Leo Semashko. Discussion of ideas of children’s priority and suffrage
Dear Michael and all,
Thank so much you send me. Children are our priority and an observer I’m of the life and people around today I wake up with this thought I can share with you:
"Educate Children now, for no punishing men later": (Pythagoras).-
Till now life seams a play full of intentions, where men are living free, free to do, free to think, but really they aren’t . From the first time we were born our parents show us through their eyes how nice is the life at the same time how powerful we can be crying for the toy we want, later in the school another time this power, ones selfish ,anothers depress, it depends the home we are coming from, actually in this society who is a good student is taken apart , it's no the way to be cool" for the rest of the students. The point is in our childhood the good intentionswe had and grow up with this kind of knowledge we can apply along our life. Who did learn us from the cradle which are good intentions will carry abeneficial result for our self and the person beside us, our brothers, our society: Our parents, .are all conscious of this matter? This society needs a
crucial transformation to the lost moral values, and an internal rescue in the honesty and solidarity from a simple intention ,from the childhood .
When I talk about intentions I can mean from our spirit became in actions. Now days I can see in this place the intentions are confused in most of the people, we are living anxious of a good life ,far from the modern stress we are provocating every day, such us economic, politic, discord among families, discrimination, lack of work and more concern that take citizens to chose inappropriate leaders torule the nation....And all start in our first steps in the life: "Our Children, they are our priority".. They need to know that all kind of feelings could become ina good beneficial intention with peace and serenity, next step in their life to contribute a better society in the furure. We have to give them not only love, patient, understanding,. We needs to learn them how love work, to show the way, first inside them, so in this way they are able to introduce in their life the concept of harmony to everybody.
As a poet and observeof lifefrom this distant place of the planet but close to your intentions and realizations to this harmony and Peace for all the humankind I send you my Love, respect and admiration.-
When the wandering voices in the quadrants
rescue the absent nipple
the fragility of children
and doves in social gathering screw on
sighs will scatter of the branches
history will sew shreds of the fight
it will rock the essence of new mouths
behind the glass of somnolent bread
the eclipsed nests
will shoot its complaint to slates
agendas will tangle up
sweating the pen
nights,days of harmony fight
will fasten the century the advance
under the tender arm of the aid.
May 15, 2007
Congratulations with the International Day for the Protection and Priority of Children on June 1!
Dear Website Co-authors, Children’s Friends!
Children’s priority: humanity’s salvation!
we made now also as "Children’s Priority Day" in our Calendar of the Harmonious Era, which is offered by 27 co-authors from 12 countries of the world. (Its last version with 20 author's statements on 12 or 4 languages is submitted in: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=131).
I am happy to congratulate you for the International Day for the Protection of Children on June 1! As the best protection for children is their becoming a social priority, this day
This Calendar is our International gift to children and spiritual will for them.
I want to wish you all success in the children’s priority statement, which alone can ensure the real and effective protection of children all over the world. Other similar means for the protection of children do not yet exist.
The salvation of humanity resides in children, and the rescue of children consists in establishing their priority with the help of the Law on children’s suffrage executed by parents. Modern societies offer little alternative: sooner or later, in the present state of affairs, it will either perish or be ravaged by its own weapons or be salvaged by the establishment of a global harmony the fulcrum of which is making children a priority. Making weapons a priority, as witnessed by our present industrial society, will inevitably ruin humanity, it is only a matter of time. on the other hand, shifting the priority to children in a harmonious information society will inevitably save it. Therefore humanity, if it wants to survive and to be rescued in harmony, should create TRUE protection for its children, not a hypocritical and impracticable “Charter of Rights”. The priority of children in society should be legislatively established. Humanity’s future rests only upon harmony and children’s priority. Just into them is its salvation.
Good into the contents but the impracticable UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1989), should be complemented, for the sake of true protection of the children’s rights, ensured by establishing children’s priority through creating a Law on children’s suffrage executed by parents. (The project of Law, see: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/docs/2-4_eng.pdf ). This focus on the rights of children will be the fulcrum of the Convention, which will ensure its REAL, EFFECTIVE and UNIVERSAL application (up to now, UNICEF recognizes its impracticability). The suffrage and priority afforded to children will also secure the fulfilment of CRC article 4: "Signatory States shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized by the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, Signatory States shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources". Actually, in this and other CRC articles (3, 6, 18) children’s priority is RECOGNIZED, but the reality is that today practically all states, with the very rare exception of the Scandinavian countries, BREAK this CRC recognition and direct their maximal resources not to children but to armament and military preparations.
