Category Archives: DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Bolivia: Post-Coup Update

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article by Eric Zuesse from the Transcend Media Service

 With every passing day, it becomes clearer that the military coup in Bolivia on November 10th was masterminded in Washington DC. This reality will create yet a new difficulty in relations between the U.S. regime and Mexico to its direct south, because the Mexican Government, under progressive President Lopez Obrador, took the courageous and very meaningful step of providing refuge to the U.S.-couped Bolivian President Evo Morales and therefore posed overtly a resistance to the U.S. dictatorship.


President Evo Morales

Unlike the U.S. itself, which has abandoned the substance of democracy while adhering to its fascist Supreme Court’s interpretations (distortions) of the original intent of the democratic America’s Founding Fathers in their U.S. Constitution, Bolivia’s imposed regime isn’t even nominally legitimate in any democratic sense, because it has abandoned that country’s Constitution, ever since it grabbed power there.

One of the first indications that this was another U.S. coup was that on November 10th, the New York Times, which along with the Washington Post is one of the regime’s two main mouthpieces, refused to call it a “coup” at all, though it obviously was. Headlining on November 10th with the anodyne “Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down”, they lied and alleged that “Mr. Morales was once widely popular” — as if there were any objective measures, such as polls, which indicated that he no longer was. Their concept of ‘democracy’ was like that of fascists everywhere: violent mob actions against a democratically elected Government. “Angry mobs attacked election buildings  around the country, setting some on fire.” Far-right mobs are ‘democracy to ‘journalists’ such as at the New York Times.  

The next day, November 11th, that fascist ‘news’-paper headlined an editorial “Evo Morales Is Gone. Bolivia’s Problems Aren’t.” Here is how they expressed their contempt for democracy: “When a leader resorts to brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate, as President Evo Morales did in Bolivia, it is he who sheds his legitimacy, and forcing him out often becomes the only remaining option. That is what the Bolivians have done.” ‘Bolivians’ — meaning there that extreme-rightist minority of Bolivia’s electorate. The NYT even had the gall to say contemptuously: “Predictably, Mr. Morales’s left-wing allies across Latin America, including President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, President-elect Alberto Fernández of Argentina and President Miguel Díaz-Canel of Cuba, joined by the British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, cried ‘coup’.”

Britain’s BBC, on November 11th, was considerably more circumspect in their anti-democratic propaganda: for example, in this video, at 13:00, the BBC  asks
“Why are so many of the people out there on the streets now then do you think [demonstrating against Morales]?”

and the respondent didn’t say that this is the way practically every CIA coup is done. So, the desired implication was left with gullible viewers, that this was an expression of a democracy instead of the expression of a fascist mob.

It was left to governments which are resisting U.S. rule to express more honestly, as the Turkish Government’s more honest propaganda-organ, the newspaper Yeni Safak, did finally on November 17th, “Bolivia’s Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran’s Mosaddeg”. Their columnist Abdullah Muradoğlu wrote:

There are indications that the U.S. was involved in the ousting of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, in a military coup. Secret talks between American senators and Morales’ opponents were brought up before the elections on Oct. 20. The talks, which were leaked to the public, discussed action plans to destabilize Bolivia if Morales won the elections. It was stated that the Evangelical Church would support the coup attempt. The fact that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, known as “Tropical Trump”, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are passionate Evangelicals, points to the ideological link to the Evangelical architects of the Bolivian coup. …

Bolivia has abundant resources of tin, copper, silver, gold, tungsten, petroleum and uranium, as well as large quantities of lithium. Lithium is a strategic mine for space technology. Morales became the target of a pro-U.S. military coup, and policies aimed at allocating the country’s resources to the poor rather than a small group played an important role in his demise. …

But it wasn’t only foreign news-media but also a very few honest alternative-news media which were reporting the realities. For example, on November 11th, The Gray Zone headlined “Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support”. The next day, on November 12th, Moon of Alabama’s anonymous blogger bannered “Lessons To Learn From The Coup In Bolivia” and he summarized the popular democratically elected and re-elected overthrown leader Evo Morales’s enormously successful record of leadership there, such as:

During his twelve years in office Evo Morales achieved quite a lot  of good things:

Illiteracy rates:
2006 13.0%, 2018 2.4%

Unemployment rates
2006 9.2%, 2018 4.1%

Moderate poverty rates
2006 60.6%, 2018 34.6%

Extreme poverty rates
2006 38.2%, 2018 15.2%

It’s no wonder, then, that Morales is so popular in Bolivia.

Then, further about the fascist character of the U.S.-imposed regime, Mint Press News headlined on November 18th, “Media Silent as Bolivia’s New Right-Wing Gov’t Massacres Indigenous Protesters”.

On November 19th, Peoples Dispatch bannered “Hatred of the Indian. By Álvaro García Linera”, and presented a statement by Linera, who was Morales’s Bolivian Vice President. He opened:

Almost as a nighttime fog, hatred rapidly traverses the neighborhoods of the traditional urban middle-class of Bolivia. Their eyes fill with anger. They do not yell, they spit. They do not raise demands, they impose. Their chants are not of hope of brotherhood. They are of disdain and discrimination against the Indians. They hop on their motorcycles, get into their trucks, gather in their fraternities of private universities, and they go out to hunt the rebellious Indians that dared to take power from them.

In the case of Santa Cruz, they organize motorized hordes with sticks in hand to punish the Indians, those that they call ‘collas’, who live in peripheral neighborhoods and in the markets. They chant “the collas must be killed,” and if on the way, they come across a woman wearing a pollera [traditional skirt worn by Indigenous and mestizo women] they hit her, threaten her and demand that she leave their territory. In Cochabamba, they organize convoys to impose their racial supremacy in the southern zone, where the underprivileged classes live, and charge – as if it were a were a cavalry contingent – at thousands of defenseless peasant women that march asking for peace. They carry baseball bats, chains, gas grenades. Some carry firearms.

