Pictures of the 2019 Luanda Biennale
This Biennale is part of UNESCO’s operational strategy for Priority Africa (2014-2021), which aims to “provide African responses to the transformations affecting their economies and societies”.
The Luanda Biennale will focus on four main areas:
- Ideas Forum and a Youth Forum,
- Festival of Cultures,
- Coalition of Cultures and Sports for Peace in Africa,
- Coalition of Partners for a Culture of Peace in Africa.
The first edition of the Biennale will take place from September 18-22, 2019 in Luanda, Angola and will bring together representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector, the artistic and scientific community, academic institutions and international organizations.
HOPE FOR PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND
If we look at the news and consider only the short-term, peace seems very distant between Israelis and Palestinians. But if we take a long-term historical view, there is reason to hope.
We begin with the short-term news.
The first two Muslim-American women in Congress, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were barred from visiting Israel and the Occupied Territories, presumably because they support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Commenting on this, Richard Falk, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories, remarks that this was due to the “unhealthy relationship” that has evolved between the US and Israeli Presidents Trump and Netanyahu. For example, Trump had tweeted that Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib, hate Israel and all Jews.
Also in recent news, Democracy Now featured an interview with a Palestinian girl, Janna Jihad, who, at the age of 13 years, continues to expose the Israeli occupation of Gaza. She started telling stories about her home of Nabi Saleh when she was only 7, after her cousin and her uncle were killed in the village. Since then, Janna has shared countless videos about Palestinian resistance with viewers around the world, on Twitter, on YouTube, on Facebook, garnering tens of thousands of followers. Asked by Amy what she thought could be the solution, Janna replied “For me, the one-state solution is the solution that would work. It can be that all of us could live together, same rights, under one government, getting exactly the same rights, me like the same as any other person. And all the refugees could come back to Palestine. All the people could live in peace, just in equality.”
There is more hope if we look at the long-term.
Dr. Bahan Bastani traces the history of cultural interactions between Islam and Judaism, Muslims and Jews. He reminds us that during the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization, 9th-12th centuries, both the Muslim and the Jewish civilizations flourished in the Islamic centers of higher learning in Baghdad and al-Andalusia-Spain, and the Muslim territories was safe heaven for the Jewry of the world. In the fertile multicultural environment of al-Andulus, the Jewish and Muslim scholars made significant strides in astronomy, astrology, optics, geometry, medicine, philosophy, and literary works. Also, when Spain fell under the Spanish Catholic rule in 1492 and the Jews were being persecuted, it was the Ottoman Empire that send ships to rescue the Jews from Spain into the Muslim territories. For the following three centuries, the Jews in the Turkish Muslim Ottoman Empire ascended to high positions as court physicians and as foreign diplomats.
An even longer term view is taken by the Palestinian Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh who traces the history of the Land of Canaan. He begins with the dawn of civilization which took place in this region when people went from hunter-gatherers to agricultural communities. For the first 12,000 years there was very little conflict. “Palestine was multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural and multilingual society.”
If you go back before the present conflict, you would go to the Crusaders, 1190 AD. Like the present conflict, that, too, came from outside.” But, as Qumsiyeh says, “the patient is not hopeless . . . in biology when I look at the forest and I see one species dominate I don’t say this is a healthy forest. I say this is unhealthy, it’s going to decline. The strength comes from diversity, so we say that’s what will happen here and that’s another reason why I’m optimistic – we fight for equality and to maintain the country the way it was supposed to be: multi-ethnic multi-cultural and multi-religious.
Looking at the present times, Rabbi Michael Lerner says it compounds the problem to say simply that “Israel is a racist society and most Israelis are racists.” Instead of dismissing those who disagree, leftist activists need to understand the historical origins of Zionist attitudes, coming not only from the Holocaust, but also the experience of Jews from former Communist countries and those coming from Arab countries who were disrespected by Jews of European origin. He concludes “The outrageous actions of the Jewish majority in becoming oppressors of the Palestinians will remain, for thousands of years into the future, one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history. But it won’t be overturned until we can develop a new politics of compassion for both sides, and a renewed belief that people can be reached if we start from a perspective of respect and caring for them, even when we disagree with their current political proclivities.”
As long-time peace activists Len and Libby Traubman have put it: “An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.”
