IPS Asia-Pacific editor and staff writer Kanya D’Almeida was invited to participate in a historic gathering in Cape Town, South Africa – the quadrennial meeting of the 93-year-old War Resister’s International (WRI) – from July 4 to 8.
The conference this year took place alongside meetings of the African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network, and the Women Peacemakers Program’s Gender and Militarism Consultation, in partnership with the anti-militarist Ceasefire Campaign and with the endorsement of Embrace Dignity, an organisation dedicated to fighting the exploitation of women, especially those forced into sex-trafficking.
Exploring everything from street violence, to the proliferation of small arms, to the ‘war on Mother Earth’, the conference, entitled ‘Small Actions, Big Movements: The Continuum of Nonviolence’, brought together some 120 participants from every continent to share stories, strategies and successes of non-violent campaigns.
Occurring against the backdrop of a rise in militarism worldwide, the conference coincided with the launch of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, an assault on Gaza that killed over 1,800 civilians in the Strip before an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect on Aug. 5. Conference participants, together with the Palestinian community in Cape Town, worked overnight to organise a demonstration of 200 people on July 10.More about: Africa