On November 26th, the Libya 360 blog headlined “Bolivia: they are killing us, comrades!” and reported:

We are receiving audios all the time, from different parts of Bolivia: Cochabamba, El Alto, Senkata, La Paz… They bring desperate cries from women, from communities that resist with dignity, under the murderous bullets of the military, police, and fascist groups armed by the oligarchies with the support of Trump, Macri, and Bolsonaro. They also bring voices that denounce, voices that analyze, voices that organize, voices that are in resistance. There are weeping voices that are remade in slogans. The united peoples will never be defeated!

The racist, fascist, patriarchal, colonial, capitalist coup d’etat seeks to put an end to all these voices, silence them, erase them, make them inaudible. The communicational fence seeks to crush and isolate the words of the people. The conservative, capitalist restoration, goes for lithium, goes for the jungle, goes for bad examples.

The voices continue to arrive. New spaces of communication are generated. The social and family networks, the community radio stations, the home videos made from cell phones are functioning by the thousands. It is heartbreaking to hear bullets. To see their journey through the flesh, invading the bodies that rise from all humiliations. It generates anger, impotence, indignation, rage.

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Question related to this article:

Why was Morales ousted from Bolivia by a coup d’etat?

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On the same day, that same blog bannered “The People Will Not Allow the Coup in Bolivia, says Venezuelan Ambassador”. This opened:

One of the first ‘promises’ made by the self-proclaimed, de-facto government of opposition senator Jeanine Áñez was to “hunt down” ex-minister Juan Ramón Quintana, Raúl García Linera – brother of vice-president Álvaro García Linera -, as well as the Cuban and Venezuelan people that live in Bolivia.

The threat was publicly declared by the interior minister Arturo Murillo, designated by Áñez.

Later on, the communications minister of the de facto government, Roxana Lizárraga, accused Cuban and Venezuelan diplomats of being responsible for the violence unleashed in the country.

The statements came after an attack on the Venezuelan diplomatic office in La Paz on November 11. Armed paramilitaries surrounded the embassy with explosives and threatened to invade the building.

However, the aggression did not begin with the coup. According to Crisbeylee González, who served as the Venezuelan ambassador in Bolivia for more than 10 years, since 2008, the embassy has suffered threats from the organizations in opposition to Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera.

During the days of tension, Crisbeylee, who is also a personal friend of Morales, decided to protect her team and she returned to her country.

On November 17, the Venezuelan diplomatic staff, made up of 13 functionaries and their family members, flew with the Venezuelan state company Conviasa from La Paz to Caracas.

Upon returning to her country, the ambassador spoke to Brasil de Fato and denounced the terror she suffered in the last couple of days.

Brasil de Fato:

How did you all take the news that you would have to leave the country? Was there any hostility before the coup?

Crisbeylee González:

For a while now, the opposition has talked about a “Chavista bunker” referring to the Venezuelan embassy, where we would supposedly be “ideologically orienting” the Bolivian people’s movements and youth. They even talked about us supposedly exerting pressure on Evo so that he would not abandon the socialist, Bolivarian proposal.

There were always certain times when the xenophobia increased, especially during elections. Every time that there were elections or a coup attempt, the principal target is always of course president Evo Morales but right after that, it’s the Venezuelan embassy. The diplomatic mission has always been an element that must be combated.

Since 2012 when there was a coup attempt by the police, they began to say that our embassy carried out military training with the Bolivians. A very similar discourse to what was created in Chile against the Cubans during the rule of Salvador Allende.

And with this, they were able to create a strong expression of xenophobia within the Bolivian middle classes against Venezuelans. The media also helped to create this adverse discourse against Venezuelans.

In these past couple of days [since the coup], one of the first things that they did was to say that the Venezuelans had to leave and that they were going to attack the Venezuelans. Before the elections on October 20, they already talked about attacking the embassy. …

The next day, on November 27th, they headlined “The U.S. Launches Itself in the Most Violent Way Imaginable to Definitively Seize Bolivia”. They interviewed Argentine sociologist Atilio Boron, one of the most internationally renowned political analysts today, so that in just three questions he can give us his vision of the crisis Bolivia is going through.

How would you characterize the coup d’état in Bolivia?

Without a doubt, the coup d’état in Bolivia is part of the tradition of the old military coups sponsored by the United States since the end of World War II. However, this practice dates back even further, as the history books show us. That means that the soft coup that was applied against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Lugo in Paraguay and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, has been abandoned and the old formulas have returned. In Bolivia, the old formulas were applied, because in reality there was no possible propagandistic basis for the coup. There was no fraud in Bolivia and therefore the OAS avoided using that expression, instead making euphemistic recommendations.

Furthermore, recent studies from the United States convincingly prove that such fraud did not exist. The University of Michigan study (which is the most important center for electoral studies) confirms this. However, the coup plan was not going to stop in the face of these details. They wanted to get Evo out and take revenge. It was a very clear lesson against those Indians who, as they did in 1780, revolted against the Spanish viceroyalty. Somehow what is happening now is a replay of Túpac Katari’s deed. The scenarios have changed and imperialism is different, but the essence is the same. And now, as yesterday, it is being repressed with unprecedented ferocity. …

On November 28th, Peoples Dispatch and Libya 360 simultaneously headlined “Bolivia: What Comes After the Coup?” and opened:

It has been over two weeks since the coup d’état which forced the resignation and exile of President Evo Morales and Vice-president Álvaro García Linera. Since then, thousands of working-class and Indigenous Bolivians have been resisting on the streets the coup and the illegitimate government of Jeanine Áñez. They have been met with extreme violence from the Armed Forces and the National Police, over 30 have been killed, hundreds injured and hundreds have been arrested.

