In the same mountainous setting that surrounds the Punta de Vacas Park for Study and Reflection in which, just over a year ago, the project to travel the planet in a World March for Peace and Non Violence was launched, some two hundred members of the humanist social movement ‘World Without War’ met on January 4th to evaluate the results of this march, which had concluded two days earlier in the same place, at the foot of Mount Aconcagua.
Among the most notable conclusions, attendees – including some who were part of the team that traveled through the 93 countries visited by the march – maintained that the march was fully justified given great human suffering throughout the world that results from numerous forms of violence and from various contemporary military conflicts. It is enough to highlight the value that was given to testimonies of several marchers wherein they expressed that the experience had changed their lives in a positive way.
One of the movement’s most important accomplishments is that hundreds of thousands of people and influential public figures of diverse types and nationalities pledged their support for the World March; each and every one of its supporters is a voice that adds to the pressure that should be put on governments and institutions that are responsible for war and growing militarisation. Furthermore, the march’s passage through hundreds of cities on the five continents and preparations for its arrival made space for the birth of innumerable projects and activities related to the creation of consciousness regarding peace and non violence, many of which will continue to develop and grow even after the end of the march. Among these, it is enough to point out the commitment of many local governments that, in addition to their support for marchers, each subscribed to commitments regarding the inclusion of classes in their educational programs that promote the culture of peace and a non violent methodology.
Working together in a network of over two thousand organisations that joined the World March gave fruits that will translate into new projects such as a campaign to increase the diffusion and the commitment of governments around the world to the ‘Letter for a World without Violence’ which originated at the permanent summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners, or the integration of new mayors to the ‘Mayors for Peace’ collective, an organisation that was created by the mayor of Hiroshima that aims to abolish nuclear arms by 2020. Pol D’Huyvetter, global secretary of the organisation, was present at the meeting in Punta de Vacas and declared that “just as ‘World Without War’ will not be able to end war by acting by itself, ‘Mayors for Peace’ will likewise be unable to ensure nuclear abolition without help from others.”
The members of ‘World Without War’ that met in Punta de Vacas, coming from countries on all five continents, also broached themes relating to the reorganisation of the social movement, a task that is necessary in order for it to grow in terms of members and to likewise increase its influence in the world. The movement’s objectives where redefined, emphasizing those that relate to the creation of non-violent planetary consciousness; the organisation will be made up of two kinds of members, differentiating between those that are committed to action, as well as supporters or sympathisers. It was decided that the first type will be those that, by means of an annual quota to be determined by country, will finance the basic needs of the association.
Looking to the future, attendees exchanged ideas regarding hundreds of projects that have been collected, some of which are already being carried out, and regarding the importance of sustaining the accomplishments of the World March. Among the ideas and actions that emerged are a virtual world march, a federation of Non Violent Cities, a Scientific Network for Disarmament, and an initiative to increase the transparency of contributions to politicians from companies that make and sell weapons.
The presence of Rafael de la Rubia, founder of ‘World Without War’ and global coordinator of the March provoked a long, heart-felt round of applause in recognition of the strong impetus that he gave to the movement through his vision of a world march and through his uninterrupted participation in it, from its beginning in New Zealand to its conclusion in Argentina.
*(Translated by Jaimie Boyd Guevara)*