A Model, A Possible Template for Peace Negotiations Around the World

August 8, 2009

Article Title: A Model, A Possible Template for Peace Negotiations Around the World
Author Name: Craig Lock
Category (key words): “Inspiration”, peace, negotiation, peace negotiations, peace strategy, South Africa, inspirational writings.
Web Sites: http://www.creativekiwis.com and http://www.webng.com/writernz/
Other Articles are available at: http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981+ http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles.html
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)
Publishing Guidelines:

This piece may be freely reproduced electronically or in print. All my articles (and quotations) may be freely published. If they help at all, or make any difference in people’s lives by bringing some joy, then I’m very happy.

*

A MODEL, A STRATEGY, A POSSIBLE TEMPLATE FOR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE Out of a violent and bloody past, South Africa’s extraordinary relatively peaceful transition to democracy was a minor “miracle”… “South Africa’s ability to overcome deep divisions, to negotiate a common future and to commit itself to reconciliation and reconstruction offers new hope – not only to South Africa, but across the globe.”

*

A MODEL, A STRATEGY FOR PEACE

Some thoughts and reflections…

Contemplating the road that my country, South Africa took, here are a few personal thoughts on A MODEL, A STRATEGY FOR PEACE (or at least a more peaceful world) … and a possible road map ahead in the “trouble spots” around the globe.

There HAS to be another, a better way than the past in other conflict-riddled countries! Diplomatic, economic and international pressure (as long as it is united), I truly believe, IS the way to resolve nearly all conflicts and can work wonders. The path to peace, I believe starts with the moral WILL to effect change towards working towards a more peaceful and prosperous future…no matter the country. And (can I begin a sentence with an ‘and’?) this PROCESS comes about little by little through coaxing at times, encouragement at other times through economic rewards, effective and consistent pressure (it can be threats – the “carrot and stick” approach), “bargaining” and most importantly, negotiation. Yes, even talking with “perceived enemies”.

So WHAT to DO?

* An initial contact and approach between adversaries (usually in secret)

* This then slowly opens channels (lines) of communication, leading to gradual acceptance by ‘ordinary’ people in “opressed, occupied and war-torn” countries.

* Use a multi-pronged approach (diverse) with many pressure points. “The “carrot and stick” approach, emphasising benefits, especially economic aid as positive reinforcement, rather than sanctions (largely ineffective as despots just “dig in” in the face of threats)… which leads to more stability. In time, the “scatter-gun” approach of ‘constructive engagement’ will naturally become way more FOCUSED.

* Leaders should see the peace process as an ongoing work in progress. Move negotiations forward in little steps through finding areas of consensus and developing these. TRY really hard!

* Even though there will inevitably be serious differences in position, work hard on narrowing these differences. In doing so a momentum to negotiations will be created. Then slowly, day by day, diligently working on the process of getting to see former adversaries and political rivals as human beings and not as terrorists on one side and “gangsters and brutal opressors” (and perhaps even the “devil”) on the other side. In so doing negotiators affirm another person’s shared HUMANITY.

* Make a commitment to your adversary to not go back in dealings. Make firm resolutions to move forward.

* Absolute COMMITMENT by ALL parties to the process of NEGOTIATION… which in due course will lead to a successful outcome… a “win-win” solution.

* Negotiating and resolving conflict takes HARD work. What is required is great effort, creativity and most importantly, IMAGINATION in solving seemingly impossible problems. Was it Einstein who once said that “imagination is more important than knowledge”? Also big doses of FLEXIBILITY and BOLDNESS. Risks have to be considered and taken…. so be brave in the face of uncertainty.

NB: Have hope, great and high, that the process WILL ultimately bear positive results and be successful to ALL parties. And so benefit ordinary citizens, as peace inevitably brings prosperity.

To end off, back to South Africa for a few concluding thoughts…

Those negotiations birthed in the distant past leading relatively peacefully to a New Democratic South Africa are more than history; they are really relevant today. Because those early contacts between former enemies in the ‘beloved country’ have perhaps formed a ‘trailblazing and imaginative template’: for these kind of talks and negotiations to provide SOLUTIONS to endemic conflicts around the globe. With fortititude, resolve and especially the political and moral WILL by our leaders, the world WILL slowly become a more peaceful and better place for ALL of us.

Craig Lock

Authors Note:

The above extract is from a new manuscript on which Craig Lock is currently “working” (or rather it’s “writing itself”). It is based on some true and inspiring tales of the indomitable human spirit, that lies within each one of us – stories of ‘Endless Possibilities’. The central theme of this new manuscript is the “ever-present great thought”… that somewhere “out there”, somehow in the future there exist endless possibilities. The ideal, the vision, the dream, is to usher in a new age to bring some more peace to a world “hell-bent” on destruction. This “story” can be read at different levels from the personal, to a national, international or “spiritual” perspective (“go as deep as you want”). And there are NO limitations to what we human beings can achieve, if we truly know WHERE we want to be. There IS a “spiritual solution” to every problem on earth.

“The greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of it’s people or the extent of it’s territory as in the extent and justice of it’s compassion.”

- Inscription at the Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth, for horses killed in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).

P.S: I am reminded of something Mahatma Gandhi’s said not long before he was assassinated: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible; but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, ALWAYS.”

“Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. And now abide faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)

“There is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power. Only strive for power, if it is not at the cost of other people. Power corrupts. You first have to be pure and righteous, before one can attain power. I believe that love is a greater force than power.”

- Alan Paton, great South African humanitarian and author of the classic ‘Cry the Beloved Country”

“The measure of love is to love without measure.” ~ Saint Augustine

“When the world is filled with love, people’s hearts are overflowing with hope.” – craig

Craig Lock’s novel on South Africa that he “felt inspired to write” , ‘Over the Rainbow’ is available at: http://www.creativekiwis.com http://www.webng.com/writernz/ http://www.lulu.com/craiglock and http://www.myspace.com/writercraig

A look at the many colourful peoples, who make up this diverse and vibrant society, as seen through the eyes of a newspaper reporter.

“YOU be the change you wish to see in others. Then in changing YOUR world you help change THE world.”

