Hamas is at it again, spending small but strategically significant funds on social services designed to engender appreciation from the poor populations where it seeks to establish trust and loyalty.  Most recently it sponsored a mass wedding for 60 Palestinian couples in a refugee camp in Syria.  The total cost was relatively modest, including $1,500 for each couple, but it paid off handsomely in the hearts of the people.

See: http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MjA5NDgxNjIy 

 Moderate movements need to provide social networks and visible and tangible support to provide an alternative in the destitute communities where apocalyptic visions otherwise reign unchallenged.

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A business entity that explicitly and practically sets out to not just make money but also achieve some positive societal impact.

Archane tax systems have forced upon our minds and our legal structures the assumption that an entity has to either have profit-making as a goal OR be dedicated to benefiting society.   While there are many cases where positive social impact cannot be engineered or organized in a self-sustaining market-driven business model and requires a purely non-profit structure, this is not necessarily the case.  There are many positive ways to impact both the bottom line and the world at large.  Indeed, it is sometimes optimal to be able to help advance societal goals in a sustainable way that relies on market mechanisms to advance social goals also.

PeaceWorks is the first example I dabbled in to try to prove this concept.

There are many other companies (preceding and succeeding PeaceWorks) that are similarly structured.

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This is a far more apt name than ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islamist’ or ’Islamic Fundamentalist’ Terrorists.  All these other terms give a mantle of legitimacy to those that do not deserve it and that have been rejected by mainstream Muslim authorities (even if many of us don’t know about it b/c these condemnations are not frequently enough broadcast by the media and less-forceful than they should be).

 Militants that kill innocent civilians in the name of religion should not be allowed to cower thereunder.  Instead, they should be exposed as the false messiahs that they actually are.

 By calling them “Pseudo-Islamic” Terrorists, we acknowledge the link they proclaim, but we explicitly deny the validity of that link, rob them from any legitimacy, and actually highlight their falsity and harm.

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Resorting to violence to attain an absolutist vision which denies the
humanity of the other. See also Militant Absolutism.

We use this term at OneVoice to define in neutral non-partisan terms
that which the overwhelming majority of people (mainstream moderates)
need to counter to seize back the agenda for peace.
.

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Doing something out of ‘self-interest’ but defining self-interest in a
broad enough and sufficiently long-term &/or sufficiently
consequential way that bears in mind societal impact.

Example: working to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not
‘altruistic’ at all. It is based on the imperative to prevent a
tragic world for our offspring. It is based on the recognition that
if the conflict doesn’t get resolved, it will impact all of OUR lives
- and that if WE don’t take steps to end it – nobody will do it for us.
.

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Someone who overwhelmingly prefers vegetarian dishes but who will
choose a rare meat or poultry dish when it looks exceptionally tasty.
.

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Deliver Us From Evil!

Published under Movies, Religion Aug 09, 2007

Just saw the provocative and extraordinary documentary, Deliver Us From Evil. 

It documents the pathological institutionalization and cover-up of sexual abuse and rape of children by priests in the California Diocese of the Catholic Church.

What is most infuriating is the well-documented cover up of these crimes, motivated by the desire of higher-ups to safeguard their careers, and resulting in an exponentially greater number of victims.  

It is shocking that Cardinal Roger Mahoney may still be serving as a high level official of the Church when it is so clear he is directly responsible for covering up abuses he knew about.  And “Father” Oliver O’Grady, alone responsible for destroying scores of lives and families, is roaming free in Ireland because of machinations by the Church in spite of overwhelming proof that he raped vicitims as young as 9 months old and continued this pattern unobstructed for three decades with the knowledge of his superiors, who would just transfer him from parish to parish – to hide the problem.

Clergy abuse is so rampant that over 100,000 victims have risen up in the US alone in recent years.  The numbers are staggering when bearing in mind that statistics indicate 80% of children who are raped and abused never report the crimes to the authorities.

The documentary also persuasively explains how this problem is institutionalized into the structure of the Catholic Church since celibacy was imposed on the priesthood for financial reasons (to prevent children from inheriting their priest parents’ possessions, and instead ensure that this property remained in the hands of the Catholic Church).

Of course not all Priests are pedophiles, and the vast majority of figures connected to the Church are remarkable spiritual leaders.  Pope John Paul II was such a holy and deeply benevolent soul and example to our world and to ALL religions, as well as to the secular.

It is all-the-more tragic that one of the world’s great religions has not come to terms with this. 

It is ironic that the Catholic Church will condemn so many victimless actions as abominable and unnatural sins, but doesn’t address the abominations within, and the unnatural structures that lead to them.   

The assumption that one person or group is above the law (of earth and of heaven) can only lead to bad results. 

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Rabin’s Legacy

Published under Middle East, OneVoice Movement Aug 09, 2007

A friend today wondered aloud if Rabin even left a legacy. I agreed it
remains to be seen – & pointed out it is up to us, the people, to
ensure one.

Sent from my iPhone – pardon typos
.

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It struck my mind as I heard a Muslim chant, Alahuh Akbhar, (God is Great) that it is truly beautiful artistically, yet I am pretty certain it evokes the worst images among much of the Western world, because of the association with terrorists that many have.  It struck me how much harm terrorism has caused to a religion that close to a billion people hold with deep spirituality and with true benevolence.  Some of my business partners that are the kindest, most pious and benevolent,  like Cliff Wachjo, are deeply devout Muslims, and it is a shame that their spiritual depth and co-existence-rich observance needs to be tainted by a fringe of radical monsters with a virulent, miserable version of Islam.  It behooves Muslims
even more than Westerners to fight terrorism and eradicate it and condemn it, not because they need to bear responsibility for the acts of others -
that would not be fair in any society - but because it is in their interest to fight terrorists so these pseudo-Islamic monsters won’t continue harming their religion.

The same is true, incidentally, with all other societies and peoples. Wherever a bad apple threatens the standing and reputation of a community or group, it behooves the group from where it emanates to isolate, neutralize and eradicate it, lest it contribute to a negative brand for that community.

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In self-organizing systems, extremists rise up.

In the offline world, wackos can’t thrive like they do in the blog world……. colorful scary birds get a disproportionate amount of media and end-user
attention.

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