Canada Voted No.

March 19, 2017

On March 27th 2017 a conference will begin at The United Nations “to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”
Remarkably not all members of the United Nations feel these negotiations are necessary. While 128 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favor of this humanitarian initiative, 65 member states voted against the initiative or abstained.
Of the 65 not in favor, 38 member states voted against the conference; including five of the worlds nine nuclear powers, Russia (with 7000 nuclear weapons), United States (with 6800), France (300), the United Kingdom (215) and Israel (80).
Three of the other four nuclear powers, China (260), India (120) and Pakistan (130) abstained. Of the nine nuclear powers, only North Korea (15) voted in favor of the conference.
The ’known‘ nuclear power arsenal numbers 15,000 nuclear weapons. 2,000 of these weapons are on hair-trigger alert. meaning the warheads can be launched in a matter of minutes.
Considering the current volatility of world affairs and the current slate of leaders of intemperate nature and questionable emotional stability; the prospect of one of these individuals posessing the power to decide the fate of the planet and all her inhabitants, based on whims, alternative facts and subject to their fragile egos: is terrifying.
Increasingly dangerous and irresponsible statements from these leaders displays a shocking and profound ignorance about the nature of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use. No one can, no one will survive the fallacy of their ”limited“, or ”winable nuclear war“. In fact recent studies confirm that the use of less than 0.5% (one half of one percent) of the world’s nuclear arsenal would cause climate disruption across the planet, and a resultant global famine. This would mean the end of civilization. It is that dire.
Many suggest nuclear warheads no longer be referred to as weapons but annihilation devices.
“Nuclear weapons remain a threat as long as they are in existence.”  Complete elimination (of these devices) is the only guarantee of their non-use,” asserted the representative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), going on to state that the Conference (on nuclear disarmament in March 2017) should be open to all States, as well as civil society. 
The hope is that the March conference will provide a means for member states to fulfil their obligation to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons as spelled out in Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The International Court of Justice has unanimously said that all States, whether or not they possess nuclear arms, have an obligation under international law to negotiate nuclear disarmament.
In response, the leaders of some of the worlds’ nuclear powers have publicly begun massive reinvestments in nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and infrastructure.
We will not survive a nuclear war. Global war must be avoided. The leaders must face a public educated on these substantiated facts, a public who refuses to support this insanity.
Contact your countries envoy to the UN and show your support for the Conference beginning March 27th for nuclear disarmament. ( for Canada Mr. Marc-Andre Blanchard 885 second Ave, 14th Floor New York NY 10017 USA)
Contact your MP at House of Commons Ottawa Ont K1A 0A6 and the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 80 Wellington Street Ottawa Ont K1A 0A2
You may consider also joining The Hibakusha, the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now with an average age of 80, they have mobilized, actively gathering signatures for an on line petition. The call of these survivors is, “So… people from future generations will not have to experience hell on earth, we want to realize a world free of nuclear weapons while we are still alive.”

Karen Ewing B.Sc., B.Ed., MD, CCFP


Tragedy & Triumph of Reason.

Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1985 by Yevgeny Chazov, USSR Cardiological Institute, cofounder of IPPNW.
To read the lecture in its entirety go to:…/peace/laureates/1985/physicians-lecture.html

Tragedy and Triumph of Reason
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,
Did you ever ponder upon the fact that the first active opponents of nuclear weapons were those who created it – Einstein, Szilard, Bohr, Joliot-Curie, Kurchatov, were instrumental in the creation of the chain reaction capable of solving mankind’s energy problems, the same chain reaction is the basis of the weapon of genocide – the atom bomb.
The atom bomb was created by the reason of these men, but that same reason rebelled against it. I am convinced that those who once saw a nuclear explosion or imagined the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will forever maintain the mental picture of burned bodies, of dead and wounded slowly dying of radiation disease. Prompted by a sense of responsibility, Einstein addressed the following warning to his colleagues: “Since we, scientists, face the tragic lot of further increasing the murderous effectiveness of the means of destruction, it is our most solemn and noble duty to prevent the use of these weapons for the cruel ends they were designed to achieve”.
Unfortunately, this appeal, like the warnings voiced by many leading scientists, has not reached the public conscience or the conscience of political and state figures. Nuclear arsenals on our planet have been increasing with every year, with every day. (at the time, ten new nuclear warheads per day)
Put forward by some state and military figures, the theory of preserving peace through “deterrence” led to the situation where ‘nuclear’ might transcended the limits of human perception. Indeed, no one in this audience can really imagine one million Hiroshimas – a statistic designed to depict figuratively the destructive power of nuclear weapons stockpiled today.
Keep in mind that when the first A-bomb was developed as a defense against Nazism; moral objections and conscience of scientists and many others involved, were lulled by assurances that everything would be over after production of a few bombs.
Is not the same rationale applied today when they speak about the research objectives of the space militarization program? Can we not discern that it is an attempt to gradually make us accept the idea of weapons over our heads, in outer space?
The minds of honest scientists, of all men, cannot be reconciled with turning the vicinity of our planet, so far weapons-free, into an arena of military competition. The “space shield” will mean one more step toward nuclear catastrophe, not only because it would create the temptation to affect a first strike with impunity, but because any defense will inevitably lead to the creation of the means to overcome it. Thus the spiral of the arms race – nuclear, conventional, laser and other – will again soar steeply, undermining strategic stability.
The peril from space should not be underestimated. In the late 1940s humanity entered the military-nuclear era, which for the first time in history confronted human civilization with the threat of total annihilation. Can we allow the 1980s to become the starting point of the military nuclear-space era which would lead the present-day brinkmanship to utmost unsteadiness? It is time we say a decisive “NO” to the arms race in space and stop it on Earth.
We do not fully know the material basis of the brains functioning… However, we do know (such is, unfortunately, the nature of human consciousness) that most people, absorbed by anxieties of everyday life and with solving their daily problems tend to forget the global problems of life on Earth which concern all of us, all inhabitants of our beautiful Planet – first of all the problem of the nuclear arms race and the threat of nuclear war. Many people, even if they think about it, regard it as some kind of a fairy tale.
Five years ago, (1980)… soothing voices of state figures and military leaders, were heard from parliaments and congresses, TV screens and periodicals creating and disseminating nuclear illusions to the effect that; nuclear war is just another war; that a limited nuclear war is possible; that nuclear war is not only survivable but also winnable. One could even hear assertions that there are things more important than peace.
We, Soviet physicians, know what a devastating war is like, not from history textbooks but from our own experience, we together with all our people have an imbibed hatred to war – we were troubled by the indifference demonstrated by many towards these irresponsible statements justifying the nuclear arms race. It was necessary to arouse the indifferent and turn them into active opponents of nuclear weapons. It was not simply our obligation as honest men; it was our professional duty.
As Hippocrates said: the physician must inform the patient about every thing that threatens his life…. we, participants in our movement of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, appealed to the reason of humankind by drawing the real picture, without coloring the truth, of what would happen to our Earth if nuclear war is unleashed. In a way, it was a heroic deed on the part of tens of thousands of physicians from many countries of the world, adhering to different political and religious views and belonging to various nationalities, to raise their voice to defend life on Earth.

