Category Archives: Europe

Cyprus: We have no alternative but peace, President Anastasiades tells Akinci


An article from In-Cyprus

The status quo in Cyprus is not the choice of Cypriots, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday, adding that “there is no other choice or alternative but to bring peace to our land” while addressing Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

President Anastasiades attended this morning the ‘Imagine’ Head Teachers Conference, organised by the bicommunal Technical Committee on Education, in Ledra Palace, in the presence of Akinci, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar, the heads of the Technical Committee, as well as Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot head teachers.

In his address, President Anastasiades referred to the peaceful coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, he said however that the interventions by third parties “without excluding nobody” led to the problems that followed. “What we are looking for is Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to take on the fate of this country by creating the conditions for peaceful coexistence” and their future, the President added.

He also said that his presence in the conference, together with Akinci, aims at send a message of support for the actions and initiatives of the Technical Committee for Education.

Speaking about the status quo on the island, President Anastasiades said that it does not allow fellow compatriots to enjoy the rights, freedoms and the level of prosperity other EU citizens enjoy. We acknowledge the difficulties but with respect to each other’s sensitivities and concerns and through mutual respect, we ought to merge what we consider to be the joint interests of Cypriots, he added.

The only way to achieve this is by creating a viable and functioning bicommunal federal state, securing our joint future in a united Cyprus, member of the EU, without dependencies on any third parties.

The President called on teachers to continue educating critically thinking and active citizens who will search for creative solutions to the challenges that may arise in the future.

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Question for this article:

Can Cyprus be reunited in peace?

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He also welcomed the initiatives undertaken by the Technical Committee, particularly through the ‘Imagine’ programme that brought together more than 4,000 pupils and 650 teaches in the last 2,5 years.

He also pointed to educational activities in schools against racism and in order to develop a culture of peace. Among others, the President said that pupils are being taught Turkish Cypriot literary texts translated into Greek, while Turkish lessons are optional for high school pupils.

Before attending the conference, President Anastasiades made a statement calling for respect towards Cyprus, while saying that the country can not be a vassal of any third country.

He said that without disregarding the ethnic origin, the conference aims to cultivate a culture of peaceful coexistence, “an important element in the framework of the efforts we are making for peaceful coexistence if and when conditions allow us to work as Cypriots in order to solve the Cyprus problem as an independent country.”

These are steps to the right direction, but they are not enough for a Cyprus solution, the President added and called for respect towards Cyprus.

In his address, the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci referred to the importance of cultivating a culture of peace in Cyprus and highlighted the value of education.

Speaking through an interpreter, Akinci said that people may have different views and goals, but it is important to have a culture of peace in order to address these issues.

He also noted the importance of dialogue while trying to solve differences and referred to the need to respect equality, multiple identities and pluralism. All these elements are essential for the federal government to work, Akinci added.

He said that the decision with President Anastasiades to form the bicommunal technical Committee back in 2015 was “the most important decision we took with my friend Nicos.”

He noted finally that the Technical Committee has a long way to go and referred to the curricula and the instruction of Greek and Turkish in the schools. We need to encourage these initiatives in order to see them implemented and have peace, Akinci concluded.

The conference was also addressed by the Heads of the Technical Committee for Education, Michalinos Zembylas and Meltem Onurkan Samani, while professor Tony Gallagher from Queen’s University in Northern Ireland delivered a speech about the transformational leadership for peace.

At Major March in Madrid, Indigenous & Youth Activists Slam Global Leaders for Climate Inaction


A broadcast by Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

We broadcast from Madrid, Spain, where the 25th United Nations climate conference is in its second week and representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The summit — known as COP25, or conference of parties — has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to produce the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend.

Full video of broadcast

On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told reporters that the global climate strikes have “not translated into action” by governments. Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from inside the United Nations Climate Change Conference here in Madrid, Spain, where representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered for the final days of negotiations. The climate summit, known as COP25 for “conference of parties,” has so far focused on meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius — that’s 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But climate scientists say the talks are failing to take the drastic measures necessary to address the climate crisis. Since the Paris Agreement four years ago, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4%, and this year’s summit shows no sign of arresting that trend. On Friday, as hundreds of thousands prepared to take to the streets of Madrid in protest, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed reporters.

