Earth Day founder Denis Hayes says young climate activists carry the spirit of his generation

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Radio Canada

Denis Hayes can see activists of the past in today’s youth-led climate campaigns.

The environmentalist, who left Harvard University to co-ordinate the inaugural Earth Day in 1970, came of age during a period of growing understanding about human impacts on the planet. 

“We now have a generation coming up that seems to be very much in the spirit of the 1960s,” Hayes said in an interview with What On Earth host Laura Lynch.


Denis Hayes, co-ordinator of the first Earth Day and pictured here in 2015, reflected on the origins of the global event in an interview with What On Earth host Laura Lynch. (Jordan Stead/The Associated Press)

They care passionately about climate change and “want to do something to influence and really to shape policy, to guarantee themselves the future,” he added.

The scope of the planet’s problems have changed since the inaugural Earth Day where community events were the focus. The impact of carbon emissions are understood today to be global and have led to rapidly rising global temperatures.

A cohort of young climate justice activists — such as Swedish activist Greta Thunberg — connected worldwide via social media are now pushing for faster and more concrete action on an issue they see as an existential threat.

“We have a bunch of young people who are global citizens, digital natives who are comfortable talking with their peers around the world and capable of building an international movement of, I think, real force,” Hayes said.

Earth Day every day

Axcelle Campana, 34, an environmental justice practitioner and master’s student at Portland State University, says Earth Day can be an inspiring day to mark our commitment to the climate.

But there’s a risk that organizations actively contributing to climate change, like large corporations investing in fossil fuel projects, can co-opt that message.

“If we leave a vacuum, I think inevitably there will be a commercialization, and that will be the dominant narrative and the predominant force driving what Earth Day means,” he told Lynch.

`”We have to kind of step up and make it something in order for it to continue to be relevant.”

“When it comes to action, having one day is just simply not enough,” said Lauren Wright, a 19-year-old student and climate activist from Saskatoon. She is one of 15 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the federal government  claiming it hasn’t done enough to protect youth from the effects of climate change.

Wright says the increasing frequency of significant climate events — including record-breaking wildfire seasons and disastrous hurricanes  — has made it impossible for young people to ignore.

The ability to connect with other youth via social media has also made it easier to share these experiences and mobilize.

“I can see somebody who’s an activist in the Philippines telling their story about what’s happening to them right now, and then I can see something from somebody in the north of Canada who’s talking about how they’re being affected by brownouts,” she said.

Need for agency

Maria Vamvalis isn’t surprised that young people are turning to activism.

The PhD candidate and former public school teacher researches the impact of climate justice in education. 

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Question for this article:


Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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

For many of the youth she’s spoken with as part of that work, grappling with these world-sized climate “polycrises” has left them feeling hopelessness over their futures — a shift she’s noticed in over two decades of teaching. 

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“When they talk about the future, [they say] I’m not going to be living past 50,” she said. “I didn’t have that experience with young people before at all.”

Those feelings can be mitigated when youth are able to directly engage in the challenges — and feel heard.

“Climate justice can become like a social imaginary that enables them to feel a sense of possibility — like if we actually were to centre climate justice, then so many things would change,” said Vamvalis, who teaches an online course on how educators can incorporate climate change education in the classroom with the Accelerating Climate Education Project.

Earth Day, then, can be a moment to reinvigorate a sense of agency for youth worried about the changing climate, she added. 

Wright describes it as a day to “refocus.”

“Earth Day is usually just a day of reflection and education more so than physical action,” she said.

Evolving priorities

When he started Earth Day, Hayes and his peers were focused on smaller scale challenges, such as air pollution from power planets and expansive highways separating communities.

“For years when we were talking about climate change, all we could do was point to lines crossing on a chart sometime out in the future before we got hit with droughts and hurricanes,” he said.

“Whereas if you’ve got a plume coming out of a smokestack and everybody in the neighbourhood is coughing, the debate is much easier to win.”

The way climate activism has changed over five decades reflects a shift in our understanding of changes to the environment itself, said activist Maria Blancas.

“To have a movement that is fighting for the same things … through these different decades, I feel like is really unrealistic,” said Blancas, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Washington state in a farmworker community

“So, for me, it feels like the future issues are probably going to be very different — hopefully, ideally would be different — than what we’re fighting for now.”

Some accuse the younger generation of taking part in an activism fad borne out of social media, Wright says, but the endurance of Earth Day proves otherwise.

“I’m not a young agitator that just came out of the woodwork. There’s been decades and decades of work done by activists and centuries, since time immemorial, of Indigenous land defenders caring for this place,” she said.

Looking forward

Looking ahead to Earth Day in 2050, Campana — who calls himself a “dreamer” — is ambitious.

April 22 is not just a day on the calendar, but a holiday off work and school for folks to get involved in their communities.

“We take commitment to the land and to the earth and to our home seriously enough where we actually provide the space and the time for lots of people to get involved,” he said.

Asked what lessons he would pass on youth activists today, Hayes was bashful.

“I suspect they are not waiting with bated breath for my pearls of wisdom,” he said.

“But I suppose the most important single thing I would say is don’t underestimate yourself…. Somebody is either going to have the torch passed to them, or they’re going to seize the torch, and it might as well be you.”

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Recasting the narrative of pro-Palestine student encampments: a commitment to nonviolent changemaking

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education by An Anonymous Student in Washington DC*

As an Arab-American woman, an activist, and a part of the collective human community, I take it upon myself to advocate for the men, women, and children in Gaza whose suffering has largely been overlooked and tolerated by the international community. These past few weeks, I have found great hope and pride in the actions of the American students who have established college campus encampments all across the country in an effort to direct funding away from the violence in Gaza. In their dedication to speaking out for the protection of human life, their commitment to non-violence, and their courage to act regardless of legal reprimand, thousands across the globe have found hope and regained a battle cry against the Palestinian genocide that continues to unfold. Through attending the George Washington University encampment, I have seen firsthand the nature of these spaces of protest — their spirit, their power, and their peace. Today, I write not only as an advocate for the encampments but also as an advocate for democracy. The pro-Palestine student encampments are valid and effective nonviolent protests that should not only be protected by the government but supported.

Photo Caption: Popular University for Gaza encampment at the University of Oregon demanding divestment from companies supporting Israel. Day 2, April 30, 2024. (Photo: Ian Mohr via flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED]).

 
On April 17, 2024, hundreds of student protesters occupied the South Lawn of Columbia University with demands that the university divest from companies with ties to Israel. Since then, thousands of students across the country have set up over 80 encampments, all calling for the divestment of university funds from organizations that provide financial support to the Israeli government and Israeli companies (Banerjee, 2024). Historically, sit-ins and occupations of campus buildings have been the more popular style of protest; however, the choice to hold encampments sends a message in itself. As stated by Sonal Churiwal, a sophomore at Washington University of St. Louis:

“We can do a march and one hour later it’s dispersed and no one’s there…but an encampment shows that we care and we’re willing to move our entire lives outside for a day, or however long we can, and really commit to this, because we know any inconvenience we’re facing is just a sliver of what Palestinians under occupation, under genocide, are facing” (Alonso, 2024).

