Category SfP Bulletin April 2011
The current Arab democratic revolutions are deeply stirring. Among the many trajectories for consideration is the relation of individual psychology to social processes. Both are wholly complex. Observers close to both, like Tolstoy or American journalist I.F. Stone (who spanned 1939-1970), move back and forth, convey the unpredictability of historical processes and outcomes but also the possibilities of individual observation, rational understanding, responsible choices, and realistic wrath.
It is possible that these particular individual psychological capacities are now especially salient because of apparent totalitarian tendencies in liberal democracies, well-described by a number of popular writers like Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, John Pilger, Naomi Wolf. What is increasingly clear is that democracy can break down even when there are well-established institutions, checks and balances, laws. Just in the last 150 years, liberal democracies have undermined innumerable democratic processes and have caused tens of millions of deaths through military and economic conquests.
Democratic and authoritarian do not in themselves inevitably protect or harm peoples. Democratic institutions ostensibly aim to facilitate responsible and rational choices. I.F. Stone decried how both Americans and Russians “pollute the skies, the seas and the earth with radioactivity, or chew up huge quantities of basic metals on vast military and spatial toys while millions of fellow creatures are lucky to have a wooden plow…How free are men who can be blown off the map at any moment without their permission?” The authoritarian leaders of Hungary (Horthy) and Bulgaria, while promulgating harshly discriminatory laws, effectively refused to deport Jews during the Holocaust while many democracies complied with Hitler. In authoritarian Egypt and Tunisia, individual people who were not empowered by any state or civil institutions organized themselves and took on cooperative, egalitarian social responsibility. In as many as ten prisons in the U.S. state of Georgia, Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos, Hispanics, Whites, Christians, Rastafarians – secretly organized with each other a non-violent strike against cruel and inhumane treatment. The relation between institutional set-up and individual capacity for democracy is complex.
In the news as I write this letter, President Obama of democratic U.S. has ordered the military to be prepared to act in Libya, a judge has ordered protesters to the anti-union budget bill to leave the Wisconsin state capitol and Bradley Manning is subject to cruel and unusual punishment in a military prison.
What I’m describing is one psychological aspect of “democratic” personhood that is found in all kinds of societies. It does not make sense to describe whole peoples as democratic or undemocratic or as unready for democracy. Amartya Sen, in his recent book The Idea of Justice, writes that “there is no chance of resting the matter [of democracy] in the ‘safe’ hands of purely institutional virtuosity but requires basic human abilities – “to understand, to sympathize, to argue – to communicate, respond and altercate.” This too is centrally the role of intellectuals, a role threatened by corporate-funded education. John Valleau and Paul Hamel write of the importance of discussion and questioning, “the most rigorous technical and intellectual examination without fear of disdain or reprisal.” Edward Said similarly writes of the need for intellectuals “to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them) to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d’etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug.”
Contrasting with democratic personhood is “corporate personhood”, a legal entity allowing corporations more rights than citizens: impunity for stealing and squandering the human, monetary, and resource wealth of all nations, impunity for using paramilitaries to protect corporate holdings and for the creation of the for-profit privatized military complex, impunity from laws regarding war and occupation, impunity for destroying entire communities and ecosystems and for driving the entire Earth living system towards extinction. The recent US Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission allows unlimited corporate spending on election campaigns (including foreign corporations), prompting the state of Vermont to introduce a bill for a constitutional amendment declaring “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”
2011 marks the 30th anniversary of Science for Peace (discussed in the article below). This is obviously a time for understanding, rationality, objectivity, and challenge, and as Pericles stated in the Funeral Oration (431 BC to Athenians after the Peloponnesian War), for “the proper formulation or at least the proper review of policy, thinking that what cripples action is not talk, but rather the failure to talk through the policy before proceeding to the required action.” We can together celebrate what Science for Peace has accomplished and gird up for all the hard work ahead.
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Science for Peace. Seventeen directors signed the incorporation papers and they comprised the entire membership of that day. The membership grew rapidly over the next 14 months and numbered 178 at the time of the Annual General meeting the next year. It is good to recollect the achievements of Science for Peace, which have been many. Throughout the 1980s, we had a close relationship with the Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Department of External Affairs (now DFAIT) and, in the latter Trudeau years, with the Prime Minister’s office. In the first decade, board members included several presidents of the Royal Society of Canada, University Presidents and deans of faculties, Nobel Prize winners in Physics and in Chemistry, and, for one term, the President of the National Research Council.
