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From Je Suis Charlie To Je Suis 2020

January 14, 2015


Modern war is perverse, a menace to societies, and a dangerous exception to our fragile world peace. Unfortunately, the specter of organized violence still puts our anxious international order at risk. But war is declining. And maybe, just maybe, there might come a time in the near future when no more great killing happens.

A year without war.

Because there are those who, rather than applaud benign imperialism or welcome an omnipresent centralized state, choose to rally the better angels of our nature. This is what 2020 A Year Without War (AYWW) is about. 21AAR is a staunch supporter of 2020 AYWW, an emerging peace movement that originated in California’s Santa Barbara City College.

Its founder, Professor Joseph White, believes that with enough effort on behalf of the little people and interconnected civil society, history can be made. This is why he and his collaborators want to solve one of Asia’s thorniest geopolitical flashpoints.

“One of the major projects on our horizon has been to get involved in the territorial dispute over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China,” White says.

2020 AYWW, he explains, is aiming high. “[We’re] hoping to bring global, public pressure to bear through an online petition drive urging the great, ancient civilizations of China and Japan to model 21st century conflict resolution over these islands by going to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.”

2020 AYWW is more than just spreading awareness, however. Among its nobler objectives are convincing the United Nations to endorse its mission–making the year 2020 a peaceful one. Another initiative includes using origami to celebrate the 1928 Pact of Paris, when all war was outlawed.

Just this week, 2020 AYWW is launching Je Suis 2020, an effort to solicit donations from supporters who believe the clamor behind Je Suis Charlie can become a mass movement for positive change.

As a gesture of solidarity, 21AAR is hosting a banner for 2020 AYWW throughout this year.

Je Suis Charlie

Here’s the latest call to arms from 2020 AYWW, Je Suis 2020:

The religious executions in Paris this past week started with three Islamic extremists murdering 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices. Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, had been a target of Islamic extremism for some time. The rampage finally ended three days later with the deaths of all three extremists. 17 people had been killed but around the world millions of people were shocked and disgusted. Can that shock and disgust of millions be channeled productively or will it, again, simply dissipate in a few weeks? If WE, those of you reading this, can channel this Je suis Charlie moment to Je suis 2020 AYWW, WE will succeed in tipping history in 2020. But WE must act now! First, go here. WE must make 2020 AYWW sustainable!

Within two days of this murder spree ending, 1.5 million people marched in Paris condemning the horrific, three-day extremist rampage. “Je suis Charlie” expresses the French political ideals of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. More Je suis Charlie marches are planned around the world while Islamic leaders also condemned the Islamic extremists in Paris as well as extremism around the world. If only these millions of momentarily socially active, tolerant, peaceful people would say, “Je suis 2020 AYWW” then JOIN, RECRUIT and ENGAGE, hope would find a home in our growing, global anti-war movement with its deadline and expiration date.

2020 AYWW is now our collective opportunity to explicitly condemn the institution of war then to stop it for just one year. In so doing, WE take the historical step of removing war as a gross, antiquated, social practice as we did with our long history of gross, institutionalized practice of slavery in every major civilization. 2020 AYWW is possible only if all of US bring our families, friends, fellow workers, religious communities, civic communities etc. to JOIN, RECRUIT and ENGAGE with our 2020 A Year Without War community. Take two minutes and feed the 2020 AYWW community, even a crumb is appreciated.

Three young men on a killing spree have stirred the ire of millions of people around the world who simply want to live their lives without fearing such antiquated violent extremism. Again, a few individuals have done so much but in this case just three Islamic extremists remind millions of us of our dark history as a species plagued by intolerance. Since the late 18th century, human political life has variously experimented with liberty and equality as secured in democratic institutions. With the realization that there must be a separation of Church and State so as to enhance social stability, more traditional views, both secular and sacred, cannot understand or accept the inevitability of social pluralism that democracy is meant to accommodate.

This inability to separate Church and State politically is not peculiar to Islam. It is found in the present movement in Israel to formally declare the state to be a Jewish State. If one listens to the opposition to gay marriage, the right to die, abortion debate in the U.S., we again see many citizens who fail to separate their roles as citizens in a democracy versus that of being a member of a religious community. The motives of the horrific but failed Inquisition in Christian history to secure doctrinal purity are still with us as we’ve just horrifically witnessed in Paris but are also futilely operative in a long list of countries around the world. So let’s invite, each us actively right now, the millions of Je suis Charlie sympathizers to become Je suis 2020 AYWW followers. JOIN, LIKE, SHARE and DONATE, and WE will tip history.

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