After the Toronto municipal elections in November, we sent copies of the Nov/Dec issue to the newly-elected councillors (part of our mandate is to give Peace to politicians). We received this response from Toronto's mayor, Barbara Hall.
Thank you for your congratulations and good wishes on my election as mayor.
I am humbled by the number of people who have sent notes expressing their support and offering to help put Toronto back on track over the next three years.
Over the course of the campaign, I spoke often about the need for both economic vitality and social justice if we are to have a city that is healthy and safe for us all. I look forward to working with you to achieve these goals. Please keep me informed of your views as council addresses the issues before us.
Barbara Hall, Mayor of Toronto
I have been living in exile in Sweden for over 22 years. If I were to return to the United States I could go to prison for a long time. Between 1968 and 1972 I publicly took responsibility for destroying perhaps hundreds of thousands of draft files and orders calling up kids.
I also took responsibility for destroying the computer network of Dow Chemical, which produced napalm and Agent Orange. Dow stopped its production of napalm. However we were unable to stop the war.
In 1969 I was caught with military files. In my trial I said there was no difference between Nazi concentration camps and the American bombings of Vietnam. It was my duty to protest. I was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security prison.
Many others were at this prison because of activities against the government. There were Black Panthers, anti-war activists, and even Russian spies! Jimmy Hoffa and Phil Berrigan were there. I sat in this prison for 27 months, but my activities against the war did not stop.
The government had found a new way to keep people in prison: conspiracy trials. You did not have to do anything to be put on trial; merely talking about it was enough. Phil Berrigan and other Catholic priests and nuns were, according to the government, planning to bomb the White House and attack B52 bombers. I was also charged with conspiracy. The funny thing is that nothing was ever bombed and we had always taken public responsibility for our actions.
While this was going on, Nixon pardoned Jimmy Hoffa. Was he afraid that Hoffa would bring the working class out against the war? That was a real possibility. I believe that Hoffa's deal with Nixon was a betrayal of working class people.
Soon he disappeared. Who killed him?
After 27 months I was released on bail. The anti-war movement raised $25,000, which gave me the chance to come to Sweden. I received humanitarian asylum, mainly because the Social Democratic Party had gone over to the Vietnamese side.
When Bill Clinton became president I wrote him a letter demanding amnesty. I have not received an answer. I will never say I am sorry for my actions against the war. Tens of thousands have cancer and children are still being born deformed because of chemicals. It was not I who was the criminal, it was people like Richard Nixon.
I have children and grandchildren in the United States whom I would like to visit. I want to return to the country of my birth and walk the streets as a free man. Bill Calley, leader of the My Lai massacre, is free today. I do not intend to beg for forgiveness. However, I would accept amnesty or a pardon. They can call it anything they want as long as the charges are dropped.
Demand that the U.S. government drop all charges against me. Demand the right for me to visit the U.S. Ask Bill Clinton if he enjoyed Nixon's funeral.
Robert Malecki, Bergmastargatan 1 lB, 915 31 Robertsfors, Sweden, Phone 0934/10644
I was appalled to find an article titled "Peace is the Absence of Fear" (Nov/Dec) and I was even more disturbed to find on reading the article that Ursula Franklin, a wise and long-time peace activist, had said those words.
Health is not the absence of disease but is the fully functioning individual living in a community in which equality, equity, and caring are the approved values. War is the result of living in a society where inequity, inequality, and selfishness are the approved values. We are never likely to achieve peace if all we envisage is the absence of fear. Without a positive definition of peace we really don't know how to proceed to achieve it.
Our species developed cooperative patterns during our long evolutionary past. Had we not developed these patterns we would not have evolved at all. We were not as fleet as the deer, as well protected as the turtle, as fierce as the bear. The sharing, cooperative patterns were essential to our survival and are still the basic patterns of the human animal. In natural disasters these basic patterns reassert themselves because they are a kind of species instinct or memory. Peace is living in the cooperative common-
wealth where basic human rights are well-established.
