All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Declaration of Cuban Culture institutions in support of artists from Argentina in the face of Javier Milei’s measures

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article from Cuba Information

Different cultural institutions in Cuba have expressed their concern about the Argentine government’s attempt to “ignore and mutilate the rich cultural life” and urged “a return to the urgency of recognizing that art and culture are a powerful tool to reconstruct the memory of the continent for its spirituality and the recognition of its diversity, to offer an “other” view of the historical-social reality, to decolonize knowledge and to stop the looting of our heritage and the aggression against our identities.

The declaration was promoted by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry, the House of the Americas, the House of the Film Festival, the Foundation of New Latin American Cinema, the International Film School, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, the National Ballet of Cuba, the Hermanos Saiz Association and the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

“There are many challenges for artists faced with the government’s attempt to cut their support and to dismiss their role as guarantor of the national essence. The complex reality that Argentina is experiencing and the continuous messages that come to us from intellectuals and artists about the danger that the culture of that country faces under the government of Javier Milei, demands that we express our solidarity and most sincere support to those who fight to defend the achievements made by that nation. Their creative production is of great relevance , not only for its recognized quality, but for its positive impact in the Latin American and Caribbean region,” according to the declaration.

In the declaration, Cuban institutions from different artistic branches state that “culture is one of the most conflictual domains within Argentine political reality. Intellectuals and artists, especially filmmakers and performing artists, face a scenario in which their performances may be dramatically affected and, as a consequence, the reconstruction of collective memory and national and regional identity would be hindered. Argentine culture and cinematography have a prominent place on the continent. They must be defended as a space where ways of acting and thinking about the past and imagining the future are recombined. They provide a setting for the collective construction of symbolic universes, social practices and political agendas. Culture offers the most important possibilities of choice and freedom.”

(Note: The integral text of the declaration is available on the website. The declaration is still open for signatures at prensa@icaic.cu.)

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on Declaration of Cuban Culture” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Gala of solidarity with the Palestinians at the Algiers Opera

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from El Watan

The hall of the Algiers Opera Boualem Bessaih, in Ouled Fayet, west of the capital, was packed on the evening of Saturday January 20, for the gala of solidarity with the Palestinians, Salam lel Falastine ( Peace for Palestine). 

 By noon on Thursday, January 18, 2024, all tickets have been sold out. I take my hat off to the Algerian artist who wanted this show to be unique in its kind. I also salute the immense promotional work done by the national press for this event. We were able to bring together 150 artists on stage, supported by sponsors who believed in the project, and by the Ministry of Culture and Arts,” declared Abdelkader Bouazzara, director of the Algiers Opera and organizer of the gala.  


Proceeds from the evening will be donated entirely to the benefit of the Palestinian people.

 
The evening began with the Algerian and Palestinian national anthems performed by the Algiers Opera Symphony Orchestra. The college choir Mamlakatou al tilmidh (The kingdom of children) from Ain Benian (Algiers) then performed Beytouna el Qods (our house el Qods), based on music and words by Mustapha Alouane. Syrian maestro Missak Baghboudarian led the orchestra afterward to play the overture to La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny), an opera composed by Italian Giuseppe Verdi at the request of Russian Tsar Alexander II in 1862 (seven years afterwards, the work was greatly revised by the composer). From another Verdi opera, composed ten years earlier, La traviata, soprano Dina Sirine Khiari masterfully performed the aria Addio del passato (Farewell to the past).

 
“Take your hours out of our time, go away”
 

Covered in a dark burnous, the actor Hassan Kechache declaimed the famous poem by the Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish, Ayahou al maroun bayna el kalimat al abira (You who pass among the fleeting words), criticizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands:

“You who pass among passing words. Take your names and leave. Take your hours out of our time, go away. Extort what you want, from the blue of the sky and the sand of memory.  Take the photos you want, to know that you will not know how the stones of our earth build the roof of the sky.”

Led by Nadjib Kateb, the Andalusian Orchestra of the Algiers Opera performed in moual Filistine ya bladi (Palestine ô my country), sung by Lamia Madini, followed, in zidane style, to the tune of Qom tara, Seif el Quds, performed by Sarah Belaslouni, based on a poem by the Syrian Abdel Rahim Al Gamoudi. Hassan Kachach returned to the stage to declaim the lyric poem Ardha falestine (The land of Palestine), by the Algerian Mohamed Badji, then interpreted, in Chaâbi style, by Kosseila Ajrad.

