Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?
Only recently have I been personally involved in anti-war activism. In the beginning of 2020, during my master’s studies in Dublin, I came into contact with the WBW Ireland chapter. I was put in contact with Barry Sweeney (coordinator of the Irish chapter) by a classmate and I started my experience with this wonderful group. In December 2020, I also joined the board of the WBW Youth Network.
To date, I don’t feel like calling myself an anti-war activist because my contribution has mostly been through participation in meetings, seminars, and events organized by the various WBW groups but never in the field (also due to Covid-19). However, I can’t wait to be involved in the field and demonstrate in person with the Irish group and with the Italian group that has been created in recent months.
What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?
I am currently doing an organizing internship with WBW under the supervision of Organizing Director Greta Zarro. I am also part of the group of volunteers who post events on the website. In this role I am in charge of publishing articles on the website and posting WBW sponsored events and events of other WBW affiliated organizations related to the anti-war movement around the world.
In my internship with World BEYOND War I also have the opportunity to take the War and the Environment course directed by Education Director Phill Gittins and better understand how to be useful to the cause through education for peace and the participation of young people in the abolition of war and peace efforts.
Outside my internship I help WBW through the Youth Network. I put together the monthly newsletter for the network and assist with website design.
What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with WBW?
I think anyone can feel accepted and welcomed at WBW and find the role that suits them best. I think it is important first of all that people begin to learn more about their territory and the history of their state to understand what they can do concretely in their area. For example, I am Italian and I was encouraged to participate in WBW because I would like to contribute to the closure of military bases in Italy to make my territory and my population safer. Another piece of advice I would like to give is to listen to those who have been advocating for this cause for years to learn as much as possible and, at the same time, interact and express your own opinion by sharing personal experiences to enrich the other people in your group. You don’t need to have any qualifications to start being part of the non-violent anti-war movement; the only quality you need to have is the passion and conviction for wanting to stop war. It is not a simple path nor an immediate path but all together, day after day, with optimism we can make a difference in this world both for us and for future generations.
What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?
World BEYOND War Youth Network members. Many of them live in war-torn countries or have suffered the consequences of war in some way. They inspire me every week with their stories and their struggle to achieve a world in peace. In addition, the series of 5 webinars organized by the Irish group of WBW gave me the opportunity to speak with refugees from different countries. Their stories motivated me to change because no one in the world should experience such atrocities.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your activism?
By the time I joined the Irish WBW group the pandemic had already begun so I can’t compare the impact it really had on my activism. What I can say is that the pandemic has stripped people of some of the freedoms that are often taken for granted and this has frightened people. These feelings and frustrations can help us empathize with people who live in war-torn countries where they have no freedom, where their rights are constantly violated, and where they always live in fear. I think the emotions people experienced in the pandemic can help spur us on to take a stand and help those living in fear and injustice.
Posted July 8, 2021.