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ACTING IN FAITH  |  BY MICHIKO KODAMA, AUG 5, 2015

Hiroshima after the bomb

Photo: Adam Tibalis’ grandfather via Flickr (Creative Commons licensed) / Adam Tibalis’ grandfather via Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Joseph Gerson, Director of Regional Programs in the Northeast Region of AFSC, is currently attending commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the dropping of bombs on Hirshima and Nagasaki. In his work for the abolition of nuclear weapons, he has come to know a number of Hibakusha, survivors of the first nuclear war. He invited one of them to offer a reflection for this 70th remembrance. Michiko Kodama wrote this moving testimony and calls for abolition of what she calls, “weapons of the devil.” – Lucy

I am a Hibakusha, a victim of the first nuclear war in history. The atomic-bomb attack was made on Hiroshima in 1945.  At that time, I was 7 years old, a second grader in primary school.

Hiroshima via Wikimedia commons

Hiroshima via Wikimedia commons

At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, I was inside the wooden school building.  Suddenly, I felt a blinding flash.  The next moment, the ceiling of the building collapsed and sharp splinters of windowpanes flew all around.  They stuck into the walls, desks, and the floor of the classroom and also into my skin.  I fell unconscious and don’t remember how much time passed before I came to my senses.

My father managed to come to the school to find me.  On my way home, carried on my father’s back, I witnessed hell on earth.  I saw a man with his skin burned heavily and peeling.  A mother was carrying a baby, which was burned-black and looked like charcoal.  She herself was heavily burned all over her body and was trying to flee from the place, almost crawling on the ground.  Others lost their sight, their eyeballs popped out, or ran around trying to escape, while holding their protruding intestines in their hands.  More and more people tried to cling on to us, saying, “Give me water, water, water…”  Unable to give any kind of help to them, we just left them there and hurried home.

When I arrived home, 3.5 kilometers from the blast center, I found the roof of the house blown away by the blast and fragments of glass scattered all around.  The “Black Rain,” containing large amounts of radiation, fell into the house, and traces of the “Black Rain” on the wall remained for a long time.

Hiroshima in 1946 by Adam Tibbalis' grandfather

Hiroshima in 1946 by Adam Tibbalis’ grandfather

My favorite cousin, who was like a big sister for me, had been mobilized to work around the area 500 meters from the blast center when the bomb exploded.  While half of her face, her entire back, and her right leg were severely burned, sore and raw, she escaped to my home.  Her burns quickly festered and flies swarmed.  Soon maggots bred and crawled around all over her body.  All I could do for my beloved cousin was pick these maggots out and wipe her oozing body.  I remember that on the morning of the third day — probably it was August 9th — she breathed her last breath in my arms.  She was 14 years old.

Another cousin, who was 10 years old, was suffering from diarrhea, although he had no injuries or burns.  One day he began to bleed from his ears and nose, vomiting blood clots from his mouth, and dying suddenly.  One after the other, several of my uncles and aunts followed my cousins within a matter of a month.

The atomic bomb continued to afflict me in my later life.  Whenever I tried to get a job or get married, I suffered from prejudice and discrimination just because I was a Hibakusha.  When I became pregnant, I was tremendously worried, wondering if I would give birth to a baby who would be seen as a Hibakusha’s child.  Around that period, many Hibakusha suffered repeated stillbirths and miscarriages, or lost their children prematurely due to illness.

Hiroshima aftermath via Wikimedia Commons

Hiroshima aftermath via Wikimedia Commons

It is most painful for me now to speak about my daughter.  She was suddenly taken with cancer.  She made a tearful and difficult decision to undergo a major operation, believing that it would make her healthy again.  After the 13-hour operation, in fear of the recurrence or metastasis of cancer, she was going through the treatment and rehabilitation, despite great physical and mental pains.  But she died abruptly, only 4 months after she was first diagnosed.

When I got pregnant with her, after much wavering over the possible radiation effects on the baby, I finally decided to give birth to her, so her death 4-and-a-half years ago has given me deep sorrow and vexation.  I really miss her, and I want to hear her voice and hug her in my arms.