This song was widely popularized by Amar Zahi. Less known, the song Asbaha indi el an boundoukia (I now have a rifle) was then sung by Asma Alla, accompanied by the Algiers Opera Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lotfi Saïdi. Asbaha indi el an boundoukia is an epic style song performed as a duet in 1969 by Mohamed Abdelwahab and Oum Keltoum to a poem by Nizar Kabbani. The famous theme song of the Egyptian soap opera Raafat Al Haggan, composed by Amar Cherii, was then performed by the Symphony Orchestra conducted again by Missak Baghboudarian. 

“If we are to have another gala for Palestine, we must repeat tonight’s gala in every detail. I am delighted that Algerian, Syrian and Tunisian artists came together to play classical music and Andalusian music with a children’s choir and singers. All the artists said their word for Palestine this evening. We have said our word to the world…,” confided the Syrian maestro.

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

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

The flower of cities

He explained that the choice of La forza del destino is motivated by adopting a language that is addressed to the whole world, not just for audiences in the Arab region. 

“For Rafaat Al Haggan’s music, we were young when the soap opera was broadcast. We all dreamed of becoming like him,” he said. Directed at the end of the 1980s by Yehia El Alami, Rafaat Al Haggan, this three-season series tells the story of an Egyptian spy who hit the headlines in Israel in the 1950s.

The dancers of the Opera Ballet from Algiers then performed a Palestinian dabke to the famous song by Mohamed Assaf, Ala ahdi ala dini. The stage was then given over to Maria Saïdi and Nourelhouda Ghanoumat to sing Chedou baathkoum ya ahl falestine, a song made famous by an old Palestinian Halima Kessouani, since killed by Israeli soldiers. 

Zahratou al madayine (the flower of cities), the famous song of the Lebanese Fairouz, in homage to El Quds, was then taken up by Nada Rayhane, accompanied by the symphony orchestra and the choir of Algiers and Laghouat. 

Dressed in a red dress covered with a white cape, Manel Gharbi then sang Sayfoun fel youchhar (Let a sword be exhibited) by Fayrouz, a song dating from 1967, the year of the Six Day War, before continuing with Win el malayine (Where are the millions?). Produced during the first Intifada in the Palestinian Territories in 1987, Win el malayine, written and composed by the Libyans Ali Al Kilani and Abdullah Muhammad Mansour, was performed as a trio by the Lebanese Julia Boutros, the Tunisian Sawsan Hammami and the Syrian Amal Arafa.
 

“The artist’s message always reaches the heart”

Manuel Gharbi said, “I am proud to have participated in this gala singing this style for the first time, usually I sing Andalusian. I like this style. We are proud as artists to have participated in this evening of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Algeria has always stood in solidarity with the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause. The fact remains that the solidarity of artists is always important. The artist’s message always reaches the heart. Even if the entries for this evening are symbolic, the fact of coming together and showing solidarity remains important. I hope that the voice of artists reaches everywhere in the world.”  She has just produced a duet with Syrian singer Rasha Rizk, a song in tribute to Palestine, composed by Tarik Benouarka. Manel Gharbi wants the song’s video to be shot in Algeria. 

The evening closed with a cover of the cantata Carmina Burana by German composer Carl Orff, translated into Arabic by Rabah Kadem, and sung by the choir of Algiers and Laghouat. A choir directed by Zouhir Mazari.
 
The conductor Lotfi Saïdi said, “I salute the public who came in force. It is a way of expressing support for the Palestinians.  Proceeds from the evening will be donated entirely to the benefit of the Palestinian people. All the artists and institutions of the Algiers Opera took part in this gala. The artists fight in their own way, with music.”

Soraya Mouloudji, Minister of Culture and Arts, declared, for her part: “These international-level artistic works are all linked to the Palestinian cause. A national cause par excellence for Algeria, as underlined by the President of the Republic. Art does not exist solely for entertainment or joy, history has proven that often art is born out of pain and crisis. This evening, the voice of artists confronted obscurantism and the flagrant violation of human rights from which our Palestinian brothers suffer,” She praised “the great effort” made by Abdelkader Bouazzara, director of the Opera, to organize the show “in a short period of time”. 