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED

Introducing VideoPress for WordPress

June 20, 2013

Originally posted on WordPress.tv:

View original

March 25, 2012

CRAIG’S BLOGS: A LIST OF MY WORDPRESS BLOGS

August 19, 2011

CRAIG’S BLOGS: A LIST OF MY WORDPRESS BLOGS

Tags (key words,/categories): Writing, writing articles, books, new books,
authors, Craig Lock, South Africa, Zimbabwe, spirit,  sport, peace, motor racing, Grand Prix
drivers, Christianity, faith, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Islam, Muhammad, love,  building bridges, publishing, e-books, head injury, brain injury, Ray Lock,  Bismarck, Dorsetshire and Memories, creative writing (enough there for now, craig)

Craig’s List of Writings (nzwriter.wordpress.com)

Craiglock’s Weblog (craiglock.wordpress.com)

Craig’s Books (writercraig.wordpress.com)

craig’s thoughts (writingcraig.wordpress.com)

craig’s thoughts (authorcraig.wordpress.com)

Craig’s Books (sawriter.wordpress.com)

My Spirit Book (thespiritwriter.wordpress.com)

My Thoughts (nzwriters.wordpress.com)

A New Dawn extract (newdawnwriter.wordpress.com)

My Blog (anewdawnbook.wordpress.com)

Sport for Peace (sportforpeace.wordpress.com)

Inside the Mind of a Grand
Prix champion
(grandprixchampion.wordpress.com)

Ahmed’s Gift of Life (ahmedsgiftoflife.wordpress.com)

Sharing Some Thoughts on Jesus
Christ
(jesusthoughts.wordpress.com)

Obituary to Rev Tim Vakoc (timvakoc.wordpress.com)

The Woman Who Took on Mugabe
(jennizimbabwe.wordpress.com)

One voice against silent killer
(marycrockett.wordpress.com)

One voice against silent
killer (Part One)
 (marycrockettaids.wordpress.com)

The Blood of Lambs (kamalsaleem.wordpress.com)

From Seeds of
Hate to Bonds of Love
(fromseedsofhatetobondsoflove.wordpress.com)

Is It Possible to Defeat
Terrorism?
(defeatterrorism.wordpress.com)

Once an Arafat Man (tasssaada.wordpress.com)

Tass Saada: Once Were an Arafat Man
(tassaada.wordpress.com)

Inside the Mind of a
Grand Prix champion
(grandprixdrivermyblog.wordpress.com)

A NEW BOOK  (seedsofhatetobondsoflove.wordpress.com)

MY NEW BOOK (middleeastbook.wordpress.com)

Nelson Mandela and Heroes
(mandelamadiba.wordpress.com)

The Brave Russian
Journalist
(annapolitkovskaya.wordpress.com)

Work towards ‘The Unity
of Religion’
(buildridgesofunity.wordpress.com)

Work towards ‘The Unity
of Religion’
(buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com)

WHO IS THE “REAL, THE
TRUE” JESUS?
(sharefaith.wordpress.com)

Unsung Heroes (quietheroes.wordpress.com)

Brave Journalists and
Reporters
(bravejournalists.wordpress.com)

Working, Striving towards a
more Peaceful World
(peacepursuit.wordpress.com)

Working, Striving towards a
more Peaceful World
(middleastwriter.wordpress.com)

Working, Striving
towards a more Peaceful World

(middleeastpeacewriter.wordpress.com)

Mom’s Thoughts (momsgarden.wordpress.com)

Craig’s Books (craigsbooksold.wordpress.com)

Craig’s Writing Articles (craigslistofarticles.wordpress.com)

Craig’s Writing Articles
(craigswritingarticles.wordpress.com)

My “Torts” (martinlutherkng.wordpress.com)

A NEW BOOK (my journey) (longwalktopeace.wordpress.com)

THE AWAKENED SPIRIT (A NEW BOOK)
(awakenedspiritbook.wordpress.com)

Long Walk To Peace (longroadtopeace.wordpress.com)

From Seeds of Hope To Endless
Possibilities
(beliefhope.wordpress.com)

http://newbooksbycraiglock.wordpress.com
(storiesofforgiving.wordpress.com)

STORIES OF FORGIVENESS (weforgive.wordpress.com)

TO THE END OF THE RAINBOW: A
New Work by Craig Loc

(totheendoftherainbow.wordpress.com)

Beyond the Rainbow (a future
“work” by craig loc
k

beyondtharainbow.wordpress.com

A South African Economist and
Business Leader

economistandbusiness.wordpress.com

“I Want to Write a
Book!”

wanttowriteabook.wordpress.com

It’s not the mountain
we conquer, but

itsnotthemountainbutourselves.wordpress.com

It’s not the
mountain we conquer, but

itsnotthemountainweconquerbutourselves.wordpress

The Future of Electronic Publishing

ebooksdigibooks.wordpress.com

JESUS MEETS MUHAMMAD

jesusmeetsmuhammad.wordpress.com

Sharing some Thoughts on Head and
Brain Injury

headbraininjury.wordpress.com

My Story (I’ll Do it My Way)

livingwithheadinjury.wordpress.com

Stirling – A New Book

stirlinganewbook.wordpress.com

 

BOOKS BY CRAIG LOCK

craigsbooks.wordpress.com

THE BOOK ‘Bismarck,
Dorsetshire and Memories’

bismarckdorsetshireandmemories.wordpress.com

Early Motor Racing In
South Africa

earlymotorracinginsouthafrica.wordpress.com

BASIC CHRISTIANITY
(even for “Dummies”)

basicchristianityfordummies.wordpress.com

Working Towards a More
Peaceful Middle East

middleeastpeaceworker.wordpress.com

The Prize (A New Book)

thegrandprize.wordpress.com

The GRAND PRIZE (GRANDPRIX)

grandprizegrandprix.wordpress.com

A new Book: Writing into the
Light

writeintothelightbook.wordpress.com

Writing Into The Light (A
New Book)

 

Enough for the time being!

Just click on the links to view.
I hope they may be of interest to you. Enjoy…

Craig

  • *

About the Author

I’ve been writing about my passions since
1993.

Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty
years in South Africa, Australia (briefly) and New Zealand. However, through a
strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom
of the world …and with nothing else to do, he started writing. Five published
books later (well they turned out to be a vanity publisher and he and his
family lost everything, their life savings, including the kitchen sink* – that
episode is a book in itself!). Now many years later, “recovering“, having
written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects – well what
else is there to do here?)… this is where Craig is in the
“journey/adventure” that is life.

Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful
creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). Together with his “technowhizz” friend,
Bill Rosoman, he was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative
writing course on the internet and this has developed to new writing and
publishing courses we have introduced on our new Creative Kiwis.com website
(www.creative kiwis.com)

* that’s a metaphor, btw (“by the way”)

*

Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in
the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different
people “tick-tock grandfather clock”. He is fascinated by the
“overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality”.

One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden
potential and so finding their niche in life… so that they are happy.

Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather “eventful”
life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and
themes, then as a contrast “rather crazy, wacky stuff”…to keep him
sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: “All of us are born mad; some
of us remain so.”

Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than
headlines like “Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman” and “Beach Toilet
Closed for Season.”. True!

The “writer” loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can
possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from
the “school of life” (still “battered and bruised”) and
also from a few “hard knocks on the head”. He is an extensive world
traveller (on a “shoestring budget”) and failed professional
emigrater who has spent most of his lifes savings on airfares. He is still
sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that
is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica.
There he talks to the 60 million sheep!

So here goes…

# HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE

Craig Lock is an extensive world traveller and failed professional emigrater
who has spent most of his life’s savings on airfares. He is still ‘sliding down
the razor blade of life’, stuck on a deserted (other than a few brilliant rugby
players) island at the bottom of the world near Antarctica, where he is ‘trying
to throw a double six’ to get off and go out into the real world – but he
doesn’t know where!

In the style of Bill Bryson, HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE tells tales of his
hilarious hair-raising adventures in his younger years through ‘Grate’ Britain
and the Continent.

‘’Dropped out in Godzone‘’: Craig Lock’s humorous travel book about his
adventures in provincial New Zealand…

One man and his family – and their experiences “Down Under”.

The author and his wife contrast life in colourful, vibrant South Africa with
calm and kindly New Zealand – and with large dashes of humour offer much
understanding of, and sympathy with the social attitudes of the two worlds.

A new immigrant’s impressions of life in provincial New Zealand (after coming
from a large city in South Africa) … and there were one or two rather funny
adventures, nay escapades in “Sleepy Hollow” from time to time!

REVIEW:

“DROPPED OUT IN GODZONE is an original and agreeable piece of work. The
picture it gives of New Zealand- to one who has never been there- has a ring of
complete authenticity. The feeling of the country is relaxed, and perhaps
rather un-stimulating, but we get an overall impression from the writer that he
views his time there with some affection, and above all with tolerance.”

This book breathes a natural humour and kindliness, which is what gives it the
individual character that is so appealing.

Autobiography has a particular value as a literary form. It is a shared kind of
writing and I’ll continue to bang the drum. It is unusual to encounter two such
different manuscripts from the same author. Both (THE END OF THE LINE is the
other book) have quality and share an easy and assured writing style that is a
pleasure to read.

Both of these short books are of first rate quality.”

Craig is presently working on his latest novel ‘The Awakened Spirit’, based on
some true and inspiring stories of the indomitable human spirit, that lies
within each one of us. Stories of endless possibilities.

He firmly believes in the motto: “Find what you love doing, then you will
never have to do a days work in your life.” Craig is certain he has found
his niche in life… anyway, what other job would be suitable for him?

##

PPS: Well there WAS a big earthquake here in “Sleepy Hollow” some
years back with buildings damaged. It made international news (so sad about the
Christchurch disaster)!

********

Craig has a ‘passion’ for writing books that tell stories about people doing
positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally
cruel, yet always amazing world – true stories that leave the reader feeling
uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. http://www.creativekiwis.com
and http://www.lulu.com/craiglock Craig’s mission is to encourage people to believe in
themselves and try to help inspire people around the world to achieve their
goals and dreams in life, whatever they may be. Craig is presently working on
his latest novel ‘The Awakened Spirit’,
based on some true and inspiring stories of the indomitable human spirit, that
lies within each one of us. Stories of endless possibilities.

He firmly believes in the motto: “Find what you love doing, then you will
never have to do a days work in your life.” Craig is certain he has found
his niche in life… anyway, what other job would be suitable for him?

The various books that Craig “felt inspired
to write” are available at : http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books/74-craigs-books https://www.xinxii.com/adocs.php?aid=16831 http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock + www.lulu.com/craiglock

Craig’s blog (with extracts from his various
writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at  wordpress.com

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstore”

* Hard-copies and e-books, fiction and nonfiction:
self help, novels, travel, humour, writing, inspiration and money management

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged
children -

MINE!

(enough of that negativity, cut it out right NOW
and start really believing, now “chappie”!)

“Yessir!”

 

So

“I’ll write till I drop!”

THE END …for now (at last)…

But the writing journey is a
never-ending story

 

 

 

DRIVEN: THE GRAND PRIX CHAMPION (from To the End of the Rainbow)

June 19, 2011

sarainbow (fromflick.com)
CHAPTER ONE

DRIVEN: THE GRAND PRIX CHAMPION

Tags: Motor racing, Formula One, Grand Prix racing, Grand Prix champion(s), Grand Prix driver, books, books
by Craig Lock, ‘Endless Possibilities, Far and Great Horizons’.

THE GRAND PRIX DRIVER

“A lot of people go through life doing things badly. Racing’s important to men who do it well. When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.”

- Steve McQueen in the film ‘Le Mans’ (1971)

It was one day in the year 1961, whilst driving home after the South African Grand Prix in East London, that the
young boy told his father that Jim Clark would one day be the champion driver of the world. The young boy was
in a bad mood, because the young Clark had beaten his hero, Stirling Moss. And for the next few years the
young South African boy followed the rising Scot star’s ascending career with great interest and pride. So that
the new shooting star eventually usurped the place of the now retired old hero, Moss after his near fatal accident
at Goodwood, UK…until it too was tragically extinguished in a minor race at Hockenheim, Germany in 1968.

And that night in the “early sixties”, the young boy lay on his bed and read the race program, over again and
again. Then he fell asleep and dreamt, peacefully, blissfully. Perhaps one day… one sunny day…

“If you can dream it, then you can DO it!”

