[sixties-l] Anti-war actions...continued (5) (fwd)

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Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 14:41:36 EDT

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    Subject: Anti-war actions...continued (5)

    [multiple items]
    "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my
    contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the
    spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be
    done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable
    love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and
    ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base
    an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is
    nothing but an act of murder."
      -- Albert Einstein
    Anti-war resources:


    Tens of thousands march in the US and Europe against war preparations


    By Paul Sherman
    3 October 2001

    Tens of thousands of people marched in the United States and Europe this
    past weekend to oppose the use of military force in retaliation for the
    September 11 terror attack on New York and Washington that left over 6,000
    people dead.
    At the largest demonstration, 15,000 participated in a march and rally in
    Washington DC on Saturday, September 29. Smaller protests were also held in
    Los Angeles and New York, as well as a second demonstration in Washington
    DC on Sunday.
    Demonstrations were also held in the Netherlands, Spain and Greece. Over
    10,000 people filled Amsterdam's central square, the Dam, on Sunday for an
    open air meeting. It was the largest peace action in the Netherlands since
    the 1980s, when half a million people marched against the deployment of
    NATO missiles in that country.
    "Justice, not revenge" was the main slogan of the protest, which included
    people who had previously marched against the Gulf War and the 1999 war on
    Yugoslavia. Also present were resistance fighters who had fought against
    Hitler's occupation of the Netherlands between 1940 and 1945.
    In Barcelona, Spain, 5,000 people attended a rally and marched behind a
    banner that read: "No More Victims For Peace." In a statement read at the
    end of the rally, the protesters urged the Spanish government not to
    support any US military intervention or NATO retaliation.
    In Washington DC, those marching expressed heartfelt sorrow for the victims
    of the terror attacks and their families, combined with a determination
    that the attacks not be used as a pretext for US aggression in Central Asia
    or the Middle East. Protesters also denounced racist attacks against
    Arab-Americans and Muslims in the US, and accused the Bush administration
    of carrying out a sweeping attack on civil liberties.
    "Our Grief is Not a Cry for War," "Violence Begets Violence," and "An Eye
    for an Eye Leaves the Whole World Blind" were among the slogans on the
    signs and banners carried by the marchers.
    The demonstrators included rescue workers and volunteers who had searched
    for survivors in New York City. "Like a lot of people here I want justice
    done, but I don't want to see the destruction of more innocent lives,''
    said James Creedon, a rescue worker. "We don't want to see a hundred or a
    thousand more World Trade Centers in this country or abroad.''
    Two young workers from Brooklyn, New York attended the rally. Andrew said,
    "I watched as the trade center collapsed from the roof of my apartment in
    Brooklyn. I can't describe the feeling of shock, terror and panic that I
    went through. To think of how many people were killed, and of those who
    were trapped inside the building, is horrible.
    "I did nothing but watch TV to try and find out what was going on. By about
    the second day, when all the politicians were coming on and talking about a
    unified America, I started getting a realization that they were going to
    use this to justify more killing.
    "The scariest part of the event is that those of us who want a peaceful
    solution will not get a hearing. It is like the media is a propaganda arm
    of the government."
    Joehoon, who was working in an office near the Empire State Building at the
    time of the attack, explained that he and his coworkers were all watching
    it on the TV: "When we saw the plane hit the Pentagon we realized that
    anybody could be a target and we all started going home. As I walked
    towards lower Manhattan, first I saw military planes and helicopters flying
    around and ambulances racing downtown, than I began seeing people coming
    up, people who were in shock, people who were covered in dust.
    "As I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I stopped
    four or five times and turned around expecting to see the World Trade
    Center towers standing there in the skyline. But they were gone.
    "I do believe that the politicians are using this as a rallying cry for war
    and that the majority of people want a war. But people also are not getting
    the view that there might be another solution. When there were 3,000 to
    5,000 people in a peace march at Union Square, neither the New York Times
    nor any of the local New York papers reported it."
    Most of those present at the Washington rally came from New York,
    Philadelphia and Washington DC, but others traveled from Wisconsin,
    Minnesota, North Carolina, Florida and as far away as Seattle. The vast
    majority of those participating were college students.
    Nearly 20 percent of the 1,300 students who attend Bard College in upstate
    New York were at the rally. Three hundred students came from Oberlin
    College in Ohio, despite a warning by the school's president that there
    would be violence and bloodshed at the event. Also in attendance were a
    sizable number of young workers and veterans of the Vietnam protest movement.
    "I came here to show support for international justice and a peaceful
    conflict resolution," said Nat, a web developer from New Jersey. "There are
    a lot of people who want a military solution, but we have to understand
    that the people of Afghanistan are no more responsible for terrorism than
    the American people are for the behavior of the American government.
    "If it gets to the point where we can't speak freely then we are in lot of
    trouble in this country. I understand that Bill Maher of the television
    program 'Politically Incorrect' had to apologize for disagreeing with Bush,
    or else his career would have been dead meat. If they stop people from
    disagreeing with rallying around the flag, then this is the worst kind of
    The news media, which has functioned as a conduit for the White House and
    the Pentagon since September 11, virtually ignored the protests. Most TV
    networks gave scant coverage to the march if they reported it at all. USA
    Today ran one paragraph in its news brief section. The New York Times ran a
    small article on its inside pages about the various protests. It included a
    photo in which a full view of thousands of anti-war marchers was blocked by
    a close-up of a sign carried by one of a handful of right-wing
    counter-demonstrators, which read, "Osama thanks fellow cowards for your
    support ."
    While condemning the attacks, many of the marchers blamed US foreign policy
    in the Middle East for creating a climate in which terrorists could recruit
    people willing to carry out suicide attacks against the US. "These things
    happen for a reason," said Rachel, a young professional worker from
    Washington DC. "We would be remiss if we did not investigate our political
    and economic policies that caused it. After all the death, destruction and
    tragedy that have taken place, I think the most important lesson is
    rethinking America's interaction with that region of the world. I work with
    professionals, and I got into arguments with them when this happened. Most
    of the people I talked to were just angry and frustrated, and they were for
    an actual war and eliminating the Taliban. I am not for the Taliban, who
    oppress women and oppose education, but I am not for war. I think you have
    to understand what policies are behind this attack, and change them."
    Antoinette, a student from Maryland College of Art, said, "The World Trade
    Center disaster was a horrible event. Most people are just waving the flag.
    But we all have to change. We have to think about things more deeply.
    "I think Bush liked this incident because it saved his presidency, although
    he does not seem to have a clear direction of what he wants to do. US
    foreign policy is based on very narrow and selfish interests which produce
    a lot of hatred."
    The march was organized by a coalition of groups called International
    ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). Several speakers from this
    organization denounced the terrorist attacks and Bush's militaristic
    response, but were unable to provide any deeper explanation of the social
    and political roots of the attacks and the build-up for war.
    Significantly, none of the speakers raised any criticism of the Democratic
    Party and the manner in which it has rushed to give the Bush administration
    a blank check to wage war, boost the Pentagon budget and carry out sweeping
    attacks on civil liberties. Silence on the role of the Democratic Party is
    in keeping with the politics of the Workers World Party (WWP), which played
    a prominent role in organizing Saturday's demonstration.
    The WWP, a survivor of the Vietnam-era protest period with a pro-Stalinist
    political line, has long used socialist phrases to cover an orientation to
    sections of the Democratic Party and opposition to the struggle for the
    political independence of the working class. Now it hopes to revive a
    1960s-type anti-war movement, which would subordinate popular opposition to
    sections of the capitalist class and its political representatives in the
    ostensibly liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
    The WWP's orientation is revealed in its gushing praise for the California
    Democratic congresswoman who voted against ceding more power to Bush to
    wage war. "Only Barbara Lee, a Black woman representing the district that
    includes Oakland, Calif., cast a heroic 'no' vote in Congress," the group's
    newspaper, Workers World, declared.
    The struggle against reactionary forces such as the Taliban, bin Laden and
    other Islamic fundamentalists who combine religious obscurantism, virulent
    nationalism and contempt for democratic rights cannot be ceded to any
    section of the American ruling elite, or either of its political parties.
    Nor can the struggle against imperialist war and attacks on democratic
    rights be waged on the basis of appeals to the nominally liberal wing of
    the political establishment.
    The only viable perspective for opposing imperialist war is the struggle to
    unify the working class in the US and the other advanced countries with the
    workers and oppressed masses in Asia and the Middle East on the basis of a
    socialist and internationalist program. This requires a break with the
    Democrats and the establishment of an independent political party of the
    working class.


    Pushing Peace, Pursuing Justice

    They do not want revenge. Instead, many favor bringing suspects to court

    by Frank Davies
    September 29, 2001; Philadelphia Inquirer

    WASHINGTON - A new peace movement opposed to military
    retaliation for the catastrophic attacks of Sept. 11 is
    stirring, trying to find its voice and seeking support
    for nonviolence. In Washington, a variety of peace
    groups plan rallies and marches this weekend.
    Organizers for a march on the Justice Department and
    the Capitol today hope to lure protesters who had
    planned to be here for World Bank-IMF meetings that
    were canceled.

    "We're just coming out of the grief and shock like
    everyone, but we need to speak out that our country
    should pursue justice, not vengeance," said Carol
    Moseley of Gainesville, Fla., head of the Florida
    Coalition for Peace and Justice in Gainesville.

    Another group, the Washington Peace Center, is planning
    a march of local residents tomorrow, much like the
    vigils and demonstrations last week on more than 100
    college campuses, organizers said.

    "Right now there's a need to tend to the grass roots,
    shore up the base, build organizations," said Scott
    Lynch, communications director for Peace Action, which
    used to be SANE, an antinuclear group.