At the end of that year 1980 a meeting was held in Geneva, when six physicians, three American and three Soviet (Ilyin, Kuzin and myself, Lown, Muller and Chivian) , met to decide jointly what physicians should do to prevent the “final epidemic” – nuclear war. In the course of a two-day discussion the representatives of two countries that so often confront each other, were unanimous in supporting the creation of a broad-based international movement called “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War” (IPPNW). Despite our differences we came to the conclusion that physicians cannot and indeed have no right to stay silent and remain at the sidelines when the preservation of life and health of hundreds of millions is at stake.
Our movement, has grown rapidly: the small group of Soviet and American physicians grew to become a multinational army of 145,000, who devote their free time to research on the possible consequences of nuclear war and to explain the data obtained to governments, politicians, scientists, the public and international organizations.
Over a million and a quarter physicians have signed the Amsterdam congress appeal against the nuclear arms race. We suggested the inclusion in the Hippocratic Oath, a commitment to fight against the danger of a nuclear war (such an amendment has already been officially made to the Soviet physicians’ oath). A “Message to My Patients” is distributed in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices to help prevent nuclear war.
IPPNW is aware of the fact that wars start not from bombs dropped or shots fired – they start in the minds of people and are the result of political decisions. That is why our congresses regularly address world leaders, particularly of the USSR and the USA, calling upon them to do the utmost to exclude the very possibility of a nuclear war and to reverse the nuclear arms race. The messages received by us from these and other leaders show that the voice of physicians is being heeded.
We are aware that to eradicate nuclear illusions and impart hatred of war to the peoples, ones information should be based, on solid scientific data. Our studies confirmed by the authoritative expert group of the World Health Organization have demonstrated to the whole world that not only would nuclear war spell the end of civilization, it would also prejudice the existence of life on Earth. My conscience, and I am sure the same applies to many of my colleagues in IPPNW, was staggered primarily by the total number of victims in nuclear war.
The human mind finds it difficult to comprehend the figure of 2,000 million (two thousand million or 2 billion) victims. As they say, one death is death, but a million deaths are statistics. For physicians, life is the aim of our work and each death is a tragedy.
Victims: 2,000,000,000 (two billion)
The truth is at two billion the critical point has long been passed: medicine will be unable to render even minimal assistance to the victims of a nuclear conflict – the wounded, the burned, the sick – including the population of the country which unleashes a nuclear war. Even rough estimates show it would require efforts of at least 30 million physicians, 100 million nurses and technical personnel. In the world today there are around 3.5 million physicians and about 7.5 million nurses. Treatment of a few hundred patients suffering from burns as a result of a major fire can rapidly exhaust the burn cure resources of a large city. Where, then, can the resources be found to treat thousands and millions of casualties? Physicians and hospitals will face an insoluble problem, even if we discount the appalling conditions of “nuclear winter” which is bound to cap the catastrophe. Besides, in a nuclear war many physicians and nurses will be killed and many hospitals destroyed.
Our data produced a sobering effect the world over on a broad range of public, political and religious figures and common men who had underestimated the scale of a nuclear catastrophe.
Of course a lot of people are still under a delusion, however, as Cicero put it, “Each man can err, but only fools persist in their errors”.
Every morning tens of thousands of newly-born babies in Europe and America, in Asia and Africa for the first time see the sky and the sun, enjoy their mothers’ loving care. But will they live to see the twenty-first century? There is a nuclear bomb in stock for each of them.
Back in 1951 French author André Maurois aptly expressed the aspirations of all honest men on Earth. “Are we really deprived of all hope? Will the wretched human race destroy itself together with the planet that harbored it? I believe the catastrophe can be avoided… Salvation of the humankind is in its own hands… The strength of our convictions, the promptness of our decisions will disarm those who threaten the future of humanity… Will the globe live or die – that is the choice we face. Either we join hands, or we exterminate each other in an atomic war”.
IPPNW Congresses envisages a ban on tests of nuclear weapons, a moratorium on nuclear explosions; a nuclear weapons freeze and the subsequent reduction and eventual liquidation of nuclear weapons; the non-proliferation of the arms race to outer space, no first use of nuclear weapons and the creation of an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.
It is not a political declaration of either communists or capitalists – it is what is demanded by reason, by people the world over, who want to live.
Today we are talking not just about warring sides but about humanity at large. Any reasonable man finds it hard to believe that while hunger, diseases, social inequality, economic underdevelopment and illiteracy are in existence, hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted to feed the insatiable monster – the arms race.
In medicine close peaceful cooperation and joint studies by Soviet and American scientists contributed to accelerated study of heart disease and facilitated introduction of new methods of diagnosis and therapy. It is a vital necessity to continue and extend this cooperation.
What we need is cooperation, not confrontation. Therefore, I was deeply satisfied with the Soviet-American arrangement arrived at during the recent meeting in Geneva between General Secretary Gorbachev and President Reagan, to extend exchanges and contact in the field of medicine. We are ready for such cooperation.
Today is a meaningful and festive day for over 140,000 physicians from 41 nations, those who united in the movement of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. And not only for them but for all honest men and women dedicated to maintaining life on Earth. The Nobel Prize awarded to our movement is not only a recognition of physicians’ services in denouncing the nuclear illusions and promoting a true perception of nuclear weapons and effects of their use, but also a symbol of international trust and belief in the infinite value and uniqueness of the human mind.
As Ibsen wrote in Peer Gynt “Only he who has nothing to lose in life can risk it”. Nuclear war, would lead to the extinction of life on Earth and possibly in the Universe. Can we take such a risk? In medicine when we deal with a critical patient, we mobilize all our energies and knowledge, sacrifice part of our hearts and enlist the cooperation of our most experienced colleagues.
Today we face a seriously ill humanity, torn apart by distrust and fear. To save it we must arouse the conscience of the world’s peoples, cultivate hatred for nuclear weapons, repudiate egoism and chauvinism, and create a favorable atmosphere of trust.
In the nuclear age, we are all interdependent.
The Earth is our only common home which we cannot abandon.
The new suicidal situation calls for the new thinking.
We must convince those who take political decisions.

by Yevgeny Chazov, USSR Cardiological Institute, cofounder of IPPNW.

These words have been added to the Hippocratic oath in Soviet countries… “As a physician of the twentieth century, I recognize that nuclear weapons have presented my profession with a challenge of unprecedented proportions, and that a nuclear war would be the final epidemic for humankind. I will do all in my power to work for the prevention of nuclear war.”

A Prescription for Hope.