**

EPILOGUE

THE GRAND PRIX CHAMPION

The Grand Prix driver crossed the finishing line beneath the colourful banner stretching across the width of the
oil and rubber smeared tarmac below to win the Monaco Grand Prix in the year that was 2009. Exhausted (both
mentally and physically) and saturated with sweat, the champion driver raised his arms, in celebration, glorious
triumph, knowing that he had driven his last.. and the best ever race in his long and illustrious career.
As the great champion of the world drove under the banner proclaiming ‘Sport for Peace’ and received the
chequered flag to the silent roars of the crowd, he also knew that a new chapter in his rather eventful life, yet
also his greatest challenge lay in the days ahead.

**

P.S: To dearest dad, see the dream never died!
**
QUESTION FOR THE READER

Does The Grand Prix champion crash… or retire (at the very “top of his game, the pinnacle of his chosen sport”)

“It is a celebration of a man s unique vision, a vision that reaches out and shines, touching with magic the drama
of life across all its limitless horizons.”
-anon

“Our talents are our gifts from God; but what we do with our talents are our gifts TO God.”

“Only when you ve been in the deepest valley can a person know what it’s like to stand on the highest peak.”
-inspiring words from “guess who”? It was Richard Nixon, former United States President

“Hold fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”

-American poet, Langston Hughes

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let s see how many people we can impact, encourage,
empower, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and so become ever more champions
of life”

written on 27th September in the year 2010

BOOK TWO: SOUTH AFRICA

originally written Jan 1995

from http://www.grandprixchampion.wordpress.com

“Life is God’s novel; so let Ultimate Source write it, as it unfolds…”

- me (as inspired by the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer)

MAKoriFIRST light

Picture: First Light Makorori, Gisborne in the scenic and tranquil little haven that is New Zealand (or Godzone, as it is often affectionately known) by Dawn Furmage
First Light Makorori, Gisborne by Dawn Furmage
(Credit: http://www.aa.co.nz)

Jesus Meets Muhammad (Appendix II)

June 19, 2011

APPENDIX II
“MY CONVERSATIONS WITH JESUS”
SOME PERSONAL QUESTIONS FROM “THE WRITER” TO JESUS CHRIST

Jesus, Jesus Christ, “My Conversations with God”, questions
Today 25th December in the year 2010
Gisborne , New Zealand
The first city in the world to see the sun

JESUS MEETS MUHAMMAD (APPENDIX TWO)
“Äsk and it shall be given.
Seek and ye shall find.”
“Whatever ye ask in my name….”

Who was your favourite disciple:
I didn’t have favourites as you call it. They were all very special people in their own ways with their unique qualities. And they really took a giant leap of faith in giving yup their everyday lives to follow me.

Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute?
No, though that what is what some church leaders implied and that hurts me. But we must forgive slights, both real and imagined. I learnt much from Mary, a very very special and wonderful lady, who
had her faults, weaknesses, but most of all strengths, just like all of us?

Did you go to India to learn about Buddhism, because many of your teachings were similar to those of the Buddha?

Of course I didn’t go to India and Kashmir, as some people speculate. I never travelled far in my life, unlike you living in these easier times. Then I did meet some Buddhist traders in my travels around Palestine, but I got those teachings directly from the Father. Many of these teachings are similar to those from other ancient teachings, like those of the Buddha. Ones like charity, equality of all, human rights for all, pursuit of peace, forgiving, the healing power of forgiveness, loving one’s enemies, the great power of love, and so on.

What did you do in the “lost years” between ages 12 or 13 to 30?

I was doing my usual carpentry/stone making work with my father, Joseph? Also studying the Torah, meditating and praying, but also living a normal life as a young man. Even if YOU tried to write about your own life, you couldn’t write everything down. So much happens in a single day, you even soon forget “run-of-the mill things” quickly. As John said at the end of his Gospel: There are many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one. I suppose
that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
(John 21:25)

So you did many more miracles?

Of course, but only as a channel through God, the Father. I couldn’’t do them alone!

What about the Gnostic Gospels?

You mean the books by Phillip, Thomas, James, Judas, Andres and so on?
Yes, its unfortunate that they have been omitted from the New Testament as they add another perspective to me and my teachings. I don’t think that they would erode people’s faith in me, but add to it. Especially, “non-religious” people in these day would understand my teachings far easier than a lot of the “heavy stuff” written in the Bible. A lot of the writings in those Gospels is in line with modern psychological principles.

You mean studies of the human mind.

Yes. As Thomas, you know the doubting one, who wanted to first see my wounds, wrote down my words: “What you have within you will save you”…but I’ll add this “and it all comes through belief and God’s Infinite Spirit working in and through us.”

You sure are the greatest psychiatrist, who ever lived, Jesus
Did you marry as some religious scholars claim?

Of course not! Some are just trying to gather attention, publicity for their wild claims, but most are simply sincere, yet misguided.

So you never married Mary Magdalene?

That’s crazy, Ha ha. Yet she was a very special young lady and I was extremely fond of her… as a disciple…as a person.

Ask me anything and I’ll answer you

Thank you for this very special time together, Jesus. It’s been really enlightening and you have clarified
my questions so beautifully.

Well, it is all so really simple, the mystery of the Kingdom of God. Yet we are NOT meant to try to understand this world of Spirit. Till next time. I look forward to it too

I love you. And Happy birthday today.

About the submitter:
In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
He is currently “writing” ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’. http://jesusmeetsmuhammad.wordpress.com/ and http://www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com
The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://www.wordpress.com
Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.
These writings may be freely published
PPS
From the depth of the valleys, in the deserts of despair, there is hope… as there is the unquenchable oasis, the immense breadth and depth of the human spirit… always.”

“Lord
Give us forgiveness for the past, strength for today and hope for the future.”