    Several organizers say they do not want to minimize the
    mass murder of Sept. 11, and they are mindful that many
    Americans see dissent as naive or unpatriotic. But they
    say the 80 percent to 90 percent approval for military
    action in some public-opinion polls masks deep
    misgivings about U.S. policy and the dangers of a
    vaguely defined war on terrorism.

    "There's an attempt to silence the voices of those who
    question how we got into this," said the Rev. Graylan
    Hagler, a Congregational minister in Washington. "We're
    dealing with a real atmosphere of chest-beating and
    saber-waving - and that compels us to act."

    Most activists favor bringing terrorist groups to
    justice, using international cooperation to pressure
    and capture the leaders and bring them before a world

    "We plead for a thorough investigation of the terrorist
    events before any retaliation. We call for peace and
    justice, not revenge," said one Internet petition
    signed by 195,000 people by Thursday.

    Another warning that "a military response will not end
    the terror" was signed by more than 150 entertainers
    and business and civil rights leaders, including Harry
    Belafonte, Bonnie Raitt, Rosa Parks, Martin Sheen, and
    the founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

    Many activists are also highlighting civil-liberties
    issues and the rights of Arab Americans and other
    Muslims and are pushing for more education about South
    Asia and U.S. policies.

    One sociologist who has studied protest movements said
    that peace activists could play an important role in a
    national debate if they are not lumped together with
    those who blame U.S. actions for the terrorist attacks.

    "If it's simply 'blame America,' they will be seen as
    irrelevant," said Todd Gitlin, a chronicler of U.S.
    resistance during the Vietnam War. "But if they
    encourage genuine questioning, and it's intellectually
    honest - a deep reckoning of where we're heading - that
    would be a major contribution."


    Sunday, September 30, 2001

    Spirit of dissent comes alive in anti-war march


    By Tim Rutten and Lynn Smith
    Los Angeles Times

    Americans do not by nature march in lock-step, least of all to war.
    The peace marches planned for Washington, D.C., this weekend are part of a
    tradition that just as often has sent Americans striding away from the
    front as toward it.
    But the demonstrations occur at a moment in which that political footing
    has become treacherous: Television personalities including Bill Maher have
    been censured for criticizing the military; writers including Susan Sontag
    have been pilloried for drawing a link between U.S. foreign policy and the
    Sept. 11 atrocities; newspaper executives in Texas and Oregon have
    apologized for printing columns critical of the president, and in one case
    fired a columnist.
    Political dissent in wartime, however, is an American tradition.
    The Revolution itself was opposed by so many colonists that in some regions
    it was fought as a virtual civil war.
    Doubts about the justice of war with Mexico were so widespread that they
    were shared by a young philosopher and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, who
    spent a night in jail, and by a young lawyer and politician, Abraham
    Lincoln, who lost his congressional seat over the issue.
    Irish Americans, trade unionists, social reformers including Jane
    Addams and Socialists including Eugene Debs vigorously opposed
    U.S. participation in World War I. Domestic dissent eventually made
    prosecution of the Vietnam War impossible.
    World War II is the great exception because public revulsion at the attack
    on Pearl Harbor subdued the powerful currents of isolationism that had kept
    the United States out of the confrontation.
    Pearl Harbor altered the American political landscape. The attacks on the
    World Trade Center and Pentagon might have done the same.
    And, as the dim outlines of a post-Sept. 11 political climate begin to
    emerge, many intellectuals even those who have taken an unyielding line
    against Osama bin Laden and his fundamentalist protectors are beginning to
    wonder what place will be made for dissent.
    The campuses, once citadels of opposition to military action, generally are
    quiet, in part, said author and commentator David Rieff, because this
    generation of students is hamstrung by the "politically correct" education
    it has received since kindergarten.
    "The nice kids have been taught that all differences are to be celebrated,"
    said Rieff, visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
    "Their homeroom teachers and guidance counselors never told them that there
    are people in the world who mean them harm."
    To young people educated in this way, Rieff said, "It just doesn't make
    emotional sense that cultural differences could lead to war and not greater
    Commentator Christopher Hitchens has been attacked bitterly by colleagues
    for the strong stand he has taken against bin Laden and the
    Taliban. Nevertheless, he worries that what he sees as a prevailing
    "pseudo-unity" will choke off the spirit of dissenting individualism
    crucial to defeating what he and Rieff term "Islamic fascism."
    Hitchens said, "What one wants is the spirit of initiative shown by those
    courageous passengers over Pennsylvania, who disobeyed every FAA regulation
    about staying buckled in their seats and went down fighting.
    "Without that spirit, what we will end up with is capitulation abroad and
    authoritarianism at home, which is the worst combination imaginable."
    Such a combination is visible, said the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a longtime
    advocate of nonviolence and civil disobedience. "My brother Phillip and
    another Jesuit, Stephen Kelly, are in federal prison for anti-nuclear
    protests. On the day of the attacks, my brother was thrown into solitary
    confinement because he was discussing alternatives to violent reprisals
    with other prisoners.
    "This is tough repression, even for prison, and it's already under way,"
    Berrigan said.
    "I live in the penumbra of the World Trade Center," said Victor Navasky,
    former editor of the Nation, a left-wing weekly, who is a journalism
    professor at Columbia University.
    "I think there's a lot of poison in the air, and that makes dissent very
    Despite such fears, the spirit of dissent was alive in yesterday's
    protests. Thousands marched to the Capitol to protest America's war on
    terrorism on a day that had been originally marked for massive
    demonstrations against the policies of the World Bank and the International
    Monetary Fund.
    After Sept. 11, organizers changed the focus of their protest from
    anti-globalization to anti-war.
    While the number of marchers most estimates put it at about 10,000 fell
    short of the 100,000 expected, those who participated called the day a good
    beginning. Marching to chants of "No war" and "While we still can, stop the
    war in Afghanistan," the demonstrators were loud and defiant. The protest
    was mostly peaceful, although dozens of police in riot gear were a
    commanding presence. Several arrests were made, police said.


    Hundreds join peace march in downtown Portland streets



    President Bush's attempts to soothe jittery Americans about the prospect of
    war failed to reassure hundreds of Portlanders, who marched for peace
    Sunday for the second time in two weeks.
    Participants held aloft signs saying "Justice not bombs," "Peace!!
    Please!!" and "Feeding the world is the only security."
    Organizers from Portland Peaceful Response, a newly formed anti-war group,
    questioned Bush's promise to respond carefully to the Sept. 11 terrorist
    attacks. They suggested that misguided foreign policy, such as bombing Iraq
    during the Persian Gulf War and looking to Third World countries for cheap
    labor, sparked the anger behind the destruction of the World Trade Center
    and a wing of the Pentagon.
    "People humiliated and oppressed for generations, not having clean water,
    not having a job that supports a family, seeing their children starve, can
    experience the kind of rage that results in a horrendous attack," said
    Laurie King, a former teacher and labor organizer from
    Portland. "Militarism is not the answer."
    In Washington, D.C., several thousand anti-war demonstrators marched
    Sunday. The police presence there was muted in contrast to Saturday, when
    scores of officers turned out in riot gear for two separate marches of
    several thousand demonstrators. Those events were mostly peaceful, but some
    skirmishes led to several arrests.
    Portland Peaceful Response organizers said their march, which began at
    Pioneer Courthouse Square and ended at the South Park Blocks, had attracted
    2,000 people. Portland police officers pegged the number at slightly more
    than 500.
    Organizers seemed to expect several counter-demonstrators, urging
    participants not to exchange blows or angry words with those protesting the
    rally. But the only protester was a man in a red shirt and a U.S. Navy cap
    adorned with a flag, holding a sign saying, "5,627 killed."
    When organizers tried to talk to him, he waved them away with obscenities.
    "We've had peaceful times for many, many years, and people have made money
    in the stock market, but now it's time to defend the country that's so nice
    to you," said the protester, who declined to give his name because he
    feared harassment from co-workers who disagreed with him. "Our president
    just lost a number of people, and this gathering is inappropriate."
    The marchers' message has expanded beyond the fear of war expressed at the
    last rally on Sept. 16. Several participants said they opposed the Bush
    administration's ideas for restricting civil liberties and take issue with
    the work of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force. One woman carried a
    flier calling for dismantling the Pentagon and closer scrutiny of CIA records.
    As the concerns of the marchers have ranged further from war, Portland
    Peaceful Response has become more focused. During the rally two weeks ago,
    the group collected cash donations in trash bags. The $2,000 members
    gathered enabled them to print press packets and the fliers distributed
    They said the group has grown from 50 to 300 members and will continue to
    organize the rallies until the talk of war ceases.
    "Will there be this level of energy when there's not an event to rally
    around?" said Shana Peyser, a catering coordinator who helped organize the
    rally. "I'm not sure. But I like to think positively."
    You can reach Lisa Grace Lednicer at 503-221-8234 or by e-mail at


    Can the New York Times Count-- or Quote-- Peace Activists?

    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
    Media analysis, critiques and news reports

    October 2, 2001

    Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Times has downplayed
    and distorted peace rallies and demonstrations against a military response.

    After thousands of anti-war activists gathered in Washington, D.C. on
    September 29, the Times responded with a 10-sentence story, under the
    headline "Protesters in Washington Urge Peace with Terrorists." Given that a
    call for bringing terrorists to justice through non-military means was
    central to the rallies, the headline is a gross mischaracterization of the
    protesters' message.

    The Times also misreported other basic facts, like the size of the crowd in
    Washington. The Times estimated that a "few hundred protesters" were on
    hand, while the official police estimate was 7,000 (Washington Post,
    9/30/01). One only had to watch the live coverage on C-SPAN to know the
    Times was way off.

    The next day, the Times ran a slightly longer story about the second day of
    protests on page B7. The photo that accompanied the story, however, was
    dominated by a sign held by one of the counter-demonstrators: "Osama thanks
    fellow cowards for your support."

    The rallies held in Washington were not the first time the paper downplayed
    peace activism. On September 21, the paper reported on the protests that
    were held on about 150 campuses across the country. But the perspectives of
    the thousands of students who participated in the day of action were almost
    entirely absent. Of the 11 students quoted in the article, only one voiced
    an anti-war opinion. Instead, the article was dominated by students who
    supported going to war, or those who could not recall seeing any anti-war
    sentiment on campus.

    ACTION: Please call on the New York Times to improve its coverage of the
    peace movement by including the perspectives of anti-war activists in its
    reporting about the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    New York Times
    229 West 43rd St.
    New York, NY 10036-3959
    Toll free comment line: 1-888-NYT-NEWS


    War Protesters Take to Neighborhoods

    D.C. Demonstrators Get Mixed Reception

    By Manny Fernandez
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, October 1, 2001; Page B03

    Scores of anti-war activists marched more than two miles through District
    neighborhoods yesterday, hoping to sway the hearts and minds of residents
    that a military response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will not heal
    the nation's wounds.

    College-age peace advocates carried signs reading, "Our grief is not a cry
    for war." Mothers pushed baby strollers while chanting, "No war in our
    name; Islam is not to blame." And a Gulf War veteran waved one of the
    march's many American flags to challenge the stereotyping of protesters as

    "Preventing your government from committing unethical injustices is a
    highly patriotic act," said Kevin McCarron, 40, a D.C. Statehood Green
    Party activist who works as an economist for the federal government.

    The march was the last of several weekend demonstrations that turned much
    of the capital into the epicenter of a new anti-war movement. Thousands of
    activists from the Washington region and across the country took part in
    three marches that were largely peaceful affairs marked with a few scuffles
    with police.

    Yesterday's permitted march was a loud but civil display of anti-war
    sentiment that took place without incident. A large police presence kept
    close watch on the march and blocked off traffic along the route, which
    began at Meridian Hill Park at 16th and Euclid streets NW and meandered
    through parts of the Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan
    neighborhoods. Police officials estimated the crowd at 3,000 at its peak.

    The march was organized by the Washington Peace Center, a resource center
    for peace activists, and the District office of the American Friends
    Service Committee, the social service branch of the Quakers. Many of those
    marching had planned to protest during the annual meetings of the World
    Bank and International Monetary Fund, originally scheduled for Saturday and
    yesterday. The meetings were canceled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
    as were many of the protests.

    At Meridian Hill Park yesterday, protesters gathered before a stage at 11
    a.m. to listen to speakers and munch on pasta. Near the front of the stage,
    one counter-demonstrator held a sign reading, "Osama thanks fellow cowards
    for your support." A protester stood next to the man with a sign that said,
    "Confused guy."

    While Saturday's marches focused on Washington's traditional corridors of
    power downtown, yesterday's event brought anti-war messages to the
    sidewalks and streets of the city's neighborhoods. Protesters received a
    mixed response from bystanders, many of whom sat on the stoops of row
    houses to watch the sea of banners and puppets. In some cases, onlookers
    flashed peace signs or looks of dismay.

    "They're very peaceful," said Joseph Pettus, 44, a Columbia Heights
    resident who stopped on his Sunday walk to take in the scene along 14th
    Street NW. "They're just making a statement."

    Others rejected the demonstrators' messages. "I can understand their
    sentiment, but I can't say I support them," said one Dupont Circle resident
    who spoke on condition of anonymity while watching marchers on R Street NW.
    "I feel like we should go in and root out the terrorists. What do we do? Do
    we just stop and let this go?"

    Protesters did not focus on the alternatives to war, though many said that
    accused terrorists should be tried by an international tribunal. Organizers
    said their goal was simply to promote justice without bombings or invasions
    that kill civilians.

    Much of the talk yesterday centered on the events of the day before. Police
    confronted protesters during a Saturday morning march that ended in a tense
    standoff in front of the IMF and World Bank headquarters. Lines of
    riot-ready police prevented several hundred protesters from leaving the
    area. Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said the tactic
    settled an often-hostile crowd. "It allowed everyone to calm down," he
    said. Attorneys for protesters are seeking a court order to stop District
    police from using that crowd-control tactic again.

    Gainer said he was hit on the head with what appeared to be a pipe Saturday
    morning near the Washington Convention Center when black-masked protesters
    surrounded police vehicles escorting the marchers. A police officer was
    knocked to the ground, and Gainer was accidentally hit with police pepper
    spray during the brief melee. Activists working as medics said more than 20
    protesters were pepper sprayed, and about six suffered physical blows from

    Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey credited the protesters with conducting two
    days of marches that, except for the few tense moments on Saturday, were
    largely civil.

    "They've been vocal but peaceful," Ramsey said. "Obviously, they want to
    get their voices heard, but they've done a good job of policing themselves."

    Police arrested 11 on Saturday -- three at the morning march and eight in a
    related protest at the former D.C. General Hospital. Protesters challenging
    the privatization of the now-closed hospital sought to "reopen" it by
    taking over a building but failed, activists said. They were affiliated
    with the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, the sponsors of the Saturday morning
    anti-war march.

    The mood at yesterday's gathering was less confrontational and far more
    festive, as conversation drifted among marchers about the momentum building
    for an American peace movement.

    "I believe we will be able to stop a war with demonstrations," said Stan
    Scarano, 57, of Arlington. "Basically, there's been a silence in this land.
    People have been apathetic. . . . What you see is a social consciousness
    and awareness that is beginning to spread."


    IMF protesters in Washington turn peace advocates

    Monday, October 01, 2001
    By Reuters

    WASHINGTON ^ U.S. Park Police in the nation's capital have issued permits
    for as many as 10,000 demonstrators to protest against President Bush's war
    on terrorism and advocate peace, Washington police said Friday.
    Protesters were expected to stage anti-war rallies on Saturday and Sunday
    and denounce recent acts of violence against Arab Americans and Muslims in
    the United States.

    "Too many innocent lives have been lost already," Maria Ramos of the
    Washington Peace Center said in a statement. "It's time for America to use
    its strength to end the cycle of violence, not perpetuate it."

    Washington police said they hoped for peaceful events.

    "We always hope for peaceful protests," Officer Kelly McMurray of the
    District of Columbia Police Department said. "What to expect with
    protesters, you never know, but we always hope everyone will protest

    Demonstrators will include many anti-globalization activists who originally
    planned to protest against the policies of the Bush administration and the
    annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    The lenders' gatherings, which were scheduled for Sept. 29-30, were
    postponed because of the attacks that flattened the World Trade Center and
    damaged the Pentagon.

    Demonstrators said they expected peaceful protests this weekend.

    "Our intent is to have a lawful, peaceful and disciplined protest," said
    coordinator Brian Becker.

    As emotions and patriotism run high after the attacks that left nearly
    6,500 people dead or missing, police said counter-demonstrators might show up.

    "There is always the possibility that there will be people who want to put
    their message out there," McMurray said. "We want everyone to be heard and
    hopefully no one will get hurt."


    Unpatriotic? No, Dissenters Are As American As Can Be

    Published on Monday, October 1, 2001 in the San Jose Mercury News

    IT'S begun. The line is being drawn. You're with us or you're against us.
    It's not rogue states we're isolating, however. It's each other. The line
    is being drawn by Americans eager for military action. They place on the
    other side those who question the wisdom or effectiveness of a military
    response to terrorism, or who worry about abridging freedoms in the name of

    It's one thing to label ideas wrongheaded or foolish. That's fine. That's
    fair debate.

    It's another to accuse people with different viewpoints of being
    un-American. That's the unsettling trend we're beginning to see.

    The first blast of intolerance hit Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee. The
    only lawmaker to vote against President Bush's mandate to use ``all
    necessary and appropriate force'' against terrorists, Lee was branded
    unpatriotic and worse by people who believe this country must move in
    lockstep at times like these.

    Closer to home, we see the pattern played out in letters to the editor.
    Writers who urge less militant responses find themselves vilified as
    unpatriotic. One of our editorials was labeled treason because it suggested
    the United States needs to build relationships with Arab nations to fight
    terrorism. Columnists who try to explain why the United States is hated in
    parts of the Arab world -- surely useful information -- are accused of
    making excuses for the terrorists.

    Then there's White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who last week
    criticized a remark by television host Bill Maher. Fleischer said Americans
    ``need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time
    for remarks like that; there never is.''

    Of course some pacifist ideas are unrealistic, in our view. Suggesting we
    negotiate with terrorists, for instance: It would set a terrible precedent.

    But it's not unreasonable, let alone un-American, to observe that bombing
    the daylights out of Afghanistan or Iraq might inspire whole new
    generations of terrorists. Nor is it unreasonable to caution that if this
    new war on terror isn't crafted carefully, it might well turn into another
    Vietnam -- another hopeless fight in hostile territory with no good outcome

    Vietnam holds another lesson. War protesters were vilified in the 1960s.
    Remember ``America -- love it or leave it''? But eventually, a majority of
    Americans came to agree that the Vietnam war had been ill-conceived.

    As we move to defend America against terrorism, it's helpful to keep in
    mind the reasons it's worth defending. The right to free speech should be
    high on the list. People who dare to go against the mainstream and speak
    their minds are not un-American. They're as American as they can be.


    Thousands rally for peace in S.F.


    Published Sunday, September 30, 2001
    By Ritu Bhatnagar

                 SAN FRANCISCO -- A peace rally in a sun-dappled park Saturday
    started out with sparse numbers but by midday drew close to 5,000 people
    voicing their displeasure against a military confrontation in the Middle East.

                 People ranging from teen-agers to war veterans filed into
    Dolores Park calling for a peaceful resolution as the Bush administration
    seeks justice for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

                 Many hoisted up signs declaring sentiments such as, "Peace is
    Patriotic" and "No Vietnam in Afghanistan."

                 A Veterans for Peace bus with paint-sprayed peace signs on its
    windows was parked behind the stage. And cries of "we want peace" could be
    heard against the backdrop of the beating drums of a dance troupe.

                 Maurice Englander, a World War II veteran and San Francisco
    native, traded in his dog tags for peace necklaces, three to be exact, and
    denounced violence as a solution to America's war on terrorism.

                 "I'm a decorated soldier of World War II and I know that
    violence doesn't solve things," Englander said. "We should solve things in
    the pursuit of the people who did this, but not in the U.S. to unilaterally
    bomb countries. It will only create more enemies."

                 "Now we share an anger that has provoked others to do this."

                 Barry Lefsky attended the rally as part of his work with the
    newly formed East Bay Coalition Against War. He came to denounce reports of
    racist attacks against American Muslims or those presumed to be Muslims.

                 He also sought to defend the right to oppose any potential war
    as an American activity, and not a subversive one.

                 "I'm concerned about the government creating a major war that
    harms innocent people," Lefsky said. "And also the notion that people who
    don't support the war aren't American. This rally helps us to show that not
    everyone is behind a war."

                 The rally was organized by A.N.S.W.E.R., Act Now to Stop War
    and End Racism. Speakers at the event included a mix of people ranging from
    high school students to leaders of activist organizations.

                 In southern California, nearly 300 demonstrators gathered at
    the federal building on Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles to rally for
    a peaceful solution to the terror attacks.

                 "By having groups saying let's not go after the Taliban,
    that's the same thing as the Nazi collaborators were in World War II," said
    Bob Zirgalis, a spokesman for the group that organized the rally.

                 Stephen Charbonneaux, 26, a Ph.D student at UCLA, came out to
    advocate a peaceful solution to the nation's crisis. "We must advocate a
    peaceful justice," he said. "Bringing bin Laden to trial is a first step."

                 A smaller counter-demonstration of about a dozen people
    organized by International Human Rights Watch and Afghan Resistance voiced
    support for military action across the street in front of the L.A. National


    Washington protesters decry 'quickness' of march to war


    Among them were many planning to protest a canceled IMF summit

    Published Sunday, September 30, 2001
    By Mike Dorning

                 WASHINGTON -- Anti-war demonstrators Saturday marched on the
    Capitol to protest the surging support for a military strike in retaliation
    for this month's terrorist attacks.

                 Some rally participants had to shift gears because the
    International Monetary Fund summit was to be the focus of a massive protest
    against economic globalization. The summit, scheduled for this weekend, was
    canceled after the Sept. 11 hijackings.

                 Many demonstrators said they had planned to be in Washington
    for the IMF meeting, but others came because of what they considered to be
    an uncontrolled march toward war.

                 "I'm really so frightened by the quickness of it," said Amy
    Gratsch, 20, a junior at Wells College, a small women's school in Aurora,
    N.Y. "The government just sort of jumped in. We said we're declaring war on
    terrorism and we don't even know who."

                 The protest was mostly peaceful. But early in the day, an
    anarchist-led march of several hundred people clashed with police.

                 A police spokesman said a few of the demonstrators were arrested.

                 A small group of counter-demonstrators gathered at the Navy
    Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue to show support for the Bush
    administration's response to the attacks on the nearby Pentagon and the
    World Trade Center.

                 At the main rally, protesters sang peace songs and
    periodically broke into chants of "No War." Some of the participants struck
    up impromptu music performances along the sidelines, such as a white-haired
    clarinetist and college-age banjo player who joined for a duet of "Give
    Peace A Chance."

                 The event attracted a crowd that appeared to number several
    thousand people. Some of the protesters and speakers said they believed the
    terrorist attacks should cause the United States to re-examine its policies
    in the Middle East and elsewhere.

                 One speaker at a rally before the march asked for a moment of
    silence to honor people in the Middle East and other Third World countries
    "exploited by the greed" of the United States and Europe.

                 The event also drew many New York residents, including a man
    who said he was a paramedic injured in the attack on the World Trade Center.

                 James Creedon, 24, spoke at the rally dressed in a dark blue
    paramedic's uniform, with a stethoscope dangling from his neck.

                 He said he was burned on his hands and ears and had glass and
    other debris embedded in his back and arms when the first tower collapsed
    200 feet from a triage station he was manning.

                 "Do you know what war looks like?" he asked the crowd,
    "Because I do, down at ground zero."

                 "It scars the memory of the innocent people who lost their
    lives to kill more innocent people in their name," he told a reporter later.


    Minnesotans head to D.C. for anti-war rally


    by Sarah McKenzie
    Mpls Star-Tribune, Sept. 28, 2001

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Denouncing a possible U.S. military response to
    terrorism, a group of 80 Minnesota war protesters planned to leave
    Minneapolis by bus this morning to take part in a peace rally scheduled in
    Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

    Organizers and D.C. police said they expect thousands to attend.

    Jessica Sundin, 28, a member of the Anti-War Committee in Minneapolis, said
    many Twin Cities peace activists are concerned about Congress' authorization
    of military action and President Bush's mobilization of forces.

    "It is not going to create more peace and justice," said Sundin, who planned
    to join the bus caravan. "War is a simplistic answer."

    Members of a new University of Minnesota anti-war group formed after the
    terrorist attacks will join the bus delegation. Maria Anderson, 22, a
    university senior, said she's traveling to Washington to show there is a
    "space for other people who might be pacifists to come out and show their

    The protesters are going against the grain of public opinion, with recent
    polls showing an overwhelming majority of the American public supporting a

    Donovan Hellickson, 77, a World War II veteran of Sanborn, Minn., said he
    didn't agree with the plans to demonstrate in the nation's capital.
    Hellickson, now a vice commander with the state's American Legion, served
    with the Army in Okinawa, Japan, in 1945 and 1946.

    "I don't think that's right," he said of the planned protest. "What are we
    supposed to do?"

    Cancellation of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings
    planned this week have not deterred some anti-globalization groups from
    demonstrating this weekend. Officials had estimated 100,000 would turn out
    to protest those meetings.

    Some anti-globalization activists have broadened their focus to include an
    anti-war agenda.

    "We have refocused the call for our demonstration to address the immediate
    danger posed by racism and the grave threat of a new war," read a posting on
    the New York-based International Action Center's Web site. The center is one
    of the main organizers of Saturday's rally.

    Beside calls for peace, there is a growing student movement on campuses
    throughout the nation pushing for military action. At the University of
    California, Berkeley, historically a center of anti-war activism, students
    have demonstrated in support of retaliation.

    The peace activists expected to rally in Washington at noon Saturday will
    meet at the Freedom Plaza near the White House, said Nicole Snelgrove, with
    the International Action Center.

    The demonstration will conclude with a rally near the U.S. Capitol.


    Parents of Flight 93 victim call for peace


    They fear U.S. will retaliate in kind

    by Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Saturday, September 22, 2001

    Deora Bodley's parents say their daughter would want them to forgive the
    hijackers who crashed United Airlines Flight 93 in southwest Pennsylvania
    on Sept. 11.
    They admit that it's too early for that, but yesterday Derrill Bodley and
    Deborah Borza asked the United States to embrace peace instead of retaliation.
    Deora's parents spoke publicly for the first time since the hijacking
    before a memorial service at Santa Clara University, where Deora, 20, would
    have been starting her junior year as a psychology and French major.
    Borza read from one of Deora's journals, which she had found under her
    daughter's bed the night of her death.
    "People ask who, what, when, where, how, why. I ask peace," Borza read.
    Though visibly shaken, Borza and Bodley joined other survivors of the
    victims killed in the terrorist attacks who have urged the nation to search
    for a peaceful resolution to violent hatreds.
    "We must not retaliate in kind as if our cause allows us to," said Bodley,
    a music professor at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and
    Sacramento City College.
    The name of America's new mission, Operation Infinite Justice, "frightens
    me more than the terrorist attacks," he said. "I shudder to think they
    chose it because they think God is on their side. That is what terrorists
    The U.S. government, he said, needs to review its own role in world affairs
    before trying to claim the moral high ground.
    Said Borza: "Let this passing be the start of a new conversation that is
    all-inclusive, tolerant of all people's beliefs, that includes everyone's
    God, that includes everyone of color, that provides a future for all
    mankind to live in harmony and respect."
    Borza, who works for Copley Information Services, described her only child
    as a "young, vibrant woman, fiercely independent, who loved her freedom."
    Deora, who spent many hours tutoring elementary school students in reading,
    was returning to the Bay Area from an East Coast visit with friends. She
    had been booked on a later plane but was given a standby seat on Flight 93,
    her mother said.
    Yesterday, a memorial stood outside the Jesuit university's Mission Church,
    decorated with candles, a teddy bear, balloons and notes.
    "Deora made the sun brighter," one student had written.
    E-mail Suzanne Herel at, sherel@sfchronicle.com.


    Vietnam Veterans Against the War

    Statement on September 11 attacks

    September 27, 2001
     From the National Office of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.:

    The terrorist attacks on September 11 horrified and outraged people
    throughout this country and the world. Within hours, the World Trade
    Center's twin towers and part of the Pentagon lay in flaming ruins with many
    thousands injured, missing or killed. Firefighters, EMS workers, police and
    ordinary citizens mounted a heroic rescue effort but sadly, the death toll
    is now approaching 7000.

    After the initial shock and disbelief wore off, angry voices began calling
    for retaliation and revenge. The President declared war against
    international terrorism and Congress quickly voted to give the White House
    unrestricted authority to respond. But who was responsible? Who are we going
    to war with?

