SOLIDARITY INSTEAD OF THREAT
The theme this month is solidarity instead of military threat.
We begin with the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Speaking at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, in the Republic of Korea, he said, “Let the Olympic flame shine as a beacon to human solidarity. Let the Olympic Truce help spread a culture of peace.”
And speaking to the meeting on combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa held by Peace and Security Council of the African Union, he concluded that “we face a serious challenge — but I believe it is one that we can meet with solidarity, common action and a shared resolve.”
In Korea the Olympic Games have inspired the first peaceful contact between North and South in many years. This flies in the face of the threat of military action by the United States.
As athletes from North and South Korea marched together, the head of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, Lee Hee-beom, addressed the closing ceremony, saying “the presence of both Koreas at these Olympic Games has laid a solid foundation for the future of the two Koreas. The seed of peace you have planted here in PyeongChang will grow as a big tree in the not-distant future. The hope and aspirations of South and North Korean athletes together with cheerleaders will definitely serve as a cornerstone of the unification of the Korean Peninsula.”
In Africa, the call by Guterres for solidarity echoes the actions for a culture of peace by UNESCO, designed to “draw on the sources of inspiration and the potential of the cultural, natural and human resources of the continent in order to identify concrete lines of action to build a lasting peace, the cornerstone of endogenous development and Pan-Africanism.” These can be seen as an alternative not only to the threat of terrorism, but also to the threat posed by American military expansion on that continent.
In Latin America, there are two good examples of solidarity this month. Writing from Mexico, Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian theologian and writer, recalls the remarkable spirit of solidarity and cooperation of the Mexican people in response to the earthquake last year. And writing from the organization Tikkun in the United States, David Sylvester, recalls how the presence of a delegation of some 50 interfaith and peace activists prevented violence against the peaceful protests of the people of Honduras.
In Europe, activists of Amnesty International and Anafé (the National Border Assistance Association for Foreigners) continue to give aid to refugees at the border despite prosecution by the French authorities.
In the Middle East, despite pressure by the government of Israel, the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement that seeks to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and human rights violations, continues its activity and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the United States, the movement of solidarity and resistance to protect immigrants from the threat of deportation by the government of Donald Trump, continues to gain support, as exemplified by the “state of the city” address by New Haven mayor Toni Harp.
Finally, on a global scale, we publish the latest news from the Youth Solidarity Fund of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, which we have followed since its beginnings over a decade ago. And a former director of the Alliance, Shamil Idriss gives us his vision for the actions of Search for Common Ground in 2018, based on their actions of solidarity during 2017.