A World Without War The World Our Children Deserve
29 Nov 2006
The first World Peace Forum assembled in Vancouver, this summer, todiscuss the idea of cities and communities working together to end warand build a peaceful, just and sustainable world.
Attention: This article has been imported from our old websiteWhile we've taken every precaution to ensure that the content of this article remains intact, it may contain errors.
The first World Peace Forum assembled in Vancouver, this summer, to discuss the idea of cities and communities working together to end war and build a peaceful, just and sustainable world.
Mary-Wynne Ashford, former President of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize-winning organisation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, spoke at event. The following excerpt has been taken from her speech.
‘…For the past two years I have been working on a book of successful non-violent interventions that have prevented or ended armed conflict… I was also lecturing about nuclear weapons and the urgent need to abolish war. On the one hand, I was immersed in the violence and horror of war, and on the other I was reading hundreds of stories about people all over the world succeeding in turning around violent responses.
‘Finally I concluded that we are in a global social revolution’ that is being described in academic journals but has not been picked up by the popular media. The Centre for Human Security, at the University of British Columbia, issued a report last year that I found astounding, even though I have been working in this field for years. Since the end of the Cold War in 1992, the number of major wars and genocides in the world has decreased by 80 per cent. The number of smaller, internal wars has dropped by 40 per cent. 100 wars have quietly ended and 60 dictators have been toppled…
‘Other research shows that increasing the participation of women in government increases the likelihood that a state will choose diplomatic options instead of war to resolve conflicts. A 5 per cent increase in women elected to federal government means that a state is 5 times less likely to use war to address internal conflict. The states with 40 per cent women in the labour force are 30 times less likely to be involved in war.
‘Cities and communities are collaborating in creative, radical ways to change the very way we think about violence. Let me give an example: If you were mayor of Bogota, Colombia, how would you reduce violence in your impoverished and crowded city? Three successive mayors… began by giving priority to the 85 per cent of people who did not have cars instead of the 15 per cent who did. They provided beautiful, efficient mass transport, thousands of kilometres of cycling and walking paths, parks and beautiful spaces for people to gather. Mayor Mockus replaced all the traffic police with pantomime artists directing traffic. He opened the city to women for three nights and asked the men to stay home with their children. So 700,000 women went downtown’ to walk and mingle in the cafÈs and clubs. Traffic slowed down, and violence and murder dropped dramatically.
‘The voice of our civil society is the conscience of our nations. It is stronger now than ever before in history, and for the first time, the idea of ending war is more than a utopian dream. It is now time to shift our priorities to act for the common good. In 2003 The New York Times said that there is, once again, a second superpower ñ the power of world public opinion and we have the opportunity and the responsibility to act and change history.’
Contact: World Peace Forum
Tel: 604 687 3223
First published in Positive News US
For the full speech: www.positivenewsus.org
Original report from the World Peace Forum
Photos: © World Peace Forum
If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation
Donating helps us keep reporting on positive news