Manifesto from VENSANAPAZ Public Forum, held at the Santa Maria University, Caracas, 10 to 12 of July 2012
OUR COMMITMENT TO SPIRITUAL HEALING AND PEACE
We, participants of VENSANAPAZ Public Forum 2012, held at the Santa Maria University, in Caracas, from 10 to 12 of July 2012, declare to the national and international public opinion the following:
1. We recognize in the initiative “Venezuela Healing and Peace 2012”, (VENSANAPAZ 2012), a genuine vindication of divine will. An important initiative for Venezuela and the world today, of inter-spiritual basis, recognising the legitimate personality of every faith and creed as an expression of the inherent diversity that characterizes Creation, that preferentially claims a united dimension of solidarity and action for a healthy joint peace. Hence the central slogan of “Unity in Diversity” adopted by VENSANAPAZ and the call to re-meet as brothers in a common purpose to be useful to our society in overcoming the rampant scourge of violence, in all its manifestations, and the rescue of a culture of healthy peace and solidarity.
2. We recognize in VENSANAPAZ 2012 a genuine initiative of broad and plural character; and therefore, beyond any political partisan, economic bias, or any proselytized belief or ideology or of taxation characteristics. Ours is the persuasion of conscience, not the purchase or forcing of consciences, setting our own example: in thought, emotion, word and deed. We want to be the change we wish for Venezuela and the world, for a real culture of peace.
3. We act in our personal capacity, to facilitate a most expeditiously cooperation and a timely decision making to meet the pressing tasks. We do so with gratitude from the best of our respective spiritualities and faiths; as well as from our various national and international cultural traditions. However, we urge our particular hierarchies to pay greater attention to the inter-spiritual joint action for peace. We welcome contributions from all genuine spiritualities that contribute to building peace on the basis of what unites us rather than what separates us. If the trend towards globalization of violence in the world is an aberration, the globalization of disinterested and sincere solidarity to avert it is a blessing. If evil has no boundaries today, much less good should have them.
4. We recognize that the issue of expurgation of violence and the establishment of a real healthy culture of peace in our country will have to be solved mainly with own formulas of self-determination from the people that make life on earth. We disapprove of foreign powers-old and new-style-which, moved by reasons of pecuniary interests or by “not so saintly” domain which promote conflict and division. We welcome selfless international support and lessons we can get from the way other societies have successfully dealt with the issue of social violence and redemption of coexistence. We are inspired by the legacy of great universal historical figures who have dedicated their lives to building peace, as: Mahatma Gandhi (India), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Martin Luther King and the Indian chief Seattle (USA), John Paul II ( Pilgrim Pope), Monsignor Arnulfo Romero (El Salvador), and artists troubadours of peace as Facundo Cabral (Argentina), among other valuable references for our agenda.
5. We claim the visible unity of opinion in the principal teachings of all the world spiritualities regarding the repudiation of violence and the vital importance of peace (evident in the compilation of quotes attached), and demand an end to the distortion, manipulation or disrespect to all genuine religions; genuineness given by their fidelity to the golden rule of all religions not to damage any life (“By their works ye shall know them”).
6. We assume for our actions, the following definition of the United Nations on violence, because in general it coincides with all spiritualities. “Violence, universal scourge that breaks the fiber of communities and threatens life, health and happiness of all, consists on the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation”(WHO / UN).
7. In light of the former definition of universal support, we categorically disapprove as a grave offense against the will of our common God or Supreme Being, all forms of violence or use of force, both physical and psychological, including the insult, intimidation and threat, in thought, word, deed, or even negligent omission, as written in all of the sacred teachings. Thoughts of hatred are the seeds of later violent words or physical actions. Both physical and psychological insult often leaves serious traumas.
8. We declare that the precept of nonviolence must govern not only towards human beings but towards all other creatures and forms of life; because the respect for the natural order is also an essential part of our Peace Agenda. Hence, we recognize the vital importance of promoting in our societies economic development activities that do not harm or prey the environment, and condemn those practices highly polluting and damaging the environment and other living things- not only at a national level but as well as the planet . We can not be at peace with others if we are not at peace with the natural environment – a vital gift from God in which and of which we live.
9. We appeal to respect ourselves and our own dignity. In every violent action, the first victim is usually the perpetrator – by virtue of the harm caused to himself by violating his own nature as a child of God twinned with the other children and creatures. We insist: “As we want to be treated by others, we should treat others” is the golden rule in all the scriptures or sacred teachings under the inspiration or revelation of the common Creator.
10. We are committed to embody and promote peace in our daily personal and group endeavors, provided that the methods of action be consistent with the end purpose rather than a promise of future peace, because for us now peace in itself is the path.
11. We intend to unveil all facets of the great scourge of violence: both at everyday and extraordinary-circumstantial-structural levels -knowing that they are related.
12. And we intend to promote a joint action plan for education, awareness and mobilization, in favor of spiritual healing and peace in the Venezuelan society. Among these actions would be: I) summon chains of inter-spiritual daily prayer or extraordinary prayer, previously convened II) gain spaces in social media to disseminate issues of VENSANAPAZ agenda. III) apply to the hierarchies of different religious groups to include in their services and regular communication activities, the issue of inter-religious action for peace. IV) develop an education program and VENSANAPAZ own distribution system, including print and digital, interactive communication platform (including Web 2.0) V), organize or participate in workshops, conferences, talks, new forums, and in general public events of various kinds, to promote cultural dialogue and interfaith cooperation for peace.
13. Summon a wider and vigorous effort to bring spiritual healing to victims of physical or psychological violence; and also to assist the perpetrators because we recognize that they are also children of God and our brothers, and we know that behind every violent act there is a cry of need or lack of love on the part of the wrongdoer.
14. Offer-against aberrant and unacceptable pseudo-culture of violence – a redemptive culture of peace and non-violence, respectful of human dignity and of all life.
15. We convened a large social spectrum to vigorously integrate in the cause of spiritual healing and peace of the country, in a transparent manner, and from the grassroots of society: individuals, families, members of the informal and formal education system, with particular emphasis on children and young people as learners and actors, scientists, philosophers, artists, athletes and journalists. We also value the efforts of understanding in this regard being carried forward at top level power factors, but this is not enough at a time when the population increasingly demand more clarity and participation on the decisions of vital issues of the Country , which by nature can only be solved with our sustained engagement and involvement of all stakeholders from the very foundations of society.
16. We demand that the media, public and private, work with our Peace Agenda and include in their schedules and permanent main spaces dedicated to the theme of harmony, the fruits of peace, spiritual values for a good living and the successful experiences of reconciliation and peaceful resolution of conflicts. It is an inescapable duty of social responsibility, as custodians trusted to manage our communication spaces of common domain.
17. Finally, to build a culture of peace so it can be developed and maintained firm and lasting, it must be accompanied by a general transformation, beyond a mere electoral political or economic change, leading to a new model of welfare and prosperity, away from the recipes of different signs already proven and demonstrated to have failed in the past, to move towards a new civilization based on love and solidarity, based on truth, justice and spiritual values, where we can realize, in a smooth, dignified and happy manner, our fulfillment, according to God’s plan.
18. Publicize this Manifesto to the national and international public opinion, to government authorities, religious and educational, to public and private agencies, and social media.
Caracas, July 12, 2012