Peace and Justice News – October/November 2016
In honour of Gandhi’s birthday on October 2nd and UN International Day of Nonviolence, this month’s Peace and Justice News has a theme of ‘Nonviolent Resistance.’ Around the world, there are thousands of organisations and countless inspirational individuals who practice nonviolence and work to build a safer and more just world for everyone. In this issue, we profile a number of these organisations and individuals.
Viviane Straub discusses nonviolent activism within the Free Tibet movement. She also highlights the united efforts of nonviolent protectors of Native American land as they stand against the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Will Duncan investigates the economic impact of the nonviolent revolution in Tunisia.
Kristee Boyd looks at the work of Women’s Peace-keeping Teams in Sudan, trained by Nonviolent Peaceforce and Alessandra Piacenti considers Cyberactivism as a turning point in the history of nonviolent protest. And in Unsung Heroes section, Kristee discusses the inspirational work of Gulalai Ismail, who recently spoke at Quaker House here in Edinburgh about her efforts to counter the effects of radicalisation in rural Pakistan.
News from around the Movements is packed with news of resistance to Trident, arrests at the Pentagon, resistance to palm oil in Indonesia, a new report on nuclear convoys and more. Be sure to check out our book reviews of ‘Britain’s Secret Wars’ by Tim Coles and ‘Nonviolent Resistance to the Nazis,’ written by George Paxton who will be giving a talk this month at the Centre! Find details of this and other exciting upcoming events in this month’s Centre News!
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This month the P&J News will highlight inequality in its different forms around the world. Inequality is not just a regional issue it is everywhere. We continue to see studies and statistics about the growing gap between the poor and wealthy, with supposed solutions like austerity only seeming to make the divide wider.
With the final vote on EU referendum tallied Sarah MacDonald looks at the driving force for the ever-growing inequality gap in the UK and the reason Brexit gained so much support. Our talented illustrator Rebecca Willmott has contributed another of her illustrations. More of Rebecca’s work can be found on her website: www.rebeccalanyon.co.uk
Madeleine Etcheco looks at the Nuit Debout movement protesting labour laws in France and the toll it taking on the workforce. Kristee Boyd looks at the closing of a Somali refugee camp in Kenya and the devastating effects on its residents. Priyanka Rahdakrishnan has written about the war crimes and trial of dictator Hissene Habre in Chad and Africans taking justice back into their own hands. Sarah MacDonald looks about indigenous peoples rights in Canada. Our Unsung Hero this month features 10 Things you did not know about Conscientious Objectors by Michael Mears. And finally we have a book review on The Trouble with Trident, which was featured in the last edition, by David MacKenzie.
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Peace and Justice News – June/July 2016
The UK is holding a referendum to ask citizens whether or not they want to stay within the European Union. With the impending decision on “Brexit”, we decided this month to focus mainly on topics concerning the European Union, and as always, with an underlying focus on peace and justice.
In our Editorial William Duncan looks at the ever present issue of criminalising non-violent protests. In Centre News we have published a briefing on unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children arriving in Scotland. The policy paper makes recommendations for guardianship to be managed by Scottish government rather than local authorities. The paper is available on our website. Rebecca Willmott has contributed more of her great illustrations. More of Rebecca’s work can be found on her website: www.rebeccalanyon.co.uk
Yalda Safavian has contributed a very thought provoking article on the dilemma of third party intervention and the responsibility of the international community to protect citizens outside their jurisdiction. Sarah MacDonald looks at the EU and its contribution to the fight against climate change. Madeleine Etcheto writes about peace in the EU since its forming and whether or not the Union has accomplished its goal of peace, within the Union and with its ties globally.
Matthew Naumann has written a special piece for the centre as an update in South Sudan since its independence from Sudan in 2011 and the 2015 peace agreement. In Unsung Heroes, Zoe Cameron highlights two young conscientious objectors, Tair Kaminer (Israel) and Samir Elsharbaty (Egypt) who are standing up for peace.
Zoe has also written a book review on Walden Bello’s ‘Capitalism’s Last Stand? Deglobalization in the Age of Austerity’, which looks at financial crises around the world and alternate approaches to address them. Finally, our Reflection by Elizabeth Stanyer highlights her experience volunteering in Calais.
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Peace and Justice News – April/May 2016
We are marking our first issue switching to a bi-monthly format with a focus on terrorism. Terrorism is a daily occurrence around the world with recent attacks in Lahore, Pakistan, Brussels, and Paris. We are bombarded with images and constant rhetoric of fear in 24 hour media of the threat of refugees and radicalisation. Many of these terrible events are only granted seconds of airtime if they do not occur in the West. We hope to bring some insight into this devastating issue and create dialogue that may not be part of the regular news outlets.
In our editorial, Zoe Cameron is challenging our views on what the West classifies as terrorism in a piece on drone strikes by Western forces in the Middle East. She argues that drone strikes are missing their targets 90% of the time and more civilians are being killed and injured than militants. In Centre News we are looking for new schools to participate in the Conflict Resolution Skills for Primary Schools. Upcoming events include a EP&JC / CAAT Peace & Global Justice Hustings, Conscientious Objectors Day and join us every Saturday at the Centre for the 14, 000 Paper Cranes Workshop.
We have three features this month. Yalda Safavian has written an article on refugees and states responsibilities to assist those in need, fleeing war and terror in their home countries. Militant radicals are posing as refugees to spread fear in the West and she argues we must do our best to combat this fear. Madeleine Etcheto focuses on the infringement of human rights by the French government’s use of emergency measures in conducting home raids and searches since the Paris Attacks that would normally require authorisation.