It is still not proven whether second generation Hibakusha are more likely to suffer cancer or not.  But it is clear that radiation does affect the human genes, which is a cause for big anxiety among second and third generation Hibakusha.

The aftereffects of the atomic bomb continue to bring hardships to the survivors throughout their lives, physically, mentally and in their living conditions, after even 70 years.

Hiroshima maidens via AFSC archives

Hiroshima maidens via AFSC archives

Such experiences as ours should never be inflicted on any of you, nor on anyone in the world.  Out of our own experiences, the Hibakusha know that nuclear bombs would cause untold damage to human beings if they would ever be used again either on purpose or by accident.

We urge world leaders, especially of the nuclear-armed states, to come to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and witness directly the atrocity committed on these two cities.  They believe it necessary to maintain nuclear weapons in the name of nuclear deterrence.  But deterrence is based on the probability of actual use of these weapons.  Hibakusha absolutely cannot accept either the threat or any probability of the use of nuclear weapons.  They are weapons of the devil which cannot coexist with humans.

The mere existence of nuclear weapons on this planet is not acceptable from the humanitarian point of view.

Hiroshima after the bomb

Hiroshima after the bomb

Ever since its founding in 1956, for more than half a century, Nihon Hidankyo (The Japan Confederation of A- & H-Bomb Sufferers’ Organizations) has called, “No more Hibakusha,” and “Abolish nuclear weapons!” while tearfully sharing their A-bomb experiences with people in Japan and also internationally.  Hibakusha are now very encouraged by the increasing efforts of the people to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.  With this support, we are determined to work further to testify and disseminate information about the consequences of the A-bombing to the broader public.

However, the world is still burdened with more than 16,000 nuclear weapons, most of which are possessed by the United States and Russia.

Dear conscientious people of the United States, please try to learn what actually happened under the mushroom cloud, and the atrocious and inhuman damage that was caused by the atomic bombs.  Once you know it, you will understand that nuclear weapons must never be used and should immediately be abolished.

Before the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons were held in Norway, Mexico and Austria.  The Chair’s Summary from the conference in Mexico in 2014, in which 146 countries took part, said, “…the mere existence of these weapons (is) absurd, …and ultimately are contrary to human dignity,” and declared that the time has come for action for abolishing nuclear weapons, and for this we must “reach new international standards and norms, through a legally binding instrument.”

Lanterns in Hiroshima by Anders Freedom via Flickr

Lanterns in Hiroshima by Anders Freedom via Flickr

It was really regrettable that the 2015 NPT Review Conference, held in the 70th anniversary year, ended without agreeing on the final document. We the Hibakusha urge the leaders of the nuclear weapons states to listen to the heartfelt appeal of the Hibakusha, calling for “No More Hibakusha.”

We will never give up.  We are witnessing a great surge of international opinion calling for a world free of nuclear weapons.  Over 80% of the members of the United Nations have agreed that it is in the interest of the humanity that nuclear weapons never be used, and that the only guarantee for this will be the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In order to support this move and make the process move forward, each and every citizen of the civil society should be firmly committed to creating a world free from inhumane nuclear weapons.  I sincerely invite you to step boldly forward together.

Although we the Hibakusha are aged, as long as we breathe, we will continue to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons, working in partnership with civil society around the world.

No more Hiroshimas and Nagasakis!  No more Hibakusha.  No more war.

Related Content

Hiroshima bombing: Marking the 70th anniversary

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Palestinians fight for water justice as Israelis dominate resources, says Khoury

Palestinians fight for water justice as Israelis dominate resources, says Khoury

Hind Khoury by the Separation Wall between Israeli and Palestinian territories, Bethlehem 2016. © Peter Kenny/WCC

19 April 2016

For Hind Khoury the issue of water justice is quite simple.

She believes there is no water justice in Palestine because access to clean water for drinking and sanitation exists in Israel but not in the Palestinian territories it occupies.

“The current shared groundwater resources in historic Palestine, that is Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories, have since 1967 been disproportionately and unjustly exploited to serve Israel and its colonial settlers.”

Khoury has experience as a government minister in the Palestinian Authority. She served as its ambassador to France for four years, and now fights for a just solution for Palestine as secretary general of Kairos Palestine.

