As we get ready for another WRI get-together - with WRI's Council meeting taking place in Luleå, as part of the activities of War Starts Here, organised by Swedish antimilitarist group Ofog – here we have an issue of The Broken Rifle focusing on what we do best at WRI: mutual support and international solidarity. WRI is a network of groups committed to antimilitarism and nonviolence, the network depends on the work and support of its members - as many of you know WRI has a
very small office run by two staff.
Since its foundation WRI has been a natural source of solidarity on issues of antimilitarism and nonviolence. In many ways people have a sense of WRI being something like your political community, people from all parts of the world sharing common values, with whom you have contact from time to time and even in special occasions like a Council meeting you get to see them, learn about their lives and what is happening politically where they come from.
In this newsletter we share a few examples of the importance of this mutual support. We kick off with two articles with background on the events planned in Luleå, where Ofog has been organising a peace camp for several years. For 2011 Ofog decided to make this an international event, so here goes our solidarity with the Swedish peace movement.
The Freedom Flotilla is one of the best examples of the power of international solidarity and of mutual support, with groups in many countries working together to end the blockade of Gaza.
Historically WRI has been known for its support to conscientious objector to military service, the latest example being our support for Maikel Nabil Sanad, the Egyptian CO serving a three-year sentence for "insulting the Egyptian military".
Workshops in nonviolence have often been opportunities for international sharing as we learn from what others are doing. The article on Venezuela is part of a WRI visit to the country where WRI was requested to give a training in nonviolent campaigns.
Finally and coming back to the idea of WRI being a community, we include two obituaries of people – Devi Prasad and John Hyatt - who contributed immensely to WRI, two important members of the WRI community.
Let's hope this year's events in Luleå is an occasion for enlarging and strengthening our WRI community to make our work more effective and our solidarity more powerful.