2013 Annual Report on Global Trends for Human Rights Defenders Published


2013 Annual Report on Global Trends for Human Rights Defenders Published



On 23 January 2013 Front Line Defenders released its fourth Annual Report on Global Challenges facing Human Rights Defenders around the World in 2012.

The report explores the situation on both the global and regional level including several countries examined in focus namely: Burundi, Vietnam, Guatemala Kazakhstan and Algeria. It highlights the ‘unabated’ targeting of human rights defenders for their work documenting abuses, exposing corruption, or pushing for reform.

“The attacks and killings highlighted in this report are only the tip of the iceberg. In many countries the government has either shut down the local media, subjected human rights organisations to campaigns of intimidation or tried to silence those brave enough to bring the facts to international attention” said Front Line Defenders Executive Director Mary Lawlor.


The report highlights:


-24 killings of HRDs in 2012

-Physical Attacks on HRDs reported in 28 countries across all regions:

-Attacks on LGBTI human rights defenders in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.

-Restrictive legislation passed or under discussion in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation, and Ukraine

-Judicial harassment reported in nearly 40 countries

-Information technology laws used against those expressing dissent or circulating information on human rights abuses, in particular in Asia and the Middle East.

-Reprisals for cooperating with international human rights bodies were reported by HRDs in Bahrain, Belarus, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka



“The facts speak for themselves”, said Ms Lawlor “The sad reality is that while governments proclaim support for human rights and their respect for the work of human rights defenders in international fora, in practice, human rights defenders face a daily struggle for survival”, added Ms Lawlor.

This report shows how the safe space in which human rights defenders work is consistently shrinking, while their personal credibility is attacked through state sponsored defamation campaigns in which they are routinely portrayed as agents of western/foreign interests. The introduction of restrictive legislation which limits both their work and their ability to source international funding is increasingly used to hamper their work.

The Report highlights the alarmingly high number of killings of human rights defenders and the fact that Front Line Defenders alone has documented physical attacks on human rights defenders in 28 countries and 24 killings of human rights defenders. Conditions for human rights defenders in Africa, Asia and the Middle East continue to be worrying while the report finds that that in many countries in Europe and Central Asia the situation has actually deteriorated.

On the regional level many countries in Africa have seen a series of disturbing ongoing trends including physical violence, and impunity for perpetrators. As noted in the report the murder of two LGBTI rights defenders Thapelo Makhutle in South Africa and Maurice Mjomba in Tanzania illustrate these risks.

Such impunity is also commonly seen in the Americas alongside a common trend, the use, region-wide, of fabricated criminal charges such as those that have resulted in an 18-year prison sentence for Colombian human rights defender David Rabelo Crespo.

Asia has seen the continued usage of smear campaigns against human rights defenders branding them as ‘enemies of the state or as working for foreign interests’. One example of such a case can be seen in India with the branding of P.V. Rajagopal, Vice Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, as a ‘Maoist sympathiser’.

The situation in Europe and Central Asia is characterised by the increasing use in many countries of legislation to curb the activities of human rights defenders. This is particularly evident in the Russian Federation with a swathe of legislation being implemented including a law designating NGO’s in receipt of foreign funding as ‘foreign agents’.

Finally in the Middle East and North Africa region the report confirms the fears of ‘limited real change’ despite the events of the Arab Spring that ‘gave hope to thousands of people in virtually every country in the region’. In Bahrain in particular almost all of the most vocal human rights defenders were in detention at year’s end including former Front line Defenders staff member Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

The Report is based on Front Line Defenders’ work in support of human rights defenders at risk. In 2012, Front Line Defenders issued 287 urgent appeals on 460 human rights defenders at risk in 69 countries; it provided 267 security grants and trained 358 human rights defenders. Overall, more than 1150 HRDs benefited from Front Line Defenders’ protection support in 2012.



Russian Federation: Violent attack of peaceful picket in defence of LGBTI rights


Russian Federation: Violent attack of peaceful picket in defence of LGBTI rights 

On 20 January 2013, a peaceful picket of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights defenders was attacked by counter-protesters in the city of Voronezh. The picket was was organised by local human rights defenders Messrs Andrey Nasonov, Evgeny Chunosov and Pavel Lebedyev against the proposed bill in the Russian Parliament which, if passed, would ban the “propaganda of homosexuality”.

On 17 January 2013, Andrey Nosonov and Pavel Lebedev wrote to the Centre for Combating Extremism, the offices of the local administration and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation regarding multiple death threats they had received from individuals through social media sites, who also threatened to disrupt the planned peaceful picket, for which permission had been sought from the city’s administration. Despite the fact that at least 15 authors of the threats were named individuals, police failed to react to the complaint.

As the picket began on 20 January 2013, more than two hundred counter-protesters had gathered at the scene, who had coordinated their attack through social media sites and many of whom were members of radical right wing and religious groups. The individuals proceeded to shout offensive remarks such as “Beat the faggots”, throw bottles at the protesters and imitate Nazi salutes. Despite police presence at the picket, at least 4 LGBTI rights defenders and their supporters were physically beaten by counter-protesters, while many others were verbally attacked. Police present did not intervene to protect the demonstrators.

Later the same day, LGBTI rights defenders and their supporters, returning from the picket, were confronted by approximately 30 people in a local café, and were threatened with physical violence. The conflict was resolved upon police arrival.

On 21 and 22 January 2013, Andrey Nosonov, Pavel Lebedev and Alexey Kozlov submitted written official complaints to the Investigative Committee regarding the above mentioned violent attack by counter-protesters against peaceful demonstrators, and the failure of police and of the city administration to fulfil their obligation to assure the safety of demonstrators. Front Line Defenders condemns this attack against peaceful protesters and expresses serious concern at the failure of police to react appropriately in order to ensure the security of the protesters.


Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years


Mexico’s Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years

May 17, 2012 | 216

Since Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón began an all-out assault on drug cartels in 2006, more than 50,000 people have lost their lives across the country in a nearly-continuous string of shootouts, bombings, and ever-bloodier murders. Just last weekend, 49 decapitated bodies were reportedly discovered on a highway in northern Mexico. The New York Times reports on an increasing numbness and apathy among Mexicans after years of worsening carnage, about which they’ve been able to do virtually nothing. Gathered here is a collection of recent photographs from Mexico’s drug war and the people so horribly affected by it.

Warning: All images in this entry are shown in full. There are many dead bodies; the photographs are graphic and stark. This is the reality of the situation in Mexico right now.

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A masked Mexican soldier patrols the streets of Veracruz, on October 10, 2011. Soldiers of the Army, Navy and members of Federal Police patrol the streets of the city as part of “Veracruz Safe Operation” after a rising tide of violence plaguing this tourist city. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer stands near evidence markers at a crime scene in Ajijic on the outskirts of Guadalajara, on April 9, 2012. Gunmen shot dead three who were sitting in two different cars outside their homes, according to local media. (Reuters/Alejandro Acosta) #

The body of a man lies behind the wheel inside a car in Acapulco, on February 10, 2012. Two men were shot by gunmen, one was killed and the other seriously injured, according to local media. (Reuters/Jacob Garcia) #

Poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia (center) embraces family members and relatives of his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco Sicilia and his friends at their flower wreath, during Juan’s death anniversary in Temixco near Cuernavaca, on March 28, 2012. The bodies of Juan and his friends were discovered on March 28, 2011, in a car in Cuernavaca by the police along with a menacing message from drug cartels. (Reuters/Margarito Perez Retana) #

Morgue workers place a coffin holding an unidentified body into a grave at San Rafael cemetery on the outskirts of the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on December 27, 2011. The bodies of 36 unidentified people, killed in drug-related incidents, were buried after being held in the city morgue for several months without being claimed by relatives. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician points his flashlight at the shoes of a man at a crime scene in Mazatlan, on February 13, 2012. The man was shot dead by gunmen while he was walking on the street, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Baseball players belonging to the Saraperos de Saltillo team take cover during an intense shootout that broke out during a game in the parking lot of the stadium in the city of Saltillo, northern Mexico, on March 13, 2012. According to a state police spokesman, three gunmen were killed and another was injured and captured after the gunmen battled with a special tactics unit of the state police. (AP Photo) #