“We discussed the possibility of organizing similar galas after two or three months to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people,” she said. 

For his part, Abdelkader Bouazzara announced that other shows will be organized at the Algiers Opera and did not rule out the possibility of a national tour. 

The solidarity gala with Palestine was broadcast live on the Echababia channel (Channel 6) and will be broadcast afterwards on all the channels of the ENTV group (ex-RTA). 

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on Gala of Solidarity” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Selects Seven Youth-Led Organizations as Recipients of its Youth Solidarity Fund

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

A press release from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) is pleased to announce the latest recipients of its Youth Solidarity Fund (YSF).

UNAOC received over 600 applications from 86 countries to consider for funding and capacity-building support. Seven youth-led organizations across three continents were selected, following a rigorous evaluation process, to implement projects contributing to the promotion of peaceful societies based on their creative approaches to building peaceful communities through intercultural and interfaith dialogue and their potential to have a positive impact on their respective communities.

The seven recipients join a group of 73 other youth-led organizations that have benefited from YSF. Since it was established in 2008, YSF has contributed to advancing the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 by providing opportunities for partnership, capacity-building and financial means to young people to carry out activities that prevent violent conflict, and promote peace and social inclusion.

Further, YSF continues to be one of the leading mechanisms in the UN system that works directly with young people to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and drive positive change in their communities and societies.

All of the selected projects are developed and implemented by young people. While their projects frequently target other young people, they have the potential to impact entire communities by involving religious and political leaders, policymakers, educational institutions, and media entities. UNAOC supports projects that reach out to, and connect, marginalized youth from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds to foster broader and transformative engagement of all youth and reduce polarization in their communities.

In addition to seed funding, YSF recipients receive technical support to strengthen the implementation of their projects. Workshops and training sessions to boost their intercultural and peacebuilding competencies are delivered alongside mentorship guidance to bolster
organizational development.

The Youth Solidarity Fund Recipients are:

1. Community Engagement for Peace and Conflict Resolution by Ikon Initiative for Sustainable Development, Sierra Leone

Ikon Initiative for Sustainable Development aims to address the issue of election-related violence in Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone, which often undermines electoral processes and generates unrest, hatred and mistrust among community members. By using intercultural dialogue, sports and drama, the initiative strives to promote peaceful coexistence, create safe spaces for open conversations, foster empathy and equip community members with conflict resolution skills.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

(continued from left column)

2. Amplifying Community Voices for Sustainable Peace in the Rwenzori region by Access Youth Initiative Uganda, Uganda

Access Youth Initiative Uganda aims to focus on strengthening engagement of young people in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism through their meaningful inclusion in mediation platforms, dialogue sessions, youth camps and sport tournaments. The initiative seeks to develop youth peace champions while integrating intergenerational exchange, community service and mentorship with innovative information and communication technology and sports activities to build resilient relationships and engage in intercultural
conversations for peace.

3. Training of Young People to Promote Peace “NO KUDJI PAZ” by FINSJOR – Young Girls Social Intervention Forum, Guinea-Bissau

FINSJOR aims to increase awareness of young people to promote peacebuilding and conflict resolution in their communities and support the national development process by equipping young people with skills in non-violent communication. Additional activities, such as radio debates, school campaigns and conferences, will explore the root causes and consequences of ethnic tensions in the country.

4. Engaging Youth in Increasing Religious Tolerance Awareness through Online Peace Narrative Campaigns to Safeguard Religious Sites by Yayasan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Indonesia Cerdas (YPMIC), Indonesia

YPMIC aims to respond to a rise in online radical religious views and vandalism of religious sites involving youth by actively engaging young people in creating and spreading peace narratives online and offline. The project aspires to increase religious tolerance among young people in South Sulawesi region through peace training, religious site visits, digital campaigns, talk shows and exhibitions.

5. Bridging Faiths: Fostering Interreligious Tolerance Among Muslim and Christin Youth in Zomba, Malawi by Zomba Center for Creative Arts (ZOCCA), Malawi

ZOCCA aims to address increased violence and incidents of religious intolerance among young people in Zomba, Malawi through sport, dialogue sessions, interfaith workshops, community service projects and cultural exchange events. These activities intend to promote interreligious dialogue, foster empathy and respect and encourage cooperation among young people from different faith backgrounds.

