Peacemaking

1 February 2023Review

Simon & Schuster, 2022; 304 pp; £14.99

Having campaigned for many years against nuclear weapons and the arms trade, I have often wondered how I would react to a violent attack on me or my family. I was drawn to this book in a search for what I see as the hardest kind of peace activism: to understand forgiveness among individuals.

In the prologue, Marina Cantacuzino explains that she chose storytelling as a tool with which to resist the mainstream narrative of redemptive violence during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In…

1 February 2023Feature

The latest meeting of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative brought together people from around the world

In 2016, I met many inspiring peacemakers in Rome when Pax Christi International launched the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (see PN 2622 – 2623). It set in motion a process to engage with the Vatican, and the global Catholic family, in the practice of nonviolence as a way of life, a spirituality and a method for change. In December 2022, another encounter took place with 75 participants from 28 nations. It was entitled: ‘Pope Francis, Nonviolence and the Fullness of Pacem in…

1 December 2022News

As the US civilian leadership engages in deceit about peace talks...

In November, there was a surprising development in relation to the Ukraine War, with pressure for a diplomatic solution coming from the US military (pressure that has been resisted fiercely by the civilian political leadership).

The New York Times reported on 10 November that the chair of the US joint chiefs of staff, general Mark Milley, argued in private top-level meetings for…

1 December 2022News

Biden’s ‘offer’ to negotiate was a half-hearted dishonest trick

The United States could make a huge contribution to the safety and wellbeing of the Ukrainian people – and to global security – by giving its full support to a peace process between Ukraine and Russia, and by promising that all US sanctions on Russia will be lifted once a peace treaty is signed and Russian forces are withdrawn.

Instead, US president Joe Biden is playing a cynical game by trying to appear as though he is in favour of peace talks, while actually having no interest in…

1 October 2022Feature

From Minsk II to the Vatican working group

The following existing proposals and possible steps for ending the war in Ukraine through diplomacy have been extracted from a paper, Ceasefire and peace in Ukraine, published by the German section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/ Physicians in Social Responsibility (IPPNW) in July.

Minsk II

In 2014, Germany and France launched the so-called ‘Normandy format’ to resolve the war in eastern Ukraine. The mediation rounds, each consisting of one…

1 October 2022Feature

A negotiated end to the war in Ukraine is an urgent necessity, argue Diana Francis and Andrew Rigby

This article was written before the Ukrainian military began their counter-offensive in early September. The advances made have encouraged talk of ‘victory’ and the maximisation of Ukrainian war aims – even beyond the military defeat of Russia. The need for a negotiated end to the death and destruction becomes ever more urgent.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was an illegal act of aggression and the war that has ensued is a disaster of death, destruction and displacement on a…

1 October 2022News

US voters back diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis

Image Click on the image to enlarge it.

Most people in the US support their government pursuing diplomatic negotiations as soon as possible to end the war in Ukraine, ‘even if it means Ukraine making some compromises with Russia’ (see graphic above).

When Data for Progress asked the question in a slightly different way, an even larger majority of…

1 February 2022News

Bruce Kent remembers an early martyr in the fight against nuclear weapons

On 10 December, the Nikos Nikiforidis (Non Nuclear) Peace Award for 2020 was given to Turkish peace activist Bülent Tanık, formerly mayor of the Çankaya district of Ankara and president of the Association for Peace and Communication in Aegean (APCA). The ceremony at Athens City Hall had been delayed because of the pandemic. The award, given by PADOP (the Greek Observatory of International Organisations and Globalisation), was made to honour Bülent Tanık’s ‘special efforts in the defence of…

1 December 2021News

Mayor recalls Aberystwyth's peace history

On 21 September, Aberystwyth town council officially marked the UN International Day of Peace for the first time.

Peace campaigner – and current mayor – Alun Williams noted that ‘Aberystwyth has played a prominent role in advocating for peace and disarmament’ for many decades.

He mentioned a number of events, dating back to 1926 when the town hosted the annual international peace conference associated with the League of Nations, usually held in capital cities. The Cambrian News…

1 December 2018News in Brief

What’s been happening with the Colombian peace process since November 2016?

PN used to track the Nepali peace process, and the state of play in Colombia has some similarities to what happened in Nepal.

Disarmament of the guerrillas and the political side of the peace process have made big strides but social reforms, the integration of former fighters and ‘transitional justice’ have moved more slowly.

Eight former guerrilla leaders of the FARC (…

1 June 2017Comment

A bit of ecclesiastical direct action, anyone?

Three documents are sitting on my desk right now. Pope Francis’ message for this year’s 1 January World Day of Peace is one of them. The next, a lengthy message from him to the diplomatic corps for 9 January 2017. The last – a merciful mere three pages – is his representative’s message to the Vienna conference reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May 2017.

One thing is quite obvious. Francis has been reading Peace News. It is all there. No to violence, war and…

1 December 2016News in Brief

The Turkish peace process was ended by the Turkish government last year. Since the coup attempt this summer, there has been a massive wave of government repression.

In Kurdish myth, there was a cruel king ‘Dehak’. Hatice Altinisik, a Kurdish peace activist, has combined the words ‘demokrasi’ and ‘Dehak’ to coin the word ‘dehakrasi’, meaning ‘a reign of absolute cruelty’, according to Al-Monitor.

1 December 2016News in Brief

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize went to US president Barack Obama after he’d done nothing for peace. The prize this year went to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos days after he failed to achieve peace. On 3 October, he lost a referendum on a peace agreement by 49.8 to 50.2 percent.

As PN went to press, peace efforts continued in Colombia.

1 June 2016News

US campaign to hold over 350 events across US and beyond, this September

Campaign Nonviolence is a US project focused on a ‘week of actions’ every September. In a larger sense, it is ‘a long-term movement for a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction and the epidemic of violence’.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Campaign Nonviolence is its emphasis on practising nonviolence towards ourselves as well as others.

John Dear, a renowned US Christian pacifist and key thinker behind Pace e…

1 August 2015Feature

The case against airstrikes on Syria

US F-15E Strike Eagles returning from the first US airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, on 23 September 2014. Photo: US air force

On 26 June, Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old student, murdered 38 people at a beach resort in Sousse, Tunisia. 30 of the dead were British nationals. Subsequent news reports have noted Rezgui received training at an Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS) base in western Libya.

Speaking to the BBC a few days later, David Cameron argued…