Help is needed – and offered
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme, 16 July 2006
It will soon become clear that without help men have but little time to rectify the problems, ecological, political and economic which cause chaos, danger and heartache to the majority of Earth’s people. It is a situation unique in Earth’s history. Much depends on men realizing that they have, as custodians, the responsibility to tend carefully the well-being of the planet and all its kingdoms, and to pass on a vibrant, healthy planetary home to future generations. So unhealthy has the planet become from man’s predatory action and cavalier neglect, that, were it human, grave doubts of its recovery would be in order. The home of man and the lower kingdoms must be nursed back to health to fulfil its role in the evolving Plan.
Chaos reigns, likewise, in the political sphere. The nations are led by groups dedicated to the past, unable to see that their methods apply no longer to the needs of today and tomorrow. Blindfolded and arrogant, they strut the stage of life like out-of-date actors, unsure of their direction or their lines. The door marked EXIT looms large for these destructive usurpers of power.
The economic and social spheres are the saddest of all. While the world’s wealth flows into fewer and fewer hands, countless millions beg for the minimum to survive. Millions are too weak to beg, and die, forlorn, before they have tasted life. What can men do to rectify these sad and dangerous conditions? To whom can they turn for help in their agony?
There is but one source of help for men in their extreme need. That help is theirs for the asking. We, your Elder Brothers, seek only your welfare and happiness, and are ready to aid you and to point the way to a better future for all.
We see all men as One, brothers and sisters of one great family. Men need, likewise, to banish from their hearts the sense of separation, and to rediscover the reality of brotherhood which lies at the heart of the human condition. Men, all men, are potential Gods and needs must create the conditions in which they all can flourish. We will help you to do this, gladly, when you take the first small step in that direction. That first step is not difficult nor fraught with risk. You have nothing to lose and your divinity to gain: that first step is called Sharing.
(Read more articles by the Master)
Q. What kind of future do you see for America within the next couple of decades?
A. If enough people accept quickly the changes that Maitreya will be calling for, we can transform life in America and the rest of the world very soon. Once the idea of sharing, and justice engages the imagination, when people see the simple common sense of sharing, creating justice and therefore peace as the only way to create peace and an end of terrorism and war, then millions will join the ranks around Maitreya.
You have no idea how eloquent Maitreya is, how simple and knowledgeable, with a mind which is razor sharp and can illumine every problem. His love and wisdom are endless, the love of God and the wisdom of all the ages. His ability to enter into the hearts of all and release His energy of love is the sword which He wields to change the world. The Sword of Cleavage is the energy of Love.
As people respond to this energy the world will be divided – those who are clamouring for change along the lines Maitreya is advocating, and those who are fearful and looking to the past, who see Him as the Antichrist, are fearful and do not know what to do. They will stand aside and watch the events, and so lose the opportunity presented, for the first time in history, to take part in the transformation of the world. It is up to each individual, from where he or she stands, to assert their divinity.
Maitreya is speaking about sharing, justice, freedom and about right relationship. They are all divine principles. Freedom, justice and right relationship are at the basis of life and make for correct relationship between peoples and between nation and nation.
It is competition that leads to war and prevents right human relationship from evolving. The creation of correct human relationship is the next step forward in our evolution. When you have that you have the beginning of true divine life. The first step into sharing, says Maitreya, is the first step into your divinity. What could be simpler or truer?
Q. Is a third world war imminent — what with the conflict in the Middle East?
A. No, it is not. If we were in a situation which was so ‘hot’ – it is very ‘hot’ at present – that World War Three was inevitable, Maitreya would intervene.
It is better that He does not have to intervene because it would infringe human free will. But if it were necessary, He would intervene. In that case, He would be restricted in what He can give to humanity for quite some time, until our karma allowed Him to give what He can give. If He used that karmic gift, as it were, to prevent a third world war, it would hinder Him from doing things that He otherwise would do.
The Masters, with a broader vision, know that eventually things will clarify and peace will be established. They know, as Maitreya says, that the end is known from the beginning. Have no fear. That does not mean sit still and do nothing. That is the point.
You have to be inspired to act. He says: “Nothing happens by itself. Man must act and implement his will.” People, full of idealism, think that if you can envisage something, it already exists; that if you know that God is perfect, then the world is perfect. You cannot shut your eyes to all the ills in the world. It is foolish. It is not adult. Be adult and face the ills of the world and do something about them. You have to act to implement your will. If you want peace, justice, sharing and right relationship, you have to do it. Make it known that you want it. Elect the right people to get it. Act. Become active. Otherwise, you live in the clouds.
This is a time like none other in history. It will not be repeated. The Hierarchy of Masters is returning to the world for the first time in 98,000 years. You have the opportunity to work for Them, to make easier the work of Maitreya, to light the way, to make known to the world that He is here. Don’t wait till Maitreya comes out in the open. Tell everybody who will listen that He is here, what His plans are, what His priorities are – right relationship, sharing, justice, peace – these are the priorities. Looking after the planet is a number one priority. You have to make these your own, not just listen to someone like me.
We all have to become involved and to tell the world what is happening in the world, that this is the most amazing time, there has never been a time in the history of the world like this time. To be alive at this time is an extraordinary blessing.
With all the pain and the suffering in the world the opportunity for humanity is immense.