Therefore, I have here the basis to accuse modern governments of a crime (CRC infringement) against children and in grand larceny against children for the sake of the interests of a military-industrial complex. The expenditures on armament are a grand larceny against children, youth and future generations. (The dictionary definition of larceny, according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is, “the unlawful taking of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently: THEFT”) The military expenditures today are a crime against humanity, children and future generations, practically all of the world’s governments are guilty of it. This accusation was put forward almost a century ago and it is still of great actuality; Janusz Korczak, who wrote about “the subjugated class” of children: "Have we not– the unjust stewards – by any chance disinherited, expropriated?...." That the governments served to children instead of the weapon the Law about children’s suffrage executed by parents and powerful International movement in support of this Law and children’s priority are necessary.
To stop this global larceny against children of the world and to ensure the application of the CRC children’s priority is the aim the of the Global civil movement "Making children a priority in the world", initiated a year ago by our site co-authors (http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=116 ). I congratulate all initiators of this Movement from six countries: Australia, USA, Russia, England, India and Israel for this first anniversary and I express my trust in its expansion and final (though not speedy) success. The first practical result of this movement has been the creation of the Harmonious Era Calendar project of an Information Society, created by 27 co-authors.
This Harmony Calendar represents in essence the Manifest of the Global movement for children’s priority, by excluding the war days and the expenditures on armament. It gives an entrance to children, youth and future generations into the era of a harmonious society. It creates for them a qualitatively new alternative of the survival and salvation in harmony of an information society. It leads them to a new peaceful culture excluding poverty, wars, terror and humiliation. Children and their recognition as a priority become the fulcrum for a harmonious information society, replacing weapons as the priority and fulcrum of a decrepit industrial-risk society. If, in this society, weapons absorb the maximal resources, the harmonious society gives back the maximal resources to children.
The primary contribution and responsibility of each and every child loving human being consists, at this very time, in addressing to the governments of their countries an appeal to "Make children a priority", i.e. to reserve the “maximal” resources for children instead of weapons. This will ensure the well-being of future generations and also the future of mankind.
I therefore call all people who love children and are concerned and responsible for their future, to address this appeal to their governments and to join the Global Civil Movement "Making children a priority in the world". The Movement slogan is: "Priority to children instead of weapons!" Or "Money for children instead of weapons!" When thousands and millions people, first of all of parents and grandparents, address this appeal, this Movement will become a powerful force of the humanity moral recovery and global peaceful politics.
With my best wishes of seeing children’s priority as a fulcrum of social harmony and eternal peace,
Dr Leo Semashko
Universal Peace Ambassador; ISSS, IFLAC Russia and Website www.peacefromharmony.org Director
May 30, 2006
Hilarie Roseman, Ada Aharoni, Takis Ioannides, Rose Lord and Leo Semashko
Discussion about the children’s priority
Dear Leo and all,
I have thought carefully and long, and these are the conclusions I have come to regarding Leo's latest Calendar.
At the present moment I cannot put my name to the Philosophy and Calendar of the Harmonious Peace Culture.Coming to one Mind means that the companions on the journey have to reason things out.I think a Calendar of Peace is a marvelous idea.As a Catholic I do use calendars which remind me of positive events.We remember the lives of the Christian Saints, and for me especially Blessed Mother McKillop.I try to copy her seeking for truth, education and freedom.I do not resonate with the idea of a ‘bourgeois industrial society’.I think of the French revolution, the communists take over of private housing, and the time I sat in a family restaurant in Hungry that had been torn away from them by the State.
You envision that “A new, information society, which per se can be and will be, at the advanced stage, only harmonious.”I disagree with this.I am a communication scholar, and I have learnt that global communication, in all its accelerating different forms, has a great and terrible capacity to manipulate the world mind.We are only told by those who ‘set the agenda’ what they want us to know.A stampede, burning flags, buildings, people, can be rustled up overnight, if enough people understand mass psychology, and then have the power press as many media buttons as they can.
The four sphere classes of the population, employed in four spheres of social reproduction has not yet been researched enough within the community to speak of it as ready to be introduced.We are companions on the journey.Our journey in the past has led to war, and often times the war is within ourselves, which is projected outside onto society.A new way of arranging society might help, if there is sharing for all (this has already been tried!), but always, some how, dominance creeps in, and dignity recedes.
You state that “the quality of children defines quality of information society.”I have already said that an information society could rule completely by manipulating information.The role of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Commonwealth Government-funded flagship of family studies, is worth noting in the context of a decline in partnering or marriage.“One will search in vain through its publishing output for any acknowledgement that there is a ‘family crisis’ in Australia” (Birrell 2004:7)“Since John Howard became Prime Minister in March 1996 the marriage rate amongst young adults in Australia has plummeted and the overall level of partnering has significantly declined.” (Birrell 2004:vii)It is not possible to make a priority for children if you do not also make a priority for their parents.
To bring in a new society, with our hearts beating together we have to cease to do evil and learn to do good, seek justice and rescue the oppressed.We should support our “goodness” with knowledge, and knowledge with self control and self control with endurance.These community behaviours will begin to sign post the right road on our journey through life to mutual affection, and with mutual affection will come love and a new horizon, new spheres of influence.