On Monday night, a new agreement was announced reached between the de facto government of Áñez and the legislators from the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) to hold elections in the country in the next 3-4 months.

Peoples Dispatch spoke to Marco Teruggi, an Argentine sociologist and journalist who spent several weeks in Bolivia before and after elections were held in order to understand the agreement reached on elections and the state of resistance in the country.

Peoples Dispatch:

Starting with the most recent, what do you think about the agreement that MAS made with the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez? Did they have another option? Was there enough force on the streets and in the Assembly to achieve anything else?

Marco Teruggi:

The first thing to keep in mind is that in the design of the coup d’état, from the beginning, the possibility of an electoral solution was always contemplated in order to gain legitimacy.

If you had to arrange it in steps, there is the first step which is the overthrow, a second step which is the creation of a de facto government, and all of this accompanied by persecution, repression and massacres. The third moment is the call for elections and the fourth moment is when the elections themselves happen.

This was always proposed in the basic design, it was never about an old-style coup d’état where a de-facto government is installed for an undetermined amount of time, but precisely part of its presentation was to show itself as a democratic process, recognized internationally, under the condition that later they would go to elections.

It was always expected, the question was in what moment, with what conditions, both for the coup supporters and for those who are confronting it. In this sense, this issue was being discussed in the Assembly, where MAS has a majority, and as they had been announcing, they gave the OK for an agreement, in law, to call for elections, wherein the results of the elections of October 20 are also annulled.

I think that just as it was clear that the coup strategy counted with an electoral resolution to legitimize itself, it also was clear early on that the strategy of the MAS legislators was to hold these elections in the most favorable conditions possible. Basically that MAS could present itself in the elections, which it achieved, and with guarantees for Evo, not to participate, but to prevent political-juridical persecution. And also the retreat of the soldiers, for them to return to their barracks, and that the decree which exempts them from penal responsibility in operations of “re-establishing order” is withdrawn.

As such, it is not surprising that MAS has said yes to the elections because it was not going to be possible to remove Áñez through street pressure, even though the actions on the streets conditioned the initial strategy of the coup. It is very important to keep this in mind because otherwise, one could think that MAS proposed a change of tactics, of strategy. But no, it was always the electoral solution, and either way, the streets were an important component to accelerate this process on both ends. …

So, in short: rigged ‘elections’ will be held, in which Evo Morales is to be excluded, and in which there will be no repercussions against the U.S.-stooge-regime participants if their side fails to win those ‘elections’. The Bolivian people won’t have any legal right to hang the coupsters. The U.S. regime will see to that.

UN commemorates International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from the United Nations

The United Nations has underlined its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to achieve self-determination, independence and sovereignty.


(Click on image to enlarge and to read caption)

Senior officials joined ambassadors and other representatives from the international community in New York on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, officially observed each year on 29 November.

Established in 1977, it marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.

No alternative to two-state solution

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community, UN Secretary-General António Guterres observed in his message for the day. 

As there is no viable alternative to the two-State solution, he called on both sides, and their supporters, to work towards restoring faith in the process.

“Only constructive negotiations between the parties, in good faith, with support from the international community and adhering to long-standing United Nations resolutions and long-agreed parameters, will bring about a just and durable solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states”, the UN chief said.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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“What is needed, first and foremost, are leadership and political will. The efforts of civil society and those on all sides who seek to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians also need to be supported.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his people have endured more than 70 years of tragedies and crises, yet remain steadfast.

“Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks, we remain committed to a multilateral order that respects and ensures respect for international law,” he said in a message read by Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour.

“The State of Palestine will continue engaging in efforts aimed to advance the rule of international law, including through the building of our national institutions, spreading the culture of peace and empowering our people, especially women and youth.”

Humanitarian support vital

The roughly eight million Palestinians live primarily in territory occupied by Israel, but also across the Middle East in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande called for action to ensure critical humanitarian support.

“This must be tackled by strengthening the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to ensure that it can meet the humanitarian needs of over 5.4 million Palestinian refugees. It is important that we collectively safeguard the Agency against the political and financial challenges it faces,” he said.

Niang Cheikh, Chair of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, maintains hope that the two-State solution will be realized.

“Despite all the contrary winds, this day will come and we will then celebrate the realization of a just peace in the interest of the Palestinians and indeed all the peoples of the region,” he stated.

Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima marks another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A press release from 7ZEIZH

Pope Francis’ declaration in Hiroshima is another historic step in the fight for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Roland Nivet and Edith Boulanger, national co-spokespersons of Mouvement de la Paix, have jointly declared.

The declaration of Pope Francis in Hiroshima on November 23, 2019 in which he states that “the use of atomic energy for military purposes is a crime” and that “a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary” and finally that “The time has come to renounce nuclear weapons and build a collective and concerted peace” is another historic step in the struggle for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. In his time the academician Jean Rostand speaking of the atomic weapon said “to prepare a crime it is already a crime”.

(Click here for the French version of this article.)

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Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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Six months into the beginning of the work of the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the UN in May 2020 which will bring together all states, we can only welcome the fact that the Pope also calls “To support all international instruments of nuclear disarmament, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Weapons Banning Treaty” adopted at the United Nations on 7 July 2017.