Not only do the students sacrifice their comfort and convenience, but they also risk their safety and future security, as students at over 20 encampments have faced arrest charges due to ‘trespassing’ or ‘public disruption’ (Cutler, 2024). Along with the risk of arrest is the risk of harm. Most notably, on the night of April 30, violence broke out at the UCLA encampment as pro-Israeli groups attempted to tear down the encampment barricades. The ensuing clashes between protesters, police, and pro-Israeli groups lead to over 25 members of the encampment group being taken to the hospital due to injuries (Nazzal, 2024). These arrests and violence at the expense of peaceful protesters emerge from a lack of support and protection by the American government and its leaders. In fact, many members of Congress have directly spoken out against the encampments, calling them ‘un-American,’ recommending the National Guard to intervene, and requesting that federal funds be withdrawn from any campus allowing the protests to continue (Parkinson, 2024). The direct condemnation of the student encampments by national leaders has restricted the protesters’ ability to receive police protection and medical aid, putting thousands in harm’s way of police brutality and outside attacks.

The current political narrative also supports biased media coverage of the encampments’ nature and mission. Largely, the media and politicians have characterized the student encampment movement as a campaign built upon antisemitism that creates an unsafe environment for Jewish students on college campuses. These claims are not unfounded, as several protesters have expressed explicit support for Hamas terrorism and used antisemitic rhetoric against Jewish students (Campus antisemitism, 2024). In no way do I believe that these violent actions and words should be overlooked. Nor do I support antisemitism in any form, whether it be in connection to the Israel-Palestine conflict or not. However, there is much danger in directly conflating the student encampment movement with antisemitism, as this both undermines the true mission of the protest, as well as invalidates the Jewish experience of antisemitism. The encampments look to stop American university funding for Israeli military missions against Palestinian civilians, not to threaten, harm, or call for the eradication of the Jewish population. “Many of the student groups behind the protests said that individuals making inflammatory remarks [against the Jewish community] do not represent their groups or their values concerning the war in Gaza” (Alfonesca, 2024). Additionally, MIT Jews for Ceasefire criticized “school administration and politicians” for “co-opting” the Jewish “shared identity to silence Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, and Jewish students” alike (Alfonesca, 2024). They argue that blanketing all student protests as antisemitic “only serves to obfuscate real cases of antisemitism and put Jewish students at even greater risk” (Alfonesca, 2024). Therefore, the continued weaponization of ‘antisemitism’ within the political dialogue which condemns the student encampments leads to an inaccurate depiction of the protesters’ goals, undermines the genuine non-violent foundation of the movement, and puts the Jewish community at further harm of attack against their person and identity.

Since the student protests follow a legitimate framework of nonviolent methods within their behavior and organization, I look to redirect the current narrative surrounding the university encampments away from a story of hate and violence and towards one of true peaceful protest for a just cause. In his work, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp researched and cataloged ‘198 methods of nonviolent action.’ Ranging from formal statements and physical intervention to drama and music, Sharp outlines a careful selection of nonviolent approaches for securing democratic rights and justice for social justice movements (198 methods). Within the past few weeks, the pro-Palestine student encampments have deployed a handful of these methods. Most notably, through a nonviolent occupation of space, but also through inviting political speakers, hosting indigenous dance groups, and directing university funds to alternative markets, among many other approaches to peaceful activism. Each encampment has its own set of values and regulations to ensure a commitment to nonviolence is upheld and enforced. At the George Washington University encampment, a whiteboard of ‘Community Guidelines’ greets protesters and visitors, outlining rules of ‘grace and patience,’ ‘respect and discipline,’ and ‘revolutionary optimism.’ The space is one of structure, transparency, acceptance, and diversity, which the media and politicians overlook within their characterizations and criticisms of the movement.

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Question related to this article:

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

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The student encampments are also in full alignment with the values and instruction of peace education. Peace education looks to promote a culture of peace through transformative understanding and approaches to conflict:

“Peace education would first invite the youth or adult learners to be aware of and to understand the ramifications and roots of a particular conflict and what the possible alternatives might be…peace education elicits well-thought-out alternatives from them to work for the conflict’s resolution and transformation through nonviolent ways” (Navarro-Castro, 2008, p. 26).

Those who participate in the student encampments have heavily immersed themselves in the history and nuance of the political dynamic between Palestine and Israel. They understand that the violence of the past few months is a result of decades of oppression and apartheid, as opposed to a conflict that began on October 7, 2023. These students come to universities with a specific, nonviolent resolution to divert funds away from the Israeli military and away from the general military-industrial complex of the United States. Their demands target an end to violence, and their methods reflect the same intention. The students’ dedication to their cause through peaceful protest is a true commitment to activism through a lens of peace education. Therefore, for the government to condemn their behavior is to take a stance against peaceful, visionary protest, which is a larger stance against the promotion of a culture of peace.

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly passed the “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (United Nations). Through the declaration, UNESCO defines a culture of peace as a “set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior, and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups, and nations” (U.N). Through their peaceful commitment to engage in dialogue with university leaders, the student encampments uphold a culture of peace within their ‘values, attitudes, and modes of behavior.’ The protesters’ actions — leading marches to diplomatic centers, inviting speakers to discuss the history of the Palestinian region, and hosting creative projects to preserve Palestinian art and culture— align with the promotion of nonviolent change outlined in UNESCO’s frameworks of cultural peace.

As a prominent member of the UN, the United States of America holds a responsibility to both the international community and the American people to uphold and enact UN resolutions. By criticizing and attacking the encampments, American politicians directly violate the 1999 resolution which calls for “the observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms” (United Nations). The declaration also places “special emphasis on democratic principles and practices at all levels of formal, informal and non-formal education,” highlighting students’ vital role in harnessing the democratic process to create change and promote peace (United Nations). To stand against the students is to stand against fundamental freedoms and democratic principles. While as, to stand with the encampments is to uphold the ideals outlined by the “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” in promoting a collective mindset that rejects violence and fuels civil dialogue.

As a citizen of this country and a member of the democratic process, I have placed my trust and my voice in the hands of my representatives. I look to those who have been given positions of power to use their platforms to defend the rights and livelihoods of not just my fellow Americans, but also my fellow human beings. I stand behind the American people in continuing to use our voices, our power, and our presence to speak out against the genocide of the Palestinian people, and I implore American leaders to listen to us.

The student encampments are not places of hate, they are places of love where nonviolence triumphs. These student activists are not un-American, for protesting injustice through the freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment is the most American thing one could do. Therefore, if the American government is truly committed to democracy and peace, our leaders have a responsibility not only to protect but also to support the pro-Palestine student encampments.

* My decision to publish this piece anonymously caused much inner conflict and reflection. My anonymity does not come from a lack of belief in my argument, nor does it endorse a lack of willingness to associate myself with this cause. Instead, I was influenced by recent government actions that criminalize pro-Palestinian viewpoints, as well as the potential consequences of future legislation on anti-Israeli dialogue. I feel much frustration with our current political environment, which discourages free speech surrounding the Palestinian genocide. In the future, I look to continue to advocate for social justice and influence government actions to uphold human rights. However, I cannot fulfill this mission if I am prohibited from entering the political sphere due to my stance on the student encampments. Therefore, my anonymity reflects a commitment to future activism and a hope to earn a platform to further promote democracy and peace.

References

° 198 methods of nonviolent action. AEI/ Empowering Humankind. (n.d.). https://www.aeinstein.org/198-methods-of-nonviolent-action

° Alfonesca, K. (2024, April 26). Student protesters denounce antisemitism amid criticism over pro-Palestinian encampments at college campuses. ABC News.