Q. Who won the election in Mexico?
A. Strangely enough, it was an almost completely free and fair election, unlike the last two elections in the United States – the last one being the most corrupt, I think, that has ever taken place in a modern state.
You must make sure that you do not have another election like that. Do not stand for it. The voting machines were pre-programmed to change every fifth vote for Kerry into one for Bush. Those elections were completely false. Ohio was won by Kerry, although he lost it. Florida was won by Kerry, so was New Mexico. The result would have been completely different but for the corruption. There was a massive vote against Bush but also a strong vote for him. But Kerry won the election and was denied it, just as in the previous election Al Gore won the election and was denied it. The world would be a completely different place had either Gore or Kerry become President. You might have had Maitreya out in the open now.
Q. British media has been dominated with reports of the alleged terror alert at UK airports on 10 August 2006. Some commentators have expressed doubts as to whether the threat was genuine because the timing seemed to be suspiciously advantageous to the UK and US governments. Was it a genuine threat?
Q. Please could your Master say how many people marched for peace on 5 August 2006 in (1) London, (2) the world?
A. (1) About 24,000. (2) 446,000.
Q. The present year 2006, so far, seems to be another waste: more fighting, starving, suffering, the whole lot. However, I believe that there still must be much going on behind the scenes (such as reported by Share International) in other nations that the Western media, in their narrow view, fail to mention. After all, Maitreya and the Masters work tirelessly to serve the Plan the Hierarchy has formulated from what They can see of Sanat Kumara’s Purpose. Would it be true to say that much positive change is going on that is, collectively, amounting to a great deal in spite of the present violence and the Western media’s limited reporting?
A. Yes, yes, yes! Both things are happening simultaneously.
Q. In Iraq there are approximately 1,000 Iraqi casualties a month, partly due to the ethnic conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites. There are even cases of Sunnis and Shiites being, essentially, driven out of the other group’s neighbourhood. Is Iraq on the brink of civil war or are they already at that point for all intents and purposes?
A. They are on the brink of civil war. This state may not necessarily develop into total war engaging the whole country. Much effort is being made to try to avoid that calamity. The present situation could continue for quite some time.
Q. In July 2006 torrential storms affected much of the East coast of the USA. In Washington DC, the storm caused the US Department of Justice and other major federal buildings to be closed and a 100-year-old elm tree on the White House lawn to fall. The tree is featured prominently on the back of the $20 bill. (1) Were the storms due to karma? (2) If so, was this a karmic reaction for America’s actions in Iraq, or for something else?
A. (1) Yes. (2) America’s actions in Iraq.
Q. What was the intention behind North Korea’s recent test of a missile?
A. One was an act of bravado and defiance of the international community, especially of the United States’ attempts to pressurize North Korea into giving up its nuclear ambitions.
At the same time it was to show what North Korea had to give up if a large enough basket of help (such as had been offered Iran in similar circumstances) was forthcoming. There may also have been an element of simple pride in achievement of such a missile.
Q. On 27 May 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred that killed (a present estimate of) 2,700 people and injured thousands more. The epicentre was close to Mount Merapi, a volcano that has been showing signs of activity lately. (1) Were the earthquake or volcanic activity karmic occurrences and, if so, for what exactly? (2) Is the earthquake directly related to the volcano’s activity? (3) Will there be more activity at Mount Merapi due to the earthquake?
A. (1) No, it was the result of the natural build-up of tension in the still active volcanic area. (2) Yes. (3) Yes, or more earthquake activity due to the volcanic tension.
Q. Some time before his death in 1982, Swami Muktananda told a group of devotees that the day would come when America would lay waste the nations of the Middle East, but that following this a great Teacher would appear in the world, and that flowers would spring up in his footsteps in the devastation. (1) Is this what we are seeing in the Middle East now, through America’s direct actions in invading Iraq, through their foreign policy, and by proxy, through their support of Israel? (2) Is the timing of Maitreya’s full emergence related to current Middle East events? (3) Is this forecast by Swami Muktananda to be taken as accurate?
A. (1) Yes. (2) No. (3) Yes, more or less.
(More questions and answers)
A vision of the future – a compilation
As the world witnesses war and its impact, while we are confronted with the ongoing suffering of millions of poor, starving and dispossessed, Share International presents in contrast, a vision of “a future bathed in light”.
In His article ‘The brightest future’, Benjamin Creme’s Master advises: “As [people] search for answers to their problems they will find Maitreya and His Group ready to respond, ready to guide men away from danger and further folly. They have the answers which thus far have eluded men, the answers which alone will assure the future, the brightest possible future, for the race of men.”
We present a selection of quotations on a vision of the future from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ), Benjamin Creme’s Master (A Master Speaks) and Benjamin Creme’s writings. (The following is a short selection from the compilation. See SI September 2006 for the full version.)
