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Established in 1990 the GANDHI INFORMATION CENTER has been freely available for Education and Culture. It has more than a hundred members at home and abroad, amongst them well-known scientists, artists and authors such as the Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Count Serge Tolstoy (1911-1995) and Professor Joseph Needham (1901-1995).

The Gandhi Information Center became well-known all over the world on account of the distribution of the Manifesto against Conscription and the Military System. This Manifesto revives attention to two manifestoes signed by Gandhi, Einstein, Buber, Freud and Tolstoy’s assistants Birukoff and Bulgakov against military training of youth. In the meantime this Manifesto has been translated into 25 languages and has been signed by more than 200 outstanding personalities from over thirty different countries.

Since 1990 the Gandhi Information Center for Research and Education on Nonviolence, has organised educational activities with publications about the Life and Achievement of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Information Center has made contacts all over the world and contributes to an international network.

The nonviolent, active resistance as developed and lived by Gandhi is to serve as focus and support. Connected with this the active members wish to document the origins of Nonviolence in multifold traditions (e.g. the nonviolent doctrine of Tolstoy in Russia, the Civil Disobedience of Henry David Thoreau, the Civil Rights Movement of Martin Luther King in the USA, the Social Ethics of John Ruskin in England, the Arc communities of Lanza del Vasto in France as well as the reasons of conscience of religious conscientious objectors in Austria and Germany).

Satyagraha was the title under which the Gandhi Information Center has recently published information for its members. The first two issues were dedicated to the commemoration of Gandhi’s 125th birthday and our correspondences to the followers of Leo Tolstoy in Russia.

Support the Gandhi Information Center, P.O.Box (Postfach) 210109, 10501 Berlin

Our e-mail-address is: mkgandhi@snafu.de

Our internet website is: http://home.snafu.de/mkgandhi

The annual membership is 180 Euro, reduced membership is 60 Euro.

Financial support of the volunteer work of our Center is requested for account number 495283-106, Postbank Berlin, Bank Code 100 100 10 – – BIC: PBNKDEFF – IBAN: DE77 1001 0010 0495 2831 06

This manifesto has been translated into more than 25 languages and it has been signed by many signatories, among them four Nobel Peace Laureates. It is aimed to have the Manifesto signed by more individuals who are publicly active in Peace, Ecology and Human Rights issues or in Scientific and Cultural spheres.

Please address your signatures (with name, address and date) to the:

Gandhi Information Center, P.O. Box (Postfach) 210109, D-10501 Berlin

We have signated on internet web site and you?

World day for the abolition of the death penalty

Friday 8th October:

• 20:30 Faenza  • Palazzo Manfredi, Piazza del Popolo 31, Sala Bigari

 

A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in the USA and Japan

and strategies towards the abolition.

 

Conversation with Yukari Saito

(member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90 and of the centre of documentation “Semi Sotto la Neve”)

and Claudio Giusti (co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty)

Organized by Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni in collaboration with Group Italy 193 of Amnesty International Imola and with Legambiente Faenza

 

 

 

Friday 8th October:

• 10:00 Faenza • Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche viale Baccarini 19

A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in Italy, the US and Japan

 

Talks by:

Christine Weise

President of the Italian Section of Amnesty international

“The death penalty in the world “

 

Alessandro Luparini

from Centro Archivi del Novecento of Ravenna

“The abolition of death penalty in the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1890)”

 

Claudio Giusti

member of  Comitato Scientifico dell’Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti

“United States of America: from lynching to the death penalty”

 

Yukari Saito

member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90

and of the documentation centre Semi Sotto la Neve

and Claudia Caroli

Secretariat of the abolitionist association PeACE

“The Japanese noose: a knot  of power difficult to loose”

 

Readings, dances and music by:

Roberto Bartoli, Marco Boschi, Valentina Caggio, Andrea Pedna,

Paola Sabbatani, Renato Ciccarelli, Sabrina Ciani, Fabrizio Morselli

Organized by Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche of Faenza (MIC)

together with Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni.

 

 In cooperation with:

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia 
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522
e-mail  giusticlaudio@alice.it

http://www.osservatoriosullalegalita.org/special/penam.htm

 

Document date: 17.09.2010

A Buddhist-Christian Common Word on Structural Greed

A Joint Statement

From 22 – 26 August 2010, thirty Buddhists from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions and Christians from the Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Reformed and Roman Catholic traditions met at Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, under the theme, “Buddhists and Christians Engaging Structural Greed Today.” The consultation was jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and hosted by the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace at Payap University. Participants included activists, economists, religious leaders and scholars from Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UK and USA.

