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Welcome to the feast. As we stand on the brink of the New Age, men wonder what awaits them. As many will know, the world is divided into two groups, roughly equal in number. One demonstrates the characteristics of the age of Pisces, now fading fast. The glory of that age, the powerful individuality which now demonstrates across the world, has become, today, our greatest danger, threatening the future of all. Thus the nations compete without mercy, the largest and strongest claiming the lion's share.
Daily, however, the beneficent waters of Aquarius make more their presence felt, edging man away from the abyss.
Millions now sense that man is One, that only by working together for the good of all can mankind survive.
This new and wiser concept is awakening in men everywhere, showing the way to future harmony. This awakening cannot be halted or diverted for behind it are the great Lords of Synthesis, of Blending and Fusion. Thus will be ushered in the new dispensation, the Great Lord, Maitreya Himself, leading the way.
The time is now almost upon us. Watch, and sleep not, nor miss His Call.
[This article from Share International magazine, September 2014 , is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, is in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]
Q. (1) Is Maitreya still giving television interviews in China? (2) What is the total in China now?
A. (1) Yes. (2) Six interviews [as of 3 August].
Q. Please be so kind as to give an overview showing how many interviews Maitreya has given in each country so far.
A. USA: 29 interviews (January 2010-January 2011); Mexico: 14 (January-September 2011); Brazil: 41 (September 2011-January 2013); Russia: 51 (January 2013-May 2014); China: 6 (August 2014). A total of 141 interviews so far.
Q. Do most people who hear Maitreya welcome His ideas?
A. They are interested but wary.
Q. Do Maitreya's ideas resonate with a people who come from a communist background?
A. They are rather mystified. Their present aim is to be rich, travelled and so forth.
Q. When Maitreya 'arrives' in a country, like China, do His TV hosts know His recent 'history' - that He spent some months in Russia and was interviewed on such and such a programme, by certain TV journalists and that before that He was living in Brazil and being interviewed there?
A. Some do, many do not.
Q. (1) When in Russia and now in China, does Maitreya 'stay' in a hotel? (2) Or does He rent an apartment? (3) Or does He find accommodation with disciples who may be aware of His stature?
A. None of these. He visits for very short periods, travelling from His home base in London, UK.
Q. What country or situation in the world at present, according to Maitreya and the Masters, is the greatest threat to the world?
A. There are too many to say. Each in their own way is culpable.
Q. Conflicts around the world seem to be coming to a head - it's almost as if everything's being taken to the most extreme degree possible. What's going on?
A. It is the result of the Sword of Cleavage. The energy of Maitreya, the energy of Love, stimulates everything, the good and the bad. In this way the Sword of Cleavage is formed so that humanity can see clearly the choices they have to make, to see that the right choice - sharing, justice and freedom for all - will bring peace and prosperity to all. The wrong choice would be utter catastrophe. It takes all the skill and experience of Maitreya to manipulate the forces in such a way as to ensure the triumph of the good.
Q. There's been such an upsurge in violence and war around the world - Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, etc. What are the causes of this increasing violence and war?
A. It is the result of the action of the Sword of Cleavage. (See question above.)
Q. If you could advise Israeli citizens at present what would you say?
A. Make a genuine renunciation of power over the Palestinians and bring about peace.
Q. What has happened to the Israeli psyche? Of all people the Jewish people should know what it is to suffer persecution and be able to empathize with the pain, trauma and suffering of others.
A. Quite so, but they feel impregnable. Armed to the teeth and supported on every occasion by America, they have lost all sense of honour.
Q. Do you have much hope that the demonstrations taking place around the world in support of the Palestinian people will have any real impact on the situation?
A. It may temper the lengths to which the Israelis will go.
Q. Should US citizens be out on the streets demonstrating and putting pressure on their government to have the courage to support Palestine and unequivocally condemn Israel's actions? Would it help?
A. If they believe it would help the situation. Hamas and Hezbollah have sworn never to accept the Israeli presence. In their way they are as fanatical and immovable as the Israelis. That is the problem - a problem which I believe will take Maitreya to overcome.
Q. Please Mr Creme, can you reassure readers that Maitreya and the Masters are helping and supporting the dying and the traumatized in the conflict in Palestine and Syria?
A. The Masters' help is always available for the poor and suffering. This cannot be said for the governments of the world.
Q. May I know about when the Ageless Wisdom Teachings started off as an organized body of knowledge or belief? Who were the ancient proponents if there were any? Classical proponents? If the Ageless Wisdom is a compendium, who directed its organization and when? I am a student in this area of knowledge, and will be much thankful for your guidance. Am looking into the roots not usually mentioned in many books.
A. It is very ancient, nearly 100,000 years old. It was gradually put together by the enlightened Masters of the time.
The Southern California group had a booth at a very large festival in June 2014. It was very busy, but people were walking by our booth from 10 feet or further away. Very few were actually approaching the booth to look closer at the beautiful large photos and to speak with us. At the end of my shift, two men in their 40s came up to the booth and looked. My co-worker Ray began to speak with them. I went over to join them.
The more talkative man with a slightly graying mustache and beard said something like, "I met Benjamin Creme a long time ago and I know about Maitreya. How is it going getting the word out? How many people have you reached?"
Ray and I looked at each other for an answer, then back to him as he quietly continued, "You have one little booth here in this place with all these people. 99 per cent of these people do not know about this information. Why aren't you shouting it from the Lincoln Memorial?"
We talked a bit more and gave them literature which they happily accepted. They wished us a good day and left.
After they left, we talked about what had been said. Whoever they were, the message we received from them is that we cannot wait for people to come to us (as Ray and I were doing), but that we need to go to them - leave the booth, be more proactive, and go out to where the people are to engage them with the story - to go to them, not wait for them to approach us. It changed our approach that day and we had a very good ending to what started as a disappointing day.
Were these men special or simply helpful observers?
D.L., Los Angeles, California, USA.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the two men were the Master Jesus and one of His disciples.)
On the weekend of 25 April 2014 I drove from Canada to Fargo, North Dakota, to help a co-worker with her Share International stand at the Holistic Expo. There were a series of strange events that happened, but there is one in particular I would like to ask about.
