1 January 2001 Donna Howard

Can the international peace movement create a nonviolent peace army in the image of Gandhis ideas of shanti sena? Building on decades of small-scale nonviolent interventions and the work of peace-teams, the Global Nonviolent Peace Force are developing ideas on a grand scale. Donna Howard explains.

We agree then, that the war system has to be taken apart. Trident by Trident, military by military, resource by resource. It is we who must do it, with our hammers and bolt-cutters, our court cases and treaties, our letters and votes, our non-payment of war taxes. With these same hands and hope we must simultaneously build a viable and compassionate alternative to those killing sanctions and NATO bombs. The Global Nonviolent Peace Force proposes to do just that, by offering energetic and…

1 January 2001 Jamey Bouwmeester

In this personal reflection on his work with Christian Peacemaker Teams, Jamey Bouwmeester laments paradises lost.

Standing on the wharf, an Esgeno'petitj community member looked out at the water of Miramichi Bay, out at the buoys that mark the community's lobster traps. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like, she said and paused. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if we could fish in peace. If we didn't always have to look over our shoulders to make sure the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) arent there. This could be a beautiful place.

In my mind I'm transported halfway across…

1 January 2001 Julia Guest

Julia Guest reports from the West Bank city of Hebron on the work of the Christian Peacemaker Team and the philosophy behind their approach to nonviolent interventions.

She's just coming home from Ramallah, she's been away, you have to let her through explained Anita, with her Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) armband and hat, a signal of her role as interventionist. The two soldiers did not look convinced, their sole purpose, to maintain curfew. No one can go now argued the young Israeli, and as if to add reason to his statement he added Anyway they are not human, you saw on the TV. Implying the lynching in Ramallah of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF)…

1 January 2001 Kate Witham

Former peace team member Kate Witham challenges us to examine the gender dynamics of nonviolent intervention, arguing that feminist-pacifist interventions may differ because they recognise the links between masculinity, militarism, patriarchal domination and war.

Send in 1000 grandmothers, sang Holly Near, in response to Natos bombing of Yugoslavia wonderfully inspiring idea and perhaps not as bizarre as it sounds. Its certainly not a new suggestion, although as women's nonviolent interventions are seldom discussed you'd be forgiven for thinking so.

I am particularly talking about grassroots nonviolent action that either occurs or impacts across national borders, aiming to prevent violence or assist social change. Firstly I want to share…

1 January 2001 Ken Simons

Why intervene?

Why intervention? Let the Bosnians sort it out for themselves! How many times did we hear variations on that sentiment, usually but not always by people trying to justify the destruction being done by the Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb armies and the militias?

The easy pacifist answer to that challenge (I know, because I frequently made it myself) was that something had to be done, short of military intervention, or else the calculated hatred we were seeing in that small region of Europe…

1 January 2001 Luis Enrique Eguren

Using the example of Peace Brigades Internationals work in Colombia, Luis Enrique Eguren discusses the significance of the role of international observers in the protection of local people working in conflict.

Civilian third party interventions are one of the new paths currently being explored for transforming conflicts and keeping and building a sustainable peace, beyond the traditional diplomatic and strategic interventions (and also beyond their traditional objectives). But this new path goes into uncharted territory, and we still have to ask ourselves some key questions in order to gain a sense of direction and, as a result of this process, learn directly from our experiences.

One of…

1 January 2001 Maggie Helwig

Was UNAMETs mission in East Timor an example of an unusually large, unusually well-resourced nonviolent intervention? If so, it presents interesting dilemmas, and perhaps some lessons, for the nonviolent movement, argues Maggie Helwig.

On 5 May 1999, the United Nations and the governments of Indonesia and Portugal signed an agreement to hold a consultation as to public opinion, in East Timor, about Indonesia's offer of special autonomy for the territory.

The rather byzantine agreement, the result of Kofi Annan's seizing upon an impulsive remark of Indonesian President Habibie, who in an unguarded moment had said that if the Timorese didn't want autonomy he would let them just go was in fact a thinly-disguised vote…

1 January 2001 PN staff

What were the hot topics nearly fifty years ago? We travel back in time and take a peek at interventions 1950s style  

MP urges UN peace force for Arab-Israeli border

In a letter to the Manchester Guardian last week, outlining several methods whereby the United Nations might police the borders between Israel and its Arab neighbours, Henry Usborne, MP, has called for the use of a corps of 10,000 unarmed men. He advocated the use of an unarmed cosmopolitan corps of some ten thousand men under General Burns to be recruited on a voluntary basis by the UN Secretariat. This would be a UN peace force equipped only…

1 January 2001 Robert Sautter

Small-scale peace teams have played an important role in supporting local groups and facilitating dialogue between divided communities. Robert Sautter reports on the work of the Balkan Peace Team in Kosov@.

I can speak both Serbian and Albanian, but which one I use sets me on one side against the other. There is no place for me here, I do not belong. As she finished speaking these words, Mersiha, a young Slavic Muslim from Prishtina, looked at me intently and demanded to know what the Balkan Peace Team was doing to address the tenuous situation in which she and individuals from other minority communities throughout Kosova are existing.

Kosova may have faded from the headlines, but…

3 July 1984 Howard Clark

From 3 July 1984

You may have noticed how terms “real defence” and “credible defence” have become popular in CND circles in the past year. They have a hard-nosed ring to them, indicating that the user isn’t a woolly-minded idealist or a wishy-washy pacifist. The Labour leadership’s failure to present a coherent defence policy in the general election seems to have prompted some people…

7 December 1979 Howard Clark

From 7 December 1979

On November 24, some 400 people sat in rows facing a platform in central London and most of them raised their hands. So was the Anti-Nuclear Campaign launched.

There was little joy about the occasion. The platlorm sat firmly in control of the proceedings throughout the morning session, despite anarchist protests about the set-up and a heap at leaflels about why this was all wrong.…

12 January 1979 Howard Clark

From 12 January 1979

Many anti-nuclear campaigners in Britain are developing, albeit haphazardly, a direct action strategy against nuclear power. Our co-ordination is higgledy-piggledy but, while the general outlines have not been explicitly agreed, some sort of strategy seems to be emerging. It involves direct intervention and obstruction at sites, at installations or on fuel routes: calling on…

15 December 1978 Howard Clark

From 15 December 1978

Writing in the afterglow of a beautiful day of guerilla nonviolence at Torness, I’m no longer daunted by the question with which I’ve been shadow-boxing these past few weeks: “exactly how do we intend to reverse the nuclear power programme?”

On that site, I saw for myself the achievement of the people who occupied Half Moon Cottage in creating a symbol for us to rally around…