Tag Archives: Forces Watch

Cool, unexpected things

25 Nov

I wrote my previous post just before going to War Resisters’ International‘s annual council, which this year was in Bilbao. It was a great experience: I met inspiring and friendly anti-militarist activists from four continents, who gave me some good ideas for my work.

The trip was the first of several very cool unexpected things that I have done so far as a Quaker peaceworker – things that weren’t mentioned in the joint peaceworker bid that WRI and Forces Watch (my other placement organisation) wrote; the bid which led me to chose to spend my year working for them. It seems that some of the most exciting things just can’t be foreseen.

At first I was disappointed to learn that Italian – my second language – isn’t one that WRI use in their international network. But actually this prompted me to enrol on a Spanish evening course, which has been good fun and I’ve improved noticeably. I’ve also been in touch with WRI’s Italian affiliates, and it looks like at least one of them will be more actively involved in the network in future, so I’ve been able to use my Italian too.

The other cool, unexpected thing happening at WRI is that we’ve bought a wormery! I was keen to avoid our food waste (we eat lunch together most days) going to landfill, and a wormery seemed ideal for our roof, where we’ll be able to use the compost and nutrient-rich liquid it produces for our plant pots.

And these novelties aren’t limited to my two-and-a-half days a week at WRI. For Forces Watch I’ve: written two blog articles. The first was on two plays I saw (for work) in the West End, both portraying the armed forces pretty critically. The second, which will be posted this coming week, is on the BBC series Our War, which shows Afghanistan from the perspective of young British soldiers and officers.

I’ve also got really into looking into the links between the military and UK universities, which wasn’t one of the projects mentioned in my original brief. There are several concerning ways in which the military exerts influence over universities and university students, and Forces Watch will be publishing something on this in the next few months. I’ve been in touch with students through Campaign Against the Arms Trade‘s universities network, and I attended their yearly gathering yesterday, in Sheffield, which was very useful in terms of hearing what these students think are the most objectionable aspects of the military-universities nexus, and what they would be interested in taking action on.

I’m sure the other peaceworkers are having cool, unexpected experiences of their own, and I hope it continues.

Owen.

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