Sarah MacDonald’s article looks at the contributing factors that lead individuals to becoming radicalised and carrying out acts of terror at home or travelling abroad as foreign fighters.
William Duncan’s Unsung Hero is Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) and their efforts against the UK’s use of excessive state power. Sarah MacDonald contributes a book review on David M. Rosen’s Armies of the Young, Child Soldiers in War and Terrorism. Zoe Cameron has a Reflection on government’s use of fear to gain support for controversial and unethical policy. Finally Rebecca Wilmott has contributed illustrations throughout the issue.
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Peace and Justice News – February/March 2016
In this issue of Peace and Justice News we look at resistance to military conscription in a variety of places and times. Our newest writer Yalda Safavian considers resistance to mandatory military service by the brave individuals of the conscientious objector movement within the Israeli state. Marking the centenary of conscription in Britain, Brian Larkin elaborates on In “Conscription and Conscience“ in the first of a two part article, on opposition to conscription during WWI. In News from around the Movements we give updates on a number of conscientious objectors around the world. Pat Bryden reviews “Breaking the Mould: Edinburgh: Researching and Celebrating 100 years of Women’s History in Social and Political Activism since the beginning of WWI”, a new WEA publication that celebrates different women who devoted their lives to the struggles for justice, health, peace and community-building. In our Unsung Heroes column this month Izi Ames highlights the US based organisation Courage to Resist which supports Gl resisters and military objectors in the United States, speaking out against illegal war, occupation and injustice. February’s Take Action sheds light on various campaigns, like the Friends of the Earth Scotland’s new campaign to make Scotland 100 % fossil free, and the Show the Love on Divestment Day campaign which is going to take place during February all across the UK. In our Reflection Yalda Safavian considers the acts of (sexual) violence committed on New Year’s Eve in Cologne. In the Editorial, “The Richest 62 Humans and 3,000 Child Refugees“, Brian Larkin draws attention to growing global inequality, supporting the Oxfam call for the UK to tackle tax avoidance and the call for the UK to take in at risk lone child refugees, and asks if we should not do much more. Centre News recaps US disarmament activist Sister Megan Rice’s talk at the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, and features upcoming training for prospective facilitators on our conflict resolution skills for primary schools programme and Origami Peace Cranes Workshops at the Peace and Justice Centre in memory of the children killed by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
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Peace and Justice News – December 2015
In the December issue of Peace and Justice News we cover a broad variety of topics. In the editorial ‘UN Endorsement of Bombing Syria Flawed’ Brian Larkin returns to a topic which we have covered previously, but is no less relevant today.
For the first feature we have republished ‘8 Ways to Defend Against Nonviolence,’ a list written by George Lakey and originally published by Waging Nonviolence. In ‘Climate Change and the Refugee Crisis’ Emma Davis explains how climate change is contributing to the increasing numbers of refugees and can no longer be approached by world leaders as something that will occur down the road. Our third feature ‘Military Service Tribunal Records Available Online’ reports on the historic appeals by Scottish men to conscription on the basis of conscientious objection which have been made available to the public.
In Centre News we cover the success of the primary school conflict resolution skills program at Dalry Primary, the Scrap Trident Skillshare, the CAAT Edinburgh conference, and white poppies. In News from around the Movement we share stories about a refugee protest at the Balkan borders, a demonstration against the US’s ‘School of Assassins’, protests against Dow and Unilever, and the report on the Don’t Bank on the Bomb public launch and MSP briefing.
Pat Bryden reviews Tony Benn’s ‘A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: the Last Diaries’ for this month’s Book Review. In Unsung Hero, Aurelius profiles Andy Parker and his role in the fight for stricter gun control in the US. Following the terror attacks in November, Emma Davis writes a reflection piece about the nightmares she had as a child after 9/11 and how we should translate our fear of terror attacks in the West into compassion for those escaping terror in places like Syria.
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Peace and Justice News – November 2015
Following the Human Rights and Peace Process in Colombia event organised by the World Justice Festival at Scottish Parliament and the recent developments in the Colombian peace talks, we thought the conflict and peace process in Colombia merited special attention this month.
In the editorial, Emma Davis calls on the UK to do more to help refugees escaping Syria. She argues that with winter just around the corner, the settlement of vulnerable refugees is a time sensitive issue which requires a multi-pronged approach. In Centre News we have updates about our upcoming move, the Conscientious Objectors Memorial Campaign, and our recently published report on Austerity, Debt, and Military.
Emma Davis writes about the 5 decade conflict in Colombia and the ongoing peace talks in “The Colombian Peace Process.” In “A Toxic Relationship: The US and Colombia” Tom Younger writes about the influences of US military involvement in Colombia on the people, environment, and coca industry in Colombia.
International Peace Day, Hands across the Forth, and other stories are covered in this month’s News from around the Movement.
In this month’s Unsung Heroes, Sean Reid Campbell writes about the Zonas Campesinas in Colombia acting to provide a parallel solution to the economic causes of conflict while Colombians wait for the results of the peace talks to materialise.
Will Duncan reviews “The Most Good You Can Do” by Peter Singer in this month’s Book Review.
Lastly, we are pleased to introduce the illustrations of Rebecca Wilmott. Several pieces can be found in this issue, including the one below and we look forward to her contributions to issues to come. Readers can find more of Rebecca’s work at: www.rebeccalanyon.co.uk/
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On the heels of our roundtable discussion with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and marking Gandhi’s birthday, this issue focusses on nonviolence. There’s a shocking report on the Militarization of Children and Young People along with a report on our discussions with Arun Gandhi in Centre News.
