Jonathan Dimbleby will be chairing.
As the Times and Financial Times go into attack mode this morning, no doubt rattled by the economic implications of reference to an Islamic State, a more rounded picture of Mr Khan is presented.
The writer met Imran Khan at a Green Network conference (Warwick University1996) and thought that he and his former wife were likeable and well-informed. Imran illustrated a practice she had heard of in India – about visiting a farmer (in Pakistan) growing food intensively, who wouldn’t dream of eating it or offering it to a guest and kept a plot for growing food organically for domestic use. Both were knowledgeable about the various issues raised and also (in a one-to-one conversation) about the advantages of reforming the monetary system. They saw the potential of what is now called quantitative easing – if used for the common good – at a time when bankers and economist were vehemently rejecting such proposals
The mainstream media, reporting his electoral success, has been ready to use terms like ‘playboy’ and to refer to his cricketing prowess, but completely failed to record most of the valuable actions he has undertaken. To redress the balance, some will be added, in chronological order.
He studied Economics and Politics at Keble College, Oxford, in 1972, and was captain of Oxford’s cricket team in 1974. He led Pakistan to numerous victories all over the world, clinching the World Cup in 1992. He then devoted his time to building the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) Cancer Hospital in memory of his mother who had suffered from the disease. Today it is one of the leading institutions for free cancer treatment in the world and has received international recognition. He used his international profile in cricket to support health and immunisation programmes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand and volunteered for UNICEF.
He moved into politics, launching the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party,“the Pakistani Justice Movement”.
The first reference to his role as a peacemaker came in TOURISM RECREATION RESEARCH VOL. 30(1), 2004: 83-91, co-authored by Professor Andrew Rigby: “Former Pakistani captain Imran Khan commented: ‘When the two countries are trying to become friendly, trying to ease tensions, then cricket plays a healing role, cricket becomes a cement in bonding the two countries together.”
Imran Khan, was arrested in Lahore on 14 November and had risked the death penalty for opposing the state of emergency and military rule.
On a sister site news included Gandhian non-violent resistance, a two-day sit-in on the NATO supply route near the northwestern city of Peshawar, blocking trucks carrying NATO supplies from the port at Karachi and a long march from Karachi to Peshawar in protest against the Obama-sanctioned drone attacks which began in 2009.
Pakistan’s Nation newspaper reported that thousands of people gathered at Neto Jeti bridge near Karachi port, bringing Nato supplies to a halt as Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party continued its sit-in against US drone attacks in Karachi, for the second consecutive day.
In ‘Pathways to Peace’, Editor-in-Chief of NewsX India, Jehangir Pocha, brought leaders from India and Pakistan to the same platform to discuss where the relations between the two countries are going, before a large audience in Delhi. Video link here.
Imran Khan leads Gandhian non-violent resistance in Pakistan. Drones had been bombing the northern border areas of Pakistan, such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) governed directly by the federal government.2012
On the CHS-Sachetan site in was noted that Imran Khan wrote about the empathy between the people of India and Pakistan, arbitrarily divided after Independence, stressing how warmly they are received in India. Imran Khan, pointing out that he is welcomed in India as Sachin Tendulkar is welcomed in Pakistan, recently called for a new era in the relationship between the two countries.
He expressed the hope that Obama would end the drone strikes in his country. Speaking as the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Party, Mr Khan pointed out that since the US president no longer faces the pressure of another election, he can ignore the pressure from the pro-war lobby and put an end to the “barbaric” and “counter-productive” drone attacks in Pakistan, during which the United States had been:
10,000 demonstrators staged a protest against US drone strikes, blocking a main road, and the provincial secretary announced that Nato supply containers to and from Afghanistan via Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be stopped at the border points. This blockade of Nato supplies would continue till US stopped drone attacks and formally sought apology for the human killings in Pakistan. The blockade has been maintained without the approval of central government and despite pressure from the US and European Union. See 2014 video – snapshot above.
2005 – 2014:
He served as chancellor of the University of Bradford and took part in the Vaulting Ambitions initiative, which saw a series of young people interviewing sports people on how sport has been used historically to encourage peace across the world. A meeting between Mr Khan and Mia, a pupil at St Augustine’s Primary School, Leeds, was set up by the University of Bradford and the Bradford-based Peace Museum.
Mr Khan said: “It was a real pleasure to be interviewed by Mia. Her questions were thoughtful and thought-provoking and I am really encouraged by the fact that ways in which we might be able to find peaceful solutions to conflict are being addressed in a project like this involving the next generation.”
