Taking Action: Building A Nonviolent Army

Taking Action: Building A Nonviolent Army

A nonviolent army may sound like an oxymoron, but the same can
be said about ‘fighting for peace’? Recent conflicts around the
world have, more than ever, raised the question of how to best
bring two warring factions to a resolution, or at least to the
table to hammer out a resolution.

Usually, when official negotiations have reached an impasse,
there’s not much outside forces can do but send in their troops and
artillery to keep the two sides apart. This may work temporarily,
but sooner or later, those troops have to go home. And many times
when emotions are running high, the feuding factions will continue
to fight anyway, causing the outside forces to get involved in the
violence. All of this results in more bloodshed and resentment.
Isn’t there a better way?

David Hatsough and Mel Duncan believe that there is. Both men had
visions of a global nonviolent army several years ago: Duncan while
sitting in a Buddhist monastery and Hartsough while sitting in a
Serbian jail. The two men met in 1999 and decided to form the
Global Nonviolent Peace Force to ‘organize and train an
international standing peace force that could be sent to conflict
areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights,’
they write on the Web site for Sojourners magazine.
It is hoped that this would create a climate where opposing sides
could seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.

Joining the two peace commandos is German Christine Schweitzer, who
recently headed up the Balkan Peace Teams. The three, along with a
impressive array of noted peace activists from around the world,
including the Dalai Lama, are now working together to organize and
fund the project. The Global Nonviolent Peace Force hopes to begin
recruiting next spring and be ready to go into action in
2003.
–Al Paulson
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