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Standing for Peace in Difficult Times

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

A Secure Scotland panel event at Words and Actions for Peace Centre

58 Ratcliffe Terrace EDINBURGH EH9 1ST on 2nd March at 7 p.m.

A year ago, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Secure Scotland hosted a small reflective discussion, lightly moderated by Secure Scotland Core Groups member David Mackenzie under the title ''Standing for Peace in Difficult Times". We tried to share our understanding and consider what steps we might take individually and collectively to better understand and support efforts for building peace rather than waging war.

In consideration of what has happened since, and to follow up on the original conversation, we have invited three panellists to join us in returning to the same theme. Senator Tom Clonan, a former peacekeeper with the Irish army, Dr Lesley Morrison from Medact Scotland, and Marian Pallister, chair of Pax Christi Scotland. The event will again be moderated by David Mackenzie for Secure Scotland. We will invite parliamentarians and other decision-makers to attend, and this is not necessarily a call for protest or mass action, but more an effort to share insights and learn.

Light refreshments will be available

More info on the panelists:

Senator Tom Clonan has spent all his adult life fighting for equality and dignity for others, from peacekeeping in the Middle East to fighting sexual violence in the Irish Defence Forces to tirelessly advocating, as a carer, for people with disabilities.

In addition to being a journalist, lecturer and former army captain, Senator Clonan is a father of four and a carer for his son Eoghan, who has a neuromuscular disease and is a wheelchair user.

Tom was the first member of his family of seven to go to university and Trinity College was an important part of Tom’s intellectual and ethical formation. In 1987, Tom graduated and worked as a primary school teacher for two years before he decided to join the Irish Army in 1989 and was deployed to southern Lebanon commanding Irish troops under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping mission. This was a very violent deployment where, as a peacekeeper, he witnessed the killing of innocent men, women and children. This experience of conflict informs his support for Irish neutrality and Ireland’s status as an independent, credible, morally authoritative voice for international peace.

Marian Pallister is is chair of Pax Christi Scotland. Marian is a journalist, author and peace activist She writes for the Comboni Mission South Africa magazine Worldwide, blogs for Justice & Peace Scotland, and records a monthly podcast for Radio Alba. She has worked as a feature writer and commentator covering social issues in Scotland and round the world, particularly in disasters and war zones. She founded the Mhuthanzia Lilanda Initiative, a charity which supports the education of vulnerable young people in Zambia.Pax Christi Scotland a member organisation of Pax Christi International, which was established after the Second World War with the intention of breaking vicious cycles of violence and injustice.In Pax Christi Scotland. Marian works to end discrimination in all its forms, to address the language of violence, to promote the need for a peace-filled welcome for refugees and migrants, to seek divestment from nuclear and conventional weapons, to remove weapons of mass destruction from Scotland, and to persuade the UK government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. On the Ukraine crisis, she points out that when weapons of mass destruction are brought into the equation, the whole world must feel that fear.

Lesley Morrison is a retired GP, still involved in medical student teaching, who has been an active member of Medact since its inception and a member of MCANW prior to that.

After her medical degree at Aberdeen University, Dr Morrison did her pre-registration year in New York City, which triggered her life-long interest in the social determinants of health, and leading to her understanding of the interconnectedness between the public health need for disarmament and health professionals' roles in the climate crisis, She has always felt passionately about the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons and about the importance of Medact’s work to show that disarmament, development, human rights and concern for the environment are inextricably interlinked. She has always been committed to holistic healthcare and believes in the power of the arts and humanities to affect health. She is a trustee of Medact and shares a view that a health professional’saction for the planet contributes to their own well-being and therefore their effectiveness. She is a co-editor of “Tools of the Trade”, the little book of poetry gifted to all Scottish medical graduates and designed to offer support and nurture creativity.. She is the author of Why nuclear disarmament is a medical issue (BMJ. 2007 Feb 24; 334(7590): 426.), which was presented as part of a year long non-violent direct action campaign at the UK’s nuclear weapons base in Scotland at Faslane.


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