Peacemaking

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…

31 December 2013News

The peace process between the Turkish government and the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) guerrilla movement which was revealed publicly in March seems to have slowed to a glacial pace.

After some deft public relations interventions in September and November, Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not expected to make any serious moves before the March 2014 local elections.

In April, we speculated that Erdogan was spurred to initiate peace talks with the PKK by the mass nonviolent uprising of Turkish Kurds last autumn, sparked by a Kurdish prisoners’ hunger strike that began last September (see PN 2556, and 2552-2553). It may need another…

1 October 2013News

Zimbabwe's women beaten testing new government's commitment to free speech

Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested and beaten by police for organising marches in Harare, on 19 September, and in Bulawayo on 20 September.

Demonstrators waved placards, sang songs, and presented Zimbabwe’s new government with a list of demands, according to SW Radio Africa. While onlookers applauded the women, police tried to disperse the crowds and injured many protesters with baton strikes.

The marches celebrated the International Day of Peace,…

5 July 2013Feature

An interview with the director of England’s Fellowship of Reconciliation

Millius Palayiwa, director of Fellowship of Reconciliation
Photo: Jordana Jarrett

The current director of England’s Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) was born in what was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the middle child of parents who sacrificed for their children’s prosperity. For 40 years, his father worked as a ‘kitchen-boy’ for a white man, making only £8.10 a month. His father agreed to work without pay if the man would pay for all seven children to attend primary…

10 May 2013News

Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru MEP, is calling on Wales’ first minister to make peace the theme of next year’s centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War.

Wales in Scotland Photo: twitter user @ScrapTrident

At the Wales Peace Institute conference in Aberystwyth on 23 March, she said: ‘Wales has a close affinity with Flanders where so many young Welsh men were killed. The Flemish government has made the spreading of peace one of the most important aims of the 1914 remembrance project. The overwhelming majority considered it a government duty to inform people of the horrors and madness of the First World War,…

1 December 2012Review

OUP Oxford, 2012; 320pp; £18.99

Polymath John Gittings – a Guardian journalist and associate editor of The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace, is a Sinologist, literary critic and classicist. He crams his considerable knowledge of history, art, literature, and languages into this personal review of peace through the ages, arguing for a ‘peace discourse’ to counter our current one obsessed with the glory of war and the culture of death.

Indeed, for Gittings ‘The study of peace can be as exciting as…

28 August 2012Feature

Pat Gaffney surveys faith groups' Olympic activism

‘The ideal of the Olympic Truce can itself be a sign that if it is possible to live without conflict for today, it might be possible to live without conflict tomorrow. But I need to invest in this peace, by laying down my own arms, and by joining hands with my neighbour, especially those I am most fearful and suspicious of.’ said Bishop Stephen Cottrell, speaking at a service in June at Chelmsford cathedral, welcoming the opportunity of peace-making through the Olympics.

This was one…

27 April 2012Feature

The White Book of Carmarthen is one of the most extraordinary peace movement projects in the world.  

The White Book, which can be signed by anyone, contains a simple declaration: ‘Yr wyf i, drwy dorry fy enw yn y Llyfr Gwyn, yn ymrwymo i weithio dros heddwch yn y byd.’

‘By signing my name in the Llyfr Gwyn, I commit myself to work for peace in the world.’

PN spoke to renowned poet Mererid Hopwood, the first woman ever to win the bardic Chair at the National Eisteddfod of Wales (in…

13 August 2011Feature

Arguing that complex social masculinities coexist—as opposed to a biologically determined singular form of masculinity—Bob Connell believes that a strategy for peace concerned with masculinities does not demand a complete break with patterns of behaviour men are familiar with. In fact, he argues, some of the qualities in "traditional" definitions of masculinity—such as courage and steadfastness—are needed in the cause of peace.

Though women have often manufactured weapons and serviced armies—and in an age of nuclear weapons are equally targeted— it is historically rare for women to be in combat. The twenty million members of the world's armed forces today are overwhelmingly men. In many countries all soldiers are men; and even in those countries which admit women to the military, commanders are almost exclusively men. Men also dominate other branches of enforcement, both in the public sector as police officers and…

13 August 2011Feature

While all the attention is focused on North Korea's nuclear issues, Bae Young-Hwan from the Korean Women's News reports on a grassroots, women-led campaign to provide practical assistance and to build bridges between North and South.

According to the South Korean government's estimate, the amount of food needed to feed the North Korean population for the grain financial year of 2003 (November 2002 - October 2003) is 6.32 million tons, up 60 thousand tons from last year. North Korea's total production of grain this year, however, is only 4.13 million tons. Even with the 510 thousand tons provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the 250 thousand tons provided by the South Korean government, the hunger stricken…