Rethinking Security

Rethinking Security is a programme of events that began in 2016, organised by Bath and District United Nations Association and Bath Stop War. In three initial discussions the focus was on security: its meaning for us, for society and for our planet, and how it can be increased, both here in the UK and globally. The starting point was a document from the Ammerdown Group, a collection of professional peace-builders frustrated by the disastrous effect of global militarist policies on local peace-building.
It became clear from these discussion that the next stage should be dialogue with opinion-formers alongside a continuing programme of informing ourselves. We began with a meeting with Bath's MP Ben Howlett in September 2016, to be followed in December by a talk on Syria, which we regard as a key international security issue.  
Future meetings will include presentations by nationally and internationally significant speakers, helping us rethink security.

The Bundle Journeyman Theatre
Saturday 8th July 2017, 7:30 pm
Friends Meeting House, York Street, Bath
Ticket details to be announced
As part of its programme of events on "Rethinking Security", Bath Stop War is staging a performance of The Bundle by Journeyman Theatre
Commissioned by Quakers Asylum-seekers and Refugee Network (QARN), The Bundle tells the real life story of Adilah, a Chechen woman who flees the persecution and violence of her society and immediate family to save herself and her children. Once in the UK, she continues to negotiate the harsh complexities of bureaucracy to attain refugee status.
In the ‘hostile environment’ intentionally created by the Home Office under Theresa May, the play seeks to explore the life and culture that Adilah (not her real name) and her young family have left behind and the challenges that face them in the UK in 2017. The title of the piece is taken from the name given to the Home Office file. The bundle is vital to every asylum-seeker as it contains their life stories and the evidence of their claims. Journeymen Theatre have worked closely with the family themselves and with professionals who also work in the area of Asylum and Refugee issues to develop The Bundle.

In the age of Trump, how can the UK work for a safer world?

In February 2017 Natalie Bennett from the Green Party gave an inspiring talk at a meeting organised by Bath Stop War and North East Somerset Green Party. She not only had a broad vision of what makes people feel and be safe, connecting up a wide range of aspects of security, but she also gave a wealth of practical and significant examples of a constructive approach.
A full report of the meeting can be downloaded here.

Syria - Talking With A Tyrant? What is life like under the Assad regime?

At this well-attended meeting in December 2016 Simon Fisher shared six observations from his direct experience of visiting Syria. He has written these up in a short article which you can read here.

In September 2016 a group of parliamentarians, faith leaders and academics visited Syria for a week at the invitation of Muslim and Christian religious leaders. Moved by the desperate, seemingly intractable situation, the group's plan was to meet as wide a range of people as possible, to listen and learn and - they hoped - make a useful contribution to public discussion and to foreign policy formation in the UK.

Simon Fisher, who was in the group, will share some observations from the visit, which potentially challenge key aspects of current Western foreign policy and dominant media narratives. Putting these points across in the UK has brought its own challenges, as there is huge resistance to entertaining multiple perspectives on such an emotionally charged issue as Syria. Yet without flexibility, there is little prospect of sustainable peace.

Public meeting and discussion with Ben Howlett MP

The final Rethinking Security session (see below) focused on what we can do - here and now - to challenge conventional, weapons-based definitions of security. Engaging the local MP in a principled discussion was a high priority. Ben Howlett MP accepted our invitation to hear what emerged from our discussions and address us on the question of what makes us and others safe. In a public meeting on 28th September 2016 key ideas were presented to a wide audience by four participants in the Rethinking Security sessions. This was followed by a lively and open discussion.

A report of the meeting can be downloaded here: Public meeting and discussion with Ben Howlett MP (2-page pdf document)

Resources

Starting Point

Our starting point was Security for the future: in search of a new vision. This document comes from the Ammerdown Group: a collection of professional peace-builders frustrated by the disastrous effect of global militarist policies on local peace-building. It is a succinct analysis of what is at stake. You can download both the full document (10-page pdf, 408kB) and a summary (2-page pdf, 99kB).
Download Full Document
Download Summary

Notes from initial meetings 

Download the Notes from the first meeting 20 April 2016 (2-page pdf document)

Download the Notes from the second meeting 18 May 2016 (6-page pdf document) 

Download the Notes from the final meeting 15 June 2016 (4-page pdf document)
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