BY ANDREW ORT
Zsolt Keszthelyi (who was anonymously interviewed in PEACE, Dec'86, p.12) was sentenced to prison for two-and-one-half years for conscientious objection. He is now in a prison for dangerous criminals, with little contact with the outside world, and forced to work twelve hours a day.
Zsolt, who has hereditary heart trouble, is beaten up daily by other inmates. He has often been found senseless under his bed and is threatened with electric shocks. Guards do not interfere until the atrocities on him have run their course. No letters have been received by Keszthelyi that tell of solidarity, though the prison censor lets through all letters condemning him. Please write the authorities at Márianosztra Jail, Hungary.
OTTAWA - Operation Dismantle is taking on the centrepiece of last year's Defence White Paper in a national campaign. The group is encouraging Canadians to call on the Federal government to cancel the program.
Dismantle is appealing to municipalities, nonprofit groups, and peace activists to link overspending on military procurement with under-funding of human needs.
"These submarines are useless, unneeded, provocatively dangerous, and wastefully expensive," says Operation Dismantle President Ish Theilheimer. "They're not used to protect the Arctic, they're an overly expensive way to provide coastal security, they'll be used in support of the aggressive naval strategy, and their purchase will mean no money for other needs."
He lists road building and housing, health care, and education as areas that will suffer because of military overspending. "It shows where the government's priorities lie," says Theilheimer.
Operation Dismantle volunteers are working to recruit local activists and non-profit groups to host the tour and to take the campaign to other regions. Dismantle is developing a variety of resources for use by local activists. These include: an eight-page comic book; a slide tape show; a poster; a brochure in both official languages; a special issue of The Dismantler; and a campaign button. Dismantle is encouraging activists to stage street theatre, heaping ridicule on the submarine acquisition. Dismantle can supply street theatre ideas, scripts, and props.
The campaign was kicked off on May 3. Mayors John Murphy of St. Johns, Jack Masters of Thunder Bay, and Gretchen Brewin of Victoria joined representatives from both the NDP and Liberals, and Theilheimer in condemning the sub purchase.
Activists interested in helping bring the campaign to their communities should contact Operation Dismantle at P.O. Box 3887, Station C, Ottawa K1Y 4M5. 613/236-1517.
ORANGEVILLE - Planning for the Ontario Peace Conference '88 is underway. Mark your calendars for Sept. 16-18 and plan to come to Camp Edgewood, near Guelph, for the OPC 88 weekend. The title / theme of the conference: "Effective Action for Peace: Challenging Militarism, Challenging Ourselves."
Activities will focus on a critical examination of peace activism, our successes and failures, our methods and effectiveness. The coordinating groups welcome your ideas and encourage your participation in the planning process. 519/ 836-4134. C/o Randy Dryburgh, RR3, ON N0G 1G0.
BY JEFF DE FREITAS
TORONTO - What Mother Nature has against peace rallies is beyond me: One would think she'd be very receptive to a protest on her behalf. But that wasn't the case when scarcely 500 people braved the near-freezing temperatures, rain and high winds to participate in the Sixth Annual Spring Protest for Peace, sponsored by the Toronto chapter of ACT for Disarmament. Organizer Steven Dankowich was more than a little disillusioned with the turnout, which ACT had publicized with about 70,000 posters and leaflets.
Dankowich provided the theme for the rally in his speech at City Hall: The Canadian initiative to purchase a fleet of nuclear submarines at a cost of at least $7 billion; Canada's participation in "fuelling" the arms race through uranium mining and exports; Ontario's involvement in the production of tritium and its environmental dangers (one millionth of a gram is enough to cause cancer and possibly death); and reinforcing an "Anti Free Trade" stance citing economic dependence, leading to a lack of self-determination in Canadian defence policies. ACT also urged Canada to stop all involvement with the testing of the cruise missile, stating that over half of Canada is against it. Dankowich also attacked Canada's participation in NATO, whom he accused of precipitating World War III by preparing "First Strike" strategies. The speech was met with support from the sparse crowd, eager to warm up to the policies proposed. The protesters then marched through the streets of Toronto ending at Queen's Park where they heard more speakers on the underlying theme of the rally: Interventionist Policies Around the World.
An appeal for official acceptance of conscientious objection circulated through Eastern European independent organizations, received 400 signatures, and was presented to a Helsinki follow-up conference on March 18.