Imran Khan agreed that sportsmen can become ambassadors for peace and has many friends in India but, asked about the possibility of peace with India, explained that, as the underlying cause of conflict is the situation of Kashmir, peace is only temporary and tension comes back again after time – and there can be no lasting peace with injustice. Read more here. – August 26, 2011
When Mr Khan stepped down in 2014, Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Imran has played a critical and important role for us as chancellor of the university over an extended period of time. He has been a truly outstanding ambassador for the university and a wonderful role model for our students. He has awarded degrees to many students here at Bradford and has also set up one of the fastest growing colleges in Pakistan, Namal College, where students also receive University of Bradford degrees.
The Drone Warfare site summarised his four year non-violent campaign in Pakistan against drone strikes
PTI chairman Imran Khan announced a long march from Karachi to Peshawar in protest against the drone attacks said to have killed thousands of people in northwest Pakistan’s tribal region.
Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported that Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, is to seek compensation for the victims of US drone strikes and vows to take their cases to parliament and the courts. Though the Afghanistan and Yemeni governments get compensation for the families of civilians killed in strikes, he said, Islamabad receives nothing from the US government and no compensation has been offered to a single victim.
“PTI will raise this issue in parliament and also go to court to get compensation for the drone victims,” Khan said at the launch of a report demanding compensation for drone victims, organised by the independent Foundation for Fundamental Rights and international legal aid charity Reprieve. No link has yet been found for this report – the nearest source appears to be news of an ‘analysis of data’ in this Guardian article.
Imran, whose PTI party has always vigorously opposed drone attacks, had earlier demanded the blocking of NATO supplies going through the country, blaming the US for sabotaging efforts to establish peace in Pakistan by repetitive drone strikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. He added that the PTI-led government in the province possessed the mandate to block Nato supplies.
Khan wrote in his memoir, Pakistan: A Personal History, “Far from being the Islamic welfare state that was envisaged, Pakistan is a country where politics is a game of loot and plunder”. His new party, he said, would strive to “end exploitation and ensure a society based on honesty, merit and integrity”.
This undertaking was repeated in Thursday’s well received victory speech, in which he called for national unity. One extract: “I am saying to you today, that for the first time, Pakistan’s policies won’t be for the few rich people, it will be for the poor, for our women, for our minorities, whose rights are not respected. My whole aim will be to protect our lower classes and to bring them up”.
Khan said he would seek improved relations with India and Afghanistan, where a peace process is moving slowly forward.
Read the full text here.
Two noted British researchers are combining to address the world’s most serious social and economic issue.
Improving the lives of the majority in poorer countries
As one of them recently wrote, democratic, progressive and internationalist governments should grasp the urgency of seeing foreign policy, aid and trade agreements in terms of improving the lives of the majority in poorer countries and reject the globalisation and austerity policies which have increased insecurity in many countries. This would help to minimise permanent migration, now at crisis point, which is ‘tearing European and United States politics apart’.
Angela Merkel’s plan was first outlined in 2017 on the Atlantic Council* website. Like the late, great Ted Dunn in his well-received work on regional peace and development plans in the 80s, she invoked the Marshall Plan – the US aid initiative that rebuilt Western Europe’s devastated infrastructure and weakened economies after World War II.
The German government unveiled its framework for a “Marshall Plan with Africa” (Eckpunkte für einen Marshallplan mit Afrika) with the twin objectives of increasing trade and development on the continent and reducing migration of people escaping warfare and/or poverty. The text resisted ‘cut and paste’ so a snapshot (left) was taken.
It would be good if the Africa-EU Partnership (header below), which spends approximately €20bn a year, were to oversee the whole project, working along the lines proposed by Dunn and Merkel.
*The Atlantic Council promotes engagement in international affairs and provides a forum for navigating the twenty-first century’s dramatic economic and political global challenges”.
Poor economic prospects, repression and military conscription made Eritrea one of Africa’s biggest sources of refugees bound for Europe.
David Pilling, noted author and FT columnist reports a ‘diplomatic turnround’ which has taken place with far-reaching consequences for the region and beyond, commenting, “Yet no one outside the continent has paid much attention”. Abiy Ahmed, the recently elected young Ethiopian prime minister has transformed the atmosphere in a country that had been beset by years of civil strife.
