- 2006-05-02: Mayday-Voices from the Street;
- 2006-05-05: Towards a global solidarity;
- 2006-05-06: SPEECH BY ABDULLAHI AHMED AN-NA’IM;
- 2006-05-07: U.N Must Act to End Attacks on Karen in Burma/Myamar;
- 2006-05-08: Security Council Reform, Problems and Prospects, Sept. 2005;
- 2006-05-09: How churches become peace churches;
- 2006-05-10: Situation in Abkhazia;
- 2006-05-11: UNHCR Should Lead the International Humanitarian Enterprise;
- 2006-05-12: Why are lessons spurned, rather than learned?;
- 2006-05-16: For whom the bell tolls;
- 2006-05-18: Fake TV news;
- 2006-05-19: Synaptic Memory;
- 2006-05-20: Gran impostura;
- 2006-05-20: Calmy-Rey vor UNO-Sicherheitsrat;
- 2006-05-21: Eine trampelnde Elephantenherde;
- 2006-05-22: Searching for the Sources of the Self;
- 2006-05-23: KARI-OCA DECLARATION;
- 2006-05-24: Judas Gospel, DaVinci Code and Elites;
- 2006-05-25: Women with disabilities and sexual violence in Kenya;
- 2006-05-26: The tyranny doctrine;
- 2006-05-26: Menschenrechte auch in der Wirtschaft;
- 2006-05-27: Human Rights… The Sacrifice on its Feast Day!;
- 2006-05-28: The prisoner as message;
- 2006-05-29: Statement … The West Papua Case;
- 2006-05-30: Make Poverty History – Treat Humanity properly;
- 2006-05-31: Transforming Approaches to Conflict Resolution.
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Linked with our presenttion of V. Mohini Giri – India.
Linked also with our presentation of Guild of Service – India.
By Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Guild of Service – Mahatma Gandhi said: “If only the women of the World came together they could display such heroic non-violence as to kick away the Atom Bomb like a mere ball. If the Women of Asia wake up they will dazzle the world. My experiment in non-violence would be instantly successful if I could secure Women’s help.”
We are meeting at crucial point in the history of the sub-continent. Torn by communal strife, destructive tornado of fundamentalism, and blatant terrorism, the conditions of the sub-continent tear the fabric of world peace. The need of the hour is vital. The endeavor is to be made now, so that in the millennium humanity can reach the zenith of social and human progress.
The building of peace is a constructive activity. There is nothing passive about either the concept or the state of peace. From times immemorial India has been a harbinger of peace to the world. We feel that it is only within the framework of peace women’s fullest potential can be realized and it is primarily the women who can usher in an era of peace in the 21st century. There is a need to gather on one-platform women who are in decision-making, in order to discuss their overarching image of a culture of peace. This would include the hindrances to women’s role in peace, such as family and societal violence interstate trafficking in women and children; as well as the strategies for the removal of political and social hindrances, economic empowerment and education of women.
Linked with our presentation of Jeremy Corbyn – England.
Article written by Jeremy Corbyn for the Morning Star, and published there on February 9, 2005 – Last week Nelson Mandela, frail and now elderly, came back to Trafalgar Square and climbed a platform in sight of South Africa House. His strength that sustained him for all those years on Robben Island, returned and he spoke. “Make Poverty History” was his call and he made it with eloquence and determination and then repeated it for the benefit of the G7 Finance Ministers; presumably they were too busy to pop along to Trafalgar Square to listen.
What the coalition of anti poverty and development groups were calling for was an end to the debt burden on the world’s poorest, and trade justice, so that the debt burden did not re-appear in future years.
The G7 were looking at plans being advanced by Gordon Brown for debt write off and a massive aid package to assist with education and HIV/Aids treatment. The G7 is the representation of the world’s richest nations and works out of self interest. Together with the world economic summit that meets in Davos it is hardly a statement of democratic virtue. More breast beating by the rich, with a slight tinge of social conscience.
However the latter proved too much for the USA, which for the first time failed to send their Treasury Secretary, John Snow. He was replaced by a hapless deputy, John Taylor, who was there to question the whole programme.
The fact that Debt write off is now so high on the agenda is a real credit to the anti poverty groups and the world’s social movements.
Linked with our presentation of Yan Christian Warinussy – Indonesia.
And linked with our presentation of Petition Letter the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.