GRETA THUNBERG: We have been striking now for over a year, and still basically nothing has happened. The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power. And we cannot go on like this. It is not a sustainable solution that children skip school. We cannot go on like that. So, we don’t want to continue, so we would love some action from the people in power, I mean, because people are suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency today, and we cannot wait any longer.

AMY GOODMAN: Protesters then marched through Madrid’s city center Friday night in a massive climate demonstration led by indigenous leaders and youth activists. Democracy Now! was there in the streets.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más! ¡Ni una especie menos, ni un grado más!

VIDYA DINKER: My name is Vidya. I’m from India, the south of India, a coastal community. Coastal communities across Asia are now, you know, getting that bad end of the stick because of the climate emergency. We are here to speak for our people. We know that our governments and everybody in the U.N. is now being controlled by lobbyists with oil companies and fossil fuel companies. This cannot be. We need to cut through, and we need to see that the voice of the people is heard here. There must be a loss and damage fund so that people can cope with climate emergencies.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

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Question for this article:

Sustainable Development Summits of States, What are the results?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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GODWIN OJO: I’m Godwin Ojo. I’m from Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth. We are here to stop corporate power. We are here to stop corporate capture of the state, corporate capture of the United Nations, corporate capture of resources. And we want to make the voices of local communities all over the world to count, and to put an end to climate change. Nigeria is highly impacted. All over the south, there is flooding. A lot of people are dying from climate change. And now the farmers are not able to plant because there is rainfall problems in Nigeria.

TA’KAIYA BLANEY: My name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney. I’m from the Tla’amin Nation, which is located in lands illegally occupied by Canada. And I’m here because indigenous youth are on the forefront of climate change. And the climate solutions being proposed by our government are a continuation of indigenous genocide. In the Wet’suwet’en territory, we have Coastal Gaslink invading those homelands and forcibly removing indigenous people from their ancestral territories for LNG, which is, according to these governments, a climate solution because it’s a transition from coal. So we’re here to say that, like, climate solutions and the fight for climate change has to be a fight for indigenous peoples, and it has to be a fight for indigenous rights, because, as indigenous youth, we don’t have a choice to act. This is about our survival.

PROTESTERS: What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!

JUAN PABLO ORREGO: I’m Juan Pablo Orrego from Chile. And we are marching for fighting climate change and also for, you know, the stop of the repression in Chile, where people are getting hurt. And we are walking for deep changes in our economic systems so we stop hurting the environment and harming people. Chile is a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate change for geographical reasons. You know, we have the driest desert in the world, in the north. So we are being affected severely. We have a desertification process happening in three-quarters of the country. It’s very severe. The river that feeds water to Santiago de Chile has lost 50% of its flow in the last decade. That’s how serious this is. And, you know, this is the 25th conference, and nothing has changed. They have been talking for 25 years, a quarter of a century, and nothing has changed, really, in the ground, and carbon dioxide keeps rising in the atmosphere. So, when are we going to really act — you know, the governments — to change things in the ground? If you go to the COP, the official COP, you’re going to see that all the companies that are guilty for the situation we are in today are sponsoring the COP. So it’s a very powerful greenwashing.

PROTESTERS: ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos! ¡Ni un grado más, ni una especie menos!

ALETHEA PHILLIPS: [speaking Omaha-Ponca] Hello. My name is Alethea Phillips. I’m from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. I’m here with SustainUS’ first-ever all-indigenous youth delegation to attend the U.N. climate negotiations. It’s really powerful for all these indigenous people to be coming here to Spain, somewhere that was — that has impacted us so heavily by colonization and the continuation of colonization in the climate crisis. For us, a lot of people at COP, these countries, they have never learned how to live sustainably. They’ve always been based upon a system that takes and needs more and more, whereas indigenous people, like, our traditions have always been sustainable, and because of colonization, that’s been taken away from us. So, for us to be here, it’s not so much that we’re trying to learn how to live sustainably. We’ve always been protectors of the land. We’ve always worked with nature, not against it. So, going forward, it’s really important that we really look to indigenous people as leaders of the climate movement, and not just victims.

