Tag Archives: Europe

Imagine Project receives Global Education award

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

A press release from The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research

The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) proudly announces that the ‘Imagine’ project has been awarded with the “GENE Global Education Award 2020/2021: Quality and good practice in Glocal EDucation across Europe” which is an annual award given to global education initiatives in recognition of their work in order to highlight good practices within the field.


Video of Imagine project

A GENE is the network responsible for Global Education in European countries and it “has been working for 20 years towards the day when all people in Europe – in solidarity with people globally – will have access to quality Global Education”. The award includes a certificate for quality work in Global Education and recognition which is accompanied by the Prize of 10.000 euros that will be used to further improve activities for the promotion of a Culture of Peace in Cyprus through education.

The ‘Imagine’ project, is an educational program on anti-racism and peace education, which aims to increase contact and collaboration among the communities in Cyprus.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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As of 2021, the ‘Imagine’ project succeeded in bringing together 5091 students, accompanied by 582 teachers. In the last years, ‘Imagine’ also offers opportunities for further interaction between students and teachers by enriching its existing activities with sustainability actions; educational walks across the walled city of Nicosia; and study visits to locations of historical, cultural, environmental and other significance around the island. In addition to activities with students, 340 teachers were trained in Peace Education and another 92 head teachers and school administrators participated in the ‘Imagine’ Head Teachers conference.

As the implementing  organisation of the ‘Imagine’ project, AHDR would like to thank the Co-Chairs of the Technical Committee on Education Dr. Michalinos Zembylas and Dr. Ersun İşçioğlu, as well as former Co-Chair Dr. Meltem Onurkan-Samani, for embracing the project and placing it under the auspices of the Committee; the Home for Cooperation for their partnership; UNFICYP and the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus for their continuous support and appraisal; the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany for funding and making the project possible; H.E. the Ambassador of Germany in Cyprus Franz Josef Kremp for his commitment to the cause; the staff and board members of the AHDR for their hard work and inspiration; PeacePlayers Cyprus for their collaboration; the ‘Imagine’ pool of trainers for their dedication; and, most importantly, the ‘Imagine’ teachers and students for their participation and contribution to the success of the project. Last but not least, we would like to extend our Global Education Network Europe (GENE) for the recognition and the award.

As AHDR, we would like to express our dedication to continue working towards creating change by imagining novel ways to encourage interaction and promote a Culture of Peace and Non-violence all around the island!

The ‘Imagine’ Project is implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and the Home for Cooperation under the auspices of the Technical Committee on Education. It is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany and is supported by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus.

[Thank you to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for calling this article to our attention.]

Netherlands: Court orders Shell to cut carbon emissions 45% by 2030

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Laureen Fagan in Sustainability Times (creative commons license)

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by the end of 2030, according to a landmark ruling by the Rechtspraak court in The Hague on Wednesday. It’s being celebrated across the globe by climate advocates who filed the suit and millions who support them.


“This is a turning point in history,” said Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands. “This case is unique because it is the first time a judge has ordered a large polluting company to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. This ruling may also have major consequences for other big polluters.”

Friends of the Earth, six other organizations and some 17,000 co-plaintiffs filed the suit, following initial requests made in April 2018 that the oil company align its operations and policies with the climate accord. The Paris Climate Agreement calls for no more than 1.5ºC in global temperature rise, in order to limit sea level rise, extreme storms and other harmful consequences to the environment.

But Royal Dutch Shell documents cited in the full court ruling established the company’s Net Carbon Footprint targets – that is, the total emissions from both producing fossil fuel products and the emissions from end users – at just 20 percent reduction by 2035 and 50 percent in 2050. Shell also assured stakeholders that there would be no stranded asset losses across a longer transition timeline, with continued operations on that basis.

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Question for this article:
 
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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The Rechtspraak ruling stopped short of finding that Royal Dutch Shell is already in breach of its climate obligations, as the plaintiffs had argued. But the court concluded that breach was imminent because although Royal Dutch Shell is making progress, the company policies don’t actually reflect the changes necessary to realistically achieve the Paris targets.

