The 3rd World March at the Eirenefest in Rome – Italy

This post is also available in: Spanish, Italian

We publish here the words of Rafael de la Rubia in his intervention this Saturday in Rome, on the occasion of the Eirenefest, Festival of Peace and Nonviolence:

On this occasion I am going to present you with some facts, a few certainties, some things we are trying out and many, many doubts…

A year ago, at the previous Eirenefest, I presented the almost finished draft of the 2nd WM book. These days we are no end finishing the edition, when we are already directing the 3rd MM. This work has texts in more than 20 languages, of course Italian.

In this 21st century, with the crisis of 2008, after the pandemic, after the war, and now Artificial Intelligence, which they say is going to bring about an even greater change than the printing press… I think it is time to focus on it. Reorder our values and no end put people at the centre of society. Everything will take on a different dimension if we put the human being at the centre and support everything that benefits him and push away everything that harms him. Putting them at the centre of society, at the centre of politics, at the centre of the economy, at the centre of medicine, at the centre of research, and nature, as the home of mankind, must also be taken care of. At this stage we cannot see medicine as a business that benefits large companies with economic interests, but as a service to improve people’s quality of life.

I am going to talk briefly about 3 things: 1) the 3rd WM, the need to give many responses, and this is one of them, given the situation we live in; 2) how the small actions that everyone does can be scaled up; and 3) an invitation, which I hope will be well received, to make our reflection, given the character that events are taking on. Hopefully, we will have some time for you to ask questions….

  • 3rd WMW On 21 June last, in 2022, we announced the 3rd World March for Peace and Nonviolence in Vienna. It was at the 1st meeting of the countries that had ratified the NPT – the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
    Previously we held two world marches in 2009 and 2019. There we saw that the aspirations of the majority of people were for Peace and that Nonviolence was becoming more and more accepted all over the world.
    This 3rd WM will start in Costa Rica on 2 October 2024 and, after circumnavigating the globe, will also end in the capital of Costa Rica on 5 January 2025.
    We will show: a) How to create global action from local and regional projects. b) How to highlight the value of small actions for it to make a global campaign based on mutual support. c) The need for these actions to be exemplary. d) The connections of the local and regional to the global.
    In addition, we will activate the March by Sea until a “Mediterranean Sea of Peace and Free of Nuclear Weapons” is declared. We made our first tour of the Western Mediterranean in 2019.
    Financial resources. A not minor issue is, with what means do we finance the WM?
    We do not accept any sponsorship that conditions our message. We each pay our own expenses, so that our hands are not tied and we can speak freely. The WM does not accept sponsors who condition its proposals.
    In this 3rd WM we will go one step further in the construction of the path that human beings started a long time ago towards Peace and Nonviolence.
    We invite all organisations working for Peace and Nonviolence to come together in this 3rd WM. Hopefully everyone can take up their own issue and scale it up to the international level. A small organisation can take advantage of its participation in the WM and expand its activities to other countries and regions.
    As already announced, the WMs will have a 5-year sequence.
    Today the world is more in need than ever of those who are in favour of peace to show their voice and their example.
    Some non-violence and peace leaders were saying, I am not concerned about the violent ones, there are not so many of them, but about the inaction of those who say they are in favour of peace. Are there not 10% or 20% of Europeans in favour of peace? If these people demonstrated if they took to the streets two or three times. If 50 or 100 million Europeans were to demonstrate non-violently… I think things would change a lot in Europe… We have just taken part in the Peruggia – Assisi march. We have seen tens of thousands of people mobilised. It is an example and a reference in Europe in the work for peace. We believe that actions like this should be supported and new ones should be generated. We are going to direct an invitation to organisations and countries to come together and be inspired by the March to Perugia. We hope that next year there will be demonstrations all over Europe in support of Peace, of which we are in such great need.There, in Perugia, we listened to the proposals of young people from the different schools.
    After that, all that remains is to say that we should listen to the young people and hopefully we can listen to them and follow their instructions. It is the new generations from whom we have to learn and whom we have to help.
Photo by Marco Inglessis

2) How small actions can be scaled up. Here there are certainties and doubts begin. Decision and fit: We think that everyone can and must make their contribution. No matter what it is. It is not necessary to look for references outside, given the situation, everyone has to decide what he/she does for him/herself. What decision he makes gives him coherence and opens up his future. He has to reflect on himself, the future of those close to him, his children, his grandchildren and in general the future of humanity.

Permanence: Another characteristic is permanence. It is a short action in time 15′ or 30′. But every week. If we hold out for 4 weeks, that is to say 1 month, the phenomenon is sure to detonate… It is possible that before… Evaluation: Each person evaluates how to improve what he or she does, how to have a better fit and how to connect with others.

