Archive for October, 2007
The most recent act of leadership by Canada’s legislature came from Dr. Bernard Patry, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, who shared these words at the House of Commons on October 25th:
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of informing this House that on October 18, here in Ottawa in front of the Peace Tower, the One Voice Movement‘s Canadian section, which was recently created by University of Ottawa students, organized a multipartite meeting to call for an end to the conflict that has gone on for too long between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
OneVoice is an NGO that calls on the leaders of the international community to work steadily and without further delay to find a fair and equitable solution to this conflict. The members of OneVoice have promised to keep going until the only victory that matters to them—the victory of peace, reason and humanity—is fully achieved.
May even more Canadians work actively for peace in the Middle East. That is my fondest wish and the hope of Canadians.
* * *
Bernard Patry, Vice-Chair
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
and International Development
Here is a not untypical message we got from one of our amazing supporters – a rare amalgam of Christians, Muslims and Jews, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Europeans and Mexicans – who grow more loyal and more determined with every attack extremists and absolutists make against the mainstream moderates who want to break the shackles of hatred…
I know you must be feeling a little down after putting so much effort into the Oct. 18 event. You’re entitled to feel a little down, but don’t be down for too long because shit happens and what you are trying to do makes sense; I wanted you to know that even though this hasn’t come off right now, that I want to be very much supportive of your efforts going forward. I thought that maybe this would be a good time to make an additional $10,000 contribution to walk that talk. Feel free to use this money to defray any of the exceptional costs of the cancellation. I just want to help you move through all this stuff and put it behind you so that you can do your important work.
Keep the faith.
The Templeton Foundation is conducting a "conversation" among scholars and scientists, who each month are asked a "Big Question." One of the questions asked was, "Does the Universe Have a Purpose?" and the answers were very interesting.
Among those who provided an answer was Elie Wiesel, who started by writing, "I hope so. And if it doesn’t, it’s up to us to give it one."
He also adds, "Though God created the world, it is up to people to preserve, respect, enrich, embellish, and populate it, without bringing violence to it."
"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."
- Abraham Lincoln
[Jason Alexander, who everyone knows for his acting but few know is exceptionally knowledgeable about international affairs and an exceptionally kind and loyal friend, wrote me a note that was very strong; I asked and received his permission to post]
Danny, my friend –
I am so sorry to hear of this postponement and to read your blog and hear the travails that you have all been going through.
i am also encouraged by the 600,000 signatures and the fact that One Voice is now a threat to those who only wish to hold to a false sense of power by manipulating the hate of those who struggle.
several years ago i befriended an amazing man named tom leyden. tom spent 15 years of his life as a working, prosthelytizing neo-nazi white supremacist. once he had his epiphany and realized there was no value to his life, he removed himself from that movement and has dedicated his life to educating those people he previously would have targeted in order to warn them against the hatemongers.
i once asked him how he targeted people when bringing them into the hate movement. he said, "If they hated anything, i could make them hate what I wanted them to hate. If they feared or were wronged by anyone, i could turn that to hate, too".
those who manipulate hate have an all-too-easy job. but those, like you and your staff and colleagues, have an enormously difficult job. but it is god’s job.
people ask me, how do you know which side in any conflict truly serve god?
I have a simple answer – god is a creator, the universe and all in it being acts of creation. Therefore any cause that moves forward by positive energy, creation, truth, trust, peace, harmony, building, understanding… these are the movements of god.
any cause that moves forward by violence, destruction, limitations of rights or freedoms, vengeance, the suppression of knowledge, isolation… these are the movements of… well, not of god. it is actually easy to see the difference.
just know that your efforts and those of your co-workers are blessed. they are vital. and they will lead to the only possible solution. your "one voice" is being heard. and it is being echoed. and it will prevail. and i am so very proud of you.
the amazing thing is, tomorrow you get to try again. keep going.
your work will prevail.
