IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Metta WP

I’m probably the last person on the planet to learn about this (actually I think I heard something a while ago and forgot, but never mind).  But the other day watching a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game on TV, I suddenly realized that the announcer kept saying “World Peace this…” and “World Peace that…”, as in “World Peace is fouled and will shoot two three throws”.  That was certainly something you don’t hear every day about peace!  After a while I figured out it was Ron Artest.  If you know who he is/was you will appreciate even more what’s below.  To make a long story short he was suspended an entire season a few years ago for brawling with fans.  I saw it live:  he was provoked, but even so….Anyhow, he had anger management issues as we say today, and is apparently trying to do something about it (with some success).  So, I had a google and found this article from the L.A. Times.

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We have World Peace: Ron Artest gets name change

September 16, 2011|By Ben Bolch

The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest’s request to become Metta World Peace.

Amid labor discord that threatens to delay, if not wipe out, the NBA season, there is World Peace.

He is 6 feet 7, wears No. 15 for the Lakers and once participated in the infamous “Palace brawl.”

Anyone now making his acquaintance will be meeting Metta World Peace. Those on a first-name basis can call him Metta, while those a little further removed can buy jerseys with his last name of World Peace stretched across the back.

The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest’s request.

World Peace was expected to attend the hearing, but about an hour after the court doors opened, his attorney, Nahla Rajan, announced that the Lakers forward was not coming. A few minutes later, Commissioner Matthew C. St. George approved the name change in a hearing that lasted about 30 seconds.

St. George: “Mr. Artest has requested a name change to Metta World Peace?”

Rajan: “Yes, your honor.”

St. George: “And it’s for personal reasons, he said?”

Rajan: “Yes, your honor.”

St. George: “OK. All right. He’ll now be known as Metta World Peace. Thank you.”

World Peace’s publicist, Courtney Barnes, said his client had been contemplating the switch for years, “but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational.” Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others.

“Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” World Peace said in a statement. “I’m glad that it is now official.”

World Peace had hoped to adopt his new moniker last month but was rebuffed because of an outstanding traffic ticket. He was cited for driving without a license and faced an additional charge after missing a court date, Rajan said.

Ticket paid, World Peace can now reign.

And it may be spreading fast. Barnes confirmed reports that World Peace’s 8-year-old daughter, Diamond, wants to adopt her father’s new surname.

“They wanted to wait until this was fully done before” starting the process, Barnes said.

Rajan said changing the name of a child requires the consent of both parents.

World Peace must now obtain a new driver’s license and passport. Barnes said his client would more fully explain his name change Monday when he appears on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Though World Peace was not required to attend Friday’s hearing, Barnes said his client was on his way a few minutes before the court session was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Artest’s name was listed first on the docket.

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IGbarb says:  “World Peace on the back of an NBA jersey?  Why the heck not!”

 

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March 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Rice to consider

I suppose I knew about Susan Rice’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and I suppose I expected some change in US UN policy and relations, but Amb. Rice’s recent speech seems to indicate a potenttially significant change in attitude.  Have a look at the article from Reuters and from the U.N. Dispatch.  There are a number of very quotable passages in her August 12 speech,  but I particularly like this one:

“The reach, scale, and complexity of 21st-century security challenges put unprecedented demands on states and the entire infrastructure of international cooperation we helped build after 1945. If ever there were a time for effective multilateral cooperation in pursuit of U.S. interests and a shared future of greater peace and prosperity, it is now. We stand at a true crossroads. We must move urgently to reinvigorate the basis for common action. The bedrock of that cooperation must be a community of states committed to solving collective problems and capable of meeting the responsibilities of effective sovereignty.”

This is obvious, of course, to anybody who considers the swelling agenda of world problems as we finish off the first decade of the 21st century.  However, without going into detail I think we could say that such a world view has been out of fashion (for lack of a stronger term) in American foreign policy for some time–or, at least, has been pushed aside by a more traditional view of national security.   So it is refreshing to have a senior U.S. official talking in terms that at least seem pertinent to our globalizing world.

Still, it’s early days yet, and we will have to wait and see what the real possibilties of change in U.S. policy are.  I remember Pres. Clinton’s administration coming into office with a somewhat similar view–though their idea was that the U.S. could redeploy resources at home by letting the U.N. have a bigger role in the Post-Cold War world–and it proved impossible to implement.   If you are watching the ugly town hall meetings about health care reform, you can see that there is still some way to go before the American public is ready to consider change  (even necessary change) in many policy areas.

