To the Editor,
I was disturbed to see the high profile coverage of the National Capital Air Show in the Ottawa Citizen and the virtual exclusion of the Festival of Peace that occurred on the same weekend (Sept 16). In the United Nations International Year for a Culture of Peace, surely this parade of militarism (Air Show) at the tax payers expense is out of place, and ESPECIALLY for children.
The songs, poems and talks at the Festival of Peace, though drowned out at times by the high powered roar from the nearby NCAS, provided a much needed sign of hope for our war torn world. When will our media and military stop glamorizing war and start promoting peace?
Saturday, Sept. 16, was the International Day of Peace, as declared by the United Nations. This year it fell within the International Year of Valuing the Culture of Peace and was a forerunner to the Decade of Peace and Non-Violence for Children, which will begin January, 2001.
There was a very successful, impressive Festival of Peace held to honor the day. Unfortunately there was also a deficit in media coverage in spite of the fact that press releases had gone out well in advance of the event. It seems that another event was the focus of media attention in the "backyard " of the Peace Festival - The Air Show.
Regardless of the fact that many of the children now living in Ottawa have horrific memories of war planes destroying their Peace, their lives and their futures, the Air Show continues to be advertised as "family fun and entertainment". Many children have had their Peace destroyed by low level flights, such as the Innu of Labrador. Many more have been victimized by intentional intimidation and destruction by military practices in countries within Central America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The Air Show continues to be a venue for showing the "capabilities" of the planes for sale by our country to the governments of those countries who blatantly disrespect the human rights of its civilian citizens. I am baffled as to why this commercial sale of aircraft needs to be presented to children and their families in Ottawa as entertainment. Are we to assume that our Sisters and Brothers around the world are pleased that people in Canada actually buy tickets to see such a spectacle of war planes?
At the Festival of Peace this year there was an impressive array of speakers. There were peaceful songs, poetry readings, giant puppets and children's entertainment. Perhaps in the future, when the Festival of Peace is on, the media will be very present, recording the many wonderful stories of peaceful initiatives within our city, our country, and indeed, around the world. Perhaps during the next decade, the media will seek out and report stories elevating the Culture of Peace for our children and the hope of our future.
Global Education Network
Educators for Peace
Teacher, Charles H. Hulse School
A couple questions regarding the "Air Show."
If one-tenth of the monies spent on developing, manufacturing, running, and maintaining the primarily lethal planes displayed at the "Air Show" went towards researching, promoting, and addressing the origins of war (inequality, greed, ignorance, propaganda...) do you, and your readers, figure we'd have a more or less secure world? I figure more.
Maybe your lack of coverage of alternatives to the PR campaign for militarists might have to do with the belief that war, and its vehicles as displayed at the "Air Show", are good for business. How about some promotion of the business of creative peace?