Statement, made by Yan Christian Warinussy, Institute of Research, Analyzis and Development for Legal Aid, Manokwari 98312, West Papua / Indonesia – at the Sub-Commision on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Tenth session, under the Auspices of the UN Working Group on Minorities (LP3BH), The West Papua Case, Agenda item 3a1, 5 March 2004:
Thank you Mr.Chairman,
My name is YAN CHRISTIAN WARINUSSY from Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid [LP3BH] Manokwari-West Papua. I am representing the West Papua people who are the minority and marginalized in their home land. I would like to focus on article 1.1 of the UN Declaration on Minorities, the right to identity.
For almost four decades, the Papuan people have been one of the minorities of the Indonesia Republic, a marginalized minority which the Indonesia state has done its utmost to splinter and extinguish by physical force.
Linked with our presentation of Bahey El-Din Hassan – Egypt.
America’s stand in the Ibrahim case may be hypocritical, writes Bahey El-Din Hassan (September 2002, on Al-Ahram), but that does not mean they are not serious. –
The US’s recent stance on the case of Saadeddin Ibrahim is the first time since the signing of the Camp David Accord 25 years ago that America has made its aid for Egypt conditional upon a human rights issue. This decision has raised many questions within both Arab and international circles. What position do human rights occupy in US- Egyptian relations? Or in the policies of the United States itself? Is the attempt to link human rights to the case of Ibrahim a sincere decision, or some sort of fabrication? If the latter, what is its goal? And what is the impact of this move likely to be, both on the future of US-Egyptian relations, and on the future of Ibrahim himself?
Ibrahim is one of the most prominent sociologists in the Arab region. He is the author of a number of important works in both Arabic and English, as well as being one of the most prominent advocates of democracy and civil society. His status should not be marginalised simply because many Arab intellectuals and politicians, myself included, differ with some of his positions on political and human rights issues.
Linked with our presentation of Bahey El-Din Hassan – Egypt.
By Bahey El Din Hassan, Director, The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (see russfound.org) – The 11th of September terrorist attacks on the United States’ installations opened the gates of hell, not only before 4000 victims from 60 states but also before the whole world.
On the 11th of September, war started against all that have to do with human rights. Three months after the event, and on the Universal Day for Human Rights, war is being actively continued. On the one hand, the USA is preparing for a second round. It may be in Somali, according to this week’s issue of the Observer. It may be in Iraq, as successively declared by a number of US officials last week.
On the other hand, the Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs in the European Union is discussing this week a new draft legislation to combat terrorism that implies violation of the human rights standards and the European Convention for Human Rights.
In Milano, a racist demonstration was staged on the Universal Day of Human Rights under the lead of the Italian vice-premier. The demonstration was waged against Arabs and Muslims and called for their expulsion. In India, the government has prepared a new law, under the pretext of combating terrorism, that gives the security forces a free hand in assaulting public freedoms and the freedom of the press. Meanwhile, suffering of thousands of Afghani refugees, who are about to be swooped down by the Afghani chilly winter, continues for the third month.
Als Menschenrechte bezeichnet man die Rechte, die jedem Menschen von Geburt an zustehen. Menschenrechte sind unentziehbare Rechte gegenüber der öffentlichen Gewalt, einer Gruppe oder einer Person, also subjektive Rechte, die im Zuge von Humanismus und Aufklärung anfangs naturrechtlich, später wissenschaftlich-rational (vernunftrechtlich) begründet wurden.
Sie stehen jedem Menschen zu, allein aufgrund der Tatsache, dass er ein Mensch ist (Universalität der Menschenrechte). Durch die Formulierung von Grundrechten in Verfassungen und internationalen Abkommen wird versucht, die Menschenrechte als einklagbare Rechte zu gestalten. Die Menschenrechte werden noch immer durch viele Staaten verletzt.
By Danielle Pletka and Michael Rubin, DANIELLE PLETKA and MICHAEL RUBIN are, respectively, vice president for defense and foreign policy and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
May 26, 2006.
From Tripoli to Beijing, President Bush has abandoned his bold pledge to support democracy.
LAST WEEK, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced resumption of full U.S. diplomatic relations with Libya, citing Tripoli’s renunciation of terrorism and intelligence cooperation. This ends a quarter-century diplomatic freeze. It also marks an effective end to the Bush doctrine.
