Peace Blogs

Music as a bridge to peace

Nov
29

In October 2005, a "DJ Summit" was held in Jerusalem to show the world that music can overcome differences and bridge cultural gaps. Entitled "Bridge for Peace", the party brought together three DJ's who came from cultures currently at war with one another.

The evening featured the house rhythms of Khalil Kamal from Ramallah in the West Bank, followed by the Arabic groove of Srulik Einhorn from Tel Aviv in Israel, and ended with the progressive house of Morad Kalice from Amman, Jordan. At a time when war has torn apart any political or social cooperation between their home countries, music served to connect them and enable them to see their similarities rather than their differences.

The summit was the idea of Srulik Einhorn, who is credited with helping to introduce Arabic electronic music to Tel Aviv's bars and clubs. After years of playing the music, he began making contact with DJ's in neighboring Arab countries. Einhorn visited Jordan where he met DJ Kalice, and attempted to bring him to a party in Tel Aviv. Kalice was initially refused entry, but eventually, the Interior Ministry issued a visa for Kalice to come to Israel. For the event, they chose the holy city of Jerusalem, and its largest club Haoman 17.

"It's a nice event of cooperation, and it's never been done in the region," said Einhorn. "Also, being in Jerusalem means doing it in the holy city to three religions."

During his performance, DJ Kalice displayed cellular text messages of encouragement from friends back in Jordan. "The message that I want to bring to the people is that music should bring people together," he said.

Khalil Kamal is Ramallah's leading DJ, but was born in Jerusalem. Being a DJ in the West Bank is not easy, and yet the 37 year old father of three has been performing for 11 years.

"It was the first time I was in such an atmosphere with a Jewish crowd. I was afraid that they wouldn't accept me because I'm an Arab. But they accepted everything I played," said DJ Khalil. "It wasn't only music. It was the only night that we felt there was no difference between Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian. We hope that they will feel that way on the street."

Because of travel restrictions and little publicity in East Jerusalem, there were mostly Israelis in the audience, many were soldiers on holiday. "It's putting the enemy in the DJ spot, and... he's not the enemy, he's just the guy spinning the records," said one attendee after leaving the club.

"We really enjoy performing together, and this allows the crowd to see that cooperation and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is possible." said Srulik Einhorn.

DJ Srulik Einhorn and DJ Khalil will perform together again in London on the winter solstice in December 2006, at a party called "Bridge of Peace".

Posted By Justin read more

Ecological Debt Day

Oct
09

Today is the day of the year when mankind over-exploits the world's resources - the day when we start living beyond our ecological means for the rest of the year.

The New Economics Foundation has calculated from research by the Global Footprint Network that the day when our global resource consumption surpasses a sustainable level falls on October 9th this year. The world has a certain quantity of natural resources that can sustainably be used up each year, today is the date at which this annual capacity is reached.

Posted By Justin read more

Junk Media

Aug
06

Have we thought about how we feed our heads.

We now pay attention to what we put in our bodies, more or less, but have we really started to think about what we put in heads. I’m talking about “junk media.”

For years and years Americans have subsisted on an intellectual diet of vapid soap operas and sitcoms. If this is not bad enough at key temporal junctures (when our attention is greatest) these dramas are interrupted by efforts to sell us products we usually do not need and can ill afford. Products such as bread, with little nutrional value; vehicles, such as SUVs, which have little correspondence with actual use unless such use is to waste valuable fuel and parking space; or loan programs, with high interest rates, we can not afford to pay off.

Posted By Anonymous read more

Online Games and Learning Peace

May
03

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is holding a competition.  It's called the "Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games Competition"  The winner will be announced this Monday, May 8th, 2006.  This is a wonderful idea.  After the winner is annouced, I plan to write more about the contest entries.  Until then more information is available on the contest blog.

Posted By Peter Bartsch read more

Religions unite for peace

Apr
16

The First World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, held in Brussels in January 2005, was an historic milestone in Jewish-Muslim dialogue. The Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace took place on March 19-22, 2006 in Seville, Spain. Over 150 Imams and Rabbis, among the most influential Jewish and Moslem leaders in the world, gathered to focus upon: promoting dialogue between Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, creating an opportunity for religious leaders to use their influence in conflict resolution in various regions of the world, helping religious leaders to challenge fanatics who are misusing religion, and creating structures and initiatives to continue practical day-to-day work.