Thousands of guns are destroyed in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on February 16, 2012. At least 6,000 rifles and pistols seized from drugs cartels were destroyed by members of the Mexican Army. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Jose Lopez Tapia, 8, rests in hospital after he and his mother were attacked on February 6 in Ciudad Juarez, on February 8, 2012. Sonia Tapia and her son were attacked by members of the Municipal Police, she was accused of carrying weapons and arrested for 36 hours. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mexican marines escort Marcos Jesus Hernandez Rodriguez, aka “El Chilango”, alleged leader of assassins and member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, in Veracruz state, during his presentation for the press in Mexico City, on May 11, 2012. Rodriguez was arrested last May 9, during a military operation in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz state, a navy spokesman said. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young man lies dead next to a skateboard and a bicycle after unknown gunmen opened fire in the eastern part of Saltillo, Mexico, on December 7, 2011. According to the state attorney general, three young men were killed in the attack. (AP Photo/Alberto Puente) #

Soldiers put the final touches on a giant “No More Weapons” billboard composed of crushed firearms, placed near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on February 17, 2012. President Felipe Calderon unveiled the billboard Thursday and urged the United States to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz) #

Firefighters remove the body of a man hanging from a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, on March 3, 2012. The body was found hanging from its neck on a bridge late Saturday, local media reported. The body showed signs of torture and the head was covered with duct tape. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez) #

Mexican soldiers burn marijuana plants in a field, in Los Algodones community, Culiacan, Sinaloa State, on on January 30, 2012. Mexican soldiers found the marijuana field and incinerated the drug as part of the Culiacan-Navolato operation. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) #

Pictures of victims of violence are hung on the facades and walls of houses in the neighborhood of Cerro Gordo in Ecatepec, outside Mexico City, on March 7, 2012. The Murrieta Foundation opened an exhibition called “Giving face to the victims in Ecatepec” with 15 giant photographs placed on houses as part a campaign against violence (rape of women, kidnappings, murders and robberies) in Ecatepec. (Reuters/Henry Romero) #

The body of a dead man, a rifle next to him, lies in a field after a shootout with police on the outskirts of Monterrey, on February 28, 2012. According to local media, 11 people were killed in different violent incidents in the city. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

A soldier stands guard inside a clandestine chemical drug processing laboratory discovered in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Jalisco State, on February 9, 2012. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #

An abandoned neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, on March 30, 2012. Violence in Ciudad Juarez has changed the lives of its residents, where many have fled. Among those who remain, anxious mothers look for missing daughters, families cross the border daily to sleep in neighboring Texas, and men live alone among abandoned houses. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Blood flows near the arm of a killed boy, on the pavement in Acapulco, Mexico, on August 15, 2011. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images) #

An unidentified woman weeps for her relatives at the scene where gunmen attacked a tow truck business in the resort city of Acapulco, on July 8, 2011. Two men and a woman died after unknown gunmen opened fire at the tow truck business. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Cuban citizen Joel Rodriguez Barrero, after being detained in Xochitepec in this April 6, 2012 photograph. Rodriguez Barrero ‘El Cubano’, was detained on April 6 by soldiers and policemen during a patrol and found to be in possession of drugs and weapons. Barrero is responsible for the recent murder and dismemberment of four minors and drug trafficking, according to the State Attorney’s Office. (Reuters/State of Morelos Attorney’s General Office) #

Two men with their hands tied behind their back and with their faces covered with duct tape lie by the side of the road as police secure the area in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, on December 6, 2011. A total of 4 men were found killed in separate incidents in the Gulf port city, which has recently suffered growing violence as drug gangs battle for control of the region. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) #

A truck burns on the road in Guadalajara, Mexico, on March 9, 2012. Drug criminals set 25 city buses and other vehicles on fire in 16 different places, spreading fear throughout Mexico’s second-largest city after an army operation, according to officials. (AP Photo / Bruno González) #

Police stand next to the body of a dead colleague in Ixtapaluca, on the outskirts of Mexico City, on January 23, 2012. Municipal police were transferring two detainees when they were ambushed by gunmen, who shot dead all five police officers and one of the detainees, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Children lie on the ground among silhouettes representing people allegedly killed by soldiers during Mexico’s drug war, during a protest organized by the National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, at the Zocalo central square in Mexico City, on March 4, 2012. Mexico’s Defense Secretary Guillermo Galvan recently conceded that the military has committed errors in the fight against organized crime and drug traffickers, such as torture, homicide and drug-trafficking but said those responsible have been punished. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

Students at the University of Ciudad Juarez and participants of the “Illuminate Juarez” event prepare to release lanterns in Samalayuca, Ciudad Juarez, on May 28, 2011. According to the organizers, the event was held to seek the return of peace to the city, which is considered one of the most violent in the world as a result of drug trafficking, and to promote tourism. (Reuters/Gael Gonzalez) #

A forensic technician holds the head of a woman at a crime scene in San Pedro on the outskirts of Monterrey May 15, 2012. The decapitated body of a woman and her head were found early Tuesday on the foot of a hill next to a low-income neighborhood, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Regina Martinez, a journalist and correspondent for the Mexican magazine Proceso, as friends and family members attend her funeral in Xalapa, on April 30, 2012. Martinez, from Veracruz, was found dead in the bathroom of her house on Saturday with signs of violence, according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #

Photojournalists place their cameras on the floor during a demonstration condemning the alleged murder of fellow journalist Regina Martinez in Mexico City, on April 29, 2012. The Mexican government’s human rights commission said Sunday that it will investigate the apparent slaying of Martinez, who often wrote about drug trafficking. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

The body of a man, covered by a cloth in a restaurant after he was shot by unknown assailants in Acapulco, Mexico, on July 30, 2011. Once a glamorous beach mecca for international tourism, Acapulco’s image has steadily deteriorated as a fierce turf war continues between rival drug gangs. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Relatives of Elmer Constantino Castro Andres, a Guatemalan immigrant whose body was found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in northern Mexico, mourn over his coffin at the air force base of Guatemala City, on March 21, 2012. The bodies of 11 Guatemalans, who were among a group of 193 immigrants believed to be killed by members of the Zetas drug gang and whose bodies were found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas in April 2011, were repatriated to Guatemala on Wednesday after DNA tests confirmed their identities. (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez) #

Fliers for missing people hang on the door of the city morgue in Acapulco, Mexico, on March 1, 2012. Drug violence surged in the coastal resort last year, making Acapulco the second most deadly city in Mexico after Juarez. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

A skeletal corpse lies in Betania neighborhood, Acapulco, on March 27, 2012. During a recent wave of violence lived in Acapulco, eight people were killed, three of them found decomposed in the outskirts of the City. (Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images) #

Working on a scarf, a woman embroiders the account of a murder in a park in Mexico City, on November 13, 2011. The “Red Fountains” civil movement proposes the “Embroidery for Peace, a scarf, a victim” action for each of the victims of violence in Mexico. (Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images) #

The body of a young man who was shot several times, reflected in a mirror next to an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside a bus in Acapulco, on August 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez) #

Demonstrators march to protest against violence in Mexico City, on August 14, 2011. The continuing tide of drug-related killings in Mexico has drawn thousands of protesters to march against violence. The sign reads in Spanish: “Stop the war. No to the National Security Law”. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) #

The body of a man killed in a suspected drug-related execution lies along the path where he was shot on March 1, 2012 in Acapulco. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Medical workers stand next to the bodies of 10 men and one woman, discovered in a pile near a well in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, file) #

A woman rests prior to a protest against violence as part of the campaign “March of National Dignity – Mothers searching for their children and justice” at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City, on May 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini) #

Colleagues, relatives and friends of murdered journalists place candles and pictures on an altar erected at the Independence Angel monument in Mexico City, on May 5, 2012, during a vigil to protest against violence towards the press. Days earlier, Mexican security forces found the dismembered bodies of missing news photographers Guillermo Luna Varela and Gabriel Huge and two other people in bags dumped in a canal in the eastern state of Veracruz. The bodies of the photographers, who worked for the Veracruz news photo agency, also showed signs of torture. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/GettyImages) #

A suspected drug-related execution victim lies on Acapulco’s famous Caleta Beach in Acapulco, on March 4, 2012. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Locals look at the screening of names of 10,000 victims of violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on the facade of Annunciation House, a shelter for immigrants and indigent people in the US city of El Paso on April 23, 2012. Annunciation House organized a mournful tribute called Voice of the Voiceless in which more than 10,000 names were screened on the facade of the building. (Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman covers her daughter with a towel as they walk past a crime scene in the municipality of San Nicolas de los Garza, neighboring Monterrey, on September 14, 2011. Six men were gunned down by unknown assailants in separate incidents in this municipality, local media reported. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo) #

A forensic technician sweeps blood off a street at a crime scene in Monterrey, on February 8, 2012. A taxi driver was shot dead by gunmen as another group of hitmen attacked three taxi drivers in a different neighborhood, killing two and injuring one, according to local media. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril) #

Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.


Top 10 Major Environmental Issues.

* Not necessarily in precise order of importance:

No.1 Global Warming & Climate Change.

Global warming threatens to melt polar ice caps, displace people from coastal cities and tropical islands, and may be reaching a critical tipping point that could affect the ultimate survival of the human race.




No.2 Creating Clean Renewable Energy.

The challenge for the human race in the 21st century is to clean up or replace the burning of “dirty” fossil fuels that fired up the Industrial Revolution which began in the late 18th century.

Unless “clean” renewable energy alternatives are found and introduced quickly our planet risks being turned into an inhospitable, possibly uninhabitable environment.



No.3 Preventing Ocean Systems Collapse.

Oceans are an essential part Earth’s life support systems providing a huge sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Over 1 billion people around the globe rely them as a source of food.

Some oceans have been over exploited leading to a complete collapse of fishing industries.

In African Somalia this may have been a factor in the regional stability which has led to a food shortages, a break down in law and order, terrorism, and piracy.

Acid rain from industrial pollution is acidifying the seas and killing coral reefs threatening tourism in some areas. Oil spills, ocean dumping and urban chemical runoff are degrading our oceans.




In 1998 a spike up in ocean temperatures killed 70-90% of the Indian Ocean’s and one quarter of the world’s coral.

In his book “Ocean of Life: How Our Seas are Changing” Callum Roberts writes… The world is living on borrowed time. We can’t cheat nature by taking more than is produced indefinitely… at some point, fish stocks will collapse… and there will be no fish to be had at any price.”

No.4 Electronic & Nuclear Waste.

Electronic or “e-waste” is causing massive pollution and health problems as millions of computers, laptops, mobile phones, and TV sets are discarded each year in developed societies and dumped in Third World countries.

The crude recovery processes in these countries are releasing hazardous mercury, lead, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that are killing the workers exposed to them and polluting the environment.



The disposal of nuclear waste from the world’s 435 nuclear reactors www.euronuclear.org (62 more are currently under construction) will continue to pose a daunting risk well into the future.

Nuclear waste like plutonium-239 remains hazardous for hundreds or thousands of years. Some isotopes remain hazardous for millions of years. The amount of High-Level Waste worldwide is currently increasing at the rate of 12,000 metric tons per year (ref: Wikipedia).

31 countries currently have nuclear reactors. The USA leads with 104, then come France with 58, Japan with 50, Russia with 33, India with 20, South Korea with 23, China/Taiwan with 16/6, and Canada with 18.



No.5 Inland Water Degradation.

In some developing countries water quality is under threat from rapidly increasing population growth.

Untreated sewage, dumped industrial and chemical waste, residues from medicines, as well as chemical runoff of herbicides and fertilizers are ruining inland waterways.


No.6 Resulting Forced Migration.

The United Nations estimated that over 20 million people were displaced in 2008 due to “climate induced sudden-onset natural disasters”… and that there may be up to 200 million forced “environmental migrants” by 2050.

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Oct 8, 2009.
“While diplomats bicker over global warming, the people of Sudan are bracing themselves for more severe droughts. When they come, agriculture collapses, forcing mass migrations, and conflict over dwindling food and water supplies. Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall travelled to a village in Northern Darfur to take a closer look at the problem”.



Uploaded by AlJazeera

English on Jul 12, 2011.
“Somali refugees have become the victims of the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in nearly sixty years. Faced with starvation and caught in conflict, thousands of Somalis are fleeing their country and heading for Kenya. They have traveled through harsh conditions with little food or water, and no humanitarian assistance. Many head across the border to northern Kenya into Dadaab refugee camp expecting help. But drought has hit almost every country in the Horn of Africa. Somalis have been fleeing from war for years now, but this is a different kind of exodus. The refugees are forced to leave their land because they risk dying of starvation at home. Nazanine Moshiri reports from Dobley, Somalia”.


No.7 The New Land Rush.

The United Nations estimates the world population will reach 9 billion by 2050.

With an estimated 861 million “food-insecure” people in 2011 (ref: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) a new land rush is occurring as nations scramble to secure food supplies and land to grow bio-energy crops for cheaper fuel.

“Slash and burn” practices are devastating forests in some areas at frightening speeds leading to a loss of biodiversity, land degradation and loss of ecosystems.

All that on top of the up to 5 million hectares of productive land lost annually through land degradation and soil erosion (ref: UNEP 2011).



No.8 Risks from New Technologies.

Uploaded by UFOTV

studios on Oct 26, 2010.

“In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops.

However, fears that Genetically Modified Food may not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked violent protest. Are we participating in a dangerous global nutritional experiment?

This informative film helps the viewer decide if the production of genetically modified food is a panacea for world hunger or a global poison”.


Published on Jul 23, 2012 by TheBigPictureRT…
“Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director-Institute for Responsible Technology, leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), author of the books “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating” and “Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods”.

No.9 Conservation of Bio-Diversity.

“Biodiversity also plays an important role in a whole range of other ecosystem services, such as the production of food, the control of disease, flood regulation, coastal protection, crop pollination, and recreational benefits”…. United Nations Environment Progamme 2011.

Currently protected areas (with varying degrees of protection) only cover around 14% of Earth’s land area, and only about 6% of the seas and oceans.



No.10 Connecting Science & Policy.

Policy makers need to have a high level of confidence in the science presented to them before acting on decisions that may be costly and unpopular with some sections of the community.

Politicians, government officials, and many of the general public are more likely to act out of self interest rather than worry about major environmental issues affecting their planet. Much easier to let future generations worry about the problem… something they most certainly won’t thank us for.

Politicians are more focused on getting re-elected at the end of their term rather than difficult long term ecological or environmental issues.

And unfortunately, too many people aren’t ready to face such unpalatable issues unless they themselves are affected. Too many prefer to go about their daily business with the attitude that the plain speaking Australians describe as… “bugger you Jack, I’m alright!”




jiddu krishnamurti and his insights into education


jiddu krishnamurti and his insights into education

Scott H. Forbes explores Jiddu Krishnamurti’s (1895-1986) emphasis on education as a religious activity. (From a presentation at the first Holistic Education Conference, Toronto, Canada, 1997)

The picture of Jiddu Krishnamurti (believed to have been taken during the 1920s) is reproduced here in the belief that it is in the public domain. Sourced from Wikipedia Commons, it is a press photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. According to the library, there are no known restrictions on the use of these photos.For most of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s life what he said and wrote sparked both interest and controversy. His observations on religion, nationalism, tradition, organizations, and relationships often ran counter to the convention of the day. If they are less startling today, it is either due to the effect his insights have had on common consciousness or an indication of the extent to which he was ahead of his time. But Krishnamurti’s insights on education are still radical and frequently misunderstood or dismissed as impractical. This is probably due largely to the fact that Krishnamurti presents education as a religious activity in an age when most people still see it as preparation for succeeding in a secular world.

Throughout the ages sages have warned us that we can’t see what is true even when it is presented to us because that which is true isn’t what we expect or want to hear. The traditional western symbol for this is choosing Barabbas; choosing what is familiar or most like us over what is true or sacred. This is as true in educational matters as it is in religious ones. Modern education is so obviously failing to solve the world’s problems, is so rightly criticised for not meeting societies’ aspirations, and is so clearly unable to prepare people for the fundamental challenges of living. To solve these problems, we seem to need educational insights that marry the most profound learning possible with the everyday; the subtle with the mundane; or to put it another way, the sacred with the secular. I feel Jiddu Krishnamurti’s insights into education are such a marriage. I feel they are radical, that they meet the challenges of living at a profound level, and they do so at a time when such insights are desperately needed. Of all the many subjects that Krishnamurti addressed in his more than seventy years of writing books and speaking in public, I believe it is Krishnamurti’s insights into education that most people will eventually feel has had the greatest effect on the world.