The global financial crisis into which much of the world plunged in October 2008 has left large numbers of people around the world devastated, distraught and robbed of their human dignity. The WCC and LWF, who have a history of engaging questions of economic justice, recognize that the root causes of this crisis have not simply to do with economic realities but also with spirituality and morality. The Churches’ Commission on International Affairs (CCIA) affirmed that Christianity alone does not have the resources effectively to address this crisis but must cooperate with other religions which, over centuries, have deeply reflected on the question of greed and have significant wisdom to offer.[i] The LWF similarly has made the commitment to “engage with those of other faiths and with the rest of society in efforts to subvert greed and develop alternatives that are life-giving and sustaining for all.”[ii]

We, Christians and Buddhists, therefore convened to seek a common word on the present crisis, recognizing that structural greed is at the core of the financial crisis. Recalling a saying of the Buddha, “in a situation of crisis, act as if your turban is on fire,”[iii] we underscore the urgency of the situation. Recognizing also that the crisis has created an unprecedented opportunity to speak to the governments, financial institutions and to our own religious communities, we present the following observations that form our common word.

The present context

We, Buddhists and Christians, observe that one of the primary reasons for the global financial crisis is that over the past centuries economic processes have been progressively motivated and structured by the goal of maximizing profits for capital owners and thus monopolizing the world market. Following the great recession of 1929, political regulations to control this tendency were instituted. The dismantling of these regulations a few decades ago resulted in an environment for the unbridled explosion of personal and structural greed, leading to a debt and mortgage crisis, to unparalleled disparities between the super-rich and those who go hungry every day and to the accelerated degradation of the environment.

We, Buddhists and Christians, acknowledge that as individuals and religious communities we participate intentionally or unintentionally in seeking benefits from this system of personal and institutional greed and so have been complicit in its devastating effects. At the same time, we acknowledge our responsibility to learn about, resist and seek to change the system that destroys the lives of large numbers of mostly poor people in the world.

In recent decades, more people have become comfortable with greed and have begun to believe that unregulated greed is good and that unbridled competition and the accumulation of wealth are necessary for human progress. A steady diet of powerful messages communicated, for example, by corporate-controlled media has served to internalize these messages.

Financial markets that have been deregulated due to the pressures of structural greed have also led to a situation in which money and financial markets take on a life of their own, with the creation of an endless variety of new financial instruments for making quick, hyper profits. More than just a medium of exchange, money has become a commodity from which ever larger profits are promised and expected.

Buddhist and Christian understandings of greed

Buddhists understand greed as a human disposition, one of the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion. Greed is a cause of suffering and an obstacle to enlightenment. On the path toward enlightenment, human beings can overcome the overwhelming power of the Three Poisons and thereby become generous, loving and compassionate persons.

Christians understand that they live in structures of domination and greed, traditionally related to the power of sin. Since the time of the prophets, biblical faith resisted these oppressive structures and worked for legal and community related alternatives. Following in this tradition, Jesus Christ lived a life in opposition to the forces of domination and died in fierce struggle against these. In his resurrection, Christians believe that he was victorious over these structures and empowers his followers, through the Holy Spirit, to resist and transform similar structures today.

To avoid addressing structural greed and to focus on individual greed is to maintain the status quo. As Buddhists and Christians, we are convinced that greed has to be understood both personally and structurally. Individual and structural greed feed each other in their interactive relation of cause and effect. They need each other for their sustenance and expansion.

Self-interest, necessary for human well-being, does not necessarily constitute greed. Insofar as humans can survive and flourish only together with one another, self-interest naturally includes the interests of others. Therefore, when self-interest is pursued without compassion for others, when interconnectedness is disregarded or when the mutuality of all humanity is forgotten, greed results. With greed, whether personal or structural, there can never be enough.

Strategies for engaging structural greed

Greed is manifested at both the individual and social levels, as well as structurally through political, economic and media power. Each level requires transformation and needs a variety of strategies to be effective.

Strategies for addressing greed at the personal and social levels include promoting generosity and cultivating compassion for others. We encourage effective preaching and teaching as well as spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer to motivate Buddhists and Christians towards personal and social transformation.

Counteracting the structural greed embodied in political and economic power structures requires different strategies. They include instituting anti-greed measures, such as the development and enforcement of adequate regulation of financial transactions and policies that promote the equitable distribution of wealth.

Since market-driven global economies have become harmful to small businesses and devastating to local communities, efforts to create alternate economies at the local level must be encouraged. We identified four examples of such efforts from around the world: local exchange and trading system (LETS), in which trading is done in local and regional currencies; cooperative banking; decentralized energy; and localizing the production and exchange of basic commodities such as water and food.