The two men later met and signed a peace agreement that brings to an end a 20-year stand-off since the bloody conflict of 1998-2000. Pilling adds that the accord was made possible largely due to the forward thinking of Mr Abiy, at 41 Africa’s youngest leader, who offered to cede land in accordance with a peace deal that was never implemented.
The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed the accord and later marked the diplomatic thaw between their once-warring nations with hugs and warm words in front of an ecstatic crowd at a concert celebrating the end of one of Africa’s longest conflicts.
Jane Flanagan (the Times) describes a visibly moved Isaias Afwerki addressing thousands of jubilant well-wishers in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on his first visit to the country in 22 years. As he was welcomed by flag-waving Ethiopians chanting his name, he said: “Hate, discrimination and conspiracy is now over. No one can steal the love we have regained now. Now is the time to make up for the lost times.”
Mr Isaias’s visit followed one made to his capital by Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, when the leaders signed a historic five-point declaration to end a border war that has claimed 100,000 lives. They used their second summit to commit to restoring trade and transport links and reopening embassies.
“The reconciliation we are forging now is an example to people across Africa and beyond,” Mr Abiy said.
In a speech at the weekend to welcome Mr Isaias, Mr Abiy said: “We have finally found our sister nation after many years of hiding.” The summit culminated in a celebration of music and dance last night at the Millennium Hall, attended by 25,000 ticket holders.
David Pilling noted some of the real and immediate practical implications of the deal:
Alongside developments in African countries including Zimbabwe and Angola, it will be another sign of potential political rejuvenation on the continent and if the peace deal holds, the international community should stand ready to engage.
Pilling adds that observers say if the peace deal holds it could help to stabilise neighbouring Somalia. The benefits could reach far north, because an end to conflict and repression in Eritrea could reduce the number of its citizens migrating to Europe.
A sign of hope: farmers take action which has beneficial consequences.
Richard Bruce, former farm manager, whose health has been seriously damaged by agro-chemicals, sent a link giving news of large-scale poisoning in Maharashtra, India. Further reading included an article with a medical report not given in other sources:
Three children died and around 250 people fell ill, with several in critical condition, after a dinner for a house-warming ceremony. Dr. Ajit Gawli, Raigad district civil surgeon, said “The serum test reports of two patients indicated presence of organophosphate compound in the food. The cholinesterase enzyme level was found to be around 800, which ideally should be around 1,200. It does confirm the presence of organophosphate compound found in insecticides and pesticides.”
Kate Mendenhall, director of the Organic Farmers Association USA, finds that farmers are ‘going organic’ because of concerns about pesticides.
Kate’s master’s degree thesis at Goddard College (Vermont) involved interviewing farmers worldwide who transitioned to organic, and she found that pesticides were a major concern. She says:
A 2017 report by Oregon State University and organic certifier Oregon Tilth, Breaking New Ground: Farmer Perspectives on Organic Transition, found that 86% of farmers surveyed said that concerns about health was one of the main motivations for transitioning.
Blaine Schmaltz, who farms in Rugby, North Dakota, is a good example. One day in September 1993, Schmaltz was spraying an herbicide on his field. He stopped to check the level in the sprayer tank. Looking inside, he started to feel lame and then passed out. He was later hospitalized for several months with asthma, muscle aches and pains, and insomnia. A doctor diagnosed him as having ‘occupational asthma’. While recovering, Schmaltz read about organic farming and decided to transition because he wanted to continue farming. The next spring he started the transition, and over time found it was the right choice. His symptoms disappeared. Schmaltz continues to farm organically, growing wheat, edible beans, flax and other specialty grains. “I didn’t switch to organic farming for the money or a utopian dream,” he said. “I did it for myself and my family in order to stay in agriculture.” Ken Roseboro gave this and other examples in a Responsible Technology article.
Other farmers in the U.S. and Canada have switched to organic methods because of a health crisis they had—or even the death of a family member—due to pesticide exposure.
There are many American visitors to the Chemical Concern website (right) and in May the top post was about the World Health Organisation’s statement that the herbicide glyphosate is ‘possibly carcinogenic’.
In Britain, a government document notes that the total number of organic producers and processors rose by 5.1% in 2016 to 6,363. The number of processors only rose for the third year running and now stands at 2,804, the highest number since 2008.