The contributors to the October issue have approached the theme of nonviolence from very fresh perspectives which are unlike any of the pieces written for P&J News before.
The editorial explores the usefulness of gender neutral toys in cultivating a culture of nonviolence. In ‘Internationalising Nonviolence’ Tom Younger reflects on the response of EU countries to the current refugee crisis and calls on states to seek nonviolent alternatives to the militarisation of borders. William Duncan explores the values of Gandhian Economics as tools for nonviolence and in ‘Cyber-Attacks as Real Violence’ Sean Reid Campbell criticises the idea that cyber-operations as an alternative to traditional armed conflict are any less violent.
Our summary of our Militarization of Children and Young People event in Centre News provides resources for working on this issue. We invite anyone who wants to work on this issue to get in touch.
In News From Around the Movements we cover stories about activists arrested in America, the Arms Fair in London, a CO Symposium in Istanbul, and others. In this month’s Unsung Heroes Pat Bryden celebrates the life of Tessa Ransford, a long-time friend of the Peace and Justice Centre and founder of the Scottish Poetry Library. And in our Reflection Brian Larkin suggests that Gandhian nonviolence is more than just changing ourselves.
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Peace and Justice News – September 2015
Brian Larkin’s editorial demands Britain not join in on the bombing of Syria, stating that current bombing campaigns in the region by the US are increasing the number of civilian casualties and refugees and doing nothing to deter ISIS.
Brian Larkin reviews Tessa Ransford’s book A Good Cause. A copy of the book is available on loan from the Peace and Justice Centre Library. Tessa has also donated her latest pamphlet Broderie Ecossaise. It is available for donations which will benefit the Peace and Justice Centre and Edinburgh Campaign Against the Arms Trade.In “The Calais Migrant Crisis” Emma Davis criticises the militarization of the British border in response to the migrant crisis in Calais and calls on the UK to take a more humanitarian approach. In “The Stateless Rohingya People” Soleil Westendorf analyses the legal challenges faced by the Rohingya group in Myanmar. Sean Reid Campbell’s contribution to the Unsung Heroes segment complements this month’s focus greatly by highlighting the bravery of refugees who dare to leave their homes and families at great risk in search of better futures.
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In this issue we look at the culture of violence in contemporary America.
In our feature piece Black Lives Matter Emma Davis reviews the spate of police killings of African Americans and the responses of the African American community, in the year since the death of Michael Garner. Black lives are devalued in the American justice system and Brian Larkin’s Editorial turns a new light on the related vexed question of gun control in the US and suggests a connection between the large number of guns and armaments.
David Soleil addresses another side of the culture of violence and suggests that we take a look at the toys we give our children in “How We Teach Violence to Children”.
And Judy Russell reviews David Gee’s “Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism”. There will be an opportunity to hear more from David in our Conversation on “Militarisation of Children” in the Just Festival at St John’s on the 31st of August.
In “News From Around The Movements” Kellie Scott talks tea party with three Quaker grannies whilst Gregory Pappas highlights the growing discontent with Angela Merkel’s decision on the Greek financial crisis and much more.
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Peace and Justice News – July 2015
In Centre News this month we report on progress on our campaign for a conscientious objectors memorial and feature our upcoming events: Forgiveness Workshops and a Conversation on Militarization of Children and Youth. Our petition to Edinburgh Council met with unanimous approval. Now we will determine location and form. We celebrated with a concert at The Pleasance organised by Penny Stone and raised over £600. Thanks to all who came along or bought tickets and to the performers who gave their time.
On the theme of anti-militarism Antti Sipilas gives a history of Finnish conscription, where conscientious objectors’ human rights are violated as they are imprisoned for twice the time they would be required to serve in the military while Jane Tallents gives a moving personal reflection on a clod of earth from Waterloo. And William Duncan profiles the inspiring Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team who show that sport has the power to protect human rights.
New contributor, David Simmons, looks at TTIP, from a US perspective, where the insidious international trade agreement appears to be a purposely well kept secret while Tom Younger’s review of Murray Bookchin’s The Next Revolution offers an insight into the possibilities for an alternative to the ravages of global capitalism.
In Take Action we ask readers to write to authorities in Colombia where Human Rights defenders have been put at risk by the President of the National Assembly, who publicly shared details of their travel arrangements.
Brian Larkin’s editorial returns to a familiar subject and summarises the arguments for the immorality of nuclear weapons. And there is plenty of News from Around the Movements.
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Peace and Justice News – June 2015
Cameron Watt reports on Edinburgh University students’ occupation. Their campaign for divestment from fossil fuels, demonstrates the efficacy of direct action as the University reversed its decision and agreed to divest from Tar Sands and Coal.
Tom Younger challenges states’ military responses to the increasing flow of refugees across the Mediterranean. 40,000 refugees have died escaping desperate situations since 2000: more than half in the Mediterranean.
But, as Brian Larkin points out in our Editorial many refugees are fleeing conflict. Climate change is a big factor in fueling these conflicts and it in turn is fuelled by excessive and unrestricted carbon emissions of the US military which is protecting access to oil.
Centre News reports on the Conscientious Objectors Day vigil. We’re campaigning for a CO memorial. Sign the petition in Take Action! Come to the Unsung Heroes fundraiser 20 June and to our AGM for a talk on COs by P&J Patron Prof Toby Kelly and Dr Lesley Orr 3 June. There’s a Reflection on two COs by Alan Davies. We’re also raising funds for Nepal earthquake relief. (details p.6).
