The gathering of the Forces of Light
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme
Important events are taking place in many parts of the world. People everywhere will be astonished by the reports. These will include sightings, in unprecedented numbers, of spacecraft from our neighbouring planets, Mars and Venus in particular. Nothing like this increased activity, over vast areas of the Earth, will have been seen before. Those who have steadfastly refused to take seriously the reality of this phenomenon will find it difficult to deny. More and more accounts of contact with the occupants of the spacecraft will add their testimony to the fact of their existence. Miraculous happenings of all kinds will continue and multiply in number and variety. The minds of men will be baffled and amazed by these wonders, and this will cause them to ponder deeply.
Into this wonder-filled, wondering world Maitreya will quietly enter and begin His open work. He will be asked to counter their doubts and fears, to explain these happenings and He will vouchsafe their validity. These extraordinary events will continue unabated and cause many to prophesy the ending of the world. Maitreya, however, will continue in His simple way and interpret differently these events.
Thus will Maitreya encourage men to see the marvellous breadth and scope of life, the many layers of which man knows but little till now. Gently He will introduce them bit by bit to the basic truths of our existence, the Laws which govern it, and the benefits achieved by living within these Laws. He will acquaint man with the vastness of our Galaxy and show that, in time, men of Earth will conquer Space and Time. He will encourage men to seek within, as well as without, for the answers to their problems, and validate their constant connection to each other and to Cosmos. He will remind humanity of its long history and of the many perils which man has overcome. He will sow the seeds of faith in our own illustrious future and vouchsafe the eternal divinity of man. He will show that the path of life, the evolutionary journey, leads unfailingly upwards as well as for ever onwards, and that to make the journey together, as brothers and sisters, is the surest way and the way most lit by joy. Look, then, for the signs of Maitreya’s entrance, make it known, and uplift the hope of your brothers.
(Read more articles by the Master)
Q. At your lecture at Friends House, London, on 18 January 2007, you indicated that we do not have long now to wait to see Maitreya. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the room and towards the end of your talk the audience broke out into spontaneous applause – a very unusual occurrence with the restrained Brits! Your Master’s article in the January/February 2007 issue of Share International also indicates the nearness of Maitreya’s emergence. How should we prioritize our work at this important time?
A. Simple to answer. Use every moment of time and ounce of strength to make known, by every means at your disposal, the reality of this message: that Maitreya the Christ, the World Teacher, is emerging into open public work so soon now, that you have very little time indeed in which to fulfill your desire to serve.
Q. Does the Bush administration truly want to get out of Iraq once it is stabilized or do they want to keep troops in Iraq due to the geopolitical importance of the region?
A. They do want to get out as fast as they can without loss of face.
Q. When I was about 18 I was going through a difficult time in my life, apathetic toward living, with no sense of real purpose or direction. I began hearing my name in the moment between waking and sleep, or what seemed like knocking on my bedroom door. This would happen a few times over the years. At about 20 years old, I picked up a book in my school library by Swami Satchidananda. The book captivated me in its simplicity of life, and gave me the same feeling as the book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom by Mr Creme which I read at a later date. One time while riding the bus, I was reading this and a glorious sensation came over me. I felt as if sprinkles of energy came raining down on me and a Joy and peace like I have never experienced came over me. It was not a feeling of having no problems, but I saw my problems and knew I was going to be OK. I was walking on sunshine for the next three days and I have never had an experience quite like this again. Was this my soul showing itself to me and calling me to service?
A. No. It was a blessing from the Master Jesus calling you to service.
Q. Where I live in Pueblo, Colorado, USA, there are patterns of light on an old building by an alley. They come and go and not too many people ask about them or acknowledge their presence. There is a metaphysical shop near the sighting; they are the people who brought them to my attention. As I was observering them, they disappeared. I’d check on them periodically after that, from 15 October 2006 until today, and they come and go. Does this mean that God is coming and that people should know this, or is it a blessing sent from God?
A. Not God but His representative, the Lord Maitreya. They are a blessing from Maitreya.
Q. On 10 June 2004 in Guadalajara, Mexico, a fleet of around 100 UFOs were videotaped. Were these real spacecraft and, if so, what planet did they originate from?
On 5 March 2004 a Mexican Air Force airplane with the 501 air squadron was doing a routine patrol of Mexico’s southern border. They picked up an aircraft on their radar and began to pursue it. The crew turned on their FLIR (forward looking infra-red) system to help locate the craft. Soon the FLIR system caught numerous glowing objects, at times up to 11, navigating around the airplane. This incident garnered much media attention in Mexico. Were these genuine spacecraft and, if so, what planet did they come from?
A. In both cases the UFOs were spacecraft from Mars.
Q. On 24 April 1964 a police office, Lonnie Zamorra, in Socorro, New Mexico, USA, heard a loud roar like an explosion. He drove to a nearby area where there was a dynamite shack, thinking it had just exploded. Instead he witnessed an oval-shaped object. The object had landing gears as well as a ladder extended to the ground with two small child-sized people outside. Upon seeing officer Zamorra, they entered the craft and it immediately departed. (1) Was this vehicle and the two people outside the craft from one of the planets in our solar system and, if so, which one? (2) You have said that the craft used by the Space Brothers are indestructible. However, were they having ‘engine trouble’ so-to-speak or (3) did they land and manifest themselves in dense-physical form so officer Zamorra could see them and pass along what he saw to others?
A. (1) Yes, from Mars. (2) No. (3) Yes. The explosive noise was simulated by the occupants of the craft to attract attention.
Q. In recent years, Central and South America have seen the rise of people’s movements that have challenged and effectively changed the status quo. These movements have elected into power Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, among others. Are these some of the positive changes that have come about due to the new energies, including those released by Maitreya, into the world?
A. Yes. They are also the expression of the awakening of humanity, at the grassroots level, to the need for the transformation of the world’s economy.
Q. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has suggested making Jerusalem an international city and having the UN headquarters moved from New York to Jerusalem or basing the UN in a developing nation. (1) Do you foresee Jerusalem becoming an international city? (2) Do you see the UN being moved there?
A. Yes. Jerusalem has to become the capital city of the Jews, the Palestinians and the Christians of that region. (2) No.
(More questions and answers)
Letters to the editor
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared at Benjamin Creme’s lectures and Transmission Meditations. They also appear, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. Some of these recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the experiences are authenticated by Benjamin Creme’s Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, they draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance to, for example, smoking or drinking. Many times the Masters act as saving ‘angels’ in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. They use a ‘familiar’, a thoughtform, who seems totally real, and through whom the Master’s thoughts can be expressed: They can appear as a man, a woman, a child, at will. Occasionally They use the ‘blueprint’ of a real person, but in most cases the ‘familiar’ is an entirely new creation. The following letters are examples of this means of communication by the Masters. Please note: In the absence of any indication to the contrary, the editors will assume that your name may be printed. Unless requested otherwise, some of these letters may be reproduced on the Share-International.org website. Only initials, town and country will be used.
Two letters from the same person:
(1) When I was seven-and-a-half, my parents and I moved house. In my new bedroom, my mother placed a large statue of the Madonna on a small table next to my bed. One night a few weeks later I was asleep and felt as if I had been woken up. It was midnight and I remember seeing this statue of the Madonna radiating intense light in the dark room. This light seemed to be radiating for a while. I felt such oneness, peace, immense happiness and love. I felt as if I was melting into the statue. It was such an ecstatic feeling. Words cannot describe it. I have never felt this wonderful feeling since. I have always wondered how a child so young could comprehend all this, but it seemed so natural at the time.