At the Second Congress, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, called for the creation of a world body with representatives from the major religious groups, a "United Nations of religious groups". The Imam of Gaza, Imad al-Faluji, said politicians lied but religious leaders had a different objective - to work towards a higher good. The imams and rabbis at the conference said the world is in crisis and it is time they acted to restore justice, respect, and peace. The delegates have made it very clear that now is the time for concrete initiatives.

Religious leaders of different communities across the world joined their voices to condemn all instrumentalisation of the name of God or his principals for the use of violence. In doing so, they have won back Godís word taken hostage by extremists, and brought the voice of unity capable of opening the path to more concrete solutions: the promotion of education and knowledge, including the teaching of peace. Yesterday, the Dalai Lama was in San Francisco at the invitation of Muslim leaders for a historic peace gathering, continuing the path towards a "United Nations of Religions" set at the recent Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace. The gathering is the first assembly of a "religious parliament" that will meet once or twice annually in countries throughout the world. The intent is for religious leaders to unite in dispelling misunderstanding and injustice that breed extremism. San Francisco was picked for the gathering because it was where the United Nations was founded. Imam Seyed Mehdi Khorasani invited the Dalai Lama, urging him to meet with religious leaders and scholars to "construct a strategy that will unite our voices and express our common goal to live in a world without violence." The Dalai Lama was joined by approximately 100 world-renowned scholars, teachers, and leaders of Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and other faiths who met with their Muslim and Buddhist counterparts and took part in the landmark discussion. The Organising Committee for the gathering said in a statement:

"Religious intolerance, and the violence that tragically attends it, have masqueraded as a legitimate expression of religious conviction and have grabbed the world stage from the majority voices of reason. Those attending this gathering want to rectify this imbalance as they are acutely aware that political and economic agendas, however disguised, have no place in religious practice; and they are committed to acting in their communities to promote compassion and counter divisiveness. Never before have so many of the world's prominent and influential religious leaders come together at one time for such an imperative and specific purpose. The message of peace and understanding that will emanate from this conference and the solidarity powerfully represented by these great and compassionate thinkers speaking in unison will help heal the world."

Posted By Justin read more

Wise use

Apr
08

As Justin observes it is important to think through our options because this could save us much energy and heartbreak. Often we as a society are presented with the option of doing energy intensive activity which will result in little programs and doing a less energy intensive activity which will result in great progress. In such situations the choice to be made is clear. Today, we are looking at a situation where conventional energy sources are rapidly disappearing and using them is creating global warming and international friction.

Posted By Anonymous read more

Why peace?

Apr
04

Why peace? The simple answer is so we can divert our resources, energy, and attention away from war and to other issues... things like the environment, climate change, poverty, hunger, disease, the lack of education and access to information and information technology.

And what could we get if we decided to spend our money on something other than war?

Well, according to the highly respected Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz of Columbia University and Linda Biomes, who teaches management at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the ultimate cost of the current Iraq war could go as high as $2 trillion. That figure appears in a paper released earlier this year, and it includes the cost of fighting the war now, caring for the wounded veterans of the war in future years, rebuilding a worn-out military, and other economic costs. Stieglitz and Biomes' estimate is based upon a U.S. deployment in Iraq that lasts until 2010. Under this scenerio, the United States military is spending $783 million a day, for seven years. This is more than the arms expenditures of all other nations combined.

A few months ago, Senator Edward Kennedy gave a moving statement on the Senate floor titled "The real cost of the Iraq war." It was an interesting look at what we could be spending our money on if we weren't at war. But Senator Kennedy used the then accepted figure of $195 million per day. Using the recent estimate of costs, the true cost of the Iraq war is over four times as much as the original figure. So to update the comparisons with a few examples...

One day in Iraq could provide health insurance coverage for one year to 1,523,600 uninsured children in America. One day in Iraq could employ 14,388 additional registered nurses for one year. One day in Iraq could pay for an increase of $13.36 per hour in the wages of every minimum wage worker in the country for a year. One day in Iraq could feed all of the starving children in the world today almost 18 times over!

Those are some really good reasons not to go to war.

As President Dwight Eisenhower observed in 1953... "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children."

Posted By Justin read more

Liberty goes Green

Apr
02

The Statue of Liberty in New York City's harbor has adopted renewable energy to help keep its torch lit. Starting this month, 100 percent of the electricity used by the Statue of Liberty will be offset by "green power".