She cites Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization which found that the surface water provided by the Jordan River is diverted to Israel while Palestinians are denied access to this vital resource.

“Gaza’s groundwater resources have dwindled as Israel has hindered the natural flow of groundwater flowing into this underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock.

“As part of its water embargo, later Israel bordered the Gaza Strip with many deep wells and rerouted the Wadi Ghaza waters to its own agricultural fields prior to their arriving in Gaza.”

Khoury took part in the 10 February service at the Holy Redeemer Church in Jerusalem to launch Seven Weeks for Water which this year is focusing on water justice for Palestine.

She singles out Gaza as particularly hit by Israel’s actions to restrict water rights.

“Gaza’s water and sanitation set-up have been subject to Israeli attacks and destruction.

“Overcrowding, the three recent wars and the military siege have triggered a total contamination of the groundwater, so it is unfit for human consumption,” she says.

Because residents resort to drinking unclean water, Gaza has one of the  highest rates of waterborne diseases in the world, said Khoury.

In the West Bank, Khoury notes that according to  Ma’an Development Centre, Israel, as the occupying power, has also isolated hundreds of wells, prohibiting Palestinians from using them.

“Israel decides the siting of wells and their depths – and these decisions, of course, favour Israeli settlement companies.”

That is why she advocates “creative resistance” against the injustice of Israeli occupation which has led to this unjust discrepancy in the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to water.

WCC campaign Seven Weeks for Water: www.oikoumene.org/7-weeks-for-water

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: www.oikoumene.org/pilgrimage

In wake of Fiji cyclone, WCC extends prayers, condolences

24 February 2016

In the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed its concern and extended prayers for Fiji. The storm killed at least 29 people and left more than 13,000 in shelters in the island nation.

In a letter to the Fiji Council of Churches, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said he knows the storm has left great needs, both immediately and over the long-term.

“As a council, you have a mission as leaders to speak and work together in offering comfort and spiritual guidance as people begin to assess the damage and rebuild their lives,” Tveit wrote. “I hope the fellowship that you share as churches will strengthen your efforts to meet these needs.”

Strong winds and flooding from Winston caused severe damage across the island nation, which has declared a month-long state of disaster.

Tveit offered prayers as the council is called to public witness and service. “We are reminded often in the ecumenical movement that we share always in one another’s suffering and hope. We pray that you are able to be a voice of hope for those who are in pain. Please know that Christians around the world stand with you in solidarity,” he wrote.

Churches assist with relief

The Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, WCC’s member church in Fiji, was sharing relief information and public advisories with cyclone survivors and organizing volunteers to assist with relief efforts. Churches were working with Fiji Red Cross offices to pack relief supplies for the thousands of people affected by the storm. Church halls were made available for evaluation shelters.

In a letter to Rev. Tevita Nawadra Banivanua, president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Tveit expressed his grave concern for the unfolding crisis.

“Be assured that the prayers of the World Council of Churches are offered for your church and for your leadership in such a testing moment,” Tveit wrote. “The challenges you face are felt by churches around the world and they stand with you in solidarity in this moment of crisis.”

Tveit offered a message of hope, even in darkness. “I am confident even in this moment of discouragement and grief that you will find strength in God’s unfailing love and compassion,” he wrote.

 

Letter of prayers and condolences to Fiji Council of Churches (23 February 2016)

Letter of prayers and condolences to Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma (23 February 2016)

WCC member churches in Fiji

Dear Friends, 2011 was the first in twenty years without executions. The merit goes to the Justice Minister Hideo Hiraoka and the Japanese Abolitionist Movement, but your help was important. Nevertheless now there is a new Justice Minister who is not against the death penalty. Our friends in Japan prepared a petition and we are invited to sign it. PLEASE, DO IT RIGHT NOW! …

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHZpNXVHN2dnbzl2bVQxXy1iRVlYQnc6MQ

WE CAN DO SOMETHING MORE!