That's as much as I can do at the moment.I am sure we can get something together that we can all agree on by 15th February.My attempt is but a little step.With much love to you all, and well done Leo for putting it all together, love
A very happy anniversary for tomorrow (February 15) for your website!It has taken so much work for you to do, and in a way it is like a child!A child who is growing up!...NOW IS YOUR CRUCIAL TIME.Now is the time for you to test your theory….Now is also the time for you to specify how you are going to make children a priority.People seem to be responding to help you with that one.The issue of the moment is the different cultures of the East and the West.I am from the West!To come more close together, we have to be ourselves, and be open to listen to others.I am trying.I will pray for your success,
February 14, 2006
Dear Hilarie and All,
Please, excuse me for long silence. I only today have finished with technical problems of the site and I like to reply on your two letters. I am very grateful to you for your warm congratulations in connection with our site anniversary, for you prays, wise councils and ideas, and also for your friendly criticism of my philosophy/theory. You are right that now for my theory of the children’s priority stepped the critical time to test. In our Address you separate a Calendar of Peace from its philosophy. You write, that "Calendar of Peace is a marvelous idea" but object its philosophy/theory. You are the FIRST in the word who formulated an appeal "Making Children a Priority in the world" in your letter to the Prime Minister of Australia and by that HAVE PUT a BEGINNING to the appropriate Global Movement of the citizens (youth first of all), which answers your question "HOW YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE CHILDREN a PRIORITY?" (I hope you do not refuse from your appeal and appropriate Global movement). So, all problems for you are a theory. (I now can not enter in philosophical discussion, to which I shall come back later as to the most difficult, thin and delicate question). I expected the inevitable theoretical divergences in our team, they are natural because we concern to the DIFFERENT cultures, civilizations, religions and philosophies. Therefore Address assumes the disagreement with its some aspects and it is open for additions, specifications and criticism. Therefore you could keep your name to the Address in a part of the "Calendar marvelous idea" and your appeal to the children’s priority (not refusing from own ideas) but not in a part of the theory. Near with your name you could write: "Only in a part of the Peace Calendar and children’s priority but not in a part of the theory, which requires the further discussion". I think it would be weighed, harmonious position. It would be a good example. Could you agree with such position? Martha very well has told that “What matters not so much is that we all think the same, but that we work in harmony. Music has many chords and many tunes. We each must do what we do best and trust that it will all come together to make the world a better place, for all, not just for those with whom we tend to agree.” Our Address can and should be such harmony, which unites DIFFERENT thinkers but onE in their GENERAL aspiration to the true Peace, Harmony, Love and Children’s Priority as to a COMMON Boon of Global Mankind and rejecting the private boon of violence, war and children’s discrimination and humiliation.
There is other variant: the Address to limit onLY by peace Calendar and children’s priority but the theory TO EXCLUDE from it. But such variant is not like me as each Calendar has behind itself any faith or philosophy/theory. And if we are going to offer for youth a New Calendar, we ARE OBLIGED to offer and appropriate theory. only then the new Calendar will be serious instead of superficial subject. Do you know any theory/philosophy of harmony, which could be the ideological basis for the harmonious Peace Calendar and children’s priority? - Except Tetrasociology I do not know any other similar theory though many theories comprise those or other moments for it. I very well understand that tetrasociology is at the beginning, that it is insufficiently investigated, has many lacunas and lacks. But it gives real hope for a necessary and sufficient substantiation for a harmonious society and children’s priority in it. They (harmony and children’s) are indissoluble for me: the society can be harmonious, i.e. fair, not violent, true equal in rights and brotherly onLY THEN, when it (society) makes the weakest and most marginal and at the same time the most important for its future social group – children - by priority and privileged. Why we should deprive youth a hope? Why we should leave youth in modern ideological desert or in chaos of the old, becoming obsolete theories, which ALWAYS served only to violence and wars? Why we can not show them alternative of harmony? And if there is such theory, WHILE undeveloped, why it should be hidden from youth? Why does it necessary to trample down instead TO HELP and PROMOTE its development. Why does not involve to it youth, which then ITSELF will transform this theory into the qualitatively new theory? I think if we responsibly care about our grandchildren we can not be ostriches. Therefore I do not count possible to separate the New Calendar from New Philosophy, what utopian it would not seem to US, senior generation, TODAY, in an industrial society generally, while. I am grateful to you for statement this most difficult question and for its discussion. But if we shall exclude the theory from our Address to Youth we shall deprive its SIMILAR discussion and we shall close before its a road to the New philosophy of harmony. For display of our ideological DISTINCTIONS, for them harmonization, for theoretical search and development I shall open on our site, near with the Address page, a special page "Discussion and responses to the Address".