Who was radiating the light from the statue?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the miracle was manifested by the Master Who was the Madonna.)
(2) In 1999 my husband and I went to Athens on holiday. Most days we went into Athens, and wherever my husband saw a needy beggar he gave money. One afternoon we came across a very old woman, a yaya – grandmother, who was begging. She was dressed in old dark clothes and looked so sad and distraught. My husband gave her money and she told him that she was tired of life. She had a daughter who was disabled and she had to look after her. She said she wished she could throw herself under a car and end her life because she was so tired and depressed. My husband said to her: “Mother, don’t give up hope, pray, God is always with you.” She replied: “Yes, my son, every evening I light a candle in my house and pray.” He then left her and walked across the busy street where I was waiting for him.
He told me what she had said, and we decided to give her more money. But my husband told me to give it to her. I was reluctant to do this, as I don’t speak much Greek, but I went over to her and put the money in her pocket. She told me the same thing, and was crying. While she was telling me I was so caught by her genuine emotion and sorrow that I too started crying, she pulled me close and gave me a hug and I hugged her back. When I pulled away I looked into her face and I saw an old, tired, sad, lined face, but the strangest thing was her eyes. They did not gleam or twinkle, they looked like two hollow orbs. I found it quite strange, because usually when one cries, the eyes gleam from the moisture. I crossed the street and told my husband of the experience and he said that she had searched for him while I was with her, and that when she found him she made a large sign of the cross in the air. I was completely unaware that she had done this.
She looked as if she was really suffering, so my husband went again and put more money into her pocket, kissed her and said: “Don’t give up hope, God will always look after you. Go home now, to rest.” She replied: “God bless you my son.” My husband was in tears and crossed the busy road to come back to me.
When we both looked for her again a moment later we saw her disappearing into the crowds. My husband later mentioned that he was surprised that she had not once checked how much money he had given her – most beggars check out of curiosity.
My husband and I came back two days later and searched for her in several streets, but could not find her. Beggars usually have a spot or two where they always beg, but she was gone. Who was she?
M.S., Maidenhead, Berks, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘old woman’ was a familiar created by Maitreya.)
On 22 March 1999, a fine day of blue sky and sun on the mountain, I was skiing with my 23-year-old daughter in Candanchu, Huesca (Spain). After having crossed some wide tracks in the Green Zone, at the end of the run we found a very narrow corridor of frozen snow which we would have to avoid in order to reach the other side of the slope. This corridor was between a rocky slope and a wall some seven metres high. As my daughter advanced she lost control of her skis and slipped on the frozen ground. She lost her skis and fell violently down the seven-metre drop. She only suffered two minor bruises, some scratches on her nose and a muscle strain that disappeared in 24 hours. She had fallen onto her elbows in the frozen snow and she says that she felt as if she was bouncing off the ground. I think it was a miracle. Please, I would like to know, who helped my daughter?
E.G.G., Zaragoza, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the help came from the Master Jesus.)
It was a Sunday or other festivity in January 1999 in Vitoria, Spain. We were just saying goodbye to some friends in Gazteiz Avenue, at Centro Europa, where there is a telephone box on the corner. The sky was bright, a cold blue, but sunny. Suddenly a very well dressed black man appeared asking my friend for some change, but my friend didn’t pay him any attention. Then he approached me asking for a coin for the phone. I felt in my pocket, but strangely nothing was there! I was going to tell him that I had no small change, but then I put my right hand into the pocket and found one coin that I gave him and he said: “Thanks, Brother.” He left, but instead of going to the telephone box on my right, he went to the opposite corner and I lost sight of him. I wondered if he was the Master Jesus?
J.J.I., Vitoria, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘black man’ was Maitreya.)
Four letters from the same person:
(1) At Christmas time 1997 I went to a café for a coffee during a break between my job and my children’s Christmas school play. When I went to pay, it seemed as if the waiter didn’t see me, even after asking for his attention several times. At my side there was a dark-skinned man in his 30s. He wore jeans and a black leather jacket and said: “Drinking a cup of coffee…?” I was surprised that he knew that I’d had a coffee since I was sitting in an isolated table at the back and I was not a regular customer, but being polite I answered: “Yes.” He continued: “I am sad today because a brother of mine has died in Africa.” “I am sorry,” I told him and tried again to catch the attention of the waiter, but it seemed I had become invisible to him.
“Don’t worry, I will treat you,” he said. “No, thank you, it is not necessary,” I replied. “Yes, because you know who I am, don’t you?” he said.
When I heard this I became speechless and I thought he may be a Master. Embarrassed, I accepted his invitation and thanked him, but again I tried to pay. This time the waiter saw me and said that my coffee was already paid for, looking at the young black man. I thanked him and he told me that the next day in the Church nearby there would be a mass for his brother. As I couldn’t go because I worked, my husband and children attended the mass. Who was this young black man?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘young black man’ was the Master Jesus.)
(2) In Spring 1997 I was in a low mood since things were not going well. One Sunday, I took a train to work early in the morning, and though the train was quite empty, not knowing why, I sat in front of a peculiar individual. He was in his 40s, with long white hair and beard, and wore a strange outfit for his age and the time of year – a white shirt, white shorts and white sandals, a completely immaculate white. He carried a lot of bags and as soon as I sat down he greeted me and started talking to me. I feared that he might be mentally unbalanced so I tried to concentrate on an Alice Bailey book I carried with me. He looked at the book and said: “Oh, Alice, Alicia, Alice…,” as if he knew her well, and continued talking.
At the next station a woman got on and sat at my side. He continued explaining things and I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and answered him with single words. The woman started to look at me strangely, as if I was a bit mad, which surprised me because it was the man who was strange. But she didn’t seem to see him. I arrived at my destination and with relief I got up, and said goodbye. He said to me with a big smile: “Cheer up because this summer will be wonderful and big things will happen.” Who was this man?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya. The passenger next to her did not see Maitreya.)
(3) In Summer 1999 we had to move to a new apartment. Totally exhausted, we went for a walk on a Sunday morning to look for boxes and pick up something from the car. When we arrived at our car we came across an old man, with a dark complexion and Hindu features, who was collecting water from a nearby well. He was dressed in a very well fitting, elegant suit.
When I passed near him I saw he was pouring water from a bottle over his feet, which were tremendously swollen. His shoes, made from plaited leather, were cracked from one end to the other. I was surprised that the shoes did not fall apart as he walked. I went to talk about it with my husband but when we turned around he had disappeared, but it was impossible for that old man with those tremendously swollen feet to have walked so quickly. We followed the footprints that were left behind and I thought they were too far apart – they seemed like the footprints of an athlete. When we turned the corner we saw him at the next corner, some 100 metres from us, poking in a garbage container.
Suddenly all our tiredness disappeared, a feeling of peace descended on us and we knew that everything would be fine. Was this old man Maitreya?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘old man’ was Maitreya.)
(4) During Christmas time 1996, in a central street in Barcelona, I found a beggar who attracted my attention. He was in his 50s, with a dark complexion and Hindu features. He wore a simple old tunic, but impeccably clean and perfectly ironed. There was a kind of serenity about him. He had a cardboard sign with the word HAMBRE (‘hunger’) on it.
In July 1997, in Barcelona’s Ramblas, walking with my husband and some friends, I saw him again but this time he had the word POOR written on the sign. His majestic look seemed unusual. Knowing that area, I knew he was not one of the usual beggars, I thought he may be Maitreya. Who was he?
