---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 10:52:13 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Antiwar News...(# 11)
(Anti-war links/resources are now at the end of this page.)
Congresswoman Lee Calls For Peace
by - Davey D
Yesterday, Monday Sept. 17th, we had an opportunity to catch up with
Congresswoman Barbara Lee and talk to her about her decision to cast the
only vote opposing President Bush's War resolution. Not even her fellow
colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus voted with her on this one.
That includes such notable people like Maxine Waters, Charles Rengel, Jesse
Jackson Jr., Cynthia McKinney to name a few. What is this all about? Is
Congresswoman Lee out of step with reality and the rest of the country? Or
is she ahead of her time? Some people are saying she is unpatriotic for not
supporting Bush on this one. They are angry with her to the point that she
now needs police protection.
Others are saying she did the right thing by not only following her
conscience, but also bringing to the floor and public discussions, an
alternative viewpoint that has been all but locked out of this past week's
conversations. Many are claiming something is wrong with you if you are not
advocating war. Here's what Congresswoman had to say...Let us know what you
DAVEY D: They took this vote in Congress about what should be the response
to the tragedy this week...and elected to take military action. In a vote
420 to 1 you were the lone dissenting voice that said no, we should not go
BARBARA LEE: First, our nation is in grieving, we're all mourning, we're
angry; there are a range of emotions taking place. Myself personally, I am
also grieving and I believe fully and firmly that the Congress of the
United States is the only legislative body that can say, "Let's pause for a
moment...and let's look at using some restraint before we rush to action."
Because military action can lead to an escalation and spiral out of
control. So, why I voted no, was one, the president already has the
authority to execute a military action. He doesn't need Congress; under the
War Powers Act he has that authority. But Congress is the people's house,
and the Congress is responsible for providing checks and balances, and you
cannot just allow the administration to run ahead with a strategy without
reporting back and without having some oversight.
Now we must bring the perpetrators to justice. International terrorism is
upon us, this is a new world and we cannot make any mistakes in dealing
with it. We do not want to see our reaction lead to another reaction which
could allow this to spiral out of control. So while we grieve and while we
provide assistance, and I did vote to provide assistance for the families
and communities that have been devastated and also providing funding for
anti-terrorist activities for securing our own country, we've got to
conduct a full investigation and be really deliberate about how we move
forward militarily. We cannot make any mistake about this, this is an
unconventional war and we have to fight it in an unconventional way.
DAVEY D: We're talking about the nature of terrorism and whether it could
be a tit-for-tat type of scenario if we go out and retaliate and hit the
wrong targets or capture the wrong people, the next thing you know we could
be involved in a situation where a can of worms has been opened that we
just can't close it up.
BARBARA LEE: We don't know the real nature of terrorism in the true sense
of the word. We have not invested in combating terrorism the way we should
have, which involves many issues. It involves our foreign policy, it
involves multinational cooperation, it involves diplomatic efforts. It
involves pulling all of these very multifaceted areas together to come up
with a real way to deal with terrorism. I don't believe we have faced the
fact that terrorism is the new war that this country is going to have to
fight. We're looking at putting up billions of dollars for national missile
defense. Well, anti-ballistic missiles, that would not have saved the lives
or prevented the horrible morning that we saw last Tuesday, it just
wouldn't have done it. So, we're looking at putting military money into the
wrong areas. We need to look at what this means in terms of securing our
country, securing our world, and how to use our tax dollars toward that
purpose. I am convinced that military action alone will not prevent further
DAVEY D: One of things I'm concerned about is the number of people of color
who will be on these front lines. A third of the army is made up of people
of color, because of the economic conditions we're in. If we have to go out
there and fight a war, how is this going to impact our communities
disproportionately, and are we going to have some dire effects that will be
with us for generations?
BARBARA LEE: Certainly, that's always the case, our communities are always
disproportionately represented in the military and we'll be called to serve
and fight. Whenever that happens, whomever it is, we have to be very
careful. We don't want our young men and women put in harm's way. I am a
very patriotic person, and I support the United States and our government.
And I believe that my support for our country and for our people dictates
that I be prudent, that I not rush to judgment on any decisions, and that
we step back for a minute and realize any impact that this could have on
young men and women of color, and all young Americans as we move forward.
Fighting a terrorist war...I'm not sure our young people are prepared for
that, and we've got to stamp out terrorism in the world but it's very
DAVEY D: I've got the sense that people think that this will be over in a
hurry, almost like you're playing a game, and I'm trying to tell people,
that this is real stuff. You've got people that have committed themselves
to dying, and that's kind of scary.
BARBARA LEE: We're all in trauma right now, in a state of disbelief and
mourning. A member of my staff had a family member killed in one of the
planes. This catastrophe has touched the lives of so many people. Going
back to why I said "No, let's use restraint,"it's for that reason. My
professional training is as a social worker, and I understand the human
psyche, and the community psyche, and our country's psyche. Right not,
were dealing with recovery, and we're dealing with mourning, and there's no
way until we settle in, should we deal with decisions that could escalate
violence and spiral out of control. We just all must be reasoned and
reasonable about this. When we bring these terrorists to justice, we have
to be pointed and know what we're doing. The world is a dangerous place.
DAVEY D: With all the money that we pay in tax dollars directed toward
intelligence gathering, the CIA, the FBI, the racial profiling at airports
and the like, how could we have someone come in to this country, learn to
fly from our own schools, and fly an airplane for 20, 30 minutes and not be
detected? Was this a breakdown in the intelligence community?
BARBARA LEE: Obviously, that money has not been spent properly and I think
that one of the reasons I did vote for the $40 billion is that there's
money in there to really look at how we increase the public safety of our
people in this country, within the confines of civil liberties. We have to
find that balance. Protecting the public, protecting the country, and not
allowing our civil liberties to be eroded. That's where we need to put the
funding and resources, and that's why I did support that money. But
something went terribly wrong, and we'll see how these investigations
go. But we have to insist on a full and thorough investigation.
DAVEY D: Do you think with all the concern right now, we will be finding
our civil liberties actually taken off the paper altogether in the name of
national security? Will people be pulled over, profiled, searched more? If
I'm a part of an organization that says "Peace not war," will they label me
a potential terrorist?
BARBARA LEE: Certainly we have to fight against that trend. There are those
who would like to see that happen. They will overreact to a tragedy and use
this opportunity to do just what you said. That's part of the danger in
rushing to judgment. As a branch of the government that's responsible to
the people, it's up to Congress to execute our Constitutional
responsibilities to ensure that there's checks on policies that could be
put in place under the name of national security. This is very serious.
DAVEY D: You've come from an era of the Black Panthers, from the Vietnam
era, when there were a lot of groups that found themselves subjected to the
Cointel policies of the FBI. They were harassed by the various government
agencies, from the local police to the CIA, their patriotism was
questioned. If we don't keep that in mind, do you think it might lead to us
just falling in line and maybe not questioning government when we have a
right to do so?
BARBARA LEE: We better understand the history, and I'm very on top of my
own history with these agencies and I know what can happen. So we must be
vigilant right now, because under the cloak of national security, many of
our civil liberties could be just wiped off the floor. There are those of
us who are going to fight to make sure that's not going to happen, but
we're also going to fight to make sure justice is served by making sure
that the people and organizations who did this are brought to justice. We
also have to begin to look at our foreign policy, our diplomatic efforts,
and some of the reasons why we don't engage in dialogue with certain
countries and individuals and organizations. This is a very complex issue
in the US, and we should be right now leading the world in showing our
children how in the face of adversity we respond and minimize the loss of
life. We don't want to see any more people lose their lives. We cannot
tolerate another terrorist attack, and we certainly cannot tolerate any
loss of life any more in our country, and anywhere in the world.
DAVEY D: Many are painting a picture that, "if you're not with the US,
you're against us. " They would take a look at your dissenting vote and
say, "Congresswoman Barbara Lee is not patriotic, she's not supporting the
president, she's making it difficult for us to do what we need to do." How
do you respond to that type of criticism?
