Notes on Counter Militarism

Young Canadian Quakers on war & recruitment

Myths and Militarization: A rousing start to the conference

Friday night:

After getting lost a couple of times, we eventually made our way out of Frankfurt and into Darmstadt, then out of Darmstadt’s city centre to a youth camp facility on the edge of the forest. Friday night’s programme consisted of a few quick introductory presentations from German, Israeli and Macedonian participants, and group discussions on military involvement and recruitment policies in different countries.

My group had representatives from Germany, Sweden, the UK, Israel, Canada and Macedonia. Anecdotes about the hyper-present, heavily involved military in Israel were interesting to hear, and equally fascinating were unexpected facts about militarism in the UK, which has extensive military involvement in childhood education and very sophisticated recruitment policies at all ages.

I was particularly surprised by the interest that we Canadians garnered; the idea of Canada as a peaceful, nonviolent nation is alive and well in Europe. Canada seems to come out fairly clean due to our proximity to the US, despite our involvement in Afghanistan and our participation in building tools for war for companies like Lockheed Martin. Many people at the conference were curious to find out more about the changes happening in Canada, and about the growing nationalist myth that the birth of the Canadian nation came out of our military involvement in WWI.

Later that evening, I was interviewed by one of WRI facilitators, Michael Schulze Von Glaßer, as part of a project that is mapping the changing involvement of the military in social and educational spheres in countries around the world. 1€ beer facilitated great conversation late into the night with lots of interesting people, including a group of South American activists, a former Jesuit from Liberia, and an Israeli activist from American Friends Service Committee.

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6 comments on “Myths and Militarization: A rousing start to the conference

  1. James MacCormac
    June 10, 2012

    Very interesting to hear about how Canada is perceived on the world stage. Do they know much about Harper?

  2. Sharon
    June 10, 2012

    Thanks for this first post from Germany. Look forward to hearing more. All the best, Sharon

  3. Laureen van Lierop
    June 11, 2012

    thanks Christel, I had no idea about WW1 being an impetus to nationhood. I guess it had something to do with Vimy and Ypres when we became tired of being told what to do. It’s a pretty complex story that is worth learning about. Hard to believe that Don Cherry’s Hockey Night in Canada and Steve Harper’s interpretation of history is prevalent.
    Thank you for being a good listener,
    Laureen

  4. melearley
    June 11, 2012

    1Euro beer !! I’ll drink to that !

  5. charles
    June 11, 2012

    Sounds most amazing. I’ll be looking forward to your next post.
    Chas

  6. Sylvia Mangalam
    June 12, 2012

    Thanks, Christel. Hope you are taking notes, or write stuff down when you have a minute. This is fascinating stuff. anybody have good ideas about what do we DO?

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2012 by .
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