_ Alonso, J. (2024, April 24). Students set up on encampments from coast to Coast. Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Events and Jobs.

° Banerjee, I. (2024, May 2). Timeline: The “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.” Columbia Daily Spectator.

° Campus antisemitism surges amid encampments and related protests at columbia and other u.s. colleges. (2024, April 22). Anti-Defamation League.

° Cutler, S. (2024, May 1) How colleges have responded to student encampments. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Navarro-Castro, L., & Nario-Galace, J. (2008). Peace education a pathway to a culture of peace. Center for Peace Education, Miriam College.

° Nazzal, S. (2024, May 1). After violent night at UCLA, classes cancelled, UC president Launches Investigation Into response. Los Angeles Times.

° Parkinson, J. (2024, April 30). Speaker Johnson, House Republicans ramp up criticism of “out of control” college protests. ABC News.

° U.N. International Day of peace. International Day of Peace. (n.d.). https://internationaldayofpeace.org/culture-of-peace/#:~:text=As%20defined%20by%20t he%20United,founding%20over%2060%20years%20ago%2C

° United Nations. (n.d.). Declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace. United Nations. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/285677?ln=en&v=pdf

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Mayors for Peace: Join us in promoting the culture of peace

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An news flash from Mayors for Peace

Mayors for Peace outlines three objectives in the Vision for Peaceful Transformation to a Sustainable World (PX Vision): Peacebuilding by Cities for Disarmament and Common Security. One of them is to promote the culture of peace, which the PX Vision explains as follows:

[W]e will cultivate peace consciousness and cause the culture of peace—the culture in which the everyday actions of each member of the public are grounded in thinking about peace—to take root in civil society as the foundation of lasting world peace.

This April Issue of the Mayors for Peace News Flash features some of Mayors for Peace initiatives promoting the culture of peace. We hope these examples will inspire your city to implement initiatives.

Celebrate the month for the culture of peace

We encourage your cities to celebrate one particular month of the year as the “Month for the Culture of Peace”, holding a variety of cultural events to raise peace awareness among citizens. The aim is to have them think about the importance of peace through music, fine art, and other forms of art expressing desire for peace, as well as through sports and other activities that emotionally connect people across language barriers.

The City of Hiroshima, since 2021, has designated November as the “Month for the Culture of Peace.” This Month sees a variety of events under the theme of the culture of peace held intensively in cooperation with private sector companies and groups of citizens. These events include, for example, lectures on the culture of peace and stage performances and art exhibitions by youths. To raise the public awareness of This Month, we also put banners and run digital signage in some gathering sites and streets of city center.

“Month for the Culture of Peace 2023” by the City of Hiroshima (in Japanese): https://heiwabunka.info/

Organize Events to Commemorate the International Day of Peace

We recommend your cities organize outreach activities and commemorative events on the UN’s International Day of Peace, which is observed on September 21st every year, to have as many citizens as possible share in the wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Pass down Atomic Bomb Experiences through Testimonies

We encourage member cities to provide their citizens with opportunities to hear hibakusha’s testimony while using online video conference platforms or on video to have as many people as possible share in the hibakusha’s sincere desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons and to encourage them to take action for peace.

If your city wishes to set up an opportunity to hear a testimony online, please contact the Secretariat.

Providing opportunities to hear hibakusha’s testimony (Mayors for Peace
website): https://www.mayorsforpeace.org/en/visions/initiatives/testimonies/

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Question related to this article:
 
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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Hold Mayors for Peace Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibitions

Mayors for Peace provides member cities with “Mayors for Peace Atomic Bomb
Posters,” which visually present the realities of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, consequences of nuclear weapons use, and Mayors for Peace initiatives, featuring photos, drawings created by hibakusha, and other images. Posters are available in the following nine languages: English, German, French, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, and Japanese. To have more citizens deepen their understanding of the realities of the atomic bombings and share in the wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons, we encourage member cities to organize poster exhibitions at facilities to which many residents have access, such as city halls, community centers, and public libraries.

Mayors for Peace Atomic Bomb Poster Exhibition (Mayors for Peace website):
https://www.mayorsforpeace.org/en/visions/initiatives/posters/

To download the posters from the above webpage, please contact the Mayors for Peace Secretariat to obtain a user ID and a password.

Exhibition organizers are encouraged to set up a petition booth at the venue for visitors to sign the petition calling for all states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the earliest day. The petition form and the poster encouraging people to join the petition are available on the Mayors for Peace webpage below.

Petition drives calling for all states to join the TPNW at the earliest date (Mayors for Peace website): https://www.mayorsforpeace.org/en/visions/initiatives/petitions/

Nurture seeds and seedlings from atomic bomb survivor trees

We distribute to member cities seeds from hibaku trees—atomic bomb
survivor trees which have survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. We encourage you to raise second-generation hibaku
trees, which serve as symbols of peace, to help raise citizens’ peace
consciousness.

Should you wish to receive seeds from hibaku trees, please contact the
Secretariat.

Distribute and nurture seeds from atomic bomb survivor trees
(hibaku trees) (Mayors for Peace website): https://www.mayorsforpeace.org/en/visions/initiatives/trees/

Participate in the Children’s Art Competition “Peaceful Towns”

Mayors for Peace organizes the annual Children’s Art Competition “Peaceful Towns” for children in all the member cities to further promote peace education in the member cities.

We organize the competition this year, too. Click here for details.

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‘Watershed Moment’: Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine Kicks Off in South Africa

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Brett Wilkins in Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

As Israeli forces continued their devastating assault on the Gaza Strip and deadly occupation of the West Bank, human rights defenders from around the world gathered Friday in South Africa—which is leading a genocide case against Israel at the World Court—for the inaugural Global Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine.


Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor hold hands and talk at the Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine in Sandton, South Africa on May 10, 2024. (Photo: Katlholo Maifadi/DIRCO)

The conference began with a moment of silence for the nearly 35,000 Palestinians—most of them women and children—killed by Israeli troops during the 217-day war and "complete siege," which has also wounded more than 78,000 people, displaced around 90% of the strip's population, and starved at least hundreds of thousands of others—dozens of whom have died.

Meanwhile, Israel's illegal occupation and settler colonization have intensified in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where soldiers and settlers have killed at least 467 Palestinians and wounded or arrested thousands of others—some of whom were tortured—over the past seven months.

"This conference must make sure that we mobilize the world… and free the people of Palestine," Rev. Frank Chikane of the African National Congress (ANC) and World Council of Churches said at the start of the symposium.

Thanking Chikane for "spearheading" conference organizing efforts, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor hailed the "watershed moment" of "anti-apartheid movements on Palestine from around the globe coming together and joining forces in the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people."

"It has never been so urgent for the progressive forces around the globe to come together in a collective effort to exert maximum pressure to end the genocidal campaign underway in Gaza, and to end the apartheid system in Israel and the occupied territories, which is worse than what we experienced in our own country," she asserted, echoing past remarks by other South Africans and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Pandor highlighted South Africa's December filing of a genocide case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, a move supported by over 30 countries and regional blocs and hundreds of advocacy groups. In January, the ICJ found that Israel is "plausibly" committing genocide in Gaza and ordered its government to prevent future genocidal acts—an order human rights monitors say Israel has ignored, largely by blocking humanitarian aid. In March, the ICJ ordered Israel to allow more aid into Gaza.

