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 Home >> Share International magazine >> May 2003

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Share International magazine May 2003 issue

This is an abridged version of Share International magazine. Through these electronic files, the magazine Share International makes available a compilation of its contents. Permission is granted to reproduce these articles in magazine, newspaper or newsletter format, provided that credit is given to Share International and clippings are sent to: PO Box 41877, 1009 DB Amsterdam, Holland. Copyright (c) 2003 Share International. All rights reserved.

Master's article:

The waiting world

by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme

The world is reeling from the impact of the recent invasion of Iraq by American and British forces. Seldom has a war of such seemingly limited scope and duration had such momentous repercussions, or caused so much heartache and heart-searching. Seldom, indeed, has such reckless folly been recognized and denounced by the majority of the peoples of the world.

The tragic events of 11 September 2001 have opened a direful door of opportunity for this US Administration, on the pretext of fighting terrorism, to usurp the ‘moral high ground’ and carry out cruel acts of piracy on its selected victims.

Voice
The war is on, perhaps almost over, but the people of sanity and heart have found their voice and a means of being heard. At last, at long, long last, the people are beginning to sense their power and their right to speak, to influence, and to shape their destiny.

Out of the chaos and misery of this contrived and unnecessary war will come such changes that its perpetrators could never have imagined.

They have overridden the united will of the assembly of nations, mistaking its wisdom for fear, its caution for cowardice. They have used the ways of the past and will find them unavailing in the times which lie ahead. In their arrogance and lust for power they have overreached, and set the peoples of the world against them. Their wicked folly has awakened humanity to rise and defend itself against this usurpation of its rights.

Damage
When men come to measure the damage done to international relationships by this foolish, unilateral act, they will find much to cause dismay. Many years of careful nurturing, the slow building of trust, have been set at nought. A deep sense of suspicion, distrust and fear now stalks the diplomatic corridors of the world. Many leaders among the nations sense that one of them — the most powerful — is now out of control, that old accords are broken and that they must look elsewhere to rebuild their past security and alliance. America’s pre-emptive stance, its thinlydisguised imperialism, has isolated that great nation from the truth and from the community of nations whose leaders shake, sadly, their heads and ponder gravely on the future.

Soul
The world awaits the emergence of the American soul, that which gave birth to the beauty of the Marshall Plan so long ago. The world, too, awaits the emergence of Maitreya to show men the way. The teachings of Maitreya will awaken and invoke the idealistic soul of the United States, and turn its best citizens to the light which they have always held in their hearts. They will make accord with their brothers and sisters throughout the world, and in unison, inspired by Maitreya, they will bring justice, and therefore peace, to the waiting world.

Questions & Answers:

Q. A recent (Dutch) newspaper article showing close-up photos of Saddam Hussein and one of his doubles pointed up the physical differences although the likeness was remarkably good. The article claimed that Saddam Hussein might already be dead, possibly killed in early bombing. Is this true?

A. Yes. It is my information that Saddam Hussein was badly injured in the bombing of Baghdad on 20 March and died subsequently from his injuries. The man seen recently on Iraqi television is therefore (and I think obviously so) a ‘look-alike’ acting the part of Saddam.

Q. (1) Was Maitreya present at the anti-war demonstrations on 22 March in London? (2) Has He appeared at other protests around the world?

A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes.

Q. What on earth is the solution to the present crisis? Please give us your and your Master’s insight to the dreadful mess the world is in!

A. This is the dark night before the dawn. This crisis is focussing the minds of many leaders who see better the dangers which exist and are more determined to find better solutions than war. Do not forget that Maitreya and 14 Masters are in the world too.

Q. Is Maitreya on the verge of appearing, to intervene in this war and bring peace to the world before many die?

A. Maitreya, of course, deplores this needless war and the many deaths it will cause but He is not attached to it in the way most people are. He has, I believe, decided, due to the invocation by millions marching for peace, to come forward sooner than would have been possible without humanity’s action for itself.

Q. Recently many people have been praying and demonstrating for peace: is this a reason for Maitreya to come forward very soon?

A. Yes. Maitreya has responded to this tremendous manifestation by humanity — with millions and millions marching. Maitreya Himself was present — calling for justice and peace — at the march in London, where there were almost 2 million people demonstrating.

Q. As one of the centres working with you in the “Emergence work”, we’d like to say that we have had an enormous response to the report of Maitreya’s speech in Hyde Park, London. Reactions were elated, galvanized and jubilant (see Share International, April 2003). The general trend of the reactions was, in a nutshell, “He’s here; He’s with us; He’s one of us; He’s so close now!”

A. One of the main reasons for Maitreya’s appearances to the Emergence groups is precisely to boost their spirits and morale and to galvanize their energies to do the work. He is certainly showing how close He is to full emergence.

Q. Why should people around the world go on demonstrating — after all, it didn’t stop the war?

A. Did anyone really believe that a march or two, even if across the globe, would stop the war? It was obvious from the beginning that the Bush administration was determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein with or without UN sanction. Mr Bush is determined to do what his father ‘failed’ to do and so prove himself as big as, or bigger than, his father. The people behind him have their eyes on Iraqi oil.

But this should not stop the demonstrating, therefore. On the contrary, the People’s Voice should be heard louder than ever. Peace and justice depend on it, ultimately. And — most importantly — it invokes Maitreya. It is essential to keep informing governments that peace, and justice, and freedom are demanded by the people as their right. That when governments opt for war while often the majority of the people are against, the governments are not serving the peoples’ needs and must go. These continuous demonstrations also speed up Maitreya’s emergence.

