What could our money do if it was spent on humanitarian causes instead of the military?
Some of us would remember exactly where we were on the day 50 years back when Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered so hideously. Very few “survive” being killed in the way that Martin Luther King has done. The civil rights movement and the struggle against racism are forever linked to his name, his words and his deeds. As we mark the 50th anniversary of his death it is of high value to have this collective reflection in order to look more deeply into what his legacy means, and may mean, in the 21 Century.
Even though his name may be most strongly linked to the fight against racial segregation, his opposition to war and encouragement of non-violence remain of great inspiration. . . . .
Read all of Ingeborg Breines’ opinion piece in the latest IPB newsletter
by Eric Unger
HAVE YOU watched the movie, Hacksaw Ridge? It’s worth a look, I think.
Having viewed this film about an American WWII conscientious objector I wondered if Canada had had a similar soldier who refused to kill yet served in war. Then while in the doctor’s waiting room the other day I came upon this short article here in Reader’s Digest about a Korean War veteran and CO.
This excerpt from the story really caught my eye:
After Pelletier was honourably discharged on August 13, 1953… He married Rosaline in the spring of 1964 and they settled in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and had four children: three sons and a daughter. When the kids were young, Pelletier brought them to Remembrance Day ceremonies and gave them mock parachute lessons in the basement, but he told them very little about the war. This dismayed their second oldest, Louis-Marie, who, as a child, was anxious for details of his father’s courageous exploits in Korea. One day, in a bid to find out more, he asked his dad which side had been victorious. “We wanted so much for him to tell us it was him—that he had won the war,” says Louis-Marie, laughing. “But he told us it was the bankers who’d really won. [emphasis mine] What a boring answer! Still, he wasn’t wrong.”
A peace festival is being planned to advocate the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, the demilitarization of our cultures, and the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.
Learn more and get involved at http://notonato.org
MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj is conducting a series of round tables with stakeholders across Canada on his Private Member’s Motion, M-163, to appoint a Canadian Ambassador for Women, Peace & Security.
The next round tables are to be held in Montreal and Halifax in late August. For more information, please contact Isabella McKenna, Parliamentary Intern, (613) 947-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A new report just released claims NATO armed forces in their treatment of teenage recruits “may violate international law”.
The report reveals:
- Physical, psychological and sexual abuse is endemic;
- Consent arrangements are legally inadequate;
- Recruitment and training practices “exploit young people”.
The report, Why 18 Matters, by the human rights group Child Soldiers International, examines recruitment and training practices of economically developed states, drawing on over 200 academic and official sources and the testimony of recruits. It shows how nations capitalise on the social, economic and psychological vulnerabilities of disadvantaged adolescents to meet recruiting targets. The authors claim these states may be violating their commitments under international law.
Young people considering a military career face misinformation, weak consent arrangements, routine ill-treatment during training, and an unacceptable risk of mental health problems as a result of joining too young, according to this new report into the enlistment of teenagers.
Examining the situation in Canada the report’s researchers highlighted “the deep-seated hierarchical nature of military culture, and the degree to which emphasis on the values of obedience, conformity and respect for superiors can lead to abuses of power, [and] the susceptibility of junior members to negative social influence”. In Canada, Germany, the UK and the US there is an increased risk of violent behaviour among young recruits.
Child Soldiers International is an international human rights organisation established in 1998 to end the recruitment, use and exploitation of children below the age of 18 by armed forces and military groups worldwide. It campaigns for a global minimum enlistment age of at least 18 years. Read more at http://www.child-soldiers.org.
The United Nations has just recently decided to postpone the UN Conference on Nuclear Disarmament scheduled to take place in New York from May 14-16, 2018. New dates for the UN conference have not yet been set.
As a result the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money, a 7-day action highlighting the colossal nuclear weapons budget and what this money could instead support, will be postponed until UN Disarmament Week , October 24-30, 2018.
This just in from the Basel Peace Office!
You are invited to participate in an exciting action: Count the Nuclear Weapons Money.
One trillion dollars is being allocated over the next ten years to modernize the nuclear arsenals of nine countries.The corporations making these weapons lobby for increased spending on nuclear weapons, stimulating the nuclear arms race and increasing the risk of a nuclear war.
