World Peace Blessing – Lancaster Gate – February 14th 2010
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 21, 2010
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 12, 2010
Dr Naznin Hirji spoke of the conditions conducive to experience of the sacred. She quoted major figures as Rumi, that “according to the polishing of one’s heart can see the hidden meaning of things”. He described the “silence that speaks” and a “thread that extends from the heart to the lips” while words tear the fabric of that silence.
There was another theme 0f architecture that facilitates experience of the sacred. There were examples of Islamic architecture with explanations of the significance of the design that both symbolised and facilitated experience of the transcendent and the spiritual. There followed a discussion of spirituality and personal experiences of the sacred.
Link for photos:
We have been holding monthly interfaith events in order to explore spirituality from many different traditions. Some monthly events have included talks about mystics and visionaries from various faiths. Other months have featured guided meditations. There have been book launches by interfaith figures such as Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, (photo above on left) that focus upon influential spiritual thinkers or the search for spirituality.
From 7pm to 8.30pm Dr Naznin Hirji (above photo on right) will speak and lead a discussion on the topic, ‘Experience of the Sacred’. Naznin’s Doctorate is about this area. She is a consultant in Change Management and a long time activist in the Aga Khan Development Network.
On Behalf of the Interfaith Committee:
Joyce Suda – UPF Director, Interfaith Committee Chair – Tel: 02084673035
Robin Marsh – Secretary General – Mobile: 07956 210 768 Universal Peace Federation – UK
Naznin Hirji has a doctorate in Politics, International Relations and Policy Studies with specialisation in the Philosophy of Learning, Faith and Human Development. She also has an MSc in Change Agent Skills and Strategies and a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods. She has several years’ experience as an Educator in the area of experiential and existential learning, spiritual leadership and change management using innovative approaches and a passion for Islamic architecture. Naznin represented her community as a Member on the Ismaili Religious Education Board UK from 1992-1995 and as a Member of The Ismaili National Council UK from 1999-2002, both positions incorporating multifaith and multicultural interfaces and global development issues. She has also held several other leadership and Educator positions with emphasis on policy issues. Naznin has worked on various projects within the Aga Khan Development Network including the Aga Khan Foundation, and has long been affiliated with The Institute for Ismaili Studies in London. She has participated in planning Committees on several international events and contributed to the initial thinking for the Festival of Muslim Cultures UK 2005-2006. In 2007-2008 she project-led the planning, research and writing of three Volumes of a community religious education Curriculum, which have been translated for use in Central Asian countries and are also in use in Europe, Canada, East Africa and Russia. Naznin has published several articles and is in the process of writing for an International Handbook on Learning.
Working at individual, group and organizational levels, she has traveled extensively to support the processes of transformation and transition. Her style of work is to blend the artistic, scientific and philosophical in order to inspire creativity in people and to foster openness of approach to lifelong learning.
Dr. Ghayassudin Siddiqui
Dr. Christoph Von Luttitz
Mr. Sukhbir Singh
Mrs. Joyce Suda
Dr. Raheem Khan
Imam Mahmadou Bocoum
Imam Nabel Haidari
Mrs. Karen Szulakowska
Ms. Brenda Hodgson
Mr. Amarjeet-singh Bhamra
Dr Naznin Hirji (invited to join)
Mr. Ujjwal Banga
Professor Karel Werner (invited to join)
Mr. Robin Marsh
Peace and Development Network: http://uk.youtube.com/PeaceDevelopmntNetwk
UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 3, 2010
1st February, 2010 More Photos Link
This programme was aimed to promote awareness of the ‘Path to Genocide‘ and to focus attention on the recently passed UN Resolution, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ soon after the internationally recognised Holocaust Memorial Day. It was held in the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A organised by the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) Community Cohesion Working Group who identify with the UPF vision of humankind as ‘One Family Under God’.