Q. There have been millions of people marching in more than 600 cities in the world. This shows a new level of consciousness, but still the war began in Iraq. Why?

A. It wasn’t the soldiers who are now invading Iraq who did the marching. Millions of people — according to my Master 12.5 million people — demonstrated on 15 February and, with the people who were sympathetic, that amounts to about 1 billion 28 million people. It didn’t stop the invasion. Why should it? Humanity marches, demonstrates, and some people think that this should immediately result in peace — that the Masters can give them peace. They [the Masters] cannot give them peace if men want war. The US were planning to invade Iraq before 15 February — why didn’t the marching start before then? Why didn’t the marching start right at the very beginning of the thoughtform of invasion — a year ago, at least months and months ago? Marching every day, not one day, but every day — millions of people marching, demonstrating every day and demanding peace. Then the Masters can do something more. It is a question of the intensity of the demand, the desire.

Peace does not lie in the hands of the Masters — They don’t have peace to hand out. We have to create it. We have to force the governments which break the law — because that is what they have done, they have broken the law — which if kept would automatically create peace. They break and defy the law and invade another country. They have freewill. But that freewill can be curtailed by humanity itself, if there is enough intensity, if enough people demonstrate their will that the law should be upheld.

Q. Is it ‘disloyal’ to continue to protest against the war now that the soldiers are fighting and facing danger?

A. To my mind, not at all. If you are against this war, fundamentally, you cannot just support it because, for example, your government or friends are involved. People, if they are against it, should work and demonstrate for another, peaceful, solution.

Q. Why does Share International emphasize constantly the role of people power?

A. Because, eventually, organized, educated and inspired by Maitreya, the power of the people will manifest through a massed world public opinion against which no nation can stand. We are only at the beginning of this process but, in time, people power will be the strongest force on Earth.

Q. (1) Is it still possible to break off the war? (2) What would it take to bring it to an end?

(1) Yes, with goodwill and an awareness that appears to be entirely lacking in the US and UK Governments. (2) Awareness, courage, an acceptance that the rest of the world and the UN are against it and — humility. But don’t hold your breath!

Q. Why is Share International so apparently anti-American?

A. Share International is not anti-American. However, the present American administration have shown a cynicism, a manipulative corruption of and disdain for the United Nations (and therefore the world as a whole); it has lied its way to a war which will ensure its access to the world’s second-largest oil reserves, which will result in many innocent people being needlessly killed, and so is difficult to admire. Nevertheless, there is a powerful idealism inherent in all Americans, expressed in a vision of freedom, but, in the present circumstances, on US terms: a world Pax Americana. They do not see that this urge for power and domination, even when felt to be for good, is no longer relevant. All peoples today want their own freedom and justice and peaceful life, not a ‘freedom’ imposed on them by a latter-day imperialist power.

Q. What pressure was exerted on Colin Powell to get him to go along with the hawks in the USA, when he was by nature more inclined to be less rabid? One might have expected him to resign rather than acquiesce.

A. He chose to believe the US ‘intelligence’ reports of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and was outnumbered by the hawks in any case.

Q. How long do you think Bush (and the grey men behind him) will last in the seat of power?

A. Not long.

Q. Did US-UK war planners deliberately mislead the public and the military as to how long the war would last and how the ‘allied forces’ would be welcomed by the Iraqi people?

A. No. They miscalculated, speculated — and jumped to conclusions. However, at a later stage it may well become true.

Q. Do you see national borders being re-drawn in the Middle East, after the dust of war has settled?

A. Not significantly.

Q. Has Maitreya, and the other Masters, stepped up His appearances in Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt?

A. No.

Q. Recently, you answered a question in Share International, saying that the US administration had been warned of possible terrorist attacks quite some time before they happened; do the Masters and Maitreya often advise or warn governments, or leading figures, about danger or the potential danger in their (the governments’) policies and actions?

A. Yes, about foreseen dangers, eg terrorist attacks, and also sometimes about potential dangers in their policies and actions. It depends on the law of karma and also the responsiveness or otherwise of the governments.

Q. (1) Is the UN General Assembly an important organ? (2) It is said that the UN’s standing was damaged by the manoeuvring, cynical manipulation and wrangling preceding the US-UK attack on Iraq; what is your opinion? (3) What will it take to restore the UN in the world’s eyes? (4) How do you think the UN is viewed by Arab countries and by developing countries? (5) To judge by what some politicians and media are saying they see the UN as a charity and an ineffective, optional extra. What has to happen in order to make it the world’s main debating forum? (6) Could you please outline how you see the role of the General Assembly in future?

A. (1) It is the hope of the world, without which we would all be the poorer. I mean the General Assembly of the UN, without a now obsolete and corrupted Security Council and veto: each country with one equal vote. This must happen as soon as possible to prevent the big, wealthy or militarily strong nations from corrupting the process. The UN agencies have done enormous, beneficial work in many fields. (2) This is quite obviously so — and shameful. The UN must now regroup and re-establish its ties and co-operate for the world as a whole. (3) A little humility on the part of some nations would help. There is no alternative to the United Nations, whatever the present US administration say or do. The only alternative is the unilateral chaos which the US and the UK have unleashed. The time for unilateralism is past. The world is one and interdependent, and lives or dies together. That is why Maitreya is here now. (4) Each will see it differently according to their situation but I am sure the non-aligned nations see the UN as the focus of their aspirations for betterment and peace. (5) Governments must stand by their desire for freedom and justice and not allow themselves to be ‘bought’ and manipulated by others. The temptations are strong but so must be their resolve. (6) The General Assembly is the real United Nations, free of the dominance of the Security Council and veto. Only then is there a chance for just and wise co-operation for the Common Good.

