If you want to find peace in your heart, knock yourself out. Seriously, knock yourself out, there's nothing more peaceful. Or if you want to find peace in your family or your neighborhood, or on the sidelines of a football game during the playing of the National Anthem, there may be no better way to do it than to pledge your allegiance to permanent war on poor foreign countries.
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A school board member in Virginia once agreed to support a celebration of the International Day of Peace "as long as everyone understands that I'm not opposing any wars."
But what if you want to find peace through the abolition of war? Then what do you do? Well, then you do the long, hard, exciting, fulfilling, nonviolent, community building work that may very well bring peace to everything from your heart to your local police department in the process, but which is aimed at reducing and eliminating the arms trade and militarism.
Have you noticed how outraged U.S. liberals can become when they discover that the U.S. National Anthem has various ties to racism? Imagine! A song that celebrates the mass slaughter of human beings during an insane quest to take over Canada (which instead got the White House burned) – that glorious treasure might be marred by a cruel and unenlightened ideology!
Did you see the news story this week about the U.S. government compensating the family of an Italian they'd blown up in a war with a payment of US$1 million? What if Iraqis were given that treatment? As many families are gone entirely, let's round down to 1 million victims with survivors left to be compensated. What's a million times US$1 million? It's US$1 trillion. What the U.S. government spends on militarism in one year could treat Iraqis as if they were Europeans. The next year's funding could start in on compensating Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Libyans, Somalis, Syrians, etc.
There is an educational project needed that you can help with. It involves persuading people that war can't be mended, that it must be ended. You might begin by sitting out a playing of the National Anthem and then explaining to people why. If you don't want to do that alone, do it with a small group. If you don't have a small group, Campaign Nonviolence has over 650 nonviolent war-abolition events of all sorts planned all over the place this week. Find the nearest event.
For more events all over the world, check out our events page at World Beyond War. There are art exhibitions, ship voyages, anti-nuclear lobby events, protest rallies, vigils, conferences, festivals, and long-distance walks.
Have you ever dreamed of seeing a peace movement, much less a war abolition movement, on television? Now you can. On Sept. 23 and 24 you can watch the No War 2016 conference. Here's the detailed agenda of what you'll see at what time, and bios and photos of all the speakers. This event will be three days of making the case for alternatives to war, including activist workshops on the third day, and on the next morning (Monday, the 26th) a 9 a.m. protest at the Pentagon. Come join us!
We will also be delivering to the Pentagon a petition simultaneously being delivered by U.S. whistleblowers and Germans to the German government in Berlin asking for the closure of Ramstein Air Base. Over these two days you can also catch a live-streamed World Beyond War event from Malaysia. Other events all over the world will be viewing the live stream from Washington, D.C., including this one in Berlin. Protests are also planned on the Sept. 26 in California, at West Point, and in Australia.
Wherever you are, you should catch a screening of Paying the Price for Peace and of Snowden. The International Peace Bureau World Congress is in Berlin from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. If you can be in Ireland or England or Germany, join the big events on October 8. Keep Space for Peace Week is Oct. 1 to 8, and has events everywhere.
You can always organize your own event anywhere, and World Beyond War will be glad to help you promote it. If you are looking for a tool for studying, teaching, or leading discussions, we're just now publishing the 2016 version of A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. Or use any of these videos, PowerPoints, or speakers.
Want to lobby the U.S. government for something immediately achievable? Call Congress and tell them to halt the next pending sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia to be used killing people in Yemen. Sign this petition too. There is also an opportunity right now to ban cluster bombs, and after those nuclear bombs.
If you're convinced that activism is best directed at the edges of a broken presidential election system, here's a useful approach: demand that debates, like the one on Sept. 26, include more candidates, so that the pro-war consensus gets challenged.
Another debate is underway in the world right now on the question of whether "Just War" theory is of any value. Even the Catholic Church, the creator of Just War theory, is debating whether to formally reject it. I've just published my argument on the topic and will be debating a Just War advocate in October. Get involved in this discussion. Ask someone on September 21, the International Day of Peace, whether they'd like there to be peace everywhere every day. Ask them if they'd like to help make that happen.
There is peace in most places most of the time. Adding the last bit of the earth to that peaceful status would not violate any laws of nature. It would only violate the irrational drives and profiting greed of those who oppose peace. This will take more than a day, but we can do it.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.