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Question related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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"We will continue to do everything within our power to preserve the existence of the Palestinian people as a group, to end all acts of apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people, and to walk with them towards the realization of their collective right to self-determination," Pandor said. "We continue to do so following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and will not rest until the freedom of the peoples of Palestine is realized."

Ronnie Kasrils—a communist who went from being a guerrilla fighter in the ANC's armed wing during the apartheid era to a government minister in a free South Africa—warned against compromising in the fight for freedom. He also reaffirmed Palestinians' legal right to "armed struggle, an international right of resistance against tyranny, against military occupation."

"There is no need to pussyfoot around the fact when we have our discussions about the rights of the Palestinians to resist with arms," Kasrils stressed.

Palestinian lawmaker, physician, and activist Mustafa Barghouti said that "we've woken the people of the world against genocide and injustice… and hypocrisy of international governments."

"Israel initiated this war but Israel will not be the one who decides how it ends," he added.

Lamis Deek, a New York-based attorney specializing in international human rights, called for "liberation of all the land from institutions of Zionist violence and supremacy, return, reparations, justice and accountability for every Zionist crime, and restitution."

Declan Kearney, a member of Northern Ireland's Legislative Assembly and national chairman of the Irish republican and democratic socialist party Sinn Féin, noted that "Palestinian and Irish freedom fighters share a special bond. Our commitment is absolute and unbreakable."

The Republic of Ireland said in March that it would intervene in the South African ICJ case and the country—along with fellow European Union members Spain, Slovenia, and Malta—is set later this month to join the nearly 140 nations that recognize Palestinian statehood.

The United Nations General Assembly voted 143-9 on Friday to approve Palestine's bid for full U.N. membership. The United States—Israel's leading international backer—and Israel voted against the proposal, which will head to the U.N. Security Council and an almost certain U.S. veto.

Kearney echoed other speakers who stressed the importance of international solidarity, applauding the "unprecedented" global outpouring of support for Palestine.

"We are with the Palestinian people on their long walk to freedom and will never abandon them," he vowed.

While many Israelis and their backers bristle at the apartheid label, Palestinians and individuals ranging from Carter to the late South African bishop and human rights campaigner Desmond Tutu to United Nations special rapporteurs have for decades called Israel's policies and actions in Palestine apartheid.

Major human rights organizations—including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Israeli groups B'Tselem and Yesh Din—have also done so. So have prominent Israelis including a former Mossad chief, multiple former attorneys general and ambassadors, and a growing number of journalists, artists, veterans, and others.

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‘Make Peace More Profitable Than War,’ UN General Assembly Hears, as It Adopts Text to Mark 25 Years Of Landmark Declaration on Culture of Peace

DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY .

An article from the United Nations

As speakers discussed the importance of collective efforts to promote a culture of peace in a world torn by conflict and crisis, the General Assembly today adopted a draft resolution in pursuit of that goal, in addition to draft texts on a variety of other topics.

The draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (document A/78/L.57), adopted without a vote, proposes several activities to observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action, including the convening of a day-long high-level forum during the 163-member organ’s seventy-eighth session. 


Presentation of resolution by Bangladesh ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith.

The representative of Bangladesh, who introduced the draft, recalled that Dhaka, in 1998, initiated the process leading to the Declaration, stating that his country — born out of a devastating war rooted in discrimination, intolerance and subjugation — made promoting peace fundamental to its foreign policy.  Today, amid spiralling conflict, “we must rekindle the brighter and harmonious faculties of the human minds, foster respect for equality and equal value of all human beings,” he urged. “And, most importantly, we must make peace more profitable than war.” 

In a debate on the topic, Member States outlined their views on what must be done at the international and national levels to promote a culture of peace in a fractious global context.

The representative of Brunei Darussalam, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), recognized the necessity of institutionalizing a culture of prevention amid today’s sustainable-development challenges, socioeconomic inequalities and discrimination.  Voicing concern over borderless threats — such as extremist ideologies — she underscored the need to promote tolerance and mutual respect, adding: “Achieving peace among peoples and nations requires collective efforts, transcending individual endeavours.”

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Question for this article:

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

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Similarly, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, underlined the importance of multilateralism and observed: “This is the only way to respond collectively and efficiently to global crises, challenges and threats that no one can tackle alone.”  Additionally, she underscored the need to ensure freedom of the press and to protect civic space, both online and offline, and spotlighted the importance of safeguarding freedom of religion and instilling a culture of peace in children through inclusive, quality education.

For his part, Venezuela’s representative, speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, warned against mistakenly justifying racism, racial discrimination and hate speech by invoking the freedom of expression.  In that context, he condemned anti-religious sentiment, the glorification of Nazism and the stigmatization of migrants.  “Fostering understanding and respect among various cultures and religions is of paramount importance in our shared pursuit of global peace,” he emphasized.

Bahrain’s representative, also stressing the need to promote dialogue, understanding and mutual respect among religions, detailed his country’s efforts to promote tolerance and coexistence at the international and regional levels.  These include establishing the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence and calling for the adoption of an international convention to criminalize religious or racial hate speech.  He also joined others in calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibility and stop the “current catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Gaza.

“Development and prosperity cannot be envisaged in a society that does not enjoy peace,” such as in Gaza, stressed the representative of Mauritania, also pointing out:  “We cannot preserve peace and stability in the midst of poverty and inequality.” Mauritania, therefore, created a national commission to provide health and education services and assist the victims of historical injustice.  He also spotlighted his country’s diplomatic efforts to enshrine peace in Africa.

In the same vein, Togo’s peace strategy for the Sahel and West Africa is based on exporting its vision of positive, authentic peace “which goes beyond the simple lack of war”, said that country’s representative.  Such vision supports democratic transitions, reconciliation efforts through mediation and inclusive governance, he said, also stressing that African ownership and responsibility are key concepts for managing crises on the continent.  Underlining the African Union’s peace and security architecture, he quoted former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela to observe:  “It is so easy to break and to destroy — heroes are those who make peace and who build.”

(Editor’s note: The resolution was initially proposed by Bangladesh, Kiribati, Qatar, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and United Republic of Tanzania and eventually co-sponsored by 112 countries. The exact list of co-sponsors had not yet been published by the UN as of May 9. The resolution this year is the same as last year’s resolution except for three paragraphs stressing that this year is the 25th anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.)

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Michael Moore: I Now Bring You the Voices of a New Generation

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article and podcast from Michael Moore

It is Day 19 today (May 6) of the Great 2024 Nonviolent Student Uprising against the U.S.-backed slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians (over 70% of the dead are children, women and the elderly). Nearly 40,000+ souls massacred by the Israel Defense (Offense) Force via carpet bombing, sniper drones, forced starvation and the mass mandatory removal of Gazans into “safe zones” where they are then bombed again and murdered by the Israeli army. 

This horrific assault is armed and supported by the U.S. government and funded by nearly 300 million American taxpayers. This slaughter could end in the next hour if we Americans just simply pulled the plug, closed the bank, cut off the free billions to the Netanyahu regime, and stopped sending weapons to conduct a genocide that is in violation of American and International law. One phone call from President Biden, one stroke of his pen and POOF! — War Is Over. It literally is that easy. 

