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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Women “Strike against war” passionately for nonviolence: Keller, Maguire, Williams

 Great struggle continues 1916, 1979, 2013 -
Minor edit, excerpts by 
Carolyn Bennett

Betty Williams speaking in 1976

“We wish to see those who keep the lights burning twenty-four hours a day in the Pentagon and the Kremlin and all the other great centers of militarism liberated into truly creative and happy lives, instead of the soul-destroying tasks of preparing for self-destruction.…

“We as Peace People … believe in taking down the barriers, but we also believe in the most energetic reconciliation among peoples by getting them to know each other, talk each other’s languages, understand each other's fears and beliefs, getting to know each other physically, philosophical, and spiritually. It is much harder to kill your near neighbor than the thousands of unknown and hostile aliens at the other end of any missiles; and that is going to take a tremendous amount of sheer hard work.

“The only force which can break down those barriers is the force of love, the force of trust, soul-force....

Nobel Peace Laureates
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (L)
Betty Williams (R)
We are deeply, passionately dedicated to the cause of nonviolence, to the force of truth and love, to soul-force. To those who say that we are naive, utopian idealists, we say that we are the only realists, and that those who continue to support militarism in our time are supporting the progress towards total self-destruction of the human race, when the only right and left will be dead to the right and dead to the left, and death and destruction right, left and center, east and west, north and south.

“To the whole world, we repeat the same message that we proclaimed in August 1976. It is the Declaration of the Peace People:

We have a simple message for the world from this movement for peace.

We want to live and love and build a just and peaceful society.

Nobel Peace Laureate
Betty Williams
We want for our children, as we want for ourselves, lives at home, at work and at play to be lives of joy and peace.

We recognize that to build such a life demands of all of us dedication, hard work and courage.

We recognize that there are many problems in our society which are a source of conflict and violence.

We recognize that every bullet fired and every exploding bomb makes that work more difficult.

We reject the use of the bomb and the bullet and all the techniques of violence.

We dedicate ourselves to working with our neighbors, near and far, day in and day out, to building that peaceful society in which the tragedies we have known are a bad memory and a continuing warning.

“The voice of women has a special role and a special soul-force in the struggle for a nonviolent world. We do not wish to replace religious sectarianism or ideological division with sexism or any kind of militant feminism. But we do believe that women have a leading role to play in this great struggle.”

Máiread Corrigan Maguire speaking in 2013

“There is nothing good or glorious about violence, armed rebellions, militarism, nuclear weapons and war.

“Suicide bombings, extrajudicial killings, renditioning, secret trials, and torturing other human beings is always wrong and we as world citizens have the power to stop such inhumanity by raising our voices against the use of such methods be they used by individuals, armed rebels, or governments. Torture should never be accepted and the current policies of many Governments to ignore civil and human rights in the name of ‘war on terrorism’ is a denial of every world citizen’s right to basic freedom, worked for so long and hard by many people. When basic freedoms are denied or removed by governments, or rebel groups, people have a moral and legal responsibility to demand the return of those rights, otherwise all we have is domination and fear; and freedom, democracy and peace are no longer part of the people’s rich identity and inheritance.

“I believe we have to change our thinking and our mindsets. Much of our thinking is being distorted as it is based on the emotion of fear of ‘otherness.’  We see other people and countries, through the lens of fear which leads to hatred and demonization of others whom we see as separate and different, because of religion, race, class, etc. We have allowed fear to be our master. But there is another way to think and live and we are challenged to change both individually and collectively to bring about real change in our world.

“I believe the next stage of our evolution as the human family is to embrace nonviolence. This will mean rejecting violence in all its forms and solving our problems together through nonviolence, human rights and international law. Replacing ‘armed’ rebellions, militarism and war, with international law, is not an impossible task and will happen when we humans reach the critical mass of people who know that each life is sacred, and say ‘no’ to killing, force and the threat of force,  which is currently used by most governments and extremist groups around the world. We are challenged to stop killing each other, and instead use alternatives to violence in order to solve our problems.”

Helen Keller speaking in 1916

Author & Political Activist
Helen Keller
“Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace …. 

Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing of shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. 

Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb-obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.…

Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. 

The Civil War was fought to decide whether slaveholders of the South or the capitalists of the North should exploit the West.

The Spanish-American War decided that the United States should exploit Cuba and the Philippines.

The South African War decided that the British should exploit the diamond mines.

The Russo-Japanese War decided that Japan should exploit Korea.

The present war [World War I] is to decide who shall exploit the Balkans, Turkey, Persia, Egypt, India, China, Africa; and we are whetting our sword to scare the victors into sharing the spoils with us. …

“The preparedness propagandists have still another object, and a very important one.

They want to give the people something to think about besides their won unhappy condition. They know the cost of living is high, wages are low, employment is uncertain and will be much more so when the European call for munitions stops. No matter how hard and incessantly the people work, they often cannot afford the comforts of life; many cannot obtain the necessities.

“The kind of preparedness the workers want, however, is reorganization and reconstruction of their whole life, such as has never been attempted by statesmen or governments.

The Germans found out years ago that they could not raise good soldiers in the slums so they abolished the slums.

They saw to it that all the people had at least a few of the essentials of civilization--decent lodging, clean streets, wholesome if scanty food, proper medical care and proper safeguards for the workers in their occupations.

“That is only a small part of what should be done …. It is your duty to insist upon still more radical measure. 
It is your business to see that no child is employed in an industrial establishment or mine or store, and that no worker is needlessly exposed to accident or disease.

It is your business to make them give you clean cities, free from smoke, dirt and congestion.

It is your business to make them pay you a living wage.

It is your business to see that this kind of preparedness is carried into every department on the nation, until everyone has a chance to be well born, well nourished, rightly educated, intelligent and serviceable to the country at all times.
Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace ….  Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing of shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb-obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.…”


Betty Williams 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech on behalf of herself and Máiread Corrigan Maguire, http://www.dadalos.org/int/Vorbilder/vorbilder/PeacePeople/nobel_prize.htm

“‘Stand In Solidarity For Peace Time To Act’: Replacing Violence, Armed Rebellions, Militarism and War with Nonviolence and International Law,” address by Mairead Maguire at the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Warsaw, Poland, on October 2l-23, 2013,

“Strike against War” Helen Keller Speech given at Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 5, 1916, http://www.famous-speeches-and-speech-topics.info/famous-speeches-by-women/helen-keller-speech.htm


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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