Volunteer Spotlight: Romania Chapter Co-Coordinator Florina Tufescu

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:

Iași, Romania

How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?

I have always been a pacifist and a human rights supporter and I had trusted that the Romanian government and the EU, which was founded to preserve and sustain peace, would act morally and responsibly to protect the rights of their citizens and those of migrants and refugees. Following President Putin’s thoroughly reprehensible invasion of Ukraine, the swift introduction of censorship across the board by the European Broadcasting Union and the hijacking of the EU institutions and agenda by the military-industrial complex came as an extraordinary shock to me. I realised I had to do my bit towards restoring a humane, reason- and peace-oriented Europe so I became a member of several, extremely knowledgeable and hard-working peace-building organisations, namely WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), IPB (International Peace Bureau) and Svenska Freds (Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society).

World BEYOND War is the pacifist organisation in which I have been most active since completing the Organising 101 course with the wonderful Greta Zarro, which provides great orientation for activist wannabes. I unreservedly support the organisation’s resolute opposition to all and any wars and any war justifications as well as its constructive efforts for peace through activism and education. You’ve made it easy to participate in peace-building work since you are so open to new ideas and contributions, which is truly commendable and inspiring!

What kinds of WBW activities do you work on?

I have recently started the Romanian chapter of World BEYOND War, together with the Romanian peace activist and feminist scholar Maria Cernat. I also contribute to the events calendar, in particular to expanding the coverage of Europe-based events, so if the people reading this have any peace-related events taking place in Europe, they should send them to me for publication.

Research-wise, my focus is on achieving a better understanding of the Russia-Ukraine-NATO-EU conflict and of the different peace proposals, which need to be seriously discussed and thought about as a first step towards restarting the urgently needed peace negotiations and reducing the unacceptable risk of nuclear escalation.

I am also very keen to participate in any research or campaigning efforts in support of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian conscientious objectors. I am convinced that if men were allowed to opt out of war, most wars would end sooner. The Russia-Ukraine war would probably end tomorrow.

What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with anti-war activism and WBW?

My top recommendation is to jump right in! Sign the peace pledge, check out the events calendar and show up for one of the many online events and for the events in your region/country, whether organised by WBW or by other pacifist organisations. Once you meet like-minded people, everything becomes so much easier because you will feel inspired and supported.

In my case, starting a chapter in Romania felt like climbing the Everest – until I travelled to the Vienna Conference on Autonomous Weapons Systems, where I met so many brilliant researchers and activists, especially some exceptionally knowledgeable and confident young people, who are working towards a better, saner world. The power of human encounters cannot be overestimated – so I urge anyone reading this to talk to the people closest to you about peace and to attend any peace-related events and conferences in your area.

I would also recommend that you think about your interests and skills and how they can be put to work for peace. Perhaps you enjoy reading and studying like I do and you could join a WBW course or book club. Or perhaps you enjoy sports and would rather Move for Peace…Whatever interests and skills you already have can be combined with and strengthened by your commitment to peace!

What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?

I am inspired by the absolute certainty that 99.9% of the people desire to live in a world of freedom, beauty and justice while scarcely daring to believe it is possible and that the longing for peace and understanding is never completely extinguished even in the most war-(ideology)-impacted individuals. And even they can be made to change their minds if we keep imagining and advocating for peace.

Whenever I meet people in real life, I am struck by how kind and unpredictable and creative they are, just like in that old Louis Armstrong song. It is nothing like the war-mongering news that we are daily bombarded with or like the misnamed realist doctrine, which is merely the rationalisation of an exceptionally skewed world view in which human lives count for nothing and the supposed interests of states, as defined by the people in power, are provided as justification for carnage and the destruction of so many worlds painstakingly built over centuries and millennia.

I am also motivated by the belief that all of us and especially children and young people deserve to live in a better world. I was born and grew up under a dictatorship so freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of movement and all the freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) are precious to me, perhaps more so than to people who have always enjoyed them. We need to stand up for human rights and for each other so we can all enjoy our beautiful world in peace!

Posted June 24, 2024.

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