October 7, 2010

Nonviolent Peace Building

Enough is Enough participated at the "Other Ways: Growing Alternatives to Violence" Program at Strathfield on 24 Sept. to celebrate Australian achievements over the past 10 years . The participants shared their experiences of active peacemaking together and affirmed the learnings of Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010) in Australia.
" ‘It has been immensely encouraging to celebrate Australian achievements over the past 10 years’, said Doug Hewitt, convener of the organising committee,achievements such as the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, hard-won improvements in welcoming asylum seekers, the growth of inter-religious relationships, developing ecological awareness, and the unprecedented scale of the peace movement at moments such as the build up to war with Iraq. But in all those areas where we celebrate improvements, we recognise we still need to do better. At the end of a decade which began with the September 11 attack on the USA and ends with our troops still in quagmire in Afghanistan, it seems however that Australian governments and opinion shapers are still slow to recognise the truth that violent methods only breed further violence.’
In the wake of the recent UN human rights panel’s comments and the visit of the ‘Living Letters’ team of the World Council of Churches to Northern Territory Aboriginal communities, the racist ‘dog-whistling’ of the Federal election and the continued lack of progress in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and on climate change, the ‘Other Ways’ participants particularly call on Australian authorities:
to replace the failed Northern Territory Intervention with genuine Aboriginal participation and self-determination
to respond to the Australian Catholic Bishops’ call for a bipartisan approach by national leaders to end demonisation of asylum seekers and to meet Australia’s responsibilities to the vulnerable of our world
to set a deadline for withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan
to promote actively the UN resolutions on Palestine-Israel
to act with maximum urgency in implementing the clear wish of the Australian public for substantial climate change measures
to promote peace education at all levels of Australian society.
The keynote speakers at the ‘Other Ways’ gathering were Claudette Werleigh, secretary general Pax Christi International, and past Prime Minister of Haiti; Sister Susan Connelly, Mary MacKillop East Timor Mission from Sydney, and Azim Khamisa, founder and teacher of “Achieving Peace through Forgiveness” from the USA.
The event was jointly organised by the NSW Ecumenical Council, the Columban Mission Institute, the Edmund Rice Network, the Franciscan Friars, Pace e Bene Australia, Pax Christi Australia, Uniting Care NSW.ACT, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission.” (1)
(1) http://sjaroundthebay.org/?p=1744 Media Statement


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