    Government spokesman quickly pointed the finger at the Al Qaeda network and
    its leader, Osama bin Laden, living in Afghanistan. The President demanded
    that the Afghani government surrender bin Laden and his lieutenants or face
    attack while the Pentagon began deploying troops, aircraft and ships to the

    Events are moving quickly and directly toward major US military action
    against Afghanistan. It is time we take a look at the road our government is
    taking us down. Will war bring those responsible for these criminal acts to
    justice? Can massive military action protect us from further attacks?

    We agree with Congresswoman Barbara Lee that "military action will not
    prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States".
    The use of massive military power will only escalate the cycle of violence,
    spreading death and destruction to more innocent people with no end in

    Afghanistan has already been destroyed by 20 years of foreign occupation,
    civil war and religious repression. Both the British and Soviet armies
    failed to conquer that country. We see many parallels between Vietnam and
    Afghanistan but the lessons we should have learned from the war in Vietnam
    are being ignored today.

    We are an organization of veterans of the armed forces of this country. We
    have been to war and have seen what military power can and cannot
    accomplish. We know what war does to those who fight it and those who live
    where it is fought. We hear our government loudly pledge support for our
    servicemen and women as they are sent into battle but have seen it turn its
    back on many when they returned, suffering physical and mental wounds, from
    the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

    We speak out of duty to our country and the world, solidarity with those
    serving in the military and love of our families and friends when we take
    this stand:

    *We condemn the criminal attacks of September 11 and demand that those
    responsible be held accountable and brought to justice.

    *We mourn for the victims and offer our heartfelt sorrow and sympathy to the
    families and friends of those we lost.

    *We condemn bigotry and violence against Arabs, Muslims and immigrants which
    threaten these communities because of their race, nationality and religion.

    *We oppose efforts to curtail our basic civil liberties and democratic
    rights and must defend the Constitution from those who are undermining it.

    *We do not believe that militarism and war will provide justice or security
    and oppose major US military intervention in Afghanistan or other countries.

    On a more fundamental level, our country has to address the reasons behind
    the violence that has now come to our shores. The seeds of this anger and
    hatred were sown over many years.

    For over a century, Western corporations have dominated the Middle East to
    profit from its oil. For the last 50 years, the United States has supported
    Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and helped prop up corrupt regimes
    in some Arab countries The continued American troop presence in Saudi Arabia
    and the suffering of the Iraqi people under economic sanctions has added to
    this resentment.

    As long as US foreign policy continues to be based on corporate exploitation
    and military domination, we will continue to make more enemies in the poor,
    underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. We can achieve
    enduring security and lasting people only through domestic and foreign
    policies based on social and economic justice. That will come about only
    when the American people demand it.
    Joseph T. Miller National Office
    USN, 1961-1968 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.National
    Co-Coordinator PO Box 408594
    Member, VVAW C-U Chapter Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 327-5756
    (217) 328-2444 e-mail: vvaw@prairienet.org



    Current featured news for the week of Tuesday, October 2:

    Seven to ten thousand people gathered in Dolores Park in San
    Francisco to unite in a rallying cry against war and racism.
    *Perspectives on the SF rally & events:
    *Select Photos:

    Also on Saturday, hundreds participated in a women\'s march for peace
    in Santa Rosa, CA.
    *Details: http://sf.indymedia.org/display.php?id=105092
    *SF IMC Anti-War Feature

    Thousands of protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. over the weekend
    to protest for peace and against the war that the US government is
    preparing for. Check out DC Indymedia for full coverage.
    *Zoe\'s diary entry
    *Summary of Friday, 9/28 Critical Mass ride, from SF IMC reporter



    Peace group to launch ad campaign in U.S.


    Saturday, September 29, 2001 (Kyodo News)

    TOKYO ^ Peace activists in Japan, Britain and the United States have
    launched a peace drive aiming to shape public opinion in the United States
    against a U.S.-led military attack on Afghanistan, according to the lead
    Japanese partner in the campaign.

    Yumi Kikuchi, a Japanese writer on environmental issues, says the peace
    group ^ Global Peace Campaign ^ has already raised about 9 million yen to
    meet the cost, estimated at about 13 million yen, of placing a full-page
    public opinion ad in the New York Times.

    Kikuchi, 39, said the group hopes to have the ad published on or around Oct

    "We want Americans to understand that by avoiding retaliation, this is a
    chance for us to resolve problems we were unable to solve during the 20th
    century," she said.

    Kikuchi said her group also plans to raise funds to help victims of the Sept
    11 terrorist attacks in the United States as well as Afghan refugees.


    Amsterdam, 7000 protest vs new war

    On Sunday Sept. 30, an estimated 7000 people came together on the Dam
    Square in Amsterdam to protest the so called 'new war'. It was an
    incredibly fast mobilisation, with the organising 'Platform against
    the New War' formed just two weeks ago, and the largest demonstration
    in Amsterdam since the EU summit in 1997. Very inspiring, since more
    then 150 groups joined, everything from anarchist collectives to
    religious peace groups and migrants' selforganisations. Also because
    the platform denounced all military action.

    Apparently, the police and government are very worried about
    religious commoners working together with the 'anti-globalisation
    movement' because they had tried a fair deal to provoke squatters and
    such. First of all, it was forbidden to have a demonstration to the
    American consulate (or anywhere, for that matter), and people were
    not allowed to leave. Of course they hoped more moderate protesters
    would stay in the square and radicals would try the consulate and get
    arrested, making an easy case for divide and rule in the corporate
    media. But radical people being all too happy that there was so much
    unexpected support made sure to avoid a hassle.
    During the protest, then the mayor of Amsterdam ordered a certain
    banner, stating "1980: Bin Laden trained by CIA, 2000: Bin Laden Most
    Wanted Terrorist", to be confiscated. The organisers said this was up
    to the people carrying it, who put it away, again not allowing for
    any provocation to work, a few arrests maybe leading to an escalation
    and you know corporate media would blame the anarchists...

    Actions are announced at the American embassy and consulates in
    Amsterdam and Nijmegen the day the first revenge bombs fall.

    For a longer English article:


    Peace Protests Target Britain's Annual Labor Conference

        LONDON, September 30 (Xinhua) -- The British ruling Labor Party
    kicked off its annual party conference on Sunday in England's
    southern resort city of Brighton with thousands of peaceful
    protesters opposing the international "war on terrorism" marching
    outside of the conference center.

        About 4,000 demonstrators, including veteran activists of anti-
    globalisation protests in Genoa and London, came face to face with
    police as they arrived at the Brighton Center conference venue.

        Organizers from the Green Party and Globalize Resistance
    movement called for the anti-war protest to be peaceful. As the
    march ended, police said there had been seven arrests, six of
    which had been intelligence-led to prevent crimes by suspected

        Officers policing the march were part of a massive security
    operation in Brighton for Labor's conference, which includes a
    five-mile air exclusion zone to help guard against possible
    terrorist attacks.

        As the conference opened, British Prime Minister Tony Blair
    pledged to press on with plans to reform the National Health
    Service and other public services despite opposition from union

        He said he was determined to push ahead with more private
    sector involvement in services such as health and education.
        Before the march, activist Jonathan Neal spoke to the crowd of
    demonstrators, who called for "peace not war" and waved placards
    with the message "we are not at war."

        He said the "the mass slaughter" of innocent people in
    Afghanistan had to be avoided.

        "I lived in Afghanistan for two years and I know the people
    there have suffered enough," he said. "We are told today that 13
    lorries of food are going into Afghanistan to feed five million
    people who are facing starvation.

        "I was born in New York City, but I do not want to see what
    happened there happening 30-fold to the people of Afghanistan."

        Neal, who said he had been "gassed by police" during the Genoa
    demonstrations said there was a time for civil disobedience.

        "But this is not the time," he said. "We must send the right
    message back today that we want to stop these obscenities from
    happening in Afghanistan."

        The demonstration, called by the Green Party and Globalize
    Resistance, was originally planned to oppose what organizers
    called New Labor's "adoption of Tory policies".

        But a Green Party spokesman said the emphasis had changed "
    since Tony Blair threw his weight behind George Bush's military