At his second inauguration, President Bush declared: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”
Since that soaring pronouncement, the Bush administration has watched Egypt abrogate elections, ignored the collapse of the so-called Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and abandoned imprisoned Chinese dissidents; now Washington is mulling a peace treaty with Stalinist North Korea. (Read this article on this page of Voltairenet.org).
Accessing rights for persons with disabilities in Kenya is a major challenge, and is even more difficult for women with disabilities, as awareness on their human rights is low and slow, argues Monica Mbaru- Mwangi, a disability activist. This article links the personal story of a 10-year-old deaf girl, sexually abused by a neighbour, to concrete legislation and protocols that should, in theory, help her to attain justice. See Monica Mbaru-Mwangi, Source: Pambazuka 255, www.pambazuka.org.
Rose Mwikal, the mother of 10-year-old Mueni (not their real names), has spent the past two years fighting for an elusive justice. On 4 April 2004, a well-known neighbour sexually abused Mueni while Rose was away attending to other family needs. Since birth, Mueni has had a hearing impairment; a condition that has forced her out of school. Rose is a single parent who has tried in vain to have Mueni’s father take parental responsibility and assist in the burden of dealing with her daughter’s disability.
The DaVinci Code has obviously been elected by the people. Its story has the living energy of a thriller and touches all the questions peoples are asking and elites are not answering.
The Judas Gospel could not been elected by the people, as there is no story worked out, so no questions are touching the people.
The DaVinci Code is still discussed, The Judas Gospel is out of our mainstream medias.
Both are touching Jesus’ identity transmitted to people. An identity worked out by an interested elite using it to guide the people. We can state that Jesus’ identity was a powerful tool to manage people.
And we have to accept it: there is also an important silent majority asking to be guided, eager of explanations by the mainstream medias. They want get back their peace. All this code and gospel texts are not only a threat to elites, but also to the hard elaborated peace of a population not eager to think, but asking for good believes. They ask for a religion giving them short answers for security and a merited rest (life is hard enough).
Our mainstream medias transport all concerns needing an answer. This means exactly, an answer given by the elites to the people. And in most cases they succeed, as the silent majority is only listening mainstream medias, or accepted religious writings and discussions. This means, made by religions accepted by the elites, and not condemned as sects.
The DaVinci Code and the Judas Gospel have the ability to change our view about this identity, and therefore are a threat to religeous elite’s power (and to some people’s peace). The quick reaction to condemn the truth concerning both stories shows us, that there is no smoke without fire.
For many of us this means rather a reinforcement of existing conjuration theories. For me too. Some of this theories are fantasist, but not one statement of any religious or academic representant in TV discussions or written in print medias has convinced me. Their arguments are based on viewpoints which first had been chosen deliberately, and then was found reasons to prove them.
Jesus was rather someone like our first Hippy, I imagine a powerful young man wanting changes. Our religeous elites, helped by some world elites, reached to create him an identity used to dominate people. A greater betrayal is not possible. And exactly these religeous elites want tell us now their truth?
Sorry, this comes too late.
My comment to the Judas Gospel.
Linked with our presentation of Evaristo Nugkuag Ikanan – Peru.
We, the Indigenous Peoples, walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.
From the smallest to the largest living being, from the four directions, from the air, the land and the mountains. The creator has placed us. The Indigenous peoples upon our Mother the earth.
The footprints of our ancestors are permanently etched upon the lands of our peoples.
We, the Indigenous peoples, maintain our inherent rights to self-determination. We have always had the right to decide our own forms of government, to use our own laws, to raise and educate our children, to our own cultural identity without interference.
We continue to maintain our rights as peoples despite centuries of deprivation, assimilation and genocide.
We maintain our inalienable rights to our lands and territories, to all our resources — above and below — and to our waters. We assert our ongoing responsibility to pass these onto the future generations.
We cannot be removed from our lands. We, the Indigenous peoples are connected by the circle of life to our lands and environments.
We, the Indigenous peoples, walk to the future in the footprints of our ancestors.
Signed at Kari-oca, Brazil on the 30th Day of May, 1992
Linked with our presentation of Mahnaz Afkhami – Iran.
by Mahnaz Afkhami – In Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1989) Charles Taylor introduces the concept of identity as follows:
… the question is often spontaneously phrased by people in the form: Who am I? But this can’t necessarily be answered by giving name and genealogy. What does answer this question for us is an understanding of what is of crucial importance to us. To know who I am is a species of knowing where I stand. My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good, or valuable, or what ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose. In other words, it is the horizon within which I am capable of taking a stand.