Wang Keqin and China’s revolution in investigative journalism

June 3, 2010

Wang Keqin and China’s revolution in investigative journalism

Sourced from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/wang-keqin-china-investigative-journalism

Tags: Wang Keqin, China, heroes, journalists, brave journalists, Guardian, Tania Branigan

Print and be damned: reporters fame danger
Death threats from criminals and official wrath fail to silence zealous watchdog

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/taniabraniganhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/taniabranigan

 Tania Branigan in Beijing
 guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 May 2010 22.12 BST
 Article history
 Investigative reporter Wang Keqin at his office in Beijing. Photograph: Tania Branigan for the Guardian

To the usual journalistic armoury (famously, ratlike cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability), Wang Keqin has added an extra element: the small, red-smudged, battered metal tin that he carries to each interview.
Inside is a sponge soaked in scarlet ink. Like a detective, the 45-year-old reporter compiles witness statements. Then he secures fingerprints at the bottom to confirm agreement.
It is a mark of the thoroughness that has made him China’s best-known investigative journalist, breaking a string of stories that have earned him renown, but also death threats from criminals and wrath from officials.
“The other side is usually much stronger. You have to make the evidence iron-cast,” he said, tapping the tin.
That is not always enough. Last week his boss was removed as the editor of China Economic Times following Wang’s report linking mishandled vaccines to the deaths and serious illnesses of children in Shaanxi province. Bao Yuehang has been shunted to a minor sister company. Shaanxi officials have claimed the report was wrong; Wang has reportedly said they did not investigate properly, although he declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.
It is the latest case to highlight the zeal of China’s watchdog journalists – and the challenges facing them.
Wang’s CV echoes the development China’s mainstream media: from life as a propagandist to a role as a watchdog – albeit one on a sturdy chain. He started his career as an official in western Gansu province in the mid-80s – “a very easy shortcut to wealth and status”, he observed, in an interview conducted before the vaccines controversy.
He recalled the propaganda stories he used to churn out – “like accountants working under the leadership of the Communist party with a red heart” – and how he cobbled together articles for local media for a bit of extra cash. But as residents sought him out with their problems, he found his conscience stirring. “They enthusiastically welcomed me into their homes, told me their stories and looked at me with high expectations. As a 20-year-old it was the first time I was paid so much attention and I felt a great responsibility. I had to tell their story.”
By 2001 he was “China’s most expensive reporter”: not a reference to his salary or lifestyle – he still works from a small, dingy room in his paper’s nondescript offices in outer Beijing – but to the mammoth price put on his head for exposing illegal dealings in local financial markets. Soon afterwards another report enraged local officials and cost him his job.
“I had problems with black society [gangs], and problems with red society [officials],” Wang said. “I heard there was a special investigation team, [with the target of] sending me to prison.”
Shunned by friends and former colleagues, he was saved by an extraordinary intervention. An internal report on his travails, written by an acquaintance at state news agency Xinhua, reached Zhu Rongji, then China’s premier, who stepped in to protect the journalist.
That was in what many Chinese journalists see as a golden age, when an increasingly gutsy press began to root out scandals and abuses. But in 2004, the authorities responded with tough restrictions on media organisations reporting from areas where they are not based. Though the restrictions are widely ignored, journalists say they have allowed officials to impede investigations and stamp down on the burgeoning of watchdog reporting.
Add Beijing’s drive to promote a “harmonious” image of China, and the increasing closeness of economic and political influence, and many are pessimistic. “Today, investigative reporting has become a ‘rare metal’; not only power but capital is oppressing it,” said Qian Gang, formerly managing editor of the progressive newspaper Southern Weekend and now at the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project. Some argue that in recent years even state media have offered swifter, fuller coverage of breaking news and touched on more sensitive topics. But to David Bandurski, also of the project, that merely reflects the government’s strategy of actively guiding public thinking. “Control is moving behind the scenes,” he said. “In fact, there is less journalists can do than two or three years ago … On the face of it you can do these things, but practically you cannot.”
When the scandal of tainted baby milk broke in 2008, one frustrated editor blogged that his paper had known of the danger but been unable to expose it.
While Beijing sometimes encourages watchdog reporting, it still approved the cross-region rule, said Bandurski: “You can talk all you want about how local officials are the problem and central government wants to fight local corruption and be the good guy. Well, then send a very strong message.”
Yet within these constraints, determined journalists fight for – and find – the space to work. “What decides whether you can do something is not what the law or policy says, but a whole set of other circumstances – who are you connected to; what someone says at a certain time that gives you cover to go after a certain story,” said Bandurski.
Younger reporters have grown up with role models such as Wang. And in a commercialised media sphere, competitive pressures create a real incentive to break edgy stories.
Li Datong, ousted as editor of Freezing Point magazine in 2006, said the media are able to do more, “not because the government loosened its control, but because the society as a whole is becoming more mature.” When earthquakes rocked Sichuan two years ago, and Qinghai last month, many editors ignored orders not to send reporters.
The internet has also amplified the voice of the mainstream media. Many journalists use personal blogs to publish material censored from their reports.
But journalists know that misjudging the opaque and shifting boundaries can damage or end careers, or their publications. And there are new challenges. Zhou Ze, a journalist-turned-lawyer who is tallying physical attacks and other pressure on the media, said a major concern was officials’ changing tactics to tackle critics.
“In recent years bribery and blackmail accusations have increased,” he said. “When you say it’s defamation, people [ask] what was written in the story and whether it was true. If you say it’s bribery or blackmail, it paints the journalist in a very negative light – people assume they have lost their ethics and they won’t get public support.”
Readers have good cause for suspicion. Corruption is rife; salaries are low and payment to attend press conferences the norm. Bungs to ensure favourable coverage or bury negative stories are common and have produced “fake journalists”, who threaten to report industrial accidents unless paid off.
Wang condemns the blackmailers but fears the bigger problem is “fake news”: propaganda, political or commercial, in the guise of journalism.
In a country where citizens have few ways of holding those with power to account, tough and reliable reporting is all the more essential. Wang has covered topics from land seizures to dangerous mines and the spread of HIV through blood transfusions. Zhou fears fewer reporters will dare to tackle such issues, and that the public will pay the price. “If reporters’ rights cannot be protected, the rights of ordinary citizens cannot be,” he said.
Press under pressure
November 2009 Hu Shuli, the editor of influential business magazine Caijing, resigns over issues reportedly including its coverage of sensitive current affairs stories. She has since founded another publication, Caixin.
December 2009 The editor of Southern Weekend, one of China’s most influential newspapers, is demoted weeks after an exclusive interview with Barack Obama. The decision was said to be due to the anger of censors.
March 2010 Thirteen Chinese newspapers publish a rare joint editorial calling for reform and the eventual abolition of the household registration system. It was removed from websites and authorities reportedly issued stern warnings to the paper which initiated the project.
May 2010 Bao Yueyang, chief editor and publisher of China Economic Times, is demoted to a smaller sister company after defending reporter Wang Keqin’s report linking wrongly stored vaccines to child deaths and sickness. The article caused a stir when it appeared but was quickly played down by other media outlets on censors’ instructions.

