Category Archives: global

United Nations: More Unified, Early Action Key for Preventing Conflict, Reducing Human Suffering, Speakers Tell Security Council

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from the United Nations

The United Nations should explore greater use of conflict prevention and mediation tools enshrined in its founding Charter, speakers told the Security Council today [June 12], as it examined the Organization’s long-standing culture of spending billions of dollars on addressing crises after failing to contain them before they fester.

“When we act early, and are united, we can successfully prevent crises from escalating, saving lives and reducing suffering – fulfilling the most fundamental mandate of the United Nations, as set out in the Preamble to the Charter,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Along with successful constitutional transfers of power in Mali and Madagascar, the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the revitalized agreement in South Sudan have created a sense of renewed hope, he said.  Elsewhere, however, such as Yemen, Syria and Libya, serious challenges remain.  Governments must make full use of the broad range of conflict prevention and resolution tools set out in Chapter VI of the Charter and the Council should use its authority to call on parties to pursue them.

Citing examples of his good offices and those of his envoys to help parties peacefully resolve differences, he said members of his High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation have given discreet counsel to him and his representatives on various political processes.  Mediation advisers on the Standby Team have supported processes in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Syria.  The United Nations has also deepened its strategic and operational partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, with a special focus on Africa.  However, prevention and mediation will not work without broader, more unified political efforts by all States.  “That is the only way to meet our responsibilities to the people we serve,” he emphasized.

Mr. Guterres’ predecessor, Ban Ki-Moon, who is now Deputy Chair of The Elders – a group founded by Nelson Mandela of independent global leaders that promotes peace, justice and human rights – warned that the risk of nuclear conflict is at its highest in decades.  Deeply concerned about the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, he said there is a very real risk that the global arms control and nuclear non-proliferation architecture is in danger of collapse through neglect, hubris and ill-founded threat analysis.  That issue goes to the heart of the Council, whose five permanent members are all nuclear armed States with a unique and heavy responsibility.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders, said the Council should be seen as an instrument of deliverance, a defender of rights and a provider of protection.  “But too often over the decades the Council – and, particularly, its five permanent members – has failed to live up to its responsibilities and has favoured realpolitik or short-term power stratagems rather than meeting the solemn commitments outlined in the United Nations Charter,” she said.  Moreover, insufficient attention has been paid to the role and voice of women on the ground in preventing conflict.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, said conflicts today are increasingly complex and intertwined, but they could have been prevented through effective use of such Council tools as Chapter VI, which reaffirms the Council’s preventative role, and Chapter VIII, which encourages the peaceful resolution of local conflicts through regional mechanisms, as well as Article 99 which refers to the Secretary-General’s good offices.  Mediation can save a lot of trouble, sorrow and pain, as well as the billions of dollars spent on peacekeeping operations and humanitarian action.

The representative of the United States, supporting that view, said mediation is an “underappreciated tool” that can save billions of dollars and many lives.  More women should participate, he said, pointing to a study that showed peace agreements are 35 per cent more likely to last for 15 years when women are involved. His own country has been a leader in mediation efforts, he said, citing successes in Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Indonesia’s delegate said the Organization should focus on helping national and regional efforts to peacefully settle disputes, noting that his country and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have relied fundamentally on dialogue and consultation.  Regional entities enjoy unique bonds of history and knowledge, he said, adding that “neighbours know best” and urging the Council to engage such entities from the earliest signs of potential conflict.  Greater funding and more reliable support from the United Nations regular budget should underpin prevention and mediation efforts.

France’s delegate said that greater investment is also needed in post-conflict peacebuilding, including reconciliation, transitional justice and reconstruction to prevent conflict from reoccurring.

The speaker for the Russian Federation warned that conflict prevention is not a panacea and should not be used as a shield for interfering in States’ internal affairs.  The situations in Iraq, Libya and Syria are examples of the consequences of shameless outside intervention, he said, adding that the most successful mediation in Venezuela is being conducted by States that are not taking sides there.  United Nations mediators should be selected on the basis of objective criteria and with respect for regional balance, he stressed.

Also speaking today were representatives of China, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Germany, South Africa, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, Côte d’Ivoire and Belgium.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Peace through Tourism: Celebrating Her Awards

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT)

H.E. Eliza Reid, First Lady of Iceland, was the Guest of Honour at the 4th edition of the Celebrating Her awards on 7th March at ITB Berlin [ Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair] where five inspiring women were presented awards by H.E. Eliza Reid, Dr. Taleb Rifai – former Secretary General UNWTO and Chairman IIPT International Advisory Board, Rika Jean-Francois – CSR Commissioner for ITB Berlin, Kiran Yadav – VP IIPT India and Ajay Prakash – President IIPT India. The event was conducted by Anita Mendiratta – author, tourism thought leader and Special Advisor to the Secretary General of UNWTO [United Nations World Tourism Organization].