Q. There is persistent report and, apparently, evidence to support it, that there are several power-hungry, rightwing, neo-imperialists behind Bush who are simply using him and his weaknesses to achieve their own goals — a new American world domination. (1) Your comment on this? (2) If true, how will they be stopped?

A. (1) It is indeed only too true. The invasion of Iraq, (and after, who else?) is only a step towards that goal. (2) By the power of the people’s voice (including that of other governments), focused, educated and inspired by Maitreya.

Q. In answer to a question you said that in about a year from now the US would start to demonstrate its soul qualities; could it possibly be as a chastened country, ashamed of the tragedy of its unjust and unjustifiable war in Iraq, with an appalled and better-informed public than it now is, that, to right its wrongs, the American soul will emerge to implement a new Marshall-type Plan in the Middle East?

A. I do not think the present administration in the US will be given to chastening or shame, but I do think there will be a great change in the general public in the US in response to Maitreya’s ideas and energy. This will invoke in many people a soul response to the idea of sharing and justice which seems so difficult for many now.

Q. Are all of these accidental deaths of US and British troops being used to invade Iraq, as well as the terrible sandstorm the troops endured, due to karma because of the criminality of the invasion?

A. No, they are accidents — and in war accidents occur. However, apart from the sandstorm which is a normal and frequent event (although this one was particularly severe) the accidental shooting at friendly troops (especially by American on British — so far, more British soldiers have been killed by Americans than by Iraqis) makes one wonder (a) about the quality of training given and (b) about the number of US troops who may have managed to smuggle in drugs.

Q. There are Kurdish people in at least three countries — should they be given land to found a new country — an independent state for Kurds? Would that not solve problems such as those faced by Turkey, not to mention Kurdish suffering?

A. An independent state for the Kurdish people would be most desirable, but from where? One of the problems is that, as you say, there are three main Kurdish groups and the people themselves lack unity of purpose and aspiration. I think this is one of the problems, like the Palestinian/Israeli deadlock, that will have to wait for the wisdom and persuasion of Maitreya to solve.

Q. (1) Is the action of Chirac for peace influenced by his soul only, or his personality only, or the soul energy of France, or by the Christ? (2) Does Mr Chirac know about Maitreya and His Teachings?

A. (1) It is the personality, only, of President Chirac that made him come to his decision. (2) Unfortunately, no.

Q. How many Iraqi civilians have been killed and injured in the war?

A. [As of 10/4/2003] About 2,500 civilians have been killed; between 6,000-7,000 have been injured.

Q. How can the anti-war movement adapt to the new situation?

A. Humanity needs to demand peace. There is only one way to get peace, according to Maitreya: accept the principle that humanity is one, and that therefore the food, the scientific know-how, the education and the healthcare belong to everybody and must be redistributed more equitably. We need to create one world: the one humanity needs to live in the one world. At present we have two worlds: one for the rich and the super-rich, and one for the rest — the poor, the miserable and the literally starving to death.

Maitreya needs you to march, to demonstrate, continuously. On the 15 February march in London, nearly 2 million people marched, out of the 12.5 million protesting across the world. Maitreya took part in the march and sees this as a token of our readiness to do something for ourselves. He is determined to begin His outer work, but humanity must demonstrate, call for sharing, which is the only way we will create justice and peace.

The governments will not respond until humanity forces them to. And when that happens it will be because of the inspiration of Maitreya which will educate, focus and enlighten humanity as a whole. No nation on earth can avoid or withstand that massed world public opinion. It is that which will bring about the transformation of the world. We have to do it. What’s the best thing we can do? Certainly march at every opportunity: you have to repeat it and repeat it, endlessly on and on, and on. Not just for an end to the war in Iraq, but for peace, for justice, for sharing the world’s resources. You have to shift the focus of the demand. The demand has to come from humanity: for justice, through sharing. When the governments of the world see that, they will quaver because they see now a mounting power of the people in every country. It terrifies them.

They mount all sorts of restrictions, but the people have found a way of organizing themselves. But it must continue consciously, from ‘Iraq’ to ‘sharing’, to create justice as the only way to peace — it has to become bigger, broader, based on that reality.

Q. (1) Is the new pneumonia virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) a result of tension and the war situation? (2) How did it originate — ie biological warfare, natural mutation, etc? (3) Can it be controlled through antibiotics or will it prove to be a dangerous disease for humanity? (4) Are there any homoeopathic (preventative) remedies which may help boost the immune system against the new virus?

A. (1) Yes. (2) Natural mutation. It is the result of stress and fear. (3) A vaccine will probably be found soon and it will gradually disappear. (4) Ask your doctors.

Letters to the editor:

Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. They also appear at Benjamin Creme's lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the opportunity to intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin Creme's Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, the Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act as saving 'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters, previously published in Share International magazine, are examples of this means of communication by the Masters.

Whistle-blower

Dear Editor,
On 22 March 2003 I took part in the Stop the War peace march through central London. I went with a group of four friends and thousands of like-minded people. We reached Piccadilly Circus where marchers from the two routes met. The atmosphere was determined and positive, there was plenty of chanting and whistling and the sun shone warmly. Further along Piccadilly I could hear drumming. It was a regular rhythm that seemed to have a calming and quietening effect on the crowd. We passed comment that everyone was walking in step to the drumbeat. At this point amid a calmed crowd Maitreya’s energy seemed to pervade every atom, it was so tangible and beautiful. We all noted this.

