retrograde and anterior grade amnesia is a great blessing when one is being tortured for it centers one firmly in the present moment. With help from family I escaped the facility and I was left by the corporation and med system isolated without needs or injury care at home….
‘After months of the medical system withholding injury care, treatments and normal pain relief I developed chronic and regional pain syndrome and was still excluded by the NZ medical system that I was terrified of anyway. I was denied access to public services and justice, my urgent complaint ignored by the NZ Govt. Yet because of this I came home in a journey I could not and would not have made without all the suffering. I came home to myself and with that to a peace, clarity and depth of being I had not known.
‘Some truths became evident after the accident that changes were desperately needed in this world, that the foundations on which the heart-disconnected systems we have are built on are unsound.
‘My mind’s conditioning had left me with all those things you are told as a child like “govt is good”, the legal system = justice and Drs do not harm.
‘My state of not knowing had allowed me to discover, to see clearly without all the conditioned beliefs. I felt duty bound, as the world is me, to try to effect positive changes to present the truth, which was an exposure of the oligarchy’s mainstream govt propaganda.
‘To jump to the present moment I see a world where fear and not love is prevalent. People have no understanding of who they are or how they have the power and can be the change they want to see in the world. Those that have an economic and political monopoly know that people are ignorant about who they are which is why the media is used to propagate propaganda, thoughts of powerlessness, negativity and fear.
‘The fear, ‘media think’ feeling co-creates the anger and chaos we see.
‘People do not want to be in fear (the nervous system’s freeze response): it is viewed as a weakness and in this case did not work to alleviate a fake threat. So when put in that state of freeze (fear) by media govt propaganda [people] have been wired to move to anger (nervous system’s fight response). And that is exactly what the mind controllers did to incite the violence in regard to racism, riots and police.
‘Safety from the fake threat (the psyop covid) then is promised by obedience and compliance with draconian rules = total loss of freedoms and rights.
‘What we believe (think and feel) manifests. Angry people manifest angry outcomes. This is why the ignorant terrified easily manipulated turned to
anger by racism in media propaganda and then those people taken over by negative emotions created violence and chaos.
‘What is needed now is a recognition of our sameness in place of a focus on the media play[ing] on apparent surface differences.
‘What is in all of us is the same consciousness/life/”God”/being-ness.
‘What is needed is healing, love and inner peace.
‘And every single one of us can make a difference, firstly in our personal sphere which is connected to everyone else so when one person is in peace and feeling love not fear it effects the whole of humanity.’
You can read more on Val’s websites, including her critique of the Covid-19 ‘pandemic’:
Dr. Ayo Ayoola-Amale is a certified mediator and peacebuilder. She is also the President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in Ghana. Ayo asked Madam Sherry Enyonam Banafoe to compile this report.
As an organization with its focus on progressive social change, WILPF Ghana swung into action as Covid-19 spread around the world rapidly. We had to start by creating awareness and sensitizing the people before the coronavirus outbreak hit Ghana.
WILPF Ghana held a series of online capacity-building training sessions, focused on different groups (particuarly involving women) and locations. This was done so that our members and volunteers were working in tune with the rules and in respectful dialogue with the people we were trying to help. Much of the effort focused on distribution of sanitizing supplies and how to use them effectively.
Because Ghana is currently one of the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the West and Central African region, the pandemic lockdown and other directives have made it more difficult for victims of sexual violence in Ghana because people are confined to their homes and locked down with their abusers. Access to justice for domestic violence victims in Ghana even before Covid-19 was a big challenge. In response, WILPF Ghana’s ‘Stop Violence against Women and Girls’ campaign was executed in the communities in the Greater Accra, Central and Eastern Regions of Ghana focused on awareness creation, contact information for those infected or abused, publicizing an emergency short code, and sending indirect messages to domestic violence victims and perpetrators alike. For the victims, these announcements serve as a message highlighting the urgency and gravity of their situation which they need to report. For the perpetrators and potential perpetrators, the announcements were designed to put them on notice about the reporting system in the hope that some may be deterred from carrying out their acts of violence.
Nevertheless, WILPF was able to provide support for several abused women who often report, as did one woman at length, the complete disinterest of the police in assisting, legally or otherwise, women who have suffered violence at the hands of their partners. This reflects the longstanding belief among police and Ghanaians generally that victims of rape are responsible for the violence inflicted on them.
While setting up temporary support points in public spaces, WILPF Ghana also intervenes directly when alerted in time. But WILPF Ghana is trying to establish a counseling hotline for women in this situation and to improve coordination between the various legal, health, medical, ministry and social entities involved in combating violence against women and girls in Ghana, particularly given that the present health crisis has led to an increase in gender inequalities with women and girls exposed to precarious work conditions, a sharp rise in domestic violence and an increase in unwanted pregnancies.
In essence, while women as caregivers experience a significant burden on their time given their multiple care responsibilities as school closures and confinement measures are adopted, there has been an increase in violence against women too. However, the role of women as caregivers in the households and communities places them at a privileged position in communication and prevention efforts. Hence, keeping the gender implications of Covid-19 in sight can allow for a more effective response and action.
WILPF Ghana hopes that the current crisis will be a catalyst for a real paradigm shift in the integration of a gender perspective in every facet of society that will be transformed into action.
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and undertakes research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in Palestine. He has previously served on the faculties of Duke and Yale Universities, and the University of Tennessee in the USA before he and his wife returned to Palestine in 2008, where they established a number of institutions and projects, including a clinical genetics laboratory. They founded, and run as full-time volunteers, the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at Bethlehem University.
With a solid and ongoing academic publication record, including in relation to the Palestinian liberation struggle, Mazin’s latest co-authored article explores an important but easily overlooked theme: ‘An Environmental Nakba: The Palestinian Environment Under Israeli Colonization’. You can access more of Mazin’s work from his website.
Well, as always in these reports, an inadequate summary but it gives you some idea of our shared efforts.
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.
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. It will also be published in the next TRANSCEND Media Service weekly digest to which you can subscribe if you wish.
Anita McKone, Anahata Giri and Robert J. Burrowes
Websites: Nonviolence Charter
Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy
Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy
Anita: Songs of Nonviolence
Anahata: One Heart Yoga
Global Nonviolence Network
Robert Burrowes, Ph.D. is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? Websites: (Charter) (Flame Tree Project) (Songs of Nonviolence) (Nonviolent Campaign Strategy) (Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy) (Robert J. Burrowes) (Feelings First) Email: email@example.com
Anita McKone is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and has been a nonviolent activist since 1993. Her work on environmental and anti-war campaigns led to further intensive research into the deep psychological roots of violence. She works to fully comprehend and end behaviours that are destructive of the Self. She is the author of Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice and has also written and recorded eight ‘Songs of Nonviolence’.
Anahata Giri is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, a yoga and meditation teacher, and founder of One Heart Yoga and Meditation in Melbourne, Australia. She is also a supporter of the ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’, and her commitment to nonviolent parenting is part of her personal pledge to help create a nonviolent world. If you would like to sign The People’s Charter, see https://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com
Tags: Activism, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Action
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Oct 2020.
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 17 (Oct 2020), is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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