Renewing hope and courage

Sometimes, working on disarmament issues is difficult. A government you thought was supporting you changes. A trusted colleague leaves their position (or, in some sad cases, dies). Not all change is easy, and when trying to change from a world with nuclear weapons to a world without- the process can leave you breathless.


Momma said there’d be days like this, and they do come around once in a while. For me, it’s a matter of rekindling the hope and courage to face any challenge with dignity and grace. In these times, I search for re-inspiration and rejuvenation. In the past week, I’ve put some hope and courage in the bank for the next challenges that will inevitably come up.

One of the ways I’ve done this is to let music wash over me. To replace the “no”, or “not yet”, or “we’ll just keep going the way we’ve always gone- step by step” with something else.

Luckily, living here in Utrecht, I’ve been able to see the most amazing musicians. Last week, I saw the Kyteman Orchestra again. They played a new style of show- not rehearsed songs they’d previously recorded, but a unique performance, created on the spot for that night only. Such amazing musicians, communicating soundlessly through hand signals, looks (and the occasional whisper). It was spectacular, and, sadly, indescribable. Where I look for hope and courage, the musicians on stage demonstrated fearless dedication.

The reason I went to see them play (again) is because of the way they have moved me so often before. Working on nuclear weapons can be hard, but when you start hearing the right soundtrack, it gets easier.

I haven’t found the right words to say thank you to these artists for reminding me that hard work, dedication and belief in the impossible can make anything happen, including outlawing and eliminating nuclear weapons.

Thank you all.