War Resisters' International Appeal November 2009

Dear WRI supporter,

Medha PatkarMedha Patkar

"There is an ines­capable link between the globalisation-induced displacement, dis-employment and dispossession that ... ravage local ... communities every­where ... and the monstrous in­ter­na­tional wars - whether they are fought in Afgha­nistan, Iraq, Congo or Soma­lia. The biggest chal­lenge therefore is to build alliances that are local and global at the same time, and those that not only resist in­justice but also present alternatives."

Medha Patkar, Indian environmental and anti-globalisation campaigner

Some of you might not have heard from WRI for some time. With this appeal mailing, we wish to reconnect and streng­then our relationship with you, the present and past supporters of WRI.

These days, new rhetoric notwithstanding, the so-called “war on terror” continues as before, with continuing military interventions, state terrorism and torture.

In these hard times, WRI holds fast to the belief that change will come from below, from the local communities that are affected by militarism and war. That is why our primary work is to help empower local grassroots movements, to build up better and stronger actions to strive against war locally and to foster a global network of connections between organisations, ideas and methods of nonviolent resistance.

WRI's two main programmes work in that direction. The Right to Refuse to Kill programme works with groups resisting military service and conscription in all its forms, helping young people to claim their right not to serve any side of an armed conflict. Thanks partly to our work, some progress has been made in countries as diverse as Colombia, Turkey, and South Korea. An essential part of this work is our support of Prisoners for Peace – with this letter, we also send you the Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll 2009.

WRI's Nonviolence Programme provides resources and training for nonviolent action against war and injustice around the globe. Through this programme WRI plays an important role in linking and consolidating actions, skills and information in opposing the perpetrators of war (e.g. in an ongoing series of actions against NATO bases and summits in Europe) and the causes of war (e.g. in our emerging global initiative against war profiteers).

At WRI we see the work of our two programmes as interconnected, building a nonviolent repertoire to resist militarism. Therefore, War Resisters' International together with local hosts is organising an International Conference in Ahmedabad, India, on “Nonviolent Livelihood Struggle and Global Militarism: Links & Strategies”. This conference relates two phenomena usually considered separately: community struggles defending the livelihood of local populations, and global militarism and in particular the role of transnational arms producers and war profiteers. WRI – in the spirit of Gandhi and many of those who believe in 'thinking globally but acting locally' – has emphasised the need to strengthen local community while transcending the boundaries erected by power structures.

Often, our achievements are overshadowed by the wars and injustices, often cynically committed in the name of peace and human rights – NATO's war in Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq or Palestine, armed conflicts in Colombia (the “war on drugs”) or in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But resistance is never futile, and WRI's work continues today to be as important as it ever was.

We ask you kindly to support War Resisters' International and its continued work for a world without war. Please give generously.

Thank you.

Javier Garate Andreas Speck
(Nonviolence Programme Worker) (Right to Refuse to Kill Programme Worker)

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