We walked on into Hyde Park. Surrounded by people selling items and waving petitions to be signed I suddenly noticed a man who looked very similar to the character interviewed at the last march and confirmed to be Maitreya (Share International, April 2003). He was similar although a younger man. He approached someone selling whistles, bought one and put it around his neck, then seemed to disappear into the crowd. I went to tell my friend Lynn, who replied: “Yes, I saw him — he bought a whistle didn’t he?” The fact that we had both noticed this man when there were so many people around us prompts us to ask — was he Maitreya?
CE, Essex, England.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man who bought the whistle was Maitreya. As during the march in London on 15 February, Maitreya’s energy flowed in great potency through the crowds, inspiring them.)

Morale boost

Dear Editor,
I went to the anti-war rally in Hyde Park, London, on 22 March 2003 reluctantly, thinking there was little point now the war had started, but conscious of Benjamin Creme’s Master’s and Maitreya’s exhortations that we should join together in protest. But I was glad I went to mingle with the good-humoured crowds and met friends and many people interested in Maitreya and His teachings.

The next day I was in a local grocery store in Notting Hill when an eccentric black man wearing a top hat and dark glasses entered the shop. He began talking about the war in the identical voice and Trinidadian accent of Maitreya (as a familiar) in Hyde Park on 15 February (see Share International, April 2003). Pointing to the newspapers showing a photograph of a crying child with a bandaged head he declared loudly that they were “killing children” and that it was “imperialism”, his voice resounding as it had in Hyde Park. (At that time the full horrifying details of so many dead and injured children had not yet reached the papers.) All the while he was looking straight at me. I was listening to the sound of his voice rather than his words, and wondering if it could be Maitreya, although he did not look like he looked in Hyde Park. I confess I was somewhat nonplussed by his vehemence and hesitated whether to answer him. He suddenly left. I paid for my paper and hurried out of the shop after him but he had vanished.
Then I thought: he must have been Maitreya and that he came to answer my doubts about the demonstration.
Idina Le Geyt, London, England.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘Trinidadian’ was Maitreya.)

Two letters from the same person:

Oddly distinguished

Dear Editor,
(1) On Saturday 15 February 2003 — the day of the anti-war marches worldwide — I was helping on an information stand about Maitreya at an alternative fair near Tower Bridge in London. My co-workers and I remarked on the very positive response of the many people visiting our stand, most of whom had heard about Maitreya’s emergence, and were eager to know the latest developments. We noticed a tall distinguished-looking bearded man of Indian descent, striding back and forth in front of our stall. He seemed galvanized by the activity around him, observing everything with intelligent interest yet remaining somehow apart. He had a marvellous, tangible presence. He had beautiful polished walking sticks in each hand, though he walked perfectly well. Our attention was drawn to the dishevelled state of his turban which resembled a loose, high pile of tilting bandages. This struck us as very unusual and funny, because as the tall man moved around the fair, only his turban was visible, leaning precariously to one side above the heads of the crowd. We wondered if the man could be someone ‘special’?

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was the Master Jesus.)

One of many?

(2) On the evening of Thursday 27 March 2003, some co-workers and I were returning home after holding the monthly workshop on Transmission Meditation at Watkins Bookshop in London. As we went down the steps to Leicester Square tube station, there was an abject homeless man sitting slumped holding a plastic cup for coins. As I reached in my purse, his head sank on his knees so I touched his hand to rouse him, and asked where he was sleeping that night. He became distressed, telling me all the shelters were full, and that he had been unable to raise money for the deposit on a Clapham bed-sit. He was English with remarkably pale white skin and blue eyes, in a face covered with small cuts or wounds. His hair was long and tangled under his thin sleeping bag. He exclaimed twice that he had a headache and a tear ran down one cheek. I continued to hold his hand, and he appeared to be comforted and began to calm down. I urged him to find shelter, suggesting a well-known church nearby. As my friends were waiting for me, I reluctantly left him, but couldn’t forget this man and his desperate situation.
DE, London, England.

(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the homeless man was Maitreya.)

Voice of the people

Global protests to war still growing

In communities worldwide, peace marches, direct action and student walkouts took place as the war started in Iraq. In the first 10 days of the war, protests intensified as around 10 million anti-war protesters took to the streets, often in the face of police repression, demonstrating a profound, continuing commitment to active resistance to military action.

Protestors arrested
On the first day of war, protestors around the world brought work to a grinding halt in their ‘No Business as Usual’ actions. In San Francisco, 1,500 protestors were arrested as they ‘shut down the city’, with people stepping forward all day from 7am to 11pm to fill the streets as earlier groups of protestors were hauled away to jail. “This is one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done with my life,” said a 54-year-old teacher as he sat in a San Francisco intersection, handcuffed by the police. In New York thousands filled two solid blocks south of 42nd Street, halting Times Square traffic for two hours. In Kashmir, a state-wide strike had shops and businesses closed for a day and city streets deserted.

You are not doing this out of my name
he weekend after the war started demonstrations grew with many protests taking place near to symbols of American power: the Washington Monument, the White House, and US air bases and embassies around the world. Demonstrating in Washington, Judy Ripley, 50, from Fort Myers, Florida, said: “The only thing I can do is get out in the street and say ‘You’re not doing this in my name’,” Judy Robbins, 54, of Sedgwick, Maine, came on an 18-hour bus trip with her daughter Zoe, a nurse. “The alternative to being here,” she said, “is just to stay home and give up.”

