The turning of the wheel
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme
When men realize how close to self destruction they have come, they will shudder to think of the consequences of their actions. Seldom has there been a time when men faced such danger. Even in the worst adversity they have fought and tested themselves against fate. In recent times, however, men have so lost a sense of their direction that they have seemed oblivious to the danger facing them. That this danger and trial are largely of their own making is no doubt responsible for their equanimity and apparent indifference. When men know this, they will be astonished to learn how close to annihilation have their actions brought them. They have indeed diced with death, putting an inconceivable strain on Those Who are pledged to help them. Men, of course, know little or nothing of this escape, and continue blithely on their path. That this path leads only to a desert wasteland they have yet to understand, so steeped are they in materialistic ambition.
The light dawns
Great are the possibilities which await men’s creative efforts, however, and great will be their achievements when the light dawns and the blinkers drop from their eyes.
This realization will come when men turn inwards again, and find within their hearts the brotherhood and unity which all instinctively crave. Then will come the blossoming of new hope and inspiration, leading men to renew their upward climb, and to the creation of a better world. Simplicity and honest effort will replace the present corruption which stains every aspect of men’s lives today. Men will seek to emulate Maitreya and His group of Masters, and so purify their structures and standards.
With Maitreya and His group to guide them, men will grow to love the simplicity of the new structures, and in them find a deep satisfaction and coherence. They will feel at ease in a world shorn of competition and the tension which it brings. Working together in co-operation they will find a profound happiness and fulfilment in all that they do.
Maitreya will stint nothing of His help and advice, nor shall We, your Elder Brothers, in Our efforts to inspire the building of the new civilization. The wonders which will grace this coming edifice will delight and astonish all men. Each will have a part to play in its construction and all will give of their best in its achievement. Thus will it be.
(Read more articles by the Master)
Q. What does Maitreya think is the most urgent problem in the world at present?
A. The most important action with which Maitreya is concerned is the saving of millions of people who currently die from starvation in a world of plenty. He says that nothing so moves Him to grief as this shame: “The crime of separation must be driven from this world. I affirm that as My Purpose.” So the first aim of Maitreya is to show humanity that we are one and the same: wherever we live, whatever our colour, background or religious belief, the needs of all are the same.
Equally important and just as urgent is the saving of our planet from the destruction on which it is set from our misuse of the resources of the planet. Governments today are more and more becoming aware, after many years of information from scientists, that global warming is a reality. Global warming is now understood to a degree, but man’s responsibility for it has not yet dawned on all the national authorities. This is one of the most important realizations that we have to make – that man is responsible for at least 80 per cent of the warming up of the planet, and if this continues it will drastically affect our daily lives. Maitreya and the Masters alone have the exact knowledge of how to proceed but we already know the first steps to take (the need to restrict carbon emissions and so on) but the urgency of action is probably not fully realized by governments. Maitreya will emphasise how really urgent this action is. The destruction of trees on the planet – for example, an area the size of Belgium of primal forest is destroyed every year in Central and South America – has a profound effect on essential oxygen in the world.
The necessity for sharing the resources of the planet is the number one action which Maitreya will emphasise. This will create the trust which will open the way to the solution of all further problems, national and international.
Q. I have read your information about Maitreya but I don’t know how to ‘give it a place’ in my everyday life. I believe it but it also seems unreal. Can you help?
A. Maitreya’s coming is about world change: change in our understanding of the needs of the planet, the ecological balance; the change in our economic systems so that all people are fed and cared for properly; change in relationships between people everywhere. The true understanding that humanity is one will show the absolute necessity for this profound transformation. It is the making of a new world.
You are not alone on the planet and therefore you will see that these changes relate to you and your life, and this will give a deepening sense of the reality and meaning of Maitreya’s coming.
Maitreya does not come alone but is head of a substantial group of perfected men, the Masters of Wisdom. As humanity takes seriously the advice and guidance of Maitreya and the Masters, there will begin this process of world change, which eventually will cover every aspect of our lives. This will of course affect you as it affects everyone else. Think about the coming of Maitreya in this way and I think you will get a deeper understanding of what His coming means to us.
Q. How hands-on will Maitreya work in relation to humanity when He is openly accepted? How much will He direct things or will He only respond with advice?
A. Maitreya is here to advise, guide and teach. He is not here to direct our actions and will not do so. He is a teacher. The Masters, His immediate disciples, will be available with Their higher knowledge and experience for help and advice, as also will Maitreya. But we have to want what we have to do. Maitreya will outline the broad general direction of our thinking. That is: a sense of the oneness of humanity; the absolute necessity for the sharing of the world’s resources; and the ending of war and terrorism as a way of solving international problems. When we show that we understand this, as much help and advice as we can use will be provided. But we have to want the changes for ourselves; willingly, gladly make these changes. The Masters do not come to tell us what to do. Maitreya has said: “I am the Architect, only, of the Plan. You, My friends and brothers, are the willing builders of the Shining Temple of Truth.” The temple of truth being the new civilization.
Q. If we think that we have recognised Maitreya when He is talking to media, but He is still undeclared as Maitreya, how should we respond to this? How should we act in relation to the media?
A. We should do nothing in relation to the media other than make known that Maitreya and His Group are in the world. It is not our task to point Him out to the media. They, like all humanity, have to make the recognition for themselves. If people believe, rightly or wrongly, that Maitreya is the Christ, the Imam Mahdi, Maitreya Buddha, the Messiah or Kalki Avatar, and accept His advice because of that, it does not mean that they are in themselves ready to make the changes which must ensue to preserve the world and humanity with it. We have to recognize Maitreya, not because we think He is Maitreya, or the Christ or the Messiah, or whoever, but because we agree with what He is saying, that we want for the world what He says is necessary for the world: justice and sharing and freedom for all people, rather than because we think He is the World Teacher or some great spiritual being.
Q. Will Maitreya look physically like Himself – that is, as He really is – when His first interview takes place, or will He be in a different ‘guise’ – as He usually is when He appears to people?
A. When He appears to people He is usually using a ‘familiar’, a created person through which some part of His consciousness manifests. But when He appears openly to the world, although not using the name Maitreya, He will appear as in fact He is, in the self-created body in which He manifests now in the world.
Q. If you are correct in thinking that the Christ and the Masters are in and coming into the world, is this not something altogether too big, too great an experience for ordinary people to deal with?
