FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Ballistic Missile Defence?: I would like to take this opportunity to say that I personally believe rather than labelling the program "Missile Defence" (which is somewhat innocuous and many people can support 'Defence as a right and necessity), it should be labelled what it really is: a "U.S. Pre-emptive Nuclear Offence Capability in Space Program".

I imagine that it does not matter to the Bush Administration if the defence missiles can technically actually strike down an incoming missile (or at least that is not the main reason for the initiative).  Claiming that it is not a true defence system, that it only supports the military-industrial complex, that it is a waste of money, that debris will fallout on Canada, and that it will never be technically feasible - while with much merit - misses the most sinister, real and threatening motivation behind the system:

We know that the Bush Doctrine claims the right to a "Pre-emptive" Strike when it is in their National Interest (while ironically our Justice Systems deny this to persons).  We know that they want to dominate the globe when it is in their National Interest ("PNAC").  They are also (and have been) researching the use of "limited nuclear pre-emptive strikes", and we know they have a huge number of nuclear weapons.   And we know that they lie and use misleading information as a military tool - so anything that George Bush and his colleagues say can not be trusted (and I am starting to wonder about Paul Martin and his colleagues).  A "Pre-emptive Nuclear Offence Capability in Space" is very technically feasible right now, and would most certainly be used if the U.S. Administration thought it was in their National Interest (which of course can have a very low required threshold or criteria, and does not require a vote).

Even just calling this "the Weaponization of Space" is somewhat "sanitized".  A "U.S. Pre-emptive Nuclear Offence Capability in Space" is more to the point, and hopefully clears up any confusion in public minds.  And Canada should not help enable a  "U.S. Pre-emptive Nuclear Offence Capability in Space" - we decided long ago not to use and/or support nuclear weapons (although we still do through NATO), and it could be used against us if it is in the U.S. National Interest (eg. if they want our oil, gas, water, etc.).  We know they already have an Invasion Plan of Canada sitting on the shelf, should it be necessary in the U.S. National Interest.

Canada needs to build a new relationship with the United States , based on mutual respect rather than intimidation and other characteristics of a Culture of War and Violence.  However, this will be near impossible if the U.S. continues its policy of lying to get what it wants.  You can not deal with liars safely.  Caveat emptor.

 

Regards,
Bob Stewart,

Director, Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace


Q: "Hi, I was just found your website, and at the top of the screen is a scrolling quote stating how violence begins in the minds of men, etc.  I felt it was really beautiful.  ... could you please tell me who said that.  Cheers" Matthew

R: 

Matthew,
 
The original quote is "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed."  (the quote on our web site has taken editorial license to update it to be inclusive of violence, women and children)
 
This is the motto of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  It is also contained in UNESCO's constitution.  UNESCO's web site is http://www.unesco.org .  UNESCO developed the Culture of Peace Program, which I have found to be the most profound work of peace education, and guides our own activities (you can learn more about it at http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/ and http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1310/is_2000_Jan/ai_60027946 ).
 
According to http://www.bartleby.com/73/1966.html , "the author is unknown ... The UNESCO office in Washington, D.C., has identified the author of this sentence both as Clement Richard Attlee, prime minister of Great Britain, and more recently as Archibald MacLeish, chairman of the American delegation to the London conference to draw up the UNESCO constitution, which was adopted in London on November 16, 1945."  However, according to the UNESCO web site at http://www.unesco.org/philosophy/en/1946.htm#background the original source of the quote is American poet Archibald MacLeish.  You can read about him at http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?45442B7C000C020D .  Notably, after World War II, MacLeish became the first American member of the governing body of UNESCO, and chaired the first UNESCO conference in Paris. 
 
