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Share International magazine June 2005

Share Internaional magazineThis is an abridged version of
Share International magazine.
Through these electronic files, the magazine Share International makes available a compilation of its contents.
Permission is granted to reproduce these articles in magazine, newspaper or newsletter format, provided that credit is given to Share International and clippings are sent to: PO Box 41877, 1009 DB Amsterdam, Holland. Copyright (c) 2003 Share International. All rights reserved.

Maitreya’s Message — 14 April 2005

At the end of Mr Creme’s interview on Radio Ici & Maintenant, Paris, on 14 April 2005, Maitreya gave a blessing and the following message via Benjamin Creme:

“My thanks go to all who are interested in this story and make lighter My work. In this way the world in all its manifestation will gradually be changed for the better.
My heart is light and filled with your delight in this message. Keep it before you and let it guide you, and soon you shall see My face. My blessings flow to you all.”

Master's article

Man’s inheritance

by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme

When the dust has settled on the present world situation a very interesting picture will present itself to the perceptive viewer. It will be a picture which, in many respects, runs contrary to the general understanding and apprehensions of many today. It is true that there are many dangerous tensions and divisions which need insight and care to resolve; there are also many problems which defy men’s wisdom to overcome, and which need an entirely new approach, so far lacking. Equally, however, there are many signs of progress and new realization on the part of men, many instances of a new and mature wisdom in tackling the difficulties and uncertainties which surround them. The panorama of life is not flat and one dimensional but is a changing arena of stratified events, moving simultaneously and in many directions.
Thus, it is necessary to observe the main, and general, trends to understand the true happenings of the time. When one can do so a different picture emerges of the present world scene and its probable outcome.

Far from fulfilling the fears of so many today the future, We believe, offers men the greatest possibility of progress and growth of consciousness that, as a race, they have ever enjoyed. Nothing like the coming opportunity has ever been presented to men. Never have so many been ready to respond to that felicitous time. Never have We, your Elder Brothers, been so sure of the outcome, and so firm in Our resolve to work with men and to aid them in every way We can.
We approach Our task, not lightly but light of heart and eager of mind, as We enter your lives to teach and to tend.
We invite you to listen to what We have to say and to work with Us on your behalf. In this way, you will make fewer mistakes and avoid blind alleys. Thus will the work of change and reconstruction be unhindered and sure, and thus can all men take their places at Our side and learn the arts of peace and love.
We are entering your lives not solely for men’s guidance but also as a step in Our own evolution; nevertheless, Our main effort will be spent in helping men overcome the difficulties and mistakes of the past, and to make best use of the opportunities presented to them as the new era unfolds. We have every confidence that men, in their turn, will show themselves to be apt and responsive pupils; that the light of knowledge and wisdom that We bring will find resonance in their hearts and minds; that when Justice has brought blessed Peace, men will awaken to the ancient truths again and see that all men are One, now and for ever; and, following that banner, will transform, gladly and quickly, the fabric of life on Earth into the shining vision which We know to be man’s inheritance.

(Read more articles by the Master)

Questions & Answers

Q. What do you think about the European Constitution?
A. The European Constitution is a fantasy. The whole idea of a great integrated state called Europe is a fantasy. It will not happen. Those who want it, imagine it, try to build it, do so — I am sure — with good reasons and motives; but it is wrong; it is against the natural order of so-called “states”. There is a reason why Spain is Spain and not France. Why France is France and not Germany, and why Germany is not the UK. It is not to do with simple nationalism, it is energetic.
Every nation is created under certain energies. These have two levels of expression: soul and personality. The soul of the nation, of whatever quality, is expressed by the disciples and initiates of the nation.

Spain has a 6th-ray soul and a 7th-ray personality. The initiates and disciples of the country express the soul — 6th-ray — quality; the masses of people express the 7th-ray personality quality. Eventually, of course, the soul quality becomes the dominant characteristic. There are seven great streams of energy, coming from seven stars in the constellation the Great Bear; these are called the seven planetary rays. So, if we take a few countries in Europe, we will see how different they are. Spain has a 6th-ray soul, the Ray of Idealism and Devotion. The 7th is the Ray of Ceremonial Order, Ritual or Organization. Great Britain, for example, has a 2nd-ray soul and 1st-ray personality, so the disciples and initiates of Great Britain express more of the 2nd ray. The 2nd Ray of Love and Wisdom is also the ray of Maitreya. That is another reason why Maitreya is in London. The personality ray is the 1st Ray of Will, or Power, or Purpose, and it is expressed in Great Britain’s parliamentary organization and long history of colonization. France has a 5th-ray soul and a 3rd-ray personality. The 5th ray is the Ray of Concrete Knowledge or Science, and the 3rd ray is the Ray of Adaptability or Higher Mind. Germany has a 4th-ray soul and a 1st-ray personality. The 4th ray is the Ray of Harmony through Conflict. Holland is 5th-ray soul and 7th-ray personality; Italy has a 6th-ray soul and a 4th-ray personality.

So, they are all different. To try to make one country called Europe out of these different ray qualities and structures is a mistake. These qualities are what make Spain as it is, Germany as it is; Great Britain, France, Holland, Italy, all these countries are different and are contributing something unique and individual. To try to make them into one country with one constitution, acting with a central government, is the wrong direction. It is entirely against the Plan. The European Union is an economic and trade union. Nothing more.
Pictures of the European ray structure
More information on the rays.