Pope Francis’ proposal for the money devoted to these works of death to be devoted to human development and the struggle for the climate corresponds to the slogan adopted by the 160 or so organizations of the Collective On the Move for Peace, which called for September 21 (International Day of Peace) to march “for peace, climate, social justice and nuclear disarmament”.

All peace-loving people, regardless of their ideological, religious, trade union or political beliefs or affiliations, will, we believe, find an additional reason to act for a world without nuclear weapons.

A few days ago we sent a letter to all French Parliamentarians proposing the adoption, as part of the preparation of the Budget 2020 of France, an amendment to this Finance Act to freeze the credits planned in 2020 to the modernization of nuclear weapons.

While the majority of the government has voted to double the funds earmarked for atomic weapons, we hope that the Pope’s statement will perhaps cause them to reflect and take into consideration our amendment proposal.

Pope Francis Calls Nuclear Weapons Immoral as Catholic Activists Face Jail For U.S. Nuke Base Action

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Democracy Now (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License).

Over the weekend, Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the United States dropped the first atomic bombs in 1945, killing more than 200,000 people. Pope Francis said, “A world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary.” The leader of the Cathoilc Church met with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and declared the possession of nuclear weapons to be immoral. The Pope’s visit comes as a group of seven Catholic peace activists are awaiting sentencing for breaking into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia on April 4, 2018. The activists, known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, were recently convicted of three felony counts and a misdemeanor charge for entering the base armed with hammers, crime scene tape and baby bottles containing their own blood.


Video of interview

We speak with Martha Hennessy, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. She is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. We are also joined by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. His most recent book is titled, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” Daniel Ellsberg was blocked from testifying in the recent trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!. I’m Amy Goodman. “A world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary.” Those were the words of Pope Francis this weekend as he visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bombs in the world.—it was 1945—killing over 200,000 people. Pope Francis met with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and declared the possession of nuclear weapons to be immoral. In Hiroshima, Pope Francis spoke at the city’s Peace Memorial Park.

POPE FRANCIS: [translated] The use of atomic energy for the purpose of war is today more than ever a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future for our common home. The use of atomic energy for the purpose of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. We will be judged by this. Future generations will rise to condemn our failure if we spoke of peace but did not act to bring it about among the peoples of the earth. How can we speak of peace even as we build terrifying new weapons of war? How can we speak of peace even as we justify illegitimate actions by speeches filled with discrimination and hate?

AMY GOODMAN: The Pope’s visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes as a group of seven Catholic peace activists are awaiting sentencing for breaking into the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia. It was April 4th, 2018. The activists, known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, who broke in on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, were recently convicted of three felony counts and a misdemeanor charge for entering the base armed with hammers, crime scene tape and baby bottles containing their own blood. They also carried an indictment charging the U.S. government with crimes against peace. The Kings Bay Naval Base is home to at least six nuclear ballistic missile submarines, each of which carries 20 Trident thermonuclear weapons. The activists said they were following the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.”

We are joined now by two guests. Martha Hennessy is with us in New York, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. And joining us from Berkeley, California, Pentagon paper whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, his most recent book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Dan Ellsberg was blocked from testifying in the recent trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Martha, can you respond to Pope Francis going to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and saying that nuclear weapons are immoral?

MARTHA HENNESSY: Thank you, Amy. It’s good to be here. I think that we have before us a remarkable Pope, and he is certainly exhausting himself with this work of peacemaking and global solidarity-building. He is unequivocally speaking out against nuclear weapons. He does support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. My heart rejoices to hear his words and to see him. He is very purposefully going to places that—places of sin and sorrow and grief and pain. He calls it a sacramental act to go to the sites. I feel complete affirmation in what he is trying to do with regards to our own action of walking onto the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay.

AMY GOODMAN: Has he weighed in on your trial or your sentencing?

MARTHA HENNESSY: I don’t think so. Not publicly, verbally, but he knows what is happening.

AMY GOODMAN: So describe what you did very briefly. You have been on before and described it. But also the sentence that you face. You were found guilty.

MARTHA HENNESSY: Yes, we were convicted, found guilty on all counts, October 24th.

AMY GOODMAN: And those counts were?

MARTHA HENNESSY: Conspiracy, depredation of governmental property, destruction of Naval property and trespass. And we are awaiting sentencing. We are facing—the initial threat was 20 years in prison, and I believe that the prosecution is now calling for 18 to 24 months. The judge has a reputation of ruling perhaps in the middle of the road. But I expect that I will receive a minimum of one year in federal prison.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to Pope Francis Sunday holding a holy mass for over 30,000 Catholics at the Nagasaki Stadium in Japan.

POPE FRANCIS: [translated] In the belief that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these do not defend us from threats to national and international security of our time. We need to consider the catastrophic impact of their use from a humanitarian and environmental point of view, renouncing to strengthen a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fueled by nuclear doctrines.

No one can be indifferent to the pain of millions of men and women who still today continue to affect our consciences. No one can be deaf to the cry of the brother who calls from his womb. No one can be blind to the ruins of a culture incapable of dialogue.

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Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

(Continued from left column)

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Pope Francis this weekend in Nagasaki, Japan. On August 9th, 1945, the U.S. dropped the second U.S. atomic bomb in the world on Nagasaki. Three days before, August 6, 1945, they dropped the first on Hiroshima. As you protest nuclear weapons, Martha Hennessy, at the Kings Bay Naval Base, you left a copy of Daniel Ellsberg’s book The Doomsday Machine on the site of your action. Why?