Ground Zero kids against the war
Associated Press
reported: “In New York a crowd of between 100,000 and 200,000 people snaked for 30 city blocks with demonstrators still joining the march at Herald Square even as the first marchers arrived at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.” Among those marching were Susan Sonz and her 9-year-old son Ruben, who came to the march from their home near Ground Zero. “Ground Zero kids against the war” read a sign carried by the boy. “We know there’s no correlation between September 11 and Saddam Hussein,” the elder Sonz said. “We don’t want to see more innocent people die.”

Young people of my generation are becoming more and more politicized
On 22 March 500,000 people marched through London to Hyde Park in a display of steadfastness and resolve. While the numbers of protestors were less than the 15 February gathering, the march was organized with only 4 days notice and limited media coverage. Thousands of school children and students around the UK have been demonstrating in city centres. Schoolgirl Zoe Pilger wrote in the UK’s lndependent newspaper: “Of all the carnage to come from a war in Iraq, one positive element has emerged. Young people of my generation are becoming more and more politicized…. On the morning after the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad, a school friend and I organized a mass demonstration in protest against the war. It was incredibly successful, with about 500 students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, from our London comprehensive [school] taking part. We had speeches and poems read out, and a colourful array of home-made banners … young people, instead of exhibiting a blinkered and xenophobic approach to the outside world, are making links between their own lives and those of the Iraqi people … It is a well-documented figure in the young anti-war movement that 42 per cent of the Iraqi population are under 15. As one student shouted from our school stage on Thursday: ‘We’re not going to die, so why should they?’”

Think of the Diana crowds …
Wondering why the anti-war demonstrations are so large, journalist David Aaronovitch, writing in UK’s The Guardian newspaper, noted that: “This many people did not march over Vietnam, apartheid, Suez or even the bomb … so what is going on?… There has been so much guff about the ‘powerlessness’ of ordinary citizens that some have come to believe it. But actually, since 1997 and the Blair accession, crowds have been very powerful. Think of the Diana crowds … Compared to just about anything else, marching works. That is why people go.”

The Pope made his first public comment
In Italy more than 80 anti-war rallies took place, 60 per cent of schools were closed for protests, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared the country in an emergency situation. The Pope made his first public comment on the conflict, stating: “When war, like the one now in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is even more urgent for us to proclaim with a firm and decisive voice, that only peace is the way of building a more just and caring society.”

In Greece two consecutive days of demonstrations drew 150,000, and then 200,000 people. Denmark saw up to 10,000 stage a protest in front of the US embassy denouncing both President Bush and their own government, which had become the third country to offer troops for the Iraq war.

91 per cent of Spaniards are opposed to a military intervention in Iraq
In Spain a recent survey showed 91 per cent of Spaniards are opposed to a military intervention in Iraq, and 84 per cent disapprove of Spain’s involvement in it. On 15 February in Barcelona alone, 1.3 million people out of a population of 2 million demonstrated against the war. “The total lack of dialogue on the part of the government,” said a student quoted by Spanish newspaper El País, “and the awful way in which it reacts when we ask for something, have been determining factors in intensifying this wave of protests.”

Following the start of war more than 1 million students in 70 Spanish towns participated in demonstrations — 90 per cent taking part from schools and universities. Some university teachers held their classes, blackboards and all, in the middle of a highway. Since then the signs of protest are everywhere. In Barcelona windows display “Stop the War” posters; people wear “War Forbidden” badges to work; the Barcelona football team displays a huge “No War” poster before a league match and a school hangs a huge sign outside saying, “without justice there will never be peace”. For five consecutive nights after war broke out, Barcelonans took to the streets at 10pm and, armed with pots and pans, and with the city lights switched off, performed caceroladas for 15 minutes.

One in six people take part in demonstrations against the Iraq war
It has been reported in Germany that over 500 groups of activists are not registered as ‘rightist’ or ‘leftist’ but ‘open’ or non-partisan and ideologically free, which apparently has inspired many young people to become involved in the peace movement. One in six people take part in demonstrations against the Iraq war, and one in three teenagers aged between 14 and 19 march in anti-war protests, according to a survey. Recently, 40,000 protestors formed a human peace chain over the 55 kilometres between the north German cities of Munster and Osnabrück, and in Leipzig between 20,000 and 50,000 people have been gathering every Monday evening at the Nikolai church to protest against the war. The ‘open-to-all’ church services (begun in December 2002) attract so many people, of all ages and walks of life, that Pastor Führer’s sermons are transmitted over loudspeakers to the thousands gathered outside.

In Geneva, Switzerland, 3,500 people marched to call for an end both to the war and the World Trade Organization. In Japan, as well as marches in cities, protesters rallied outside a US naval base and a US air base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Bush may kill Saddam, but he cannot kill our Islam
In the Middle East tens of thousands protested throughout the region, with many arrested (500 in Cairo) and two protestors killed in Yemen. “Bush may kill Saddam, but he cannot kill our Islam and destroy the ground of Islam,” said Ahmed, one of 20,000 students who rallied on Cairo’s Al Azhar campus. Protests also took place in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Lebanon, where a group of 10 lawyers began a hunger strike in support of the Iraqi people. In India 15,000 people marched in Calcutta, where speakers attacked the US for its “anti-Islamic” war, Reuters news agency reported.

