Nonviolent Change Journal

Publication of the Research/Action Team on Nonviolent Large Systems Change,
an interorganizational project of the Organization Development Institute

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editor's Comments

What Are You Up To?

Ongoing Activities

Upcoming Events

World Developments

Letters: Dialoging

Articles

Media Notes

Reports and Announcements

 

Vol. XX, No.2            Winter, 2006

 

Nonviolent Change Journal helps to network the peace community: providing dialoguing, exchanges of ideas, articles, reviews, reports and announcements of the activities of peace related groups and meetings, reviews of world developments relating to nonviolent change and resource information concerning the development of human relations on the basis of mutual respect.

 

ONGOING ACTIVITIES

 

     Anti-Iraq war activity has swelled in the U.S. since last summer, growing much stronger with the launching of Camp Casey, near President Bush’s ranch, in Crawford Texas. In late September, at least 100,000 protesters (and some credible sources say several times that) opposing the War in Iraq met in Washington, DC, as other demonstrations took place around the U.S. - Organized by United for Peace and Justice (PO Box 607, Times Square Station, New York, NY 1010 (212)868-5545, www.unitedforpeace.org) and a myriad of groups including Global Exchange (2017 Mission Street, Suite 303, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415)255-7296).

 

Similar demonstrations took place in London, Seoul, Korea and other world cities. In Washington hundreds (including many military families) demonstrating peacefully and orderly were arrested in front of the White House. A great deal of other anti-war activity has been in progress, including United for Peace and Justice, in coalition with numerous groups, November 17, National 'Not Your Soldier' Youth and Student Day of Action on International Students Day, UFPJ's first nationally coordinated day of action for and about young people. For more see the Global Directory of Peace and Justice Events at UFPJ.s web site: www.unitedforpeace.org

                                                                  

 

     The Israeli and Palestinian Peace and justice movements have remained active, attempting to build new energy even as the Gaza withdrawal approached. For example, on September 24, the peace movement showed some signs of trying to raise its head. Under the slogan "Gaza first, not last", two simultaneous demonstrations were carried out: an Israeli action in Jerusalem, by the Geneva Initiative Circles and joined by Peace Now, and a Palestinian rally at the Presidential Compound (Muqata) in Ramallah. Regular protests continued against the ongoing building by the Israeli government of the security wall, the expansion of settlements taking or destroying Arab property and the repeated imprisonment of draft refusers.

 

The Other Israel (otherisr@actcom.co.il) reported December 24, that, “there is a speedy escalation building up around the Gaza Strip - Israeli assassinations on the West Bank entailing retaliation by mortars and missiles from the Gaza Strip. Generals already speak of ‘the need to bombard residential areas’ and Kadima ministers speak of the need to create inside the Gaza Strip ‘a security zone’ i.e. razing to the ground buildings and trees”. The inhabitants of Bil'in Village, in the West Bank, continue conducting a prolonged struggle against the confiscation of most of their lands through the "Separation Fence", for the purpose of extending the giant Haredi settlement Modi’in Illit/Mattityhau Mizrah. Recently, the Bil'in Villagers together with Israeli peace activists established an "outpost" on a parcel of the village's land.

 

On January 1, the eighth evening of Hanukka, as an expression of solidarity with the Bil'in struggle as well as a message to Israelis, some seventy Israeli peace activists, together with Palestinians, including many children, lighted the candles of a huge Hanukkia at the Palestinian "outpost", only a hundred yards from the houses of the Modi'in Illit settlement. For more information contact Gush Shalom, pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033, Israel, info@gush-shalom.org, www.gush-shalom.org, Peace Now (in Hebrew and English): http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/he/, Rabbis For Human Rights: info@rhr.israel.net, The Other Israel, pob 2542, Holon 58125, Israel, ph/fx: +972-3-5565804, otherisr@actcom.co.il, http://www.geocities.com/toi_billboard

 

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     At Ramat Gan Safari Park near Tel Aviv, for four days last summer 115 Muslim and Christian Palestinian children between the ages of 8 and 12 from villages, towns and refugee camps across the West Bank joined 115 Jewish Israeli children in the "Children Create Peace" summer camp, a collaboration between the US-based Kabbalah Center and the Palestinian Abu Assukar Center for Peace and Dialogue. The camp was conceived as part of the Kabbalah Center's wider "Spirituality for Kids" program, begun in the ghettos of Los Angeles to help underprivileged children rise above their physical and practical circumstances, is based on simple principles that can help profoundly change children's lives.

