All posts by CPNN Coordinator

About CPNN Coordinator

Dr David Adams is the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. He retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Past virtual events in March

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Here are events and application deadlines in March that were previously listed on the CPNN page for upcoming virtual events. Unless otherwise noted the events are in English.

Mar 1, 2021 06:00 PM CET
World Future Day Launch of Youth Fusion Elders

An online intergenerational dialogue launching the Youth Fusion Elders initiative. The event is being held in conjunction with World Future Day and Nuclear Remembrance Day, both of which occur on March 1.
— This launch event will feature an inter-generational dialogue between youth and elders within the peace and nuclear disarmament fields. We will learn from the highly valuable experiences and knowledge of ‘Elders’ in a conversation facilitated by youth leaders.
Zoom register here

English bulletin March 1, 2021

AFRICAN UNION AND CULTURE OF PEACE

The African Union (AU) increasingly promotes a culture of peace on the continent.

As described in a new book by Kathryn Nash, the African Union has developed, since its beginning at the turn of the century, a conflict management policy that was not available to its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity. Currently, the AU deploys monitors, authorizes peace support operations, and actively engages to resolve internal conflicts.

The 34th Session of the African Union Summit ended on 7 February 2021 with the new Chair, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), outlining an ambitious agenda, including combating climate change, expediting regional integration, investing in human capital, promoting Africa’s culture, empowering women and youth, and accelerating the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

One of the priorites mentioned by President Tshisekedi is the “Silencing the Guns” campaign, which has been extended to 2030, and now consists of a roadmap and practical steps to achieve its objectives. There will be a two-year periodic review of implementation.

As part of Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign, the Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) in collaboration with partners has recently provided grants to four youth projects:
– Silencing the Climate Crisis Award to project Ibn El Bitar (Algeria)
– Silencing Gender-Based Violence Award to #ShutItAllDown movement (Namibia)
– Silencing Corruption Award
to Citizens Gavel Foundation for Social Justice (Nigeria)
– Silencing Youth Unemployment Award
to Garden of Hope Foundation (Kenya)

Another recent initiative of the AU Office of the Youth Envoy has been the virtual meetings of women activists in the five regions of Africa, which resulted in a Africa Young Women’s Manifesto. The Manifesto is a comprehensive document addressing all aspects of the culture of peace.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), mentioned as a priority for the AU, began operation on January 1, 2021. This may become an important contribution to the culture of peace on the continent as it may transform conflicts across the continent by reducing the incentives for participating in conflicts, via the creation of jobs. AfCFTA has the potential to promote women’s equality in Africa as stated in remarks to the AU Summit by outgoing President Cyril Ramaphosa. He stated that state parties would report annually on progress made in strengthening women’s participation in continental trade matters. “This includes tailor made financial products for women with reliable means to save, access, transfer and borrow money.” He called for a “women-led Peace Forum to be attended by Heads of State and Government and to implement decisions of the Peace and Security Council to institutionalise the office of the special envoy on women, peace and security.”

In his remarks to the AU summit, incoming President Felix Tshisekedi also confirmed the AU participation in the 2nd Biennale of Luanda on the Culture of Peace to be held in Angola in September, 2021 (see the many articles on this in CPNN). The strategic objective of the Biennale is to promote a peaceful and prosperous Africa through the defense and encouragement of actions that prevent conflicts in the management of national and cross-border natural resources on the African continent, as well as to educate a generation of young Africans as agents of peace, stability and development. The theme of the event this year will be: “Art, Culture and Heritage: Levers to build the Africa we want”.

In her analysis of the African Union, Kathryn Nash Nash argues that the devlopment of its conflict management policy largely happened within the African context, and international pressure was not a determinant factor in its evolution. If the AU continues its independent development, it has a chance to escape from the culture of war that was imposed by the old colonial powers and that is maintained by the economic exploitation of Africa by the empires of Europe, United States and China. The development of the new continental free trade zone can help protect this independence and enable an Africa in peace.

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY



Book review: African peace: Regional norms from the Organization of African Unity to the African Union

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION



Central Africa: Ambassador Sita José Analyzes Luanda Biennial With ECCAS Commissioner

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT



New UNEP synthesis provides blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies and secure humanity’s future

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION



Colombia: Cultural spaces for the construction of peace

In addition to articles, we list virtual events for the culture of peace: Click here for upcoming events. Last month we registered 23 virtual events.

  

HUMAN RIGHTS




New ICC ruling ‘opens the door’ for justice in occupied Palestine – Independent UN expert

WOMEN’S EQUALITY



‘Women and girls belong in science’ declares UN chief  

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY


G5 Sahel: Heads of State announce Prize for the promotion of the culture of peace

EDUCATION FOR PEACE



Brazil: Culture of Peace in schools will be the subject of a webinar on February 18th

Upcoming Virtual Events and Application Deadlines

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

At CPNN, we are beginning to receive notices of free virtual events concerning the culture of peace. In order to inform our readership of these events, we will try an experiment: a “rolling article” about these events. We will try to update the listing every day or two, removing the events that are past (listed here) and adding new events as they are received at our contact email address. To be included here, an event must be free and must provide a registration link. Unless otherwise indicated the events are in English.

We will also include here the application deadlines for initiatives promoting the culture of peace.


Zoom is one of many new technologies available for virtual conferences.

