Book Review by John Scales Avery*
This book ought to be required reading for college students everywhere in the world, and also for decision-makers. It shakes us out of our complacency and makes us realize that widespread, immediate and dedicated public action is urgently needed if we are to save human civilization and the biosphere from a thermonuclear catastrophe.
The book is published by Paradigm Publishers, 2845 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301, USA. (www.paradigmpublishers.com).
On the back cover there are endorsements, with which I entirely agree, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and David Ellsberg.
“We are greatly privileged, like flies on the wall, to join this conversation between two remarkable stalwarts. Richard Falk and David Krieger, in the campaign for a nuclear-free world. It is unconscionable that so many of us seem to accept the prospect of our ‘mutually assured destruction’, the immoral massacre of millions of civilians, and to view with equanimity such a gross violation of international law…
read more »
New York – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed disappointment at the inability of Member States to reach consensus on a “substantive outcome” on a non-proliferation treaty key for global nuclear disarmament, according to a United Nations spokesperson.
An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Source: UN
In a statement issued on 23 May 2015 regarding the conclusion of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the UN spokesperson said the Secretary-General particularly regretted that States parties were “unable to narrow their differences on the future of nuclear disarmament or to arrive at a new collective vision on how to achieve a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.”*
read more »
More than 27,000 applicants applied for some 200 teaching jobs for the coming academic year in the Gaza Strip, where unemployment has now reached nearly 44 per cent, making it one of the world’s most unstable economies, the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East on 8 May 2015 said.
UNRWA continues to distribute food to 830,000 refugees in Gaza. Photo: UNRWA
“The resilience of Palestine refugees is legendary, but not inexhaustible,” said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which provides direct relief and works programmes for some 5 million Palestine refugees in the region.
Gunness quoted UNRWA Commissioner-General Krähenbühl as saying via social media: “Palestine refugees need more than just aid; they need a just solution.”
read more »
7 May 2015 (RT)* – Two Chinese missile frigates will enter the Russian Black Sea naval base of Novorossiysk for the first time in history. They will then conduct joint exercises with Russia in the Mediterranean
Type 054A frigate. (Image from Wikipedia) | Source: RT
The Linyi and the Weifang will enter the port of Novorossiysk on May 8 to take part in Victory Day celebrations, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Each is a 4,000-ton vessel of the relatively new Type 054A (also known as Jiangkai II), which first entered service in 2007. They are accompanied by a support ship. This is the first time Chinese warships will have entered the Russian base.
read more »
Oxford, 6 May 2015 (IRIN)* – Those trying to escape conflict and violence often only make headlines when they cross an international border and become refugees, but the majority of people forced to flee their homes seek refuge within the borders of their own country. They are “internally displaced persons,” or IDPs. By the end of 2014 there were 38 million of them, more than twice the number of refugees.
**Photo: Tobin Jones/UN Photo | Women arrive at a camp for internally displaced people in Somalia
Today, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) released its annual overview of global trends. Here are the key figures and issues from its 99-page report:
read more »
– The ‘West’ is a concept that flourished during the Cold War. Then it was West against East in the form of the Soviet empire. The East was evil against which all democratic countries – read West – were called on to fight.
I recall meeting Elliot Abrams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State during the Ronald Reagan administration, in 1982.
He told me that at the point in history, the real West was the United States, with Europe a wavering ally, not really ready to go up to the point of entering into war with the Soviet Union.
When I tried to explain to him that the East-West denomination dated back to Roman times, long before the United States even existed, he brushed this aside, saying that the contemporary concept was that of those standing against the Soviet Empire, and the United States was the only power willing to do so.
The Reagan presidency changed the course of history, because he was against multilateralism, the United Nations and anything that could oblige the United States to accept what was not primarily in the interests of Washington.
The fact that United States had a manifest destiny and was therefore a spokesperson for humankind and the idea that God was American were the bases of his rhetoric.
read more »
By the end of 2014, a record-breaking 38 million people had been forced to flee their homes within their own country because of conflict or violence, prompting the United Nations refugee agency to appeal on 6 May 2015 for “an all-out effort to bring about peace in war-ravaged countries.”
Iraqis displaced from Ramadi District in Anbar Governorate. Photo: UN Iraq
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) along with one of its partners, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), released these alarming figures at a joint press conference in Geneva to launch the report, Global Overview 2015: people internally displaced by conflict and violence.*
The report, compiled by the NRC’s the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), revealed that 38 million people have been internally displaced by conflict or violence, the equivalent of the total populations of London, New York and Beijing combined, representing a 4.7 million increase compared to 2013.
read more »
By Robert J. Burrowes*
If you are interested in learning more about the meaning of, and the relationships among, direct, structural and cultural violence and how one peace studies scholar suggests we use the integrative power of nonviolence to address violence constructively, then I suggest you read the new book by historian, playwright and novelist Professor Timothy Braatz called ‘Peace Lessons’.
**The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants, 1572 | Artist: François Dubois (1529–1584) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q369663| Wikimedia Commons
This book is impressive because it explains important aspects of peace and conflict theory, particularly that developed by Professor Johan Galtung.
It then applies key peace studies concepts to select historical events that are normally perceived as violent – John Brown’s struggle to end slavery in the United States, the battle at Little Bighorn in 1876, ‘World Slaughter II’, as Braatz calls it – as well as some key nonviolent resistance movements of the twentieth century: the toppling of various dictators and the US Civil Rights movement.
read more »
JERUSALEM, 4 May 2015 (IRIN)* – For the last few days, Ethiopian-Jews in Israel and their supporters have been protesting against police brutality and racism. The protests were sparked by a video of Israeli police officers assaulting a uniformed Ethiopian-Israeli soldier.
**Photo: Andreas Hackl/IRIN | Women of Ethiopian origin at a human rights demo in Tel Aviv, January 2012
A Tel Aviv rally turned violent on Sunday night, with police firing stun grenades and water cannons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with Ethiopian community leaders Monday, and another rally is expected outside his Jerusalem residence.
But who are the Ethiopian Israelis and why are they so angry?
Terrorism continues to represent one of the greatest global challenges to international stability and security, and given the international nature of modern terrorism, no country is immune. To counter this threat, there are many important steps that States need to take, with establishing a strong legal system against terrorism key among them, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on 4 May 2015.*
In light of this, two new UNODC-developed handbooks – one on human rights and another on air and sea terrorism prevention – aim to assist States in strengthening their efforts against terrorist activities.
The guides are part of UNODC’s ongoing Counter-Terrorism Legal Training Curriculum, a knowledge-sharing platform designed to build capacity among national criminal justice officials to enhance their legal efforts against terrorism.
The Curriculum integrates training materials on related topics, such as money laundering and organized crime, addressing this scourge in a holistic manner.
This helps the target audience – including law enforcement officials such as police, prosecutors and judges; policymakers; and officials from departments such as Foreign Affairs, Justice and Interior – to better draft relevant laws and apply international treaties.
read more »