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Never Again - Pres. Obama launches the Atrocities Prevention Board

In case you missed it, CBS has a video post of President Obama's speech at the Holocaust Museum yesterday to launch the interagency Atrocities Prevention Board. The APB gives the issue of mass violence higher priority within the federal government and, if the promise is fulfilled, would have a significant impact on the effort to reduce violence and suffering worldwide. The main objective of the APB is to identify hotspots around the world that have the potential of degrading into mass violence and use peacebuilding tools to provide recommendations to the President and Congress to proactively deal with these situations.

 

After the speech, a panel discussion with members of the APB was held at the White House with members of the public invited. The APB leaders give a lot of credit to the peace community in helping make the Board a reality. Representatives from Departments of State, Justice Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security and other agencies are participating in the Board. During introduction of the panel, several members expressed their gratitude to see this issue finally getting the attention it needs. To get a better feel about what the APB is doing, check out the video post on DoPeace. Eli from The Peace Alliance was there - hear his question to the panel at the 22:40 mark in the video.

 

Those of us who have been championing the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Peace recognize the APB as a "building block" that could eventually be folded into the DOP. When the APB demostrates success in their mission, other initiatives to reduce violence - both internationally and domestically - will have a great precedent to follow.

 

 

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Comment by Lynne M. Harrington-Crick on April 25, 2012 at 1:33pm

I love what Nonviolent Compassionate Communication has to offer because it is showing me all the time how I need to be a better communicator.  For one thing I get too wordy.  Learn to say in simple terms what I am feeling, what my needs are which is obvious as soon as you say what emotion you are feeling and what you would like to do or want to see happen and say that in clear simple terms that are doable right now.  This to me is key to any problem that comes up no matter what level of our life it pops up in domestic, national, or foreign.

Comment by Lynne M. Harrington-Crick on April 25, 2012 at 12:05am

Christina...it sounds like you have a lot of concerns and you really want to be heard.  Right?  I hear you but I am not sure I completely understand everything you are attempting to inform me about.  Maybe what you say is true, maybe now.  Does it really matter?  For me, it does no good to just keep talking about it and saying all we can do is just become aware of it because the more I hear and talk about it, the more I feel provoked inside of me those scary fearful feelings of what might happen.  I don't think anyone wants to go that route. For me, I'd rather strive to rise above those negative feelings not by suppressing them but by talking more about the feelings we that come up for us.  That takes practice becoming more aware of our feelings.  After all it is the feelings inside of each of us that really matters not the content of what causes the feelings.  You say you have no answer to the solution?  In reality aren't we all the solution?  Why does everyone always seem to want to forget about who we really are?

When I mentioned Spiritual Politics, that seemed to bring up for you your religion.  Did you know what the word "catholic" really means?  I was pretty astounded when I learned recently what that meant and I felt awesome relief, and love for all mankind no matter who they are which met a lot of my own needs to feel connected more with everyone. The word catholic means to be all inclusive.  In other words nobody is left out.  We really are all one, the oneness.  When we shift our awareness to this way of perceiving the world and ourselves suddenly our whole awareness outlook becomes broader and we can see so many possibilities of choices we can make in creating the kind of life we want.  So do we really need to let the media push our panic button and control us?  Is it not like being addicted to drugs or alcohol or nicotine?  There are many people who have proved that they can be cured of that addiction just as we all can realize we have the power within us to stop letting anyone out there control our feelings.  As soon as we realize our own power, suddenly there are revealed many things we can do that empowers us to rise up above anything that seems to scare us.  There is nothing to fear, right?  Think about it.  Love conquers all and when we act out with pure love for all human beings and any living form on earth, there cannot be fear for fear is its opposite.  We cannot have both feelings at once.  When we feel fear, think love.  There is no fear.  It's gone.

