Zuza Bohley makes the link from Colorado to the U.N.
During the Cold War, when Zuza Bohley was growing up in East Germany, being a pacifist was a crime. It was considered treason.
Treason, as in: Her entire family, made up of politically active pacifists, was subject to surveillance. Their home was watched by the Stasi, the East German secret police. Her father was imprisoned. At age 13, Bohley was taken captive at a friend’s birthday party and interrogated for four hours.
“I was terrified to tell anyone,” she recounts now. “I was so, so worried that I had said something that would incriminate my family.”
A year later, her family was deported from their home at gunpoint and traded to West Germany as political prisoners for cash. (The East German government received 50,000 marks.) “We never asked to leave,” she remembers. “We wanted to change things from within.”
In West Germany, Bohley was bullied and spit on in school, this time being called “communist,” and eventually made her way to the U.S. Now she works for multiple NGOs striving to create peace and sustainability — focusing on youth, especially from marginalized groups. As regional representative to the United Nations Association for the Rocky Mountain Region, she says that climate change and peace are intertwined.
“Most of the world’s wars are fought over resources,” Bohley said. “The U.S. involvement in the Middle East is because of oil. The Ukranian crisis … because of dependence on Russian oil.”
This year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned about the probability of climate change-fueled civil wars and inter-group conflict. In the case of Syria, this has already happened. Click to continue reading »
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