Thank you for publishing Yeshua Moser's article on Memorial. Earlier this year in Bratislava, I met several members of the organization from different parts of the ex-Soviet Union. I was very impressed with their commitment and with the enormous challenge they had taken up.
With branches in many of the ex-republics and very high credibility, Memorial is in a good position to con-tribute to improved human rights and peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts. Their work on behalf of past and present victims of repression is of greet importance, not only for the region, but ultimately for all of us.
Much can be gained from cooperation and dialogue between Memorial and groups in the West. Building communication links between non-governmental organizations across national boundaries is a step toward global civil society and promoting positive social change.
I have been developing an informal communication network to support the activities of Memorial and have contacted a number of organizations and individuals in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. If you wish to get involved in this work, please get in touch with me.
Andrew Pakula, 504-33 Elmhurst Ave., Willowdale, Ont M2N 6G8, Tel: 4l6-223-0530 Fax: 416-223-5368 EMail email@example.com
It would be unseemly on my part to rise to the bait in Brian Burch's article called "The United Church Divided." I will only offer other researchers the access to files and people that Brian chose not to pursue before writing his article.
One opinion Brian offers suggests that working in Project Ploughshares is a way of hiding our work for peace. On the contrary, in the United Church we regard Ploughshares as a more precise and dedicated version of us. We were an original founder; we help fund it; we have five representatives on the board; Ploughshares resources surface in our Sunday school curriculum, periodicals, Sunday bulletins, in our AV library and our TV programming. We consider Ploughshares to be the most effective possible way for us to overcome our sectarian tendencies and join hands with thousands of Canadians of other faiths and of no faith in a disciplined witness for peace. In Ploughshares we get a chance to work on the serious buttresses of war -arms exporters, and governments that fund them.
The work Ploughshares does needs no defence from me; however ecumenical cooperation does appear to need defense. Brian's complaint about the United Church implies that we'd only be regarded as working for peace if we worked alone. Surely he realizes that this is the line of argument that the U.S. has made many times to justify unilateralism rather than accept the discipline and risks of common action through the U.N. If cooperation between states is desirable, surely co-operation between religions is also desirable. That's particularly so when we consider how many times religious identity is being used to justify nationalism and the use of force in the regional wars of our world.
The United Church continues to work for peace, not because we want credit as a institution but because we want peace grounded in justice. When the people of our world achieve that, we'll be in the streets celebrating, alongside all those other nameless people who achieved it. We won't be looking for any credit for ourselves. Peace is the goal, not PR for any of us.
Bonnie M. Greene, Director; Office of Church in Society, United Church of Canada
Your round-table discussion (Nov/Dec issue) on intervention in the land of the southern Slavs was provocative. Mr. Drakulic's distinction between civil and ethnic society is useful because what a number of folk throughout the world seek is, indeed, less a nation-state than an exclusive tribal entity. The roots of ethnic aggrandisement, as evidenced in the Yugoslav slaughter; are personal insecurity and immaturity. What the Balkans need above all is not military intervention to serve rival bigotries but a compulsory, yet naturally no-compulsive, regimen of Zen.
C. Macleod, Sirdar, British Columbia.