Did you know that it is easier to trade arms than bananas? There are more regulations for trading that defenceless curved fruit than there are for trading weapons.
Did you know that it is easier to trade arms than bananas? There are more regulations for trading that defenceless curved fruit than there are for trading weapons. No wonder then that Oxfam are on a mission to highlight this extraordinary fact and raise awareness about the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). They would like people to sign their Control Arms petition – and they have found an impressive way of bringing this to the attention of the public. Bananas!
Bananas have been positioned around cities for the public to find – and then eat. In fact tweet and eat is the phrase being used, which was the idea from Chris, a member of the Oxford University Activist group who came up with the idea to avoid all the bananas being left to rot around the cities. The #armstreaty is written on the banana with the idea that you tweet about the campaign and help spread the word before you have your intake of potassium. Other messages about the campaign are also etched on the yellow skins dotted around the country.
So why have Oxfam chosen to highlight this campaign?
Armed violence kills more than 2000 people each day and keeps millions more living in fear or poverty. The current unregulated global arms and ammunition trade enables weapons to find their way into the hands of dictators, genocidal regimes, militias and mafias. This may seem fairly distant to the community we live in but if we think about how this also affects people’s ability to earn a living and benefit from education, it is something maybe we should be turning our thoughts to.
In July 2012, Governments from across the world are meeting at the United Nations in New York to agree the terms of an international ATT to regulate the sale of arms and ammunition. For this to be effective in preventing arms from fuelling atrocities and abuses, the world needs a strong ATT which will ensure arms transfers do not contribute to human rights abuses. In the words of Oxfam it must be a ‘bullet proof ‘treaty. If this treaty is agreed by the UN, global arms trade will be safely regulated assisting war torn countries and communities to prevent conflict, human rights abuses and death.
I know, fruit is not the most appealing subject for students but that shouldn’t stop us helping to spread the word, especially when it’s free! Some people are choosing to make paper-chain people instead to hang in public spaces (and haven’t we all been looking for an excuse to make those paper-chain people ever since we left Primary school?) These strong visual images of people, joining hands across the world, are being peppered with ‘shocking statistics’ to reach out to spread the word that a strong ATT is the way forward.
To join in this campaign keep your eyes peeled for the yellow fruit and the paper people. Next time you are visiting your local Oxfam shop for bargain books or clothes, ask about what you can do to get involved or visit the website to learn more and sign the petition. www.oxfam.org.uk/controlarms
In the meantime check out this video…