- 29 December 2011
- CSR Wire
- By Michael Shank and Michael Honda
The U.S. Peace Index
Illustrating how much money America is mismanaging, the first-ever U.S. Peace Index, launched this year by the Institute for Economics and Peace, cites conservative estimates of the economic effect if the U.S. were on par with Canadian policy on all five aforementioned fronts: $361 billion per year and a stimulatory effect of 2.7 million jobs. Given America’s high debt and high unemployment, it could benefit from both of these boosts.
If the U.S. is interested in realizing these savings and seizing these jobs, the answer lies in the U.S. Peace Index.
- first published 19 December 2011
- Globe and Mail
- By Lawrence Martin
The Conservatives have always been deeply suspicious – and it’s a suspicion shared by many Canadians – that vast amounts of public money going to Indian bands is squandered. It goes down a black hole, as the saying goes.
Liberals held the suspicion, too. I recall one of prime minister Jean Chrétien’s top advisers saying he’d heard lots of stories of band chiefs lining their pockets. The government didn’t wish to pursue the matter, he said, for fear of being labelled racist.
Leaders of the Attawapiskat First Nation are turning to the UN to ensure the government helps out with the reserve’s housing crisis. They’re angry that Ottawa responded by removing the band’s power over its finances.
Did you know that Peacemakers Trust work has no paid staff? This means our overhead is low and your donor dollars go a long way. In 2012, Peacemakers Trust would like to expand its work in three major ways all of which require funding for additional expenses or honoraria for students, interns, educators or researchers: Peacemakers Trust online bibliographic resources, education, and research on peacebuilding. We would welcome your partnership as a donor or funder. Peacemakers Trust is pleased to announce its registration with CanadaHelps for secure online donations by individual or institutional subscribers. Here is some more information about donating to Peacemakers Trust and more information about CanadaHelps.
Enlarge the word cloud. See the Bibliography.
This is to let you know that Canadian law requires charitable organizations to receipt donations in the year they are received. Cheques and money orders sent by mail must be:
• dated in the current year,
• the envelope both metered (if a stamp is not used) and postmarked prior to December 31 of the current year,
• and delivered within one week of New Year’s Day in order for an official receipt for tax purposes to be issued for the current year.
- 27 December 2011
- Foreign Policy
- By Louise Arbour
What conflict situations are most at risk of deteriorating further in 2012? When Foreign Policy asked the International Crisis Group to evaluate which manmade disasters could explode in the coming year, we put our heads together and came up with 10 crisis areas that warrant particular concern.
- VOA Khmer
- By Kong Sothanarith
The Cambodian government on Wednesday took a step back on a controversial law to regulate NGOs, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying in a public speech he wanted the Ministry of Interior and local NGOs to continue discussions that would make the law “acceptable” to all.
- 25 December 2011
- Agence France-Presse
SEOUL — Activists in South Korea on Saturday sent winter socks carried by gas-filled balloons across the border to the impoverished North, where they can easily be exchanged for food.
One pair of socks is thought to fetch about 22 pounds (10 kilos) of corn — enough to sustain a person for a month in the hungry communist state.
About 800 pairs of socks were launched by four large balloons across the border from the northern city of Paju on Christmas Eve.
They were sent with leaflets containing a “politically innocuous” message, said Seoul-based aid group North Korea Peace, which plans to launch 1,000 pairs of socks every month.
- 27 December 2011
- By Lisa Gates
The way I see it, there are two reasons we women travel through life losing sight of ourselves. Our diffuse awareness and our other-focused prioritizing. We aren’t likely to change, but when we get conscious and intentional, we make huge shifts in the balance of our priorities.
Generalizing wildly, we women have one beautiful pair of traits that opens the door for these huge shifts: we dream and we implement. We see the big picture and then we go about pinching the devil out of the details.
Before I give you the 7 Actions that will aid you in collaborating and delegating those details, I want to tell you a little story about Jane Doe the CEO (you, that is).
- 23 December 2011
- Upside Down World | Los Movimientos Contraatacan
- By Emma Gascó y Martín Cúneo
In 1994, Manuel Cepeda, a Senator of the Patriotic Union Party in Colombia, was executed by paramilitaries under the command of the state. Since then his son, Iván Cepeda, devotes himself to the fight against impunity by working with the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE). The lawsuit filed by the Foundation goes to the Inter-American justice system, has led the current Santos administration to admit the State’s responsibility in this crime. Since 2010 Cepeda has been a deputy in the Congress of the Republic for the Alternative Democratic Pole.
John Hunter’s fourth-graders are remarkably successful at resolving world crises peacefully.
Hunter, 57, has been teaching for more than three decades. He wanted to get his students to think about major world issues, so he invented the World Peace Game. Students are divided into countries, and then given a series of global crises — natural disasters, political conflicts — that they have to solve.
- 21 December 2011
- The New Republic
- By Tom Malinowski
Write it down. Write it. With ordinary ink
on ordinary paper; they weren’t given food,
they all died of hunger. All. How many?
It’s a large meadow. How much grass
per head? Write down: I don’t know.
History rounds off skeletons to zero.
A thousand and one is still only a thousand.
That one seems never to have existed:
a fictitious fetus, an empty cradle,
a primer opened for no one,
air that laughs, cries, and grows,
stairs for a void bounding out to the garden,
no one’s spot in the ranks.
– Wieslawa Szymborska, Starvation Camp Near Jaslo
How does one get the measure of Kim Jong Il’s legacy in North Korea? His victims, like those of his father before him, are so many, in lives ended and lives stunted, that they become faceless and formless in our minds, like those tens of thousands of dancers in the mass performances Kim liked to stage. An Egyptian protester beaten, a Burmese dissident imprisoned, a Chinese blogger censored—such singular injustices are easier to grasp, and thus more likely to make us angry, and to spur us to act. The North Korean regime has been protected by the sheer enormity of its crimes, which discrete images cannot easily capture.