3 Mars 2021 Heure : 10H (GMT)
“Repenser l’Afrique Post Covid 19”

Organisé par l’Institut Mandela en partenariat avec l’Ecole Doctorale GAMO et le Laboratoire de Recherches et d’Actions Diplomatiques (LaRAD) vous invitent à la Vidéoconférence Panafricaine.
— Panélistes:
1)- Son Excellence Madame Fatima HARAM ACYL, Vice-Présidente de la Commission de la CEMAC,
2)- Professeur Mohamed HARAKAT, Professeur à l’Université Mohamed V de Rabat, Responsable de l’Ecole Doctorale Gouvernance de l’Afrique et du Moyen-Orient (GAMO)
— Modérateur : Dr Paul KANANURA, Spécialiste en Géopolitique, Géostratégie et Gouvernance, Président de l’Institut Mandela.
Participer à la Vidéoconférence Panafricaine via ce lien

jeudi 4 mars 2021 de 9h30 à 13h00 (Central European Time)
Webinaire Sur Femmes, Education Et Culture

Un cycle de trois webinaires organisés en France par la Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (CNCDH) dans le cadre de webinaires consacrés aux droits des femmes,
— Mme Stefania Giannini, Sous-directrice générale pour l’éducation prononcera l’allocution d’ouverture au nom de la Directrice générale de l’UNESCO, conjointement avec Mme Karima Bennoune, Rapporteuse spéciale des Nations Unies dans le domaine culturel.
— Mme Véronique Roger-Lacan, Ambassadrice, Déléguée permanente de la France auprès de l’UNESCO, prononcera l’allocution de clôture.
— Georges Kutukdjian, animera la Table ronde N° 1 sur Comment l’éducation peut-elle promouvoir l’égalité femmes-hommes ?
— Programme détaillé en ligne ici.
— Inscription en ligne obligatoire, cliquez ici.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 • 7:00 PM • Eastern Standard Time
Webinar: Leah Bolger on the U.S. Overseas Military Base Empire

The Overseas Military Base Empire: Presentation by Leah Bolger, President of the Board, World BEYOND War and retired U.S. Naval officer. She will present on the social, environmental, and economic impact of U.S. bases and how to close them.
— Sponsored by the CNY Beyond War and Militarism Committee
— The United States has over 200,000 troops stationed on more than 800 bases in more than 80 countries and all seven continents? They are provocative, increasing tensions throughout the world. Maintaining these bases drains hundreds of billions of U.S. tax dollars annually which could be much better used to fund human needs here and abroad.
— Host Contact Info: Greta, greta@worldbeyondwar.org
Click here to register

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 • 7:00 PM GMT
No Return to Blair Wars – Online Launch

by Stop the Wars Coalition
Anti-war opinion is deeply embedded within British society and has been since the disaster of the Iraq War. The desire for a new foreign policy was part of the attraction of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party; to distance itself from Corbyn, and the anti-war movement he represents, the Labour leadership has recently endorsed attacks on Stop the War – with accusations that by opposing wars we support dictators. Our members and supporters will recognise this trope.
— To rebuke these attacks Lindsey German and Andrew Murray have produced a new pamphlet, No Return to Blair Wars – A Reply to Open Labour, clarifying Stop the War Coalition’s anti-imperialist philosophy and setting out the left’s foreign policy choices.
— As a result of the overwhelming response and debate provoked by the pamphlet we’ve decided to host an online launch– event where you can hear from the authors and put forward your questions on the topics discussed in the pamphlet. We look forward to seeing you there.
Register here to attend the event

Wed, March 10th, at 10:00am-11:30am EST (15:00-16:30 GMT)
Resisting Occupation: Connecting Palestine and Western Sahara

Sponsored by Nonviolence International (NVI)
— We will hear Palestinian, Sahrawi and other voices share their stories of nonviolent resistance to Moroccan and Israeli occupations. We have an amazing array of panelists that Mubarak Awad will be co-hosting with Rafif Jouejati a fellow NVI board member and Syrian-American human rights activist.
— Panelists:
Salka Barca, Founder of Karama Sahara, a Sahrawi advocacy group
Kamal Lfahsi, A Moroccan human rights activist
Stephen Zunes, Professor in international studies.
Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder and Palestinian human rights lawyer.
Please register for the webinar here.

March 11 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm GMT
Three forms of power-sharing and their relationship

sponsored by the Political Settlements Research Programme of The University of Edinburgh
— This webinar will examine the relationship between power-sharing and inclusion of non-dominant groups, and will use PA-X data to demonstrate how peace agreements provide for above-average inclusion of women, girls, and gender.
— Many case studies show post-conflict power-sharing to be exclusionary of various non-dominant groups. However, analysis of the PA-X database of peace agreements shows that those agreements with political power-sharing have provisions for women, girls and gender at a well above average rate. This research shows how Prof Christine Bell’s three-way functional typology of political power-sharing gives explanatory value to the relationship between power-sharing and inclusion. It shows that sub-state indigenous autonomy in particular is related to higher levels of inclusion of a variety of non-dominant groups in peace agreements. Further, the provisions in these agreements also tend to articulate inclusion in a particular way that emphasises community power rather elite driven aid. Featuring PSRP’s Dr Kevin McNicholl.
— The webinar will be held over Zoom, with joining links emailed to participants ahead of the event. Registration will open shortly [as of Feb 25]. The final event time will be confirmed in due course.

