Speech by Karl Miller for Sheffield University's Amnesty Group, 23 October 03 (extarcts delivered).
Why should you support this campaign?
The present cycle must be broken
In considering this proposal, please be mindful of the fact that 4 millions people have died in Africa in the last 4 years due to the effects of conventional arms. 4 millions dead in the last 4 years. Thats like the half of London dead in the last 4 years. That's like twice the population of North and South Yorkshire or six times the population of Sheffield, dead in the last 4 years.
Dwight D Eisenhower, General Commander Allied Forces, World War 2 and US President 1952-1960 is quoted as saying:
"Every gun, every warship, every tank and every military aircraft built is, in the final analysis, a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, from those who are naked and are not clothed."
This expresses part of the essence of ARC's (Arms Reduction Coalition) campaign.
The Arms Reduction Coalition (ARC) is campaigning for the states of the United Nations (UN) to agree and implement a legally binding instrument, to reduce the amount of resources spent on arms by between 1 and 5 percent for a period of between 10 and 25 years, and to spend the resources saved on programmes that benefit humanity and the earth. This reasonable proposal is based on Implementing Article 26 of the UN Charter, which the states of the UN have committed "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources".
The value of the world's arms trade is currently over $840 bn (Billion Dollars) per year. A one percent year on year reduction on the previous years expenditure would make over $8bn available in the first year.
ARC is about resources. Reducing the amount of resources being spent by the states of the UN on things to kill people, and diverting those resources to positive (UN based) humanitarian and Earthism programmes such as poverty reduction, sustainable development, protecting the vulnerable, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment.
My talks purpose is to suggest some reasons why you should apply your minds to and support this ARC. I will talk about the ARC, a role for Amnesty in ARC, Africa and gun crimes. Please forgive my style (I am not very adept at public speaking). Consider substance over from.
Thank you for inviting me here and coming to hear me speak. I am pleased to be speaking here at Sheffield University. It was one of the first Universities I visited when applying to go to university and my son has just completed a degree here.
You can take as many pictures as you like. But, for my personal security, Please do not publish or broadcast my photograph without my written permission.
Why should you support this campaign?
For several reasons:
To quote Ex-Swedish Premier Olaf Palme;
"It is very unlikely that disarmament will ever take place if it must wait for the initiatives of governments and experts. It will only come about as the expression of the political will of people in many parts of the world."
1. Just imagine how great it will be if we succeed. For the poor people, for all peoples, and indeed life on earth. Its worth a try! Ten years ago we did not have mobile phones, yet in some countries there are now more mobile phones than people. Fifty years ago, few women could vote, yet now most have the vote. The change to a culture of peace is possible.
To quote our vice chair Vijay Mehta; "It has become evident that biggest source of terrorism is the weapons and arms industry. It has killed more people going back in history - Persian, Greek and Roman empires put together then anything else. Weapons are a warranty of death. They are immoral and crimes against humanity."
2. For it to succeed we require a broad based campaign, with demonstrated support from a large cross section of the population. We need You. Only then will the States of the UN consider it seriously, and perhaps, hopefully make a legally binding commitment required.
3. Without peace most Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) cannot achieve their aims. Without a reduction in weapons peace will be very difficult to achieve. Most people (leaders included) agreed on the need for peace before poverty can be effectively tackled. At a positive meeting on Africa's NEPAD development plan last year ;I said to Claire Short that I did not ask a question because I did not want to put a damp squib on the good work been done on development by pointing out that all that good work is often destroyed by war. By the way Claire Short did support the need for Arms reduction.
5 To the public; the proposal is about reducing the resources spent on things to kill people, possibly themselves or their relatives especially as in Kofi Annans Millenniums report "We the peoples the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.." report we read that most wars are within states and most people killed or injured are civilians. 90% of all war casualties are civilians. Some weapons sold to Nigeria found their way to the IRA to be used against the British people.
6 If you think there are too many arms, more than is needed to ensure our security; Join ARC. Or, If you think too many resources are being spent on weapons; Join ARC. Or, If you want more resources to be spent on the environment, or tackling diseases, or helping the poor, or on development, or on conflict prevention; Join ARC. Or if you think that the arms trade or making things to kill people is abhorrent; Join ARC. Or, if you want the possibility of paying less tax. Join the Arms Reduction Campaign.