 

"Our message," explains joint-organizer Osnat Youdkevitch, "is that of dignity for all human beings. It's harder for adults to fully understand, since so much has already been built up around us, but kids have the chance to grow up thinking in a healthier way. If you play, eat and sweat for four days with a group of other kids who are supposed to be the 'enemy', it will stay in your heart forever." For more information contact Osnat Youdkevitch TelAviv@kabbalah.com

 

 

     The Mosawa Centre for Arab Rights in Israel has undertaken a new publicity campaign, including television spots, to help Israelis question their negative reactions to Arabs and to learn more about them and their culture.

 

 

 

 

The Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East’s Economic Forum: Creating a Virtuous Economy: Reconciliation, Peace Building and Reconstruction is committed to a wide range of activities all aimed at promoting and teaching on the cutting-edge of scholarly activities, research and education in the field of Conflict Resolution and Peace- Building in the Middle East: The Role of Religion, Spirituality and Economics, leading to the cultivation of a better understanding of the phenomenon. The Forum’s main emphasis is on progressive thinking, providing progressive perspectives on conflict resolution/prevention in the region.

 

The Forum, rather than espousing and defending a single discipline or paradigm, seeks to allow a broad, pluralistic range of viewpoints and models to be represented, compared, and ultimately synthesized into a richer understanding of the inherently complex systems it deals with. It seeks a commitment among academics and practitioners to learn from each other, to explore new patterns of thinking together, and to facilitate the derivation and implementation of effective policies for the realization of its objectives. The Forum is committed to the idea of cooperation and dialogue between tribal/local leaders, scholars, business leaders, religious leaders, policy makers, opinion leaders and leading NGOs.

 

The Forum’s aim is that co-operation between researchers and practitioners from varied backgrounds will lead to a more informed and balanced understanding of the behavior, motivation and objectives of the various forces, agents and policy makers that form the conflict resolution and peace-building process. The Forum promotes its work by bringing different actors and forces together in dialogue for a lasting peace in the Middle East. Workshops, seminars and conferences will be organized. Educational training, consultancy, young people leadership and spirit in business programs will be initiated. A series of workshops on economics in theology/ and theology in economics will provide a better understanding of the market place. For details go to: http://www.frme.org.uk/forums.html

 

 

     The New Israel Fund, determined to put the issue of Israel’s Arab minority higher on the American Jewish agenda and to improve the situation in Israel, brought a small group of American Jewish leaders to Israel, in September, to meet with politicians and experts to discuss ways to make Arab citizens feel more equal, and to promote mutual understanding. A follow up meeting took place in New York, in November to take action in the American Jewish community on behalf of Israel ’s Arabs. Rabbi Brian Lurie of San Francisco stated, “Time is running out. Unless drastic action is taken to equalize the standard of living of Israeli Arabs and Jews, Arab frustration could endanger the country's security.”

 

    Search for Common Ground (SFCG) president John Marks stated, in November, "The planet is unquestionably in crisis. Hurricane Katrina caused appalling destruction, and the response was hugely inadequate.  Violence continues in Iraq. Darfur remains genocidal. Millions have died in Congo. Indeed, the list of intractable problems seems to grow longer by the day. To us here at Search for Common Ground, it is clear that the earth is running out of space, resources, and recuperative capacity to keep dealing with disasters and conflict in an adversarial manner. Humanity simply must find better ways to resolve problems - whether environmental, ethnic, or economic. We believe that a basic shift is needed - from a you- or -me world to a you- and -me one. And, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, we are confident that such a shift is coming".