Posted By Justin read more

Vote for peace

Mar
25

The Peace Movement is becoming a political force that may effect the outcome of the next elections. A recent national poll shows that almost half of American voters agree with a pledge to vote for peace candidates. The pledge states: "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression a public position in his or her campaign."

The national poll found that 45.9% of US voters agree - 20.1% strongly agree, and 25.8% somewhat agree - with the pledge. The poll was conducted by ICR Survey Research of Media, Pa., which also polls for ABC News, The Washington Post, and many corporations and research organizations.

The pledge is an educational project of the nonprofit Voters for Peace, to empower voters with the option of peace.

Posted By Justin read more

Free Energy

Mar
17

  My Hunch about Free Energy A WPTTO director stopped by my flat just now to pick up some "How Weird" postcards and we began talking about benevolent technologies. We were in agreement that the current model of oil / coal / nuclear is woefully outmoded in creating a sustainable energy model for our future. We must consider all the living people, animals, plants and general health of the planet co-existing in a harmonious state, but this is simply not happening. Let's face it, humans are the parasite -- truly messing up nearly all eco-systems on planet earth. There has to be a better way! We've put a man on the moon, created the microchip, and we can communicate or travel globally. But the 19th century invention of an internal combustion engine based on gasoline is the best we can do for personal transportation? It is this technology block that is choking the planet and all its inhabitants. Big Oil / special interests are to blame. Long story short, while all WPTTO Directors very much applaud the prospects of hydrogen energy moving us into the 21st century, there is one festering problem. The nonpolluting aspect of hydrogen is encouraging, but how to create the energy to create the energy? Every scientist would point out the many laws of thermodynamics. I too believe in science, but ...

Posted By Brad Olsen read more

Global opportunities

Mar
10
What difference can one website make? The World Peace Through Technology Organization has received visitors from around the world, including several at war with one another. If we could get these people talking to each other, maybe we could build a dialog between enemies. Here are some of the countries that have visited this website in the last month... United States, Australia, China, Great Britain, Vietnam, India, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Afghanistan, Turkey, Hungary, Trinidad and Tobago, Israel, Egypt, Norway, South Africa, Philippines, Peru, Jamaica, Pakistan, France, Italy, Poland, Mozambique, Lithuania, Kuwait, Lebanon, Thailand, Nepal, Singapore, Sweden, and the Russian Federation. Just imagine the possibilities.
Posted By Justin read more

6.5 Billion People!

Mar
01

Our little planet just keeps getting more crowded, and more in need of a way to live together in peace and cooperation. On Saturday February 26th 2006, at 7:16 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the population on Earth reached 6.5 billion people. This is according to estimates, but who has time to go around the world counting everyone. And we are now adding 261 new people every minute around the world. An analysis by the International Programs Center at the U.S. Census Bureau points to another fact: some six years from now, on Oct. 18, 2012 at 4:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Earth will be home to 7 billion people.

According to estimates from the Population Reference Bureau...

In the year 1000, the world's population was 310 million. In the year 1900, the world's population was 1.6 billion. In the year 2050, the world's population will be an estimated 9 billion. As of 2002, there have been 106 billion people ever born.

Remarkably, despite many new developments over the years, one fact looks the same: Populations are growing most rapidly where such growth can be afforded the least.

Posted By Justin read more

Celebrate Peace Day and help create a Department Of Peace

Jan
01

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced historic legislation to create a cabinet level agency dedicated to peacemaking on July 11, 2001. "The time for peace is now," Congressman Kucinich said. "At the dawn of a new millennium, there is no better time to review age old challenges with new thinking that peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind. Our founding fathers recognized that peace was one of the highest duties of the newly organized free and independent states. But too often, we have overlooked the long-term solution of peace for instant gratification of war. This continued downward spiral of violence must stop to ensure that future generations will live in peace and harmony."

Kucinich's legislation to create a Department of Peace focuses on individual, group and national responsibilities of holding peace as an organizing principle. The Department of Peace will focus on nonmilitary peaceful conflict resolutions, prevent violence and promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. A Peace Academy, similar to the five military service academies, would be created; its graduates dispatched to troubled areas around the globe to promote nonviolent dispute resolutions. "The challenges inherent in creating a Department of Peace are massive," said Congressman Kucinich. "But the alternatives are worse. Violence at home, in the schools, in the media, and between nations has dragged down humanity. It's time to recognize that traditional, militant objectives for peace are not working, and the only solution is to make peace the goal of a cabinet level agency." In addition, the first day of each year, January 1st will be designated as Peace Day in the United States and all citizens should be encouraged to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace in the coming year.

