Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on June 9, 2016

Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 to protest the bombing of the Spanish town Guernica during the Spanish civil war. Picasso’s most famous painting, it is about the horror of war.

Painted in black and white on a huge canvas (25’ X 11’), Guernica makes a powerful anti-war statement. Everywhere there are images of death, suffering, and devastation.

  • In the centre is a wounded horse, shrieking in pain.
  • At the bottom-left lies a mutilated dead soldier.
  • Centre-left is a wailing mother holding a dead baby. Centre-right is a man, trapped in a burning house, screaming in terror.
  • The bull above the grieving mother represents the militarized state, indifferent to the anguish and destruction it is causing.
  • The lightbulb-eye above the horse represents the technology that makes such things as aerial-bombing possible.
  • The oil lamp being thrust in the face of the lightbulb-eye by a determined-looking woman is the light of truth, illuminating the painting.

Canada has been endlessly at war since 2003, inflicting on Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria the kind of carnage and destruction depicted in Guernica.


Kudos to the Trudeau government for keeping its election promise to stop Canadian bombing in Syria. But are the “sunny ways” of our new government really that much different from the Harper government’s blatant-war-mongering?

Sadly, the Trudeau government is not working for peace in Iraq and Syria. Instead, it is making more war.

  • Bombing mission: The Trudeau government has retained Canadian refueling and surveillance aircraft in the region to assist with the bombing campaign—proxy bombing as some have called it.
  • Training mission: The Trudeau government has tripled the number of Canadian troops on the ground. These are Canadian soldiers who train Iraqi soldiers to kill.
  • Deadly weapons: The Trudeau government is providing Iraqi forces with weapons, including machine guns and mortars.
  • Endless war: The Trudeau government has extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria for another 12 months, until March 2017, and budgeted it over a three-year period to 2019. Will this war ever end?   


Will western military operations in Iraq and Syria bring about any good outcome? Have the first 13 years of the “war on terror” had a beneficial outcome?

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
  • The emergence of Daesh, otherwise known as ISIS, in Iraq, a direct result of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
  • Immense human suffering: Thousands of civilians have been killed. Many more have been injured. Whole cities have been reduced to rubble. Millions of people have become refugees.
  • Endless war in the Middle East region.
  • More violence, more death, more suffering, more refugees.


Last week, at least 880 refugees drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. Many of the victims were children. According to the United Nations, it was one of the deadliest weeks for refugees since the refugee crisis began in 2014.

No one leaves home unless

Home is the mouth of a shark

You only run for the border

When you see the whole city running as well


You have to understand

That no one puts their children in a boat

Unless the water is safer than the land

From Home, by Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. Read all of this powerful poem:


Why is there a refugee crisis? The majority of the refugees are fleeing wars and violence in their home countries—wars and violence that have been caused, directly or indirectly, by western foreign policy.

How to stem the tide of refugees? Here are three things Canada can do so people do not have to leave home:

  1. Make diplomatic peacemaking in Iraq and Syria a top priority.
  2. Get out of the arms trade.
  3. Get out of NATO.



Featuring U of R professors Ian Germani and William Stahl who will speak on the experience and consequences of the Battle

One hundred years ago the catastrophic Battle of the Somme began. When it was over four months later, 600,000 men were dead (including 24,000 Canadians) and a few acres of mud had changed hands. The Battle of the Somme became a symbol of the futility of war for years to come


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