James Hohmann / Dallas Morning News – 2007-08-10 23:34:05
Nobel Laureate Calls for Removal of Bush
James Hohmann / Dallas Morning News
(,July 12, 2007) — Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.
In a keynote speech at the International Women’s Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.
“Right now, I could kill George Bush,” she said at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. “No, I don’t mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that.”
About half the crowd gave her a standing ovation after she called for Mr. Bush’s removal from power. “The Muslim world right now is suffering beyond belief,” she said. “Unless the president of the United States is held responsible for what he’s doing and what he has done, there’s no one in the Muslim world who will forgive him.”
When an audience member told Ms. Williams that Vice President Dick Cheney would become president if George Bush were impeached, she said, “Can’t you impeach them both?”
“It’s twisted. It’s all wrong,” she said. “There are so many lies being told. It’s hard to be an American and go out into the world right now.”
Ms. Williams started her speech by asking every member of the audience to hug everyone around them. Then she cut to what amounted to both a call for peace and a stinging rebuke of the American government.
Conference organizers have said that the conference is nonpartisan and that no one was invited to speak about the war in Iraq. After Ms. Williams finished her speech, conference chairwoman Carol Donovan took the podium to say that Ms. Williams did not speak for the conference – only herself.
“It’s important for us to separate the opinion of the person and the position of the conference,” Ms. Donovan said.
Two other Nobel Peace Prize winners, American activist Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchú Tum of Guatemala, will speak this week as part of the conference. Jody Williams, who was in the audience Wednesday, has also indicated she would speak about Mr. Bush.
“We believe very strongly it was important to have the opportunity to hear these three peace prize winners,” Ms. Donovan said.
Betty Williams won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for creating a group that helped start peace talks in Northern Ireland. In 1992, Texas Gov. Ann Richards appointed Betty Williams to the Texas Commission for Children and Youth.
Many in the crowd found out that Lady Bird Johnson had died when Jan Sanders, the wife of U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders and a close friend of the former first lady, gave an impromptu eulogy.
“She was a friend, a doer, an influencer of world events,” Ms. Sanders said. “She lived a full life. If she were here, she would say to you, ‘Keep on being women doers.’ ”
In accordance with Title U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
A Weekend with Nobel Peace Laureates
John Dear / Common Dreams
(Septemnber 24, 2006) — “We will never win a war against terror as long as the conditions for poverty and injustice remain,”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said. “Poverty breeds terrorism. So we should stop spending billions on weapons of destruction and instead feed the hungry people of the world. Then, we’ll stop terrorism. If we want to live in peace, we have to realize we are all members of the same family.”
Archbishop Tutu was just one of ten Nobel Peace prize
winners speaking to three thousand youth last weekend
in Denver at PeaceJam, an international program which
brings youth from around the world together with Nobel Peace Laureates — ten of them in this case — the
argest gathering ever in North America. Founded by a dynamic young couple, Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff, PeaceJam is one of the most exciting, empowering youth programs in the nation.
My friend Mairead Maguire, the Nobel laureate from Belfast, whose writings I edited into the collection, “The Vision of Peace,” asked me to accompany her to the events. I had traveled with her before, along with our friend Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the Nobel laureate from Argentina, to Iraq in 1999. And recently, Archbishop Tutu, laureate from South Africa, wrote a forward for my forthcoming Doubleday book, “Transfiguration.”
Besides reconnecting with these heroes of mine, I got to meet Jose Ramos Horta, Prime Minister of East Timor; President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica; Jody Williams of the Landmines Campaign, Shrini Ebadi of Iran, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, and Betty Williams of Northern Ireland. And at one point during the weekend, I received a blessing from the Dalai Lama. The weekend concluded with a “Global Call to Action with the Youth of the World,” a plea to fight poverty, racism, environmental destruction, war and nuclear weapons.
Such wondrously inspiring days. The weekend over, I drove Mairead to New Mexico, where she spoke in several churches and gave media interviews and toured Los Alamos.
It was gratifying to meet young people from around the world. At one point, hundreds lined up at the microphone to say briefly what inspires them, before they received Tutu’s blessing. One fifteen year old said, “I’m inspired by all those who stand up against the current and speak out for peace. After all, only dead fish go with the flow!”
Still, I found myself moved most by the message of the laureates.