My friends, My children, I am here to show you that there exists for man a most marvellous future. Decked in all the colours of the rainbow, glowing with the Light of God, man, one day, will stand upright in his divinity. This I promise you. (Maitreya, from Message No.4)
Imagine then a future where no man lacks for aught. Where the talents and creativity of all men demonstrate their divine origin. Where war has no place in their thoughts and where goodwill casts its benevolent net over the hearts and minds of all. (The Master —, from ‘The Blueprint of the future’)
The next destined step for humanity is the creation of right human relationships. That means the demonstration of our ability to live in peace. If we cannot live in peace, we cannot live at all because a war today on a major scale would destroy all life. So the first step into right human relations is the creation of conditions of peace. Maitreya says this is simple but there is only one way in which we can produce peace: that is to create justice in the world. Without justice there will never be peace and without peace there will be no world. How then do we get justice? We share the resources. There are more than enough resources for all the people in the world. When we share, Maitreya says, we take the first step into our divinity. Sharing, He says, is divine, freedom is divine, justice is divine. These are all divine aspects. “To manifest his divinity, man must embrace these three.” [from Message No.81] (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)
I come to take you with Me into the New Country – the Country of Love, the Country of Trust, of Beauty and Freedom. I shall take you there if you can follow Me, accept Me, let Me lead and guide. And, if this be so, together we shall build a New World: a world in which men can live without fear, without mistrust, without division; sharing together the Earth’s bounty, knowing together the Bliss of Union with our Source. All this can be yours. You have only to take the first steps and I may lead. Allow Me to help you. Allow Me to show you the way – forward, into a simpler life where no man lacks; where no two days are alike; where the Joy of Brotherhood manifests through all men. (Maitreya, from Message No.3)
When Maitreya makes His appearance before the world, He will herald the beginning of a New Age for men. In this coming age men will rise to heights undreamt of by those now in incarnation. New teachings will beget new knowledge, new inspiration, new illumination, and all in order and sequence. Hopes will give way to certainties, fears to faith and ignorance to wisdom.
When man grasps the facts of his existence: his threefold nature; his recurring appearance on the physical plane; the great and just Law of Karma by whose action his lives and deaths proceed, he will enter into a state of Being in which all becomes possible. Then will unfold the powers latent in all men which, when revealed, will demonstrate the divine origin of man. (The Master —, from ‘The time ahead’)
Sharing provides the answer to all man’s problems and a sure entry into the New Age. Through sharing, peace will prevail. Through sharing, justice will be won. Through sharing and co-operation, brotherhood will flourish, and a new and glorious future open for man. (The Master —, from ‘The future’)
Letters to the editor
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared at Benjamin Creme’s lectures and Transmission Meditations. They also appear, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. Some of these recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the experiences 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, they draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance to, for example, smoking or drinking. Many times the Masters act as saving ‘angels’ in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. They use a ‘familiar’, a thoughtform, who seems totally real, and through whom the Master’s thoughts can be expressed: They can appear as a man, a woman, a child, at will. Occasionally They use the ‘blueprint’ of a real person, but in most cases the ‘familiar’ is an entirely new creation. The following letters are examples of this means of communication by the Masters. Please note: In the absence of any indication to the contrary, the editors will assume that your name may be printed. Unless requested otherwise, some of these letters may be reproduced on the Share-International.org website. Only initials, town and country will be used.
On Sunday morning, 12 February 2006, Dick Larson and I were volunteering at a Share International booth at the Whole Life Expo in Los Angeles. We had two tables on which to display our materials. On one table we had a large board displaying our collage of miracle photographs. A nice, very neat-looking African American man, average height, slim build, who appeared to be in his early 30s, approached the board and was looking at the photographs. He was dressed casually, wearing a turquoise and white vertical striped shirt, and beige slacks. I stepped over to him to explain that these were all photographs of miracles that have occurred in all different religions over the last 25 years, signifying that this was the time that a great teacher would come. The man had a very calm and reserved demeanor about him and he didn’t speak much, but was paying attention and listening. It was almost as if he knew more than what we could tell him. Dick joined in the conversation and was explaining something to him. (I should also mention that during the rather short time we were all talking, there was nothing political brought up).
The man then spoke to us and said: “You know, I had a dream. In the dream I had the plans for the solutions to all the world’s problems in my hands. I entered a room that was filled with corporate executives.” He went on to say: “I gave a copy of the plans that I had to each person in the room. Then you know who walked into the room?” Dick and I were both listening intently to what he was saying, and asked: “Who?” He replied: “George Bush. I also handed him a copy of the plans, but he tore it up and threw it away. So then I washed my hands.”
I thought afterwards that this person must have some spiritual development to have a dream on that level. Before walking away, he shook Dick’s hand and mine and said he would come back. His handshake was very firm, which was a little surprising, but I appreciated that genuine energy so much. Dick mentioned afterwards that he thought this might be someone special and then I felt that way too. Was this someone special – perhaps one of the Masters?
Jackie Cochrane, Los Angeles, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was the Master Jesus.)
On 30 June 2006, I went to the Makola Market in Accra to buy some foodstuffs. When I got to where I normally buy yams, the woman vendor was not there. However I saw a young man and a young woman sitting where the yam seller used to sit. As I got there, the yam seller’s friend gave me what her friend had left for me. Whilst I was talking with her I noticed that the young couple were talking about me. I could not hear the language they were speaking, but they were really looking at me whilst talking to each other. They were aware that I had noticed that they were talking about me, but made no effort to stop or pretend. The young woman was intently looking at me till I walked away. I was a bit embarrassed and wanted to ask them if there was anything I could do for them, but I was tongue-tied. As I left I pondered what they were discussing about me so much that they did not care even when they realized that I was aware of it. But later in the night when I went to bed, it occurred to me that they could be the Lord Maitreya and the Master Jesus. Please, who were these two?