Guardian News and Media

Sourced from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/wang-keqin-china-investigative-journalism

Shared by craig

“We are moving from an era of resistance, division, opression, turmoil and conflict… and starting a new era of hope, reconcilation and nation-building. I sincerely hope that the mere casting of a vote… will give hope to all South Africans.”
- the words of Nelson Mandela at South Africa’s first Democratic election on 27th April 1994 at Ohlange High School in Natal Province, where John Dube,  the founder of the African National Congress in 1912 was buried)

Former Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu once said: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
- Jahrulal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India (1947)

Wang Keqin and China’s revolution in investigative journalism

June 3, 2010

Wang Keqin and China’s revolution in investigative journalism

Sourced from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/wang-keqin-china-investigative-journalism

Tags: Wang Keqin, China, heroes, journalists, brave journalists, Guardian, Tania Branigan

Print and be damned: reporters fame danger
Death threats from criminals and official wrath fail to silence zealous watchdog

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/taniabraniganhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/taniabranigan

 Tania Branigan in Beijing
 guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 May 2010 22.12 BST
 Article history
 Investigative reporter Wang Keqin at his office in Beijing. Photograph: Tania Branigan for the Guardian

To the usual journalistic armoury (famously, ratlike cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability), Wang Keqin has added an extra element: the small, red-smudged, battered metal tin that he carries to each interview.
Inside is a sponge soaked in scarlet ink. Like a detective, the 45-year-old reporter compiles witness statements. Then he secures fingerprints at the bottom to confirm agreement.
It is a mark of the thoroughness that has made him China’s best-known investigative journalist, breaking a string of stories that have earned him renown, but also death threats from criminals and wrath from officials.
“The other side is usually much stronger. You have to make the evidence iron-cast,” he said, tapping the tin.
That is not always enough. Last week his boss was removed as the editor of China Economic Times following Wang’s report linking mishandled vaccines to the deaths and serious illnesses of children in Shaanxi province. Bao Yuehang has been shunted to a minor sister company. Shaanxi officials have claimed the report was wrong; Wang has reportedly said they did not investigate properly, although he declined to comment when contacted by the Guardian.
It is the latest case to highlight the zeal of China’s watchdog journalists – and the challenges facing them.
Wang’s CV echoes the development China’s mainstream media: from life as a propagandist to a role as a watchdog – albeit one on a sturdy chain. He started his career as an official in western Gansu province in the mid-80s – “a very easy shortcut to wealth and status”, he observed, in an interview conducted before the vaccines controversy.
He recalled the propaganda stories he used to churn out – “like accountants working under the leadership of the Communist party with a red heart” – and how he cobbled together articles for local media for a bit of extra cash. But as residents sought him out with their problems, he found his conscience stirring. “They enthusiastically welcomed me into their homes, told me their stories and looked at me with high expectations. As a 20-year-old it was the first time I was paid so much attention and I felt a great responsibility. I had to tell their story.”
By 2001 he was “China’s most expensive reporter”: not a reference to his salary or lifestyle – he still works from a small, dingy room in his paper’s nondescript offices in outer Beijing – but to the mammoth price put on his head for exposing illegal dealings in local financial markets. Soon afterwards another report enraged local officials and cost him his job.
“I had problems with black society [gangs], and problems with red society [officials],” Wang said. “I heard there was a special investigation team, [with the target of] sending me to prison.”
Shunned by friends and former colleagues, he was saved by an extraordinary intervention. An internal report on his travails, written by an acquaintance at state news agency Xinhua, reached Zhu Rongji, then China’s premier, who stepped in to protect the journalist.
That was in what many Chinese journalists see as a golden age, when an increasingly gutsy press began to root out scandals and abuses. But in 2004, the authorities responded with tough restrictions on media organisations reporting from areas where they are not based. Though the restrictions are widely ignored, journalists say they have allowed officials to impede investigations and stamp down on the burgeoning of watchdog reporting.
Add Beijing’s drive to promote a “harmonious” image of China, and the increasing closeness of economic and political influence, and many are pessimistic. “Today, investigative reporting has become a ‘rare metal’; not only power but capital is oppressing it,” said Qian Gang, formerly managing editor of the progressive newspaper Southern Weekend and now at the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project. Some argue that in recent years even state media have offered swifter, fuller coverage of breaking news and touched on more sensitive topics. But to David Bandurski, also of the project, that merely reflects the government’s strategy of actively guiding public thinking. “Control is moving behind the scenes,” he said. “In fact, there is less journalists can do than two or three years ago … On the face of it you can do these things, but practically you cannot.”
When the scandal of tainted baby milk broke in 2008, one frustrated editor blogged that his paper had known of the danger but been unable to expose it.
While Beijing sometimes encourages watchdog reporting, it still approved the cross-region rule, said Bandurski: “You can talk all you want about how local officials are the problem and central government wants to fight local corruption and be the good guy. Well, then send a very strong message.”
Yet within these constraints, determined journalists fight for – and find – the space to work. “What decides whether you can do something is not what the law or policy says, but a whole set of other circumstances – who are you connected to; what someone says at a certain time that gives you cover to go after a certain story,” said Bandurski.
Younger reporters have grown up with role models such as Wang. And in a commercialised media sphere, competitive pressures create a real incentive to break edgy stories.
Li Datong, ousted as editor of Freezing Point magazine in 2006, said the media are able to do more, “not because the government loosened its control, but because the society as a whole is becoming more mature.” When earthquakes rocked Sichuan two years ago, and Qinghai last month, many editors ignored orders not to send reporters.
The internet has also amplified the voice of the mainstream media. Many journalists use personal blogs to publish material censored from their reports.
But journalists know that misjudging the opaque and shifting boundaries can damage or end careers, or their publications. And there are new challenges. Zhou Ze, a journalist-turned-lawyer who is tallying physical attacks and other pressure on the media, said a major concern was officials’ changing tactics to tackle critics.
“In recent years bribery and blackmail accusations have increased,” he said. “When you say it’s defamation, people [ask] what was written in the story and whether it was true. If you say it’s bribery or blackmail, it paints the journalist in a very negative light – people assume they have lost their ethics and they won’t get public support.”
Readers have good cause for suspicion. Corruption is rife; salaries are low and payment to attend press conferences the norm. Bungs to ensure favourable coverage or bury negative stories are common and have produced “fake journalists”, who threaten to report industrial accidents unless paid off.
Wang condemns the blackmailers but fears the bigger problem is “fake news”: propaganda, political or commercial, in the guise of journalism.
In a country where citizens have few ways of holding those with power to account, tough and reliable reporting is all the more essential. Wang has covered topics from land seizures to dangerous mines and the spread of HIV through blood transfusions. Zhou fears fewer reporters will dare to tackle such issues, and that the public will pay the price. “If reporters’ rights cannot be protected, the rights of ordinary citizens cannot be,” he said.
Press under pressure
November 2009 Hu Shuli, the editor of influential business magazine Caijing, resigns over issues reportedly including its coverage of sensitive current affairs stories. She has since founded another publication, Caixin.
December 2009 The editor of Southern Weekend, one of China’s most influential newspapers, is demoted weeks after an exclusive interview with Barack Obama. The decision was said to be due to the anger of censors.
March 2010 Thirteen Chinese newspapers publish a rare joint editorial calling for reform and the eventual abolition of the household registration system. It was removed from websites and authorities reportedly issued stern warnings to the paper which initiated the project.
May 2010 Bao Yueyang, chief editor and publisher of China Economic Times, is demoted to a smaller sister company after defending reporter Wang Keqin’s report linking wrongly stored vaccines to child deaths and sickness. The article caused a stir when it appeared but was quickly played down by other media outlets on censors’ instructions.

