Meditation Focus #51
Uniting for Peace and Humanitarian Succour in Afghanistan
& Global 11:11 Meditations and Celebrations
What follows is the 51st Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, November 11, 2001.
UNITING FOR PEACE AND HUMANITARIAN SUCCOUR IN AFGHANISTAN
2. Global 11:11 Meditations and Celebrations
3. Meditation times
4. More information on this week's Focus
According to the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner on Refugees), the current crisis in Afghanistan is the world's worst refugee emergency. For years it has been the single largest refugee crisis in the world. A veritable floodtide of civilians fled Afghanistan in the wake of the 1979 Soviet invasion of the country and by 1990, 6.2 million people had become exiles living principally in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Unending civil war followed the withdrawal of foreign troops in 1989 and the ebb and flow of peoples has mirrored events on the battlefield ever since. More than 4.6 million people did return to their homes. But others left. The worst drought in living memory recently struck the region, adding to the suffering and death. Today, more than 3.6 million Afghans remain outside the country. Around one million are internally displaced. The crisis seemed so unending and intractable, funds for Afghan refugees threatened to dry up completely as a weary international community often ignored or forgot the human tragedy. Until the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, once more propelled Afghanistan and the plight of its people firmly back into the global spotlight. Most refugees live as displaced persons inside a homeland whose infrastructure has collapsed and commercial activity largely disappeared even before the latest crisis engulfed the country.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to contribute in fostering in everyone's mind the understanding that the world must unite immediately to provide sufficient humanitarian assistance to our brothers and sisters of Afghanistan, and thus prevent a tragedy of nearly unparalleled proportion from occuring. In addition, we may also envision a swift end of the current bombing campaign and the establishment of a lasting and peaceful resolution to this conflict, with the collaboration of all parties involved, as the fatest way out of the unending sufferings of this country's children, women, and men. May peace prevail in Afghanistan for the Highest Good of All.
This entire Meditation Focus is also available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus51.htm
2. GLOBAL 11:11 MEDITATIONS AND CELEBRATIONS (Special Addendum)
Since November 11 1994, numerous people and groups around the world have meditated, starting at 11:00 am (local time), to send unconditional love and peace to the Earth and many have also organized celebrations to express love and joy in a spirit of global unity. Once again this year, dozens of groups and hundreds of people have expressed a keen interest in contributing to creating a wave a love that will circle the world and contribute in transmuting humanity's consciousness to a higher frequency of love and peace for all. You are welcomed to participate to this event and will find more details at the URLs given below.
THE GREAT PLANETARY COMMUNION
This is a call for the 11th November at 11:11 am and pm, local time in all places of the planet. Let all of us hold our hands around the planet and swing our Mother Earth in our arms with deep Love. Every group of people will create a Web of Love around the Planet and this energy will gradually transform the thoughts and behaviour of humanity, changing violence by Love, disunion by Harmony, pain by Joy. Love will open the hearts of all beings, healing the fears, wrath, separation, etc, to bring all the new energies, ... Love, tenderness, compassion, tolerance, friendship, humility, honesty, help, gratefulness, respect, loyalty, unity, solidarity, compromise, optimism, trust, detachment are possible if we commit ourselves. CLIP
Sent by Ricardo Ocampo of Anahuak Network <firstname.lastname@example.org>
November 11 events information from different parts of the world
Extensive November 11 news compilations
Other November 11 info
Global Peace Day
Imagine - Love & Peace - November 11, 2001
On November 11, 1917 people around the world decided to fight no more and to end World War I by signing the Campaign Truce. On November 11, 2001, we propose to join our hands and call for global peace. (...) We suggest holding a prayer of silence at 11:11 a.m., November 11, and sing the song, "Imagine" by John Lennon. Our basic call is for everyone around the world to express peace in their own ways in each of their community.
Also scientists of THE GLOBAL CONSCIOUSNESS PROJECT will be testing the effects of the world coming together to meditate on PEACE, LOVE, AND LIGHT, AND BALANCE on November 11.
3. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.
ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
Beginning Sunday October 28, these times below will correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:
Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM
+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment.
You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html to find your current corresponding local time if a closeby city is not listed above.
4. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS WEEK'S FOCUS
This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.