    War protesters clash with cops


    By Guy Taylor
    September 30, 2001

    Eleven protesters were arrested yesterday and at least two were injured in
    scuffles with police as some 4,500 people marched down Pennsylvania
    Avenue all calling on the United States not to make war on terrorist
    leaders whose Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center
    killed more than 6,000 people.
    Many of the demonstrators were those who had planned to be in town
    yesterday to protest the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
    meetings. When the World Bank meetings were canceled because of the
    attacks, organizers switched gears and turned their protest into an
    anti-war march.
    Before the terrorist attacks, police had trained and prepared for 100,000
    anti-World Bank and IMF protesters. Instead, they were faced by a much
    smaller crowd, which gathered at Freedom Plaza, at 14th Street and
    Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Still, there were groups among the demonstrators
    who strayed from the strict route spelled out in the permit issued to
    leaders of the march last week.
    At 9 a.m., about 900 protesters, led by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a
    Washington-based anarchist group, were met by police in full riot gear as
    they assembled outside Union Station. This group, which did not have
    protest permits, repeatedly tried to break police lines as it marched from
    Union Station to the World Bank
    headquarters at 18th and H streets NW.
    A clash broke out when about 200 of the protesters many equipped with gas
    masks and balaclava coverings tried to surround and halt a squad car near
    the MCI Center.
    Several police officers and demonstrators suffered minor injuries. One of
    those injured was Assistant Police Chief Terrence W. Gainer. "I took a
    clunk on the head and caught some pepper spray," said Chief Gainer, who had
    been walking in front of the squad car.
    It took police less than an hour to encircle the group, once it reached the
    World Bank, but more clashes ensued one lasting 15 minutes and ending in
    the arrest of several protesters at the corner of 15th and H streets
    NW when police herded the crowd in the direction of Freedom Plaza, where
    several thousand other protesters were waiting to begin their duly licensed
    anti-war march from the plaza to the U.S. Capitol.
    "Overall, this has been a very responsive group," Chief Gainer said
    yesterday afternoon. "We've had good dialogue with the demonstrators."
    "My first assignment as a police officer was the '68 Democratic Convention
    in Chicago, where there was a big clash," Mr. Gainer said. "Today has been
    much better. There have been a few rough moments, but whenever you have a
    clash of ideas, there's going to be a bit of give and take."
    Despite the day's smooth runnings, Mr. Gainer said he would "rather have
    had to deal with 50,000 protesting against the World Bank than what
    happened to the Pentagon and World Trade Center."
    Some from the anarchist group were surprised the police acted so firmly
    when the group broke through police lines. "There were so many signals we
    have given the police over the last few days that this would be peaceful,
    why are they surrounding us?" said Adam Eidinger, a 28-year-old carrying a
    sign that read 'Violence Does Not Solve Violence, Why Value One Over The
    As Mr. Eidinger's group merged with those at Freedom Plaza, who were
    organized by a new coalition called International Act Now to Stop War and
    End Racism, his sign was lost in a sea of other signs showing how many
    different groups had come to protest.
    "War Kills Children," read one. "Do More Innocent People Have To Die?" read
    The two groups began making their way toward the Capitol lawn shortly after
    3 p.m. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey estimated 4,500 demonstrators
    marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.
    Ingrid Zemer, 21, of Fort Collins, Colo., was among them. She had driven
    1,680 miles from her hometown to the District with some friends.
    "I can remember when I was in high school seeing footage of Vietnam
    protesters and thinking, 'I hope if the day ever comes, I'll have the
    strength to stand up for what I believe in,' and now is that day," she
    said. "... I feel like I have a moral responsibility to be here."
    Police lining Pennsylvania Avenue were equipped with see-through shields,
    protective vests, helmets and batons to protect them against acts of
    violence not covered in training manuals breaking up fights among warring
    factions of demonstrators.
    Police had to be "prepared for anything," Chief Gainer said, including
    clashes between the protesters and those who believe in President Bush's
    declared war on terrorism.
    The two groups protesters and counterprotesters who supported military
    action had jostled one another in the morning on the periphery of Freedom
    Plaza, before the march began. A few scuffles and shouting matches had
    broken out.
    Not much happened, however, when the two met up along the line of march, by
    the U.S. Navy Memorial at Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
    One counterprotester, standing with others on the sidewalk, held up a sign
    that read, "Welcome traitors, seek therapy." Another pointed to individuals
    in the march yelling, "Hey you, swim to Cuba."
    Anti-war activists used a bull horn to shout at the counterprotesters.
    "George Bush, we want peace. U.S. out of the Middle East," they chanted.


    Peace activists rally


    Thousands protest in S.F. and Washington, D.C.

    Sunday, September 30, 2001
    by Alan Gathright, John Wildermuth, Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers

        Vowing to redefine patriotism, thousands of peace activists rallied in San
    Francisco and Washington yesterday to mourn American terror victims -- and
    to urge the nation to work to heal the poverty and injustice that fuels
    global violence instead of focusing on military revenge.
        No one in the festive Dolores Park throng, which spanned all ages and
    colors, defended the suicidal jetliner attacks that left nearly 6,500 dead
    or missing. Instead, speakers blasted all forms of violence and injustice:
    the backlash against Arab Americans, embargos aimed at Iraq and
    Afghanistan tyrants that punish innocent women and children, and a federal
    anti-terror campaign that threatens American civil rights.
        "We are in pain. It is a great tragedy that all of us have witnessed,"
    Pakistani writer Zulfikhar Ahmad told the crowd.
        If a U.S. attack on terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan kills innocent
    civilians, it could inflame anti-American fervor in the Islamic world, he
        "I am very afraid that there is a very big tragedy in the making and it
    will be the biggest dishonor to the memory of 6,000 innocent people who
    have died."
        The rally was a multigenerational family affair for Marilyn Griffith, 69,
    and her daughter Tory, 40, who have been demonstrating together since a 7-
    year-old Tory used to ride on her mother's shoulder at Vietnam War
        "We want to reclaim the imagery of patriotism," said Tory, 40, a political
    organizer and theatrical producer with the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
        "Peace is patriotic," her mom chimed in. "Patriotism doesn't mean you
    don't speak out."
        The passionate but upbeat rally -- estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 -- bounced
    to the bountiful rhythms of Aztec warrior dancers and hip-hop rappers,
    Dixie Land jazz and the high-pitched Arab ululation. Later the
    drum-beating, bell- banging crowd marched through the Mission District,
    carrying a giant, jug- eared President Bush puppet and signs proclaiming,
    "Vengeance Is Not Justice" and "Save American Lives By Stopping U.S.
    Aggression Abroad."
        Chanting in a poetic rhythm, Arab American activist Eman Desouky said: 'I
    am frightened for my people, ya'll. . . . As the noose tightens around
    Arab civil liberties, as the FBI begins to round us up, we stand in fierce
    solidarity with our Japanese American brothers and sisters who have
    suffered and resisted the internment camps of the 1940s.
        "As Arabs (and) Muslims get kicked off airplanes, as our homes are
    vandalized, as our children are terrorized, we stand in fierce solidarity
    with the African Americans who suffered and continue to suffer through the
    ugly history of racism in this country."
        In Washington, more than 3,000 people gathered to march in the name of
        "Even our friends have said this is not a time to speak," said Mara
    Verheyden-Hillard of the Partnership for Civil Justice. "But we will not
    be silenced."
        Many of the Washington protesters originally had planned to be in town
    this weekend for much larger demonstrations at the annual meeting of the
    World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
        When those meetings were called off after the terrorist attacks on New
    York and Washington, the focus of those protests was quickly changed.
    Nonetheless, about 1,000 demonstrators, many of them clad in black and
    wearing bandannas over their faces, marched through Washington to the
    World Bank headquarters yesterday, shouting anti-capitalist slogans.
        "We're here to stop the war on the poor," said Jan, a protester from
    Richmond, Va.
        Hundreds of police officers in full riot gear shadowed the march, closing
    off streets and keeping the demonstrators from straying off their route.
    Once at the World Bank, police sealed off the square, trapping the
    demonstrators there for more than an hour.
        "This is a peaceful, patriotic march and we're being treated like
    criminals, " said a protester from Bethesda, who gave her name only as
        The protesters' original plan had been to surround the White House or
    demonstrate in nearby Lafayette Park, but the Secret Service and Park
    Police turned down those options. The protest leaders finally decided to
    gather for a three-hour rally and then march to a park near the Capitol
        "I call on our government to refrain from bringing the suffering we have
    endured (from the terrorist attacks) to other innocent people," said
    Eleiza Braun, a student activist from George Washington University. "There
    has to be an end to hate, an end to the cycle of violence."
        E-mail Alan Gathright at agathright@sfchronicle.com.


    Athens against war


    More than 10,000 people in the streets of Athens said NO to the imminent war

    In September 27, more than 10,000 people in the streets of Athens said
    NO to the imminent war. The demonstrators condemned as well the
    assassination of thousands of civilians in USA. Their 3 main demands
    were: a) US goverment must stop all military activities against
    Afganistan or other countries. b) Greek goverment must not give any
    political or technical support to USA. c) Civil rights must not be

    About 10.000 people marched in downtown Athens on the evening of the
    27th of September. This came as the first organized expression of the
    widespread anti-war sentiment throughout Greek people, after the
    September 11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. People started
    gathering at the Old University (Propilea) square of Athens from 7 p.m.,
    this Thursday the 27th of September. They kept on coming by thousands,
    as the time went by, to take part in a highly anticipated anti-war
    demonstration, called by parties and organizations of the Greek Left.
    Since the S11 attacks, social and political life in the country has been
    dominated by the debate on the events and the aftermath of that day, and
    everybody was waiting to see that debate coming to the streets. With no
    more than 10% of the people supporting military retaliation against
    Afghanistan, according to polls, the issue here is not if you oppose the
    war, but from what scope you do so. And Thursday's march was of a quite
    militant one.

    The crowd seemed not really enthusiastic on hearing the long speeches
    prolonging the demonstration. The thousands of Greek Communist Party's
    followers were cheering their speakers, the far-left blocks were
    preparing for the march, the anarchists lazily discussing in small
    groups and many more moving around, making up a setting of unrest, so
    typical for big Greek demos. The speakers gave great emphasis on the
    forming global anti-war movement, especially the one in America. Thanks
    to some progressive journalism and the growing interest on international
    activism after Genoa, everybody was familiar with the student marches in
    Berkeley and elsewhere and about the big demonstrations planned in the
    US this weekend. The rest spoken, seemed like a deja-vu from the
    anti-war protests during the Kosovo war:
    No participation of the Greek government in the war, the only real
    terrorist is imperialism and the international capital, no pasaran the
    Greek style.

    But the people hadn't come to hear speeches, but to demonstrate, so at
    about 8.15 p.m. some 10.000 started marching to the parliament. The
    march was entirely peaceful, if one ignores the also traditional
    skirmishes between communist party's members and anarchists, but
    militant. Slogans going aggressively against US foreign policy, the
    bombings of Serbia and the suffering of the Iraqi people, the Israeli
    occupation and brutality, all in an anti-imperialist context. More than
    half of the marchers accounted for the Greek Communist Party, marching
    loudly and orderly. There was also a noticeable presence of the
    antiglobal coalitions formed for Genoa, students, organizations of the
    far left , but also lots of young "unaccounted" radicals. Reaching the
    parliament, some 2000-3000 people followed the initiative of far-left
    organizations, to break off to the American embassy, which after 2 kms
    of walking seemed very heavily guarded by hundreds of riot police. But
    the demonstrators stuck to being cheerful and aggressive only in
    slogans, so there was no violence.