C. S., Barcelona, Spain.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘beggar’ was Maitreya.)
Unity in Diversity
Conference Questions and Answers with Benjamin Creme – A selection
‘Unity in Diversity’ was the theme of Benjamin Creme’s keynote talk at the American and European Transmission Meditation Conferences in 2006. The talk was published in Share International January/February 2007.
Q. What is the relationship between diversity and individuality? Can the one exist without the other?
A. If there were no individuality, you would not be talking about any relationship or diversity – no individuality, no nothing. We are individuals. That is our God-given being. The thing is to get that individuality under control. Do not impose it on groups, do not impose it on other people. You must never give up your individuality, but you put it at the service of the group. You have something to give that nobody else can give, and they have something to give that nobody else has to give. Everybody, from their very individuality, has something which no one else can give. That is the diversity of the group.
Every person is unique. That is your individuality; it comes from your soul. You are individualized human souls and each soul is unique. In the whole manifested universe there is not another soul like your soul. It has its unique vibration that a Master can recognize instantly. This is something which nobody can take away from you, and you should not allow anyone to take away from you. That individuality should be accepted as part of the diversity of a group.
Everyone has a right to say what they think and others have a right to disagree. In the end the group as a whole has to come to a unity, which in practical terms is a consensus. The group consensus comes not by taking votes – who votes for this or that – but by a consensus of thought that inculcates group thinking. This is what we are trying to do because only in that way can we correctly work with the energy of Aquarius. It has no individual application. It works only through groups, and that is the whole point in forming groups.
Groups are forming now in every department of life because people sense that we are entering a time in which the groups count. Until the present, a group of individual people – but not a group – followed a person who was the leader. Today it is different and tomorrow it will be even more different. The position of the leader will gradually disappear and the group as a whole will foster maximum diversity with unity, and come to its decisions by consensus.
There are people who do not believe in consensus. They say there is no such thing: “You win some and you lose some.” That is the voice of the modern businessman. It is a game of competition. You judge yourself by how many you win and how many you failed to win. Group work has nothing at all to do with winning or losing, nothing to do with competition. It is consensus of thought in a group. It is not overcoming the minds of others and shouting the loudest.
Q. Is by any chance the flag of Britain, the Union Jack, an emblem of unity in diversity?
A. The Union Jack is an emblem of unity in diversity. That is exactly what it is. It represents the flags of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Q. What is the difference between diversity and fragmentation?
A. Fragmentation is formless; diversity within a unity is not formless. The form is the outcome of the unity. Fragmentation by itself has no outer form or unity.
With unity in diversity, the diverse groups and points of view are not fragments of the whole; they are part of the whole. The whole is the outcome of their coming together and that gives form. The unity comes out of the diversity, not the other way around. You do not have the unity and then the diversity. You have diversity and then a growing unity by being able to overcome differences, to aim at a unified approach, a unified thought pattern. You attain a degree of group consciousness. That creates a form, which we call unity.
Everyone is longing for unity. Everyone is driving themselves towards unity. That is why people join groups, why they join political parties. They are looking for like-minded people with whom they can become unified. The aim of all life is to become unified. In the Age of Aquarius, this coming Age, you will see this manifested through the energy of synthesis. It will blend humanity together into a veritable synthesis, a real unity.
Every nation, every people within the nation, with their diverse and different points of view, their different sense of the meaning and purpose of life, will give individual expression to that purpose. In this way, a huge tapestry is formed of all the ideas and creativity of all the different nations under the different rays: they have different rays to bring this huge panoply of qualities into one great unity. This unity is in the mind of the Logos and we are carrying out His Plan, whether consciously or not. It happens because it is planned. It is the nature of the Plan of the Logos to have the greatest definition of the individuality of the different nations, each one expressing its own unique quality that is instantly recognizable and different from all others. But eventually all will become part of a fused and blended whole. It is a fusion and blending of difference, not a fusion of the same. A fusion of the same is what America would have by everybody adopting their version of democracy, as if they had the final answer to the development of political systems in democracy. But the Plan is that each nation will carry out its own destiny, and a unity will evolve out of all that diversity.
If you have a garden and every flower is white, it is a nice garden but rather boring. A garden which has only one colour of flower would not be a true garden. But a garden where you feel that all the colours are presenting themselves, and is so arranged that it beautifully leads from one part to another, is a real garden, uplifting and refreshing.
Some painters paint in one colour or maybe different tones of one colour. You have unity but it is a kind of spurious unity. You can do that occasionally. But if all your pictures were one colour, and all the same, you would have unity but no diversity. In the same way it is the diversity of human beings that is interesting.
Removal of guilt
Q. Among Maitreya’s priorities is “the removal of guilt and fear”. You have talked about fear. Would you please talk about the removal and overcoming of guilt?
A. Guilt and fear are very much related. Guilt is the result of fear. The fundamental situation that creates fear also creates guilt. The fear is that you have sinned. It is the result of wrong teaching by the Christian groups for 2,000 years, which has instilled fear and guilt into 1,000 million Christian people. In every incarnation they meet the same thing – fear instilling guilt and guilt instilling fear, and the terrible effect on the sense of self-esteem that such teaching has. That, together with countless and age-old superstitions that fill the minds of people of other religious traditions, makes fear and guilt a powerful blockage on the way to awakening consciousness.
A large part of Maitreya’s time will be taken up in removing fear and guilt from humanity. He will not simply manipulate it and get rid of it but His teaching is fashioned to remove fear and guilt. He has given you the way; you know it already. The way to remove fear and guilt is to practise the three techniques that Maitreya suggests. Instill, acquire, build into yourself honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit, and detachment. If done assiduously, correctly, these inevitably build the detachment in which fear and guilt disappear.
If you are detached, you are free of guilt and fear. It could not be otherwise. Guilt and fear exist out of attachment. If you are attached to your beliefs – Christian, Muslim or Buddhist – and you do things that are against your beliefs, you live in guilt and fear. For example, Roman Catholics are told that they should not have sex outside marriage, and that even within marriage they should not use contraception. Yet millions of Catholics do that, and they live in the guilt instilled by their action.
For Roman Catholics, this is a tremendous inner struggle. Should they obey the stipulations of the Church underwritten by the Pope that you should not have sex outside marriage, that you cannot be married twice in a church, that contraception is a sin? If Roman Catholics believe what the Pope says, they are in trouble because their common sense tells them this is not wrong or sinful. It is natural and normal. They have the guilt and fear of retribution instilled in them.
Maitreya will remove this guilt and fear from humanity by talking common sense. You can remove it from yourself by practising detachment. It is all to do with detachment. If you are attached to your retribution because of your fear of retribution, you feel guilty. If you are not attached, there is no fear, there is no guilt.
Some actions are wrong, but they can be righted. The Law of Karma rights all actions. It is a great beneficent Law. When you do a wrong that is destructive, it is changed by the effect that you have brought on yourself through the Law of Karma. It is an effect; it is not retribution.
The Law of Karma does not make you guilty, it just gives you a simple Law: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” You have thoughts, you have actions. The effects stemming from these causes that you have set in motion make a life for good or ill. Some of it will be good, some of it will be painful. But we have done it ourselves. There is no such thing as retribution. There is karma, which is the Law balancing itself: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” By making it possible for people to truly understand the Law of Karma, Maitreya will make it real for them. They will see that the best action is harmless action because in that way you reap harmless results, creative results, good results. You have good karma.
Q. Will it take a stock-market crash to really get the changes moving with regard to transforming the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Security Council and so on?
A. I think it would take a serious disturbance in the existing stock markets, not necessarily a total crash, but a very serious disturbance of the norm to shift the opinion of the major governments – the G8 governments – to bring about these other reforms. Nothing will happen to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and so on until there is a major disturbance of the economic ‘realities’ of the present. It is reality we want. The whole thing is fantasy and we want the light of day. That will come when economic pressures are strong enough.
Q. How can people obtain more diversity in political representation?
A. The people have to make their demands known and act. You have to act. Maitreya says: “Nothing happens by itself. Man must act and implement his will.” If we want the process of sharing, we have to force the governments to accept it. The governments are there to serve the people and they will go on serving the people in the way that they do. But if you want change, if you want more representation, then you have to force it on the governments. I am sure people do want more representation, which means taking some of the power out of the few hands which in most cases run the governments in the world. They are not going to give up their power voluntarily. But when the people demand it, when every day there is a march, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who fill the squares and the streets of the towns and refuse to move, then they can force the hand of any government. We have seen it already.
Q. Are any governments beginning to think about sharing?
A. None of the governments of today are involved in the process of sharing the world’s resources. It is the one thing that could save the world yet it is never taken as a serious idea. Every other method has been tried and has failed, and this has inevitably led to hardship and to war.
Q. Why is it that governments seem to be so ineffectual now?
A. The governments only know how to act in terms of the past, and these no longer apply. That is why there is no government on Earth today who can actually govern. They do their best, and all fail because fundamentally they are using outworn methods. Only one thing – the last thing to occur to them – will alter the present impasse into which they have all come, and that is to inaugurate the system of sharing.
As soon as they do that they will create the trust that will enable them to tackle all other problems co-operatively. They have to be solved co-operatively. You cannot impose solutions on nations who do not want them. It can only happen by co-operation, when the trust generated by sharing is there and allows the change to take place. Then the goodwill engendered by trust will make possible the solution of problems which today seem impossible to solve….
UFO sightings worldwide
As Benjamin Creme’s Master indicates in His article ‘The gathering of the Forces of Light’, it seems that we have now reached a phase in which certain activities are being stepped up in frequency and intensity. As so vividly illustrated in that article, we may now look forward to widespread sightings of spacecraft and other signs of Maitreya’s emergence. A substantial part of ‘Signs of the Times’ is therefore devoted to reports of such sightings from all over the world. This is no doubt just the beginning of an inspiring chapter in Hierarchical activity.
London, uk – At least 30 people witnessed a “squadron” of orange lights in the skies above Archway, north London, at around 5.30pm on Thursday 2 February 2007. Drivers stopped their cars to view the mysterious lights hovering in the sky. People screamed and police received several calls within a few minutes about the sightings. Alix McAlister, 34, a local resident and market trader, was picking up his son from nursery when he noticed the lights: “There was a group of them – 10 to 15 of them moving together. My first impression was that they reminded me of a squadron of aeroplanes in formation. But they didn’t have a proper formation and they were moving at the same speed…. Bombs and planes crossed my mind. But I realised very quickly that they didn’t look like any aircraft I’d seen before.” McAlister described how “they kind of stopped and they were hovering. There was no sound. They seemed to fade away and I saw more coming and then they stopped. It lasted about 10 minutes”.
Designer James Zagar, from Crouch End, watched the spectacle from the same road. Describing the “balls of light in the sky”, he said: “They were all moving together. They stopped and then they came on again and there must have been about 12 of these things all moving across the sky.”
Tom Cull, 27, a vision mixer working in the area, came outside to find a crowd of people staring up at the sky. “There were at least 30 people watching,” he said. “Cars had stopped. It was kind of eerie. What I found strange about these things was the way they moved. The fact that they were so high would suggest they were quite big.” Mr Cull said he saw the lights again when he returned home to Fortis Green, a few miles away.
The Ministry of Defence said it had no reports of a “security incident”, while the Meteorological Office ruled out any weather-related explanation. Less than 30 minutes later, similar “strange orange lights” were seen 160 kilometres away in the town of Kings Lynn, Norfolk. (Sources: Islington Gazette, Hornsey and Crouch End Journal, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the lights were spacecraft from Mars.)
Hawaii, usa – Witnesses on the southern shore of the Hawaii island of Oahu reported seeing unidentified lights in the northeastern sky at about 6.20pm on Friday 26 January 2007. Local resident Peter Hollingworth said he saw two lights circling in the sky. One was videoed by a local television station. “These two little fireballs with a stream behind it,” said Hollingworth, “looked kind of like a shooting star but it just kept going. They changed directions a few times.”
The US National Weather Service said nothing appeared on their radar at the time of the sighting and the US Federal Aviation Administration did not report anything unusual. (Source: KHON/WLTX-TV, USA)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the sightings were of spacecraft from Mars.
southern england – On 24 January 2007 more than 35 people called police to report seeing UFOs during heavy snow in the West Sussex region of England.
The callers, including a policeman, said 50 orange lights hovered in the sky for 15 minutes before drifting into the night. Moira Dawson, 57, said: “We thought they were fireworks but they didn’t make any noise. They just floated in the snowfall.” Another witness near Gatwick airport in West Sussex said: “We thought it was an invasion.” (Source: The Mirror, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the sightings were of spacecrafts from Mars.)
western iran – Witnesses in the city of Bouyer Ahmad in western Iran reported two sightings of UFOs in a period of two days in January 2007. On 15 January 2007, people reported seeing a glowing object “with a yellow ray and a bright reddish colour in the centre” hovering at low altitude over the city for more than an hour, beginning at about 7pm. Two days later, a similar object was seen in the sky in the same area and at the same time of day.
About a week prior to the UFO sightings, there were reports of a UFO crash in the Barez Mountains in the central Iranian province of Kerman. The crash was reportedly witnessed by people in several cities, and occurred about 100 kilometres from the provincial capital city of Kerman. Witnesses said that a radiant UFO, on fire and emitting thick smoke, crashed to the ground, causing an explosion. The deputy governor general of Kerman province said the crash could not have been an airplane or helicopter because all aircraft flying through the area on that day had been accounted for. He said that police and other authorities were investigating the crash. (Source: Fars News Agency, Iran; United Press International)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the sightings were of spacecraft from Mars. He also explains that the crash was deliberate: the occupants had exited the vehicle and the craft was considered old and expendible and not worth repairing. It was crashed to bring attention to its presence.)
usa – When retired Air Force Colonel Brian Fields, 61, saw mysterious, colourful lights hovering over western Arkansas on 9 January 2007 he had “no idea what they were”. With 32 years experience piloting F-16 fighter jets he said: “I believe these lights were not of this world, and I feel a duty and responsibility to come forward.” Just before 7pm, he saw two intensely bright lights close to the horizon as he looked to the southeast. “At first I thought they were landing lights from an aircraft. As I continued to observe them they slowly began to disappear, then suddenly one reappeared, followed by two, then three. On at least one occasion four or five appeared. Each time they would slowly fade and eventually disappear. This occurred several times and when they would reappear they might do so in differing numbers and in different positions, sometimes in a triangular shape, sometimes stacked on top of each other, sometimes line abreast, etc. When the objects appeared they might stay illuminated for 10 or more minutes.” Fields photographed numerous images of the lights and sent his story to the WorldNetDaily.com website. The story received such exposure that it prompted many others to write saying they witnessed a similar phenomenon.
“When I read this story, I literally got chill bumps all over my body, because it was exactly as I remember it also,” said Will Childers of Camden, Arkansas, who says he saw the same lights on 10 January 2007 at approximately 7.15pm in southern Arkansas.
Richard Mobley, a software developer who commutes from Scottsdale, Arizona, to his home in Tucson, also says he witnessed “the same exact thing” Fields had described, noting his incident took place on 15 November 2006. Mobley recalls: “They appeared over the Gila Indian Reservation and moved southeast. I saw one, then two, then three, then four and five of these objects light up. Each lit up at a different time and went out at different times. Sometimes they would be in a row, and at other times they would appear stacked close to each other (bunched up or on top of each other). They were moving about 6,000 to 10,000 feet off the ground, high enough to fly over the mountain range. The light (when lit) was a round, super-intense amber light which seemed to illuminate the ground below them. They would light up for about five to seven minutes and then dim down and go out. After about three minutes of being out, they would light back up, going from dim to intense amber light. There was an aircraft in the area which had landing lights on as well as a beacon light (red and green on the wings and tail) so to distinguish between these objects and a plane was easy. The amount of light given off at the height at which they were flying showed these objects were quite large.”
In Belton, Texas, Jim Martin, a national sales manager for Clear Channel Radio, says he too “observed a bright, white round light looking exactly like Colonel Fields’ pictures”, but his sighting was on 22 December 2006.
Jeff Pement of Pensacola, Florida, says he saw the same phenomenon. “Except for the duration of time the lights stay visible, the description of the lights is exactly as I have seen it … When I read Colonel Fields’ words describing what he saw, it was as if I was relating the event to someone.” (Source: WorldNetDaily.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms these all to be authentic sightings of spacecraft from Mars.)
chicago, usa – On 7 November 2006 dozens of employees at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, witnessed a flying-saucer object hover low over the airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy it left an “eerie hole in overcast skies”. Some witnesses, interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, said they were upset that neither the government nor the airline planned to investigate the incident.
The UFO was first seen at 4.30pm, just before sunset, by a United Airlines ramp worker who was directing a plane at Gate C17. Witnesses reported the object as dark grey and well-defined in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated to be up to 24 feet in diameter, rotated like a frisbee and hovered silently in the sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off into the clouds.
“I tend to be scientific by nature, and I don’t understand why aliens would hover over a busy airport,” said a United Airlines mechanic. “But I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an aircraft.”
All the witnesses, including several pilots, said they are certain it was not an aeroplane, helicopter, weather balloon or any other craft known to man. One of the pilots on the ground reportedly opened a windscreen in the cockpit to get a better view of the object, estimated to be hovering 1,500 feet above the ground. The object then suddenly accelerated straight up through the solid overcast skies: “It was like somebody punched a hole in the sky,” leaving an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer, which disappeared within a few minutes. (Source: Chicago Tribune, USA)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this to be a sighting of a spacecraft from Mars.)
Sculpture of Jesus emits sparks
A sculpture of Jesus in a UK art gallery has astonished local people by emitting sparks from its eyes.
The steel and bronze sculpture Cleansing the Temple had just gone on show in February 2007, in a gallery in Liverpool, northwest England. Local sculptor Brian Burgess, the self-confessed atheist who created the work, said that the phenomenon was first noticed when “a woman who saw the statue fell to her knees and began praying. She was transfixed for more than 30 minutes and when she came out of the trance she said she had witnessed sparks coming from the eyes of the Christ figure”.
The sculpture, which shows an angry Jesus driving the moneylenders from the temple, has created a furore. “Now the word has spread,” said Mr Burgess, “and we have hordes of people coming along to pray and venerate the statue.”
Many have witnessed the sparks shooting from the eyes of the central figure of Jesus. Some, according to Academy manager June Lornie, “kneel down and speak as though in a trance, convinced they are connecting with God”.
“When I first entered the room where it stands,” said 18-year-old student Natasha Jones, “I instantly felt under its spell and I was transfixed. I am not a very religious person and I was astonished when I saw sparks coming out towards me from the eyes of the statue.” (Source: Liverpool Echo, Liverpool Daily Post, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this miracle is manifested by Maitreya. This particular statue was used to underline the symbolism of the work of Maitreya turning humanity away from gross materialism to sharing and justice for all.)
Miracle gemstones found in nut
Switzerland’s widely distributed daily newspaper Blick reported an extraordinary story on 5 January 2007 – two gemstones found inside a walnut. The article describes how 65-year-old Alfred Hossmann, a retired railway employee from Trun, Grisons, was sitting in his living room with his wife and daughter on New Years Eve. His daughter Andrea had brought along a Christmas bag of nuts bought from a Spar shop in Lustenau, Austria. When Alfred took out a walnut and opened it with his pocket knife he was extremely puzzled to see that the nut was missing. In its place were two gems, one large and green, the other smaller and clear. Hosmann explains that his “first thought was, that somebody had opened the shell, put in the stones and had glued it together again”. However there were no traces of glue. Andrea at first thought her father was joking, but with her mother Theres told the newspaper that it was no joke – they had really seen it. The paper concludes that the smaller gem is a rock crystal and the larger one probably an aventurine. (Source: Blick, Switzerland)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this to be a miracle manifested by Maitreya.)
Share International magazine reports every month on miracles around the world. Some of the more extraordinary miracles have included: a young Lebanese girl who daily wept sharp glass crystals; a young girl who wept little coloured threads; and, recently, a young Indian girl who produces small shards of glass from her forehead, with no lasting ill-effects. Now, a young woman in Malaysia is producing gemstones from under the nail of her big toe.
Siti Suhana Saadon, a 23-year-old from Malacca, Malaysia, is attracting wide attention as her nail ‘opens’ and a gem, sometimes small, clear and colourless, but lately also colourful and larger, suddenly emerges from underneath. The stones normally appear in groups of five, but recently two larger stones, like marbles – one pearly and one emerald green – have also appeared.
Siti first noticed her swollen toe in October 2006 and sought medical advice. Tests showed no abnormalities, but soon afterwards the first gemstones began appearing from under her toenail. Doctors are baffled but she seems quite healthy apart from this strange ability to produce gemstones.
“I don’t work as I have to care for my disabled brother. Also, I feel weak when the stones are about to come out,” said Siti Suhana. “Sometimes they even come out when I’m asleep.”
Since the media reported on her story Siti has received offers from people wanting to buy the stones. Siti Suhana’s brother, Rahmat Saadon, said that the family had no plans to sell the crystal-like objects as they did not know what they were. (Source: Newpaper.asia1.com; New Straits Times, Malaysia Star, Malaysia)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Maitreya is manifesting the gemstones.)
2006 — Crop of wonders
Benjamin Creme has written many times about the crop circle phenomenon. We quote below his answer to a question published in Share International.
My information about the crop circles is that they are created by what is generally called UFO activity. The UFOs come in the main from Mars and Venus, not from outside our solar system. All the planets of this system are populated, though if you went to Mars or Venus you would see no one at all – they are all in higher etheric matter. The UFO phenomenon is distinctly related to the Reappearance of the Christ and the externalization of the work of the Hierarchy, and we owe them a great debt. Their surveillance of this planet is total and energetically of enormous benefit to the world.
What the Space People are doing in the crop circles in particular is recreating to a certain degree the ‘grid’ of our Earth’s magnetic field on the physical plane. Each of these crop circles is a chakra, as it were, a vortex of magnetic energy, and they are spreading out around the world, having started in England. They are all ‘ideograms’, and if you were familiar with the ‘ideography’ of ancient Atlantis you would recognize some of them. They are meant not to be recognized as to their meaning but that they do have a meaning, and many people will ‘intuit’ these. They are a reminder of the ancient connection with the Space Brothers. (Share International Jul/Aug 1991)
From our own correspondents
From forgiveness to activism
Interview with Michael Berg
by Marian Peleski
Michael Berg is a life-long pacifist and activist. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. His son, Nicholas, was abducted and beheaded in Iraq in May 2004 in retaliation for US involvement in the Abu Ghraib prison tortures and murders. Nicholas was in Iraq to be of service to the people and was not affiliated with the US military. Awards presented to Michael Berg include: The Courageous Resister Award in August of 2004, The Adel Dwyer Saint Thomas of Villanova Peace Award in October of 2005, The Hero of Forgiveness Award by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance in August of 2006, and the American Hero Award by the Patrick Henry Club in June 2006. He ran as the Green Party candidate for US Congress for the state of Delaware in the US elections in November 2006, but was not elected. Despite personal anguish and political setbacks he remains optimistic and politically active. Marian Peleski interviewed Michael Berg for Share International.
The following is the first section of the interview.
SI: Did the abduction and brutal murder of your son in Iraq cause you to question your pacifist stand?
MB: No, it did quite the opposite; it strengthened my pacifist stand. It drove home the point that “War Is Costly”, as one of my tee-shirts says, and “Peace Is Priceless.” It made me regret only that I didn’t do more sooner to end the war in Iraq. It made me abandon the old reasons for limiting my activism to times, places, weather conditions and levels of security that were convenient or comfortable to me. I became a member of “The Nothing-Left-To-Lose Club,” that is, I felt that there could be no greater pain thrust upon me. Nothing worse than what had happened could be done. Since that time I have been shot at on my way to speaking at a large anti-war rally in Washington, DC. I have spoken to crowds as large as 10,000. I have been stopped by security in South Korea. I have been arrested seven times. I have had life-sized pictures of my son’s body after his execution shoved in my face as well as audio portions of the videotape of his death that appeared on the Internet. None of this has stopped me, not because I am brave or even stupid, but because a greater pain hides a lesser one.When Nick was killed I knew instinctively from the way I had led my life that revenge was wrong. Still there was a hole in my inner being. There was rage, and if I couldn’t direct it against the politicians and killers who took my son’s life, then what could I do with it? The answer came when I took a course at Immaculata University called: “Forgiveness: The Name of Love in a Wounded World.” This course soothed that pain. It directed it toward a love and understanding that in time brought about forgiveness not only for the murderers themselves but, more difficultly for me, for George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez and the rest of the Bush administration who conspired against this country to wage a war for their own twisted gain.Now it all made sense – peace, pacifism, opposition to the death penalty. Now I could truly be a man of peace after finding the peace that can only come through giving forgiveness to others. I stand more strongly in my pacifism today than I ever have.
SI: Can you talk about your views on US troops in Iraq and other issues in your platform as a US Congressional candidate?
MB: I support our troops, but I do not support their being in Iraq. I believe that despite what President Bush has falsely claimed, we are in greater danger of being attacked in this country because our troops are in Iraq than if they withdrew, and that the awful things which people fear might happen in Iraq if we leave now are already happening.I further believe that the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001 was a direct result of American foreign policy. We refused to negotiate with people who had and still have legitimate grievances against us. These grievances include our presence in their region of the world; our sanctions on Iraq, which cost more lives than this entire war so far; our support of Israel through guns and bombs rather than peace teams, reparations for displaced Palestinians and an army of people skilled in conflict resolution; and our economic policy towards so-called Third-World nations that amounts to making those nations colonies and their citizens slaves.What if we had negotiated in good faith without preconditions to the outcome of those talks? What might our attackers have asked for? Their own sovereignty? A lifting of sanctions against Iraq? Would they have asked us to stop supplying Israel with a massive military budget? Or would they ask us to support a truly open market worldwide where all nations could trade fairly and all people earn the necessities of life for an honest day’s work?
The war is larger than Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon or the entire Middle East. This war extends into our own country. It wasn’t terrorists who took away our healthcare plan or stole our pension. It wasn’t immigrants who failed to raise the minimum wage for many years while each of those years saw a rise for our elite rulers. It wasn’t any of the people so demonized by this administration. It was the men and women in suits in Washington DC who gave up representing us, the American people, and started representing big business, corporate America. So my campaign also stood for: Single-payer, universal healthcare. A truly livable minimum wage. A return of the federal programs that made our schools great in the 1960s and 1970s but were replaced by a system of tests that shifts funding to those who need it least from those who need it most. Maintaining the infrastructure of our country so that the next hurricane Katrina that comes our way won’t take the poor people of a major US city and throw them into the sea. On the environment, I proposed eliminating the monetary incentives paid to big oil companies for the exploration and production of fossil fuels and paying that money instead to small businesses and researchers who discover, develop and produce the means to sustainable, clean energy. I proposed this measure knowing the poor chance it had of passage in that it would shift the monetary advantage away from the investors and to the workers and researchers who would benefit from this labor-intensive endeavor. And I never took a penny in contributions from corporations, only from individuals, and most of those contributions came in a hat….
Voice of the People
US peace marches
Protesters from across the US converged in their tens of thousands on the National Mall in Washington, DC on 27 January 2007 to express their opposition to President Bush’s plan for another troop increase in Iraq. Smaller rallies, with crowds numbering in the thousands, also took place in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego.
Demonstrators in Washington, DC cheered speeches given by Congressional Representatives Dennis Kucinich and Maxine Waters, as well as Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. Actors Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Jane Fonda and Danny Glover also addressed the enthusiastic crowd. The stage was bare except for audio equipment, podium, and a coffin covered with a US flag and a pair of military boots, symbolizing American war dead. On the Mall stood a large bin filled with tags bearing the names of Iraqis who have died.
Many among the crowd were veterans marching alongside family members of active-duty sons, daughters, husbands and wives. A small contingent of active-duty service members also marched, dressed in civilian clothing because military rules forbid them from protesting in uniform. One veteran in an army jacket carried a sign saying: “I served in Vietnam, my son served in the Persian Gulf, Bush serves the oil industry.” Many protesters carried signs demanding that Bush and Cheney resign. Other signs included messages such as “Clean water speaks louder than bombs”, and “Impeach Bush”. One sign poignantly read “Bush’s war IS terror”.
The protest was largely organized by United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of 1,400 local and national organizations. The group reported intense interest in the rally after President Bush announced he was sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq to supplement the 130,000 already there. United for Peace and Justice said its website received more than 5 million visits in the weeks preceding the demonstration. Police officials declined to provide crowd estimates for the rally, but Hany Khalil, a spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, said the protesters numbered about 400,000.
“I’ve got a son who just got out of the military and another still in,” said Jackie Smith, a protestor from Sunapee, New Hampshire, whose sign read “Bush Bin Lyin”. “And I’m here because this is all I can do to try to help them.” Tassi McKee, a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. Sergeant McKee said she joined the Air Force because of patriotism, travel and money for college. “After we went to Iraq, I began to see through the lies,” she said. “I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it.”
Fernando Braga, a member of the Army National Guard, said that he was sceptical of the war before it started but his views hardened into opposition while he served in Iraq for 10 months. “My own commander told us when we arrived that if we thought we were there for any reason other than oil then we had another thing coming,” he said. “I realized even commanding officers were against it but following orders.”
