일요일, 12월 10, 2017

2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Speech

[December 10, 2017] -- Oslo, Norway 

Speech by International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) representatives 

[Beatrice Fihn, ICAN Executive Director:] 

Your Majesties, 
Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 
Esteemed guests, 

Today, it is a great honour to accept the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of thousands of inspirational people who make up the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. 

Together we have brought democracy to disarmament and are reshaping international law. 

We most humbly thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing our work and giving momentum to our crucial cause. 

We want to recognize those who have so generously donated their time and energy to this campaign. 

We thank the courageous foreign ministers, diplomats, Red Cross and Red Crescent staff, UN officials, academics and experts with whom we have worked in partnership to advance our common goal. 

And we thank all who are committed to ridding the world of this terrible threat. 

At dozens of locations around the world - in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky - lie 15,000 objects of humankind's destruction. 

Perhaps it is the enormity of this fact, perhaps it is the unimaginable scale of the consequences, that leads many to simply accept this grim reality. To go about our daily lives with no thought to the instruments of insanity all around us. 

For it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons. Many critics of this movement suggest that we are the irrational ones, the idealists with no grounding in reality. That nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons. 

But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code. 

Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable. 

The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be. 

Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us? 

One of these things will happen. 

The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away. 

Today I want to talk of three things: fear, freedom, and the future. 

By the very admission of those who possess them, the real utility of nuclear weapons is in their ability to provoke fear. When they refer to their "deterrent" effect, proponents of nuclear weapons are celebrating fear as a weapon of war. 

They are puffing their chests by declaring their preparedness to exterminate, in a flash, countless thousands of human lives. 

Nobel Laureate William Faulkner said when accepting his prize in 1950, that "There is only the question of 'when will I be blown up?'" But since then, this universal fear has given way to something even more dangerous: denial. 

Gone is the fear of Armageddon in an instant, gone is the equilibrium between two blocs that was used as the justification for deterrence, gone are the fallout shelters. 

But one thing remains: the thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads that filled us up with that fear. 

The risk for nuclear weapons use is even greater today than at the end of the Cold War. But unlike the Cold War, today we face many more nuclear armed states, terrorists, and cyber warfare. All of this makes us less safe. 

Learning to live with these weapons in blind acceptance has been our next great mistake. 

Fear is rational. The threat is real. We have avoided nuclear war not through prudent leadership but good fortune. Sooner or later, if we fail to act, our luck will run out. 

A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego, could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities. A calculated military escalation could lead to the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians. 

If only a small fraction of today's nuclear weapons were used, soot and smoke from the firestorms would loft high into the atmosphere - cooling, darkening and drying the Earth's surface for more than a decade. 

It would obliterate food crops, putting billions at risk of starvation. 

Yet we continue to live in denial of this existential threat. 

But Faulkner in his Nobel speech also issued a challenge to those who came after him. Only by being the voice of humanity, he said, can we defeat fear; can we help humanity endure. 

ICAN's duty is to be that voice. The voice of humanity and humanitarian law; to speak up on behalf of civilians. Giving voice to that humanitarian perspective is how we will create the end of fear, the end of denial. And ultimately, the end of nuclear weapons. 

That brings me to my second point: freedom. 

As the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the first ever anti-nuclear weapons organisation to win this prize, said on this stage in 1985: 

"We physicians protest the outrage of holding the entire world hostage. We protest the moral obscenity that each of us is being continuously targeted for extinction." 

Those words still ring true in 2017. 

We must reclaim the freedom to not live our lives as hostages to imminent annihilation. 

Man - not woman! - made nuclear weapons to control others, but instead we are controlled by them. 

They made us false promises. That by making the consequences of using these weapons so unthinkable it would make any conflict unpalatable. That it would keep us free from war. 

But far from preventing war, these weapons brought us to the brink multiple times throughout the Cold War. And in this century, these weapons continue to escalate us towards war and conflict. 

In Iraq, in Iran, in Kashmir, in North Korea. Their existence propels others to join the nuclear race. They don't keep us safe, they cause conflict. 

As fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Martin Luther King Jr, called them from this very stage in 1964, these weapons are "both genocidal and suicidal". 

They are the madman's gun held permanently to our temple. These weapons were supposed to keep us free, but they deny us our freedoms. 

It's an affront to democracy to be ruled by these weapons. But they are just weapons. They are just tools. And just as they were created by geopolitical context, they can just as easily be destroyed by placing them in a humanitarian context. 

That is the task ICAN has set itself - and my third point I wish to talk about, the future. 

I have the honour of sharing this stage today with Setsuko Thurlow, who has made it her life's purpose to bear witness to the horror of nuclear war. 

She and the hibakusha were at the beginning of the story, and it is our collective challenge to ensure they will also witness the end of it. 

