If you visit Peace Magazine one early morning you may meet an office manager with a pony tail, Brian Burch, who is also a practicing priest and and an activist in countless good causes. In February Brian and two of his friends, Will and Matthew, faced a court trial for "mischief." They had tried to plant a vegetable garden in Queen's Park so as to feed a few of Toronto's poor. Perhaps the benefits would be recognized by the parliamentarians who would watch tomato vines growing. Alas, the police charged them.
Having justified their actions on religious grounds (Christ commanded us to feed and house the poor) the defendants were gratified by the judge's response. He acquitted them, saying "Political protests should not only be allowed, but encouraged." We think so too. In every country! Thanks, Brian, Matthew, and Will!
If you too are inspired by their brave deed, you may also admire other humanitarian workers who go to even more dangerous places than a provincial legislature. James Orbinski, for example, goes to war zones that are overwhelmed by famine and disease. He's one of the famous "doctors without borders" we see on TV in Somalia, Afghanistan, or Bosnia. Orbinski doesn't expect humanitarian work to become easier-quite the contrary. But that's no reason not to do it. You may want to if you read his story.
Angus Archer was a neighbor of the new Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, who lives in an island in the East River near the U.N. He tells us what to expect of this new kind of chief.
We present the second of two articles on Cuba by Holly Ackerman, an American scholar who opposes the U.S. embargo and especially the Helms-Burton Law which her country has enacted against the wishes of other states that trade with Cuba. You may be surprised at her grounds for opposing that law; it's not the reason you usually hear expressed in Canada. As a Peace Magazine insider, Jean Smith was able to read this second Ackerman article before it was published. Jean didn't like what she saw, nor what was published in this column last time, so she wrote a critical response. You will find the letter by Jean and her husband John Valleau beginning on the letter page.
The May/June issue will deal with a special theme: the break-up and war in the former Yugoslavia. Although we have one discussion of it in this issue, next issue will be a theme issue, focusing attention on the lessons to be learned from Yugoslavia's crisis.
Finally, we invite you to check out our new internet site. Our address is easy to recognize: Just key in <peacemagazine. org.>