Volunteer Spotlight: Furquan Gehlen

Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email greta@worldbeyondwar.org.

Location:

Vancouver, Canada

How did you get involved with World BEYOND War (WBW)?

I have been involved in anti-war activism since the early 1980’s as a teenager. I used to take part in rallies, letter writing campaigns, and petitions, amongst other activist activities. After the rallies against the Iraq war in 2003 failed to stop the attack, I was disillusioned for some time and over the next few years I was searching for a better way to strengthen the movement to stop wars. Around 2012 I got involved with Canadian Peace Initiative which was working towards establishing a Federal Department of Peace in the Canadian government. In 2016 I went to an event at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship where David Swanson spoke. Since then I started reading more about World BEYOND War and started reading David’s book War is a Lie. Eventually I attended a conference in Toronto in 2018 called No War 2018. By this time I was so inspired by World BEYOND War’s work and the conference that I decided I would start up a chapter in the Vancouver area. I started this process when I got back home and the chapter was up and running by 2019.

What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?

My current role is as the chapter coordinator for World BEYOND War Vancouver. I get involved in organizing events for the chapter. At our first event Tamara Lorincz talked about the links between the Climate Crisis, Militarism and War. Then we had a couple of events where David Swanson spoke about the myths of war. The videos are located here and here.

I am also part of the organizing committee for the #NoWar2021 conference scheduled for June 2021 in Ottawa, and also part of the effort to rebuild the Canadian Peace movement by creating a Canadian Peace Network.

What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with WBW?

Become active in the activities of World BEYOND War through your local chapter. Find a chapter in your area, and if there is not one, start one. While doing this continue to educate yourself so that you are confident in making the case for why we should end wars including the very institution of war.

What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?

I believe that the time for major change is coming. Multiple crises are exposing the problems with the status quo. We really are one planet, and one people that inhabit this beautiful planet. Our actions are devastating the planet and we are starting to see the frightening repercussions of our behavior. In this type of environment, the case for ending all wars and even the institution of war only gets stronger. I am continually inspired by the countless individuals around the world who are struggling to end wars, to clean up the environment and to create a more just and equitable world for everyone.

How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your activism?

Events have become virtual and there is limited in person contact, however there is increased online contact. This brings about some challenges, but also some opportunities.

Posted July 27, 2020.

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