6. Detect, React, Protect by Youth for Peace, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Youth for Peace aims to address ever-present tensions and hate speech between people of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by bringing together youth from both sides of the border to work together to foster better understanding among the two nations. Focusing on peace education and freedom of religion and belief, Youth for Peace will strive to create a space for safe interaction, open dialogues and and better relations.

7. Bridging Communities: Promoting Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue Among African and Egyptian Youth in Egypt – Diverse Voices, United Communities by AlMahrousa for Development and Participation (MDP), Egypt

MDP aims to bring youth from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds together with migrants and their peers in Greater Cairo communities to foster mutual understanding, collaboration and the promotion of the values of peace and inclusivity through youth-led workshops, interfaith and intercultural dialogues and public awareness campaigns. Young leaders from both groups will aim to develop plans of action and community initiatives to counter social polarization and ethnic/religious extremism.

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on United Nations Alliance of Civilizations” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Wives of Russian soldiers descend on Putin campaign office to demand demobilisation

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Novaya Gazeta

The wives of Russian men called up to fight in the war in Ukraine visited Vladimir Putin’s re-election campaign office in Moscow on Saturday (January 20) to demand the return of their husbands from the front line, independent news outlet SOTA reported.


frame from video in telegram social media

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Upon arriving at the office, the women were reportedly met by members of a pro-Putin “Volunteer Squadron” and anti-extremism police.

In a heated exchange, footage of which was quickly made available by Russian Telegram channels, the women asked staffers when Putin would sign a demobilisation order that would allow their husbands to return home.

In response to their demands, one campaign staffer replied that demobilising the troops would “damage male dignity,” and that men should fight as if they were “warriors and God’s unique creations.”

The women, part of demobilisation campaign group The Way Home, were watched by around 10 police officers as they laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin before entering the Putin campaign’s election office nearby. One journalist covering the protest was detained but later released.

The gesture came in the wake of similar actions earlier this month, when around 15 women also laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and picketed government buildings around Moscow to demand the return of their husbands from the front.

A Working Class Victory on Colombia’s Horizon

… . HUMAN RIGHTS … .

An article by Omar Ocampo in Inequality.org (Content licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 License)

The Seventh Committee of the House of Representatives voted to approve 16 of the 98 articles of the landmark Labor Reform bill right before the start of winter recess. The bill will now advance to a second round of legislative debates that will resume next month.

This is great news for the workers movement: Labor reform represents one of the three flagship policy proposals of the Petro-Márquez administration that seeks to equitably transform society. The bill will not only restore the labor rights that were rescinded a little over twenty years ago by a far-right government — it will go a step further and expand these rights.

The road to reform thus far has not been easy. Since the bill was first introduced last March, it predictably encountered fierce opposition from the business community and its political representatives. Those corporate stakeholders argued that the bill distributes benefits to an already privileged class of formalized and unionized workers.

But as researcher Santiago Garcés Correa highlighted in an article for the magazine 100 Días, such depictions do not accurately portray the lived experiences of the Colombian working-class. Petro’s labor reform platform is a reflection of workers’ daily grievances and struggles.

Over the past few years, pro-reform advocates have organized sit-ins, work stoppages, and protests — both at a local and national level — against the increased prevalence of subcontracting, outsourcing, and anti-union corporate practices.

Palmosan S.A.S., a palm oil company in Santander, for example, fired 48 of its employees after its workforce formed a trade union, Sintrapalmosan, and voted to go on a strike when the company refused to negotiate a list of labor demands. The strike ended after six months with the signing of a collective agreement between both parties, but Palmosan only relented after the Ministry of Labor intervened in the dispute and a district court ruled in the union’s favor.

While all workers recognize the need for reform, some sectors felt differently about the solutions at hand. Despite such a difficult and unfavorable environment for organizing, workers in the digital platform sector initially expressed their disapproval of the Labor Reform bill.

Simón Borrero Posada, the CEO of the super-app Rappi — an on-demand delivery service popular in Colombia — gave a series of interviews rife with misleading statements. Posada asserted that the Labor Reform bill would force the company to hire digital platform workers full-time, thus eliminating the flexibility that so many rappitenderos currently enjoy. The problem with this statement? No such stipulation existed in the reform bill.

