Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

WORLD PEACE DAY: SEPTEMBER 21 2014

Posted by strattof on September 23, 2014

Sunday, September 21, was the day declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. Established in 1981, it is a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.”

This year World Peace Day has a special meaning:

  • Canada is directly involved in two international wars ‒ Iraq and Ukraine ‒ and indirectly in at least one other ‒ Palestine-Israel.
  • Canada has jumped from the 15th to the 12th largest military exporter in the world.
  • Regina high schools, both public and Catholic, are about to start offering courses in military training for credit and money.

WHAT CAN WE DO FOR PEACE?

IRAQ, UKRAINE, PALESTINE-ISRAEL 

MAKING WAR

  • Canada has sent 69 Canadian soldiers to northern Iraq to work with Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS, also known as ISIL and the Islamic State.
  • Canada has contributed troops, fighter jets, and a war ship to NATO forces in eastern Europe.
  • Canada supports Israel unconditionally, even when Israel breaks international law. 

DEMONIZATION, A STRATEGY OF WAR

  • In each of these conflicts, Canada demonizes one of the combatants: ISIS in the case of Iraq, Putin in Ukraine, and Palestine in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The other side is idealized ‒ identified with freedom and democracy.
  • Such a good-versus-evil scenario lays the groundwork for war by creating a culture of hate and fear.
  • There are few, if any, totally good guys or bad guys in any of these conflicts, just many varying shades of gray.
  • For example, ISIS has killed two American journalists by beheading them. Undoubtedly, these were, as Prime Minister Harper said, “brutal and barbaric” acts. But are they any worse than dropping bombs on people? The 2003 US “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, done in the name of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, killed 7,500 Iraqi civilians.

MAKING PEACE

War is carnage and calamity. It inflicts suffering on soldiers and civilians alike. Peace can prevail.

5 STEPS CANADA CAN TAKE FOR PEACE

  1. Stop being one-sided. Start being even-handed.
  2. Work through the UN for a political solution to these conflicts.
  3. Stop the flow of weapons. Call for an arms embargo.
  4. End the war economy. Shift production to renewable energy.
  5. Address the humanitarian crises we have helped to create.

MILITARY TRAINING IN REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS

Starting in February 2015, Regina high schools, both public and Catholic, will be offering an army training program to grade 11 and 12 students.

  • Students will earn 2 credits for taking the course.
  • They will also be paid $2,000.

The course, which will be offered at the Armouries Building, is the only course on the curriculum that students will be paid to take.

THE GOAL OF THE PROGRAM

  • “Revitalize the reserves”: Ross Ermel, Saskatchewan reserve unit commander.
  • “Provide as many career pathways and opportunities as we can: Greg Enion, deputy director of student achievement, Regina Public Schools.
  • “Give our students…great chances to learn life and leadership skills”: Don Morgan, Saskatchewan Minister of Education. 

7 QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON

  1. Should we be training our young people to kill other young people through our school system?
  2. Do we want our youth to be encouraged to accept the military and military values as normal?
  3. Is the army training program compatible with the UN’s view of education as enabling “individuals to learn to live together in a world characterized by diversity and pluralism”?
  4. Is the program targeting students from low-income families?
  5. What’s the difference between the army training program and the use of child soldiers?
  6. What about a military-free education?
  7. How about a high school course for credit in Peace Studies?

STOP ARMY TRAINING IN REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS 

TELL JULIE MACRAE, Director of Education for Regina Public Schools, you do not want military training to be taught in Regina schools: Julie.MacRae@rbe.sk.ca or 306-523-3017   

SEND THE SAME MESSAGE TO 

ROB CURRY, Director of Education for Regina Catholic School Division: r.currie@rcsd.ca or 306-791-7200

PREMIER BRAD WALL: bwall@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 306-787-0613

DON MORGAN, Minister of Education:  dmorgan@mla.legassembly.sk.ca or 306-955-4765

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: