Peace Bureau Says
More Violence Is Not the Answer
The International Peace Bureau shares the worldwide
shock and sadness following the appalling terrorist acts of 11
September in the USA. Our hearts go out to all those who are suffering
and those who have been bereaved. At this time solidarity - practical,
emotional, political - should have no frontiers. No political,
social or ideological objective can justify mass murder in any
part of the world. We urge that those responsible for these unspeakable
crimes be brought to justice in courts of law or before an international
At the same time, peace and human rights movements
everywhere must raise their voices now to urge restraint and to
forestall a US over-reaction. The repeated use of terms such as
'war', 'vengeance' and 'Pearl Harbour' only serve to increase
public acceptance of military strikes. These could well cause
untold damage to civilians, provoke more terrorism, and risk spiralling
into a dangerous international war. While terrorism must not be
tolerated by anyone, anywhere, more violence is never the answer.
The justice we rightly seek must be satisfied through the rule
of law and international cooperation. This event offers an opportunity
to try a different way, rather than resort to the too-frequent
formula of more bombings, more grief and more resentment.
Many believe this unprecedented tragedy marks the
opening of a new era. IPB insists that the US administration and
Congress must face the stark reality that nuclear weapons and
missile 'defense' systems offer no security for anybody in this
new context. We urge an immediate high-level review of defense
policies, in order to move rapidly towards a human-security approach
and a totally different set of spending priorities.
Everyone needs to take time to reflect on the root
causes of these terrible events, and to find new ways to resolve
them. This must involve a new and more equitable partnership between
the USA and the rest of the world - dialogue, humility and social
justice will make a surer path to improved security than the 'quick-fix'
of military force.
We must not allow the atmosphere to be filled with
an air of revenge, retaliation, nationalism, and war. If we care
about the lessons young people in particular will draw from these
events, we must find ways to turn the anger and hurt into creative
solidarity with victims everywhere. This is a crisis that cries
out for new thinking. If it was indeed 'an attack on human civilisation',
then the United Nations is the correct institution through which
to organise the response.
Media speculation is intensifying about the likely
perpetrators. Let us not leap to conclusions that could have the
gravest consequences. Whichever community the violence came from,
inside or outside the USA, there are bridges to be repaired. Let's
not destroy any more.
"An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind."
**Call or email the President immediately and ask him to take
a stand - to find the courage and resolve not to take violent
retaliatory action, and stop the spiral of violence now.
White House phone: +1-202.456.1111.
**Peace workers in other countries are encouraged
to urge their governments not to cooperate with any military action
not specifically sanctioned by the Security Council.
The International Peace Bureau IPB is the oldest and most comprehensive
of the international peace federations, covering a broad range
of issues related to war prevention. Our two main projects are
the Global Campaign for Peace Education, launched by the Hague
Appeal for Peace, and a disarmament programme covering nuclear
weapons, landmines, small arms etc. With 20 international and
188 national/local member organisations in 53 countries, IPB brings
together people working for peace in many different sectors: not
only pacifists but also women's, youth, labour, religious and
professional bodies. IPB was founded in 1892 and won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1910. Among the 13 IPB officers who have won the
Nobel Prize in their own right was the Irish statesman Sean MacBride.
Further information, including membership application forms, from
the Geneva Secretariat - or at www.ipb.org
President: Cora Weiss, Secretary-General: Colin Archer