Still, five hundred Rappi employees organized a small protest in the capital city of Bogotá in March of 2023. Their principal demand was a rejection of a forced full-time contract. The corporate media took full advantage of the spectacle and pushed the narrative that workers and employers share an interest in rejecting the Labor Reform bill.

Right-wing opposition parties — led by Cambio Radical and el Centro Democrático — kept up the pressure and mobilized more than 90,000 of their supporters in street demonstrations to register their discontent with Petro’s entire reform agenda.

(Article continued in right column)

Question(s) related to this article:
 
The right to form and join trade unions, Is it being respected?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(Article continued from left column)

By the time the Labor Reform bill reached the Seventh Committee of the House of Representatives in June, it was dead on arrival. Lawmakers did not even get the opportunity to debate the bill since the committee failed to reach quorum. As a result, the Labor Reform bill was shelved, amounting to a major setback for the Petro-Márquez administration and allied reformers.

To the surprise of many, a slightly modified version of the Labor Reform bill was filed at the end of August and, when properly debated, it advanced to the next stage of the legislative process. 

The business community still objects to the increased labor costs attendant to the expansion of workers’ rights and claim this will hinder the formalization of the informal sector. In other words, it will discourage business owners from hiring workers who currently “operate outside of the regulatory and tax systems.” But formalization will not occur significantly unless dignified employment and social protection programs are offered. 

The 16 approved articles of the Labor Reform bill are substantive. Night shifts will now begin at 7:00 PM instead of 9:00 PM (Article 15). People who work on Sundays and holidays will now have their overtime pay rate increased (Article 19). 

Employers who discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, race, age, economic background, and health history will face drastic penalties (Article 21). Digital platform food delivery workers will receive social security through health and pension contributions by the platform companies for whom they work (Article 30). 

Colombia will offer new training programs for rural work (Article 37). And migrants will bear the same labor rights as citizens (Article 42). 

Right before the New Year, a scandal erupted at a tuna factory in Cartagena. Van Camp’s, a firm operated by Seatech International, was making women workers feel obligated to wear diapers on the job — bathroom breaks are tallied and deducted from their pay.  

The Labor Minister Gloria Inés Ramírez publicly denounced the multinational firm, which has denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the minister. Colombia’s right-wing opposition has rallied to the firm’s defense, but testimonies from employees seem to confirm the minister’s public declarations. 

Besaiga Raga, who has worked for Seatech International for 13 years, said that many of her colleagues are “choosing to put on a disposable diaper” because they “cannot afford to forfeit the little that they earn to the company” by taking a bathroom break.

“It is not easy to go to the restroom,” added Berky Arrieta Garcia. “There are not enough toilets for the number of women who work there. Sometimes it takes 20-25 minutes, even up to half an hour, because we have to form a queue to go to the toilet.”

The Van Camp’s diaper debacle — still playing out — exemplifies why higher labor standards are urgently needed in Colombia. The Labor Reform bill is a crucial means of improving the bargaining position and labor conditions of Colombian workers. And its advancement in Congress is an overdue victory that the Colombian working-class should achieve and celebrate in 2024.

The author, Omar Ocampo, is a researcher for the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies.

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on (name of article)” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Articles from 2023

Now displaying CPNN news in English during 2023.
Click on the numbered pages below to see all.
For articles from other years, click 2024 or 2022 or 2021 or 2020 or 2019 or 2018 or 2017 or 2016 or 2015 or prior to 2015.
For English articles by category or region, click Read on the menu above.

Colombia: Artists who were victims of the conflict unite their voices for peace in their regions

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article from Noticias RCN

More than 45 artists who are victims of the conflict joined their voices to once again ask for peace in their regions. Singers, poets, dancers and musicians answered the call of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace and created an album of various genres, in order to send the message against violence: “enough is enough”.

(click image and go to the video)

The album contains a mix of Afro-Colombian rhythms, ordinary songs and rap. It is a cry of hope and faith to bridge the gap between youth and those who take up arms. Noticias RCN spoke with several of its creators about their reasos to participate in the initiative.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(continued from left column)

“The idea is that, instead of holding a gun, youth can pick up an instrument to play the music of our ancestors,” said Michelle Valverde, a member of “Juventud ancestral.”