Guardian News and Media

Sourced from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/wang-keqin-china-investigative-journalism

Shared by craig

“We are moving from an era of resistance, division, opression, turmoil and conflict… and starting a new era of hope, reconcilation and nation-building. I sincerely hope that the mere casting of a vote… will give hope to all South Africans.”
- the words of Nelson Mandela at South Africa’s first Democratic election on 27th April 1994 at Ohlange High School in Natal Province, where John Dube,  the founder of the African National Congress in 1912 was buried)

Former Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu once said: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
- Jahrulal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India (1947)

Who and What is a true Champion?

February 18, 2010
Article Title: Who and What is a true Champion?
Author Craig Lock
Key words: Success, champion, motivation, success principles, mind, mind control
Web Site: Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and

(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my articles may be freely published. If they make a difference in people’s lives by encouraging or bringing some joy to others, then I’m very happy.
*

WHO AND WHAT IS A CHAMPION?
A champion is more than a mere title. Rather, it is a set, a collection of personal qualities. What are some of these qualities that make a champion?
Firstly,
* Ability = Talent
* Belief in ones abilities (“believe it to achieve it”)
Then the “four C’s:
* Clarity of purpose (keeps a champion “driving on”)
* Confidence: They trust their game, especially in times of pressure… “when the heat is really on”.
* Commitment and resolve
* Courage
Then come the four “D’s”:
* Discipline (self)
* Determination in overcoming disappointment(s) – how human beings can prevail over very trying circumstances.
“Your greatest obstacle can become your sweetest triumph.”
- Lance Armstrong
* Desperation: “How much do you want it?”
* Dedication: “What are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve success?”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ”Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
- Muhammed Ali
(Keep on writing then, craig!)
* Unity of effort: The ability to work with others (ie teamwork); because you can’t make it on your own. Everyone has different skills and abilities - that is what makes them unique!
* the “Will-to-win”
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
- Mahatma Gandhi (and Lance Armstrong)
* P= Persistence
Champions succeed where so many others give up.
Still you don’t have to come first… at first. Just keep your torch shining the longest and brightest… then youll be a winner , a champ in the game of life
And finally
* Inspiration. (“I don’t wait to get inspired, but once I start work, writing, the inspiration simply comes, arising in my consciousness”- anon).
‘Leap and the net will appear.’
Champions are consistent. They usually deliver elite performances… year after year.
When things look bleak and “the chips are down”, champions rise to the occasion, just like cream rises to the top.
There is unlimited potential in the human condition. ANY individual human being can cultivate the values of self respect, self-reliance and self discipline, which will greatly enhance their life. Like a champion, ‘ordinary’ (what’s that!) people also have great capacity and potential to achieve… even the “extra-ordinary” in life.
“A glorious destiny that rises above the limitless horizons of the human condition.”
Discover, then celebrate the champion of life in YOU…
because
“YOU are all champions in your own way!”
Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer, Incorrigible Encourager and People-builder”)
Craig’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at craiglock.wordpress.com and

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
- Muhammad Ali
“You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you ARE!”

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he (or she) has overcome, while trying to succeed.”
- Booker T. Washington
“The task ahead of you can always be overcome by the power within you…and the often seemingly difficult or even “impassible”) path ahead of you is never as steep with the great spirit that lies within you.”
- craig
“If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you do not.
If you would like to win but think you can not
It is almost a cinch you will not.
If you think you will lose, you are lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It is all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You have got to think to rise.
You have got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize.
Life’s battles do not always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later the man who wins is
The one who thinks he can.”
- Author Unknown
About the author:
Craig has been studying the human mind and the life of elite sportspeople for much of his life. He believes in sharing information and insights to try to make a difference in this world: to help and especially encourage people along life’s magical journey … and that brings him the greatest joy.

“Together, one mind, one life at a time, let’s see how many people we can impact, encourage, empower, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.”
THIS ARTICLE MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED
PPS:
THE CHAMPIONS CREED
“Never underestimate your opponent.
Work on your weaknesses until they become your strengths.
Remember that a great effort is usually the result of a great attitude.
Dedicate yourself to a mighty purpose.
Win with humility, lose with grace.
Ignore those who discourage you.
Remember that how you conduct yourself out of the pool is just as important as how you conduct yourself in the pool.
Talent is God-given – so be humble.
Fame is man-given – so be thankful.
Remember when you’re not working to improve, your competition is.
Always give your best.

PRACTICE like a champion.
SWIM like a champion.
LIVE like a champion.”

- anon

“I am a champion.
I believe in myself.
I have the will to win.
I set high goals for myself.
I surround myself with winners.
I’m cool, positive, and confident.
I’m willing to pay the price of success.
I stay relaxed and in control at all times.
I focus all my energy on the job at hand.
I take responsibility for all of my results.
I have the courage to endure and persist.
I vividly imagine what victory will feel like.
I am a champion and I will win.”