“Can Zionism be redeemed?” The question is explored by Tikkun writer Yehezkel Landau. He sees hope in the mutual struggle of Israelis and Palestinians against the degradation of the environment as exemplified in the annual climate march. “When it was first organized five years ago, some 200 people took part. This year over 5,000 people marched, Palestinian and Jewish citizens from all over Israel. They carried banners proclaiming mutual solidarity in the face of environmental threats and the need to work together to ensure a common future. . . We need more signs of hope like these to boost our spirits and motivate action, within our respective communities and across boundaries.”
Meanwhile, the struggle for justice goes on. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, urges support for the BDS in the face of attempts by the US Congress to suppress it. He reminds us that “BDS calls for Palestinian liberation on terms of full equality with Israelis and categorically opposes all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.” And he concludes that “Our hope remains alive as we witness an inspiring shift in public opinion in favor of Palestinian human rights.”
|TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
Manifesto on diversity: the Land of Canaan
Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs
Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’
|EDUCATION FOR PEACE
Colombia: Barranquilla will host the first Ibero-American Education Congress
|DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
The Americas are preparing for the second World March for Peace and Nonviolence
|HUMAN RIGHTS||FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION||DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION
Building infrastructures for peace
CULTURE OF PEACE CONFERENCES
This summer and fall there are international conferences for the culture of peace sponsored by organizations throughout the world.
The United Nations on September 13 will hold a high level forum at its New York headquarters to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Organizations are invited to initiate actions to mark the event such as: mention Culture of Peace anniversary on your website front page, conduct a Culture of Peace workshop, initiate an educational Culture of Peace campaign, advocate with your government officials for Departments, Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, citing the Culture of Peace resolution as the basis for them. The meeting is convened by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa.
The government of Angola and UNESCO will hold a Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace 18-22 Sept, called the Luanda Biennale. The event is expected to take place every two years to develop actors and partners of a Pan-African movement for the prevention of violence and conflict, and the consolidation of peace. It continues a series of inititiatives by UNESCDO for the culture of peace in Africa that has been developing over many years.
Luanda is also the site for an International Symposium on the Culture of Peace, sponsored by the Instituto Superior Politécnico Tocoísta and including participants from Brazil, Portugal and the United States. The specific objective of the Symposium is to consider the creation of a Masters in African and African American Studies in Political Science (Sociology) with Howard University in the US]and Bahia State University in Brazil.
A conference on Youth and Peacebuilding in Africa was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on July 16-17, sponsored by two Ivoirian research centers and the the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Africa Program based in Washington, D.C. Among the sessions was one entitled “Building a Culture of Peace: Educating Youth for Peace.”
The 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches will be held on Sept 17 in Buenos Aires in conjunction with the organization T20 Argentina which strives to add value to the G20 process with evidence-based public policy proposals on areas of interest for the international agenda. The Congress brings together international professionals to exchange practices that help to address conflict and to construct a culture of sustainable peace in Latin America and the world.
The International Peace Bureau (IPB), based in Berlin, will hold a Youth Network Conference under the theme of Transform! Towards a Culture of Peace on Sept 20-22. The Youth Congress will engage youth from various different backgrounds and with varying perspectives and approaches to peace, justice and sustainability as well as diverse experts and lays from different fields related to the Congress’ issues. The IPB is one of the oldest and most prestigious peace organizations, having received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910.
Work for peace by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teachers was a highlight of the annual meeting of the International Institute for Peace Education. This year’s meeting, which brought together 75 participants from 35 countries during the week of July 23-28. was held in Cyprus to showcase initiatives that have the potential to turn the island into a hub of innovation in the fields of History for Reconciliation and Education for a Culture of Peace. The IIPE is currently coordinated via a secretariat at The University of Toledo in the United States.
A World Forum for the Culture of Peace was held in the Hague, Netherlands on June 13, organized by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation of Kuwait and the International Peace Institute based in New York. According to the Forum, “the definition of peace has shifted in the United Nations community from the absence of conflict to a more active, “positive peace”… The ‘culture of peace’ recognizes the link between peace, development, and human rights. Defined in 1999, the term seeks to tackle the root causes of conflicts emphasizing the importance of dialogue, negotiation, and cooperation among individuals, groups, and nations.”
The World Peace Award: International Peace Conference was held in Stockholm, June 29-July 3. The focus of the conference was “to explore what universally shared values are and how they can contribute to a world of peace and provide hope for the future of humankind.” The initial session was devoted to “the agenda for how to share a mutual responsibility to create a culture of peace.”Most of the sponsors were Buddhist organizations, including those based in Thailand, Sweden, USA, India-Nepal, UK, Europe and China.