However, the following quote from http://www.unesco.or.jp/meguro/reprint/rejoin.htm may more appropriately reconcile what actually happened: "We’d like all Americans to recall that the famous words in the preamble of the Constitution of UNESCO “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed” are in fact the words polished by an American poet Archibald MacLeish. Among the people who got together to establish UNESCO, MacLeish was one of the U.S. representatives. We’d like Americans to remember with pride the greatness of the poet who, refining the draft that the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee had made quoting from “The General Epistle of James, Chapter 4” (see below) in the New Testament, expressed the idea in such a beautiful and lofty tone as a crystallized UNESCO spirit. We’d like Americans to inherit that spirit. Together with American friends we wish to recite and keep firmly in mind these beautiful words that will hopefully bring peace to the world. We earnestly hope that the United States will fill as soon as possible the great void left for the past seventeen years that it has been out of UNESCO, and contribute to world peace."
 
The words are those of a poet.
 
Regards,
Bob Stewart

APPENDIX: “The General Epistle of James, Chapter 4”

From http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=JAS%2B4&showfn=on&showxref=on&language=english&version=NIRV&x=9&y=8 , “The General Epistle of James, Chapter 4” in its various translations effectively states, "Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? Isn't it because of your sinful longings? They fight inside you.  You want something, but you can't get it. You kill and want what others have. But you can't have what you want. You argue and fight. You don't have what you want, because you don't ask God. When you do ask for something, you don't receive it. Why? Because you ask for the wrong reason. You want to spend your money on your sinful pleasures."
 
From http://bible.gospelcom.net/bible?passage=JAS%2B4&showfn=on&showxref=on&language=english&version=MSG&x=15&y=11 , in more contemporary language, "Get Serious.  Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.  You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.  You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."  So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.  Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?  ... Nothing but a Wisp of Fog: And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today--at the latest, tomorrow--we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."  As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.
 
Another conclusion on our web site is consistent with this biblical philosophy: "most violence is the result of unscrupulous leaders, out of greed for power and resources, who exploit their people into violence, provoking them with religion, racism, poverty, fear, etc." (ref. http://www.peace.ca/leadersandviolence.htm )
 

Q:  Your website is awesome first of all. I totally appreciate what you are doing and keep it up. I have two questions. First, is peace really the absence of violence then when to people despise each other and are about to fight then two minutes before they fight is that truly peace? Also why should anyone strive for peace if it takes away from their individual happiness? Don't get me wrong i think that peace is awesome and am trying to help for my own reasons but i would like to hear yours. More importantly though is my question on the definition of peace. I am really looking forward to your response and keep up the great work!" Barrett
 
A: 
 
Barrett, 
 
Thank you for your kind comments about our web site.  I am happy to hear that you find it worthwhile.
 
1. question on the definition of peace:
 
It is up to each of us to find our own truths.  Here is what I have personally learned: Peace is complex.  Peace is relative.  Peace is a journey, not a destination.  Peace is many things, to many people, depending on our different perspectives.  Peace is the most worthwhile cause to work for.  Time is of the essence - if you think it is violent now, just wait until the world runs out of oil, gas, clean water and food.  Our governments are not currently motivated to fix the situation.  I should do something.  I have educated myself with respect to peace and violence for the past 9 years, and have learned an incredible amount, that I never knew before (and about more than "just peace").  With this information, I not only have a hope that we can build a better world (which includes peace) - I believe with all my heart that we can.  I am a KISS type of guy (i.e. "Keep It Simple").  I need a vision and measurable goals to provide focus and direction to my work.  In other words, I need to be able to look at my actions and compare them to my original purpose to ensure I am spending my time properly.  This is why I have stated my personal goal as "to significantly reduce the human cost of violence, at home and abroad" (note - this definition of violence includes direct and indirect or systemic violence).   I agree that there can and is a lot more to peace than simply this - and we should be mindful of what a utopia looks like, so that we can continue to strive to attain it.  But utopian peace is, at the moment, a far off goal - unattainable in the mid-term (and fraught with debate).  As a step on the way, and to help provide focus and direction to our peacebuilding efforts, I (and I believe most people) would be happy to significantly reduce the human cost of violence (which can be measured in many ways including homicides, injuries due to violent incidents, suicides, wars and war casualties, famines, rapes, incidents of abuse, health costs due to violence, etc.).   The numbers speak for themselves.  In the past decade alone, two million children have died in war. Millions more have suffered.  I would be happy to see that reduced to 200,000 this decade (I would be happier to see that reduced to zero, and I will strive for that, but I am also realistic to think that we will not eradicate violence ever - but that is the Utopian ideal to strive for, and guide us.  We could eradicate wars, however.).   Is peace really the absence of violence then when two people despise each other and are about to fight then two minutes before they fight is that truly peace?  Yes - it is relative peace.  I prefer those two people to manage their anger and conflict - as long as they are doing that, and hopefully we can help them talk it out, then they are not killing anyone - its not perfect, but it will do in this imperfect world.  Conflict is a reality of life.  Feelings are a reality of life.  It is how we manage our conflicts that count.  I prefer two (and usually more) countries having a talk fest in the United Nations rather than blowing the hell out of each other - that is what the United Nations and peacebuilding is all about.  That is why dialogue is so important.  It is also important to know our limitations - I am not in control and it is not up to me to bring peace to two warring parties, but I can help create the venue, "the open space to open minds to peace", and provide support and a process to help them transform their conflicts.  This is my definition of peace, and it works for me (and many that I work with).  I would love to hear a better definition, and I challenge others to put one forward for consideration.  In the meantime, I can work with this - which is most important.
 