Nobel Lecture,
December 11, 1985 by Bernard Lown, Professor of Cardiology, co-president IPPNW.
To read the lecture in its entirety go to:…/peace/laureates/1985/physicians-lecture.html

A Prescription for Hope
When Alfred Nobel drafted his final will in late 1895, providing this enduring and monumental legacy, the world was charged with anticipation and optimism for the twentieth century. ‘Mind and hand’, the distinctive attributes of our species, were at last finding their intertwined fulfillment in science and technology. Science, at the “fin de siècle” (end of the century), promised mastery of a hostile environment and an end to chaotic societal relations punctuated by war and brutality. Advancing technology augured unlimited potential for human power, inspiring a dream for an end to drudgery and enter an age of abundance.
The hope of a benevolent civilization was shattered in the blood-soaked trenches of the First World War. The “war to end all wars” claimed sixteen million lives, and left embers which kindled an even more catastrophic conflagration.
Over the sorry course of humanities 5,000 years of endless conflicts, some limits had been set on human savagery. Moral safeguards proscribed a refrain from killing unarmed civilians and health workers, poisoning drinking waters, spreading infection among children and the disabled, and burning defenseless cities.
But the Second World War introduced total war, unprincipled in method, unlimited in violence, and indiscriminate in victims. The ovens of Auschwitz and the atomic incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki inscribed a still darker chapter in the chronicle of human brutality. The prolonged agony which left 50 million dead did not provide an enduring basis for an armistice to barbarism.
On the contrary, arsenals soon burgeoned with genocidal weapons equivalent to many thousands of World War II’s. The advent of the nuclear age posed an unprecedented question: not whether war would exact yet more lives but whether war would preclude human existence altogether.
Every historic period has had its Cassandras. Our era is the first in which prophecies of doom stem from objective scientific analyses. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, a study by American physicians concluded that medicine, which in past wars mitigated misery and saved lives, had nothing to offer following nuclear war. This conclusion was extrapolated from the destruction wrought by blast, fire and radiation on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Astonishingly, nearly 40 years elapsed before scientists first discovered additional ecologic consequences. Nuclear war, (nuclear winter) they found, could blanket the sky with smoke, dust, and soot, creating a pall of all-pervasive darkness and frigid cold. The impact on climate could last for several years, not sparing the Southern Hemisphere. But there is more. Since cities are enormous storehouses of combustible synthetics, raging fire storms would release into the air a Pandora’s box of deadly toxins. When dust, poisons, and soot finally cleared, another plague would be visited on the unfortunate survivors; high levels of ultraviolet light caused by depletion of atmospheric ozone would take an additional toll.
Martin Buber suggested that evil prevailed because of the inability of man to imagine the real. Yet human beings do have that capacity. Lord Byron, (1788-1829) a poet favored by Alfred Nobel, captured the stark essence of a post-nuclear world in his poem “Darkness”:
“I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless; and the icy Earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air; Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day,… All earth was but one thought – and that was Death Immediate and inglorious; and the pang Of famine fed upon all entrails – men Died, and their bones were tomb-less as their flesh. The world was void, The populous, and the powerful was a lump, Season-less, herbless, treeless, man-less, lifeless – A lump of death – a chaos of hard clay… And the clouds perished; Darkness had no need Of aid from them – She was the Universe!”
Byron composed this poem in 1816, known as the “year without a summer”. Mount Tambora in the East Indies had erupted the year before, spewing 100 cubic kilometers of earth and rock into the atmosphere. The United States witnessed snow and ice in August. Worldwide crop failures induced mass starvation. A typhus epidemic in England, ascribed to cold and hunger, resulted in 6,000 deaths. The volcanic eruption lowered the earth’s surface temperature by a mere 0.6 of a degree centigrade, A twenty-fold greater cooling of the Northern Hemisphere has been predicted for a nuclear winter.
This scenario may not constitute a complete appraisal of the dire biologic and ecologic aftermath. We know little or nothing of the synergistic effects on our fragile ecosystem of subfreezing temperatures, darkness, high levels of radiation, massive release of toxins, excessive ultraviolet emissions, and other events still unforeseen. It is sheer hubris to pretend that there would be human survival after such a man-made catastrophe.
We know, therefore, that a nuclear war must never occur. Is this merely a hope or a certainty?
As no national interest would justify inflicting genocide on the victim and suicide on the aggressor, a prevalent misconception is that nuclear war will never be fought. But the realities of our age compel an opposite assessment. In no previous epoch were adversaries so continuously and totally mobilized for instant war. It is a statistical certainly that hair-trigger readiness cannot endure as a permanent condition. Furthermore, the unrelenting growth in nuclear arsenals, the increasing accuracy of missiles, and the continuing computerization of response systems all promote instabilities which court nuclear war by technical malfunction; by miscalculation, human aberration or criminal act.
The ever decreasing time between missile launch and nuclear detonation relegates critical decision-making to computers programmed by fallible human beings.
The possession of these weapons has been justified by the theory of deterrence. Such a view of human affairs has held sway throughout the ages. But the Roman adage ‘si vis pacem, para bellum’ (if you want peace , prepare for war) has been consistently a prelude to war, not a guarantor of peace. No more untenable view of human affairs has ever gained such widespread public acceptance. In order to be effective, nuclear deterrence must operate perfectly and forever. No such expectations are permissible for any human activities. The pretension to inhibit aggression by threatening to inflict unacceptable damage is jarred with contradictions. How is one to account for an overkill capacity equivalent to more than one million Hiroshimas? Would annihilation of only a few major cities not inflict unacceptable damage?
A single modern submarine has approximately 8 times the total firepower of World War II, sufficient to destroy every major city in the Northern Hemisphere.
Why then the stockpiling of 18,000 strategic weapons?
In this race the runners are no longer in control of their limbs.
This buildup is like a cancer, the cells of which multiply because they have been genetically programmed to do no other.
Pointing nuclear-tipped missiles at entire nations is an unprecedented act of moral depravity.
The horror is obscured by its magnitude, by the sophistication of the means of slaughter, and by the aseptic Orwellian language crafted to describe the attack – “delivery vehicles” promote an “exchange” in which the death of untold millions is called “collateral damage”.
Bertrand Russell called attention to the ethical bankruptcy that afflicts this era: “Our world has sprouted a weird concept of security and a warped sense of morality. Weapons are sheltered like treasures while children are exposed to incineration”.
How did we reach such a dangerous and tragic impasse? From the dawn of history, the tools humans forged have imposed their laws on behavior. As tools were transformed into ever more complex machines, technology shaped our consciousness while providing mastery over our environment. This was not to be some Faustian bargain. Technology was intended to serve human interests, to enlarge the domain of freedom against life’s compelling necessities. Increasingly, though, as Thoreau observed, “We are becoming the tools of our tools”. Worse still, our tools are beginning to operate against our will and threaten our existence.
An additional misperception propels the arms race. Throughout human history, when confronted with what was deemed a deadly enemy, the fixed human response has been to gather more rocks, muskets, cannons, and now nuclear bombs. While nuclear weapons have no military utility – indeed they are not weapons but instruments of genocide-this essential truth is obscured by the notion of an “evil enemy”. The “myth of the other”, the stereotyping and demonizing of human beings beyond recognition, is still pervasive and now exacts inordinate economic, psychologic, and moral costs. The British physicist P.M.S. Blackett anticipated this state of paranoia: “Once a nation bases its security on an absolute weapon, such as the atom bomb, it becomes psychologically necessary to believe in an absolute enemy”. The imagined enemy is eventually banished from the human family and reduced to an inanimate object whose annihilation loses all moral dimension.”
The nuclear threat haunts our age. Among the first to alert humanity to the peril were the physicists who let the atomic genie out of the bottle.
Interestingly, though, the public is beginning to listen not to the military experts but to the physicians who are the custodians of public health.
Physicians have taken a sacred and ancient oath to assuage human misery and preserve life and therefore must stand against nuclear war. Neither can the medical profession remain quiet in the face of the increasing diversion of scarce resources to the military compared to the meager efforts devoted to combating global poverty, malnutrition and disease.
In 1984 world military spending exceeded 800,000 million (eight hundred thousand million dollars). This occurs at a time when life expectancy at birth in Africa is 30 years less than in Europe, when more than 40,000 children die daily from malnutrition and infection, when annually more than 3.5 million children die and an equal number are permanently crippled because they are denied inexpensive immunization. Two billion people have no access to a dependable and sanitary water supply. The litany of grief is long and painful to recite. Yet a single day’s diversion of profligate military spending would diminish and even resolve many of these miseries. We are already living in the rubble of World War III.
How has International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) addressed the grim realities of the nuclear age? Remarkable is the youth of our endeavor. This week we celebrate only the fifth anniversary of our founding. In this brief time, we have helped penetrate the fog of denial. We have persuaded millions of people, for the first time, to confront the unthinkable. We have exposed to public view the long list of horrors. We have convinced a large public that there can be no useful medical response. We have demonstrated the deception implicit in nuclear war civil defense preparations. We have provided persuasive data that nuclear war would constitute the ultimate human and ecologic disaster.
Combating the nuclear threat has been our exclusive preoccupation, since we are dedicated to the proposition that to insure the conditions of life, we must prevent the conditions of death. Ultimately, we believe people must come to terms with the fact that the struggle is not between different national destinies, between opposing ideologies, but rather between catastrophe and survival. All nations share a linked destiny; nuclear weapons are their shared enemy.
The physicians’ movement is contributing to a positive world outlook, optimism is a medical imperative. A patient’s hopeful attitude promotes well-being and frequently leads to recovery. Pessimism degrades the quality of life and jeopardizes the tomorrows yet to come. An affirmative world view is essential if we are to shape a more promising future.
We must hold fast to the dream that reason will prevail. The world today is full of anguish and dread. As great as is the danger, still greater is the opportunity. If science and technology have catapulted us to the brink of extinction, the same ingenuity has brought humankind to the boundary of an age of abundance.
Never before was it possible to feed all the hungry. Never before was it possible to shelter all the homeless. Never before was it possible to teach all the illiterates. Never before were we able to heal so many afflictions. For the first time science and medicine can diminish drudgery and pain.
Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible.
But in order to do the impossible, in the words of Jonathan Schell, we ask “not for our personal survival: we ask only that we be survived. We ask for assurance that when we die as individuals, as we know we must, mankind will live on”.
If we are to succeed, this vision must possess millions of people. We must convince each generation that they are but transient passengers on this planet earth. It does not belong to them. They are not free to doom generations yet unborn. They are not at liberty to erase humanity’s past nor dim its future. Only life itself can lay claim to sacred continuity. The magnitude of the danger and its imminence must bring the human family together in common pursuit of peace denied throughout the century.
On the threshold of a new millennium the achievement of world peace is no longer remote, for it is beckoned by the unleashing of the deepest spiritual forces embedded in humankind when threatened with extinction. The reason, the creativeness, and the courage that human beings possess foster an abiding faith that
what humanity creates, humanity can and will control.

