ROTARIANS from Batemans Bay, Narooma and Moruya held a Peace Forum in Moruya last Wednesday and celebrated Rotary International’s 108th birthday.
“We wanted to link with Rotary's theme this year of ‘Peace through Service’ and for people to think about what peace means to them,” said Rotary Assistant District Governor Vere Gray.
MC Rotarian David Ashford of Batemans Bay said Rotary International president Sakuji Tanaka of Japan is committed to promoting peace.
“Mr Tanaka has organised three Peace Forums around the world in his presidential year, in places significant to peace - Berlin, Germany and Honolulu,” Mr Ashford said.
“Each Forum has focused on a different meaning of peace with an entreaty work towards peace in whatever way they can.”
Speakers at the Moruya Peace Forum, both Eurobodalla Shire residents, were exceptional.
International lawyer Dr Anne Gallagher AO spoke about ‘Peace through Freedom from Exploitation’ drawing particularly on her many years’ experience as an adviser to the United Nations.
“Without these four freedoms, you don’t have peace – and they are the freedoms of speech, worship, want and fear,” she said.
She spoke about the many forms of exploitation and the preying on people’s vulnerability – the exploitation of foreign workers, use of debt exploitation with sex workers, and on using highly exploited labour to produce the cheap goods we buy.
Referring to the words of William Wilberforce, ‘You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again you did not know’.
Former Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn George Browning spoke about ‘No justice, no peace’.
He spoke about internal versus external peace, the legacy of past colonial rule on today’s conflicts, and the challenges of global best interest usually being sacrificed for national self-interest.
“Peace and justice go together,” he said. “We can’t speak of one without the other.”
He spoke of the growing inequity in the world, referring in particular to the Palestinian crisis.
Rotarian David Ashford of Batemans Bay concluded with the words of Mother Theresa, ‘You may think that what you do is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be the poorer without that drop’.