Resistance is Growing
By Terry Wolfwood, Board member, Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group in Victoria, BC.
I am here today to bring you greetings from Victoria, the little city that said "No to NATO." When we learned two years ago that NATO Parliamentary Assembly was going to meet in Victoria, activists got busy. We planned days of events, peaceful protests and meetings. Of course, we discussed this action at open public meetings, so the city council and police heard about our plans and got scared of dangerous activists - like me! They wanted million of dollars to barricade off downtown Victoria to make it safe for the world's greatest military power - and for tourists having tea at the Empress Hotel. NATO went off in a huff! We went ahead with a conference in Victoria anyway and you got NATO here in Ottawa.
We are sorry NATO was not in Victoria, but I am sure they are here today with us because what we are saying - is the unthinkable, the unspeakable - beyond silence the violence - we are saying that the terror of violence by states or groups is the same. The only real option to violence is the creation of a culture of peace and justice. We must reject false options!
We say NO to ideologies of death, to environmental destruction, to the evil of great wealth and power of a few, backed by NATO's military might.
At our conference in Victoria, past-moderator of the United Church, Bill Phipps, told us we must "seize the moment," and I say we must face the terrible situation of today and "hold fast to this time."
We need to build a strong resistance movement. Resistance is a space, a position, a life commitment to a just world for all. Resistance is daily work - not a crisis reaction. Resistance is rooted in our own life place. But we must be clear and vocal about our global connections and our solidarity with others.
Resistance speaks the truth. We reject the institionalized cultural amnesia, the trivialization of history, the worship of consumerism and violence in the corporate media. We have to remember that the bomb, the buck and the boob tube are indivisible!
Some activists recently suggested that now is the time to unplug and reject the corporate media - what a great idea! I thought so - until I realized I haven't watched TV or subscribed to a corporate paper for decades! So we must go further and create our own media and networks and find new ways to communicate! We need to find our own voices!
Resistance creates community, new knowledge, inspiration and art. Resistance imbues our relationships with others with compassion as we reach out to those around us and around the world.
Resistance is respect and dignity for biodiversity and cultural diversity. Resistance gives shape and meaning to our lives. As my friend, Maria Mies, a German author-activist says, "We must put life in the centre."
Resistance is growing, resistance is spreading, we are everywhere and resistance is everywhere!
Source: Presentatation at the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade's Vigil for Nonviolence, Oct. 6, 2001, in Ottawa.