Newsletter February 2013

NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2013

 This is the second Newsletter of the Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign. The newsletter comes out periodically. Because your time is valuable, it’s brief.

You don’t need to keep this – all editions are available on the website www.nonlethalweaponscampaign.com .

IF YOU DON’T KNOW ALREADY…

The Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign aims to reduce death and injury in warfare (and other conflicts) by using non-damaging technology (more info on the website).

COMMENT

Lethal warfare continued throughout 2012 in a more subdued fashion in Afghanistan and in Central Africa. Of course for those directly involved – who lost their limbs or their eyesight or their lives – the suffering was not subdued. Nor was it for their friends and families.

The most prominent lethal conflict took place in Syria. This mindless and tragic affair doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.

Let’s examine what’s going on here. A relatively well educated and prosperous people becomes dissatisfied with oppression and corruption. As in many places elsewhere, they resort to peaceful demonstration. The brutal suppression by the government, with troops firing upon the demonstrators, triggers a civil war. The army turns first its rifles and then its artillery and warplanes onto its own people. Most of the machinery of death has been supplied from outside. The rest of the world sits passively by while more than 60,000 people die and tens of thousands more are horribly maimed.

If the guns and tanks and rockets supplied by the arms dealers of the world had been non-lethal, there would probably still be strife and injustice in Syria today – but there would be sixty thousand Syrians – men, women and children – still alive.

In the USA in late 2012, a disturbed young man shoots twenty young children and six teachers. Members of the gun-lobby suggest that primary school teachers should be armed. It’s not beyond belief that the National Rifle Association will soon demand that all school children carry guns to class.

There’s no doubt that America’s staggering murder rate compared to other developed nations is because it’s awash with guns. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2012 estimate of intentional homicide/100,000 people: UK 1.2, Australia 1.0, Germany 0.8. USA 4.8).

Sad for Americans of course, but not good for rest of us either because we still tend to copy things American. Sad too is that this gun-happy culture is probably not shared by the majority of Americans but is the result of ruthless and unprincipled campaigning by weapons manufacturers. They have the blood of far too many innocent Americans on their hands – not to mention all those who have died around the world from American guns.

But we can’t blame just the US armaments industry. Weapons makers and dealers are active all around the world. Ultimately we’re all to blame for buying and using lethal weapons.

The solution is for us to make non-lethal weapons more profitable than the lethal ones.

CENTER FOR GLOBAL NONKILLING

The NLW for Peace Campaign strongly supports most organisations which are working in the cause of peace. A few, such as the European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons (see below), have a focus on NLWs as a useful initiative

One organisation which devotes some attention to NLWs is the Center for Global Nonkilling (www.nonkilling.org). Check it out.

7th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM on NON-LETHAL WEAPONS

A symposium on non-lethal weapons is held in Europe every two years.

The next European Symposium, will take place June 3-5 2013 at the Stadthalle in Ettlingen (near Frankfurt) Germany. The theme for the symposium will be ‘how fielded non lethal technologies have performed in real operational environments’. For further details go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

A major reason for the NLW for Peace Campaign is to help halt the spread of nuclear weapons – and if we can eliminate those weapons and prevent an Armageddon, we’ll still need non-damaging technology to help us protect and maintain peace and justice into the future.

AND SOME GOOD NEWS FROM THE USA…
To finish on an optimistic note – here are some recent remarks by newly endorsed President Barack Obama:

“Missile by missile, warhead by warhead, shell by shell, we’re putting a bygone era behind us…we’re moving closer to the future we seek.  A future where these weapons never threaten our children again.  A future where we know the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.”

President Obama at The National War College
Washington, 3 December 2012

Thank you for your time.

Andrew Greig

Editor

Questions and comments to andrewgreig@bigpond.com .

The Non-Lethal Weapons for Peace Campaign Newsletter No 2

website: www.nonlethalweaponscampaign.com
blog: http://nonlethalweaponscampaign.typepad.com
 

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