Q. There is much talk that new fossil finds (in Chad) are really of the earliest known ancestor of modern humans. Is the fossil that of a true hominid? Its age is put at 6-7 million years.
A. The esoteric tradition holds that early animal-man was 18.5 million years old when the energy of mind was brought to bear on the incipient mind of these creatures. This led eventually to the creation of a mental body (which distinguishes man from animal). Around 8 million years ago there was a major split in the evolutionary tree with one branch leading to true humans, the other to the apes. My information is that the Chad fossil is not that of a human but of an animal branch of evolution that has no living representatives. It is 6 million years old.
More information

Q. Media headlines talk of a new oil crisis. If the world continues to consume as much oil as it does at present and if an increase in consumption is calculated into the sum, could your Master please say how long global oil stocks (including tar sands) are likely to last?
A. About 80 years. However, the need for oil will not last much longer. A new source of energy, direct from the sun, will be introduced probably within 10 years.

Q. Does Maitreya still appear to large gatherings around the world? If so, in which countries has He appeared in 2005?
A. No. These have been halted temporarily.

Q. Could you please tell me what’s happening when I put photographs of Maitreya’s hand-print on my hips. I am supposed to have quite invasive surgery on them. When I put the photographs on my hips I sometimes get the most intense feeling in my hips. It comes in surges or waves and is sometimes so intense I have to stop it by taking off the photographs and walking. (1) What is taking place during these times? (2) If I keep doing it regularly will I need to have the surgery? (3) Is there healing happening?
A. (1) You are getting healing from Maitreya. (2) Almost certainly not. (3) Yes!

Q. Apart from doing Transmission Meditation and trying to spread the word about Maitreya, is there any way a trained psychologist particularly could serve according to the plan?
A. Increase the attempt to spread the word and raise the hope of humanity. If your education as a psychologist includes the experience of, and belief in, the soul, and you make that known, you could help many people to understand the nature of the reality of which they are a part. If you are really keen I am sure you will find a way.

Q. Does anybody in China know about Maitreya?
A. Quite a number of people in China know about Maitreya. There are even Transmission Meditation groups in China. The Japanese have many Transmission Meditation groups and many of them have dealings with China. Some Japanese live in China and carry the message and form Transmission Meditation groups. From Taiwan, which I have visited twice, Transmission Meditation has spread to China; also from Singapore. They are not being bombarded with information but they are hearing about, and beginning to work with, Transmission Meditation. The Reappearance of the Christ is not a concept except for Chinese Christians. How many live in the mainland of China I do not know — there are more in Hong Kong.

(More questions and answers)

Letters to the editor

Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. They also appear at Benjamin Creme's lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the opportunity to intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin Creme's Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, the Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act as saving 'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters, previously published in Share International magazine, are examples of this means of communication by the Masters.

Venezuelan mission

Dear Editor,
In October 2004 my wife and I attended Benjamin Creme’s lecture in Munich. Before the lecture we inspected the posters where we saw, amongst other information, the list of locations of the appearances of Maitreya. My wife is Venezuelan, so we looked up where and when Maitreya had appeared in Venezuela — 22 December 1996 in San Fernando de Apure, to 300 Catholics. We were thinking of spending Christmas in Venezuela and had planned an excursion to exactly this region.

Once in Venezuela, we stopped at a farm in the midst of the ‘Llano’, the plain of the River Orinoco south west of San Fernando. We were spending the first week of the New Year there and heard that a man on a neighbouring farm had a tale of an apparition. Luis was at home when we arrived there and willing to tell us about his experience:
At about one o’clock in the morning of 25 July 2001 Luis was asleep in his hammock in a room on his farm ‘Fondo las Venetanas’. On this particular night he was alone and the door was locked with a metal bolt from the inside. Luis was awakened by knocking on the door. He asked: “Who’s there?” and a voice answered: “It is me, your father and the father of everyone and of the Earth.” At first Luis thought that someone was playing a joke on him. But then the door opened all by itself and the room was filled with a very bright light. Again he heard a knocking and the voice said: “Invite me to enter,” to which Luis answered: “Come in, the door is open.” He tried to recognize the person that entered the room but since the light was very bright he could only distinguish the outlines of a human shape and was unable to see the face. The voice said: “I have come to save you.”

Luis, at that time, was not very concerned with the wellbeing of his family, his children, his parents or with the work on the farm. He was often drunk. On the wall appeared something like a screen and Luis was shown different stages of his life, good ones and bad ones. The voice said: “I have come, because you have a mission.” Luis asked: “Why did you come to me, a simple farmer lacking a good education?” The voice responded: “All are my children. To serve me you do not need to be an educated person, it is your destiny.”
He now showed Luis things from all over the world. He said that in the near future tragedies and natural catastrophes would occur. He showed him collapsing buildings, burning cities, earthquakes, tides and floods. He said that mankind was about to change and would learn from it. He showed him that eventually all would change for the best. He showed him that all world religions would merge and that he would come back on Earth.