A. You will find that Maitreya and the Masters, although from our point of view perfected, spiritual beings, are straightforward, simple, and totally respectful in their approach to humanity. They do not, and will not ever, behave like remote Gods of popular imagination. They are men, like us, but men without fault. They have a ready sense of humour, simplicity of approach, and They know better than we do ourselves the inner spiritual nature of all people. Maitreya is the Lord of Love, the Spiritual Hierarchy is the Centre in the planet in which the Love of God is expressed and that exemplifies Their approach to us. It is unconditional.
Q. You have said that one of Maitreya’s priorities would be to find solutions to the conflict in the Middle East, and that it will not be solved until He has actually come forward. Is that because the different people involved in the Middle East (Muslims, Jews, Christians), will respond to Him as their World Teacher, and will recognize that He has come for all of them, and that their separatism will start to change from that response?
A. The fundamentalists of all religions will probably be the last people to recognize and respond to Maitreya, but eventually they will.
The Palestinian/Israeli problem which is central to the problems of the Middle East, I believe will only be solved through the action of Maitreya. But even Maitreya cannot impose a solution, He can only advise. But His acceptance by countless millions in the world as a spiritual teacher and guide will make it easier for the most fanatical Israeli Jew or Palestinian Muslim to accept the necessity of living together side by side. This can only take place when justice is given to the Palestinians. When justice is done and seen to be done, fully and completely, then the solution will become acceptable by the Muslims, and, even if grudgingly, by the Israelis. They have eventually to learn to live side by side and they can only do so in a state of justice. Otherwise there would inevitably be perpetual war between the two.
Unless the Middle East problems are solved there will never be peace in the world and we know, if there is no peace, then the future for humanity would be very bleak indeed. Muslims await the Imam Mahdi, and the Jews await the Messiah, and many will be ready to recognize Maitreya as such. This will, I am sure, soften their stance in relation to each other.
But the important thing is that justice must be given to the Palestinians. The West Bank was gifted by the late King Hussein of Jordan as a homeland for the Palestinians and that means the whole of the West Bank, not the fraction which has been offered to the Palestinians so far. It requires the return of the 4.7 million refugees, mainly in Lebanon, to their homeland, and the status of Jerusalem – which is of major importance to the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians – to be changed into an open, central city for all three groups. I believe it will take Maitreya to bring this reconciliation about, but so it will be.
Q. Is there any time-scale for that?
A. Well we make the timescale. It is a question of the will of the people of the area: they make the timescale. If they are willing to make the changes, accept the resolution of the conflict and make a just peace possible, it can be very quick. It depends on the resistance of the fanatical groups on both sides. But when the whole world is being changed you will find that these small areas, however important they may be, will find it more and more difficult to resist the changes which will bring about peaceful solutions.
Essentially everybody wants a world at peace. Only mad warmongers want war, which is good for business and makes fat profits for certain groups. But when humanity as a whole sees the absolute necessity for peace, then the end of war itself can be achieved. This is Maitreya's task, to teach humanity these facts. It’s a question of putting over what people know: I know, you know, everybody knows the need for peace, but still we have wars. It’s because people think that by the use of war of some measure, they can restore the balance their way. But when the world as a whole is going in a certain direction, then you will find that small factions will follow suit.
Q. Is it imagination or is it possible to feel or sense that Maitreya seems much closer now than even a few months ago?
A. This is real. More and more people are sensing the presence of Maitreya in the world as they respond to His energy which fills the world.
Q. I used to believe your information and hoped to see Maitreya all these years, but the story is getting harder and harder to believe. Why can’t He just come into full public view now? Surely things in the world can’t get much worse? Many people can’t stand to hear or see the news any longer – there is too much suffering and too much wrong.
A. I can understand this feeling but it is just a feeling and does not take into account the Law that Maitreya cannot ignore: that is the Law of human Freewill. At any time in the last 30 years, if we had ourselves taken some steps to right the wrongs of today, to implement the principle of sharing, to restore justice and peace to the world, then we would have seen Maitreya openly long ago. Blame ourselves and not Maitreya (or me!)
Q. How should we address Maitreya, for instance, if we want to ‘talk’ to
Him or ask for His help?
A. Maitreya has given a simple, direct means of contacting Him. Use the ‘hand’ of Maitreya which is given for this purpose. Simply look at it and that immediately draws His attention to the person asking for His help.
Q. Once Maitreya is in the world and we start to take action, will our actions be potentized or made more effective by Him?
A. Maitreya is in the world, but once He emerges openly, every action that we take in the right direction – that is towards oneness, justice, freedom for all people – will invoke His help and energy. He will potentize our actions and the changes will proceed with enormous speed and order.
Q. After the Day of Declaration will everybody be aware of the fact of Maitreya’s presence and that of His group, the Masters of Wisdom?
A. I cannot speak for everybody, but the vast majority of humanity will have heard His words telepathically on the Day of Declaration, and it seems obvious that the time and resources of media from then on will be devoted to making known the advice and priorities of Maitreya. One must remember that there will be no recording of the telepathic message that Maitreya will give and no doubt there will be misremembering and misquoting of His meaning. But Maitreya will be available for clarifying in the normal way, in further interviews, the exact meaning of His words.
Q. When we see Maitreya on television, your Master has said we will experience His ray or energy. Will that be like a preview of the Day of Declaration with a blessing taking place?
A. It will be a spiritual experience, but always at the level of the person. People can only take what they can take, they can only be who they are. Some people will immediately sense and recognize Maitreya as the spiritual giant that He is. Others will respond more to what He says, it will satisfy their sense of justice and purpose. But that spiritual outflow will always take place. I doubt that it would be as strong as on the Day of Declaration.
Q. At fairs and exhibitions, people who have never heard our information before seem to already ‘know it’ unconsciously, and are not surprised and seem to readily accept it now. It seems to make sense and seems obvious to them. How has this happened?
A. They may have read about it, but not remembered doing so, or heard about it and don’t remember that either. But it is the result of the 30 years of preparation for the Reappearance. It hasn’t happened overnight. More and more Maitreya’s energies penetrate all the planes, and inevitably people become more aware of them and of the reality of this information.
Q. In 1990 Maitreya held a conference in London and invited politicians, members of royalty, journalists, diplomats, etc. Have there been any similar events since that occasion?