The last remark. You write “It is not possible to make a priority for children if you do not also make a priority for their parents”. Then almost all other large problems (art, state etc) were added to the parents. As you can see in this logic the children’s priority becomes absurdity. From the cause it turns to a unattainable consequence. Other logic is necessary here. The children’s priority is identical to the parents’ priority (one can not be without another) but parents can receive a priority onLY and onLY THROUGH the CHILDREN’s PRIORITY, FOR children and in no way. For what to parents to give a priority if not FOR CHILDREN? As speak in Russia impossible to put the cart before the horse. In a priority question the "horse" is children, and "cart" is parents. The priority question makes the qualitatively new parents on responsibility, and, hence, it (children’s priority) makes the qualitatively new and society releasing it from wars, violence and poverty and providing it PEACE, HARMONY, LOVE and PROSPERITY. Certainly and in this society there will be conflicts as in music discords but they will be deprived by their last and modern priority so a priority WILL BE CHILDREN.
I hope we shall find a common language, compromise and harmony of our ideological positions for the sake of our general purposes of peace, harmony and love to children. All of us strongly wish it. So why do necessary to destroy our solidarity, love and cooperation? What for? What for priority?
I hope also you could look our updated site, which a basic dignity, as I think, is a search of HARMONY for DIVERSITY. All of us together have put its beginning on our site “Peace from harmony and children’s priority”. Let's to continue this search at a new level now, by what difficult it would not be and to not recede from our values and purposes. You have made one small step. I offer to make the following small step. And together they will create the large step forward. As well as you, with much love to you all.
February 18, 2006
I agree with all your well expressed thoughts and arguments below, especially with:
"It is not possible to make a priority for children if you do not also make a priority for their parents."
I would also add, their teachers, culture, communications, the internet, society, etc.
After all, children are taught(inlcuding peace and harmony), by adults, so we have to apply our research and goals to adults too, as we attempt to do at IFLAC PAVE PEACE: www.iflac.com
With much love,
I would like to add : Not only the parents, but also each government, each police authority, each religion, each minister, each teacher, each professor, each television station, each radio station, each editor, each newspaper, each world organization United Nations, UNESCO etc.
CHILD is the base of our future world. Leo Semashko is correct: It must be the priority in our life. In the newspaper I am writing, named "EPIKAERA" of Nea Smyrni,I have a new article with the same title each time: LET'S CHANGE OUR WORLD, WE CAN DO IT.
I use to focus on a target/problem each time, by giving the solutions. I think this is the main point. The solution and the action for.
Lets God save all children.
I have been following some of the discussion regarding the philosophy of Children Priority…..In my simple way of thinking, making children the number one priority is as natural as eating, sleeping and breathing.Even wild animals protect their young against the greatest of threats and put their own lives on the line for their children.Yes, I thinkwe should make the welfare of children the top priority. ABOVE everything else, and when we do that, all the rest will fall into place.
I have one suggestion for the calendar:An international day for the Eradication of Hunger.
May Peace Be With You
Rose Mirabai Lord
I am really moved by the dedication of the co-authors associated with you for the fulfillment of your mission, I really liked your appeal to the younger generations of the world especially the young parents. … It is only with a group of really conscious youth that the priority of the children and their rights can be achieved in the future. I myself appeal to the youths of our country to take up the oath of protecting our future generation of our country who will bear the torch of honour of our country to the world. I shall request them to make a pledge to look to the priority of our children now and in future they will work to offer them the priority position as a respectable senior citizen of our country. We all know that as we teach so we get. My respect to your mission and my heartiest greetings to all co-authors of the mission for showing us the path, that the future of a country depends upon its future generation who are to be nurtured and protected with care from odd exposure. `ALL LOVE, No violence is the source of real peace`
I have been following some of the discussion regarding the philosophy of Children the Priority ….In my simple way of thinking, making children the number one priority is as natural as eating, sleeping and breathing.Even wild animals protect their young against the greatest of threats and put their own lives on the line for their children.Yes, I thinkwe should make the welfare of children the top priority. ABOVE everything else, and when we do that, all the rest will fall into place…….
May Peace Be With You
Rose Mirabai Lord
Your letter is powerful, real and true. I wish the governments of all countries to set children as THE main priority to their plans. In fact, no one of us is going to live for ever. No one of us is going to take glory, power or money with him, in his coming travel to the world of spirits and shadows. But the little, weak and unprotected child, who suffers in our times, by the "civilized" citizens of the planet earth within 21th century, must be met with the hug of Love, the perfect world of principals, the light of peace, in order to continue the route of humanity in the future. The wooden hearts, bodies and spirits of children must hope. Dr Einstein said once: there will be no civilization on planet earth, if, even one child is sad. Let's place this target in our life plans: NO onE CHILD SAD on EARTH PLANET.
Poet, Athens, Greece
I am sending you my contribution to you wonderful efforts for the priority to CHILDREN. It is two poems: The Child’s Proposal and Children on the Crucifix of War.
With Love and Respect
Poet, Athens, Greece
Thanks a lot for your very encouraging and honoring email of 1/22,proposing me to play a leading role for …. the movementfor making children a priority in the world. It is really a great sign of friendship and indeed a great honor.However,…I can not……………
As for the disadvantage of Russia: with this I disagree totally. Itis rather very unusual and very admirable that a movement such as youpropose can start from Russia, with someone who has been educated inMarxism. I have not said so before, but I thought earlier that youcould become a new Marx for the 21st. century. It takes someone withyour intelligence, enthusiasm and drive to accomplish such a greatgoal. Besides of having my little garden to care for, I do not have the capacities to carry it on.
Professor of Sociology, Kyoto University, Japan
January 27, 2006
Applaud your initiative, Leo.
Children have to be assured of their right to live with dignity. only through concentrated International attention on thatwill co-responsible citizens be able to contribute to changing the conditions of millions of children who are still excluded from the minimal benefits shared by the privileged in contemporary Society. I myself have just joined a local group committed tohelping set up a local nongovernmental organization aiming at helping both children and adults (especially the elderly) survive in this world of so much injustice. Your commendable initiative of prioritizing children should be supported everywhere. Children are today’s hope for a peaceful and just tomorrow. May your powerful poetry contribute to the universal mission you have embraced.
Poet and Professor, Brasilia
January 22, 2006.
Dear Dr Semashko,
This project (Global movement "Making Children a Priority in the World") is very important to save children. Keep contact and I wish to you a very successful mission.
Mona Gamal El-Dine,
January 23, 2006
Sorry for letting you wait for this email!This week I have beenterribly busy with my last teaching week of the semester and aspecial lecture this week that took me two weeks to get more or lessready. I had no time even to read about the Dubai Project !!!Of course, I support it and I have filled in the information below…. I pray for the success of the Dubai Project.
January 21, 2006
Dear Dr. Semashko:
Congratulations on the excellent work you are doing in relation to children's needs. Their greatest enemy is not disease or epidemics. Their enemy number one is the government that uses its resources for negative and destructive purposes, for the manufacture of more and more weapons and the waging of more and more wars. Each time government officials vote to put more money into weapons and wars, each time such government officials are putting numerous nails in the coffin of our children across every continent.
Over the past 35 years, my job was to bring into the open this reality through numerous articles I wrote almost all of which were published (the part from them is published on our site on the Contents page 1-6-1: editor note). The US government does not care about children even though by word of mouth a lot of good things are being said. Thousands of children in the USA get sick and die simply because their parents are poor and have no money, no insurance. Now the big corporation bought all the large news media, newspapers and TV stations as to control them with iron fist and as not to let the American people know about the tyranny of the US government that is being exerted toward children. All this applies to every country in the world where the government puts priority on weapons and wars.
Keep up the good work.
January 16, 2006
With Love and Peace from the sunny but too cold Athens morning. I think that we MUST MAKE CHILDREN not a PRIORITY IN OUR LIFE BUT, make children THE PRIORITY IN OUR LIFE.
Μέ εκτίμηση Best Regards
January 16, 2006
Dear Dr. Semashko:
Thanks for the interesting and inspiring project of a new Global movement "Making Children a Priority in the World" you sent me. I shall print it and I shall see how I could involve some of my colleagues in different countries in it. Keep up the good work.
January 15, 2006
I appreciate your letter with your Project "Making Children a Priority in the World" and concerns and therefore I support your priority to children. You will be pleased to know that I am a director of the Children's Aid Society here in Cornwall. I have also a poem on children that I would like to submit to you for your site. When do you want me to send this poem to you.
Please feel free to let me know anything that I can do for your concerns that are also our concerns. With my best wishes for the new year,
Dr, Poet, Canada
January 15, 2006
Thankforyoursupportof our project of a new Global movement and for desire to participate in it. I verymuchliketolearnthatyouhavechildren'sorganization.Forits participationinourprojectpleaseinformthefollowingaboutyour organization:–organization name + address, telephone, fax, website and e-mail.
Thanks.I shall be very grateful to you for involve some of your colleagues in differentcountries to our project of formation of a new Global movement "Making Children a Priority in the World".
AlsoIliketoofferyou one the very important for you and world action. I thinkyouhavemorethanenough dignities and advantages to address to your Governmentwith an appeal " Making children a priority in Canada". Children'spriorityis necessary first of allforyourchildrenand grandchildren, for Canadian and Pakistan children.
Ishall be happy to publish your poem on our site in the beginning of February.
I would like to receive its to February 2-5 on e-mail. Thanks.
