Posts Tagged ‘stories of courage and hope’


ABC Meets: Editor Peter Braaksma

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Join us at the ABC Treehut in The Hague for the presentation of Nine Lives: Making the Impossible Possible, edited by Peter Braaksma, on Sunday, December 11th.

How do ordinary people keep going against all the odds in their efforts to change the world? How do they retain their faith in the future even in the most desperate conditions?

The world over, millions of ordinary people live their lives in the shadow of oppression, terror, violence and separation. While some may believe they have no choice but to accept their fate, others choose to risk their freedom in order to speak out and tackle head-on the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand in their path. Nine Lives introduces us to nine such incredible individuals.

From a Thai campaigner who has saved thousands of girls from the sex trade to a graphic designer whose fourteen year-old daughter was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, from a human rights activist who spent more than nineteen years in Chinese labour camps to a man who has dedicated his life to laying bare the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, this moving and humbling collection provides a memorable and intimate window into the lives and views of ordinary people that would otherwise go unreported. Each story, told in the first person, is a demonstration of self-effacing honesty, resilience, courage and ingenuity. Each represents a cause that goes beyond their own personal story and the region they represent. Each proves that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.

Born in a different country, any of us could so easily find ourselves the subject of these stories. What would we do if we were in their shoes? Sit back and accept our lot or stand up and fight back? As the experiences in this uplifting and highly readable book demonstrate, there is always hope for the unrecognised, the suppressed, and the underprivileged. It’s just that sometimes, that hope or last straw turns out to be you. Food for thought indeed…

Nine Lives introduces you to:

* Youk Chhang, executive director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, who has dedicated his life to laying bare the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.
* Malalai Joya, expelled from the Afghan Parliament and the target of death threats and assassination attempts, who continues to defend Afghanistan’s human and women’s rights.
* Harry Wu spent nineteen years in the laogai, the Chinese labor camps. He is an activist for human rights and founder of the Laogai Research Foundation.
* Chaeli Mycroft, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy whose campaign for disability rights has lit up South Africa.
* Sompop Jantraka, Thai campaigner who has rescued thousands of girls and women from the sex trade.
* Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Costa Rica, which has no army.
* Monireh Baradaran, who survived years of imprisonment and torture under Iran’s theocratic regime.
* Bassam Aramin, who served a seven-year prison sentence for an attack on Israeli Defence patrols. In 2007 his daughter died when shot by border police.
* Rami Elhanan, who is part of the Israeli-Palestinian Circle of Bereaved Parents. His fourteen year-old daughter was the victim of a suicide bombing in 1997.

Peter Braaksma has worked as an editor, communication adviser and corporate journalist in the Netherlands and the UK. From Asian countries he contributed to various public and corporate magazines and this, in turn, caused him to focus on human rights, the environment and (corporate) social responsibility, and to create Nine Lives. Peter travelled the globe to meet the extraordinary individuals whose stories appear in this book. Some he was able to meet at their homes, some he could only meet abroad or in exile, others it was too dangerous to meet at all.

  • Place: The ABC Treehut, upstairs at ABC The Hague
  • Date: Sunday, December 11th
  • Time: 15:00 to 17:00 hrs
  • Cost: Free
  • Host: Peter Braaksma
  • See also: ABC Treehut website