rn: INVITATION to endorse/join anti-NATO Festival of NonViolence


Jan Slakov

Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 18:28:07 -0400
From: Richard Sanders <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Two goals of No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence

The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has initiated the "No to
NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence."  

Gather opposite the US Embassy, MacKenzie Ave., Ottawa
Saturday, October 6, at 1 pm.  

Please bring your creative energies, ideas, performances, poetry, music,
dance, banners, signs, props, puppets, theatrics and any nonviolent
artistic presence that you can possibly muster!  Let's work together to
make this a great success.  

COAT is making the necessary arrangements with the National Capital
Commission for use of Majors Hill Park, across from the US Embassy and one
block north on MacKenzie Ave from the Conference Centre where the NATO
Parliamentary Assembly is meeting. 

COAT is planning to have: 
* a sound system
* a phone link plugged into the system so we can hear from a few
international notables.
* some lively speakers, poets, music and other entertainment (PLEASE offer
your services or make suggestions)

Your help is needed:
> Bring yourself and your creative talents to the festival!
> Publicize the event as widely as possible! 
> Contribute some financial support to COAT! (our shoe string is fraying)
> Ask NGOs to endorse the event! (54 have so far, see link below)
> Attend our planning meeting on Aug. 28, 91A Fourth Ave., Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
> Arrange for buses and other means to get people to Ottawa from out of town
> Join our list serve (see the end of this email)

TWO MAJOR GOALS of the No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence:

This event will be a festive venue to celebrate the diversity of creative
nonviolence.  By promoting nonviolence at this festival, we are saying to
the public, the media, corporations, governments and NATO that nonviolence
is a powerful medium of expression, an age-old tradition and an effective
process for cultural change.  We are proud to embrace nonviolence in our
efforts to build a culture of peace.  As AJ Muste wisely said: "There is no
way to peace.  Peace is the way."  And, as Marshall McLuhan cleverly said,
"The medium is the message."  Many activists struggle behind the scenes for
peace, human rights, justice, the environment, and other worthy causes.  By
focusing on nonviolence, we hope to strengthen public awareness,
appreciation, support and respect for our work.  Another quotation comes to
mind, this one from Rodney Dangerfield: "I don't get no respect."  The
festival is also a way of building our community.  We don't want to preach
to the converted, but it sure helps when we work together to strengthen the
ties and links of solidarity between us.  Activists and organizations, not
only in Ottawa but around the world, have already come together through
this event.  That, in itself, has several useful spin-offs.  There will be
lots of "networking" at the event, just as there has already been lots of
"networking," during the lead up to it.  We are gathering endorsements from
supportive NGOs around the world.  These links of solidarity with
organizers and groups will no doubt be useful in many future struggles.
And, let's not forget that having fun -- whether through sharing a laugh at
NATO's expense, watching satirical street theatre that lambasts our
politicians or just joking around with activists you've never met before --
is part of the very serious business of staying sane while we struggle to
make this crazy world a better place.  Another quote, this one from "Red
Emma" Goldberg comes to mind: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part
of your revolution." 

Nonviolent opposition to NATO's violence is an equally important purpose of
the festival.  The NATO Parliamentary Assembly meetings in Ottawa, Oct.
5-8, are a good opportunity for us to communicate our sincere, deep-felt
opposition to the criminal actions and violent policies of NATO.  We wish
to publicize our critiques of NATO as clearly and as widely as possible.
We've created a preliminary list of 24 "Reasons to Oppose NATO" (See
<http://www.flora.org/coat/forum/196>).  It needs more work, but it's a
start.  I hope every one of the points on this list (and more) will be
expressed at the festival.  The bottom line is we are holding NATO
accountable for it's violations of international law.  They should not be
above the law.  They should not have impunity.  Media desperation to cover
"protest violence" should not be used to cover up NATO's ulraviolence.  For
Canadian activists, this event is an important chance to focus on the goal
of getting Canada out of NATO.  Hopefully, through building this festival,
COAT will receive enough interest and support to launch a nation-wide
public education campaign around the issue of getting Canada out of NATO.
This festival has already helped us to build links with many activists and
NGOs in other countries that also oppose NATO.  Together we can share
ideas, experiences and resources.  Together we can organize campaigns to
push our governments to withdraw from, or not join, the juggernaut of NATO.

For more information:

"Updated list: 53 NGOs endorse the festival"

"Call to Dis Arms" <http://www.flora.org/coat/forum/174>

"Reasons to Oppose NATO" <http://www.flora.org/coat/forum/196>

"Please endorse our 'No to NATO: Festival of Creative NonViolence'

                          Richard Sanders
       Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
              A national peace network supported by 
           individuals and organizations across Canada
          541 McLeod St., Ottawa Ontario K1R 5R2  Canada
            Tel.:  613-231-3076      Fax: 613-231-2614
     Email: <•••@••.•••>   Web site: <http://www.ncf.ca/coat>

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