UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon: “Disarmament cannot be considered in isolation from other global challenges. The world spends more on the military in one month than it does on development all year, and four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organisations combined. The world is over-armed. Peace is under-funded. Bloated military budgets promote proliferation, derail arms control and detract from social and economic development. The profits of the arms industry are built on the suffering of ordinary people in Mali, Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Rob Fairmichael attended the International Peace Bureau council meeting and Afri Hedge School in Dublin in November and wrote this report…
A Disarming Event
‘Disarming’ in English can mean two quite different things. So far as the peace movement is concerned it implies the process of disarmament, of overcoming militarism, and building a real and lasting peace. But ‘disarming’ can also imply pleasant and charming in a low key way, possibly through calming hostility and building confidence. I certainly was not hostile to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) to begin with but I think I could describe the IPB council meeting and related conference as being disarming in both senses. Significantly, this was the first ever IPB council to be held in Ireland.
There were two or three related events. The first was the IPB council business event. The second was a conference which Afri runs in different locations throughout Ireland every autumn but which this time was co-organised with IPB, using IPB people as speakers and resource people. Also speaking at the Hedge School were Afri’s Rose Kelly and Kimmage DSC’s Paddy Reilly, in a session on “Climate Change, Resources and War” chaired by Afri Chairperson, Andy Storey. The conference title was “Joining the dots: Disarmament, Development, Democracy.” In order to make a tangible response to the threat of Climate Change, participants in the Hedge School planted a rowan tree which was then named “Lina [Ben Mhenni]’s tree”. In addition there was the award of IPB’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize to two prominent women involved in the ‘Arab Spring’. Continue reading “Post Hedge School Impressions: A Disarming Event”