Thank You Peacemakers Of The World.

by Jerry Alatalo

“War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace.”

– NORMAN COUSINS (1912-1990) American editor, writer

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“It’ll never happen in our lifetime”.

“Wars have always been a part of life on Earth, and they always will be”.

“Hopefully someday… Have a beer, the game’s about to start”.

“It ain’t gonna happen”.

“People like you who think world peace is possible are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses”.

“There’s too much greed for that to happen”.

Alphabet These are just a few examples of replies coming from friends, family and acquaintances of those men and women called the “peacemakers”. Up until here and now in the year of 2015, individuals and groups have put their time and efforts toward creating a new and better world for this and future generations. Something inside of each human being, present the day each person is born on this Earth, yearns for peaceful relations in their personal relationships and between nations.

And what is that “something” inside all, uniting humanity whether conscious of the bond or not, that cannot be measured by a “spirit-o-meter”? Is it a spark of God, Creator, Great Spirit or Allah, or, as some suggest when asserting that “God is love”, perhaps both God and love at the same time? Whatever one’s particular spiritual tradition or beliefs, the idea that every man, woman and child was born with an indwelling quality which results in feelings of sadness, compassion and empathy upon seeing others suffer and experience pain takes the word “awesome”, used often by appreciative young people, to an entirely more intense, emotional and near inexpressible level.

This is a level of awe-awareness experienced by peace workers to various intensities, the intensity level growing as one ages, matures, and first starts seriously thinking about their mortality. Are the actions directed toward bringing an end to situations either at risk for military escalation or already entangled in outright conflict thought of by the peace actors as a way to live on in history books if successful, or are peacemakers in the position where that “something” inside has grown naturally in an unstoppable version of personal, as contrasted to global/collective, evolution?

Is the evolutionary process for those men and women who become more effective and successful peace advocates over time running in parallel with the collective evolution of humanity toward the time when peace on Earth becomes a reality? Some who attempt the role of peacemaker give up and fall away from their endeavors after time and again experiencing disappointment with news of more wars and violence. This becomes understandable when one realizes peacemakers are more prone to directly experience the pain each new military conflict brings. Others somehow manage to carry on their works for peace, able to deal with the powerful natural feelings of compassion, empathy and wanting to do something, anything, to end the pain felt by brothers and sisters even thousands of miles away.

At some point wars and violence will cease on Earth, in exactly the same process each man and women come to the point where they “give up the things of youth”. Just exactly when that point becomes reached and war becomes effectively extinct no person can predict, but let there be no doubt about the fact that it will come to pass one day. And just what are the major factors which, if present, can speed up the process leading to that eventual day of worldwide celebration?

People can come up with a variety of answers in response to that question, and they will all deserve merit, consideration and coöperation among the people of the world to create conditions for those factors to become realized and effective. Yet, one factor stands out above all other meritorious concepts and proposals for creating peace, and that is the inherent-in-all, present at birth through death, spiritual “something” which, ironically, cannot be measured scientifically.  Just as individuals become more spiritually aware from birth through adolescence/youth, adulthood, maturity and old age on the inescapable path shared by all toward what some call death and others a transition, if one can compare a single human being to the creation there is a symmetrical quality between the body’s cell makeup and the makeup of the Mother Earth’s human beings.

Wars and violence are for the creation what cancerous cells are for the human body, and some believe both wars and cancers/disease have as their source some form of spiritual disharmony. Is it implausible that spiritual disease is the source of both cancer in human beings and wars and violence for humanity? At the level of individual human beings, is it possible that if one looked upon their fellow brothers and sisters as sacred, along with all living things, cancer could not possibly develop because the person seeing everything as sacred rarely experiences disturbing relationships and “dis-ease”?

History’s most renowned, iconic peacemakers have almost unanimously been spiritual pioneers and teachers. Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Muhammad, and millions of other men and women peacemakers through history up until today were and are driven by the same inner source of strength available to every person as a birthright.

That “something” is God, love… or both.

Thank then join with men, women and children peacemakers today.

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The Elders Propose United Nations Evolution.

Originally posted / for more information visit:  www.theelders.org

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STRENGTHENING THE UNITED NATIONS

Statement by The Elders, 7 February 2015

peace pipe 222The United Nations was founded in 1945 “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

Yet 70 years later far too many people in this world – in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in the Middle East, to name but a few places – are beginning the year 2015 in grief and suffering, caused by conflict and deliberate violence. Seventeen murders in Paris may seem little by comparison, but they too have horrified us all, because they were so clearly targeted at freedom of expression, and at the Jewish community. Millions of Muslims around the world sincerely deplore these murders, yet are also shocked to see their faith repeatedly caricatured.

