Tag Archives: ForcesWatch

Why I’m taking a day off after only eight days in the new job

13 Sep

Dear readers,

In the first post of our joint blog last week Rhiannon said that she was leaving you in my ‘capable hands’. I  think that at the beginning of our two-week peaceworker preparation period we were all a bit anxious about living up to expectations over the year – aware of the Quakers’ investment in us. But after the friendships I made in those two weeks, perhaps the most important thing I took away was the confidence that we would do ourselves justice, and knowing how supported we were. So I’m not going to worry about my hands not being capable enough after Rhiannon’s great start!

I’m placed with two organisations: War Resisters International (WRI), and ForcesWatch (FW). WRI (est. 1921) is a network of people from around the world who refuse to take part in war or the preparation for war. It promotes nonviolent action against war’s causes.

FW challenges the ethics of military recruitment and questions the climate of uncritical national pride in the armed forces. 

War Resisters and Forces Watch made a joint bid for a peaceworker because the work I’ll be doing for each has considerable overlap: it’s all about the militarisation of society (and especially of young people). In the UK the armed forces are becoming increasingly visible and influential in so many parts of our lives – from television programmes to workshops in schools – and this raises some big ethical questions, partly because it will probably facilitate recruitment, and it may make going to war more acceptable. 

The specific projects that I’ll be working on over the year are yet to be finalised, but the proposals are exciting. Dividing my time between the two organisations won’t be difficult, because they’re based in the same building, the aptly-named Peace House on Caledonian Road.

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And why am I taking the day off in my second week? Because tomorrow I’m going to Bilbao for WRI’s annual Council meeting, where I’ll get to meet some of the members of the network who are working for peace their own countries and supporting each other internationally. I’m there until next Wednesday, and so this is a concerted effort not to get into the bad habit of letting TOIL (time off in lieu) build up!

Thanks for reading. Please tell anyone you think might be interested to follow our blog.

Owen Everett, War Resisters International and ForcesWatch.

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