SUMMARY OF DEPARTMENT OF PEACE LEGISLATION

Legislation introduced today by Congressman Dennis Kucinich to create a Department of Peace includes the following: Establish a cabinet-level department in the executive branch of the Federal Government dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to both domestic and international peace. Headed by a Secretary of Peace, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The mission of the Department shall: hold peace as an organizing principle; endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; promote the development of human potential; work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict and develop new structures in nonviolent dispute resolution; and take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict and structured mediation of conflict. The Department will create and establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies, which will provide a 4 year concentration in peace education. Graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution. You can help make the Department of Peace a reality, and participate in an historic citizen lobbying effort to create a U.S. Department of Peace.

This legislation was introduced into the U.S. Senate (S. 1756) and re-introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 3760) in September of 2005. Visit the Peace Alliance for more information.

Posted By Justin read more

Ray Kurzweil and the Coming Singularity

Sep
30

Last night I heard a lecture in San Francisco by the famed technologist Ray Kurzweil, who is the author of Kurzweil’s Law which explores “the exponential trend of accelerating returns governing life and technology.” Similar in scope to Moore’s Law, which dictates that technology will expand exponentially every 18 months, Kurzweil’s Law factors in social and cultural trends. As the Executive Director of the World Peace Through Technology Organization I feel it important to share some of the insights I learned from the lecture.

Mr. Kurzweil spoke primarily about broad trends with long-term implications leading to a “singularity” which will happen sometime around the year 2042. This singularity will be a point when Artificial Intelligence (AI) will overtake the human brain in intelligence and complexity, among other things. First, it is apparent that technology is growing exponentially and will soon encompass all important aspects of our life. This is evident with a profound paradigm shift every decade. Some trends facilitating this shift include:
1.    From the earliest times the evolution of the human species has accelerated quite predictably along a linear graph.
2.    In this Modern Age information technology (of all kinds) double their power (price performance, capacity, bandwidth) every year.
3.    Instead of a depression due to plummeting prices, instead we are seeing an increase in consumption as price performance increases.
4.    We are now seeing a doubling of the amount of genetic information produced every year.
5.    3D molecular computing will be the next big trend in information technology.
6.    The intersection of biology and technology – the biotech revolution – will soon produce major breakthroughs in better health and longevity.
7.    Designer gene technology through DNA manipulation will soon produce RNA Interference, the ability to switch off genes that do the body harm. This therapy could soon mean the end of cancer, asthma, allergies and many other diseases caused by the body’s overreaction.
8.    Programmed bio medicines will keep pace with gene research growth.

In short, every form of communication, biology and computer technology are doubling every year (x 1000), and we are now in the exciting second phase of exponential growth. We are now seeing the advent of miniaturized mechanical systems called “nanobots,” some as small as blood cells which can explore all aspects of the body, report back on problems or actually fix them. Scientists are doing reverse engineering biology with robotic devices, along with the mapping of the brain – the ultimate source of the new templates of intelligence (AI). If we can just take care of ourselves for the next 10 years, Kurzweil argues, biotech will take care of us after that.

Some final trends that were presented (in no particular order): models for understanding future trends often get simpler over time. Kurzweil showed the beautiful and complex Mandelbrot fractal and said it was only six lines of code to produce. The cost of information creates deflation, but this is what drives the explosive growth. Intelligence can be created through database patterns, including the advent of effective language interpretation technology. Tiny electronics will soon be embedded in the environment, eyeglasses and clothing. Full immersion of visual-auditory virtual reality is just around the corner. Interaction with virtual personalities as a primary interface, along with augmented real reality, is here to stay. Human intelligence will outpace biology, but what are the drawbacks? Namely protection from pathological AI! Indeed, the future appears to be a vastly different world than the one we now know. Let’s hope we don’t forget that we are still human beings …

Those interested in furthering their understand of the above concepts should acquire a copy of Ray Kurzweil’s new book entitled The Singularity is Near

Posted By Brad Olsen read more

Dance for Peace

Sep
22

There is no better way to release stress and have fun.

And if that won't bring peace, I don't know what will.

Posted By Anonymous read more

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