Archive for January, 2009

Call for Peace – An article calling for World Peace on “The Hindu” India’s National Newspaper

Posted on January 16, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

We want to feature “Call for Peace” – an article calling for World Peace that was written by Sofia Ghori Saleem, Jan. 4th, 2009 in The Hindu’s Online edition of India’s National Newspaper.


Call for peace  by SOFIA GHORI SALEEM  – Sunday, Jan 04, 2009 

The Hindu – Online edition of India‘s National Newspaper

For once, this year, let’s play the game a little differently. Instead of predicting the future, let’s be proactive and see if we can shape it.

We need to leverage the largest virtual “democrary” in the world — the Internet, to achieve world peace.

Let peace take flight: The ideal agenda for 2009.

The Year 2009 has rung in. Each new year brings jubilation, anticipation and hope. What’s on the World’s stage this year? There has been much focus on changing governments and economic downturns. There is a pressing need to believe in a better tomorrow. A hope that the financial crisis will ease, that the housing market will steady and falling currencies will once again prevail.

In the newsrooms and blogs, and out on the streets, there are many stories. Short lived stories, changing stories. Many stories but no lessons. Many, many facts but no interpretation. Much knowledge but very little wisdom.

What we know for certain is that as we keep pace with time, we walk in to that swirling, unknown cloud called the Future. Can we plan for it? How do we prepare for it? Dare anyone predict it? As 2009 unfolds, will we see emerging markets emerge? Will the competition for universal jobs ease? Will our sick all over the world get treated?

Crystal ball

In past generations we had pundits who predicted the future. Leonardo Da Vinci predicted flying machines. Alvin Toffler predicted the paperless office. George Orwell predicted 1984. And we all waited and watched for system shutdowns in Y2K.

Some of these predictions were technological, others were societal. The technological ones have had a higher success rate with many of them happening or just on the brink of happening. To accurately predict the course of a society through the new millenium has been somewhat of a hard thing to do.

Is it even possible to predict the future anymore? Can we play the game a little differently this time — and predict what we want to happen instead of what we think will happen? In this day of polls and quick votes, can we, for once, tell the nation instead of ask the question? Instead of speculating and waiting for things to happen, can we be proactive about our future and help shape it ourselves?

For once, let’s not ask but tell the agenda. And let that top spot on our agenda be World Peace. Progress without peace is an impossible notion. So let us step up our universal consciousness of what matters most — global peace. Let’s march for it, work for it, pray for it. Let’s bring that ache to every home — a need for peace on earth.

We cannot design technology to monitor or control the extent of human infringement of a basic right for each one to live. We need to come up with different tools for achieving this. We need to build understanding and empathy of our global cultures. Become conscious of lives beyond our native lives. Become aware of realities beyond our own realities. A few office bearers at the top of the government chain cannot be harbingers of world peace. This has to be a grassroots movement that builds from ground up, not something that can be achieved only in high diplomatic circles.

The future today

In an age of constant migration, expatriation and repatriation of world citizens, in an age where the Internet brings people together across all borders and barriers, this is possible and in many places is already happening. We need to leverage the largest virtual “democrary” in the world — the Internet, to achieve this. It’s been proven that people come together on the Internet. It’s also been proven that millions of dollars can be raised from individual donors for a national election. Therefore, it is entirely possible to conceive of an online community movement where we can join hands and organise a virtual walk for global peace. The online global peace initiative must be energised and sustained by ordinary, everyday people from all nations.

I think we can and will reach out to this universal dream — a dream where we are truly a global village and our greatest strength is peace.

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Gandhi Foundation’s 2008 Peace Award given to two contributors to the Success of Peace in Northern Ireland

Posted on January 2, 2009. Filed under: 0. Peace, 1. World Peace | Tags: , , , |

We have previously blogged about the inspiring Success of Peace in Northern Ireland on this  “Break Down the Walls & Build Bridges of Understanding, Love and Peace” blog.

 The Gandhi Foundation’s 2008 Peace Award was awarded to , the Reverend Harold Good and Father Alex Reid, two key participants to the Peace process in Northern Ireland.  We are glad that the Gandhi Foundation chose to give the 2008 Award to people who helped establish this historic reconciliation and Peace.

The Success of Peace in Northern Ireland is one that should inspire people all over the world about the possibilities of overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles to end conflicts, and establish Peace in their region of the world.  Here after some four hundred years of conflict, the two camps in the conflict were able to build bridges to Peace!!

[We have included an excerpt  from the announcement of this award from the Gandhi Foundation’s webpage.]

2008 Peace Award & Annual Lecture – Harold Good & Alec Reid
Posted on Oct 30, 2008 by gandhifriends

Father Alec Reid,  and Rev Harold Good given the Gandhi Peace Award 2008 – Citation
by Dr. Omar Hayat

Something extraordinary has taken place and is taking place in Northern Ireland. Something very powerful indeed. After decades of troubles the wholly unexpected coalition of the two extremes in the province, the Sinn Fein and the DUP has taken place (originally with the Reverend Paisley as First Minister (now replaced by Peter Robinson) and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister).
However, it would always have been all too easy to despair of any resolution of the tribal politics of the province and Northern Ireland also has of course many similarities to the communal divide of India and the peacemakers of Northern Ireland all along faced in the Protestant/Catholic divide just the same sort of challenge as Mohandas Gandhi did in his prolonged struggle against the force of Hindu/Muslim communalism; which periodically grips India. Northern Ireland was always a Gandhian challenge and sometimes we forget how much of Gandhi’s struggle was one against terrorism. It was a struggle that did cost him his life. Clearly the Gandhi Foundation wanted to celebrate, indeed rejoice, in the triumph of non-violence over violence.


Omar Hayat and Bhikhu Parekh
Of course, key to the recent political truce was the decommissioning process. Here there was a critical barrier to be overcome. No member of the IRA could afford to be photographed handing in their weapons – this according to their military code is a treasonable offence and so another solution had to be found. That was through the witness statements to the handing in of weapons to trusted representatives of the two communities. The men asked to take on this role were the Reverend Harold Good and Father Alex Reid who acted as clerical witnesses during General John de Chastelain’s disarmament process. This act of being representatives of the two communities and overseeing the disarmament requires a great deal of Trust, a very uncommon trust in today’s world which strives towards transparency, which in some circumstances is a very good thing but also implies a lack of trust. So literally these two men have been trusted by the rest of the world and especially the sectarian parties of Northern Ireland, just on their say so, to have told the truth. Otherwise the whole process would not have progressed. A heavy responsibility indeed.

Congratulations to Reverend Harold Good and Father Alex Reid for receiving the Gandhi Foundation’s 2008 Peace Award for their key contributions to the disarmament process, a process that helped to ‘cement’ the Peace process in Northern Ireland.

[You can read the rest of the article on the link above, or Click Here]

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