Reverend Kofi Anyomi, Accra, Ghana.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘young man’ was Maitreya. The ‘young woman’ was the Master Jesus.)
On 11 March 2006 we had a large family gathering. I was visiting my home country after being away for over a year and thought that the 11th anniversary of Dad’s passing would be a good occasion for all the family to get together. Before our meal the 19 of us joined hands and gave thanks for the food. Mum then said to think of Dad for a moment. As soon as I did, I felt a powerful energy in the heart centre which was quite overwhelming. Afterwards Mum and my sister said they also had experienced it, (the three of us are Transmission meditators), but talking to the others it seemed no one else had felt anything. We have experienced Dad since his death but this felt different. More like energy from Maitreya. Would your Master please say if the energy we felt came from Dad, Maitreya or maybe from both of them?
Debbie Moore, Los Angeles, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that it was a blessing from the Master Jesus.)
On 5 September 2005, my step-grandfather died. It was a wonderful sunny day, and a few hours before he died, many of the family members visited the farm where he lived with his wife. But in the hour when he died almost nobody was beside him except his wife. He came into the kitchen after working in the fields, lay down on the sofa and slipped away. Beside his wife, there was only one other person present – a women from a telecommunication company, there ‘by accident’. She had red hair and a German accent (she came from Berlin, she said). We had never seen her before and after her second visit two days later, we didn´t see her again, could not find her name in the telephone book or in the telecom company.
Could it be that she was sent by a Master, or actually was a Master?
Petra Kronberger, Salzburg, Austria.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the visitor was the Master Jesus.)
My husband and I were taking an unscheduled late winter vacation around the late 1960s, driving to wherever our car would lead us. We were in unfamiliar territory as darkness fell outside of Tucson, Arizona, when it began to snow. We were not experienced in driving through snow or in the mountains.
The snow increased, covering highway signs so as to be unreadable, and finally became so heavy that we virtually could not see the hood of our car. We could not determine either side of the road so we could not stop.
Suddenly, two red lights appeared immediately before us that seemed to be tail-lights. Breathlessly, we followed them – minutes passed, 10, 15 … the snowstorm increased and became eerie – our only focus on reality was the two red beams in front of us.
Finally, the fog and snow began to dissipate as though a curtain had risen. I looked ahead thinking possibly those life-saving lights might have been a police car, but there was no car in front of us! In fact, there was no vehicle of any kind anywhere in sight! We were totally alone on that road which we could now see. Or were we?
AHF, Downey, California, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the guiding lights were created by the Master Jesus.)
In May 2003 I bought a small hibiscus plant (see photo) from the street market to adorn the Share International stand at a holistic fair at the Islington Business Centre. After the fair I took it home and it has been flowering every year since, producing one bloom after another, in spite of suffering from my somewhat haphazard care of houseplants. For such a small plant the blooms are enormous, and have been commented on by friends.
Could it be that Maitreya’s energies saturated this little plant during the fair?
Idina Le Geyt, London, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Maitreya’s energies did, indeed, saturate the plant at the fair.)
Water has been flowing from a “mystery tree” in San Antonio, Texas, for about three months, despite drought conditions this summer (see photos). The water is cool and there is growing evidence that it has healing properties.
The water, described as “God’s water” by Mrs Lucille Pope, spurts from the bark of a red oak tree in her garden. “What kind of mystery do I have where water comes out of a tree?”
The water-tree was discovered by Mrs Pope’s son Lloyd and has now been investigated by the Texas Forest Service, local nurseries and the Edwards Aquifer Authority. So far, no one has come up with a satisfactory explanation as to why a red oak would have water spouting from its trunk in a dry period.
Mrs Pope says she just wants to know whether “it is a healing tree or blessed water”. “That’s God’s water. Nobody knows but God,”
she says. She remembers that a visitor dabbed a few drops of the water on a spider bite and the swelling disappeared. She is beginning to believe that the “mystery tree” is, indeed, special and that the water has healing properties. (Source: Associated Press; CNN, USA)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this manifestation is one of the myriad signs of Maitreya’s presence. It was manifested by Maitreya and the water has healing properties. This is not one of the planned 777 sources of water created by Maitreya; the energy is different.)
Weeping statue in Malta
A statue of the Madonna owned by a woman in the town of Birzebbuga, Malta, has been weeping blood. On 20 January 2006, after buying the resin statue, which was on display in a pet shop, she placed it in her home. Three days later, red tears began flowing from the statue. The statue’s owner reported the news to local Catholic Church authorities, who tested the liquid and confirmed it was human blood. The church also announced that a week after the tests were carried out, tears flowed from the statue again. (Source: di-ve.com, maltamedia.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Maitreya manifested this miracle.)
According to a Catholic priest, a member of his congregation in Rockingham, Perth, Western Australia, has been displaying stigmata – wounds to the hands and feet resembling those on the crucified body of Jesus.
Father Finbarr Walsh, who says he has seen nothing like it in his 50 years of ministry, described the 50-year-old father of three as experiencing bleeding stigmata on his hands and feet, and receiving visions of, and hundreds of messages from, the Madonna, who appears to him on the eighth day of every month, sometimes more often.