7 The request is about using those resources to improve the quality of life of all the Earths peoples. The coalition calls for some of the savings to be spent on programmes on own states programmes; which conceivably could include tax reductions.
Lets me make it clear; that I am not dis-respecting our war heroes or those who gave their lives in wars for their countrymen. What I am saying is that the UN's prime mission is 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'. I believe, like the Movement for the Abolition of war, that war is not inevitable. It can be banished to the annuals of history. Conflict is inevitable; but you do not have to fight. You do not beat up your partner whenever you have an argument. I am asking for the commitment made by all the states of the UN in article 26 to be honored; ' the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources'. Too many resources are being diverted to arms while over a third of the world's population languish in poverty. Too many guns are being made that are killing civilians especially in Africa. Too many guns, too much blood running. How much richer and better the world is now that most women have equal rights. How much safer and better the world will be without so many arms. Arms are made to kill people. The days of slavery are gone and we are all better for it. The days of wife beating are gone and we are all better for it. The days of wars can be and should be gone; and we will all be better for it. ARC is a prerequisite, an essential part of banishing wars to the annuals of history and fulfilling the main purpose of the UN.
To paraphrase our vice-chair - Vijay Mehta "War is not inevitable and is not in human genes. We should campaign for banning or outlawing war and combating militarism. To deconstruct peoples mind from intolerance and hatred to tolerance and love. Weapons have no other purpose but to kill people. All manufacture, sale, export and use of arms should be reduced. Military budgets of all nations should be limited."
The present cycle must be broken
Countries spent US$840 billion (an estimated 2.6% of world Gross Domestic Product) on weapons and other military expenditure in 2001, an average of US$137 for every person in the world. Yet 2 Billion of the world people live on less than US$2 per day.
"Without peace NGOs and the UN cannot achieve their aims. Without a reduction in weapons peace will be very difficult to achieve. The present cycle that must be broken is:
A) Large amounts of resources are used to make weapons.
B) The weapons are used to maim and kill people and to destroy their homes, their infrastructure and the environment.
C) The UN, NGOs and people who care are left to pick up the pieces and try to alleviate the resulting poverty and suffering and rebuilding their environments.
D) The world turns. Humanity advances. The weapons are replenished by more advanced and destructive ones and the cycle starts again."
We are living in the International decade for a culture of peace and non-violence. The preamble of constitution of UNESCO, states
"That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."
At the recent CND conference, after browsing through student CND newsletter, a thought came to me. Where in the UK is the nuclear and weapons research done. When I asked someone they mentioned that there was once a campaign here at Sheffield because of involvement of a department with an arms manufacturer. A penny dropped. On the Internet I read an old news report:
"Student STWC is currently occupying the engineering building of Sheffield University as part of the Day of Protest against war in Iraq. The engineering building, on Mappin Street, has been targeted because of the department's acceptance of sponsorship by arms manufacturer, Boeing." http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2002/10/44999.html
In the context of ARC. I think academia should consider debating how much of its resources are spent on thinking up and researching things to kill people, while teaching the next generation. But perhaps I am being naïve; as its military so its hush hush in the interests of security. "Like slaves of academic research and sponsorship, who, heedless of their own ethics, use their knowledge to devise things to extinguish others". I think universities should publish the extent of their involvement in arms research and development. Both parents and students should have a right to know if they will be taught by a university and it's teachers who are devising ways to kill people.
About five years ago, when I was new to UNA; I was surprised to learn from a senior UNA member that no department in the UN had a mandate for peace education. UNESCO had taken up that role via the Culture of Peace, but that was almost an extension to its role. At last after 50 years the UN has taken on this essential task. I was pleased to read in Reaching Critical Will's report that last week at the UN " The UN Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education, a two-year study, was released last year by a group of governmental experts and adopted as a resolution sponsored by Mexico (A/C.1/57/L.7/Rev.2). The study consists mostly of recommendations for governments, UN bodies, academic institutions and civil society. It was prompted by growing concerns of the lack of progress in the field of disarmament, and the belief that education on all levels can help improve the understanding of the close relationship between disarmament and international peace and security.