A. No, but Maitreya has continued to make individual contact with many leaders in every branch of human activity.
Q. When will more healing wells be discovered?
A. The first to be discovered after the Day of Declaration will be the one near San Antonio, in Texas, but it is not yet known how soon after the Day of Declaration this will take place.
Q. What is the relationship of Benjamin Creme to Maitreya?
A. All the Masters of Wisdom are direct disciples of Maitreya. Benjamin Creme is a disciple of one of these disciples.
(More questions and answers)
Letters to the editor
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared at Benjamin Creme’s lectures and Transmission Meditations. They also appear, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. Some of these recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the experiences are authenticated by Benjamin Creme’s Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, they draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance to, for example, smoking or drinking. Many times the Masters act as saving ‘angels’ in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. They use a ‘familiar’, a thoughtform, who seems totally real, and through whom the Master’s thoughts can be expressed: They can appear as a man, a woman, a child, at will. Occasionally They use the ‘blueprint’ of a real person, but in most cases the ‘familiar’ is an entirely new creation. The following letters are examples of this means of communication by the Masters. Please note: In the absence of any indication to the contrary, the editors will assume that your name may be printed. Unless requested otherwise, some of these letters may be reproduced on the Share-International.org website. Only initials, town and country will be used.
Heart to heart
On 17 May 2007 we gave a regular talk about the Emergence of Maitreya. The talk is normally given, in turn by two co-workers, the first focusing on the Reappearance process itself and the second more on Maitreya’s priorities and teachings.
We started on time. After 10 minutes, two women came in and sat at my side. As the talk proceeded, I started feeling something very unusual – an energy of the kind you feel in Benjamin Creme’s lectures when he is overshadowed by Maitreya, which strikes directly in the heart, making the lecture a living event. It lasted till the end of the first part of the talk.
As soon as the question-and-answer session started, the woman at my side said she had a question. She asked how we knew that the story was true and that Maitreya was indeed in the world. Interestingly enough, again one could feel the energy in the room. One of the co-workers giving the talk replied that it all depends on the person and how one reacts to this information, but in her case she was 100 per cent sure due to her experiences and internal feeling.
Then the woman commented how pitiful was the state of the world and how can we change it? The answer was that, despite that state, there was a growing readiness and longing for change, and that when Maitreya appears, some will be against what He says and represents, but the vast majority will gather around Him to make a better world. She nodded and said: “Yes, yes, we will gather round Him.” She also commented that they were Catholic but that all religions shared common ground.
As we had to leave the room, we ended the question-and-answer session. Since they arrived late, we offered them some literature. The shorter of the two, who did not speak much, said that she had already been to a lecture and had material. The taller one, who asked the questions, accepted a postcard of the ‘hand’ of Maitreya. As they were leaving, the taller woman praised the co-workers who gave the talk, telling them that they were wonderful and doing a great job. As they left, they repeatedly thanked us for sharing this information with them.
On our way home, sitting in the train, I told my wife about the energy I felt during the talk and said that the talk itself, probably because of it, was unusually inspiring. She was one of the co-workers giving the talk, and completely agreed that there was something unusual in the atmosphere. One could easily feel the truthfulness of the information. We were somehow amazed about the audience, especially these two open-hearted women that reacted so genuinely to the story.
In this context we commented how true were Benjamin Creme’s frequent remarks that there is nothing more convincing than the direct experience of telling people this information face to face, how a heart to heart communication can happen which creates a climate of hope and expectancy. For us, that evening talk, with the energy felt and the enthusiastic reaction and feedback of the audience, was a living example of how right he is. Nothing can compare to this kind of presentation of the information.
Could you please tell us if something special happened during the talk?
H. L., Barcelona, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘woman’ who did most of the talking was Maitreya; the second ‘woman’ was the Master Jesus. The energy they felt was a blessing from Maitreya.)
London co-workers hosted a stand at the 2007 Mind Body Spirit Fair in Victoria, London. The six-day event was very well attended and we were kept busy most of the time talking about Maitreya and the Masters’ return.
During a lull, around midday on Saturday 26 May, a young man came up to the table. He glanced over the literature and looked very intently at the two of us there. He was casually dressed in jeans and had a soft face and olive skin. He had a beard and dark curly hair tied in a knot at the back. My colleague Gill went forward to give him some information. As he listened, he looked at us alternately, in the same quick, but very intense manner. He spoke with an American accent, but when asked where he came from replied: “Oh, everywhere.”
He asked if there was any more information other than the papers on the table. My colleague showed him the latest Share International magazine. She went through the magazine page by page, explaining all the regular features. He was very encouraging, nodding his head and saying: “Very interesting, very interesting” at each turn of the page. At the end of the magazine, they looked at the photograph of Benjamin Creme. After she explained that he was on tour in Japan the man asked what it was like to work with him. She said it was wonderful; that while the information was serious and the work important, it was a real joy to do. Benjamin Creme was great fun and inspiring to work with. He asked about subscriptions, and decided to subscribe in the near future. She asked if, in the meantime, he would like to join the newsletter mailing list, to which he agreed and filled out a form signing his name ‘SANCTUS’ in capital letters.
He accepted a card with Benjamin Creme’s London lecture dates; the next lecture in July was pointed out, but he said that he couldn’t attend because he would be in America in July. She also offered him a small card of Maitreya’s ‘hand’. He said: “I have no need for one, but my divine counterpart would like one.”
As he walked away Gill noticed on his rucksack was a large, silver metal, Aquarian cross.
Could he have been Maitreya?
H. S., Oxford, England.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
The strength of one cause
On Saturday 2 June 2007, around 2.30pm, I was with a co-worker Suzanne, standing on Westminster Bridge, London, in brilliant sunshine. We were among a large gathering of people at a rally THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT, a few days before the G8 meeting in Germany. There was a lively, up-beat atmosphere and a barge sailed up and down the river with people co-ordinating the crowd to make as much noise as possible. We made ourselves dizzy blowing our whistles so much!
Then to my left a tall black man of around 35 years stood smiling broadly, surveying the crowds of people, who were wearing white and carrying banners that filled the bridge and the river banks. He asked me why we were all here and I explained. Beaming he said: “I am from Uganda and this gives me so much hope to see so many people thinking about people like me, from a country so far away. All these different people united in one cause.” Waving one finger towards me he emphasized the importance of “one cause”. He said: “It makes me so happy. The G8 will listen.”