with much love,
Press Conference: Dr. Saeb Erakat Confirms President Abbas’s support for OV Platform; Singer Ilham al Madfai Denounces Threats Against Him – ENGLISH PRESS RELEASEPublished under Media and Alternative Media, Middle East, Mideast Negotiations, OneVoice Movement Oct 20, 2007
[Note, from my understanding, the releases that OneVoice Palestine sent in Arabic and the English release sent internationally are pretty much identical, except for one paragraph at the end of the Arabic one that explains to the Palestinian people why OneVoice Palestine has international partners and a parallel movement across the other side, as it is imperative to end the conflict to engage people on the other side also - something that should be obvious to anyone that truly wants to end the conflict, but which extremist factions have pointed to as a reason why they claim OVP is not advancing the Palestinian cause]
President Abbas Affirms OneVoice Mandate Corresponds with his Platform
Saeb Erekat Explains OneVoice Palestine’s Goals Align with President’s Vision for Palestinian State
Singer Ilham Al Madfai Denounces False Reports, Emphatically Supports OneVoice
Ramallah – 18/10/2007 – In a press conference today, Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Spokesperson of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, explained that President Mahmoud Abbas asked him to clarify that OneVoice Palestine is a non-governmental organization committed to upholding the vision of President Abbas. Dr. Erekat delivered his remarks in a press briefing on the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East.
“The president would like to say that OneVoice organization is an NGO that has every right to work,” said Dr. Erekat. Erakat explained the organization had sent invitations to a OneVoice Summit under the auspices of the President without receiving an official endorsement, but added that the OneVoice “political program, after Abu Mazen read it, reflects the President’s platform and the Palestinian objectives.”
Erakat added, “[President Abbas] would like to reiterate his full support to those NGOs and civil society organizations that work for democracy, a culture of peace, and ending occupation on the basis of a two-state solution.”
Dr. Erakat explained that a lot of “misleading information” had been provided about OneVoice. He said contrary to what was widely spread, “[President Abbas] read the document of OneVoice and this document corresponds with his political program of ending the occupation that began in 1967 by having two states: a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital next to an Israeli state along the 67 borders and solving the issues reserved to the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, borders, refugees and settlements consistent with relevance to the security council international resolutions.”
Today, renowned Iraqi recording artist, Ilham al Madfai, also re-affirmed his support for OneVoice, contrary to reports circulating that he had pulled out of the October 18th Summit in Jericho. “I have been very clear to all those who have been calling that I regretted not being able to participate in OneVoice Palestine’s effort to raise the voice of the Palestinian people for an end to the occupation, and for peace in the region.” Mr. Madfai added, “I call upon all boycott groups to stop threatening and intimidating artists and to respect the freedom of all.”
Mr. Madfai explained he had received a lot of “threatening phone calls and warnings” from groups opposed to his visit but he cherished the day when all logistical and travel challenges, including procuring visas for al his crew and band, could be resolved to enable him “to sing with the Palestinian people and with the people of the world, a song of peace, justice, dignity, respect, and hope.”
OneVoice Palestine is part of a movement of ordinary citizens that now surpasses 600,000 signatories not just in Palestine and the Arab world, but with citizens in solidarity across America, Europe and Israel, who agree on the imperative of ending the conflict and propelling and supporting their Heads of State to immediately commence negotiations, uninterrupted till the conclusion of a two state agreement. The international movement does not take specific positions on the agreement that the Heads of State must deliver, emphasizing that is a duty of the political representatives, but it does empower citizens to propel and support their Heads of State towards the negotiating table. In efforts to mobilize the moderate majority in Palestine and Israel, the OneVoice Movement has trained over 3,000 Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders. Specifically, OneVoice Palestine has trained 1,800 Palestinian youth leaders and has offices in Gaza and Ramallah.