“I have seen the wounds. They are not fake,” said Father Walsh. “He is getting the wounds of Jesus on his hands and feet. You see them bleeding. When he has them, he is in great pain. But they disappear within 24 hours. It has to be a miracle.”
Catholic Archbishop of Perth Barry Hicky refuses to discuss the phenomenon, and the man himself, identified only as Ian, told reporters that he has been asked by the Catholic Church not to speak to the media. Asked if he was frightened by the experiences, he replied: “No, why should I be?” (Source: The Sunday Times, Australia)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this to be an authentic miracle by the Master Jesus and the Master Who was the Madonna.)
Five UFOs over Milan
Five UFOs were seen in the sky over Milan, Italy, on the night of 4 February 2006, between 11pm and 5am. Witnesses initially believed that the objects were stars, but the UFOs changed shape and colour, prompting observers to call police and news media. Italian television and other media reported on the event, and concluded that the objects were unexplained. (Source: www.unknowncountry.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms these to be authentic sightings of spaceships from Mars.)
Five bright orange-red light balls flew silently in a straight line over a substantial area of the Netherlands on 1 July 2006. Various sightings were reported; it was a clear night and the stars were bright when the objects were spotted between 11pm and midnight. In a few cases, groups of people watched the objects and made video film of the glowing lights. The unidentified flying objects were seen over suburbs near Amsterdam, heading towards Schiphol International airport.
A Radio-2 Breakfast Show presenter received a number of calls from listeners: reports indicated that there were no flashing lights, that the objects were silent, appeared to have a white light on the underside, and moved quite rapidly. (Source: RTV Noord Holland, the Netherlands)
(Benjamin Creme confirms that the “five bright orange-red balls” were authentic sightings of spaceships from Mars.)
From our own correspondents
A Lebanese Ground Zero
by Andrea Bistrich
Share International correspondent Andrea Bistrich, who recently returned to Germany, sent the following first-hand account of events in Lebanon, where she witnessed the first 10 days of the conflict with Israel. The following is short excerpt from the beginning of her report.
Whenever I hear the sound of jet engines overhead these days, I believe that at any moment they will drop their deadly load. One, two, three, four, five ... I count, yet the dull detonations that shocked my nervous system for many days don’t come. Instead – silence.
I was in Beirut, just like Esther and Camille who made a film about two journalists; like Ghada from the internet café on the Hamra street, who translated the latest news in Arabic for me and without whose help I would not have managed in such difficult circumstances; like Monika and Zico, Sharif, Robert and many, many others, who – even now – are still in Beirut. The following are some thoughts, impressions and voices from the articles which I wrote while there during the first 10 days of the Israeli bombardment.
Under way in Beirut, the bombed capital of Lebanon
Sunday 16 July 2006, en route to the Shiite Beirut suburb of Haret Hreik. Since Wednesday (12 July) the Hezbollah stronghold has been under steady fire by the Israeli air force. We drive through deserted streets, past completely destroyed bridges and streets full of craters, and just make it to the adjoining district of Ghobeiry as Hezbollah’s defensive fire thunders away. With screeching tyres our car turns in the other direction. “Get out of here!” we shout in unison. The driver accelerates. Shortly afterwards two huge bombs detonate a few kilometres away. Heavy smoke rises above South Beirut, in Haret Hreik whole blocks are levelled to the ground – a Lebanese Ground Zero.Under the pretext of destroying ‘terrorist’ Hezbollah positions, Israeli soldiers massacre innocent civilians. On Saturday 15 July, in Marwaheen in Southern Lebanon, the Israeli army use loudspeakers to order people to evacuate their villages. The people leave their homes and flee from the imminent danger in cars and mini-buses. At exactly the same moment – as they are fleeing – Israeli bombers attack the convoy of innocent fugitives. Twenty people, nine of them children, were burnt alive in the vehicles. All terrorists? “Once again, truth is the first casualty of war,” commented Robert Fisk in his Saturday article for The Independent.
The city that never sleeps
“Our past is difficult, but the present is unbearable,” says Jamil, my taxi driver, in German. He drives me to the door of my apartment on Spears Road at Sanayeh Park. Years ago Jamil had applied for asylum in Germany, but was refused. In the 11 months of waiting he learnt surprisingly good German. “After 15 years of civil war, two Israeli invasions and many years of Israeli bombings I had hoped for a better future for my little daughter. And now everything is destroyed again. I want to try to get my family out of here.”
He is probably right. Even if Israel were to stop the blind destruction of airports, roads, bridges, harbours, power plants, television stations, lighthouses, petrol stations and apartment buildings in the coming weeks, it will take years for the country to reach the level of prosperity that it enjoyed just three weeks ago, before the aggressive military offensive began. Jamil is not the only one with plans to emigrate. Many young Beirutis share the same attitude. “We no longer have a future here,” says Ahmad, 18, convincingly. He has just finished school. Overnight the popular party city mutated to become the number one war zone. Kassin, 44, serves in a top restaurant. “Beirut was the city that never slept,” he remembers sadly. “We have seen many wars here, but this is the worst. It started so quickly and so violently.”
Andrea Bistrich also interviewed Alison Weir who explains how it is that although American citizens are involved in the Middle East crisis, directly and indirectly, few are aware of the influence of the media in the United States. The following is a short excerpt of this revealing interview.