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The Celebrating Her award winners for 2019 are:

* H.E. Rania al Mashat – Minister of Tourism for Egypt for Tourism Policy and Leadership

* H.E Elena Kountoura – Minister of Tourism for Greece for Tourism Strategy and Resilience

* Helen Marano – Founder & President, Maranao Perspectives for Building Global Alliances that promote Tourism as a Force for Good

* Mechtild Maurer – General Director, ECPAT Germany for promoting Socially Responsible Tourism & the Prevention of Exploitation of Children

* Jane Madden – Managing Partner, Global Sustainability & Social Impact, FINN Partners for Sustainability and promoting Corporate Social Responsibility

Speaking of the awards, Ajay Prakash – President IIPT India said, ”the Awards are being held on the eve of International Women’s Day but our champions need to be felicitated every day of the year and each one of our award winners today is a champion. Gender equality, which is a critical part of the United Nations SDGs, is intrinsic to IIPT’s global aims and objectives and integral to fostering peace. It is also our intention, through these awards to create a network of powerful women across the world in the tourism sphere who could work with each other and serve as role models and mentors while representing IIPT as our Global Ambassadors of Peace and sustainable development. The IIPT India ‘Celebrating Her’ Awards, has at its heart this principle – the prioritisation of women as champions of the power of global tourism to uplift lives and livelihoods.”

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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In her opening address the First Lady of Iceland H.E. Eliza Reid congratulated all the winners, commended IIPT and ITB for their initiative in instituting the Awards and said that today there are considerable energies in the tourism industry to create a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous industry and thereby help in creating a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous world.

In his address, Dr. Rifai lauded the consistency and steadfastness of IIPT India in holding the awards every year since, he said, it is abundantly clear that humanity cannot achieve peace, development and sustainability by ignoring half the world’s population. He concluded by saying the awards were a very timely and necessary initiative and that Celebrating Her in essence was Celebrating Us.

Anita Mendiratta introduced the award winners through personal stories and anecdotes and each was invited to give a short acceptance speech.

Dr. Rania al Mashat stated that tourism was not a profession, but a passion. She accepted the award on behalf of “all Egyptian women” and expressed the hope that soon every Egyptian household would have at least one person working in the tourism industry so that the benefits could flow to all citizens.

Elena Kountoura commented on the “driving force of tourism” and its power to generate employment and improve living standards. Greece, she said, had come through many years of economic crisis and was expecting 35 million visitors this year. While thanking IIPT for the award she wryly remarked that the awards seemed to have been organised mostly by men.

Jane Madden said she had always been a champion of women and was grateful to receive an award in recognition of her work. She stated that travel had given her the opportunity to learn about other places and cultures and to educate herself and others.

Mechtild Maurer spoke of the need to sensitise everyone in the industry to the issue of the exploitation of women and children. She spoke of the need to engage with the youth, including in human rights groups, bring them to the issue and to create new leaders.

Helen Marano could not be present to receive her award but sent in a warm and personal video message expressing her happiness at being one of the recipients of a “Celebrating Her” award. She also said that the award would spur her enthusiasm. Dr. Taleb Rifai accepted the award on her behalf.

In his Vote of Thanks, Kiran Yadav – VP IIPT India congratulated all the winners, thanked the partners, especially ITB Berlin and the media partners and a special note of thanks to Anita Mendiratta who had always supported IIPT in every way.

International Institute for Peace Education 2019: Cyprus

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An announcement from the International Institute for Peace Education

The 2019 International Institute for Peace Education (IIPE) will be held in Nicosia, Cyprus at the Home for Cooperation (H4C)  from July 21 to July 28, 2019. This year’s institute is organized in partnership with the IIPE Secretariat and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).

IIPE 2019: Cyprus will convene educators from around the globe for a week-long, residential, learning community experience in peace education. A rich exchange of peacebuilding research, academic theory, best practices, and actions will be shared with participants from around the world through IIPE’s evolving dialogical, cooperative, and intersubjective modes of reflective inquiry and experiential learning.

IIPE 2019 will focus on global issues of particular relevance to Cyprus and the adjoining region of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East – the intersection of Asia, Africa and Europe. This region is characterized on the one hand, by turmoil and tension, and on the other by the rich perpetual movements of people, ideas and experiences. While peoples’ past and present are presented in grey terms, their shared history(-ies) of coexistence, cooperation and exchange are often neglected in official discourses. In this context, recent developments with regards to war, terrorism, migration and refugedom have led to the creation of monolithic narratives and rigid identities. These excluding narratives perpetuate violent conflicts and structural conditions that limit opportunities for sustainable peace and development. IIPE 2019 will emphasize the role of educators on all levels in addressing conflict in creative ways and offering alternatives to violence in contexts such as the Cypriot one. Educating for practical and theoretical methods is of paramount importance for the creation of inclusive identities and a critical hope for the region, and for humanity as a whole.

Being concerned with reconciliation and abetting conflict, we peace educators, theorists, researchers, students, and activists together face a serious challenge. On the one hand, dynamic transitions and tensions shape our present world: new movements of peoples are working for more dignity and inclusion, while at the same time forces of power are consolidating in ways that challenge how local, regional and global citizens can contribute to this vibrant transition in nonviolent, humanizing and ecologically viable ways. IIPE 2019 Cyprus’s inquiry is centered on how might we collectively frame the challenges we face in our diverse, particular, and shared spheres? How can a relational paradigm for peace help us theorize these challenges for more dignity, inclusion, and coordination? As we engage in deep listening and critical and reflective dialogue, what new understandings will we reach? What creative practices will emerge? In examining crossover issues, we aim to bring our best selves in relation to each other so that we might meld together our best theoretical, educational, and activist practices.

