By Betty | November 24, 2010
It’s blog time again! Bobby Kalsi (our director and operations guru, keep it all together guy) has been asking me for weeks to write my bits of news. However, I only like to do blogs when I’ve got some good stuff to write about. And a lot of very good things have been happening recently.
“It is not enough to know what you want; you must also know how to achieve it with integrity. I say this not to patronise, I say from experience that no matter what the goal, if the path is without integrity it will lose its way and be destroyed.”
Upon her release these words were spoken by a true heroine, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of Burma. Tears filled my eyes as I watched the news and saw the tiny frame and beautiful face of my sister Laureate, Suu Kyi, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of suffering Burmese people who love her and have waited so long for this moment. Her freedom will become their freedom from the brutal illegally elected junta who have committed acts so heinous, unjust and foul they defy description. In the past Suu Kyi has been released for short periods and knowing from the junta’s actions of the past her freedom is fragile. Her popularity and the love for her people and country are like acid to the junta’s ever eroding power base.
Suu Kyi’s only weapon is love of her people and commitment to non-violence. This commitment has caused her to be confined for 15 years. Our commitment is to ensure she stays free. Every leader in all democracies worldwide must support Suu Kyi and put pressure on the strongman and leader of the Junta, General Than Shwe, to allow the truly elected leader of Burma to do her job without threat or malice. I ask you, whatever religious denomination you may be, to pray for Suu Kyi.
Things are really beginning to move forward in Basilicata. Three refurbished houses in Sant Arcangelo are complete and ready to house families. The Foundation Board meeting in Potenza November 19 agreed on how the Board would proceed and now that all legalities are formalized and amendments passed, work can be done at a much faster pace. Already we have a delegation planned for January 2011.
At the end of September in Toronto, Canada I had the honour to address 20,000 young people at We Day. We Day’s are held all over Canada by a wonderful organization, Free the Children. I encourage those reading this blog to visit the Free the Children website: www.freethechildren.com
The story of Free the Children is powerful. It began in 1995 when Craig Kielburger, then only 12 years old read a story of a Pakistani child of slave labour who was murdered fighting back.
I tell you this because part of the work of WCCCI will be to begin a lobby of young people asking for a percentage of military budgets to be used to alleviate some of the suffering of children caught up in wars they don’t declare yet suffer grievously in. With the help of the young people involved with Free the Children we will build a mighty lobby.
Rusti (my super extraordinary executive assistant / best friend), Kevin Beck (our International Operations Manager) and I recently returned from a very successful trip to Austria, organized by Georg Kindel, a great supporter of ours. We met with top CEO’s and government ministers. At a private lunch with the President, Dr. Heinz Fischer, I connected once again with Peace Laureates President Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor and Mohammad El-Baradei from Egypt. It was lovely to see them again, especially President Horta who was shot and seriously injured in his own country four years ago. He’s a very special man. I mean, how many Presidents of countries would say “our non-violent struggle for freedom, democracy, justice and peace continues and we are winning.”
The Austrians take global warming seriously and are working very hard to implement a green culture. We stayed in the Boutique Hotel Stadthalle which was completely self-sufficient and used nothing but organic. From food to soaps no chemicals were used at all. It was fabulous. We now have a model if we ever decide to build a hotel. Ha, ha. Seriously the technological green know-how of Austria, we hope, will be able to be copied when building houses in the City of Peace for children.
It’s almost the end of November. Where did this year go! Christmas will be here before we know it. So Rusti and I must get a start on this very special time of the year, presents, cards, food, etc. As we do this we will remember how blessed we are and how grateful for the hard work of all those who support us.
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