Thursday 16 February 2012

Interview to Hildegard Goss-Mayr






1.   What does IFOR stand for?

2.   What do they advocate for?

3.   What beliefs do their members belong to?

Hildegard Goss-Mayr

Hildegard Goss-Mayr was born on January 22, 1930, in Vienna, and is a Christian nonviolent activist.

Life and commitment
Daughter of Kaspar Mayr, founder of the Austrian branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, she studied Philosophy in Vienna and New Haven. In 1958, she married Jean Goss (1912–1991), a French peace activist, and they had two children.

She worked, together with her husband, for the reconciliation between East and West parts of Europe in 50's.

In the 60's and the 70s', for some time they lived and worked in South America, training groups in active nonviolence and helping for the creation of the SERPAJ.  Servicio Paz y Justicia or Service Peace and Justice is a Human Rights Non Governmental Organisation in Latin America, founded in 1974. It is a Christian based and nonviolent organization, committed to defend political prisoners in the different South American dictatorships the 1970-80s.

They also trained a lot of others groups in active nonviolence in many countries, in Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. They participated in the preparation of the People Power Revolution in Philippines in 1986.

Jean Goss and Hildegard Goss-Mayr shared several Peace Prizes. She is currently the honorary president of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation

Founded in 1919 in response to the horrors of war in Europe, IFOR has taken a consistent stance against war and its preparation throughout its history. Perceiving the need for healing and reconciliation in the world, the founders of IFOR formulated a vision of the human community based upon the belief that love in action has the power to transform unjust political, social, and economic structures.

Today IFOR has 85 branches, groups, and affiliates in 51 countries on all continents. Although organized on a national and regional basis, IFOR seeks to overcome the division of nation states which are often the source of conflict and violence. Its membership includes adherents of all the major spiritual traditions as well as those who have other spiritual sources for their commitment to nonviolence.

Friday 3 February 2012

Neve Shalom – An Oasis of Peace

Can Jews and Palestinians live in peace? Neve Shalom~Wahat al-Salam, which translates into “Oasis of Peace” in Hebrew and Arabic, shows that it’s not only possible, but it’s happening right now. NS~WAS is a cooperative village where Jews and Palestinian Arabs with Israeli citizenship live together. It has developed a community based on mutual acceptance and respect. Democratically governed and owned by its members, the community is not affiliated with any political party or movement.

Equidistant from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv/Jaffa in Israel, the village was founded in the early ‘70s by Bruno Hussar, a Jewish French man, who was born in Egypt and became a Catholic priest as an adult. He helped build a living bridge between different cultures and religions. Currently more than 50 families have settled in the village, balanced between Jewish and Palestinian ethnic backgrounds, and among people belonging to different religions (Jewish, Muslim, Christian) as well as atheists. The land is leased from the adjacent Latrun Monastery.

NS~WAS gives practical expression to its vision through various branches. The project of creating an educational framework that would express NS~WAS ideals of co-existence and equality. The school was born together with the community’s first children. The idea took shape in the form of a bi-national nursery, quickly followed by a kindergarten and a primary school where the educational system is grounded in a complete Jewish/Palestinian bilingual program. Hebrew and Arabic languages are educational media for all the children. Both Jewish and Palestinian teachers speak exclusively in their mother tongue to all the children. Each child's identity is nurtured by imparting knowledge of his/her culture and tradition while facilitating respect for the culture and tradition of the other people.

After several years of operation, the community’s educational institutions were opened to include children from outside the village. At present, the school and kindergarten have an enrollment of less than 200 children, 90% of which come from surrounding Arab and Jewish communities. Since 1997 the primary school obtained the status of "experimental school" and in 2000 it was fully incorporated into the national school system, as an official extra-regional school, while maintaining all the qualities that make it a unique institution.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Debating SOPA


Before the debate, for homework, students can be asked to research SOPA online to find out what it is and the strongest arguments for and against it.

  • Write on the board “media blackout”. Elicit ideas about what this phrase implies (censorship of news about a particular topic, imposed by governments or media companies for whatever reason).
  • Write now “Internet blackout” and again invite learners to guess what the phrase implies (censorship of the Internet by switching off online services).
  • Ask students to think about why major Internet companies like Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and Paypal have taken part in an Internet blackout.  Put them into pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss their ideas.
  • Elicit ideas from different groups, writing down useful language on the board.

Watch the Video: Explanation of the Law SOPA

You can make pauses to check understanding.

It is necessary to make it clear that by no means do we agree with what the narrator says in min. 5:37 of the video: Remember, those who work on the agreement might not have any clue what the Internet is about.
Let’s assume he is trying to be ironic.