 

In the Middle East, on four Saturday nights in July, SFCG accomplished  something that had never been done before.  Israeli and Palestinian TV, as well as an Arab satellite network simultaneously aired a documentary series that was produced by Search for Common Ground. The series examines the fears and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians in an even-handed way, showing how a negotiated agreement could address those fears and aspirations without threatening the national existence of either side. 

 

Israel and Egypt were able to accomplish this task at Camp David more than 25 years ago and this series supports the belief that Israelis and Palestinians can do the same. The series is being rerun, and is airing on Australian, German, and Japanese networks, and may be broadcast by others. Meanwhile, a Palestinian NGO, the Center for Applied Research in Education, has written a teacher's guide and trained 150 teachers in classroom use of the films, while One Voice, an NGO working in Israel (and Palestine), has prepared a Hebrew viewer's guide and is sponsoring film showings and discussions across Israel. SFCG is distributing the series through Arab-American and Jewish-American groups.  A grant from the Foundation for Middle East Peace enabled SFCG to send a DVD and a viewer's guide to every conservative rabbi in the United States. SFCG's tri-lingual website, www.theshapeofthefuture.tv , offers DVDs, videotapes, background information, and a downloadable music video of the series theme, sung by pop stars David Broza, an Israeli, and Wisam Murad, a Palestinian.

 

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     Following on the 2002 by Search for Common Ground and the NTI Global Health and Security Initiative in founding the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS), whose goals are to improve the ability of Middle Eastern nations to respond to disease outbreaks and to build mutual trust through transborder cooperation, the first meeting of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian health and veterinary officials to prepare for an avian flu pandemic took place in Turkey in December.

 

     The Search for Common Ground TV Series in Nigeria is currently producing two TV series promoting inter-ethnic tolerance and respect, and encouraging non-violent resolution of conflict. "Nigeria is a country with an enormous amount of ethnic and religious strife.  With a Nigerian partner, Academic Associates/Peace Works, SFCG is producing a 26-part, TV drama series and a 13-week reality series that stress tolerance, pluralism, and conflict resolution.  The reality series, called The Academy, will have its première this fall.  Just as American Idol searched for talent across the US, The Academy looks for Nigerians who will star in the dramatic series. To date, we have received 50,000 applications. There will be 20 finalists, who will be filmed as they audition and rehearse. Viewers will vote for their favorites. The reality series will build an audience for the subsequent dramatic series, The Station, which portrays a multi-ethnic, multi-religious TV news team, which investigates Nigeria's most urgent problems - such as corruption, intolerance, and the failings of democracy. And these themes are mixed with plenty of love, intrigue, and suspense.  In other words, we are making Soaps for Social Responsibility".

 

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     For the last several years, Search for Common Ground has been engaged in efforts in West Africa, Burundi, and Angola to reintegrate child soldiers into peaceful society. The program utilizes ex-combatants to produce radio programming; to hold interethnic football (soccer) tournaments; to write comic books describing how child soldiers are exploited; and to monitor elections. Recently, Michael Shipler, who heads the SFCG children and youth division, and SFCG Executive Director Sandra Melone, forged an alliance with Roméo Dallaire, the retired Canadian general who saved so many lives in Rwanda (and who is portrayed by Nick Nolte in the film, Hotel Rwanda). In June, in partnership with General Dallaire and USAID, SFCG convened 30 representatives of children's rights, humanitarian, and peace organizations, along with military officers, current and retired to put the issue of child soldiers squarely on both the governmental and the NGO security agenda. Participants launched an 18-month process that is expected to produce concrete action steps to prevent use of children as soldiers. The major conclusion is that there is a need for a global dialogue that engages a wide range of stakeholders, including diplomats, military officers, human rights activists, and affected children.

 

     Search for Common Ground has been holding film festivals, since 2001, in Washington and other cities around the world to showcase common ground -type films. This summer, an SFCG festival took place at the United Nations with the sponsorship of several UN agencies. One film shown was Kontum Diary, a very personal documentary about a former American GI who returns to Vietnam and reconciles with his one-time enemy. Vietnam's UN Ambassador attended the opening and was so moved that he subsequently arranged for the film to be shown on Vietnamese television

 

     Two SFCG staff members in Burundi¸ Christine Ntahe and Jeannine Nahigombeye, were among 1000 women collectively nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Christine produces radio programming for SFCG's Studio Ijambo, promoting peace and coexistence between Hutus and Tutsis. Jeannine is director of Radio Isanganiro, a radio station established by the journalists of Studio Ijambo.