2. Also why should anyone strive for peace if it takes away from their individual happiness? 
 
To respond to this question, I refer to Rotary's Seven Paths to Peace (available on our web site at http://www.peace.ca/rotarysevenpathstopeace.htm ) which guides us (in Chapter 6) that the sixth path to peace is The Path of Sacrifice.  Simply stated, if we (countries and people) want peace then we will be prepared to make personal sacrifices for that ideal.  I can not answer this question better than this document, but for starters you must take 15 - 20 minutes away from doing fun things (such as playing with your child or friend) to read it - it is small, but it is a "sacrifice".  If you live in the United States, you are already making a sacrifice of in excess of 2 month's wages for "peace through strength" (maybe without even realizing it).  I personally chose to work for peace for a number of reasons: I wished to make a difference with my life; I wished to help build a better world; I was concerned with the trends of violence in our communities and world (our house had been broken in to; my 11 year old son was "mugged" for money one day; my 13 year old daughter was threatened another; there was a labour dispute in our city that resulted in 9 men dying in a bomb explosion; I was appalled at the violence that I read in the newspaper; etc.); I did not have faith that our governments were going to fix the problem and the trends would get worse; I have a five key women in my life (mother, sister, wife, daughters) who are not as safe as men are (albeit more men die in violent incidents); I wished to set some example for my children with respect to social conscience and action; I was optimistic to believe that life could be better; and I did not underestimate the power of one person to make a difference.  To make a long story short, however, there were personal dividends that I received in the process of doing this self-study and work that I could never have imagined.  I have felt my personhood fulfilled as in no other way.  Many of the skills that I learned I have been able to use in my work and personal life. I can also say with the same absoluteness, that no other experience in my life demanded so much.  Fortunately, as with most peace people, I developed a passion for peace work.  The rewards so far exceed the costs as to be a total gift.  I wish that gift for you. 

Q. - I am a retired teacher, and have been thinking about teaching peace and how to go about it.  I was under the impression that we needed to export the efforts to the warring nations overseas; but with the re-election of President Bush I see that we need it badly right here in the USA.  How can I get started importing your ideas and using them to educate our people?  Being retired, I have time but need info and guidance.  Where do I start?  (Shirley from Texas)

A. - 

Dear Shirley,
 
Thank you for your message.  It is very heart-warming to read your comments, and hear your renewed commitment.  You have taken to heart the first important lesson of peace education: "peace starts at home" (and it does not matter if that home is in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Africa, or wherever; in fact, with all our riches, 'intelligence' and resources, if we can not figure this out how can we expect someone struggling to survive in Palestine or Afghanistan to figure it out?; furthermore, peace starts at home also means "peace starts with me").  It is unfortunate that many reasonably well-educated people (and people in positions of power) do not understand this.  And so that is our role, to be guides and supporters in helping people through the conflict.
 