- 22 December 2011
- By Adrienne Mong and Bo Gu
HAIMEN, Guangdong Province — It wouldn’t have been fair or accurate to call it a China Spring, but for a moment it was worth wondering: Was this the beginning of a Guangdong Spring?
Since September, residents in a fishing village called Wukan, in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, had been protesting against their local government over, specifically, illegal land grabs and, more generally, corruption. This was a town where one man had held sway as the Communist Party chief for four decades.
The situation grew explosive two weekends ago when one of the protest organizers died in police custody, triggering a widespread and cohesive revolt that saw thousands of people run the local officials and police out of town—the first time the Communist Party appeared to have lost total control.
The authorities responded by laying siege on Wukan, preventing food and other supplies from reaching the 20,000-strong population, and censoring all mention of the latest developments in Chinese media or on the Internet. In turn, the residents welcomed foreign and Hong Kong journalists to cover their plight.
Negotiations between the two sides kicked into high gear even as the situation escalated. The villagers threatened to march to the government offices of a nearby town unless their demands were met, potentially pitting them against thousands of riot and paramilitary police deployed along the main road leading in and out of Wukan.
BEIJING — China’s security chief has urged authorities to resolve conflicts swiftly and enforce the law in a “civilised” way, after a recent upsurge in social unrest in the country of 1.3 billion people.
Zhou Yongkang, a member of China’s powerful Politburo, said authorities should try to resolve disputes “at the grassroots level,” as the government seeks to prevent outbreaks of violence.
- 15 December 2011
- The Witness
- By Linda Manyath
BEFORE the colonisation of South Africa, the traditional method of conflict resolution involved mediation between conflicting parties by elders in the family. If that failed, then the induna (headsman) would become involved as a mediator, and should that fail, the dispute would be referred to the Chief’s Court.
- 19 December 2011
- Huffington Post
- By Tenzin Dorjee
One of the rare advantages of being born a refugee is that you become bilingual by default.
As a Tibetan educated in India and the United States, I’m often asked to interpret for Tibetan speakers at meetings, rallies and press conferences. Recently, I facilitated a brainstorming session between Nathan Freitas, technology director at the Tibet Action Institute, and Kusho Monlam, a Tibetan monk and a pioneer in the computerization of Tibetan language.
As the discussion turned to the technical methods and challenges of creating Tibetan keyboards on Android phones, my usefulness as an interpreter quickly disappeared.
- 21 December 2011
- "Avoiding strong stands and pandering to your political base is in" among world leaders, author says.
New York, NY – When John F Kennedy was running for office, he wrote a book with the help of a prominent historian and political adviser. That volume, Profiles in Courage, became a bestseller because the public wanted – and still wants – leaders they can admire.
The problem is that in an age of big money politics, polls and political consultants, courage among our politicians is dwindling fast. The courageous politician appears to be an endangered species that “lives” only in history books, but not in the present era.
Former CBS newscaster Dan Rather used the term “courage!” to end his newscasts. When he showed real courage in exposing President Bush’s non-existent war record, he was pushed out of his anchor chair for his bravery.
There are some – though few – exceptions. The recently departed Czech leader Vaclav Havel was one, perhaps because he was an outspoken human rights activist and playwright. A book about his work in theatre is entitled Acts of Courage. Havel wrote that when “courage to act against unfreedom is boiled down to mere calculations of risk, then courage ceases to be courage”.
Nelson Mandela also showed courage, as did FW DeKlerk when he finally let him out of prison. Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is on the courage list along with a small minority of others.
- 20 December 2011
- Globe and Mail
- By Patrick Martin
For two years, the people of Nabi Saleh, a Palestinian village north of Ramallah, have protested against the creeping annexation of their farmland by the nearby Israeli settlement of Halamish.
- 20 December 2011
- Committee to Protect Journalists
NEW YORK – Pakistan remained the deadliest country for the press for a second year, while across the world coverage of political unrest proved unusually dangerous in 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its year-end survey of journalist fatalities. CPJ’s analysis found notable shifts from historical data: Targeted murders declined while deaths during dangerous assignments such as the coverage of street protests reached their highest level on record. Photographers and camera operators, often the most vulnerable during violent unrest, died at rates more than twice the historical average.
At least 43 journalists were killed around the world in direct relation to their work in 2011…
- 20 December 2011
- In his own words: "We have to abandon the arrogant belief that the world is merely a puzzle to be solved"
- By Philip K. Howard
Vaclav Havel, the former Czech independence activist and president who died on Sunday, has been justly eulogized for his intellectual leadership and personal courage in the fight against communism. Havel was also a thoughtful observer of western democracies, seeing similar absolutist trends in government structures that strive toward uniformity and ultimate solutions. In a series of speeches given in the 1990s, he laid out an analysis that seems, if anything, even more relevant today.
Western governments, he said, are organized on a flawed premise not far removed from the Soviet system that had just collapsed. “The modern era has been dominated by the culminating belief,” he said, “that the world … is a wholly knowable system governed by finite number of universal laws that man can grasp and rationally direct … objectively describing, explaining, and controlling everything.”
These bureaucratic structures are profoundly dehumanizing, Havel believed…
The withdrawal of troops from Iraq is just one dramatic event in a year that foregrounded the power of non-violence to change the world.
Powerful nonviolent movements removed regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. They transformed the lives of millions across the Arab World and inspired, energized, and challenged people in the US through the Occupy Movement. The dramatic contrast to the US-in-Iraq model of regime change that was based on destruction, waste and criminality had been shown the disappointment it was believed to be.