Robert Watada, of Honolulu, a retired executive with the State of Hawaii, whose son, First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada, is facing court-martial and imprisonment for refusing to deploy to Iraq, said: “So many thousands of our own have died and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and for what? And still we are having to push Congress to block the president.” (Source: Associated Press, The Washington Post, The New York Times, United for Peace and Justice, USA)
Huge climate change concerts planned
The world needs to know about the dangers inherent in global warming. To bring these issues to the attention of a global audience a series of climate change concerts is being planned for 7 July 2007. It is hoped that the worldwide concert link-up will bring the problem of climate change to an audience of some 2 billion across the world – a bigger event even than Live Aid.
The event will show co-ordinated film, music and television events in seven cities including London, Washington DC, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Kyoto, with major broadcasters and media owners taking part to extend public awareness of global warming.
Former US vice-president Al Gore, whose movie An Inconvenient Truth has succeeded in bringing the importance of protecting the environment to cinema audiences everywhere, announced the event at a February 2007 press conference in London.
The organizers are planning a line-up of artists to ‘dwarf’ that of the Live8 and Live Aid concerts. Live Aid was about asking people for money, but this event aims to effect a fundamental change in attitudes, and in our relationship with the planet. The aim is that people will take action, including making personal pledges to save energy, and cutting emissions by, for instance, using energy efficient equipment or taking fewer flights. (Source: The Financial Times, UK)
Global activist website launches first campaign
Avaaz.org, a new online activist site, has launched its inaugural campaign – a ‘wake-up call’ to world leaders about climate change.
Television advertisements broadcast in February 2007 in Paris, Berlin, Washington DC and Delhi, show George Bush, Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac in bed asleep while floods, fires and other natural disasters rage outside. A voice says: “Global warming is here, but our leaders just won’t wake up. Now you can sound the alarm. Go to Avaaz.org to send your leader a wake-up call.”
Citizens from every country are invited to sign up for the online advocacy effort demanding that world leaders commit to bold greenhouse gas emissions reductions to avert catastrophic climate change. “Global public opinion has been called the ‘new superpower’, but there is a huge gap between the world that most people want, and the world we have,” says Ricken Patel, the Canadian-British director of Avaaz. “The lack of action on climate change is a powerful example of that gap, and Avaaz.org will work to close it.”
Avaaz, which means ‘voice’ or ‘song’ in several Asian languages, has already grown to 900,000 members in 198 countries. Inspired by the success of the US organization MoveOn in influencing political dialogue and supporting progressive political candidates, Avaaz was formed to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people – not just power brokers and international corporations – shape global decisions. Its ultimate goal is to create a more just and peaceful world. (Source: www.avaaz.org; The Independent, UK)
Peace campaigner wins political award
Brian Haw, the peace protester who has been camped in Parliament Square, London, won the annual Channel 4 News award for Most Inspiring Political Figure at a ceremony on 7 February 2007. According to Channel 4, Haw received an “overwhelming” 54 per cent of the vote, cast by the public.
Haw began his 24/7 vigil in 2001 to protest about sanctions against Iraq, and continued with increasing support in the run-up to and beyond the invasion. He spent night and day in front of a large and growing display of donated banners and photographs, which was finally removed by police in a night raid in May 2006. Haw remains in the square with a much smaller display.
One supporter, Karen Sharp, said she nominated Brian Haw because he “has done more than any politician to draw attention to the illegal war against and occupation of Iraq, which event figures at the top of my political agenda as something that must be ended immediately.” (Source: The Daily Telegraph, UK)
Facts and Forecasts
Climate on political agenda
“Gradually it is being realized by those who make decisions that time is not on the side of those who despoil and poison the planet, that resources are not unlimited, and that nature recoils from exploitation and assault.” (The Master —, Share International, May 1989)
The tipping point has finally been reached. Climate and environment matter, and we now recognize that we must change to save our planet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 2 February 2007 in Paris released a landmark climate-change science report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. It is now official and incontrovertible: The IPCC report focuses on scientific data which indicate that “the global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture”.
In his introductory address to the Paris conference, French President Jacques Chirac called for a “triple revolution” to save the Earth. “The time for revolution has come, the revolution of consciousness, the revolution of economy and the revolution of government policies,” he told a gathering of foreign ministers, representatives of NGOs, corporate managers and top scientists from 60 countries, who had joined the conference hosted by the French President.
“The planet suffers, nature suffers, we are on the brink of the irreversible,” he warned. Chirac argues that the UN should adopt a Universal Declaration of Environmental Rights and Duties. He pointed out that France has already added a Charter of the Environment to its Constitution.
Chirac aims to set up a pioneering group whose task would be to promote the creation of an entirely new UN agency (UNOE – United Nations Organization for the Environment) in charge of the global environment that would replace the present UNEP which, he says, lacks the required funding to work efficiently.
“Everybody knows that the lack of monitoring of human activities is provoking a slow collective suicide,” he said. “It will take the nations united around common and negotiated goals and commitments to prevent a disaster.” (Source: Le Monde, NouvelObs.com, France)
Five minute respite for planet
A demonstration organized throughout France drew attention to the need to reduce energy consumption and alleviate the burden on the climate. On Thursday 1 February 2007, most of France switched off its lights for five minutes between 7.55pm and 8pm, the usual peak time for energy consumption in households.
Participation was widespread. Electricity consumption dropped by 800 megawatts, the equivalent usage of a large city like Marseille with a population of more than 1 million. The complete shutdown of the Eiffel Tower and of a dozen other monuments in Paris gave extra momentum to the campaign.
A recent poll carried out by the polling organization Sofres shows that 86 per cent of the French are willing to reduce their electricity consumption. The French action was echoed around the world as people in several countries also switched off their electricity for five minutes on ‘Save Energy Day’. (Source: Le Monde, France)
Earth Challenge Prize offered
British businessman Sir Richard Branson and his company, Virgin, have pledged to give $25 million (£12.5 million) towards an invention which would reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The judges of the Earth Challenge Prize, launched in London in February 2007, include James Lovelock, NASA scientist James Hansen and former Vice President Al Gore, who said: “We’re not used to thinking of a planetary emergency. And there’s nothing in our prior history as a species that equips us to imagine that we, as human beings, could actually be in the process of destroying the habitability of the planet for ourselves.”
Speaking of the crisis humanity is facing, Branson said: “We will lose half of all species on Earth, including the polar bear and the walrus, we will lose the coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, 100 million people will be displaced due to rising sea levels, farmlands will become deserts, rainforests wastelands…. The Earth cannot wait 60 years. I want a future for my children and my children’s children. The clock is ticking.” (Source: The Independent, UK, BBC News UK)
Where ignorance is dangerous
Some 13 per cent of Americans have not heard of global warming.
Although the United States emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases – the biggest emitter ahead of China, Russia and India – 13 per cent of US citizens say they had never heard or read anything about global warming.
The findings are the result of a new 46-country survey by ACNielsen Europe. The report indicates that 57 per cent of people around the world considered global warming to be a “very serious problem” and a further 34 per cent rated it a “serious problem”.
People in Latin America were most worried, while US citizens were least concerned with just 42 per cent rating global warming “very serious”.
Almost all climate scientists say that temperatures are creeping higher because of heat-trapping greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels.
According to a UN report, it is at least 90 per cent probable that human activities are the main cause of warming in the past 50 years. People in China and Brazil were most convinced of the link to human activities, and Americans least convinced.
According to the survey, people living in regions vulnerable to natural disasters seemed most concerned – ranging from Latin Americans worried by damage to coffee or banana crops to people in the Czech Republic whose country was hit by floods in 2002.
In Latin America, 96 per cent of respondents said they had heard of global warming and 75 per cent rated it “very serious”.
Whereas most industrial nations have signed up for the UN’s Kyoto Protocol (which imposed conditions on emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from factories, power plants and vehicles), US President George W. Bush pulled his country out of the treaty in 2001. (Source: Reuters)
How much should the wealthy give to the poor?
In his New York Times article ‘What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?’, author and Princeton University professor Peter Singer calculates how much money the wealthiest 10 per cent of Americans earn, and concludes that a fraction of this income could be used not only to reduce, but to virtually eliminate global poverty.
Beginning with the commonly held belief that all human lives are of equal value, regardless of nationality, gender and place of residence, Singer points out that with 1 billion people living in unprecedented luxury while another 1 billion struggle to survive on less than $1 per day, humanity is far from enacting this truth. He cites UNICEF’s statistics that “more than 10 million children die every year – about 30,000 per day – from avoidable, poverty-related causes”.
Singer argues that the wealthy have a moral obligation to give to the poor, and refers to the work of Thomas Pogge, a philosopher at Columbia University, who argues that at least some of the affluence of the world’s wealthy comes at the expense of the poor. Examples include not only the trade barriers the developed world uses against imported goods from the developing world, but also corporations’ “willingness to buy natural resources from any government, no matter how it has come to power. This provides a huge financial incentive for groups to try to overthrow the existing government.” This access to raw materials forms the basis of industrial nations’ prosperity, but “is a disaster for resource-rich developing countries, turning the wealth that should benefit them into a curse that leads to a cycle of coups, civil wars and corruption and is of little benefit to the people as a whole”.
In Singer’s opinion, current levels of government aid are not nearly adequate to solve the problem of global poverty, and private philanthropy is key. “The rich, then, should give,” Singer writes. “But how much should they give?” Using as a guide the Millennium Development Goals – costed at $121 billion in 2006, rising to $189 billion by 2015 – and taking into account existing promises of development aid, he calculated the additional amount needed each year to meet the goals.
After analyzing the incomes of the wealthiest 10 per cent of Americans, he proposed a sliding scale, where the super-rich, with earnings greater than $1.1 million per year, would give a higher percentage (25-33 per cent) of their income than the merely rich or comfortable, who earn between $92,000-$1.1 million and would give between 10-20 per cent of their income.
Singer’s conclusion is compelling: “…the remarkable thing about these calculations is that a scale of donations that is unlikely to impose significant hardship on anyone yields a total of $404 billion – from just 10 per cent of American families.”
The wealthy in other nations should also contribute to alleviating global poverty, Singer says. If the US contributed 50 per cent of total global donations, “the scheme I have suggested worldwide would provide $808 billion annually for development aid. That’s more than six times what the task force chaired by Sachs estimated would be required for 2006 in order to be on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and more than 16 times the shortfall between that sum and existing official development aid commitments”.
“It was not until, in preparing this article, I calculated how much America’s top 10 per cent of income earners actually make, that I fully understood how easy it would be for the world’s rich to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, global poverty,” Singer concludes. “…. Measured against our capacity, the Millennium Development Goals are indecently, shockingly modest. If we fail to achieve them – as on present indications we well might – we have no excuses. The target we should be setting for ourselves is not halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, and without enough to eat, but ensuring that no one, or virtually no one, needs to live in such degrading conditions. That is a worthy goal, and it is well within our reach.” (Source: The New York Times, USA)
Timebomb of wealth inequality
A series of articles by French newspaper Libération reveals a global explosive cocktail comprised of the free market, concentration of wealth in the face of mass poverty and hunger, and uncontrolled financial systems.
A study published by the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) in January 2007 shows that despite steady international economic growth, unemployment has reached an all time high – a record 195.2 million in 2006. “The number of paid jobs has increased by 16 per cent whereas the world productivity rose by 26 per cent,” said ILO director-general Juan Somavia. “And there are real concerns that a sustained economic growth in 2007 would not result in more decent jobs and a subsequent decrease in the number of poor workers.”
More than 300 million young workers – one-quarter of the world’s youth – live below the poverty threshold of $2 dollars a day.
Between 1995 and 2005, this young population grew by 13 per cent, but job availability by only 3.8 per cent. As a result, 44 per cent of the world’s unemployed are youngsters, though they amount to only 25 per cent of the working population.
Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa are worst hit by unemployment; 400 million “good” jobs are needed to “bring the young back into a civil society which would definitely benefit from their participation”, according to the ILO. In sub-Saharan Africa, eight out of 10 people live on less than $2 a day, with 26 million African workers falling into poverty between 2001 and 2006 alone.
Hunger on the rise
“The number of hungry people is increasing at a rate of 4 million per year,” Jacques Diouf, director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told its annual meeting in Rome in October 2006.
Ten years ago, Heads of State and FAO members described the problem of hunger as “unacceptable and intolerable” and agreed to reduce the number of underfed people by half by 2015 – a drop of 31 million per year. “We have not achieved any significant progress. I am sorry to say that the present situation still is ‘intolerable and unacceptable’,”said Diouf, adding that unless “urgent and decisive action” is taken, that goal cannot be reached until 2150.
Although in Asia and the Pacific region the number of underfed has fallen (partly through investment in agriculture in China and Vietnam), in central and southern Africa there are now 179 million hungry people. In some countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, their number has tripled. Malnutrition also plagues the former Eastern bloc countries Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Russia, where 21 million people are underfed.
According to the FAO, food is more abundant now than ten years ago, and could be even more plentiful. “We have the knowledge and resources to stop hunger, but promises do not feed the hungry,” Diouf emphasized, calling for a renewed effort and political will to tackle this most urgent issue. “It can, it must, be done,” he said. (Source: Libération, France)
Lobbying for the world’s poor
Cinema for Peace is an international charity-gala and a platform for peace and tolerance, taking place annually at the Berlinale – the Berlin International Film Festival – to benefit UNICEF. It is an event that draws celebrities with a social conscience.
The 2007 event provided a particularly useful opportunity for activists like Bob Geldof, Richard Gere and others to launch an initiative to raise awareness of global poverty and human rights issues in the run-up to the G8 summit. As Chair of the G8, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to resolve some of the world’s most urgent problems at the G8 summit in Germany in June 2007.
Geldof and Gere appealed to the media and politicians gathered to make good their promises to end poverty and uphold human rights. The stars said that the German government “has a responsibility to take action to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as ending poverty and tackling human rights abuses”.
Geldof appealed on behalf of the poor: “The poor do not have any weapons. They need you – the media – to become their lobbyists – especially at the G8-summit in Germany in June 2007. Germany has not yet fulfilled the promises made at the last summit in 2005.
“I call on Germany and all the people in the world to tell your politicians: ‘We do not want that people die of hunger, poverty and war. If you do not stop it we will not elect you any more.’ Germany made a historic promise to help end poverty in Africa at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005. Chancellor Merkel has reiterated her commitment, but the question is: ‘How are you going to meet your commitment, and when?’
“The G8 leaders set their own goals in 2005. We’re not asking for more money. We’re just asking world leaders to keep their promises.”
Richard Gere added: “Please help the Tibetans – oppressed by the Chinese for centuries – and help everybody suffering in this world of plenty. All of us in the world can and should work together to change politics now and immediately”. (Source: SI reporter; BBC, UK)
G8 Summit information: www.data.org