Good initiatives combating violence and discrimination

Just a few words on combating and working against discrimination and racism in society. With information and outreach networks, we can jointly combat ignorance and passivity on the matters of violence and its cause and effect! Here are some facts about two initiatives made in Sweden which I for a long time have been very interested in and committed to. At the end of my article, a pile of good links to start with giving you an idea how you can make a difference. Also read my article from my Depository Archive; “The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust,” see link below.

Today’s Quote
“Once one assumes an attitude of intolerance, there is no knowing where it will take one. Intolerance, someone has said, is violence to the intellect and hatred is violence to the heart.”
(Mahatma Gandhi, 1942)

The ignorance is overwhelmingly great on the mechanisms of intolerance, racism and discrimination. With each new generation, ignorance is also increasing! The reason for this, as it seems, is that many schools never seem to teach in these subjects. It is as if there is no interest on the part of those who are responsible for education. And here I am talking mainly about the situation in the U.S. as it has reached my attention. Or could it be that schools and universities find it offensive to address racism and discrimination in today’s school system? Keeping silent about these issues does not mean that the problems will disappear!

I feel as if people responsible for education censor vital information, thus they function as “gatekeepers” for what is considered “proper” information or not. An example is the poor knowledge about the World War II genocide of six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of other victims! I have mentioned this elsewhere on my blog that the lack of knowledge has led to a new kind of historical revisionism. All around the world, there are many good initiatives made as a counterbalance to racism, discrimination and exclusion in society. I will just briefly tell you about two of them.

The Swedish People Against Violence

— The story about the webring “The Swedish People Against The Violence”, (Svenska Folket Mot Våldet.)
“This page was created a little by chance. Some people sat and discussed via mail, about the senseless violence in our society. After various discussions, the idea came about a website that would collect as many links against violence as possible.”
The people’s weblinks page is ordered in various categories, this in order to make it easier to find the variety of topics.

Since I had a website myself from the late 90’s an onward, I joined this webring in early 2000, where people write on issues such as bullying, discrimination, violence against children, women, migrants, men and gays, it may also be about racism, anti-Semitism and more. The websites are written by ordinary people but the idea for the webring was initiated by famous authors and writers among others.

The Living History Forum

— The Swedish government started a very good iniativ a number of years ago, called “The Living History Forum” (Forum För Levande Historia.)
Here are some facts about the creation of the “The Living History Forum.” On January 26, 2000, the Swedish Parliament took the initiative for an international conference on the Holocaust with many international guest speakers. Read more about this in my article “The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.”

Already in 1997, Swedish Prime minister Göran Persson initiated the foundation of The Living History Forum. After the conference in 2000, the Government appointed a Committee to investigate how this activity could be made permanent. In december 2001 the decision was made that a new body would be set up. In 2001-2002, the Committee for living history prepared for the establishment of the authority. On June 1, 2003, the authority was officially formed. That is how the Forum was created. In the campaign to increase the awareness of the war crimes during World War II, a booklet was distributed to all households in Sweden in January 1998; “Tell ye your children…” This was also the beginning of the Swedish Government’s active work on these issues.

Objective:

The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority which, using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point, works with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights. This is a great challenge and our specific mission. We use actual historical events to help people reflect on the age we live in. The past and the present are continuously present in everything we do, which teaches us to see patterns.”

The Living History Forum has partners in many countries and actively participates in various international networks such as the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF.)

These are some good role models that I want to strike a blow for! There are organizations around the world who work in a similar way; training courses, information material to schools, international collaboration and contacts with authorities and so on. The following is a list of links to organizations, both governmental, non-commercial and private, who work tirelessly against the ignorance that exists in society. You will surely find something that appeals to you. Give them your support! Welcome back to The Meadow of Tzedaqyal.

Some very good Sources:
Amnesty International
Antirasistisk Senter The Norwegian Centre against Racism
Anti-Defamation League
Association for Multi Ethnic Americans
• Booklet “Tell ye your children…” (pdf-files in several languages for download, The Living History Forum, Sweden)
B’Tselem Israeli Information Center
Bystander project (The Living History Forum, Sweden)
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (University of Minnesota)
Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden’s international human rights organization. Former Swedish Helsinki Commitee For Human Rights)
Council Of Europe (European Union)
ENAR – European Network Against Racism (Network of member organizations across Europe)
Equality and Human Rights Commission (non-departmental public body, UK)
Equality Ombudsman (Swedish DO)
European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI, founded in 1996 by the governments of Denmark, Germany and Schleswig-Holstein)
European Ombudsman (European Union)
Expo Foundation (Swedish privately-owned research foundation. Swedish language only)
Freie Universität Berlin – Reality of Discrimination in Germany – Assumptions and Facts (Project within European Union)
GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) (HMDT founded in UK after the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust was held on 26 January 2000. HMD has taken place in the UK since 2001)
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Watch (Int. independent organization originally founded in Finland 1978)
ICARE – Internet Centre Anti Racism Europe (ICARE started in 1999 to inform the European NGO’s and facilitate discussion about the UN WCAR and the preparatory process)
IGLHRC (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)
ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association)
ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research)
• My article “The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust.” From my Inner Depository Archive March 8, 2000
Simon Wiesenthal Center (Global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism)
SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)
SOS Rasisme (Norwegian politically independent organization working against all forms of racism and Nazism. Norwegian language only)
Southern Poverty Law Center (Nonprofit civil rights organization)
Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive (Founded in the late 1960’s by Professor Moshe Davis and other historians of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1987 named after Spielberg when he made a generous donation)
The Living History Forum, English (Forum För Levande Historia)
The Swedish People Against The Violence (Webring Svenska Folket Mot Våldet)
UNESCO – Fight Against Discrimination
United Nations Human Rights
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Yad Vashem (The Holocaust History Museum, Jerusalem, IL)
Yad Vashem, UK
Östgruppen – Highlighting human rights in Eastern Europe/Belarus (via Google Translate)

© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
אתר הבית של יונתן
Twitter @tzedaqyal

About Meadow of Tzedaqyal

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955)
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