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Sarvodaya People's Peace Operation 2002 (SPPO- 2002) 
   
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"Sarvodaya People’s Peace Operation 2002" (SPPO-2002)
will draw 500,000 participants in Sri Lanka

Moratuwa, Sri Lanka: 

On January 15, 2002, the Sarvodaya Movement announced a massive peace campaign to bring a final end that nation's bloody civil war, now in its nineteenth year. 

Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, founder and president of the organization, described SPPO-2002 as "potentially the largest event of its kind ever held." 


[A scene from the 1999 Peace Meditation in Colombo -- 
Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne talks to the 170,000 assembled meditators.]





This peace event will consist of two distinct parts:

“Expanding the Consciousness of Peace”
In the first part, SPPO-2002 will convene the nation’s largest peace meditation.  500,000 people from all walks of life will spend the day in meditation for peace in the ancient sacred city of Anuradapura.  The purpose of the peace meditation is to change the collective consciousness about war and peace – to make war unthinkable and peace inevitable.  The 500,000 peace meditators are expected to come from 30,000 villages throughout the country and will represent all ethnic and religious groups. 

This peace meditation is the largest and most ambitious of a series of peace gatherings.   The 1999 Sarvodaya Peace Meditation in Colombo drew 170,000 participants, and remains to date the largest event of its kind.  This massive gathering was followed by a series of smaller regional gatherings, where tens of thousands of people gathered to meditate for peace. 

These peace mediations have had a powerful effect on the “psychosphere”, the collective consciousness of the nation.  The consciousness of war and peace has begun to shift.  Hopes for peace are high on the island.  Evidence of this shift in consciousness includes the recent elections in Sri Lanka, followed by cease-fire declarations by both the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE rebels.  These and other peaceful actions have raised hopes for a permanent end to the fighting and a beginning of restoration, reconstruction, healing and awakening. 


[A small portion of the 1999 gathering of 170,000.]

“Village to Village Link-up Programme” [Sister Village Link-up Programme]
Simultaneously, starting on the peace mediation day, 1000 villages in the war-torn North and East will be linked to 1000 villages in the South as sister villages. Villagers in the south will continuously go to the villages in the North and East with necessary skilled and unskilled labour and material to start rehabilitation of houses, wells, tanks, schools, toilets and places of religious worship. 

The two decade long war has devastated the economy of the entire country.  However, its effects are most acutely felt in the active war zones of the North and East.  Sarvodaya’s Sister Village Link-up Programme will encourage local villages to help each other in providing basic services. 

Another goal of the “village to village link-up programme” is to bring together villagers of different ethnic, religious and language groups together.  This will help people to overcome their fear, anger, animosity and prejudice of each other, while providing opportunities for people to express caring, concern and loving-kindness toward each other.  The slogan of the link-up programme is “village to village; heart to heart”.
 

            [Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim priests prepare to offer prayers]


[All religions represented]

The Need for SPPO-2002
Although the peace process is in high gear, a lasting peace is still in question.  Without a continuation of strong popular support, it is possible for the peace process to become sidetracked or derailed by those who are committed to violence.  We must never forget that there are many people, on all sides of the conflict, who gain their power through the continued existence of pain, suffering and violence toward others. 

SPPO-2002 will demonstrate the overwhelming popular support for peace among all people, regardless of ethnic group, religion or language. 
 

For Further Information:
For more information on Sarvodaya, the peace process or SPPO-2002, please contact: 

Peace Secretariat
Sarvodaya Shramadana
phone number: 705-557972
email address: sarpeace@sltnet.lk.

[A small contingent of the 77,000 Shanti Sena "Peace Brigades"]

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