July 10th, 2015
Sri Sri, who is currently in Europe, had a telephone conversation with FARC leader Iván Márquez on, July 6th 2015, through his translator. The call served as a strong reiteration to him, to keep his promise of adopting non-violent methods to fight for social justice. Sri Sri reasoned that if this promise was not upheld, it could prove disastrous and people would lose faith in the peace process.
Prior to this, on June 28th 2015 the FARC leaders held a joint press conference with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in which the FARC leaders openly declared that they will adopt the Gandhian principles of non-violence for achieving social justice. This news seemed almost unbelievable and sporadic incidents of violence did continue.
“Spoke to the FARC Chief Ivan on Monday and gave him a strong message to act on his promise of non violence and avoid disaster. I am glad he heard me and announced today a unilateral ceasefire from July 20th. I understand he needs a week to get the message out. Let us have patience. This month is a testing time to build confidence on both sides. If handled well, it will be a permanent solution,” tweeted Sri Sri.
Mr. Christoph Glaser, Spokesperson for The Art of Living stated that, “During his visit Sri Sri Ravi Shankar appealed to the FARC leadership to follow a path of non-violence and to pursue goals of social justice for the good of the Colombian people and the future stability of the country. The success of his trip and the discussions which took place shows that it is far better to use Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his energy to secure something which is deliverable, backed by the international community, because they recognise that he is now pursuing social justice through promoting non-violence”.
Mr Glaser also said: “It is vital for the President of Colombia and the military commanders of Colombia to understand that it would take up to the 20th of July for the ceasefire to take hold. This is because some of the guerrillas are unreachable in the jungle, and it will take a couple of weeks for them to realise that a ceasefire has been declared and that the FARC leadership is now pursuing nonviolent and peaceful means”.
Nirj Deva MEP, Vice Chairman of the European Parliaments Development Committee and Honorary Founding Board Member to the Art of Living Foundation commends Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his efforts in Colombia and stated: “The time for change and adoption of non-violence in Colombia is now. The international community must recognise Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his abilities to bring peace to the most violent regions of the world and we must use him as a tool for the promotion of peace and social justice in the plight to end violence and conflict globally.”
The news was also published on the FARC website.