OneVoice Palestine’s Honorary Board includes the Chief Islamic Justice, Sheikh Taysir al Tamimi, the son of President Abbas, Yasser Mahmoud Abbas, Dr. Saeb Erakat, and a dozen more Palestinian dignitaries, scholars, and religious leaders. www.OneMillionVoices.org
[Also note, Dr. Erakat was quoted verbatim and the language he explains reflects President's Abbas's positions]
Press Conference: Dr. Saeb Erakat Confirms President Abbas’s support for OV Platform; Singer Ilham al Madfai Denounces Threats Against Him – ARABICPublished under Uncategorized Oct 20, 2007
Below is a Press Release Released by OneVoice Palestine Earlier This Week. I will provide an English version in the next post.
الرئيس عباس يؤكد أن برنامج "صوتنا فلسطين"
يتوافق مع برنامجه السياسي
د. صائب عريقات يوضح بأن أهداف "صوتنا فلسطين"
تتوافق مع رؤية الرئيس لتحقيق دولة فلسطينية
المطرب إلهام المدفعي
يستنكر التقارير الخاطئة، و يؤكد دعمه الشديد لمؤسسة "صوتنا"
رام الله – 18/10/2007 – في مؤتمر صحفي عقد اليوم أوضح الدكتور صائب عريقات، كبير المفاوضين الفلسطينيين، و المتحدث باسم الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس، أن الرئيس محمود عباس طلب منه توضيح أن "صوتنا فلسطين" هي منظمة غير حكومية ملتزمة بمواقف الرئيس عباس. و كان ذلك خلال المؤتمر الصحفي الذي عقده بشان الزيارة الأخيرة التي قامت بها وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية كوندوليزا رايس إلى الشرق الأوسط.
“ قال الدكتور عريقات " ان منظمة “صوتنا فلسطين" هي أحدى المنظمات غير الحكومية التي لديها كل الحق في العمل.
وأوضح عريقات بأن المنظمة كانت قد أرسلت دعوات لحضور مهرجان " صوتنا فلسطين " تحت رعاية الرئيس، دون الحصول على موافقة رسمية، لكنه أضاف أن البرنامج السياسي لمؤسسة " صوتنا فلسطين" ، وبعد أن قرأه سيادة الرئيس أبو مازن، رأى بان برنامج المؤسسة يعكس برنامج الرئيس الفلسطيني والأهداف الفلسطينية."
وأضاف عريقات "بود [الرئيس عباس] أن يؤكد مجددا دعمه الكامل لتلك المنظمات غير الحكومية و مؤسسات المجتمع المدني التي تعمل من اجل الديمقراطية، وثقافة السلام، وإنهاء الاحتلال على أساس حل الدولتين.
كما أوضح الدكتور عريقات أن الكثير من اللغط قد حصل حول برنامج "صوتنا فلسطين". وقال خلافا لما كان قد نشر على نطاق واسع فإن "(الرئيس عباس ) قرأ برنامج المؤسسة وأن هذا البرنامج يتماشى مع برنامجه السياسي لإنهاء الاحتلال الذي بدأ عام 1967 على أساس دولتين لشعبين: دولة فلسطينية وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية إلى جانب دولة إسرائيلية و ذلك على أساس حدود 67. وحل المسائل العالقة في إطار مفاوضات الوضع الدائم: كالقدس والحدود واللاجئين والمستوطنات، و بما يتفق مع قرارات مجلس الأمن الدولي.
هذا وحري بالذكر أن الفنان العربي الهام المدفعي نفى اليوم وفي تصريح رسمي من مكتبه وصل لصوتنا فلسطين نسخة عنه أن يكون قد قاطع المهرجان الجماهيري الذي كان من المقرر أن يقام في أريحا في الثامن عشر من تشرين الأول. وقال المدفعي" أنفي الادعاءات التي تقول أني رفضت الانضمام للمهرجان الذي تنظمه صوتنا فلسطين. وقال المدفعي" أنادي كل مجموعات "المقاطعة" أن تتّوقّف عن تهديد و ترويع الفنّانين وأن تحترم حرية الجميع، لقد تلقيت الكثير من المكالمات الهاتفية والتّحذيرات و التهديدات من "المجموعات" التي تعارض الزيارة". وأضاف المدفعي" إنني آسف على كوني غير قادرٍ أن أشارك صوتنا فلسطين جهودها في إيصال صوت الشّعب الفلسطينيّ لإنهاء الاحتلال، و للسّلام في المنطقة، و كنت آمل أن تحل جميع الأمور اللوجستية و قضايا السفر بما فيها الحصول على تأشيرات الفيزا لفرقتي لأتمكن من الغناء مع الشعب الفلسطيني و شعوب العالم أنشودة السلام، والعدالة والكرامة والاحترام، والأمل."
