Blog posts

    20 Sep 2023

    World Beyond War

    Ukrainian pacifist still under investigation for serious charges

    The prosecution did not show up for the hearing today (Wednesday 20 September) in Kyiv to pursue the filing of charges against [Ukrainian pacifist] Yurii Sheliazhenko, who is being charged by the Ukrainian government with the crime of justifying Russian aggression. The evidence is this statement which explicitly condemns Russian aggression.

    Here is a…

    04 Jul 2023

    Helen Kidan

    Eritrea is a highly-militarised state, with at least 18 months' compulsory military service for all men and women aged 18 – 40 ('indefinite national service'). This is the text of a speech given by Helen Kidan, chair of Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights, on 17 June 2023 at Antimilitarist Roots, the War Resisters' International gathering in London. The material in [hard brackets] and embedded links have been added by Peace News to help the British reader. Helen Kidan has also made some minor changes to her text.

    [Lying on the Red Sea coast in North East Africa,] Eritrea is a former Italian colony, and it was federated to Ethiopia after Italy lost the Second World War to allied forces. Haile Selassie [emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 – 1974] broke the agreement by forcing Eritrea to be annexed. Therefore, in 1961, the 30-year war for independence broke out, this became the longest conflict in Africa.

    Eritrea and Eritreans were isolated during the war of independence and the outlook of Eritreans…

    16 Jun 2023

    Erica Smith

    Erica Smith on 'a perfect production' at London's Finborough Theatre

    Benjamin Lay is having a renaissance – thanks largely to American professor and writer Marcus Rediker. His biography The fearless Benjamin Lay was first published in 2017 and more recently he has collaborated with David Lester to produce a graphic novel, Prophet against slavery.

    Now he has collaborated  with playwright Naomi Wallace on the…

    14 Jun 2023

    Henrietta Cullinan

    Henrietta Cullinan reviews Orisun Productions recent performance of Playfight at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington (29 May - 3 June)

    TJ, Kai and Zara, are school friends who have been inseparable since childhood. Their relationship changes as they struggle with parental expectations at the same time as their own desires.

    The two boys are involved in a fight, caught on cctv. Zara is physically hurt when trying to break it up.

    The headmistress, instead of supporting them, divides them and disbands their friendship group. In chance meetings - in the street, in the playground - we hear from the characters two at…

    05 Apr 2023

    Janet Fenton

    On 15 February, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she was resigning as the leader of the Scottish National Party – and therefore as the leader of Scotland's government (in coalition with the Scottish Greens). Humza Yousaf was elected leader of the SNP on 27 March and then, on 28 March, he was elected to the position of first minister (FM) by members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs). The new FM has a track record of strong support for nuclear disarmament – and for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in particular.

    When Nicola Sturgeon resigned from her position as first minister (FM) of Scotland, many people from in Scotland – and from outside – were aware of her unwavering support for Scotland's commitment and action for nuclear disarmament, her rock-solid commitment to  the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (which is supported by an overwhelming majority of UN member states), her actions in sending messages to the TPNW negotiating conference in 2017, and exchanging very public letters…

    28 Mar 2023

    Alexandria Shaner

    'Sometimes refusing to fight is the bravest and most effective action one can take for peace and justice'

    It’s been 20 years since the lies and obfuscation that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I’m about to turn 37 and it hit me: those events 20 years ago were how I began my political journey, though I didn't know it at the time. As a progressive activist, one doesn't easily lead with: 'As a teenager, I joined the Marines'... but I did.

    At the intersection of my life as a high school kid living just outside NYC during 9/11 and the…

    10 Mar 2023

    Kathy Kelly

    Those who have an insatiable appetite for war seldom heed the wreckage they have left behind, says longtime US peace activist Kathy Kelly, reflecting on her experiences in Iraq during wartime.

    Twenty years ago, in Baghdad, I shared quarters with Iraqis and internationals in a small hotel, the Al-Fanar, which had been home base for numerous Voices in the Wilderness delegations acting in open defiance of the economic sanctions against Iraq. US government officials charged us as criminals for delivering medicines to Iraqi hospitals. In response, we told them we understood the penalties they threatened us with (12 years in prison and a $1mn fine), but we couldn’t be governed by unjust…

    26 Feb 2023

    Milan Rai

    China's 12-point peace plan is not designed to achieve a breakthrough in ending the Ukraine War, but it has performed a service by raising the profile of peace talks as a way forward. The position paper is designed to appeal to many different groups of countries, including those in the Global South, while maintaining China's strategic partnership with Russia.