New Zealand, a great supporter of the study, has implemented the recommendations in its educational system. In its statement to the First Committee, New Zealand commented that the study "provide[s] a timely reminder of the vital importance of peace education" and added furthermore that "[o]ne of our best hopes for a peaceful future is to encourage young people to develop non-confrontational ways of dealing with conflict, starting in their immediate surroundings and extending out to the wider community. By incorporating peace education programmes into all levels of society, we can reflect our joint goal of working towards a more secure and stable future. States parties, international organizations and civil society must work together to make this aspiration a reality."
On a similar note I am surprised that students do not commit to using their knowledge for the benefit of mankind, the earth and its inhabitants. I am so pleased that the doctors have the Hippocratic oath. Yet those students that have been or will be responsible for the death of millions and the destruction of our environment do not make any promise or pledge to show their unwillingness to use their work for unethical ends.
People's Assembly resolution
On Saturday 30th August 2003, the Stop The War coalition People's Assembly Passed the following resolution:
"The People's Assembly calls upon the states of the UN to honour their pledge made in Article 26 of the UN Charter "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources", by agreeing and implementing a legally binding instrument, to reduce the amount of resources spent on arms by between 1 and 5 percent for a period of between 10 and 25 years, and to spend the resources saved on programmes that benefit humanity and the earth. "
I look forward to the day when the student, unions, academics and political parties passes such a resolution. Or even just makes a statement like
The Dresden Appeal by the German Party of Democratic Socialism 7Th October 2001
" Heavily armed, the world will remain without peace. Disarmament gives peace a chance. One fifth of today's military spending would suffice to ensure everyone sustains a basic supply of food, drinking water, education and public health services."
Lets move on to a role of Amnesty International in the Arms Reduction Coalition's campaign. I view Amnesty as the world's best NGO protector of human rights. I think they can help ARC in three main ways. By setting the standards on how Governments should treat ARC's supporters; by monitoring and reporting Governments abuses of ARC's supporters both before and after the ARC treaty has been ratified.
1. Setting the Standards.
Many people are afraid to be involved or associated with peace groups such as ARC; or in some cases groups seeking to implement UN policy. A code of conduct of governments in dealing with members and supporters of such groups is required. We are fortunate in this country to have such a tolerant government / liberal democracy. I am sure that in many other countries I would be dead by now because of my support for ARC. I have heard stories of how some activists have been threatened and warned in some countries of the Caribbean where I come from. I am glad to be alive. Still its hard for me. Sometimes I wish I did not have a social conscience, or a passion to see an improvement in the conditions of the African peoples, or have answered the UN Secretary General's call for more input from civil society. Its difficult for me not to believe that some of the things happening in my life are not linked to ARC. Things such as my prolonged unemployment, the murder of an uncle and my son's not so brilliant degree. I know its one and two make four, but still one has to wonder. When your son is transformed from a A grade A level achiever to a D grade degree achiever at a university in the department that have accepted sponsorship from one of the world's leading arms manufacturer; and one is involved in an Arms Reduction campaign; one has to wonder. Still I am used to it. When I was at university; during a lecture by an important Portuguese official organized by the head of my department I made a protest against the Portuguese colonialists refusal to give independence to their African colonies and in particular their imprisonment of many people in concentration camps (I think they were called aldementos). It may be one and two make six, but I still believe that and my friendship with some members of left wing groups at university affected my employment.
For a group like ARC I expect the security services to monitor our activities. Its their job. It reminds me of the recent past when the left wing groups were infiltrated; by the Russian, Israeli, South Africans, Americans and the UK secret service. But when agents of the security services or arms companies become members of committees making policy and directing operations; acting as agent provocateurs, as was reported in the articles about the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in the Sunday Times of 28 September, I think they are overstepping the boundaries. It would be great if Amnesty could clarify this by setting some guidelines or standards.
2 Amnesty has a trusted and world renown reputation for monitoring and reporting Governments human rights abuses. I am confident they will continue to do so for ARC's supporters around the world.
Opposition to ARC will come from some of the most powerful sections of society such as the military (less toys for the boys), the arms companies (less profits), Universities (less research); etc. To quote Richard Falk in Peace is Possible "Millions of people gain profits and fame by selling and using weaponry. Strong networks of such people use their money to influence political leaders, elections, and even TV and newspaper coverage"
Some of ARC's Likely Difficulties include human rights abuses of its supporters, Politicking, devices, legal instruments, technicalities, misinformation and general chicanery.
3 When we get an ARC treaty; history says that some governments will cheat. The only way I can think of bringing this to the attention of the UN and the world community is to give citizens the right to report abuses of the treaty by their governments (a whistle blowers charter). We need someone who is independent, respected and trusted to help and support such citizens. Who better than Amnesty?
I know its a tricky area as it impinges on the national security of states. In order to succeed, the ARC treaty must have strong implementation, monitoring, verification and transparency clauses. Let me quote from Reaching Critical Will's report on last weeks First (or Disarmament) committee at the UN:
"New Zealand trenchantly raised core issues regarding verification, stating: "The international debate within the UN Security Council on weapons of mass destruction highlighted the importance of full and effective verification. Verification by an objective and independent body is crucial to building mutual trust and confidence between States." Indeed, the failure of the United States to find nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons in Iraq, or even evidence of recent "programs," would seem to indicate that international inspections can work. Other countries highlighting the importance of verification mechanisms were Libya, the ASEAN countries, and Georgia. Bangladesh listed as a priority: "Place maximum emphasis on strengthening the enforcement, monitoring and verification regimes in respect of all international treaties relating to disarmament and non-proliferation of WMDs".
Many other countries touched upon the importance of transparency in arms control and disarmament, including Lebanon, Libya, ASEAN, Cuba, Israel, Armenia, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Senegal, Guatemala, Chile, Mozambique, Serbia and Montenegro, the Philippines, Croatia."
You will note that in the ARC resolution we call for "a legally binding instrument that gives full opportunities to non-governmental organizations and other non state actors to make their contributions in implementation, compliance and allocation of resources". The phrase " that gives full opportunities to non-governmental organizations and other non state actors to make their contributions" is a plagiarism taken from Kofi Annan's We the peoples the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.. So it may seem far fetched to talk about giving citizens the right to report abuses of the treaty by their governments, but it is just one interpretation, albeit a far fetched one, on the UN Secretary General's report. For ARC to succeed, for the world to achieve greater peace, the human rights of some people will need protecting, and in this regard Amnesty is one of the world's greatest assets.
ARC needs your Help
ARC are asking for your support. This could take the form of :
a) Just saying you support the proposal joining the coalition as a member or just endorse the ARC resolution.
b) Offer of resources (human, financial, physical)
c) Getting academics, experts, policy makers or you to write papers (that we can publish) analysing the proposal.)
d) Writing letters to MPs, Media, web sites, phone the radio etc in support of the proposal. Write to your leaders and leaders of countries like USA making arms and the UN in New York
e) Join some of the organizations that support ARC such as CND (Campaign for Nuclear disarmament) and WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) and ACTUN (Action for UN Renewal), WDC (World Disarmament Campaign), and CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade).
We will be pleased to come and speak about the proposal to your group (resources permitting) and shall be holding other meetings in future to which we will invite you if you so wish. Contact us via our web site at www.arcwebsite.org Come and see us at our stall.
"Our vision is of ..... a world where peace and human security, as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflicts and wars...." From the Declaration of We the Peoples Millennium Forum, when over 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 NGO from more than 100 countries met at the UN in May 2000 (moi aussi)
Essentially the proposal is for all the Member States of the UN to make a legally binding commitment to reduce the amount of the world's human and economic resources diverted to armaments by a small (one to five) agreed percentage each year. The resources saved can be used for poverty reduction, sustainable development, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment etc. A strong emphasis is placed on implementation; requiring Members to have systems in place so that their resource figures can be independently verified / audited each year. Members will be required to recommit every ten to twenty years, so that if the proposal does not work they can revert back to spending the world's precious resources making things to kill people.
Over ten years A one percent year on year reduction on the previous years expenditure would make over $7 bn available for the improvement of humankind and preservation of our common home - Earth. During the same ten years over $7,000 bn would still have been spent on things to kill people.
