In the WRI office we are often asked 'What does WRI think about this?' when a 'crisis' hits the newspapers.
Often, we have written a statement telling people what we think.
Whilst such statements can be useful, they can also be irrelevant.
At the last WRI Executive meeting, we assessed different ways that WRI have responded to political crises in the past - what worked and what didn't, and the particular situations that determined the efficacy of the initiative.
Solidarity is a big word, which tries to bring out the best in us. It means that we should not only care about ourselves, but also for others, and be willing to take a stand for them. For War Resisters' International, solidarity and specifically international solidarity are at the core of our values and activities. As an international, we put emphasis on the need to support each other in our struggles against war and injustice. That is why we say that we are a network of mutual support: support that helps to amplify the voices of dissent. But what impact can solidarity and mutual support have in times of crises? What are the limitations of solidarity? In this issue of The Broken Rifle we look at some current violent conflicts, and the role of international solidarity - or the lack of it - such as in the case of Ukraine and Gaza.
In the wake of the NATO summit in Wales in early September, the United States forged a new “Coalition of the Willing” to conduct aerial operations against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria. Almost 60 states heeded the Americans’ call. Some, like the US, Britain, Australia and France, are conducting bombing raids; others, like Germany, are supporting operations by training the Peshmerga or supplying them with arms.
Russian Propaganda and the international Peace Movement
The freedom movement in Ukraine has received a lot of international attention during the Euromaidan events, but just very limited international support. Instead, it fell victim to an international defamation wave. This can partly be explained by failures of the movement, as some protesters turned violent and the movement failed to denounce itself from right wing elements. But more importantly the international peace movement, especially in Europe, must realize that it has been targeted by a massive propaganda campaign as part of Russia's hybrid warfare. Instincts from the cold war as a distrust of official media and empathy toward the Kremlin's interests, have been a fertile ground for the seeds of hate and desolidarisation with Ukrainian democracy and human rights activists.
After the loss of countless people in a war waged by the Republic of Turkey against the Kurdish people, a process has started which they call the "solution process". They described this step as one taken to develop dialogue with the Kurdish movement. For years, the "solution process" that started in 2009 was expected to bring "peace" to this region. But the state didn't give up on its reflex to create peace with guns, tanks and bombs - just like in Roboski where 34 Kurdish villagers died in a bombing by the Turkish Armed Forces. Even though a so called "ceasefire" was declared, and some armed groups retreated to outside the border, in every part of this geographical region attacks against Kurdish people continued throughout the process. Funerals kept coming to homes; funerals of those that died - maybe not in battle grounds - but in the streets by soldier-police attacks.