BARBARA LEE: People have said that. And in my response, I tell them that
I'm very patriotic. As a citizen, I have the right to represent a point of
view. That's central to our democracy, the right to dissent, the right to
provide a different point of view that's out in the open, in the full view
of the American people. I did not make this decision behind closed doors;
I've explained my decision. I think the beauty of democracy, and one of
it's fundamental principles, is the right to free speech and the right to
disagree. I support the administration in their actions; that's not the
point. Their role is this, they're moving forward. What we have to
understand, is that the Congress is a body that represents the people in
our country. It's up to us to step back and say, "Okay, now we have an
additional responsibility." We must make sure that the president reports to
us, so that we can report back to our constituents what's going on. You
don't want to not know, do you?
Congress has a very critical role in this. So if I am going to be
patriotic, and I am, and if I am going to be a good American, which I know
I am, I am going to make sure that our democracy works and I'm going to
hold it accountable, and make sure that it works not only for my
constituents, but for the whole country. You don't want to rush to judgment
while we're depressed and angry and frustrated. That's like herding cattle
in one direction. You want people who are thinking clearly, who are working
with the president, and giving them different ideas and insights. I'm an
African-American woman, I'm on the International Relations committee. I
have a point of view...as an American...that may be useful when we talk
about international terrorism. There are many people who have different
points of view...that's America. So to those people who say those things,
they better check their own credentials. They may need to become more
participatory in our democracy.
DAVEY D: That's a key word, participatory. I come across a lot of people
who are waving the flag, but aren't registered to vote. All this
information about foreign policy and our government's role has been out
there, but a lot of people have ignored it until now. All of a sudden,
they're out for blood, and don't even understand where Afghanistan is and
what it would take to defeat it. This is a country that beat back Russia, a
couple of times. It's not going to be an easy haul, and I'm afraid people
aren't really thinking long term.
BARBARA LEE: Being patriotic at this moment in our history means
participating in decisions about the future of our world. It means
participating in decisions that will hopefully bring us to peace, and
ensure that these terrorists are brought to justice and that no man, woman,
or child, ever gets killed in such brutal assaults ever again That's what
participatory democracy is about at this moment. People should feel
understand and feel empowered that it's through their members of Congress
that represent them, that they can make their voice be heard. Not just
react, but engage.
DAVEY D: People would question, would you acting on behalf of Barbara Lee
or were you acting on behalf of the Berkeley-Oakland district you represent
when you decided to be that lone dissenting vote against Bush's resolution
BARBARA LEE:: First of all, this was not a poll-driven vote. This was the
most painful vote I have taken in
Congress, really in all 12 years that I've been in elected office. It was a
grueling experience for me. I have been in many briefings, classified and
unclassified. I have been in so many meetings. I was in the Capitol when
the plane went into the Pentagon, and we had to evacuate. It's been a
nightmare. I went through the intellectual process, through the
fact-gathering, through the policy analysis, looking through the foreign
policy and intelligence and military implications of our move. It weighed
heavily on me. I was not going to the National Cathedral for the prayer
service..because I wanted to continue in my discussions, and reflect on the
resolution that was coming up. But at the last minute, I decided to go,
that I had to pray over this. I realized I had to settle down and say some
prayers, to try to get some strength to help me through the rest of the week.
It was a very powerful, very beautiful prayer service, very painful. I
listened to the prayers, and prayed, and listened to the comments and the
sermons. One of the clergy, very eloquently said, in his prayer, "As we
act, let us not become the evil that we deplore, " And at that moment, I
knew what the right vote was, and what I had to do. So it was a combination
of factors that brought me to that place. There are very few times when
there are votes of conscience that your moral compass must guide you, very
few times that there's some bottom lines. And this was one of those times.
I talked to my colleagues, and believe me, there are many members of
Congress who feel as I feel, who are raising questions about not having the
President report back on military action. People are concerned. I think my
vote represented my week of deliberations, my discussions, my thoughts, my
analysis, and my conscience, and I voted 'no.' I believe it was the right
vote. I still say, and I said on the floor that night, "We must step back."
We must allow time for the grieving, and the mourning. Congress has got to
be the body that says, "Let's use some restraint, lets make sure that our
actions lead to what we want to accomplish, and that's to make sure their
are no more attacks on our people and on our country" We've got to make the
most deliberate strategies that we can that are going to be effective.
DAVEY D: There's been a number of attacks throughout our country on our
Arab brothers and sisters...even on those who look like they might be Arab.
Sadly, some of this abuse has come at the hands of black and brown folks,
who have gotten caught up in the wave of patriotism that has swept the
country. What are your thoughts on this?
BARBARA LEE: This is very a serious problem. We passed a resolution on that
same night that condemned attacks on Arab-Americans and Muslims and all
those who could be under attack as a result of this. What we see now is an
environment of fear. The worst is coming out in people. We've never had a
war on our land before, other countries have, the US hasn't. Were
vulnerable. When people react in fear, what do they do? They turn on each
other. The person who looks the wrong way receives the brunt of your anger
and fear. So I'm urging and encouraging young people to please understand
that when these planes crashed into the towers, they killed people of all
colors, ages, races. creeds. It was an equal opportunity destroyer.
DAVEY D: It just seems a shame that people who have been persecuted,
especially blacks and Latinos, who have been the brunt of abuse by the
military, are turning around and attacking people in our own communities.
Once upon time Latinos in LA were attacked by US Sailors in what is now
known as the Zoot suit riots. African Americans were at the short end of
the stick in numerous situations and scenarios.
BARBARA LEE: We've got to pause and understand the moment that we're in.
Moving forward, whether it's on a political level, or in our communities,
against each other, there's some serious implications of this. If we donut
understand that were grieving, we're baffled, we're afraid, this behavior
is going to escalate. I'm trying to help young people understand who their
enemy is and who it is not. In this moment of all moments, we should be
embracing each other. My constituents are as conflicted and upset in
California as people are all over the East Coast and the country.
DAVEY D: Do you think when you get back to Bay Area, you'll have some kind
of a town hall so that those people that voted you into office can come on
down and build with you?
BARBARA LEE: We' re definitely going to be holding events in our community
to try and help sort though this grieving process. In terms of future
direction, we want to bring some clarity and understanding as to how the
Congress should function when we're in a vulnerable state, when we've been
attacked and what our role is in terms of checks and balances. I want to do
some education and forums and basic discussions with young people about
their fears. I know children are scared about what they're seeing on TV But
the way our country responds to it will ensure as they grow up that they
are able to deal with their problems in a way that is appropriate. It's
important that they see that rage and war gets out of control and leads to
more violence. We have to be very measured in our response as we go after
the perpetrators of this horror, and make sure that our children know that
in the face of adversity, America can rise up and be the great democracy
that it is, and deal with all these problems immediately.
DAVEY D: Have you heard from any high ranking officials about your vote.
Also, Bush has two daughters who are college age...do you think that they
would be on the front line? How do you think it will perceived if 19 and 20
year olds are being asked to serve this country and his daughters are still
making headlines getting drunk at frat parties??
BARBARA LEE: That poses the kind of questions and dilemmas before us. There
are many questions that have to be asked..the kind of terrain ahead of us
in a country we don't know, how much collateral loss will we be inflicting
in terms of innocent women and children? Loss of life is loss of life. The
Congress needs to ask these questions, force the administration to answer
these questions. That does not mean that we, and I, are not unified. I'm
sure I will hear from the administration, I'm on the foreign affairs
committee. I see Secretary Powell fairly frequently. I haven't talked to
him. Hess been fairly measured in his response, I think Hess trying to
bring some balance to the policy. But in terms of supporting the President,
that Congress has to make sure that he is successful, that any reaction to
this horrible attack does not come back in terms of any spiraling out of
control. If you have nobody to check that, it could be very scary.
DAVEY D: Congresswoman Lee thank you so much for taking time out of your
day to break it down for us. For those wishing to get in touch with Barbara
Lee... her number is 510-763-0370
Peace Rally in DC
by Heiderose Kober
I attended the Saturday rally and was amused by the slant in the media. At
least there was some mention. I have attended rallies of thousands that
never made any news in the mainstream media (e.g. Voter March May 19) while
a protest against McCain by seven disappointed Republicans some months ago
were deemed worthy of a whole article.
I was young and idealistic in the 60's and 70's and was touched by the
earnestness of the young people at the rally. They did remind me of myself
at that age. Sure, many are naive but their hearts are in the right place.