 

According to the website of the group that made the nominations (www.1000peacewomen.org ): "She uses the media for conflict resolution and as a means to get all warring parties involved in peace negotiations in her country. Despite several government bans, she has continued using the radio as her weapon against conflict. The radio provides its listeners with information that helps them in their daily lives and keeps politicians and the army accountable for their actions."

 

For more information contact Search for Common Ground, 1601 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20009 (202)265-4300, search@sfg.org, www.sfcg.org or Rue Beillarrd 205 bte 13, B 1040 Brussels, Belgium, Tel. (+32)2 736 7262.

 

     The Institute of International Education annually awards the $10,000 Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East,, recognizing outstanding work being conducted jointly by two individuals, one Arab and one Israeli, working together to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The two individuals whose work is judged to be most successful in bringing people together and breaking down the barriers of hatred share a $10,000 prize. For information go to: www.iie.org/goldbergprize

 

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     The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is taking a lead in the "Year of Remembrance" in Japan, culminating on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. FOR supported a petition taken to Japan, urging the Japanese government not to repeal the part of their constitution that prohibits building up the armed forces. The Fellowship of Reconciliation is deeply concerned at the abduction in Iraq, in December, of Norman Kember, a British citizen and trustee of the English Fellowship of Reconciliation, along with three members of the Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT), all of whom went to Iraq in opposition to the war.

 

Their abduction was protested by many Muslim and Iraqi organizations and leaders. In December, FOR sent a peace building delegation to Iran, while continuing to send interfaith peace building delegations to Israel and Palestine. FOR continues its U.S. program Creating a Culture of Peace (CCP), bring nonviolence trainings to many communities, and engages in other nonviolence trainings.  You can see reports of all recent FOR campaigns and find out about FOR publications at: http://ga3.org/forusa/home.html , or contact Jacqueline Haessly,  jacpeace@earthlink.net . An easy way to find out more about the FOR and its work is to sign up to receive e-Messages and Action Alerts. 

 

     The Open Society Institute (OSI), in conjunction with the Soros foundation, aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses. The two organizations maintain an informative web site with many reports and downloadable publications at: http://www.soros.org , or contact the Open Society Institute, 400 West 59th St., New York, NY 10019, (212)548-0600, Fax: (212)548-4600.

 

     The Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) has signed an affiliation agreement with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA). Since 1971, HECUA has offered international and domestic programs that encourage students to ask provocative questions, address the most pressing issues of our time, and work for social justice. For more information on their learning opportunities in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Northern Ireland, Norway, Minnesota and the American South, go to: www.hecua.org .

 

As part of its affiliation agreement, PJSA student members, and students enrolled in an institution that is an institutional member of PJSA, get discounts and priority admission to HECUA programs. PJSA publishes The Peace Chronicle, a 32 page newsletter published by PJSA three times a year, featuring new scholarship and literature, the latest developments in peace research, peace studies and peace education, central issues in the peace and justice movement, book and film reviews and other selected resources for educators and activists. PJSA copublishes the scholarly journal Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research with the Peace History Society. For more information, contact PJSA, 5th Floor University Center, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 (415)422-5238, http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/index.php .

 

     The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) Balkan Programme: Regional Reporting & Sustainable Training program supports long-term democracy, conflict resolution and European integration in the Balkans by creating a regional network of investigative reporting institutions - the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network - to conduct cross-border research, reporting and dialogue projects, practical training and supportive collaborations. IWPR's Afghan Programme supports the recovery of the Afghan media by training journalists, syndicating articles on humanitarian recovery and democratization to the local press, and supporting joint research and other projects with regional publications and training institutions. Southern Africa Good Governance and Media Development Programme's goal is to contribute to the development of good governance, the rule of law and the resolution of conflict as part of the democratization process in southern Africa.  For more on IWPR's work and reports go to: http://www.iwpr.net .