Why Americans don’t know
Interview with Alison Weir
by Andrea Bistrich
Alison Weir was working as an editor of a small newspaper in Sausalito, north of San Francisco, when, during the Palestinian uprising in fall 2000, she became curious about a strange phenomenon in the Western media. Examining news reports more carefully she noticed that they seemed to reflect a predominantly Israeli perspective.
Weir then began to follow daily reports in local Middle Eastern media – the facts about children shot by Israeli forces. What struck her was that almost none of this was being covered by mainstream international media.
Alison Weir finally decided to go and see for herself. She quit her job and, in February-March 2001, travelled to the West Bank and Gaza as a freelance reporter.
“I saw tragedy and devastation that was far greater than anything being reported in the US media,” she said, describing her experiences. When she returned to the States she decided to start an organization whose aim was to study US media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to tell the American public the facts. Today Alison Weir is the founder and executive director of If Americans Knew.
Andrea Bistrich interviewed her for Share International.
Share International: Why don’t most Americans know what’s going on in Israel and Palestine?
Alison Weir: Because reporting on this issue is so Israel-centric.
A few years ago a survey asked Americans which children had been killed first in the uprising – Israeli or Palestinian? Approximately 80 per cent either had no idea or thought it to be Israeli children. In reality, however, at least 82 Palestinian children were killed before a single Israeli child was killed. For three-and-a-half months Palestinian children were being killed, before any suicide bombings and before any young Israelis had died – and yet Americans don’t know this because the media didn’t report it.
In the US media, reports of Israeli deaths are much more frequent than those of Palestinian deaths. For example, we studied The New York Times and discovered it had reported Israeli children’s deaths at a rate approximately seven times greater than they reported the deaths of Palestinian children. The Associated Press (AP) reported on 100 per cent of Israeli children’s deaths, while it failed to report even once on 85 per cent of Palestinian children’s deaths.
Primetime network news was even worse – Israeli children’s deaths were reported at rates up to 14 times more than Palestinian children’s deaths.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are entire swathes of newsworthy subject matter that the American media virtually ignore. We found, for instance, that Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners is almost never reported; the growing non-violence movement in the Palestinian territories has gone largely unnoticed; the phenomenon of Israeli soldiers refusing to serve in the army is rarely mentioned.
Few Americans know that lately there have been almost daily invasions by Israeli forces into Palestinian towns and villages, during which Palestinian civilians are shot and often killed. For anyone who closely monitors what is occurring daily in the region, it is constantly astonishing to see what the American media are getting away with.
SI: People often describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as complicated. “It is not,” you said in one of your speeches.
AW: A little over 100 years ago, a movement began in Europe in which a group of people developed the idea of creating an ethnically exclusive state. However, 95 per cent of the people already living there were not of the preferred ethnicity and were to be expelled to make way for the new state. In 1948 the goal was realized, as three-quarters of the indigenous inhabitants were pushed out in a war to create this ethnically defined nation. The refugees created by the expulsion have never been allowed to return. In addition, more and more of their land has been taken as Israel, through illegal force of arms, continues to expand – by way of another war in 1967 and with steady land confiscation ever since. The basic reality is not complicated.
However, there are aspects that are far more complex: unlike the leadership, many of those who moved to Palestine did not intend to dispossess the inhabitants; there is a growing peace movement in Israel; the role of religion is complex, with Jewish scriptures used both to justify and to oppose this movement.
SI: You say that Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and yet most Americans are unaware of their connection with the violence. Could you explain?
AW: American taxpayers give Israel over $10 million per day (some assessments even place this as high as $15 million per day). This is far more than the US gives to any other country in the world – more than to all sub-Saharan African nations combined, for example. In addition, the US government consistently vetoes international efforts to rein in Israeli militarism. The US has vetoed at least 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel.
Yet very few Americans are aware of their involvement in the conflict, since these facts are so rarely and so minimally reported by the US media. In our six-month study of the San Francisco Chronicle, to name just one case, we found that there had been 251 articles on Israel. Not one mentioned the total amount of aid that Americans give to that country. As a result, most Americans are unaware of the scope of our country’s support for Israel, and are uninformed on how Israel is using the massive power given to it by Americans. Most of us have little understanding both of the brutality and injustice being perpetrated through the use of American money and diplomatic assistance, and of the extreme peril this situation creates for us and for our families.
“When this madness is finally over”
Interview with Uri Avnery
by Felicity Eliot
Uri Avnery was born in 1923 in Germany, but moved to Palestine with his family in 1933. He has dedicated his life to campaigning for peace between Israelis and Palestinians: as an author and magazine editor, as a Member of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and as an indefatigable peace activist.
In 2001 Uri and his wife Rachel, co-founders of Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, were awarded the Right Livelihood award: “For their unwavering conviction – in the most difficult circumstances – that peace and an end to terrorism can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation.”
Uri Avnery, his wife and their colleagues are courageous and persistent people, despised by many in Israel for their stand against injustice. Peace and reconciliation are dirty words to some since it means negotiating with the enemy.
In 1974, Avnery was the first Israeli to start holding talks with the late Yasser Arafat’s representatives and in 1982 he was the first Israeli to meet and interview Arafat, whom he considers to have been “a giant”. For 30 years, Avnery supported Arafat’s political position. Later, when Arafat was more or less isolated and imprisoned in the Muqata, his headquarters in Ramallah, Avnery continued to visit him.
