From the office

An appeal from Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge: Please support the South Africa conference

Dear friends,

People power in South Africa – mass nonviolent direct action – helped end the scourge of apartheid and vicious, politically-sanctioned racism.

Today, twenty years since our first democratic elections, South Africa still faces many problems - including street violence, small arms, xenophobia, economic injustice – and opposition to these ills are mounting, with civil society again using creative, unarmed methods. Throughout the continent, we see increasing militarism too often supported by powerful politicians, and this year’s South African elections suggest that people all over are tired of business as usual.

It is in this context that we are welcoming War Resisters' International to Cape Town, for the first ever WRI International Conference in Africa.

We'd like your help to make this possible.

Register to come to Cape Town: WRI's first International Conference in Africa

Registration is open for the War Resisters' International Conference, co-hosted by Ceasefire Campaign, taking place from 4 – 8 July 2014, Cape Town, South Africa: http://wri-irg.org/seminars/registrations/southafrica2014 

Please register by 30 May.

Cape Town City Hall

On 11 February 1990, only hours after his release from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after leaving prison from the balcony of the City Hall in Cape Town.

This July, the same venue plays host to an International Conference that will bring together over 200 grassroots nonviolent activists from Asia, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific, North America and Europe – and particularly from Africa.

Crowdfund our work: Countering the Militarisation of Youth

Is it enough to challenge war when it's upon us? (Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)(Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)

Or do we need to ask, “How do we 'learn war' in the first place?”

This is the question War Resisters' International's new project – Countering the Militarisation of Youth – is asking.

Please donate to help us reach our target of £1,200. And if you have friends or networks you could share this with, please do.

Watch our video to learn more about the issue here

Registration open!

Registration is now open for the War Resisters' International Conference, co-hosted by Ceasefire Campaign, taking place from 4 – 8 July 2014, Cape Town, South Africa: http://wri-irg.org/seminars/registrations/southafrica2014 

Cape Town City Hall

On 11 February 1990, only hours after his release from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after leaving prison from the balcony of the City Hall in Cape Town.

This July, the same venue plays host to an International Conference that will bring together over 200 grassroots nonviolent activists from Asia, Latin America, Oceania and the Pacific, North America and Europe – and particularly from Africa.

Webinar video: The case for bottom-up peacebuilding

This webinar, led by Geoff Harris, was the first in a series of webinars by and for the African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network. It took place on the 6 March, 2014. 

This series is open to all, and leading up to the July 2014 international conference: Small Actions, Big Movements: The Continuum of Nonviolence, taking place in Cape Town.

Please note: after Geoff starts speaking (3 minutes in), you may need to turn up your volume because there is a volume difference between when Javier and Geoff are speaking!

Bund für Soziale Verteidigung statement on the situation in Ukraine

We republish in English a statement from Bund für Soziale Verteidigung, a WRI affiliated in Germany. Find the original (in German) here: http://www.soziale-verteidigung.de/news/meldungen/pressemitteilung-zur-u...

On the Situation in Ukraine

Minden, 5. March 2014

We are observing the developments in the Ukraine with great concern; in particular, the ways some media outlets and politicians are currently stirring up a revival of the East-West conflict.

Once more the world is divided into 'good' and 'bad'. The 'good guys are the uprising people of Ukraine, who demonstrated for democracy and association to (and membership of) the European Union. The 'bad guys' are once again 'the Russians', who are trying to stop this process through violence and the threat of military intervention in Ukraine. Neither is wrong, but the picture is much more complex. In fact, many protesters demonstrated on the Maidan because they were fed up with the corruption and arbitrary rule of the government of Yanukovych. They see themselves as only partly represented by the opposition parties – a strong element of the protests of recent weeks was the distrust people felt against all parties and all politicians.

Regional solidarity actions for Cypriot CO Murat Kanatlı

Related peace activists: 

The Turkish-Cypriot conscientious objector Murat Kanatlı was sentenced to ten days in prison for his refusal to participate in the annual compulsory military exercises in the northern part of Cyprus Februar 25, 2014.

On February 28th, organizations of conscientious objectors from several countries demanded his release on an international action day. See photos below, and video above from an action in Istanbul.

The Egyptian group No to Compolsory Military Service also put out a statement: 'Free Murat Kanatli Now'.

Howard Clark: why I became a pacifist

In these videos, Howard talks about why he became a pacifist and nonviolent struggle around the world. With thanks to mujerpalabra for sharing these videos.

African Groundings: War Resisters International’s African Engagement

The Broken Rifle, No 98, December 2013

A quick and cursory view of the history of War Resisters International (WRI) – an organization responsible for many wonderful small actions but rarely credited for its inspiration of big and effective movements – had hardly any connection to Africa at all. But that initial impression would be incorrect. Though often behind-the-scenes and without fanfare or spotlight, key members of WRI have played significant roles in significant aspects of the continents anti-colonial and anti-war moments over the past 90-plus years since WRI’s 1921 founding. The July 2014 international conference in Cape Town, South Africa is simply the most public – and perhaps the most ambitious – of these endeavors.

Howard Clark

With deep sadness we must announce that last night WRI Chair Howard Clark passed away.

Howard was Chair of WRI since 2006, and earlier worked for many years as Coordinator of WRI in London before moving to live with Yolanda Juarros Barcenilla in Spain.

He is leaving a gap we are still unable to fully grasp. War Resisters' International is losing with him a good friend, a tireless and committed peace worker, a sharp mind and organizer, and his institutional memory reaching back many decades.

Our thoughts are with Yolanda and their two children, Ismael and Violeta, at this tragic time.

Information about memorials and an obituary can be found on this website later.

The WRI Office and Executive
Friday, 29 November 2013

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We have created a space for people to add their messages of condolence. Please feel free to go and add your message. You will find it here: http://www.wri-irg.org/ForHoward and an image gallery http://www.wri-irg.org/HowardClarkGallery. You can also read an obituary http://wri-irg.org/HowardObituary

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