March 16-25
Three Events at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 2021 (CSW65) sponsored by Pathways to Peace

Forced Sterilization and Rape as a Form of Genocide, March 16, 1:30 pm EST
Empowering the Divine Feminine Within, March 21, 4:30 pm, EST
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Identification, and Eradication, March 25, 9:30 am, EST
Sign up for an account here. Due to an overwhelming response to our virtual platform and Parallel Event application, you can now register for free!

18 March 2021 at 9am ET
Advancing Gender Equality

Based upon the feedback and recommendations received from the first Global Webinar Series, Religions for Peace, in coordination with Regional Offices, will convene the second series of global capacity development webinars in 2021, with a view to continuing to facilitate the process of strategic Learning Exchange among IRCs across the movement.
— These webinars will focus on our Six Strategic Goals:
Promote Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies
Advance Gender Equality
Nurture A Sustainable Environment
Champion the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion
Strengthen Interreligious Education
Foster Multi-religious Collaboration and Global Partnerships
— Simultaneous translations for Arabic, French, and Spanish will be provided for all global webinars. Following each of these, regional webinars will be organized under the leadership of the Religions for PeaceRegional Secretaries General, in coordination with Religions for Peace International Secretariat.
— This event is by invitation only. Inquiries can be sent to pbartoli@rfp.org.

Mon, March 22, 2021, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM Central European Time
An evening with Ray Acheson and a preview of her brilliant new book: “Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy”

The book offers a look inside the antinuclear movement and the recent successful campaign to ban the bomb — from scrappy organising to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and achieving a landmark UN Treaty banning nuclear weapons.
— Hosted by Scottish & UK ICAN Partners: WILPF, Scottish CND, Medact Scotland, UN House Scotland, Peace & Justice, and Trident Ploughshares.
Register here

Friday, March 26, 2021 • 6:00 PM • Greenwich Mean Time
Online Rally: #YemenCantWait – Stop British Support for the War

The Saudi-led war on Yemen is about to enter its sixth destructive year. According to a recent UN report, the war has already claimed 233,000 lives. It is estimated that 24 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance – some 80% of the population – which is being thwarted by the Saudi-led coalition’s air and naval blockade of the country.
— And who is the main Western backer of the war? Boris Johnson and his Tory government. Even after Joe Biden announced an end to US support for the war the British government shamefully continues to sell bombs and aircraft to the Saudi regime who have created the worst humanitarian crisis on earth.
— We call on the British government to stop prolonging the carnage in Yemen by ending all arms sales and military support for the Saudi-led coalition immediately.
— Host Contact Info: office@stopwar.org.uk
Click here for registration

Colombia: Impulse Travel – Sustainable tourism committed to Peace

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Caracol Radio (translation by CPNN)

Impulse Travel, a sustainable tourism company that has been working in the industry for 10 years, was a winner in the category of “Peace, Social Justice and Solid Institutions” in the SDGs Global Startup Competition, a competition of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement, this company has focused on peace-building.  They have worked with different post-conflict populations for peace, productivity and sustainability processes, adding them to their value chain and giving them a share of the tourism market.

(article continued in right column)

(Click here for the Spanish version)

Questions related to this article:
 
How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

(article continued from left column)

“We see these communities as partners, as a social enterprise that are part of the Value chain.  We work with social leaders who are leaders for changes in a community that are productive, cultural, gastronomic (…) we seek these social transformation projects and adapt them to our business ”, says Rodrigo Atuesta, CEO of Impulse Travel.

In addition, Lizeth Riaño, leader of strategy and impact product, sees in sustainable tourism “an opportunity to convince travelers that their tourism contributes to these communities by generating income for the territories. We see it as an opportunity and a challenge, to convince Colombians to get to know these regions and invest in them ”

The company recognizes that these are not experiences for everyone, since most visitors from abroad come for the first time and may be very clear about the type of experiences they want to live. ” The most important thing is to find the audience that vibrates with the same frequency as us, ” continues Atuesta.

This year, after a 2020 pandemic, Impulse Travel is working in a branch dedicated to finding these initiatives in communities in the process of social transformation, and giving them comprehensive support in addition to the tourism dimension.  It’s a great challenge to understand how initiatives work and to link them directly to the market. 

United States: Who Is Clare Grady and Why Should We Care that She is in Federal Prison?

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Jeremy Kuzmarov from CovertAction Magazine

On April 4, 2018—a date symbolically chosen because it is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination—Clare Grady and six other activists broke into the Kings Bay Submarine base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. 

They carried hammers and baby bottles filled with their own blood. Their purpose? To symbolically “beat swords into plowshares,” as prophesied in Isaiah 2:4, by disarming one of the world’s deadliest swords—the Trident nuclear submarine. 


Plowshares 7 congregate outside courthouse during their trial for breaking into the Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia. Martha Hennessy, Kathleen Rumpf (co-defendent in another Plowshares case), Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Carmen Trotta, Patrick O’Neill, Liz McAlister. (July 12th, 2019)  [Source: beyondnuclearinternational.org]

It was no walk in the park

First, using a bolt cutter, this unlikely commando team of 60-, 70- and 80-year-old priests, grandmothers and grandfathers squeezed themselves through a remote gate on the base. Then they trekked, slopped, and splashed through two miles of notoriously inhospitable Southern Georgia swampland, swarming with ticks, fire ants, earwigs and mosquitoes—not to mention poisonous rattlesnakes—as well as venomous scorpions only an inch in length but whose sting can be fatal, and alligators, of which Georgia boasts a population of more than 200,000.

