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Theatre with Purpose for Dialogue about Fracking

22 Feb

Strike Anywhere (SA) is an ensemble of actors, musicians, dancers and visual artists that creates powerful works to raise awareness about issues that affect people and the environment. Their piece “Same River” is an interdisciplinary performance built upon interviews with members of a community about water.

According to their website, performers of Strike Anywhere “collaborate through an ensemble-based, improvisational process to create politically-charged, original works that addresses socially relevant issues. The permanent ensemble is comprised of world-class musicians, dancers, visual artists and actors.”

Fracking Affects the Community in Different Ways

David L’Heureux, Senior Editor at Rodale News, wrote a piece, “Fracking Takes Center Stage in New York Show,” about the New York-based performance group, Strike Anywhere and their upcoming performances of their show, Same River, which deals with the controversial issue of fracking. Fracking is a technique used by Oil and Gas Companies that forces chemicals and water into the ground to bring out possible gas reserves. The theatre piece addresses the potential environmental degradation to water resources as a result of the fracking process.

Egypt, Social Media Connections, Human Rights and Dialogue

30 Jan

"Seems like the whole world is a 'twitter...and it's starting to scare me," said Egyptian President Mubarek. Photo by Pete Simon from flickr on creative commons

Just a Tweet Away from Democracy

Twitter, Facebook and You-Tube are powerful democratic social media tools for mobilizing people around various causes. However, not everyone agrees on what really caused the large passionate demonstrations by Egyptians this past week. Even though social media is important, some analysts claim widespread unemployment and years of repression were the primary reasons Egyptian protestors took to the streets. Then, through flyers and word of mouth, from home to home, people urged each other to join the demonstrations.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…

According to January 2010 statistics of the growth of Twitter, comScore said nearly 75,000,000 people visited Twitter worldwide. Those stats are from 2010. Twitter has continued to grow both in unique visitors and people visiting Twitter worldwide. Twitter makes it easier to connect with people, organizations and movements. The interconnections of people have unlimited possibilities.

In spite of the Egyptian government’s attempt to shut down social media sites and cell phone airwaves, the Egyptian people still found ways to circumvent anyone trampling on their human right to free speech about their dissatisfaction with the status quo in their country.

Movements.org offers suggestions on how people around the world can help Egyptians.

People returning from Egypt give their experiences to ITN News:

Tourists witness Egypt Protests

Egyptian protests enter fifth day


ITN News reports that 74 protestors are reported killed with more than 1500 people injured. The police also suffered casualties with 3 people dead and more than 700 police injured. It’s now reported that some military troops have joined forces with protestors.

President Obama urges Egyptian Leaders to Respect Human Rights:


President Obama urged President Mubarek to respect the human rights of his citizens, particularly the right of assembly and the right of free speech. He called upon the Egyptian government to prevent loss of live and allow its citizens to engage in peaceful protests. President Obama stated:

“The people of Egypt have rights that are universal, that includes the right of peaceful assembly and association. The right of free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights and the United States will stand up for them anywhere.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions they have taken to interfere with access to the internet, to cell phone service and social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st Century.”

President Obama urged protestors to protest peacefully without violence. He acknowledged the call of the Egyptian protestors for economic and other reforms.

President Obama urged Egyptian President Mubarek to create meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens in order to creatively solve their problems together. President Obama stated:

“Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.”


Rubina Bhatti Reports About Pakistan Flood

16 Sep

We are all connected.

Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Taangh Wasaib Organization in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan said in her article at Peace X Peace: “We Are All In the Hole Together: A Reflection on Volunteerism”

“Pakistan is now undergoing the greatest humanitarian crisis in its history. It will take years if not generations to repair the physical, economic and emotional damage.”

“I traveled in different districts of Punjab to help flood affected people, but I found the situation in Layyah the worst. Everything is very little over here – the food, the fodder, the water and the shelter. What is more is here – the wisdom, the courage and the hope. People are surrounded by water but they know how to make a boat. I have seen people putting a charpai [bed] on drums and making a boat to rescue their beloved ones.”