Three-Time Olympian – Ruben Gonzalez
www.OlympicMotivation.com

Thanks for everything, dad. See the dream never died – its just taken another course!
craig

“I’d rather attempt something great and fail, rather than attempting nothing and succeed.”
- Norman Vincent Peale
“Some people see things as they are and say ‘why?’. I see the dreams that never were and say ‘why not?’”
- Bobby Kennedy

“GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH WHEN GREATNESS IS POSSIBLE!”

A POP STAR, A CITIZEN… AND AN ADVOCATE WITH PASSION Singer, Shakira speaks out at the Oxford Union on the benefits of education for ALL!

January 26, 2010

A POP STAR, A CITIZEN… AND AN ADVOCATE WITH PASSION

Singer, Shakira speaks out at the Oxford Union on the benefits  of education for ALL!

IT ALL STARTS WITH EDUCATION

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll
Tags: Singer, Shakira, Education, Telegraph Group, NZ Herald

Adressing Oxford’s students with a pasionate speech in which she envisaged a future in which 30,000 teachers, instead of 30,000 soldiers might be sent to Afghanistan.

“It’s not about charity. Its about human investment. The best strategy to fight poverty, to prevent illness, to improve agriculture and decrease malnutrition, decrease child labour and decrease sex trafficking, is access to education.

“There are 75 million kids who don’t receive an education, 226 million who don’t have access to secondary school. The children are the foundation in a house, and if you don’t build strong foundations, you will spend your lives trying to fix problems that will arise.”

“I used to write political and social songs, because I was trying to find a vehicle to express all these thoughts and ideas. When I write, my subconscious finds its way to the surface. It’s not an intelectual process, it’s more organic.”

Telegraph Group Ltd (as published in the New Zealand Herald, Jan 2010)

Bitter enemies learn to live again in harmony

January 22, 2010

Bitter enemies learn to live again in harmony
By Andrew Buncombe
9:33 AM Thursday Dec 31, 2009
1.
SRI LANKA: Workshops teach new generation to trust again after decades of civil war
Learning to trust people from other communities is a challenge for many Sri Lankans who have lived through decades of conflict. Photo / AP
It was the simplest of scenes and yet it was utterly remarkable. In the swimming pool of a Sri Lankan hotel, a dozen or so young men were playing and splashing and generally horsing around.
To the casual observer their antics may not have warranted a second glance. Yet the young men laughing together in the pool represented the different religious and ethnic elements that constitute Sri Lankan society, a society that has for decades been torn apart by war, anger and discrimination.
“Before, we never had the chance to mix,” said 23-year-old Amila, a Sinhalese Buddhist from Sri Lanka’s central province.
“I think most of my community will be happy to learn about this and to know we are breaking down barriers.”
The young student was one of several dozen young men and women brought to this hotel, set deep in the jungle close to Polonnaruwa, as part of a series of inter-faith and inter-community workshops organised by activists looking to bring about reconciliation and understanding.
The workshops have involved religious leaders from the different communities, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian, and are designed to suggest ways of working together to solve common problems.
It is the most challenging of tasks. For more than three decades, Sri Lanka has been ravaged by a bitter civil war between Tamil separatists and the Government, dominated by the Sinhala Buddhist majority. In addition to taking upwards of 90,000 lives, the conflict has created considerable barriers between the different communities, isolating some and rewarding others. For many Tamils, the sense of discrimination and suffering is unending.
Many people – including all the young people invited to Polonnaruwa – have grown up knowing nothing but war. They were born in conflict, raised in conflict and their outlooks and opportunities have been shaped by the daily realities of war – of suicide bombers, the deaths of relatives, roadblocks and security checks.
Susantharan, 22, a Hindu Tamil from south of Batticaloa on the east coast, told how the rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which once controlled a large swath of the north and east of the country, demanded that Tamil families provide sons and daughters to fight.
“Some of my cousins were killed during the conflict,” he said.
Amila told how, in turn, the government forces regularly recruited in his district. While there was no conscription, young men were encouraged to sign up. Eight of his friends did so and one was killed. Some of his relatives who became soldiers lost their limbs.
“If a soldier was killed, most of the time the body would be brought back to the relatives,” he said. “But sometimes the family might just be told he had become a martyr.”
The struggle to create trust is being undertaken by the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation, a Colombo-based organisation that is supported by the charity Peace Direct.
Over two years, the organisation has worked individually with the various groups, trying to encourage an awareness of other communities and a realisation that most of the inter-community problems are systemic rather than the result of individuals.
In this last part of the process, the different religious and ethnic groups have been brought together, to develop trust and dialogue and finally to work towards solutions. The process has been carried out independently of the Government.
The organisation’s co-founder, Dishani Jayaweera, said it had stressed two themes – peace and co-existence. Realising its effort can only be a grass-roots process, the group has targeted religious leaders and the youth.
She hopes that once the participants return home to their communities, they will retain the insights they have gathered.
And it is not just young men who are taking part in the workshop. A group of 10 women from across Sri Lanka, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian, reveal how the workshops have given them a rare chance to meet and mingle with other communities.
Shanti, a young Sinhalese Buddhist from Anuradhapura, told how the war had created distrust between neighbours.
“In our area there are some villages that have separate communities. There was always suspicion and fear that they [the Tamil community] would be supporting the rebels. But now I think there is a chance to reduce suspicion,” she said.
VK Sivapalan Iyer is a Hindu priest from Batticaloa. He said the Hindu Tamil population had suffered as a result of unequal development and educational opportunities. Slowly, however, things have been improving and he said he was impressed by the commitment made by many of the Buddhist monks he had met.
“There has been a long link between Buddhism and Hinduism,” he said. “We had always hoped they would help us. Now they are doing so.”
The position of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist monks during the conflict differed from area to area. A tiny number, represented by the high-profile “war monk” Athurliye Rathana, actively encouraged the destruction of the rebels. The Reverend Dupali is a 51-year-old monk from Matara in the south of the country. He said he hoped the workshop would help build trust between communities to enable a long-lasting peace.
“I have always said that war is not a solution to the problem. If we are true Buddhists we cannot accept that,” he said. “Anyone who knows the truth about Buddhism cannot accept violence.”

- INDEPENDENT

Also as published on http://srilankatoday.com/content/view/4493/52/


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