TOM GOLDTOOTH: We’re here to build solidarity. We’re here to stand in support of the people of Chile. We’re here to support the people of Colombia and Ecuador and Brazil who are fighting climate capitalism. We have to stand together with the people of the streets and of the forests and the land and the oceans, fighting neoliberalism, fighting imperialism. We’re fighting against the United States and its white supremacy, militarization. We have to look at these things and stand together in solidarity with the people.

AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

#NousToutes : Tens of thousands march in Paris to condemn violence against women


An article from Reuters

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in Paris and other cities in France to say “stop” to sexual and sexual violence and feminicide. Among other personalities present in the procession, actresses Alexandra Lamy and Muriel Robin, as well as former minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem claim more resources to the government.

The demonstration at the call of feminist collective #NousToutes started on Saturday, November 23, from the Place de l’Opera towards the Nation. Tens of thousands of women and men have broken the streets in Paris – 49,000 according to the firm Occurrence working for a media collective – but also in other cities in France, to say “stop” to gender-based violence and sexual.

According to the feminist collective #NousToutes, the thirty or so marches organized in France brought together “150,000 people”, including “100,000 in Paris”.

“This is the biggest step in the history of France against violence” sexist and sexual, welcomed one of the organizers Caroline De Haas, in a message to the media.

Outside Paris, police or prefectures counted 5,500 demonstrators in Lyon, 2,000 in Rennes, 1,650 in Strasbourg and 1,000 in Bordeaux.

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(Click here for a French article about this event.)

Questions for this article

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

How effective are mass protest marches?

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“We need a billion euros”

In the purple tide of the Parisian procession were mingled anonymous, organizations and political parties (family planning, CGT, CFDT, EELV, LFI, PS, Unef, PCF, SOS homophobia), but also many personalities including the former minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. “It is urgent to listen to the associations,” she said at the microphone of Alexandra Renard, France 24 journalist present in the event. “When they ask for money, it is because they know that we need to finance emergency housing, psychological support for women and children, we need justice to be better. equipped to move the files forward more quickly, “she adds.

Noting the presence of many children and young adults, the former Minister of National Education – who was also Minister of Women’s Rights from 2012 to 2014 – evokes a “real awareness”, which should have already taken place in 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement. “That was not the case, that’s why the street is grappling with this problem now to tell the government ‘we need a billion euros’, it’s a figure that takes into account these victims, those dying women and their children who are barely followed psychologically then. ”

At his side, the actress Alexandra Lamy also participates in the march. In his right hand, a sign says “I believe you, you are not for nothing”. “We hope that the state will provide the means for women to feel listened to, welcomed, and especially to tell them that we are here,” she told our reporter, before calling back the number for women victims of violence, 3919.

“The deal is changed because we are many and numerous, but we must already apply the law,” says meanwhile humorist Muriel Robin. “The Council of Europe has pointed out ‘There are huge shortcomings, things that should be done and not done’, she adds, ‘what are we being told?’ ”

The one who played Jacqueline Sauvage on screen is demanding results. “It falls every two days! Our sisters, our colleagues, our friends, our mother … It is no longer possible, they are assassinations!”

“We have not reached the end yet”

“This is a phenomenon that crosses all our societies and we are more or less advanced, from one country to another, in the repression of this phenomenon,” said Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. “France is not the worst in this area, we have adopted many laws that allow better protection

Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima marks another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons


A press release from 7ZEIZH

Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima is another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Roland Nivet and Edith Boulanger, national co-spokespersons of Mouvement de la Paix, have jointly declared.

The declaration of Pope Francis in Hiroshima on November 23, 2019 in which he states that “the use of atomic energy for military purposes is a crime” and that “a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary” and finally that “The time has come to renounce nuclear weapons and build a collective and concerted peace” is another historic step in the struggle for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. In his time the academician Jean Rostand speaking of the atomic weapon said “to prepare a crime it is already a crime”.

(Click here for the French version of this article.)

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Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Six months into the beginning of the work of the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the UN in May 2020 which will bring together all states, we can only welcome the fact that the Pope also calls “To support all international instruments of nuclear disarmament, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Weapons Banning Treaty” adopted at the United Nations on 7 July 2017.

Pope Francis’ proposal for the money devoted to these works of death to be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective On the Move for Peace, which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march “for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament”.

