Dutch Peace Activist Mient Jan Faber Dies At 81


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – Peace activist Mient Jan Faber, who became the voice of Dutch churches opposed to weapons, has died at age 81, peace group Pax confirmed Sunday.

No more details surrounding his death were immediately made available.

Faber became known as the driving force behind Europe’s largest demonstrations against nuclear weapons during the Cold in the turbulent 1980s.

He organized the as general secretary of the Interdenominational Peace Council (IKV), a -backed group that later merged with Pax Christi into Pax.

The outspoken Faber helped create the IKV campaign against nuclear weapons with the well-known slogan: “Help rid the world of nuclear weapons, starting with the !”

He launched two unprecedented rallies on November 21, 1981, in Amsterdam and October 29, 1983, in The Hague, with hundreds of thousands of people participating.

COMMUNISTS GOVERNMENTS

Critics labeled Faber “a friend” of the then Soviet Union, but to a reporter of Worthy News, he recalled his tense relations with communist governments in Soviet satellite states.

Communists condemned Faber and his associates for seeking closer ties with dissident movements such as ‘Charter ’77’ in Czechoslovakia and ‘Swords into plowshares’ in East .

While Faber focused on world peace initiatives, he told Worthy News that he was moved by the “deep faith and Biblical knowledge” of his mentally challenged brother, who died earlier.

Mient Jan Faber was born December 14, 1940, in the Dutch city of Coevorden in a Reformed family as one of six children.

The Dutchman was inspired by his father, a civil servant and an elder within the church, to study abstract mathematics at the Free University. But his search for peace in the world made him join and lead the IKV since 1974.

Faber’s life was marred by turmoil when in 2002, a conflict arose between him and the IKV board about the war in Iraq, forcing his resignation in 2003.

SPECIAL APPOINTMENT

He then became a professor by special appointment at the Free University Amsterdam (VU University), founded in 1880 by a group of Calvinists led by Abraham Kuyper as the first university in the Netherlands.

Until 2012 he held the chair of ‘Citizens Involvement in War Situations,’ ironically financed by the IKV.

He was also a professor by special appointment at the University of Houston in the .

Faber wrote five books, including one about the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, known for the Srebrenica Massacre.

Some 8,000 men and boys were killed by invading Serb forces after Dutch UN peacekeepers abandoned the area.

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