They relive the painful past, over and over again, so that we may create a better future. 

There are hundreds of organisations that together as ICAN are making great strides towards that future. 

There are thousands of tireless campaigners around the world who work each day to rise to that challenge. 

There are millions of people across the globe who have stood shoulder to shoulder with those campaigners to show hundreds of millions more that a different future is truly possible. 

Those who say that future is not possible need to get out of the way of those making it a reality. 

As the culmination of this grassroots effort, through the action of ordinary people, this year the hypothetical marched forward towards the actual as 122 nations negotiated and concluded a UN treaty to outlaw these weapons of mass destruction. 

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides the pathway forward at a moment of great global crisis. It is a light in a dark time. 

And more than that, it provides a choice. 

A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us. 

It is not naive to believe in the first choice. It is not irrational to think nuclear states can disarm. It is not idealistic to believe in life over fear and destruction; it is a necessity. 

All of us face that choice. And I call on every nation to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

The United States, choose freedom over fear. 
Russia, choose disarmament over destruction. 
Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression. 
France, choose human rights over terror. 
China, choose reason over irrationality. 
India, choose sense over senselessness. 
Pakistan, choose logic over Armageddon. 
Israel, choose common sense over obliteration. 
North Korea, choose wisdom over ruin. 

To the nations who believe they are sheltered under the umbrella of nuclear weapons, will you be complicit in your own destruction and the destruction of others in your name? 

To all nations: choose the end of nuclear weapons over the end of us! 

This is the choice that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons represents. Join this Treaty. 

We citizens are living under the umbrella of falsehoods. These weapons are not keeping us safe, they are contaminating our land and water, poisoning our bodies and holding hostage our right to life. 

To all citizens of the world: Stand with us and demand your government side with humanity and sign this treaty. We will not rest until all States have joined, on the side of reason. 

No nation today boasts of being a chemical weapon state. 
No nation argues that it is acceptable, in extreme circumstances, to use sarin nerve agent. 
No nation proclaims the right to unleash on its enemy the plague or polio. 

That is because international norms have been set, perceptions have been changed. 

And now, at last, we have an unequivocal norm against nuclear weapons. 

Monumental strides forward never begin with universal agreement. 

With every new signatory and every passing year, this new reality will take hold. 

This is the way forward. There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons: prohibit and eliminate them. 

Nuclear weapons, like chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions and land mines before them, are now illegal. Their existence is immoral. Their abolishment is in our hands. 

The end is inevitable. But will that end be the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us? We must choose one. 

We are a movement for rationality. For democracy. For freedom from fear. 

We are campaigners from 468 organisations who are working to safeguard the future, and we are representative of the moral majority: the billions of people who choose life over death, who together will see the end of nuclear weapons. 

Thank you. 

[Setsuko Thurlow, ICAN Campaigner:] 

Your Majesties, 
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 
My fellow campaigners, here and throughout the world, 
Ladies and gentlemen, 

It is a great privilege to accept this award, together with Beatrice, on behalf of all the remarkable human beings who form the ICAN movement. You each give me such tremendous hope that we can - and will - bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end. 

I speak as a member of the family of hibakusha - those of us who, by some miraculous chance, survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For more than seven decades, we have worked for the total abolition of nuclear weapons. 

We have stood in solidarity with those harmed by the production and testing of these horrific weapons around the world. People from places with long-forgotten names, like Moruroa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini. People whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted. 

We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist. 

Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I want you to feel, above and around us, a great cloud of a quarter million souls. Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us ensure that their deaths were not in vain. 

I was just 13 years old when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, on my city Hiroshima. I still vividly remember that morning. At 8:15, I saw a blinding bluish-white flash from the window. I remember having the sensation of floating in the air. 

As I regained consciousness in the silence and darkness, I found myself pinned by the collapsed building. I began to hear my classmates' faint cries: "Mother, help me. God, help me." 

Then, suddenly, I felt hands touching my left shoulder, and heard a man saying: "Don't give up! Keep pushing! I am trying to free you. See the light coming through that opening? Crawl towards it as quickly as you can." As I crawled out, the ruins were on fire. Most of my classmates in that building were burned to death alive. I saw all around me utter, unimaginable devastation. 

Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by. Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen. Parts of their bodies were missing. Flesh and skin hung from their bones. Some with their eyeballs hanging in their hands. Some with their bellies burst open, their intestines hanging out. The foul stench of burnt human flesh filled the air. 

Thus, with one bomb my beloved city was obliterated. Most of its residents were civilians who were incinerated, vaporized, carbonized - among them, members of my own family and 351 of my schoolmates. 
In the weeks, months and years that followed, many thousands more would die, often in random and mysterious ways, from the delayed effects of radiation. Still to this day, radiation is killing survivors. 