Some early peace research was achieved by Walter Dorn, who brought in outside funding. A good idea of our early work in peace education can be seen in the obituary of Terry Gardner, in this issue of the Bulletin. More recently, our strong link with peace education has been mainly with Julia Morton-Marr and her organization IHTEC.
In our middle years, numerous Working Groups were active, and several came up with useful documents, of which the Toronto Resolution was widely circulated and read. Following an initiative of Anatol Rapoport’s, we published 13 books between 1986 and 2000. A project called the Superordinate Project, around 1990, gave rise to an important paper, “Nature’s Veto.”
Many briefs to Parliamentary Committees have been presented either in Ottawa or at Queens Park, and some written briefs and some oral. More recently the research on the corporatization of universities by Paul Hamel and John Valleau deserves attention.
Throughout these 30 years Science for Peace has put on many public events, and sponsored several conferences of experts resulting in published proceedings. In 2005, the Global Issues Project was initiated, fulfilling a goal of former SfP president Helmut Burkhardt that we should be looking at problems globally, to enable us to grasp the Big Picture, so often missed by narrow specialists.
It is a worthy background to build on.
The brunt of war in the 20th and early 21st centuries has shifted from combatant soldiers to civilians due to more powerful war weapons, war intensity, and war tactics. By the 1990s, 90 % of those who died in war were civilians, and the majority were women and children. For the same reasons, the impact of war and militarism on nature and the lived environment follows a similar pattern. One Vietnam veteran described the rain of death in the Vietnam War – bombs, mortars, napalm, and chemical warfare – as a war against the environment, creating 20 million bomb craters and “reducing the Earth to ashes.” According to Barry Sanders in his eye-opening book on military pollution The Green Zone, the first three weeks of the 2003 war in Iraq used the amount of fuel that 80,000 Americans would use for a year’s worth of driving, or 40 million gallons.
The military enterprise as a whole is hyper-privileged, secretive, and un-touchable when it comes to budget, international law, and environmental protection. By contrast, environmental health policy on toxics has moved from targeting one toxic substance at a time to toxics reduction, healthcare without harm, clean technology, green housing, pollution prevention, and the Precautionary Principle. We need a comparable leap in policy that addresses heightened defense spending, arms trafficking, and global military power projection. Why? Given the scale of the American military-industrial complex and the nearly 1,000 military bases colonizing the world, the U.S. military is the largest single polluter on the planet.
- By the late 1980s, public data revealed that the Pentagon was generating a ton of toxic waste per minute, more toxic waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies together, making it the largest polluter in the United States. According to the 2008-2009 President’s Cancer Panel Report, nearly 900 of EPA’s approximately 1300 Superfund sites are abandoned military bases/ facilities or manufacturing and testing sites that produced conventional weapons and other military-related products and services. (And what of the nearly 1000 U.S. bases worldwide where the military is not held to current U.S. standards of environmental protection?)
- By 1994, nearly 5,000 contaminated sites at the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons and fuel facilities had been identified for remediation. The now-closed Hanford nuclear weapons facility which recycled uranium and extracted plutonium, is the largest nuclear waste storage site in the United States and may be the world’s largest environmental cleanup site. The waste on the 600 acre site includes nearly five tons of plutonium and more than 53 million gallons of plutonium-contaminated waste in underground tanks, much of which is leaking into groundwater adjacent to the Columbia River, a regional source of salmon, agricultural irrigation, and drinking water supply.
- A 1992 National Cancer Institute (NCI) study determined that about 150 million curies of radioactive iodine was released into the atmosphere during open-air testing of nuclear weapons in Nevada from the early 1950s to the early 1960s. The fallout contaminated dairy cattle feed and the American milk supply. As a result, millions of children and adults were contaminated with radioactive iodine, a fact kept secret by the federal government. NCI suppressed the 1992 study findings for five years and later admitted in testimony before the U.S. Congress, that the radioactive iodine may have caused an excess of 212,000 thyroid cancers, which can have a latency period as long as 38 years.
- Between 2002 and 2008 approximately 400 facilities and 15,000 people were handling biological weapons agents in sites throughout the United States, in many cases unbeknownst to the local community. The rush to spend more than $57 billion since 2002 on bioterrorism research has raised many grave concerns, among these the militarization of biodefense research with the risk of a biological arms race. In March 2005, 750 top microbiologists, comprising over 50 percent of scientists studying bacterial and fungal diseases, wrote the NIH to argue that the agency’s emphasis on biodefense research had diverted research away from germs that cause more significant disease. Between 1998 and 2005, grants for biodefense research increased 15-fold. During the same period, grants to support research on non-biodefense germs that cause major sickness and death (such as TB resistant microbes and influenza) dropped 27 percent.
