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Hague Appeal for Peace
- Subject: Hague Appeal for Peace
- From: DioxinsUS@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 22:42:00
A report from a young delegate to the Hague Appeal for Peace, which met in
Holland last month. You can find it at http://journal.jrsummit.net. Click
on "News" then click on "A Small World."
A Small World
My experience of attending the Hague Appeal for Peace
I was sitting in the Staten Hall gazing at a huge video screen wondering why
my Aunt Tin Tin's childhood friend, Sue, was pleading for the world to
support her peoples fight for freedom. Tin Tin was brought up in Burma and
when they were at school many things changed for them besides their native
names. Sue is now Aung San Suu Kyi and she leads the opposition to an
oppressive dictatorship that runs her country. But she escaped, she was a
happily married wife and mother living in the countryside of Oxford not so
long ago. What made her abandon her peaceful and hard won freedom; and why am
I sitting here watching a smuggled videotape of her on a video screen in
Suu Kyi felt a need, an overwhelming urge to return to her roots and fight
for something she believed in, she just had to, something was driving her.
What is this driving force? What could make a person sacrifice a comfortable
lifestyle and abandon her family?
" A battlefield is not necessarily a place where people are shooting at each
other" The Nobel Peace laureate said in the tape, which was smuggled out of
her country for the occasion.
" In civil society where basic human rights are ignored, where the rights of
the people are violated every day, it is like a battlefield where lives are
lost and people crippled" Suu Kyi said.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been ruled by the military since 1962. In
1990 the junta refused to recognise elections that gave Suu Kyi's party a
Hundreds of members of Suu Kyi's party have been detained. The army has
frequently been accused of brutality and murder in ethnic areas and Suu Kyi
lives under conditions of house arrest.
"When we talk of peace we cannot avoid talking about human rights, especially
in a country like Burma where the people are troubled constantly by the lack
of justice, by the lack of peace", she said.
I was attending the Hague Appeal for Peace (HAP) in Holland during May 1999
and I met other people like Suu Kyi; strong, genuine people with the strength
and will to stand up for their beliefs and fight for freedom for all.
"Burma is not really unique", Suu Kyi said in the videotape. " We are not the
only country where people are suffering from a lack of basic human rights and
we feel for others in the same situation. If there is any lesson to be learnt
from Burma it is that it helps when people care".
HAP was commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First International Peace
Conference and launched several political campaigns; against child soldiers,
to promote an International Criminal court and global peace education in
schools, against small arms and for a convention outlawing nuclear weapons.
Some 6-8,000 participants; including Nobel laureates, religious leaders like
Desmond Tutu and UN Secretary-General ,Kofi Annan met in the Netherlands for
the four day peace conference to discuss how to create "a culture of peace"
in the new millennium. I was there because, as Suu Kyi said, I cared. But
how did I get to be at HAP?
I was part of a delegation of nine teenagers from all over the world
representing Nation1.We came from Malaysia, Jamaica, Australia, Europe,
India, USA, Mexico, Morocco and New Zealand bringing with us quite a mixture
of nations, religions and cultures.
So what is Nation1? It is a Network of Networks, a virtual nation inhabited
by kids worldwide.
Nation1 is about mass participation. It is about millions of young people
connecting their minds and sharing resources to collaborate on solutions to
world issues and about local problems.
Nation1 is about technology connections. It lets youth speak about the
problems they face and uses this forum to generate local action based on
global discussion. It is an organization of the world with no set location
other than cyberspace, its decentralization allowing everyone an equal voice.
Nation1 is about young people voicing their opinions and funneling
information to the people making decisions.
Nation1 is about working together. What ever the organization, whatever the
goal, Nation1 weaves new ideas for youth together and by joining forces gains
maximum impact while allowing organizations to maintain their individual
Nation1 is built by kids, governed by youth and open to all.
Nation1 is just beginning, we are considering how to create digital political
systems, how to deal with language problems, how the technology behind the
country will work. We passionately believe it is worth it, because uniting
kids changes their perspectives, widens their understanding and leads to a
better world for us all.
If you think you can help us with ideas, expertise or sponsorship or if you
are interested in inhabiting Nation1, we'd like to hear from you. Find out
more at http://www.nation1.net or email nation1-info@xxxxxxxxxxxx or just
shout for Tom!
I care about Suu Kyi, about oppression, about conflict and I care about you.
I want to make this world a better place, a cleaner and more peace place and
sitting in that hall in Holland I could only wonder about meeting a family
friend in this sad and wonderful world.
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