A passionate volunteer told me this with shining eyes. And then he paused. He had just returned from a few days spent in District Layyah. Sitting with volunteers is a daily routine in these days. We commit, plan and act to help the unreachable people of flooded areas. These volunteers are our energy, our motivation and our courage.

He broke his silence and said, “I am so moved by the guts of flood victims of District Layyah that I want to go back to them.”

“Why?” I asked.

“To tell them We are with you. Let’s make a boat.”

On behalf of Taangh Wasaib Organization, I express my deep gratitude to our local and international volunteers who are with us during the worst time of our history. I salute you! You have been spending your days and nights with flood affected people in different districts of Punjab. My special thanks to our courageous female volunteers who have been away from their homes, walking through mud, stones and standing water to see the disaster through a gender lens and help women to the best of their abilities. The food and non-food items provided to flood victims are insufficient, but the care, respect and bond you have shared with them is beyond calculation.

Because You Are Special

We sometimes take for granted
In the rush of all we do.
And forget to say a special thanks
To volunteers like you!

So we send this note to tell you
How much all you do means.
Your gifts of time and of yourself
Are special ones indeed.

To contribute much-needed flood relief to Pakistan, please refer to these organizations:

Taangh Wasaib Organization

Aurat Foundation’s Motherland Flood Relief Campaign

UNICEF

Relief International

Pakistan Needs Massive International Assistance

21 Aug

Six to Eight Million Flood Victims in Pakistan Require Emergency Assistance.

According to reports from non-gonvermental organizations like Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) in Pakistan, there are millions of people suffering from lack of food, water, lack of shelter and from water borne illness and other medical problems.

Rubina Feroze Bhatti from Taangh Wasaib Organization http://www.taangh.org.pk/ reported the need to reach people in the high flooded areas such as Kalabagh, Mari Indus, Wandha Kukran Wala, Moch, Watta Khel, Daud Khel, Kamar Mashani, Tarrag, Kaloor Shareef, Khagian Wala and Essa Khel. The TWO provides Flood Updates on its website. In addition, TWO has assisted flood victims by providing needed food, water, shelter and medical assistance. TWO needs financial assistance and supplies to continue their work of helping people not being reached by larger non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross.

According to the United Nations, 6 to 8 million of the 20 million affected people in Pakistan need emergency assistance aid.

More Aid Begins to Flow into Pakistan

Here is a Map of the area affected and who still needs aid:

According to  ABC News the amount of people affected by the flood, 20 million people, is the same size as the number of people in Australia.

Pakistan Map: Flooded Affected Areas. Photo Credit: Map provided by the World Food Program (Click on Image for Larger Map)

This article reveals new Satellite Images of the Pakistan Flood on 8/16/2010. The images were taken by NASA’s Aqua Satellite “which uses a combination of infrared and invisible light to increase the contrast between land and water.”

The Tonic website provides a list of organizations that are helping the Flood victims of Pakistan.

Recent updates to the status of the Pakistan Flood are provided by the experimental Global Flood Detection System which is a joint initiative of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory and the European Commission. See the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System website at www.gdacs.org.

What Aid is Needed Now for Flood Victims

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has a website devoted to updates regarding the Pakistan Flood coordination efforts on the ground.

On August 15, 2010 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the people of Pakistan affected by the surging waters from the Indus River. The UN Secretary General said of the destruction and human suffering caused by the floods:

”These unprecedented floods demand unprecedented assistance. I pledge my commitment and the support of the UN through this difficult period and on every step of the long road ahead”.

According to the OCHA website the following aid is urgently needed to help the people in the flood affected areas of Pakistan:

Water:

Clean water is an “urgent priority” especially due to the danger of diarrhoeal and other water-borne illnesses like cholera on the rise.