Count the Nuclear Weapons Money will demonstrate the scale of this investment, and how it could instead be devoted to peace and humanitarian needs. While governments meet at the United Nations in New York for the first ever United Nations High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, we will be outside the UN counting one million specially designed notes each of $1 million value, adding up to $1 trillion.
Between May 10-16 we will count money ($100 million per minute, $6 billion per hour, $146 billion per day for seven days). While counting we will highlight economic, social and environmental areas in which this money could instead be invested.
We have parliamentarians, civil society leaders, artists, sports stars, musicians, activists, religious leaders, youth, war veterans and others signed up to count the money for 20-30 minutes each. Click here to sign-up as a money counter.
This action is part of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money, a global campaign to cut nuclear weapons budgets, divest from nuclear weapons corporations and move the money to meet areas of human need, such as ending poverty, protecting the climate, supporting renewable energy, creating jobs, and providing adequate healthcare, housing and education for all.
The campaign was launched in October 2016 by the International Peace Bureau, World Future Council and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Conscious Canada supports this campaign along with many other organisations and networks working in cooperation with the Global Campaign on Military Spending.
Conscience Canada has recently become a member of the International Peace Bureau.
The IPB is dedicated to a vision of the world without war. For more than 125 years the IPB has worked on a wide range of peace promotion topics, including nuclear weapons, the arms trade and other aspects of disarmament; peace education and creating a culture of peace; women and peacemaking; peace history; as well as related themes such as international law and human rights.
Conscience Canada shares IBP’s vision and its belief that by reducing funding for the military, significant amounts of money can be released for social projects, domestically or abroad, which can lead to the fulfillment of real human needs and the protection of the environment.
More information about the International Peace Bureau can be found on the IBP website. The IPB newsletters are there along with info on other publications, activities, and their Youth Network.
The Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS) is an international campaign promoted by the International Peace Bureau. The Global Days of Action (GDAMS) it organizes is an annual occurrence. The aim is to reduce the global military spending thanks to cooperative work with civil society groups.
The GCOMS 2018 campaign has started. This year, the IPB Global Day(s) of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) includes the period from April 14 to May 3rd, 2018, under this slogan:
Reducing 10% of military assets will help save our planet. Take action!
Take part in the GDAMS Selfie Campaign 2018
Thanks to Ernie & Charlotte Wiens for sharing their peace tax letter with us, below. May it inspire many others to act on the leadings of their conscience.
There are many Canadians who simply believe it is wrong to kill another human being for any reason. During World War ll some 10,000 Canadians chose to be conscientious objectors and refused to take up arms in order to kill. Some would say one should be willing to defend one’s country. This may sound noble but in reality if you go to war you aim to kill before you are killed.The problem, as you know, is that if everyone operates from this premise you end up with what we have today- militaries in almost every country on the planet, including our own, spending precious human,environmental and financial resources preparing to kill. Particularly abhorrent is the fact that even our own country produces military vehicles and equipment which are sold around the world to help other nations kill in the name of their country. It is not unlikely that these weapons could be used to wreak havoc on the country from which they originate.
No one said it better than former President Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in a final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children…This is not the way of life at all in any true sense…”
We long for a leader to speak and to act like this while in office. Mr. Trudeau, you yourself reportedly said that if you were not an MP you would consider participating in Non-Violent Peace Force. This is noble indeed. We write to request another option in keeping with your desire for peace. Maybe you are an MP and Prime Minister precisely for this option.
Use your conviction and influence and government to establish a Legal Peace Tax Fund so that Canadians like us can legally divert the military portion of our taxes to work for peace rather than preparing for war. If you would do so Canadians could choose this option and Canada would begin to show the rest of the world that we are serious about peace. Our children, our grandchildren and the children of the world will be in a better place.
Motivated by a vision for a peaceful Canada, motivated by our conscience and faith, and desiring a better world for all children we have diverted the military portion of our taxes to Conscience Canada’s Peace Tax Fund for the past ten years. We have annually informed your office, the CRA, our MP and other government leaders of our actions and our reasons for doing so. All to no avail. We continue to be pursued by the CRA for tax dollars we have already paid. Do you support this action in light of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Our country has allowed for conscientious objection for over 200 years. Is this no longer an option at a time where technological warfare requires dollars more than bodies to fill boots and carry guns?
We anticipate a reply. Please consider our request seriously. And please, not just another form letter.
As we continue to pray for our leaders and the healing of all nations,
Ernie and Charlotte Wiens