Robin Marsh explained that, ‘Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, by killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’ He quoted Gregory H. Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, who describes eight stages of the ‘Path to Genocide’ as Classification, Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. At each stage Stanton has suggested appropriate actions that can be taken by the international community. Marsh concluded that an Inter-religious Council, especially at the United Nations, as conceived by the founding purpose of the UPF, could be a useful forum for dialogue to respond to these tragedies at an early stage.
Lawrence Joffe, an author and historian, spoke of the horror of the Holocaust, expressing his fortune at being born of a family whose grandmother was able to escape on one of the last ships from Germany to South Africa before the war. He referred to two types of people who feel guilty: the perpetrator and the survivor. The Germans are very remorseful for the actions of their predecessors. The surviving Jews also feel very guilty for surviving when so many did not. For Ruth Barnett, one of the 10,000 kindertransport children who were saved, the guilt of survival has led her to being a Holocaust Educator.
Lawrence, quoting Raul Hildberg, said that there are only three types of people in these extreme situations. ‘The perpetrator, the victim and the bystander.’ He added that there should also be two other categories: the collaborator and the survivor. He explained the lack of support to receive Jewish refugees in 1935 when only the Dominican republic offered to receive Jewish refugees from many nations of the world was an example of the bystander. He added that it was ironic that the Ashkenazi Jewish people thought that Germany was the most advance nation in the world at that time and had felt very comfortable and accepted in German society. However Hitler in 1920 had said, ‘It is our duty to whip up the instinctive revulsion of the Jews.’ From 9 million Jews in Europe in 1939 approximately 6 million were killed. For example 90% of Jews in Poland were killed. (Useful links suggested by Lawrence Joffe to poetry of the Holocaust and inscriptions by Chagall)
Ruth Barnett since beginning her campaign for greater awareness of the Holocaust has also been active in campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other human rights issues.
David Wardrop spoke of the UN Resolution in October 2009 that established the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as well as the International Criminal Court current situation. He added that both were weak but that at least they were on the agenda and could be strengthened. He explained that ‘We the people’ must challenge Governments to champion the role of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ provisions. He concluded that civil society and media have an important role to play in developing the capacity of the international community to act in the case of an ongoing genocide.
Lord King of West Bromwich in his opening remarks emphasised that UPF believes that humankind is ‘One Family Under God’. He explained that Father Moon had suffered greatly to find the heart to love all people. He added that loving families would be at the core of peace in the future. Such families would form peaceful nations and a peaceful world.
Dr Pilikian Khatchatur described the parallels between the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in which he said one million Armenians are estimated to have died. He quoted Hitler’s comment on the treatment of Armenians, ‘Ataturk has two great students in this world, Mussolini and I.’
Dr Hojjat Ramzy explained the circumstances of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia especially with the genocide of Bosniac Muslims in Srebrenica and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Marie-lyse Numuhoza described her experience of conflict in Rwanda that led to the genocidal killings of Tutsi people. Rachel Francis-Ingham (full speech here) described the suffering of the Gypsy or Roma people of whom 350,000 were estimated to have died in the Holocaust. There are serious health issues in a refugee camp of Roma people in Kosovo currently she said. Mr Paramjit Singh described the ‘premeditated killing of 500,000 Sikhs’ and ‘mass rapes of Sikh women’ in June and October 1984 mainly in the Punjab, India as a Sikh genocide.
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010
Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends,
I greet you all with the Islamic greetings of the peace and mercy of Almighty God, Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.
The Holocaust Memorial Day which took place on January 27th marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Aushwitz concentration camp.
We all sympathise deeply with the victims and are horrified at the scale of brutality that took place during the Second World War. However, History has a terrible way of repeating itself.
Today I would like to remind you of another horror story, the Bosnian genocide: Another manifestation of the complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. I hope that we can learn lessons from this tragedy; in the same way we have done from the Holocaust, in order to prevent such terrible events from ever happening again. God willing.