It is about this horizon that I wish to speak – about exile and the problem of identity in exile … (see the rest of this very long text on barnard columbia.edu).
“Da sind Spuren wie von einer trampelnden Elefantenherde”!
Der erste Verdacht kam ihm, da saß er im Bundestag. Geheimdienste wurden sein Thema. Andreas von Bülow traut ihnen Schlimmstes zu: eine Verwicklung in die New Yorker Anschläge. Ein Interview von Stephan Lebert und Norbert Thomma.
Er war Minister für Forschung und Technologie im Kabinett von Helmut Schmidt und 25 Jahre SPD-Abgeordneter im Bundestag. Im Untersuchungsausschuss Schalck-Golodkowski erlebte Andreas von Bülow, 64, die Arbeit der Geheimdienste. Als Folge schrieb er das Buch “Im Namen des Staates”. Von Bülow lebt als Anwalt in Bonn.
Madame Michelin Calmy-Rey sprach in New York vor dem UNO-Sicherheitsrat: sie verlangte Gehör für die Zivilgesellschaft.
New York (sda)- Vor dem UNO-Sicherheitsrat in New York hat Aussenministerin Micheline Calmy-Rey am Dienstagmittag für die stärkere Zusammenarbeit des Gremiums mit der Zivilgesellschaft plädiert. Die Schweiz als Ko-Vorsitzende der Staatengruppe für Konfliktverhütung habe Interesse daran, die Zivilbevölkerung von Anfang an zur Lösung von Krisen einzubinden. Zivilpersonen könnten helfen, die Situation in einem Krisengebiet korrekt zu analysieren, und könnten Wege gehen, die Regierungsvertretern verschlossen seien.
11 de septiembre: 42% de los estadounidenses dudan de la versión oficial.
Mientras que casi ningún periodista francés o estadounidense alberga dudas sobre la versión oficial que presentó la administración Bush sobre los atentados del 11 de septiembre, el 42% de la ciudadanía estadounidense pone en tela de juicio el dogma del complot islámico. Esa duda está alimentando en Estados Unidos una verdadera desconfianza hacia los grandes medios de difusión y un importante rechazo hacia las instituciones políticas. Tal es el resultado que arroja un sondeo realizado por el prestigioso instituto Zogby International.
For more look here: the spanish voltairenet;
For a google video in english:
or here on Economy and Society.
By firstname.lastname@example.org, 19 May 2006, Bordeaux – Glia-Derived D-Serine Controls NMDA Receptor Activity and Synaptic Memory: The NMDA receptor is a key player in excitatory transmission and synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system. Its activation requires the binding of both glutamate and a coagonist like D-serine to its glycine site. As D-serine is released exclusively by astrocytes, we studied the physiological impact of the glial environment on NMDA receptor-dependent activity and plasticity. To this end, we took advantage of the changing astrocytic ensheathing of neurons occurring in the supraoptic nucleus during lactation. We provide direct evidence that in this hypothalamic structure the endogenous coagonist of NMDA receptors is D-serine and not glycine. Consequently, the degree of astrocytic coverage of neurons governs the level of glycine site occupancy on the NMDA receptor, thereby affecting their availability for activation and thus the activity dependence of long-term synaptic changes. Such a contribution of astrocytes to synaptic metaplasticity fuels the emerging concept that astrocytes are dynamic partners of brain signaling.(Read the rest of this article on Cell Press).
By Tarun Tejpal (2001) – The most unusual story I heard in the last eight most unusual weeks of my life came to me from a cameraman, an Indian who visited my office with an American crew. After the last question had been asked and answered – no different from a hundred other last questions and answers – and the interviewer was switching to a loose and chatty mode, the cameraman, winding up his wires, said tentatively, ‘Sir I want to tell you a story before we go. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.’
The cameraman had just come back from eastern Uttar Pradesh, after visiting his village in Jaunpur. There, as in the cities, the chaupal conversations had revolved around the Tehelka findings. But there was an interesting difference. There, in the crevices of eastern U.P., the denizens had no understanding of the medium the expose had taken place in. They had seen it on TV; they’d read it up in the papers; but they knew there was a new kind of entity that was responsible for the story. And they were clueless about it, clueless about the .com and the world wide web.
