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In 57 days, eight hours, twenty-seven minutes and twelve seconds (as of writing), the 2010 FIFA World Cup will commence. Ahead of that blessed event, South Africa is doing what it can to reduce the level of violence that continues to plague the country. Much if not most of it armed. And while we’re dong the count-down thing, RSA’s gun amnesty expired at midnight to days ago. “Time has run out for gun-owners to surrender their legal and illegal firearms,” the head of Crime Line, Yusuf Abramjee told the media. “Now is the time for South Africans to join hands with the police in ensuring a safer South Africa by ridding our streets of illegal firearms.” Citizens nicked with illegal firearms now face the “full force of the law.”  “Any person who is found to be in the possession of an illegal firearm could, if convicted, face 25 years behind bars,” Abramjee. The problem of gun violence is big and so wide that even the guy in charge has no idea what’s out there, gun-wise: “There are possibly hundreds and thousands or even millions of illegal firearms in circulation on South Africa’s streets.” So what of those shirts?

Designer Katharine Hamnett has teamed up with IANSA to support the campaign for a Gun Free World Cup. We are delighted that this great pioneer of UK fashion has loaned her voice to our campaign with one of her classic slogan T-shirts. In the run-up to the tournament, we will be unveiling a squad of international players who have agreed to wear the shirt, and to support the idea of a Gun Free World Cup.

You can join them! Buy this classic “Katharine Hamnett for IANSA” T-shirt for only 15GBP including postage (those outside the UK should email to check postage costs). The shirts are available in men’s sizes S/M/L/XL and are made from 100% certified organic cotton in a factory in India that uses 100% renewable energy.

Question: if a soccer team doesn’t shoot, how can they score? You gotta laff mate. In any case, TTAG is keeping an eye on IANSA. identifies the UK group as one of the main engines behind the UN’s move against civilian gun ownership.

After several organizing meetings beginning in December 1997, IANSA was formally launched May 11 of this year at The Hague during the Appeal for Peace Conference, which reportedly drew an estimated 7,000 delegates from around the world to celebrate the centennial of The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899. To celebrate the formation of the new coalition, organizers destroyed a collection of firearms donated by governments in a “Flame for Peace” bonfire in the city center.

Four months after its debut, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke glowingly of the new organization for its role in directing public attention to the issue of firearms.

“The momentum for combating small arms proliferation has also come from civil society, which has been increasingly active on this issue,” Annan said in his Sept. 24 address to the Security Council. “The establishment early this year of the International Action Network on Small Arms has helped to sharpen public focus on small arms, which has helped us gain the public support necessary for success.”

“IANSA is a coalition of non-governmental organizations that was established to organize international efforts for controlling the global trade in firearms — that’s its main purpose,” said Michael Klare, one of its founders. Klare teaches Peace and Conflict Studies at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and is co-director of the Project on Light Weapons of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Camp Hamp? Remember: you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. And TTAG is there. Here. Somewhere. Everywhere?

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