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Letters to the EditorRemembering our humanity

Remembering our humanity

With a disquieting tremor of fear I sense we are facing the unthinkable. The world is heating up fast. Contagion spreads around us.  Entropy quickens. Yet we keep pouring money, resources, and enthusiastic commitment into a voracious military-industrial complex that flogs war, undermines our humanity and imperils all life on earth. And we fiddle. We play with our amusements. Distractions rule.

As August 6th approaches we remember the criminal horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet our country has chosen not to vote for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons approved by 122 other nations around the world. Remembering whilst sitting on our hands!

Violence, hate, and othering are making possible the ‘Great Unravelling’ of this beautiful world we have inherited. This breakdown is so unseen, unheard, ignored. I’m challenging myself and my community to stop feeding the military-industrial complex – materially and in terms of the assumptions and ways of life that depend on and energize that militarism.

In the memoir of Jacques Lusseyran, the ‘blind hero of the French resistance’, he describes how in 1941 so many of his compatriots fell prey to defeatism when it seemed that nothing could stop the Nazis. Then one of his comrades spoke up, saying: “What a thrill, so what if there really is no chance we’ll prevail. Those who think we’re doing this to succeed don’t get it; we’re doing this because it’s our joy!”

Sitting Bull when asked how he could continue to sing, dance, do art, do ceremony, be generous, when all the buffalo had been killed, smallpox had wiped out his tribe, and he was on the run.  His answer was that he wanted to continue to be a human being.

Is it false hope, futile optimism, to struggle onwards regardless of whether we’ll ever see deep fundamental change? I think not. Nor is it deflecting from ‘the real world’ to identify military and corporate fraudsters as a major toxic source for the dystopian future before us. We must look within ourselves for the strength to resist the peddling of bigger, better, faster, more powerful. Let us seek out quality over superficial style, scale and trivial cleverness.

“That enough is enough is enough to know” said Lao Tzu two and a half millennia ago.

So it is that I’m joining with others in wearing a visible symbol of my conscientious objection: the white poppy (originally created by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1933). By wearing it (from Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, until Dec. 10 International Human Rights Day) I commemorate all victims of war; I mourn the environmental devastation it creates; I reject war as a tool for social change; I call for dialog aimed at peaceful conflict resolution. Remembering is important but it is not enough!

If you’re looking for ways to become a conscientious objector, check out World Beyond War and Conscience Canada. Or just explore options with people around you; and me too! My email is

Doug Hewitt-White



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