“The Shell group is nevertheless heading towards more instead of less CO2 emissions in 2030, because of the growth strategy for the oil and gas activities, which has been set out until at least 2030, with a production increase of 38 percent,” the court said in its ruling.

“The policy, policy intentions and ambitions of Royal Dutch Shell for the Shell group largely amount to little concrete, yet to be elaborated and non-binding intentions for the longer term (2050),” the court continued. “Moreover, those intentions are not unconditional, but – as can be read in the disclaimers and cautionary notes with the Shell documentation – depending on the pace at which global society moves towards the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Targets for emission reduction by 2030 are completely lacking.”

The court-mandated target of 45 percent emissions reduction by 2030 also includes its suppliers and customers within its compliance, and holds Royal Dutch Shell accountable for any human rights violations arising from environmental and supply chain impacts. It also calls on the company to begin compliance immediately.

In response to the decision Royal Dutch Shell spokesman Harry Brekelmans said the company was disappointed by the ruling and expects to appeal. He reiterated the company’s goal of net-zero operations by 2050.

Although environmental lawyers and activists are jubilant over this decision, they’re already looking to the future.

“This is a historic victory for the climate and everyone affected by the climate crisis,” said Andy Palmen, interim director of Greenpeace Netherlands. “Coal, oil and gas must remain in the ground. People all over the world are demanding climate justice. Today the judge has confirmed that we are in our right. Multinationals can be held liable for the climate crisis.”

International Day of Living Together in Peace – Joint Declaration by Mouvement de la Paix and MRAP

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A declaration of Friendship between peoples

May 16 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Living Together in Peace in order to “regularly mobilize the efforts of the international community in favor of peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity, and the opportunity for all to express the deep desire to live and act together, united in difference and in diversity, with a view to building a viable world based on peace, solidarity and harmony “.

National situations are marked by acts of racism, intolerance, the development of violent and fascistic extremisms including terrorist acts, while the international situation sees the persistence of conflicts, the worrying rise of fascistic far-right movements, the growth world military spending which reached the amount never reached in the history of humanity of 2 trillion dollars in 2020. We are encouraged to give a more important place to this international day which is based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and the United Nations resolution on the Culture of Peace [see below], and more simply on the promotion of friendship between peoples.

Living together in peace means individually accepting differences, listening, showing esteem, respect and recognition towards others. However, these individual or collective attitudes and behaviors can only be fully effective if, at national and international level, economic, social, cultural and humanitarian policies are implemented to fully realize human rights (economic, social, cultural, etc.). environmental) for all without distinction of origin, sex, language or religion. At the same time, these policies must tackle all forms of discrimination affecting individuals or groups, development inequalities that exist within societies or between societies; and substitute for security based on power (in particular military) a collective security based on the realization of human rights.

It is on these foundations that the MRAP and the Peace Movement intend to strengthen their cooperation to participate in the construction of human security in its physical, economic, social, health and environmental dimensions which will promote living together in peace in allowing unification in action around humanist objectives while removing the specter of ideologies of hatred which feed on inequalities, discrimination and the absence or non-realization of human rights.

In Paris, Sunday May 16, 2021

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

Question(s) related to this article:

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

Article 3 of resolution 53/243 of the UN General Assembly on the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace states that “The fuller development of a culture of peace is integrally linked to:

Promoting peaceful settlement of conflicts, mutual respect and understanding and international cooperation;

Complying with international obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law;

Promoting democracy, development and universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Enabling people at all levels to develop skills of dialogue, negotiation, consensus-building and peaceful resolution of differences;

Strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring full participation in the development process;

Eradicating poverty and illiteracy and reducing inequalities within and among nations;

Promoting sustainable economic and social development;

Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women through their empowerment and equal representation at all levels of decision-making;

Ensuring respect for and promotion and protection of the rights of children;

Ensuring free flow of information at all levels and enhancing access thereto;

Increasing transparency and accountability in governance;

Eliminating all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all civilizations, peoples and cultures, including towards ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities;

Realizing fully the right of all peoples, including those living under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, to self-determination enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and embodied in the International Covenants on Human Rights,2 as well as in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960.