All peace-loving people, regardless of their ideological, religious, trade union or political beliefs or affiliations, will, we believe, find an additional reason to act for a world without nuclear weapons.

A few days ago we sent a letter to all French Parliamentarians proposing the adoption, as part of the preparation of the Budget 2020 of France, an amendment to this Finance Act to freeze the credits planned in 2020 to the modernization of nuclear weapons.

While the majority of the government has voted to double the funds earmarked for atomic weapons, we hope that the Pope’s statement will perhaps cause them to reflect and take into consideration our amendment proposal.

In a major win for the environment, world’s largest bank says goodbye to fossil fuel financing


An article from Nation of Change

Environmentalists have a reason to celebrate this week. The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced on Thursday that it will phase out its financing completely for fossil fuels within the next two years.

A power station in Poland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The bank’s decision to end all financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021 will make it the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

EIB’s board voted on the decision on Thursday. They hope that this step will make EIB, which is the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, the world’s first “climate bank.”

“Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” said the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer. “We will stop financing fossil fuels and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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EIB’s vice president, Andrew McDowell, went even further, calling this step “an important first step – not the last step, but probably one of the most difficult.”

Environmentalists are praising the bank’s decision. Bill McKibben of called it a “truly amazing win” and Friends of the Earth Europe said  the decision is a “significant victory for the climate movement.”

The decision is part of the bank’s new energy lending policy, passed with overwhelming support, and doesn’t outright ban fossil fuel projects but makes most of them impossible by instilling the following guidelines:

“Energy projects applying for EIB funding will need to show they can produce one-kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide, a move which bans traditional gas-burning power plants.”

According to Reuters, “Gas projects are still possible, but would have to be based on what the bank called “new technologies,” such as carbon capture and storage, combining heat and power generation or mixing in renewable gases with the fossil natural gas.”

Although the announcement is a year later than climate activists were hoping for, it calls for limited approval for projects already under appraisal by the bank. This could cause massive problems for the oil and gas industry, which according to The Guardian  has more than $200 billion in liquified natural gas projects planned over the next five years.

Regardless of the timing, the blow to fossil fuel industries is sure to be massive. Environmental groups have estimated that between 2013 and 2018 EIB handed out €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies.

In the words of 350 Action Germany campaigned Kate Cahoon, this is “the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”

Cyprus: Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud: “Work for a world that’s a better place”


A article by Susan Kim for the World Council of Churches

Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud, leader of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, received an International Religious Freedom Award from the US Department of State on 17 July. She paused to speak with WCC Communication with a word about what has inspired her life’s work for peace.

Photo: Kyriakos Arkatides

Q: You are fresh from receiving the International Religious Freedom Award. How did the ceremony move you?

Weiderud: It was extremely overwhelming and it’s a huge honor. I’m humbled. It’s important because it will help shine a light on the joint efforts of the religious leaders in Cyprus to advance religious freedom, and also inspire others working on issues of religious freedom around the world.

Q: Have you always been passionate about being a peacemaker?

Weiderud: Yes! I myself grew up with stories of my ancestors being persecuted, deported and massacred. My family came as refugees from Turkey to Cyprus. My grandmother was five at the time, and my great-grandparents brought her and her siblings to Cyprus. I grew up hearing their stories of pain, fear and violence. Yet at the same time my family did not choose hatred. There was so much pain; still they chose to talk about faith, hope and love. They practiced what they preached. Their stories of coexistence and friendships inspired me. I grew up on a divided island where conflict and its transformation became an existential reality. To me, there was no other option: you worked for a world that was a better place. A world that was free and safe for all, where everyone’s human rights were respected. So nothing else made sense to me.

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Question related to this article:
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

Can Cyprus be reunited in peace?

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Meeting amazing committed people in the ecumenical movement was another inspiration for me to be a peacemaker.

Q: In 2017, the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process released a joint statement of the religious leaders of Cyprus condemning all forms of violence against women and girls. What do you think is the best way to address gender-based violence?

Weiderud: In my area, working with faith leaders, especially in Cyprus, the biggest step has been to take responsibility through  joint action so that religious leaders don’t feel they are taking steps by themselves. Together, they advocate for each other’s rights and religious freedom. For the first time ever, Christian and Muslim religious leaders of Cyprus made a commitment against this violence.

