Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

PEACE IN 2017

Posted by strattof on January 15, 2017

ENDLESS WAR

Canada has been endlessly at war since 2003: Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria—Canada has been or is there making war.

WAR IS A CATASTROPHE

War inflicts suffering on soldiers and civilians alike. It is a catastrophe for everyone it touches.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy?”—Mahatma Gandhi

DEATH & DESTRUCTION IN SYRIA 

SUFFERING IN SYRIA

The war in Syria is now well into its sixth year. The suffering of the people of Syria has been terrible.

  • Over 400,000 Syrians have been killed in the war.
  • 9 million Syrians have become refugees.
  • 5 million Syrians are internally displaced.
  • Nearly half of the affected people are children.

WHY HAS THIS WAR LASTED SO LONG?

A key factor has been the intervention of the US and Russia, with Russia supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the US determined to topple him. The result has been an escalation of the fighting. Syria has become a new cold war battleground.

A CHANCE FOR PEACE

  • On December 30th, an agreement, brokered by Russia and Turkey, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks in the war in Syria, went into effect.
  • The following day, New Year’s Eve, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution supporting the efforts of Russia and Turkey to end the conflict.
  • As of yesterday (January 11), the ceasefire was mainly holding.

A FRAGILE PEACE

  • The December 30th ceasefire was the third ceasefire declared in Syria in 2016. The other two collapsed, one of them in a matter of days.
  • The US was not included in the ceasefire discussions.
  • A number of groups considered “terrorist” by all the main participants in the conflict (Russia, the US, and Assad), were also not part of the ceasefire agreement. These include Daesh (ISIS) and Fatah al-Sham.

CANADA IN SYRIA

MAKING WAR

Canada is part of the US-led coalition making war in Syria:

  • March 2015: The Harper government expanded Canada’s military mission in Iraq into Syria, committing six fighter jets, a refueling aircraft, two surveillance aircraft, and 69 soldiers. 
  • February 2016: The Trudeau government extended Canada’s military mission in Syria until March 2017. While it pulled Canada’s fighter jets from the war, it left the refueling and surveillance aircrafts—proxy bombing some have called it. The Trudeau government also tripled the number of soldiers to 207. 

MAKING A KILLING

The war in Syria is fueled by arms from the west. Canada is the world’s second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

War is big business. Canada is making a killing off the war in Syria.

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicous….It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”—Major General Smedley Butler

PEACE IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE

War is neither necessary nor inevitable. Peaceful alternatives always exist, but they need to be worked at.

Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes ecourage, it takes strength and tenacity—Pope Francis

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

CANADA FOR PEACE

  • Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you want Canada to stop making war in Syria and to start making diplomatic peace-making a top priority: trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan: Sajjan@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-7052.

PEACE SYMBOL CONTEST

Enter the 2017 Peace Symbol Contest. Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a snowbank; a sidewalk using chalk; a piece of clothing; a cake using icing. Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to makingpeace@sasktel.net  You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize. The deadline is midnight August 31, 2017.

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