France: March for the Climate: Thousands Demonstrate in Paris

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from BFM TV (translation by CPNN)

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in Paris for a more ambitious climate law , while doubts are emerging on a referendum to include the fight against climate change in the Constitution.


Frame from video of BFM TV

The demonstrators gathered behind a banner “Climate law = failure of the five-year term.” They marched from Place de le République to the Bastille via Châtelet.

Emmanuel Macron committed in front of the members of the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate (CCC) to send to parliamentarians their proposal to modify Article 1 of the Constitution but, faced with the reluctance of the Senate on the wording (the text must be voted on in the same terms by both chambers to be able to be submitted to a referendum), the JDD affirms that the president has renounced the ballot.

The Elysee assured that the constitutional amendment was “in no way buried”, without however mentioning a referendum.

“What I am the guarantor” is that “there will be no abandonment. This text will live its parliamentary life, which alone allows to go to the referendum if the senators and the deputies agree “, then insisted the Head of State, on the sidelines of a trip to Strasbourg .

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(Click here for the original article in French

Question for this article:

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

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“A missed meeting for the climate”

Despite Elysian assurances, ecologists, left parties and unions saw it as further proof of the denials of the executive, even as they demonstrated to denounce as “a failed meeting for the climate” the law “climate and resilience” adopted Tuesday in the Assembly .

A text meant to translate part of the 149 proposals of the CCC, convened by Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the crisis of the “Gilets Jaunes” to reduce French greenhouse gas emissions by 40% “in a spirit of social justice”.

According to the organizers, 115,000 people in total participated in 163 parades across the country, including 56,000 in Paris, a little more than claimed during the previous movement at the end of March, just before the start of the review of the climate law. Police counts were not immediately available.

“It is a question of continuing to denounce the lack of ambition of the climate law and, since this morning, the almost certain abandonment of the referendum which constitutes a further step backwards”, summed up the director and activist Cyril Dion, “guarantor “of the CCC, present in the last Parisian procession with a banner” Climate law = failure of the five-year term “.

Gatherings also took place in Besançon, Chartres, Cherbourg, Lannion, Laval, Lille, Martigues, Nantes, Quimper, Saint-Brieuc, Strasbourg and even Valenciennes …

The right has accused the head of state of “hypocrisy”, against a background of tension around the next regional and attempted macronist takeover on the moderate right electorate for 2022.

“Even before the Senate has voted anything and the discussion with the National Assembly begins, Emmanuel Macron accuses us of blocking to justify the cancellation of a referendum he did not want”, tweeted senator leader LR Bruno Retailleau.

Europe: GENE Roundtables gather participating Ministries and Agencies twice a year to share national experiences and strategies

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An excerpt from website of the Global Education Network Europe (GENE)

GENE Roundtable 44 kicked off on 29 April with exciting and forward-looking high-level interventions by Ms. Henriette Geiger (Director, DG INTPA, European Commission), Ms. Cristina Moniz (Vice-President, Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, Portugal) and a keynote speech by Prof. Elina Lehtomäki (University of Oulu, Finland). With a strong consensus that Global Education is now more important than ever, the roundtable continued with policy learning and networking sessions with over 60 Policymakers from across Europe.


(Click on image to enlarge)

Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

On Day 2, the roundtable participants enjoyed a number of inspiring presentations and workshops. Ms. Ida Mc Donnell (Team Lead, OECD Development Co-operation Report) gave an important keynote on the need for new narratives of solidarity and asked important questions for the future of foreign and development policy and global education.

In a parallel keynote for education policymakers, Dr. Beatriz Pont (Project Lead, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills) reflected on ways to bridge the policy-implementation gap and shared a rich and data-informed perspective for a change. Both shared perspectives in the plenary session and provoked questions that will inspire a long-term vision for global education.

Finally, Mr. Mark Little (CEO, Kinzen) gave the closing keynote with a thought-provoking input on countering misinformation and the implications for educators and for global education. Participants also shared policy learning from national exemplars and considered the future of global education in the context of digitalisation, formal and nonformal education, alignment of global education and awareness-raising strategies.

