NEW EPISODE OF ICERM RADIO PROGRAM
The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Process
Hosted on Wednesday, October 16 at 2:00 pm ET
New York, New York
If you missed this program, click on this link to listen to it.
You can also visit the ICERM website to listen to previous episodes.
Introduction and Background Information
Greetings, on behalf of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, I want to welcome our listeners and guests from the United States and around the world to this episode of ICERM Radio. I am your host, Tziporah Pronman, broadcasting live from New York City. Today is Wednesday, October 16, and it is 2:05 pm Eastern Time.
For many years, questions related to ethnic, racial and religious identity were ignored in many parts of the world. Recently, accumulated evidence brings to light the negative impacts of violent conflicts between different ethnic, racial and religious groups. Today, some African, Asian, and Southeastern European countries, as well as countries in the Middle East and North Africa, are confronted with greater challenges to peace, stability, security and development. Despite all the efforts of the governments, sub-regional, regional and international organizations such as the United Nations, these countries suffer every day the harmful effects of ethnic, religious or sectarian conflicts. The histories of wars and violent conflicts in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Armenia, and in several other countries of the world, have raised concerns that ethnic conflict, religious bigotry and sectarian violence can affect the prospects for peace, stability and economic growth. These countries, like many other countries in the world, are ethnically and religiously diverse; but unfortunately, the governments have not yet developed or found adequate and peaceful strategies to address the causes and effects of ethno-religious conflicts in order to prevent further deadly violence and massacres.
It is now time for ordinary people – men and women, young and old, rich and poor, citizens and non-citizens, immigrants and Diaspora groups, religious leaders and their members, students and teachers, business men and civil servants, professionals, experts and freelancers – it is time to stand up against ethnic and religious violence. It is time to say no to hate crimes, bigotry, terrorism, mass killings and silent genocide occurring everyday around the world in the name of religious, racial or ethnic supremacy.
History has taught us that ordinary citizens can heroically change the world through nonviolent and peaceful means. History will always remember Martin Luther King Jr, one of America’s most influential civil rights activists. His passionate, but non violent protests, helped to raise awareness of racial inequalities in America, leading to significant political change. « I have a dream, Martin Luther King Jr said, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
Also, the world will not forget Nelson Mandela, a South African activist who later became president after spending over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime. What is remarkable about Mandela is not just his opposition to the apartheid regime, but his ability to move South Africa from segregation to unity, from conflict to reconciliation, from hurtful feelings or wounds to forgiveness and healing. “The time for the healing of the wounds has come, Nelson Mandela affirmed. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.” Despite being mistreated, Mandela was magnanimous in his dealing with his oppressors. His forgiving and tolerant attitude gained the respect of the whole South African nation and considerably eased the transition to a full democracy. According to Mandela, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness. “
Another peaceful and nonviolent hero that history will always remember is Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nonviolence, who led nationwide campaigns in India for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.
Just like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and many other nonviolent heroes in human history, there are many people and organizations in countries around the world who are currently advocating for peace and an end to ethnic, racial, religious or sectarian violence. These peace advocates and organizations have something in common: they all wish; they wish they could prevent mass killings, bombings, wars, ethnic and religious violence, terrorist attacks and genocides.
They are not alone in their desire for a more peaceful resolution of conflicts. The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation also wishes; We wish that millions of people who have been brutally murdered in many countries around the world, including the unborn, children, women, and young people, were given the opportunity to enjoy the free gift of life they received from their creator. We wish; we wish that the victims of violent conflicts had lived in order to contribute to humanity and our world with their talents and skills. We wish; we wish that the ethnic, religious or sectarian militants could drop their weapons, come to the mediation table, talk about their differences, reach an agreement, and forgive one another. We wish; we wish that all ethnic, religious and sectarian groups could learn from the 200 to 300 Pakistani Muslims and Christians, who, on Sunday, October 6, 2013, stood hand in hand to form a human chain outside the St. Anthony’s Church in Lahore, Pakistan, as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack that occurred two weeks earlier – resulting in over 100 deaths. They stood shoulder to shoulder as part of the human chain to send a powerful message, “One Nation, One Blood; Many Faiths, One God.” According to the leader of the United Pakistan, Mohammad Jibran Nasir, “The terrorists showed us what they do on Sundays. Here we are showing them what we do on Sundays – we unite.”
We wish; we wish we could find our way back home, back to our inner being and rediscover the potentials, the wealth of solutions and capabilities embedded within which are needed for the resolution of conflicts. In the midst of so many distractions and allurements, accusations and blames, sufferings and violent conflicts, going back home to the innermost part of our being will help us rediscover the beauties and positive realities of nature that each person carries within, and the power and voice of the “soul-life” that gently speaks to us in silence. We wish; We wish we could find our way back to peace and harmony.
For a successful resolution of interethnic and interreligious conflicts, the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation places strong emphasis on open-hearted discussions in the spirit of give-and-take, reciprocity, mutual trust and good will. We believe that contentious issues have to be resolved privately and quietly, and complicated problems cannot be solved by simply holding violent demonstrations, riots, coups, wars, bombings, assassinations, and massacres or by headlines in the Press. “It is only through mutual discussion and good will that amicable settlement can be reached”.
This episode is therefore aimed at discussing how ordinary citizens can get involved in the public peace process. According to Dr. Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, and Negotiator of the Camp David Accords, “There are some things only governments can do, such as negotiating binding agreements. But there are some things that only citizens outside government can do, such as changing human relationships.”
Many people “want” peace but not relationships. This cannot be, as defined in the 2012 award-winning documentary film — DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future. In the film, Nigerian Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba defined that the greatest killer of people and creativity — and cause of wars — is not HIV but HRV — Human Relationship Deficiency Virus. Ivorgba defined the root cause of most human crises as rooted in a Poverty of Relationships and a famine of communication skills.
Everyone wants to be heard, yet people are far less interested in listening. The quality of listening around the planet is poor.
Fortunately there is on Earth a new breed of young adult citizens who refuse to be enemies and insist on engaging. These new Artisans of Communication have the will and skill to listen which gives them the power to transform human relationships and re-direct history.
With our guests, we shall discuss these communication skills that begin at home and affect families, schools, businesses, and the birth of a true, sustainable global community of cooperation. Included will be universal principles of Change itself — what works and what doesn’t in real, everyday human activity around Earth.
Joining me today from California to talk about “The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Process” are Libby and Len Traubman.
Libby Traubman, a retired clinical social worker, helped organize the 1991 Beyond War conference for Israeli and Palestinian citizen-leaders resulting in a historic signed document, Framework For A Public Peace Process. She co-produced three films modeling a new quality of listening and communication – Peacemakers: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp, Dialogue at Washington High, and Crossing Lines in Fresno. For her community service and global influence, Libby was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame.
Len Traubman co-founded with Libby the 21-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo preparing for its 258th meeting. For 30 years he has helped bring “enemies” together and has published on successful public peace processes from personal experience with Soviets and Americans, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Jews and Palestinians, and most recently Muslim and Christian Nigerians. He co-produced the 2012 documentary, DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future, and in 2013, DOZOS-GUERRE TRIBAL HEALING IN COTE D’IVOIRE. A retired pediatric dentist, Len was the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of California School of Dentistry.
Libby and Len, married for 46 years, live in San Mateo, California, USA. They are parents to a daughter and son, and grandparents to two boys and a girl.