I'm a passive pacifist, or as my cousin Hans once wrote to me, a passivist. His attitude is understandable: at the time, he was in jail for breaking into a military airfield and vandalising the weapon bays of a JAS fighter plane. He was a member of the Plowshares Movement back then, planting trees and sowing corn inside the aviatory wire mesh. The other inmates called him Jesus. Nowadays he's a priest among the council tenements of Gothenburg.
My work for peace is pretty much confined to a small monthly donation to the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, of which I've been a proud member since I was seventeen. Among other things, the organisation's Stockholm office does a great job of keeping our politicians on their toes regarding the Swedish arms trade.
The peace people keep unearthing discreet deals with unsavoury foreign powers, asking uncomfortable questions, and, worst of all, they have a nasty habit of reminding our elected officials about things they've said before. Like "These are the rules:" and "No way, we'll never sell arms to THEM, they're fookin' evil!". Also, they keep making it onto the debate pages of national newspapers. Bloody nuisance, I guess. Because this interference actually seriously limits the Swedish arms trade.
I just received the organisation's arms-trade newsletter, where we learn that the Swedish government is breaking its promise to never EVER allow military gear to be sold to Pakistan. Also, the Swedish government's hanky-panky with Saudi Arabia over military cooperation and future weapons deals is roundly criticised.
As Secretary of State Jonas Bjelfvenstam put it earlier this month,
We have an ambitious, knowledgeable, active volunteer peace movement in this country. With its critical attitude towards the arms trade, the movement raises the demands on consistency, logic and transparency in the authorities' handling of such issues. In my opinion, this is a valuable contribution to our democracy.Can't say I've done anything to take personal part in this praise, but at least I helped pay for the work.
[More blog entries about peace, arms trade, pacifism, Sweden; fred, krigsmaterial, svenska freds, pacifism.]