Food:

Millions of women and children urgently need food to survive the raging floods which have destroyed over 720,000 homes in Pakistan. More than half a million people have received food assistance through the World Food Program and other partners. However, this is only a fraction of the 20 million people affected by the flood. Hundreds of villages are still only reachable by air due to the flooding of roads. These and other areas require food and assistance with keeping livestock alive in order to prevent longer-term food assistance issues.

Shelter:

Even though more than 100,000 households have some form of shelter of either tents or plastic sheeting, more than 620,000 shelters are still needed due to the destruction of nearly 800,000 households from the floods.

In addition, the people need:

Clothing

Medical Assistance

Financial Assistance:

According to the Pakistan One Response website, as of 8/21/2010, the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) is only 55% funded. Funds of $460 million have been requested to provide needed relief aid to victims of the Pakistan flood disaster.

The World Food Programme website reports that at least 40 helicopters are needed to bring food and water to people stranded by the flood waters in locations inaccessible by road in Pakistan.

According to the Boston Globe, Karen Allen, a UNICEF official in Islamabad said:

“The Indus River is at 40 times its normal volume. Whole cities of up to 250,000 people have been evacuated, and people have lost everything.”

More coordinated information about the Pakistan Flood situation and aid response can be found at the One Response-Pakistan website.

Peace Education: If Not Now, When? Lecture at USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

25 Apr
Colman McCarthy, Peace Educator, will speak at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Theatre April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

Colman McCarthy, Peace Educator, will speak at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Theatre April 29, 2010 at 7 pm

Important Lecture/Q&A about Peace Education in San Diego

Date & Time:  Thursday, April 29th 7:00 P.M.

Location: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre University of San Diego 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego CA 92110

Colman McCarthy, a former syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, is the director of The Center for Teaching Peace, a Washington DC nonprofit that works with schools to begin or to expand academic programs in peace education. He teaches at Georgetown University Law Center, American University, the University of Maryland, the Washington Center for Interns and two public high schools. Since 1982 he has taught more than 8,000 students. His books include All of One Peace, Involvements and I’d Rather Teach Peace. He is the editor of Solutions to Violence and Strength Through Peace, texts that are used in hundreds of universities and high schools.

Peace Educator Colman McCarthy said:

“Unless we teach our children peace, someone will teach them violence.”

Colman McCarthy will inspire everyone–especially educators, students, parents, and community organizers–regarding the importance of incorporating peace education into our daily lives.

The event is co-sponsored by University of San Diego’s: Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) and the Peace Education Group: Arising. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a book signing after the lecture at 8:15 p.m.

Colman McCarthy Speaks about being a PeaceMaker

Seal the Deal in Copenhagen for Curbing Global Climate Change

12 Dec

It’s time to seal the deal at the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges all people and all nations.

“We need to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen” (Ban Ki-moon)

The UN News Centre has useful articles that allow the public to track what each nation is doing regarding its pledges on climate change agreements:

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050. (from UN News Centre, Dec. 11 2009)

The United States current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

-17% in 2020; 83% in 2050 based on 2005 levels

-3% in 2020 based on 1990 levels

China PR current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

Reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent compared with the level of 2005.

India’s current Climate Change pledge on greenhouse gases:

20% to 25% reduction in emission intensity between 2005 and 2020.

Who suffers because of the devastation of Climate Change?

The poor and especially developing countries like Ghana suffer from the ravages of climate change. We are all interconnected and developed countries like the United States must assist other nations in improving their standards of living in ways that do not increase the devastation of climate change.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker: Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan

27 Oct

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and TWO for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti and Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) for human rights in Pakistan

Rubina Feroze Bhatti, a human rights and peace advocate, was selected as a
2009 Women Peacemaker together with three other women from around the world by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice 2009 Women PeaceMakers

Creating a Culture of Peace

The Culture of Peace is a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13).

