Petra Kelly’s words in support of Peace Brigades International

Published by Brent Patterson on

When Peace Brigades International was formed in September 1981, the peace and disarmament movement was arguably in its ascendancy.

The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the United Kingdom had just been established that same month, within weeks 400,000 people would march in Bonn, West Germany in opposition to the NATO decision to deploy nuclear missiles in Western Europe, and on June 12, 1982, one million people marched in New York City’s Central Park against nuclear weapons and for an end to the cold war arms race.

By March 1983, Petra Kelly, who had won the prestigious Right Livelihood Award the previous year, secured a seat in the Bundestag, the West German Parliament.

Her vision united ecology, disarmament, social justice and human rights.

Kelly wrote in Nonviolent Social Defense, “We spend billions on weapons research and millions training our young people at military academies. Why not invest in peace studies and peace actions? We need training centers, public campaigns, and educational materials.”

She then highlighted, “We need to support groups like Peace Brigades International that intervene nonviolently in situations of conflict. We need to work concretely to realize peace and nonviolence in our time.”

Kelly was friends with Hans Sinn who co-founded Peace Brigades International and shortly thereafter Peace Brigades International-Canada.

Almost 28 years after Petra Kelly’s death, PBI-Canada continues to draw inspiration from her vision of the interrelationship between peace and non-violence, ecology, feminism and human rights and her wise caution that, “There can be no peace if there is social injustice and suppression of human rights.”

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