I was directed, by a stranger, to go and see a lady named Insiah on the first day of the Expo. I forgot all about it and didn't go and search for any person by this name. At the end of the day, a lady named Insiah came to our stand and I remarked how a stranger had advised me to go and see her, but I had no idea why. Insiah said that was strange because she doesn't have a booth at the Expo, but that we should meet the following morning. The following morning we met, as agreed, and she said that she has a message for me from Maitreya. I am a skeptical person, but I listened to what she had to say. She went into a lot of detail about my current situation and told me about my future life's work, if I chose to accept it. She told me that I would be working with Maitreya, that He is beside me, and gave me the nature of the work. During these 20 minutes, it felt as though we were taken outside of time. I should note that she did not take any money from me at all and did not appear to have any interest in our booth. She told me that Maitreya sent a messenger to go and see her. I am well aware that Masters have better things to do than to give me a message, but it 'felt' real. Could Benjamin Creme please advise if this was really a message from Maitreya? Or was it a bunch of astral nonsense?
S.H., Winnipeg, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the message was from the Master Jesus, given by a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
It was Sunday 13 April 2014, nearing the end of a three-day Body Soul Spirit Expo in Calgary on Palm Sunday, at about 5.30pm. An older gentleman - who was part of a fundamentalist Christian group that had been insincerely and ungraciously challenging the Reappearance story for much of the weekend - had again come to our table and was attacking the story. I was not defending the story so much as being as patient as I could while he expressed his views. "No" was my reply, "Maitreya is not a spirit. He is a real person." He interrupted, "Does he look like that?" pointing to the image of Maitreya when He appeared in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1988. "I do not know what he looks like," I said. Inwardly I asked Maitreya for help and support in dealing with this individual. Then a thought came to me and I looked deeply into the eyes of this gentleman and, in my mind, said, "You are a soul in incarnation, just like me, I recognize that." He immediately slowed down and apologized for attacking me and the story. I started pointing out the things we had in common in each other's stories such as sharing, and that Jesus taught that. He started to smile and relax and whole-heartedly agreed. He began to mention that we all need to start sending food to the hungry.
While he was talking, and with only 15 minutes left in the day, I noticed a light-tanned man behind the gentleman. The stranger was about 28 to 32 years old with a very symmetric facial bone structure, short to medium length wavy light brown hair, broad shouldered and standing at about six foot two inches in height. He was wearing an indigo colour dress shirt with an open collar and tan pants. He walked deliberately up toward the table in a slight curve around the front of the booth and then walked past. He moved in that "unusual way" with a great economy of movement. We made eye contact, and he had a very serene looking face with blue handsome eyes. After he had passed by the fundamentalist gentleman looked right, then left, over his shoulders in a startled manner to, presumably, see what I was looking at. I never spoke the whole time this happened. The gentleman then thanked me and left, while I packed up the booth. Was the blue-eyed man a Master?
M., Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the 'young man' was the Master Jesus.)
Two letters from the same person:
(1) On Saturday 9 August 2014, two co-workers and myself were marching in London, for peace in Gaza. As we walked around Grosvenor Square, the pace slowed down as we neared the American Embassy. The crowd was dense, and we found ourselves behind a man pushing a bike. He was tall, brown-haired and tanned, wearing jeans, a T-shirt and shell bracelets on his wrist. His bike was decorated colourfully: the spokes had orange and yellow straws around them and the mudguard was covered in peace stickers. He seemed peaceful and relaxed. One of my friends noticed a small handwritten sign stuck below the back of the saddle that made us laugh. It said: "Hello".
As we turned a corner I noticed lots of people in the crowd photographing him. He didn't carry a banner, or have an obvious message, but he was very serene and exuded a sense of calm, and was marching with the people. I found myself walking alongside him for a short while, in silence, just looking ahead as we walked. There was a great atmosphere of hope and uplift. Then I realized my friends were some distance behind, so I turned round to join them and lost sight of him. Later that evening, I wondered if he was a Master?
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
(2) One sunny day in June 2014, I was in a hurry walking through Hampstead High Street. The cafes were busy with people sitting having coffee outside, enjoying the fine weather. A tall homeless man suddenly approached me with his hand out asking for money. Rooting through my bag for my purse several people at the cafe seemed to look disapprovingly at me for giving to a 'beggar'. So I gave him some money and he thanked me and then blurted out loudly and cheerfully: "Everywhere I go millions of people see me!" It sounded rather random and I laughed. We said goodbye, but his words kept puzzling me and I began to wonder if he was a Master?
G.F., London, UK.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the 'homeless man' was Maitreya.)
One night, in 2005, I had a dream about my "father in heaven" with whom I had a conversation. In the dream I knew he was not my natural father, although I loved him more, and this disconcerted me.
I call him "father in heaven" because I went to meet him ascending up to heaven and he descended to meet me. We had a conversation; I listened to what he said for quite a long time. I do not remember what he said, but I remember enjoying the experience very much.
Just before waking up, when he ascended and I was descended back down to Earth, he asked me: "When the time comes, would you remember what we have just talked about?" Not knowing what he meant, I agreed, nonetheless. Of course I do not remember what he said and what he meant. Who was this "father in heaven"?
J.L. A., Valencia, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the "father in heaven" in the dream was Maitreya.)
A chef in a Louisiana restaurant sliced into an aubergine (eggplant) and found the word 'GOD' arranged in seeds inside. Jermarcus Brady of Gino's Restaurant in Baton Rouge called the image he discovered on 7 July 2014 "miraculous". Brady said that his faith has helped him get through difficult times. "He's showing me that 'Hey, I'm real' and that's the only thing I can depend on." (Source: huffingtonpost.com, wafb.com)
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the word 'GOD' was manifested by the Master Jesus.)
Milan, Italy - A group of brilliantly shining UFOs in formation were seen on 6 July 2014. In a nearly 10-minute video, the UFOs could be seen changing brightness and shape, and moving in relation to one another as well as across the sky. (YouTube: Antonio Urzi Simona Sibilla)
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the UFOs were spaceships from Mars.)
Maitreya's 'star' filmed on 2 December 2012, at Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India (the location of Ramana Maharshi's Ashram), by K.S., Nara-shi, Japan. (Source: YouTube)
On 28 July 2014 a spectacular crop circle appeared in a wheat field near Raisting, Bavaria, southern Germany. Measuring 75-meters in diameter (246 feet) the farmer of the field, Christop Huttner, was baffled as to how it was made.