Luis asked him: “How can I convert and serve you, I do not belong to any church?” The voice responded: “In a church, they will not save you. You do not need a church, I am everywhere.” Luis asked about his mission. The voice said: “For the time being you have as sole mission to tell what you experienced now, to all those who want to hear it. Some will believe you, others not. Await me here, I will return.”
Then he showed him pictures and situations of Venezuela. At the bottom of the screen appeared three red rectangles. The voice asked Luis: “Do you know what this means?” Luis said no. The voice continued: “These are red flags. Venezuela is one of the richest countries of the world with all its resources, its mineral wealth, its fertile farming lands. The bad distribution of riches, the inequality, the poverty in this rich country are a scandal. That is why there will be a sort of communism, but only for a short while.”
The whole visit lasted about two hours. As the figure of light, whose face he could not see, left him Luis followed it into the night. In front of his house, Luis saw the figure rise toward the sky accompanied by two other figures that looked like angels.
Luis wept out of pain and happiness. The experience totally changed him. We told him about our own experiences and informed him about Maitreya. He agreed to have his story sent to Share International and so spread it. What was that bright being that visited Luis?
S. L., M, Venezuela and N. V., Hedingen, Switzerland.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘being of light’ was Maitreya.)

A child’s wisdom

Dear Editor,
In June 2004 I travelled to Homer, Alaska, with my son, a friend, and his children. Our children were fishing, and my partner and I went for a walk. My eldest son had died one year earlier and I was unaccustomed to answering questions about his death. I had been particularly sad about answering the question “Do you have children?” because I had to say that I had one, not two sons. I missed my eldest terribly.
One day, as my friend and I were walking on the boardwalk, we saw a little boy about 3 or 4 years old under the boardwalk, in grasses that were nearly over his head. He looked up at us, and we saw the most beautiful child.

I asked him what he was doing. He said he lost his sword, and chatted on about how he was playing and lost it. He was unusually talkative for his age. I said: “I am very good at finding things,” and went down to help him. As I knelt down in the grass and looked at his beautiful face, he said: “Do you have children?” I said: “Yes.” He asked: “Do they miss you?” I was surprised by this, because he seemed to sense that my children were not with me. Then, suddenly, I saw a shiny glint in the grass, and said: “Is this your sword?” A long thin stick, wrapped in silver tape seemed to appear in the grass. He took his sword, and then I asked: “Where are your parents?” In a moment, a young couple came out calling: “Finn... Finnie... Where are you?” I climbed back up to the boardwalk and then my partner and I walked away.
The child was so beautiful and so perceptive, the appearance of his sword seemed magical, and his question struck a chord in my heart. Was this child Maitreya or Jesus?
S. P., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘child’ was Maitreya. The ‘parents’ were the Master Jesus and a disciple.)

Two letters from the same person:

Lighting the path

Dear Editor,
In July 2004, as I was in Japan, I met two people who impressed me a lot.
(1) The first meeting occurred in Nara on 9 July, on my way back from the Kasuga-Taisha Shinto shrine. As I was walking down the hill whose path is bordered by more than 3,000 stone lanterns, thinking about the way of light, a monk dressed in a long violet skirt and a white tunic approached me and told me to follow him. He walked to the edge of the path and picked up a branch of a tree on the ground. He broke it in half and made me smell the wonderful fragrance. The whole event was so magical that I could not talk, nor ask the name of the tree, so impressed I was by this simple and strong presence. Afterwards, the monk bowed and went his way quickly. When I realized what had happened, he was far away on the path of the 3,000 lanterns. Was he an ordinary person or Master?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘monk’ was Maitreya.)

Fairy Godmother!

(2) The second meeting took place at the railway station of Osaka on 11 July. It was about 5pm and I was working out how I could manage to buy a bus or subway ticket to go to the castle. I was surrounded by a sea of people coming and going all around me. All of a sudden a woman appeared as if from nowhere and asked if I needed help. She asked where I wanted to go, took my hand and said: “Follow me.” In perfect English, she tells me that she is from Kyoto, and that she has time to show me the way to the castle, because her husband is in Hawaii on business. Following a labyrinthine route, she says that she knows the shortest way. She pays for my return ticket. When we arrived near my destination, I wanted to thank her for her help, her kindness. She just told me with a smile: “Don’t mention it,” and disappeared in the crowd.
Was she an ordinary person or a Master?
L. B., Lyon, France.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the kind ‘woman’ was the Master Jesus.)

Water music

Dear Editor,
On the afternoon of Wednesday 6 April 2005 I visited Derby to collect some bottles of water from a healing well in Bath Street which has been in use for hundreds of years.
I then walked through the centre of Derby with my bottles of water. Coming towards me was a man with a long thick beard. The thought crossed my mind “It can’t be Maitreya.” A few yards away was another man who appeared to be with him. The bearded gentleman then produced a flute, played a few notes on it, and sat on a nearby bench.
We looked at each other and I noticed he had pale blue eyes that gave the impression of intelligence. I didn’t speak, but mentally wished him well and proceeded on my journey.
Does the spring have any healing properties, and could it be blessed by Maitreya? Was the bearded gentleman an ordinary person?
R. W., Nottingham, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘bearded man’ was Maitreya. The man with Him was the Master Jesus. The well has indeed healing properties; it is energized by the Master Jesus.)

Travelling light

Dear Editor,
In 2003 during one of the Spring Full Moon Festivals I was in Ladbroke Grove, London, doing Transmission Meditation. On completion I hurried to catch the tube home. A train arrived. I entered and sitting at the far end of the compartment were two skinny elderly Indian ladies in saris, chatting quite loudly in Indian. What struck me was they each had four or five fully packed large plastic bags by their feet, three on their laps and three more on the head rest. Passengers getting in and out looked and shook their heads incredulously. Amidst their chatter, suddenly one of them said in English: “You know, Christ is in the world,” and then carried on her conversation in Indian. We all smiled.
Can you please tell me, were these two ‘Indian ladies’ anyone special?
C. B., London, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘Indian ladies’ were Maitreya and the Master Jesus.)

Author’s approval

Dear Editor,
On the last weekend of April 2005 we had an Emergence stand at the Earth Fair in Barcelona, an annual event that commemorates Earth. On Sunday afternoon I was at the stand with other co-workers. It was quite a busy time when a young woman approached the stand. She was quite tall, with dark hair and eyes and fair skin. She wore a white blouse and black waistcoat and trousers. She looked at the information tables and picked up a copy of Messages from Maitreya the Christ.
First she read the back cover, where the Great Invocation is reproduced. Then she gently opened the book and started reading Message No. 13. She was reading the message with very intense attention and at the same time seemed to be in a very peaceful mood. When she finished reading the message, she closed the book carefully and placed it again on the table. She looked at me smiling and, gesturing with both arms, asked if all the material in the stand and tables was about Maitreya. I answered affirmatively and she seemed to be very pleased to hear that and said emphatically: “Very good! Very good!”

Then she said that she had just had a long meeting with a friend who had explained to her meticulously all about Maitreya. I offered her a bunch of reading material which she took, thanked me, and said goodbye, slightly bowing her head. Then she crossed herself, before continuing on her way.
I then took a ‘Messages’ book and out of curiosity read Message No. 13, only to find that I had always found it to be most beautiful and powerful.
I wonder if that young woman was an interested ordinary person or someone else?
H. L., Barcelona, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘young woman’ was Maitreya.)

Signs of the time

Healing miracles

Italian newspapers have reported alleged miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, adding to speculation that he may soon be put on the path to sainthood. One of the possible miracles involved the case of an unidentified American Jewish millionaire afflicted with a brain tumour who attended Mass with John Paul in 1998 at the Pope’s summer retreat outside Rome. A correspondent for the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa said the case had been described to him in 2002 by John Paul’s private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz. According to La Stampa, weeks after the audience Dziwisz was told that “the tumour had completely disappeared in the span of a few hours”.

Another case is that of Jose Heron Badillo, who was four years old when John Paul visited his hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico, in 1990. The boy, who suffered from leukaemia, was selected to hold a dove as part of the airport ceremonies to welcome John Paul II. “The Pope told him, let the dove fly! Then the Pope hugged him and kissed him on his forehead,” said Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan in an interview published by Corriere della Sera newspaper. The cardinal, who headed the Vatican office on healthcare issues under John Paul II, said there was no medical explanation for the boy’s subsequent recovery. “They only gave him days to live,” he told the newspaper.
Another inexplicable cure was announced by Cardinal Francesco Marchisano during his homily at a Mass of mourning for John Paul II. Marchisano said he had lost the ability to speak after undergoing throat surgery. “The Pope touched the part of the throat where I was operated on, saying that he would pray to the Lord for me,” he said. “After some time, I was able to speak regularly.”
(Source: Associated Press)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that healing took place in all three cases above. In each case it was manifested, not by the Pope, but by the Master Jesus.)

Train miracle

On April 26 a railway accident near Kobe, Japan, killed 107 and injured nearly 500. Within minutes, other trains were approaching the accident site. The driver of the Super Express Train coming the other way saw a red warning light ahead. He stopped the train and sent alarm signals to approaching trains without knowing what had happened. What activated the warning light is a mystery since there was nothing within its range to trigger it. (Source:
A reporter from the Mainichi newspaper was in the first carriage of the derailed train, which was completely wrecked. He was one of the few in the carriage to survive. As he was standing holding on to a strap, he felt a jolt and saw the second and third carriages swaying outside in slow motion. The rest he does not remember. When he came to, he found himself floating in the air still holding on to the strap. (Source: Mainichi Shimbun)
Another report relates that when a young woman boarded the train at an earlier stop, she was suddenly dragged out of the train by an elderly woman with a bent back, who told her that she should not be on it. A little later, standing on the platform, she heard an announcement of the accident. She believes the woman saved her life.
(Source: Tokyo Sport News)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the alarm signal was activated by the Master in Tokyo; the ‘old lady’ was Maitreya. Three Masters, Maitreya, Master Jesus and the Master in Tokyo, worked together to save as many as they could.)

Miracle fountain discovered

A fountain of water with healing properties has been discovered in the Barangay New Pangasinan district of Koronadal City, Mindanao, southern Philippines.Lauro Daguro, a faith healer, discovered the healing fountain on 24 March 2005, the Thursday before Easter Sunday. He was walking with the help of a stick when he saw water coming up from the dry ground. “I became curious and drank from it,” said Daguro, who suffers from arthritis. “I also put some water on my aching elbow and knee. Some moments later, I felt the pain gone. It’s really a miracle.” Daguro said he did not understand how the fountain could exist, because ground water in the area can only be extracted after drilling deep into the ground. The miraculous fountain churns in water less than a foot from the surface.News of the healing fountain quickly spread throughout the largely impoverished region, and thousands of people have since visited the site.

Antonina Agustin, a woman in her 70s, suffered from severe back pain and found it difficult to walk. Her bent posture was like the letter ‘C’, she said. She visited the fountain and was rubbed with the wet soil. “After I was wiped with the water from the fountain, I can stand and walk straight. The pain has subsided,” she said. Another woman said that the water had cured a five-year old child whose head was swollen.Daguro and several women who attend to the visiting crowds said they do not collect money from those who seek healing from the fountain, believing that if they did charge a fee, the healing powers of the water might disappear. (Source: MindaNews, Philippines)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the water flow is, indeed, a miracle created by the Master Who was the Madonna.)

The need for dialogue:

An interview with Alastair Crooke
by Gill Fry

Alastair CrookeAlastair Crooke spent almost 30 years in the British diplomatic service working on conflict resolution in Ireland, South Africa, Namibia, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Colombia. He was Adviser for Special Security to European Union High Representative Javier Solana, and co-ordinated mediation between all parties in the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. In 2002 he successfully negotiated an end to the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He was awarded a CMG by the British government in 2003 for services to “the advancement of the Middle East peace process”.
Mr Crooke is a director and founding member of Conflicts Forum, a UK-based independent, non-profit, multinational organization comprising professional people united by a common interest in overcoming current barriers between Islam and the West. According to its remit, the Forum seeks to “establish new understandings of Islam ... and to challenge the prevailing Western orthodoxy that perceives Islamism as an ideology that is hostile to the agenda for global democracy and good governance”.
A shortened version of the interview follows. See Share International June 2005 for the complete version.

Share International: When was the Conflict Forum formed and what are its aims?
Alastair Crooke: During 2003 I was working with the European Union to try and bring about a ceasefire in the Palestinian context between Hamas, Jihad and representatives of Fatah. This was successful for a period and then collapsed in August 2003 with a bombing in Jerusalem and the subsequent assassination of the Hamas leader. The bombing was not condoned or organized by the [Hamas] leadership, but was an individual initiative from a small group within Hebron acting outside the ceasefire agreements. That led to my dismissal from the European Union: Jack Straw told [Javier] Solana that I was to be withdrawn and I left the government. It was like leaving school again, starting to redesign your life.
I was invited to give talks on the Palestinian issue but soon found that what people were more interested in was who these Islamists were? Are they really a threat to us? What is the difference between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda? We put together a group who had direct experience of talking with these people to try and give some understanding of who they are and the differences between these groups which we loosely describe as Islamists, and often label as ‘terrorists’, despite their having very different political agendas, aims and characteristics. There is almost nothing in common, apart from the label the West has stuck on, between a group like Hamas and Al-Qaeda or the Salafi Jihadi.
We started to explain more about Islamism and realized there was a limit to what we could do as Europeans. What we needed was to involve Americans who would listen, then go back to their own society and, in an American accent, say: “That was interesting to hear what they had to say.”

SI: In March 2005 Conflicts Forum organized a meeting in Beirut called “Islam and the West: Opening the way to peaceful dialogue.” What was the purpose of the meeting and who was involved?
AC: The purpose was to bring Americans and Europeans to hear the [Islamist groups’] views and problems facing their societies, and how they saw their role in the transitions. Not to have recommendations or make policies, and with only ourselves in this, not briefed by any government. We try and keep independent because we feel it is almost impossible for governments at this stage. Unfortunately many governments have become prisoners of their own rhetoric and it is quite difficult for them to escape.
We had what I would describe as “the four pillars of political Islam” there: the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and Jamaat-Islami of Pakistan. Between them, even if they do not represent all of political Islam, they certainly are the heavyweights in terms of thinking, philosophy and intellectual input, and it was important to bring these people together with about eight Americans and six Europeans.
We deliberately kept it small, with no agenda other than to listen, and for a change not to talk at them. The West has a very bad reputation for listening. We tend to quickly devolve into monologues so the aim was not to solve political issues, simply to listen. Hamas had not met an American for many years, Hezbollah equally for many years, so it was something of an important event.

SI: So this would not have been possible for government officials to do?
AC: They would find it difficult because these are still proscribed organizations. The aim was to allow them to talk: there is quite a lot of baggage that still needs to be discussed and aired. Equally as important as the conference, was that I and another delegate, [American Middle East expert] Graham Fuller, participated for 90 minutes in a debate on Al Jazeera [television] together with the deputy head of Hamas and Hezbollah. That was broadcast four times and seen by many Muslims. It was regarded as a landmark in programming to have a former European and American official and the deputy heads of Hamas and Hezbollah discussing these issues. It is not simply about changing perceptions in the West, but it is equally important to demonstrate to Muslims that there are people in Europe and America who are really concerned about the estrangement that has taken place and want to see a new engagement and renewal of mutual listening. There were also interviews on other Arab channels.
We hope to have conferences elsewhere, to develop and generate a dynamic that comes from people, not necessarily from governments. This is not to exclude governments — the more they join in the process the better — but we are trying to encourage people to listen and talk. There was a very good response from the Islamist groups and from the United States and Europe.

SI: What are some of the concerns on the part of the Islamic groups?
AC: In economic terms it is very important to recognize the need to preserve identity. Islamist economics was born in India in an attempt to preserve Muslim identity in a Hindu situation. Now it is about trying to keep some underpinning of moral values in an increasingly global and technical economy which can suck people, by the very nature of the decisions, more and more into secularism.
The other factor is to see how you can make transitions in society by using the traditional structures: family, wider family, tribe, broader social groups, and to see those as the engines, rather than the obstacles, to transition. There is an increasing discourse, particularly from non-Arab Islamists, that sees the Western project of occupation and hostility to Islam as not simply that of occupying Muslim lands — Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the rhetoric against Syria, Sudan and Iran — but sees it linked to the exploitation of Muslim resources to suit Western economic interests. It is about mineral resources being used, pipelines and gas lines — seeing Muslims as client consumers in a Western materialist concept in order to provide resources of consumerism to global capitalists.

SI: Many people in the West think it is wrong to negotiate with so-called ‘terrorists’. What is your view?
AC: Quite often we are accused of giving legitimacy to these groups by talking to them — actually it is the opposite. By demonizing, isolating and alienating groups, you actually increase the frustration and anger that leads to violence. So what we are doing is designed to try and break the cycle of violence. This is not a question of legitimacy — this is how you start a political process.

SI: In dealing with groups like Hezbollah and Hamas do you find that there are those who see the other side of the story, who are not just steadfastly sticking to their own agenda or aims?
AC: With Hamas and Hezbollah it is important also to see that these groups have huge credibility and legitimacy within their own population groups. They are not, as often characterized in the West, somehow marginal or criminal or a small band of gunmen. On the contrary, Hezbollah is probably the largest political force in Lebanon. It runs hospitals, schools and has a widespread social welfare programme. Hamas also has a large welfare programme. These groups support elections, want to see effective and uncorrupt government, believe in constitutional reform and the guarantee of people’s rights.
The problem perceived in the West is one of the use of political violence. But there is another image: these are the torch-bearers who are the most committed to elections, reform and the improvement of the lives of ordinary Muslims. So that aspect needs to be taken into account.

SI: How is trust created in peace negotiations between two opposing parties?
AC: I think it is composed of two simple elements. It is important to treat people with courtesy and respect. I do not think there are any particular magical tricks to create trust. You clearly have to be honest and frank, and it is also important to be authentic. It is easy to criticize one’s own society or government, but you are not being authentic because these people want to understand your society, not a dissident voice from your society. So it is very important to explain how society arrives at a policy.
The ability to listen is very important. We in the West have some strongly held perceptions and views, and are not aware of how much we are enthralled to those particular views, about modernity and progress. We sense that somehow, as societies become more developed and prosperous, all our values will converge on Western, liberal, secular values. There is no real reason to assume that, but it underlies a lot of our thinking. So you have to challenge some of the precepts on both sides and have an open mind. Are we really serious about democracy — and pluralism? Can we be as pluralistic about Islamist groups as we are about secular groups? Are we really as ethical as we pretend we are? Muslims see us talking a lot about ethics: we perceive ourselves as being ethical but they see that when our backs are to the wall Western societies have been quite adept at killing civilians and children. So there are challenges they are putting to us — and we have to put some challenges to them too.

How do you provide a moral underpinning of society as Islamists are trying to do, to avoid what they see as weaknesses in Western society: fragmentation, loneliness, the sense of despair and emptiness of a materialistic society? How do you do that and yet keep open a domain for personal discretion? How do you allow people to breathe easily but maintain moral values? These are difficult issues. How do they accommodate secular people within these societies? I do not think anyone wants to see domination by one group to be replaced by domination by another form of tyranny. How do you deal with popular participation in governments in a society dominated by faith values? Unless you start to address these issues it is very difficult for either side to really listen properly.

SI: If trust is being established and one side breaks the trust, how is one to react: to continue to trust in order for further trust to grow? Or does that end all possibility of further dialogue?
AC: It certainly does not. Processes are never clear-cut in my experience. You do not have the sort of ‘eureka moment’ whereby a movement suddenly decides it is changing course irrevocably. This is a gradual process. Most organizations have currents in favour of the change and other currents unconvinced, who are waiting on events to decide. Trust is not something that is unitary and single and for ever.
A bomb went off in Jerusalem during the Hudna [truce] of 2003 and there was a breach of trust by Hamas. This was something done in defiance of the leadership by one small group of people who decided to make their own arrangements and rules and act independently. Does that mean you stop and do not continue? Historically, all transition in societies has been punctuated by trauma, by violence, and has often been prolonged. That is what we should expect. There will be steps forward and steps back. That does not mean that trust is destroyed and you have to ignore the changes. On the contrary, you have to build that into your expectations. There will be setbacks and recurrences of violence even in a process that is moving generally in the right direction....

SI: What prevents the will of the United Nations being more clearly expressed in the Israeli/Palestinian problem?
AC: The most obvious one is the American veto in the Security Council. A large number of resolutions have been vetoed by the United States on the grounds that they were unbalanced or not sufficiently taking into account attacks on Israel. There are many resolutions from the United Nations on the Palestinians and Israeli context, but there has been very little effort on the part of the international community to provide implementation of them. The United Nations is adversely viewed by most Israeli people: they do not have trust in it, regard it with hostility and suspicion, not as an impartial and even-handed organization. That is no reflection on the United Nations, but this is one of the factors that make it hard to work.

SI: Do you see the United Nations as the ‘hope for the world’?
AC: I think the United Nations or some form like the United Nations is clearly essential in terms of the whole process. A number of things prevent it being more effective. It needs sufficient consensus amongst the great powers, and the Secretary-General — simply the servant of the Security Council — is not an independent actor. Secondly the United Nations has not always been effective: the constraints of needing to have quotas of people and a balanced structure has not necessarily made for the most effective choice of personnel and core decisions.
There has been an ethos or atmosphere of resignation of ineffectiveness, of “that’s the best we can do”, and there are too many constraints. There is a great need to have a much more effective operational structure with authority to act. As it is, it takes so long to get authority and it is very bureaucratic when that authority is given.

SI: What are your views on the war in Iraq? Would you have advocated an alternative solution?
AC: I do not believe that the war in Iraq was well conceived or has achieved its objectives. It is too early to tell, but it could easily be a source of much wider instability within the region. It could lead to greater tension between Sunnis and Shias, to civil war, and have impacts in other countries. Was this price worth paying for the removal of Saddam Hussein? Only history will judge whether the huge civilian loss of life and the widespread instability in the region has been justified.
If it does bring about a reluctant loosening of the political framework which would allow Islamists to participate or have some scope for involvement in the political process, we may not end up with the liberal, secular, capitalist type of democracy that was originally envisaged for the greater Middle Eastern mission. This may be an unexpected positive result of the fluidity. I have been in conflict [resolution] for 25 or 30 years and know of no case where everyone did not sit down confidently before the event and say: “It’s quite clear what the outcome is going to be.” But in all cases the only thing that was certain was the unexpected.

SI: You have been engaged in conflict resolution in Palestine, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Colombia, Cambodia, Namibia and South Africa. What factors do they have in common?
AC: In one sense none, but in another sense a very simple one: the inability of people to listen. Entrenched opinions, the labelling and demonizing of human beings to exclude them from political power or process; and strong, overwhelming feelings. Some people talk about politics and conflict resolution as if it is a science, but I think it is much more about dealing with feelings and respect in tangible things: how you allow people to feel so that they have the parity of esteem in negotiations. How you address the asymmetries of power to give both sides the sense of having respect at the negotiating table. Feelings and emotions are often neglected. We feel uncomfortable in the West at even acknowledging that feelings like anger and resentment exist, because they do not quite fit with our mindset. We see the path of vengeance as something primitive or backward — but the reality is we have it both in a personal anger and in a community sense....

SI: In the peace negotiations in South Africa, Nelson Mandela must have been a great inspiration?
AC: He is one of those incredible people that can radiate from their personality. There are people that people just trust, that can actually radiate a sense of integrity and a real sense of justice, and it is very important that they are involved. Quite often politicians are jealous and despise those people: what they see in them is implied criticism of their own weaknesses, so they are loath to have them engaged in the process. There is something intangible — don’t ask me to define what it is — but you can recognise it. Socrates said that beauty is difficult to define, but when you see it you can recognise it. Mandela certainly has some indefinable personal characteristic that allowed him to do things which other people, who may be just as intelligent, just as thoughtful, cannot do.

SI: He was such a great example with his lack of revenge or bitterness after his release from prison.
AC: Those models are very important. Senator Mitchell has the same ability to listen and his patience allows things to develop, bringing people into it. A different quality to Mandela, but he was remarkable in that ability. People who would be angry and hostile would feel listened to and attended to. That is a very important characteristic that he was adept at. How many people can one think of who touched the live-wire of the Israeli/Palestinian context, who still have such a respect amongst all the peoples of the region?

SI: Yasser Arafat seemed to have the same qualities, but has been so denigrated by the Western media.
AC: Arafat has been demonized. He had real charisma and a sense of what was going on in the community. We are still today the victims of our own propaganda, when people suggested Arafat was the source of all the problems. Now that he has gone people realize that he was not the source of the problems, but was simply occupying, as he always did, the centre of the web of those complex intersections of Palestinian interest and views, and that is how he survived — not by impression of tyranny, but because he stayed carefully in the centre of this strange, complex, Palestinian thinking. He was always at the centre: everyone spoke to him and he spoke to everyone, he had legitimacy, credibility and influence. But the influence came just from him, there was really no mechanism. I used to go to his office and visit him a lot. There was no structure to make anything work. It was Arafat doing this largely by force of his character, a remarkable man. He was also a man with the potential for bringing about a resolution.

SI: The stress must have been enormous living in his Ramallah compound?
AC: He was always better in stressful situations — he came alive. The more the stress, the more the sparkle in his eye! Where he was really bad was when he was in the doldrums; then he got sour.
He had great courage and was quite at ease with dying. He was only frightened of one thing — a death by humiliation. Not because he was frightened of dying, but because he was frightened that as the Palestinian symbol, a humiliation to him would be a humiliation to the Palestinians, and he was frightened of that.

The voice of the people

Anti-nuclear rally in New York

On the eve of a United Nations conference on the international Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, a diverse demonstration of disarmament and anti-war groups marched through Midtown New York to a Central Park rally, calling for an end to nuclear proliferation and for US forces to be withdrawn from Iraq.
Tens of thousands of participants gathered on 1 May 2005 from across the world, including hundreds from Japan, led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and about 35 survivors of the US atomic bomb attacks on those cities.
Eighty-year-old Sunao Tsuboi — a Hiroshima university student when the city was destroyed by the first atomic bomb attack on 6 August 1945 — described the aftermath of the bombing as “a living hell on earth”. His entire body was burnt, and the radiation left him with numerous illnesses, including cancer. “I’m here for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” he said. “And I want all the nations to keep the promise of the Nonproliferation Treaty.”
In his address to the rally, current mayor of Hiroshima Tadatoshi Akiba said: “There is nothing normal, natural or necessary about nuclear weapons. They’re a deadly cancer on the planet that need to be removed.”

Yuko Nakamura, 73, who had been working in a factory about 13 miles from the Hiroshima blast and suffered the effects of radiation, pleaded for children not to be exposed to “nuclear suffering”. “This is not the children’s fault. It’s the adults’ fault,” she said. “I really care for the future of children.”
The Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, signed in 1970 by all but three countries, aimed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, achieve nuclear disarmament and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. However, as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan pointed out in his address at the start of the conference, globalization, advances in technology, and other global developments have jeopardised the treaty. The only way to avoid a nuclear catastrophe, he believes, is to get rid of such weapons worldwide. “In our interconnected world,” he said, “a threat to one is a threat to all, and we all share responsibility for each other’s security.”
(Source: The New York Times, USA; BBC Online, UK)

Ecuadorean people power

In April 2005 the Ecuadorean Congress voted to remove President Lucio Gutierrez from office following eight days of protests by tens of thousands of demonstrators who had become increasingly disillusioned with Gutierrez’s oppressive presidency.
A small alternative radio station, La Luna, played a key role in galvanizing those who saw the government as abandoning the populist, anti-corruption stances that helped elect Gutierrez in 2002. The station encouraged protests and found a wide range of people willing to take to the streets and participate, including retirees and housewives with children. Said programme chief Luis Pozo: “For the first time in Ecuador, there were protests without leaders. It was people’s indignation against all the politicians, against traditional politics.”
Instead of helping the poor, President Gutierrez instituted severe austerity measures to satisfy the guidelines of the International Monetary Fund and also allowed a United States military presence along the border with Colombia. But it was his dismissal of the Supreme Court that became the catalyst for the anti-government protests and eventually precipitated his downfall.
Vice President Alfredo Palacio, who had publicly expressed concern about Gutierrez’s free-market policies, was sworn in to replace him. (Source: The New York Times, Associated Press, USA)

Maitreya’s Priorities

Counting the cost

“Throughout the world there are men, women and little children who have not even the essentials to stay alive; they crowd the cities of many of the poorest countries in the world. This crime fills Me with shame. My brothers, how can you watch these people die before your eyes and call yourselves men? My Plan is to save these, My little ones, from certain starvation and needless death. My Plan is to show you that the way out of your problems is to listen again to the true voice of God within your hearts, to share the produce of this most bountiful of worlds among your brothers and sisters everywhere.” — Maitreya, from Message No 11
Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that in the month of April 2005 680,000 people died needlessly from hunger and poverty.

Making the connections

Ecology-security link

‘The State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security’ summit held in Berlin at the end of April 2005 is an example of the growing understanding of the inter-connectedness of all aspects of life and its problems. This ‘getting the big picture’ approach is a new development in our thinking.
Some years ago it would have puzzled participants at a Security Summit to see the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental activist Wangari Maathai emblazoned across the backdrop to the speakers’ podium. Now, however the connection is clear to all. Her words: “If we did a better job of managing our resources more sustainably, conflicts over them would be reduced. Protecting the global environment is directly related to securing peace.”
German foreign minister Joschka Fischer delivered the keynote speech making it clear that he believes ‘that security can only be achieved in today’s world if social and environmental problems are effectively addressed’. Speaking at the headquarters of the Federal Foreign Ministry, Fischer’s comments provided evidence that top economists, defence and foreign policy officials are taking seriously the Worldwatch Institute’s call for a new approach to security. Worldwatch Institute president Christopher Flavin, who represented Worldwatch at the launch said: “Stewardship of the Earth’s resources is central to virtually every major issue playing out in international affairs — from reducing dependence on imported oil to mitigating natural disasters and curbing infectious disease.”

The launch of the Worldwatch annual report, The State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security, was attended by over 400 guests, including ambassadors from over 20 countries and other high-level government and NGO representatives. A panel discussion hosted by the German Federal Foreign Ministry and the Federal Ministry for the Environment was entitled ‘State of the World 2005: Redefining Global Security — Challenges for German Politics’.
In this year’s report, Worldwatch emphasizes that security concerns remain high on the world’s agenda; and researchers explore underlying sources of global insecurity including poverty, infectious disease, environmental degradation, and rising competition over oil and other resources.
The report highlights why terrorism is just symptomatic of a far broader set of complex problems that require more than a military response.
“We need a policy of ‘preventative engagement’: international and individual solidarity and action to meet the challenges of poverty, disease, environmental degradation and conflict in a sustainable and non-violent way,” writes Green Cross International chairman and former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in the Foreword to State of the World 2005.
(Source: Worldwatch Institute)


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First published April 1999,