    This, certainly, was only the first of a series of massive anti-war
    demonstrations in Greece. Besides being a contribution to the global
    anti-war movement, it was just a warm-up.


    Biggest peace action in Amsterdam since 1980s: stop war drive!

    Over ten thousand people filled Amsterdam's medieval central square, the Dam,
    on Sunday 30 September. They were there for an open air meeting for peace,
    against all terrorism, and against xenophobia. It had been organized with no
    help from corporate/quasi governmental media; by the Internet/e-mail in spite
    of Carnivore/Echelon; by putting up posters, in spite of police not liking
    that sometimes. It was the biggest peace action in The Netherlands since the
    1980s, when half a million people marched against deploying NATO nuclear
    missiles in The Netherlands. It brought veterans of these marches, and later
    campaigns against the Gulf War and 1999 Yugoslavia war, together with young to
    very young people.

    Over 150 organizations supported it, from Afghan refugees in the South Eastern
    Netherlands to Filipino migrant workers in the Western Netherlands; from youth
    movements to now aging resistance fighters against Hitler's occupation in The
    Netherlands, 1940-1945. "Justice, not revenge" was often heard.

    A big sign on the central stage said: No xenophobia, no war. Smaller signs
    said: War means death for many, profits for some [in the armaments industry].
    Drop the debt, not the bombs. No crUSAde [in English]. Love power. No to NATO
    military action. All the arms we need [picture of people embracing]. Terror
    does not bring peace; neither does imperialism. US terror policy is source of
    terrorism. Think of the children. Against patriarchy. Violence never solves
    anything. Fight war, not wars [from British anarchist punk band Crass]. Quotes
    from Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan (Don't follow leaders). An Eye for an Eye makes
    everyone blind (Socialist Party). No War (Kurdish League). Six thousand
    Americans not more important than six thousand Afghans. "Mr Bush, Thou shall
    not kill either." And about Bush's Italian fellow `crusader' against what he
    considers `inferior' Islamic people, Berlusconi: A world without Berlusconi is
    possible. Berlusconi, from Genua to worse [in Genua, Berlusconi's police
    killed Carlo Giuliani, who fought for African immigrants]. There were flags of
    Palestine; of Kurdistan; of Che Guevara; of the Puerto Rican island Vieques
    wounded by US Air Force bombs; a big white dove of peace on a pole.

    Shortly before 14 h., the meeting chair for the Platform Against the 'New
    War', Ms D. de Jongh of the Guatemala solidarity committee, welcomed the
    people. Then, the peace song Blue Balloon, sung by. Frank Bilsen, with Mohamad
    Sayid Khan from India accompanying him on South Asian string instrument. Blue
    balloons with the continents in green, floated around the stage.

    Then, Carolien van der Stadt, of the Women's International League for Peace
    and Freedom (WILPF), spoke. She quoted, to loud applause from the crowd, East
    Timorese women who commemorated the victims in New York by laying flowers, but
    also said: We have never asked for bombs on Jakarta, capital of Indonesia,
    when its US supported Suharto dictatorship occupied our country and massacred
    its people! And women from Kosovo, who said: Terrorists are not states. States
    should not become terrorist. Ms Van der Stadt concluded: NATO doctrine will
    never bring peace; neither will Bush's Son of Star Wars plan.

    Then, Kashba (a Dutch Moroccan band) played. Though the majority of the
    audience did not understand Arabic, everyone sang along with their Salam
    aleikum [sometimes changed by the band to Hebrew Shalom, or words for peace in
    other languages]. Everyone clapped and danced, from pre-teen Afghan refugee
    child, to Dutch teenage punk rocker, to thirtyish African with Ethiopian flag
    colored woollen hat, to elderly Chinese lady. South African Rachel Bramdaw in
    the audience front row inspired everyone, moving with the rhythm, with pink
    butterfly wings fastened, black arms in long white gloves holding a wand with
    a pink star. A middle aged man from Turkey danced with stacks of paper De
    Socialist in his hands. Other papers, like Targets, Manifest (communist), and
    TV like NOS (national public) and RTL (national commercial) were present.

    Then, Harir Faquiri spoke, for the Afghan Women's League. Until she was eight,
    she had lived in Afghanistan. Now, she is one of the ten thousands of Afghan
    refugees in The Netherlands. She said to applause the Dutch media should stop
    equating the Taleban with Afghans, or Muslims, in general. The United States
    government had supported false "freedom fighters". Also the Northern Alliance,
    whom they start to support now, have a terrible record of killing, ethnic mass
    rape, and giving women a status lower than an animal's. Like the Taleban, the
    Northern Alliance have practically no support among Afghan refugees in The
    Netherlands. When Western leaders denounce "International terrorism" this is
    like an empty sound to Afghan refugees. We remember their arms deals. They
    have never supported pro-democracy Afghans.

    Then came Henk Oosterling, philosopher of Erasmus University in Rotterdam,
    denounced the media for pretending wars are like video games. And Bush, for
    his "Wild West" rhetoric of "Wanted: dead or alive", killing suspects before
    any court can decide about guilty or not guilty. Meanwhile, the governments
    make the taxpayers pay for the air line corporations. Like the US "war on
    drugs" in practice became a war on democracy, so will the "war on terrorism".
    We should not forget that today's "globalization" and its privatization is the
    heir to colonialist, imperial history. We should stop proclaiming
    "superiority" of Western over so called "primitive"civilizations. Oosterling
    concluded to thunderous applause: "We want global justice! Not "Infinite

    Then, the choir Jan en Alleman from The Hague sang. They sang the Peace Song,
    of the 1980s anti-cruise missiles march: "We fight the armaments ... Economic
    interests lead to risks of war." Then, a Japanese song, about never again
    nuclear bombs after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The next speaker was Lambrecht Wessels, of the Interkerkelijk Vredesberaad
    (IKV). Some twenty years ago, the IKV had a mass base among Christians;
    however, while that base shrunk, leaders edged closer to government policies.
    Wessels was the only one of the speakers, poets and musicians on the stage
    whose viewpoints many in the audience were unhappy about. Though the IKV had
    not signed the "Anti New War" platform, both the organizers and the IKV
    wanted Wessels at the rostrum as a mark of diversity.

    Then, Saskia Kouwenberg spoke, ex observer in East Timor, and the Moluccas.
    On the Moluccas, military and financial elites abuse religious differences
    between Muslims and Christians, who had always gone on well together, to set
    people against each other. Now, the world threatens to become somewhat similar
    like the Moluccas. Bush says: "Either you are with George W. Bush, or you are
    with the terrorists". Well, Ms Kouwenberg said, as an anti- terrorist: Mr
    Bush, I am NOT with you!

    The next speaker was Celine van der Hoek, of the Anti Fascist League (also
    active against the Yugoslavia war). She told how she in her youth had to hide
    for Hitler's Nazis. How she eventually landed in a concentration camp, and was
    one of few survivors. She reminded the audience that Emperor Nero himself
    burned Rome, and blamed others, Christians, to increase his powers. The
    hysterical war propaganda of today reminds me of the 1933 Reichtstag Fire,
    made by the Nazis themselves; the prelude to World War II. That war started
    with supposedly Polish soldiers, really Germans, attacking Gleiwitz (Glywice)
    radio station. People, oppose today's hysteria, bringing back yesterday's
    fears! Stop the war drive of Bush and his Dutch supporters! There should only
    be one kind of politics; humane politics, fairly sharing the riches of the
    world. Unlike now, when billions become victims of globalization and

    After the strong applause for Celine had died down, the Dutch Moroccan band
    'Lozanne' played a mix of Northern African rai music with Spanish flamenco,
    setting the crowd dancing. After them came Abdou Menehbi, of the
    Euro-Mediterranean Migrants'Center. He strongly condemned Dutch racists who
    [like during the 1999 war] thought they could ride the tide of war hysteria.
    They burnt an Islamic school, where days before, teachers and students had
    commemorated the victims of New York. They daubed an Islamic school with
    "USA", "White Power", and Celtic crosses. They twice attacked a Syrian
    Orthodox church. Arrogance is the best ally fundamentalists can wish for.
    Menehbi said: "Stop terrorism! But, stop it everywhere. Stop oppression of so
    called developing countries. Remember what the Palestinians have to suffer.
    Western countries, change your foreign policy! When Dutch prime minister Kok
    says: "We are at war" this is perceived as Islam=terrorism. We should stop
    this equation. The Dutch media wrongly accused Moroccans in Ede, teachers in
    Almere, Palestinians, of being pro-terrorism. Prime Minister Kok should know
    that unconditional support for the Bush administration's road to war will
    deeply split Dutch society. The bitter fruits of military attacks will be more
    terrorists, not ending terrorism. No war!

    Next came Frans Bloem, a Dutch born singer/songwriter, living in New York,
    with a view of the Twin Towers. He had just heard the authorities were
    allowing him to move back into his appartment. He sang "Help is on its way",
    dedicating it to the victims in New York, and oppressed people everywhere in
    the world.

    Then, Meindert Stelling, Dutch Air Force captain (retired), military law
    specialist, and chair of Lawyers for Peace. He said international law
    prohibits to wage an aggressive war. This was especially confirmed at the post
    1945 Nurnberg and Tokyo tribunals, punishing Axis leaders for aggressive war.
    Only self defence is legal; revenge is not. 11 September 2001 was a criminal,
    not a military, attack. The UN Security Council did not give the US government
    a mandate for a military attack. Do not let international law become another
    victim, along with innocent Afghan civilians.

