PEACE PEOPLE—A ''CONFRATERNIZATION OF NATIONS''
The truth is that many of the grassroots activists, after decades of work
in the field of disarmament, often know the themes and the political situation
better than diplomats who keep changing their job. People in the
peace movement monitor national positions, talk more freely, move more
freely, and think more freely on possible solutions. In this way, they can
be of invaluable assistance to the diplomats. Following is a selection of
just some of those individuals who have taken the future on their shoulders
and dedicated their lives to the struggle against nuclear weapons:
Tadatoshi Akiba, Colin Archer, Mary-Wynne Ashford, Peter Becker,
Rosalie Bertell, Phon van den Biesen, John Burroughs, Martin Butcher,
Jonathan Dean, Jackie Cabasso, Helen Caldicott, Michael Christ, Pol
D'Huyvetter, Dieter Deiseroth, Bev Delong, Kate Dewes, Scilla Elworthy,
Joseph Gerson, Jonathan Granoff, Robert Green, Regina Hagen,
Xanthe Hall, Kate Hudson, Rebecca Johnson, Bruce Kent, Daryl
Kimball, Sergey Kolesnikov, Karel Koster, David Krieger, Dominique
Lalanne, Patricia Lewis, Hilda Lini, Yael Lotan, Ronald McCoy, Pamela
Meidell, Saul Mendlowitz, Zia Mian, Ramu L. Ramdas, Ernie Regehr,
Douglas Roche, Henrik Salander, Jüurgen Scheffran, Alice Slater, Susi
Snyder, Aaron Tovish, Rhianna Tyson, Hiro Umebayashi, Alyn Ware,
Cora Weiss, and Peter Weiss, Christopher Weeramantry . . . and numerous
others. (With my sincere apologies; picking some names that come to
mind unavoidably does injustice to many who could just as well have
deserved to be listed).
The American lawyers, the German physicists and lawyers, the British
(a military officer, a priest, and a potter), the New Zealand kindergarten
employee, the Pakistani political scientist, and the admiral from
India—these names so vital to securing a future for our globe may appear
foreign to most of us, but the fault is by no means theirs. The complaint
belongs with any one of many editors and news desks.
The names on the list give us but an inkling of the diversity within a
group of people from all around the world. They possess one essential
advantage over the diplomats: they are above national borders. They
view themselves as a community, play as a team, and stand together in
their search for solutions in defense of a common interest in survival—
they see all the people of the globe as one. These activists have realized
a ''confraternization'' at the substate level and are working to achieve
the same in relations among nations. They are probably the only forces
in the world in the 21st century that continue to pursue the concept of
peace that Nobel formulated.
Although Nobel committee members tend to be well versed in parliamentary
politics within and among nations, they seem to know very little
of, or at least they underestimate, this form of international cooperation
for peace and disarmament. Had the members been qualified for their
posts and loyal to Nobel, they would have been more familiar with civil
society peace work and would know the importance of the closely knit
ties among citizens across national borders. Furthermore, they would
have recognized Suttner and her peace work as the historical antecedent
of the 21st-century peace movement and would have seen its importance
and understood how it embodies the ideas that Nobel had in mind.
For years, the Nobel committee could have worked to make this
little-known movement and its ''unrealistic dream'' visible, afforded the
protagonists respect and strength, and made the impossible a little more
possible. It would have helped if the committee had heeded the precautionary
words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the famous World War II general
who in 1946, as the U.S. Army chief of staff, formulated a policy
of a close, continuing relationship between the Army and civilian scientists,
industry, technologists, and the universities.
Only too late did Eisenhower understand what a political monster he
had created. In 1961, in his farewell speech as president of the United
States, he warned his successor presidents against the dangers inherent
in a permanent military-industrial complex (close to the core of the will
and the expression Nobel had used 66 years earlier, standing armies).
This complex—''annually spending more than the net income of all
United States corporations''—would be difficult to control and easily
could endanger liberty and democracy, Eisenhower said. His historic
speech contained the following passages:
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.
Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms,
but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and
apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field
with a definite sense of disappointment.
Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing
of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful
methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
To do their job properly, the trustees in the Nobel committee should look
in the direction Eisenhower pointed.