MARTHA HENNESSY: Daniel Ellsberg has brought us such critical information. The author of the Pentagon Papers releasing the scandal and the trauma of what the Vietnam War was and the other half of his story laid buried for many years regarding the nuclear arsenal. He was an insider who had to do research on understanding what the nuclear chain of command was for pressing the button, and he found out it was rather chaotic. It was unclear to the president. There were many people who actually had the capacity to press the nuclear button. And we felt the necessity of sharing his book and we wanted the people working at the base to read the book and to understand the history here.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Dan Ellsberg is joining us from the University of California, Berkeley, who wrote The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Can you respond to this historic trip of Pope Francis to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, calling nuclear weapons illegal? This was your world. This was your work, Dan Ellsberg, as a high-level Pentagon and RAND Corporation official. The Plowshares 7 left your book at the site at Kings Bay. You attempted to testify at their trial. You were blocked. What would you have said?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: I believe that actions like theirs are necessary to moving this world away from nuclear weapons, as the Pope has called for. Many other approaches have been tried in the last 50 years and they have essentially failed. There is a major reason that runs through that history, and that is that we are, on the one hand, obliged by treaty, the highest law of the land, a ratified treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Article VI, to move in good-faith negotiations—in particular with what was in the Soviet Union, now Russia, but with all nuclear weapons states—for the effective elimination of all nuclear weapons. The U.S. has not considered negotiating for that goal for one minute of that half century. There has never been a minute of good faith, of intent to carry out Article Six.

So when the Pope Francis now, yesterday, makes this—puts—urges the same goal on the U.S. and all other countries, nuclear weapons states, it might seem redundant but it isn’t. He is saying that this should be taken seriously and he could not be more right. And of course, he’s a powerful voice in the world. I hope that—he has obviously undergone a considerable education on this, as have the people in Plowshares movement. And if he can pass that requirement on and its urgency to the bishops throughout the world, it will I am sure create conditions in which our own representatives will call on our executive branch at last to carry out what they are obliged to do in the treaty and what they have never done, and that is to negotiate seriously moving toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, a verifiable mutual elimination of nuclear weapons.

AMY GOODMAN: Martha, The New Yorker Magazine wrote a piece. The headline was The Pope and Catholic Radicals Come Together Against Nuclear Weapons.

MARTHA HENNESSY: Pretty significant. I would like to believe that Dorothy Day herself, my grandmother, very much influenced the U.S. Catholic Church in terms of holding on to the concept of peace and letting the U.S. bishops know how she felt about war. She opposed every war that occurred in her lifetime. It’s grand to see the Pope speaking out now. He is a Pope after the heart of Dorothy Day.
We can’t express our gratitude to people enough, to people like Dan Ellsberg and the many of those who have come before us—the Berrigan Brothers—all in their efforts—the Pope has said it’s not enough to simply speak out against nuclear weapons; we must act. We must walk. We walked onto that base. We need to raise a voice very clearly and even be willing to put our bodies on the line to help the world to understand that the malevolence, the secrecy, the lack of democracy from beginning to end with this nuclear arsenal, the production, the maintaining, the threat of using—it’s the greatest evil in the world that any of us can face in our lifetimes.

AMY GOODMAN: One of your sister protesters, Liz McAlister, the widow of Philip Berrigan, was one of the Plowshares 7. Last week, she just celebrated her 80th birthday. She, too, faces these charges and was in prison for a year and a half as she awaited the trial. Dan, what would you have said to the jury?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: What did I expect of the jury?

AMY GOODMAN: What would you have said? And why were you blocked?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: The judge refused to allow a defense of necessity or justification, a very old principle in English common law and American common law that an act under which under some circumstances or many circumstances would be illegal, like blocking a roadway, perhaps stealing a life preserver to throw it to somebody who was drowning, taking it from a nearby boat—an act like that that is meant as necessary to prevent an imminent greater evil, the death of someone, various things, would be legal. Not merely extenuating circumstances in a sense, but would actually be legal because it was the right thing to do under these circumstances. I am convinced from my own experience that that’s true of the acts here.

I would never have thought of risking prison for 115 years, which Nixon had in mind for me or indicted me for, in order to put out the Pentagon Papers, without the immediate example of people, all of whom had been influenced by Dorothy Day, among others, by the Berrigans, by Gandhi, by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
I was led by those people to study those works and then I saw people enacting that in their own lives, risking prison to make the strongest possible case—that there was an emergency, in this case; in that case, to end the Vietnam War—and that it took special acts of conscience to wake people up to that necessity and get them to join in the protest. I felt the power of that act on my own life.

And I would not have thought of doing an act, copying these papers and giving them to the newspapers, without that example. They put in my head the question, “What can I do to help end this war now that I’m ready to go to prison, as they were?” And the question that really needs to be asked much more generally is by people confronting climate change, confronting the nuclear emergency, confronting wrongful wars like Yemen is, “Am I doing enough? Am I doing all that I could, including considering acts that would involve personal cost for me or some risks to my career?” Very few people can answer that comfortably in the notion that there’s really nothing more they can do.

So acts like this have proven in the women’s right to vote, in the unionization of autoworkers, for example, and other workers, in civil rights and gay rights—all of these things were proved essential—part—not all, but part of the movement—to regain these rights and ensure them, that people were willing to challenge laws that were in the way of those rights.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Martha Hennessy, your grandmother Dorothy Day is in the process of beatification and canonization on the way to becoming a saint in the Catholic Church?

MARTHA HENNESSY: Yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. Martha Hennessy, when is your sentencing?

MARTHA HENNESSY: We don’t even have a date yet. Sixty to 90 days is what she said to us, the judge said, on October 24th. And we’re processing—we’re doing some motion filing. And so it takes time. And meanwhile, we just don’t know.