Felicity Eliot interviewed him for Share International by telephone from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 6 August 2006.
The following exchanges are taken from various parts of the interview.
SI: Gush Shalom has put forward some basic principles which may surprise some people.
UA: One basic requirement is the complete withdrawal of Israel from all Occupied Territories, the land that we took. We must make peace with the Palestinian people and with the elected Palestinian leadership.
SI: To be quite clear, you advocate negotiating with Hamas – to many a terrorist organization? Israelis should accept Hamas as the elected representatives of the Palestinian people, give back land and recognize the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital?
UA: Exactly. Yes, this is our position.
SI: How many powers, do you believe, are really involved in this war? Some say it is a proxy war, some say Syria and Iran are involved, while others believe that this is America’s and Israel’s war against Muslim powers in the region.
UA: Basically it is a war between Israel and Hezbollah. But it is also a war between the USA and Iran and, of course, Syria is involved, and indirectly everyone is involved.
SI: What are the implications, then? What do you think, for instance, of the new UN Resolution?
UA: An exercise in hypocrisy; it is a cynical game whose only clear intention is to allow Olmert to continue the war if he wishes. This is clearly unacceptable to Hezbollah, but without Hezbollah there will be no ceasefire.
SI: But that’s one of the problems. Hezbollah was left out of the negotiations entirely – it was by-passed.
UA: That is so stupid! Any serious negotiations must be between those who are fighting – otherwise it won’t succeed. We are at war with Hezbollah. If you want peace, talk to the other side. It’s pure common sense. It takes no genius to understand it!
SI: How do you get your message out?
UA: Through our own channels: at demonstrations, on our own website, via internet and email. We place political advertisements in the newspapers every day, using our meagre resources, because we believe it is extremely important at this time. We also send our articles to very many publications and websites. This is part of our job as we see it, to alert the world to the urgent need of these days. We must get people to wake up and stop this war – the duty of all people is to stop this war.
SI: You’re talking there about the duty of the international community. If you could speak to them directly, what would you say to the American people?
UA: To the American people I think we should say: “Your government is conducting a criminal policy. The American government has pushed us into the war – it would never have happened without President Bush and company.”
I don’t know who was more eager to start this war – our own government or the US government. This is what is going on. These devious manoeuvres by the US administration over the last few days were solely devised to prolong the war, perhaps in the hope that Israel would get into a war with Syria, so Syria would get involved in the conflict. Some people here say that is their real aim: to fight another proxy war for American interests to the last Israeli soldier.
Voice of the People
In this section Share International focuses on the rising tide of people power which will continue to swell until, under Maitreya’s wise guidance, the people will lead their leaders into the creation of a just society in which the rights and needs of all are recognized and met.
Worldwide demonstrations against the war in Lebanon
Thousands of people across the world marched in response to the crisis in Lebanon, calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Since the conflict began on 12 July 2006 demonstrations and meetings have been organized on an almost daily basis, with people shocked, saddened and angered at the scale of destruction and violence, and what they see as a disproportionate response by Israel to the capture of two of its soldiers.
Large protests were held on 22 July, and these grew throughout August, in cities including Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Paris, Sydney, London, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, Madrid, Santiago, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Chicago and Sao Paulo.
In the UK, there was fury from British people and MPs at their government’s being the only country, to side with the US in failing to call for an immediate ceasefire. Rallies were held across the country and two national CEASEFIRE NOW demonstrations on 22 July and 5 August organized by the Stop the War Coalition in London attracted unprecedented support for protests called at such short notice; the latter attracted over 20,000 people and brought coach-loads of protestors from all over the UK who heard MPs and activists denounce Israel’s barbaric destruction of Lebanon and Gaza, and the British government’s collusion with the US. Protestors brought children’s shoes to place against the Cenotaph in Whitehall in a poignant reminder of the hundreds of children being killed in Lebanon.
The UK’s globally active humanitarian organizations took full page advertisements in UK media to publish an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Thousands of protesters poured into Baghdad, Iraq, waving Lebanese, Hezbollah and Iraqi flags and, pointing to Israeli and US flags, shouted: “These are the terrorists.”
A rally on 22 July organized in Sydney, Australia, by community groups and Stop the War Coalition, attracted crowds of between 10,000 and 20,000. Similarly large demonstrations were held in other cities across the country.
Cities in Canada also saw large protests, which grew as the conflict continued. A planned vigil in Montreal on 30 July became much larger and more angry following news of the Israeli massacre in Qana. On 6 August, an estimated 15,000 people gathered in peaceful protest in the centre of the city and were joined by politicians as well as a group of Neturei Karta Orthodox Jews from New York.
Indonesia saw demonstrations in several cities, including several thousand in Jakarta on 28 July. People gathered outside the US embassy, with one speaker saying: “It’s ironic that America shouts about peace and democracy, and then supports Israel when it kills innocent Muslims.”
In the USA thousands of protesters came together in rallies held across the country. Organizers of a 12 August demonstration outside the White House in Washington DC said that 30,000 people had turned out, travelling from places as far as Florida and Michigan.
