As usual lately, we are concerned about war in the Middle East -- both the ongoing conflict of Israelis and Palestinians, and the prospect of a US-led war against Iraq. At the same time, our attention is drawn to the parallels between these situations and previous ones -- notably the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 (a project of intimidation resembling the Bush policy toward Iraq) and the divestment campaign against apartheid in South Africa (a project from which we may take a lesson today as a way of dealing with the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands). Read the article by Archbishop Tutu and Ian Urbina urging that plan. Moreover, we can see parallels between the recent nonviolent replacement of a dictatorship in Serbia by a democracy and the possibility of replacing Saddam Hussein, also by a nonviolent movement of citizens with assistance from democratic institutions abroad. Sometimes perhaps there really are lessons to be learned from history.
And, on the subject of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we continue to discover more truths that had never before been disclosed -- extremely scary truths, indeed. A year or so ago, we were belatedly thanking a retired Soviet military officer, Colonel Petrov, for saving the world, and now we have learned that another Soviet officer, Vasili Arkhipov, saved us all from a nuclear war. Thank you, Captain Arkhipov! Read the newsworthy page for the details.
Another advance toward peace needs to celebrated -- the important document on Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect, which has been developed to advise countries about their sovereign rights and, more importantly, the obligation that they have to protect their own citizens rather than abuse them. The commission finessed a difficult diplomatic problem with this brilliant formulation. We thank Lloyd Axworthy for organizing the commission in the first place, while he was foreign minister.
Finally, we must now say goodbye to a great hero of peace, the late radical nonviolent activist, Phil Berrigan.
Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2003, page 4. Some rights reserved.
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