And they have learned well! Remember, this generation grew up being taught
from pre-school time onward that violence is wrong, peaceful coexistence is
desirable, diversity is good, and different viewpoints are to be honored.
As a mother and grandmother, I am proud to say that I did my share of
teaching and living these ideals for the next generations.
I am greatly heartened by the ease with which these young people accept
racial, cultural, and lifestyle differences. Despite their inexperience and
untested convictions, they give me great hope for our country. Innocence
has great power in this cynical world even though it is not always obvious.
The media knows this too; the pictures of the protesters shot through lines
of police in riot gear were deliberate attempts to criminalize the
protesters, as were reports of the pepper spray incidents and arrests.
I did not see any of the protesters fall into the trap that was so clearly
set for them. One counter-protester ran unchallenged through the marching
crowd several times with a sign reading "Nuke them All and there won't be
War." The marchers just shook their heads and ignored him. I made
deliberate 'soft' eye contact with the police every chance I got (a
technique that establishes a human bond and decreases the possibility of
violent confrontations) and was rewarded many times with a response. Faces
would lose their mask-like rigidity and many would even read my sign "Hate
cannot drive out Hate; only LOVE can do that" a quote by Martin Luther
King, Jr. Some shook their heads at me sadly (probably at my naivety), but
it was a meaningful and peaceful exchange. It is not 'Us' versus 'Them' as
our political leaders would want us to believe. We are all in this
together. That was the message I experienced during the rally.
What I found most interesting was many critics' skepticism (the Guardian of
London, 10/1/01, called it a "Mixed and Messy Message") of the idea that a
myriad of left-leaning groups with very different agendas can come together
in solidarity for a shared goal without requiring any group to give up its
identity in the process. In that respect, the rally was an actual
demonstration how different interest groups can act together meaningfully
without resorting to coercive, intimidating, or exclusive behaviors. The
respect, tolerance, and goodwill manifested by the young people who
tirelessly facilitated the march were impressive! Well done!
Our greatest 'weapon' against violence will always be an actual
demonstration that peace works! We can live that message in our families,
our schools, our places of employment, our communities every day. Rallies
such as the one in Washington are necessary when the cry for war drowns out
the call for peace but we should not underestimate the impact of our
everyday lives on world peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is
the active pursuit of solutions.
Violence is not a solution; it is defeat.
Heiderose Kober is a contributing writer for Liberal Slant
Proud To Be a Pacifist
by Lewis Green
Published on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 in the Seattle Times
It is doubtful that I can say much that makes sense to syndicated columnist
Michael Kelly, as it is obvious
from his recent column, "Few pacifists would accept logical outcome of
their stance" (Oct. 3), that he
completely misunderstands the peace and justice efforts of millions of
I suspect most peace and justice activists would be hard-pressed to
recognize what Kelly describes
"pacifism." I know no one in my circle of acquaintances who wants
terrorists to get a free ride. We expect
terrorists to be tracked down, brought to trial in the country where their
offenses were committed and, if
found guilty, sent to prison.
What we object to is selective enforcement on terrorism: Terrorism must be
recognized whenever and
wherever it occurs. I would argue that at least some of the world's 35,000
children who died on Sept. 11 are
victims of terrorism, and some of that terrorism is state-financed and
state-perpetrated by the West,
including the United States. Where is Kelly's outrage regarding that daily
I do not know any "privileged" peace and justice staffers, workers or
volunteers. Most of us work for very little
income; many of us for nothing. I was raised in a poor, rural New Hampshire
town, by parents who barely
had enough income to pay their bills. In 1965, I enlisted in the U.S. Air
Force because giving back to the
nation and the world was something my family believed in. I served seven
years, earned the Air Force
Commendation Medal, and protested the Vietnam War, like many who served
then, not because we were or
are anti-American, but because that was a criminal and foolish war, having
more to do with expansionism
than with defense.
Most of my fellow peace and justice workers have taken vows of nonviolence.
That does not mean that we
will be passive if attacked, but it does mean that our responses will be
measured and thoughtful and likely
nonviolent, which would not prevent us from serving in the military or in
police departments; nonviolence is
the opposite of violence, it's not passivity.
Nonviolence does mean, however, that we will not perpetrate unprovoked
violence upon others. To that end,
we believe that the United States government and its representatives, in
their desire to be the greatest,
richest and most powerful country in the world, have a violent history
toward both persons living within its
borders and toward peoples around the world. It also means that we believe
that most of the world's
governments have acted in these ways, but we are United States citizens, so
our efforts are directed at
changing U.S. policy.
Many of us in the peace and justice community are faith-based and followers
of Jesus, Abraham, Buddha,
Gandhi, King and other spiritual leaders. We believe in the values preached
and offered by the great
prophets, all of whom call for peace. All too often, we who call ourselves
Christians seem to ignore Jesus'
greatest teaching: Love God and love one another. Here are but a few examples:
It is not love for the United States to consume 40 percent (or 60 percent,
depending upon how we measure)
of the world's resources. It is not love for the United States and the West
to perpetuate and justify a wealth
gap that leaves 32 million Americans poor and voiceless, and billions of
others around the world poor and
voiceless, as well. It is not love to train foreign soldiers in the art of
counterinsurgency, which is simply a
fancy phrase for "the art of terrorism," which those soldiers all too
frequently use to brutalize their own
citizens, primarily, but not exclusively, in their Latin American homelands.
In addition to being wrong and antithetical to the teachings of the world's
religions, and of most of our
mothers and fathers, the short list of examples above does not leave us
safer or more free.
Throughout the history of mankind, nations, including our own, worked
purposefully to create an unjust world,
where but one nation, one empire, is first, leaving in its wake the poor,
the downtrodden and the oppressed.
Eventually, all of the empires fall, and another takes its place. We call
for an end to this foolish way of living.
We call for changes in the way nations govern, the way they treat other
nations, and the way they treat their
own citizens. We call for the ultimate democracy, where freedom touches
everyone. Where all are fed,
clothed and sheltered.
Yes, freedom comes with a price: Perhaps, the rich may have to be less
rich; CEOs may not be able to
make 220 times that of the average worker in the United States; we have to
implement fair trade instead of
free trade; we may have to drive cars that pollute far less or, heaven
forbid, ride public transportation; we may
have to think of others as much as we think about ourselves.
Kelly may find that distasteful, but he goes astray when he accuses those
of us in the peace and justice
community of being unwilling to walk the talk, as most of us live extremely
modest lives. In my case, I
surrendered my good-paying corporate job and lowered my standard of living,
so that I can work to create a
more just and fair world, where peace is achieved through justice. My story
reflects the stories of most of the
peace and justice workers I know.
So, in the end, I suspect Kelly will think I am moronic and maybe even a
traitor, as that attitude seems to
make up about 40 percent of the mail I receive whenever I rebut a column
such as his. But I will take the
company of the great prophets and the peacemakers any day over that of
those governments and individuals
who feel comfortable bombing, killing, brutalizing or terrorizing either
militarily or economically those
they do not understand, those who get in their way or those who disagree
politically or socially.
In closing, I love my country enough not only to serve it in the military
but to serve it in peace, as well. Bring
all terrorists to justice, but treat all terrorism equally. The life of an
American lost is dreadful, painful and
horrible; so is the life of an Afghan lost. The divisive nature of
splitting apart people through namecalling and
belittling does nothing to bring us closer together in understanding one
another nor does it contribute to a
Lewis Green is regional coordinator for Witness for Peace Northwest
Against the current
By TOM ZUCCO, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times,
published October 11, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- The loyal opposition, a minister, an actor, an activist
and a couple of moms has gathered in Eric Rubin's living room to plan its
next move. There are a dozen more members college students, teachers,
health care and office workers, who couldn't get the time off to be here.
It's a tough spot they're in. They've heard the war drums and sensed the
paranoia, and they're afraid of what's unfolding in Afghanistan. They're
also apprehensive. They're preaching peace and tolerance at a time when
America is at war.
But when you're trying to build a peace movement, as these people are, you
have no other choice. To remain silent, they argue, would only further the
The steering committee of People United For Peace huddles with note pads
and pens in Rubin's bayside bungalow on a sunny afternoon. The group,
formed in the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is a coalition of
labor and religious organizations, student groups and individuals who
They say they are sickened by the attacks on New York and Washington.