The United Nations High Level Forum is explicit that the culture of peace is based solidly on the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace. While the other international conferences listed here do not explicitly mention the resolution for the culture of peace, they acknowledge that it is the United Nations that has provided a universal basis for its concept and practice.
|FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION||SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Environmental damage is a war crime, scientists say
Venezuela. The construction of peace must have the quality of feminism
|EDUCATION FOR PEACE
Argentina: The T20 Summit and the 14th World Congress of Mediation and a Culture of Peace: Integrating approaches
|DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
Officials Urge Disarmament ‘Stepping Stones’
UN chief welcomes power-sharing deal between Sudanese military and opposition
|TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
Muslim World League, Patriarchate of Moscow sign cooperation deal
Council of Europe: Culture of peace preventing violence and terrorism
MASS PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD
Around the world people are taking to the streets in nonviolent demonstrations to demand justice and democracy.
In some cases (Hong Kong, Russia and Algeria), the mass demonstrations have already led to some changes, while those in Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Sudan and Brazil have not yet achieved the desired results.
Hong Kong. Almost two million people took to the streets in Hong Kong to protest a Chinese proposal that would enable the extradition to mainland China of Hong Kong residents and Chinese or foreign nationals traveling through the city. Critics believed it would tighten Beijing’s grip on the autonomous city, which is governed under a “one country, two systems” policy cemented during the British handover of Hong Kong in 1997. Opposition to the extradition bill came from broad sectors of society, including the business community, professionals, teachers, students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups. As a result of the mass demonstrations, the bill was suspended. However, it has not been completely withdrawn and the Hong Kong leader, appointed by Mainland China, is stil in place despite calls for her resignation.
Russia. Protests broke out in Russia following the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges. Golunov mainly publishes investigative reports exposing corruption, and Meduza, the online platform for which he writes, is one of the most widely read Russian-language media outlets in the world. After various smaller pro-Golunov rallies, thousands had planned to take to the streets on Wednesday June 12 in support of the journalist, even though authorities had not approved the protest. Golunov was released before then, however, following simultaneous publication by three top independent newspapers with the headline “We are Ivan Golunov.” As a result Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that those responsible for the arrest and charges will be fired.
Algeria. In April, following mass demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had been in power for several decades, was forced to resign. Mass protests have continued, however, demanding the resignation and prosecution of other figures from his government. Some arrests of corrupt former officials and businss people have been made but demonstrations continue demanding more prosectuions and a new government without links to the previous government of Bouteflika.
Kazakhstan. Protesters in Kazahstan continue to take to the streets following a snap election after the unexpected March resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had led the country since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The protesters allege that the election to choose his successor was not free or fair, and, as expected, the hand-picked successor to Nazarbayev was elected.
Czech Republic. Hundreds of thousands of activists flooded the center of Prague on Sunday, June 23, in the culmination of anti-government protests against the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Previously, some 400,000 people signed a petition calling on billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis to step down amid allegations of fraud. The rallies were triggered after Babis appointed a close ally as the country’s new justice minister at a time when prosecutors are deciding on a potential indictment against him.
Sudan. After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule. On 3 June, security forces and paramilitaries fired on pro-democracy protesters holding a sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured. Demonstrators in Sudan planned to return to the streets on Sunday, June 30, for mass rallies dubbed the “millions march“. [Update: “The revolution will not die.” That was the message from tens of thousands of protesters, as they poured into Sudan’s streets on June 30, demanding civilian rule.]
Brazil. Millions participated in the general strike in Brazil on 14 June, with demonstrations in 380 cities across the country. The strike had been called to reject the proposed counter-reform of the pension system by the Bolsonaro government, but also reflected opposition to education cuts, which had already brought millions onto the streets on 15 and 30 May. The Bolsonaro government was hit by revelations of collusion between the judge and the prosecution in the trial against former president Lula. The judge involved was then awarded the Ministry of Justice by Bolsonaro. There is also strong resistance to the Bolsonaro government’s policies regarding indigenous peoples and the environment and Bolsonaro’s attacks on the gay community.
Although there was police violence against protesters in Sudan and Kazakhstan, the protesters themselves were nonviolent in all the above cases. It is a good sign that people are taking to the streets rather than remaining passive in this moment of history with its many setbacks to democracy and the fact that they are nonviolent is especially important. As reported previously in CPNN, a research project on Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic Consolidation, based on 101 democratic transitions that occurred within the time period of 1945 to 2006 found that nonviolent resistance, including mass protest marches, is more effective than violent resistance in both the short term and the long term.