Another comment I find hard to believe Ursula Franklin actually said: "After all, every war was fought to bring peace to somebody." The only peace war ever brought was the peace of death. All wars are fought to gain property, land, resource, control of trade. The wars of liberation, possibly the only "just" wars, are simply reversing a robbery, restoring to the dispossessed the land and resources stolen from them by violence.
The face of war has not changed from Jericho to Hiroshima to Dresden to My Lai. All that has changed is the magnitude of the killing, in this century (the most violent in history) 200 million, give or take a million.
But the article bristles with questions, issues that need clarity and discussion, the kind of cooperative inquisitiveness and study that Ursula Franklin engages in with her crystals.
David Smith, Barrie, Ontario
I have exactly the same hesitation in venturing to disagree with comments made by Ursula Franklin as she expressed with respect to those of John Polanyi. However, I take courage from the thought that perhaps my disagreement is with the edited version rather than with what she actually said!
In an interview titled "Peace is the Absence of Fear," Ursula Franklin is quoted as saying, "Peace is defined not as the absence of war but as the absence of fear."
I assume she means the absence of fear on both sides of a contentious issue. While I agree that this is a necessary condition for peace, I don't think it is sufficient.
In the summer of 1990 absence of fear in both Baghdad and Kuwait was a significant factor in Saddam Hussein's decision to invade. Likewise absence of fear of the collapsing USSR emboldened the U.S. to carry out Desert Storm in 1991. Whether considering the continuing Serbian assaults in Bosnia or violence in Canadian schools, it is apparent that people who are truly fearless, because they perceive no-one around who can stop them, and who are in some way aggrieved, can become thugs. Often their victims feel no fear prior to the attack because they didn't see it coming.
Fear and anger are closely related. Some feel fear as the sinking form of anger; others experience anger as a reaction to and mask for fear. Hatred and ill-will however, can arise from other causes such as greed, feelings of superiority, either intrinsic, is in racism, or instrumental, as in physical strength or military might.
For these reasons I suggest that peace can exist only in the absence of all of the following: fear, anger, hatred, greed, and ideas of superiority. If any of these factors is present I think an apparent peace will be unstable and peaceful conflict resolution unlikely.
Anna Cathrall, Guelph, Ontario
First of all, let me thank both Anna Cathrall and David Smith for their responses. I am grateful that they took the time to write: their comments have made it again very clear to me just how hard it is to encapsulate a lot of thought into a few words.
In terms of the context of the interview, it should be remembered that I responded to John Polanyi's advocacy of the use of military force by the United Nations for the purpose of peacekeeping and peacemaking. It was in this context that I stressed that peace is not the absence of warfare - which sufficient might and deterrence could conceivably enforce. Peace is the absence of fear.
Deterrence, the fear of the bigger stick, the threat system, whether it is military, economic, or social, cannot promote cooperation and sharing, the values that David Smith considers the building blocks of a peaceful society. David says in his letter that we are not likely to achieve peace if all we envisage is the absence of fear and that without a positive definition of peace we really don't know how to proceed to achieve it.
Here I disagree; if fear were not used as a major tool of social, political, and economic control, the path to peace would be much clearer and much less obstructed.
My reference to the horrors of modern war, to which David alludes, refer of course to the fact that modern war- and particularly nuclear war - has consequences of scale and ecological magnitude that Jericho did not have. David and I will agree that arguments of scales of horror do not influence his or my conviction that war is an inappropriate instrument in world affairs, yet the scales of horror have certainly, in my experience, encouraged many anti-war activities.
I have no argument with the spirit of Anna Cathrall's letter, although I do not think that the bravado of "to hell with the consequences" that she describes is fearlessness; it is rather recklessness, the absence of accountability, not the absence of fear.
Finally, when David Smith states that my comments raise comments and questions and issues that need clarification and cooperative study, I could not agree more - and that is, after all, one of the reasons why we all read and contribute to Peace Magazine.
Ursula Franklin, University of Toronto