20 Quotes from the Nonviolent Resistance Front

(ref: After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien)

Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday is October 2nd. In honor of him, the United Nations in 2007 adopted this day to be International Day of Nonviolence. Here are some quotes from leaders in nonviolent resistance that inspire me.

  1. Nonviolence is an intensely active force when properly understood and used. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  2. If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  3. The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  4. If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone, will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  5. I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving in. – Rosa Parks (1913-2005) Continue reading
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18 Milestone Events in the Life of Mohandas Gandhi

(ref: Great Figures in History: Gandhi – a full-color manga graphic novel from Y.kids)

g1869p 1869 October 2 – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar in West Bengal, India
g1891p 1891 June – After attending Inner Temple Law School in the United Kingdom, Gandhi passes the bar exam and becomes a lawyer. Unknown to him at the time, his mother has passed away while he is at school.
g1893p 1893 – Gandhi is thrown off of a train in South Africa for refusing to move from his First Class seat to Third Class (even though he held a valid First Class ticket). Such discrimination against Indians was common practice and this personal experience gives Gandhi resolve to fight racial discrimination.

Continue reading

20 (or more) Things You Can Do On Peace Day: September 21

The International Day of Peace is on September 21st of each year and calls for a full day of peace and ceasefire throughout the world.

United Nations Peace BellOn September 21st, 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New York calling for a 24-hour cessation of hostilities, and for a minute of silence to be observed around the world. The Peace Bell is cast from coins donated by children on all continents, and considered a symbol of global solidarity. It was given as a gift by Japan, and is referred to as a reminder of the human cost of war. The inscription on its side reads: “Long live absolute world peace.” [ref: wikipedia] The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982.

Here are some ideas of things you can personally (or as a small group) do on Peace Day. Continue reading

12 Things About Pete Seeger

(ref: Pete Seeger Appreciation Page, How can I keep from singing by Sarah Van Gelder in Yes! Magazine, and other various sources)

  1. Seeger went to Harvard but left after two years just before final exams in 1938. He made his way to New York, where he eventually landed a job with the Archives of American Folk Music.
     
  2. On dropping out of the communist movement: “I was never enthusiastic about being somebody who was supposed to be silent about being a member of something.”
     
  3. In 1955 before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Seeger used the First Amendment rather than the Fifth as his reason for refusing to discuss his politics and associations. “Using the Fifth Amendment,” Seeger explained, “is in effect saying, ‘you have no right to ask me this question’; but using the First Amendment means, ‘you have no right to ask any American such questions.’
     
  4. Libby Frank, in 1952 insisted on singing “my brothers and my sisters” instead of “all of my brothers” in the Seeger/Lee song “If I had a hammer”. Lee resisted the change at first. “It doesn’t ripple off the tongue as well. How about ‘all of my siblings’?” Lee later acquiesced. (ref: www.mysongbook.de)
     
  5. Pete’s famous banjo reads: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” (ref: Yes! Magazine)
     
  6. Testimony to his strong faith in his country’s ultimate and necessary commitment to freedom of expression, Seeger wrote the words to “Bring them Home” which includes the line “…one of the great things about America is that we can speak our minds…” during a time he was being regularly blacklisted and his words and songs were heavily censored.
     
  7. Seeger popularized “We shall overcome” when he published his version of the gospel song in People’s Songs in 1947. It later became one of the most memorable anthems of the civil rights movement in the 60’s being sung at rallies, vigils, and protests.
     
  8. On traveling with Woodie Guthrie, “He taught me how to hitchhike and how to ride freight trains. You don’t get on a freight when it’s in the station—the railroad bulls will kick you off. You go about 100 yards or maybe 200 yards outside to where the train is just picking up speed and you can trot alongside it. You throw your banjo in an empty car, and then you throw yourself in. And you then might go 200 or 300 miles before you stop.”
     
  9. “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”, an allegorical anti-war song written in 1967 during the war in Vietnam was published by Columbia records but deemed too controversial and never sent to retail stores. It was The Smothers Brothers that made it possible for the world to know about the song when they invited Pete Seeger to be a guest on their television show. The song was edited out before air time by TV executives but The Smothers Brothers got the last word when they went to the press saying, “CBS censors our best jokes, they censored Seeger’s best song. It ain’t fair.” (ref: www.peteseeger.net)
     
  10. In October, 1994, President Clinton awarded Seeger the National Medal of the Arts praising him as “an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them.”
     
  11. A Pete Seeger quote, “Learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing. … If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.”
     
  12. Pete Seeger’s birthday is May 3rd. He turns 90 in 2009.
     

Read At 89 Pete Seeger’s Still A Rebel! at Reach and Teach.

40 Ways to Build a Global Community

(ref: How to Build Global Community poster)

  1. Think of no one as “them”
  2. Don’t confuse your comfort with your safety
  3. Talk to strangers
  4. Imagine other cultures through their art, poetry, and novels
  5. Listen to music you don’t understand – Dance to it!
  6. Act locally
  7. Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture
  8. Question consumption
  9. Know how your lettuce and coffee are grown: wake up and smell the exploitation
  10. Look for fair trade and union labels
  11. Help build economies from the bottom up
  12. Acquire few needs
  13. Learn a second (or third) language
  14. Visit people, places, and cultures — not tourist attractions
  15. Learn people’s history
  16. Re-define progress
  17. Know physical and political geography
  18. Play games from other cultures
  19. Watch films with subtitles
  20. Know your heritage
  21. Honor everyone’s holidays
  22. Look at the moon and imagine someone else, somewhere else, looking at it too
  23. Read the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  24. Understand the global economy in terms of people, land, and water
  25. Know where your bank banks
  26. Never believe you have a right to anyone else’s resources
  27. Refuse to wear corporate logos: defy corporate domination
  28. Question military/corporate connections
  29. Don’t confuse money with wealth, or time with money
  30. Have a pen/email pal
  31. Honor indigenous cultures
  32. Judge governance by how well it meets all people’s needs
  33. Be skeptical about what you read
  34. Eat adventurously — Enjoy vegetables, beans, and grains in your diet
  35. Choose curiosity over certainty
  36. Know where your water comes from and where your wastes go
  37. Pledge allegiance to the earth: question nationalism
  38. Think South, Central, and North — there are many Americans
  39. Assume that many others share your dream
  40. Know that no one is silent though many are not heard – WORK TO CHANGE THIS!

You can get a poster with this list of How to Build Global Community at Reach and Teach.

Also check out the Take One World poster.

30 Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(ref: United Nations website (un.org), We Are All Born Free – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures)

We Are All Born Free

Click to view images from "We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures". Book sales benefit Amnesty International

From the very beginning, human rights has been a major concern of the United Nations. On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories. United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24th and commemorates the founding of this organization in 1945.

Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

    Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

We Are All Born FreeReach and Teach – The Peace and Social Justice Learning Company offers a beautifully illustrated children’s book We Are All Born Free – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures. Proceeds from book sales are donated to Amnesty International.

Also check out…
37 Rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child