Deep concern about the state of American democracy
Writing in The New York Times, David Callahan, director of research at Demos, a public policy organization, claims that the protest movements reflect more than simply sentiment against the war. Although they may not be successful in their immediate goal, they serve to shed a light on concerns about how society is organized. In the present case, Callahan sees two major themes emerging. One is the public uneasiness with “relentless consumption and waste in America” and the other is a deep concern about the state of American democracy. These two undercurrents, he believes, may serve to fuel a powerful social activism that may eventually help to change society. The disconnect that protesters feel with their elected officials and the failure of the media accurately to report these trends have already spurred a more involved electorate.

The growing involvement might not be possible without the utilization of new forms of technology, especially the internet and e-mail chain letters which have mobilized a group of committed online activists. A prime example of this involvement can be seen in the amazing growth of the online grassroots organization moveon.org, expanding from 480,000 participants in the United States and 390,000 in other countries in July 2002 to 1.3 million in the USA and 750,000 internationally in a mere eight months. The significance is not just the numbers, but what the activists have been able to accomplish with marches, petitions, letters, phone calls to congress people and monetary donations.

As Callahan concludes in his article: “Elected leaders should understand that the direction of American foreign policy and the fate of Iraq are not the only things protesters are concerned about. They are also worried about the fate of America — and if history is any guide, their voices will only get louder.”

(Sources: BBC News, The Guardian, The lndependent, UK; Associated Press, The New York Times, New York Daily News, USA; Süddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel-Online, Germany; TruthOut.org; CommonDreams.org; Indymedia.org)

Americans speak out against war

On 1 April 2003 the UK Stop the War coalition held a meeting at Hackney Town Hall, London, billed as “Americans speak out against war”. Despite rain and being a mid-week evening, hundreds of people attended, and heard a panel of speakers including two American visitors: Anthony Arnove, writer, activist and editor of the critically-acclaimed book Iraq Under Siege; and Michael Letwin, founder and convener of New York City Labor Against the War and one of the organizers of the 15 February anti-war demonstration in New York.
Share International co-worker Gill Fry includes an abridged transcript of Anthony Arnove’s speech, and an interview with Michael Letwin.

Anthony Arnove speech

“It is crucial that we build opposition to the war in the UK and the United States, the two countries driving this horrific assault. The United States is portraying this war as being fought by a coalition. On the news in the United States they speak of coalition bombing, the 9,000 bombs that the coalition has dropped on Iraq, or a coalition soldier being killed. It is worth seeing who that coalition actually is … when you look at [the list] it is countries that the US has fought, bullied and bribed to support this war — an imperial adventure by the United States backed by Tony Blair — against the opposition and wishes of people around the world.

David Frome, a former speech-writer of the Bush administration, put it this way: “An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein and a replacement of the dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States, would put America more wholly in charge of the Middle East than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe even the Romans.” [The US administration] is very conscious of laying out an agenda of redrawing the map of the Middle East, not just to maintain Iraq, but regime change in Damascus and Tehran. The route to that lies through Baghdad, the most vulnerable and easy to demonize country. Because George Bush I had not engineered regime change in Iraq at the end of the last Gulf war, there was, as Willy Crystal the New York conservative columnist put it, “a lack of awe”, and a lack of respect for US imperialism. So now we see cynically playing out a demonstration of American imperial power over the Iraqi people….

In the United States this war is being used to openly re-legitimize the idea of imperialism, of colonialism. There are people there — writers and politicians — speaking about an empire of colonialism, introducing a discourse and putting a positive spin on it. The New York Times magazine had an article recently: ‘The American Empire — get used to it’ — an article that lays out very clearly an agenda for resuming the ‘white man’s burden’ and explaining away all the horrors and deprivations that colonialism and imperialism have caused, and the lives that they have wrecked around the world. You see claims being advanced that the US must assume this imperialist role….

There is opposition around the world, and it is very inspiring, very courageous … We are at the beginning of a process, an international movement of responding to this imperialistic drive by the United States pushing back their objectives in Iraq. That movement has to take up a broader question of what the real aims of the US are … and this system, which is driving towards global domination … a project which is utterly at odds with the interests of billions of people around the world.”

Michael Letwin interview

Share International: Have the numbers of anti-war protestors in the US dropped a lot since the start of the war? Are people ashamed or scared to be thought of as unpatriotic?

Michael Letwin: I don’t think the numbers have dropped a lot since the war began. There were half a million people on the streets of New York on 15 February. On 22 March there were a quarter of a million or more, but that difference, I think, reflects not that people are ashamed to be part of the anti-war movement, but rather a certain degree of fatigue to come out to demonstrations. Also a feeling of powerlessness that there was such a large demonstration around the world on 15 February and yet the war went ahead. For a lot of people, especially those new to the movement, it was a very great blow. For all of us, whether we objectively thought our actions would stop the war or not, it was a big blow to see the war beginning and was disheartening for a lot of people. Nonetheless there has continued to be a big outpouring [of protest]. I think for most people opposed to the war, the idea that the governments are putting out, that we should somehow become silent about the war now that it has begun, is not taking hold.

SI: Does the US media report fairly on the anti-war events in the US and around the world?

ML: The US media is anything but fair in its reporting. In relation to the war in Iraq the media has served essentially as a cheerleader for the voice of the American Government. It does not report on, let alone portray, the civilian casualties that are broadcast on other media around the world. It pretends that the people fighting this war are a coalition, when in fact we know it is the United States and Britain — period. It doesn’t cover the war from the Iraqi side. Pete Arnett, one of our leading journalists for American television, was fired for doing an interview on Iraqi television where he admitted the war was not going as well as the government had planned. So there is a tremendous barrage, as in any war, of lies by the American media. That’s why there is the traditional saying that the first casualty of war is the truth.