"Where do I start?"  I would suggest starting by realizing that you already know a great deal about peace.  These are values that have remained unchanged for thousands of years.  You have probably learned from your parents or in kindergarten the fundamentals of peace and foreign policy: "Don't cheat.  Don't lie.  Don't steal.  Don't kill.  Do no harm.  Don't hate.  Don't seek revenge.  Be responsible.  Treat others with respect.  Seek friends who follow these rules."
 
Next, you will want to raise the level of your own understanding.  The purpose of our web site www.peace.ca is to help you better understand in a relatively short period of time what has taken me ten years to learn (and make no mistake, I am still learning as are all peace educators and peacebuilders).  Our web site also recommends a lot of other reading (eg. http://www.peace.ca/topten.htm ) and links.  During the process of personal study (P.S. "The only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-directed, self-appropriated learning." Carl Rogers), you should develop your own mission or vision statement -- mine is, "to significantly reduce the human cost of violence in our communities and world".  Your personal vision will help guide you through tough times, and keep you focused.  (A person could spend months or years studying all the material on our web site.  Do not get bogged down in study -- study without action is meaningless.  In fact, service learning or praxis is a most important feature of peace education.  Get active when you feel comfortable, or even before you get totally comfortable -- sometimes we must go outside our comfort zone, and not wait until we have things perfect or they will never start.)
 
In a separate email, I will forward a copy of a standard letter that I have on tips for things you can do to start.  In short, I have a profound belief that the most important thing we can do as peace educators is to facilitate conferencing, where people who share an interest in peace education can come together to share information, dialogue, network and develop action plans and solidarity.  "Selling" the idea of a conference on education for world peace may be a tough sell at the start, in certain quarters.  In such a case, consider the idea of a conference on education to significantly reduce violence in our schools and communities.  This is an example of being creative, and somewhat 'subversive' -- getting peace education onto the local agenda (or hidden curricula).
 
Please also see the article at http://www.peace.ca/betheguide.htm .  Also, for many reasons, retired people may be the most important resource for peacebuilding -- particularly if they have a concern about the world that their children and grandchildren will have to live in.  They should realize that 'Time is of the essence' to fix this planet, and have their own time and resources to do something. 
 
There is so much I could write, but I think that is sufficient for the moment.  Please feel free to contact me as necessary.  Best wishes in your very important work.  I hope to meet you in person some day.
 

Here is a good example of the "relativity" of violence and peace, submitted by Fr. Sohail Patrick of Pakistan:

Hot War

There is a condition of mutual hostility and active physical engagement. The aim is the destruction of the enemy or his surrender by intimidation. The object is to have a winner and loser. Nationalism reaches its zenith here.

Cold war

There is mutual hostility without actual engagement. This condition is characterized by propaganda, war preparations and arms races at the expense of human needs. During a cold war, nationalism prevails, and the object is to have a stalemate where neither side will initiate aggression—nuclear or conventional –because of the overwhelming destructive capability of the retaliatory response

Cold Peace

There is almost a neutral view of a previous enemy. There is little mutual hostility but there is also a lack of mutually beneficial interactions aimed at developing trust, interdependence and collaboration. There may be a longing for an enemy because nothing has replaced it as an object of national concern. In this situation, isolationism and nationalism occur simultaneously. There is no clear objective because there is no well-defined enemy.

Hot Peace

Involves active collaborative efforts designed to “build bridges” between and among past and present adversaries. This involves searching for common ground and the development of new non-human enemies. Hot peace promotes—and, indeed, is defined by—global interdependence, human rights, democratization, an effective UN and a diminution of national sovereign.

A Cold War is better than a Hot War, because people are not killing or maiming each other (although there is an "indirect violence" in terms of hostility, psychological abuse, taking resources from areas of social need to fuel the arms race, etc.).  Obviously, a Hot Peace is much more preferable - mankind can turn our attention to eradicating systemic violences such as poverty, corruption, famine, environmental degradation, preventable deaths and disease, etc..


