Meditation Focus #13

RELIGIOUS CONFLICT IN THE MOLUCCAS ISLANDS
WILL AN INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE BE DEPLOYED?

Web posted on July 28 for the week beginning Sunday July 30



Hello

What follows is the 13th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday July 30.

Religious conflict in the Moluccas - Will an international peacekeeping force be deployed?

1. Summary
2. Meditation Times
3. More information on the situation of the Moluccas Islands




1. SUMMARY

We would like once again to recommend the situation in the Moluccas (also known as the Maluku Islands) to your attention in your meditations and prayers this coming week. Despite an important Indonesian army presence in Ambon and in other cities of the Moluccas Islands, the ethnic and religious strife has continued and TV footage has recently shown that elements of the Indonesian army were siding with Muslim paramilitaries who have infiltrated the region from Indonesia's main island, Java. Hence, there are now calls for international intervention to end the violence that has killed nearly 4,000 thousand people since early 1999. The Indonesian government is still opposed to an international peacekeeping force but so it was with regard to the situation in East Timor a little over a year ago. A repeat of what occured in East Timor can be avoided if such a force is deployed now.

Please hold in your heart and mind a vision, as guided by Spirit during your meditation, of what needs to occur for peace and security to be restored in the Moluccas, so that the process of reconciliation may begin between the Christian and Muslim communities. May peace prevail in the Moluccas, for the highest good of all.




2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.

ii) Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT: Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 -- Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon 22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+

(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)




3. More information on the situation of the Moluccas Islands

Please review the material that was included in the previous Meditation Focus on this situation posted on July 7 and available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus10.htm

From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000717/pl/indonesia_usa_dc_2.html

Monday July 17 - Indonesia's Spice Islands Need Close Eye, Says US

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Defense Secretary William Cohen said on Monday bloody religious violence in Indonesia's spice islands demanded close attention but said no formal request for help had been received by the United States. Cohen said any possible international intervention in Indonesia's Moluccas would likely be coordinated by Australia, which led a multi-national force sent to restore peace in the former Indonesian province of East Timor last year. CLIP Australian Defense Minister John Moore said Australia would only respond if it received a formal request for help from Indonesia. CLIP A U.N. spokesman in Sydney said the United Nations had not yet received any formal petitions for help to stop the violence in the spice islands. CLIP Professor James Haire, head of Australia's Uniting Church, said a humanitarian crisis was looming in the Moluccas and Australia must press for an international peacekeeping force.


From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000718/wl/indonesia_religious_violence_2.html

Tuesday July 18 - Indonesia Troops Said Taking Sides

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia's military admitted Tuesday that some of its troops have taken sides in the long-running Christian-Muslim war in the Maluku islands. The announcement came as a boatload of 1,500 Maluku refugees, mostly Christians, arrived Tuesday in West Timor, and were being looked after by the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration. CLIP Christian clerics in the Malukus have warned that elements of the Indonesian army were siding with Muslim paramilitaries who have infiltrated the region from Indonesia's main island, Java. In an attempt to halt the bloodshed, the government imposed a state of emergency last month. But the move did little to defuse fierce street battles over the weekend that left almost 30 people dead.

CLIP

Also Tuesday, Indonesia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab reiterated at a parliamentary hearing that the government will not allow an international peacekeeping force into the region. On Monday, President Abdurrahman Wahid said some international assistance - such as equipment or logistical help - may be required to end the sectarian violence. CLIP Nearly 4,000 people have died in 18 months of intercommunal violence in the Malukus. Muslims make up about 90 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people, but Christians are in the majority in many parts of the Malukus.


From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000724/wl/asia_security_dc_1.html

Monday July 24 - ASEAN Ministers Open Talks on Regional Security

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Southeast Asian foreign ministers kicked off a two-day meeting in the Thai capital on Monday which will include talks ranging from drug trafficking to Indonesia's ethnic and religious strife. CLIP Jakarta is under further pressure because of bloody fighting between Muslims and Christians in the Moluccas. But Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab is expected to relay to the meeting Indonesia's rejection of calls for international intervention to end the violence that has killed thousands since early 1999. ASEAN traditionally does not interfere in the affairs of member countries.

CLIP

From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000724/wl/asia_security_dc_2.html

Monday July 24 - Fine Words But Little Action at S.E.Asia Talks

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Southeast Asian foreign ministers warned Monday their bloc risked being marginalized unless it woke up and responded to its numerous problems, but looked set to offer few concrete solutions. A draft of the final communique of ministers of the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), obtained by Reuters Monday, offered no commitment to tackle most of the problems that have engulfed the region in recent years. CLIP The draft also reaffirmed ASEAN's pledge to support the territorial integrity of Indonesia, including the provinces of Aceh and Irian Jaya, both of which have separatist movements. The Indonesian Moluccas islands, scene of bloody carnage between Muslims and Christians since early 1999, was not mentioned. Thousands have died in that conflict.




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