SI: Various celebrities have been heavily criticized in the American press for their anti-war stance. Is it becoming very difficult for them to speak out in the US?

ML: A large number of celebrities have spoken out — Michael Moore most directly, and music groups like the Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crow at the Grammy’s [award ceremony]. There is a fair amount of red-baiting of people that are coming out that way, just as there was during McCarthyism.

SI: Are the worldwide anti-war demonstrations reported on American television?

ML: They make very brief mention of worldwide protests, if any. They treat it like a footnote at best. But the anti-war movement has become so big that it has been hard for the media to totally bury it. Americans are very aware that there is an anti-war movement in the United States and that the movement is international.

SI: How is the anti-war movement developing in the labour movement and colleges and universities in the USA?

ML: The anti-war movement is clearly strongest in colleges, universities and among high-school students. Students have always been among the most enthusiastic activists because they haven’t been beaten down and defeated like many older people have, and they haven’t become cynical about our ability to control events in the world. Also they have less responsibility in terms of family and work. So being a student is a great time to be an activist. There’s also activism among many other people both in neighbourhood groups, in national organizations of various kinds, and a new anti-war activism among the labour movement where there has not traditionally been much anti-war activity. [For the first time ever the US labour movement is opposing an American-led war.]

SI: How can the anti-war movement improve its effectiveness in the promotion of its ideas?

ML: We have to make sure that we are constantly bringing this issue to reach people who are not already among the ‘converted’. I do believe that millions of people are opposed to the war in Britain, the US and around the world. Especially in our two countries where the governments are so firmly behind this war we need to be reaching out to people that are not already involved and convinced of the anti-war movement. [We need to] go to where they are, not simply ask them to come to where we are. It’s wonderful when people come out to demonstrations, but many people aren’t prepared to do that yet and those people we need to reach out to, in our communities, in our schools, in our society. [We need] to show the connections between the war that’s happening in Iraq and problems that we’re having at home: unemployment, cuts in social services, attacks on our civil liberties and many other issues. We have to continually not take the easy road of talking with each other, but need to reach out and talk to people who are not yet here.

SI: There is much talk of ‘people power’, with the huge worldwide marches. Do you see this developing and becoming a stronger and stronger force? What do you think of its future role?

ML: The demonstrations have been tremendously important but we can’t simply be a movement of demonstrations. We have to find additional, creative ways to voice opposition and to actually bring the war-machine to a halt. We’re not in a position where we can do that yet. But having these demonstrations helps create a general atmosphere of opposition to war that’s very important, and [especially] in conjunction with civil disobedience and other kinds of protest and direct action, particularly by working people against the war.

The supply-lines to the war start in our own countries and at some point we can be in a position to cut off those essential supply lines: to say that we are not going to produce those materials that wage war, or that we’re not going to transport them. For example, in Scotland recently, train drivers refused to move a train of raw materials heading for the war — the symbolism of that was tremendously important. [It was recently reported that] several British soldiers are being court-martialled for refusing to fire on civilians in Iraq. These kinds of resistance have the most impact. It is a tremendous sacrifice and risk for people to take these actions, but that is ultimately the type of action that is going to make a difference. By building anti-war sentiment and bringing it back to our communities and workplaces I hope and believe we’re going to be able to see that kind of action — to stop war occurring.

SI: Are the anti-war movements around the world synchronizing and co-ordinating events?

ML: There have been a number of days of international protest, most notably 15 February and 22 March. There is a tremendous effort to try to co-ordinate internationally because it is one world and the wars that go on affect all of us, and the only way we can bring these governments and their wars down is by uniting across international boundaries.

Active citizenship

Scott Ritter, a former UN Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, is much in the news. Although a Republican he is also a vociferous critic of the Bush administration. Invited to the Netherlands by the Dutch Socialist Party, he gave a series of lectures and interviews: Felicity Eliot interviewed him in Amsterdam for Share International.

Share International: Just for the record: You’re a patriotic man, I believe? I think, too, that you are not a pacifist and you would say that some wars may be justified?

Scott Ritter: Yes, I certainly am patriotic and no, I’m not a pacifist, in that I believe some wars — wars that are in self-defence and are within the framework of the law — may be justified, if all else has failed.

SI: But you’re a vociferous critic of the Bush Administration: why?

SR: Well, I think they’ve disgraced America. I can’t find any redeeming quality in what they’ve done. I’m not Machiavellian: the end does not justify the means. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an apologist for Saddam Hussein, but I believe in the due process of law.

We need the law to be able to co-exist as a global community. The rule of law — that’s how we define civilization. How else can we live and function together? I think Bush has deviated from the rule of law.

SI: What is your reaction to the pre-emptive strike doctrine?

SR: It is complex. You can’t just jump out and pre-emptively strike anything that you deem to be a threat. This is where I have a problem with the American/Bush idea of pre-emption because it’s part of an overriding strategy, the “national security strategy” of unilateralism. The Bush doctrine of pre-emption says that we alone, that is, America, has the right to define a problem, and we alone have the right to solve it. I don’t believe in the pre-eminence of America, but America is a very powerful country. The world has to learn how to deal with it; we, Americans, have to learn how to deal with it. You can do good things with power, but absolute power corrupts absolutely and the best way to constrain American power is the rule of law, universally applied.

SI: You have been giving numerous lectures lately; what do you think the public needs to know?

SR: I would say more than “needs to know.” It needs to start to act and that’s citizenship! To be honest, I’m fed up with everybody sitting there passively saying “well, what do we do?”