But just as important, they say, it was a criminal act. A crime against
humanity. Not an act of war.
That's why they're planning one of the first major rallies for peace in the
Tampa Bay area since the terrorist attacks and America's response. (A Sept.
23 march on St. Petersburg City Hall, organized by activist and former
mayoral candidate Omali Yeshitela, drew 120 people.) The Peace Picnic is
scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Sunday at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg.
No one is sure what will happen or how many people will show up.
But they are sure of one thing.
They have to do this.
"I was in New York the week of the attacks, and it was very solemn," says
Bonnie Agan, a St. Petersburg actor who was an antiwar activist during the
Vietnam War and moved on to support other causes, including women's rights.
"But when I got back here, I heard this big drum beat for war. I was so
"It was as if it were a football game.
"I'm amazed at the number of people who are willing to accept collateral
Rubin, seated next to her, nods in agreement. "The terrorists considered
the people in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as collateral damage,
too," he says.
From where he sits, Rubin, a former marketing executive who is now a
full-time organizer and a leader of the peace movement, has a breathtaking
view of Tampa Bay. But he notes that an Army Reserve training center is
just down the street. And that if you look hard enough, you can see MacDill
Air Force Base on the horizon.
"Ironic, isn't it?"
The committee is an unlikely collection of people. Natalie Judge, a
38-year-old stay-at-home mom, has never been an activist, never carried a
sign or marched down a street.
"I've coasted through life," she says. "I've been very fortunate.
"But the day after the attacks, I sat down and felt so sad and I was
crying. So I wrote my (7-year-old) son a letter and tried to say I was sorry.
"It's not that I can change anything, but I have a voice. And I didn't do
enough to speak out against injustice in the past. I wrote him that I was
so sad the world has come to this.
"That's when I realized I've got to do something because I have a voice."
Committee members say that advocating peace and living in the South is not
always easy. And after Sept. 11, standing up for peace became even more
"But if it (a peace rally) can play here, it can play anywhere," says the
Rev. Bruce Wright, pastor/director of the Refuge, an organization that
ministers to the homeless and working poor in St. Petersburg. "I think much
of the fervor is fueled by hurt and pain, not a real, honest desire to go
to war. I was angry the day it happened, too. I have family in New York and
Washington and hadn't heard from them. (They were okay.)
"But the opinion polls were taken at the height of everyone's pain, and
whenever you go to someone after they've experienced a personal tragedy,
it's difficult for them to think objectively."
The support continued after this week's U.S. airstrikes. In an
ABC-Washington Post poll, seven in 10 said they support President Bush's
call for entering a broad war against terrorism and not limiting it to
those behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
Wright and the others advocate finding those responsible for the terrorist
hijackings and bringing them to trial before a world court, somewhat like
the fate that befell former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. They
also want to examine how and why terrorist organizations are born and flourish.
"We need to look at resolving the poverty and pain in the Middle East,"
Wright says, "and the conditions that create this terrorism, this insanity.
"I think there are a lot of other people who are starting to feel the same
The tricky question for those on both sides is who is the enemy? Osama bin
Laden? The al-Qaida network? The Taliban regime?
"Those responsible should be brought to justice," Rubin says. "You have to
make a distinction between the people of the country and the political
structure of the country.
"Should people pay for the crimes of their leaders?" he asks.
"We've seen millions of innocent people become refugees, and the reality is
the standard aid going in to the refugees has been stopped by these attacks.
"War, with a so-called humanitarian face, is still war."
As for the question of justice, committee member Sharon Russ, a single mom
who raised three sons in St. Petersburg, wants that, too. Here in America.
"If we can't have social justice here in America, why go and fight for it
over there?" she asks. "I'm not unpatriotic. But I'm against violence, and
we're in a war every day right here in south St. Petersburg."
She also worries about her sons, who are in their early 20s and in college.
She safely led them through the briar patch of childhood, and now they are
of prime draft age.
"The African-American community can't afford to lose any more young men,"
she says. "Or for that matter, any young men from any community."
The group also plans to raise awareness regarding stereotyping,
particularly of Muslims and those of Middle Eastern decent. With help from
the Tampa Bay Action Group, a consortium of various church and activist
organizations, the group has established a hotline to serve the Arab and
"We're starting to see the criminalization of a whole society (Arabs and
those of the Muslim faith)," Rubin says. "It's interesting to note that
historically, women were seen as criminals during the suffrage movement,
blacks were criminals during the civil rights movement, labor when it tried
to organize, and Asians during World War II."
The committee says there will be music and food at Sunday's event. But it
won't be Lafayette Park, circa 1969.
"We're not a bunch of hippies," Judge says.
But there will be people from religious groups, labor unions and every
university in Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as several high schools.
The Professors for Peace will be there, as will the Pastors for Peace.
"I hope there are hordes and hordes of people," Judge says. "So often you
end up preaching to the choir. The problem is reaching the people who feel
a different way or aren't sure.
"We really believe there is a wider audience who feels pretty much the same
way we do but don't feel comfortable speaking about it."
At a glance
People United for Peace will hold the Peace Picnic from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday
at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg. The event is free and open to
everyone. For more information, call (727) 896-8224 or e-mail
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Statement
Tue, 9 Oct 2001
Dear WILPF Members,
This statement was drafted by the Disarmament Committee and approved by the
Board. We will be sending out a statement regarding the bombing soon.
We in the United States Section of the Women's International League
for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) share in the grief over the recent loss of
precious human lives at the World Trade Center, in the four civilian
aircraft and at the Pentagon. We wish to join those calling for sanity in
our nation's response to the attack.
WILPF has rejected violence and war as a means of settling disputes since
our founding in 1915 by Jane Addams and women from twelve other
countries. We have worked always for peaceful societies under law with
liberty and justice for all. We were among the first to propose the League
of Nations, and have consistently supported the United Nations and the
development of international law.
We commend those in the US government who, in this present time of crisis,
grief and national mourning, have had the courage to speak out and refuse
to let us "become the evil we deplore." We especially commend
Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California who cast the lone vote
against surrendering the right of Congress to declare war, and failing in
its duty to serve as a check on the Pentagon and the Administration. We
hope other members of Congress have since reflected on their own votes, and
realize that, in handing over to the President and his military advisors
the right to decide when and where to use military force without public
debate, they have set a dangerous precedent.
We also commend, those in government who, after the first bellicose
statements by some of our national leaders and the media, are now working
within the framework of international law. They deserve our respect and
our full support. The issue of attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon has been taken to the Security Council, as required under article
51 of the UN Charter. Under the Charter the US cannot now take military
action unilaterally and without the support of the Council. International
cooperation gives our country added strength. Terrorism is a problem for
all nations and peoples and it cannot be wiped out with the
counter-terrorism of a unilaterally declared war. The Security Council has
invoked Chapter 7, binding on all 187 members of the United Nations, and
passed Resolution 1373 requiring all states to prevent financing of
terrorists, freeze their assets, eliminate their weapons supplies, deny
safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts,
crackdown on the training and movement of terrorists, and co-operate in any
campaign against them including, if necessary, the use of force to maintain
international peace and security.
We do have some serious concerns about this resolution, however, and ask
the General Assembly to make certain that terrorism is adequately defined,
that civil liberties are upheld, and that if force is employed, it must not
be directed against civilian populations and should be the minimum
necessary to achieve the goal. In no case should weapons already
considered illegal under the United Nations, such as those employing toxic
chemicals, biological weapons, land mines, depleted uranium or nuclear
weapons in any form, be used by our own or any other country to control
Now we call on Congress, in addition, to require our government to utilize
the court system of the United Nations. These courts are designed to
substitute rule by law for the terrorism of war. Countries accused of
harboring terrorists, despite the UN Security Council Resolution, can be
brought before the International Court of Justice. Individuals accused of
supporting or utilizing terrorism can be brought before an ad hoc tribunal
under the Security Council. The new International Criminal Court of
Justice, which already has 44 of the required 60 ratifications, is expected
soon to become operational. Members of Congress and the Administration
should support, rather than hinder, its evolution as an important
instrument in the international effort to reduce or eliminate terrorism.