Please, write to your “elected people”: call your mayor, deputy, prime minister, etc. Ask them to write to the Japanese Prime Minister and to the Minister of Justice, according to the Amnesty International instructions http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA22/001/2012/en/1092e76e-5689-43eb-9c11-64960a4c6fd4/asa220012012en.html http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/it/

DO IT NOW, THIS ACTION IS VERY URGENT

Write in your own language, be kind and polite according to our 11 rules.

http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/en/act-now/606-eleven-rules-for-writing-letters-against-death-penalty-in-usa

Claudio Giusti

e-mail  giusticlaudio@alice.it

http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/it/

 

I love Japan, not the death penalty

Have a good Christmas, stop executions in Japan.

 

Dear Friends

The Japanese Government has the habit to make executions without notice.

Twice an year three or more inmates are send to the gallows and their relatives are informed later. Very often this happen before New Year’s Eve holidays or in Summer. At the moment the Minister of Justice (an abolitionist) is asked to sign some warrants and permit some executions.

You can help in stopping this!

We are asking you to send more illustrated post cards you can to the Chief Cabinet Secretary and to the Prime Minister with a short abolitionist sentence. Write in your own language. Be polite and remember that we love Japan.  We cannot assure an happy ending, but this is one of the uncommon situation where a pressure from abroad can help.

About the death penalty in Japan

http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/en/japan

 

 

Chief Cabinet Secretary

Mr. Osamu Fujimura

Shugiin Dai-ni Giin kaikan

Room 1111

Nagata-cho 2-1-2, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-8982    Japan

 

 

Prime Minister

Mr. Yoshihiko Noda

Shugiin Dai-ichi Giin kaikan

Room 821

Nagata-cho 2-2-1, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo  100-8981      Japan

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath. As a poet, novelist, musician, and playwright, he reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As author of Gitanjali and its «profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse», being the first non-European to win the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore was perhaps the most important literary figure of Bengali literature and a mesmerising representative of the Indian culture whose influence and popularity internationally perhaps could only be compared to that of Gandhi whom Tagore named «Mahatma» out of his deep admiration for him. May 7, 2011 was celebrated 150 anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore.

August 7 this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the death of this great poet and philosopher. On February-March 2010 in Odessa Roerich House Museum was introduced Photo Exhibition by Yekaterina Kozhukhovskaya «Art Associations with Rabindranath Tagore’s Poetic Miniatures». One of Eastern art principles states: man is a part of nature, and a picture of nature is a reflection of man’s inner world. Contemplation of beauty wakens great sense of compassion and love. Rabindranath Tagore’s poetic miniatures deeply depict the states of nature and soul that last for just slightest seconds. Epigraph exhibition were the words of the outstanding Indian philosopher: «This world is a world of wild storms which tamed through music of beauty» (Rabindranath Tagore). The cognizing the essence of things via beauty and harmony of the Divine, which are reflected in nature – this theme has always been central to Tagore and was the inspiration for the author’s project by photo artist Yekaterina Kozhukhovskaya.

Emergency is an indipendent NGO, founded in Italy to provide high quality and free of charge health care to the war and poverty victims.
Emergency promotes a culture of solidarity, peace and respect for human rights.
The work of Emergency around the world is possible thanks to the help of thousands of volunteers and supporters.
From 1994 to the present day, Emergency has worked in 16 countries, building hospitals, Surgical Centres, Rehabilitation Centres, Pediatric Clinics, First Aid Posts, Health Care Centres, a Maternity Centre and a Centre for Cardiac Surgey. Subsequent to request from local authorities and other organizations, Emergency has also helped to renovate and equip pre-existing health facilities.
Since 1994 Emergency teams have provided assistance to 4,201,950 people (as of March 31, 2011).
Every day Emergency deals with the wreckage caused by war and for this very reason Emergency has always been committed to promoting a culture of peace.
In 1994 Emergency entered the campaign against antipersonnel landmines which brought Italy to ban them.
In 2001, shortly before the war against Afghanistan, Emergency appealed to the Italian people asking them to demonstrate against the impending war with “a white rag for peace” (Uno straccio di pace).
In September 2002, together with other organizations, Emergency launched a huge campaign to prevent Italy from taking part in the war against Iraq.
At the same time, Emergency promoted a nationwide petition campaign called “Stop the war, sign for peace” to ask for the enforcement of Article 11 of the Italian Constitution, which repudiates any act of war. The petition was submitted to Parliament in June 2003.
In 2008, with some African countries, Emergency has elaborated the Manifesto for a Human Rights Based Medicine asking for a medicine based on equality, quality and social responsibility.
Emergency is a recognized charitable organization (1998) and Non-Governmental Organization (1999).
In 2006 Emergency became an NGO partner of the United Nations Department of Public Information.
In order to support Emergency’s goals on a broader international scale, in 2008 the volunteers of the numerous chapters operating throughout the US since 2005 founded Emergency USA.
For the same purposes, Emergency UK was founded in November 2007 (visit Emergency UK website). Emergency Japan started its activities in early 2011 (visit Emergency Japan website), as well as Emergency Switzerland.

