Thursday, 16 August 2007
Another bit of heavy-duty military-based "peace building". This time in the form of a massive commitment (30 billion US dollars) by the Univted States to continue providing military aid to Israel. According to a BBC report
[US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns] called the aid package an "investment in peace", saying "peace cannot be made without strength".
"Needless to say, given Israel's predicament, living in a region that is very violent and unstable, its military edge is of interest to our country, and we've committed to that," he said.
The money must be used to purchase military equipment from the US defence industry, although Israel will also be permitted to use 26.3% to buy equipment from local companies.
To be honest, this really sounds more like an investment in the US weapons industry than an investment in peace. Now what would $30 bn buy in non-military peacebuilding capacity? If only someone with access to that sort of money asked themselves the same question.
Friday, 10 August 2007
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Some useful links:
UK's DESO Done In
Faith and peace groups wecome DESO closure
Export department closure leaves defence firms out in the cold
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
The latter commented:
'The decision in December 2002 to accede to a US upgrade at Fylingdales set a poor precedent in terms of process, transparency and accountability. The Defence Committee "strongly regretted the way in which the issue had been handled by the Government". This latest announcement is a further escalation in Britain's missile defence commitment without public debate or parliamentary scrutiny.'
MPs may be enjoying a recess from parliamentary duties, but perhaps this will give them more time to deal with correspondence from constituents on the matter. Can't find a pen and paper? Why not contact yours via WriteToThem.org.uk
As David comes to the end of his epic cycle ride, I received an email today reminding me of the extraordinary walk for peace being undertaken by Canadian Jean Béliveau, who set of from his home in Canada on 18th August 2000. He passed through the UK not so long ago, and I was sorry not to have a chance to meet him. The latest news is that he is walking through Iran. His purpose? … is to walk around the planet to promote "Peace and non-violence to the profit of the children of the world" and aims to complete the entire walk within 12 years.
Another venture just reaching its conclusion is the Footprints for Peace interfaith walk from Dublin to London, which has stopped at Faslane, Menwith Hill and Aldermaston - amongst many other places - along the way. A number of Friends have met with and joined the walkers for different stages of their journey. This group says that … "Through our actions we create the opportunity for multi cultural interfaith prayer and ceremony to deepen our spiritual, cultural and environmental awareness and understanding that All Life is Sacred. To empower, raise awareness and inspire individuals and community. Creating peaceful change through action."
Walking and making journeys in this way seems to be both an outward and an inward act – I recall many years ago hearing about Satish Kumar's long Ghandi-inspired peace walks in the early 1960s, and he is certainly one who sees such initiatives in this way. It seems to be about making oneself vulnerable and open to being in contact both with the earth but also a wide range of people in many different circumstances. An antidote to sitting on air-conditioned high-speed trains with head phones plugged in as I was just last week, and perhaps a simple reminder of our need for one another, our common humanity.