In this dossier we look at the pacifist movement from various perspectives. And we ponder the future and challenges Barcelona faces in this field. In a globalised world, city networks are cornerstones in the construction of peace.
The city has demonstrated that it lives by the value of peace very strongly and that it wants to preserve it. But there are still some clouds obscuring this view that will need to be removed over the coming months, aside from any future challenges we may face.
The rejection of military service, peace education in schools and in the wider education offering available during leisure time, and anti-war demonstrations are some examples of this vitality, this heritage, that Barcelona and Catalonia treasure as a key to peace.
The Spanish army has a stigma that it earned throughout the 20th century, and one that will be difficult to reverse. The possible virtues of the military are hyperbolically praised by a cardboard rhetoric, and refuted by the abuses committed in the name of discipline, obedience and honour.
The campaign of refusal of military service and substitute social service is one of the greatest struggles of civil disobedience and direct confrontation with the State – as well as its armed branch, the Army – and one of the most representative of recent times.
In our city, the work for peace must be translated into policies aimed at reducing the levels of direct, structural and cultural violence. To design such policies, it is necessary to count on the know-how that comes from the experience of women.
There has been a very strong network of associations in Barcelona that has reacted to large-scale international crises. It all has roots in the past. Civil society is at the cutting edge, it is what drives governments and has offered responses for acting in Greece, Bosnia, Colombia, the Sahara and Lebanon.
Barcelona has seen periods of interreligious coexistence as well as appalling episodes such as pogroms, Inquisition tribunals and the burning of convents. Today, the city is a point of reference for peace between religions, which provide cohesion and coexistence. How has this been achieved and who made it possible?
Building more and better peace requires efforts focused in urban settings, where the work of private and public players will be needed to establish synergies and alliances that place the human right to peace front and centre in national and international agendas.
There is a huge number of challenges to peace that the world will have to tackle in coming years. They will primarily have socio-economic and environmental origins.