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GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE

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Grass Roots to Global Vision, the Maturing of the Peace Movement
an article by Patrick Hughes

One of the enduring images from the many marches that Planning for Peace has participated in occurred here in Boston. As 40,000 people from all over the state and region wove our way thru the streets of Boston we passed one elderly gentleman leaning on his cane. He was well dressed and he held up a sign. The words simply said " D-Day veteran against war". The crowd cheered wildly. It is that breath and depth of participation that is different about this movement than from the Vietnam Era. At that time the majority of the anti war protesters were young. The Boston march was lead by a strong contingent of Veterans for Peace representing WW II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Behind them were High school students, grand mothers, families and many community groups not unlike ours that felt a diverse voice was needed to correct the direction our country is heading in. Many have said it is the first time they have done something like this.

Planning for Peace grew out of the bus trip organized by a few concerned citizens from the First Parish Church of Groton to the march in New York last February. It has grown to represent the communities of Ayer Groton, Littleton, Harvard and others. The organizers sensed that even if they could not fill all 52 seats it would still be worth it. On the Friday night before we left for New York they were contacting other communities to see if the 16 people we could not fit on the bus could ride with them. By the time we were traveling through Connecticut we were in a line of about 10 bus's. Every rest stop we passed had 40-50 bus's parked that were taking a break from the ride from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont. Rides that had begun at 2 am and by the time we all gathered in New York we numbered 500,000. There was no march but an endless sea of people from all walks of life crowded midtown Manhattan for 30 blocks north and south and 5 boulevards wide (continued)

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


How can we know if the culture of peace is advancing?,

Why does this peace movement represent a wider section of society?,

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Latest reader comment:

One way we can NOT know if the culture of peace is advancing is from projects like the Global Peace Index which has recently been reviewed in CPNN.

The Global Peace Index measures the old dimensions of war and peace, not the new dimensions of culture or war / culture of peace.    Peace, in the old paradigm was the period between wars when countries were preparing themselves for the next war.    Culture of Peace, the new paradigm, is concerned with the deep roots of war, its cultural basis.

That can explain the paradox that it is the wealthy countries of the North that score highest on the index (Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Finland), countries of Europe, which was involved in both the World Wars and which continue to profit from the unequal terms of trade between North and South which is enforced by the culture of war.  

When I was at UNESCO, the African ambassadors had the following to say: "One should not look to the South for the causes of the culture of war; instead, pose three questions. From where do the weapons come? From where do the violent television programmes come? And where are the terms of trade decided that impoverish the people of the South which leads to violence? "


This report was posted on June 24, 2003.