Reader - Hi my name is Eric and I believe in PEACE! That's right kinda like the peace that Saddam WASN'T supporting, the peace that is sure to come to the middle east now that it has made its first step towards democracy. The peace that now exists in Europe thanks to world war two and the peace that now exists thanks to the Iraq war because Libya surrendered there nuclear weapons program. The fact is that in the perfect world there would be no need for war, but we live in a world with many evils and the only way to combat that evil is with a necessary evil war.

Response - Thank you for your comments.  I will add them to our online Guestbook.  Unfortunately, facts indicate that the world has been made less safe/more dangerous as a result of the latest round of wars, and the hawks have lost a lot credibility.  A lot of innocent people have lost their lives or have been maimed (physically and mentally) for political purposes.  A large and growing number of people in the world believe that wars can no longer be justified, and should be made illegal in International Law.  Hopefully we (and our families) will both live to see a world in which there are no wars allowed.


"My (peace) program is the priority and I do not have time for a National Culture of Peace Program."  (For purposes of the example, we will use the Nuclear Weapons issue.)
 
Response:
 
First, tell me about your peace program and strategy, and I will try to support it.  This type of growing mutual support is a significant element of a National Culture of Peace Program.  I support all the good work being done, but meanwhile please listen to my analysis.
 
The U.S. administration has it within its power to "eliminate" nuclear weapons, but they have not, and do not plan to.
 
The U.S. administration believes in "Realpolitick", American Hegemony and world domination, plus they are somewhat paranoid for their security, and wants Nuclear Weapons to back them up.  (In fact, they have been looking into using "limited" nuclear weapons on a pre-emptive basis.)
 
U.S. leaders will continue to do what they do as long as they can get away with it, and it is in their best perceived interest to do so.
 
Therefore, the first problem is with Leaders.  We (i.e. Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace) have a philosophy: "most violence is the result of unscrupulous leaders, out of greed for power and resources, who exploit their people into violence, provoking them with religion, racism, poverty, fear, etc."
 
The second problem is with Followers.  The general public is relatively nuclear weapons illiterate, Culture of War and Violence illiterate, Culture of Peace and Non-violence illiterate, and disempowered (disenfranchised).
 
The third problem is with Motivation.  The Leaders are motivated by power and greed, and are not motivated to change (i.e. rather than being motivated by goodwill).  Followers (the general public) are not motivating their Leaders to change, and the Followers themselves are not motivated to change these circumstances.
 
The fourth problem is with Vision, or lack thereof.  It has been said that, "A people without Vision will perish."
 
If this rationale rings true (and we know nuclear weapons issues is complicated, fraught with dilemmas), then the solution is to motivate U.S. Leaders/Administration to change their attitudes and behaviours, in this case to "eliminate" nuclear weapons.
 
How?  It will take a multi-track.  For example, in the short term, international pressure (but they can ignore it) and internal pressure (but they can also ignore it, as they have been doing).  In the longer term, what is required is international pressure that they can not ignore; the Gandhian solution would be a boycott and engagement of civil society; the Martin Luther King Jr. solution would be civil disobedience; the Gene Sharpe solution would be 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action (ref. http://www.aeinstein.org/198_methods.html ); motivating the Followers to motivate the Leaders to change; using Peace Education and a National Culture of Peace Program; resulting in internal pressure that the Leaders can not ignore.  It will involve sacrifices (eg. apparent security; cost of action; etc.)
 
This takes "the other Superpower" - Civil Society - to reclaim society.  Yes, this is a movement -- a movement must be SMART -- i.e. a National Culture of Peace Program.  A Canadian National Culture of Peace Program might help to establish a model of a U.S. National Culture of Peace Program (and others).
 
Prime tools will include persuasion, education, empowerment; plus, "what is in it for me?", "why should I make the necessary sacrifices?"  A National Culture of Peace Program has to demonstrate this.  It has to write John/Jane Q. Public into this solution.
 
To give people hope that war and its supporters can be overcome, people have to see themselves written into the script; what they can do and why.  Hope has to be transformed to belief "it can happen" = empowerment.
 