Finally, as reported by World Socialist Website, they reached a location “where they prayed, read from Scripture, splashed bottles of their own blood onto a wall, spray-painted messages against nuclear weapons onto a sidewalk, hammered on parts of a shrine to nuclear missiles and hung protest banners.”

As agreed in advance, all seven participants—Clare Grady, Father Stephen Kelly, Mark Colville, Martha Hennessy, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, and Carmen Trotta—remained at the site, peacefully awaiting the police, so they could explain the reason for their actions. They were arrested, tried, and then convicted on October 24, 2019, in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Georgia for the crime of conspiracy, destruction of property on a naval installation, depredation of government property, and trespass.

Clare Grady was sentenced to a one-year prison term in Alderson Federal Prison in West Virginia, which began on February 10th, 2021. 

As for the other six activists: Carmen Trotta was sentenced to 14 months; Patrick O’Neill to 14 months followed by two years of supervised probation. (He has appealed the sentence.); Steve Kelly to 33-months less time served and three years of supervised probation; Martha Hennessy to 10 months; and Elizabeth McAlister to time served, which was the 17 months she had spent in prison awaiting trial. (She was also sentenced to three years of probation.). Mark Colville will be sentenced in April.

“Festival of Hope” in Celebration of Clare Grady and the Plowshares 7

Going to prison has not discouraged Clare Grady, nor will it deter her from continued opposition to the makers of war and mass death who control our national government. To celebrate Clare Grady’s resilience and determination, and that of her six companions, the antiwar group Code Pink  hosted a “Festival of Hope” webinar in honor of Clare and the Kings Bay Plowshares 7  on February 7, 2021, three days before the start of Clare’s prison term.

Try watching this video on www.youtube.com

Many who spoke at this virtual convocation are long-time activists who have spent their lives in the service of world peace and universal community. They include: 
* Agnes Williams, a Seneca leader working in western New York;
* Leona Morgan, a Diné leader from the Navajo Nation, working in New Mexico and Arizona to stop uranium production and dumping on their lands;
* Clare Daly, Irish Parliamentarian and a co-defendant in an Irish trial of civil resistance to U.S. warplanes refueling at Shannon Airport;
* Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor who has worked tirelessly to end nuclear weapons and has been instrumental in the enactment of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that went into force last week;
* Professor Russell Rickford, Cornell University historian of the Black Freedom Struggle and the Black Radical Tradition and an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America;
* Emma O’Grady, writer, and actor from County Galway, Ireland;
* Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Detroit theologian, author, nonviolent community activist and civil resister to water shut-offs, who offered a closing prayer.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima bomb survivor voiced her support for Grady and the Plowshares 7 in a pre-recorded statement that was played at the “Festival of Hope.”

In the statement, Setsuko described in vivid detail her experience in Hiroshima on the fateful day of August 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped.

At the time, Setsuko was on an excursion away from her school. Suddenly, she said, she was “blown into the air” and felt herself “floating” before she woke up to find herself in darkness under a collapsed building.

After hearing a male voice telling her “not to give up,” a soldier helped free Setsuko from the building, which was now on fire.

Outside, the air was filled with particles, and people moved on the streets as if they were ghosts, with their hair standing up to the sky, and their skin and flesh burned.

Some of the people had their intestines bulging out while others had their own eyeballs in their hands.

Setsuko escaped to a hill which was packed with dead bodies and people were begging for water.

Among the thousands of innocent people killed on that day were nine members of Setsuko’s family, including her aunt, uncle, sister and four-year-old nephew, whose small body became unrecognizable.

Setsuko stated that “this is what nuclear war does; it results in indescribable mass killing and suffering. Today, the weapons are even more destructive than in 1945, and could kill a million people in a quick moment.”

Standing up for Humanity

Setsuko’s warning was heeded by other speakers at the webinar who further emphasized the health hazards of nuclear energy and its contamination of the environment.

Clare Daly, a member of the European parliament who was jailed for protesting against U.S. military planes flying out of Shannon Airport in Ireland, stated that the “stance taken by Clare [Grady] was absolutely moral and courageous, she is a beacon to activists around the world. Clare joins people like Julian Assange in going to jail for standing up for humanity.”

Grady’s daughter, Leah, read a letter from Plowshares 7 activist Martha Hennessy, currently serving out her ten-month sentence at the Danbury Correctional Institution in Connecticut, who recalled how she and Clare had been imprisoned together for protest acts in the early 1980s and that Clare had taught her how to be a role model to other incarcerated women.

Patrick O’Neill, who is serving a 14-month sentence, sent a message from the Elkton Correctional Institution in Ohio that Clare will be a “light in the darkness” for women in her next stop, “a den of oppression and despair.”

At the trial, Plowshares 7 attorneys had tried to argue that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 protected the protest because the seven were motivated by their faith  and that nuclear weapons are illegal, as an indictment Hennessy taped to the door of the base alleged.

When Hennessy attempted to show the jury photos of bodies at Hiroshima, the judge objected.

At their sentencing, Plowshares activists invoked the Nuremberg principle, stating that it was their duty to try to stop another nuclear holocaust, and that those who “say nothing in the face of evil, are contributing to evil by their collective silence.”

Steve Kelley, who is a Jesuit priest said that he considered himself a “prisoner of conscience for Christ,” preaching against  “the sin that flourishes in weapons of mass destruction.”

Grady stated at her sentencing that the weapons she had tried to sabotage were “not private property, they belong to the people of the United States, they belong to me, to you, to us.”

