As politicians and diplomats struggle to find answers to the cycle of violence in Gaza, a pioneering Christian peace activist is set to tour Britain and Ireland talking about nonviolent conflict transformation.
Gene Stoltzfus is coming over from the United States to Europe this month and will be in the UK from 16 January 2009, speaking about practical nonviolence in situations of conflict and injustice.
...Stoltzfus traveled to Iraq immediately before the first Gulf War in 1991 and spent extensive time in Iraq again in 2003, consulting with Muslim and Christian clerics, Iraqi human rights leaders, families of Iraqi detainees and talking with American administrators and soldiers.
The CPT founder-director's commitment to peacemaking is rooted in his experience in Vietnam as a conscientious objector with International Voluntary Service during the US military escalation there from 1963-68.
He recalls that watching the helicopter personnel unloading their cargo of bloodied bodies in Saigon set him "on the search to make sense of life and death where the terms of survival, meaning and culture don't forbid killing. I had to ask myself," he said, "whether I was as willing to die for my conviction as the Vietnamese and American soldiers all around me were being asked to do."
His peacemaking is also solidly grounded in theology, derived from his own Mennonite peace church commitment, and the theory and practice of nonviolent action, conflict transformation, resistance and social change.
You can get the full intenerary here. The dates that I hope to attend are:
- 16 January, 7:30pm - Sustaining Spirit, Body & Mind for Long Term, Disciplined Peacemaking
Friends’ Meeting House, 43 St. Giles, OXFORD, tel: 01865 557373
- 23 January, 6:30pm - Does Nonviolence Work?
Friends’ Meeting House, Hill Street, COVENTRY, CV1 4AN, tel: 024 7667 8735
- 31 January, 2:00pm - Bending Our Lives to Active Peacemaking
Bull Street Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, BIRMINGHAM, B4 6AF, forbesbarbarae at yahoo.co.uk