Meanwhile the older threat of confrontation between great powers is also stirring again, notably in East Asia, and in Eastern Europe.

In short, human beings are far from being safe from the scourge of war, despite the UN’s best efforts.

Yet the world’s peoples yearn for a fairer, more peaceful world, where new generations can grow up in confidence. They do not want to see the UN wither into irrelevance, as the League of Nations did in the 1930s.

What needs to change?

All institutions must adapt to cope with new circumstances – and today’s circumstances are very different from those of 1945.

There have been profound shifts of power and wealth in the world since then. Of the 193 member states of the United Nations today, nearly three quarters were not members in 1945 – in a few cases because they had been on the wrong side in the second world war, but in the great majority of cases because at that time they did not yet exist as independent states.

Yet the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, acting on behalf of all the member states, is still dominated by the same five permanent members that were designated all those years ago, being the five great powers that had just won the war.

The governments of those five powers have become so used to their exalted status, which is protected by their ability to veto any change in the Charter, that they think of it almost as their natural right, sometimes forgetting that it is above all a responsibility. They assume that the world will continue to respect their authority, and fail to notice that, year by year, that authority is eroding.

The peoples of the global South, especially, do not see themselves adequately represented in the Council. They are therefore more and more inclined to question its authority, and the legitimacy of its decisions. We ignore this threat at our peril.

Recalling the wise guidance of our founder, Nelson Mandela, we, The Elders, call on governments to listen to their peoples, and on peoples to insist that their governments make more farsighted decisions.

We call on both the existing permanent members of the Security Council and the rest of the membership of the Organization to accept the urgency of strengthening the United Nations, and therefore accept also the compromises – sometimes painful ones – that will be needed to make it possible.

Our proposals:

  1. A New Category of Members

In principle, the existing permanent members claim to be ready to welcome new ones. But their sincerity has not been tested because the rest of the membership cannot agree on essential points: which countries, and how many, should be new permanent members, and should they, like the existing ones, be given a veto over the Council’s substantive divisions? In the view of many, the use or abuse of the veto is responsible for some of the Council’s most conspicuous failures, when it does not intervene in time, or with sufficient force, to protect the victims of genocide and other comparable crimes. Those states are understandably reluctant to give yet more powers the right of veto.

We therefore propose a compromise. Let the states which aspire to permanent membership accept instead, at least for the time being, election to a new category of membership, which would give them a much longer term than the two years served by the non-permanent members, and to which they could be immediately re-elected when that term expires. This would enable them to become de facto permanent members, but in a more democratic way, since it would depend on them continuing to enjoy the confidence of other member states. By making the Council more democratic, this change would increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the world, thereby enhancing its authority and so also making it more effective.

This compromise will not be easy for states which aspire to full permanent membership to accept. But we urge them, for the greater good, to set aside for now their larger ambition. If they do, we believe that other member states will be willing to accord them this special status, whereas their chances of achieving full permanent membership in the near or even medium term still seem remote. Half a loaf (and we submit that in its practical effects it would be much more than half) is proverbially better than no bread. And “no bread” in this instance means continuing the present stalemate, at an unacceptable cost to humanity and to innocent human lives.

Even so, such a change requires amendment of the Charter, which requires a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly and then ratification by two thirds of all UN members, including all five permanent members of the Security Council. This can be done. (The Charter has been amended three times – in the 1960s and early 70s – to enlarge the Security Council from 11 to 15 members, to make related changes to its voting arrangements, and to enlarge the Economic and Social Council.)

But it will inevitably take some time: all the more reason for starting the process without further delay. Meanwhile, we propose three other changes, which do not require Charter amendment. We believe all three are urgently needed, to make the UN more effective, more authoritative and more efficient in its work of maintaining the peace. They should not wait until this first one has been completed.

  1. A Pledge by the Existing Permanent Members

As already noted, on too many issues the Security Council is deadlocked by the failure of its permanent members to agree on a course of action, with the result that millions of people are left to suffer while great powers score debating points off each other. As the UN’s founders understood, without the united support of the permanent members, both material and moral, the Council cannot act.

None of us has forgotten the Holocaust, Rwanda, Srebenica, Saddam Hussein’s campaign against Iraq’s Kurds, or the killing fields of Cambodia. No part of the world has been spared these horrors. So the political will must be summoned to prevent, or at least limit, their repetition.