(continued in right column)

Question for this article:

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

(continued from left column)

These weapons kill and cause harm in our name, and with our money. This omnicidal weapon doesn’t just kill IF it is launched, it kills every day. Indigenous people are, and continue to be, some of the first victims of nuclear weapons—the mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material for nuclear weapons all happens on Native Land. The trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons are resources STOLEN from the planet and her people.”[1]

History

Most members of the Plowshares 7 are affiliated with the Catholic Worker movement which is committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken.

Art Laffin, co-editor of Swords into Plowshares—Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament explained  that “the main symbols used in plowshares actions are hammers and blood. Hammers are used to literally begin the process of disarmament that thousands of talks and numerous treaties have failed to accomplish. The hammer is used to take apart as well as create, and to point to the urgency for conversion of war and weapons production to products that enhance life.”

Liz McAlister has been an anti-war activist since she and her late husband, Philip Berrigan, destroyed draft cards during the Vietnam War, and Martha Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker Movement founder  who is on her way to being canonized as a saint by the Vatican.

The Plowshares group has carried out more than 100 civil disobedience acts to protest the U.S. warfare state since September 1980 when eight peace activists—including Daniel and Philip Berrigan, who had been known for their antiwar activism in the Vietnam era—entered the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where the nose cones for the Mark 12-A nuclear warheads were manufactured.

With hammers and blood, the eight enacted the biblical prophecies of Isaiah (2:4) and Micah (4:3) to “beat swords into plowshares” by hammering on two of the nose cones and pouring blood on documents

The Plowshares 8’s subsequent legal battle was recreated in Emile de Antonio’s 1982 film In the King of Prussia, which starred Martin Sheen  and featured appearances by the Plowshares 8 as themselves.


Since the Plowshares 8 action, others have entered military bases and weapons facilities and symbolically and actually disarmed components of U.S. first-strike nuclear weapons systems: the MX, Pershing II, Cruise, Minuteman ICBMs, Trident II missiles, Trident submarines, B-52 bombers, P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft, the Navstar system, the ELF communication system, the Milstar satellite system, a nuclear capable battleship and the Aegis destroyer.

Combat aircraft used for military intervention, such as the F-111 fighter bomber, the F-15A fighter, the F-18 bomber, the A-10 Warthog, the Hawk aircraft, as well as combat helicopters and other conventional weapons, including aircraft missile launchers, bazookas, grenade throwers, and AK-5 automatic rifles, have also been targeted.

One of the most successful actions took place at the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear facility in July 2012  when Mike Walli, Sr., Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, poured blood and spray-painted antiwar messages on it. Because of so-called security issues, this action prompted authorities to close what has been called the “Ft. Knox of Uranium,” for an unprecedented three weeks.

According to William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, the limited mainstream media coverage of the Oak Ridge protest and Congressional reaction—as with the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 action—“were more about how to protect the weapons from protesters than to protect us from the weapons. This rhetoric about safety and security of the weapons complex, and protecting ‘special materials’—a euphemism for ingredients for bombs that can end life as we know it—distracts from the real issue: These are weapons of mass slaughter that must be eliminated before they eliminate us.”

Kings Bay Base

When the Plowshares 7 cut through a padlock and entered the 17,000 acre Kings Bay Base on April 4, 2018, they were equipped with crime-scene tape, banners reading “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide” and “Nuclear Weapons: Illegal—Immoral,” and an indictment charging the U.S. government with crimes against peace, along with the hammers and blood.

One of their main challenges was to avoid detection from the guard towers as a loudspeaker overhead blared: “Deadly force is authorized!

After splitting up, the activists went to three sites on the base: the SWFLANT administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation, and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.

Patrick O’Neill attached a poster of Martin Luther King, Jr., to a mock-up of a Trident II D5 ballistic missile at the welcome area, commenting afterwards: “I mean, my God, you’re gonna build a statue for something that if it’s used would blow up a whole city full of people. This is your idea of welcoming people? I mean, it’s sick.”

Home to more than 1,000 enlisted and civilian government workers and their families, Kings Bay houses at least six nuclear submarines, each armed with 20 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) variety. Each missile contains numerous nuclear warheads, providing a thermonuclear force multiplier and overwhelming first-strike capability as part of the U.S. nuclear triad.

According to the Navy, the ballistic missile submarines serve as a launch platform for intercontinental missiles that are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads.

If the Trident were ever launched, it would cause 100 times more damage than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

Patrick O’Neill called it “the most insidious and evil weapon of mass destruction ever constructed.”

The Kings Bay site was opened in 1979 during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the former Governor of Georgia and a Navy veteran and submarine officer who promoted a naval buildup.

The decision to base the Trident submarines at Kings Bay started the largest peacetime construction program ever undertaken by the U.S. Navy. It took nine years to build at a cost of $1.3 billion.

In preparation for the arrival of new submarines mandated under a trillion dollar nuclear weapon modernization program, a major renovation is coming to the Kings Bay waterfront.

The project, estimated to cost more than $840 million, will include $500 million in upgrades to the dry dock and other infrastructure, as well as a $138.6 million nuclear regional maintenance facility, which makes the Plowshares work ever the more urgent.  

