Posts Tagged ‘peace’

What role can religion play in resolving conflict?

June 6, 2013

The speaker, Simon Keyes, Director of St Ethelburga’s, a now demolished mediaeval church in London.

St Ethelburga’s as a peace and reconciliation centre was an idea of the Bishop of London.

He claimed their approach was unique, they actually talked to people. Simply not true, Coventry has been doing this since the end of WWII, and Canon Andrew White is very much hands on in Iraq.

Nor were they doing anything new bringing people out of the conflict zone to talk. That is the norm. Last year Canon Andrew White had hoped to host a conference on Iraq. It fell through due to lack of funding.

A brief and very ill-informed discussion took place on the hacking to death and beheading of an off duty soldier in Woolwich. Yes, an innocent walking the street, but not innocent in that he had fought in Afghanistan. Those who carry out such actions tend not to be deranged. They see the effect of drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal regions, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and are avenging the deaths of fellow Muslims. The only surprise is that there are not more of these attacks. Young men are radicalised in Mosques, often by illiterate preachers who have not received a proper education in the Koran. They do not not then need to watch videos on the net, though such videos are widely available. They can pick these videos up from Islamic bookshops. But they do not even need to do that. All they need to do is watch the mainstream news, or listen to irresponsible idiots like Prince Harry bragging about killing Afghans.

We see with Syria, misinformation fed to the public due to lack of critical analysis by the mainstream media.

Governments then use isolated terrorist incidents to clamp down on civil liberties, to justify spying on citizens, as with for example mass surveillance programme PRISM.

Is religion responsible for conflicts? The simple answer is yes.

An idea a person, gets subverted into a religion. Power structures form, become an end in themselves, my religion is better than your religion, I must impose my religion on your religion, a religion to die for, a religion to kill for.

It is not religions that solve conflicts. It is individuals like Canon Andrew White, albeit a man of faith. Who are prepared to talk to evil people. It is easy to love your friends, it is loving your enemies that is hard.

Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is a dynamic process, something that has to be worked at. Hence Peacemakers.

In a desperate attempt to give meaning to life, many turn to religion. A struggle in the name of faith is always a justification for some grand gesture, to launch a crusade. We can say we are doing God’s work. They become devout followers, evangelists, bigots, zealots, fundamentalists. There is no better fundamentalist than the recent convert.

Religion, or at least the underlying idea, was to celebrate and share the mystery of God, it was not to oppress or convert others. And that is where religions go bad, and as we see in Iraq and other places, when religions go bad, they go very bad.

Location of talk a pain to get to, Methodist Church on Woodbridge Road leading out of Guildford town centre. Indeed, had I not passed by on a bus Aldershot to Guildford the week before, I would not have known where it was.

I noticed there was a bus stop outside the church. Last bus to Aldershot, 1840. So much for public transport, though there are trains from Guildford Station to Aldershot.

The room was awful, long and narrow and stifling hot. A door to a fire escape was open, but they refused to open the windows. A very quietly spoken speaker who barely audible, was drowned out by people jumping up and down and stamping in another room.

There are three churches more central in Guildford, these would have made far better venues.

Remembrance Year

February 21, 2013
Remembrance Day

Remembrance Year

Poignant words of poet Shane Koyczan set to music by The Short Story Long.

Two minute silence observed at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

November 11, 2011
making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

making the poppy banner at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Two minute silence observed at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Red lips are not so red As the stained stones kissed by the English dead. — Wilfred Owen (war poet) Each brave soldier – never forgotten

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place. — J McCrae

On this armistice day we should mourn all the war dead, the senseless loss of life and destruction, the tragedies of Afghanistan and Iraq. — Jeremy Corbyn MP

On Armistice Day, remember those who gave their lives for freedom; remember too those who devote their lives to reconciliation. — Peter Marsden FRRME Director

We must never forget those killed in our name, we must never forget those who challenge war choosing to promote peace in our name. Amen. — John Cooper

Remember all that garbage in the mainstream media that the camp had to be cleared by Remembrance Day? These pictures say it all.

I always feel slightly queezy at wearing a red poppy. Its true meaning is the spilt blood in the fields of France, but sadly it also gets hijacked to represent nationalism, jingoism, the glorification of war. Things it was never meant to be. Today we had the crass comment from the Secretary of State for Defence saying wearing a red poppy showed support for the war in Afghanistan!

There is also a white poppy for peace.

We should respect those who wear white or red popies, the choice is theirs, not ours to dictate.

Today I met a man who was selling white and red poppies, something I have never seen before.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month we observe a two minutes silence for those who have fallen in war.

