A R C H I V E S
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|The Voice of Conscience|
|02/26/02 at 10:48:51|
by Jordan Moss
From [url=http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=special&s=moss20020224]The Nation[/url]
It just got a little harder to ignore the dissenters in America's War on Terrorism.
Family members of victims, about seventeen so far, have joined under the banner "Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows" to encourage discussion of alternatives to war and to bring aid to families affected by the US bombing campaign in Afghanistan.
A smooth Valentine's Day press conference in New York announcing the organization's formation illustrated the group's strengths and the challenges ahead. The packed room, at the Church Center for the United Nations, across from the UN, included several reporters. The event saw no ink in the next day's papers--except in El Diario, a Spanish-language daily--but this group should have an edge over other antiwar activists in getting mainstream media attention. After all, they speak the same simple language of grief as the thousands of others who have lost loved ones in the attacks, and who have garnered ample coverage in both print and electronic media.
Even before they formally launched their joint effort, the members of Peaceful Tomorrows--called unexpectedly to this work from roles as varied as nurse practitioner, TV writer, retired small businesswoman and political science professor--have shown a knack for getting their message across. They've gotten local press in their hometowns, and several have written powerful essays that have circulated widely on the Internet. In perhaps their most compelling gesture so far, some even traveled to Afghanistan to meet with families devastated by the bombing. CNN covered their call for the US government to provide aid for the war victims they encountered on their trip, both people like themselves and grape farmers forced to abandon their land for fear of harvesting unexploded cluster bombs, as well as new Afghan widows who send their children to beg.
Peaceful Tomorrows wants the US government to appropriate $20 million--less, they say, than the cost of one day's bombing, and far below the sum raised to help September 11 victims' families--for a study of the bombing campaign's impact on Afghan civilians and for a fund to to help the victims' families.
They've met with receptive lawmakers like New York Senator Charles Schumer and Florida Representative Carrie Meeks, but they were advised that only President Bush could create the fund quickly. So the group sent Bush a giant Valentine requesting an audience.
Fortunately, the group members have compelling personal stories and areas of expertise well suited to the task at hand.
Robin Theurkauf, a mother of three boys who lost her husband, Tom, a financial analyst, at the World Trade Center, also happens to be a newly minted PhD and lecturer on international relations at Yale who wrote her dissertation on international criminal law.
"It's a huge irony for me," Theurkauf said. "My husband is the victim of [one of the] biggest crimes against humanity ever, and this is my field of interest."
She considers the attack an international crime and believes military retaliation is only going to exacerbate US insecurity. "We're making recruiting for the next wave of terrorists easier, I think," Theurkauf said. She suggests that Americans press their government to recognize and participate in the new International Criminal Court, which it so far has refused to do.
And like the others in Peaceful Tomorrows--named for Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote, "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows"--she resents being invoked as an excuse for war. "It seemed like such a horrific thing, the idea that someone would do this for me to someone else."
Peaceful Tomorrows is not yet funded, but three of the family members have already signed on as full-time regional coordinators. David Potorti, who will run the East Coast office, says their primary goal is to make Americans aware of their options.
"We just want to give the American people a dialogue that they've been denied in this rush to war," said Potorti, a former writer of TV promotions whose brother, Jim, died at the Trade Center, "because we really haven't had a chance to explore alternatives and other ways of speaking to each other aside from dropping bombs."
Potorti has already found that people in unlikely places are ready to listen. Not too long after the attacks, he was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor, a right-wing talk show. As soon as Potorti hung up, he received two calls from men in nearby North Carolina towns. The first said he agreed with Potorti and could not, as a Christian, support the taking of innocent life. The second, who also lost a relative, said he disagreed with Potorti's position but appreciated his standing up for his beliefs.
"Just the fact that two of those people [O'Reilly's listeners] could be so reasonable and nice makes me feel that there's hope," Potorti said.
|02/26/02 at 10:49:31|
|Re: The Voice of Conscience|
|02/26/02 at 14:07:45|
It sounds good that people are trying help out the people of Afganistan, but it also seems like this could be another attempt at spreading Christanity in a Islamic country. The muslim umma should be the ones organizing ways of helping out the people of Afganistan. But we are asleep, and can't even help out our own local communities. :(
|Re: The Voice of Conscience|
|02/27/02 at 11:01:56|
|Southern California |
Americans for Democratic Action
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Sunday, February 17, 2002
United States Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio)
Email responses to Dkucinich@aol.com
A Prayer for America
(to be sung as an overture for America)
"My country 'tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty of thee I sing. . . . From every mountain side, let freedom ring. . . . Long may our land be bright. With freedom's holy light. . . ."
"Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave. O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
"America, America, God shed grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. . . . "
I offer these brief remarks today as a prayer for our country, with love of democracy, as a celebration of our country. With love for our country. With hope for our country. With a belief that the light of freedom cannot be extinguished as long as it is inside of us. With a belief that freedom rings resoundingly in a democracy each time we speak freely. With the understanding that freedom stirs the human heart and fear stills it. With the belief that a free people cannot walk in fear and faith at the same time.
With the understanding that there is a deeper truth expressed in the unity of the United States. That implicate in the union of our country is the union of all people. That all people are essentially one. That the world is interconnected not only on the material level of economics, trade, communication, and transportation, but interconnected through human consciousness, through the human heart, through the heart of the world, through the simply expressed impulse and yearning to be and to breathe free.
I offer this prayer for America.
Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the promise of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil rights. That is why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. We must ask why should America put aside guarantees of constitutional justice?