Click here for the detailed agenda .

Hans Küng: Towards a Global Ethic

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by René Wadlow in the Transcend Media Service

Hans Küng was a Swiss Roman Catholic theologian who died on 6 Apr 2021 at the age of 93. He always stressed the Swiss aspect of his life, its democratic traditions, and the need to discuss widely before making a decision. He wrote his doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne University in Paris on the Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth (1886 – 1968) who spent most of his teaching life at Bale Universit


Le théologien catholique Hans Küng, en 2006, à Paris. JOEL SAGET / AFP

Küng always hoped that some of the democratic spirit would enter the Roman Catholic Church, and he had high hopes at the time of the Vatican II Conference which brought some reforms to Church administration.  Küng also saw Vatican II as a time when Catholic thinkers such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) and Henri de Lubac (1896-1991), who had been marginalized, were again being read.  However, the conservative forces within the Church and especially within the Vatican itself regained influence.  The more liberal voices were less heard, and in some cases were driven out of the Church itself.

Thus from the early 1980s Küng turned his attention to other religions.  He wrote a book on Judaism and another on Islam. Then he turned his attention to the religions of Asia, looking for common themes that could provide a bridge.

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

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Like Karl Barth, the political tensions in the 1980s between the U.S.A. and the USSR became a preoccupation.  In addition, the tensions in the Middle East were growing. Küng wanted to find a moral code that would provide a global way of life conducive to peace.  He became active in the Parliament of the World’s Religions which had been an effort in the 1880s to develop dialogue among representatives of religions.  A century later the Parliament was revived and has held a session every five years or so meeting in different parts of the world.

For the Parliament, Hans Küng wrote a text Toward a Global Ethic around which the Parliament could discuss.  The Text began,

 “Peace eludes us, the planet is being destroyed, neighbors live in fear, women and men are estranged from each other, children die. This is abhorrent.” 

The text goes on,

“We affirm that a common set of core values is found in the teachings of religions and that these form a basis of a global ethic.”

He then calls for a radical change in consciousness.

“We are interdependent. Each of us depends on the well-being of the whole, and so we have respect for the community of living beings, for people, animals, and plants, and for the preservation of Earth, the air, water and soil.”

I had participated in an inter-religious discussion in Geneva in which Hans Küng was active.  True to his democratic spirit, he listened respectfully to what each was saying, although he was the best-known participant in the meeting.  The concept of a global ethic as a base for peace has not yet taken hold, although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important step in that direction.

Hans Küng’s intellectual effort set a direction in which citizens of the world will continue to walk. There is still a good distance to go until the ideology becomes a practice, but the need remains and new voices will come to the fore.

International Statement of Solidarity with Decolonial Academics and Activists in France

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

A statement reprinted by Juan Cole, along with many other journals, including Al Jazeera

We write to express our solidarity with the scholars, activists, and other knowledge producers who are targeted by the February 2021 statements by Frédérique Vidal, France’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation. In them she denounced “Islamo-gauchisme” (Islamo-leftism) and its “gangrene” effect on France, and called for an inquiry into France’s national research organization, the CNRS, and the university. The specific kinds of knowledge in question analyze and critique colonialism and racism, and support decolonial, anti-racist, and anti-Islamophobia projects within the academy and on the streets. Vidal’s statements show the discomfort these challenges are causing the State, and hence the desire to repress them rather than engage them.


Video of the debate

The State’s intentions are found in the language it uses. The relatively new term “Islamo-gauchisme” reflects a much older convergence of right-wing, colonial and racist ideologies working in opposition to anti-colonial, anti-Islamophobia and anti-racism struggles.

Vidal claims that anti-colonial, decolonial and postcolonial critique, anti-racist, anti-Islamophobia, intersectionality, and decolonial feminist and queer analyses are foreign imports from the US academy.

She ignores that decolonial theory actually developed in Abya Yala (Latin America), postcolonial theory in India, and that women and queers in anti-colonial and anti-racism struggles have always thought about many relations of power together. Vidal also forgets that both postcolonial and decolonial theory are indebted to the prior work of French-speaking scholars of color such as Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and others.