In summary a 1% to 5% reduction over 10 to 20 years. I hope you agree that is reasonable.
The UN Security Council Veto 5
ARC is aimed at one the Security councils primary responsibility the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources. The veto 5 (US, China, France, Russia and the UK) have betrayed this responsibility. Instead of reducing weapons, they have used it as a means of making money, fueling and satisfying the desire for arms. They have made a killing. Does anyone here support the Drop the debt campaign? Much of the debt owed by developing countries was brought about through the purchase of arms. At a recent Jubilee 2000, Drop the debt meeting we were informed that Some 30% of the loans made to the highly indebted nations is spent on arms. In some parts of Africa armed gangs are wreaking havoc, terrorizing and robbing people, raping women and spreading HIV/Aids. In some parts of Africa it is cheaper to buy a gun than chicken. Yet Africa makes few arms. (The philosophy of some UN states is that everyone should have a gun, this philosophy is being globalized).
The supply of arms made by the veto 5 members of the UN Security Council (who export 88 percent of arms worldwide) to areas of conflict or potential conflict must stop. It was estimated that both sides in the Iran - Iraq war would have run out of arms within 6 months; instead with the readily available supply ensured that the war lasted 6 years. In many cases it does not even take a war to devastate a country; just a crate load of weapons.
The arms trade not only provides the veto 5 with economic wealth but also provides the finance to enable them to develop even more weapons. People in indebted countries will be paying interest and loans for many years to come, some of which will be used to develop more weapons. (Think of the suffering that this will cause many mothers and their children.) The result is that millions have been killed, wounded, maimed, suffered and impoverished. Some responsibility for the wrecking and termination of these lives must be born by the arms makers. Like slaves of haughty rulers and tyrants', who, heedless of their own liberty, make armaments to overthrow the liberty of others". They make some of their living from making and selling weapons to people to kill other people. They make some of their living from the suffering, blood and killing of people. Effectively, they are using their lives on earth to kill people.
Well what is done is done. We can't put the clock back or take away the weapons or the knowledge. That arming everyone strategy / policy has achieved all it can and now has mostly negative effects. So let us reduce arms gradually. A new strategy / policy is now urgently needed. It will be difficult for the veto 5 as they will require a change of mindset.
To quote Douglas Mattern president of the Association of World Citizens
"this business is spread around the world with over 1,000 companies in some 98 countries involved in the production of small arms and/or ammunition. Small arms kill over 500,000 people a year in conflicts."
Many times in the last 50 years members of the Veto 5 have supplied weapons to both sides in civil wars. The Security councils Veto 5, entrusted with maintaining peace and security supplied weapons to both sides in civil wars
Africa - 4 million dead in the last 4 years
In the last 4 years over 4 million people have died due to the wars and arms in Africa. Over 3 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone. 4 million dead in the last 4 years; Thats more people died per month than in the whole of the Iraq war. 4 million dead in the last 4 years; Thats more Africans dying than at the highest rate during slavery That's almost twice no of deaths during a 200 years period in the Middle passage during slavery. 4 million dead in the last 4 years and yet Africa does not produce many weapons. 4 million dead, yet incredibly, not one person has been prosecuted for supplying the weapons of their destruction and death of the 4 million in the last 4 years. It's like legalized aiding, abetting and facilitating mass slaughter.
In Prime ministers Question time Wednesday 6 Feb 2002
Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) asked: Is the Prime Minister aware that on the day of the Twin Towers disaster, there took place in this city an arms trade fair sponsored by the Ministry of Defence? Among the customers at that fair for state-of-the-art weaponry were both sides in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Would it not be a useful start to the Prime Minister's mission to Africa if he announced that henceforth this country will not sell arms to both sides in African civil wars?
Part of The Prime Minister (Tony Blair's) reply was: "Our arms sales to Africa run at about 1 per cent. of total arms sales, so it is important to put that in context. There are also, incidentally, jobs and industry in this country to consider. Of course it is important to take care who we sell arms to, and we do."
