Issue Number 82
I. EDITORIAL - Implementation of the Four Freedoms
II. DPI/NGO CONFERENCE REPORT, September 2002
III. CIVIL AND DOMESTIC PEACE
IV. THE POTENTIAL OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY IN TODAY’S WORLD
V. RIGHT LIVELIHOOD AWARDS 2002
VI. DEDICATION OF WANGANUI PEACE SCULPTURE
VII. SPIRITUALITY AND REALITY - New Perspective on Global Issues
VIII. THE COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE - Security Council contribution to the fight against terrorism
IX. A STRATEGIC WEAPON FOR MASS SALVATION
X. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE AND NONVIOLENT ACTION
XI. THE GREAT INVOCATION - in English
I. Implementation of the Four Freedoms
It was in the darkest time of World War II and in the same year that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, dragging the United States into the struggle against totalitarianism, that Franklin D. Roosevelt formulated the four freedoms: freedom of speech and expression; freedom of worship; freedom from want and freedom from fear. It could well have been this dream of freedom that most of all empowered and brought victory to those who fought against a force which sought to control and imprison the human spirit.
Since then humanity has indeed freed itself of many traditional, psychological and physical even geographical confinements, releasing the individual into seemingly endless opportunities for self-expression.
But however important self-expression is in the evolutionary process of a human being, this seems not in itself to have brought freedom from want and from fear. These two freedom objectives, still so sadly lacking within our global neighbourhood, appear to have been brought closer to us all, awaiting our united decision to see to their implementation. We are it seems yet again, but now as individual human beings, confronted with the characteristics of the same wartime foe that sought to enslave humanity through fear, brutality and deprivation.
Entering into a new millennium and with each year stepping further into what is called by many the Aquarian Age, is it not entirely possible that it is us people, not our governments alone, that are the custodians of the four freedom objectives and that it is we who must bring them about?
Freedom, like electricity without
cables and switches, is merely an energy carrying wonderful potential.
It is now up to us as individual human beings to harness the infinite human
spirit to free all of humanity from fear and want and give one another
the freedom to worship, each in our own way, the One Giver of all life.
II. DPI/NGO Conference Report
The 25th Annual DPI/NGO Conference: 'Rebuilding Societies Emerging From Conflict: A Shared Responsibility' was held 9-11 September 2002, at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. More than 2,700 people were registered for the Conference, representing more than 650 organizations in 85 countries. The high attendance underscored the relevance of the meetings and reflected the growing and increasingly well-organized network of civil society organizations, which provided the UN with needed support in its work.
The UN has undertaken 54 peacekeeping missions since 1948, and is currently engaged in 15 such efforts around the world. Sherill Kazan Alvarez de Toledo, Chair of the Conference, explains, "NGOs are at the heart of the recovery process--they are usually there before and stay after the international community's involvement in conflict areas."
Five plenary panels addressed
such topics as re-establishing the rule of law and good governance in post-conflict
societies; restoring social services; economic recovery; psycho-social
reconciliation; and the process of military demobilization. In addition
to these panels, and 30 NGO workshops, the Conference featured keynote
speeches by Vojislav Kostunica, President of Yugoslavia, Mary Robinson,
in her last address to the NGO community as High Commissioner for Human
Rights, and Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Armed conflicts often capture international attention while the violence and massive abuse of human rights are taking place. But once the violence subsides and the slow process of reconciliation and return to normalcy begins, media coverage, political concern and financial support often diminish, leaving wounded and disoriented populations to fend for themselves. Certainly, much more emphasis needs to be placed on the crucial post-conflict phase, with a specific focus on how to maximize the use of local resources and capacities, especially in regard to women. If effective ways of addressing post-conflict peace-building could be developed, a more effective synthesis of prevention and reaction could be created.
