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July 2015 Newsletter
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Building a Culture of Peace


Wars between nations and violence in our cities are inter-related. They feed one another as part of our Culture of War. In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Declaration on a Culture of Peace with eight action items, each of which reverses an aspect of our current Culture of War. Perhaps you are already working on one or more of these.
 

UN Culture of Peace action Items:


1. foster a culture of peace through education
2. promote sustainable economic and social development (includes environmental sustainability)
3. promote respect for all human rights
4. ensure equality between women and men
5. foster democratic participation
6. advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity
7. support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge
8. promote international peace and security (includes training in conflict resolution)
 
David Adams, former Director, UNESCO Unit for International Year for the Culture of Peace, argues that our local efforts are the only way the culture will eventually be changed. When we work together with elected officials at the local level we can achieve the democratic legitimacy of working for the people as a whole. Coming together with community members from diverse backgrounds to improve the local culture creates a synergy that comes from a variety of people finding common ground. Click here to see more of his ideas, click here. 
 

But where to start? 


It doesn’t really matter because all these aspects to peace fit together. The Northwest Earth Institute “Seeing Systems” discussion series we helped create explores these relationships. For more information, click here.
 

The 2015 Global Peace Index


The Global Peace Index also reflects these system-wide interactions. It is a composite index comprised of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators that gauge the level of peace in 162 countries. These indicators can be grouped into three broad themes: the level of safety and security in a society, the number of international and domestic conflicts and the degree of militarization. We rank 94th. Again, we can address the measures of internal peace by our local nonviolent actions for peace and social justice. For more information, click here.

Suggestions from the Eugene Book Group:

Dawn by Elie Weisel     

Reviewed by Dorothy Sampson
 

Is there a difference, even a fine line, between killing and murder?  This is the central question in the story Elie Weisel tells in Dawn. What if the perpetrator is fighting for a good cause?  What if the perpetrator has suffered wanton cruelty orchestrated by the institutional racism of the Nazis?  What if he lost everything but his life? Does any of this justify him killing another human being?

Wiesel states in the introduction to the 2006 translation to his first book Night, that all of his writings can only be understood by reading this autobiographical account of an adolescent Jewish boy and his father in Auschwitz.  In the death camp, he witnessed and was subjected to horror.

The young man, Elisha, in Wiesel’s novel, Dawn, had a similar background.  He lived through the unspeakable atrocities of Buchenwald. After the war, he settled in Jerusalem and joined the underground. The Movement was engaged in a desperate struggle to wrest Israel from British control. Instead of being the ones afraid, the  “freedom fighters” become terrorists with the power to strike fear in the English hearts. Transformation from being victim to such power was exhilarating.

 Elisha cannot help comparing his terrorist actions to the actions of the dreaded SS guards, and he “found himself utterly hateful.” He understands he is losing his humanity. Then he is ordered to retaliate for the British hanging of a fellow “freedom fighter” by executing a British officer his group has captured. Elisha goes to the basement where they are holding the condemned man. He’s hoping to hate him. But after talking together, hate will not come. As dawn approaches in the novel, the reader is increasingly horrified. Will Elisha follow orders?

Beyond War Northwest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Oregon, USA. Our Federal EIN is: 20-0912219.




Because each of us works for peace in our own way, we are all Beyond War People. Peace culture mandalas are a visual representation of the interactions between the various ways to peace. For instance, here is one from the Metta Center that is interactive on their website.






 

If you have events you would like to see announced here, local or global, email annemill@beyondwarnw.org. Newsletter deadline: August 15th.
 
 

Scheduling now: "Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice & Sustainability"

We live in an interconnected world. Each of us is part of a complex global system, and our daily actions­—big or small—influence the system in both healthy and unhealthy ways. Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability helps participants recognize and respond to the interconnected systems of our world. This self-led discussion course is designed to spark shared learning, shared stores, and shared action. Together, participants expand their people power and begin to make a real difference for good. To learn more, click here. To participate in Eugene, email annemill@BeyondWarNW.org
 

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference

Speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths will lead the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference November 12-15, 2015. Theme of the conference is Longing for Peace / Exploring the Heart of God. Main presenters are Rabia Terri Harris, founder of the Muslim Peace Fellowship, Rabbi Or Rose, founding director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College, and Dr. Sam Wells, vicar of St. Martin in the Fields. Yuval Ron, a musician who focuses on building bridges among Jews, Muslims, and Christians, will play a Saturday night concert. A variety of workshops will also be available. Lake Junaluska is located near Asheville, North Carolina. Special rates for students. Learn more and register at www.lakejunaluska.com/peace

 

 

July 6:
Film, A River Between Us, 7:00 p.m.

July 9:
Board meeting, 8:00 a.m.
Outreach Committee meeting, 9:00 a.m.

August 6: 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration, 6:30 p.m. 

70 years ago this August, the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those two bombs killed over 200,000 people. Each year the community gathers to honor the victims and to take action to help ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again. A commemoration honoring the atomic bomb victims and a celebration of a diverse community coming together to say “Never Again”, will be held at Alton Baker Park’s small shelter, near the duck pond and park entrance. There will be drumming by Eugene Taiko, traditional Japanese Obon dancing, and music by the Yujin Gakuen Children’s Peace Choir. The event will close at dusk with the floating of candle lanterns on the duck pond while Koto master Mitsuki Dazai plays traditional Japanese music.

August 24:
Book Group, 7:00 p.m

Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create a Nonviolent Future by Miki Kashtan (2015)

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Our website is: http://www.BeyondWarNW.org

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