I listened to a live web cast of Prime Minister Blair's speech at the UN Millennium summit in 2000, and his later speech to the Labour Party Conference, and was hopeful; as he had spent much of those speeches pleading for something to be done about Africa. It would appear he did not get the support or encouragement of other leaders both at home and abroad. Instead of helping save lives in Africa he was hoodwinked and obligated to prosecute the illegal war on Iraq.
4 million dead in 4 years and weapons made by the Veto 5 are being supplied to both sides. It's like the police giving you and your family and friends guns whenever you have a conflict. Or in the case of Iraq, the police giving you guns to attack your neighbours and suppress your family, then laying siege on you, destroying the guns they supplied and your home.
His-story will focus on the recent Iraq war. But Human-story will remember the 4 million dead in Africa in the last 4 years. It will remember those who fate has put in positions of power and leadership, who instead of helping the African peoples have overseen and even facilitated the mass carnage. Some bury their heads in the sand, some dismiss it as not their problem, some spout near empty rhetoric, some throw their hands up in exasperation, some exploit the situation to amass wealth, some focus on other more politically advantageous issues. While the blood of the African Peoples run and run and the cries of their sufferings go unheeded by some impotent and or intransigent leaders. The UK and UN is indeed in crisis; over Africa. A crisis of leadership, morality and integrity.
What is The Rationale behind ARC?
2. Economic - A UN study by Nobel Prize winning economists concluded that diverting spending from arms to the supply side of the economy would increase employment four times (7 times for the consumption).
3. Human Security - Humans needs peace and security. Arms do not provide peace or security. Indeed countries no longer have to go to war to defeat another country, all they need to do is to ensure there is a large supply of arms available in the other country.
As Douglas Mattern observes "this business is spread around the world with over 1,000 companies in some 98 countries involved in the production of small arms and/or ammunition. Small arms kill over 500,000 people a year in conflicts."
4. Moral - Making things to kill people and destroy life on earth is immoral. Humans have dominion over the earth and are now managing it. Where is the good in having weapons that can destroy the earth and all its peoples many times over? Mankind has all it takes to eliminate wars, poverty and underdevelopment permanently. But mankind also has all it takes to wipe human life off the face of the earth once and for all. During the cold war I read Isaiah 24 in my bible. It says the earth is going to be devastated and left desolate, lie shattered and ruined. I was aware of the CND movement. I became concerned about Nuclear weapons and the prevailing strategy of MAD; Mutually Assured Destruction. This meant that if USSR and the US started to fight they would destroy everyone. Every man, Every woman, Every child, Every animal, Every bird; Everything. From then until now I cannot think of a more evil thought. Yet it was the actually policy of those charged with defending us. To quote George W. Bush "But I also made it clear to [Vladimir Putin] that it's important to think beyond the old days of when we had the concept that if we blew each other up, the world would be safe." George W. Bush, US President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, preaching on the US position on Health and safety (from CAAT news June-July 2000 / Issue 166 - www.caat.org.uk )
Could someone please make it clear to President Bush that a new world order of World military domination / Full Spectrum Dominance / Pre-emptive (Nuclear) Strikes will condemn mankind to a future of conflict, wars, death and the constant threat of annihilation; is a waste of resources and a theft from everyone. Some of the distinctions between tyrants and leaders include the ability to tolerate criticism, ruling by permission rather than might is right, and acting in good faith for the good of all. " In this scenario the US may be seen as Darth Vader's master in Star Wars films; with their star wars system targeting earth; while the rest of the world hopes for a Luke Skywalker who can use the force of good to defeat the empire. I love the American people; I always seem to meet nice ones, but some of their government's policies sucks." (Karl Miller)
A Nightmare Scenario
One Nightmare scenario that is becoming increasingly closer is that the whole world might become like Israel and Palestine; but with the United States (US) and it's allies against the rest. This scenario implies that the world faces a future in which the infrastructure, human environment and all cultural monuments of those countries that the US sees as enemies (some of whom may be friend now) are destroyed with many civilian casualties
US arms expenditure is greater than next 27 countries combined.
The continued and increased huge expenditure by the US on arms; over US$400 billion per year. This means the US will be driven to either seek ways to use these weapons; or sell them to the rest of the world - killing people to finance future arms development. The exporting of the American philosophy that everyone should have a gun to defend (???) themselves and light weapons to many impoverished countries can only make our bad situation worse. Guns kill people. During the 20th century guns in the US killed more Americans, than all American soldiers killed in all wars.