by Bernard Lown, Professor of Cardiology, co-president IPPNW

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev
The following are excerpts from Mikhail Gorbachev’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture from 1990. As you read, you may need to remind yourself of whom is speaking and when, since many of the issues seem to be present today in other parts of the world closer to home. Please if you can, embrace the optimism, the hope for the future. To read the speech in its entirety please go to:

On receiving the Nobel Peace prize in 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev spoke of the award winners as people famous for their courage in working to bring together morality and politics.
In his Nobel lecture he endeavoured to answer what he described ‘a simple and clear question’, “What is peace?”

“An old Russian encyclopedia defined “peace” as a “commune”- the traditional cell of Russian peasant life. I saw in that definition the people’s profound understanding of peace as harmony, concord, mutual help, and cooperation.
Peace “propagates wealth and justice, which constitute the prosperity of nations;” a peace which is “just a respite from wars…is not worthy of the name;” peace implies “general counsel”. This was written almost 200 years ago by Vasiliy Fyodorovich Malinovskiy.
Since then, of course, history has added a great deal to the specific content of the concept of peace. In this nuclear age it also means a condition for the survival of the human race.
Today peace means the ascent from simple coexistence to cooperation and common creativity among countries and nations.
Peace is movement towards globality and universality of civilization.
Never before has the idea that peace is indivisible been so true as it is now.
Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.
And, ideally, peace means the absence of violence. It is an ethical value.
At the end of the twentieth century force and arms will have to give way as a major instrument in world politics.
Solidarity is a universal value which is becoming indispensable for progress and for the survival of humankind.

A modern state has to be worthy of solidarity, in other words, it should pursue, in both domestic and international affairs, policies that bring together the interests of its people and those of the world community.”
The process moving the Soviet Union into becoming this modern state was Perestroika.
President Gorbachev described the conditions in the USSR before Perestroika as “total domination of centrally managed state property, a pervasive authoritarian bureaucratic system, ideology’s grip on politics, monopoly in social thought and sciences, militarized industries.”
Socially “the misinformed society under the spell of propaganda was hardly aware of what was going on” “the slightest manifestations of protest were supressed” and “as for foreign policy… “rigid divisions developed into hostile camps constrained by the logic of military confrontation wearing themselves down more and more by the arms race.”
Peristroika was the dismantling of these existing structures and it returned the people of the Soviet Union to “common sense” enabled them “to open up to the world” and “restored a normal relationship between the countries internal development and its foreign policy.” Peristroika was a “path of major changes which may turn out to be the most significant in the twentieth century, for our country and for its peoples and as President Gorbachev explained “But we also did this for the entire world.”

President Gorbachev’s book about Peristrioka begins with the words “We want to be understood”.
Because to understand us really- to understand so as to believe us – proved to be not at all easy.
“A country like ours, with its uniquely close-knit ethnic composition, cultural diversity and tragic past, the greatness of its historic endeavours and the exploits of its peoples,” will produce a unique “identity within the international community.”
We want to be an integral part of modern civilization, to live in harmony with mankind’s universal values, abide by the norms of international law, follow the “rules of the game” in our economic relations with the outside world. We want to share with all other peoples the burden of responsibility for the future of our common house.

It is my profound conviction that the problems arising in the course of our transformations can be solved solely by constitutional means. This applies to the self determination of nations. We recognize the peoples’ legitimate choice, with the understanding that if a people really decides, through a fair referendum, to withdraw from the Soviet Union, a certain agreed transition period will then be needed.
Steering a peaceful course is not easy in a country where generation after generation of people were led to believe that those who have power or force could throw those who dissent or disagree out of politics or even in jail. For centuries all the country’s problems used to be finally resolves by violent means. All this has left an almost indelible mark on our entire “political culture”, if the term is at all appropriate in this case.
Our democracy is being born in pain. Being resolute does not mean a return to repression, or the suppression of rights and freedoms. I will never agree to having our society split once again into Reds and Whites, into those who claim to speak and act ‘on behalf of the people’ and those who are ‘enemies of the people’. Being resolute today means to act within the framework of political and social pluralism and the rule of law, to prevent the elements of chaos from becoming catastrophic.
There are some flag wavers who claim a monopoly of patriotism and think it means “not getting entangled” with the outside world. Next to them are those who would like to reverse the course altogether. That kind of patriotism is nothing but a self-serving pursuit of ones’ own interests.
If Soviet perestroika succeeds, there will be a real chance of building a new world order channelling international cooperation along new, peaceful lines. And if perestroika fails, the prospect of entering a new peaceful period in history will vanish.
In 1990 Mr Gorbachev was assured that “the risk of a global nuclear war has practically disappeared” The USSR and the USA, the two nuclear superpowers, have moved from confrontation to interaction and, in some important cases partnership. The climate of Soviet US trust should be protected, for it is a common asset of the world community.
Any revision of the direction and potential of the Soviet-US relationship would have grave consequences for the entire global process.”