Other protests have been held throughout the conflict in countries including Israel, Yemen, New Zealand, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malaysia and Jordan. (Sources: stopwar.org, The Independent, BBC news, UK; truthout.org, indymedia.org, wsws.org, wikipedia.org)
Carter calls for lasting solution to Middle East crisis
Former US President Jimmy Carter is calling for a comprehensive long-term solution in the Middle East.
In an article published in newspapers The Washington Post, USA, and The Guardian, UK, Carter writes: “Tragically, the current conflict is part of the inevitably repetitive cycle of violence that results from the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, exacerbated by the almost unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve such a goal.”
He continues: “There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key UN resolutions, official American policy and the international ‘road map’ for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel’s official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, US government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal.”
Carter criticizes the US administration’s lack of involvement in Middle East peace efforts. “A major impediment to progress is Washington’s strange policy that dialogue on controversial issues will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject US assertions. Direct engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority and the [Syrian] government in Damascus will be necessary if secure negotiated settlements are to be achieved. Failure to address the issues and leaders involved risks the creation of an arc of even greater instability running from Jerusalem through Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.”
Carter concludes: “The people of the Middle East deserve peace and justice, and we in the international community owe them our strong leadership and support.” (Source: The Washington Post, USA; The Guardian, UK)
Israel waiting for a Messiah
Israel is “waiting for a Messiah”, according to Dutch media tycoon Harry de Winter in a recent interview with de Volkskrant, the Netherlands’ second largest daily newspaper.
“A guerilla movement such as Hezbollah can only be eliminated when it no longer receives popular support. If the Palestinians had had supermarkets, a school for their children, money to go on holiday, instead of 40 years of occupation, then Hamas or Hezbollah would never have had a chance. But with every bomb that is dropped, Hezbollah gains 10 new supporters. Forty years of occupation created terrorism and there isn’t a trace of peace in sight. It is just ludicrous. I know from my own personal experience that Palestinians and Jews are very similar. They are brothers, related, both Semitic; they eat the same food, find the same things important. It is as if we [the Dutch] occupied Belgium.”
In the interview Mr De Winter describes how he grew up in the Jewish community of a town in the south of the Netherlands. His parents were not religious, but did play an active role in the Jewish community. His initial admiration for Israel quickly diminished after the war of 1967 and he added his weight to ‘A Different Jewish Voice’, a Dutch organization of Jews critical of Israeli policies with regard to Palestine. “We have been saying for years that things are going wrong in the Middle East and that this will lead to Israel’s fall. Everyone in Holland is very afraid and yet for 40 years we have not been working towards an independent Palestinian state. No human being can stand oppression and occupation on a daily basis. If I had been living on the West Bank I would have become a terrorist myself. And look at Gaza. It is sickening how one and a half million people are being collectively punished.”
“Of course, every nation must defend its own borders, Israel included, but they should be the pre-1967 borders. That solution is not even being considered. There is no roadmap to a Palestinian state. Israel is a hotbed in the world. I think Israel needs a Mandela, the country is waiting for a Messiah, someone with a vision.” (Source: de Volkskrant, the Netherlands)
Peace rests on justice and sharing
Veteran campaign Monsignor Bruce Kent addressed the large crowd in Parliament Square following the peace march through London on 5 August 2006.
“How do we move forward to a different kind of world? I am not one who thinks that bombs and guns and planes and tanks bring peace. I think peace rests on justice and people living together, sharing, living as common human beings. That is the road to peace. And when I hear people in Israel say: “Why are they attacking me?” I say to them in my heart: “Because you represent an Apartheid State where millions of your fellow citizens [live] in prison, in poverty, dominated by the superior class. That is no way ever to peace and that has to change if we want peace in the Middle East. And that means not guns and bombs, it means no more investment in Israel, it means no more tourism in Israel, no more buying Israeli goods in shops. It means making friends with the Palestinians. Don’t go on holiday, go and live with the Palestinians and work with them and some of the troops out there.
“Finally, let me say, don’t let anti-Semitism grow in your heart. This is not an issue of anti-Semitism. Some of the bravest people in the world are those who refuse to serve in the Israeli Defence Force and are now in prison. They are brave, brave people. We have Jews for Justice in this country, we have Jews against house demolition. Work with your fellow Jews for peace in this world, with your fellow Christians, with your fellow Muslims.
I have a dream from the Old Testament, that on the mountain of God all people will come to worship together, it is in the Book of Isaiah. Let’s work together for a Middle East where all are equal and just under God’s side and we live together in harmony.”
Writers condemn “liquidation of the Palestinian nation”
In a letter printed in newspapers around the world, 18 writers, incuding three Nobel Prize recipients, condemn the recent Israeli violence as “the liquidation of the Palestinian nation”. The letter is signed by John Berger, Noam Chomsky, Harold Pinter, José Saramago, Eduardo Galeano, Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Charles Glass, Richard Falk, Gore Vidal, Russell Banks, Thomas Keneally, Chris Abani, Carolyn Forché, Martín Espada, Jessica Hagedorn and Toni Morrison, and appeared in newspapers throughout the world, including Le Monde, El País, The Independent and La Repubblica, as well as US weekly The Nation.
“The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner – and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis – there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.
“That this ‘kidnapping’ was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources – most particularly that of water – by the Israeli Defense Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements, during the last 70 years.
“Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly – who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?
“Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.
“This has to be said loud and clear, for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognized for what it is and resisted.” (Source: The Nation, USA)