There's good news and (naturally) some bad news.
Let's celebrate the Canadian government's decision not to be part of the US planned Ballistic Missile Defence. Of course that alone doesn't put an end to the program, which has already stimulated a revival of the nuclear arms race. Nevertheless, the victory has renewed our fortitude.
Another encouraging development is the civilian nonviolent protests in Lebanon, which have already brought about the departure of some Syrian troops from the country, with more changes yet to come. See Ken Simons's informative piece on the history of that country, including its considerable experience with nonviolent protest.
And we take pleasure in reporting on the ongoing activities of peaceniks in several places -- Britain, Iran, and Israel, in addition to Ottawa, where there is a move to create both a Department of Peace (inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and a Civilian Peace Service. There's also a personal account of a bridge-building visit by Canadian activists to North Korea, which certainly seems to need lots of new bridges to the outside world. Fortunately, some late-night billiard games broke the ice with a suspicious interpreter and driver.
Our bad news is the dangerous situation in Nepal, where a rural-based movement continues to grow, and arms continue to flow in -- both to the government and the rebels, who are not ideological enough, apparently, to be properly called Maoists -- though that is the term they're given.
And, despite the somewhat favorable changes that have occurred since Abbas replaced Arafat as leader of the Palestinians, recriminations between that group and the supporters of Israel continue to fill our incoming mailbox on some days. We have two articles about the subject, plus a letter. The Israeli refuseniks reveal their youthful energy and courage, while the article about the suicide bombers offers some insight (if no great hope) into the motivations of young people whose actions are polar opposites to the nonviolent refuseniks. See also the letter to the editor on this contentious topic.
This spring the Non-Proliferation Review Conference will be meeting in New York under circumstances that appear far from favorable. That means we have lots of work ahead of us. Keep up the good work, folks! Hooray for us.
Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2005, page 4. Some rights reserved.
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