Friday, January 13, 2006
In a recent ZNet Commentary, Howard Zinn wrote that a group of people, including Gino Strada, Paul Farmer, Kurt Vonnegut, Nadine Gordimer, and Eduardo Galeano, are promoting the creation of worldwide gatherings to renounce war. Their intention, according to Zinn, is to make worldwide renunciation of war so popular that halting existing wars and preventing the beginning of new wars is politically irresistible.
In his article, After This War, Zinn asks, “should we not think beyond this war? Should we begin to think, even before this shameful war is over, about ending our addiction to massive violence, and using the enormous wealth of our country for human needs?” He goes on to talk of ending not just “this war or that war but war itself. Perhaps the time has come to bring an end to war, and turn the human race onto a path of health and healing.”
The five people have been actively involved in global issues for many years and have a solid track record of accomplishments on the world stage.
Dr. Gino Strada is a war surgeon and the founder of Emergency, a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to providing assistance to civilian victims of war. His recent book Green Parrots: A War Surgeon’s Diary helped persuade Italy to abandon the use and manufacture of a flying anti-personnel mine.
Dr. Paul Farmer is a Harvard professor and practicing physician. In 1987, he helped found the worldwide health organization Partners in Health, which treats some of the poorest people on Earth. Dr. Paul Farmer has received a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation.
Kurt Vonnegut is an American writer and humanist, currently serving as Honorary President of the American Humanist Association. As a WWII prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany, Kurt witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden. This event formed the core of his book Slaughterhouse-Five. In a column for In These Times, he began “… our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees … the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East … like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”
Nadine Gordimer from South Africa received the 1991 Nobel Prize in literature and 1974 Booker Prize. She received worldwide praise for her leadership for South Africa to re-examine and replace its long held racist policy of apartheid.
Eduardo Galeano’s books combine history, political analysis, journalism and fiction. “I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America … condemned to amnesia. The Open Veins of Latin America is one of Galeano’s works covering the exploitation of Latin America by foreign powers from the 15th century onwards.
Both Nadine and Eduardo’s books are recognized by the Great Books Foundation as among the top 40 books in Citizens of the World: Readings in Human Rights. We Say No by Eduardo Galeano and Comrades by Nadine Gordimer are listed there along with the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, Independence by Mahatma Gandhi, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.
Howard Zinn is a U.S. historian, political scientist and author of fifteen books. Howard writes, “In a world of clashing interests—war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism—- it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts. I do not claim to be neutral, nor do I want to be… . I will try to be fair to opposing ideas by accurately representing them.”