Thousands of people have visited the field to see the pattern for themselves, many believing that it could not be formed by humans.
"This is a technology which we haven't mastered yet," said one visitor to the newspaper. "They want to show us - we are here, we love you." (Source: ABC News; USNews.com)
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms this to be an authentic crop circle made by a spaceship from Mars.)
My mother was hospitalized with cancer and we were sitting on a bench in the hospital park talking. As I put my phone away in my purse the camera was still on and I noticed rainbows play across the screen but thought it was to do with the lens. Later that day as I skimmed through my phone I noticed this snapshot. Reason tells me it's a lens effect but I would like to think my prayers were heard and someone was there helping my mum.
L. M., Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that this was a sign that your mother would be helped by Maitreya.)
This photograph of his ex-wife Norma, sent in by P. C., was taken at Satele, near Monterrey, Mexico, 2003, and shows a blessing from the Master Jesus.
In the end of December 2012, my mother became aware that she had lost her Zenkoji temple amulet. According to the temple, the colour of it will turn into gold when one's prayer is answered. Until then, every day for more than two years of using it, she had been praying for world peace and happiness for all, by chanting mantrams such as 'The Great Invocation' and touching Maitreya's 'hand' card. My parents searched all over the house but they couldn't find it. A few days later, the amulet was found on a shoebox in the front entrance and it seemed that half of it had changed into gold, and that half of her prayer was fulfilled. Who manifested it?
Name withheld on request, Chiba-ken, Japan.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that Maitreya manifested the gold on the amulet.)
On 14 October 2012 at 10.25am a friend took photos of a rainbow above the shore of the North Sea. Her dog was nearby this spot and on one of the photos her dog's body is pointing the other way and still turning his head towards something invisible. When my friend Els came home and transferred the photos to her computer, one showed a large grey rotating object. She asked my opinion and I told her that it was a UFO. (1) Was it a UFO and where did it come from? (2) Did her dog sense it and therefore look in the direction of the UFO?
S.W., Roosendaal, The Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that (1) the UFO was a spacecraft from Venus. (2) Yes probably.)
Photograph sent by M.P.R, from London, taken when a young boy, shows a light blessing from the Master Jesus.
Compilation - an extract
We present a selection of quotations on the theme of 'The work of reconstruction'. The quotations are taken from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ and Maitreya's Teachings - The Laws of Life ) , Benjamin Creme's Master (A Master Speaks and Share International), and Benjamin Creme's writings.
When Our faces are seen, you will see also the beginning time of changes which will transform the world. Not all at once will the changes take place, but soon the first firm blows for justice and freedom will be struck, gathering momentum as the months and years flash by. In time, all will be renewed and the peoples of the world will breathe a cleaner and a saner air.
Many are the challenges which must be met. Not easy is it to change a world entirely, nor to build a new one on the ruins of the past. Have courage, therefore, and rebuild your world. Put fear aside and welcome the future with arms outstretched. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'The path to the future')
My task is a simple one: to show you the way. You, my friends, have the difficult task of building a New World, a New Country, a new Truth; but together we shall triumph. (Maitreya, from Message No.15)
The first step is the sharing of the world's resources, because if we do not do this we will destroy ourselves. It is as simple as that. We have free will. Maitreya is not going to interfere and make sure that we do not destroy ourselves. He is going to present us with these alternatives: carry on as we are today in the old, greedy, selfish, competitive ways of the past and destroy ourselves, or else accept that we are one, accept the principle of sharing; implement it, create justice in the world, and therefore peace, and begin the construction under His inspiration of a most brilliant and wonderful civilization such as this world has never known. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya's Mission Volume Three)
I have come to show you the possibilities which, as sons of God, lie before you. My heart knows your response, teaches Me your choice, and awakens great gladness. My friends, My people are everywhere, preparing for the New World. Their task is great, their burden heavy, their opportunity unknowable. Many there are now who see the way forward, hold before men the Light of Truth, teaching men to share and love, to cherish and trust. Many now are awake to these divine aspects, and call for the restructuring of your world. My Force is behind them. My Love inspires them. My Will guides them. In this way, I lead you into the New. (Maitreya, from Message No.137)
A new voice is being heard in the affairs of men, articulated by a few sensitive minds among the leaders of the nations. More and more, this voice will give expression to the foremost needs of our time: peace, tolerance, forgiveness of past wrongs, co-operation and sharing for the benefit of all. That voice will issue from the hearts and minds of all who love their fellow-men, creating an invincible demand for world reconstruction and renewal. That voice is the voice of the new era. It is the voice of Maitreya.
Add your voice to that gathering clamour for peace and justice and become aware of your place in history. A new world is in the making and requires the involvement of all: all have a part to play in this great undertaking; none should feel too young or too old to voice aloud their aspirations. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'The voice of Maitreya')
If the forces of progress followed, too forcefully, their desire for change, they would sweep away everything, both the good and bad, that exists at the present time. At the beginning of each new age this process takes place, because the old energies are waning, the structures are crystallizing, and inevitably they begin to break down. The conservatives want to hold these structures together, the bad parts as well as the good, and resist change for as long as they possibly can. Not all structures are bad simply because they are from the past. We have to hold on to the best of the past and build the new upon it. (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)
Without doubt, the forces of chaos are reaching the acme of their power. This ascendancy will be short-lived as the forces of reconstruction wield their beneficent sway. New energies inspire new ideas and ideals and it is these which alter the framework of men's lives. Watch for the signs of the new dispensation: Tolerance and Goodwill; Democracy, Justice and Sharing; Co-operation and Interdependence. These are the signs of the New Time when men will walk proudly and free. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'The New Life')
My Coming will transform this world, but the major work of restoration must be done by you. I am the Architect, only, of the Plan. You, My friends and brothers, are the willing builders of the Shining Temple of Truth. I shall give you the Key of that Temple, and entering therein shall you know God. (Maitreya, from Message No.65)
All people, eventually, even those not engaged in the religious field, will share the sense of a spiritual basis to life. All will endeavour, in whatever field of human activity they may be engaged, whether political, scientific, educational or artistic, to give expression to this sensed inner truth and will build a culture and a civilization directly reflecting their experience that God, Nature and Man are One. Then revelation will follow revelation, until we will find ourselves in possession of that knowledge which will open for us the secrets of life itself and will allow us to become conscious creators and co-workers with God. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya's Mission Volume One)
I am happy to be able to speak to you once more, and to tell you that I come to take you with Me into the New Country - the Country of Love, the Country of Trust, of Beauty and Freedom.