Q: How has the Religious Track followed up on this statement with action?

Weiderud: We continuously facilitate the process to ensure that the statements and actions keep their unity, and that statements and actions are well-rooted and owned by the religious leaders. We have helped religious leaders make new alliances with women’s organizations in both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and take full responsibility of their own commitments. We are working to ensure safe spaces for sharing of information and developing joint action.  It’s very important to ensure that everyone feels feel connected and that they are working together — victims and religious leaders.  Our work takes time, it requires patience, sensitivity and service but it’s worth it because we ensure that there is unity and ownership to move statements into action.  It’s been exciting for us to organize events that have been unheard of, such as the social media campaign 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.

Ukraine: window opens for peace in the Donbas after Volodymyr Zelenskiy agrees to election plan


An article from The Conversation (reprinted according to Creative Commons License)

As the war in eastern Ukraine drags into its sixth year, all the attempts to end it have so far failed. But in a significant development on October 1, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced his provisional agreement to hold local elections in the currently occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as Donbas.

The war in the Donbas began when mass protests in support of greater territorial autonomy escalated into a separatist crisis in the spring of 2014. Russia has been supporting the rebels in the Donbas since the inception of the war, which by now has claimed more than 13,000 lives. In an attempt to end the conflict, Ukraine and Russia signed two agreements in Minsk  in 2014 and 2015 aimed at establishing a ceasefire and lasting peace in eastern Ukraine. To date, the Minsk agreements have not been able to stop the fighting.

In 2016, the deadlock prompted former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to propose a new approach, which became known as the “Steinmeier formula”. The essence of the formula  is simple. The local elections would be held in the occupied territories under Ukrainian legislation and the supervision of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) – but not before all armed groups leave the area and Ukraine regains control of the territory.

If the OSCE deems these elections free and fair, then the separatist controlled territories would be given a special status. The exact nature of what the special status would look like, should it come to that, has not yet been revealed by Zelenksiy’s administration.

The formula lays the groundwork for renewed talks of the so-called “Normandy Four”: Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. But before then, Zelenskiy said the wording  of the Steinmeier formula is still being agreed on with the OSCE.

The Russian dimension

Zelenskiy’s announcement that he was considering moving forward with the Steinmeier formula immediately attracted strong opposition from some groups in Ukraine. The most vocal of these have been the far-right and nationalist groups that gathered  outside the presidential administration building in Kyiv. Their main grievance is a belief that the formula means capitulation  to Russia, because Russia has been backing the Donbas separatists since the war started.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved in the Ukraine?

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The Kremlin’s and international community’s reaction to the Steinmeier formula has largely been positive. Although critics lament the fact that the deal benefits Russia, the former US ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer disagreed. Pifer emphasised that more details about the agreement are needed, but that the unconditional demand that Russian and Russian proxy forces have to leave occupied Donbas is in Ukraine’s favour.

In Ukraine, Yulia Tymyshenko, a former prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, also vehemently opposed the proposed plan. Writing on her Facebook page, Tymoshenko called  the formula, “unacceptable” and “a direct threat to our country’s national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

This puts Zelenskiy in an awkward position to say the least. One of the most notable pillars of his presidential campaign was a commitment to bring the war in the Donbas to a swift end. Yet, the president is also expected to end the conflict on Ukraine’s terms without any perception that he is giving in to Russia. The immediate protests by some of the far-right and anti-Kremlin groups, such as Azov, who have been known to engage in acts of violence, are therefore a cause for concern. The most immediate of these concerns is the potential for protest violence should Zelenskiy move forward with the plan and allow for the elections to take place.

At the same time, all other approaches to end the growing number of casualties in the Donbas have failed. For the immediate sake of those living there, the conflict simply cannot keep dragging on and requires a new approach. Although the Steinmeier formula is controversial, it could potentially be a viable solution towards resolving the conflict.

Zelensky’s new challenge

Within months of taking office, Zelenskiy’s administration has taken on a number of ambitious reforms aimed at cleaning up corruption in Ukraine’s institutions. Recently, the president has also been caught up in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of US president Donald Trump – though he has tried to distance himself from the case.