إن "صوتنا فلسطين" هي جزء من حركة شعبية يتجاوز عدد الموقعين على برنامجها 600،000 مواطن، ليس في فلسطين والعالم العربي فقط، وإنما يشمل ذلك المواطنين المتضامنين في جميع أنحاء أمريكا وأوروبا وإسرائيل، والذين يؤمنون بضرورة إنهاء الصراع و حث و دعم قياداتهم من أجل البدء بمفاوضات فورية ، و بدون توقف حتى التوصل إلى اتفاق دولتين.
وبهذا الصدد تعيد صوتنا فلسطين تأكيدها على الثوابت الرئيسية منها الإيمان المطلق أنه لا سلام مع الاحتلال، وأن إنهاء الاحتلال هو الحلقة الأولى لقيام الدولة الفلسطينية المستقلة القابلة للحياة في حدود 1967 وعاصمتها القدس. وتشدد صوتنا فلسطين على أن إنهاء الاحتلال يتطلب بذل أقصى الجهود لضم المزيد من الإسرائيليين إلى معسكر السلام الإسرائيلي، حيث أن إنهاء الاحتلال هو مصلحة للشعبين، وان الاحتلال لن يزول دون إحداث تغيير جذري وحاسم في الشارع الإسرائيلي لصالح قيام الدولة الفلسطينية.
ويضم مجلس أمناء "صوتنا فلسطين" كلا من الشيخ تيسير التميمي قاضي قضاة فلسطين،السيد ياسر محمود عباس ، الدكتور صائب عريقات رئيس دائرة شؤون المفاوضات، وعشرات من كبار الشخصيات الفلسطينية الاعتبارية و الدينية.
Last night, I had a painful nightmare. My Dad was having convulsions, pain in his chest and stomach, and I was helpless, unable to help him. He was dying of what seemed like a heart attack, and I was paralyzed with fear.
The image has haunted me all day.
My Dad passed away four and a half years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, but never this way. I remember his kindness, his love for life, his good sense of humor, his treating every human being with respect.
I think the nightmare must have emanated from the subconscious but deep frustration I’ve experienced this last week with encountering so much pain, fear and ignorance, all transformed into hatred and anger, from vocal minorities that do not recognize the imperative of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by recognizing the humanity and rights of both sides.
I think the helplessness in the dream was a metaphor for the deep feeling of disappointment that I shared with all my team and all our volunteers for the setbacks in showing the voices of moderation on both sides, as we had intended.
The fear I sensed is probably the fear of not being able to carry out our ultimate vision of bringing peace to the region, a mission I set for myself to do what I can so that others will not have to suffer the way my Father did in the Holocaust, which to me translates as the imperative of resolving the conflict so that the Israeli and Palestinian people will both have a future of freedom, security, dignity, and respect, not to mention to build prosperity and progress and light for the world.
What my Dad had to go through, I don’t want anyone again to go through. I know I can’t help in all the areas where people ARE going through this (like Darfour!), but at least I want to make what little contribution I can to help the Israeli and Palestinian people. And yet the utter dehumanization and self-righteousness that has overtaken some small but vocal segments of the population makes this an even harder task.
I don’t want to give up, as much as it is tempting to just say, "I’ve had enough."
But too much is at stake.
I don’t want to be overtaken with anger and hatred myself, as increasingly hard as it is. I need to resist the impulses, to try to understand, and to channel frustrations to constructive action.
I don’t want to disappoint the memory of my Father, as much as I fear doing so.