The theme of the session--rebuilding societies emerging from conflict--could not be more relevant. Partnership and, in particular, the role of civil society was emphasized by Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. "It would be far better to learn how to prevent large-scale deadly conflict rather than pick up the pieces afterwards," she said. "At least half of ongoing conflicts today are relapsed old conflicts. That sobering figure emphasizes that there is a direct link between building peace and preventing future conflict." Given the link between conflicts and rights abuses, effective rebuilding of societies must pay serious attention to the establishment of strong systems for national human rights protection. Confronting the injustices of the past is an essential part of rebuilding. Ignoring this runs the risk of repetition as impunity continues to reign, but accountability for those abuses must not neglect to also include a forward-looking strategy for the future.
Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, said policy-making in today's world was a multi-faceted process, and through their hard work, effective advocacy and measurable results on the ground NGOs and civil society generally had come to play a crucial role alongside governments and multilateral organizations in that process. He stated that the work of NGOs is complimentary, but not identical to governments, with different rules and ideas. This factor of shared responsibility was emphasized and reiterated throughout every meeting of the Conference.
Experience has shown that the international community's role in rebuilding societies requires a change in the manner that we do business. We need to provide governments with assistance and guidance, but we should not seek to govern. The role of the international community should be to strengthen national institutions and not those of the helpers. We need to focus on the need to provide: "a light ex-patriot footprint"--a concept coined by Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi. That is, we need to work ourselves out of a job as quickly as possible. In every project and sector, we need to ask ourselves: Why are we here? Is this activity really needed? Do we (the international community, the UN) really need to be here?
Setting priorities in a post-conflict environment is a major challenge. Healthcare has been considered the first priority, not only with physical health but also with mental and spiritual health. The second was education, to get children engaged in constructive ways with their community and to promote peace-building. Local solutions to providing education should be sought as frequently as possible; it was important to prevent the "brain drain" from affected areas--to keep teachers, intellectuals and other educated persons from leaving. The third was disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, particularly for former child combatants. Those priorities were the obligation of the international community as set out by Security Council resolutions, and were essential elements to create the conditions for sustainable peace.
Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, the Law and Research Director of Medécins San Frontières, said it was imperative to look at post-conflict societies in a historical and political context, bearing in mind that forces that caused war remained in play during periods of emergence from crisis. Establishing confidence in legal and political institutions is crucial to foster stability and a sense of security among traumatized populations. Justice is not enough to ensure and sustain good governance and the role of law in post-conflict situations. Decentralization, human rights support and a transformation of policing and the legal system have also proven necessary in that regard. It was emphasized that despite the overwhelming tasks at hand during transitional periods, efforts to address crimes through the courts, including the newly established International Criminal Court should be vigorously pursued. In the "unsilencing" of the past, a truth commission could make a break between the past and a future built on the rule of law.
There are no absolute principles to follow regarding the political dimension to law in post-conflict situations; most matters were subject to negotiation, since there might be, in many situations, no rule of law to re-establish. International standards of good governance, as included in the Charter, formed the basis for those activities. It was noted that peace-building was a new experience for the UN including building governance in certain operations. There did exist an art of success, however, in those endeavors, and it related to stimulating local capacity--from the first day of assistance--in all areas and avoiding an unnecessarily strong imposition of solutions by the international community. Also crucial was the involvement of young people and the development of an independent media.
Economic recovery was called the primary element in peace-building. Gerald Martone, Director of Emergency Response, International Rescue Committee, said mutual dependencies of parties in conflict could be used to both re-establish commerce and services as well as to reduce tension. It was important to look for such connectors. It took a tremendous amount of cooperation to start a war, and that type of cooperative effort could be mined for improvement in post-conflict situations. He pointed out that much current warfare was not political, but rather, about the control of wealth by a small group of people. It was more like organized crime. It was necessary, in consequence, to see who would be harmed by peace and to involve them in assistance in the post-conflict situation.
Astonishing as it may be, of the world's richest 100 economies, 51 are corporations. In response to questions about avoiding the monopoly of mega-corporations in post-conflict economies, Mr. Martone said that public opinion could be an effective check on even the largest corporation. The Achilles heel of corporations is their public image. They do react to the mobilization of shame and can be embarrassed. He pointed to examples concerning conflict diamonds and genetically altered baby foods.