There was absolutely nothing in their experience or their imagination that could help them make any sense of a website or the internet. So they had conjured up a construct. Tehelka, for them, was a device in which subka bhrashtachar nanga ho jaata hai. A kind of x-ray machine which exposed naked anyone’s corruptions the moment they came in front of it. The talk there, said the cameraman from Jaunpur, was that this, the threat of the corruption-exposing machine, was the reason the prime minister had not appeared in public for the first few days after the scam broke … Continue Reading…
Linked with our presentation of Thomas G. Weiss – USA.
By Thomas G. Weiss (1) (August 2002) – The establishment of “lessons-learned” units was part of a growing cottage industry in the 1990s within the United Nations (UN), and elsewhere. For instance, both the Department of Peace-keeping Operations (DPKO) as well as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA, which was formerly DHA, Department of Humanitarian Affairs) established them as a result of operational problems in responding to civil wars.
Academics and policy analysts threw themselves enthusiastically into the intellectual fray as governments and foundations sponsored research about international responses to the complex emergencies of the 1990s. The key-worded bibliography from the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), for example, contains some 2,200 entries in English from the last decade. (2) Perhaps the most extravagant illustration of the analytical frenzy was the multi-donor evaluation of Rwanda said to cost several million dollars. (3)
Nonetheless, the key question remains: Have any key lessons actually been learned?
Any military historian anxious to avoid fighting the last war knows that lessons are difficult enough to identify in the first place. Political, temporal, military, strategic, and geographic translations from one situation to another are methodologically arduous and operationally problematic.
Linked with our presentation of Thomas G. Weiss – USA.
By Thomas G. Weiss (1) (August 2002) – The author has been a participant in and observer of behavior and misbehavior by international institutions over the last three decades. As editor and author of some 30 books and over 100 published scholarly articles, I do not have a reputation for praising undeservedly the United Nations (UN) or members of its extended, and sometimes quite dysfunctional, “family.”
My unequivocal judgment is that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the most impressive operational unit of the system. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to UNHCR in 1954 and 1981 is one indicator of achievement. As an individual, I make a contribution to UNHCR (and to UNICEF, another practical institution), and so my plea to donor governments to take them seriously should ring true.
The explanation is rather straightforward and simple-the institution is narrowly focused and almost totally oriented toward the delivery of assistance and protection. Since its creation in 1951 following early efforts to assist World War II refugees, the UNHCR has continually expanded as the challenge of refugees and refugee-like populations has broadened and as their numbers have increased. The focus upon protection, food, shelter, medical attention, and other types of relief to refugees provides a most concrete focus.
The organization’s global presence (offices in some 120 countries) partially explains why over 80 per cent of its 5,000 officials work on problems in the field and not in Geneva. The organization’s long-standing and key personnel policy is one of obligatory rotation away from headquarters to trouble spots. This has a downside-UNHCR reportedly has the highest divorce rate in the system. But the high-quality of services provided to clients and the first-hand familiarity with crisis conditions are a more important part of the instituion’s balance sheet.
Linked with our presentation of Ana Raffai – Croatia.
Linked with our presentation of the The European Church and Peace Network.
Linked also with our presentation of Center for Peace Studies – Ontario/Canada.
By Wilfried Warneck
1. A question and a working hypothesis
There is general pessimism and resignation regarding the chances of a mainstream church undergoing a process of transformation and becoming a peace church. But some positive experiences of regional and inter-regional networks tell another story. In Germany ecumenical networks in the conciliar process for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation claim that they can observe slow but deliberate steps forward in a process of renewal within their regional church institutions. For more than 50 years Church and Peace, an international network, has been operating throughout Europe as a forum and network of organizations, congregations, groups and individuals within the historic peace churches and peace church oriented groups within other churches. Church and Peace was founded in 1949 (by representatives of Mennonite Central Committee, Brethren Service Commission, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation) as a European counterpart to the American Historic Peace Churches Continuation Committee. But it soon developed a broader basis.
Linked with our presentation of Thomas G. Weiss – USA.
By Thomas G. Weiss (June 2005) – Introduction
Anniversaries are a good time to take stock. The United Nations’ roller coaster ride has been severe in the post-Cold War era—from the euphoria after the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War when “renaissance” was a common multilateral refrain, to the current morass after the decision by the United States and United Kingdom to go to war in Iraq in 2003 when the “dark ages” of unilateralism have returned.