The youth already know this. That’s why tens of thousands of them across the country and around the world are holding sit-ins, nonviolently occupying campus quads and administration buildings, demanding their universities divest from companies doing business with a rogue and racist regime. These students are risking their college careers, facing suspension and expulsion, future blacklisting as they seek employment after college, physical assault from pro-Israel gangs armed with clubs, mace and explosives, and being arrested by the police because they were exercising their Constitution rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and the freedom to redress their grievances against their government’s actions. 

And for doing this — the most humane, most loving, most American of acts — they are slandered and smeared and called… wait for it!… antisemites! By the very antisemites who back the slaughter of the Semitic people known as the Palestinians! Wow. Now that’s chutzpah!

Lie after lie, day after day, is told about these protests. They are not threatening Jewish students. To the contrary, thousands of Jewish students and faculty have shown up to support and participate in the pro-Palestine, anti-war, anti-genocide demonstrations. The Palestinian students join them for Shabbat dinner on Friday nights. At one encampment the Palestinian students did a Jewish folk dance for their compatriots. The hater pudits don’t want you to know that. Why not? Because they know that’s the world you and I want to live in — as opposed to the world they’re trying to maintain for us: A world without Palestine. These young people have decided they want NONE of that. 

I say more nonviolent civil disobedience! More tent encampments! More sit-ins. More citizens taking to the streets. It’s a proud and time-honored America tradition! We wouldn’t have the rights and freedoms we now enjoy without an entire history of it! 

There would be no women able to vote today if the suffragettes hadn’t thrown up a picket line surrounding and blocking the White House in 1917. For that they were arrested, beaten, imprisoned for months, with many later abandoned by their husbands. 

There would be no UAW or unions in general had not my uncle and 2,000 other GM workers in 1936 taken over the factories in Flint and staged a 44-day sit down strike. 

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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

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Outside agitators? More of that too! That was the description used by all the media and the racist mayors and governors when Martin Luther King, Jr. showed up to town. He held sit-ins, takeovers, he trespassed everywhere and thank God for him because he moved mountains. He was hated for it. He was slandered and called every disgusting name possible. 

There would be no civil rights laws, no Black members of Congress if King had not been a nonstop “outside agitator” and lawbreaker of racist laws. 

And trespassing? The #1 Trespasser in American History? Her name was Rosa Parks. She broke the law and trespassed into the white section of a Montgomery, AL, bus on December 1st, 1955. And that was that. President Biden said that students who cause “chaos” will be arrested. Joe, Mrs. Parks heard you say that. If she and Dr. King and millions of others had not caused a massive amount of chaos, disruption and lawbreaking, where would we be? What if in 1960 four black students at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina had not refused to move until they were served? Within a week there were illegal sit-ins demanding integration in over a hundred cities. 

And what of Vietnam? Millions of students taking over campuses! Newsflash: Windows were broken! Oh my! My lifelong friend and co-producer Rod Birleson sent me this text this morning remembering his days as a student in the 1960s and 70s at Easter Michigan University:

It was May, 1970, just days after the National Guard killed 4 students at Kent State.

I was a student at Eastern Michigan University. 

EMU was shut down for 4 days. Marshall law declared. A group of 3 or more students gathered together outdoors was considered an illegal gathering. But the cops could not enter the campus in patrol cars or police buses for those they were going to arrest because we spread roofing nails and broken glass on all the roads leading into campus. Even the city street cleaner could not clear a path, as it also got flat tires. The cops in riot gear had to walk into campus. K-mart sold out of sling shots. When the cops tried to enter the residential dorms to arrest students they couldn’t even get through the lobbies. One dorm started pouring boiling water out of their upper story windows. When they did manage to arrest a student with long hair, the police would cut off their hair and make it into a pony tail and hang it on their “scalp wall” in the police station. The EMU Student Council started paying the bail for any student who had been arrested. Then came the police helicopter dropping tear gas grenades on any group of more than three students.

It didn’t work. The entire campus was liberated. Breaking a few windows seemed like a small crime compared to an American B-52 dropping a load of 500-pound bombs on a village of Vietnamese people. 

Back then we were right. We were young and we were students. Today the young people are right. God bless them.

On this week’s episode(s) of my podcast, my crew and I disobey the college presidents’ and NYC’s Mayor Adam’s orders to “outsiders” to stay off the campuses and to stop trying to “radicalize” our youth (because young people don’t have a mind of their own). My crew (Angie, Donald, and “Anonymous”) paid a visit to the NYC protest encampments made up of students from Columbia University, City College, City University (CUNY), NYU, etc. to hear directly from the brilliant student organizers of these historic demonstrations. These are the voices you won’t hear on the mainstream media. Listen here to their eloquence and passion as they take a stand for the Palestinian people. 

And then either join them — or start one yourself.  

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May 1, workers’ day, around the world

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

As usual for more than a century now, May 1 was celebrated by workers around the world. Here are photos from some of their events.


Union workers’ shadows are cast on the street as they march with flags on International Workers’ Day in Asuncion, Paraguay, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)


Protesters look at balloons in the colors of the Palestinian flag flying in the sky during a rally commemorating May Day, in Athens, Greece, May 1. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi


Supporters of the Iraqi Communist Party chant slogans during International Worker’s Day or Labour Day rally in Baghdad, Iraq, May 1. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad


Supporters of the Lebanese Communist party take a selfie, as they march during a demonstration to mark International Labor Day or May Day, in Beirut, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Despite the tense situation and ongoing clashes on Lebanon‘s border with Israel over the past seven months, hundreds of protesters marched through Beirut’s streets to mark International Workers’ Day. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)


Participants gather with banners and flags for the “Revolutionary” May Day demonstration in Berlin, Germany, on Labour Day, May 1, 2024. © Tobias Schwarz, AFP (France24)


Facebook: Supporters of Colombia’s Petro march on May Day in Bogota, Colombia


An artist unpacks a giant puppet head depicting President Javier Milei to take to the International Workers’ Day march in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)


Pro-Palestinian supporters take part in a May Day protest march at a rally in Cape Town, South Africa, May, 1, 2024 (Morning Star Online)


Government supporters rally marking International Workers Day, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Jesus Vargas)


May Day march in Chicago (USA). | Fight Back! News/Rich Varnes


Members of National People’s Power, a political alliance, carry placards at a Labour Day rally in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)


People walk with flags at the 1st of May event organized by the Main Organization of Trade Unions in Faelledparken in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 1. REUTERS: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen


Dans le cadre de la célébration de la journée internationale des Travailleurs ce mercredi 1er mai 2024, le Parti de l’Indépendance et du Travail (PIT – Sénégal) célèbre avec les travailleuses et travailleurs du Dakar, Sénégal, la Fête internationale du Travail.(Dakactu)


Al Jazeera: Garment workers shout slogans as they mark May Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]


YouTube: Il corteo per la Festa del Lavoro, Firenze, Italia


Pressenza: 1st May 2024 – Ghent Belgium (Image by D.K.)


A man shouts slogans as he holds an image of late revolutionary hero Ernesto “Che” Guevara during the International Workers’ Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini


Fireworks light up over Victoria Harbour for the Chinese Labour Day ‘Golden Week’ holiday, in Hong Kong, China, May 1. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu


Voice of America: Union members march during Labor Day celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2024. Police in Istanbul detained dozens of people who tried to reach the city’s main square, Taksim, in defiance of a government ban on celebrating May 1 Labor Day at the landmark location.

