Some Vancouver Island activists took their peace message to the Middle East and into the middle of the war. Muriel Sibley, a Victoria woman, left for the Gulf before hostilities broke out to join the Gulf Peace Team, an international group of nonviolent activists who set up a camp on the Iraqi/ Saudi border. They were forced to leave because of the danger and all arrived safely in Baghdad.
Saltspring Island journalist and environmental activist Randy Thomas flew to Jordan along with Vancouver artist Carl Chaplin several days after the bombings started. They had hoped to bring Chaplin's chilling "art nuko" paintings to the attention of leaders such as King Hussein of Jordan and Saddam Hussein of Iraq in order to encourage peace efforts. Once they were there, their attention turned to the serious ecological consequences of the war. Mr. Thomas is attempting to organize a Gulf Environmental Emergency Response Team of scientists, climatologists, environmentalists and journalists to monitor the situation.
· Despite the considerable energies going towards stopping the Gulf War, local concerns continue to receive our attention. A very successful Conference was held in Nanaimo, B.C. in late February on the condition of Georgia Strait. Georgia Strait is in serious trouble-toxic waste, storm drains, pulp mills, radiation from nuclear ships, and oil spills daily assault these beautiful waters. The Conference has served the purpose of acting as the catalyst for meaningful broad-based community action and a coherent campaign to save Georgia Strait.
The Alliance Against Low Level Flights has collected over 12,500 signatures on a petition calling on the federal government to "cancel all further low-level military flights in B.C." The Alliance is planning a court challenge to stop these flights.
A small Indian band in Victoria is taking the Department of National Defence to court. The Becher Bay Band wants to stop construction of a controversial $3.8 million missile maintenance facility and wharf at DND's Rocky Point ammunition depot. The expansion project threatens the band's traditional fisheries and renders a portion of its land useless.
· Many of us are looking forward to the Annual April Peace Walks in Vancouver, Victoria and in several other smaller communities throughout the province. The annual event in the freshness of springtime with the colourful, festive crowds and the sense of quiet strength and purpose that pervades throughout the walk never ails to uplift the spirit and to renew our commitment to building a safe, just and nonviolent world.
Saul Chernos 705/327-7809 P.O. Box 611, Orillia, Ontario L3V 6K5.