In Movements News we report on the Church of Scotland recognising Palestine as a state, the disastrous NPT, and the women who crossed the Korean DMZ.
Kelvin Mason pays tribute to a great peace activist – Ray Davies from Wales who died recently. Alan Davies tell the story of two Conscientious Objectors, and Douglas Shaw describes recent revelations behind the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
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Peace and Justice News – May 2015
The editorial asks us to consider those leaving for Europe from Africa as “refugees, fleeing war and persecution, instead of migrants”. Our solutions must involve saving lives rather than the military protection of borders.
Tom Younger, who spent some time working in South America, surveys the life and writings of Uruguayan activist and writer Eduardo Galeano who died recently. His writings address the issues of uncontrolled global capitalism which cares little for the environment or the welfare of working people. His ideas have served as a model for social justice movements throughout the world
Douglas Shaw describes the activist and pacifist sides of Bertrand Russell, a man whose determined stand against WW1 cost him his job as a lecturer at Cambridge University and a future at Harvard University. Both Russell and Galeano were well rounded individuals with creative sides that complemented their activism and let them speak to a wider audience.
Margaret Harrison, one of the founders of Faslane Peace Camp and a lifelong peace campaigner died recently too. In our Unsung Heroes column Jane Tallents shares some personal memories of her life.
In Movement News we report on the Barins Not Bombs demo & blockade, the Indian village that plants trees for infant girls, a Columbian community creating humanitarian space and more.
On 15 May we have our Conscientious Objectors Vigil at The Mound at 5pm, and on 3 June Toby Kelly and Lesley Orr will be speaking on Conscience & Conscientious Objection.
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Peacemaking – April 2015
We dedicate this issue to peacemakers and especially Geoffrey Carnall, who played a vital role in the Peace and Justice Centre for many years and is our Unsung Hero for this month, his obituary kindly written by Chris Booth. Another recent death was that of the American anti nuclear weapons activist, Bix Bichsel, who carried out many actions at military bases and founded the Tacoma Catholic Worker Community.
In this issue we focus on peacemaking. Peace activism never seems to stand still, and after the Blockades of Burghfield by ActionAWE, which we report in News from Around the Movements, comes the Scrap Trident Demo and Blockade on the 4 and 13th of this month. Both vital events in the struggle against Nuclear Weapons.
Andy Jamieson discusses the issue of Trident and the pivotal role Scotland will play after the General Election (if the London Based media panic about the SNP proves to be correct).
William Duncan continues with the second part of his article from the February edition on the role of social entrepreneurs in building peace. He quotes:
“ a pluralist state, access well-paid jobs… food security and a healthy environment, these factors (known as HUGES for Human, Gender and Environmental Security) invariably create the context for a peaceful community.” A message our own leaders appear to neglect as they cut benefits and impose sanctions on the weakest in society.
Marking the Centenary of the International Women’s Peace Conference at the beginning of the First World War Helen Kay tells of the women who risked their lives to promote peace. As war fever grew and grew these women were branded as misguided troublemakers.
Also in News from Around the Movements is the report of the second uninvited performance of the Trident Oratorio at Westminster Abbey. I remember singing in the first performance which was in 2004 at the Parliament Hall in Edinburgh. reply to the
It was composed as a reply to the Lord Advocates Judgement that Trident was not illegal in International Law.
In Centre News read about and then please sign the petition to Edinburgh City Council calling for a Memorial for Conscientious Objectors. There will a fundraising concert 20 June at the Pleasance. Let’s place a Memorial for Peace amongst all the war memorials to the casualties of war.
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Peacebuilding & Environmental Campaigns – March 2015
In keeping with our encompassing aims to promote nonviolence, peace building and ecological sustainability, as well as human rights and conflict resolution this month’s issue includes articles on divestment from fossil fuels, peace building in Serbia and the struggle to protect a valley in Cambodia as well as news of creative nonviolent actions for justice and peace.
In the Editorial Peace and Justice Centre Coordinator Brian Larkin responds to the House of Bishops recent statement on Trident nuclear weapons and suggests that Jesus would have been somewhat more prophetic.
February saw a massive mobilisation of demonstrations calling for divestment from fossil fuels as part of Global Divestment Day.
We wanted to know more about this new phase of the campaign to combat climate change and it potential. Ric Lander from Friends of the Earth Scotland describes the fight against fossils and asks: Are we beginning to win?
Andy Jamieson brings back an inspiring story of Buddhist Peacebuilders from Belgrade. And this month’s Unsung Heroes are Alejandro Gonzalez-Davison and Mother Nature activists struggling to protect the Areng Valley in Cambodia. They are profiled by new writer (and volunteer) Thomas Younger.
As ever News from Around the Movements is packed ith action, from a Campaign Against the Arms Trade activist taking the stage at an arms fair to Peace Piratews at Faslane and an Amazon tribe beating big oil.
Justice Edition – February 2015
In this issue we look at a variety of topics but with the theme of Justice at their core. Justice for those who come into contact with the police, justice for those held in Guantanamo, justice for protestors against drones and protestors against police violence.
First, William Duncan shows how important economic activity, especially entrepreneurship is in rebuilding a society torn by war, where people can be empowered and make a secure community for themselves.
Widespread public protests following police killings in Feguson in the US have raised the question of the value of nonviolent protest as a response to heavy handed police actions. Andy Jamieson suggests that disaffected groups would benefit from adopting nonviolent methods rather than resorting to looting and rioting.
In an interview by US activist Medea Benjamin (CodePink) Kathy Kelly, Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence tells us that 28 civilians are killed for every person targeted in a drone attack. She faces 3 months in a Federal prison walking 2 steps over the line at a drone base.
From Kabul comes Maya Evans with her heartening accounts of various self help projects there that are alleviating the poor status and opportunities for Afghan women. We meet some the street children and hear their stories.
Two clocks are ticking according to Brian Larkin in our editorial: the continuing dangers of climate change, and the continuing existence of nuclear weapons, both threaten our very existence and it is time to act.
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TTIP & TTPA Edition – December 2014
In this issue of P&J News we look at the pressing current issue of TTIP. For anyone unfamiliar with the acronymn. TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This trade agreement is being drawn up behind closed doors but could mean that US corporations would be able to demand further privatisation of the NHS. Ailbhe Moloney outlines Seven Reasons to Object to TTIP, among them that it threatens to Democratic control over our Environment, Food Regulation and even Banking Regulation.
Meanwhile, less known is that the US is currently negotiating sister deal to TTIP on the other side of the world. In “The Dirtiest Deal You’ve Never Heard of” Tracy Buckley gives a glimpse of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
In the Unsung Heroes column Tracy Buckley highlights the victory over a deadly firing range in Kashmir by the nonviolent resistance campaign Save Tossamaidan Front, while News from around the Movements includes accounts of the Natho Peoples Resistance to Forest Destruction, widespread resistance to UK companies arming Israel, Israeli conscientious objector Udi Segal on hunger strike, and more.
Centre News reports on our exhibition of the art work of Syrian refugee children and our production of Divergent Voices of the First World War at the National Library of Scotland while Pat Bryden gives a lengthy review of the performance.
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In this issue we continue to focus on the ongoing crisis in Syria, this time looking at the human cost of this tragedy, the refugees and the suffering of children in particular. Our exhibition of Art by Syrian Refugee Children “Light Against Darkness” is raising awareness locally of the impact of the civil war on children and the work of one small charity to bring them some healing from the trauma.
Rositsa Yordanova, our new intern, provides a concise summary of the international catastrophe taking place in Syria, outlining the scope of the situation for refugees, including millions internally displaced. The amounts of aid needed are huge (6.5 Billion US dollars).
In black and white Ailbhe Moloney outlines how the rights of Syrian children have been trampled on and neglected during the current conflict.
Marking Remembrance Day we focus on the First World War. Elena Ashmann describes the difficulties faced by those “Unsung Heroes” who refused to fight. Our Reflection continues this theme, with an excerpt from the Peace and Justice Centre’s performance Near not Far: World War One’s Divergent Voices taking place at the International Storytelling Festival 1st & 2nd November.
Our Speaker Series reports cover two inspiring talks given this month, both by American activists, one a poet the other a philosopher, Drew Dellinger and Charles Eisenstein. Read the full issue here
Iraq and Syria Edition – October 2014
After the UK Parliament voted for the bombing of IS in Iraq, we look at the nature of Islamic State and the efforts of various countries to halt its expansion in the Middle East.
Also nearby, the children of Syria are suffering during their long civil war and their experiences will be shown through their art at a forthcoming exhibition in Edinburgh, with the help of the Peace and Justice Centre.
In Unsung Heroes, two Syrian Peace Activists are highlighted as is the work of the brave and enterprising organisation called “Young Syrian Activists”.
Poetry has always been central to Syrian culture and we feature a review and a recent poem by Najat Abdul Samad, which is one of many translated into English by Gharda Alatrash.
A taste of Drew Dillinger’s recent spoken word performance, organised by The Peace and Justice Centre is available in his book “Love Letter to the Milky Way “, which is reviewed here.
September was a busy month for activists, and we report on the many actions and demonstrations, including the Climate Change March, the action at Faslane, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Read more…
The Palestine Edition – September 2014
As we go to print Israel and Hamas have agreed a cease fire after 50 days of violence which has so far cost the lives of 67 Israelis and over P&J – 2014 – September 2100 Palestinians, most of them civilians and 458
of them children. Our Editorial reiterates what we wrote to the Foreign Secretary: a call upon the UK to Stop Arming Israel.
Jamie Mann sets out the case for an arms embargo to be placed on Israel and Jonathon Greig lays out the arguments for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Shabana Diouri reports on something beautiful that happened in the middle of the month in the Meadows: families chalked the figures and names of 458 children killed in Gaza.
We include too Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center’s Statement on Gaza which looks at how we can achieve a just peace and theQuakers’ Statement on Israel / Palestine.
On the Referendum front Geoffrey Carnall replies to Brian Cooper’s Case for Voting No and explains that, in his view, the issue of nuclear disarmament trumps all else.
News from Around the Movements is packed with news of a rooftop occupation of a UK Drones manufacturer, No to NATO demos, protests at First World War commemorations and more.
And finally Pat Bryen reviews the Palestinian poetry book and event ‘A Bird is Not a Stone’. Read more…
Yes or No? The Independence Debate – August 2014
In this issue we make space for arguments on both sides of the Independence debate. Former chair of the Peace and Justice Centre Owen Dudley Edwards calls on readers to vote YES while Churches Secretary of Uniting for Peace Reverend Brian Cooper makes the case for voting No.
Fern Azura Martin, a new contributor to Peace and Justice News takes a hard look behind the glamorous facade of major international sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and examines the issue of sex trafficking, asking whether major international sporting events increase demand for prostitution.
We report on the visit to Scotland of Atalla Hanna, the Eastern Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem who testified to the unity of Palestinian Christians and Muslims and called for support for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. In our Unsung Heroes column we make space for the voices of three unsung heroes who are serving lengthy prison terms in the US for exposing the insecurity of America’s highest security nuclear site.
Geoffrey Carnall’s editorial urges Russia to take responsibility for the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 by looking back at how the US government did just that after shooting down an Iranian civil airliner in 1988.
And in our regular columns we bring you, as always, News from Around the Movements and ideas for taking action. Read more…
Forced Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners – July 2014
This issue includes three diverse features which in some ways reflect the range and diversity of concerns of the Peace and Justice Centre.
Writing exclusively for us from the United States, William Duncan, a junior faculty member at BakerUniversity in Kansas, considers the influence of outside NGOs on peace conferences in troubled Sudan. His article is a reminder of the talk of two South Sudan peace campaigners we hosted nearly two years ago.
Meanwhile Rosemary Byfield of the Falun Dafa Association UK calls our attention to the mostly forgotten outrage of forced organ harvesting on Falun Gong members in China. We tend to think of the oppression of the people and culture of Tibet and of the Uighers in modern China; but we must also remember, and speak out against this atrocious ongoing violation of human rights.
Volunteer Cameron Watt has produced a substantial article on Ecology, Capitalism and the State, which raises serious questions about the sustainability of present political and economic structures and sets out a vision of a viable alternative.
Conor Watt, writes about the work of the International Dalit Solidarity Network who campaign for an end to the oppressive and unjust caste system in India, Bangladesh and, yes in many Western countries too.
Finally our Editorial comes from David Mackenzie and Eric Chester of the Scottish Peace Network which held a Vigil at the UK Armed Forces Day Event in Stirling calling for No More Wars. The Editorial is the text of a leaflet handed out to people along the route of the march. Read more…
Armed & Unarmed Forces Day – June 2014
The 28th June is Armed Forces Day, a national day, established in 2006 as Veterans Day, to remember those who served in the armed forces and changed in 2009 to Armed Forces Day, described by the government as ”a day to show support for the Armed Forces.” This year Armed Forces Day is in Stirling, conflicting with Bannockburn Day, and, in celebrating the role of the forces for “the whole of the UK” has ramifications for the independence debate. Responding to this the Scottish Peace Network is holding a No More War vigil. The EP&JC will be there.
Raising awareness of the alternative to the use of armed force to resolve conflict in this issue we include articles which address the ongoing suffering and plight in the Central African Republic and whether arming the UN Peace volunteers is the right decision. We also profile Peace Brigades International, which deploys unarmed peace keepers in conflict situations worldwide, while Douglas Shaw writes about Gandhi’s non violent volunteer peacekeeper program which sought to minimize communal violence in India. Read more…
Conscientious Objectors Day – May 2014
Marking International Conscientious Objectors Day we organised a Vigil honouring Conscientious Objectors (COs) on 15 May on the Mound in Edinburgh, where demonstrations against the First World War took place and in Peace & Justice News we focused on Conscientious Objection to wars.
In our Unsung Heroes column this month Brian Larkin, expresses the true definition of what constitutes a ‘hero’ arguing that the 16,000 British men that refused to kill during the First World War were real heroes for they portrayed “extraordinary bravery, firmness, and fortitude”. Geoffrey Carnall and David Turner both recall personal experiences as World War 2 COs. Geoffrey by the way highlights the important role of Quakers in Britain in supporting the right to Conscientious Objection. And Our Reflection is taken from a powerful and disturbing letter by a CO to his wife sent upon his release from prison. The letter highlights the horrific reality and punishment COs often endured during the First World War. Read more…
Earth Day – April 2014
Earth Day is an annual event that is celebrated worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Following this theme, Brian Larkin’s feature story is about the myth of Gaia – the idea that the earth is a holistic living being – an idea that coincided with the first Earth Day in 1970, which marked the birth of the Ecology movement at a time of widespread environmental destruction and unregulated industrial pollution. And Pat Bryden reviews ‘Whose Crisis, Whose Future? Towards a Greener, Fairer, Richer World’ by Susan George. Read More…
Fukushima – March 2014
In the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster three years ago 300 tons of contaminated water flow into the sea everyday, and the Japanese government tried to hide it. Three years later Marco Gori explains that the catastrophe is still affecting our health and environment. Varsha Gyawali, explores the stories of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy who protest against nuclear energy in Kudamkulan, India. And Jane Tallents writes about Nuclear weapons on a Road Near You (in Scotland) and invites people to join the Nukewatch network tracking them. Pat Bryden also reviews a book that explores the future of an independent Scotland –including the notion of a country without nuclear energy. Read the Full Issue Here
Some 25 million human beings, more than at any time in history are now being trafficked at any one time. William Duncan brings light to the difficult issue of Sex Trafficking while Cameron Watt, tackles State Sanctioned Terrorism, focusing in on Guantanamo, the US Gulag which remains in business after twelve years. Marking the Centenary of the First World War our “Reflection” this month recalls efforts to prevent the outbreak of war in 1914. Pat Bryden Reviews the biography of Desmond Tutu: Rabble Rouser for Peace and our Unsung Heroes are three US Plowshares activists who are facing many years in prison. The Editorial celebrates the life of another (widley sung hero!) Pete Seeger. Read the full issue here.