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Question related to this article:
 
What is the contribution of trade unions to the culture of peace?

(article continued from left column)


Al Jazeera: Workers attend a protest during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia. [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]


Al Jazeera: Workers take part in a rally marking International Labour Day in Lahore, Pakistan. Participants demanded implementation of labour laws and wage increases. [K.M. Chaudary/AP Photo]


Anti-government protesters try to get past riot police blocking their path to the Palace of Justice during a demonstration marking International Workers’ Day, in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)


Al Jazeera: Hundreds of workers from various labour groups took to the streets of Manila, Philippines, to mark Labour Day and demand wage increases and job security amid soaring food and oil prices. [Basilio Sepe/AP Photo]


Demonstrators attend a May Day rally in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)


Workers march for the International Workers’ Day in Montreal, Canada, on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (Matt Gilmour/CTV News)


Deutche Welle: Thousands of workers took the streets of Munich, Germany, in support of European solidarity and workers’ rights.


NBC News: Protesters hold a banner reading “International revolution” at a May Day rally Sunday in Nantes, France.Sebastien Salom-Gomis / AFP – Getty Images.


“Workers Have Power”: Thousands Rally in New York City for May Day, Call for Solidarity with Palestine. A report from Democracy Now.


Mercury News: Pro-Palestinian protesters march down Broadway as they head to a May Day rally at City Hall in downtown Oakland, California (USA), on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Multiple protests took place throughout the Bay Area as part of May Day action in support of workers and Palestinian people. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)


People hold a banner as they attend the traditional May Day labour union march in Paris, France, May 1. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq


USA Today: A protester shouts slogans during a May Day (Labour Day) rally, marking International Workers’ Day, in Pristina, Kosovo, on May 1, 2024.


Frame from youtube video of May Day demonstration in Santiago, Chile.


My Northwest: People take part in a May Day march in Seattle (USA) on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)


Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions gather to attend a rally on May Day in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)


Cinemata: Jumaana Abdu speaks out on International Workers Day at the annual May Day March held in Sydney, Australia.


Al Jazeera: Workers hold placards reading ‘The regime has no honeymoon’ during a May Day rally in Taipei, Taiwan. [Chiang Ying-ying/AP Photo]


Al Jazeera: Participants prepare to march in a May Day rally in Tokyo, Japan. [Hiro Komae/AP Photo]


USA Today: Protesters lift placards bearing labour rights demands during a rally marking International Workers Day in Tunis, Tunisia, on May 1, 2024.


Deutsche Welle: Protestors in Turin, Italy, paraded a puppet of Italy’s prime minister doing a fascist salute.

English bulletin May 1, 2024

VOICES OF REASON AND HOPE .

In a world torn by war, intolerance and xenophobia, there are still important voices of reason and hope.

Speaking to the opening of the 37th African Union Summit, Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, reaffirmed the partnership and bond between the country and people of Brazil and their sister continent of Africa: “The African struggle has a lot in common with the challenges faced by Brazil. More than half of the 200 million Brazilian citizens recognize themselves as Afro-descendants. We, Africans and Brazilians, must chart our own paths within the emerging world order. . . . Resuming Brazil’s rapprochement with Africa means recovering historical ties and contributing to the construction of a new, more just and supportive world order.”

Also in Africa, Senegal elected a new President, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who is young and dynamic. In his first Presidential address to the nation, he promised “to reach out to everyone, to bring together, reassure, appease and reconcile, in order to consolidate the peace, security and stability essential to the economic and social development of our dear country” He recalled “our valiant resistance fighters, famous or unknown heroes, who, giving themselves body and soul, defied the odious colonial system and its so-called civilizing mission, to defend the freedom of our people and their values of culture and civilization.”

President Faye challenged his countrymen to take up “the historical responsibility to consolidate our sovereignty by breaking the chains of economic dependence,” through the “the construction of African integration and the achievement of the objectives of the Zone. of African continental free trade.”

In Europe and North America, there are eloquent political candidates who oppose the dominant political discourse of war and xenophobia.

In France, with the cry of “PEACE! PEACE! PEACE! That is our vote! Peace in Gaza! Recognition of the State of Palestine! Punishment of war criminals! Peace in Ukraine,” Jean-Luc Melanchon concluded his address to the opening of the campaign of Action Populaire for the June election to the European Parliament. He called for a force for peace “capable of engaging the new generation. That force is the people. We are the forward detachment. That force is a collective intelligence.”

Melanchon denounced the current policies of war: “War can produce nothing else except deaths, victims, desolation, destruction! War is the failure of the human condition. War is the failure of civilization. War! War will never produce anything other than war again! Always war, more war!”

In the United States there are good independent candidates, , although they are allowed very little media attention, in a Presidential campaign dominated by Biden and Trump. Independent candidate Cornel West says, “I want to raise my voice to mobilize people and get people to see that Trump is leading us toward second civil war and Biden is leading us to a third world war.”

West calls for disinvestment from the military: “62 cents for every one dollar in the discretionary budget in Washington goes to the military.  We have 800 military units around the world and special operations in 130 countries. We have to cut back massively on military spending and put it directly into universal basic income.”

Jill Stein, who seeks to be the Green Party candidate for President, also calls for disinvestment from the miitary: ““We are spending $12,000 this year maintaining forever wars in the Forever War Machine—$12,000 per household—in our tax base.” She says that these funds could be more effectively used to address domestic issues.” Stein focuses her campaign on the Green Party’s core principles of environmental sustainability, social justice and a commitment to nonviolence.

Also in the United States, there is a renewed mobilization of trade union activism led by the dynamic President of the United Auto Workers, Shawn Fain. Speaking to autoworkers seeking to unionize the Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama, Fain said “Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama. . . . Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.”

On a global level, Mary Robinson delivered the keynote address to the assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. She is the President of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela who work for peace, human rights and a sustainable planet. She told the parliamentarians: “The Elders are calling for long-view leadership to tackle existential threats and to build a more resilient and equal society. Long-view leadership means showing the determination to resolve intractable problems, not just manage them. The wisdom to make decisions based on scientific evidence and reason and the humility to listen to all of those affected.”

Finally, the speech by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi on International Women’s Day decried the lack of women’s equality everywhere in the world, and especially the worst cases of Israel and Palestine, Iran and Afghanistan. She expressed the conclusion of last month’s CPNN bulletin and blog that Insofar as women take leadership, we have a greater chance that coming changes will lead to a culture of peace,

And In this month’s blog, we write that the leadership shown by Lula and Faye give hope that perhaps democracy can survive in Africa and Latin America by gaining freedom from the control of the grand capitalists that rule in Europe and North America.

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Speech by Brazil President Lula at the opening of the 37th African Union Summit

HUMAN RIGHTS



Amnesty International: Julian Assange’s five-year imprisonment in the UK is unacceptable

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



Youth Lead Global Strike Demanding ‘Climate Justice Now’

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



Dr. Shirin Ebadi Speech In Paris on International Women’s Day

  

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



UN Security Council Holds Rare Nuclear Disarmament Debate

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Colombia: The first meeting is held in Cali to weave a network of peace initiatives in the territories

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY



Pro-Palestinian protests and encampments sweep campuses of major universities across the United States

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



First message to the nation from President Bassirou Diomaye Faye – on the eve of Senegal’s independence day

Live Peace – worldwide concerts and live entertainment for peace

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

Received at CPNN by email from Mayors for Peace France

In collaboration with Mayors for Peace France, we present Live Peace, a citizens’ initiative to organise concerts and live entertainment around the world in support of peace.