In this way, we believe that a National Culture of Peace Program will help to advance your priority peace program, whatever it is.  If Canadians are Culture of Peace literate, we believe they will more supportive, personally and financially.  It is a long term, systemic approach.  Systemic thinking is required to build peace in our communities and world.
 

 
Why do we need to deal with peace at the individual, family and community levels?  What has this got to do with world peace?
Response:
A Culture of War transforms to a Culture of Peace.  A Culture of Violence transforms to a Culture of Non-violence.  A Culture of War and Violence transforms to a Culture of Peace and Non-violence (a U.N. term).  The U.N. developed hypothesis is that they are all interrelated.
For example, a country that frequently goes to war and uses the death penalty is modelling behaviour that violence is the way to address issues.  As a result, their populace is more violent, simply following government behaviour.  If the populace is, by culture, more violent then the only tool they see for dealing with issues is violence and hence keep militarism, nuclear weapons, etc.  This is a vicious cycle -- a chicken and egg situation.  The cycle of violence and war must be broken --- it is easiest for government leaders to do so, but if they do not then the populace must.  That becomes a movement - a National Culture of Peace Program.
A child who is raised in a Culture of Violence will grow up to naturally support war and nuclear weapons (for example, if their country owns them).  A person who tells a racist or sexist joke will more naturally support war and nuclear weapons.  They more easily succumb to irrational fear, and hand over power to a few to protect them.  A child who is raised in a Culture of Peace and Non-violence can see a different way ... can see different tools to overcome issues.  Even though a child may grow up in a country or community that reflects more of a Culture of War and Violence, he or she may grow up in a family that reflects more of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence -- that can have a more dramatic effect on that person's outlook.
People who are "violence illiterate" must become literate and empowered.  That is a task of a National Culture of Peace Program.
Finally, war and WMD/nuclear weapons will only be really banned when the U.S. "volunteers" to abide by International Law.  It will take powerful persuasion to achieve this.  International pressure may achieve this, if the U.S. gets a willing and motivated leader(s).  Ultimately, the U.S. leaders will probably only be motivated by the U.S. people -- and they will be a hard lot to motivate.  It comes back to International pressure on multi-tracks: diplomacy, moral suasion, boycott, sanction, National Culture of Peace Program, education, help build an internal movement, solidarity (and terrorism has been the chosen tool of some).
If that does not convince, a look in almost any school library shows a vast proportion of books on war, compared to books on peace.  The principal says, "that is what the students want to read".  How can you achieve a Culture of Peace and Non-violence when that is the attitude of the principal? 

A question to the Canadian government about peace (peace education, Culture of Peace) and the politician or official says, "that is about or for other countries, not Canada".  Government appears to see peace only in terms of Foreign Affairs, CIDA, DND - and not in its Departments of Health, Justice, Community Affairs or Education.  How can you achieve a Culture of Peace and Non-violence when that is the attitude of our government?  As the United Nations promulgates, transformation is required at all levels (individual, family, community, world), and in all institutions (government, education, religious, business, NGOs, etc.).


FUNDING FOR THE CANADIAN MILITARY

Question: I have an Issue Analysis assignment for my Radio News class. The issue I have been assigned is Military Funding. On your website www.peace.ca , I found several critiques of Canada's military budget. Would you be willing to do an interview with me, presenting your views on funding for the Canadian military?

Response: read the article Funding for the Canadian Military: FUBAR .  Currently, the discussion and politics is driven by a military lobby comprised of retired generals, security think tanks, academics, and corporations that benefit from military contracts.  Together, we can take back this important issue and help give it due process.  It is clear that this dialogue on military and foreign affairs policy and spending must be taken beyond Parliamentary committee rooms, university campuses, and newsrooms.

THE MEDIA

Q - Greetings Mr. Stewart!  My name is S and I am a graduate student at George Washington University, Washington DC, currently  studying International Development.  I came across your website as I was completing research for an upcoming project.  The information that I have found on your website is quite helpful.  The title of my project is "The Strength of Media as a Peace Building Tool".  Are there any recommendations that you could make concerning this topic?

