Peaceful Tomorrows 9/11/04 Statement – 2004-09-14 13:06:43
Nearly three years ago, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was born out of a shared belief that America’s military response to the 9/11 attacks which took our loved ones’ lives would result in the deaths of countless innocent civilians and increase recruitment for terrorist causes, making the United States, and the world, less safe and less free for generations to come.
Today, as we commemorate September 11, 2004, we find that our worst fears have been realized. The terrorism of September 11th has been neither neutralized, nor ended, by the terrorism of war.
Since our bombing and military action in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of more than 130 American troops and an estimated 4,000 civilians – and compounded by our failure to rebuild that broken nation–we have seen the return of Taliban warlords, the departure of relief agencies, and the continuing deaths of American service people and innocent civilians.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that he is seeking the support of former Taliban officials in an effort to stabilize the political process. Osama bin Laden remains at large, and al-Qaeda remains a potent terrorist force, as evidenced by the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, Spain.
Our illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, has cost the lives of 1,000 American troops and an estimated 12,000 Iraqi civilians, while leaving tens of thousands of others physically and emotionally traumatized.
Today, our continuing occupation, our failure to provide basic services like electricity and water, and our torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib has turned Iraq into a focus of anti-American sentiment where a new generation of terrorists is being recruited from around the world.
In Guantanamo, approximately 600 detainees from 40 countries remain incarcerated without charge and without access to lawyers. Those who have been returned to their home countries attest to conditions that violate the Geneva Conventions and our own democratic principles.
In America, the USA Patriot Act gives government free reign to surveil law-abiding citizens. Restrictions on peaceful protest mock our Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly. Meanwhile, bias crimes and discrimination continue to cast a shadow over our nation.
That all of this has been done in the names of our loved ones who died on September 11th makes the suffering of their innocent counterparts around the world even harder to take. When actions that are making the world less secure are carried out in the name of US security, we must reconsider the true sources of the security, freedom, and respect we once commanded around the globe.
Is the source of our security and freedom the exercise of overwhelming military power? Have we found security and freedom by dividing the world into “us and them,” and labeling entire nations “evil”?
Three years ago, the French declared, “We are all Americans,” and Iranians held spontaneous candlelight vigils for our dead. Today, American prestige is at an all-time low. Friend and foe alike tremble at the sense of exceptionalism that drives America to conduct pre-emptive war.
And what example have we set by our use of violence as a tool for addressing complex grievances?
In the past week, heartbreaking pictures of children abducted and killed in Russia remind us that terrorism against civilian populations, which did not begin on September 11th, has not abated as a result of our actions since then. In Iraq, abductions of more than 40 civilians from nations including Japan, Jordan, Italy, China, Ukraine, South Korea, Egypt, Nepal, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Bulgaria and our own have escalated the level of human suffering.
On September 11th, 2002, we urged America to participate fully in the global community, by honoring international treaties, endorsing and participating in the International Criminal Court, following the United Nations charter, and agreeing in word and action to the precepts of international law. Today, we redouble our call for America to return to full membership in the community of nations.
We call for an end to war as our nation’s one blunt instrument of foreign policy in our increasingly complex world. We recognize that our freedoms and security derive not from politicians or the Pentagon, but from our Constitution, and call on all Americans to rise in its defense against the triple threats of fear, lies and ignorance.
Finally, we draw hope from those around the globe whose historical experiences of terrorism and war have brought them not to a place of vengeance, but to a commitment to creating a peaceful world. They include victims of the violence in Israel and Palestine; families of victims of the Bali nightclub bombing; family members of those killed in Oklahoma City; atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki; those who survived the bombing of Guernica, Spain and Dresden, Germany; those affected by terrorism in Kenya; Cambodia; Chechnya; South Africa; Northern Ireland; Bosnia; Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
Through their witness and their efforts towards reconciliation, they have demonstrated that peace begins in the heart of every individual, and that people united have an unparalleled power to change the world.
Every day, we choose to create the world we want to live in, through our words and through our actions. Today, we reach out to others around the world who recognize that war is not the answer. Today, three years after September 11th, we continue to choose peace.