This false narrative and these acts of repression effectively remove France from a vibrant and urgent global discussion. They put faculty of color and allies producing critical scholarship on colonialism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, etc. – already few and marginalized – at even greater risk.

The attack on progressive and radical scholars and activists seeks at all costs to preserve “French exceptionalism” and a whitewashed image of the Republic scrubbed clean of inconvenient truths. These include the fact that France remains a colonial power (in, for example, Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Iles des Saintes, la Désirade, Mayotte, New Caledonia, etc), and a neocolonial one in terms of its economic, political, and military relations to former colonies.

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

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Question related to this article:
 
Are we making progress against racism?

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This colonial mentality is manifest in France’s structures of governance, especially with regard to both citizens and immigrants of color, as reflected in a barrage of laws such as: the law against wearing the veil; immigration laws; the Islamophobic law against “separatism” which has already shut down the CCIF (Collective against Islamophobia in France) and threatens all forms of autonomy; the proposed “global security” bill institutionalizing mass surveillance, including by drone, and restricting publicization of police brutality; the (now-repealed) law that mandated that colonialism be taught in only one State-sanctioned manner; rights-abusive and discriminatory counterterrorism laws; and others. These measures seek to forcibly “integrate” suspect populations into subordinate roles in French society.

It is precisely the critique of this colonial history and present, and its manifestations in State racisms including Islamophobia, that the State wishes to censor and make invisible.

Elements of the White Left, including feminists without an anticolonial, anti-Islamophobia or antiracism analysis, have also been complicit in rendering colonial and racial oppression invisible, and providing ideological rationalizations for State racisms. This, too, speaks to the incoherence of the term, “Islamo-leftism.”

The repression in France is not isolated. In Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, the US, India and other places we see the rise of neoliberal, right-wing, and authoritarian governmental suppression of critical scholarship and social movements.

But wherever we find repression we also find forms of resistance networked into global chains of solidarity.

Vidal’s statement and the planned inquiry have appeared in the context of an explosion of energy in both the academy and on the streets to address colonial, racial, and economic injustice. For example, the demonstrations in defense of Adama Traoré in France and other anti-racist protests globally after the murder of George Floyd represent the kind of commitment and courage that Vidal and others are worried about. Repressive laws and inquiries will not stop this scholarship nor the movements.

As international scholars and activists, we pledge solidarity with our counterparts in France. We commit ourselves to monitoring the situation carefully, to publicizing cases globally, to inviting those facing repression and censorship to speak in our countries, to co-authoring essays with them and helping them get their work translated, to co-mentoring students and junior colleagues, and to engaging in other forms of collaboration that they desire.

Authors:

Paola Bacchetta (Professor, University of California, Berkeley)
Azeezah Kanji (Legal Academic and Journalist, Toronto)
David Palumbo-Liu (Professor, Stanford University)

Earliest Signatories

1. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor, Columbia University, USA

2. Gina Dent, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies. University of California, Santa Cruz

3. Angela Y Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

4. Robin DG Kelley, Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, UCLA, USA

As of April 14, there were 556 signatures along with their institutional affiliations. The full list of signatures is available here.

Germany: Collateral Crucifixion – Pressuring for Julian Assange’s Release!

EDUCATION FOR PEACE .

An article by Sabine Bock from Pressenza

The artist duo Captain Borderline has created on the theme of “Collateral Crucifixion” a huge, artistic mural on a complete house facade directly in front of the SPD headquarters, the Willy Brandt House, in Stresemannstr. 15 in Berlin Kreuzberg. In conversation with the two artists, they explained to us the reason for creating the revolutionary, crucifix-like work of art.


(Click on image to enlarge)

For almost 10 years, Julian Assange has been in captivity for exposing horrific, inhumane war crimes in an oil war that violated international law and for making his knowledge available to a broad public. The UN Special Investigator on Torture, Nils Melzer, has been the only neutral body to conduct serious research regarding these incidents.