A - Dear S, Your topic is very important, and I am happy to hear about your project.  I trust that you have used the search function on our web site on the word "media", and that is how you have found the articles we have posted. I have copied several reference below that I hope you did not miss in your research.

"Are there any recommendations that you could make concerning this topic?" (i.e. "The Strength of Media as a Peace Building Tool".) 
 
The motto of UNESCO is "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed."  We hear from the U.S. Administration about the need to capture the minds and hearts of the Iraqi people.  Orwell's "1984" dramatized the issues.  Corporate and political advertising targets susceptible minds (particularly the vulnerable, children).
 
The media of today reflects our current Culture of War and Violence.  It is one of the key institutions that must also be transformed in a Culture of Peace and Non-violence.  Currently, the media is part of the problem -- it needs to be part of the solution.
 
The recommendations that I would make (in no particular order; and off the top of my head - in other words, I am brainstorming here): 1. there should be a media code of ethics; 2. there should be an independent monitoring function to keep the media accountable and honest and professional (for example, why not be like Certified Public Accountants who are accredited and have professional standards that are generally accepted?); 3. all major communities should be encouraged to have more than one decent local newspaper; 4. media should be required to give equal time to opposing views (eg. currently in the Editorials, the Editor speaks as if his is the only truth and it is not, but people who are 'media illiterate' may think it is); 5. media should be required to warn consumers about their biases; 6. media should receive training such as Transcend's "Peace Journalism"; 7. individual corporations should not be allowed to own more than one media outlet, in each type of media (i.e. it would only be satisfactory to say own one newspaper, one radio and one TV network that could be available across the country; no monopolization should be allowed by interest groups); 8. the BBC and CBC (in Canada) are good examples of the need and benefit of independent, but publicly funded media; 9. all student should be educated in 'media literacy', to understand its weaknesses and biases;  10. there should be awards for media that makes positive contributions to society; 11. every newspaper should have a section devoted to a Culture of Peace and Non-violence; 12. there should be a Culture of Peace and Non-violence TV network (even if it must be publicly subsidized, although I think it could become financially sustainable on its own over time); etc. etc.
 
Here would be my challenge to the reader -- be leaders, and educators, and take the initiative to create the public venues for this crucial conversation within the values of a Culture of Peace (an approach to life that seeks to transform the cultural tendencies toward war and violence into a culture where dialogue, respect, equality, sustainable development, free flow of information and fairness govern social relations).  Currently, the discussion and politics is driven by a lobby comprised of special interest groups, and corporations that benefit from media bias.  Together, we can take back this important issue and help give it due process.  It is clear that this dialogue on media must be taken beyond Parliamentary committee rooms, corporate board rooms, university campuses, and newsrooms.

You can help give Americans the opportunity to participate in this discussion, and demonstrate a proper democracy in action.  It is within your power.   
 
 
MEDIA REFERENCES:
 
The best writing that I have seen (or at least remember) on the topic is that of Dr. Johann Galtung of Transcend ( www.transcend.org ; http://www.peace.ca/coveringviolence.htm ; http://www.peace.ca/howjournalistscanhelp.htm ).  Transcend has a course on Peace Journalism.  Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent is of course another key resources I recommend.

At the following reference, you will see an important new U.N. media initiative.  My friend David Adams has initiated the U.S. version which is also referenced at this article:
CULTURE OF PEACE NEWS NETWORK - CANADA
...Culture of Peace News Network - Canada - U.N. Resolution A/RES/57/6 Encourages the involvement of the mass media in education for a culture of peace and non-violence, with particular regard to children and young people, including...
http://www.peace.ca/CPNN.htm - We will be having a workshop on CPNN Friday November 19, 2004 at our Annual Peace Education Conferences in Canada (ref. http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm ).   the Culture of Peace News Network - USA http://cpnn-usa.org/