You may also review our previous Meditation Focus #48: Urgent Need of Humanitarian Aid and Spiritual Succour for the People of Afghanistan - available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus48.htm
Lubbers calls on international community to live up to promises of help for civilians
High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers during his recent visit to the Killi Fazio staging camp in Pakistan.
GENEVA, Nov. 8, (UNHCR) -- High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers Thursday appealed to the international community to live up to its promises to help civilians in Afghanistan and again called on neighboring countries to open their borders to refugees.
"As the military effort to fight terrorism enters its second month, we need to underscore the commitment made by coalition leaders to the Afghan people that this war is not against them, and that the humanitarian effort will remain a priority," Lubbers said in a statement issued at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.
"With winter nearly upon us, millions of Afghans are in need of some type of humanitarian assistance," Lubbers added. "Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes, but continuing insecurity is hampering humanitarian efforts to help them inside Afghanistan."
"At the same time, they are unable to seek refuge outside because all neighboring borders are officially closed," Lubbers concluded. "As a result, many desperate Afghans have nowhere to turn."
Despite the closed-border policy, UNHCR estimated earlier this week that about 135,000 people had managed to cross into Pakistan since the September 11 attacks on the United States. Many of those who entered Pakistan -- known as invisible refugees -- seek shelter with family members or disappear into the country, afraid they will be deported by the authorities.
Recent reports indicate that the newly arriving refugees are in increasingly poor health, with several case of malnutrition reported earlier this week.
The High Commissioner had emphasized even before September 11 that priority should be given to helping the people inside Afghanistan, but security considerations have made it difficult if not impossible for humanitarian agencies to work efficiently in that country.
Nevertheless, Lubbers said the refugee agency was examining how it can continue and perhaps even expand its programs inside Afghanistan, where the agency works with over 100 small non-governmental organizations. The High Commissioner added that UNHCR has helped more than 4.6 million Afghans to return home since 1988.
"The fight against terrorism is necessary," Lubbers said. "But there is also a concomitant international duty to help the Afghan people -- both inside and outside -- and to make good on the promises made to them at the beginning of this conflict that they are not the target of this war and will not be forgotten."
Lubbers recognized what he called "the enormous refugee burden" Afghanistan's neighbors are shouldering, and noted that "some progress" had been made with Pakistan authorities on making the camps available to those who had entered the country through back roads and mountain paths. Many of them have been unwilling to seek help, afraid of being sent back to Afghanistan.
Pakistan argues that it already has more than two million refugees within its frontiers, and complains that it has received little help from the international community. Hundreds of thousands of additional refugees would pose a threat to its internal security, according to government officials.
The situation in Iran, where sites have been identified and humanitarian stocks pre-positioned, is not much better, according to UNHCR. Some makeshift camps have been established inside Afghanistan near the borders with both Iran and Pakistan. "However, UNHCR has serious concerns over the security of these sites, which are in both Taliban and Northern Alliance territory," Lubbers said.
Story date: 8 Nov 2001
Afghanistan Humanitarian Updates
Includes a look at the refugee situation at a glance, statistics, maps, and analysis. From the UN High Commissioner on Refugees.
Links to many organizations providing humanitarian assistance
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
2001 Afghanistan Emergency Funding Overview
(in USD as of 9 November 2001)
UNHCR component of Inter Agency Donor Alert 268,000,000
UNHCR Budget 50,000,000
Czech Republic 107,325
Private Donors 2,687,049
United Kingdom 3,676,471
United States of America 14,000,000
Firm Pledges sub-total 57,617,693
TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS 57,617,693
Donor Relations Resource Mobilisation
TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS (Including the regular annual programme): $102,274,138
Whereas the Total appeal budget is: $268,500,000
Before the start of the U.S.-led military campaign inside Afghanistan, the UNHCR has spent at least $1.2 billion for refugee operations in Pakistan, $352 million in Iran and $72 million inside Afghanistan. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States, UNHCR requests $268 million for six months of refugee operations as part of a $584 million over U.N. request for humanitarian assistance. But so far only $102,274,138 have been firmly pledged. This is actually very little in comparison with the tens of billions of dollars poured into the war campaign so far and therefore much more must be done.
Where are you?
Millions face death this winter in Afghanistan and we can prevent it
Does anybody understand what the United States is on the verge of doing?