Pause for thought: red and white poppies
Occupy London to mark Remembrance weekend
Occupy London protesters ‘will not obstruct remembrance events’
Armistice Day marked by defence secretary in Afghanistan
How the Cenotaph and red poppies became symbols of war
In Remembrance‏

Christmas message from Paulo Coelho

December 25, 2010
Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

22 December 2010 – United Nations Messenger of Peace Paulo Coelho gives short shrift to those who claim there is a clash of civilizations.

“I don’t believe in it. It’s something some political leaders tried to use, and that the media tried and are still trying to sell us, in order to simplify the world and their work,” the renowned Brazilian author told the UN News Centre in an interview.

“When they talk about a ‘clash of civilizations,’ it’s just a way to separate things but the reality, and what I see, is that we are much closer than we think. I was in China recently. I spoke to normal people and heard the same stories I would hear in Brazil. So where is the clash of civilisations? There is none.”

For Mr. Coelho, who is also a Special Counsellor for Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a member of the UN “Network of Men Leaders” bringing together political, religious and cultural leaders to combat the pandemic of violence against women, everybody should be focussing on what unites, not on what separates.

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

The Pope gives a Christmas message, as does the Archbishop of Canterbury, as does Queen Elisabeth II, so why not United Nations Messenger of Peace Paulo Coelho?

UN: no clash of civilizations
UN messenger Paulo Coelho rejects idea of clash of civilizations
Interview with Paulo Coelho, UN Messenger of Peace
Christmas in the Middle East

War Is Too Easy

November 9, 2010

If politicians had to fight the wars
they would find another way.

Peace is not easy, they say.
But it is war that is too easy –

too easy to turn a profit, too easy
to believe there is no choice,

too easy to sacrifice
someone else’s children.

Someday it will not be this way.
someday we will teach our children

that they must not kill,
that they must have the courage

to live peace, to stand firmly
for justice, to say no to war.

Until we teach our children peace,
each generation will have its wars.

Will find its own ways
to believe in them.

— David Krieger

Yes, war is too easy. It could be any war, but what comes to my mind is the illegal war on Iraq pressed by war criminals Bush and Blair riding to war on a pack of lies and jingoism.

Who has benefited from the illegal war on Iraq? Well not the Iraqi people, and even less the Christian minority. But the global corporations who rode the coattails of the war machine as it ravaged Iraq have done very well out of raping and pillaging Iraq.

David Krieger is a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and has served as president of the Foundation since 1982. Under his leadership the Foundation has initiated many innovative and important projects for building peace, strengthening international law and abolishing nuclear weapons. Dr. Krieger has lectured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia on issues of peace, security, international law, and the abolition of nuclear weapons. He is the author and editor of many books on peace, including a recent book of peace poetry, Today Is Not a Good Day for War.

I first came across David Krieger when I found his beautiful poem The children of Iraq have names, reproduced by Canon Andrew White in his moving book Suffer the Children.

Canon Andrew White is vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad and president of FRRME.

Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

October 9, 2010

For once the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a worthy recipient.

The award last year to Barack Obama was a sick joke. For what, was the question most people asked. It made ridicule of the Nobel Peace Prize. Almost as bad as awarding the US Liberty Medal to Tony Blair.

China is a brutal regime. They carry out brutal repression of dissidents both within China and Chinese occupied Tibet. The West turns a blind eye whilst China continues to supply the West with cheap goods.

Last year I had the honour of meeting Ma Jian one of the student leaders who survived Tiananmen Square massacre. The memory of which has been wiped from the Chinese collective consciousness. I am only sorry to say I have still not read his book, Beijing Coma, a copy of which he kindly gave me.

Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo is another survivor from the Tiananmen Square massacre. He has continued to speak out which is why he is now in a Chinese prison.

The Nobel committee made clear in its announcement of the award that by giving it to Liu, currently serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges, it intended to highlight human rights problems and political repression in China.

also see

Eyewitness account of Tiananmen Square

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to China dissident Liu Xiaobo

China: Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Spotlights Rights Deficit

Jailed Chinese Dissident Liu Xiaobo Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

War/No More Trouble | Playing for Change | Song Around The World

September 3, 2010

Classic Jimi Hendrix, amazing rendition by Playing for Change.

Also see!/PlayingForChange


April 2, 2010

Peace creates love
love creates abundance
abundance creates success
success creates self confidence
self confidence creates courage
courage creates more peace

— Easton Hamilton

From the album notes of Both Sides by Lucinda Drayton.

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