When German peace activist and PBI supporter Petra Kelly visited Vancouver in 1986

Published by Brent Patterson on

Climate activist and author Shaena Lambert recently wrote in the Toronto Star: “I met Petra Kelly and the general in 1986. As the co-ordinator of a peace festival for Vancouver’s Centennial, I arranged for them to fly in to speak at the Orpheum Theatre.”

“When she took to the stage, not only did she speak truth to totalitarianism, but she took Canada to task for its treatment of Indigenous peoples. Leaning forward at the microphone, sweeping her boyish blond-brown hair from her eyes, she wove together a passionate vision of ecology, feminism, love for the planet, rights for First Nations, equity for the poorest nations and, always, the need for freedom for Tibet.”

Lambert comments: “I was shaken by how deeply she saw connections between issues, and how brilliantly she shook out the blanket that held all of them. It was, I realize, my first experience of what’s now called intersectionality.”

Several years after her visit to Vancouver, Kelly wrote in Nonviolent Social Defense: “The ending of the cold war has brought little change in our militaristic outlook. As old weapons systems are dismantled, they are replaced by new, more sophisticated ones.”

“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.”

And we are honoured that 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.”

Petra would have been familiar with Peace Brigades International in part through her work with PBI co-founder Hans Sinn during the 1980s.

Almost 28 years after Petra’s death in the fall of 1992, 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.”

To read Petra’s books Fighting for Hope, Nonviolence Speaks to Power, and Thinking Green!, please click here and scroll down the right hand column for the full books online.

Lambert’s novel Petra was released on September 1. Check your local independent bookstore for the paperback. The book is also available for purchase on the major online platforms. For more, please see Lambert’s website.

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