Friday, October 2, 2009

140th Anniversary of Gandhi's Birthday • UN Day of International Nonviolence • 1st Day of the World March for Peace

Today––the 140th anniversary of Gandhi's birthday––participants in New Zealand kicked off the World March for Peace and Nonviolence: the first six-continent peace march calling for the elimination of wars, nuclear weapons and violence of all kinds that will end in Argentina in 2010.

Many Asian luminaries, leaders and grassroots NGOS have endorsed the World March including • the Dalai Lama • Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Sopaka, creator of the Movements for Peace and Freedom in Burma and founder of The Best Friend movement, which seeks to build unity through education •  Ekta Parishad, India's largest people’s movement • Zubin Mehta • Amma - Mata Amritanandamayi • Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee (great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi) • Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement) • Ramin Jahanbegloo • Adnan Shino, founder of the Iraqi Academy of art • Mayors for Peace • Peace Boat •  International Campaign to Ban Uraniun Weapons • HANWA (Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition) • Peace Not War Japan • Bassam Aramin , co-founder of Combatants for Peace (Palestinian & Israeli organization) • Palestinian-American psychologist of nonviolence Mubarak Awad • Political economist Roland Simbulan • Prime Bishop of the Episcopalian Church of the Philippines Edward P. Malecdan • Archbishop of Jaro, Philippines Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D. • South Korean musician Young Ahn • The Women's Aid Organization and Nur Salam (a twenty-four hour crisis and drop-in centre for children commited to children's rights and the rights of all beings to live lives free of violence (Malaysia).

In a preparatory nonviolent training event sponsored by the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) held at Methodist Theological University in Seoul, CNVC representative Katharine Han worked with participants on issues of transforming the image of the "enemy" and subconscious negative psychological energies that are the starting point of all violence. Dr. Park Sung-Yong, coordinator of the World March in Korea, elucidated: "We hope more people find the peace within themselves with the charm of nonviolence communication which deals with hidden violence and antagonism."

Makiko Sato, coordinator of the Japan leg of the march, said Japanese marchers have organized events in Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Tokyo.

Outside of Asia, endorsers include President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams, Mairead Corrigian Maguire, Abolition 2000, Veterans for Peace, Yoko Ono, Isabel Allende, Jose Ramos-Horta, Viggo Mortensen, and Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky emphasizes that the ideals of the World March (launched by the Humanist Movement's peace association––World without Wars) originate with the nonviolent and sustainabilty ideas of Gandhi: "The World March for Peace and Non-Violence is a wonderful idea, a fitting commemoration of Gandhi's legacy on the centenary of his birth... It could hardly be more timely, and should serve as an inspiration to those who seek to fulfill the noble ideals that Gandhi's life and work symbolized in ways that are rarely approached."

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