Peace education and its intersections with history, political theory, conflict studies, reconciliation, the philosophy of peace, justice, and democracy in challenging times are among the areas of inquiry that will be most relevant at IIPE 2019. Applicants are invited to offer contributions on these and other thematic areas including, but not limited to:

* Identities (and anti-racist education) in divided and/or multi-faith, multi-ethnic and culturally and linguistically diverse societies

* Memory and remembrance (collective memory, communal memory, family history and memory, memory transmitted through celebrations, museums, monuments, oral history, understanding of heritage…)

* National celebrations (memory transmitted through ceremonies, anniversaries, memorials, commemorations and celebrations)

* The philosophical basis for reconciliation and peace

* Dialogue for reconciliation

* History teaching and historical dialogue as means for peacebuilding: the role of history education in conflict or post-conflict communities; peace and reconciliation; teaching history in divided societies; history education and values, beliefs and human rights

* Gender and peacebuilding in divided societies; gender and history

* Civil society, global citizenship, and local participation

* Youth and entrepreneurship

* Public space and deliberation; the city as an educating agent

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Question for this article:

Peace Studies in School Curricula, What would it take to make it happen around the world?

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Experiencing Cyprus

Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, has been separated for over 50 years, and, apart from a divided capital, barricades, barbwires and checkpoints, it offers numerous opportunities for exploring ancient and recent civilizations and experiencing, first hand, manifestations of the willingness to defeat time and space barriers and create spaces for creativity, imagination and sharing. The ‘wondering peace educator’ will be offered the chance to explore issues of memory and remembrance, conflicting narratives and identity and public history, while, at the same time, he/she will engage in the exchange of ideas and examples on breakthrough initiatives that have the potential to turn the island into a hub of innovation in the fields of History for Reconciliation and Education for a Culture of Peace.

In particular, all participants will have the opportunity to experience the contextual conditions existing in Cyprus regarding the conflict and become acquainted with local breakthrough initiatives on history as a means for reconciliation and education for a culture of peace. This will be enhanced through an Open Public Day, excursion(s), and unique cultural experiences in Cyprus. IIPE 2019 will also facilitate an exchange with Cypriot educators, from all communities, via the Open Public Day, which will feature immersion and exchange opportunities exploring global obstacles and possibilities for peacebuilding through education in other contexts.

About The Association for Historical Dialogue & Research (AHDR)

The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), based at the Home for Cooperation (H4C) which is a hub for intercommunal collaboration, dialogue, and education for a culture of peace, is the host and core resource for IIPE 2019’s thematic focus.

The AHDR is a unique multi-communal, non-for-profit, non-governmental organization established in Nicosia in 2003 that envisions a society where dialogue on issues of history, historiography and history teaching and learning is considered a means for the advancement of historical understanding and critical thinking and is welcomed as an integral part of democracy and a culture of peace. The AHDR contributes to the advancement of historical understanding amongst the public and more specifically amongst children, youth, and educators by providing access to learning opportunities for individuals of every ability and every ethnic, religious, cultural, and social background, based on the respect for diversity and the dialogue of ideas.

Since its establishment, the AHDR has broadened its mission by promoting peace education in formal and non-formal settings and is currently bringing together school children of all ages from all communities on the island through the implementation of the ‘Imagine’ Project which has received acclaim from the UN Secretary General for its role in promoting contact and cooperation between the future generations of Cyprus.

Cyprus, through the work of AHDR and H4C, is recognized as a regional center for offering state-of-the-art services for education for peacebuilding and dialogue as a means for reconciliation.

About the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE)

The International Institute on Peace Education is a weeklong residential experience for educators and scholars hosted in a different country every other summer. The Institute facilitates exchanges of theory and practical experiences in teaching peace education and serves to grow the field. In serving the field, the IIPE operates as an applied peace education laboratory that provides a space for pedagogical experimentation; cooperative, deep inquiry into shared issues; and advancing theoretical, practical and pedagogical applications. Since its inauguration at Teachers College Columbia University in 1982, the IIPE has brought together experienced and aspiring educators, academics, professional workers, and activists in the field of peace education from around the world to exchange knowledge and experiences and learn with and from each other in its intensive residentially based learning community.

Held annually at various universities and peace centers throughout the world, the IIPE is also an opportunity for networking and community building. that has spawned a variety of collaborative research projects and peace education initiatives at the local, regional, and international levels. The International Peace Bureau, in nominating IIPE for the 2005 UNESCO Peace Education Prize described it as “probably the most effective agent for the introduction of peace education to more educators than any other single non-governmental agency.” The objectives of each particular institute are rooted in the needs and transformational concerns of the co-sponsoring host partner, their local community, and the surrounding region. More widely, the educational purposes of the IIPE are directed toward the development of the field of peace education in theory, practice, and advocacy.

Applications are due March 15, 2019, and will be reviewed by the end of March/early April. Be sure to apply early for full consideration.

*The application deadline for IIPE 2019 has passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

Sponsorship and Support

IIPE 2019 is supported by a generous grant from the  Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

The conference is also under the aegis of the President of the European Parliament with the support of the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus.

Bolivia to Foster a Culture of Peace at UN

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Prensa Latina

 Bolivia will be Chair of the First Commission of Disarmament and International Security of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly with the responsibility of building a culture of peace at an international level, the newspaper Cambio pointed out on Monday [June 10].

Bolivia’s permanent representative to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, referred in an interview with Cambio newspaper to the tasks and missions with which he will start his administration.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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TAs he explained, the UNA’s First Committee’s mission starts in September. It has been scheduled for just one year, where Bolivia will argue for building a culture of peace, respectful of human rights and Mother Earth, for cordial resolution of disputes and in defense of multilateralism, international law, as well as principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

Cessation of the arms race in terms of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament and preventing such a war are among teh main issues stressed by Llorenti during his term of office..