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     Globalisation for the Common Good came into being at Oxford, England, in 2002. This movement is for “Rekindling the Human Spirit and Compassion in Globalization, to provide an alternative to the current dominant economic/free trade globalization and to make globalization good for all. From Oxford the movement went to St. Petersburg, Russia, then to Dubai. In 2005 it met in Kenya. 2006 will take to Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

"Globalisation for the Common Good Mission is to promote ethical, moral and spiritual values into the areas of economics, commerce, trade and international relations amongst others, as well as personal virtues, to advance understanding and action on major global issues by civil society, the private enterprise, the public sector, governments, and national and international institutions, leading to the promotion of collaborative policy solutions to the challenges posed by globalization. We are committed to the idea that the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, ‘it is a region of the human spirit’. Whilst considering the many economic questions and issues we should also reflect on the Divine dimension of life, and should, in contrast to what is practiced today, be concerned with the world of heart and spirit. We view the problem and challenge of globalization not only from an economic point of view, but also from ethical, spiritual and theological perspectives. We affirm our conviction that a genuine inter-faith dialogue and co-operation is a significant way of bringing the world together; leading to the creation of a harmonious environment needed to build a world of peace, justice and prosperity for all. The call for Globalisation for the Common Good is an appeal to our essential humanity to deal with some of the most pressing concerns of peoples the world over."

 

For information go to: http://peacejournalism.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=7572 .

 

     Global Exchange is participating the Climate Crisis Coalition’s efforts to urge the US government to join the rest of the world in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol as a first step toward a commitment to positive environmental change. Global Exchange continues to offer a variety of Reality Tours including to Argentina, Venezuela (for the World social Forum) Brazil and China. For complete details contact Global Exchange, 2017 Mission Street, Suite 303, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415)255-7296, www.globalexchange.org.

 

     The World Watch Institute reports that "In places as diverse as the Philippines, India, and New York City, people are addressing complex environmental problems by finding their positive "tipping points"—a point where catalytic action can set off a cascade of positive changes that tip the system towards sustainability.

 

"We don't have to solve an entire problem at once. We make a few key changes and let a system use its self-organizing powers to mend itself," write Gerald Marten, Steve Brooks, and Amanda Suutari, authors of Environmental Tipping Points: A New Slant on Strategic Environmentalism. Where top-down regulations and high-priced technical fixes aren't working, positive environmental tipping points offer a third way to restore communities, both natural and human. The authors use case studies from Apo Island, the Philippines, Rajasthan in India, and New York City to illustrate how small changes can lead to both environmental rejuvenation and an increased sense of community, reversing larger negative social and environmental trends. “Environmental tipping points show that saving an ecosystem and a community can go hand in hand,” state the authors.

 

In November, the institute stated,"Without bolder steps in earthquake diplomacy, India and Pakistan are in danger of squandering an opportunity to bring peace to the subcontinent. The massive tremor that struck northern Pakistan and Kashmir on October 8 cut through a fault line of conflict that has divided the two nations for more than 50 years. It inflicted death on a scale comparable to that wrought by 15 years of conflict over Kashmir: currently pegged at close to 90,000 deaths, the earthquake's toll surpasses the estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people killed in regional fighting since 1990. Just as the earthquake paid no heed to human-drawn boundaries, humanitarian operations must transcend them. The shared suffering, and the need for common relief and rebuilding, present a unique opportunity for India and Pakistan to bury decades of enmity. Post-disaster cooperation has brought the two neighbors closer together, but the recent terrorist attacks in New Delhi carried out by Kashmiri militants underscore the urgency of achieving a basic breakthrough before the emotional impact of the quake fades and new flashpoints emerge. For more go to: http://www.worldwatch.org .

 

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©2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. All rights reserve. The Nonviolent Change Journal is published by the Research/Action Team on Nonviolent Large Systems Change - an interorganizational and international project of The Organization Development Institute.  Opinions expressed are solely that of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editing staff, Nonviolent Change Journal, Organization Development Institute.