War Resisters' International Appeal

Bojan Aleksov writes:

Dear friends and supporters of War Resisters' International,

Resisting war and militarism in many countries still means arrest and imprisonment. Pacifists and anti-militarists who resist state violence in the form of conscription, war tax, military expenditures, nuclear arms or military support to dictatorial regimes often end up as victims of other forms of state violence, which include physical torture or long prison terms.

Earlier this year I was kidnapped, interrogated and tortured by the Serbian State Security Service. Though shocked by the brutality of my interrogators I knew I was not there by mistake. It was my continuous work in supporting conscientious objectors and deserters that brought me to that cellar. The regime which generated wars and violence for almost thirteen years was left with violence alone. Eventually, it decided to use violence even against those who only politically supported the acts of disobedience.

Being imprisoned for peace is no issue of bravery. I cried and prayed and begged my torturers. I was not a hero and never wanted to be one. It was only my political stand against war and violence as means of resolving conflicts and my political struggle for the respect of basic human right to resist war and violence that brought me in danger from an oppressive state.

Elsewhere in the world there are other men and women imprisoned because they refused to kill or fled military service or refused to pay war taxes. These are the people and acts that we honour on this day. We remember them in our thoughts and prayers but we also act in solidarity and support.

This December 1st of the year 2000 on behalf of WRI I ask :

  • for immediate release of the imprisoned who struggled for peace;
  • for the right to freedom of conscience, both for those required to engage in killing against their will, and for those required to finance killing (through taxation) against their will, to be recognised globally;
  • for the right to asylum to people from countries where conscientious objections is not recognised and for whom asylum is often the only alternative to taking up arms, or to being imprisoned, tortured, or even executed.

In order to help us achieve these goals set up by WRI more than three quarters of a century ago, we would like to ask for your contribution in supporting those voices for peace which are striving to be heard. We enclose the 2000 WRI Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll, and we encourage you to mark December 1st by distributing news, messages of support and calls to action concerning those imprisoned. We call for financial support to their families. We ask for protests, vigils and campaigns for their release.

In its turn, WRI will sustain its solidarity work with war resisters, deserters, conscientious objectors, peace-makers and conciliation workers around the globe.

In solidarity with you and fellow war resisters around the globe,

Bojan Aleksov
Member of WRI, former Yugoslavia

PS Your contribution will help WRI support Prisoners for Peace. Please see details of how to donate. Thank you.
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