I shall take you there if you can follow Me, accept Me, let Me lead and guide. And, if this be so, together we shall build a New World:
A world in which men can live without fear, without mistrust, without division; sharing together the Earth's bounty, knowing together the bliss of union with our Source.
All this can be yours. You have only to take the first steps and I may lead. (Maitreya, from Message No.3)
Many expect Maitreya and the Masters to right all wrongs and to transform the world. That They will show the way, guide and inspire, cannot be gainsaid. That Their light and wisdom will be placed at the service of humanity is equally true. But the work of transformation must be undertaken by humanity itself, cheerfully accepting the changes and sacrifices which must ensue. Only through such willing acceptance can the changes take hold and create the conditions for a new and better life for man. To lead the way, and to build the foundations of the new age structures, are emerging now the trained architects of the coming civilization. Recognize them by their desire to serve, their wisdom and their manifested love. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'The emergence of great servers')
The incredibly powerful international banking and financial institutions will prove to be among the last to accept the fact that a complete change in the world's financial and economic order is imperative. To meet this obstacle, the Hierarchy has plans already made and ready to be put into effect. These involve the reconstruction of the world financial and economic order. A group of high Initiates, themselves economists, industrialists, and financial experts of great experience and achievement, are working with the Hierarchy, and have evolved a series of blueprints, alternative interrelated plans, which will solve the redistribution problems which are at the basis of the present world crisis. These can and will be speedily implemented when the need is seen and accepted, which acceptance will be forced on the united nations of the world by the weight of a now informed public opinion. (Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom)
The energy of the Avatar of Synthesis actually plays through the United Nations Assembly and is slowly but surely bringing the nations together. It is one of the major groupings through which that energy flows. We see the limitations of the United Nations, but the United Nations' Agencies are doing tremendous work all over the world; have been doing, since their inauguration, in all fields - the economic, the ecological, the medical, and the social field - tremendous work of reconstruction and reorganisation. One shouldn't underestimate that contribution to world need which the nations, jointly, are making. This sense of caring is altogether new in world affairs, and a sure indication that the Plan is working out. (Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom)
At this point of planetary crisis, few, indeed, realize the enormity of the tasks facing both Hierarchy and humanity, and even fewer the magnitude of the work of transformation for which this world calls. Nevertheless, great forces of reconstruction are at work, and, ere long, the evidence will be there for all to see. Already, many are the changes which none can deny.
More and more, the peoples of the world are realizing that their destiny lies together, that none can escape the imperatives of the time. Soon, the majority of peoples will subscribe to a new formula, a new enunciation of their common heritage and future, and embody this in constitutional form. Thus will begin a new era in the long evolution of men. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'A new era has begun')
I need you. I need you all to share with Me in the reconstruction of this world, to restore to men their faith and joy, to release the wherewithal to live to the needy of this Earth, and so restore balance. My task is to show you the method; yours is to act and implement My Plan. I know I can trust and call on you. My Love embraces all. (Maitreya, from Message No.76)
The stress which exists in the world today is a result of competition and fear - the fear of failure, disease, death, war, calamity, and economic disruption. The pressure that these fears put on humanity inevitably results in psychosomatic diseases. The cure lies in a re-establishing of equilibrium. When we establish equilibrium in our lives through a restructuring of our political, economic and social institutions, we will find that the health of humanity will improve dramatically. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya's Mission Volume Three)
Many are the tasks which lie ahead. Great is the inertia which grips still this world. But already a start has been made and the future beckons brightly.
Men should know that all are needed to overcome the evils of the past. Division and separation have ancient roots and will not easily relinquish their hold. Each one, therefore, should see it as their task to aid the Christ in His work of transformation, giving of their best to reconstruct the world. (Benjamin Creme's Master, from 'The Great Lord emerges')
The time is not far off when the New World will be seen, the Country of Love approached, the City of Truth built. Take My hands, My friends, and let us together build. (Maitreya, from Message No.89)
The world is deeply troubled by the excesses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We wish to present the situation in as balanced a way possible, along the lines, we believe, that Maitreya would advocate. Any lasting peaceful solution can only be based on justice for all.
Our correspondents and the editorial team have therefore compiled a number of interviews, articles and comments giving a range of viewpoints, as well as some insight into the role of the United States.
We realize that our contribution to this complex issue cannot be definitive. Benjamin Creme has remarked in a number of his books and in this magazine that while a solution and reconciliation must be aimed at "it will take Maitreya Himself to bring this reconciliation about".
Interview with Hanan Ashrawi
by Andrea Bistrich
Hanan Ashrawi, academic and political activist, is one of the most well-known representatives of the Palestinian viewpoint and has played an effective role in representing the Palestinians in the peace negotiations from late 1980s onward. She served as the official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process and is a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee. In 1998 she founded the Miftah movement - an initiative which works towards respect for Palestinian human rights, democracy and peace - and has been its Secretary General since. Dr Ashrawi is the recipient of numerous international peace, human rights and democracy awards, such as the Olof Palme Award, the Defender of Democracy Award, the Jane Addams International Women's Leadership Award, the Distinguished Alumna Award of the University of Virginia Women's Center, the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Sydney Peace Prize. She is also the author of several poems, short stories, articles and books on Palestinian culture and politics.
Andrea Bistrich interviewed her on two occasions by telephone for Share International. The first interview took place in late August 2013 but was not published at the time. The second interview was in June this year - almost a year later. Ms Ashrawi's grimly realistic appraisal of the situation in 2013 foreshadows the current crisis.
Share International: Do you think Israel is indeed ready for the negotiations?
Hanan Ashrawi: I think, as usual, that they want talks for their own sake, a process that would go on without any relation to reality that they would use as a cover to continue with their illegal activities. And in the meantime they can do what they want with full impunity. And the Americans are not telling them that they are destroying not only the talks but also the chances of peace. This is a very serious situation, and I don't think that the talks have any credibility or any real integrity, because Israel is doing exactly the opposite of what is needed and totally undermining the objective of the talks.