Real disarmament has begun.
Armed forces and military budgets are being reduced. Foreign troops are leaving the territories of other countries.”
Mr Gorbachev believed “conflicts of a scale and nature that were typical of Europe for many centuries and particularly the twentieth century have been ruled out.” He hoped that in the process of creating a new Europe where “curtains and walls will be forever relegated to the past and borders between states would lose their divisive purpose with ‘self determination of sovereign nations being realized in a completely different way.
The idea is to develop and build upon the momentum of integration in Europe. In the context of common movement towards a new and peaceful period in world history, towards new interrelationship and integrity of mankind.
Giulio Andreotti states “East-West rapprochement alone is not enough for progress of the entire world toward peace. However agreement between them is a great contribution to the common cause.” Asia, Africa, Latin America the Near and Middle East all play a role.
The new integrity of the world, in our view can be built only on the principles of freedom of choice and balance of interests. Every state has its own interests. They are all equal and deserve respect.
We consider it dangerously outdated when suspicions are aroused. Any worsening of relations anywhere is a common loss.
Progress towards the civilization of the 21stcentury will certainly not be simple or easy. One cannot get rid overnight of the heavy legacy of the past or the dangers created in the post war years. We are experiencing a turning point in international affairs and are only at he beginning of a new and I hope mostly peaceful, lengthy period in the history of civilization.
With less East West confrontation… old contradictions resurface which seemed of secondary importance compared to the threat of nuclear war. The melting ice of the Cold War reveals old conflicts and claims and entirely new problems accumulate rapidly.

We can already see many obstacles and dangers on the road to a lasting peace, including:
Increased nationalism, separatism, and disintegrational processes in a number of countries and regions
The growing gap in the level and quality of socio-economic development between “rich” and “poor” countries
The dangerously rapid accumulation of the “costs” of previous forms of progress, such as the threat of environmental catastrophe and of the depletion of energy and primary resources, uncontrollable overpopulation, pandemics, drug abuse, and so on
The gap between basically peaceful policies and selfish economies bent on achieving a kind of “technological hegemony”. Unless those two vectors are brought together, civilization will tend to break down into incompatible sectors.
Further improvements in modern weaponry

How can the world community cope with all this? All these tasks are enormously complex. They cannot be postponed. Tomorrow may be too late.
In order to solve these problems there is no other way but to seek and implement entirely new forms of interaction.
To accomplish this, all members of the world community should resolutely discard old stereotypes and motivations nurtured by the Cold War, and give up the habit of seeking each other’s weak spots and exploiting them in their own interests. We have to respect the peculiarities and differences which will always exist, even when human rights and freedoms are observed throughout the world. I keep repeating that with the end of confrontation, differences can be made a source of healthy competition, an important factor for progress. This is an incentive to study each other, to engage in exchanges, a prerequisite for the growth of mutual trust.
For knowledge and trust are the foundations of a new world order. Pooling the efforts of scientists, philosophers and humanitarian thinkers within the UN framework. We need maximum insurance to guarantee that decisions taken by members of the world community should not affect security, sovereignty and vital interests of its other members or damage the natural environment and the moral climate of the world.

I am an optimist and I believe that together we shall be able now to make the right historical choice so as not to miss the great chance at the turn of the centuries and millennia and make the current extremely difficult transition to a peaceful world order. A balance of interests rather than a balance of power, a search for compromise and concord rather than a search for advantages at other people’s expense, and respect for equality rather than claims to leadership- such are the elements which can provide the groundwork for world progress and which should be readily acceptable for reasonable people informed by the experience of the twentieth century.
The future prospects of truly peaceful global politics lies in the creation through joint efforts of a single international democratic space in which States shall be guided by the priority of human rights and welfare for their own citizens and the promotion of the same rights and similar welfare elsewhere. This is an imperative of the growing integrity of the modern world and of the interdependence of its components.
I have been suspected of utopian thinking more than once. And particularly five years ago when I proposed the elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2000 and joint efforts to create a system of international security. … But have we not been able to cross the threshold of mistrust, though mistrust has not completely disappeared? Has not the political thinking of the world changed substantially? Does not most of the world community already regard weapons of mass destruction as unacceptable for achieving political objectives?
Two weeks from today it will be exactly fifty years since the beginning of the Nazi invasion of my country. And in another six months we shall mark fifty years since Pearl Harbour, after which the war turned into a global tragedy. Memories of it still hurt. But they also urge us to value the chance given to the present generations.”

This lecture was delivered 27 years ago.
We have unfortunately missed “the great chance” to make the… “difficult transition to a peaceful world order.” afforded us by the leaders at the time.
On March 27th 2017, negotiations will commence at the United Nations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Last month at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Colombia, 21 Nobel laureates signed a statement supporting the UN General Assembly for convening the conference.
Mikhail Gorbachev was one of them.

The Peace Speech

“The Peace Speech” The following are excerpts from “The Peace Speech” a Commencement address delivered by President John F Kennedy at American University on June 10th 1963. To read the speech in its entirety please go to:
Introduction: In 1963 The Cold War and its Nuclear threats are foremost on the mind of the President. JFK’s integrity, diplomacy and rational approach, averted nuclear catastrophe during his presidency. Much can be learned from his approach to international relations, his plea for the dismantling of nuclear arsenals and more broadly for peace. Consider this path.

“I have chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.
What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to the generations yet unborn.
I speak of peace therefore as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war – and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
First let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many of us think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads us t the conclusion that war is inevitable – that mankind is doomed – that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade – therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable – and we believe they can do it again.
Let us focus on an attainable peace based on a gradual evolution in human institutions – on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interests of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace – no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic not static, changing to meet the challenges of each new generation. For peace is a process – a way of solving problems.
History teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever.
So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable and war need not be inevitable. It is discouraging to me to think that leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.
No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. Should war ever break out again – no matter how – the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. Even in the cold war, which brings burdens if dangers to so many nations, including this nations closest allies – ‘the two great powers’, bear the heaviest burden for we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are caught up in a vicious cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counter weapons.
So let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
Nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of a collective death wish for the world.
To secure these ends, America’s weapons are non-provocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.
We do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute.
We seek to strengthen the United Nations, to make it a more effective instrument of peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.
We seek to adjust small but significant differences with our closest neighbours Mexico and Canada. We are bound to many nations by alliances. … Our concerns and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin for example stands undiminished. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples.
Our intentions converge not only on the frontiers of freedom but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope – and the purpose of allied policies to let each nation choose its own future. There can be no doubt that if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.
Increased understanding will require increased contact and communication.
We have also been talking in Geneva about the other first step measures of arms control designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war.
Our primary and long range interest is general and complete disarmament – designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. … A fresh start is badly needed, in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests, to check the spiraling arms race and the further spread of nuclear arms…one of the greatest threats we face in 1963.
This would increase our security – it would decrease the prospects of war.
Chairman Krushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan have agreed to high level discussions in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history – but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.
Let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom. We must all in our daily lives live up to the age old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete.
It is the responsibility of the executive branch of all levels of government – local, state and National -to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means and within their authority. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.
All this is not unrelated to world peace. And is not peace in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights—the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation—the right to breathe air as nature provided it—the right of future generations to a healthy existence?
While we proceed to safeguard our nations interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can – if sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers – offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.
The United States, as the world knows will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough – more than enough – of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try and stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on – not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

We the people of the world of 2017, like the people of 1963 America do not want war. We need the leaders of the nations to listen to the people and cease their ramblings of war. We the people of the world know there is no Nuclear War, only Nuclear annihilation. We have learned that war is never won, that a lasting peace is not achieved by force and that other ways are possible. This path is not easy, not expedient, not exciting or dramatic or economically profitable but possible and that is the path some hope, some pray and all who wish to live, demand our leaders take.
Peace is possible. Peace by peace.