Should be interesting to watch. 🙂

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

You may have wondered…

…who had the URL http://www.worldpeace.org ? Well it turns out it is The World Peace Prayer Society. If you go to there homepage you will immediately see a very nice video of children from many cultures saying (in various languages): “May peace prevail on earth!” (which is, in fact, their prayer for peace). This video was on CNN, but I have to admit I don’t remember it. It is touching and the children are beautiful. You can learn about the origins and history of the organization here — they are non-profit and non-sectarian, btw.

This organization put up what they call a “peace pole” in memory of 9/11 and on the site people have added their thoughts about the tragedy and prayers for peace. You can add one if you want. You can also get and put up your own “peace pole” with the prayer on it. The site says there are more than 200,000 in places all over the world

You can also see the prayer–“May peace prevail on earth”–in many languages, and read about the organization’s activities at the UN and elsewhere.

I like this short prayer…you can think about and say it many times during a day. Here’s an idea: say it (even just to yourself) whenever a thought of war comes into your mind.

May peace prevail on earth!

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Peace (on the) Web

I just came across (and joined) the Peace and Collaborative Development Network. There are a few sites that seem similar, but this one appears to be well underway in its effort “to foster dialogue and sharing of resources in international development, conflict resolution, gender mainstreaming, human rights, social entrepreneurship and related fields”. As I write, the site shows 3,333 (!) members, and they seem to be committed and qualified people (check out some of the members here).

If you join you get a nice page where you can blog, add photos and video and start discussions. The integration of social networking looks good to my inexpert eye.

Anyhow, IGbarb says: Check it out!

PS In case, by now, you are wondering what IGbarb stands for, it is short for IslandGuru Barbosa, my Second Life alter ego 🙂

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inner and outer peace (a few initial thoughts)

So do we have to have peaceful people (people who have achieved some degree of inner peace) to have outer, societal (and international) peace? Put more analytically, are these two points on a continuum, and do they depend on each other? As you might know, there are people who put much more emphasis on one than the other, arguing either that “outer reality” is a reflection of “inner reality”, and that to change the former you have (but) to change the latter. This might be considered a more spiritual view (as defined in one of my earlier posts). There are also those–for instance of a Marxist persuasion–who, being more materialist, argue that social conditions determine individual consciousness. According to this perspective, the “contradictions” in the socio-economic order have to work themselves out–ie there has to be class conflict–until a more stable, and peaceful social order can be achieved.

While I have, for the sake of brevity, caricatured both positions, these really are rather different views of where peace, and social change in general, comes from. Of course, there are ways of reconciling them, along the lines of peaceful people creating peaceful social conditions, and vice versa. But that leaves a problem: when a cycle of violence starts, and increasingly violent people create increasingly violent conditions that make people even more violent, how do you stop and reverse the process? I personally think it has to do with values: people with peaceful values and the spiritual strength to try to promote those values commit themselves to change. So, in that sense you do need inner peace to create outer peace; but inner peace, while probably involving an inner life of meditation and prayer (at least for some), is an active posture and not a passive one. Here Ghandi or Martin Luther King are excellent examples.

I know I have just scratched the surface on this one, so why not discuss it further in the comments.

August 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Universalists and Universalism, a virtual think tank enroute?

Just a short post to say that I “attended” (actually by conference phone) the first meeting of a group of people committed to starting a virtual think tank focusing on universalist thought and action. The project is the brain child of Prof. Abdu’l-Aziz Said of American University, who in inviting participants defined universalists as:

“…individuals that live and promulgate specific life-style changes founded upon principles of inclusion and in reaction to social ills1 of their time. Through the promotion of an equitable redistribution of power, Universalists present a workable framework for timeless, sustainable peace and social harmony that is cast from the lessons of history.”

Some of the questions considered at the conference were:

* How did Universalist practitioners gain and maintain their perspectives, and what are the intellectual and personal skills required? How did these practitioners then apply their perspective to the particular set of problems confronting human society in their regions of concern at the time?

* How can students and practitioners today develop and maintain Universalist perspectives? To what kind of contemporary problems can these be applied?

One issue that came up was conceptual: ie is “universalism” significantly different from cosmopolitanism, or an ecological world view, etc… What do you think?

Anyhow, we’ve just started so “watch this space” 🙂

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religion and Peace, redux…

Here is an excerpt from something I co-authored some years ago (and for which I own the copyright, btw 🙂 ), which makes some distinctions relevant to our (ongoing, no doubt) discussion of religion and peace.

” The issues facing us demand a new set of answers, arising from a new pattern of faith and belief. We feel strongly that those values must be spiritual in nature. We do not believe that everything in the universe, our world, or human nature is fully accessible to positivist science. Many aspects of our inner reality and life, including consciousness itself, remain mysterious, and the age-old quest of the human spirit toward transcendence, toward an ultimate reality, continues unabated. Throughout history, though admittedly for limited periods, various civilizations have demonstrated how spiritual values can engender social progress. At the same time, we would hasten to acknowledge that these same values have just as often been corrupted and manipulated to justify actions which represent their antithesis. This in itself, however, should not prevent an appreciation of the historic association between the emergence of a truly moral social order and widespread commitment to spiritual values.