How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable cause, the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying due process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a trial?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right to prompt and public trial?
How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment?
We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and Internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data which may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and financial records.
We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government which takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy. The Attorney General recently covered up a statue of Lady Justice showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of justice exposing herself at this time, before this administration.
Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear. Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must be understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in the current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate the Capitol on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the Capitol again when a bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the CIA during a secret briefing. It continued when we abandoned Washington when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in the mail. It continued when the Attorney General declared a nationwide terror alert and then the Administration brought the destructive Patriot Bill to the floor of the House. It continued in the release of the Bin Laden tapes at the same time the President was announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. It remains present in the cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present in the camouflaged armed national guardsmen who greet members of Congress each day we enter the Capitol campus. It is present in the labyrinth of concrete barriers through which we must pass each time we go to vote. The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear, ill equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the Mind Games, the War Games of an unelected President and his unelected Vice President.
Let us pray that our country will stop this war. "To promote the common defense" is one of the formational principles of America. Our Congress gave the President the ability to respond to the tragedy of September the Eleventh. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of September the Eleventh. But we the people and our elected representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, to proportion the response, to challenge the response, and to correct the response.
Because we did not authorize the invasion of Iraq.
We did not authorize the invasion of Iran.
We did not authorize the invasion of North Korea.
We did not authorize the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize permanent detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
We did not authorize the withdrawal from the Geneva Convention.
We did not authorize military tribunals suspending due process and habeas corpus.
We did not authorize assassination squads.
We did not authorize the resurrection of COINTELPRO.
We did not authorize the repeal of the Bill of Rights.
We did not authorize the revocation of the Constitution.
We did not authorize national identity cards.
We did not authorize the eye of Big Brother to peer from cameras throughout our cities.
We did not authorize an eye for an eye.
Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on September 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in Afghanistan.
We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow it pleases.
We did not authorize war without end.
We did not authorize a permanent war economy.
|02/27/02 at 11:03:52|
|Re: The Voice of Conscience|
|02/27/02 at 11:03:00|
|Prayer for America (Cont'd)|
Yet we are upon the threshold of a permanent war economy. The President has requested a $45.6 billion increase in military spending. All defense-related programs will cost close to $400 billion. Consider that the Department of Defense has never passed an independent audit. Consider that the Inspector General has notified Congress that the Pentagon cannot properly account for $1.2 trillion in transactions. Consider that in recent years the Dept. of Defense could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items it purchased, wrote off, as lost, billions of dollars worth of in-transit inventory and stored nearly $30 billion worth of spare parts it did not need.
Yet the defense budget grows with more money for weapons systems to fight a cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies to create new wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror. This has everything to do with fueling a military industrial machine with the treasure of our nation, risking the future of our nation, risking democracy itself with the militarization of thought which follows the militarization of the budget.
Let us pray for our children. Our children deserve a world without end. Not a war without end. Our children deserve a world free of the terror of hunger, free of the terror of poor health care, free of the terror of homelessness, free of the terror of ignorance, free of the terror of hopelessness, free of the terror of policies which are committed to a world view which is not appropriate for the survival of a free people, not appropriate for the survival of democratic values, not appropriate for the survival of our nation, and not appropriate for the survival of the world.
Let us pray that we have the courage and the will as a people and as a nation to shore ourselves up, to reclaim from the ruins of September the Eleventh our democratic traditions. Let us declare our love for democracy. Let us declare our intent for peace. Let us work to make nonviolence an organizing principle in our own society. Let us recommit ourselves to the slow and painstaking work of statecraft, which sees peace, not war as being inevitable. Let us work for a world where someday war becomes archaic. That is the vision which the proposal to create a Department of Peace envisions. Forty-three members of congress are now cosponsoring the legislation. Let us work for a world where nuclear disarmament is an imperative. That is why we must begin by insisting on the commitments of the ABM treaty. That is why we must be steadfast for nonproliferation.
Let us work for a world where America can lead the way in banning weapons of mass destruction not only from our land and sea and sky but from outer space itself. That is the vision of HR 3616: A universe free of fear. Where we can look up at God's creation in the stars and imagine infinite wisdom, infinite peace, infinite possibilities, not infinite war, because we are taught that the kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.
Let us pray that we have the courage to replace the images of death which haunt us, the layers of images of September the Eleventh, faded into images of patriotism, spliced into images of military mobilization, jump cut into images of our secular celebrations of the World Series, New Year's Eve, the Superbowl, the Olympics, the strobic flashes which touch our deepest fears, let us replace those images with the work of human relations, reaching out to people, helping our own citizens here at home, lifting the plight of the poor everywhere. That is the America which has the ability to rally the support of the world. That is the America which stands not in pursuit of an axis of evil, but which is itself at the axis of hope and faith and peace and freedom.
America, America. God shed grace on thee. Crown thy good, America. Not with weapons of mass destruction. Not with invocations of an axis of evil. Not through breaking international treaties. Not through establishing America as king of a unipolar world. Crown thy good, America.
America, America. Let us pray for our country. Let us love our country. Let us defend our country not only from the threats without but from the threats within. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good with brotherhood, and sisterhood. And crown thy good with compassion and restraint and forbearance and a commitment to peace, to democracy, to economic justice here at home and throughout the world. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good, America. Crown thy good.
[i]Taken from [url=http://truthout.com/02.23C.Kucinich.Prayer.htm] Truthout[/url][/i]
|02/27/02 at 11:05:22|
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