We will be also working on the implementation of arrangements in relation to conventional weapons, regional disarmament agreements and other measures to guarantee the United Nations fulfills its role in terms of disarmament and international security, he added.

It is about the first time in the history of the UN that Bolivia takes on the chair of the First Committee. In this regard, the Bolivian ambassador highlighted the leadership of President Evo Morales and export models in terms of economic growth, poverty reduction, inequality, recovery of natural resources, fight drug trafficking and peaceful resolution of disputes.

He also harped on that Bolivia is nowadays enjoying an independent and sovereign diplomacy, which along with aforesaid elements allow it to reach leading roles on the international stage, he said.

The best images from school strikes around the world

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jill Russo in Climate Change News

Young people hit the streets on Friday [May 24] in the latest mass demonstration instigated by the Fridays For Future  movement.


With marches in more than 1,400 cities and more than 110 countries, organisers predicted the attendance will surpass 1.4 million they say came to the global action in March.

Social feeds have filled up with images of schoolkids and supporters of all ages demonstrating all around the world.
Send in your best images by tweeting us @climatehome.


Student strikers in the Philippines on Friday (Photo: Twitter/@aghamyouth_pup)


In Germany, young activists hit the streets in the northern town of Kiel… (Photo: Twitter/@KristianBlasel)


In Syria, a student crowd hoisted a banner and did some street clean-up in the border town of Qamislo…(Photo: Twitter/@GreenRojava)


In South Korea, striking students walked the streets in Seoul…(Photo: Twitter/@SylarPark2001)


In New Zealand, a mass of people flooded into a city centre (we’re not sure which one)…(Photo: Twitter/@MikeHudema)


In India, young people showed up to demonstrate in Delhi, banner emblazoned with the Extinction Rebellion symbol…(Photo: Twitter/@Johnpauljos)

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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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In Italy, climate protesters thronged the streets of Milan… (Photo: Twitter/@FYEG)


and in the German city of Cologne the medieval cathedral was swamped… (Photo: Twitter/@FFF_Koeln)


In Uganda, students prepped placards and posters before the strike…. (Photo: Twitter/@Fridays4FutureU)


In Ireland, a teacher led her class down the street early Friday morning…(Photo: Twitter/@gold_Igold)


In Washington D.C., streets rang with calls for climate action, despite the sitting president’s position…(Photo: Twitter/@ValentinaOssa11)


And in Stockholm, the girl who started it all, Greta Thunberg, is on the march for the 40th week in a row. But she’s not alone anymore…(Photo: Twitter/@GretaThunberg)


(Photo: Twitter/@GretaThunberg)

[Editor’s note: To complete the cycle of actions on all continents, see the following for photos from Chile and Mexico and from Brazil.]

Richard Falk: On Taking Controversial Public Positions: A Reflection 

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .     

A blog by Richard Falk
 
Not long ago a cherished friend directed a remark at me during a dinner with several other friends: “You keep sticking your neck out. I used to do that, but I don’t do it anymore.” At the time, I listened, unsure whether it was a rebuke—‘isn’t it time to grow up, and stop exposing yourself to ridicule and behind the back dismissals’—or merely an observation. on different ways of growing old.  I am still unsure, but it made me think.
 
It had never occurred to me to stop signing petitions or writing blogs that staked out controversial positions, sometimes with provocative language. It seemed. like an extension of my ideas about global civic responsibility in a democratic society,a matter of trusting and acting upon the dictates of conscience and the affectionsof solidarity. I didn’t start making my views known in public spaces until my mid-30s at the onset of the Vietnam War in the 1960s. In recent years, aside from periodic writing on my blog, I am mainly responding to requests for support of activist and academic initiatives by kindred political spirits or sympathetic journalists.

I suppose that a certain level of public notoriety followed my period as UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine during the period between 2008 and 2014. During those years I was under quite frequent attack by Zionist zealots, often operating under the misleading camouflage of NGO auspices with such anodyne names as UN Watch or NGO Monitor. It was defamatory and malicious, but it left an imprint in the mud. For those who know me best the main accusations didn’t make sense. I was clearly neither an ‘anti-Semite’ nor ‘a self-hating Jew.’ I suppose it was empirically accurate to consider me as an ‘anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist extremist,’ although I don’t think of myself in this way. True, my views on Israel/Palestine and the Zionist Project were overwhelmingly in support of the Palestinian national struggle for basic rights, including the right of self-determination, but this also represented my understanding of the application of relevant rules of international law and morality. I also came to believe that the Zionist insistence on ‘a Jewish state’ was the source of legitimate Palestinian resistance, and to quell this resistance Israel resorted to the establishment of apartheid structures of discriminatory  separation and domination, the elements of apartheid as an instance of a crime against humanity (as specified in Article 7 of the Rome Statute governing the operations of the International Criminal Court). I never thought of reaching such conclusions as sticking my neck out. I thought expressing these views while holding the UN position was an aspect of doing my unpaid job. This represented my sense of professional duty, including the recognition of the importance of civil society activism devoted to obtaining global justice.
 
Back at Princeton, especially after my visit to Iran in early 1979 during the last stage of the revolution, and the pushback I received after publishing an opinion piece in the NY Times expressing my hopes and concerns about the future of the Islamic Republic,  I did myself, partly as a gesture of self-irony, adopt the metaphor of sticking my neck out, attributed this move to my love for giraffes, their grace, absence of vocal chords, and strong kick. The giraffe became my totem, and my home was soon filled with carved and ceramic giraffes acquired during my trips to Africa. A friend with gifts as a woods craftsperson even made me a life-sized replica of a baby giraffe, which was slightly taller than I, and provided a vivid reminder of this identity that dominated my Princeton living room for many years. Yet, strangely, after moving to California I never thought about sticking my neck out until my friend reminded me, and led me to think about whether I am frozen in patterns of behavior apt only for those who are young or middle aged. The question for me is not whether we should stop caring after 80, but only whether it is unseemly for the elderly to keep acting.  Or perhaps having chosen ‘retirement’ from Princeton implies that I should stop actingas if I care, and leave the future to those young enough to have a more significant stake in what is happening and where it is leading.
 
A related kind of feedback from someone even closer was along the same lines, but could be classified as ‘a loving rebuke.’ It was the insistence that I was ‘obsessed’ with Israel/Palestine, and I should move on to other concerns as bad or worse than the Palestinian ordeal, with the example given of the horrifying persistence of the Yemen War with atrocities an almost daily occurrence. Here, I resist more than I reflect. Yet this is a matter of heart as well as head. From both sides, as my loving friend also insisted that she was saving my reputation from being permanently mired in mud, telling me I was smearing my own legacy by continuing to speak out critically of Israel and Zionism.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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I have long believed that outsiders have much blood on their hands in relation to evolution of Palestine and Israel ever since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Beyond this, the United States had the leverage, responsibility, and opportunity for decades to make a political compromise happen, but refused to explore such an option evenhandedly. Instead, the U.S. Government, especially after 1967, subsidized Israel’s militarization to the point where it has become a substantially autonomous and affluent regional power, and yet continues to receive more than $3.8 billion per year, proportionately to population far more than any other country. A compromise might have accommodated Palestinian basic grievances sufficiently to produce a sustainable peace, although it would still have required the Palestinian people to swallow a large dose of injustice taking the form of outside forces imposing an alien political template on their future, which is the essence of colonialist expansion.
 
During the Trump presidency with its unseemly responsiveness to Netanyahu’s wishes, the situation facing the Palestinian people has further deteriorated in rather dramatic ways: the American embassy has been moved to Jerusalem, the Golan Heights have been formally annexed following a green light from Washington, unlawful settlement building has accelerated, funding for essential UNRWA education and health services have been cut to zero, and even the pretension of the near universal international commitment to the two-state solution has been pointedly abandoned. Waiting for ‘the deal of the century’ seems likely to be either a matter of waiting for Godot or an ultimatum disguised as a peace plan demanding Palestinian surrender to Israeli one-statism.
 
And there is the outrage of a well-funded campaign to brand supporters of BDS and justice for the Palestinians as anti-Semites. This was never done during the global anti-apartheid movement after it adopted a BDS approach to South African apartheid. Why is Israeli apartheid being treated so differently? With amoral opportunism, debasing Jewish memories of the Holocaust, Zionist zealots, with money and encouragement from Tel Aviv and wealthy diaspora donors, are distorting reality by using Nazi genocidal tactics against Jews to intimidate those seeking justice for both peoples.  What is as bad is the degree to which most of the governments of the West go along with this smear campaign even altering the definition of anti-Semitism to conform with these lamentable tactics. To get the fuller picture this use of anti-Semitism as a smear tactic confuses the threats associated with the return of real hatred of Jews as embedded in the scary second coming of fascism with diaspora Jews again cast in the role of the unassimilable other, a degenerate enemy of the global wave of ultra-nationalism.
 
With this understanding, I can no more turn away from the Palestinians than those closest to me. It would represent a tear in the fabric of the life and love I have lived and affirmed. It is, for better or worse who I am and who I will always be. It may dim my image in the mind of many decent people of liberal persuasion, but I value self-respect and personal sovereignty more than the conditional affection of others. Having written in this vein, I also wish to affirm my identity as a Jew, and my realization of the desperation ignited by the Nazi experience. Yet such an experience could as easily have been tinged with compassion rather than a racist willingness from its very origins of an intention to displace, dominate, and victimize the majority long-term residents of Palestine. Offsetting this intention by reference to a Jewish biblical or historical entitlement has neither legal nor moral weight in my opinion.
 
Having so far affirmed continuity of belief and practice, there is something to be said in favor of discontinuity, breaking old habits inspired by giraffes running across an African savannah or overcoming obsessions even if morally inspired and intellectually justified. Choosing discontinuity has something to do with learning how to age so that the inner self takes command. The Hindu tradition emphasizes stages of life, to be a house-holder or family person until the age of 60, and after that go forth alone to nurture spirituality generally long marginalized by the pressures of ordinary life, if not dormant. Thinking along such lines, may make my defense of continuity of engagement seem shallow, if not wrong or at least exhibiting a stubborn streak.
 
Having so pondered and reflected, I am no nearer to closure. It feels inauthentic to abandon unfulfilled commitments, and yet to reconcile myself to being nothing more than a pale projection of my past seems a defeat. At least, this semi-meditation has made me more knowingly confused, and I share it on my blog because I feel that the dilemmas of ageing confront us all at some point, and are rarely faced clearly in Western culture, often inducing various degrees of denial, depression, and feelings of lost relevance and disengagement. I have chosen activism to the end, both continuing with sports to the limit of my ability and to honor the political commitments of a citizen pilgrim (dedicated to a journey to a desired and desirable political community that functions now only as an imaginary, yet has the ambition to become a political project) to the best of my ability.      