Whenever I remember Hiroshima, the first image that comes to mind is of my four-year-old nephew, Eiji - his little body transformed into an unrecognizable melted chunk of flesh. He kept begging for water in a faint voice until his death released him from agony. 

To me, he came to represent all the innocent children of the world, threatened as they are at this very moment by nuclear weapons. Every second of every day, nuclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear. We must not tolerate this insanity any longer. 

Through our agony and the sheer struggle to survive - and to rebuild our lives from the ashes - we hibakusha became convinced that we must warn the world about these apocalyptic weapons. Time and again, we shared our testimonies. 

But still some refused to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki as atrocities - as war crimes. They accepted the propaganda that these were "good bombs" that had ended a "just war". It was this myth that led to the disastrous nuclear arms race - a race that continues to this day. 

Nine nations still threaten to incinerate entire cities, to destroy life on earth, to make our beautiful world uninhabitable for future generations. The development of nuclear weapons signifies not a country's elevation to greatness, but its descent to the darkest depths of depravity. These weapons are not a necessary evil; they are the ultimate evil. 

On the seventh of July this year, I was overwhelmed with joy when a great majority of the world's nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Having witnessed humanity at its worst, I witnessed, that day, humanity at its best. We hibakusha had been waiting for the ban for seventy-two years. Let this be the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. 

All responsible leaders will sign this treaty. And history will judge harshly those who reject it. No longer shall their abstract theories mask the genocidal reality of their practices. No longer shall "deterrence" be viewed as anything but a deterrent to disarmament. No longer shall we live under a mushroom cloud of fear. 

To the officials of nuclear-armed nations - and to their accomplices under the so-called "nuclear umbrella" - I say this: Listen to our testimony. Heed our warning. And know that your actions are consequential. You are each an integral part of a system of violence that is endangering humankind. Let us all be alert to the banality of evil. 

To every president and prime minister of every nation of the world, I beseech you: Join this treaty; forever eradicate the threat of nuclear annihilation. 

When I was a 13-year-old girl, trapped in the smouldering rubble, I kept pushing. I kept moving toward the light. And I survived. Our light now is the ban treaty. To all in this hall and all listening around the world, I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: "Don't give up! Keep pushing! See the light? Crawl towards it." 

Tonight, as we march through the streets of Oslo with torches aflame, let us follow each other out of the dark night of nuclear terror. No matter what obstacles we face, we will keep moving and keep pushing and keep sharing this light with others. This is our passion and commitment for our one precious world to survive. 

월요일, 12월 04, 2017

Squalid Libya migrant camps in spotlight at EU-Africa summit

[November 29, 2017] AP News 

 Abidjan, Ivory Coast -- European Union and African leaders pledged Wednesday to do more to help thousands of migrants stranded in squalid detention centers in Libya, the main jumping-off point for desperate people setting out in unseaworthy boats in search of better lives in Europe. 

While youth and development are the main themes of their EU-Africa summit in Ivory Coast, migration is an agenda topping issue, pushed further into the public eye after recent footage of migrants at a slave auction in Libya drew international horror and condemnation. 

Opening the meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said the security of Europe and Africa will “depend on our capacity to resolve the crisis in Libya and to bring an end, by all available means, to the inhuman treatment inflicted on migrants.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron said that he, leaders from other EU and African countries that include Libya, and the United Nations were discussing going after human traffickers with “concrete, military and police actions on the ground to trace back these networks.” 

Full article: https://www.apnews.com/6ca92debe7e74a44a07df38142587cb8/Squalid-Libya-migrant-camps-in-spotlight-at-EU-Africa-summit

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi awarded the Sri Sathya Sai Award

November 23, 2017 -- During the 92nd birthday anniversary of Indian guru Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Sry Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence took place as one of the events of the grand celebration.

The award in the field of Education was given to Dr Sakena Yacoobi, who inspired millions in Afghanistan and Pakistan by imparting knowledge and training. 

The Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence is an award instituted by Bhagawan in order to honor and celebrate individuals who have gone beyond their call of duty into the realms of selfless service. 

2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

This year's Ibrahim Index of Africa's Governance (IIAG), released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, shows that while Africa has made good progress in overall improvement in governance over the past decade, the past five years have seen that progress slow down. 

Meanwhile, eight of the twelve countries that register decline in Overall Governance over the last decade show no signs of turning things around, decreasing at an even faster rate over the last five years. 

As a result, Africa’s average governance improvement has slowed down. In the last 5 years, more countries decline than in the last 10 in all the IIAG’s governance categories apart from Safety & Rule of Law. 

