Why are crazy people our only friends in the world?

I got all excited when I saw this image in today’s Jerusalem Post. In fact, I was touched. My eyes really kind of welled up there. “See, it really ain’t so bad,” I said to myself. “We’ll all pull through this.”
Then I Googled the guy in the photo, Ruslan Tokhchukov, and found out, he’s well… kind of crazy.
Now I’m sad again.

2 thoughts on “Why are crazy people our only friends in the world?

  1. Hey, there are crazy people.
    But, speaking of Islam and coexisence, see some of the groups mentioned below. I am partial to Givat Haviva, but all are worth support.
    Fri Jul 21, 2006 at 08:33:09 AM PDT
    I have been absolutely horrifed by how the world is decending into chaos, even as our great leader is giving unwanted massages to the German Chancellor, and how so few people can find the compassion and balance to sympathize with Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese alike. Our world leaders, from Hamas to Kadima to Hezbollah to Bush, are failing. The result is death and chaos. The solution…just may be you and me and a thousand other regular people who care.
    Sometime back I began a project that I called an Integrated, Grassroots Development project for East Africa. People responded well to it and one of the beneficiaries was whose efforts to generate microloans to small businesses originally in East Africa, now globally, were greatly aided by the blogsphere. Inspired by this I tried generating interest in a more global effort, which didn’t get as much attention. I now want to apply my ideas regarding Integrated, Grassroots Development to the horrible situation in the Middle Easte. If not now, then when? If not us, then who? It is up to us.mole333’s diary :: :: My integrated approach to helping East Africa was a new vision for international development that can be applied anywhere the blogsphere wants to focus on. My proposal was this: a coordinated effort by the progressive blogsphere that will focus on several interconnected issues with a view towards REGIONAL and COMMUNITY based development. I originally proposed the target area of Uganda/Kenya/Tanzania (roughly the Rift Valley/Lakes region of East Africa) as a trial run for this idea because of the critical environmental issues, the presence of excellent groups like Kiva, and the fact that these nations are just stable enough have a chance for becoming actually prosperous if the immediate crises can be survived. Interest was at first high, but has petered out since then. Had I more time and more connections, maybe I could rekindle that effort. But an area where there is even more of a critical need is the Levant: Israel, Palestine, the Lebanon and the Jordan Watershed. Without economic and environmental stability, no peace is ever possible. Without a stronger moderating voice from all sides, no peace is ever possible. There are many small groups out there whose goal is to foster better economic and environmental conditions in this area and to foster a better dialogue among moderates.
    Israel, Palestine, Lebanon…all are nations that deserve full recognition and viability. Forget sides. Forget who started what. Forget borders. I am not aiming for a solution. I am aiming for the conditions that will allow a solution to be possible and lasting. I don’t care, for the purposes of this effort, who committed what terrorist act or which government is the worse. I care about people, whatever their religion or culture, and I care that people will continue to die if something isn’t done. Political solutions from the top have failed since 1948, devolving repeatedly into war. Time for bottom up efforts.
    I want to begin by introducing you to a mere handful of groups whose efforts to bring peace, prosperity and dialogue in the Middle East deserve our help at all times, particularly now. Please help me to help these groups.
    When I was in Israel, between the assassination of Rabin but before chaos broke out again, everyone I talked to, Muslim or Jewish, wanted peace. Why? “Because it is good for business.” Therein lies the solution that goes beyond the politics. People want peace when they have a stake in peace. Otherwise the urge to fight takes control. The more people peace benefits on all sides of the conflict, the more reason people will have to work for peace and to oppose war. In addition to the desire, however, people need the mechanism for dialogue, something that is difficult in an atmosphere where extremists dominate the dialogue. The efforts I want to highlight aim to further economic stability and cooperation as well as dialogue among moderates on all sides. Please help, not just with efforts that help one side, but efforts that help ALL sides.
    Since I am known to be pro-Israel, I will start with a group that helps Palestinians. The Shurush Initiative is a nonprofit organization, founded by an American and an Israeli, dedicated to improving the grave economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza through transparent microfinance and proactive employment. Shurush provides financial and technical support to Palestinian microfinance organizations that offer services including microcredit loans and business training. Further, Shurush works to ensure the transparency of its partner microfinance institutions. Battling poverty and corruption at the same time, this organization is recognized internationally as a light in the darkness of the region.
    May 23, 2003, Rachel Pomerance of JTA, global news service of the Jewish people, described Shurush as “hope that business can trump politics [uniting] inter-ethnic trio.” The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs describes it as “Students’ Proposal: Jobs Not Terrorism.” For more on the international honors and recognition they have received, please go here. Please support The Shurush Initiative
    Peaceworks Foods takes this idea one step further: foster economic cooperation among Israelis and Muslims, making peace necessary for good business. PeaceWorks currently does business with Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, South Africans, Turks, Indonesians and Sri Lankans. Their products include delicious Tapanades as well as fruit and nut bars. In addition to directly bringing together businesses from all sides, a percentage of the profits from PeaceWorks Foods is donated to One Voice (see below for this initiative to further dialogue among moderates). I have tried some of their products and find them all very high quality and delicious, though they are “gourmet” hence not cheap. If you own a retail outlet and want to carry Peaceworks foods, you can buy in bulk at a discount. For small consumers like myself, you can purchase smaller quantities here.