We strongly believe that healthcare should be a basic human right. Therefore Emergency:
1. guarantees treatment to anyone in need of assistance, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, religion, social origin or political opinion;
2. provides high quality assistance, employing standardized therapeutic and work protocols already tested in emergency situations;
3. trains national staff thoroughly, with the intent of handing over all the health facilities to the local health authorities as soon as self-sustainability can be achieved.
Emergency builds:
1. hospitals specifically dedicated to war victims and surgical emergencies;
2. physical and social rehabilitation centres;
3. first aid posts for emergency treatment and referral of patients to our surgical centres;
4. healthcare centres for primary medical assistance;
5. paediatric clinics;
6. centres of medical excellence.
 All Emergency facilities are designed, built and run by specialized international personnel, who provide training for local staff

News Release
05 April 2011

Quakers to boycott products from Israeli settlements

Quakers in Britain have agreed to boycott products from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlements are illegal under international law. Quakers consider that this boycott is a nonviolent move for peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The decision makes clear that Quakers are not boycotting Israel.

Half a million Israeli settlers live illegally in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). The settlements and infrastructure on Palestinian land are protected by the Israeli government and military and prevent or restrict Palestinians access to their land, water supplies, education, health services and more. Extensive settlement infrastructure divides up Palestinian land, creating obstacles to peace.

Palestinian Quakers are calling for Quakers around the world to consider boycott, divestment and sanctions because of the worsening situation caused by Israel’s occupation. The decision was made on Saturday (2 April) by the representative decision-making body for Quakers in Britain, Meeting for Sufferings. The Meeting has not yet considered a Quaker view on divestment and sanctions.

The Meeting heard that most Jewish Israeli peace groups support boycotts of settlement products.

“People matter more than territory” says the minute from the Meeting. And, “We pray fervently for both Israelis and Palestinians, keeping them together in our hearts. We hope they will find an end to their fears and the beginning of their mutual co-existence based on a just peace. And so we look forward to the end of the occupation and the end of the international boycott.”

“In the face of the armed oppression of poor people and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing,” the minute continued.

“We are clear then that it would be wrong to support the illegal settlements by purchasing their goods. We therefore ask Friends (Quakers) throughout Britain Yearly Meeting to boycott settlement goods, until such time as the occupation is ended.”

Quakers consider that this boycott builds on their other nonviolent moves for peace in the region. Since 2002 Quakers in Britain have trained human rights observers for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The observers, called ecumenical accompaniers, work with Palestinians and Israelis to promote nonviolence by their protective presence, to monitor human rights abuses and to advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation.

The full text of the minute follows:
Boycott, divestment and sanctions (Israel/Palestine)
Further to minute S/11/02/4 of 5 February 201, we receive minutes on this matter from the following Area Meetings: Southern Marches (paper S/11/04/mc i a), Sussex East (i b), Surrey & Hampshire Border (i c), Swarthmoor (i f), North London (i g), Cambridgeshire (i h), East Cheshire (i i), Ipswich & Diss (i j), North West London (i k), Bristol (i l), Hampshire & Islands (i m), Devon (i n), Manchester & Warrington (i o) and North Cumbria (i p).

Our assistant clerk has summarised the 14 Area Meeting minutes received, and we have returned to our consideration of the issues raised in the papers received at our last meeting (paper S/11/02/A prepared by Marigold Bentley, Assistant General Secretary of Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW), the Kairos Palestine Document A moment of truth (paper S/11/02/B), and the Quaker Council for European Affairs Discussion Paper entitled Responses to the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (S/11/02/C)).