Music as an element that transmits peace

For her part, Adriana Botero, advisor to the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, explained that the initiative is meant to use art against violence.

“Rap worked for us as a tool of social transformation. It is a bridge that allows us to communicate with all our societies,” added Denise Cáceres, member of ‘Motilonas rap’.

The initiative seeks to raise awareness of the need to develop constructive processes where all voices are heard. In it, music is understood as an element that transmits, and on this occasion, the message is peace and reconciliation.

“Without a doubt, music is an element that communicates, in this case, peace and reconciliation. We tell the whole world that through art we can build society,” concluded Edwin Eregua, singer of llanera music.

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on Colombia artists” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

The artists Mira Awad and Noa: voices for peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article from enPositivo

Amid the chaos and tragedy that has marked the conflict between Israel and Gaza, the voices of Israeli singer Noa (Ahinoam Nini) and Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad stand out as passionate calls for peace and coexistence. Representing a rare alliance between two seemingly opposing cultures, these artists have shared the stage and messages of hope over the years, seeking an alternative path to perpetual suffering and destruction.

In a world marked by tragedy and mistrust, these two exceptional voices represent beacons of hope, reminding us that, even in the midst of conflict, there is room for dialogue, understanding and, above all, the possibility of a more peaceful future.

This week (December 20) Noa and Mira Awad join forces again in a concert with the Berlin Philharmonic, whose funds will go to the Israeli forum that represents the relatives of the hostages in Gaza and to two women’s organizations for peace, one Israeli and the other Palestinian.

The talented Israeli singer Noa, known for representing Israel at Eurovision in 2009 in a duet for peace with Mira Awad, has strongly expressed her rejection of war and her firm support for the two-state solution. In a recent interview, Noa commented on the devastating events of October 7 and the subsequent bombings in Gaza, reinforcing her belief in the urgent need to end the conflict in the Middle East.

(continued in right column)

(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

“I do not support the cult of death. We have to do everything possible to save and protect human life, whether Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian… all human life,” Noa emphasized. Her position in favor of a diplomatic solution backed by international intervention is clear: “I want international intervention tomorrow.”

Additionally, Ella Noa advocates for the release of all Israeli and Palestinian hostages as part of a possible plan to stop the violence. Highlighting the tragedy unfolding in Gaza, she calls for empathy and understanding of the suffering on both sides of the conflict.

For her part, Mira Awad, the first Arab to represent Israel in Eurovision alongside Noa, offers a unique vision as an artist and activist.

From her London home, Awad reflects on the horrors of October 7 and the subsequent escalation of violence in Gaza. “The alternative to peace is the hell we see now,” she states forcefully.

Awad highlights the pain that Gazans are going through and exposes the complexity of the conflict, underscoring her commitment to peace and the recognition of Palestinian rights. Although she recognizes the difficulties of dialogue in the midst of trauma, she advocates for mutual understanding and recognition.

Both artists, despite their differences, share a common vision: the importance of working tirelessly for peace.

The two-state solution, mutual respect and an end to violence remain the fundamental pillars of their joint message: “There has to be another way.”

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on (name of article)” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Artists for peace in Gaza

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

A survey by CPNN putting the term “artists for peace in Gaza” in search engines

On a global level, more than 4000 artists came together under the collective Musicians for Palestine, demanding a ceasefire as the war in Israel and Gaza continues. This was published by Euronews on November 23.

In the United Kingdom, on October 17, Artists for Palestine UK published a declaration “accusing governments of “aiding and abetting” Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza”, stating that “Palestinians face “collective punishment on an unimaginable scale”, and demanding “Governments should “end their military and political support for Israel’s actions”. It was signed by over 4,300 producers, curators, writers, DJs, architects and designers.

Also in the United Kingdom, DJ Magazine published on November 15 an open letter #MusicForACeasefire signed by over 1000 artists.

In the United States, Artists4Ceasefire sent a letter signed by over 300 artists to President Biden saying “We ask that, as President of the United States, you and the US Congress call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.”

In South Africa, , The Artists’ Collective Project for Peace in Palestine announced on December 1, that “our first event brings together local artists in Cape Town to create a live mural in support of the Palestinian people. The event will be filmed and shared across various social media platforms.”

