A Warm Welcome

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are excited to share the second Drums of Change edition of 2014, and extend our warmest welcome to you. For those joining us again, we hope you enjoy the diverse range of articles and pieces contributed by our community activists, researchers, academics, campaigners and others, as we seek to profile and reflect on the Changing Face of War. To our first-time readers, Drums of Change is a collaborative effort initiated by the ACTION Support Centre based in South Africa, which seeks to create spaces where community voices can be heard alongside those of policy makers and decision takers, as part of a commitment to share insights on conflict, peace and development.

From the 4th to the 8th of July 2014, the ACTION Support Centre will be taking part in the War Resisters International Conference that will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. This publication was inspired by some of the themes and topics that will be discussed at the conference. We trust that you will find all articles informative and insightful.

Over the years we have seen conflict take different forms and this year will mark the 100th year anniversary since the outbreak of the First World War. In this issue we seek to explore the Changing Face of War by unpacking the various dimensions of war by not only looking at it as a concept which involves a state or period of conflict between different nations, states or non-state actors but rather a system that can perpetuate and promote the intensification of structural violence.

Articles include a deeper look at the nature of the conflict systems affecting Africa; the role technology plays as a force for violence or a tool with the potential to manage conflicts and tensions before they explode; social inequality and poverty as a form of war; and the paradigm shift from state security to human security and its implications for states and citizens.

Rob Thomson of the Ceasefire Campaign suggests fourteen reasons of abolishing war making a strong argument and creating awareness on the importance and possibilities for ending violent conflict.

Although we can identify the causes of war, it is critical that we also look at how state and non-state actors can engage to produce positive outcomes of change. In an interesting piece by Gabriel Malebang of the University of Hiroshima, we take a closer look at the different ways of strengthening local and regional conflict transformation capacities in the SADC region. The article recommends the creation of a self-sustainable and effective Regional Infrastructures for Peace (RI4P) that will adopt Conflict Transformation as an approach to peacebuilding within the SADC region.

Finally we include a piece from Nick Turse, regular contributor to TomDispatch, an online news site that sets out to present news and views that challenge and present alternatives to the dominant narratives in the mainstream media. The website is definitely worth a closer look, and Nick’s article on AFRICOM and the use of Drone warfare in Africa is well worth a read.

We usually associate war with military weaponry. The interconnections with economic , social and political systems suggests however that there is a lot more to war than meets the eye. This issue explores some of these elements in our own effort to contribute to a deeper discussion on the changing face of war and its implications for peacebuilders, war resisters, policy makers and social activists alike. The ASC team has enjoyed putting this issue together for our valued readers and trust you will find it all the pieces and articles stimulating.

The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the ACTION Support Centre or the ACTION for Conflict Transformation network movement.

The Drums of Change welcomes your thoughts and contributions, so please feel free to send your thoughts and feedback to info@asc.org.za, and we encourage the discussion and debates to continue through our Facebook page.

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