55 countries are at war. One country in four. On every continent. On Europe’s doorstep. More than 114 million people are displaced by conflict, and every day thousands of civilians and soldiers lose their lives or are injured.

Enough is enough! We must and can act, each at their own level.

Albert Schweitzer, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, said: “Governments get along when people force them to get along”.

History is full of evidence of the impact of citizens’ movements on major societal advances: the independence of India, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the end of racial segregation in the United States, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, of course the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

United we stand, divided we fall. Strength against war. Strength for peace.

Live Peace is an event, a tool, a lever enabling people to peacefully ask for peace by taking part in peace concerts and/or live entertainment in their towns and cities on the same day.

Music and arts have the extraordinary power to unite us, to transport us, to uplift us through the collective emotion it generates. Music and live entertainment transcend barriers of religion, skin colour or ideology.

In 1985, 2 billion television viewers watched the legendary Live Aid concert, which brought together 69 of the greatest artists, including Queen, U2, Dire Straits, Elton John, Sting, Madonna and Bob Dylan, for 16 hours on two stages in London and Philadelphia.

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(Click here for the French version of this article)

 

Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

(Article continued from left column)

Live Peace aspires to become a global event on 21 September each year, the UN International Day of Peace, with more and more concerts and live entertainment organised by cities, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and with songs in every language in the world. We envisage a massive movement of millions of men, women and children calling for peace.

In 2010, at a Mayors for Peace conference, Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, stressed that “peace is built in towns and villages all over the world, not just in conference halls in New York or Geneva”.

The 8,200 towns and cities that are members of Mayors for Peace represent the sparks that can light the fire of peace by creating together a global musical event that will one day be broadcast on every continent, with millions of citizens asking governments for peace between peoples.

Asking for peace and peacefully ACHIEVING peace through the strength of their numbers.

On 21 September, the towns of Grigny and Bonneuil sur Marne organised the first two Live Peace concerts in France.

On 21 September, we invite you to organise YOUR first Live Peace concert and/or live entertainment. In 1982, a handful of French towns launched the fête de la musique, now celebrated in over 120 countries.

On 21 September, we invite you to make history. The history of humanity united for peace.

This text twill be sent to all international media.

I, the undersigned:
Agree to sign the Live Peace Tribune – Concerts for Peace On at
Signature :

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Pro-Palestinian protests and encampments sweep campuses of major universities across the United States

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from The Arab American News

College campuses have become breeding grounds for pro-Palestine protests. Student protesters have continued to set up encampments at their universities and display their support for Palestinians and against Israeli aggressions. Students are also demanding that their universities divest from companies that financially support Israel. 


The encampment created by protesters on the Columbia University campus on Wednesday, April 24. – Photo by Reuters.

 
Encampments and protests have been reported at the following universities:

°Columbia University in Manhattan, New York
°The New School in Manhattan
°New York University in Manhattan
°Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts
°Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
°Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge
°Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts
°Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
°Emerson College in Boston
°The University of Michigan
°The University of California, Berkeley
°The University of Southern California
°University of Pittsburgh
°University of Minnesota
°Ohio State University
°University of Texas at Arlington
°University of Texas at Austin
°University of Texas at Dallas
°University of Texas at San Antonio
°University of North Carolina at Charlotte
°Emory University in Atlanta
°University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
°American University in Washington
°Rice University in Houston

(Editor’s note: An article in Al Jazeera, mentions similar mobilizations in the Sorbonne University and Sciences Po of Paris, Univerities of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Sapienza University of Rome, and the universities of Warwick, Leicester and Leeds in England as of April 26. By May 14, according to Pressenza, similar protests have spread to 17 countries, including India, Mexico, Japan, as well as the UK, Australia and France.)

According to The Associated Press, with protests and encampments arising, universities have taken steps to extinguish tensions on campus. Columbia University shifted to remote classes, canceling in-person classes and the gates of the Harvard Yard were closed to the public. Crowds of protesters were arrested at Columbia University, New York University and Yale.

These protests have also given rise to tensions between students, with both pro-Palestinian protesters denouncing Israel and Jewish students claiming that has led to anti-Semitism, which makes them feel unsafe. Pro-Israel students have said they feel that the protests occurring at their universities are only encouraging anti-Semitic and hate speech.

According to Al Jazeera, student protesters said they are standing in “solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza”, where the death toll is now above 34,300, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Columbia’s University president, Minouche Shafik, released a statement to the school community regarding the protests and shared that she felt “deeply saddened” by it all.

“To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Shafik wrote, also adding that the students who live off campus shouldn’t come to campus.

Pro-Palestinian Columbia students file civil rights complaint

Palestine Legal filed a civil rights complaint against Columbia University this week through the U.S. Department of Education, demanding the agency’s Office for Civil Rights investigate the school’s treatment of Palestinian students and allies.

The complaint goes beyond the events of the last week, when the NYPD arrested more than 100 protesting students. It alleged that for the past months, “Palestinian students, Arabs, Muslims, students perceived to be Palestinian and students associated with or advocating for Palestinians” were subject to anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian harassment and Islamophobia.

The complaint represents four students and Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal said these students received death threats and were “harassed for wearing keffiyehs or hijab, doxed, stereotyped, being treated differently by high-ranking administrators, including Columbia University President Minouche Shafik.”

Palestine Legal also said the school has the responsibility to protect its students, including Palestinians and supporters, and should not threaten or call the police or military. Columbia has denied threats to call the National Guard were ever on the table in negotiations with protesters.

“Since October 7 alone, the organization has received reports of over 1,800 incidents, over five times the number we received in all of 2022, reflecting an exponential rise in anti-Palestinian repression across the U.S.,” Palestine Legal wrote in a press release.

With protests at Harvard, a sign stated that Harvard Yard was closed to the public, only allowing structures, tents and tables onto the yard with prior permission. Security guards were also checking student IDs.

“Students violating these policies are subject to disciplinary action,” the sign read.

The university’s administration suspended the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, according to reports. The suspension notice  stated that the committee’s demonstration on April 19 had violated school policy and that committee members did not attend required trainings following a previous probation.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee said in a statement that it was suspended over technicalities and that the university hadn’t provided written clarification on the university’s policies when asked.

“For months, we have been disproportionately targeted by the administration on the grounds of technicalities that we tried to observe vigilantly in the interest of protecting student safety,” the group said in a statement sent to The Middle East Eye.

About 45 protesters at Yale University were arrested and charged with trespassing, according to Officer Christian Bruckhart, a spokesperson for New Haven Police Department. All protesters were let go on promises they would appear in court, he said, in an AP News report.

Protesters assembled tents on Beinecke Plaza at Yale and called for their university to action to divest from defense companies tied to Israel.

Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement to the school on Monday that police officers gave protesters “several opportunities to leave and avoid arrest”, adding that he felt “deeply saddened that the call for civil discourse and peaceful protest (he) issued” was not recognized or listened to, referring to the previous email he sent Sunday, according to The Yale Daily News.

MIT graduate student Prahlad Iyengar was one of the student protesters who participated in the encampment on that campus Sunday night.