View full report here: http://mo.ibrahim.foundation/

일요일, 12월 03, 2017

Acceptance Speech, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

Afghan educator Dr. Sakena Yacoobi giving her Acceptance Speech during the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony.
ⓒ 2017. Sunhak Peace Prize

I am very honored to be chosen as one of the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize laureates along with Dr. Gino Strada. I thank our host, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee and my family and colleagues. Let us not forget, this prize established by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, honors and represents the peace ideology of the late Reverend Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Reverend Moon believed we are “one global family.” This is true. We are living in a time where peace, love and wisdom needs to be at the forefront. God’s love does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. Reverend Moon reminded us of this. We must embrace peace as the road to resolving conflicts, building gender equality, and respect for all human beings. 

I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence. 

That is why I founded the Afghan Institute of Learning(AIL), and that is why I have chosen to work with Afghan refugees and the resettlement of Afghan refugees and IDPs in Afghanistan for the last 26 years. I wanted to find a way to help Afghans rebuild their self-respect and self-confidence; I wanted them to be able to trust again, rebuild their communities and reestablish their core values; I wanted them to be able to live in peace and harmony and have a sustainable way of life. 

We are living in a world where people are being judged by religion, ethnicity, race, and gender. People are being labeled wrongly and being targeted by hate groups. We must rise above the hate. We must use our voices for good. We need to remove the injustice and eliminate poverty. War is not the answer to any problem. We must work together collectively to bring peace in this world. In order to do this, we need to share our knowledge and build a support system that provides sustainable results. 

We see all around the world, millions of dollars are poured into countries that create an environment that does not bring peace or sustainability. The money is given to the government or organizations with no system in place to progressively develop the country. And sadly, the countries that need the most critical help are ignored. I truly believe that if we want to make a difference, we must set forth a creative program that involves the people. We must reach out to all community members; women, men and children. We need to give them all the necessary tools in life. We need to address education, health, skills, job opportunities, economics, environment, and above all human rights as it relates to responsibilities, values, compassion, love, and peace. 

As I have shared previously with some of the United Nations and European Union organizations, when we give an opportunity to people and ask them what they know, what are their skills, how much they can give, you would be surprised to see the outcome. People want to feel valued. They want their voice to be heard. When they are heard, people gain confidence and want to take an active role in your program to ensure the success of the community and country. From the beginning you gain an important asset-- the support and trust of the people. The human resources of the community will serve as the foundation that will build up the community and bring the people together. 

When you share love, compassion and wisdom, you provide humanity with an indestructible base for living in peace and harmony that no one can take away. You create an environment where everyone respects each other’s rights and appreciates different cultures, traditions, religions and ideas. With love, compassion and wisdom as your base, then everyone globally can live in harmony and peace.

Thank you all.

t is a great honor to be chosen as a 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate. This year the Sunhak Peace Prize focuses its attention on the global refugee crisis. It is a privilege to be recognized along with Dr. Gino Strada as someone who has contributed to helping refugees and helping in their resettlement. 

I, myself, became a refugee in 1979 after the invasion of my country. My family all became refugees. I know what it feels like to be in a place where all of your rights have been taken away from you. I know how it feels to lose everything you have, including your dignity and self-confidence. That is why I founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), and that is why I have chosen to work with Afghan refugees and the resettlement of Afghan refugees and IDPs in Afghanistan for the last 24 years. I wanted to find a way to help Afghans rebuild their self-respect and self-confidence; I wanted them to be able to trust again, rebuild their communities and reestablish their core values; I wanted them to able to live in peace and harmony and have a sustainable way of life.

When I first went to the refugee camps in Pakistan, I saw courage in the women, men and children, but I also saw despair and hopelessness. I knew that I wanted to do something to transform the minds and spirits of my people. I knew that to build trust, I needed to listen to them; I needed to include them and their ideas in programs that they wanted, and I needed to ask each community to contribute something to their projects. Their contributions would give them self-worth and dignity. In other words, I wanted them to become partners with us. And, because education has changed my life, I decided that the solution to transforming the lives of my people lay in offering them holistic education—education that would empower them, give them health, critical thinking skills, and skills to earn a living so that they could be self-sufficient —education that would help them to be creative and have vision—education that gave them wisdom but also taught them about love and compassion. Most importantly, because I am a spiritual person and I believe that God created all of us as equal human beings, I made up my mind to include universal core values that bring peace and harmony for all in any work that I decided to do with my people.

When you share love, compassion and wisdom, you provide humanity with an indestructible base for living in peace and harmony that no one can take away. You create an environment where everyone respects each other’s rights and appreciates different cultures, traditions, religions and ideas. With love, compassion and wisdom as your base, then everyone globally can live in harmony and peace.

Globally, if all are educated and have equal opportunity for a holistic educational system, you can overcome poverty and disease. Then, there is no war. We live in an era of conflict, mass displacement, growing hatred and great distrust. We need to look at the situation deeply and remember that we are all humans created equally by God. We must share and collaborate with each other to make this world a better place for everyone.

Nov 29, 2016 
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi