Erenlai - The Art of Peace-making 從亞洲眺望全球和平
The Art of Peace-making 從亞洲眺望全球和平

The Art of Peace-making 從亞洲眺望全球和平


Learn how to become a peacemaker! These materials concentrate on conflict resolution and peace building.





Monday, 11 August 2008

Do I really have to pray for my enemies?

I feel sorry for God. In any war the believers on both sides flood his ears begging for victory. God either has to please the side who wins and disappoint the side that loses or come up with some way that they both can win. What would happen if instead of praying for their side and against the other side both sides began to pray for each other? Praying for your enemy doesn’t mean praying that he will win but that he will no longer be your enemy, that there will be some peaceful solution without bloodshed or injustice.

Even the terrorists who are plaguing the world are men who pray, but their prayer seems to be for the annihilation of their enemies. If we too pray for their annihilation, there is sure to be bloodshed. Far better to pray for a change of heart, so the aim will no longer be injury and death, but some settlement that will bring us together in peace and toleration.

That would be a good beginning. But there won’t be real peace until we can all sit, stand or kneel and pray together, even if each one prays in his or her own words and gestures. The problem is that often our Gods themselves are enemies or they are the same God but with different names envisioned and reverenced quite differently. If we don’t have tolerance for one another’s Gods, how can we ever have peace and tolerance with one another?

Here is a fable I wrote about what happened on one particular World Prayer Day.
The World Prayer Day

Once upon a time there was a big international event. Its slogan was “the world that prays together stays together.” It was called “World Prayer Day” and at a single signal heard around the world, every citizen of the world began to pray.

Some people as a sign of reverence removed their shoes or hats. Others put on robes or covered their heads. Some knelt. Others prostrated themselves. Some stood motionless. Others rocked back and forth. Some extended or raised their arms. Others folded their arms or beat their breasts. Some closed their eyes. Others opened them wide. Some were perfectly silent. Others cried aloud. Some sang. Others wept. Some made petitions. Others dared say nothing. Some prayed for everybody. Others prayed only for themselves or prayed only for others. Some prayed that their enemies would live in peace. Others prayed that their enemies would die in defeat.

Thus, this act of common prayer that was intended to signify unity, in a sense, mocked unity by revealing all the practices and beliefs that keep men apart.

And yet the very diversities occurring simultaneously side by side in a moment of cooperative effort were the most powerful sign that there is really only one mankind and one divinity, a single humanity of a thousand tongues and a thousand cultures worshipping a single god of a billion sides and a billion faces.

There was no end to the variety of opinions voiced about the Prayer Day.

“For one day at least,” proclaimed one commentator, “the world is not talking about wars or violence or poverty or epidemics or even sports or the weather. But what does it all mean?”

“See,” someone said with a tone of despair, “how hopeless it is to expect peace when we can’t even agree on a common name for God.”

“See,” said others with a tone of triumph, “what hope there is since for five minutes at least even the bitterest of enemies were able to put down their arms to join their foes in a common effort.”

“God wins,” screamed one headline. “The event shows that nearly everyone believes in some sort of super-human, supernatural power that we revere as divine.”

“God loses,” claimed another. “What is left to believe? How can one God be so many things to so many people? There seem to be as many gods as there are individuals on earth. If every person is god, there is no god.”

“How wonderful,” declared others. “God is so infinite and omnipotent, no one can see the whole of him or her. Everyone sees only what is visible from his or her perspective.”

“There is no universal God who created mankind,” some complained. “Today’s exercise only showed that is we who create God to justify our existence or give us hope. The event shows that god is no more than a self-portrait of what we imagine we would look like if we had the qualities we are attributing to him or her. We either give God glorified quantities of the characteristics we most esteem in ourselves or we imagine what it would be like to enjoy the attributes we wish we had but know we don’t.”

“What nonsense,” someone else retorted, “If I had created myself, I would surely have done a better job.”

“You have it all wrong,” came the response, “If it was God who created you, He would certainly have done a better job.”

“No,” someone said in defense, “that just means that in God’s eyes, you are better than you think you are. If God created you the way you are, then things must not be as bad as they seem and there is a bright future for you after all, if you try your best to live as you believe He wants you to live.”

“It all just goes to show that we cannot understand God,” someone added. “This is a blessing, because if we could thoroughly understand God with our limited brain power, then God would be a pretty far from perfect creature.”

“Poor God,” some commiserated. “Today He had to listen to billions of people making billions of petitions, so many of which are impossible to grant. They request contradictory solutions to the same problems or for solutions that would not be good in the long run or solutions that infringe on the rights or welfare of others.”

“Poor mankind,” some commiserated. “They want God to be only what they want Him to be, afraid to look around the corner to see His other sides. God is in the calm and God is in the storm. God is in the fire. He is in the smoke that identifies the fire. He is in the water that extinguishes the fire. There is a time for justice and a time for mercy, a time for punishment and a time for pardon, time for hurting and a time for healing.”

There are lessons hidden here.

So long as everyone creates his or her own image of God,
there will be conflicts in the name of God.

So long as everyone wants God to do only what they themselves want,
there will be disappointment and ingratitude.

So long as everyone wants everyone else to be like himself or herself,
there will never be peace.

If you believe your religion is true,
then you needn’t be afraid to explore what others may see in it.

If God is omnipotent and infinite and provident and wise,
then there must be more to God and religion than meets your eyes.

“One flock and one shepherd” is a vision of hope for the future
only if it means we will one day all be united in one faith
that recognizes and respects the reality
that God created each one as a unique reflection of the divine.

Heaven is the ultimate adventure that takes us on a journey
to the sides of God now hidden from our eyes.
Heaven is the place where we will finally embrace and accept
the visions of God seen by others.

In the meantime, if men and women are to live in harmony,
there must be harmony between their gods.

If ever we can come to see the oneness of all gods,
then we will not have to renounce our own god.
We just need to see God reflected in the images of others.

It isn’t necessary to pray with the same words or bow the same way
in order to homage the one god of a billion sides and a billion faces.

God doesn’t require us to be men and women identical to each other,
only to be men and women united for each other.

(Photo: Liang Zhun)

Friday, 11 July 2008

The jungle negotiators

There had always been conflicts between the animals in the North Jungle and the animals in the South Jungle. Each accused the other of encroaching on its territory and was very critical of the other’s social system. The North Jungle condemned the South Jungle for its policies that seemed to favor the jungle violating the rights of the trees and the animals. The South Jungle condemned the North Jungle for neglecting the jungle by allowing too much freedom and license to the trees and the animals. It all came to a head over a dispute about the ownership of a piece of land between them. Because of this impasse it was decided to hold a meeting between both sides in a neutral territory, namely the West Jungle with monitors from the East Jungle.

Naturally the trees were unable to attend this meeting so they had to depend upon animals to represent them and all their resident creatures. The problem was which animals to send. Skunks would not be a good choice for ambassadors, because they don’t smell very pleasant. Even carefully perfumed, they would always have at hand their potential stink, should negotiations turn sour. Mice are clever little fellows, but seem far too tiny to make others take them seriously. No one trusts anything that snakes have to say. Lions and tigers would be too intimidating. Elephants and gorillas are too overwhelming. Mockingbirds can speak every language, but have nothing to say for themselves. Owls, of course, would be very wise, but it was feared that since they usually sleep during the day they would be too drowsy to stay alert during the daytime meetings.

The North Jungle finally decided to choose an eagle, because it didn’t live in either jungle and so had no personal interest in the disputed territory. The other side chose an otter from a neutral jungle, because there was no habitable stream for otters in the disputed territory, so it too would have no personal interest in how the dispute was settled.

When the conference began, the eagle contended that for centuries the disputed land had been settled by animals from the North Jungle without any claim ever being made for the land from the South Jungle.

True enough countered the otter, but for the last fifty years the North Jungle has done nothing whatever to develop the land and allowed without any opposition or complaint a large number of animals from the South Jungle to move into it and they are the ones who have developed it to its present state of prosperity with the help of subsidies from the South Jungle. The North no longer has any rightful claim to the land they ignored for so long. Why should the North reap the profits of the sweat and tears of the South Junglers?

