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Articles from the Peace News log: Global South
Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here
Taesun Kwon was a co-founder of South Korea’s only non-corporate national daily newspaper, the Hankyoreh, born of South Korea’s democracy movement in 1988. She is now executive editor of the paper, which has a circulation of 300,000 (South Korea has a population of 49 million). Taesun Kwon will be speaking at the Rebellious Media Conference organised by Peace News, Ceasefire, the National Union of Journalists, Red Pepper, Undercurrents, and visionOntv. Peace News interviewed Taesun Kwon by email ahead of the conference....Read More
“WHITE MAN DESTROYS CULTURE” is printed in big letters on a sticker at a venue in West Germany where we played. This phrase became my “theme” as we continued to tour throughout Europe. I realized how just reading about stuff or about people’s lives is simply not enough. There’s nothing more important than meeting people from different worlds. I talked a lot about how white man may have destroyed something in the past, but right now I felt that white people can give something back by teaching folks like us the tricks of parallel existence in new capitals because you’ve gone through it and we’re just entering it, and we need hints or tools on how to cope with the shocks....Read More
One of the most amazing things that struck me was that 95% of all the shows were organized by people who were just hitting 40 or were beyond it. We were amazed to see such necessary collaboration between ages and sexes. I was sure we were going to be the only oldies (+37) at each show but in fact it is mainly “the oldies” keeping many underground venues and squats going....Read More
Much of my time in Europe was spent drinking… drinking tons of their best herbal teas and not-so-good chalky hot water. It was not until I got back to Nepal that I thought, maybe that chalky stuff all boiled up and hot probably didn’t help my voice recover one bit.
Drinking alcohol is big in Europe, I decided. There is no party without a drink. And there is no gig without drink. There are band names about drink; there are band names named after beer, or drinking, or about being drunk, or having a hangover.
If I listed them that would be my 2000-word article for ‘Pissed News’ right there. And show organizers make more money from selling beer than selling tickets at the entrance to a show, so I can’t argue....Read More
One of the most poignant moments of the conference so far was Samarendra Das’s cry to the audience: “We do not want your research! It is not useful to us. We have simple questions, such as: what should the price of bauxite be?”
The interesting things here are “useful research” and “we – you”. What is that polarity?
Before talking about that, I should explain about the pricing question.
Bauxite is often found on mountain tops; it’s the raw material for aluminium. In India, these mountains are for some reason often in tribal areas, and are sacred mountains. The bauxite has the capacity to retain water and release it gradually (Samarendra told us), so that there are perennial streams even in the hot season. After the bauxite has been mined, this capacity is lost, and whatever water does run in the streams is polluted (I think he mentioned arsenic)....Read More
“To exist as a band without the corporate music industry is in itself a political feat” – sticker stuck on a wall at a venue in North Germany
Sitting in a village on the edge of Kathmandu happily listening to the Subhumans, I had this yearning to go to Europe.
A good friend of ours from Holland calls the West “the fortress”; he said the people, the culture, and the way the whole place works is like a fortress, sealed and intimidating. I agreed with him and so why would I want to leave my six-year-old son behind for six weeks to travel in hostile territory? Not for work, nor for a better life, or for fortune but because I am “virused” and I am a little punkish.
In 2009, we got an email from somebody who’d been following our band for a while, asking us to gig at some shows for a festival organized by the ministry of culture in Denmark, all expenses paid. Though the other half of my band (my partner, who is also the drummer) was totally sceptical about a government-funded offer – the fact that some comrades of a similar “virused” nature happened to be part of the organising committee gave us confidence that we weren’t going to become sell-outs just yet....Read More
On the second morning (the third day) of the Triennial, we had our first “reflectors” session. The reflectors were five people who had been chosen to give their reaction to the conference so far. There were four women (all English-speaking, one African, one Australasian, one European, one North American) and one man (Spanish-speaking, Latin American).
Incidentally, this reminds me of something Jai Sen said about the book he co-edited: World Social Forum: Challenging Empires. They set themselves a very difficult standard in terms of contributors: achieving balance between continents and genders. (For more about the book, and other valuable publications on the way: http://www.cacim.net)
Two of the women (I didn’t catch their names, but later found out one was Vanessa Boaz of the International Centre for Nonviolent Conflict) said that we had so far had a lot of “the problem”, but not a lot of “the solution”. One said that we had not lived up to the “nonviolent livelihoods” element of the conference. The other said we had not been sharing the many successes of small movements, no exchange of strategies and tactics. At the moment it felt like the problems were so big, there was no impossible to succeed by nonviolence....Read More
What was the “breaking news” I promised at the beginning of the last posting? Well, yesterday I sat in on a discussion group that decided to put forward a major proposal to the council of War Resisters International, suggesting an investigation of the feasibility and desirability of WRI addressing the extent to which climate change, and in particular the threat of runaway climate change, affects the anti-militarist and social justice struggles it is currently involved in, or supporting.
The peace movement, by and large, operates on the assumption that the basic fabric of life will continue to be much as it is, with perhaps some deterioration or some improvement. (I only know of the British and US peace movements, but my impression is that this is a more general phenomenon.) We assume a continuing stable climate framework within which our opponents and ourselves will continue our struggle.
This is not a tenable assumption....Read More
The breaking news just doesn’t stop.
After lunch yesterday (23 January) we broke up for workshops. For some reason we had two workshop slots of differing lengths, and there was also the option for many of them of continuing the workshop after the break. The first slot (2 hours) I went to hear Bela Bhatia talking about the conflict in the state of Chhattisgarh, where police and Maoists are fighting a vicious war in a tribal area. (Tribal people are known as “adivasis” or “earliest/original inhabitants”.)
Her talk was embedded in a workshop entitled “War on terror”, and Jorgen Johannsen started things off with a definitional PowerPoint presentation on terrorism and counter-terrorism. I couldn’t help butting in at the start of his Q&A to quote AJ Muste, and the primary need to deal with the violence of established power....Read More
Can international conferences like this be justified? Lots of my friends think not. I have breaking news from Peace News on this score – the survey they dared not print. Well, no one has not dared to print it, actually, but it dramatises the story.
Earlier today, in the morning plenary session, we had a searing moment which really made the whole thing worthwhile. We had two plenary speakers. One was Samarendra Das, who has been working for 16 years with poor communities facing displacement and pollution and brutal repression from the mining industry. The other was Elavie Ndura (her name is actually much longer – she said a paragraph-long name – but this is what is printed in the programme), a peace-oriented scholar from Burundi now based in the USA. Elavie made general remarks about the need for collective struggle, though she said that for herself she was not one for street protests or arrests (“prison would kill me”)....Read More