I wondered if he was Maitreya?
G. F., London, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
On 12 May 2007, I attended Mr Creme’s lecture for the first time. I learned about him and Maitreya only two months beforehand. My understanding was rather limited, even though I had read two of his books before the lecture. My friend who came to the lecture with me knew nothing about it in advance, and she did not seem to understand much, asking me the meaning of some of the unfamiliar terminology. However, after the lecture she told me excitedly that she had seen light which was not visible to me.
The following is my friend, Kazuko Hori’s account: “I saw this during the blessing at the end of Benjamin Creme’s talk. I noticed a round circle of shining golden light in the middle of Mr Creme’s chest and a beautiful golden belt-shaped light, the same width of the diameter of the circle, stretched out from it to his shoulders. The circle was more brilliant than the belt. After a while the circle on his chest disappeared, and the belt of light spread throughout his entire chest. When Mr Creme bowed at the end, his entire head was a beautiful golden-yellow. His hands were also the same golden colour. The circle on his chest was brilliantly shining but the rest was more subdued yellow.”
M. S., Tokyo, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the writer’s friend was shown the energies of Maitreya’s blessing.)
Signs of the time
UFO sightings in Peru
On 20 May 2007 hundreds of people from Lima, Peru, saw a flotilla of UFOs in full daylight. More than 20 round, bright lights were seen in the sky ‘dancing’ and forming different patterns for more than 30 minutes. The sighting was captured on film by ATV Television, was broadcast in Peru, and can now be seen on the ‘youtube’ website.
One witness said: “I do not believe at all in UFOs, but this is clearly inexplicable. These medium-size round objects move around too quickly to be planes or anything like that.”
Commanding officer in the Peruvian air force Julio Chamorro said that “this was certainly a non-controlled air phenomenon. We cannot explain who or what has launched these white balls in the air, we lack a technical explanation for this. Therefore, it is an anomalous event”. Although Chamorro was wary about talking explicitly about UFOs he showed some films taken in 1992 and 1993 in Mexico where very similar white ball patterns were seen in the air. Chamorro added that “it is important to inquire into the origin of these numerous balls of light, otherwise they could interfere with ordinary air operations. To this end, some government and military teams in Chile and Peru are working together to find answers to this kind of phenomenon”. (Source: ATV Television, Peru)
To view the video of UFOs over Lima, see www.youtube.com.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that these sightings were authentic Spacecraft from Mars.)
Weeping statue in Florida
A statue of the Virgin Mary on display at a furniture store in Orlando, Florida, USA, appears to be weeping. The marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta, depicting the Virgin Mary and the body of Jesus, was shipped from Europe to the Castle Designs furniture store in March 2007.
According to the store’s co-owners Les Roberts and Kim Wilson, a grey tear seen on the statue’s left check appeared to be coming from within the statue itself. “We started noticing that there was a small grey line every day that kept getting darker and darker,” said Mr Roberts. When the sculpture was unpacked at the store, employees noticed a black spot on the statue’s eyelid. During the following four weeks the statue was left outside, and the dot gradually became a thin line stretching down the statue’s cheek. Thousands of people have visited the store to view the statue, which is to be auctioned to help raise $130,000 for a woman who needs a kidney transplant. (Source: News4jax.com, Orlando Sentinel, www.local6.com, USA)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this to be an authentic miracle by the Master Jesus.)
“Miracle healing”, agrees doctor
For Donna Sikes of Cadillac, Michigan, USA, it was not a question of whether she needed surgery to remove an 8mm brain tumour but when and how. As she left home in her truck to drive to Dearborn for a pre-operation appointment and MRI scan before the very risky procedure she decided to play a tape to keep her company. The tape was called ‘Infinite Power – God’s Plan for Miracle Living’ by Gordon and Pat Robertson.
“The tape said to put your hand on where your sickness is so I did and I was in the spirit all the way down there and I said: ‘Jesus, take it away, I’m all alone and I have no one to help me.’”
What happened next was what Donna Sikes describes as a miracle. “It was just the tape and me and my truck,” she recalled. “It was the tape but Jesus did it. I felt warmth. It was like riding in heaven all the way down there.” And as she was driving she felt God’s presence; the Holy Spirit told her that everything would be all right. “I already knew that Jesus would take it away from me,” she said. “I was never scared with this tumour.”
During the MRI scan the technician paused, obviously puzzled and asked what exactly she was supposed to be looking for. Sikes told her that they were scanning for a pituitary tumour but that she knew they wouldn’t find it this time although her two previous scans showed it clearly. Sikes was proved right: the technician could find no such growth and the scan, too, failed to detect any sign of the tumour. Sikes’s doctor examined the test results and told her: “There’s an empty pocket of nothing in your head.”
Dr Alicia Elmore of Family Practice of Cadillac wrote to confirm that the tumour had disappeared: “I reviewed the films and the reports myself and have no medical explanation for this except to call it a miraculous healing.”
“We have her old MRIs here, two of them,” she said later in an interview. “I can see it (the tumour) there.” Dr Elmore went on to say that medication can help shrink tumours but that in Donna Sikes’s case “… there is no record of her taking any medicine”.
Her miracle healing has changed Donna’s life. “I believed in God before but now I talk to him. I didn’t know how much he loves me.” “Jesus does miracles,” she said. (Source: Cadillac News, Michigan, USA)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Donna Sikes was cured by her faith alone. No Master was involved in her cure.)
From our own correspondents
From our own correspondents – excerpts from articles, interviews and reviews
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
by Jimmy Carter
Book review by McNair Ezzard
“In times of greatest discouragement, ultimate hope has rested on the fact that, overwhelmingly, the people in the region – even those Syrians, Israelis, Lebanese and Palestinians who are most distrusted by their adversaries – want the peace efforts to succeed.” – Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, and the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has been involved with humanitarian and justice issues throughout the world for 30 years. He has maintained a special interest and involvement in the Middle East political situation. In his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter presents his analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what he sees as the only prescription for peace between the two peoples.
Since before the time of Jesus the area of Palestine has been the scene of much conflict and suffering. The region holds great significance for billions of people – Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, who embrace it as vital to their religions – which many claim are religions of peace. Perhaps this is why the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has become so important to Jimmy Carter. He is a man of deep Christian belief who understands the ties his religion has to Palestine and to the Jewish faith. His religion informs his sense of right and wrong and of what constitutes justice and injustice.
