You can't really put what happens at a War Resisters' International Triennial into a brief report. It's a time when WRI activists from around the world gather. Over the course of a week together, 180 people attended from 20 countries/ from every continent. The conference title -- Stories and Strategies: nonviolent resistance and social change -- was really the central theme. Storytelling began at each morning's plenary as somebody told their own personal story. Storytelling and sharing strategies continued in the evening plenaries and daily theme groups.
Links between economy and militarisation as well as between the co-evolution of both profit-based and military international bodies and internal social and political conditions in different countries are visible in various parts of the world.
Ethnic community and intra-state violence, but also intra-ethnic conflicts, have often deep-rooted causes such as mutual fears, insecurities and hatred of ethnic, religious or cultural groups.
Moreover, these causes are frequently exaggerated by political leaders or the media.Various forms of nonviolent strategies and methods exist to address them, two of which were discussed in this theme group: building bridges and nonviolent intervention.
This group mainly talked about the issue of conscientious objection. The fact that some members of the group are from countries with conscription and some are from countries with "professional" armies caused the discussion to raise more questions than answers.
A few notable questions in particular are: How can we use conscientious objection as an antimilitarism tactic?
Migration is in many cases the consequence of an on-going conflict, oppression or human and resource exploitation, which in turn is maintained by military force. There is no difference between war refugees and economic refugees; they are all refugees.
This theme group brought together people who are becoming acquainted with the concepts of nonviolence, and experienced activists who are benefiting from revisiting these key ideas. Helen Stevens of the Scottish Centre for Nonviolence facilitated this group.
Facilitation: Roberta Bacic, Brandon Hamber, Elisabeth Stanley, and Andrew Rigby
Storytelling, denial and silence Dealing with the past is not an objective exercise. It is about connecting to personal truths and values in a way that eases the struggle of life in the present and enables them to be projected into the future.
After introductions, expectations ,etc on Day 1, Christine Schweitzer presented a short typology of peace operations in which the UN and regional inter-governmental bodies - NATO, the Organization of American States, the Organization for African Unity (now the African Union), the OSCE - were the actors.