15 May 2014

A peace initiative

At a time of increasing tensions along the Ukrainian border, two Friends from the Baltic and Russia told us of their wish to travel under concern to Eastern Ukraine to meet and talk with individuals and organizations, to hear their views of the situation and to explore what may be needed. During a deeply gathered and moving unscheduled business session their concern was tested and gained support from Friends. We created a support group, experienced in peace work, tasked to help Friends develop their plans and identify enabling resources.
This extract is drawn from a Friends World Committee for Consultation epistle to Quakers worldwide. It comes from the annual meeting of FWCC European and Middle East Section, held in Strasbourg about two weeks ago. At our last business meeting, this past weekend, Moscow Friends approved a minute giving our support to this initiative.

The approval was not automatic; it followed a lively discussion of the conditions and hazards of undertaking a peace oriented fact-finding mission of this kind. Among the comments that came up were the importance of sending participants who would be (and be seen as) impartial, and observing disciplines of language and behavior that would also signal impartiality. As we began brainstorming possible contacts in the region who could assist us, we came up with an impressive list.

Given the experience of other peace monitors in the hot spots of this region, we know we have more careful planning to do before we can announce details. However, FWCC is already receiving contributions toward an initial budget of £6,000. You are welcome to contribute to this project through the FWCC donation page for the European and Middle East Section. Funds will not be spent until specific plans have been completed and approved.

And that's it for this week! You didn't think I could do a short post, did you? If you're pleased with my brevity, you might use the time I saved you to go to that donation page.

"Ukrainian journalist for Vatican Radio pushes for 'truth' in media coverage of ongoing crisis." The Vatican, of course, does have a dog in this race--the relations between Catholic and Orthodox in the so-called canonical territory of Russian Orthodoxy are highly politicized. I'll leave it to you to decide whether Vatican Radio is able to maintain the church's commitment to "steer clear of politics, and look out for the well being of everyday people."

I had hoped against hope that the International Space Station would not be caught up in the sanctions arising from the crisis in Ukraine. Unfortunately, my hopes may not be realized.

Donald Miller on "What Profanity Is Costing You as a Communicator."

"University Presses Under Fire: How the Internet and slashed budgets have endangered one of higher education’s most important institutions." With thanks to Arts and Letters Daily for the link.

Eric Bibb ...

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