Ms. Bhatti is a founding member and general secretary of Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO), a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the development of a Culture of Peace, interfaith harmony, women’s rights, health and equality through its educational programs that creatively address issues of intolerance, sectarianism and discriminatory laws against both women and minorities. The educational and cultural programs of TWO help empower women to report on violence against women, provide counseling, legal aid and economic development assistance. Ms. Bhatti also works with media to raise awareness about these issues.

Taangh Wasaib: Women Peace Maker 2009

A turning point in Ms. Bhatti’s life came when she read the book “The Vision of Peace” by Nobel Prize Laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire. Ms. Corrigan Maguire stood up to the religious intolerance and bloody conflict in Northern Ireland in order to save her country from sectarianism. The personal life story of Ms. Maguire enabled Ms. Bhatti to decide to fully engage in the struggle for social justice in Pakistan in order to truly create a culture of peace within herself and within her community.

Since 1991 Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan has tirelessly dedicated her life to protecting the rights of women and minorities in Pakistan. She began her work when she helped fight blasphemy laws that targeted a Christian Pakistani man who was falsely accused of committing an offense against Islam.

In addition, Ms. Bhatti succeeded in helping to restore the joint electorate system in Pakistan. As of 2002 Muslims and Christians are legally allowed to vote for one another, thus creating a more just electoral system.

Taangh Wasaib: 16 days Campaign

Due to Ms. Bhatti’s efforts, people of all faiths in Pakistan are realizing the importance of protecting women from the effects of the 400 year old tradition of Wan’ni, where women are used to settle disputes and prevent revenge killings between families. Unfortunately, women given to the family “wronged” by another family, are trapped for the rest of their lives as bartering chips in order to end the cycle of revenge. In this inhumane cultural tradition the man who might have killed someone, is never brought to trial. Instead, their female family member pays the debt for the rest of her life by living as a virtual slave to the “wronged” family. As her movie “Wan’ni: Murdered Marriages” poignantly depicts, the woman given to the other family lives a life of sorrow because she cannot see her family or have her own family. The film also depicts Honor Killings and maiming and sheds light on the inhumane practices that lead to psychological, physical and emotional violence against women.

Taangh Wasaib: Wan`ni Murdered Marriages

Ms. Bhatti is working with legislators to change discriminatory laws against women and minorities in Pakistan.

Pakistani students supporting human rights and TWO Rally

University of Sargodha students join TWO Rally to Stop Violence Against Women

Ms. Bhatti’s approach to solving the issues of violence against women in Pakistan shows her determined step by step method of confronting every challenge that arises in the course of finding the best way to help others. First she established legal aid centers for women so they would understand their human rights to not be subjected to violence. However, Ms. Bhatti also realized women needed other forms of assistance to enable them to live happy lives. She then created counseling centers and educational skill-building centers. Then, in order to assist women to begin their own businesses, Ms. Bhatti established micro-lending programs to help women get started with their ventures.

In 1998, while teaching Chemistry, Ms. Bhatti started a dialogue Study Circle Group with students where the participants of all faiths discussed the problems confronting women and minorities in Pakistan of religious intolerance and sectarianism. The students assisted in gathering information to help solve the problems they identified. This process which continues today is a grassroots approach rooted in the local communities. There are now more than 1,500 volunteers working with the TWO in Pakistan.

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

Study Circle at Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) Pakistan

The Transformative Power of Art and Theatre

Ms. Bhatti and her Study Circle Groups have written and performed more than 50 meaningful interactive theatre presentations on peace and human rights where the audience gets to complete the theatre piece through their own suggestions for how the play unfolds. This method builds trust and friendship between those attending the performances which have taken place throughout the Punjab and North-West Frontier Provinces.

Educational Programs in Schools and Communities

Ms. Bhatti has brought Human Rights education into more than 200 schools in Pakistan from primary, elementary to high school level students. Children perform interactive educational theatre presentations in their schools to bring awareness of human rights issues and how to protect the rights of all people, both men and women.

