From Bribie to Bali in Peace

Bribie Island quietly hosted a Nobel Peace Prize winner and his wife who holidayed here recently. Dr Richard Denton of Canada won the recognition for his work as Co-Chair of the North America International Physicians For Prevention of Nuclear War.

He and his Colleagues continue to be concerned for global health, and remain committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons, the prevention of war, the promotion of nonviolent means of conflict resolution and social justice in a sustainable world.

While he was on the Island, he invited Dr Ken Salisbury and Vivian Salisbury of Banksia Beach to attend an International Peace Congress organised by Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI).

The Peace Congress was held in Bali, Indonesia from the 6th to 8th of November.

Ken said “The timing was excellent. It was close to the 11th of the 11the when we remember the cessation of hostilities in Europe. When we celebrate the end of the war to end all wars. It’s also 30 years since we chose peace and harmony and pulled down the Berlin Wall.”

The human spirit remains optimistic, but things haven’t been too peaceful since then. The world has seen more wars each year and the trend continue.

The theme of the Congress was “Disruptors: Leading Change in a World of Conflict. MBBI said that an examination of the last ten years reveals that...

  • Global warming threatens to destabilise already vulnerable regions.

  • Religious war and conflict have increased defence spending around the world to over $1.7 trillion.

  • Political polarization has fuelled internal strife within nations.

  • Government accountability has been diminished by political scandals.

  • Education inequalities perpetrate socioeconomic inequalities into the future.

  • Basic necessities remain a luxury, as 1 in 9 still lack access to clean water.

Ken said “MBBI challenged us to ask what would the world look like, if every community was equipped with conflict-resolution, mediation, and peace-building skills? How can we play a role in shaping a better future?”

And they had some seriously big hitters to explain their thinking and support their cause. This included past Presidents, UN Peace Negotiators and a peace activist like Shadia from Aceh.

Dave Josef, the Chair of MBBI introduced the Congress and challenged the participants to be part of a more peace able world where there was an absence of destructive conflict, an absence of inequality and a determination to cultivate a better future.

This is of course, a very popular dream, but it seems increasingly clear that peace is the short gap between wars and conflict. The congress was told by Ramos-Horta and others consistently that people needed to sell their fantasies for peace.

This dream of Peace would always be correct, and war would never be correct for it is the most expensive and least effective way of solving problems.

The congress audience was made up of nearly 200 representatives from over 29 countries of. People who K.R. Ravindran (Ravi), Past President of Rotary international called “People of Action”.

The Congress presented a number of simple assertions.

1: We have more to lose by fighting than by working together.

2: When given a chance to do so, people will work for the common goal and most revealing,

3: We can’t wait for the Governments to hand us peace: peace must come from us.

Ravi, a Sri Lankan national himself told the congress that there have been more that 35000 people victims of suicide bombers over the last few years and that in the Sri Lankan war more than 100 thousand people were killed and uncountable numbers displaced.

He spoke of how after war, the consequences of conflict trauma continue. Countries lose their brains as people look for safety in other parts of the world and we spend billions of dollars on post war trauma. He insisted that money should have been spent on education, the environment, the economy and the society. For our better future.

MBBI and its many partners for peace hope that through mediation and conflict disruption we can eliminate some of the craziness that is happening in the world.

Viv said “The final word should go to the host country Indonesia; whose coat of arms displays the forward looking motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: which translates as Unity in Diversity. The world would be a better place if we could do that”.

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