SI: How do you want to proceed? What are the main issues you are planning to put on the table?
HA. The agenda for permanent status talks has been there for the last two decades. Jerusalem, boundaries, settlements, refugees, water, security - these are all the items of the agenda for the permanent status talks which, of course, they were supposed to do years ago. These things do not need to be renegotiated, they need to be implemented. We need to see the end of the occupation: the 1967 boundaries and, of course, stopping all settlement activities, releasing prisoners, honouring signed commitments and agreements Israel has not implemented.
The thing is we are not interested in advances for their own sake or negotiations just to buy time for Israel, and just to talk for ever. We need a binding time-frame. We also need for Israel to act in ways that are consistent with the requirements of peace and with international law.
SI: When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Jerusalem earlier this month he said he would hope that both parties, Israelis and Palestinians, will remember Mr Rabin's legacy and realize a two-state solution.
HA: Yes, I know. Everybody is saying this, everybody talks about the two-state solution, everybody wants peace, but the thing is, nobody intervenes or engages to end the Israeli violations and impunity. But it should not just be a verbal exercise, it should not just be talks - it should be acting in ways consistent with the talks. If you want a two-state solution, then you have to stop the Israelis destroying the chance of a viable Palestinian state. But nobody is really doing that.
SI: What role and responsibility do you see for the UN in this?
HA: The UN should have had a greater role from the beginning. It seems to me it has been excluded or it has been one out of four partners in that quartet which didn't do much. We believe that the UN should take resolutions that are binding. It is the home of, after all, global legislation, and it should express the will of the international community. We believe that recognizing the Palestinian state, even as an observer state*, but recognizing the Palestinian state as an independent, fully sovereign state, would empower the Palestinians and would end the Israeli attempt at depicting our land as disputed territory rather than as occupied territory of Palestine. It would also delineate the borders of 1967 and Jerusalem as the capital and so on. And it would enable us to join international agencies and to accede to charters and conventions that would empower this.
So the UN has a major role because it is the home of the international community. Unfortunately, the US uses its veto most of the time and tries to put pressure on different individual countries and uses coercion in order to give Israel more license to pursue its policy of unilateralism and power politics.
SI: Everybody speaks about peace - but what about justice? What does justice mean in the everyday life of the two nations? This is not really a topic that is discussed in the media.
HA: That's the point! That is the absolute key concept. I'm glad that you are raising this. That there is an occupation - it is illegal, it is cruel, it is unjust, it is a constant aggression and a violation of a whole nation. We are a nation in captivity. But everybody addresses the issue as though it is just a matter of negotiation - not the imbalance of power, the instrumentalization of power where you have occupier and occupied. Everybody thinks, it's an easy solution that the two parties talk. How can you talk when you have one powerful party using its power against the weaker party? So whatever comes out of this unjust situation will not be just! Justice should be guaranteed by legal and human and moral solutions.
SI: Do you think that the Israeli/Palestine conflict could be the very cause of the constant eruption of violence and war in the region?
HA: The whole region is, as you know, undergoing a period of transition, which by definition is a period of instability and quite often can be very dangerous and unpredictable. Instead of seeing the situation as such and trying to conclude an agreement that would introduce some stability, Israel is pursuing a policy that would increase and aggravate the situation of instability and violence and, of course would encourage extremism. The only way to deal with the situation is to try to come to an agreement that will end the long-standing occupation and situation of injustice, and will introduce some form of justice and stability.
A year after the interview with Hanan Ashrawi Share International had the opportunity to talk to her again about the latest developments. In a short telephone call, Dr Ashrawi warned that the situation in the Middle East is very dangerous at the moment. (The following month, on 7 July, sparked by escalating violence on both sides, Israel began the bombardment and then invasion of Gaza.)
SI: When we talked in August last year, you were very busy with the preparations for the peace talks. Now they have come to a halt. Can you comment on what has been achieved in the months of negotiating since it started last year? Do you see any - even vague - progress in the right direction?
HA: It was disastrous, and it has been costly. Israel has used the peace talks in order to create a settlement campaign: to steal more land, to build more settlements, to annex Jerusalem and change its character, even to escalate the use of violence and kill Palestinians. The peace talks were detrimental to Palestinian rights. In fact, they had the opposite effect when, for example, Israel reneged on its commitments; or when Israel walked out of the talks, it was very clear that Israel wanted to create a situation of volatility and tried to provoke the Palestinians beyond endurance through the talks.
SI: Why has the consensus government in Palestine been formed at this point - in fact after years of disputes and differences between the two factions?
The government of national accord was something that we were working on for a long time, and the conditions were great now because of the need from both sides but particularly because the talks reached such a stage where it was possible. And it is a pressing demand on the part of the Palestinian people….
SI: At the moment, it seems, there is a growing sense that ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict is no longer as key to the region as it once was. Many doubt that the emergence of a separate Palestinian state would have any effect on the dynamics of what is taking place in Syria or Egypt or Iraq. What is your view on this?
HA: Certainly, if we end the Israeli occupation, you would end one source of this contempt and anger and extremism in the whole region. If the Palestinians gain their right to self-determination and their freedom, that will change the dynamics of the whole region….
'I'm a Rabbi in Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel' is the emotive and compelling title of an article by Rabbi Michael Lerner, well-known and outspoken editor of Tikkun Magazine. The following is a compilation of quotations from Rabbi Lerner's original article published in Tikkun.org and online at salon.com on 4 August 2014.
…..No matter who gets blamed for the breakdowns in the cease fire or for "starting" this latest iteration of a struggle that is at least 140 years old, one of the primary victims of the war between Israel and Hamas is the compassionate and love-oriented Judaism that has held together for several thousand years. Even as Israel withdraws its troops from Gaza, leaving behind immense devastation, over 1,800 dead Gazans, and over four thousand wounded, without adequate medical supplies because of Israel's continuing blockade, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to negotiate a cease fire, fearful that he would be seen as "weak" if Israel gave way to Gazans' demand for an end to the blockade and a freeing of thousands of Palestinian prisoners kidnapped and held in Israeli jails in violation of their human rights.
