We could easily begin this invitation by scaring you with statistics about violence, conflict, and war. “The world is becoming an increasingly insecure and hostile place”, we might say. “We are more likely to face our own extinction than to live to see a day of truly global peace.”
But to view the world through this narrow lens would be a misrepresentation.
Of course, the past year has provided no shortage of political upheavals. We have witnessed protests sweeping through Sudan, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Egypt, Honduras, India, Iraq, the UK, Zimbabwe, Chile, Indonesia, Bolivia, Algeria, and the list goes on. While geographically dispersed, these protests have been reactionary to global conditions of life which disproportionately harm those marginalised by society. These harms should not be underestimated – be they economic, social and/or political – and we must stand in solidarity with individuals and communities whose human rights are violated on a daily basis.
However, falling into essentialist claims of the world becoming an increasingly insecure and hostile place for us all to coexist also undermines the stories of progress. Looking again at these protests, we have seen more and more women joining hands in the frontlines of the struggle for their rights. Women have become icons of revolutions, as in the case of Alaa Salah singing for revolution in Sudan. More youth have started to participate, as witnessed in the youth climate strikes and with activists like Greta Thunberg or “water warrior” Autumn Peltier. Together we are driving movements and changes, and bringing diverse methods with us.
Where peaceful demonstrations have increasingly been met with violent reactions from the state and security forces and women protesters targeted specifically, our hope lies in our capacity to continue our resistance. Organising peacefully – particularly with the youth and marginalised persons – in order to tackle inequalities shows that the world is not destined for doom. At least not as long as we have a say on it.
It is for this reason (and many more!) that we invite you to take part in the second World March for Peace and Non-Violence. The 1st march took place a decade ago and toured 97 countries on the 5 continents, covering two hundred thousand kilometres and engaging hundreds of thousands of people. Building on that experience, the march is now back to inspire people along its path…including you!
At WILPF International Congress in 2018, WILPF Italy and WILPF Spain put forward a proposal for WILPF’s participation in the march. The call was for our members and international offices to make their peace work visible as a means to build and strengthen our feminist peace movement. The march invites you to join in the celebration, creating activities on the days when the route will take place in your hometown. These can take multiple forms, get as creative as you would like! You can see some of the events already planned here and find out more on the march’s website about how to join.
The march is beginning today, 2 October 2019, in Madrid and will circle back to Madrid where it will finish on 8 March 2020. The route travels across all 5 continents, so there’s a good chance it’ll be arriving near you.
Please let us know whether you are planning to create events around the march – we would love to share your stories and photos. Let us unite in solidarity with peace activists across the world and show our resistance to global inequalities!