I spent some quality time this weekend discussing disarmament with Alan Storkey, an expert in this area, and a Christian brave enough to try to do something about it. Alan has launched a petition seeking multi-national disarmament. Every state reduces its arms by 10% simultaneously. A very sensible proposal - sign here.
Alan points out that women have played a huge role in changing things in the past - this year we celebrate the achievement of partial women's suffrage 100 years ago. Women could have a major part to play in turning the world away from the endless cycle of arms development, manufacture, sale and ultimately use, not least because women suffer most from war. Down through history women have not only been casualties of war, or perpetrators of war, their bodies have been weapons of war. Men humiliate other men by raping and abusing their wives and daughters. Women have provided the stand-in workforce while men went off to fight, but once the men returned were expected to relinquish their jobs so that men could be employed. Alan's wife, Elaine Storkey, has written convincingly about the abuse of women in her book Scars Across Humanity, as has Susan Thistlethwaite in Bodies as Battlefield.
Disarmament makes sense. Just one nuclear bomb the size of an average coffee table, if dropped in the middle of Manchester, for example, would wipe out an area extending to Sheffield in the space of a couple of weeks. We don't need huge piles of these things! And imagine what all the money spent on weapons could do if it were spent on the NHS, or on our railways.
We are trapped in a spending cycle - buying and selling more and more powerful weapons to increasingly less trustworthy regimes, and then stockpiling them ourselves because untrustworthy regimes have them. For a more in-depth analysis read Alan's article.
My point is this - women have changed the world before, maybe it's time we came together to do it again.