“The Armor of Light”: a Catalyst for Peacelearning

Betty Reardon reviews Abigail Disney’s newest documentary “The Armor of Light.” Brilliantly executed, ethically instructive and politically relevant, the film is an important contribution to the current societal conversation debating the American gun culture, its daily shootings, and the growing conflation of weapons with personal and family security that characterize it. The regularity of gun deaths that takes lives of all ages and races, but disproportionately of young black men makes the persistence of racism imbedded in our social order readily evident. Less noted, brought to public attention only in sensational cases or crimes that bring the active attention of feminists and women’s rights activists, are the multiple incidents of domestic violence escalating beyond physical abuse to murder, when the abuser is in possession of a firearm. Children bringing loaded guns to school or dying by accidental shootings, usually in their own homes is more frequently reported. Easy access to guns also increases the possibility that death or serious injury in the commission of crimes that might not otherwise have had lethal consequences.

Clearly the prevalence of handguns and private possession of assault weapons poses a problem of such proportions as to be a subject of significant attention on the teaching agendas of all peace educators. Disney’s film is a powerful pedagogic tool for addressing this agenda item. It vividly illustrates the dire national need to confront the problem of weapons in American society and documents the struggle to fulfill that need by three individuals of diverse backgrounds who share strongly held beliefs in the value of human life.

While some young recruits yawn and struggle to follow during a "class" on the peace process, older FARC rebels listen more closely and take notes (AFP Photo/Luis Acosta)

In jungle camps, Colombia rebels take peace lessons

In their secret jungle camps, Colombia’s Marxist rebels used to learn how to fight. Now their leaders are trying to teach them how not to. They still carry the rifles and machetes they have used for half a century in their war against the Colombian government. But now troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are sitting down for classes on how life will be once they lay down their weapons.
Thousands of miles away at talks hosted by Cuba, their commanders are negotiating a peace accord they hope to sign with Bogota in March. Meanwhile, here in the jungle, FARC soldier Tomas, 37, is acting as an instructor, explaining to his fellow recruits what is at stake.

#DisarmForOurPlanet

Moving funds from war & weapons is more urgent than ever

Moving funds from war & weapons is more urgent than ever. “While Humanity is facing considerable difficulties, such as water supply and global warming, it dumps resources into the development of weapons that could destroy it.”  -François Régis Hutin International Peace Bureau Disarmament for Development Campaign.  #DisarmForOurPlanet     DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 […]

COP21Paris: #DisarmForOurPlanet

A few figures you may not know about military pollution

A few figures: With 500,000 buildings and infrastructures around the world, including 500 large-scale military bases, the Pentagon was marked the world’s largest energy consumer in 2013. Every year it is reported that the British Ministry of Defence is responsible for 70% of all the carbon dioxide emitted by the UK The army is the […]

#DisarmForOurPlanet

Save our Planet: Disarm!

How could we save the planet?  Here’s a way to do it suggested by the International Peace Bureau. Retiring the cold war era B-1 bomber would create a savings of $3.7 billion over five years. That would be enough to retrofit approximately 4.6 million homes to achieve 20% greater energy efficiency. Help us spread the […]

If we want to fund climate change, we must first redirect military spending.

Only 10% of Military Spending Could Fill the Green Climate Fund

With only 10% of global military spending we could easily fill up the green climate fund.   If we want to fund climate change, we must first redirect military spending. We can’t do this without you. The International Peace Bureau needs your support on their campaign! ‪#‎DisarmForOurPlanet‬ ‪#‎COP21‬                     […]

Facts you didn't know about the link between the military and the environment #cop21 #DisarmForOurPlanet

Links Between the Military and the Environment

Facts you didn’t know about the link between the military and the environment.  #cop21 #DisarmForOurPlanet.  For more information visit the International Peace Bureau.                                                                 […]

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

Henry A. Giroux | Murder, Incorporated: Guns and the Growing Culture of Violence in the US

(Original article:  Henry A. Giroux, Truthout, 10-7-15) Nine people were killed and seven wounded recently in a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. Such shootings are more than another tragic expression of unchecked violence in the United States; they are symptomatic of a society engulfed in fear, militarism, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos and […]

Peace & Disarmament Education: Changing Mindsets to Reduce Violence and Sustain the Removal of Small Arms

The story of the partnership in Albania, Cambodia, Niger and Peru between the UN Dept for Disarmament Affairs and the Hague Appeal for Peace.  (Hague Appeal for Peace, 2005: isbn 0-9770827-0-9) Introduction by Betty Reardon The learning derived from the DDA/HAP partnership on disarmament education summarized in this publication is an invaluable contribution to the advancement […]

Guns Are Not the Solution to Gender-Based Violence (PJSA position paper)

Issued by the Peace and Justice Studies Association, Authored by Heidi Huse, Ph.D., and Laura Finley, Ph.D. The Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA), in keeping with its mission and values, is opposed to the argument that deadly firearms are the primary if not sole solution to the very serious problem of sexual and domestic assault that traumatizes […]

11 essential facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

(Original article: Max Ehrenfreund and Zachary A. Goldfarb June 18 – Washington Post)  America is a land of guns. It was true when twelve people died in Aurora, Colo., when a gunman opened fire in a movie theater. It was true when a gunman killed 27 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. And it […]

A Peace Educator’s Tribute to Ruth Leger Sivard

Betty Reardon, Global Campaign for Peace Education Civil society has long recognized that while it takes a citizens’ movement to achieve a change, prescient individuals can envision and share the core ideas that inspire and energize such movements. Such was the case with Ruth Sivard. No one more vividly illustrated that war and preparation for […]

SDGs and Disarmament Education

(Featured Article: Issue #110 January/February 2014) As the UN prepares for a post 2015 effort to move forward the agenda initiated in the Millennium Development Goals, the MDGs are being transformed into “Sustainable Development Goals.”  Most peace educators would agree that without sustainable peace there can be no sustainable development. Nothing so impedes and reverses […]

The Essential Skills of Peace Education

Kate Moriarty Chief of the Section of Education for Peace and Human Rights, UNESCO (Featured article:Issue #100 December 2012) With the drive towards 2015 the final year of the programs for EFA (Education for All) and MDG (Millennium Development Goals), thinking about the post-MDG context, UNESCO is placing the promotion of peace and sustainable development […]

A Review of “The Gender Imperative: Human Security vs State Security”

The Gender Imperative: Human Security vs State Security, edited by Betty A. Reardon and Asha Hans, New Delhi, Routledge, 2010, 456pp. “For this, in sum, is the essence of human security, wellbeing made possible through the elimination of all forms of violence, assured by institutions designed specifically to achieve and maintain well-being; in short, demilitarizing […]

Challenging Militarization in a Decade of Crisis

Colin Archer Secretary-General of the International Peace Bureau (Welcome letter: Issue #69 January 2010)   “The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. Military spending continues to rise every day. Just one generation after the end of the Cold War, it is now well above US $1 trillion. More weapons are being produced. They are flooding […]

Welcome to Utopia: Reflections on Realities and Possibilities

Betty Reardon Founder, International Institute on Peace Education (Welcome letter: Issue #67 September-October 2009)   Reflecting on the comments that followed the passing of the resolution on nuclear weapons proposed to the Security Council by the US in a session presided over by President Obama, I thought back to the origins of some of the […]