Tidbits from Global Forum on The Power of Peace:
Using the Tools of Information and Communication –
Hosted by UNESCO, in association with the Government of Indonesia,
in Bali (January 21st-23rd, 2007)
These are some of the remarks made by yours truly, as I remember them now – since they were made spontaneously without any notes:
Day One: 21st January 2007
As one of the Panelists
“My dear Friends, Excellencies, first of all allow me to thank the organizers of this Conference, UNESCO and my Government, the Government of Indonesia for granting me this opportunity to be with you today……
“I would like to share with you my experiences, my insights:
First, mere tolerance does not guarantee peace. There is a need for appreciation or mutual understanding, as mentioned by one of the panelists before me. This implies understanding, understanding each other, understanding the differences between us, and going beyond those differences to find the thread of Love that unites us.
“Love in my opinion is the thread that is now missing, or at least unseen by many of us. Rather, uncared for. This has created conflicts and wars. To bring an end to these conflicts and wars, Love, my friends, is the only solution. It is Love and Love alone that can put an end to all the violence in the world and bring about peace.
“Violence cannot solve any problem, any conflict…. Leave aside putting an end to any war. Violence is no solution.
“While I sympathize with the Palestinians and I fully support their struggle to gain full independence – I also regret the non-violent acts. As I mentioned to previous Ambassador of Palestine to Indonesia, I hope there are Palestinian Representatives in this conference (there were, quite a few in fact, including the new Ambassador, Mr. ), if only Palestinians could hold themselves, do not react to Israeli attacks, the entire world will condemn Israel. Long before this, I believe, the people of Palestine would have regained their homeland.
“Can we follow the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Do we remember their achievements?
“My dear friends, indeed as mentioned earlier by Mr. Khan, ‘wars begin in the minds of men’ and therefore ‘it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.’ Yes, it is the mind of man, of woman that must undergo transformation.
“Our children must live in a pollution free environment….. I am talking about mental pollution. Just the other day, in this very peaceful island of Bali, a woman journalist told me a shocking story – something that actually happened to her. One day, her 6-7 years old kid comes home from the school and tells her, ‘Mummy, I cannot eat anything cooked by you.’
“The mother was of course shocked, ‘Why?’
“And, then the boy tells his mother that his teacher in the school told him so, actually advised him to refuse any food cooked by his mother, since she was a Christian. She was kafir, infidel.
“This woman journalist is married to a Muslim, both originally from Java, but has been living in Bali for quite some time. And, prior to the remarks made by their 6-7 years old son – they had no problem.
“Our education system needs some serious transformation and correction. It is like a time bomb that can explode anytime and kill the entire society, disintegrate the nation. We must also remember that what happens in this country cannot but affect the world community as well.
“But, once again…. All said and done, whatever we do, any transformation and correction must be done in a peaceful manner. We must be fully committed to peace, love and harmony.
“Now, the role of media…..
I must share one last experience with you:
“On the 12th of October 2006, we got together at the Ground Zero in Kuta, where sometime back some terrorists whom I prefer to call criminals, killed many people. At that spot now, we have what we call Monumen Tragedi Kemanusiaan, The Monument of Human Tragedy. In an internationally televised live program where I was given the rare opportunity to speak on behalf of the Indonesian People – I made an appeal to change the tragic image of the monument to that of Love, Peace and Harmony.
“Prior to that tens of our youth had already started interfaith prayer meeting, chanting and singing on weekly basis. Thanks to media coverage, this gained momentum. Not long after that, on the eve of New Year, 1st of January 2007, we unveiled a tablet signed by people of different faiths, head of regional parliament, heads of village councils, local and international media representatives, foreign diplomats and many others – asserting our will and determination to change the tragic image of Ground Zero to that of Ground for Peace, Love, and Harmony.
“This is the Power of Media, thank you.
And, once again thank you friends, Excellencies, for bearing with me, and listening to me.”