Because of the role of women over so many centuries in so many different cultures, they have been excluded from what have been called public affairs; for that very reason they have concentrated much more on things close to home... and they have kept far more in touch with the true realities... the realities of giving birth and love. The moment has perhaps come in human history when, for very survival, those realities must be given pride of place over the vainglorious adventures that lead to war.
But we do not wish to see a division over this... merely a natural and respectful and loving cooperation. Women and men together can make this a beautiful people’s world, and that is why we called ourselves, “THE PEACE PEOPLE.”
So, in humility at the efforts of so many people, I am proud to stand here on their behalf, and accept this honor on behalf of all of us.
But I am also angry. I am as angry today, in a calm and deep sense at the wastage of human life that continues each day, as I was when I saw young life squashed on a Belfast street.
I am angry, the Peace People are angry that war at home dribbles on, and around the world we see the same stupidity gathering momentum for far worse wars than the little one which the little population of Northern Ireland, has had to endure. We are angry at the waste of resources that goes on every day for militarism while human beings live in misery and sometimes even live in the hope of a quick death to release them from their hopelessness. We rage as 500,000 dollars are spent every minute of every day on war and the preparation for war, while in every one of those minutes human beings, more than eight people, die of neglect. Every day 12,000 people die of neglect and malnutrition and misery; yet every day, 720 million dollars are spent on armaments. Just think of those insane priorities: after all, we have time to think while others die. Think of it this way: If the expenditure for one minute on armaments 500,000 dollars could somehow be stopped for that one single minute, and shared out among the 12,000 that will die in that day... each of the doomed would get more than forty dollars... enough to live in luxury instead of dying in misery. If the expenditure on armaments could be transferred for one whole day, then 720,000,000 dollars could be shared among those twelve thousand doomed: in other words, each of the doomed would receive 60,000 dollars on that day. What makes these insane priorities the sicker is that this obscene amount of money is spent in the name of defending either freedom or socialism... no doubt the dead and dying are relieved that freedom and socialism are being so efficiently defended!
We know that this insane and immoral imbalance of priorities cannot be changed overnight: we also know that it will not be changed without the greatest struggle, the incessant struggle to get the human race to stop wasting its vast resources on arms, and start investing in the people who must live out their lives on the planet we share, east and west, north and south. And that struggle must be all the greater because it has to be an unarmed, a nonviolent struggle, and requires more courage and more persistence than the courage to squeeze triggers or press murderous buttons. Men must not only end war, they must begin to have the courage not even to prepare for war.