“War doesn’t work,” Mairead said over and over to the thousands who turned out. “Nuclear weapons don’t work. I don’t believe in a just war. The war on Iraq is totally immoral, totally illegal, and totally unnecessary. So we need to say no to war, and no to nuclear weapons. We need to learn the way of nonviolence.”
Said Shrini Ebadi, the brave judge from Iran: “Every nation with nuclear weapons should dismantle them immediately. I wish, for example, that after 9/11 the U.S. had built thousands of schools in Afghanistan in honor of each victim.”
Jose Ramos said, “I’m worried about the consequences of nuclear proliferation. I’m worried that one day we will wake to find Washington, D.C. or London destroyed by biological attacks from non-state terrorists.”
And Jody Williams asked, “What has the war and violence
done in Iraq? It’s only turned Iraq into a training ground for terrorists. You cannot bring change through the barrel of a gun. If we really want to disarm the world of nuclear weapons, we should begin first here at home.”
“Work for peace is really hard work,” she continued. “Peacemaking means getting up every single day and working hard for global peace. It’s not doves or nice paintings or bad poetry; it’s hard work. And that’s the only way to make the world better. Peace is economic and social justice, and we have to work hard for that.”
President Oscar Arias pointed out that “the U.S. spends over half a trillion a year on militarism, but only a tiny fracture on food, medicine and education for the world’s poor. Real security means first of all security against hunger, disease, and poverty.”
And Rigoberta Menchu cut us to the core: “If there were no wars in the world, the U.S. economy would not prosper. Therefore, there must not be any more prosperity in the United States, if the world’s poor are to prosper.”
“World peace begins with our personal inner disarmament,” the Dalai Lama taught. “We need to take seriously our religious traditions and inner life, then try to educate young people and future generations about the life of peace. And we have to recognize that all six billion of us are one.”
“When I was tortured by the Argentine Junta,” Adolfo Perez Esquivel told us, “I saw on the ceiling of my cell, written in blood, the words, ‘God does not kill.’ We need to learn that lesson, and resist the forces of death and destruction, and struggle for life and dignity for all. If we focus on this task, we can build peace.”
Betty Williams told us flatly: “If you are not trying to change what’s wrong in the world, you are part of the problem. Every one of us has a responsibility to look after humanity.”
And again Shrini Ebadi: “When you believe in your cause, you will find strength to take another step forward, and you will make a difference. One day, God will ask us what we did with our lives, how we served humanity, so we better get on with that work.”
“How about exporting your generosity instead of your bombs?” Archbishop Tutu concluded, as he addressed thousands of young people. “You are the future of the world. Don’t become cynical like us old folks who made a mess of the world. The world is hurting. Go and heal it.”
“We need a new nonviolent, non-killing world. Is such a world possible? Of course it is,” Mairead Maguire said. “But we have to work for it. Get to work!”
A noble mandate for all of us.
John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist and author of You Will Be My Witnesses (Orbis) and “Living Peace” (Doubleday). For information on the Nobel
Laureates gathering, see: wwwpeacejam.org. For information on the campaign to stop the war on Iraq,
See also: www.johndear.org.
Spare the Rod
Riane Eisler / YES Magazine
What is the link between intimate violence and war? Why do societies that treat women with respect fare better? A movement challenges traditions of violence in the family
Every day, the headlines assault us with death and destruction. We read of brutal attacks that maim and kill civilians and even target children. The torture of prisoners and beheading of hostages in Iraq. The carnage in Sudan and the Congo.
Despite anti-war protests by millions of people, despite promises by politicians that pre’emptive wars will bring security, despite a global peace movement teaching nonviolent conflict resolution, war and terrorism continue unabated. What fuels this firestorm of violenceóand how can we stop it?
Weíre sometimes told violence is “human nature.” But findings from sociology, psychology, and neuroscience show that a major factor in whether people commit violence is what happens during a childís early formative years. As research from Harvard University and Maclean Hospital shows, the brain neurochemistry of abused children tends to become programmed for fight-or-flight, and thus for violence.
When children experience violence, or observe violence against their mothers, they learn it ís acceptabl -even moral- to use force to impose one’s will on others. Indeed, the only way they can make sense of violence coming from those who are supposed to love them is that it must be moral.
Terrorism and chronic warfare are responses to life in societies in which the only perceived choices are dominating or being dominated. These violent responses are characteristic of cultures where this view of relations is learned early on through traditions of coercion, abuse, and violence in parent-child and gender relations.
