San José de Apartadó will receive the Aachen Peace Prize
By INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL PEACEWORK
On September 1 the Aachen Peace Prize will be awarded. This year it will go to the peace village San José de Apartadó, as a representative of 50 peace villages in Colombia that are non-violently resisting being evicted. In October 2008, in cooperation with the Colombian "University of Resistance", a first meeting and seminar will be held in San José regarding the core areas of knowledge needed for the establishment of the Global Campus. Sabine Lichtenfels, Sami Awad, Dieter Duhm, Jürgen Kleinwächter and Sepp Holzer will be the teachers of the Global Campus.
"We are really looking forward to the first seminar within the framework of the Global Campus", said Renato Arreiza, one of the leaders of San José at the Summer University in Tamera. His report about the history of the peace village was very moving and disturbing. The courageous inhabitants do not allow themselves to stray from their path of non-violence, even though 170 inhabitants have been killed during the course of ten years. In March the peace village celebrated ten years of existence. Eight collaborators from Tamera were there, they installed a solar plant and a health station, and they presented the idea of the Global Campus. Right now we are receiving distressing news from Colombia. The fighting between the guerilla and the para-military groups has flared up again, this time directly at the gates of San Josecito, and yet another two inhabitants of San José have been killed in the middle of the street. The government, which has never supported the peace village, openly suspects the village of supporting the guerilla forces. But by now San José has become so well-known that hardly anyone believes the suspicions of the government. Even the German foreign minister Steinmeier submitted a request to President Alvaro Uribe that the murders of the inhabitants of San José finally be solved. Now, San José de Apartadó was nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize. We must all help and protect the courageous people of San José and we must contribute decisively to transforming the global society of war that brings such violence into a culture of peace.
www.aachener-friedenspreis.de (in german)