Ali Jalali, Chief, Pashto Service, Voice of America, speaking as moderator of the discussion entitled "Demobilizing the War Machines: Making Peace Last", said that consolidation of peace in societies emerging from conflict was a complex process of "breaking" and "making". Breaking the war machine in the post-conflict period was a prerequisite for sustaining peace. Failure to build attractive alternatives to the life of a warrior, however, could lead to renewal of fighting and the proliferation of criminal activity. The process should not be limited to dismantling the military structures of the warring parties. It should make the war machines as well as their use obsolete. That could be achieved by creating a national capacity to transform war-instigated structures into peace-building institutions.
This was explained further by Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, who said that demobilizing war machines was another name for the well-established field of defense conversion. A war machine was essentially a cluster of vested interests--industrial, bureaucratic, and legislative in nature--that acted together to control key national policy decisions to increase the production of armaments or to rationalize continued production. That required not just the production or arms, but also their use. The goal was not to put people in the defense business out of work, but to give them more productive and meaningful jobs for society, while enabling States to practice their legitimate right of self-defense. The most powerful message of defense conversation was that disarmament pays. He continued by saying that the best way to demobilize the war machine was to mobilize public opinion to support goals of peace, community and prosperity. When machines were denied lubricants--in the form of generous annual budgets--and when they were not used, they were prone to rust and obsolescence. To some extent, enlightened national leaders could tame that monster through their own policies and regulations, yet they are most able to do so when they had the strong, deep and widespread support of their respective publics.
Cora Weiss, President of The Hague Appeal for Peace said that on 11 September last year, the Conference had witnessed a horrendous crime, not an act of war. Legitimate patriotism had become almost extreme nationalism. One could not talk about demobilizing the war machine and ignore the drums beating to start another war. The campaign to sell an invasion represented an enormous failure of leadership and diplomacy, as well as an erosion of democracy. Making peace last would be made all the more difficult as one analyzed the intended and unintended consequences of the build-up for a war against Iraq in the name of fighting terrorism. The best way to make peace last was to prevent war. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Wars are not good chisels to carry out peaceful tomorrows."
Post-conflict situations had one thing in common: communities were awash in weapons, domestic violence increased and the potential for resumption of the armed violence remained. Ms Weiss said the recipe for a lasting peace required many ingredients. "No women, no peace," she added, pointing out that they made up over half of the population and were the first teachers of their children. The second ingredient for making peace last was education, she said. Peace education must be written into peace agreements, which were part of a participatory method of preparing people to play an active part in democracy. Peace must be learned as it did not come with DNA. Peace education, embracing the values of democracy, human rights, disarmament, gender equality, non-violence and conservation of the environment, could be integrated into everything and did not have to burden teachers as an extra course. It could also be effective in the community, and the informal sector, where former combatants were helped in social rehabilitation and skill development.
Confident that democracies do not wage wars, Vojislav Kostunica, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, said the civil war in the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the most severe armed conflict in Europe since the Second World War. He stated that the promotion of human rights is fundamental in periods of transition. Despite the wars, he said, virtually none of the Balkan States had become ethnically "pure". His country remained very much a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multiconfessional country. Too small to think of living independent of its neighbors...the Balkans are part of Europe.
Sherill Kazan Alvarez de Toledo closed the Conference by saying the goals of the Conference had been met, adding that it had made a significant contribution to understanding the growing concern over assistance to post-conflict societies. The Conference's success had been the result of a shared responsibility, a concept that must continue to be solidified.
(Note: Information from UN press
releases and from Dr. Ida Urso were used in this article.)
III. CIVIL AND DOMESTIC PEACE
The most urgent concern for the world and for the United Nations, is increasing conflict and violence. These international threats occupy our fears and concerns.
But the UK, having the highest number of people in prison and the highest level of family breakdown of all European countries, should perhaps first of all consider its own social problems which culminate in violence.