It’s not coincidental that throughout history the most violently despotic and warlike societies have been those in which violence, or the threat of violence, is used to maintain domination of parent over child and man over woman. It’s not coincidental that the 9/11 terrorists came from cultures where women and children are terrorized into submission.
Nor is it coincidental that Afghanistan under the Taliban in many ways resembled the European Middle Agesówhen witchburnings, public drawings and quarterings, despotic rulers, brutal violence against children, and male violence against women were considered moral and normal. Neither is it coincidental that, in the U.S. today, those pushing “crusades” against “evil enemies” oppose equal rights for women and advocate harshly punitive childrearing.
For much of recorded history, religion has been used to justify, even command, violence against women and children. The subjugation of women and children is still the central message of many fundamentalist religious leaders todayóleaders who, not coincidentally, also advocate ìholy wars.î
Many religious and secular leaders have spoken out against international terrorism and wars of aggression. But we urgently need to hear their voices raised also against the intimate violence that sparks, fuels, and refuels international violence. Far too many customs and public policies still accept, condone, and even promote violence against women and children.
I’m passionately involved in an initiative to change this. The Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV) aims to end violence against women and children by engaging the moral authority of spiritual and religious leaders. More than 80 percent of the worldís people identify with a religious faith and look to religious leaders for guidance.
SAIV was formed to encourage enlightened spiritual and religious leaders to speak out against intimate violence as strongly as they do against terrorism and war. This is essential, not only for the many millions whose lives are taken or blighted by terror in the home, but for us all, because intimate violence teaches that it is acceptable to use force to impose oneís will on others.
SAIV has gathered a council of leaders who are prepared to break the silence on this pivotal issue. Among them are Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; A.T. Ariyatne, the leader of the Sarvodaya peace movement of Sri Lanka; Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mohandas Gandhi; Betty Williams, Irish Nobel Peace Laureate; Bill Schulz, director of Amnesty International; Janet Chisholm, chair of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship; Irfan Ahmad Khan, president of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations; Kalon Rinchen Khando, Tibetan Minister of Education for the Dalai Lama; Harvey Cox, professor at the Harvard Divinity School; Jane Goodall; and Deepak Chopra.
Under the direction of Jim Kenney, former director of the Council for a Parliament of the Worldís Religions, SAIV is reaching out to religious and spiritual leaders, health professionals, policy makers, teachers, and parents to discuss the link between intimate and international violence.
Cultures of War or Peace
Surprisingly, none of our conventional social categories takes the relationship of intimate violence and international violence into account. Indeed, classifications such as religious versus secular, right versus left, East versus West, and developed versus developing do not tell us whether a cultureís beliefs and institutionsófrom the family, education, and religion to politics and economicsósupport relations based on nonviolence and mutual respect, or rigid rankings backed up by fear and force.
In studying societies across cultures and epochs, looking at both the public and personal spheres, I discovered configurations that transcend conventional categories. Since there were no names for these configurations, I coined the terms partnership model and dominator or domination model.
Hitler’s Germany (a technologically advanced, Western, rightist society), Stalinís USSR (a secular leftist society), fundamentalist Iran (an Eastern religious society), and Idi Amin’s Uganda (a tribalist society) were all violent and repressive. There are obvious differences between them.
But they all share the core configuration of the domination model. They are characterized by top-down rankings in the family and state or tribe maintained through physical, psychological, and economic control; the rigid ranking of the male half of humanity over the female half; and a high degree of culturally accepted abuse and violenceófrom child- and wife-beating to chronic warfare.
The partnership model, on the other hand, is based on a democratic and egalitarian structure in both family and state or tribe and on equal partnership between women and men. There is little violence, because rigid rankings of domination, which can be maintained only through violence, are not part of the culture. Because women have higher status, stereotypically feminine values have social priority.
(When I say stereotypically, I mean traits stereotypically classified by gender to fit the domination model. In this model, ìmasculineî traits and activities, such as toughness and ìheroicî violence, are more valued than nonviolence and caregiving, which are associated with the half of humanity barred from power.)
Prosperity and Rights
Where the rights of women and children are protected, nations thrive. In fact, a study of 89 nations by the organization I direct, the Center for Partnership Studies, shows that the status of women can be a better predictor of the general quality of life than a nationís financial wealth.