[Editor’s note. On a subject that CPNN has recently reviewed, see also Richard Falk’s recent blog about Julian Assange in which he sites the Nuremberg Principles of 1946, including “Complicity in the commission of a crime against the peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity… is a crime under international law.” He concludes that “Fairly read, this proposition would suggest that the U.S. Government moves to prosecute Assange are themselves crimes, while the acts of Assange are commendable efforts to prevent international crimes from continuing.”

The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage

. . . . . HUMAN RIGHTS . . . . .

Sent to CPNN by Ksenija Cipek

The Global Campaign for the Prevention of Child Marriage (GCPCM) was launched in March 2019 by Mr. Shahin Gavanji and Ms. Ksenija Cipek, and the primary goal of this Campaign is raising awareness and illuminating people’s minds to address child marriage in the world. The managers of campaign believe that education is a powerful strategy to prevent child marriage in the world.

[Editor’s note. Click here for the official UN Human Rights Commission statement on child marriage as a violation of human rights.]


This Campaign is not a Charity or an NGO, it is just a FREE PROGRAMM available to communities to help spread awareness about child marriage and everyone who joins to this Campaign does on a voluntary basis.  

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Question related to this article:

How to stop violence against children?

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This Campaign has just begun a global project for which is called “195 children messages from 195 countries “and everyone from any country can join freely and work voluntary.

In the project “195 children messages from 195 countries”, children of the world, are invited to send their drawings and paintings to Campaign.

Children will write their dreams for their future, and, as a united voice in the world to prevent child marriage, they can convey their letters to all by the help of GCPCM.

The Campaign has received letters from children from 39 countries so far and hopes to receive letter from all countries in the world.

All children who send letter become Honorable Lavender Ambassador, because children are real Ambassadors of the Campaign!

DEAR CHILDREN ALL AROUND THE WORLD, SEND US YOUR LETTERS AND PAINTINGS AS A SUPPORT TO GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE PREVENTION OG CHILD MARRIAGE!

(E-MAIL: gcecm.official@gmail.com)
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Liberia: Feminist Voices for Peace

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

Articles from the Nobel Women’s Initiative and Peace People

From April 30 – May 3, emerging leaders from more than twenty countries came together in Monrovia, Liberia for Claiming Our Space: Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace—a groundbreaking summit co-hosted with Nobel peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. And — spoiler alert — it was awesome!


(Click on image to enlarge).

For a detailed recap of the event, read this blog post from one of the participating emerging leaders, Louise McGowan, who reflects on her experience in Liberia!

Just last week, the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa brought 50 women from over 20 countries together in Monrovia, Liberia to discuss feminism, power, activism and peace. The title of the conference was “Claiming Our Space: Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace” and over three days of multigenerational talking, engaging and sharing, women from North, South, East and West learned from and inspired one another.

On day one of three, the five Nobel Peace Laureates present (Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Wiliams, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Tawakkol Karman) shared some of their experience and offered advice for young, ‘emerging’ feminist leaders. The overarching theme to kick off the convening was that we (women) are powerful and worthy; that we must claim our space, we must use our voice and we must not ask for permission to do so.

“No one will give you space, you have to claim it yourself.” Leymah Gbowee

Tawakkol raised the important issue of women’s roles in a post-conflict setting. “As you lead the revolution, as you lead the struggle against war, women should be there to fight corruption, to fight injustice and to fight for equality.” Our space is not temporary or negotiable.

“My message for young people is to go forward, raise your voice, say what you want to say and we laureates will support you.”  Shirin Ebadi

Through speeches, panel discussions and youth-led conversations, a number of important topics were broached over the course of the day such as: The Liberian Feminist Peace Movement; Conflict, Migration and the Diaspora; and Gun Violence and Militarisation. One might be forgiven, perhaps, for thinking that this was not the gentlest of introductions, however it should be noted that the group of women attending this conference are the embodiment of power and boldness. This is a group who will not and does not wish to shy away from difficult questions. This space provided an opportunity to explore “what is grounding us, inspiring us, what feminist leadership looks like now and what could it look like in the future?” Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland

As Rigoberta Munchú Tum stated, we must “give ideas to ignite passions of other people so that they can solve problems as well” and this day was about reminding ourselves of the importance of walking your talk (Leymah Gbowee). Many words uttered during these discussions were inspiring but more than that- feeling the strength emanating from the speakers was overwhelming. When Shroq Abdulqader Al-Qasemi spoke of turning pain into power, as a participant I felt the true value of this exchange in my soul.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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On the second day, the convening opened with eloquent spoken word from Neuteyshe Felizor and a mighty key note address from Shirin Ebadi. Following this, a panel tackled ‘decolonising feminist leadership’, unpacking cultural origins of both feminism and leadership in the process and arriving at the conclusion that power is in and of itself a colonial concept. Sometimes we have to look back to move forward. This fed directly into the subsequent youth-led discussions with two of our laureates, addressing Gender-based Violence with Leymah Gbowee and Conflict and Natural Land Resources with Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Both conversations highlighted the importance of alliance-building; tapping into different networks on a local and global scale. This emphasised to me the power of both the global feminist movement and of the individual embracing their strengths and using available resources.