There is a need first of all for some clear joined up thinking about the links between our various problems. Surely the threat of railway vandalism alone, which could in one incident cause hundreds of deaths should lead us to examine the causes of such behaviour. Good behaviour used to be linked to religious practice "do unto others…" Maybe we do need to wake up as to what the faiths should and could teach.
But the roots of education the drawing forth of potential which of course embraces behaviour as well as intellectual achievement, are there at birth and within the family. They depend for their development on a trustworthy relationship especially that of mother/child. The push in recent years to get mothers back to work as soon as possible may be part of the cause of so many anti-social children (and even of some illnesses linked to anxiety).
The government could choose to respect the rearing of children from the beginning of life by support to the family, giving value to such an important contribution to society. It would of course be economically cost effective, as the cost of prisons and the justice system and repair of vandalism is enormous.
Some families and some lone parents are in real need of emotional support and encouragement. The very best and most effective workers are needed in this area so that parents and children gain self value so that eventually they are able to become independent and in turn can make their contribution to society.
Such support could begin now if the several agencies, already working with children and families many of them voluntary agencies came together to share concerns and offer mutual support. Together they could establish a basic training on the needs rather than rights of children at the different stages of development. This could well attract more volunteers to these agencies many at present overwhelmed with work. Many grandparents are of course giving such support but many needy families do not have grandparents nearby.
Many school children complain that there is nothing to do. Skills training is now on the agenda but needs to be integrated into the school curriculum. Many young people who are not achieving academically would find their creativity through such education. There is a real need for such skills withint the community. Builders and plumbers say they cannot find apprentices and local quality food is in demand. And a huge amount of environmental work is essential if we are to become sustainable.
To conclude, by such "education" in early life and through school and extra curricular activities the result could be a culture of creativity in place of the present destructiveness and violence.
This text was the response of
the South East Berkshire Branch of the United Nations Association of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland to a recent questionnaire by the Labour Party.
It was sent to us by Barbara and David Stafford, 10 Highfield Close, Wokingham,
Berks. RG40 1DG, UK
IV. The Potential of Computer Technology in Today’s World
I am not a UN correspondent, nor an international relations scholar; I am a computer programmer. I’ve worked on computer systems for UNICEF and for New York’s Administration for Children, whose high level purposes are widely understood; I help companies/organizations who need new computer programs and data storage systems to perform tasks traditionally done with paper, the postal system, and filing cabinets. Creating computer systems to store and retrieve information allows me some perspective regarding computer technology in the global environment.
A network of communication such as the internet only works when people can get to it. One of the challenges facing internet-based marketers, computer developers, the government, etc. today regarding computers and the internet is that not everybody has access to it yet. Although computers and related curricula increasingly saturate the developed world, they are nonexistent in so much of the rest of it. Even in "developed" countries, the limited availability of the internet and computers in general means that there are two paces of development: the old-fashioned, paper-based pace and the new pace of the computer age. What aspects of life are touched by these two paces?
Education, for one. While wealthy schools in the US issue laptop computers to each student to carry for homework-related use, poor school districts rely on the donations of used equipment (and "used" in regard to computers typically involves near-obsolescence, if not decrepitude) and labor to maintain systems and networks where they exist at all. It is easy to see the paths of privileged and unprivileged students diverging; where they end up is not so easy to discern. Does a poor education in the current standards of communication of the day mean low-paid jobs, fewer opportunities, and the likelihood of an impoverished future? The best education with the latest state-of-the-art equipment does not necessarily ensure an easy life of prospects and privilege. But I think it is safe to surmise that the availability of good computer training opens possibilities not available otherwise.
Administration - for international organizations, government offices, businesses, schools the legal arena, the medical field - can be carried out as a paper-based workflow, versus a computerized system of software and databases. Paper-based information processing is still much more of a norm than people realize, even at the highest levels. The desire to streamline processes, reduce the time it takes to do a job, and store information for easy broad-based retrieval leads to computerization, and often to great effect. The usefulness of centrally stored records that may be tapped with a moment’s effort is undeniable.