After presenting an educational program to a group of children who work in a brick kiln factory in Pakistan, Ms. Bhatti realized the need for these youth to have access to a school. One young boy approached her after the event and asked her, “What is school? Who studies in school? What are books?” She realized that bringing awareness of education was not enough to help these young people, so she arranged with the owner of the brick kiln to provide a room where children wishing to go to school would have the opportunity. A teacher was hired to come to the school room, and as of 2009, five children from this brick kiln community have passed the high school exam. This achievement is historic and unprecedented due to the difficult living conditions in many of these labour communal situations. However, through her determined effort to help even one child break the bonds of illiteracy, Ms. Bhatti and the TWO have forged a path for these young people to be able to know the joys of learning.

The Interconnection Between Religious Traditions

Ms. Bhatti read Punjabi literature of the Sufis which she feels truly gives a message of “peace, love and harmony.” She draws influences for her art and theatre productions from the stories and spiritual music of Sufism. She said that the scripts of Sufism reach people’s hearts and have the ability to bring people together, regardless of religious backgrounds.

2009 Woman PeaceMaker Rubina Feroze Bhatti of Pakistan speaks at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

The Next Steps for Peace

Ms. Bhatti wrote in her personal story of  being a Woman PeaceMaker,

“I have been focusing on promoting a culture of dialogue, collaboration and development partnership among and between various sections of the society and democratic governance. Through these dialogues, people’s perceptions about social problems (effects and causes), roles and functions of social and political institutions would be promoted.”

Today Ms. Bhatti is also concerned about the devastating effects of war on women, children and all humanity. She said that the root causes of war–poverty and lack of education–need to be addressed in order to stop violence both in Pakistan and the world.” Ms. Bhatti said,

“I want to do something for the next generation. Interfaith dialogue turns into friendship which then turns into helping humanity. Our Study Circle Groups continue to help identify commonalities amongst people of different religions.”


In 2005 Ms. Bhatti was one of 1,000 international women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to protect human rights and create a lasting Culture of Peace. Today, through her many activities and dialogues throughout the world, she is continuing her efforts to create a true Culture of Peace in Pakistan and for all humanity.

2009 Women PeaceMakers at Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice

19 Oct

Each year the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice selects four women peacemakers from around the world. The 2009 Women PeaceMakers will participate in a panel discussion where they will talk about the work they are doing in their respective countries for peace. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre located at the University of San Diego. The event is free and open to the public.

The 2009 Women PeaceMakers:

The Women PeaceMakers Program “documents the stories and best practices of international women leaders who are involved in human rights and peacemaking efforts in their home countries.”

The San Diego Community has a rare opportunity to listen to the stories of these amazing women who are building peace through their grassroots efforts. I’ve attended some of the in-depth one on one conversations with each Woman PeaceMaker in October and I hope others have a chance to be inspired by attending the upcoming event on Oct. 20th, 2009 featured in this news flash.

Here is UCTV Presentation of a panel of 2006 Women PeaceMakers at IPJ:

Women War Peace: The Politics of PeaceBuilding

Interconnected News

9 Oct

Interconnections by Carrie Fonder NWTC Art Collection

Everything is connected

This blog is about the interconnectedness of all things from nature to politics and the vastness of the universe. Even science is proving more each day about our connections with each other and the universe. Visit us and explore the heart-to-heart connections we all have with each other and the power of even one person to create positive change within themselves and the world.

Here are some quotes from various individuals about the interconnectedness of all things:

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.
John Muir

We have a stake in one another … what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and … if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth. ~ President Barack Obama

Rosie-Emery – We’re All Interconnected

Are We all Connected? What IS Entanglement?!

What are your thoughts on this phenomena?

Hello world! Welcome to Interconnected News

7 Oct

Welcome to Interconnected News! Stay-tuned for more articles about the interconnectedness of all things interesting about nature, people and the universe.