Even as we grieve, we believe it is a time for deep reflection, and we hope
members of Congress, and thoughtful citizens in the Administration, in the
military, in the media, and in the general populace will join us. What
changes in policy must we make if we are to lead our own country and our
world into a future with human security and human rights for all? How are
we to help create a livable world for our own children, and the children in
all nations everywhere?
Over half of the United States annual discretionary budget now goes to the
military, and less than 1% to non-military foreign aid. The US is the
greatest military power in the world, and is responsible for 36% of the
world's military expenditures and 50% of the arms sales. Yet our military
could not protect us from this attack. Indeed, terrorists tend to turn our
own weapons and training against us. Only a stable and peaceful world and
international cooperation can protect us -- yet we have withheld funds from
the United Nations and its agencies, and also withheld support from
international efforts under the UN to control trade in small arms, to
eliminate land mines and to control and eliminate weapons of mass
The United States now has much the largest arsenal of biological, chemical
and nuclear weapons in the world. The actual use of these weapons is
unthinkable to any who call themselves human, and has now been declared
illegal under international law. Yet our country has been slow to rid
itself of these weapons, and the administration has recently withdrawn, or
threatened to withdraw, support from treaties already in force to eliminate
biological weapons, to keep weapons out of space, to eliminate nuclear
testing, to control nuclear proliferation and to proceed step-by-step
toward nuclear disarmament. Where does this bring us? Certainly we
realize that our stockpiles of these weapons make us vulnerable to sabotage
and terrorist attack within our own country, and could lead to many more
deaths than those that occurred on September 11.
We are also hearing calls for restrictions on our own civil liberties, and
for a return to the use of assassinations by our CIA. The former can only
destroy the greatest gift we have to share with the world, the latter will
make us criminals under international law and, again, draw us deeper into
"the evil we deplore."
Finally, we urge our fellow citizens to at least listen to those who, out
of love of country, dare to say what many do not wish to hear. Our
government, too, has in the past supported terrorists -- including some of
the very groups we fear today -- and used the methods of terrorism to
unseat democratically elected governments in the service of our own
perceived "national interest." Let us have the maturity to face this and
other difficult truths about ourselves, and to bring our own policies into
harmony with the visions set forth in the United Nations Charter and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
So we in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, with
undiminished hope for the future, call on Congress, the Administration, and
US citizens everywhere to show the best loved face of [America] [our
country] to the world. Let us show forth our love for one another, our
sense of community, our compassion and generosity, our civil liberties, our
courage and creative intelligence, and our ability to work hard locally and
globally to build a better world. Let us go forward asserting our faith in
democracy, in human rights, in the rule of law at home and internationally,
and in our hope for a demilitarized world at peace, with liberty and
justice for all.
'Collateral damage' is a terroristic tool
Monday, October 01 2001
By CHARLEY REESE
Americans have shown enormous sympathy for the victims of the terrorist
attacks in New York and Washington. I hope we can also develop empathy.
Sympathy is simultaneously feeling emotions similar to someone else's.
Empathy, often an actor's tool, is mentally identifying with someone else or
even with an object. Actors use it in order to understand the characters
they must portray.
Now that we have been bombed - and that's what the attacks were - we need to
employ empathy to understand that the people our forces bomb feel the same
way we do. We have seen the grief, the fear and the rage that a bombing
produces. We need to understand that people in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Sudan,
Afghanistan and anywhere else experience those exact same emotions when we
bomb them. We now know that it's no fun to be the target of bombs. We must
recognize that it is true of everyone else.
The most obscene statement I've heard is some character - and I'm sorry I
can't remember who it was - who said the American people will have to be
"strong and accept that there is going to be collateral damage." That is
precisely the mind-set of a terrorist. "Collateral damage" is the putrid
euphemism used to describe the murder of innocent people. It is time to tell
our government that collateral damage is not acceptable anymore.
We cannot say, as decent human beings, that 5,000 of our civilians killed
are victims of terrorism but the 5,000 of someone else's civilians we kill
are just "collateral damage." Murder is murder. Innocence is innocence. If
we deliberately kill people who had nothing to do with the attack on us,
then we are terrorists. And, by the way, many people view us as just that.
You might think I'm tilting at windmills, but let's look at the bloodiest
war in American history. When North and South fought, 600,000 Americans
died. But you know what? Virtually every one of those 600,000 dead was a
soldier. It's true that Gen. William Sherman burned the cities of Atlanta
and Columbia, S.C., but Sherman did not burn the people in those cities. In
the 20th century, we burned the people in cities.
The ratio of civilian to military dead, which in the 19th century was
virtually nonexistent, was still small in World War I but escalated
enormously in World War II. The military deaths in World War II
amounted to a small fraction of 55 million people killed.
The answer is simple: strategic bombing. Regardless of what its advocates
say, strategic bombing is aimed at civilians. This vicious concept reached
its apex with nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are designed solely to kill
civilians. You don't need a 10-megaton warhead to blow up a military base or
airfield. Its only purpose is to murder civilians. Thank God no one has used
that type of weapon since we burned the people in Nagasaki. And, by the way,
the reason there were so few Americans killed at Pearl Harbor was because
the Japanese pilots took extraordinary care not to attack civilians.
It's time for us to tell our political and military leaders: enough of this
collateral-damage heifer dust. If you're going to fight terrorists, we
expect you to kill terrorists and not innocent people who have nothing to do
with terrorism and no control over it. If you're going to fight another
country, we expect you to attack its military, not its civilian population
or its civilian infrastructure.
In the past, we viewed bombing other people almost as a sport. "Yeah, go get
'em. Blow 'em all to hell. Let God sort 'em out." Well, now that we know
what it's like to get blown all to hell, I hope we will develop empathy and
make it clear to our government that fighting terrorism need not involve
becoming a terrorist nation ourselves.
Charley Reese is a columnist for The Orlando Sentinel.
Bombing Will Not Make U.S. More Secure
By Stephen Zunes
October 8, 2001
The use of military force for self-defense is legitimate under
international law. Military force for retaliation is not. The magnitude of
these initial air strikes raises not only serious legal and moral questions
but political concerns as well, as it will likely set back the fight
The use of heavy bombers against a country with few hard targets raises
serious doubts about the Bush administration's claim that the attacks are
not against the people of Afghanistan. His father offered similarly
reassuring words that the U.S. had "no quarrel with the people of Iraq,"
yet thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed outright during the Gulf War
from U.S. air strikes and hundreds of thousands, mostly children, have died
from malnutrition and preventable diseases as a result of the postwar
It's certainly true that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has given Osama
bin Laden and his supporters sanctuary. But this is not a typical case of
state-backed terrorism. As a result of Bin Laden's personal fortune and
elaborate international network, he does not need and apparently has not
received direct financial or logistical support from the Afghan government.
Destroying the limited government resources in Afghanistan, therefore, will
not cripple Bin Laden and his cohorts.
The Afghan people are the first and primary victims of the Taliban, perhaps
the most totalitarian regime on earth. It is tragic that the U.S. has
chosen to victimize them still further through a large-scale military
operation that will almost certainly lead to widespread civilian
casualties. The Taliban regime has had little concern for the welfare of
the Afghan people. As a result, there is widespread hatred of this
The Afghan population has already suffered through a 23-year nightmare of
communist dictatorship, foreign invasion, civil war, competing war lords,
and fundamentalist rule. The recent bombing adds to this long history of
destruction. Indeed, attempting to destroy the country's infrastructure
will accomplish little, since that destruction has, in large part, already
The Taliban leaders will likely escape harm in their bunkers or in remote
mountain outposts. The victims are likely innocent civilians or unwilling
conscripts already suffering under fundamentalist rule. Indeed, it will
likely solidify support for the regime and even Bin Laden himself, as
people under attack tend to rally around their flag.
The real enemy is Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, which is a decentralized network
of underground terrorist cells that operate throughout Central Asia, the
Middle East, and North Africa. They do not have much in the way of tangible
targets that can be struck, as if Washington were at war with a government.
To target Afghanistan seems to be more an act of catharsis than a rational
strategy to enhance U.S. security.
To break up these terrorist cells and bring the terrorists to justice, the
U.S. needs the cooperation of intelligence services and police agencies in
a number of Muslim countries. If the ongoing attacks are seen to be
excessive and innocent lives are lost, it will be politically difficult for
these regimes to provide the U.S. with the level of cooperation needed.