Climate Change- December 2013
With the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and subsequent COP19 talks in Warsaw it is timely that in this edition of Peace and Justice News we feature several articles on Climate Change and related sustainability issues. Hannah Walters’ Editorial makes the case that human induced Climate change impacts the poorest communities most. Jane Tallents makes a plea for joined up action and takes us from the Philippines, through Warsaw to Scotland and Cauldhall Open Cast. Sophie Bastable of Biofuelswatchexplains the cost of UK biofuel expansion on US forests. Niko Gori looks at the cost to the planet of industrial meat production. Jeroen van Herk reviews a new Report which implicates medical professionals in torture at Guantanamo. Pat Bryden reviews “Gaza: When the Sky Rained White Fire”. And in his Reflection Brian Larkin argues that the idea of “Just War” is outmoded.
Remembrance and War – November 2013
We remember all victims of war, soldiers and civilians, and feature some of those who stood for peace. Pacifism & Realism in the 20th and 21st Centuries, Peace Activism and Remembrance Day, Helen Crawfurd and the Women’s Peace Crusade, Crystal MacMillan and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Remembrance and Music, The Tragic Odyssey of Migrants, Poems from Edinburgh’s Tessa Ransford, Denis Goldberg’s EWJF keynote and Chris Cole on the Economic and Human Cost of Drone Wars. Plus this issue features our new Take Action section.
Creating a Culture of Peace
This month we take for our theme ‘A Culture of Peace’. In addition to our regular features we hear from writers making their own contribution to a culture of peace. Jeroen van Herk writes about the dismal nature of much care for the elderly, Jake Lawy and Isabelle Wolf introduce us to non-violent communication, a means of practicing non-violence in our everyday lives, and Martin Mansell writes about the Alternatives to Violence project now expanding across Scotland.We also features a reviews of David Gee’s Holding Faith, a Reflection by our Coordinator Brian Larkin on Gandhi and the necessity of nonviolent civil resistance while Anne Scott explains the importance of White Poppies.
Becoming the Change We Want to See
In this issue we focus on Being the Change We Want to See. In Fair Trade Matters Lisa Jones on the achievements and problems facing Scotland’s Fair Trade movement. Will Roper on creating a workers collective wholefood shop. An excerpted review by Rosalie Riegle of Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family, and Community. Finally in a Reflection on the Drones Quilt Jane Tallents considers the relationship between inner peace and political action.
In this issue of Peace and Justice News, as Pope Francis visits Brazil, we turn our attention to Latin America. Norma Fonseca writes about the Plan de Vida of indigenous peoples in northern Cauca. In “What about international community?” the power of the word and Colombia’s ongoing peace process is explored, we reprint “And does History Continue to Rhyme?” a blog post in which Roddy Brett considers the “Scream of the Guatemalan Genocide”. Alice Guttierrez writes about The International Group for Peace –GIP-an initiative while Chilean singer-songwriter Carlos Arredondo remembers the day Salvador Allende was killed. Finally Pat Bryden reviews Meet me in Gaza: Uncommon stories of hope inside the strip by Louisa Waugh.
In this month’s edition of Peace and Justice News we consider the wide-ranging and rather abstract topic of Intervention. William Duncan on Iraq’s struggle to rebuild the institutions of a successful state following the 2003, Geoffrey Carnall updates us on Libya, providing a backdrop to the rule of Gaddafi and the coalition intervention, Helen Harris looks at the recent pay out to victims of torture in Kenya, Douglas Shaw reviews the recent book Secret Affairs, Varsha Gyawali finds much to celebrate in the heroism of those responding to the recent floods in Uttarakhand, and Jane Tallents considers an outsider’s view of non-violent direct action.
In this month’s edition of Peace and Justice News we turn the spotlight on Syria. William Duncan looks at what is an often overlooked trigger for conflict: water geopolitics in the middle east, Catherine Kojdecka gives an insight into the roots of the conflict in Syria, Helen Harris looks at the question of prolonging the conflict, this time from the perspective of outside intervention, and Douglas Shaw illustrates the numerous attempts that have been made to start along the path to peace. In our regular Unsung Heroes feature Varsha Gyawali discusses those who work to help the victims of the war: including combatants on both sides, and Jane Tallents provides a provoking Reflection as she reminds us that we cannot split the world into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’.
Along with nonviolence, human rights, alternatives to war and conflict resolution the Peace and Justice Centre espouses ecological responsibility as one of its core values. Sam Jones of Coal Action Scotland outlines the latest developments in the struggle against the massive carbon emissions producers, Sophie Bastable explains, in terms of human rights, how a shift from Coal to Biofuels is doing more damage to the earth, health and communities, Lusi Alderslowe introduces us to the deep connection between permaculture and peace, Brian Larkin on US plans to develop a new guided tactical nuclear weapon based at European bases, another reason Scotland should stay out of NATO, and Helen Harris evaluates the inadequacies of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Women and Violence
In this month’s edition of Peace and Justice News we focus on Women and Violence. Varsha Gyawali and William Duncan both remind us that the cost of conflict falls disproportionately upon women, Anne Scott, writes about why it is so important that the Arms Trade Treaty includes references to the specific violence faced by women and girls in conflict, Nicola Chuhan looks at the work of Edinburgh Women’s Aid, and Helen Harris considers the media coverage of the Steubenville rape case.
In this month’s edition of Peace News we draw our attention back to Afghanistan. Kathy Kelly writes about the Kabul Women’s Duvet Cooperative, established by the Afghan Peace Volunteers, Maya Evans writes about meeting the families of victims of suicide bombings in Kabul, a consideration of the recently leaked US Department of Justice memo on the legality of the use of drones for the targeted killing of American citizens.and William Duncan provides a measured editorial on the knock-on consequences of intervention, with a spotlight on Mali.