Jiddu Krishnamurti’s interest in education was long standing and always passionate. In what is perhaps his first book, “Education As Service” (1912), we see his concern for education and the introduction of a few themes that remain in his work. We hear the voice of the seventeen year old Krishnamurti writing from his heartfelt experiences when he says in the foreword,

Many of the suggestions made in this little book come from my own memories of early school life;…. I have myself experienced both the right way of teaching and the wrong way, and therefore I want to help others towards the right way. (Krishnamurti 1912) 

And for the rest of his life he did try to help others towards a better form of education.

To address my present theme, which is that for Jiddu Krishnamurti education is a religious activity, I will need to say something about topics I would much prefer avoiding. Partly I would prefer avoiding them because in the space of this lecture I can say only too little to do them justice. I would also prefer avoiding them because any coverage of these topics, no matter what space was available, would probably be contentious because:

Krishnamurti’s work is large, subtle, and complex; 

Krishnamurti did not explicitly define positions; instead, his understanding is interwoven through out his work. This is further complicated by the evolution in his manner of expression that occurred over his lifetime, so that two comments taken out of context and separated by decades seem to contradict each other (though, taken in context, they are not contradictory); and

He did not present his insights in traditional intellectual forms, which would have made summarisation easier. Consequently, we are left with a kind of translation – translating Krishnamurti’s work, which is partly apophatic, into an expository presentation. And, as with all processes of translation, something is lost, and those who know the original see the loss, and rightly complain.

The topics which I feel I can not avoid are: 1.) Jiddu Krishnamurti’s approach to what is religious or religiousness or religiosity, 2.) his approach to the nature of human beings, and 3.) his approach to the nature of education. Unfortunately, it would not be possible to address the topic of this paper, without making at least some attempt at explicating these aspects of Krishnamurti’s work, so I’m afraid this is very much a case of ‘a fool rushing in where wise men fear to tread’. 

Krishnamurti’s approach to the nature of the religious, religiosity, religiousness

It would be far easier to say what, for Jiddu Krishnamurti, the religious or religiousness or religiosity isn’t than to say what it is. One very specific thing that is isn’t is any part of any religion. Krishnamurti felt that what is sacred or truly religious could not be conditional, culture-bound or time-bound. Consequently, he felt that what is religious could not be contained by or subject to any dogma, belief, or authority. Krishnamurti’s approach to a religiousness that is free of religion would be an interesting subject for those concerned with the challenges of values, morals, or religious education in today’s pluralist world, but it is not a subject I can address here.

If that which is sacred cannot be related to dogma, ritual, buildings, authorities, or symbols, then what does man have that can make contact with the sacred? Krishnamurti felt that the bridge from the secular to the sacred is a particular consciousness. It is a consciousness that sees things as they are; one that is free of the distortions of conditioning and free of the limitations of thought (while still employing thought). It is a consciousness that has transcended the imperatives of the self or ego and so knows compassion or selfless love. It is a consciousness that knows silence and sees beauty and lives joy.

Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that the sacred is the foundation of all things, lies at the origin of all things, and so is that which is irreducible or can’t be broken into more fundamental elements. He felt that all things are part of a unity or integrated whole, and that that integrated whole is sacred. The word ‘integrated’ is used here as an adjective not a verb – it is not that things can be integrated or brought together, but rather that all things always are constituent or component parts that make up the whole in such a way that it is the whole is the sine quo non of the parts. The closest material analogy is perhaps a hologram – if a hologram is smashed, each fragment contains the whole hologram. Consequently, there can be no development of a part which does not affect the whole, and there can be benefit to a part this is detrimental to the whole.

As the integrated whole (or that which is religious or sacred) is always involved, it makes no sense to think of sequentially developing particulars first and the whole later (i.e. intellectual development first and a sense of the sacred later, etc.). The particulars are constituents of the whole and they must be dealt with together. 

Krishnamurti’s approach to the nature of human beings

Krishnamurti’s work on the nature of human beings is vast since he arguably spent more than seventy years writing and speaking about the human condition. I must again contain my comments to just those few which seem necessary for the theme of this paper.

Jiddu Krishnamurti saw human beings as having different facets (like intellects, emotions, appetites, bodies, etc.) but the whole of which the facets are aspects is more important. Humans have minds as well as brains (more will be said on this later), and it is the consciousness that minds are capable of that can perceive what is religious – the integrated whole (though this should not be confused with some notion of omniscience or seeing everything), and it is to the full flowering of the mind that Krishnamurti felt education should direct itself. The human brain, for reasons too complex to go into here, normally works by fragmenting the whole, and one very important task that the brain needs to learn is to stop this fragmenting process when it is not necessary. Consequently, as possessors of both brains and minds, humans have the capacity of participating in the universe at many different levels, from the particular to the general. Like a Buddhist, one might consider the most real to be that which is most general or generative. Or, like a hard scientist, one might consider most real that which is most particular. For Krishnamurti, human beings have the capacity to venture to both limits and to unite them.

Krishnamurti’s approach to the nature of education

As much will be said throughout this paper on Krishnamurti’s perspective on education, I can confine my summary comments here to saying simply that education was seen as towards the fullest development of the full human being. From the full body of his work, we can conclude that, for Krishnamurti, education is 1.) educating the whole person (all parts of the person), 2.) educating the person as a whole (not as an assemblage of parts), and 3.) educating the person within a whole (as part of society, humanity, nature, etc.) from which it is not meaningful to extract that person. From the above it probably goes without saying, though it can not be said often enough, education is not about preparation for only a part of life (like work) but is about preparation for the whole of life and the deepest aspects of living.

Now that some attempt has been made at summarising Jiddu Krishnamurti’s approach to the nature of religiousness/religiosity, the nature of human beings, and the nature of education, I will try to support the main theme of this paper by presenting what Krishnamurti said about 1.) the intentions of education, 2.) the physical nature of the places in which education occurs, and 3.) the participants in education – the students and staff. I use the expression ‘educational centres’ instead of ‘schools’ as this is often the expression that Krishnamurti used, and because the educational centres that he founded were also meant to be places for adults to learn. In English, or rather in the English of England, schools are specifically places for younger students. To support my theme I will show how Krishnamurti described the three elements mentioned above (the intentions, the places, and the participants) in religious terms, which has the added benefit of seeing the relationship they have with one another. I believe these three elements are the focus of much, if not most, of Krishnamurti’s work on education. 

1. The intentions of education

Krishnamurti repeatedly stated the intentions of the education centres he founded in very unequivocal terms, and in very religious ones.

… children… must be educated rightly… educated so that they become religious human beings. (Krishnamurti 1979)

Surely they must be centres of learning a way of life which is not based on pleasure, on self-centered activities, but on the understanding of correct action, the depth and beauty of relationship, and the sacredness of a religious life. (Krishnamurti 1981b) (Letter dated 15th October 1980)

These places exist for the enlightenment of man (Krishnamurti 1981b) (letter of 15th October 1979)

Part of what is religious (as stated previously) is having a consciousness that sees reality, that sees ‘what is’. The difference between understanding what one is and striving to become something that one isn’t is mirrored in the difference between wanting to discover ‘what is’ and striving to change ‘what is’. Jiddu Krishnamurti didn’t deny growth or change, in fact he applauded it. But meaningful growth and real material change without the all too frequent unfortunate side effects cannot be produced by just ensuring young people acquire knowledge and skills, and teaching them to conform to the strictures and demands of society in order to get on in life. In emphasising the latter, parents may comfort themselves that they are helping their children have material security, and schools may congratulate themselves on their examination results, but in Krishnamurti’s view they are only adding to the sorrows and violence of the world. He decries the fact that most education is to…

 …acquire a job or use that knowledge for self-satisfaction, for self-aggrandisement, to get on in the world. 

Merely to cultivate technical capacity without understanding what is true freedom leads to destruction, to greater wars; and that is actually what is happening in the world. (Krishnamurti 1953a)

Merely to stuff the child with a lot of information, making him pass examinations, is the most unintelligent form of education. (Krishnamurti 1948)

Krishnamurti often stated that the purpose of education is to bring about freedom, love, “the flowering of goodness” and the complete transformation of society.  He specifically contrasts this to what he feels are the intentions of most schools which emphasise preparing young people to succeed materially in the society that exists (or a slightly altered one). Even though it is fashionable for schools to declare loftier goals, it is instructive to examine how much undivided attention is dedicated during the day to such lofty goals and how much time is given to preparation for earning a living. It is also instructive to examine what are felt to be the imperatives that shape the educational experience – things like the use of space, who and what determines pedagogic activities, the use of time, and what is assessed, by whom and for what.

As previously mentioned, a constant theme in Jiddu Krishnamurti’s declarations of the intentions of education is freedom, but freedom for Krishnamurti is more inner in character than political. Of course, there is a connection between  psychological freedom and outward compulsion – it is difficult to help a student find the former in a climate dominated by the latter – but it is not political freedom that interests Krishnamurti. Rather he is interested in the deeper freedom of the psyche and the spirit, the inner liberation that he felt was both the means and the ends of education.

Freedom is at the beginning, it is not something to be gained at the end. (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 6) 

There is no freedom at the end of compulsion; the outcome of compulsion is compulsion. (Krishnamurti 1953b)

If you dominate a child, compel him to fit into a pattern, however idealistic, will he be free at the end of it? If we want to bring about a true revolution in education, there must obviously be freedom at the very beginning, which means that both the parent and the teacher must be concerned with freedom and not with how to help the child to become this or that. (Krishnamurti 1953b)

For Jiddu Krishnamurti, the intentions of education must be the inner transformation and liberation of the human being and, from that, society would be transformed. Education is intended to assist people to become truly religious. These intentions must not be just pleasant sounding ideals to which one pays lip service, and they are not to be arrived at by their opposites. And the religious intentions are not for some eventual goal, but for life in educational centres from moment to moment.  

2. The physical nature of the places of education

Krishnamurti felt that the physical nature of educational centres was very important. He maintained that we are affected or informed by and therefore educated by far more than we suspect, and this is especially true of young impressionable minds. I will focus on what I believe to be the three elements that Krishnamurti spoke of most concerning the physicality of educational centres – 1.) the aesthetics, which includes order, 2.) special areas that Jiddu Krishnamurti felt should exist in the centres he founded, and by extension we can assume he would feel should exist in all schools, and 3.) the atmosphere he felt should prevail and which he usually spoke of as part of the physical nature of the centres, though one can argue that they are material only in a very special sense. Again, in keeping with the theme of my paper, I will show that Krishnamurti spoke of these four elements in religious terms.

a) Aesthetics. The schools Krishnamurti founded are very beautiful places, and this is not by accident. Beauty is important, not just because it is pleasing, but because sensitivity to beauty is related to being religious and indispensable to the healthy growth of a child.

To be religious is to be sensitive to reality. Your total being – body, mind, and heart – is sensitive to beauty and ugliness, to the donkey tied to a post, to the poverty and filth in this town, to laughter and tears, to everything about you. From this sensitivity for the whole of existence springs goodness, love; …(Krishnamurti 1964) (chapter 23)

He himself  was extremely attentive to details and critical of things that were badly done. He was very understanding if things could not be better because of real constraints, and he never pushed the administrators of his schools to produce anything that was beyond their means. However, if things were not good through slipshod handling, neglect or lack of sensitivity, then he felt it ran counter to an essential element in education as it ran counter to the religious life that the staff are meant to be living. To expect sensitivity to develop in a child when the staff are insensitive, is to teach a very strong lesson in hypocrisy. Like several holistic educators before him (i.e. Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Fröbel) Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that some very important things could not be taught by proscription, these things need to be lived in the presence of the learner for them to be learned. And, like Keats, whose poetry he greatly admired, Krishnamurti felt that beauty was related to truth.

Perhaps we should include in this discussion on aesthetics what Krishnamurti felt about nature and education. This makes sense in that for Krishnamurti, nature was both beautiful and a demonstration of order. The educational centres Krishnamurti founded are invariably in parks or countryside. This was not just because he felt that nature was pleasing, but because he felt that a relationship with nature had important implications for living sanely and to a relationship with the sacred. He would not, however, condemn as hopeless, inner-city schools that don’t have such luxuries, because nature was wholly available in the smallest part; a blade of grass, a house plant, or a gold fish.

That healing [of the mind] gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds. 

This is not sentiment or romantic imagination but a reality of a relationship with everything that lives and moves on the earth. (Krishnamurti 1987) (entry dated 25th February 1983)

If you establish a relationship with it [nature] then you have relationship with mankind… But if you have no relationship with the living things on this earth you may lose whatever relationship you have with humanity, with human beings. (Krishnamurti 1987)

b) Special areas that should exist in educational centres. Another physical aspect of the educational centres Jiddu Krishnamurti created, and another indication of the religiousness of education, was his insistence that the schools have special places for silence. He often spoke to the students of the importance of a quiet mind or silence so that they could observe their thoughts.

You see meditation means to have a very quiet, still mind, not a chattering mind; to have a really quiet body, quiet mind so that your mind becomes religious. (Krishnamurti 1981a) 

The mind of a religious man is very quiet, sane, rational, logical – and one needs such a mind… (Krishnamurti 1962)

Jiddu Krishnamurti usually asked that these special places not be on the periphery of the schools, but in the centre of the them. Like a sanctum sanctorum, they were to be the heart, the space that generated the rest of the school. Contrary to most conceptions of schools, Krishnamurti felt that action was to be on the periphery and the insight born of silence was to be at the centre.

c) Atmospheres. While atmospheres are generated by aesthetics, the setting, and the effect of special areas in educational centres, there are also atmospheres that are generated by the participants. At least part of the atmospheres generated by people can be deliberately generated. This atmosphere is another link in understanding the religiousness of education. At Brockwood (the school that Krishnamurti founded in England) Krishnamurti frequently talked about the importance of generating an atmosphere that would itself have an effect on students the moment they arrived. Long discussions were held with the staff at Brockwood about the nature of such an atmosphere and how it might come about. Jiddu Krishnamurti had no doubt that it was possible and necessary. It had more the ring of something religious than anything commonly associated with a school. It was something sacred that worked its own magic on people in a profound and transforming way. Without that real religious atmosphere, he felt that a school was empty, or worse, it was a parody of itself, a kind of Disneyesque impression of something real but with no real substance.

Such an atmosphere, though distinct from the people in the schools, could not be separated from the people. A place may carry an atmosphere, but it is the people who create it or destroy it. To illustrate this he would cite places that at one time were known to have had very special and powerful atmospheres but which were destroyed through neglect, incompetence or corrupt behaviour. Examples of this are some of the great cathedrals or temples that have become tourist industries or money making enterprises, and so have lost any sense of religiousness. They became lifeless and without meaning even though they maintained all the physical appearance of their former selves.

There was a very memorable discussion with Jiddu Krishnamurti at the end of his life when several representatives of different schools he founded in India, America, and England went for a walk with him. He asked us all what would be left in his schools to indicate that they were Krishnamurti schools if the name Krishnamurti was removed and if all his books, audio tapes and video tapes were gone; and if something was still there, what would sustain it. It was a question about the all important ineffable qualities, the atmospheres of the educational centres, and it was a question about what we were generating; and it was a question answered by a very uncomfortable and telling silence.

3. The participants in education

There are, generally speaking, two kinds of participants in educational centres: staff and students. Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that any adult that was regularly in one of the centres was a staff member (regardless of function) and because of their regular contact with at least the educational environment if not the students, then they were in the position of educators. Everyone, staff and students, had something religious about their natures just by virtue of being human, but they had something more than that by virtue of their being in education. Krishnamurti didn’t speak of them as religious figures (such as priests or accolades) but one thing that distinguishes participants in education from participants in some other social organizations (i.e. police officers, nurses, bankers, etc.) is that people in education must have religiousness central to their overall intention and central to the nature of the life they lived on a daily basis. As this is equally necessary to both staff and students, there can be no real hierarchy between them. There are, of course, differences between staff and students in their responsibilities and experience; but in all that is most important in education the staff and students are really in the same boat. Staff members may know more about academic subjects, or gardening, or administration and therefore have a certain authority in those areas, but these are not the central concerns of education. In the central concerns of education, which is to do with inner liberation, both the students and the teachers are learners and therefore equal, and this is untouched by functional authority.

Therefore I say, authority has its place as knowledge, but there is no spiritual authority under any circumstances… That is, authority destroys freedom, but the authority of a doctor, mathematics teacher and how he teaches, that doesn’t destroy freedom. (Krishnamurti 1975) 

In thus helping the student towards freedom, the educator is changing his own values also; he too is beginning to be rid of the “me” and the “mine”, he too is flowering in love and goodness. This process of mutual education creates an altogether different relationship between the teacher and the student. (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 6)

Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that the over-riding quality of an educator should be religiosity.

Because he is devoted solely to the freedom and integration of the individual, the right kind of educator is deeply and truly religious. He does not belong to any sect, to any organised religion; is free of beliefs and rituals… (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 6)

Because the educator is religious; he is concerned first with ‘being’, and then right ‘doing’ will follow from it. Krishnamurti describes this relationship between ‘being’ and ‘doing’ frequently, but perhaps nowhere more succinctly than in one of his talks in Bombay,

… it is not ‘doing is being’ but ‘being is doing’ (Krishnamurti 1956).

For Jiddu Krishnamurti, ‘doing’ derived from ‘being’ rather than ‘being’ deriving from ‘doing’ – the reverse of convention. Much more needs to be said than this paper permits about the consequences of reversing the roles of ‘being’ and ‘doing’, or even worse, of confusing them. Note the modern convention of a question like, “Who are you?” (a question about being) which is answered by, “I’m a lawyer, engineer, etc.” (a statement about doing). Suffice it to say that this reversal or confusion usually leads to a highly developed ‘doing’ (which is easier to accomplish) with impoverished ‘being,’ and Krishnamurti felt that dysfunction was the usual consequence of such imbalance.

When discussing the selection process for students and staff at his English educational centre, Krishnamurti always stressed the importance of the candidate’s ‘being’ – their deepest sensitivities, their goodness and intelligence (in his definitions of those words which had nothing to do with conventional morality or IQ), the depth of their questions about themselves and the world. Although he wanted both staff and students to be intellectually sound, he never stressed academic prowess, cultural abilities, or capacities as being more important than the willingness and ability to lead what he called a religious life’. In one memorable discussion, Jiddu Krishnamurti questioned the staff about all the qualities they looked for in prospective students (as it was all the staff together who chose new students and staff members). Krishnamurti then described himself as a boy. He said he had been vague, shy, dreamy and bad at all academics, but sensitive, full of wonder, trusting, and affectionate; and Krishnamurti asked if, according to the criteria the staff had just enunciated, they would have accepted him as a child. Again, a painful silence.

Our description of the students we were seeking for a Krishnamurti school seemed not to include the young Krishnamurti. How was this possible? It was because we as staff members were thinking too conventionally and traditionally, we were more interested in ‘doing’ than ‘being’, more interested in the measurable than the immeasurable; we were choosing what was most like us, we were again choosing Barabbas.

The consequences of Krishnamurti’s view of humanity for education

Earlier on in this paper, I tried to give a summary of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s view of the nature of a human being. It now remains to say just a few things about the relation of this view to what he felt were the consequences for education. I will concentrate on only two elements as they most directly support my contention that for Krishnamurti education was a religious activity. These two elements are: 1.) the distinction between mind and brain, and 2.) people need to be revealed to themselves not shaped by others.

Krishnamurti’s view that a human has both a brain and a mind puts him at odds with most modern perspectives and most learning theory. Although this article is too short to do justice to this topic, we can simplify the difference as follows: the brain is the material centre of the nervous system and the organ of cognition. It is therefore responsible for co-ordination of the senses, memory, rationality, intellectual knowledge, etc. The mind, which is not material, is related to insight (non-visual perception), compassion, and the profound intelligence that Jiddu Krishnamurti held as the real goal of life and therefore of education. Obviously one needs a brain that functions well (like one needs a heart or a liver that functions well) but the real source of acting rightly, of goodness, and of a religious life is the mind. In this unequal relationship between the two, a good brain can not ameliorate a mind, but a good mind does ameliorate the brain. The brain has an important role to play with the mind, and that role is freeing itself from its conditioning and from activities that inhibit the mind’s healthy functioning (i.e. hate, fear, pride, etc.); and helping the brain do this is one of the main functions of education (not accumulating knowledge).

The real issue is the quality of our mind: not its knowledge but the depth of the mind that meets knowledge. Mind is infinite, is the nature of the universe which has its own order, has its own immense energy. It is everlastingly free. The brain, as it is now, is the slave of knowledge and so is limited, finite, fragmentary. When the brain frees itself from its conditioning, then the brain is infinite, then only there is no division between the mind and the brain. Education then is freedom from conditioning, from its vast accumulated knowledge as tradition. This does not deny the academic disciplines which have their own proper place in life. (Krishnamurti 1985) (Letter dated 1st October 1982)

Contrary to the perspective that has shaped much in conventional education, Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that each person needs to explore themselves and reveal themselves to themselves rather than be shaped into something by others. This is not a new perspective, and again has links to the educational theories of Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Fröbel, and Montessori.

The function of education, then, is to help you from childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be yourself all the time. So freedom lies…in understanding what you are from moment to moment. You see, you are not [normally] educated for this; your education encourages you to become something or other… (Krishnamurti 1964) (Chapter 3) 

To understand life is to understand ourselves, and that is both the beginning and the end of education. (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 1)

Krishnamurti felt that not only was a person’s nature and deepest aspects to be uncovered, but each person also has a unique vocation that needs to be discovered; what he/she really loves to do has to be found and pursued, and to do anything else is a deprivation of the worst kind, especially if such deprivation is in order to pursue success or other such cultural aspirations. The discovery of the natural vocation for an individual student and the student’s understanding what he really loves to do may not fit into the plans of the parents or society, but it is an important part of understanding oneself and, consequently, of education.

Modern education is making us into thoughtless entities; it does very little towards helping us to find our individual vocation. (Krishnamurti 1964) (Chapter 3) 

To find out what you really love to do is one of the most difficult things. That is part of education. (Krishnamurti 1974) (Part 1, Chapter 8)

Right education is to help you to find out for yourself what you really, with all your heart, love to do. It does not matter what it is, whether it is to cook, or to be a gardener, but is something in which you have put your mind, your heart. (Krishnamurti 1974) (Part 1, Chapter 8)

I realize I have not said anything about how Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that any of the above could be put into practice. The theme of this paper is too small to attempt that, and yet still I feel I have bitten off more than I can chew – or perhaps it is just more than I could present in a digestible form. I have wanted to show that for Krishnamurti education was first and foremost a religious activity. In 1929 he stated what he felt was the central intention in his life,

I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing; to set man free. (Krishnamurti 1929)

For this Krishnamurti started schools, and for this reason only. We read the words of the young seventeen year old Krishnamurti who wrote,

If the unity of life and the oneness of its purpose could be clearly taught to the young in schools, how much brighter would be our hopes for the future! (Krishnamurti 1912) (Foreword)

Forty one years later he wrote,

If one becomes aware that there can be peace and harmony for man only through right education, then one will naturally give one’s whole life and interest to it. (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 6)

And that is exactly what he did.


Emerson, Ralph Waldo. (1965). Education 1864. In Selected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: New American Library.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1912) Education As Service. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing Society.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1929) The Dissolution of the Order of the Star, 3rd August, at Ommen, Holland.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1948) 5th Public Talk, 26th September, at Poona.