Gorbachev: Nuclear Weapons Putting World In ‘Colossal Danger’

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Radio Free Europe 

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the current standoff between Russia and the West is putting the world in “colossal danger” due to the threat from nuclear weapons.


Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during the presentation of his book at a bookstore in Moscow in October 2017.

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Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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In an interview with the BBC  published on November 4, Gorbachev called for all countries to declare that nuclear weapons “must be destroyed” in order to “save ourselves and our planet.”

“As far as weapons of mass destruction exist, primarily nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal,” he said.

The 88 year-old Gorbachev sat down slowly at the start of the interview and spoke deliberately at times in the handful of brief clips that were interspersed with other material in the BBC’s video report.

The interview comes three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, amid hints of a return of the Cold War.

Asked to describe the current tensions between Moscow and the West, Gorbachev said, “Chilly, but still a war.”Fears of a renewed nuclear arms race have heightened since both the United States and Russian this year withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that was signed by Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Based on reporting by the BBC

Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Ukraine: window opens for peace in the Donbas after Volodymyr Zelenskiy agrees to election plan

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from The Conversation (reprinted according to Creative Commons License)

As the war in eastern Ukraine drags into its sixth year, all the attempts to end it have so far failed. But in a significant development on October 1, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced his provisional agreement to hold local elections in the currently occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as Donbas.

The war in the Donbas began when mass protests in support of greater territorial autonomy escalated into a separatist crisis in the spring of 2014. Russia has been supporting the rebels in the Donbas since the inception of the war, which by now has claimed more than 13,000 lives. In an attempt to end the conflict, Ukraine and Russia signed two agreements in Minsk  in 2014 and 2015 aimed at establishing a ceasefire and lasting peace in eastern Ukraine. To date, the Minsk agreements have not been able to stop the fighting.

In 2016, the deadlock prompted former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to propose a new approach, which became known as the “Steinmeier formula”. The essence of the formula  is simple. The local elections would be held in the occupied territories under Ukrainian legislation and the supervision of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) – but not before all armed groups leave the area and Ukraine regains control of the territory.

If the OSCE deems these elections free and fair, then the separatist controlled territories would be given a special status. The exact nature of what the special status would look like, should it come to that, has not yet been revealed by Zelenksiy’s administration.

The formula lays the groundwork for renewed talks of the so-called “Normandy Four”: Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. But before then, Zelenskiy said the wording  of the Steinmeier formula is still being agreed on with the OSCE.

The Russian dimension

Zelenskiy’s announcement that he was considering moving forward with the Steinmeier formula immediately attracted strong opposition from some groups in Ukraine. The most vocal of these have been the far-right and nationalist groups that gathered  outside the presidential administration building in Kyiv. Their main grievance is a belief that the formula means capitulation  to Russia, because Russia has been backing the Donbas separatists since the war started.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved in the Ukraine?

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The Kremlin’s and international community’s reaction to the Steinmeier formula has largely been positive. Although critics lament the fact that the deal benefits Russia, the former US ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer disagreed. Pifer emphasised that more details about the agreement are needed, but that the unconditional demand that Russian and Russian proxy forces have to leave occupied Donbas is in Ukraine’s favour.

In Ukraine, Yulia Tymyshenko, a former prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, also vehemently opposed the proposed plan. Writing on her Facebook page, Tymoshenko called  the formula, “unacceptable” and “a direct threat to our country’s national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

This puts Zelenskiy in an awkward position to say the least. One of the most notable pillars of his presidential campaign was a commitment to bring the war in the Donbas to a swift end. Yet, the president is also expected to end the conflict on Ukraine’s terms without any perception that he is giving in to Russia. The immediate protests by some of the far-right and anti-Kremlin groups, such as Azov, who have been known to engage in acts of violence, are therefore a cause for concern. The most immediate of these concerns is the potential for protest violence should Zelenskiy move forward with the plan and allow for the elections to take place.

At the same time, all other approaches to end the growing number of casualties in the Donbas have failed. For the immediate sake of those living there, the conflict simply cannot keep dragging on and requires a new approach. Although the Steinmeier formula is controversial, it could potentially be a viable solution towards resolving the conflict.

Zelensky’s new challenge

Within months of taking office, Zelenskiy’s administration has taken on a number of ambitious reforms aimed at cleaning up corruption in Ukraine’s institutions. Recently, the president has also been caught up in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of US president Donald Trump – though he has tried to distance himself from the case.

It now seems that Zelenskiy’s efforts are being channelled into addressing the ongoing crisis in the Donbas. Some encouraging steps towards that end have already been taken. For example, Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners of war in September, in a move praised  by the international community.

If the Steinmeier formula is successful, there will be a potential window of opportunity for a withdrawal of Russian troops from the Donbas. More information and discussion with the public about the proposed plan would be wise, however, as initial polls suggest around 60%  of the population haven’t yet formed an opinion about the plan.

It’s quite possible that the proposed plan might not achieve the sought-after peace. The elections run the risk of consolidating the position of the current leaders of the occupied territories.

There is a lack of an alternative to the status quo and no guarantees that the occupied territories have any real chance of being reintegrated back into Ukraine. The proposed plan is no doubt a gamble, but offers some hope that an end to violence in the east could be on the horizon if all sides hold up their end of the agreement.

Sign the petition: Down with war, let’s build peace!

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A petition on Change.org

Mouvement de la Paix has launched this petition addressed to politicians, elected officials and decision-makers. . .

We, women and men from all continents of the world want to develop a culture of peace on a global level, and know that for the future of humanity the only route is peace.

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Question for this article:

What can be accomplished with petitions for peace?