- Depleted uranium, the waste product of the uranium enrichment process, is used by the U.S. and other militaries in both defensive armor and armor piercing ammunition that is known as DU penetrators. DU was used in the Gulf War, the war in the Balkans and is likely being used in the war in Afghanistan. Available information suggests that the U.S. and British forces released between 110-165 tons of DU in the 2003 war in Iraq. Both soldiers and civilians in war and post-war situations are at risk of internal and external exposure to DU through inhalation, ingestion of DU particles, and skin exposure. A United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) found very high soil contamination and groundwater contamination in the Balkans. A journalistic report on Iraqi children working to support their families revealed that the children are sorting through blasted Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles, stockpiled in scrap yards by U.S. military contractors, in order to salvage metal parts to sell to metal dealers – a likely source of high level exposure for the children. Animal and in vitro studies have found that DU may be genotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic, signaling serious concern for the fate of DU in the human body. Thus, the decision to use DU in weapons has been made in an environment of uncertainty about the health impacts on those exposed in conflict and post-conflict situations. DU exposure during and post-war adds long-term radiation and chemical exposure to the already existing risks of death, injury, and environmental damage from war.
- Author Barry Sanders estimates the U.S. military’s “armored vehicles, planes and luxury planes consume one-quarter of the world’s jet fuel and close to two million reported gallons of oil every day.” By his calculation, the U.S. military contributes 5 percent to world global warming. Worldwatch researcher Michael Renner estimated in 1989 that the military industrial complex consumed almost double the oil equivalent energy as the U.S. military. Thus the entire military enterprise is far and away the largest single climate polluter and contributor to global warming.
If, as many contend, the principal threat to world security in the 21st century is environmental degradation (through climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and resource scarcity), then the acute damage to the environment and usurpation of resources for war preparation and war itself, must become a paramount concern in environmental health policy. It’s time to make the policy case for turning swords into plowshares by bringing our war dollars home.
- Form a study group to read The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism.
- Write letters to editor, column for newsletters, op-eds on environmental costs of war and militarism.
- Support environmental health organizations taking on these issues.
- Show film Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives in public forums for discussion.
- Organize a Bring Our War Dollars Home initiative in your town/city.
- Day, Alice and Lincoln. 2009. Scarred Lands & Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War. Fund for Sustainable Tomorrows.
- Sanders, Barry. 2009. The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism. Oakland, CA: AK Press
Pat Hynes retired as Professor of Environmental Health from Boston University School of Public Health and chairs the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice.
By Gussai Sheikheldin and Sara Suliman
On January 30th, 2011, the results of the historic referendum for the secession of South Sudan were made public, with the official results released a week later. Approximately 99% of Southern Sudanese citizens are estimated to have voted in favor of splitting Africa’s largest country into two independent states; the predominantly Muslim North and the more religiously diverse South. The referendum vote was held in the week of January 9th to 15th of this year, and an outstandingly high turnout of voters reflecting the urgency for political reform was beheld in the region.
A Historical Briefing
The referendum was in compliance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in Nivasha in 2005 between the National Congress Party (NCP) in rule at the Capital and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), to end the second phase of one of the deadliest civil wars in post-colonial African history. Although the inequitable resource allocation between the Northern and Southern regions dates back to the British colonization of Sudan, the two regions were consolidated as one region during the prior expansion of the Ottoman Empire in 1821, which undermined the existing kingdoms in the region, and was thus subsequently followed by the Sudanese-led Mahdiyya liberation movement, which overthrew the Turks. Later, the Anglo-Egyptian condominium administration of the region lasted from 1899 to 1956, when Sudan gained its independence. During this period, inequitable resource allocation to the Northern, Nile valley, and Southern regions was fueled with minimal cultural crosstalk between the two main regions (considering Darfur and other marginalized regions as part of the greater North), and a deliberate concentration of political power in the North. Before the departure of the British, they established “the North Sudan Advisory Council in 1943” to facilitate the process of self-governance, with no representation of the main Southern states of Equatoria and the Upper Blue Nile. The leaders of the South responded by organizing the Juba Conference in 1947, which aimed at representing the South in the advisory council and proposing a federation system, where the South can be given a level of regional autonomy but without full independence.