As structural greed also threatens the earth’s sustainability, we affirm the need to safeguard the “commons” for all people in participatory ways of organizing and managing the earth’s resources.

These initiatives designed to transform structural greed cannot be instituted without strategic, well-organized activist communities. We recognize that some of the best initiatives for such organizing often come from the experience and creativity of those on the margins. We also note that preaching and teaching, both in temple and church, can be effective ways of motivating people to participate in such organized communities. Collective power is enhanced when Buddhists and Christians work together; they are able to have an even more effective and constructive impact when they engage with other religious communities and grassroots civil society organizations and movements.

As Buddhists and Christians, we also affirm that meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices offer people access to spiritual power that gives them perseverance, release from their egos, compassion with those who suffer and the inner strength to love and deal non-violently with those who they have to oppose. As Buddhist teachers have reminded us: we must be peace in order to make peace.

Conclusion

As Buddhists and Christians from a variety of traditions in our respective religions and from many countries, we spent four days struggling with the question of engaging structural greed. Each one of us strove to share authentically from the perspective of our tradition and identity. We tried to listen deeply to each other, suspend judgment, appreciate each other’s beliefs, be self-critical of our own beliefs and attentive to new insights.

This common word testifies to the value of such a dialogue. Our hope is that such ongoing interreligious engagement and cooperation can be a powerful contribution to overcoming greed and realizing a world of greater compassion, wisdom and justice.

 


[i] Meeting of the CCIA in Cuba, March 2009

[ii] Actions Taken by the Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation

[iii] Anguttara Nikaya 6.20 Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (2).

Sunday, April 4

Easter Sunday
Watchword for the Week — Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Jesus is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:5

Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Luke 24:1-12

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in
my mouth. Psalm 34:1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great
mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

O living Christ, because you live, we live. Because you love us, so too
can we love. The whole of our joy is in you, and we bow down before you
with praise and thanksgiving. In your holy, risen name. Amen.

Loving Father

God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.

We praise You for Your unequaled greatness.

Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.

Help us in Your new year to fret less and laugh more.

To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.

To teach others to love by loving them.

Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.

So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.

That we could share Love with others.

Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,

in the chriping of sparrows in our backyards,

in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children.

Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,

so that we may know You better and better.

We rejoice in the world You loved into being.

Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.

We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others.

Forgive us for falling short this past year.

We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the unknown new year knowing You will go with us.

We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what’s ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..

In Jesus name,

Amen.

My name is Lancelot Muteyo, i was born on the 22nd of August 1982, in Harare, the capital City of Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. I am a poet, and i play seven traditional instruments. Some of my work is featured on http://www.poetry.com,. I am the author of African Prophecies. I was in Italy for one and a half month attending the Global Baptist Peace Conference. I am Co ordinator of a distance Adoption programme that is supported by UCEBI in conjuction with the Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe. Italian families support nearly 1000 orphans mostly, HIV and AIDS orpahans. Also, here in Zimbabwe there is a cholera outbraek that has killed a lot of people. The majority including me have no access to clean drinking water. Hence a partnership was created between Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, my church through Reverend Chiromo and UCEBI. this saw the erection of two water wells benefiting 150 000 residents in two residential areas. I am a volunteer Director of Afro Christians HIV and AIDS Arts Network (AChrA Network), an autonomous body under Emmanuel Baptist Church. We use Indegenous Knowledge to fight the pandemic. Hence we try to resocialise Christians and the community at large to apprteciate home grown solutions which are easily accessible and cheap. Most young people are killing their culture due to the forces of globalisatin and unfortunately the church has being used as a tool for cultural erosion hence the death of heath. Yes it is my brainchild and foundation with the spiritual revelation from Reverend C Chiromo my pastor. I am a Christian and i am mainly involved in social ministry.I spent most of my free time reciting poetry and writing theatre plays. I am one of the greatest storytellers of my generation, and all my stories try to preserve and conserve positive African beliefs or what we call ubuntu. I have a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Zimbabwe, I am a family therapist, a trained Psychologist, a trained Counsellor and a Human Resources Practioner. The situation right now is manageable as compared to say two months ago. The political situation has improved but the economy is still stugling, since about 90 percent of the total population has no source of income. In Harare, the major problem in water and sanitation but we are in the process of trying to do Cholera and Clean up campaiggns. If anything according to Martin Luther King, it has to be I. So the situation i tough but we are more tougher. The future for Harare citizens is bright and i will give you feedback after three months. The problem in Zimbabwe is of sanctions from Europe and America, but we are all hopeful that things will improve, as they are promising. It is unfotunate that when two elephants fight the grass will suffer, and ordinary Zimbabweans are thae grass. Children as young as 2 going for three days without eating anything decent. Lets unite in our differences, there is power in diversity. After all we are all people with one soul which is neither Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Mazvita, it is Shona, my language for Grazie, Thank you, hope to hear from you

