International Collaboration to End Violence


By Robert J. Burrowes

While much of the world is engulfed in violence of one sort or another
(whether violence in the home or on the street, exploitation, ecological
destruction or war), a global network of individuals and organizations
is committed to ending this violence in all of its manifestations.

With individual signatories in 100 countries and organizational
endorsements in 35 countries, each of these individuals and
organizations works on one or more manifestations of violence in their
locality and some of the organizations and networks have considerable
national or even international reach.

However, as you might understand, there is a great deal to be done and
the Charter network continues to expand as more people and organizations
are motivated to join this shared effort.

Here is an outline of what some of these individual signatories of ‘The
People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘ are doing. You are
welcome to join them.

A native of Iran, Professor Manijeh Navidnia was born in Tehran where
she attended school and university. She married in 1982 and had her
first child in 1985. Her original research interests were in social
science and sociology but after collaborating with the Islamic Azad
University, she became interested in strategic studies and most of her
research work and publications since then have focused on security. Her
first book in 2009 was particularly focused on ‘societal security’ and
her political engagements are designed to enhance international
cooperation across cultures.

Mahad Wasuge is a key figure at the Heritage Institute for Policy
Studies in Somalia. The Institute has recently published a shocking
report on ‘Somalia’s Drought Induced Crises: Immediate Action and Change
of Strategy Needed‘ in response to the ongoing drought in Somalia which threatens millions of people. ‘The ongoing drought in Somalia – referred to in the Somali
language as Sima, which means the leveler, ubiquitous or pervasive – has
enveloped the entire country. If rain does not arrive by mid April, and
if a massive humanitarian campaign is not mounted swiftly, the drought
could morph into an insidious famine that could devastate the country’:
hundreds of thousands of vulnerable men, women and children could starve
to death. Sadly, while awareness of the ongoing suffering and the
potential famine has been high, ‘the response of the international
community and the mitigation strategy by Somalia has been wholly
inadequate.’ Despite UN agencies raising over US$300 million, the
majority of the population across the country is not receiving basic
necessities. ‘Many pastoral communities have also lost 80 percent of
their livestock, escalating their vulnerability to an alarming and
perilous level.’

Ruth Phillips is the central figure in the initiative to create ‘an
ecological, co-housing village here on a fully restored, 17th century
chateau estate in rural France. The property lies in the heart of 30
acres of parklands and forests in the midst of quiet, deep-green nature,
surrounded by hills and mountains, forests and lakes. It is set in the
eastern Dordogne, one of most unspoilt regions of France’. They have
permission to create a permaculture village around the chateau for
residential and/or holiday use, with 23 houses blended into the natural
and historic landscape. Plans include the chateau ‘hub’ offering
education, leisure and cultural activities for residents and visitors; a
small restaurant; a multi-functional workshop space; the swimming pool;
a sauna and communal space, as well as large individual garden plots and
access to acres of forest and fields on the property. The site aims to
be a showcase for permaculture and sustainable living. Too good to be
true? Check out the Ecochateau website and email Ruth if you want to go there to stay for a while and help make their vision a more complete reality.

Burmese scholar and activist, Dr Maung Zarni has been indefatigable in
his efforts to raise awareness of the Burmese government’s genocidal
assault on the Rohingya Muslim population in Burma. He has also not
shied away from drawing attention to democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s
complicity in this genocidal assault. While he has written many articles
on the subject, this two-minute video will give you a clearer sense of
Zarni, the compassionate scholar/activist: ‘Multiple Denials of
Myanmar’s Atrocity Crimes against Rohingyas prevent a peaceful
resolution’. For more, check out Zarni’s website.

In one of her public talks, Kathleen Macferran posed the question ‘Are we really safer when we put those who harm others behind bars and forget about them?‘ She explores
the idea of ‘turning our prisons into houses of healing and creating connections that lead to greater safety’ by having incarcerated men and women return to our communities as peacemakers.

Greg Kleven is a 68 year-old American living and teaching English in
Viet Nam. He was 18 years old when he went to Viet Nam as a soldier in
1967 ‘and thought that what I was doing was right. But after a few
months in country I realized that I had made a huge mistake. The war was
wrong and I should never have participated.’ After going home he had a
hard time adjusting back into society. ‘I couldn’t get the war out of my
mind.’ In 1988 he went back to Viet Nam as a tourist and realized he had
a chance ‘to make up for what I had done’. For the next two years he
helped organize ‘return trips for veterans who wanted to go back and see
Viet Nam as a country, not a war’. In 1990 he started teaching English
in Ho Chi Minh City and he has been doing it ever since. Greg shares the
passion to ‘some day put an end to all wars and violence in the world’.

Professor of Mathematical Analysis, Tarcisio Praciano-Pereira, reports
from Brazil that he is personally well but that living in Brazil is
‘very bad! I am 73 years old and I have suffered the dictatorship of
1964 when I was forced into exile. So I have a very clear picture of
what is going on here and this doesn’t make
me well because I know clearly the dangers we are facing. My life has
changed entirely, my intellectual production has dropped down because I
am all the time in the fight. I am seriously afraid! And I am not a
young boy anymore as I was in 1964.’ He advised the death of a judge of
the Supreme Court, who was overseeing a massive corruption investigation
into the state oil company, Petrobras, against the will of the ‘putsch
owners’ and conservative media outlet ‘Globo’. It is clear that the
possibility of crime in this death cannot be dismissed. Now they are
trying to replace the dead judge with the Justice Secretary ‘who is
nothing but a criminal. Please take a stand against this if you can.
Afraid is the right picture, friend! Yes, Fora Temer! Fora Temer, o
traira!’

Ending human violence requires courage, not to mention toughness and
determination, often in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

For that reason, you might be sceptical about the prospects of achieving
it.

But if you wish to join the people above in working to create a world in
which peace, justice and ecological sustainability ultimately prevail
for all life on Earth, you can do so by signing the online pledge of
The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘ and participating in
The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth‘.

Can we do it? If we do not try, we will never know. And one day, fairly
soon now according to some climate scientists (and assuming we can avert
nuclear war in the meantime), homo sapiens sapiens will enter Earth’s
fossil record without even making a concerted effort to prevent it.

 

Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding
and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in
an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a
nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?
His email address is flametree@riseup.net
and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com


Robert J. Burrowes
P.O. Box 68
Daylesford
Victoria 3460
Australia
Email: flametree@riseup.net

Websites:
Nonviolence Charter
Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth
‘Why Violence?’
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy
Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy
Anita: Songs of Nonviolence
Robert Burrowes
Global Nonviolence Network

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This entry was posted in Activism, anti-war, consciousness, culture, Economics, education, Environment, Revolution, society, Sociology, Spirituality, war and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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