In France, French artists, including actressers Isabelle Adjani and Emmanuelle Beart, led a silent Paris march of thousands of people on November 19 for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

In Qatar, The Souq Waqif Art Centre in Doha – in a powerful expression of solidarity and a call for peace – will host an exhibition featuring around 26 paintings by Doha-based artists. These works focus on the dire conditions faced by Palestinians in Gaza and advocate for a lasting solution to the ongoing conflicts in the region.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Artists for Peace – Shadow Ban This! continues to hold concerts to raise funds for UAE’s Compassion for Gaza campaign. Dozens of performers, including artists, musicians and poets, have taken part in the events.

In Malaysia, more than 700 artists across acting, theater, music, and visual arts have endorsed a memorandum demanding that ASEAN nations halt economic ties with Israel until Gaza is safe and Palestinians are shielded from military attacks. In addition to launching the memorandum, the SEA Artists, Creatives & Cultural Activists for Peace, Stop Genocide in Gaza, read and diffused 31 monologues by Gazan youth.

In India, Odisha-based sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik creates a sculpture titled Solidarity With Humanity, as a symbolic prayer for peace between Israel and palestine.

In Canada, Artists for a Ceasefire Now published a statement on November 1 pledging support for the Palestinian people in the face of over 75 years of Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, military occupation, and ethnic cleansing. The signature list numbers more than 2,000 artists.

Even in Israel there are artists opposing the war. The website kveller.com lists several Israeli illustrators and cartoonists who have been finding ways to make meaning and communicate their heartbreak about the lives lost, the hostages and the trauma of war. 

As for Palestine, CPNN has recently carried the story of a young Palestinian artist who paints murals on the rubble of buildings that have been destroyed, “in order to send a strong message that we will remain on our land and never leave it.”

The biographies of Palestinian and Israeli writers and artists who have been killed or wounded in the Gaza conflict are published on an updated web page of PEN America

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on (name of article)” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.

Wealth of five richest men doubles since 2020 as five billion people made poorer in “decade of division,” says Oxfam

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A report from Oxfam

The world’s five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes from $405 billion to $869 billion since 2020 —at a rate of $14 million per hour— while nearly five billion people have been made poorer, reveals a new Oxfam report on inequality and global corporate power. If current trends continue, the world will have its first trillionaire within a decade but poverty won’t be eradicated for another 229 years.


“Inequality Inc.”, published today as business elites gather in the Swiss resort town of Davos, reveals that seven out of ten of the world’s biggest corporations have a billionaire as CEO or principal shareholder. These corporations are worth $10.2 trillion, equivalent to more than the combined GDPs of all countries in Africa and Latin America.

“We’re witnessing the beginnings of a decade of division, with billions of people shouldering the economic shockwaves of pandemic, inflation and war, while billionaires’ fortunes boom. This inequality is no accident; the billionaire class is ensuring corporations deliver more wealth to them at the expense of everyone else,” said Oxfam International interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar.

“Runaway corporate and monopoly power is an inequality-generating machine: through squeezing workers, dodging tax, privatizing the state, and spurring climate breakdown, corporations are funneling endless wealth to their ultra-rich owners. But they’re also funneling power, undermining our democracies and our rights. No corporation or individual should have this much power over our economies and our lives —to be clear, nobody should have a billion dollars”.

The past three years’ supercharged surge in extreme wealth has solidified while global poverty remains mired at pre-pandemic levels.
Billionaires are $3.3 trillion richer than in 2020, and their wealth has grown three times faster than the rate of inflation. 

Despite representing just 21 percent of the global population, rich countries in the Global North own 69 percent of global wealth and are home to 74 percent of the world’s billionaire wealth.
 

Share ownership overwhelmingly benefits the richest. The top 1 percent own 43 percent of all global financial assets. They hold 48 percent of financial wealth in the Middle East, 50 percent in Asia and 47 percent in Europe. 


Mirroring the fortunes of the super-rich, large firms are set to smash their annual profit records in 2023. 148 of the world’s biggest corporations together raked in $1.8 trillion in total net profits in the year to June 2023, a 52 percent jump compared to average net profits in 2018-2021. Their windfall profits surged to nearly $700 billion. The report finds that for every $100 of profit made by 96 major corporations between July 2022 and June 2023, $82 was paid out to rich shareholders.