We prefer the term spiritual to religious, although they are often used interchangeably. To us spirituality transcends the boundaries of traditional religion, suggesting broader human involvement that comes from the inner essence of a person. At the level of the individual, it refers to action borne of a commitment that is not necessarily informed by allegiance to a particular religion. We agree with the definition of spirituality by the Scottish Council of Churches (1977): “Spirituality is an attempt to grow in sensitivity to self, to others, to non-human creations and to God who is within and beyond this totality.” Spirituality is a shift in consciousness that sees the whole of existence contained in the parts, and from the parts the whole is constructed. Spirituality filters out the superficial, the changing, so the essential emerges. The term Holistic expresses another metaphor for the spiritual: holding all directions in simultaneous connection — including both the horizontal and the vertical direction. The horizontal connects one person with another person, with all people, and with all things. Vertically, higher and lower levels of consciousness are joined. The creative organizing force of spirituality has been channeled into Indian, European, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean society in the past through such prophetic figures and visionaries as the Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Muhammad, Bahá’u’lláh, Saint Teresa, and Rumi; and it has also found expression in the altruistic work of social activists and reformers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, Elie Weisel, and many others. ”

Agree, disagree…have some distinctions of your own?

August 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tools: the United States Institute of Peace

I have to admit that when the plans for the United States Institute of Peace began (in the 70s) I was a bit skeptical. This was a government sponsored project from the beginning, and though it is “non-partisan”, there have been at times some very partisan actions involved with the appointment of its Director. However, let me say categorically that the USIP does great work and its site and publications are an excellent, and constantly updated, source of information. Also, its work has branched out in many directions, showing an appreciation of the many dimensions of peace. Another plus: the site is quite well organized. Look at the right hand side bar on the home page and you will see the “Practitioner Toolkit”, and go down a little further and you will see the “Education and Training Center”. You will note that you can “Take an Online Course” and I hope this is exploited by individuals and groups alike since there is a great need for such peace education materials–even the most basic. There are also all sorts of reports and newsletters which you can downloaded. In short, high quality information is here, and IG says: check it out!

August 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Religion and Peace I

Religion and Peace is a huuuuge topic, so I expect we will come back to it again and again.  For starters, one has to wonder whether religion (understood broadly) is “part of the solution” or “part of the problem” when it comes to peace.  Today, of course, many probably think the latter, given the constant linking of terrorism with certain forms of religious fanaticism.  However, as even the most cursory study of almost any of the great faith traditions reveals, religion has always been about peace, in some form. “Inner peace” is certainly a prominent goal of most spiritual quests, and social peace and harmony is often linked to religious commitment–consider the “golden rule” of reciprocity (“due unto others….”) which is found in nearly all traditions.  But, you say, haven’t there been many wars in the name of religion, including the Crusades, the 30 years war, and others? Yes, but even during the Middle Ages the Pope could, on his moral authority alone, stop wars permanently  or, at least, temporarily (the Truce of God and the Peace of God….if memory of my college medieval history class serves 🙂 ).

So, there seem to be a variety of contradictions here, which indicate that that which has a potential to promote peace, in many contexts has also served as a motiviation for war.  These persist today.  I have referred to contemporary fanatics, who with their suicide attacks have become the “face” of terror.  At the same time, many (but by no means all) of the most committed “peacemakers” (individuals and NGOs) who intervene in situations to try to mediate conflicts and/or contribute to post-conflict peacebuilding draw their inspiration from faith traditions.  Consider the whole “reconciliation” framework of acknowledgment, contrition and forgiveness, which became widely known during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa.  It is derived from a very Judeo-Christian idea of being “reconciled” with God and with one’s fellow creatures.  It has, in short, spiritual roots, as many approaches to conflict intervention do (even if they are not explicitly “religious”.

So, is religion more part of the solution, or more part of the problem?

(to be continued…)

August 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

(Brief) Interview with Dr. Dietrich Fischer, Director EPU Austria

A few days ago I wrote about the European University Center for Peace Studies. Well, today I was able to get the Director, Dr. Dietrich Fischer, on the phone and ask him a couple of questions about Peace Studies, and the EPU.  Just click on the link below to hear our exchange (sorry, I’ve still got a lot to learn about phone interviews and audio editing).

Interview Dr. Dietrich Fischer

Any thoughts/reactions to Dr. Fischer’s comments?

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 6 Comments

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