Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A just and lasting peace

These days I weigh one question above all others: the chances for a just peace for all peoples. In the nearly five years that have passed I have seen that hope waver, grow dim, and almost die. And the shadow of fear again has darkly lengthened across the universe.

Today the hope of free men remains stubborn and brave, but it is sternly disciplined by experience. It shuns not only all crude counsel of despair but also the self-deceit of easy illusion. It weighs the chances for peace with sure, clear knowledge of what happened to the vain hopes of the past.

In that distant time the leaders of the Gallente people met the leaders of Intaki to renew their bonds following the atrocities of the war with the Caldari. Their peoples shared the joyous prospect of building an age of just peace. All these peoples shared too this concrete, decent purpose: to guard vigilantly against the ravages of an interstellar conflict.

This common purpose lasted an instant and perished. The nations of the world divided to follow two distinct roads.

The leaders of the Gallente Federation and Caldari State chose another.

The way chosen by the people of Intaki was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in universal affairs. First: No people can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Second: No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

Third: Every nation's right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

Fourth: Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

And fifth: A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.

In the light of these principles the citizens of the Intaki colonies defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of war, toward true peace.

This way was faithful to the spirit inspired by the tenets of Ida: to prohibit strife, to relieve tensions, to banish fears. This way was to control and to reduce armaments. This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war's wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own toil.

The larger Gallente government and that of the Caldari as well held a vastly different vision of the future. In the universe of their design, security was to be found, not in mutual trust and mutual aid but in force: huge militaries, subversion, rule of neighbor nations. The goal was power superiority at all cost. Security was to be sought by denying it to all others.

The result has been tragic for the universe. The amassing of military power alerted all nations to a new danger of aggression. It compelled them in self-defense; to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments. It forced them to develop weapons of war now capable of inflicting instant and terrible punishment upon any aggressor.

It instilled in the universe’s nations - and let none doubt this - the unshakable conviction that, as long as there persists a threat to freedom, they must, at any cost, remain armed, strong, and ready for the risk of war.

It inspired them - and let none doubt this - to attain a unity of purpose and will beyond the power of propaganda or pressure to break, now or ever.

There remained, however, one thing essentially unchanged and unaffected by this hawkish conduct. This unchanged thing was the readiness of the Intaki worlds to welcome sincerely any genuine evidence of peaceful purpose enabling all peoples again to resume their common quest of just peace. And the Intaki worlds still hold to that purpose.

The Intaki worlds, most solemnly and repeatedly, have assured the Federation and State that their firm association has never had any aggressive purpose whatsoever. Gallente and Caldari leaders, however, have seemed to persuade themselves, or tried to persuade their people, otherwise.

And so it has come to pass that these leaders have shared and suffered the very fears they have fostered in the rest of the universe.

What can the universe, or any world in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road? The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is full-scale intergalactic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the Intaki people or the Gallente people or any people to achieve true abundance and happiness.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This universe in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern stealth bomber is this: a modern school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

We pay for a single frigate with a million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that comes with this autumn.

This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace.

It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the universe to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty.

It calls upon them to answer the question that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the universe may live?

New leadership has assumed power in the Gallente Federation and the Caldari State. Their links to the past, however strong, cannot bind them completely. Their future is, in great part, their own to make.

This new leadership confronts a universe aroused, as rarely in its history, by the will to stay free. It is a universe that demands and expects the fullest respect of its rights and interests. It is a universe that will always accord the same respect to all others. So the new leadership now has a precious opportunity to awaken, with the rest of the universe, to the point of peril reached and to help turn the tide of history.

Will it do this?

We do not yet know. We welcome every honest act of peace. We care nothing for mere rhetoric.

We care only for sincerity of peaceful purpose attested by deeds. The opportunities for such deeds are many. The performance of a great number of them waits upon no complex protocol but only upon the simple will to do them. Even a few such clear and specific acts would be impressive signs of sincere intent. They would carry a power of persuasion not to be matched by any amount of oratory.

This we do know: a universe that begins to witness the rebirth of trust among nations can find its way to a peace that is neither partial nor punitive.

With all who will work in good faith toward such a peace, we are ready, with renewed resolve, to strive to redeem the near-lost hopes of our day.

The first great step along this way must be the conclusion of an honorable armistice in the current factional conflict.

This means the immediate cessation of hostilities and the prompt initiation of political discussions leading to the disbanding of the militias.

It should mean, no less importantly, an immediate end to the direct and indirect attacks upon the security of low security systems in the conflict zones. For any armistice in Intaki that merely released aggressive militias to attack elsewhere would be a fraud. We seek, throughout Placid as throughout the universe, a peace that is true and total.

Out of this can grow a still wider task - the achieving of just political settlements for the other serious and specific issues between the Intaki worlds and the Gallente Federation.

None of these issues, great or small, is insoluble - given only the will to respect the rights of all nations. Again we say: the people of Intaki are ready to assume their just part.

