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Reactions to September 11, 2001
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In peace, LCNP Staff
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In our criticism of the current war fever being nurtured by an
unholy alliance of government and media, we should not forget that the attacks were
massive crimes against humanity in a technical legal sense, and those involved in carrying
them out should be punished to the fullest extent.
Acknowledging this legitimate right of response is by no means equivalent to an endorsement of unlimited force. Indeed, an overreaction may be what the terrorists were seeking to provoke so as to mobilize popular resentment against the United States on a global scale. We need to act effectively, but within a framework of moral and legal restraints.
For full article see www.thenation.com¡ The classical cycle of violence, which ensures that wars follow wars, has roughly seven stages: resulting shock and terror, fear and grief, anger, hatred, revenge, retaliation, resulting in a further atrocity and another cycle of violence.
If the west is civilized, its leaders will gather strength and wisdom to contain the emotions of their people at the fourth stage, preventing hatred hardening into another unstoppable cycle. Instead, the next stages can be as follows:
1) Gather allies, build coalition, follow the rule of
law, bring perpetrators to justice.
For the full statement " Attacks on the US: Political and Psychological Responses" by Scilla Elworthy see www.oxfordresearchgroup.org¡ The attacks were a shattering demonstration that the United States is not set aside from the rest of the world, but a vulnerable part of vulnerable mankind, that our lives are directly affected by the ideas and emotions of people thousands of miles away. For the last century at least, this has been the real situation of our country, but many Americans have fought awareness of it.
¡ We fear the political and military consequences of this murderous terrorism. We must guard our liberty and not allow fear to restrict our hard-won freedoms. We must not allow the atmosphere of hatred to justify acts of war against unidentified enemies. We cherish the force of law, not the law of force.
While we support and work at healing and holding the mourners in our thoughts, we must consider the problems that lead to this madness: issues of the economic gap between north and south; between the Muslim and the western world; the gap between people of color and white people; and caused by the misallocation of resources with its resulting inequity between funds designated for health and education and the $1 trillion allocated world wide for the military. Finally, we must look at the gap between men and women that leaves only men at the tables of negotiation, and make successful efforts to include women at every table where the fate of humanity is at stake.
¡The crashes that reduced the World Trade Centre to rubble and the two terror-inducing plane crashes elsewhere have cleft our age into two. On the other side of this smoking chasm of blood and bitterness, lies another world. It can be a world in which all the mistakes of the past global inequality, socio-economic exploitation, lack of international democracy, lack of national democracy and literacy in some nations, prejudice, hatred all these mistakes are consolidated into a world of greater violence and suffering. Or we may, finally, learn to work towards a world, a very different world, where we will tackle not just the consequences of senseless tragedies but the reasons for them. A world in which we will condemn not only a certain kind of violence, but all violence; a world in which we will love not only our humanity, but all humanity.
Dear President Bush,
We are writing on behalf of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition to express our condolences for those who died in the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on September 11.
We share your grief and sorrow that so many innocent lives were lost to this violent outburst of hatred. We are concerned, however, about the repeated comparisons of this incident to Pearl Harbor. That attack led very quickly to the hysterical incarceration of Japanese Americans. Ultimately, it led to atomic bombings that devastated not two buildings but two entire cities. We beg you to ensure that no similar hysteria sweeps your nation again.
We are further concerned about the emphasis in your subsequent speech to the nation on Americas power and determination to exact revenge. Thus, we are writing to urge you to refrain from reacting in anger and violence. As the most powerful nation on Earth, the United States must not stoop to the level of these terrorists. They are desperate, filled with rage. As you said, the US is strong, strong enough to rise above even this. This tragic man-made disaster must not be the start of a wildly escalating vicious cycle of violence that will bring the whole world down to the level of Israels West Bank.
We hope this incident will convince you that any effort to protect the US with a missile defense program or space-based weapons will be futile. We must all realize that our enemy is not any group of terrorists. Rather, it is the hatred and rage that move terrorists and burn in all our hearts today. The US should immediately reevaluate its reliance on power and make serious efforts to explore and alleviate misery and hatred throughout the world. Rather than remaining an object of envy and hate, the US must earn the love and respect of an increasingly desperate and interdependent world. Friendship and cooperation are the only means of achieving true and lasting security.
Please be aware that the peace-loving people of Hiroshima stand ready to help you and the United States in any way we can to fight hatred and violence.
Mitsuo Okamoto Goro Kawai
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