Experienced, respected food aid organizations warn that even before the bombing of Afghanistan began on October 7, some 7,500,000 Afghans were -- through a gut-wrenching combination of poverty, drought, war, dislocation, and repression -- at risk of starving to death this winter. When the bombing began, almost all delivery of food from the outside world stopped. Now, roads and bridges are destroyed, millions more people are dislocated, and the snow is steadily approaching from higher elevations and from the north.
For weeks, aid organizations, along with voices from throughout the region, have been begging the United States to call off its bombing campaign, at least for long enough so that aid agencies can conduct the massive transfer of food into and throughout Afghanistan that is necessary to prevent death on a scale the world has not seen in a long, long time.
Seven and a half million people at risk of dying in a matter of months. That's three times the number of people Pol Pot took years to kill. Thirty-five times the number that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined. If 5,000 died on September 11, we're talking the equivalent number of deaths to ten World Trade Centers, every day, for 150 days. Slow, painful deaths. Entirely avoidable deaths. Deaths whose sole cause is not the United States, but most of which can still be prevented -- except that the United States is refusing to allow them to be prevented.
Seven and a half million people. The snowline is creeping down the mountainsides. The food is almost gone. The infrastructure is in shambles. There will be no "independent verification" of the body count. There wasn't in the Holocaust or Rwanda or Cambodia, either. The judgment of the world did not need one. The clock is ticking. Where were you?
What can we do?
It may take civilian-delivered food to prevent millions of deaths in Afghanistan.
(...) Afghanistan and several million people on the edge of entirely preventable deaths isn't just a matter of spin. Listen to Anita Pratap, a pro-American writer, filing yesterday from New Delhi for Globalvision News Network: "Not just Muslims, but everyone [in the world] now talks of U.S. double standards ... to a great extent, the [arrogance and double standards of] the U.S. media has contributed to the anti-Americanism sweeping the world. ... the U.S media is no longer neutral and therefore no longer credible. The loss is theirs." In the face of this mounting global criticism, what has our government done? Increase the bombing, ignore pleas for a temporary halt, and declare that the world needs more of what the U.S. media has already been delivering, to the great disgust of the world. CLIP
This is why the "what can we do?" question is so difficult. To all appearances, our government isn't listening, doesn't want to listen, and is seemingly convinced that democracy is a process by which a majority of voters are to be persuaded of the appropriateness of policies the politicians have already decided upon. If the United States is not interested in allowing food aid agencies to go into the country, even briefly, without risking relief workers' deaths at the hands of the Pentagon, the goal of saving a lot of lives would seem to be impossible. But confronted with the unthinkable, we have to attempt the impossible. And there's also a second goal: to let the rest of the world (including but not limited to all of Islam) know that some Americans do, in fact, care very much about preventing these deaths. These two goals suggest a whole range of options. CLIP
The Humanitarian Front
Christian Science Monitor (Nov 9, 2001)
Money to fund relief efforts to help millions of displaced Afghans, for now, isn't a severe problem. It has poured in to relief agencies from around the world.
But life for Afghan refugees amassed at Afghanistan's borders and unable to cross, as well as those already eking out existence in overcrowded camps just over the border in Pakistan, remains tremendously difficult. Some 3.5 million Afghan refugees already are in Pakistan and Iran as a result of the Taliban regime's repression, a severe drought, and the most recent military campaign.
But a new - and even more immediate - problem is the plight of at least several hundred thousand Afghans now internally displaced, largely as a result of the US bombing campaign over the past month. Getting assistance to these individuals is proving far more difficult.
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Poul Nielson, says some 2 million Afghans are on the move inside the country, leaving towns for more rural areas. Racing against a rapidly ticking weather clock, air drops (already less effective than trucked-in supplies) will be even less useful when the snows arrive. Aid workers have criticized the air-dropped packets, since there's no supervision of distribution, they could land in the mined areas, or they could wind up in enemy hands.
The US has begun to augment drops of food packets with plastic sheeting and wool blankets. Those supplies, plus more food, are moving to Turkmenistan from Italy in anticipation of a large movement of refugees northward away from Taliban-held territory. This aid is part of the $320 million package for Afghanistan the Bush administration announced last month.
As the US continues to struggle with the inherent problems of rooting terrorists out of caves while sending in massive relief, it will have to find ways to reach these internally displaced refugees, as well as step up efforts to convince Afghan civilians that its military campaign is directed solely at terrorists and their backers.