We are ready not only to press forward with the present plans for closer unity of the worlds of the Intaki Sovereignty but also, upon that foundation, to strive to foster a broader Intaki community, conducive to the free movement of persons, of trade, and of ideas.

As progress in all these areas strengthens universal trust, we could proceed concurrently with the next great work - the reduction of the burden of armaments now weighing upon the universe. To this end we would welcome and enter into the most solemn agreements. These could properly include:

1: The limitation, by absolute numbers or by an agreed international ratio, of the sizes of the military and security forces of all nations.

2: A commitment by all nations to set an agreed limit upon that proportion of total production of certain strategic materials to be devoted to military purposes.

3: A limitation or prohibition of other categories of weapons of great destructiveness.

4: The enforcement of all these agreed limitations and prohibitions by adequate safeguards, including a practical system of inspection under CONCORD.

The details of such disarmament programs are manifestly critical and complex.

Neither the Intaki Assembly nor any other government can properly claim to possess a perfect, immutable formula. But the formula matters less than the faith - the good faith without which no formula can work justly and effectively.

The fruit of success in all these tasks would present the universe with the greatest task, and the greatest opportunity, of all. It is this: the dedication of the energies, the resources, and the imaginations of all peaceful nations to a new kind of war. This would be a declared total war, not upon any human enemy but upon the brute forces of poverty and need.

The peace we seek, founded upon decent trust and cooperative effort among nations, can be fortified, not by weapons of war but by wheat and by cotton, by milk and by wool, by meat and timber and rice. These are words that translate into every language. These are the needs that challenge this universe in arms.

We are prepared to reaffirm, with the most concrete evidence, our readiness to help build a universe in which all peoples can be productive and prosperous.

We are ready to ask our people to join with all nations in devoting a substantial percentage of any savings achieved by real disarmament to a fund for universal aid and reconstruction. The purposes of this great work would be to help other peoples to develop the undeveloped areas of the galaxy, to stimulate profitable and fair trade, to assist all peoples to know the blessings of productive freedom.

The monuments to this new war would be roads and schools, hospitals and homes, food and health.

We are ready, in short, to dedicate our strength to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of the universe.

I know of nothing I can add to make plainer the sincere purposes of the Intaki Liberation Front.

I know of only one question upon which progress waits. It is this: What are the Gallente and the Caldari ready to do?

Whatever the answer is, let it be plainly spoken.

Again we say: the hunger for peace is too great, the hour in history too late, for any government to mock men's hopes with mere words and promises and gestures.

Is the new leadership of the Federation and State prepared to use their decisive influence in the universe, including control of the flow of arms, to bring not merely an expedient truce to hostilities, but genuine peace in the universe?

Is it prepared to allow other nations, including those in Placid and elsewhere, the free choice of their own form of government?

Is it prepared to act in concert with others upon serious disarmament proposals?

There is, before all peoples, a precarious chance to turn the black tide of events.

If we failed to strive to seize this chance, the judgment of future ages will be harsh and just.

If we strive but fail and the world remains armed against itself, it at least would need be divided no longer in its clear knowledge of who has condemned humankind to this fate.

My purpose, in stating these proposals, is simple. These proposals spring, without ulterior motive or political passion, from my calm conviction that the hunger for peace is in the hearts of all people - those of the Gallente and of the Caldari no less than of my own homeland.

They conform to our firm faith that man is meant to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the world and of their own toil.

They aspire to this: the lifting, from the backs and from the hearts of men, of their burden of arms and of fears, so that they may find before them a golden age of freedom and of peace.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Universal peace?

Some people are waiting for another Adhrit Vaakpati or that special somebody to show up. What if there isn’t anybody. This is our time. What if it’s up to us?

Consider this, an almost unthinkable scenario: A universe without violence. Where no child is abused, no wife battered, no friend raped. A universe without terror, without threats, without wounds from intentional actions.

Where the strong provide for the vulnerable, where the vulnerable become empowered, where every kind of family is safe and secure, and girls and boys and women and men have a fair and equal chance at the pursuit of happiness in a tolerant and talented society.

A universe without violence. Peace.

We can’t even imagine it. — The very thought eludes our grasp.

Why is that?

Is it our cynicism, a failure of our imagination, burn-out-disappointment seeing too much reality, gang killings, stalking, rapes, battering, child abuse, too many wars, or is it fear of failure, that we may not be able to be successful in achieving violence free-relationships, peaceful families and empowered communities — are we so afraid to even dare to imagine it and thus unable to even dream it?

I don’t have the answer.

But I know that Vision is the ability to see the Invisible.

To see beyond the violence and yet to place our selves in front of it — so we can take compassionate action and create peace — that’s my definition of courage.

We are surrounded by violence everyday. We see it, feel it, witness it or read and hear about it. Of course there’s also the heartbreaking violence of nature — hurricanes and earthquakes — but I am talking about intentional violence. The capacity for violence is within us. Just as the capacity for peace is within us. As humans we are perched on the precipice of violence almost every moment — we have that capability — including all of us — some reptilian part of our brains could at any moment defend us against a real or perceived threat. There is an alligator in all of us.

