Sunday, April 6, 2008

Iraq Never Again:

Ending War, Building Peace

Two-day conference — Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15 and 16

Customs House, Circular Quay, 31 Albert Street, Sydney

Professor Joseph Camilleri (La Trobe University) states:

The mounting human, financial and diplomatic costs which the United States has had to shoulder in Iraq are directly related to the illegitimacy of the operation…. The same process is about to unfold in Afghanistan, although here allies of the United States, including Australia, have been less forthright in distancing themselves from US priorities and policies.

Associate Professor Jake Lynch (University of Sydney) suggests:

Australian troops are now being pulled back from frontline duties in Iraq, but public opinion is split down the middle on whether we should be in Afghanistan– the case against it is seldom aired because the mission is supported by leaders of both main parties in parliament.

Professor Stuart Rees (Sydney Peace Foundation) argues:

The continued Iraqi deaths and the recording of the 4000th US casualty make the peace debate long overdue. But imagining peace requires a radical shift in thinking away from militarism and violence towards all the ideals of human rights .

Cost: $95 full price and $55 concession, includes conference materials, lunch (vegetarian & halal available) morning and afternoon tea and an evening peace festival aboard the Peace Boat in Sydney Harbour.

Proceeds from this conference will go towards scholarships for
Iraqi and Afghan postgraduate students to study in Sydney

Register online at

In addition to marking the 5th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the conference will celebrate the 20th Birthday of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies and the
25th Anniversary of the launch of the Peace Boat.

Enquiries: or (02) 9351 4468

Conference organised by the Sydney Peace Foundation and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney; Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Global University of the Peace Boat.

Conference Programme

March 26, 2008

Iraq Never Again:
Ending War, Building Peace

The assumption by leaders that violence is a way to obtain resources and even to promote democracy has contributed to the catastrophe of Iraq. Running parallel to this age old reliance on militarism is the inability of leaders to plan for a just peace. This conference will examine the non violence policy alternative to war, the human costs of Iraq and the humanitarian means of security. In Iraq and elsewhere, only these alternatives promise a more peaceful and joy-full future.
In addition to marking the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, this conference will celebrate the 20th birthday of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies and the 25th anniversary of the launch of the international Peace Boat.

Tuesday and Wednesday April 15th and 16th 2008
Two Day Conference

Customs House
Circular Quay, 31 Albert Street, Sydney
Day One - The Fascination with Violence
8.30 Registration

9.00 Welcome
A/Professor Jake Lynch, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Professor Richard Broinowski, Adjunct Professor, University of Sydney, former Australian diplomat and former General Manager, Radio Australia
9.30 Fascination with Wars, Illiteracy about Non-Violence
Facilitator: Dr. Lynda-Ann Blanchard, Executive Officer, Sydney Peace Foundation
Dr. Michael McKinley, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Strategy,
Australian National University
Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, Director, Sydney Peace Foundation
11.00 Morning tea

11.30 The Human Costs of Iraq and other Wars
Facilitator: Donna Mulhearn, Peace Activist
Dr. Susan Wareham, President, Medical Association for the Prevention of War
Dr. Richard Hil, Senior Lecturer, Southern Cross University
1.00 Lunch

2.00 Iraq War and Regional Consequences
Facilitator: Nick Deane, Marrickville Peace Group
I.Asia Pacific – Professor Kenji Isezaki, Head of Peace & Conflict Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, former Japanese Government Representative for Disarmament, Demobilization & Reintegration in Afghanistan
II.Middle East – Noah Bassil, Associate, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Macquarie University
3.30 Afternoon tea

4.00 Thinking Differently about Iraq? – Poets and Poetry for Peace
Orchestrated by: Brendon Doyle, Lynette Simons, Stuart Rees
Teachers in “Passion, Peace and Poetry”, University of Sydney
4.45 Peace Boat Festival Announcement
4.50 Closing
Professor Sev Ozdowski, Adjunct Professor CPACS, former Human Rights Commissioner
Evening Session: Peace Festival – On the Peace Boat
5.30 – 9.30 Performing Arts as Antidote to War
Day Two - The Non-Violent Alternatives
8.45 Registration

9.00 Building Peace in Iraq: Youth Visions
Roza Germian, Kurdish Journalist and Peace Activist
Samer Khamisy, Iraqi Peace Activist
Representative from the Peace Boat
10.30 Morning tea

11.00 Ending War, Building Peace: The International Canvas
Facilitator: Dr. Hannah Middleton, Sydney Peace Foundation
Professor Joseph Camilleri
Professor of International Relations and Director, Centre for Dialogue, La Trobe
11.45 Coalition of the Unwilling: Washington or Democracy, Not Both
A/Professor Jake Lynch
Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
12.30 Closing
Ian Cohen
Green MP, Member of the NSW Legislative Council
12.45 Farewelling the Peace Boat leaving Sydney Harbour

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News Items - February 2008

[1] We will be talking with the organisers of the upcoming anti-war rally in Sydney, with a view to eliciting a commitment to nonviolence from each of the participating groups.