Krishnamurti,, Jiddu (1953a) 3rd Public Talk, 31st January, at Poona.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1953b) 6th Public Talk, 5th July, at Ojai, CA.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1953c) Education And The Significance Of Life, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1956) 5th Public Talk, 18th March, at Bombay.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1962) 2nd Public Talk, 7th June, at London.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1964)  This Matter of Culture, London: Victor Gollancz.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1974) On Education, Pondicherry, India: All India Press.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1975) Dialogue on Education, at Ojai.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1979) 2nd Public Talk, 26 August, at Brockwood Park.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1981a) 2nd talk to students, 19th November, at Rajghat.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1981b)  Letters To The Schools: Volume One. Den Haag, Holland: Mirananda.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1985) Letters To The Schools: Volume Two. Den Haag, Holland: Mirananda.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1987) Krishnamurti To Himself, London: Victor Gollancz.

Montessori, M. (1973) The Absorbant Mind, Madras: Kalakshetra Publications.

Sells, M. A. (1994) Mystical Languages of Unsaying, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

For an introduction to his work:

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1970) The Krishnamurti Reader (edited by M. Lutyens), London: Penguin/Arkana. Incorporates two of Krishnamurti’s books: The Urgency of Change and The Only Revolution.

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1978) Beginnings of Learning, London: Penguin/Arkana.

Links to other resources on Krishnamurti and education

For a collection of other resources about Jiddu Krishnamurti and education, please visit the Paths of Learning Resource Center Archives: Krishnamurti Education.

In addition, you may also want to read the article by James Peterson entitled “Krishnamurti’s Methodless Method” in Paths of Learning magazine, Issue #5 (summer 2000).

For an update listing of schools and education centers currently using Jiddu Krishnamurti’s philosophies as their foundation, please visit: http://www.kinfonet.org/Community/

Brief details of life

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 – 1986): born on 11 May, 1895, at Madanapalle, a small village in south India, Jiddu Krishnamurti was brought to England by Annie Besant (President of the Theosophist Society) and educated by her. She proclaimed him the Messiah and set up an organization (The Order of the Star in the East) to promote his teaching. In 1929, after experiencing considerable doubts about the role allotted to him, Jiddu Krishnamurti disbanded the organisation saying:

Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. (from The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust)

From then until his death in February 1986, he travelled round the world speaking as a private person, teaching – giving talks and having discussions.

About the Author: Dr. Scott H. Forbes is the executive director of Holistic Education, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon. He guides the development of the Holistic Education Elementary School, directs the Teacher Development Program and heads the Holistic Education Research Unit. Scott’s intellectual work is being published under the title “Holistic Education: An Analysis of Its Ideas and Nature” (July 2003, Foundation for Educational Renewal). Previous to his doctoral work at The University of Oxford, Scott taught for 20 years (10 as Principal) at the Brockwood Park Krishnamurti Educational Centre in England.

Additional writings by Scott concerning Krishnamurti and education can be found in articles on freedom and values at: http://www.Holistic-Education.net/articles/articles.htm

the main article © Scott Forbes 1997

The picture of Jiddu Krishnamurti (believed to have been taken during the 1920s) is reproduced here in the belief that it is in the public domain. Sourced from Wikipedia Commons, it is a press photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. According to the library, there are no known restrictions on the use of these photos.

First published in this form May 30, 2000.

The burning issue


The burning issue

We’ll never stop eating whales, declares Japanese minister


We’ll never stop eating whales, declares Japanese minister

By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy, staff

Japan’s new fisheries minister has vowed that his country will never stop hunting whales, comparing eating the ocean-going giants to Australians’ consumption of kangaroos.

In an interview with the AFP news agency, Yoshimasa Hayashi said criticism of the practice is “a cultural attack, a kind of prejudice against Japanese culture”.

Japan’s so-called scientific whaling program has been criticised by other nations, including Australia, and the country’s whaling fleet is currently clashing with Sea Shepherd activists in the Southern Ocean.

Japan says it needs to kill whales for research reasons, but Mr Hayashi did not make any mention of the scientific rationale behind the program during the AFP interview.

Instead, he said that eating whale meat was an integral part of Japanese culture, and pleaded for other nations to respect Japanese tradition.

“I don’t think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan,” Mr Hayashi, who was handed oversight of the country’s whaling programs in December, said.

“Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea, so taking some good protein from the ocean is very important. For food security I think it’s very important.

“We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling.

“So why don’t we at least agree to disagree? We have this culture and you don’t have that culture.

“In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos.

“We don’t eat those animals, but we don’t stop them from doing that because we understand that’s their culture.

“Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture, so I just would like to say ‘please understand this is our culture’.”

Japan’s fleet is struggling to catch any whales during this year’s Antarctic hunt because of constant harassment by the Sea Shepherd conservation group.

Opinion polls suggest only 5 per cent of Japanese people regularly eat whale meat, and the ABC understands that there could be up to 6,000 tonnes of whale sitting unused, unsold and unwanted in freezers around Japan.

Military ‘intimidation’

Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd has accused the Japanese government of using a military ship to intimidate their activists who are trying to stop the whale cull in Australian Antarctic waters.

The anti-whaling ship Bob Barker was involved in a dramatic crash with the Japanese whaling ship the Nishhin Maru on Monday night.

Both parties blame the other for the crash.

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says a 12,000-tonne Japanese military ship, the Shirase, is in the area and is providing support for the whalers.

“Japan is saying it’s just down here doing independent research, but that research seems to involve monitoring us and dropping commandos onto the tanker,” he said.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says the ship has conducted genuine research in the past, and he has sought urgent confirmation from the Japanese government on the Shirase’s involvement.



Banned from Boing Boing for Pro-Israel Comments?


Banned from Boing Boing for Pro-Israel Comments?


By Jonathon Narvey
Boing Boing’s editors are totally committed to free speech and fighting online censorship except when it comes to debunking lies about Palestinians or promoting Israel’s right to self-defense, apparently.I’m banned from commenting on the site.

Darn it. I really liked that site — the “blog of interesting things”. It’s my default site for strange, funny, nerdy stuff. It’s too bad the site moderator Antinous appears to have little patience for, you know, other opinions besides those that still believe (against all evidence) that Palestinians live in an open-air prison or that Israelis are acting like Nazis. This is often what happens when science nerds pretend to also be politics nerds.

Banned. Wow. Sorry if I’m dwelling on this. I know it’s a great example of a First World Problem. But I’m a nerd. I feel comfortable in the company of other nerds, even online (OK, especially online). Now I feel like I’ve been rejected from a popular island of nerddom and can’t go back (Oh sure, I can visit — they just don’t want me messing up their nice online beach).

But now Woody Allen’s quote about any club that would have him as a member is coming back to me…

Anyway, it started with this Boing Boing post, Israel live-tweets Gaza offensive.

Some anonymous guy (aren’t they always) named zombiebob posts this comment:

You forgot to mention how the people doing the rocketing were displaced from their homes and moved into a ghetto (much like the ones the Nazi’s set up in WW2) by the people they are doing the rocketing towards.

An astute commenter named rigs responds (in part):

The only slight differences are that in the Nazi ghettos population growth was -20% a year (-40% in the Warsaw ghetto) while in Gaza it’s one of the highest in the world at around 7%, that in the Nazi ghettos tens of thousands of people died of hunger, while Gaza has one of the highest obesity levels in the Arab world, and the really insignificant fact that it took the Nazis less than 4 months from the time an uprising started until they completely liquidated (as in killed everyone in) the ghetto, while the population of Gaza has more than doubled since the first intifada.

Yup. That’s what I keep telling people.

Antinous (the moderator) responds:

Well, if it’s not actually as bad as the holocaust, then taking people’s property and herding them into camps is just hunky dory.

Pro tip: talking about how Gazans are fat and breed too much doesn’t do your argument any favors.

Hmmm. Methinks rigs needs a wingman to handle the flak. I leave my two cents:

1. “if it’s not actually as bad as the holocaust…”

It’s not. If what was happening in Gaza was even remotely “as bad as the holocaust” there would be no Palestinian Arabs left in Gaza. They’d all be dead, plus or minus a few living in basements or sewers. Instead, they’ve got double-digit population growth and economic conditions that are better than in Egypt and Turkey — and are not even remotely as bad as places like Haiti or Afghanistan. http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=105003

Naturally, the main reason Gazans don’t live as well as they’d like is because their territory is run by Hamas. If your neighborhood was run by jihadist terrorists, you’d have lots to complain about, too.

2. “Pro tip: talking about how Gazans are fat and breed too much doesn’t do your argument any favors.” That seems to be a deliberate misreading of what rigs is saying.