    Next came a puppet show by Micha Kluft. Puppet shows are a tradition on the
    Dam in Amsterdam since the seventeenth century. The hero of Dutch puppet shows
    is Jan Klaassen, a poor, simple man. He has to fight joining the army,
    militarism (a general) and the "Dood van Pierlala", Death (a skeleton). Jan
    asks Death: "Are you Bin Laden? Are you Bush?" In the happy end, Jan is
    reunited with his wife Katrijn.

    Then came Harry van Bommel, Member of Parliament for the Socialist Party. He
    had an "An eye for an eye makes everyone blind" sticker on. He rejected the
    "Wild West rhetoric" of George W. Bush, "Wanted: Dead or alive." The Socialist
    party opposes having the Netherlands join a war through NATO. The United
    Nations, not the United States, should end terrorism. No to terrorism; no to
    war! Stop war mongering!

    Like Van Bommel, the next speaker, Nuri Karabulut, chair of the Democratic
    League of Workers from Turkey in The Netherlands (DIDF) had also been there
    during the 1999 protest on the same Dam square against NATO's war. The
    violence in New York was horrible, Karabulut said. However, it should never be
    used as a pretext to make more innocent people suffer. Terrorism feeds on a
    background of imperialism. Let us not forget that the US government used to
    support Bin Laden. Now, there is clamor for more power for secret services
    like the CIA, the very CIA who sponsored Bin Laden and the Taleban. We should
    oppose attacks on citizens' freedoms. No to a national ID card; no to more
    powers for the Dutch secret service. No to racists, like the Turkish Gray
    Wolves and their Dutch counterparts. The power elites should stop manipulating
    religious differences between Christians and Muslims to foment unrest and war.
    Not ju st the democratic rights of immigrants; the democratic rights of all
    are in danger. We should oppose the mass `downsizing' for workers, and the
    cuts in collective services.

    After Karabulut, everyone danced to the Latin American music of the Fanfare
    van de Eerste Liefdesnacht.

    Then, Menno Sijtsma, a non violent anarchist, of the Zin! Society. He said
    terrorist criminals should be punished; however, also those in high places in
    Western countries. The life of every person killed on Iraq is worth as much as
    of every person killed in the Twin Towers.

    Jasper Fastl is chair of the Young Socialists, linked to the Partij van de
    Arbeid [Social Democrats; biggest party in Dutch coalition government]. Fastl
      regretted that Prime Minister Kok, PvdA party leader, was not there alongside
    him. Terrorism, Fastl said, can thrive if there is an abyss between rich and
    poor. This split is both in Western countries internally, and world wide.
    Bush's and NATO's arrogance does not face this. NATO has never yet solved a
    problem. We should oppose a national ID card in The Netherlands. We should
    oppose media lies against young Moroccans living in The Netherlands. Media-
    demonized Muslims are we ourselves; their struggle is our struggle, long live
    international solidarity!

    Then, the Chilean exile guitar player Marim Bula played Latin American songs:
    No a la guerra! Ending the song with a loud: VIVA CUBA! He reminded people 11
    September was also when the CIA supported the putsch by Pinochet, leading to
    ten thousands of dead Chileans. He predicted the forces of peace would win
    eventually. So, he ended his performance with Venceremos, the song of the
    Unidad Popular coalition of murdered Chilean President Salvador Allende.

    Next, the African poetess Lennie St. Luce with her strong voice read her
    poems, in English: "Freedom will only be there, when killing Black men will be
    considered as important as killing White men." Terrible as the deaths in the
    WTC were, the building was not a symbol of democracy, but of capitalist
    inequality. "Love more! We don't want another war!"

    Next came Yvonne Breuk, director of the Humanist Union, saying No war in my
    name. And no playing off of people in The Netherlands with different views on
    religions, against one another!

    Wim Lankamp, of the Dutch Palestine Committee opposed the "New War"where CNN
    wants to lead us to. We must strive for justice. For 53 years, the rights of
    Palestinians are denied. The WTC in New York was a crime; so were the
    massacres in Sabra and Shatila camps.

    After this, people danced to the African Caribbean drum band 'Brotherhood'
    from Amsterdam South East. Then, Imam Hamza Zaid lead a prayer for all victims
    of violence, New York and elsewhere, followed by silence to commemorate.

    Then, as the band Jamesz played blues music, people lighted candles on the
    Dam. The peace movement will continue, with marches in other cities in The
    Netherlands this week. The very day the US attacks militarily, demonstrators
    will go to Museumplein, Amsterdam, 19 h; US Embassy, The Hague, 19 h; Martini
    Tower Groningen. They will also hang out white sheets everywhere out of
    windows as signs for peace.
    Dozens of texts, links and PDF files


    President George W. Bush
    The White House
    Washington, DC September 13, 2001

    Dear Mr. President,

    I am a former Marine Corps sergeant who served his country well and was
    honorably discharged in 1970. I have never written such a letter before
    and I pray that it will somehow get through the bureaucratic filters to
    reach you.
    Like so many Americans, I was appalled and shocked by the death and
    destruction we witnessed two days ago. I am now coming out of my shock
    and am very concerned about the grievous state in which our country and
    the world find themselves. We have suffered a horrible attack and far
    too many of us have suffered and died. I am greatly saddened and
    sickened by the carnage and suffering of the victims and their families.
    I know you too are suffering and I can feel your anger and frustration
    as well as your desire for active retaliation and I understand it well.
    It is a natural and justifiable reaction to such a heinous criminal act.

    And yet I would counsel you to proceed carefully. I fear we are in a
    perilous situation and a mistake on our part could easily widen the
    already huge spiral of violence in which the world finds itself. Mr.
    President, you now have the great opportunity to prove to the world that
    the United States is more than just a great economic and military power
    to be feared. It is up to you to show all of the world that the United
    States is also a law abiding and civilized country which can be trusted
    to follow the laws of the world as well as let itself be guided by the
    wisdom of human understanding and compassion.

    I urge you to use all legal means at your disposal to determine who
    perpetrated this horrible crime and to bring them to trial before the
    appropriate court. Let them indeed find the justice the world awaits and
    needs. But I beg you, let not one more innocent life - be it American,
    Israeli, Palestinian or any other - be lost because of this horrible crime.

    Too often our bombs and weapons have taken the lives of innocent
    victims. I believe the military euphemism is "collateral damage" but in
    reality it is manslaughter if not outright murder. What right can we
    claim that allows us to take more innocent lives? Is that not also a
    form of terrorism? Should we lower ourselves to the level of those who
    attacked the World Trade Center or should we stand tall and take the
    legal and moral high ground?

    You have chosen to describe this as an act of evil. I fear using such
    inflammatory language will only worsen the situation. Such language
    will all too easily incite a lynch mob mentality, when what we need is
    the compassion which Jesus taught as well as the cool reason which will
    help us reach our true goals of global peace, prosperity and democracy
    for all people of the world. Lead us, Mr. President, with dignity and
    wisdom and do not pander to the primitive parts of our beings that are
    all too powerfully calling out at this moment. Show the world that you
    too are a leader with the greatness, strength and courage to seek true
    understanding and restorative justice, just as Nelson Mandela did in
    South Africa.

    Rather than characterizing the attack as an act of evil, I see it as a
    terrible last act of desperation by people who believed they had no
    other way to make themselves heard than to resort to violence and
    mayhem. It is absolutely critical that we see not only their willingness
    to use horrible, illegal means, but that we also hear their desperation
    which makes them view such means as the highest form of heroism
    including the sacrifice of their very lives. As a former Marine, I know
    what it means to be willing to sacrifice one's life for a cause one
    truly believes in. While I see these people as horribly misguided,
    hate-filled and desperate, I do not believe they are cowardly or evil.

    If we are to truly resolve the hatred and violence, we need to
    understand that in their eyes, they see themselves as a tiny, heroic
    David fighting against a huge, monstrous Goliath who seeks to kill them
    and their way of life. We certainly need not agree with their views, but
    we must understand them if we ever hope to achieve a lasting peace and
    not a world that is locked down and bereft of all the civil rights and
    freedoms we cherish so highly.

    Months ago we saw magazine pictures of a young Palestinian child being
    cradled for hours in the arms of his father. Innocently caught in a gun
    battle the child died from bullet wounds and the father could not move
    to save him. Can you begin to imagine the anguish, pain and sense of
    injustice this father must have felt? As a father yourself, how would
    you have felt in such a situation as the life oozed out of your child
    and you were pinned down and absolutely helpless? It is such intensely
    unbearable images and feelings that drive people to such desperate
    measures as we witnessed on Wednesday in New York and Washington.

    In this moment of deep crisis, is also a moment of immense opportunity.
    I urge you to take this opportunity to move our world away from violence
    and suffering and towards peace, freedom and abundance for all. Let
    these voices of desperation be heard and let the perpetrators have their
    day in court.

    Show them that we truly do believe in law and justice for all. Let us
    not make the mistake we did recently at Durban, but rather let us bring
    all voices to the table, even if they are screaming and telling the
    stories we would like not to hear. We are truly a superpower and we are
    too used to talking and expecting others to listen. Show the world that
    we are also strong enough to learn to listen. I know you are a Christian
    and I pray that you will indeed do what Jesus Christ counseled and not
    rashly lash out in violence.

    May God give you the wisdom to find the great opportunity for peace that
    lies in this horrible tragedy. I hope that later in this century
    historians will look back and applaud your greatness of spirit and cool
    sense of reason that moved our globalizing world closer to justice and
    democracy for all.

    Greg Nees <GregNees@aol.com>

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Oct 04 2001 - 15:01:26 EDT