[2] The Nonviolence Training Project (see sidebar) is apparently defunct. We are exploring avenues to try to revive this project, or one very much like it.

[3] Want to read more about nonviolence as a political strategy?

Here are two books we highly recommend:
  • Waging Nonviolent Struggle - 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential - by Gene Sharp ISBN: 978-0-87558-161
  • The Power Of Nonviolence - Writings By Advocates Of Peace - Introduction by Howard Zinn ISBN: 0-8070-1407-9
[4] We are always looking for more members, so please feel free to contact us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Human Rights Monitors

Prior to, during, and after the APEC 2007 protests in Sydney, a group calling themselves Human Rights Monitors captured some media attention.

When they heard about us, they were initially quick and keen to talk to us. That was, until they discovered that we, unlike them, were going to monitor violence on both sides i.e. police violence and demonstrator violence. Then they dropped us like a hot potato.

It appears that the Human Rights Monitors think all protester violence is always justified and not a human rights issue. In other words, protesters have human rights, but citizens, business owners, police, etc, don't have any human rights. The latter are apparently considered subhuman and therefore "fair game".

We wanted to get into an email debate with this group about this issue, but to date their spokesperson has not responded with any substantive arguments, except to point out that he thought our ethics were "interesting".

To be fair, we think Human Rights Monitors provided important legal support to the protesters and we applaud the group for this.

Our problem is that we think their name is misleading people into assuming that they give a damn for the human rights of victims of protester violence. It is this partisan approach to "justice" which we find disconcerting.

Should they read this and wish to reply, I will publish their reply as an "update" to this article.

Cartoon by: Cathy Wilcox, Sydney Morning Herald, October 1, 2007.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Where to after APEC?

We hope to continue the conversation about nonviolence as a political strategy with as many political activist groups and individuals as possible. It is intended for PPPA to help provide impetus for activist groups and individuals committed to nonviolence to form a coalition within which ongoing dialogue continues to explore ways to implement our common goal of keeping political protest nonviolent.

It's time that those seeking to bring violence to peaceful protest actions are made unwelcome at such events. The future integrity and credibility of peaceful protests depends on this.

Please help us. Join us. You can make a difference.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No provocateurs wanted at APEC...

From the desk of Sylvia Hale MLC (NSW Greens):
Canadian authorities admitted last week that three people photographed wearing bandanas covering their faces and carrying rocks at a recent demonstration at a North American government leaders summit were undercover police officers.

This week I called on the NSW Premier to guarantee that there will be no undercover police or other security agents attempting to provoke violence at Sydney's APEC demonstrations.

The most provocative statements about possible violence at the APEC protests have come from the PM, the Premier, the Police Minister and the new Police Commissioner, not the protest organisers.

Sydney has a long history of peaceful political protest and the Greens want to see that history

We are discouraging any violence by either protesters or police.

Monday, August 13, 2007

APEC 2007 Sydney

A peaceful protest rally, organised by the Stop Bush Coalition, is planned for Sydney, commencing at Sydney Town Hall, 10am Saturday 8th September. We are opposed to the use of violence as a means of achieving political objectives. We believe that conflict resolution cannot be achieved by waging war. Therefore we are opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and urge for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. For these reasons Peaceful People Power Australia strongly supports the peaceful protest rally planned for September 8.

We will have observers present, armed with video cameras. We will be capturing video of any violent action observed. We will not discriminate. Police, troops, spooks, protesters... anyone observed conducting themselves in a violent manner will be videoed.

With regard to video obtained of protesters behaving badly, we do not intend to release such video to police or the media. The sole purpose of obtaining such video is to support our future negotiations with activist groups about how protester violence undermines the credibility and integrity of peaceful protests .

With regard to video obtained of police, troops, spooks, etc, behaving badly, we intend to make such video available to the victims, their legal representatives, and activist groups committed to nonviolence.

We hope this clarifies questions regarding our agenda and intentions. If you have further questions please email us.

We need as many observers as possible, so, if you have a camcorder and are willing to act as an observer, please contact us immediately.

We are not taking on any more video observers because of time constraints to do with the need for briefing and training of observers prior to APEC.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Our Aims

We seek to encourage discussions on the topic of peaceful people power as a political strategy.

We envisage that this site will eventually form a database rating known political activist groups on their stated and demonstrated commitment to nonviolent political action.

Let us know what you think. Share your ideas with us. Tell us about your activist group's commitment (or lack of) to nonviolence. If you want to get more deeply involved, we'd love you to join our group.