In the Shadow of the Berrigan Brothers and Oscar Romero

Reverend Bill Wylie-Kellerman situated Clare Grady and the Plowshares 7 at the “Festival of Hope” in the tradition of Daniel and Philip Berrigan, and Oscar Romero, El Salvador’s archbishop who was murdered by death squads in 1980 after he spoke out against the ruling oligarchy and for the poor and oppressed.

Cornell University historian Russell Rickford compared Grady to Mae Mallory, an antiwar and Black Power militant who was close with Malcolm X.

Flattered by such comparisons, Grady reiterated at the “Festival of Hope” that she had been motivated by “religious principle and the desire to oppose violence and the normalization of killing; the unrepentant killing that hardly raises eyebrows anymore.”

Grady noted that “the U.S. government plans to spend $100,000 per minute for the next ten years on nuclear weapons and has 800 military bases.

The cost to keep one soldier in Afghanistan for one year is one million dollars, and the cost to keep a prisoner in prison for one year is up to $70,000 while the cost to keep a student in college for a year is far less.”

While dreading going back to prison—or what she calls the belly of the beast—Grady said she has encountered some of her best teachers of resistance in prison, and was inspired by inmates in St. Louis who broke out of their cells and broke windows and threw furniture but did not engage in violence in pressing for more humane conditions.

Grady’s sister Mary Ann, as the last speaker at the webinar, compared the present moment to 1979 when the anti-nuclear movement was just getting off the ground. By the end of the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev had worked together to reduce the nuclear stockpiles of the U.S. and Russia, which is urgently needed today.

With the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock sitting at 100 seconds to midnight, Grady said that the peace movement should continue pushing for divestment from nuclear-weapons’ producing companies—which New York’s City Council has recently proposed—while supporting acts of civil disobedience along the model of the Plowshares 7 who will have left their mark on history.

The African Continental Free Trade Area as a contribution to the culture of peace

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A synthesis by CPNN based on recent articles in The Africa Report (based in Paris), This Day Live (Nigeria), The Herald (Zimbabwe), The Independent Online (South Africa), Euractiv (Belgium), Southern Times (Namibia), and the United Nations News Service quoted here in CPNN

In March 2018, African countries signed a landmark trade agreement, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), committing the countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods, progressively liberalise trade in services, and address a host of other non-tariff barrier.” Following a summit of AfCFTA in December 2020, the agreement began operation on January 1, 2021.


Forty-four African countries signed an agreement establishing the AfCFTA in Kigali. (Xinhua/Gabriel Dusabe) Credit:CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/1803221658

This may become an important contribution to the culture of peace. According to The Africa Report , “The AfCFTA, if well implemented, would no doubt transform conflicts across the continent by reducing the incentives for participating in conflicts, via the creation of jobs.”

Addressing the recent AU Summit of Heads of State and Government, incoming President Tshisekedi said his priorities would be tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and fostering peace and security on the continent.

The agreement has the potential to promote women’s equality in Africa. In remarks to the AU Summit, outgoing President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that AfCFTA should ensure financial inclusion of women for the trade pact to deliver sustainable and meaningful development. As cited by the Southern Times, President Ramaphosa said state parties would report annually on progress made in strengthening women’s participation in continental trade matters. “This includes tailor made financial products for women with reliable means to save, access, transfer and borrow money,” he expounded. “As the AU, we should also develop a decade action plan to help member states develop key flagship activities towards women’s economic empowerment.” He called for a “women-led Peace Forum to be attended by Heads of State and Government and to implement decisions of the Peace and Security Council to institutionalise the office of the special envoy on women, peace and security.”

According to the World Bank, as quoted in This Day Live, the . . . agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. “The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.

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Question for this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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“The scope of AfCFTA is large. The agreement will reduce tariffs among member countries and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regu­latory measures such as sanitary standards and technical barriers to trade. Full implementation of AfCFTA would reshape markets and economies across the region and boost output in the services, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.

This will be a major change because at the present time as indicated by According to The Africa Report, intra-African trade accounts for only 18% of overall trade across the continent.

In a related development, the newly-elected head of the World Trade Organization is an African woman, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. As indicated by The Herald (Zimbabwe), “For strategic reasons, the appointment could not have come at a better time for Africa . . . With an anticipated economic boon following the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the continent stands in a better position to lobby for an increase in its world trade share because it can now do so as one single unit and get a sizeable share.”

According to This Day Live, “The rubrics, goals and objectives of the AfCTA aren’t incompatible in anyway with those of the WTO, and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala could help pilot it towards more support for the continent. That could be in offering technical help, trade analysis and policy expertise, turning the dream of free trade across Africa into reality. In addition, she will possess the moral capacity to pressure African political leaders to design and implement sensible trade policies that support growth.”

AfCTA is a major component of Agenda 2063, the 50-year master plan established by the African Union. As described in the Southern Times, the Agenda also includes “the construction of an integrated high speed rail network connecting African capitals; the formulation of an African commodities strategy that unlocks the value of our resources, and creates value chains based on local value addition; and the realisation of an African passport for promotion of free movement of people across our continent. Other flagship programmes are development of 43,200MW Grand Inga Dam; a single African air transport market; and establishment of African financial institutions such as the African Investment Bank, Pan-African Stock Exchange, the African Monetary Fund and the African Central Bank.”

