We are deeply saddened by the death of our good friend and colleague Bruce Kent. Bruce was an extraordinary and inspirational figure who dedicated practically his entire life to the cause of promoting peace and opposing war. Continue reading “A Tribute to Bruce Kent”
Joe Murray recently attended a conference in London, organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War entitled ‘Save the Earth, Abolish War’. Below is a short report on the meeting.
Save the Earth, Abolish War
The first speaker was Peter van den Dungen of the International Network of Peace Museums, who referenced the title of a book he recently bought entitled ‘the end of the world generation’. He described as ‘diabolical’ and ‘the road to destruction’ the philosophy based on the theory ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’. He argued for the abolition of war and rejected the notion that it was not achievable – in the same way as people in the past rejected the notion that slavery could not be abolished; that women should not have the vote; that child labour was acceptable and that the dreadful practise of duelling was an honourable pursuit. Our ideas of right and wrong change, over time – and it is now well past time that the very idea of war was consigned to the dustbin of history.
The Second speaker was Dr Stuart Parkinson of Scientists for Global Responsibility, who outlined the impact of war and militarism on our Planet in clear and graphic terms.
Human activities emit GHGs and cause global heating and climate disruption.
60,000 US Military vehicles run at 6 miles to the gallon
F-35 fighter planes do 0.6 miles to the gallon – 100 times the pollution level of a new car
B-2 long range bomber does 0.3 miles to the gallon – 250 tonnes of C02e per ‘mission’3.2 million tonnes of CO2e emitted by UK military in one year – higher than the carbon emissions from Iceland
BAE Carbon emissions were 1.2 million tonnes of CO2e 2017/18
The pentagon is the world’s largest Institutional consumer of petroleum.
US military emits 59 million tonnes of CO2e
US arms industry emissions for 2017 – 280 million tonnes CO2e
War on terror has caused 3000 million tonnes of CO2e
Military responsible for at least 5 to 6% of emissions compared with cars which cause Cars 15%;
Farming 15%; Civilian airlines 3%
Reducing the military boot-print
US negotiators successfully argued for military carbon emissions to be excluded from targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (Clinton Administration) but they were included under Paris agreement.
Military emissions are going downwards (slightly) under slogan “more fight – less fuel”.
Highlight the high military carbon bootprint
Highlight the huge imbalance between military and climate spending
Point out that security goals are better served by shift from military to climate spending
Make link between climate and peace (war)
Arms conversion – successful examples
Factory making windmills in Hull – Centre for Green industry in Hull – taking jobs from the military
Make war history
Shift to public transport
Shift towards plant –based farming and consumption
Imagination and celebration were the order of the day at our 22nd annual Féile Bríde gathering in Kildare. ‘Occupy the imagination’ was the theme and the new Solas Bhríde a cause for celebration – built with the utmost attention to detail, as explained by Rita Minehan, in the teeth of the recession – a prizewinning example of a sustainable building in the heart of the Curragh. Warmth and welcome is added in abundance by Mary, Phil, Rita and members of Cairde Bríde who continue the tradition of hospitality for which Brigid was renowned.
Bruce Kent and Colin Archer, who have devoted most of their lives to promoting peace and – daringly – to the abolition of war, gave dynamic and thought provoking presentations on the extent to which ‘the world is over armed and peace is underfunded’. Bruce, who is in his 8th decade is an inspiration, with his indomitable spirit, his great sense of humour and his constant commitment to the cause of peace.
Film of Féile Bríde by RoJ
The essence of Bruce’s presentation was that ‘unless war is eliminated, the human race will be’ and so he has founded the Movement for the Abolition of War. This may seem like a far-fetched idea but so did the elimination of the slave trade when small groups of Abolitionists met in various parts of the world in the 17th century. (Of course we now have a new slave trade in the form of human trafficking but – unlike the slave trade – it is generally regarded as the odious crime that it is).
Emanuela Russo spoke about the urgent need to wrest control of food production from the hands of profit-driven, environmentally destructive corporations and to establish food sovereignty, defined as “the right of people to grow and consume food that is socially, culturally, ecologically and economically appropriate to local conditions.” She went on to say: “the current global food system creates hunger and obesity at the same time. There are 900 million hungry people in the world and almost the same amount of obese people. One of the reasons why this is happening is that all around the world, more and more food systems are controlled by big corporations and agribusinesses with the support of national governments and international institutions (such as IMF and WB, WTO), these food systems regard food as a commodity and their main goal is not to feed the people but to make profit.” Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2015”
‘Another world is possible’ – A simple and confident expression of an ability to step outside the existing paradigm and imagine an alternative! This ability to imagine, to voice the imagined, and to take action to manifest it, is a wonderful gift and holds the potential to a life well spent; a seed full of potential for change. Whether it be in the small fields of power within which we operate on a day-to-day basis or whether the net of imagination is cast farther to embrace other fields and other people, the role of the imagination in creating change is a vital one.
Speakers at this year’s Féile Bríde include those who similarly inhabit their dreams and make them visible. Bruce Kent, a name synonymous with peace-making and founder of an organisation that challenges the military mindset of countless generations, the Movement for the Abolition of War; Colin Archer of the International Peace Bureau, another life-long peace activist who similarly and consistently presents the kind of world that would be possible if we stopped sacrificing life in its many forms to the god of war and chose instead to put our focus and energy into the protection of life; Emanuela Russo, member of the Via Campesina and founding member of Food Sovereignty Ireland, by word and example occupies the imagined world where food production is in the hands of the people in respectful alliance with Mother Earth; And Salome Mbugua, working to bring about the world she dreams of in common with Brigid where justice, peace and human rights are upheld and hospitality is a belief in practice.
We invite you to join with us; to bring along your dreams and to add your voices to the dreamers’ discourse. Together, let’s ‘occupy the Imagination’ and discover what great changes we can help bring into being. Continue reading “Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2015”
Report by Joe Murray
I recently attended a peace conference in the unlikely venue of the ‘Imperial War Museum’ in London. Organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War (MAW) in a venue, containing, as MAW President Bruce Kent said, three of the most unattractive words in the English language, the event was interesting and timely, looking critically, as it did, at the way in which World War 1 is being commemorated. Many contributions noted the attempt to ‘redeem’ World War 1, and to portray it as a ‘good war’ by those who continue to benefit from the business of war and who want to ensure its continuance as a means of ‘settling’ international disputes.
A disturbing feature was the announcement that since the Museum re-opened after refurbishment in July 2014, it has been visited by over half a million people. And while the peace event attracted around one hundred people largely in the over-50 age bracket, the war museum was visited by thousands of people in the course of the day. Among the visitors were families including children of all ages, many of whom were being photographed proudly standing alongside or caressing some of the most grotesque weapons ever manufactured. Continue reading “The Courage of Their Convictions: Conference Organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War”