Testimony: This has to do with giving a testimony. Ideas arise of “if we all got together”, but that doesn’t work from there. It will work when the conflict is already open, but we have to anticipate it, not wait for the conflict to break out… When a conflict breaks out it is very difficult to stop it. If we had demonstrated before the war in Ukraine, perhaps we could have had an influence, but now it is much more complicated… Progress: One of the indicators is if the network is widening with others joining the action. If this happens, the force, diversity and meaning will increase.
As we said before, what would happen if 10% of the world’s citizens, i.e. 800 million, took to the streets in a disorganised way, without banners, without joint slogans, even at different times?
These actions produce a psycho-social effect… The issue is that we have been minimised and we are disconnected from our force and possibilities… The future opens up… We can try to say: “yes, we can”, this will increase certainty, which will broaden the action and a new situation will emerge.

3) But for this to happen, it has to come from each one of us. This will be helped by a profound personal reflection. This is in keeping with the character and tone that events are taking.
The proposal is to meditate in profundity and decide that I have to do something. It can help to situate oneself as a human being, a member of the species, and from there, what to do? When we come into this world we find thousands of things contributed by those who preceded us, in all fields, positive and some negative. Some of them we can make use of and others so that we do not repeat them. From this point of view, when we look around us, we discover that there are hundreds, thousands of things that we use every day that were invented and contributed by countless ancestors. Culture, habits, objects, technology, medicine, cuisine, art, books, etc., etc. So, I can say “I want and I have to make my contribution. Well, I wish I could do many more. But at least given the situation I have to do something”.

What to do? When? Where? These are questions that have to be answered and that will not stop nagging until I give them a satisfactory response… Understanding: Perhaps there is a kind of momentary understanding that could develop like this…: “It’s a process over time. The violence against each other, within the advances that some had, were also destructive technological advances. It didn’t matter how advanced their society was. What prevailed was the destructive advance. If a society had greater advances, but not in weapons, it was destroyed. The one who applied all his knowledge to warfare prevailed… Thus armies were the first to realise that numbers mattered… A larger army had a better chance of winning. But not only that. If their weapons were more lethal and effective than their opponents, that was what defined the situation. So weapons became more and more sophisticated, more destructive, and that was the key to victory… This is how the human species progressed, not only because of advances in general but also because of discoveries applied to destroying and/or managing others. Those who won appropriated all the best of the enemy, including all their technology, which they incorporated into their heritage…”.

So it has been in human history up to the present “those who have had the greatest destructive technological development are those who have imposed their judgement, including those who invented nuclear weapons”. But since then, and with their diversification, there are now 9 countries that have them, the situation has changed, and in a few more years there will be 20 or 30 countries that possess weapons of mass destruction… So, either we do the same with atomic weapons as with chemical or biological weapons, and also with anti-personnel mines and defragmentation mines, which have been banned, or the species will end up destroying itself, making Einstein’s phrase “I don’t know what the third world war will be like, but the fourth will be with sticks and stones” come true… “We have no other way out, either we ban nuclear weapons or we disappear as a species”. This discovery shocked me…

Manifesting: The realisation that the only thing that could change the situation was to manifest rejection of it. What was clearer was to show refusal: and the phrase “Not in my name” was the most fitting. It was all becoming more and more understandable: society had moved on since the Hammurabi 1 code, which itself was an advance on earlier times. That code spoke of the right to the proportionality of response. It was an eye for an eye. You had the right to take an eye if he had done it to you, but no more… You didn’t have the right to kill him. Later on, that changed and today in an advanced society the criminalisation of a crime is left to the justice system. That is accepted by all peoples and countries. There will be objections as to whether justice is fair, whether it is proportional and whether it is just. Surely it needs to be improved and perfected. But in general, it is an advance on the Hammurabi Code… This is already in place in all countries, but not at the international level… If a powerful country invades a small one, there is no one who can stop it… The creation of the United Nations responded to this need and in its preamble it declared: “We the peoples…”. It started off well, but the nuclear-armed countries gradually took over the United Nations and robbed it of its initial strength. Now it is necessary for them to regain relevance.

Attempt: Faced with this impossibility, there was only one option left: to express our rejection. How to do… We have children, grandchildren… What will become of them? We remember our parents who went through two world wars…

Conviction: It cannot be that the human being does not give a response to the situation. There are many studies. Steven Pinker, for example, talks about the fact that the human race has made notable progress worldwide in eradicating violence, in life expectancy, in combating hunger, in overcoming death by disease, and so on. All indicators of the progress of the human species. On the other hand, talking to close friends, relatives, and even former social activists is like putting one’s head in a well, a generalised discouragement.
Questions arise: How do we deal with this situation? If inflation rises? unemployment? now with the challenges of AI? setbacks in democracies? loss of rights? all over Europe, they want to reintroduce compulsory military service and abolish conscientious objection. Is it coherent to continue sending tanks and military equipment to Ukraine? But at what cost? It’s not about a video game, and then you go back to see your friends… It’s about the possible disappearance of the species, with all that entails…


Están todos invitados a participar en la 3ª Marcha Mundial.


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