Mary-Wynne Ashford and Guy Dauncey. New Society Publishers, 2006. 271pp.
"If it bleeds, it leads." Thanks to this media dictum we are daily viewers of the blood spilled by Americans, Canadians, Iraqis, and Afghans. It's enough to make you cry "Enough Blood Shed," the title of Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford's new book. But Peace Magazine claims to sell solutions and here there are 101 solutions to violence, terror, and war! Just imagine.
Mary-Wynne launched her book at the Canadian Voice of Women's Annual Meeting in Vancouver at the World Peace Summit on June 22 with some startling facts: 60 dictators have been toppled, most nonviolently; the number of armed conflicts in the world is down 40 percent since 1991; and 100 armed conflicts have quietly ended since 1988. She claims this is partly the work of the "Second Superpower," the millions who marched in 2003 against the Iraq War. Her facts come from War and Peace in the 21st Century, a research report of the Human Security Centre at the University of British Columbia.
As a past co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, Mary-Wynne has traveled and spoken in many countries. Her stories of peace encounters enliven the solutions with first hand experiences. In Kazakhstan in 1990 she witnessed the protests that forced President Gorbachev to end underground nuclear testing. Somehow she combined peace work with her career as a doctor and teacher.
It was to better understand the roots of violence that Mary-Wynne took her Ph. D. from Simon Fraser University and began five years of teaching at the University of Victoria in 1995.
All the book's solutions are practical. Perhaps the most useful bits are the examples of how enemies have been reconciled peacefully, even in South Africa. We are told not to think of negotiating with terrorists but there are many examples here of ending conflict through dialogue.
The solutions cover everything from empowering women, boycotting nuclear weapons manufacturers, and getting out of the arms trade, to addressing the needs of the poor and countering hate propaganda. Each solution covers two pages with a picture and some email contacts. No excuse for not getting busy! The social peace revolution has begun.
Mary-Wynne is now leading an initiative of Physicians for Global Survival for a web-based resource,"Responsibility to Care: The Physicians Call to End War" at www.r2care.org.
What better present could one give this Christmas than a book of realistic hope for the end of war?