Best harmony wishes,
January 15, 2006
Evelin Lindner, Jacqueline Haessly, Will Hoonaard and Leo Semashko
Double marginality of children, their dignity, humiliation and priority
I cannot agree more with you a priority of children is an essential step to human dignity and to prevention of humiliation! on our Children and Equal Dignity project page (http://www.humiliationstudies.org/intervention/children.php) I have written the following:
‘The quality of relations between generations, particularly towards the young, shows where a society stands. How we treat our children decides in which world we will live tomorrow. Preventing children's humiliation is paramount for a decent society (Avishai Margalit, 1996, The Decent Society, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Please see also Children’s Suffrage Executed by Parents and Guardians (Leo Semashko, St-Petersburg Polytechnic University, 2004). According to Leo Semashko, the most effective way to prevent children's humiliation is to create the institution of Children's Suffrage Executed by Parents and Guardians.
The destructive effects of early childhood neglect and humiliation are significant. Victims may become perpetrators and carry out acts of humiliation through affective blindness. Perry (1997) relates a story that testifies to the severity of the potential effects of childhood humiliation:
A fifteen year old boy sees some fancy sneakers he wants. Another child is wearing them – so he pulls a gun and demands them. The younger child, at gunpoint, takes off his shoes and surrenders them. The fifteen year old puts the gun to the child's head, smiles and pulls the trigger. When he is arrested, the officers are chilled by his apparent lack of remorse. Asked whether, if he could turn back the clock, would he do anything differently, he thinks and replies, "I would have cleaned my shoes."His "bloody shoes" led to his arrest. He exhibits regret for being caught, an intellectual, cognitive response. But remorse – an affect – is absent. He feels no connection to the pain of his victim. Neglected and humiliated by his primary caretakers when he was young, this fifteen-year-old murderer is, literally, emotionally retarded. The part of his brain which would have allowed him to feel connected to other human beings – empathy – did not develop. He has affective blindness. Just as the retarded child lacks the capacity to understand abstract cognitive concepts, this young murderer lacks the capacity to be connected to other human beings in a healthy way. Experience, or rather lack of critical experiences, resulted in this affective blindness – this emotional retardation (Perry, Bruce D. (1997). Incubated in terror: Neurodevelopmental factors in the 'cycle of violence'. In Osofsky, Joy Doninger (Ed.), Children, Youth and Violence: the Search for Solutions, pp. 124-148. New York, NY: Guilford Press, retrieved March 15, 2000, from http://www.bcm.tmc.edu/civitas/incubated.htm).’
Evelin Gerda Lindner, M.D., Ph.D. (Dr. med.), Ph.D. (Dr. psychol.), Social Scientist
September 21, 2005
I am very grateful to you for your deep understanding of the necessity to make children a priority in society and for its firm support. I fully agree with you that the quality of its relation to children and youth defines the quality of a society. As seen in the last two centuries and deftly expressed by Janusz Korczak in the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional quality of relations of an industrial society and state to children, leaves a wide open space for humiliation of the children’s dignity.Despite all the successes of an information society growing inside the industrial society, children are now doubly marginal.
Double marginality of children is, first, the age marginality and, secondly, the social marginality. The age marginality is natural; it is connected with the initial age, when the human is still small, weak and ignorant.But the child possesses all human qualities at the beginning of development. This marginality comes from nature, it is temporary, and it passes with age.The social (including state, political and legal) marginality of children is created by society and defined by its quality.Presently social marginality of children is manifested first of all in the age voting qualification.All the Constitutions recognize a human as a citizen of the state from the moment of his birth but voting rights are only received from the moment of maturity, as a rule, at 18 years. However, there is an opportunity to give voting rights from the moment of birth but, owing to the age marginality, the EXECUTION of a child’s voting right would be INCUMBENT upon his parents or legal guardians.
Thus, social marginality of children differs from natural (age) that there is a social way of overcoming it.(The only way to overcome the natural marginality of children is for them to reach adulthood.) However, until now the industrial society and state is not interested in overcoming the social marginality of children. Therefore, the children of the industrial society must endure this double marginality, this double source of humiliation. In this connection the most authoritative international organization – the UN - was compelled to ascertain on the Special Session (May 2002) that modern society leaves children in "poverty, discrimination and neglect" and that it has not created "a world fit for children" yet. Poverty, discrimination and neglect are doubly strong sources of humiliation for children. Double marginality of children in the industrial society fosters humiliations of children, at least twice as large and strong as the humiliation suffered by adults. You, as the doctor of medicine and psychology know better than I, what deep and perniciousconsequences (psychological, moral, social, professional etc.) result from the double humiliation of children.
The quality of the human capital of society and social capital of the person is cut "at the root" by double marginality of children. A social priority of children, established by the social-cultural institute of children’s suffrage executed by parents and guardians, is the sole way to overcome the social marginality of children and the reason for their humiliation. The priority of children will neutralize a social source of their humiliation and arm them and their caregivers (parents, teachers, doctors, grandmothers, grandfathers, instructors etc.) with the powerful tool of an opposition and minimization of their humiliation owing to their natural (age) marginality. The priority of children removes the social marginality of children in all countries and cultures.
