Paris, 11th May 2020

 On 26th March 2020, the organisers of Eurosatory 2020 (COGES), which is responsible for the French international land and airland Defence and Security exhibition rightly cancelled this year's event in Paris. Eurosatory 2020 had been scheduled for 8-12th June and would have been the world’s largest land and land/air weapon trade fairs PROMOTING MILITARY RESPONSES to all perceived threats and real conflicts. The organisers, supporters and participants of Eurosatory display and sell military equipment ranging from tanks, armoured trucks, guns, pistols to missile systems, logistics, communications and other emergency responses services. The organisers had indicated that the necessary conditions for preparing and running the exhibition, to protect the health and safety of the 100,000 expected participants, visitors, exhibitors and organisers, could not be met. Thus, they clearly considered the well-being of potential participants and their families. However, it does not appear that they were equally solicitous for the millions who are living in fear, dying or being injured by these armaments being used in international conflict zones, and who are most often innocent civilians.

In the same week Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, called for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus crisis, saying: 'The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. The threats we face as a planet, health pandemics and climate change among them, demand a coordinated international response with no room for continuing to waste resources on armed conflict.'
 He called for the guns to be silenced during this conflict; we call for a STOP to the sale of those guns.

In his Easter 2020 message, Pope Francis highlighted the urgent need for global solidarity in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, calling for the relaxation of international sanctions, debt relief for poor nations and ceasefires in all conflicts."May Christ our peace enlighten all who have responsibility in conflicts, that they may have the courage to support the appeal for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world." He condemned arms manufacturing and said the pandemic should spur leaders to finally end long-running wars such as that in Syria. He also appealed for help for migrants and others suffering from existing humanitarian conflicts.

Pope Francis raises a series of questions including: “Will we continue looking the other way in the face of wars fuelled by the quest for domination and power?’’ Instead, the Pope called for the building of “a civilization of love,” which he described as “a civilization of hope,” contrary to one marked by “anguish and fear, sadness and discouragement, passivity and tiredness.”

People of faith, need to take back the words ‘security’ and ‘defence, now used mainly by the military to justify their soaring budgets. We need to restore the significance of these terms to their true meaning: defending people from real risks like pandemics, climate change, racism and injustice by creating real security for all. Let us channel our outrage and grief at the misdirected profit-seeking of arms sales for the good of humanity. It is stating the obvious when we say sophisticated weaponry stockpiles did not protect those suffering COVID-19. Instead, we saw the impact of limited investment in national health systems compared to generous spending on the military industrial complex. In many conflict ravaged areas of the world, the health system have collapsed, and no amount of weapons system can prop them back-up.

This crisis is teaching many of us in this world about the values of compassion and fairness, and the ability of societies to care for its citizens that real security embodies. All our current efforts are rightly focused on preserving life; we have been heartened by the huge efforts made to this end, and by the strengthening of communal bonds across many nations. The past and future weeks have been and will be painful for our societies. We must not allow a return to the old 'business of usual, the one that sells death and destruction as so-called security'.

Therefore, Stop Fuelling War invites you to help transform the next Eurosatory (13 - 17th June 2022) from an exhibition of blatant and shameful military responses to peace building for true human security where compassion, solidarity and non-violent responses to conflict are present. We encourage you to act using all available means, knowing that excessive exaggerated military spending is not the Christian path to ensure safety, welfare, justice and healthcare today.

Signature Christopher Hatton

Christopher Hatton

Steering Committee Member - Stop Fuelling War/ Conseil d'administration – Cesser D'alimentar la Guerre.

 

Sources:

UN 
https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/press-encounter/2020-03-23/transcript-of-the-secretary-generals-virtual-press-encounter-the-appeal-for-global-ceasefire

Pope Francis
https://www.france24.com/en/20200412-do-not-yield-to-fear-pope-francis-delivers-easter-eve-homily-amid-covid-19-pandemic