In his previous book, Our Endangered Values, Carter showed he is willing to step beyond the accepted thinking of the time, religiously and politically, if in his view that thinking goes against his sense of morality. In that book he focused on the negative impact of the religious and political right on America’s moral values. In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid Carter again moves away from accepted thinking and casts a critical eye on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He challenges the reader to leave behind conditioned thinking shaped by the narrow interpretation of politicians and the media, and gain a more realistic view of the situation as it actually exists.
Carter’s stated purpose in writing the book is to educate the American public and initiate a dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. He hopes that in so doing, pressure will be brought to bear on the US government to re-engage in the peace process.
In his book Carter shows himself to be knowledgeable and articulate about a complex situation. There are many elements to this story and he has successfully woven them together into an informative and readable book made even more interesting by the inclusion of anecdotes from his own experience while working for peace during and after his presidency.
The Israeli-Palestinian relationship has been a troubled one – alternating periods of hostility and calm. Even when there was calm, tension and anger were just below the surface needing only slight provocation to erupt into conflict. Families have been torn apart. Countless homes, farms and villages have been destroyed. The Palestinian-Israeli relationship has been reflective of the larger Arab-Israeli relationship that has seen multiple wars, hundreds of thousands of people dead and 4.7 million Palestinian refugees – a testiment to a people denied the right to live in peace.
The story of the Israelis and Palestinians is an account of two groups of people seeking similar ends – a life of peace free from domination. One group, the Palestinians, have sought to recover a land and way of life that has been taken from them. The Israelis have sought to build a life and country that protects them from persecution and oppression, but in doing so the oppressed have become the oppressors.
Carter begins his book with a historical timeline chronicling the conflict’s developments. The modern chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian story began in the early 20th century, nearly 100 years ago, when the Ottoman Empire controlled a significant portion of the Arab world, including Palestine. At that time European Zionists had aspirations for a Jewish state to escape persecution and to fulfill the interpretation of a biblical prophecy. In 1917 their dreams for a homeland were sanctioned with the British government’s Balfour Declaration – “the first significant declaration by a world power in favor of a Jewish ‘national home’ in what was known as Palestine”.1 It wasn’t until Hitler’s rise to power that immigration began in earnest. From 1930 to 1945 the Jewish population in Palestine increased from 150,000 to 608,000. British forces tried to control the situation, but then came news of the Holocaust. In the circumstances, it was thought that the need for an Israeli state could not be ignored.
In November 1947 the United Nations passed Resolution 181 calling for the creation of two states in Palestine, one Arab and one Jewish. The Jewish state was to comprise 55 per cent of the territory. Palestinians found this unacceptable and fought back. Better trained and armed, the Zionists emerged the victor. In 1949, at the end of the fighting, armistice agreements were signed that included demarcation lines designating Israel’s borders. Palestinians were left to make do with two small, but separate areas: Gaza and the West Bank. Israel got the remaining 77 per cent of the disputed area. As a result of this unfair distribution of the land there has never been peace. Deception and retribution have prevailed. Palestinians have fought to regain their land and dignity, while Israel has been able to assert itself at will whenever political and economic circumstances warranted.
Contrary to what is presented to the American public by the US media and a series of pro-Israeli administrations, blame for the current impasse is to be shared by both sides, not solely by the Palestinians. Each is at fault for the ongoing violence. This is a key point in Jimmy Carter’s presentation: things are not always what they seem. Americans hold certain beliefs based on what they have been told, but what they have been told is only part of the truth.
One example from Carter of where perception conflicts with reality has to do with how the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has been presented to the American public. Most people probably view the PLO as an extremist, if not terrorist, organization, whose goal has been the destruction of Israel. The PLO has used violence to defend itself and regain its land, but does it wish to destroy Israel?
In fact, Carter explains that in 1988 Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, acknowledged Israel’s right to exist and renounced violence. He tells of the first time he met the PLO leader in 1990 and of what Arafat said about Israel: “The PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel. The Zionists started the ‘drive the Jews into the sea’ slogan and attributed it to the PLO. In 1969 we said we wanted to establish a democratic state where Jews, Christians, and Muslims can all live together…. In 1974 I said we are ready to establish our independent state in any part from which Israel will withdraw.”
There are of course many impediments to peace between Israel and the Palestinians: Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land; the absence of a Palestinian voice acceptable to Israel; the refusal by each side to join peace talks without burdensome prerequisites; an increase in Islamic fundamentalism. And there is the construction of what Israel calls a “security fence” and what Carter calls an “imprisonment wall”. The wall, he says, creates dismal prospects for the West Bank and has helped set up a system of apartheid. Originally, the barrier was seen by Israeli moderates as a way to protect Israel from Palestinian attacks. According to Carter, this proved to be a legitimate argument when it was built around Gaza. Cross-border attacks did diminish. The Israeli government plan was then to construct a barricade along Israel’s border with the West Bank. It has turned into something much more restrictive for the Palestinians. The barrier includes deep trenches, ground and fence sensors, sniper towers, etc. What is even more unacceptable to Carter is the fact that the governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have built the wall within Palestinian territory. It winds through the West Bank taking in Israeli settlement blocs and additional areas of Palestinian land. The wall will eventually be three-and-a-half times as long as Israel’s internationally recognized border. It slices through Palestinian villages, separates families from their farmland, and in one instance has separated a monastery and its house of worship from its parishioners. Its priest, Father Claudio Ghilardi, says: “For nine hundred years we have lived here under Turkish, British, Jordanian and Israeli governments, and no one has ever stopped people coming to pray. It is scandalous. This is not a barrier. It is a border.”
Carter calls it a system of apartheid, set up not on the basis of race, but for the purpose of land acquisition. Already, 375,000 Palestinians are enclosed on the ‘Israeli’ side of the wall. Palestinians over the age of 12 are required to obtain a permanent resident permit if they live in the region between the barrier and the Israeli border. “They are considered to be aliens, without the rights of Israeli citizens,” says Carter. With Israeli forces established in the Jordan River valley, and the barrier eventually enclosing the entire West Bank, the Israeli government will keep control of all Palestinians, on either side of the wall. Essentially, the Palestinians are, and will continue to be, prisoners in their own land, many of them unable to access their property, schools, businesses and relatives. The land will be so divided there will be little left of a contiguous area in which the Palestinians can have a homeland.