It now seems that Zelenskiy’s efforts are being channelled into addressing the ongoing crisis in the Donbas. Some encouraging steps towards that end have already been taken. For example, Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners of war in September, in a move praised  by the international community.

If the Steinmeier formula is successful, there will be a potential window of opportunity for a withdrawal of Russian troops from the Donbas. More information and discussion with the public about the proposed plan would be wise, however, as initial polls suggest around 60%  of the population haven’t yet formed an opinion about the plan.

It’s quite possible that the proposed plan might not achieve the sought-after peace. The elections run the risk of consolidating the position of the current leaders of the occupied territories.

There is a lack of an alternative to the status quo and no guarantees that the occupied territories have any real chance of being reintegrated back into Ukraine. The proposed plan is no doubt a gamble, but offers some hope that an end to violence in the east could be on the horizon if all sides hold up their end of the agreement.

Extinction Rebellion, not political? “We occupied the center of Paris for five days! “


An article from Reporterre (translation by CPNN)

In response to those who criticize the political weakness of Extinction Rebellion, the authors of this platform claim that their “political message is in the action itself: another organization of society is possible.” And they repeat that strict nonviolence is a “calculated and determined” choice.

The week of action of Extinction Rebellion has elicited many comments: some purely anecdotal and others that are more political. Both sides miss what makes the reason for Extinction Rebellion. Here’s our explanations …

We will not go back to the many anecdotal comments that only serve to hide the important issues. We will try to focus on critics of the nature and methods of Extinction Rebellion.

“We are not a political movement in the classical sense.”

Some would like to find in Extinction Rebellion the slogans and the partisan positions against this or that political or economic power. These commentators reproduce the classic schemas of the political game and would like to bring back Extinction Rebellion into their usual framework of analysis. They make hasty – and often contradictory – conclusions about a movement that refuses rhetoric and incantation to choose action in a very specific context: civil disobedience.

(Click here for the original article in French.)

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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A concrete example of our approach is the occupation of the center of Paris from 7 to 11 October. Some have criticized this occupation for being light in political content. Really ? For five days, in the heart of the capital, we have removed a strategic public space from the public authorities. We made live a direct democracy (three general meetings held daily), places of exchange and training, collective kitchens open to all … We have maintained and cleaned the public space instead of the services of the City Hall . We helped the traders in their supplies and the cleaning services to ensure the collection of waste. All this only 100 meters from the police headquarters. Our political message is in the action itself: another organization of society is possible. It was discussed at “Nuit Debout.” We did it at Chatelet.

Our approach goes beyond the usual political framework. We do not dispute a particular regime, we question a system of values ​​that leads to the destruction of the living. And our proposition is that the citizens should seize the debate and make the choices themselves. We defend a direct democracy, because it alone will allow us to be resilient in the face of future crises.

“It would be naive, would not disturb the powers in place and especially would not take into account institutional violence,”

Here is a criticism that often comes up about the non-violent civil disobedience. It’s a complete counter-sense! Martin Luther King, apostle of non-violence, would not have seen or taken into account institutional violence? What is called non-violence is precisely a strategy that aims to reveal institutional violence. As in the martial arts, it is a question of returning the violence of the attacker (here the State) against himself.

When the police forced our non-violent activists at close range on the bridge of Sully in Paris, the images circumnavigated the world, and the condemnation was unanimous. Faced with force, the non-violent action is to divert the violence of the State to place it in front of its contradictions. It’s not being naïve, it’s a calculated choice. Purposeful. And we assume it in each of our actions. The state can dodge this confrontation just as it has done, but it is an unsustainable tactic in the medium term for power.

Some groups are calling for more radical actions, which they say will have a greater impact. They say that they will mount these actions themselves! Their galleries and open letters are only rhetoric. The incantation is without limits, the action will frame them. For Extinction Rebellion, nonviolent civil disobedience is both an ethic and a long-term strategy. Strict non-violence is the only inclusive strategy!

Launch of the Second World March for Peace and Nonviolence


Excerpts from an article in Pressenza

At the launch of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence in Madrid, on October 2nd, International Nonviolence Day that commemorates Gandhi’s birth, Rafael de la Rubia said:

“It should be said that this is not just a peripheral journey through the surface of the planet, through the surface of the earth. To this walking along roads, places, countries… you can add an internal journey, going through the depths of our existence, trying to match what we think with what we feel and with what we do, in order to be more coherent, gain more meaning in our lives and eliminate internal violence.” . . .