Let me explain why Israeli behavior toward Palestinians, not just during this latest assault but also throughout the past decades in which Israel militarily enforces its Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of food and building materials to Gaza, and the cheerleading for this Israeli behavior by Jews around the world, is destroying Judaism and creating a new kind of hatred of Jews by people who never before had any issue with Jews (not to mention strengthening the hands of the already existing anti-Semites whose hatred of Jews would continue no matter what Israel or Jews do or do not do).
… as editor of Tikkun I printed articles challenging the official story of how Israel came to be, showing its role in forcibly ejecting tens of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and allowing Jewish terrorist groups under the leadership of (future Israeli prime ministers) Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir to create justified fears that led hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians to flee for their lives. I've also been a severe critic of those who have used criticisms of Israel as a cover for the anti-Semitism inherent in holding Jews to a higher standard than they held their own or other countries. I always told myself that the dominant humanity of the Jewish people and the compassionate strain within Torah would reassert itself once Israel felt secure.
That belief that Israeli goodness would ultimately prevail began to wane in the past eight years when Israel ignored the Saudi Arabian led peace initiative, refused to stop its expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and imposed an economically crushing blockade on Gaza. All this was done in spite of the fact that the Palestinian Authority was promoting nonviolence, actively co-operating with Israeli security forces to prevent any attacks on Israel, and seeking reconciliation and peace.
The Saudi Arabian-led peace initiative, never even responded to by Israel, would have granted Israel the recognition it has long sought, ended the hostilities, and given Israel a recognized place in the Middle East (though it had some imperfections, it was a generous first step toward a realistic peace accord with all the Arab states of the region). Even Hamas, whose hateful charter called for Israel's destruction, had decided to accept the reality of Israel's existence, and while unable to embrace its "right" to exist, nevertheless agreed to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority and in that context live within the terms that the PA would negotiate with Israel. All this was ignored by most Israelis who were content to ignore the suffering of Palestinians under occupation or the Gazans slowly being reduced to penury from Israel's blockade; with no violence Israelis turned their attention to becoming the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, and electing a right-wing government that could charm Israel's American based cheerleaders among Christian Zionists and the American Jewish community and a super-compliant and fawning US Congress with each major political party competing with the other on which could be seen as most hawkish.
Far from embracing the new possibility for peace that the reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas provided - after all, for years the Israeli government had downplayed the importance of negotiating with the PA precisely because a peace agreement with them would still have left Hamas to carry out its war plans - the Israeli government used that as its reason to completely break off the peace negotiations, and then, in an unbelievably cynical move, let the brutal and disgusting murder of three Israeli teens (by a rogue element in Hamas that itself was trying to undermine the reconciliation-with-Israel factions of Hamas by creating new fears in Israel) become the pretext for a wild assault on West Bank civilians, arresting hundreds of Hamas sympathizers, and escalating drone attacks on Hamas operatives inside Gaza. When Hamas responded by starting to send its missiles (which were rendered ineffective and hence mostly symbolic by Israel's Iron Shield) toward civilian targets in Israel, the Netanyahu government used that as its excuse to launch a brutal assault on Gaza….
I have a great deal of compassion for both peoples. Members of the Jewish people have been the victims of 1,600 years of oppression in European countries and hundreds of years of apartheid-like conditions in Muslim countries, and faced a world that mostly refused to help us or open its doors to us as refugees when we were the victims of genocide. The traumas of that past still shape the consciousness of many Jews today. Jews deserve compassion and need healing. Similarly, the Palestinian people's expulsion from their homes in the process of the founding of the State of Israel, remembered as the great catastrophe Al Nakba, continues to shape the consciousness of many Palestinians sixty-six years later. But those traumas don't exonerate Israel's behavior or that of Hamas, though they are relevant for those of us seeking a path to social healing and transformation….
And this is precisely where the American Jewish community and Jews around the world have taken a turn that is disastrous - turning the Israeli nation state into "the Jewish state" and making Israel into an idol to be worshipped rather than a political entity like any other political entity, with strengths and deep flaws, a political entity which should be held to account for its systematic violations of human rights.
Sadly, too many Jews relate to Israel not as a state but as some holy reality.
The worship of the state makes it necessary for Jews to turn Judaism into an auxiliary of ultra-nationalist blindness. Every act of the State of Israel against the Palestinian people is seen as sanctioned by God. Each Sabbath Jews in synagogues around the world are offered prayers for the well-being of the State of Israel but not for our Arab cousins. The very suggestion that we should be praying as well for the Palestinian people's welfare is seen as heresy and proof of being "self-hating Jews." ….
Above all else, I grieve for all the unnecessary suffering on this planet, including the Israeli victims of terrorism, the Palestinian victims of Israeli terror and repression, the victims of America's misguided wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, the victims of America's apparently endless war on terrorism, the victims of so many other struggles around the world, and the less visible but real victims of a global capitalist order in which, according to the UN, between 8,000 and 10,000 children under the age of five die every day from malnutrition or diseases related to malnutrition. And yet I affirm that there is still the possibility of a different kind of world, if only enough of us would believe in it and then work together to create it.
(See: Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right, based on a study conducted by Lerner during his years as a psychotherapist and principal investigator of an National Institute of Mental Health study of stress and the psychodynamics of daily life in Western societies.)
by Felicity Eliot
Alison Weir had been a civil rights activist and Peace Corps worker before becoming the editor of a weekly newspaper in the US, but in 2001 the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated and Ms Weir decided to go and see for herself. She travelled unaccompanied to the Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank. Her low-key approach paid off: she was able to connect with many Palestinians and Israelis.
Ms Weir has spoken all over the United States and other countries and is the author of the book: Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the US Was Used to Create Israel, as well as many papers and articles, and is the founder of the website ifamericansknew.org. Via Skype, Felicity Eliot interviewed her on 5 August for Share International.
Share International: As we start I'd like to establish a few basic facts for the readers. You may, because of your work, have been accused of being anti-Semitic. May I ask you whether you are anti-Israeli?
Alison Weir: No, I'm not anti-Israeli. I'm not against any human being. I'm against the policies of the Israeli government.
SI: When you went to Palestine in 2001 were you able to talk freely to ordinary people?