When Sudan gained its independence, the power was peacefully handed to the Sudanese people, but the majority of the organized political parties resided in the North. South Sudan had minimal representation in many assemblies and civil service positions within the central government during the following years. This led to the first armed opposition by the Anyanya group, which started the first phase of the civil war (1955-1972). The two regions signed an agreement in 1972 in Addis Ababa, which decentralized the administration and provided regional autonomy to the South. However, in 1983, the imposition of Shari’a law by president Ga’afar Nimeiry, which undermined the other belief systems widely held in the South, led the second phase of the civil war, which lasted until 2005 with the Nivasha agreement.
Too Many Missed Opportunities
Although many attribute the conflict to either dissonance in religious beliefs or lack of political representation in the government, the main issues in Sudan’s conflict remain to be the underdevelopment of the marginalized regions (mostly rural) and the centralized concentration of power and resources. John Garang, who tragically died in a plane crash still thought to be an assassination plot, was the SPLM leader who served briefly as the first vice-president of Sudan after signing the CPA. He was an influential leader calling for the unity of the Sudan on a new basis of equal power sharing and an economic development orientation. He spoke repeatedly of the need for investment in the rural areas of Sudan, where most of the country’s population lives, for true justice and peace to take place. Political representation devoid of real economic and human development and investment is merely vacuous tokenism, with minimal consequences to the people, he and others argued. This goes hand in hand with the fact that most of the Sudanese marginalized groups are rural dwellers, and that agricultural wealth has the greatest economic potential for Sudan as a whole, if managed wisely.
On the economic development side, despite a few conscious voices that called since independence for equitable development approaches, the top-down centralized approach to development was the one followed by the country’s elitist governments. This approach resulted in wealth concentration in the Northern Nile Valley region, with emphasis on the few metropolitan areas in it. Agricultural development was supported in a few schemes that responded overall to privatized wealth accumulation for a few. In addition, there have been records of violent measures taken against agricultural workers that demanded better work conditions and more bargaining power. The developmental gap between the centre and the margins that was inherited from colonial rule was only propagated, and rural development overall was neglected in favor of urban-oriented one. The Southern region of Sudan suffered the most from this unbalanced approach.
On the political side, and also despite a few conscious voices that called since before independence for federation as the best governance system for a country as vast and diverse in geography and cultures like Sudan, centralized governance won the fight. Popular Northern-based parties, with wealthy proponents, were more able to enforce their agenda against the warnings of the Southern representatives and minority Northern-based progressive parties (such as the Republican and the Communist parties who were the earliest two parties to call for federation). This call for federation was renewed, by marginalized political bodies, in almost every critical time in the history of independent Sudan, and was turned down in almost all of them, except for two events. The last one of these events led to the recent secession of Southern Sudan, because it was already too late to resolve the repeated mistake of missing opportunities for over half a century. The first one of these two events, in 1972 (the Addis Ababa Agreement), ended with the most relatively peaceful and prosperous decade in the history of independent Sudan, only to be abolished later by the same regime that achieved it. The reason was the shift in the regime’s power centers to favoring an exclusive Islamized-Arabized ideological orientation.
On October 1964, a special opportunity was missed. An event very unique in world history – more certainly in the region’s history – happened in Sudan. A most non-violent uprising took place against a military regime. Workers and students’ fronts united with the wide-spectrum of the Sudanese society in a well-performed act of civil disobedience that did not revolve around any recognized leading figures (to emphasize the collective political ownership of the people). This historical milestone, known as the ‘October Revolution’ in Sudan, succeeded in overthrowing the military government with very minimum bloodshed on both sides, and replaced that government with a transitional civil one with radicals and intellectuals in its cabinet. This new government soon moved to propose serious structural changes in Sudan, with land reform and new arrangements of regional administration as key agenda. Had such agenda found room for long term implementation, the path of Sudan would have drastically changed. This achievement was short lived, however, and was hijacked a few months later by the traditional religious and political figures who mobilized their support base into mass demonstrations demanding governmental elections to take place before their original planned time. These traditional leaders were confident that they will re-gain power through mechanical majority votes if they moved swiftly, and they did. Although the whole experience was a great historical lesson in democracy, and the efficacy of civil disobedience was deposited in the collective psyche of the Sudanese people, an opportunity for genuine political reform was missed.
