There will be a large demonstration for peace on November 5 in Rome. A great mobilization called by “Europe for Peace,” against Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, demanding an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations on a basis of justice.
The continuation of the war at the price of the suffering of the Ukrainian people is unacceptable. It is time for a ceasefire and for taking the diplomatic route, that of negotiations, to which the United Nations and other countries that can play a role in mediating and facilitating dialogue must contribute.
To think one could simply “win the war” is entirely an illusion: without the foundations of a diplomatic solution, the armed conflict will continue among the offensives and counter-offensives, advances and retreats, victories and defeats of the forces on the ground. Meanwhile, those paying the price are the civilian populations in Ukraine, and also the pacifists and conscientious objectors in Russia who are being persecuted and imprisoned. All with the risk of nuclear war looming in the background.
In the face of this scenario, there is great irresponsibility on the part of the international community, starting with NATO, which is playing its part to fuel the cycle of escalation of Putin’s criminal aggression against Ukraine. In Italy, the new government that is being installed is certainly not up to the task: beyond the vacuous and bombastic declarations of Atlantic loyalty, at least two out of the three political forces that will be part of it have spent many years (and perhaps are still doing so) in the long and fearsome shadow of Putin, or directly at his side. This is a kind of Frankenstein government, a shapeless monster put together partly in Moscow and partly in Washington, and with a foreign policy that is expected to be more Atlanticist (i.e., pro-American) than pro-European.
They’re talking about everything these days at the parties’ headquarters, in Via della Scrofa or Piazza Montecitorio – except about peace.
That is why, after the three days of mobilization starting from Friday, Oct. 21 until Oct. 23 (with initiatives in more than 100 cities, including a demonstration in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis at the Angelus service on Sunday), the November 5 mass demonstration could be a decisive turning point for the mobilization for peace in our country.
It is a message to the new government, to the political forces and to Parliament, inviting them to take inspired action, to start an autonomous initiative in the direction of the diplomatic route. Merely sending weapons is the wrong choice, which instead of bringing us closer to peace is making the war even fiercer, with a hopeless outlook for the future.
The platform of the November 5 demonstration is clear, and begins with two demands: a ceasefire and negotiations.
We will be talking about prospects for peace, not about war strategy, about dialogue and negotiations and not about victories (and defeats) on the battlefield, about reconciliation and not about “pitting the good guys against the bad guys,” as Pope Francis also reminds us.
Wars have shown themselves to be failures in recent years: in Afghanistan, in Libya, in the Middle East, in Kosovo. War is not an “instrument” of foreign policy, but – as the UN Charter says – a “scourge” to be outlawed, to be avoided by future generations. The West, instead of having a policy of war – stooping down to Putin’s criminal level – must have a policy of peace, which would be able to de-mine the conflict, channeling it into a search for possible solutions.
A policy of war is one of escalation, while a policy of peace is one of de-escalation. There is no alternative. Nonviolence – as Aldo Capitini reminded us – is not just an ideal, a way of life, a value. No: it is a policy directed at disarming conflict and building the conditions for a just peace. Of course, the pacifists are not neutral: they stand with the Ukrainian people, and with the conscientious objectors and pacifists in Russia.
They don’t take equal distance from both sides – instead, they practice equal closeness to all those who are suffering the consequences of this war. They are there for them, and they will continue to be there.
So this is where the pacifists will be: in the caravans of humanitarian aid going to Lviv and Kyiv, in the demonstrations, in the protests, in the rallies for peace taking place from Friday in all major Italian cities and in Rome on November 5, demanding that the weapons fall silent and the negotiations begin immediately. All this in order to avoid even worse consequences, the widening of the conflict and the risk of nuclear war. Now is the time to mobilize.
A detailed list of the more than 100 demonstrations taking place from Friday through Sunday, October 23, can be found at www.sbilanciamoci.info/europe-for-peace/.
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