President Barack Obama defends just war in Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

Foreign Policy in Focus offers a lesson in nonviolence to President Obama.

Writer Eric Stoner contends that the most widely quoted portion of Obama’s speech “… contains several logical inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies that tragically reveal Obama's profound ignorance of nonviolent alternatives to the use of military force.”

Obama seems to be conflicted himself on the value of non-violence. There is "nothing weak — nothing passive — nothing naïve — in the creed and lives of Gandhi and [Martin Luther] King," said Obama, but then inferred that to live and act nonviolently never involves standing "idle in the face of threats,” equating non-violence with doing nothing.

Many peace builders – including famous figures like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., put their lives on the line in their struggle for a more just world. They can hardly be characterized as "idle in the face of threats” writes Stoner.

"It’s never bad to put forward peace option"

It's early days after Libyan dicator Moammar Gadhafi met his end this week at the hands of Libyan revolutionaries. What began in the February of 2011 as an attempt to protest non-violently using social media was met will brutal military opposition as Gadhafi turned troops loose on his own people. And the people responded in kind.

In an April 3, 2011 column in the London Free Press - just prior to a federal election in Canada - writer Larry Cornies laments that there has been "comparatively little discussion of foreign policy, especially the task of envisioning Canada's place in the world in the coming decade and the contributions it might make to the global community of nations."

Specifically, Cornies names the Canadian Dept. of Peace initiative - and effort to create a federal government department of peace. Cornies goes on to write, "One of the most memorable interviews I've had in my career came about a decade ago, when I had the chance to chat with two senior officers in the Canadian Navy. They conceded that Canada's military power is seen around the world as modest. But the nation's capacity for negotiation, peacemaking and peacebuilding, they said, is seen internationally as nearly unparalleled."

'Sex strike' in Philippines ends clan war

 A GMANews online story dated Sept. 21, 2011 reports that women in Maguindanao - a province in the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao - held a sex strike to force their husbands to end clan feuds in their area.

"Wives in the village of Dado in Maguindanao took it upon themselves to put an end to the warring in their village by threatening to withhold sex if their husbands went on with their warring," says the story.

Women engaged in the sewing business first floated the idea when they were unable to safely transport their products along the village road due to constant feuding. A week after they first threatend to withold themselves, signs of peace began to appear in the village, reports GMANews.

"Despite the Koran’s provisions on a woman’s responsibility to a man, the Imam Council of the Philippines Chairman Imam Alim Basher said that there was nothing wrong with the village women’s “strike.""

The article notes the first recorded sex strike is described in Lysustrata, a play  by Greek playright Aristophanes. It was first performed in Athns in 411 B.C.

Non-violence movement in Iraq?

Democracy Digest reports that “The Iraqi nonviolence network La’Onf has been awarded the 2009 Rights & Democracy’s John Humphrey Award in appreciation of its work to promote peaceful and non-violent political alternatives for Iraqis.

“Formed in 2006, La’Onf is a network of 120 civil society groups from every region... The network ranges from human rights, student and women’s groups, to trade unions, humanitarian organizations and cultural associations. La’Onf is Arabic for ‘non-violence.’”

Independent Palestinian State a Step Toward Peace in the Middle East

Palestine is seeking official recognition as an independent state with full statehood status at the UN.  Alex Awad, Pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church and Dean of Students at Bethlehem Bible College says that achieving this recognition is an important step toward peace in the Middle East.   

The majority of Christians and church leaders  in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip support the Palestinian bid to seek full statehood at the United Nations. This position is not driven by anti-Israeli or anti-American sentiments but rather because most Arab Christians believe that without a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict they have no future in the Middle East, and without Palestinian statehood, there will be no end to the conflict.” To read more, see


Responsiblity for peacebuilding extends to all religious beliefs

Numerous inspiring and challenging stories of peace building and Christians' responsibility to create conditions for peace have been the focus of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Kingston Jamaica, May 17 - 25, 2011.

In a story about the event at Bridgefolk, blogger GWS writes, "Dr, Deborah Weissman, who also lives in Jerusalem and serves as president of the International Council of Christians and Jews broadened the issue beyond the church saying that some faith communities seize on 'absolute truths' and leave no room for questioning authority.

"'Throughout the world today, in the name of religion, atrocities have been committed. In many places, there is an unholy alliance between faith and extreme violence,' she said."

IEPC is a project of the Decade to Overcome Violence, an iniative of the World Council of Churches.

Chernobyl: A life saving lesson?

The World Council of Churches (WCC) considers environmetal protection to be a peace issue.

In a news release from the WCC, General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said that “Churches have a solid record in emergency aid. We see it is a ministry that works in parallel with disaster prevention and long-term development. But when the duration of the damage is so great, as around Chernobyl, and when a highly developed country faces devastation on such a scale, as in Japan, serious re-thinking is needed. These events train our prayers and our planning toward what societies and churches must do differently to keep people safe and protect the environment.”

Indian Christians to challenge caste system

A World Council of Churches release has announced an international colloquium on Caste, Religion and Culture will be held in Cochin, Karala, India, May 1-4, 2011.

"The event will be held at the Renewal Centre in Cochin and is being sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the National Council of Churches in India, the Centre for Social Studies and Culture and the Student Christian Movement of India" says the release.

Above all we have to build a culture of peace: Argentina

On February 28, 2011, Julio Alak, the Minister of Justice in Argentina received representatives of different faiths, inviting them to participate in the second phase of National Plan of Voluntary Surrender of Firearms.

Bolstering ecumenical peace-building in Colombia

“When there is aCacarica, Colombia, is a community of returned displaced people. Photo: Sean Hawkey/ACTn issue which is being felt by one or another church on the grassroots level, there is a need for churches together to raise that issue up also on the global platform,” said Rev. Aaro Rytkönen, the director of advocacy for Finn Church Aid and a Central Committee member of the World Council of Churches.

Rytkönen was speaking especially about the half-century long civil conflict in Colombia, fuelled by drug money and corporate hegemony, stated a WCC release.

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