Unbalanced Media Attention
The historical landmark of the secession referendum certainly did not receive the level of global media attention that it deserved. Sudan’s geopolitical position between the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, its recent deadly history, and its mining resources render it a very critical area of the African continent. However, the recent series of uprisings in the Middle East, albeit extremely critical, eclipsed the political significance of the secession. Additionally, although history attests that the gradual movement towards loosening borders is an easier route to solidarity between separate regions, perhaps this secession will help the two areas realize their need for cooperation and later unity on more just terms.
We have seen, in recent history, many cases of countries splitting before re-uniting again on new terms. There is no reason to believe it will not happen in Sudan. This, however, is one possibility among others, and like them, depends on choices being made from now and historical conditions unfolding continuously. Many prominent political figures, from the two ‘new countries’, including leaders of the SPLM, have expressed the legitimacy of this possibility, and their desire to work in its favour. Secession may be necessary to re-unite on better terms, they say. These new terms would be of no value if they were not inclusive of the two major issues formerly articulated by the late John Garang; namely rural development and power sharing.
When Gorbachev came to power, over 90 percent of Soviet citizens conformed to the demands of the state without complaining. My book deals, not with them, but with three other political orientations, whom I call Dinosaurs, Termites, and Barking Dogs, showing the changing power relations among them, and exploring their contacts with foreigners – especially Western peace activists, who influenced them and even Soviet policies.
Of the 20 million Communist Party (CPSU) members, the “Dinosaurs” were about 19 million – the ones who favored militaristic Soviet authoritarianism. The remaining one million party members are the “Termites.” Rather than publicly stating their opposition to the regime, they quietly burrowed within the system, waiting for reforms. Most Termites had studied or worked abroad, or participated in transnational organizations such as Pugwash, IPPNW, the Dartmouth conferences, END, or the dialogues in Moscow with Western peaceniks. As a participant in those meetings, offstage, I was surprised to find Soviet officials actively encouraging my polite criticism of Soviet violations of human rights and democracy.
The third political wing, the Barking Dogs, consisted of only a few hundred dissidents. They lacked power, but tried to stir up political opinion by making a lot of noise. They included Andrei Sakharov, the Helsinki Group, which promoted human rights, and an independent peace group.
Barking Dogs and Termites shared the same goals – democracy and peace – so they should have been allies. Actually, they despised each other because they disagreed about how to proceed – whether from above or below. Barking Dogs believed that change could come only from below, from grassroots resistance. The Termites considered that impossible. The mutual contempt of the Termites and Barking Dogs split the progressive forces and doomed perestroika.
The Soviet population had low levels of trust, though democratization requires “social capital,” the trust that develops in civil society. Under Communism, organizations were controlled by the state, so social capital was low and censorship kept people vulnerable and ill-informed. Foreign travel was a rare privilege.
Civil society organizations are of two kinds. “Bonding” groups have members of similar interests, while “Bridging” groups are diverse. Democracy requires the latter, which fosters open-mindedness. Transnational organizations are inherently of the bridging type, and it was the high-ranking Termites who knew foreigners who contributed most.
Gorbachev had a Czech roommate during his university years – Zdenek Mlynar, who would lead the Prague Spring in 1968. As a convinced Termite, Gorbachev did not speak up for his old friend. Later, however, he wanted to create a Moscow Spring resembling Mlynar’s Prague Spring.
He took power in 1985, hoping to avoid civil war by holding the extreme right and left together while moving forward cautiously. (Today, Obama’s political approach is much the same.) The Termites – the intelligentsia inside the party – were Gorbachev’s base. His opponents were the Dinosaurs, whom he tried to keep dreaming while he created democratic socialism, initially by creating a democratic parliament.
The transnational contacts were powerful. For example, Pugwash can claim much credit for the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Parliamentarians for Global Action persuaded Gorbachev to let American seismologists set up monitoring stations at nuclear test sites. IPPNW’s leader, Bernard Lown, persuaded Gorbachev to unilaterally stop nuclear testing.
Gorbachev’s foreign policy, known as “new political thinking,” was gleaned from foreign sources. It consisted of four principles: 1) common or mutual security – the notion that nations become more secure, not by weakening their opponents, but by making them more secure; 2) reasonable sufficiency – the notion that there is no need to balance the forces of East and West because, once your side has enough weapons, you don’t need more, since you can’t kill anyone twenty times; 3) non-offensive defence – the doctrine that a state should limit itself to short-range weapons, which reassure the potential enemy that it is technologically incapable of going outside its own borders and attacking them; and 4) unilateral initiatives, the suggestion that one side can break an impasse in disarmament by taking the first step independently and expecting the other side to reciprocate, rather than negotiating an agreement. Gorbachev’s Termite team actively sought these peaceable foreign ideas.