Comment by Christina Goode on April 24, 2012 at 7:08pm

Lynne...great discussion.  what I meant by USA holding onto false past "bravados" as well as the use of term "we" with respect to such statement was in reference to both our political leaders as well as the American populace....by way of being manipulated by our media  Every TV station, all our news is owned by 1 of 6 war profiteering corporations, which continue to use the Pentagons marketing slogan "fighting for freedom and security", and just as deceiving "home of the free because of the brave".  As Abe Lincoln quoted "T stand in silence while they should be protesting makes cowards out of men".  Throughout our history, and especially over past decade, our political leaders have taken our country into costly wars for entirely spurious reasons, always for greed/"power"/war profits at expense of the American people.  YES! I like your comment about merely "knowing facts, contents of History" not what is important, what is important to move in right direction is for people to open their hearts, souls, minds....to reach for an original thought outside of the American supremacy we have all been conditioned with throughout our lives  "Patriotism" does not mean sustaining outdated beliefs that our wars "serve our nation" or can stop oppression.  I like the "Spiritual Politics" aspect, but don't think it could ever work as even my own religious denomination (Catholic" has within its roots deep violence, the Holy Bible containing 2x the text of terrorism, bloodshed and murder as the Islamic Koran, yet we call our country a country "of God", forgetting a vital commandment "You shall not kill".  I have no answers as solutions....really.  Just awareness, ignorance was bliss! but I am trying to create awareness which I think is the most important thing we can do.  It's hard, as people so deeply manipulated by the panic button the media imposes onto us, the overhyped "terrorism" threats and b4 that "communism" both not nearly ever the "threat" to the USA or otherwise made out to be.  Not that terrorism is a non-problem, it always has been, but t6o what extent the USA has sponsored terrorism within is the scary thing people need to humble themselves about, to take an open eyed realistic look.  Bush for one, had been in bed with the bin Laden family for years...we've shipped missiles to hostile nations for years for profit.  This APB thing concerns me since the USA has NEVER tried to bring peace by peaceful means historically, so why should we feel this board will do otherwise? I want to be hopeful, yet look what is happening.  S. Sudan govern themselves in a "new democracy'? The USA does not even have a true democracy or freedom, it is an illusion, our votes paid for by wealthy elites/corporate pay offs....and now there is even attempts to take away people's voting rights, our privacy being invaded by Internet spies, unethical military recruiters hunting down peoples daughters and sons in malls, schools, everywhere.  Yet the American populace remains blind, turning an apathetic eye to it all.  Fear? What we should really fear are the cancer rates in USA including children going up due to lack of environmental regulation to pay for wars, the healthcare decline due to paying for wars, the educatin myth" that our kids are "failing" when in fact it is the system failing them....my 8 year old does in 3rd grade what his Ph.D. and MBA educated parents did in 5th grade, 3 hours homework/day, tested like guinea pig for profits.  What we should fear is the fed gov't within, not any other nation "attacking us", which I don't even think entirely happened on 9/11 much less going forward.  Abe Lincoln also quoted "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, if we loose our freedoms, it is because we destroyed ourselves".  The political and financial corruption in the USA runs so deep, I think the only thing we can do as individuals is continue to create awareness especially with our next generation.  Our history books and "bravado" monuments in D.C. don't help, so parents need to step in and teach our kids that war does not "serve our nation", and we need to think more peaceful, sustainable action going forward.  I hope the OWS movement helps. Amen

Comment by Lynne M. Harrington-Crick on April 24, 2012 at 5:11pm

Christina Goode---you bring up very valid points namely that George Washington our first President and original founder wanted a DOP, and also that this APB would likely be just another highly bureaucratic system.

L: Thank you Christina for your comment.  It's a pleasure to be making connection here with you on this.

CG: Let me continue on these two valid concerns.  The first one parlays into the deep rooted cause of why the USA has been reluctant to really contribute to world peace...or rather, historically used force/military intervention as it's premise behind "contributing to world peace", as if using such forcs is inevitable as water circling an open drain.  It isn't: war is a primitive tool.  I like your George Washington reference, in fact, let's remember Washington quoted "beware overgrown military establishments which are antithetical to republican liberties". Four other founding fathers also highly warned of a bloated MIC. Now, multi-trillions of dollars later, the USA is at or near default on its massive debt, borrowing money to prosecute several wars it can't afford.  Why are our leaders not turning instead to non-violent foreign policy? We are holding onto past "bravados" and false notion big defense spending equals to stronger economy, hence ironically afraid of the "economic consequence".  The MIC is over a $900billion industry, yet spending in this direction (USA spends more than half the world combined on "defense") is actually hurting our society, economically, spiritually, emotionally and every way possible. The USA now ranks at #82 in global peace, with countries we wrongly thought of as so "oppressive" due to tainted American History rank #3 and 15 respectively (Japan and Germany)  It is an unsustainable belief that USA is some omnipotent country that can fix the worlds problems, with half it's own people now in poverty.

