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What are the roots of peace?

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    John, Thank you for your inspiring letter and question, What are the roots of peace? It s fantastic to hear from you in Sri Lanka. I share with our lab s group
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2006

      Thank you for your inspiring letter and question, What are the roots of
      peace? It's fantastic to hear from you in Sri Lanka. I share with our
      lab's group for Global Villages http://www.globalvillages.info where
      we've started to think more about peace villages and nonviolent change.
      I share with our Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_BOS/ where we hope such
      thinking might flourish, as with Franz Nahrada's dream for an "El Camino
      Real", a route linking peace villages, throughout the Balkans. I also
      share with our Arabic group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_AR/ where I am delighted to
      hear from Hanan Taha and look forward to starting a dialogue with her
      help. I share with our holistic helping group, too.

      I also want to alert you that we're making progress setting up our
      Online Learning Environment. Helmut Leitner helped me to set up ProWiki
      at http://www.openleader.info and start to customize it. I will be
      collecting Principles, Patterns, Case Studies, etc. as related to open
      learning of community currency design.

      As we discussed, from the funds that WICC has provided, I am dedicating
      300 USD for support of a community currency to help us collect
      Principles, Patterns, Case Studies related to community currency in the
      very broadest sense. I have decided to set up two Fellowships. Our first
      Research Fellow is George Christian Jeyaraj, a Tamil who came to
      Lithuania seven years ago as a refugee. His key concept is "helping
      others" and his investigatory question is "How can we help others?" I
      will coach him as he pursues his question. Also, he will assist at our
      laboratory. Our aim is that he learn how to help Janet Feldman and
      others at the Holistic Helping working group. Also, he will help us as
      an organizer in Lithuania. But furthermore, he will be available to help
      all of us who are accumulating time awards at our lab. For example, he
      has web programming skills with which he can help Jeff Buderer at
      OneVillage.biz I will help him learn how to organize content online at
      our wikis, too. His time will serve as a backing for a time-based
      community currency which we will award to those who help with our Online
      Learning Environment. So I will award him 200 Lt per months, plus
      authorship taxes, for two months for this part-time work, for a total of
      about $175.

      I also hope to chat with Samwel Kongere in Kenya, if he would likewise
      be interested to serve us as a Research Fellow. If so, I will be able to
      award him $50 per month for two months of part-time work pursuing his
      key concept of "motivation through sacrifice", his investigatory
      question "How I can find for Myself and live Comfortably while helping
      others?", also helping Janet and others at Holistic Helping, and working
      on projects for those who earn our community currency. Adding the $25
      for wiring the money, the total would be $125.

      I'm trying out such an economic model because I believe that George,
      Samwel and other such independent thinkers in depressed areas are our
      great resource, and that we can effectively use our cash by providing
      them some stability with flexible part-time work. By funding them we are
      making them available to all at our lab who have projects, and so we are
      encouraged to contribute to projects such as our Online Learning

      George can be a great help in our desire to contribute to peace in Sri
      Lanka, and Samwel can help us address the bird flu in Kenya, and there
      are many more possibilities. We can dream!

      John, thank you for helping us dream out loud!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      +370 (699) 30003
      Vilnius, Lithuania**

      The Roots of Peace

      Trincomalee, North East Sri Lanka, February 2006. A war zone. One year
      after the tsunami’s own trauma from the deeps failed to stop the war,
      another outbreak of peacemaking begins. The power brokers gather at
      Geneva, Sinhalese and Tamils, Norwegians and Swiss, to look for the
      words that will silence the guns for good.

      And still the universal question: What are the roots of peace?

      Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director of the Sri Lankan Sarvodaya
      movement, addresses young people who have come together from all over
      Sri Lanka for a special meeting at Trincomalee – ‘Compassionate Youth
      Gathering’. These 650 young leaders represent Sinhalese, Tamils and
      Muslims. Trincomalee is chosen because it has been at the heart of the
      conflict and is still a place of great tension.

      He tells them that the taproot of peace is Consciousness. Conflict is
      seeded in the mind of the individual, grows in the family and flowers in
      the community. Until we see into these roots in our own minds we will
      not have peace.

      On the road to Trincomalee the soldiers were busy patrolling the
      highway, looking for bombs by the wayside. They were on alert, they were
      organised, they were thorough. You could feel the danger. They were
      preparing for war.