As glasnost increased, anyone could safely criticize the government. Many new people joined the Barking Dog side, calling themselves “radical democrats.” A new movement, Democratic Russia, supported Gorbachev’s rival, Yeltsin, who was gaining popularity.
The radical democrats wanted to eliminate the constitutional guarantee of the CPSU’s dominance. Gorbachev’s approach called for a new democratic constitution, which would not abolish the CPSU, but make it into only one of several political parties, in which Dinosaurs would have no role. But until then, he found it necessary to placate them.
In the winter of 1990-91, he replaced some Termite officials with Dinosaurs. This was his famous “turn to the right.” I believe it was an invisible coup. Dinosaurs had him by the throat. Nevertheless, his base, the Termites and the Soviet intelligentsia, were furious; they deserted him and joined the radical democrats, leaving him with no progressive centrist base. Soon the Dinosaurs attempted a coup against him. Though it failed, Yeltsin made a coup from the left, which succeeded. When Russia and two other republics seceded, there was no longer a Soviet Union for Gorbachev to rule.
Between 1991 and ’99, Yeltsin ruled a chaotic Russia. He was no democrat. His elections were patently fraudulent and, when the parliament opposed him, he shelled it, killing possibly 1,000 people. He virtually gave the nation’s industries away. When he left office, his approval rating was five percent. Most Russians believed that they had experienced democracy under Yeltsin and no longer wanted more. The centers of new political thinking and democracy were almost empty. Foreign travel was permitted, but transnational civil society organizations dwindled. The Cold War reappeared.
The way to make a society less vulnerable is to strengthen its civil society, especially its bridging organizations. However, those have declined in Russia. Shocked by the color revolutions, Putin began to limit civil society organizations. They must register, disclose their funding sources, expect frequent state auditing, accept no foreign money for political activities, and engage in no “extremist or unconstitutional” activities. Many NGOs have given up in despair. However, since 2009 the Russian government has been granting money to existing NGOs on a competitive basis for non-political projects.
Russians need more transnational contacts. Fortunately, technological innovations now enable us to renew and even expand them. Most Russians study English in school. I would like to set up, say, 1,000 discussion groups meeting once a month for one year. One of them might consist, for example, of four Russians in Krasnoyarsk discussing climate change, agriculture, nuclear weapons, or hip hop music with two Canadians in Regina and two in Halifax. This is legal, achievable, and fun. Why not set up a discussion on Skype every week with some Russians whose work is similar to yours, say in Irkutsk, Perm, or St. Petersburg?
Metta Spencer’s book The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy (Lexington 2010) is based on hundreds of interviews conducted between 1982 and 2010, mainly in Russia. You can read or listen to the interviews and see photos of the interviewees, as well as find links to book sellers at http://RussianPeaceAndDemocracy.com .
Science for Peace will long be grateful for all the ways Dr. Terrell Gardner contributed to its birth and life.
Terry was the founder and first secretary/vice-president of Science for Peace and one of the editors of SfP’s first book “The Name of the Chamber was Peace,” a work of the Toronto Chapter. He was a member in 1980 of the small committee run by Eric Fawcett for “Directing Science toward Peace,” which was the forerunner of Science for Peace itself. He also joined, in December 1980, a small ad hoc committee that had been studying how to get peace studies established as a discipline at the University of Toronto. No sooner had Terry joined this group, than he proposed to present the concept to University College, whose Council brought it into reality at its November 1981 meeting. This was the conception, if not quite the birth of the peace studies program that lasted so many years at UC.
Terry Gardner in France in 2002.
Photo: Constance Gardner
We begin Terry’s life story at the time he was employed by the Hartford Insurance Company as an actuary. His boss told him he would not advance in the company if he did not give up his knitted hat, his habit of whistling and his bicycle ride to work. He quit.
He took a PhD at Columbia University in the branch of mathematics known as C-star algebra. It was Chandler Davis, his teacher and friend at Columbia, who persuaded Terry to come to the University of Toronto, one of few universities interested in C-star mathematics.
