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Anonymous — February 1984

The Peace Calendar welcomes letters to the editor. Please be concise, as space is limited. Include your name and a telephone number where we can reach you for confirmation purposes. Address letters to The Peace Calendar, c/o CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, On., M5S 2R4.

Hello from Joe

I am writing to thank you for providing me with a copy of the December 1983 issue of The Peace Calendar.

As you undoubtedly know, at the request of the Leader of the Opposition, Brian Mulroney, I recently assumed responsibility for the Progressive Conservative Party in the area of arms control and disarmament.

The momentum of the arms race is gaining even more speed than it had before. People all over the world are concerned as never before about the possibility of nuclear war. It is essential to find the right formula for negotiations that can lead immediately to arms reductions that are mutual, balanced and verifiable. The safety of life on this planet requires nations to find a way, in mutual interest towards collective security.

Our Party recognises the central importance of arms control and disarmament and the well-established Canadial tradition of contributing to international understanding.

That is the general frame of reference I am bringing to my study, which will lead to a recommended policy for the Progressive Conservative Party. Naturally, it is my intention to formulate my recommendations in the broadest national interest.

Thank you again for forwarding a copy of your publication to me.

Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, P.C., M.P.

TPC is discriminatory

I am a Witch. After reading the December issue of The Peace Calendar I feel that I shouldn’t be involved in the peace movement. As a member of a minority religion, I suppose that I shouldn’t expect that religious images other than those of Christianity be respected in your pages.

There are things that Yule means to pagans and Witches, and doubtless to others as well, that have nothing to do with the image of a ‘son of the only true God,’ or a ‘Redeemer through whom all will be saved.’

Yule. is the time when the sun dies and is reborn, when out of death comes hope. The God of Death struggles with the God of Rebirth, his brother, and loses as the sun is reborn. It is the Goddess’ ascent from the Underworld, bringing wisdom. These things are powerful and important to me and they are far older than Christianity.

I wish the Christians well in this season of Death and Rebirth. I hope that they will grant to me the truth of my religion.

I’m the spokesperson for the Pagans for Peace group. I believe that there is also a Sikh peace group, that there are some Dianic Witches in the Women’s Action for Peace group, and l’ve heard rumours of a Jewish peace group. Also, some Native spiritual people have been at rallies and are somewhat active.

In the holy names of Inanna, Mari, Demeter, Pan, Damuzi and Cernunnos, I wish you all the very best. Blessed be.

Samuel Wagar
for Pagans for Peace
c/o AAPA, P.O. Box 6531
Station A,
Toronto, On. M5W IX4

Editors’ Note: Although it’s not our policy to respond to letters to the editor, we feel it is important that we explain the reasons for the position expressed in the December issue.
In planning the special report, we at first considered printing single paragraphs outlining the positions that various religions and churches take on The Big Question.
On investigation, we discovered that there was a glut on the market in this area. By the time we included Lutherans, Jews, Mennonites, Quakers, Muslims, Buddhists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Hindus and Episcopalians, we had decided to narrow the scope somewhat.
In all embarrassed honesty, we must admit we gave up before thinking of Pagans, Krishna-ites, Satanists, Mormons, Atheists, Greek Orthodox and the rest.
We felt that, if we were to give “equal time” to all religions, there would be four major problems:
A- It would reek of patronising tokenism to include those for whom December does not have major religious significance.
B- We would necessarily have forgotten some religious persuasion.
C-In many cases, the religion involved has no organized hierarchy determining a standardised policy on this issue. (Certainly there are Pagans for disarmament and others who aren’t.)
D- We would have run out of space. This is, after all, not a big paper.

To sum up, we went for the largest Christian churches, because Christmas is their time of year. We were glad to hear from you, however, and let this be a lesson to the other religious peace groups who haven’t yet written to us: Tell us when your time of year comes around, OK?

Prevent accidental war

We are all aware that disarmament will not happen overnight. In light of this fact, the peace movement should be proposing methods of preventing nuclear war while we tackle the lengthy process of disarmament. Accident prevention, for example, is an important problem that the movement should be addressing.

With the deployment in Europe of cruise and Pershing II missiles, the time required for the Soviets to confirm a detected launch is being eclipsed by the time required for a missile to reach its target. There is no need to go into the statistics about the number of flawed microchips, the incidences of inaccurate data programming, or the frequency with which an over-enthusiastic radar blip brings the world within minutes of extinction. Suffice it to say that the situation is extremely dangerous.

As we enter the new year we can see the two superpowers locked uncertainly in a stalemate. The secret to successful negotiations is to begin where the parties agree. An international call from the peace movements of East and West for a set of negotiations on the subject of accident avoidance may well be the crucial first step.

Not only would this reduce the risk of accidental launchings, but any success at the bargaining tables is likely to reduce tensions between the superpowers. If a small conflict were to escalate to all-out nuclear attack, it would be the result of the heightened tensions that presently exist. As tension is released, the likelihood of escalation is reduced.

It is less exciting to start somewhere than it is to dream about reaching the happy end of a long road, but an initial success in the area of accident prevention may start the ball rolling.

A. Campbell, Toronto, ON.

Official explanation dubious

Mr. Gordon Flowers (letter, TPC, December 1983) is either naive or ill-taught. In any case, he accepts the official government explanation of why the representatives of the independent peace and civil rights movement in Czechoslovakia were not allowed to participate in the proceedings of the World Assembly for Peace and Life, Against Nuclear War, held in Prague last June: it was not because of “limited space. “

If that was the only reason, why did Czech police surround the White Mountain in northern Prague, where these rejected representatives. of the Charter 77 movement met with delegates of the German Green and Social Democratic parties? Why did the police attack this assembly, tear films out of the cameras and expose. them to the sun? And why did the police disperse an independent peace and antimilitaristic demonstration of some 300 mostly young people in downtown Prague? True, these events were not reported in the Canadian media. But they were richly reported in West German and British papers.

C’mon, Mr. Flowers – do you believe what you wrote? And if you don’t, why did you write it?

Josef Skvorecky
Professor, University of Toronto