He concludes that Julian Assange has become the victim of a huge show trial whose sole purpose is to show the media worldwide the limits of investigative journalism. The real issue in this legal case against Assange, then, is freedom of the press. Journalists and whistleblowers are being made to believe, through this witch hunt, that they will suffer the same fate should they report on the illegal machinations of the American or Western establishment and governments. How else can it be that powerful men like George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld can invade a country like Iraq for no reason, bomb it, and be responsible for the deaths of almost a million people with impunity, while a man like Assange, who merely publicizes these illegal machinations of the warmongers as a journalist and publisher, ends up in a maximum security prison for it. The responsible politicians, Bush and consorts, on the other hand, can enjoy their stolen wealth in their castles unmolested. That is why we demand the immediate release of Julian Assange from the British prison and to respect the freedom of the press.

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Questions for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

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


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To help bring to light the truth behind the construct of lies of which Julian Assange has been a victim for many years, the artist duo Captain Borderline created and completed this revolutionary crucifix-like artwork with Julian Assange as the crucified of the media world on the complete house wall directly in front of the Willy Brandt House in Berlin Kreuzberg during the Holy Week before Easter.

Note

With the purchase of an art screenprint you support the non-profit art and culture association “Colorrevolution” e.V. in financing a huge (20m*10m), media-created mural of “Captain Borderline” with this motif directly in front of the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin. https://assange.colorrevolution.de/

[Editor’s note: The artists of Captain Borderline are A. Signl, B. Shanti and Dabtar, as shown here: augsburger-skandal-zeitung.blogspot.com/2013/08/wer-hat-sich-das-alles-ausgedacht.html

Breizh, France: Women of Peace

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article by Geneviève Roy for Chroniques du 8 mars 2021 de Breizh Femmes

Sarah is a young peace activist from Rennes. To conclude the evening programmed in video a few days ago by the Mouvement de la Paix , she described the citizen actions carried out by her generation as less collective than those of their elders. “We try to seek peace from day to day through dialogue, exchanges, travel. Our outlook is different because for most of us we have not known a war first hand.” Impressed by the words of the various women who testified from one end of the planet to the other, she deplored the lack of commitment of young people “caught up in everyday life” in a society “where everything goes fast”.


These women were not lacking in enthusiasm when recounting their commitments for peace. However, “women’s work for peace is neither visible nor valued,” regretted Croatian journalist Shura Dumanic, relating the loneliness of activists in her country who do not receive any support from the state and can only count on NGOs or European religious associations.

“If we don’t start with the children, we will never guarantee the existence of peace or equality”

From Nabila the Palestinian to Birgitta the German via Mina in Algeria or Fatema in Morocco, all their voices praised the strength of women in this difficult fight for peace.
“When civil society acts effectively to promote the goals of peace” – recalled Birgitta Meier from Erlangen – “women are always in the forefront”. And it is for this reason that Mouvement de la Paix had chosen this year again to highlight them on the occasion of the month of March devoted in Rennes to women’s rights.

For many of them, building peace requires education. In Gaza, Nabila Kilani, English teacher and founder of an educational and cultural center, says: “If we don’t start with children, we will never guarantee the existence of peace or equality.” And she seems to have started well. She initiated her project in 2009 with two children and now welcomes 120! “We are reopening the minds of children to give them hope for a better future for themselves and for all of Palestine”.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Questions related to this article:

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

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For her part, the Japanese Miho Shimma fights relentlessly against nuclear weapons, choosing among other things, to address children. “One day I saw French children playing atomic warfare,” she says; that’s how her book l’Enfant Bonheur was born, now published in French but also translated into English, Italian, German and even an Indian language.

“Women are the first victims of global warming in many countries”

Women who work for peace also do so for more equality. In Germany, Birgitta Meier testifies, the peace movements work in convergence with the feminist movements and also the environmental movements. “We cannot do peace education without showing the role that women play in advancing these ideas, but without also approaching environmental movements since women are the first victims of global warming in many areas countries”.

