Skimming through today's Guardian, I was fascinated to read about a report published by Amnesty International, Oxfam and the International Action Network on Small Arms entitled 'The G8: Global Arms Exporters'.
Amongst the interesting facts are that 6 of the G8 countries account for £15.7billion in arms exports. Here are some of the shocking details
France and Germany have recently exported arms to Burma, China and Sudan despite an EU arms embargo.
Russia makes money selling arms to such beacons of light as Sudan, Ethiopia and Iran.
The US sells military equipment to the freedom loving democracies of Columbia and Pakistan as well as Israel. In the case of Canada they sell to Columbia via USA.
The UK can hardly be left out. In recent times under an 'ethical foreign policy' we have approved licences including armoured vehicles to amongst others 'Algeria, Morocco. Syria and Saudi Arabia.
I doubt that these weapons are bought for asthetic value. As the Report points out these sales are used to suppress people and for conflict.
In a telling quote, the Report notes;
Large numbers of women and girls are at risk of armed violence, whether they are directly involved in the fighting or dealing with the emotional, social, and economic consequences of the loss of male relatives.
Given the effects of weapons misuse, it is shocking how few governments give serious thought to the impact on development and human rights of their arms exports. And for the few that do, it has yet to become a genuine priority.
I hope that there will be a massive effort to challenge this arms trade. We need peaceful but persistent protest. The truth is that the leaders who come to Scotland may not sell their bodies for money. The truth is far more sinister. Through their promotion and subsidising of the arms trade, they sell other peoples' lives for money.As a Turbulent Cleric, I hope that the Church and a range of democratic peace loving people will loudly shout, 'ENOUGH!' This immorality must be brought to an end and only when that is done, can these leaders deserve any respect. The whoredom of death must be exposed as a giant blot on the whole world's conscience. For the sake of non violence, it is time to take a stand.