“MIT has not even called for a ceasefire, and that’s a demand we have for sure,” Iyengar said in an AP News report.

Several dozen protesters arrested at Emory University

Thursday morning, an Emory University spokesperson said several dozen protesters “trespassed” into Emory’s campus to set up tents on the school’s quad.

“The activists who initially gathered were not recognized as members of our community and were disrupting the university as our students finish classes and prepare for finals,” a statement read.

Members of the Emory community later joined the initial group, according to the spokesperson.

Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police at the Georgia university on Thursday. Police used pepper spray and pepper balls to clear the area of demonstrators, a CNN team on the scene reported.

The statement said “a couple dozen people” were taken into custody after the Emory Police Department notified them they were trespassing and the people refused to leave.

On Thursday, a group of Democratic Georgia state lawmakers  condemned the “excessive force used by Georgia State Patrol” during arrests at Emory University.

“The use of extreme anti-riot tactics by Georgia State Patrol, including tasers and gas, is a dangerous escalation to protests which were by all accounts peaceful and nonviolent,” Georgia State Rep. Ruwa Romman, a Democrat who is also Palestinian, posted on social media in a statement co-signed by 10 other legislators.

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Question related to this article:

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

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The group blamed Georgia leaders and said they have created an environment where “state police feel free or perhaps are directed— to respond to normal peaceful protests with violence.”

“We cannot allow this dangerous repression to continue,” they continued in the statement. “Regardless of one’s views on this or any other issue, there is no justification for this kind of excessive force. We call on all state officials to immediately deescalate and prevent further harm to our constituents.”

The ACLU of Georgia also said on Thursday it was concerned about law enforcement’s response to the protests.

“The freedom to protest without retribution is essential to our democracy,” the organization said in a statement. “Atlanta has historically been a place where citizens could freely exercise their rights to protest, but we have unfortunately seen a series of unconstitutional crackdowns on speech and protest across Georgia in recent years. Colleges and universities should be places where viewpoints, expression, debate and free speech are encouraged, not suppressed.”

USC cancels its main commencement ceremony

The University of Southern California canceled its main commencement ceremony for 2024 graduating students in May, citing “new safety measures in place.”

“We understand that this is disappointing,” the university said in an announcement on its website.

The announcement came days after the university canceled the commencement speech of its Muslim valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, due to what it called security concerns. USC then canceled appearances by prominent speakers and honorees at the May 10 graduation ceremony.

Encampment forms at University of California, Los Angeles

On Thursday, a “demonstration with encampments” formed at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) in Royce Quad, the university said in a campus activity update.

“We’re actively monitoring this situation to support a safe and peaceful campus environment that respects our community’s right to free expression while minimizing disruption to our teaching and learning mission,” the update read.

Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA posted on Instagram an invitation for others to join and said, “WE ARE STAYING UNTIL OUR DEMANDS ARE MET! BE HERE!

“We camp in solidarity with Palestine. We refuse to be complicit in this genocidal campaign,” the post read.

Pro-Palestinian encampment forms at George Washington University

George Washington University has joined a growing list of schools across the nation where Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are forming encampments on school campuses, according to videos posted by the GW Hatchet student newspaper.

Students at multiple universities across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia organized the encampment, a group representing the coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine said in a post on Instagram.

The encampment is a “united demonstration of our power, uplifting our collective demands for financial transparency, boycotts and divestment from the Zionist state, and an end to the racist repression pro-Palestine students,” the post read.

Netanyahu condemns U.S. universities’ campus protests as “anti-Semitic”

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. university campuses as “horrific” and “anti-Semitic”, calling for them to end.

“It has to be stopped. It has to be condemned and condemned unequivocally,” Netanyahu said in a video message on X.

““The response of several university presidents was shameful.””
Netanyahu added that while some officials have responded differently, “more has to be done” in response to the demonstrations.

Netanyahu said that a rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. “has terrible consequences.”

More people around the world believe he and his right-wing government are the reasons for the rise of anti-Israeli apartheid, which he wrongly attributes it as “anti-Semitism.”

Iran’s foreign minister slams police response to protests

On Thursday, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “deep concerns” over the police response to pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. university campuses.

Amir-Abdollahian criticized the “suppression and harsh treatment” of professors and students by police in a post on X.

“This suppression is in line with Washington’s full-fledged support for the Israeli regime and clearly demonstrates the U.S. government’s double standards and contradictory behavior regarding freedom of speech,” Amir-Abdollahian posted.

House Speaker Mike Johnson calls on Columbia’s president to resign

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik to resign during a tense press conference Wednesday.

The crowd repeatedly interrupted the speaker and booed him and other GOP lawmakers who were with him as they stood at the mics.

“We just can’t allow this kind of hatred and anti-Semitism to flourish on our campuses, and it must be stopped in its tracks,” Johnson said. “Those who are perpetrating this violence should be arrested. I am here today, joining my colleagues and calling on President Shafik to resign if she cannot immediately bring order to this chaos.”

On Wednesday, the Columbia University Board of Trustees released a statement saying they strongly support President  Shafik.

“The Columbia University Board of Trustees strongly supports President Shafik as she steers the university through this extraordinarily challenging time,” the board said in a statement Wednesday. “During the search process for this role, President Shafik told us that she would always take a thoughtful approach to resolving conflict, balancing the disparate voices that make up a vibrant campus like Columbia’s, while taking a firm stance against hatred, harassment and discrimination. That’s exactly what she’s doing now.”

 The board said it is “urgently working” with Shafik to resolve the unrest on campus and “rebuild the bonds of our community.”

Here are the developments at several universities as of Thursday evening (April 25):

°University of Southern California: USC canceled its main commencement ceremony for 2024 graduating students in May, citing “new safety measures in place.”

°Emory University: At least two professors were  detained during protests on campus. CAIR’s Georgia chapter has condemned the arrests and the NAACP in Georgia has called for a meeting with the university’s president.

°Northeastern University: An encampment has been formed and dozens of protesters have formed a human chain around tents.

°City College of New York: The NYPD says it no longer plans to clear the encampment Thursday afternoon.

°George Washington University: An group of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators has started an encampment on campus representing students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, organizers and the university confirmed.

°Emerson College: More than 100 people were arrested and four police officers were injured Wednesday at Emerson college in Boston during a pro-Palestinian protest, according to the Boston Police Department.

°Columbia University: House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia’s president to resign if she cannot bring order to the campus. While most protests have been non-violent, some Jewish students are worried for their safety, with one Jewish student saying “the anti-Semitic comments and activity is running rampant.” Negotiations between protesters and Columbia officials about clearing the encampment on its lawn were extended early Wednesday morning for another 48 hours.

°University of Southern California: Police arrested nearly 100 protesters at the University of Southern California after a dispersal order.

°University of Texas at Austin: Following tense resistance, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that 57 arrests had been made by law enforcement on the campus. A Fox 7 photographer was among those arrested amid the heated clashes, the news outlet said in a report. The tally is an overall number of people booked in association with the protest. “We don’t classify arrestees by whether or not they’re students at the university,” Kristen Dark, a Travis County Sheriff’s office spokesperson told CNN.

°Cal Poly Humboldt: The California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt campus will remain closed through the weekend as protesters, including “unidentified non-students,” continue to occupy two buildings, school officials said in an update.

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