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We also know that it constantly requires the action of citizens, people, and states, to maintain a state of peace.

That is why, faced with the dangers for peace that consist of: a globalization that puts the burden on the people of excessive military expenditure, nuclear weapons that threaten the survival of humanity, and climate disruption,

we call on all women and men, around the world, to mobilize for peace by getting all political leaders, elected officials, heads of state and heads of international institutions to create some form of multilateral disarmament measures (especially nuclear), to protect the planet and develop human rights and education for the culture of peace in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

100 years after the armistice of November 11, 1918, down with war, let’s build peace!

This article is available in French and in Spanish.

The text is available in different languages: French, German, Spanish, Welsh, Italian, Esperanto, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, through the following link: www.mvtpaix.org

Click here for a list of personalities from around the world who appeal for signatures.

18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement: address by the Algerian Head of State

. DISARMAMENT & SECURITY.

A press release from the Algeria Press Service (translation by CPNN)

 Head of State Abdelkader Bensalah delivered a speech at the 18th Non-Aligned Movement (MNA) Summit in Baku, Azerbaijan, which reads as follows:


(Click on image to enlarge)

“Mister President,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I would first like to express my heartfelt thanks to the people and Government of Azerbaijan, a friendly country, headed by President Ilham Aliyev, for the warm hospitality and perfect organization of the work of this summit. I also congratulate Azerbaijan on its rise to the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) with full confidence in the ability of its representatives to work towards the continuity and dynamism of the role of our movement in the light of the challenges current challenges facing our countries.

I also wish to express my thanks and appreciation to the Government of Venezuela for its leadership and praiseworthy efforts during the last three years to consolidate the noble ideals of the NAM.
 
Mister President,
 
Through its history and achievements, our Movement has demonstrated its ability to become an actor in a new world order, based on the values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law. An order establishing a solid foundation for partnerships based on mutual interest and respect for the sovereignty and will of countries.

Likewise, our Movement has shown its foresight in the realization of peaceful political solutions with a view to preserving international peace and security.

Our meeting is taking place today in a particular context and in an international context that impose on the NAM the need to assume its responsibility, as a bloc, in the face of the challenges facing its countries, in particular the proliferation of hotbeds of tension and regional and international conflicts. There are also the challenges posed by disarmament, escalating crises, climate and migration, and sectarian and ethnic conflict, which provide fertile ground for racism, hatred, violent extremism and violence as well as enlargement of the sphere of international terrorism.

At the threshold of the third decade of this century, the aspirations of theNAM countries for sustainable development are confronted with a reality marked by the deepening of the gap between the North and the South in several fields, hence the imperative of the unification of visions and efforts to find urgent solutions through frank dialogue and serious work to ensure the stability and security of member countries.

These challenges, which are of deep concern to all of us, are in fact a source of inspiration and stimulation for the strengthening of our ranks and the combination of our efforts.
 
Mister President,
 
The Palestinian cause, which is at the heart of the concerns of our Movement, has reached a turning point that can torpedo the peace efforts that have been made in recent years.

Our historical, moral and legal responsibility requires us to renew our permanent commitment to this cause and to reaffirm our unwavering and constant support to the Palestinian people in their quest for their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and the building of an independent Palestine state.

As part of the broad wave of solidarity with the Palestinian cause around the world following the transfer of the embassies of some countries to El-Quds and in the light of the continuation of the hostile and criminal acts of the occupier against the Palestinian people and its rights, Algeria reiterates, from this rostrum, its unwavering support for the Palestinian people and their just cause.

The acceleration of events in many countries of our brothers and friends, and the propensity to resort to the logic of force instead of the force of logic, challenge us all to seek the most efficient ways to restore stability in these countries. and regions. Algeria remains deeply convinced of the importance of dialogue and the peaceful settlement of conflicts, and is committed to the fundamental principles of the United Nations and international law, particularly with regard to the preservation of international peace and security, and therefore it does not spare any effort in this context.

(Click here for the French version of this article.)

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Question related to this article:

The Non-Aligned Movement: Is it an effective force for peace?

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Mister President,

Algeria reiterates its call on the Libyan parties to uphold the country’s supreme interest and to adhere to efforts to find an inclusive peaceful solution, reflecting on the ground the work for the restoration of security and stability in all the territory of Libya, for the preservation of its sovereignty and independence, the unity of its people and respect for its institutions.

Regarding the crisis in our brother country, Syria, Algeria has repeatedly urged the parties concerned to show foresight to end all forms of violence and destruction, the rejection of all external interference and adherence to a reconciliation process.  Indeed, a political solution is the only way to guarantee the assumption of the legitimate demands of the Syrian people and the preservation of its sovereignty, its stability and its territorial integrity.

The humanitarian crisis engendered by the conflict in Yemen, which we wish to see prosperous again, leads us to urge, once again, the protagonists to make the interest of their country prevail through negotiation and dialogue, serenity and stability in the framework of national unity.
 
Mister President,
 
Algeria reaffirms its commitment to continue to work with all partners to establish a solid foundation for stability and security in the Sahel region in the context of respect for the sovereignty of countries and the lack of interference in their internal affairs.

Four years have already elapsed since the signing of the Mali Peace Agreement, which, despite the difficulties encountered in the implementation of its clauses, remains an indispensable instrument today for the definitive settlement of the Malian crisis..

This Agreement, which was certainly not easy to put into place, is underpinned by an approach based on national reconciliation and respect for the territorial integrity and national unity, and it also opens the way to real prospects for socio-economic and cultural development.

