Report Back from Protests at U.S. Military Base in Okinawa, Japan
By Joe Essertier, Chapter Coordinator, Japan for a World BEYOND War
What a contrast: the violence of the U.S. and Japan alongside the people’s struggle for peace and justice. The solidarity and cooperation. The inspiring activists. Non-violent, direct action—I have not seen it in action with my own eyes, not on TV or in a documentary, on this level before. I sense that the Uchinā people (Uchinā is the indigenous name for “Okinawa”) have won the respect of the police. It is thanks to them that the police don’t carry any weapons. Not a club or a gun in sight. Lots of angry words you hear spoken, on both sides. But almost no physical violence, besides the violence of stolen land and the violence against the animals in the sea. None of the Japanese police smile. Not one. The only people smiling are the American troops standing and watching, sometimes pointing at us and laughing.
The people of Okinawa never agreed to the development of foreign military bases on their land, yet it has been occupied by the U.S. military since WWII. Currently, U.S. bases cover 20% of the main island. Despite years of grassroots resistance there, the U.S. is in fact expanding its presence with a new Marine Corps Air Base at Henoko in northern Okinawa. Ongoing construction is decimating the habitat of the endangered dugong species and destroying precious coral reefs in Oura Bay. Read more about the impact of U.S. bases in Okinawa, and listen to our radio interview with Rob Kajiwara, Okinawan-Hawaiian singer-songwriter and visual artist.
February 18 is the start of the War Abolition 101 online course. This 6-week online course provides participants with an opportunity to learn from, dialogue with, and strategize for change with World BEYOND War experts, peer activists, and changemakers from around the world. Read more & register. Scholarships & discounts available.
New Chapters Forming!
We’re collaborating with volunteers and allied organizations around the world to form grassroots-led World BEYOND War chapters. New chapters are coming together in Seattle, Philly, Eugene, South Bay, Vancouver, Toronto, Brazil, and Spain, among other locations. Our fabulous & dedicated volunteer chapter coordinators organize events and campaigns in their communities focused on peace education, weapons divestment, closing military bases, and more. Chapters can use our resources – like our book, powerpoints, videos, and Study War No More guide – as tools for facilitating dialogue, discussion, and action. Contact us to organize a meetup with other WBW members in your area.
The No to NATO — Yes to Peace FESTIVAL Keeps Growing!
Get ready for April! Check out all the plans at NotoNATO.org
Writers Needed for Peace Almanac!
Help draft entries for the Peace Almanac, our daily calendar of peace holidays! Each day’s calendar entry is used to make a point about peace and nonviolence, and to teach history in a new way that people haven’t heard before. We’re particularly in need of entries for October, November, and December, so click on those months to find an entry that needs completion. The days that just have 1-sentence headlines need those headlines turned into 250-270 word entries. Pick a day (or a few!) and email email@example.com to let us know which days you can help with.
New Publication from Research Team!
Our WBW volunteer research team just had an article published on Counterpunch! Thanks to volunteers Hero, Gayle, Linda, Emily, and numerous others who helped make this article possible, and thank you especially to Hero for sharing your story. The article speaks to the terror of war and the inhumane effects of sanctions on the Kurdish and Iraqi populations. Read it here. Want to help out with WBW writing & research projects? Contact us!
We have a newpodcast, and it launches with a full-hour discussion of the first five years of World BEYOND War with co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson, and Coordinating Committee Chair Leah Bolger. Take a listen here:
The Drive for Five campaign is a way for you to help grow WBW and it won’t cost you a dime. Here’s how to get started:
Email everyone you can, asking them to sign here and to enter your name as the person who referred them: https://worldbeyondwar.org/individual
Once you send us at least five names, we will post your name on our website honoring you as a Drive for Five Hero (unless you prefer anonymity)! But if that weren’t incentive enough, for every signature you bring in, we will credit you $1 towards the tuition for our on-line course, War Abolition 101, to be held Feb 18th to Mar 31st. Five names gets you $5 credit, 23 names–$23. For 100 names you can participate in the course for free!
News From Around the World
How We End War
Here are numerous ways to get involved in the project of ending all war. What part do you want to play?
To fund all of this work (U.S. tax-deductible) in the coming year, just click here.