After a well-earned break, the collective reconvened for breakout sessions with young feminists given space to reveal their experiences. Case studies from countries such as South Sudan, Cameroon, Colombia and Northern Ireland were discussed, and lessons learned shared. This afternoon offered an opportunity for comparison, empathy and understanding alongside ideas for strategising in a diverse range of settings. As the day drew to a close, the feeling in the (very well air-conditioned) room was that we were building important alliances in this moment.

The third day was one of joy. The plenary to start was on ‘caring for ourselves and the movement: is it even possible?’ and Felogene Anumo opened the day appropriately: “It’s said you can’t pour from an empty cup. How full are you?”.

The first session’s aim was to deepen our reflection and share knowledge of self and collective care, wellbeing and healing as critical components in our struggles for rights, justice and peace. We heard from Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchú Tum on how they look after themselves and how they continue to do the work that they do. Jody mentioned how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by urgency and righteous indignation, however with time she has learned the value of granting herself personal time and space. By exposing their own humanity and vulnerability, these powerhouse women let the young people in the room know that it’s ok to not feel strong sometimes.

Rigoberta raised the issue of our own agency; that we manage our “own energy and strength” and that “none of us can survive on goodwill alone”. This struck a chord with many of the feminists in the room who have at times felt the weight of external expectations as well as self-inflicted pressure. We were reminded that we have control over some of our pressures. Yah Parwon also spoke of finding ‘what is relevant’, leading us to think about what serves the individual; yoga might not work for everyone.

After starting the engine with the introductory panel, we shifted into gear with interactive sessions. These offered insight into Reimagining Women, Power and Movement-building; Radical Self-Care; and Intergenerational Trauma. The latter involved a moving exercise for understanding intergenerational trauma in a tangible way. All participants felt the physical weight of previous generation’s experience and hardship. The group discussed practices and rituals for addressing and letting go of trauma as well as welcoming knowledge, heritage and positive energy into our daily lives.

The Final plenary entitled ‘What’s the point of the Revolution if We Can’t Dance’ was a joyful and poignant close to our conference. Aptly, the session began with actual dancing and laughter. The panelists shared ways to centre happiness and pleasure in our movements. A crucial part of ‘claiming our space’ is finding ways to enjoy our space. With little detail spared, this open and honest discussion reaffirmed why each person exists and why each participant was present. Acknowledging that pursuing peace can be painful and hard, Leymah stated: “A brand-new sponge absorbs water and all the dirt that comes with it. We are the sponges and we need to find space to squeeze out.”

In the spirit of self-reflection, learning and solidarity participants were invited to make a commitment to themselves in relation to their own feminist leadership, to multigenerational organising and/or building communities of care. The conference was closed with intentions set and mood high. I for one felt more ‘full’ than I had when it had opened.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia laureate of the 2019 edition of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny – UNESCO Peace Prize

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from UNESCO

Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is named as laureate of the 2019 edition of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize for his actions in the region and, in particular, for having been the instigator of a peace agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The jury also recognizes the laureate’s worthiness for the reforms undertaken to consolidate democracy and social cohesion. Finally, the jury considers this distinction as an encouragement to pursue his commitment to the promotion of a culture of peace in the region and across the African continent.

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(Click here for a Spanish version of the article or here for a version in French.)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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The Jury met on 29 April at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to designate the laureate of the 2019 edition of the prize, which will mark the 30th anniversary of its inception.

The jury was composed of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate (2011), Mr François Hollande, Former President of France, Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan – UNESCO Special Envoy for science for peace, Mr Michel Camdessus (France) – Former Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Professor Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh), founder of Grameen Bank – Nobel Peace Laureate (2006) and Mr. Forest Whitaker (United States of America), founder of the Peace and Development Initiative.

In 1989, in order to pay tribute to President Félix Houphouet-Boigny’s action for peace in the world, 120 countries sponsored a resolution unanimously adopted by UNESCO’s Member States to establish the  Félix Houphouët-Boigny Prize – UNESCO Peace Prize. The Prize is intended to honor living individuals and active public or private institutions or bodies that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of UNESCO.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on an official visit to Ethiopia on 2 and 3 May on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, will meet with the Prime Minister and convey her warm congratulations.

Daniel Ellsberg Speaks Out on the Arrest of Julian Assange

. FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article by Dennis J. Bernstein in The Progressive

As Julian Assange awaits his fate, socked away  in maximum security lockdown in Great Britain, his supporters and friends—many of whom believe he is one of the most significant publishers of our time—are vigiling, writing, and speaking out in support of his work and calling for his immediate release.


Daniel Ellsberg

I spoke to legendary Pentagon Paperswhistleblower Daniel Ellsberg the morning after Assange was dragged out  of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, with the eyes of the world watching the scene unfold in real time.
Ellsberg says he is both outraged and deeply concerned about the impact this case might have on the free press. “Without whistleblowers,” Ellsberg tells me in the following interview, “we would not have a democracy.”

Q: You have been watching what has been going on with Julian Assange for some time. What do you make of what has just happened?

Daniel Ellsberg: It is not a good day for the American press, or for American democracy. Forty-eight years ago, I was the first journalistic source to be indicted. There have been perhaps a dozen since then, nine under President Obama. But Julian Assange is the first journalist to be indicted. If he is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, he will not be the last.
The First Amendment is a pillar of our democracy and this is an assault on it. If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.

Q: Some people say Assange was just a hacker. Others, including many major news organizations, felt that he was a legitimate source of information. What is the significance of WikiLeaks? Did it change history in a way similar to how the Pentagon Papers changed our knowledge of the Vietnam War?

