Thanks to all the readers who responded with suggestions for the future of the magazine. Most of the letters were encouraging, and those who could not appear hopeful were usually people whose pocketbooks are thinner these days. The recession, as well as the changing issues of our times, are giving peace publications a lower priority. However, we are still keeping the faith, as this new issue proves. You will find much of interest contained herein.
The Middle East and Yugoslavia continue to be hot spots of great concern. We have two articles about Iraq; one is Ayad Al-Qazzaz's analysis of why the Bush administration has not really wanted-at least until recently-to get rid of Saddam Hussein. The second deals with an exhibition of children's drawings that ought to soften the hearts of all who see them. And in the Middle East, there are victims on the Jewish side as well as the whole Kurdish population. Let's not forget the Kurds!
The Yugoslav situation remains unresolved. I have found Johan Galtung's analysis the most illuminating-though many people will consider me wrong-headed for saying that. Besides its other, more grievous, injuries this war is despicable for dividing peace activists.
Andrew Pakula had a chance to interview Mient Jan Faber, one of the leading (and, in my opinion, the nicest) of European activists. See "Aftermath," a title that alludes to the fact that Faber is a mathematician by training, who gave up a career in that field to work for the Inter-Church organization in the Netherlands. As I write, he is traveling in Turkey with other activists from the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, trying to figure out what new troubles for the Kurds and others may be brewing in that area.
Luckily, Canadians have easier problems to handle at home; the two issues of the day are our economy and our constitutional crisis. There is a good deal of talk continuing about the "peace dividend" and how to convert to a peaceable economy. Len Desroches describes a conference he attended on "civilian based defence," and Richard Sanders has a concise but excellent page of how-to-do-it advice for would-be conversion activists. Conversion is one of the most useful things Canadians can do for peace right now-along with Conscience Canada's campaign to withhold taxes destined for military purposes. Read Frank Showler's article on that.
Try to get to Brazil this summer for the conference on the environment. Although some governments have managed to exclude militarism from the agenda, many independent groups will make sure that no one can ignore it.