Thank you all for the cooperation which led to Peace Magazine! That was a wonderful interview (Low Level Radiation and Species Death Syndrome, May 1985) with Sr. Rosalie Bertell -- heartwarming and uplifting in spite of the facts.
Phyllis McCarthy Toronto, ON
Margaret Boyce's suggestion (Letters, May 1985) to buy more New Zealand products is a worthwhile one. I am looking forward to reading what products I can purchase to support the New Zealanders' brave anti-nuclear stand in the next issue of Peace Magazine.
I wonder if you could give your readers similar information on Nicaraguan products in a future issue, now that the US has stupidly, if predictably, imposed economic sanctions against that country.
Janice Boneham Toronto, ON
We'll wait to hear from our readers about any Nicaraguan "girlcottt," as we've heard this type of action is being called. As for the NZ girlcott, the Riverside Church Disarmament Program has produced a rubber stamp listing NZ products which can be purchased from 490 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10027. But read on.
New Zealand exports a variety of products such as butter, cheese, beef, wool, and other agricultural products. New Zealand also produces very high quality wines (especially white wines) and sherries, timber and timber products, and stereo components, especially speakers. The country also exports many tasty varieties of fish unknown to Canadians.
However, Canada seems to make very little effort to import New Zealand goods, while providing an embarrassing display of goods from South
Africa and Chile, for example. Our Government should be encouraged to change this practice.
Bernard Hammond, PhD London, ON
Thanks to Helen Spiegelman for her report in Peace Magazine of the second annual meeting of the Canadian Support Network for Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific issues (April 1985 issue).
I would like to correct one factual error in the report (which was otherwise an excellent overview of the meeting) and to provide further information on some aspects.
The report noted that Belau, Fiji and Vanuatu had declared themselves nuclear-free. While this is true of Belau and Vanuatu, it is no longer so with Fiji. While Fiji did ban nuclear-powered and weapons-capable vessels from its ports, this was reversed by the Fijian Government in August of 1983. This was thought to be in response to increased interest by the US in Fiji as a central point of influence in the Pacific. The response in Fiji has been the rebirth of FANG (the Fiji Anti-Nuclear Group), composed of women's groups, unions, academics, students, and community organizations. They are trying once again to make Fiji nuclear-free.
While New Zealand's stand has caught world attention and much support from the peace movement, little is known of Belau (Palau), a republic of 15,000 people which forms part of what is still the US Strategic Trust Territory of the Pacific.
Belau is the first country to expressly ban, in its constitution, the storage, testing or transit of nuclear or chemical weaponry through its territory. Since it wrote its constitution in 1979, it has been forced by the US to vote on it five times. Five times the voters of Belau have upheld their nuclear-free constitution in the face of extreme political and economic pressure.
would commend your readers to find out more about this issue as it provides both hope and instruction. An excellent documentary is the film Strategic Trust, narrated by Joanne Woodward and winner of two awards. It is available for rental from Idera Films, 2524 Cypress St., Vancouver BC.
Phil Esmonde, Victoria, BC
Very few people talk about how the disarmament movement gets from here to where we wish to go, according to Roberta Begbie in (Letters, April 1985).
The best hope for reversing the dangerous arms build-up is the creation of a dynamic worldwide popular movement to "abolish war" within this century, similar to the anti-slavery crusades of the past.
All successful movements must have a sharp focus described in simple words, and the peace constituency must advertise itself and be seen as an "abolition of war" movement. The message must be repeated over and over, preferably on the electronic media.
In its first three centuries, the Christian movement was anti-war, before developing the concept of fighting and winning a 'good war.' War is now obsolete, if not yet extinct. The church should return to its roots and provide leadership for an educational and highly visible "abolish war" campaign.
Working with the World Citizens Assembly and the new Beyond War movement, the World Federalists of
Canada have a committee on the abolition of war developing material and ideas to address the excellent question posed by Roberta Begbie. Some preliminary material is now available from Suite 32, 46 Elgin St., Ottawa ON, K1P 5K6.
Ross Smyth, Montréal, PQ
I was very disturbed by the accusations in Andrew VanVelzen's letter about the proposed Canadian peace alliance ("Alliance An Annoyance," Letters, May 1985).
I think the discussions at the Vancouver meeting clearly indicate a complete awareness of the potential problems inherent in forming an alliance of Canadian peace organizations, and ¾; not only a willingness to address those concerns, but a commitment to preventing those problems from arising.
In Bob Penner's report from that meeting, he lists the four objectives of the proposed alliance, which have to do with increasing communication between peace groups and facilitating
coordinated activities. These objectives are very similar to those of Peace Magazine, and consequently the role of a national coalition parallels in many respects the role played by this magazine in the peace movement.
As one of its editors, I can assure VanVelzen that much of the magazine's strongest support comes from rural areas, because the small groups in those communities need the support of being connected with the nationwide peace movement. Members of many grassroots organizations, rural and urban, write to us daily supporting Peace Magazine's information-sharing format. I cannot see how these same objectives, when employed by a national alliance, would cause it to ignore, suppress or alienate grassroots organizations, as VanVelzen seems to think will happen.
Unfortunately, this type of unsubstantiated accusation all too often has very divisive repercussions.
Nancy Watt, Toronto, ON