Hong Kong protesters march demanding leader resign
Agroecology and peasant agriculture to preserve biodiversity
Peace through Tourism: Celebrating Her Awards
|EDUCATION FOR PEACE
PAYNCoP Gabon organizes a conference on the challenges of building peace in Africa
|DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan Elected Chair of Rotary Middle East Initiative Council
|FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION||TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
EDUCATION: Imagine programme helping to reconcile divided Cyprus
Restorative Justice in Brazil: Culture of Peace instead of Punishment
LEADERSHIP FOR PEACE
In a time of bad news and confusion, we seek those who can lead us towards a future of hope and stability. Here are some good examples of leadership that we have cited recently in CPNN.
PRESS FREEDOM UNDER ATTACK
Freedom of the press is under attack around the world, with the biggest deterioration in North and South America. And the most spectacular and dangerous example is the arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the threat that he he may be extradited and tried by a kangaroo court in the United States.
According to Bruce Shapiro, the executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University School of Journalism, the very essence of the press freedoms in the United States is under attack in the U.S. attempt to extradite and try Assange. He calls it an “attempt to criminalize investigative reporting.”
Not only freedom of the press, but also democracy, human rights and peace are under attack.
Daniel Ellsberg, himself the courageous whistle-blower of the Pentagon Papers that revealed the lies of the Vietnam War, puts it this way: “Without whistleblowers we would not have a democracy. And there have to be people to distribute work and publish it. Julian Assange has done that in a way in which other publishers have not been willing to. . . . it is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.”
United Nations experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, the UN independent expert on the right to privacy, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture warned that the arrest and threatened extradition of Assange is a violation of his human rights, “including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
An example of how Wikileaks revelations promoted democracy comes from Kenya. Writing in Al Jazeera, Patrick Gathara describes how a report about government corruption was suppressed by that same government, but was obtained and revealed by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Gathara states that “For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.”
The list of Wikileaks evelations of government corruption is quite long, and it takes the journalist Alison Weir 8,000 words to describe them in the article we have reprinted in CPNN. Wikileads revealed “the U.S. government’s cover-up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of ‘Russiagate.’ It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians.” And the list could be even longer, if one includes examples like the corruption in Kenya mentioned above.
Although the United States is exerting pressure behind the scenes, the arrest was due to the actions of the governments of Ecuador and the UK.
For Noam Chomsky, it shows the global reach of the American empire: “why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time.”
Fortunately, many people are taking positive steps to support Assange. In CPNN, we have carried several articles of support from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. On January 7 she nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. And after his arrest in April, she demanded the right to visit him in prison.
Mairead Maguire reminds us that the actions of Assange are an important contribution to peace: “By Julians courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. . . . I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be haunted like an animal by Governments, punished and silenced. . . .. This man is paying a high price to end war and for peace and nonviolence and we should all remember that.”
|FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION||SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Photo essay: Climate Change Protests Sweep Europe
|WOMEN’S EQUALITY||EDUCATION FOR PEACE
National Campaign for Peace Education launched in Cameroon
|DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
Statement on Escalating Tensions in Venezuela Issued by the Caribbean Community
South Africa Launches Plan to Combat Xenophobia and Racism
|TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
Haiti – Dominican Republic : “For a culture of peace theme of the week of the diaspora
Benin: The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy
Dear Friends for a Culture of Peace,
In the spirit of the new year 2018, we would like to keep you informed of UNESCO’s actions in favor of a Culture of Peace in Africa!
The fight against the recrudescence of violence in the region of Marahoué is a major concern for all populations. In schools, it is acutely that remedies are considered in order to circumscribe the specter of violence and the incitious acts that are gaining momentum. It is in this context that a training and capacity-building workshop was organized for students from Zuénoula at the Foyer des jeunes, on October 20 and 21, 2017. It is an initiative of the Youth Parliament of Côte d'Ivoire (PJCI) Zuénoula section, in partnership with the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research.
It is in this symbolic city of Luena, in the province of Moxico, where the "Stop the fire" ending the Angolan civil war was signed in February 2002, that the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation (FESA) and UNESCO held an international conference on "Preventing violence and promoting the culture of peace during an election period in Africa".