° Bernard Arnault is the world’s second richest man who presides over luxury goods empire LVMH, which has been fined by France‘s anti-trust body. He also owns France’s biggest media outlet, Les Échos, as well as Le Parisien.
 

° Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, holds a “near-monopoly” on cement in Nigeria. His empire’s expansion into oil has raised concerns about a new private monopoly. 
 

° Jeff Bezos’s fortune of $167.4 billion increased by $32.7 billion since the beginning of the decade. The US government has sued Amazon, the source of Bezos’ fortune, for wielding its “monopoly power” to hike prices, degrade service for shoppers and stifle competition.


“Monopolies harm innovation and crush workers and smaller businesses. The world hasn’t forgotten how pharma monopolies deprived millions of people of COVID-19 vaccines, creating a racist vaccine apartheid, while minting a new club of billionaires,” said Behar.

People worldwide are working harder and longer hours, often for poverty wages in precarious and unsafe jobs. The wages of nearly 800 million workers have failed to keep up with inflation and they have lost $1.5 trillion over the last two years, equivalent to nearly a month (25 days) of lost wages for each worker.

(Article continued on the right column)

Question for this article:

How can the growing economic inequality in the world be reversed?

(Article continued from the left column) 

New Oxfam analysis of World Benchmarking Alliance data on more than 1,600 of the largest corporations worldwide shows that 0.4 percent of them are publicly committed to paying workers a living wage and support a living wage in their value chains. It would take 1,200 years for a woman working in the health and social sector to earn what the average CEO in the biggest 100 Fortune companies earns in a year. 

Oxfam’s report also shows how a “war on taxation” by corporations has seen the effective corporate tax rate fall by roughly a third in recent decades, while corporations have relentlessly privatized the public sector and segregated services like education and water.

“We have the evidence. We know the history. Public power can rein in runaway corporate power and inequality —shaping the market to be fairer and free from billionaire control. Governments must intervene to break up monopolies, empower workers, tax these massive corporate profits and, crucially, invest in a new era of public goods and services,” said Behar. 

“Every corporation has a responsibility to act but very few are. Governments must step up. There is action that lawmakers can learn from, from US anti-monopoly government enforcers suing Amazon in a landmark case, to the European Commission wanting Google to break up its online advertising business, and Africa’s historic fight to reshape international tax rules.”

Oxfam is calling on governments to rapidly and radically reduce the gap between the super-rich and the rest of society by:
 

° Revitalizing the state. A dynamic and effective state is the best bulwark against extreme corporate power. Governments should ensure universal provision of healthcare and education, and explore publicly-delivered goods and public options in sectors from energy to transportation.
 

° Reining in corporate power, including by breaking up monopolies and democratizing patent rules. This also means legislating for living wages, capping CEO pay, and new taxes on the super-rich and corporations, including permanent wealth and excess profit taxes. Oxfam estimates that a wealth tax on the world’s millionaires and billionaires could generate $1.8 trillion a year. 
 

° Reinventing business. Competitive and profitable businesses don’t have to be shackled by shareholder greed. Democratically-owned businesses better equalize the proceeds of business. If just 10 percent of US businesses were employee-owned, this could double the wealth share of the poorest half of the US population, including doubling the average wealth of Black households.
 

Notes to editors

Download Oxfam’s report “Inequality Inc.” and the methodology note.

It will take 229 (almost 230) years to ensure the number of people living under the World Bank poverty line of $6.85 was reduced to zero.

According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database, the combined GDP of economies in Africa in 2023 is $2,867 billion, while that of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean is $6,517 billion, for a total of $9.4 trillion.

Oxfam defines windfall profits as those exceeding the 2018-2021 average by more than 20 percent. 
 

Contact information

Annie Thériault in Peru | annie.theriault@oxfam.org | +51 936 307 990
Belinda Torres Leclercq in Belgium | belinda.torres-leclercq@oxfam.org | +32 (0) 472 55 34 43

For updates, please follow @NewsFromOxfam and @Oxfam

– – – – – –

If you wish to make a comment on this article, you may write to coordinator@cpnn-world.org with the title “Comment on (name of article)” and we will put your comment on line. Because of the flood of spam, we have discontinued the direct application of comments.