But the route from written paper to well-managed database systems is by no means standard. Each company, office or administration finds its own path depending on funds, time, and availability of capable, trustworthy resources. Unfortunately, the programmer hired to do the job may not always combine just the right combination of technical skill with business analysis, and the systems developed to replace a paper trail do not always fit the needs like a glove. Even in the most developed countries, millions of dollars of software development budgets are wasted each year when poorly-scoped projects finally flounder, having insufficiently filled technical needs. This vast waste of poorly-built data systems and projects that go over budget hovers between the two extremes of, on one hand, an old reliable paper-based system that works, slowly (for small, localized use), and on the other hand the ideal of the streamlined, efficient, well-built software and data storage system. A good computer system does allow more business and communication to be carried out, which in the case of UNICEF or a similar organization can mean, simply put, more lives saved.
Crisis management. A town floods, an earthquake hits, or planes strike the World Trade Center in New York - how do victims’ families connect with relief agencies, search parties and rescue workers? In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, I saw a remarkable example of an almost grass-roots effort, a sort of technological sandbagging. One day after the disaster, as my family and all we knew sat on the edges of our seats watching news coverage and wanting to be part of the relief, I received a call from a colleague involved with an effort to quickly create a database of victims’ and family information.
One of the greatest problems in those first few days was determining the list of the missing and correlating it with the lists of the wounded. Having been given strict instructions for clearing security at one of the city’s West side complexes and a list of tools and equipment to bring, I arrived to find an amazing assembly of experts in computer networks, hardware, etc.; I was brought in as the database programmer. The task: to quickly design and build the system to house such information. I was struck with the mass recognition of the need for a particular technological solution to a problem: at a time when seemingly every street corner of Manhattan was papered with missing persons notices growing each day more weathered or covered over with fresh notices, candle shrines burning below, the problem was connecting people with information. I was struck, also, by our unwavering, simple faith in technology for this purpose, despite numerous breakdowns in systems as a result of the attacks which made reconnecting with loved ones such an ordeal ? cellular phone service interruptions, downed media antennae, the stoppage of transportation. We would rise again, using technology. The next day, however, FEMA took over the homegrown programming effort, just as the National Guard poured into the city to assist with security.
I think our faith in technology stems from the knowledge that perhaps you cannot go back to this simpler time of paper-based information sharing when time is critical, particularly when the time is short. The missing persons posters, often hand-lettered, symbolized to me an attempt to go back to a simpler system when all else had failed, and as the months wore on these papers faded (one does not remove shrines, sacred in their own right), melted in the rain and eventually were removed, but only once they ceased to bear resemblance to their original forms.
Of what use is technology to most of the world, with its daily life-and-death struggles (starvation, Tyranny, disease)? I can’t answer that question - I do not foresee the world soon reaching a level of equal access to what we consider commonplace conveniences, such as food, medicine, technology. Many modern societies render themselves a house of cards with their inability to maintain a peaceable self-control. The processes and remedies computer technology gives us are as often what we use to clean up our own messes and firefight on a daily basis as they are a means of bringing a society into the future. This "firefighting" potential for technology is where I see its greatest use in the short term; so much work can be done to remedy immediate problems more efficiently.
This article was submitted to Many
to Many by Joe Brooke. E-mail Joemgraham@aol.com
V. Right Livelihood Awards 2002
The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, based in Sweden, was founded in 1980 by Jacob von Uexkull. The awards are presented in December each year in the Swedish Parliament to "honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today".
While this year’s Honorary Award went to Professor Martin Green, the University of New South Wales, Australia, recognized worldwide for his ground breaking research within the field of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, the Right Livelihood Award of SEK 2 million was shared by the Centre Jeunes Kamenge (the Kamenge Young People’s Centre), Burundi; Kvinna till Kvinna (Woman to Woman), Sweden; and human rights activist Martin Almada, Paraguay.