Carter points out that the Israeli electorate is divided in its support for the wall with many disapproving of the current situation. As one prominent Israeli said: “I am afraid that we are moving toward a government like that of South Africa, with a dual society of Jewish rulers and Arab subjects with few rights of citizenship. The West Bank is not worth it.”
Although Jimmy Carter is as objective as possible he is also a critic and takes issue with what has occurred over the years with the more restricted vision of extremist politicians. A significant problem has been that some of Israel’s leaders have operated in direct opposition to official US policy, the international community, and their own negotiated agreements.
It has been only after many years of watching events unfold, meeting with Palestinian and Israeli people and their religious and government leaders, observing elections, etc, that Carter has arrived at his current conclusions. His concern is with the fanatical elements on both sides that would impose their narrow-minded agenda on the majority. With regard to Israel he says that extremist factions within the Israel political system have usurped the pursuit of peace in an effort to seek the establishment of a larger Israeli homeland.
It is with insight into this world of injustice, deception, violence and suffering that Carter says, enough is enough. Government leaders in the US should wake up. As the nation with the most influence in Israel, and the one providing the most support, the United States has an obligation to assert itself in the conflict in a positive way. It has to get involved, take an objective stance, lead the way, and involve representatives from other interested nations. Carter says: “Until recently, America’s leaders were known and expected to exert maximum influence in an objective, nonbiased way to achieve peace in the Middle East. In order to resume this vital role, the United States must be a trusted participant, evenhanded, consistent, unwavering, and enthusiastic – a partner with both sides and not a judge of either.”
Carter suggests that the lack of Middle East peace has a direct effect on US citizens. “The Middle East is perhaps the most volatile region in the world, whose instability is a persistent threat to global peace. It is also the incubator of much of the terrorism that is of such great concern to Americans and citizens of other nations.”
(End of excerpt)
Digging up the landmine crisis
Interview with Simona Beltrami
by Jason Francis
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) was founded in 1992 by six non-governmental organizations which had witnessed the terrible effects of antipersonnel landmines on communities throughout the world. The founding groups were Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Mines Advisory Group, Physicians for Human Rights and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Currently, Switzerland-based ICBL comprises a network of more than 1,400 groups in over 90 countries that work locally, nationally and internationally to prohibit the use of antipersonnel landmines. In 1997 the campaign and its then co-ordinator, Jody Williams, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Simona Beltrami, the Advocacy Director of ICBL, was interviewed for Share International by Jason Francis.
Share International: Which nations and regions are most affected by landmines?
Simona Beltrami: Antipersonnel mines [APMs] still plague some 78 countries and eight territories not recognized as independent states worldwide, claiming an average of 15,000 to 20,000 victims per year. Asia accounts for some of the most affected countries, including Afghanistan and Cambodia, as well as possibly the only country where landmines are being actively laid by government forces at the moment: Myanmar [Burma]. Other severely affected countries include Iraq, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and several more.
SI: How would you describe the human toll of landmines?
SB: Some of the landmine victims die in the accidents, while those lucky enough to survive often suffer terrible injuries including amputation of limbs, loss of sight and other lifelong consequences. Many accidents occur in countries lacking the necessary infrastructure to provide medical assistance to survivors as well as to reintegrate them into society. Accidents often occur in remote rural areas, far away from hospitals and orthopedic clinics, so survivors are often left to make do with rudimentary prostheses and other devices such as wheelchairs. For these reasons, many survivors face an existence of physical and psychological suffering, poverty and social exclusion.
Landmine accidents have a devastating impact on the lives of individuals, but also on the wider community. The economic and developmental impact of having generations of young people disabled, psychologically traumatized, unable to lead a productive life is enormous. The presence of landmines in the ground – in fields, villages, pastures, along roads, near water wells – hinders post-war reconstruction, economic recovery, the movement of people and goods and the resumption of normal agricultural and other activities. The presence of landmines after the end of a conflict also hinders the process of peace-building by entrenching hatred for the enemy who planted the mines.
The psychological impact of a landmine accident cannot be underestimated. Landmines are supposed to affect the morale of enemy troops through the sight of the terrible injuries they can inflict in a completely random and unforeseeable way. Moreover, in some instances, landmines have unfortunately been used with the precise intent of spreading terror and panic among civilian populations. This is why psychological support must be one of the elements of programs designed to assist landmine survivors.
SI: How does the ICBL address the various problems associated with landmines?
SB: The ICBL network includes a wide range of expertise, know-how and areas of interest. ICBL is active at the political level, advocating the universal adherence to the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) – to make sure that antipersonnel landmines will never be used again. Countries that have already joined are lobbied to fully implement its provisions and obligations with regard to mine clearance, victims assistance and the destruction of stockpiles. We do this both at the international level, through a dedicated staff of four people, as well as nationally through local organisations and campaigns. Many of the ICBL members are involved in the operational aspects of mine action, including clearance, victim assistance and mine risk education. So we combine the political activity of lobbying and advocacy with concrete action on the ground to alleviate the impact of landmines already planted.
SI: Are trained military people involved in the removal of landmines or do they train people locally? And are nations that plant antipersonnel landmines held responsible for their removal or for providing assistance to the injured?
SB: Mine clearance takes different forms from country to country. In some cases the army is the main or only actor involved in de-mining. In others, international and local NGOs are principally responsible for this. International NGOs tend to train local staff in order to create a local capacity to deal with the landmine problem independently, even after external actors have left the country. It is extremely important to create national ‘ownership’ of the landmine problem, both at the operational and the political, decision-making levels.
Unfortunately, there is no provision for countries that have produced or used landmines to be held responsible for the consequences of mine use. The responsibility for mine clearance lies primarily with the affected states, with the help of the international community. There is a provision in the Mine Ban Treaty that calls on all member States in a position to do so, to provide assistance to affected countries….
(End of excerpt)
Voice of the People
People want stronger UN
According to a poll by the World Public Opinion institute (WPO) and the independent think-tank Chicago Council on Global Affairs, world public opinion favours giving the United Nations more power, a permanent peacekeeping force, control over the arms trade, as well as enhanced monitoring of cases of human rights violations.
“We were rather surprised to see that all results converge,” said Steven Kull, Director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, connected to the WPO and the University of Maryland. Kull, who is also editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org, says the survey suggests that people around the world are more open to multilateral action than their governments.
