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4. CONFLICT PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT

1) Roots of Peace
2) Film Series on "Peace Warriors"
3) Interreligious and "communal" conflicts in South Asia
4) Peace and culturally rooted citizenship in Central Africa
5) A movement against violence in Brazilian urban milieu



1) Roots of Peace

See on this site (same rubric) in French.

2) Film Series on "Peace Warriors"

See on this site (same rubric) in French.

3) Interreligious and "communal" conflicts in South Asia

The representative of Network Culture's regional base in India, Siddhartha, strives to create links between the various religious communities in his region, where Hindus and Muslims clash, sometimes violently. In 1995 participants from Ireland, Palestine, Rwanda, South Africa, Bosnia, Morocco (living in Brussels), Mexico, Sri Lanka and a number of Indian activists were invited to a seminar in Bangalore. At the meeting the participants exchanged experiences and held discussions with representatives from "front-line" districts and the police, politicians and with the leaders of religious communities. Other meetings are planned for the future.

1998 was a watershed year for South Asia. Both India and Pakistan exploded nuclear devices, making South Asia one of the nuclear tinderboxes in the world. Even at the height of the cold war there were built in safeguards between USA and the former Soviet Union. There was a command and monitoring structure in place and the lag time between a nuclear missile being fired and its arrival was 30 minutes. There was at least some time to check on false alarms and avoid panic reactions. Between India and Pakistan the lag time is 3 minutes. There is no way to check false alarms. Besides, a command and monitoring structure is an incredibly expensive proposition and will cost even more than the nuclear weapons development programme in each of the countries.

Given the fact that both India and Pakistan have governments that are unstable and fundamentalist in nature only aggravates matters. It was therefore extremely urgent for Network Cultures to respond to this totally unexpected situation. Network Cultures organised public talks and protest meetings in India to pressurise the Indian government to sign the CTBT( comprehensive test ban treaty). Although the CTBT is tilted heavily in favour of the Nuclear weapons states, who have already done their testing and can now continue with computer simulation, it was felt that neither India and Pakistan could afford to wait to ratify the treaty till the right conditions presented themselves. Siddhartha published interviews and articles in Indian and International newspapers and journals on the subject. A peace network has been created to dissuade the leadership of both countries to desist from proceeding on this perilous path.

To ease the situation a little, Network Cultures invited a noted Pakistani writer and intellectual, Mr.M.B.Naqvi, a leading Pakistani intellectual and peace activist, to come to India and give talks and meet peace activists. This had the effect of building cross border ties between Pakistani peace activists and Indian ones. Mr. Naqvi's talk on the promotion of Islamic Fundamentalism in Pakistan was an eye opener to many Indian Muslims, Hindus and Christians. It may be mentioned that at the time Siddhartha was in Peshawar, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan made a public statement that what the country needed was to have a Saudi Arabian form of government with a Taliban system of Justice. Mr. Naqvi's talk further underlined the work of Network Cultures in the region in promoting liberal and progressive interpretations of Religions to offset the dangerous interpretations that fundamentalists were espousing.

Networking for Peace. An opportunity for cross-border peace efforts presented itself when the Pakistan-India Forum for Peace and Democracy had its convention in Peshawar, Pakistan, in November1998. Network Cultures used the ocassion to meet a large number of Pakistani peace activists, politicians, intellectuals and feminists in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. A number of cross-border activities are being planned for 1999. Network Cultures is coordinating these activities. The first of these cross border workshops will take place in Bangalore in the middle of January 1999. The workshop is titled " Pluralism, Democracy and Conflict Resolution".

Peace to the City programme. As part of the international campaign 'Peace to the City' Network Cultures organised four training sessions for slum dwellers, community leaders, religious leaders, police officers and politicians to defuse the uneasy Hindu-Muslim divide created by the rise of Hindu cultural nationalism in India. Network Cultures has always believed that we should be partly involved in direct action, particularly at a local level, to give credibility and substance to our international activities. The peace-committees we have helped to set up in Bangalore have played a significant role in defusing Hindu-Muslim conflict in the city.

4) Peace and culturally rooted citizenship in Central Africa

Also see under the same rubric in French on this site.

5) A movement against violence in Brazilian urban milieu

Rubem Cesar Fernandez from Brazil organises in Rio de Janeiro a large campaign against hunger and violence. He seeks to bring together those people who wish to mediate between the authorities, the local police and the various sectors of civil society (workers, employers, churches, local communities etc). The chiefs of police from Rio, Bangalore, Tokyo and New York were invited to the first meeting, along with actors in civil society from Africa, Europe, Asia and North and South America who experience similar tensions.

Also see under the same rubric in French on this site.

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