Mr Wade Davis, author of ‘The Wayfinders’ Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, a book that comprises the 2009 Massey Lectures on the urgent crisis of the loss of human cultures and language, knowledge, stories, songs and ways of seeing, encoded in these voices, voices we are losing everyday. Mr Davis is an award winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker and photographer and has written several books including:
The Serpent and the Rainbow, Light at the Edge of the World, One River and The Clouded Leopard.                                                            
In recognition of the Nobel Laureates as Wayfinders to Peace,  Mr Davis has graciously granted permission to use his title The Wayfinders for this blog.
The book is a fascinating and important read. Thank you

We Shall Overcome.

When pouring through the thoughts of the greatest minds turned toward peace, common themes become apparent as they encourage, warn and urgently prod us onto the path to peace.
Social Justice has been a struggle for generations. While never fully realized, Social Justice is once again being attacked and eroded. While these injustices exist the Nobel Laureates expound; there will be no peace.
Martin Luther King Jr who died for this belief had the “audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
“that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. …”
“that right temporally defeated is stronger than evil triumphant”
…and still believed despite it all… “that we shall overcome”

Remain hopeful as you read the rational thoughts of rational people, working tirelessly for justice, equity, equality, truth, compassion and peace. Remain hopeful and join them… join us.

Norman Borlaug – Nobel Peace Prize 1970
“If you desire peace, cultivate justice.”
Norman Borlaug winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 1970 believed the greatest threat to peace was food insecurity. He insists we could and must do better with food cultivation and distribution, and population control. Justice, social justice, starting with food enough for all, must exist to begin to expect peace among the people of the earth.

“More than half of the population of the world is hungry. We should be far wiser. Man can and must prevent the tragedy of famine in the future instead of merely trying with pious regret, to salvage the human wreckage of the famine.”
“Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice.”
The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Therefore… if you desire peace, cultivate justice, and at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread
Lord John Boyd Orr, the first director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization once said “You can’t build peace on empty stomachs.” A fundamental biological law is that when the life of living organisms is threatened by shortage of food they tend to swarm and use violence to obtain their means of sustenance.
“There are still two worlds,” Norman Borlaug asserted “’the privileged world and the forgotten world’”; both in a world that is hungry, both for bread and for peace. The majority of the urbanites in the industrialized nations have forgotten the significance of the words they learned as youngsters, “Give us this day our daily bread”.
I am convinced that if all policymakers would take sufficient interest in population control and in aggressively employing and exploiting agricultural development … many of the social ills of the present day could soon become problems of the past.
Change we must, or we will perish as a species.
Progress depends on intelligent, integrated, and persistent effort by government leaders, statesmen, tradesmen, scientists, educators, and communication agencies, including the press, radio, and television.
Nevertheless, vast sums are now being spent in all countries, developed and developing, on armaments and new nuclear and other lethal weapons, while pitifully small sums are being spent on agricultural research and education designed to sustain and humanize life rather than to degrade and destroy it.
There are also ‘destructive physical and mental consequences of the grotesque concentration of human beings crowded into the poisoned and clangorous environment of pathologically hypertrophied megalopolis. (super-cities)’ These ‘abnormal stresses and strains tend to accentuate man’s animal instincts and provoke irrational and socially disruptive behavior among the less stable individuals in the maddening crowd.
Adequate food is only the first requisite for life. For a decent and humane life, we must also provide an opportunity for good education, remunerative employment, comfortable housing, good clothing, and effective and compassionate medical care. It is a test of the validity of sapiens as a species.
Since man is potentially a rational being, I am confident that within the next two decades he will recognize the self-destructive and irresponsible course he steers along and instead work to permit a decent standard of living for all mankind. If man is wise enough to make this decision.

Desmond Tutu – Nobel Peace Prize Winner 1984
If we want peace, let us work for justice.

Apartheid was still the life lived in South Africa in 1984. Apartheid in its execution and segregation is reminiscent of the Reserves of North American Indigenous peoples and the policies creeping in to the new world order with regards to refugees and Migrant workers. We must learn the lessons of the past.
“the cost of apartheid is exorbitant, in terms of human suffering”
this land, richly endowed in so many ways, is sadly lacking in justice.

Bishop Tutu also speaks of nuclear proliferation as a perilous threat to peace.
We are not far from global suicide, and yet it could be so different.

Black family life is being undermined, not accidentally, but by deliberate Government policy.
South African citizens are being turned into aliens in the land of their birth. Aliens who can claim but very few rights, least of all political rights. This is apartheid’s final solution, just as Nazism has its final solution for the Jews in Hitler’s Aryan madness.
Black townships: “3,000,000 of God’s children have been uprooted from their homes. These dumping grounds are far from where work and food can be procured easily. Children starve, suffer from the often irreversible consequences of malnutrition- this happens to them not accidentally, but by deliberate Government policy.”
Migratory labor policy: Many migrants live an unnatural life, prey to prostitution, drunkenness, and worse. Migrant worker policy is a declared Government policy; and has been condemned, even by the white Dutch Reformed Church, not noted for being quick to criticize the Government, as a cancer in our society. The cost of apartheid, exorbitant in terms of human suffering.
Bantu Education: a discriminatory education policy. Education for serfdom, ensures that the Government spends only about one tenth on one black child per annum for education what it spends on a white child. It is education that is decidedly separate and unequal.
And more…the “Population Registration Act, Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, The Immorality Act” – all laws which permit the indefinite detention of persons whom the Minister of Law and Order has decided are a threat to the security of the State.
Banning orders – A banned person for 3 or 5 years cannot attend a gathering, (which means more than one other person). Banning people is a serious erosion and violation of basic human rights. Banned people do not enjoy the rights of freedom of movement of association. They do not enjoy freedom of security of tenure, the right to participate in the making of decisions that affect their lives.
And there is also the ‘unhelpful attention and interest of outside powers, who want to extend their spheres of influence’
In short, this land, richly endowed in so many ways, is sadly lacking in justice.
The South African Council of Churches have said we are opposed to all forms of violence.
The African National Congress – proscribes “conventional methods of peaceful protest- petitions, demonstrations, deputations, and even a passive resistance campaign.”
But our resistance is met with violence ‘Are we being told something I do not want to believe, that we Blacks are expendable and that blood is thicker than water, that when it comes to the crunch, you cannot trust whites, that they will club together against us? I don’t want to believe that is the message being conveyed to us.’
We see before us a land bereft of justice, and therefore without peace and security.
There is no peace in South Africa. There is no peace because there is no justice. There can be no real peace and security until there be first justice, enjoyed by all inhabitants of this beautiful land. God’s Shalom, peace, involves inevitably righteousness, justice, wholeness, fullness of life, participation in decision-making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion.
Because there is global insecurity, nations are engaged in a mad arms race, spending billions of dollars wastefully on instruments of destruction, when millions are starving. We have the capacity to feed ourselves several times over, but we are daily haunted by the spectacle of the gaunt dregs of humanity shuffling along in endless queues, with bowls to collect what the charity of the world has provided, too little too late.
When will we learn, when will the people of the world get up and say, ‘enough is enough’. God created us for fellowship. God created us so that we should form a human family, existing together because we were made for one another. We are not made for exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence, and we break the law of our being at our peril.
When will we learn that an escalated arms race merely escalates global insecurity? We are now much closer to a nuclear holocaust than when our technology and our spending were less. We are not far from global suicide; and yet it could be so different.
In dehumanizing others, they are themselves dehumanized. Perhaps oppression dehumanizes the oppressor as much as, if not more than, the oppressed. The oppressor and the oppressed need each other to become truly free, to become human. We can be human only in fellowship, in community, in koinonia, in peace.
If we want peace, let us work for justice.