    On the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, 24 February, the Chinese foreign ministry released a 12-point position paper on resolving the Ukraine crisis.

    Is the Chinese peace plan helpful? Yes, but only in the most general sense of raising the profile of the need for peace talks (Point 4) – and a ceasefire (Point 3…

    26 Feb 2023

    Martyn Lowe

    A tribute to a warm and humorous peace activist and community worker.

    The death in January of Neil Collins has left a gap in my own and many other people’s lives.

    Neil Collins was one of those individuals who, though involved in many campaigning groups and organisations over the years, was not someone who wrote all that much.

    He was very knowledgeable about many aspects of the early history of the anarchist movement and the peace movement. I learnt a lot about this history and honed much of my radical political thinking while having long chats…

    24 Feb 2023

    Milan Rai

    Milan Rai surveys some important facts about possibilities for ending the Ukraine War that are often swept under the carpet

    The Ukraine War has had a horrifying impact on the people of Ukraine, and has been a disaster for people around the world hit by rising food and energy costs. 

    There are some important facts about possibilities for ending the Ukraine War that are often swept under the carpet, that are important for us to remember to help find a way out of this tragedy.

    The first and most significant fact is that Ukraine and Russia came right to the edge of agreeing a peace deal back in March…

    04 Jan 2023

    Angie Zelter

    Join 100,000 in London on 21 April to surround Westminster demanding a sustainable future

    This is a moment of huge potential

    On one hand, there are many reasons to feel the future is bleak: recent failure of COP27,  vicious attacks on migrants, unravelling living standards, widening inequality, crashing biodiversiy, and extreme weather events brought about by worsening climate conditions to name a few. On the other hand, there is a unique opportunity to unite across divides for effective action, and there is an amazing potential for change. 

    Along with the peace…

    23 Nov 2022

    Milan Rai

    A review of the polling evidence since 1954

    Below is a list of the UK public opinion polls used to draw up the chart on p17 of PN 2661, reproduced below. This chart showed that, consulting 24 polls during the period 1954 – 2015, only three showed public support for unilateral nuclear disarmament dipping – briefly – below 20 percent (1963: 15 percent / 1964: 16 percent / 2014: 18 percent). The other 21 polls showed much stronger support for British unilateral nuclear…

    08 Aug 2022

    Gaynor Lloyd

    I think the first time I met Eric was in the hall where we arms fair blockers met to do final preparations in September 2017. But it might have been when, as a rookie NVDA activist, I joined a meeting of the Mad Hatters affinity group of Trident Ploughshares.

    Wherever it was matters not. No-one could meet Eric and ever forget him - nor want to.

    The plan was to block the western entrance to the setting up of the arms fair on the designated 'No to Nuclear' day. As we hastened…

    08 Jul 2022

    Matt Gannon, Kathy Kelly

    Instead of using its resources to solve world poverty and homelessness at home, the US government continues to ship weapons abroad. Unexploded US weapons including cluster bombs continue to litter Afghanistan, causing casualties every day. What the world needs is a healing of the Earth – perhaps through permaculture, a US anti-war conference suggests.

    'No War 2022, July 8 – 10', hosted by World BEYOND War, will consider major and growing threats faced in today’s world. Emphasizing “Resistance and Regeneration,” the conference will feature practitioners of permaculture who work to heal scarred lands as well as abolish all war.

    Listening to various friends speak of the environmental impact of war, we recalled testimony from survivors of a Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin,…

    20 Jun 2022

    Milan Rai

    In this online telling of the tale, over twice as long as the article we printed in PN 2660, we hear from the activists behind the landmark legal ruling that deliberately obstructive protest can be legal.

    Two slogan-covered boxes are bundled out of a van in East London. People lie down on the road next to the boxes.

    Within seconds, the police are there.

    So are the activists’ support team and other protesters.

    DSEI, one of the biggest arms fairs in the world, is being set up in the nearby ExCeL Centre.

    Within minutes, the four people lying in the road – Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Jo Frew and Nora Ziegler – have been arrested.


    This small action,…