China and the European Union, major trading partners with Africa, have welcomed the AfCTA. The new Ambassador-designate of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong, as quoted by Independent Online, stated, among other things, that the AfCTA can contribute to peace and to sustainable development. “China and Africa fought side by side against imperialism, colonialism and apartheid, and the yearning for peace has long been in the blood of the Chinese and African people. The AU Agenda 2063 emphasises that Africa shall realise peace and security, and Africa’s road to modernization is bound to be one of peaceful development.” “The AU Agenda 2063 advocates building a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, which speaks volumes about Africa’s pursuit of harmony between man and nature in its modernization process.”

In a new report adopted on 28 January, as quoted by Euractiv, the European Union called for “long-term EU financial and technical support for African countries to boost climate adaptation; EU support for African regional integration to help reduce dependence on foreign imports; and for the EU to support the new African continental free trade area which was launched in January.”

G5 Sahel: Heads of State announce Prize for the promotion of the culture of peace

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from Al Wihda Info (translation by CPNN)

The heads of state of the G5 Sahel [Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger] decided on Tuesday to establish a prize called “Sahel Prize for the promotion of the culture of peace”.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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The prize will be awarded to individuals, institutions or public, private or civil society organizations that have done the best work for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, for the culture of peace and tolerance between communities in the Sahel region.

This is an initiative of the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The Council of Ministers and the executive secretariat of the G5 Sahel will work on setting up the mechanisms for this award.

The 7th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State of the G5 Sahel was held on February 15, 2021 in N’Djamena.

New UNEP synthesis provides blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies and secure humanity’s future

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A press release from the United Nations Environmental Program

The world can transform its relationship with nature and tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises together to secure a sustainable future and prevent future pandemics, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that offers a comprehensive blueprint for addressing our triple planetary emergency.


Launch of report

The report, Making Peace with Nature, lays out the gravity of these three environmental crises by drawing on global assessments, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook report, the UNEP International Resource Panel, and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

The authors assess the links between multiple environmental and development challenges, and explain how advances in science and bold policymaking can open a pathway towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050 while bending the curve on biodiversity loss and curbing pollution and waste. Taking that path means innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature. Success will include restored ecosystems and healthier lives as well as a stable climate.

“By bringing together the latest scientific evidence showing the impacts and threats of the climate emergency, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution that kills millions of people every year, [this report] makes clear that our war on nature has left the planet broken,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in the report’s Foreword. “But it also guides us to a safer place by providing a peace plan and a post-war rebuilding programme.

“By transforming how we view nature, we can recognize its true value. By reflecting this value in policies, plans and economic systems, we can channel investments into activities that restore nature and are rewarded for it,” he added. “By recognizing nature as an indispensable ally, we can unleash human ingenuity in the service of sustainability and secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet.”

Amid a wave of investment to re-energize economies hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the blueprint communicates the opportunity and urgency for ambitious and immediate action. It also lays out the roles that everyone – from governments and businesses to communities and individuals – can and must play. 2021 is especially crucial, with upcoming climate and biodiversity convention meetings – NFCCC COP 26 and CBD COP 15 – where governments must come up with synergistic and ambitious targets to safeguard the planet by almost halving greenhouse gas emissions in this decade, and by conserving and restoring biodiversity.

Tackling three planetary threats together

Economic growth has brought uneven gains in prosperity to a fast-growing global population, leaving 1.3 billion people poor, while tripling the extraction of natural resources to damaging levels and creating a planetary emergency. Despite a temporary decline in emissions due to the pandemic, Earth is heading for at least 3°C of global warming this century; more than 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species are at substantially increased risk of extinction; and diseases caused by pollution are currently killing some 9 million people prematurely every year. Environmental degradation is impeding progress towards ending poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities and promoting sustainable economic growth, work for all and peaceful and inclusive societies.

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Question for this article:
 
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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The report shows how this trio of environmental emergencies interact and have common causes, and thus can only be effectively addressed together. Subsidies on fossil fuels, for instance, and prices that leave out environmental costs, are driving the wasteful production and consumption of energy and natural resources that are behind all three problems.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, said the report highlighted the importance of changing mindsets and values, and finding political and technical solutions that measure up to the Earth’s environmental crises.

“In showing how the health of people and nature are intertwined, the COVID-19 crisis has underlined the need for a step-change in how we view and value nature. By reflecting that value in decision-making – whether we are talking about economic policy or personal choices – we can bring about a rapid and lasting shift toward sustainability for both people and the environment,” she said. “‘Green recovery’ plans for pandemic-hit economies are an unmissable opportunity to accelerate the transformation.”

Released ahead of the fifth UN Environment Assembly, the report presents a strong case for why and how urgent action should be taken to protect and restore the planet and its climate in a holistic way.

It presents examples of what transformative change can look like, and how it can create prosperity, employment and greater equality. Far-reaching change involves recasting how we value and invest in nature, integrating that value into policies and decisions at all levels, overhauling subsidies and other elements of economic and financial systems, and fostering innovation in sustainable technologies and business models. Massive private investment in electric mobility and alternative fuels show how whole industries recognize the potential gains from shifting quickly.

The authors point out that ending environmental decline in all its forms is essential to advancing many of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular poverty alleviation, food and water security and good health for all. An example is how intensifying agriculture and fishing in sustainable ways, allied with changes in diets and lower food waste, can help end global hunger and poverty and improve nutrition and health while sparing more land and ocean for nature.

Reinforcing the call for action, the report stresses the need for stakeholders at all levels of society to be involved in decision-making, and identifies dozens of key actions that governments, businesses, communities and individuals can and should undertake in order to bring about a sustainable world.