    PeaceWorks Foundation’s One Voice initiative is a global platform designed to empower people to achieve consensus for conflict resolution at the grassroots level. It launched in the Middle East, where extremists have seized the agenda and taken the political process–and the minds of the people–hostage.
    The One Voice Movement aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and ensure that the agenda is not hijacked by forces of militant absolutism. OneVoice is a grassroots movement working with ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, deploying cutting edge technology, electronic democracy, a network of member organizations, and a broad cadre of experts, dignitaries, celebrities and spiritual leaders, to enable citizens to craft a public consensus around issues at the heart of the conflict. This Public Negotiations Process also educates people about the issues themselves as well as about non-violent means for conflict resolution. This is the kind of grassroots dialogue that will, given time, out last the rage of the extremists. Please help the One Voice Movement.
    The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development (CJAED) is an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes regional economic development through cooperative projects among people in the Middle East. CJAED also aims to close the gaps between the Jewish and Arab sectors in Israel, thus building the foundation for sustainable economic development and peace. CJAED aims to provide Israeli Arabs with the necessary skills and advantages to capitalize on opportunities for development. In addition, the full integration of the Palestinian citizens of Israel into the national and regional economy is crucial to the health of Israeli society. In addition, economic cooperation – on the basis of mutual benefit and respect – among Israelis and Middle Eastern business people serves vital interests for the future of the region. Therefore, CJAED fosters contact, information and the analysis of competitive advantages among Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptian enterprises and entrepreneurs.
    Givat Haviva won the UNESCO PRIZE for Peace Education 2001 for its Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva. The mission of Givat Haviva today is to cope with the major issues that are on the agenda of Israeli society, and to foster educational initiatives, research and community work in the fields of peace, democracy, coexistence, tolerance and social solidarity. Over 50,000 children, youth and adults from Israel and abroad participate annually in the seminars, workshops, courses, conferences and other projects offered by Givat Haviva in a range of educational, academic and professional fields.
    Recognizing the importance of promoting cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis in protecting their shared environment, The Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF), The Palestinian Council of Health (PCH) and The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and various environmental NGOs developed the concept of a Palestinian-Israeli Environmental Secretariat. PIES is open to all environmental NGOs that support Palestinian-Israeli cooperation. Their goals are:
    ·  To forge a Palestinian-Israeli commitment to environmental protection and to promote joint activism by bringing together different sectors of the civil societies, especially youth, teachers, journalists and adults.
     ·  To promote “people to people” activities, using environmental projects as a means to develop shared discourse, reorientate attitudes, and to teach acceptance of the “other”.
     ·  To promote sustainable development, based on mutual Palestinian-Israeli interests.
     ·  To create a mechanism to develop joint environmental projects aimed at upgrading the environmental infrastructure (e.g. liquid and solid waste collection and treatment, and nature and landscape protection).
     ·  To support Palestinian and Israeli environmental NGOs in initiating and carrying out joint projects by providing technical assistance to member NGOs.
     ·  To train teachers and guides for joint environmental and other “people to people” activities.
     ·  To create a joint environmental database that will serve decision makers, assist in lobbying planners and politicians, and encourage responsible development and joint assessment.
     ·  To provide technical support to Palestinian NGOs. SPNI and Israeli NGOs will make their facilities available in order to strengthen the Palestinian environmental community.
    Please visit their website to find out more and to contact them to offer help. Personally I think they need help with their website which is pretty unprofessional, so maybe someone can at least offer them help with that.
    The Abraham Fund is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting coexistence between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, and by sponsoring coexistence projects, The Abraham Fund fosters increased dialogue, tolerance and understanding between Arabs and Jews. A pioneer in this work, The Abraham Fund serves as a central resource for coexistence professionals worldwide.
    Their goals include:
    · Promoting tolerance, mutual understanding, and trust between groups;
    · Strengthening individual group identity by building respect for the rich diversity of Israel’s ethnically mixed society;
    · Achieving an environment of social and political equality for all citizens of Israel;
    · Implementing advocacy campaigns that raise awareness on issues of tolerance, democracy, and equality within the State of Israel
    · Institutionalizing efforts for the development of coexistence policies and programs for acceptance in all segments of Israeli society.
    These groups are the hope we must look to amid the horror and despair. Rather than being divided over Israel vs. Palestine we should be united over helping the PEOPLE of Israel and Palestine. I hope this diary gives you some tools over which to unite.

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