Environmental education and education for socio-economic development
Hans van Willenswaard: Towards a Bandung II
|In February 2002 Sulak Sivaraksa and other prominent South East Asian peace activists convened a meeting promoting the idea of a global non violent peace force and a Bandung II conference. NGO leaders, academics, activists, and peacemakers from throughout Asia and beyond met for a working meeting on "Peacemaking and International Insecurity in the 21st Century" at the Bangkok Asian Institute of Technology, on 10-13 February 2002. It was organized by Santi Pracha Dhamma Institute (SPDI stands for Peace, People (Participatory Democracy), and Justice). The talks centered on the need for contextual peacemaking as well as counteraction against, what Sulak Sivaraksa calls, "free market fundamentalism".|
Non violent peace action at the example of Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan
The meeting investigated ways of promoting non-violent conflict resolution in the region. The idea of a non-violent peace force is nothing new in Asia. It was propagated by two men working in different parts of British India: Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, a Muslim Pushtun, lesser known internationally. Khan tried to change everday violence in the then North West Frontier Province through education on the basis of Islam. Khan persuaded some 100000 of his countrymen to lay down arms and to begin a non violent struggle for Pushtun independence. Khan spent some 52 years in British and Pakistani prisons or exile. The participants of the conference wholeheartedly supported the idea of peacemaking based on a serious rethinking of local traditions, values and cultures. While the need for peace in universal, peace building is seen as contextual.
David Hartsough proposed a peace force of 2000 active members, 4000 reserves and 5000 supporters to be established by the year 2010. Participants at the meeting have committed to working to help develop a regional non-violent peace team that would be able to act in conflict situations in the region.
Proposal of a Bandung II conference
The meeting also discussed the idea of a Bandung II conference. In 1955 government representatives from 29 Asian and African countries met in Bandung to declare that they would not be aligned to either of the super powers. The former President of Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid and prominent South Asian dissident Sulak Sivaraksa suggested to use the 50th anniversary of the conference to establish a new anti-colonial process. Bandung II as they called their vision would not be left to the governments. Because the growing power of transnational corporations have eroded the states' capacity to control internal ecoinomuy activities, they called for a renaissance of the non aligned movement lead by trans national non governmental organisations.
In this context, Abdurrahman Wahid sharply criticised the Western concept of globalization: "The commonly held notions of globalization are only benefiting the already developed countries. They include equating globalization with liberalization, democracy, free market, etc." In proposing a third alternative to merely succumbing to Western globalization or rejecting anything connected to the catchword globalization, Wahid challenged the participants, "to start with a serious rethinking on traditions, values and cultures. Form there we then move toward the examination and reformulation: which traditions, values and cultures that remain to be maintained and those which should be abandoned in dealing with globalization."
As Sulak Sivaraksa remarks, while the development concepts of modernisation tend to be Europeanisation, "we are in a globalising world as opposed to a globalised one. As such, we all still have a chance to define its contours and contents before the centre is occupied without our participation."