Centre Jeunes Kamenge (CJK) is the dream of three Italian Xaverian missionaries, Marino Bettinsoli, Victor Chirardi and Claudio Marano. They were determined to find a place where the youth (age 16-30) of the northern neighbourhoods of Bujumbura could come and - through shared activity - learn to live together in friendship and mutual respect. Founded in 1991, before the civil war, it would soon have a membership of more than 2000 young people attending meetings and religious events, playing sports, acting in plays, taking courses, studying various academic subjects and using the library’s 14,000 books. CJK’s courses cover mathematics, physics, biology, accountancy and language classes (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German and Italian). Training is being offered in a broad mix of subjects, such as computing, sewing, hair-dressing and human rights. Apart from these, there is a literacy project, reaching 400 adults and adolescents each year, projects on AIDS, peace and reconciliation.
During the years of civil war CJK was giving help to bury the dead, care for the wounded, support displaced people, distribute food, clothing and blankets, and giving health assistance. A ‘Peace and Rehabilitation Project’ is organizing inter-ethnic meetings, discussion groups and other events. Although the Centre has been attacked and looted, its management and workers threatened and some of its members killed, the work has continued and has become a living proof that the young people of Burundi can live together peacefully, share their lives and build a future.
By 2001, the CJK had 20,000 members and four outreach workers in each of the six neighbourhoods where CJK is active and working with the young people who do not come to the Centre on literacy, cultural and sporting events and AIDS education. Much of the work is undertaken on a voluntary basis by members of the Centre. Since July 2001 CJK has been publishing a newsletter, called Arc-en-Ciel (Rainbow) in which young people can express their ideas.
Contact: Claudio Marano, Centre
Jeunes Kamenge, BP 500, Bujumbura, Burundi
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org website www.cejeka.com
Most of KtK’s work so far has been carried out in the Balkans, promoting dialogue, training for empowerment and employment, health care, addressing domestic violence, legal advice, and many other issues (such as sex-trafficking). A study published in 2000 drew attention to the lack of gender sensitivity in the Dayton Peace Accords. This report was part of the official Swedish presentation at the Beijing+5 Conference on Women in New York in 2000 and would also have helped to influence the formulation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which urges "Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict".
An important part of KtK’s work is to build networks among the women’s groups and is now cooperating with some 60 organisations in the Balkans on 70-80 projects within the region.
Contact: Kerstin Greback, Kvinna
till Kvinna, Kristinebergs Slottsvag 8, 112 52 Stockholm, Sweden
E-mail email@example.com Website www.iktk.se
Together with his wife, Professor Celestina Perez de Almada, he founded the Instituto ‘Juan Baptista Aberdi’ in his hometown of San Lorenzo. This became an important institution for conscientious and cooperative development, which was violently suppressed under the dictatorship of General Stroessner in 1974. This same year Almada finished his doctoral thesis "Paraguay, Education and Dependency" for which he was branded an ‘intellectual terrorist’. He subsequently spent three years in a concentration camp and was tortured regularly. His wife died during his imprisonment. After his release in 1977, Almada went into exile with his mother and children. Here he wrote his book "Paraguay: la Carcel Olvidada, el Pais Exiliado" (published in 1978), in which he describes his experiences in prison.
When General Stroessner was overthrown in 1989, he immediately returned to Paraguay and began to play a leading role in the new human rights movement there, and in the transition to democracy. In 1991 Almada published the book, "Paraguay: Proyecto National" as a contribution towards the foundation of a new constitution.
Martin Almada’s major concern at this time was to secure the release into the public domain of the papers of the Paraguayan dictatorship concerning repression and torture, which the police were denying existed. A breakthrough came when the archive was actually discovered by Almada himself, and a judge ordered that it should be made public. This ‘Archives of Terror’ has proved the most important collection of documents of state terror ever recovered, and is important not just for Paraguay and South America but for the whole world.