The speeches of the eagle were applauded by the crowd of supporters of the North and booed by the supporters of the South, while the speeches of the otter were equally applauded by the crowd of supporters of the South and booed by the supporters of the North, so it was practically impossible to make any progress in the negotiation. In fact there was no negotiation.

Finally the eagle and the otter were so frustrated by the proceedings that they decided to meet together in secret without any observers to interfere. And almost at once they came up with what they expected would be an acceptable compromise.

Calling the meeting to order they announced their solution:

For years animals from both the North and the South have lived peacefully together in this territory without interference from either government.

Moreover, attracted by the natural beauty off the area, animals from North and South as well as those from East and West have flocked to the area to admire its natural attractions without any objection from either government.

Finally, the territory in dispute is not very large, so that its annexation to or secession from either Jungle has practically no significance given the already large size of each Jungle’s territory.

So we propose that the area in question be declared an Inter-jungle Park under the joint jurisdiction of the North and South Jungles between whose boundaries it is located. The present inhabitants shall continue to live there each retaining his/her original citizenship and the territory will be developed and facilities built to turn it into an ecological park for international tourism.

The plan was well received and after discussion to work our particular details, it was unanimously adopted. Both sides won and both sides lost, while the Jungles everywhere gained a beautiful model for ecological management and a wonderful site for vacation travel.

There are lessons hidden here.

The secret to successful compromise
is willingness to lose a little in order to gain much.

The difficulty is in getting the people involved
to agree on what will be lost and what gained.

The negotiators have the tricky task
of convincing both sides
that what they gain is better
than what they lose.

Read an essay by Bob:

Attached media :

Wednesday, 30 April 2008



李禮君 撰文



Tuesday, 18 March 2008



杨昊 撰文 摄影
拍摄地 新加坡

东协自2007年7月29日开始将召开一连五天的外长会议与东协区域论坛(ARF)。相关会议将陆续通过几项有助于建构区域共同体的行动计画与务实提案。其中,预计于30日通过的菲律宾提案----海外危机情况下的领事协助(consular assistance)标准作业程式(SOP)----将会是充实东协社会文化体(ASCC)运作内涵的重要规划。








Tuesday, 18 March 2008



楊昊 撰文 攝影
拍攝地 新加坡

東協自2007年7月29日開始將召開一連五天的外長會議與東協區域論壇(ARF)。相關會議將陸續通過幾項有助於建構區域共同體的行動計畫與務實提案。其中,預計於30日通過的菲律賓提案----海外危機情況下的領事協助(consular assistance)標準作業程式(SOP)----將會是充實東協社會文化體(ASCC)運作內涵的重要規劃。








Friday, 14 March 2008



楊昊 撰文
Supachai Panyaviwat 攝影

本屆東協外長會議無意外地確認了下任秘書長人選,決定將由現任泰國國會議員素林(Surin Pitsuwan)接任。本次推薦角逐東協秘書長者,可謂人才濟濟,其中包括了泰國駐聯合國前任大使坤瀛(Khunying Laxanachantorn Laohaphan)、前駐美大使克拉司特(Krasit Piromya)以及現任外交部的維拉薩克(Virasak Futrakul)等。不過,最後還是由素林脫穎而出,將成為開創東協新時代的重要舵手。


儘管素林明年一月才正式接任東協秘書長,但他早在十年前的一項提議,曾一度引起東協國家就既有區域規範挑整與否的一系列辯論。當時(1998年)因為區域國家深受東亞金融危機的衝擊,從而影響了各國的政經穩定與發展步調。因此,當時任職泰國外長的素林提出了「建設性干預」(constructive intervention)的概念,試圖修正在區域內行之多年的不干涉內政原則,以期建立起更透明的區域經濟與社會監督機制。他甚至表示,如果區域各國要進一步整合,那麼要某種程度上、在某些議題上讓渡部分主權的作法,應當是東協成員必須面對的抉擇。

他認為既存的不干涉內政原則儘管重要,但區域內更需要有一系列能提供意見交換、提供政策建議的透明機制,才能加速各國的重建腳步,也才能有助於深化日後的進階區域合作。然而,或許是這項概念內含的「干預」一詞太過敏感,這使得素林日後改采「彈性參與」(flexible engagement)一詞,以作為促進區域互動關係的新主張。