AW: Yes; I interviewed so many people - people of all ages and backgrounds - both Palestinians and Israelis. I also tried to get to violent situations with a camera. So I saw what daily life was really like for civilians, school children, hospital workers and so on. I saw appalling scenes of destruction - devastated homes, whole areas destroyed. I witnessed tragedies and terrible suffering. It had a lasting impact.
SI: When you returned to the States you wanted to take action - what did you decide to do?
AW: What struck me most (apart from the misery, pain and devastation, obviously) was the difference between what I had witnessed firsthand and what was reported by the media in my own country. What my countrymen and I were hearing on the daily newscasts was not what I had seen. The reporting of the conflict bore virtually no resemblance to the stories told in US media.
SI: So, you launched If Americans Knew?
AW: Yes, I came back and started writing and speaking about the conflict and founded If Americans Knew. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to accurately informing Americans….
SI: Talking about statistics I noticed on your website that the USA gives $8.5 million per day to Israel in military aid! Per day? That's taxpayers' money.
AW: Yes. Over the last two decades the US has gradually shifted from giving economic aid to Israel and has replaced it with increased military aid. In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package from fiscal year 2009 to 2018. In 2012, the US began giving Israel $3.1 billion a year - which is an average of $8.5 million a day. We also promised to provide that amount every year to the end of fiscal year 2018. This is such a staggering fact that people can hardly believe it. Wherever I give public lectures people always question this fact and are shocked to hear it.
Actually, if you add a few other deals, for instance: the US gave $504 million to the joint US-Israel Missile Defense Program during fiscal year 2014. If we include that number, American taxpayers give Israel $9.9 million per day.
SI: Israel seems to enjoy a kind of impunity; for example, there are almost 80 UN resolutions against Israel. Why? Is it the military deals?
AW: Israel really has the USA in its pocket - for all sorts of reasons. You may know (and we quote it on our site) that former president Carter said: "It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians."
SI: Do you think world public opinion is important?
AW: Very much so. [Benjamin] Netanyahu is pulling back now because of it. Of course, the Israeli stated aim, for the moment, has been achieved - until the next one. But Israelis are very sensitive to the fact of their own people dying and that is now in double digits; by contrast, Palestinian deaths are in four-digit figures. But world public opinion and the voter's voice even at local levels is important. I know that there are US politicians who would like to be able to speak out more against the injustice. But they will not say anything unless they know they have the support and backing of the electorate.
So an important act is to pick up the phone and call your representative and demand that they take action to change the situation.
By the way, I haven't mentioned the fact that there is a relatively small but very courageous group of Israelis within Israel working for peace and for justice for both peoples.….
SI: Despite the distortions and bias in the media at present the world is aware, at least to some extent, of the atrocities and horror that has taken place in Gaza in the last four weeks. Some commentators have used the word "genocide"; do you think it is applicable?
AW: I think genocide is an accurate description. Granted, it is a gradual genocide. Bit by bit, land is taken, homes are destroyed, civilians are killed; women and children are killed.
SI: Hamas refuses to accept the right of Israel to exist. It seems that Israel would prefer Palestine not to exist. Are the reasons given for the attacks such as 'Palestinian rockets' or 'tunnels used by Hamas' simply pretexts?
AW: Before I went to Palestine in 2001 Israel had already attacked - that was before the rockets and before the tunnels. Each time there's a new reason given for the attacks.
SI: Would there be any point in trying to take the perpetrators of such crimes to the International Criminal Court?
AW. Yes. Whether it is successful or not, it is a statement, which makes it clear internationally, that human rights are being abused and that it is unacceptable.
SI: We haven't talked at all about the atrocities, the deaths and tragedies of the past 30 days and before that. I've avoided this aspect deliberately; despite the biased nature of the media coverage enough horrendous images have reached the world's television screens.
At some point, whether now or sometime in the future, both parties and the international community must surely address seriously the issue of returning land to the Palestinian people and establishing two independent states?
AW: Yes; a return to the pre-1967 borders and full independence and justice for both peoples.
by Alison Weir - a meticulously researched and evidence-based outline of the largely unknown history of US-Israel relations, explaining how the US was co-opted into supporting the founding of Israel.
For more information: ifamericansknew.org
Despite the daily media reports of shocking scenes emerging from Gaza, the Palestinian Territories and from Israel there are dozens of excellent positive initiatives in both Israel and Palestine as well as elsewhere in the world, each attempting in various ways to bridge the divide between the two peoples. The array of types of groups and their aims is wide-ranging, practical and hope-inspiring and includes citizens' legal rights groups, peace groups, cultural initiatives, play centres and children's peace organizations.
Share International is unable to give coverage to all of these initiatives, but we are pleased to publish the following link, which opens an article in Yes! magazine detailing 13 such efforts to help, inform and comfort:
The article in Yes! Magazine by Seattle-based Jen Marlowe a human rights activist and filmmaker and the author ends on a note which echoes Maitreya's advice and Share International's approach: "If there is to be any hope at all of achieving peace, then it will only grow from the efforts of these courageous initiatives that continue (in the midst of bombings, shellings, rocket fire, oppression, occupation, and siege) to promote peace, nonviolence, equality, human rights, and human dignity. There is no other path forward."
See Rays of Hope in Gaza: 13 Israeli and Palestinian Groups.
Another useful resource can be found at: www.insightonconflict.org. Working in alliance with the Peace NGO Forum, the site lists the activities of 100 Palestinian and Israeli NGOs working together towards peaceful relations.
In July and August 2014 in an unprecedented display of unity, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world marched to express their outrage and dismay at Israel's bombardment and invasion of Gaza.
Demonstrations took place in cities from Melbourne to Montreal, Santiago to Chicago, Amsterdam to Tokyo, Cape Town to Hong Kong. In countries from Argentina, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Bosnia, to Morocco and Nigeria, to the Philippines, South Korea, Sweden, Uruguay and Yemen, as well as in smaller countries like Malta and the Maldives, a sea of protestors waving banners and flags took to the streets in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
On 31 July, New York Jews marched in silence through midtown Manhattan against the bloodshed in Gaza. Wearing black and some wearing white facemasks, the demonstrators came from various groups and carried placards saying 'End the Siege on Gaza' and 'War Crimes'. "As Jewish people joining these pro-Palestinian demonstrations, we say that all of what's happening in Palestine - the actions of the state of Israel against the Palestinian people, now or going back decades, this entire occupation and oppression - this is not supported by all Jews and certainly not condoned by Jewish religion," said Rabbi Dovid Feldman from Neturei Karta International, Jews United Against Zionism.
