From the Editor

By Metta Spencer | 1992-01-01 12:00:00

WHAT A YEAR HAS JUST FINISHED! Audrey McLaughlin's piece reminds us that the Iraqi children are still feeling the terrible effects of the Gulf War.

Ernie Regehr has long promoted an international arms trade register. Since the Gulf War, that idea has gained support. Ernie has been working at the United Nations on the expert group preparing that new institution. Annie Bourret interviewed him by phone about it. Good going, Ernie!

IN ACCORDANCE with a tradition we established one year ago, our January theme is a round-the-world checkup on the prospect for peace. Soviet peace activist Tair Tairov spoke to us by phone from Moscow on December 11, and we edited his fascinating observations. In addition, we offer pithy but perceptive reviews of the Middle East, Cambodia, India, Burma, Africa, Europe, and Central America.

IT IS CUSTOMARY to take stock at the beginning of a year and set new goals. Ten years ago our top priority was to reverse the nuclear arms race. We did not accomplish that; Mikhail Gorbachev did it for us, though his people long ago stopped thanking him for doing so. Today activists lack consensus about our priorities. Some of us abhor nationalism, including Canadian varieties, and regard the sovereignty of nation-states and the separatist demands of ethnic communities as the most serious obstacles to peace. Other activists are themselves ardent nationalists.

We also disagree over the breakdown of the Soviet Union; many activists are celebrating the victory of national "self-determination," whereas others tremble when we pick up the morning paper. Peace activists are not unanimous about free trade, constitutional revision, the solution to Third World debt, or even how to approach the politics of environment. We know that the ozone hole is already blinding sheep in Chile and destroying the oceans' plankton, which produce much of the world's oxygen and food for the global food chain. We also know that the solution must be political, but we have no idea how to get there. Our predicament is our lack of a common vision of world we want to create. The day has passed for grand ideological schemes, thank Goodness! But that leaves us searching for piecemeal solutions. What we face now is complex and unsatisfying. We have to hang together, discuss, debate, worry, wait and yet act-in a context of uncertainty. We must be patient, yet active. May PEACE Magazine serve these goals this New Year!

Apologies: We forgot to Credit: David Hlynski, for his striking photo of a Southern Yugoslavian on p.10 of the last issue; Nest Prichard whose photo of three Voice of Women members we printed on the cover; The Kingston Whig Standard, for a photo of Karen Ridd on p.29. Sorry!

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1992

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1992, page 4. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by Metta Spencer here

Peace Magazine homepage