Thursday, 13 March 2008



楊昊 撰文
Supachai Panyaviwat 攝影






Wednesday, 12 March 2008



杨昊 撰文 摄影
拍摄地 新加坡


在2007年1月初揭示的名人小组宪章报告书(EPG Report)中,隐约可见欧盟经验对东协未来规划方向的影响,譬如欲建立「东协联盟」(ASEAN Union)的远景、欲将东协高峰会制度化为「东协理事会」以及设立三个部长层级的理事会的主张,以及在既有共识决无法顺利决议的议题上增设投票多数决的决议机制等宣示,都有欧盟经验的影子。这些有助于强化区域制度主体性的创新建言,在当时被称为是「清晰且深具远见的」的大胆建议。

不过,在11月20日的东协峰会上正式公布并获得各国领袖签署的《东协宪章》,则是由另一个高层工作小组(HLTF)所草拟。很明显地,这份宪章与名人小组的宪章报告书多有出入,甚至在立场上更趋向保守。这份宪章大致只确立了东协的成立宗旨、互动原则、组织架构、决策与执行过程以及争端解决等功能性的规范依据。在东协的法律人格、敏感的人权机制(human rights body)以及争端解决的制度化规范方面,只有原则性地敍述了基本精神。





Wednesday, 12 March 2008



杨昊 撰文



这种对话关系的经营,除了在言论上表示友善外,还是得落实在实际议题合作上。现阶段最重要的合作计画,在于逐步落实另一个东协加一(ASEAN+1,印度-东协自由贸易协定),并且透过在不同议题上的双边基础建设合作,建构自由贸易发展的前置工程。譬如,印度商业部长Jairam Ramesh在2007年7月3日表示,政府现阶段拟规划开发印北邻近缅甸、寮国与泰国的七个省,借著其充裕的天然资源,结合邻近东协国家发展成新的成长三角区。除此之外,在普吉岛附近的印属岛屿,也可望在东望政策的架构下,规划成可与东协国家进行区域旅游产业合作、并提高观光商机的新景点。




Wednesday, 12 March 2008







番红花之火 换来枪弹绳索




为缅甸祝祷 以行动支持



Saturday, 08 March 2008



楊昊 撰文

2007年7月13日,聯合國前秘書長Kofi Annan在一場公開講座中表示,東協應該在緬甸民主化進程中扮演更關鍵的角色,甚至給與更多的「同儕壓力」。事實上,Annan在聯合國秘書長任內,即一再呼籲東協能加速緬甸的民主改革,並積極推動聯合國對緬甸的協助與影響。不過,儘管來自國際社會的壓力不斷,儘管鄰近區域環境醞釀的整合步調逐漸加快,但緬甸政府推動民主改革的決心與速度,仍然受到不少外界的質疑。由此可見,對於緬甸政府而言,「經濟」或「發展」似乎不完全可作為交換「民主」或「人權」改革的籌碼。





Friday, 07 March 2008



楊昊 撰文 攝影
拍攝地 新加坡


在2007年1月初揭示的名人小組憲章報告書(EPG Report)中,隱約可見歐盟經驗對東協未來規劃方向的影響,譬如欲建立「東協聯盟」(ASEAN Union)的遠景、欲將東協高峰會制度化為「東協理事會」以及設立三個部長層級的理事會的主張,以及在既有共識決無法順利決議的議題上增設投票多數決的決議機制等宣示,都有歐盟經驗的影子。這些有助於強化區域制度主體性的創新建言,在當時被稱為是「清晰且深具遠見的」的大膽建議。

不過,在11月20日的東協峰會上正式公佈並獲得各國領袖簽署的《東協憲章》,則是由另一個高層工作小組(HLTF)所草擬。很明顯地,這份憲章與名人小組的憲章報告書多有出入,甚至在立場上更趨向保守。這份憲章大致只確立了東協的成立宗旨、互動原則、組織架構、決策與執行過程以及爭端解決等功能性的規範依據。在東協的法律人格、敏感的人權機制(human rights body)以及爭端解決的制度化規範方面,只有原則性地敍述了基本精神。




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