Peace activists have been expressing their sadness and shock at the unexpected death of pacifist writer and campaigner Howard Clark. Clark, the chairperson of War Resisters International (WRI) died in Spain on Thursday (28 November).
In addition to campaigning against militarism in Britain, Ireland, Spain and the Balkans, Howard Clark wrote several books on active nonviolence and ran training on nonviolent resistance for people in South Africa and Kosovo.
Clark served as editor of Peace News from 1971 to 1976 before joining the staff of WRI from 1985 until 1997. Between 1995 and 2000, he trained volunteers for the Balkan Peace Team, who travelled to Kosovo, Croatia and Serbia.
Born in Britain, Clark later moved to Spain to live with his Spanish partner. In 2006, he was elected to the voluntary role of chairing WRI.
Announcing Clark's death on Friday, WRI issued a statement saying, “He is leaving a gap we are still unable to fully grasp. War Resisters' International is losing with him a good friend, a tireless and committed peace worker, a sharp mind and organiser, and his institutional memory reaching back many decades.”
They added, “Our thoughts are with [his partner] Yolanda and their two children, Ismael and Violeta, at this tragic time.”
Clark wrote a number of books, most recently editing People Power: Unarmed resistance and global security, published in 2009. In 2012, he updated his seminal pamphlet Making Nonviolent Revolution to include reflections on the Indignados and Occupy movements.
The editors of Peace News described him as a “constant supporter, board member and friend”. They added that his whole family “were regulars at the Peace News Summer Camp where they made many friends who will share our deep sorrow at Howard's passing”.
Christian pacifist Symon Hill, an associate of the Ekklesia thinktank, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news. He explained, “I was one of the uncountable number of people around the world to have been inspired by Howard Clark's work. His writing helped me to clarify my own thoughts and understanding.”
WRI are expected to open an online book of condolences, while Peace News are planning to reprint selections of Howard Clark's contributions to the paper.