For instance:

* Governments can include natural capital in measures of economic performance, put a price on carbon and shift trillions of dollars in subsidies from fossil fuels, non-sustainable agriculture and transportation towards low-carbon and nature-friendly solutions

* International organizations can promote One Health approaches and ambitious international targets for biodiversity, such as expanded and improved protected area networks

* Financial organizations can stop lending for fossil fuels and develop innovative finance for biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture.

* Businesses can adopt the principles of the circular economy to minimize resource use and waste and commit to maintaining transparent and deforestation-free supply chains

* Non-government organizations can build networks of stakeholders to ensure their full participation in decisions about sustainable use of land and marine resources

* Scientific organizations can pioneer technologies and policies to reduce carbon emissions, increase resource efficiency and lift the resilience of cities, industries, communities and ecosystems

* Individuals can reconsider their relationship with nature, learn about sustainability and change their habits to reduce their use of resources, cut waste of food, water and energy, and adopt healthier diets

A sustainable future also means learning from the COVID-19 crisis to reduce the threat of pandemic diseases. The report underlines how ecosystem degradation heightens the risk of pathogens making the jump from animals to humans, and the importance of a ‘One Health’ approach that considers human, animal and planetary health together.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

African Union Office of the Youth Envoy: Winners Announced fo Youth Silencing The Guns Awards

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An announcement from the African Union Youth Envoy

As part of Youth Silencing the Guns Campaign “Advancing Youth Roles and Capacities to Silence the Guns” launched by the African Union (AU) on 24th July 2020, the Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) in collaboration with partners provided grants to youth projects through Youth Silencing the Guns Awards to celebrate, elevate and recognise youth impact in the communities with concrete support to grassroots efforts, as well as amplify young peacebuilders initiatives and stories through wide platforms. A total of Four Awards issued under five categories granting each winner $5,000.


Silencing the Climate Crisis Award
to project Ibn El Bitar (Algeria)

Congratulations to Ms. Sakina Benabdelkader from Algeria for winning the Award for Silencing the Climate Crisis. Her project, Ibn El-Bitar, focuses on protecting natural resources and wildlife linked to medicinal and aromatic plants and their transformation into Bionatural products. The projet is protecting the regional natural resources of North African medicinal and aromtic plants by cultiating and practicing beekeeping on the same agricultural land, contributing to the protetion of regional bees.

Silencing Gender-Based Violence Award
to #ShutItAllDown movement (Namibia)

The #ShutItAllDown is a citizen led, owned and organized movement demanding radical and substantive action in curbing the prevalent ocurrance of sexual and gender based violence in Namibia. To date, the movement has protested ten times nation wide, emphasizing the demands of the Shut It All Down Petition. The first of these protests were attended by one thousand young women and men in the capital city, Windhoek. In response, young women and men of the movement ha several meetings with the President of Namibia, the Minister of Justie, and the Peace and security corps. These interventions are targeted at addressing and narrowing the rape crisis in Namibia.

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Question for this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Silencing Corruption Award
to Citizens Gavel Foundation for Social Justice (Nigeria)

Project lead: Nelson Olahipekun. Gavel is a not for profit non-governmental organization that increased the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, digital technology and citizens’ engagement. Since inception, Gavel has worked on over 2000 cases and provided legal support to the #ENDSARS movement in Nigeria with over 400 human rights abuses documented.

Silencing Youth Unemployment Award
to Garden of Hope Foundation (Kenya)

Project Lead: Victor Odhiambo. This Leadership and Entrepreneurship Project equipped vulnerable youth with sustainable skills that help them secure employment or start their own income-generating initiatives. The project targeted youth who have dropped out of school and who couldn’t continue with their education, including youth at risk of joining violent extremist groups or local gangs In addition to youth who are sometimes used by politicians to cause political violence. Since he inception of the project, over 1,000 youth have been trained, mentored, and funded to start their business ventures. This enabled the creation of sustainable social and economic opportunities for youth who are living in urban slums and rural communities.

Colombia: Cultural spaces for the construction of peace

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from RPTV Noticias

Young people have a role in building peace. This is how the organizations that make up the youth fabric have understood it, a group from the town of Rafael Uribe Uribe in Bogotá, one of the towns most effected by the armed conflict in the capital.


Video of Cultural Spaces

“What we want to show is that we have a conscience, we want a change and we are doing things to make that change real. Relating to the territory gives me the sense of belonging to the place where I have grown up, where I have been and it makes me realize the realities that are around me, ”said Nicolás Chávez.

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(Click here for the article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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With their actions the youth have worked to generate new ways of appropriating the territory, preventing violence and promoting inclusion through artistic expressions.

In this community work, the main protagonists are young people, who with art and culture reflect leadership as a fundamental pillar to transform their spaces.

“The initiative of the murals is the demilitarization of life. It is one of the most beautiful ways of expressing what we feel. It is a way of reaching young people since it is a part with which they identify,” said Sofia Alfonso Cantor.

Youth fabric interprerts peace as a space for exchange, based on respect and collective participation.

This is how Nicolás Chavez, resident of the Rafael Uribe Uribe town and who participates in these conferences, highlighted the importance of these spaces: “for us the construction of peace is a state of well-being, to be among everyone, in a place, a space where we can all feel good ”.

Youth fabric that is part of the research carried out by the Compaz Foundation, for its appropriation of the territory to build citizenship, to promote dialogue and collective decision-making, a clear example of the role played by civil society organizations in the building a culture of peace.