A serious step in the direction of children’s priority and a sharp reduction of their humiliation was made in Sweden, the first nation in the world to accept in 1979 the "anti-spanking" law forbidding parents to use corporal punishment on their children. But this law, despite its doubtless value, only limits arbitrariness on the part of parents and does not aim them at prevention of the social humiliation of children ("poverty, discrimination and neglect") and does not arm them with an adequate powerful and lawful mechanism. The social-cultural and legal institute of children’s suffrage executed by parents can be such a mechanism.It creates and establishes the necessary preconditions for the priority of children in a society and state. only in a condition of children’s priority, when children come first in the society and state, is it possible to expect a qualitative reduction of the children’s humiliation and an increase in the quality of the human and social capital.
I see a role for children’s priority in the statement of equal dignity of all people proclaimed by the Declaration of the Rights of Human and in prevention of the humiliation of the human dignity. I do not consider my opinion to be the final word; therefore I would be glad if you put it up for discussion on the site of your unique international organization "Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies" (HumanDHS). The discussion topic can be formulated approximately so: "Priority of children, human dignity and humiliation prevention". Such a discussion is possible on our site if its authors would be interested in it.
Warmest wishes of peace and harmony,
September 27, 2005. (November 5, 2005, Rose edit)
Your valiant efforts will, no doubt, alleviate the despairing lives that surround so many children.
Perhaps the phrase, "Children without Borders" might be a suitable title for this effort. In the past, we have had "Doctors w/o Borders," "Engineers w/o Borders," etc., but they all take the name of the "doers" as part of the title. It is about time that such efforts as yours put the names of the "victims" into the title. Please keep me posted about your work--and, down the road, I can be of some assistance. Warmest regards,
Will C. van den Hoonaard
Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick, Canada
September 21, 2005
Leo and all,
I have been following the conversation on-line about Children First, and would like to recommend a resource for families. My book, Peacemaking: Family Activities for Justice and Peace, was first published in 1980 by Paulist Press, and reissued in 1990 by Resource Publications under the name, Learning to Live Together. I am currently revising the book to bring it up to date for the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first book. The theme of these books came out my work as a peace and family life educator working with students, parents, educators, and community organizations from 1970 on. People have used the book with families, as well as with intergenerational groups, in religious and social service organizations, and in both public and private schools in many countries of the world.
The Third Edition of this book has undergone numerous revisions to reflect justice concerns of Twenty-First Century. The book is divided into two sections. Part I, Steppingstones to Peacemaking, includes four chapters. The first three chapters focus on ways to create an environment of emotional and physical safety for every member of the family, where the attitudes, values and skills of peacemaking can be learned and practiced. These include the steppingstones of affirmation, respect for differences, and cooperation. Chapter Four suggests new ways to examine and resolve conflicts that occur between people within families and within communities in peaceful ways. Each of these steppingstones addresses in some way issues important for our day.
Part II, Families in Our Global Village, places the family in the context of the global village we know as planet earth. Here, we examine the relationship of our family to the global society. Our global interdependence manifests itself through several critical issues. These issues are analyzed for their impact on our family life. A series of questions challenges us as families to examine our present and future life-style choices from the perspective of living and sharing with others in our globally interdependent world. Three of the chapters in Part II have been extensively revised and a new chapter has been added. Chapter 5 explores what it means to live in a global village. Chapter 6 offers new insights into the way we care for others in our global village. Chapter 7 challenges us to become people with the ability to imagine and language a world at peace, and offers concrete ways to bring that vision to reality. Chapter 8 identifies ways to celebrate while staying mindful of our connectedness to all others.
Each chapter includes a set of activities that can be used with all members of a family or community group, a family prayer and reflection service, and a brief bibliography that offers additional background reading for more in-depth exploration of a particular topic. The book concludes with an Afterward, a reference list of organizations and individuals offering peace education and peacemaking programs for families, schools, community, and/or intergenerational groups, and an updated bibliography of books, magazines and cooperation games for family fun.
Thanks for all that all of you do to focus on the importance of considering Children First in the policies and decisions that affect our own and their lives and in the world. Peace,
Jacqueline Haessly, PhD
September 22, 2005
Thank you very much for your kind response and suggestion. I will try to send a letter to our President Lula. Although, his response may delay because of a recent crisis in Brazilian internal politics. Our nation is shocked by a series of scandals generated by some leaders. But I am sure we shall overcome this momentary problem. I think you may know about a very famous program supported by UNESCO in Brazil called "CRIANÇA ESPERANÇA" meaning "hope Kid" whereas the Brazilian mass media is engaged in supporting children through different social actions. But your idea is far better because it attains incomparable levels of preparing the children for being peaceful and harmonious citizens.
As for my poem, I would add that the word "nothingness" is a very well known term among people who engage in Yoga and Meditation. It is related to the hushing of mental activities which leads to self-realization through Peace and Harmony.