After the First World War Bosnia was united with other Slaav territories to form Yugoslavia. It was ruled and run by Serbs. Following the death of Tito the communist ruler of Yugoslavia and the national Yugoslavian elections in 1990, both Serbia and Bosnia declared their independence. Bosnia’s independence was recognised by the USA and the European Union. However, the Serbian Leader Milosevich and the Serbs saw this as an affront to their claims to Milosevich’s ‘Greater Serbia’.
Tensions grew between the two sides and the Yugoslav army turned against the Bosnian community. The European Union’s attempts at intervention failed and the UN, who provided a number of troops for humanitarian aid, refused to intervene. Slowly the Bosnian Muslim areas fell to the Serbs and the ethnic cleansing began. The atrocities that were to take place in the town of Srebrenitsa illustrate one of the most horrifying episodes of this war where brutality and military efficiency turned into genocide.
In 1992, the UN declared this city a safe area, under the care of the French and Dutch governments. In July 1995 Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic descended on Srebrenitsa and began to destroy it. They had already killed many Muslim soldiers in the countryside villages. Now they were besieging Srebrenitsa’s thousands of Muslim civilians. Food supplies and water began to decline, buildings were destroyed, and people were murdered. Soon Serb troops were able to take up positions close to the town. In Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, a radio message from an amateur operator in Srebrenitsa was heard: ‘Please do something. Whatever you can. In the name of God, do something.’ No one did anything.
The only action taken was the Dutch commander warned Serb officials that there would be air strikes at 6.00 a.m. on the morning of July 11 unless Serbian troops moved away from the town’s borders. But, there were no air strikes, instead, the Serbs’ bombardment intensified. Thousands of Muslims fled to the Dutch compound. Throughout the day a stream of refugees was slowly admitted inside: up to 6,000 by nightfall and around 20,000 more were left waiting outside. There was no food, no water, only fear of mass murder.
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010
Kosovo’s Poisoned Generation
Rachel Francis-Ingham: UK Association of Gypsy Women
‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ UPF Meeting
February 1st, 2010
In WW2 our people were murdered in their tens of thousands in Hitler’s death camps:
Like the Jews, Gypsies were singled out by the Nazis for racial persecution and annihilation. The first to go were the German Sinte Gypsies; 30,000 were deported East in three waves in 1939, 1941 and 1943. Those married to Germans were exempted but were sterilized, as were their children after the age of twelve.
They were ‘nonpersons,’ of `foreign blood,’ `labour-shy,’ and as such were termed asocials. To a degree, they shared the fate of the Jews in their ghettos, in the extermination camps, before firing squads, as medical guinea pigs, and being injected with lethal substances in Auschwitz, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck and other camps.
At Sachsenhausen they were subjected to special experiments that were to prove scientifically that their blood was different from that of the Germans.
A contemporary Nazi theorist believed that `the Gypsy cannot, by reason of his inner and outer makeup, be a useful member of the human community. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 aimed at the Jews were soon amended to include the Gypsies. In 1937, they were classified as asocials, second-class citizens, subject to concentration camp imprisonment.
Ethnic Cleansing did not end for my people in 1945.
During the Balkans war in 1999, again our people were murdered, many remain missing, and many others driven from their homes and businesses and became ‘displaced people’
Over a decade later the Roma people remain on contaminated camps in Kosovo.
Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010
Lawrence Joffe suggested:
Online poems by the late Abraham Sutzkever
An amazing resource from scholarship, most of his poems on the war years, illustrated (some by Chagall)
Don’t hit. My limbs do not hurt anymore.
These limbs are not mine, like an hour that’s passed.
An unseen hand pulls me out to a world
Where there is no death,
I take off my body like a cover of dust.
Like a road wound up on a wheel, I spin in time.
A. Sutzkever ‘Selected Poetry and Prose’ Translated from the Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS © 1991 The Regents of the University of California
Another of his collections: The Fiddle Rose
sings Mayn Shvester Khaye, My Sister Haya, a song she set to a touching poem by Binim Heller about his sister, who died in Treblinka
Another lovely version by a Russian male and female singer:
Alberstein also sings the Partisan Song, Zog Nit Kaynmol – never say it is the end