War and peace

1 November 2005Review

War Resisters' International, 2005; ISBN 0 903517 20 5; 560pp, 67 photos; £28

Devi Prasad's history of War Resisters' International covers the first fifty-plus years of its existence from 1921 to 1973-4.

Based on the records of statements from its Council and Executive and the proceedings and resolutions of its International Triennial Conferences and Study conferences, the book traces its development from an essentially anti-militarist and anti-conscription organisation to one with the broader agenda of promoting nonviolent direct action on a range of issues,…

3 June 2005Comment

Sandwiched between International Conscientious Objectors' Day (15 May), and International Day for Children as Victims of War (4 June), is another opportunity for action: 24 May, International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament (IWDPD).

This day began in Europe in the early 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of women organised against nuclear weapons and the arms race. Activists in the then-numerous women's peace groups declared the day in order to stimulate even more women's…

1 April 2005News in Brief

On 8 March International Women's Day was marked around the world.

In London between 50 and 80 women gathered at the Edith Cavell statue opposite St Martin in the Fields. A silent vigil was paralleled with singing, drumming and readings.

Leaflets, flowers and rosemary were offered to women passing by - many of whom were visibly touched to receive gifts as they hurried home from work!

1 April 2005News

A Sombre Journey

On 25 February, a group of around 200 community members, accompanied by members of Peace Brigades International and the Fellowship for Reconciliation, set out to collect and bring home the bodies of those murdered, hoping to bring a sense of closure to the pain caused by this tragedy. The group was to function as a sort of truth commission, documenting the facts surrounding the deaths in hopes that those responsible will eventually be brought to justice.

”The one…

1 April 2005News

“The two stacks of hay there had been burnt; the apricot and cherry trees he had planted and reared were broken and scorched; and, worse still, all the beehives and bees were burnt. The wailing of the women, and of the little children who cried with their mothers, mingled with the lowing of the hungry cattle, for whom there was no food. The bigger children did not play, but followed their elders with frightened eyes. The fountain was polluted, evidently on purpose, so that the water…

1 April 2005Review

Trolley, 2003; ISBN 1 904563 01 5; Hb 231pp

Chechnya is a war that was never especially popular in the West. Such is the paucity of news coming out of that destroyed place that those who may once have been aware of the violence there could be forgiven for thinking that it is over.

Since 2001, when Putin was welcomed by America as a valuable ally in the “war on terror”, it seems we are told that anything that happens in Chechnya is just a part of this struggle against those set on destroying our way of life. The only time that…

1 March 2005Feature

On 19 March tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets around the world to protest at the continuing military occupation of Iraq, and to call for coalition troops to be withdrawn.
National and local events are due to take place in Greece, Sweden, Iceland, Brazil, Australia, Senegal, Japan and South Africa. Here in Britain the largest event will be the march in central London, taking place under the banner “bring the troops home”, with similar demonstrations and…

1 March 2005Review

Pluto Press, 2004; ISBN 0 7453 2183 6; Pb 304pp; £15.99

This volume sets out to demonstrate that we are now living in what the editors refer to as a “new age of Empire”, which the book argues began with wars of occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of being the start of a world in which global co-operation ensures advancement and prosperity for all people, globalisation is actually responsible for the increased instability that threatens ever-greater numbers of people.

A collection of original and rigorous pieces by nine prominent…

1 March 2005Review

Available from PeaceNews online for £12 inc p&p worldwide. See http://peacenews.info/

This multifunction CD from the Peace Pledge Union uses a browser based system for navigating through the material.

Contents are divided into nine sections, including: quotations; racialism; war and peace; civil disobedience; the movement & black power; violence & nonviolence.

The disc also includes sources and a comment on the famous “I have a dream” speech and lists books by and about King. It also offers speeches - in print and with some video and audio extracts -…

3 December 2004Comment

This issue of Peace News has been produced against the backdrop of war on Iraq and, in particular, the attacks on Fallujah.

While the editorial team spent their evenings deciding on the right font for a heading, warplanes and mortars struck fear into the hearts of ordinary people thousands of miles away.

It's distressing to see the blatant hypocrisy, lies, inconsistencies and ironies surrounding this war and to realise that many of the public - and, it seems, much of…

1 December 2004Feature

There are many possibilities forcivilian intervention in conflicts. Today the UN, the OSCE,and even NATO, speak of the importance of civilian personnel in complexpeace-keeping missions.

Most industrialised countries have cre-ated conflict resolution budget-lines, and even the World Bank is concerned with”conflict prevention”. However, at the same time they all insist that in case ofviolence, there needs to be a military presence to protect the civilians. That hasbeen the ideology…

1 December 2004Feature

Howard Clark argues that preparing to intervene in an emergency is no substitute for addressing the roots of war, and that, ultimately, peace depends on the people.

“Post-intervention peace operations” is the theme for this section of Peace News; an apt topic for the final edition of the paper to be co-published with War Resisters' International.

Our focus is less on classical peace-keeping, where the UN deploys a lightly armed force with the consent of the conflicting parties. Rather, while providing information on the whole contemporary peace-keeping scene, we examine in more depth the latest generation of “peace operations”, where…

1 December 2004Feature


What is it?

In his report to the 2000 General Assembly, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the international community to forge consensus around the so-called “right of humanitarian intervention”: the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive - in particular military - action, against other states for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state. It was in response to that challenge that the International Commission…

1 December 2004Feature

Peacekeeping has changed a lot since 1956, when Lester B Pearson--then Canadian Foreign Minister--proposed that the UN send an international force to the Sinai desert to prevent fighting.

The Canadian government established the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC) in 1994. Its Peace Operations Summer Institute (POSI), which I attended, offers an overview of the whole array of peace operations, and while I was there several other courses were underway on such top-ics as humanitarianism…

1 December 2004Feature

The word at the UN is that there is a “commitment gap” - that is, the world's militarily most powerful countries want to see more military intervention around the world, but are reluctant to send their troops on missions run by the UN.

Each month the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) publishes a list of how many troops, military observers and police each country supplies to UN operations (see following “tools” pages for latest details). Who heads the list of…