9/11/04 Message of Solidarity to Peaceful Tomorrows
from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
THE HIROSHIMA ALLIANCE FOR NUCEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION (HANWA)
Directors: Ms. Moritaki Haruko, Mr. Kawai Goro, and Dr. Okamoto Mitsuo
Dear Members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows,
We, the members of HANWA (Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition) would like to send you our renewed message of empathy and solidarity as the third anniversary of the 9/11 is around the corner. It is almost three years now since the tragedy engulfed you. Time flies, indeed!
Certainly, such a fateful and sorrowful day cannot be buried in oblivion for any body, but especially for the bereaved family members like you. The chagrin may not disappear for a long time. You must be remembering the days when you searched around for your lover, sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, father, cousin, other relatives, friends, etc. through rubbles at the WTC– we know some of you have lost your loved one at the Pentagon, too.
Most of you must be pondering over the dreary, depressing days of anger, frustration, emptiness, despair, and exhaustion following the disaster.
Your experience resembles what hundreds of thousands of the citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced fifty nine years ago. Even after more than half a century they still suffer deep anguish of the sudden loss of their loved ones. Your grief, however, must be far more acute and painful as it was only three years ago.
That you have overcome your despair, and continuously transmitted to the world over your message of peace instead of violence, love instead of hatred, and solidarity instead of vengeance, has not only inspired the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also encouraged us significantly in that we can build up our hopes for the future of the world.
Your message does correspond to the affirmation here: No More Hiroshima! No More Nagasaki! In this mission of non-violence and peace we feel a powerful spiritual bond between you and us.
During the last three years, people in Afghanistan and Iraq had to endure the destruction of war and the ensuing misery. We cannot and should not forget that multitude of them have lost their relatives and friends exactly like you and us. It is the same in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and most recently in Beslan, Russia.
The world is becoming more dangerous and violent due to the prevailing Weltanschauung, i.e. a philosophy that might is right. To counter violence by violence breeds more violence. It amounts to a vicious circle. The only solution is to address the root causes of violence that are poverty, prejudice, discrimination, inequality, injustice, greed and jingoism.
The members of Peaceful Tomorrows and the Hibakusha together with citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have learned this simple truth which they would like to share with others.
Terrorism is rampant all over the world. However, we think war is a state-terror and nuclear war will be the most heinous terror that one can ever think of. The Russell-Einstein Manifesto concludes that war must be abolished, for so long as war exists national leaders cannot resist the temptation to resort to the most powerful weapons of the day, nuclear weapons.
This year also, therefore, on August 6th in Hiroshima and on 9th in Nagasaki, people from all over Japan and overseas gathered there together and renewed our pledge of “No More Hiroshima!” and “No More Nagasaki!” and have shared our determination to create the culture of peace and non-violence.
We hear you have been libeled as coward as many Americans today tend to justify violent means to solve conflicts. Do not be discouraged in your endeavor for peace, love, and truth. We are with you and the history will be on your side. For, love conquers all things (Amor omnia vincit)!
With love from Hiroshima.
Letter from Peaceful Tomorrows to Russian Families Touched by Terrorism
To the Families of August 24, 2004
From the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
August 24, 2004 is a date that will stay in your memories as September 11, 2001 has stayed in ours.
Please accept our deepest and heartfelt condolences for the loss of your loved ones, friends, and family members. We know the meaning of such a tragedy and we join together, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, in offering our friendship to you. We are far away in miles but we are with you in our feelings.
There will be speculation and investigation. There will be newspaper and television stories re-living the calamity that has forever changed your lives. We hope that you will be able, as we have been able, to turn the immense energies grief into mighty energies for Peace. Your time of shock will give way to a time of mourning. Mourning will give way to healing, and this healing will bring you a bit of peace, in time.
You are not alone. We join with you. We will be thinking of you always for you are now in our hearts. If there is anything we can do to ease your way, and then please ask. We can easily be reached by email and will always be willing to answer.
In genuine friendship and love,
September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
You can always contact us through http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/contact.html