Madagascar Protestant leader reported released from detention

Geneva (ENI). The head of the largest Protestant church in Madagascar is reported to have been freed after being detained on 17 March by unspecified military personnel following the resignation of President Marc Ravalomanana. Reports received by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches indicated that the president of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), the Rev. Lala Rasendrahasina, was released after only a brief detention. The FJKM is a member of Geneva-based WARC. [450 words, ENI-09-0222]

Hungarian churches warn of social collapse amid financial crisis

Warsaw (ENI). Hungarian church leaders have warned their country faces violence and breakdown in the face of unemployment and dislocation brought by the current financial meltdown. “We were already in bad shape before this global crisis, and we are now affected more deeply than other countries in our region,” explained the Rev. Balazs Odor, ecumenical officer of the Reformed Church in Hungary, which comprises about one fifth of the country’s 9.9 million citizens. [451 words, ENI-09-0223]

In Africa, Pope Benedict praises family ‘values’ amid HIV dispute

Rome (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI has urged bishops in Cameroon to defend African family values and to protect the poor from globalisation, on his first full day of a visit to Africa, which was also marked by controversy over his remarks concerning condoms and AIDS. “The difficulties arising from the impact of modernity and secularisation on traditional society inspire you to defend vigorously the essential values of the African family,” the pontiff told an 18 March meeting of Cameroon bishops the day after he arrived in the west African country. [688 words, ENI-09-0221]

Global conference to promote solidarity with excluded Dalits

Manila (ENI). The leaders of two global church organizations have called for international solidarity with 250 million Dalits, people regarded as “untouchable” who face discrimination on the basis of their descent. “We hope to promote the emergence of an international ecumenical movement in solidarity with Dalits and other similarly affected groups, in order to break the silence, and to work for an end to this form of oppression and exclusion, and for the liberation of those under its yoke,” said World Council of Churches general secretary the Rev. Samuel Kobia and his counterpart in the Lutheran World Federation, the Rev. Ishmael Noko. They made the statement in a letter inviting 100 participants to meet in Bangkok from 20 to 24 March at a global conference to raise international awareness about the human rights and justice concerns of the Dalits.

 

The WCC says that there are an estimated 250 million Dalits in South Asia. The Bangkok meeting is taking place a month before a United Nations meeting in Geneva to review progress towards the goals set in Durban, South Africa, at a 2001 U.N. conference on racism. [332 words, ENI-09-0220]

 

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Bishop Desmond Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. His father was a teacher, and he himself was educated at Johannesburg Bantu High School. After leaving school he trained first as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College and in 1954 he graduated from the University of South Africa. After three years as a high school teacher he began to study theology, being ordained as a priest in 1960. The years 1962-66 were devoted to further theological study in England leading up to a Master of Theology. From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu is an honorary doctor of a number of leading universities in the USA, Britain and Germany.

Desmond Tutu has formulated his objective as “a democratic and just society without racial divisions”, and has set forward the following points as minimum demands:

1. equal civil rights for all
2. the abolition of South Africa’s passport laws
3. a common system of education
4. the cessation of forced deportation from South Africa to the so-called “homelands”

The South African Council of Churches is a contact organization for the churches of South Africa and functions as a national committee for the World Council of Churches. The Boer churches have disassociated themselves from the organization as a result of the unambiguous stand it has made against apartheid. Around 80 percent of its members are black, and they now dominate the leading positions.

 

Selected Bibliography
By Tutu
Crying in the Wilderness. The Struggle for Justice in South Africa. Edited by John Webster. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982. (Sermons, speeches, articles, press statements, 1978-1980.)
Hope and Suffering: Sermons and Speeches. Edited by John Webster. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1984. (From the period 1976-1982.)
The Rainbow People of God: The Making of a Peaceful Revolution. Edited by John Allen. New York: Doubleday, 1994. (Speeches, letters and sermons from 1976 to 1994, woven together in narrative by his media secretary.)
 
Other Sources
du Boulay, Shirley. Tutu, Voice of the Voiceless. London: Penguin Books, 1989.
Sparks, Allister. The Mind of South Africa. New York: Knopf, 1990. (Historical interpretation by a distinguished South African journalist.)

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Irwin Abrams, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1997

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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