In South Africa an estimated 50,000 people took to the streets of Cape Town on 9 August, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the biggest post-apartheid rally the city has seen. Demonstrators called for peace and appealed to the South African government to stop selling arms to Israel.
In the UK, organizers estimated 150,000 people joined the London march on 9 August, the biggest ever pro-Palestine demonstration. (Source: mondoweiss.net: 'In Photos: worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza'; Stop the War Coalition; The Observer, UK; Irish Times, Ireland)
Cape Town, South Africa
Fort Lauderdale, USA
Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Tapajós river in Brazil's Amazon region is both rich in biodiversity and the home of the Munduruku Indians. Now the government's proposed dam-building projects are forcing them to campaign for the survival of their land and culture. Some 13,000 Munduruku are protesting against the proposed series of five hydroelectric dams that will flood land on the upper reaches of the Tapajós river, a major tributary of the Amazon which runs through the Amazon Rainforest.
Environmental groups are also fiercely opposed to the plans. The Tapajós river is an area of extreme biological richness, says local British biologist, Adrian Barnett. Over half the species of birds found in Brazil are in the Tapajós, he says.
Contracts for the first dam, Sao Luiz do Tapajós, will be awarded later this year. As well as flooding 552 square km (213 square miles) of land, the dikes will change the river flow, disrupting the lives of indigenous and fishing communities. The dams will generate as much electricity as the vast Belo Monte dam now being constructed on the Xingu river in northern Brazil, another tributary of the Amazon. Claudio Salles, director of the Acende Brasil energy think tank, says they will provide two-thirds of the 19,000 megawatts required for Brazil's ambitious development programme, which some analysts believe is not required. Celio Bermann, lecturer in energy and the environment at the University of Sao Paulo, criticizes the return to the production of primary goods, which require a lot of energy and generate few jobs.
Work on the dam on the Teles Pires river, a tributary of the Tapajós, has already led to bulldozing of land around the Seven Waterfalls (Sete Quedas) - an area sacred to the Munduruku. Their leaders complain: "There are funerary urns there, where our ancient warriors are buried. There is also a portal, only seen by spiritual shaman leaders, who can travel through it to another, unknown world." "Why have they destroyed this?" asked one cacique, or tribal leader.
The local council point out that the Munduruku also want modern technology and modern goods, but Maria Leusa Kaba Munduruku, leader of a new protest group of female warriors, who have not traditionally been fighters, says: "But we want them while conserving our culture. That is possible and we will fight for it." (Source: BBC News, UK)
"In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place," writes climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore in a recent Rolling Stone magazine article. "The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail."
In his article, 'The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate,' Gore highlights some positive signs in efforts to combat climate change:
• "The cost of electricity from photovoltaic, or PV, solar cells is now equal to or less than the cost of electricity from other sources powering electric grids in at least 79 countries. By 2020 - as the scale of deployments grows and the costs continue to decline - more than 80 per cent of the world's people will live in regions where solar will be competitive with electricity from other sources."
• "Bangladesh is installing nearly two new rooftop PV systems every minute - making it the most rapidly-growing market for PVs in the world. In West and East Africa, solar-electric cells are beginning what is widely predicted to be a period of explosive growth."
• "At the turn of the 21st century, some scoffed at projections that the world would be installing one gigawatt of new solar electricity per year by 2010. That goal was exceeded 17 times over; last year it was exceeded 39 times over; and this year the world is on pace to exceed that benchmark as much as 55 times over. In May, China announced that by 2017, it would have the capacity to generate 70 gigawatts of photovoltaic electricity."
• "China's new president, Xi Jinping … has banned all new coal burning in several cities and required the reporting of CO2 emissions by all major industrial sources. China and the US have jointly reached an important agreement to limit another potent source of global-warming pollution - the chemical compounds known as hydro-fluorocarbons, or HFCs. And the new prime minister of India … has launched the world's most ambitious plan to accelerate the transition to solar electricity."
Gore concludes: "…the surprising and relentless ongoing decline in the cost of renewable energy and efficiency improvements are driving the transition to a low-carbon economy.
"Is there enough time? Yes. Damage has been done, and the period of consequences will continue for some time to come, but there is still time to avoid the catastrophes that most threaten our future. Each of the trends described above - in technology, business, economics and politics - represents a break from the past. Taken together, they add up to genuine and realistic hope that we are finally putting ourselves on a path to solve the climate crisis."
(Source: rollingstone.com; grist.org)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to the Climate Summit 2014 in New York, on 23 September, to "galvanize and catalyze climate action … to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015."
Ban Ki-moon comments: "we must turn the greatest collective challenge facing humankind today - climate change - into the greatest opportunity for common progress towards a sustainable future.… This summit is meant to be a solutions summit, not a negotiating session…. It is a momentous responsibility to shoulder, but I firmly believe that every one of us can step up and become leaders in combating climate change, promoting sustainable development and building lives of dignity for all. Future generations will judge our action on this issue. In 2014, we have the chance to step over to the right side of history. Let's take it."
On the weekend before the summit, climate change demonstrations, marches and events are planned in major cities around the world. The largest one is expected to take place on 21 September at the United Nations in New York City called the People's Climate March to coincide with summit.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben writes: "This is an invitation … to anyone who'd like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced…. My guess is people will come by the tens of thousands, and it will be the largest demonstration yet of human resolve in the face of climate change."
On the organizers website (peoplesclimate.org) they state: "Our demand is for Action Now, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet - now. In short, we want a world safe from the ravages of climate change.
"We know that no single meeting or summit will "solve climate change" and in many ways this moment will not even really be about the summit. We want this moment to be about us - the people who are standing up in our communities, to organize, to build power, to confront the power of fossil fuels, and to shift power to a just, safe, peaceful world. To do that, we need to act - together. (Source: UN.org; Rolling Stone magazine, US; peoplesclimate.org)