Tag Archives: Peace

Small Pleasures – a Moment of Peace


Thanks to The Hummingbird Bakery.

Yours,

Nina

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Child Soldiers

In the two posts in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace, we have seen how popular culture portrays deep social issues, such as child abuse in its various forms. However, very much like for example women, youth and children are not only victims of violence, or peacebuilders as seen in the article The Unexplored Power of Youth but in some cases they can also be perpetrators of violence.

Here are two videos that show these different sides of youth and children. This time the videos show how NGOs try to approach this complex and difficult topic. Both videos are made by WarChild, an organisation that tries to reintegrate child soldiers and give them the means to come back to a somewhat normal life.

If you have some articles or interesting websites that might give ideas or approaches for guiding youth through the process of changing the roles they are playing towards positive change, please share them – post them below or send an email to takeyourinitiative@gmail.com

More from the series soon,

Nina Aeckerle

350 – International Day of Climate Action – 24 October 2009

Hello everyone,

sorry for not having posted anything for so long. I finished my master thesis, which had kept me busy for a while.

350Today I am reviving the blog again and I would like to start by spreading the word about the International Day of Climate Action, which is taking place today!

350 advocates for lowering the level of CO2 below 350, which is the level necessary for our planet to breathe again.

Have a look:

It’s about time we change direction and take a step back.

Check their website to find a city near you where you can join one of the many initiatives and show the rest of the world that we do care!

http://www.350.org/

Be safe and take initiative.

Nina Aeckerle

Diddy and Kutcher team up: Malaria No More

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For the 4th of July P. Diddy and Ashton Kutcher teamed up to fight a forgotten killer: Malaria.

Diddy’s legendary White Party served as a reminder of how we can work against Malaria.

You can buy shirts from Comb’s Sean John Malaria No More Collection and for every shirt two bed nets will go to certain parts of Africa to help people protect themselves against the deadly mosquitos that carry Malaria.

Here is a special message from Ashton Kutcher:

Check out their website if you want to contribute: www.seanjohn.com/malarianomore

Peacebuilding initiatives like this are seem to be really effective in drawing the public’s attention to a good cause, but sometimes I wonder how long this interest lasts? Is it just a small publicity hype, or can the attention of these celebrities really make people aware of what is going on in other parts of the world?

NGOs have to ask themselves the same question: should they start advertising for peace? Should we turn something that is based on morals into something hot, sexy and flashy to catch attention?

Tell me what you think? Does it touch you if Diddy or Peter Gabriel or even the late Michael Jackson tell you to support their initiatives for peace?

Personally, I think it’s time to take the path that people are willing to follow. As long as it doesn’t go against one’s own values….

So, go ahead an contribute to the fight against Malaria!

Be in peace,

Nina Aeckerle

Michael Jackson – a peace activist dies

michael-jackson peace activist

A couple of nights ago Michael Jackson died.

The story of his life was both a miracle and a tragedy at the same time.

Young and incredibly talented he came to rapid success. The last years were rather coined by scandals, seemingly by loneliness but nevertheless an immovable admiration from his fans.

His success is indisputable. Be it in the way he made music or in his dance, it is clear that he revolutionized the music industry. He created his own style, his own way  and his influence on modern music – not only Pop, but also R&B, hip hop or even Rock – has been quite obvious and will be indisputable in the future.

I would like to mention two of his songs; both express his commitment to changing the world in a positive way.

The Earth Song

This song is a painful reminder of how humans have managed to treat each other and the planet we live on:

  • we consume
  • we waste
  • we brutalize
  • we torture, trouble and tantalize
  • we attack
  • we destroy
  • we beat, bite and scratch
  • we rape
  • we scar
  • we infect
  • we cause fear and tears
  • we hate

and the list could go on and on.

Michael Jackson’s song reminds us of what we can and should do:

  • we save
  • we create
  • we protect
  • we heal
  • we embrace
  • we love
  • we include and change for the better.

Not only with regards to humans but also with when it comes to animals, plants, nature: our planet. Our one and only planet.

Michael Jackson did not only plea for a different fate of the earth. For example together with Lionel Richie, he was responsible for USA for Africa and the song We are the World.

This song is an intent to bring different artists, such as Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder or Bob Dylan,  together in order to express their concern for current affairs and grievances.

It reminds us of a number of things:

  • there is need for change
  • we cannot continue the way we are going right now
  • and it is us who can change this world. Every single one of us can.

Of course one could go on analyzing some of the other songs of Michael Jackson, such as Black or White and many others: all of them with a deeper meaning that touches on social issues.

Drop me a comment, let me know what you think about those videos, whether you think it is a way to reach people, what could be changed in its expressions and approaches.

Until next time, peace.

Nina Aeckerle

What do Dirk Nowitzki and George Clooney have in common?

Many peace workers believe that in today’s day and age the only way to bring the topic of peace closer to the people is through selling it right. Adapting to the flashy, sexy market of the media is supposed to draw attention to and then create genuine interest in peace issues. But does that really work on this more profound level?

One strategy that supporters of this idea tend to follow is to have famous spokespersons for their cause. People like Bono from U2 or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are some of the more well-known representatives.

I would like to mention two other celebrities that got involved in promoting peace issues.
One is the German NBA star Dirk Nowitzki who starred in an anti drug commercial. Check it out.

Do you think that young people really listen more to Dirk than to their mother, when both have the same message? How much of a difference does it make that he is a famous basketball player? Decisions and opinions of famous people usually seem to have a big impact on the audience when it comes to consume, but how far does this influence go when morals and deeper values are concerned?

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The other example I would like to mention is soap operas or TV series and how they can be a potential spaces for raising controversial issues. For the last season of ER George Clooney came back to give the series a twist. He was even supported by Susan Sarandon, who joined Clooney in an episode that dealt with organ donation. Sarandon played a grandmother, who in the end took the decision to have her grandson’s organs donated.

In many societies and cultures the body of a dead person is something sacred and donating still intact organs is seen as an act of desecration. At the same time the decision to donate in many cases saves lives. To address a topic that is so off-limits and in a way to promote this taboo decision can be very risky, since it might offend a lot of people. However, it generates discussion and makes people think about and maybe even reconsider their point of view.

Critics of this approach say that it is not a very sustainable one. They claim that when people watch TV they switch off their brain, because they perceive the time spent in front of the TV or on the internet as leisure time, time for relaxation and not necessarily for education. So according to these critics the message is not even really considered or evaluated as an incentive for change.

Another big argument that is usually brought up is that of: peace should be of genuine interest to people. Why do we have to hide it behind flashy ads or celebrities? People say peace is too important to have it depend on a good advertisement strategy.

But is that argument enough to dismiss an approach that could be partly successful?
What do you think? Can this way of reaching out really create genuine interest in peace issues and will people act afterwards for positive change?
Please share your point of view and leave some comments.

Nina Aeckerle

studying peace…

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Finally, the studying peace page is up!!

There you can find heaps of universities that offer courses or master and doctoral programmes on peace, conflict and development issues.

Check it out

Nina