L: It is true what Washington said what to beware of and its dangers.  We are all certainly more than aware of it happening today for sure.  I need some clarification as to what you mean that our leaders are not turning instead to non-violent foreign policy because "we" are holding onto past 'bravados' and false notions of big defense spending equals to stronger economy, hence ironically afraid of the 'economic consequence'.  Who is we? Do you refer to we the people are holding onto those notions that are causing us, the people, and that is why our leaders are not choosing non-violent policy?  I would like to go into more the fears and needs of everyone you refer to here because this makes for better connections in our communications.  I realize that it takes great courage to bring out more all of that which makes us vulnerable to talk about feelings and needs should not be held so much in the darkness of shame to do it.  Bring this all into the light.  I realize that it too takes time to have these kinds of conversations and it is not so much about how much we know, content and facts in history, but just the plain and simplest thing to do in opening up our hearts to others.  I read a book years ago when I was first into DOP and NVC that is called Spiritual Politics.  Can we do this or is this even possible to transform all of our politics into something more spiritual?  Yes, I do think that is possible because we now have a congressman, Tim Ryan, who wrote a book on A Mindful Nation.  If we all practice to be more mindful everyday, this can be done.

CG: Then your 2nd very valid point, the potentially inherent bureaucratic nature of said APB is a grave concern, likely another for-profit where money pours into the board, not the people (not unlike fact money in USA "for education" does NOT hit the classrooms, it goes to 4 standardized test corps). Why no change happening for people in S. Sudan? For one, the USA can't afford to really help, it does NOT have the resources and is NOT Obama's responsibility, our leaders are responsible to their OWN people...but even so it's the very same bureaucracy you speak of stopping any real "help". The WW emergency relief buisness has grown to over an $8 billion industry itself, trying to KEEP people wounded, starving, sick so it can make money.  If not people to "assist", no profits.  According to the Red Cross, over $180million mysteriously disappears into relief agencies, not to the people. The best way for the USA to "deal with creating peace" around the world is to stop its aggressive foreign policy, stop putting so much money in that direction, and use non-violent intervention.  Even 9/11, like Pearl Harbor b4 it, had very apparent inside plotting or knowing about purposely not stopped to fuel angry masses to war  THIS is what needs to stop, the unsustainable belief we are "fighting for our country" or that anyone's daughters and no less horrendous sons could "die for our flag" which is oppressive itself.  War is by no means not a peacemaking tool, cannot bring "democracy and freedom", two ideals ironically diminishing in our homeland DUE to this action

L:  When you said "the potentially inherent bureaucratic nature of said APB is a grave concern" it certainly makes me feel scared because I am needing to be safe, secure, and in a country that has a government of representatives that I can trust.  We do need to make sure we can hold this new board accountable with more transparency to make sure it will not turn into another for-profit organization.  How can we do that?  How can we make sure the money goes to the people for education as you mentioned?  We do need to talk with more people how to do this?

You answer as to why there is no change in S. Sudan was not what I had intended to get.  Maybe I needed to reword that to make myself more clear.  My point was more about the feelings I sensed from that African who spoke out for those Sudanese people.  What were his and their feelings and needs and how he was probably pleading to us for help in showing them how to help themselves.  Certainly, they might be feeling helpless and vulnerable, scared and unsure of themselves that they are even capable of governing themselves in a new democracy.  How can we show more compassionate communication with them that empowers those people or empowers that one man so that he can go back to his country to inspire them with more ideas what they can do?  How can this new APB demonstrate more compassion in more of an empowering way to get them to see for themselves what choices they can make to build their own country?  Be more empathic with those rather than sympathy like Dan Solomon on the board had mentioned.