Cordell Hull – Noble Peace Prize 1945
The United Nations Organization offers the peace loving nations of the world, a fully workable mechanism which will give them peace, if they want peace.

Peace has become as essential to civilized existence, as the air we breathe is to life itself. There is no greater responsibility resting on governments everywhere than to make sure that enduring peace will this time, at long last, be established and maintained.
WWII brought with it not only a stark realization of what another war would mean to the world, but as well the creation of an international agency through which the nations of the world can if they so desire, make peace a living reality.
The United Nations Organization offers the peace loving nations of the world, a fully workable mechanism which will give them peace, if they want peace.
No piece of social machinery, however, can be effective unless there is a will and a determination to make it work. The crucial test for men and for nations today is whether or not they have suffered enough, and have learned enough to put aside suspicion, prejudice and short-run and narrowly conceived interests and to unite in furtherance of their greatest common interest…enduring peace.
Man’s highest aspiration – the establishment of enduring peace based on justice and fair dealings for all.

Martin Luther King Jr. – Nobel Peace Prize 1964
‘right temporally defeated is stronger than evil triumphant’
‘we shall overcome’

We shall overcome is the phrase most closely linked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement can be credited with ensuring the rights of many minorities would “overcome”. Within hours of the new President of the United States taking office, the White House Civil Rights website was removed. (As was the site for Climate Change.) History however cannot be as easily erased from human memory. We must not forget the lessons, the sacrifices or the advances made by the Civil Rights Movement.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. …
I still believe that we shall overcome.

“This award which I receive on behalf of ‘the civil rights movement’ is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. … Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “is-ness“ of man‘s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “ought-ness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright day break of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right temporally defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children’s of men.
I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. …
I still believe that we shall overcome.
I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood.

Threats to Peace.

The Nobel Laureates in their Nobel Lecture acceptance speeches documented the greatest threats to peace in their time. Many of the speeches in the atomic age, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cite nuclear proliferation as humanities greatest threat, the prospect of which threatens the annihilation of the human race. Make no mistake, no one will be the victor of a nuclear holocaust. Only if we have learned, if we have suffered enough will we avoid this catastrophe and take the responsibility of the survival of our species and our planet.
The following sets out many of the Laureates compiled threats to peace: rampant nationalism, economic disparity, bigotry, inequality, imperialistic aims, oppression and injustice, to name a few. I will add one more, the threat of a madman, we have seen it before with disastrous consequences. The laureates point out these threats for a purpose, so we may endeavour to avoid them and instead find hope and follow the path to peace.

This post offers insights from Nobel Laureate Ralph Bunche

Ralph J.Bunche Nobel Peace Prize 1950
Some Reflections on Peace in Our Time
In this most anxious period of human history, the subject of peace, above every other, commands the solemn attention of all men of reason and goodwill. In these critical times it is not easy to speak of peace with either conviction or reassurance.
The words used by statesmen in our day no longer have a common meaning… Words in a constant flow of propaganda – itself an instrument of war – are employed to confuse, mislead, and debase the common man. … Truth and morality are subverted by propaganda, on the cynical assumption that truth is whatever propaganda can induce people to believe. … With what great insight did Voltaire, hating war, declare; “War is the greatest of all crimes; and yet there is no aggressor who does not colour his crimes with the pretext of justice.”
To the common man, the state of world affairs is baffling … People everywhere wish and long for peace. If war should come, the peoples of the world would again be called upon to fight it, but they would not have willed it.
But the horrible realities of modern warfare scarcely afford even this fateful choice, with the threat of atomic war … we may not survive this choice.
This is mankind’s great dilemma.
If human relationships were governed by the sagacity of the great philosophers, there would be little danger of war. For in their collective wisdom over the centuries they have clearly charted the course to free and peaceful living among men.
However man has but little heeded the advice of the wise men. He has been – fatefully, if not willfully – less virtuous, less constant, less rational, less peaceful than he is capable of being.

He has been lead astray by his addiction to narrow nationalism, racial and religious bigotry, greed and lust for power.
The values he has created have been predominantly materialistic; his spiritual values have lagged far behind. He has demonstrated little spiritual genius and has made little progress toward the realization of human brotherhood. In the contemporary atomic age, this could prove man’s fatal weakness.
The peoples of the world find themselves precariously on the brink of total disaster. The fateful alternative of peace or reversion to the Dark Ages.
Mans inventive genius has outreached his reason – not his capacity to reason but his willingness to apply reason.
If we speak of peace, we speak of the United Nations. If the United Nations cannot ensure peace, there will be none.
The United Nations is the greatest peace effort in human history. There is an optimism in those who work there, and also a sense of deep frustration, which flows from the knowledge that mankind could readily live in peace and freedom if there were but a minimum of will to do so. There is the ever present, simple but dark truth that though the peoples long primarily for peace, they may be prodded by their leaders and governments into needless war, which may at worst destroy them, at best lead them once again to barbarism.
With nationalism there may be no quarrel, but narrow exclusively self-centered nationalism is the prime obstacle to enduring peace.
As Alfred Nobel finally discerned people are never deterred from the folly of war by the stark terror of it. But it is nonetheless true that in atomic war there would be no survivors, there could be no victors. What then could war achieve which could not be better gained by peaceful means, given a genuine will for peace and even a modicum of mutual good faith.

The fatal prelude to war:
Fear, suspicion and recrimination in the relations among nations tend to be dangerously self compounding. They induce that national hysteria which in its rejection of poise and rationality, can itself be the fatal prelude to war.
There will be no security in our world, no release from agonizing tension, no genuine progress, no enduring peace, until in Shelley’s fine words “reason’s voice, loud as the voice of nature, shall have waked the nations.”

“last clear chance” George C Marshall

General George C Marshall delivered his Nobel Lecture in 1953.

He began by describing the disposition of Roman forces during the famous Roman Peace. Their positions were identical to those of the Allied Forces 1800 years later while the peace commission was sitting in Paris evolving the League of Nations. This remarkable historical repetition of Pax Roman and the deployment of protective NATO forces suggests “we have walked blindly through history, ignoring the lessons of the past, with, in our century, the tragic consequences of the two world wars and the Korean struggle as a result.