We therefore call on the five existing permanent members to pledge themselves to greater and more persistent efforts to find common ground, especially in crises where populations are being subjected to, or threatened with, genocide or other atrocity crimes.

States making this pledge will undertake not to use, or threaten to use, their veto in such crises without explaining, clearly and in public, what alternative course of action they propose, as a credible and efficient way to protect the populations in question. This explanation must refer to international peace and security, and not to the national interest of the state casting the veto, since any state casting a veto simply to protect its national interests is abusing the privilege of permanent membership.

And when one or more permanent members do feel obliged to cast a veto, and do provide such an explanation, the others must undertake not to abandon the search for common ground but to make even greater efforts to agree on an effective course of action.

  1. A Voice for Those Affected

When they can agree, the permanent members too often deliberate behind closed doors, without listening to the voices of those most directly affected by their decisions, and present their elected colleagues with ready-made resolutions leaving little room for debate. To remedy this, we call on all members of the Security Council to make more regular and systematic use of the “Arria formula” (under which, in the last two decades, Security Council members have had meetings with a wide variety of civil society organizations), to give groups representing people in zones of conflict the greatest possible opportunity to inform and influence Council decisions.

At present, meetings under the Arria formula are too often attended only by junior officials, whose reports can easily be ignored. In future, we call on the heads of the delegations of all countries serving on the Security Council, including the permanent members, to attend all meetings held under this formula in person. Members of the Council must use such meetings to ensure that their decisions are informed by full and clear knowledge of the conditions in the country or region concerned, and of the views of those most directly affected.

  1. A New Process for Choosing the Secretary-General

At the United Nations, it is the Secretary-General who has to uphold the interests and aspirations of all the world’s peoples. This role requires leadership of the highest calibre. Yet for 70 years the holder of this post has effectively been chosen by the five permanent members of the Security Council, who negotiate among themselves in almost total secrecy. The rest of the world is told little about the process by which candidates are identified, let alone the criteria by which they are judged. This barely follows the letter, and certainly not the spirit, of the UN Charter, which says the Secretary-General should be appointed by the General Assembly, and only on the recommendation of the Security Council.

To remedy this, we call on the General Assembly to insist that the Security Council recommend more than one candidate for appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, after a timely, equitable and transparent search for the best qualified candidates, irrespective of gender or regional origin.

We suggest that the next Secretary-General be appointed for a single, non-renewable term of seven years, in order to strengthen his or her independence and avoid the perception that he or she is guided by electoral concerns. She or he must not be under pressure, either before or after being appointed, to give posts in the Secretariat to people of any particular nationality in return for political support, since this is clearly contrary to the spirit of the Charter. This new process should be adopted without delay, so that the United Nations can make full use of it to choose the best person to assume the post in January 2017.

No time to lose.

The Elders believe that, for the UN to recover its authority and effectiveness in maintaining world peace and security, these changes are an essential starting point. We also believe that they are achievable, with a minimum of good will and effort on the part of member states. We therefore call on the citizens of all states to press their governments to take the necessary action. We, for our part, will do all we can to persuade them.

Discussions on these priority changes must start immediately, inside and outside governments. There is no time to lose.

Already there is a groundswell of pressure for change. By the time we mark the UN’s 70th anniversary later this year, we hope to see this groundswell build into an unstoppable wave, drawing strength from all around the world.

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Peace On Earth Is The Way.

Posted April 19, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

– Tennyson (1809-1892)

EAGLE-1Here’s to all people on Earth a wish for lives that coincide with the poetic words of Tennyson, as well as all the great thoughts men and women have written down through history. May each human being come to create their masterpiece of a life, no matter which description one chooses for that work of highest skill, or what the final product may look like. This has at times been said to be one’s highest potential, although individual men and women have no knowledge of the concept, or how truly high humanity can rise.

Surely, mankind’s highest potential does not include any violence, war, and greed. Surely, mankind’s highest potential will be reached when all men see each other as true brothers; all women as true sisters. Surely, when man’s efforts and work and thought become utilized to create conditions on Earth like this, there can be no other description of life on this planet but that such a world is a true masterpiece. Surely, when the separations of nations, peoples, and governments and businesses have been overcome and replaced with unified effort to bring about the highest degree of human happiness and joyful living for all, at that point there will be no further need for evolution.