If there is any logic to Bin Laden's madness, it was probably the hope that
the U.S. would overreact militarily, creating an anti-American backlash in
the region that would play right into his hands.
To win the war against terrorism, we need to reevaluate our definition of
security. The more the U.S. militarizes the Middle East, the less secure we
have become. All the sophisticated weaponry, all the brave fighting men and
women, and all the talented military leadership we may possess will not
stop terrorism as long as our policies cause millions of people hate us.
President George W. Bush is wrong when he claims we are targeted because we
are a "beacon for freedom." We are targeted because the support of freedom
is not part of our policy in the Middle East, which has instead been based
upon alliances with repressive governments and support for military
occupation. We would be much safer if the U.S. supported a policy based
more on human rights, international law, and sustainable development, and
less on arms transfers, air strikes, and punitive sanctions.
(Stephen Zunes <email@example.com> is an associate professor of Politics and
chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San
Francisco. He serves as a senior policy analyst and Middle East editor for
the Foreign Policy in Focus Project, online at www.fpif.org.)
A war without witnesses
In most crises, there is a critical point when the scale of suffering
impinges on the outside world. But what happens when there are no images?
Thursday October 11, 2001
There is a ghostly absence of images of the victims of this war. More than
1m people were displaced inside Afghanistan before September 11, and since
then hundreds of thousands are feared to be on the move, according to the
UN. They have little or no access to food, water or medicine. But we can't
see them; they have no face. They have not so far massed shockingly, and
photogenically, in front of the cameras, because the borders to neighbouring
countries remain closed. They have fled to villages in the mountains, where
aid agencies fear they will starve slowly, in pockets, away from the places
where photographers can bear witness.
Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan have closed the refugee camps in their
territories to reporters, so the accounts of those who have managed to
escape war and famine have only emerged in dribs and drabs. They have failed
to reach the critical mass which might provoke an outpouring of compassion
The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the collapse of the twin towers
created conditions so appalling that those trapped were not just injured or
killed but obliterated. Access to ground zero has been tightly controlled,
and apart from brief descriptions from rescue workers of body parts, the
victims are eerily absent. For most people, the abiding images of the attack
are not of wounded humanity but of a mangled building, its structure melted
by the inferno into arches hauntingly reminiscent of Dresden or Cologne in
the second world war. That and week after week of pictures of machinery - of
giant cranes and heavy lifting gear picking over the remains.
A small digger levelling the ruins of what had been a UN-affiliated office
for mine clearance in Kabul was the only TV image to record the death of
four Afghan civilians in American bombing on Tuesday; a puny, dehumanised
echo of the scene in New York. The Taliban have thrown out all foreign
journalists and censored all coverage, allowing only occasional still
photographs to be released, or letting the Arab TV station al-Jazeera
broadcast fuzzy pictures of missile attacks and carefully-timed Bin Laden
Just as in the Falklands and Gulf wars, the lack of images from Afghanistan
will have a profound impact on the course of events. Once again our view of
conflict is night after night of planes roaring off aircraft carriers, and
sombre military men from the Pentagon and Ministry of Defence telling us
what we need to know, while foreign fighters blast another round of
artillery fire into a blank and barren landscape. This is a war
depersonalised, and a narrative detached.
Images matter because in an age of global information flow, they have begun
to almost replace reality, according to Gilbert Holleufer of the
Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Centre for Human Rights. It is only when we see
moving pictures that we process events as actual experience and only when we
see real people suffering that we make a personal connection with them.
"Only what has been authenticated, certified and validated by being
photographed or filmed and shown on TV really exists. Everything else is
reduced to oblivion."
Military censors have always understood the need to control the images and
until recently the speed of the technology available has been on their side.
Vietnam was perhaps the first and last war to be openly covered. During the
Falklands war, footage was limited to pictures of military hardware. During
the bombing period of the Gulf war, the TV reports were similarly
restricted, except when Saddam Hussein found it useful to give cameramen
access to scenes such as the civilian shelter bombed by the western allies.
There were no contemporaneous pictures of what the Americans called the
"turkey shoot" of the retreating Iraqi army on the road to Basra.
In Kosovo, by contrast, film evidence of Serbian massacres, and footage of
thousands of fleeing Albanians trapped on the Macedonian border played a
significant part in the decision by NATO leaders to intervene.
The pictures that are fed into the public imagination affect the shape of
the collective response. Last week, a joint appeal for Afghanistan by the
Disasters Emergency Committee, the umbrella group for British aid agencies,
was held back amid fears that there was not enough footage to persuade the
public to respond.
In most humanitarian crises, there is a critical moment at which the scale
of the suffering finally impinges on the outside world with an urgency that
cannot be ignored. In the Mozambique floods, it was when film was shown of a
woman who had given birth in a tree. In Rwanda, pictures of thousands of
skeletal African children fleeing genocidal killings were the catalyst. In
Kosovo, images of cattle trains of Albanian refugees marked a turning point.
Aid agencies have called for all participants in the Afghan conflict to open
up a safe humanitarian corridor to allow food, medical supplies and shelter
to be taken in before it is too late. So far there has been no response,
other than the fig leaf of a US military drop of 37,000 rations. The UN
predicts that up to 7.5m Afghans will need aid to survive the rapidly
approaching winter, but theirs is a silent crisis.
Multi-Focus Or Bust
By Barbara Garson
ZNet at http://www.zmag.org
Anyone that the US goes after these days is bound to be a really bad guy.
In the New World Order power is so unbalanced that good guys give in.
When Nelson Mandela took office in South Africa global corporations
handed him their neo-liberal shopping lists and he just about gave away
Perhaps he could have bargained a little better, still, he was wise to
fear economic isolation. No one who cares at all about his people will
risk the label rogue state.
That's why our official enemies in the global era--Saddam Hussein, Manuel
Noriega, Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban have been men who don't flinch
at bringing more misery down on the people near to them. They also don't
mind murdering me. Now that I know they can reach me, I want protection.
A week after the World Trade Center was destroyed several hundred New
Yorkers showed up to plan a big anti-war march. Before the meeting a sub-
committee had come up with four principles of unity that they hoped we
could all agree on: we mourn the victims and condemn the attack; we
oppose anti-Arab and anti-Islamic racism (or any other kinds of racial
and religious attacks, the group added); we wont give up our civil
liberties; war is not the answer. A young woman suggested we add:
The criminals should be brought to justice. By a show of hands the group
was about equally split on the addition. The chair ruled that since this point
clearly divided us it shouldn't be included as a principle of unity. We'd
better leave it out for the time being. Everyone is free to make their
own signs and leaflets.
No one in that room mistook Osama Bin Laden for a freedom fighter. Its
just that some people were flying on automatic pilot as they pinned on
the generic peace buttons that they've fished out of the drawer every
time the US intervened in yet another third world country. But Al Qaeda
isn't a liberation front, its a gang of terrorists and all Americans want
protection from terrorism. To say nothing about how well protect
ourselves is to say leave it to George. That's too dangerous.
When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Since
George has an army, he immediately called the attack on the World Trade
Center a declaration of war. We, as an anti war movement, responded
properly when we called it a terrible crime. George wants war. We want to
apprehend the criminals and protect ourselves from other such gangs.
Crime fighting, as we learn from cop shows, involves legwork like
interviewing witnesses and following the money trial. It may also offer
the diversion of an occasional high speed chase or even a limited shoot
But a cop who killed a building full of innocent by-standers, not to
mention a country full, would be thrown off the force. By going with the
crime analogy we say that we, like most Americans, want immediate
protection from criminals. We also want long range crime prevention.
OUR LONGER RANGE PROTECTION
In the days after the attack, Downtown Manhattans Union Square Park was
spontaneously transformed into a peace encampment. Like other public
spaces in the city, it was also papered with the hand made MISSING signs
that gradually metamorphosed into memorials. When relatives came to Union
Square to place candles and American flags near the pictures of their
dead, they set them down amid the peace symbols. Something, perhaps it
was all the incense, made them feel the peacenik atmosphere was
Union Square was comforting in those first days and I went there often. I
also went to a couple of packed and informative anti-war teach-ins that
college students got together quickly. These would have heartened me too
except for a distressing flash- back.
I remembered Septembers in the early nineteen sixties. We students
returned to campus after a freedom summer in Mississippi or a stint with
Ceasar Chavez and the farm workers asking ourselves Why do I work three
months for the grape strikers and then study agribusiness nine months for
the growers? Am I really going to spend my adult life breeding square
tomatoes, mixing agri-poisons and programming computers to speed up
workers? Those questions led rapidly toward images of a deeper democracy.
For a while it seemed like we really could change the country. Then came
the Vietnam War. Our antiwar groups came together quickly because of the
networks wed formed through civil rights and similar activities. But to
stop that one war we had to mobilize so many people, so often, for so
And when the war was over all we had was the peace we needed to go
forward in the first place, only everyone was exhausted. Occasional
cynics still suggest that the Vietnam War gave you guys a cause. In fact,
antiwar work was. That's why I was disturbed when I saw so many antiwar
events pulled together so quickly as campus anti-sweatshop/anti-IMF/anti-
WTO networks switched gears. Despite all those antis, the movement
carelessly labeled anti-globalization embodies its own positive image of
a deeper democracy. Only its vision of equitable and ecologically
sustainable societies is less provincial than ours was in the nineteen
sixties. This time it was beginning to seem like we really could change
Indeed our infant movement had already slightly ameliorated the grim
limitations that Nelson Mandela faced when the ANC first took office.
For instance, South Africans are beginning to buy, if not manufacture,
generic drugs against AIDS and other diseases despite the originally
stern prohibitions from the Word Trade Organization and the US
Government. This leeway exists because a range of anti-globalization
activists first had the patience to decipher and explain the Byzantine
Free Trade regulations that actually increase trade barriers and drug
costs. Then we mounted the world wide protests that gave small countries
a little wiggle room.
Our vision of global justice encompasses more, of course, than a little
wiggle room. But until recently you had to be a rogue state, a Saddam
Hussein, a ruler with no concern for your own people to do something as
defiant as buy generic drugs.
If our positive anti global movement gets subsumed into antiwar work, the
world will be left with no choices, no wiggle room in between Bush and
bin Laden. That's why we cant abandon global justice for peace or vice
Were going to have to keep many balls in the air at once for the next few
months, few years, or few decades.
[Barbara Garson's latest book is "Money Makes the World Go Around: One
Investor Tracks Her Cash Through the Global Economy" Viking 2001.]
Bombing unworthy of us:
Senator says militarism is not the answer to terrorism
by Douglas Roche
Is the relentless bombing of Afghanistan justified? My answer is no.
I must immediately couple that answer with my belief that the criminals
who committed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 must be apprehended and
brought to justice. But that goal does not justify killing innocent
people and destroying the infrastructure of a country that already has a
The alternative to bombing is to send in ground troops to comb the
countryside and all the caves to find Osama bin Laden and his
fellow-plotters. This is not done because the U.S.-led coalition fears
that troops would be killed by the mines planted throughout Afghanistan.
Thus, air attacks have been chosen as the response to terrorism. The
response is unworthy of nations that pride themselves on upholding
international human rights. For, as the Kosovo bombing of only two years
ago showed, even "smart" bombs cannot distinguish between military
targets and civilians. The human misery left in the wake of a bombing
campaign is horrendous.
The world must move beyond the tears, grief and anger of Sept. 11 and
finally establish a just and stable foundation for international peace
Let it not be said that I am insensitive to the thousands of lives lost
in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I went to New
York a week ago, took the subway down to the financial district and saw
the World Trade wreckage with my own eyes. The devastation was
overpowering. Mounds of debris, six stories high, assaulted the eyes.
People were stunned, just looking at such a grotesque sight.
I then went to the United Nations and talked with Jayantha Dhanapala,
Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, who said that, bad as
this tragedy was, it could have been worse.
"Consider if weapons of mass destruction had been used by these
terrorists. We need urgently to eliminate all weapons of mass
destruction because they could fall into the hands of terrorists."
The UN leadership wants rapid progress on eliminating nuclear weapons
and is preparing to debate a draft convention suppressing nuclear
terrorism. But unless Canada comes out four-square opposing all nuclear
weapons -- which will offend the U.S. -- our words about keeping nuclear
weapons from terrorists will be empty.
I am concerned that the path of militarism is leading the world to even
greater dangers. Nuclear terrorism is only a matter of time.
We have been attacked. Our first response is to attack back. Public
sentiment, driven by a culture that still sees war as the means to
peace, seeks retaliation. In this climate, militarism expands
But Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, sees the needs of peace and
fighting terrorism differently. While the UN Security Council
unanimously passed a resolution expressing "its readiness to take all
necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks," that is not carte
blanche to bomb at will.
The bombing has gone beyond the intent of the resolution, but Annan
cannot stop the use of such military might once unleashed. What he has
done -- and what Canada must insist upon -- is to include in the
implementation of this resolution other means to combat terrorism. This
includes political, legal, diplomatic and financial means.
Another Security Council resolution spelled out a host of actions
ranging from police work to cutting off funding to new communications
technologies that must be taken. Rather than assenting to a bombing
campaign, it would be better to concentrate Canada's resources on
security and anti-terrorism measures. The extra $250 million announced
yesterday by Foreign Minister John Manley announced should be only the
These steps will be far more effective in rooting out the terrorist
cells in many countries than bombing in the hope of cutting off the head
of a terrorism that has tentacles spread around the world.
It is both ironic and disingenuous to couple the bombing with dropping
food and medicine. This is a chaotic and ineffectual way of meeting
humanitarian needs that are mounting by the hour. Rather, the
international community should be mounting -- with the same vigour
displayed in the bombing campaign -- a massive assault on poverty. It is
the inhuman conditions that so many millions of people are subjected to
that breed the conditions that terrorists exploit.
Also, as Annan has urged, there must be a "redoubling" of international
efforts to implement treaties to cut off the development of nuclear and
other weapons of mass destruction before terrorists get them.
Militarism is not the answer to terrorism. The building of an
international legal system that promotes social justice is.
Douglas Roche is an Independent Senator from Alberta and the author of
"Bread NotBombs: A Political Agenda for Social Justice."
Thoughts in the Presence of Fear
by Wendell Berry
I. The time will soon come when we will not be able to remember the
horrors of September 11 without remembering also the unquestioning
technological and economic optimism that ended on that day.
II. This optimism rested on the proposition that we were living in a "new
world order" and a "new economy" that would "grow" on and on,
bringing a prosperity of which every new increment would be
III. The dominant politicians, corporate officers, and investors who
believed this proposition did not acknowledge that the prosperity was
limited to a tiny percent of the world's people, and to an ever smaller
number of people even in the United States; that it was founded upon
the oppressive labor of poor people all over the world; and that its
ecological costs increasingly threatened all life, including the lives of the
IV. The "developed" nations had given to the "free market" the status of
a god, and were sacrificing to it their farmers, farmlands, and
communities, their forests, wetlands, and prairies, their ecosystems and
watersheds. They had accepted universal pollution and global warming
as normal costs of doing business.
V. There was, as a consequence, a growing worldwide effort on behalf of
economic decentralization, economic justice, and ecological
responsibility. We must recognize that the events of September 11 make
this effort more necessary than ever. We citizens of the industrial
countries must continue the labor of self-criticism and self-correction.
We must recognize our mistakes.
VI. The paramount doctrine of the economic and technological euphoria
of recent decades has been that everything depends on innovation. It
was understood as desirable, and even necessary, that we should go on
and on from one technological innovation to the next, which would
cause the economy to "grow" and make everything better and better.
This of course implied at every point a hatred of the past, of all
innovations, whatever their value might have been, were discounted as
of no value at all.
VII. We did not anticipate anything like what has now happened. We did
not foresee that all our sequence of innovations might be at once
overridden by a greater one: the invention of a new kind of war that
would turn our previous innovations against us, discovering and
exploiting the debits and the dangers that we had ignored. We never
considered the possibility that we might be trapped in the webwork of
communication and transport that was supposed to make us free.
VIII. Nor did we foresee that the weaponry and the war science that we
marketed and taught to the world would become available, not just to
recognized national governments, which possess so uncannily the
power to legitimate large-scale violence, but also to "rogue nations",
dissident or fanatical groups and individuals-whose violence, though
never worse than that of nations, is judged by the nations to be
IX. We had accepted uncritically the belief that technology is only good;
that it cannot serve evil as well as good; that it cannot serve our enemies
as well as ourselves; that it cannot be used to destroy what is good,
including our homelands and our lives.