We have heard of the responses of Jewish Peace Groups within Israel. We hear these Israeli citizens risk being criminalised by their government if they actively support the Palestinian call for cultural and economic boycott. We were informed that most Jewish Israeli Peace Groups support the boycott of settlement goods, and only some support a boycott of Israel.

A just peace for Palestine means security for Israel too, and nonviolent protests by both Israelis and Palestinians for the end of the occupation are heartening to observe.

For nine years Quakers have been witnessing individually and through the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) to the human rights abuses of the military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Today we have considered whether we should add nonviolent action to our witnessing – not as punishment or revenge, but as an external pressure to achieve change.

We understand the history and the trauma of the past, but it is Israelis who are the stronger and they need to make the changes.

John Woolman’s words remind us of the powerful sense we have of being brothers and sisters with people of other faiths. There are three main faiths in this part of the world, and we want to proceed in ways which allow dialogue to continue. We consider we should now act publicly, and, well-informed, be able to explain our action to others – because people matter more than territory, and because we approach others with a desire for peace.

Difficult decisions taken by us today can be reversed. The request for boycott comes from those who will suffer most, but a decision for boycott will give hope to Palestinians and support to those in Israel who are working for peace.

In the face of the armed oppression of poor people and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing.

Our hearts are full of compassion for Israelis and Palestinians, all of whom are suffering from the effects of the occupation.

We are clear that it would be wrong to support the illegal settlements by purchasing their goods. We therefore ask Friends (Quakers) throughout Britain Yearly Meeting to boycott settlement goods, until such time as the occupation is ended.

We are not at this time proposing to boycott goods from Israel itself, being unwilling to jeopardise continuing dialogue with Israelis and British Jews.

We pray fervently for both Israelis and Palestinians, keeping them together in our hearts. We hope they will find an end to their fears and the beginning of their mutual co-existence based on a just peace. And so we look forward to the end of the occupation and the end of the international boycott. We envisage our future relationship with both peoples as one of loving and generous co-operation.

Although we unite in this decision we recognise that Friends have different views, and we must treat one another tenderly.

ends

Notes to editor:
* For interviews contact Anne van Staveren on 020 7663 1048.
* Approximately 23,000 people attend Quaker Meetings for Worship in Britain, and there are more than 475 Meetings.
* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
* Meeting for Sufferings has authority to speak on behalf of Quakers in Britain (formally known as Britain Yearly Meeting). It brings together representatives of the 70 Area Meetings across Britain, and the Trustees of Britain Yearly Meeting. About 180 Quakers were present on Saturday.
* The World Council of Churches set up a programme called the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) in response to a call for international help from church leaders in Jerusalem. The aim of this programme is to end the Israeli occupation and bring a just peace based on international law. Since 2002, on behalf of British and Irish churches and church organisations, Quakers in Britain have trained more than one hundred human rights observers for the EAPPI. Read more on EAPPI at http://www.quaker.org.uk/eappi<http://www.quaker.org.uk/eappi>
* The minute refers to Quaker John Woolman. In 1762 he said: “There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages hath different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what nation soever, they become brethren. (Quaker Faith and Practice 26.41.)

Media Information
Anne van Staveren
0207 663 1048
07958 009703
annev@quaker.org.uk
http://www.quaker.org.uk

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?

According to Si Hamza Boubakeur “Sufism itself is not a theological-juridical school, nor a schism, nor a sect, since puts itself above any obedience. It’s primarily an Islamic method of inner improvement, of balance, it’s a fount of fervour intensely lived and gradually ascending. Far form being an innovation or a divergent way, parallel to canonic practices, above all it’s a risolute march of a category of privileged souls, captured, thirsty of God, moved by the shock of His Grace, to live only for Him and thanks to him inside His law meditated, interiorized, proved”. Again according to Si Hamza Boubakeur the components of sufi doctrin are: total love of God; gnosis, which getting over detective and incomplete intellectual knowledge directly unites the sufi to divine, so the certitude of His existance and of impossibility to understand Him with human forces alone; the intuitive knowledge achievement; the Mystic ascent thorugh a series of  states and stations, integrated by remembrance of God and ecstasy.
The path which a sufi follows is made of ten stages, each of them having ten learning-understanding stations, for a total by consequence of terms-representations remembering the thread of the path to follow. Each of them has corresponding verses of Koran to lighten its values. In this way the sufi reaches seven subtle grades emblematically corresponding – according to Simnani’s description – to seven great prophets.
The ten stages are: beginnings, doors, behaviours, virtuous habits, principles, valleys, mystic states, sanctity, reality, supreme abodes.