Kuwait and France, for example, had identical GDPs (Gross Domestic Product). But quality of life indicators are much higher in France, where the status of women is higher, while infant mortality was twice as high in Kuwait.
The social investment in caring for children characteristic of the partnership model actually contributes to prosperity. Finland is a good example. Like other Nordic nations, Finlandís economy is a mix of central planning and free enterprise. In the early 20th century, Finland was very poor. That changed as the country invested in its human capital through childcare (both daycare and allowances for families), healthcare, family planning, and paid parental leave.
Like other Nordic nations, Finland ranks near the top in United Nations Human Development Reportsófar ahead of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other wealthier nations. In all the Nordic nations, a much higher than average percentage of legislative seats are filled by women (35 to 40 percent), strong menís movements disentangle “masculinity” from violence, and governments discourage or legally prohibit physical discipline of children in families.
These nations also pioneered education for peace, have low crime rates, mediate international disputes, and invest heavily in aid to developing nations.
We see similar patterns of nonviolence coupled with respect for women and children among the Minangkabau, an agrarian culture of 2.5 million people in Sumatra, where, anthropologist Peggy Sanday reports, violence isn’t part of childrearing, women aren’t subordinate to men, and nurturance is part of both the female and male roles.
The Teduray, a tribal culture in the Philippines, also don’t discipline children through violence, nor is violence integral to male socialization. As anthropologist Stuart Schlegel writes in Wisdom from a Rain Forest, the Teduray value women and men equally, and eldersóboth female and maleómediate disputes.
An important lesson from these cultures is this: How a society structures the primary human relationsóbetween the female and male halves of humanity, and between them and their childrenóis central to whether it is violent and inequitable or peaceful and equitable.
Countering Domination and Violence
The “culture wars” launched in the U.S. by the fundamentalist right give special attention to relations between women and men and parents and children. Their fully integrated political agenda centers on reimposing a male-headed family where women must render unpaid services (with no independent access to income) and children learn that orders must be strictly obeyed on pain of severe punishment.
Progressives urgently need a social and political agenda that takes into account both the public sphere of politics and economics, and the personal sphere of family and other intimate relations. Only through an integrated progressive agenda that takes into account both the personal and public spheres can we build foundations for cultures of peace rather than war.
Riane Eisler is author of the international bestseller The Chalice and The Blade. Her newest book, The Power of Partnership, won the Nautilus Award in 2003. She is president of the Center for Partnership Studies (www.partnershipway.org ) and co-founder of the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (www.saiv.net ).
NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
by Peacemakers Incorporated
Adams Mark Hotel and Conference Center
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July 10-15, 2007
We Are The One’s
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* Plenary sessions will include keynote speakers.
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approaches to peace in their respective countries.
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facilitated discussion groups.
• Hon. Leticia Shahani
Educator, diplomat, and senator. Lifted women’s rights and role in government and in the world to new heights (more…)
• Merve Kavakci
Elected to Turkish Parliment, noted international lecturer and scholar recognized for her efforts in the advancement of human rights and Muslim women’s empowerment (more…)
• Jody Williams
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1997
Awarded for her work in achieving an international treaty banning landmines as Founding Coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines; Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Work and Global Justice in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston (more…)
• Betty Williams
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1976
Awarded for her work in bringing peace in her native Northern Ireland; Founder of the Global Children’s Studies Center; Founder of the World Centers of Compassion for Children (more…)
• Sharon D. Welch
Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of Missouri–Columbia (more…)
• Ruth- Gaby Vermot Mangold
Co-President of Peace Women Across the Globe, an international network of women working in different fields of human security, joining forces to bring the knowledge and leadership of peacewomen to official decision making arenas (more…)
• Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1992
Awarded for her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples in her native Guatemala . Established a foundation to promote the rights of indigenous people around the world (more…)
• Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Professor, University of Cape Town; award winning author of A Human Being Died That Night; former committee member of The Truth and Rconcilliation Commission (more…)
• Noeleen Heyzer
Executive Director of UNIFEM
For more information on the United Nations click here.
• Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
Millionth Circle Initiative, 5WWC; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California Medical Center; prolific author, latest book: Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World (more…)
• Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt directs the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she also teaches. An expert on domestic policy and foreign affairs, she is president of Hunt Alternatives Fund
• Peacemakers, Incorporated
non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt corporation founded in
Dallas, Texas by Vivian Castleberry.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead –