Meditation Focus #52
Dissolving Fear Into Love - Uniting With The God-Self Within
What follows is the 52nd Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, November 25, 2001.
DISSOLVING FEAR INTO LOVE - UNITING WITH THE GOD-SELF WITHIN
2. Meditation times
3. Peace Watch for Afghanistan
4. Peace Watch for the Middle East
The over-arching goal of evolution is to get back to the Source at the origin of All That Is. No matter how difficult the circumstances we may encounter in our quest for Unity and however stark may appear the conditions faced by our fellow companions in this aeons-long Journey, it is always necessary to keep our eyes on the ultimate purpose for our existence in embodiment. Hence we shall always be able to see in their right perspective the sometimes unimaginably dark deeds executed by those of us who may have forgotten for now the finality of Life. Hence we shall always find in us the eternally burning Flame of Love and shine it mightily and with unreserved compassion towards those souls who temporarily lost their way, so as to reignite from within, where we Are All One, the keen desire to reawaken to the sole Reality of our infinite Oneness. In so doing, we will allow the mystical process of spiritual communion to enable the transformation, within ourselves and within every other sentient being on Earth, of fear into Love, of the illusion of separation into a deeply-felt sense of our Unity, of the vanishing veil of self-delusion into the emerging fulcrum of our co-realization of What Is.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to contribute in catalyzing in humanity's common awareness the sense of forming a global community of hearts and minds, gradually empowering itself to co-creating a New Enlightened World. During our moments of global unification, merge with the ever watching God-Self within and from this universal vantage point, radiate the ineffable rays of Love, become One with the Radiance shining through and just let the miraculous and yet so natural awareness of our innate Perfection Be, for the Highest Good of All.
For more information on recent developments around the world, see also the compilations sent to the Earth Rainbow Network e-list during the last 2 weeks archived at:
2. 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.
3 . Peace Watch for Afghanistan
Here are some of the latest developments in Afghanistan. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there as well.
Over 1,000 Taliban Fighters Surrender (Saturday November 24)
BANGI, Afghanistan (AP) - More than 1,000 pro-Taliban fighters surrendered Saturday in the besieged city of Kunduz, including hundreds of foreigners loyal to Osama bin Laden, the northern alliance said. Other foreigners remained there, vowing to fight to the end.
Alliance commanders had said they expected the Taliban command to complete the surrender of the city by Monday under a deal negotiated in recent days.
The agreement provides for safe passage for Afghan Taliban fighters, but the thousands of foreign fighters - Arabs, Chechens, Pakistanis and others - are to be held pending investigation into their suspected links with bin Laden's al-Qaida network.
Some of the Taliban kept their weapons and joined the northern alliance ranks, preparing to attack the foreigners who had lived with them inside the Taliban's last northern stronghold. Those foreigners seemed intent on fighting to the end.
``The foreigners will never surrender, I think,'' Mahmoud said.
Many of the foreigners feared that the alliance fighters, whose hatred of the foreigner fighters is intense, would slaughter them rather than send them to trial, leaving them with only one option - fight.
At the United Nations, officials announced a one-day delay in a conference in Germany aimed at paving the way for a new Afghan government following the Taliban's collapse. The meeting will now open Tuesday because of delays in getting participants to the venue in Bonn, the U.N. said.
Bushs Definition of Terrorism Fits Northern Alliance Like a Glove; TV Interviewers Dont Notice (Friday, November 23, 2001)
Mark well the sequence. On the morning of November 10, President George W. Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly and spoke words that warmed the hearts of human rights activists the world over:
For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid and it will be paid.... [Nations that support terror] are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice... We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.... The Afghan people do not deserve their present rulers.... I make this promise to all the victims of that regime: The Talibans days of harboring terrorists, and dealing in heroin, and brutalizing women are drawing to a close.
That evening, during a joint press conference with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bush described the Northern Alliance as our friends. (We will encourage our friends to head south across the Shumali Plains, but not into the city of Kabul itself.)
Moments later, Musharraf branded Bushs friends terrorists:
Why I have been recommending that Kabul should not be occupied by the Northern Alliance basically is because of the past experience that weve had when the various ethnic groups were ahold of Kabul after the Soviets left. There was total atrocities, killings and mayhem within the city. And I think if the Northern Alliance enters Afghanistan -- enters Kabul -- well see the same kind of atrocities being perpetuated against the people there....
A reporter followed up by asking Bush if he agreed with Musharrafs assessment of the Alliance. Bush replied, Only, only, I said one question. Now youre going with three. No other reporter put the question to Bush.
Now that is a disciplined press corps. In the morning, President Bush takes a strong stand against those who terrorize the innocent and brands governments that support such terrorists equally guilty of murder and equally accountable. In the evening he hails as our friends an alliance that has terrorized the innocent (and, by the way, dealt heroin) both as a government (1992-96) and as an opposition force.
For a sampling of Northern Alliance atrocities, see the October 2001 Background report from Human Rights Watch. Since 1992, the various Alliance factions have killed tens of thousands of civilians every bit as innocent as Americas 9-11 victims; their rap sheets includes rape, torture, summary executions and disappearances. To date, states HRW, not a single Afghan commander has been held accountable for violations of international humanitarian law. (http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/afghan-bck1005.htm)
Military Assistance to the Afghan Opposition Human Rights Watch Backgrounder
To respond to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the United States government has begun to put together what it calls a coalition against terrorism. As part of this approach, the United States has signalled support for the creation of a broad-based coalition to oppose the Taliban, the current rulers of most of Afghanistan. This opposition would include forces that presently constitute the United Front--also known under its former name the Northern Alliance--as well as Taliban defectors. Some commanders with experience in the guerrilla war against Soviet occupation in 1979-1989, but not now in the United Front, may also be drawn into the new coalition. A number of present and former commanders who may be eager to assume positions of leadership in the coalition have a long record of serious human rights abuse in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Watch is concerned that unqualified support--military, political, diplomatic, financial--for this new coalition, which may come to constitute the basis for a future government of Afghanistan, will encourage further abuses. In responding to the crimes against humanity of September 11, the United States should not resort to means that themselves violate basic human rights and humanitarian law standards, or provide assistance to forces that do.
Support for the Afghan Opposition
While the United States says it has so far provided no arms to the Afghan opposition, recent media reports suggest that it is gearing up to provide financial and possibly military support to the United Front and other armed Afghan groups. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on September 30, 2001: "There are any number of people in Afghanistan, tribes in the south, the northern alliance in the north, that oppose Taliban [sic]. And clearly we need to recognize the value they bring to this anti-terrorist, anti-Taliban effort - and where appropriate, find ways to assist them." The administration declined to comment on reports that the United States was offering covert financial support to the United Front.
The United Front could use new funds to replenish its stocks with arms purchases from Russia. Russia, along with Iran, has been one of the United Front's main arms suppliers during recent years; both have significant strategic interests in Afghanistan, and both have reaffirmed their support for the United Front in recent days. The Russian minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, said on September 26 that Russia had been "rendering assistance continuously to the Northern Alliance since 1996." A day earlier, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would "expand cooperation with the internationally recognized Afghan government of Rabbani and give its armed forces additional assistance in the form of weapons supplies." The Russian president was referring to the United Front's political arm, the Islamic State of Afghanistan, headed by Burhanuddin Rabbani, which has occupied Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations since its ouster from Kabul in 1996. In Iran, the defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, told reporters on October 1, 2001: "We continue to support the Northern Alliance as in the past," and replied "yes" when asked if that meant supplying them with arms. (The level and nature of past military support provided by Russia and Iran to the United Front has been detailed in a Human Rights Watch report, "Crisis of Impunity: The Role of Pakistan, Russia, and Iran in Fueling the Civil War in Afghanistan," available at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/afghan2/.)
What Is the United Front/Northern Alliance?
PEACE.ORG BULLETIN: THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE
INTRODUCTION: THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?
The big news this week has been the successful "liberation" of Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance. Pictures show men happily shaving their beards and women taking off their burqas (full-body veils) in public for the first time in years. But the Northern Alliance is a notoriously media-savvy group, and what we don't see may be more important than what we do. Reports have been coming in from around the country of mass, race-based killings and other abuses. The U.S. cautioned the Northern Alliance against taking Kabul with good reason: although the Alliance is on "our side," its horrific human rights record and history of factionalism are only marginally better than those of the Taliban.
The last time the Northern Alliance took control of Kabul in 1992, Afghanistan quickly plunged into a bloody civil war which lasted until the Taliban seized control. With the Northern Alliance now in control of much of Afghanistan, only time will tell whether the U.S., the U.N. and other world leaders will be successful in establishing a new and better government to fill the power vacuum left by the ousted Taliban, or whether the Northern Alliance will maintain control, possibly leading to another civil war.
The Northern Alliance may be the lesser of two evils, or Western support of this group may simply be tantamount to fighting fire with fire. Either way, it is more important than ever to take a good hard look at the past actions of this group in Afghanistan, if we have any hope of preventing similar atrocities in the future.
Next week: Islam
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE
If you only follow only one link from this week's bulletin, this should be the one. Click below to read what is probably the best summary of the events in Afghanistan that we have seen. Part of Amnesty International's in-depth report on human rights in Afghanistan, this section clearly identifies the conflicts in Afghanistan from 1978 until 2001, including information on the groups we refer to as the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. The human rights abuses perpetrated by both groups are detailed, as is exactly who we are referring to when we use these names, and what happened the last time the Northern Alliance took Kabul.
Why the Afghan people may fear the Alliance as much or more than the Taliban. (Please be aware that this article contains descriptions of some horrific events, especially in the first couple of paragraphs, which describe the death of a baby. You may not want to read it if you would prefer not to expose yourself to these disturbing mental images). http://rawa.false.net/na-dan.htm
CURRENT EVENTS: THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE IN POWER
Despite the calls of the international community to establish a new broad-based, multi-ethnic, peace-minded government in Afghanistan, and the apparent commitment of the United States to this course of action, it already appears that the Northern Alliance has other plans.
This article argues that the United States has had difficulty controlling the actions of their Northern Alliance partners, and that the Northern Alliance is now taking a larger role in forming the new power structures of Afghanistan than America had originally counted on. http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=24
A brief explanation of the difficulties facing world leaders as they scramble to create an acceptable replacement for the Taliban government. This article details the various alliances and concerns of different world leaders, and notes that the U.S. cannot afford to be seen as backing the Northern Alliance too much, since this will alienate Pakistan. http://www.smh.com.au/news/0111/14/world/world6.html
Why Pakistan is uneasy with fact that the Northern Alliance is in Kabul. http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=25
An optimistic article focused on the steps that the Northern Alliance has appeared to be taking towards establishing peace. Notes that a broad-based multi-ethnic government will probably not become a reality if former President Buhanuddin Rabban returns to power. http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=26
However, the Alliance-backed former president of Afghanistan, who lost his position when the Taliban seized control of Kabul away from the Northern Alliance in 1996, has since returned to the city and reclaimed his former position of leadership. http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=27
President Buhanuddin Rabban's current message of peace rings hollow when viewed in the context of his past human rights abuses, and those of his former ally, Ahmed Shah Massoud. http://www.yellowtimes.org/creilly/creilly_110901.html
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES STARTING?
Groups such as RAWA, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have already expressed concern over the Northern Alliance taking power, based on past human rights abuses. It seems that this concern is proving more than justified, as reports of massacres perpetrated by the Northern Alliance are now beginning to appear.
Hundreds of Pakistanis are believed to have been massacred by the Northern Alliance. http://rawa.false.net/pak-kill.htm
A more detailed look at the two massacres reported to have been committed by the Northern Alliance. http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11925
Robert Fisk argues that rather than claiming that these massacres are out of our hands and to be expected, we should be taking responsibility for the actions of our allies in this war -- and question what it means to allow these kinds of things to happen in our name. http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=28
THE FUTURE: TOWARDS A FREE AFGHANISTAN
Based on the history of the Northern Alliance, it seems obvious that an Afghanistan under Northern Alliance rule is no more free than an Afghanistan under the Taliban. Here are some ideas about how to go about building an Afghanistan that could be truly committed to peace and human rights.
Read RAWA's appeal to the UN and the world community, asking that the Northern Alliance not be allowed to maintain power. http://rawa.false.net/na-appeal.htm
Amnesty International's recommendations on how to make human rights a priority in Afghanistan. http://www.amnesty.ca/sept11/asa1102301-4.htm
Write to your leaders and ask them to include women's groups in the decision-making process. For a sample letter from a Canadian women's group, follow this link: http://www.mothersarewomen.com/rawa1.htm
To take action online, go to: http://www.9-11peace.org/r.php3?redir=29
Who are the Northern Alliance?
HCR coverage of the situation in Afghanistan
UNHCR consolidates operations in Afghanistan (Thursday, 22 November 2001)
The U.N. refugee agency is consolidating and slowly expanding its operations inside Afghanistan amid new reports that tens of thousands of civilians are living in extremely difficult conditions in two regions.
Aid reaches Kabul despite ambush (Saturday, 24 November, 2001)
Mr Donini described the humanitarian situation in northern Afghanistan as a crisis of stunning proportions. He said it was a race against time and that all corridors for delivering aid would be used as they became available.
In-depth coverage about Afghanistan & The Taliban
4. Peace Watch for the Middle East
Here are some of the latest developments in the Middle East. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there as well.
Palestinians Vow Revenge for Israeli Killing (Saturday November 24)
JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) - More than 60,000 Palestinian mourners in the West Bank and Gaza vowed on Saturday to launch revenge attacks in Israel, a day after an Israeli missile strike killed a senior militant from the Hamas group.
Some 50,000 Palestinians marched from the West Bank city of Jenin to nearby Nablus in the funeral procession of Hamas military leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, who was on Israel's wanted list for alleged involvement in suicide attacks on its citizens.