Impacs - The Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS) is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver committed to the expansion and protection of democracy and the strengthening of civil society. Our goal is to help build strong communities by providing communications training and education to Canadian non-profit organizations, and by supporting free, open and accountable media internationally.  IMPACS' program is based on three centres of activity: the Communications Centre, our international Free Media Program, and the Civil Society Project.  IMPACS' Communications Centre is the first full-service, non-profit public relations and communications training organization in Canada. Launched in July 1998, it is one of IMPACS' key vehicles for "turning up the volume" on civil society. Our approach is simple. We broker the most sophisticated communications tools used by the corporate sector to charitable and non-profit organizations. We deliver these tools through training workshops, professional services and a continually evolving resource centre.  IMPACS' Free Media Program is designed to foster the development of free, critical and effective media worldwide, and to enhance the media's role in the process of democratic development, good governance and public sector accountability and transparency. The Free Media Program focuses on two areas: trade and peacebuilding.  IMPACS' Free Media and Peacebuilding Program is based on the simple premise that open and responsible media is a condition for good governance, respect for human rights and democratic development. Looking back over the years, Canadians have made a significant contribution to promoting media development in countries in transition to democracy - in South Africa, the former Yugoslavia and more recently in Indonesia and Cambodia. IMPACS' program goals are twofold: to address the gap in our understanding of the role of media development in peacebuilding, and to provide the best professional media training and support to countries in transition to democracy.  The term "civil society" is gaining currency around the world as a powerful concept which both embraces and expands upon typical notions of democracy. It means different things to different people. One Canadian non-profit leader calls civil society "the purest form of democracy", where citizens are "unfettered, unedited, unrestricted by public or private institutions."  IMPACS understands civil society to be the space between the state and the market where people join together to share ideas and take collective action. IMPACS' Civil Society Project works to strengthen this dialogue. Through cutting edge research, roundtable discussions on pressing issues and the publication of reports and policy studies, we explore tangible ways to elevate the profile and contributions of civil society organizations in Canada.  For more information: Shauna Sylvester, Executive Director, shaunas@impacs.org ,  The Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, Suite 910, 207 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 1H6, CANADA; Tel: 1-604-682-1953; Fax: 1-604-682-4353; general email media@impacs.org ; web site http://www.impacs.org/

Media Literacy - try http://www.medialiteracy.net/

Movies - "The Insider"; "Control Room"

Truthout - the best alternate media that I subscribe to.  Click to SUBSCRIBE -> join-three-to@lists.truthout.org
Go direct to Truthout HomePage : http://www.truthout.org

Censored! The 10 big stories the national news media ignore. The mainstream news media have been doing a deplorable job of covering the day's most important stories.    That's no surprise: consolidation of the media in the hands of a few corporate Goliaths has resulted in fewer people creating more of the content we see, hear, and read. One impact has been a narrower range of perspectives. Another is the virtual disappearance of hard-hitting, original, investigative reporting.   "Corporate media has abdicated their responsibility to the First Amendment to keep the American electorate informed about important issues in society and instead serves up a pabulum of junk-food news," says Peter Phillips, head of Sonoma State University's Project Censored.  Every year researchers at Project Censored pick through volumes of print and broadcast news to see which of the past year's most important stories aren't receiving the kind of attention they deserve. Phillips and his team acknowledge that many of these stories weren't "censored" in the traditional sense of the word: No government agency blocked their publication. And some even appeared ­ briefly and without follow-up ­ in mainstream journals.   But every one of this year's picks merited prominent placement on the evening news and the dailies' front pages. Instead they went virtually ignored.  This list speaks directly to the point FCC critics have raised: stories that address fundamental issues of wealth concentration and big-business dominance of the political agenda are almost entirely missing from the national debate. From the dramatic increase in wealth inequality in the United States, to the wholesale giveaway of the nation's natural resources, to the Bush administration's attack on corporate and political accountability, events and trends that ought to be dominating the presidential campaign and the national dialogue are missing from the front pages.  Here are Project Censored's 10 biggest examples of major stories that have been relegated to the most obscure corners of the media world.  http://www.peace.ca/censored.htm 

Keynote Address to the National Conference on Media Reform by Bill Moyers, Founding Director, Public Affairs Television; President, The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1112-10.htm 


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