giovedì 22 settembre 2011

Peace is the way - La pace è la via

Walking with Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong Official Film Trailer from FairSoul-LIVE...ACT..BE on Vimeo.

Peace Is The Way - A Century Of Nonviolent Activism chronicles the intersecting stories of normal people, who became nonviolent beacons of light. These unsung heroes and heroines used love, humour and nonviolent action as their “weapons” and helped build Global Movements for peace and reconciliation, and in the process became Human Rights Heroes & Heroines.

The first film in the series is titled “Walking with Alfred Hassler, Thich Nhat Hanh & Sister Chan Khong” A feature documentary film and animated comic book series about normal people who became Human Rights Heroes & Heroines.

Thich Nhat Hanh and Alfred Hassler first met in July, 1965, when Alfred visited Vietnam. In the 1960s, Alfred was responsible for introducing Thich Nhat Hanh & Sister Chan Khong to the American and European peace movements. In the early 70’s, Al and Thich Nhat Hanh founded together a new movement, called "Dai Dong" (from a Vietnamese proverb about a world in which not only one’s own children are one’s children, but all the world’s children are yours). Dai Dong attempted to bring about a coalition of peace and human rights organizations with scientists concerned about (particularly) environmental problems, and pointed to the inter-connectedness of world issues: economics, environment, poverty, human rights, peace. The Dai Dong conference held in Menton, France in 1970, produced the "Menton Statement" co-signed by more than 5000 scientists, some of whom were to play key roles in political-ecology efforts such as Rene Dumont, Thor Heyerdahl and Margaret Mead.

Thich Nhat Hanh and Alfred Hassler were ahead of their time—it would take another several decades before activists (and the general public) would begin to see the importance of linking these issues.

June 2011 - Thich Nhat Hanh & Sister Chan Khong Tribute Ceremony for Alfred Hassler from FairSoul-LIVE...ACT..BE on Vimeo.

“Alfred Hassler was one of our dearest friends, supporters and brothers and that is one of the many reasons why we call him by his true name "Thich Alfred Hassler".

Alfred stood by us during some of the most difficult times of our lives, during the war in Vietnam. He was a deep listener who "always stuck to the spirit of non-duality and reconciliation." 

We were with Alfred during his last day in the hospital.
When we arrived Alfred was asleep, he was dying of cancer and was heavily sedated. We sang to him, massaged his feet and spoke to him recalling many of our adventures together when suddenly Alfred opened his eyes for a brief moment and said "Wonderful, Wonderful," then fell back to sleep. 

Collectively, the film team "Sangha" of Gregory, Stuart, Katharina, Jennifer, Eric, Uli and Amelie have worked for a number of years to bring this story to the world and it would be "Wonderful, Wonderful," if those of you who know us to support their IndieGOGO fundraising campaign to produce and finish the film which we would like to premiere during Plum Village's 30th Anniversary in June or July of 2012.
Our brother Alfred was one of the most important peacemakers in the last century and his story, which is interconnected with ours, should be told and is truly worthy of your support”

(Thich Nhat Hanh & Sister Chan Khong, July 2011, Plum Village, France)


Alfred Hassler

Alfred Hassler, a lifelong activist, leader of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and innovator within the peace movement, was arrested as a conscientious objector during WWII and continued on to become one of the most outspoken voices against the Vietnam War. Influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh and Vietnamese Buddhist thought, Alfred Hassler co-founded the Dai Dong project, linking war, environmental problems and poverty, in 1970. His work has inspired generations of powerful peacemakers and intellectuals such as Erich Fromm, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chan Khong, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Joan Baez.

In 1956, Alfred Hassler had the idea to create a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott Story. Martin Luther King, Jr., who consulted directly with Alfred on the comic book project wrote, "Again, I would like to say what a fine piece of work this is. You have done a marvelous job of grasping the underlying truth and philosophy of the movement. I am sure that this comic book will be welcomed by the American public. Please feel free to call on me at any time". The comic book was a huge success although it was dangerous to own one in southern USA states. 240,000 original copies were printed although only 20 originals still exist today, with one being in the Smithsonian Museum.
Thich Nhat Hanh

He's been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher and writer, who valiantly opposed his own government during the Vietnam War - a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Beneath Thich Nhat Hanh's serene demeanor lies a courageous warrior. Martin Luther King Jr. called him "an apostle of peace and nonviolence. It's also what led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.

Sister Chan Khong
 (Cao Ngoc Phuong)

Sister Chan Khong (her name means True Emptiness - a celebration of interconnectedness, of interbeing) is well known for protesting repression and violence, often at the risk of her own life. At the age of 21, she joined Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in founding School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS), which organized medical, educational and agricultural facilities and rebuilt war-torn villages in Vietnam that had been destroyed by the fighting. At one time the SYSS had over 10,000 young peace workers volunteering. She currently lives in Plum Village, France.

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