“While leaders of nation states may be wary of giving the United Nations more power it is clear that publics around the world are comfortable with the idea of a stronger UN,” he said.
In particular, the permanent peacekeeping force is supported by 77 per cent of Peruvians, 74 per cent of French and 72 per cent of Americans. Control over the trade of weapons receives the support of 77 per cent of French, 75 per cent of South Koreans and 60 per cent of Americans and Israelis, while 92 per cent of the French, 75 per cent of Americans, and 74 per cent of South Koreans consider that the UN should be entitled to investigate cases of human rights violations.
It is also widely believed that the Security Council should be allowed to use force to defend a nation that has been attacked. (Source: www.le.monde.fr, France; www.WorldPublicOpinion.org)
Marching to end water poverty
On 12 May 2007, an unusual demonstration took place in London: hundreds of people marched from the offices of the charity Water Aid to No.10 Downing Street carrying a ‘river’ of blue knitted squares, knitted and sent in by thousands of volunteers from all over the world. The river measured 250 metres long and consisted of 100,000 squares.
Water Aid campaigns on behalf of the 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean water and the 2.6 billion people without access to basic sanitation. Five thousand children die every day due to preventable public health diseases.
Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP, said: “The international community must act now to deliver decent water and sanitation services in line with the Millennium Development Goals.” Public pressure is mounting to end water poverty: over 25,000 messages were sent to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the G8 summit. (Source: www.wateraid.org)
Demanding justice for the Palestinians
Over 20,000 demonstrators gathered in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London on 9 June 2007 and solemnly marched to Trafalgar Square to mark the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The rally was organized by Enough! – a coalition of over 50 charities, trade unions, faith and other NGO groups.
There were speakers from the democratically elected Hamas government including Palestinian Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouti, who compared the situation to apartheid in South Africa. He said: “Israel cannot be changed from within, there needs to be pressure from outside.” In a video message the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (denied a visa by the UK) spoke sadly of the plight of his people, and said that Israel had conquered Palestine but not the Palestinians.
Legal expert Lord Andrew Phillips called for the International Community to do more and said that on a recent visit there, conditions for Palestinians were the worst he had ever seen and that life was dismal and humiliating, with starvation, constant curfews, and with some journeys for Palestinians needing up to 10 passes to negotiate the Israeli roadblocks. Homes and schools are being bulldozed to make way for the illegal wall being built, as well as cutting off water supplies and farmers from their farms and orchards.
Several British MPs and trade unionists spoke, and a common theme was the debt burden that Palestinian families face since the aid embargo by the EU, USA, UN and Russia started. They owe over $670 million since the boycott began in 2006. Israel has withheld $700 million of revenues.
Two well-known British Jews, the entertainer Alexei Sayle and the actress Miriam Margolyes, said the occupation was wrong and had to stop, which was why they were lending their voices to this campaign.
Venezuela: Ministry of Defence for Peace
Representatives from eight major religions and spiritual traditions joined citizens and soldiers at an international peace conference hosted by the Venezuelan Minister of Defence Chief General Raul Isaias Baduel. The objective of the two-day ‘Art of Peace’ event was “To create a space to meet and share diverse experiences and multidisciplinary knowledge for the attainment of peace in Venezuela and the world. Its premise is the principle that every part of the internal essence of every human being is the same.”
The Minister opened the conference with a Catholic service, which he began by releasing a white dove. This was followed by talks and prayers from representatives of the evangelical Church Renacer, the World Muslim League of Venezuela, the Synagogue Tiferet Israel of the East, Ananda Marga, the Sri Chaitanya Sridhar Govinda Seva Ashram of Caracas and the Asociacion Civil Seguidores of IFA.
The conference was held in the Defence Ministry Auditorium – festooned with flowers – and was opened with music from a live orchestra. Speakers came from the Dominican Republic, Spain, the USA and Venezuela with topics ranging from local development, education, multiculturalism, music therapy, Buddhist methods of bringing inner calm and wisdom, empathy and communication techniques.
Addressing the conference General Baduel said: “Some people may find it strange that a Secretary of Defense and General of the Army whose duty is the military security of the country, its people and its democracy, is actively participating in a conference about peace. However, it has been said that those who know the horrors of armed conflicts firsthand are the most concerned in how to avoid them.” (Source: www.venezuelanalysis.com)
Facts and Forecasts
Deforestation a major cause of global warming
“…men will come to understand the true nature of their relationship with the lower kingdoms, and accept gladly the role of steward for their evolution. This will lead to a transformation in all aspects of farming and agriculture, in forestry and fishing. Gone for ever will be the present methods: despoliation of forest and soil; over-cultivation of impoverished land; greedy and reckless pursuit of many species of animal and fish.” ((Benjamin Creme’s Master, SI December 1985)
“The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator, is now being recognized as one of the main causes of climate change,” according to an article by Daniel Howden in the UK’s Independent newspaper.
Citing a recent report by the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), a coalition of leading rainforest scientists, Howden writes: “Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes and automobiles and factories. The rampant slashing and burning of tropical forests is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouses gases.” The burning of forests accounts for about 25 per cent of emissions of greenhouse gases globally. Reducing emissions by stopping deforestation can be accomplished without new technology, Howden says, referring to the GCP report. What is needed is “the political will and a system of enforcement and incentives that makes the trees worth more to governments and individuals standing than felled.”
According to the latest data, 50 million acres of forest – an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland – is destroyed annually, releasing two billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The GCP’s report concluded: “If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change.”
Standing forest was not included in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and is excluded from the carbon trading markets recommended in a recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change to help stop global warming.
“International demand has driven intensive agriculture, logging and ranching that has proved an inexorable force for deforestation; conservation has been no match for commerce,” Howden writes. “The leading rainforest scientists are now calling for the immediate inclusion of standing forests in internationally regulated carbon markets that could provide cash incentives to halt this disastrous process.”
“Putting a price on the carbon these vital forests contain is the only way to slow their destruction,” he concludes. “Hylton Philipson, a trustee of Rainforest Concern, explained: ‘In a world where we are witnessing a mounting clash between food security, energy security and environmental security – while there’s money to be made from food and energy and no income to be derived from the standing forest, it’s obvious that the forest will take the hit.’” (Source: The Independent, UK)
Sixteen cities get environmental funding
“...The new concern for nature and environment will be embodied in legislation, universally accepted, and will lead to a wise husbandry of nature’s gifts...” (Benjamin Creme’s Master, SI Jan 94).
