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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John Lennon’s Music for Peace

Posted on December 30, 2008. Filed under: 1. World Peace | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

John Lennon has made a lasting impact in the world through his strong stand for Peace. This month countless people all over the world remembered the 28th anniversary of his death on December 8th, 1980, when his young life was ended by the violent act of an assasin’s bullet.  

His songs and music such as “Give Peace a Chance” have become anthems for World Peace.

Let’s remember John Lennon by listening to one of the songs that he used to spread his stand for Peace.  This song  is “Give Peace a Chance” where he sang “.. all we are saying, is give peace a chance”.  

These are powerful words that echo and their message reverberates more than 30 years since they were sung.

As we approach the 2009 New Year and make our resolutions for the coming year, let’s think of these powerful words and add it to our resolutions to take a stand to “Give Peace a Chance”

 
Happy New Year to you all! May Peace Blossom in the 2009 New Year!

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Issues of Social Justice, Change and Non-violence/Peaceful Struggles

Posted on August 5, 2008. Filed under: 0. Peace, 1. World Peace | Tags: , , , , , |

Issues of Social Justice, Change and Non-violence: “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”  Mahatma Gandhi

When we call for, and take a stand for World Peace, we are inevitably faced with questions of social justice without which conflicts within nations and between different nations flare up and intensify.

In turn, when looking at issues of Social Justice, one of the most important areas of focus is that of democratic involvement of citizens in choosing leaders, and influencing and directing decisions on how they are governed.

In the last few years the struggles for democracy and democratic governments have created flash points and conflicts over different parts of the globe, such as in Myanmar (Burma), Tibet and Pakistan in Asia, different countries in Latin America, and in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe in Africa.

These struggles for democracy have many times resulted in violence and brutal repression of opposition forces and the deaths of many people sometimes on both sides of the conflicts. The end-results have been – intensified conflicts and deeper chasms between Governments and oppositions groups.

How should issues of social justice, for democratic rights and governance be handled? How should opposition parties fight for democracy, and how should governments respond? How can each side impact the resolution of these issues so that conflicts are not intensified and positions hardened? These are some of the questions that need to be looked at when attempting to peacefully resolve issues of Social Justice and democracy.

The answers to these questions are by their nature complex and multi-faceted. There is no simple answer or remedy that addresses them all. However, a guiding principle that needs to be adhered to is that articulated by the great leader Mahatma Gandhi that “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

Governments that use violence to suppress opposition movements for democracy and change will only radicalize and make the opposition movements more extreme, and invite more violence on themselves and their supporters.

On the other hand opposition movements that use violence to achieve what they feel is legitimately theirs will also push the governments in power to harden their positions and intensify their violent suppression on them and their supporters.

Violence will only result in a cycle of hurt and vengeance that creates needless suffering, wastes human lives and the meager resources the county has. A victory achieved by using violence will bear the seeds of more conflict as the ‘losers’ now have new scores to settle and perceived or real hurts to avenge.

Lessons of the non-violent methods of working for change used by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian independence movement, and by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States, need to be studied and adapted as models for opposition movements. They hold the best promises for a change that will result in positive movement and change. They stand in strong contrast to the results from the use of violence to achieve change. The results from the use of violence to achieve chage include the creation of new wounds and hatreds and the intensifying of old ones, laying the ground for the new governments using violence to suppress the new opposition movements and groups.

The path of non-violence to achieve change is a difficult one, that is not glamorous, it requires a lot of sacrifice but in the end offers the best prospects for meaningful and lasting change. It offers the best prospects for minimizing the creation of new conflicts, and resolving the ones that already exist.

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