Among Almada’s many projects and initiatives was the setting up with his second wife Maria Stella Caceres the Fondacion Celestina Perez de Almada, in memory of his first wife. The aim of this foundation is to "struggle against poverty and for the protection of the environment. Its principal programme has four areas of work: Economy and Solidarity, Environmentally Appropriate Science and Technology, Alternative Education and Human Rights.
Contact: Martin Almada, Avda Carlos
Antonio Lopez 2273, Asuncion, Paraguay
Fax: +595 21425345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the Right
Livelihood Award Foundation and its activities, contact: Kerstin Bennett,
Administrative Director, Right Livelihood Award, P.O.Box 15072 S-104 65
Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.rightlivelihood.se
VI. Dedication of Wanganui Peace Sculpture
Our September 2002 issue included a report on the building of the Wanganui Peace Sculpture, "Handspan", prior to its completion. On 21st September the dedication ceremony of this sculpture took place on site in Queens Park, Wanganui.
It was a real privilege that the Govenor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, had agreed to join us on this day and dedicate the Peace Sculpture to a culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world. Upon a sign from Her Excellency a team of 5 Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel lifted off the canopy covering the sculpture, freeing hundreds of balloons to the delight of the children.
The Govenor-General spoke of the plight of the world’s children and emphasized the responsibility we must all share in changing this sad state of affairs for the better saying that "a culture of peace and non-violence to children, like charity, must begin in the home if it is to have any lasting effect".
After the unveiling Gita, on behalf of Peace through Unity, who had initiated the project and raised the funds for it, formally handed it over to the people of the Wanganui community (through the Mayor). She prayed that it would symbolize "humanity’s continuous striving towards a culture that respects, celebrates and unites all cultures ? a culture of the heart" and that "one day we shall see the United Nations joined by an assembly of peoples and cultures ? for peace."
The sculpture, built in the spirit of cooperation and generosity, now stands on the Queens Park hill, steeped in Maori and early settlers’ history, at the heart of the city of Wanganui. Together with other community groups and volunteers we will be planning various future events and activities involving children and their families with the sculpture as our focal point.
VII. SPIRITUALITY AND
New Perspectives on Global Issues
In a sample copy we have received
of this United Nations Journal, published by Friends for a New Civilization
(FNC), its Mission is defined as being to contribute to the enhancement
of the quality of life and the humanization of global relations through
the promotion of spiritual values. FNC’s goals are to:
Among the Journal’s contributors are professionals from around the world in a variety of fields, including politics, economics, development, international law, psychology, education and religion, applying spiritual and ethical values to humankind’s complex and interdependent problems.
The Journal is edited by Nancy B. Roof, Co-Founding Convener of the Spiritual Caucus at the United Nations.
Contact: Dr Nancy Roof, Editor,
Spirituality and Reality, P.O.Box 2102 Lennox, MA 01240, U.S.A.
VIII. THE COUNTER-TERRORISM
Security Council contribution to the fight against terrorism
The world had almost become accustomed to the UN Security Council appearing both weak and wavering when it came to decisive action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and other terrible acts of atrocity against humanity. And no one seems surprised when one of the Security Council permanent members, for reasons of its own, vetoes a resolution (like Nicaragua’s resolution calling on all states to observe international law, when the US Navy in the 1980s mined its harbours). However, the Security Council’s response to the 11 September acts of terrorism was not only swift and unanimous but also unprecedented.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established in accordance with resolution 1373 (2001), made up by the 15 members of the Security Council, with Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the Permanent Representative of the UK to the United Nations, as its Chairman for the first 12 months.
Resolution 1373 obliges all UN Member States to take specific actions effectively to combat terrorism in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and CTC will be monitoring all Member States’ performance in building a global capacity against terrorism. The resolution asks each Government to assess how well its present legislation matches the 1373 requirements and urges all 191 Member States to deny all terrorist groups any form of financial or other support (like safe haven). Governments should, it says, share all available information about any groups who might practice or plan acts of terrorism. The resolution furthermore bars any "active and passive assistance to terrorism."
