Jeremy Scahill, award-winning author and journalist, spoke on America’s Covert Wars, the expansion of US covert actions from Bush to Obama, while making the case that, “we have an offensive war machine. We almost have never taken a defensive action. We are in now in the business of preemptive war,” Scahill thanked the hundreds of Brooklynites who were inside on such a beautiful Saturday and “…who are constantly representing Brooklyn in a very strong way and pushing a peace agenda. It’s very much an uphill battle, but if it’s to be won it’s in small communities across this country, in groups like this that gather together and refuse to be a part of a war machine that is increasingly being unleashed in countries away from media attention and anything even vaguely resembling effective congressional oversight.”
Captain Paul K. Chappell, Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and veteran of the Iraq War, spoke on Why Peace is Possible and How We Can Achieve It. Emphasizing what the peace movement can learn from the military, Capt. Chappell said, “We must wage peace with the same strategic thinks as we wage war. We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate the universal wish for peace, which is rapidly becoming a universal necessity into actuality.”
Workshops at the Brooklyn Peace Fair covered a variety of topics, including discussions about the economy, budget cuts, the military, war, stop and frisk tactics, hip hop as a tool, conflict resolution, Palestine, building local peace and justice movements, climate change, Cuba, free trade agreements and poetry. Informational tables included peace, social justice, activist, wellness and community organizations. Check out the full offerings in the enclosed program.
The Brooklyn Peace Fair featured music and performances by SpiritChild, Dave Lippman, The Occuponics, Raging Grannies, Laugh John Laugh, Dennis Gronim, Anya Skidan, Lone Wolf Tribe, Occupy the Empire Tour, as well as other musicians and spoken word performances for all ages. There was music, exhibits, and activities for children throughout the day, including a performance of The Lorax, designing and pressing your own button and poster making and a Peace Tree forest.
Exhibits included Peace Boat: A Floating Peace Village, a presentation about the adventures of the Peace Boat; The Truth About Fukushima: How Nuclear Power Affects Local Communities, an exhibit which show the consequences of usng nuclear energy as a source of power; Peace Trees, a collaborative vision of peace interpreted in symbolic peace trees; Posters of Occupy Wall Street, artwork from the OWS movement; Peace Poetry; and All We Are Saying…, collaborative art work in a peace-inspired exhibit made by high school students at the Urban Assembly of Government and Law.
A spirited performance by the RARAM of New York concluded the event, leading a Peace Parade through the neighborhood to the nearby military recruiting station on Flatbush Ave & Farragut Rd. and through the community. RARAM got people dancing, and passers-by joined the procession.
The Brooklyn Peace Fair is sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace and was co-sponsored this year by Brooklyn Congregations United (BSU), Brooklyn College Student Center (SUBO) and Military Families Speak Out Metro. BCU works to develop low to moderate-income community leaders to build powerful organizing efforts capable of involving large numbers of people in the identification, research and resolution of issues defined by the community. Through this work, BCU hopes to capture the imagination of people in communities to encourage people come together to struggle for a common good. MFSO is a nationwide organization composed of members of the military and their families who speak out to end the wars, to bring our troops home, and to take care of them when they get here. SUBO has a rich history of community service and educational and social activities and is a hub of student life on the Brooklyn College campus.
Brooklyn For Peace is a non-profit organization, committed to eliminating war and the social injustices that are its causes. Founded in 1984 by a group of concerned parents, BFP is now a network of over 6,000 Brooklynites– neighbors, friends, educators, and students. Through active education on international and domestic issues, we empower our community and ourselves to be a productive force in securing a peaceful future for generations to come by building a world where peace is the first response to conflict. We promote U.S. policies based not on coercion and violence, but on peace, justice, democratic advancement, human rights and respect for international law.