Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Creating a culture of peace through Education

Ignorance is a killer. If you fail to educate your child and yourself, you're breeding a potential killer.
Give PEACE a chance by giving EDUCATION a chance.

Think about this...

"The world spends almost twice as much on weapons in one day than the United Nations spends for our global mission of peace, human rights and development in one year." - UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon

"To fundamentally tackle the roots of conflict, we need to promote an understanding of our common humanity. We need a culture that upholds human dignity and human life.

We are here to talk about how to create this culture of peace.
I have a simple, one-word answer: education.
Through education, we teach children not to hate.
Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion.
Through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace."

- excerpts from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon's speech to the General Assembly High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace (14 September 2012)

Islam, the West and Terrorism

Which statement is correct:?
  1. Islam AND the West
  2. Islam VERSUS the West
  3. Islam IN the West
I choose the 3rd statement.

One cannot compare ISLAM (a global religion) to the WEST (a group of nations). By trying to make comparisons between these different entities, we are already creating confusion in people's minds. We are already creating the impression that these are two opposing entities and one has to choose either one or the other, but not both. You are either for ISLAM or you are for the WEST. This view is dangerously misleading. This is not the case and should not be the case.
This fundamentalist view (on Islam versus the West) is the root cause of our modern day problem where religious tolerance is no longer acceptable.

The recent incidence of the release of the movie mocking Muslims around the world and the subsequent reaction from the Muslim world is a case of religious intolerance which borders on fundamentalism and terrorism.

The actions and the reactions should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification for such a provocation and the reaction is also unjustified. However, when a people feel that they are constant targets of mockery, they will react - oftentimes, in very shocking ways. To every action, there is a reaction. People will try to make their voices heard by any means necessary. So, it up to those who are steady-headed and influential to help in addressing these issues. Powerful nations should not be ashamed to hold their citizens accountable when they overstep their boundaries.

Looking at the definitions of "Fundamentalism" and "Terrorism", one can say that the persons behind the movie are also fundamentalists and terrorists - same doctrine, different approach towards implementation.
If a person, knowingly performs an act that he/she knows will result in the death of himself or others, he/she should not be allowed to hide under the protection of "Freedom of Speech" or "Freedom of Expression".

It is shameful and totally inappropriate to exploit our basic freedom of expression in such distasteful ways. Such persons should be brought to justice for the resulting mayhem.

"Provocation can lead to madness: If you tease a mad man and he goes on the rampage, you are guilty of the damage caused".

Respect for other people's belief and way of life is the basis for human existence and in promoting self dignity.

  [Quote: In November 2004, a United Nations Secretary General report described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act".[20]]

Some definitions from Wikipedia:

Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology, primarily to promote continuity and accuracy. [1] The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time.[2] The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.[3] "Fundamentalism" is sometimes used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "right-wing fundamentalists").[4][5]
Non-religious: Some Christian theologians, some fundamentalists, and others pejoratively refer to any philosophy which they see as literal-minded or they believe carries a pretense of being the sole source of objective truth as fundamentalist, regardless of whether it is usually called a religion. For instance, the Archbishop of Wales has criticized "atheistic fundamentalism" broadly[16][17][18] and said "Any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous".[19] He also said, "the new fundamentalism of our age ... leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that, because God is on our side, he is not on yours."[20]

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition.[1][2] Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or, ideological goal; and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians). Some definitions now include acts of unlawful violence and war. The use of similar tactics by criminal organizations for protection rackets or to enforce a code of silence is usually not labeled terrorism though these same actions may be labeled terrorism when done by a politically motivated group. Perhaps,[3] it is less oppressive in itself than through the effects of the precautions taken to protect its likely victims.[4]

In November 2004, a United Nations Secretary General report described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act".[20]

Islam (English play /ˈɪzlɑːm/;[note 1] Arabic: الإسلامal-ʾislām  IPA: [ʔɪsˈlæːm] ( listen)[note 2]) is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: اللهAllāh). Adherents consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God, and follow his sunnah (teachings) through collections in the Hadith. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to love and serve God.[1][2] Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets.[3] They maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time,[4] but consider the Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God.[5] Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.[6][7]

The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident (from Latin: occidens "sunset, West"; as contrasted with the Orient), is a term referring to different nations depending on the context. There is no agreed upon definition about what all these nations have in common[1] apart from having a significant population of European descent.
The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in Greco-Roman civilization in Europe, with the advent of Christianity. In the modern era, Western culture has been heavily influenced by the traditions of Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and shaped by the expansive colonialism of the 16th-20th centuries. Its political usage was temporarily informed by a mutual antagonism with the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War in the mid-to-late 20th Century (1945–1991).
Although the term originally had a literal geographic meaning, contrasting Europe with the linked cultures of civilizations of the Near East (Muslim world), South Asia & Southeast Asia (Hindu world, Greater India) and remote Far East (Sinosphere), today it has little geographic relevance.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Malaria Nearly Eliminated in Sri Lanka Despite Decades of Conflict | www.ucsf.edu

"Despite nearly three decades of conflict, Sri Lanka has succeeded in reducing malaria cases by 99.9 percent since 1999 and is on track to eliminate the disease entirely by 2014."
Other countries can learn from this positive lesson. Sri Lanka is showing us that it is possible to eliminate malaria. But, please keep the momentum this time and avoid the mistakes of 1963 during the era of global eradication. The lack of commitment lead to failure of eradication in the developing world.

headline image

Read full article here >

Malaria Nearly Eliminated in Sri Lanka Despite Decades of Conflict | www.ucsf.edu

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