The CTC is committed to work with each State to assist in the implementation of resolution 1373 at "its fastest possible speed". CTC has also set up a Directory available on website www.un.org/sc/ctc for States seeking help. Included in this Directory are details on training and assistance programmes.
The only thing this Counter-Terrorism Committee still seems to be uncertain about is how to define terrorism.
The formulation of a general definition remains, we are told, "controversial" and this matter is still being discussed in the UN General Assembly. But the CTC Chairman is less uncertain. Says Ambassador Greenstock: "For the Committee, terrorism is what the members of the Committee decide unanimously is terrorism".
The Oxford Dictionary defines terrorism
as: "practice of using violent and intimidating methods, esp. to achieve
political ends." Do we, I wonder, need a new definition of terrorism, which
will in the future explain to us all what is ? and what is not - terrorism?
Information on CTC was taken from a brochure, produced by the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and distributed by the UN Department of Public Information.
IX. A Strategic Weapon for Mass Salvation
In an article from The Economist print edition (24th October 2002), written by Jeffrey Sachs, he suggests that if George Bush would spend more time and money on mobilizing ‘Weapons of Mass Salvation’ (WMS) in addition to combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) "we might actually get somewhere in making this planet a safer and more hospitable home."
As Chairman of a commission for the World Health Organisation and more recently as a special adviser to the Secretary-General for the Millennium Development Goals, Jeffrey Sacks offers a general outline for WMS strategies, which would help create a global environment in which terrorist activities would not find much if any public support. The United Nations should, says Mr. Sachs, in conjunction with the World Bank, be asked to take the lead in establishing ‘Global Frameworks for Action’ surrounding each of the major millennium development goals. "These frameworks would outline, in broad terms, yet with budgetary guidelines and timetables attached, the specific ways in which rich- and poor-country governments, the private sector, philanthropic foundations and other parts of civil society could get organized to win the fight against poverty and disease."
Maybe this strategy of hope could help win the war against any kind of terrorism and would prove also to be having a more lasting effect for good than the new military strategies, like the so-called "forward deterrence" and their technical instruments with names such as "unwarned attacks".
Perhaps the Weapons of Mass Salvation strategies should be included in the Directory set up by the UN Security Councils’ newly established Counter-Terrorism Committee, and appropriate training and assistance programmes be added to the website to this effect?
X. International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action
Anuvrat Global Organisation (ANUVIBHA), a transnational center for peace, is organizing the Fifth International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action at ANUVIBHA’s Vishva Shanti Nilyam (Global Peace Palace) situated on top of a hill overlooking Lake Rajsamand near Udaipur (Rajasthan), India, from February 23 to 27, 2003.
ANUVIBHA has been in the forefront of nonviolence education and training for children. "We believe", say the organizers, "that if children are exposed to an environment conducive to moral and spiritual values from the very beginning, they will grow as peaceful, nonviolent future citizens".
If you are interested, write or email the organizers, and you will be sent a detailed brochure.
Dr S.L. Gandhi, International Secretary-General ANUVIBHA, PO Box 1003, Gandhinagar Post Office, Jaipur-302 015, India. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.anuvibha.org
XI. THE GREAT INVOCATION
From the point of Light within the
Mind of God
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the
Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men
May Christ return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of
God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men ?
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the
race of men
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore
the plan on Earth.
LA GRANDE INVOCATION
Du point de Lumiere dans la
Pensee de Dieu
Que la lumiere afflue dans la pensee des hommes.
Que la lumiere descende sur la terre
Du point d’Amour dans le Coeur de
Que l’amour afflue dans le coeur des hommes.
Puisse le Christ revenir sur terre.
Du centre ou la Volonte de Dieu est
Que le dessein guide le faible vouloir des hommes,
Le dessein que les Maitres connaissent et servent.
Du centre que nous appelons la race
Que le Plan d’Amour et de Lumiere s’epanouisse,
Et puisse-t-il sceller la porte de la demeure du mal.
Que Lumiere, Amour et Puissance restaurent le Plan sur la terre