New Years Issue 2013
In this first edition of Peace and Justice News of 2013 we gave our contributors a free reign to comment on the last year, and consider their hopes for the future. Douglas Shaw gives us the run-down on the events of the previous year, Varsha Gyawali discusses horrific rape and death of a young woman in Delhi, Brian Larkin writes about thereturn of Prince Harry from Afghanistan, we review recent book by Professor Jolyon Mitchell, which looks at the role of religion and the media in promoting peace and inciting violence, and our reflection seeks to remind us that Martin Luther King was much more than just a civil rights activist, and that his anti-militarist views are especially relevant today.
Civil Society and Peacebuilding
In light of the recent Edinburgh Peace Initiative inaugural symposium, this month’s edition of Peace and Justice News focussed on Peacebuilding, and the role of civil society. Arbie Baguios’ piece ‘Building Peace Within’ encourages all of us who work for peace out of the city of Edinburgh, Heather Tait considers transitional justice, Pat Bryden describes the situation in Palestine, and details an extensive list of organisations which work for peace in the region, and in Unsung Heroes we stay with Palestine, hearing stories of those working for peacebuilding organisations in Gaza as they wait out the recent Israeli aggression.
In this month’s edition of Peace and Justice News we focus on the role of
Civil Society in democracy movements. Douglas Shaw highlights for us some of the issues in the US electoral system, Varsha Gyawali takes us through the compound problems which NGOs both face and cause in post-conflict situations, and Brian Larkin describes for us the work of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and the role it played in the Civil Rights movement.
War on Terror
In this edition of Peace and Justice News we consider how the ‘war on terror’ begun. Heather Tait considers the broad sweep of US foreign policy, Helen Harris looks at the use of unmanned combat drones, their effects and their legality, Varsha Gyawali looks at the group ‘Witness against Torture’, and our reflection from Jane Tallents, builds on last month’s discussion concerning NATO and nuclear weapons.
In this month’s Peace and Justice News we focus on the issue of nuclear weapons, a cause celebre of the Peace and Justice Centre. We begin with a discussion of Scotland’s position on nuclear weapons, Jane Talents considers how the decision to disarm Scotland may be as much in NATO’s hands as in Holyrood’s, Douglas Shaw invites us to be rather more critical of what we hear in the mass media with particular reference to Iran, the NPT is a feature of Heather Tait’s article, our reflections piece challenges our readers, in asking whether peace is ever truly possible, whilst paying homage to the friendliness of the Scots people, Pita Catt suggests that if peace cannot be achieved here, where can it?
In this issue we present varying perspectives on whether the proposed treaty will prevent arms being used to commit human rights abuses or end up protecting arms exporters like the UK and arms dealers. Sara Usher makes the case that protecting innocents is impossible with an internationally accepted and promoted unregulated arms trade, Ray Acheson argues that the draft treaty could undermine the rule of law, Varsha Giywali in her monthly Unsung Heroes column sketches the career of disarmament campaigner, Binalakshmi Nepram, who has made a significant contribution in advocating small arms non-proliferation and empowering women survivors of violence, Helen Harris reports on the Scottish Parliament’s Debate on the Arms Trade Treat, Heather Tait reports on US activist George Lakey’s workshop at the Peace and Justice Centre on nonviolent methods of peacemaking, Judy Russell reviews ‘The Two Worlds of Charlie F.’, and Brian Larkin’s editorial argues that the SNPs proposal for a future independent Scotland to join NATO while getting rid of Trident, is more than a logical contradiction.
This month’s edition of Peace & Justice News focuses upon displacement, with a series of articles on refugees, IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and asylum seekers; their journeys, their struggles, and the political, environmental, legal and economic factors which have led to their displacement. Brian Larkin reviews the latest event in Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre’s Speaker Series, Dr Omar Shaban of Gaza’s Pal-Think Institute talk, Colin Douglas suggests ways in which we in the UK can – through boycott, disinvestment and other forms of nonviolent action – challenge the root causes of Palestinian displacement and the region’s ongoing conflict, Pita Catt, outlines the case against governmental outsourcing of refugee detention, while Thomas Leith of Edinburgh’s Tibet Society writes of perhaps the world’s most famous refugee, the Dalai Lama, and his recent visit to our fair city.
This edition is dedicated to Scotland and Scottish environmentalism. Brian Larkin interviews activist Barbara Dowling following her recent spell in prison, Ellie-May Richmond looks as the effect of fracking on the future of Scotland and Scotland’s renewable energy, and a review of Bill McKibben’s book, ‘Eaarth’ is offered.
This issue is dedicated to the theme of international human rights. Sara Usher unfolds the Syria debate, Varsha Gyawali delivers a concise history of international human rights movements, Ellie-May Richmond frames the Burmese human rights situation, Pat Bryden details the human rights abuses in Palestine, and our regular Reflections piece offers poetic pause for thought with ‘Please Call me by my True Names’, a poem by the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn.
International Women’s Day
This edition of Peace & Justice News marks the 101st International Women’s Day, with a series of articles about the position of women today. Read about The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, or RAWA, a feminist, prodemocracy movement in Afghanistan fighting for equality and peace in their homeland, the position of women in post-earthquake Haiti, and the new legislation which aims to shrink the ever growing problem of sexual violence and female illhealth across the country, our very own Peace Library here at the centre, and IWD related books members can withdraw for free – such as Selling Olga, the story of a young woman sold into slavery. And, a little closer to home, read about two of our female volunteers who help make the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre what it is.