It’s common among “human rights activists” to talk about a “humanitarian catastrophe” and “starvation” that simply does not exist. There are problems in Gaza but malnutrition is not one of them. And it’s not like Israeli soldiers are force-feeding Palestinians into an obesity epidemic any more than Taco Bell employees are force-feeding Americans into their own “lifestyle choice. So rigs was simply refuting a pervasive lie.

Later in the comment stream, Linkman notes:

1) There are no settlers in Gaza.  Israel forcibly removed every last settler.  And the blockade (as problematic as it is) only began after Hamas took over Gaza and started the rocket campaign post-withdrawal.  It’s a game of chicken and somebody needs to give, because innocents on both sides are suffering.  But if your next door neighbor has repeatedly tried to kill you in the past and continues to swear he’s going to kill you, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to stop him from getting better weapons?

Heeeyyyy, right. How are Hamas fighting against an occupation if there are no occupiers left in Gaza and haven’t been since 2005? Controling the border (particularly when Egypt does the same thing with Gaza) isn’t occupation; otherwise, America would be occupying Mexico, Mexico would be occupying America and Switzerland would be occuping the great powers of Europe.

But Antinous ain’t having any of that. The Palestinians are downtrodden, damnit.

They take land from Palestinians, bulldoze the buildings and give the land to ultra-orthodox Jewish nutjobs to build settlements. There’s not really any nuance in any of this.

Sooooo… even if none of that is precisely true, if Palestinians want to shoot at Israelis, they’ve got all the justification in the world. Right? That’s what that means, right? Aw hell. I wish he’d just come out and say it. But who knows what he was thinking.

A little while later, I notice a new dumb line being trotted out by SomeGuyNamedMark, about Ahmed Jabari (the Hamas terror mastermind who got blowed up real good by the IDF):

If they knew where exactly this guy was (and obviously they did) and he was such a criminal then why didn’t they make any attempt to arrest him?  Don’t tell me Israel couldn’t have.

I wasn’t going to let that one go. Here’s where I jump in:

Why arrest a terrorist when you can kill him?

I’m not being sarcastic. No point in fighting these wars with one hand tied behind your back.

Jabari had a lot of blood on his hands. He was a killer and a leader of killers.

Re: “Don’t tell me Israel couldn’t have”.

Yes, Israel could have gone in with ground forces to arrest a known terrorist, which would have begun a wider war with more casualties — not an ideal outcome if it can be avoided.

I take it you’re also against US drone attacks on Al Qaeda terrorists?

(“But, but, but, they’re all innocent farmers with no connection to jihad or terrorism and don’t you know that all Pakistanis are armed with grenade launchers and mortars to protect their poor little dirt farm that’s in a cave in the middle of a mountain range?)

Aaaaaand… that’s it. I got banned from commenting. They didn’t tell me why. It just happened.

Not sure if it was necessarily for pointing out that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza (well, not one caused by Israel. Hamas on the other hand…).

Maybe it was because I advocated killing terrorists — something that really ought to be kosher in any forum that decides to discuss, you know, terrorists raining rockets on innocent civilians. Or maybe it was because I prescribed the same treatment for jihadist terrorists in Afghanistan?

Killing terrorists who threaten your citizens; Yeeesss, that highly controversial policy that seems to have been adopted by every government in the world.

Was that why I got banned? Who knows. If you want to chat in the comments in this post, I can say that I wouldn’t ban anyone for taking such a position.

That said, if you want to argue the moral case for shooting missiles at schoolchildren (as long as they’re Israeli), it seems your comments may be welcome over at Boing Boing. Cheers.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist


Muslims Attack Coptic Christians in Egypt After Mass


Muslims Attack Coptic Christians in Egypt After Mass

(AINA) — Yesterday Muslim Salafis assaulted Christians after Sunday mass, angry that Christians from neighboring villages who have no churches attend mass in the village of Tala, el Fashn, in the Beni Suef Governorate. The pastor of St Georges Church Father Cheroubim Chehab could not go out of church for hours after mass.

Eyewitnesses reported that as Christians left the church, they found a huge mob of mostly young Salafi Muslims waiting for them, armed with batons. The assault lead to 5 Copts being hospitalized after suffering broken limbs, and the torching of two cars which transported the congregation from the other villages.

The pastor of the church contacted the police, asking for help, however, they appeared hours later, only after Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization, complained to the ministry of interior against el Fashn police and told them that no forces appeared in the village, and gave the names of six of the perpetrators and asked whether the police in el Fashn are afraid to arrest them. “I want the whole world to know,” he said, “that a priest and his congregation are presently held captives in their church, afraid of the Salafi Muslims surrounding the church.”

Cheroubim said that he looked from the roof of the church and the mob, from Tala and neighboring villages, was huge. “80% had beards.” He said that he stayed inside the church as he “wanted no friction with the Muslims nor with the angry Copts, who wanted me to take other steps.”

Later in the afternoon high officials from the security and police departments in Beni Suef arrived to the village for a reconciliation meeting, and while they were preparing for the meeting, Muslims went into Coptic homes and attacked the inhabitants. Five were hospitalized.

The problem started between the two parties nearly three months ago during Ramadan, when Salafist youths stopped Copts from neighboring villages from attending mass. “We had a meeting with the Muslim elders,” said Rev. Cheroubim, “who told us to wait until after Ramadan when the youth will leave, however, when we wanted a second meeting to solve the matter, we were told to wait until security is better. When security was better Copts from other villages complained that they have been prevented from praying for three months since Ramadan.” He said that only ten men from outside the village came to attend mass, so a large mob of Salafis waited for them after mass. “Muslims from the village held back the village Copts, so that the Salafis were able to beat and terrorize those Copts from outside the village.”

Village Muslims insist that the church is an association and not a church and is for serving the village Christians only, who make up nearly 8% of the inhabitants.

Rev. Cheroubim said that he has been serving in St. George’s church for 5 years and all that time Copts have come from neighboring villages to pray. “It was only during the last 10 days of Ramadan that this started, with complaints about the way the Christian girls are dressed, then it is not a church but an association, then no Copts to come from outside the village, but the main reason is mainly, as one Salafi from the mob was shouting, is that they want to the church closed.”

High officials from Security department arranged for a reconciliation meetings in late afternoon with a group of Muslims and Christians, in which it was agreed that if the is officially licensed then Copts from outside can attend services any time, but if it is an association, then only village Copts will be allowed to attend the services. A penalty clause was included in which any part that attacks the other will pay 500,000 Egyptian pounds. Compensation for damages to the Coptic side will be paid by the government. No one was arrested.

According to Dr. Gabriel, St. George’s Church was licensed five years ago. Rev. Charobim told Copts-United News the Deputy Security Director told the Christian party during the reconciliation meeting “Thank God for the outcome — in other places people get killed.”

The situation is now calm in the village.

By Mary Abdelmassih


No peace for Syria unless opposition talks to Assad-Russia


Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 14:22

No peace for Syria unless opposition talks to Assad-Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday there could be no peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria as long as opponents of President Bashar al-Assad demand his exit from power and refuse to negotiate with his government.


Lavrov’s comments at an annual news conference signalled no shift in the position of Russia, which says Assad’s exit must not be a precondition for a deal to end 22 months of violence in which more than 60,000 people have been killed.


“Everything runs up against the opposition members’ obsession with the idea of the overthrow of the Assad regime. As long as this irreconcilable position remains in force, nothing good will happen, armed action will continue, people will die,” Lavrov said.


Russia has been Assad’s most powerful foreign protector during the violence that started with a crackdown on protests but has escalated into civil war, vetoing three U.N. Security Council resolution aimed to push him out or pressure him to end bloodshed.


Russia flew 77 of its citizens fleeing the Syrian violence to Moscow via Lebanon on Wednesday but Lavrov said the situation in Syria did not require a mass evacuation of Russian citizens.


Speaking of large-scale naval exercises Russia is holding in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Syria, Lavrov said the naval presence was a positive factor.


“Of course we have no interest in the Mediterranean region becoming even more destabilised. And the presence of our fleet there is undoubtedly a stabilising factor,” Lavrov said.


(Reporting by Timothy Heritage Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Steve Gutterman and Janet Lawrence)