Each moment that we refrain from hurting another being by our speech, gesture, glance or deeds — we are exercising courage. Often, thank goodness, we are successful and in those quietly courageous moments — we are making peace.

My favorite definition of peace: PEACE “it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, conflict, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still BE CALM IN YOUR HEART.”

VIOLENCE PREVENTION and PEACEMAKING is very messy, often uncomfortable, sometimes confrontational. Violence prevention is not peaceful work but it is the working toward peace. Advocating for social justice, equality, empowerment, institutional and attitudinal change, has brought many arguments, conflicts, unease — it has given me a lot of inner turmoil. The peace I feel in my heart comes from knowing that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

In December, the ILF will be 5 years old — big birthday — and I am taking a deep look at who we have become and who we want to be. We’ve changed most by being inclusive — by adding, not subtracting. We started with a focus on Intaki, then to the area of the Intaki Sovereignty, and perhaps now to an even larger area of colonies.

Over the years the ILF has practiced one of the most important kinds of courage–the courage to change. After all, we are an organization of social change makers. We have the most amazing staff — dedicated, knowledgeable — they work for more than a paycheck, Our volunteers do more than contribute their free time — they servants for this community.

And please remember the vision thing. Dare to make the invisible visible. Healthy relationships, peaceful families, empowered communities deserve the best of our imagination, and our never-ending commitment to make it happen. It is up to us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pushing some buttons

A recruitment holovid one of our pilots created more than a month ago came to the attention of a Scope reporter this week and he wrote a rather scathing article concerning it. I have a few impressions about the outcome.

First, my thoughts that The Scope is mouthpiece of the Gallente government seem to be confirmed once again. The reporting here, in addition to being shoddy in general, was clearly biased from the headline through the last paragraph. Their standards seem low and show no signs of improving.

Secondly, it is clear that our message struck a cord with some of the people who have seen it. Jake Lanks, the pilot who did most of the work on the vid, deserves a good deal of credit. He put together some compelling images and music that set off the importance of the message.

The vid has been a big hit with our members and the fact that the ardent Federation flag-wavers bemoan it so would indicate that its message is certainly pushing some buttons.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Patience, I tell myself. Patience.

I'm not sure why the Kapdans feel such an allegiance to the Gallente. Their system, sitting on the Federation's doorstep, is one of the worst-hit by pirates. Ostingelle's gates are legendary for their camps. I've even felt the sting, losing my first Hyperion as a rookie battleship pilot.

I don't know that I'll ever fully understand it, but regardless, Zheet Chandrark has proven true to his constituents and tabled the secession bill once more.

I'm told that because the hearings were closed I could be found criminal liable for disclosing what I said or heard during them. Suffice to say, the panel of "experts" on the matter was, in my opinion, hand-picked for their loyalty to the Federation. I'm surprised I even made the list, but I suppose a few token separatists and radicals had to be thrown in for authenticity.

There seems to be little hope of any further action during the current term, but there is still hope for the future. Chandrark has stated publicly that he is retiring after this session and returning to Kapda. Maybe his successor will be less heavy handed with the idea of secession and allow it to the full Assembly for an open debate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just on the other side of the line

I have never sought fame or popularity. I have never gone out of my to seek recognition of my peers. But for some reason there is one pilot who I have always hoped to reach and yet I cannot.

I'm not sure what it is about this Simon Coal that captures my imagination, but I think that if I could convince him of the true nature of our cause he would be a great ally.

I sense in him a love of people and our traditions. But the indoctrination into the Gallente myth is strong and he has roundly criticized our actions. However, I do not think he is so far over the line to be a lost cause.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Assembly moves

I received a notice that I am to appear today before the Intaki Assembly's Interstellar Relations Committee to provide testimony in a closed-door hearing.

The summons does not indicate what the hearing is concerning, but the rumor on the street is that the secession bill is being moved off the table. I cannot describe how happy this makes me feel.

If the Intaki people are ever to have a hope of enjoying the liberty of a free and independent state, the first steps must be taken by the Assembly. It is only by a measured and determined bid of the Assembly for full resumption of its sovereignty that we can even consider a secession without conflict. Anything less would lead to years of conflict and an unacceptable loss of life.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An offer I can refuse

I have been contacted several times by Chairman Renjith Prabeaux of the Federal Social Democratic Party. At first I was hopeful that he might be persuaded to see the reasoning in our arguments and to be an ally in negotiating for a peaceful separation.

I am growing to believe that first impressions were wrong, however. It seems increasingly that he is an appeaser and Federation apologist. He seeks to make amends for past wrongs with token condolences and petty reparations.

He now wants me to consider withdrawing my call for secession in exchange for some gesture of reconciliation with the Intaki of the Syndicate. I agree that the Syndicate Intaki should be brought back into the fold, so to speak, but I do not believe that this gesture will go any appreciable way toward achieving that.

Having considered the matter, I do not think that I will be withdrawing my call for secession any time soon.