X. We had accepted too the corollary belief that an economy (either as a
money economy or as a life-support system) that is global in extent,
technologically complex, and centralized is invulnerable to terrorism,
sabotage, or war, and that it is protectable by "national defense"
XI. We now have a clear, inescapable choice that we must make. We can
continue to promote a global economic system of unlimited "free trade"
among corporations, held together by long and highly vulnerable lines of
communication and supply, but now recognizing that such a system will
have to be protected by a hugely expensive police force that will be
worldwide, whether maintained by one nation or several or all, and that
such a police force will be effective precisely to the extent that it
oversways the freedom and privacy of the citizens of every nation.
XII. Or we can promote a decentralized world economy which would
have the aim of assuring to every nation and region a local self-
sufficiency in life-supporting goods. This would not eliminate
international trade, but it would tend toward a trade in surpluses after
local needs had been met.
XIII. One of the gravest dangers to us now, second only to further
terrorist attacks against our people, is that we will attempt to go on as
before with the corporate program of global "free trade", whatever the
cost in freedom and civil rights, without self-questioning or self-criticism
or public debate.
XIV. This is why the substitution of rhetoric for thought, always a
temptation in a national crisis, must be resisted by officials and citizens
alike. It is hard for ordinary citizens to know what is actually happening
in Washington in a time of such great trouble; for we all know, serious
and difficult thought may be taking place there. But the talk that we are
hearing from politicians, bureaucrats, and commentators has so far
tended to reduce the complex problems now facing us to issues of unity,
security, normality, and retaliation.
XV. National self-righteousness, like personal self-righteousness, is a
mistake. It is misleading. It is a sign of weakness. Any war that we may
make now against terrorism will come as a new installment in a history of
war in which we have fully participated. We are not innocent of making
war against civilian populations. The modern doctrine of such warfare
was set forth and enacted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who
held that a civilian population could be declared guilty and rightly
subjected to military punishment. We have never repudiated that doctrine.
XVI. It is a mistake also - as events since September 11 have shown - to
suppose that a government can promote and participate in a global
economy and at the same time act exclusively in its own interest by
abrogating its international treaties and standing apart from international
cooperation on moral issues.
XVII. And surely, in our country, under our Constitution, it is a
fundamental error to suppose that any crisis or emergency can justify
any form of political oppression. Since September 11, far too many public
voices have presumed to "speak for us" in saying that Americans will
gladly accept a reduction of freedom in exchange for greater "security".
Some would, maybe. But some others would accept a reduction in
security (and in global trade) far more willingly than they would accept
any abridgement of our Constitutional rights.
XVIII. In a time such as this, when we have been seriously and most
cruelly hurt by those who hate us, and when we must consider ourselves
to be gravely threatened by those same people, it is hard to speak of the
ways of peace and to remember that Christ enjoined us to love our
enemies, but this is no less necessary for being difficult.
XIX. Even now we dare not forget that since the attack of Pearl Harbor -
to which the present attack has been often and not usefully compared -
we humans have suffered an almost uninterrupted sequence of wars,
none of which has brought peace or made us more peaceable.
XX. The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and
any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it
and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must
we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual
"war to end war"?
XXI. What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is
not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being.
We should recognize that while we have extravagantly subsidized the
means of war, we have almost totally neglected the ways of
peaceableness. We have, for example, several national military
academies, but not one peace academy.
We have ignored the teachings and the examples of Christ, Gandhi,
Martin Luther King, and other peaceable leaders. And here we have an
inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means
of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money.
XXII. The key to peaceableness is continuous practice. It is wrong to
suppose that we can exploit and impoverish the poorer countries, while
arming them and instructing them in the newest means of war, and then
reasonably expect them to be peaceable.
XXIII. We must not again allow public emotion or the public media to
caricature our enemies. If our enemies are now to be some nations of
Islam, then we should undertake to know those enemies. Our schools
should begin to teach the histories, cultures, arts, and language of the
Islamic nations. And our leaders should have the humility and the
wisdom to ask the reasons some of those people have for hating us.
XXIV. Starting with the economies of food and farming, we should
promote at home, and encourage abroad, the ideal of local self-
sufficiency. We should recognize that this is the surest, the safest, and
the cheapest way for the world to live. We should not countenance the
loss or destruction of any local capacity to produce necessary goods
XXV. We should reconsider and renew and extend our efforts to protect
the natural foundations of the human economy: soil, water, and air. We
should protect every intact ecosystem and watershed that we have left,
and begin restoration of those that have been damaged.
XXVI. The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before
that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is
not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries,
neither by job-training nor by industry-subsidized research. It's proper
use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically,
socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or
"accessing" what we now call "information" - which is to say facts
without context and therefore without priority. A proper education
enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing
what things are more important than other things; it means putting first
XXVII. The first thing we must begin to teach our children (and learn
ourselves) is that we cannot spend and consume endlessly. We have got
to learn to save and conserve. We do need a "new economy", but one
that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on
excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and
hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a
Anti-war attack in France
Thursday, 11 October, 2001
There has been a petrol bomb attack against a French navy recruitment office
in the south-western town of Pau.
The interior of the building caught fire and suffered superficial damage in
the overnight attack.
French officials said a previously unknown organisation calling itself the
Totally Anti-War Group said it carried out the attack in protest against
war, capitalism and imperialism.
There have been demonstrations in many countries against the American
attacks on Afghanistan, but until now the protests in Europe had been
October 11, 2001
Pope Remembers Attacks, Anglican Bishop Slams West
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Thursday commemorated the
attacks on the United States but heard an Anglican bishop criticize the
West and openly question whether Washington's response would lead to more
The Anglican bishop, Rev. Peter Forster of Chester, northern England,
speaking after the Pope, said wealthy Western countries had lost touch with
reality and also said God was ''present to the terrorists'' who carried out
At the one-month commemoration in the Vatican, the Pope called the events
of September 11 ``inhuman terrorist attacks'' which had taken ``many
innocent lives'' and urged that every trace of hate be uprooted from the
hearts of humanity.
The Pope, looking somber and in deep meditation, led a special prayer
service for the victims with bishops from around the world meeting in a synod.
``May God uproot every trace of rancor, hostility and hate from the heart
of man and make it ready to accept reconciliation, solidarity and peace,''
the Pope said.
``We implore tenacity and perseverance for all men of good will in order to
follow the path of justice and peace,'' he said at the service held in
various languages, including Arabic.
But the Pope's thunder was stolen by Forster's quietly spoken address.
Forster, addressing the synod in English, said many people asked themselves
on September 11 if what they were seeing on television was real or ``a
clever computer-generated stunt in the latest Steven Spielberg film.''
SMART BOMBS ON POOR NATION
"We now witness the most powerful nations on earth drop very sophisticated
bombs on just about the least sophisticated nation on earth,'' he said.
``However justified it might be, we ask the same question. Is it real?
Where will it lead? Will it put an end to terrorism or will it just
encourage more of it?''
Washington and Britain have bombed Taliban targets in Afghanistan, base of
militant Osama bin Laden, whom the United States holds responsible for the
September 11 attacks.
The Anglican bishop, attending the synod as an observer, said God was
everywhere and was even ``present to the terrorists.''
``God is in New York and Washington and Philadelphia but also in
Afghanistan,'' Forster said.
``He is with a wealthy and sophisticated Western society which has lost
touch with reality in all sorts of ways. He is also and especially with
those who, in various ways, suffer from lack of resources, poverty, with
the thousands who have been left to die in obscurity in poverty since the
11th of September,'' Forster said.
``He is also somehow present to the terrorists whose hearts have turned to
evil in great poverty of spirit,'' Forster said.
The Pope has said he was worried and anguished following the U.S.-led
attacks on Afghanistan, but has not said whether he condemned or approved
the military action.
The Vatican said last month it would understand if the United States had to
resort to force to protect its citizens from future attacks in the wake of
the strikes on New York and Washington.
On September 11, the Pope called the attacks a dark day for humanity and
said religion could not be used to justify conflict between peoples.
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