There have been continual mutterings about the need for reform since1945.1 The eve of the UN’s 60th anniversary is remarkably like that of the 50th birthday in at least one way—the futile ink spilled and the misplaced attention given to changing the Security Council’s shape and ways of doing business. The panacea for many critics is reforming the composition and working methods of the Security Council. Secretary-General Kofi Annan established the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change (HLP) to seek wisdom from 16 experts, including four former prime ministers.
Their December 2004 report, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility, contains 101 recommendations and a “grand bargain” that was basically endorsed in March 2005 by the Secretary-General’s own report, In Larger Freedom: Toward Development, Security and Human Rights for All. 2 The linchpin for the sales pitch—Security Council reform that they believe is critical to the UN’s future health—was predictable; only the permanent members (P-5) would have a veto, and increasing permanent and nonpermanent members requires a Charter amendment.
Can amending the membership or procedures of the Council improve either its credibility or performance? If the answer to either part of this question is “yes,” is there any possibility that a Charter amendment could be approved in the foreseeable future? If not, are there feasible changes short of such a constitutional change that could improve the Security Council’s accountability and effectiveness?
Linked with our presentation of Naw Zipporrah Sein – Burma/Myamar.
Linked also with our presentation of the Karen Women’s Organization KWO – Burma/Myamar.
Army Uses Landmines to Prevent Civilians from Fleeing Conflict: New York, May 3, 2006 – The U.N. Security Council must urgently respond to Burmese army attacks on ethnic Karen civilians that have displaced more than 10,000 villagers since November, Human Rights Watch said today. Civilians seeking refuge in Thailand have been placed at grave risk by landmines planted by the Burmese army along the border.
Human Rights Watch (read the whole article here – and here) urged the Security Council to place Burma on its agenda in accordance with its April 28, 2006 resolution, “On Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict,” which affirms a collective responsibility of all U.N. members to protect civilian populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity when their governments do not provide that protection.
“The U.N. has just committed itself again to protecting civilians at risk, and thousands of Burmese are in urgent need of such help,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The atrocious situation in Burma is exactly the kind of crisis the resolution was designed to address. Without swift and decisive Security Council action, the killings and abuses there will not stop.”
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly urged the U.N. Security Council to put Burma on its formal agenda.
“China and Russia need to stop blocking action on Burma by the Security Council, as that gives a green light to the military government’s scorched earth policy,” said Adams.
Linked with our presentation of ABDULLAHI AHMED AN-NA’IM – Sudan.
Noordwijkerhout, 4 July 2002 – Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you very much. I am honoured and delighted to be here today, to speak to this congress, and to acknowledge and affirm my shared commitment to the values that we all stand for. And I would like to make my remarks more in terms as a challenge to living up to these values than as a reiteration of the values.
And I find, actually, the opening statement for the conference papers is really the key. Which is not whether, but how to make a difference? How can we all contribute to making more of the humanization of the world? And we have to do that from our respective positions, who we are and where we come from. We cannot expect people to abandon who they are, and where they come from, what they represent, and what their life means, in order to join our shared cause. That is my challenge here. Because I think it is both the reality of our shared humanity and the reality of our difference. It is not that we have a choice in ceasing to be different. And I always quote the South African jurist who speaks about the right to be different and the right to be the same. And it is that paradox and challenge that I would like to pose to all fundamentalism, including humanist fundamentalism. Because when we insist that these values can only be subscribed to, can only be upheld from our specific perspective, be it humanist or religious, or ideological, or nationalistic, we are being as fundamentalist as the Islamic nationalist-fundamentalists that I would like to challenge today.
So for me it is a personal challenge and also a mutual challenge. Very much it is my ability to confront and to challenge Islamic Jihad – as it has been defined recently and acted upon recently by certain Muslims – that I have to challenge also nationalistic chauvinism, which is the other side of the coin of Jihad. We have heard references already to current events and, of course, we cannot escape that. Very much we struggle for the values we share in whatever reality we happen to be. And our global reality today has both local and far-reaching consequences for all of us.
In the opening remarks in the program you see a reference to September 11 and its aftermath. But it is not an inevitable aftermath. It is an aftermath that came out of choices that are being made as we speak. And it is never too late to change those choices. The previous speaker also spoke about how the choices that are being made regarding the so-called global campaign against terrorism are also impacting other parts of the world and being manipulated to promote other types of hegemonies and confrontations.