Preparing for Peace: Greens seek path to security through justice

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Preparing for Peace:

Greens seek path to security through justice

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. ... Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-- Martin Luther King Jr.

“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 again. That's what participatory democracy is about at this moment … (to) not just react, but engage.”

-- U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who stood alone in the 420-1 House vote on President Bush’s war resolution

The Green Party of the United States condemns the violent attacks and mass murder Sept. 11, grieves with those most directly affected, and calls for a careful response that will avoid a cycle of increasing violence and suffering.

"The Green Party opposes the use of violence for political ends, whether by government forces, by independent organizations, or by individuals, and we call all such tactics counterproductive," said party co-chair Anita Rios of Ohio. "Whoever is behind these attacks has earned the revulsion and condemnation of the world and has set back whatever cause they hoped to advance. We stand with all Americans, and with all the peaceful people of the world, and grieve."

Greens appeal for a careful response and insist that rash and violent retaliation will only increase the loss of life, especially of the innocent. "Those responsible for these murders are attempting to terrorize Americans out of our faith in democracy," said co-chair Ben Manski of Wisconsin. "They have crucified thousands of civilians in an attempt to intimidate the government into clamping down on American freedoms."

Greens condemn harassment and blaming of Arabs and Muslims, who were among the victims of the attacks as well as among those who responded with rescue, medical, and relief efforts. “In our grief, we must not lash out at innocent people," Rios said. “We ask that this horror not be compounded by the victimization or stigmatization of the innocent."

"Violence begets violence, and hate begets hate. If we allow this hate crime to inspire other crimes of hate, the criminals who perpetrated the attacks will have won," said Jane Hunter, communications chair of the Green Party of New Jersey.

The Larger Picture

We may tell ourselves that the current violence has "nothing to do" with the way that we've learned to close our ears when told that one out of every three people on this planet does not have enough food, and that one billion are literally starving. We may reassure ourselves that the hoarding of the world's resources by the richest society in world history, and our frantic attempts to accelerate globalization with its attendant inequalities of wealth, has nothing to do with the resentment that others feel toward us. We may tell ourselves that the suffering of refugees and the oppressed have nothing to do with us – that that's a different story that is going on somewhere else. But we live in one world, increasingly interconnected with everyone, and the forces that lead people to feel outrage, anger and desperation eventually impact on our own daily lives. …

Most Americans will feel puzzled by any reference to this "larger picture." It seems baffling to imagine that somehow we are part of a world system which is slowly destroying the life support system of the planet, and quickly transferring the wealth of the world into our own pockets. We don't feel personally responsible when an American corporation runs a sweatshop in the Philippines or crushes efforts of workers to organize in Singapore. We don't see ourselves implicated when the U.S. refuses to consider the plight of Palestinian refugees or uses the excuse of fighting drugs to support repression in Colombia or other parts of Central America. We don't even see the symbolism when terrorists attack America's military center and our trade center -- we talk of them as buildings, though others see them as centers of the forces that are causing the world so much pain. We have narrowed our own attention to "getting through" or "doing well" in our own personal lives, and who has time to focus on all the rest of this? Most of us are leading perfectly reasonable lives within the options that we have available to us -- so why should others be angry at us, much less strike out against us? And the truth is, our anger is also understandable: the striking out by others in acts of terror against us is just as irrational as the world-system that it seeks to confront.

-- Rabbi Michael Lerner of San Francisco, editor of TIKKUN Magazine

Hear legitimate gripes

If we want to live in peace, we must work for justice and recognize a simple, unpopular and long-denied truth: Many nations have legitimate grievances against the United States, and we must address them in a fair and equitable way.

-- Charles Mauch, Harris County Green Party

Not an excuse to crank up war machinery

… We have achieved our prosperity in part by bullying other nations, exploiting their labor, and arming their brutal dictators for most of the past 100 years. … What the U.S. has done to “protect its own interests” has resulted in far more death and destruction than last Tuesday's disasters.

It's time for America to reassess the consequences of its policies and actions in the global arena. It's time for the American people to stop the president from using these tragic events as an excuse to crank up the war machinery.

-- David B. Collins, Harris County Green Party

Parents of Flight 93 victim call for peace

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 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 think."

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."

  • Not in Our Son's Name

From Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez, whose son Greg is among the many missing since the World Trade Center attack

… Our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.

It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son's death. Not in our son's name. Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world.

But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times.

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