Thursday, 26 November 2009

MBDA cleaning up their act?

The Guardian reported yesterday that the 10:10 campaign - aiming to get organisations to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% in 2010 - had accepted missile-manufacturer MBDA's wish to sign up.  10:10 had previously rejected an application from Manchester Airport, on the basis that it's main activity and aims are to encourage more air travel.   

Many of the missiles and weaponry produced by MBDA, apart from being lethal and (in my opinion) morally repugnant - are entirely dependent for their useage on a military machine that burns fossil fuels like there was no tomorrow.  I've not heard of solar-powered fighter jets or tanks running off chip-fat yet.  

So MBDA is just as mutually dependent on a fossil-fuel-consuming-carbon-dioxide-emitting way of behaving as Manchester airport is.  The one difference is that neither Manchester airport, nor the airlines that use it market products that are "...small, lightweight and easy to use and will provide an unprecedented mix of lethality and mobility". 

I'm sorry 10:10, but if it was a choice between the two, I know which I'd go for.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Afghanistan - different type of surge advocated

The open letter, from Jim Wallis and others to Barack Obama and published today, is well worth a read.  In it they write:

"We believe that after eight years of war we need a whole new approach in Afghanistan. And we respectfully and prayerfully suggest to you a different strategy that we would name: the humanitarian and development surge."

and pointing out that

"The collateral damage of our technological war has already been great, resulting in many civilian deaths, further alienating the populace and, inadvertently, producing even more angry young recruits for terrorism."

Let's hope the President reads this and takes serious note of the thoughtful and important message.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Wider networks

Just back in the office catching up today after a hard-working weekend in Belgium - the rather splendid old abbey in Kortenberg being our venue.  There's a short a report and photos of the meeting at:

Sometimes these meetings can feel a bit in need of direction.  There was a strong sense of purposefulness on this occasion though.  We live in challenging times, and, as Marisa writes in her report:

"We contemplated the dark clouds that continue to haunt our world – the threats of global change, high tech wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, continuing tensions in many parts of Africa and, closer to home, the rise of intolerance, xenophobia and violence towards immigrants.

"In worship, we drew strength from George Fox’s own experience that the Ocean of Light flows over the ocean of darkeness, and that, when we let our life speak, we can be like crystals in a chandelier, letting the Light shine through, reflecting it and refracting it to the world around us."

Monday, 2 November 2009

Northern Friends Peace Board statement on Afghanistan

As our Executive Committee met on 24th October, people were marching in London to call for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. The committee minuted:

We unite with others in expressing our deep distress and disquiet at the continuing loss of life, amongst Afghans and NATO personnel, in Afghanistan. The displacement of people and the social and psychological harm – on top of physical injury – that arises from armed conflict such as this will have long-term damaging consequences for all concerned.

We urge the UK government to do all it can to bring to a cessation its involvement in this violent conflict; a conflict which many analysts now conclude is unwinnable and is worsening - rather than contributing to - global peace and security. We recognise that the UK does have a commitment to supporting reconstruction in the region and support this intent. The security needed to allow such reconstruction, however, can surely only be sustainable when it has come from dialogue and reconciliation rather than from the barrel of a gun.

We know that our government now faces very great dilemmas in finding a way forward and that this will not be easy or simple. We call for the urgent withdrawal of British and other foreign troops from Afghanistan, allowing the people of that country to find their own way of building a peaceful, just and secure society.

24th October 2009