Hear Their Stories: Demand Change

Apr 22

The End of Atrocity: A Manifesto

This Manifesto is a fluid document, which we have begun to draft and will continue to refine throughout this project, with the participation of many. It is an organic process: all are invited to participate.

“Never Again.”

These two words have become the most uttered and the least meaningful in a world that still witnesses genocide, crimes against humanity and atrocities. These two words were first said in the context of mass genocide, after the Holocaust in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly passed the Genocide Convention. And we as a world said we would never let something like that happen again on our watch. We had a set of guidelines, a commitment, a promise.

And yet it happened, over and over again.

Throughout the history of our species, we have created divisions among people, based on region, religion, belief, economic advantage and political expediency. We have devised ways of creating a sense of “otherness” — of peoples who don’t look like us or believe as we do — that has made us capable of seeing the “other” as less than human. This has resulted in injustice, inequality, and in the worst cases, in premeditated massacre and ethnic and cultural cleansing.

What can possibly stop this?

The time has come to build a vision for a world without atrocity. Leaders as diverse as The Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King have shown us the need for vision to build a path to lasting peace and progress. But, to date, we don’t have a collective vision for a world free from atrocity. We’ve had conventions, treaties, sanctions, military interventions, technological interventions, social movements, cultural artifacts and discussions. But If we as a global community don’t have a vision of a better future, how will we really create one?

This Manifesto represents the collective thoughts of visionaries around the world on a promise and a path to build a vision for a world without genocide, atrocity or crimes against humanity.

FIRST: There is no “other.” We are all one, irreversibly connected.

SECOND: Human beings are members of a global community, and we are connected. If atrocity can happen to one group, it can happen to any other, because when it happens to one of us, it happens to humanity.

THIRD: We must achieve universal respect for each other. Each generation must find ways to explicitly affirm and reaffirm its commitment — through ritual, story, technology or practice— that each individual will accept responsibility for the well-being of each other individual in the world, regardless of who or where that individual is, and that each of the billions of the global masses is accountable to all the others for safety, security and life.

FOURTH: We have always been connected, but technology and communication now connects us directly in ways that reduce the “otherness” of people. Access to the tools of technology and communication must be used to help us grow our collection of stories of being human and will put a human face on that which we used to view as “other.”

FIFTH: There are always patterns and warning signs before an atrocity. Ensuring universal access to tools of technology and communication will help us collectively disseminate and listen to cries for help. We will pay attention to these patterns and signs and keep watching for them, to stem the possibility of devolution into violence.

SIXTH: We acknowledged there will always be hostilities, conflict, and perhaps even war. We must work toward building, supporting and enriching our growing culture of human rights— through rational means of technology and networks, strong cross-border civil society interventions, institutional and governmental treaties and efforts, but also through cultural means, through humanism, emotion and sentimentalism, reflected in narrative, stories, art and media.

SEVENTH: We aim to create a new “soul” for humanity, one that is infused in a new path away from what we have been to each other and toward one that gives us the means to not inflict undue harm on innocent bystanders. We should aim to foster the creative in humans, and to encourage achievements that add to universal livability, prosperity and satisfaction, and we must invest in universal accountability and mass empathy to do so.

EIGHTH: Our history books and cultural narratives are a succession of leaders who led us to glory in war and subjugation— and we’ve accepted it as the norm. We need to move away from that, to histories and narrative about the caring and nurturing of families and communities, of culture, art, commerce and design— those things that bind a community to itself and create communities across borders.

NINTH: We must create and sustain balance among the genders, in roles of power and decision-making, and in true equality and respect. We must protect and integrate as equals those members of society we perceive as weaker, less successful, less worthy or capable, or living slower, simpler or lives connected to ideals that may differ with ours. We must invest in the economic prosperity of all, and acknowledge that any of our economic and political systems that create inequality in turn create instability and vulnerability.

TENTH, AND LAST: We aim to create and grow a global community that exists and works across national and regional borders, one that is at once bottom-up and top-down, that invests in commerce and institutions, as well as grassroots efforts and individual expression, and that embeds in subsequent generations a collective ethical code based on individual speech, shared and heard voice and reformed institutional leadership that moves toward end of atrocities.

Apr 17

Appeal by H.H. the Dalai Lama

(via Abhishek Madhukar):


April 15th 2011
The current situation prevailing at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba in northeastern Tibet is extremely grim because of the stand-off between the Chinese military forces and the local Tibetans. The monastery, housing approximately 2,500 monks, is completely surrounded by Chinese armed forces, who at one point prevented vital food and other supplies from entering the monastic compound.
The local Tibetans fearing that this siege on Kirti Monastery is a prelude to large scale detention of the monks have surrounded the soldiers blockading the monastery and have filled the roads so as to prevent Chinese trucks and vehicles from either entering or leaving Kirti. The local Chinese blockade of Kirti Monastery began on 16 March 2011, when a young Tibetan monk at the monastery tragically set himself on fire as a way of observing the third anniversary of the widespread peaceful protests that shook Tibet in 2008. Instead of putting out the flames, the police beat the young monk which was one of the causes of his tragic death. This act created huge resentment among the monks, which resulted in this massive blockade of Kirti Monastery.
I am very concerned that this situation if allowed to go on may become explosive with catastrophic consequences for the Tibetans in Ngaba. In view of this I urge both the monks and the lay Tibetans of the area not to do anything that might be used as a pretext by the local authorities to massively crackdown on them.
I also strongly urge the international community, the governments around the world, and the international non-governmental organizations, to persuade the Chinese leadership to exercise restraint in handling this situation. For the past six decades, using force as the principle means in dealing with the problems in Tibet has only deepened the grievances and resentment of the Tibetan people. I, therefore, appeal to the Chinese leadership to adopt a realistic approach and to address the genuine grievances of the Tibetans with courage and wisdom and to restrain from using force in handling this situation.
The Dalai Lama  April 15, 2011

Apr 14

Imagine the End of Atrocity:

If we don’t have a vision of a better future can we really create one? Leaders as diverse as The Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King have shown us the need for vision to build a path to lasting peace and progress. Yet since the Holocaust and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, civil society has promised “never again” and still genocide and appalling atrocities have continued into the 21st century.We don’t have a vision for how to build a world free from atrocity. We need one.

Help us share these visions: become part of the movement: imagine the end of atrocity.

How you can participate:

  • Watch the stories on our website.
  • Help us share these visions: Send them to your friends via email, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Share your own vision — what does a world without atrocity look like to you?  Send us your visions and comment on