When the war machine roars about violent defense of absolute sovereignty of nations, we should see the big picture, because this conflict is not just about Ukraine, it is about the emergence of global governance and two approaches to it, governance by gun and military alliances or nonviolent global governance based on mutual respect, the common good and consent of the governed. We should think outside the box of absolute sovereignty, think bigger, think peacefully, think democratically.
Ukraine and Russia need to develop a peace culture, peace education and peace work programs.
instead of militarized education which makes schoolchildren and students rather obedient conscripts and soldiers, clients and slaves of oligarchs instead of responsible voters and creative citizens. As Ukrainian pacifists, as many Ukrainian people, we are grateful for loud voices of truth and peace from other countries.
We don’t need military aid, but humanitarian aid for the poor and needy and suffering from eight years of war may be helpful.
We need intellectual, organizational and financial resources to develop a genuine peace culture, peace education, peace journalism and a genuine nonpartisan mass peace movement that can stop the war machine, insist on demilitarization and the peaceful resolution of international disputes. These are three ways in which the international peace movement can calm the growing military tensions between Ukraine and Russia: telling the truth to the people of the world, helping those who refuse to kill, and investing in peace culture.
Author: Yurii Sheliazhenko, executive secretary Ukrainian Pacifist Movement
Written: February 18th, 2022