The propensity for the US to use force (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan, and over 20 countries the US has bombed since world war 2) and not fully explore or invest in non-violent means of conflict resolution. If only 1% of the spending on the US military was diverted to finding non-violent means of conflict resolution we would have effective solutions. The genius and ability of the American people to solve complex problems is extraordinary. It a shame that many of their best minds are employed making things to kill people.
As Douglas Mattern puts it
"Today the war business is in full swing with thousands of scientists and
engineers going to work daily with the task of building or developing new weapons,
including space-based weapons that would turn the heavens above into a new source of
terrorism for humanity below. "
In this scenario the US may be seen as Darth Vader's master in Star Wars films; with their star wars system targeting earth; while the rest of the world hopes for a Luke Skywalker who can use the force of good to defeat the empire. I love the American people; I always seem to meet nice ones, but some of their government's policies sucks.
Divert military expenditures / Resources
To quoteDouglas Roche A former Canadian Member of Parliament and ambassador for Disarmament,
"In at least 84 countries, military expenditures exceed expenditures on health alone. In one out of three developing countries, military expenditures exceed half or more of all expenditures on health and education. In more than one out of six developing countries, military expenditure actually exceeds combined expenditure on all forms of health and education, in eight cases by two to four times. The countries spending the highest proportion of their resources on military uses are also those countries whose standing in human development lags most behind their standing in wealth and GNP. In contrast, countries with the lowest military expenditures generally rank considerably higher in human development than in GNP per capita." (http://www.action-for-un-renewal.org.uk/pages/quotes.htm ). Yet an increasing amount of resources are still being wasted on arms; by both producers and consumers, instead of poverty reduction.
The proposal should include the cumulative sum of all resources spent on all arms. From nuclear weapons to hand guns, from war ships to military air craft, from chemical weapons to biological weapons. As Dwight D Eisenhower puts it "Every gun, every warship, every tank and every military aircraft built". It includes research, development, production, marketing, support, maintenance; all resources (Human, Financial and physical).
It includes small arms.
As Kofi Annan puts it "We the Peoples"
238 "The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems and in recent years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as "weapons of mass Destruction". Yet there is still no global non-proliferation regime to limit their spread, as there is for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons."
And Douglas Mattern "At the same time, UN Secretary General Koffi Annan reminds us that half of humanity lives in poverty, existing on an average of $2 a day. The Arias Foundation reports that world military spending increased from $798 billion in 2000 to $839 billion in 2001. Half of the world's governments spend more on the military than for health care. This expenditure is a monumental waste of our wealth, resources, and intellectual talent for the means of destruction and astonishing profits for the armament companies. The war business is the world's ultimate criminal activity. "
I think you are all aware of the problem of gun crimes in London. At a meeting last year a Rasta man pointed out that in most countries where there has been a recent struggle for civil or political or economic rights; drugs and gun crimes now hold sway. In the cities of the USA, South Africa, Jamaica and the UK to name a few.
Last year I went back to Jamaica to bury a member of my family who was violently robbed
and brutally murdered in cold blood.
Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE
After the funeral, I could not sleep for days; until I wrote up my thoughts in a letter and sent it to the Newspaper (who did not print it as usual).
It was entitled:
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
Let me hear you say it:
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
I asked everyone to try their best to agree, declare, implement, monitor and enforce a
cease-fire for a whole year. It will help to reduce the killings and play a major role in
the decade of the culture of peace that we are now in. To end a war and gain peace
somewhere along the line you must have a cease-fire.
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
Let us say it together. "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE". Its like some of you do not understand. We are saying; the shooting, the killing, the blood running we are tired of it, we don't want anymore of it, it is time for it to stop, finish, done. To get peace the first step is a cease-fire. So cease; the shooting, the killing, the blood running. What we want now and in future is peace. Let us say it together again. "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the young people especially men who find guns attractive or are attracted to guns, Young man, Turn away, turn away from the path of destruction. Young man, Turn away, turn away from the guns of death. If on average people who study hard and learn dem book and get good qualification or go through the pains and toils of apprenticeship to learn a trade and become a craftsman, earns £10,000 per year more than others, how much is that worth in total over your working life (over £400,000). Plus you have yu liberty, yu noh lock up a jail and yu get to live past 30 years old.