And, isn’t that what the whole life process is all about – the highest degree of human development? And, is it possible for mankind to reach the zenith of physical, mental, and spiritual evolution, even though many thousands of years have shown us otherwise? Can creating the greatest masterpiece in the history of this world become the driving force for human actions, with a thorough and shared awareness of the most noble, moral, ethical, and utterly magnificent place just up ahead in everyone’s field of vision?

Is it just crazed-visionary thinking or completely rational, truly-visionary thinking to contemplate such a potential world? Has the world come to an evolutionary standstill where there is no longer any chance to rise higher, and higher, and higher? It seems apparent that such an idea – that mankind is done with evolving – is an idea that is rooted in insanity. The idea that the human race does indeed have the capacity to create the greatest masterpiece – where love is the only survival, the only meaning – is completely rational and orderly.

The basic principle of all – not harming others – may not seem complex enough to be worthy of consideration as the basis for all life on this Earth, but maybe mankind has failed to see the highest wisdom in simplicity. Because the sanity of living without harming others is the masterpiece.

“The public for which masterpieces are intended is not of this Earth.”

– Thornton Wilder

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(Thank you to NEO Journal Media at YouTube)

Peace On Earth: Where Nothing Ever Happens.

Posted March 21, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“A man must take with him into the world below an adamantine faith in truth and right, that there too he may be undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil, lest coming upon tyrannies and similar villainies, he should do irremediable wrongs to others and suffer yet worse himself; but let him know how to choose the mean and avoid extremes on either side, as far as possible, not only in this life but in all that which is to come. For this is the way to happiness.”

– Plato (428-348 B.C.)

398-2-1Plato spoke to generations to come some 24 centuries ago on happiness, and on how happiness is created by an adamantine (unyielding) faith in truth and right. In Plato’s quote some value may be found by examining his use of the words “into the world below”, which suggests the concept that all human beings descend from a place above. Plato’s configuration of words and ideas raise a number of questions about his philosophy of life, primarily his conveyance of the soul coming down to live on Earth, choices the incarnated human makes during his or her lifetime, and an ascent back to “above”.

Plato’s quote puts forth the consequences of man’s choice to allow himself to become “dazzled” by the desire for wealth and similar villainies, which results in men doing things which cannot be remedied or corrected or repaired. Here one observes a connection between what Plato said so long ago to events of violence and war that have occurred since he lived. Because of men’s choice to allow themselves to become “dazzled” by the desire of wealth, those desires have led men to kill their fellow human beings to bring to themselves the wealth they want.

Another word to describe this human characteristic of desire for wealth reads greed. History abounds with examples ranging from small to large of men doing irreparable harm to their fellow brothers and sisters on Earth, and none can refute the fact that in the majority of wars the most significant catalyst was greed. Wars over natural resources, land, control of commercial/business activity, and any of a variety of routes to wealth accumulation gives mankind incontrovertible historical evidence that Plato knew what he was talking about.

Those who through history have made the choice to harm their fellow-man to gain wealth or the “other allurements of evil”, according to Plato, then suffer even more than those they harmed. Why do those who knowingly inflict harm on others suffer more? Because there are laws that are universal, or higher than man-made laws – the highest law.

“Good is all that serves life, evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life… and all that enhances life. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it to pieces.”

– Erich Fromm (1900-1980)

So, every human is challenged with the constant presence of choice between good and evil; between intentionally harming others for villainous reasons – harming oneself more harshly in the process – and doing no harm, made possible by an unyielding faith in truth and right, thereby experiencing happiness.

“It is sad that man is not intelligent enough to solve problems without killing… The present world crisis can be solved only by a general human revolution against outdated concepts… Man is not a blood-thirsty animal, and war is only due to the greed and lust for power of relatively small groups, the conspiracy of the few against the many.”

– Albert Szent-Gyorgi (1893-1986)

So, peace on Earth is possible. All that is needed to create peace on Earth is humanity “be undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil”. Then, “not only in this life but in all that which is to come”, the Earth along with all  men, women, and children who have come down to it, live their lives, and then ascend, shall experience true happiness.

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True happiness on Earth describes in another but equal way: “on Earth as it is in heaven”. In the lines of David Byrne’s composition “Heaven” are the words “where nothing ever happens”. He is alluding to a condition where harm, violence, and war are non-existent everywhere…

Where true world peace has become real.

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Please enjoy vocalist Simply Red’s interpretation of David Byrne’s “Heaven”.

(Thank you to Alexandre Hoertel Negri at YouTube)