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Peace, Understanding, Fairness, Development and MDGs

Disarmament for Development: Will we make it for the next 100 years?

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 14, 2009

Disarmament for Development:

‘Will humankind survive more than 100 years?’ was the leading question posed by Dr. Tony Kempster at Lancaster Gate on Monday night. Dr. Kempster, Vice President of the International Peace Bureau, presented an intelligent case for pacifism both in words and song.

Dr Tony Kempster talking to Ambassadors for Peace in Lancaster Gate

Dr Tony Kempster talking to Ambassadors for Peace in Lancaster Gate

He defined himself as a ‘rational’ or ‘natural’ pacifist, a position that has been opposed by other pacifists. He explained that ‘absolute’ pacifists may not ever shoot anyone to defend themselves but may drive a car that pollutes the environment. He saw a link between the pacifism that opposed wars and the policies that encouraged keeping to two children per family.

The main fears he suggested are:

1) Global Warming leading to less land, less food and a movement of people making a future war more possible.

2) The marginalisation of the majority world leading to widespread dissatisfaction with birth rates falling in the north and growing in the south.

3) Resources running out in major areas in the next 50 years

4) Growing militarism especially between rival powers. An estimated $1.34 trillion was spent on weapons in 2007. That money could have been invested in relieving poverty or fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.

He expressed his disappointment at the wider peace movement that he did not see as successful except in those cases where there were limited and well-defined objectives such as the Campaign Against Landmines or the Campaign Against Arms Trade. He described the peace movement as too old, too left and too riven with internal conflicts.

Tony Kempster receiving an Ambassador for Peace award

Tony Kempster receiving an Ambassador for Peace award (From Left Prof Ian Hall, Dr Tony Kempster, Mr Mark Brann, Rev Dr Sumana Siri, Cllr Margaret Ali)

Dr Tony Kempster:

Vice President of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva

General Secretary of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

Report by Robin Marsh

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