The most momentous event since our last issue was the utter failure of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the end of May. Surely the general public is unaware of the dangers that come from this perilous situation, or they would demand that governments solve it. Let's make them aware -- and make governments respond! The Mayors for Peace and Abolition 2000 are good organizations with whom to join forces in this vital mission.
And there are other developments relating to peace too.
Notably in Kyrgyzstan, the current wave of democratization is going strong, with most new nonviolent movements following the good strategic advice of Gene Sharp (whose new book is reviewed herein) -- often with some funding from Soros and a few Western governments. Germany, Norway, the United States, and Australia are among the countries that maintain agencies to support democratization around the world. Thus Norway broadcasts honest radio newscasts into Burma and funds its underground movement for democracy. And, surprisingly, US legislation also maintains trade sanctions that prevent American companies from helping prop up some of the worst governments on earth.
Regrettably, however, the Canadian government does not regulate Canadian companies operating in dictatorships. Some mining companies are a major support for the Burmese junta, which still is holding captive the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. Nor does the Canadian government much assist democracy movements abroad, though its arms-length organization, Rights and Democracy, is ideally suited to provide such support. At an Ottawa conference hosted by Rights and Democracy in June, I asked Ed Broadbent, who headed that body from its inception, whether it should be supporting dissident democratic movements abroad. He assured me that it had been created specifically for that purpose -- with the full support of all political parties. He added that it could do a great deal more if it had about $30 million more to disburse. Only in the past few years have Canadians hesitated to assist people in securing their own freedom through nonviolent means. We should do so gladly -- just as we should increase development aid to the annual amount originally proposed by Lester Pearson: 0.7 percent.
In this issue we cover some other modern dangers -- military pollution in New Brunswick and the privatization of military functions -- plus the inspiring work of social justice activists and civil society organizations in Honduras, the Philippines, Indonesia and Iraq. Hooray for you folks!"