Ellsberg: It would be absurd to say that Julian Assange was just a hacker. As a young man he was a hacker, and his philosophy is sometimes called “hacker philosophy,” referring to radical transparency, which goes beyond what I would agree with in some cases, in terms of not wanting to redact or curate any of the information at all. His theory is to lay it all out for the public and I think that can have some dangers for privacy in some cases. But that is not involved here.

In this case he was doing journalism of a kind which I think other outlets are jealous of and don’t practice as much as they should. This information was actually first offered by Chelsea Manning to The New York Times and The Washington Post, but neither one showed any interest in it. That is how it came to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

The  collateral murder video  shows up-front murder being done [in an airstrike in Baghdad in July 2007]. You see unarmed people in civilian clothes being gunned down and then as they are crawling away, wounded, being pursued until they are dead. That was murder. Not all killing in war is murder, although a lot of it is in modern war. Other people were watching that video when [Manning] saw it. They were all shocked by it, [but] she was the one who decided that people should be told about this.

That took great moral courage on her part, for which she paid ultimately with seven and a half years in prison, ten and a half months in solitary confinement. She was recently imprisoned again  for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury that clearly is pursuing Julian Assange, hoping to get information beyond what she testified to in her hearings and court trials. . . .

She objects to grand juries in general, as unconstitutional and undemocratic in their secret proceedings. That is the same attitude my co-defendant in the Pentagon Papers trial, Anthony Russo, took forty-eight years ago. He refused to testify secretly to a grand jury. In fact, he offered to testify if they would give him a transcript that would show him exactly what he said and hadn’t said. They wouldn’t accept that and he spent over a month in jail before they decided instead to indict him. Chelsea is taking the same position now and showing the kind of moral courage that she has shown all along.

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Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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Julian, meanwhile, is being charged with having gone beyond the limits of journalism by helping Manning to conceal her identity with a new username. He is also charged with having encouraged her to give him documents. That is criminalizing journalism. I can’t count the number of times that I have been asked for documents by journalists or for more documents. She had already given hundreds of thousands of files to Assange and he wanted more. This is the practice of journalism.

Q: There wouldn’t really be much journalism without documents. People used to depend on eyewitness accounts but what beats a document?

Ellsberg: I have been asked what I would do today in the digital era. I would still give them to The New York Times in the hopes that they would print the documents at length. Not many papers take the space to do that and that is why I chose The New York Times. But it was four months after I gave them to Neil Sheehan when they actually published them. During that time he didn’t tell me that the Times was working on it. Nowadays I would not wait, I would give it to WikiLeaks or put it on the net myself.

Q: But Assange was focused on trying to protect his sources. This made it possible for more people to participate and that got on the nerves of the powers that be.

Ellsberg: None of his sources except Chelsea have been identified. Actually, Chelsea chose the wrong person to confide in, Adrian Lamo, who  immediately  informed on her. In terms of getting documents that are crucial, that is done every day. Very often the documents are not printed. The journalist just uses them to make sure that he or she has a valid story. A document is more likely to identify a source, as  happened  in the case of the Intercept, I am sorry to say.

Q: Finally, why is it important to protect whistleblowers? This is obviously meant to frighten off anyone with information.

Ellsberg: Without whistleblowers, our foreign policy would be almost entirely covert. We don’t have as many whistleblowers as we need to have any kind of public sovereignty. Unfortunately, people are simply not willing to risk their job or their clearance or their freedom.

In the past, before me and before President Obama, there were very few prosecutions. Freedom of the press was always held to preclude holding journalists and editors accountable for informing the public. This could be a major change. With classified information, which is nearly everything in the foreign policy field, the writer cannot predict what will be embarrassing in the future, what will appear criminal, what will be considered poor judgment. So they classify everything and it stays classified.

Only a tiny percentage of classified information deserves any protection from the public. A great deal of it the public needs and deserves to have. Most leaks were actually authorized, even though they were against regulations, because they served the interest of some boss in the system. They are really given for the benefit of the agency’s budget, or whatever. A small percentage are whistleblowing in the sense of revelation of wrongdoing or deception or criminality, information that the public should know, to avoid a war, for instance.

Q: What other information that the public has the right to see might still be bottled up?

Ellsberg: Eighteen years after it began, we still don’t have the Pentagon Papers for Afghanistan. I am certain that they exist, within the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House, stacks of classified estimates that say stalemate is irrevocable in Afghanistan: We can stay there as long as we want but we will never serve American interests any more than now, which is essentially zero, unless it is to free the President of the charge that he has lost a war.

I think these estimates have been there from before the war but we have never seen them. How many people really want to get involved in a war with Russia and Assad in Syria? The estimates would reveal that, and we ought to have those.

A war with North Korea or Iran would be catastrophic and I am sure there are many authoritative statements to that effect. But if John Bolton persuades Trump to get involved in such a war, it will happen. It will probably happen without much disclosure beforehand, but if people did risk their careers and their freedom, as Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden have done, we would have a much better chance that a democratic public would prevent that war from taking place.

Without whistleblowers we would not have a democracy. And there have to be people to distribute work and publish it. Julian Assange has done that in a way in which other publishers have not been willing to. Journalists should close ranks here against this abuse of the President’s authority, and against Britain and Ecuador for violating the norms of asylum and making practically every person who has achieved political asylum anywhere in the world less secure.

It is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.