His death, with his deputy Ayman Hashaikah and his brother Ma'moun Hashaikah in an Israeli helicopter missile strike on their car near Nablus on Friday, is certain to complicate a new U.S. mission to end 14 months of regional violence.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Israel Radio that Hanoud was a ``professional terrorist'' planning future attacks and that killing him was an act of self defense.
Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo accused Israel of trying to scupper the U.S. peace effort. Former U.S. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns were due to arrive in the region on Monday.
The attack on Hanoud brought to at least seven the number of Palestinians to die violently on Friday, one day after five Palestinian boys were killed in an explosion in the Gaza Strip that Palestinian authorities blamed on an Israeli booby-trap.
Israeli officials say they are investigating the boys' deaths.
At least 720 Palestinians and 188 Israelis have been killed since an uprising against Israeli occupation erupted in September 2000, shortly after peace talks stalled.
Hamas has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings in recent years and has played an important role in the uprising.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of assassinating more than 70 Palestinians since the uprising began.
Israel says its internationally condemned policy is aimed at militants who plan or carry out attacks, but Palestinians say the killings have included several senior political activists.
UN warns Israel over torture reports (Friday, 23 November, 2001) http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1672000/1672786.stm
The United Nations Committee Against Torture, has warned Israel that it has several concerns about the interrogation methods used by the Israeli Security Agency against Palestinian detainees.
In its concluding report on Israel, the Committee also said it was unhappy with reports of torture and ill treatment towards Palestinian minors.
The Committee, which is made up of 10 independent experts, said it was worried about methods allegedly used by the Israeli Security Forces which include sleep-deprivation and the use of incommunicado detention for both Palestinian adults and children.
Experts also noted that there had been very few prosecutions against alleged perpetrators of torture and that there were several reported instances of "extra-judicial killings".
Israel's ambassador, Yaakov Levy, who has been defending his country's record, maintained that Israel's security forces did not use interrogation methods which amounted to torture and he added that Israel was being forced to fight "terrorism" with its "hands tied behind its back."
The Committee acknowledged Israel's security concerns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the latest upsurge of fighting but said that "no exceptional circumstances" justified torture.
In view of the reports, the Committee recommended that the Israeli Government take all necessary steps to prevent such abuses and "to institute effective complaint and investigative mechanisms."
It also urged Israel to review its laws and policies to ensure that all detainees were brought quickly before a judge and ensured prompt access to lawyers.
UN Committee Against Torture http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/cat.htm
US renews efforts at Mid-East peace (Tuesday, 20 November, 2001)
This long-awaited speech marks the start of a major new effort by the United States to calm the situation between Israel and the Palestinians.
It also bore all the hallmarks of a tough battle behind the scenes in Washington.
By all accounts, Colin Powell would have liked to deliver a different speech, with more dramatic ideas to push the peace process forward.
The White House, sensitive to domestic pressure from the Jewish lobby, watered it down.
The compromise speech
The compromise was a speech that sounded sympathetic to the Palestinians, but actually delivered little that was objectionable to the Israelis.
On the face of it, Mr Powell was careful to balance his remarks.
He started with a strong call to the Palestinian leadership to make a 100% effort to end the violence.
Palestinians must be "held to account" he said when they did not live up to agreements they had made.
But Mr Powell went on to criticise the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in language rarely heard from an American administration.
Too many innocent Palestinians, including children, had been killed and wounded, he said.
This must stop, he added, and he went on explicitly to condemn the Israeli settlement policy:
"Israeli settlement activity has severely undermined Palestinian trust (and hope). It pre-empts and pre-judges the outcome of negotiations and in doing so cripples chances for real peace and security. The United States has long opposed settlement activity ..."
New peace efforts
The next step will be for two US envoys to be sent to the region. One of them is retired Marine Corps general, Anthony Zinni, whose mission will be to try to help implement a ceasefire.
General Zinni will work with committees being set up by the Israelis and Palestinians.
Their mandate covers both security and politics so this could be a subtle way of circumventing the Israeli demand for seven days of quiet before re-starting political talks.
But several previous attempts by the Americans to broker security cooperation have failed.
Mr Powell said the United States was also ready to send monitors if that was acceptable to both sides.
Message to Muslims
Behind the scenes, the Israelis will need some heavy persuasion to accept their deployment.
The Americans will be hoping the message of reassurance sent to both sides by this speech will help them stop fighting and resume talking.
There's an important signal here as well to Muslim members of the coalition against terror, that the United States is doing its best to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Many commentators will draw a more sanguine conclusion. President Bush is not prepared yet to take the political risks necessary to afford a realistic chance of progress in the Middle East.
FULL COVERAGE ON THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Middle_East_Peace_Process/
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