Warmest harmonious wishes, Araken
Araken Barbosa, Professor of Philology, IFLAC Delegate, Brazil
September 11, 2005
I am admired with your desire to write the letter to your President Lula and completely support it. Your letter will have historical meaning. Our letters play a role of beacons for the people, for new global humanistic thinking and for world public opinion irrespective of we receive the answer on them now or not. Certainly, to receive the answer to such letter would be a well achievement. But, unfortunately, modern politics, even best of them, are too far from children and from consciousness of their priority. I agree with you that the idea "children first" is better and stronger for peace culture than "hope Kid". However and this program is a significant step to children and does honour for Brasil as well as the first in the world "anti-spanking" law in Sweden does honour to this country. Children’s suffrage executed by parents, ensuring a priority to children is the following logic step and for the Brazilian program "hope Kid" and for Swedish "anti-spanking" law. I very much would like to receive the detailed information about this Brazilian program, which I shall publish on our site with pleasure.
As to word "nothingness" it is for an usual man faster "death", which hardly recognize as “Our Ubiquitous Substance” as I think. Though, I can be mistaken, not understanding any of other meanings of the word "nothingness" for example "hush". Maybe this meaning "hush" could be specifying in brackets to the word "nothingness"?
How concerning translation on Portuguese and announcement to your students about our competition on the site?
Warmest harmony wishes, Leo
September 11, 2005
Putting children first means to take them as they are, hopefully, and teach them right ways of being in the world. But if the world is corrupt, what then? We are all selfish and self-centered in the beginning. If those in power continue in this tradition, due to circumstances that give them greater influence, what will putting children first mean? Nazi youth in Germany, the Red Brigade in China, Flower Children in the U.S., what did they accomplish? Under adult supervision they all went astray, but in different ways: hate! destruction! indifference! If children are our greatest human resource, who decides how that resource is to be employed? Your plan would be great if the people who have the most children were also the best qualified to rear them, but too often that is not the case. That's why I said there should be limits of one extra vote per parent. Still, there are problems in how the "state" in a democracy goes about deciding what is best for the children. President Bush's "no child left behind" administrative orders have punished schools in poverty stricken school districts for not overcoming the ills of poverty overnight. School districts are rebelling in many states. Progress is not recognized. "One rule fits all" does not work. Your plan has pitfalls. It is not okay to advance a cause without anticipating such ill consequences.
Martha Ross DeWitt, PhD, Sociology, USA
September 11, 2005
You, as always, put the sharpest questions. I agree with the majority of them. You correctly mark than and parents, and adults very frequently enter children in error, direct them on the false and malicious ways. But such parents have grown from children. To break off this vicious circle and to create the tendency to best in long-term perspective necessary to lift a responsibility of parents and state for children. Their high responsibility will result to the tendency of constant improvement of quality of children, so and quality of the future parents. Both priority of children and children’s suffrage executed by parents, which provides achievement of a priority of children and increase of the responsibility are only long, infinite process on the future. It never will make the people by the angels. However it will be slowly but constantly to improve their from generation to generation, preventing degeneration and moral destruction them.
Certainly, this process cannot be expected (foreseen) as well as anyone another in all details. In this sense it has "pitfalls" or "white spots", as well as all new, as life in a whole. Therefore it, inevitably, will have harmful and ill consequences, some of which I named in my works. All positive actions in society have harmful/ill consequences: a feed (millions people suffer from obesity), sport (thousand perish or are injured), transport (each year on transport millions people perish in the world), the nuclear energy (it has killed millions people) etc. But from these harmful consequences the people do not refuse a feed, sport, transport, nuclear energy and other similar processes. Deed in that balance of positive and negative consequences in them, undoubtedly, is inclined to the benefit of positive consequences. With the priority of children and their suffrage is similar. If the people have preferred nothing to do because of fear of harmful consequences they never would become the people. They would remain animals, monkeys if is correct that we have taken place from them. Any pitfalls can not weigh down a great cultural and social boon, which promises a priority of children on the basis of institute of children’s suffrage executed by parents..
The idea about the common boon of the children's priority is confirmed by published on the site (page 7-6) 18 responses (including your) from 9 countries on the Open Letter to the President of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin fromSeptember 1, 2005 in connection with the tragical Beslan anniversary. It is in fact a pilot sondage of world public opinion on a question "Making Children a Priority in the World". From my point of view this sondage has shown large vital potential of a children priority idea in the world and wide practical perspectives for the appropriate Global Civil Movement. It aspires ‘to build a world fit for children’, to which the UN Special Session on childhood has called in May 2002. This Movement will replace the formula of modern coexistence: "Want a peace - prepare to war" by a rule: "Want a peace – create social harmony on the basis of a priority of children, which is provided with children’s suffrage executed by parents". Therefore I think this rule will become a "Gold Rule" for the 21st century. Our sondage is aimed at it and opens a road for the wide international and comparative studies and public discussions of this idea. Let's create a priority to our children and grandchildren that the world could become fit for them! Then the social progress will begin which is not seen now.
September 16, 2005
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