In Chile, with Parliamentarian Tomas Hirsch: “Active Nonviolence is the Force that will transform the world”

The beginning of the March was celebrated in different points of the world

From Antonio Gancedo’s blog:

Chile: the beginning of the 2 World March was announced in the National Parliament By the humanist parliamentarian Tomás Hirsch. And Santiago de Chile stretched with a “Hug for Nonviolence” as a dissemination of the 2 World March for Peace and Nonviolence.

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Question for this article:

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

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From Seville and the Port of Santa Maria, in Spain to embark on the ferry journey to Tangier, Morocco the entry point of the WM in Africa where A Humanist Forum took place. In the Spanish cities of Seville and A Coruña, where the March was launched during a session in the Town Hall, different activities expressed the commitment to Peace and Nonviolence.

The World March in the Italian Parliament: The World March has among its objectives the dissemination of the culture of Peace and Non-Violence, disarmament – especially nuclear disarmament -, the defence of the environment and the enhancement of diversity. During the event “The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons” was projected, a work produced by the international press agency Pressenza on the occasion of the second anniversary of the approval of the UN Nuclear Disarmament Treaty (ICAN campaign, Nobel Prize of the Peace 2017). The documentary aims to contribute to the goal of reaching the end of the World March with the ratification of the TPAN  by 50 countries to make it binding.

Brazil: From Pernambuco, Brazil, accompanying the launch of the 2ª World March the first “Live EAD”Live from Nonviolence in schools  with 474 enrolled, 10 tutors in 20 states of Brazil, which connect on the website of the UFRPE (Federal Rural University of Pernambuco). A talk by Gunther Aleksander, of the Pressenza Agency, and Vinicius Pereira, of the Nonviolence in Schools Project, about the launch of the 2 World March for Peace and Nonviolence, giving the appropriate explanations on the free course of distance education for the formation of non-violence Centres in schools. Londrina also in Brazil connected with Peace and Nonviolence symbols.

Argentina: the documentary “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons” by director Alvaro Orus and producer Tony Robinson from Pressenza was shown in Cordoba. The film produced in the participants a very particular sensitivity that was expressed in the subsequent exchange. A campaign to collect signatures began to demand that the government of Argentina sign the treaty banning nuclear weapons and then ratify it.

Seán MacBride Peace Prize Ceremony for Bruce Kent


An announcement from the International Peace Bureau

Every year the IPB awards a special prize to a person or organisation that has done outstanding work for peace, disarmament and/or human rights. These were the principal concerns of Sean MacBride, the distinguished Irish statesman who was Chairman of IPB from 1968-74 and President from 1974-1985. MacBride was a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1974), deputy General Secretary of the UN and founder if the disarmament committee of the UN.

The Prize was established 1992, IPB’s centenary year.

For the Year 2019 the board of IPB decided to present awards to Bruce Kent:
Bruce Kent is an internationally known peace activist and a “real peace hero” who, even in his 90th year, remains an active campaigner and organizer for peace and human rights. He was one of the main speakers at the big march and demonstration against nucear weapons in London in 2016.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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Bruce was ordained as a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Westminster in London in 1958 and became a Chaplain to Pax Christi in from 1974-1977. He joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1960 and was elected chair from 1977-1979, becoming the General Secretary in 1979 for 6 years. He was elected CND Chair again from 1987-1990. He was also Chair of War on Want from 1974-1976 and was the British co-ordinator for the Hague Appeal for Peace in 1999. He is now a Vice-President of CND, Pax Christi and Movement for the Abolition of War (which he co-founded in 2001).

He was also one of the founders and main organizers of the European Nuclear Disarmament Campaign in the 1980s. He was also, in 1988, one of the main organizers of a 1000-mile peace walk from Warsaw to NATO HQ in Brussels to call for a united peaceful nuclear-free Europe.

Bruce was also IPB President from 1985 till 1992 and he has been an inspiration to so many people of all ages in the UK and elsewhere.

Date(s) – Saturday – Oct 19, 2019, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Location: St. Thomas hospital, London