European Parliament President Nicole Fontaine called for "humanitarian corridors" in Afghanistan through which aid could safely be transported. The US could provide military escorts to aid workers through such corridors, but that would require significant reductions in Taliban control. The prospect of humanitarian disaster strongly argues for a more flexible strategy in pursuing an end to the military component of this "new war."
OTHER RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:
UNICEF: Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan Region
Includes updates on emergency and relief work to help Afghan children, who are especially at risk as conditions worsen in the country.
(...) About 60 per cent of UNICEF's funding appeal to save the lives of Afghan children has been met. The appeal, a total of $36 million to meet basic survival needs, remains urgent. The appeal itself covers only the most immediate emergency needs. For longer-term recovery the needs will be much greater. "It's going to take a lot to keep Afghan children alive through the next several months," says UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. "We're focusing our energies on basic survival, including immunization against childhood diseases, and providing nutritional supplements, medicine, and clean water. UNICEF is also delivering education materials for displaced children." The organization is doing all it can to help millions of children and women survive what is shaping up to be a major humanitarian crisis. More than 5 million people - 70 per cent of them children and women - already rely on humanitarian aid to survive, and the numbers could rise significantly.
Throughout Afghanistan, food supplies are low, medical care is hard to find, and tens of thousands of people are on the move toward borders and remote rural regions. Shelter and supplies are lacking. For many, survival will be difficult. The crisis is the result of more than 20 years of war, three years of severe drought, and the ongoing displacement of more than one million people. With the onset of winter, conditions are expected to worsen. Children are especially at risk. Almost 20 percent of the vulnerable population are children under the age of five. For them, hunger, illness, and cold conditions can easily lead to death.
RAWA statement on the US strikes on Afghanistan (October 11, 2001) http://rawa.fancymarketing.net/us-strikes.htm
(...) The continuation of US attacks and the increase in the number of innocent civilian victims not only gives an excuse to the Taliban, but also will cause the empowering of the fundamentalist forces in the region and even in the world. CLIP
War in Afghanistan special report
Forgotten families seek shelter from the bombs
John Davison in Makaki Camp, Afghanistan reports on how the looming refugee crisis on the Iranian border is being ignored.
Just what is this 'civilisation'?
It's a word that can mean all things to all men, but it's also a concept used in
the current conflict to suit many different purposes, says Mary Riddell.
The West goes on bombing, the Taliban keep resisting and the Afghans face a
catastrophic famine, says Nick Cohen
The real war for survival is unseen
John Sweeney in Sohai Bos: The real war for survival is taking place in
a refugee camp no one has heard of, where a mother has nothing to offer her
children but the sweet emptiness of a lullaby
The crisis: can we stop the starvation?
Angel of mercy returns to island hell
A new guide to effective donations (05 Oct 2001)
The scale of the recent donations to U.S. charitable organisations after the September 11 attacks are staggering. But too much aid can be as much a problem as too little. In a timely new guide, the Pan American Health Organisation suggests some guidelines for effective giving
Donate online now
FULL COVERAGE ON AFGHANISTAN
Untold numbers of children, including millions of refugees, continue to live in unimaginable conditions around the world. In recent decades literally tens of millions of children have been given a new chance to grow and prosper through better medical care, schooling or, in the case of refugees, through the protection of UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations. But despite these accomplishments, life has never been so desperate for many of the world's youngest citizens, including the estimated 25 million children currently uprooted from their homes. A special summit meeting was planned for September in New York to review their plight. In the wake of the September 11 attacks in the U.S., the General Assembly has postponed the summit, but hopes to reconvene it by the end of 2001.
Despite the plethora of conferences and meetings, laws and conventions, despite the unprecedented attention and commitment of resources by the global community, the lot of millions of children remains desperate. Consider: more than two million children were killed by war in the last decade, a further six million were wounded and one million orphaned. Unknown numbers of minors were raped and brutalised and millions more died of starvation and disease. AIDS alone claimed the lives of 3.8 million children and orphaned a further 13 million. Today, there are around 300,000 youngsters who were kidnapped or coerced into becoming child soldiers and sexual slaves. Children in nearly 90 countries live in permanent danger of death or maiming from 60 million land mines. The number of children violently uprooted from their homes and either internally displaced within their own countries or forced to flee as refugees to surrounding states, may be as high as 25 millionthe equivalent of the population of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden combined. CLIP
Many more details through http://www.unhcr.ch/children/index.html
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