The implementation of the clauses of this Agreement has led to encouraging progress, but much remains to be done. Algeria pledges to continue its role, serious and effective, in the Follow-up Committee with the international parties concerned, for a judicious contribution to the removal of the obstacles preventing a total exit from the political and security crisis.
 
Mister President,
 
The support for just causes and the historic efforts of the NAM alongside peoples struggling for their independence and freedom, throughout the past decades, demand respect and recognition for the Movement’s steady and principled position in favor of Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.

Algeria is concerned that the return of the two warring parties to the negotiating table was interrupted by the resignation of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Western Sahara. As a neighboring country and as an official observer in the UN settlement process, Algeria reiterates its appeal to the UN Secretary-General to revive the dynamic that he had launched.
 
Mister President,
 
Many of the Movement’s countries are confronted with the scourge of terrorism, in all its forms and origins, which, even though the world has still not managed to give it a global definition, is unanimously held to have serious political, security and economic repercussions.

Algeria, with its experience in the fight against terrorism for a whole decade, has been able to develop an inclusive approach, based on national reconciliation, focusing on the importance of combining efforts to eradicate foci of terrorism and the drying up of its sources, with special attention to socio-economic development issues.

My country also works to promote the culture of peace at the global level. We were at the origin of the decision of the UN General Assembly to celebrate the World Day of Living Together in Peace, coinciding with May 16 each year.

Undoubtedly, the NAM remains a major international player, whose achievements and emergence as defender of the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of its member countries can only be welcomed today, given that it has spared no effort to counter threats, unify visions and efforts, and crystallize solutions in the context of an international reality of a multipolar world.

Our Movement must seize this opportunity to translate the vision of its member countries for a reform of the UN system and an enlargement of the Security Council, essential requirement of the African Continent, which is fighting for the end of the historical injustice imposed on its countries, as well as for the revitalization of the role of the General Assembly in enabling it to fully exercise its prerogatives and achieve its ultimate objectives of providing a forum for peoples, to consecrate peace and to address the major challenges facing the international community.
 
Mister President,
 
In conclusion, Algeria wishes to reiterate its conviction that the NAM is still capable of playing an effective role in the current international context, continuing to aspire to a new world order, based on scrupulous respect for the commitments made in the UN Charter and international law. promoting the encouragement of socio-economic cooperation, the commitment to good neighborliness and the promotion of constructive initiatives to reduce disparities between North and South.

Thank you for your attention”.

Launch of the Second World March for Peace and Nonviolence

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Excerpts from an article in Pressenza

At the launch of the 2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence in Madrid, on October 2nd, International Nonviolence Day that commemorates Gandhi’s birth, Rafael de la Rubia said:

“It should be said that this is not just a peripheral journey through the surface of the planet, through the surface of the earth. To this walking along roads, places, countries… you can add an internal journey, going through the depths of our existence, trying to match what we think with what we feel and with what we do, in order to be more coherent, gain more meaning in our lives and eliminate internal violence.” . . .


In Chile, with Parliamentarian Tomas Hirsch: “Active Nonviolence is the Force that will transform the world”

The beginning of the March was celebrated in different points of the world

From Antonio Gancedo’s blog:

Chile: the beginning of the 2 World March was announced in the National Parliament By the humanist parliamentarian Tomás Hirsch. And Santiago de Chile stretched with a “Hug for Nonviolence” as a dissemination of the 2 World March for Peace and Nonviolence.

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Question for this article:

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

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From Seville and the Port of Santa Maria, in Spain to embark on the ferry journey to Tangier, Morocco the entry point of the WM in Africa where A Humanist Forum took place. In the Spanish cities of Seville and A Coruña, where the March was launched during a session in the Town Hall, different activities expressed the commitment to Peace and Nonviolence.

The World March in the Italian Parliament: The World March has among its objectives the dissemination of the culture of Peace and Non-Violence, disarmament – especially nuclear disarmament -, the defence of the environment and the enhancement of diversity. During the event “The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons” was projected, a work produced by the international press agency Pressenza on the occasion of the second anniversary of the approval of the UN Nuclear Disarmament Treaty (ICAN campaign, Nobel Prize of the Peace 2017). The documentary aims to contribute to the goal of reaching the end of the World March with the ratification of the TPAN  by 50 countries to make it binding.

Brazil: From Pernambuco, Brazil, accompanying the launch of the 2ª World March the first “Live EAD”Live from Nonviolence in schools  with 474 enrolled, 10 tutors in 20 states of Brazil, which connect on the website of the UFRPE (Federal Rural University of Pernambuco). A talk by Gunther Aleksander, of the Pressenza Agency, and Vinicius Pereira, of the Nonviolence in Schools Project, about the launch of the 2 World March for Peace and Nonviolence, giving the appropriate explanations on the free course of distance education for the formation of non-violence Centres in schools. Londrina also in Brazil connected with Peace and Nonviolence symbols.

Argentina: the documentary “The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons” by director Alvaro Orus and producer Tony Robinson from Pressenza was shown in Cordoba. The film produced in the participants a very particular sensitivity that was expressed in the subsequent exchange. A campaign to collect signatures began to demand that the government of Argentina sign the treaty banning nuclear weapons and then ratify it.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Press release from The Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.

When Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries. These principles are set out in the declarations that Prime Minister Abiy and President Afwerki signed in Asmara and Jeddah last July and September. An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002.

Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalise the peace process between the two countries. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.

In the wake of the peace process with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy has engaged in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility. Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict. In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.

Ethiopia is a country of many different languages and peoples. Lately, old ethnic rivalries have flared up. According to international observers, up to three million Ethiopians may be internally displaced. That is in addition to the million or so refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries. As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. However, many challenges remain unresolved. Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months. No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.