A move to organic cultivation is a sign of hope for a healthier future:
He gave a brutally frank account of the strings attached to aid and questioned the criteria and agendas set by western aid agencies in disbursing aid. The Times of India comments, “As we have seen in our own part of the world, a plethora of middlemen has come up in the aid business. It is they who negotiate on behalf of the voiceless dispossessed and it is into their pockets that the bulk of the aid resources goes. (TOI: 8.2.03)
Brief accounts of four projects which have in common:
Ben Parkinson and the Butterfly Project in Uganda
The Butterfly Project was founded in 2009, recruiting able and socially concerned children from rural Lyantonde and slum areas in Kampala.
The initial recruits are now young changemakers, winning awards, and establishing social projects, attracting international funding for their work. They are creative thinkers, working to solve some of Uganda’s social problems, forming a team used to working with others on projects, most recently the Slum Run for children working in quarries, the Active Youths magazine and the Changemaker Band.
There are now almost 40 young changemakers who are in or have completed their training, which starts with a one-year intensive programme in Kampala, then continues with support and guidance, through giving opportunities to deliver and participate in youth programmes, as they go through school.
In Year 1, tuition is paid for Butterfly members in a school in Kampala, but the plan, for all subsequent years, is to teach members in a specially empowering school, to be called the Chrysalis Secondary School, which will encourage its students, whether they are a member of the core project or not, to see themselves as architects of change in Uganda, just as Butterfly Project members already do.
During term-time, the school will offer regular ICT training to its pupils, both during the school day and after, helping some to become programmers and games designers. Regular sports, athletics, netball, volleyball and football, will be provided. Children are encouraged to expand their vision, by engaging other leisure pursuits, to discover their passion and how they might focus this passion by becoming a changemaker. The Butterfly Project believes in play for young people and will include games (sports, boardgames and computer games) in both teaching and leisure time.
Christine Parkinson and others raise funds in UK via CYEN.
The Sacred New Era (SNE) School in Ladakh
The Sacred New Era (SNE) School provides holistic education to those in need. Founded by Shabir Banday, with the help of his parents, friends and supporters, the school opened in 2001 with 5 pupils aged 2½ & 3 years of different faiths and ethnic groups, from villages around Leh, and even further away.
Progressive knowledge is offered. This does not mean abandoning the age-old culture but upholding the rich heritage and promoting it along with modern concepts.
A Montessori approach encourages children from an early age to think for themselves and become aware. This school is different from general Ladakhi Schools and is growing because parents are realizing its beneficial qualities. It offers a unique education and is an example of diverse communities within Ladakh working together.
The main difference between SNE and other private schools in Leh is that children and teachers are from Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. In addition to their general studies/subjects, they are also taught their own basic religious studies. They work and play alongside those of other Faiths, where friendship and knowledge can contribute to tolerance and understanding between faith cultures—so vital for our troubled world today.
On 2nd July 2011, Denise Moll, Rachel Tolmie, Phillida Ball and Shabir Banday got together and founded SESOL Charity (SC041237) in Scotland. The primary aim of the charity is to help SNE School in India, and also to help disadvantaged communities in Scotland.
In the latest newsletter, Shabir Banday and Denise write about challenges faced by the school. The government decreed that the school could only teach pupils up to 12 years, so the older class and 2 of the teachers had to leave (all have done well since then). The building, which had enjoyed a solitary life, was now being crowded in by much building of houses all round it, and they lost a crucial playground … building in Leh has accelerated almost as much as in Europe, with hotels popping up everywhere, some roads being tarmacked and many improvements made to attract tourists. The school building also was in need of some repair and decoration. Throughout this period, the teachers have been patient and understanding. It was a real test for their commitment to the school. They showed enthusiasm and belief in the school, its teaching and place in Leh with regard to other schools. They are all owed money as, during the unsettled period, payments were deferred. After much discussion and thoughtful consideration, they decided they themselves could not find a better school in Leh and banded together to do what they could to keep SNE alive and kicking. They donated spare time to making necessary repairs to the building and painted it from top to toe. Money had been put aside for the needed materials, and they prioritised this over their own pay which has amazed and awed Shabir’s family and myself!
Whilst in Ladakh last year Shabir had meetings with a wider group outside the School about the piece of donated Government land on which it is proposed to build a new SNE School with greater facilities. First, a wall needs to be built round the land for protection, and the land levelled. He met with an architect to discuss a draft design for a new school building, and the architect, together with a small group will be seeking appropriate funding.
