Letter by Peter M Le Mare, Cornwall

ImageI, like many many others, feel very horrified at what is happening in Syria and other similar places. We rightly feel that we should be doing something. This is frustrating but if this leads to suggesting or taking part in violence or militarily defending the rebels or what we think are the innocent victims or ‘collateral damage’ then we defeat the purpose.

It is strange that so many people are prepared to risk ‘laying down their life’ for some cause by fighting. The enemy is fought for by troops and personnel just like you and are not the people who actually are the power. To defeat that power, you have to be more powerful, and so you become the new authoritarian power that has to become, usually, worse than those you opposed.

Nonviolent ways of causing change are the only way in which one can have a true or complete revolution or real change. I think this is probably so in Tunisia and Egypt although they still have a long way to go. I could not in any way support the corrupt, violent and anti-democratic NATO in bombing the Libyans: they had no desire to put in a fair and democratic government there. As always the ‘collateral damage’ was greater than the previous regime.

I cannot see a difference between anti-militarism and so-called pacifism or nonviolence.

One of the things I like in the French peace movement is that everyone who is a peace person is called a pacifiste: there is no division.

I am quite sure – in Libya and in Syria – that no solution can be based on military action on either side. If that makes me a pacifist then so be it. I think it is only being human.

Topics: Pacifism