Saturday, November 26, 2011

Project Peace on Earth: Students spell out peace message in Jericho desert

"Palestinian youth are sending the message to "Love One Another" and "Love All" so we can find a path to peace," a UN statement quoted Quigley saying.
Students spell out peace message in Jericho desert
Hundreds of Palestinian refugee students from UN schools sit in the shape of Pablo Picasso's 'Peace Dove' and write "LOVE ALL" at the foot of the Mount of Temptation in Jericho on Nov. 25, 2011, in a UNRWA/Project Peace on Earth project in partnership with international artist John Quigley. (MaanImages/ John Quigley, Spectral Q, HO)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of students gathered in the Jericho desert on Friday to create a massive aerial image of Pablo Picasso's Dove of Peace, in a project by British artist John Quigley and UNRWA.

"Palestinian youth are sending the message to "Love One Another" and "Love All" so we can find a path to peace," a UN statement quoted Quigley saying.

It took some 1,000 children from schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to draw out the image at the foot of the Mount of Temptation in Jericho.

"The world needs to sit up and listen to the youth of this region, their message of peace is essential. It is the voice of the next generation," UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi said.

The initiative is part of Project Peace on Earth, which will stage a "musical prayer for peace concert" from Bethlehem's Manger Square on Christmas Day, the release said.

"These kids are planting seeds of hope into the heart of the middle east conflict ...they deserve the kind of positive future we wish for all children," Quigley said.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Palestinian pupils (hundreds of children) at UNWRA schools near Jericho form group image of the Peace Dove created by the artist Pablo Picasso

Palestinian pupils at UN schools form group image as dove of peace

Pablo Picasso’s Peace Dove

25 November 2011 – Hundreds of children from United Nations-run schools in the Jericho area of the occupied Palestinian territory today created a massive aerial image jointly with the renowned artist John Quigley to send out a peace message to the world.

The children, who attend schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), gathered at the foot of the Mount of Temptation, outside Jericho, to form the shape of the Peace Dove created by the artist Pablo Picasso. They were directed by Mr. Quigley, who has created mass images from groups of people for over a quarter of a century.

The image by the Palestinian schoolchildren was created as part of the Peace on Earth project, which will stage concert that will be broadcast across the world from Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Christmas Day.

These kids are planting seeds of peace into the heart of the Middle East conflict. They deserve the kind of positive future we wish for all children

“These kids are planting seeds of peace into the heart of the Middle East conflict. They deserve the kind of positive future we wish for all children,” said Quigley.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi said: “The world needs to sit up and listen to the youth of this region. Their message of peace is essential. It is the voice of the next generation.”

Meanwhile, UNRWA has entered a partnership with the Spanish football club Real Madrid under which eight Social Sport Schools will be established in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for the benefit of 10,000 Palestinian refugee children.

“The education of new generations, who constitute the future, is the essential axis of peacebuilding in the Middle East,” said Mr. Grandi at the signing yesterday of the partnership agreement with Florentino Pérez, the President of Real Madrid Foundation and Real Madrid FC.

“With about 700 schools across the Middle East, UNRWA emphasizes quality education; access for all refugee children to a sound education; the learning of the principles of tolerance and respect, gender equality and self-improvement. This joint project that UNRWA and Real Madrid Foundation have undertaken… promotes all these things,” he said.

The project is intended to give Palestinian refugee children the opportunity to practise sports and learn values such as teamwork and to increase their self-esteem.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Was Meant to Be a Fast... TIME MAGAZINE: Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was initially meant to be a fast, not a feast. The devout settlers at Plymouth Rock mostly recognized "giving of thanks" in the form of prayer and abstaining from food. But the Wampanoag Indians, who joined the pilgrims for their 3-day celebration, contributed their own harvest traditions — dancing, games and feasting — from their ancient festival, Nickommoh, meaning "to give away" or "exchange."

TIME MAGAZINE: Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day Here in America...a poem by Anne Selden Annab

Thanksgiving Day Here in America

Thanksgiving Day here in America
is the freedom to choose: The
freedom to have turkey
or tofu
The freedom to invite guests
or not
The freedom to decorate your home
however you want to-
or not
The freedom to get dressed up
or down
The freedom to watch TV
and/or listen to music
and/or sing
or internet shop
or reading a good book
and sharing a great recipe
or talk about team sports

The freedom to celebrate
home and family
and friends
counting our blessings

The freedom to have a day off
with apple or pumpkin or pecan pie
or a hike on the Appalachian trail

The freedom to sleep in
or get up early

Uniting with people we tend to like
every where- each in our own way

poem & photo copyright ©2011 Anne Selden Annab

NOTESThe word MERITOCRACY was born in 1958. It means a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.