The foundation created by former US President Bill Clinton announced an initiative in conjunction with four energy service companies and five of the world’s largest banks to help cities around the world reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by significantly lowering their energy use in buildings.
The generation of energy needed to heat, cool and light buildings in cities accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In cities such as New York and London, buildings account for nearly 70 per cent of the urban areas’ total emissions. Banks participating in the new programme will each provide up to $1 billion in loans that cities and private building owners can use to make energy-saving improvements such as installation of sun-reflective roofs, replacement of heating, cooling and lighting systems and windows with energy-efficient models, and installation of sensors to regulate lighting and air-conditioning. It is estimated that such changes will reduce buildings’ energy use by between 20 and 50 per cent.
An initial group of 16 cities worldwide have agreed to participate in the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, and offer their municipal buildings for the first round of energy retrofits. The 16 participating cities are Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toronto. (Source: Associated Press, William J. Clinton Foundation)
Common chemicals are dangerous to babies
“Pollution of the air, seas and soil. This is the number one hazard for humanity and is responsible for the ill health of millions and the premature deaths of countless thousands. A slow poisoning of the world’s population is taking place throughout the world and only the extraordinary resilience of the human biosystem allows humanity to sustain itself even at the present level.” (Benjamin Creme’s Master, SI September 1993)
A group of the world’s leading environmental scientists warned that exposure to various toxic substances, including some common chemicals, may cause a number of long-term health problems for unborn and newborn babies. The chemicals can be found in plastic containers, cosmetics, pesticides and food.
The declaration by the group of 200 scientists, including paediatricians, toxicologists, and epidemiologists, warned that toxic exposure to the unborn child can cause changes in genes resulting in susceptibility to diseases later in life. Subsequent generations may also be at risk.
The findings show that ‘when’ the toxic exposure occurs is of great importance. The growing foetus is extremely susceptible to the mother’s environment and food intake, and exposure to chemicals may result in problems such as cancer, compromised immune systems, attention deficit disorder, and a decline in IQ and motor skills. The statement by the scientists also called on governments to change laws and procedures to take into account the subtle effects of chemicals on foetal and infant development. (Source: Los Angeles Times, USA)
Global public opinion finds common ground
“Today, the moment has come for the people’s voice to be heard. Today, it is essential that the needs of people everywhere for justice, freedom and peace are heard and recognized …” (Benjamin Creme’s Master, March 2003)
The world believes that tensions between Islam and the West arise from conflicts over political power and interests and not from differences of religion and culture, according to a BBC World Service poll across 27 countries. Global public opinion appears to be tolerant and moderate with the clear majority responding that they did not see a clash of civilizations or religions as being unavoidable. The better educated the respondents the more likely they were to believe finding common ground was possible.
The idea that violent conflict is inevitable between Islam and the West is mainly rejected by Muslims, non-Muslims and Westerners alike. While more than a quarter of all respondents (28 per cent) think that violent conflict is inevitable, twice as many (56 per cent) believe that “common ground can be found.” “Most people around the world clearly reject the idea that Islam and the West are caught in an inevitable clash of civilizations,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.
The survey of over 28,000 respondents across 27 countries was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan co-ordinated the fieldwork between November 2006 and January 2007.
Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, added: “Perhaps the strongest finding is that so many people across the world blame intolerant minorities on both sides for the tensions between Islam and the West.” (Source: www.WorldPublicOpinion.org)
More climate alert
The rate of emission of greenhouse gas has increased since the year 2000 due to the steady growth of the global economy.
From an annual increase of 1 per cent in the 1990s, the rate of emissions has grown to 3 per cent since 2000, says the Australian Organization for scientific and industrial research of the Commonwealth (CSIRO). “We burn more carbon for each dollar of wealth we create”, Mike Raupach of the CSIRO confirms. “This means that climate change is faster than hitherto considered in most of the scientific studies,” he explains. Raupach has been leading a team of international experts within the CSIRO’s programme named Global Carbon Project, which aims at quantifying the world carbon emissions. The study has shown that 8,000 million tons of carbon were released into the air in 2005 as against 6,000 million tons 10 years ago.
The focus on industrial development means all the nations go through a similar process of increased consumption of fossil fuel energy before they reach a level of stabilization. While countries like the US and Australia have reached a stable level others, like China, are in a phase of intensive use of those energy sources. However, American or Australian lifestyles account for an average of five tons of carbon every year, while a Chinese citizen is responsible for only one ton.
The industrial revolution started two centuries ago in Europe and the USA, a fact that should be taken into consideration when setting fair targets of cuts in consumption, the CSIRO says. Unfortunately, both Australia and the US have refused to sign the Kyoto protocol. (Source: www.le.monde.fr, France)
Global warming does not only affect our environment. The British NGO Christian Aid predicts in a report published in May 2007 that over one billion people will be forced from their homes by global warming between now and 2050. “We believe that from now on forced migration is the most urgent threat facing poor people in developing countries,” says John Davison, one of the co-authors of the report.
In the report, entitled: Human tide: the real migration crisis, Christian Aid issues an urgent warning about “accelerating rates of displacement in the 21st century”. Now, according to their estimation, 163 million people have already had to leave their homes because of conflicts, natural disasters and large-scale development projects like the construction of dams.
“On the current trends, a further one billion people will be forced from their homes between now and 2050,” the organization writes. By 2050 some 645 million people will have had to migrate because of large-scale projects, 250 million because of phenomena related to climate changes – like floods, droughts or famines, and 50 million because of conflicts and violation of human rights.
Citing data from the Group of Intergovernmental Experts on Climate Change (GIEC) the Christian Aid report emphasizes that in the longer term, from now to 2080, between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people will either lack access to water and between 200 and 600 million will be starving. Every year, between two and seven million people will be affected by rising sea levels. The massive displacements of people “will fuel the existing conflicts and generate new ones in the areas of the world where resources are most scarce … A world with many other Darfurs is the more and more probable nightmare scenario.” The report highlights the displacements within a country which are not considered as migrations by international law.
Three countries in particular are involved in these internal displacements: Colombia, Mali and Burma. That is why Christian Aid calls for “urgent action” by the international community in order to take “strong preventive measures”. (Source: Le Monde, France; www.christian-aid.org.uk)