Courier 16-02-03 Focal point
STOP THE WAR
The Stop the War demonstration last Saturday 15th seemed to bring proportionally more people from Tunbridge Wells judging by the crowded platform at the rail station, than any other part of the country. The train was packed with people, and I was told so was the train before. There were handmade banners and placards, but for each person who went to the demonstration many more could not come.
Tony Blair has hinted that the outcome of a war with Iraq could be terrorism in the UK, as if he wanted us to rise up say no to war. I doubt that anyone actually expected us to rise up in such numbers and say no, but we did at the Stop the War demonstration on 15 February. Together we can continue to say "no" to war, we will influence decision-makers, and as former Northern Ireland Secretary Mom Molam said at the Stop the War demo "it can only get better if we stick together".
The 1980’s saw the rise of the anti-nuclear movement to great strength. In 1979 a current affairs TV program showed us a promotional film of a Cruise Missile flying over a rocky terrain, this showed us that a limited war in Europe was really being planned. The 1983 CND demo coincided with the arrival of Cruise missiles. About half a million people went to that demo, that was the last really big demo. In 1986 CND published the list of 134 American bases in Britain.
Ten years later theatre nuclear war in Europe had not occurred. Bombs had not been dismantled but Cruise Missiles were the first current weapon system to be taken out of service since 1814 when Americans and Canadians agreed not to have warships on Lake Ontario. The peace movement must take some credit for that. Subsequently US Air Force handed Greenham Common back to us.
It’s a strange sort of peace we have that is really a dreadful threat of mass death. The only realistic alternative is to work towards nuclear disarmament and that has been the purpose of international agreements such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT is a promise by the nuclear states to disarm their nuclear weapons and in exchange other countries promised not to nuclear arm. The cost to us of not keeping our side of the bargain includes running a dirty expensive nuclear industry. The anti-war movement objective might include preventing the NPT becoming a casualty.
If the purpose is to get as much oil as soon as possible, be patent, or consider living within our environmental means instead. The cost of preparing for war is not only that you get war, it costs a considerable amount of money as well. So-called conventional weapons when used on a massive scale are as destructive as weapons of mass destruction, perhaps we should we limit those as well?
I leave you with a thought from Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
Tunbridge Wells Action for Peace will be holding a public meeting at; The Friends Meeting House, Grosvenor Park TW, 5th March at 7pm. More information; http://www.andrew.h.lohmann.btinternet.co.uk
The speaker will be Milan Rai, author of 'War Plan Iraq - 10 Reasons Why We Shouldn't Launch Another War Against Iraq' (2002, Arrow Publications).