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“Stopping nuclear war: Europe’s role”. On October 2008, in Milan: European Humanist Forum.

Dear friends,
In February we launched the Europe for Peace campaign, for a Europe free from nuclear weapons. We were motivated by the enormous risk created by the hundreds of nuclear weapons on European soil and, at the same time conscious of the important role Europe could play in leading a real policy of peace and disarmament.

The situation is worsening dangerously: the United States’ project to install anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic and Poland has aroused, as was foreseeable, a harsh reaction from Russia. The nuclear and conventional arms race has accelerated disturbingly.

And this isn’t all: we had the goal of avoiding a nuclear war and we discovered that it has actually already begun, subtly and secretly, by exposing populations and soldiers to depleted uranium radiation in Iraq, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia and, perhaps, Lebanon. There is also suspicion that mini-nukes are already being used. Conditions for a possible nuclear catastrophe are being created and the words of Noam Chomsky, one of the first supporters of the campaign, sound prophetic: “More than half a century ago, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein launched an appeal to the people of the world, that they come to terms with the fact that we are facing a distinct, terrible and inevitable choice. Must we put an end to the human race, or is humanity willing to renounce war? Threats are becoming more and more dangerous. Europe has a unique position to lead the historical mission to save the human race from self-destruction.”

We must give the most powerful response we are able to, seeing the urgency of the moment.

On October 17th, 18th and 19th, 2008, in Milan, we are organizing meetings, conferences and round table discussions during the European Humanist Forum: the strength of nonviolence. Our goal is to launch a strong signal all over Europe and to create a meeting point for all those (movements, experts, NGO’s, groups and committees) who are fighting against nuclear weapons, military bases in Europe and generally working to promote peace. We want to define common points, launch mutual support initiatives and mobilizations where we can converge. To this end, your contribution and your participation would be extremely valuable.

The first working meeting, scheduled on Friday, October 17th is entitled “Stopping nuclear war: Europe’s role”. We estimate the participation of 3,000 to 5,000 people and 130 European organizations have confirmed their attendance.

Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, nuclear weapons expert, Giulietto Chiesa, European Parliament member , Angelo Baracca, Physics Professor, University of Florence and Giorgio Schultze, spokesperson of the European Humanist Forum have confirmed their participation to the round table about nuclear war.

There will be other conferences on Saturday, October 18th, in different auditoria made available to us by Bicocca University, on the Star Wars shield and militarization in Europe. It will be an opportunity to listen to lectures by experts but also to listen to the experience of movements fighting against nuclear weapons and military bases in their countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, France and the UK).

Jan Tamas, spokesperson for No to the Bases movement in the Czech Republic and Dave Webb of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space have already confirmed their presence at the Round Table discussion against the Star Wars Shield.

Another conference will focus on a nonviolent solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have invited Monica Czyza, of the Center of Cultures of Barcelona, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Education and Language professor and Rania Hammad, Palestinian IR Professor and others yet to be confirmed.

We hope to be able to count on your active participation so that a clear and powerful message for the whole planet comes out of the Milan Forum: another world and another Europe are possible.

We await your comments and hope that you will be able to play a leading role in the planning and organization of activities during the forum.

Gerardo Femina