There are elements of Terry’s life that reflect the upbringing he had as one of seven children. Family gatherings were songfests of Bach chorales and 16th and 17th century rounds. He, like his father, sang in choirs. He went on to sing in the Boston Symphony Chorus at Tanglewood, the Camerata Singers in New York and later the Toronto Chamber Society (now renamed the Toronto Chamber Choir).
His wife Connie recalls Terry talking of how he and his sister would go the local dump and retrieve clocks and radios and take them apart just to see how they worked. He was a hands-on type from an early age and always wanted to “figure things out.”
Terry was in the U.S. Navy during the war as an instructor in radar and sonar. After marriage and three daughters, his wife died of cancer. His second wife, Connie helped raise the children.
In Toronto Terry became a pivotal force in sustaining Science for Peace and promoting the idea of a Peace Studies Chair at the university. Starting with no money Terry enlisted Peter Richardson and William Klassen to raise the necessary one half million. When Anatol retired prematurely (at age 72!) from the directorship of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, and returned to Toronto, Terry persuaded him to start the program and be the first director and Professor of Peace Studies. Rapoport, though a most celebrated scholar, agreed to teach and manage the peace studies program for nothing, and accept only the modest fees paid to sessional appointees for individual courses taught. Terry also brought Anatol into Science for Peace as a member, then Board member, and as President, in May 1984.
Terry was also a promoter of the monthly Science for Peace lectures at the U of T. He was passionate about getting the best lecturers in peace issues to make contact with the public and with students.
Terry, as the Education Director of Science for Peace attended the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition interested in ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
What did Terry do to maintain his energy for peace work? Connie thinks the bicycle and the music were two ways he coped. Their trips took them throughout Ontario, to Montreal, Prince Edward Island, Austria, France, Maine, wherever the bike routes were in beautiful countryside.
His personal work habits are not ones to copy, his desk was a mess, he eschewed electronic media as long as he could and he left 40 papers unpublished. His interest was not in personal advancement or accolades. Getting credit was not important.
Connie recalls one high point in Terry’s life. He heard retired US General Lee Butler speak on the Cold War and of how horrified he (Butler) was by what he had learned through serving as a high-ranking officer. Butler thanked the peace movement for keeping the issues alive so people were informed and ready to respond.
It was on the internet pages of US Space Command that Terry found the decoded language of Vision 2020 and the long range plan for US space dominance. Terry related this to CNANW and to the Department of Foreign Affairs who took his material. Not many weeks later, as a result of much campaigning, Canadian support for Missile Defense was rejected in Canada.
To his longtime friend, Derek Paul, Terry had a natural dignity and was the epitome of “See, hear, or think no evil” of anyone.
There are things we can learn from Terry’s life: don’t worry about who gets the credit, just do it; connect with friends and mentors; never give up; don’t waste time stewing, just get busy; push the limits if you must; find a good soul mate, enjoy singing and whistling, wearing your old cap and bicycling, take time for wine, whiskey and good food.
I would add: renew your membership in one of the best peace and justice groups around. Terry would like that.
A shorter version was first published in Peace Magazine.
Swimming Against the Tide: The Peace Pledge Union Story 1934-2009. (Peace Pledge Union, 2010).
Mountain Justice: Homegrown Resistance to Mountaintop Removal, For the Future of Us All. (AK, 2010).
Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the Nuclear disarmament Movement. (Stanford, 2009).
Convenient Killing: Armed Drones and the ‘Playstation’ Mentality. (Free download at www.for.UK/act/campaign).
Three Canadian writers are among finalists for the Lionel Gelber Prize.
- Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America by Shelagh D. Grant.
- Arrival City: The Final Migration and our Next World by Doug Saunders.
- Yalta: The Price of Peace by S. M. Plokhy.
Agenda for a New Economy: from Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by David Korten (Berrett-Koehler Inc., 2009).
World on the Edge by Lester Brown.
Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery.
God’s Tears: Reflections on the Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (poetry) by David Kreiger, president of NAPF. (Coal Sack Pub – Tokyo, 2010)
The Bomb by Howard Zinn. (2010)
Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis by Alanna Mitchell. (Emblem McClelland & Stewart, 2009)
Security Without Deterrence by Commander Robert Green. (Astron Media and the Disarmament & Security Centre, 2010).
Gasland by Josh Fox
Inside Job by Charles Ferguson
Coal Country by Mari-Lynn Evans and Phylis Geller
Full text version of all articles from PDF edition is also available.