By Marc Eliot Stein, March 15, 2019
We had just uploaded the exciting new second episode of World BEYOND War’s new podcast when the news came in that cast our roundtable in a terrible light. This episode features myself and Greta Zarro, both from different parts of New York State, Shabbir Lakha from London and Liz Remmerswaal Hughes from New Zealand. We were talking about the upcoming #NoToNATO events in Washington DC, and about the state of antiwar activism in general in 2019.
The moments in this conversation I recall now, after hearing the terrible news of 49 killed in Christchurch, New Zealand, are the ones where Shabbir Lakha mentioned that Islamophobia is an unspoken but major undercurrent to many of the debates about war, militarism, racism and social justice that rage around the world today – along with the many things Liz Remmerswaal Hughes said about her own country, New Zealand, which is bearing the agony of a shocking new disaster today.
There’s not much more that needs to be said in introducing the second episode of World BEYOND War’s new podcast, in which we talk about the peace festival and other events that we’ll be helping to host in Washington DC from March 30 to April 4. The four of us talked about what makes this event unique, and about several controversial topics related to the presence of NATO in the world: military spending, the history of NATO, media and journalism, Russia. These topics can be perplexing, and the goal of all the podcasts in the World BEYOND War podcast series is to engage between peace activists in a loose format, and to encourage conversation at many levels.
We also hope this particular podcast episode will inspire many of you to show up for the Washington DC #NoToNATO event! Going to a peace festival is a great way to develop yourself as an activist, and remind you of ways you can give back to the world by getting involved in important causes that can really make a difference. Please listen today, on Soundcloud or iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or anywhere else, and please join us in Washington DC in a couple of weeks if you can!
Shabbir Lakha is an Officer of the Stop the War Coalition in the UK and was one of the organisers of the demonstration against Donald Trump when he visited London in 2018. He is also a People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Palestine solidarity activist, and is a member and regular writer for Counterfire.
Liz Remmerswaal Hughes is a coordinating committee member of World BEYOND War and the New Zealand chapter coordinator. Liz is a journalist, environmentalist activist and former politician, having served six years on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. The daughter and granddaughter of soldiers, who fought other people’s wars in far flung places, she never got over war’s stupidity and became a pacifist. Liz is an active Quaker and formerly co Vice-President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Aotearoa/New Zealand. Liz lives with her husband on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
Marc Eliot Stein is director of technology and social media for World BEYOND War, and has also built websites for Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Words Without Borders, Eliot Katz, Foreign Policy, Time Magazine, iVillage, Eli Stein Cartoons and many other organizations. He became involved in World BEYOND War after attending the #NoWar2017 conference, and has been honored to become more involved in this important cause since. Marc also runs a literary blog, Literary Kicks, and a new podcast about the literary and historical side of opera, “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera”. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Greta Zarro is organizing director for World BEYOND War. Her experience includes volunteer recruitment and engagement, event organizing, coalition building, legislative and media outreach, and public speaking. Greta graduated as valedictorian from St. Michael’s College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology. She then pursued a master’s in Food Studies at New York University before accepting a full-time community organizing job with leading non-profit Food & Water Watch. There, she worked on issues related to fracking, genetically engineered foods, climate change, and the corporate control of our common resources. Greta describes herself as a vegetarian sociologist-environmentalist. She is interested in the interconnections of social-ecological systems and sees the profligacy of the military-industrial complex, as part of the larger corporatocracy, as the root of many cultural and environmental ills. She and her partner currently live in an off-grid tiny home on their organic fruit and vegetable farm in Upstate New York.