In my country my military associates frequently tell me that we Americans have learned our lesson. I completely disagree with this contention and point to the rapid disintegration between 1945 and 1950 of our once vast power for maintaining the peace.

For the moment the maintenance of peace in the present hazardous world situation does depend in very large measure on military power together with Allied cohesion. But the maintenance of large armies for an indefinite period is not practical or a promising basis for policy… we must find, I repeat must find another solution.

I am a soldier. I know a great deal of the horrors and tragedies of war. I am deeply moved to find some means or method of avoiding another calamity of war.”

Marshall considered the state of the world in 1953 a “highly dangerous situation” and for this, a very strong military posture was required; but for a lasting enduring peace he suggested other factors which would be as necessary and important as a moderated military strength.

“The most important single factor will be a spiritual regeneration to develop good will, faith and understanding among nations. Economic factors will undoubtedly play a part.  Agreements to secure a balance of power, however disagreeable they may seem.  There must be wisdom.  And the will to act on wisdom.  And a careful education of all the factors which have marked the breakdown of peace and have lead to the disruption of life and the horrors of war.”

“There may perhaps have been a last clear chance to avoid the tragic conflagrations of our century. In the case of World War II for example, the challenge may well have come in the early thirties, and passed largely unrecognized until the situation was unlikely to be retrieved. We are familiar with specific events such as the march into the Rhineland or aggression in Ethiopia or Manchuria. Perhaps there was also a last clear chance to begin to build up the strength of the democracies to keep the military situation in equilibrium. There may also have been a last clear chance to penetrate to the spirit of the peoples of the nations threatening the peace, and to find ways of peaceful adjustment in the economic field as well.”

I mark this part of this Nobel speech because there is once again “remarkable historical repetitions” which suggest we are “once again walking blindly, ignoring the lessons of the past” with potentially “tragic consequences”.

General George C. Marshall set out a soldiers framework for an enduring peace. He also and most importantly presented to us the concept of “the last clear chance”.  Be Vigilant, do not ignore the warnings.  Do you see them?  I see them every day.

As we journey through the Nobel speech, many threats and warnings are highlighted. So are other paths to peace.  We will find a way.

The following are more Nobel Quotes for your comfort:

“Our problems are manmade – therefore they can be solved by man.  And man can be as big as he wants.”

“Is not peace in the last analysis basically a matter of human rights – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation?”

“In the final analysis, our most basic common link is we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future and we are all mortal.”

“Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many facts.  It must be dynamic, not static.  For peace is a process – a way of solving problems.”

“Enmities between nations, as between people, do not last forever, (need not last forever).  Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself.  Too many of us think it impossible.  Too many think it unreal.  But this is a dangerous, defeatist belief.  It leads us to the conclusion that was is inevitable – that mankind is doomed – that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.  We need not accept that view.”

“The United States, as the world knows will never start a war . . . we shall do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.  We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid we labor on – not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

~ John F. Kennedy    The Peace Speech

JFK did not receive a Nobel Peace Prize (I believe he would have, had he lived.)


The next blog will highlight some of the Laureates stated threats to peace.     You will recognize these threats as if they were happening today.

The Laureates believe that a rational, peaceful, new world order is possible. They have set our a path.  We must find it.








“the last clear chance”

The problem of peace seems both timeless and universal. The Nobel Laureates for Peace would seem to disagree. Many continue to suffer as nationalism surges and imperialistic designs become clear. Resource, ideological, ethnic and economic divides continue to threaten the stability of nations and our world. The Nobel Laureates acknowledge the challenges and despite them all provide hope and paths to peace. Solutions to these problems, if we want them; and we do for it is the peoples of the world who suffer the miseries of war. And all peoples of the world want peace. Join me in the rediscovery of the paths to peace offered to us by the greatest thinkers of their time. Those who have turned their minds to peace and created an ideology from which we can learn, and through which we can create a world we may not even believe possible . . . but the Nobel Laureates do; a world of peace.

The following are quotes or excerpts from several of the reviewed Nobel Peace Prize Lectures delivered by Nobel Peace Prize Winners or related speeches. In future posts these quotes will appear in the context of the speech from which it was taken. (The full speeches are available online.)


“We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each others children.”

Jimmy Carter – Nobel Peace Prize winner 2002


“I speak of peace as the necessary rational end of rational men.

Is not peace in the last analysis , basically a matter of human rights- the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation?

In the final analysis, our most basic human link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” 

~John F. Kennedy Commencement Address – The Peace Speech                                                                    American University   1963


“Since we now know what a terrible evil war is, we must spare no effort to prevent its recurrence. In the course of the last two wars we have been guilty of acts of inhumanity which made one shudder, and in any future war we would certainly be guilty of even worse. This must not happen.

I believe I have expressed the thoughts and hopes of millions of men who live in fear of war to come.”

~ Albert Schweitzer   Nobel Peace Prize Winner


“Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” 

~ Barak Obama Nobel Peace winner 2009  Iowa Caucus Victory speech.


“Trust must be the foundation of the new world order. Knowledge and trust, pooling the efforts of scientists, philosophers and humanitarian thinkers within the UN framework.

Discard old stereotypes, give up old habits of seeking and exploiting each others weak spots…these decisions can be made.

The decisions taken by the members of the world community should not affect the security, sovereignty and vital interests of its other members or damage the natural environment and the moral climate of the world.  We must face these challenges now, tomorrow may be too late.

I am an optimist and I believe that together we will be able to make the right historical choices so as not to miss the great chance at the turn of the century and the millennia to make the extremely difficult transition to a peaceful new world order. A balance of interests rather than a balance of power, a search for compromise and concord rather than a search for advantages at other people’s expense, and respect for equality rather than claims to leadership – such are the elements which can provide the groundwork for world progress and which should be readily acceptable for reasonable people informed by the experience of the 20th century.” 

~ Mikhail Gorbachev Nobel Peace Prize winner 1990


“The attainment of man’s highest aspiration – the establishment of enduring peace based on justice and fair dealings for all.

With all its imperfections the United Nations Organization offers the peace loving nations of the world, a fully workable mechanism which will give them peace, if they want peace.”

Cordell Hull Nobel Peace Prize winner 1945


“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe…there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice…can be lifted from this dust to reign supreme among the childrens of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up…I still believe that we shall overcome.”

~Martin Luther King Jr Nobel Peace Prize winner 1964


“Yes I have faith. Faith in G-d and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. Action is the only remedy to indifference; the most insidious danger of all.”

~ Elie Weisel Nobel Prize winner


“I am just a committed and even stubborn person who wants to see every child getting quality education, who wants to see women having equal rights and who wants peace in every corner of the world.

We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago…then in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child quality education.

We must work…not wait. Not just the politicians and the world leaders, we all need to contribute. Me. You. We. It is our duty. Let us become he first generation to be the last. Let us be the first generation that decides to be the last that sees …lost childhoods and wasted potentials….the last to see a child killed in war. Let this end with us.” 

~ Malala Yousafzai Nobel Peace Prize winner 2014


The next post will begin with . . .

“The last clear chance” George C Marshall Nobel Peace Prize Winner speaks of the need to be vigilant. He feels the leaders in the early 1930’s missed signs of impending war. He speaks of the ‘last clear chance’ to negotiate with the countries who were to become the Axis powers and the time lost when the other countries could have been building the balance of power which may have dissuaded, or changed the course of the Second War.

Please return.