Letter: Cheap pacifist talk costs lives

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The Independent Online
A N WILSON's idea of unarmed peace workers, a "disarmy" if you will, is not a new idea. Gandhi proposed it over 50 years ago and for more than 10 years Peace Brigades International has been placing volunteers in Latin American countries to accompany threatened human-rights activists. Their presence has saved these people's lives and has created a safe space for them to continue their work.

There is a similar project in Kosovo. Since 1995 the Balkan Peace Team (a coalition project of 11 international peace groups) has been working with grassroots initiatives in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that support democracy-building and alternatives to violence. I am one of its volunteers, in London now, waiting until I can go back to Belgrade and Pristina. The thrust of our work was to promote dialogue between Serbs and Albanians, trying to create bridges between the two communities that would foster a peaceful co-existence. Our years of work have been undermined by the Nato bombings and it is uncertain whether we will be able to return. I often think of the many years' worth of work we could accomplish with the money one cruise missile costs.


BPT Yugoslavia, London N19