Prisoners for peace

13 August 2011Feature


Action On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners; Get your peace group or class or place of worship to organise a card-writing session; Set up a stall in your town centre, perform a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract attention and interest.
Sending cards and letters Always send your card in an envelope; Include a return name and address on the envelope; Be chatty and creative: send photos from your life,…

13 August 2011Feature

When, in summer 2001, War Resisters' International decided to highlight the situation in Israel and Palestine for this year's Prisoners for Peace, there was no 11 September, no “war on terrorism”. There was “just” a completely stuck peace process, and increasing violence: from both the occupying Israeli forces, and in the Palestinian response to this occupation. And there was a slowly growing movement of conscientious objectors in Israel. More than enough reasons for a Prisoners for Peace…

13 August 2011Feature

A Plowshares/Ploughshares support person describes the networks which keep prisoners in good shape - and how they use the prison experience to activate and animate the people around them.

In August 1998, Sachio Ko-Yin and Dan Sicken entered a nuclear missile silo in Weld County, Colorado, USA, and proceeded symbolically to transform death into life.

How shall I talk about doing support for a Plowshares prisoner? First, the excitement of the action and the post-action high (“They didn't shoot us! I talked to the FBI about Thoreau!”); the rush of speaking engagements and attendant press prior to the trial; trial preparation; then the night before the trial, that time-…

13 August 2011Feature

When on 14 October 1996, Osman (Ossi) Murat Ulke began to serve his sentence in the military prison of Mamak in Ankara, a flood of protest and solidarity letters soon poured in. His case shows how effective letters to Prisoners for Peace can be. Ossi's imprisonment had been expected and partner organizations in Western Europe (including many sections of the WRI) and in Turkey were prepared.

During his first days of imprisonment, Ossi received up to 100 letters a day. He felt that the prison walls were tumbling down. He was in a cell and still he was in contact with so many people nationally and internationally. “This motivated me very much. I tried to answer all letters and I was spending my whole day in the cell writing letters. Fortunately I knew from my lawyers and from replies that my letters had actually been dispatched”.

Many people write short postcards or…

13 August 2011Feature

CO activist Sergeiy Sandler reports on the rising tide of objection to military service in Israel during the second intifada.

Thirty-two people is a small number. A demonstration with thirty-two participants would hardly be worthy of the word. But since October 2000, thirty-two people were imprisoned or otherwise penalised in Israel for refusing to perform military duty on conscientious and political grounds.

Thirty-two may not be such a small figure after all. It is even rather large if we compare it to the figure for the preceding year - only three. It is also not that small because it actually represents…