Americans in 1776 embraced a view of the world in which a person's position was determined, not by birth, rank, or title, but by talent, ability, and enterprise...

The Declaration of Independence

The Constitution of the United States

The Bill of Rights

The expansion of rights and liberties has been achieved over time, as people once excluded from the protections of the Constitution asserted their rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

Thanksgiving 2011

To our friends in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving. We're also grateful to the global Charter community for your commitment to activating the Golden Rule around the world!
In our globalized world, everybody has become our neighbor, and the Golden Rule has become an urgent necessity.

The Charter for Compassion is not simply a statement of principle; it is above all a summons to creative, practical and sustained action to meet the political, moral, religious, social and cultural problems of our time.

Each additional name makes the compassionate voice a more potent force in the world. Let us make the silent majority a challenge to extremism and hate. Become a part and affirm the Charter »

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

A call to bring the world together…

Monday, November 21, 2011

My letter to the NYTimes RE The Voice of a Woman

RE: The Voice of a Woman By Shmuel Rosner

Dear Editor,

Modern man-made Israel's blatant and ongoing violations of international law and universal basic human rights empowers religious extremism on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict in both large and small ways.

If indeed, in dealing with religiously based scorn for women's equality and the freedom to sing on a stage "the only compromise that seems possible is one that would require abandoning a principle all Israelis grew up to appreciate: the value of togetherness" as Shmuel Rosner claims in his conclusion, I have to wonder what he means by 'togetherness' as clearly most Israeli Jews have not spent the past 60 years applying that togetherness logic towards building a just and lasting peace based on respect for and a rapport with the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land.

Palestinian land, freedom and rights are being usurped by Israelis in every possible way. Palestinian families are being fragmented and impoverished by Israel's "security" measures. Palestinian homes are being demolished by Israeli forces, and Israel is doing all it can to sabotage and destroy secular Palestinian resistance to a rapidly growing storm of escalating institutionalized bigotry. Rather than honoring the idea that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and acting in "the spirit of brotherhood" every Israeli tax payer and investor has been funding a rising tide of religious tyranny, militancy and cruel injustice with wide spread negative ramifications.

A fully secular two state solution ASAP to once and for all end the Israel/Palestine conflict would go a long way towards disarming and calming down all the various ideologues, religious fanatics, and criminals who have been perpetuating and benefiting from the conflict.

Anne Selden Annab
American homemaker & poet

Hussein Ibish: Islamism and misogyny... "Religious conservatism invariably focuses on social and sexual control. Women are the most immediate targets and primary focus of the authoritarianism of the religious right, wherever they may be. As Islamists seem to be finally getting their chance at gaining a share of power in the Arab world, the greatest and most immediate danger they pose is to women’s rights. That is why it is up to everyone else, including both secularists and religious moderates, to insist on the introduction of inviolable constitutional principles protecting the rights of individuals, women and minorities." Hussein Ibish

West Bank Palestinian land seized by Israeli kibbutz

Christian community divided by Israeli separation barrier

From the archive, 16 November 1988: Troops stifle West Bank rejoicing

Clouds of uncertainty hang over Palestinian village waiting to see if the Israeli army will call off its demolition of the community's solar panels

As ultra-Orthodox flex muscle, Israel feminists see a backsliding
Arab Spring a defining moment in Arab history

Israeli forces demolish [Palestinian] homes in Jericho

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA - Ashrawi: Negotiations’ Success Depends on Quartet’s Commitment to Peace Requirements


NYTimes: From Nablus to Jerusalem by Raja Shehadeh

Khaldun Bshara has dodged bullets to preserve Palestinians' heritage

One Day, a True Independence Day by Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

The ongoing Palestinian refugee crisis: Don’t demolish my future! UNWRA: Demolitions and the threat of displacement are ruining people’s lives in the West Bank.

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." Martin Luther King, Jr.

What's God got to do with it? If you want freedom and security, you need the following...

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."Eleanor Roosevelt

Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine clearly condemning acts of terror and vandalism

"Those of us in the Palestinian community who have spoken publicly and clearly about our condemnation of terrorism directed against Israeli civilians, including settlers, are morally obligated to also condemn the acts of terror and vandalism by settlers against Palestinian civilians." Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine writing to The Jewish Daily Forward

openDemocracy... Advocating the two state solution: the best bet?

"Furthermore, how could it be assured that a single state would not be tantamount to the continuation of the current situation? The battle for equal rights would be a long and extremely difficult one.[vi] We only need to look at the discrimination of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to understand this." Brigitte Herremans

Advocating the two state solution: the best bet?