World March for Peace and Nonviolence comes through St. Petersburg

12/07/09 Joshua Lee Holton
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Almost a week has gone by since Obama announced an additional 30,000 troop increase in Afghanistan but many people around the world aren’t convinced that war will bring peace.

Since October, hundreds of thousands have joined in The World March for Peace and Nonviolence. The three month march involves people in 100 countries with the goal of promoting nuclear disarmament and a withdrawal of invading troops from occupied territories.

Last Saturday Florida peace groups and dozens of activists walked along the Pinellas Trail to Taylor Park in Largo as the “People’s Peace Train” in solidarity with the global action.

The grandmother of Barack Obama endorsed the World March for Peace. It began last October in New Zealand with a path crossing six continents to Argentina by January 2nd 2010. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former President Jimmy Carter and the Dalai Lama are among those who have endorsed the effort.

The march follows a legacy of nonviolence inspired by Gandhi and Martin Luther King and has gained city-wide endorsements from Clearwater and Tarpon Springs, Florida. Dennis Redmond is the national organizer for the march in United States.

The US has been in Afghanistan for eight years, justifying occupation with nation building. Redmond is skeptical that the US has humanitarian interests as the primary motive for the war. War cannot cause peace, according to Redmond, but he says nonviolence will bring a change in consciousness.

Edith Levie is a retired school teacher who protests war in Bradenton with the Green Bridge Patriots.

St. Pete for Peace is a grassroots anti-war group in Florida. One of their protesters, Dina Formentini, said although the government continues funding the war, it is not the will of the American or Afghani people.

Formentini believes that nation building abroad is a diversion of taxes that could be spent improving conditions in the US.

Beatriz Chad is the Florida Organizer for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence. The Peace Train ended with a concert at Taylor Park with music from the Kim Stein Trio.

Over 1,000,000 people are expected to participate in the global march that will culminate January 2, 2010 in Argentina where a celebration of the 99,000 mile journey will be held in the Andes Mountains. Find out more about the World March for Peace and Non violence

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peace is the way, nonviolence is the methodology.