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Why am I part of ‘Stop Fuelling War’? Why do I help with organising the demonstrations? Why do I demonstrate at all?
These are not questions I already know the answers to. These are questions I use as a trick to get you reading these words. About five years ago I was an ordinary man like so many. Married, children, friends, hobbies. Yes, I was a Quaker then too. But I had not demonstrated in all my life.
I had not demonstrated all my life.
Why not?


I have an ordinary intelligence – it works reasonably up there I believe. I was aware of what was going on in the world – television journals and newspapers were a part of my everyday diet.
I guess I was too busy with just going about my day-to-day life. And I was not brought up with ‘speaking up’ as a way of living. And any man with a bit of brain knows that decisions are made behind the screens; a bunch of shouting civilians will not change the minds of the people on the steering wheel.
And what’s the use, and what will other people think if they see you standing there?
No, demonstrating was not my thing. 

Is it now?
Well, I don’t know.
Yes, every two weeks I stand with 20 grandparents in front of our parliament. Reminding them on the climate agreements, for our grandchildren’s sake.
And now and then I join a demonstration against weapons trading. Like in Paris, at Eurosatory.
Completely useless! I do not have the exact numbers here with me, but 2000 standholders, a book with what’s on sale as thick as two old-fashioned telephone books, how many sellers and buyers, how much money is going on in just this event. Hard to imagine.
And there WE are: 20 Quakers and other folk – no money to scratch our backs. Holding a banner “hey, what you’re doing there is maybe not so good”.
It is not like David and Goliath or a mouse to an elephant. It’s an ant against a hoard of elephants.
Why - for god’s sake - do I do this?!
Why, for god’s sake…?
For gods’ sake?
No, let’s take god out of this. There are too many definitions of god… No discussion or thinking process will be solid when god is part of the argumentation. Yes, if you have the same idea of god as I have, we could use her, but it is most likely that your idea of god is different, like is your neighbours’, and his neighbours’.
So, for mankind’s sake then?
Probably. But what about the uselessness of it, then?
I guess I believe in grains…
Small things growing and ultimately make a difference or bear fruit.
Yes! There are grains in my brain! I have a grain-brain! That’s it!

Yes!… but… and… that’s not the whole story…
The woman (she is a Quaker, so we can call her a quakeress???), that innocently asked me ‘wouldn’t you like to join in the Eurosatory demonstration?’. That woman pulled me, with a silk string, over a threshold. She has vigour and is spirit-led, probably stubborn as a new born baby but so dedicated.
And there are others one then come to know. And slowly one becomes part of a small community. 
And you remember what Elie Wiesel has said, about ‘the opposite of love’…which is not hate, but indifference.
I have led an indifferent live for about 50 years. Make the change, Erik.

STOP FUELLING WAR
Siège social : Centre Quaker International
114 rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris
Association loi de 1901 No. W751238358

stopfuellingwar@gmail.com

Where Eurosatory happens

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