The seven grades

In the descending arc, form macrocosm to microcosm, from divine to soul, are divine essence, divine nature, the world of informal, the world of imaginal, the world of spiritual perception, the world of forms, the world of nature and human being.
In the ascending arc, that which sufi performs to get from self to God, the seven evolutive grades are simbolized by seven prophets and by relevant descriptions of Holy Koran. The matrix of the body, in acquiring an embrional matrix of a new not physycal form, is represented by Adam.

Second grade (vital sense) corresponds to animal spirit, or psyche, field of struggles as proved Noah with his people.

Third grade (heart) is that of spiritual heart, pearl inside the shell, comprehension of authentic self at embrional state. This spiritual self is simbolyzed by Abraham, since Abraham was close to God.

The fourth grade (limit of overconscious) is the Secret, the point of overconscious, of spiritual monologues as those of Moses.

Fifth grade (the spirit) is the noble reaching of spirituality, as divine otherness, and is David of existing.

The sixth grade (inspiration) is properly oneself receiving of inspiration, and is symbolized by Jesus, beacuse was Jesus which announced the Name.

 Seventh grade (the Truth), that of last one subtle organ, activated at the end of this path, corresponds to divine centre of Being, to ethernal Seal, to transcendent and immanent reality of every human being, and is symbolized by Prophet Muhammad (S.a.S.), since he was the Profecy Seal.

 The seven colours.
Each of these seven stages of the journey has his relevant color, which corresponds to light color which the sufi sometimes sees during the dhikr (remembrance). Seven colours are, starting from the base: black, grey, light blue, red, white, yellow, black light, emerald green.

 The seven symbols
The seven grades have relative symbols, whose study and elaboration during sessions helps its comprehension: sound, light, number (geometry, construction, golden section), letter (secret meanings of names, grammatical construction), word (dhikr, Names of God, Holy Koran), symbol, rythm and symmetry.

Anyway, this brief description is imperfect and limited. Describing the journey step by step is not enough to express what experienced and its actualization. So we resort to other terms, to define an acquired psychic reality: states, stations, presences.

Ahl (plural ahwâl). Pivot moments, transitory. As a metaphor they could be so described: “The terrain hit by sound is itself undulatory movement. The wave is the measure, rhythm comes out from tones’ combination along this wave […]. Tones are divided by measure, regular or not regular; they can fill it rapidly following one another, or on the countrary leaving huge empty intervals. Sometimes they tie up in bundles themselves, sometimes they space out themselves […]. Due to this reason of freedom in dividing and priming, tones can give to the basic form, constantly sinuos, a noble profile, continuosly different. […]. These tone’s games along the sound wave, this self-modelling of the wave substance, coincidence and opposition of these two components, their reciprocal tension and their mutual continuous adaptation, here what we call, in musica, rythm. Tone’s ripetion has a double aim: to satisfy needs of simmetry wich pretends to be fulfilled, and to play role of connection in the amplification chain. Spritual states and music tones, which costitute varying and unpermanent qualities pretending to meet, or a place, where get down to modify the rythm, are symbolically expressed by human works of art”.
Spitual state itself is complementary to the meeting moment and to the inverse of stability. It translates multiple indescribable, unitary, emotions, whose seating is soul; it’s mutable and permanent at the same time, since search is struggle but mysticism is quiet.

Maqâmat. Spiritual stations, are definitively acquired conquests. They have both an active and a passive one attitude: introiection/dilatation; union/separation; sobriety/drunkennes; annihilation/total subsistence; presence/absence. To be in the world but not taken by world.

Hadrat. The presences. For sample multiple realities of calligraphy. It’s the complete human being, âlInsân âlKâmil.
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 Text of  Gabriele Mandel, translation by Massimo Failoni

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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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