      So we prepare for peace just as thoroughly by practising it, moment to
      moment, day after day, year on year, in our hearts and in our lives. As
      the Sarvodayan slogan, borrowed from the US civil rights movement, goes:
      “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.”
      They also say: “We build the road and the road builds us.”

      And yet this is not enough to make peace stick. The second root of peace
      is Power.
      Power too begins in the mind. When I understand my own power to think
      and act, when we understand our power to think and act together we
      co-create new realities. We transform the world with our thoughts. We
      learn that peace is not in the gift of one man or woman, one group, one
      block but that the power for peace is shared by all, awakened by all in
      every moment.

      And even this is not enough. The third root of peace is Economy. If I
      transform my consciousness and if we learn to share our power for peace
      this is a good foundation. And for peace to last each one needs the
      chance to earn a livelihood, access to the means of production to
      support their families and communities – social and economic justice.

      When these three roots, Consciousness, Power and Economy are watered
      daily, then the tree of Peace grows tall and strong.

      The young leaders listen to Dr. Vinya respectfully and then share their
      thoughts – Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim alike. They talk of their shared
      humanity across the imaginary boundaries of language, ethnicity and
      religion. They talk about their dreams for building a world together.

      After lunch a special ceremony began as leaders of the Sarvodaya
      movement laid the foundation stones of a new centre for peace and
      reconciliation. This building will bring together all of the religious
      groups under one roof into a multi-faith centre for worship, study and
      training, one of the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. Each stone was laid
      with flowers blessed by a chanting priest. So the road to peace can be
      strewn with flowers too.

      In the evening Dr. AT Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana
      movement, entered into conversation with the young people. They talked
      about their experiences of conflict, their hopes and their fears. Some
      talked about terrorists and killers. Dr. Ari asked them not to use these
      words and invited them instead to learn the practice of compassion for
      all. More than once in his life he had faced men with guns who wanted to
      kill him and was able to ‘disarm’ them with compassion. The army had
      offered to ‘protect’ him when attending this event because they said his
      life would be in danger.
      He preferred to carry on his moment to moment practice of loving
      kindness towards all beings and take his chances.

      Then the party. Not a drop of alcohol in sight, nor the sniff of any
      drugs, just a sandy field, a few spotlights, a simple sound system, an
      enthusiastic audience and some great young performers showing off their
      dancing, singing and acting skills. One short play showed the characters
      battling with their collective shadow, who ended up beneath their feet.
      Peace is not passive but the passionate engagement with our deepest
      energies, the endless quest for balance.

      The food for the whole event was provided by the two warring parties,
      the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers), as though they both
      recognised that this space needed to be nurtured and protected, as
      though these young people offered them hope of an end to war and the
      realisation of their own nobler dreams as soldiers.

      The following day an army of umbrellas and a regiment of T-shirts and
      baseball caps, bearing the Gandhian slogan ‘Ahimsa’ to remind them of
      non-violence, braves the heat of the tropical sun to walk 3 miles, then
      sit surrounded by banners of peace in a football field to practice
      loving kindness meditation – Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims together.
      After every speech the Sarvodayan handclap – Ta-Ta-Ta, Ta-Ta-Ta, Ta, Ta,
      Ta – a sign of respect and an anchor for peace. After every event the
      Sarvodayan song to remind each one of the ultimate goal: the awakening
      of all.

      The leaders gathered at Geneva for peace may come to understand the
      truth that there is no way to peace because peace itself is the way. If
      they need any lessons they might just drop in on a Sarvodaya gathering
      one day. Sri Lanka’s young people have come together to ignore the
      man-made boundaries others would maintain and patrol. May their faith be
      rewarded with peace at last and may peace prevail on earth.

      By John Rogers, trustee of Sarvodaya UK, who was visiting Sri Lanka at
      the invitation of Sarvodaya.


      John Rogers wrote:

      >Hello all
      >Sitting in the tropical heat - well air-conditioned actually - in a little internet shop in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, heart of the war zone. Soldiers on every street corner. Just attended an amazing gathering of young people from all over the country who want peace. Organised by the 50 year old Sarvodaya Shramadana non-sectarian movement. Here, the creation of a truly participatory society is really the difference between war and peace, life and death for many. Let's hope their peace talks at Geneva this week succeed.
      >If you want to know more I have written a little article about it deposited at the yahoogroups site.
      >best wishes
      >John Rogers
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