When reading any newspaper or watching TV we invariably come across people claiming to be striving to improve the world and to “make a difference”. When was the last time that you saw a dyed-blonde “Miss World” Barbie passionately claim that “the only thing she truly wants is world peace"?
How strange that after all those avowals of altruism and good-will, the depreciatively-named “Third World” is still plagued by violent conflict that is causing over 250,000 direct and indirect deaths every year in addition to unquantifiable terror and misery.
To make this huge number a bit more tangible, every year more than the equivalent of the population of Derby is wiped out due to war.
Sadly, most of those deaths are in fact caused by western arms made in factories, often just around the corner, which are then shipped to Africa, Latin America and Asia where they stoke and perpetuate deadly conflicts.
Whilst those facts are obviously most horrifying and painful they also leave us with a big question: What can we really do about those things? Isn’t that how the world works? What possibilities are available if we want to do more than pay mere lip service to making a positive impact on our world?
Change happens slowly and we would indeed wear ourselves out if we wanted to alter the world all at once. But we do have the power to influence what is happening around us, in our neighbourhood or… on our campus.
How is it possible that weapons producers are allowed and even invited to do student recruitment presentations on our campus? What is going wrong if companies making effective tools to kill people are coming to our university, holding presentations in our lecture halls and trying to recruit us into their service? One of many examples is the recent autumn careers fair which featured “illustrious” names like BAE Systems or Lockheed Martin.
This is unacceptable.
Companies contributing to the death of a quarter of a million people every year must not be permitted to intrude into universities which should further the values of humanism and compassion for our fellow humans.
But this is one of those “small” issues where we in fact are able to make a positive change.
Therefore, we have founded a group to exercise our right to peacefully and legally speak up against arms producers on our campus and to convince the university not to invite those firms in the future anymore.
Let us no longer be complacent. Let us stand up and protest for what we believe in.
Let us make a real difference.
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