Feminism and the environment was also discussed by Mina Cheballah who is leading a project in Algeria with feminist activists working with women farmers. “The culmination of the project is the safeguarding of ancestral seeds by the creation of a community seed bank in order to allow farmers to no longer depend on the big firms which force them to buy seeds every year.”

International firms also indicted by Miho Shimma in the name of her commitments to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also to the Bikini Atoll where she is from and which still bears the after-effects of the American nuclear tests of the 1970s. “When I disseminate information on atomic bombs, I am not only talking about the victims of nuclear weapons, I am also talking about the victims of nuclear tests.”

It’s the same concern for Tran to Nga. “I was under the bombardments, I buried comrades with my own hands.” 80 years old, she does not stop fighting against Agent Orange, responsible in Vietnam for many deaths and malformations still present on the site. fourth generation of population. “I started out on my own”, she says, referring to the too long trial that has occupied her for ten years – “but today I have thousands and thousands of friends around me all over the world, and my fight will continue because Agent Orange is the ancestor of pesticides and other toxic products which continue to poison our Earth.”

These determined women, despite the magnitude of the task, retain their enthusiasm in their struggle for peace. And which is perfectly illustrated by the conclusion of young Sarah: “for me, peace today is promoting social ties because it is the ignorance of other cultures which leads if not to war at least to fractures between human beings. . Unfortunately, I feel that this sense of combat is lost a bit with my generation when we could bring our skills to associations.” An observation which is perhaps already the beginning of a commitment.

Belarus: Women at the forefront of human rights struggle

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Amnesty International

Women who have played prominent roles in the protests sweeping Belarus are subject to reprisals and threats, Amnesty International said today. In a new publication, the organization highlights the important role women activists have played in the protests after widely contested presidential elections and reveals state reprisals against them.


Women activists told Amnesty International that they had been accused of being “bad mothers” and “bad wives”, and that the authorities had threatened to take their children away from them. They have also faced ill-treatment in detention, and prison sentences resulting from unfounded criminal prosecutions.

“Svyatlana Tshikhanouskaya, a presidential contender forced into exile, Maryia Kalesnikava, her chief of staff thrown into prison, Marfa Rabkova, a jailed human rights defender, and journalists Katsyaryna Bakhvalava and Darya Chultsova, both imprisoned for two years for livestreaming of a protest action – these are some of the many women whose names have become synonymous with the struggle for freedom and human rights in Belarus,” said Aisha Jung, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Belarus. 

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Click here for an article on this subject in French)

Questions related to this article:

How effective are mass protest marches?

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

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“In a deeply patriarchal society with endemic domestic violence, women in Belarus have risked everything to stand up for their beliefs. The Belarusian authorities have retaliated with measures intended to target women activists, and their organizations and families.”

Yuliya Mitskevich, a feminist activist who runs a gender-awareness organization called Aktyunym Byts Faina (It’s Great to be Active), and who is a member of a sub-group of the opposition Coordination Council, Femgruppa, was arrested on Friday 20 October 2020 outside the offices of her organization.

Yuliya was officially charged with “participation in an illegal gathering,” but she told Amnesty she believed she is being persecuted for her work on gender equality. The police officers who arrested Yuliya, and criminal investigators who interrogated her, asked her to sign a statement saying that she had taken part in illegal actions in her organizational role. 

“They offered me incentives and threatened me too. The first time they asked about Femgruppa, and about the women’s marches and finances, but the second time they were interested in my organization,” Yuliya told Amnesty International. 

“We call for solidarity with the brave women of Belarus in their fight for freedom and human rights. In their struggle, they are challenging patriarchal attitudes and a repressive government intent on suppressing human rights and stifling the change and progress that Belarusians are calling for,” said Aisha Jung. 

Background 

Amnesty International’s   global solidarity campaign was launched on 27 January 2021, with the publication of a  report  revealing how the Belarusian authorities have weaponized the justice system to punish survivors of torture rather than perpetrators. The organization produces regular publications that highlight how different sectors of Belarusian society are being targeted. Belarus is currently experiencing the most egregious clampdown on human rights in its post-independence history. Amnesty International activists around the world will participate in various actions to demonstrate their solidarity with peaceful protesters in Belarus.