‘Peace is a revolutionary idea,’ Kai Brand Jacobsen told a recent meeting at the House of Commons. ‘Peace, by peaceful means, defines that revolution is non-violent.’
Kai Brand Jacobsen
The Co-Director of Transcend, a network of some 300 practitioners and scholars working in peace building and development in over 80 countries, explained that his network draws a distinction between conflict and violence. ‘Conflict is something very natural. Violence is something that happens when you have systematically failed to deal with the conflict effectively and constructively, or when you have actively pursued violence as a way of achieving concrete goals because that is the method you have chosen.’
Given the propensity for using military force as a way of dealing with conflicts, he commended the idea of the non-violent peace force, a tremendous initiative to train people for non-violent intervention to prevent war. If there had been 10,000 British citizens in Iraq there would have been 10,000 Japanese and 10,000 Scandinavians as well and it would not have been politically feasible for the US and Britain to go to war. ‘We need to be willing to go directly to the line and to actively resist the use of violence. Flood the area with non-violent peace forces.’
Advocating a ‘UN Peoples’ Assembly to complement the United Nations Government Assembly,’ he proposed one representative for every one million people, an Assembly of 6,000 ñ smaller than the Athenian Assembly. ‘If they could do it before the invention of mobile phones, internet, fax and telecommunications, I am sure we could handle a global assembly of 6,000 people today,’ he said. ‘Gradually more and more power would go towards the elected Assembly but we must also struggle for democracy in our own countries.
‘I cannot possibly conceive of Great Britain as a democratic country. The Greeks had a word for the system of government in which you elect representatives based on the promises they made to you. It’s called demagogia. Demos gratos is when the people have power. There is not democracy in Britain or the US.’
Commending the organizers of the meeting for pioneering the idea of a Ministry for Peace, he said Transcend would like to see such Ministries around the world educating people and politicians for peace.
‘We need to redouble our efforts to build our alliances, to strengthen co-operation between movements and recognise that our incredible diversity round the world is our strength, not our weakness.’
Extracted from an 80 minute speech available from The Ministry for Peace whose conference Peace Builder or Warmonger? Britain’s role in the 21st Century’ is in London on April 3rd Contact: www.ministryforpeace.org.uk Transcend and The Peace Action Training Institute of Romania are holding an international training programme, with Kai Brandt Jacobson, in Romania in May. Contact: www.transcend.org
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