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25 / 06 / 2004
Peace activists insist that it is possible to reject all sort of violence through small gestures in daily life

The Forum’s “141 Questions” (47): “Do we have greater faith in peace than in those who must defend it?” Cora Weiss, president of the International Peace Bureau (Geneva), and Alfons Banda, president of Fundació per la Pau/Peace Foundation (Barcelona), agreed that everyone can contribute to creating a world without war. “We, people who are truly free because we are not under the pressure of major interests, are the only ones who can change things,” said Alfons Banda. Today’s “141 Questions” session ended with statements by Fakhri Karim Ahmad, president of the Iraqi Council for Peace and Solidarity. “The constant presence of occupation forces will only lead to the perpetuation of violence in Iraq,” he stated while reading the manifesto jointly drafted by the new Iraqi council together with the International Peace Bureau.

More information about 141 questions

At the Haima Stage today, Cora Weiss, president of the International Peace Bureau, highlighted the importance of the Forum. “We have to ask ourselves how to make it possible for this event and its objectives to be a source of inspiration for all citizens seeking and defending peace,” stated Weiss. She feels that everyone is capable of taking a stand against war and violence. “It is enough to complain about the use of wrapping paper with military motif to wrap presents and to involve our children and grandchildren in conversations on peace and tolerance.” Cora Weiss mentioned the children at a school in Cambodia--“they have created a museum for peace; it is a museum of the present because it asks what needs to be done to contribute to a non-violent life.”

Weiss insisted that “we urgently need to create peace otherwise there won’t be a tomorrow.” She commented on the fact that, throughout history, humanity has rejected slavery and colonialism, “two institutions that are backed by law”, and therefore “it is possible to walk a path other than that of the war institution.” She concluded that “we have to learn to say ‘no’.”

Alfons Banda, president of the Fundació per la Pau, highlighted that peace is within reach. “Humanity has finally made this great discovery,” he noted. He insisted that all citizens are capable of contributing to creating a world without war. “We, those of us who are truly free because we are not under the pressure of major interests, are the only ones who can change things.” Banda also stated that peace is only possible if there is worldwide rejection of the idea that violence leads to solutions. “There cannot be peace as long as we hold on to violence as a last resort,” he stated.

The president of the Fundació per la Pau agreed with the view that daily life provides opportunities to demonstrate against violence and denounced the fact that some of the streets in our cities are called after the names of “authentic human butchers.” For Banda, a culture of peace must change concepts: “Security must not be associated to the concept of force; we should feel safe when our neighbor is safe,” he explained.

Today’s 141 Questions session closed with the words of the president of the Iraqi Council for Peace and Security, Fakhri Karim Ahmad, who read a manifesto jointly drafted with the International Peace Bureau. The manifesto states that “the constant presence of occupation forces in Iraq will only lead to the perpetuation of violence in the country.” He also stated that “a full sovereignty is the only basis for Democracy,” and made an appeal for the people of Iraq to resume control of their country. The manifesto was welcome with applause by the audience and it expresses the will of the civil society of Iraq to organize conferences in favor of Democracy and independence.