Comment by Christina Goode on April 24, 2012 at 3:20pm

Lynne M. Harrington-Crick---you bring up very valid points namely that George Washington our first President and original founder wanted a DOP, and also that this APB would likely be just another highly bureaucratic system. Let me continue on these two valid concerns.  The first one parlays into the deep rooted cause of why the USA has been reluctant to really contribute to world peace...or rather, historically used force/military intervention as it's premise behind "contributing to world peace", as if using such forcs is inevitable as water circling an open drain.  It isn't: war is a primitive tool.  I like your George Washington reference, in fact, let's remember Washington quoted "beware overgrown military establishments which are antithetical to republican liberties". Four other founding fathers also highly warned of a bloated MIC. Now, multi-trillions of dollars later, the USA is at or near default on its massive debt, borrowing money to prosecute several wars it can't afford.  Why are our leaders not turning instead to non-violent foreign policy? We are holding onto past "bravados" and false notion big defense spending equals to stronger economy, hence ironically afraid of the "economic consequence".  The MIC is over a $900billion industry, yet spending in this direction (USA spends more than half the world combined on "defense") is actually hurting our society, economically, spiritually, emotionally and every way possible. The USA now ranks at #82 in global peace, with countries we wrongly thought of as so "oppressive" due to tainted American History rank #3 and 15 respectively (Japan and Germany)  It is an unsustainable belief that USA is some omnipotent country that can fix the worlds problems, with half it's own people now in poverty.  Then your 2nd very valid point, the potentially inherent bureaucratic nature of said APB is a grave concern, likely another for-profit where money pours into the board, not the people (not unlike fact money in USA "for education" does NOT hit the classrooms, it goes to 4 standardized test corps). Why no change happening for people in S. Sudan? For one, the USA can't afford to really help, it does NOT have the resources and is NOT Obama's responsibility, our leaders are responsible to their OWN people...but even so it's the very same bureaucracy you speak of stopping any real "help". The WW emergency relief buisness has grown to over an $8 billion industry itself, trying to KEEP people wounded, starving, sick so it can make money.  If not people to "assist", no profits.  According to the Red Cross, over $180million mysteriously disappears into relief agencies, not to the people. The best way for the USA to "deal with creating peace" around the world is to stop its aggressive foreign policy, stop putting so much money in that direction, and use non-violent intervention.  Even 9/11, like Pearl Harbor b4 it, had very apparent inside plotting or knowing about purposely not stopped to fuel angry masses to war  THIS is what needs to stop, the unsustainable belief we are "fighting for our country" or that anyone's daughters and no less horrendous sons could "die for our flag" which is oppressive itself.  War is by no means not a peacemaking tool, cannot bring "democracy and freedom", two ideals ironically diminishing in our homeland DUE to this action

Comment by Lynne M. Harrington-Crick on April 24, 2012 at 2:33pm

I was also grateful that at least we have this as a step in the right direction and hopefully this board will unfold into a DOP as our original founder George Washington wanted back then.  As I was listening to the panels speak and answering questions presented by members in the audience, I got a feeling that their questions were not being fully answered if but only superficially so.  In order to really meet everyone's needs, we must take the time to make a deeper connection with each person that presented their questions such as the one African gentleman who spoke out for those people in S. Sudan how there really has been no change happening in that country despite what Obama has done as they claim in making them become an independent more free nation.  Everyone of those people deserve to be dealt with in a more humane way in making the right kind of nonviolent compassionate conversation with them, not just through more bureaucratic systems which is what this Atrocities Prevention Board is.  What I mean by "nonviolent" is a way of using words that does not make a person feel inadequate, discriminated, inferior, criticized or put down in anyway but rather words that will empower each and every individual into wanting to take initiative to do what they have to do to be the kind of person they want to be, to become their highest potential self.  Those conversations I heard from the panels all came from their heads with the exception of one person I most related to above all and that was the youngest member on the panel, 21 years old Hebrew with a skull cap.  I think his name was Dan Solomon.  He mentioned using "empathy rather than sympathy" which what it is all about.

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