Grace House, Cambodia
Grace House Community Centre works in several villages between Siem Reap and Tonle Sap. Little of the tourist dollar reach the families who rely on subsistence farming and fishing. Bridget Cordory (Chair) is one of the original founders of GHCC and managed the project in Cambodia for 8 years and remains actively involved with GHCC. Her husband, Alan, remained in Cambodia as Bridget returned to work in social care and the arts in Gloucestershire.
At Grace House we strongly believe education and inclusion will improve the livelihoods of this generation and the next. Our programmes start from early years and continue through to further education. Sometimes poverty leads parents to place their children in orphanages; we support the families ensuring children remain in education in English language, health, leadership, IT, training electricians and craft and stay in the family unit.
Starting with a converted Khmer house and 70 students GHCC has grown to educating 300 + students in 8 classrooms, a library, IT suite, electrician’s training room, 2 social enterprises, special needs classroom and small group home. In providing opportunities to learn vocational, craft and language skills, families will increase their ability to earn an income or run a business, enabling them to become self-sufficient.
Grace House Community Centre intends to achieve this by –
Learn more and see the video pictured above here: https://www.gracehousecambodia.net
VRI: Amarpurkashi, Uttar Pradesh : the project continues, but the volunteering scheme closes
Australian born Jyoti and Mukat Singh set up the International Task Force for the Rural Poor [INTAF] twenty years ago after seeing that most well-intentioned policies of various governments to uplift the rural poor have either failed or proved ineffective.
In addition to routine activities, connected with the school, polytechnic, eye camps and sustainable farming initiatives, VRI took part in a campaign against industrial pollution in and around the village of Amarpurkashi, covered here in 2011. Mill owners had been dumping live ash on the roadside where cyclists and pedestrians walked or rode and many suffered serious burns. Tons of ash from two paper mills were deposited on the banks of the river and by national highway 93, coating buildings and plants in a black dust, harming passersby and residents. As a result of breathing such heavily polluted air, local people developed respiratory problems – in the worst affected areas, as many as 1 in 2 people suffered from asthma.
The stench of chemical effluents polluted the air of the surrounding villages and black dust from the factory chimney blew far and wide. The water table dropped dramatically as the factories used huge amounts of water and all the roadside ponds dried up. The underground water supply was also polluted, causing a rise in the number of people suffering from jaundice and villagers were forced to pay for ever-deeper borings to ensure a clean water supply.
As part of the campaign, VRI’s co-founder, Mukat Singh, and many other local people fasted, an agreement was reached with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and decisions were made which addressed the problem.
“I am glad to say that everything I saw in the project supported it. Amarpurkashi is no longer a suitable place for volunteers, although visitors will always be welcome. “There is no longer anyone in the project who can guide and help volunteers. This has always been an important part of the scheme. Volunteers definitely need someone, preferably a woman since most of our volunteers have been women. However, that person has to be able to speak reasonable English and be able to help volunteers with the use of toilets and bathrooms, the food and various customs around eating and so on. There is no one now who can do that.
“It is also essential that there is something for a volunteer to get involved in while they are in the project. However, the success of the project means that there is nothing now that a volunteer can do. The project is fully staffed with local people. Volunteers have always had difficulties because of the language barrier and significant differences in the way things are done in India”.
She ended by saying that the scheme was closed at exactly the right time and adds that “Fortunately, there are many new projects to be found on the internet where volunteers from abroad can be recruited for specific roles”.
We wish Jyoti and Mukat a peaceful and rewarding retirement. Read about their work on the VRI website.
People from 21 countries visited the site in March.
There were four times as many from the USA than the next largest, UK. Both are countries who have an obvious need for cheerful reading.
As usual the most read post was Highland Home Industries – perhaps ex-pats of Scottish origin were the majority.
The second, which prompted many visitors to clicks on the hyperlinks and explore further, was:
The Diagonal Lock: moving towards a more productive, environmentally friendly canal system
On October 15th the writer visited the ‘Diagonal Lock Roadshow’ in Knowle, meeting Terry Fogarty, a design engineer, company director and canal enthusiast.
Mr Fogarty was presenting a model of his invention: a diagonal lock , which works on the principle of a sloping tube, cutting out time spent by canal users negotiating flights of locks.
“This is a radical alternative that could help to alleviate transport problems on the motorways,” he said. “You could install freezers in a wide-beam boat so you could even transport food.”
The Diagonal Lock is a new technology devised as an alternative to traditional canal locks, enabling boats to ascend/descend an incline whilst floating securely inside a watertight, concrete chamber.