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the Trigger Happy Ugly Thief Me Seh. Yu mumma never born yu Fe thief. Excuse me; if you don't understand the vernacular, let me elucidate.
Your mother did not bear you for nine months for you to bear guns.
Your mother did not give birth to you, for you to kill the children of other mothers.
Your mother did not nurse and nurture you for you to grow up to steal, rob, and murder. Yu mumma never born yu Fe be a murderer.
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the dons and leaders of the gangs and posses. If your life here on earth is to have any meaning, then declare a cease-fire for the whole of next year. This means agreeing, declaring, implementing, monitoring and enforcing a cease-fire. No gun shooting for a whole year. Imagine how much benefit that would bring to the whole of society. To every one including the possies who's greatest problem is the gun. After a gun is fired you not only bring down your enemies upon you but also the security forces. I am sure you are not idiots; like the Mafia in America in the 1930's you know that doing what ever you do without gun shooting is better for you and everyone. Hopefully some of your members will live to thank me because over 80% of then end up dead by the age of 30. The only disadvantage I can see to it is the validity you will get if you can deliver.
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To dem people associated with Trigger Happy Ugly Thief, don't take any of their money. Because if you accept it you will be guilty of the crime of receiving / handling stolen goods. A blood money. In some case you will become the equivalent of those birds that feed on the flesh. If a Trigger Happy Ugly Thief is your friend, end that friendship now or be always prepared to die. Because the reason he is a Trigger Happy Ugly Thief is he is evil and covetousness and will sooner or later kill you for one reason or another. The poverty story only works up to a point. Over one billions of the worlds six billions people live in extreme poverty. A noh all a dem a tief and murderer. The vast vast majority struggle with life and bear their burdens like the rest of us.
"Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
It occurs to me this could apply internationally. Let me hear if you agree.
To all those who make and supply weapons . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To our UK government . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the states of Europe . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the biggest military power on earth the USA . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To those killing people in the Americas such as in Colombia . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To those places in conflict in Asia such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Palestine . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the Trigger Happy Ugly Thief in Jamaica . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
To the facilitators and killers in Africa where over 4 million people have died in the last 4 years . "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
I am embarrassed to say I am quite new to the peace movement. Many of you here today are much more knowledgeable than me in these matters and can put up a better case. There are many other points to be made from many peoples. Use this campaign to make them.
Divert resources from arms to positive humanitarian and Earthism programmes such as poverty reduction, sustainable development, protecting the vulnerable, conflict prevention, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment.
That is what the Charter of the United Nations calls for. Some 189 states have signed up to the charter. It is full time they live up to their commitments and responsibility to ensure the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources.
The request calls for a 1% to 5% reduction over 10 to 25 years of the resources being spent by the states of the UN on things to kill people. I hope you agree that is reasonable.
Read more on our web site at www.arcwebsite.org
As Vijay Mehta writes: "We must remember in this dark moment that we have come a long way. By working for peace around the globe, millions of people have successfully challenged the justness of war on a world stage. We all have been part of a historic mobilization of the citizens of the globe. It will change everything. And in the end, we will win" Vijay Mehta
We need Amnesty to play a major role in order for us to win. Setting standards of conduct of governments towards ARC's supporters, and in monitoring human rights abuses related to Arc booth before and after the ARC treaty.
Do you think there are too many arms?
Do you think too many resources are being spent on weapons;
Do you want more resources to be spent on the environment, or tackling diseases, or helping the poor, or on development, or on conflict prevention;
Do you think that the arms trade or making things to kill people is abhorrent;
Do you want the possibility of paying less tax.
Do you want less guns on our streets?
If you said yes then Join the Arms Reduction Campaign. Please support and take on this request, join ARC, and let we the peoples start upon a new direction of peace and better usage of our Earths extremely precious resources
Over 4 million dead in Africa in the last 4 years.
Gun crimes on our streets.
To all the governments, arms makers, suppliers, gunmen and killers we say "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".
© Karl Miller 2001-3