We have to wake up. Start being a good citizen. A good citizen is someone who commits themselves to, and invests in, their community. Once you invest yourself you acquire knowledge. You suddenly realize what it is you’re part of, and what you’re doing. I think the answer is clear: it’s not what I should tell people. It’s the knowledge you’re seeking. Don’t come to me to give you knowledge! Go out and find out. Ask questions. Be a good citizen – hold your elected representative accountable for what they’re doing in your name. Get involved in the process. Define the moment, don’t let the moment define you.

SI: So you’re saying people don’t take part enough in democratic processes?

SR: This is lacking right across the board — in most countries. We’ve forgotten what citizenship and democracy is about. We’ve wrapped ourselves in a blanket of consumerism — we’ve become consumers and wrapped ourselves in a cocoon of comfort. As long as we keep waddling down the path of relative prosperity we tune out, but consumerism and the ‘American dream’ shouldn’t define us.

SI: As you’re talking I’m thinking about how the United Nations, which should represent us all, has suffered lately.

SR: You know the Constitution and the United Nations are not perfect — they’re open to amendment. They can be changed to suit the needs of the times. You know, it’s an evolving process, this thing we call democracy. If we have a problem in the United Nations let’s not walk away from it, let’s fix it.

But what Bush has done, and what’s scary about this situation, is that Bush has rushed to deviate from the rule of law both abroad and domestically. I’m very concerned that the Bush administration will seek to exploit the events of 9/11 — “homeland security”, the “patriot act” — this is a frontal attack on the Constitution.

SI: Coming back to the present circumstances let’s just clear away some misconceptions: the attack on Iraq is not just about oil, is it? And, at the same time, can I ask you to comment on the cabal of grey men around and behind Bush? And would you say something about the Project for the New American Century?

SR: Yes! I think people have to start focusing on this. Is it just about oil? Absolutely not. Does oil play a part? You’re darn right it does – it’s part of power.

SI: Would you say this war is not about weapons of mass destruction, it’s not about regime change and liberation — those were all used as a pretext?

SR: That’s right! Those are all smokescreens. It’s about naked aggression. This is about a grab for power, global power. Hegemony; you see it reflected in the National Security Strategy published last year and which has its roots in a doctrine which was promulgated by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), back in 1997. It goes back to an original strategy drafted by two members of the PNAC, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, in 1992 when Cheney was the Defense Secretary. Basically this all grew out of the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the desire on the part of the USA never to be in a position again where it would have a strong adversary. So we need to ensure that we remain the only superpower … so we will exercise our overwhelming economic and military power to guarantee this.

SI: So corporate America comes into the picture?

SR: Well, what is power? Power is economic power. We talked about oil, but it’s more than oil; it’s corporations — the power elite through corporate forces — those that control the media, those who have an overwhelming leverage on government, those who fund presidential elections — so that’s part of the cabal. As someone who believes in democracy, I find it disturbing; what you’re seeing is a transfer of power away from the individual into a handful of corporate elites. As long as the Americans go on in their “consumer identity” and wrap themselves up in the comfort of prosperity, then the corporate elites and those associated with them have the power. We need to break free of this “consumer identity”. We need to regain control of our citizenship, our democracy.

There’s also the unspoken aspect of this cabal and I think it’s got to be spoken about. I say this as someone who believes in Israel’s right to exist but, having said that, there is an aspect of this project, the PNAC, which has Zionist elements to it. It’s hard to speak of this, because the second you say anything you’re accused of being anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli. But I believe in an Israel, not a “greater Israel”, but one defined by the United Nations, and by the rule of law. Among the members of the PNAC are people who believe that aspects of US power have to be connected to the security of the state of Israel. That’s why I’m concerned.

SI: Do you mean “who’s next?” and that it won’t stop at Iraq’s borders?

SR: Right. Iraq is simply the case study for the implementation of this new doctrine of global hegemony. And now the same people who were saying “We needed to get rid of Saddam Hussein” are saying: “Well, now that we have all these troops here we need to turn left and go into Syria.” And what for? To secure Israel’s northern border. So there are US soldiers going to fight and die to secure Israel’s border, without Israel being attacked. It’s a travesty and needs to be looked at very carefully.

SI: And the repercussions in the region?

SR: Well, we risk, as we do now, alienating and angering Arab and Muslim public opinion right across the Middle East.

SI: Can America go it alone?

SR: Yes, for some time, as a reflection of our empire status. But history shows that empires die of indigestion — they consume too much and perish.

SI: Finally, would you say something about the peace movement?

SR: The only way to stop the US is for the American people to stop it. America has to regain its status as a democracy and reinstate the rule of law. The people of the United States must redefine themselves as citizens of a republic, of a democracy — not of an empire.

What can the peace movement do? It can hold up that standard to the American people. The Americans probably need a jolt to wake them up. Rather than demonstrate against America, demonstrate on behalf of American democracy, on the principles espoused by the Constitution. Hold a mirror up to the United States and say: “You are not living up to that which you preach.” Maybe that will help shock the American people into taking action and becoming good citizens.

Signs of the time

New message from Maitreya

Benjamin Creme was interviewed on Radio Ici et Maintenant in Paris, on 20 March 2003. Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer asked if Maitreya would say a few words. Mr Creme explained that he had no control over this and that Maitreya would certainly give His blessing, and that if He said something that would be a bonus. But as soon as the blessing began, Maitreya gave the following message:

“There is little time to wait, now, until you see My face.
Be of good cheer amid the strain of the present circumstances.
Keep high your hopes of a better future for all.
My Heart is filled with God’s Love.
This Love I send to all who hear Me.”
 


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First published April 1999,